REAL, RAW, & UNCENSORED WEST COAST RAP SHIT
KEAK DA SNEAK SOOPAFLY EASTWOOD YUKMOUTH MESSY MARV DOGG POUND TOO $HORT SPIDER LOC & MORE
willy Northpole Phoenix Son
Live and Direct from the Desert
ADIO R E L B A H NTOUC NIZ REUNION U I L A C D RIOR APNEAKS ON THE LAUSUPERGROUP R A W J D MORE WEST’S* NUMSKULL S PSD’S BAY ARE & P O H P I OZONE WEST // * *H
// OZONE WEST
Publisher Julia Beverly Editor-In-Chief N. Ali Early Art Director Tene Gooden Music Editor Randy Roper ADVERTISING SALES Che Johnson Isiah Campbell Contributors D-Ray DJ BackSide DJ E-Z Cutt Eric Johnson Joey Colombo Shemp Toby Francis Wendy Day Street Reps Anthony Deavers, Bigg P-Wee, Dee1, Demolition Men, DJ Jam-X, DJ Juice, DJ K-Tone, DJ Quote, DJ Strong & DJ Warrior, John Costen, Juice, Kewan Lewis, Maroy, Rob J Official, Rob Reyes, Sherita Saulsberry, Sly Boogy, William Major COVER CREDITS Willy Northpole photo by Eric Johnson; Messy Marv photo by Shemp.
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THE WEST IS BACK…SIDE PHOTO GALLERIES HOW THE WEST WAS WON $HORT STORIES RELEASE THERAPY: YUKMOUTH PATIENTLY WAITING: J STALIN PATIENTLY WAITING: EASTWOOD PATIENTLY WAITING: NUMSKULL BANGIN’ 101: SPIDER LOC PSD, KEAK DA SNEAK, & MESSY MARV DOGG POUND WILLY NORTHPOLE DJ PROFILE: WARRIOR WEST COAST CD REVIEWS END ZONE
GAME RECOGNIZE GAME It’s funny how people call themselves wanting to “help out” or be a part of some shit. I mean, I don’t mind doing favors for my folkers, but it gets a little irritating after awhile. I can understand the guy who wants the world to see him based on the work he’s put in. I think we all want to be rewarded for what we do and how we do it. It just so happens that if you do it BIG in this industry you get all types of accolades, which include appearances and/or features in and/or with various media outlets. But it’s the dude who wants to be rewarded who hasn’t done anything that irks me. If you live in LA and nobody in Tacoma has heard of you, guess what? You’re local. That doesn’t mean you aren’t good and you don’t deserve to be featured (well, maybe it does). It just means that you haven’t yet arrived at the point where anyone is seeking you out. Given that scenario, I cram to understand how in the hell a no name rapper (who shall remain nameless because no one cares about his career anyway) who sells ads on the side approaches us wanting to know how he can get involved with the left coast portion of the mag. It makes all the sense in the world. An independent like you would want to be down with an established magazine that’s proven itself over the last five years in the game. The idea that we’ve come from nothing to the sole resource for Southern Hip Hop, and have now emerged as a winning example and inspiration for countless indie mags, emcees and otherwise, only suggests that we’ll follow that same blueprint for the Golden State. If it takes selling ads and a few hookups here and there, guess what? All that does for you is fatten your pockets and put you ahead of the game. So we give you the opportunity to prove yourself and you respond by telling me how you aren’t “interested in being an ad solicitor…” all because we don’t want to feature you?? “I don’t sell ads I create brands and connect them to cosumers (*Ed: he didn’t claim to be the best speller in the world)…” Yada, yada, yada. Get the fuck outta here and try and come correct next time pahtna. You have to be the most narcissistic, untalented rapper since Vanilla Ice. I went to your myspace page and your shit sucks. You gotta be a little off to think that we need you to make this pop. Don’t think we don’t already have street reps that are more than willing to help us out when need be. I’m talkin’ bout DJs,
photographers, sales guys, producers, radio, A&Rs, etc. It’s nothin’. And you! You could have been a pivotal part of that growing equation, but you chose otherwise. Shame, shame. Step ya game up pimper and holla at ya beezy if your “career” cracks off before you turn 40. Speaking of crack, I would be remiss not to mention the DMX meltdown, which Brazy the Kid covers in this month’s installment of “How the West Was Won” (pg. 6). I spent a few days last summer with dude (X) and all he did was smoke weed – well, that’s what I presume he was smoking. He insisted on being photographed in the heart of the desert in front of his two, count ‘em, two lowriders. And believe you me, they were his most prized possession the two days I was around him. He kept having one of his do-boys clean it every time we stopped at a gas station – probably to buy blunts for the weed that he says we talk about too much. He gloated over that ’64 and admired longingly as if he’d brought it into the world. What’s crazy is we did all of this in Phoenix, which is the West Coast – the place he attempted to dismiss with his careless words – the place he calls home for a good stretch of the year. So I called Willy Northpole, the subject of this month’s cover (“Strictly Business,” pg. 22) and asked him what he thought, seeing that he’s from Phoenix and this transplant is trashing his turf. “Ain’t that the crackhead from Menace II Society?” he asked. We both chuckled and he went on to defend his the whole coast as I knew he would. Maybe I’m the nut, but it’s ironic to hear that coming from someone who says he can’t “relate” to us, when he seems very much influenced by the lifestyle that we’ve shown him. Then again, DMX went on to tell me that about eight different people live inside him, so perhaps one of his ill-informed demons told him to speak before he thought that day. Go figure. At any rate, enjoy and know that the Lake Show will return to glory in the months to come. Peace 2 fingers.
N. Ali Early OZONE WEST Editor Ali.Early@ozonemag.com
All I need in this life of sin...
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The West is Back…Side: The Bay Area’s DJ BackSide links up with the Best of the West to see what’s really goin’ on in their heads!
oopafly has not only been a staple on the West Coast through his raps, but the whole West Coast Gangsta sound can be seen through his eyes. He’s lived it, rapped it and more, and he’s part of two groups now, not just The Dogg Pound. I got to sit down with Soopafly and talk openly about his new group The Western Union, the female rap stint and drought, and what he’s been up to the past few years. Here, he gives us a true perspective on what is going on in the West Coast right now and what needs to be done for us to succeed.
Pound, and we are the epitome of gangsta rap, all the time. That’s what the fans want to hear; that’s what the fans expect. The Western Union tries to veer off a little from this a little to embrace other ways of displayin’ Hip Hop.
Soopafly opens with this: “The West is on our way back. It’s like our homecoming right now. Everybody is comin’ back. It means a lot to see us all come back together. We’re about 65% back. Game is just one person, and I’m down with the hyphy movement, but not just one thing can bring it all back. In the South, we just can’t talk about Lil Jon and Jermaine Dupri anymore. You’ve got Rich Boy and [Unk’s] ‘Walk It Out’ and all that. So we just gotta keep the ball rollin’ and we’re doin’ that.”
Do you think it has something to do with the way women are portrayed in Hip Hop videos? No, I really don’t. I think it has to do with – I mean, I haven’t really got a CD from anyone that sounds like they should be out, you know what I mean. A male can do it, but he can’t do it better than a female as far as what she wants to say and how she wants to portray herself. You’ve got Beyonce on the R&B side killin’ it over there. I mean, are there any females that even want to be a rapper? ‘Cause I don’t see it.
BS: What have you been up to the past couple of years? SF: I’ve been layin’ low. I’ve been workin’ on R&B. There’s been a lot of setbacks with my album, but it’s comin’ out May 22nd on Koch. I fell into Western Union [with Damani and Badd Lucc] and that was just a good situation to rejuvenate myself as far as being on the West Coast. And I’ve been workin’ on beats, man, my solo project. Helpin’ B Real work on his solo project. Stayin’ busy, ya know? That’s all I do. Western Union is new, but what’s up with the Dogg Pound? Are y’all still functional? Always functional. We have gotten out the hard-head mode, gettin’ grown and realizin’ it ain’t about the bullshit, it’s about feedin’ our kids and gettin’ that big paper. And what’s the difference between your new group versus the old group? Western Union and the Dogg Pound? I met Damani and Bad Lucc of Western Union about a year ago and that situation just worked itself out. I found that I could bring knowledge and game and connections to this younger situation and it just all fit. They rejuvenate me. I’m a little bit older then them. Their youthfulness and hustle makes me want to go out and be out there right with them. Then there’s the Dogg // OZONE WEST // OZONE WEST
Where are all the female rappers right now? I don’t know. I can’t worry about them, I gotta worry about me. They better get they pants together and get out there and get they music heard. I haven’t heard anything [from a female] lately.
Technology is changing too right now. For an experienced rapper like you, how does that factor in? SF: Yes. Check me out at www.myspace.com/soopaflydpgc. Buy the album, it only costs $10. I know you got it! Technology is a part of life right now. You see how record sales have gone down. Labels and artists have to change their strategy. The internet can help you a lot. And hurt you too (cough, cough), YOUTUBE (laughs).
The Big Squeeze [came out] April 24th. Yeah, it all came together really by everybody hangin’ out around the studio. Like MC Eiht, aiight, you fit here, and Damani, you here, just like that. That’s why we called it The Big Squeeze, cause we squeezed it all together. And that’s how it really came together. Soopafly closes with this: “Stay behind me if you love me everybody, cause I’m still comin’. The Western Union. My album. It’s all comin’. Snoop is really reachin’ out right now. So it’s time. //
Check out more of my interviews every month here in OZONE West. www.myspace.com/djbackside and firstname.lastname@example.org
E V O L A I N R O F I L A CWEST COAST PHOTO GALLERIES
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All Photos by D-
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how the west was won
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“I don’t like a lot of West Coast rappers. West Coast rap is too laid back, too focused on marijuana with all the blunts and lowriders. There’s nothing honest. There’s no hardship in it. Everyone in L.A. that raps has a lowrider and a fat blunt. There’s nothin’ to make you say, ‘I can relate to that.’” – DMX
s this what we’ve got people thinking? I’ve never been much of a DMX fan but it hurts my heart to see someone spit this type of shit about the culture we’ve embraced growing up out here in these Los Angeles streets. A lot of boys became men out here from Inglewood all the way out to the Inland Empire and back. What about the Watts Riots in the 60s and the repeat in the early 90s that engulfed most of L.A. in flames? What about the countless acts of racially motivated police brutality that go unnoticed every day?
