YOUR FAVORITE RAPPER’S FAVORITE MAGAZINE
S E I L P IG
&B S E T A G EY
IATLTLBESOTHOE LAW L B & HIS LABEL TRAVIS TER POR & DIDDY E K HACKIN’ DRA EKICK SID
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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, Gary Archer PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR // Malik Abdul
BIG GATES PLIES
SPECIAL EDITION EDITOR // Jen McKinnon WEST COAST EDITOR-AT-LARGE // D-Ray LEGAL CONSULTANT // Kyle P. King, P.A. SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER // Adero Dawson ADMINISTRATIVE // Kisha Smith INTERNS // Devon Buckner, Jee’Van Brown, Krystal Moody, Memory Martin, Ms Ja, Shanice Jarmon, Torrey Holmes CONTRIBUTORS // Anthony Roberts, Bogan, Camilo Smith, Charlamagne the God, Chuck T, Cierra Middlebrooks, David Rosario, Diwang Valdez, DJ BackSide, Edward Hall, E-Z Cutt, Gary Archer, Hannibal Matthews, Jacquie Holmes, J Lash, Jason Cordes, Jelani Harper, Joey Colombo, Johnny Louis, Kay Newell, Keadron Smith, Keita Jones, Keith Kennedy, K.G. Mosley, King Yella, Luis Santana, Luvva J, Luxury Mindz, Marcus DeWayne, Matt Sonzala, Maurice G. Garland, Mercedes (Strictly Streets), Natalia Gomez, Portia Jackson, Ray Tamarra, Rico Da Crook, Rohit Loomba, Shannon McCollum, Spiff, Stan Johnson, Swift, Tamara Palmer, Thaddaeus McAdams, Ty Watkins, Wally Sparks, Wendy Day STREET REPS // 3rd Leg Greg, Adam Murphy, Alex Marin, Al-My-T, Ant Wright, Anthony Deavers, Baydilla, Benz, Big Brd, B-Lord, Big Ed, Big Teach (Big Mouth), Big Thangs, Big Will, Bigg P-Wee, Bigg V, Black, Bogan, Bo Money, Brandi Garcia, Brandon “Silkk” Frazier, Brian Eady, Buggah D. Govanah (On Point), Bull, C Rola, Cartel, Cedric Walker, Cece Collier, Chad Joseph, Charles Brown, Chill, Chuck T, Christian Flores, Clifton Sims, Dee1, Demolition Men, DJ Commando, 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, Fiya, G Dash, G-Mack, George Lopez, Gorilla Promo, Haziq Ali, Hezeleo, H-Vidal, Hotgirl Maximum, Hotshot, J Hype, Jacquie “Jax” Holmes, Jae Slimm, Jammin’ Jay, DJ Jam-X, Janiro Hawkins, Jarvon Lee, Jasmine Crowe, Jay Noii, Jeron Alexander, J Pragmatic, JLN Photography, Joe Anthony, John Costen, Johnny Dang, Judah, Judy Jones, Juice, DJ Juice, Kenneth Clark, Kewan Lewis, Klarc Shepard, Kool Laid, DJ KTone, Kurtis Graham, Kydd Joe, Lex, Lucky, Lump, Lutoyua Thompson, Luvva J, Marco Mall, Mario Grier, Marlei Mar, Maroy, DJ M.O.E., Music & More, Natalia Gomez, DJ Nik Bean, Nikki Kancey, Oscar Garcia, P Love, Pat Pat, Phattlipp, Pimp G, Quest, Quinton Hatfield, DJ Quote, DJ Rage, Rapid Ric, DJ Ricky Ruckus, Rob J Official, Rob Reyes, Robert Lopez, Rob-Lo, Robski, Scorpio, Seneca, Shauntae Hill, Sherita Saulsberry, Silva Reeves, Sir Thurl, DJ Skee, Sly Boogy, Southpaw, Spade Spot, Stax, DJ Strong, Sweetback, Syd Robertson, Teddy T, TJ’s DJ’s, Tim Brown, Tonio, Tony Rudd, Tre Dubb, Tril Wil, Trina Edwards, Troy Kyles, Twin, Vicious, Victor Walker, DJ Vlad, Voodoo, DJ Warrior, White Boi Pizal, Wild Billo, Will Hustle, William Major, Wu Chang, Young Harlem, Yung DVS, Zack Cimini 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 // Plies, Big Gates, and Fella photos by Hannibal Matthews. 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 2009 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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monthly sections 15 24 64 65 62 22 20 28 66 12 24 59 15 18 20 36-44 19-39 16-17 26
10 THINGS I’M HATIN’ ON ARE YOU A G? BOARD GAME CAFFEINE SUBSTITUTES CD REVIEWS CHAIN REACTION CHIN CHECK DOLLAR MENU END ZONE FEEDBACK HOOD DEEDS INDUSTRY 101 JB’S 2 CENTS MATHEMATICS NAMES OF SHAME PATIENTLY WAITING PHOTO GALLERIES RAPQUEST SIDEKICK HACKIN’
34 AWARD TOUR: TOUR DJS 56-58 MISSING IN ACTION
45-47 LIL BOOSIE 60-61 TREY SONGZ
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Send your comments to email@example.com or hit us up at www.myspace.com/ozonemagazine
