REAL, RAW, & UNCENSORED SOUTHERN RAP MUSIC OZONE MAGAZINE I WANNA BUY ME A BENZ BUT I’M FIFTY GRAND SHORT
KILLER MIKE JIM JONES POLOW BLOCK 8BALL Z-RO NAS & MORE
RETURN OF THE KINGS
PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Julia Beverly MUSIC EDITOR: Maurice G. Garland FEATURES EDITOR: Eric Perrin ADVERTISING SALES: Che’ Johnson (Gotta Boogie) PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR: Malik “Copafeel” Abdul MARKETING DIRECTOR: David Muhammad LEGAL CONSULTANT: Kyle P. King, P.A. (King Law Firm) SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER: Destine Cajuste ADMINISTRATIVE: Cordice Gardner Nikki Kancey
UGK pg 87-93 Block Ent. pg 82-85
CONTRIBUTORS: Bogan, Carlton Wade, Charlamagne the God, Chuck T, E-Feezy, Edward Hall, Eric Perrin, Felita Knight, Iisha Hillmon, Jacinta Howard, Jaro Vacek, Jessica Koslow, J Lash, Jason Cordes, Jo Jo, Johnny Louis, Kamikaze, Keadron Smith, Keith Kennedy, K.G. Mosley, Killer Mike, King Yella, Lamar Lawshe, Lisa Coleman, Marcus DeWayne, Matt Sonzala, Mercedes (Strictly Streets), Ms. Rivercity, Natalia Gomez, Randy Roper, Ray Tamarra, Rico Da Crook, Robert Gabriel, Rohit Loomba, Shannon McCollum, Spiff, Swift, Wally Sparks, Wendy Day
INTERVIEWS Z-Ro pg 34 Lloyd pg 36 Nas pg 102-105 8Ball pg 100-101 Jim Jones pg 94-96 Killer Mike pg 77-81 Bleu DaVinci pg 64-65 Polow Da Don pg 66-67 Freekey Zekey pg 98-99
STREET REPS: Al-My-T, B-Lord, Big Teach (Big Mouth), Bigg C, Bigg V, Black, Brian Franklin, Buggah D. Govanah (On Point), Bull, C Rola, Cedric Walker, Chill, Chilly C, Chuck T, Controller, DJ Dap, David Muhammad, Delight, Derrick the Franchise, Dolla Bill, Dwayne Barnum, Dr. Doom, Ed the World Famous, Episode, General, Haziq Ali, H-Vidal, Hollywood, J Fresh, Jammin’ Jay, Janky, Joe Anthony, Judah, Kamikaze, KC, Kenneth Clark; Klarc Shepard, Kuzzo, Kydd Joe, Lex, Lil D, Lump, Marco Mall, Miguel, Mr. Lee, Music & More, Nick@Nite, Nikki Kancey, Pat Pat, PhattLipp, Pimp G, Quest, Rippy, Rob-Lo, Stax, TJ’s DJ’s, TJ Bless, Tim Brown, Trina Edwards, Vicious, Victor Walker, Voodoo, Wild Billo, Young Harlem DISTRIBUTION: Curtis Circulation, LLC SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe, send check or money order for $11 to our NEW ADDRESS: Ozone Magazine, Inc. 644 Antone St. Suite 6 Atlanta, GA 30318 Phone: 407-447-6063 Fax: 407-447-6064 Web: www.ozonemag.com Cover credits: UGK photo by Daniel Hastings; Block Entertainment photos (cover and this page) by Eric Johnson; Jim Jones photo by Ray Tamarra; Freekey Zekey photo by Julia Beverly. OZONE Magazine is published monthly by OZONE Magazine, Inc. 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 2007 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.
FEATURES Mixtape Wars pg 40 Poppin’ Bottles pg 26 Year-End Awards pg 70-75 Survivor Confessions pg 62-63 New Year’s Resolutions pg 68-69
MONTHLY SECTIONS Smart Ass pg 24 Chin Check pg 22 JB’s 2 Cents pg 19 Industry 101 pg 42 DJ Profile pg 48-49 Feedback pg 14-16 Mathematics pg 20 Roland Powell pg 19 DVD Reviews pg 110 The Elements pg 113 Producer Profile pg 44 Live Shows pg 112-114 CD Reviews pg 104-107 Photo Galleries pg 21-47 Patiently Waiting pg 50-60 Throwback Reviews pg 112
feedback JB, I heard the OZONE Awards were great. I was sick so I couldn’t make it but I wanted to hit you up and let you know that you are truly doing your thing! I love it when a woman enters a male dominated field and totally takes them all by storm. So many people look down on us and second-guess our abilities, and you have proved so many people wrong. Your ambition inspires me daily to continue to work and grind rigorously to make it in the music industry. I know you had no way of knowing you were inadvertently helping me but I still want to say thank you for setting an example. – Miz Smurff, firstname.lastname@example.org (Jackson, MS)
Issue #51’s Chin Check was right on the money. Charlemagne, you are definitely a hater! But if it takes a hater to recognize the bullshit, then so be it. I agreed with everything you said, from Papoose’s million and a half advance to Jay-Z’s selfish self-promotion. And it is a shame that “Dear Summer” was the most solid song on Memph’s album last year. But like you said, I guess I’m just a hater, too. – Brian Perkins, email@example.com (Greensboro, NC) Props for the OZONE Awards and the follow-up mag. I know all that had to be hard to pull together but you and everyone else involved did a great job.m I’m now an avid reader of OZONE Magazine. – DJ Graffiti, firstname.lastname@example.org (Ann Arbor, MI) I just got the new joint with Pitbull on the cover and I must say that OZONE has taken over the magazine game! I don’t think anyone has even looked at a Source magazine since you came out. Way to kill your competition! You’re better than Clear Channel. The first article I would like to comment on is the Turk article. I can’t wait until he gets out and I can hear him say “rilla” one more time. He spoke about Lil Wayne and Baby being suspect. I have been a fan of Cash Money since I was in elementary school. I would have to see a Cash Money/Young Money sex tape to believe anything about them. Wayne is the truth. I heard that Sqad Up signed with Def Jam. Nut of Sqad Up has already said that he’s better than Weezy on mixtapes, but I beg to differ. The only one that’s kind of tight is Supa. He’s like a new Birdman or something. Did Diddy mess over Young City or what? In the words of Yo Gotti, “Put you on TV and leave you out there with nothing.” He should sign with Young Money or Ear 2 Tha Street. Big shout out to DJ Finesse! When I worked at Hot 104.5 in New Orleans, he was on air. I gained a lot of wisdom and insight from Finesse. He’s definitely one of my mentors in this game. I’m upset with Jackie Chain for wearing a fake Lacoste [gator] shirt in his magazine debut. Step your clothing game up! Did Boleg have on the Girbauds from 1994? Talk about a throwback. He must have just come home. B.O.B. needs to lift some weights to obtain some street credibility. Big shout out to The Bay! They made it cool to not know how to dance. I can just jump around and everyone will check out my new move! I’m mad at the Pac interview. I thought you had some type of exclusive or something. Y’all are worse than Eminem for that. Is Fat Joe the richest guy to never sell records or what? Doesn’t he have like 4,000 pair of Air Force Ones? Big shout out to Fat Joe. When are we going to get the Carmen [Nas’ baby momma] article? - Derrick Francis, email@example.com (Virginia Beach, VA) JB, you’re snapping on this 2 Cents editors piece in the sex issue. Out of control. I don’t know what’s more attractive: your hustle, your confidence, your honesty, your cockiness, or the reveal into your sexuality. Damn. – Shala, firstname.lastname@example.org (Chicago, IL) Hey JB, you’re getting me started again. Every time I read your 2 Cents it reminds me that there’s someone else out there who feels the way I do. Musical styles and cultures don’t matter – the same principles apply. Believe me when I say I felt you with the line, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” Keep in mind that when you feel that way, there’s someone else out there who feels you. I’m getting so sick of the ignorance, stupidity, incompetence and bullshit in this world. You’re a special person and the vast majority of people are stupid cocksuckers who will inevitably get what they deserve. I could keep going and going, but I’d end up typing a whole fuckin’ book, so I’ll stop now. Hope this helps you keep your chin up. OZONE fuckin’ rocks! – David Himes, email@example.com (Orlando, FL) 14
JB, I just read your editorial in the patiently waiting issue. I don’t know if you’re still feeling disillusioned with the game, but if you are, I say this to you: You are definitely serving a bigger purpose! You are serving as an inspiration and reminder to all of us who are grinding and still have to deal with dickhead (male) bosses, clients, interview subjects, etc., who refuse to give us props because we carry two Xs. No matter what anyone has to say about you, the amount of respect you deserve is undeniable to even the biggest hater! More importantly, you’re paving a path for the next generation! I don’t know if you have a little sister, little cousin, or niece, or any little girl with whom you share a bond, but know that indirectly through people like me, you are taking your place in history with the Gloria Steinems, Mona Scotts, and Sylvia Rhones of the world. This may be a moot point by now so I’m not gonna keep on and on, but the list goes on. I was in Orlando til 1996 and would’ve never thought it would be home to one of the biggest magazines in hip-hop, much less a hip-hop award show. You’ve surmounted tremendous obstacles, and if no one else has said it, I’m proud of you! That’s my 2 Cents. – Tai Saint-Louis, firstname.lastname@example.org (Atlanta, GA) JB, I just wanted to hit you up and give you a huge congrats. You’ve been dedicated, determined, and truly accomplished so much. I know how hard it is to stay committed to your passion when life keeps shoving shit at you, but look at how far you’ve reached: the OZONE Awards! I love that you and your magazine have been so committed to the underdogs - many of which have proven successful. I’m wishing you lots of love and future success. - RudeGal, email@example.com (Los Angeles, CA) JB, I read your 2 Cents about the OZONE Awards, and God bless you. Seriously. I could never handle that shit, I don’t think. I definitely don’t think you need to be quitting right now, but that goes without saying. OZONE is only just now starting to do big things and a year from now it could be one of the biggest hip-hop mags in the nation. Especially if you had some exclusively online content, like a blog or two. Keep your head up. - Paul DeRevere, firstname.lastname@example.org (Tallahassee, FL) Julia, how are you doing? I just heard of OZONE when one of my cousins, Eclipse, was featured in the Patiently Waiting edition page 62. I read your article about not being able to distinguish between God’s work or the devil’s. I feel like that too, it’s very confusing. On a lighter note, I don’t know why you don’t like your job. It should be interesting. You don’t look like someone who would be interested in hip-hop, but I guess looks can be deceiving. - Ruby Parker, email@example.com (Jackson, MS) Yo, here’s my feelings on that last issue, with Pitbull on the cover. Let me start by saying that I represent Bompton, Killafornia, and we’re feeling the South over here no matter what dudes might wanna say in the streets. Bottom line is, plenty of people are bumpin’ that Southern shit. But I gotta bring forth some criticisms and a bit of that hate because a lot of your contributors ain’t actin’ right. First off, the main thing your magazine be lacking is good interviews. Most of these questions remind me of lil’ street ‘zines done by teenagers that are just getting started out and don’t understand the concept of asking shit that stimulates an artist’s mind. On top of that, you guys be filling up your magazine with too much bullshit, a.k.a. filler. The Tupac interview was stupid. Honestly, were you that desperate to fill up a couple pages? And you listed it on the cover? Yeah, shit was cute and probably took a little time to do, but it’s the second prime example of filler I’ve seen in your magazine lately. The first was the last issue where you had literally twenty pages of lil’ pictures of dudes “chunkin’ the deuce.” Yeah, The Source was full of haters for a while (which I guess has been fixed) and XXL is on 50’s dick hard, but you guys ain’t on the same level as either of them for one reason and one alone: content. The South is hot shit right now with plenty going on. Write hot articles to chronicle that shit. Shouldn’t be that hard. - Brazy the Kid, firstname.lastname@example.org (California) Send your comments to: email@example.com OZONE Magazine reserves the right to edit for length or clarity.
jb’s 2 cents
o go to war, or not to go to war? That is the question I’ve been asking myself lately. And it seems that I am not the only one. We’ve got Lil Wayne going at Jay-Z, Young Jeezy going at Nas, UGK’s inspirational Southern anthem “Quit Hatin’ The South,” and countless other signs of the beginning of the Rap Civil War. When this discussion arose yesterday at MTV, the point was correctly made that we at OZONE have a large responsibility to either propel this North vs. South war - as other magazines were accused of doing with the East vs. West, which ended with Tupac and Biggie’s deaths - or to stop it.
10 Things I’m Hatin’ On By Roland “Lil Duval” Powell
Disclaimer: Some of these are not meant to be funny, but they’re all real (I’m going through some shit).
New Yorkers are haters. This is pretty much a well-known documented fact. New York rappers admit this; the biggest reason they can’t seem to make hits right now is that they all hate each other. They hated on the West, they hate on the South, they hate on themselves.
1. VH1’s The Fabulous Life Of… If you ever want to know that your life ain’t shit, watch this show. 2. Shout Outs If you’re mad at someone because they didn’t give you a shout out, you’re lame as hell. A nigga has so much on his mind most of the time, it’s not intentional. Plus, just because a nigga shouts you out, that shit is not gonna change your life.
Me & Unk in Atlanta
3. BET’s Hip-Hop Awards Is it just me, or when you finished watching the awards did you say, “I can’t believe I missed Deal Or No Deal? for this”? 4. Snitches I play a lot, but on the real, snitching is fucking up the streets where I’m from. I don’t care how close you think that nigga is to you; he will snitch. And to all the snitches: Once you work for them crackers, you never stop working. 5. Disloyal Niggas I’ve learned the hard way to only fuck with niggas that are doing something, cause everyone else is just there to eat the fruits of your labor and doesn’t respect what it took for you to get there.
Davey D, me, and TJ in Oakland
Our favorite pose
6. Ignorant Niggas A nigga gon’ tell me that I don’t rep where I’m from – now if that ain’t the most ignorant shit I’ve ever heard. Nobody outside of Florida would know what Duval was if it wasn’t for me. That’s why I call myself Lil Duval. Whenever I can’t rep, I still rep it whenever they say my name, dummies. 7. MTV’s Sweet 16 Show Man, ain’t nobody spending that much money on they kid’s birthday. 8. Some Niggas Who Are Locked Up My nigga Plies said niggas forget about you when your bid long, which is true, but every nigga that’s locked up ain’t real. Some of them are supposed to be there. Some niggas take the people around them for granted and when they get locked up, that’s when they want you to be there. 9. Wanting To Blow Up If you have a time limit on when you’re gonna “make it,” you might as well quit cause it’s not gonna happen. You should be in the game because you love it. It might look like people blow up overnight, but most of those people have been in the game for at least ten years. 10. Kramer from Seinfeld Fuck this cracker and everybody that’s like him. I did a diss record on him – go to myspace.com/rolandpowell to listen to it.
OZONE & BET are friends again!
But I do think that much of the New York attitude towards the rest of the country comes from ignorance and apathy and is misinterpreted as “hate.” Much of the energy in our music comes from our surroundings. You can’t fully appreciate bass music until you’ve sweated your ass off in a Florida night club or picked up a Miami underground station, static and all, while cruising down 95 South. You won’t fully appreciate T.I. and the P$C’s “Bankhead” until you see them perform it live, at their club, in Bankhead. You won’t totally understand why Screw music is considered an art form until you’ve spent enough time in Houston to feel how the music grew from the city. You won’t give a fuck about hyphy until you’ve listened to it riding over the Bay Bridge at night or fought through the crowd at the BARS Awards. I’ve done all of the above, so I would know. And, I suppose, we can’t quite relate to that “real hip-hop” because we don’t have to listen to music on headphones while riding the subway every day, nor do we in the South (generally speaking) use spray-paint as a form of expression. The point is, everyone needs to get out more, especially New Yorkers. God put green grass, blue skies, lakes, and all that shit here on earth to calm us down. I’d probably be a hater too if I lived in an apartment the size of a refrigerator box, and every day I had to ride the subway with dozens of total strangers, wear multiple layers of clothing, and smell piles of garbage bags everywhere I went. So do yourselves a favor and get out of your borough. Come down South, or go to the Midwest, or the West, fuck it, wherever, just get out of New York and wipe that smirk of superiority off your face and treat us with respect and I guarantee you’ll get the same courtesy back. As much as I love a good battle, we have to remind ourselves that war always comes with a cost - not just for the loser, but the winner as well. The hidden costs of war are hard to measure. And at the end of the day, even if the South is controlling the airwaves and the music we hear at the clubs, the checks are still signed in New York and L.A.. By attacking the East coast, we’d only give them motivation to push back harder at us. We’d probably help unify them by giving them a common cause, a vendetta, a goal to rally behind. And the real secret to winning is success. We’re already achieving success in our own markets, so why waste our energy? All we have to do is keep doing what we’ve been doing. Besides, we all have a greater purpose, and it’s bigger than North vs. South. The powers that be love to see us wasting our time on stupid shit and not paying attention to what’s really going on in the world. So even though I am declaring myself anti-Civil War, this editorial wouldn’t be complete without quoting Pimp C: Y’all should have listened to Andre, bitch. We got something to say.
Me & Money Waters in Dallas
- Julia Beverly, firstname.lastname@example.org
Young Jeezy “Let’s Just Say” Lil Boosie “Goin’ Through Some Things” Beyonce “Irreplaceable” Mr. Marcelo f/ Z-Ro “Swang & Swerve” UGK f/ Jazze Pha “Stop & Go” Young Buck f/ Jazze Pha “I Know You Want Me” David Banner “Man Up” Jay-Z f/ Chrisette Michele “Lost One”
jb’splaylist Akon “Don’t Matter” Lil Boosie “Movies” B.O.B. “Ur Love” Mistah FAB “Ghostride It” 19
STRUCTURE & ORGANIZATION by Rap Coalition’s Wendy Day www.WendyDay.com
ne of the main things we lack in urban music is structure for our companies. Sometimes it seems that those who have the money have mediocre music, and those without real funding have the best shit, but whether this is true or not, one thing everyone seems to be missing is the proper structure to run a company like a real business. It starts with the basics. Have a mailing address, a phone number that actually gets answered and doesn’t get shut off due to nonpayment issues. If someone calls you, make sure you return the call in a timely fashion (more than two days is unacceptable; this is one of my biggest flaws, so I understand how difficult it is to be on point when you get upwards of 200 calls a day). If you can’t call everybody back, have someone on your staff help you (even an intern returning calls is better than not calling people back). If you attend an industry function or if you have meetings, have a business card with all of your information on it (name, position, company name, address, phone number, website address, email address, etc). A business card is how people will remember you, so make it stand out and make it look good. If you want to run a business, then you have to run the business. When you owe someone money, pay them. If a bill is due on the 5th of the month, pay it before the 5th so it arrives at its destination before the due date. This seems to be the hardest thing to accomplish in this industry: getting paid when owed money. Don’t pay by a check that might bounce, either pay by certified check or wire transfer. If you want to be taken seriously in this industry, you have to be serious. If you are a deadbeat, word spreads very quickly. I consistently call out people publicly who have owed me money. If I don’t do business with you, chances are no one else will either; what happens to your company when no one will work with you? Make sure your company is set up properly as a corporation, so you can’t get sued personally for something that could go wrong. If something can go wrong, it usually does. And while you can’t plan for every mishap, you can protect yourself from the ones that are big problems. Setting up a corporation with the proper business licenses to operate in your city or town, and paying the proper taxes on your income (city, state, and federal) are all part of operating a legitimate business. If you don’t understand what you need to do, ask an accountant or the local office of the Small Business Administration (www.sba. org). Your corporation must be kept in good standing every year with your state. Find out how to do that, and do it. Set up a bank account in your company name and pay all of your company bills from this account. Be careful not to pay any personal things out of this account because business and personal funds should never co-mingle. Secure agreements in writing with all artists, featured side artists, producers, consultants, and contractors that you hire to help your project or company. Do not use standardized forms because every agreement is unique. A contract is an agreement between two people, and they are rarely uniform agreements. A contract bought off the internet for a few hundred dollars may save you some money now, but it will cost you more down the road when a disgruntled artist wants to break it (and they will, and I will help them for free). If you have a song that may go to radio soon, set up your writer’s share and publishing company with one of the performance rights societies (www. ascap.com, www.bmi.com, or www.sesac.com), as well as the one for digital music (www.soundexchange.com). If you are putting out your own CD, you will need to get your own barcode and possibly trademark your artists’ names and label’s name. Nothing would suck more than to have to change your artist’s name or company name down the road (after you’ve spent all that money) because someone else across the country used it first or registered the trademark. Pay a little bit now to do it right, or pay a lot more later to fix a problem. Most importantly, do what you say you are going to do. If you tell someone you are going to do something, do it. If you say you’ll do it by a certain time, 20
then that’s your deadline, so do it before then. Have a space dedicated to work. It doesn’t have to be a fancy office, it just has to be a space where you can get work done and have some helpers come and work. It takes a team of people to make a project succeed. No one person can do it all alone. Even if you start with interns instead of employees, you at least have help doing the work. Keep your work space as work oriented as possible. Smoking blunts, playing video games, or macking hoes has no place in an office environment, so keep it out. Your work space is for work. If you set the tone, others will follow. All of the most successful companies have discipline and rules of conduct. The most successful ones actually follow them rigidly. Make sure everyone knows what is expected of them in your office environment. Each job should have a written job description so each person knows their role. And each person should play their role. If there is a written description of what’s expected of each person, there is also a way to measure their success, or failure, in that position. Get rid of the folks who aren’t successful at what they do, and reward the ones who are. Having your own company entails more than just having a business card, it actually means you have to work and succeed at it. Don’t floss unless you’ve really earned it, unless you enjoy being perceived as a clown. Learn the things that you don’t know but need to know to succeed. Ask others who have accomplished similar things before you, pick up a book, or hire an experienced consultant to guide you if you can afford it. Make sure that you are learning as you go, and don’t be afraid to ask over and over until it’s crystal clear to you. Learn who the key players in the industry are and study the moves they’ve made and are making. Learn why they have value to the industry. If you study their successes and their mistakes, you won’t be doomed to repeat them. Set the tone in your office that you are approachable, open minded, and eager to problem solve, and your staff will learn to trust you by telling you the truth. Without knowing what’s real and true, you can’t run an effective organization. Better to know what you are dealing with so you can react appropriately, than to be led down the wrong road costing you tons of money. Running a company in the music business is nothing like running an organization on the streets or like moving weight. This is a completely different beast, even though it often gets compared to “the game.” It takes tremendous hustle, relationships and connections, and incredible preparation. Those without tenacity and staying power will be weeded out quickly. I’ve been doing this for 15 years, and can count on my fingers and toes the amount of people still in the business from when I started. It is a difficult industry that chews people up and spits them out. Even though there are an inordinate amount of snakes in this industry, the good thing is that people show their true colors very quickly, so it doesn’t take long to tell who the scumbags are. Ask around. Most people who’ve gotten burned are happy to share their experiences with anyone who will listen. Just remember there are two sides to every story, so ask around to a lot of different people to get the best understanding of who’s who. Check the references of everyone you do business with. Just because someone tells you they can accomplish something, doesn’t mean they can or ever have before. This is an industry that attracts idiots and people who claim to be something they are not. Don’t get caught out there by one because they kicked good game and sounded like they knew what they were talking about. If we had a little more business going on in the music BUSINESS, everyone would make a lot more money. Having your company properly structured and organized is key to achieving success and keeping the success flowing. When the money does finally start rolling in, it comes very fast. And when you get busy, finding the time to go back and fix all of the problems is impossible. So do it right the first time!
01: Rick Ross and Carol City Cartel @ Roxy during Florida Classic Weekend (Orlando, FL) 02: Xtaci and Tiny @ Coco’s (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) 03: David Banner and Mr. DJ @ Justin’s for Patchwerk Studios Producers Ball (Atlanta, GA) 04: Stax and Benz @ Freelon’s for Cadillac Don & J-Money’s release party (Jackson, MS) 05: DJ Entice, Big Will, Tony Neal, Mr. Mauricio, and DJ Camillo @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 06: Kawan Prather and Rico Love @ Verve for Interscope’s pre-BET Hip-Hop Awards party (Atlanta, GA) 07: DJ Khaled and DJ Nasty @ Roxy during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 08: Big Teach and K-Foxx @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 09: Lil Boosie and Bald Head @ Firestone during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 10: Jeff Johnson and the Bishop of Crunk @ Turner Field for BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 11: Cory Mo and Brooke valentine @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 12: Dre and Adassi @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 13: Acafool and Rich Boy @ BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 14: Poetic and his brothers @ House of Blues (Orlando, FL) 15: OG Ron C, Slim Thug, and Cory Mo @ Studio 7303 (Houston, TX) 16: DJ Drama and Willie the Kid @ Jab’s Ultra Bar for Freekey Zekey’s welcome home party (Greensboro, NC) 17: 4-Ize and Ludacris @ Club 1150 (Atlanta, GA) 18: Chamillionaire and Mistah FAB @ Turner Field for BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 19: DJ Princess Cut, Sean Paul, and guest @ Club 112 for BME’s BET Hip-Hop Awards pre-party (Atlanta, GA) 20: Lil Joe and Nick the Next One @ Rhythm City for OZONE & Clout Thanksgiving party (Dallas, TX) 21: Bigg V, Bless O, Young Tut, and the FAM Team @ Fugee’s for OZONE & Urban South After-Thanksgiving Party (Cleveland, MS) Photo Credits: Eric Perrin (10,17); J Lash (02); Julia Beverly (01,04,06,07,08,09, 12,13,16,18,19,20,21); Keadron Smith (11,15); Malik Abdul (05); Maurice Garland (03); Ms. Rivercity (14)
HIP-HOP’s 10 COMMANDMENTS by Charlamagne Tha God www.CThaGod.com
o, 2007 is finally here. The Bush administration has less than two years left to start World War III and send us all to an early death, but that’s another story. A lot of people – mostly up North cats – were not pleased with hip-hop in 2006. No disrespect to Nas, because he’s my second favorite emcee of all time, but Hip Hop is dead, my ass. But I can understand why people would think that, especially when you saw all the snapping of the fingers, the chicken noodle souping, and all the other bullshit songs that I refused to dance to. I did find myself shoulder leaning, and leaning with it and rocking with it minus the snapping. That snapping shit is gay. I can’t help but think of them homosexuals on In Living Color when I see people doing that shit. Other than that, I thought it was a great year for the hip-hop community: T.I.’s King, Ghostface’s Fishscale joint, Nas’ Hip-Hop Is Dead, The Game’s Doctors Advocate, and Jim Jones had everybody “Ballinnnnnn’!” Young Jeezy put out a bangin’ mixtape and it was just a good year for music overall. I just pray that in 2007 we see more artists being socially responsible and trying to make a difference in the culture. I feel like there needs to be rules to this game called Hip Hop. In the words of Biggie Smalls: “I been in this game for years, it’s made me an animal / It’s rules to this shit, I made me a manual / A step-by-step booklet for you to get your game on track, not your wig pushed back.” The manual is called “The Ten Commandments of Hip Hop.” If these whores like Superhead and Carmen Bryan can get a book deal, you think I can’t? Watch my dirtroad magic salute to Robert Green (author of the “48 Laws of Power”). Let’s get money, homie! In the meantime, here are “The Ten Commandments of Hip Hop.” 10. Thou Must Not Promote All Things Ghetto Your lyrics should not celebrate the ghetto life by reminiscing about your days in poverty, your mother on welfare, and your father not being there. Instead of celebrating and embracing the poverty, crime, and ignorance of the ghetto, we should be encouraging our people to move on up out of the ghetto like the Jeffersons. 09. Thou Must Advocate Anything Of Social Redeeming Value Your lyrics should show that you are aware of the social, political, and economic reality of your community. The consumer should be able to tell that you read more than The Source or XXL. 08. Thou Shalt Have A Sense of History Emcees should refer to historical events that may cause the listener to think about his/her relation to history. Your role is to entertain and educate. Instead of mentioning names like Jacob the Jeweler and Versace, mention names like W.E.B. Dubois and Louis Farrakhan. 07. Thou Must Not Worship Money And The “Bling Bling” You must not talk about money and “bling bling” as if it were a living, breathing thing. Your lyrics should not put money and “bling bling” over love, family, or religion (see next commandment). 06. Thou Must Talk About God And Spirituality Emcees should not condone atheism and a false belief system that does not acknowledge the existence of a higher being. You should promote the spiritual beliefs that may have been instilled in you by your family – especially since the first thing rappers say when they win an award is, “I want to thank God.” 05. Thou Must Not Celebrate The Drug Culture Drugs are destroying the black community. There isn’t a dope boy in the 22
country who actually wants to be a dope boy. The “trap” is just that: a trap. You’ll either end up in jail or dead. It’s like playing Russian roulette with your life. Trap or die? You might as well die, because in the trap you’re killing yourself and your community, slowly but surely. 04. Thou Must Not Promote Promiscuity Emcees should promote a deep sense of love and marriage. You should talk about commitment, bonding, and intimacy. Rappers talk about having lots of sex, but not about the fact that blacks represent 57% of all AIDS cases in the United States even though we only make up 13% of the population. 03. Thou Must Not Lust After Things That Don’t Belong To You This law does not advocate emcees going after the material possessions of someone else in the community. By keeping this commitment, you promise to promote a strong work ethic in your music and speak out against greed, lust, and impulsive behavior. Besides, robbery and rape charges carry a lot of time. 02. Thou Must Not Kill Emcees should not lyrically take the life of another black person in order to secure a hit CD. If the artist doesn’t value the life of someone else on a record, then the consumer he (or she) influences won’t value the life of someone else in the street. 01. Thou Must Not Disrespect Black Women Rap music today is psychologically breeding a generation of bitches, whores, and sluts. Women are not our sexual playtoys, they are the greatest natural resource on the planet. Without them, we can’t create life, and I know you don’t want a nation of bitches, whores, and sluts raising your babies. Instead of disrespecting black women, empower them by letting them know they are queens, mothers of the planet earth, and their purpose is not to be shaking their asses in music videos.
01: Lil Jon and Tigger @ Club 112 (Atlanta, GA) 02: DJ Khaled and Jason Geter @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 03: Cool & Dre @ Coco’s (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) 04: DJ Mars and DJ Fahrenheit @ Verve for Interscope’s BET Hip-Hop Awards preparty (Atlanta, GA) 05: Slim Thug and Tigger @ BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 06: Benz and Pookie @ Fugee’s for OZONE & Urban South party (Cleveland, MS) 07: Chingo Bling, Spark Dawg, DJ Grip, and Carnival Beats @ Hot 93.3 Meltdown (Austin, TX) 08: Tiny and T.I. @ Coco’s (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) 09: Black-O and J-Nice @ Club Miami (Atlanta, GA) 10: Big Teach and Cipha Sounds @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 11: Shondrae “Bangladesh” Crawford and Mr. DJ @ Justin’s for Patchwerk Studios Producers Ball (Atlanta, GA) 12: Petey Pablo and DJ Bulletproof (Miami, FL) 13: Street Jamz @ the Club at Firestone (Orlando, FL) 14: Big Will and Tony Neal @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 15: Bow Wow and Dat Boy Short @ Studio 7303 for Bow Wow’s listening session (Houston, TX) 16: J Prince and Pimp C @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 17: E-Class, Rick Ross, and DJ Khaled @ Roxy during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 18: DJ Drama and Bibi Guns @ Jab’s Ultra Bar for Freekey Zekey’s welcome home party (Greensboro, NC) 19: Sheek Dawg, Erica Grayson, Polow Da Don, Ethiopia Habternariam, Rich Boy, and Keri Hilson @ BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 20: Spiff, Marlon, Rated R, DJ Nasty, J-Dawg, and LVM @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 21: Street League @ the Roxy during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) Photo Credits: Eric Perrin (05); J Lash (03,08,12); Julia Beverly (01,02,04,06,09,10, 13,14,17,18,19,21); Keadron Smith (15); Luxury Mindz (07); Malik Abdul (16,20); Maurice Garland (11)
PERFORM LIKE A PRO by Ms. Rivercity
hen it comes to performing, there’s a little more to it than just hopping on stage and lip synching your homemade classics. Well, not much more but I had to come up with this article so I just made some stuff up. Some of this advice may actually come in handy. Even the pros have encountered a tough crowd every now and then. Just ask Lil Wayne or Lil Scrappy.
If you can’t decide which songs would make for the best show, just perform them all. It might take all night and the crowd might get bored as hell, but as long as you’re entertained, who cares? If you have a hit song that everybody knows and likes, it’s a good idea to leave this song off the roster. If they already know the words, why would they need to see you perform it? Plus, you’re probably sick of hearing the same song over and over again, and like I said, what the fans want to hear is beside the point. After all, it is your show.
putting you on their stage, giving you access to their patrons, and helping you get exposure but you’re the one that has to get up there in front of everybody and act like a clown. When it comes to a reasonable compensation amount, just ask for the same amount T.I. gets paid. You deserve it. Demand a percentage of the ticket sales plus a cut of the bar profits and if sales for the night are poor and you don’t get your cut, pitch a fit and cuss out everyone within earshot. Sure you may burn some valuable bridges, but in the end, they need you more than you need them. The most important part of the contract is the rider which states your list of requirements. Even though you just started making music yesterday, you should still be treated like royalty. It’s totally acceptable to ask for limo transportation, some penthouse suites, radio advertisement, 20 buckets of chicken wings, 13 bags of skittles, 482 orange M&Ms – separated for your convenience, 5 bottles of Grey Goose, 6 bottles of Cristal, a bag of kush, and a couple of strippers for your backstage enjoyment.
You want to have the shittiest equipment possible when performing on stage. The reason for this is if you forget your lyrics or stumble over the words, you can just blame the faulty microphone or CD player. Radio Shack makes some pretty good mics and PA systems for the low. Trust me, I’ve seen them. Another important piece of equipment is the actual CD with your music. Never bring more than one copy with you to a show; backups are for people who have too much time on their hands.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Practicing is for jits. Nobody expects you to know every word to your songs anyway. Your audience paid good money to see you screw up every now and then. Watching an artist run out of breath half way through a song is extremely amusing. The best part is when you fuck up so badly that you have to restart the entire song from the beginning. Personally, I’m not a satisfied spectator until everyone in the crowd is embarrassed for the performer. The only thing you need to do prior to a show is get belligerently drunk. This way when you mess up you can start screaming at the soundman, throw down your microphone and storm off stage. Everyone will excuse your behavior because you’re just so cool. Now that’s how to act like a true rock star!
Start letting people know about your show two hours before you perform. If they don’t show up for some ridiculous reason, call them and rant about how you’re never going to support them in anything they do cause they’re not really down for you. Or if you want to avoid this scenario, start promoting heavily a month in advance. Then about two weeks before the show stop putting out flyers and reminding people about the show. They should have programmed the date in their Blackberries or Sidekicks by now. For more tips on promotion, check out Promote Like a Pro in October’s issue.
Nobody is going to take you seriously as an artist unless you bring 50 other random people on stage with you. They don’t have to serve a legitimate purpose; they just need to stand there and mean mug the audience. Plus if you crowd the stage with a bunch of goons, it’ll give you an excuse to stand in one spot the whole time. This completely eliminates the need for good stage presence. Also, make sure every member of your entourage carries a loaded firearm. This way if anyone in the audience starts booing you or walking away early, y’all can bust off a few shots to show you mean business.
SECURITY’S MAIN FUNCTION IS TO SELECT GROUPIES, aND THEY SHOULD ALSO BE ABLE TO PISS OFF LEGITIMATE MEDIA OUTLETS WHO ARE THERE TO COVER YOUR EVENT.
This goes along with practicing. It’s unnecessary and takes away valuable time you could be using to get drunk and pull hoes. Nobody really expects you to make an extra trip to the venue to make sure your show runs smoothly. Sound check is for the DJ, sound man, club owner, show promoter, bartenders, your hype men, basically everyone but you. If you do decide to show up, make sure you’re at least four hours late. Stars never arrive on time.
These days, security is a must-have for any artist, especially with all these chickenheads running around. Security’s main function is to select your groupies for the night, so make sure they can tell the difference between a dime and a nickel. They should also be able to piss off legitimate media outlets who are there to cover your event.
When performing for compensation, there needs to be some type of written agreement between the artist and the venue/promoter. By the way, you should always demand to be paid for your time, even if this is your first show and you have absolutely no fan base. These promoters are 24
You probably don’t have much money for promotional items since you spent it all on them Girbaud jeans and Versace shades. That’s cool; you can just burn a bunch of your songs onto some cheap CD-Rs and sell them for $10. If you want to give your fans a real deal, include a free t-shirt. Make sure it’s one of those extra thin tees that shrinks up as soon as it gets wet. Take a magic marker and write some gangsta cliché on the front like “I’m a Hustler” or “24 Hour Grind”. Entrepreneurship at its finest.
Let’s be honest, it’s hard getting booked as the opening act or headliner. But you can always throw your own showcase with other starving artists. This way it doesn’t matter if any fans show up cause the place will be packed with a hundred other local musicians. Time will probably run out before they all get to perform and it’ll stir up all kinds of animosity, but at least you’ll get your shine on. Plus you can trick people into thinking you’re helping the community with a local talent showcase. Nobody will ever suspect you’re just trying to get on. And that concludes this month’s lesson for making it big. If you want to send me any fan mail or cuss me out for being a smartass, hit me up at www.myspace.com/msrivercity. Make sure you download my exclusive sarcasm font while you’re there.
01: Young Dro and JackiO @ Coco’s (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) 02: Joie Manda, Supa Cindy, Jim Jones, and Street Dogg @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 03: BloodRaw and crew @ Karma for Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 04: Micha, DJ Irie, Monica, and DJ Vice @ Sobe Live for OZONE & Stack$ release party (Miami, FL) 05: Mya and Slim Thug @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 06: Cadillac Don and J-Money @ Freelon’s for their album release party (Jackson, MS) 07: Rico Wade and Bangladesh @ Justin’s for Patchwerk Studios Producers Ball (Atlanta, GA) 08: Cam’Ron signing autographs (Greensboro, NC) 09: TJ Chapman and 2Face @ the Club at Firestone during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 10: DJ Ideal and Clinton Sparks @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 11: DJ Nasty, TJ Chapman, and Disco @ the Club at Firestone during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 12: Willie Fischer and Baby @ Roxy during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 13: Kareem Johnson and Moe Green @ Club 112 for BME’s BET Hip-Hop Awards preparty (Atlanta, GA) 14: U2DK CEO and Eclipse @ Fugee’s for OZONE & Urban South After-Thanksgiving Party (Cleveland, MS) 15: Young Jeezy and T.I. @ Coco’s (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) 16: Rick Ross, Brisco, and DJ Khaled @ Roxy during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 17: Dwayne Wade, Lil Wayne, and Chris Paul @ Pearl’s (Miami, FL) 18: Polow da Don, Bishop of Crunk, Too $hort, and Kinfolk Nakia Shine @ the BET HipHop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 19: Mike Jones, Lil Keith, and Johnny the Jeweler on the set of Lil Flip’s “Ghetto Mindstate” (Houston, TX) 20: Cubo, Pitbull, DJ Ideal, and Jim Jonsin @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 21: Fidel Cashflow, Ramza Aleem, and White Dawg @ Screamer’s (Orlando, FL) Photo Credits: J Lash (01,15,17); Julia Beverly (02,06,08,09,10,11,12,13,16, 18); Keadron Smith (05,19); Malik Abdul (04,20); Maurice Garland (07); Ms. Rivercity (21); Terrence Tyson (03)
S E L T T O B OLKS F ’ T N N I E R P E P F F I O D P S FOR K N I R D T N E R DIFFE N
ew Year’s Eve is a holiday for drinkers and everybody in the world will be drinking a glass of something when the clock strikes midnight; the question is, “what?” Now that Jay-Z and most of the rap industry have boycotted Cristal champagne, everyone is left to find a new bubbly to buy, however not everyone’s budget will afford them top shelf beverages. Here are OZONE’s predictions for who will be poppin’ what this New Year’s:
Jay-Z: Armand de Brignac Champagne
In the “Show Me What You Got” video, Jay-Z rejected a bottle of Cristal for his new love, Armand de Brignac Champagne. Supposedly, Jay even met with this high class bubbly’s owners to discuss an endorsement deal. Nobody has really heard of Armand de Brignac before, but you can bet it will sell now that Jay-Z is drinking it.
We all know that DipSet archrival Jay-Z is boycotting Cristal because of racist comments made against rappers, but that won’t stop Cam, Jones or Juelz from poppin’ gold labeled bottles of Cristal this New Year’s Eve. They’ll do anything out of Hov Hatred.
R. Kelly: Warm Piss
Kels’ legal problems have prohibited him from urinating on underage girls, but the law never stated that he can’t receive his own golden showers. After realizing he has an obsession with human apple juice, R. Kelly decides to taste his own pee and instantly finds a new beverage of choice.
Kanye West: Red Whine
Lloyd Banks: Rotten Apple Cider
(That’s not a typo) Kanye will probably sit at home on his Louie Vuitton couch this New Year’s while he flips back and forth between MTV to BET on his 76 inch plasma television, sipping red wine while he whines about Touch the Sky not being the first video played in 2007. Yes, Lloyd Banks caught a bad case of the sophomore slump when his Rotten Apple CD flopped like a fish out of fresh water. Young Buck is now the last hope for all G-Unit artists not named Curtis Jackson. Banks’ failed attempt leaves him sippin’ on rotten apple cider with a bitter taste in his mouth. Happy New Year!
