WELCOME TO PHOENIX 2009
JUICE // E-40 // EVIDENCE POKAFASE // ROC A DOLLA ROMPER ROOM // ZIG ZAG WILLY NORTHPOLE // TRAP TRAY GUTTER & MORE OZONE MAG //
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PUBLISHER: Julia Beverly SPECIAL EDITIONS EDITOR: Jen McKinnon a.k.a. Ms. Rivercity GRAPHIC DESIGNER: David KA CONTRIBUTORS: Camilo Smith D-Ray Eric Perrin Jeeâ€™Van Brown Luis Santana Matt Daniels Maurice G. Garland Randy Roper Shemp Terrence Tyson Ty Watkins PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR: Malik Abdul SUBSCRIPTIONS: To subscribe, send check or money order for $11 to: OZONE Magazine 644 Antone St. Suite 6 Atlanta, GA 30318 Phone: 404-350-3887 Fax: 404-601-9523 Web: www.ozonemag.com COVER CREDITS: Dem Hoodstarz photo (cover and this page) by Shemp. DISCLAIMER: OZONE does not take responsibility for unsolicited materials, misinformation, typographical errors, or misprints. The views contained herein do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or its advertisers. Ads appearing in this magazine are not an endorsement or validation by OZONE Magazine for products or services offered. All photos and illustrations are copyrighted by their respective artists. All other content is copyright 2009 OZONE Magazine, all rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any way without the written consent of the publisher. Printed in the USA.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS COVER STORY
DEM HOODSTARZ pg. 28-30 INTERVIEWS
Bleu Davinci pg. 12 CutThroat Logic pg. 26-27 DJ Suga Bear pg. 16 pg. 22-23 E-40 Evidence pg. 32-33 Joey Boy pg. 14 Juice pg. 18-19 Pokafase pg. 34-35 Roc A Dolla pg. 26-27 Romper Room pg. 20-21 Trap pg. 42-43 Tray Gutter pg. 44-45 Willy Northpole pg. 7 XO aka Scipio pg. 38-39 Zig Zag pg. 24-25
CLUB LISTING pg. 11 EVENT LISTING pg. 10 TAMPA MAP pg. 8
the Cardinals went to the Super Bowl.
Phoenix is the Shit
The smoke supply out here never runs dry. We are from the West.
When asking who is at the pinnacle of Phoenix Hip Hop, Willy Northpole is a popular answer. Always striving to put on for his city, we wanted to give the hometown hero a chance to explain what makes his city so great. Here’s Willy’s reasons why Phoenix is the shit:
We’re one of the top five cities with the most millionaire residents in the country.
As told to Ms. Rivercity Photo by Ms. Rivercity
It’s beautiful. There’s no natural disasters. You don’t have to worry about hurricanes or floods. It’s 75 degrees in December. It’s pretty beautiful once you get passed the summer time. Even in the summer, it’s dry heat. It’s not crazy heat.
Our baseball team won the World Series. The Suns always make it to the playoffs, and
Wild, Wild West
You can carry your gun in the holster. You can walk into Wal-Mart or whatever and keep your piece on you. You can get your license if you want to keep it concealed, but it’s legal to wear it out in the holster.
We’re an untapped market for Hip Hop. There’s a lot of Hip Hop culture out here and a lot of Hip Hop heads. There’s never been an artist born and raised in Arizona that can tell you about the streets of Arizona and what we have to offer. Nobody knows about Arizona but it’s so big. Phoenix is a bubbling city waiting to blow.
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P. Diddy & Carmelo Anthony Party @ Myst 7340 E. Shoeman Lane, Scottsdale, AZ
Young Jeezy Live @ Celebrity Theatre 440 N 32nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85008 8:30 pm
Shaq and Cedric The Entertainer’s All Star Comedy Jam @ Celebrity Theatre 440 N 32nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85008 8:30 pm
Thursday, February 12th
Welcome to Phoenix & Hypocalypto Records Launch Party Hosted by Amar’e Stoudemire, Grand Hustle’s Young Dro & Young LA, Drumma Boy, and more @ Stoudemire’s Downtown 3 S. 2nd St., Ste. 113, Phoenix, AZ 85004 602-307-5825 LeBron James & Allen Iverson All Star TipOff Party Hosted by LeBron James & Allen Iverson and lifestyle specialist Kenny Burns @ Barcelona Nightclub 15440 Greenway-Haden Loop, Scottsdale, Arizona www.hyballstar.com The Welcome to the City “Official NBA AllStar Weekend Jump-Off” Hosted by Too Sort, Matt Barnes of the Phoenix Suns and Karlie Hustle of Power 98.3 @ Matador’s 125 E. Adams St., Downtown, Phoenix $20, Open Bar from 9pm-10pm Upscale Dress Code 510-593-5168 Baby Bash, Nina Sky, & Power 98.3’s The Nutz host Club Rain 1420 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ
Friday, February 13th “Red Hot” Hosted by Amar’e Stoudemire, T.I., Keri Hilson @ Private Location 7:30pm-10:30pm “Check Our Stats” Hosted by Amar’e Stoudemire, Big Kuntry, Alfamega, Killer Mike, Lil Duval, 8Ball & MJG & more @ Stoudemire’s Downtown 3 S. 2nd St., Ste. 113, Phoenix, AZ 85004 602-307-5825
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Saturday, February 14th
The Grand Hustle Takeover Hosted by T.I., Keri Hilson, Amar’e Stoudemire, & The Grand Hustle Family @ The Chase Tower – Arizona Club 201 North Central Ave., Downtown Phoenix Doors open at 9pm Venessa & Angela Simmons All Star Saturday hosted by Venessa & Angela Simmons, Paul Pierce of The Boston Celtics @ Jackson’s on Third 3rd Street & Jackson, Downtown Phoenix www.hyballstar.com Akon Pool Party @ W Hotel 7277 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85251 Chris Brown & Power 98.3’s The Nutz host Club Rain 1420 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ
Sunday, February 15th “The Finale – Three Suns” Hosted by Amar’e Stoudemire, Jason Richardson, Matt Barnes, & more @ Stoudemire’s Downtown 3 S. 2nd St., Ste. 113, Phoenix, AZ 85004 602-307-5825 T.I. Live @ Celebrity Theatre 440 N 32nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85008 $60 LeBron James & Ludacris All Star Sunday Grand Finale Hosted by LeBron James & Ludacris, Keri Hilson, and lifestyle specialist Kenny Burns @ Myst Nightclub 7340 E. Shoeman Lane, Scottsdale, Arizona www.hyballstar.com Busta Rhymes & Power 98.3’s The Nutz host Club Rain 1420 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ
LISTING Axis Radius 7340 E. Indian Plaza Scottsdale, AZ 480-970-1112
Dirty Pretty 7443 E 6th Ave Scottsdale, AZ 480-970-1222
Babylon Show Club 3613 E. Van Buren St. Phoenix, AZ 602-306-1000
Hard Rock Café 3 S 2nd St., # 117 Downtown, Phoenix 602-261-7625
Barcelona Nightclub 15440 GreenwayHaden Loop Scottsdale, Arizona
Ice House 429 W Jackson St Phoenix, AZ 85003 602-257-8929
Buzz 10345 N Scottsdale Rd. Phoenix, AZ 480-991-3866 Club Downtown 701 N. Central Downtown, Phoenix Club Mangos 5510 W. Camelback Rd. Glendale, AZ Club Rain 1420 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 480-785-4981 Club Silver 136 E. Washington St. Downtown, Phoenix Diamond Jack’s Gentlemen’s Club 3845 E. University Dr. Phoenix, AZ
Jackson’s on 3rd 245 E. Jackson St. Downtown, Phoenix 602-254-5303 Jilly’s 7301 E. Butherus Dr Scottsdale, AZ 480-368-8663 Loft 420 S. Mill Ave. Tempe, AZ 480-967-8188 Mabel Murphys 7018 W. Main Street Scottsdale, AZ Majerles 9 Lounge 2nd Street & Washington Downtown, Phoenix Martini Ranch 7295 E. Stetson Drive Scottsdale, AZ 480-970-0500 Matador’s 125 E. Adams St. 602-254-7563 Downtown, Phoenix
Mill Ave. Bar district (across from ASU) Tempe, AZ Myst 7340 E. Shoeman Lane Scottsdale, AZ 480-970-5000 Oscar Taylor 2375 E Camelback Rd Phoenix, AZ 85016 602-954-5620 Phase54 Night Club 1700 W Drake Drive Tempe, AZ PHX 122 E. Washington Phoenix, AZ The Sets 93 E Southern Ave Tempe, AZ 85282 480-829-1822 Stoudemire’s Downtown 3 S. 2nd St., Ste. 113 Phoenix, AZ 85004 602-307-5825 Suede 7333 E. Indian Plaza Scottsdale, AZ 480-970-6969 Sugar Daddies 3102 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 480-970-6556