JB, first off, I want you to know that your magazine is a great asset to black careers. It’s an awesome outlet, no doubt. But I wanted to go back to something you stated recently. You said that you’re tired of interviewing rappers because they’ve all got the same things to say. See, to me, you’re an underground icon and idol yourself, so when you make certain statements like that it bothers some people. It’s not what you said, because nine times out of ten that’s true, but it’s how you say it and where you say it. That statement agitated me a little, that’s why I responded saying you should give me a shot to change that cycle or stop asking the same questions. You gotta remember that you are the magazine [writer] and you’re the one doing the interviews, so you have the ability to make that interview bright and big. Tell us in the interview, “Look, that’s not gonna work. My last interview was identical. You need to be a little more creative” or what not. Or, write a helpful blog or article in your magazine that will help us better ourselves rather than blasting us on twitter or myspace or whatever. It hurts some people that do have more creativity or wanna even try for something with you. This also relates to the Mistah FAB situation. You’re way to professional to even follow up behind his mess. - Tha Cook King, via email (Florida)
This magazine is a disgrace to society. I used to buy it and even had the opportunity to write in the Rapquest section, but God spoke to me to leave the lifestyle you promote in your magazine every month. How can you sleep at night knowing that you are promoting sex, violence, drugs, gangs, evil rappers, money, material possessions, and fast cars that you can’t take with you once you die. It’s time to wake up and turn your magazine around to give Jesus Christ praise and stop letting the devil deceive you and others. These rappers want the fame and when they die they will spend eternity in hell if they haven’t confessed Jesus Christ as their personal savior. It’s a scary thought. DJ AM, Pimp C, Mac Dre, Shakir Stewart, Biggie, Tupac, Left Eye, Aaliyah, and many more have passed, and I can only hope they were saved Christians. Not professing to be Christians, but real Christians. Professing Christians are people who say they believe in God but they live their own lifestyles contrary to the Bible every day. A true Christian is seeking Jesus daily. I only hope that you will take a stand and decide to put Jesus Christ first and promote him throughout your entire magazine monthly. God gives us all warnings before judgment day and here is yours. You should turn your magazine into a Christian magazine to help lost souls in society so they won’t burn in hell during judgment day. - DJ Civil Rightz, via email (Oklahoma City, OK)
JB, your 2 Cents was a really good article about the nonsense that goes on at some of these award shows. It’s not always the artist that’s willing to do anything, it’s usually the entourage that’s in his ear saying, “You have to do something, didn’t you hear such and such’s song?” I shake my head. At the end of the day, all they’re doing is messing up the money. No real business entity wants to deal with foolishness. We should all come together for one cause at these shows; network, build relationships, get a chance to be one-on-one with the artists, producers, and managers that you really want to meet, and then go party. Everyone’s trying to get ahead and everyone wants to be a part of something. I watch these [shows] and when they go in a certain direction I’m like, man, they’re messing up the money. There’s a time and place for everything. - Gary Williams, via email
Editor Responds: You seem to have good intent with your message but your approach is all wrong. And you must not be reading very closely, because all the negative things you mentioned are not what OZONE promotes. What we promote is being real and being yourself, being honest and handling business, working hard, striving to achieve something from nothing, and focusing on your goals and overcoming obstacles. All blessings come from God. OZONE would have never become a successful magazine without his blessing and as I’ve mentioned in my editorial several times, he’s the one who deserves the credit – many artists have said the same about their success. Only God can judge; you aren’t in a position to make assumptions about someone’s lifestyle or their personal spiritual beliefs based on what you see in a magazine.