50 Cent: Formula 50 Vitamin Water
50 Cent gets paid to endorse Glaceau Vitamin Water and he even owns part of the multimillion dollar company. It’s a celebration for 50 every time he opens a bottle of that watered down Kool-Aid tasting drink; New Year’s Eve makes the occasion even better.
Michael Jackson: Jesus Juice
Expect the King of Pop to be by himself on New Year’s Eve drinking “Jesus Juice” and fantasizing about short little boys in compromising situations. MJ will then call his sister Janet to see if Jermaine Dupri is available to play.
John Legend: Arbor Mist
On New Year’s Eve John Legend will have one too many bottles of Arbor Mist and announce his homosexuality to the world. Look for John Legend to be the Homo Hoe of the year in 2007, where he will date everyone from Farnsworth Bentley to Elton John.
Block and Yung Joc: Courvoisier XO
Last year at this time nobody knew who Yung Joc was, and Block was barely known outside the South. In just 12 short months these two have catapulted to world fame, so you can bet they’ll be drinking good this New Year’s Eve.
Young Jeezy: Patron and Weed
Patron and weed, that’s all Jeezy needs. The Snowman will be so drunk and high on New Year’s Eve that he probably won’t know when midnight strikes, but anybody that listened to his most recent Gangsta Grillz mixtape knows that as long as Jeezy has Patron and weed he’ll be good. That’s riiight! 26
by Eric Perrin
Lupe Fiasco: Decaf Latte
Lil Jon: CRUNK!!! Energy Drink
T.I.: Grey Goose
Busta Rhymes: Juice
The Game: Nothing
UGK: Dom Perignon
Bow Wow: Juicy Juice
Gucci Mane: 211 Steel Reserve
Snoop Dogg: Gin and Juice
Princess of Crime Mob: Whole Milk
Baby: Hennessey and Extacy
Beanie Sigel: Promethezine and Robitussin
Sure the name of his CD was Food and Liquor, but judging by the way Lupe looks, we doubt if he actually drinks alcohol. We see Lupe as the Starbucks type who won’t drink liquor or eat meat unless his girlfriend forces him to. It’s his drink and crunk ain’t dead yet, so of course Lil Jon will be getting crunk this New Year’s with cans full of horny goat weed and Ashwaganda to spare. CRUNK!!! will do both Jon and his wife justice. Plus, it goes well with almost any liquor. Drink CRUNK!!! homie! Tip has recently redefined his image to become more of a classy looking guy, but don’t let the tight-fitting dress shirts and slacks fool you, Tiny’s man is still a G. Grey Goose is a good compromise that fits both of his personalities; it’s both high class and hood at the same time. Plus, Tip preaches, “No Grey Goose if ya don’t get loose,” so you can expect him to be poppin’ Goose bottles all night. Top shelf, ya know? No, when we say juice we don’t mean Minute Made or Welch’s; Bus-abus will pass on the Courvoisier and instead be in be in the gym on New Year’s Eve busting a sweat at the weight bench and injecting himself in the ass with fresh steroids. The Game has defied the odds and proved 50 Cent and G-Unit wrong by releasing a successful CD despite the absence of 50 or Doc Dre. Therefore, Game has no one digging in his pockets; he is a very rich man. He can drink whatever the hell he wants this New Year’s Eve, but since he no longer has 50 Cent or Aftermath telling him what to do, he can’t decide what he wants to drink. Game spends so much time trying to make up his mind on what he wants to drink that he ends up falling asleep at 11:30 PM. He wakes up the next morning confused. At $500 dollars a bottle, its hard to find any champagne more expensive than Dom P., but Bun B and Pimp C are OGs with impeccable taste, so these two will bring in the new year the right way; drunk off that good shit! 100% juice for 100% kids!
Gucci hasn’t done too well this year, his pockets are pretty dry and his mouth will be too if he thinks he can afford anything more expensive than 211. Cheap beer or malt liquor is the only kind of bottles he’ll be poppin’ this New Year’s. Better luck next year. Gin and Juice made Snoop a star all the way back in the early ‘90’s. A lot has changed since then, but any wise man knows that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Snoop D-O double G still has his mind on his money and his money on his mind (laid back), sippin’ on gin and juice. The classics never die. Yes, she may act like a grown woman, but one half of the female nucleus of Crime Mob is nowhere near 21. Diamond has Scrappy to buy her drinks, while Princess will be stuck with her high school friends on New Year’s unable to buy liquor. Regardless of whom Baby spends New Year’s with, Hennessey and Extacy will be the perfect combination for Birdman. If Kimora is with Russell this New Year’s, Baby can still pop X with Wayne. Beans will have the flashbacks of his days in jail this New Year’s Eve while sippin’ that purple rain.
01: Flavor Flav and Rick Ross @ Mansion for Slip-N-Slide pay-per-view concert (Miami, FL) 02: Here at OZONE we stop rap beef before it even begins 03: Bohagon and Lil Jon @ Club 112 for BME’s BET Hip-Hop Awards pre-party (Atlanta, GA) 04: Donny Money, Tambra Cherie, Kamikaze, and Pila @ Freelon’s for Cadillac Don & J-Money’s album release party (Jackson, MS) 05: Guest, Chris Johnson, and Trey Prince @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 06: MJG, Pookie, and 8Ball @ Club Blue (Dallas, TX) 07: E-Class, Dre, and DJ Khaled @ Mansion for Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 08: Echo Hattix and Mistah FAB @ Turner Field for BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 09: Bigg D and Dwayne Wade @ Opium Gardens (Miami, FL) 10: Big Kuntry @ Coco’s (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) 11: Keinon Johnson and his father @ Verve for Interscope’s BET Hip-Hop Awards preparty (Atlanta, GA) 12: Kool Laid and Bigg V @ Fugee’s for OZONE & Urban South After-Thanksgiving party (Cleveland, MS) 13: DJ Don Q and DJ Wally Sparks @ Hittmenn DJs Mansion party (Atlanta, GA) 14: Bass and Angela @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 15: Jim Jones and Fat Joe @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 16: DJ Demp and BloodRaw @ Karma during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 17: DJ Khaled and DJ Entice @ Mansion for Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 18: Young Jeezy, Bun B, and Lil J Xavier @ Studio 7303 for Jeezy’s listening session (Houston, TX) 19: BloodRaw, Slick Pulla, and guest @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 20: Pleasure of Pretty Ricky (Miami, FL) 21: Bigg V and Pookie @ Fugee’s for OZONE & Urban South After-Thanksgiving party (Cleveland, MS) Photo Credits: Edward Hall (06); Eric Perrin (08); J Lash (09,10); Julia Beverly (02,03,04,07,11,12,14,15,17, 21); Keadron Smith (05,18); Malik Abdul (01,19); Ms. Rivercity (13); Terrence Tyson (16)
01: Rick Ross and Yung Joc @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 02: Mello and Mike Jones @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 03: Cool and Young Jeezy @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 04: Bohagon and Kieaun the GoldnChild @ Club 112 for BME’s BET Hip-Hop Awards pre-party (Atlanta, GA) 05: Redeyez and Trina @ Santos for Miami Live (Miami, FL) 06: Frankie Boo and Freekey Zekey @ his welcome home party (Greensboro, NC) 07: Young City and TJ Chapman @ BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 08: Jim Jones and his wife @ the BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 09: DJ Q45 and J-Deezy @ WJHM 102 Jamz (Orlando, FL) 10: Fat Joe and his wife @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 11: Trae and DJ Rip @ BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 12: Flavor Flav and Destine Cajuste @ Mansion for SlipN-Slide pay-per-view concert (Miami, FL) 13: Big Teach and Junior Reid @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 14: Curtis Daniels and Kawan Prather @ Justin’s for Patchwerk Studios Producers Ball (Atlanta, GA) 15: The Rubberband Man performing @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 16: Yung Sean, P-Stones, and DJ J-Nice @ Club Miami (Atlanta, GA) 17: Tech N9ne and Treal @ House of Blues (Orlando, FL) 18: Willie the Kid and DJ Don Cannon @ Dapper Magazine release party (Atlanta, GA) 19: E-Class, Brisco, and Rick Ross @ Roxy during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 20: DJ Irie, Big Lip Bandit, and Supa Cindy @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 21: Stanita, Conchetta, Glenn, Angie and Pookie from Urban South @ Fugee’s (Cleveland, MS) Photo Credits: J Lash (05); Julia Beverly (04,06,07, 08,10,11,13,15,16,19,20,21); Malik Abdul (01,02,03,09,12); Maurice Garland (14,18); Ms. Rivercity (17)
01: Freekey Zekey and Cam’Ron @ his welcome home party (Greensboro, NC) 02: Rick Ross and Jermaine Dupri @ Nelly’s BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 03: Lil Boosie, Junior, and Hatch Boi @ the Club at Firestone during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 04: BloodRaw and Charles Wakeley @ Karma during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 05: DJ Nasty and Spiff @ Roxy during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 06: Dawgman, Lucky, J-Baby, Antman, Guest, DJ Black, and Guest @ Hittmenn DJs mansion party (Atlanta, GA) 07: Billy Cook, DJ Chill, and Samm @ Studio 7303 for Young Jeezy’s listening party (Houston, TX) 08: Lil Scrappy and Ike Dirty @ Club 112 for BME’S BET Hip-Hop Awards pre-party (Atlanta, GA) 09: Chase Pat and Lex Lu @ Rhythm City for OZONE & Clout Records Thanksgiving party (Dallas, TX) 10: Guest and Laura Giles @ Dapper Magazine release party (Atlanta, GA) 11: Jody Breeze and Dukwon @ Hittmenn DJs Mansion party (Atlanta, GA) 12: Lexus and Supa Cindy @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s album release party (Miami, FL) 13: Rita and Omar @ Whisper’s during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 14: DJ Drop and Money Waters @ Rhythm City for OZONE & Clout Records party (Dallas, TX) 15: B.G., Jacki-O, and Young Jeezy @ Coco’s (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) 16: Mr. Collipark and the Kadalack Boys @ Nocturnal (Atlanta, GA) 17: Ms. Asia and friends show off for the haters @ Club Envy (Jacksonville, FL) 18: Suge Knight, Kamn, and J Prince @ Studio 7303 (Houston, TX) 19: Hulk Hogan and Brooke Hogan @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 20: DJ Irie, DJ Camillo, Clinton Sparks, and Rich Boy @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 21: GoldRu$h and 2 Hot Records @ Mansion (Miami, FL) Photo Credits: Eric Perrin (02); J Lash (15); Julia Beverly (01,03,05,08,09,12,13,14,20, 21); Keadron Smith (07,18); Malik Abdul (16,19); Maurice Garland (10); Ms. Rivercity (06,11); Terrence Tyson (04,17)
01: Polow Da Don, Rich Boy, Sean Paul of the YoungBloodz, and guest @ BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 02: Young Capone, Kim Ellis, and guests @ Hittmenn DJs Mansion party (Atlanta, GA) 03: Jacki-O and Dwayne Wade @ Coco’s (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) 04: Yung Joc and Bigga Rankin @ Hittmenn DJs Mansion party (Atlanta, GA) 05: Hulk Hogan and Micha Porat @ Sobe Live for OZONE & Stack$ release party (Miami, FL) 06: The Runners and Slim Goodye @ Roxy for their OZONE cover release party (Orlando, FL) 07: MadFace TV @ Roxy during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 08: Rick Ross on South Beach (Miami, FL) 09: DJ Dagwood and Boo da Boss Playa @ Hittmenn DJs Mansion party (Atlanta, GA) 10: Bohagon and Bingo @ Club 112 for BME’s BET Hip-Hop Awards pre-party (Atlanta, GA) 11: Rico Wade and Meathead @ Verve for Interscope’s BET Hip-Hop Awards pre-party (Atlanta, GA) 12: Ric Ross and Sydney Margetson @ Dapper Magazine release party (Atlanta, GA) 13: Clinton Sparks and Tony Neal @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 14: B Rich and TJ Chapman @ The Club at Firestone during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 15: Trick Daddy and Fat Joe @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 16: OG Ron C and Bun B @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 17: JV, guest, and Mannie Fresh @ Studio 7303 for Young Jeezy’s listening session (Houston, TX) 18: Lil Jon and Cutty @ Club 112 for BME’s BET Hip-Hop Awards preparty (Atlanta, GA) 19: Bigg V, Fugee, and Pookie @ Fugee’s for OZONE & Urban South After-Thanksgiving party (Cleveland, MS) 20: The Box crew @ their car show (Houston, TX) 21: Buggah D. Govanah and K-Foxx @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) Photo Credits: J Lash (03); Julia Beverly (01,07,08,10,1 1,13,14,18,19,21); Keadron Smith (17); Malik Abdul (05,06,15,16,20); Maurice Garland (12); Ms. Rivercity (02,04,09)
o, things aren’t too good for you right now. Going through some tough times? They’re as good as they can be right now.
Right before our last interview, I heard you’d been sentenced to four years, but you really didn’t want to speak on it. Were you in the middle of a trial or something at that point? Why are you incarcerated right now? I ain’t gonna just elaborate on that too much. Well, the rumor is that you were released from prison and sent right back because you failed a drug test. Nah, I ain’t took no drug test. Nah. Well, there’s a lot of rumors that are going around and different people saying different things, so this is your opportunity to clear everything up and let us know what’s really going on. Actually, the truth of the matter on why I’m in here is because I got out on bond. I did my case over. They gave me four years at first. When we went back to court they took the four years back, because they messed up at first. Now I’m doing like nine months. With the punishment that it is, they had to come back and charge me with the proper thing. I just took the proper punishment instead of trying to blame it [on somebody else]. So you have a new album that’s dropping right now while you’re incarcerated? Yeah, it’s in stores now and it’s called I’m Still Livin’. Is it frustrating to know that you could be on the road right now doing promo tour? Will it be difficult for your album to sell? Of course, of course. First, I mean, I ain’t gonna say that I’m frustrated because even positive things can come out of the negative. Fortunately, I’m that optimistic that I can still sit in here and make things happen just like I was out there. A lot of people don’t look at it like that, and I ain’t sayin’ it’s alright to be locked up cause it damn sure ain’t. But you know how the old school saying goes: “You can lock my body up, but you can’t change my mind.” Even performance wise, it’s for a different crowd. It’s a whole lot of the same world. It’s just a smaller world, but I can still leak out [music] and do what I need to do on the promotional tip. It’s just not as much I can do freely, but it don’t stop because I’m behind bars. Basically it’s like getting around in a wheelchair in here. How have you been spending most of your time in there? Writing lyrics, performing for other inmates? I spend most of my time doing this PR work that I’m doing, people coming up here to do interviews for their newspapers and what not. I used to be writing but I don’t do too much songwriting in here. I’m more on the promotions tip right now. When Pimp C was released from prison he spoke on the fact that he felt the Texas prison system needed changes, and that the living conditions were inhumane. What are your living conditions like? To tell you the truth, the conditions here don’t really feel like a jail. It’s like a big ol’ daycare, man. You got a whole lot of fuckin’ chumps, a whole lot of crybabies in here. You got a couple alright cats, then you got a bunch of crybabies. They ain’t inhumane. They supposed to be, cause it’s jail. It’s supposed to be like a last resort, you know, where you don’t wanna come back What’s the hardest part for you, is it being away from your family? Yeah, you know, being away from the fam. But the hardest part of being in here is not being able to go record a song when I want to, being able to actually get up and record, I can’t do that. I’m gonna have that creative drive in me every day, and I should be creating instead of incarceratin’. I wanna get a chance to see my people. I guess you don’t want to talk about the specific charges, but what would you say is the underlying reason you’re in prison? Were you in the wrong place at the wrong time, or putting too much time in the streets and not focusing 100% on the music game? That’s what it is, being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When you’re on 22” of chrome at night someplace where you’re not supposed to be black at, it’s the wrong time. But, you know, it ain’t a new song for me. I could be all the way free right now, but I had to fight this time for a year and a half. Do what you’re gonna do to me, let me do my thang so I can get back to what I miss. I was [going] to do a concert when I got ap34
prehended. It wasn’t like I was trying to sell dope or go shoot somebody. I was on my job, going to a concert and got stopped. A lot of people don’t look at music as being a job. They think it’s all fun and games. Yeah, a lot of people just see the CD. They don’t know that every day goes into making the CD, promoting the CD, getting it out there and making sure it gets to where it needs to go. If they’re not out here workin’ it, they just see what’s wrapped up in the plastic on the shelf, you know? They don’t see the blood, sweat, and tears, and the life, love, and energy that goes into these things. I saw Lil Flip not too long ago with a “Free Z-Ro” shirt, and obviously you’ve got Rap-A-Lot behind you. Is there anyone else who’s been down with you throughout this whole process? My boy Sam with Main Event Entertainment, and my manager, he’s holding things down for me. You want to give out your address for anyone that wants to write to you? Yeah, if you wanna hit me up it’s Orange County Jail, Joseph McVeigh, inmate #52032, PO Box 1928, Orange, TX 77631. - Julia Beverly (Photo: Matt Sonzala)
01: Young Jeezy, Trae, and Slim Thug @ Studio 7303 for Jeezy’s listening session (Houston, TX) 02: Mistah FAB and Too $hort @ Turner Field for the BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 03: Yung Joc and Block @ the BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 04: DJ Infamous, Lil C, and DJ Drama @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 05: 2 Dog Records album release party (Ocala, FL) 06: Guest, Ricky P, Yancey Richardson, and DJ Nasty @ Element (Orlando, FL) 07: 713 Motoring @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 08: Lil Flip on the set of his video for “Ghetto Mindstate” (Houston, TX) 09: Red and Trick Daddy @ University of Florida (Gainesville, FL) 10: DJ Jesse Jazz and White Dawg @ Screamer’s (Orlando, FL) 11: Young Cash and Shane @ Club Envy (Jacksonville, FL) 12: Teedra Moses and Ted Lucas (Miami, FL) 13: DJ Quik and DJ Dagwood @ Hittmenn DJs Mansion party (Atlanta, GA) 14: Trina @ Mansion for Slip-N-Slide’s pay-per-view concert (Miami, FL) 15: Models @ Studio 7303 for Young Jeezy’s listening session (Houston, TX) 16: Chingy and TV Johnny @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 17: Slim Thug @ Hip-Hop Caucus Stop the Violence Summit (New Orleans, LA) 18: Rick Ross, Brisco, Pitbull, and Dre @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 19: Brooke Hogan, Nick Hogan, and Micha Porat @ Sobe Live for OZONE & Stack$ release party (Miami, FL) 20: Rick Ross and Gunplay of the Carol City Cartel performing @ the Roxy during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 21: Supa Chino, Florida Boy, Mario, Dirt Diggla, Zain, and friends @ Da Real Ting Cafe (Jacksonville, FL) Photo Credits: J Lash (12); Julia Beverly (02,03,17,18,20); Keadron Smith (01,08,15); Malik Abdul (04,05,06,07,09,14,1 6,19); Ms. Rivercity (10,13,21); Terrence Tyson (12)
&B sensation Lloyd is not your average R&B dude. He has been cosigned by such greats as Jazze Pha, Clive Davis and L.A. Reid, but still Lloyd remains a humble and modest man who is more concerned with family and friends than fortune and fame. Through all the adversity, Lloyd has opted to stay loyal to Irv Gotti and The Inc, who just inked a new distribution deal with Universal. Hoping to restore The Inc’s once prominent status, the confident crooner knows he has a lot to prove and is ready for the challenge. I know there have been some problems with The Inc, are you still with Irv Gotti? Of course. Irv just signed a major distribution deal with Universal worth millions of dollars. I’m at a point in my career right now where a lot of other labels were calling me offering me all kinds of things. I was ringing a lot of bells and I wanted to show Irv that I was ready for the next step. I was ready for a video, I was ready for a big marketing push, I was ready for an album, so when Irv called me and told me about his deal with Universal, he asked me if I was riding with him. I was like, “Of course, but these other labels are pretty much offering me a chance to control my own destiny and offering me a chance to open up my own company.” So I asked him if he could do the same, and he said yes. At the end of the day if Irv was ready to move, I was gonna be ready to move with him. I sat down with my lawyer and renegotiated my deal so I now own my own company, Young Goldie Music, and I got a lot to prove. I heard you were with Sho’Nuff as well, how does that work? I’m managed by Sho’Nuff. Shout out to Jazze and Noonie Lee. A lot of people don’t think of Sho’Nuff as a management company, but they’ve been doing a tremendous job with me. That’s my family over there. A lot of people don’t know that Noonie Lee actually started off as a manager of a lot of producers and writers. He owned a company called Noon Time and it was one of the most successful music companies in Atlanta and he decided to hook up with Jazze Pha and form Sho’Nuff Records and through Sho’Nuff you’ve heard Ciara, Jody Breeze, Cherish and many others. What separates you from the other R&B dudes in the game? The great thing about what we do is that you can’t manipulate it. You either got it or you don’t. It’s either sounding good or its not, so we’re just trying to go out here and make good music and we hope the masses listen. It’s good to know that I got big brothers that got my back such as Jazze, Dallas Austin, and Irv; they’ve really held me down. How have Dallas Austin, Jazze Pha and Irv Gotti influenced you? They feel that I am the future and they’ve encouraged that. They have surrounded me with greatness; I feel that if I surround myself with numb nuts then clearly I’ll end up one, but if I’m surrounded by greatness then I’m surely destined for it. Dallas gave me a room at the studio to perfect my music and that’s forcing me to work harder than ever, and with that help, I’ve spent a lot of time at the lab and have really perfected my craft. As a young man, it’s so overwhelming that they have all expressed to me that they enjoy my music. Dallas and Jazze and Irv have all embraced me and my sound and they are helping me to possibly become even greater than they are one day, if I work hard enough. So when is your new album coming out? It will be out March 20th, and it’s called Street Love. How have progressed musically since you first hit the scene? I think you are a reflection of how hard you work. So, the only thing that separates us is hard work. My biggest problem as a kid was that I’ve always been really talented and sometimes I rely on my talent and I get lazy. Now I realize that I’m a man and I gotta work hard. I’m trying to take everything in life more seriously, I’m trying to be on time everywhere I go, because I’m 20 years old now, I’m a man. What era of music do you prefer, the old school or the new school? Personally, I like to make everybody dance. But if you ask me what kind of picture I paint, it’s definitely realism and I try to talk about where I’m from and what I’ve been through. What inspires you to make music? I find inspiration in everything in life. I find inspiration just from waking up in the morning. I’ve been through a lot of hard times in my life and I’m still so fortunate to be here right now doing what I love to do. The 36
most important thing to me is not the money, I could care less about the fortune and fame, to me its all about the people around me, and making them happy, taking care of my family. I want to be in a position to make my family and my other people around me happy. Your song “You” has been blowing up, it’s definitely one of the hottest R&B songs in a while. Did you write it? I didn’t actually write that song, my good friend Jasper wrote the song “You” but I’ve co-written music alongside Jazze Pha, Michael Bryan Cox, James Lackey, Usher’s younger brother and I’ve co-written songs with 8Ball & MJG, Young Buck, Lil Scrappy and the list goes on and on. It was a good look getting Lil Wayne on there. Yeah, Wayne is like my brother, for him to be doing what he’s doing and still be on 106th & Park telling the world about me and my music means a lot to me. We have a lot in common. We’ve been through a lot of the same experiences; we’re both from New Orleans, we both lost our dads at a young age, we’ve both been through a lot in our lives. So, I tell everybody, he’s like a brother to me. It seems like you and Lil Wayne work really well together in the studio. I remember the first time I met Wayne, we were in a limo with a bunch of girls, and Wayne was singing a song on my album called, “I’m a G,” Wayne sung it line for line. He was singing it to this girl and everybody in the car was bustin’ up laughing. I was just vibin’ because I grew up listening to Lil Wayne and now he listens to my music. I think that we got a real good song, it was just the MTV Jam of the week. I think that Jasper and me are geniuses, I think that Jazze is a genius, I think that Irv Gotti’s a genius and I think that Universal has a history of producing great artists and has a history of having great runs. I think I’m in a good place. How do you feel about people saying that R&B is dead and that it isn’t what it used to be? Everyone that I know respects good music regardless of the genre, but as far R&B being dead, I got some things cooking up my sleeve that’s gonna show the world that the younger R&B cats are gonna step up. Shout out to Trey Songz, Chris Brown, Bobby Valentino, Omarion, One Chance, and every young person that’s doing they’re thing. If you follow you heart, your dreams will come true. - Eric Perrin
01: Don P of Trillville, Fabo of D4L, and Too $hort @ the BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 02: Ludacris and DJ Khaled @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 03: Guest, Pinky, Young Jeezy, and T.I. @ Coco’s (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) 04: E-40 and Yung Joc @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 05: Pat Nix and The Runners @ Roxy for their OZONE cover release party (Orlando, FL) 06: Kenny Redd, Big Swoll, and guest @ Freelon’s for Cadillac Don & J-Money’s album release party (Jackson, MS) 07: Mami Chula, DJ Jelly, and 1st Lady El @ Turner Field for BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 08: Dr. Teeth and Matt Smith @ Turner Field for BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 09: B.G. and Young Dro @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 10: Bibi Guns, Slim Thug, and guest @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 11: DJ D-Strong and DJ Reconn @ The Club at Firestone during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 12: Gotti and Slim Thug @ Club 112 (Atlanta, GA) 13: Slim Goodye and Omar @ Roxy for The Runners OZONE cover release party (Orlando, FL) 14: Michael Watts and G Dash @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 15: The Pack, Mistah FAB, and Traxxamillion @ Turner Field for the BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 16: The Game and DJ Drama @ Dapper magazine release party (Atlanta, GA) 17: Ted Lucas and Petey Pablo (Miami, FL) 18: Reppin’ S.U.C. on the set of Lil Flip’s “Ghetto Mindstate” video (Houston, TX) 19: Polow and Chaka Zulu @ Zak’s studio (Atlanta, GA) 20: The Box car show (Houston, TX) 21: Da Rat Pack and Ms. Rivercity @ Screamer’s (Orlando, FL) Photo Credits: J Lash (03,17); Julia Beverly (01,02,06,07,08, 09,11,12,15,19); Keadron Smith (04,14,18,20); Malik Abdul (05,10,13); Maurice Garland (16); Ms. Rivercity (21)
01: T.I. and Young Dro @ Coco’s (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) 02: Rick Ross and J-Nicks @ Nelly’s BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 03: Wine-O and Bun B @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 04: Mistah FAB and Too $hort in the studio (Atlanta, GA) 05: Lil Joe and DJ K-Roc @ Rhythm City for OZONE & Clout Records Thanksgiving party (Dallas, TX) 06: Cadillac Don, J-Money, & 3535 Entertainment @ Freelon’s for their album release party (Jackson, MS) 07: TJ Chapman, Mercedes, and DJ Nasty @ the Club at Firestone during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 08: B.G. and Jacki-O @ Coco’s (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) 09: Too $hort and Uno of The Pack in the studio (Atlanta, GA) 10: T.I. and Tiny @ the BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 11: Fat Joe’s wife shows Trina some love @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 12: Big Chill and Coolaid @ Fugee’s for OZONE & Urban South’s After-Thanksgiving party (Cleveland, MS) 13: Young City and Kinfolk Nakia Shine @ Turner Field for BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 14: Rico Brooks and Lump @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 15: Stay Fresh, Sean Paul of the YoungBloodz, and Tigger @ Club 112 for BME’s BET Hip-Hop Awards pre-party (Atlanta, GA) 16: Mr. Collipark, Bryan Leach, J-Shin, FUP Mob, and Tony Neal (Miami, FL) 17: Rick Ross and DJ Khaled @ Roxy during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 18: Traxxamillion, Uno of The Pack, and Mistah FAB @ BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 19: Polow and Rico Wade @ Verve for Interscope’s BET Hip-Hop Awards pre-party (Atlanta, GA) 20: B.O.B. and B Rich @ the Club at Firestone during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 21: OZONE & Clout Records Thanksgiving party @ Rhythm City (Dallas, TX) Photo Credits: Eric Perrin (02); J Lash (01.08,11,16); Julia Beverly (04,05,06,07,09,10,12, 13,15,17,18,19,20,21); Keadron Smith (14); Malik Abdul (03)
mix cds BOOTLEGGING IS THE NEW CHARGE,
BUT WHO’S THE REAL BOOTLEGGER? by Rap Coalition’s Wendy Day www.WendyDay.com
hen I lived in Memphis, The Screw Shop of Memphis was the place to go for mixed CDs, from Chopped and Screwed CDs to regular DJ mixed CDs. Run by Sweetback Tha Mack, The Screw Shop of Memphis epitomized urban street entrepreneurialism at its finest, and gave Memphis a way to get its hands on all the hottest street mixes and blend CDs from New York, Houston, L.A., Atlanta, etc. In the process of selling the hottest street CDs and DVDs, Sweetback gained many accolades from the finest DJs and artists around the country. He almost single handedly made Memphis a stopping point on promo tours and for label runs, so the artists who needed to remain in touch with the streets could pay him a visit. “DJ Drama would step off the plane in Memphis and come see me first,” Sweetback brags of his success. All that changed earlier this year. In early May, a squad of the Memphis Police Department - The Organized Crime Unit (OCU), entered The Screw Shop of Memphis without a search warrant and brought Sweetback in for questioning. They thought they had found a bootlegger giving him the charge of “Criminal Simulation,” whatever that means. While bootlegging is a serious crime all over the US, it seems that once again the Alphabet Boys have missed the mark. They seized Sweetback’s assets and belongings as only the Alphabet Boys can, taking over $4,000 in cash, his computer systems, plasma TVs, his vehicle (a custom ’89 Fleetwood - because there was a mixed CD in the vehicle parked out back, and they claimed the car was used in the crime of bootlegging since they found a CD inside of it). They even took all of the studio equipment from the back of the store, a local hang out spot where up and coming artists record. So Sweetback went to court and they gave him probation for 11 months and 29 days. In early October, the Memphis OCU once again paid a visit on The Screw Shop of Memphis seizing everything that was in the shop again. The officers were even pissed off because some of the stuff they seized still had property tags on it from the last search and seizure (the few items that were returned). The fact that he got a few things back once before, was not a deterrent to them, it was an offense. The Memphis OCU seems undeterred that Sweetback is a bootlegger even though he will show stacks of invoices to anyone who lingers long enough in the store. The OCU looked at the quality of the mixed CD artwork and grilled him for hours trying to get him to give up the location of the pressing plant or the warehouse. This would almost be laughable if it didn’t hold the promise of sending Sweetback to jail. Since Sweetback buys his mixed CDs directly from the DJs themselves, like Drama, Michael Watts, DJ Ideal, etc, there is no bootlegging going on, but the judicial system isn’t hearing it. The bigger issue here is that now you can head on down to your local chain store, like Best Buy, FYE, etc, and shell out $13.99 for the exact same mixed CDs that Sweetback was arrested for selling. No Alphabet Boys enter those stores and seize everything from refrigerators to TVs. They wouldn’t dare tangle with the lawyers that work for a large chain store such as a Best Buy. I called my favorite distributor to see what they thought of all this, and I could hear the frustration in their voices as I spoke to the key figures within that organization. “Mixed CDs are a blessing and a curse. They are the voice of the streets, yet if we carry them, we get sued by the major labels for selling something they don’t technically approve of.” Another key figure told me that he was asked by the buyer of a prominent chain store to carry a certain mixed CD, so they 40
did and then were sued over carrying that same CD by one of the major labels too zealous to not sue, but too cowardly to take its main retail client to court instead. Best Buy, who carries numerous mixed CD titles, roughly accounts for between 20% to 30% of all rap music sales. Suing any behemoth of that size would not be a popular move for any record label. While it is technically copyright infringement for anyone but Atlantic to sell T.I.’s songs, or anyone but Def Jam to sell Jeezy’s music, the labels have long looked the other way when it has come to mixed tapes because of their promotional value for building hype for an artist. One of the radio promoters at a major label privately told me that he releases all of the new hot shit to the top mixed CD DJs around the country in hopes they will get added to the hottest street mixed CD. He further went on to explain that getting added to DJ Drama’s Gangsta Grillz is seen as a coup inside the label, one that could positively impact his salary, his position, or what comes around at bonus time. There’s even an annual event called Justo’s Mixtape Awards in New York which pays homage to mixtape DJs. So Gangsta Grillz seems to be the holy grail of mixed CDs. Except, apparently, when The Screw Shop of Memphis is selling them, so it would seem to the Organized Crime Unit of the Memphis Police Department. But Sweetback isn’t alone. A few hours away in Jackson, MS, Stax Hip Hop & Urban Fashion set up by Stax, the owner of Official Block Wear, was raided in June for the same reason: selling mixed CDs that the Alphabet Boys found to be “bootlegged.” In this case though, it wasn’t the organized crime unit that swooped down, it was a task force with representatives from ATF, Homeland Security (huh? The anti-terrorism folks?), FBI, and Customs. Crazy, right? Well this craziness carries with it the threat of a felony charge for this store owner. According to Stax, upon his arrest, he was told that more than 100 CDs constitutes a felony charge for bootlegging — and what urban store that sells mixed CDs doesn’t carry at least 100 copies of varying mixed CDs? Hell, sometimes it seems as though there are almost 100 mixed CDs dropping every month! I’ve been hearing about different vendors in flea markets around the country getting popped for selling mixed CDs even though they buy directly from a distributor or the DJs directly. I asked DJ Drama, creator of the infamous Gangsta Grillz series, how this is possible and he says that ironically, the only CDs that seem illegitimate are the ones Best Buy is buying from a distributor in Houston that doesn’t have the authorization to sell Drama mixed CDs. So can it be that the Screw Shop is selling legit mixed CDs while one of the world’s largest chains is actually selling bootlegs?
(above) The Screw Shop of Memphis was raided for selling mix CDs from DJs like DJ Smallz and Rapid Ric, identical to those sold in Best Buy (below)
As far as the bootlegging charge goes in Memphis, Sweetback holds up the newest installment of DJ Ideal’s The Bottom mixed CD series featuring Chamillionaire, Lil Flip, TI, Rick Ross, etc., which he says he buys directly from DJ Ideal, so these are not bootlegged CDs. He has a stack of invoices to back it up as legitimate. He then hands me an exact duplicate copy, only this one still has the Best Buy price tag stuck to it (and the receipt not far behind it). They are identical. The Screw Shop of Memphis sells the same exact CD that sells at Best Buy for $13.99. I wonder when the Alphabet Boys will kick in the front door of Best Buy and haul their employees down to headquarters for questioning. Let’s be real. The Screw Shop of Memphis is black-owned, Best Buy isn’t. The Screw Shop of Memphis is an independent retailer in the ‘hood without lawyers on staff to fight these types of actions. And this is yet another reality of the American Justice system.