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Bleu Davinci As told to Julia Beverly
Just days after BMF Entertainment president artist Bleu Davinci was sentenced to five years and four months in prison for his role in the drug trafficking arm of BMF, he reached out to OZONE to tell his story. So do you feel that your sentencing was fair? Yeah. Actually, in the Feds they [base the sentencing on] a guideline grid. They held me responsible for 150 or more kilos. My grid was set at 260 months originally, but I was eligible for a “safety valve” because I don’t have an adult criminal history. That allows the judge to depart from the Federal sentencing guidelines, so that’s how my time started going down. I had a mandatory minimum of 10 years. Conspiracy carries a mandatory minimum of 10 to life, but since I had no criminal history as an adult, it allowed the judge and probation office to recommend less. A probation officer came out and interviewed me; they wanted to know how many kids I have, what grade I finished in school, how many jobs I’ve had, stuff like that. They recommended 84 months, which is seven years. My grid came back to 70 months after they did the reduction, and the judge departed from that by six months and sentenced me to 64 months. The minor role adjustment and the safety valve dropped me down from level 38 on the Federal sentencing grid to level 32. When I signed the acceptance responsibility as part of my plea bargain, it dropped me down another 3 levels to 29. That’s how they came up with my sentence. They do it by the rules in the Feds; it ain’t like the state. When you get locked up in the state you can get a good lawyer to make stuff go away or knock a big sentence all the way down to a small sentence. Here in the federal courts, they run it all by a grid, and without a safety valve recommendation they can’t depart from the federal guidelines. A lot of [other BMF affiliates] had a criminal history, so the judge wasn’t able to go under the mandatory 12 // OZONE MAG
minimum. That’s why a lot of people don’t understand how certain people got certain [sentences]. When we interviewed you previously, you were very emphatic that you were only involved in the music aspect of BMF and not the criminal aspect. Well, now everything’s out [in the open]. Of course being interviewed prior to being charged with a crime, nobody’s going to tell you what they’ve done wrong. But when 12, 13 people are [testifying], you know, of course I’m going to plead guilty. But I didn’t have a major role in the whole scheme of things. I still had a minor role, and they gave me exactly what they saw fit. I had a minor role on the street level of BMF. But as far as BMF Entertainment, I’m the president of the company. You expressed some negative feelings towards Jeezy in our last interview. How did that turn out? Me and Jeezy have been through our personal ups and downs in the past, but he never stopped claiming [BMF]. We’ve had a chance to talk since then, and we got our situation together. I got much love for Jeezy. He’s doing his thing. Every man has to make decisions for himself. It’s not like he ever disowned my crew or had anything bad to say about BMF. He always keeps the name going, so I’m definitely in his corner of support at this time. The rest of this interview is featured in OZONE’s December issue.
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Joey Boy Joey Boy from The Nutz in the Morning Words by Ms. Rivercity
The Nutz in the Morning wake up Phoenix Monday through Friday with their crazy comedy and live mixes. Joey Boy, Lady La, and DJ Knick Knack will also be making club appearances all week long during the All Star festivities. When can people listen to your show? You can catch me 6-10 am Monday thru Friday. My partner Lady La does the show with me. We do a couple of live mixes with our DJ Knick Knack. He does the 6:30-8:30 local mix. We’re the only station in town that does live mixing. Why do they call y’all The Nutz and who came up with the name? It’s a name I came up with in ’95 or ’96. At the time I was listening to Dr. Dre’s album The Chronic and he had the song “Deez Nuts.” Originally we were called Deez Nutz. It’s a play on words. We’re kinda nuts on the radio so that’s the other way you can take it. It has a double meaning. We’re all pretty nuts in our own way on the morning show. Was this your first radio show? My first gig where I came up with Deez Nutz in the Morning was at the station where I started, which was Power 106 in L.A. Working at 106 was kinda like my college. When I was there Big Boy was afternoons, the Baka Boyz were the morning show. Those are some veterans still making noise. That was my first gig a little over ten years ago. Was Lady La with you in L.A.? No, I met her in Phoenix. She hit me up on Myspace asking about an internship. I told her to stop by a club I was at so we could talk. Within five minutes we just clicked. She was only like 20 when I met her, she was going to ASU. She represented the listener I was
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trying to talk to. One thing I learned in radio is that you can teach radio but you can’t teach personality. She had personality, she had sass, so I taught her radio. It worked out well. Me and her are killing mornings and we’re on the scene all the time. What’s your agenda for All Star Weekend? Wednesday night I’ll be hosting a strip club party with Too Short at Babylons. If you listen to the show, I’m a friend to the strip club and the strippers are friends to me. And Thursday thru Sunday night we’re broadcasting at Club Rain in Scottsdale. Thursday night is a Latin theme with Baby Bash and Nina Skye. Friday night is up in the air but the promoter has brought up a few big names. We might try to get Lil Jon to actually DJ the party. Saturday night is our party with Chris Brown and Sunday night I’m hosting a party with Busta Rhymes. We have an afternoon DJ that’s going to be doing broadcasts with Ludacris one night, another night with Young Jeezy, and maybe some other people. Is there anything else you want to add? You can catch the show on the site Power983fm.com. It’s a high energy show. We do bits like Drunk Phone where we run back our favorite drunk messages from the night before. We have live mixing. When people are in town we’ll let you know the hot spots during the week. I’m also the music director at the station and I have a lot of relationships with artists managers so while the artists are in town I’m gonna try to take ‘em out to the high schools and talk to the kids.
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people say or do. Like, don’t be a person at the grocery store with a full cart in the self checkout line, or don’t be a person that cuts me off in traffic. Some of them get pretty personal, like if a guy cheats on a girl. I also have a segment called 10 O’clock Tupac where I play a Pac song right at 10 o’clock. I just started a new show with DJ Mikey Mike at 11:30 called Future Flavas, which is nothing but new, exclusive music. Are you involved in the other aspects of DJing like clubs or mixtapes? I host a few mixtapes here and there with DJ Phlava who also works at the radio station. I’m working on another mixtape with DJ Mad Rich. I DJ some gigs on the side as well. I host a couple of clubs. I’m currently hosting a club called Oscar Taylor’s every Saturday night with DJ Phlava. It’s more of an older, mature crowd. With All Star coming up I’ll be hosting a lot of parties.
