YOUR FAVORITE RAPPER’S FAVORITE MAGAZINE
MY PRESIDENT IS BLACK
DJ KHALED & ACE HOOD WE THE BEST! PAPA DUCK & BIGGA RANKIN OZONE MAG //
YOUR FAVORITE RAPPER’S FAVORITE MAGAZINE
PAPA DUCK & BIGGA RANKIN BIG SPENDAZ!
WAITING EDITION DJ KHALED & ACE HOOD
WE THE BEST! 28 // OZONE WEST
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PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF // Julia Beverly MUSIC EDITOR // Randy Roper FEATURES EDITOR // Eric N. Perrin ASSOCIATE EDITOR // Maurice G. Garland GRAPHIC DESIGNER // David KA ADVERTISING SALES // Che Johnson, Richard Spoon PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR // Malik Abdul SPECIAL EDITION EDITOR // Jen McKinnon LEGAL CONSULTANT // Kyle P. King, P.A. SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER // Adero Dawson ADMINISTRATIVE // Ashley Smith, Kisha Smith INTERNS // Jee’Van Brown, Kari Bradley, Torrey Holmes CONTRIBUTORS // Anthony Roberts, Bogan, Charlamagne the God, Chuck T, Cierra Middlebrooks, Edward Hall, Jacquie Holmes, J Lash, Jason Cordes, Johnny Louis, Keadron Smith, Keith Kennedy, K.G. Mosley, King Yella, Luis Santana, Luxury Mindz, Marcus DeWayne, Matt Sonzala, Maurice G. Garland, Mercedes (Strictly Streets), Natalia Gomez, Ray Tamarra, Rico Da Crook, Rohit Loomba, Shannon McCollum, Spiff, Swift, Thaddaeus McAdams, Wally Sparks, Wendy Day
interviews 60 59 56 57 54 55 58
ALL STAR HURRASEASON JACKIE CHAIN LIL C LIL WIL MACK MAINE SNOOK DA ROKKSTARR
46-47 EXIT STRATEGY 44 MODEL WINNER 67-93 PATIENTLY WAITING
STREET REPS // 3rd Leg Greg, Adam Murphy, Alex Marin, Al-My-T, Benz, Big Brd, B-Lord, Big Ed, Big Teach (Big Mouth), Bigg V, Black, Bogan, Bo Money, Brandi Garcia, Brandon “Silkk” Frazier, Brian Eady, Buggah D. Govanah (On Point), Bull, C Rola, Cartel, Cedric Walker, Chad Joseph, Charles Brown, Chill, Chuck T, Christian Flores, Clifton Sims, Danielle Scott, DJ Dap, Delight, Derrick the Franchise, DJ Dimepiece, DJ D’Lyte, Dolla Bill, Dorian Welch, Dwayne Barnum, Dr. Doom, Dynasty, Ed the World Famous, DJ E-Feezy, DJ EFN, Episode, Eric “Crunkatlanta” Hayes, Erik Tee, F4 Entertainment, G Dash, G-Mack, George Lopez, Gorilla Promo, Haziq Ali, Hezeleo, H-Vidal, Hotgirl Maximum, Jae Slimm, Jammin’ Jay, Janiro Hawkins, Jarvon Lee, Jay Noii, Jeron Alexander, JLN Photography, Joe Anthony, Johnny Dang, Judah, Judy Jones, Kenneth Clark, Klarc Shepard, Kool Laid, Kurtis Graham, Kydd Joe, Lex, Lump, Lutoyua Thompson, Marco Mall, Mario Grier, Marlei Mar, DJ M.O.E., Music & More, Natalia Gomez, Nikki Kancey, Oscar Garcia, P Love, Pat Pat, Phattlipp, Pimp G, Quest, Quinton Hatfield, DJ Rage, Rapid Ric, Robert Lopez, Rob-Lo, Robski, Rohit Loomba, Scorpio, Seneca, Shauntae Hill, Sir Thurl, Southpaw, Spade Spot, Stax, Sweetback, Teddy T, TJ’s DJ’s, Tim Brown, Tony Rudd, Tre Dubb, Tril Wil, Trina Edwards, Troy Kyles, Vicious, Victor Walker, DJ Vlad, Voodoo, Wild Billo, Will Hustle, Wu Chang, Young Harlem, Yung DVS SUBSCRIPTIONS // To subscribe, send check or money order for $20 to: Ozone Magazine, Inc. Attn: Subscriptions Dept 644 Antone St. Suite 6 Atlanta, GA 30318 Phone: 404-350-3887 Fax: 404-350-2497 Website: www.ozonemag.com COVER CREDITS // DJ Khaled & Ace photo (cover and this page) by Wuz Good; Bigga Rankin & Papa Duck photo by Terrence Tyson. DISCLAIMER // OZONE Magazine is published 11 times per year by OZONE Magazine, Inc. OZONE does not take responsibility for unsolicited materials, misinformation, typographical errors, or misprints. The views contained herein do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or its advertisers. Ads appearing in this magazine are not an endorsement or validation by OZONE Magazine for products or services offered. All photos and illustrations are copyrighted by their respective artists. All other content is copyright 2008 OZONE Magazine, all rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any way without the written consent of the publisher. Printed in the USA.
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50-52 ACE HOOD 62-66 BIG SPENDAZ 48-49 DJ KHALED
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10 THINGS I’M HATIN’ ON ARE YOU A G? BOARD GAME CAFFEINE SUBSTITUTES CD REVIEWS CHAIN REACTION CHIN CHECK DJ BOOTH DOLLAR MENU END ZONE FEEDBACK HOOD DEEDS INDUSTRY 101 JB’S 2 CENTS MATHEMATICS NAMES OF SHAME PHOTO GALLERIES RAPQUEST SIDEKICK HACKIN’
LLOYD pg 58-60 g 62-64 p Y T I C BG & CHOPPER
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Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit us up at www.myspace.com/ozonemagazine
You guys continue to set the standard for excellence in covering the Southern Hip Hop scene. My jaw is laying on the floor after reading issue #69 (with MJG, Ray J, and BD Productions on the cover). I fell out of my seat from laughter (my butt is still sore from the fall) after reading the SideKick Hackin’ column between David Banner and Jesse Jackson and peepin’ Charlamagne tha God’s Chin Check column on Jermaine Dupri being the luckiest little man in Hip Hop (him renaming So So Def “Slow Slow Death” was devastating, funny and true. I wonder what will happen to YouTube singing sensation Dondria “Phatfffat” Fields?). You guys kill it each and every month! Finally, the Dollar Menu profile of dancer Tink (short for Tinker Bell) and Wendy Day’s second-to-none Mathematics column were awesome. Look, Wendy should be charging serious money for all the knowledge she’s giving. Do your readers even realize what you consistently put out every month? OZONE is a genuine resource that should be treasured and savored. - Wow Jones, via email LAWD! When I say that I envy you, JB, I ain’t even gonna front. I want to BE you! As a white girl that has been in love with Southern Rap since I was 14, you are living my dream! To be around such great artists, knowing young dudes before they blow up, and knowing that you was digging their shit before the world had even heard they name is incredible! Before I found Trick, 8Ball & MJG, UGK and No Limit, it was Jodeci and Bell Biv Devoe. Now I am strictly Southern rap; I don’t buy or listen to anything else! I don’t listen to R&B, I’m straight hood, grimey beats and lyrics! You are literally my idol! I wish I could follow you around with a sweat rag and drink of your choice just to see and do the things you do! I love OZONE ‘cause it gives a voice to the people that love what we love, the Southern rap game! Like Bun B says, “I love being from the Dirty South, maine!” Keep doing you, girl, fuck them haters! They’re just mad cause you’re doing it. You’ve got the respect and the admiration of major artists in this game, and that’s more than any other magazine owner can say! You got a grind like no other, JB. You deserve to be a multi-millionaire! I would literally cut off a finger to be backstage or help out doing anything at the next OZONE Awards! Keep up the good work. People are loving it! - Danielle Daigle, via email I have a correction to your Dothan, AL Rapquest from last month. Soulja Boy was never booked for Dothan, AL. A Georgia promoter tried to hustle Alabama kids. Authorities verified he was never booked for the event. Luckily, the kids were able to get their money back. At least they got to see Kash camp rip the stage with Skyylevel. - Anita Dawkins, via email (Dothan, AL)
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JB, I just wanted to send you an email to thank you for the services you offer to the Hip Hop community and the world. I have read some of the crap being spread about the OZONE Awards, but I know firsthand that you put your all into projects like that, and you are always looking for ways to make sure the urban community of the South is recognized. Keep doing what you doing, and please stay encouraged. What you are doing is working for the good of so many, and we would be lost without it! - Cyrus A. Webb, via myspace (Mississippi) I’m a long-time reader of your magazine. I usually cop it from 7-11. Much respect on JB’s 2 Cents in Issue #67. You’re on point, sharper than a ginsu! – email@example.com (Arlington, TX) JB, here’s my 2 Cents: Stay on your grind! You and the whole OZONE staff are doing your thing because you’re being real. I’d love to see a Chain Reaction section dedicated to your readers. Some may be legitimate hustlers and some may still be in the hood, but real talk, some of the most ridiculous pieces come from those boys getting real money in the streets. Maybe you should give a chance for the readers to show off their bling. Ask Ben Baller, King Johnny, Johnny Dang, Avianne & Co., or Alex at Highline. The dudes with the real ice aren’t always the rappers. Just a thought! Stay doing y’all thing. It’s refreshing to be able to buy your publication at the local 7-11 and read some real shit. By the way, tell Vibe and the other biters to quit re-printing y’all shit. Big shout to Wu-Chang from the Bum Squad for promoting y’all right! God bless and much more success! - Alex Flora, via myspace (El Paso, TX) Even though I am a street rep for the mag, after seeing what the competition is putting out I’ve gotta say that OZONE’s got it, hands down. One thing I wish to see is more Detroit representation in the mag. I am here in Detroit reporting about the artists, but I would love to see even more coverage of the Motor City. You need to dedicate 2-4 pages a month to Detroit artists. - Eric tha Crunk, via email (Detroit, MI) JB, I just read your 2 Cents. If those assholes can’t respect the growth of OZONE from then until now, then fuck them! I can’t understand how people can read your 2 Cents and not love you even more. You’re the shit, ma! - Wu-Chang, via myspace (Houston, TX)
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jb’s 2cents T
he rap game is kinda boring right now so my attention has been diverted elsewhere. Post-OZONE Awards, my ‘08 has been consumed with two things: the Olympics and the Election. Somewhere in the midst of watching a lot of track & field (and lusting after a certain Olympic runner) I decided that I, too, could be an Olympic athlete. You can do anything you set your mind too, right? I ran cross country in school and did a half-marathon last year, so now I’ve started back running 3+ miles every other day. Sick or healthy, rain or sunshine, gym or woods or beach. No one believes me, though (Jeezy supposedly wants to race, so I’ll be sure to let you know how that turns out).
10THINGS I’M MOST HATIN’ON
1. john mccain I’m hating on John McCain with them ol’ short ass arms. He’s a robot-lookin’ boy. 2. LLOYD I’m hatin’ on Lloyd with his pretty ass. I gotta fuck his mama.
by Shawty Shawty ”What My Name Is?”
Me & Young Buck in Nashville
4. All the women over 33 with a Myspace page Bitch, you ain’t supposed to be having no Myspace page. You supposed to be going home to yo’ husband and kids. You ain’t ‘pposed to still be strippin’.
3. Strippers who have anal sex I’m da one that be buyin’ them lap dances, and I’m hatin’ because every time the bitch bends over her asshole look like an empty eye socket.
Me & Soulja Boy in Vegas
5. I’m still hatin’ on the DC sniper That muthafucka forgot my baby mama. 6. Hurricanes Every time them New Orleans niggas come to town, the crime rate goes up.
Me & Kim Osorio in Atlanta
9. MAGOO HATERS I’m hating on gotdamn Jay-Z, Eminem, Andre 3000, T.I., Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, Petey Pablo, and Kanye West—we all know Magoo is the greatest rapper alive. “I jump in and out like kimosabi.” Magoo is about as cool as a fan turned off. 10. SHAMELESS PLUGS I’m hatin on Jackie Long, Jason Weaver, Mya, Clifton Powell, and Shawty What My Name Is cause we got the hottest new movie out. Love for Sale; go get it. Check out Shawty Shawty at Uptown Comedy Corner in ATL every other Tuesday
This is what me & TJ did for a while after the OZONE Awards
8. ladies who got a boyfriend that beats them Hell, they could be with me. I might not come home for five days, take out the trash, watch the kids, work, or help you with the bills, but I won’t beat you. I might fuck yo’ friends, but I’ll be dead and gone before I’ll put my hands on you.
7. Reggie Bush With a girl like Kim Kardashian, who needs an NFL career?
See? I love New Yorkers
Being successful at any sport requires just as much mental determination as actual physical abilities. In competitive team sports, it’s all about blocking out distractions and keeping your mind focused and in tune with the rest of your team. Running long distances is different because you’re basically competing against yourself and testing your will to keep pushing; it’s a battle to keep your mind occupied long enough to force your body to keep going. It’d be so easy to just walk, right? A lot of people use iPods to listen to music but it’s never worked for me. My head is usually spinning enough by itself to dive into my own thoughts and just do it like the Nike commercials. But lately, I’ve become addicted to the election coverage (CNN 24/7) and therefore spend my runs watching Obama and McCain rallys. The election might be over by the time you read this, but I’m gonna say it anyway: I’m voting for Obama, because aside from the fact that I have a crush on him, he’s just fucking inspiring. That’s what we need more than anything; a collective change in attitude. What’s amazed me about this political campaign is how it’s bringing people together. When we do parties or events or award shows in the Hip Hop community, it’s an accomplishment for us to pack a club with 2,500 people or an award show with 5,600 people or even an arena with 7,500 people. But even that is only a tiny cross-section of our country. It’s nothin’ for Obama to pull 50,000 or 80,000 or even 100,000 people to a rally, of all shapes and colors and backgrounds. That’s motivation! CNN blasting Obama speeches during my morning run makes me determined to finish with my best time ever. When they switch to McCain coverage, it’s so depressing I’m mentally searching for excuses to slow down and drink some water and catch my breath. His voice gives me flashbacks to age 17 when I ran away from home and my grandpa was angrily predicting I’d become a pregnant crack addict within a year. And Palin’s annoying ass (I’m all for a woman in office, but she is not the one) gives me flashbacks to my mother telling me to never kiss a boy until I got married (but not bothering to discuss condoms or birth control). They’re haters. When they spew bullshit and the crowd boos, it reminds me of the lame bloggers who talked shit about me after the OZONE Awards (we’re finishing up the DVD, by the way, and I don’t know what y’all haters were talking about. Our show was hot!) But when Obama speaks, I see me. Well, more accurately, my generation. I’m not black, don’t claim to be black, and don’t try to be black. What people seem to forget is that Obama is mixed. Like Colin Powell said, he’s a “transitional figure.” America is changing and our government should reflect that. Regardless of who wins the election, I don’t honestly believe that anything will change overnight. The usual politics and bullshit will always exist. We’ll still pay taxes either way. But our attitude can change. People have lost faith in our economy and our future, and without hope, we have nothing. That’s what leadership is; someone to provide inspiration and direction and motivation. We need someone with better than a C+ average to give us something to run towards and finish the race. True, I may not ever make it to the Olympics, but if nothing else, I feel great. And I look great naked. - Julia Beverly, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gorilla Zoe f/ Lil Wayne “Lost” DJ Khaled f/ Kanye West & T-Pain “Go Hard” Playboy Tre f/ B.o.B. “Da Eastside” Lil Wayne f/ Kidd Kidd “My Nigga” 88 Keys f/ Kid Cudi “Wasting My Minutes” T-Pain f/ Ludacris “Chopped N Screwed” Solange f/Wale “Fuck The Industry (Remix)” Charles Hamilton “Air Conditioner”
email@example.com Naledge “Happy Birthday” Wale f/ Xscape “I Will” Drake “Sooner Than Later” Willie The Kid “Pressure”
OZONE MAG // 17
MANATEE COUNTY, FL:
I had a brief interview with Tay Dizm (above, with Hollywood Red) about his position in Nappy Boy Digital. After we got on the road to Metro Zoo in Miami for the video shoot of “Beam Me Up” featuring T-Pain and Rick Ross, we headed over to Tampa where there were definitely some sexy ladies present for Tango’s B-Day Bash at the Hip Hop Cafe. Rumba Lounge in Sarasota is the night spot on Wed, Fri, and Sat with DJ Purfiya holding it down. The Hall in Palmetto is preparing for a Lil Boosie concert presented by Firm Life Ent. featuring their artist HankaDon. - Hollywood Red (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chamillionaire had an in-store signing at Music Mania for the fourth installment of Mixtape Messiah. Nas, Talib Kweli, and DJ Green Lantern performed at Emo’s. Common and Three 6 Mafia each performed different nights at Stubbs. Tosin and TheScrewShop.com just dropped Tha Return mixtape. Bun B and Orgone put on for a packed show at The Parish. The show was put on by Scion. Lil Keke performed at Club Escapade. Down IH 35 and San Antonio’s 98.5 The Beat put on a huge show at the AT&T Center with David Banner, Pitbull, Lloyd, Keri Hilson, Paul Wall and more. - O.G. of Luxury Mindz (www.luxurymindz.com)
Hipster sensation Blaqstarr has the internet going crazy. His new single “Bang Hard” can be seen on blogs and downloading sites all over the place. Also, be on the lookout for his next single featuring Mos Def. Freestyle phenom EJ has finally released his long-awaited mixtape Westside Hustle. It’s hosted by DJ Radio and features Heavy Gold, XO, and Skarr Akbar. - Darkroom Productions (TheDarkRoomInc@yahoo.com)
BAY ST. LOUIS, MS:
Lil Wayne came to the Burg and was clowning with the crowd; they enjoyed the show. The highlight of the month goes to J-Ville’s own Pimp G. He filled in for Lil Will, who was a no-show. Pimp held it down and did his thang. To all locals trying to get on, holla at ya boy. Also, artists need to understand you need the DJ. You should never ask us to buy your CD, then ask to play it in the club. - DJ Deliyte (email@example.com) 18 // OZONE MAG
Club Platinum has had numerous acts come through such as Project Pat, MJG & 8Ball, and Rick Ross. R.W. Record Pool continues to push forward. Elee dropped a new mixtape entitled Molasses for the Masses, which got good reviews from SOHH.com. Trina, Plies, and Lil Boosie came to the town for the annual car and bike show. Club Onyx is growing weekly with the success of Tropical Fridays and a solid club staff. And with football season kicking off, the Labor Day Classic hit Legion Field which featured Miles College and Stillman College. - K. Bibbs (AllOrNothingPromo@hotmail.com)
The 3rd Annual Global Mixx retreat, brought to you by Mary Datcher, went down October 3rd-5th. Showcases around the city are helping the artists get seen and heard. It’s a start but showcases should not be used for hustle, but rather a means to help, promote, and give a sense of fulfillment while connecting the industry to the city. There is no reason why Chicago takes a backseat to Atlanta, Miami, Houston and other such cities. New artists to check for include Mannish Music, Brill, J Period, UNF Gang, Low-N-East, Bad Byzz, Franco Bravieri, and Lord Xodus. - Jamal Hooks (JHooks@tmail.com)
JonezyBoy Entertainment dropped their long awaited album Mr. Jonez, with guest appearances by Raphael Saadiq, The Marley Family, and the Animal Crackers. Swag Enterprises is looking to sign the hottest DJs, producers (Sparkz, Kill Will) and artists on the streets. Kalyko and Vino have the best mixtape out right now, hosted by DJ Easz of the KYMP Kamp DJs. Congratulations to all the high school footballers that played last month at the Paul Brown Stadium High School Tournaments – we need a lot of you guys on that pro team. - Judy Jones (Judy@JJonesent.com)
Obama time! This is a unique time in history. The Hip Hop community must seize this opportunity. This country has seen its lowest point according to many historians. It begins with the incumbent (who never won the popular vote in an election) serving 8 years. The American people should be embarrassed by the fact that Bush was never called on this. He also concocted a fictional war, turned his head on the city of New Orleans, and sat back as fuel prices skyrocketed. It’s time for a change. If you happen to be a political casualty (can’t vote due to felony), we need your physical support. - “X” Allah (X@NuBludManagement.com)
Charlamagne Tha God just dropped the South Crack album with appearances from Snook, Piazo, Collard Greens, Mr. Flip, Marly Mar, Lil Ru, Gemstar and more. With Team I.R.A.C. “Pants Saggin” still picking up steam in Columbia, I listened to some tracks on the upcoming album and that shit is gonna be a certified banger. Boss G also has a crazy project coming with appearances from Rocko, BloodRaw and Rasheeda. Welcome home Teezy – we’re ready for you to touch the mic. - Rob Lo (RobLoPromo@aol.com)
There have been a few new clubs opening and lots of different events. The Fountain City has played host to everything from comedy tours, to fashion shows, to concerts – and this was all before football season. Columbus also hosted two Black college football classics: Ft. Valley University vs. Albany State University and Tuskegee vs. Morehouse. This past Labor Day, salon owner Raymond Torregano hosted Columbus Fashion Week, which was a smash. As for the next major event, Cash P, owner of Skintastic Art tattooing, is hosting a Halloween party featuring 20 models wearing nothing but body paint. - Slick Seville (SlickSeville@gmail.com)
We want to encourage all of our Rapquest readers to register and vote. Speaking of politics, Barack Obama stopped in Columbus to introduce his VP at an Obama rally. The biggest fair in the midwest kicked off in Columbus with Musiq Soulchild and Chaka Khan. On the local music scene, Dreamlife’s own Reese and Blaze have been releasing new tracks and they are fire. Rap group Fly Union teamed up with Mick Boogie and released a new mixtape. Celebrity sightings include J Holiday, David Banner, OJ Da Juiceman (above left, with Nish), and DJ Drama, and we’ve got it all on tape. Check out the interviews at www.flypaperblog.com. - Yohannan Terrell (ImageInq@gmail.com)
DALLAS/FT. WORTH, TX:
GT’s (Fonk Camp Records) single “Hood” is heating up the streets while he designs his own shirts and logos for many mainstream and local Southern artists. The Definition DJs gave Fort Worth a back to school giveaway. In South Dallas, King Ashoka and Rage Almighty presented the Poe Folks Inner City Rec Tour with Hip Hop HIV awareness. I heard about 400 people got tested. The Drunk N Throwed radio show is supporting local music every Saturday night while the Gatormain readies for Sip Drank Music. - Edward “Pookie” Hall (firstname.lastname@example.org)
DAYTONA BEACH, FL:
The entire college body came back to the city in August and Tropical Storm Fay came in with them. She dropped record amounts of rain on the city and spoiled some nightlife. After she cleared, things returned to normal. Trina hosted a lingerie party along with “Mr. Naked Hustle” Bizzle at Zeba Nightclub. DJ Allen Boo, DJ Chi Town, DJ Ritchie Rich, and DJ Nailz rocked the crowd at Club Aqua for a concert with Piccalo. Plus, Boss Lady Lounge, the newest club in the city, opened on the Beachside. - DJ Nailz (email@example.com)
Eyes have been on the town for a minute, then the Democratic Nat’l Convention hit the city. Everybody was here including the next U.S. president. Now, where are the labels to sign our heat? Just check out the DNC mixtape with DJs Ktone, Drama, and Stupac. Or check out Hawkman and Young Doe’s national releases on WCM/Koch, or Innerstate Ike’s 16+ album library. Maybe even Mr. Midas, Julox, Hypnautic, or Fat Lee who have solid fan bases. Maybe the youngest, Yung Dzo, who’s killing it at 14 with one of the best albums out. Or maybe DJs Ktone, Stupac, Bedz, or Quote need to send you a fucking mixtape! - DJ Ktone (Myspace.com/djktonedotcom)
Hot 102.7 had its 11th Summer Jam with local favorites like TrickTrick and others. Yung Berg got “the business” in Detroit this month. Hollow is heating up the radio with his new single “Watching Me” featuring J. Rose. Be sure to log onto learnthemusicbiz.net for all your music needs. MC Serch and Serch Lite radio has been showcasing local talent on a major radio station. Esham is gearing up to drop his 13th full-length studio album called Sacrificial Lamb. - AJ (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Some of Miami’s hottest entertainers recently stopped through Gainesville including BallGreezy, Brisco, Grind Mode, Tay Dizm and newly signed Cash Money recording artists The Dunk Ryders. Capitol Records recording artists Dear Jayne also stopped through for a visit, as well as Tampa’s own Tom G pushing his new single “I’m There.” As always, the club scene is ridiculous, but now the entire city is going in since ESPN officially ranked UF the #1 Party School in the Nation. - Jett Jackson (email@example.com)
MTV’s Road to the VMAs group, U-N-I, threw down at the legendary Roxy to a sold out crowd. Konvict recording group R. City (b.k.a. Rock City) headlined an Interscope showcase at Club Area. Goapele and Ashanti performed for The Heineken Red Soul concert series at Social off Sunset. Goapele went through damn near three albums before she got off stage. Bad Boy’s Janelle Monae opened up for Raphael Saadiq at the Roxy, and Strong Arm Steady got it in at Key Club. - Devi Dev (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HuntsVegas is booming as we ended the summer with the Alabama A&M University vs. TN State University game. The Huntsville music scene was featured in UK’s Hip Hop Connection as one of their favorite scenes thanks to David S. and Rob Breezy. Mentioned in the article were Slowmotion Soundz, Block Beataz, PRGz, Jackie Chain and G-Side. A lot of Huntsville music is spinning on Baller’s Eve Radio in NYC. Songs played so far are G-Side’s “Strictly Business” and Betta Half’s “Game Needs Me.” - Codie G (email@example.com)
J Money is getting ready to release his album, which is full of A-list features. Jackson represented at the 2008 OZONE Awards. Hurricane Gustuv had the state on panic and the shelters and hotels packed to capacity. A store owner murdering a black man over stolen beer was a hot topic of conversation at the barber shop. Syndication is taking over radio. 97.7 added Michael Baisden and Coco Brother to its lineup. Kwasi Kwa and Tambra Cherie, formerly of the Afternoon Experience, moved to midday with Quita B, creating an all new Midday Team. - Tambra Cherie (TambraCherie@aol.com) & Stax (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bigga Rankin, Ms. Rivercity, Terrence Tyson, M.Geezy and the Beat Squad, Zain, Plush Nightclub, Vanessa Phan, Ms.Shica and Ms. Asia all received nominations for the 2009 SEAs. Point Blank is holding it down for the club goers, bringing Ace Hood, Brisco, Piccalo, and more this month. They also hosted the top birthday parties, including DJ Dr. Doom who shared birthday celebrations with J. Floyd and M.Geezy, the super-producer for Young Cash and Duval County. The HardHeadz opened for The Runners, and we are all still praying for Dirt Diggla, who is going through a serious legal battle that could end his rap career permanently. - Lil Rudy (LilRudyRu@yahoo.com) OZONE MAG // 19
The city recently came together for the Summer of Peace Youth Rally, DJ Rock Dee (R.I.P.) Celebration, Unity Concert, the Milwaukee Urban Music Awards, and the Public Enemy Tribute. Each week we have several venues hosting live Hip Hop nights. Free McGee! - Gorilla Promo (email@example.com)
DJ Mack dropped a new single called “My Swag 2 Clean” featuring Lil Za of B.O.C. Records and Lil Wayne’s new artist Lil Twist. R Mack and Gutta are guest performers for Da Mic Wrecka’s B-Day Bash and Underground Hip/Hop Battle Showcase at the Music Vault. Mylyfe Records artist Yung Money dropped two new singles: “Mean Something” featuring PJ of Adykted Sol and “I’m A Money Machine” featuring Bama. Black Sound Ent. dropped a new mixtape for Belton Texas. Raheim of Tha Co Ent. finished up his new album and is on his promo tour. Maino performed “Hi Haters” at Club Niko’s in Tyler, TX. - Tre Dubb (Myspace.com/mackonthariserecords)
LAS VEGAS, NV:
Last month I informed you about the lack of Hip Hop clubs in Sin City. Unfortunately, another one bit the dust. Jay-Z’s 40/40 club in Vegas, located at the Palazzo Hotel & Casino, has closed. But check out Prive Nightclub inside Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino as an alternative. Two of rap’s greatest – Nas and Ice Cube – rocked separate shows at the House of Blues. DJ Franzen recently celebrated his seventh year in Vegas. He’s definitely one of the reasons why the city stays hot. Halloween is coming up and Vegas never disappoints when it comes to trick-or-treating. - Portia Jackson (PortiaJ@sprint.blackberry.net)
LOS ANGELES, CA:
DJ Ill Will threw the release party for the Rap or Die Volume 4 mixtape at Aqua Lounge in Beverly Hills with performances from Hot Dollar, Bangloose, and Krys Ivory. Young Keno, whose song “Let’s Get Together” has been blowing up on the radio, got down with Roscoe Umali at Crazy Horse. Glasses Malone performed with The Bloc Boyz, Conflict, and Quiz at Copa Cabana in LB. Dubb Union (b.k.a. Westurn Union) celebrated the release of their album at Mood. It’s in stores now via Koch Records. Ice Cube, WC, and Crazy Toonz hosted a listening session for Cube’s CD Raw Footage at SIR off of Wilcox. - Devi Dev (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Memphisrap.com interviewed Shane Gutta, formerly of the group Block Burnaz. The interview included details of him and Yo Gotti growing up together in Memphis, his take on Cash Money, and his upcoming album release. Mr. Del, a Christian Hip Hop artist, recently signed a multi-million dollar distribution deal with Universal. Calling his latest album Hope Dealer, Mr. Del is nothing but positive. Everyone can appreciate that! Da Volunteers, protégés of 8Ball and MJG, just released their album Coming Out Harder featuring their hot single “Days of Our Lives.” - Deanna Brown (Deanna.Brown@MemphisRap.com)