What does DMX know about gang injunctions where you can’t walk down the street in groups of three or more if you reside in a neighborhood deemed “dangerous?” What about the fact that we exist in an area where you have project housing five blocks from the glitz and glamour of the Hollywood Hills? And how could someone with a brain and a TV set not know about the thousands of lives lost over red and blue rags since the 70s? If we’ve got anything out here, it’s hardship, bottom line. Everywhere you go in America, you’ve got pieces of L.A. sprinkled throughout. Just about every city has a gang that originated out here or kids doing their best to pretend theirs did. You should embrace and respect any rapper who can grow up out here and portray an image of barbeques, blunts and lowriders as the norm. I give anyone endless love for being able to push back all that drama and only show the good times. Apparently Long Beach’s own Crooked I felt the same way. He recently released a freestyle over Paul Wall’s “I’m Throwed” beat that can only be labeled as “scathing.” It’s quick, to the point and vicious as fuck. It had to be. I’ve never heard such an uneducated and apathetic comment made about an entire scene since the world labeled the South as ignorant and incapable of crafting witty rhymes. Apparently he doesn’t remember signing Rialto’s Kartoon a couple years back, but I guess that’s beside the point. When you are looking for publicity, it seems like some are willing to say just about anything. Onto better things done by up and coming relevant artists. West Covina’s Topic // OZONE WEST
has a hit right now with “Creep & Crawl,” which will get my vote for best song this year if he doesn’t top it by summertime. DJ Skee and DJ Kay Slay teamed up with Topic to drop The Coast Guard, the latest in the trend of doing “street albums” instead of mixtapes. I respect that 110%. If you are creative, why not lay down some exclusive funk for the fans instead of just rapping over ten already hot beats that have been worked to death by the time you get a hold of them? There are some recycled beats on here, but this tape flows like an album and it’s straight heat from start to finish. Where was this dude and why did he wait so long to materialize? He recently signed to SRC, home to Akon, David Banner, and other big names. One listen to The Coast Guard and you’ll see why they snatched him up. The Game just dropped the fourth installment of his DJ Skee-hosted YouKnowWhatItIs series. The highlight is “Body Bags,” the latest diss towards the G-Unit camp. A recent altercation between G-Unit’s Tony Yayo and the 14 year old son of Jimmy “Henchmen” Rosemond, Game’s manager and owner of Czar Entertainment, is the fuel for the diss which takes shots at everyone involved with 50’s camp. The level of intensity in Game’s voice is frightening, as this isn’t a shot in the dark like most of the disses both sides have been sending back and forth. There is true life drama pushing him to do this, and it shows. Western Union - which consists of Bad Lucc, Soopafly and Damani - are killing it! “Hat To The Bacc” featuring Snoop Dogg is murdering the block right now and it doesn’t appear to be losing momentum anytime soon. This is what the West needs: three talented, diverse emcees who embody what the Left Coast is all about. In a world full of groups where you can’t tell one rapper from the next, this is a breath of fresh air. Cop their debut album The Big Squeeze when it drops. It’s a beautiful thing that Los Angeles is being embraced once again by most people in the rap scene, including big name labels. It’s ironic that New York, the founders of this shit, are the ones stuck in a rut right now. Hopefully they can pull themselves out of that and get some of this money. It’s a great time to be an emcee or producer no matter where you stay. Keep ya heads up! //
E V O L A I N R O F I L A CWEST COAST PHOTO GALLERIES
vs OakI.P.) @ Memphis Johnny Cash (T. outh @ Super Hyphy 16 // 03 ) CA o, Theater (Fresn la Pits & Yukm mil@ The Ballroom , CA) 05 // Goril // Julian, Traxa & Beeda Weeda r (San Francisco et & greet (Richmond, CA) 08 ght Ni lin ste y Ea Sta str r J fo du // In de 02 r Hi fo w CA) me fani @ Paulo’s t @ Redman’s Guce @ Club Ra b 17 (Oakland, Ka & es & , Clu 13 gu d, en ) @ & , CA Kid ie Am , a an os DJ co Th , dm Bo Furious ie, & Lil z Dre, Re dio (San Francis an, DJ Rick Lee, 01 // Foxx, Webb (Oakland, CA) 04 // Gary Archer, dio (San Leandro, CA) 07 // Mi d, CA) 10 // Ju .9 Yellow Bus Ra 15 // J Diggs & Elvis on e Club 17 (Oaklan Tha Kidd, & Mistah FAB @ 94 ) on’s Stu @ CA ag ie o, Dr sn bb @ re We F (F land dance battl & r XS ie , te & ea The Ballroom lous Boos ) 06 // Julian The Ballroom Th ak da Sneak & Mistah FAB @ CA) 12 // Fabo d, CA) 09 // Lil , @ rd lan c wa ak Lo ay (O K(H (Santa Rosa, CA & , t ing lin gh Ris Ke ) 20 // KNi Sta Up // CA y J h d, 17 str b, ut ) du lan Er Yo CA In ak DJ @ r d, (O d fo er, lion, & Tha Kid gi C @ Paulo’s 14 // Gary Arch nference (Oaklan Beef @ Hiero Imperium Studio Yo ) Co & CA sic ni d, fa Mu lan Ka ’s ak // ing (O 11 g Ris (Hayward, CA) n I @ Youth Up @ Youth Uprising // Esinchill & Kin & Dee Sonoram CA) 16 // Jimmie Neutron & Zio home party (Concord, CA) 19 Hyphy 16 (Santa Rosa, CA) // D-Ray, Unk, r d, ng pe mi oo Su co lyw @ ’s ol t -9 (H en @ AP strip rtainm & Haji Springer the Hollywood Mob Shop Ente CA) 18 // Dutch ncord, CA) 21 // Theater (Fresno, -9’s coming home party (Co AP Loc & B-Legit @ Ray
All Photos by D-
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ouston and the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area are my two favorite places for Hip Hop. They always have been, but not just because of the music. I love the music that comes from H-Town and The Bay but the reason they’re my favorites is because the local artists and various indie labels have never played by the rules set by New York and Los Angeles based major labels. Other areas like Miami, New Orleans, and Memphis have also made major moves with the help of major labels. After years of maintaining their own local Hip Hop scenes, the majors show up in these areas and give a few artists and labels a chance to play in the big leagues.
I don’t feel like enough artists understand the value of having a few independent albums under your belt before you sign to a major label. Most artists dream of hit records, videos in rotation on BET, and instant fame. If you had the opportunity to hear the detailed stories of every successful rapper, you’d know that almost every last one of us struggled for years or hustled hard for a long time before achieving the success that we’re known for. It’s not difficult to start a business, open up a bank account, and do a deal with an independent distributor. A lot of distribution companies will pay for the first batch of CDs you press up if you have some kind of buzz in your area. When I use words like “hustle,” I don’t mean just rapping and recording. I’m talking about working in the studio, doing live performances every week, circulating your hot songs around the city or neighborhood, putting out mixtapes, and doing anything else you can think of to prove to everybody that you’re one of the best out there. If you’re not a hustler and you’re still convinced that your demo is the best shit ever recorded in the history of the world, you’ll be the only person that feels that way because nobody will ever know about you. The best rappers and producers aren’t always the ones who make it big. The best hustlers usually have their way. If you’re already involved with a local independent label, make sure you maximize your hustle. If you plan on doing your indie thing in the near future, don’t just sit at home waiting on success to find you because you think your shit is so hot that the world can’t deny you’re the next Lil Wayne. In my 20+ years in Hip Hop, I’ve seen a lot of artists blow up in their hometown and be bigger in their own city than the biggest rappers from a major label. Not all of them have made it as big outside of their own cities, but they still make thousands and thousands of dollars without the help of major labels. There’s plenty of stories where a local label is doing it big, and then the majors come in and give them a lot of money to sign. That’s the end of the story. The majors “don’t get it” and after the cars and houses and purchased, it’s over before it really gets started. In some of those cases, that indie label could have turned down the major label deal and fed their families for years on the regional success of those artists. Being part of a local indie label is like going to college for a rapper. Once you make it to the majors, you’re a professional and you’re already seasoned. Fuck that whack-ass dream about walking into a major label and getting instantly signed and then seeing yourself on TV every day as you get filthy stinking rich. It could happen but even if it does, you’ll be inexperienced and won’t know what’s going on around you. You’ll have to rely on lawyers, managers, agents, label execs, and producers to tell you what to do. I think it’s best to crawl before you walk. // Photo by D-Ray
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E V O L A I N R O F I L A CWEST COAST PHOTO GALLERIES
) 03 // Redman etty (Santa Rosa, CA Pr Super Hyphy 16 m Studio (Oakland, CA) 05 // @ a ck Ja e Th le 9, & @ Hiero Imperiu // Mistah FAB & Casual freesty Figaz Fedx, AP ck b Sta Mo G// & 02 B, ) y CA Numskull, Mone et & greet (Richmond, CA) 07 w Bus Rydahs @ ght (Hayward, // llo Ni y Ye 04 str // ) CA du 09 , In ) r nd CA t (Richmo Paulo’s fo ce (Oakland, sten @ his me Shigady, Rat, Gary Archer @ his meet & gree land, CA) 12 // dman & John Co uth UpRising’s Music Conferen 01 // Network & hood of D-Ray’s Mercedes @ sa, CA) 06 // Re Yo t @ Club 17 (Oak 15 // The Jacka gettin’ Ro @ es a e Qu nt Le DJ k (Sa e & Ric th 16 e, y DJ ok on ) & , ghostridin’ @ Super Hyph // Tone, DJ Slowp & Mike Caren (Los Angeles, CA d, CA) 18 // d, Unknown 15 9, & Young Gasz Studio (Oaklan ) 08 // Tha Kid a Rosa, CA) 11 al, Black, Juan, AP dio (Oakland, CA .com @ Super Hyphy 16 (Sant sa, CA) 14 // TJ Chapman, Tre Mistah FAB @ Hiero Imperium h UpRising’s ut Stu Yo m @ riu ld pe ro Im Ha ay & battle @ Hiero Traxamillion & CA) 10 // RapB phy 16 (Santa Ro (Fresno, CA) 17 // Numskull // o, Hy r 20 sn ) pe re (F CA Su r , @ te co ea an cis r The Ballroom Th ood, CA) 13 // Tech N9ne & Ju Ballroom Theate .9 Yellow Bus Radio (San Fran izz Kids @ The 94 lyw sa, CA) 16 // Th ) 19 // Travis & Mistah FAB @ CA) & Baygeen (Hol Ro a nt (Sa 16 , phy , CA eet (Richmond love @ Super Hy greet (Richmond @ his meet & gr y @ his meet & Redman DJing // Redman & D-Ra 21 ) CA d, ce (Oaklan Music Conferen m) 4 by Ramza Alee Ray (except #1 All Photos by D-
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: FUNKIN’ OVER NOTHIN’
We gon’ kick this shit off like this. This is Yukmouth and I’ma air all this shit out – all the rumors up and all the beef shit, all that shit.
are ended. I ain’t gon’ say no names, but we got prime examples. A lotta niggas ain’t around no more cause of what G-Unit did to em or 2Pac or whatever. It was that deadly. I stepped in the ring and I’m still here. So I’m done with that shit. I’m about gettin’ this money.