DJ Sugabear Words by Ms. Rivercity
DJ Sugabear hosts The Vibe night show on 101.5 Jamz from 7pm12am Monday through Thursday, and 7pm-10pm on Fridays. The show features a variety of entertaining segments, including the popular “Don’t Be That” hour where people can bash other people for the stupid things they do. How long have you been in radio? I’ve been in radio for about 5 years. I was at another Hip Hop station for four of those years in a part-time capacity. This opportunity at 101.5 Jamz came up about a year and a half ago. It’s been going good so far. For the new people visiting your city, break down the lineup of your show. The night show has a lot of energy. It’s also very interactive. I don’t do a countdown or anything like that, but I have an interactive segment at 9pm called Don’t Be That. People get to call in and complain about things 16 // OZONE MAG
Sounds like you stay busy. Anything else you’re involved in? I’m also involved in the community. We do this thing called High School Invasions. Myself and one of the other radio DJs go to high schools for lunch. We have contests, give away prizes, and play music. We get a big response from that. I know the Cardinals didn’t bring home the Super Bowl win, but Phoenix is hosting the All Star game so that must bring the morale up in the city. There’s a sense of pride out here. Everyone’s proud of the Cardinals. There were so many nay-sayers and doubters that didn’t think we’d even get to the playoffs, let alone make it to the Super Bowl. I know some of the Cardinal players are probably disappointed, but overall the response has been great and positive. We’re all proud of what they did because they represented. We’re all excited about All Star weekend. Who are some artists from Phoenix that people should be checking for while they’re out there? They should definitely check out my man Willy Northpole. He’s signed to DTP. Also, Pokafase has been grindin’ a long time. Juice is doing his thing. I see him out often. He’s ridin’ with Game and his fam. There’s so many artists out here trying to make a name for themselves and a lot have locally. Can people find you on the web anywhere? You can go to our radio station website www.1015Jamz.com.
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Juice @ Echo Studios ATL
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Studio Watch is a segment EVERY Monday on OzoneMag.com. Each week we’ll show you what’s going on behind the scenes at your favorite rapper’s favorite lab. We recently caught up with Black Wall Street affiliate Juice while he was AT GRAND HUSTLE’s studio working on a new record called “The Inauguration.” Here’s the full conversation, but make sure you also catch the video clip online to get a sneak peak of the song: Tell the people what you’re out here working on. It’s your boy Juice, the Breath of the West Coast, Black Wall Street affiliate, HYP Representer. I’m out here in Atlanta, Georgia at Echo Studios holding it down with my man Lil C who produced this record called “The Inauguration.” Tell the people what day it is. Explain what’s going on right now while you’re in the studio. Today the homie Barack Obama is the first Black president. He got sworn into the presidency today. It was a real good look, not just for myself, but for the world in general. The first Black president is very, very monumental. On a day like this, the only thing you can do is wanna be better, bro, and accomplish anything a nigga said you couldn’t do. Straight up homie, I’m ‘bout to be the first artist in Arizona period to bring a platinum plaque to the state and to the city, my nigga. So I’m in here working on the day my man became president. Any details you can share about the album as a whole? The name of the album is The Anticipated. At this particular time I feel that I’m the most anticipated West coast artist since Game. And I’m gonna have the most anticipated West coast classic album since The Documentary. Everybody knows that I was brought into this industry on Game’s back. He brought me up, raised me the right way, showed me how to create a classic album, really take my time picking beats and collaborations. The big homie Amare Stoudemire came to the table, backed me, believed in what I was doing. We partnered up for a label, now my album’s com-
ing out this summer. I’m about to run shit for the next ten years. I read that Amare and Tip were [working with each other] a little bit. So this is where it’s all coming to a head at? Yeah, being in this particular situation, a lot of cats is cool just being artists. At the end of the day I got a son, and I’m in a position to where I wanna leave a legacy as well. So me and the big homie Amare sat down, and he really understood my vision and seen what I was tryin’ to do. He was like, “Look bruh, let’s partner up and create this label. I got a real solid relationship with Tip and Grand Hustle, Hannah, Jason Geter and everybody. Let’s see if we can put our vision with theirs and take it global.” Who else is in the house with you right now? My man Lil C’s produced the [“Inauguration”] record. I got my A&R back there, his name is Lindo. He’s playing double duty – doing beats and trying to get everything online as well. As far as me, I’m working, man, tryin’ to show my city and state what it’s really about to go to different cities and link with other kings and bosses. If I come to the A there’s only a couple of names I could align myself with. If it’s not Big Boi or Dre from Outkast, or Jeezy, then it gotta be Tip. I go to L.A. I see Game and Dre. If I go to New York, of course I gotta holla at my man Fat Joe. Shout out to Joe, [Jim Jones], Juelz – come see me All Star weekend my nigga, I still owe you five bottles, it’s nothing. If I go to Miami, I gotta get with my man Ross. Shout out to Trick Daddy as well. Tell us how much you’re looking forward to AZ getting some shine this year. Most of the time when the NBA comes to a city shit blows up after that. You know, my city’s been bubblin’ for a minute. Shout out to my Arizona Cardinals. AZ’s been bubblin’ for a minute and I think we’re just now starting to get our respect due. The football team just earned they respect. Stat, Steve Nash, and Shaq about to go to the NBA finals and get they respect. I’m ‘bout to bring a platinum plaque to the table and get my respect. Anything else you want to say? Stay logged on to www.Myspace.com/Juice and www.iamjuice.com. The mixtape Position to Power comes out All Star weekend. The album is slated for early summer. // Words by Maurice G. Garland Photo by Daveed OZONE MAG // 19
BET recently aired an Am erican Gang turing Mac st Dre and the notorious Ro er episode fearobberies. W mper Room ba e sat down w ith two of th nk bers, J-Diggs e and Coolio Da’Unda’Dogg crew’s key memlook into th eir former li , ves of crime. for an in depth
Do you think your episode of American Gangster was an accurate portrayal? I think they portrayed it real well. I wasn’t sure if they were gonna make us look like some real hoodlums or if they’d give the real story. That was something we went through as youngsters. You can take a negative and turn it into a positive. And then it allowed us to give Dre his rightful credits. He was really a solid dude and he went to jail for something he didn’t do. Why were you sentenced to less time than some of the other Romper Room guys that are still in prison? If you watch the show, I recognized that the police were following me and called it off at the last minute. I was a suspect in 23 bank robberies but I was only found guilty for a conspiracy to commit robbery and I ended up doing 10 years. They actually did an Unsolved Mysteries episode on the robberies before you got caught. What were you thinking when you watched it? I actually came over to my mom’s house one day and they were watching it. Mind you, I’m sitting here watching a show about me and my crew, next to my mom, and nobody knows what’s going on. During the episode they ran a video tape of me running up into a pizza parlor. I’m sitting there watching myself, and my mom is watching me, but she doesn’t know it’s me. I’m in there shaking, but at the time she didn’t figure it out. That’s a lot of the stuff you’ll see in the movie [that’s being made about us]. What happened when you got caught? We caught our case in Fresno and our families found through the news the next morning. We thought it would just get swept under the rug, but the media blew it out of proportion so when we walked into the courtroom the next day, it was filled with all our families and friends that had jumped on the highway to support us and find out what was going on. 20 // OZONE MAG
All through my trial I was saying it wasn’t me. They knew Mac Dre wasn’t robbin’ banks, but they wanted him to tell on us so he caught a conspiracy case. They wouldn’t give us bail so we sat in county jail for a year fighting the case. How much money did you acquire through all the robberies? The media reported 1.5 million. I can’t say if it was more or less, but I’ll say this, The Romper Room Crew played with a lot of money. We were some young kids that had it all. When the general public watches the show and the movie presents the full story, what do you want the ultimate message to be? I want people to understand that just because you have a bad situation in your life, it don’t mean it can’t be turned around into a positive. We were the looked at as the most negative dudes to walk the Bay Area. Now when they say Thizz, they say Romper Room at the same time and they’re sayin’ it with pride; everybody’s throwin’ up the “T.” That’s a positive. We did what we did as kids, we grew up and made it happen. It’s a lot of people goin’ through that right now. You can have a second chance.