T-Pain and DJ Irie got beef? Well, not really; it was all love as T-Pain vs. DJ Irie went down at Parkwest. The Serato Macbooks were on fire as they battled it out musically. Bow Wow, Vanessa and Angela Simmons went crazy. It was insane! Not only are the hurricanes tearing up the 3-0-5, so is the music. We are running MTV and BET. I’m no psychic, but by what I’ve been hearing, Poe Boy is about to change and reinvent this game – remember Supa said so. - Supa Cindy (www.Myspace.com/Supadupe) 20 // OZONE MAG
Jane Flame came to Moneytown for the Konvict Music Showcase and won. Ms. Shyne and Southern Belles also held it down along with Keep It Hot! Promotions and Hot Girl Maxximum. Napalm The Bomb’s “Work That,” Play Boi’s “Jocking My Swag,” and “Stack of One’s” are killing the clubs. You would’ve thought King South was literally “killing the club” the way police waited for him to perform and gave him some bracelets for reasons unknown. Dem King Boyz got it popping with “My Swag” and Iron Kidz with “Like Dat.” Alfamega was the headliner but it was Da Law and Da Religion’s show. Their show was so hot Alfamega called them back on stage to dap them up. - Hot Girl Maxximum (Maxximummp3@gmail.com)
Nappy Roots bounced back with their new album The Humdinger, and had a nice turn out for the album release party. Young GO gave an energyfilled show at the release party. Da Show has been traveling around KY and had Flavor of Love 3 star Black (right) with him. Yo Gotti came through and performed. He also did a verse for Cocky of Success Ent. They remixed “Microwave.” DJ Q hosts the Hot 16 on his mixshow every Saturday. The Russ Parr Morning Show sent our children back to school with free school supplies and a free concert. - Divine Da Liaison (OuttaDaShopEnt@hotmail.com)
Allstar brought home an OZONE Award and also picked up five SEA Nominations. Other Cashville SEA Nominees include: Crisis, C-Lo (fresh off of Rap City), Sir Swift, Bryant D, Whitey, Emeka, Sheri Hauck, JC, C-Dub, DJ Ron, Tayst Fashion, Hang Time, Robin Raynelle, Becky The Great, Tango Rae, Paper (Paper View in stores now), Mario Moore, Darnell Levine, Pistol, The Place, WUBT, Dolowite, Scooby, AG, Pamela Aniese, Fate Eastwood, Kenny Smoov, WQQK, Princess Ivory, Connie Donell, Nino Blac, Deshun Smith and more. The month of October brought shows with Pete Rock, Rapheal Saadiq, Dwele & Eric Benet. TSU Homecoming is coming up. - Janiro (Janiro@southernentawards.com)
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK:
Infamous performed at Club Bora Bora. The CityBoyz are still mashing the Hip Hop scene with their hit “American Dream.” Brokbundlez is a busy man these days as one of the hottest producers around. Check him out at www.myspace.com/brokbundlez. Mista Cain, a.k.a. Mr. I-35, is still making his mark in the Oklahoma Hip Hop arena with notable hits like “U Can’t Do It Like Me.” - Marshlynn (Marshlynn.Bolden@uscellular.com)
Florida invaded the Phoenix Valley with Rick Ross and Flo Rida both stopping through to deliver stellar performances. Three 6 Mafia and Ice Cube visited Phoenix for separate performances. Ice Cube introduced his new artist Judge, who is a Phoenix native. Phoenix congratulates Willy Northpole on winning the Patiently Waiting award at the 2008 OZONE Awards. Mr. I AM Arizona, C-Thug, has the city buzzing with an album slated to drop early 2009 and songs currently with Mistah F.A.B. and Glasses Malone. C-Thug is someone to watch out for and perhaps the next Patiently Waiting Arizona artist. - Jasmine Crowe (email@example.com)
F-Block Records has the city on lock and Twerk Thompson is back home and ready to deliver the hits. Yo Gotti, Gucci Mane, and a host of others have come through the city to kick it. Fetti of Haleraza Records just signed a major production deal. Black J is hitting the streets with “Y Not” and the Ultra Sexy Sharmyn is “Live in the Steel City.” Hardcore Ent., Freeze, FBlock, and G. Money are making big moves while Crakk King is producing that fire for major label artists. DJ Nitro got some things cooking and GQ continues to drop new music every night, keeping the clubs packed. - Lola Sims (firstname.lastname@example.org)
PORTLAND, OR & IDAHO:
Portland’s Cool Nutz has done it again. The North East Portland OG has revived the much needed PO-Hop (the Portland, Oregon Hip Hop Festival) just in time for the fall. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the community-based event that celebrates and educates about Hip Hop culture, while providing a platform for locals and visiting artists to perform and
network. PO-Hop is the first annual Hip Hop festival in the Pacific Northwest this October. For more information and to be part of PO-Hop log on to www.jusfamilyrecords.com. - Luvva J (Myspace.com/luvvaj)
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND:
Summerjam and streetball reached a pinnacle in a spectacular finale to the extended summer season. The previously reported closing of Spirit Nightclub proved short-lived, with the 1500 capacity venue re-opening its doors to Hip Hop with a name-change to The Academy. After very few major Hip Hop names performed in the last month, it’s Snoop Dogg’s turn to rock Dublin with local crew Rap Ireland, despite the rapper being banned from the UK. Rumors are that The Game may be making a surprise one-night appearance at the Dublin show, having named the city as his favorite location to rock a party. - Kev Storrs (email@example.com)
A grand welcome was given to the founder of the Mighty Zulu Nation, Afrika Bambaataa, who visited the Pacific Northwest as part of the Rock the Bells tour. A special tribute was paid him at Nectar in Seattle. Scour the net for DJ Supreme La Rock’s new mix CD Two in a Shirt and for T.I.T.S. Clothing. Also, check for DJ Tee’s new CD Hi Haters. The long awaited Price of the Game CD with Luvva J and Hill B is finally finished. The concept album confronts the prison industrial complex and analyzes the reckless paths that brothers and sisters choose to take. - Luvva J (Myspace.com/luvvaj)
Slip-N-Slide DJs artist Jer-Z was crowned King of the Stage at Da Cypher. Da Cypher returned to Full Moon Saloon after a year at Empire. A capacity crowd helped Club Skye celebrate its 5th Anniversary with performances by 2 Pistols and BMU, Acafool, Tom G, and Tay-Dizm. Nas and Killer Mike helped 3LG battle the notion that Hip Hop is dead on 98.7’s The Sunday Session. C. Wakeley and Big Amp hosted the Female Music Workshop. DJs and artists will square off in the 1st Annual DJ C.L.I.P.S. (above) Charity Softball Game to raise funds for his son. - Slick Worthington (SlickWorthi813@gmail.com)
ST. LOUIS, MO:
Mr. Marcus Mixtape interviewed Ray Goss, A Verb, O of Street Status DVD, Block Boyz, Trillion Billion, Young Ro, and Hakeem Da Dream. A Verb dropped his street album Pressure. Ray Da Kidd’s “Jump Stupid” video is on YouTube. County Brown, DJ Shock, and DJ Bishop repped STL at the Hittmenn DJ Reunion. Bishop won Upcoming DJ of the Year at Greg Street’s awards. Derrty DJ AJ won at the Pepsi DJ Battle Champ. DJ Bishop V Luv has been holding down the local song battles at www.100.3thebeat.com. FyreBoy’s T Baby had a blow out b-day party, and Family Affair and Youvee threw the concert of the year at the Pageant. - Jesse James (JesseJames314@aol.com)
There has been a radio battle in Tallahassee for a long time, and now the ratings have spoken. Blazin 102.3 is the new #1 station in Tallahassee. Blazin 102.3’s DJs, The School Boyz, were also named The Best DJ Crew at the Gainesville Music Summit and they just appeared on BET’s Rap City, as well as 106 & Park. If you’re in the streets of Tallahassee, check for that new M Beezy mixtape It’s My Turn. - DJ Dap (DJDapOnline@gmail.com)
OZONE MAG // 21
SIGNING TO A LABEL OWNED BY AN ARTIST | By Wendy Day
he artists are all that matter to me: the rappers, the producers, and the DJs. Almost everyone else is extra in this business—either trying to get a check or trying to be a star themselves. Sorry. That’s the way I see it (and if this doesn’t apply to you then you are either already my friend or you need to be). I have love for the artists and the folks who are genuinely trying to invest their money in helping to build an artist to stardom (not the ones trying to pimp an artist and ride their backs all the way to millionaire status). I am jaded. I have been doing this for 16 years now. That’s a long time. Many of you reading this were in elementary school when I started Rap Coalition (with my own money, thank you), and many of you weren’t even born yet when I heard my first rap song and became a fan of the music and the culture. I have watched many people claim to own rap and Hip Hop and the entire culture (for the record, no one does). I have watched even more pimp it. I have even stopped some from doing so. I have a new attitude. If you are a poser, a hater, or a toxic person in this business solely to get fame or a check (if you aren’t an artist), I no longer return your phone calls! My “live and let live” theory has grown into exposing you publicly for the sham that you are. And, furthermore, if you hurt an artist or damage a career in your selfish quest for rank and position in this industry, I’m speaking out against you publicly. There are just waaaaaay too many fucked up people in this business today. You aren’t staying! Just letting you know now-- I’m playing my part, and flexing what little power I have to help you keep it moving. I hear UPS is hiring… This is NOT the new dope game. This is not a place to come and hit a quick lick at the expense of others. If you aren’t willing to put in the work and the time to build your credibility, leave now. All those email blasts you send out telling everyone how great you are, aren’t convincing anyone! True success comes when others that you’ve helped sing your praises when you aren’t even around. Now that I got that off my chest, I can move on to dropping some free knowledge for anyone who wants to learn and grow in a positive direction. And you are the people that I want around me. Send me an email and I will add you to my Inner Circle list (RapCoalition@aol.com). When the price of studio equipment got affordable, everyone decided to become a producer or a rapper. It looks easy and fun from the outside, and it appears that almost anyone can do it (not so, but it APPEARS that way). Who wouldn’t want to spend their day getting high, making music, fucking, and shopping? If you turn on any video channel, that’s what it appears to be. No problems, all immediate gratification. Because of that (wrong) perception, and because it appears that one can enter this industry with no experience, no schooling, and no real effort, there is a glut of people constantly trying to get into this industry. Therefore, those of us already in the industry have a strong “show and prove” attitude towards all newcomers. Because there is a glut, basic laws of supply and demand tell us that the price is being driven down, the value is receding, and artists appear to be a dime a dozen. What was once a special skill (rapping, producing, or DJing) is now a common attribute on every corner in America. The internet has offered easy access to music distribution, so anyone can easily make their own music, upload it for sale, market it properly, and collect the money directly from the sales. This has created millions of entrepreneurs around the world who are, technically, their own artists and record labels. So what makes an artist stand out today? I’m not talking about the Lil Waynes or the Young Jeezys or the 50 Cents. They al-
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ready have careers built by giant machines (the dinosaur record labels) and large amounts of money invested. But what about the next generation of artists? How do they stand out? If it takes momentum and the creation of a movement to move a career forward, and if it takes a large amount of word of mouth from people who like your music and your image, how does an artist in today’s world compete? How do you stand out from the millions of people who have a MySpace Music page, and are trying to be the next big thing?! In my opinion, it takes hard work. Even harder work than it did a few short years ago because of all the oversaturation we now have. Everyone is a rapper or a producer. To compete, an artist coming up has to promote himself or herself to both the end consumer (the potential fan) and to the industry that currently exists (for as long as it exists). Very few artists out here understand this. I see the many of the same faces at every convention, every record pool, every seminar, and every gathering. That’s important. People don’t take you seriously until they see you over and over, especially in this business where the turnover rate is so high. I can count the number of people still in this industry from 1992 when I started, on one hand. I can count the number of people who’ve been doing this for 10 years or more on my fingers and toes. People leave the music business quickly once they discover that it’s hard work as opposed to fun and games. So how is it possible that Roccett, Papa Duck, Grand Prix, Yo Gotti, R. City, Trae, Mistah FAB, MoBillionaireZ, TMI Boyz, Preacher, and many others stand out in my mind? Because they are everywhere. Every event I attend, I bump into these same folks. Yes, there are some artists who have one song that blows up (Shop Boyz, Heisman Boyz, Lil Will, etc) but for the most part, do they have long term careers? There’s a difference between a hit record and a career as a recording artist. I do not know of any artist with a career who came into the industry through a hit record. Not one. But I do understand the importance of a hit record once you’ve put in work! Somehow, these same folks that I always bump into are able to build themselves in my mind. I receive their email blasts, I get the downloads for their mixed CDs, and I read articles about them in rap magazines. I, like many others, pay attention to them. I am rooting for their success because I see the hard work and effort they make to move their careers forward. I see them nominated for the awards at the industry events—the patiently waitings, the regional awards, the mixtape awards. All of this matters. You need a movement behind you to win. I know their teams, for the most part. Roccett is a great example. I know his manager (Rick), I know his publicist, I know the industry people who have championed his music and passed it around, and I know the team at the label he used to be signed to. We all talk about him. When I am writing an article about new artists who are about to blow, he comes to mind. When I am sitting on a panel and he walks into the room, I speak to him (from the panel). He has put in the work and has the talent to back it up. He has the team and the people skills to win. I want to see him win. I have no vested interest in his career, but I will do anything I can to help him move forward. Why? Because he has earned it. He works hard, he works for free, and most importantly, he works. And I am just one of many who feel this way. Truth is, I am surprised he hasn’t made the cover of this magazine yet. The day that he does, the haters will speak up about it. They will wonder how someone came out of nowhere to get the cover of OZONE. And I will wonder what took so fucking long, because I’ve been watching him grind and put in work for over 2 years now. And he’s barely made a dime… Roccett is just one artist. There are many like him. Very few artists have a real shot. If you really want to know how, ask him (and the folks like him out there grinding) how they did it. But be willing to put in that level of work, commitment, and passion. Oh, and maybe have a little talent too? //
OZONE MAG // 23
Are You a G? 7 Questions to determine if an R&B star is the 7th letter of the alphabet. A. What’s the most helplessly romantic thing you’ve ever done? Getting married really quickly was probably the most insane thing I’ve ever done, but also the best thing I’ve ever done. When this girl—my wife—came into my life it really changed me overnight, and I did things I never would’ve done before. One day we just jumped on a plane and flew to London. We’ve all done crazy things for love; just ask Sammie. Sorry, we still can’t award any points for this. B. What’s the cheesiest line you’ve ever written in a song? Wow, that’s a good question, ‘cause I’ve written a lot of cheesy lines, brotha. But the cheesiest was probably one of the lines on the song “Love is Candi” off my first album. I’m embarrassed to tell people this, but I was comparing the girl’s body to a candy store. Back then I was a youngster. The line that makes me cringe when I hear it is, “‘Cause my love is candi / I better go to the candi store / I better have a sweet tooth / If I want some mo’ of yo’ fanny. (Check) Damn, Jon, that’s worse than we thought. We’ll give you credit for giving us a good answer though.
C. What’s the oddest request on your rider? I don’t have too many odd requests. Some [artists] ask for something like all red m&m’s or some stupid shit like that, and that’s just the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Honestly, my rider used to always have bottles of Grey Goose and all other kinds of alcohol on there, but I kinda cleaned up my act. All I ask for now is lots of fruit juice Fruit juice is only gangsta if it’s being used as a chaser. D. When is the last time you cried? The last time I cried was when my daughter was born. I was just walking around the hospital room looking at her, and tears just started pouring down. She’s so beautiful. (Check) Jon gets credit for being a proud father. That’s gangsta. E. What’s the most embarrassing thing we’d find in your bathroom? Probably nose clippers or some shit like that. Actually, what you might find that’s even more embarrassing is tons of baby toys and stuff. I used to have a grown man, sexy bathroom, but now there are baby toys everywhere. Nose clippers and baby toys—definitely not gangsta.
abcdefG F. What’s the most awkward thing that’s ever happened to you during a performance? I was doing a show in Inglewood, which isn’t the easiest crowd to perform for anyway. While I was on stage I went to sit down in a chair, and the chair was missing a bolt, so when I sat down and put all my weight in it, the chair buckled and I fell to the floor. I got back up and played it off, but I was so mad, I was infuriated! The crowd got a good chuckle out of that. (Check) Falling on your ass on stage is pretty bad, but the fact that Jon performed an R&B show in Inglewood, California increases his street cred. G. What’s the biggest difference in R&B between now and when you first started back in the mid 90’s? I think R&B has a lot more swagger now than it used to. Honestly, the whole fusion of Hip Hop and R&B has really made R&B lyricists step our game up in a major way. (Check) The mere mention of “swagger” brings Jon B’s G status up. Score: 4/7 Check out Jon B.’s new album Helplessly in Love in stores this fall. myspace.com/ jonboogotti - Eric Perrin
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Hood Deeds WORDS & PHOTO By Eric Perrin In 2004 it was the Vote or Die campaign that Hip Hop cosigned. But nobody voted, and nobody died. Perhaps it was the lifeless candidates that failed to energize rap fans to flock to the polls, but whatever the problem was, this time around “Change” has come—literally. While last election Diddy was the most vocal figure, this year a surplus of rappers have used their star power to encourage their following the register to vote in this years election. Houston radio DJ Madd Hatta spent three days broadcasting live—and sleeping—at Sharpstown Mall just so he could meet his goal of registering 5,000 voters. All over the country, rappers reached out to their fans to encourage them to register to vote. In Atlanta, Young Jeezy registered to vote at his own voter registration drive at Diddy’s Justin’s restaurant in Buckhead Jeezy attributed his desire to vote for the first time to the poor economy. “The economy has got to change,” stressed the rapper who recently released his third solo album appropriately titled The Recession. “We gotta do something about it,” he added. “I see a lot of cats out here spreading the word now. Even if they can’t vote themselves they’re trying to get others to get out and vote, and that’s what we need.” //
Names of Shame
by Maurice g. garland
1. Da Shit Factory
Just when you thought producers ran out of ways to tag their creations, Houston-based production team Da Shit Factory stamps their beats with a toilet flush and quips like “you know its us when you hear the toilet flush” and “you know you smell us.” With their biggest hit to date being the Trap Starz Clik’s “Get It Bitch,” DSF’s turds, er, tunes have been floating throughout the industry. They recently placed two tracks on the Boss Hogg Outlawz’ new project Back By Blockular Demand.
2. Raw Dogg Entertainment
This South Carolina-based promotions company promises clients they can spread their name like a virus. They’d better be careful before they get confused with a porno company or escort service.
3. Loaf of Bread Ent.
Loaf of Bread E-N-T! That’s all we got!
(above L-R): Yung LA & TI on the set of Yung LA’s “Aint I” remix video shoot in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Eric Perrin); Shawty Lo, Jadakiss, & DJ Q45 @ the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Terrence Tyson); J Prince registering to vote @ KBXX The Box’s voter registration drive in Houston, TX (Photo: Julia Beverly)
01 // DJ B-Do & TOE @ Picazo (Houston, TX) 02 // Kawan Prather & TI @ The Biltmore for TI’s Untouchables Part Deux birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Brisco, Cece Williams, & Ace Hood @ Club Aqua (Jacksonville, FL) 04 // Star of the movie ‘ATL’ Jackie Long & actor Andre Pitre @ The New Orleans Arena (New Orleans, LA) 05 // Jarvis & Shakir Stewart @ Club 595 for Yung Joc’s Ace of Spades birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 06 // DJ Khaled & Ace @ Mansion for LIl Wayne’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 07 // Russell Simmons, Musiq Soulchild, & Kevin Liles @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Yo Gotti, Jus Bleezy, & Gorilla Zoe on the set of the “Bosses” video shoot (St Louis, MO) 09 // Q Da Kid, Jermaine Dupri, & 9th Ward @ Kryptonite for The CORE DJs Award Show (Myrtle Beach, SC) 10 // Dr Teeth & Cherrell @ Shadow Bar for Dr Teeth’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 11 // Freddyo & Lil Duval on the set of Yung LA’s “Aint I” remix video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Big D & CP da Entertainer @ Club Laraza (Dothan, AL) 13 // The crew of 92.5 The Beat MS @ the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum (Biloxi, MS) 14 // DJ Rob Fresh, DJ Slab 1, Young Jeezy, & DJ Ro @ House of Blues for Young Jeezy’s party (New Orleans, LA) 15 // Guest & Sean Garrett @ The Biltmore for TI’s Untouchables Part Deux birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Trini & Vistoso Bosses @ Georgian Terrance Hotel for the Hittmenn DJ Awards (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Mercedes & Bigg DM @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Myrtle Beach, SC) 18 // Sabrina Montgomery, Alju, & guest @ The Artistry (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Bay Bay & Bun B @ K104 Summer Jam (Dallas, TX) Photo Credits: D’Lyte (19); Eric Perrin (05,11,12); Ichigo (01,10); Julia Beverly (02,07,09,15); King Yella (08); Kingpin (17); Malik Abdul (06); Marcus DeWayne (04,13,14); Ms Rivercity (16,18); Terrence Tyson (03)
OZONE MAG // 25
CHIN CHECK By Charlamagne Tha God HOPE + FAITH = PATIENCE
od loves you. You know how I know? I know because he blessed you with the one attribute that is needed to succeed on this planet. That attribute, ladies and ghettomen, is patience. A person without patience is like Grand Hustle without T.I., Beyonce without a vagina, or Chick-Fil-A without chicken. A person with no patience serves no purpose because whatever their purpose is, , he or she will never reach it because they lack patience. A person without patience wants everything instantly, but that’s not the way God designed things. Anything that’s worth having on this planet requires a lot of patience to receive. Patience is what keeps me from pistol whipping random people whenever I get stressed out. I’m typing this thinking that the first of the month is tomorrow, and I have so many muthafucking bills. Verizon is sending me text messages that read, “To avoid interruption hit send,” my newborn starts daycare tomorrow and they want the tuition for the month upfront, rent is due, I have to pay my AFTRA Healthcare premium, got to throw my moms some money and I owe Julia Beverly, Editor-In-Chief of OZONE, $1,200. But I’ll be okay because I have patience. Patience is basically having faith in your creator that everything is going to be alright; everything is going to work itself out. I flew to L.A. the week before last, and booked my tickets on cheapair.com because they always have great rates. You just have to make sure all your info is correct because they don’t give refunds or any type of credit if you have to change it. I booked my flight to leave on a Saturday and fly back at 6:00 AM Wednesday morning West Coast time because I had to tape something with BET @ 5:30 PM East Coast time. Well, something came up in NY and I had to stay in town on Saturday, so I just booked a one way for Sunday morning and would just fly back on the Wednesday morning flight I had previously booked. Well, I had no idea that because I didn’t use the first half of my ticket and fly out that Saturday cheapair.com canceled the whole damn ticket! Guess when I found out? 5:00 AM Wednesday morning when I’m trying to check in and don’t have a reservation.
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At first I got a little amped with the airline representatives. How they could just cancel something I paid for? I just breathed in, said a quick prayer and listened to that voice in my head that said, “Have patience, my son.” The airline representative told me I would have to purchase a one way to get back to NY and there were still seats available on the 6:00 AM flight. Are y’all paying attention? It is 5:15 AM West Coast time, the flight leaves at 6:00 AM and I’m about to purchase a one way ticket. I imagined myself unbuckling my belt, dropping my SDM jeans and turning around because I knew Delta was about to fuck me so good. What could I do? I was at the mercy of the airline. $600 some odd dollars for a one way ticket? Now to everyone reading this, let the record show that I only had my Chase debit Mastercard on me and on this card I had $330 dollars. At this point you are saying to yourself, “This story only gets worse,” but not to me because I have patience. Patience allows me to be still long enough to realize everything was going to work itself out. I handed her my card knowing it was about to be declined. She swiped my card and guess what? It went through. God loves me. A man with no patience wouldn’t have been able to make that situation work. A man with no patience would have been frustrated and angry and his energy would have been so bad that he would have attracted nothing but negativity. That negative energy would have prevented his creator from putting a hand in the situation, therefore, causing his card to decline. Needless to say, I got back to NY in time to tape for the BET show and all was right with the world. Yeah, my Chase debit Mastercard was in the red a few hundred dollars but I got paid that Friday so it worked itself out. The mathematic equation for patience is Hope + Faith = Patience. You should always Hope for the best and always have Faith in yourself and your creator that you will be put in a position to win. That is all patience is. Every artist that’s in this issue is hoping that they make it to that next level; they have faith that their talent is good enough to get them to that next level and they should have faith that their creator does have a blessing with there name on it. God has never put me in a position to lose.
Even when I think I’m losing, I’m really winning because I’m gaining valuable experience and insight while going through whatever I’m going through. Have you heard the old saying, “What doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger?” Well, lack of patience can contribute to that death as well, because it’s patience that allows you to stay strong in the first place. What do you think kept the great Nelson Mandela strong during those 27 years he spent in prison? Hope + Faith = Patience. Patience is what is going to get all of us through this rough economic period, and please, my brothers, don’t go back to the drug game. Trust me. I know when you evolve out of it and things get rough, the first thing you want to do is resort back to it. You know how many times in the past 60 days I have thought about flooding the streets of my hometown Moncks Corner, SC, with weed? I try to justify it in my mind. Selling crack is whack because crack kills and destroys communities, but weed? Everybody loves weed. Weed never killed anybody! Then I hear two voices in my head. One is Young Jeezy saying, “I’m going back to jail; that’s what my conscience keeps on telling me,” the other is God saying, “If you don’t sit your ass down and have some patience...” Both of these voices are strong enough in my mind to make me fall back from my criminal mind state for the simple fact that Hope + Faith = Patience. I am going to be okay. All my bills will be paid; my health care, my daughter’s daycare, and so will Ms. Julia Beverly. I am destined to become a multi-millionaire anyway. Check for my new special coming on BET all about the DJs; I am the consulting producer. Speaking of patience, South Crack: The Album is at over 11,000 sold and I’m waiting on EMI to cut that check. I had a Pressing and Distribution deal with them. My company Stupid Dope Moves gets 70% of all profits, so you do the math, not to mention the book deal and a certain situation with South Carolina artist Lil Ru and one of the top 4 producers in the country. Damn, now that I’m looking at it in black and white, I’m saying to myself, “Everything is going to be more than alright.” Hope + Faith = Patience P.S.: New mixtape South Crack Pt.10 Trap Boys Love Us and Vol.4 Still Standing hosted by T.I.P. coming soon!!