Me and Game squashed the beef before BEEF III even came out. He signed one of my homies Eastwood. I’ve been lookin’ out for Eastwood ever since he been on Death Row, puttin’ him on albums, keepin’ his name out there. He told Game, “This is my homie. He been the only nigga out there lookin’ out for me. I can’t fuck widit unless u squash it with dude.” So they conference called me. Game was like, “Get your money. I know the BEEF shit is about to come out. You sell yo’ shit and I’ma sell my shit. After that it’s squashed and we gettin’ our money.” So I squashed the shit with Game.
Spider Loc I’m in the club, me and one of my dudes. Spider Loc there. I see him in the cut with all his niggas or whatever. I know he G-Unit but I really ain’t trippin’ off the shit yadadamean, cause me and Game had squashed our shit right before that. So I figured me and GAME squashed our beef it’ll pro’lly be all across the board; niggas ain’t trippin’. At the end of the night the nigga come approach me, surround me with his niggas. Somebody sucker punched me, tackle me. It wasn’t no jump. It wasn’t like a nigga stomped me out and beat my ass. It was a sucker punch and a tackle. So somebody sucker punched me from behind and a nigga tackled me from behind and grabbed my chain. I get off the ground and them niggas pointin’ a gun at security and everybody else runnin’ out the club with my chain. So I get on the horn with one of my OGs the next morning. I ain’t even about to put his name out there like that cause I ain’t gonna broadcast niggas like that, but it was one of my OGs that know him – that he respect too. So he got at the nigga and got the chain back. Now mu’fuckas sayin’ I paid for the chain. If I paid for the chain I woulda had to meet up with Spider Loc and cash him out. I didn’t even meet with Spider Loc. My homie met with the nigga and got the chain back cause he owe my homie some favors and some money and he brought the shit back to me. So months and months pass. We drop all these mixtapes beefin’. Right before my homie got the chain back, Spider Loc went to the pawn shop tryna pawn the shit and took pictures at the jewelry store. That’s what he put on the internet, but right after that he gave the shit back. That’s how that went down. So I was beefin’ with the nigga or whatever on the mixtape circuit. He was sayin’ his little shit on lil DVDs, mixtapes, whatever. My homie got us back together cause he was tryna do shows in the Bay Area and he had to close a couple shows because he heard about my niggas up there. That’s my territory and he was probably thinkin’ that the worst could go down, which it probably would. So he cancelled a couple shows goin’ up that way cause it wasn’t squashed yet. So that’s fuckin’ off money if you can’t perform in certain markets. He got at my homie and he hooked us up. We got the shit on camera. It’s gon be on my DVD, United Ghettos of America: Volume III. We just squashed the shit. I hope he get his bread, you know, I’m gettin’ my paper. Once I squashed it with Spider, it was squashed across the whole board. C-bo ended up seein’ Young Buck at the mu’fuckin’ Scrappy “Money in the Bank” video shoot and Buck always loved Bo. In all his interviews Buck always say Bo is his favorite artist. So they started fuckin’ with each other and now Bo is signed to Young Buck. It started with me squashin’ the beef with Spider. When I squashed the beef with Spider it was all across the board: No beef with G-Unit no more. We tryna get money.
Master P Far as the Master P shit, the same homie that squashed the me and Spider Loc shit, is about to hook me and Master P up. P’s been hella busy, but we about to hook up and squash our shit too. This year it’s about making money and peace. This album you ain’t gon hear no dis songs. It’s gon’ be good music and it’s back to gettin’ that paper. All that negative shit, I’m done with it. I done proved that I could stand in the ring with the best of them and I’m still alive. A lot of mu’fuckas that do that beef shit end up losin’ and they careers 10 // OZONE WEST
As told to N. Ali Early // Photo by D-Ray
Me and Num done had some bumpy roads. He went to the BARS Awards and tried to air me out on stage, tried to challenge me to a fight and I wasn’t even in the mu’fucka. But all my Regime niggas was there. They rushed the stage. We got Louis [Vuitton] bags full of money. “Here go ten stacks right here, nigga. Fight me.” One of my Regime niggas shut the whole shit down. Everybody started booin’ the nigga and they had to get em up outta there. This when I come through the door. Everybody like, “Num just got on stage and dissed you!” And right before that, we had agreed to do another album. So I’m puzzled like, “Damn, we just decided to put all that shit behind us and do another album and he wanna do this? What type of shit is that?” So we had to come again, have another mufuckin’ meetin’ and squash the shit again!! The niggas at his label was callin’ me cause they wanna do the project. And for the money, I’ma do it. Grudges and shit, attitudes and ego trippin’, that don’t pay bills. So I put that shit aside to get this money, cause that pay bills, straight up. Groups are the hardest thing to keep together. EPMD, Dogg Pound, anybody, it’s hard to keep a group together. It’s too many attitudes, niggas flashin’ and too much shit clashin’. So a group is very fuckin’ hard, especially when y’all came up in the game together. Y’all went from sleepin’ in the same apartment together, grindin’ and hustlin’ together to makin’ this music together. Y’all been around each other all yo’ lives, you get tired of each other. You want some space! You bump heads and shit, but at the end of the day, shit is hard. Shit’s been so easy since I been solo. I don’t gotta deal with nobody attitude or how this nigga take this song or how this nigga woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning or what he goin’ through with his wife or whatever. I don’t have to go through that cause I’m solo. That group shit is crazy. But at the end of the day it’s all for the money. Y’all gon’ hear another Luniz album on the strength of that. And on the strength of the fans. Fuck the money; the fans want it too bad. Every fuckin’ interview, “When’s the next Luniz album?” So we gotta do it for the fans. We got a legacy out there that hasn’t died yet and a big fanbase that hasn’t died yet. We just had to put all that bullshit to the side and do it for the fans. We still brothers. We been doin’ this shit since high school. When I got my solo deal, that’s what kinda threw shit off. Everybody spreadin’ rumors about the Luniz and how we broke up. They spreadin’ rumors to him about how I’m talkin’ shit about him and vice versa. So that shit tore us apart. It was a lot to do with that and him not doin’ the same shit that I was doin’ at the time. It was a lotta jealousy goin’ down at the time. So now he got his situation and he feel good about himself and there’s no jealousy. He now knows what it feels like to have a solo situation and get paid for doin’ your own album. It’s an opportunity and that’s the same thing I did, was take an opportunity. So now we can get this money.
The Luniz I didn’t leave the group. I still put out another album. The whole shit was to get a solo deal. But the fuckin’ nigga that signed us, the producer, put a clause in the contract to where if I went solo I’m officially out the group. Any other label would say, “He get a solo deal, that’ll blow the group up more.” But they wanna look at it like I get a solo deal I can’t be in the group no more. That’s what really made us fucked up. It was them, it wasn’t me! So C-Note Records or whoever thought they could replace me and I invented the muthafuckin’ Luniz, from the name to the logo, to Numskull name, that was all my idea. That was my creation in jail. I invented all this shit and you gon’ try and kick me out the group? A lot of that shit fucked everything up. So now it’s back and we good and we about to do this new album. But man, it was a lotta shit that threw shit off and had niggas against each other. I don’t think it’ll ever be the same cause we don’t do everything together. I got my own crew. He got his own crew and we both got our own movements. It ain’t gon’ be the same chemistry. I don’t think so. It’s gon’ be a album. At the same time I wanna see what it do. I want the chemistry to come back. But for that to come back we’d have to fuck with each other and right now we don’t fuck with each other. We both got our own movements. //
? e n o z o g n i ast d o c a t s e r e w s ’ ho w
oom eak @ The Ballr 01 // Keak da Sn ) 02 // Mistah CA , Theater (Fresno Bus Radio (San w FAB @ 94.9 Yello 03 // Too $hort Francisco, CA) r OZONE West cove showing off his nta, GA) 04 // tla @ Patchwerk (A Hide for Easter w Blake @ Club Ra s CA) 05 // Blk As (San Francisco, // 06 ) CA d, lan @ Club 17 (Oak ’s coming home Cognito @ AP-9 CA) 07 // Dame party (Concord, akland, CA) 08 (O Fame @ Club 17 @ Super Hyphy n // Demolition Me , CA) 09 // DJ 16 (Santa Rosa a Hyphy 16 (Sant Amen @ Super DJ E-Z Cutt @ Rosa, CA) 10 // // onterey, CA) 11 Club Octane (M et me ’s an dm Re DJ Kevy Kev @ nd, CA) 12 // DJ & greet (Richmo Redman’s @ MOE1 & DJ Juice mond, CA) 13 ich meet & greet (R s 94.9 Yellow Bu // Fabolous @ // ncisco, CA) 14 Radio (San Fra CA) d, lan ak (O 17 Foxx @ Club Club Raw Hide 15 // Furious @ ncisco, CA) Fra for Easter (San land, CA) 17 16 // Geezy (Oak Monie @ The // G-Field & Lil (Fresno, CA) Ballroom Theater Brother & s Pit 18 // Gorilla Hyphy 16 Lynch @ Super ) 19 // Guce (Santa Rosa, CA e for Easter @ Club Raw Hid CA) 20 // (San Francisco, oom Theater Haji @ The Ballr J Dangrige // (Fresno, CA) 21 an’s meet & Kafani @ Redm , CA) 22 nd & greet (Richmo er @ 94.9 // Jimmie Weav (San FranYellow Bus Radio Boosie @ Lil cisco, CA) 23 // d, CA) 24 // Club 17 (Oaklan & guest @ Magnolia Chop jo, CA) 25 // The Crest (Valle a, & Fedx ck Montana, The Ja (Santa 16 @ Super Hyphy PK @ Super Rosa, CA) 26 // Rosa, a nt (Sa Hyphy 16 an @ his CA) 27 // Redm mond, ich meet & greet (R & AP-9 CA) 28 // Ryan ng home @ AP-9’s comi CA) 29 // party (Concord, Redman’s Scotty Foxx @ ichmond, meet & greet (R Dank @ CA) 30 // Sleep ter ea The Ballroom Th Taji // (Fresno, CA) 31 coming Spitz @ AP-9’s ncord, CA) home party (Co Super @ 32 // Tech N9ne a Rosa, Hyphy 16 (Sant cka & CA) 33 // The Ja Super DJ Slowpoke @ a Rosa, Hyphy 16 (Sant ll @ CA) 34 // Tito Be ter ea The Ballroom Th Tra// (Fresno, CA) 35 w Bus vis @ 94.9 Yello ncisco, Radio (San Fra Real CA) 36 // Treal e for @ Club Raw Hid ncisco, Easter (San Fra @ Club CA) 37 //Webbie ) 38 17 (Oakland, CA Super // Yukmouth @ a Hyphy 16 (Sant Rosa, CA) Ray All photos by Dlia (except #3 by Ju DJ Beverly & #10 by E-Z Cutt)
OZONE WEST // 11
it was written
West OAKLAND, CA