Hey Too $hort, what’s good with you, boss? I read your $hort Story on how you feel about West Coast music and its contribution to Hip Hop. I personally feel that the West deserves all the respect it has strived for over the years, but as an inhabitant of the East Coast I also feel like the East Coast and the West Coast need each other. One cannot exist without the other. Also, as an upcoming artist from the East Coast I feel as though both coasts have plenty more music to offer to the world, and a continuous beef between the two major powerhouses is pointless. In real nigga terms, if we bind ourselves to beefin’ all the time, what time do we have to produce music? Of course there will always be classic disses between East Coast artists and West Coast artists. But if you take a minute to think about it, B.I.G. and 2Pac blazed together before all the East Coast and West Coast beef started. So I believe the two sides can do a collaboration that can shake the foundations of Hip Hop itself. As you said, each side has given its 100 to show the world what it has to offer and what can be achieved in the world of Hip Hop. - Young Slim, via email
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JB, I can’t be a hater; it ain’t in my blood. Your magazine is the shit, so you deserve your props. I’m from Tulsa, Oklahoma, doing a 16 year sentence. You and your mag keeps a nigga up on the streets, plus, lookin’ at your smile in your 2 Cents works as well too. Keep smiling and gettin’ money! - Nicholas Price, via inmate message (Tulsa, OK) Hey JB, this is Jai-Te from Decatur letting you know that all of us here at USP McCreary are holding it down for the ATL! The mag is looking better each issue. You’ve shown my cousin Paperchase and big uncle Pimpin’ “Maserati” Ken a lot of love too! I like that you cover all regions. I’m the R&B prince of the family. Keep the haters hatin’ with the real music scene news. - Jai-Te, via inmatemessage (Atlanta, GA via Milwaukee, WI) Y’all are one of the few magazines with thought-provoking articles that all of us actually like to read. - Stone World Music Group, via email (Ohio)
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10. SPANDEX I don’t mind a chunky chick - but when you a size 3 all night and then when the Spandex comes off you’re a size 18, its really false advertising. 9. FAKE DYKES I’m hating on women that hang with a bunch of butch girls all night but aren’t gay. I mean, really. How are we supposed to know that? 8. SELF-PROMOTION I’m hating on rappers who promote their records in magazine and website interviews saying we should listen to their “hot new single,” but no one’s ever heard the record. How hot is it? 7. Real from Real Chance of Love I’ve got nothing against the dude, but I hate on any dudes with better hair than my girls. 6. CRAIGSLIST Make your mind up. Can I promote my girls or not?
Me & Paul Wall in the cockpit of a cargo plane flying over Dubai
by McKlezie of Grind Mode
Overcoming my fear of heights in the helicopter with DJ Smallz
10THINGS I’M HATIN’ON
JB’s 2cents I
Yeah buddy!! Blasting off M203 grenade launchers into the Afghan mountains
3. UGLY PEOPLE THAT ARE CONVINCED THEY LOOK GOOD And yet they’ve still got the nerve to look down on you. Where they do that at? 2. Female porn stars that DON’T KNOW HOW TO GIVE FELLATIO Y’all are supposed to be good. You know who you are! 1. Pitbull I’m hating on Pitbull because he’s been on the cover of OZONE more times then Oprah has been on the cover of O Magazine. ...just joking, that’s my dude. Here’s the real #1: 1. FAKE GANGSTERS IN THE CLUB I’m hating on that dude who’s acting hard and ready to fight til it’s time to “Swag and Surf.”