(above L-R): Bun B @ The Loft for Scion’s Bun B show in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity); Young Cash & T-Pain @ The Moon for Big Spendaz Ent in Tallahassee, FL (Photo: Terrence Tyson); Young Jeezy & his son @ The Tabernacle for Young Jeezy’s Recession concert in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly)
01 // DJ Boosie, Joe Anthony, & Young Jeezy @ House of Blues for Young Jeezy’s party (New Orleans, LA) 02 // Maino & ladies on the set of Maino’s video shoot (New York, NY) 03 // AJ Savage & Wendy Day @ Kryptonite for The CORE DJs Award Show (Myrtle Beach, SC) 04 // Cole Crawford, Bigga Rankin, & Sweetness @ SoHo Lounge for Bigga Rankin’s birthday party (Jacksonville, FL) 05 // Kaspa, Chad Brown, & ladies @ Stankonia for Big Boi’s Hittmenn DJs listening party (Atlanta, GA) 06 // T-Pain & his dancers @ Vibe Yardfest (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Jawan Strader, K-Foxx, & DJ Q45 @ Park West (Miami, FL) 08 // Yung Joc & David Banner @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Young Jeezy & Kinky B @ Amore for Young Jeezy’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Courtney, Kade, Megan, & Joy @ The Biltmore for TI’s Untouchables Part Deux birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Gotti Boy Chris & G-Moe @ The Howling Wolf (New Orleans, LA) 12 // LeLe, Jarvis, Princess Ivory, & Lil Fate @ Clark Atlanta University for DTP’s block party (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Thaddaeus McAdams, Kenny Brewer, Jessica, & Malik Abdul @ Club 595 for Yung Joc’s Ace of Spades birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Fab Promotions @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 15 // Donald Woodard & Bibi Guns @ Amore for Young Jeezy’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Morton Sisters @ Frequency for Street Report release party (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Rich Gram, Greg Street, DJ Infamous, & Don Cannon @ Justin’s for Young Jeezy’s voter registration drive (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Henny, Dow Jones, & DJ Toomp @ Amore for Young Jeezy’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Stay Fresh & Sean Paul of the YoungBloodz @ Georgian Terrance Hotel for the Hittmenn DJ Awards (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Cooley (02); Eric Perrin (13,17); Johnny Louis (07); Julia Beverly (03,06,08,09,10,15,18); Malik Abdul (14); Marcus DeWayne (01,11); Ms Rivercity (05,12,16,19); Terrence Tyson (04)
OZONE MAG // 27
She Liked my NECKLACE and started relaxin’, that’s what the fuck I call a…
H-Town’s Latin Emcee Gets Political with his “Immigrant Family Crossing” Piece
his piece was just a cool symbol that I wore to promote my last album with Asylum, They Can’t Deport Us All. In Southern California by the [Mexican] border, they have these street signs with images of families running across the border. It’s so bad over there they have to warn drivers so they don’t hit the people on the highways and shit. Some places you might see a sign with a deer on it, telling you, “Watch out, ‘cause you might hit a deer,” but over here they have signs that say, “Watch out, you might hit a family of immigrants.” The design on my chain is different from the real sign; I remixed it a little. On my chain there is a picture of a husband, a wife, and a rooster, but the real sign has a picture of a father, a wife, and a kid on it. If you Google that sign it’s a really funny looking image, because the kid is barely hanging from the mother’s hands, and her legs are flying and shit. Originally, this logo was designed to be a part of the album artwork,
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but I thought it’d be cool to incorporate the design into jewelry. TV Johnny made the piece for me, and right now I’m getting it worked on; I’m adding some more ice to it. I’m always trying to come up with something creative to get people’s attention and keep people talking, and it worked. Also, I’ve got a message for Freeze [of ] Daed Jewelers in Miami. If you’re reading this, I need you to give me a call. I had put some money down on a bobblehead piece and somehow, someway we lost touch. I’m not saying he robbed me or anything, but for some reason I can’t get ahold of him. So Freeze, if you’re reading this, get at me so we can finish that piece. // myspace.com/officialchingobling As told to Eric Perrin Photo by D-Ray
(above L-R): Irv Gotti & Young Jeezy @ the Tabernacle for Young Jeezy’s Recession concert in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Eric Perrin); Monica & Rocko @ the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Nelly & Lil Wayne @ Chaifetz Arena in St Louis, MO (Photo: King Yella)
01 // DJ Wrekk 1 & guests @ Jillian’s for the CORE DJs Circle City Classic afterparty (Indianapolis, IN) 02 // Common & Cindy Hill @ 93.3 (Houston, TX) 03 // Skool Boy of the Graffiti Boyz @ Tennessee Music Conference (Nashville, TN) 04 // Lydia Harris & Bigga Rankin @ Georgian Terrance Hotel for the Hittmenn DJ Awards (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Bu, Morenika, & Dennis Byron @ The Biltmore for TI’s Untouchables Part Deux birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 06 // Young Steff & Freeway @ Atlantic Records pool party during the CORE DJs Retreat (Myrtle Beach, SC) 07 // Kurupt, Rick Ross, & Daz Dillinger @ Prive (Miami, FL) 08 // Pretty Ricky & ladies @ Sobe Live for Tony Neal’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 09 // TI & Kenny Burns @ The Biltmore for TI’s Untouchables Part Deux birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 10 // DJ B-Do & Chris Ward @ Picazo (Houston, TX) 11 // Hen Roc & Amir Shaw @ Atlantic Records pool party during the CORE DJs Retreat (Myrtle Beach, SC) 12 // Ed of Trill Images & Bankroll Jonez @ Trae Day (Houston, TX) 13 // Keishelle, Dizzy, Quita, DJ Raj Smoove, Mekele, Teniesha & Gotti Boy Chris @ The Howling Wolf (New Orleans, LA) 14 // Supa & guest @ Vibe Yardfest (Atlanta, GA) 15 // DJ Impact, DJ Finesse, Bigg DM, DJ Rip, & Tony Neal @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Myrtle Beach, SC) 16 // JC & guest @ Club 595 for Yung Joc’s Ace of Spades birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Papa Duck & Young AC @ Club Crucial for the Hittmenn DJs & Grand Hustle BBQ (Atlanta, GA) 18 // DJ Babe & DJ Commando @ Atlantic Records pool party during the CORE DJs Retreat (Myrtle Beach, SC) 19 // Trai D, Frayser Boy, Freddy Hydro, & Partee @ Wildhorse Saloon for Young Buck’s celebrity party (Nashville, TN) Photo Credits: Eric Perrin (03,16); Ichigo (02,10,12); J Lash (07,08); Julia Beverly (05,06,09,11,14,18,19); Kingpin (15); Malik Abdul (01); Marcus DeWayne (13); Ms Rivercity (04,17)
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This is the story of Ayana, A 24-year-old South American girl who went from working as a cashier at Victoria’s Secret to cashing in by taking off her own LINGERIE. “I needed a car when I first started college, and my job at Victoria’s Secret wasn’t doing it,” she explains. “I figured stripping would be the fastest way for me to buy a car, and I was right.” It took five months, but after purchasing a new Nissan Altima, the former University of Central Florida student was sold on life as a dancer. Born in Guyana, South America, a small country directly above Brazil, Ayana moved from her native country to New Jersey at age 8. Six years later she and her family moved to Orlando, where she attended high school and was eventually introduced to her current career in exotic entertainment. By her 21st birthday Ayana had grown bored with her Orlando affairs and took a trip to ATL to scout the crowd at Strokers. That’s when everything changed. “As soon as I got to Strokers it sealed the deal for me. I was like, ‘This is where I need to be. This is where it’s at,’” she recalls. In the three years since the 32-22-39 mocha latte moved to ATL, she has definitely experienced her share of ups and downs on the pole, including one disturbing lap dance last year. “I was dancing for a guy one night, and he pleasured himself to the point of no return,” she frightfully remembers. “I didn’t realize he had pulled it out and was playing with it until it was too late, and when it escaped, it caught me on my butt.” After immediately having security remove the perpetrator from the club, Ayana gave herself an alcohol bath and thoroughly removed any traces of “Cream of Sum Yung Guy” from her behind. The incident was certainly one she would prefer to forget. Ayana adds, “It was definitely not a pleasant experience to have some stranger’s jism on your ass cheek. I was traumatized.” And when she’s not being traumatized by perverted customers, Ayana is busy galvanizing the crowd with her favorite physical feature, her robust rear. In fact, she is so proud of her ample ass that she had the words “Apple Bottom” tatted across both checks. Ayana makes a decent living dealing table dances because the fans are infatuated with her apple, but one day she hopes to return to college and complete her degree in Education. She plans to become a first grade teacher. Maybe then her biggest fans will put an apple on her table instead of the other way around. // Words: Eric Perrin Photographer: Sean Cokes 404-622-7733 Make-Up Artist: Mike Mike 678-732-5285 Hair Stylist: Baby Boy 404-396-2739 Booking: www.myspace.com/strokersatl 770-270-0350 Website: www.strokersclub.com
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(above L-R): TI & Jazze Pha @ The Biltmore for TI’s Untouchables Part Deux birthday party in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Rick Ross & Ace Hood on the set of TayDizm’s “Beam Me Up” in Miami, FL (Photo: J Lash); Yung LA & Big Kuntry @ Vibe Yardfest in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly)
01 // Bigga Rankin & the Morton sisters @ Georgian Terrance Hotel for the Hittmenn DJ Awards (Atlanta, GA) 02 // DJ Drama & Khujo Goodie @ The Loft for Scion’s Bun B show (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Masspike Miles & Geter K @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 04 // DJ Q45, DJ Entice, & Tony Neal @ Mansion for LIl Wayne’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 05 // G-Moe, Young Jeezy, & Uptown Angela @ House of Blues for Young Jeezy’s party (New Orleans, LA) 06 // TJ Chapman & BOB @ Atlantic Records pool party during the CORE DJs Retreat (Myrtle Beach, SC) 07 // DJ Holiday, Gucci Mane, & Yung Ralph on the set of Gucci Mane’s “Bricks” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Playaz Circle @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Arab, Soulja Boy, & Jbar @ Summer Jam (Portsmouth, VA) 10 // Da Spot models @ Boiler Room (Biloxi, MS) 11 // Lisa Rogers & Janiro Hawkins @ SEA’s Milkshake Thursdays (Houston, TX) 12 // Kiotti, Big Tuck, & Crisco Kidd @ Bar Rio for Kiotti’s birthday bash (Houston, TX) 13 // Kadife Sylvester & Jarvis @ The Biltmore for TI’s Untouchables Part Deux birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 14 // OZONE and UrbanSouth’s Hurricane Ike relief (Houston, TX) 15 // Yung Joc & Vee @ Club 595 for Yung Joc’s Ace of Spades birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Hurricane Chris, BG, & Dynasty @ Silver Foxx (Jacksonville, FL) 17 // Gucci Mane & guest on the set of Gucci Mane’s “Bricks” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Fonsworth Bentley & Kaspa @ Stankonia for Big Boi’s Hittmenn DJs listening party (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Mob Boss & Brisco @ Club Aqua (Jacksonville, FL) 20 // Tracey Smith & Big Teach @ Asylum Records showcase during the CORE DJs Retreat (Myrtle Beach, SC) Photo Credits: Edward Hall (14); Eric Perrin (10,15); Ichigo (12); Jacquie Holmes (09); Janiro Hawkins (11); Julia Beverly (03,06,13,20); Malik Abdul (04); Marcus DeWayne (05); Ms Rivercity (01,02,18); Terrence Tyson (08,16,19); Thaddaeus McAdams (07,17)
OZONE MAG // 31
PLIES & NELLY PLIES: Excuse me Cornell, when can I expect payment? NELLY: Plies? PLIES: I’d prefer to be called Algernod when dealing with matters of business. I only play dumb on TV. NELLY: Business? What u talkin bout derrty? PLIES: I’m referring to the wager we agreed upon pertaining to the tennis match in which I was victorious over you. If I recall correctly, I promptly defeated you throughout the course of three straight sets. NELLY: I’m lookin at my wallet and ain’t no money in herre. You know my album ain’t sell. PLIES: I’m assuming you experienced poor album sales because you titled your album “Brass Knuckles.” You know that violence is never the proper way to rectify a situation, Cornell. NELLY: Naw, but for real I ain’t got it. Gimme a rematch or something. Naw, matter of fact, I’m not even paying you nigga. You never told me you was the captain of the tennis team in college. PLIES: That’s irrelevant. You got hustled Pimpjuice, now remit payment or I will be forced to unleash the goons on yo’ pus’ ass. NELLY: Hold on derrty. Do we got a problem herre ‘Nod?
PLIES: You dun unleashed Plies now, Tipdrill. We ain’t got no problem, but if you don’t pay me my money I’m gon’ have to fuck ya ol’ lady, and I like bust it babies. I don’t even want that bougie bitch.
Textin’ is no longer safe now that OZONE’s dangerous minds have hacked the system.
NELLY: You callin’ my girl a bitch? PLIES: You heard me. I let her put that body on me cuz she got that goodgood. Soon as I seen her, shit, told her I’d pay for it. NELLY: Excuse me, muthafucka? PLIES: You can excuse my hands all over yo’ bitch. NELLY: Is that where she been at? She been wit’ you, nigga? PLIES: Yeah, cause you ain’t no real nigga like ya lil’ wo Plies dawg. Matter of fact, I gave her a nickname: Wet-Wet. If you’d a told me it was this good I’d have never guessed. NELLY: I’m heated. It’s gettin’ hot in herre. You ain’t never getting yo’ money now, bitch. PLIES: Fuck it, you ain’t sellin’ records no more so you can keep that. You need it more than me.
- From the minds of Eric Perrin & Randy Roper (Photos by J Lash & Ichigo)
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(above L-R): Young Dro & Yung Joc on the set of Willie the Kid’s “For The Love Of Money” video shoot in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Eric Perrin); Mama Wes & Trae @ Trae Day in Houston, TX (Photo: Edgar Walker); Shawty Lo & Pacman Jones @ Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, TX (Photo: King Yella)
01 // DJ Holiday & Boomtown on the set of Gucci Mane’s “Bricks” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Lost Child, TayDizm, & DJ Lil Boy @ The Moon for Big Spendaz Ent (Tallahassee, FL) 03 // Kerisha Smith & Ashley Smith @ The Biltmore for TI’s Untouchables Part Deux birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Brittony Morton & Malik Abdul @ Club Moto (Pittsburg, PA) 05 // Olympic medalists Walter Dix & Angelo Taylor @ the Tabernacle for Young Jeezy’s Recession concert (Atlanta, GA) 06 // The Runners @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Lil Chuckee & Lil Twist @ Chaifetz Arena (St Louis, MO) 08 // Dizzy & DJ Raj Smoove @ The Howling Wolf (New Orleans, LA) 09 // Jarvis & Chaka Zulu @ Vibe Yardfest (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Dwayne Wade & ladies @ Zo’s Summer Groove (Miami, FL) 11 // Woede Mac & Glenn reppin’ Carnivo XO @ Roy’s Ventura Lounge (Shaw, MS) 12 // Rob Lo & Marley Mar @ Asylum Records showcase during the CORE DJs Retreat (Myrtle Beach, SC) 13 // Grind Mode @ Rick Ross’ Be Out Day (Miami, FL) 14 // Miskeen body-paint models @ The Edge for Keith Kennedy’s birthday party (Tallahassee, FL) 15 // Hot Beezo, Mr Marcelo, & Magnolia Chop @ The Venue (New Orleans, LA) 16 // DJ Q45 & Slim Goodye @ Antigua (Orlando, FL) 17 // Freddy Hydro & Clay Evans @ Club Crucial for the Hittmenn DJs & Grand Hustle BBQ (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Rick Edwards & Drumma Boy @ Frequency for Street Report release party (Atlanta, GA) 19 // T & DJ Fahrenheit @ The Tabernacle for Young Jeezy’s Recession concert (Atlanta, GA) 20 // Spiff & TV Johnny @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Edward Hall (11); J Lash (13); Johnny Louis (10); Julia Beverly (03,06,09,12,19); King Yella (07); Malik Abdul (16); Marcus DeWayne (08,15); Maurice Garland (05); Ms Rivercity (17,18); Terrence Tyson (02,04,14,20); Thaddaeus McAdams (01)
OZONE MAG // 33
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(above L-R): Young Steff & BOB @ Atlantic Records pool party during the CORE DJs Retreat in Myrtle Beach, SC; Obama boys @ Vibe Yardfest in Atlanta, GA (Photos: Julia Beverly); Lil Jon & Pitbull on the set of “Go Crazy” in Miami, FL (Photo: Bogan)
01 // DJ Spinz & Juney Boomdata @ El Texano (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Peckas, Irv Gotti, & Shakir Stewart @ The Tabernacle for Young Jeezy’s Recession concert (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Damian, Papa Duck, & Selah @ Club Phantom for DJ Benny Boom’s birthday bash (West Palm Beach, FL) 04 // Guccio, Jus Bleezy, & Rico on the set of the “Bosses” video shoot (St Louis, MO) 05 // Mami Chula, DJ Storm, & DJ Princess Cut @ the Respect The DJ conference (Atlanta, GA) 06 // DJ Drama, DJ Q45, Willie the Kid, Ace Hood, & DJ Khaled @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 07 // E-Class, Clive Secomar, & Flo Rida @ Karu & Y (Miami, FL) 08 // Rick Ross & DJ Irie on the set of TayDizm’s “Beam Me Up” (Miami, FL) 09 // Toro (R.I.P.) & BallGreezy @ Rick Ross’ Be Out Day (Miami, FL) 10 // DJ K-Roc & NFL @ Club GGs (Dallas, TX) 11 // Nnete, Robin Thicke, & DJ GT @ Robin Thicke’s listening party (Houston, TX) 12 // Joe Hound & guest @ Sobe Live for Tony Neal’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 13 // BloodRaw, Lex, DJ Rhymer, & DJ Cutterman @ 94.3 (Miami, FL) 14 // Get Away Boys & Killer Mike @ Vibe Yardfest (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Bigga Rankin, Supa Chino, TJ Chapman, & Malik Abdul @ The Edge for Keith Kennedy’s birthday party (Tallahassee, FL) 16 // Queen & Young B @ KBXX The Box HIV benefit concert (Houston, TX) 17 // St Lunatic Ali & his son @ Chaifetz Arena (St Louis, MO) 18 // Tabi Bonney, Killer Mike, & Haziq Ali @ Vibe Yardfest (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Todd1, 9th Ward, & Jarvis @ Kryptonite for The CORE DJs Award Show (Myrtle Beach, SC) Photo Credits: Edward Hall (10); Ichigo (11,16); J Lash (07,08,09,12); Julia Beverly (02,06,14,18,19); King Yella (04,17); Lex Promotions (13); Ms Rivercity (01); Terrence Tyson (03,15)
OZONE MAG // 35
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(above L-R): Yung Joc @ Club 595 for Yung Joc’s Ace of Spades birthday party in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Eric Perrin); Scarface, BG, & Young Buck @ Wildhorse Saloon for Young Buck’s celebrity party in Nashville, TN (Photo: Julia Beverly); Toro (R.I.P.) performing @ Rick Ross’s Be Out Day in Miami, FL (Photo: Thaddaeus McAdams)
01 // DJ Prostyle & Chino @ Mansion for Lil Wayne’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 02 // Maricia Magana, Robin Thicke, & Candy Girl @ Robin Thicke’s listening party (Houston, TX) 03 // Julia Beverly, Young Cash, & TayDizm @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Devyne Stephens, guest, Jazze Pha, & Vawn @ Tongue & Groove for Russell Simmons birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Big Boi & Konkrete @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 06 // Gorilla Tek & DJ Q45 @ Summerfest (Miami, FL) 07 // Rick Ross & Carol City Cartel @ Rick Ross’ Be Out Day (Miami, FL) 08 // Nelly & Soulja Boy @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 09 // BG & DJ Drama @ Club Crucial for the Hittmenn DJs & Grand Hustle BBQ (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Guest & Flo Rida @ Cameo for his birthday party (Miami, FL) 11 // Jacob Latimore @ the Almost Famous Awards (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Linda Robins & Mz Kitti @ Wildhorse Saloon for Young Buck’s celebrity party (Nashville, TN) 13 // Kev, 3Kings, Corey Bapes, DJ Ricky Rukkus, Young Shank, Lady Drama, & Northsquad @ Cleveland Hip Hop Awards (Cleveland, OH) 14 // Vawn & Jazze Pha @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Pat, Robin, Tiffany, & Anna @ Boiler Room (Biloxi, MS) 16 // DJ Dynamite, Carlos Cartel, & JD Hawg @ Asylum Records showcase during the CORE DJs Retreat (Myrtle Beach, SC) 17 // First Lady & Coach @ Boiler Room (Biloxi, MS) 18 // Kotton Mouth & OG Ron C @ Club GGs (Dallas, TX) 19 // BloodRaw & Lex @ LPMG Offices (Miami, FL) 20 // Yung Ralph, Nicky Minaj, Rich Boy, Gorilla Zoe, & OJ Da Juice Man on the set of Gucci Mane’s Bricks’s video shoot (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Bogan (06); Edward Hall (18); Eric Perrin (12,15,17,20); Ichigo (02); J Lash (07,10); Julia Beverly (04,05,08,14,16); Lex Promotions (19); Malik Abdul (01,13); Ms Rivercity (09,11); Terrence Tyson (03)
OZONE MAG // 37
305’s DJ Entice explains what it’s like to DJ for the University of Miami football games in front a crowd of 70,000 people.
Hometown: MiamI, FL Website: djenticeonline.com Radio: 99 Jamz (Miami) DJ Affiliation: Core DJs and Turntable Assassins Clubs: Sobe Live, Iguanas 3 Songs In Current Rotation: Lil’ Wayne f/ Bobby Valentino & Kid Kid “Mrs. Officer” DJ Khaled f/ Kanye & T-Pain “Go Hard” LL Cool J f/ The Dream “My Baby”
A couple years ago I DJed for the Miami Dolphins for a season, but the stadium didn’t want to do the Hip Hop thing at all. So me and my manager thought up different ideas that we could do [and] the station said that the [University of Miami] Hurricanes wanted to talk to me about doing something. I went over there and met with the athletics director. They told me they wanted something new for this year. I came out there, played at our meetings, discussed everything and they signed me aboard. I started off last year, I did football and basketball, I’m doing football again this year. And it looks like I’m going to be doing basketball again as well. For games, what I do is play pre-game the whole time, then the band will play to bring them out. After kick off, I play during first down, touchdowns, time-outs and we split it up between me and the band during the whole game. They set me up right on the field. The last game we played at the Dolphins stadium, so this game they set me up in the eastern zone right by the fans. For a crowd like that you’re playing for like 70,000 people. They got me playing Rock, Hip Hop, Reggae, Spanish music, Pop, Old School, some Classis, and even Disco. Everything. It’s different because in the club you’ve got to keep people getting drunk and partying all night. At the game you’ve got to make sure you play for everybody. You’re playing for grown ups, kids; you have to really open your mind and play for a lot of different people. The experience is different. When you’re in the club you don’t have 70,000 people screaming around you. It’s kinda nerve racking, but it’s fun. The first game, the people that were around me made it really fun. Everybody was drinking beers and screaming “Hey DJ!” As told to Randy Roper
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(above L-R): Willy Northpole & Shawty Lo @ the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Lil Chuckee, Baby, and the real Birdman Jr @ Chaifetz Arena in St Louis, MO (Photo: King Yella); Tiny & TI @ Spice Market for Grand Hustle’s Power Lunch in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity)
01 // DJ Miltikit & Big J of Munki Boi Ent @ Atlantic Records pool party during the CORE DJs Retreat (Myrtle Beach, SC) 02 // Papa Duck, Rarebreed, & Swordz @ SoHo Lounge for Bigga Rankin’s birthday party (Jacksonville, FL) 03 // TayDizm, Sophia Fresh, & T-Pain @ Vibe Yardfest (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Wale, Blaze, & Hurricane Chris @ Trae Day (Houston, TX) 05 // King Arthur & Attitude @ The Loft for Scion’s Bun B show (Atlanta, GA) 06 // 211 & Roccett @ The Tabernacle for Young Jeezy’s Recession concert (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Meshah Hawkins & kids with Mama Wes @ Trae Day (Houston, TX) 08 // Lloyd & Maino @ Vibe Yardfest (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Seventeen, DJ B-Do & TOE @ DJ B-Do’s birthday bash (Houston, TX) 10 // Rick Ross & Rage on the set of Sean Garrett’s video shoot (Miami, FL) 11 // Steve Raze & Dr Teeth @ Shadow Bar for Dr Teeth’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 12 // Young B, Breneshia, DJ B-Do, TOE, Bankroll Jones, & J Ellis @ Picazo (Houston, TX) 13 // Kaspa & Rich @ The Artistry (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Sean D, DJ Speed Racer, Mr Bones, & Jay Blaze @ Atlantic Records pool party during the CORE DJs Retreat (Myrtle Beach, SC) 15 // Dawman & Disco Jr @ Destiny for DME & Wil’in Ent’s Labor Day party (Orlando, FL) 16 // Frank Lini & Sweetness @ Destiny for DME & Wil’in Ent’s Labor Day party (Orlando, FL) 17 // Rich Boy & Attitude on the set of Gucci Mane’s “Bricks” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Willy Northpole & Malik Abdul @ Club 595 for Yung Joc’s Ace of Spades birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Tony Neal & Malik Shabazz @ Jillian’s for the CORE DJs Circle City Classic afterparty (Indianapolis, IN) 20 // Jody Breeze & Big Boy @ Block Ent Studios (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Edgar Walker (07,09); Eric Perrin (18,19); Ichigo (04,11,12); J Lash (10); Julia Beverly (01,03,06,08,14); King Yella (20); Ms Rivercity (05,13); Terrence Tyson (02,15,16); Thaddaeus McAdams (17)
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//Production Credits Lil Wayne f/T-Pain “Got Money,” Kia Shine “Krispy,” Chamillionaire “Ridin’”
selling ringtone of all time. It was on Chamillionare’s album. The record was the number one record in the country; it won a Grammy and multiple awards. That was the first national break that we got. Prior to that we had a bunch of statewide hits in Texas and regional hits throughout the southwest but that was the first big nationwide record. It was also covered by Weird Al Yankovich, he did the “White & Nerdy” version of it. That sold a lot of ringtones and digital downloads. Weird Al doesn’t cover too many rap records, he does stuff like Michael Jackson. So, for him to cover that record was big also. We did the “Krispy” song for Kia Shine and “Secret Admirer” for Pitbull. We did ninety-five percent of Lil’ Flip’s U Gotta Feel Me album, including “Sunshine” and “Game Over.” We did all kinds of stuff in Texas that were humongous hits, like the early Paul Wall & Chamillionaire album, Bun B, and Slim Thug. On the Latin side, we worked with Tega Calderon and Nina Sky. And on the pop side, we did “With Love” for Hilary Duff.