rted er there and just sta ts. “So I cut from ov e, ‘Fuck it,’ cause I mi ad he ” ht, eig on me lightw over there lik West Oakland I left all my songs ngs] a day.” d in the streets of doin’ my own shit. ord six or seven [so rge rec me to sub d t the en use m I tal fro g ck. ay ba s aw ng u so yo eing a youn m er the ste t to ge can s do their part ough to has its benefits. OG lin recently released u’re hardheaded en ve. e Wire Records Sta . Once you show yo Liv ser nts of de u me ist yo ele art e d me buzz started tiv ga lea ga d ne e you all the As the CEO an Streets, however, his guidance, they’ll giv Stalin was on the path to um, On Behalf of the lition Men delivered the mixtape alb l ful t J firs ignore their subtle , his old West, but ens seventeen years en he and the Demo intro and winning ay all the ills of the obvious By the time he wa months before wh e latter boasted an Bay – Too $hort. “That d the talent to portr no Th . ha d ift ha He Sh o m. wh ng rdo rni uth sta Mo yo o nted ghett The Early ther of the be among the torme lin from the Godfa on $hort, like preferred instead to dorsement for J Sta exclaims. “I grew up lin Sta ,” me to r no ress Village when ho Cyp an to e lik me is co way out. it to sh d t a dope case. on him. $hort use gh respect and up w cau his t gre he go y lly I da If rea , s. the lly lt rea the niggas in Cypres t here.” // to a screeching ha rein, he was th e the wi k cam ng ls fuc thi ve d ery an tra ev ’s le d Stalin ney an I was litt ecially ou urious fast cars, mo l for fear of serving hard time. a lotta weight, esp Stripped of the lux he a OG, that holds d y to schoo da use ch PO ea y s “M bu n. the thi wi forced to catch the entertainer time that he found // Photo by D-Ray month period It was within that alling the fourteen Words by N. Ali Early rec ls, tel lin Sta home l,” go oo to sch ve my ha to to d me to co us. “I use d his ability to foc where he discovere be to d ha I l. oo sch straight after d I didn’t really there before five an shit else [but do to e tim no have ” s]. write rap
e Stalin recalls The only other tim by rap was d sse gro en as being re his mi ad to d use when he Lil Dame. Like promising partner e, but wasn’t J, Dame caught a cas ht now doin’ l rig jai in e “H ky. luc so Stalin discloses twenty four years,” n and equal tio ora ad with obvious raw. I used lla he s anguish. “He wa before him, but bit le litt a ite wr to lla raw and he that nigga was he .” rap a nn made me wa e how much of a Stalin didn’t realiz become until uld co he ity commod own fate behis ed lat he contemp was capable he g hind bars, provin ple. That span am ex by ng rni lea of s turned into two of fourteen month rned the attenea lin Sta years, and up member gro 5 41 tion of former y found himself all fin d an ryl Da DJ of former Def in the good graces h. “At that time Ric hie Ric Jam artist music,” he th wi e I just fell in lov of person that e typ the m “I’ s. say ng, I’ma do it all if I’ma do somethi to it.” ck stu t jus the way. I e led to a variety Stalin’s persistenc inly hooks on ma es, nc ara pe of ap Pryor Roundtree. on Nix um Rich’s alb ed enough ord rec He eventually , but chose to songs for an album y was sleepin’ leave. “I felt like the
12 // OZONE WEST
East Los Angeles , CA
aw energy and enthu siasm are just two of the many qualitie describe Eastwood, a 6’4” rapper who s to was notably ranke of the Top 20 high d as one school basketball day the former Fre players in Californi sno a. But, towordplay and gang State basketball star is known for his ster persona. realness, slick Now signed to Jad ed Entertainment, the road to succes shape several years s began taking ea Records noticed his rlier for the 10-year west coast veter an. flourishing freestyle to a short-lived de ability and immedia Dunn Deal al, before being co urted by Marion “Su tely inked him Row Records. When ge” Knight’s Tha things did not come to fruition over at Tha Row, the
most feared mogu l in the industry gra nted his release. Th opportunity for Ga is me to place a deal on the table, but du presented the strife between Bla e to the internal ck Wall Street and G-Unit, the deal ne day. ver saw the light of “It was a group de al for M.O.B. (Money Ov myself, Game and Techneic. I was even er Bitches) that consisted of tually going to be deal, but things we signe nt the other way. I respect Game for rea d to a solo I was the one who ch put his demo in Su ge’s hand before his ing out to me; off. So it’s still lov e all across the bo situation popped ard from one OG to another,” he says. With his latest deal, Eastwood looks to expand his empire, which currently includes a solo and a group deal wi th his Self-Made lab deal el that is currently in a bid ding war between Warner Bros, Interscope an d The New No Limit. Despite label woes and an unreleased album from the three-man collecti ve (M.O.B.), the Ea st Los Angeles rapper did not gracefully. It just ma bow out of the game de him grind that much harder by releasin g a slew of undergr ound mixtapes with Loya lty Or Nothing being the latest. “My situation over at Tha Row had ev erything to do with Suge be ing blackballed by the industry. There is no reason in hell why my album, Left Eye an d Crooked I album s did not drop. It only inten sified my mixtape game and the result speaks for itself,” he adds. While the growing popularity of rap mu sic steadily increases, so does the expecta tion for greatness and comparison. Accord ing to one music critic, Ea stwood “brings a ma gnetic swagger to the ga me that many agree hasn’t been seen since Tup ac’s reign.” “I think that’s a rea l ge terms of my past ex nuine statement in perience and being an underground king. I paid a lot of dues just like ‘Pac. I started out listening to ‘Pa c so to hear a statement [lik e that] lets me know on the right path,” he proudly proclaim I’m s. Making all the move s of a self-made bo ss is not only the physi cal attribute to a ma compared to a leg end. It’s also the titl n e of his soon to be relea sed tertainment. “My alb album on Jaded Enum is called Self-Ma because I’m the 1st de rap double album (Makin per to ever drop a g History & Changing The Game) and sim a video for every so ultaneously shoot ng putting out a docum on the album while en 3 Strikes. And if tha tary called Life After t is not a self-mad e CEO on his way to being a self-made millio naire, then I do not know what is.” // Words by Raheim Sh abazz
OZONE WEST // 13
READY OR NOT
East oakland, CA
ll o The Luniz, Numsku and innovative du ll wi fun ers the pe of p lf Ho ha e Hip on s ny of his Bay Area ma t for e tha s ibl ns ces po suc res enjoyed as much th Yukmouth he is and never see. Along wi Five On It,” a musical interpretation t Go “I oss e acr ras m ph the ch an cat an e the becam toting marijuana. The song their debut album ode to their love of setting the stage for nding fanfare , try un co the d an pe im d an s the Bay Area ces suc acy. , whose platinum of West Coast suprem began Operation Stackola ts igh he to m the it ult un ap a cat as y uld rit eb wo d cel seeme natic Muzik) their Lu ( er lat um alb an However, to fade. logisme suggest business pted split are varied. So rru the co d act hin ntr be co ns el so lab rea The endent lines of their indep what seemed an tics within the fine
between doses of infighting ers instigated mild high oth ior d an jun ce nd bo sin l e eterna er’s sid a necesd been by each oth the rappers, who ha rio, the untimely riff ultimately forced na sce r school. In eithe sary split. ed ng any other drumm discloses, dismissi d m an Nu r ea l,” na n’s rso rso pe pe t e “It was jus dy gets in on this. When somebo s other person thi n tha r tte up logic. “It’s like be e tually ling you that you’r a strong mind, even ed they’re already tel , if you don’t have en pp him ha ed at ne wh n’t s do at’ u Th . and yo you’re going to go s d ow an kn ck He cra is. to it ing you’re go know what my brother and he .” ses sen with Yuk. I mean, he his sically he came to what he did and ba ck se – Silver and Bla pointing third relea ap dis the ir th wi the r er tou aft to Sometime – Num decided group Digital Unoffbeat legendary but vanished from all d an nd dergrou g his stint there he rin Du t. the spotligh er Clee dropped mb and DU group me his only collaboan album together, Luniz. But he saw the of de tsi ou ration an opportunity as e nc rie the DU expe and expertise ge led to use the know ort eff to help aspirhe’d gained in an ir rap swag. the d fin s cee ing em en ready to do “I really wasn’t ev admits. “I just m Nu ,” um alb lo so a artists and help th wi rk wo to d wante same time, I the At . uld co anybody I s. I was alng so ing never stopped do le’s albums op pe er ways gettin’ on oth thing. It’s just pe xta mi the ing and do to do an album that I’ve never tried myself.” k or Fall Records too Ready or not, Ball ready. s wa ll ku ms Nu d a chance an ease of his solo With the summer rel one he has more than debut, Numworld, th, tru of l ful um An alb reason to rejoice. e Luniz Th of s pth de the it digs into like “Sea Saw,” and debacle on tracks to life and rhyme often draws parallel Yuk recently d an He it. s see as Num t The Luniz album tha cleared the air and waiting en be s ha c bli pu their listening - just don’t keep on is in the works t it. ou ab m the hassling dy to stay out of me “I just want everybo s ,” says Num. “That’ and Yuk’s business e cid de we If y. s bo between me and thi then that’s what ts to put it in the stree did that personally we decide to do. We ab s out each other when we did song . between me and him s wa at Th it. and sh stay out of ase ple e, els dy But everybo s what it is.” // our business. That’ Words by N. Ali Early
14 // OZONE WEST
// Photos by D-Ray
OZONE WEST // 15
I want to touch on the incident that just happened at your video shoot recently. What is your side of the story? Well, we were in Compton, which is another area that is notorious out here in Los Angeles. Any day, anything can go down. We had quite a few onlookers watching us work and that group of people happened to be a collection of individuals that were so-called rivals that were totally unassociated with what we had going on. The rivals got involved in some kind of altercation and they apparently, from what I could see from some footage and from what I could hear, they exchanged a few shots. So basically, there was a shooting at your video shoot. Yes, just like that. To the world it might be shocking footage, but as much danger that apparently was at hand there, we experience that constantly. We have that shit at parties all the time and everybody does what they did in that footage - get up and dust themselves off and get back to partying or until the next set of gun shots. It’s the way we live. Some of that footage has spread out to the masses, mostly via YouTube. Any idea how that happened? I’m responsible for that. My staff is responsible for putting it out there. That’s to show my sense of reporting; as long if there’s no one being incriminated or a threat of any type of judicial mandate, I definitely feel that it’s my responsibility to give you a firsthand account of what really took place out here. What’s your opinion right now on The Game? He’s very fortunate to receive the attention he received standing in front of the world as a West Coast representative of street music, because that is the very opposite of what he actually is. We have individuals who grow up in our streets and exist there trying to find ways to avoid the elements that make it a dangerous place and some who participate in making it a dangerous place to be. The Game is a member of the pack of those first individuals I named. Of course he grew up in the same slums and ghettos as I did, but his activities were to avoid the things that made it a dangerous place to be and mine were contributing to it making it a dangerous place. What about Big Fase? What’s your opinion of him? Well, I only know Big Fase through certain incidents that have taken place in the public eye. I was quite shocked to see his response to the infamous video footage that took place when he got into it with his homeboy; I was disappointed in his response. I expect a lot more out of him than being attacked so violently.