01: Trina, guest, and DJ Drama @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 02: Liz Lova, Too $hort, and Nay Fresh @ Turner Field for the BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 03: Dem Franchize Boyz @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 04: Bibi Guns, Jeanise, and Lil Larry @ Verve Atlanta, GA) 05: Rich Boy, DJ Suiside, and DJ Khaled @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 06: Chaka Zulu, Jeff Dixon, and their father Ahmed Obafemi @ Verve for Interscope’s BET Hip-Hop Awards preparty (Atlanta, GA) 07: Brandi Garcia and Yung Joc @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 08: Chamillionaire and Sway @ Turner Field for the BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 09: Lil Chris and a friend @ Club 112 (Atlanta, GA) 10: DJ Jelly and the Bishop of Crunk @ Turner Field for BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 11: Karen Douglas, Pleasure, and Pinky @ Coco’s (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) 12: Blackowned-Bone, Mr. DJ, and Rico Wade @ Justin’s for Patchwerk Studios Producers Ball (Atlanta, GA) 13: Dirt Diggla and friend @ Club Envy (Jacksonville, FL) 14: Big Oomp and Baby D @ Turner Field for the BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 15: Deelishis and Flavor Flav @ the BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 16: Brisco and Rick Ross @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 17: Guest and Tamiko Hope @ Club 112 (Atlanta, GA) 18: Royal, Barbie Doll Peaches, and Nick the Next One @ Rhythm City for OZONE & Clout Records Thanksgiving party (Dallas, tX) 19: Jeff Dixon, guest, and Steve Carless @ Verve for Interscope’s BET Hip-Hop Awards pre-party (Atlanta, GA) 20: Anne Williams, Lyntina Townsend, and guest @ BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 21: Duval County Rockstars @ Da Real Ting Cafe (Jacksonville, FL) Photo Credits: J Lash (11); Julia Beverly (01,02,04,05,06,0 8,09,10,14,15,18,19,20); Keadron Smith (07); Malik Abdul (03); Maurice Garland (12); Ms. Rivercity (20); Terrence Tyson (13)
ust like OZONE Magazine is your favorite rapper’s favorite magazine, Scott E. Leemon is your favorite rapper’s favorite lawyer. Virtually a one-man team, this private attorney has represented everyone from 50 Cent to Young Jeezy and has handled high-profile cases for Young Buck and Tony Yayo. Here he talks about his experiences and the perks of his job. How did you get into law? From when I was child to the time I got into college, I was always the guy that people came to when they needed to get out of trouble. Then when I got on the judicial board in college, that’s when I realized that I was good at getting people out of trouble. Even back when I was 7 or 8 I used to fight for what I needed. What can I say? I’ve got the gift of gab, it’s something that always came to me. I always looked at the small picture and got the big picture. What similarities do you see between the Hip Hop cases and the organized crime cases that you’ve handled? They are very similar. Just as there are preconceived notions with the rappers, the organized crime guys get the same treatment. Especially in the high profile situations, but I like the Hip Hop stuff better. I get to go to the VMAs and afterparties, the fun stuff. Its like I’m working but I’m having fun. How do you decide what clients you want to take? I don’t like to take clients on unless they really have issues. Sure I’ll answer questions, but they usually come to me when they have problems or through referrals from other rappers or entertainment attorneys. All of my business is from referrals. I do no advertising. Who was your first entertainment client? Tony Yayo was my first client. I came in after he was sentenced on his original gun case in New York and was sent to prison. His entertainment lawyer asked me if I was able to get him out through work release and we were able to get that. The day after he got out he was arrested by the Feds. I took over his federal case, and I’ve been working with him ever since. How often are you in contact with your clients? It depends on the client. Me and a lot of the G-Unit guys have become friendly since I represent a lot of those guys. I had the Vibe Awards case with Young Buck, the gun case with Buck and Lloyd Banks in New York, and with Yayo we’ve been dealing with his probation for two years which he completes today. I have good relationships with these guys. Other clients call me when they have issues. When you take on some of these cases, is there anything that surprises you? Sometimes, but most of the time they get in trouble because of their entourage. One of the things I try to do is tell them to watch who they hang out with, because when things happen you’re the one that’s gonna get arrested. I speak to my clients all the time about that, you’re making paper so you shouldn’t be in a jail cell. Even after the case is finished, I tell them not to do something stupid. I tell them, “You don’t want to give me your money.” In your experiences, what have been some of your most difficult cases? Obviously, Young Buck at the Vibe Awards. It was shown on TV over and over again. But we got great results for him, we got him 3 years of unsupervised probation. With Buck, I only made one statement to the press. I said pictures can be deceiving. People jump to conclusions, people can be wrong. We were able to find things through video analysis, we was able to find dents in the case. With situations like that, are you aiming to find the truth or to just find chunks in the prosecutions case? It depends. Like when they charged Banks and Buck with guns charges in New York, plain and simple the gun wasn’t on them. And we showed the guns wasn’t on them, but police chose to arrest 13 people. No two cases are alike, ever. What is your goal walking into a case? It depends on the client’s record and the circumstances. Obviously the best is dismissal or acquittal. Most of the time trial is not the best option, that’s why 98 percent of criminal cases are settled. 42
Have you ever gone into a case knowing that you couldn’t win? Let me think of one that isn’t up for appeal [laughs]. Okay, one of the Italians I represented, John Gotti’s son-in-law. He was indicted in a humongous racketeering case in New York. With all of the public scrutiny, we knew we couldn’t win and had to resolve the case. Why take on a case that you can’t win? For the money? No, never for the money. I do it for the professional challenge. You need to challenge yourself or else you will get bored. The second reason is because everyone is entitled to the best defense they can get. One advantage I have is that I’m a private attorney, so I don’t take court appointed cases, I can pick and choose who I want to work with. I’d have to want to work with you. I don’t work with people I don’t like. If I can give you all I got I have no problem taking the case. Do you think lawyers catch a bad rap? Yes, the biggest problem here is that the public doesn’t understand that a criminal defendant needs decent defense. They need someone to fight for them too. You would want a lawyer to protect your loved ones rights. People feel that with money you can get away with crime in this country. You can’t get off with everything. But if you’ve got money you can hire the best, so does money help? Yes, absolutely. How much should someone be looking to spend if they need a lawyer? If someone is charged with murder, you’re looking at around $10,000. You can find lawyers at whatever price range you have. All I can say is find a lawyer and develop a relationship and go with them. Money means nothing when talking about your freedom, freedom takes precedent. Do you have to keep track of your client’s lives and careers? I get Young Buck’s business calendar emailed to me every day. Some of my clients I keep up to date with, some I don’t. Like with Young Jeezy, after the case was done every once in a while I’d get a shout out, but other than that, no. Do I need to call him once a month, no. But I know if there’s a problem he’ll call me. Prior to working with rappers, were you a fan of Hip Hop? I love music. I grew up on classic rock. Then I started going to New Orleans for the jazz fest and getting into funk. Then I got into Biggie, Dr. Dre, Snoop and then 50 Cent. The first record I got was Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.” I remember me being a little Jewish guy at a wedding getting up with my friends and rapping it. Do you think this country is ass backwards because lawyers get paid more than teachers? First off, I believe teachers should get paid a lot more money, because they are molding our youth. But professionals are professionals, everyone is entitled to make as much as they want in life. Do you think the line is blurred between entertainment and real life? That’s the thing, because it is blurred the press writes about anything. The truth is most of this stuff shouldn’t get to the paper. But people like to live vicariously through other people. People get off on celebrities getting in trouble. That’s why part of my job is talking to the media. What kind of cases do you refuse to take? I’ll never represent someone guilty of terrorism. I stay away from sex cases and things like the abuse of minors, that’s just not my cup of tea. - Maurice G. Garland
01: Deelishis and Flavor Flav @ the BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 02: Chamillionaire @ Turner Field for the BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 03: Trae and his son @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 04: Supa Chino with his OZONE article @ Da Real Ting Cafe (Jacksonville, FL) 05: Dawgman @ Hittmenn DJs Mansion Party (Atlanta, GA) 06: Chase Pat and the Gutta Gang @ Rhythm City for OZONE & Clout Records’ Thanksgiving party (Dallas, TX) 07: Shareefa @ Hot 93.3 Meltdown (Austin, TX) 08: C.O. and Trick Daddy (Gainesville, FL) 09: Needles @ Club Blue (Dallas, TX) 10: DurteRed @ Sobe Live for OZONE & Stack$ party (Miami, FL) 11: Guest, DJ Phingaprint, DJ KC, Cadillac Don & J Money @ Freelon’s for their release party (Jackson, MS) 12: Yung Joc @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 13: Oomp Camp’s Unk, Lil Corey, DJ Montay, and Baby D @ BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 14: Tony C @ Scion Xposed (San Antonio, TX) 15: Malik Abdul and Dukwon @ Hittmenn DJs Mansion party (Atlanta, GA) 16: Chingy @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 17: Young Peezee, Playboy Solo, and Pookie @ Fugee’s for OZONE & Urban South party (Cleveland, MS) 18: Youngbleed and Money Waters @ Hoodstock (Shreveport, LA) 19: 1st Lady El @ Hittmenn DJs Mansion party (Atlanta, GA) 20: G Dash and C Rola @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 21: Black Mike @ Hot 93.3 Meltdown (Austin, TX) 22: 3Feet @ Hoodstock (Shreveport, LA) 23: B.G. @ BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 24: Big Kuntry @ BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 25: Yancey Richardson @ Club Element (Orlando, FL) 26: Junior Reed @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 27: DJ Ideal @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 28: Lyfe Jennings @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 29: T Farris @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 30: Gerald G @ Scion Xposed (San Antonio, TX) 31: Rapid Ric and Deuce @ Hot 93.3 Meltdown (Austin, TX) 32: AB @ Club Blue (Dallas, TX) 33: Chingo Bling @ Hot 93.3 Meltdown (Austin, TX) 34: Young Cash @ Club Envy (Jacksonville, FL) 35: Dru Don @ Fugee’s for OZONE & Urban South party (Cleveland, MS) 36: RawLT @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 37: DJ Laz and Pitbull @ Passion for his album release party (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) 38: Kutt, Tech, Caliko, and Maczilla @ House of Blues (Orlando, FL) Photo credits: Edward Hall (09,14,18,22,30,32); Eric Perrin (01,13,23); Julia Beverly (02,06,11,13,17,24,35); Luxury Mindz (07,21,31,33); Malik Abdul (03,08,10,12,16,19,25,26,27,28,29,36,37); Ms. Rivercity (04,05,15,38); Terrence Tyson (34)
CER PRODU ILE
006 was definitely a good year for super producer Frank Nitti. In less than a year, the Atlanta beat man has reached top shelf status; he has a tight grasp on the game and doesn’t plan on letting go. He got his first taste of success on 8Ball’s “Stop Playin’ Games,” but the success of Yung Joc’s “It’s Goin’ Down” was Nitti’s first number one hit and allowed the world to recognize that Nitti wasn’t playin’ games with his beats. Today, Nitti is charging $50,000 a track; but rest assured, the ATL sound will remain atop the charts as long as Nitti’s on the beat. It’s seems like you just came out of nowhere and have taken over the beat game. Tell me your story, how did you get started? The first beat I did was “Stop Playin’ Games” wit 8Ball, and it just kept going after that. How long have you been producing? I’ve been producing since about 2000, 2001. How have you been able to take over the game in such a short amount amount of time? I just been grinding, man. I’ve stayed grinding. You know what I’m saying? I’ve been straight hustlin’, hustlin’. What has been your biggest moment? I just won a BET Award for “It’s Goin’ Down,” it was the “Hip-Hop Track of the Year,” so that was a big moment for me. I know when that song hit number one it had to be a good feeling, how did the success of that song change your career? I mean it was a good feeling; it was like my first number one record that I produced, so it was a good feeling. It made more people notice Nitti beats. What producers have influenced your style? Dre, Quincy Jones, JD, they’ve all influenced me. Speaking of JD, are you signed to So-So Def Records as a producer? No, I’m managed by So-So Def. So, who is one artist you wish to produce for? I’d say Michael Jackson. Out of all the Nitti beats you’ve produced, which one is your favorite? My favorite track is “Stop Playin Games” by 8Ball, because it showed me the power of music and it was like my first real hit. It opened a lot of doors for me. You’ve definitely come a long way in your career. So how much does one of your beats cost? $50,000. What do you feel is more important to the success of a song, a good producer or a good rapper? A good producer is a lot more important, because a producer will tell you what needs to go on a record and what doesn’t need to go on a record. Most artists are just gonna throw a lot of stuff on the record, and they need somebody to guide them. That’s what a good producer will do. How do you compare to other top producers from different regions like Kanye West, Just Blaze or Dr. Dre? I wanna produce just as much stuff as they have, but I don’t really compare myself to them, though. Who do you think the best producer in the game is right now? Me. I’m new and different, but I’m just as talented as any other producer out there. The whole industry is really all a game, and I’m having fun playing it. I always put myself on a pedestal so I could keep that confidence, you know what I mean? What are some of the biggest beats you’ve produced? I’m working on my album called Ghettoville USA, I’m also working with Young Capone, I’m working with Plies, I’m working with this new artist named Smitty out of Atlanta. I’m working on a whole gang of shit. What are some tracks you’ve done that people might not know you produced? I’ve worked with Jeezy, I did Young Dro’s “Man in the Trunk.” I’m work44
ing with Bobby Valentino right now, Lil Scrappy, Bow Wow, and Young Buck. I’m also doing “In the Paint” which is by Ali and Big Gipp with Nelly on it as well. I’m trying to break new acts, so I work with a lot of new artists. What are your thoughts on people who say Southern rap is too simple? I’d tell them to check the numbers. Check the sales; that’s all I gotta say to ‘em. See who’s selling a record right now, that’s all I gotta say to anybody who got something bad to say about the South. Do you feel that New York or any other city is going to take the spotlight back from the South anytime soon? I can’t worry about New York or any other city. I got a lot of respect for New York, but I can’t worry about New York cause they’ve been getting money, but I’m not worried about them, I’m concerned about where I live at. Right now we’re on top of the game and that’s all that matters right now, so I can’t look at who’s second or who’s third. I know you’ve probably experienced a lot more haters now that you’re beats are recognized worldwide, is that true? You know, I’ve had my share of haters and I’m probably gonna have even more haters, but I’m a street nigga, and I know how to deal with haters, you know what I’m saying? So, as long as they respect me and my business we good, I don’t give a fuck what a nigga think about me. How long does it take for you to make a beat? About ten minutes. How many beats could you make in a day? I can make about five or six beats a day if I want to, it all depends on what type of mood I’m in. What does an average day for Nitti consist of? I wake up about 10:00 and from there I go right to the studio. I stay in the studio about 14-16 hours a day; I’m hustlin’. - Photo and Words by Eric Perrin
01: Jim Jones @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 02: Too $hort and Julia Beverly @ Turner Field for BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 03: The Runners @ their OZONE cover release party at Roxy (Orlando, FL) 04: Cubo @ Passion for Pitbull’s album release party (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) 05: Natalie’s backup @ Hot 93.3 Meltdown (Austin, TX) 06: Spark Dawg and Tosin @ Hot 93.3 Meltdown (Austin, TX) 07: Wine-O @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 08: Brooke Hogan, Nick Hogan, and Stack$ @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 09: Southside Caliesha @ Fugee’s for OZONE & Urban South party (Cleveland, MS) 10: TV Johnny @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 11: Ty Stik, Jack Gunz & Friend @ Da Real Ting cafe (Jacksonville, FL) 12: LeToya Luckett @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 13: Charlieo @ Hittmenn DJs mansion party (Atlanta, GA) 14: R&B 15: Hittmenn Models @ their mansion party (Atlanta, GA) 16: Cipha Sounds @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 17: Jaba Jaw @ Hoodstock (Shreveport, LA) 18: Eddie DeVille and Stunna Man @ Hot 93.3 Meltdown (Austin, TX) 19: Trae @ Scion Xposed (San Antonio, TX) 20: Guests and Bigg V @ Fugee’s for OZONE & Urban South party (Cleveland, MS) 21: Bobby Valentino @ BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 22: Byron Trice, Rick Ross & Carol City Cartel (Atlanta, GA) 23: Eclipse @ Fugee’s for OZONE & Urban South party (Cleveland, MS) 24: 2 Dog Records release party (Ocala, FL) 25: FAM Team @ Fugee’s for OZONE & Urban South party (Cleveland, MS) 26: 8Ball @ Club Blue (Dallas, TX) 27: Madd Illz @ Screamers (Orlando, FL) 28: Flex and Fat Joe @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 29: Guests @ OZONE & Urban South party (Cleveland, MS) 30: X @ Freelon’s for Cadillac Don & JMoney album release party (Jackson, MS) 31: DJ Ebonix and Matt Sonzala @ Hot 93.3 Meltdown (Austin, TX) 32: Lil Keke @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 33: Pill of Grind Time Rap Gang (Atlanta, GA) 34: Slick Pulla @ Studio 7303 for Young Jeezy’s listening party (Houston, TX) 35: Gully and Omar @ Roxy Nightclub (Orlando, FL) 36: Kelis @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 37: Tigger @ BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 38: Jermaine Dupri @ BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) Photo credits: Edward Hall (17,19,26); Eric Perrin (02,21,22,37,38); Julia Beverly (01,09,20,23,25,30,33,35); Keadron Smith (34); Luxury Mindz (05,06,18,31); Malik Abdul (03,04,07,08,10,12,16,24,28,32,36); Ms. Rivercity (11,13,15,27); New Money Records (14)
01: Pimp C @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 02: Ludacris @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 03: Trina @ Mansion for Slip-N-Slide’s pay-per-view concert (Miami, FL) 04: Brooke Hogan and Stack$ @ Sobe Live for OZONE release party (Miami, FL) 05: Bay Bay @ Hoodstock (Shreveport, LA) 06: 4-Ize @ Club 1150 (Atlanta, GA) 07: Killer Mike and Pill (Atlanta, GA) 08: Freekey Zekey @ his welcome home party (Greensboro, NC) 09: The Runners and Julia Beverly @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 10: Terror Squad @ DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 11: T-Pain and James (Gainesville, FL) 12: Poetic of Treal @ House of Blues (Orlando, FL) 13: Luc and Kuwyn Danili @ Club Nairobi’s (Dallas, TX) 14: Treal and DJ Jesse Jazz @ House of Blues (Orlando, FL) 15: Remy Ma @ BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 16: Brooke Valentine and Brandi Garcia @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 17: Tha Vill @ Scion Xposed (San Antonio, TX) 18: E-40 @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 19: Ladies @ The Box car show (Houston, TX) 20: Young Peezee @ Fugee’s for OZONE & Urban South After-Thanksgiving party (Cleveland, MS) 21: Ryno @ Hot 93.3 Meltdown (Austin, TX) 22: Reppin’ So So Def backstage @ the BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 23: Tiny @ the BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 24: Young City @ Turner Field for the BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 25: Mr. Set it Off @ Fugee’s for OZONE & Urban South After-Thanksgiving party (Cleveland, MS) 26: Unk and Baby D backstage @ the BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 27: Plies and crew @ the Club at Firestone during Florida Classic weekend (Orlando, FL) 28: B.O.B. @ Florida Entertainment Summit (Miami, FL) 29: DJ Rip and Derek Jurand @ BET HipHop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 30: Reppin’ OZONE @ Fugee’s for OZONE & Urban South After-Thanksgiving party (Cleveland, MS) 31: Nick Hogan @ Sobe Live for OZONE & Stack$ release party (Miami, FL) 32: TJ Chapman, B.O.B., B Rich, 2 Dog Records, and Haitian Fresh @ Florida Entertainment Summit (Miami, FL) 33: Mistah FAB and Young City @ Turner Field for the BET Hip-Hop Awards afterparty (Atlanta, GA) 34: Fresh, Superstar, and Boy Wonder @ Last Damn Show 8 (Tampa, FL) 35: Laura @ Mansion for DJ Khaled’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 36: Crystal and Valerie @ Florida Entertainment Summit (Miami, FL) 37: Big Teach and Blackout (Miami, FL) 38: Unk @ BET Hip-Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Carl Lewis (02); Edward Hall (05,13,17); Eric Perrin (06,15,22,23,26,38); Julia Beverly (07,08,20,24,25,29,33); Luxury Mindz (21); Malik Abdul (01,03,04,10,11,16, 18,19,28,31,32,34,35,36,37); Ms. Rivercity (12,14); Terrence Tyson (27)
DJ E PROFIL
ven though Clue and Doo-Wop came before him and Drama came after him, the mixtape game would not be what it is today without DJ Whoo Kid. By now you should know his track record and reputation. We caught up with him briefly to get his take on having an international presence and why so many of today’s rappers are “dumb.”
in a business format. They’ve got to tour and have high selling artists, but they so thirsty that they let their artists do what they want. It’s like a company, everyone has to wait their turn. You can’t have the president on the same level as the assistant. It’s so simple but these rappers are so stupid.
With what you accomplished through mixtapes, do you think you and 50 Cent killed the demo CD? [laughs] I don’t think we killed the demo, but everybody started copying what we did though. But you know what, yeah, I guess you could say we eliminated the idea of only having a demo. People want to hear your best music early and how you sound on other people’s tracks. That gives the labels an easy way to make a decision. If you sound good on other people’s beats that makes them more interested. We made the situation different, a lot of rappers wasn’t doing that. We’ll let you freestyle on the radio all you want, we’ll just give you one 16 and a hook. And we did the mixtapes as if they were albums. All these cats doing three verses, I mean, the public has short attention spans, especially if you new, they don’t know who the hell you are. With 50 he made sure he was the main point of the whole crew. He made sure that he was the one to dominate while he made sure the guys behind him were on point. The first couple of CDs he had Domination, then he brought out Banks and Yayo. A lot of these rappers are stupid, they not smart enough to market their worth. They make themselves equal with their artists, they are confused. Some artists get more shine than the main, so when they come out the album kinda sucks. Same thing happens when the sub artist is garbage and the main is so ill and you don’t understand why he is with them. You eradicate respectability when you’re okay with having whack artists around you. You come out with an album and you busy promoting your artists and not yourself. Even subs should know if you the main and you ain’t running things right, they ain’t getting nothing either. These guys are not thinking
Amidst all of the “bring New York back” talk, G-Unit has been able to have a lot of success. Why is that? We’re not paying attention to the sorrows of New York rappers. It all comes down to having hit records. 80 percent of New York is going at 50. Down South music rocks the club, and they rock up here too. Down South is more club-oriented, they even rock in Europe. There is no hit New York record. Don’t bring New York back, bring hit records back. 50 sold 10 million. You can’t be equal to the problem. New York would rather stay local with hit records. They satisfied with the three states they go to and show off to their local peers and they have no unity. The only unity was when everybody went at 50. The South combined to form a movement. Hip Hop is going through intervals. The South been here, but then they dropped a lot of hits one year. They say the South is paying radio, but who the fuck wasn’t doing that? Everyone does that, but New York don’t have hit records. I’m tired of niggas hating on the South. That’s animosity for success, we’re so used to it. It’s so shocking to people that T.I. is doing a movie with Denzel, why? Hip Hop is always gonna have animosity for success. But G-Unit doesn’t care. 50 doesn’t put himself equal with losers. The labels are crying because they got whack A&Rs who ain’t with what’s in the streets. We see what other people are doing and we try to relate to what’s going on. New York niggas don’t know how to grow. you can’t give us the same shit from 20 years ago. It ain’t ’88 and people ain’t trying to hear whack rappers. It’s about who you know, if you don’t know nobody you get forgot about. You have to hit a record, the gimmicks are over. The South has shown us another way to promote
ourselves. I’ve had shows in Germany and Saudi Arabia, the South has infiltrated all that shit. I’m tired of people finding an excuse on why they don’t sell. New York can’t find an identity anymore, we need new niggas. Eminem once called you the biggest bootlegger in the world. How do you feel about your own mixtapes getting bootlegged as well? I don’t mind when my CD gets bootlegged. I concentrate on getting superstar hosts. The more it travels the more it gets bootlegged. Because of that, a lot of the Hollywood cats’ kids get my CDs, so they wanna get on the show and be cool with the kids. I did one with Samuel L. Jackson. That eliminated the rumor that he had had beef with 50. The more they bootleg me, the more people want it. People take my mixtapes overseas too. Over there the mixtapes aren’t mixtapes, they are like albums. I got movie stars in Japan on my shit too. I do mixtapes in Japanese, no English. I got Cut Killa in France, the hottest shit is in France, they’re the best market. So imagine the whole French community with me. Killa rocks the whole country side. I have relations with all these famous people around the world. I can get Jackie Chan on my CD. It’s a good situation because I don’t go to their country and rob them, I make money with them and also open the door for them. I’ve been doing this for the last 6 years. I speak three languages: French, Japanese, and English. I saw how Clue had a CD in Queens and niggas would buy it, even if it was garbage, so I did it on an international level. I’m the guy with Michael Jackson in Arbania, the guy in Haiti with Wyclef. There’s so much shit my name is on. I was the first to go down South. I flew down to see Juvy. Down South artists didn’t know how freestyles would work. I knew T.I. before he blew up, he didn’t even trust me, but we knocked it out. I did Sada Pop with down South artists because I wanted my CDs to get bootlegged down South. Why would I send an East coast CD to the South? That’s why I did down South. I knew Bun B, all these niggas. They didn’t know about freestyles, that’s why I fucked with Game too. Speaking of which, to what extent do DJs get involved with beef between artists? We don’t get into it, at the end of the day, it’s the rapper, we just make it sound good. If I don’t play it another one will. I don’t get involved unless it really bad, I don’t do no crazy shit. I know what’s real beef and what’s not. On my radio show, I’m not into all the beef shit, that’s where Kay Slay comes in, but beef records don’t sell. Niggas don’t be knowing if that’s true what they said, they just want a hit record. Have you ever been in a situation similar to what happened with Green Lantern when he told Jadakiss that 50 had a diss record planned for him? I’ve been in trouble for talking crazy. I got in trouble for some shit like that before. But you can’t talk to everybody. A lot of DJs wanna be cool with everybody, but a lot of these rappers are dirtbags, they just wanna use the DJ. You gotta watch how you talk to people you don’t know. That shit with Jada and Green Lantern was corny. You gonna allow that shit to happen on video? Even though people know that Green Lantern is a bullshitter and joker, but when eyes see that, that’s a problem. It made Eminem so mad and embarrassed. It was solvable, but it’s the fact that the public saw it. I diss rappers all day but it’s a joke. There is no difference between me and Conan O’Brien making fun of rappers. My show is comedy. I don’t care. If I don’t do it, someone else will and they will do it worse. My show is based on making people laugh.
You DJ a lot in the Middle East. Is it as dangerous over there as the U.S. media makes it seem? The wars are between religious people who don’t like each other, the regular innocent people just get caught up in it. It’s regular life there. They have clubs. The people in Israel dress real cool. We did a show in Lebanon, after we left they went to war. The clubs be popping though, a lot of rich people live there. Then you got Barain and Dubai, they’re not into war period. I met a kid richer than me over there, all they do is run countries. I lost my passport but I knew the prince, he was connected and got me straight. Millionaires are everywhere over there. I spend months over there. Niggas laughed when I did the Lost In Dubai mixtape but that was for them over there. George Bush is lying, he’s showing you what he wants you to see on TV every day. But, they are dying in Iraq every day for no reason. People was crying when 50 came over there to perform for the troops. From seeing that I understand why they was crying when DMX didn’t show up. It’s hot over there, they don’t even pee, they sweat everything out, some niggas ain’t pee in two weeks. But, Bush is controlling the media, they’re cool over there. I’m going back to Barain and Dubai, they know me and they all love my shit. I told the world about Barain, man you gotta go for yourself, they don’t live like how they try to show you on TV. Michael Jackson is chilling out there, they’re cool people out there. I don’t get scared when I see Arabs on the plane no more, those days are over. Our president is full of shit. There’s more of them getting rich than there are fighting. Going over there gave me a taste of reality. I don’t believe shit I see on the news anymore. Tell us about your Shadyville DJ’s coalition? I’ve gotten all the DJs I’ve met in my international travels and combined all of them. They never used to get exclusives, I can give them shit now. All they gotta do is promote my company. A lot of these DJs weren’t getting new music. I can create situations for them, it’s a real big movement. I’ve got the biggest DJ’s in Japan playing 50 Cent’s records first. They don’t have to wait, everything is there for them. What made you want to start a coalition like that? Aren’t you creating competition for yourself? I’m not trying to be number one. I don’t need that, every DJ has their own fanbase, there is no top DJ. We all do the dirty work, we all deserve to be on the red carpet. I’m just here to help people with whatever problems they have. The more you help others, the more they’ll help you. - Maurice G. Garland
Even though you’ve achieved a lot, do you think the power of the DJ is still underestimated? Everybody knows the power of radio and the DJ. I do CDs with everybody. DJs are the stars now. It started with Flex and Clue, and he was just talking on songs. I wanted to do it more iller, so I got stars on my CDs, we surpassed what rappers do. They only get paid on tours and after sales. We constantly getting paid, we’re important. While the rapper is at home with the family, we’re the ones pumping your shit, making people believe in you, and we get the feedback. That’s why I’m glad we’re getting the value and respect. We surpassed the rapper, the rapper is just a cool entertainer, I don’t get shocked when I see a rapper. I get shocked seeing Jesse Jackson, I want to do that; I want to do what people like him do. I’m cool with the people who run Hip Hop, Chris Lighty, Rush, Puff, Jimmy Iovine. You learn from them, not the bullshit rappers buying jewelry. Hip Hop is brutal, when the artists’ music ain’t hot, the respect is gone, and society will leave you behind. It ain’t like the white people. Justin Timberlake can suck one year and come back, but with a rapper it’s done. Rappers don’t understand how to market themselves, they just rap, they don’t control their shit, they let their manager do it. They don’t give a fuck about you, your family or your future, it’s business. If the rappers treated this like business, they’d be better off. You need somebody to talk to about your money situation. Why live a life of constantly being shocked when things happen? 49
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verybo dy seems to seems to be se Rankin have found h arching for th im , the co a ment. llection . In the fall o t magic formu la to m f 2006, of powe ake Ch r verses and sup ino released h it big. For Du “It’s abo reme p is va ut good r o my mu duction first mixtape a l resident Sup sic up; music. If you a p h a d fa I’ want to ns and propriately ti Chino, that m doesn’t ve got th DJs alik tl d h e jumpin ed Go Hard. H agic formula lead sin ave to worry e total packag o this you’ve g ab e g o o g on th e Supa sted by Bigga pearing le “Hayie” has out anyone q . You can’t ha t to do it all th ve Chino m u b o e “Hayie” n numerous m een going har estioning the q image and ha way. I’ve got oved v m u h doors fo as not only o ixtapes and ra for several m ality of his m e garbage mu y image up; I’ sic.” Ch dio sho p usic. H onths, a r ve got is ws. ino pbecome Chino, it’s als ened o a signatu phrase r e catc th in his h at has brande h d him ometow n. Besides h song, C is most emine h n backup ino also has a t se o ing “Tr f other hits in cret ic c Hard,” k Wit Me,” “G lud“Definit o ion of a and “H ow T ing You We Do” fea hug,” tu n doesn’t g Cash. Altho ru o seasone penly admit to gh he d produ has a kn cer, Sup being a a a beats. A ck for making Chino terial is large portion o superior se f his dive lf-produced, his maadding rsity. to His disti n determ ctive sound a in n attentio ation gained h d fierce n im the DJs inc of several pro lu m Chino’s ding Atlanta’s inent second B City is mixtap urn One. cu e since th rrently in the entitled Hard e w game is mixtape com orks. And po p workin anning out so nent of his g w Suggab on projects w ell, he’s also lack, Ta ith Tall ah m West P alm Bea pa’s DJ Secre assee’s t and ch’s Ra ylo. With D J ing fan support, radio base, w hat else play and a gro ask for w as c to a cele an aspiring r ould Supa Chin ap b Chino is rity might he per? Being re o la lp tertainm an artist unde as well. Supa ted r Lil Duv ent which is o Dead Broke E n w a Da Jew l, along with C ned by comed ele h ia ful co-si r. Even thou ino’s brother n gh havin Troy g has wo ner has furth g a pow er rk tion. “I’ ed hard to gain ed his career, erChino m just tr h is o w on my grind a ying to do wh n recognind at within myself.” show people I do and stay I’ve got talent When ask business ed what his go , beyond Chino empha als are in the m si a level, I’m try beyond zes, “I’m tryin usic in g artist o g to take it to a level, beyon to reach r d th nothing an artist to just e top. I’m no a level. t get sign to get signed; get in and get just a local we kno out. It’s ed with wp longevit right aw y.” ay but I’ eople I could m look ing for Words and Ph oto: Ms. Rivercit y
“I’M TRYING TO TAKE IT TO THE TOP. I’M NOT JUST A LOCAL ARTIST.”
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FEEL HOW “PEOPLE CITATNING FROM THE WE’RE SP ST LIKE ‘BALL & ‘G.” HEART, JU 52
s imitati o when it n still the mo st ’s you’ll a not done on sincere form of flatt Rock an sk yourself w purpose? Th at’s a qu ery d Noon e , togeth hen you look into the stion er know liv n as Da Their b ackgrou Volunte es of J nd is alm their m ers. en o both fr tors and label st completely om Me id C E e n O tical to s, 8Ball mphis’ Both be &M histo ca their hig me friends in ric Orange M JG. They’re m o h listenin school band iddle school. und section. s. B g to the same m And of course oth played in , they g usic. rew up “We w ro listenin te our first rhy g m be just to Ball and G,” es after we fir lik st sa emcees. e them. Their ys J Rock. “W started When everyon music made us e wanted to Biggie, we was e w listenin was listening ant to be g to Ball to 2Pac and After fi and G.” nis in colle hing high sch ge, the o duo cho ol and having profitab se br le Da Gam one. In 2002 to turn their c ief stints th r e years la and went on ey released th aft into a to te eir Rozes w r they followe sell 10,000 co debut pie d h After p ich doubled th it up with Gu s. Two roving n e z and ir p revious their po their m num ten ix 8Ball h tape Da Bandw tial, they rele bers. op ase a 8Ways ped on and si gon. At that p d gned th label. em to h oint is While it’s to their easy to keep dr id let the ols, J Rock an awing compa world k risons d 12No on no holding their ow w that they ar want to e capab n. le of “We lo ve Ball and G b thang,” ut sa drawl. ys 12Noon in we got our ow “We jo n ok and his M-town on top dance a of rap. t T o hey alr ur show people ea kn s them, so ow that we c dy got a legacy an’t com , we mak pare to e our o wn mu sic.” Off the strength ite Colo o f th eir r” offering featuring MJG single “FavorWhat’s , their la is curre Y ntly on our Favorite test e Color indie re of the m le o ing on ases in the So re popular utheast in Tenn catchessee, L Arkansa ittl s even ha and St. Louis, e Rock, M s to - wh some people c issouri. It o else? omparin g it “A lot o f people to Com are com in p excited ’ Out Hard,” sa aring it ly. “Peo ple can ys J. Rock we’re sp fee it just like ting from the l how he how Ba ll and G art, was.” Words: Mauric e G. Ga rland
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t’s an u n Dallas a known myster y in the r Cowb tists are just rap w rap, bu oys remains to as good as, an orld why cer t artists tain cit d perha b e o n ie e lik p just as b right as e Chase Pat a of the most sle s even thirstie s or regions ca r than a n re hust p their in t o n cities lin’ har ny othe be slept on a -state r in d to en ivals. “Right d the o rap. Right now r artists in th nd others expo now, I bscurity eg se can hon , claims of the D Houston is th ame, but still, d to the world est C e Lone allas m the hom . coming hase Pat. “I’m ly say that it’s S u ta sic scen se e togethe e and to r in the galax of the r and w eing a lot of lo about that tim y e e’re rea m c o fo a f a l T k r talen e e Dalla us to lly conn If Dalla s rappe xas s ecting. t with a lot of do what we’r rs shine ports H is going to ma We’re g singles e suppo ouston ke a run a e se n tting it artists m a barrie for the togethe d we all doing d to have bee r o n T r.” our ow especia ; really they d re than Houst exas throne, n thing doing years ag on ll it o , but no o port us y Houston bec ’t let us throu n supports Da certainly won w every ,” prolla like tha ause we gh ’t body is t.” think th the door in H s artists,” state be with any h e s at’s it a Pat adm ll Texas ouston. Dallas the agitated r lp from Houst its that apper. “ on. “I fe is m a u si r e c a , been an ll the pro T but I fe e b im el like w y big market, hat’s just the l like Dallas su big Tex osity betwee lems between a real fac n h pd e n w th e ts. It’s as even n [the c e su D sh a p ll p o as an o e is on ts always it the oth rt everybody, like like a c like the Kapp ies of] Dallas d Houston ha er foot ompeti and Ho a Beach ve affec and I fe they do and tio ust e te P n’t supmusic. l like they too n between Da arty or Texas on, when the d the music. “ Withou k it to th llas and R y have Its alwa t Dallas, wouldn Housto elays it’s ys e next le n ’t a ists, peo be major arti lot of the Ho vel with the st u p most of le like Chamil s. We broke a ston artists lo io their m arketin naire, Paul W t of their artg was c oming all, Slim Thug If Dalla out of D ; s allas.” Housto can propel th n artist e c a r e ers of so s, then its own su m a really is rtists over the rely it should any prominen be t p his labe destined for d lateau, and if able to lift ominan l Grifte the Dall c r Recor way. “G e, then as scen ds e C r they ha ifter is kind o could quite p hase Pat and f like th ossibly ve a lot e powe lead to had my of prom rh th o o explain wn record lab tion and mac ouse of the cit e hin s y e than I h Pat, “but Grifte l, Gutta Game ery going on , .I ad with Enterta r R e c o rds had World inment, my own F a ” do a on ame, who is th record label. way bigger b udget e album So, I sa e CEO t o where d d f o e G al w wn w rifte we at r ight no ith a couple of r and we dec ith ided w.” mixtap e s Right n and tha to ow, the t’s what vin previou sl Romo o dicated, but is y slept on Da ll f e years an Dallas right n ven hungrier as emcee feels .“ o so d in the p watched eve w, you know? I feel like the merybody Tony osition I sat on else do to put u workin the ben b g p c of thing with me. I go big numbers, ig things, and h for t good p now I’m and now s.” romotio I n, radio got a big tea Wheth m , video; er all kind Pat suc or not its the s ceed is undete improved pro encing rm mo T Grove” ony Romo-lik ined, but he h tion that has h e a h “At the as already beg success; his n s definitely be elp Chase ew e u ti whole h me I did the so n setting the D single, “Rep n experire o the wh od, Pleasant G ng I was reall allas radio wav sent the y just tr ole city r o v e , stand u ying to es ablaze. of Dalla Grove” p, m s c club sta ome on in the stand up. Wh but it turned o ake our en my so r ut to m c ake mainstr ts going crazy lub, two seco n g, “Rep nd .T eam arti st like L hat gets the c s into the son resent the lu g il Jon o Though r Jeezy b even crunk , the whole e was pla ying.” r than if a he still Chase Pat has h b proud P as a lot to pro een enjoying h ve a is succe past suc t, “but I got a . “It feels real ss in Da whole b good, I cess. I’m ll can’t ev as, he knows unch m trying to e o n lie,” d r e g in e t sto a whole Words: lot mor re. I can’t dw eclares a Eric Pe e out th rrin e e game ll on my .”
“DALLAS SUPPORTS HOUSTONS ARTIST N MORE THA N O ST U HO S T R O P P SU A DALL S ARTISTS.”
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here ar e Hickma a lot of words th n intellig aka Slim Goo at could easily ent, dete dee: agg ascribe describ re rm d e Chamb to her is simp ined. But one ssive, indepen Toni le. She’s er of Co dent, w o r d th mmerc politan w a orked t can’t e a She’s ex nd Houston C and attended for the Dekalb be easily school ommun tremely a t Atlan County ity Coll the mic confide ta e , n Orlean but she’s hum t, even cocky ge, but has als Metros o sold d b in her a ope. on the native’s versati le and ground b il ity to brink o e f obtain lity that has th d. In fact, it’s dominate ago. the New ing the e ex-Su stardom av she sho e House rapp er uld’ve g “The big otten y ears says easi gest lesson I le arned a ly, loun t Suave where ging co sh w m now de e relocated ne fortably insid as about myse funct la arly fiv e Slice lf e years Pizza in ,” she bel. “I le can ma ag n a A a deal th ipulate you. I rned about m o at the urgin tlanta, th e g getting at can really b ink when you and how diffe of the e a r needed deal and don’t nefit you musi first get a deal ent people c o to process be concerne focus on the b ally, you get e r you sign xcited a d about .” usiness bo asp my busi ness. Bu ect. I definit ut ely t it was a learnin g
“FEMALE [RAPPERS] NEED TO STOP G CATERIN TO SO MUCH ER MEN. CAT TO THE ” FEMALES. 56
After a pp ill-fated earing on alb u that To 1997 compilati ms by 8Ball & n M o she suff y Draper built n album, she JG, Tela, and parted ered an Suave’s after its w The inc a ident g neurism that collapse. Shor ays with the h ave her tly afte left her result is r the sp ouse ti in lit, to any p a more mature me to reflect o the hospital fo , groun n her li reconce ded arti fe and m r a month. ived no st who tions. u sic. T refuses “A lot o to be li he f mited mature things forced ,” m matter she confirms. e to grow up that can so “It make p ’s still street, my music is m eople th but or Now, h in k in my I try to keep e e a subjec music n rent mix r new focus an t ow.” d T. Featu tape, Introduc hunger is evid in e r g n in t T g th oni Hic Jazzy P rougho Fishsca kma ha, ut le testame s of the Nappy Kandi, Big Za n, hosted by D her curk nt to he J , R anthem r tenacit oots, among Petey Pablo, Chuck Jay-Z a others, “Obstac y , a s e v nd th too man id le y years s,” where she enced on the e project is a in this r r e e fl a e li ctiv zes game w ithout m “I’m reapin’ w e hood “Female hat I so s y story eyes da need to stop wed, to ld.” ca n doubt, cing with sligh tering so muc but stop h t Cater to caterin aggravation. “ to men,” she a g S d thing th the females. R to them as far how love to th vises, her ap an who as e you are for being a fe sex wise or w m, no male an .” h Words: d don’t atever. Jacinta b e anyHoward
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oung T w 19, he d inn is trying to escribe find a b sh “I a keep it spit and get a is style as a h lance in the r ip n R&B a street. I dude to -hop R&B. “I p world by att hip-hop came u em p c d , wasn’t but I just felt with the nam ome in with a o a lot of R&B pting to be th h th e /r h ting.” elping me get at singing an Young Twinn ook. I harmon ap type songs, e best of both d my poin w ” iz b t across coming from a ecause I used e but I don’t says Young T orlds. At the y si w to so I star ou st n inn of h g r si e a n e s t backg g befor Young ted spit is style. ng age of e I did much to round T Baton R winn was bor n o the age uge, LA and a in t o to Hou f eight relocate ston, TX d soon dis where h c for musi overed his lov e e c age of 1 . Starting at th 2 e and sell , he began ma king ing his own CD various sc s area. H hools in his lo at e has be en influ cal enced b y birthpla the rappers o f c H-Tow e as well as th his n o home. H which he now se of ing to p is early grind calls is a is align y off now that startin T Jonsin, g with produc winn who is er Jim r the rec esponsi en b Jamie F t hits by Dan le for it oxx, an d Pretty y Kane, Twinn is R Johnson currently wo icky. rk ence w on his debut T ing with h h the sing ich has already e Differle Cha Ca s “Hood Fly” spawned ke Up.” and “Ge t “I like w o Twinn rking with h im o a lot of f his new prod ,” says fun see u ing the cer. “It’s just how he en c Twinn reates stuff on ergy and is of his h now trying to the spot.” ard wo rk, rece capitalize off mixtap ntl e ting the I Do It for the y releasing h is H finishin g touch ood and putes on h “I’m wo is album r . ple but king with a lo t of diffe we’re tr keeping ying to rent pe k o this is m the features re eep it quiet. I’ m a y l ti fi g rst albu h t really fe b e c ause m an e ing abo l me. I’m not d I want peop le u g talking t what everyo onna be just ta to ne else about b in Texa lkecause artists. s is I fe I’ it’s gon m gonna bring el that hurts na be a u little dif that Texas vib s as e but ferent.” Don’t, h o lescent wever, confu se r of othe appers in the g him with oth r e a clear ab MC’s his age a me. When th r adoe r o rapper ut his feelings. ises, Young Tw subject pe in know a ople see you “When you’re n is and don nything a young ’t think . I feel li suck. I re y k respect spect them in e other dudes ou dudes tu terms o my age ting oth f sales, rning g b e a it cocky r people write ngsta overnig ut I don’t ht or le , but it’s their m tusic. Yo real.” u can c Words: all DeVaug hn Dou glas
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“WE LIVE IN THE HOOD BU DIDN’T ALDLO TW W WHAT WE RE IT TO DETER US FERO ALLY WANTE M D TO DO.” 60
L A V I V SUR ESSIONS CONF
PHOTOS BY WORDS AND ERIC PERRIN
hen the reports of T.I. and his entourage being shot at in Cincinnati hit the news, the entire rap industry was appalled. It was a frightening time for any Grand Hustle fan, but it was far more traumatic for the Grand Hustle family. When the news was released that T.I.’s childhood friend and personal assistant Philant Johnson was killed, sadness inevitably followed. Thankfully, no one else was killed during that unfortunate incident, but three other people were shot that night: a bodyguard, the van’s driver and a girl named Janice Gillespie, who was sitting on Big Phil’s lap when he was shot. Janice was shot twice, once in the face and once in the left kidney. Her name made the 9:00 news everywhere from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo but she never really got an chance to tell her story, until now. Six months after the incident, OZONE has given Janice an opportunity to tell her story and voice her thoughts and feelings of that dreadful night in Cincinnati. Janice’s life has changed drastically since the shooting; she has recently relocated to Atlanta, where she is succeeding as an up and coming model and living every day to honor the memory of Big Phil. Tell us your name, where you’re from and how you met Philant. My name is Janice; I’m 21, from St. Paul, Minnesota. Grand Hustle did a show in Minnesota and I met Phil and the rest of the team after the show. They asked me to come along with them to the next city, so I flew down there to Cincinnati, Ohio and it was great, I had a lot of fun. A lot of people say Tip is conceited and everything, but he’s not. People think he cocky, but he’s really a cool person to hang with, and Philant, he just makes your whole day wonderful. If you were in a bad mood, you couldn’t be in a bad mood around him because he’s such a wonderful guy. So you met them down in Cincinnati; explain what happened that night. We went to the club, then we went to the afterparty and we were debating whether we should go or not because it was already pretty late, it was like 2 or 3 in the morning, but we all went back and changed our clothes, we went to the bar lobby and had some drinks and then went to the afterparty. It was cool for a minute, we were chillin’ and drinking, you know all having fun. We were all having a good time and the situation just escalated so quickly. Next thing I know, Philant was trying to hurry up and get us out of there. I heard they were trying money in the crowd. Was that true? I mean, it was true but I really didn’t see it because where we were at, you couldn’t really see them, Tip and Yung Joc were doing what they were doing, but it was stupid for the [people in the crowd] to be getting upset over somebody throwing some money, but I really didn’t know what was going on. The next thing I know I was in a van, sitting on Philant’s lap and I heard Tip say get down, and then gunfire just started shooting all over and it was crazy because I looked up and I didn’t know if I got hit or not because all the sudden hot blood started falling outta my face and I was like “Oh, my God!” I started freaking out and panicking and I turned my head and saw Big Phil, it was crazy. So whose blood was covering your face? It was my blood, I got shoot twice, once in my bottom lip and one in my left kidney. It was so crazy because Tip said I handled it well and I wasn’t panicking that much, but I was just in shock. I was in the hospital thinking about how lucky I was that God saved my life. Philant is my angel. I didn’t know what was going on, nobody told me anything; I had to watch the news to see that Philant had passed away.