Coolio Da’Unda’Dogg Why did you decide it was important to tell your story to the public? At first, we were all skeptical because some of those people were still going through cases. But we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t gonna harm us. My brother is an officer and I asked him, “Is this stuff incriminating?” And he was like, “Naw, you can talk about anything you’ve been convicted for or anything they charged you for.” Plus we wanted to get the story out about Mac Dre not being involved in robbing banks. What was going through your mind the first time you robbed a bank? The first time I actually robbed a bank I didn’t go in; I was the driver. One of my friends got in my car with a wad of brand new money and said he robbed a bank and wanted to hit another one. I’m lookin’ like, that’s some Jesse James type stuff! We picked up another friend and went to the bank. I’m in the car waiting and I hear these sirens coming. I’m automatically thinking we’re caught, but they made it to the car with the money. I saw the police coming towards me and they ducked down. I headed towards the freeway. I was nervous as hell but once we made it back to his house, we counted the money and it was like $17,000. When did you get up the nerve to go into the bank yourself? A few weeks later. It was probably the biggest adrenaline rush I ever had. I felt comfortable knowing we could get away with it. I was more nervous the first time than I was actually going into the bank. I went in and grabbed all the money out the drawer. My friend was pretty much just barking all the orders so I didn’t have to say much. We got the money and ran out. That time we had about $47,000.
Did the money overshadow the guilt of robbing people or the idea of getting caught? Yeah. Once you make it home and count the money, you don’t think about the people ‘cause you haven’t physically hurt anyone. You don’t think about getting caught if you already got away. The only time I felt remorse over the people in the bank was when I got arrested. I started reading that some of the people were traumatized. I told my homeboy, “I wish I could apologize to these people.” I reflected back on it and was like, wow I really scared the life outta people, pointing a gun in somebody’s face. When you were in prison, were you thinking about ways to change your life? The whole time I was like, I’ma get out and do my music the right way. I got my high school diploma, went to college for a year and studied law. I was getting books sent in about the music industry. I was already working on Cavvy R. Records off and on, but I wasn’t that successful. The crazy part was, before I got arrested, in 1991 I had released a cassette. I pressed up 2,000 copies of it. I hadn’t saw any money of it yet, but when I came home all those units were sold out and I had a check waiting. So the publicity from the Romper Room capers fueled your record sales? When me and Dre got out, we started working on The Rompalation, and to this day that album has sold over 100,000 copies. We hit Billboard as soon as we came home. We sold 10,000 copies in the first week. The rest of this story will be featured in OZONE’s February issue.
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Words by Camilo Smith Photo by TY Watkins
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E-40 supplied the endless swagger and soil spit that made him a fixture on the international scene with longevity only rivaled by the best in the rap game. Starting with his independent grind and working it into a deal with the majors, he’s one of the true stars of not only the Yay area, but the whole country as well. Have you turned 40 yet? “They say 40 don’t act his age. 40 stay relevant. 40 ain’t never played. 40 ain’t no punk. 40’ll pull a gauge.” Man, to me, age ain’t nothing but mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter. You smell me? Old enough to know better, but young enough to not give a fuck. But isn’t that going to be a special day for you, when your age and your name become one? (laughs) Nah, that ain’t got nothing to do with nothing, man. My name came from drinking 40s in the mid-80s, man. My first name is Earl, so that’s where the “E” comes from, and the “40” is from drinking 40 ounces of Olde English. I’ve been around forever, man, so I can do all kinds of words. I can say all kinds of things with the number 40, you know what I mean? What’s the background of a lot of folks who moved to the Bay? Historically? A lot of cats come from the South, like Louisiana. My grandmama and grandaddy came from Louisiana and had 11 kids. My grand dad was in the military. A lot of cats came from Mississippi. A lot of cats in Richmond already had permanent gold teeth because they’re from the South. The Bay had Alameda Air Force Base, the Oakland Army Base, [and] Travis Air Force base. The majority of ‘em are shut down [now], but that’s why people came out here for work and brought their families out here. And that’s what happened to the Yay, the south.
Does that explain the love between Bay Area music fans and Southern music fans? One thing that I always loved about the South is they accepted all music. Years ago, they accepted New York music, they accepted L.A. music, and they accepted Bay Area music. Anything, they were fucking with it. They just love Hip Hop. Now the South has their own representatives, so they don’t actually have to accept none of our shit, if they don’t want to. But they do fuck with a chosen few, and I feel like I’m one of them. It ain’t just [the fact that] I’ve been in the game so long, it’s that I’m still relevant. I’ve been fuckin’ with them for many moons, and I’m giving muthafuckers what they want to hear. Me and [my] cousin B-Legit were on that Bout It, Bout It soundtrack. I been fuckin wit Cash Money. “Baller Blockin’” was the first video that they ever did with anybody outside of Cash Money - with me. And you gotta realize, I fucked with Master P tough. I was on the Last Don album. Mystikal and 8Ball & MJG, we go way back. E-40 been fucking with the South. Who taught you how to rap? I heard my first rap when I heard the Suger Hill Gang in the 7th grade. Then I started listening to Grand Master Flash and all them. Later on, it was Too $hort and some brothers out of Richmond, CA. This dude named Freddy B used to rock with Too $hort, and there were some brothers out of Richmond, a few exits from Vallejo, called Magic Mike and Calvin T. [They were] some of the coldest rappers that you never heard of in your life. You mix that up with some of the Hip Hop that I grew up on, like LL Cool J, KRS-One Kangol from UTFO, and Ice-T...we can go on and on forever. When did you land on your rap style? I started getting into my rap style in 1988, when I did the EP with The Click, Let’s Side. In 1989, I came with “Mr. Flamboyant,” and that’s when I really started to get into my start, stop, and go, scoot style of delivery. It was a development... The rest of this interview is featured in OZONE Magazine’s December issue.
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together a compilation album with all of the hottest Latin artists you can think of right now. I’m really trying to branch out now because I was in a position as an artist and I seen how the labels can take advantage of you. Are you still signed to Upstairs Records as a solo artist? No, I’m independent doing my own thang.
Originally from the rap group NB Ridaz, Zig Zag is on a mission of his own. After minor success with the group, Zig Zag is now preparing to release his doubledisc album titled Home Sweet Home/Fast Life. What do you have going right now? Right now I’m doing a lot of work on my new double album called Home Sweet Home/Fast Life. It’s kind of like two parts of me. I know some of your music has reached overseas. What is the key to getting your music heard in national markets? I would say real promotion. Promotion is the key, you have to be on your MySpace, and really get out there and make a name for yourself. You also have to become friends with your fans, talk with your fans and invest in them because they’re the ones buying your music. You also need to lead by example or they may go on to the next artist. I know you were originally with NBridaz. Why did you guy break up? We split up because just like any other group, we was traveling on the road and being in the studio so much together that we needed a little break. Everybody was trying to be their own artist. Also the label we were with, Upstairs Records, sold 350,000 records of music, and at the end of the day there was no back end. That was what really dismounted the group because one artist went this way and another artist went that way. But we are in the makings of getting something back together because everybody has found themselves as artist and producers. When you produce is it more on the writing side or beat making side? It’s a little bit of both. I’m producing and writing songs for some local artists and getting 24 // OZONE MAG
Where do you think Latin Rap is going in the future? I believe Latin rap has to get reinvented. I think right now it’s maxed out as far as publicity goes. It’s a lot of artists out here that are grinding, whether they’re from New Mexico, Mexico, or California. A new wave of artists is about to come. I think it won’t be labeled as Latin rap, it will be labeled as real authentic Hip Hop because that’s what’s happening out here in the streets, as far as cultural. With all of the alternative Latin/Rock music going on and with music period, I think our audience will get broader. Do you incorporate Spanish into your music? Honestly, I’m one of those Chicanos that didn’t really get to grow up like that. I grew up in the urban area where it’s multicultural so my mom and dad didn’t raise me on Spanish. My grandparents are fluent and my aunts and uncles are, but I’m what they call the lost generation. Do you think Arizona will ever be a main force in Hip Hop like Atlanta, New York, Houston, and Florida? I think it will, but every artist in Arizona has to unite and go back to the roots of the street and pick up people who they know are going to be something and put them on a record. I honestly think that will happen if everybody comes together like Houston or comes together like Miami. They should put the animosity away. There will always be competition, but at the same time you have to have order and have fans running out to buy Arizona rappers’ music from the store. What artists in Arizona do you feel have the talent right now to do that? Right now you got my boy, Diamond District, Mobb Fam, Hazy Haze, Willy Northpole, and Hot Rod. Some of the artists that have been put on need to come back and pick up some of the artists that are making noise in Arizona. Are you still doing the YouTube reality show? Yeah, there will be links for that soon on my MySpace. Also look out for my Hood Love online magazine coming soon.
