WELCOMETO LOS ANGELES
ALL STAR 2011
edition** l ia c e p s * *
PROBLEM // BOBBY BRACKINS the pack // kafani // messy marv freeway ricky ross // new boyz 40 glocc // yg // TERRACE MARTIN NIO THA GIFT // DOM KENNEDY ya boy // cali swag district
OZONE MAG // 7
PUBLISHER: Julia Beverly EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Julia Beverly EDITOR-AT-LARGE: D-Ray CONTRIBUTORS: Ashlee Clark Brian Moore Eric Perrin Gary Archer Jason Potts Jeeâ€™Van Brown Kisha Smith Maurice G. Garland Monique West Ni Sweet Randy Roper PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR: Malik Abdul SUBSCRIPTIONS: To subscribe, send check or money order for $20 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: Lil B photo by Aris Jerome; Jay Rock photo by D-Ray 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 2011 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.
8 // OZONE MAG
table of contents
24-26 60-62 16-17 56-58 64-67 48-51 10 52-55 34-36 42-43 44-46 28-29 64-71 38-41 30-31 14-15
40 GLOCC BOBBY BRACKINS CALI SWAG DISTRICT DOM KENNEDY FREEWAY RICKY ROSS JAY ROCK L.A. EVENT LISTING MESSY MARV NEW BOYZ NIO THA GIFT PROBLEM TERRACE MARTIN THE GANG THE PACK YA BOY YG
18-22 LIL B
WELCOMETO LOS ANGELES OZONE MAG // 9
Thursday, Feb 17
- Foxxhole All Star Jam With Jamie Foxx @ Club Nokia LA Live (800 W Olympic Blvd, Suite A335) - Dwyane Wade “Men In Suits/Women In Dresses” Party @ The Colony - Hollywood (1743 North Cahuenga Blvd) - Trina & Ron Artest Celebrity Kick-Off @ Green Door/Cabana Club (1439 Ivar Ave) - NBA All Star Tip Off With Lebron James, Common, Chris Paul & Kenny Burns @ Boulevard 3 (6523 Sunset Blvd) - Pre All Star Weekend Kick Off Hosted By Rick Ross & Rosa Acosta @ MyHouse (7080 Hollywood Blvd) - DJ Khaled NBA vs NFL Invasion @ Kress (6608 Hollywood Blvd)
Friday, Feb 18
- Drake & Lil Wayne @ W Hollywood (6250 Hollywood Blvd) - “Angels & Demons” Playboy Mansion Party Hosted by Snoop Dogg (10236 Charing Cross Rd) - Diddy & Meagan Good Invade Hollywood @ Avalon (1735 Vine St) - Lebron James, Drake & Kenny Burns Host @ Cabana Club (1439 Ivar Ave) - Lil Wayne Invades NBA All Star Weekend @ Shrine Auditorium & Expo Center (700 West 32nd St) - Kevin Hart Live @ Nokia Theater (777 Chick Hearn Ct) - Shaq All Star Weekend After Party @ Club Nokia LA Live (800 W Olympic Blvd, Suite A335) - Chris Brown NBA All Star Party @ Boulevard 3 (6523 Sunset Blvd) - Wale & Kevin Durant’s “Welcome To Hollywood” Tip Off Party @ La Vida (1448 N. Gower St.) - Rajon Rondo All Star Wknd Birthday Bash @ Orchid (607 S. Oxford) - Gucci Mane, Derrick Rose & Shannon Brown Host @ Tru Hollywood (1600 Argyle Ave) - Dwight Howard Official All Star Kick-Off @ The Highlands (6801 Hollywood Blvd) - Beats By Dre All Star Comedy Show @ The Comedy Store (8433 Sunset) - Plies All Star Weekend Celebration with Mann & Cashmere @ 740 (753 S. Spring St) - All Star Rookie & Sophomore Party With DJ
10 // OZONE MAG
Drama & Roscoe Dash @ Ecco Ultra Lounge (1640 N. Cahuenga Blvd) - Nicki Minaj & Rick Ross All Star Kick Off Party @ Exchange LA (618 Spring St.) - The Official Nicki Minaj & Rick Ross Players Ball After Hours Party @ Union Station (800 N. Alameda St)
Saturday, Feb 19
- The All Star Daytime Sip Party 12pm-6pm @ The Palm (1100 S. Flower St) - Jeezy & Friends Host @ Cabana Club (1439 Ivar Ave) - Jermaine Dupri, Common & Gabrielle Union @ Cabana Club (1439 Ivar Ave) - Diddy Takes Over The Highlands (6801 Hollywood Blvd) - Rick Ross & Melyssa Ford @ Marbella (6757 Hollywood Blvd) - Ciara & Ray J Host @ The Music Box (6126 Hollywood Blvd) - Trey Songz & Bizmarkie @ Magestic Hall (650 S. Spring St) - South Beach Meets Hollywood hosted By Dwyane Wade @ Supper Club (6675 Hollywood Blvd) - Matt Barnes of LA Lakers & Claudia Jordan @ LA Athletic Club (431 W 7th St) - Kurupt & Menace Live @ The Burgundy House (6202 Santa Monica Blvd) - Kevin Hart Live @ Nokia Theater (777 Chick Hearn Ct) - Dwight Howard & Chris Johnson @ The Metropolitan (651 La Peer Dr) - Kobe Bryant & ?uestlove Host LA Confidential @ Boulevard 3 (6523 Sunset Blvd) - Celebrity After Party With Ciara, Trina & SKG @ Union Station (800 N. Alameda St.) - Ray J’s Young, Fly & Sexy All Star Party @ Elxr Night Club (5750 Hollywood Blvd) - Gucci Mane, Soulja Boy, Waka Flocka NBA All Star Takeover @ Orchid (607 S. Oxford Ave) - All Star Saturday Night After Hours Party Hosted by Nicki Minaj @ The Bank (117 W. Seventh St)
Sunday, Feb 20
- Jeezy Takes Over The Highlands (6801 Hollywood Blvd) - Chris Brown & Biz Markie @ Magestic Hall (650 S. Spring St) - DJ Drama, DJ Skee, Fabolous & Dwyane Wade All Star Finale @ Kress (6608 Hollywood Blvd) - Lebron James, Jermaine Dupri & Common Host @ Cabana Club (1439 Ivar Ave) - Celebrity Birthday Blowout for Rick Ross, Kelly Rowland & Kid Capri @ Tru Hollywood (1600 Argyle Ave) - Lil Wayne & Drake @ Siren Studios (6063 West Sunset Blvd Hollywood)
OZONE MAG // 11
Disclaimer: If any of these artists donâ€™t show up, blame the promoter not us.
12 // OZONE MAG
Christopher Fairley, better known as Kool Chris, started in music at the age of 12 when he started making his own beats and rhymes. Back in 1999, in the recording studio, his uncle and the CEO of Kountry Boyz Records Levator Adams discovered his talent. In 2000 he was welcomed as a Kountry Boy and performed his first live concert with Juvenile and the Ying Yang Twins. Throughout junior high school he participated in rap battles and won many number one spots in high school talent shows. Also during this time, he traveled around Mississippi to showcase his talent. The fans loved his new style of music and many radio DJs began to notice the demand for his music. Now at the age of 21, Chris has experienced many ups and downs that accompany the rap game. As he became a grown man, he felt as if his teen years were a test to prove himself in the present day. He has opened for some of todayâ€™s hottest names such as B.G., David Banner, Lil Boosie, Webbie, Mystikal, Yo Gotti, Choppa, and many other stars. A new artist with fresh lyrics and swag is something the world is waiting on. Kool Chris, who hails from Bassfield, MS, is sure to give the world what they want and put Jeff Davis County on the map!
KOOL CHRIS COMING SOON
OZONE MAG // 13
14 // OZONE MAG
by Words & Photo ly Julia Bever
After landing a deal with Def Jam largely due to the success of his omnipresent Cali club record “Toot It and Boot It,” COMPTON RAPPER YG now aims to let the world know he’s not just a one-hit wonder. Of course people know you from “Toot It and Boot It.” What are you working on now? I’ve got a new single that just dropped called “Patty Cake.” It’s been spinning on the radio in L.A. I’m about to drop a mixtape called Just Re-Upped in March, and my EP is coming out in May. I just shot a movie that was directed by Mario Van Peebles. Snoop Dogg is playing my big brother in the movie and all kinds of shit. I’m finna start touring too. I see you got a new YG piece. Yeah, this is my first piece. The jeweler Icey Fresh did it for me. I decided to keep it simple and just get my name, YG. Where does the name YG come from anyway? Where I’m from, we’re all YGs. Everybody in my neighborhood that’s around my age, we call ourselves YGs. Young Gangstas. So I’m representing all the YGs, period. But I’m on some fly shit though. You got some big names on your “Toot it and Boot it” remix. How did 50 Cent get involved? I saw 50 at the label in L.A. I’m signed to Def Jam and the Def Jam and Interscope buildings in L.A. are connected. I was up there having a meeting and when I was leaving, I saw him leaving too. My manager told me to pull up on him. So I pulled up on him and blocked his car so he couldn’t move. Then I hopped out, like, “What’s happenin’? It’s YG.” He was like, “What’s happenin’?” I told him I had a show at the Key Club in Hollywood, and he came through the next day and kept his word. He brought Lloyd Banks too, so everybody was going crazy. We chopped it up after that, and when I wanted to shoot a video for the remix, he fucked with it. So he did the video for me and the Snoop Dogg feature was just because he fucks with me. I’m like Snoop’s little homie from the West Coast. I was on tour with him when I asked him to hop on the song. He recorded his verse in the hotel, I think, and then we did the video. The success of “Toot it and Boot it” took you a lot of places, right? What was the craziest place you went? When I went to Seattle and Portland, I went to these all ages clubs and they were treating me like I was Lil Wayne.
Well, you have tattoos like Lil Wayne. Do you have any room left for more tattoos? I only got my back and my legs left, but I’m trying to get those done before my birthday, hopefully. Do you have any tattoos that are real meaningful to you? All my tattoos mean stuff. I’ve got my cousin’s name, Rest in Peace, on the back of my neck with angel wings. I’ve got “Music is Life” on my arm. My label is called Pushaz Ink, and I’ve got that tattooed on my arm. I’ve got Jesus’ face on the side of my head and it says “God’s Son.” I’ve got a cross on the back of my head that says “in Jesus’ name we trust.” On my back it says “Lost Angels” and I’ve got a big baby angel in the middle of the back with Chucks on and he’s got a mic in his hand. I feel like I’m a lost angel. I’m an angel but I’m kind of lost, feel me? So yeah, I’ve got a whole bunch of tats. They all mean something though. My mama and daddy’s names are on my arm too. I’ve got all kinds of shit. Do you feel like you’re getting more respect now with “Patty Cake” being out, so you’re not falling into that one-hit wonder category? Oh yeah, I’m definitely getting more respect. We’re getting shit poppin’ right now. So the album is dropping in May. How are you adjusting to the major label situation? Do you feel like you have a lot of control over your creative process? I’ve got control. I just turn my records into the label and it’s all good. It ain’t none of that other stuff. You mentioned a movie you filmed recently. When and where is that going to drop? The movie is being shopped around right now, so I don’t actually know when it’s going to drop, but it’s coming soon. It’s called Where The Party At? That’s the name of the movie, so be on the lookout for that. There’s a lot of artists in there, like the New Boyz, Snoop, and Diddy’s son. What do you have planned for All Star weekend, and what are some spots the out-oftowners should be sure to visit? All the spots. I don’t even know, man. I know I’ve got some shows though. I’ve got a show in Anaheim with Rick Ross and Waka Flocka. Everybody’s going to be performing. There’s too many spots in Hollywood that are gonna be poppin’ to even mention. I’m gonna be in the streets for sure, so look out for me. // OZONE MAG // 15
WITH THE UNEXPECTED SUCCESS OF THEIR RUNAWAY SINGLE “TEACH ME HOW TO DOUGIE,” CALI SWAG DISTRICT GOT LOOKS ON ESPN AND THE BET HIP HOP AWARDS, PLUS THE CHANCE TO MEET KIM KARDASHIAN. GROUP MEMBER JAYARE TELLS OZONE WHAT’S NEXT.
December getting ready for this tour. We’ve been going to the gym and just getting in shape physically and mentally. We try to hit the gym for about two hours every other morning.
So you’re out in Vegas today, huh? Do you guys spend a lot of time there? We’ve been out here since the beginning of
Your album is set to drop in February, right? Yeah, it’s looking pretty good. We added some more tracks, so I think it’s going to be a good
Are you all the same age? Yeah, we’re all 20.
(l-r) M-Bone, C-Smoove, Yung, & JayAre
t c i r t s i D g a Cali Sw rrin
Pe Words by Eric
16 // OZONE MAG
one. It’s our first album and it’s going to be a classic for us, so we’re pretty excited about it. The summer had to be ridiculous for you with the success of “Teach Me How to Dougie.” Oh yeah, last year was crazy. I think 2010 was the year of the Dougie. How did the song “Teach Me How to Dougie” come about? It all started from one of our friends that grew up where we grew up. He went off to college in Texas where the dance originated, and when he came back out here on his break, he suggested we do a song about the dougie. We just took the idea and it turned into something bigger than we thought. It took off from there. “Teach Me How to Dougie” was the first song we recorded as a group. It felt good once the song started blowing up. We heard that more people were doing the dougie around the world. It was breathtaking. We didn’t know what to think. It’s crazy. Justin Bieber was on Ellen teaching her how to do it. What are some of the best stories you’ve heard about the song? They had a little segment on ESPN; they brought Doug E. Fresh in and were showing all the clips of the NFL and NBA players doing the dougie. We got to teach Kim Kardashian how to do the dougie, so that was cool. We went to one of her parties. That’s hot! Yeah, it was! She was hot too! (laughs) Did any of y’all try to get at Kim Kardashian? Nah, we were only there for business. But we got her Twitter, so if one of the homies is tryin’ to talk to her they’re probably doing it low-key. (laughs) At the car and bike show in Atlanta we taught Ne-Yo’s mom, T-Pain’s mom, and Lil Wayne’s momma how to do the dougie, so that was a good look too. They already knew how to do it, so it’s crazy! What was your favorite moment last year? Shoot, performing at the [BET] Hip Hop Awards! I remembered being at home watching the show, so for me to finally be on there, that’s crazy. I used to be like, “I wanna be on there one day,” and it actually came true. It was crazy! Are there any negative aspects to having a huge hit single like “Teach Me How to Dougie” before you have a nationwide fan base? Yeah, because people think that we can only make songs like that. “Teach Me How
to Dougie” is a bubblegum song. It’s simple and it’s catchy, but it blew up. So there could be a negative side to that because people think we’re just one-hit wonders, but that’s not what it is. When the album drops they’re gonna know. For people who haven’t heard the other songs, what kind of music do you do in addition to radio hits? It’s kinda hard to pinpoint, because we don’t have a certain sound. Our sound doesn’t sound too West Coast or too East Coast. It’s just our own Cali swag. It’s kinda hard to explain. We’ve got our own flavor. The name Cali Swag District is pretty selfexplanatory, but what made you settle on that for your name? Our visionary came up with the name; he’s the one that put the group together. He had the name before the faces. When we first heard the name, we were like, “I don’t know, it’s kinda corny,” but we just ran with it anyway. It’s different. Nobody has a name like ours, and it means something to us. So we all got it tatted on us. Who is your visionary and how did he select y’all to be a part of Cali Swag District? Did he hold auditions or something? No, our visionary is Big Wy, he used to be a part of The Relatives, which was a rap group in the 90s. He was signed to Death Row a long time ago. I guess he wanted to start fresh and do something new, so he decided to put a group together. He knew Yung through Yung’s manager, because Yung has been rappin’ since he was 14 years old. Yung was doing his solo thing and he needed a DJ, so that’s where C-Smoove came in. He was a DJ for the city of Inglewood; that’s where he grew up. So once they brought him in and did a song together, Big Wy started thinking they could be the two dudes to start the group. M-Bone was there already because he used to hang with Yung most of the time. C-Smoove brought me in, and once Big Wy saw us all together, he was like, “I think I got something here.” [In our group] there’s a tall dude, a short dude that looks Asian, a dark skinned dude, and a dude that looks almost white. It’s kinda crazy, but it works. What else do you have coming up? Is there anything else you’d like to plug? We’re trying to do more TV. Maybe a reality show or some movies. I think 2011 is gonna be a big year for us, besides just the tour and the album dropping. // OZONE MAG // 17
B LIL D THE BASED GO B Words by Julia 18 // OZONE MAG
LIL B USED THE PACK AS A SPRINGBOARD TO LAUNCH HIS OWN SOLO CAREER AND SOON LINKED UP WITH SOULJA BOY. NOW, THE BASED GOD HAS GOT THE INTERNET GOING NUTS, THANKS TO HIS QUIRKY--AND OFTEN OFFENSIVE--SENSE OF HUMOR AND A FLURRY OF STREAM-OF-CONSCIOUSNESS RHYMES. HERE HE TALKS ABOUT NEGOTIATING A RECORD DEAL WITH 50 CENT, AND THREATENS TO SODOMIZE PRESIDENT OBAMA. (WHAT?!?) Let’s go back a little because even with this new fame that you’re getting, I think a lot of people aren’t aware that you got your start as part of The Pack and that whole movement. What’s going on with the group? Yeah, definitely. Well, as far as The Pack, we’re still together and still grindin’. That was my first start in the game, grinding with them, coming into the game really early. We got signed when I was around fifteen or sixteen, so that gave me a jump start, and I just never really stopped working. Even before we got signed, I was always working indirectly. I wasn’t really doing it to get famous, but just doing it to be heard and get into the parties. Did you always plan on breaking off to do your solo thing? I was always a solo artist at heart. It’s just a blessing that we all had an amazing dynamic together and we all clicked and could make hits together. That’s an amazing gift we had. It’s very rare that four people can click and sound good together. But yeah, I’ve always been a solo artist.