Filming out of the helicopter over Afghanistan
I watch The First 48 sometimes and think, damn, it’s a good thing I’m not a cop, because I’d take it too personally. I feel like justice always needs to be served. Right is right and wrong is wrong. Crooks shouldn’t be let off the hook just because they flee to another jurisdiction or have a good lawyer. Lately I’ve had to deal with a lot of (male) bitches like the two mentioned above, and I have to chill sometimes and remind myself that God says, “vengeance is mine.” You know who you are. You lied on me and that shit will not go unpunished. And you.. you robbed me. And I’m gonna get my money. But I’m putting it in God’s hands because I shouldn’t have to fight all these battles on my own. That’s one thing I’ve grown to hate about this business. It makes me so fucking mad having to deal with so many bullshitters, liars, haters, and just plain con artists. The good folks in this business are few and far between but we stick together, so it does even out. With all this frustration brewing, I was more than excited to escape the U.S. for a few weeks with trips to Afghanistan and Kuwait with the Paul Wall and DJ Smallz USO tour, and the Rick Ross and Triple C’s tour to London and Germany. I loved the scenery and atmosphere of London, and Afghanistan, in particular, was a life-changing experience. It lived up to my expectations and then some. You can catch the full story in next month’s issue; it was a lot to digest. We were living in barracks in the midst of an active war zone for a week, and for me, observing the military lifestyle was an interesting social experiment. What happens when you isolate a group of people, assign them to life-or-death missions, ban mindaltering substances like drugs and alcohol, and eliminate many of the trivial distractions of our everyday lives (Twitter, and even sex, for example)? More than anything, the trip made it clear that there’s so much lacking here-- in our industry and at OZONE and in my life personally-- in terms of structure, discipline, organization, and dedication. A lot of us have become lost in the flashing lights without a clear vision of where we’re headed. You may not agree with the war in Afghanistan or understand why the U.S. has dedicated so many of our resources to fighting those battles, but regardless of their political leanings, the men and women fighting overseas have missions. In some ways, I envied them for that one reason. They have an assignment and they put in 100% to accomplish it and then they go home; the opposite of my life, which often feels like a never-ending pile of work headed in multiple directions with no clear endpoint. They wake up at the crack of dawn and put in hours to keep their bodies in top physical condition. At 5:30 AM I found myself waiting for a treadmill to become available since dozens of troops were already in the midst of their morning workout. That was some inspiring shit. If there’s one thing all of my overseas trips have taught me, it’s that we’re spoiled as hell here in America. If I could be half as productive here as I was during my week “in the Army,” OZONE would have taken over the world by now. Literally. We gotta do better, myself included!
4. FAKE BALLERS I’m hating on that dude in the club that holds the bottle he bought all night long, even after it’s empty.
5. Sugar DaddIEs with Viagra I don’t ever get a chance to see my girl anymore.
don’t know what it is about 2009, but there sure is a lot of bitchassness floating around the music industry this year. It might be the recession or it might be the desperation of folks who have been trying to get on forever and are finally realizing that they might not make it. A few people showed their true colors this month, like one Bay Area rapper who revealed his severe case of bitchassness. You will not be seeing any more of him in OZONE West. You already can’t get radio play in your hometown and now you decide to disrespect the one magazine that shows you love - are you serious?? Then there’s the fat ass shiesty booking agent who can be seen around Atlanta wearing more fake jewelry than his artists and pretending to be important, robbing promoters of their deposits and hiding behind lies and third-party contracts. And it isn’t limited to just the United States; Swedish radio station The Voice enlisted promoter Riccardo Jackson, who went so far as to fabricate a wire transfer receipt, to book an artist through me. It’s a dirty game when you can’t even trust the radio stations.
DJ Smallz, me, & Paul Wall
- Julia Beverly, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jay-Z f/ KiD CuDi “Already Home” Big Bank Black f/ Kandi Burrus “Try It Out” Big Maine f/ Collardgreen & Lil Brod “That’s What She Love” Drake & Nipsey Hussle “Killers” Kings of Leon “Use Somebody” Trey Songz “Neighbors Know My Name” Young Snead “Love When Dey Hate” Boss G f/ Lil Brod “Say Yeah”
email@example.com Travis Porter “Turnt Up” Willie the Kid “Aviation” GT “Don’t Know Who To Be” Drake “Fear”
