SLIM GOODYE // WES FIF // RADIO // KC TRAFFIK // ANTONIO TARVER // 1LEE DJ KHALED // RAREBREED // YOUNG AC PITBULL // SWORDZ // PAPA DUCK OZONE MAG //
SLIM-E // WES FIF // rarebreed // kc TRAFFIK // ANTONIO TARVER // 1LEE DJ KHALED // swordz // YOUNG AC Slim goodye // PAPA DUCK // & MORE OZONE MAG //
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Editorial by Ms. Rivercity
When you look back at your life 365 days ago, were things the same as they are today? For me, life is completely different. Things have either evolved, sped up, been left behind or outgrown – I guess that’s how the life of a productive person should look, but where I’m at today feels so far from the life I knew a year ago. Not that it’s a bad thing. Since last year’s Florida Classic issue, I’ve moved from Jacksonville, the city I love, and hopped on the Atlanta bandwagon – well, not really, Julia offered me a steady position with the mag and since OZONE is the shit, I made the move. As I’m writing this, I realize this is my third Florida Classic issue, and each year I’m reminded why I love what I do so much. There’s always so much energy and talent to be discovered Florida, and let’s face it, Florida is running shit right now so you never know who is gonna pop off next. I know Atlanta is the Hip Hop Hollywood and the mecca for Southern Rap music, but Florida is, well, Florida. And ain’t no place like home. Over these last few years I’ve seen a lot of sunshine state artists come and go, but I’ve also seen a lot of them rise to the top and put Florida back in its respected #1 spot. There’s a lot of new blood emerging that will keep the legacy alive for us. I respect those of you that refuse to give up, regardless of how long the process may be taking, you inspire me every day. What up TREAL! (I didn’t forget you in this issue, I just wanted to reach out to some of the other people I’ve missed along the way.) I also support those of you that may have hit some road blocks, just know that your spot is still here when you get home. Dee Boi you better write your homie back! And to those of you that aren’t coming home, I want to say rest in peace…Toro, you will be missed.
CONTENTS COVER STORies
Radio Slim E
A12 A13 A14-15 A16-17 A18-19 A20-21 A22-23 A28-29 A30-31 A32-33 B10-11 B12-13 B14-15 B16-17 B18-19 B24-25 B26-27 B28-29 B7 B9
DJ Prostyle Ricky P Wes Fif Armstrong Slim Goodye Traffik Antonio Tarver Rarebreed POPOV DJ Khaled 1Lee Skai Young Ac KC Pitbull Sho Zoe Swordz Papa Duck Tony C Oddz N Endz
A10 A9 A8
Club Listing / Hotels Event Listing Orlando map
So back to my original point of change and how necessary it is. This year I voted for change. I always vote, but this time my ballot was about more than electing a person into office, it was a chance to stand for something I always believed in – unity. 365 days ago if you told me our country would come together, despite race, sex, or any other differences, and elect an African American president I would have laughed – because 365 days ago I didn’t think the majority of our nation was ready for change, or unity. I’m glad I was wrong. Hopefully 365 days from now we’ll all be a OZONE MAG //
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Thursday, November 20th
Girlfriends @ Club Whispers (Ladies Night) Music by DJ Q45, Hosted by Sytonnia & City Doors open at 9 PM
Friday, November 21st Battle of the Bands @ Amway Arena 600 W. Amelia St. Doors open at 7 PM Freaky Friday Night @ KOHA Hosted by TREAL College ID half off until 12 AM VIP Happy Hour @ Club Whispers Music by DJ M Squared, Star 94.5 Ms. B & Joe Bullard Doors open at 5 PM Alumni J AM @ Club Whispers Music by DJ Saxwell & M Squared Doors open at 10 PM The Classic Step Show & Comedy Show Music by DJ Q45, Hosted by Lil Duval & Benji Brown @ Orange County Civic Center 9400 Universal Blvd. Doors open at 7 PM The Classic Phat Friday @ The Roxy Music by DJ Nasty & DJ Q45 Doors open at 10 PM DME Presents: Classic Weekend Kickoff Party @ Hush Nightclub Doors open at 10 PM
Saturday, November 22nd Florida Classic Presented by State Farm @ Florida Citrus Bowl G AMe starts at 2 PM 1st Annual Classic Day Party @ Club Whispers Music by DJ Tank Doors open at 1 PM Free admission, drinks & food The Definition of a Classic @ Club Whispers Music by DJ Biz Markie Doors open at 10 PM
DME Ent Presents: Ch AMpaign Reign Saturdays @ 11/12 Nightclub Dress code: Swagged up and sexy Open till 5 AM 11th Annual Classic Grown Folks Affair @ B.B. Kings Music by DJ Kid Capri & DJ Saxwell Doors open at 9 PM 10th Annual Classic Luau @ The Roxy Music by DJ Q45, Bigga Rankin & Cool Runnings Doors open at 9 PM We the Best w/ DJ Khaled and Friends @ Club Classic formerly Club Paris Music by DJ Nasty & D Strong Doors open at 9 PM Discoâ€™s Classic Extravaganza @ Club KOHA Ladies free till 11 PM, Free for first 500 people
Sunday, November 23rd DME & 102 J AMz Present: 10th Annual Riding Big Car/Bike Concert @ Central FL Fairgrounds Hosted by Lil Duval & Rhonda J Performances by Lil Boosie, Bizzle, Piccalo, Dirty Gee & More DME Presents: Riding Big Car Show After Party @ 11/12 Nightclub Dress code: Swagged up and sexy Grand Finale @ Club KOHA Featuring Disco & City Boyz, Cool Runnings, J AM Pony Everyone half-price till 1 AM 1st Annual Front Line Hang Suite: A Daytime Affair @ B.B. Kings Live performance by C.C. Teneal Doors open at 1 PM Sunday Breeze Reggae J AM @ Club Whispers Music by DJ Owen B. & CC the Reggae Ambassador Doors open at 10 PM Menage Sundays @ Bliss Ultra Lounge Hosted by Ricky P, J. Leon, Dee Roc Music by Voice of da Streetz Dress your best, Doors open at 10 PM OZONE MAG // OZONE MAG //
Florida Mall 8001 S Orange Blossom Trail 407-856-7700 Magic Mall 2155 W. Colonial Dr. 407-648-0779 Millenia Mall 4200 Conroy Rd. 407-363-3555 West Oaks Mall 9401 W. Colonial Drive 401-294-2775 Winter Park Mall 641 W. Fairbanks Ave. Winter Park, FL 32789 407-671-3232
Bob Marley - A Tribute to Freedom CityWalk at Universal Orlando 6000 Universal Blvd. 407-224-2262 BET Soundstage Downtown Disney Pleasure Island Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 407-934-7781 Bliss Ultra Lounge 123 W. Church St Cleo’s Gentlemen’s Club 1310 S. Orange Blossom Trail 407-839-8559
Element Nightclub 39 W. Pine Street 407-841-1566 Ember 42 W. Central Blvd Firestone ClubatFirestone.com 578 N. Orange Ave 407-872-0066 Fusion 1 S. Orange Avenue 407-650-0556 The Groove CityWalk at Universal Orlando 6000 Universal Blvd. 407-363-8000 Hard Rock Live HardRock.com Universal CityWalk 407-351-5483 House of Blues HOB.com 1490 E. Buena Vista Dr. Lake Buena Vista, FL 407-934-BLUE
Screamers 360 State Lane 407-244-0299 Sky60 64 N. Orange Avenue 407-246-1599 Tabu Nightclub TabuNightclub.com 46 N. Orange Avenue 407-648-8363 TD Waterhouse 600 W. Amelia St. 407-849-2020 Voyage Nightclub 17 W. Pine Street 321-277-0412
Icon Nightclub 20 E. Central Blvd. 407-649-6496
Zinc Bar TheZincBar.com 13 S. Orange Avenue 407-246-1755
Club Classic 225 S. Garland
11/12 Nightclub 843 Lee Road 407-539-3410
Club Status 912 W. Colonial Drive 407-841-1462
AKA Lounge 68 East Pine Street 407-839-3707
Club V 122 W. Church St. 407-849-0808
KOHA Nightclub 426 E. Kennedy Eatonville, FL 407-740-0556
Antigua 41 W. Church St. 407-649-4270
Club Whispers ClubWhispers.net 4732 S. Kirkman Rd 407-290-9896
Matrix & Metropolis Pointe Orlando 9101 International Dr 407-370-3700
Back Booth www.backbooth. com 37 W. Pine Street 407-999-2570
Destiny 7430 Universal Blvd. 407-351-9800
Motown Cafe Universal CityWalk 407-363-8000
Dragon Room 25 W. Church St. 407-843-8600
The Roxy 740 Bennett Rd. 407-898-4004
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The Social OrlandoSocial.com 54 N. Orange Ave 407-246-1599
Hush Nightclub 7552 Universal Blvd. (International Drive)
B.B. Kings 9100 International Drive
Slingapour’s 25 Wall Street Plaza 407-849-9904
MISC. Central Florida Fairgrounds 4903 W. Colonial Drive Eastmonte Civic Center 830 Magnolia Drive Altamonte Springs, FL Expo Center 500 W. Livingston (across from TD Waterhouse)
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DJ Prostyle Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Wuz Good Photography
For the Florida Classic you can find a DJ Prostyle Party at Tabu Nightclub on Friday with Power 95.3, Destiny Nightclub on Saturday with Juelz Santana, and The Roxy for the Sunday finale. What’s new with you? April will be two years that I’ve been back in Orlando from New York and I’m now with Power 95.3 Monday through Friday from 7pm – 11pm and Sunday from 8pm to midnight. All the shows I’m on right now are rated #1 through Arbitron. I have a promotion company called AllProParties.com. We do Wednesday at Roxy, Fridays at Firestone and Tabu, Saturday at Destiny, and Sunday at Roxy. What about as far as working with artists? I signed a distribution deal with Asylum and Warner Brothers/Atlantic for All Pro Records. We currently have Traffik’s “Hercules” song in full rotation on Power 95.3. We have up to 40 stations playing it. We shot the video which features Pitbull, Jadakiss, and Gorilla Zoe. In a few weeks it will be on BET, MTV, and all the major media outlets. I recently signed Drop who’s a real hot artist in Orlando. I also signed an R&B artist named JaShawn. We also have Big Adept on the roster. We have a reggaeton group called Mega Kani. They have one of the top records in Puerto Rico. My artists have done a ton of features already. I’ve been sitting back and building up my connects, waiting for the right timing, which is now. Do you have other DJs that spin in the clubs for your parties? Yeah, I’ve tried to build an empire where I don’t really have to DJ anymore. All Pro Parties isn’t about DJ Prostyle, it’s about throwing big parties. We have DJ Nice, DJ Element, DJ Quest, and DJ Eric. We just started a crew called All Pro DJs and we already have 3 DJs in New York, 1 in Boston. Within the next year or two you’re really gonna see that branch out into another big league of DJs. How’s everything going with the BET show? I still fly to New York every week for 106th & Park on Friday. A lot of people don’t know that I syndicate my radio show. A lot of times I’m live from New York but on the air in Orlando. Sometimes I’ll be on the radio in Orlando, on 106th & Park in New York, and sometimes doing radio in another state, while in another city 12 // OZONE MAG
about to do a party. Sometimes we pre-record the shows. Give us some insider info on what DJs can expect to get paid. Don’t ever let a promoter or club tell you what they’re paying you by the hour. That’s not what it’s about. But an average DJ might get $300 a night. If you just started, I wouldn’t take less than $200 a night. What about a more experienced DJ like yourself? What’s the most you can earn? With my manager and booking right now, we’re around the $5,000 range to do anything out of town, and that’s not including travel. We can work the numbers out – sometimes it’s less than that, sometimes it’s actually more than that. It depends on what day of the week it is and what’s going on. I’m a promoter and I do numbers so I know if I’m going to an event and they’re expecting 100,000 people and they’re charging a certain amount per person, I can hit ‘em for $6,000 or $7,000. And a Wednesday is going to be a different price than a Saturday, so it depends. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Yeah, I just signed a deal with Diddy. I’m an official Ciroc DJ, which is a new group of DJs, strictly big dawgs across the country. I’m going to be doing a lot of his campaigning and a lot of his parties. I just signed a deal with XBox and in December I have my own global show coming out called Hip Hop 360. It’s gonna be shown on Xbox, but I really can’t go into too much more detail than that yet.