best situation. But we’re both always gonna work together. Are you in talks with other record labels? There are a few labels that have put stuff on the table. I’ve got lawyers looking over the paperwork and stuff like that. I’ma give you an exclusive, too – nobody knows about this. I’m out here [in New York] to meet up with 50 Cent. We’re gonna meet up and see what’s up. The labels are going nuts right now and everybody is trying to get down, so I’m trying to pace myself and be smart and handle what I’ve gotta handle and pay attention to the music. I’m just trying to keep happy and stay in tune with the music and keep building towards a big buy-out. You and 50 Cent seem to have something in common because you both like to get people’s attention by being intentionally controversial. For example, when you come out with a video saying “hoes on my dick cause I look like Jesus” or threaten to anally rape Kanye West, how much of that is reality and how much of it is for shock value? That’s my sense of humor. I have a crazy sense of humor and I know how to get under people’s skin. I like to make people go, “Oh my God!,” you know what I mean? That’s kind of like the jokester that I am. I’m fearless. I don’t censor myself; that’s a big thing for me. I just have fun, make jokes, get reactions, and put my personality into the game to let people see a new way of thinking.
You’re affiliated with Soulja Boy’s SODMG label now, right? How did you link up with Soulja Boy? The first time me and Soulja Boy really connected was on Myspace, years before he got famous off “Crank Dat.” He added me on Myspace and when I listened to that song on his page, I was like, damn, “Crank Dat” is amazing. I hit him up and asked him to let me get on the remix. He never hit me back and then he blew up. A few years later I was dropping videos on Worldstar Hip Hop and Soulja Boy quoted one of my lines on Twitter. I was at my pa’tna’s house in L.A. when I saw it, and I was like, “Man, Soulja, what’s up bruh, let’s rock. That’s love!” He followed me back and we’ve been gettin’ it in ever since.
Let’s talk about this whole “Based God” thing. Is that an actual religion? Nah, nah. Based God is not a religion. Based is not a religion nor a cult. I hear a lot of people associating it with a cult and saying that I have a “cult following” and stuff like that, but it’s not a religion. The Based God idea originated from my freestyles. I freestyled about one thousand songs out of my home studio and released those songs. With that stream of consciousness, I found this other character within myself, which is the Based God. So that’s really where it came from. It’s not a religion or anything like that. It’s just an untouchable character. I’m Brandon McCartney and Lil B is this crazy person from the hood who says whatever he wants, he’s the rebel. The Based God is more in touch with the spiritual side.
Are you signed to him as a solo artist? I’m not signed to anybody yet. I’m unsigned. Me and Soulja are working out some stuff paperwork-wise and just trying to find the
Okay, I know you defended this by saying it’s your sense of humor, but let’s talk about the song “hoes on my dick cause I look like Jesus.” Obviously a lot of people took ofOZONE MAG // 19
fense to that. Do you believe in Jesus? And if so, how do you justify that? I definitely was raised to believe in God and respect the church. When I made that song and when I did that video, I prayed and talked to God. I said to God, “You know how I really feel about you, and you know that I love you, and you know why I’m doing this.” He knows what’s in my heart. I’m a spiritual person. I never read the Bible or anything like that so I might not be a fanatic like everybody else, but I believe in God and I love Jesus and I’m thankful for everything I have. So I definitely believe in God and I wasn’t trying to disrespect anybody. I prayed and told God thank you and asked him for forgiveness, and that helped me.
“God has a lot more fans than I do... I don’t want to disrespect anybody. that was me just being a rebel because that’s how I feel. ‘Hoes on my dick cause I look like Jesus.’ I mean, who looks better than Jesus?" So you gave God a little disclaimer? (laughs) Exactly.
So when you say that God knows why you did that song – why did you do it? Basically just to get your name out there? Or what do you mean by that? Yeah. I guess I’m the only person in the world that’s done that, you know? God has a lot more fans than I do. God has a lot more fans than Lil Wayne. I don’t want to disrespect anybody. I’ve got a sense of humor, but I haven’t met God yet. When I die or something, I’ll know [if he finds it funny]. But I pray to the man, I pray to the spirit, you know, I’m thankful for everything. And I don’t mean money. I don’t thank him when I get money, I just mean in general. So that was me just being a rebel because that’s how I feel. “Hoes on my dick cause I look like Jesus.” I mean, who looks better than Jesus? Feel me? 20 // OZONE MAG
You felt like doing a song about Jesus would get you more attention than a Lil Wayne feature, basically? Yeah, I think God got more fans than Wayne. Wayne might be coming up second or third. (laughs) Okay, what about the Kanye comment? You said on Twitter that if Kanye West didn’t agree to do a song with you, you would anally rape him. Did he agree to do a song with you or are you going to have to fulfill your threat? I got a show with Kanye coming up at Coachella. And it’s funny because Kanye did acknowledge me. I tend to forget it. I directed and edited this video called “Swag OD” with Soulja Boy. Kanye posted that on his blog before he was on Twitter. So he had already acknowledged me and I kinda forgot that and I was trippin’. But yeah, man, I was joking. I’m not really gonna rape Kanye or anything like that. I just want to work with him. He’s a legend and I’ve got some amazing beats that nobody on earth has ever heard. I wanna hook him and Jay up with some very mature music; something that’s real revolutionary. So that’s the only reason why I would go to great lengths like that. I wouldn’t say something like that if I didn’t have something revolutionary in my pocket. Do you produce all your own music? I do a lot of production but I also have inhouse producers that I work with that take care of me. I have about 8 serious producers. Well, your method seems to be working because you’ve really generated a lot of buzz recently. Would you credit it to your work ethic, your music talent, or the shock value of some of the stuff you’ve put out there? All around. Just being able to turn a negative into a positive, working hard, not caring what people think about you. It’s really an all-around thing. I put in a lot of work and I think with a lot of the situations I’ve been through, I must have a reason to be in the game because a lot of rappers wouldn’t be able to survive stuff like that. It’d be career suicide. I already killed my career a couple times, you feel me? Who can say they’re gonna fuck Kanye West in the ass and still have a career? Who gets punched on YouTube and still gets respect, feel me? Ain’t nothing changed, you know? All the shit that I’ve been through – for me to still be here shooting magazine covers and getting millions of views on YouTube – I’ve had to turn negatives into positives, and by believing in myself, I think that’s the main thing. Regardless
of anything I believe in myself and I know what I’m here to do and that’s promote positive words. I just want to promote this positive message that’s at my core. I feel like people should live a certain way, with love, compassion, and empathy; not judging. I’m deeper than just a rapper. So that’s the message, and however I gotta get that across, no matter how long it takes me or whatever I gotta do to become heard and use that position of influence for the right things, I’ma do it. If I gotta say I’m gonna fuck President Obama in the ass for me to spread this positive energy, I’ma do it. I want people to live together and be happy. And you know I won’t fuck President Obama in the ass – cause you know the phone we’re on right now is probably tapped – so I’m not making any threats to the President or anything like that. But basically, I strongly believe in the core message and the core foundation that I represent. It’s deeper than rap with me. Way deeper than rap. But how is saying that you’re going to fuck President Obama in the ass “spreading a positive message”? You’re using controversy to get people’s attention so that you can then give a positive message? Exactly. Like, will I really fuck Obama in the ass? No. But am I going to be the one person that’ll say it? Maybe. You know what I mean? Maybe I’m the only person brave enough to say that. Maybe I’m taking it a little too far, but that’s the extreme lengths I’m willing to go to spread
“will i really fuck obama in the ass? no. but maybe i’m the only person brave enough to say it; that’s the extreme lengths i’m willing to go to spread this positive message. if i gotta walk around naked in the snow to spread this message, that’s what i’m gonna do.”
this positive message. If I gotta walk around naked in the snow to spread this message, that’s what I’m gonna do. It’s for the people. It’s bigger than me. There’s people dying to this music, you know? There’s people dying because of the messages [in this music]. People love these artists but they aren’t showing both sides of the picture. I’ve lived both sides of life. I almost lost my life in the streets when I was living negatively. And now I’m one of the happiest people on earth, just by spreading positive energy. I wanna show both sides of the field at all times, while I’m young and while people respect what I’m saying. I’m still in the streets and I’m still close to the people, so I know what’s going on. You put out a book a while back too, to spread your positive message? Yeah, when I was 19 I wrote a book called “Taking Over by Imposing the Positive.” It was about trying to further the message deeper than music. I just wanted to show another side to me, so people can’t say that I’m one-sided. If people want to dig for the message, it’s there. You can see the real me if you dig deep. The love is there for you. I’ma keep working hard and doing what I gotta do. But for the people that did read it, I mean, it changed people’s lives. People gave me feedback because my real email address is in the book. I made sure people could hit me up. It definitely changed people’s lives and helped other people, so it’s all love over here. I do it out of love for the people. If I didn’t care about society and I didn’t care about making people happy and helping people, why would I have written that book? I wouldn’t have pushed myself to write that book at such a young age. With everything else that’s going on, I really wanted to use this time – while people care about me and respect what I say – for the right things. I wanna balance it out regardless, because I’m young and I feel different ways. I say some crazy shit. I might not be happy all day long but I’m still gonna remain positive no matter what. I just wanna make sure I balance out the crazy shit. We’re human and we make mistakes, but it’s really about who you are as a person at the end of the day. What do you represent? Do you represent love and peace or do you represent separation and individuality? All that is cool but I’d rather people get together and feed off each other’s energy and spread the love. We all need help. When you talk about love and compassion, of course those are positive qualities, but also kind of abstract. When you talk about your “message,” is there a specific cause or OZONE MAG // 21
goal you want to see this generation rally together towards? Well, I really wanna help people stop judging at first glance. I want people to feel like it’s okay to talk to other people and make that initial first step to break the ice. I want people to travel, meet others, and be able to listen. When you listen to people, that can help out a great deal because you start to feel empathy for them and start to relate to them. I really want
“drugs or no drugs, i’ma be me. but i do be hungry. like, if i’m extremely hungry and i haven’t eaten, i will say some crazy shit. that’s honestly where the kanye statement came from. i was hella hungry and i wanted to work with [kanye] in the studio.”