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1st Class released Jukebox: Get It Done Vol. 4 with their hit “Amazing” plus other tracks featuring Kyle Lee, Tum Tum, M T Clique, and Texas Raised Productions. Chris B is flossing in SA, TX with his hit song “Can’t Hustle a Hustler,” while A.B.I.’s Flownitty and Funkytown M&M are blazing tracks in DFW. CityBird Base In-Flight wrapped up production for a two-part movie entitled Dirtyland. All Independent and major artists don’t forget to submit your music to “Da Saturday Night Hot Mix House Party,” Abilene’s longest running Hip Hop radio show, which airs 8 PM to midnight on Star 106.3 FM KKHR. - Christian Flores (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Hot 93.3 Summer Jam saw performances from Bun B, Slim Thug, Rob G, Tum Tum, Trae, Pimpin Pen, Chalie Boy, Lil Keke, and Paul Wall. Asher Roth, Kid Cudi, B.O.B., and Pacific Division all came through Stubbs as a part of the Great Hangover Tour. Zeale 32 and Phranchize held it down at the after party. Ghostface Killa, Redman, and Method Man came through Emo’s for a show, as did De La Soul. Snoop Dogg was also in town with Stephen Marley for a big show at Stubbs. - O.G. of Luxury Mindz (www.luxurymindz.com)
DJ Solo shot his video for “Chicken Wang.” YP released his album on iTunes called Classified. Lil Wish has a new single called “Ice Cream Face.” The open mic with DJ Shaun T at Club Lamar and Monday Mixtape are the best ways to showcase your talent in the Chicago area. Really Doe released his album. DJ AOH is considered Rookie of the Year in the new Midwest movement. DJs to check for are Word, Kool Ant, Jay Illa, Third Degree, Timbuck 2, and Slo Mo. “Bounce 4 Me” by Hymalaya feat. Dutch Dinero is gaining steam, and Skooda Chose has a new video out. - Jamal Hooks (JHooks@tmail.com)
DALLAS/FT. WORTH, TX:
DFW/ North Louisiana artist CA$H just signed with Jive off his “Walk Wit a Dip” single; he also shot the video with Mr. Boomtown. DJs Q and Lil E are in the mixtape circuit with the release of Get it How U Live Vol 1. DJ Du2ce and Paperchasez shot their video to “Franky” directed by Kang Bear. Big Tex from Yums is keeping the city’s feet candy while Ben from M$E feeds the streets 16 // OZONE MAG
with “Heavy on My Neck” feat. Tum Tum. VK Studios’ all-star team now consists of Billy, Dreak, DJ Princess Cut, Feddi, Syn, Sirrah Money, Jay-T, Mario-T, and X.E.L. - Edward “Pookie” Hall (email@example.com)
Denver made history with the industry softball game at Del Mar Park put on by Push Distribution. The game featured G. Malone and Keak Da Sneak, along with CO’s most well-knowns. DJ Ktone won DJ of the Year at Building Connections’ event which honored DJs such as Above, SD, Kamani, Suicide, EJ, Johnny Fantastic, and others. Newcomer Rockie has the clubs on fire with his hit “Loaded,” and Young Doe dropped his street album Ventilate with DJ Shadoe. Dream Fridays at Theorie is the new Friday night spot, Club Posh on Saturdays is hitting, and Moe’s Bowling Alley on Sundays is the best chill spot yet. - DJ Ktone (Myspace.com/djktonedotcom)
DETROIT, MI: Lo-Fat (pictured above, in orange) had his mixtape release party for The Bank Job hosted DJ Drizzle and also rocked a crowd of 10,000 at the Beach Bash in Toledo. The streets are anticipating the upcoming release of Crime’s new album These Streets are Contagious. The new single “Fannin’ Wit the Money” by Identical is creating a buzz in Michigan. The production crew The Olympicks signed a deal with Rick Ross and his label Maybach Music Group. Detroit and the world lost another Hip Hop icon with the passing of Baatin, one of the founding members of Slum Village. Rest in peace. - AJ (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Interscope’s annual Creme of the Crop dinner at Mr. Chows brought out Soulja Boy, Teanna Taylor, Wale, Busta Rhymes, Yung LA, R.City and more. DJ Quik did his monthly show Quik’s Grooves with a live band at HOB, and over at 93.5 KDAY we had our summer night concert series at The Conga Room with Mario, Glasses Malone, Krys Ivory, Mishon, O.N.E., and The New Boyz. For footage peep www.DeviDev.com. - Devi Dev (email@example.com)
This month in Houston featured many great events, starting with a well-hyped Gucci Mane and Yo Gotti performance. The whole month was filled with celebs such as Shaq, and the Hip Hop for HIV awareness concert featured Pleasure P, Day 26, Ginuwine, Yung Problemz, Plies, Bobby V, Bun B and more. Trae the Truth brought out all of the street rappers such as Rick Ross, Rich Boy and Chamillionaire for a good, family cause. The month ended with a super hype all black affair at Pravada Lounge. - Ghost tha Hustla (firstname.lastname@example.org)