Ricky P Words by Ms. Rivercity
March 2009 will mark nine years that Ricky P has been with 102 Jamz in Orlando. Starting at the bottom and working his way up, Ricky now hosts the coveted 6 PM - 10 PM spot on 102’s night show. Did you start with 102 Jamz as an intern? Well, I wasn’t actually an intern. I applied with them for two years, nagging them and letting them know that I’d like an internship. I eventually got hired as one of the Street Squad members. I was driving the van and doing all that. And once I got settled in, I reminded them that I initially came for an internship on radio and if they minded me doing my internship outside of my Street Squad hours. I got the okay and that’s how I got into the radio portion of it. But, eventually they hired me after two years of nagging ‘em. Have you always had the voice for radio or was that something you had to develop and grow into? I never considered it being a voice; I think it’s
more of a personality. Some people change when they get on radio, but I think if you just be yourself, people seem to like you more. I’m just myself, do my thing and talk smack. Do you talk smack in general when you’re not at your job? Yeah, I’m the same way when I’m on the radio and when I’m off the radio. There’s no change in personality. I’m just a laidback dude. I like to have fun and I just got blessed with a radio job. Are there any other aspects of the radio business that you’re involved in? I throw a few parties of my own throughout the week and I also work for a couple parties. I started my own company called Nightlife Moguls and I’m just trying to push that ‘cause I know the whole Ricky P thing is not going to last forever. I don’t want to be that old dude in the club, but I do want my company to go on. So right now I’m building my brand and my company. Thursday night I’m at Hush, Friday night I’m at Antigua, Monday and Saturday nights I’m at Element, Sunday night I’m at Bliss, and every first Tuesday of the month I throw a legendary party at the Dragon Room. As far as the indie Hip Hop artists in Orlando, who do you feel has quality music and potential to maybe make it mainstream? I’ve always been a fan of TREAL. They work hard. I’m all about dudes that bust their ass. Don’t come up to me and tell me you’re hot, show me you’re hot. I appreciate dudes that are out here grindin’, like TREAL. KC is killing it right now. I met him behind the scenes working with Nasty and now he’s all over the place. I’m glad to see that he’s finally starting to be well known. As far as your parties are concerned, do you actually kick it and get your party on, or do you do your thing sober? I’m not the dude in VIP, I’m the dude that’s at the bar with everybody like, “Let’s get a shot!” The VIP is cool and all, but it’s just not me. I’m not into being in the back corner, roped off. I feel like the reason I’m successful is because of the way I act when it’s party time. I may not be dancing, out there doin’ the diddy bop, but I’m mingling with the people and wildin’ out.
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As told Photo to Ms. rivercity by Matt Weichel from
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Top 10 Orlando Hot Spots If you’ve followed OZONE over the last several years then you already know who Wes Fif is. An Orlando rapper known for releasing hit after hit under Clientell Music Group, Wes Fif is one of the FIRST names MENTIONED when talking about who’s hot in the O. Now it’s our turn to let Wes Fif give his take on what’s hot in his city. Here’s his top 10 list of places to check out while you’re in town for the Florida Classic. 1. DME’s Riding Big Car Show – I don’t really have to say too much about this. Nigga’s already know what it is when my brother Dawgman does the car show. It’s the perfect grand finale on Sunday for the best weekend in FL, in the best city in FL. Hot whips, good food, beautiful women, real niggas, and a good time. You can’t beat that. 2. Frontline’s Classic Luau – My big brah Pat Nix has a lot of hot events going on all weekend long at Whispers, Roxy, and some other spots. But the Luau on Saturday night is always the lick. It’s for the niggas who wanna stunt and have a good time, and not have to worry about anything. There’s always beautiful, beautiful women everywhere, and the hottest DJs from around the country. What up City, Sytonnia, Christina, and Omar! 3. Wildside – My dawg Shami got the hottest gear in the city, hands down. Anybody wanting to get fresh and get they swag up needs to go holla at him definitely. That’s for dudes and girls. He’s located at 6203-C2 West Sand Lake Road. Spots like Men’s Closet and Mannequin got some hot gear too. But Wildside is what it is.
4. Flyer’s Wings – Anybody who is really from this city rocks with Flyer’s. They have the best wings, period. We’ve called in orders from the studio a hundred times, and you can eat inside as well. So all you out-of-town people who want some good food fast, holla at them. They’re on West Colonial Drive near Kirkman. 5. The Trap/Hood – This right here ain’t for everybody, especially if you scary. But if you wanna see the real Orlando, then you need to slide through the hood. Ivey Lane, Orange Center, Mercy Drive, Crosstown, Pine Hills, Richmond Heights, Tangelo, Crossroads, The Trail, Carver Shores, Texas Ave, I could go on for days. Everything’s for sale – keep your head on the swivel though. (laughs) 6. Magic Mall – On any given day during Classic Weekend the Magic Mall will be swole; it’s always been that way. Cars on deck, girls on deck, goons on deck. Everybody having fun in the parking lot outside. It’s located on W. Colonial Drive right between Tampa Ave. and John Young Parkway. 7. Car Detailing Shop – If for some reason you niggas are slipping and your whip is dirty, tighten up and go holla at my dawg n’em in Washington Shores, or outside the Magic Mall. This ain’t really a “hot spot,” but it’s necessary. Plus it be jumpin’ too. 8. Icon Nightclub – This is the longest running hot spot on Friday/Saturday night. One time for my dawg Paul over there. This spot is crazy both nights and will sell out early. If you wanna get a taste of how we really rock in my city, this is where you need to be, trust me. I’ll be there one of those nights. 20 East Central Blvd., downtown. One time for D Strong, Disco Jr., Greg G, Yogi, my whole Icon family. 9. Hero”s – It’s now called KOHA, but it’s still Hero’s to us. Listen, every night, when all the other clubs close, Hero’s is open till 6 AM. 426 East Kennedy Blvd in Eatonville. What up Wayne and Disco. 10. Orlando! – Fuck it, the whole city is on fire. It’s a lot of spots I couldn’t mention ‘cause JB, Rivercity, n’em only gave me top 10. But trust me, just ride through the city and you’ll find something poppin’. If not, slap me when you see me. 407 on the map!
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Words Photoby JEE’ V by M AN BRO W alik abdulN
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A key member OF the rap group The Titus Boyz, Armstrong is now flying solo with his new mixtape The Money Bag hosted by DJ Rell. Armstrong hopes to capture and inspire the rap game with the truth about the Orlando streets. What do you have going right now? Just on the grind. I just put out my first mixtape with my solo project, but other than that, I’m just out here trying to get this money. You recently dropped a mixtape with DJ Rell? Yeah ,I dropped the mixtape with him not too long ago. It’s called The Money Bag. How was it working with him? Working with DJ Rell was real nice. He’s a real motivational nigga; we got it in real good. I think he’s underrated but every dog has its day. That was your first solo project, right? What group were you with before? The Titus Boyz, that’s my family. As a whole, it’s about 10 of us. You have me, Mook Boy, and Killa Creepa – we’re the main three that have been on the previous albums.
side of Orlando that there’s more to Orlando than Disney World? Aw man, they’ve just got to pop in my CD and listen. We’re a long way from Disney World, but we can pull magic tricks on niggas. It’s a real trickery game over here, pullin’ rabbits out of hats. Are you signed to anyone? No, we’re independent getting our own money. You have my label which is Fly Boy Entertainment, then you have Mook Boy’s label which is Fly Goon Entertainment, and we have a couple more things going on entertainment-wise. What obstacles have you been through to reach this point? Just about everything that’s related to the streets. When I was younger I was in the detention center, juvenile center, just about every jail system. A lot of my niggas have ended up in messed up situations where they are locked up or even dead. It’s just real unfortunate. You have a song called “Blood Gang.” Are you affiliated with the Bloods? I’m going plead the fifth on that one.
How long have you been rapping? About four years.
What was your favorite mixtape you put out? My favorite mixtape was Swagged Out because you have a little bit of everything on that album. It’s plenty of juice on there, you even have music for your moms and pops to listen to. It was just a real mixtape and cutthroat. I did it like that because I wanted people to know exactly who I was and what I was about. But the next one is going be a street gangsta album. It will be some more stuff for the ladies, but still on some gutter shit.
What were you doing before you started rapping? I’m street nigga now and I was a street nigga then. I’m all in the hood, so basically whatever it took to get that paper. I’m still that same nigga.
Have you collaborated with other artists from Orlando? Yeah, I collaborated with different artists from Orlando, like Young Drop and Fly Ball, just to name a few.
What do you have planned for the Classic? We’re trying to put some shit together for the Classic but nothing [finalized] yet. The week after the Classic we have a show in Daytona.
What other side hustles do you have? We’re actually about to open up two new studios. One is going to be our headquarters and the other one is going to be open for everyone. If people want information on the studio they can go to our Myspace page.
How many mixtapes have you guys put out? About four mixtapes before The Money Bag which were Drug Money, Swagged Out, Street Thang, and Brick Chasing.
What is your ultimate goal with rapping? My ultimate goal is to show these young niggas that a street nigga can cross over to get that industry money, and be the same street nigga and have that same swagger while being in that market. I’m all about motivation. Since you’re from the streets, how do you think you can paint a picture to people out-
What producers are you going to be working with? I’m working with a lot of local niggas. I fuck with niggas that fuck with me because I’m not about to chase a nigga down for a beat. I’m going do this myself and start straight from ground zero. // OZONE MAG // 17
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rown an B Jee’ V
After moving to Orlando from New York, Slim Goodye earned his street cred and respect in the local scene through a lot of hard work, not to mention talent and consistency. Now that his new mixtape is about to drop, Slim can say he’s finally paid enough dues and has enough fans to make a significant impact in his market.
What do you have going on right now? Right now I’m working on my mixtape with DJ Greg G that we should be putting in the streets next weekend. It’s called The Connect. I also have my new label called Tru Story Music and I have my artists Lugo, Sunti, and my in-house producer Fama Beats. With me and Greg G, he was one of the first people I connected with when I came down here, and with me being a real nigga, I stayed with my people and kept my circle tight because I don’t fuck with too many niggas.