What do you have planned for All Star? We got a few things popping up and Iâ€™m booked at a few clubs but nothing big though, itâ€™s kind of every man for himself out here.
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diversified us. We’re doing some music with a live band. We have three records coming out in 2009-2010. The first record is coming out under Rawkus with Cut Throat Logic, then Born Justus is coming out under CTL Music, which has a full live band on one version and the other disc is the Hip Hop version. Then Deonte is putting out a solo project after mine. What’s been your most memorable show so far? Deonte: The most memorable was probably the show we did with Wu Tang in 2000. It’s kinda hard to win them over so that was a big plus at that time. At that time meeting them was real brief, but we actually got to do another show with them last December. There was more interaction with them on the recent show. We got to hang out with Raekwon a little bit. I met GZA, Justus met RZA.
Known for packing out their live shows, Cut Throat Logic is prominent in the Southwest tour circuit. Recent success with their song “A’z Up” has even further increased their buzz, preparing them for the release of their first album under Rawkus Records. Who is Cut Throat Logic? Give me the history. Justus: We own our own independent label, CTL Music, LLC. We were founded in 1996 and grew into a business. In 2000 we lost our founding member Kamau. We went on to do our first tour with a heavy metal group called Soulfly. We have gold writing and production credit on their record because Deonte produced part of the song we were on, and I wrote a song called “Fly High.” The album went gold worldwide. After that we started doing our own events as well as selling our records out of the trunk. Our first record came out in 2004 and we had the #1 attended local release party in Arizona history, we had almost 2,000 people. Since then we’ve been touring the underground circuit throughout the Southwest. You mentioned touring with a heavy metal band. How were you able to mesh your type of music with a heavy metal audience? Justus: It was a challenge. Performing in front of a heavy metal audience was tough but it
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So Deonte, you’re a producer as well? Deonte: I do a little bit of production. On the new CTL record we’re coming out with I do
about 40% of the production. What’s your relationship with Rawkus Records? Justus: We just signed a one album deal with Rawkus. We just shot a video with KRS-One. He’s pretty much like our mentor. We’re going to be going on tour with him in Europe in June. Rawkus was a pretty respectable label back in the day, but I’m not sure people know what they’ve been up to lately. Give us an update for those who don’t know Rawkus’ current situation.
Justus: They’re trying to rebuild their brand and find new talent. Their A&R Slop Funk Dust is based out of Arizona and he saw us on our grind. He invited us to be a part of the Rawkus brand and build it up on the West coast. I’ve heard a lot about the “A’z Up” song. It’s getting a good response? Deonte: Yeah, it’s getting a good response. They were pumping it on the radio. We put a remix out as well. We did a live Rock version. So it’s like an Arizona anthem? Is that why it’s catching on so quickly? Deonte: Oh yeah, definitely. We’re making the city a brand and representing it, so a lot of people jumped on that and followed it. What are some hot spots to check out in your city? Deonte: Groove Candy on Wednesdays with Karlie Hustle. There’s the Blunt Club on Thursdays. There’s good shows at Martini Ranch and Sugar Daddy’s. What else would you like to say? Deonte: We just did a track with Willy Northpole and we’re working to do something with Cory Gunz. We’re also on a track with MC Magic on his album. Justus: Just be on the lookout for fresh new music. Shout out to our partner Money, Power, Respect Entertainment. We’re dropping the new video with KRS-One. We’re going on tour with Too Short for All Star Week. With the new president and the Arizona Cardinals going to the Super Bowl, hell pretty much froze over so Arizona is next. Change has come. // Words by Ms Rivercity
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Not to be confused as a fly-bynight group, Dem Hoodstarz spent years learning the game and finding their niche. After enduring a youth full of lumps and bumps, THEY finally found a smoother road to making it as mature artists, business men, and legit hood celebrities. In true Bay Area fashion, BandAide and Scoot are enjoying lucrative success with their 28 // OZONE MAG
indie label Lawless Records and planning to release their second official album. Introduce us to Dem Hoodstarz, for those who might not be familiar yet. Band-Aide: We got history in this rap shit. I started off in a group called Never Legal. Scoot was in a group called Totally Insane. I went to prison for thangs I don’t even want to talk about, along with a few other members of my group. I just came home and got on this grind. While I was locked up, my older brother came up with an idea for Hoodstar Magazine. I wasn’t in the group no more ‘cause the other members of Never Legal were still
in jail. I hooked up with Scoot and we decided it would be a good marketing plan to push the magazine and our new group called Dem Hoodstarz. Scoot, why did you part ways with Totally Insane? Scoot: Totally Insane was from the era when the Bay Area was hot back in the 90s. They was our big homies. Me and Band-Aide used to get money in front of they house. I had deals on the table but I couldn’t get out the streets long enough to put something on wax. I almost signed to Rap-A-Lot. I almost signed to a host of different labels but I chose street life, which I shouldn’t have. So Totally Insane put me on for one album ‘cause they was my niggas, but people started going to jail. My homie Al Capone and Mack 10 had to go do a stretch in the yard. That’s the reason that group disbanded. I did a little bit of time as a youngster, but fortunately I was able to stay out of jail and do my thang. How did y’all start making a name for yourself as a new group? Band-Aide: We startied doing mixtapes, pushing ‘em out here in Northern Cali and we started getting a real buzz. We had a song on the radio called “Grown Man On” about a year and a half ago that got pretty big. Our music was played on The Rob & Big Show on MTV. It was also on King of Queens. We toured with Too Short for like 8 months and we’re currently on tour with 40. We sponsored the tour we’re doing with 40 out of our own pocket. We’re using that as promotion. It’s a good way for us to get down with his fans and let them see what we got to offer.