MONTGOMERY, AL: They’re saying King South has signed with Collipark Music. I’m not one to gossip, but I think it’s official. Hot Girl Promotions and Boomerangs took it to another level with M.E.T.V. showcasing artists throughout the state of Alabama. Dirty Boyz dropped another album called Married to the Game. It’s Pimp’s solo album and the growth is evident. I heard they did a two-album deal with 404 through Koch Records. Pretty Ricky came to King Dee’s Birthday party at Ace Bowling Alley. Maxximum Exposure is November 7th and the Maxximum Exposure Award show is November 8th. - Hot Girl Maxximum (Maxximummp3@gmail. com)
KANSAS CITY, MO/KS:
GENIUS, the new CD release from Kansas City’s own Krizz Kalico, is in stores now. This might be the hottest CD ever released from KC’s and the country’s number one independent label Strange Music. Even though Block Life Ent. has some legal issues to take care of, their movement hasn’t stopped. Their single “The Man in My City” was added to the #1 rated mixshow in the country “The Baka Boyz.” Block Life Ent’s newest artist Jae Casino dropped his new album Hollywood Status and is making noise on the airwaves with his single “Talkin’ Dirty.” - Kenny Diamondz (KennyDiamondz@gmail. com)
KILLEEN/BELTON/FT. HOOD/ TEMPLE/WACO, TX:
Killeen welcomed many big-name performances to the city such as SupaStaar, Chalie Boy, and Z-Ro. Killeen, Texas native SupaStaar released a video on YouTube addressing all the talk regarding Hurricane Chris purchasing “She Fine,” better known as Halle Berry. All the shows had a great turnout. Local rap artist Joon Cartier started filming for his webbased reality series. Tragedy hit local rap star Sparkdawg as his house burned down and fueled the lyrical song “Where There’s A Spark There’s A Flame.” - Chris OA (email@example.com)
LAS VEGAS, NV:
All the urban Hip Hop clubs on the strip are gone. Poetry and Prive Nightclubs are closed indefinitely at this time, there’s no place to party anymore except maybe Jet Nightclub on Monday nights. Jay-Z and Ciara shut it down at the Pearl for Independence Day weekend. Kid Cudi and Asher Roth were at the House of Blues, while Jamie Foxx rocked The Joint at Hard Rock. Beyonce just wrapped her three-day tour at the Encore. The Core DJ XI Retreat is coming to Vegas at Red Rock Casino. - Portia Jackson (PortiaJ@sprint.blackberry.net)
The Earl Clark NBA Draft Party, presented by Ellis Myles, was a real hood affair. Young Dro stopped through and put it down for E5. DJ Envy did his thing on the 1s and 2s. Miz had his video shoot for “I Can Do U Better” feat. Chri$ Rich. B Simm has been meeting with Dame Dash. Deion Branch had a surprise birthday party with Charm School 3 winner Risky as the host. Kia Hampton made the city smile on BET’s Dreamland. The Dirt Bowl is back, thanks to council woman Hamilton (5th-D). Cocky’s “Microwave” remix feat.
Yo Gotti and Ya Boy has caught on in TN and out West. - Divine Da Liaison (OuttaDaShopEnt@hotmail.com)
MANATEE COUNTY, FL:
Tupac’s Outlaw E.D.I Mean and Mo Betta Blues actress Cynda Williams were recent call-in guests on WSLR 96.5 FM. Apparently a Tupac movie is in the works to respond to the mis-portrayal of his character in the Biggie Smalls movie, according to E.D.I Mean. The Outlawz have just completed an overseas tour which included Australia and Europe. During the tour new member Stormey was arrested in Sweden. Papa Duck performed for Chill da Million Dollar Man’s concert at Pandora’s Box a week before Chill was indicted over drug charges. Papa Duck is also the host of B.oycott C.ommercial R.adio Vol.2 in streets now. - Hollywood Red (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tha Bank broke loose with a new video and single titled “Money Walk,” which features a tight new dance. Snuggles, a hot new female rapper, showed off her skills with a new single “Radio” off her upcoming album I’m My Only Fan and rapper Lil Lody brings out a new sound with “Throw Dem 2’s.” Playa Fly was spotted in the studio with Montana Trax, wonder what they might be cooking up? I’ll have the scoop soon enough. - Deanna Brown (Deanna.Brown@MemphisRap.com)
DTPs artist Small World smashed through Nashville promoting his new single “Pinky Ring” featuring Ludacris. Finess Da Boss flooded the streets with her Intro 2 Da Boss mixtape by DJ Bryant D and her hit single “Where Dey At?” Raheem DeVaughn brought Phil Ade with him to experience the Nashville love. Independent artists are getting an opportunity to have their music heard via WUBT’s Grind2Shine outlet. We Play on Sundays allows industry cats in Nashville an opportunity to bowl, network, chill and do something different, but if you’re not there by 8 PM, you probably won’t get a lane. - Janiro (Janiro@southernentawards.com)
ST. LOUIS, MO:
St. Louis is on its internet game. B Gyrl set it off years ago with stlhiphop. com. Tony J., a.k.a. Mr. Traffikkaa, and his boi Nate started the website 314hits.com. DJ T Gutta has his own internet show now on blogtalkradio. com/djtgutta. Precious Promotions has MVP radio blogtalkradio.com/ mosprecious. DJ Kaos and Silly Azz got it crackin’ at thewhole9online. com. Tech Supreme is reppin’ the backpack side of town at irepstl.com. There are plenty of STL artists mixtapes on midwestmixtapes.com. Craig Blac is still holding it down with Renegade Radio on riverfrontradio.com. The hood fashion store Exquisite got all the exclusive hats and clothes at exqhats.com. 2 Gun Trust and a few partners got Swagga Magazine going hard at swaggamagazine.org. - Jesse James (JesseJames314@aol.com)