You stated that you connected with him when you moved down there. Where are you from? I’m from New York originally. I’ve been living in Orlando for the last six years. You didn’t have to adjust from the cold weather to the hot weather? No, even though I was from up top I always came down for spring break, Memorial Day, and all those other events. You started rapping while living in New York? Yeah, I’ve been rapping since I was in the 6th or 7th grade. We would fuck around rapping in the lunch room and later I decided to take it seriously, especially since I’ve been hearing all this garbage coming out. Who do you like right now that’s not garbage? I like Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane, Rick Ross, and anybody of that level in the game. I can relate to them niggas, them other niggas ain’t talking about nothing. So you come from the streets? Oh yeah, certified 100% street nigga. How many mixtapes have you put out? This will be my 6th one coming out. I also did one with DJ Khaled. He’s the only other DJ that
I have worked with. How is your single “I Don’t C You” going right now? Everybody loves the single. It’s bumping in the streets. I’m pushing it and we’re just waiting for it to pop off. What made you come up with that single? Because when you’re getting money you have a lot of haters. They might not even know you but they gon’ hate for no reason, so I made up a song called “I Don’t C You.” Have you put any albums out yet? No album yet, but I’m working on the album as we speak. Do you have a title for the album yet? No, we didn’t come up with a title yet. We’re about halfway in and I have about 9 songs done right now. What is your goal as a rapper? I just love music and hopefully one day I can market myself bigger, but right now I’m straight mixtapes. I could really care less because I got fans in the street and they know what it is. What would you say is your biggest achievement so far? My biggest achievement so far would be that I’m respected in my city and respected in the streets. Not only having respect in the streets and in my city, but also from other artists. If you weren’t rapping what do you think you would be doing? I used to play basketball. I went to college on a scholarship; that was my thing. But even when I was hooping I would be in the locker room spitting, or when the coach would pick me up off the bench I would be rhyming. What school did you go to? I went to the University of Missouri. What were some of the roughest obstacles you went through before you made it to this point? When I moved out here they weren’t really showing love, so I had to gain my respect. First you’re a freshmen, sophomore, junior, then you’re a senior. I’m a senior right now about to graduate. Orlando is a hard city to come up in. It’s like crabs in a barrel because everybody is trying to come up. OZONE MAG // 19
Words Photo by Jee’Van B rown by Kristy of Rain Productions
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With his new single “Hercules” hot in the streets and DJ Prostyle backing him, rapper Traffik is in his own lane. While you’re on your way to the game or partying during the Classic, pop in his CD because this rapper has something FOR EVERYONE. What do you have going on right now? I got the “Hercules” song out right now. It’s been getting a lot of buzz and play in Orlando. We’ve got Jadakiss, Pitbull, and Gorilla Zoe for the remix, and we just shot a big video for that. I’m just working on my album right now. What’s going to be the name of your album? Die Hard Fan. When does the album come out? We’re pushing for the second quarter, and we’re trying to drop the single in January. When you collaborated with Jadakiss, Pitbull, and Gorilla Zoe, were you guys all together? Yeah, we were all together. How was it working with all of them? It was crazy. I learned a lot from each one of them. Pitbull told me to “stick to my grind,” Gorilla Zoe told me to “have fun”, and Jadakiss, he just told me a lot. It was really legendary for me. How did you hook up with DJ Prostyle? I hooked up with Prostyle like in 2002. I was back and forth from Ohio to Brooklyn – I was born in Brooklyn and moved to Ohio after I graduated. I came down here and just hooked up with him through listening to the radio. I heard him doing his thing so I started freestyling, and then I used to go to the clubs he was at and I would give him my CD. I would stay on my grind like that. He would play some of my joints on the radio and I would freestyle for him and that’s how I met him. It’s crazy because a lot of people thought I knew Prostyle but I didn’t know him at all, it was all just a hustling thing. When I moved down to Florida I was listening to 102 Jamz and I heard him talking his shit like he do and I just got at him, so he got my rhymes and would play it on the 5:00 Traffic Jam.
How do you think living in New York, Ohio, and Florida has influenced your rhymes and lyrics? I left Brooklyn when I was 13 to move to Ohio, but then I left Ohio and moved back to New York to try to get my record deal popping over there. I used to mess with a lot of rappers like Wu-Tang; I been around for a long time and I learned a lot up there. But I really didn’t get the thing I was looking for up there so I was thinking, let me move down to Florida. I was going to move to Miami but I moved to Orlando. What made you move to Orlando? Well, actually when I was in New York, I met this chick from Miami and she put me on to Florida. But I didn’t follow her all the way to Miami. I stopped in Orlando. I guess you can say it was the will of God and everything has been working for me since I got here. I can’t complain. Was it hard adjusting from the North to the South? Not really, because when I was living in New York and moved to Ohio, I got put on to different music. When I was living in New York I was listening to all New York shit. When I got to Ohio that’s when I got put on to Ice Cube, Bun B, the Geto Boys, and all them other cats. So it definitely affected the way I was rhyming because it told to accept all music. That’s one thing about me now; I love all music. Your song “Dead Homies” is a really good song that some people, including myself, can relate to. How has having some of your loved ones passing affected you? Well it’s crazy because actually in 2002 two of my cousins died. One of my cousins had just got shot in a random shooting in Dayton, Ohio. My other cousin was 32 and died from lung cancer, so I lost two close cousins in one year. It’s made me look at life differently and not take it for granted. Besides your album coming out, do you have any mixtapes coming out? I did a mixtape called The Hoodlum. That’s what really caught Prostyle’s attention. I did that with my homeboy Vegas Stacks and Syllabus right in Pine Hills in my crib. It got a lot of underground love. What do you have going on for the Classic? I will probably slide through some clubs.
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Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver hardly needs an introduction, especially in Orlando. As the town’s hometown hero, Antonio has used his success in boxing for charitable work with children, and even co-signing some of the city’s musical talent. 22 // OZONE MAG
What’s been going on since your last fight against Dawson? I’ve just been watching the landscape of the light heavyweight division. Roy Jones just fought Calzaghe, which was very interesting to me. A lot of people feel that Calzaghe’s the gatekeeper to the light heavyweight division, but I beg to differ. We have the Chad Dawson rematch coming up in March or April. I lost my last fight to him, but I’m undefeated in rematches. In fact, after all three of my losses I came back and won by knock out. Hopefully once I reclaim my championship then we can see what Calzaghe’s really made of. He’s fought Hopkins, he’s fought Jones, but there’s one intricate name that he’s missing – he’s never faced Tarver. Do you feel like you were 100% prepared to fight Chad Dawson? I would say I was 100% prepared, but in boxing, there’s little things that can happen during the fight that will offset you, things that you have to adapt to on the spot. The first round we came out and felt strong, but for some reason I got into this aggressive, one-dimensional fighter that’s not me. It allowed him to do some things that ordinarily he wouldn’t have been able to do. I fought an ordinary fight, and even in doing that, the fight wasn’t as much of a blowout as it may have seemed. Yes, he was more active than me, but a lot of those punches weren’t landing. If you look at his face and my face at the end of the fight, it’d be hard to see who won because he was swollen everywhere. The only thing that was swollen on me was my arms and wrists from blocking all of his shots. But the judges don’t really award [points for] defense a lot. They don’t appreciate good, scientific boxing. The object of the game is to hit and not be hit and I’ve perfected that. Granted I’m 39 and I’ve got a birthday coming up, but it was a very competitive fight. In the rematch I will make some adjustments, box my style of boxing, and prove to be the better fighter. As far as Orlando is concerned, you’re a hometown hero. What responsibilities come along with that? You want to make your hometown proud of you, in anything you do. You want to be your best. And you do that by staying out of trouble, not being in the news with negative press because a lot of people are rooting for you. I wasn’t trying to be a role model, but if I can be a positive influence on the inner city kids I welcome that opportunity. That’s why with my Antonio Tarver Foundation, which is
a leadership program, I show the kids that it’s ok to get out here and have dreams. When you look at Barack Obama winning the presidency, that’s a feel-good story that should make young black kids say, “The sky’s the limit.” There’s no excuse for failure. I come from a less fortunate environment and at one time I was a lost soul, and I think God [blessed] me and I want to give blessings back. On the note of being a target when you’re successful, can you speak on the situation with Superhead and how you’ve dealt with her putting your private business out in public? I’m human and we all mistakes. You might think about the moment, but you don’t think about tomorrow. One day I made a bad decision that I regret, but I can’t take that back. I faced the music on that. Fortunately I have a supportive wife that understands that as a man, I’m going to make mistakes. I’ll forever try to make that up to her for the hurt and embarrassment it caused her. I’m thankful that she has a forgiving heart and knows I love her dearly. What was being in the Rocky movie like? Are you going to try to pursue anymore acting roles? I was a co-star in one of the biggest sports franchise movies of all times, and yes, I’d really like the opportunity to go to L.A. and do some work. But right now it has to be suitable for my schedule and that’s what makes it tough. I can’t juggle [acting] with my [boxing] career because I’m only a year or so away from the end of it. I don’t want to spread myself thin and have any regrets. I’ll have more than enough time to do acting, commentary, and work on my promotional company once I retire. What about working with some of the local talent? I hear you’re a supporter of Slim E. I think he’s the next big thing. I’ve heard a lot of great rappers along the way and I’d compare him to Jay-Z and T.I. when you look at his lyrical ability. Hopefully the masses will feel the same way and take Slim to the next level. D.S.K. is a movement. Anything else you want to let people know about? I’ve got my big Super Bowl weekend and Celebrities for Charity. We’re having a big poker event at the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa, along with my celebrity golf event. I got some friends of mine like Ken Griffey Jr. participating with me. It’s my time to give back and it’s for a great charity. OZONE MAG // 23
RCIT Y MS. RIVE Words by WUZ GOOD Y PHOTO B
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As an emerging artist in the Southeast, Slim E knows he’s good and isn’t afraid to tell you so. Despite having a strong confidence in his recordings, a solid team behind him, and a dream he’s finally fulfilling, Slim E is still humble. He won’t go on and on about how he’s the best, or how he’s the king of the throne. He won’t tell you how his J.U.S.T.I.C.E. Leagueproduced records can outshine a majority of what’s currently in mainstream rotation, even though they can. But with the assurance of a leader, and the qualities of a boss, Slim E will boldly let you know that his music speaks for itself, and that his label D.S.K. can hold its own amongst the competition. So you were raised in Atlanta. How did you end up in Orlando? I was actually born in Orlando. My mama moved to Atlanta when I was pretty young. I was always back and forth from Florida and Georgia my whole life. From a music standpoint, is one city more productive than the other? I feel like how productive you are is based on the artist. I don’t feel like the city got anything to do with it. It’s a lot more people in Atlanta, of course, but like I said, productivity is based on the artist. I was raised in Atlanta but I got my deal in Orlando. How did you get the deal? My labelmate DirtyRed, who’s also an artist on D.S.K., I know him through a mutual friend down here in Orlando. Lattimore would always tell DirtyRed, “This cat from Atlanta can really rap.” One day me, him, and DirtyRed were hangin’ around rappin’ and DirtyRed said, “Ay, you good, I think you should come meet my folks ‘cause my people can get you where you need to go.” So we went to meet the Boss Rome, a.k.a. the 7 Star General, and I rapped for ‘em. A couple weeks later, Rome, the CEO and owner of D.S.K., flew to Atlanta with two of his friends and Antonio Tarver. We sat down and talked about it. He brought me back to Orlando, signed me, and the rest is history. What were you doing prior to signing with them? Actually my brother Antwain, a.k.a. Big Skinny, had a label and I was with a group called Playa Partnaz. It was myself, Hookman, Kinfolk, Hustle, and Chocko. We was doing shows. We recorded an album that was never released.
And I was working with Dee Boi; he’s incarcerated right now. Free Dee Boi. I was working with a producer named KP and Fed Up Records with Black Mike, Head, and Murda. Explain your affiliation with J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League. Rome from D.S.K. had a relationship with Ivan and Chuck, the managers of J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, for quite some time now. He suggested that we do something kinda like a joint venture deal, so Rome, Ivan, and Chuck set it up. Now it’s J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League/D.S.K. What’s it been like working with J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League on the production tip? They’re Grammy award winners, so they’re clearly some of the best producers in the game. They know exactly what they’re doing. They actually taught me a lot of things I ain’t even know about music and recording. It’s a good chemistry. I feel comfortable around them. Rook, Colione, and Kenny are like family. I really don’t work hands-on with other producers, they just send me the beats. With J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, it’s something different. We stay in the studio. They working hard. They love what they do just like I love what I do, it works out better that way. Who were the other producers you were working with? I got a couple tracks from a guy named Beat Down out of Orlando. He’s hot. And I was working with The Professionals. As far as J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, they’re the best. I’m blessed to be in this position. I always listened to everything they’ve done. They did [Rick Ross’s] “Maybach Music,” [Young Jeezy’s] “Bury Me a G,” and [2 Pistols’] “She Got It.” Everything they do is a hit. Once I got in the studio with ‘em we just vibed off top. Besides working in the studio, what are some other things you’ve experienced since linking up with the D.S.K. and League? Since I got with D.S.K., my whole life changed from day one. We vibed before we started working. I signed the deal before I even recorded one song with D.S.K. We’re family. Rome is really like a father figure to me. The experience is crazy. Everything we do is big, it’s boss shit. Rome goes all out. Everything came with D.S.K. – the money, clothes, cars. It was a real deal. It wasn’t just something on paper. And you went to the OZONE Awards with J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, right? The first trip I took with the League was to the OZONE Awards in Houston. They were nominated for producers of the year. It was cool. We was up on business. They had cameras on ‘em OZONE MAG // 25
like crazy. They’re stars. But we take everything we do very seriously.
you’re in the streets of Orlando or Atlanta, it’s in all the hood spots.