Play, one half of the production duo Play-N-Skillz, relives the makings of T-Pain and Lil Wayne’s “Got Money” and the success of Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’”.
ot Money” was just a track we made just to be making. We were working out in L.A. and we had put a demo and a little hook idea on it. We were working on Pitbull’s album. When we played it for him he loved it, and said he wanted to put T-Pain on it. He sent it to T-Pain and T-Pain changed the chorus a little bit. By the time he sent it back to Pitbull, his album had already been turned in [so] we just started shopping the song around. T-Pain’s people got it into Lil Wayne’s hands. Once Wayne got it, he put some verses on it and sent it back to us. We redid the track, put all the drops in it, and that’s kind of the story. With so many songs that Wayne had out and so much stuff he recorded, until the actual album came out, I didn’t believe the record was going be on [Tha Carter III]. But once everything was already in stone, it definitely was helpful for us and our career, cause that’s a classic album right there. [“Got Money”] feels like “Ridin’” but probably on a bigger scale. [Wayne] performed it at the VMAs; he did it for Saturday Night Live. It was the biggest record in L.A. at all the [VMA] parties I went to, on the radio station and in the street. It’s a blessing. After having a hit record with “Ridin’,” to have another huge one is blessing. You don’t get that too often. We not only produced [“Ridin’”] but we co-wrote it. That was the biggest
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I like to compare myself to the Jermaine Dupri’s and Dr. Dre’s of the game. They don’t have a distinctive pattern to their music or a sound to it. They’re able to produce R&B acts and Hip Hop acts. That usually equals longevity, cause people will get tired of one sound. I wouldn’t say there’s one distinctive sound on our records, except that we’re real big on melodies. The tunes that we produced will always have a melody you’ll be able to hum along with. Then, of course, the Play-N-Skillz tag we started putting on all our records makes it official. We don’t really work with each other too much. Skillz is the keyboardist, the melody guy. He’s a genius when it comes to that. I usually arrange the song, put the parts where they need to go, and do the majority of the drums and the mixing. When we’re writing songs, I come up with the topics and Skillz again is the melody guy. He may put a song down, and then I come in and rearrange it. We are real blood brothers, so sometimes we get to fighting and that whole little brotherly thing comes in. We usually don’t even work together in the same room. We go back and forth. We’re really excited about Slim Thug’s new solo album that we’ve been working on. Bun B’s putting together another album too, and we’ve already submitted tracks for 50 Cent’s new project and Lil Wayne’s Young Money compilation. Even The Backstreet Boys gave us a call, so I think we’re going in [the studio] with them. We’re also working with Nina Sky, Sean Kingston, Rocko, Paul Wall, and anybody else that wants to work with us. As a producer we try to stay away from the artist side but we’re still working on the Play-N-Skillz album Out the Box. All the people that we collaborated with on the producer side will be appearing on our album. It’s a fusion of all types of different music, Old School to Hip Hop to House; the whole nine. //
Photo by Brian Guilliaux
(above L-R): Lil Wayne & Baby @ Mansion for LIl Wayne’s birthday party in Miami, FL (Photo: Malik Abdul); Plies & DJ Q45 @ the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Julia Beverly & David Banner @ the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Terrence Tyson)
01 // Bulletproof, James Prince Jr, & BP @ Picazo (Houston, TX) 02 // Young Jeezy & DJ Spin @ House of Blues for Young Jeezy’s party (New Orleans, LA) 03 // Young AC & Donata Ellis @ Kryptonite for The CORE DJs Award Show (Myrtle Beach, SC) 04 // Boo Rossini & Coach @ Boiler Room (Biloxi, MS) 05 // Teniesha, Mekele, Snipe, Quita, Gar, & Keishelle @ The Venue (New Orleans, LA) 06 // Greenbag Entertainment @ Coco’s Lounge (Miami, FL) 07 // Bianca, Ludacris, Taquila, & Adrienne @ the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum (Biloxi, MS) 08 // Akon & DJ Q45 @ Mansion for Lil Wayne’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 09 // Tony Neal @ Sobe Live for his birthday party (Miami, FL) 10 // Big Kuntry & Young Dro @ Vibe Yardfest (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Lil Duval, Jason Geter, & TI on the set of Yung LA’s “Aint I” remix video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 12 // DJ Drizzle, Angela Covington, & Zahara Wright @ The Loft for Scion’s Bun B show (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Murphy Lee, Spud, & Nelly @ Chaifetz Arena (St Louis, MO) 14 // Suga D & Plies @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 15 // BG, Scarface, Young Buck, Mz Kitti, & Leo G @ Wildhorse Saloon for Young Buck’s celebrity party (Nashville, TN) 16 // Carlos Cartel & Fat Boy @ Kryptonite for The CORE DJs Award Show (Myrtle Beach, SC) 17 // Alfamega & Laura Giles @ The Biltmore for TI’s Untouchables Part Deux birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Prince Markie Dee, Bizzle, & Stevie J @ Park West (Miami, FL) 19 // Sophia Fresh @ Vibe Yardfest (Atlanta, GA) 20 // Play & Skillz & Yung Joc @ Music Mogul Studios (Atlanta, GA) 21 // Bigga Rankin & Gorilla Zoe @ Georgian Terrance Hotel for the Hittmenn DJ Awards (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Bogan (06); Eric Perrin (04,11); Ichigo (01); J Lash (09); Johnny Louis (18); Julia Beverly (03,10,15,16,17,19,20); King Yella (13); Malik Abdul (08); Marcus DeWayne (02,05,07); Ms Rivercity (12,21); Terrence Tyson (14)
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If the DJ is the backbone of Hip Hop, video directors are the legs. Not only does the right video give a single something to stand on, it can also move an artist’S career into a better direction. Coming from a record label background, director Flyy Kaii has changed the direction of quite a few careers. Whether providing the images for both Akon and T-Pain’s debut videos, helping T.I. make defining statements, or letting the world know what a “Lookin’ Boy” IS, Flyy Kai is quickly emerging as the go-to director for music videos. Just like most rappers, Flyy, born Kai Crawford, got his directing start on the underground, doing work for independent artists. It’s something the Brooklyn native and Clark Atlanta University alum still does to this day, even though he gets plenty of calls from major labels. Fresh off the set of Yung LA’s video for the remix to his single “Ain’t I” featuring Young Dro and T.I., Flyy Kai took a couple minutes out of his day to talk about what goes on behind the lens. Tell us a little about your background. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I went to Boys and Girls High School and got a scholarship from Spike Lee. I got into filmmaking when I played hooky in 8th grade to see Mo Betta Blues. I was blown away by Spike’s dolly shots, so I made it my business to do my research on him. It was a couple movies he did in my hood growing up, and I just watched. I got the scholarship after finding about his involvement with the United Negro College Fund. He had the 40 Acre & A Mule scholarship for people who wanted to take up film at a Black college. I got accepted and it paid off a lot of my tuition. Just like any other video director, I was inspired by Hype Williams and Paul Hunter. It was just about finding the right tools and breaking in. For me, my experience was different than the average director. Most directors start as a protege to a bigger director, working as a PA. I was working in the music industry as a A&R assistant for Lil Jon at So So Def. Then I interned in the music video department at LaFace and I was working at Patchwerk Studios. Working at those places kept me around the artists and kept me in the know of who was doing what, who was next. What were some of your early works? My very first video was with Big Cee of Southpaw Records. He was spending his own money, no major label backing him. I had very little experience, just what I learned at Clark. Dude took a chance on me and gave me some decent money to work with. That one video was an incredible
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Industry 101 Flyy Kai
video. I used it as my showcase reel for a while. Through mutual friends the video got into Akon’s hands, who had just got his deal. He liked it and promised me once he got in motion he woud hire me for his first video. He kept his word and [I directed his video for] “Locked Up.” That alone led to me doing many other Konvict artist videos, like T-Pain’s “I’m Sprung.” Did “Locked Up” break you as a video director? It definitely helped me get recognition. People said it looked professional. It did get me more work, but sometimes it was sporatic, like every 6 months. Akon was one of the guys who always looked out for me. I always had first dibs on his projects and that put me into the realm of the big dogs. Even after you did “Locked Up,” you directed a video for an independent artist named Mr. Rogers who had a song with Killer Mike. I come from the indie world so I can’t shit on those artist who have little money. That’s where I came from, si if I was to ever turn anything like that down, that’s just like biting the hand that fed me. Mr. Rogers knew me way before Akon’s video; he knew me as an intern trying to make a name for myself. Prior to Akon, the indie world was feeding me. I’ve done [videos for] Kool G. Rap and a couple other guys too. I’m proud of the indie videos just as much as the major label ones. Do you get full creative control or do you just do what the artist tells you to do? Akon lets you get creative; he doesn’t interfere. A lot of artists let me do me. Sometimes the labels interfere, but most artists are excited about working with me. A lot of these guys have become my friends after shoots. When I did Yung Joc’s “I Know You See It” we became friends. It’s no different from going to your favorite doctor. Most of my jobs have come about because of my relationships with people in the music industry. Right now, the video you did for T.I.’s “What’s Up” is getting alot of attention, mainly because of who it was aimed at. As a director, are you wary about getting involved in artist “beefs”? Honestly, I’m an artist myself. I’m painting a pic-
ture. Most of the time when artists have something to say, they don’t know how to bring it out visually. That’s where I come into play. This was actually my first video when it was a retaliation, comeback record. It’s directed at a certain source but a lot of other people too, indirectly. I jumped on it because it was T.I. making a statement, [responding] to a rumor saying he ain’t in the hood and can’t go into a certain area. I wanted to help him paint that picture. It’s not really a diss record. If the other party came at me to do a video in retaliation to what I did, I would probably turn it down depending on the content and the point they’re trying to make. I try to chose them wisely. Most people watch videos or see them for the first time on YouTube or other websites now. Has that had an effect on what you do, and the quality of videos in general? It’s changed what the labels are putting out. They’ll tell a director, “This is a ‘viral video,’ so we’re only spending this much.” Some people were saying that YouTube ruined the game and brought budgets down, but really, 9/11 brought budgets down. People started downloading [music] more. [Video] budgets are decreasing because the labels have to make up for [lower] record sales. My industry has to change, so instead of using film we have to use red cams and give them video [quality] that’s satisfactory to the internet. That way, the labels can still put videos for records that might not become singles. If you’re a clever producer, you can make a $20,000 video look like it cost ten times as much. Is video directing a highly competitive field? For me, any field is competitive. It’s always someone that do something better than you. You’ve just go to do you, if you know it’s your calling. I always knew I’d make it. You hear a thousand no’s before you hear a yes. The day that you quit could be the day you make it. It’s all about having the love. You can’t just wait for the opportunity to come. I went out and made it happen. Through the grace of God, he put me with the right people. I try not to be on the hating side and just commend everybody. // Words and Photo by Maurice G. Garland
(above L-R): Ne-Yo & Bryan Michael Cox @ Clark Atlanta University for DTP’s block party in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity); Jermaine Dupri & Rick Ross on the set of TayDizm’s “Beam Me Up” in Miami, FL (Photo: J Lash); Sean Garrett & TI @ The Biltmore for TI’s Untouchables Part Deux birthday party in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly)
01 // Big Bubb & a fan @ Trae Day (Houston, TX) 02 // J Ellis & Young B @ KBXX The Box HIV benefit concert (Houston, TX) 03 // D-Rocc & his wife @ Kryptonite for The CORE DJs Award Show (Myrtle Beach, SC) 04 // Spiff, DJ Dr Doom, DJ Nasty, TJ Chapman, TayDizm, Ace Hood, & DJ Irie on the set of TayDizm’s “Beam Me Up” (Miami, FL) 05 // Young B, TOE, DJ B-Do, & Bankroll Jonez @ DJ B-Do’s birthday bash (Houston, TX) 06 // Jay Rock & Greg Street @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Young Jeezy, Slim Thug, & Trey Songz @ Amore for Young Jeezy’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Sam Sneak, Kano, & Rick Ross @ Cameo for Flo Rida’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 09 // Soulja Boy @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Young Dro & Lil C @ Vibe Yardfest (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Amir Shaw, Kevin Hill, & Happy @ Atlantic Records pool party during the CORE DJs Retreat (Myrtle Beach, SC) 12 // Vanessa Phan, Keith Kennedy, & TJ Chapman @ The Edge for Keith Kennedy’s birthday party (Tallahassee, FL) 13 // Alex Gidewon & Nicole Garner @ The Biltmore for TI’s Untouchables Part Deux birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Andre Berto & Senator Meeks @ The Forge’s voter registration drive (Miami, FL) 15 // Tracey Smith & Aleshia Steele @ Atlantic Records pool party during the CORE DJs Retreat (Myrtle Beach, SC) 16 // Rovella Williams & Bangladesh @ the Almost Famous Awards (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Shawty Lo & crew @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Willie the Kid & DJ Drama @ The Loft for Scion’s Bun B show (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Skai & Vanessa Phan @ The Edge for Keith Kennedy’s birthday party (Tallahassee, FL) 20 // Adrienne, David Banner, Grand Hussle, Taquila, & Bianca @ the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum (Biloxi, MS) Photo Credits: Edgar Walker (01,05); Ichigo (02); J Lash (04,08,14); Julia Beverly (03,06,07,09,10,11,13,15,17); Malik Abdul (19); Marcus DeWayne (20); Ms Rivercity (16,18); Terrence Tyson (12)
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(above L-R): Yo Gotti expressing his feelings for Three 6 Mafia in Atlanta, GA (Editor’s Note: Yo Gotti’s opinions do not reflect the opinions of OZONE Magazine) (Photo: Eric Perrin); Young Jeezy’s son @ the Tabernacle for Young Jeezy’s Recession concert in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Eric Perrin); Maino @ Summer Jam in Portsmouth, VA (Photo: Jacquie Holmes)
01 // Young Dro on the set of Willie the Kid’s “For The Love Of Money” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Raj Smoove & 9th Ward @ The Suite (New Orleans, LA) 03 // Shonie @ BED (Miami, FL) 04 // Lloyd @ the Young N Sexy Tour (Hampton, VA) 05 // Yung Joc on the set of Yung Joc’s “Posted At The Store” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 06 // Yung LA @ Club Crucial for the Hittmenn DJs & Grand Hustle BBQ (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Larry Johnson @ Zo’s Summer Groove (Miami, FL) 08 // Hezeleo @ Trae Day (Houston, TX) 09 // Good Game @ Cleveland Hip Hop Awards (Cleveland, OH) 10 // MC Mo Coppone & DJ Shero @ The Lodge Dubai (Dubai, U.A.E.) 11 // Crum Dot Com & Ms Rivercity @ Crucial for Grand Hustle BBQ (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Sean Paul & guest @ Kryptonite for The CORE DJs Award Show (Myrtle Beach, SC) 13 // DJ Jaycee, Don Cannon, & DJ Infamous @ Club 595 for Yung Joc’s Ace of Spades birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 14 // DJ Ricky Rukkus, Amber, & G Mack @ Cleveland Hip Hop Awards (Cleveland, OH) 15 // Jason Brown & Nick Love @ The Loft for Scion’s Bun B show (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Nappyville & Young Tru @ Jillian’s for the CORE DJs Circle City Classic afterparty (Indianapolis, IN) 17 // BloodRaw @ the Tabernacle for Young Jeezy’s Recession concert (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Big Kuntry & Lil Duval @ Square One (Jacksonville, FL) 19 // Claudia @ Yaucatan Beach Club for THCK Battle of the Beauties (Copeland, TX) 20 // Freak from Money Rules on MLK (Dallas, TX) 21 // DJ G Mack @ the Adidas store (Atlanta, GA) 22 // Alexis White @ The Edge for Keith Kennedy’s birthday party (Tallahassee, FL) 23 // The Clipse @ Summer Jam (Portsmouth, VA) 24 // DJ Bliss @ Radio One Dubai (Dubai, U.A.E.) 25 // Wee Wee @ Boiler Room (Biloxi, MS) 26 // David KA, Diwang Valdez, & Sebastian Urrea on the set of Yung Joc’s “Posted At The Store” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 27 // Julius from Making the Band & A+ @ Club Laraza (Dothan, AL) 28 // DJ Wrekk 1 @ Jillian’s for the CORE DJs Circle City Classic afterparty (Indianapolis, IN) 29 // Buckeey @ Club Moto (Pittsburg, PA) 30 // Bigg DM, Greg Street, & Fonsworth Bentley @ Georgian Terrance Hotel for the Hittmenn DJ Awards (Atlanta, GA) 31 // Rich Boy & guest on the set of Gucci Mane’s “Bricks” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 32 // Tony Neal & DJ Hutch Daddy Dollar @ Jillian’s for the CORE DJs Circle City Classic afterparty (Indianapolis, IN) 33 // Kim Osorio @ Tongue & Groove for Russell Simmons birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 34 // DJ Mack @ Obsessions’ Voter Registration Drive (Killeen, TX) 35 // Ed Lover @ Zo’s Summer Groove (Miami, FL) Photo Credits: Bogan (03,07,35); Edward Hall (19,20); Eric Perrin (01,11,13,16,17,25,26,27,31,32); Ichigo (08); Jacquie Holmes (04,23); Julia Beverly (12,33); Kenneth Clark (10,24); Malik Abdul (09,14,22,28); Marcus DeWayne (02); Ms Rivercity (05,06,15,21,30); Terrence Tyson (18,29); Tre Dubb (34)
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s ha ow try but n u’re n o ou s, r c on e y ion ou nati tim gnat , y e l ill al th esi y R ’Re of l O nvy . If, b er of l i B e e up ett d , an as th s fed ur L s. ush es w taff i ion o nd u B , t s nat n fi uts ta E ca ilo d S ON is ba nite e OZ ng th e you r a e U Th tti er l l o th s. mi wh u nd lio when ol b e sub ere’s l i y n b e scho e’ll b 09, h erl ee im ev tw e a t llow nt, w ry 20 B e c ye e ia a .B Jul ed s on tle sid anu Malik Abdul ,& ack e wa he lit h Pre me J y j i t i t co h er n t Promotions c r 4 n ive e4 s ee . Th o Director sR s b tion lown e th for u a M (Orlando, FL) l h e na ss c com ing n, i u r f k r i l e a i t To be truly honest, I au host he cl as b e loo ric Pe e h u’r b a t E wouldn’t go nowhere. Shit, n, the e me ain yo yso ca ecombeco McC n. If i the only thing in America T r e e o n b c s that is negatively affecting Am idly a ha , Joh fuck en r r s p e ra eric thi the me is the high ass price of a, T l g l g m A din vin Ye gas. All these failing financial g a o re d m Kin institutions and shit don’t by an s really matter to me. I’m planning on going back oto h P to shoebox banking anyway, so my money will be safe. Why would I leave America when I have the opportunity to see folks who declined me for mindless, menial jobs now being turned down for minimum wage work themselves? “Sorry, sir, but you’re overqualified to work the register at Sam’s Club.” I wouldn’t leave this country just because the government is collapsing, I’d rather stay and help D-RAY - WEST COAST EDITOR AT bring about the real “change” I want to be a part of. LARGE (MEXICO) I am Malik “Obama” and I approved this message. I’m gonna be an illegal alien in Mexico.
Hopefully they don’t deport my ass; after all, I am Mexican. The Mexican lifestyle is totally different. You can get away with more stuff, and for me that’s good, ‘cause I’m a G. Another reason I’d move to Mexico is to remember Spanish. I used to speak Spanish when I was 13 because that’s all that my great-grandmother spoke, but it wasn’t cool to speak Spanish back then. People would call you a wetback and accuse you of having just ran across the border. The U.S. is so bad now that it’s time for Americans to sneak past the border into Mexico. The worst part about living in Mexico would be that I don’t like Latin men. I guess I could get used to wearing Mexican clothes and sombreros, but I can’t see myself trading in the Benz for a donkey.
Ashley Smith (Bahamas)
I went there for vacation when I was 17, and I loved it; it’s such a beautiful place and since it’s a tourist spot there’s a lot of entertainment. My cousin owns a business in the Bahamas, so I could just down there and work with him. I wouldn’t get bored because there are a lot of things to, like scuba dive with the dolphins, or go snorkeling.
Mercedes Streets - STREET SMASHER (CUBA)
I’m building a raft in my backyard. If McCain wins, I’m taking my Cuban ass back to Cuba! We are starting to be a joke as a country; our current President seems to be living out a life long dream of being a stand-up comedian. Every time I see him making a speech, he has that stupid smirk on his face and says “heh heh heh.” A lipstick pitbull/hockey mom is a heartbeat away from becoming the next President! I saw Palin on TV and thought she was more of a parody of herself than Tina Fey! I could go on all day, but I must get back to putting my sail on my raft! Meet me in Cuba and we can start our own democratic society. I’ll be on the Eastside on Baracoa Beach with a Mojito, a Cuban cigar, and a plan of rebuilding Cuba to its glory days! Libertad! Libertad!
Julia Beverly - Editor-in-Chief (Jamaica)
If our government doesn’t stop handing out billion dollar bailouts to greedy execs with multi-million dollar salaries, I’m leaving behind my life of American stress. You may be able to find me (but probably not) laying on a beach somewhere in Jamaica jammin’ to Bob Marley. I’m not sure how long I’ll last without a Blackberry and internet access, but life as a Jamaican offers several advantages: no deadlines, no meetings, no stress. I’ll have a spectacular tan and be rockin’ braids for two weeks straight instead of having to flat-iron my shit every morning. Plus, island men love me.
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Jen “Ms Rivercity” McKinnon Special EditIons Editor (Columbia)
I’m going to Columbia. The dollar is still worth more than their currency (but probably not for long) and Columbians like American girls. Yeah, I know they like to kidnap Americans over there, but I know people that know people so I ain’t worried about that. I’d post up on the islands off the coast and invest my money in coffee beans or one of their other cash crops. My Spanish is pretty good so it makes sense for me to go to a Latin country. A cold climate is definitely out of the question, and Europeans are too weird (and homosexual) for my taste. I’d move to Mexico but you can’t drink the water, and pretty soon they’ll be barricading their border and not letting any Americans into Mexico. Ironic, huh?
Adero Dawson Subscriptions Manager (Amsterdam)
Listen, if they let Bush—I mean McCain—in the White House, I am outro! And guess where I’m headed? To the stress-free, roll-me-up-a-blunt-ofhash-with-my-coffee atmosphere of good ole’ Amsterdam. Drastic times call for drastic measures, and our economy is in the toilet. Wall Street business execs are vacationing while regular people are sleeping in their cars, unemployment is at an all-time high, and the value of the dollar ain’t even worth the paper it’s printed on. This shit is so scary it’s almost funny! When was the last time you watched this much CNN or MSNBC? These days if you go a day or even an afternoon without watching you’ll be like, “What did I miss?” This shit is like a daytime soap opera. Seriously, if the government doesn’t get their shit together, I’m bouncing to Amsterdam. Deuces.
Eric Perrin Features Editor (England)
I’ll be eating fish and chips with English chicks. Sure, there are some disadvantages to living in London, like the fact that everything is twice as expensive over there, and the US dollar isn’t worth more than a few a pence (English for cents), but I don’t care about that shit because I’m broke anyway. It’s not like I have a huge life savings that would be lost in conversion. Plus, if I lived in England I’d make more than double what I make here because I’d get paid in Pounds, and their currency is gang-raping our shit. Their economy is better, their music scene is bubbling, and they’ve got Hugh Grant movies, English muffins, and Corinne Bailey Rae. I already speak the language, and I’d have an accent over there; I’ve always wanted to have an accent. The homie Estelle told me British broads love American boys and I would exploit that shit to the fullest.
Terrence Tyson PHOTOGRAPHER (Tokyo)
If Sarah Palin—I mean John McCain—gets elected President, I’m gonna drift my ass to Tokyo. Sure, it’s hella crowded and learning calligraphy is harder than doing a year in prison, but overall, the big picture is much brighter. I’ll have the third iPhone a year before anyone else, it’s the fashion capital of Japan, and crime is low because it’s more organized than my closet. That means I can call, text or email my supermodel when she’s in town, take a couple flicks while she’s on the runway and safely take her on a subway tour of the city (in what city in America can you do that?), all for a couple hundred Yen.
Maurice Garland Associate Editor (Spain)
Kisha Smith Administrative Assistant (Trinidad)
If the government doesn’t get their shit right I’m getting the fuck out of America. I wanna go back to the Islands. I was born in the Virgin Islands, so naturally I would want to go back there, but since VI is technically part of the U.S., I can’t go there either; so if you want me you can find me in Trinidad. I’m moving to Trinidad for very simple reasons: I love Trini’s, and I love to party. They have Carnival which is the biggest party in the world, and not to mention, they have good food, good parties, and good dick. It’s just a nice place. There are beaches, mangos, and Mandingos. Plus, I could always stay tan, so people might actually believe I’m black.
Torrey Holmes Intern (Dubai)
If things in America don’s start shaping up I’ll be packing my bags and heading to Dubai, because it’s such a nice country and it’s one of the leading tourist attractions. A lot of celebrities like David Beckham and Eve have already began to migrate over there, and they’ve got nice homes and condos. Dubai is not like just any other country. When they do it big in Dubai, they do it big for real. Dubai has Burj Al Arab, which is the world’s tallest building, it’s like 250 stories—that’s gangsta. And the Dubai Marina, which is a residential district, is the second largest man made marina. Dubai would be good for me because I already like to be flashy, so this would definitely fit my lifestyle. Whether McCain or Obama gets elected, it doesn’t really matter to me. I’m still moving to Dubai so I can shine.
I’m not really sure where I’d want to move if the government doesn’t get it together, because I’m sure every country has problems. I Googled “best countries to live in” and got “Iceland” back as a response. That’s out of the question. Right now I think I’m leaning towards Spain. Specifically, Barcelona. Every film I’ve seen that was based there has intrigued me. Whether it was the food, art, landscaping or the warmth that the images portrayed, it was always something. Plus, as opposed to other places, it still strikes me as “different.” From what I see on the news, a lot of “foreign” countries seem to be very Americanized now. If I happen to come up on a couple million soon, I might entertain living in Dubai or Bahrain as well.
Randy Roper - Music Editor (Brazil)
If this country doesn’t get its shit together I’m moving to Brazil. That’s where Snoop Dogg and Pharrell shot that “Beautiful” video, right? Yeah, I’ve always heard that Brazilian women were amazing and that video confirmed it for me. So, that’s where I’m headed. I don’t know much about Brazil, but I researched it on Wikipedia and it’s better than being in this country. Anything’s better than being in this country at this point. Matter of fact, according to Wiki, the economy in Brazil is booming and even if it wasn’t, I’d still relocate there. If John McCain wins, I’m definitely out (shit, if Barack Obama wins I still might get the hell on). If you need me, I’ll be in South America, kickin’ it with women that have Brazilian waxes, learning Portuguese, sippin’ caipirinha cocktails at the Carnival, rockin’ a Pelé jersey and playing soccer.
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Words by Randy Roper // PHOTOS BY WUZ GOOD To be quite frank, who the hell does DJ Khaled think he is? Since the Miami DJ reintroduced himself as an artist he’s been heard screaming pretentious catch phrases from “listennn!!!!” to “we takin’ over!!!!” and how COULD we forget, “we the bestTTT!” But what is it that makes the Dade County resident so boastful? Could it be that as an on-air personality, he hosts the #1 radio show in Florida—the top-rated Takeover show on Miami’s 99 Jamz? Maybe it’s because he’s released three albums in three years (2006’s Listenn…the Album, 2007’s We The Best, and his lastest effort, 2008’s We Global)? How about the fact that he orchestrated street anthems like “We Takin’ Over,” “I’m So Hood” and “Out Here Grindin’?” If that’s not enough, he man-
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ages production duo The Runners, who are responsible for dozens of your favorite records. And he himself has produced records for Rick Ross, Fat Joe, and Fabolous. To top it all off, his new label, We The Best Music (accompanied by a joint venture with Def Jam), is home to an up-and-coming Florida emcee by the name of Ace Hood. Khaled posses 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 Khaled. “Anybody loving this Hip Hop music is the best.” Well, since he put it like that, Khaled could say he’s the Governor of Florida and we wouldn’t object.
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. 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 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. Where do you go after We Global? What’s next? My next album’s gonna be called I Put My Life On The Line. That’s just how I’m feeling right now. I’ve been putting so much grind into this music game that I feel like I’ve been putting my life on the line for “we.” For OZONE, for me, for the fans, for the artists, for myself. I feel like I’ve been putting my life on the line because when you get successful, you’ve gotta maintain that torch, that fire. And while you’re doing that, you’ve gotta continue to go hard and grind. When you go hard and grind, you’re putting your life on the line. I’m all about my record company, We The Best Music. That’s where I’m at right now, I’m all about my label. I’ve got great partners. Def Jam and I plan to continue the historical movements like Bad Boy, RocA-Fella, Murder Inc., and Ruff Ryders; all those big labels that were just movements, like Cash Money. That’s what I’m doing right now. It’s We The Best. Def Jam. Ace Hood. Gutta. Speaking of movements, what do you think your role is in Miami’s music movement? Man, I got a big role. I’m the voice. I’m like the heart of it. I got Florida on my back; I do it for us. You can ask everybody, that’s what we do. We’re out here grindin’. Gutta.
Is video-blogging something that you plan to continue doing? I’m always going to be on the internet so the people can see what Khaled does in the streets. That’s what’s so dope about the internet. You can be in the club and somebody’s filming and posts it up. It’s just good for the people to see what’s going on, especially out of town.
Complex did something on the internet about you called “DJ Khaled’s Most Annoying Moments.” Does stuff like that bother you? Nah, of course not. Man, this music business is just people having fun and entertainment. I don’t even think that was a diss. That was just people having fun and being entertained. If something like that bothers you, you don’t need to be in this business. Ask Julia from OZONE. She’s out there doing a big award show; imagine how many people stress her out after the show. But she didn’t let that affect her. She has the #1 magazine in the game. That’s just the game, man. It is what it is. We The Best. We Global. Gutta. Listennn! You once said, “Haters make you rich.” How? Of course they do, because if you don’t have hate, you don’t have love. And if you don’t have hate, you’re not successful. You’re not doing something right if you’re not being hated on. Since you’re doing this interview right now, you might become the #1 writer in the game, and they’re going to hate on you. That’s just the game. You’ve gotta be hated to be loved
“[the internet] is so funny. [you read about] your favorite emcee, or Jay-Z, or T.I., or Lil Wayne, or Ricky Ross, or OZONE Magazine, or DJ Khaled, anybody that’s doing their thing, and the ‘typers’ never have anything positive to say. on everybody’s blogs, they all hate on each other, all day long. It’s just the funniest thing.”