Do you still talk to T.I.? I stay in touch with Tip when I can. I see him sometimes in the club, but his family is so cool, him and Tiny are so cool; the whole Grand Hustle is like a second family to me. How has T.I. handled the whole situation? Tip’s a lot better, but to me I can still see it. When he sees me, I think it brings back some of the pain. I think he’s still hurting but he’s handling it better than me. I know they had been friends for a really long time, so I know he’s still dealing with it. Philant’s cousin Zeke is still going through it a lot, especially because he sees Phil’s daughter all the time. What has the whole situation with Big Phil getting killed taught you? A lot of people think that I was being a groupie or something, but no, I’m not being a groupie. To me it’s like, every time I see a girl jump in a limo or on a bus, that just reminds me of myself and look what happened to me. If I could tell those girls anything, I would tell them it’s not worth it, honey. It’s not worth it because you don’t know what could happen or nothing. I didn’t know what was gon’ happen. It’s not even worth it. You mentioned the term groupie, so what exactly is your definition of a groupie? A girl that just keeps walking back and forth, dancing around trying to be seen. A lot of girls think that I’m trying to seen all the time because I wear shorts or little skirts, but that’s just me. But I can cover up and still get hollered at. I don’t come up to celebrities trying to get with them. I may speak to them or say hi, and whatever goes from there, you know, I read the video vixen book and I was upset because [Karrine Stephens] is putting her business out there trying to make other video girls look bad. My opinion is, if you do something with a celebrity or something, keep it to yourself. What’s your response to people who call you a groupie? They can call me what they wanna call me cause I’m gonna keep doing what I’m doing trying to make my dreams of being a model come true. I’m gonna be in a big house before I’m 23. Has Grand Hustle helped pay for your hospital bills? Yes, Tip did help me with that. Everybody told me Tip was gonna forget about me, but he did help me out. People always tell me, “He got all that money and you took a bullet, he should be getting you this, or that.” And I tell people, “That man is busy with his music; he got a lot of stuff to do.” I don’t call him just cause I might be broke and I need this or that, no. He told me if I need anything don’t hesitate to call him, but I’ve been on my own and I can take care of myself. How has the rest of Grand Hustle treated you since the incident? Hannah Kang, I love her. She is like a mother to me, a lot of people are always saying that she gotta attitude and that she is mean, but she is wonderful. She gave me so much good advice and helped me out in so many ways. I don’t care what anybody says about her, she may be mean, but she’s mean to you for a reason. I love her to death. The whole Grand Hustle is great though, they’re like my second family. I would never say nothing bad about them. People always tell me that I need to take them to court and sue them, but I’m not finna do that. They took me shopping when I came for the funeral, showed me a good time, made me feel at home; they’re like a family.
So what was your life like directly after the shooting? I was in the hospital for like two days, and then I went from Cincinnati to Atlanta for the funeral and I didn’t want to be seen at all or anything like that because my face and lip was so messed up. I felt like Kanye West; I listen “Through the Wire” and that’s how I felt. Were you and Philant romantically involved? No, we were just friends, we were real cool. He was sweetheart, a real friendly person. Everybody think that him and Tip were mean, but they are the complete opposite. I miss Phil a lot but when I see his daughter, my whole face glows and I feel a little better because I know that Phil lives through her. She is his only child and she is such a sweetheart. People always tell me I’m blessed and I’m just thankful that God gave me another chance to live.
Janice’s tattoo in memory of Philant (above); bullet wounds on her back and lower lip (below)
What advice can give to other girls about your situation? I know a lot of little girls have dreams of marrying a football player or a rapper and all that, and it’s not worth it, it’s really not worth it. People tell me that other girls talk bad about me because I be talking to this celebrity or that celebrity but they can say what they want about me, that’s not gonna hurt me at all. I know what I do, and what I do is right from wrong. I’m gon’ keep doing what I’m doing. If you could speak to Big Phil in heaven right now, what would you say? There is so much that I would say to him. I would tell him that I wish he could come back to life, we all miss you. I would tell him that he made the world a better place and that his daughter will carry on his memory. I would tell him that he was a good hearted man who was really loved by a lot of people. 63
BLEU I C N I V A D Julia Beverly y b s rd o W tt Spellman o c S y b to o h P
What’s the difference between BMF the record label and BMF the street organization? “Street organization”? “BMF” is just a title [the DEA] is giving these individuals [that were indicted] because they’re affiliated with a person that’s running the label with me. [The DEA] calls them all “BMF” because I’ve got a record label that’s picking up steam in the streets, and everybody knows that. They ain’t BMF. If you look it up and do your homework, first of all, there’s no such thing as Black Mafia Family. That’s a group of the Bay that’s signed to Thizz Entertainment. So when [Vibe Magazine] talks about “The Rise and Fall of the Black Mafia Family,” they talkin’ about another nigga’s group. They tryin’ to get back with Vibe’s attorney. My record label is not even Black Mafia Family. That name was taken. When we went to incorporate it, we was “Blowin’ Money Fast.” When people hear BMF they think of us, but BMF is my record label. Them niggas that were indicted ain’t BMF, understand? Them niggas are whatever they call themselves. “BMF” is just the name the government decided to put on their paperwork. Nobody on my record label, nobody signed to the label, no producers or none of that is indicted. None of them. So I don’t understand why people keep asking me, “What’s going on with the indictments with BMF?”
not signed to me, they don’t be with me. You ain’t seen me with them. You ain’t got pictures of us together. Whoever them niggas are, I can’t even speak on them cause I don’t know them. It works like this, sweetie: Let’s say me and you are cool, right? I’m a guy and you’re a lady. When I come to Miami or wherever, we hang out, me and you and all my friends. We go to the club. You’ve got a little brother, and since me and you are cool, when we go to the club you’ll always bring your little brother. So every time I come to town, I got something for my lil’ homie. If he smokes, I got smokes. If he needs new Jordans, we go to the mall. When we do a show, he gets on stage cause that’s my lil’ dawg. He’s your brother, right? So me and him get cool. He tells his friends, “I be with Bleu from BMF, yeah, we cool, we be in the club, havin’ girls, that’s my sister’s homeboy.” So what ends up happening is that he becomes “BMF.” He’s the one always talking about “BMF.” He involves his friends, so now they be at the club with fifteen BMF t-shirts. They got the royal blue ones, the black ones, the ones that say “I’m Rich, Bitch,” and the ones that say “I’m a Boss.” They got BMF shirts, but they ain’t really BMF. It’s just your little brother. But when you’re “BMF,” the girls like you a little more, they wanna know what’s going on with Meech, you know, he getting some cool points around the nation.
So you were not indicted on drug charges? I was never indicted. My name is Barima McKnight. If you can find my name [on an indictment], let me know.
How did you and Meech meet? That nigga Meech knows a lot of people from around the globe. I met Meech in Cali through DJ Poo. Meech used to be a DJ. He was like, “Atlanta finna pop off.” I thought it was gonna be Xzibit, but he was like, “Nah, let me show you.” He moved me down to ATL and we started hanging out down there. He showed me that you’ve gotta be attuned to what’s gonna be the next thing to happen. He was showing me the real ropes of the music industry. I knew how to rap and record and perform so I was in the game, but he just brought a broader horizon to me. He took me out in the world and showed me hwo they do it [everywhere else]. He was there to polish me off, and that’s what’s good with us. He’s the best A&R from any label. He’s cool. He gets along with anybody and talks any language. He’s real good with people and that’s what showed me that he was a good connection for me to have. I know what we need to record and who we need to mix it and produce it, I know what sonically sounds good, and he knows how to get it out there. That’s what works between
What is Meech’s role in the record label? Meech is the CEO of BMF and I’m the President. We co-founded the label together. We was BMF on the streets. We didn’t have no name for a record label. It wasn’t no solidified name of a record label until I did my first mixtape. Once we started picking up steam, I knew we had to get something done legally, and that’s when I went and filed the articles of incorporation for BMF Entertainment. We couldn’t use Black Mafia Family cause it was already taken. I couldn’t even register that name cause those dudes [in the Bay] had it already. Why would the government label them “BMF”? Those people that were indicted don’t got nothing to do with me. They’re 64
me and Meech. Me and him, we put all that shit together. But all the things you mentioned – being in the club poppin’ bottles, buying Jordans – takes money. Being that visible blowing a lot of money, can you see how people would assume that there is a drug organization involved? That’s what people say, but nobody knows about the times when we wasn’t having no money. We used to be out there doing the same thing but on a smaller level. It wasn’t until we started picking up steam and actually making money til it got like that. We was out there a few years before people knew about us. When we was ridin’ out there in the green van, people don’t know about that cause nobody was paying attention to us. We ain’t just pop on the scene one day with billions of dollars like people make it out to be. I get paid to go to the club. I been getting paid to be in the club for the last three or four years, just to make an appearance. When we were nobody in the club, we’d get enough money together between each other to get some Moet bottles and just stay in everybody’s face with it. It wasn’t until I got in the mix in ATL and the incident went down with ol’ boy [Anthony “Wolf” Jones] and Meech, that double homicide shit. That’s what put the buzz on my crew. [Meech] came home off a double homicide charge and that’s’ what blew it up. When that happened they said we was “BMF” and not a music group. They already was getting it twisted from the beginning, that’s what made us go out and solidify the record label name. We didn’t have nothing saying we were [official]; no paperwork, no articles of incorporation. We just stayed in the clubs and stayed in people’s faces. Were you ever worried that being too much in people’s faces would attract the attention of the DEA and such? But see, this is what I’ve been wanting to do my whole life. I want to be the life of the party. I want to be the one on stage that everybody’s looking at. This is what I’m here for, this is what this is about; propaganda, building. It’s about giving people something to look at. We’re on the grind everybody goes on, but we put our stunt on. The difference between us and everybody else is that they got segregation in their hearts; genocide. Our leadership is about unity: [Meech] being from Detroit, me being from L.A., my cousin being from Compton, my other homeboys being from Kansas City. So you’ve got people from the South linking up with people in ATL, the Midwest, Detroit, everywhere. I was in Brooklyn for two years and I traveled across the world two times, marked up my passport, so I already know a gang of people. I’m the one that’ll go to New York and say “what up, son,” then go to Miami like, “What y’all talkin’ bout,” then go to ATL talkin’ about, “hey shawty.” I picked up all the slang. We’d come to Miami, 15 of us flyin’ in for whatever. Instead of acting like niggas from new York or L.A. and lookin’ at people crazy, we spreading our love, dawg. Niggas seen that we had a ball. We ain’t bringin’ no bullshit or fighting. We want y’all to party with us too, man. Fuckin’ Memorial Day weekend, we finna have a ball. We ain’t gonna stand on the wall and make mad faces. We could do that in the hood. That was our whole thing, to bring fun to the atmosphere. Anytime you got fun and good spirits, that’s where all the people come from. If you seen us out, you’d know that we wasn’t out with mean faces chasing people out of the club. We ain’t with that shit, and that’s where our whole movement came from. Once you start making money and getting promoters and people involved, you get where we are today. We’ve been out here on a legitimate grind since DJ Poo brought me to Meech. I ain’t been knowing these niggas [that got indicted] since the 80s [like the DEA says]. Get the fuck outta here, man, that’s a crock of shit. It kills me to think of all the studio hours I put in, all the talent I wanted to sign, all the beats I got, all the trouble I done been through, all the work I put in tracking artists and producers down, getting videos done, people don’t know my muthafuckin’ struggle. It’s just me and Lisa. I don’t have no 80 people, no Universal staff or 30 people on Def Jam to put this out. It’s just me and my big ass mouth. Do you think media outlets are scared to cover you because of the perception that you are drug affiliated? No, that’s not true, because I got radio spins after all that. Radio and TV don’t are about none of that cause 90% of the people that’s in the game came from the streets. Everybody got they street story, so we ain’t trippin’ off none of that. The whole thing is making it happen and having people support you. Some niggas don’t want a nigga like me in the game. A lot of people liked BMF because we’re the people’s people. We’re not for the elitists like the Republicans, we’re more like the Democratic crew. We want muthafuckers to be able to eat. We ain’t gonna come in the game and only BMF is gonna eat. If I come in and make some money and have a few million records, it’s gonna be sales in all kinds of places you’ve never heard of. Ohio, Milwaukee, and all these other places the labels don’t care about. But I’m from the streets and I’m connected, and this
street shit is getting bigger. I’m finding more of these people that’s not getting the chance to be heard. Even where I’m from, I had to leave Cali and move to all these other streets. I’m from L.A.; niggas ain’t supposed to know my name unless I fuck with Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, or Snoop. You don’t know no rappers from L.A. unless they off the root of the N.W.A tree. I just been working on the grind; I been doing this shit since I was a kid out on the block. I been recording and touching them knobs. I got calluses on my hands from doing that shit. So for me to be finally getting distribution and be able to release my lifelong dream – for [OZONE to say “All Good Things Must Come To An End,” speaking on BMF], that hurt, man. My mama got ahold of the book in L.A. and she was like, “I know they ain’t talkin’ about my baby.” It’s rough to come up; there’s certain shit you gotta deal with like this and the Vibe [magazine article]. What project are you releasing? Currently I have Bleu Davinci Presents: The World is BMF’s the compilation, in stores now through Koch. It’s in Best Buy and FYE. I’m working with a few artists right now from Queens, my man Computer from the Bronx, and Oowee from Atlanta. I’m also working with S-Class, my producer that I’ve been working with from day one. I’m working on a lot of things and I got a lot of people depending on me for my next move. My solo album is coming soon and Oowee and Computer got solo albums, so we’re just working right now. That’s all we could do, just keep working. I got everybody at their battle stations preparing while I’m scooting across the globe performing. My brother passed away while I was on promo tour to put out my debut album, like the radio [spins] and all that went up when all that happened. So I actually just dropped the ball and I had to go off the road and go bury my brother. It took me a minute to bounce back and once I really came back, I shot to New York to figure out what was goin’ on. The preorders had dropped, radio had went down, and I hadn’t been doing no more radio interviews or in-stores. I stopped my whole thing and just sat back. When I bounced back I didn’t wanna just put out [my solo project] and have it flop, so I decided to do something else. Koch wanted me to put out a record, they needed a check, so that’s why I did the compilation.
“I WANT TOOFBE THE LIFE TY. I THE PARO BE WANT TE ON THE ON HAT STAGE TODY’S EVERYBG AT.” LOOKIN
Young Jeezy was affiliated with BMF, but I heard that you recently put out a song dissing him. Is that true? He’s doing his CTE thing and I’m doing my BMF thing. I don’t have no diss record out against Jeezy, but I got a couple songs on the album where I make a couple references to him that ain’t too much in a positive way. But it ain’t a diss. A diss is when you really finna kill this nigga. I just said a couple of things to let people know that me and him ain’t really kickin’ it so they stop running up and asking me. Where did the relationship with Jeezy sour – did you feel like he distanced himself from BMF after the indictments? He was doing his [CTE] thing before that happened. I don’t know, it’s probably the people with him. They got him doing his thing, and we do us. The early Jeezy fucked with Meech, but I don’t fuck with him. Have you been in contact with Meech? Yeah, that’s my dawg. He good, he chillin’, holding his head and just waiting for his bond. It ain’t nothing he ain’t been through. He just gaining weight and getting muscles. He finna kill ‘em when he touch back down. They say his arms are bigger than the toilet bowl. Meech gonna come back with that so I had to get back on my push-ups, too, cause I can’t go out like that. When will he be released? They was saying sometime in November. He’s got bond, but the date wasn’t set yet so I really don’t know too much. I just play it by ear as the events roll out. We just sit back and keep praying. Are there any misconceptions you want to clear up? Nah, we basically talked about everything. We’re just out here doing a job like everybody else. We’re out here to work, perform, and release records and just feed the people. That’s all we’re here to do. Everything else, you ain’t even gotta talk to ‘em about all that other stuff. Just write it off and let us do our thing. Let us do what we’re here to do; that’s all we wanna do, sweetie, I promise. 65
W O L PAODON D
errin by Eric P
Don is generally regarded as a boss; the head honcho of a family, group or illegal organization. Whether or not Atlanta-raised, California-paid Polow is actually a Don or not is for you to decide, but his music definitely makes a strong case for the jury. You gotta respect his resume; it’s impeccable, while many producers stick to one style, Polow’s pedigree is extremely versatile. He produces unique beats that love to linger at the top of the charts and he has worked with an array of artists from R. Kelly to Rich Boy. He does more than just hip-hop; his beats have earned him a top spot outside the rap industry as well. The self proclaimed “King of the White Girls” has now become the go-to producer for so-called “pop music,” making beats beautifully blessed with jungle fever. In the past year, he has produced number one hits for the likes of Fergie, Gwen Stefani, and The Pussycat Dolls, but Polow Da Don has just started and now, he is well on his way to an interracial marriage of true hip-hop style and pop star status. 66
How did you get started producing? It was just a hobby. I started off rapping and after a while I just lost the passion to rap, and I love music, but I wasn’t pleased with a lot of beats I was rapping on. I was more intrigued by actually putting the records together. Even to this day I only produce because it allows me to put the records together. If I just had to do the beat and send it off, I wouldn’t like it as much. So when people try to get me to do that, it’s really hard for me to accept it. I just like the whole coming together of a record. Briefly tell me about some of your past projects and biggest successes. I made Billboard history with Fergie’s “London Bridge,” it was the second fastest song to ever go number 1; it went number 1 in three weeks. It debuted at 85, the second week it jumped to number 5, and then the third week it went number 1. At the same time, I had another record in the top 5, the Pussycat Dolls’ song “Buttons,” which also went number 1.
Another success in my book was Ludacris’ “Pimpin All Over the World,” just because I got to hook up with somebody from the A-Town who was my homie from back in the day. We both started out with dreams, we knew each other back then and we’re still peers in the game today. We’re both considered great at what we do, so even though he got all the way on before I did, I actually had a record deal before he did. He looked up to me in that sense, but when he became huge, I kinda looked up to him in that sense. So one day, just on some homeboy shit; he was like, “Man, let me hear some beats.” Then he heard the music and he was like, “This is crazy, man. I’m gonna do this record.” He did it and actually put it out as a single and it did well, it was a top ten single. Who do you think is the best producer in the game right now? Aw, that’s easy; Timbaland is the best, period. Aren’t you and Timbaland working on a joint project? Yeah, we’re collaborating on this girl named Keri Hilson, she’s from Decatur. She’s a songwriter and artist. Okay, so what other producers have inspired your sound? Rico Wade from Organized Noise, Dr. Dre and of course, Timbaland. Tell me what happened with the whole Jim Crow situation, why did you guys break up? Well, we was on our second record deal and it was going bad over at Interscope and even though we had other deals on the table, Cutty Cartel felt like he was ready to branch off and go solo, he felt like the group thing wasn’t working out. He had a song out with the Youngbloodz at the time and he was doing his features here and there, so I think he felt like he would be better off on his own. We had a lot of stuff going on internally and business wise, so he decided to it’d be the best thing to step away and that’s why we pretty much called it a day. Yeah, those kinds of things happen a lot, but it seems like you have kind of left rap alone and moved to the pop music side. How did that happen? Well, I’ve always been known as the king of white girls, so I always had one foot in Buckhead and one foot on Bankhead. My parents made me go to private school and I think that changed my life. I only wish I would have liked white girls back then. I didn’t like white girls in private school, I was ashamed, but now I realize that it ain’t nothing to be ashamed of. [laughs] Your songs go beyond black and white; you’ve got Asians and Hispanics listening to your music. “London Bridge” was big all over the world. What’s the biggest difference in producing pop music as opposed to rap? Pop music, or so called pop music has basically become very black, and very hip-hop and very urban; I think I have a lot to do with that. I would give Fergie the same beat I would give Noreaga. Tru-Life, who is like a straight up street dude from New York, actually recorded over the “London Bridge” beat [first]. David Banner recorded over that same beat also. So it’s really like a hip-hop beat, that’s why so many black people just loved it; it’s hard. Fergie is a hip-hop girl but she just happened to be white, and when white people do hip-hop is called pop music for some reason. I know the money is probably a lot better in pop music? Oh, most definitely. Where there’s white it’s always greener. Everybody knows that. So what are you charging per track right now? 60 [thousand], but you’re my friend I’ll charge you 70 [thousand], nah I’m just playin. 60 is my going rate, but we work deals out, especially if it’s somebody I wanna work with. To me, it’s definitely more about the music than the money. The money is just a status thing. Everybody’s been trying to get on for so long time, and it’s ridiculous that labels don’t have ears because they’ll pay me 60 [thousand] now for a beat that I did 2 years ago that they could’ve got for 15 [thousand], and some beats they could have got for 5 [thousand], but they’re dope. I feel like I was always dope. So, just cause I’m supposedly dope now, by everyone else’s standards, that don’t make me feel like I’m any better, I feel the same. I just feel like y’all are slow. But the price is just a status thing that puts you a different category of producers. I don’t care who it is, Babyface, when he was at his peak he would still do a song for whoever he wanted to do a song for, for whatever price he wanted to do it for. If you could produce for any artist, dead or alive, who would it be? Jodeci, they’re the best ever. So if Jodeci wanted to do a comeback album, how much would you
charge them? Well, I’d have to be a part of that. I’d have to try to get some kind of percentage, it isn’t even about charging them for no beat, but like I said, I don’t really think like a producer. I’m passionate about it, but I don’t really think like that. What do you think the typical producer’s mindset is? To get off as many records as you can and try to control the radio, which would be dope, but my mindset is to get off just the records that count, it’s not about the quantity. I’m trying to change music as a producer, and as a label head as well. Because really, in our generation and the generation before me, which I consider like Pharrell and Timbaland and Dre and all those guys; really besides Dre, no one has had a successful label, not even Jermaine Durpri. He had some success, but really it’s just average. Nobody has had that L.A. Reid or Jimmy Iovine success, and they were both producers. So I’m trying to get to where they’re at, a whole different level. Where do you think the future of music is going? The future of music is gonna go back to music. Right now I think it’s looking around the corner, getting ready to make that turn, but it’s on people like me and a couple other people to get together with the artists and make a different type of music. I think music is looking for a new sound right now. Do you think its going to stay based in the South, or do you see it migrating to some place else? Yeah, I think the next spot is going to be The Bay. I think they have next, but I think the South is definitely gonna have its thing, because the South has always been around, it’s just being nationally recognized right now. I think there is gonna have to be a new generation of emcees from the South, I think that’s the next thing that’s gonna happen, it’s gonna start being emcees from the South. Rich Boy, I work with him and that’s one of the things we’re trying to do with his album. His album is really some Southern hip-hop going on; it’s hood, it’s gutter, but it’s music, too. One thing I found interesting about you is that you’re from Atlanta, but you moved to L.A. right when Atlanta was blowing up. What prompted you to make that move? Well, I didn’t move physically, my home is still Atlanta, but I moved from a business aspect. I’m going to say this and I want people to understand this clearly; just growing up in the game I always heard people in L.A. and New York say that people in the South were slow, or that niggas in the South were slow, and I realized that we are. We are slow. When it comes to business, we aren’t on point. Nobody in Atlanta is really on point with their business and the people that came right before me didn’t take the initiative to teach me properly. So when I saw some things out in L.A., my eyes opened up wide. I didn’t know all this was available, and that was really my way to the next level because nobody in Atlanta was going to give me that opportunity. This is just my belief, but I feel that the people in Atlanta who were put in the positions to change the game don’t because they like it just the way it is, and they want to remain where they are. That’s why there hasn’t been an L.A. Reid or Jimmy Iovine in Atlanta, because they don’t want to be a legend as a super producer label head, but that’s my vision. Do you think you would have been able to attain the same level of success if you would have never left Atlanta and went out to L.A.? Definitely not, because going to L.A. put me in a different circle. I was exposed to different things and in any business; it has a lot to do with the circles you run in or the people who think you’re dope. And Atlanta did do something for me, it helped certain people look at me, because just being from Atlanta makes people look at you, since Atlanta is the hot spot, everybody wants to look at the hot producers from Atlanta. What advice do you have for any aspiring artist or producer? Dare to be incredible, don’t just listen to the radio and go with what works, that’s one way to get on, but I’m gonna tell you like this, the people who tend to be trendy producers don’t stick around, because when music changes, you’ll be a follower all your life. A person like Jermaine Dupri, even though he’s successful, he’s considered to be a follower. No incredible producer respects or looks at Jermaine Dupri as an incredible producer. Dr. Dre, Timbaland, Pharrell, they don’t be like, “Jermaine Dupri the shit,” because he thinks like a DJ, and I get that whole concept, but my point is, dare to be amazing, and that’s how you become like Quincy Jones or the other greats. But a lot of people only care about getting paid, they don’t care about being great, but when I go on the basketball court, I want to win every time, every time. I’m trying to leave my mark on this game, I wanna be incredible. 67
7 YEAR’S 20E0W S N OLUTION RES
“My New Year’s Resolution is to do a song a day.” – Slim Thug
“Cut back on my smoking, from a $3,000/week habit to a $1,500/week habit.” – Rick Ross
“Keep UGK members out of jail.” – Bun B
“Stop fuckin’ with bitches who got bad credit and bad attitudes, and niggas who got emotions like bitches.” – Jae Millz
“I’m gonna put my all into the art of hustling.” – Yung Joc
“Quit my addiction to Red Bull energy drinks, unless they give me an endorsement deal.; then it would be business.” – Chamillionaire
“Stay away from broke men and take more overseas trips.” – Gangsta Boo
“To move the culture forward by any means necessary.” – DJ Drama
“To get a cover of OZONE.” – Chaka Zulu
“[my partner] Mayne’s resolution is to eat healthier; mine is to hit the gym every day.” – Dru Brett (The Runners)
“Work smart, and love, pray, and play hard!” – 8Ball
“Teach young people how to get money in the music business. Hip Hop has to be passed on as both art and a source of income.” – Too $hort
“To defend my title as ‘King of the White Girls’.” – Polow Da Don
“To be a better man before God, and the best father I can be.” – Steve Austin
“To shut the game down.” – Trey Songz
“For my new album We The Best to be the #1 album in the country, and to have good health!” – DJ Khaled
“Continue to grind the only way I know how.” – Pitbull
“Surround myself with positive people in all aspects of life: personally, businesswise, and musically – and grind even harder than last year.” – Princess (Crime Mob)
“To have an album out by the end of 2007, and not to have any kids.” – Citty
“To work harder on my American Dream album than the last one.” – Mike Jones
“To stop “Make my two artists’ smoking albums – DJ Drama and cigarettes.” Willie The Kid – the two – Lil Boosie biggest selling in history.” – DJ Don Cannon
“To let that dumb shit go and get this money!” – Rich Boy
“to be an ambassador with a vision; a catalyst for those who strive to reach goals. There is more to life than money, sex, and drugs.” – Atiba
“Hit the gym and get on a healthier diet, and cut back on my drinking.” – Southstar
“In 2006 I ain’t do “To achieve shit but get mon- balance.” ey, so by 2007 I’ll – Cee-Lo be putting out my own niggas.” – Trick Daddy
“Stop letting white girls be my weakness.” – Mistah FAB
“Bring awareness to the music industry. Artists aren’t selling like they used to, and record labels are shutting down left and right.” – DJ Nasty
“To focus more on my record label and the artists that I have signed to my Sick Wid It Records imprint.” – E-40
“No more fuckin’ with negative people, no matter how much I care about ‘em.” – Pimp C
“Make the whole world become an Asshole by Nature, and get rid of fake industry niggas.” – Trae
“To get my fuckin’ album done! Yeaaaahhhhhh!” - Lil Jon
“My New Year’s resolution is to sell a whole lot of records. Buck the World February 6th.” - Young Buck
“to get business right and take over in 2007.” – Webbie
“My New Years’ resolution is to hater walk on bitches and make them bow down to the queen of the South by getting money all the time.” – Khia
“This year is gonna be the happiest year of my life. I’m on some positive, successful shit.” - Diamond of Crime Mob
“Try not to blow money on dumb shit, and cut back on my Grey Goose consumption.” - Wes Fif
“I’m gonna stop smokin’ that bullshit.” – Lil Scrappy
“To acquire $6.7 million dollars in a threemonth span between movies, production, & shows, and to write Mississippi: The Movie.” – David Banner
“To stay humble and continue to become successful.” – Trina
“To smash any soft-ass, marginally good rapper with better ‘promo’ and ‘street buzz.’ I will out-rhyme any half-ass nigga and stand on top of their twisted and torn carcass and reign.” – Killer Mike
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Perrin - by Eric
Setting The Black Race Back 100 Years Award Winner: Mz. Peachez’ “Fry That Chicken”
This was the biggest display of coonery since minstrel shows and blackface. Mz. Peaches should be banned from life after making some shit like that. Anybody who watched that video is a little dumber after witnessing such an ignorant portrayal of the African-American affinity for chicken. The worst part is; it’s actually a catchy song.
Website Of The Year Award Winner: Myspace.com > Runner Up: YouTube.com
Myspace.com has become an outlet for hidden whores all over the world to connect and reveal their once secret sexual deviant type ways; it brings out the freak in folks in a way Blackplanet never could. In addition, Myspace gives every wannabe artist and aspiring model a false sense of hope, but hey, we still love it.
Biting The Hand That Feeds You Award < Winner: Cristal Champagne Runner Up: Yola
Cristal had a good thing going; for years they had the whole rap world drinking gold bottles. Cristal used to be a symbol of status, but ever since Cristal’s managing director, Frederic Rouzaud made some comments Jay-Z perceived to be racist, the champagne has been boycotted faster than Tommy Hilfiger clothes were ten years ago. Since this incident Cristal sales in the United States have fallen drastically.
Worst Dressed Award Winner: Big Oomp Camp >
We love Oomp Camp, but when will they realize that we aren’t living in the 90s anymore? Those damn colorful ass jumpsuits they wear everywhere are played out like Sega Dreamcast.
Weed Carrier of the Year Award < Winner: Young Dro Runner Up: Jim Jones
Weed carriers are essential to hip-hop entourages, but it comes a time in every sidekick’s career when he needs to claim ownership of the weed. Young Dro made a valiant effort to leave the King of the South’s shadow this year and become a weed owner. But he couldn’t quite shake the weed carrier stigma. Don’t fret Dro, even the biggest weed owners started out as weed carriers. Jay-Z carried for Jaz-O, Tupac carried for Digital Underground, Snoop carried for Dr. Dre. You still have a chance. We’d hate for you to become a lifetime weed carrier like Spliff Star or, God forbid, Memphis Bleek.
Unlikeliest Sex Symbol Award Winner: Lil Boosie >
If you ask us, Boosie resembles the neighborhood junkie more than the next Denzel Washington - but if you don’t believe that Boosie is the newest sex symbol down South, look no further than our very own photo galleries (www.ozonemag.com/gallery), where Boosie’s many distant lovers have got the internet going nuts. Oh, they like that, huh?
PHOTO CREDITS: OOMP CAMP, YOUNG DRO, LIL BOOSIE, & RICK ROSS PHOTOS BY JULIA BEVERLY
Best Kiss Award Winner: Lil Wayne and Baby
The sight of Baby and Wayne kissing on the lips was a hard pill for Cash Money fans to swallow. It was almost unbelievable and at first it left us wondering, was it an accident? Was it imposters? Was it Photoshop? All these thoughts and more probably ran through your head at first glance, but when Baby admitted to kissing Wayne, it was a sad moment for hip-hop.
Most Suspect Artist Winner: Kanye West Runners Up: The Rest of G.O.O.D. Music
John Legend won this award last year. We get the feeling Kanye West went out of his way this year to be extra flamboyant because he clearly hates losing awards. Unbuttoned shirts with taco meat chests are definitely not hip-hop. Since Kanye and John Legend are officially deemed suspect, we have no choice but to question the rest of the G.O.O.D. Music roster.
Most Repetitive Artist Winner: Rick Ross
You would think no one could be more repetitive than Dem Franchize Boyz or Mike Jones, but Rick Ross found a way. He actually rhymed “whip it real hard, whip it whip real hard,” with “whip it real hard, whip it whip it real hard,” “Atlantic” with “Atlantic,” and “twenty-two” with “twenty-two” twice. Not to mention the hook on “Hustlin’” is eight bars full of “Every day I’m hustlin’, every day I’m hustlin’.” Mike Jones, who?
The 14:59 and Counting Award Winner: Karrine “Superhead” Steffans > Runners-Up: Buffie The Body, Hoopz
She wrote about fucking and sucking has-beens and now she’s about to become one too. Oh, hold up! Add another minute to that stopwatch - she’s reportedly pregnant by Bobby Brown and is planning to have a reality show about their romance. Good thing she has something to fall back on, because Nas’ baby mama Carmen Bryan is moving in fast on the “Hoes With Book Deals” category. 71
The Ja Rule “Beef Ruined My Career” Award < Winner: Gucci Mane Runner Up: Lil Flip
Just when you thought a criminal charge and jail time were good marketing strategies, Gucci Mane showed us how real life is. While he was out of sight and out of mind, Gucci’s nemesis Young Jeezy went on to do remixes with Mariah Carey and grace magazine covers. Gucci he had to deal with the daunting task of getting his life and career back on course. Even though he made a power move enlisting the managerial services of Jimmy Rosemond’s Czar Entertainment, his 2006 effort Hard To Kill has been hard to find in anyone’s record collection.
Trigger Happy Award Winner: Plies’ brother Gates > Runner Up: Whoever shot up T.I.’s van in Cincinnati
Pop quiz! Question: You manage your brother’s rap career, and are successfully getting $8k+ a show with no video and no album. Your brother is performing at the same club as Lil Boosie. You want to be the headlining act, but are asked to perform first because Boosie has not arrived. What do you do? Answer: [Allegedly] shoot up the club, injuring five innocent bystanders, successfully landing yourself in a Federal jail cell indefinitely.
What The Fuck? Award < Winner: Outkast
Big Boi and Andre 3000 broke our hearts this year. As much as we tried to convince ourselves otherwise, that Idlewild album was garbage. They played off rumors of an Outkast breakup to release the worst Outkast album ever. We can’t blame Big Boi for wanting to take his Speakerboxxx and play solo; it must be frustrating when your partner is a Rappa Ternt Sanga that everyone wishes would rap. These two don’t record music together, nor do they shot videos together anymore. The day Idlewild was outsold by Diddy’s random bunch of heifers, Danity Kane, was the worst day of hip-hop in 2006. Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.
The All Swagger, No Substance Award Winner: Yung Joc > Runner Up: Jim Jones
Yung Joc is probably the coolest rapper to grace a stage this year, but his presence on the mic is even colder; frozen even. After being accused of not writing the rhymes to his easy to remember hit “It’s Goin’ Down,” it’s safe to say that Joc has more looks than lyrics. At least he’s the best at it.
The “What Happened?” Award < Winner: Field Mob Runner Up: Mobb Deep
As one the South’s, if not the entire industry’s, most slept-on wordsmiths a new deal with Ludacris’s high-profile Disturbing Tha Peace label was supposed to take the Mob out of the Field and into the mansion. But even a crossover hit with pop princess Ciara couldn’t get this Albany, GA duo the recognition they rightfully deserve. Was it the DVD of them mocking New York rappers? Was the interviews blasting snap music? Was it another case of your boss having a bigger presence than you? Or was it their tendency to get into career-stalling trouble (Smoke was in and out of prison all year, as Shawn Jay was getting in shoot outs and landing in the hospital in Jacksonville)? Whatever it was, Field Mob’s signing to DTP still had listeners saying “So What?”
Best Ad-Lib Award
Worst Ad-Lib Award < Winner: Jazze Pha
Ladies and Gentlemen! This is a Jazze Phizzle Frazzle Frizzle Dazzle Dizzle Productshizzle! Oh Boy! If you got annoyed reading all of that, odds are you got annoyed hearing it. Whenever one of his “productshizzles” comes on the radio you almost have to ask yourself whose song it is anyway.
Get On My Level Award Winner: T.I. > Runner Up: Jay-Z
Tip had the best selling rap CD of the year, a number-one hit movie and even helped propel his sidekick Young Dro to fame. T.I. won the BET Hip-Hop Award for Rap MVP for 2006, and we couldn’t agree more. Anybody who denies that T.I. is a king is a straight hater.
Coon of the Year Award Tie: Flavor Flav & Diddy
Flavor Flav has never experienced as much love as he gets now, and all he had to do become a superstar was sell his soul. Don’t be surprised if you hear Flav on the remix to “Fry That Chicken” coming out soon. Meanwhile, Diddy had on his dancing shoes all year. His Myspace friends were treated to Diddy TV, where he has pissed on camera, taken a bubble bath, ordered a Whopper from Burger King, dissed Jessica Simpson and Lindsey Lohan over Proactiv, announced the birth of his twins, and filmed many more ridiculous moments all in the name of record sales for his album Press Play. He also had Joc doing a motorcycle dance all across the country, threw Cassie to the wolves knowing she couldn’t sing worth a damn, and at times had those Making the Band 3 chicks looking a hot mess. Even 50 Cent had to rethink going to war against a man with no shame. 72
PHOTO CREDITS: PLIES (JULIA BEVERLY); YUNG JOC (ERIC JOHNSON); JAZZE PHA (JULIA bEVERLY)
Winner: Jim Jones >
Jim Jones turned an imaginary jump shot into a club banger. He even had the entire New York Giants football team in on it. Now that’s baaalllllliiinnn’! But even though “We Fly High” is one of the biggest bangers of ‘06 and “baaalllllliiinnn’” is the best ad-lib, that doesn’t mean Jim Jones has to blurt it out on every track. Some things are best in moderation. “Ballin’ on X-mas” is completely out of line. Quit while you’re ahead, Jimmy.
Homeland Security Award Winner: Katt Williams >
Knowing that you can’t even bring a 6 ounce bottle of shampoo on board, what in the would possess lil’ Katt to try to bring four guns through the airport’s metal detector? Better yet, four stolen guns? But the most important question is: Why was he strapped in the first place? Was it a publicity stunt for the BET Hip-Hop Awards, or a way to beef up the ol’ hood credibility? Does having a comedy special on HBO pardon you from the burden of a metal detector? Does he have ties to the Taliban? After this genius move, Money Mike is going to have to Go Greyhound to get to his gigs.
The Do It My Damn Self Award < Winner: Killer Mike Runners-Up: Fat Joe, Jim Jones
With his sophomore album Ghetto Extraordinary pushed back (again), Mike was forced to push back and release his independently financed I Pledge Allegiance To the Grind street album. Amidst label disputes with Purple Ribbon and Sony Records and rumors of signing to Bad Boy, Killa Kill from Adamsville rolled the dice and put out what was easily one of the best albums this year. With “That’s Life” conjuring Ice Cube comparisons and in-depth interviews popping up in every magazine and website you can name, Mike’s T.O.-ish confidence has him on pace to catch 2007 running like Randy Moss.
The Impatiently Waiting Award Winner: Jody Breeze
Somebody is bullshitting. Why doesn’t this guy have an album out yet? People have been singing his praises since 2004 and all we’ve gotten is a couple of mixtapes and hard to find music videos (you can find “Stay Fresh” and “Fast Forward” floating around on YouTube and MySpace). Hopefully he’ll get fed up and follow in the footsteps of our Do It My Damn Self Award winner.
PHOTO CREDITS: KATT WILLIAMS (MALIK ABDUL), B.G. (JULIA BEVERLY), JIBBS (RAY TAMARRA), “TRINA” TATTOO (RAY TAMARRA); “WAYNE” TATTOO (LUIS SANTANA)
PHOTO CREDITS: PLIES (JULIA BEVERLY); YUNG JOC (ERIC JOHNSON); JAZZE PHA (JULIA bEVERLY)
Three Strikes Award Winner: C-Murder Runner Up: Beanie Sigel
He somehow got out of jail despite being sentenced to a life sentence for murder, and gets caught violating the terms of his house arrest by a surveillance camera at the local Smoothie King? He’s got more street cred than three of your average gangsta rappers, his brother is a multi-millionaire; why not just send someone to get you a Smoothie? Yet another case of “You can take a nigga out of the hood, but...”
I Can’t Feel My Face Award Winner: B.G. > Runner Up: Bobby and Whitney
It doesn’t look like Gizzle has quite gotten that monkey off his back. His eyes are always red and glazed over, his stride is off center, and his head leans and rocks like a bobble-head doll. Is he having trouble keeping his nose closed or is it just the Hennessey and ecstacy?
Green Neck Award < Winner: Jibbs
Somewhere along the line, rappers felt it was acceptable to wear fake jewelry. The best example is that guy with the nursery rhyme about the superfluous length of his very fake chain. He has matching rings and a watch and it looks like he got the whole set out the back of The Source for $79.99. Platinum and diamonds are reserved for those special few who actually are stacking bread, not anyone who considers themselves a rapper. Unless you go gold, move units independently or just come from money, stick with those wooden beads with Bob Marley on them.
Swagger Jacker Award Winner: Fat Joe Runner Up: Tigger
The South is the place to be right now, no doubt about that. But have a little dignity and rep where you’re from. Joey Crack hopped on I-95 to Miami, copped a grill, and jumped on the mixtape scene with Southern artists hoping to improve his unimpressive record sales. Keep it gully, B. You don’t need to switch to southpaw. Maybe the Big Apple will rise again but no region will accept a defect or a transplant. Coca, get back on your NY shit.
Worst Tattoo Award < Winners: Trina and Lil Wayne
Here’s a guaranteed way to ensure that your relationship will end quickly: tattoo your girlfriend’s name across your ring finger and have her tattoo your name on her wrist.