What do you love the most about making music? I love everything about music. It’s funny that I say that now ‘cause I do this on the regular. I can’t really take nothing away from nobody, but a lot of folks just ain’t really into what they do. I used to have dreams about recording in the studio. Now I do it like it’s nothing. I love everything about music, from recording to writing to performing. That’s all I do all day.
Where are some spots people should check out while they’re in Orlando for the Classic? If you wanna have you a good time, there’s plenty of clubs down here. The Roxy on Friday and Whispers on Saturday are my favorite two clubs. If you like the hood crowd, you can go to Firestone or Icon. If you want some good food you can go to the Jamaican spot by Magic Mall. Mama Nem’s got the best breakfast. For shopping I go to the Millenia Mall, Sak’s. The Men’s Closet has a few spots for Hip Hop gear.
When you finally got to live out your dream and got in the studio for the first time, was it everything you imagined it would be? Nah, actually, I imagined being in a big studio with a lot of major artists, shit like that. But once I got in the studio for the first time, it was at an apartment and the microphone booth was in the closet. (laughs) Once I got in a real studio it felt good. It actually gave me some time to learn how to record first. How much of your real self, Eric, comes out in your music? How personal do you get? Slim E is Eric, so it comes out all the time. Everything we talk about at D.S.K. is real life, what we’ve been through and what we plan to do. Eric may be a lil more humble at home, but they’re pretty much the same person. What are some real life things that you’ve written about in your songs? What I talk about the most in my last five records is how I got this deal. I always wanted a deal but I never knew how it would happen. I talk about the things that have changed. I also like to talk about everything I’ve been through, the struggle, you know, the stuff that a majority of the artists talk about but I talk about it in my way. I just talk about my life. I just want my story heard. When does your album come out? I have a mixtape bumping in the streets called D.S.K. Presents: Slim E Definition of a Boss. The album Slim To None is coming out in summer 09. How would you define what a boss is? My definition of a boss is someone that holds their own and does everything they say they do. Somebody who controls the situation. A nigga who runs shit, a nigga that calls the shots. That’s a boss. I explain it on my mixtape. If someone is reading this right now and wants to know what the Definition of a Boss is, how can they get the mixtape? If you go on myspace.com/downsouthkingpinz you can download the mixtape from there. If 26 // OZONE MAG
What do you think of Orlando’s music scene? It’s a lot of talent in Orlando. A lot of artists are starting to get deals down here. Everybody’s cool with everybody. It ain’t really no beef in Orlando Hip Hop. People work well with each other. What songs do you having buzzing? “Who Da Fuck Iz You” is buzzing like crazy in Atlanta. Central Station is going crazy over that. It’s a club banger! It was actually produced by OZ N Da Deacon from Orlando. “Hey” and “Money 2 Blow” featuring DirtyRed is going crazy. We work hard at D.S.K. We don’t make nothing but hits. Of course everybody is gonna say that about themselves, but you can check it out for yourself. Have you hopped on the R&B/Rap collaboration trend that is real popular right now? Yeah. I worked with Blaze, who’s originally from Gary, Indiana. They’re in Atlanta with Oomp Camp Records. They did Baby D’s “About Money” and Rocko’s “Karma.” I worked with them through the League. I love talking about a woman on a track. That’s one of my specialties. I make songs for all women – whether I’m talking about how sexy a woman is, how independent she is, or tellin’ a woman to keep her head up. I even talk about the women in my life – my mother, my grandmama, my sister. What do you look for in female? It’s obvious that looks are the first thing you notice. But I really wanna see where she’s at in life, and what she has going for her. That’s what turns me on. She’s gotta be all the way real. I love an independent woman with a good head on her shoulders. Is there anything else you want to mention? Slim to None coming in 09. Slim E, a.k.a. The Gucci Vuitton Don, a.k.a. The Son of the Boss. I ain’t really gotta talk about it too much, I’ma let the music speak for itself. D.S.K. – Down South Kingpinz – is on the way. We D.S.K. – who the fuck is you?
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Ms. Rivercity Words by
by Terrence * Photo
Rarebreed’s name is suggestive of his uncommon characteristics, yet in spite of his moniker and larger than life persona, Rarebreed is just like anyone else in this world. His values are real. His struggles are real. And his messages are real. It’s these virtues that have made him a key building block for Miami’s Big Spenda Entertainment, and possibly the future backbone for Florida underground Hip Hop. Give us your life story in a nutshell. What was growing up like for you? I’m a single parent kid. My mom raised me. We lived in a lot of cities in Florida. I was born in Sanford, Florida but I was raised in Belle Glade. I’ve been here since I was four years old. I’ve been rapping for a while. I don’t want to say my personal life is something different from any other unprivileged kid growing up in the hood. It’s all the same story no matter where you’re from. A lot of violence, a lot of betrayal, a lot of stuff that went on in the city I grew up in, pretty much made me the lyricist I am today. So you’re from the same city as Papa Duck. Why did it take you guys so long to combine efforts? We’ve basically always been together; it’s just that our music reflects different avenues in Hip Hop. He was doing his thing on one end and I was doing my thing on the other. What separates his style from mine is that I’m more grimier. If you hear one of my records, I may cover some historical events or you may hear a straight New York type punch line, where I don’t even sound like a southern rapper. On another track I might sound like I’m from Houston or an L.A. based rapper. Or I might be going a hundred miles an hour with the lyrics like I’m from Chicago. My lyrical approach is far different from Papa Duck’s approach.
‘cause it gives me an urgency of wanting to do the right thing. Whenever I’m on stage, whatever the situation calls for I try to do it. I may try to give some history to the crowd concerning civil rights, where minorities came from in the United States to get where we are today. How did you become a part of Big Spenda Entertainment? DJ Mark T, who’s big in the Broward and Dade County underground, broke my mixtape in 2006. I was actually about to sign a deal with DJ Blackout and Team Blackout when Mims was taking off with “This Is Why I’m Hot.” I was actually inside of the camp when that started popping and the song got so big they had to focus all the attention on Mims. It left me pretty much on the backburner. I had to make a decision if I wanted to sign with them or not. So, I just built up my lyrics and went with it. Mark T kept playing my mixtape. Big Spenda Entertainment heard it and it was a domino effect. It got the best mixtape of the year at the Gainesville Music Summit this year. Benzino, formerly of the Source Magazine, heard my mixtape and he put me in the Independent Grind of the Monster Mag and Hip-Hop Weekly. I met Big Spendas in April and we inked the deal April 14th. They liked what they heard and flew me down to Miami and made it happen. Is there anything else you wanna let people know about? My ninth full-length album is going to be called Training Day. It’s like I’m in training. My mixtape I just did with Real Nigga Radio was actually my eighth underground CD in stores. Whenever you get an album from me, or a CD, or a song, I’m going all out. I ain’t trying to change up my lyrical style for nobody. Hopefully I’ll put out Training Day with major label distribution. We’re shooting the “Big Spendaz Anthem” video on South Beach in October and we’re taking that straight to MTV. I’m going hard with the music... The rest of this interview is featured in OZONE Magazine’s October issue.
When you get on stage you really take advantage of having a strong voice. What are some messages you want to get out there to the people? Music is about leaving the trouble behind. I got a real troubled past and I want to leave that behind. I vent out a lot of anger through lyrics. Like when you saw me perform in Atlanta, that’s a powerful city as far as the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King being from there. Whenever I’m there I go by his grave OZONE MAG // 29
What are you working on in the studio right now? I’m working on a project with my partners J-Russ and Cash Chris. We’re working on a mixtape called 3 Kingz. We’re gonna do what we do, promote the fuck out of it, and keep it movin’. J-Russ runs with us real hard. He’s a Blok Mova affiliate. He was on the second verse of “Set It Off” with Nore and Swizz Beatz. Why do you feel like you’re the “Man of the City?” If you pay attention to the song, it’s about the whole city in general. It’s talking about how they wouldn’t let us in so we’re kicking the doors down. I’ve been here so long and I represent nothing else but Orlando. As far as “Man of My City,” that’s a single that anybody can use – whether you work a 9-to-5, whether you hustlin’ or going to school, if you feel like you’re the man of your city, then you’re the man of your city. It’s an anthem. Where does your production come from? Everything we do is produced by OZ N Da Deacon. They’re our in-house producers and they got a lot of heat. They’re about to really impact the industry ‘cause they’re landing a lot of records that nobody knows about yet. But we put them on the same level as The Runners and Oddz N Endz and everybody else in the O that’s doing things. Tell me about your company BlokMovaz Entertainment. We’ve been a movement for about 4 years now. Me as an artist, we’ve been doing this strong for ten years. I’ve always been known for my promotion game and pushing other artists. As time went by and money was being wasted, I decided to push myself and make this movement happen. I put people in the right places to complete the puzzle. We just dropped a mixtape called BlokMova Radio hosted by DJ Slique, our official DJ, and Priya B from Power 95.3. We got a lot of interviews with big names and just let them speak how they feel. We got a lot of good feedback on it. Do you still offer promotional services to other people, or concentrating on yourself? Right now I’m concentrating on myself but my street team is big enough to take on any job. We’ve done a lot of stuff for Memorial Day Weekend and Spring Bling. Our street team is well known. We do get busy and help other people, but we’re not really taking on other accounts. We will eventually, but right now, we’re moving towards the goal of taking our movement to another level. How important is it for an artist to have a full 30 // OZONE MAG
street team like you do? Without promotions you have nothing. You might have the hottest rapper you ever heard in your life, but if he’s not promoted right, you have nothing. Compare that to these artists that have no talent whatsoever but they got their internet game so tight that everybody believes the dream they’re selling. What are some things you’ve learned over the years as far as effective promoting and ineffective marketing? The most beneficial thing is to be consistent. If you’re not consistent, that whole month you promoted was for nothing ‘cause everybody will forget about it. Your project will flop and die out. One thing I’ve noticed that is a real waste of time is trying to recoup money by selling your CDs. By the time I sell one CD, I coulda hit 20 people with a free CD. People gotta understand that before you make money you gotta take a loss. If you’re not ready to take that loss, you’re gonna be in the same position for the rest of your life. Besides the people you already mentioned, who are some artists in your city that you’ve worked with? I’m trying to do something with KC. Me and TREAL got something coming up. Me and Clint Dawg just did a record together. He’s been doing his thing. Pretty much everybody else is in our camp. We’re trying to make a household name until people get to know us. You voice some pretty strong opinions in your music about radio playing the same music over and over. I understand how radio works but I feel like a lot of these radio stations are scared to go against the grain and step outside their boundaries. But there’s a lot of people that will. Shout out to DJ Nasty, Greg G, Disco, DJ Nice, DJ Slique, Orlando Mixtape Kings, every DJ in Orlando has played my record more than 5 times. We appreciate the love. But as far as radio, we’ve gotten adds in certain cities but not in Orlando yet. Sooner or later it will happen. If they believe in something they gotta go for it instead of always playing the politics game. What else have you been doing to get the music out there? In last six months we’ve appeared on over 40 mixtapes worldwide. I’ve done over 30 shows. I’ve done over 500 drops for DJs in the U.K. They picked up “Man of My City” and made their own Techno version. We kinda have a lil single deal overseas. It’s blowing up over there. We’re supposed to be doing a couple shows in Australia. A lot of different things have come from promotion.