You’re still a radio personality. Do you ever see yourself leaving radio one day, as you move forward with We The Best Music? Not anytime soon, but if I did leave radio, I’d at least have a syndicated show and be in every city in the world. Right now, I’m definitely focusing on radio, my label, and managing The Runners. I do a lot of stuff. To be #1 and be the next big Hip Hop mogul, you’ve gotta do a lot, and that’s what I do. No sleep. I just go hard. What is the beef you have with bloggers, or as you called them “typers”? I saw the video you put on the internet addressing “typers.” What made you want to do that? Well, I ain’t got no beef with nobody. The “typers,” I was just having fun, man, because the internet is so big to promote. It’s a beautiful thing because you get free promotion all day. And it’s just so funny when you look at the internet…You [read about] your favorite emcee, or Jay-Z, or T.I., or Lil Wayne, or Ricky Ross, or OZONE Magazine, or DJ Khaled, anybody that’s doing their thing, and the “typers” never have anything positive to say. It’s so funny because you go onto everybody’s blogs and they all hate on each other, all day long. It’s just the funniest thing. So, what I wanted to do was, I wanted to shout the “typers” out because they’re great typers, and at the same time, they are promoting everything we’re doing. And not just me, I’m talking about everything in music. So, I wanted to touch their nerves a little. You gotta show love to everybody.
and you’ve gotta be hated to be on top. Rick Ross plays a big role in the Miami movement with you. BET.com says that he recently admitted in Don Diva Magazine that he was, in fact, a correctional officer. Your thoughts? He never said it was true. You read the wrong interview, or somebody’s making shit up. Ross is a real, real cat. Ross got a new album called Deeper Than Rap. I love the title because it just makes sense right now. Deeper Than Rap is going to be one of the biggest albums coming out in music. He’s got his new label coming out called Maybach Music. That’s my brother, and one of my great, great friends, and one of the realest cats I know. Just like I tell everybody in the game, if they feel [different] about the situation, try him. Try us and see how real we are. Looking back at your whole career, from where you’ve come from to where you’re at right now, how does it feel to be “the best”? I feel blessed, man. I was just telling my friend yesterday how blessed we are, because of all the stuff we’re doing, all the opportunities we have, and all the goals and barriers we’ve broken through. I’m on my third album, I’ve got one of the biggest artists in Florida right now, named Ace Hood, that’s hurting the game right now. I’m about to drop his album, on my label. I feel good. I’ve got the #1 radio show in Florida. I’ve got health; I’ve got family. If I complain, I’d be crazy. And I plan to go harder. We The Best. Def Jam. Ace Hood. November 18th. Gutta. //
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Last year, when DJ Khaled released the first single “We Takin’ Over” from his We The Best album, who would have thought that song would foresee today’s reality? Over the past year, Florida-grown artists like Rick Ross, T-Pain, Plies, Flo Rida and Khaled himself have shifted the balance of power in rap music to the Gunshine State. So, when Khaled screams, “WE THE BEST,” he has a right to sound cocky.
perform at Khaled’s birthday party. Khaled has an annual birthday bash [“The Temple”] every year, and every local artist wants to perform there. I was just trying to get put on. Khaled’s known for bringing every big artist to his birthday bash, and I just wanted to be a part of that. But, I mean, with the blessings of God it end up being something bigger than that. Khaled tells people when he saw me, [he says,] “There was just something about him,” in which I had star presence. When he heard my music he felt that I had potential. But, of course with every great artist, they wanna hear you on a bigger record to make sure. He wanted to see if I could hang with the big dogs. He sent the “I’m So Hood” record over and I ripped it down. Next thing you know, we’re in that office [signing the deal].
Now, after dominating charts, radio, clubs, and most importantly the streets, the 305 DJ is introducing his own imprint, We The Best Music—a label distributed by Def Jam—and the label’s first artist, Ace Hood. You may have heard the 20-year-old rapper from Broward County (JUST NORTH OF Miami), “knock-knock, bang-bangin’” on his debut single “Cash Flow.” The song, featuring Rick Ross and T-Pain, quickly became a hit, and Khaled’s preamble put all bets on Ace to be the future of Florida’s rap movement.
What was your whole thought process when you got the “I’m So Hood” beat, knowing it was a test from Khaled? I gotta put it all on the line, you know? This is the biggest DJ in the game who’s finna listen to this. I gotta go in like I never went in. I felt like I had to get into a zone that I’d never been in, feel me? I was actually stressin’ over the situation cause I wanted to go so hard. I wrote a couple verses. I had like four, five verses on deck cause I felt like neither one of the verses were worthy enough. I always felt like I could go harder. I went wit’ the best option; I knew it had to be incredible. [The verse] had to catch him in the first bars, cause if not, it’s no good. I feel like you’ve gotta sell yourself in the first couple seconds of the song. If you can’t do that, they’re gonna skip the record. I did that, and we sent it to him. He called my manager back and scheduled a meeting. That’s when he said he really wanted to sign Ace Hood to We The Best Music. Ever since then, it’s been history.
A year after meeting Khaled at radio station 99 Jamz in Miami, Ace Hood’s debut album, Gutta, will soon be in stores. But even with the biggest DJ in the game in his corner yelling “we the best” and an album on the horizon, Khaled’s Ace in the hole still feels he has much to prove. All secondhand cosigns aside, it’s time to listennn to what Ace Hood has to say for himself. When did you meet DJ Khaled? I met Khaled late last year, around November. I wasn’t even looking for a deal when I met up with Khaled. It was a random phone call, just chillin’. I didn’t even want to go the station [99 Jamz], to be honest. My manager dragged me. He was like, “Come on, let’s do it.” All I wanted to do was 50 // OZONE MAG
You’ve been with Khaled for a while now. Plus, you’re the first artist on his label. What’s your relationship like with him now? The relationship is good. We bonded; the relationship has a brotherly bond. Khaled got me no matter what. I’m definitely proud and appreciate him for putting all his money and his hard work and effort into me as an artist. Our relationship is strong. We built a relationship that’s unbreakable. Ever since then it’s been progress, man. We’ve been working real hard, living it up to the day we’re ready to drop. Your career is moving quickly compared to artists that have been waiting for years and years to put out an album. What do you think is different about your situation? My situation is no different than no other artist. I would just say this music thing was meant to be. How many people tried to pull the same stunt I did and got turned down? Me and Khaled had to be meant to be. It had to be my destiny in order for me to be the rap star I am today. I don’t want nobody to think my situation is any different. ‘Cause the same way niggas are out there grindin’ and tryin’ to put on for their city, tryin’ to hold it down
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in every hole-in-the-wall spot, tryin’ to be on every flyer, and tryin’ to be in every club, I was that same cat. My grind was no different from others. It’s just that I wasn’t on like that. Usually the traditional way for an artist to get put on is that in the beginning he may have a little buzz. A lot of people feel like, “Oh, [Ace Hood] didn’t have that buzz in the beginning. Where did he come from?” But people have got to know that my grind was the same. My buzz wasn’t as big, but I’ve always been a dope artist. You just gotta know how to push yourself as an artist. I just feel like I was at the right place at the right time. That’s all it was. I wouldn’t say my situation is any different, I just feel that this music shit is meant to be. I’m meant to be Ace Hood. I’m meant to have these hit records I have today. I’m meant to be one of the biggest thangs that’s poppin’ right now as a new artist. It ain’t luck, it ain’t nothing like that. It’s just God’s will.
What do you think about the recent controversy about Rick Ross and how important do you think it is as an artist to live the life you rap about? I think it’s very important to spit the life that you’re living. But Rick Ross is deeper than rap. That’s my brother and they’re trying to break us up and make false statements about him. It’s definitely deeper than rap with that whole situation. It’s so important to live what you’re rapping about, which is what all of us do. All of us definitely live what we’re rapping about. It’s what we seen, what we heard, and what we’ve been through. Florida rap has been hot for the last couple of years. What can you add to keep the momentum going? I’m the future of this whole movement. I’m a young nigga in the game right now that’s
go with the hook. Then all I did was add that “knock, knock, bang, bang” to it. T-Pain put his swag to it. The big boss [Rick Ross] dropped his verse on it and it became the hit record it is today. You had a whole lot of cameos in the video. How did it feel to have so many people come out and support you on your first video? Aw, man, it was big. It doesn’t happen like that for many artists. Especially first time artists, they don’t get to shoot videos that big. Being that I had so many cameos and so many people that co-signed my situation, I’m definitely happy. It was a hot day but very exciting, because, of course, it was my first video. I wouldn’t wanna be anywhere else. I’m just happy to be in this situation. What’s the biggest change in your life since hooking up with Khaled? A lot of people respect me more. People definitely respect me for the music I’m putting out. Ain’t too many changes that changed me industry wise, but life wise, it changed my entire life. It put me in a position to never have to worry again. So, this music shit has definitely changed my life for the better. I’m definitely seeing a lot more money, more brown paper bags, and a lot more women, man. Everything goes up once you become somebody.
“I’m backed by the biggest cats in the game[so] the only thing that can happen is growth. I’m that new high energy young, gutter cat that’s bouncing around in the club, black flag swingin’. Those are the people I do it for, the younger generation that’s coming up. All those wild cats and wild females who are in the streets.”
Do you feel that it’s more pressure on you to prove yourself as an artist because you have a big name cosigning you? Because of those people you mentioned who don’t know about the grind you put in, do you feel like you have something to prove? Of course you’ve always gotta prove yourself. Khaled is DJ Khaled; they know him for what he do. So they’ve gotta know Ace Hood for what he does. Selling yourself to people is so important. Of course, I have to always prove myself. That’s why when people hear my music, they’re like, “You’re so aggressive on your records.” I’m not even aggressive, I’m just so high energy cause I feel like I can’t slack up or sleep while another nigga is getting it in. So, I feel like every hour, every minute, I’ve gotta let a nigga know that I’m going hard. I’m always proving myself, no matter what. Fifteen years from now, once I become that huge artist, that’s when you ain’t got to prove yourself. But being a new artist, you’ve got to do everything possible to prove yourself. That’s why I do everything; I do the unthinkable. You’ve got other artists that’s gonna go in the club and chill, but I’ma grab the mic and stand on the bar and we gonna rock. We gon’ get it in wherever we can get it in. If we got a crowd outside, we gon’ get it in outside. That’s what’s gonna set Ace Hood apart. We’ve gotta prove to the people that we’re as street as we say we are, I’m as gutter as I say I am. Every time I see you in a video online, it’s like you’re ready to spit at the drop of a dime. Is that something that’s important you, letting people know that you’re ready to rap at anytime? To be honest, I ain’t in it to just rap, I’m in it to take over the game. Just for people that feel like I can’t take it there, that’s why I do it. People need to see stuff like that. People need to understand that I really go hard like that. I really take my music seriously. It’s not a job. I don’t wake and be like, “I gotta write a new rap.” I wake up with 16 [bars], I go to sleep with 16. It’s what I do. It’s not my job, it’s my life.
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giving it to them uncut and raw. A lot of niggas respect my situation cause I’m a young nigga getting it in. I represent and do this music for the people. I’m the youngest cat doing it. One thing that’s great about me is that I’m backed by the biggest cats in the game. And with that said, I have no choice but to be one of the biggest niggas in the game because I’m backed by the biggest. The only thing that can happen is growth. I’m that new high energy young, gutter cat that’s bouncing around. That’s how you see them young niggas bouncing around in the club, black flag swingin’. Those are the people I do it for, the younger generation that’s coming up. All those wild cats and wild females who are in the streets, that’s who I’m doing it for. I’m just that new breed of the movement, I’m the future of what’s going to happen. You got your Jeezys, your Weezys, and T-Pains, and I’m that new future generation. There’s a Biggie and ‘Pac of every [generation]. I’m capable of being that next Jeezy, next Weezy, that next Kanye West or that next Jay-Z in my era. How did your first single “Cash Flow” come about? “Cash Flow” was a huge record. Big ups to the Runners; they created that beat. The Runners sent over a blank beat, so basically, we just told them the concept and where we wanted to
What have you been spending all that new brown paper bag money on? Pretty much anything. Anything I couldn’t get [before]. I’m just looking out for folks who provided for me when I was down. I kinda splurge with the money in a good way; make sure moms is good. But I gotta touch that [car] lot, and touch that jewelry every now and then. And I’m spending towards my own project, growing as an artist and trying to invest in myself. What can we expect from your album, Gutta? You can expect a classic album. It’s going be one the biggest albums this year, I promise you that. It’s definitely anticipated. It’s definitely an album for the people, an album for the streets. One thing about me and my music, we ain’t on that young music. My music is versatile. Older people can listen to it. My music is gon’ represent those on welfare, those who are stressing, my music represents all that. It just represents me as a person. That’s what “gutter” represents to me. It represents being at the bottom, coming from nothing to something, that’s what “gutta” means to me. That’s why I called it Gutta. When Khaled says “We The Best” what does that mean to you? “We The Best,” man. That means you, me, everybody’s the best at what they do. We The Best is not only the [label], we are the best, meaning exactly how it sounds. There’s really no way to explain it, other than the words speaking for themself. Whatever you do, and you know you’re the best at it, you’re the best. I’m the best at what I do and Khaled’s the best at what he does. //
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throughout the city. “Bust It Open” is just a start to let ‘em know. Why did you decide to push “Bust It Open” for a radio single? It’s definitely not a typical radio single. For one, the women were real supportive. It’s like how I entered the game with “My Dougie,” being so blunt and honest. Women like that so they ran with the second single and I ran with it too. So you’ve become pretty tight with Soulja Boy recently. I know y’all had the “My Dougie” remix going hard. How did that come about? He reached out to me and dropped me a verse. When he came here during the Chris Brown tour, he called me up and asked me to come perform it with him. We ran it from there and ever since then me and homie been cool. Do you plan to work with him again? Maybe so in the future.
ou couldn’t help but to notice Lil Wil this year. Whether it was his “My Dougie” dance craze or more recently, the um, directly blunt lyrics for “Bust It Open,” Wil did something to get on everyone’s radar. It was enough to earn him this year’s OZONE Award for Patiently Waiting Texas, amidst some very stiff competition. Even though Lil Wil couldn’t make it to the awards (we’ll let him explain why), he was definitely excited about the win and wanted to make sure his words of thanks made it to the right people. What words do you have regarding your Patiently Waiting win? Do you want to thank anyone? First off, I gotta thank God. Thank D-Town for supporting me real tough. Shouts out to the homie Big Hood Boss and Tum for holding the city down. Shout out to the whole state of Texas for all the love. I gotta thank Asylum. They’ve been real hands-on with my project. Thanks to all my fans and everyone that supported lil homie. Shouts out to OZONE for even acknowledging lil homie. We’re gonna keep it rockin’. How is your first album under Asylum going? Are you happy with the results so far? Yeah, everything is going great. The units [sold] are looking good, as far as the numbers. The second single “Bust It Open” just went nationwide. I’m working on the third single now. So get that Dollas, TX album in stores right now. It’s real hot. Yeah, “Bust It Open” is catching on quick. Do you think it will take away any doubts people may have had about your longevity? It shows you can come with back-to-back hits. I feel it will take away any doubts across the nation ‘cause the city already knows. These singles had been buzzing around the city for a minute and I got three or four other singles that’s hot in the city. So the city already knew, but as far as the nation, and fans in different states, yeah, it certifies me. I’m finna be around for a minute. The next singles are already bubbling
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You actually almost gave up rapping at one point, right? Yeah, around the time my homie died, I had stepped away. When you look back on some of the things you’ve endured, are you proud of how far you’ve come? I’m real proud and blessed. I’m proud of where I came from, where I’m at, and where I’m going. Where exactly are you heading? What are your future plans? I’ve been working out a deal for my label EDP Entertainment and I’ve got a couple offers on the table. The first artist I’ll be pushing is my homie Young Fresh. He’s actually on the next single I’ve got coming out called “Come On,” produced by Drumma Boy. I’m working on the second album called Neighborhood Hero for February 09. When can people check out the video for “Bust It Open” or any of the other things you’re working on? I’ll be shooting that this month. With so many good nominees in the Patiently Waiting Texas category, did you have any idea you were going to win? No, ‘cause the competition was tough from my understanding. You couldn’t actually make it to the show, right? Everybody knew where I was during the OZONE Awards – and if you didn’t then you don’t need to know. But they told me the competition was tough. It was kinda iffy. How to you plan to uphold your new title and keep the momentum going for yourself and for Texas? Just staying out here 24-7, keeping it bubbling. The grind’s gotta stay persistent. I’m going to really get out there and touch these other states. Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Jared Rice
ack Maine may be from New Orleans, but he’s taken his “Mack Maine for President” campaign all across the South and it’s finally paying off. He’s currently on the road promoting a long list of projects and also holds down the title of President at Lil Wayne’s label Young Money Ent. How do you feel about winning the OZONE Award for Patiently Waiting Louisiana? Were you expecting to win? When I was nominated I expected to win. Not to be cocky or nothing, but I expected it. I never expected to lose. Why do you feel you deserved to win the award for Louisiana? I’d say I’m the best candidate ‘cause honestly I’m the one that’s out there the most from the Louisiana category. I got a lot of fans. The anticipation is high right now for me. I’m in a good position. Since you didn’t get a chance to give your acceptance speech at the show, what would you have said? First of all, thank God. Thank my family – my mom and dad. Thank Hollygrove. Thank Weezy and the whole Young Money cast – Kidd Kidd, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Tyga, Jae Millz, T Streets – J-Prince, everybody, the whole supporting cast. Thank my sister for sticking by me. I want to thank all my fans and OZONE for even nominating me and recognizing me as an artist that’s patiently waiting. Thank Julia Beverly, Randy Roper, you, D-Ray, everybody at OZONE. Thank everybody that voted for me. The last time we interviewed you was before the All Star game. Do you think having big events like the All Star game in New Orleans has helped the city at all, or are things pretty much the same? I hope it helped the city out. To be honest, I haven’t been back to the city in a few months so I wouldn’t know. But I hope they used some of the money that was raised to help stuff that was messed up during Katrina, and put it toward positive causes. I hope they’re not pocketing the money. Hopefully it helped the economy with the recession. I really couldn’t tell you though. I’ve been on the road trying to make shit pop. I wasn’t shouting out “Mack Maine for President” for nothing – I’m actually running the label now. I’m President of Young Money. Between that and being Mack Maine the artist, I really haven’t been home. There’s nothing at home for me right now. When I go back, I want to be able to give something [back] and show people why I’ve been gone. Well, since Mack Maine didn’t make it onto the ballot for U.S. President, who have you decided to vote for? I’m voting for Obama. And I ain’t make it on the ballot ‘cause I can’t run right now. You’ve gotta be 35 to run for it so I gotta wait. I’ma go with Obama though. He’s the equivalent of me running so I’ma go with him. Have you been paying attention to the campaign? What are some things you like about Obama? I’ve been kinda busy but I’ve been keeping up with it through other peo-
ple. It’s an alright campaign. It’s just McCain’s party trying to bash Obama. They tryna “expose” each other and all that, but Obama gave a great speech the other day. It was a Martin Luther King type of speech so I really appreciated that. A lot of people hit me saying that they were motivated. It changed a lot of people’s lives. What type of roles and responsibilities do you have as President of Young Money Ent.? I just had a meeting with the owner of Girls Gone Wild – a lot of things like that. I’m in a lot of meetings. I execute for the artists, ‘cause who else could represent an artist better than an artist? I know how it feels not to be appreciated or taken serious sometimes. If you’ve never been an artist you don’t know how it feels to be one, not to have certain things getting done for you. I execute for the artists. I do some stuff for Wayne with Tez, his manager. It’s pretty cool. What’s going on with your label Kush Entertainment and the Kush DVD? I’m the CEO/CFO along with my partner T. Hilly. We got the Kush 1 and Kush 2 DVDs out right now. Kush 3 should be coming out soon. It’s for the streets. It’s to help unknown artists out and expose known artists too. Do you have any new music or mixtapes out that people should be checking for? I got a new single about to drop and the “Got Money” song just hit #1 on Billboards. I’ll be shooting a few videos soon too As far as mixtapes, I got Dedication III coming real soon with DJ Drama. It’s already finished. The Young Money compilation is coming real soon. Wayne got an album coming out February 14th for Valentine’s Day. My album and Drake’s albums are coming soon. Mack Maine for President! It’s still a democracy. Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Thaddaeus McAdams for ExclusiveAccess.net
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labama is home to some of the South’s best kept secrets. From producers, to writers, to rappers and singers, the state has spawned a unique blend of talent, though it has yet to receive the recognition many feel it merits. Jackie Chain hopes to change that. Bringing home the 2008 ‘Bama Patiently Waiting title at the OZONE Awards, he’s put the spotlight not only on himself, but also his hometown. The “Rollin’” record has gotten a lot of attention over the last several months. It’s probably what got you all those Patiently Waiting votes. How did that record come about? The “Rollin’” record was actually the B-side to my single “Blinded by the Light,” the original song we were pushing. Back in Alabama, the strip clubs started picking up on “Rollin”’ real hard, and of course the DJs at the strip club are the DJs at the radio station. So once it started taking off at the crib real hard, we decided to roll with it for a single.
When you perform, why do you throw Skittles to the crowd? Is it that like an accessory to rollin’? It started off when we used to throw rolling parties. We’d put on the flyer, “Free Skittles” and I started throwing out packs of Skittles at my shows. It’s a gimmick that went with the theme to the party. It was fun. There’s a lot of Skittles being eaten, the real ones and [ecstacy]. See, another word for rolls is “Skittles.” A lot of people assumed we were giving out free rolls but when they got there it was candy.
Let’s touch on the Rich Boy version. Some people think that’s his song but it’s actually a remix, right? Explain the whole story behind that. Actually, I was in the studio with Rich Boy and he was gonna jump the other record “Blinded by the Light,” but when he heard “Rollin” he just had to jump on it. He laid it down that night and somehow it got leaked, maybe through his publicist, I don’t know. He had also put it on his Myspace page and it started getting a whole lot of hits and a whole lot of responses so I decided to put Attitude on it, another Alabama rapper, and sort of make it the official ‘Bama remix.
Going back to the Patiently Waiting topic, tell us about the record deal you recently inked? I got a label deal with Universal/Motown. It’s like how [Baby, Slim, and] Lil Wayne have Cash Money and Nelly has Derrty Ent. – they’ve all got their labels through Universal – and that’s what I’m tryna do in ‘Bama. I’m tryna make Touch Zone and Pleazure House a household name. Touch Zone is a record label that me and two other guys own and Pleazure House is my own personal label. Pleazure House is more like the click name, like everybody that kicks it with me at the house back home.
Attitude is a big Alabama favorite. Is the official remix getting love too? Yeah the remix is getting love. Like I said, the remix got leaked and we were really pushing the original one first. It’s sort of like the situation with Yung LA, how his remix got leaked. But like I said, we’re still running with the original version right now.
What else do you have in the works? I just dropped a Fear the Future mixtape with DJ Smallz. I’m getting a lot a lot of love on that. I Googled it the other day and you can download it on a bunch of sites. I’m going on the DJ Smallz’ College Tour. I recently signed with Rico at 9196 Management, who manages Gorilla Zoe, formerly managed Yung Joc, and also manages Jody Breeze. Big things are poppin’. We’re getting ready to shoot the video for “Rollin’.”
So speaking of the love, are you getting a lot of love from the strippers? Yeah, they love it. It’s funny ‘cause every time I’m out now, people either offer me pills or ask me if I got pills. It’s crazy. People give me pills every night at the club. I walk out the club with a pocket full of them. What do you do with them? Do you eat them all? Give them away? Nah, they disappear somehow, but I’m not a big roller. I rolled a lot when I was younger. That song was more based on memories. Don’t get me wrong, I will pop every now and then but it’s not something I do every night. I’m more of a weed head.
Is there anything else you want to say about the award? I want to give a shout out to you, Maurice Garland, Ms. Julia Beverly, TJ’s DJ’s and TJ Chapman for giving Southern artists like me, and indie artists – even though I’m signed to a major label, I grind like an indie artist – I want to give a shout out to them for giving us an outlet to have our music heard, and the opportunity to get our music the hands of DJs and A&Rs. I first met my A&R at TJ’s DJ’s so I owe a lot to all of them. Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by TZ Photography
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il C has dealt with a fair share of losses in his lifetime, but at this year’s OZONE Awards he finally brought home a win. Even though there’s still plenty of ground left for the Mississippi rapper to cover, it’s good to know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Congratulations on your win at the OZONE Awards. Is there anyone you want to thank? I wanna thank my nigga Stax, my nigga Omar, my niggas Zulu, Mario, and Keith, Battlefield, everybody in Jackson and everybody on the Westside. Were you surprised that you won? Yeah, I was shocked ‘cause I ain’t really getting no radio play. I don’t even try to put myself on the radio, I just keep it street. I didn’t know my fanbase would vote for me like that. It’s all good. I can’t lie, when I do my shows in my own city, they goin’ crazy down here. When I hit that “Gutta Shit” they be ‘bout to start fighting. I speak about that real, everyday life shit. What is some everyday life shit you’ve been going through? I’ve been through a lot. My mama died when I was about 7 years old and I had to move in with my uncle. When I turned 14 he put me out in the streets and wouldn’t let me come back to the house. If I came anywhere near the house he’d call the folks on me. I didn’t have anywhere to go because most of my family was in jail. My sister had moved to Michigan and I wasn’t finna go up there. I ain’t gon’ lie, when a nigga was 14 I was homeless. I was looking at the older niggas on the block and they was getting money, so shit, I said if they doing it I can do what they doing. I been through a lot of shit, gunfights, all that shit. It ain’t nothing to brag on.
How are you able to focus on music with all these things still going on around you? I just got outta jail yesterday so I’m tryna stay cool for a minute and do what I gotta do. I’m on probation. I can’t even smoke shit. If I get caught doing something I’ma be gone for a minute so I’m just chilling right now. I been telling my niggas, man it’s gonna be hard to do. So what’s the plan? Me and my niggas Stax, Keith and Omar, we’re just working. I just put out my CD Welcome to the Battlefield. Everybody’s been calling for shows as soon as I got outta jail. I’m ready to hop on the stage ‘cause I done missed about four or five shows but they ain’t tripping. They know I was going through some things. But I go hard in the paint every time I do a show. What exactly is the Battlefield? Battlefield is a home away from home. I was really born and raised downtown ‘til I was like 12 or 13. Then I moved to the Battlefield. Battlefield is a neighborhood off Terry Road. Ask anybody, you can’t ride through that neighborhood without all that bullshit. But me and my nigga Pierre started that Battlefield click shit, throwing them B’s up. We rep that shit to the fullest, real talk. My nigga Pierre is in jail right now on some bullshit, on a murder charge. What are your ties with Lil Boosie? Man, shit, Boosie’s known me since I was like 14 or 15 years old. I knew him through my nigga Slow. Him and Slow had a good relationship. Hanging around Boosie, it seemed like he was the same kinda nigga as me. He do the same kinda shit I do. When I used to go to the studio with Slow, he’d come pick Slow up with me, just ridin’ in the car chilling. The last time we was down there a few months ago, the man smoked up all his purp up and so we just left from down there. We just left it alone. But Boosie told me to come back or whatever. We never went back though ‘cause my nigga Slow got killed. I ain’t seen Boosie ever since then. So now that you’re back home, where can people check you out at? You can check me out on the Westside, in the Battlefield. You can check out my music on Myspace.com/LilC601. I go hard every time I’m in the booth. I come with that real shit, not that ol’ fake ass shit. It’s the shit that a nigga done went through. Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Erica Hicks
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fter jumping on the Hypnotized Tour with artists like Pleasure P, Rick Ross, Plies, and Boosie, to name a few, Snook took his lavish rokkstarr lifestyle across the country to broaden his fanbase. Alongside his city to city visits, Snook recently surprised listeners with an emotionally deep ballot featuring R&B’s #1 Sanga, T-Pain. Congratulations on your win. How do you feel about being the Patiently Waiting Carolinas winner? I’m really honored to be the winner of the award for the simple fact that it’s a lot of people in South Carolina that’s been getting they grind on for a long time. To be a part of the elite is definitely an honor. Second of all, it’s really a pleasure to win the award being that I’m from New Jersey. I’ve been in South Carolina for the last ten years so I rep South Carolina to the fullest. This is my home and I definitely want to give thanks to South Carolina, Columbia, Charleston, Orangeburg. I want to thank Lavish Entertainment, you at OZONE, Randy Roper, the whole OZONE squad, the whole movement. Shout out to Houston too. You just put a lot of emphasis on the fact that you rep for SC. Are people hating on you for winning the award since you’re technically from New Jersey? I’m sure you heard about the situation with the dude, the one that gets a lot of advertisements in OZONE. Vaguely. But I don’t really know the whole situation. I don’t feel I really need to say his name or that he deserves for me to say his name. We’re both out here doing the same thing. We grind for the same purpose. My whole purpose is to put South Carolina on the map, so regardless if I won the award or he won the award or Shelly B or Sonny Rich, I would’ve been happy. I respect everybody that was in the category. I do get a lot of flack being from New Jersey and repping South Carolina, but I’ve been here for ten years. It’s not where you from, it’s where you at. Aside from the fact that you rep South Carolina, there are other reasons
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why all those people voted for you. The music is definitely good. Your song “Untouchable” featuring T-Pain is very emotional. What inspired it? What really inspired the song was the beat and the hook. T-Pain had already laid the hook and the beat. When I heard it I was like, “That’s the song I wanna do with T-Pain.” The world really needs something like that right now. Everybody’s not in the clubs spending money. Like Jeezy says, it’s a recession. Everybody ain’t doing good. Everybody’s not living the life as free as they’d like to be. My father passed away from cancer. I wanted to touch on that in a way that people could relate to, like talking about AIDS, a situation nobody wants to address. My whole inspiration with music is to be different than everybody. I always wanted to be me. I didn’t want to do a song with T-Pain talking about bouncing around in the club. You just wrapped up a tour with some big name artists. Do you have any experiences you want to share or anything you learned from being on the road? I really just learned about the grind. It’s not all about going in the studio and putting down lyrics. It’s really a job out here. When I was on tour, I watched Rick Ross come perform, leave the venue, and fly out somewhere else that night. Lil Boosie does the same thing. My entertainment company, Southern Dynasty/Lavish, we booked Boosie for 17 shows last year. Watching him, I learned it’s really about the grind. I really respected that. I don’t even sleep no more. I’m about to start my second tour, the Southern Smoke College Tour with DJ Smallz. I’m sure you have some other projects you want to let your fans know about. Yeah, my new mixtape is in the streets right now – Let’s Smoke hosted by DJ Smallz. Look out for the Southern Smoke tour coming to a city near you in the Florida and Georgia area. “Nothing Less” is the next single we’ll be pushing. I also want to say free Phatz P, he started the Southern Dynasty label.