Fuck You Pay Me Award Winner: Kim Osorio
Kim O got the ultimate payback against Benzino, Dave Mays and the Source. The former Editor-InChief originally thought she’d won a $15.5 million dollars lawsuit against her former employers for sexual harassment during her tenure at The Source. Once the verdict was cleared up, Kim O actually walked away with an $8 million judgment. Good luck getting the money, Kim. The slut monkey is still waiting on her $1,575. [Editor’s note to Benzino: JB did not write this; please do not leave any messages regarding this column on her voicemail]
Most Arrogant Video Model Award Winner: Melyssa Ford
Melyssa Ford’s attitude is as stank as her fat ass after a sloppy shit. She looks good, but must have forgotten that she is nobody but a video hoe turned BET VJ. Her type comes a dime a dozen. 73
Who’s Dick Did She Suck To Get That Deal? Award Winner: Cassie
Everyone knows Cassie can’t sign worth a shit, so how in the hell was she able to land a deal with Bad Boy Records? Anyone who saw her uncut video on YouTube knows the answer to this question. The young J. Lo lookalike obviously served up Diddy some hellafied monster dome in exchange for the limelight. Diddy’s “girl” Kim Porter better watch out – it’s not good to fight while pregnant.
Damn, I Was Doing Better In Jail Award Winner: Lil Kim
When Kim was in jail, she got all the love in the world; she had her own hit reality television show on BET, she got love from the entire industry, and even had restored her original gangsta appeal that made her so successful in the first place. But after Kim got out of jail, however, nobody remembered she was even alive, and her whole orange-prison-jumpsuitintro-thing at the MTV VMAs was not a good look. Poor Kim. She better go get her ass locked up again.
Find A Better Hobby Award
Winner: Dwayne Wade Runner Up: LeBron James
Trapped in the Closet Award Winner: Da Brat
We all know the frequent trips to Magic City and baggy clothes aren’t just a fad. Da Brat was flirting with bisexuality when she dropped “What Do You Like” video where she had both half naked men and women dancing around her, but now she went all out gay. C’mon, Brat, its time come out of the closet and let the whole world know about you and Missy.
Best Beef Award Winner: Beyonce and Rihanna Runner Up: Deelishis and New York
Like all good beef, this one started off as a rumor. But hey, we’re not complaining, who doesn’t like the idea of a Beyonce vs. Rihanna cat fight. Damn, Jay, you’re a lucky man!
Gangsta of the Year Award Winner: OJ Simpson
OJ wrote a book entitled, “If I Did It,” which detailed the night he murdered of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her lover, Ron Goldman. Anybody who still believes OJ is innocent must smoke a lotta crack. Like it or not, you have to admit, that was some gangsta ass shit. OJ is damn lucky the double jeopardy law exists, which makes it impossible for him to go back on trial for the same case.
Best Revenge Award < Winner: Chamillionaire
After the success of his former partner Paul Wall and Mike Jones, the whole world damn near believed Chamillionare was done, but 2006 couldn’t have been much better for the color-changing lizard. Chamillionaire got his first platinum plaque and gained respect from the entire industry.
Foot In Mouth Award Michael Robinson a.k.a. Kramer from Seinfeld
Damn, Kramer went completely fucking coo-koo on stage in Los Angeles. Let’s hope he enjoyed his career, because not only is he a has-been, but his little stunt at The Laugh Factory completely barred him from working in the entertainment industry ever again. He made Bill O’Reily look like a militant black panther. The only gig Kramer will get now is at a KKK Convention in Indiana.
Hater of the Year Award Winner: Gillie the Kidd Runner Up: Oprah
Ever since 50 came out dissin’ Ja Rule in 2002, every road-blocked rapper has tried to get on by starting beef. Gillie The Kidd is the latest lame who is trying to make a career by dissing a more prominent rapper. Gillie from Philly claimed to have ghost wrote for both Wayne and Baby, and is even responsible for releasing the infamous picture of Birdman and Son kissing on the lips, but his career is still going nowhere. 74
Winner: Master P Runner Up: Ron Artest
Master P wasn’t much of a rapper but we still loved him. He wasn’t much of an actor but we still watched his movies. We didn’t think he’d make it in the NBA but we still rooted for him. But this year, watching Master P attempt to dance (if you want to call that dancing) with the stars was a fiasco. Please find something else to do with your free time.
Best Hip-Hop Couple Winner: Lil’ Wayne and Baby > Runner Up: Young Jeezy and Keyshia Cole
These two took the title from last year’s winner Jay-Z and Beyonce because of their impeccable chemistry and passionate displays of public affection. They released a collaborative CD, have tattoos of each other’s names and/or faces, and even own a business together. Jay and Beyonce ain’t got shit on that.
Keep It In Your Pants Award Winner: Eddie Griffin Runner Up: Bill Cosby
Every man knows the feeling; sometimes you just need to bust a nut. We all have those cold, lonely nights where we have to slap the salami, but for Christ’s sake, don’t do it while you drive! If chirping on your cell phone while operating a motor vehicle is distracting enough to ban it in several states, imagine how potentially dangerous it is when you’re “almost there”? Griffin, a forward for the Minnesota Timberwolves gave himself a “money shot” before crashing into a ditch with a lap full of splooge. Let this be a lesson; Don’t Jerk and Drive.
Trendsetter Award < Winner: Jim Jones Runners Up: Lupe Fiasco, Pharrell
The skateboarding and colorful hoodies are a close second, but besides the whole “Ballllinnnn” thing, Jimmy made the biker style pop in hip-hop. Skin tight shirts, gaudy belt buckles, and dangling chain-wallets are all the rage with today’s rhyme spitters thanks to Capo. The Dipset leader has realized his influence on pop culture and is preparing for a foray in haberdashery with his own line of high-end belts. It’s great to see gangstas who are fashion conscious.
Cheating Death Award Winner: Cassidy Runner Up: Fabolous
Cass almost died in a car accident, but thankfully he’s expected to make a full recovery.
Worst Haircut Award < Winner: Tum Tum Runner Up: Lil Boosie
Otherwise known as the black man’s mullet, Tum Tum’s haircut is a popular style in Dallas. But just because something is popular doesn’t make it right.
PHOTO CREDITS: LIL WAYNE AND BABY (RAY TAMARRA); JIM JONES (MALIK ABDUL); TUM TUM (MATT SONZALA)
D. Wade won the NBA Final MVP Award and become a superstar along the way. He graced the cover of virtually every sports magazine and more than quadrupled his income. He could probably teach Jim Jones a thing or two about ballin’.
PHOTO CREDITS: LIL WAYNE AND BABY (RAY TAMARRA); JIM JONES (MALIK ABDUL); TUM TUM (MATT SONZALA)
E K I M E C N E KILELIESR S S E OF THE TIM “T
RLAND AURICE G. GBAEVERLY M Y B S D R O W LIA PHOTOS BY JU
ime is Money” seems to be a favorite saying among people who describe themselves as business people or hustlers. They usually say it when one of their colleagues takes an hour to complete a 5-minute task. Or utter those words after they tell someone how busy they are or why they can’t make it to a certain event.
has officially “cut the ribbon” and went independent. The latest offering from his Grind Time label is the double-album I Pledge Allegiance To the Grind. Heralded by fans, and of course Mike himself, as perhaps one of the best albums to touch record store shelves this year, Pledge officially starts Mike’s journey to become what he calls an “EmCEO.”
In some cases, the phrase holds true. Time, just like money, can be wasted, saved or spent wisely. Money, just like time, can be given or taken away. But the comparisons stop when it comes to getting it back.
It comes after Grind Time’s previous indie releases, 2003’s Dat Crack and 2005’s The Killer, but serves as the first with absolutely no Outkast involvement. Surrounded by self-picked producers Smiff & Cash of Heatwave Productions, Chaotic Beats, B-Don the Architects and the Drum Majors, Pledge features Killer Mike in all of his unchained, unflinching glory.
You can get your money back when you return faulty merchandise. But you can’t retrieve the time you lost trying to make that certain piece of equipment to work. You can get your money back after loaning it to someone. But when you let someone borrow your precious time, its damn near impossible to them to return it to you. The last six years have taught Michael Santiago Render a.k.a. Killer Mike those differences and similarities between time and money. Since signing with the now defunct Outkast-helmed label Aquemini in 2000 (it resurfaced as Purple Ribbon in 2005) he’s appeared on countless ‘Kast projects including every album since Stankonia and the breakthrough single “The Whole World” for which he earned a Grammy. But on the flipside of those highlights, he’s only released one full-length album, Monster, and saw what was supposed to be his sophomore effort, Ghetto Extraordinary go from delayed to deceased. “I think about that album everyday, I listen to the record and look at the pictures,” grimaces Mike. The cover art, shot by Jonathan Mannion, is currently on display at a Downtown Atlanta photo gallery, on sale for $2,400. “[With] that album not coming out, it felt like I took a loss and I didn’t understand why. I felt like a boxer who got knocked out and never made it to the ring. So I told myself that if I can fight again, I won’t lose.” After months of frustration, speculation and even in-house conflict, Mike
“This album is straight me,” he says, sitting barside at tonight’s first stop, Pleaser’s, one of Atlanta’s $5 table dance strip clubs where he has stopped by to drop off new music with the house DJ. “In the past I tried to appease Outkast fans and give them what they may have wanted from me or expected of me. Not his time. This is straight Mike, take it or leave it.” “That’s why I’m in here right now delivering music. I want them to see me. This ain’t no corporation sending you a check at the end of the month, this ain’t Big Boi or Dre or Purple Ribbon. I want people to know that you fuck with me directly.”
arlier you were having a conversation with Wendy Day, and you told her that you like to do business with gangsters. Why? I like doing business with real gangsters. I grew up around them. And I don’t mean that corny shit where niggas got a thousand gold chains and he tells you about how many bitches he got and how many niggas he done shot. Fundamentally, gangsters are people out of a poor environment who take advantage of the economic opportunities in their environment. Most of the time they have integrity. I don’t like doing business with people who pretend to be gangsters. At the end of the day gangsters live a lifestyle to make sure their families are safe. The best thing is that you don’t have to do business with them if you don’t want to; you have a choice. Just know that if you do you have to be A-1 with it. Gangsters are 77
in the business of making money, they aren’t trying to be famous or be on stage with you. Jimmy Henchman [now known as Jimmy Rosemond] is a gangster. Everyone knows what he went through but it built a certain character in him. I’m talking about people like Lil’ J [Prince]. I have a tremendous amount of respect for men like that. Black people put themselves in the position to be the victims of white gangsters everyday, but you never empower black gangsters to do business with them for you. I have nothing but admiration for anyone that can make it off these streets and create an economy that can feed other black people. Through all of that, you did business with Outkast, mostly Big Boi. You’re no longer on Purple Ribbon. What happened? I love Big and Dre, they saved my life. Ain’t no one offer me no deal after my album ain’t do right. That’s why I can still call Big my friend, I worship the ground he walks on, but that don’t change the fact that as businessmen we ain’t see eye to eye. Treat me like a dog, feed me or let me go. If you keep me on the chain and you’re not feeding me I’m biting you the minute you get too close. If you let me off the chain I’ll be a dog that was unappreciative, you can talk about me but I’ll eat on my own. I broke the chain, so Big either gonna say I was a good dog that didn’t work out or an unappreciative dog. Give us an example of a time where things didn’t work out. I wanted “Niggas Down South” to be the lead single from Ghetto Extraordinary. Big wanted “My Chrome.” That song died in the water, we never did one promo show together off that song. Greg Street and Tasha Love picked up “Niggas Down South” and put it on V-103, the biggest black radio station in Georgia, and got 21 spins a week by itself. Purple Ribbon gave it no support and Sony didn’t push it either because they ain’t pick it. I don’t want to do business like that anymore. That sabotaged something that I worked so hard on. So do you blame Purple Ribbon and/or Sony completely for what you’ve been going through during your time in the music industry? When I was running the streets, my mama told me not to ever take a front from another nigga. I respected that until I got in the record business. That’s the first front I ever took and shit been going downhill ever since. I was never supposed to stop grinding, so I blame myself. But if your trap ain’t booming, don’t expect me to stay. Niggas think I’ve been gone but for 3 years, I’ve dropped an album every year, I just didn’t have the push. I just want people to understand that I’m still Dungeon Family all day, but right now it’s about Grind Time Rap Gang. I can not do business with niggas who ain’t serious about winning. I am not a Braves fan, I’m a Yankees fan. The Yankees won the World Series 24 times, but the Braves only won once. Grind Time Rap Gang, we are the Black Yankees. There were rumors circulating that you were going to sign with Bad Boy. Now that you’ve dropped this independent album, are more labels knocking at your door? Labels have been saying they wanted to sign me for two years, but I was too loyal. I was clever in that I dropped my shit first, I didn’t shop my shit, my shit is selling as we speak. I told these labels, don’t talk to me like an artist. I don’t want an advance, I want a budget. Fuck that “artist” shit. What people like Trae, Paul Wall and Chamillionare taught me alone makes me money. Music is not just about making money to me, I love this shit. But I like the money because it affords me to do what I gotta do and help my niggas do their shit the right way. Who are some of the people who helped you put out the album? Chamillionare is my biggest supporter. Fiend is like my best friend now. Bear Loc, O.G. Money and Hubie D helped me a lot. Wendy Day has been a blessing too, her articles [in OZONE] are dope. A lot of people helped me during this stretch. Niggas gave me work, verses. I’m thankful to the retailers too. When people see a light in you they will help you. I told Purple Ribbon to put out an independent album on me, but they never got around to it, so I got around to it. One of the most talked about songs on the album is “Promise I Will Not Lose.” You directed it towards your former labelmate Blackowned C-Bone of Konkrete after he dissed you at the Birthday Bash concert in Atlanta. What do you think caused that conflict? Bone felt like he had to defend Purple Ribbon and his friend, Big Boi. I made the play I made for all of us. We were all constantly being but on hold because of Outkast or personal agendas, so I said, “Let’s make a stand and put our destiny in our own hands.” I asked him to get on this song “DDT” by Rock D with me. He didn’t want to, well, I’m not gonna stop getting money. I missed that [Purple Ribbon] show at Birthday Bash 78
in Atlanta [because] months prior I had booked paid shows [the same weekend] in Meridian, MS, Mobile, AL and Montgomery, AL. I knew they was gonna miss me at that show, but as far as my relationship with Purple Ribbon I’m not gonna keep working for free, fuck a promo show. I was already told that I wouldn’t be doing Birthday Bash by Hot and that Purple Ribbon wasn’t interested. Any artist in Atlanta wants to do Birthday Bash, that’s the biggest music festival in the city, but I couldn’t risk catching a lawsuit, I had a paid show. I didn’t do a promo in a year. If I got a major deal and a CD out, cool, but I’m not promo-ing just to be promo-ing, fuck that shit. It’s just easier for us to be friends. I can’t do business with them anymore. I’m the only person on Purple Ribbon that broke the 500,000 sold [marker]. 250,000 stateside and 250,000 in Europe. You can’t even name another artist over there that can get on the radio and be in magazines by themselves. But I don’t think I was ever liked over there. When I did my first song for Big, “Snappin and Trappin” on Stankonia, when I was rapping, every time I paused the engineer John Frye pushed the button to talk to me. Well, one time it locked and I could hear Bone hating on me saying, “Aw, that shit ain’t hard.” At the time, I was new, so I ain’t say nothing, but it kept happening. But it ain’t even his fault; he was a hater by association. Niggas over there don’t want to see you do you. I’m DF for life, I don’t care if my relationship with ‘Kast is rocky, I added a brick to the DF. I want to be the reason people never forget names like Khujo, T-Mo, Cool Breeze, and Slimm Cutta Calhoun.
n 2007, Mike plans to add more bricks to that legacy as well as build upon his own. Grind Time will be releasing Mike’s solo album 16 In the Kitchen, a solo album from crew member S.L. Jones Bangin Outta Little Rock which will be followed by another double-album, Serving Live From the Grind House 2.2 Lbs. A Black Yankees Gangsta Grills is on the way as well. “My goal is to build a company and make money,” he adds. “Originally I Pledge… was supposed to be a Southern Smoke with DJ Smallz. After I finished it I thought wow, I’ma give this to a DJ? And he’s gonna sell it for $2-3 dollars each and sell the masters to the bootleggers? So I thought, why not press it up myself? I have to do what makes sense and money. It made sense for me to apply the knowledge I got from the Texas artists. It made too much sense not to do what I did. No disrespect to the mixtape DJs, but I’m not gonna be in the business to make other people more money than me. Even with The Killer me and DJ Sense split that bread. Everything I do gotta make money.” In addition to the money, Mike wants to make an impact. This summer he received applause for his scathing social commentary “That’s Life” which called out public figures including Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby for their waning involvement in the plight of the black and poor community. The song also addressed the issue of why today’s youth idolize athletes and entertainers as opposed to preachers and politicians. “I get the best feedback from the working class community, college white dudes, the gay and lesbian community and educated black leaders from that song,” says the father of two sons, slowly going from proud to dejected. “But my sistahs ain’t all the way on board yet, I want to see more of them at my shows. I never see the people they love reciprocate the love to them. When they are shown on TV the example is Superhead or a woman who don’t know who their baby’s father is. The people they give their lives and loyalty to spit on them in the nicest of ways. Everything I do and say is out of love. The most brutal shit I say comes from a place of love. I’m working on myself, but I’m not gonna sell you out. I’m not gonna Bill Clinton you. Remember what he did to Sistah Soulja.”
id you feel any self-doubt when you decided to drop I Pledge? Not doubt, I had fear. Right now is a dumb time in rap. Lame niggas are rapping like they’re G’s, and G’s are doing lame shit. I’m just learning to adjust to this shit. Rap is TV. I had to accept the fact that niggas may be so dumb that they might not give a fuck what I’m talking about. Thank God niggas want real lyrics now. They want the ‘Kast, Ball & G, UGK feeling again. They tired of that rudimentary shit. My first record was about getting industry respect. This one is letting you know it ain’t safe no more. Ya’ll hoping that lyrical shit will die down after the Clipse? No way. These niggas thinking they can imitate Jeezy’s swag and call themselves a trap rapper. They getting showed out on this one. I’m a third generation gangsta. My grandfather moved shine and my mother moved cocaine. I don’t say that with honor, but I would never disgrace what they did. I’m striving and surviving by any means necessary. With artist such as The Clipse and Jeezy speaking heavily on the drug game, where did rap’s fascination with cocaine and the drug game come from? Yourself included.
nd. This shitseis e fi a e b to r la u p e “It’s gettinglapcok Hollywood, niggas on th at’s th If b . the new rowing money and shit gam pills and thdo, do it, I just learned the , I’me what you way. I ain’t about wasting a differentking and climbing.” about stac I discovered rap in a dope dealer’s car. I didn’t discover it innocently by watching BET, MTV or at no middle school dance. I found rap sitting in my uncle’s Oldsmobile Delta ‘88 listening to Ice T’s Rhyme Pays with ounces of dope around me. I can’t separate the two. That’s all I know, rap and dope. With my grandparents it was Jesus and education, with my uncle and parents it was crack and rap. I can’t rap about shit else. What else is relevant to niggas these days? You ain’t got no crackhead in your family? Why do niggas act like crack ain’t the shit to rap about? Ain’t nobody addressed the problem. No one talking about the mothers that got cracked out and ruined the black family because the fathers was already gone. You dealing with a generation of niggas that done raised themselves. You dealing with post-war victims. What else is relevant in the black community, for the last twenty years? Is that pretty much what we can expect from your solo album? 16 In The Kitchen ain’t about me being a bad ass crack dealer. It’s about a woman and her son growing up in the heyday of cocaine and how it affects our relationship and the people around us. It’s some dope shit, some Hard Boys shit, some Edward J type shit, some Sharan’s Showcase shit, but it’s all crack shit. I went from the crackhouse to Morehouse. We in the new crack epidemic now, all these niggas on these pills. I’m old enough to have seen the 80s and young enough to have seen this shit. I remember when a nigga came to my momma house saying he gave a bitch some freebase and she sucked his dick all night. I remember when niggas would hit crack because they wanted to freak off with a bitch. Replace that word with pills, beans, skittles and you have the same shit. All these niggas running around saying they geeked up. That ain’t no good word, ya’ll niggas on these pills are geeked, y’all the new junkies. I’m not judging, but I am giggling. These niggas rapping about being a crack dealer but you’re a pill head. It’s getting popular to be a fiend. This shit is the new black Hollywood, niggas on these pills and throwing money and shit. If that’s what you do, do it, I just learned the game a different way. I ain’t about wasting, I’m about stacking and climbing. I don’t hate on no hustler, but if I see another bitch in the mall after a $3,000 night in the strip club I might hit one of them hoes in the back of the head and say, “Bitch, what are you thinking?” Spend a stack and save two, buy a rental property. Be a smart bitch, not a dumb hoe, get money. But with 16 In The Kitchen, I just want to reintroduce myself. As a new artist labels like to put you in a stage play and play a part that really isn’t you. They don’t necessarily try to change you, just accent what they like. Part of being an artist is being complex and contradictory through your passion and emotion. Sometimes it’s just a vibe, you have to be as human as you can be and sometimes structure keeps that from happening. True, it seems like the last artist that was really good at that was ‘Pac. Realistically and idealistically I think I’m the closest thing to ‘Pac. A lot of people hear that and get caught up in the romantic ‘Pac, shirtless ‘Pac, angry ‘Pac, I mean the guy you got on the first album, with “Brenda’s Got A Baby” and “Trapped.” It’s funny how now all we do is celebrate being trapped. All these niggas say they a real nigga like ‘Pac, then why don’t you speak well? I’m the closest thing to ‘Pac, I know what’s going on in the jungle and in the politics and I know how to relay how it makes sense to street people. There’s niggas that’s doing it that only appeal to the incense burners and the politically left. But I can walk into any show, any mosh pit. A lot of niggas don’t think I’m hood because I speak well, but I like fat asses, weaves, Chevys and all that shit. But education is the best tool you can have, don’t get mad at me because I can use my tool. Why don’t you think speaking intelligently is promoted more? A lot of niggas are afraid to be who they are. I talk to women the same way I’m talking to you. If they don’t understand a word, I tell them you better go Google that shit. My Aunt Pat from Allen Temple told me, “Just because you from the ghetto, don’t mean you have to be of the ghetto.” I despise dummies. Being dumb ain’t did shit but get niggas in jail and losing money. I don’t do dumb shit, I listen to The Clipse and niggas that can rap and are intelligent. 79
Why do you think a lot of listeners are swaying towards simple, dumb rap? The rap audience got separated and it ain’t the South’s fault either. When Master P came out and did what he did, he gave a lot of niggas hope, but in that he gave a lot of whack niggas hope too. Corporate interests started mattering more than the quality of the music, niggas started worrying about how many units they can push. I don’t think nothing happened to the audience ears, what happened is that the rap audience got separated. They started thinking: If I listen to dead prez, I can’t listen to T.I. If I listen to Killer Mike I can’t listen to Murs. If I listen to Bonecrusher and David Banner, I can’t listen to Dip Set. Why the fuck not? I don’t know any man who likes one kind of woman, so why would I like one kind of rap? A lot of niggas listen to the shit we rap about, trying to become the nigga we were, we’re not that anymore. If you’re a fan, be a fan, you can’t be the next nigga, be you, if you rap be you when you rap.
industry. He currently does voiceover work as a character named Taqu’il on Cartoon Network’s Frisky Dingo. He’s also in the beginning stages of launching his own clothing line for big and tall men. Mike has always been a trendsetter in his own right. He wore the growingly-popular I Am The Street Dream t-shirt three years ago in this very magazine, now popularized by Young Jeezy’s newest Gangsta Grillz. He recorded the song “Rap Is Dead” in 2003, and years later, Nas is dropping an album titled Hip Hop Is Dead.
But at the end of the day, I don’t think rap has dumbed down completely. I just think niggas want to say the words. It went from being about saying shit that everyone can relate to, to saying shit that everyone can recite. Once you accept the fact that everyone can’t rap you can appreciate great rap and say “I can’t do that.” There’s a lot of people that think they can sing, they come up to you and me all the time, and they sound awful. Rap doesn’t work like that. If you got okay timing and you saying what folks are saying in the street, you got a shot, so everyone feels like they have a shot. But the best way to get rid of these cockroaches ain’t Raid, it’s to put a killer in the kitchen. That’s what I’m doing with Grind Time, I’m introducing some predators in the ecosystem.
ave you considered activism after your rap career is over? I am an activist. I don’t wanna tell you about what I bought last week, that’s some chump shit. I’ll tell you what I bought this week and tell you what these crooked muthafuckas in the government are doing while we buying it. Certain rappers are being set up to be buffoons. Who else the kids got? The politicians are selling them out. God bless the clergy men that are working with Hip Hop, like Dr. Warnat at Ebanezer Youth Minister Sharan Jones, god bless Farrakhan’s health. If all we had was these crooked politicians we’d be worse off than we are now. Entertainers in the black community have always been looked up to.
The Baltimore Sun recently ran an article saying that some of today’s music like “Chain Hang Low” and “Chicken Noodle Soup” should be called Minstrel Rap. Hell yeah. These niggas out here cooning. No fuck that, the coons are the ones cooning for these corporations. “Chain Hang Low ain’t cooning, that’s nursery rhyming. The cooning is these niggas’ name-dropping and self-censoring. Niggas changing their lyrics for a company. Fuck the coons, let’s talk about the sellouts. You sellout the minute you don’t tax someone who will tax you. For example, 50 Cent and Allen Iverson ain’t selling out, they’re buying in. Reebok fucks with them and they fuck with Reebok. But a lot of these other niggas, you’ll see them in a Reebok ad but then you see them in the street wearing Nikes. They don’t believe in the product, they just take a check from whoever, and in exchange for that check they’ll say whatever the company expects them to say. I equate rappers as politicians for the hood. That’s like a senator accepting a bribe. Coons don’t hold no power. I want to start exposing sellouts. Have you ever been tempted to make simpler rap? No, but I do my version of popular shit. I did “Body Rock.” It wasn’t my song, but I put Killer Mike on that type of song, but I’m not gonna try to rap like them niggas. I’m not slowing down for a bitch, so I ain’t slowing down for a nigga either. Get with me or I’ma get gone. Has that attitude hurt your progress any? There’s been times when I’ve wondered, damn, why ain’t I getting called for features. But these publishers and promoters are not letting me get on features. Publishers been telling me that my name comes up in meetings but people will say “No, I don’t want him to kill my artist.” So fuck ‘em, I’ll rap with my niggas, Grind Time.
ike’s Grind Time Rap Gang is a tight knit circle. It’s seldom that you don’t see Mike with at least one of its members. On what has turned into a busy evening, Young Pill is the soldier for the
“I’ll walk through fire with that man,” says Pill. For now, he’s walking with Mike through Lil’ Scrappy’s listening party at Royal, a plush but shotgun house sized lounge in Downtown Atlanta. Upon entering, you’re reminded of a scene from the Harlem drug drama Paid In Full. The one where Mekhi Phifer’s character Mitch walks into the club, everything slows down and everybody goes out of their way to speak to him. He gets the same treatment later that night when he steps into Queen City, another $5 table dance strip club in Atlanta’s West End area. “I fuck with everybody from street niggas to college niggas,” he says after servicing the DJ with “It’s Grind Time.” “I don’t care if you a dancer or a politician, I fuck with you.” The feeling is starting to become mutual for Mike outside of the music 80
“I always knew I was better than these rappers out here so I just started taking my work ethic as an emcee and brokering it with the business world,” he says. “I’m an EmCEO so of course my goal ain’t to be rapping for the next 10 years. I want Grind Time to get their shot. I want Grind Time to be like Def Jam. I just wanna drop an album every year for the next four years and then move on.”
You have relationships with people like Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. Do you ever bring people like that to places like this, to bridge a gap? My job ain’t to bring Dr. West and Dr. Dyson to this shit, they know it’s here. And it ain’t my job to drag these people to the black elite and change them. My job is to be the one person in this community that they can all point to and say he represents a facet of us and makes us proud. My job is to manifest what I know in both worlds and to master both worlds. There was a time when songs like “Burn Hollywood Burn” and “Fight The Power” got played on the radio and television, a lot. Your song “That’s Life” hasn’t been played as much. Do you see time when songs like that will get played often, again? Yeah, once someone white see value in it. Niggas are too impressed by money. See, I don’t care if no one agrees with what I said about people like Oprah, I get worried when their first argument is, “She got more money than him.” White folks had more money than us when we fought for civil rights. White folks had more money than us in Johannesburg. If that’s your argument, you’re a chump. If you don’t value yourself because you’re not a millionaire, you’re a chump.
s an older brother of 5 sisters, Mike learned his value long before he signed his first contract. “I was on some JJ’s on Good Times shit,” he says, after revealing the time he saw his mother slit her wrists. “Whatever we did to protect each other we did, we had to because our mother was in the streets getting it.” Even though his sisters are grown, that JJ still comes out every now and then. “See there, I caught y’all ass,” he yells as he walks into Body Tap, one of Atlanta’s $10-plus table dance strip clubs. Two of his sisters, Lovie and LaShunda, are walking out. After explaining that they’re out celebrating a birthday with a friend, Mike calms down and invites them to come back in with them. “Those are my babies,” he says about his siblings. LaShunda is a graduate of Dillard University and Lovie is a master beautician. “We all used to this kind of shit, but we were raised right. Not exactly perfect, but right.” Perhaps that’s why Mike, no matter where he goes, stands out in a crowd. Sure his heavy, 6’3” frame commands attention, but it’s his aura that makes him seem detached from the places he frequents, and the industry he’s in. “Honestly, a lot of this shit goes against my first instincts,” he says after dropping off another copy of “It’s Grind Time” in the Body Tap DJ booth. “I’m a drug dealer by trade so buying jewelry and all that other shit don’t make sense to me. A lot of the shit that we do as rapper is a movie. The nigga who hustling doesn’t wear jewels in the trap. Then you got muthafuckas coming to crowded clubs just to look a rich muthafucka
spend money. All that Hollywood shit ain’t the real world so I don’t fool myself. This is a trap, this ain’t no place of enjoyment. The girls in the strip club are the same thing I am, grinders. Two hustlers can’t do nothing but respect each other.”
o what do you enjoy doing? I enjoy myself when I’m on stage and I rock 500 or 50,000 people. I been coming to strip clubs since I was 14 years old. The first time I got head was when I was in Montrey’s [now known as Queen City]. I ain’t never seen an ass that made me want to go broke. Before you see me throw 10 G’s in the air, I’ll buy a dilapidated house. This shit is cute, but I want to see these folks in 5 years when them pills got a hook on you, and the money ain’t coming in no more. All this “make it rain” shit is so frivolous, it’s so cute. I saw it in the 80s, this shit is so cute. All these niggas trying to compete with Jeezy doing that shit. Jeezy’s shit was beautiful though, he used that shit as a promotional tool. When he did that shit in the club they played his music for hours. These other niggas, they play their song once and they make it rain for three hours. But fuck it, I ain’t here to educate them, I’m here for the working class. Do you think that education through the music gets confusing at times? For instance, Jay-Z is saying that he wants to bring rap to a new level with the Kingdom Come album, and some are saying that he’s rapping like he’s too good for the average listener now. Jay has earned the right to say what he say. Jay-Z and Rocafella brought something that wasn’t there before. They brought a brand and a circle, a determination to dominate at all costs, and they suffered for what they accomplished. Take that times ten and say names like Lil J [Prince] and [Uncle] Luke. Those are the people that made Hip Hop possible where I’m from. The only people offering anything to the game are the kids, not the kids that rap, but the ones who made up the Bankhead Bounce, the term “holla.” No matter what D4L and Franchise say, it was probably just some kids that made up the snap dance. It’s the kids energy that keeps it going. We just report what we see. This shit is driven by spirit of young people. That’s what got the crunk and snap artists where they are, because they
ain’t afraid to be with their audience. A lot of rappers try to live above their audience. I want to live with my audience. Do you think rap is dumbing itself down when grown men try to appeal to the youth? It ain’t dumbing down because they young, it’s because they’re poorly educated. How could you appreciate lyricist when you don’t even read on grade level? Is Hip Hop ran by teenagers, no, but Fat Joe don’t own 1,000 Nikes because at age 30 he thinks it’s cool. At some point in his life he was denied that, so this is his compensation. The energy comes from the audience. We gotta stop seeing it the other way around. The stories come from the audience, your first album is your life to that point, after that it’s your life as a rapper. But doesn’t it seem odd how Hip Hop is 30 years old, and yet it still has the “it’s about the youth” mantra? What about the older listeners who are used to buying complete, impactful albums, not just youthful singles? Rap doesn’t sell catalog-wise, period. So that either means that we don’t have the disposable income that most people have when they’re 40, we don’t want to remember that time in our life or we just say fuck it and turn to old Soul music. People are just now getting comfortable with liking rap at 35 years old. So we gonna see what the next phase now. Right now a lot of records ain’t worth playing over three weeks, let alone three months. Niggaz4Life and Eazy-Duz-It, are better than eighty percent of the shit that’s out today. Niggas4Life is better than The Chronic. I don’t care what they say. No one is trying to make a perfect album anymore. People say that rap has changed, but I believe most rappers still want to entertain but the audience has to be comfortable again. Our audience has been trained to like singles. Ever since ‘Pac died it’s reverted to people chasing what makes them happy right now. You’ve expressed that you feel that I Pledge is a perfect album and you’re were slightly disappointed that it didn’t receive a 5 in OZONE. If Lupe Fiasco is a 5, then mine is a five too. My album is the best thing to bless that review section this year. You’re getting what you want in Game, Jay and The Clipse all in one. Plus it’s a double CD. If you feel OZONE is wrong, write in and say my shit is a five. I think artists that are to the left get graded on a curve. I’m not saying that they don’t deserve a fair shake because with the overabundance of bullshit that’s out right now, it can be refreshing. But sometimes people get too eager to get refreshed. See, the last album that was positive and jamming was dead prez’s. Nowadays its contrived, everything is a formula. If you’re a “positive” artist I know you’re gonna get Badu, Jill Scott or Common on your shit. I’m not hearing conscious music on par with Pharcyde, Hierogylphics or De La Soul. I’m not hearing Low End Theory. At least the conscious rappers back then just had sweaters on. Now, the conscious rappers are rocking $30, 000 watches, $800 jeans and $300 sneakers. At least the gangsta rappers got diamonds they can pawn. No one’s gonna re-buy another person’s shoes.
fter hitting three strip clubs, an industry party and a Waffle House, Mike has settled into Stankonia Studios. It’s 4:30 a.m. and the only other people awake in the building are his friends/producers The Beat Bullies. Scarface is playing on the big screen and Sosa is asking Tony to “take care of our little problem.” As of tonight, Mike’s problem is almost solved. He finally has control over his career. I Pledge is on pace to sell 20,000 after just one month of shelf time. Throughout his entire time in the music industry, Mike has had to work for time and money, but now it’s starting to go the other way around. “Everything I’m doing now has to win. I refuse to take any more losses,” he says. “My first record came in on the Billboard charts at number 10 and sold 80,000 the first week. But the label undershipped it; my team fucked up my career. This is my comeback moment. You don’t get too many of these. I got an HBO fight coming up, so I gotta be in tune. I’m one song away from dominating. I can feel it. It’s Grind Time.”
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t’s the Friday after Thanksgiving. You’d expect everyone under the sun to be enjoying their day off, or what Ebay has officially dubbed “National Sleep-In Day.” The employees at Block Entertainment didn’t get that memo. People are shuffling in and out of the small office/ recording studio that sits in the heart of Atlanta’s Kirkwood community. Yung Joc is in the studio laying down a verse, Boyz N Da Hood are doing a photo shoot, publicists are sending out press releases and managers are dropping off demo CDs. “We work every day over here,” says Block, the Atlanta native born Russell Spencer. “Plus, I’m Muslim, so I don’t celebrate holidays much.” After seeing Joc, the first solo artist released under his partnership with Bad Boy Entertainment, achieve crossover success and turn into one of 82
the highest selling Hip Hop acts in 2006, Block has a lot to celebrate. Add that to a groundbreaking 2005 where he turned Boyz N Da Hood into one of the most talked about rap groups in recent memory, and Block’s schedule has turned into one chock-full of holidays. But to him, his seemingly sudden success is nothing to be surprised about. Were you at all surprised about the massive success Yung Joc had this year, especially as a new artist on a new label? Not to sound like a big shot, but no. I saw the drive and passion he had. Plus by me being in the game and having industry instincts, I know what to look for in an artist now. Everyone who didn’t put their money on Joc is apologizing now. So to all y’all, I accept your apologies. They felt that from me being involved in Suave House’s success and the careers of Ciara, Jody Breeze, Boyz N Da Hood, and Young Jeezy. People said I was doing
How did your relationship with Warner start? They seem to love you over there. It started with Tom Wally and Naim [Ali]. They came with a label deal first. I figured if I shaped my foundation first, that I could get more money and more opportunities without someone looking over my shoulder. So Tom went on ahead and made me a consultant over there. Anything urban had to go through me. Tom was the first person to put me in an executive position. Lyor Cohen and Kevin Liles got a program over there where they are building CEOs. Me and Jim Jones are the first ones. Lyor, Kevin, Puff and Harve Pierre are really showing me the game and they ain’t playing with my money neither. Obviously, they see you know what you doing; you could do this job by yourself instead of working for them. Going into a situation like that, do you have to humble yourself? When you deal with anybody in business you have to humble yourself if you want to grow. You never know out of the people you come across, if that man is gonna be your boss one day. I’m very humble anyway. I’m Muslim so I gotta practice being humble to get my blessings. Being Muslim, does working in this industry put you in a lot compromising situations when it comes to your faith? I’ve been really blessed not to have to be in the middle of my faith and my dreams. I been blessed to not have to chose between them. Life is about picking which way to go. I don’t drink or smoke or go clubbing. The only thing I do bad is tote pistols, but I have no habits that cost me money. I ain’t never been in a situation where if I chose to do something that it fucks with my faith. What’s up with the Jody Breeze album? People have been waiting on it for a couple of years now. Here’s some history. When I came in the game, I was hanging around 2Pac and the Outlawz, then Tony Draper made me president of Suave House. When I came back to Atlanta I took Jazze Pha to Noonie, I didn’t know about managing producers, then Noonie asked me to co-manage. Noon handled record executives, I handled street niggas. So we made a label, Sho’Nuff. The first artist was Ciara, so I handled Ciara’s shit, and Jody was our first rap artist. Pac’s mom introduced me to Tom Walley. We had a sitdown and Tom signed Jody off the strength. Sho’Nuff was owned by me, Noon, and Jazze. I started doing BNDH, but I wanted to bring back Block Entertainment which I started with Big Gee. Block Entertainment was supposed to be like No Limit and Sho’Nuff was gonna be the big label. BNDH got so big that Puff wanted to sign them but the paperwork at Sho’Nuff had some problems. So I was like, these niggas are my family, so before I raise my voice at one of these niggas I’ll do my own shit. Jody got caught up in that. If you remember, he was in the front of the videos and all that. He was gonna be after Jeezy. So we getting it together, but it ain’t no problems or bullshit on the business. It’s just that whenever you’re in business with anyone, get the paperwork straight. But Day In the Life is coming soon.
too good with the underground and shouldn’t go with a mainstream artist. But Joc made me a lot of money so I appreciate it. And folks fail to realize that even though Joc is a crossover, he’s hood. He’s just more player about his shit. Did you have worries or concerns going for a mainstream audience? Not really. I knew it was part of the plan. I understood the underground and I knew fucking with Puff would get me to the money. Dealing with the industry, you have to crossover to get paid. The white boys are looking to see who they gonna put their money on. Niggas like Russell Simmons, Pharrell, and Jermaine Dupri know how to work their polished products. Puff knows that Bad Boy as a label been breaking even, but Sean John is making him the money. But he gotta have Bad Boy to keep all that shit going.
With Boyz N Da Hood already being recognized, why did you choose to add Gorilla Zoe to the group? First off, let me get this thing straight about people saying Jeezy left the group. When I did this BNDH thing, I got Gee, Jody and Duke signed to contracts from day one. Jeezy was doing his thing before I met him, he came in but he wasn’t BNDH from day one. But I needed a real nigga to represent the hustlers. All of them are bosses, but I knew that he was already rolling, so we helped each other out, that’s all it was. Everyone knows if you sign a contract you can’t leave. BNDH was designed to have rotating members. BNDH is forever. N.W.A. could have been forever; when Cube left they sold more records than ever before. But I put Zoe in because there was a space for him. It was supposed to be Lil Wayne at first but someone wouldn’t clear him, same thing with Rick Ross, so I made them honorary members. But Wayne, Ross, and Jeezy, we still got songs with them on the album. What else does Block Entertainment do? We got a film we’re working on with Ice Cube. It’s called Down By Law, and it’s based off a gang in Atlanta in the mid-80s. I picked Cube to write it with me because at the end of Boys N Da Hood the characters moved to Atlanta to get away from shit, but they see when they get here they can’t run away from things because the same thing goes on in every ‘hood. We also got a management company and a clothing line. I’m not doing it to make money off it, but just for us to wear our own shit. As it was stated earlier, it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving. Even though Block doesn’t celebrate the holiday he does practice its namesake. He’s decided to conduct a photo shoot in a neighborhood up the street from 83
his office, near his old stomping grounds. As soon as he and his stable of artists step out of the company van, kids appear from out of nowhere asking for autographs and pictures. Always prepared, he hands out posters and markers, and doesn’t leave until the last picture is taken and the last poster is signed. “Atlantic got me an office downtown that I’ve never set foot in,” admits the burgeoning CEO, who has nicknamed himself after the late community activist Hosea Williams whose claim to fame was his year-round Feed The Hungry initiative which fed thousands of homeless people, especially on Thanksgiving. “It’s getting to the point that I can’t do business here, because I gotta make sure that I don’t just do ‘nigga business.’ There’s gonna be a time when I can’t come around here and do what I used to do. I just want to be able to say that I gave back and helped out in anyway that I can.” Why do you call yourself Hosea Williams, Jr.? When I was 11 I used to be at Buddy’s corner store and Hosea used to come through there since his house was around the corner on 2nd Avenue and Boulevard. My aunt worked for him too. He used to tell us that since we’re out here making money, we should do something with it. He always mentored me and told me what to do with my bread. He used to tell me about him being with Martin Luther King and almost getting killed over freedom, while we out here getting locked up and losing our freedom. He was a real nigga that took no shit and rode for what he thought was right to him; he was a backbone and he loved his people. So I look at it as an analogy. I see myself as one of the niggas in Atlanta with a backbone. I’m feeding niggas in the street. If you trying to get something, Block Entertainment is the way to go. Instead of naming myself after a drug dealer I chose to name myself after a man who cared about his
people, a man who is in the history books for real. We see a lot of people aspiring to be rappers now, but not many are trying to be community leaders or freedom fighters. Why do you think that is? Money. King died with hardly no money. I think people are more influenced by glitter and shit. More people chase their dreams than look out for their people. Muthafuckas will kill for their dreams instead of their rights. People wake up every day to sing, work to pay for studio time, but they won’t vote. People are more focused on their dreams instead of their rights. That’s ignorant. And do I think there will be another King or Andrew Young? Hell naw. We don’t have the upbringing no more, we take too long to be real men nowadays. Those dudes were men. Then you got Chief Pendleton letting cops kill 88-year-old women, Red Dog police busting in people’s houses. He’s talking about becoming mayor of Atlanta. He’ll never be mayor if I have anything do with it. I’ll be a problem to you, pa’tna. I got the youth. Do you think the door is wide open for rappers to be the next leaders? Yes, but who is it? I’ll name three people from back then: Jesse Jackson, Andy Young, and Martin Luther King. We ain’t even talking about Ralph Abernathy and Joseph Lowery, just those three. Name three people that’s making a movement like theirs right now, on a worldwide scale. You’ll get a dude in Atlanta that will do something, but New York niggas don’t know him. But like I said, niggas won’t fight for their rights no more.