What else are you doing to promote the new Black Friday album? Band-Aide: We did about four or five videos for the album which is dropping on 4/20. We did videos for “Rock Like This,” “If That Ain’t Gangsta,” and “Code of the Streets.” People can see those on YouTube, Myspace, or WorldStarHipHop.com. We’re doing a series of mixtapes called Cheech & Chong. We released one about 8 months ago and we’ll release another one before the album comes out. We do a show once or twice a week in a variety of places. What are some of the things you did on the mixtape that aren’t on the album? Scoot: On a mixtape you can get grimy and do what you wanna do. We don’t really gotta focus on the production of an album, we can just go in and bust, like an old-school rapper, we can just go in and take off like we want to, you feel me? The mixtape is called Band-Aide & Scoo a.k.a. Cheech & Chong. We’re like the black Cheech and Chong. And 4/20 is our holiday, it’s like our off day. So Juelz Santana has a video on the internet challenging people to a smoke-off. Could y’all get down with him on that? Scoot: I’ma tell you like this, we been challenging niggas for two years and ain’t got a taker yet. Juelz and them might smoke, but I’m from the Bay Area. Ain’t nobody’s weed like our weed. Niggas can’t smoke more than me and Band-Aide, not with this weed we’re smoking here in Cali. We’re blowing kush out here, purple, grape shit, real shit out here. We ain’t with that fugazi shit. As far as a weed challenge, the only niggas that I feel could smoke with us is Yukmouth, or the Jacka. OZONE MAG // 29
Being independent artists, how are you able to eat off music and maintain the costs associated with the music business? Band-Aide: We eat off our shows, off verse licks. We sell our singles and videos all over the internet. There’s more than one way to skin a cat. If you think you only eat off CD sales then you’re in the wrong business. Everybody that’s making it in this has a side hustle. Hip Hop is a big stepping stone to get to other things and better places. Did you know that coming into the game or is that something you learned along the way? Band-Aide: Nah, that’s not something I knew off jump. It came from experience. Everyone’s been told how the rap game is shady. We been told that since the 80s and KRS-One had the verse about it: rule 4,080/the record company people are shady. But you gotta experience it to know that record companies are shady. The #1 complaint from rappers is they feel they’re not getting the money they deserve, that the money ain’t adding up to the CD sales or downloads. But you gotta experience that for yourself, and after that you gotta decide if you wanna keep on doing it. How many projects have you put out so far? Scoot: We released one album and one street album. We got a host of mixtapes though. As far as everything, I’d say it’s about seven [projects]. What’s the difference between Black Friday and the first album you put out? Scoot: The biggest difference is growth. We’ve come a long way. In the first album we stayed in our comfort zone, but with the change of music and everything going on, we had to change with the times. I feel like we’ve grown with our style and gotten a little bit better with the topics. We got a little bolder. We got a song called “Message to My Lil Niggas.” About a year ago my nigga lost his life before he turned 18. I know what the street struggle is so I put a song out to touch on that. I also put a song out to touch on the females. A lot of people are scared to talk to the females ‘cause it ain’t a popular thang, but me and Band-Aide feel comfortable doin’ it. We make a lot of party music too and that’s what sets us apart from everybody else. Y’all say you’re a part of the hyphy culture but aren’t hyphy rappers. What’s the difference? Band-Aide: Before the media got a hold of it, hyphy was just a word that meant hyper. We can go back to Tupac, Tupac was hyphy as
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fuck. If you ask me they made him look like a fool in the Notorious movie. But at the same time, they always showed him being hyphy or hyper. That’s our culture – whether it’s a person getting on top of his whip or dancing on the side of his whip, that’s what it is. For us to say we aren’t a part of that culture is a damn lie. You’ll catch me on stage jumping on top of a speaker, I’ma show my energy ‘cause I want that same feedback from the crowd. Oakland really started the whole hyphy movement, but it was really about a culture and not a music thing. The media took over and made it seem like we was trying to push some type of crunk thing and that ain’t what it was. It ain’t got nothing to do with the music. Well y’all are definitely some hype dudes. Would you say both of you have the same type of personality? Scoot: I’m a little bit more humble than Band-Aide. He’s a little bit more in-your-face than me. Don’t get it twisted, our connection comes from us being able to work together as a group. Band-Aide is my nigga. That’s like my family. We was in our first rap group together in junior high. We from the same block. If I didn’t rap another day Band-Aide would still be my pa’tna. Where can people check y’all out at? Scoop: Y’all can reach us at Myspace.com/ DemHoodstarz. We got a host of videos on the internet. We got a couple hot singles on iTunes right now. We got a song with Gucci Mane called “I Got a Problem.” We got a single called “Code of the Streets” which is on the airwaves right now. Check us out ‘cause we real. A lot of these niggas is Hollywood, Dem Hoodstarz is anti-Hollywood. Are there any other important aspects of the group you want to tell the people about? Band-Aide: We ain’t no gimmick group or no put together group. This dude really grew up in the streets. I want people to know I wasn’t put in prison for no sucka shit, no rape or no touching on kids, nothing like that. It was some real shit but everybody know real niggas don’t even discuss it. We’re real street niggas but we trying to make a change. We’re really trying to do this. We’re not trying to glorify the street life, but we want to let ‘em know we come from the same place they come from. And we also want to let ‘em know just ‘cause they come from that place doesn’t mean they stuck in that place. //
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After WINNING A Grammy with Dilated Peoples, Evidence debuted his first solo project in 2007, The Weatherman. Keeping the momentum going, Ev recently released the highly praised Layover EP which has fans eagerly awaiting his second full-length album. How is the new EP doing? I put a lot of work into it and it’s starting to catch on more than I expected. People are holding it in the light of an album which is an incredible thing. My first LP The Weatherman came out in March, 2007. I’ve been doing shows over the last year and a half, grinding hard on the internet. People know me from Dilated but it was important for me to build the Evidence brand. So why an EP and not a full album? I couldn’t afford to go away for two years so I came up with the idea to put together an EP. A lot of EPs I came up on are classics like Intoxicated Demons and Ice Cube’s Kill at Will. I looked at it like an EP could be a classic too, even if it doesn’t have a lot of songs, so I’m really pushing this and it comes with a DVD. I’m touring and everything leading up to my next album Cats & Dogs that’s coming out at the end of this year. The song “For Whom the Bell Tolls” off the EP has an interesting guest list. How did that come about? My manager actually came up with the title. I was listening to beats and that beat had a bell ringing in it. He was like, you should call it “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” I didn’t even know what that expression meant until he explained it. So at first I was trying to put Devin the Dude on the chorus, but that was when the hurricane flooded Texas. From what I understand, he went a few weeks without power, so recording and meeting my EP deadlines weren’t priority, he was dealing with family and real life stuff. Why did you go with will.i.am? We wanted somebody who sings well but that has a quirkiness to them. I’ve known will for a long time so he did it really fast for me. Phonte is one of my favorite rappers, and Blu is from L.A. and it just all came together. We just shot the video for that. Hopefully you’ll see it on
TV soon. When you first started rhyming, did you think you’d be making songs with your favorite rappers or think you’d make it this far? Yeah, actually, I thought it would happen that year. I thought I’d be the first 15 year old rapper ever. Then I was like, aw fuck it, I’ll be the first 16 year old rapper. I thought every year was my year. Had I known it would take this long I would have never stayed with it. So why did you stay with it for so long? Because I loved doing it. But I would never have put college aside. You gotta understand, I’m really stripping myself down and starting over. I have sold over a million records with Dilated Peoples and we’ve toured the world and got a Grammy. So I’ve had a lot of success, I’m just building a new brand. I feel like after two years of doing this people are starting to have a lot of faith in me. Do you find that being a solo artist has offered you more freedom creatively? Or why did you want to work on projects by yourself? It’s no secret that all of us in Dilated Peoples are obviously different people from different backgrounds. We always told people we had our own plans and that we just came together to form something bigger… A lot of artists talk shit and say, “I can’t wait ‘til I get off my label ‘cause I’m gonna do this and that,” and then you never hear from them again. Since 2006 when I got off Capitol, I’ve put out two solid releases and a mixtape with DJ Skee that did really well. Dilated Peoples put out a DVD. I toured the world twice. My passport needs more pages, it’s lookin’ ridiculous. I’m active right now. I understand building a brand doesn’t happen overnight. Some people don’t know what it takes. Tell people what else they can expect from you. My live show is something that sets me apart from a lot of people. There’s people that might have a better spit game than me, and my fan base might not be as big as the next person’s, but when you’re at a good show that I’m doing, you can tell something’s brewing. If you can, check me out live. I also have a YouTube channel where you can see some of my videos YouTube.com/YesImEvidence. //
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Identified as a pioneer in Phoenix Hip Hop amongst his peers, Pokafase is mentioned often when discussing the local scene. After a lifelong career, Pokafase is still as focused on rapping today as he was fifteen years ago, if not more-so.
Snoop, everyone that’s passed through the Southwest. If all goes well I’ll be opening for T.I. during All Star weekend on the 15th at the Celebrity Theater. I’m working on some things at The Icehouse with E-40 and Too Short on the 14th. What projects have you released since the group disbanded? I put out a few mixtapes – Dr. Speak Easy and Doesn’t Play Well with Others. I did a self-titled, short run of the Artist Direct record just for the fans. I stay working, I stay making music. It sounds like you’ve had a lot of ups and downs so far. Why do you continue making music? Music is what I do. There is no Plan B, it’s not a hobby for me. This is what I do so I just keep moving ‘cause stopping isn’t really an option. I’m trying to be the best at this, and until I reach that point I’ma just keep going.