DJ Sandman, 95.7 The Beat mixer, Bumsquad DJz member, and owner of TampaHipHop.com, blessed the tables on the newest Cornerstone Mixtape #117. The project Hillsborough Street Blue features his partner Young Deacon as host. Infarel shocked crowds at Crowbar with his bloody wheelchair performance to help secure his “King of The Stage 2” victory. DJ H-Vidal returned to the 1200’s at the TampaHipHop.com summer BBQ. Aych released his sophomore effort The Cure. DJ Mingle Mixx was welcomed home with a party at Gator’s, after being evicted from the Big Brother house on CBS. - Slick Worthington (Myspace.com/SlickWorthington)
J-Mill, who is the author of a book entitled How 2 Rap, has released the new mixtape Watch Me, hosted by the legendary DJ Ron G. Nu’ The Mayor’s single “Whole Time” is heating up the radio, and his CD The Diary of a Dollartician will be available soon. The Clipse, Wale, Kingpen Slim, XO, and Phil Ade’ rocked the stage when the Sneaker Pimps show came to DC. Tabi Bonney is travelling with the Rock the Bells tour performing cuts from his latest CD Dope. Byrd from I Got It For Free sponsored the 2nd Annual DMV Jam Session which featured artists like Muggsy Malone, King Baker (aka King Swagg), and Don Juan. Don’t forget to pick-up Don Juan’s Lookie Looky (The Mixtape) co-hosted by Big Tigger. - Sid “DCSuperSid” Thomas (email@example.com)
OZONE MAG // 17
RADIO SPINS | By Wendy Day (www.RAP-COALITION.COM)
hanks to the advent of the Internet over a generation ago, the playing field has been leveled for artists. In today’s climate, an artist no longer HAS to sign to a major label (or any label at all for that matter) to succeed. One can make one’s own music and upload it to the internet to share it with the world. But if you are starting a business, meaning you plan to SELL your music, that’s a different story. While the internet has made it easier for today’s artists to navigate the industry and sell their own music without a label, it still is a business and every artist needs some business sense and a blueprint to make it happen. Part of that blueprint involves having a budget to pay for the marketing and promotion of the music, for buying tracks or features from other artists, and for the necessary mixing and mastering to bring the music to commercial quality. Therefore, to increase your chances for success, you need to work your own project to show the labels that you are a good risk and that they should sign you to their label (if that’s your goal). I, personally, don’t see the need for a label, but not every artist is entrepreneurial enough to put out music, or to find an investor to fund their dream. When putting out a CD, all aspects must come together to promote that release (and the timing must be on point. All aspects must hit at the same time to be truly effective). It’s important that you plan succinctly, way ahead, and have budgets for marketing, street and club promotions, internet promotions, touring, publicity, advertising, attending and promoting at events (attendance at conventions and consumer events), video promotions (if you shoot a video), tools (posters, flyers, flats, postcards, t-shirts, etc), radio play, and of course pressing (of the singles, mixed CDs, and/or actual full length CD). Anytime you start a business, there are costs involved. The music industry is no different. If you plan to put out your own music, you must be able to properly afford it or you are just wasting what little money you have. It’s also important to have someone reputable on your team if you aren’t going to hire a consultant to guide you. While I set up a free website years ago to help people put out their own CDs (www.rapcointelpro.com), no website can tell you whom to hire, which service companies are best, or who is genuinely good at what they do. Experience, connections, and being inside the inner circle in this shark-infested business are the only ways to know who’s who. Truth is, even the folks who are at the top of their game today may slack off (or be too busy to help you properly), or be replaced by a newer, more hungry and aggressive person only to become the worst at what they do in a matter of months. In addition, there are a slew of folks in this business who make gobs of money from taking advantage of people who don’t know, aren’t experienced, and who can’t smell a con man a mile away. Most people lose money in this business. Independent radio promotion is one of those treacherous areas where an artist or label can lose a lot of money. Hell, experienced people can lose a shitload of money here, too, not just new people. It’s important to have a goal when going to secure radio spins. That goal must be more significant that just wanting to hear your song on the radio. Radio spins are not for artists trying to secure a record deal, nor are they for people without a healthy promotional budget. If radio spins led to a good deal that secured an artist’s career successfully, everyone with $50,000 to spend would have a successful career in the music business. And they do not. If you look at the top selling artists with careers (NOT the one hit wonders), not