16 // OZONE WEST
Really? You’re disappointed with his counteractions? Yes, I would have expected a lot more out of any man, not just a gang member, but any man. Anyone who approaches you in that physical matter, I thought self-defense and self-preservation was the number rule of nature. I would just imagine a little more effort to defend yourself. What are your thoughts on the so-called beef between Big Fase and The Game? I really don’t have an opinion on it. No one really knows what really happened between those two men on why who is mad at that other and I really don’t give a fuck. I got my own brothers! These niggas are tic for tat, whatever they are going through, they going through it. Actually for a moment, me and Big Fase saw eye-to-eye because we shared the same enemy, industry-wise, his brother Game, so we tried to collaborate on some DVD production ideas together. What shocked me is that it’s ironic the only time I ever received any type of collaboration [offer] from Big Fase or his organization was once he fell out with his brother [The Game] and that’s the only thing we ever actually had in common. Any other time when he was cool with his brother, he kind of stood in the forefront making it known that there was bad taste between us. What is the deal with you and Yukmouth stemming from the incident that happened some time ago at the club. Is there still animosity there or is that dead now? Damn, man, how far in the archives are you going to go back? I just wanted to get that cleared up because some people don’t know the circumstances on that issue. It is dead with Yuk. As far as I’m concerned, it was dead the day we left the club. I may have mentioned it in one line in a song that I did because of that event, but the physical shit that takes place is in the line. Either you’re doing something about it or rapping, and that situation started and ended all in one night. It was just one incident so it really wasn’t much rapping to do about it. There is not much rapping you can really do after you’ve already been physically in contact with that individual. Anything else that starts off with the music and turns into a disagreement in the music industry, I hope it can stay there, because it’s just music. No matter how violent or derogatory it may seem to the listener, you have to realize we are entertainers. Myself, I’m not trying to throw my career away [over beef]. // - Words by DJ E-Z Cutt
to ent surfaced Hyphy Movem ak Da e Ke th s, , n rs a so ye ve n ree nati Th . a re After all of te A y a hy it won’t ack to the B h, explain w va ri D a bring light b Th SD a Bidness. Marv and P tive effort D ra o b a ll Sneak, Messy co r through thei go back out
Y A W RD A THA H
I EARLY WORDS BY N. AL SHEMP BY O OT PH RV MESSY MA OS BY D-RAY ALL OTHER PHOT
K | KEAK DA SNEA PSD THA DRIVAH MESSY MARV |
OZONE WEST // 17
What was your role in making this collaborative group effort happen? Keak: Me and PS had hooked up and we just started recording. We brought all our ideas together and PS had put a lot of footwork in already. Me and Mess was goin’ every whichaway. I got a studio at my house and PS keep a studio with him – laptop and whatnot. We had like 18, 19, 20 songs together and we was gon’ call it Hyphy Cool Nigga. I’m the hyphy one and he the cool nigga. So we thought about it… Oakland, Vallejo, Frisco. So we just linked up with Mess and he just was logged into every song, put something on everything. It was some good shit. PSD: It ain’t really a group. It’s just a good album. We just came together and knocked it out and got Da Bidness. You got Mess representin’ the streets, the gutter, grimy shit. You got Keak on the hyphy shit. He do what he do and I’m the cool cat. The Hyphy Cool Nigga Project just didn’t sound right. Plus I was tryna do something different and it all worked out. Messy Marv: PSD, one of the bosses of the Bay, reached out to me and wanted to do the Oakland, Vallejo, Frisco thing. He basically told me that it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t get Frisco on it. It was an honor to get on there with PS and Keak. It came out real good. It’s a classic album. Why Mess? Was he just the logical one at the time or was it that the chemistry was right between y’all? Keak: I don’t know. It was just some ordinary guys from these three little cities by the water as far as being outspoken. We gon’ say somethin’. We gon’ say some real shit. And we ain’t takin’ nothin’ from nobody else. That’s just how it went. It wasn’t really planned. It just went down like that. I’m from Oakland, but I’m with the whole movement. I’m with the Bay. I do music for the Bay cause it’s been ten years since we had some recognition. PSD: Really, it was out of Mess and [San] Quinn. I fuck with both of them. Whoever answered the phone first, and Mess answered the phone first. Mess: PS put it together and I answered my Nextel first. What makes this album so good? PSD: I’m a fan of music and I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but that muthafucka’s bad. Droop E did five of ‘em on there. He did the “Cuz Cuz” track too. It’s just a lotta shit on there. It’s some cool shit. You got some wildin’t shit on there. You got some shit that’ll make you go silly… just tryna keep it me. Everybody did they thang. Keak didn’t step outside his shit. Mess didn’t step outside his shit. But I wanted to. Mess: It’s everything all in one. I’m more from the street, raw uncut world. PS is the cool, kinda pimpish laid back – he street too – but he in that laid back world and Keak, he just GO! That’s what makes the album. It’s just three worlds combined into one and it’s all Bay. It’s real Bayish. How does that work, when everybody comes together but basically stays the same? Is that what makes it work or was there a feeling out process? PSD: It’s always like that with me. But it was three different cats and we all had three different ears. But we feed off each other. It’s a formula. I learned a lotta shit about the boy Keak, man. Keak bad! He a bad man. He got content. I
18 // OZONE WEST
was just [trippin’] off his voice and then when I see him, I just crack up. That’s my nigga. The muthafucka got content. People ain’t gon’ get that. He got this shit he started now, but he sayin’ some shit. Same with Mess. Mess a dog. I love Mess. Mixin’ that album, I got a chance to listen to everything acapella. That shit’s crazy. That’s all this was about. I didn’t really wanna put out no more solo shit. I write a song a day anyway. Then the opportunity came and [I took it]. And I ain’t gon’ lie. I was gon’ use these cats and get a little bit of their shine, a little bit of their light, cause they got Soundscans. They sell a lot more records than I do, but it’s a privilege. It’s a privilege to even be on a track with them cats. Mess: When PS reached out to me they had the majority of the album done. All I had to do was put my touch on it, put my flavor on it. So that’s what I did. The chemistry and all that shit, I think we work good together. As far as us being in the studio together, nah, all that didn’t happen, but it sounds damn good. It sound like we was in that muthafucka together. So it was a chemistry without a chemistry. So it was a set up to do a solo album or did you do it because you didn’t necessarily want to do a solo album? PSD: To tell you the truth, I was just doin’ something. I didn’t want to do a solo album, nah. It just happened like that. I listen to it now and I’m like, “Man, look at the numbers!” I was finna give the muthafucka away if the label didn’t come right. But basically, I was just doin’ something and it came together like that. So I know after doin’ this, muthafuckas look at me different. The like, “Dude a bad muthafucka!!” (laughs) With this album having so much potential to be big, did you intentionally concentrate on a lot of features to spread the wealth? PSD: I didn’t wanna leave nobody out. Da Bidness ain’t just Vallejo, Frisco and Oakland. I don’t never wanna step on nobody toes and X nobody out. It’s a cat up outta Richmond named Jonny Cash. He a bad muthafucka. I was going to put him on there, but the shit was done already and the shit woulda been a headache for me. I was runnin’ around like a muthafucka gluin’ it together. Why you think it took so long for the Bay to come back around and find this level of unity? Keak: I just feel like all the wrong people was gettin’ bad record deals. Like 3X Crazy. We was 17 and we was signin’ contracts and didn’t know what they said. We just wanted to do good music and when it got the point where we just ain’t seein’ no money? It was crazy. Then we got a lot of people in our ear and we was misled. I just feel like everybody just started goin’ their separate way. That caused the group to break up and it caused people to try something else that year. Then we lost some people. Rappin’ Ron, Seagram Miller, Cougnut, Mr. Cee from RBL Posse, 2Pac. We had too much time of not doin’ nothin’. Mess: It’s still not there. A couple pieces of the puzzle ain’t in place right now, but you gotta look at it like this. We are an industry within ourselves. You lookin’ at ten to fifteen entrepreneurs, CEOs that’s sellin’ twenty, thirty thousand units by themselves in the Bay Area. We push our own music, our own labels and our own rhymes. There’s a lot of that on the table as far as business moves and ventures that get in the way of people getting together and it’s going to take somebody that’s in place or in the public eye to put these last little pieces together so we can all come together. But we’re all
our own men. It ain’t that we don’t have no unity. It’s just that we’re pushing our own line. If we do come together for a good cause it’ll be good, but if we don’t, it’s still gon’ be a Bay thing. Don’t get it fucked up. Don’t come out here playin’ around thinkin’ it’s sweet like that, like we ain’t clicked up or somethin’. You’ll get yo ass beat real good. What’s your relationship with Thizz? Keak: Mac Dre was like my dude. I grew up to Mac Dre music and I’m 29. As I was gettin’ into the game I was listening to him, all the Bay. MC Ant to Dangerous Dame, but Mac Dre had that shit. But I’m a little bit of everybody in one. That’s what makes my style. Mac Dre was my dude and my guy, but at the time when I was gettin’ on I couldn’t sign to nobody as an artist like that, cause I put a lot of footwork in building me. I reintroduced myself every year, kinda like startin’ from scratch. I got a big fan base because of the work I put in and I got a lot of people depending on me. Together we stand and divided we fall. PSD: I’m the thinker. I’m OG. I’m original with this shit. We just wanna unify everybody, cause the shit killed us. What Kilo’s tryna do is get everybody together in every city. If you in yo town and you signed to Thizz, you got something with Thizz Nation. You throwin’ that “T” up. And that make a muthafucka feel good, cause we just tryna keep Dre alive. Dre was about keepin’ people together. Mess: Just like it is with everybody else in the Bay. It’s a label that’s struggled, had one of the best dudes that ever came up out this muthafucka. Unfortunately we lost him – one of my homies. It’s a personal and a business thing. It’s personal when it comes down to this Bay, and it’s a business thing when it comes down to this record shit as far as our respective labels. Given your stature you can pretty much move how you want to, but there has to be a struggle as an indie wanting that ever elusive major label deal. Keak: And it is. For a minute we was pretty much gettin’ no airplay. It was a time in ’98, ’99, 2000 that we couldn’t get on the radio because people was gettin’ fired left and right and that’s a major part of gettin’ a deal. You gotta show labels you got heat as far as Soundscan. I feel like we need everybody