Born in New Jersey, Popov became an Orlando resident when he was 5 years old and has repped his city, along with his Dominican heritage, ever since. Known for his guerilla marketing tactics over the last decade, Popov decided to focus his attention on himself and his new single â€œMan of My City,â€? an anthem that is quickly spreading through Orlando.
Words Wordsby byMs. MS.Rivercity RIVERCITY* Photo by Wuz Good Photography
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Words by Randy Roper Photo by Wuz Good
Khaled possesses a résumé longer than DMX’s rap sheet, so if he feels he’s the best, who are we to argue? Especially since his definition of “we the best” is bigger than himself. “OZONE is the best, I’m the best, the people that support me and my albums are the best,” says DJ Khaled. “Anybody loving this Hip Hop music is the best.” Well, since he put it like that, HE COULD SAY he’s the Florida Governor and we wouldn’t object. 32 // OZONE MAG
Your third album just came out. How does it feel? I feel great, man. My album’s in stores. #1 independent album; [my] third album that’s been the #1 independent album. I’m shooting the video for “Go Hard” so look out for the video with DJ Khaled, Kanye West, and T-Pain. We’re doing it real big and I’m really excited, but it’s all about Ace Hood. [His album] Gutta is gonna be in stores November 18th. We The Best. Def Jam. Ace Hood. The future, you feel me? Do you think you’re the best DJ in the game right now? For me to say I’m not the best, I’d be crazy. I’ma say, “We the best!” you know what I’m sayin’. I’m definitely one of the best, amongst others. And at the same time, I like to represent that “we.” I’m all about the team. So, by me being the best, I got that “we” involved too, feel me. What was it about Ace Hood that made you want to sign him as the first artist on your label? He’s a superstar. When you see him, he looks like a star. When he raps, he’s a beast, he’s a monster, he goes in. His swag is crazy. He makes hit records. He has a hit record right now called “Ride” featuring Trey Songz that’s crawling up the charts like crazy on every countdown. His album is crazy; it’s called Gutta. He’s part of the We The Best movement, that whole Florida movement. And at the same time, he’s the future. He’s young, he’s got that energy. He’s the hottest new artist in the game right now, period. You’ve make a lot of anthems with a lot of big artists. How do you get all of these artists on one track? I got relationships, man. I’ve been in this game for years. I’ve been in the game since I was 13, 14 years old. I got great relationships. Real recognizes real. We respect each other, and we make great music together. And at the same time, people know I make great music, and we help each other. I’m like the Set Up King, you know what I’m sayin’. People that usually get on my singles got a single coming out after, or they already have one. It’s just more heat for the fans. So, I’m that fire starter. And I’m also the torch holder, where the fire just continues and won’t stop.
producers and getting the beats first. And then I hear certain things in the beats, and I be like, “Yo, I think Lil’ Wayne would be crazy over this one,” or Ricky Ross, or Akon, or T-Pain, or Nas, or Game. That’s what I’m good at. I’m good at just putting joints together, man. What’s more important to you: having a hit record on the charts or in the streets? Hit record in the streets. Of course you wanna have a hit records on the charts, but usually, hit records on the streets become hit records on the charts. You’ve gotta get the streets hot to be on the charts, and not only that, but the streets are what’s going to feed you, feel me? That’s what I make. I make great street anthems. I make great music for the hood and for everyone. But the streets is what I’m talkin’ ‘bout, that’s how I got here. What do you think is the difference between your first album and the new album you just released? I’ve had three albums, so the first was the introduction of me making albums. I showed the world I can do it. [That album] Listennn was a classic. Then I came with We The Best and showed people that it wasn’t an accident. This is what I do for real. I gave you “We Takin’ Over” and “I’m So Hood,” “Brown Paper Bag,” records that will never go away, they’re in the history books as Hip Hop classics. “I’m So Hood” and “We Takin’ Over” are records that are just classics. We Global just showed you that we’re gon’ continue doing it on a global level, getting bigger and bigger. At the same time, we’ve got “Out Here Grindin’.” that’s one of the biggest street anthems in the game. “Go Hard” is so big out there, with Kanye West and T-Pain. So, right now, we’re grindin’, man. I make music for the average person. So, my albums get bigger and better... The rest of this interview is featured in OZONE Magazine’s October issue.
How do you decide which artists will be on which songs? I be vibin’, man. I be in the studio on that Hennessey and Red Bull, and I just be in that zone, picking beats, or making beats, or getting with OZONE MAG // 33
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Yeah, I was on Power 95.3 for about four years, and I was with 102 Jamz prior to that for about 5 years. I got laid off in December because the company cut back. What do you have going on for the Classic? I haven’t got word to be tied into anything event-wise down there. But pretty much I got my company, Tony Entertainment Group, where I’m managing a couple of artists so I will probably spend a big bulk of that time working on promoting their stuff.
TONY C Words by Jee’Van Brown
DJ Tony C is trying to conquer more than the average DJ. From creating a buzz for his website tonycfam.com to DJing back and forth between Orlando to Atlanta, you can say he has his hands full. What do you have going on right now? I’m actually in Atlanta as we speak. A partner of mine is opening up a club at the Underground. What is it going to be called? Club Sub-Zero. We plan on bringing the upscale level of clubs there. We’re working on a few different nights like a diverse night, college night, and of course it’s going to be a very respectable, fun crowd. Even though this is the Florida Classic issue, a lot of people from Atlanta are going to be coming down for the Classic and it’s planned to be open in November. Are you going to be DJing there? Yeah, I will be DJing Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. What’s going on in Orlando right now? Actually I just came off a few spots in Orlando. I was at Elements, Tabu, and Roxy. You were on the radio down there, right?
Who are the artists you have on your entertainment group? One artist I have right now is Supa. He was with a group a while back called Under Pressure. He’s also a producer. He produced for Trick Daddy, Trina, and he also did a song on the Drum Line album, so right now I’m just working on trying to build his story as a solo artist and as a producer. Then I have another artist named Tyna Vargas and she’s actually a songwriter out of Orlando, but now she’s here in Atlanta. I’m also working with Ms. Concepcion. What made you start tonycfam.com? The website is pretty unique. I started it to target people who appreciated my work as a DJ. They can also see what events are going on at the clubs; they can check out the Hip Hop, R&B, and pop culture news, as well as reach out to me. It’s also an avenue for up and coming artists to network because when you’re a DJ you have a lot of cats coming up to you in the club handing you CDs then you’re stuck with the CD all night and you might end up leaving it at the DJ booth or at the bar. So instead of doing that, they can go to my website www.tonycfam.com and set up a profile and upload music. The good thing about it is I’m going listen to your music because it can’t be posted until I do. So it’s like the Tony C version of MySpace and I’m Tom. I haven’t checked to see how many members I have so far, but last time I did it was over 100 members. What artists in Orlando would you say are popping right now? Well because I’m a fan and also support them, I would say TREAL. I really think the city, DJs, the mayor, and the whole state of Florida should get behind them. Wes Fif, that’s another one I would co-sign, and 2shae is one to watch. Of course I’m not going to leave out my artists. OZONE MAG //
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Oddz N Endz Words by Jee’Van Brown Photo by GrazMagicPhoto.com
You can find the production duo Jay Houston and Philip Nino (above, l-r), otherwise known as Oddz N Endz, in the studio any time of day. Whether Nino is doing his thing at the radio station, or both producers are making hits for artists like Slim of 112, this team is making sure their work is heard. How is everything going? Nino: Everything is going good. “So Fly” is #7 on the Billboard Top R&B and Hip Hop chart. We’re starting to get a lot of looks and producing for some artists, but nothing we really want to talk about until the record comes out. How did you guys hook up with Slim? Nino: I’m a radio personality at 102 Jamz and my friend Ricky introduced me to Slim. We just hooked up and made a hit. When you’re are in the studio producing, what is the process you go through? Nino: Jay Houston does the majority of the programming, and I may come in and touch up with a concept or he comes with a concept. How often do you create the beat right there in front of the artist? Nino: We prefer to do it like that. Some people are hands on and so are we. When an artist is in the studio, I feed off the energy from the artist being there. We’re producers, not beatmakers. It’s more than just sending beats through email. Besides music, what else do you two do? Nino: Besides producing and radio, we also have a company called Write Brothers, where we do a lot of writing for our tracks. We helped
write “So Fly.” We also have new tracks with Mack Maine and Juelz Santana. Do you have any artists you’re working with and trying to develop? Nino: Yeah, we have a phenomenal singer by the name of Evan Clap who we’re messing with. We’re messing with Young Jones, he’s pretty hot. Joe Boom, he’s really good and Magnolia Chop – you don’t even understand, he’s a beast. We are developing our own empire called Anotha One Records. But as of right now, we don’t have artists we’re trying to push out, we’re still in our experimental stages. Evan Clap and Young Jones are from Orlando. Magnolia Chop is from the N.O. and Joe Boom is from South Florida. What kind of production equipment and software do you use? Nino: We don’t use an MPC. It’s actually all relative to what you’re comfortable with. Some people get it in on Reason, some get it in on Fruity Loops, and others use Pro Tools, but whatever you use, use it the best. We don’t have anything particular we use to make hits. If it sounds good and we like it, we’re going to use it. Would you say you have a signature sound? Nino: Not really, we try to make all of our stuff sound different. The only way you will know if it’s our track is is if you hear our tag line in the beginning. If we wrote the song you’re going to hear a plane sound, like on the Slim and B.G. song. Do you plan to stay in Orlando? Nino: Oh yeah, we here. I’ve been on the radio for the past four years so we riding out here.
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Words by Ms. Rivercity PHOTO BY MALIK ABDUL
Recognized as the CEO behind the label 2 Dog Records, 1Lee recently found a new niche as an artist. After funding several projects for his artists Big Koon and Hollywood, now known as Certified, along with the solo artist Willo Da Don, 1Lee landed his own hit record with Plies titled “Actin’ Like.” As the direction of his company changes, 1Lee hopes he can open even more doors for his own artists.
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What made you want to branch out from the CEO role of 2 Dog Records and pursue the artist role? It was a natural progression into it. When I first started doing music I was in a group and then I moved into the CEO role. I was putting my money behind all my different artists and no one could score like I’ve learned to score. 2 Dog Records is a brand name; it’s an entity that everybody knows, but nobody was giving me that smash hit. Nobody was giving me what I was trying to coach them into doing. It’s similar to Nelly and the St. Lunatics – they were a group first and everybody saw that Nelly was gonna be the first franchise to break off and make a way for everybody else. I’m gonna show everybody how to do it, and then we’re gon’ all come back together and make more music.
childhood friend of mine and an original member of The Strangers, Willo Da Don. That’s how it got started.
So before this song you actually had experience being a singer? I think most people saw you as the man behind 2 Dog Records, but didn’t realize your other talents. I was actually an original member of the group The Strangers, which is one of the groups I had signed to my label. I started out singing on hooks and they would rap about whatever I was singing about. We separated and then I signed Willo Da Don. I sang hooks on some of his biggest songs. When I signed Big Koon and Hollywood, anytime you get one of their CDs and hear somebody singing on the hook, it’s a good chance it’s me singing. All the songs I did were street songs or hood anthems and those are the ones that everybody in the hood attached to – like “Fly As Me” and “I’d Rather Do 100 Years” on Big Koon and Hollywood’s project. All the songs I sang would be the top songs on their CDs, so it was a natural progression into doing it.
Do you feel like the time and money you’ve invested so far is paying off? I think we’re well on our way to being put in the position where it’s gonna pay off. It has a lot to do with timing. I heard E Class say in an interview that he invested over $750,000 before he made his first hit with Rick Ross. He had small success with Jacki-O, but it still wasn’t her time. He didn’t see big success until Rick Ross came along. It’s like that with me. Now with me putting out the single, I’ve gotten the biggest response faster than I’ve ever seen on anything I’ve put out on my artists. I think our label is strong and the majors are definitely looking at 2 Dog. They all know who we are. We have gotten calls but none of the situations were necessarily in our best interest. But we have everything lined up where it’s really gonna pay off big for us.
