Emerging artists and sophomore studio albums are expected to hit the charts this week with country singer Josh Kelley releasing his "New Lane Road", and A$AP Ferg’s much anticipated "Always Strive and Prosper."
A$AP Mob member, Darold Ferguson, Jr., known to many as ASAP Ferg, will drop his second studio album "Always Strive and Prosper," Friday. Born and raised in the heart of Harlem, Ferguson was exposed to the raw world of rap early on. Growing up, Ferguson spent time in his father’s boutique, where he assisted printing shirts for record labels such as Bad Boy Records and Heavy D.
Spending his early years in the boutique, Ferguson yearned for a life immersed in fashion. Gaining inspiration from his father’s tragic death, Ferguson launched clothing and jewelry lines while attending art school. With his friend Rakim Meyers, otherwise known as A$AP Rocky, offering encouragement and an open microphone, Ferguson began writing and rapping his own lyrics. In 2010, he collaborated with A$AP Rocky on major tracks such as "Get High," "Kissin’ Pink," and "Ghetto Symphony," a track that premiered on A$AP Rocky’s 2013 chart topping label debut "Long. Live. A$AP."
In 2012, the artist released his first single "Work," and by the following year, he landed a record deal with RCA Records. Releasing his first studio album a year later, A$AP Ferg’s "Trap Lord" remained No. nine on the Billboard 200 chart and earned him the BET Hip-Hop Awards "Rookie of the Year" title. Dropping the first single from "Always Strive and Prosper," A$AP Ferg’s "New Level," featuring Future peaked at 97 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Judging by the artist’s interview with Billboard leading up to the anticipated release date, this record showcases his "best work yet," and features from Missy Elliot, Future, Rick Ross and Chris Brown.
"People can say what they want after this thing is out, but trust me, it’s going to be crazy," A$AP Ferg said in his interview with Billboard.
"I was the "Trap Lord" two years ago, I became the "Hood Pope" on y’all."
Aiming to break the bland mold of today’s current country, musician Josh Kelly will release his album "New Lane Road," Friday. Raised in Augusta, Georgia, Kelley was the product of a small, country town. At age 11, Kelley began experimenting with the strings of an acoustic guitar with his musically talented older brother. The two shared a passion for music and, eventually, a band called "Inside Blue." At 14, the two wrote and recorded five tracks that were released on a CD.
Those five tracks allowed Kelley to meet funk and R&B legend James Brown. Kelley continued to pursue music, playing jazz in high school with his brother. It wasn’t until 2001 that the artist released his debut independent album, "Changing Faces," and received recognition from major record labels. Gaining interest from Hollywood Records, Kelley signed a deal in 2002 and released his album "For The Ride Home," which featured his hit song "Amazing."
Since, Kelley has found himself touring with Rod Stewart, Third Eye Blind and Counting Crows, as well as performing at major music festivals such as Bonnaroo. His latest single, "Georgia Clay" dropped in 2010 and became a top 20 hit on the Hot Country Songs chart. With years passing since his last release, Kelley will hope to capture fans with lyrics that tell tales of love, heartbreak and honesty.
"I think this is definitely the most honest album I’ve ever done," Kelley said in an interview with Billboard.
"I’m finally at a place that I have compiled enough experiences into traveling to actually have some real substance to write about."