to buy our record for us to go platinum. Like the South, they shit be over here before we even hit. Mess: I’m not satisfied or content with the level that I’m at right now. I always want to get further and venture out and do other things. But it’s like, dealing with the majors, they wanna have your publishing, and they really wanna give you peanuts at the end of the day. You really gotta go platinum to see some money with a major label, ‘cause after the video, this, that and the other, you really ain’t seein’ no money. Now on the independent level, I could sell 50,000 units at six dollars a pop and make $300,000 in four quarters in a year, puttin’ out an album and just pushin’ it that whole year. So with my career, I would like a major deal, but they’re going to have to match me. I’m looking for a major deal, but I’m looking to be matched. If I can’t be matched then it ain’t no sense in me signing over everything I worked hard for and struggled for all these years. It’s a hell of an example for the kids, the way you all came together, because y’all are the ones they’re lookin’ at and it’s so crazy in the Bay right now. Keak: The hyphy movement is a mix of the good and the bad. I mean, imagine having that much power and it’s all on you right now. So it’s all on my next album. I’m just warmin’ up right now. Mess: All I gotta say is thank the Lord for Lil Jon comin’ and snatchin’ my man and turnin’ the light right back on us. Whether people like it or not, that was a window of opportunity for everybody to get back on. I don’t ride the yellow bus. I’m retarded than a muthafucka, but I don’t ride that muthafucka. When you listen to a Mess album, you’re gonna get that ’84, ’85, early ‘90s flavor. Not to take nothin’ from nobody that’s ridin’ the yellow bus, but it was a window of opportunity for the Bay Area when Lil Jon snatched E-40 and it’s been nothin’ but good exposure for this area. What’s the overdose? PSD: That’s what I say, man. If I was a muthafuckin’ drug, I’m doin’ all of it. I wanna get dead meat. If a muthafucka meet me he gettin’ all of me on the spot. I’m the overdose. I ain’t comin’ with the bullshit. I’m just me. But I don’t do drugs. I’m scared of drugs. I don’t think I’d come down off drugs. //
OZONE WEST // 19
ILL BARRY UNDERH Y B TO O H P // D RICE G. GARLAN WORDS BY MAU 20 // OZONE WEST
az and Kurupt aka Tha Dogg Pound Gangstas are proving that you can have a second wind in the music industry. After seeing their 1990s prominence go down in a ball of flames at the turn of the century, it seemed like these Doggs were neutered. But over the last couple of years the duo has been barking louder than ever before. Now promoting their latest album Dogg Chit (their second in as many years) OZONE caught up with Daz in Atlanta and Kurupt in Amsterdam to get them to speak on being independent and cohesive at the same time. It seems like you guys have gotten that trademarked chemistry back. How do you feel about the new album? Daz: I feel real great. It sold out in Best Buy, so it must be really good. Kurupt: I love it. Me and the homie Daz, we concentrated on this one, to get that authentic sound. We doing what we love. I’m spitting and he got the chance to get back in tune with his music side. It’s dope, but we got a lot more to do. We getting back into that world we was in. We were departed so long we had to get our rhythm back, and we did. Just a couple of years ago, you two were going back and forth with diss records and not getting along at all. What changed to make you guys be able to work together again? Kurupt: It takes time. Living with each other, learning about each other again. Right now we bring the best out of each other. You could tell from the lyrics I’m spitting and the beats he’s making. You guys seemed to revisit the old Dogg Food cover with this Dogg Chit cover. Are you trying to say that this album is just as good, or better? Kurupt: Definitely. We were looking forward to letting people hear this album. We’re coming with that original flavor. We’re very excited, we were just sitting and watching until we got our rhythm. We wanna see what people like to hear from us. Daz: Every album gets better, especially if I’m fucking with it. We coming with it on West Coast Aftershocc too, that’s going to be our next album. That one is up for grabs, so if any of you labels want it, it’s for sale. The story has already been told about your days at Death Row and how things operated over there. How has it been working with Koch for this and the Cali Iz Active album? Kurupt: They let us oversee our own shit. That’s why this is our second album on Koch. Me and Daz both talked about how we were going to do things. Daz is very independent, so we chose to fuck with Koch because they gave us full control over what we’re gonna do. This is the only album I’ve ever had full control of in my whole career. Daz: I was just looking at what people was saying about my So So Gangsta album and the Cali Iz Active album. It was other people’s direction on those albums. I put everything together on this album. A lot of niggas do put their own albums together and make money. I was actually mad because after Cali Iz Active came out, we wasn’t hearing from the company anymore. When I get mad, that’s when I’m most creative. I smartened up from being on the internet. I spent my own money putting this project together and put up snippets of “Vibe” (Dogg Chit’s first single featuring Snoop Dogg). After that, companies started knocking telling us that the shit was hard. I had been making money on my own through the internet, I made $400,000 selling my independent music on the internet. When companies saw that, they wanted to get down.
Musically, what was the goal with this album? Kurupt: I think we really tried to make the best album possible, but keep it West Coast to uplift Los Angeles as well. Just making good music. We make gangsta music, this is us. It’s not because we can’t make anything else, it’s because we feel that this voice is still needed in music. People seem to be thirsty for West Coast music again. Why do you think that is? Kurupt: Because there’s a lot of war going on. But that’s not to say that our music is based on war. Our music is based on stories from the streets. Hip Hop is musical and people were falling off because it wasn’t about the music anymore. Its not that people stopped liking this gangsta shit; it’s that the originals weren’t in it anymore. You’ve got to have the originals in it. Me and Daz make gangsta rap that tells the stories from the streets; being young and active in these streets. That’s why people like it. Every couple of years we see or hear of a “West Coast resurgence,” but it always seems like the same faces are involved. Do you think a West Coast movement will continue to be hindered because of it being compared to the past? Kurupt: Man, even we get compared. Everything we drop, people have the nerve to compare it to Dogg Food. But it’s all about the new. The past is old. We love what we’ve accomplished in our past, but we’re into the new DPG. But we know it’s gonna take time for people to adapt. As far as a new movement goes, if the new cats are original it’ll be okay, but if they try to do us it won’t work. That’s why I like cats like Bishop Lamont and Glasses Malone. I think a lot of new flavors will continue to come out. How has Dogg Pound been able to stay relevant in Hip Hop for so long, especially as a group? Daz: Because of the younger generations growing up. They still fuck with us even with other people coming up. For us to still be in the game making money dropping records after 15 years, it’s a blessing. But we do this as if we was youngsters still. And being hardheaded, always thinking how I think. Because when you wake up you only got you. When you learn that people will fuck you over, you learn to recreate yourself. Kurupt: Plus we’re homies in a time where everybody is going for self. Guys today don’t want to have to deal with anybody else. Groups keep it going like Outkast but a lot of these other cats came up and struggled on their own so they keep it that way. Groups are really about struggling together. A lot of these artists’ closest people are the business guys stepping in, and those aren’t your friends. It seems like you guys plan on being around for a while longer. What are the Dogg Pound’s future plans? Daz: I’m about to make $4 million in a year making records and just coming with ideas. I’m not gonna be spending $400,000 on promotions when people buy music off the net. You’re only good for the first $50,000 albums in the store, and the rest is on the internet. I’m good at just putting projects together, so that’s what I’m gonna keep doing. We put this Dogg Chit album together in seven days and mixed it in four. We went to L.A. and shot the cover. I’m putting music on Payloadz. com too. It links up to PayPal and it takes up to 15 songs. That shit is better than iTunes. I own all 36 albums that I’m on. So for stuff like the Dogg Food album, we’re reshooting videos and repackaging the albums. Suge don’t own the albums no more, Koch owns them. We made the albums, so let’s make some more money off them. I’m just thinking of more ways to make money. Kurupt: We’re doing shows all over too. We’ve been doing the Puff Puff Pass tour. And for the record, people overseas ain’t tripping on Snoop. It’s the people with the power who are tripping. The fans want to see Snoop. Other than that, just go pick up the Dogg Chit album and the West Coast Aftershocc after that. Daz: And tell all of these new artists that are coming up to stay independent. // OZONE WEST // 21
“I BASICALLY TOLD HOT ROD, ‘MAN, YOU AIN’T FROM ARIZONA. YOU GON’ NEED REAL NIGGAS BEHIND YOU. IF [50 CENT] ASKS YOU ABOUT YOUR CREW, TELL HIM ABOUT YOUR BOY.’ AND HE DID IT.”
