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Putting out an issue called “25 Greatest Southern Artists of All Time” is basically an open invitation to send us hate mail. Selecting the top 25 of anything is a daunting task, especially when you’re dealing with Southern music fans who are fiercely loyal to their region. I’m quite sure that no one will agree 100% with our 25 selections. Florida residents will be pissed that JT Money/Poison Clan aren’t on the list. Atlanta residents will argue for Hitman Sammy Sam. If you’re from Louisiana, you’re probably wondering why Fiend and Soulja Slim aren’t in the top 25. Then, there’s dozens of other artists from Tennessee and Texas and other parts of the South who deserve to be recognized. You can never please everyone, but regardless, this issue is a classic. The 25 Greatest theme was actually MTV’s idea (shouts to Buttahman, Tuma, and Che). Who am I to turn down MTV? In case you skipped over the big-ass ad on the inside cover and went straight to my editorial, April 16th & 17th is OZONE’s Dirty South weekend on MTV Jams. They’ll be airing a two-hour special (which will be re-run numerous times) based on this issue. MTV Jams is a brand-new channel geared towards the urban audience, and it’s nothing but music videos - no commercials. If you don’t get the channel already, call your cable provider to request it. Now, my disclaimer: This is not my list. I repeat, this is not my list. I was wearing diapers while some of these artists were struggling to get record deals. Geto Boys? 2 Live Crew? 8Ball & MJG? Three 6 Mafia? Magic Mike? Way before my time. I’m 23, y’all. I might be a vet in the hustling-to-put-out-a-magazine-every-month department, but I’m a rookie when it comes to Southern music history. That’s why I called on some OG’s like TJ Chapman (TJ’s DJ’s) and FLX (Dirty States of America DVD) as well as some of our in-house Southern music fanatics (Wally Sparks, Matt Sonzala) to come up with this list. Then, MTV crossed out some of our old-school selections and replaced them with newer, more commercial artists. Some of you will object to the inclusion of artists like Lil Flip and Petey Pablo in place of a Devin the Dude or a Soulja Slim, and I feel your pain. But MTV made a valid point: artists like Lil Flip have crossed over into entirely different markets, exposing new listeners to Southern music and paving the way for all of us to make more money. So what’s the criteria? What determines if an artist qualifies as “great”? There’s many things that we took into consideration. How many records have they released? How many records have they sold? How strong is their following? What influence did they have on the artists that came after them? Especially in Southern music, the line between producers and DJs and artists gets blurry. There’s many individuals who have influenced Southern music through their mixtapes or production (for example, DJ Jelly, Jam Pony Express, Jazze Pha) but haven’t technically released an album as an artist. There’s also dozens of Southern artists with a lot of potential who haven’t had the time to prove themselves as “great” yet (almost every artIst on this list has released three or more full-length albums). So why do they qualify as “great” Southern artists? Scarface and the Geto Boys paved the way for Southern music. Uncle Luke and 2 Live Crew defended our freedom of speech. UGK has a diehard fan base and is highly respected by every artist on this list. Outkast? One of the greatest hip-hop groups ever, no question. DJ Screw created a genre. 8Ball & MJG have been in the game for years and are still relevant today. Three 6 Mafia laid the foundation for crunk artists like Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz, who have churned out your favorite club records consistently for the past several years. The Cash Money (Juvenile, Lil Wayne, B.G., etc) and No Limit (Master P, Mystikal, Mia X, etc.) eras gave Southern artists the blueprint to turn independent success into major success. Trick Daddy and Pastor Troy showed us how to get crunk, but still brought a deeper message. David Banner and Petey Pablo put their respective states on the map. Bass music pioneer DJ Magic Mike sold millions of records independently, and CC Lemonhead, Jay-Ski, and Thrill da Playa collectively sold over 60 million albums as Quad City DJs, 69 Boyz, and 95 South. Ludacris and T.I. have sold records and proven themselves as great MCs, period. Goodie Mob and the Dungeon Family brought a fresh sound and a conscience to the industry, while artists like Lil Flip and Jermaine Dupri helped Southern music reach the mainstream. I learned a lot of history putting together this issue, so hopefully you will too. - Julia Beverly, jb@ozonemag.com

Guilty pleasures: B5 “All I Do” & Will Smith “Switch” Mario f/ Jadakiss & T.I. “Let Me Love U (remix)” Daddy Yankee, Pitbull, Lil Jon, Nore “Gasolina (remix)” C-Murder f/ B.G. “Y’all Heard of Me” YoungBloodz f/ Young Buck “Datz Me” Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz f/ Bohagon “Get Crunk” Pretty Ricky & the Maverix “Grind With Me”

Lil Scrappy “Still Down” Tori Alamaze “Don’t Cha” John Legend “Ordinary People” DirtBag “Ladies Love Me” 50 Cent “Baltimore Love Thing” Fantasia “Truth Is”

“I don’t think DJ Magic Mike (#12) ever got his credit. He sold millions of records, straight underground.” - Uncle Luke (#2) “Outkast (#4) has been accepted across the world and are never afraid to reinvent themselves. I have a lot of respect for them as pioneers. They showed us how to crossover and still be respected.” - Pitbull “We used to listen to Three 6 Mafia (#7) and 8Ball & MJG (#6) to get crunk. They paved the way for crunk music because they were always making records for fools get rowdy in the club. ” - Lil Jon (#8) “Before I even signed with Swishahouse, I was jammin’ DJ Screw (#5) tapes. I came up listening to UGK (#3) and the Geto Boys (#1).” - Mike Jones “David Banner (#14) has been real supportive while I’ve been [incarcerated]. He’s a good dude, and a great producer.” - Pimp C (#3) “I’d put up everything I got in the bank on Scarface (#1) versus any rapper in the world. ‘Face is one of the top five rappers, period, not just in the South.” - David Banner (#14) “Master P (#10) had an empire: No Limit everything. He was an entrepreneur. He owned the music industry when his label was at its peak. Mia X (#23) always spit fire; she held her own in a camp full of dudes.” - Lil Jon (#8) “Without the Geto Boys (#1), people like me wouldn’t even be here. They paved the way for all these rappers.” - Chamillionaire “Uncle Luke (#2) revolutionized the game. He distributed his own records; put out whatever the fuck he wanted. He taught muthafuckers how to go get this money. Everything they’re doing now, he’s done already.” - Pitbull “T.I. (#15) showed that Southern cats have lyrics. He represents the average hood cat and is able to articulate it in a way the whole world can understand.” - David Banner (#14) “DJ Screw (#5) didn’t just create a hit record. He created an art form.” - Michael Watts “Ludacris (#13) has a distinct voice, and he’s real creative. He came up in radio, so he’s got a business mentality. I can listen to Ludacris all day long, that’s why [“Get Back”] is the ringtone on my phone.” - Uncle Luke (#2) “Pimp C and Bun B (#3) are great lyricists and dope storytellers, and Pimp C is a dope producer. Free Pimp C, dammit!” - Lil Jon “Lil Jon (#8) took Southern music to the next level. He defined the crunk genre and really kicked the doors open for all of us to make money.” - David Banner (#14) “DJ Screw (#5) was a true artist. He’d paint a picture to make you feel a certain way. His tapes were relaxing, calming.” - OG Ron C OZONE APR 2005

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Profile for Ozone Magazine Inc

Ozone Mag #33 - Apr 2005  

Ozone Mag #33 - Apr 2005

Ozone Mag #33 - Apr 2005  

Ozone Mag #33 - Apr 2005

Profile for ozonemag
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