What’s your background as a rapper? You’ve been doing your thing for a long time. I’ve been rapping for years out here in the AZ Hip Hop community, since about ’91 in the streets and about ’95 professionally. I started out battling and formed a group in ’95 called No Question. We were the first Hip Hop celebrities on a local level out here. We dropped an album, a couple hit singles. We did a lot of touring. We split in ’99. I did some more battling and linked up with Proof from D12 before he passed away. I signed a deal with Artist Direct Records in 2001. That was one of the best experiences of my life, but then the label shut down in 2003. Myself and a couple other artists at the label never saw the light of day.
You mentioned working on an album. What are your plans for releasing that? I haven’t titled it yet, but I got Dawn from Danity Kane on it, Mase is on a record or two, Royce Da 5’9, R.L., and Next, some Mario Wynans and Carlos Brody production, Dangerous LLC, my man 21 the producer. It’s a dope record. I’ve been steady working on that for the last year.
So what did you do after the label deal fell through? After that I went into radio. I was a radio personality on Power 98.3fm for about four and a half years. When I started, I think we were the 15th largest market in the nation. I did an underground show called Friday Night Flavas, as well as some weekends, overnights, and fill-ins.
What else do you have in the works? I’m in talks with 101.5 to start doing the on-air thing again. We’ll see how that goes. I’m about to shoot a pilot for a Hip Hop reality show where I’ll be hosting. I have a mixtape called Irrelevant which should be out by Spring Break. I did an independent film called Losing Touch. It hasn’t been released yet but it’s done. I play the bad guy.
And what happened with the radio show? To be honest, 101.5 moved into town and that took its toll on Power 98. There were a few factors. I’d been there for four years and I didn’t feel like I was at a point where I could advance to a full time position. Radio is all about waiting ‘til something opens up. And I was working on the record I’m doing now. I’d rather focus on the record as opposed to just staying the night and weekend jock at Power 98. It was just a real tumultuous time at the station.
How similar is the character you played in relation to your real life personality? Um, I’d say I’m a bad boy but not a bad guy. I try to keep it clean. I’m definitely wild, but not malicious.
Over the years I’m sure you’ve performed a lot. Who all have you opened up for or performed with? I’ve performed with everybody you can think of except T.I., Jeezy, and Pac – everyone from Notorious B.I.G. to Outkast to Eminem, D12, 34 // OZONE MAG
Do you have a website where people can see some of your work? Myspace.com/Pokafase
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marketing and promoting any way I can to get my name out there.
Known as Iroc throughout most of his career, Roca Dolla released a double-disc album under his new moniker in 2008. Obviously the name change was a good move for the underground AZ legend – the rapper/ producer/hustle man moved close to 15,000 units in the independent circuit. Tell me about your indie label. It’s called 5th Coast Records. We got Tray Gutta, S Black, Ocean, The Formula. We have raw talent. What made you want to put other artists on? It’s a lot of talent here and it’s not a lot of outlets in the Southwest. Out here, parts of Texas, Vegas, Colorado, New Mexico, we call it the Southwest. I call it the 5th Coast. The East coast is where a lot of music originated, then it went to the West coast, then to the South, then to the Midwest. The 5th Coast, or the Southwest, it’s a new area we’re trying to bring out. How did you become one of the favorite rappers in your area? Were you doing a lot of shows or just out hustling CDs? I’m kinda like a rapper/beat maker so I make a lot of beats for people. I’ve always had recording studios out here. I got two recording studios right now. I used to go by Iroc back in the day and a lot of cats know me by my oldschool name. I was one of the only people out here reppin’ Arizona and making songs about it when the industry was passing over Arizona. That’s how I kinda got a little bit of respect out here. You released a double-disc album last year correct? How well did that do? This is my first album under the name Roca Dolla. It’s a double-disc album called Roca is a Classic. We moved about 15,000 units underground. I’m getting ready to drop a new album in July called Roc Solid.
Who is that singing on the “A State” hook? Is that one of your artists? Nah, actually that’s another cat named C Note. He’s pretty known out here. That song is like a lil underground anthem out here. Listening to your music it would be hard to tell where you’re from. How did you achieve such a universal sound? I have a lot of influences and I worked with a lot of cats in the South. I worked with Big Mike from the Geto Boys. I done worked with Quik. I worked with Kool G Rap. I worked with West coast guys, East coast guys. I’ve worked with a lot of different cats on the production tip, and through owning a recording studio and recording everybody. Arizona is one of the biggest melting pots in the United States. I think it’s second to Vegas as far as people that come to live here. Until recently with the new generation, it used to be that nobody was from here. You might have had people moving in from the East coast, or people moving in from the South. Just being around different people and picking up different terminologies made my music bi-coastal. It can have different feels. I try to keep it eclectic. In the ten years you’ve been in the music game, what have been the biggest moments and milestones for you so far? Putting out albums and being recognized for my music, and being recognized by my peers on the underground level. I produced a song for a cat named Scoobie that was on the Billboard Top 10. And Roca is a Classic was the 18th most downloaded rap CD on iTunes. Do you want to plug a website or any events you have during All Star? Log-on to www.rocadolla.com. We throwing the P. Diddy party with Carmelo and Cassidy during All Star Weekend. We’re the only Phoenix artists performing in it. That’s on Saturday at Myst. I got Roc Solid coming out soon, Tray Gutta is coming out soon. He’s one of the young cats out here who’s name constantly comes up. I’m working with Trap too. We might do a mixtape together. We’re just trying to do it big. //
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Known as Scipio until about a year ago, X.O. officially joined the Black Wall Street family where his new identity emerged. As a longtime friend of Game, and former affiliate of Ras Kass, X.O. has worked alongside many Hip Hop greats in preparation for becoming one of the next West coast leaders. What made you want to be a rapper? I wasn’t highly social in school. If I don’t know somebody I won’t spark up a conversation. At the time, rap helped me make friends in high school. It was also an outlet for me to talk about shit that was on my mind. I started out writing poetry and it turned into rap. How did you come up under Ras Kass? My ex girlfriend’s sister was involved with Ras Kass. [Ras Kass] officially introduced me to the other side of Hip Hop. Until you actually know someone or someone takes you under their wing and shows you the successful side of Hip Hop, you’re hustling backwards at times. So it’s like I came up under him in that sense, but I was rappin’ and doin’ my own creative shit before that. The way we parted, it was all behind some personal shit. It was a long ass relationship, and it’s a lot of shit…we’d be here all fuckin’ night talkin’ about that. How long ago did you stop associating with him? That was like ’04 or something like that. How did the Black Wall Street situation fall into place? While Ras was in jail, I was doin’ my thang. We had started a company and I was holdin’ it down. That’s when Dougie D, the dude that helped Game get signed to Dre, introduced me to Game. So we’ve been friends since way back. Me and Game started hangin’ real tough and he offered me a situation at Black Wall Street. At that time, I was his hype man and I had went on a couple promo tours. That was before he released his first album. I elected to remain loyal to my other situation with Ras Kass, but me and Game stayed friends. About a year ago, I was in New York and Dougie D reached out to me. He put Game on the phone and I was like, “When I get back to L.A. I’ma fuck with you,” and that’s how it happened.