to be able to bring people into other people’s shoes. That’s my big thing. I want people to feel like the world understands how you feel, instead of thinking, “She’s a woman, I can’t relate to her,” or, “We’re very different, I can’t relate.” I want everybody to be able to relate and find ways that are similar. I’m not too far from you, and we’re not too far from each other. We could talk for days about all the things I really want to do. I meet people every day and I learn stuff every day; I see more situations I want to deal with. On the news I see people complaining about saggy pants and all that, but there’s more serious things to deal with – there’s more love we could be spreading to further the community and just bring people together in general. I want to see less separation. There’s a lot of unconscious things we do as people that are really separating us from each other. I wanna bring less separation and more unity. You’ve been putting out a ton of music online and a lot of viral videos. Are you plan22 // OZONE MAG
ning to release a full-length album soon? Yeah, I’ve definitely got an album that I’m working on right now, and it sounds amazing. I’ve got a movie coming out. I wanna write some more books and I’m just gonna keep working hard and waiting for the right time when the world wants me to see. I’m ready to work and be here for some years and make it undeniable. I know it’s gonna take time for everybody to see what I have to offer to the world and secure my position in the game. I know I’ve got a lot of hard work to do and a lot more left to accomplish. I’ve gotta make sure the people want me to win. Once the people want me to win, that’s when I’ll drop the album. Are any of these shock-value statements we talked about drug-induced? I think I’ll keep that a secret. Michael Jackson didn’t tell anybody what he was doing. When Michael Jackson was still alive he wasn’t telling people, “Alright, let’s pop some pills and hit that moonwalk and then we’re done.” Feel me? But that’s just me. Drugs or no drugs, I’ma be me. But I do be hungry. Like, if I’m extremely hungry and I haven’t eaten, I will say some crazy shit. That’s honestly where the Kanye statement came from. I hadn’t eaten all day and I was hella hungry and I wanted to work with [Kanye] in the studio. (laughs) Okay. You need to make sure you eat that food, you know what I mean? (laughs) I wasn’t high or anything [when I made the Kanye statement]. Maybe you should have a personal chef that travels with you or something. Exactly. I need to step my money up, and that’s what’s gonna happen real, real soon. If I keep going hard, it’s gonna happen. Do you have any other shows or events coming up? Anything else you’d like to say? I have Coachella coming up soon. Shouts out to you and OZONE for showing the support; y’all been holding it down since day one. I’ma keep working hard til I get that OZONE front cover, feel me? I’ma work hard as hell and become undeniable. That’s what I’m working towards. I’m just proving myself in the game. I’m a student of the game. Hit me up on twitter.com/lilbthebasedgod or youtube.com/ lilbpackone or facebook.com/lilbthebasedgod. You know I got love for you JB, and we’ll just keep it rolling. I got a lot of stuff to prove and plenty of years to do it, so hopefully God lets me stay alive so we can grow and do it together. //
OZONE MAG // 23
40 GLOCC, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS BIG BAD 40, TALKS ABOUT CHOOSING BETWEEN MONEY AND FAME, HIS UPCOMING ALBUM WITH SPIDER LOC, AND HOW POLICE ARE USING HIS MUSIC AGAINST HIM. Often when your name comes up, there tends to be some controversy involved. Are you intentionally trying to stay in the mix or does it just come naturally to you? I mean, I don’t have problems with nobody. I think people pay too much attention to Twitter, for one. Twitter is just a source of entertainment for me. But anything else like that, you might call it “staying in the mix” but I call it documenting my life. My life has always been like that. There’s always something going on. I don’t know if I painted the picture of always being into something. I think shit just comes to me. I attract bullshit sometimes. You’re working on a release with Spider Loc, right? Yeah, we did a joint album called Graveyard Shift. It’s real dope. We’ve got Drama on it with us, MC Eiht, Kurupt, Obie Trice, you know. It’s an in-store release and I’m dropping it through my label Zoo Life Entertainment. I’m sure you’ve had offers from major labels. Do you feel like it’s a better situation for you financially to drop it yourself? Yeah, the way the terms are right now, if you drop something on a major label you really aren’t seeing any dough. You’ll have to wait on your advance. For me, with the type of money I run through during an average year, it doesn’t even make sense. The [major label] advance money wouldn’t even bail me out of jail. I’ve got houses, you know. I got hella bills. I don’t just have “a crib,” I have “cribs,” you know what I mean? (laughs) I pay bills just like any regular muthafucker. There are a lot of West Coast artists who sell records independently in the region but aren’t really known worldwide. Do you feel like you have to make a choice between making money or being famous? Yeah, that’s definitely the choice you gotta make: make money or be famous. People think they want the fame, but after they get the fame and see what type of situation it is, they don’t like it anymore. They’ll learn that the fame shit isn’t cool. They’re running around like a slave, the label is sending them here and there, landing in Tokyo, Japan or somewhere in Wisconsin and they’ve only got twenty dollars to their name. But the 24 // OZONE MAG
fans don’t know that, so they’ve still got to go out there and act like they’ve got it super-poppin’. They spent their advance money already and this goes on every year, because most of them sign a four-to-seven year deal, depending on their success. So it’s kind fucked up if you’re not that one successful artist. If you don’t get that one lucky record and if you don’t hit right off the bat, you know, it’s hard to make a career for yourself and keep it crackin’, even if you’re on a major label. They’re going to put you on the shelf, and then all you’ve got is the little fame they built for you off the relationships they have with the media and tabloids. So it’s hella fucked up if you ask me, but that’s why a lot of West Coast artists stay independent. Everybody can sell dope, but that doesn’t mean everybody’s gonna be successful selling dope, you know what I mean? You’ve got niggas that know how to sell keys and curb server niggas – that’s what we call them, the niggas that just gotta be pushin’ stone to stone every day, you know? You were in jail recently, right? What was that about? I’ve been going through litigation for the last three years. They’re accusing me of doing certain things because of my music. They basically convicted me through my music, but it was a civil suit [not criminal charges]. I was telling everybody that this is what [the government] is doing to everybody now. They just started taking it out of [California] to other spots and now they’re doing it overseas. They’ll give out gang injunctions and all that shit. They’ll go through the community and label everybody as a gang member. So if you get caught with me, the police will assume you’re a gang member. That’s basically how they did me, but they did it to me through my music. They said that I say [gang-related] things in my music. I don’t have any felonies; I haven’t been convicted of any crimes. So they filed a civil suit and they sued me. When they sue you, it’s punishable through the court system. So anything you do after that can make you a criminal. If I’m jaywalking or I’ve got an open container in the streets, it’s not a misdemeanor anymore. They add a “gang enhancement.” They make it a felony. That’s basically why they raised my bail up to $100,000, because they found a weapon. There’s a weapons charge and they added a gang injunction, which automatically boosts everything to a felony. Are you looking at doing some time? I was set up on an attempted murder of a
40 GLOCC Words by Julia Beverly
police officer. It was a shoot-out where they shot me. My bail was a million dollars. Just because the bail is a high-ass price, I don’t look at it like [I’m going to have to do time]. They accused me of having dynamite sticks and shit like that. My bail has always been a million dollars. If you look at my track record, all my bails have always been a million, half a million, $700,000, stuff like that. So this little $100,000 bail ain’t shit. I mean, yeah, they want me to do time, but I don’t think I’m looking at doing no time. I ain’t worried about them muthafuckers, man. I’m continuing with my day. I feel like I’m blessed. I’m still walking with my head up and my chest out, you know what I mean? Chin up. I feel good. I’m not worried about doing any time. I don’t go into fights to lose; I fight to win. You changed your name from 40 Glocc to Big Bad 40. Was that a legal strategy? I changed it because everybody was getting it misconstrued. My name is really an acronym. The “40” is for 40 acres and a mule, and the G.L.O.C.C. stands for “Ghetto Legally Oppressed with Crooked Cops.” But with all the controversy and the bullshit, they kept saying that my name was promoting gang violence and promoting trouble. They’re like, “All he does is talk about gangbangin’.” Well, all I can do is talk about what I know. This is what I’ve lived through. I’m not mad at nobody for being a gang member. I’m not mad at nobody for being a Blood or a Crip or whatever they want to be. But for me, I felt like it was time to change and make that transition. I was like, “Okay, I’m just Big Bad 40,” you know what I mean? That’s already my name. I wasn’t scared of the courts or nothing like that. People can still call me 40 Glocc, but as you learn in business, with all the violence and shit that happens in America, like the shooting that just happened in Arizona, the radio stations don’t want to play a
“if you drop something on a major label you really aren’t seeing any dough... with the type of money I run through during an average year, it doesn’t even make sense. The advance money wouldn’t even bail me out of jail." OZONE MAG // 25
song by “40 Glocc.” It kinda puts them in a bad situation. That’s why I transitioned over to Big Bad 40 just to have a new image, and a new look. Everybody thinks they know me, but they don’t really know me. They just listen to the music, but it’s regular street music. So they actually read your lyrics in court? Yeah, they were reciting my lyrics in court. They played every one of my YouTube videos in court. They did all that. Even the judge was like, “You told me you had a case. You didn’t tell me you were bringing in YouTube videos.” (laughs) He said, “I thought you had some real surveillance footage but you’re in my court playing YouTube.” But he still let them play it, and he didn’t accept it as evidence, but that’s how they structured their whole case against me. If you’re around gang members, and they’re trying to show that you’re affiliated, that’s all they have to prove because it’s a civil lawsuit. With a civil lawsuit, you can’t have a jury trial. They won’t let me have a jury trial even though I asked for it. The District Attorney didn’t want me to have a jury trial because he knows if I was being judged by my peers, the people would see how they’re adding these loopholes and twisting the laws to lock up innocent muthafuckers. They don’t want to have a jury trial because even senior citizens would come in and see that they’re violating my constitutional rights. They’re making everybody criminals. But I don’t think they’re going to realize this until it spreads widely enough and starts affecting citizens around the globe. When it starts affect their daughters and sons and cousins and uncles and mothers and children, that’s when they will see what they’re doing. It’s the same as dope. It starts in the minority communities but when it starts reaching the suburbs, it’s a problem. The government put the dope there in the first place. That’s the same they’re doing with the gang injunction shit – they’re labeling innocent muthafuckers. They’re labeling three hundred people in the neighborhood as gang members. They’re putting everybody’s name on the gang injunction even though 80% of them aren’t even active gang members. They just happen to live in the neighborhood, you know? It’s gonna start trickling down into the suburbs. For example, let’s say you live in the suburbs but you have a kid who’s friends with a gang member. The police stop him and he tries to tell them he’s not in a gang, but the police assume they’re in it together. They put him in the gang file and the next time he gets pulled over, for a misdemeanor or anything, they’re gonna hit 26 // OZONE MAG
him with gang enhancement. When people start realizing what’s going on, that’s when the class action suits are going to come. What else are you working on music-wise besides the Spider Loc project? I’ve got a mixtape album I’m dropping strictly on iTunes called “COPS,” and then my album “New World Agenda.” I moved the date so I could prepare more. The first single I dropped was with Ray J and then I dropped the remix with me, Twista, and Yo Gotti, so I’ve just got a slew of shit I’ve been working on with everybody. I’ve got shit with me, Paul Wall, Chamillionaire, and OJ da Juiceman. I’ve got a slew of shit. I just finished my next single too. I’m dropping the video with me, Snoop, E-40, Xzibit, Too $hort, Ice Cube, and my man Seven. Everybody’s in the video, it’s called “Welcome to California,” just introducing everybody to this new era. Me and Cee-Lo did a record together that’s a banger. I’m just showing everybody the versatility of my music. Everybody thinks I’m on some bullshit; they just judge me off the Lil Wayne and Baby shit. But a lot of the shit I say, I’m just clowning. If somebody wants to take it personally and see me man-to-man, we can do that. But that’s not what it’s about. I’m not trippin’ on Baby or Slim or Wayne or no Bloods or Crips. I tripped that time because he was doing something disrespectful, but that shit is from last year. It’s a brand new year. So is Cash Money good when they come out to L.A. for All Star weekend? I ain’t got no problem with them niggas. As long as nobody in their crew is speakin’ about me, I ain’t lookin’ for them. It was just that one issue, and we nipped it in the bud and that’s what it was. There’s still people out there instigating. People tell me, “Drake has a song with Nicki Minaj and he’s dissing you on it,” but I’m not the only 40 out there, so I didn’t pay attention to that shit. I don’t get down with all that he-say, she-say shit. I don’t care about that. If we see each other face-toface we’ll see what it is. I’m a pretty up-front nigga. I don’t really have too much to say on records either. Where are some of the spots people need to hit when they come to LA for All Star weekend? My homegirl SKG is throwing a few parties with Trina and G-Unit. Everybody’s gonna be in the building, man. Everybody’s gonna be dressed good. Let’s have a ball. It’s All Star weekend, so it’s all good. //
OZONE MAG // 27
E TERRAC MARTIN y Roper Words by Rand Photo by D-Ray
28 // OZONE MAG
Los Angeles rapper/producer Terrace Martin shares the break-up story that inspired his latest EP, Here, My Dear. My idea came from the Marvin Gaye record Here, My Dear, which came out in December 1978. He had gone through a crazy divorce with his ex-wife, and the whole relationship was just crazy. He did the record [under] an agreement to give his ex-wife the proceeds and the publishing from the record. I was going through a crazy relationship myself, so basically I patterned the whole project off of that [idea]. It was a very public relationship and it was open to everybody in L.A. Everybody knew about me being with this crazy girl and everybody had witnessed a lot of bullshit throughout the course of the relationship. One of my friends that witnessed some of [the bullshit] is a girl named Devi Dev [who is also a radio personality]. That’s how Devi got involved, ‘cause she came to my house one night like, “The girl you’re with is crazy. She’s causing scenes. You’re gonna end up doing a record like Marvin Gaye if you continue on with this woman.” Anyway, I got back with the girl, but when we broke up again, I went through a crazy ass depression. I hadn’t been doing any music and then I called Devi, like, “I want to do my own Here, My Dear project.” It was the first project where I really poured out my heart on the project. It’s very sincere. I did it not caring about radio, not caring about politics, not caring about niggas or girls or what anybody said about me, just not caring and really doing music that hits me in my spirit and my soul.
player in the world. He’s the one that put me on, and he’s a huge guy in L.A., so he’s playing all over the project. A good friend of mine named Mr. Kenneth Crouch, who is a part of the famous Crouch family, is on the record. He’s a famous producer; he played with Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Mariah Carey, everybody you could think of. I wanted to reach out to everybody cause I was trying to mold this project after a lot of Quincy [Jones’] records. It wasn’t just Quincy producing all those records, he had a team. And that’s what I wanted to do. The biggest ego in the room on this record was the music. I reached out to other producers, other keyboard players, other horn players. I just sat back and put the pieces of the puzzle together, and we have Here, My Dear. It was a beautiful process, ‘cause I also learned how to do a whole body of work, and try to appeal to as many people as I possibly could. [My ex-girl] called me after she heard the project. There are a few songs that are aimed at her, ‘cause that’s how I felt at the time. And those are the songs she said she was extremely hurt by. And there were other songs that made her smile, ‘cause at the end of the day, a relationship whether it’s good or bad, to me, once you come out of it, we all learn something. I like the fact that I learned a lot about myself through that relationship, through her. I don’t like a lot of the other bullshit she put me through... The rest of this interview is featured in Ozone Magazine Issue #85:
The whole project isn’t about this one girl, but that kicked off the whole thing. At the end of day I believe God put that person in my life so I could take a closer look at myself in the mirror and learn some things about myself that I’ve been running from, as far as insecurities, and a lot of other stuff. So I really did this whole project as in Here, My Dear, saying I’m giving the girl this last conversation. I’m giving my old management this last conversation, and I’m giving the old Terrace Martin this last conversation in this body of work called Here, My Dear. I put hundred and five million percent [into the project], and this was the first project where I reached out to a few other musicians. We have Marion Williams that played guitar on almost every record, we have Andrew Boucher, he played with everybody, he’s my favorite bass OZONE MAG // 29
YA BOY Words by D-Ray
30 // OZONE MAG
KONVICT MUSIC ARTIST YA BOY TELLS OZONE HOW HE’S ABLE TO MAINTAIN RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE GAME AND AKON AND STILL GET HOLLYWOOD LOVE FROM PARIS HILTON AND BRITNEY SPEARS.
song they were upset about, because it’s a feel-good song. Some people want to turn something like that into something negative, and it just shows their ignorance.
For those who might not be familiar with you, can you start off by telling us who YB is and where you’re from? YB is short for Ya Boy. I come from the Bay Area, San Francisco. I started when I was 17 under San Quinn and Done Deal Entertainment. I’ve got two cousins that are pioneers in the Bay Area rap scene – San Quinn and Messy Marv. I’m just that young wild nigga.
You’re still running with The Game too, right? Yeah, he’s a busy guy and I’m a busy guy, but it’s respect there. I fuck with him and he fucks with me. I’ve got my own thing going. I felt like it helped my career a lot when I started fucking with The Game. I was fresh out of the Bay and I had no idea what the industry was like or anything as far as independent. Fucking with him helped me learn the ropes a little bit. I just soaked it up and it helped me a lot.
Your first record “16’s With Me” was a hit. How did it feel to be sitting in the room with all those DJs as a youngin’ tryin’ to get on and you played your record and they went wild? It was a good feeling. I really didn’t expect it to blow up how it did. Everything that happens in my life, to me, is a surprise. The results always end up ten times better than expected, and that’s a good thing, because I’m always surprising myself. When I was trying to get myself heard there were a million other people trying to get heard, but the people chose me. I remember when they first played the song on the radio and played it like eight times in a row. Big Von played it back to back and people kept calling me saying, “You’re on the radio!” It was the best feeling ever. That was my first taste of stardom back then. Today you have one of the hottest songs on Power 106 in Los Angeles, so that has to be a blessing. How does that feel to be getting love on Power 106 as a Bay Area artist? That’s huge. It’s so hard to get played and even get one spin on L.A. radio, so for me to be in heavy rotation and have the number one song on L.A. radio, that’s crazy.
What about Kevin Federline? A lot of people thought that was crazy when you started being seen together. How did that come about? I was living in Malibu, and Kevin Federline and Britney Spears were also living in Malibu so we were like neighbors. Of course I was in the studio out there tearing shit up, and there’s nothing but rich and famous people out there. Everybody that went in the studio was just blown away by my music, and he was one of them. That’s just my pa’tna, nothing else. Whenever I go fuck with him or we go out to eat or something and Britney was around, the paparazzi would start snapping away and I would be the only little hood nigga in these USA Weekly and OK! Magazines... The rest of this interview is featured in Ozone Magazine Issue #85:
There was a lot of controversy behind the record “We Run L.A.” What is it about, from your perspective? The song was paying homage to the city of Los Angeles. I moved out here when I was young. I lived out here for a few years and I see where it’s going. It’s a beautiful city. I see a lot of people – models, movie stars, actresses, actors – coming out here trying to make it. It was basically just a theme song for them. I was paying homage to the city sort of like Tupac did with “To Live And Die In L.A.” A lot of people misunderstood the concept at first. When I heard people talking about you in the streets I didn’t understand why that was the OZONE MAG // 31
32 // OZONE MAG
OZONE MAG // 33
W E N BOYZ lia Beverly Words by Ju ay Photo by D-R
(l to r): Legacy, Ben J BEST KNOWN FOR POPULARIZING “JERK MUSIC” AND WEARING REALLY, REALLY TIGHT JEANS, THE NEW BOYZ ARE BACK WITH A NEW ALBUM AND AIM TO SHOW THE SKEPTICS THEIR DIVERSITY. You guys are getting ready to drop a new album, right? Legacy: Yeah, it’s called Too Cool to Care, and it’s supposed to come out this spring. We just dropped the first official single off the album, “Backseat.” Are you going in a different direction musically with this project? Legacy: Originally, our first album was based off the whole “jerkin’” thing, but we don’t want to be put in a box. That’s why our second single “Tie Me Down” was so different. On this new album, we’re just showing our artistic side and showing what we’re really capable of outside of the jerkin’ movement. Do you feel like people know you more for the way you dress and your whole style?