The Block Entertainment family includes (clockwise from below) Boyz N Da Hood (l-r Gorilla Zoe, Big Duke, Jody Breeze, and Big Gee), Yung Joc, Southern Girl, DJ Black, and Dee Jay Dana
Block (below right) with the President of Block Ent., Rico Brooks (left)
Do you think it was harder in there or on the outside? Hmmm, that’s a hard question. I got shanked in there [points at his stomach]. But shit, I got shot in the head out here, so it depends. If you have a family to feed and no job, that’s hard. If you walking in a store and getting held up, that’s hard. If you’re talking about responsibilities it’s harder out here, but when you’re in prison with niggas with nothing to lose, it’s hard too. Since you’ve been on the inside and outside, do you think music has a relation to how many black males are getting sent to prison? No. That’s life. You might get a couple that ease through the cracks and say music influenced them, but music ain’t influencing people to end up in jail. You got your own mind. They say 80% of the people who buy Hip Hop records are white, so if that’s the case, why ain’t they going to jail? You see them snapping, leaning and rocking and doing the motorcycle, but they ain’t robbing niggas. They the ones buying the music. It’s about common sense. Some of us are just dummies. Even a dummy knows that the people buying Hip Hop records are buying a lot of Block’s projects, so much so that he has extended his partnership with Bad Boy South/Warner. “People think that since Block has a street history, that we aren’t professional,” says Block Entertainment’s president Rico Brooks. “We know what we’re doing over here. People question us saying we won’t be around, people saying we’re connected with this and that, but at the end of the day it’s about hit records. And that’s what we’ve been delivering, hits.”
“MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DIED WITH NO MONEY. I THINK PEOPLE ARE MORE INFLUENCED BY GLITTER AND SHIT. MUTHAFUCKERS WILL KILL FOR THEIR DREAMS INSTEAD OF THEIR RIGHTS. THAT’S IGNORANT.” Do you think rappers should even be looked at as leaders? Should they just be looked at for what they are, entertainers? It all starts with the seed inside of a man. Before I was a CEO, let’s say that I didn’t give a fuck about my people. When I get big, I still won’t give a fuck. But if it was instilled in me to care, I will. It starts before you become who you are. So no, I don’t think rappers should be role models. They are influential though, it depends on what our target is. Some people don’t want that responsibility. Then you got people that you wouldn’t want to be role models, real talk. Just like with the athletes, if it’s not in you by a certain point of your life, no matter how much money you get, you won’t change. I just happened to have certain values instilled in me. I was doing the shit that I’m doing now even when I didn’t have paper. I was here in ‘95 giving away food plates on Thanksgiving with Greg Street. I don’t have PR on my shit when I do some of my shit, I just don’t. I do it from the heart. I don’t do it to get no extra play. If it’s not instilled in you by a certain part in your life or you don’t go thru experiences that make you wanna change, you won’t.
What do you consider success? I think success is when you have peace within yourself, when you can sit peacefully and feel grateful about what you’ve done. Some people have money and don’t feel successful. A house and car don’t mean you’re successful. It’s starting to look like a lot of artists who have had major deals are going back independent. Do you think this trend will grow in the near future? Yes. A good thing Lyor is doing is that he created Asylum, you can go either or. That’s why I like fucking with them, because they gave me opportunities and choices. But your grind gotta be harder being independent. Being independent you can only go so far, I don’t give a fuck what you say. Selling records takes money, it takes money to make money. It’s gonna go back to when niggas can get in the door and do their thing but sometime you can’t go no further. Signing with a major, more people know you so now when you go back independent more people see you. Majors put you on a plateau, being independent makes you money. But a fish grows according to the size of the tank. Speaking of growth, how do you feel about the direction Atlanta is going in? A lot of the old neighborhoods are getting torn down. Me and T.I. got a song called “Fuck You” and we hit on that. They tearing down our projects and ‘hoods, we’re saying that the A is getting commercial. Me personally, I say leave it hood. But growth is a good thing. It lets these kids see better shit. Growing up, all I saw was projects. When kids see nice shit growing up, it’s good. It’s like if you teach them a language when they’re four years old, it comes to them easier and they can get fluent in it faster. When kids see bigger and better things younger, they won’t settle for less.
On that note, you spent some time in prison. Can you tell us how you ended up in there? I’m from East Lake Meadows. I’d been going to prison all my life, that’s nothing to glorify at all, I hate that I even went. But some niggas shot me up, I shot back and someone passed in the process. I shot two other dudes in the process. I’ve asked and prayed for forgiveness for that. I got charged with aggravated assault for that. I did four and a half years, that was back in ’91.
Tell us about some things you thought you’d never see, but have been able to see through being in the music industry? I don’t get starstruck when I see people, but I can make a phone call and make shit move quicker than if I wasn’t in the music business. I can make a call to the mayor and make something happen. If I make a call, it’s not to get tickets to a fucking ball game. I make calls to make shit happen and help people. Jermaine Dupri used to tell me it’s about what you do next. You can build an artist’s career, but what you gonna do next? But yeah, I’m in a position where I can make shit happen. If I make a call it’s not for me to get in a club, a party or tickets to something.
During your time in there, how would you say that experience changed you? I went to Alto, one the roughest prisons for people age 17 to 22, nothing but violent criminals in there. By the time you go through diagnostics you’re a man. Did prison make me more of man? No. It taught me to not trust niggas, and it helped me think more. When I was on the streets I wasn’t using my brain like I do now. I left home when I was 14, so I was a man before I went to prison. When you’re feeding yourself, that’s a man to me.
Lastly, what are your plans for 2007? I used to be the $15 million boy, so I re-upped with them, now I get half of everything I do. Joc is coming May 1st with Hustlenomics. BNDH got Back Up In the Chevy in June, Gorilla Zoe in July. Then my album Welcome To My Block and I got the Hosea Williams, Jr. presents Feed the Hungry album. I’m going around finding hungry cats for that project. Every four months I’m dropping that as an independent album. 678-7778382, that’s my number if you want to holler at me. I also got my R&B group Southern Girl coming out, and Jody Breeze coming out. 85
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ne of the most interesting things about UGK is that although you’re a group, you and Bun seem to live totally separate lives. Pimp C: Yeah, well, he’s a family guy and I’m a family dude, and we live in two different cities. I still stay in Port Arthur, our hometown where we growed up, and he lives in Houston. We got two separate sets of friends. He has his crew of people that he had been with for years that’s loyal to him, and I’ve got my crew of people that are loyal to me. But at the end of the day, he’s my brother and I love him to death and he loves me to death. We’re just different in a lot of ways. But in a lot of ways we’re alike. He likes to read, and you know, I’m a book dude. He’s more up on current events and things of that sort than I am. He’s a movie buff, I’m not. With that said, what do you think it is that makes the group work? Is it the musical chemistry, the history you have? Pimp C: I think that it’s because we’re so different. You get two different outlooks on the same subject. The way a UGK song [comes together] is not like the average rap song. We don’t listen to each other’s raps before we go into the booth and put ‘em down. Most of the time, he don’t hear my rhyme until after it’s wrote and I don’t hear his rhyme until after it’s wrote. So we don’t influence each other’s rhyme patterns, unless it’s a song where we intentionally want our rhymes to match, you understand what I’m sayin’? So I’ll throw a title at him and he may write on a totally separate subject than I’m writing on, but it’s still pertaining to that title. I think that’s the beauty of our group. He’s always gonna have a different 88
flow and pattern than I’m gon’ have. It’s always gonna be different and it gives you two variations. His voice is deeper, my voice is more high pitched. He’s more of a lyricist, I’m more of a character. Does it ever become a friendly competition between the two of you in the studio, tryin’ to kinda one-up each other? Pimp C: Not with me, cause I know when he does his best it makes me shine. And when I do good it’s good for him too. He’s my brother, I’m his brother, he wants to see me do well, and when he pulls a rabbit out of a hat I get to brag more. Bun is my favorite rapper. I go city to city, coast to coast, and I tell people that I’ve got $100,000 dollars if they can find someone who can out-rap Bun. He’s my favorite rapper and when he does well, I do well. When [Bun B’s solo album] Trill came out, it was like my album came out that day. I was in prison [at the time] and it was like I had a breath of fresh air blowed into my career. And he’s at 800,000 [copies sold], so nah, it ain’t never been a competitive thing with me and him. It may be a competitive thing with me and him against other people, but never with me and him. Of course, while you were in prison Bun rode hard for you with the “Free Pimp C” campaign, so once you were released I think people were expecting a big reunion show or to see y’all together again, but that didn’t really happen. Do you think the fact that you do lead separate lives and have separate crews and separate management affects the amount of publicity you get as a group?
Pimp C: Nah. We were together, behind closed doors. It wasn’t meant for the media to see. When I came home, we spent a whole lot of time together, just us. And in all fairness, I’d been gone for four years and we hadn’t had a whole lot of contact while I was gone, so we needed that. At the time when I got back, his solo album was still poppin’ real great, so I didn’t wanna step on any of that or go right into a UGK thang. That’s why I just went and did a side project, the Pimpalation album, which was a compilation record. On that album, I just worked with people that I respected. And if you listened to that record, you know that I didn’t produce none of it. I was just having fun, rapping with people that I respect. I did that because I relly didn’t think it was the right time to just mash on the UGK thang, because he was getting show money. He was getting good bread every week, and I came home into a whole bunch of paper and was doing shows and welcome home parties and things like that. So we just capitalized off what was going on right then. But right now it’s UGK time. UGK for life. Obviously going to prison for four years was not an ideal situation. But at the same time, it’s kinda like when a rapper dies and their status becomes elevated to the point where people look at them like a legend or they become untouchable. Do you think that your prison sentence kinda changed your status or the way you’re perceived in the game? Pimp C: Well, musically it couldn’t help me being gone for four years. Having a record drop with old freestyle material and being gone for that long cannot ever help you move your music if you’re a musician. But maybe, yeah, I heard Bun say something one day. He said, “The Pimp C myth is a whole lot bigger than who you really are.” You know? So yeah, it’s a myth, and unfortunately negative things like that do give us street credibility. And I’ll be the first one to tell you that there’s nothing credible about going to prison. You lose when you go to jail. So for Chad Butler, that was a bad thing. I tried to be positive in the place and tried to do some positive things to turn it into something that I could get something out of, like putting some knowledge in my head and trying to go to school. I did as much as I could do in there, but at the end of the day, it was a negative thing. But for the rapper, the character, the Pimp C myth, yeah it was cool. Pimp went to prison, did his time in population, didn’t tell on nobody and came home, you know what I mean? Everybody likes that kind of story. But I’m here to tell you out of my mouth that there wasn’t nothing cool about prison. I could’ve done a lot more to elevate my status [if I wasn’t in prison].
started selling records in their own regions because they got tired of the abuse. We got tired of the abuse and the Southern thing was regional for a long time. The Florida rappers were selling records in their region, we were selling records in our region, in Texas, you had people in the Midwest selling their own records in their regions. Somewhere along the line, it popped, and the whole rest of the country caught on to it. So now it’s our time to shine. It’s not that I’m riding on them or picking on them. It’s just that the chickens have come home to roost. What goes around comes around. You reap what you sow, and karma is a muthafucker. At the same time, though, I’m a fan of old school hip-hop. Run [of Run-DMC} was the person that made me want to rap. And remember, on the [UGK] album, I got Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap on a song produced by Marley Marl. I’m trying to resurrect old school rappers from New York. No matter how many records you done sold recently, if you had talent you’ve still got that talent. And the true emcees and the people that are truly influential out there [in New York] are not the ones that are hating. So make no mistake that when Pimp C is talkin’ about these people, I’m not talking about everybody. I’m talking about the ones hating on the internet, the ones that refuse to give us our core value.
myth , ‘The pimp c you once me “bun toldlot bigger than who to is a whole.’ unfortunately, going .” really aregives us street credibility jail
How do you think the music industry has changed during those four years? Pimp C: It’s just that certain regions don’t have control anymore. The people that were in power at one time are no longer in power, and a lot of them are bitter because of that. That’s some of the things I’ve seen. They had to know that eventually it was going to come to the South. Why ride so hard on New York when they’re really not a factor right now? Pimp C: Here’s my thing; it’s not that I’m just going at them. They going at me on the internet and on their little comfortable websites. They talk about our rap styles on their little websites. They say we rap like we saying nursery rhymes. They say negative things in comfortable places and they hide behind email addresses, and even some of the [New York] rappers say negative things. Over the years, while hip-hop was being developed and being put in the position where people could go double and triple and quadruple platinum, they were saying little sly things in their songs. Am I right or wrong? Yeah, you’re right. Pimp C: You can go as far back as Run-DMC. “You need to go down South / You need to shut your mouth.” That was an actual Run-DMC lyric. There’s certain rappers out here – I ain’t saying their name – that keep telling us we aren’t “real hip-hop” down here. They keep telling us that because we didn’t have trains to paint on, and because we didn’t wear backpacks, and because we hadn’t necessarily had the opportunity to be a part of the New York City rap scene when rap started in the mid-to-late 70s and 80s, we weren’t a part of their movement. But if we hadn’t been buying their records back then, EPMD couldn’t have went gold. Certain rappers couldn’t have done what they were doing. Without the South and the Midwest, you have no hip-hop cause you have nobody to buy the records. They shitted on us for so long. After a person rejects you for so long and keeps telling you you’re not this and you’re not that, eventually you’re gonna come back and decide that they’re right. You’re right, we’re not “real hip-hop,” and we don’t want to be a part of your movement. So stay up there where you at. What ended up happening was that people
Has anyone from the East coast personally disrespected you or are you speaking on the general attitude that New York has towards the South? Pimp C: Nah, cause they cowards. They ain’t gonna say your name, fo’ real, cause they cowards. They hide behind email addresses. They’ll say little slick things on track number 17 on they album, but they won’t say your name. When a man won’t actually say what he’s trying to say, he really didn’t say it at all. So to me, they didn’t mean it until they really say who they’re talking about. So my comments are a blanket statement for anybody that wants to latch onto it. If you don’t like it, I’ll come to your house. We can talk about it or do whatever you think it is that you want to do to me. In particular, you speak on a lot of these things on the “Hatin’ The South” record that’s on your album. You wanna break that down? Pimp C: Yeah, it’s a remake of a record called “Let’s Straighten It Out,” by Lattimore. I flipped the hook to say, “Quit hating the South, we gettin’ paper in the South,” and Charlie Wilson is singing the hook. I got Willie D on there and we talkin’ about it, and Bun’s verse is about how he was buying all the New York rap back in the 80s. We came up on them and now that the tables have turned and we’re selling records, a lot of people are bitter. Willie is talking about the days when Public Enemy and Ice Cube and them were putting out records; they made us feel good about ourselves because they made us feel like being a rapper was the thing to do. Back then, it wasn’t all that hate coming from the old school like we’ve got coming from these bitter people now. Some of these rappers are Classic Cokes and some of them are Pepsi, the new generation. The new generation is wishy washy, cause they might say something slick [aimed at you] and then see you somewhere and smile and shake your hand. I’m not used to being around people like that. If you don’t like me or you got something against me, tell me what it is you don’t like about me and maybe we can have a conversation and get some clarity. If we can’t get no clarity, let’s just agree to be enemies and keep it moving. I’m from the old school, where if you had a problem with a person you go and talk to ‘em. You get it out in the open. We don’t need all that hiding. Willie D said something real on that song: typing on the internet and sending emails, you ain’t no gangsta! Bun got into a little internet battle with a XXL blogger who spends a lot of time hating on the South. Pimp C: He said something about how I should’ve stayed in prison because I was violent towards women. That guy’s just trying to get some airplay. He don’t really know anything about my case. If you research my case and really look into what happened, that’s not what happened. So that dude was dissing me and really didn’t know what he was talking about. A lot of times, the media doesn’t understand. If it’s not a pop record and it’s not something they can put in a category, they don’t understand, like some dude at one of them magazines. I believe it was XXL again. He said that my Pimpalation album had too many features on it. Any idiot can figure out from the title that Pimpalation is supposed to be 89
a compilation, right? So this fool who really had no ties to the South and really doesn’t know what we like down here is rating my album. Why would you get somebody to rate a down South album that doesn’t know anything about our history or doesn’t know anything about our music down here? That’s like getting a kid from the ghetto that’s never heard of Frank Sinatra and asking him to rate an album of Frank Sinatra’s greatest hits. How could he have any real insight on that record? So they’ve got fuddy duddies in high places playing games with they pens. What they’ll do is, they’ll put out something bad about you, and then in the next issue they’ll have a little bitty article [of feedback] where somebody writes in telling them where they can go and where they can stick it. But it’ll be so small that people miss it. They put out bad things about projects before people even get to hear ‘em and it effects record sales of the projects. That may have been a deliberate plot by some people at Jive to try to sabotage my [Pimpalation] record. Why would you say that? You think Jive would try to sabotage the record because you put it out through Rap-A-Lot? Pimp C: I wouldn’t put it past ‘em. When you first got out of prison, you said the situation at Jive was looking a lot better than it had years ago. Is that still true? Pimp C: The money is better and the attitude is somewhat better, but they’re still what their name says they are. They still “jive.” What’s so cold about it is that all of these record companies operate the same way. They’re all on the same page and they all talk to each other. But back to your question about who I was talking about. I’m not necessarily talking about the media. I’m not expecting the media to understand. When I said “make them girls get down on the flo’,” back in ’98 or ’99, the media didn’t understand that. But now that you’ve got Fergie talking about “make the girls get down on the flo’,” they understand because it’s a pop phenomenon now. Everything that we do in the streets, four or five years later it becomes pop music. You’ve got Mariah Carey singing over hand-claps, double-time hi-hats and 808 drums? That’s my formula. I remember when those were underground records. Now they’re pop records. You also have a solo deal at Jive in addition to the UGK deal? Pimp C: I had a solo deal with Jive before I left. When we did the Dirty Money record, it’s in my contract. It hasn’t been revisited yet, but yeah, it was in my contract. I’ve got a side artist agreement with [Rap-A-Lot CEO] James Prince so I can drop as many projects as I like over there. I get as many release dates as I want over there and I’m getting money over there, and I’m gonna continue to drop records with James no matter what goes on with any of these other record labels. Do you have a personal favorite record on this upcoming album? Pimp C: I’m still working on it and getting it together, but I like “The Game Belongs To Me.” Have you been having disagreements with Jive over the first single and what kind of sound UGK should “come back” with? Pimp C: Well, yeah. Jive wants to go pop at all times, but I’m going to keep it hard. They got their agenda and I know what I’ve got to do for the streets. They can consider doing video shoots for the wrong song and send out the wrong song [to radio], but I don’t have to show up to the video shoot. I don’t have to support it. When I don’t like what they’re doing, I e-blast my own song out the radio stations. I’ve got relationships with enough people across the country to where I can damn near get records put in rotation on my own. So when I don’t like what they do, I just go off and do my own thing. Is Jay-Z going to be on this next UGK project at all? Pimp C: I tried to get in contact with him, but I couldn’t contact him to get him on the project. I would’ve loved to have gotten him on it but he is an extremely busy man right now. Make no mistake, we riding with JayZ to the end. So maybe on the next project. As of right now, I’m still not done with this record, so anything can happen within the next week. And by the way, he did send us our plaques. He did it with his own money, so hooray for Jay-Z. He’s an outstanding citizen. As far as Trill Entertainment, the label that Webbie and Lil Boosie are signed to, do you actually own a portion of the label or are you a consultant or how is it set up? Pimp C: Yeah, I’m a silent partner in that company, and [Mel and Turk] make all the decisions. At the time, they were buying production from me, and they came to me and offered me a piece of the company. I would’ve been a fool not to take it. I’m not hands-on with it as much as I could be if I wasn’t so busy, but I’ve got love for them. They’re family. 90
On the “Knocking Doors Down” record, you named a lot of people in the South that need to get together and squash their beef, but at the same time there’s been a few different situations where you’ve dissed other rappers. For one, I heard an interview online where you talked about rappers with fake diamonds and dissed Smitty – I wasn’t talking about Smitty. I made a statement and it was taken to mean that I was talking about him. Maybe it was said in a way where it could’ve been misconstrued as being directed at him. But I just did a song with Smitty, we remade “For The Love of Money” together, and I don’t have no problems with Smitty. I got problems with people that do things they know is wrong. I ain’t gonna say no names, but you can’t be taking other rappers’ names that’s a friend of mine and think you’re gonna put out records with their name. Of course, these days selling drugs is a popular topic to rap about, but there aren’t too many rappers who rap about using drugs. You’ve got a rhyme in one of your songs that says, “You heard me right, we play with our nose.” Pimp C: What about it? I mean, it’s self-explanatory. I come from a drug culture.
anybody who that “i’m convinced cocaine is dealing uses or sells danced with ve i’ . devil with the before, but that don’t him today.” the devil with mean i’m dancing So when you say “we,” are you referring to the culture as a whole, or UGK? Pimp C: When I say things like that I’m not talking about UGK, cause there’s a lot of things I’ve done in my life that Bun’s never experienced. It’s a lot of things that I do that Bun doesn’t do. It’s a lot of things that I used to do that I don’t do anymore. But anything I do, I’m not ashamed of it when I do it. I’m not advocating it or telling you that it’s a good thing for people to do drugs. Right now that’s not really what I’m even about, but yeah, I said that. Anybody who knows what I’m talking about knows what I’m saying. And you know what’s so cold about it? A whole bunch of people do a whole bunch of things but they’re ashamed to talk about it. They won’t even come out and say that they do it. A whole bunch of these rappers be hiding in the closet doing a whole bunch of gay things and end up in the bathroom trying to do some drugs that they’re ashamed of. Anything I’ve ever done in life, I’m not ashamed of it. That don’t mean I’m going to indulge in everything. I’m not out here trying to be Tony Montana or trying to see how many drugs I can take, because a whole bunch of my friends died taking drugs. At this point in my life, I’m really not a drug user. I’m like a square right now, cause I’m trying to get a billion dollars. I don’t see any billionaires getting high, do you? There might be a couple. Who knows. Pimp C: Yeah, but they’ve already got their money. They probably wasn’t doing it when they was trying to stack [their money]. So I’m really not on that, but yeah, I said it and I stand by it. In last month’s sex issue we talked about what the benefits and drawbacks of legalizing prostitution would be. What about drugs? Do you think people would indulge less or more if drugs were legalized in the United States? Pimp C: Depends on what drugs you’re talking about. I don’t think certain drugs should be legalized. Certain drugs are the devil. I’m convinced that anybody who deals with coke – selling it or using it – is dealing with the devil. But seeing that you asked me, how do I rap about selling coke and snortin’ powder? Well, I’ve danced with the devil before. That don’t mean I’m dancing with him today. I’m convinced that cocaine is the devil; powder form, rock form, or whatever form they put it in. So by rapping about it, do you think you’re influencing other people to dance with the devil? Pimp C: That’s a good question and it all comes down to the question of, are we role models? At a certain point, we are role models, and the things we say do make an impression on the youth. But it’s not the rapper’s responsibility to raise the children. I’m not letting Jay-Z raise my four-yearold daughter. I’m raising her. It’s my job to tell my daughter about my life experiences. It’s my responsibility to tell her what I know about different drugs and what they’ll do to her. It’s not Jay-Z’s responsibility to teach my daughter about drugs. It’s my responsibility.
B N U B
ike I asked Pimp, it seems funny how you and him have totally separate lives and yet you’re in a group together. You even have separate management; what makes it work? Bun B: It doesn’t become a problem because Pimp and I are always on the same page. A lot of times when you have a group where the members have different management, it’s moreso a wall being put up. The reason Pimp and I have separate management is because Pimp has a lot of things going on and I have a lot of different things going on and they’re not necessarily UGK-oriented. We both need somebody that can concentrate on our individual needs but as you can see, the chemistry is there. We’ve been around each other for years so we don’t have to be around each other every day. We do lead absolutely totally different lives and we are two extremely different people, and I think it’s that dynamic that makes the group what it is. It doesn’t bother us at all that we’re different. We know this and understand this. So we know not to be up under each other every day, but shit, we had four years of penitentiary between us and that shit didn’t stop nothing. We’re still making great music. There’s been no change in the relationship or the friendship or anything. That’s just how it is. I’m into different things than Pimp is into. I think that’s pretty evident if you know Pimp and you know me that we’re two different people and we’re into different things on a day-to-day basis. I do different things than he does and then we do a lot of the same things. He goes out to eat with his wife and his kids and I do the same thing. So we do have some differences but we’re both working towards the same goal so it doesn’t matter what angle he’s coming from and I’m coming from, we’ll both kinda end up in the same place. Other rappers looks up to you and knows what you’ve accomplished, but do you think it’s harder for the younger fans to relate to you or respect what you’ve contributed to the game? Bun B: Well, of course Pimp and I both have done everything we could do to make this group as well known and make it go as far as it has, but a lot of credit for UGK’s continued success has to be given to the next generation of rappers who have given it up for us saying that we inspired them and a lot of stuff and they look up to us. We work very hard to stay in the kids’ faces too, but the kids have people that they look up to, and they ask those cats, “Who did you get your game from?” When Mike Jones and Chamillionaire and [Lil] Flip and Paul Wall and Slim Thug and those people acknowledge us and the Geto Boys and 8Ball & MJG, that keeps us on those kids’ minds. All we have to do is keep making jammin’ass music. Do you think you’ll still be rapping in ten, twenty years? Bun B: The kids are still running shit. But they still don’t have all the information. It’s just certain things that people need to know about that maybe some of these younger cats don’t have the information to give them. I never thought I’d be doing it this long, so I really don’t wanna make any predictions. I don’t plan on rapping ten years from now, but there’s cats older than me that are still rapping, so who knows. Look at Jay-Z, he’s four or five years older than me and still has an extremely viable career. So if I keep working as hard as him, when I’m 38, why couldn’t I still have a viable career? Hell, I didn’t think I would still have a viable career at this age. How old are you now? Bun B: I’m 33. When we put our first record out, I was 18. Everybody thinks I’m older. I’m starting to understand that that’s just how people see me. For some reason everybody thinks I’m older than I am. I do act old, though. I don’t do a lot of the crazy shit that a lot of rappers are doing. I kinda can see a lot of the bullshit before it happens because I’ve been in a lot of different situations before. But yeah, everybody does think I’m an old fuck. [laughs] People were expecting a big UGK reunion show when Pimp got out of prison – he said he didn’t want to place too much emphasis on the UGK thing right away because he wanted you to continue rolling with your solo career because you had a buzz. I was at the “UGK reunion show” AllStar weekend in Houston that really didn’t end up happening. Bun B: I know people wanted to see something big. We wanted it to happen. We wanted to get back to doing our thing again. I think we might’ve just jumped at the wrong opportunity too soon. It was definitely the right time but it might have been the wrong opportunity for that particular show that we tried to do. I’m not really trippin’ on a solo album right now, honestly. I know what people want right now. They want Bun and Pimp. So I think it’s just best to give them that. Of course Pimp had the Pimpalation album so he kinda had to go out on a solo thing too and promote that. Originally, you really didn’t want to perform at the OZONE Awards. 91
Why did you decide that was the right venue for the first UGK reunion performance? Bun B: I don’t know if we really just picked it or the situation just lent itself to that. If it’s gonna happen, then why stop it? I got nothing against you personally. I get on your back a lot just because I don’t want you to get comfortable in the position you’ve got. I want you to stay on your toes and stay on your shit. [laughing] The main drawback to success is that it gets harder to maintain everything; friendships, marriage, your cars, wardrobe, you know, you just gotta be patient and be smart about shit. You’ve got a real laid back personality and a lot of times you just seem depressed. Do you think longterm use of syrup has contributed to that? Bun B: Nah, I was pretty much a down cat before I even started sipping syrup. But I wouldn’t say I’m down all the time. You tend to see me at home a lot, in Houston, and whenever I gotta leave my house I’m like that. Cause that’s pretty much what I do – I stay at home, in my bed – when I’m not working. But I wouldn’t say I’m depressed. I’m in a really good place in my life right now. I’m a moody fuck. I’m man enough to admit that I get moody as a muthafucker. But I’m extremely blessed and I’m happy with my position in life. I play my position. I might seem down from time to time, but believe me, I’m happy to be here. If I didn’t wanna be [out], I’d be home. People get selfish sometimes and only think about themselves, but I come out to [events] for the greater good. When you’re on the road, your wife travels with you a lot. With most rappers, you don’t see that too often. How difficult is it to be married and maintain a career that requires you to travel frequently? Bun B: I think if we weren’t around each other as much it’d be more of a problem. Most rap couples have young children still in elementary school or maybe middle school, but our children are older, they’re in college, so my wife doesn’t have to sit here [in Houston] and watch babies. Lately I’ve been having a lot of opportunities to go to a lot of big cities and do big shit. The VMAs, the BET Awards, the ASCAP Awards, all these different things, and I’ve been able to take advantage of those opportunities. So why not bring my wife? Who else would I want to share these types of things with? I don’t know what the relationship is like for some [married rappers], but it doesn’t cause me any stress. When she’s not around is when it tends to be stressful for us. I got an email recently with a “Bun B interview” in another media outlet where you were quoted as saying “Fuck BET.” Bun B: First of all, I never said “Fuck BET.” That [interview] was [supposedly done by a guy] somewhere with some dog-tag jewelry on, throwing money in the club and all of that, and why would I give him an interview with no contact information? It was a lot of things that didn’t [add up]. Obviously, I’ve done a million interviews, and none of them were conducted the way that this cat tried to claim that I did this interview. He’s got no audio of the “interview.” So it really put me in the middle of a bunch of shit. I’ve got nothing but love for BET as an establishment. As far as I’m concerned, I could never really [criticize BET] because with the South blowing up right now, BET has as much to do with it as any other media outlet. We’ve had problems in the past, not just with BET, but with everybody playing videos or every magazine or whatever, as far as the South not really getting its proper coverage. But as far as singling out somebody and saying “fuck them,” you know, these people let me perform on the red carpet with Webbie – not just me, but my artist – so I got nothing but love for Kelly G, BET, and the whole establishment. I have had some problems being a Southern artist and trying to break ground, but today, everybody’s getting that play right now. I really hate that the statement “fuck BET” got attributed to me, cause anybody that knows me and knows my character knows that if I had a problem with somebody I would address them, but I would never use the internet or magazines or whatever to air my dirty laundry. You said that your New Year’s resolution is to keep UGK members out of jail, and of course you were mostly joking, but what worries you more - keeping Pimp calm or keeping yourself out of trouble? Bun B: I run just as hot as anybody else, so when I said keep UGK members out of jail, I’m trying to keep all of us out of jail. There’s a lot of hate going on right now, you know what I’m sayin’? People are really trying to back me and Pimp into a corner right now. I’m really just trying to stop all the hate that’s going on. A lot of these folks put rappers in certain positions and rappers get caught up, they’ll have to end up shooting one of these niggas. They tryin’ to rob niggas and instigate a lot of beef and make them do shit that’s gonna compromise themselves out here in this game. So my whole thing is to try to keep my eyes open and see problems coming from afar and try to move that shit out the way so that when it comes to me and Pimp, we won’t be put in a situation where we’ve gotta do some shit we really don’t need to be doing. We’re at a crucial point in 92
our career where we could really take this South shit to another level, so we’re not tryin’ to get caught up in no dumb shit. We do what we have to do – always have and always will – but right now we’re really tryin’ to see the bullshit from afar and avoid the shit before it even gets to us. Just really trying to keep the hate out the way. When you say there’s a lot of hate right now, are you referring to issues you have with other rappers? Street beef? The whole North vs. South thing that seems to be brewing? Or what, exactly? Bun B: I’m talking about minions of the devil. I’m a child of God, and minions of the devil are people who try to get into your life and fuck your life up. Whether it’s homeboys, women, enemies, rappers, gangstas, random cats on the street. There’s a lot of people trying to stir up shit with the South and the East coast right now. Me, I’m not going after nobody. The South is in a good place right now. A lot of people wanna take attention away from what we’re doing and put that attention towards what everybody else is doing, which kills the point of what we’re trying to get across right now. I don’t see any reason why anybody [in the South] would wanna try to get into it with somebody from another region right now. Everybody needs to concentrate on what their region is doing to try to take they shit to another level. I’m concentrating on the South; I’m not paying attention to what anybody else is doing. I’m not worried about what they’re doing or not doing. I’ve got respect for a lot of people and love for a lot of people [in the North] but right now I’m just trying to move the South forward. But just because I’m pro-South doesn’t mean I’m anti-East, West, Midwest, or whatever. I’m pro-South, that’s all that is. Some Southern rappers are upset at Nas’ album Hip-Hop Is Dead because they felt like that was a shot at the South, and Pimp kinda spoke on it on the “Hatin’ The South” record. Do you consider your music “hip-hop”? Bun B: I don’t really pay attention because it’s not my argument whether hip-hop is dead or not. First of all, I think a lot of people are getting hip-hop misunderstood. Hip-hop is a lifestyle that consists of DJing, breakdancing, graffiti, and emceeing. That’s hip-hop, it encompasses all of that. Outside of that, what we’re doing down South, it’s rap music. If we wanna be hip-hop, we need to be DJing, breakdancing, and all that. That’s hip-hop. What we do down here is make rap music, and as far as I’m concerned, the state of rap music is great. Now, if hip-hop is dead, that’s something that’s really outside of my realm. It ain’t got nothing to do with me, so whoever does hip-hop needs to be concerned with whether hip-hop is dead or not. I’m a Southern rapper, I make rap music, I respect hip-hop, but as far as whether it’s dead or not that’s really not something for me to be concerned about. But I got a lot of love for hip-hop and if it is dead, that’s something that they need to be taking care of. In last year’s interview you spoke about the idea of the new Confederacy – do you still feel that the South should actually secede? Bun B: Well, yeah, but that was never a rap issue. That was concerning Katrina and the government. I was never talking about Southern rappers seceding, I was talking about the Southern states of America and the way that the Southern states weren’t getting federal funds during Katrina. I’m talking about the residents of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, nothing as simple as rap. I’m talking about the fact that when it came time for Southern residents to get the funds and the help that they needed, the government wasn’t there to help them. If you listen to the intro to my album Trill, it wasn’t about rap. It was about the government. The Southern states of America, in terms of fund allocations. They need to get relief funds out here to these disaster victims. It’s nothing as simple as a separation of rap music. Rap ain’t even that serious. When the Black Panthers and civil rights movements were gaining power, there’s actually documented cases of the government planting letters and rumors and such to put them at odds with each other. With all the beef and rumors that come about in rap today, do you think the government has anything to do with it, or are we bringing it on ourselves? Bun B: It’s not the government. I think it’s record labels knowing that controversy sells. When they see these cats going down these paths [and having beef] instead of telling them, “Concentrate on your craft. Concentrate on making good music,” they fuel the fire. They give them room to do the dumb shit that they’re doing sometimes. Real men are gonna have beef sometimes but a lot of this shit is petty and it coulda been talked about and discussed [to clear it up]. But the people who make money off the records choose to let bullshit get big just so numbers can sell. That’s why a lot of unnecessary shit starts happening. As a legend in the game and sort of a mentor to a lot of rappers, do you ever get involved with the petty beefs and try to smooth things over? Bun B: I talk to people here and there. Phone calls and stuff. But I ain’t no rap nigga’s daddy. They may look at me as an uncle, but that’s about it. I
give advice; they could take it or throw it out the window. That’s really their personal choice. At the end of the day, if they wanna waste their time on unnecessary beefin’, that’s fine. But you gotta try to move forward. I don’t knock nobody for whatever they do. I’m a grown ass man, and if somebody says some shit to me that I don’t appreciate, I’m gonna speak on that shit. But most of them niggas, if they think anything about me, they tend to keep they muthafuckin’ mouths shut. Why did you decide to do a double album? Bun B: I think it’s important for us to put as much UGK music in muthafucka’s faces as possible. When we were working on the album, the shit just kept getting better and better. We didn’t feel a need to stop making music if the shit was jammin’. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? We just kept putting out music and Pimp was saying that it’s a lot of things he wanted to do as an emcee and a producer, but we can’t be taking all these chances with UGK albums. So with a double album, you know, where you would normally just have one album with UGK shit you got probably about 25 songs that are exactly what you would expect from a UGK album. The other 4 or 5 songs are maybe produced by somebody else so it may not be the normal music that you expect from UGK. But with me and Pimp spitting on the mic it’s real shit, it’s trill shit, and it’s always from the heart. It’s always hittin’ in the streets. So we got 25 songs on a double album: 20 of them UGK classics, original like you’ve always heard, that Ridin’ Dirty type of shit. Then we got a couple records, like the one with Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane, produced by Marley Marl, just paying respects to the game. I just wanted to make sure we had more than an album’s worth of shit for the fans. A lot of people have been thinking it’s one album with normal UGK stuff and another album with cameos and different stuff. Nah, it’s more than an album and a half of classic UGK. It’s real.
We were screaming about making Chopped & Screwed [versions of our] albums back in ’95, ’96. So we were really ahead of the curve. They didn’t understand what was going on at the time so now they kinda know and they’re ready to put their machine behind it. But there’s always gonna be issues. Marketing and promotions issues and definitely recoupment issues. But it’s small things to a giant. We’re just focused on fulfilling this contractual agreement with Jive and being done with them and looking forward to seeing how we can take advantage of the situation. So this will be the last UGK album with Jive? Bun B: This is the last album we’re contractually obligated to give them. After this album, we don’t owe them any more albums and our publishing deal with Zomba is done, so we’ll be free agents. You’re looking forward to that, I assume. Bun B: I am. I have been looking forward to it. A chance to put everything in our own hands. We won’t have anybody to bitch about. [laughs] What’s the name of the album? Bun B: Underground Kingz comes out February 27th.
OR A LOT F E V O L D N A PECT ECAUSE “I’VE GOT R[IENS NEW YORK]. JUST BM NTIOF PEOPLEOUTH DOESN’T MEAN I’ TEAVER.” I’M PRO-S ST, MIDWEST, OR WHA EAST, WE
Even though some of your records, like of course the “Hatin’ The South” record, sound anti-New York, you have worked with people like Jay-Z and Kool G Rap, like you just mentioned. What do you think separates New York rappers that you’ve worked with from the ones that are bitter about the South’s success? Bun B: I really would like to know who’s hatin’. I personally don’t know exactly who it is. When I rapped on “Hatin’ The South” I’m talkin’ about niggas hiding on the internet. Bloggers and shit like that. Ain’t no major industry niggas had nothing to say about the South. We had a couple people crackin’ on “Laffy Taffy” or whatever, but I mean, it’s easy to crack on the song because of the content of the song. But as far as attacking Southern rappers in general, nah. A lot of people may not like that song [“Laffy Taffy”] but I don’t see nobody saying, “I don’t like them [Southern rap] niggas.” Shit, I’m just waiting for a nigga to say they don’t like Bun B or Pimp C. Then I’ll address that shit. But other than that, shit, I don’t see it. It’s just them folks on the internet typing with their little fingers, but those are the blog niggas. They ain’t real niggas in the street. These same niggas talking about they don’t like Pimp C lyrics are the ones that listen to the Flaming Lips and 3 Doors Down and shit. They don’t know what they fuck they’re talking about. I’m not saying there’s nothing wrong with listening to that type of music, but you gotta be careful who you’re casting judgment on. Shit, I listen to 3 Doors Down, but I don’t sit around and diss muthafuckers that don’t. Have you been happier dealing with Jive for this album? Bun B: I’m gonna always have problems working within a system where somebody else cuts my checks. Am I better businessman at 33 than I was at 18, 19? Hell yeah. Do I still tell people at my label “fuck you” from time to time? Hell yeah. Do you have more creative control over your project now? Bun B: Back then you gotta understand, we were a couple years ahead of our time. Back when we first started talking about Screw music and blades and all that shit down here, it was still a local thing. Nobody knew. So now that the whole world understands the context of the world we live in and the root of the music we make, we haven’t had any problems. They never really told us how to make our music. They just won’t let us promote it the way we want to promote it. We always bumped heads with them on promotion and shooting videos and sample clearances. They only problem we have with music is that we’ll want to [sample] a song and they won’t want to pay for the sample. But they don’t pick producers or dictate what kind of songs we do. They’ve never really done that. One thing they have respected over the years is Pimp C’s talent as a producer, I’ll give ‘em that. They just didn’t wanna pay him for it. Yeah, I said it. I’ll say it so he doesn’t have to say it. [laughs] So, yeah, things have changed but they remain the same. They do understand our music and how to promote it a little better before because the blueprint is there.
