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A$AP Rocky, Machine Gun Kelly, Dillon Francis on deck with nods at mtvU Woodie Awards

Courtesy of MCT


My Chemical Romance, Kings of Leon and Paramore all have become household names but were earlier recognized with Woodie of the Year awards. A$AP Rocky and Machine Gun Kelly now have a chance to join those ranks.

The 2013 mtvU Woodie Awards are scheduled for March 14 at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music, film and interactive conference in Austin, Texas. The Woodie Awards is an annual musical ceremony that “originate(s) from the indie tradition of giving a wooden record to those artists who generate a passionate response to their music,” according to a press release.

The awards show is slated to begin at 8 p.m. CST during the Woodie Awards Festival, which is a slew of live music performances that begin at 2 p.m. CST.

Three artists nominated for an award are electronic-dance musician Dillon Francis, hip-hop artist A$AP Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, and Cleveland-raised rapper Machine Gun Kelly, whose real name is Richard Colson Baker.

The three participated in a conference call with college media Wednesday. 

Francis is nominated for the Breaking Woodie and Tag Team Woodie (with A-Trak), which are for best emerging artist and best collaboration, respectively. Francis helped spearhead the moombahton genre, which is a variation of modern dubstep. He said his music is a collaboration of genres.

“They kind of go together … the trash scene and the moombahton scene,” Francis said.

Francis also said he likes to have fun with his music and that his work should not be taken too seriously.

“I just like doing funny stuff and if people don’t think it’s funny they’re not going to like it,” Francis said.

Despite his nominations, Francis said he is just enjoying the moment and making music he loves.

After performing at the Woodies last year, Mayers has further infiltrated the mainstream music scene. He signed a $3 million deal with RCA-distributed Polo Grounds Music, according to Billboard, and released his debut studio album, “Live.Love.A$AP,” in 2011, which featured other prominent artists in hip-hop such as Drake, Kendrick Lamar and 2Chainz. Mayers, who was nominated for Breaking Woodie last year, is now nominated for Woodie of the Year (artist of the year).

Mayers said his goal as an artist has always been to bring multiple cultures together and bring a higher level of tolerance into hip-hop culture.

“I’m teaching the youth. It’s a new day and age. It’s not about race, ethnicity … We (are) all one people,” Mayers said. 

Furthermore, Mayers is known as somewhat of a trendsetter in the fashion scene.

“I identify (myself) as being a futurist,” Mayers said. “I had a lot of guidance with older folks. I love to keep it a hundred. My style is straight-up trill.”

Mayers said he hopes he comes out on top but is mostly focusing on becoming a better artist. He said he understands the importance of album production and hopes to produce his own beats on future projects.

Baker, who won the Breaking Woodie in 2012, is nominated for Woodie of the Year this year. He features hardcore lyrics that often focus on drug and alcohol abuse. 

The 22-year-old hip-hop artist has a 3 year-old daughter.

“I want my daughter to know what I’ve been through,” he said. “I want her to know what I did to provide for her.”

Baker said he is very proud of his success and has not stopped bragging about his 2012 Woodie Award. 

Baker is scheduled to perform for a sold out crowd at Newport Music Hall Tuesday. He is also set to release a mixtape titled “Black Flag,” although he has not announced a release date. He said the mixtape will focus on “bringing back the city (of Cleveland) as a whole.” 

SXSW is scheduled to be held Friday through March 17. The Woodies Festival is slated to feature performances from New York rapper Joey Bada$$ and Seattle rap duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. 

A half-hour 2013 mtvU Woodie Awards Special featuring moments from the festival and awards is scheduled to air on mtvU March 17 at 8 p.m.

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