34 // OZONE MAG
Did it kinda overshadow the music? Legacy: Oh yeah, of course, at first. It was so different, and the fact that we had a dance, that’s why in the beginning we were known as “those jerk kids,” you know? That’s why we had to really go extra hard on this album. I feel like if you come out [first] with a dance record, you’ve gotta work twice as hard [afterwards] or that’s all you’re going to be known for. But we’re definitely confident with this album. Once this shit gets out there, it’s gonna be all good. It seems like the West Coast traditionally has been known more for gangsta music, especially during the Death Row days. Do you feel like this is a new era for the West Coast that you guys are able to be a part of? Legacy: Definitely. I think the West Coast is in a good state right now, and there’s a lot of artists that aren’t doing gangsta rap. You know, Dom Kennedy, Kendrick Lamar, Tyga, I think right now it’s about fashion and fun and just real good music. So I think the West
OZONE MAG // 35
is in a good state, and it feels good to be a part of that right now during this come up. When we interviewed The Pack at one point, they felt like they had inspired your style and didn’t really get credit for it. Would you say that’s accurate or was it a misunderstanding? Legacy: We did us, we definitely didn’t [steal their style]. It wasn’t inspired by them, but you know, that’s old stuff. We got over it. That shit got squashed probably like a year ago, so, it’s all good. You guys started pretty early, right? Were you still in school when you got signed? Ben J: Yeah, we had to switch schools to be able to study at home. We were going to school hard the whole year right until we graduated. That was in 2009, our graduating year. Legacy: That was my deadline year. My whole life I was like, “I gotta get signed before I graduate.” Were you guys the popular kids on campus? Ben J: Somewhat. Legacy: Yeah, you could say that. It wasn’t hard to be popular at our school though. Everybody was popular, even the nerds. (laughs) One of you produces most of your tracks as well, right? Legacy: Yeah, I produce. Well, I used to go really hard with it when I had Frooty Loops. I’ve got Logic now and I’m learning the program. I’m trying to get back on my production. Do you feel like you, or your generation of rappers, gets respect from the older heads? Or do you hear a lot of the “that’s not real Hip Hop” comments? Legacy: We get hate from people who have only heard the jerk record and are only looking at the dance scene. But we started getting more respect from people who noticed that we could actually rap. You know, when people heard “Cricketz” and stuff like that. Some people were saying that they don’t really dress how we dress, but they still respect the fact that we’re doing our thing and pushing our [style] even though people are knocking it. So it’s like mixed reactions. But that’s why we’re still working hard, so we can get more and more respect. We’re gonna keep putting out material and make sure it gets better and better. I have to be honest, the skinny jeans don’t look too comfortable. What made you decide to start dressing that way? 36 // OZONE MAG
Legacy: Well, our jeans, first off, they aren’t as tight as they used to be. They’re definitely not as tight as they were in [the video for] “You A Jerk.” But we sagged ‘em. They wouldn’t be comfortable if you ain’t sag ‘em, but we used to sag ‘em like crazy. Ben J: It was just our swag. Legacy: Skater swag. If it wasn’t comfortable we wouldn’t rock them. Ben J: But then again, we’re skinny dudes, so we can fit in ‘em. You guys were actually called the Swagger Boyz at first, right? Legacy: For like five minutes, yeah. (laughs) Ben J: A class period. Legacy: Yeah, then we changed the name really quick. You decided that “Swagger” was too played out or why’d you change it? Legacy: Well, back then the word “swag” wasn’t played out yet, but I’m glad we didn’t call ourselves that. (laughs) We were just going through a bunch of names and when we came up with the New Boyz, we stuck with it. Do you guys have anything planned for All Star weekend? Ben J: Yeah, our manager is working on some shows right now. We’re gonna be out there all weekend for the All Star game. Legacy: Yeah, I just moved right by [the Staples Center] so we’re gonna be goin’ hard that weekend. We love when events be poppin’ in our city. Aside from your new single “Backseat” and the upcoming album, is there anything else you want people to look out for? Ben J: Yeah, we both dropped our mixtapes. Mine is called Chill Talk and Legacy’s is called Your New Favorite Rapper. You can get them both on www.HotNewHipHop.com. Outside of music, we’re in this movie called Where The Party At? so be on the lookout for that. Legacy shoots videos too, so if you need some videos done hit up Rule Blind Films. We’ve got our own record label poppin’ off too, 100 Records. Is there anything else that you want to plug or mention? Ben J: Follow us on twitter.com/ImBenJ. That’s my personal page. Legacy: Mine is twitter.com/ThaLegacy. To all the fans, thanks for all the love. We’re gonna be uploading a lot of videos at www.Youtube. com/NewBoyzTV, and make sure you go pick up our new album Too Cool to Care. Don’t sleep on it. //
OZONE MAG // 37
The Bay Area foursome follows up the success of “Vans” and “My Car”with a new sound on Wolfpack Party
Words by Julia Beverly
(l-r): Lil Uno, Young L, Lil B, & Stunnaman
38 // OZONE MAG
Would you say you switched up your sound a little bit with this new project, Wolfpark Party? What’s your vision moving forward? Young L: I haven’t been making an effort to switch up the sound, that’s just what happened. I think I’ve just been changing [as a producer] but I wasn’t necessarily trying to change the sound of the group intentionally. You have some tracks on this album, especially the singles, that sound more dance/
techno than your previous projects. Young L: Yeah, I think that’s because we got some outside assistance from the leader of the Cataracs. He produced “Wolfpack Party” and “Sex on the Beach,” which have more of a dance flavor. The album is called Wolfpack Party, so it’s designed in a way that people can just put the CD in and keep the party going. Lil Uno: Personally, I’d say I’m pretty consistent. I feel like the album has more of a
OZONE MAG // 39
dance flavor. The album is called Wolfpack Party, so it’s designed in a way that people can just put the CD in and keep the party going. Lil Uno: Personally, I’d say I’m pretty consistent. I feel like the album has more of a mature sound. It all depends on the beat, you know, and that’s how I vibe to it. Do you think that expanding your sound is broadening your audience? Young L: I think it could broaden the audience more towards people who like dance music, because it’ll attract those kinds of people to our music. Also, I think it’s just kinda the right time for us. So yeah. Have you been getting more attention from mainstream outlets aside from just the “urban” side of things? Young L: A little bit. It is geared towards some of the electronic dance music kind of thing, so I’m sure there are some new people that fuck with us now. What have you been working on independently of the group? Lil Uno: I’ve been working on this LUT project. It’s not really a group, they’re just like family and we make music together. The LUT stands for Loyalty, Unity, and Teacher. Young L: I am putting out some solo shit. I don’t really want to go into too much detail about it, but I am doing some deep shit. I’ve got a lot of beats on the project The Jacka is doing with Freeway. I’ve also got a lot of songs with Husalah. I’m doing a lot of stuff also in my own camp. We’ve been doing some mixtapes just to keep the online shit poppin’. I could make beats all day but I can’t write raps all day. I do more production than anything. I always wanted to be a rapper but the way my personality is, I had to kind of put that on hold for a while. That’s why I was the last person in the group to start rapping. The way my personality is, I don’t enjoy rapping at all. I’m not really an outgoing person. I felt like I had an opportunity to do it so I should do it, but my first love has always been producing. I like to get in that zone. I can make the most beats from 12 at night til like 3:30 in the morning. That’s when I make the most beats. When you go into the studio for a session what are a few things you need to help get you in that zone? Young L: To keep it real, I don’t need anything. I only need my energy. I’m the kind of person who sleeps a lot and I don’t have a lot of energy in general, but when I get to that point later in the day I get more energy. If I’m 40 // OZONE MAG
driving home listening to music and I make some [beats] in the house, you know, all I need is some energy. I’m not a person who needs alcohol or pills or anything like that to make beats. It comes naturally to me. A lot of people expect that Hip Hop groups won’t last too long since they always seem to break up. Even though you all have branched off and done other projects, what do you think has kept The Pack together? Young L: I think one thing that has kept us together was knowing that we couldn’t really be successful without each other at that time. We were aware of the fact that we needed to do a Pack album before any of us could have any success solo. That kept us together, and I think dedication as well. You don’t want the group to think of you as a traitor. And we all know each other very well. Nobody knows us as well as we do. There’s a lot of history that we would be shitting on if we were to break up. The reason we stay together is more on a personal tip than the music thing. Lil Uno: From my point of view, I’d say we’re all in this because we know what we want to do with our music and how we want to go about it. We all have a unique sound, so when we put it all together it sounds good. It’s fun and everybody else likes our music too. But we were friends first before anything. We have a lot of memories. Between the music, the past, and the relationships we’ve formed, we understand each other. I know what makes everybody in the group mad. I know which buttons to push and which buttons not to push. And we all know that about each other because we’ve been together for so long. I grew up with Stunnaman. I met him in seventh grade when I was skateboarding. I met D - Uno - in high school. I spent more time with D in high school than with any other guy that I knew at the time. That’s really how we got to know each other. So I see you’re the one who called in on time for the interview. Are you the responsible one of the group? (laughs) Young L: I just make sure I handle the shit that needs to be handled. If we go to a club, we go to the club promoting our records. So if we go to the club I’ll be the one to pick up Uno on the way. If I have to pick up whoever, I’ll pick them up. I’m just trying to make shit happen. I don’t want to say that [the other members] aren’t responsible but I would say I’m pretty responsible when it comes to handling stuff for my group or for music in general. You guys were at the forefront of the whole skater style/movement. Young L: We definitely were at the forefront of
that when it was poppin’. And it wasn’t that we rode that momentum. We really did that shit, like skateboarding. I still skateboard. We were really serious about our shit. At one point I was in a skateboard group with a few other people and we made a skateboard time and sold it. We were really serious about it. The reason we stopped pushing that movement was because so many people were trying to claim it and we didn’t want to seem like one of those posers trying to claim the movement because it was popular at the time. Lil Uno: I think our style influenced a lot of young artists that are up and coming. We’re not scared to express ourselves, so when other people see that, they feel like because we’re young and not scared and talking nasty, they can do that too. What would happen if the New Boyz and The Pack ran into each other backstage at a show? Do you guys still have problems? Young L: I don’t know. I didn’t really have a problem with them. The only problem was that they said our name in a song; that’s what made it an issue. If I saw them, it would be whatever they wanted it to be. If they wanted a problem there would be a problem. I mean, I don’t really care about the New Boyz like that. I’m don’t really want to beat them up or anything. They’re a lot younger than me. I’m 23. Did you feel like they were kinda taking your style? Young L: There are a lot of groups that are in the same lane as us. Like, The Cool Kids. They were in the same lane as us. We weren’t necessarily making the same music but we were both young and coming out with music that was trendy. I saw an interview with them and they shouted us out. We met other groups like Audio Push who were hella cool and showed love. We met Cold Flamez and they were cool. There weren’t any other groups aside from the New Boyz, now that I think about it, that really took our style to that level like they did. I just felt like there were plenty of opportunities to shout us out or thank us for helping to open the door for them or saying, “We like to listen to The Pack and they’re one of our inspirations.” I know that’s the truth because people had our songs before they had music to jerk to. I know that they at least knew who we were and didn’t say anything to pay respect. So it was an insult to say something about us on a record, on top of kinda, you know, making an effort to steal our swag. That’s how I felt about it and that’s how a lot of people who don’t even know me felt about it. People who were fans of the group were insulted.