Speaking of Big Koon and Hollywood, why did you give them the group name Certified after everyone was already familiar with their other name? It was a decision made by radio, like with 2 Pistols. We couldn’t go to radio with the name Big Koon. There was a derogatory connotation behind the name, like a racial slur, so we had to give them a group name for radio. We came up with the name Certified because they’re certified all the way across the board, everything they do from street to corporate. When did you first come up with the idea to start a record label? I came up with 2 Dog Records in 2000. From ‘95 to ‘98 I was in the group and when we separated I was doing my own thing for about two years. I came back to my hood and started a label again. The first person I signed was a
Explain the process for getting your company up and running and how challenging it has been. It was definitely challenging. I think for the most part, as a street person, everybody looks at you as if you’re going to be here today and gone tomorrow. They looked at 2 Dog like it’s another street person trying to start a label, looking for a way out. And it’s much more than that to me. I’m such a musical person myself. I think with me coming out and singing, people will see that as the reason why I got into music, not because I’m a street person looking for a way out. I love music and I have talent.
What else do you have planned for yourself and 2 Dog Records? I just got finished recording the next song. What we wanted to do was capture the streets. I’m doing street R&B. I’m living my life through R&B. It’s been so many years since we’ve had a group that the gangstas and hustlers could listen to. As a street person, we don’t listen to Ne-Yo or Chris Brown. We don’t go in the trap and play those records. We was listening to H-Town or Jodeci. I’m the closest thing to one of those groups that the trap people will listen to. I’m so deep in the streets and with the angle I’m going, I think the streets will receive it like they’ve never received anything before. I’d like to end the interview by saying, with 1Lee, when this project comes out it’s gonna be something different that nobody’s ever done before. Everybody should pay attention to it and know that it’s gonna be something so street, so strong, and so undeniable that it can’t help but to win. OZONE MAG // 11
Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Browns Jones Photography
From radio play to award nominations, the Skai is the Limit for this Tallahassee songstress. Quickly becoming the talk of Florida, Skai is preparing for her future as the next big thing in R&B.
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What made you want to pursue singing professionally? Since I was little, when I was about 6 or 7, I was singing in church. People would tell me when I sang that my voice touched them and inspired them. Ever since then I knew singing was something I wanted to do, especially if it made people feel that way. What about song writing? Do you put together your own lyrics and choruses? I do a majority of my own writing. I just branched out and got with a few different songwriters that are assisting me now. But my songwriting is inspired by things that have happened to me or my friends, or even from a fictional standpoint, things you wish would happen. That’s how I write my music. A majority of it comes from a realistic standpoint though. Out of all the songs you’ve written and sung, which ones have been the most special to you? Every song I write is important to me, but one in particular is titled “Guardian Angel.” I wrote it for my mother who passed away in 2002. That song has definitely been one that’s most personal to me. I have some other songs also, one is titled “Why You Didn’t Call” which got radio play in Tallahassee, Gainesville, and a few other areas. I guess a lot of people could relate to that song. It was one of those realistic situations in everyday life. When you lost your mother, how did you overcome that situation? It was definitely an obstacle I had to overcome because she was basically the closest person to me. I basically learned to channel those emotions into my music more. Music helped, but of course there’s that void that can never be filled. Was “Why You Didn’t Call” the first song you’ve had on the radio? Yeah, it was the first song I remember being on the radio. It was a great feeling because I didn’t really know it was gonna be on the radio. The program director here, Jay Blaze, gave me a call the day he put it on the radio. He was getting different responses from people calling in after they heard the record. It was great to hear the positive feedback in my local market for something I wrote. You have a lot of support in your hometown and Florida in general. How were you able to get people’s attention? I don’t want to sound like I’m cocky, but the very first thing was having talent that people
respect. The songs I sing, whether they’re original songs or cover tunes, for the most part, I’ve always gotten a good response because I sing positive music. Once people heard or saw me sing in Tallahassee and these other places, once people saw me out in the streets working my mixtapes and singles, they started supporting me and my situation. It just kinda snowballed from there. Have you been approached by any major labels yet? I have been approached by a few A&Rs from some major labels, and I was actually negotiating certain things with Plies and Big Gates’ Records. We were trying to see what we could do and what could happen, but at this point we’re still searching for the right situation. So you’re up for an SEA nomination this year. How does that feel? I’m up for two – one is for Best R&B Indie Album and one for Best R&B Artist of the Year. You put out an album? It was actually a mixtape called Skai is the Limit. We released that in late 2007. It created a lot of buzz for me. Myself and Exclusive J, who is the road manager for Tay Dizm, actually put it together ourselves. It was definitely a lot of work, but I want to do it again. With your look and sound, I’m picturing you in a movie like Dreamgirls. Is that something you want to do one day? (laughs) It’s funny you ask that, because I could see myself having different roles in movies. As long as they’re not scary I’m okay. But yeah, that’s definitely way down the line ‘cause the main focus is to finish a project. I’m currently working on an EP. We’re going to have it finished at the end of this year so it can be released first quarter. I know music is your life, but what are you like outside of the booth? I like everything that regular girls like. I like shopping, watching movies, hanging out with the girls, going to parties and different events. Aside from being Skai, I guess, I don’t want to say I’m the regular average girl, but to a certain extent I am. Do you have anything else people should be checking for? I appreciate everyone that has supported me thus far. People will definitely be finding out about me and hearing more from me. You can check me out on Myspace.com/kisstheskai and Youtube.com/skaichannel.
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WORDS PHOTO BY MS RIVERC IT BY HAN NIBAL M Y AT T
wherever Young A.C. goes, he steals the show. A longtime protégé of Power 96’s Teddy T, Young A.C. has been groomed for the spotlight he’s finally receiving with his new J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League produced track. 14 14////OZONE OZONEMAG MAG
So you’ve been up to a lot lately. I see you at a lot of places with Teddy T. Yeah, Teddy’s been with me since I was 10 years old and I’m 20 now. That’s like fam to me. This is what we do now. What made him want to work with you when you were only 10 years old? How did he discover you? I ain’t gon’ brag on myself, I’ma give it to ya in his words – I was 10 years old and I did a show at this middle school in Miami. Teddy T said I was hollerin’ at girls like, “What up, lil mama,” like I had swag at a young age. I was always focused. You know, he been a wild man, but I was cool around him and played my role. When did he first put you on his radio show? Well, he’s full time management now so he doesn’t have the radio show right now. But he had the #1 radio night show in Florida on Power 96 with Lucy and DJ Def. I was exposed to the show when I was like 12 years old. I started doin’ drops on other people’s beats, you know what I’m sayin’. I was crazy with the freestylin’ and shit, so he started me at a young age. He’d have me do drops and freestyles on different beats and every night he’d bring his show in with a different one. Your song “The Flyest” is produced by The J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League. What made you decide to get production from them, as opposed to some of the other big producers in Florida? A lot of producers will work with you if you got your money right, but one thing I respect about the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League is that they’re like a private society. You can send ‘em your shit and have your money right, but if they not fuckin’ wit’ your music, they ain’t fuckin’ wit’ you. You see they only do the best – the Rick Rosses, the Jay-Zs, the Waynes, the Jeezys. Teddy T sent ‘em my shit ‘cause he had the connect, and they liked my shit and I had my money right so they got back at me. I went to Atlanta and recorded the song. I stayed in the studio for 12 hours and came out with a banger. What have you been doing to promote the song and get it spinning? We got Team A.C. gettin’ it out there. I ain’t gon’ say it’s just me, it’s a team – my general manager, Teddy T, my CEOs Silk and Asante Samuels, Deepside Entertainment, Puncho, the GUNS, my publicist team – Damian and Edna, Mad Dog, my radio rep Orlando, it’s a big ass family. Everybody’s workin’ together. That’s what’s gettin’ it out there. I take it upon myself to go to every radio station playin’ my shit, even before they play it sometimes. I
take it upon myself to meet all the PDs so they have a good impression. That’s why I’m the muthafuckin’ flyest. Explain your label situation. We got a digital release situation through Deepside Industry/Universal. Janie Jennings worked that out so they can get my songs on iTunes. On the other hand, I’m not signed to a major label. I’m on Deepside and we’re indie right now. We ain’t really shoppin’ for a major label deal. We got the money. Asante Samuels is the #1 cornerback in the league and that’s my CEO, and we got Silk, we been gettin’ hood money. Now it’s just about gettin’ our heads together, movin’ forward, and gettin’ mo’ money. We don’t really need no major label. Whenever I see you at events, you’re real quiet and kinda to yourself. You’re definitely not the in-your-face type of dude. Are you always like that? When I meet people I have to get an impression of ‘em. I roll with older niggas like Puncho and they always tell me gangstas move in silence – not that I’m tryna be a gangsta or nothin’, but they always tell me you got two ears and one mouth. I listen and soak up what’s goin’ on. When I get an impression of you I can start to talk to you more and be social with you. It’s been workin’ for me so far, but I don’t want people to think I’m anti-social or nothin’. A lot of upcoming artists run up to people telling them, “I’m the hottest shit.” I don’t wanna be the one to tell you about it, I wanna let the performance speak for itself on CDs, mixtapes, and shows. I wanna let it speak for itself. At show-and-tell, I always showed, never told. What has been one of the most memorable moments as a rapper so far? As of right now, it’d probably be the OZONE show in Houston at TJs DJs. I showed my ass and it was a lot of people out there. I’d like to thank Julia Beverly and TJ Chapman for lettin’ me expose my talent and be seen. I got a lot of feedback off that situation. People can say what they want, but I fuck with the last OZONE Awards. What do you have on deck for the next year? I’m just releasin’ mixtapes like crazy. Me and Bigga Rankin got one comin’ out. I’m on the Hittmenn DJs tour. Shout out to Kaspa. I’m at the next CORE Retreat in Vegas. Other than that I’m just workin’ on the album First Impression. “The Flyest” is the shit! They can download that on iTunes. OZONE MAG // 15
Words Photo by Jee’V by Sue an Brown kwon
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You have probably danced and sang along to a few of the songs KC has written hooks for, like Ace Hood’s “Cash Flow” and Young Jeezy’s “Go Getta.” But now KC is stepping from behind the pen to prepare for his debut album. I know you’re out in L.A. right now. What are you working on? Right now I’m working with my choreographer David while juggling time in the studio with The Runners. How has it been since you signed with Danja? It’s been pretty good. He’s probably one of the most talented guys I know so every time we’re in the studio it’s a very fun experience. One of the great things is there is no boundaries with the music we do, and besides the business part, he’s a pretty down to earth guy. It’s good to do business with people you enjoy being around, it makes things much better. Do you produce also? I just write songs and sing, but these days production is not just making a beat so I would say I do produce as well. When I’m songwriting and I’m there with the artist, I have to morph them and tell them how to sing the song. For a songwriter, what’s the procedure for writing a song with an artist? I just listen to the track. The track usually has a mood to it and I just go in the booth and come up with the melody because I don’t really write anything down. Once the track is played I figure out if it’s a club song, or a love song, then I write it down. As far as with the artist, the song is already done and when it’s finished we present it to the artist and if they like it we go from there. This year I wrote “Cash Flow” for Ace Hood and “Boss” for Rick Ross. The Runners and I came up with the beat and figured out who was going to be on the hook.