Words by Ms. Rivercity & Joi Fowler
urraseason, also known as Hurricane, also known as Mr. Birthday, has endured his share of ups and downs in the music industry, but it will take more than a few road bumps to stop his effort. Citing previous dealings with a bad management team as the reason he’s still patiently waiting and not majorly mainstream, Hurraseason had to regroup and form a more reliable team. Back with a new song and a solid support group, Hurricane is stirring up a new storm in Kentucky. So you brought home the Kentucky award this year. What are your thoughts on that? It’s a real good look, not just for me but for other artists. People should come down here and see what kind of talent we have in Louisville. Who would you like to thank for the award? I want to thank the whole city of Louisville, Kentucky. I want to thank all my fans who voted for me, who didn’t even know me but liked my music. I want to say thanks to God; I owe you one. I’ma thank TJ’s DJ’s and Texas. I want to thank any and everybody that had something to do with the OZONE Awards. What do you think it’s going to take for the rest of the country to recognize what your city and state bring to the table musically? We need to learn to come together right and build this music thing. It’ll take all the leaders of the music game in Louisville to come together and make something happen for us. We need put our money together and round up the talent. How do you plan to come together with others from your area? I fuck with a label called Kentucky U.S.A., which stands for Kentucky UnSigned Artists. I’m trying to put the whole city on my back. Explain why you go by Hurricane as well as Hurraseason. I started out in a group I founded called Hurraseason and I called myself Hurricane. I switched my name to Hurraseason once Hurricane Chris came out ‘cause people were having some confusion about our names. Are you doing everything independent or are you looking for a major label? I’m still indie. I went through a period of time where I had bad management and didn’t understand why I wasn’t getting a deal. Labels would try to contact me but my management was messed up at that time. They were doing bad business with my name. We’re really just getting over that. Now that we’re on the right track again, I’m messing with a few people that I like. Terrance Camp is my management right now and he runs Crunchtime
Entertainment. We’re really starting over, but at the same time we still got our fanbase. Hopefully we’ll build another good independent record label. What are the newest projects you’re working on? My new single is titled “Make It Work.” For those that don’t know, I had a couple singles before “Make It Work.” One was “Ball Like It’s Your Birthday” and I had another one called “Where They Do That At.” Those were just to keep the streets moving and then I came out with “Make It Work.” I feel like no matter what we go through in life, whether it’s music related or family related, you gotta make it work, so I really made the song around that. It’s doing good right now. After the OZONE Awards, I’m ready to shoot the video for “Make It Work” and try to get that to BET. Will you be following up the song with a mixtape or album? I’m working on a mixtape as we speak. I’m halfway through it. It should be out in October. It’s gonna be real hard. It’s an old-school mixtape. I used all the old-school beats that I grew up on like N.W.A, Mac Mall, and all those old-school instrumentals. What would you say made you a good candidate for the Patiently Waiting win in Kentucky? I’m real humble. It’s never been about getting signed to me; it’s always been about being successful. It’s other people in the city who think they’ve passed me up at times but I’m the one still grinding; I’m the one still patiently waiting to get my big break. I’vehad people in my life who got over on me but I’m still going. Other people have stopped. It’s over for them. I’m still patiently waiting.
Words by Ms Rivercity Photo by Ty Lockhart
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ll Star’s 2006 breakout hit “Grey Goose” featuring Yo Gotti put him on the map, and ever since he’s been patiently waiting to go global. A follow-up deal with Cash Money records promised to bring him closer to the finish line, but All Star has learned it takes more than a major deal to outshine the competition – even with talent. With everything you’ve accomplished, and some things not going according to plan, I know you probably aren’t waiting “patiently” anymore. Where do you see things going at this point? I’m 23. I’m not what most people would call old. I still have a chance to have a great career. To get where I’m at right now I understand how much work and focus it took. I want to multiply that. I’m so appreciative to be recognized that I wouldn’t want to call myself “impatient.” I wouldn’t be human if I was satisfied with everything in my career. The good outweighs the bad. You’ve made a lot of moves on your own and built a lot of good relationships to get to where you’re at. Do you want to reflect on that a little bit? People get wrapped up my situation as an artist and who I’m signed to, but they forget about the fourteen CDs I’ve released in the streets on my own, and what got me in people’s CD players in the first place. I’ve been on the road doing shows for these last three years. Winning the award, I was glad to see what I’ve been able to accomplish. I’ve gone through enough to where I could have folded a long time ago but I ain’t built like that. I want people to recognize how much of an independent artist I still am to this day. I know the show was cut short and you didn’t get to formally accept the award. Would you like to thank anyone for your win? It’s funny ‘cause I actually scribbled down a lil acceptance speech when I was sitting in the crowd at the awards. But I wanted to thank JB and the staff. I wanted to thank my family and friends. The person I feel has been the most instrumental is Yo Gotti. He showed me the blueprint and took 60 // OZONE MAG
me under his wing. We have a real brother-like relationship. More than anything, I think my talent brought me to where I am, but Yo Gotti has helped put me in the right place. I’m grateful for that. He won two years ago when I was first nominated. Kia Shine won last year. I was really hoping the third time was the charm. Who do you feel are some other artists that will be the future of Tennessee? Is there anyone coming up on your heels? I hope this doesn’t come across as arrogant, but I think I’ll have a lot to do with the future of Tennessee. I dropped a long overdue mixtape with Young Buck. Next we have an album which is already recorded. Me and Yo Gotti have a master plan to take over the world with this Hip Hop shit. But as far as other artists, I like Young Buck’s artist Sosa tha Plug, Zedzilla in Memphis, Lil Murda, and naturally my artists Mike J and Kush. They’re both with my Grind Hard imprint. How did you feel about the situation between Young Buck and 50 Cent? I know Young Buck is your homeboy so I’d imagine you got an inside look at the beef. I was raised to stay out of people’s business. My only words to him during all of it was to keep working, don’t turn into a hermit, and don’t introvert yourself. Do what people love you for. Dude sold over 1.5 million records and I don’t think that was an accident. I just hope he stays focused and we can find an outlet for this Starbucks album. What’s the deal with your documentary Starlito’s Day? Is it out yet? We haven’t released it yet. It’s coming soon. My street album Cash Money Laundering is coming soon. It’s going to be big. It’s going in a different direction than Starlito’s Way II. I have full control and it’s gonna be some high quality street music. I try to go hard every time. You can see everything I’ve got going on from my website GrindHardOnline.com. The Grind Hard gear is available. I also started a blog on StarlitosWay.Blogspot.com. Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Deshun Smith
Fidel Cashflow has evolved himself into every major label A&R’s best dream and worst nightmare! Besides being a vivid lyricist that writes and performs his own material, he is the publisher of Pure Cash Magazine and President of Pure Cash Entertainment. To date he has released several mixtapes and full length albums, and is currently putting the finishing touches on his next project titled INDIE’N FIRE. I can understand the dream part, but why would you be a nightmare to A&Rs? Because I am no longer interested in them or their labels. The way the industry has transformed to a more digital realm, independent artists like myself who are serious about their talent can create our own lane and reach the masses. They had their chance. When choosing a brand name for your company - why Pure Cash? I have always been the underdog and the one that had to prove myself before getting anything. People never gave me enough credit for my achievements so I created Pure Cash. What is it that keeps you motivated? Growth. I can feel myself getting better with time. If you listen to the music I’ve been making throughout the years you can hear what I’m talking about. Besides that, I get motivated when people from all over the world reach out to me for interviews, collabos, and drop requests. It makes me feel like it’s all worth it and keeps me going 5000 times stronger! How would you define your music? I call it a cornucopia of timeless audio stickers containing a plethora of uniquely clever and distinct viewpoints. I like to refer to myself as the Dali of rap. Why did you decide to start a magazine and what is it about? Pure Cash Magazine was created to showcase independent artists that are on their grind. I remember how happy I was the first time I saw myself in a magazine and I wanted to extend that feeling to other
artists who also aren’t getting enough credit. With the website up now, we are featuring independent artists and models from all over the world and building a very extensive network of talented individuals. The anniversary issue will be out in December. What are some of the accomplishments you are most proud of? Doing a song with Kool G Rap, appearing on BET, opening for Rakim and Snoop Dogg, making four music videos, getting airplay in various cities worldwide, placing my music on iTunes, launching the magazine and entertainment websites and helping to guide new artists with knowledge that I have acquired through the years. I am also very proud of helping my artist Lady Lyric develop into the best female lyricist in the game right now. With all these accolades, why have you not been signed yet? I’m very business minded and refuse to settle for less than what I know I’m worth. Throughout the years I have been presented with many offers that had lots of fine print. I’d rather be the master of my own destiny then a slave to someone else’s greed. Tell us a little about your current projects. I have a mixtape hosted by DJ BLord called The Show. It promotes my current album Pentoxicated which has 24 tracks of original material. The first single, “Lick Yo’ Body,” is a very bass-heavy fun record. It features Lady Lyric and is starting to get heavy play in clubs worldwide. I haven’t decided which will be the next single yet, but I have gotten the best response from “Pimpin’” featuring Troy James so I might run with that one. Any last words for us? Pure Cash is the New Dynasty. Get Down or Get Lost! Where can people get in contact with you? www.purecashentertainment.com, www.purecashmagazine.com, www.myspace.com/purecash, www.fidelcashflow.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org OZONE OZONEMAG MAG////61 61
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WORDS BY MS RIVERCITY PHOTOS BY TERRENCE TYSON Bigga Rankin is one of the most decorated vets in the southern rap game. As VP of the Hittmenn DJs, President of Slip-N-Slide Streets, MEMBER OF THE CORE DJs, CEO of Real Nigga Radio, and several other affiliations, he holds a lot of power in his hands. This power has benefitted numerous artists over the last decade, and while Bigga graciously accepts his past triumphs, there’s even more he aspires to achieve. Recently he’s been given the opportunity to fulfill his biggest dream – running his own label. as the new President of Big Spenda Entertainment, Bigga Rankin wants to introduce the country to his platinum-bound roster. How did this new business relationship with Big Spenda Entertainment develop? I’ve been reppin’ the streets, reppin’ Florida, and breaking records for so many years. These guys heard of me, sat down with me, and put the proposal together. It sounded good. Really I need my own label. Working with Slip-N-Slide, he was very honest with me and told me everything I needed to do and whatever I needed he would help me. He didn’t hold me down. I’ve been breaking records all my life but with this opportunity that Big Spendaz gave me, I’ve gotta prove myself ‘cause I’ve done so much and now I’m running my own label. All those favors I put out, I’m checking in to see if they can do me a favor. What’s the story with the label? How did you guys make it official? Big Spenda Ent. came about a few years ago in Miami. The owners of the label are from Jamaica. Their first artists were Selah the Great and Rarebreed. Rarebreed had been rapping for a while before they signed him. He’s a real hot artist. They came to me and asked me to run the label. I had an interest in Papa Duck so I made
it happen where they could sign Papa Duck to the label. So we have three artists on the label and we’re putting together a couple other artists right now. Why did you feel Papa Duck would be a good addition to the team? I know you’ve been pushing him for a long time. He has a great work ethic. Most of these artists have real good music, but they don’t have the budget to get them where they need to go. In this day and age you need a budget to get you to the top. People might tell you all you need is good music, but that’s like saying all you need is love. No matter how much love you’ve got, you still have to pay the rent. In music, you need a budget for advertising, getting your music in the right people’s hands. With these guys, they have good music, they have the budget and the know-how, plus me and all my contacts. I thought it was a good choice. Bigga Rankin has been an icon in Jacksonville, FL for over a decade, but you’ve really branched out across the South over the last several years. Why did you decide it was necessary to do that now, after all this time? In Jacksonville, we don’t have the media that Atlanta, L.A., or New York has, so without that, I’m just a DJ from Jacksonville, Florida. A lot of people don’t understand that without media you’re only big in your own city. So I branched out and hired a staff for my office – Coles, CeCe and Sweetness work in my office. I’ve got Caper handling my management. I had publicists like Elora Mason and Kim Ellis that helped me. By having no media [outlets] in Jacksonville, it was holding me down, even though I had a generation of fans in Jacksonville. I have people that come to my club ‘cause their brother or uncle used to listen to my tape or CD, plus [the come because of ] my style and how I rep my city. For me, being on the cover of OZONE for the second time is a big move. 90% of the records from Florida are broken in Duval and then they spread over Florida. We play a big part in the industry and I think this cover is gonna solidify the fact that there are superstars in small cities. As far as artists in Jacksonville, we’re working to put some OZONE OZONE MAG MAG // 63 // 63
Duval artists under management. Your RNR mixtapes have had a big impact in the South. How were you able to make your product stand out? One day we were talking, listening to Drama and DJ Clue tapes, and said we needed to come up with a whole different way of doing it. A lot of mixtapes never really had drops from the artists. The difference in my mixtapes, and I’m not knocking anyone else’s mixtapes, is that I don’t talk over the record or stamp my signature on it because I want other DJs to play it. That way I’m not stifling the artist. When you pick up my mixtapes, my exclusives are your exclusives. I make sure I let the record play all the way through so other DJs can grab it. I’m not selfish like that. My RNR tapes are to help artists. That’s why a lot of artists start getting more money for shows after they get a Real Nigga Radio. It’s a good brand, but also other DJs can play the songs too. Which RNR mixtapes would you consider to be classics? My classic RNRs would be my first mixtape, The Best of Young Jeezy, the Gucci Mane Trap Money, and the Rick Ross mixtape. G-Mack, Plies, and Young Cash are classics. Brisco is gonna be a classic, Lil KeKe, and BloodRaw’s My Testimony mixtape. The 5 Deadly Venoms with Rich Boy, Plies, Yo Gotti, Trae, and Lil Boosie is hot. I think the biggest CD I’ve done so far is Yo Gotti’s Cocaine Muzik. And the Gucci Mane From Zone 6 to Duval mixtape I did this month had like 10,000 downloads in five days. I’ve never had that many downloads in five days so that’s an instant classic. With everything going on in your career, how do you manage to have a personal life? I hear you just got engaged. I have a good girl. She’s very understanding. I be gone a lot and sometimes she’s like, “Damn, when are you coming home?” But she understands ‘cause right now I’m at that point in my career where I’ve gotta set up that 401k plan so that both of us can enjoy it later in our lives. She’s real supportive and she was real happy about the Big Spendaz opportunity. What’s going on with the awards show you have coming up in Jacksonville? The Duval Ghetto Grammys recognizes people and artists that work hard but aren’t recognized nationwide. Some of these people are so powerful that I give awards to several people in each category. We’re doing it December 1st and 2nd. We have a conference on Monday and the awards on Tuesday. Actually, I gotta thank Kim Ellis because as a publicist, she pushed the awards so much that the Grammys called and said I had to cease and desist on using the Grammy name, so now it’s called the Diamond Awards. But a lot of superstars are coming through this year. Rick Ross was there last year. We’re doing it big for BloodRaw this year. I think he set a real strong example for Florida artists by going through all types of crazy shit in life and coming out on top. How much further do you want to go before you’re satisfied with your career? I want to put out an artist that goes platinum. I’ve broken records for artists that went platinum but they weren’t my artist. I want to see one of Big Spenda’s artists go platinum.
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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. 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 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 record called “Aggravation” talking about child support. I took T.I.’s “Motivation” record and changed it to “Aggravation.” That record goes hard. Niggas was gettin’ in trouble ‘cause of that record. Muthafuckas was putting it as they ringtones and on their answering machines. Me myself, I just got my [driver’s] license back a week ago. They took it away for three years fucking with child support [issues]. A lot of people don’t know, but once you’re on back pay for child support, it accumulates interest. It’s damn near designed for you to stay on it. It’s a fucked up situation. Child support is a big issue that affects a lot of people, but obviously fathers need to take care of their children. If you’re a man and are taking care of your child, it ain’t no need to be put on child support. If our relationship didn’t work, why should it affect my child? A real woman doesn’t need to force a man to help take care of they child. My mama raised me. For niggas that don’t take care of they shawty, I agree that they should be put on child support. I take care of my three kids – Ty-Guonia, Yunni, and Papa Duck Jr. A lot of artists in Florida, some who started grinding after you, have blown up in the mainstream. Does it ever get discouraging? All that does is fuel my fire. I support everybody that’s doing their thing. I feel like I’ve already made it. I’ve known artists that got deals and couldn’t pull a crowd like I can. I ain’t got no deal but I’m getting $5,000 a show; $6,500 in Mobile, Alabama. Having a deal ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, but having the streets is. I know my time is coming.
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 musically? 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 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. When you get on stage you really take advantage of having a strong
What else are you doing to get your name out there? People can get all my albums – Welcome to My Hood with Bigga Rankin, the Papaduck album, and 1804 Freedom of Death. Look out for Mamaduck Clothing and Apparel. We’re finna start shooting a movie and the new album The Streets Is Mine is coming real soon. Shout out to my big brother, Lil Rock Records, Belle Glade, Orlando, Big Spendaz, all the DJs and fans that support us, my street team – Pedo, Crazy, and Fat Boy, my lil brother LC, my manager Zoe, and all the Haitians. Last but not least, R.I.P John John. If you want to contact me, call my manager at 850-2109573 or Myspace.com/TheRealPapaduck and Papaduck.com. OZONE OZONEMAG MAG////65 65
voice. What are some messages you want to get out there to the people? Music is about leaving the trouble behind. I had a real troubled past and I want to leave that behind. I vent out a lot of anger through lyrics. 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 ‘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. This article is for our Patiently Waiting issue which gives independent artists a chance to get exposure on a national level. What makes you patiently waiting to blow? What are some big things you’ve accomplished? Just being in prison with a lot of people that aren’t ever coming home no more. Being around those guys I started to feel my lyrical savvy and started thinking it could help ‘em. When guys that are never coming home no more tell you that you have what it takes to be a superstar, and then you get the same applause when you doing shows, that makes me patiently waiting. And being able to write it, perform it, and then stay humble with it too. How did you become a part of Big Spenda Entertainment? What’s the story behind that and who all is involved? DJ Mark T, who’s big in the Broward and Dade County underground, broke my mixtape in 2006. I was 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 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 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 Spendaz in April and we inked the deal April 14th. They liked what they heard and flew me down to Miami and made it happen. What was the name of the mixtape that won all those awards? It’s called the Fixtape – like how an addict needs a fix or something. Let’s talk about your future plans. Is there anything you have out there that 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. //
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hen you think of Hip Hop in the state of Florida, the first place that naturally comes to mind is the MIA. That’s because for the most part, on the national scene, the rest of the Gunshine state has been, well, M.I.A. Ready to change all that is the Jacksonville, FL crew The Bread Boyz, consisting of brothers Raw Dog and J-Baby with cousin Big Hoss completing the trinity. Proudly repping Duval County to the fullest, the group has been riding the momentum of their regional hit “Say No Mo,” a song that has garnered them attention from outside of just their home state. With their backs to the wind, an ever-growing buzz and a remix to “Say No Mo” featuring Hurricane Chris and Rick Ross all on deck, these boys are poised to get their bread, and then some. “The song just took off faster than we could have expected,” says J-Baby of the success of “Say No Mo.’” “It started to catch on [through] the radio down here and it even crossed over to the white stations. So you had the white people loving it and them playing it in the white clubs. We never thought it’d be like this here.”
Raw Dog chimes in, “Once you heard it, you couldn’t deny it. But we’re not like some artists who get a hit and then they wanna hide behind that hit. With us, we’re letting you know it’s just the beginning.” This beginning involves the release of their latest street album, Bread Boyz 09, which hit the pavement in October. An independent release that they define as “straight powerful music,” the disc is mainly devoid of feature appearances in an effort to properly introduce newcomers to the crew without all of the distractions of too many emcees with not enough mics. But while the Boyz are definitely focused on success in the game, they also help feed the homeless and clean up neighborhoods throughout Jacksonville, stressing a one-for-all message that is deeply tied to not just their music and their hood, but all hoods. “We’re bringing breath to the streets. We’re trying to better our people as we better ourselves,” explains Big Hoss. “Artists are glorifying being in these streets, but where I’m from, ain’t really no glory in it until you get up out them streets. What I been through here could be the same thing a cat in Georgia is going through. It’s not just about the Bread Boyz. We’re really here for the people.” Words by Anthony Roberts Photo by Paul King
(l to r): Raw Dog, Big Hoss, & J Baby
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ack in 1992, Sir Mix-A-Lot’s song “Baby Got Back” was a dedication to ladies with nice curves that made heads turn. But who would have thought the two jealous Caucasian females talking in the beginning of the song would one day grow and join the “Baby Got Back” selection. Atlanta rap trio EDUBB made it possible with their new single “Whooty (White Girl With A Booty).” “It’s a new phenomenon of white girls with booties, so we decided to make a song about it,” says Nemesis, one third of the group. Made up of brothers Dolla, Johnny, and cousin Nemesis, the group was born into a musical and business bloodline. Nemesis’ father managed Kane from the Ying Yang Twins and the 90’s ATL rap group The Hard Boys. EDUBB doesn’t just plan on becoming a rap group, but a rap brand.” EDUBB is a business, and we have different entities that we bring together such as I.M. Records, I.M. Films, Don’t Flex Entertainment Party Promotions and Management, Fantasy Modeling, and Whooty Wear clothing line,” reveals Dolla. “We’re also into real estate. We spend our whole time in this game building a brand, because we watched others in the game before us. We realized that building a brand is the most important.” Without being signed to a major label, the threesome has worked with some of the industry’s most sought-out producers and artists, including
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Mr. Collipark, Drumma Boy, and Jazze Pha. In 2005, they released their debut independent album through KOCH Records called Don’t Flex. Don’t Flex featured R&B artist Lloyd and rapper Pastor Troy. Their single “Push It” featuring Jazze Pha finally got the attention of the music industry, receiving over 4,500 spins on the radio. With a host of underground albums and street singles, the trio strives to separate themselves from the rest. “We’re real specific about how our music is put out,” says Dolla. “We want to separate ourselves from the next artist. We could have done at least twenty mixtapes by now, but it’s following that same lane as most artists. We chose to release EPs, street albums, and singles. By doing that, we got more attention and recognition.” EDUBB has many songs that let you know they can cater to any subgenre of Hip Hop. “We’ve got so many different styles. We’re going to be the group that breaks through, and they won’t see it coming because we’ve got so many different angle,” says Dolla. With only a few more doors to tear down before reaching success, their single “Whooty” and upcoming performance on MTV’s Soulja Boy 18th Birthday Party might be able to push them along the way. Words by Jee’Van Brown Photo by Kevin Terrell
he first thing Holly Weerd wants you to know is that they ain’t hipsters. The second thing is that even though their music has no boundaries, at the end of the day, they’re just four very down-to-earth dudes.
From the moment they sprung virtually out of nowhere onto Atlanta’s other-ground scene with their catchy single “Weerdo,” people have been trying to label them and their sound. So far, it really hasn’t worked. “The try to categorize us,” shrugs Dreamer, who had already made a name for himself among Hip Hop circles as a solo artist before joining Holly Weerd. “We just try to make good music. It’s just people trying to figure it out, and I feel them, but I mean…” He trails off as the other members— tattooist and former solo artist, Tuki, Jaspect’s saxophonist, Stago-Lee and the Love Crusader—nod in agreement. Not that they are really tripping off of people’s preconceived notions of what Hip Hop is and should be. In the short ten months since they founded the group, they’ve already been approached by several labels, including Star Trak, Warner Brothers, Interscope and J Records.
“We already had a following of people,” Tuki says, alluding to the performances he and Dreamer regularly did and the popular tattoo shop he owns. “Everybody comes [to the shop] so all of that just helps out.” Now co-managed by Young Jeezy’s manager, Coach K, so far Holly Weerd hasn’t found an offer that appeals to their good business sense. “Right now we’re working on building a strong fan base, because those are the people that are gonna buy our record,” Dreamer says. “We do need a machine, but the focus now is to get as many fans as possible so that when we do sign, it’ll be on our terms” Their current project, Edible Phat, continues with the same outside-of-thebox synergy that they created with their first release, Color Blind Cognac, which featured production from 9th Wonder. They say that they are just sonically preparing listeners for their full-length debut. “Holly Weerd can be a time capsule for what’s going on in this time period, with politics and the economy,” Stag-o Lee says. The Dreamer agrees. “Obama is about to be president, and hopefully that should give everyone a reason to branch out musically and everything else, with their lifestyle,” he reasons. “And hopefully this music can support that.” Words by Jacinta Howard Photo by J Huff
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hey always say, ‘Here today, gone tomorrow’,” Juney Boomdata laughs. “We’ll see.”
In the midst of an Atlanta radio takeover with his record “Wuz Up Wit Da Cookies (Pussy),” the Asylum Records newbie has a lot to say when it comes to him being a one-hit-wonder. Many people thought the song would never make it beyond local strip clubs. “When I first brought the song out, a lot of people was afraid to touch it. I love it when people doubt me,” he says. “I love proving people wrong.” The 22-year-old rapper/producer says his popularity has been a long time coming. In fact, “Wuz Up Wit Da Cookies” is not his first song to hit the airwaves. After doing shows with B-Real and Intoxicated of the Oomp Camp and cornering the ATL suburb markets, Juney generated some unexpected spins with his song “Crowd Control.” “I was working at Wal-Mart when ‘Crowd Control’ hit the radio,” Juney remembers. “In the electronics center at Wal-Mart they have all the radios on 107.9. I was walking by and my song came on. I wanted to say, ‘I quit!’ right there. I’m glad I didn’t, ‘cause the song didn’t last on the radio for long. I thought once it got on the radio, that’s it. But you live and you learn.” Part of his music industry learning curriculum involved being persistent, despite having to keep food on the table. “I spent a lot of money getting where I’m at – money getting CDs pressed up, studio time, all that,” he explains. “A lot of people told me to slow down ‘cause I almost went broke a couple times, but I didn’t care ‘cause I believed in myself so much and kept going.” So far his stubborn nature has paid off. After landing a #1 spot on Billboard Hip Hop and R&B charts, Juney had several major labels knocking on his
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door. “Asylum gave me the best offer,” he explains. “I took everybody into consideration. I know the economy’s messed up and all that. They weren’t tryin’ to give out any money or nothin’. I put myself in a good position. I was really the only person on [Atlanta] radio without a deal.” Since becoming a part of the Asylum family, Juney has remixed the “Cookies” record with Soulja Boy, produced a single for D4L’s Stuntman, and performs frequently to packed-out audiences. As part of his show, Juney invites a few girls onstage to show him what’s up with their cookies, often turning the venue into a makeshift strip joint. Next to his risqué performance and unmistakable voice, Juney’s name is another distinct characteristic gaining people’s attention. He explains, “Juney is a dialect of Junior. My mama called me Juney so I just ran with that. And Boomdata – well, I make beats on the computer, on data files. The way my name is pronounced is Southern slang.” To compliment his Southern slang, Juney has a knack for Southern hospitality. He says, “I’m a down-to-earth guy. I be in the streets, at the mall or whatever. If you see me, come up to me and I’ll talk to you.” It’s clear that the recent fame hasn’t gone to his head. He genuinely appreciates what it took to get here today, and has no plans of being gone tomorrow. Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Jay from Inside285
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release his major label debut. As if that wasn’t already enough, Lil Cali has already jumped into the acting world by playing parts in the movies Death Toll, A Good Man is Hard to Find, and Jessie Bookman. il Cali is an artist that’s focused on turning his name into something more than music. After deciding that basketball was not for him, the Louisiana native hailing from the city of Ponchatoula decided to try his hand at the rap game.