Now that you’ve stopped pushing the whole skateboard style and movement, what do you see being the next trend? Young L: I really don’t know. That’s a good question, but I don’t think I can predict that. It’s just one of those things that’s gonna happen. People never know who the next hot artist is or how he’s going to sound. The only thing I know for sure about the future of music is that the internet is going to be at the forefront of everything. Lil Uno: I just want people to hear our music and see that we’re the same dudes, just a little more mature. I want people to listen to our music and have fun, because that’s the reason we do it. Usually we just talk about ass shaking and smoking weed [in our music]. I don’t smoke weed and I’ve never actually been drunk, but as far as smoking as partying, you know, that’s what we rapped about. Being fresh, that’s all we ever used to rap about. On this album we have songs like “Unique,” that’s kinda like mood music, and “Worry About Mine,” which is like some classical music. Then we’ve got the track “Superman.” We usually just rap about booties and stuff like that, so this time I felt like we expanded our rapping. Do you think anyone has taken the skinny jeans trend too far? Young L: I’ve got friends that rock the skinny jeans but I don’t even wear skinny jeans... The rest of this interview is featured in Ozone Magazine Issue #85:
OZONE MAG // 41
O I N IFT G A H T Sweet Words by Ni ay Photo by D-R
42 // OZONE MAG
“Succeed Never Fail,” is the motto this Bay Area artist eats, breaths and lives by. Since beginning his music career at the young age of 14, Nio Tha Gift has proven that he’s here to stay. The lyricist’s (calling him a rapper would be an understatement) career has grown rapidly within the last few years. His highly anticipated album H.I.P. H.O.P. (Here I present a Hero of Poverty) released in 2009, has attracted over 40,000 viewers and downloads. With his hit singles “Grateful” and “Angels & Demons,” this lyricist has a profound way of speaking that would make anyone have an emotional connection to his music. The first single, “Never Gon’ Change,” off his upcoming project, Super Hero, lets you know, “don’t play that Hollywood card with me, I am not that dude, I don’t play that shit!” For the people who haven’t heard of you yet, what would you want them to know about you as an artist? That every one of my lines are real and that I’m living every single bar. Not too long ago you showed your fans a different side to your musical talent – Nio tha Gift the Sang-er. How have most of your fans reacted to this? Have other artists asked you to sing on their tracks? It’s kinda just a mixture of both, a lot of people try to get me to do a verse and a hook on their songs. My fans haven’t all the way caught on to the fact that I’m singing the records ’cause it’s not like auto tune or anything like that. When they see me they don’t see the typical R&B guy, they don’t expect this soulful type of voice to come out of me. I think they just don’t know, a lot of people just don’t know but everybody has their time to find out. I’ve read a lot of reviews from people who listened to your music, and even in my own personal opinion, you’re style isn’t comparable to other Bay area artists. What would you say sets you aside from other artists on the West Coast? Well, I just feel like God makes everybody special in their own way. Everything I do is God driven. I like to pride myself on just being me, being different. I don’t really like to get into the whole West coast artist or Bay artist. I just try to make sure I’m able to compete with the rest of the talent in the world. I feel like wherever the bar is, that’s were I’m trying to exceed. A lot of people fall into that shell of just trying to
be superior in the Bay and I think you should strive bigger than that. Rather if you’re from the South, from the Bay, from NY, I feel like you should try to be the biggest in each market, not just your market. I feel like if people just stick to their guns rather than just trying to do what works, if people just continue to stick to what makes them, then people will succeed a lot faster. I think that’s what I do, I just took the job of giving the people me. I don’t hide anything, I don’t sugar coat anything. This is me in its rawest uncut form, I just dress it up so it’s presentable. Over 40,000 viewers got a chance to see a glimpse into your life when your video for “Grateful” was released. What kind of impact has that video and single had on your career so far? The funny thing about that record is, I actually wrote that in January 2009, this was right after the Oscar Grant situation and I was in LA. I was sitting in the hotel with my cousin and stumbled across this beat I had in my email from one of my producers JL. I had the email for three years and I never opened the email or heard the beat before in my life, until that day. When I first heard the beat, the hook instantly popped into my head, as soon as I found the melody the words just popped into my head. I actually wrote “Grateful” in about fifteen minutes. I was out in LA with my boy Taj [who directed the video], and I met up with him later on that day and we were at a video shoot in and he had walked over to one of his buddies and he came back to me and said, “you wanna shoot a video?” and I said, “Hell yeah I wanna shoot a video!” So he asked me, “well what you got,” [and] I told him about “Grateful” and said, “its not recorded yet, I just wrote it like three hours ago,” so I spit a little of it for him. When I got back to the Bay I recorded the song and I was back in LA a week later with a finished product. He was asking me did I want to switch the song and I was like naw, I can’t switch the song cause God wants me to put out this song. Ever since the day that I wrote that record I knew that it was gonna be one of those ones ’cause that day my pen was moving faster than usual, and it was kind of like I knew it needed to be said from me. After releasing a career changing album like H.I.P. H.O.P (Here I Present a Hero of Poverty), do you feel that pressure is on you for your next album to be just as great or greater? Naw, I don’t really believe in pressure... To read the rest of this interview, log on to www.ozonemag.com OZONE MAG // 43
M E L B O R P 44 // OZONE MAG
lia Beverly Words by Just Rock Photo by Ju
COMPTON RAPPER Problem plans to capitalize off the momentum created by his record “my ex” and ride the wave of bay-to-l.a. california unity ALL THE WAY to the top. Do you have any parties or events planned for All Star weekend? They’re gonna see me in the streets. I’m everywhere. A couple places are trying to book me but nothing is set yet. I plan on being everywhere. You’re gonna see Problem everywhere, all weekend. Watch! What are some of the hot spots in L.A. that out-of-towners need to hit? The city is gonna be so booming, man. If you want to shop, everyone goes to the Beverly Center. It’s crazy because I was out here performing live when I was younger and I can just see the difference. This shit is gonna be crazy out here, man. Let’s talk about what you have coming up music-wise. Is “My Ex” your official single, or just something you leaked out to keep people talking? What’s the status on that? I was just recording and my boy Felli [Fel] heard it and asked for a copy of it clean [for radio], so I shot it to him, and it just took off from there. All of these were songs I was doing for my project What’s the Problem? that I’ma be dropping real soon. Just like the “Lobster” record, that’s been doing real good too. I don’t really have an official single right now, but if “My Ex” is working and people are fuckin’ with it, that’s what I’m fuckin’ with too, you know? Is What’s the Problem? going to be an actual album release or more like a mixtape? It’s bigger than a mixtape, man. It’s gonna be an event. When you’ve got a title like What’s the Problem? you’re gonna have to understand who I am by the end of it and who you’re dealing with. There will be no mysteries about me at all. I’m going to give you every side of me. There’s a visual shot for every song. I just started making a couple of the visuals recently. It’s gonna be a movie for real. I know people say that a lot, but this is gonna be a movie for real. It’s a lot of original records. Are you still independent or do you have a label releasing this project? I’m under Diamond Lane Music Group, that’s what I’m pushing right now. I’m not signed anywhere else. I’m still indie and I plan on keeping it that way. I’ve had [major labels] calling, but that’s just not what I’m interested in right now. I feel like it’s not time for that yet.
I want to brand Problem. I want the world to know who Problem is, what Diamond Lane is, and really embrace me for me. I’m not trying to be anybody else. I want to develop a fan base of people that fuck with me and fuck with my music. I just can’t wait to see the response. So far so good. I’ve only been leaking shit for about a month and I’ve already received calls from five different labels and a whole lot of great situations have been offered. I’m just having fun right now. You seem like you go hard for a little while, then chill a bit, and then go hard again. What do you think it’ll take to motivate you to go one hundred percent without falling back? Well, I have to go through all these stages of going hard and pulling back because I was just runnin’ around out here like a chicken with my head cut off. I really didn’t have a structure, I was just excited that people were liking me. Then you have to deal with it when you don’t have the hot song out no more and people start acting different. It’s just life. And now I feel like there’s no possible way I could lose, because I sat back and really formulated a plan. When you see a plan being executed and goals being achieved, you can’t lose. They never got to see me, they just heard me. This is the first time the world gets to see me. So these videos you’re shooting now are your first visuals? My first real visuals. I mean, DJ Skee shot my first video for the “America” record and that got over 200,000 plays. I did a few other videos myself. I never really had label support, it was just me and my squad tryin’ to do it. You have to really formulate a plan when you have a great idea. It’s in the pot for real, I swear. Listen, I guarantee you this, no bullshit man, this time next year we will be having this same conversation and you’re gonna be like, “Damn, nigga, that’s what you said.” I promise you. Who else do you see coming from California that’s in the same lane as you? Everybody’s poppin’ right now. You’ve got Kendrick Lamar, YG, Skeme, Joe Moses, Dom Kennedy, Terrace Martin, man, it’s so many people right now. Everybody is all fuckin’ with each other too. It’s crackin’ right now. Do you think the relationship between L.A. artists and Bay Area artists has gotten better? Seems like there’s more California unity. I actually just came from up there and I know of at least three different Bay to L.A. projects that are being worked on right now. I’m included in some of them and a lot of those OZONE MAG // 45
names I just mentioned are included too, so trust me, before we can get out to the rest of the world we’ve got to get our house right. The big homie Snoop’s album is finna drop, I’ve got two joints on there. The Game is dropping some mixtapes, 40 finna drop. So I know for a fact the relationship is getting better. What kind of responses did you get from your OZONE sex issue interview? (laughs) I still get people hittin’ me about that issue. A lot of girls are like, “Damn, boy, are you for real or are you just playin’?” or, “You’re all talk.” And then the females that really know me, they were like, “Damn, you just gonna tell everything?”
“[rapping] is no different from being a truck driver that has to be gone for weeks at a time. people think just because you’re in entertainment a nigga doesn’t have a heart. it’s not like that at all.” Were your baby mamas mad at you for discussing the threesome you had with them? Naw, because it’s actually three baby mamas and [that story] only involved two of them. So they were all able to keep their little lies up, you know what I’m sayin’? They all pretended it wasn’t them. So I really got out of that one.
Do you have a lot of child support to pay? Three baby mamas? Naw. You only have to pay child support when you don’t support your child. You know, I’ve been making money in this business for a while. Just because y’all don’t see me doesn’t mean I ain’t being heard. How do you have time to spend with three kids in addition to launching your career? I mean, I’m not going to say it’s not hard. It’s hard, but I can’t be selfish because I’m the main supplier of how [my children] eat. If that’s the job I have to do, then that’s the job I have to do. It’s no different from being a truck driver that has to be gone for weeks at a time. 46 // OZONE MAG
Sometimes people think that just because you’re in entertainment that a nigga doesn’t have a heart and all that shit. It’s not like that at all. It’s just like any other job – people get to see the one side, but y’all don’t get to see the other side. You can’t judge it until you’re in it. You’ve got to have a lot of good family and some real understanding parents, and I commend the mothers of my children, for real. They’re real cool. What else are you working besides music? I was trying to get into this little acting thing. I had a couple opportunities so I’m trying to see what’s up with that. I can’t really say that I want to do anything else besides music. I really love to do music. If not mine, somebody else’s. When opportunities present themselves, I definitely try to take them all. All my skills revolve around music. I produce as well. I want to try to get into TV and film production, as far as scores and stuff like that. I have a lot of different interests but it all involves music. Do you have any big features we should be looking out for? I got a song coming out with Terrace Martin, featuring somebody major that’s definitely gonna make a lot of noise. I ain’t gonna say who it is but it’s one of my homeboys that had a great year in 2010. He had a fantastic year and I’ve got a record dropping with him. I pray I’m still on the 9th Wonder album. Was “My Ex” sparked by a certain situation? Yeah, I was high. I was way loaded one night. I was lookin’ for my ex-girl and she wouldn’t answer the fuckin’ phone. Man, I was hot. But I was so high I was just singin’ “damn, I feel like fuckin’ my ex,” and I’m so loaded that I don’t stop singin’ it once I hang up the phone. So I figured out how to play the keys or whatever and made the beat and made the hook and just talked about how I was feelin’ at that very moment. What’s your drug of choice? (laughs) Weed. I smoke marijuana, that’s my main source of ignorance. I love to get high. I used to do the pills a lot but I don’t fuck around too much no more. I had some wild, wild experiences off the pills. I got to a point where I got to chill out on certain shit. I’m a little older now, you know what I’m sayin’? How can people get in touch with you? Hit me on that Twitter.com/ItsAProblem. My Tumblr is Problem354 and I’ve got a website being built right now, ItsAProblem.com. Diamond Lane Music Group. //
OZONE MAG // 47
lia Beverly Words by Ju ay Photo by D-R
48 // OZONE MAG
OZONE MAG // 49
AFTER GETTING RELEASED FROM WARNER BROS., WATTS REPRESENTATIVE JAY ROCK LINKED UP WITH TECH N9NE’S STRANGE MUSIC AND HIT THE ROAD TO MEET HIS FANS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. HERE, HE REFLECTS ON LEAVING THE STREET LIFE BEHIND AND HITTING THE STUDIO WITH DR. DRE. I hear you linked up with Tech N9ne and Strange Music. That sounds like an interesting collaboration. It’s real good. Shout out to my boy Tech N9ne. I’ve been on the road with him. I just got off the Independent Grind Tour with him, E-40, and Glasses Malone. It was a real good look. They have a completely different style and stage performance from a lot of the rappers that are out today. With your music being more on a gangsta vibe, why did you think Strange Music was a good home for you? Basically, I like the way Tech N9ne vibes with his fans, man. That’s one thing about me, man, at the end of the day it’s about the fans. Being on the road and being in our fans’ faces at every show, that’s a big thing to me. Just being on the road and connecting with the fans was the best thing that could ever happen to me. They’re doing it real big on an independent level. Exactly. They’re one of the biggest independent companies that’s out right now, and that dude’s grind is crazy. We’ve been on that same grind too, so just to hook up with what they already have rolling is a beautiful thing. You were in the Warner Bros system before, right? Yeah, everybody knew my situation over there with Warner Bros. I had a cold record with me, Lil Wayne, and Will.I.Am called “All My Life,” that was one of the hottest records I ever did. Everybody loved it. The label didn’t quite have my back on it like they should have, but I don’t want to knock Warner. I’d like to thank them for giving me the time and the opportunity and the chance to do what I do. But me and my team were just unhappy with the way things were going. Everybody thought I got dropped, but that wasn’t the situation. We went in there and got my walking papers. Now that you’ve seen how the major label system works, being with an independent like Strange Music, how does it compare? 50 // OZONE MAG
I mean, first off, touring. I had like seven deals [offered to me] and no other label could offer me the opportunity to tour as much as Strange Music does. The major labels couldn’t offer me touring and merchandise and things of that nature. When I hooked up with Strange, within a week or two of closing the deal, I was on the road. They’ve got merchandise people, everything. Every day we’d get up and do meet and greets with the fans, and that was crazy to me. They’ve really got it going on, and that’s what I love to do, just being on that road and touring and connecting with the fans. In some of the new cities you visited, were you surprised that the fans already knew your music? Yeah, it was amazing. The type of fans Tech has – for these dudes to know who I was – I was like, wow. At the first show I did “All My Life” and people already knew the lyrics to the song. That was crazy, because I didn’t expect that. People knew who I was and they even more excited than I was. They were like, “I’m so happy for you, man, I always wanted you to sign with Tech N9ne.” That was amazing for them to show me that much love, man. I ain’t even expect it to be like that. They knew who I was; they were familiar with my face and a lot of my records. That was a really big thing for me. So you’re really focused on being on the road and building your buzz up again, or do you have an actual release date or album plans? I’m gonna continue to be on the road doing shows, but I do have a release date of May 17th, 2011. The album is called Follow Me Home and it’s a classic album, straight up. So this was the same album that Warner never released, right? Have you revamped it? Oh yeah, I’ve got a lot of new records. The production is crazy. I’ve got some of my in-house producers plus J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Tha Bizness, Cool & Dre, DJ Quik and a lot more. Hopefully, Lord willing, I’ll have a Dr. Dre track on there. That would be major. How did you get a hold of Dr. Dre? That sounds pretty exclusive. The other day I had the chance to really be in the studio and work with that dude, man, and it was like a dream come true. It was crazy to see the way he works. It was a blessing. I never thought in a million years I’d be in the studio with Dr. Dre. This is a dude that I’ve been growing up with since I was real
young, you know? I never thought I’d be in the lab with him. The vibe was real, real epic. That dude right there is focused. That dude is a perfectionist, straight up. (laughs) Did you record something with him or were you just throwing some ideas around? We were just vibing in the studio, man. That’s where the magic happens. When people vibe together that’s where the magic happens. It was real crazy. I’m trying to get back in the studio with Dr. Dre real, real soon. He doesn’t work with a lot of new artists. Did he tell you why he was impressed with you? He said he’d heard a song that me and Kendrick [Lamar] did together. He said, “Man, you hard.” (laughs) For him to say that, that was amazing to me. That’s a big compliment coming from him. So Kendrick Lamar is with Top Dawg, your original record label? Yeah, me and K Dot started out together with Top Dawg. Me and Kendrick have been working together for years, grindin’. That’s my little bro right there. We been doing our thing, we been on our grind forever. So you’re still Top Dawg affiliated even though you signed with Strange Music? Yeah, of course, it’s still Top Dawg. Don’t get it twisted. Top Dawg Entertainment and Strange Music joined forces together, feel me? We’re together on the same grind.
tion and been able to give them a more positive focus? Yeah, of course. People come up to me all the time, especially when I was on the road. A lot of people were like, “Man, your music helped me get through,” and I’d tell them, “Don’t ever give up on your dream.” Whatever you want to do in life, just pursue it, man. Don’t let nobody tell you nothing. Just stay away from the negative, and if you want it you can get it. Go hard in whatever you’re trying to do, whether it’s music, or school, or whatever your goal is. If you’ve got a goal, pursue your goal. Just do it and don’t give up. Do you feel like there’s more unity now on the West Coast? Of course, we’re all getting together. Everybody is out here doing their thing and everybody’s making good music, so why not get together? Ain’t nobody hating on nobody else. We can all be one, man. We’re all trying to get to the top together. Are you doing any events for All Star weekend that people should know about? Yeah, man, it’s a lot of stuff going on right now. I’m gonna be in all the spots and you can catch me out there in the streets. Wherever it’s poppin’ at, that’s where I’m gonna be. //
In one of our earlier interviews you talked about how Top Dawg sort of kidnapped you in the studio and forced you to focus on your music. Have you been able to leave the street life behind? (laughs) Ah, yeah. You know, I’m still out here, but my focus is music. It’s crazy that you said that; shout out to dude Dawg. That’s Top Dawg, man, he was like a real big homie. He saw me in the streets just acting up and being hard-headed, and he knew I had the talent to rap. A lot of people knew I had the talent to rap. Everybody was on me like, “You got it, man, we want you to do that music, don’t be out here [bangin’].” All my friends and family were telling me that, so I figured if that’s my calling, I gotta do it. If everybody’s telling me to keep doing the music, you know, that’s love. That’s where my focus is now. Have you had any opportunities to return the favor? Have you seen anybody else that was going in the wrong direcOZONE MAG // 51
Y S S E M V MAR lia Words by Ju
52 // OZONE MAG
OZONE MAG // 53
MESSY MARV Everybody knows you’re a West Coast dude, but you’ve been moving around a lot lately. Did you just need a change of scenery? As a whole, [artists] in the Bay Area are just content with where we are. That’s just my opinion. I fuck with a lot of different people around the world, and I’m out networking and trying to build my brand.
