Snoh Aalegra talks “Bad Things”, Cocaine 80s, more

Snoh Aalegra is one of my favorite new artists of 2014 and her newly released There Will Be Sunshine EP has gems from beginning to end.

One of those gems is “Bad Things”, which features a verse from Common. She shares the organic story of how that song came together to DJ Booth, in the process quelling any notion that Common was merely reciprocating a feature for Snoh’s help on Nobody’s Smiling.

The lead-single off There Will Be Sunshine was “Bad Things,” which featured a verse from Common. It’s pretty remarkable to have an emcee like Common on the lead single off your debut. How did that come about?

“That was amazing! He was recording his album with No I.D. at the same time as me, but I was in Sweden. I went to visit my family while No I.D. was working on the beat and finessing it. What I heard was Common walked in the room, heard the the beat and my lyrics and said, “I love this!” and he wanted to jump on it, right there. So it just kind of happened you know. They called me and said ‘Oh by the way, Common jumped on your song…just so you know.’ I love how it happened. A lot of people assume, that because I work with NO I.D., I would have a lot of features, but I always want them to happen organically. I don’t want to call in any favors; I don’t believe it will turn out the right way. I want to do it if the person I’m doing a feature with really wants it; then there is good chemistry.”

I just love her approach to collaborations, first and foremost. In a music industry filled with politics, I think it’s important for artists on the rise to stay true to themselves and not reach for a name-collaboration unless, like Snoh says above, the person doing the feature really wants it. The authenticity will shine through and given how much “Bad Things” has been in my rotation this month, Snoh and Common is just another example.

The interview touched on a variety of topics so the full read is worth the click. One more excerpt to reel you in is her answer about Cocaine 80s, and probably the clearest, most up-to-date description of the collective.

You also managed a feature from Cocaine 80’s. I know James and No I.D. are the faces of Cocaine 80’s, but it’s more of a collective. Can you shed some light on what exactly ‘featuring Cocaine 80’s’ means?

“Cocaine 80’s is No I.D., James Fauntleroy, and Steve Wyreman. I know Common used to be a part of it, but I’m not sure if he still is anymore. They do features with so many artists and they did a lot with Common so he was almost like a part of it. But No I.D., James and Steve, the guitarist are the core members. They are so amazing! On my song, it was those three. No I.D. on the beat, James singing and Steve playing guitar on the outro.”

Once again, There Will Be Sunshine is a must-listen and in the top-tier of projects, not only in R&B, but in all of music for me in 2014.