“I’m new to the game, but when I got in, I grinded hard. I always did a little music but I never really tried that hard at it,” says Lil Cali, about his entrance into rap. “I come from a place where everybody is doing music and I thought I would give it a try.” For Lil Cali the first time was a charm because his single “I’m All That” featuring Lil Boosie began rapidly climbing the charts of local radio stations. Knowing Lil Boosie from his basketball-playing days didn’t hurt either. “I just called him and he hopped on the song,” he says. “The song got bigger than me as an artist. He would be on tour telling me that the song is playing in different places and that I need to start getting out there.” Lil Cali quickly began capitalizing on the success by organizing Yz Gyz (pronounced Wise Guys) Entertainment to help get more music out there. With their help, he quickly secured a deal with Asylum and is now preparing to
“I have a friend that’s into acting and I read one of the scripts,” he explains. “I thought it looked easy, so I just said I would audition. I auditioned for the people on the spot and they called me a few days later saying I got the role. I thought it was a joke.” With his hands in so many areas it seems it would be easy to get distracted or overwhelmed but Lil Cali stresses that he has a goal. “I want to create a brand,” he says. “I want to be involved with the music, the movies, the clothing, everything.: He does, however, put the extras on pause as he creates his debut CD, Lousianimal. The album, set for release next year, is to feature the man that helped him into rap, Lil Boosie, as well as others. Plus, just to make sure fans don’t have to wait so long, Lil Cali will be releasing the underground CD, Warning Shots. The album, featuring Sean Kingston, Lil Boosie,Trey Songz, and Plies, to name a few, is set to drop in November. “The album is just what it says,” states Lil Cali. “A warning shot to the rest of the world that I’m coming.” Words by DeVaughn Douglas OZONE OZONEMAG MAG////71 71
he state of Alabama definitely has its fair share of stories in the books of American history. Dating all the way back to the days with the struggle of blacks for civil rights, much can be told word of mouth from natives of the Yellowhammer State. While Rich Boy put the ‘Bama on the map throwing D’s on it, newcomer and fellow native C. Hall wants to show what he’s got in store too. “Rich Boy did his thing when he came through, and that’s put Alabama on the map,” says C. Hall. “What separates us is the rap style and flow. But both of us bring good quality of music, so I’ma bang them over the head just like he did.” We all know the dominant states in the Southern Hip Hop scene - Georgia, Florida, and Texas - but what distinguishes Alabama is something C. Hall sees on the horizon. “I feel like our grind and our hunger is what separates us from everybody else,” C. Hall explains, continuing, “It’s hard for us down here to pop out, but it makes us grind harder and want it more.” Adversity hit C. Hall at a young age as he lost his father to an aneurysm at five years old. He was raised in a single parent home by his mother. “My mom did a hell of a job raising me and my brother,” C. Hall states when
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explaining the supportive role of his mother. “She sacrificed whatever she could for us, so that’s what really turned me on to music. My family is always behind me, no matter what I’m doing.” C. Hall is the ultimate hustler. Not getting cocky, but feeling happily confident C. Hall feels he is the God of Alabama, as he expresses the catchy acronym. “’Grind Over Doubt,’ that ain’t just for me that’s for the whole state,” he says. “Anybody in the state that’s feeling like they not getting the respect they deserve, you grind over their doubt. If you’ve got haters, you grind over their doubt. That’s why I try to tell a lot of people it ain’t nothing spiritual; it’s nothing to do with that. I grind over doubt and put my state behind it, because that’s where I’m from.” Everything continues to come into place at perfect timing for C. Hall. Already getting exposure for his hustle will only lead to bigger things. Money is something he lives for too, a sentiment which is clearly expressed in his regional hit “So Much Money.” Reppin’ Alabama to the death, C. Hall is poised to be next. He doesn’t just want to put on for his city, but his whole state. Words by Quinton Hatfield
n any other arena, claiming to play for the D-league would be nothing to brag about. But of course in Hip Hop where words like “bad,” “stupid,” and “retarded” can actually be compliments, playing in the D-league can make you look like you’re at the top of your game. At least that how it looks to Ft. Lauderdale MC’s Unkut and Demo, who collectively make up D League. They profess to be “not your average rap group,” and D League can actually back up that statement. Representing South Florida’s multicultural Hip Hop scene to the fullest, Bay Area-raised Demo is of Asian decent, while Unkut comes from a Jamaican background. While Hip Hop has always claimed to be all-inclusive, it’s not hard to notice that the audience looks at anything against the norm with a skeptical eye. “I actually think our background works to our advantage,” says Demo, who often makes light of Asian stereotypes with rhymes like, “the boy’s Asian so I know the math.” He continues, “I think as time goes on, we’ll continue to break barriers.”
D League has built a name for themselves over the last few years opening for acts including Rick Ross, Chamillionaire, Young Dro, Trina and Lil’ Wayne. Though the group has only been together for less than five years, D League already has a firm grasp on their sound. Best described as “polished,” the duo comes with familiar themes like money and girls, but since it’s simply them enjoying their youth, it doesn’t come off as cliché. “Right now, we’re just enjoying life,” says Unkut. “We’re some young dudes on the rise. We’re about the party and the girls, but at the end of the day, we’re about our business.” With a spectrum of songs including rompish affairs like “Take It Off” and grind anthems like “Back 2 Business,” D League proves that although they are young, they know how to use their resources and ingenuity. This has been proven by their self-financed video for their single “Lauderdale” and their ongoing mixtape series. “Don’t get us wrong, we love Hip Hop, but our biggest influences are the business people,” says Demo. “We all have our favorite rappers, but me personally, I idolize the Diddys, Jay-Zs, and Russell Simmonses of the game. We aspire to be businessmen too, not just rappers.” Words by Maurice G. Garland
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erhaps the only positive thing to come out of daytime television is its ability to exonerate victims of false paternity claims. Shawty Putt’s breakthrough record, “Dat Baby,” was inspired by the antics of promiscuous girls seeking child support.
Veteran ghostwriter and longtime BME contributor Shawty Putt was once one of these victimized men, but then he noticed something about the infant he was alleged to have fathered that didn’t seem right. “That baby didn’t look like me,” the ATL emcee said, and after taking a DNA test, the self-professed “Maury fan” discovered that not only were his suspicions correct, but his unfortunate experience could also prove to be the subject of a hit record.
damn near done everything under the sun, and all that shit reflects in my music. I’m kinda comedic; that’s just my personality.” And the success of “Dat Baby,” coupled with Putt’s comedic personality, led Lil Jon’s former hype man to a situation of his own with Razor & Tie Media Services. He is currently prepping to release his debut album Explicit Lyrics in early 2009. Some might say Putt’s style is similar to the crunk sounds he helped Lil’ Jon and the Youngbloodz (among many others) create over an almost ten year period. But the former military man insists his music is reminiscent of a time when rap was less limited.
“I’m the type of cat that makes light out of a serious situation, and that’s just what this song [‘Dat Baby’] is about. I’m an average dude rapping about a bad situation that a lot of guys can relate to.”
“I remember a time in Hip Hop you could rap about whatever the fuck you wanted to,” says SP. “Niggas rapped about basketball and picking boogers. There were songs like, ‘You Talk too Much, You Never Shut Up,’ and ‘Baby Got Back.’ Those were the days.”
And as an average dude from Atlanta’s Ben Hill district, the rapper, born Williams Holmes has dabbled in dozens of careers in and (mostly) out of the music biz. He was a janitor, he sold dope, and he even tried his hand at pimpin’, but to his dismay, Putt’s pimpin’ hand proved to be ineffective.
He laments, “Now it’s like if you ain’t in the trap, you ain’t rapping. And it’s so much more to life than being in the trap. I make the kind of music I like, and if don’t nobody else buy my shit, I’ll bump that shit in my car by myself. Fuck it!”
“I only had one hoe, and that bitch damn near drove me crazy. So I understand the saying ‘pimpin’ ain’t easy,’” he chuckles before continuing, “I done
Words by Eric Perrin Photo by Tyler Clinton
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rom “Crank Dat Batman” to “Walk It Out,” there have been numerous videos out of Atlanta that have catered to the A-Town dance phenomenon. In those videos, there was always a mysterious group of guys dancing in the background. Well, now you have name to put with the group. After years of gracing the background of other artists’ videos, Atlanta quintet Show Stoppas have surfaced with their own song and dance, “Whoop Rico.” Comprised of Smurf, Boss, Trez, Mike Dingo, and Droppy, the group’s hit blew up through the usual YouTube and word of mouth avenues, but they don’t want to be looked at as the usual dance/rap group. “We are really lyrical inclined,” says Smurf. “Our music history is crazy because some of us have been in choirs, and bands, so you can expect singing and a lot more from us.” The Show Stoppas didn’t start dancing in night clubs as most people would think; they started at the skating rink. “We first started in 2005 at the Golden Glide Skating Rink in Decatur,” Trez explains. “We didn’t have nowhere to practice, so we practiced there. Then we started hitting the clubs.” Their hard work eventually got them noticed by teen rap star Soulja Boy, who wanted the group on the cover of his new magazine SODMG. “Soulja
Boy hit us up on Myspace and asked us to be a part of his magazine,” Trez says. “Then he asked us to come to Spring Bling and perform with him. He noticed backstage at Spring Bling that everybody was looking at us, so we linked up and it was a done deal.” “‘Whoop Rico’ was a Southside [Atlanta] dance made up by a group called Animation,” says Smurf. “We basically made the song for them but we hopped on it.” Without much help, “Whoop Rico” quickly became popular in the streets. “Believe or not, we put the song and video on Myspace and YouTube, and it seemed like overnight the hits got stupid and people started requested it at the club,” Smurf explains. The Show Stoppas have much more to offer than just rapping and dancing. Thanks to a new deal with Soulja Boy’s S.O.D. Money Gang Entertainment and a new mixtape dropping with DJ Scream, they should be able to stop the show and turn heads with their multiple talents. “They see us good looking niggas that can dress well, rap, and can dance,” Smurf urges. “That’s too much and [it’s] not fair.” “We just feel it’s our time to shine and show,” says Smurf. “We hooked up with Soulja Boy and now we can show off our rapping ability also.” Words by Jee’Van Brown
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rue to his namesake, music has been Hakeem’s dream since he was young. So seeing his Ronnie Notch-produced single “Thick Wit It” explode throughout the Midwest and surrounding markets is almost surreal.
“For eight weeks strong we were in the top five on the local Radio One station,” says Hakeem about the success of his single thus far. “We’ve been spun in over 30 markets and we’re really getting it out there.” Competing strongly with major label driven records both on the radio and in the clubs, Hakeem’s catchy ode to the female anatomy has him poised to become the next success story from the STL. But even amidst the success, he realizes that he has to be more than just a one-trick pony.
receiver Brandon Williams to form ∏MO (pronounced “pi-mo”) records is a sign of that independence. Since 2001 Hakeem has released three mixtapes, all of which performed exceptionally well in his city. “As far as independent grinders, it’s definitely hard for us in the Midwest,” says Hakeem, mentioning that his label name breaks down as ∏ the Greek math term used to say 3.14 (St. Louis’ area code) and MO, the abbreviation for Missouri. “When it comes to St. Louis, there’s been a few records that kind of flopped so it’s kind of hard for us right now.” According to Hakeem, St. Louis has come to be labeled as the hometown of a lot of one-hit wonders. This makes it harder for people like him to succeed without being stereotyped to potentially suffer the same fate.
“My style is versatile,” he says. “A lot of people that know me from previous work know that I create different types of records. This one was more [radio] friendly than other records, but I’m making the people happy.”
“I’ve got to change that whole energy,” he says. “I wouldn’t compare myself to nobody in the Lou, but I’ve got respect for everybody in the Lou that’s doing their thing. I’m just a totally different breed.”
Despite the female-friendly music he’s becoming known for, Hakeem hopes that his latest project State of Independence will showcase him as a multifaceted artist. Partnering up with friend and St. Louis Rams wide
Words by Le’Deana Brown Photo by Demond Leek
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lthough Disturbing Tha Peace recording artist Le Le represents her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi to the fullest, she knows that it’s not where you’re from, but where you’re at.
Le Le was signed by DTP’s co-CEO Chaka Zulu on the strength of her single “I’m The Shit.” At the time, she wasn’t rapping to get a record deal. But now that she has one, some may think that she has some big high heels to fill.
“Jackson ain’t nothing but the ‘hood. We don’t have any suburbs to escape to,” says Le Le. Her childhood was split between being raised on an Army base with her parents and Jackson’s Sub 2 neighborhood. “It kinda gives you a false sense of reality, because it’s 80 percent black. It can limit you, because you don’t learn how to interact with other races. But I appreciate Jackson because it raised me to be a real person and not fall for the industry bullshit.”
“I don’t feel any pressure as to who I am as an artist,” says Le Le, when asked about the notion of replacing former DTP artist Shawnna. “She was the first female on DTP and I’m the second. I just do me. I can’t worry about nothing but doing me.”
Being signed to a high-profile label owned by a Grammy-winning artist can definitely set the stage for plenty of “industry bullshit” to go down. So instead of catering to it, Le Le is looking to offer a new voice to a music genre that seems to void ones that sounds like hers. “I’m speaking up for the real chicks,” says the former Howard University student and member of Delta Sigma Theta. “We’ve got more to say than ‘my titties and my hair and my shoes.’ We have real ass shit to say and when you hear from me, it ain’t just me. It’s me and the people around me.”
The first plan of action is releasing her He Say, She Say mixtape, which will feature her flipping rap songs by her male peers into a female’s point of view, similar to her showing on the remix to YV’s “I Got A Dollar.” Her debut album, untitled as of press time, promises more of the same. “I never set out to make a certain album, but it’s turning out to be a woman’s-anthem type album,” she says. “There’s a lot of real females out there; young mothers and females that’s trying to get it. I want to put it down for them because no else reps for them.” Words by Maurice G. Garland Photo by Rich Peterson
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oodie Mob once emphatically proclaimed that “they don’t dance no more.” JQ must have overheard the ATLiens from his hometown in Orangeburg, SC and decided to prove them wrong.
Making people hit the dance floor in droves and scoring a hit with his “Crank Dat Roy,” an energetic tutorial on how to do the popular dance of the same name, JQ has added a little bit of carefree fun back into the Southern rap scene. Racking up hundreds of thousands of YouTube hits with fans all trying to learn the steps, JQ has turned a dance into destiny. “When we went to parties, that’s all we did was the Roy. So when people said there should be a song for it, put some music behind it, I was on it. It was like boom,” says JQ who admits that he did not invent the dance, but did give it more exposure. “Everytime we went to the college parties, people were trying to see what the hell that dance was that we were doing.” Now that people know both the dance and JQ, he’s hitting the world with a full-fledged mixtape entitled Brand New on State House Records to further familiarize fans with his movement. And if you thought that the
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Roy caught on, JQ says the people ain’t seen nothing yet. “I got a new one called the ‘Church Boy’ with a nice lil back and forth swag just like you’re in church,” he says of his latest dance creation. “It’s easier to catch on to than ‘The Roy’. On that record I was just breaking down how to do [the dance] but on this one there are a lot more lyrics and niggas actually get a chance to hear me rap. I want people to say, ‘Oh yeah, he can crank that Roy, but he can kill the track too.’” Knowing the dangers of being pigeonholed as just a “dance music rapper,” JQ says he’s ready for the challenge and intends on using any and all haters to catapult him to the next level in his career. “Niggas like me give haters something to talk about because I’m what you call a hard worker,” he says. “All through high school people told me I wasn’t gonna do shit with this rapping, but this is what I do. I make hits. I don’t even do songs, I just make hits.” Words by Anthony Roberts Photo by Clevis Harrison
arely does an artist come along with a sound like nothing ever heard before. Critics can try to label them, but there is only one way to describe this innovative, creative and evolutionary style: Different. Cleveland, OH native, Kid Cudi, is this kind of “different” rapper. “I can’t really describe [it], my music is like a new feeling that nobody has ever felt,” says the newcomer, who credits rap groups like a Tribe Called Quest to rock bands like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers as influences. “You got angry, sad, mad, happy, this is just a new feeling, a new experience that no one has had.” At the age of 15, Cudi began rapping when he recorded his first rhyme on a karaoke machine over the Wu Tang Clan’s “Itz Yours” beat. After years of recording, doing shows and developing a rap style that fuses Hip Hop, R&B and rock, he left his Cleveland home for the big city dreams of NYC in 2004. “I just felt like I needed a change of pace,” he says of his relocation. “I wanted to be inspired, and Cleveland wasn’t inspiring me at that time.” Adapting to a New York state of mind, the new kid started making a name for himself within the city’s Hip Hop scene. In 2006, during a meeting with Def Jam Recordings, Cudi met A&R Plain Pat. The Def Jam A&R was impressive by Cudi’s music and the two stayed in contact. Soon after, Pat left the label and became Cudi’s manager. Pat’s insider relationships quickly paid off, and after playing music for Kanye West’s DJ, A-Trak, the G.O.O.D. Music affiliated DJ signed Kid Cudi to his independent label, Fools Gold. Due largely to the growing buzz of “Day N Nite” (a song which many have dubbed the smoker’s anthem of the year) and a warm reception from critics to Cudi’s debut mixtape, A Kid Named Cudi, Kanye has stepped into the picture, reworking a deal to bring Cudi over to G.O.O.D. music, where he joins John Legend, Consequence and Common on Mr. West’s roster. Already considered by many as a top artist to watch in 2008, Cudi is scheduled to appear on Kanye’s new album, 808s & Heartbreak, and is confident he’ll bring a new sound to the world. “Get fucking ready, cause I’ma show these guys another version of cool,” he says. “The new level of cool is being comfortable with you. And no matter what anybody says, I’m comfortable with me. I know that I got some shit to say, and my shit is needed in this game.” Words by Randy Roper Photo by Duran Rose
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ast year Trill Entertainment artist Webbie had women all over the nation expressing their independence. The ladies’ club anthem “Independent” featured well-known rapper Lil Boosie and up-and-coming rapper Lil Phat. Now, Lil Phat, the writer of the song’s hook, seeks out a little independence of his own as he prepares to release a solo album. “That song got me a lot of respect,” says Lil Phat. “I’m from south Baton Rouge, and I feel like I’m doing it for the city. I’m trying to hold things down for us. We got a lot more artists coming out. We’re getting everything together right now.” Lil Phat’s hometown connections and close association with labelmate Webbie have positioned him to be one of the next artists to be released on Trill Entertainment. He, along with labelmate Shell and in-house-producer Mouse, form the group 3 Deep. Together they created a hit of their own with the song “Watch My Shoes.” The record was featured on the Survival of the Fittest compilation album released by Trill Entertainment last year. Lil Phat’s appearance on two hit songs almost sounds effortless as he describes creating “Independent” with Webbie. “I fucks with Webbie and we wound up just putting the song together,” says Lil Phat about the hit single. “I came up with the hook for the song but
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I didn’t have a verse for it or anything. There were no words for the song. We wrapped it up and the song just took off. I just like my independent women, and if you can’t get with it, sit down.” Lil Phat’s love of women earned him a spot on the hit record and as he readies his new album, he lets fans know that they can expect more of the same. The album, to be released in Feburary, will feature the Trill Entertainment family with production from The Runners and more. Plus, just to make sure fans don’t have to wait too long for an album, Lil Phat has collaborated with DJ Khaled to create Life of a Yungsta: Mixtape Volume 1. “Life of a Yungsta is just something me and Khaled got together on. It’s gonna feature Lil Boosie, Webbie, Paul Wall, Mouse, plus some others. I got some hard shit. I got a lot of gutter shit on my album,” says Lil Phat. “I got everything like that, but I also talk about women in the hospital with AIDS. I rap about a lot of different things.” Lil Phat also take the time out to let his fans know that there is more planned beyond just creating an album. “I’m trying to be hosting Rap City in a few years. This album is a straight up family reunion. Tell everyone to look out for me now before I switch things up. I like to switch it up every six months; my style, my swag, everything.” Words by DeVaughn Douglas Photo by Leetric Walker
he intro to Hov’s American Gangster declares that swagger is a liability. I think Chip Tha Ripper would beg to differ. The 21 year-old Cleveland newjack has been swaggin’ out tracks left and right with his own brand of Midwest braggadocio. Having caught the ears of a new wave of hungry Hip Hop fans with tracks like “Get It Girl” and his ode to the fresh brim “Fitted,” Chip recently released his second full fleged mixtape Can’t Stop Me on S.L.A.B. Entertainment. Now carrying the torch for his town, Chip is ready to start getting it in. “With my generation, it’s totally different. Cleveland was wide open. Nobody was doing nothin’,” he explains. “ Bone [Thugs N Harmony] had been left. They left it naked. We had to make it rock.” Growing up on the same infamous St. Clair street as the fast-rapping group (Chip grew up on 120th while Bone came up on 99th), the young rhyme sayer has seen his share of tough times on his city’s blocks. For that reason, Chip says that he always makes his lyrics crystal clear for those he tries to reach most. “I always make sure my verses talk to the hood, no matter what I’m talking about. The hood always understands,” he explains. “I’m not one of those rappers where you gotta figure out what I’m trying to say. The 10th time listening you’re not going to hear something new. I want you to hear everything, the first time.”
His get-to-the-point approach has won him a growing legion of fans, including Cincinnati super producer Hi-Tek, who dug the youngster’s style so much that he allowed him to rip bars on the track “Ohio All-Stars” off his 2007 disc Hi-Teknology 3: Underground. The two have also begun working on an as-yet-untitled collaborative disc with Tek behind the boards and Chip on the mic. He also recently inked a deal to become sponsored by DC Shoes, so when he speaks about his shoe game you know the kid’s not lying. And with Hi-Tek lending his official stamp of approval along with collabs with Hip Hop’s new school leaders including Naledge of Kidz In The Hall, Mic Terror and Kid Cudi, the future is looking bright for Tha Ripper. “In the midst of all this music confusion, during my time, people are gonna say Chip came with the real. I’m setting a new standard as far as this Hip Hop goes.” Words by Anthony Roberts
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hose born under the Gemini sign are notorious for being dual natured, complex, and maybe at times, even a little psychologically unsound. Cyco, a young rapper from Stone Mountain, GA, credits these inherent zodiac traits for the versatility that’s made him admired. Earlier this year, Cyco released his first mixtape Certified Shawdy hosted by DJ Bobby Black, which featured his hit record “Supa Freak.” The mixtape showcased an array of different songs – some geared toward the club, some geared towards the streets, and all with an underlying message. What at first might seem like your typical Southern rap project, was in fact an uncanny display of narrating skills, masked beneath catchy instrumentals and commercial hooks. Though it was his initial full-length project, meant to get his name out there, Certified Shawdy exhibited cleverness far beyond Cyco’s 18 years of age. “I wanna trick you while I rap,” Cyco smirks. “I wanna say something that’ll make you rewind it back, like, ‘What the hell did he just say?’ Seriously. That’s why I have to write. I have to do it.” His lyrical depth and delivery, like his Gemini personality, is complex and unpredictable. The “Supa Freak” record, supported by Hot 107.9’s Dirty Boyz and local gentlemen’s clubs like Strokers and Blue Flame, is considered by most to be a standard strip club record. Yet, with a closer listen, every verse coincides with the next, laying out an unfortunate story of a girl on the wrong path.
“It’s inspired by a lot of females – dudes too, I ain’t gonna just put the girls out there,” Cyco explains. “But, it’s a true song. If you sit down and listen to it, you’ll find that a lot of people are just like that.” Cyco cites a long list of influences including N.W.A, T.I., Ludacris, Eminem, Twista, Nas, Common, and Kanye West. From the political messages of N.W.A to T.I.’s southern swag and Eminem’s in-your-face, taboo topics, Cyco possesses each of these qualities to a notable degree. Not to mention the ability to switch up his cadence, similar to Twista. Recently his stand-out skills and mounting fanbase (almost 1.5 million Myspace views) caught the attention of DJ Smallz, who featured the newcomer on his Independent’s Day compilation. Since then, Cyco and Smallz have begun working on Cyco’s second mixtape, aptly titled Cycology. There’s also a project in the works with DJ Burn One featuring Cyco’s TMC Click. Though the major labels have yet to entice him with a deal worth accepting, he isn’t deterred from putting out his own music with confidence. “Yeah, I’m Cyco. And I’m your future, so get used to me. I am going to shock the world. I know you hear that from a lot of people, but once you hear [my music] you’ll understand what I’m talkin’ about. You goin’ to say to yourself, shawty raw!” Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Charles Mitchell Photography
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ick and James are army brats. Although they both eventually landed in the small town of Hinesville, Georgia, their diverse upbringing is clear in their music. Refusing to latch on to one genre, the two of them, now known as the Dukes of Daville, have managed to fuse multiple sounds into their music with impressive results. “When you hear our music, it might make you think of gumbo,” Rick explains. “It’s a fusion of Hip Hop, pop and rhythmic pop. We have a lot of feel-good music.” Growing up in Hinesville, both Rick and James were part of various singing groups before eventually branching off, moving to neighboring Atlanta, and forming Dukes of Daville in 2002. Together, they went from singing covers of Boyz II Men and H-Town songs to crafting their own signature sound. Their connection has proved to be a powerful one. “Our personalities naturally mesh well,” Rick says. Drawing from one another’s creativity, they quickly formed a solid following performing at clubs throughout Atlanta and the southeast. “It’s not
easy being out here in Atlanta amongst so many people that do music,” Rick acknowledges. “So our first milestone was when we got our own equipment, and from that point we were able to harvest our skills to where we are now.” Before they even landed their deal with Capitol Records in late 2007, their upbeat single, “Steady,” was used in two major films (Perfect Strangers starring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis and What Happens in Vegas starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher). Now, with their upcoming mixtape We Are Music (scheduled to drop in October) and debut album Millennium Music coming early next year, they’re prepared for whatever successes will inevitably meet them. Already, their doo-wop inspired single “Cry Baby” has garnered rave reviews, as they continue to break down barriers with their non-traditional sound. “We make music to make you feel good, but we go a step beyond that with sending a message as well. Positivity is the goal,” says Rick, adding that they write and produce all of their own music. “I think the people are ready for that message now. Right now, people are looking for a change, and the Dukes are ready to give it to them.” Words by Jacinta Howard Photo by Jonathan Kingsbury
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n 1999, the Motown Recording group 702 released their hit single “Where My Girls At?” Now, nearly ten years later, the question is more valid than ever. Although the usual female suspects like Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Eve, and Trina are still somewhat relevant, nowadays, it seems as if female emcees are found behind bars more often they are found spitting them.
Shorty after meeting Daddy Kane, Mica began recording and touring with him. Although she’s been able to learn priceless knowledge about the music industry under the rap pioneer’s wings, she feels the time to prove herself and stand on her own is imminent. “Everybody has to [leave] the nest [at] some time; everybody’s gotta fly,” she explains. “You get to the point where there’s nothing another artist can do for you at the time.”
Up-and-coming rapper Mica Swain thinks she knows who’s to blame for the lack of women on the mic. “There’s a lot of old female rap artists in the game,” Mica says. “Guy [rappers] will put another artist out there; they’ll invest in [another artist] after their time is up. A lot of females out there wanna keep rhyming. They don’t want to take what they know, invest their time and money into another female and put them out there.”