Game hasn’t earned the reputation for putting out artists yet. What makes you confident that your situation will progress under him? At the end of the day, I’m in charge of my own destiny. This is Black Wall Street and we all have an opportunity to grow into whatever the fuck we want to be. We’re a bunch of entrepreneurs, very talented people. You just gotta have your hustle game up. You gotta have mental stability and be prepared to turn your career into exactly what you want it to be. What’s the update on the Bishop Lamont incident between the two of you? Are y’all squashing that beef? A couple people reached out to me about squashing that shit, and I do forgive people. But I feel like the nigga was outta pocket and he had to be put in his place. But at the end of the day, it’s foolish ‘cause that shit don’t make no muthafuckin’ money for nobody. But you have to be reprimanded for speaking out of place. I understand you need to get your buzz up, but that ain’t the way to do it, especially with a real nigga. Not saying I’m Scarface or nothing, but you can’t play that with a West Coast nigga. Has a lot changed in your life over the last year since signing with Game? I’ve seen a zebra for the first time in real life in Africa. I had a white Thanksgiving in Milan, Italy. I’ve been all over the world and I’m making the best music ever. Everything is moving forward. My name is out there crazy right now. I look at everything in life as a stepping stone. What’s your next step? I’m shooting to put my album out this year. You refer to yourself as “the lost angel.” Where does that analogy come from? I feel like we’re all lost angels. I feel like God put us on this earth and we have a choice. Even though we know what we’re supposed to be doing – it’s all laid out for us about doing right and living right – we’re still out there fuckin up and shit. I can do something and say, “Dear God, forgive me,” and I’m thinking about doin’ it again. My heart is genuine and I love God – that part makes me an angel. But that devil is still on my shoulder and I feel lost at times. //
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Fresh on the scene in Phoenix, Trap is making a lot of big moves fast. His “Rockin It” RECORD earned the esteemed position as Street Heat of the Week on local airwaves, and his highly anticipated mixtape is keeping his name in circulation. You have a nice buzz in the streets of Arizona. How did you get to the point where people started recognizing your name and your songs? It started off with a song I have called “Rockin’ It.” It started getting radio play out here. We have a local segment called Street Heat of the Week, and people really started paying attention from that and various mixtapes that I was on. I also have a song called “380” which features West coast Kam, Roca Dolla, and Bookie. They’re all staples in local Hip Hop in Arizona so once they saw people like that was starting to [work] with me, it was a no brainer for people to get behind me. How long had you been rapping prior to getting radio play and recognition for those songs? I’ve been active for the past three years or so. You’ve come fairly far in three years. How do you plan to keep the momentum going and get to the next level? Just continue to hit ‘em with quality music. The 747 Fly mixtape is my freshmen attempt at anything and the anticipation for it is crazy. I’m getting ready to drop it soon. It’s gonna be a digital release so people will be able to get a free download of it. I’m assuming your name has something to do with the environment you’ve been around? Talk to me about that. Absolutely. Honestly, Trap was a name given to me by people who were around me, and I stand for that grind, that hustle, that feeling in your stomach that makes you wanna get out and get it. That’s what I bring into my music. That’s how people relate to me. Phoenix isn’t exactly known for rap. Why do you think no one has been able to put the city on the map yet? In the past it was a lot of segregation. But now, with artists like Willy Northpole starting to do things, Hot Rod buzzing with G-Unit, and Juice making moves, people are wanting to
get behind artists out of the Southwest. The Southwest has a movement of its own which is starting to take off. You’re a pretty big dude. Do people ever mistake you for a football player? Yeah, all the time, actually. But with my background, I’ve been working ever since I was in high school so I didn’t ever have the opportunity to get fully involved in [playing sports]. What’s your affiliation with Roca Dolla? I see y’all work together a lot. In the near future me and Roca Dolla may possibly do a joint venture. Roca Dolla is like a godfather of local Hip Hop out here. He really [influenced] a lot of young rappers out here and helped mold them into the people they are today. I take my hat off to that man. Do you have your own indie label right now? What are you trying to do with that situation? Right now I’m part of a team called Dump Truck Records. It consists of producer Dirty Dan, another kid named Zona Boy, and myself. Dirty Dan has music with Soulja Boy and a lot of people in the industry. Dump Truck Records is my main thing, but I also work for a company called Demali Enterprises. We do voiceover work for video games and commercials and what not. Have you been able to get your music featured on any television shows or movies? I have a placement on MTV’s Lincoln Heights and I have a track coming out on a small indie film. What makes you the “New King of the West Coast”? I call myself that honestly because I feel like I’m coming into the game with fresh legs and I feel strong enough to take on that title. Is there anything else you want people to know about Trap and what you’re bringing to the table? I just want people to have confidence that Hip Hop is back. It’s here, it never went anywhere, and Arizona will be a problem. Cop the new mixtape 747 Fly. Look out for the free download link at www.myspace.com/iamthetraphouse. //
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In 2003, Birmingham native Tray Gutter relocated out West where he soon found his calling. Ironically, the young Alabama native wasn’t officially a rapper when he was discovered by Roca Dolla, who put him in the recording booth and began his musical grooming.
When did you link up with Roca Dolla and 5th Coast Records? I got with Roca Dolla in like ’05. I wasn’t even in the music scene when I met Roc. I wanted to do music, but when I was younger I was tryin’ to get this money. I ended up with Roc and from there I stayed with it and got better. So Roca Dolla basically encouraged you to become a rapper? Well, I met my homeboy Tron, who’s a producer, and he introduced me to Roc. Roc had one of the main empires out here in Arizona, but back then I didn’t even really know that. It was just like I was meeting another person that does music. He put me in the booth and kept me workin’ all the time. He kept saying I was like a lil star or something, so I just kept on fuckin’ wit’ it. What have accomplished over the last few years? I got a big buzz of this one song called “Bring Dem K’s In.” I did a snippet video for it and I got a super buzz off that one song. I came from not doing good songs to coming out hard, like I can put a real song together and make good music, instead of being back home where my music would sound different. I still got my down south swag, but I can go 106th & Park wit’ it. If I was back home I’d probably be doing nothin’ but shoot ‘em up, bang-bang on every song. How did that song get so big? I was doing music but nobody really heard me, so when people first heard that song it was different. I started doing shows, before the video was even out. I opened up for Yung Joc, Rick Ross. Once I started doing shows people got familiar with the song. The video got outta hand then. Honestly, that’s one of the easiest songs I ever did.
artists. But they had this thang goin’ on called Street Heat where you can get your song on for a week, but my song stayed on for like 3 or 4 weeks. It got a lot of requests. Then they started playing it in the clubs and strip clubs. What are you focused on most in this music game – is it money, fame, or making good music? Money and fame will come with it, I just make good music. People should be on the lookout for it. I’m pretty sure in a few months I’ll have a super big buzz in the music industry side of things, like I’ll be in every market. What makes Phoenix a good place to host the All Star game? Because the city is growing. It’s nice, it’s not a bad city. It’s like a laid-back place. Every time people come out here they have a good time. Do you have a mixtape out right now? Yeah, I have Mixtape Murda out right now and that put a super buzz out in the streets too. I can perform any song off the mix CD and everybody will know the songs word for word. I’m working on a new mixtape for All Star weekend called Alabama Goon with DJ Gloss from Texas. She did the last mixtape too. Why did you choose a female DJ from Texas to put together your mixtapes? It was just something different. Everybody wanna get a Gangsta Grillz but don’t try to work up to it. I’d rather put in work and it be like, this lil nigga was goin’ off before he ever got a Gangsta Grillz or Southern Smoke or anything with a big DJ like Bigga Rankin or DJ Khaled. Do you thinking calling the mixtape Alabama Goon will be well-accepted in Phoenix? Oh yeah. Everybody know I’m from Alabama. Arizona shows me love and I show love back. I know where I’m from and I keep it 100. I represent for Arizona and Alabama. It’s a win-win situation. Where are you performing at in the near future? I’m performing with Roca Dolla during All Star weekend at the P. Diddy party at Myst. I’ma be up at the Ludacris party networking and promoting my mixtape. After All Star I’m gonna be opening for E-40 in Scottsdale.
Were you able to get any radio play? Yeah, it was on the radio. Nothing against Arizona, but for some reason they don’t play no
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Published on Feb 21, 2009