How did you hook up with The Runners? Me and The Runners have been cool for about four years now, if not longer than that. I met them through DJ D-Strong. He told me about these producer cats and he had already heard some of my stuff so he felt like we would be good working together, and he was right. Are you working on your album now? The album is pretty much complete but we’re really working on the pre-album, which will be the prelude to the album. It’s a way to get out the material for a new artist. I feel like music is really accessible, so you can’t hold on to your material because there are so many people trying to do it right now. The plan is to give it to all the DJs so people can get it in their head before I force them to buy something. I can’t put an album out and people don’t know who I am because the way the economy and CD sales are right now, you have to have major fans first. Some people buy albums and the two singles is the only good thing on the album, I want people to know that everything we do is good quality music. Since you wrote a lot of rap hooks, can we expect R&B/Hip Hop music on your album? No (laughs) I definitely won’t be rapping. I got into writing rap hooks because the opportunity was presented and I was able to do it, but I’m still a singer first. I don’t plan on staying in the same box, but I can’t say if I’m going to start rapping. I do plan on evolving. What’s going to be the name of your album? The name of the album is tentative right now, but we’re playing with It Is What It Is. The pre-album is like a mixtape? It’s kind of a mixtape, but there’s not going to be anybody hosting it. It will sound like an album and you can download it in December on my MySpace, which is myspace.com/kc78music. But the first two singles are on my page, which are “I Know What You Doing” and “Late Night.”
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BY J L A S
Though the title to his latest single would lead you to think that he is loco, Pitbull is far from “Crazy.” He knows exactly what he’s doing. Since busting on the scene in 2003 with his Lil Jon-assisted ode to ass “Culo,” Pit has built his name and brand as the premier bi-lingual rapper on the planet. Whether it be through keeping a musical alliance with Lil Jon or hopping on the right Reggaeton hits, Pit is swiftly approaching being a household name from the bricks to the barrio.
Tell us about the unique situation you’re in right now with your record label. After this single “Crazy” I’m a free agent. I’m negotiating with labels as we speak. If anyone wants a sweet digital single deal I suggest you go through The Orchard. Why did you decide to use this avenue this go around? It’s an avenue for me to continue to sell. “Crazy” is at 250,000 sold on iTunes. With The Boatlift I only sold 100,000 in stores because TVT went bankrupt, but I sold 1.2 million digitally. So I’m not new to the digital game. iTunes and all the phone carriers make money one way or the other. They help you market and get your radio up. I always had a team in place, so when the company gives me money, I give it to the team and do our thing. But for a record like “Crazy” without a major selling 250,000 in 5 weeks is pretty fucking amazing. You mentioned that you are in negotiation with major labels. What is attractive about them to you right now? I’ve never been looked at as a big boy in the game even though I’ve been doing big boy numbers. It’s always been an independent grind for me, but now, I get to plug into the machine. I’m not looking for an artist exclusive deal, and I’m going to cut a 360 deal either. I’m cutting a different deal because I bring my own fanbase, a diverse fanbase. Speaking of which, tell us a little bit about your new social networking site. PlanetPit.com is a place where I can keep up with the fans. Everyday I’m putting up new things to keep people updated, entertained and educated. I got someone who can handle the shit on the daily and I tell them what I want on there. Personally, I’m computer illiterate. You have a television show now as well right? Yes. La Esquina. It means “the corner” in Spanish. It’s 2 weeks in and it’s the number one show on Mun2. That network went from 6 to 24 million viewers in one year, might I add. We touch on what’s hot in society and twist it and make it funny with a message in it. Back when you came on the scene around 2003, what were some of your goals? My goals have always been that by 30 I would have my own company, ownership, living on
an island, and to establish myself in the music game with my own lane. I’m the only one who is bilingual who has been able to tap dance through all different cultures. I have my own company, Mr. 305 Inc., where I have my artists Cornbread, Sincero, and Young Boss who is already signed to Universal Republic. So none of this should come as any surprise. It was all part of the plan. I want to have longevity like Celia Cruz who can still do shows and get love, but I also want to be an entrepreneur like Gloria and Emilio [Estefan]. That’s how I want my career to be. At what point would you say you took your destiny in your own hands, career-wise? I took my destiny in my own hands when I was on Luke Records. Luke is the blueprint; he sold millions on his own. When I got to TVT I formed alliances with everyone in the building. These artists walk into these offices like their shit don’t stink and think these people are gonna want to work for them. But Mr. Gottlieb tied [the employees’] hands behind their back and said he wouldn’t pay them if they kept fucking with me. At that point me and Team Pitbull went out on our own. That’s what it’s all about. When these artists go out on tour, they gotta pick up business cards. It’s all about networking. That’s the only way you survive. You’ve recorded political songs speaking on the situation in Cuba, but you’re more known for party tracks. Why do you think people would rather hear those types of songs? I put out “American War,” a very political song, which is on YouTube right now. But to turn on the TV and see all the negativity, people want to go to the club and escape. I make all types of music, but that’s the kind of music I have to continue to put out to survive. I cater to my fans in order to be catered to, and now it’s my turn to give them what I want to give them. The classic album that I never got a chance to do, a full spectrum of music. Not just dope, the streets, or political shit, I’m gonna be talking about everything they’ve been seeing. I thank God I wasn’t plugged all the way in early because I got a good perspective on things now. The rest of this interview is featured in OZONE Magazine’s November issue.
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WORDS BY MS RIVERCITY PHOTO BY J LASH
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“I’m just a young dude trying to have fun, and that’s going to show in my music,” says Radio, the 20-year-old R&B singer from Miami Beach. While attending high school, Radio was inspired by his peers to start singing – not to become rich and famous as most people would think, Radio simply wanted to pull a lot of girls. A few years later, his catchy ladies’ anthems not only attracted the attention of females, but also Big Gates Records. His work with Big Gates eventually landed him in front of execs at Asylum Records, where Radio signed his major deal in May of 2008. Now with a world of opportunity at his feet, Radio talks about how he got his start, working with Pitbull, future television appearances, and how he hopes to beCOME the R&B version of Plies. Where are you from originally and how did you end up in Miami Beach? I’m originally from Hartford, Connecticut. I was born and raised out there and I moved to Florida because my mom wanted me to be in a different environment. At the time, my mom and pops were going through some marriage problems. My mother moved us out to Florida. I was out here for a couple years when I met up with my manager. He was doing some things with Big Gates Records and trying to pop off Plies’ career. Do you feel like Miami is a better city for you career-wise? Most definitely. Miami is where I lay my head. It’s beautiful. When I wake up I’m inspired to write good music. Miami is definitely a good city to pop off as an artist. You come up with a lot of records that would fit the club scene in Miami. Does the nightlife there inspire you? I’m a very energetic dude, which definitely translates into my music. I’m just a young dude trying to have fun and that’s going to show in my music. I can see how that would be good for Miami because it’s a party city. What’s your nationality? I’m half Puerto Rican and half Jamaican. My 22 // OZONE MAG
mother is Puerto Rican but she’s from Brooklyn, New York. My dad is from Mona Heights, Jamaica. He taught me a lot about my heritage so I gotta keep it real for the rude boys. How did you secure a deal with Asylum? At the time, my manager did a lot of business with Big Gates and originally we were trying to get in the door with Slip-N-Slide. Then, of course, Big Gates’ incarceration set things back and that didn’t go through. But that didn’t stop my manager from working hard to get that deal. So Big Gates had a friend in New York who signed Lil Will and brought Boosie and Webbie to Asylum. I started working with Selim Bouab and he’s the one who flew me to New York and signed me. He’s a senior executive at Asylum and also the President of Unauthorized Records, the label that Lil Will is on. When did you first realize you could sing? Was it something you were always into? A lot of people started singing as a kid in church and stuff. But it was never like that with me. When I moved to Florida and started making new friends, it was a group of kids that sang. I was hanging around all these singers and I wanted to do what they did. They was getting all the girls and stuff and I wanted to get girls too. I wanted to [sing] to reach out and talk to the ladies. I was actually discovered by Carl Hobbs, who used to work with Kevin Cossom (KC) back in the day. I met my manager when I was 16 and he molded me into the artist that I am today. I’m blessed to have him as part of my family. So had you not discovered your talent as a singer, what do you think you’d be doing today? Would you have gone to college for something? I’d definitely be in college. One thing that I love doing aside from singing is cooking. If I wasn’t singing, I’d probably be cooking it up in college somewhere, learning how to become the next big chef. I always knew in high school that whatever I was gonna do was gonna be creative. You mentioned your relationship with Big Gates. Who are some other people you’ve worked with? I linked up with Pitbull and Hugo Diaz. They’re pretty cool cats. Pitbull definitely gave me game and good advice on how to succeed. He’s a real laidback, humble guy and I love to hang out with people like that, people that aren’t arrogant or cocky like other celebrities out there. Also, Plies has had a big influence on my whole career.
What have you learned from Plies? He told me if you get into this game, do what you do, take what you need, and don’t let nobody take shit from you. Every time I go to his shows he’s larger than life and I always wanted to be the singing version of what he is. I want to be the R&B version of Plies. What are some big things you’ve been able to experience since becoming serious with the singing? I linked up with Chris Brown and did some shows. I got to do some things with the Boys and Girls Club of America. I thought that was big. I did a lot of fundraising events to raise money for cancer research, things of that nature. And you know, just hooking up with different celebrities like Plies, Pitbull, different producers. I got a chance to meet The Runners when I was in Orlando. I got a chance to meet Hugo Diaz. Every city I hit up I make sure to meet up with people, try to have a sit-down with them and they give me advice. You’re going to be working on some things with MTV too right? Yeah, for Spring Break I’m going to be doing an MTV tour. I’ll be in Mexico, Acapulco, Cancun, Jamaica – one of my homelands. I’m gonna be out there doing my thing on tour. I’m also making a guest appearance on The Real World. Hopefully they don’t have me doing something too crazy. That’s a good look. I’m also going to be on the Conan O’Brien show early next year. I’m also working on a few more TV appearances. What about your music? You have some songs out right now too. The “Flawless” single will be for sale on iTunes soon. It’s produced by J. Lacy from Texas and remixed by Hugo Diaz. What is the song about and what inspired it? It’s about me just hanging out, having a good time, and seeing a beautiful girl that’s flawless. Sexy ladies inspired me to write the song. I came together with J. Lacy to write a hit record. He wrote the chorus and I wrote the verses. What really inspired me was seeing a lady walking down the street and I was like, wow, she’s flawless. So who are some celebrity females you think are flawless? I don’t want to sound cliché, but Beyonce is flawless. Alicia Keys is definitely a flawless female. I love everything about her. And Gabrielle Union, wow!
When did you develop the ability to write songs? I know you said you picked up the singing when you were in school. Actually, my English teachers always told me I had great writing skills. My stories were so detailed and my plots were outlandish. Writing is a skill I’ve done well at academically throughout my high school career. And as I’m going into this journey in singing, I like to write to about emotions and real life situations, things that I’ve been through. Being that I love to write, I just put my thoughts into a melody and that’s how I come up with my music. Are you hoping to do a lot of hook collaborating like most of the big singers in the game right now? I’m always up for a collaboration. I do a lot of collabos with rappers. I always refer to myself as a pretty-looking thug. I do my thing for the ladies but I definitely keep it real for my brothers in the hood. If anybody wants me to do a hook on their song, I’ll definitely do it. I won’t work with just anybody, but if they’re hot I’ll work with them. If you want to collaborate with me or book me you can call my manager Anthony at 305-725-0894. You already put out a CD, right? Was it an official album or was it something for promotional purposes? I had a lil mixtape thing going on. It was a great success. Locally I get a lot of love, but I didn’t have that national push yet. Radio stations definitely showed me a lot of love. I had the city behind me supporting me. I’m thankful to have people behind me that care about my music like that and enjoy it. The fact that they enjoy it makes me want to keep doing what I do. So what’s the significance behind your name Radio? It’s kinda unusual. I want to set the record straight on that. I tell people my name is Radio and a lot of people start laughing but it’s something that I take very seriously. The reason I call myself Radio is because the only thing bigger than radio is TV, and I’m not going to call myself TV. Radio is entertainment. Radio is larger-than-life. I’m an entertainer and when I hit the stage that’s what people can relate to. It’s like, wow, this guy is a good performer. The reason I call myself Radio is because it’s entertainment, it’s the way I get my music out there, and it’s larger-than-life. Website: Myspace.com/officialradio
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Hailing from Southwest Florida, Naples to be exact, Sho Zoe has been making some recent noise in the club circuit. After his song “Sho Nuff” got people’s attention, Zoe followed it up with the current song “She Get It” produced by DJ Quest.