Who else did you work with as far as producers? Bun B: The Runners, Jazze Pha, Mannie Fresh, Three 6 Mafia, Marley Marl, Swizz Beatz, and local cats from Port Arthur named Wes & Avery. What does this mean for your solo career? Bun B: I never planned on having a solo career. My solo album was really done more than anything - like I’ve always said – to keep the UGK name alive. For some reason Pimp really feels like I should keep my solo career. He’s really adamant about that. He’s always on my back, “As soon as this [UGK] album is done, we gotta start rolling with your shit.” If the people want it, I’ll give it to them, but right now I’m just happy to be back ridin’ with this UGK shit. Houston had a huge year last year and the world saw the big Texas explosion – do you think it’s slowed down at all? Or what do you see happening next in the whole Texas music scene? Bun B: You know, we had a pretty easy way in to the game last year cause a lot of people were curious about what was going on down there. We had a lot of cats that were prepared to put the records out. It was a great introduction to Houston, but now we’ve gotta start putting our lives out there so people can relate to us. We put the image out there, now we’ve gotta put the spirit behind the image so these people can relate to it. I think that’s gonna be the test for a lot of people. A lot of people got in the game based on being affiliated with Screw or Michael Watts and that’s great because they put the work in and they should’ve had the credit given to them, but at the same time, none of us are gonna be able to lean on Screw or Watts anymore. We’re gonna have to be able to stand on our own laurels as artists and as men and put our lives out there on record. When people use the term “Screw music” do you see it as a tribute to his legacy or do you think it’s disrespectful, as his family says? Bun B: The family has every right to feel how they feel about protecting his legacy. It’s not my place to say if they’re right or wrong or if anybody else is right or wrong. But they are his family and the proprietors of his legacy and they’re the ones that have to make sure that his name is used the right way. So you can’t knock them for whatever move they make to try to keep that legacy intact. They’re protecters of the DJ Screw legacy so every time that term “Screw” is thrown around, yeah, I think they’re probably gonna get rubbed the wrong way a little bit, especially if these people haven’t given Screw the proper credit. But there’s a lot of people – people tend to point the finger at Michael Watts – but it’s a lot of muthafuckers out there, distribution companies, whoever, people out there just puttin’ out mixtapes with “Screwed & Chopped” and making a lot of money off it. There are a lot of people out there to get mad at, and it ain’t just DJs. There’s a lot of these one-stops, these wholesalers, these distribution companies putting out a lot of mixtapes and albums – a lot of people making a lot of money off “Screwed & Chopped” music and not giving anybody anything off that intellectual property. 93
JIM ES JON MARRABA & MIKE LI A T Y A :R M PHOTO S: ROHIT LOO WORD 94
here street savvy meets executive ambition, you’ll find Jim Jones. Not your standard suit-clad executive, the Harlem native is mapping new territory, taking Hip-Hop to places it’s never been before. Not satisfied with only the success of his Diplomats imprint, Jim Jones has launched new ventures. After nearly two weeks of missing Jones, Ozone finally got ahold of him to find out what he has to say about Jay-Z, Katt Williams, and how he has the entire country “Baaaallin’.” Tell us what’s good with the Byrdgang movement. It’s no different from the Diplomats movement, it’s a subsidiary of Diplomats Records. It’s just a new avenue for us to make more money, we got a lot of talented people that we trying to get out and we trying to sell these records. Is there any difference between Byrdgang and Dipset in terms of labels? There’s really no difference except that I own Bydrgang solely because I got a lot of things I wanna do while Diplomats is owned by me and Cam’Ron so we have to have a meeting before we can do something with that. I wanted to do a little something different, this is like a little experiment I had in mind and it came to be real big for the Diplomats in general. Everything’s a bonus for Diplomats. We do business with Asylum and we’ll be at a couple other places as well. What are you going to do different with Bydrgang than you did with Dipset? I don’t think I’ll be doing much different. The template that we set for Diplomats is a beautiful template, the blueprint is crazy. I wouldn’t do anything different, I’m just trying to bring up a new generation of people that’s doing music. You recently created Dipskate. I’m a fan of the extreme sports. These young kids do amazing things with them skates. I’ve been watching Tony Hawk make a lot of money with these extreme sports and I wanted to venture into something new. I’m just sponsoring a skate team, by no means am I claiming to be a skater. Exactly what goes into sponsoring a skate team? Money. [laughing] Plus the integrity, the promotions, the plugs, everything. You gotta build the brand so the promotions is everything and Diplomats is the Eagle that’s gonna make it fly. How is running a skate team similar to running a label? We trying to make things bigger than people know what it is, that’s what the music is about. With skating and this whole new thing that’s come about it’s the same, it’s crazy. Dipskate can become so big. No one has really built a marriage between music and extreme sports and that’s where I come in. I got a knack for doing things like that. It’s gonna take a minute but once I find the blueprint, it’s on. We gonna take all the money out that. You and Juelz Santana started a belt company too. Yea, me and Juelz are part of it and we’re partnering with BB Simon, exclusive belt company. Right now we’re doing the skeleton thing, the rock star thing. If you have seen our videos or seen us in the magazines you understand our swagger. We’ve been down with BB Simon belts for years and we got a chance to meet the owner and we talked about a belt line and how it’ll be beneficial for both of us. People loving what we doing right now so we gotta capitalize. How much does a belt run for? Anywhere from $700 to $2,500. You and Jay-Z are going back and forth with each other. Did you expect him to come back with a remix to “We Fly High”? Naw, I didn’t expect it but when he did that it made me feel happy because I know all the work I put into it. He bit the bullet and I was the person who shot the gun [laughing]. Doing the remix was more beneficial to me than it was to him because I actually remixed it and both of them are registered with BDS so I get spins for both of them. Shouts to Jay, I appreciate you looking out. BDS goes by the beat and it has to be the beat for at least two minutes and then it counts as a spin. Jay went over the beat and left the hook so that was his first mistake and it helps me. When he did the remix I got 1,000 spins that weekend. [laughing] Do you think that was an oversight on his part? Yea, a major overlook. He didn’t expect me to do what I did. He expected me to go crazy and lose my mind but I respect the old head. He a little bit old in the game, he tryna get some flame back under his old ass. Old motherfucker.
Rumor has it Jay has a mixtape in the works. If he comes out with a whole mixtape aimed at Jim Jones, you know how beautiful that would be? He comes out with a mixtape and I’d have the whole Diplomats squad firing at his ass. We got too much music, he don’t want that. There’s no one there to help him. Who’s he gonna get? [Memphis] Bleek? I know who I’m gonna get. I’m gonna get Killa Cam, Juelz Santana, Max B, JR Writer, Stack Bundles, 40 Cal, Hell Rell, I got loaded missiles. You also had your differences with Nas. I’m not worried about Nas’ little punk ass, I’ll still slap his kufi off the top of his head. Nas and me is on two different levels. He could never fuck with me; he still can’t fuck with me. He needs to worry about his music and the album that’s about to come out. These niggas better leave me the fuck alone cause I’m not in their league and they know that. That’s why they keep to music, they wouldn’t dare venture into anything else besides music because I’d swallow them whole, no homo. I’m like the Loch Ness monster. Where does the beef with you and Jay stem from? We been signed to Roc-A-Fella so you can imagine where that come from. There was a time where we had to be in the same room with each other. Them niggas could never fuck with me, I already put hands on a couple of them. Wherever I’m at I make it my home, you can’t do anything about it. I always got the upper hand. Max B is all over your album. Yea, shout out to Max B, free Max B. Max B will be home real soon, he got himself caught up with some bullshit but we gonna rectify the shit. Boy gonna be on the streets on bail with a story to tell.
my diss] was to response “[jay-z’s more beneficial to me] actually was to him... i got [bds.” of them than it spins for both Freekey Zekey is back home now. Yup, Freekey Zekey’s home. He was just at a show with me in Baltimore, we went crazy. He looking like he-man, dawg. Shout to Zekey, he’s the President of Diplomat Records, business is everything to us. This music business is 90% business and 10% talent but you need the talent to get the business. You don’t think you can’t come in on the business end and then build the talent? I mean you can but it’s a little different unless you’re around someone who has the talent and you did the business. It’s like with me when I came in and Cam was the talent and I was the business. I was always a major player and a major figure. We have swag, so you can’t deny that nowhere. All my life I don’t care who was in the room, when I was in the room everyone knew I was there. Even when I was nowhere near famous all the famous people knew who I was. It seems like Diddy did it the same way. Exactly. Diddy had access to a whole label, the whole machine. He knew the plan, he knew the blueprint. He just flipped it. I took a little bit of his past. Shout out to Diddy. The “We Fly High” remix coming out soon. We got Diddy, T.I., Baby, Juelz, and Young Dro on the remix. We just finished that in ATL. When people see that video they gonna go crazy, tell Jay to eat his heart out on that one. Remixes are getting more collaborative these days with the “One Blood” remix and so on. Since I remember remixes have always been a major thing. You can remember the “Benjamins” remix and how big that was. Remixes show versatility and show that you want other people to shine as well. You put up really large numbers with your first week. I did 108,000 units on my album in the first week, a lot of people say that’s unheard of on Koch. I’m on my way to a gold album and if I put my work in I could be on my way to something even bigger. A lot of people have not been getting the sales figures even with large scale promotions and branding, so what sets you apart from them? I’m a part of a movement, the Diplomats. We create opportunities for people. We’re giving people jobs, we put roofs over people’s heads, we’re 95
putting food in their stomachs. We come from the bottom; we don’t put up with bullshit from nobody. You see me saying I’m balling, but that’s not the message here, the message is that there’s money to be made, and you need to do what needs to be done to make that. Most of my niggas have felonies and shit they’re not giving us any jobs and you know what we have to do to get the paper. Most of my niggas like to live lavish, and I can’t knock you for that, I want everybody to hustle for their paper. A lot of people put out their own groups but they really aren’t doing much. What makes the Diplomats successful? Because we set the precedent for this. We have this thing called N.W.A. Rules, we knew what it took for us to get there. And there’s no “I” in team, everything is we, and I’m not talking fronts; that’s what we embody. You see me, you see Juelz, Cam, Zekey; you’ll see an army if you need to. And everybody goes different directions and then makes their money and brings it back home. That’s why we’re all stars, everybody is selling records. That’s what N.W.A. did, they had stars that complimented stars, and the movement they had was so strong. They made hundreds of hundreds of millions before they broke up and even when they broke up the family tree was so strong that they still made a lot of money on the west coast and that’s what we respect. Me and Cam have been studying this game since we were in high school as far as hustling and the streets. And that’s what we bring to this music; all we know is street savvy. You learn a lot when you’re in the streets; you learn how to learn fast, and that’s how we got in this game. Even though it took us ten years, we’re here now. Every year we’re getting better and we never declined. Every year we just dug in and dug in, we know what the streets want we know what they’re going through. We know the bad times, the hard times, and the good times, and we’re still going through it. I keep telling people that the rap game is like the crack game because we could still end up dead or in jail. So what I’m doing is taking the risk of saying powerful words on wax just like you’re taking that whiff and going outside and making that money, we are both in the same boat. That’s why I go at niggas like Jay. He’s not in this boat anymore, he may be able to remember back to the times when he was struggling, but he’s not in this fucking boat. He doesn’t know what it’s like to have to go out and hustle anymore. He doesn’t have to do that anymore. So you know what we have to do? We have to take people like that down. We need a new spokesman, somebody who’s in it. At what point do they get off that boat? When they lose integrity. When you lose the integrity of the game, when you lose the integrity of a hustler’s mind. You’re too caught up in the corporate world, you’re so far up Doug’s ass you want him to be your father. Now pardon my French, but how could you ever want a cracker to be your uncle or father. We’re supposed to be schooling them to the game, they love us for what we’re doing, and we’re the ones making them the fucking money. But you, you’re looking like a puppet now. You were a boss, but now you’re a worker. How does that look? What kind of example are you setting for the hustlers out there that give it their all? You’re lost your fucking integrity to corporate America. I have an executive position, but I don’t let any of that compromise what I do. You can tell from my contract and from me as a person. And I’d say fuck a job before I let anyone compromise what I do. Shout to Kevin Liles and Lyor Cohen for giving me the opportunity, but all they did was give me the opportunity to take over this game as a whole because I’m learning both sides of the fence. I’m so keen to the game now, no one can tell me no for shit. Me and him playing the same position, except I’m not under anyone’s ass. I don’t put on hard heel shoes and button ups to go to work, I live my life. They gave me the executive position because of my street savvy, who I am and what I mean to this music. And I filled the void right now; a void that I feel can’t be filled by many. And this is a void he once filled and he can’t fill it any more. My niggas don’t know what an IPO means. They know what birds mean, they know what bitches and fly cars mean, they know what prison means, and they know what death means. They don’t know what a 401k plan means. You have to keep them inspired to make money and once they make that money you have translate it for them, and show them how to make more money. You made a special version of “We Fly High” for the New York Giants. How did that come about? Shout out to Michael Strahan, man, Strahan, Pierce, the whole Giants, even the management, they all showed me love. They told me it’s a motivational song, so I said, “I’ll do you one better. I’ll do you your own version.” They said they’ll start coming out of the tunnel to it, so that’s how that came about. What do you think about the Giants season? They got a couple players hurt, and you know it gets rough but our 96
loyalty and integrity to the game will take us to the top, just like the Diplomats. Shout out to the Giants, I will meet you at the top, we’re going to pull a sleeper on these niggas. I’ll meet you at the Super Bowl in Miami. You and Juelz are working very heavily with Southern cats, what about it catches your ear? I’m about working with music in general. I was on The Game remix, the “Walk it Out” remix, we’re about music and business. We know what the people want. We’re like chameleons when it comes to this money, we’ll blend in to get this money. That’s why niggas from New York always took work out of town, because when they got out of town they know how to get it. That’s the same thing with music, it’s just taking work out of town, it’s just breaking bread with another block. A lot of New York artists are not as open to the new movements as Dipset has been. Where ever we go you hear New York, we’re confident in our identity, that’s why we can go on a track with some Southern cats and still rep New York. How was it working with Game? Shout out to Game, that’s my brother from another mother, we’ve been doing music since my first album. I just commend him on what he’s doing. What do you think about his situation with 50 Cent? Everybody has their own way of getting money so let that boy go crazy if he wants to man, he always gets his point across, [laughs] if it’s not broke, don’t try to fix it. It seems you get more money from Koch than other artists with situations. Yeah that’s the Jim Jones/Koch piggy bank records [laughs]. That’s my piggy bank right there. You go find out how much we’re worth, you might hit your head. How did you first meet Alan, and how did the deal come about? Me and Cam were searching for deals with the majors, and the majors were giving me some problems. So we said we’re going to do it like they’ve been doing it in the South and West Coast for years, we’re going to give them a headache. And by me doing 108,000 my first week, I’m a contender with the majors. They said I did better than something like 75 percent of the game in my first week. Juelz has been doing pretty good lately. Of course, that boy had some hits, that “Whistle Song.” He killed them this year, that Chris Brown, he came on strong. Has the Def Jam situation made it awkward for you with the Jay issue? Not at all, we work with L.A. Reid, shouts to him, he’s a good man, he knows how to get that money in. After he is done with Def Jam, will you guys bring him to Koch? That’s his prerogative. Whatever he wants to do. He’s a boss up here at Diplomat Records. What else can we expect out of Dipset? Hell Rell, he’s coming out soon, and the Byrdgang compilation will be out in February. There were rumors going around that there was a fall out between you and some of your crew, this last weekend. No, man, no truth to that. People would love for us to fall out. Shout out to the whole Dipset. You just signed Katt Williams to Dipset also. What kind of album are you going to be putting out? Yeah shouts out to him. We’re going to do a half comedy half music album with him, you know how funny he is. We’re going to build a marriage between music and comedy like no other. Anything else? I just want people to keep integrity out there, this game as a whole is in a state of emergency. Like I’ve been telling people, if we have no integrity, we’ll lose it all. I’m the voice the hood, the voice of the ghetto, the havenots, I’m like Robin Hood. When I don’t do it anymore, I’m gone, until then I’m going to tear a hole in this game. And all the fake shit, and the bullshit I will expose. I don’t want the top I just want the rock, we don’t claim to be the king, we just do our thing.
Y E K E E R F EY ZEK
Was it a situation where you got caught up with the wrong people, were set up, or were in the wrong place at the wrong time? It can be any of those three. I checked my discovery back check and it had no one claiming me as the person who did the drug selling, so I can’t point my finger at somebody who told [on me]. I guess it was just bad luck on my part. Do you think you were targeted because you’re a rapper? Actually this was a ’99, 2000 case, so really The Diplomats wasn’t of age at that time. We were signed to Sony but we were still strugglin’ to be on top because we didn’t have creative control. We couldn’t stake our claim to make us millionaires yet, so I had to take it to the road. There was an article in a local newspaper on your release, and it stated that you are a millionaire. Is that an exaggeration? No, that’s not an exaggeration. Cam and Jim [Jones] are the CEOs of Diplomat Records and Juelz [Santana] is the Vice President, so we divide everything, 25% [each]. We’re all able to eat off each other and there’s no discrepancies. That’s the reason why The Diplomats have reigned so long and we’ll never fall. We know who’s who and what’s what. It’s no disputes, no arguments. Cam comes first, he’s the head. Then there’s Jim, myself, and Juelz, and we always stay in our chain of command so there’s nothing but success. Well, the average person wouldn’t think that you’re a millionaire because you’ve never had a hit record – [laughing] A hit record? I’ve never had a record, period, you know what I’m sayin’?
OTO: H P & S WORD EVERLY JULIA B
et’s start off by introducing yourself to the readers who might not be familiar with you, What’s your role in the Dipset movement? Okay, I’m gonna introduce myself, even though I’m not new to the OZONE. I’m Freekey Zekey, the President of Diplomat Records, and I gets it poppin’. Basically I do everything from janitor work to signin’ checks. You just got out of prison in North Carolina. Do you stay down here? You’re originally from New York, right? Yes, I’m from Harlem. Harlem is where it’s at. I ended up doing three years and six months down here. They claim that I was running an ecstasy ring, quote, unquote. Well, were you? [laughs] They say I was running an ecstasy ring, quote, unquote. I did some time. I did three years. I got out a little early because of good behavior. I was sentenced to 42 months and I did 36 of it. The charge was in Wilmington, NC. I actually never lived down here, I was just on I-95 tryin’ to make ends meet. When I moved down South, I never put the money in my pocket to spend on clothes and stuff. I always put it towards Diplomat Records, and to make sure my sons eat. 98
Well, let’s compare you to an artist that’s signed to a major label and has hit records – the average person probably would think they have more money than you. Is that accurate? Which would you rather have, the fame or the money? Of course I’d rather have money, cause the fame don’t pay the rent. Nobody’s gonna love your music enough to pay your rent, so of course I’m gonna go 100% with the money. But being an artist, you want the fame also. You want people to love your music. You want to express yourself and have people hear what you’re saying to everybody. Why haven’t you had the chance to put out an album yet? Were you more focused on the behindthe-scenes? I was more on the street side. I was the underground mover, so that’s basically where my time went. I did a lot of hooks and skits. I was on Juelz album. I did the hook for “Hey Ma,” and I helped produce a couple songs. Everybody writes their own rhymes, but I help come up with hooks. Are you working on an album now? In the near future you’ll definitely hear something extremely powerful from me. My album’s gonna be called The Book of Ezekiel. That’s my name, and if you’re Biblical, you’ll understand. Is there Biblical content? Well, if you read the Bible, the content in the Bible is crazy. Killin’, cuttin’, women, boning women, women bonin’ they father, like, it’s on and poppin’ in the Bible. So yeah, it’s gonna have that kind of content. How did you pass the time over the last three years? Writing, snapping on other people. Reading a lot of hood novels. I read the Bible too whenever I needed to clear my mind before I slapped somebody. Slappin’ people and going to the hold when you’re upset. Sometimes you’re in a dorm, where there’s a lot of people, a lot of attitudes, and a lot of personalities. If you can’t take it, you just slap the shit outta somebody or make an argument pop off so you could get in a fight and get put in solitary confinement so you’ll be at peace with yourself. Sometimes
that works for me. But other than that, just hittin’ the bar, doing dips, push-ups, squats, and writing. Chris Rock says you get more props when you get out of jail then when you get out of college. It depends. If you’re from the streets, they’re gonna love that [when you get out of prison]. If you’re not from the streets, the college boys gonna get the love. Do you think getting out of prison is something you should be having a party for? I think you should have the biggest party for getting out of the belly of the beast. You was condemned; oppressed. And when you graduate from college you should party too, cause that’s the same thing. That’s the belly of the beast in college, too, with all them finals, and you’re broke! [laughing]
money in the air. I threw my jacket in the air. I threw everything in the air. Enjoyed myself. I drove here [to Greensboro, North Carolina] from Baltimore. Today is Saturday, and I’m here for the Welcome Home Freekey Zekey party. What kind of effect do you think your prison time had on your sons? The effect was major. It was major on me to be away from someone that you really, truly, honestly love unconditionally. So being away from them was real serious, but you know, I stayed in contact. Called, wrote, sent pictures. That kept the closeness and love attached.
How did your prison experience compare to what we seen on Oz and in the movies? It is that, but exaggerated a little to keep Hollywood’s pockets fat. But it’s not too far from the truth at all. I heard they had a limo waiting for you when you were released. Yeah, a big limo. I was tryin’ to get the helicopter to land, no bullshit! That’s my word. But [the prison] was in a no-fly zone, and the government wouldn’t allow it. That’s state property. I was gonna have big-booty chicks with “Kiss My Ass” written on their buttcheeks when I’m walkin’ out [of prison]. You know, I like to have fun like that. What’s the first thing you did when you got in the limo? I was bonin’. [laughing] Steph, what up? You know, we poured some Henny, poured some champagne, stopped by to see one of my dudes that was on work release. Then we got on the private jet and it was over. That was five days ago. You said you haven’t slept in the five days since then? Five days and countin’. So walk me through those five days. Well, [November] 20th, I land. Millionaire. Everybody was there, except Jim, he had a party or something in Miami. Juelz was somewhere else, but Cam was there. MTV came, Jim called, a whole slew of people was there, all types of DVDs filming. Drove back to the hood, seen a couple dudes, Left, went to the outskirts, seen more dudes. At night, hopped in the whip. Killa [Cam’Ron] surprised me with my new house. I thought I was goin’ back to my old house but he surprised me and got me a new house and a new whip. So I had to go back to the hood and show ‘em [the new whip] and I got into a big fight. Somebody tried to take my chain, so I slapped him up. He bit me, uh, here. Whatever this is called. [points at his right eyebrow]. Where is he now? He might be just wakin’ up. [laughing] So, yeah, that was Monday, that ended around 4:30, 5 AM. Tuesday I had to go to Baltimore. I’m still in jail mode so I woke up at 6 AM. I got a phone call that my son wanted to see me. He’s in Baltimore, so I got myself together and drove all the way to Baltimore. He wanted to come with me, so I drove him all the way back. I bought him a whole slew of X-Box games. Then he gets mad cause he remembers he gotta go back home, so when I take him back I buy him a whole slew of PlayStation 3 joints. Sat back and played a couple of games with him. Left and went to the studio with Killa. Came back and fell asleep, this is at 4:30 in the morning. I wake up at 5:45, 6 AM. And then, wait, what day is that? What happened Wednesday? Was that Thanksgiving? [laughing] Thanksgiving was Thursday. What the hell? Okay, I don’t remember Wednesday. I was drunk and high as a muthafucker and all I know is that I didn’t wanna do nothing but drink water on Thursday. My mother didn’t finish with the turkey until 9:00 at night! But that was okay because I didn’t feel like eating nothing anyway. Friday I had to take my son back to Baltimore. That drive was crazy, and he was mad, cause he didn’t want me to go. Oh, before that, we went to 145th & Broadway and copped him all kinds of hats, shoes, clothes, boxers, socks. I spent everything, he got it all. He likes to eat so I took him to Copeland’s on 145th. Then we drove him all the way back. That was Friday. Oh, no! I forgot, when I was drivin’ him to Baltimore I got a beep and it’s Jim. Jim was like, “What up, son?” I said, “I’m good, fam, I’m all the way out in Baltimore!” and he’s like, “Me too!” Next thing I know, I’m on stage [in Baltimore] with Jim. BALLIN’! Throwin’
OF PRISONY] T U O T O G I Y “[THE DA DY TRIED TO TAKE M SOMEBO SLAPPED HIM. HE BIT RE.” CHAIN, SO I ME RIGHT HE Did the experience show you who your true friends were? Oh my God. Thank you! I needed that. I don’t need to [go to prison] all the time, but I needed to get my eyes open. A whole lot of people that told me they were gonna be there through everything were gone. “Don’t worry, I got you, I got your mother, the kids are straight,” poundin’ on their chest, “That’s my word, I love you, I’ll die for you,” and as soon as I went [to prison] they went out. Out of my life. This is what it showed me, even though I already knew: I’ve been with Jim, Cam, and Juelz since before we all had mustaches, and they all stayed. When you’re in jail, you need people, and they came through. Word is bond. Of course Cam’Ron has been a celebrity for a while, but as far as the whole Dipset movement, it probably wasn’t as strong when you went away. How much of a difference is it now that you’re out, especially with Jim having a huge single right now? It’s a 900 degree flip. When I was out, it was all about the struggle. Everybody was – well, we still are – tight-knit. We was a group, you know? That’s all we knew, the grind, the struggle, the hard times. Everything seemed all fucked up and as soon as I went to jail is when Come Home With Me came out. We got out of debt and then I went to jail. I feel like Moses. He sent everybody to the Promised Land and then he fell. That’s what I did and when I looked up, everybody was doing good, so it was bittersweet. It was bitter because I couldn’t be there with them, but it was so good to see them blow. You know, that’s why I got shot. That’s why I did time. That’s why everybody was goin’ to jail. This is where all the pain finally paid off. Now that you’re out, how do you avoid ending up in the same situations? How do you plan to stay out? Yeah, it is a revolving door. I’ve seen people come back five or six times [while I was in prison]. But now I don’t have to touch anything illegal no more and that’s beautiful. That was our dream and now we’re finally there. So now it’s just about focusing and hustling. If you’re a true hustler, you’ll know how to switch your hustle. You can’t be a one-minded hustler cause you ain’t gonna get nowhere. OZONE has a lot of prison readers. Anything you’d like to say to them? Most definitely: Don’t fuck up when you get the fuck out, man. All them fake ass dreams and all that shit. You think you’re gonna chill for six months and you’re not gonna fall back; you’re not gonna get in the drug thing anymore. Stop kidding yourself, man. You know that it’s a struggle every day. You see them big rims spinning, and after one or two hours [out], you’re ready to go get a pack. If you’re gonna do your thing illegally, get smart, man! Find a person who’s on their way with a legal business. Invest and stop runnin’ around trying to get a new pair of sneakers. Don’t invest in the rims, man. Invest in college for that snot-nosed little dude right there. He’ll help you have longevity and you’ll end up buying car lots. Just keep your head up, all of you that’s down in the struggle. 99
S Y A 8 W TO WIN
Ball has been a pioneer in the game since before many young rap fans were born. As one half or arguably the greatest rap group alive, 8Ball appears to be hungrier than ever. Both he and his partner in crime MJG have respectively opened their own record labels and are determined to continue rewriting the history books of hip-hop. In this interview, 8Ball talks about his new label and the resurgence of Bad Boy Records. Tell me about your new CD, Light Up the Bomb? It’s in stores now, Light Up the Bomb is the title, and 8 Ways Entertainment is the label. Its kind of like Jay-Z’s Dynasty album; it was a lot of him but it was also a lot of the fam, when they was coming up and people didn’t know ‘em. That’s kinda what Light Up the Bomb reflects. It’s a lot of me, but it’s also got G and Devius on it and Montana Trax produced all the tracks; it’s like a pre-warning of what’s to come. I heard Montana Trax is also working on his own project, is that right? Yeah, he’s got another Montana Trax album coming and he’s gon’
errin P c i r E y b
produce everything that’s going on over here; you know we got my solo album coming, too. Now that’s going to be your third solo album, correct? Yeah, it’s my third. Damn, you and MJG have put out so many CD’s throughout the years, do you ever find it hard to stay fresh and keep coming up with new material? Well, yeah, sometimes, but I wouldn’t call it hard to create, but sometimes it’s hard to get in a creative mood. You know what I mean? That’s the problem right there, the other part is easy, but to get in that mood is the hard part. So how do you get in the mood to make music? Do you have a process or does the mood just have to come on its own? I just write better when I’m zooming, when I get in my own zone and smoke up a lot of weed. I really like to write alcohol free, but I gotta have a lot of weed, though.
“I LOVDEMUSIC GOO I HATE ANDLSHIT, BUL THAT’S BUT IN THE ALL OF THE EYE OLDER. BEH MAN’S ONELSHIT BUL LD BE THE COUT MAN’S NEX ES.” ROS
For your new album Light Up the Bomb to be successful in your opinion, how many units do you have to sell? Honestly man, the position I’m at right now where I’d be happy with a hundred [thousand], that’s real talk. I’d be happy with a hundred, but I think we gon’ do about half a million, though. 8Ball and MJG are so highly respected; you guys have been in the game for so long, why have your fans been so loyal throughout the years? I think cause when people meet us, they meet the same cats on the record. They don’t meet the superstar nigga on TV with seven bodyguards or other industry shit. They meet 8Ball and MJG, them two niggas; they don’t meet the rest of the bullshit that come with it. A lot of cats don’t talk to they fans or stop for pictures, and we’ve always done that from day one. Now you just launched your new label 8Ways Entertainment on October 25th, right? Yeah.
There are a lot of independent southern labels out there. What makes 8Ways Entertainment different from the rest of them? I think it’s all in what I’m trying to project. Hip-hop is what we do at 8Ways entertainment, but we also want to do all forms of music, that’s something I plan to bring to an “urban” record label or whatever you want to call it. I don’t want 8Ways to have limits or be constricted. If I hear some punk-rock shit that I wanna fuck with, I wanna be able to put that shit on the street through 8Ways Entertainment. I wanna be responsible for finding the world’s next Alicia Keys, or Kanye West, or Jay-Z. I want to bring something new to the table; I don’t just want to be another nigga with a record label. That’s tight, man. I know MJG has also opened up his own label as well, MJG Music. In what ways are your labels going to be different? Well, we work out of the same studio, so a lot of our shit is like meshed together. MJG, he is getting into more of the producing and I’m getting more into the CEOing, you feel me? Yeah, I heard you two are making a comedy movie, can you tell me a little about that? [laughs] It’s kinda like Cheech N Chong’s Up in Smoke meets Half Baked. I already know that’s gonna be crazy. When is it due out? We might start filming in the spring, so hopefully next fall it’ll be hitting the streets. You’ve been in the game for a long time and I know you have to be con-
tent with the fact that the South is on top right now, but in your opinion, what needs to change in the world of rap? I honestly have a different answer to this question all the time, it’s really according to how I’m feeling at the time. Right now, today, I would say nothing, because without the bad there would be no good; without the good there would be no bad. You know, there’s a ying to every yang, a hot to every cold, a reaction to every action. We wouldn’t be where we are without all of it. I know what I do, but how would I look knocking a nigga? I love good music and I hate bullshit, but that’s all in the eye of the beholder. One man’s bullshit could be the next man’s roses so, you know. So what percent of the music out there is bullshit and what percent is actual good music? You can’t say, because what I think is bullshit might be the number one shit of the whole year, so you can’t go off what I’m saying. But I think the best music gets overshadowed sometimes by the politics. Yeah, I feel you on that, what do you feel about snap music? It’s just another stage, another step, another chapter in the book of hiphop. Our culture is forever growing, I mean it’s always gon’ change, that’s what it do. If you a Scientologist, hip-hop is like the one celled organism that grew into the complex human beings that we have become. That’s hip-hop. It’s forever changing and the hip-hop fan changes just like hip-hop, what they love today they might hate tomorrow. You know, whatever the phenomenon is today, muthafuckas might be slapping themselves for making tomorrow. I heard you are going to be re-releasing some of the older 8Ball & MJG albums. What prompted you to do that? Supply and demand; you know, The Beatles haven’t stopped selling their records and that was 30 years ago. 8Ball and MJG, we are one of those groups, man. When hip-hop fans get old enough or whatever, they gon’ look at us the same way my generation looks at The Temptations and O’Jays. Back in 1992 in Memphis, all that shit was new to us, you know like Mayfield and all that type of shit. I think me and G make that kind of music. When mu’fuckas turn 16 and 17, and they get to making their own money and having their own cars, they be like, let’s buy this shit. That’s evident from our shows, it be young mu’fuckas singing songs older than them. Do you think the crabs in a barrel syndrome, where artists try to hold other artists down, is a problem in Memphis? Naw, I don’t think it is now it is like it used to be, but you just gotta realize that Memphis is still one of those places where it’s hard to get a buck. I think you gotta feed yourself before you can feed everybody else, people just trying to get that one step up. I think right now in Memphis, it’s a lot of cats throwing the hand back, straight up trying to pull cats up. You and MJG are definitely two cats that are helping other Memphis artist get on the scene so that’s a good look. Tell me about the next Ball and G album; is that still going to be released on Bad Boy? Yep, in January. With Bad Boy’s recent resurgence and restored place atop the hip-hop game do you feel that they’re giving your project is more attention, or less attention? I think it’s really the same. We never really got a whole bunch of attention over there anyway, [laughs] you know what I’m saying. Shit, I don’t think it’s changed. Living Legends was a classic, and it sold pretty well, but it definitely could have sold more with better promotion. Is there more pressure from Bad Boy to sell more records this time? I don’t think it ever was pressure with us, you know, we just really go and do us. The pressure don’t be with the music. We always do something that’s 8Ball and MJG. What’s the hardest part of your life as a rapper, CEO, or industry mogul? Shit, I think real life. Real life can be more than a hassle than the industry can. Do you have any message you want to send out to the readers? 8Ball and MJG’s Ridin’ High comes out in January, and 8Ways Entertainment’s Light Up the Bomb is in stores now, they need to get that. Devius in stores in February 2007. Also we got a mixtape coming out soon and all of that is going to be produced by Montana Trax.