Is there anything else that needs to be hashed out or are you just ready to move forward and forget the whole situation? I would like to do that, to just move forward and forget about the situation, but things take time. Wounds take time to heal, especially ones like these. So whenever we decide to come around and sit down, we will.
Do you think living in different places affects your style of music? I don’t feel like I have a particular sound. You’re gonna hear a little South, a little Midwest, a little East, and you’re definitely going to hear the West cause that’s where I’m from. That’s the problem, man, everybody’s caught up in how you’re “supposed” to sound. I ain’t caught up in none of that shit, man. I’m me. I ain’t got nothing to prove. Every time I drop, I sell a substantial amount of units, so I’m good.
Why did you feel like it was important to squash it? The beef didn’t affect me when it came to record sales or nothing like that. I do remarkable numbers independently anyway. It was just getting out of hand, and Quinn felt the same way. When shit like this happens, innocent people can get fucked up. So we’re coming together to let these kids know, and let the people know, we’re bigger than rap music. We’re gonna put our differences to the side and move forward like men. That doesn’t mean me and San Quinn are gonna hang out every day. You might not catch me at McDonald’s sitting down with the nigga eating no cheeseburger or nothing. But we’re definitely gonna put our differences to the side and squash this shit like men do and move forward with what you’re doing.
How do you think you’re able to maintain that kind of fanbase without a major label behind you and without having that mainstream look? Because I’m out here networking. I built my worth. Are you going to get out and start doing more shows now? You don’t give the people too many opportunities to see you. And you’re in high demand because of that fact. I’m planning my 30-city tour right now. But before I do that, I’m building my online presence. I’m doing a radio show. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace. I’m going to get out here and give the people what they’ve been waiting for. What’s going on with you and San Quinn? The beef was pretty ugly at one point but you recently mentioned on Twitter that you guys had squashed it. How were you able to get to that point? People have different opinions on everything. Quinn had an opinion on how he felt I should’ve handled some things, and I had my opinion on how I felt he should’ve handled some things. It escalated when the media and the people grabbed ahold of it. You know how that shit goes. But mutual friends of ours have been trying to squash it since day one. Me and Quinn ain’t even talked yet. Things take time. Whenever he comes around, or whenever I come around, we can sit down and talk. But for now we’re just going through our mutual friend from the turf and just putting it all behind us. But really, it wasn’t no beef - it was just two opinions being stated and just how two men felt at the particular time. 54 // OZONE MAG
Is it your ultimate goal to be on a major label with your video all over TV and your songs all over the radio? Or are you more comfortable being in theunderground position you’re in, still selling independent units? I’m a street nigga, so the hustle is in me. Independently, I feel like this is what I’ve got to do because this is what I know. Of course I wanna take it to another level as far as media, publications, and sales. But I’m not gonna just make commercial music and chase milliondollar dreams. I’ve had paperwork in my face for two million, three million. I turned those deals down just based on what they want to take from me and what I’ve built. What did they want to take from you? Publishing? Publishing. How many albums they want, what I’m limited to do, just [giving up] the freedom I have as an independent. They wanted to take that all away from me for that little amount of money. That few million is a little amount of money. I can make that in a year. Last year I released 100 songs. I don’t remember how many albums - five, I think. [I sold] over 50,000 at $6/unit, so that deal didn’t look like shit to me. I definitely would like to further my career but I’m not gonna make commercial music tryin’ to chase this muthafuckin’ dream that might not even turn into reality. I’m gon’ keep
this shit solid. I keep the people feeling like I’m one of them, because I am. That’s why I’ve been so successful. I’m one of the people they recognize and they’re like, “I’m just like that nigga.” That’s why my core fanbase won’t let me die. I ain’t did a show in three years, but I’m able to maintain my sales and my presence through the internet, the publications, and the media. That’s just a blessing. The fans won’t let me die. What project are you working on now? I just dropped Highly Aggressive Volume 2 yesterday. I’ve got a documentary and a soundtrack coming out called Gigantic, which is the untold Messy Marv story behind the rapper, the entertainer, the father, the gangster. There’s a lot of educational Bay Area history in there too. I shot and directed my reality show Mr. Ghetto Celebrity. I’ve got my clothing line coming soon. Right now I’m working on a new LP called The Cooking Channel. I’m working every day. You also seem to change your phone number every other day. It doesn’t seem like that’d be good for business. I got a 1-800 number that I keep steady for business. That’s on 24 hours so I don’t ever miss the networking and business call. But when you’re dealing with a personal line, you’ve got to keep the line clean and avoid the bullshit. Somebody’s negative energy can suck up all the positive energy out of you. I’ve got muthafuckers calling asking for Sprint bill money and telling me their bitch done ran off. I don’t wanna hear none of that shit, man. My business associates and my homies keep my line. But everybody else, once they wanna suck the positive energy out of a nigga with that bullshit, I change my number.
sound the same. Do you think it’s lack of ambition or just being too comfortable? I guess everybody’s comfortable with it, and I ain’t knockin’ it. But I’ma tell the world a different story as far as the Bay Area. But I ain’t mad. Everybody’s playing a part. Everybody’s representing, and that’s what it is. Have you officially changed your name to The Boy Boy Mess or is that basically just an alias of Messy Marv? I officially changed my name to The Boy Boy Young Mess ‘cause I officially changed as a person, as a whole. I’m always gon’ be Messy Marv, but it’s the new Mess. It’s the Mess that got up out of that jail. It’s the Mess that moved out of those conditions. It’s the Mess that outgrew a lot of people in a lot of situations. It’s the Mess that couldn’t get rich in the Bay Area and had to move up out of that muthafucker to get his pennies. The new Mess. You’ve been pretty open in the past about your struggles with drug abuse. Have you moved past that? Yeah, I’ve been clean for two years now, no drugs. I didn’t go to rehab. Rehab is for weak people. I did mine based on discipline. I smoked the fuck out of some weed, though, and had a drink or two, but as far as the party drugs, I don’t fuck around... The rest of this interview is featured in Ozone Magazine #84:
When you go out on tour, who else from the Bay do you plan on performing with? What’s your take on the current Bay Area movement? I feel like everybody’s representing. Everybody’s got a part they play, whether it’s the old Bay or the new Bay. I just feel like we’re at a standstill because everybody feels like they can’t leave the Bay Area. So everybody ends up with the same production and the same graphic designer doing their cover. That means everybody looks and sounds the same. Then you get everybody putting each other on the album, so you’ve got the same features. Everybody’s fuckin’ with the same jeweler. Niggas are buying the same outfits from the same clothing store. Nobody knows who is who. It’s 400 muthafuckin’ rappers and they all look and OZONE MAG // 55
DOM EDY KENN andy Roper Words by R anny Williams Photo by D
56 // OZONE MAG
26-year-old Dominic Hunn represents his LA neighborhood—Leimert Park—whenever he has the opportunity. Leimert represents the burgeoning subculture of Cali rap. Just as the South Central neighborhood boasts culture, middle class living and aesthetic beauty, there’s a rougher side if visitors take a closer look. The rebirth of los angeles rap features artists from both sides of the tracks; all obviously influenced by their predecessors, but bold enough to grab the baton and take the music farther in either direction. Enter Dom Kennedy: an intriguingly cocky, yet intuitive rhymespitter with that easy flow indigenous to California hip hop. Dom has created quite a stir as a new artist, most recently dropping the critically acclaimed mixtape, From the Westside with Love. ozone had a conversation with Mr. Leimert Park about the changing face of LA rap, his place in it, and the exact definition of “choosing up.” What’s your background? I heard your dad raised you. I was raised by my mom and my dad. They lived in separate homes but I was back and forth with both of them equally. My mom is from Los Angeles and my dad’s family is originally from St. Louis. You rep hard for Leimert Park. What’s it like? Leimert Park is where I grew up. When my parents got divorced, my mom moved to Leimert and settled there. It’s been my home off and on since 1992. You know, living there, eating there, going to the barbershop, everything. So it’s home. You can live a lot of places but your heart is always at home. That’s why I always talk about it. When you read a good book about somebody, it always has a setting - somewhere where the story takes place. That’s just where my story takes place. That’s where I started out getting my confidence, on the living room floor in my apartment in Leimert Park. So I’m just paying homage, I guess. I heard it’s not a bad neighborhood, but not exactly a “good” one either.
Exactly. It’s not the best place but it’s definitely not the worst place. It’s mostly lower middle to middle-class families, single parent homes. There’s definitely a lot of art there. A lot of movies were filmed there. It just has a good vibe. It supports culture. When I was a kid I saw everything that was taking place and just became a part of it. Tell us about your journey from then up until now? I was just a regular kid. I went to school, but I wasn’t the best student. I played baseball; that was my first love. I rapped, you know, but all my homies used to rap at some point, just like most inner city kids. Kids listen to songs and have fun, but nobody says “I’m a rapper.” I was just freestyling or whatever like everybody else. After I got out of high school I did the junior college thing for a minute, but I always knew it wasn’t for me. Around that time I had a cousin, Jason Madison, who ended up producing a lot of the stuff on my first mixtape, 25th Hour. He was a DJ, so he had all this DJ equipment his dad had bought him. We used to go to his house and play instrumentals to whatever records were out at the time. We didn’t have laptops back then so he would get records or CDs or buy singles of songs that were on the radio. Whatever song was tight, he had it. Vinyl records used to always have the instrumental. I would rap over the instrumental and record it from there. If you messed up, you [ruined] your whole CD, you know? That’s how it started. But we weren’t tryin’ to come out with nothin’. We were just having fun. It was important to what I do now, but we didn’t know it back then. After years went by, I was like, “I’m not really a rapper.” I wasn’t getting paid from it. I was a student. Around 2005, the way I looked at the world really started to change. Something inside of me kept urging me to tell my story through Hip Hop. It was the thing I loved the most, so that was my outlet. That’s when I started getting the idea in my head and thinking, “Well, maybe I can do it.” So I started writing at night, and I’d come up with rhymes and they were getting better and better. In 2007, I started working on my first project, which would eventually become OZONE MAG // 57
25th Hour. I started up with my cousin. He’d make the beats and we’d pay $25 an hour to this guy in South Central, close to my house. He had a little studio set up in his back house and I would pay him $25 an hour to record and $25 an hour to mix. It was a professional little studio. That year taught me a lot about how to manipulate your sound; understanding that your vocals are like a [musical] instrument. When you first start, you think you sound a lot different than you actually do. There are ways you can say more, just with your voice. You can make yourself sound more convincing or believable or blend in more with the song. I was just having fun recording 25th Hour. My friends weren’t thinking it would be anything [that reached] outside our immediate circle. I didn’t know about blogs. [My music] was on blogs before I even understood what they were. I just made it strictly to have fun, play it for my friends, and perform at little parties we had. But it turned into something bigger. My cousin that produced “Watermelon Sundae” was a film student at Loyola Marymount. So the fact that we had access to good quality videos early on was really important to me and my movement. That remains a part of everything I do. We were able to shoot the “Watermelon Sundae” video and have it look really nice. When everybody saw it, it took off. You’re still an independent artist, but are you looking for a major label deal? I’ve been working, first and foremost, that’s the thing that doesn’t stop. I’ve turned [major label] deals down. There have been offers but I’m happy where I’m at. Are you planning on dropping something with your doppelgänger Don Cannon? Oh yeah, I always talk to Cannon and people always ask me that. We haven’t really done anything yet outside of being in the studio together. We went through a lot of beats. We talk a lot about music and what direction we want to go. For my next project, I know he’ll be on there in some capacity. You’ve said you’re trying to work with even better producers next go round. Besides Cannon, have you succeeded in finding that? Yeah, definitely. I think after From The West Side With Love and the videos I did, there’s a mutual respect, and that’s really all I’ve wanted. I’ve had opportunities to work with different producers, but a lot of times, I think people work with producers ahead of schedule, you know? You might not be on Dr. Dre’s level yet. It might 58 // OZONE MAG
not be the right time. I always wanted to grow and use my resources with the producers I’ve had access to. I want to take the time to find myself and craft songs and find younger guys like myself that have a lot of passion. Just like I have passion in my work right now, there’s a lot of young producers that probably have more passion than [somebody like] Polow Da Don, who’s a millionaire a couple times over. So it’s really not about the name, it’s more about: Are you really in this? Is your heart in it? What are you trying to say? Can we do this? Can we reach our goals together? What’s the concept of “Choose Up”? (laughs) “Choose Up” just means “pick.” Decide what you’re trying to do. If you’re out at the club and you see a girl that keeps looking at you, y’all ain’t gon’ be there all night, you know? Choose up. Hurry up. Do something. There’s a new movement coming: you, TiRon, Skeme, U-N-I, Fashawn - it seems like California rap has evolved into a newer, younger energy. What motivated this evolution? Man, a lot of people have been trying to figure that out. I think we’re getting a chance again and people are open to it. It hasn’t reached a peak yet but I think there are a lot of people working really hard that have something valuable to add, you know? We have something to say and we’re doing it a different way than how it was done before. You can look at rap music from all the different regions and see the beginning. Now, it’s a new time. Rap music moves through different regions because there’s a new story to tell. People get enamored not only with the music but how they live, what they say, the whole culture. I feel like the spotlight on L.A. right now is different from what it was on before. How much of a hand do you have in the creative process when building a project? A hundred thousand percent. Everything. When I come up with a project, like From The Westside, I conceptualize everything. I knew how I wanted the artwork to be, how I want it to sound, how many songs are gonna be there. I think the fact that I have so much control and freedom is what separates the new generation of artists from the record labels. They’re so impersonal. If you have all this control and freedom, you can say what you wanna say, to exactly who you wanna say it to. You don’t have to fight with somebody and explain something to them--people who don’t get it anyway--that have millions of other things they really care about. Nobody’s gonna tell me how my project is gonna be besides myself. //
OZONE MAG // 59
BOBBY S N I K C BRA lia Beverly Words by Ju-Ray Photo by D
60 // OZONE MAG
Born and raised in East Oakland, 21-year-old Bobby Brackins embarked on his music career at a young age as part of the group Go Dav. The years of work he put in finally started to pay off when he went solo. today, with his hit single “143” featuring Ray J climbing the charts and helping to land a him a deal with Young Tycoon/Universal Republic, he’s . How many years have you been doing the music thing? I’ve been making music for the past six years. When I got out of high school I was with a group called Go Dav. We had a really big record called “Ride Or Die Chick” that was playing on the radio; it was just a really big street record that buzzed all over the country. I was in a group for a while and then I got out of the group and started working on a solo project and linked up with T-Pain’s management. I’ve really been working on my solo stuff for about four and a half years now. How did you link up with T-Pain’s management? I put out a record called “Skinny Jeans,” which was a big street record. It was really big on YouTube and Myspace and getting millions of hits. A bunch of people were hollering at us, but we felt like T-Pain’s management would be the best situation because he had “Buy You A Drink” out at the time and it was a really big record. So we thought it would be a good fit to try to get something happening. [The business didn’t really work out] but I just talked to him the other day. We’re still cool, no hard feelings. He was busy with [T-Pain’s] project and couldn’t really focus on me. It was a learning experience, you know? You’re not going to win with every situation. It’s all good. I was young just trying to figure out the game. Basically, I learned that you’ve gotta be a priority wherever you sign, you know? What made you decide to move to Los Angeles? I moved to L.A. like two and a half years ago because my producer was out here going to school. I was working with different producers in the Bay, but I felt like my producer, Nic Nac, just had the best music for me. I moved out here to L.A. and ended up signing to [Young] Rell’s label. That was about a year ago and we’ve been working on my solo project ever since. I’ve been flying back and forth between L.A. and the Bay just networking and making music.