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How did you link up with DJ Quest for the song “She Get It”? He’s a big DJ out here in my area. He’s on 105.5 The Beat. I approached him. I used to see him at clubs and stuff and would give him my CDs and mixtapes. This year I put out a mixtape that did good, I kinda found my style. He just produced a beat that fit me. What about the other song you have poppin’, “Sho Nuff”? How did you get that out to the people? It’s a song I had for a while, like a year, and I never released it. Finally someone heard it and said it was hot. That’s how I hooked up with my management. I did the video for the song, which is actually on BET.com right now. When you say you hooked up with your management, who exactly is that? Down Low Records. They’ve been around for a while, ever since I was younger. I used to always see ‘em and give ‘em my CDs and tell ‘em I rap. I’ve been rappin’ for like 5 or 6 years and I finally got an opportunity. How does having management through them help you out? It’s really helping me. I’m getting a lot of exposure. At first I was only getting exposure in the area I live in, now I’m traveling more, doing shows here and there, in and out of the state. It’s really helped me get my name out there. Getting a music video on BET.com isn’t the easiest thing to do. How did you get your video on that website? My publicist Elora Mason set that up. How long have you been working with Elora Mason? Actually, a few months now. My management hooked all that up. You mentioned catching DJ Quest’s attention with a mixtape. How many mixtape projects have you done so far? This year was my biggest mixtape, but prior to that I had about four or five mixtapes. We’re doing an independent album, but we’re doing an EP first. The two records we were talking about are targeted towards the clubs. Would you say you specialize in club records, or do you do other kinds of music as well? That is my specialty. That’s what I love doing. On my album is when I get more personal and start talking about different situations. What’s that like to be in the club and see
people dancing to the music you make? It feels real good, especially when they don’t know who I am. I can be standing right next to ‘em and they’ll be goin’ crazy for my song and not even know it’s me. They’re not really familiar with my face yet, they’ve just heard my name and my songs and stuff. So you actually go put the record in the club yourself? We travel all week long. I barely get to rest. I rest like 2 or 3 days out of the week. We’re trying to break the records all over the Florida area. There’s a lot of Haitian pride in Florida. How do you represent the movement? The movement started before me, but I feel like I’m taking it to another level. I really put passion into what I do. It’s not all about that, I represent that too, but it’s so much more to me than just that. Like a lot of rappers, you got your start in high school. How have you progressed since then? Well, right now I really feel like I know myself real well. At first I was just experimenting, tryin’ this and that, and now I perfected my style. When you hear something now, you know that’s Sho Zoe. I really put passion into it now. Are you starting to hear from fans yet? Oh yeah, they love me, especially on Myspace. I’m like a Myspace celebrity. I really push it to the limit on Myspace. I’m on there like 24 hours a day. I’m on there when I travel. I feel like it’s so important, it’s like an online street team. When you first started rapping, did you think you’d get this deep into it? Nah, I really didn’t. I always knew I had what it takes, but I didn’t know if I was really gonna take it there. I didn’t know it would become a full-time job. As a full-time independent artist, how are you able to generate enough income to make ends meet? That’s real hard. Sometimes I don’t generate it, but I’m out there in the streets sellin’ mixtapes, travelin’ and stuff. I make beats too, that’s another way I make money. What’s next for you? I’ve got a new mixtape droppin’ around Thanksgiving called Grand Opening with DJ Quest. I’ve got another mixtape with Krunch, I’m on a lil’ mini college tour right now, and I’ve got a show at DJ Khaled’s birthday bash coming up. OZONE MAG // 25
by A // Photo by Ms. Rivercity
Known around Duval County as A dangerous lyricist, Swordz is back on the scene with a new mixtape TO LET THE STREETS know that he ainâ€™t GOING nowhere.
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What do you have going on right now? We’re actually cocked and ready wit’ a mixtape right now. We’re gettin’ the final mix and mastering done, some overall production stuff done to it. It should be out by the time this interview comes out. I’ve been concentrating on my shows. The name of the mixtape is Get Ya Money Up – it’s self-explanatory. Most of the production was done by my homeboy Rodney P. from Average Joe Productions. The rest of it is industry tracks. It’s hosted by my homeboy DJ Q45.
management goes, I’ve been back and forth over the past 5 years with a few different management situations. I ain’t sayin’ they didn’t have my best interest in mind, but at the end of the day, I gotta do what’s best for me. So I’ve been runnin’ everything on my own for the last 2 years. It’s been good for a nigga. It’s been stress free, drama free. I can’t tell you the exact reason why shit ain’t popped off the way it’s supposed to, but all I can tell you is that for ’08 and ’09, if they ain’t fuckin’ wit’ me I’ma make them kick themselves in the ass and ask why.
Why didn’t your usual producer DVUS do the tracks? He had a lot of shit goin’ on during this mixtape. At this point, no bullshit, I was writin’ a mixtape worth of material every week. After a while I guess it got to be a bit much for us to get in the studio at the same time. He was doin’ one thing and I was doin’ another thing so I went on ahead and did the mixtape. He did do the mixing, mastering, and overall production as far as puttin’ it all together. I got a few singles on the mixtape that he did the production on, but I was just testing the water and gettin’ some new blood under my belt.
Back in the day you used to be on the freestyle circuit real hard. Do you think you could still eat some dudes up in a battle? I’m still on that! If you know Swordz, you know I’ve always been about lyrics. Regardless of what a nigga stands for, regardless of what a nigga been through, I’ve always been ‘bout lyrics. If y’all niggas thinkin’ a nigga was sleep, this mixtape finna wake your ass up. A lot of the shit niggas ain’t been gettin’ over the last 3 or 4 years, they’re gettin’ it now. Half of the mixtape is songs, and the other half I’m rappin’ from the start of the beat to the end of the beat. But I don’t do the freestyle battles like that, mainly ‘cause I’ve been there and done that and I don’t have to prove myself to these niggas. They know what I can do. Make it worth my while. Put the cash pot up to a thousand, or some stacks, and holla at me. I can’t be doin’ these battles for $200. I don’t feel like I have to prove myself over and over. It’s always been there and it’s always gonna be there.
You have a new song called “I’m So Hated.” What inspired you to write that song? It’s one of those self-explanatory joints. It’s a lot of muthafuckas that fuck with me, but at the end of the day that’s how I felt so I put it out there like that. That’s how I was feelin’ then and that’s how I’m feelin’ now, so I put it in the streets and the people are taking to it. It’s an overall good look for a nigga. What are some other bangers you have out there? I got “I’m So Hated” that’s beatin’ the streets up. “Work” is doin’ alright. We also got a video for that. We got this joint that’s about to be hittin’ the street real soon, I’ve just been real picky about when I wanna put it out there. It’s a song I did called “Hell Yea.” We put it on DVUS’ Myspace page for a minute and as far as a single, that one is a problem! Over the years you’ve had several management situations, a few deals on the table, and a lot of performances. Why do you think nothing solid has materialized yet? I think it’s a combination of things. I always felt like I was ready, but me being as special as I am, maybe internally I wasn’t ready. I look at the situation like the stars have to align. You’ve got to have the right song, the right team, the right people lookin’ at you; everything has to happen at one time. I ain’t sayin’ everything’s aligned right now, but we’re plotting and planning and we’re damn sure ready. As far as
Your performances are another strong quality. What’s been your favorite shows so far? I’d have to say the ones where the audience don’t know who a nigga is or what a nigga is ‘bout to do. Like a lot of these Hood Rock shows I’ve done, I like doing ‘em ‘cause my back is against the wall. I don’t know what to expect from the audience and they don’t know what to expect from me. That’s where my comfort zone is at. Unless I’m constantly challenging myself it’s not really doing nothin’ for me. I like doing shows in cities where they aren’t up on a nigga like that. Shows where they don’t know what to expect and I blow ‘em the fuck out their shoes and they like, “What the fuck was that?” What else do you want to let people know about Swordz? I ain’t been nowhere! I’ve been planning, plotting, and strategizing, and now I’m back in y’all’s niggas asses like toilet paper. This mixtape is dropping. We got a Duval mixtape following that. The long awaited studio album is finally getting ready to hit the streets around Spring of next year. Keep watchin’ for me. OZONE MAG // 27
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// Photo by Terrence
When defining the underground Hip Hop scene in the southeast, one name is synonymous with the Florida street movement: PapA duck. While many have backed off and faded away when sudden fame missed them, he became even hungrier for the limelight. Papa duck’s patience over the years has been relentless and honorable, a virtue that recently paid off when he joined forces with Big Spenda Entertainment. So you have a new situation with the Miamibased label Big Spenda Entertainment. Explain the details behind that. My pa’tna Rarebreed was already [signed to] the label. Me and Rarebreed are both from Belle Glade. We grew up on the same street and all. When we went to Houston for the OZONE Awards, Big Spendaz saw the buzz and we connected. We all got together and they liked what they saw and I liked what I saw. Everything panned out perfect. You’re featured on the cover with Bigga Rankin for the second time. How long have you been working with him and what are some things you guys have accomplished together over the years? I’ve been working with Bigga for about five years now, since the first mixtape we did called Welcome to My Hood. Working with Bigga Rankin has brought a lot of notoriety. He goes hard, I go hard. It’s just meant to be. You have a popular underground record called “Fuck Boy.” What or who were you writing about? It’s about a lot of different people. That record is true from beginning to end. Every time I go out of town, everybody, even the radio stations, thought I was talking about Plies, but I wasn’t. Plies is my dawg. He gave me an opportunity to produce the first track off his first album. We got a good ass relationship. That’s my nigga. A lot of people got that misconstrued. But that’s a true record. The people that hear it, that are in those situations, they know who I’m talking about.
can depend on a person with no doubts, regardless of the situation. I’d rather have loyalty than money. We’re actually shooting a movie based off that song. Speaking of loyalty and your new situation with Big Spenda Ent., how is this new deal going to benefit everyone involved? What are the plans for moving forward? We finna go hard. I’m not the type of person to have one foot in and one foot out. I’m all the way in. You can’t find nobody that’ll say something bad about me. I love the fact that they pay attention to their artists. They’re out there on the road with us from time to time. That means a lot to me. We’re setting up a tour throughout Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina. I’m coming with the album The Streets Is Mine. The first single off the album is “Florida Boy.” You always pull up in the nice cars when you make an appearance. Yeah, that’s some “Florida Boy” shit – Chevys and Donks, Cutlasses and Caprices. That’s some street shit. I’ve hosted a couple car shows, like the East Coast Ryders Car Show, a show in South Carolina, and Dawgman’s car show in Orlando. I just bought a ’76 donk with 36,000 original miles. It’s in the paint shop right now and it’s got my name on the side of it. For any artist that wants to paint their name on the side of they car, I was the first one to do that. You have some other songs that have gotten a lot of attention lately. Talk about those. I’ve got the “Good Pussy” record, and the remix with Trina. It’s gotten a real good response – like when I say I’ll fuck a woman if her period is on but only if she spotting. That’s just real shit. “Haitian Flag” is a real hot record for the Zoes. “Do You Wanna Ride With Me,” produced by my boy CP Hollywood. I did a mixtape... The rest of this interview is featured in OZONE Magazine’s October issue.
Obviously the song is about loyalty, or more specifically, disloyalty. You feel pretty strongly about that. I believe in karma. What you dish out is what you get in return. Loyalty is something a lot of muthafuckas don’t have. Loyalty is when you OZONE MAG // 29
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Published on Nov 15, 2008