ESS N SI U B TLY C STRI
“POPS USED TO GIVE ME MONEY ALL THE TIME, BUT HE WOULD COME BACK LIKE AN HOUR LATER AND ASK FOR IT BACK ‘CAUSE HE HAD SPENT ALL HIS MONEY.”
So you were born in a helicopter. Did they take you up because of the flood or how did that work? Well, the floods in Phoenix are crazy and they couldn’t get to the hospital. So they had to send a helicopter to come and get me. Just picture a helicopter landing in the hood, right in front of my grandmother’s house. They threw a nigga in the newspaper and all that shit. It was crazy.
I was young but I understood that whatever he’s doing, he’s going to ask for his money back anyway. Then he would leave crack residue all on the kitchen counter. That nigga was smokin’ in the house. I used to pick that shit up off the floor. I remember one time I tasted it and it was like a little numb feeling. I thought it was candy, like a weird lookin’ candy, ‘cause we fuck with Ese’s out here. So I brought it to my mama and she snatched it out my hand.
How long did that event stay with you? I’d imagine you were pretty popular. Shit, I was the helicopter baby ‘til I was like 8 or 9. That shit was big. It was that kind of flood to where they had to come and get me. It stayed with the media ‘til I was like three or four.
Was he living with y’all or was he just kinda in and out? He was living with us faithfully, but the thing about it, he was a strong alcoholic. I’m talkin’, liver just toasty right now. He on the bed right now cause of alcohol. Crack ain’t killin’ him, alcohol is. I remember we used to take him to work and my moms would just start cryin’, cause she knew he was about to down a whole bottle of Thunderbird. He did that every day before he went to work. He was a car salesman. I never understood why moms was cryin’. She’d usually do it when we stopped at the store before we actually dropped him off. I don’t think he was a salesman. I think he was a mechanic or a janitor or some shit. But he’d down the whole bottle, give the family a hug and bounce. We did that every day for years. You mix that crack with alcohol, and you already know what time it is.
And once you got off into music I understand you thought you were Michael Jackson. Yeah, hell yeah. I was singing and rapping. I thought I was him when I was a kid, but once I started doing talent shows I was rapping. I was seven, eight years old and knew every word to “Self Destruction.” I started with that. Moms had me rehearse that shit all day. She had me in all the talent shows and I used to lip-sync shit. Them little fake ass gold chains you used to put on the Christmas tree? She cut one of them and put it on my neck and put some big ass glasses on me and threw me on stage with a suit. I just started doin’ that shit from there. I really started rappin’ after my cousin passed away though, cause he used to do that shit. He influenced me to do it, kinda get me to take it to another level. During the time when you were doing talent shows, was that when you began to realize that your father was addicted to drugs? Around that time he was already smokin’. I was a young nigga that didn’t understand. I never knew what crack was. You gotta understand, I was born in 1980 and crack came in ’85. So I’m only eight years old and I just started noticing shit in the house was missing. And I remember at that age he used to give a nigga money all the time. He still worked, but he would come back like a hour later and ask for it back ‘cause he had spent all his money; in a nice way, though. Then it got to the point where I wouldn’t even take it no more. 22 // OZONE WEST
At what point did you start kickin’ it tough with your cousin? Salt was a sixteen year old pioneer. He was sixteen but he was always with the older niggas cause he had a fast life. He was in and out of jail, but he was a real family dude. He didn’t never call me by my name, he called me “cousin.” He was that type of nigga. I started hangin’ out with him when I was ten and he was fourteen. But he was into gangs strong at the time – lil nigga with a pistol and all that shit. But I remember he used to get quarters from his parents and we’d go to the video game store and then I’d get quarters from my parents and we’d just share quarters all the time playin’ video games. I never understood why he kept a gun on him. I remember one time I saw him shoot at somebody and he told me to walk home, while he walked away and I just heard gunshots. He was really into the streets like that. He was basically like the older homies’ lil shooter, their lil’ flunky. He was the one answering the door, pattin’ niggas down, shit like that. But he was only
fourteen doin’ that shit. He used to instigate fights. He would tell the next nigga, “My lil cousin can beat up yo lil brother.” I used to have to scrap; crazy shit like that. But the nigga was a good nigga overall. Nobody had complaints about him, except rival niggas. But nobody in the hood. He was a jokester. He was a funny nigga. He was the popular nigga in school. I started hangin’ out with him when I was ten or eleven and he got smoked when I was twelve, goin’ on thirteen. Did you find yourself getting consumed by that lifestyle while you were kickin’ it with him or was it strictly about you being with your cousin? It was just about me being with my cousin ‘cause I didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand it ‘til he died. I used to mimic it. I tried to act like him a little bit cause I was inspired by him. But I never understood gangs. I didn’t know he was Broadway. I didn’t know he had enemies. I didn’t understand none of that shit. He used to have the pistol. He used to show me how to hold it and he let me carry it around one time so I thought I was cool. But I didn’t even think about gettin’ into it until the day he died at his funeral when I saw him laying in the casket like that. Moms told me the nigga got shot like fifteen times, well, really twenty-one if you count the buckshots. Yeah, they got that nigga. They did a drive by at my granny’s house. They pulled up and he got out. He was goin’ on sixteen and the day he died I saw all the homies, and that’s the day I learned how to throw up the hood. They all took pictures at my granny’s house. At the funeral is when I put it all together. I saw all those red rags and black rags and I really understood what it was. I didn’t see no blue rags. That’s when I started taggin’ and throwin’ up the hood whenever I got the chance. Any little piece of paper, I’d write his name on it and say Rest In Peace. All at school, that’s when I started gangbangin’. I sprayed the school up and I got in trouble for that. I was the only nigga from Broadway at the time and I went to school with paint all on my hands the next day. I didn’t even realize it. I went to jail for like five days for that, and I was young, like thirteen. You started selling dope about a year later, and your father was one of your best customers? How surreal of an experience was that? Honestly, it was nothin’, my nigga. Now that I understand what it was, it was crazy, but at the time it was nothin’, cause all his lil partners smoked and they was my main clientele. But it wasn’t just my pops. It was my aunties. A lot of my family smoked something. My grandma, who is Mexican, has 23 children and my grandfather has 47 kids. That’s 203 grandchildren. I was selling to all my aunties, my uncles, even weed. I was the little nigga. All my cousins that sold weed, I was selling it to them. But it was really that crack though. That crack had a nigga rollin’. But that’s when a nigga was young and stupid. When I got kicked out of school, for shootin’ ol’ boy, I had to go to jail for couple days. They tried to charge me with attempted [murder], but they didn’t have nothin’ on me so they had to let me go. It was the beginning of my sophomore year and they wouldn’t let me go to no other school in the district. So that’s when I dropped out of school and really started sellin’ crack. Six months later I got locked up on armed robbery and I was facing seven to twenty one for that. They dropped it down to three years and I got out when I was eighteen. The East/West beef inspired you to write while you were in jail and you admittedly adopted pieces of your delivery from Jay-Z. Being an emcee from the West, how did you allow yourself to be that open to the music when people from your block were choosing sides? I always had a hidden talent. My pops was in a band. He played like three or four instruments growing up. Music was always around like that, moms havin’ me in talent shows. The talent was always there. When I heard Jay he wasn’t even on like that. This was his first album. When I heard Jay, whatever was in me heard that this nigga was hot. To me he was the muthafuckin’ best rapper at the time. And look at where he’s at now. At the time before he was really hyped up and niggas was listenin’ to him on the West, I was. The only other East Coast nigga that had me back in those days when I was straight West Coast was Redman. But I was way more into Hov than I was Biggie. Me listening to him helped me change my swag a little bit – at that time. It was good for me at that time. It took me away from that straight West Coast, “mark ass nigga, trick ass ho, busta ass nigga” type shit. It made me realize there was more to music than killin’ niggas and shit. I’m sure that had a lot to do with how people perceived you as an artist once you got out. How soon after you were released did you record “Garbage Disposal”? When I got out of jail that’s when I was listening to Jay and I knew I was eatin’ niggas asses in Phoenix. I was killin’ niggas. But everybody used to be like, “Man, I think he tryna sound like Jay-Z” and that shit used to get me mad cause I never tried to mimic that nigga. But if you like Michael [Jordan], you’re naturally going to do shit like he do while you’re in a basketball game. At the time I was only eighteen years old and at that time that was my nigga. So niggas used to hate on me and I used to get mad. And I wasn’t feelin’ no-
body beats. So I used to go into the studios that was owned by other rappers and rap on they beats and kill the shit that they was doin’ and I never hopped on songs that they was doin’. I never hopped on songs with niggas. I was always secluded, cause I wasn’t feelin’ niggas’ shit. I had a little job so I used to spend my money on studio time and them niggas couldn’t stop me ‘cause I was spending my own money. But they would still give me a hard time. Every time I walked in the studio they used to hate on me. So I said, “Fuck these niggas. I’m about to diss all these niggas.” If they wanted to come kill me I was like, “Fuck it,” cause it wasn’t just about rap. It was deeper than that. The niggas I was dissin’ was street niggas, niggas that was snitchin’. I was about to just go in and try to create something big. So how did it all unfold? At the time I wasn’t trying to get my name out. I was just trying to get something off my chest. Everybody thought I pulled a 50 [Cent], but it wasn’t no 50. It was some real shit. I felt that way. Everybody that was sittin’ in my little car listening to my shit, everybody was on my dick and then they’d walk away hatin’. So I decided to make a diss track. I got to thinking about what I wanted to call it and knew that it had to be strong. I was like, “These punk ass, garbage ass...” and I was washing dishes at the time. I turned the disposal on and I’m like, “Aw, SHIT!” I put it all out in the streets and niggas was callin’ me, ‘cause they knew I was a threat. They called tryna squash shit and I ended up takin’ like at least like seven, eight names off the list. I was dissin’ niggas that was runnin’ studios. I was dissin’ radio stations. I went all in on everybody. I dissed everybody and at the end I gave a speech and I think