Check out www.8waysent.com for more information on 8Ball and his record label 8 Ways Entertainment. 101
S A N S P N I A L P EX IP-HO WHYEH D A ike Li M D & a b S I by Rohit Loom
ip-Hop’s golden child, Nas, finds himself on the verge of what is one of his career’s most eagerly awaited albums. As if this isn’t enough, Nas boldly proclaims that Hip Hop is Dead with his album title and now must prove that he, in fact, is the one that can resurrect it. Without a video or a radio friendly single to help assist his album release on December 19th, Nas is counting on his lyrical prowess, effortlessly displayed on tracks like the Jay-Z assisted “Black Republicans,” to captivate the masses and drive his Def Jam debut to success. Some people in the South are taking offense to the album title Hip Hop is Dead. The South, East, West, Midwest, all need to feel something because we all love Hip-Hop, it’s our life. If they’ve taken offense to it as if I’m just talking about the South and just singling out a region then they’ve got me mistaken and they need to ask somebody about me, because niggas know I’m deeper than that. If anything the South kept the lights on in rap. The title isn’t limited to the region but that’s not to say that there aren’t whack niggas in the South either. This album is to provoke thought in everybody. The whole thing is that sometimes we forget and don’t care about this shit because it becomes the hustler’s game. You mentioned the South on your earlier records, especially Houston. Did you think that the South would become as big as it has? Hell yeah. I used to go to North Carolina back in the day so I used to be hearing that shit way back. I was hearing a bunch of niggas, so I been seeing that movement. It’s always been there. I think that people saying that the South just started happening but the South been happening for the longest. It’s just that it’s dominating now and people are thinking that it had never been around. That shit been poppin’. On the Bravehearts’ project you worked with Lil Jon a lot. How was it working with him compared to the East Coast producers you usually work with? Lil Jon’s hard. He’s a real producer, he brought me some hard shit for Jungle and Bravehearts. He can do music, he can do whatever you need. He’s not a beatmaker, he’s a producer. When you go in the studio with him you know you’re not coming out with some amateur shit. Tell us the difference between a beatmaker and a producer. A beatmaker can sample some shit and make it sound good but doesn’t know how to put the Quincy Jones, Dr. Dre, or Diddy on it. Producing is a whole different world, you gotta make this shit sound right, add the right musicians, EQ the bitch right, get the right engineer. The producer got the ear and the vision, beatmakers can loop some shit but don’t know sonically what needs to happen to make a record that will stick around forever. You’ve been dabbling in the production a little bit, too. How’s that been? That shit’s another world, I can’t even take the full credit. I can just get niggas to do what I need them to do. I have done some shit where I have programmed the drums and added a little keyboard shit but for the most part I’d rather get a beatmaker or producer to get in there and program what I need exactly how I want it. So you give them your vision and they actually make it happen? Most of the time, sometimes I be punching the drum pads myself. Can we expect you to work with Lil Jon again? Yeah, I’d love to. I tried to get him this time but it was a lot of moving around. You’ve worked with Scarface in the past and earlier this year he had mentioned he hadn’t collected on some of the work he’d done for you monetarily. I never collected money on his, either. So it was a swap agreement? Yeah, I think it was just misinterpreted by him right there. Tell us about the deal between Def Jam and Sony? I wanted to do something interesting. I’ve been in the game for a minute playing with a record company where I’m the only rapper to have made a career there. It’s a funny relationship but it’s gonna be a relationship we have forever since I have so much catalog there. When this album started to come to be I wanted to name it Nasdaq Dow Jones and then I wanted to name it Nigger on Def Jam but a lot of people said it wouldn’t be the right thing to do when I came over to Def Jam. Part of the reason
to come over is because I felt uninspired at one label. Sony/Columbia is so corporate and I was uninspired to record one more so I wanted to come over to a new label. With Def Jam being the legendary label that gave us Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, EPMD, so on and so forth, it was the label I always wanted to see my name on. I felt that this would be perfect for the current title now. This deal took a lot of work on my end because I still have a contract with Sony and so it took work to get them to work with Def Jam. I had to pull a lot of strings and get big lawyers to see what I was seeing. It’s hard to not agree with me on what I wanted to do, so I was happy everyone could see what I was seeing. L.A. Reid wanting it to happen and Jay Z wanting it to happen made it a power play. Right when I got to Def Jam the bigwigs at Sony who I had heard were getting fired got fired and left shit into shambles. The label wasn’t in shambles, the label is a good label, but a lot of shit was in shambles so I had to make a power play and L.A. Reid and Jay helped me with that. How did you and Jay settle your differences? Did he call you, did you call him, or was there a middleman? Actually, my boy Mark Pitts is good friends with L.A. and he was like, “Yo, you shouted out L.A. on the ‘Why’ remix.” Arista Records was shutting down, and at the time L.A. had been killing the industry with people like Usher and Pink and I heard about labels merging and all the executives getting their position but I never heard L.A.’s name and I mentioned that and how I couldn’t hear my man’s name anywhere. When he got at Def Jam and heard the remix, he liked it, and got the word out. Pitts hits me up and says he thinks that maybe L.A. wants me over there but I still had a deal at Sony and L.A. was like, “Fuck it, let’s make it happen.” Then the question was with Jay because that’s when he had started doing his President thing. I told Pitts I wouldn’t mind kicking it with him cause we’re grown ass men and Jay said the same shit and there was a meeting that was set up and that was that. How much influence did Jay have on the project? Initially we wanted to go in there and do so much, but in real time we do our own things so really it was me doing what I do. What kinds of things have been changing about your image with the new deal? You bulked up recently, is that one of the things? [laughing] Naw, I don’t see it like that. I’m just getting my calisthenics on, that’s it. Why aren’t you on Jay’s album? I was gonna do the intro but then maybe it was overkill. One song was enough and that was scheduled to be on my album. Your album has been getting pushed back for awhile now. I can’t front, man, the pressure on this motherfucker been a bitch, it’s been crazy. I wanted to release it on my birthday, September 14th, but I couldn’t decide on the songs. Then there was Halloween and then November 7th. Today we have the December 19th date and they look at me and say, “Yo, you gonna make this date?” This date is perfect because I can’t push it back beyond this or else I’ll be next year and then everything will have to be different. So this has to come out this year and nothing will be better than dropping at the end of the year. What’s changed since the first time you were scheduled to turn in the album til now? Not much. I wanted to work with so many people, but you know what? It’s just rap at the end of the day. I wanted to sit down and work with everybody but I can’t space shit out as well as someone like Dr. Dre. I sat back and thought maybe with the title I bit off more than I could chew and pissed off a few motherfuckers, but that’s what I wanted to do. So I just said fuck it, it’s time to close it up. If you notice my video isn’t even out. I’m three weeks out from my album release and I don’t even have a video yet. I may come out with no video. It’s all good though because I remember when I was a fan of rap as a kid and there were no videos. I said, “Shit, I like this feeling, ain’t nothing wrong with that. I’ll catch them in January.” I’m shooting them now. I was thinking too hard on the “Hip Hop is Dead” video so I had to shoot something just to have something because I’m way behind. We shot something for that and we’re editing now. We’re shooting a video for “Can’t Forget About You” and also the “Shine On” track off the Blood Diamonds soundtrack. How’d the situation with the movie come about? Leonardo DiCaprio got at the movie dudes to get at me and then they flew me in. I sat down with James Newtown Howard who’s a bigwig scoring dude, he done scores for Sixth Sense and King Kong, and we sat down and came up with some of the music for the movie and I came up with a track for the joint called “Shine on ‘Em.” 103
How do you think we can create more awareness of the situation in Africa regarding conflict diamonds? I think things like this movie and us doing things to create awareness about the big companies that are stripping Africa of all its natural resources, diamonds being a big one. What we don’t know is that the shit we’re wearing is already ours anyway. If we can make the connection between the brothers over there and us and work together we can make more money off it. There won’t have to be poor people, kids getting their arms cut off, husbands getting snatched from their wives, and all that shit happening. If we stand together the way we ended apartheid we can do something just the same. “Black Republicans” came out a bit ago. Was that a leak? That was not supposed to come out. It’s all good, charge it to the game. It came out anyway. I would really have preferred to come out closer to my album because it’s on my album but it’s all good because it’s all about brotherhood at the moment. Do you think the track and album overall can help put Hip-Hop back on the right track? I hope it does, any good that come out of it, so be it. My main goal ain’t on some “bring real Hip-Hop back” shit, though. People look at it too hard. It’s just me saying “Hip-Hop’s dead, fuck you nigga. Take it how you wanna take it, prove me wrong.” There’s plenty of niggas out there doing it way big and giving us shit that we want to hear and I’m not taking shit from them. Real niggas know what I’m talking about and the other niggas gonna sit back and learn. Are major corporations killing Hip-Hop? Major corporations is killing this shit. It’s like, change is good. Change always gets rid of the old and brings in the new so we always gonna be beefin’ about it first. But you gotta change with change. A lot of corporations are coming in now and sometimes they make me embarrassed to be a rapper. If you look at the majority of the shit that’s out a lot of people who ignorant to this rap shit they think I’m doing the same thing, they can’t differentiate the good from the bad. You gotta just gotta keep it moving despite all the corny shit. Fuck it, do you. Do you think that the independent artists have a better chance of making good Hip Hop? Hell yeah, because you have the opportunity to do what you want, how you want, when you want, and still get that paper. What have you learned and applied from Street’s Disciple? When you’re creating a double album, you take your creativity all over the place. You get excited, and you want to do too much. You think that for a higher price, you want to give them a real piece of you. It’s a great achievement for me, but with this record, it’s a new day for me too. How did you link up with The Game? Well my niggas knew his niggas in Cali for a minute. So when I saw him blowing up and I was just watching he reached out to me, and he wasn’t getting a big head over this. Some people one day you see them and they’re cool and the next time you see them their nose is up in the air and shit like that cracks me up. But this nigga Game he just stayed a real nigga, the nigga was shouting me out about a lot of things. He’s got the most fire album out there, he’s just a good dude. How do you feel about 50 Cent going after The Game and even mentioning you on a couple of his songs? You know what, it’s cool to keep it gangsta and mention niggas’ names on records because I’ve been there before. I’ve done this on a real level. I did this when real niggas was in the game, from Pac to Suge walking around at the Soul Train Awards with army fatigues on and leather gloves looking for an enemy, and I’m in the crowd with my hard bottom shoes and pinky ring on. I’ve been there before with the best of them. So when I see the guys imitate the best of them, I just chuckle up a little bit, it’s all good, charge it to the game, it is what it is, you know? At the same time, 50 made good music for the most part, so you can’t take it lightly either, but it was really not my battle, it was not his place to battle me. He’s only done about three albums or so, and he’s benefited off the deaths of Pac and the lives of Jay and Nas, so he still has to burn his own path and put in some more work before he can fuck with a nigga like me. Honestly, he can’t even fuck with Game right now. Game is pure fire and he’s been in the industry like him so that’s more of in his league, but ain’t nobody fucking with that right now. Not too many people can see where I see in this business, you know? Do you think that 50’s attitude is hurting New York right now? 104
No, not really. We know he’s a New York nigga but he runs like a Cali or Down South nigga, so he doesn’t really sound New York, he sounds like a Cali nigga most of the time. But no, I think he’s helping New York right now, we need more 50s, but without the disrespect, just making music. Back in the day you were very heavy in representing QB and the artists out of QB. What is your relationship with other artists out of QB like Cormega? I spoke to him on the phone a while ago, we’re just getting cool. Niggas is getting too old for that beef shit, you know? So I’m cool. What about Mobb Deep? It’s too early to tell, right now. I can’t tell. I know that you and Quan have reconciled, will you be helping him with his project? I was always there for it, so I feel like, reconciled isn’t really the word. He called me and he told me how he feels, and he just felt like he was new at it, and didn’t know how to handle all the things that were coming his way. I can understand that so I just gave him his moment. I think what slowed his project down was that he had some shit that slowed him down on the legal side, he got caught up real quick and he got set back a little bit. I spoke to him and he’s cool, and he’s ready to go, so we can let it off. Have you been working with Dre on this new album? Yeah, a little bit. How has he changed from the days of The Firm? With The Firm was like we were doing a joint on Aftermath, and that was like the second album on Aftermath, I think I was on his first recording on Aftermath on a joint called “Been There, Done That.” The album was actually called The Aftermath. So The Firm album was probably his second release, so he was just coming out of all that shit with Death Row. He just started his brand, he was structuring his brand, so I was really excited to even be fucking with somebody like that while he was going through that. Now he’s way on his feet. His label is a major rap brand. Now he doesn’t have to fuck with anybody. So the fact that we got in there and got something done was real cool for me. Jay’s album is on par to do something like 800,000 his first week, while Diddy’s album did about 200,000. What sets the two apart, and where do you see your album fitting in between the two? I don’t really see any comparisons, because everybody has their own individuality. Everybody should do what they do and expect nothing more and nothing less. You shouldn’t expect to do what Diddy did unless you put in what Diddy put in, unless you’re trying to be like him. If you expect to sell what Jay sold, then you have to be doing all the work that nigga is doing. And why are you looking to do what he’s doing anyways? You’re supposed to be yourself. And for me, I’ve always done what I’ve done. I never lost my focus. I see what’s going on and I am not trying to do what anybody else is doing. Because then you have to step out of your own skin so you can do what they do. How do you plan to offset bootlegging from affecting your album? Right now there’s really nothing you can do, once the record is pressed up and it hits the plant. You have a few days before it hits the stores, and you can only expect that it’s going to be out there for those people. Unless people start going straight internet, or getting it straight from the mastering plant there’s really nothing you can do. Jim Jones has been talking slick recently. That’s for attention. I think everybody see it for what it is, he trying to sell. I respect it and understand that niggas is trying to eat and they gonna say what they gotta to say to get attention and get some hype on them. They gonna talk about your cat, goldfish, whatever. It’s the same way this kid Kramer gets on TV and says the word “nigger.” He’s just at a lost place in his life and he’s just trying to get attention. It’s not only Hip-Hop that’s dead. R&B is dead, rock is dead, TV is dead, ain’t no Good Times on TV today. Everything’s dead to some extent so these motherfuckers just trying to get some attention. It’s cool but they need to figure their shit out. What do you think about Carmen’s book? I don’t believe that she has a publisher, and I don’t believe any of the shit or hear anything about it, and when I do, it’s really nothing that I remember as the truth. So everybody is going to say what they have to say. It’s just like the Jim Jones, everybody is going to say what they have to say so they can feel how they want to feel. But I wish her the best, I hope that shit sells a kazillion copies, maybe that will stop some motherfuckers from trying to shake me down for cake every five minutes [laughs]. I
still can’t believe she did that shit, so more power to her. I hope she understands, when she steps in that limelight, you have to deal with it. Be careful what you ask for, when she gets out there, it’s a beast out there, being known and shit. It’s a beast out there. Did she tell you about the book while she was writing it? Oh yeah, she used to tell me about it. I never had no time to hear it, because she’d jump from one topic to the next. I still don’t believe it, it’s still a joke to me, man. What’s good with Ill Will Records? That’s something just waiting to be attached to something else. Bravehearts, well actually, it’s just Jungle now, they’re doing Money Machine Entertainment, him and Nashawn and a few other cats, doing them. And we’re just figuring out what else we can put through that. It seems like with every album you have a new topic you like to focus on, with the passing of your mother, and your marriage, what is the theme of the new album? It’s just been a conversation I’ve been in. Everywhere I go people aren’t feeling different things about music. Everybody is trying to feed off the thing me and Jay did a couple of years ago. It just feels like it’s been a twist since Big and Pac been gone. It just seems like people are in it for the money, like the whole “I’m a hustler, I’m not a rapper.” I respect that and I understand it, and I may even be that, but at some point you have to realize that if we love this more we can take control, and we have no control over it right now. Rappers have no control over when their videos will air, and DJs have no control over what kinds of music they play. We need more Jay-Zs and Jermaine Dupris doing what he’s doing at Virgin, but we need them even higher. There needs to be more of a Nas as a Jimmy Iovine, not saying that I want his job, because I just want to do music, and not taking away from Jimmy because he’s a great dude, but there needs to be more of us who come from it that’s running this shit. Until then, this shit will stay dead and buried.
“We have no control over HipHop right now. Rappers have no control over when their videos will air, and DJs have no control over what kinds of music they play. There needs to be more of us who come from it that’s running this shit. Until then, this shit will stay dead and buried.”
What are your thoughts on the changes that need to be made to our government? The current government is in the middle of trying to bring the country back. With that being said, white America is ignorant, black America is ignorant to what is going on here. People on the outside know exactly what is going on, the Arabs know exactly what’s going on, the Asians know exactly what’s going on, the Europeans see it for what it is, we’re the only ones blind living inside of it. This is a great opportunity for us to be a part of what’s happening as it happens, this is a great chance for us to be more politically aware. That’s why I was like fuck “Vote or Die” last time because it just didn’t add up to me. I respected Diddy, and if he ran for president, I’d vote, but because he wasn’t I didn’t vote. If we make our community more politically aware as to who we’re voting for and why we’re voting, and more aware of how to demand the changes that we want to be made, made, then voting is just not the answer. Now it’s time for changes with Barack Obama and your girl Hillary Clinton having an opportunity to run for office. Now the black community should be way more aware. Our vote does count if we know what it means and we want it to count. If Obama ran, would you support him? Well I have to see if any felonies I got will keep me from voting, but if Obama ran, even if I couldn’t vote I’d support him. What makes him such an effective political force? Everybody understands his message. He’s clear as to what he’s doing. He’s the most intelligent speaker, what I mean by that is everything he says is understood by everyone. You listen to most politicians and you’re like, “What are they even talking about?” I can’t even understand what they’re talking about, but with him I do. Is there anything else you’d like to say? Realize that Hip-Hop will stay dead until we grab more power, not just in the microphone, but there is way more power to be had behind the desk. There are way more opportunities for us brothers and sisters to control it and own it. And this is for all the ignorant DJs and real DJs and rappers and all those people to understand, so don’t just limit me to one region of the United States, like I’m trying to put anybody down. This message is for everybody. If anything, I’m trying to uplift people and create conversation, and establish integrity. 105
tj’sdj’stastemakers 4th Quarter 2006 Tastemakers Xclusive CD Review DISC 1 1. B.O.B / Cloud 9 - Rebel Rock/Atlantic
Contact: TJ Chapman - 850.878.3634 With his catchy hook and soulful melody, B.O.B finds a way to make even the non- smokers an addict. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
2. Plies / Got ‘Em Hatin’- Slip and Slide/ Atlantic
Contact: Sam Crespo - email@example.com Let’s do the math; a fire Nitty beat plus a 100% “Real “N*!!*” in Plies equals a certified “club banger!” On blast in your ride or downloaded to your ipod, this track is one you can definitely keep on replay.
3. Sean P (aka Sean Paul of the Young Bloodz) / My Swag - Corner Store
Contact: Pamela Johnson – 770.934.1300 x 104 Okay fans let’s make it clear, you won’t have any problems adjusting to Sean Paul of the Youngbloodz as a solo artist, he still has a strong swag. This single is a message for the swagger jackers and an anthem for the trendsetter.
4. K.B feat Bohagon, Young Buck / I’m Scared of U - Hoodrich
Contact: Big Homie - 678.754.5358 Hoodrich knew exactly what they were doing when they put these three soloists in the booth to produce a dangerous triple threat. One word, WOW!
5. Khao / Keys in the Air - Intaprize
Contact: Kim Wilson - 404.350.8401 Excuse me while I ride and pop in this hit while leaning to the left with a slow motion. Khao makes it seem all too easy with the perfect combination of a Grand Hustle beat and clever lacing of punch lines.
6. P. Pluck / I’m Da Shit - Major Music Group
Contact: Mike Bend - 850.251.1314 “I’m da shit” may sound a lil arrogant but with his style and the beat perfectly mixed like this, I’d feel the same way. P. Pluck definitely lives up to his title with this braggadacious, sure fire southern anthem.
7. Willo Da Don / My Life - Two Dog
Contact: Johnny Vickers - 850.443. 5999 Willo Da Don brings the blood of hip-hop to life by pumping a thumping 808 bass line to make your heart throb and your head bob. Fire!
8. Wes Fif / So Fly - CMG
Contact: Dawgman - 407.575.6085 Wes Fif is the epitome of being fly. Listen to this winning record as he schools you by example.
9. White Dawg ft. Jay-Roc / Do Whatcha Do - White Dawg Contact: Billy Alsbrooks - 407.310.3275 White Dawg and Jay-Roc provide another reason for the ladies to shake their salt shakers and for the fellas to make it rain. Listen as the duo hypnotize you to “do whatcha do.”
10. Dirty Game / Ain’t Like Me - Dirty Game
Contact: Dee - 813.833.1207 Let the drums sweep you off your feet while the lyrics seduce your baby momma as Dirty Game explains why “image is nothing and thirst is everything.” It’s a dirty game, so if you’re a hater this probably isn’t the track for you.
11. Big Koon & Hollywood / So Focused - Two Dog
Contact: Johnny Vickers- 850.443.5999 It’s tough to be able to hit the streets, party, and be a “blue collar pimp” 106
without staying focused. Big Koon & Hollywood teach you the tricks to the trade in this tune.
12. Bloodshot ft Dre / Drop It - Str8 Forward
Contact: Len “Zero2Sixty” Woolfolk - 646.509.1403 Lissssteeen to ½ of the renowned beatmaking duo Dre of Cool & Dre lend his vocal talents as he links with Bloodshot to make you drop it like it’s hot. “Don’t be scared, you’re only getting robbed.”
13. Mademann / 10 - Mademann
Contact: A. Mann - 813.241.7938 Mademann refuses to be left behind during the A-Town’s musical renaissance. This is not your typical snap music, but it will certainly make you lean and rock.
14. Dezz-F / Go Getter - OG FAM
Contact: OG- 727.580.9354 Even though getting money always sounds good, Dezz-F has found a way to make it sound sweeter. This track provides extra motivation to grind and more reason to be that “go getter.”
15. Strizzo / Sweat!!! - House of Hitz / 5 0’ Clocking Music
Contact: Strizzo - 813.407.2232 Once the beat drops it immediately takes control and before you know it you have busted a sweat. This song has an old school vibe with a new school concept to make you unleash your party side and “SWEAT!!!”
16. BJ feat Sean P (of the Youngbloodz) / What It Do - Regatta
Contact: Aliya Darman - 404.441.5299 This is a smooth A-Town mixture of grown R&B with a hint of thug loving. Word from the wise, crank it up!
17. The Xtremists / Keep It Commin’ - Harsh Reality Contact: Anthony Lewis - 561.319.7221 The name Xtremists says it all. There are few rappers who will take it to the highest level by injecting knowledge while on a mission to flood the system. Truth is truth, so “keep it commin.”
18. Black Majik ft. The Autfit / Project Platinum - Manatee
Contact: Doc - 312.569.7307 Ghetto gold just isn’t enough to soothe the hunger pains of a hustler. Get ready to satisfy that appetite with this relaxing, lyrically filled tune to accomplish their mission of becoming “Project Platinum.”
19. Manopoly / Supafly- Manatee
Contact: Doc - 312.569.7307 With a name like Manopoly, staying “supafly” is the least of his problems, since he has a stranglehold on the game with this declaration of pure musical talent.
DISC 2 1. Yola / Ain’t Gonna Let Up - Atlantic
Contact: Sam Crespo - firstname.lastname@example.org A qualified balance of street slur and hood inspiration, Yola shows his range by spitting game and still keeping the listeners, CRUNK!
2. Kadalack Boyz / Never Slippin’ - Collipark/Asylum
Contact: Vic 678.545.1365 The Kadalack Boyz deliver a flash of brilliance followed closely by a thunderous BOOM that captures your shell shocked ear.
3. Suave Smooth feat 8 Ball & MJG / Make It Happen – Gov’t Work
Contact: Jermaine Watkins - 561.389.5525 With the blessings of two legendary icons in 8Ball & MJG, Suave Smoothes out the track and gives you another reason to do your two step.
4. Born Wit It feat Bohagon / Fresh - River Road
Contact: Keith Fergus - 404.388.0262 If you’re trying to be fresh, you can’t buy it, you have to be Born Wit It unless you’ve got skills like Bohagon. Then you’ll know what being F-RE-S-H is all about.
5. B.O.B ft Bohagon & Willie Joe / Heavy BreatherRebel Rock/ Atlantic Contact: TJ Chapman – 850.878.3634 Being different is always a good thing. On this cut, B.O.B. leaves the listener breathless through this daring musical journey.
6. C-Side ft Jazze Pha / My Space Freak - 17.20
Contact: Apryle “BLU” Vaughn - 770.239.7536 C-Side takes center stage while paying tribute to the myspace phenomenon. This is a shout to all of the myspace junkies helping to accumulate friend requests and translate them into spins. By the end of this tune, you’ll include it in your top 8 too.
7. Swordz / Weatherman - Team Swordz
Contact: D Marley – 904.803.1925 Whenever Swordz is around, expect a 100% chance of green showers as Swordz makes it rain during his money mission.
On this track, G-Style keeps you riding high while still sitting low. With a combination of an orchestrated production and a witty flow this is one you can bump.
11. BSU & Haitian Fresh / Season Of The Zoes - Boujoi Fresh Contact: Haitian Fresh - 386.316.0943 There was a time when coming up as a Haitian was looked upon as a curse. Now with BSU & Haitian Fresh leading the charge, there is a new day on the horizon – the season of the Zoes.
12. F.U.P Mob / Pimp A Hoe - F.U.P Mob
Contact: Drakkari - 786.200.4889 Utilizing a clever sample of Young Dro’s “Shoulder Lean,” F.U.P Mob lets you know that although the pimpin’ is easy, it’s keeping up with their unique style that’s hard.
13. Sicks Guevera / Patron Song - Live & Let Live/ASI Mgmt Contact: Dwight Hornsby - 305.984.0802 Sicks Guevera pours out a humorous account of what happens when you let the Patron speak for you. This is an entertaining track if you give it a shot.
14. White Dawg ft Jay Roc / Right Here WaitingWhite Dawg
Contact: Billy Alsbrooks - 407. 310. 3275 White Dawg borrows a memorable melody from Richard Marx to deliver a heartfelt apology to his lady for working too hard and neglecting life at home. Hopefully, she’ll hear this tune and forgive him.
15. K.B / My Affiliation- Hoodrich
Contact: Big Homie - 678.754.5358 K.B. is the type of dude who wish you would so he and his affiliation can raise hell on this Biggie inspired track.
16. D. Ludy / Thang Right Therre - Grind Up/ Hood Contact: Raymond Patterson - 314.220.5483 With a spit game filled with a certain swagger mixed with St. Louis furrry, D. Ludy will keep the volume on blast.
17. Strangers / Birthday Suit - 2 Dog
Contact: Johnny Vickers - 850.443.5999 The Strangers’ pin point musical chemistry will satisfy the night life crowd when it gets those pretty ladies to show off their birthday suit.
18. Fat Rat ft Boosie / How We Ride - Lights Off
Contact: Ticsco - 251.452.6246 Fat Rat & Boosie Bad Ass prove with this Texas and Louisiana hook up that Lights Off rides big around the 3rd Coast!
19. Bloodshot / Hustler’s Ambition - Str8 Forward
Contact: Len “Zero2sixty” Woolfolk - 646.509.1403 On this record Bloodshot demonstrates that the ambition of a hustler is limitless. This track is a heavy hitter, with a pleasurable concept and a dope beat which deserves a round of applause. - Stephanie “Kandi” Haughton
8. P Stones / I’m Da Sh!t- Collipark/ Interscope
Contact: Carlos - 404. 840. 8342 Thanks to the vision and talent that Mr. ColliPark has amassed, ColliPark Records is not dependent on the Ying Yang Twins to keep the lights on. With P. Stones leading the charge explaining why he is da sh!t, ColliPark is in no danger of falling off with the next generation.
9. Yung Sean / Laid Back - Rich Squad
Contact: Kaspa – 404.755.6746 Don’t let Yung Sean’s “Laid Back” Southern approach fool you, he still brings the heat on this ditty.
10. G- Style / Sitting Low - Earthquake Contact: Amp – 352.373.0126
cdreviews JIM JONES HUSTLER’S P.O.M.E. Diplomat/Koch With “Ballinnnnn’” falling off the lips of everyone from the New York Giants to your next door neighbor, Jim Jones finally has everyone sipping the Kool-Aid. However, aside from “We Fly High” this album could use a little more flavor. With production sweet enough to give your ears a cavity, Capo’s watered down lyrics and sometimes uninspired flow makes this you look at this album as half-empty instead of half-full. Songs like “Reppin’ Time” are tasty, but they are outnumbered by bland tracks. To his credit though, Jones shows that he knows how to make some catchy anthems. - Maurice G. Garland CLIPSE HELL HATH NO FURY Re-Up/Jive Short and to the point, Clipse’s long-awaited sophomore release has just 12 tracks. Fortunately for them, they don’t waste any time lyrically. But don’t believe that lie that says this group has first-dibs on the Neptunes’ hottest beats. Instead of sounding like an extension of Lord Willin’s sonic mastery, it comes of as prequel to their shelved debut Exclusive Audio Footage. As usual though, Malice and Pusha’s penmanship pushes this album over the top. While not as raw as their Got It For Cheap mixtapes, Clipse still prove that lyrics do indeed matter in world where the gift of swag outshines the gift of gab. - Maurice G. Garland LIL BOOSIE BAD AZZ Trill/Asylum As one of the only rappers UGK has ever vouched for personally, Boosie keeps the trill tradition going by delivering rhymes that slap you in the face and punch you in the chest. His high-pitched voice and dramatic narratives push songs like “I’m Mad” and “I Remember” over the top while his youthful braggadocio and energy on tracks like “Excited” can easily make him your new favorite rapper. Don’t let the club-oriented lead single “Zoom” featuring Yung Joc fool you into thinking this album is just another 60-plus minutes of ass-shaking and drug-taking (even though there is plenty of it on here). Boosie has delivered a piece of work that will stand the test of time. - Maurice G. Garland Z-RO I’M STILL LIVIN’ Rap-A-Lot/Asylum By now you should know what to expect from a Z-Ro album: A reality check. As usual, the tones alternate between somber and depressing, but he does supply surprises like “Continue To Roll” where producer Mike Dean respectfully samples Spandau Ballet’s “True.” Z-Ro borrows more inspiration on “T.H.U.G. (True Hero Under God)” when he interpolates Luther Vandross’ “So Amazing” with his always captivating rapid-fire flow. However, the most ear-catching rework is his rendition of Scarface’s “Seen A Man Die,” “Man Cry.” Don’t be confused though, I’m Still Living is not a cover album. There’s still plenty of the soulful pain music you’ve grown to love from him. - Maurice G. Garland BLAK JAK PLACE YOUR BETS Vintage Sound/Universal Republic Striving to break away from the snap and trap sound that’s been honed by his Atlanta peers, Blak Jak’s debut album, Place Your Bets is an adequate representation of the fresh direction many of the city’s newbies are moving in. Digging into his South Carolina roots for inspiration, Jak’s rhythmic single, “Bobbin My Head” defines the vibe of the entire project with laid-back lyrics and a track that doesn’t heavily rely on 808’s. While the album peaks with the breezy, Don Cannon produced “Luv U Blak,” which is reminiscent of early 90s Tribe Called Quest, “Pain I Feel” featuring Lloyd also helps solidify Jak as a talent to watch for; one capable of helping to pave the way for Atlanta’s new rap sound. - Jacinta Howard JAY-Z KINGDOM COME Def Jam After spending the last two years talking about how much the game needs him, Kingdom Come clearly identifies Hova as a want, not a need. Of course, his lyrical wit is still better than most but at times he sounds as if he thinks that he is doing us a favor by merely breathing on the mic. Strictly an album for those in the grown & sexy demographic Jigga shows literally shows his age on the Dr. Dre-produced “30 Something.” Thus, he also reveals his waning enthusiasm on the lazily executed “Minority Report.” To his defense, Hov is hoping to shine a new, more mature light on Hip Hop music, but still, it can sound a little bit better. - Maurice G. Garland
Donny Money and The GeorgeTown Mafia:
NOW OR NEVER GeorgeTown Mafia on the Mobile Mike chain situation: That’s our chain, Johnny made that chain! [laughs] I hear you guys are working on a new CD, how is that going? Aw man, the CD looking good, man. Right now the CD is basically finished, we just doing some finishing touches on it. We getting ready for a release in January. We got the brand new beat to the “Motorcycle” remix, that’s the single that’s been playin’ all over the city right now, we gonna feature Jew-Man, also Kamikaze and we got a special guest that’s also appearing on the CD. Is this new CD Now or Never going to take the game over and get the world’s attention? Check this out man, it’s a Mafia movement, man. Timing is everything and like I told you the last time we met, in the late 80’s early 90’s, I felt like I was before my time, but right now I’m on time, I’m on time with the Mafia movement. GTM, GeorgeTown Mafia, Mississippi Mafia; it’s a Mafia Movement, man. We ain’t just gon’ take over the game, we gonna conquer the world. That’s the biggest difference between how the game is now and how it was before you got locked up? Well, the biggest difference now is, that it’s more rappers out here doing they thing and that’s a great thing. The only bad thing is when you got rappers that don’t respect the people that really paved the way. Right now its all about bringing Jackson, Mississippi together If you could tell the world anything about Mississippi artists, what would it be? Like the Geto Boys say, “Yo, we ain’t never rode horses before.” [laughs] On a serious note though, when people look at Mississippi you gotta think about the artists that’s really out there trying to promote Mississippi. You see David Banner, he out there doing his thing, its respect there. He grinded to get where he’s at, but at the same time, one man can’t speak for Mississippi. When the great civil rights leader named Medgar Evers was fighting down here, he couldn’t talk about Mississippi alone either. He needed more people, so he had to call on Martin Luther King. When they had to deal with hanging, and racism, and me being 34 years old, I ain’t never seen a klansmen anywhere in the court when I got those twelve years, so when you look at Mississippi know that every ghetto is the same, every struggle is the same, maybe a different place or a different name, but don’t sleep on Mississippi. We got the same talents and could go nationally just like any other state. Just like Atlanta, or Houston, or New York, or California; we’ve just been crying to be heard, but the real niggas crying now. What has been the biggest challenge so far in your career? Adversity, trying to turn negative into a positive. When you trying to go in a positive direction, the devil is always on your left side when you trying to stay on the right side. I really don’t concentrate on what people say, or think, I try to stay focused on what God gave me, a dream and the motivation to conquer that dream. My biggest adversity is being heard, but now we’re being heard because what God got planned for you can never be taken away. You’ve been in the game before most of the cats out now even thought about rapping, and you were considered a Mississippi legend even before you got locked up, can you tell me how that all transpired? Once again, every city, state and town has a ghetto. I was a young, black kid, being raised by a mother with 5 kids, by herself and I was trying to get out the hood, so at a young age I made a bad choice, but I don’t regret none of the things I did, so I took on the street and being a hustler and that life led me to 12 years in prison. Those 12 years was one of the worst things that ever happened to me in my life, but on a positive note, it was one of the best things that ever 110
happened to me in my life and the reason why is that I’m living now like Paul and Salas did when they prayed to get out of prison. I’m blessed to be given a second chance, so I’m just trying to make the best out of it. Before you got locked up you were bringing concerts and big time artists to Mississippi all the way back in the early 90’s, how did you get involved with rap? During my time of hustling in the streets I had made a lot of money and I met a man named Miller-T who was doing rap and taking it to quote on quote national level. That man really had a vision and he shared that vision with me so started taking my street money and did some positive things and at the same time that’s how I started getting in contact with Luke and Rap-A-Lot and starting bring shows to Mississippi back when the only thing we seen was a show at our coliseum once or twice a year. What has been your biggest accomplishment? Living a second chance and just knowing that I’m one of the pioneers and the first one that really brought promotion and music to a street level. For me to look back 15, 16 years to see all these rap stations in Mississippi is a big accomplishment. The biggest accomplishment is to know God gave me a plan that was just before my time, and now we’re doing it. How important is it for you to have the support of Mississippi? Vito G: That’s a must, you ain’t gonna do nothing, I don’t care if you can go ever other place in the world and sell a concert out, but if you can’t come home and get your hometown behind you then you not doing it, you’re only putting up a mirage. Whenever we blow, we gon’ Mississippi locked down for sho, because they people out here know we’re straight street. This is real, ain’t no cartoons or studio shit, this is us for real. What message do you want to leave about GeorgeTown Mafia? Ra-Chill: One of the biggest messages that Georgetown Mafia wants to leave to the world, not just Jackson, Mississippi we in these streets everyday, they know where to find GeorgeTown Mafia, 1129 Maple Street. They know where to find us, right there on D&B corner, but we want the world to know, don’t sleep on Mississippi. In all We not rapping just to be rapping, we telling a true life story because we want the real life to be separated from the fiction. www.myspace.com/georgetownmafia
throwbackreviews by Killer Mike Eazy-E Eazy-Duz-It
n celebration of the West Coast putting out some of the dopest music I’ve heard in a minute, big shouts to the big homie Snoop and the homie Game, I’m gonna be speaking on a Hip Hop classic from the West coast.. A lot of people may not know this but before the South’s music broke nationally, the West coast music was our home, our conduit, the closest thing we could find that looked like us. They wore khakis and had family in the South and their accent lent itself to us. That being said, I went back and bought all my favorite West coast albums. Eazy-Duz-It is the album at hand in commemoration of the Godfather of Compton and Gangsta Rap, the Godfather of MCEOing. Even though he didn’t write his own lyrics, Eazy-E delivered lyrics easily. Sometimes with Puff he will land it sometimes and other times he won’t, but with Eazy everything he rapped sounded like he wrote it. Sometimes with Dr. Dre you’ll get an L.A. feel or sometimes you can tell an East coast emcee wrote it. But with Eazy it always sounded like he wrote it. At the time that Eazy was doing this record, he Dre, Ren, Cube, D.O.C. and Yella were the most powerful force in music. This album has to be mentioned in the breaths of other classic albums like Tribe’s People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm and The Low End Theory, KRS-One’s Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop and Edutainment, and 2 Live Crew’s Sports Weekend or As Nasty As We Wanna Be. N.W.A. was the culmination of black angst, dark humor and teen spirit i.e. Kurt Cobain. The opening skit had a dark comedic tone. It comes in with an opera with a voice saying, “Now you got the album, what you gonna do with it bitch…bitch…bitch.” Keep in mind, when I first heard this I was a child so I was really like “oh shit, what am I gonna do with it, bitch.” This is one of the records I used to listen to with my uncle Antman. He was the D-man not the D-boy or decoy he was the D-man, so I grew up on N.W.A. and Ice T. Eazy had the swagger of a rapper before swagger even had a name. The first line of “Still Talkin’” is crazy: “Easily I approach, the microphone because I ain’t no joke / Tell your mama to get off of my tip, I have no time to give her my dick.” That’s a real gangsta rap record, that ain’t “I’ma creep in your house and kill that bitch.” Gangstas laugh, joke and talk all kinds of shit. Biggie did a good job at that. Humor is a sign of a great emcee. You can be a gangsta and have an imagination too. On the next song “Nobody Move,” him and Ren are robbing a bank. He was talking about how he seen a girl and was gonna rape her, then he said he looked down and “the bitch had a dick,” it takes a lot of nuts to say that. These so-called gangsta rappers these days, they never gonna put themselves within 3 feet of “gay America,” outside of Kanye, rap ain’t too gay friendly. It took a lot of balls to do that, no pun intended. Then you got “Ruthless Villain.” Listen to the teamwork on this song. The crazy thing about this record is that it’s like you’re actually in the studio with N.W.A. Ren was rapping over soft drums and Dre cut it off and was like, “Bring it back, you gotta rap like you got some energy.” Even though they was gangsta rappers it was rap first. Fuck all ya’ll niggas saying “I don’t rap I hustle,” and anything else that goes with that fucked up mentality. Not fuck ya’ll personally, if that’s how you feel that’s how you feel. But my thing is, this rap shit saved us. I didn’t want to sell the worst dope when I was selling dope, so I’m never gonna want to give you the worst album, I want to be known for the best product regardless. If you take trap-rap now; if you not doing what Jeezy is doing and above, why destroy his lane? If you not doing what the Clipse doing and above, why destroy their lane by putting out whack material. If you not dong what T.I.P. is doing and above, why do it? If you not doing a record better than my “A Dope Story” from The Killer or “Mama I Don’t Wanna Sell Dope No More” [“Scared Straight”] from Monster then you shouldn’t be talking about dope because you never really had those experiences, you just playing. But “Ruthless Villain” is a classic. You got niggas today that don’t rap this good, niggas rapping since they was 13 and still can’t rap this good. For anyone who has this record, he’s rapping over naked drums. That why I was 112
amazed when niggas said Game had too many East coast drums on his first album, man, Dr. Dre never gave a fuck. I never gave this album credit for being perfect, but it really is a perfect album. I took a lot from this album, down to the skull and cross bones for my logo. I got that from this album and Cypress Hill. If you look at the cover, it’s dark. These niggas looked like they would come to your school and whup your teacher’s ass if she flunked you. It was exciting to be a young man and have these kinds of heroes. I came from a city where there was a lot of shit happening and the music wasn’t reflecting that. But N.W.A. was giving us what the news wasn’t giving us. This album gave us the blueprint for what Niggas4Life was gonna be. Every great album makes you believe it and experience the world that the artist is living in. What’s great about this album is that it brought you into the studio with them. In one skit they’re talking about the shit they was doing back in the day and what they was told they couldn’t do. They brought us in the studio and let us see them building. All great records start with a line that takes you to that place, “Boyz-N-TheHood” was one of those records. “Woke up quick at about noon, just thought that I had to be in Compton soon / I gotta get drunk before the day begins, before my mother starts bitching about my friends.” What black male hasn’t went through that? Every young black male has thought, “Man, let me get out here before she start talking shit.” We all love mama but AAAAGGHH! She can get on our nerves sometimes. The West coast and South’s nature of getting outside and going to the park is similar. “Boyz-N-Da-Hood” was in every ‘Lac and Regal in the hood, this is all they played. Man, “Boyz-N-Da-Hood,” just think about that title, it spawned a movie and rap group. That title said it all, we didn’t even know what to call ourselves yet. We had Afro-American, black, but we didn’t really know what to call ourselves in the ‘hood. Every great album has its timeless music quality. From the beats and lyrics down to the skits. N.W.A created timeless skits, that what made Snoop’s first album so great, it had those N.W.A qualities. This album helped me become a man. Eazy was a super villain. Women loved him and G-niggas respected him. He summed that up on “Eazy-Duz-It” when he said, “Well I’m Eazy-E I got bitches galore, you may have a lot bitches but I got much more.” He had the best producers and writers around him. Ruthless Records, what a name. This was the beginning of black male machismo, this was our Blaxploitation, he was our Shaft and Superfly. Listen to the production, they are cutting Rakim and using live instrumentation. This is Hip Hop; you can’t say it’s not. Just like how niggas try to say slick shit like the South ain’t Hip Hop, they said the same shit about Eazy, but now they’re honoring him on VH1. What’s crazy is that Eazy never felt pressed to say he’s the boss or the check writer. I really looked at him as an example, minus how he negotiated with his artists. He really engulfed himself in being a group member, you bought into N.W.A: Cube, Dre and Ren as individuals. It’s all about the collective, if you push the group you can service all of your needs. “We Want Eazy,” man, this shit made me want to be a star! This is the G-Funk, this is Dr. Dre before he was really himself. Dre and Yella of High Powered Productions were geniuses. This was California sound to the fullest, there was nothing else like this. They’re using harmony, but they gangstas, I hate when people try to minimize them to just “Fuck the Police” and wearing black. Listen to the flow, he was rapping better than half the rappers today. Eazy was the first MCEO, and that’s my word, you fucks. “No More ?’s” is one of the most creative songs ever. This song helped me make “That’s Life.” The producers Smiff & Cash was like, “Killa what the hook gon’ be?” and I was like, “We don’t need a fucking hook on this beat.” I just talked on the hook like how Eazy did on this song. Eazy wasn’t afraid to have fun, this shit is dope, I used to listen to this song like it was really an interview. I ate this shit up. My favorite part was when he was talking about breaking and entering. When we used to listen to this album we was really drinking Old E wearing Starter jackets and all that shit. This album was really about coming of age in the ghetto. L.A. music was changing at this time. You had Guns N’ Roses and N.W.A, so it was a turbulent time. I honestly think Appetite for Destruction and the first couple N.W.A and Red Hot Chili Pepper albums described L.A. like no other albums have. L.A. is not Hollywood. L.A. has given Hip Hop so much, and a lot of that started with this album.
RAW REPORT: YOUNG JEEZY TRAP OR DIE There are few DVD magazines that I look forward to reviewing; The Raw Report is definitely one of them. This DVD series contains no false advertising, they always bring it to you Raw and uncut. This month’s issue features the number one trapper, Young Jeezy, who takes us on a trip all throughout his hometown of ATL. Viewers get an enticing insight into the real life of “Your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper.” From poppin’ bottles of Cristal at video shoots, to live performances, all the way to the trap and beyond, this DVD really summarizes Jeezy’s everyday grind. A nice bonus is a cameo from BMF main man Big Meech. This “Trap or Die DVD “takes you back to realizing why Jeezy’s music and his aura made you bump his mixtape over and over again. If you don’t have a copy of this DVD in your collection, then you’re not a true Jeezy fan. BLOW: PUSHIN’ THE RAW AND UNCUT The title is pretty self-explanatory, and the contents of this video are good enough to earn my choice for DVD Magazine of the month. Blow comes at you differently, unlike any DVD Magazine I’ve ever reviewed. First you get it in paperback (yes that’s right you can read it and flip through the pages), then you can get it in DVD form. This month features TI on the cover and the interview covers topics that you’ve never heard Tip speak on before. Next, you have Lil Wayne who is really ‘bossin’ up’, followed by Drama and the Aphilliates telling how they got started and how to it led to their current position atop the game. Blow also features a wide range of other interviewees including: athletes, boxers, dee-jays, and even snowboarders. It has something that is surely to appease all audiences, especially with the tantalizing eye candy Liris Crosse. Wanna know about Jimmy Henchmen and how he got to be one of the most powerful managers in the music industry? Then you’ll have to sit and watch this new phenomenal DVD magazine.
by Malik Abdul
MONEY POWER RESPECT! In the streets they got the money, in the game they got the power, but these Hispanic rappers and celebs want a little more, they want respect! This DVD details the jealousy and beef these folks deal with on an everyday basis. Imagine being a Latino Rapper growing up in a predominantly black hip-hop culture that mostly excludes your race, but still trying to overcome racial barriers and break into the game only to be hated on by your own people. This DVD breaks down every aspect of this true life scenario; from Cuban Link telling for the first time what really happened when he and Fat Joe clashed, to the South Park Mexican saga. This is a very good video dealing with a previously unknown angle of the game that comes from a completely different racial perspective. It is informative, in-depth, and will have you asking yourself, ‘Do I get Respect’? ALL ACCESS DVD MAGAZINE I really appreciate the folks at All Access DVD Magazine; it sets the standard that every other DVD magazine inevitably follows! The most recent issue features Lil Kim’s return to the mainstream and Weezy F. describing the three laws of survival; ‘Money, Power, and Respect.’ As always, All Access delivers the exclusives from all the hottest artists, Chamilionaire, Slim Thug, Saigon, BG, DJ Green Lantern, DFB, just to name a few. Make sure you pick this one up; it is definitely one in which to entertain everyone with.
trickdaddylive Location: Orlando, FL Venue: Roxy Nightclub Event: Florida Classic Weekend Promoter: Front-Line Date: November 18th, 2006 Photo: Julia Beverly
REAL, RAW, & UNCENSORED SOUTHERN RAP
WELCOME TO MY
NAS UGK Z-RO 8BALL POLOW KILLER MIKE FREEKEY ZEKEY
Ozone Mag #53 - Feb 2007