The L.A. scene hasn’t always been real receptive to Bay Area artists. Has that been an issue for you? No, not at all, honestly. I guess some people’s personalities just don’t mesh well together. I have the type of personality where I can basically get along with anybody. I just got off the phone with [L.A. rapper] Nipsey Hussle a few minutes ago. He’s putting a verse on the “143” song so we can do an L.A. remix. And I just talked to [ ], he sings the hook to YG’s “Toot It and Boot It.” Me and him just made a really crazy record for my album. So, some people’s personalities might not mesh but I’m not really with all that drama, you know. If you’re cool people, you’re cool people and it doesn’t really matter where you’re from. How did the collaboration with Ray J come about for your current hit record, “143”? We were basically just working on my album. I had a different record in mind for Ray J but when I wrote “143” I thought he might fit better on that one. I really felt like it could be a big universal smash record. I played it for my managers and the label and everybody liked it, so I eventually convinced everybody that it was going to be the single we wanted to run with. We had Ray come to the studio and he blessed it, he did his thing on it. He went hard on the record so it sounds super crazy. A lot of people who hear the record think it’s Ray J’s new single. How do you plan to establish yourself as an artist and make sure they know who you are? Well, Ray J’s cool people and he sings on the record, of course. But whenever I perform the record I know when I can just pause and let the DJ drop the beat and the girls know all the lyrics to my verses. So I’m just gonna keep doing shows and interviews and let everybody know that I’m the voice behind the verses on the record. Do you have a second single picked out? Yeah, it’s called “She’s Ready.” It’s crazy; it’s gonna be another really, really big radio record. We’re gonna do a video for it and keep pushing my whole solo career. I wrote the whole “143” record and this record as well. I’m really trying to get in touch with the ladies because ladies are my primary fans. Whenever I go to the shows, it’s always the ladies who are screaming my lyrics. So I’m just gonna keep making great songs that both the ladies and the fellas can enjoy. “143” is still climbing up the charts. It’s climbing up the rhythmic radio charts and it’s on the Billboard Hot 100, so we’re gonna just keep letting “143” grow. OZONE MAG // 61
It probably won’t peak for another couple months but we’re gonna just throw my next single out there. Is your album finished? I’m still working on it, but it’s gonna be crazy. It’s gonna be an album full of hits. There’s just a couple more songs I need to get features on. It features a whole bunch of new and upcoming talent; the people who are gonna really be on top for the next few years. My point of view is that I wanna work with artists who really want to leave a legacy and leave their mark. I’m not gonna have anybody on the album who doesn’t deserve to be on there. As far as production, are you producing as well or mostly working with Nic Nac? I’m writing everything as far as the hooks and verses, and my producer Nic Nac, who used to be in the group with me and produced “143,” produced most of the album. I was in the studio with Polow da Don a couple weeks ago and he said he wanted to do a record on the album, so if that happens, that’d be a real blessing. The album is gonna be a problem. There might be a couple outside beats on there but primarily it’s gonna be me and Nic Nac doing the majority of the work. Being from Oakland, how do you feel about the verdict that came down yesterday in the Oscar Grant trial? I feel like it’s crazy. It’s a real injustice. I don’t understand how you can be on video camera with your back to somebody in handcuffs and get killed and [the killer] gets away with involuntary manslaughter. It makes no sense to me and it just shows how corrupt the justice system can be. Oakland has been through a lot of hardships. I’m only 21 years old and a lot of my friends out there have [been killed]. You know the system is corrupt but you’ve just gotta try to be as positive and hopeful as possible. Hopefully, if more people around the world hear about the situation, the government and police officers will open their eyes and realize that they can’t get away with doing crimes like that. We hear a lot of people talking about this New West movement. Do you feel like you’re a part of that? Definitely. Last week, me, Nipsey Hussle, Ray J, and Warren G did a show together. Warren G is a real OG. When Nipsey went on stage and when me and Ray did the “143” song I felt like people started to recognize the new talent. We’re ready to step our foot in the door. The West Coast has a whole bunch of talented kids 62 // OZONE MAG
in their twenties and in their teens who are really just ready to take their talent to the next level. There’s a lot of kids in L.A. who are working hard to take their talent to the next level and I think within the next five years there will hopefully be more unity on the West Coast. Do you have a label deal yet or are you planning on putting this out independently through Rell’s label, Tycoon Status Ent.? We signed [a major deal] with Universal Republic a few months ago. They started playing my record in the bay on 94.9 and basically it’s been moving ever since. They were the first people to play it on the air and since then it’s been going crazy. There were offers from a whole bunch of different labels but Universal Republic offered me the best situation. It’s a good home, a good situation, and I feel very optimistic about the future. Is there anything else you want to say? Just look out for the next single “She Ready,” and you know, “143” is still climbing up the charts. Call your local radio station and request it as much as possible, go support it on iTunes, and when I’m in your city come out to a show and show me some love. When the album drops, get the album. I just want everybody to support as much as possible because the fans are keeping us alive right now. // This interview is also featured in OZONE West Issue #85, and Bobby Brackins appears on the cover:
OZONE MAG // 63
FORMER GANGBANGERS (L-R) CHINO, LEFTY, AND TE MONEY HOPE THEIR UNIFIED FRONT WILL HELP THEM SPREAD A POSITIVE MESSAGE THROUGH THEIR MUSIC 64 // OZONE MAG
li Words by Ju
OZONE MAG // 65
Tell us about The Gang. Te Money: Chino is the Southsider of the group, Lefty is the Blood, and I’m the Crip. My cousin Turtle handles most of the business, along with myself. So you’re a rapper/businessman? Te Money: I just became a rapper. I decided to become a rapper after Dolla died. Dolla was my artist and my business partner. Everybody said I should keep the whole thing going and keep our dream alive, so that’s what I did. I’m definitely carrying on his memory. Me and my cousin sat down and put it together. Akon is still involved, but as far as the legwork, me and my cousin Turtle are doing that.
“i got homies that died gangbangin’. rappers wanna live that life, but they’re not where i’m at. you’re on tv gettin’ money off this lifestyle and you ain’t never lived that life. i’m against that.” - lefty How would you define The Gang? Is it a record label, a group, a clique, or all of the above?
Te Money: It’s a company and a group. It’s a movement. It’s not a negative movement though. A gang is only negative when you do negative things. Supposedly, Crips and Bloods don’t get along in L.A. Supposedly, blacks and browns don’t get along in L.A. We tend to stay at war with the Mexicans, and the Bloods and the Crips get into it. With us being together in a group, we’re trying to show everybody that it can be a positive thing. So you’re hoping to dispel some of the L.A. stereotypes? Te Money: Yeah, and we ain’t in khakis and stuff 66 // OZONE MAG
like that – we get real fly. We’re not doing it like The Game and Snoop with red and blue rags, khakis, and Chucks. We’re on some fly shit. There’s some fly niggas in L.A. Lefty: And they’re not real gangbangers, either. Te Money: Yeah, that’s what people don’t understand. A person that’s really lived that lifestyle, and been through the shootouts and stuff, is tryin’ to get away from it. Since they’re not real gangbangers, are you offended by rappers like Snoop representing the lifestyle? Lefty: It’s not even about Snoop, it’s about the other rappers that are doin’ it. I got homies that died [while gangbangin’] and I take that personally. There are things we went through in the streets. Te Money is a Crip, and I’m from Piru. Chino’s a Mexican. I can talk to them. With my enemies, I can’t talk to them, because I lost my homies to that. [Rappers] are gettin’ money and wanna live that life, but they’re not where I’m at. I really live in my hood. I really got homies that are going to jail every day. And then you’re on TV gettin’ money off this [lifestyle] and you ain’t never lived that life. I’m against that. And you take it to the extreme – my homies are gettin’ 10 years added onto their charges for gang enhancement, while you’re on TV representing these things and nothing happens to you. That ain’t cool. Are there any artists you feel are accurately representing the gang lifestyle? Te Money: I really can’t say what other people are doin’. I just know that all of us here have been in the trenches before, and this is a way out for us. Akon helped me get out of my situation, so I just reached back out to try to help somebody else out of their situation. Hopefully when they become successful they’ll help somebody get out of their situation. Like he was saying, a lot of cats talkin’ about it haven’t really lived it. None of them have been to jail, but when they got money, they get security to protect ‘em so they can start living the life. This is real. This isn’t a put-together group, like a fake image. Since it’s not “normal” for Bloods and Crips and blacks and Mexicans to coexist peacefully, how did you three come together? Lefty: My mom’s older brothers are Crips. I grew up in their neighborhood. My dad is from Piru [Bloods] so that’s how I came from that
side. I always had homies that were Crips, but in Compton I never had Crip homies. That’s where the action is, that’s where my neighborhood. I’m not finna drive from Compton to L.A. just to beef with another Crip. So I never had action with them niggas. Plus, I got more sense and I’m over that. Te Money: Me and Dolla and Akon were doing a reality TV show that was going to consist of a Blood, a Crip, and a Mexican. It was called The Gang too. This was before I involved myself in the rap group. So I actually went to different hoods to find talent, which is where I met Chino. I went to the neighborhood and held auditions at this school. Like 20 Southsiders came, that’s the Mexicans. 30 or 40 Bloods came, 30 or 40 Crips came – at different times. (laughs) Out of all the Mexicans, there were a lot of them that could rap, but Chino just stood out. I actually had picked another Blood [for the group] but he backed out, so I went around asking people who was the hottest Blood in the streets. They pointed me towards Lefty. Chino: I had like seven homies that told me, “There’s an audition, we got talent, so let’s put it to use. Let’s go check it out, we don’t have anything to lose.” I was blessed enough to make it to this point. So the message of the group is that Bloods, Crips, Blacks, Mexicans, everybody should come together? Te Money: We can’t speak for everybody else, but we’re trying to show people that it can be done. L.A. has a lot of influence on other places – St. Louis, Little Rock, Arkansas, Minnesota – there are niggas gangbangin’ in other hoods that ain’t never been to L.A. People think it’s just Crips and Bloods and Mexicans, but there are 275 different Crip gangs. There’s a lot of Crip-on-Crip beef also. If people from other states come here and see that we can get along, maybe they can get along too. How would you respond to critics saying that by creating a rap group out of this, you’re glorifying the gang lifestyle? Te Money: We’re not glorifying it, and we’re not doing anything negative. The police are a gang; they beat the shit outta Rodney King. [The police] do good things and bad things. You’ve got gang members that do good things and gang members that do bad things. There’s a thing out here [in L.A.] that OZONE MAG // 67
Jim Brown started called “I Can,” where 50 different gang members from different hoods go around and talk to the kids at juvenile hall. What are some of the positive things The Gang is doing? Te Money: First off, just the fact that we’re together and getting along is a positive thing. It starts here. We’ve got a lot of plans. Before we started the group, I had a non-profit organization where we went to the juvenile hall and spoke to the kids and performed for them. This is something I had been sitting on for years, but I was so focused on Dolla. After he died [after being shot at the Beverly Center], I was in a slump. Turtle and Akon and everybody pulled me to the side like, “Yo, you just gotta keep moving forward and we’ll help you.” They stepped in 100%. What was the focus of your non-profit organization? Te Money: Just telling them to stay positive. I honestly feel like your hood makes you who you are. Not everybody is fortunate enough to be from Beverly Hills. I know professional basketball players that grew up around gangbangin’, and that’s just their friends so they still hang around ‘em. That ain’t wrong. Your friends are your friends. Have you gotten any flak from your respective gangs, like, “Why are you affiliated with these guys”? Or have they been mostly supportive? Chino: I think every individual is just every individual. You just gotta do you. I like to observe people. I’m tryin’ to do something different than what I’ve been doing. I’m not saying I’m tryin’ to change everything, I am who I am, but I want to see a different side [of life]. I’ve been fortunate and blessed. Te Money and Turtle bailed me out of jail. I think this is a serious opportunity, as far as what we’re tryin’ to do with the music. If we weren’t doing this, I might get caught slippin’ by the cops and get locked up. I think we can make this a bigger movement and do something positive for our people. All my relatives and homies are in [prison], but they’ve been supportive. You just can’t forget where you came from. I’m still in the same position. I’m not out of the hood, but I’m tryin’ to show them another way we can all get fed. Lefty: As far as my movement, I’ve got brothers and sisters and a son. I don’t want my son 68 // OZONE MAG
to go through nothin’ I did. If I can make a better situation for him, that’s what I’ma do – even if it means reaching out to someone else’s kids by tellin’ them the right way to go. Shit really isn’t going to change unless you step in and touch someone else. It’s a domino effect. Practice makes perfect, so how are you gonna get something done if you don’t work at it, or if you never even tried it to see if it works? This shit was never supposed to happen. Where I’m from, they can’t even speak to us. I never had someone tell me to hate the Mexicans or hate the Crips, it was just the gang lifestyle. A lot of the muthafuckers I got into it with, I never even know who they were. I just know you’re from that hood, and my hood is beefin’ with you. That’s like brainwashing. I never knew Te Money or Chino, but now we’re close. I coulda seen him before with my homies and been like, “Aw, fuck them niggas,” just because they’re Crips. Now we’re beefin’ when I never even met you. But now we live in the same fuckin’ house. It starts with us. If we can get along, other people can too. People are teachin’ their kids to [gangbang] because they see it on TV and think it’s cool. But when you see your homies lose their life behind some bullshit, that’ll change you. I kept tellin’ my brothers to sit back and everything is gonna be alright – now they’re in jail lookin’ at ten years. I want to put myself in a better situation. Chino: That’s what it is. Everybody’s gettin’ washed up. When you’re in jail you hear
“A LOT OF THE MUTHAFUCKERS I GOT INTO IT WITH, I NEVER EVEN KNEW WHO THEY WERE. I JUST KNOW YOU’RE FROM THAT HOOD, AND MY HOOD IS BEEFIN’ WITH YOU. THAT’S LIKE BRAINWASHING... IT STARTS WITH US. IF WE CAN GET ALONG, OTHER [GANG MEMBERS] CAN TOO.” LEFTY
everybody’s stories and charges, and there’s homies that ain’t never gonna get out. I appreciate that they’re lookin’ out and tryin’ to tell us something different. Nobody’s ever really taken the time to show me something else. I appreciate everything more now – every breath of air, every meal I eat – it means something, because there’s homies that are never getting out. Lefty: They’re givin’ ten years [extra] for gangbangin’. If you’ve got an opportunity [to get out] and don’t, that’s like giving yourself away. Te Money: If you catch a case and you’re a gangbanger, they enhance it and add more ten more years [to your sentence]. Lefty: I’m not glorifying that. I’m still in the neighborhood and I’ve still got homies losing their lives. I don’t appreciate seeing muthafuckers on TV glorifying the lifestyle when me and muthafuckers I love are still out here living this life. You’re just on TV doin’ it, sayin’ you’re from some Piru or Crip gang. If you say you’re a Piru or a Crip, come to the hood. I got a green pass for any hood you wanna go in out here. Come really see this shit, cause it’s fucked up. If you’re on TV glorifying this shit, I don’t appreciate it and I don’t respect it, period. Let’s talk about the music. Are you releasing an album or a mixtape? Te Money: We’re workin’ on both. We’re halfway finished with the album, but like every other artist, we just keep recording. We’ve got a lot of content, though. We’re not just talking about red and blue rags or Crips and Bloods. We’re pretty much on some Tupac shit with the content. We talk about the struggle and all the things we’ve been through. It’s N.W.A all over again, when they came out with reality rap. Some songs represent where we’re from, but we’re not promoting gangbangin’ at all. Do you have some lighter records for the radio or the clubs? Te Money: Yeah, it’s definitely mainstream, just street. Lefty: This is who we are. We’re all from different neighborhoods so we all have a different story, and we put it all together. It’s mainstream in a way, but we wanna send a message at the same time. We don’t want people to get the wrong message just because we’re from gangs. We’re not promoting that at all. Chino: It’s more like a soundtrack to our individual lives. It’s reality and this is how we live. OZONE MAG // 69