that’s what did it. I was smart enough to give a shout out to the real niggas that I fucked with on the streets. I gave ‘em a shout out so all they could do is honor me in the streets. I wasn’t about to be stupid and diss all of Phoenix and just depend on my hood to be there for me when shit popped off. I was dissin’ killers. That was either going to make me or break me and after that I was a threat. Things kinda started to take off for you after that. What popped off between you and Hot Rod? He had dissed me. I’m not going to make Rod look bad. We cool now, but at the time, anybody who dissed me on some street shit, I was going to bring it to them on some real shit and I was listening closely. So Rod had called me a bitch and he didn’t know me. Everybody on the streets knew that he had set himself up and they was talkin’ about it real tough. He didn’t know who I was and he called me a bitch. I was locked up for three years. You call a nigga a bitch, it’s that business. But I was never going to diss a nobody. Everybody I was dissin’ back then had names and Rod didn’t have no name. He was an internet rapper. He wasn’t in the streets in Arizona so nobody knew who he was. He was a lil internet nigga. So I basically called the nigga and had a little conversation with him and was tryna put the boogeyman in him. We had a little talk and basically it was squashed cause he wasn’t that kind of a nigga. He was talkin’ greasy, but he wasn’t like that. But I told him it was a good diss track. It was the best shit I’d heard at the time and at that time I didn’t fuck with nobody. I kinda put him under my wing and he [eventually] told me that he had a G-Unit connect. So a couple weeks later he called me and we met up at the chicken wing spot. I basically told him, “Nigga, you ain’t from Arizona. You gon’ need real niggas behind you. If [50 Cent] asks you about your crew, tell him about your boy.” And he did it. And it really helped push me to want to have my own situation. Why did things never materialize for you at G Unit? 50 called me and told me he wanted me to fuck with Rod to be like Tony Yayo is to him, or even Lloyd Banks. He [told] me all this shit about how we were about to do it and he eventually sent for me. It took about a year, longer than I expected, but he finally flew me out. But I was always frustrated, ‘cause my career was based on Hot Rod blowin’; like I was supposed to be his Yayo or Lloyd Banks. And the state was lookin’ at it like, “You’z a real thorough nigga. How’d you get behind a nigga that they don’t really see like that?” See, cause if I got behind him then the whole AZ was going to have to get behind him. And they wasn’t fuckin’ with him like that at the time. My career was based on him blowing up so I left that situation alone cause it was kinda slowin’ me down. And then along came DTP? Well, I came back and found a manager. It was this girl Tiffany Johnson who I had been knowing for almost 20 years; a long time. She was working for Blue at Family Tree Entertainment. She never knew me as Willy Northpole. She’s from Phoenix also, but she lives in Atlanta. Everybody kept askin’ her who the fuck Willy Northpole was, and she came to find out it was Lil’ Bill Bill, the lil’ nigga she knew. She asked who managed me and I was like, “Nobody,” and it went from there. That’s how I got that DTP connect and ever since then it’s been that business. // Words by N. Ali Early // Photo by Eric Johnson OZONE WEST // 23
What’s up with DJ Warrior these days? Well, I finally have gotten motivated to work on my album, Cali Untouchable Radio with DJ Muggs. It’s gonna be an independent album through Fontana. Also, I’ve been gettin’ my gigs up overseas and out of state more now – Boise, Idaho – workin’ on Club Element in Vegas, got some artists that I’m workin’ with right now and I’m gettin’ my production game up. I’ve got my Sirius satellite radio show called Cali Untouchable Radio every Tuesday night at 11 PM Pacific standard time on Wednesday nights. We play a lot of West Coast music from up and down the coast, from Seattle to San Diego. We play anything that’s hot on the West Coast, whether it’s gangsta or hyphy shit. Speaking of radio, Internet radio is comin’ up, but commercial radio still dominates. Do you have any desire to be on commercial radio? Yeah, now! I didn’t before. I was just into helping out up and coming artists. To be on commercial radio you kinda have to be around the commercial stuff and know what’s up. But I think I’m ready to see what’s up with commercial radio now. Tell me about Hip Hop West. The online store has been open for about three years and the retail location has been open for about 2 years. Me and Strong wanted to have this store, because at first we were partners in another store. We were doing the marketing for the store and were bringing in a lot of the clientele. So why not have our own store as a boutique store for West Coast brands and bring the culture of Hip Hop in our own way? It’s been doin’ well. We are in a good location, right across the street from Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles on Pico! I’ve done a lot of marketing too, for shoe companies and artists. It’s more than just being a DJ. You kinda want to be doin’ more than one thing, not just DJing at one club, or just doing mixtapes. Look at the New York DJs; they’re on the radio, doin’ mixtapes, clubs and out touring with artists, and that’s the approach I take. What new artists are you working with? Young Dre. He just got signed by Warner Brothers. I was the first DJ to put him on a mixtape. Bishop Lamont, he’s signed. I’m workin’ with my man Taje Roccett, at CTE. I had been workin’ with him since back when he was Logic, ya know, and now he’s Roccett. Strong Arm Steady, I’ve worked with them and been workin’ with them for years. I’m workin’ with producers like DJ Khalil. In the Bay Area there’s Mistah FAB, and I’ve always been a big fan of Jacka. I’m workin’ with Diego Redd and Planet Asia from Central Cali, and Glasses Malone, I’ve worked with him since he was part of the group Faction. He 24 // OZONE WEST
became a solo artist and is now signed to Mack 10. What are the top five records you play in the car versus the top 3 records you’re bumpin’ in the club? DJ WARRIOR’s DECK DJ EFN’s Street Mixes Volume One Mitchy Slick’s album Jay-Z’s album The Game’s album E-40’s album
VERSUS DJ WARRIOR’s CLUB MIX “We Takin’ Over” – DJ Khaled f/ Akon, T.I., Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Baby, & Lil Wayne “International Players” – UGK f/ Outkast “Wouldn’t Get Far” — The Game f/ Kanye West “Throw Some D’s” — Rich Boy f/ Polow “It’s Me Snitches (Remix)” – Swizz Beatz Mashups are gettin’ big now too. It’s like a trend with the DJ AM types and all. It all depends on what crowd I’m DJin’ for. You have to be a versatile DJ and be able to play whatever they want to hear. What’s the best way for an artist to approach you about getting their music played? Well, first, that’s something I could write a book about! Don’t threaten me, don’t try to force me to play your record, understand that there are a lot of artists out there, and don’t take it personally if DJs don’t play your shit. Every DJ has their own ear. If the DJ likes it, they’ll play it. As DJs, we try to do as much as we can. It all comes down to the music. Everyone says they’re hot. Okay, then what? After that, I can’t help no one that doesn’t grind as hard as me. Period. // email@example.com www.myspace.com/djwarrior “And I do reply back to everyone that writes me, so hit me there.”
Mistah Fab/The Baydestrian/SMC Recordings If Mistah FAB was supposed to carry the hyphy movement on his back with his third solo album, no one told him. Instead, balance wins on The Baydestrian. Reflective tracks like “Life on Track,” the mellow “Can’t Wait” and “Jamonie Robinson” expose a deeper Fabby Davis Jr. than listeners have grown accustomed to. Still, the Yellow Bus Rydah finds time to get stewy on the rapid fire “Dem Cars,” “Race 4 Ya Pink Slips” (featuring Keak and Spice 1) and the Mac Dre tribute “Furley Ghost.” Without much help, FAB flourishes with precision rhyme patterns, touching on politics, the streets (“Crack Baby Anthem” is a fool!) and the club; suggesting Baydestrians will survive hyphy. - N. Ali Early Various/Snoop Dogg Presents: The Big Squeeze/Koch The logic on this one is simple and effective in a slappin’ sort of way. The Big Squeeze, like Snoop’s Doggystyle All Stars five years ago, is a comprehensive catalogue of artists that deserve to be heard. In addition to appearances by Kurupt (“31 Favors,”) and other West Coast legends such as Kam (“Pop, Pop, Bang!”), MC Eiht and JT The Bigga Figga (“Like Rock Stars”), Big Squeeze effectively introduces Western Union (“Hat 2 Tha Bacc”) Damani (“All About Damani”) and Azure. Not quite the collaboration that launched his stellar career, …Squeeze is orchestrated and produced fully by the self proclaimed “King of the West Coast” – Niggaracci – and dares bring Cali back the LA way in the wake of the simmered hyphy movement. - N. Ali Early Sa-Ra/The Hollywood Recordings/Babygrande This three man group formerly signed to Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music has a style cut from a different cloth. If you’re one of those people that likes Andre 3000 better as a blues singer or believe Electric Relaxation is Common’s best album, The Hollywood Recordings is for you. If you’re on the opposite end of the Hip Hop spectrum, Sa-ra’s blend of electronic melodies, atypical rap styles and divergent R&B vocals will completely go over your head. — Randy Roper
Yukmouth/City of Dope/Smoke-A-Lot While adoring Luniz fans have waited years for him to settle his differences with one-time partner in rhyme Numskull, Yukmouth has consistently pushed himself as a solo artist and often, an agitator. Finally, he confesses on City of Dope that he’s found peace within. After denouncing his beef with The Game and G-Unit on wax on the upbeat “Ya Boy Iz Back,” Yuk offers his interpretation of Rick Ross’ “Push It” and stays true to the album’s namesake on “Cola Lean,” a narcotized spin of “Shoulder Lean.” When he isn’t hurling dope-infested lyrics over bass-rattling beats, Yuk shares the mic with the likes of J Diggs (“Money Grown”), Sean P (“Hustlin’) and Akon (“Kalifornia”), among others. - N. Ali Early
Zion I/Street Legends/Ball or Fall
Street Legends is a collection of songs from Zion I’s previous albums mixed into a street album. Here, the Bay Area duo looks to cement their place in rap history as more than just underground West Coast Hip Hop. The album completely displays Zion’s unique contributions to rap through hyphyinfluenced hits (“Roll On Out” featuring Mac Dre), stress relief rhymes (“Sorry”) and backpack raps (“Critical” featuring Planet Asia). While the rest of the Bay has gone dumb, Zion I has put together countless tracks to represent true Hip Hop West Coast style. — Randy Roper
The Game/Nu Jersey Devil/DJ Skee You Know What It Is Vol. 4 The Game seems to raise his West Coast star power every time he releases a project. On You Know What It Is Vol. 4, you should already know. Game’s mixtape has new music like “Get Dollaz” featuring Tyrese, “Gutter” featuring Kelly Rowland (produced by Scott Storch), and “Gangsta Bop” featuring Akon, which are better tracks than most rappers have released on their albums in 2007. A Game mixtape wouldn’t be complete without a diss record as Mr. G-Unot once again goes at his arch enemies on “Body Bags” and lyrically pimp slaps Vida Guerra on “Gangsta Shit.” — Randy Roper
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endzone Tech N9ne live
Location: Santa Rosa, CA Venue: The Fairgrounds Event: Super Hyphy 16 Date: April 7th, 2007 Photo: D-Ray
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Ozone West #57 - Jun 2007