Her DJ Barry Bee-hosted mixtape The Product of Da N.C. powered by her current single “Dope Boy Magic” and a forthcoming single with Fantasia’s brother, Rico Barrino, have helped her garner attention and award nominations throughout the South. For most women, making it as a rapper in a male-dominated industry is a tough task. But taking everything she’s learned from Big Daddy Kane and coupling it with her confident swagger, if you ask Mica, this rap thing is nothing. “I used to think it was hard, but now [I know] it’s a piece of cake,” she says. “There ain’t too many [females] doing it right now, so for me it’s been easy. I’ve been grinding harder than most dudes.”
Raised in Plymouth, NC, Mica discovered her talent for rap at age nine. While the rest of her family sung and danced, she worked on her penchant for rap by studying artists like MC Lyte. She regularly performed at showcases in North Carolina. During a performance as a member of the rap group the Thoroughbreds, her talents piqued the interest of rap legend Big Daddy Kane, who was judging the competition.
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Words by Randy Roper Photo by Jicasso Stylez
Patie ntly Waiting
t first glance, there’s not much of a resemblance between Emerson Taylor and Barack Obama. But this Southern emcee will proudly tell you that he, too, represents change that people can believe in. The change that he speaks of, though, is one that includes his home state of South Carolina getting a bigger piece of the rap pie. He plans to lead the charge to make that happen. Even though he’s been writing rhymes for over a decade, he’s just recently getting a taste of the spotlight, and Mista Taylor plans on taking full advantage of his opportunity to give the world his two cents. And if he has anything to say about it at all, the South shall rise again. “Coming from a city like where I’m from, we don’t get much recognition,” says the gravel-voiced Charleston native, who says he followed the blueprint of groups like UGK and The Geto Boys coming up. “We don’t get a lot of attention. So you gotta put your own stamp on it to solidify yourself as an artist.”
Filled with aggressive street music, Taylor says the mixtape is a platform for him to both vent and escape his reality as well as being an introduction to several other up and coming artists on the MBE roster. And while some artists claim to put passion in their bars, Mista Taylor lets his speak for themselves, all the while truly repping for the hood and his state.
And put his stamp on it he did, releasing his regional hit “Mirror Dance” earlier this year that has had chicks from the Carolinas to Alabama getting loose, bustin’ moves and shaking their tailfeathers to their own reflections. “Ever since the song surfaced, I’ve been eating,” he says. “I wasntt even looking at this as no career before.” With the song serving as an appetizer and generating a strong buzz, the demand has steadily grown for a healthier portion of material which was recently served up in the form of his newly released Loyalty mixtape on Millie Boy Entertainment.
“A lot of rappers say you can feel their pain in their music, but I cry on my tracks,” says Taylor of his sincerity on the mic. “I’m trying to put SC on the map. I try to give the people that’s going through something some music to listen to. As an artist, I feel like I can hold it on my shoulders. I think I can be the Southern version of Jay-Z if I really put my mind to it. That’s not arrogance, that’s confidence.” Words by Anthony Roberts Photo by Carminski Latten
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magine being 17 years old, meeting music mogul Jermaine Dupri, and realizing he already knows who you are – thanks to Myspace. That’s how it all happened for Atlanta-based rapper Yung Envy.
“I had an interview at So So Def Radio with DJ Funky. He wanted to make [my song] “I Like Her” the pick of the week,” tells Envy. “He liked it and was already playing it in the strip clubs. It just so happened when I came to So So Def Radio, Jermaine Dupri said he had already made it the pick of the week. I have no clue how he heard about me, but he had already cleaned the record up in his studio. I never imagined Jermaine Dupri would be on my Myspace page, out of all the rappers in Atlanta. It was a blessing.” Soon afterwards, Jermaine Dupri put in a word at Def Jam and Yung Envy was added to the Island/So So Def roster. Now that he’s a major label artist, Envy says nothing much has changed. “Before I even got signed, I was selling out the teen clubs. I did a high school tour, Soulja Boy was on it too, and when I came out all the kids went crazy. I ain’t never been on TV or nothing, but when I be out and people
see me, they want autographs and pictures. That’s just off having a strong internet fanbase. I sold like 5,000 ringtones before the deal.” To get to this point, Envy employed some creative tactics for getting booked. “I’d call the numbers on flyers and make up stuff so they’d let me perform,” he laughs. “I’d be like, ‘Yeah man, I’m on tour.’ They had no idea I was just some kid trying to get on. They’d check out my Myspace page and see the fans and put me on the show.” “I worked hard for this,” Envy admits. “I’d sit at the computer every day, then go out at night to do a show. When I wasn’t in school, I was somewhere doing my music thing.” There was never any choice but to stay determined. After losing both his parents at a young age, Envy says he relied on the street life to make ends meet. “I ain’t gonna lie, I was selling drugs,” he confesses. “But I knew I had my dream and I wasn’t finna let that go down the drain. I always kept focused on music. My setting was messed up but I made something good out of it.” Currently “I Like Her” has amassed an impressive 200+ radio spins and is climbing the charts. What started as a simple hook and beat, based off a high school joke, has become a promising way out for Envy and his label 2Smuv Inc. (an imprint under Island So So Def ). “I want people to know I ain’t out here doing it just ‘cause I see other people doing it,” Envy says. “This is my passion. I’ve been rapping all my life. If there wasn’t no money involved in this, I’d still do it.” Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Adamo Photography
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eemingly defined by HBO’s infamous 1994 documentary Gang War: Banging In Little Rock, Arkansas’ capital city should have been on the rap music radar a long time ago. Gangs, violence, drugs and other societal ills are usually the things that put a city on the map, giving local rappers instant street cred. But in the case of Grind Time Official recording SL Jones, being from a town with a bad reputation doesn’t present an opportunity to act hard. Rather, it opens the door to tell the truth. “The main point of my album was to give people an honest look at the culture of ganglife,” says Jones about his debut album, C.O.L.O.R.S., an acronym for Collectively Organizing Leaders Offering a Revolutionary State of mind. “Anyone who listened to it understood that it ain’t all about a color. American soldiers don’t know why they’re shooting up Iraq. It’s just like here [in Arkansas]; gangs are warring against each other and don’t know why.” Like most cities affected by gang activity, Little Rock taught Jones about fitting in for survival. Raised on 23rd & Wolfe, Jones’ face became a recognizable one in the hood, but his reputation was one of a peacekeeper. Involving himself in after-school community programs and enrolling in Philander Smith College to study art gave Jones options outside of street life. Those options showed early on in his rap career. “In the beginning, I came into rap from a creative standpoint,” he says. “The
gang life was real, so it looked lame to me to rap about it. I had friends and family that died or couldn’t walk anymore, so rap was my escape. It was meant to be fun. But the more you rap, you can’t help but to pull from personal experiences.” Just as Jones began finding himself musically, his music found its way into the hands of rapper and Grind Time head honcho Killer Mike. Impressed, Mike took Jones under his wing and soon after started featuring him on his underground projects, including Dat Crack and The Killer. Since then, Jones has appeared on every Killer Mike release, in addition to releasing his own C.O.L.O.R.S. in early 2008. Slowly making a name for himself with a slowpaced flow that allows for a style where not a second or word is wasted, Jones looks to pick up where he left off with his upcoming sophomore release Bandana Republic. “I like to play with words,” says Jones. “I can make a dirty song without using one curse word. I don’t want to clutter my music with curse words just to sound harder.” Words by Maurice G. Garland
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tion to multiply right now. It’s not even about promoting.”
harles Hamilton is on a mission. He’s on a few of them actually. “Self-control and discipline go a long way in this industry,” he sighs. He’s currently embarking on self-imposed challenge to not “go in” on any females. “Sometimes we do that when we really don’t have to, but for me, I just need to be focused and keep my mind on what it is I came to do.” And that is? “I want to be the best musician ever,” he says bluntly, mentioning that he plans on having a greatest hits album within the next three years. In an era where being the best often gets blurred with doing the most, Hamilton is working towards making them coexist. As a part of his new campaign, The Hamiltonization Process, the Interscope recording artist has been releasing a new mixtape every two weeks since the top of September. It’s an idea that he came up with on his own while most of the decision makers at his label were struggling on how to market the Clevelandborn Harlem rep. “Honestly, I don’t know what I’m doing next, musically,” he says. “I just want to drop the music directly and let you be as judgemental as you want to be. Just know that the music will boost in quality every time. I’m in a posi-
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He uses images of video game character Sonic the Hedgehog as his calling card, so it’s not hard to tell that Hamilton waves the “90’s baby” flag proudly. His current presence on the internet via blogs and interviews is a testament to the generation where YouTube, MP3s, and file sharing are a part of life, as opposed to elder musicians who may view them as liabilities. “If Eminem was doing the same thing when I was growing up, I’d feel so much better about my life,” says Hamilton when asked about how much he shares his personal life on the web. “He laid the blueprint for the type of artist I wanted to be. I want people to feel connected to me through my music; I want people to follow me. I’m incredibly lonely.” Though that may be the case, Hamilton has already been thrust into the limelight with some pretty impressive company. His first two mixtapes were hosted by DJ Skee and DJ Green Lantern respectively and shared ciphers with Kanye West and The Game. To any other artist, experiences like those could either be overwhelming or ego boosting, Hamilton’s demeanor insists otherwise. “I ain’t intimidated by nobody,” he shrugs. “When I talked to Kanye before the cipher, I was like ‘So? ok? I know what you do, but you don’t know what I do.’ I told him don’t think he ain’t got no competition for that Grammy. I want to be the most debated artist ever. I’m on top of the world right now. That’s not even me being arrogant.” Words by Maurice G. Garland Photo by Julia Beverly
hen Drift City recording artist Ms. Williams shows up to Icon Studios in Atlanta where she usually records, she’s greeted with a unpleasant but familiar surprise—a locked door. Even though nearly 20 minutes passed before an employee finally heard the doorbell, the dollfaced emcee never allowed herself to get frustrated, because just like the proverbial locked doors she’s seen in the music industry, she knew she was getting in eventually. “It’s easy to get disappointed because getting in the game is something you hope for,” says Williams. “Sometimes I had to talk myself into it: ‘Keep grinding, get around the closed door and climb through the window.’” Born in San Jose, California, she was born into music with both of her parents being frequent players in rock bands. As a child she played clarinet, piano and guitar, but like most adolescents, rap music swept her off her feet when her older brother put her onto Bay Area legends like Too $hort and E-40. “When I heard that, I just wanted to do it and take it to the next level,” says Williams. Her early writings were songs about her non-relationship with her father and of course, boys. Her brother’s passing in 2004 made her want to rap full-time. “Music was always my escape, and with rap, it was therapeutic. It’s writing your emotions on paper.” Williams’ new DJ Burn One-hosted mixtape Perfect 10 doesn’t harp on all of her struggles, but it does showcase her as a diverse artist. Her slight baritone and occasional singing provides a balance of lyrical toughness and sexiness that usually translates into success for female rappers. “One track I’ll sing, then I’ll talk about the economy, and then I’ll drop it to the floor,” she says confidently. “I do everything. I didn’t play guitar on this project, but I will on the next one.” Boasting 300,000-plus Myspace friends, it’s obvious that many of them visit to look at her pictures. But even though Ms. Williams knows she has good looks on her side, she wants to be seen as an emcee first.
“It doesn’t matter how much lyrical content I have. Most people aren’t listening because of how I look,” shrugs Williams, who once appeared on the cover of Urban Ink magazine alongside Birdman. “Being sexy is a gift that God allowed women to have. But it seems like if you keep yourself up as a woman, people tend not to listen. So I have to work ten times harder to get my point across.” Words by Maurice G. Garland Photo by Derek Blanks
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t’s been said that music calms the savage beast, but really, it all depends on the beat and lyrics. Upbeat songs with verses about violence usually invoke anger, just like slow tempo tracks about loss usually put you in a bad mood. Fully aware of this, Miami native Bizzle makes what he likes to call “vibe music.” “A lot of people talk about drugs, violence, and all that bullshit, but my music is feel-good music,” Bizzle says. “When you go in the clubs and the females are drinking, and the fellas are drinking and dancing it’s just a really good vibe.” Coming from a past that includes a stint behind bars, Bizzle has come to appreciate the good things in life. Formerly known as Chowtime (a call used in jail to announce when its time to eat), the rapper/producer found that making music was a viable distraction from the streets. But it was the birth of his first child that kept him out of them for good. “When I’m in the studio, I let my kids come play around,” Bizzle explains. “If I’m playing a song and the kids start vibing and dancing to it, that lets me it’s a hit. The kids control the radio anyway. When you’re in the car with your children, you don’t control the radio. They do.”
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Far from radio-friendly, and even further from child-friendly, Bizzle’s hit single “Naked Hustle” has become a strip club anthem. Oddly enough, the song’s reach has extended beyond the stripper pole and onto YouTube birthing the “Wu Tang,” a new dance craze that has everyone from college kids to NBA stars Lebron James and Dwayne Wade doing their best versions of the dance. “The Wu Tang is a dance the kids do out here that has caught the attention of a lot of folks. It consists of dancing and popping,” he says. While the song and dance that’s evolved from it has all the traits that make major labels salivate, staying independent is the main focus for Bizzle right now. “I’ve had a couple of meetings with some labels, but the way the economy and the industry is, nobody is really trying to sign their life away to some 360 contract,” says the rapper, who is also involved in real estate and owns a restaurant.“ I have other avenues of income, so I will push myself right now.” With a wide fan base that includes both children and adults, even in this troubled economy Bizzle should be able to rise to the top of the market without crashing. Words By Jee’Van Brown Photo by Nightlife Photo Guys
he laws of attraction affect people in different ways. Some are attracted to their most negative fears, while others are more magnetized by their passions. For rappers Young True and Rokstar, who make up the Indianapolis duo Nappyville, it was their undying passion for music that brought them together. “We’d been working together for years, and our songs just came together,” says Young True, regarding the formation of the group whose name doubles as the nickname for their city. “We used the name Nappyville. We just put the city on our back and ran with it.” Rokstar, who raps as well as produces for the group, has also made beats for artists like Bonecrusher and Lil Zane. The Nap-town native, who has also produced music scores for movies, actually began his musical journey in the church. “I first started playing in church back in the day,” he recalls. “Everything escalated to making beats. I’ve been making beats about ten years now. At first I didn’t rap, but being around real lyrical people, it started to rub off.” While Rokstar was honing his lyrical skills, Young True was busy releasing his two solo projects, King of the Midwest and Baddest Yellow Boy. Once the two combined to form the Nappyville collective, Young True and
Rokstar created an uncanny presence in the Midwest, earning them recognition from an array of established artists and DJs. The Duo has recently released two singles, “Take Em Off” and “Supa Clean,” featuring Lil’Boosie, both of which are getting notable spins in the Midwest. “Literally, as soon as we came together we started making hits,” boasts Young True. “‘Supa Clean’ was one of the first songs we did. We had a few songs before that, but ‘Supa Clean’ was the one everybody picked up on, so we put a big push behind it.” Accompanying their hit singles is Supernatural, the album the group claims to have been made with “a hit factory formula.” “The process for making the album didn’t take long either,” says Rokstar. “Not to sound arrogant, but the music comes real easy. As long as you stick to the format you’ll keep cranking out hits.”
Supernatural has gotten the attention of Indianapolis and has also led them to nearly 1,000 spins on the radio. Already working on their second album, Nappyville hopes to continue to stand out from the pack and bring a new image to the Midwest. “We’re bringing a brand new sound to the Midwest. Nothing against everybody that came out of the Midwest, but right now there’s a drought,” says Young True. “Coming from Indianapolis, we’re really trying to solidify our city and put it on the map. That’s our main goal.” Words by Jee’Van Brown Photo by Eliot Miller of Munki Boi Studios
y l t n e i t g PWaaitin
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Paatien tly n W iti g
hen problems emerge in our lives, we tend to turn to different outlets that will take our minds off those problems. Some people talk to their family or friends, others turn to liquor or drugs, and some just deal with it however they can. But for Fayetteville, North Carolina native Randy “Rain” Watford, he found his outlet through rapping when he was only nine years old. “Nobody wants to sit there for a couple of minutes or fifty minutes straight and hear about your problems,” the 20-year-old says. “So instead I would make songs as a form of entertainment to get people to listen to what I was going through.” Rain was raised on both sides of the Mason Dixon line. He was born in North Carolina, but at age 16, decided to quit school and move to NY to live with his father. “I already knew I wanted to rap when I was younger, and I felt that school couldn’t help me out with that,” Rain explains. Having an understanding and style of two totally different places, Rain has been able to reach both East Coast and Southern rap fans alike. “In NY, it’s a much faster pace. Down here, niggas is more on their slick shit, so I just found a way to combine the two,” he says. In 2006 Rain collaborated with HipHopGame. com and released the mixtape Another Day Another Dolla, which caught the attention of many independent and major labels. But none of the labels were telling him exactly what he wanted to hear. “I wanted to hear that the label is going to be behind me 100%,” Rain urges. “Today when some rappers come out they have one single, and then a month later their album is dropping. You didn’t even give the people a chance to know you.” Without accepting any deals the labels had to offer, Rain took it upon himself to start his own label, First In Flight Entertainment. He describes his music as “reality rap” because it’s not always about partying and sex. “My music is about what happened after the party and why it got shot up or how you got an STD after fucking that bitch,” he says. Reality rapping has earned him attention from the likes of Dame Dash, 50 Cent, and Don Cannon, who hosted his mixtape Highly Unanticipated. Rain has also been featured on TRL, Rap City, and even got to freestyle with Hip Hop legend Erick Sermon on Rock Me TV. With this stream of notable accomplishments, it should only take a few more storms before he floods the game. Words by Jee’Van Brown Photo by Mike Hustle
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hile most artists that aren’t from the South feel the need to migrate there to get attention in the music game these days, Milwaukee natives Streetz and Young Deuces are making noise in the South from their own backyard.
The two rappers and blood cousins started performing at an early age with other artists before they came together. They found that their styles were versatile, yet complimentary making them the perfect combination to keep their fans wanting more. They decided to join forces to create their own rap group and become co-CEOs of their own label EMP. “We make music that people can feel and our style is kind of hard to categorize, but that’s what makes it so good,” says Young Deuces. “Our style is so universal. We can rock over an East coast track or a down South type beat, and still keep our fans, without them feeling like we sold out.” Their 2009 nomination for a Southern Entertainment Award speaks volumes to the impact that they are having in outside markets. Since the nomination, they have been putting in work like politicians on the campaign trail, shaking hands and kissing babies, and heavily through their Myspace, Facebook, email, and text campaigns. While they hope to take home the award, the group feels the nomination is an honor within itself.
“It was a shocker because in the South there are so many independents and they’re doing their thing,” Deuces says. “For us to be nominated put us in a good place and made us feel like all of the hard work we’ve been doing is really paying off.” Streetz and Young Deuces take pride in their accomplishments and assure their fans that this is only the tip of the iceberg. They created their buzz with no major artist or DJ as their co-signor, just sheer grind. Showing their faces at every major conference or music summit they could find and performing at every given opportunity, networking has been the name of their game. Streetz credits the group’s management team for guiding them in making connections, leaving impressions and following up on conversations. The duo made such an impression on CRUNK!!! Energy Drink representatives that the company decided to sponsor them. This move added Streetz and Young Deuces to a southern dominated roster alongside the likes of Bohagon and OZONE Magazine. “We’re from the Midwest, which gets overlooked a lot in the [rap game], so we know we’ve got to go harder,” says Young Deuces. “We rep the Midwest everywhere we go and most of our fans are in the Midwest. We’re trying to bring attention to where we’re from. Our music is a movement.” Words by Le’Deana Brown Photo by Rick Porter
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T.I./Paper Trail Grand Hustle/Atlantic After a lukewarm reception to T.I. vs. T.I.P., the King of the South rebounds with his six album, Paper Trail. Rumored to be the first album T.I. wrote his lyrics down for since his debut album, I’m Serious, tracks like “56 Bars” and “I’m Illy” display Tip at his lyrical zenith. The noteworthy “On Top of the World” featuring Ludacris officially puts an end to his differences with Luda and DTP, while “What Up, What’s Hap’nin’” ethers beef with Shawty Lo. Other standout records like “No Matter What” and “Ready For Whatever” are introspective tracks that address the trials and tribulations stemming from his legal issues. Plus, there’s the chart-topping “Whatever You Like.” Certain to be remembered as one of ‘08’s best albums, an argument could be made that Paper Trail is the best album of T.I.’s career. - Randy Roper
Young Jeezy/The Recession/ CTE/Def Jam It’s been two years since The Inspiration but Young Jeezy still remembers the southern grime style that has come to define him. The Recession features imposing southern production as expected but this time around the beats seem more cinematic and Jeezy’s lyrics are on point throughout. The Shawty Redd produced “Who Dat” sounds like it belongs in some ATL horror flick, which is only appropriate as Jeezy slashes through most of this year’s Hip Hop with his tried and tested formula, which is nearly perfected. In a single-driven industry Jeezy offers an album that can be played straight through, hands off the skip button. —Rohit Loomba
DJ Khaled/We Global We The Best Music/Koch The overall theme of this album, the We Global title, is continuously emphasized, as the Miami DJ deliveries standout tracks with Chi-town rap star Kanye West and Tallahassee hero T-Pain (“Go Hard”), NYC God’s son Nas (“I’m On”), and West Coast rhymer The Game, symbolizing the growth in Khaled’s movement. The 305 representer still stays true to his FLA core—Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Plies, Trick Daddy—and drops street anthems like “Out Here Grinding” and “Final Warning.” Appearances from Fabolous, Missy Elliot, Sean Paul, Ray J, Busta Rhymes and others, gives this album’s guest list a Dream Team style roster. With help from some of the biggest artists in the game, DJ Khaled’s third album in as many years is arguably his best. - Randy Roper
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Big Kuntry King/My Turn To Eat Grand Hustle/Atlantic The time has finally come for Big Kuntry King. My Turn To Eat holds a mix of different spices and flavors that should cure most starving Hip Hop fans. On the reflective track “Pots And Pans” King explains how the new generation of Hip Hop is the South and he’s here to prove it. Kuntry does add the party and lady anthems to the recipe on “Yeah” and “Da Baddest” which should have you dancing those calories off in no time. With a few more ingredients, the album could have been a full meal. - Jee’Van Brown
Kardinal Offishall/Not 4 $ale/Kon Live/Geffen Newly aligned with Akon’s international resources as a member, Kardinal Offishall returns with his first U.S. album in seven years. Backed by more uptempo, industry friendly tracks, Kardinal still uses his distinct flows and accent to his advantage, pleasing new listeners and not completely alienating his core fanbase. Even amidst the pop elements throughout, Kardinal still puts lyrics and emceeing first. - Maurice G. Garland
Nelly/Brass Knuckles Derrty/Universal Brass Knuckles, Nelly’s fifth solo album and first in four years, is a star-studded released featuring everyone from LL Cool J and T.I. (“Hold Up”) to Usher (“Long Night”) to Fergie (“Party People”). Nelly sticks with his heavily commercial style, as track after track could be a song for radio; it’s just that the tracks aren’t necessarily songs you’d want to hear on radio. After having this album’s release date continuously pushed back, aside from a few songs that sound like the Nelly fans have grown to love, you’d almost wish this album was pushed back a few more months so Nelly could make some better records. - Randy Roper Devin the Dude/Landing Gear Coughee Brothaz/Razor & Tie With his first album since his departure from his longtime label home Rap-A-Lot, a refreshed Devin the Dude picks up from where those albums left off with perhaps his most lighthearted effort since his debut. Though he still speaks on everyday topics, including relationships, bluecollar living and lust, he doesn’t seem to be struggling with his thoughts. Instead, he sounds to be simply readdressing them, since that’s what he does best. As usual, most of the production is mellow, allowing Devin to recline on the beats and flip through the favorite channels of his life. - Maurice G. Garland Boss Hogg Outlawz/Back By Blockular Demand: Serve & Protect/BOSS HOGG/KOCH Boss Hogg Outlawz’ follow up to their 2007 effort is an album that is dopest when listened to in its proper context. Staying true to Slow Loud And Bangin’ tradition, BHO provide plenty of parking lot parlaying soundtracks but not much to listen to outside of the car. Largely backed by production showcasing Mr. Lee’s diversity, it’s few and far between that BHO actually shines above their formulaic rhymes about getting money and riding clean. But as it was said earlier, this album is better suited for the car instead of the crib, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They obviously aren’t trying to be anything they’re not. - Maurice G. Garland Willie The Kid/Absolute Greatness/APHILLIATES/ASYLUM With 13 original tracks, this mixtape/album is not your typical Gangsta Grillz. Designed to be released as a mixtape with major label album backing, WTK and his Aphilliate cohorts take an unprecedented step towards taking their mixtape hustling major. Aphilliates’ in-house producers Don Cannon and V12 handle the bulk of a favorable soundtrack for Willie’s vivid wordplay. The Runners-produced “Pressure,” the R. City-assisted “When The Lights Darken” and the street banger “Love of Money” are standouts, making this project an absolute great precursor to Willie’s official forthcoming debut album, The Crown Prince. - Randy Roper Chopper City Boyz/Block Music/Flame Entertainment The New Orleans natives Chopper City Boyz have unleashed their sophomore album Block Music. With the grimy New Orleans sound and laid-back lyrics on tracks like “Leaning” and “I Can Do That,” these two tracks will have you grooving while getting dressed for the club. Block Music will also make you roll one or take a shot of Hennessy and think about the past, present, and future, especially on “One Day At A Time” and “Holding On.” Block Music is a street-driven album with some poignant moments, but falls short of being a classic. - Jee’Van Brown
DJ Scream & MLK
Respect The Hustle Vol. 2
1. DJ Barry Bee “All About Da Dirty 23” Hosted by Trae www.myspace.com/djbarrybeenc 2. DJ Chuck T “Down South Slangin’ Vol. 52” www.djchuckt.com 3. DJ Christion & Orlando “Voice of the City” www.myspace.com/djchristion13 4. DJ Spinz “Heart of the City Pt. 2” www.myspace.com/dj_spinz 5.The Cartel “Deep In The Game 9” Hosted by Don Cannon www.myspace.com/meetthecartel
6. Nik Bean & Crooked I “Streetz of LA 6” www.myspace.com/nikbean 7. Supastar J. Kwik Presents Gucci Mane “So Icey Boy Disc 2” www.myspace.com/supastarjkwik 8. Hevehitta & DJ Unexpected “3 Kings: Cali Edition” www.myspace.com/hevehitta 9. DJ Bobby Black “Down & Dirty 32” Hosted by Young Jeezy & Blood Raw www.myspace.com/djbo
10. DJ Princess Cut “Sip-A-Lot Classics” www.djprincessut.com 11. DJ Testarosa “Ridin Dirty 3: Trunk Music Edition” ww.myspace.com/djtestarosa 12. DBoy Movement Presents Killa K “Dopeboy Muzik Vol. 10” www.myspace.com/dopeboymuzik305 13. DJ 4Sho “Southern Slaughter 12: The S.E.A. Edition” www.myspace.com/dj4sho 14. S. Dott “Soundtrack 2 Da Streetz: Bottom Boyz Vol. 4” www.myspace.com/sdottmixtapes 15. DJ Fletch & Ticketmasterstapes “Lil Boosie: The King of Louisiana” www.myspace.com/djfle
16. DJ Kingspin “The Clean Getaway 8” email@example.com 17. DJ White Owl “Drop That Part 34” www.myspace.com/djwhiteowl
Scream and MLK hooked up with the Grand Hustle family for Respect The Hustle Vol. 2 Judging from this mixtape, it’s clear that the house that T.I.P. and Jason Geter built is home to more than just the King of the South. This tape has new music from the entire GH roster. From Young Dro and Big Kuntry to Alfamega and Yung L.A. to B.o.B. and Macboney, this mixtape is packed full of bangers. Of course, unreleased music from T.I. is always a bonus, but the gem of this one has to be Lil Duval’s comedic rendition of T.I.’s “Whatever You Like.” DJs, send your mix CDs (with a cover) for consideration to: OZONE Magazine 644 Antone St. Suite 6 Atlanta, GA 30318
18. DJ Envy & Tapemasters Inc. “Purple Codeine 18” www.dajaz1.com 19. DJ Ladi Jade “Pardon My Swag Vol. 2” www.myspace.com/producedbyjade 20. DJ Scope “Street Certified 33” www.djscopemixtapes.com
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Young Jeezy Event: Voter Registration Drive Location: Justinâ€™s Restaurant City: Atlanta, GA Date: September 4th, 2008 Photo: Eric Perrin
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Published on Oct 1, 2008