You mentioned your situation with Akon. Are you signed to Konvict Music? Te Money: We’re doing the same thing we did with Dolla; it’s a joint venture with Konvict Music. We’re also still working on the reality TV show. It’s bigger than just music. The music really comes last; it comes easily to us. It’s more about us getting along and reaching out to help somebody else. What’s the focus of the reality show? Te Money: Just tryin’ to get out of the hood. A few weeks ago I told Lefty to come to the
“my grandpa’s been to the joint and probably his grandpa too. every kid looks for that fatherly attention or role models. you’re just a kid and don’t know what direction to go, so you want someone to look up to. they teach you that shit and you pick it up. it passes down to every generation.” chino
Beverly Center. He lives like twenty minutes away from there and had never been there before, even though he’s lived [in Los Angeles] his whole life. L.A. is separated by gangs, and when you grow up here, you feel like, “This is my hood, so what do I need to go over there for? Matter of fact, we beefin’ with them over there so I’ma stay right here and protect my hood.” Lefty: Yeah, I just stay in my comfort zone. 70 // OZONE MAG
So you’re broadening your horizons. Do you see the gang situation in L.A. getting better or worse? Te Money: For me, since I grew up, I’d say it’s definitely calmed down. Especially since the Rodney King [riots], L.A. has calmed down and is getting along more. It’s more Crip on Crip beef than anything, and the blacks and browns don’t get along period. It’s kinda out of our control. I didn’t start the gang, I just grew up here and got involved in it. Somebody’s gotta go talk to the muthafucker that started all this bullshit. Lefty mentioned that he didn’t want his son to join a gang. If you had it your way, twenty years from now, would you have gangs eliminated period? Te Money: Nah, not really, because sometimes gangs are family. Some people get involved with gangs because they don’t have a family; sometimes that’s all you have. Lefty: They got love for you and you feel comfortable around all your homies. Chino: Not every gang is [violent] either. A lot of gangs started out as clubs and just got labeled as “gangs.” There are a lot of clubs just fighting for rights and fighting for our people, and that’s what we’re here today to do. How do you think you can keep the family and community aspect of the gangs but take the violence out of it? Te Money: Everybody’s an individual. You can’t stop somebody from what they wanna do, you can only tell ‘em. I got homies that went to school and were on the honor roll and went on to play [professional] basketball and still come back to this neighborhood. Then I’ve got homies that shoulda played [professional] basketball but instead they were like, “I need this gun, this dope, this money right now.” If you had grown up in the suburbs, where do you think you would have ended up? Te Money: Lefty would probably still be gangbangin’. Some people are just fascinated by it. It depends on the individual. Sometimes you can be born into it if your mom and dad are into it. But I know some people that grew up in the suburbs and just started comin’ over to our neighborhood. Lefty: Some people are fascinated by the
lifestyle and think it’s cool. A lot of people start off in it when they’re young, and after they’ve been through so much, they’re like, “Fuck this shit, I wanna get out of here.” I’m 21 and I’ve been doing this since I was 12. After so long, you really just wanna get out of this shit. You see there’s no way out. You gotta shake that shit off and realize [life] is bigger than gangbangin’ in the neighborhood. You gotta look at the bigger picture. Chino: A lot of times, it’s family-inherited. My grandpa’s been to the joint and probably his grandpa too. Every kid looks for that fatherly attention or role models. You’re just a kid and don’t know what direction to go, so you want someone to look up to. We’re livin’ in the hood so a lot of times your parents are busy workin’, tryin’ to get us out of the hood. You end up playin’ ball with the dudes on the block and they stay hustling. They teach you that shit and you pick it up. It passes down to every generation. Is there anything else you want to add? Lefty: My message is that you can do the right thing in any situation if you try. I was at my lowest point in my life, and I coulda ended up in prison. I tried to put my effort into something positive and I got into a better situation overnight. If you try, shit could be different. Don’t never give up and always keep your head up. Chino: I want to stress the point that you’ve gotta be thankful for what you’ve got. When you ain’t got it, it makes a big difference. A lot of times we take stuff for granted and end up in a predicament and forget what we’re really tryin’ to do. I just want to help my people and take care of my family and do something positive so I can show the next man a way out. I’m just gonna try to remain humble and do this to the fullest. Te Money: We’re just tryin’ to promote positivity, not just in L.A., but state to state. To all the gangbangers across the world: we’re getting along, and you guys should do the same. Put all your positive energy into yourself and your family. Where can people find out more information about your music and your movement? Te Money: Our website is www.TheGangEnt. com. There’s links up there to Twitter and Myspace, and we’ve got our music, photos, and interviews up there. // OZONE MAG // 71
AFTER AN APPEALS COURT OVERTURNED HIS LIFE SENTENCE, INFAMOUS DRUG KINGPIN 'FREEWAY' RICKY ROSS HOPES TO REDEEM HIMSELF BY TEACHING THE YOUTH THE HARD LESSONS HE'S LEARNED AND SHOWING THEM A BETTER PATH.
go into it with a one-track mind. They only know one aspect of the game. Me, myself, I went into the game like that. I went in blindsided. I only saw the fame and the fortune; I didn’t see the whole thing. Nobody explained it to me.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with “Freeway” Ricky Ross, what’s your claim to fame? I’m from L.A. I’m known as a drug dealer. I became one of the biggest drug dealers in South Central. I was the guy that most of the guys who got big got their first drugs from. I was the one they modeled themselves after; guys like Harry O, Bo Bennett, Young Tommy, Pat, the list goes on and on. A lot of [well-known drug dealers] basically modeled their drug dealing pattern after me or copied my format. Some of them got bigger than I was. (laughs)
Did you feel like dealing drugs was your only career option? When I was young I was dumb. I was illiterate. I couldn’t read. I had never read a book and never written anything, so the only thing I knew was what I saw in my general area. When I go and talk to the kids - especially in juvenile hall - I explain that when I was coming up, my options were robbery, pimpin’, selling dope, stealing cars, and burglary. Those were the things I thought I had to pick from. I never thought about opening a magazine. I never thought about owning a record company. My options were so limited, and that was because of my [limited] knowledge.
When you see what the drug game has evolved into today, do you approve or disapprove? I mean, I can’t knock anyone for what they do, because I did so much wrong myself. It’d be like Satan throwing rocks at somebody for doing something wrong; he can’t do that. So I can’t knock the game. It has evolved into what it was supposed to come to. But I do feel that my job now is to try to figure out other things for these young guys to do now. I’m trying to show them that there’s a different route and a different path, and I believe I can do that. A lot of people say the street game isn’t what it used to be. They say there’s no honor amongst thieves anymore. There really never was. It was just that fake make-believe stuff. This was the way it was supposed to go. Really, when you look back at the game, the guys who were at the top always played like that. So that’s a myth? Because I hear that often. Yeah, that’s a myth. I totally agree that that’s a myth. Everybody that got busted, somebody told on them. From the beginning, somebody had to be a snitch. The Feds have been using snitches since the beginning of time. It’s always been there and it’ll always be there. If you’re in the game and you don’t think your best friend is gonna tell on you, you’re crazy. When I look back, the same guys that helped me get into this game are the same guys that told on me. The same guys that’ll tell you, “Don’t snitch!” will turn around and snitch on you. It’s a dirty business. The drug business is dirty. And a lot of [new drug dealers] don’t know that. When they go into the drug business, they don’t know the ins and outs. They 72 // OZONE MAG
Previously, we published a letter to our readers that you wrote while you were incarcerated. It sounded like you were renouncing what you’d done before and were trying to correct the wrongs. Absolutely. What I did was wrong, and not only was it wrong, but I feel like it was a total waste of my talents. I’m very talented. My personal opinion is that there’s no man living on this planet that is as smart as I am. Did that realization come to you over the years, or was it one moment that made you regret the path you’d taken? It started to come in time, after I started to read books. It first started in the courtroom, when I found myself debating the law with these Harvard and Yale graduates. You defended yourself? Why? My lawyer told me, “Anytime somebody else wants you home more than you want yourself home, you’re in trouble.” I took that to heart. I took that to mean, “You should learn the law for yourself.” So you made the decision to defend yourself, and it wasn’t just from a financial standpoint? From a legal standpoint. So now you take a guy who believed he was dumb and illiterate and could never read or write, and you put him in a courtroom and the judge and the lawyers are taking what he says seriously. They disagreed with what I was saying, but when we went to the appeals court, I proved them all wrong. That’s a confidence booster.
Words by Julia Beverly Photo by D-Ray
OZONE MAG // 73
How did you learn how to read? One A-B-C at a time. My cellmate convinced me that I could read. When I got my indictment, I wanted to know what was on my indictment. I never told my lawyer that I couldn’t read until after I learned to read. He gave me three pieces of paper and said, “Here’s your indictment. Read it and it explains everything you need to know about your case.” That was the first piece of paper I ever read – my indictment. Why were you illiterate? Would you say the school system failed you? That was part of it. The school system was part of it and my mom was part of it. You know what they say, it takes a community to raise a child. And I failed myself. It was my responsibility to get what I needed and make sure that I could read and function. I didn’t find it important in the trades that I was looking at: robbery, burglary, stealing cars, pimpin’ – why do you need to know how to read? Getting a “regular” job was never an option? I didn’t see myself doing that. I didn’t know anybody that had a regular job. I grew up on Figueroa, which was the hoe stroll. My friends didn’t “work.” And you didn’t think that those career paths – robbery, burglary, stealing cars, or pimpin’ – would have a negative outcome? Nah, that was a part of my neighborhood. A kid can become his environment. If you’re around crime, at first you might shy away from it, but if you stay around it long enough, pretty soon you’re accustomed to it. That’s why drugs are so accepted in our neighborhoods. The reason it’s so hard for a drug dealer to quit is because his neighborhood doesn’t despise him. It’s attractive. People look up to you when you’re a drug dealer. You’re rewarded for it. Right. You get to go to VIP. You get all the girls. Everything a person wants can come from selling drugs, so why wouldn’t people sell drugs? What’s the deterrent? I would think a potential life sentence would be a deterrent. Well, they don’t know about the jail time. Most of them don’t know about the Feds until it’s too late. These kids don’t know anything about the Feds and the mandatory minimums. Do you think the mandatory minimums are an effective deterrent? Absolutely not. Totally a waste of time. I’m 74 // OZONE MAG
working on reforming the laws. I’ve teamed up with the NAACP and we’re gonna start a program to reform the mandatory minimum sentences, not only in the Feds but in the state [judicial] systems as well. You don’t think that lowering the mandatory minimum sentences would encourage more people to get into the drug business? Well, [the mandatory minimums] haven’t stopped drug dealing, we know that. We know drugs are more plentiful on our streets. We have more people in prison. So it hasn’t worked for the past 40 years. How would lowering the sentences help? We’re not saying right off the bat that it will help, but we’re saying it won’t hurt. Because it isn’t working. Throwing people in prison and throwing away the key absolutely doesn’t work. I believe we have to come up with programs that really work. We have to start addressing the issues that are at the root, and that’s lack of knowledge and lack of opportunities. These laws have nothing to do with that. I believe we should go with an ounce of prevention instead of a pound of cure. That’s what our government is doing now – throwing pounds and pounds of cures on a problem that for 45 or 50 years has been a waste of money. The drug problem is worse than it’s ever been. Murder rates are up. Snitchin’ is up. Do you think the government has been going to war against the wrong people? Should they be targeting the user and focusing more on prevention instead of locking up the dealers? [The government] should focus on the user and try to prevent people from using. Locking [dealers] up is just not the key. This is not a criminal offense. It’s a victimless crime, because nobody is gonna come in and testify and say, “He stuck a gun in my face and robbed me.” There’s never gonna be a victim in these [drug] cases, so they’re gonna have somebody who’s in trouble already and decided to snitch come in and testify and say he saw you do something to somebody that’s never gonna come to court. Then he’s gonna get off so he can go out and sell drugs again, so it’s just a perpetuation of the problem. Incarceration is definitely not the answer. We’re spending billions and billions of dollars every year on incarcerating [convicted drug dealers]. Just to take me to court cost [the taxpayers] $3 million dollars. Just to take me to court! Then they kept me in prison at $40,000 a year for 20 years. And when you take a drug dealer off the streets, how many other drug dealers come in
and take his place? We should be putting all that money into education and prevention. Sounds like the prison system is quite profitable for the private companies that run them. Absolutely. That’s why they only allow the prosecutors, judges, and police officers to invest in them. Everyday citizens can’t invest in the prison industry. All of the prisons in the United States are private. If you’re a government worker, you can invest. It’s definitely a profitable business. In a perfect world, if you were in charge of the government’s War on Drugs, what would you do? I’d start educational programs in the schools. There are basic principles I’ve learned. Anybody in any position can make money if they know these principles. And that’s what I’m doing now – I go all over the country and talk to kids and teach them these principles. For example, 10% of everything you earn is yours to keep. You must save 10% of your money, and that’s the money you’re going to get rich off of. Invest it wisely. You’re working on an autobiographical movie, right? Yeah, I just signed my movie deal. I’m producing it, writing it, directing it, everything. We’re thinking it may take two or three different movies to tell the whole story. There’s a lot that went on in my life. There’s the reporter, Gary Webb, who broke my story in 1995 and then [supposedly] killed himself. There’s the Nicaraguan connection, which involved Oliver North and President Bush and Ronald Reagan. They were all tied into my case. I got my drugs from the Nicaraguans. Then there was the Freeway Task Force, a bunch of cops put together to bring me down. After they started seeing all the money I was making in the drug game, they couldn’t resist. They went from being cops to being robbers and dope dealers themselves.
head with a shotgun. Two shots to the head and they ruled it a suicide? I was in jail [when he died] so the only thing I know is that I didn’t do it. I can guarantee you that, because I was in Texarkana. They just did an article about me and Gary Webb and everything in the Pasadena Weekly. How would you explain the alleged CIA/crack cocaine connection to the younger generation? We’ve always heard that the government put crack and guns in the hood. How accurate are those statements? We found out for an absolute fact that my guy, who I got my drugs from, was a Contra. The Contras were backed by the CIA. The CIA knew that they were selling drugs and turned a blind eye. Not only that, but the CIA went to the Attorney General and asked her to change the law. There was a law that said that they must report drug dealing if they knew about it, and they had that law changed so that they didn’t have to report it. Those are facts that the CIA has admitted. What other projects are you working on? I’m doing my record label now. I’m looking for artists right now and I’ve got a group I’m putting together. I’m finna lock down Hollywood. I felt like the movie was the most important part. I wrote a book... The rest of this interview is featured in Ozone Magazine Issue #85:
Who’s going to play the role of “Freeway” Ricky Ross? I’ve been talking to Columbus Short pretty seriously. He’s come on harder than anybody else. I spoke to a lot of people about it, though. Nelly, Tyrese, Scarface, Don Cheadle, Larenz Tate, Denzel Washington. Snoop Dogg asked for the role. Mark Wahlberg, Brad Pitt, and Leonardo DiCapro are interested in playing Gary Webb, the reporter. Gary has a pretty substantial story too. He was a prize-winning writer who came up dead. Two shots to the OZONE MAG // 75
76 // OZONE MAG
Ozone Mag All Star 2011 special edition