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one of them got a deal from having radio spins. There’s a good reason for that. Having radio spins does NOT guarantee CD sales, only selling your CD is a true test of CD sales. So there is really only one reason to go after radio play: to sell CDs. Any other reason, and you are just taking away a potential slot from an artist who has his or her shit together and who came with a plan. There are two kinds of radio promotion people: 1) The kind who promise you 300 spins a week (no one can promise you an exact number of spins because it depends on who else is at radio when you are, how hot your song is, and how well it researches at radio), take your money ($15,000 to $40,000), and then deliver whatever spins they can get you (usually 45 a week to 230 a week) at any radio station where they have a key relationship. 2) The kind who understand what your plan and goals entail, and deliver the stations within your marketing territory with which they have relationships, in a time frame that meets with when your other promotional efforts are hitting. These promo people are few and far between. If you are releasing a CD independently, and the south is the market you are targeting, radio spins in the Bay Area, St. Louis, Milwaukee, or Detroit are not helpful to your goal. No radio promoter should deliver spins solely where they have relationships unless you are a major label targeting the entire US. And even then, the majors work region by region so as to impact their limited budgets. So should you, on a smaller scale! Radio often drives sales when used in conjunction with other promotional opportunities, and if you don’t have your shit together, you are wasting time and money. Radio is expensive. There is no way around that. The way that I impact radio is to work the region on the streets and club level getting the record hot long before I ever go for radio. I build it from the ground up so that it has legs. Then, I take it to radio in smaller markets first. For example, I would hit the smaller markets surrounding Atlanta like Macon, Albany, Greenville, Columbia, and Columbus long before I ever went into Atlanta. Atlanta is an expensive market to work on the streets and at radio, so I prefer to get my record bubbling in the smaller, more affordable places. Once I see that the record has legs in those smaller markets, I take it to the bigger markets. It’s much easier to get the attention of a program director once I have spins in smaller outside markets, than it is to show up to a music day and say “Play my shit, it’s hot!” Very few records are really hot and there is no rhyme or reason to what catches on. So it’s important to test your record before you go full out on the budget. Better to lose $10,000 or $20,000 to find out you didn’t have anything than to spend $80,000 all at once to find out the same thing. Once your song begins to spin, it’s important to keep supporting it in the marketplace. I offer the artist for free to the stations for shows, or back up the spins through promotional tours or by doing give-aways with the station (tenth caller receives a free giveaway from my artist. This can be a t-shirt, a gift card from a store, a contest, etc, or even just a free CD before they become available in stores). Lastly, I want to remind you that as you go for radio spins, you MUST have a competitive song. The sound quality must be as good, or better, than everything else at radio. This means it must be made in a professional quality studio, not your basement. It needs to be professionally mixed and mastered. If everything currently at radio is at 92 BPMs, don’t bring in a song at 80 BPMs. It won’t mix with the other songs properly. On the flip side, if everything currently at radio is slow, don’t come in with a super crunk dance record trying to get it spun. Learn how radio works and you are that much more likely not to lose your entire life savings going after the all-important radio spins. And for heaven sakes, don’t ever offer anyone at radio money to play your damn record! That’s illegal!! //
(above L-R): Young Joe & 2 Pistols @ Skye for DJ Christion’s birthday party in Tampa, FL (Photo: Luis Santana); Gabriel Cannon & Danger @ Bottoms Up in Tampa, FL (Photo: Terrence Tyson); Mr Collipark & Drumma Boy @ the W Hotel for Konsole Kingz’ Madden event in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Maurice Garland)
01 // Pookie & ladies @ Club Nico’s for Pookie from Urban South’s birthday bash (Tyler, TX) 02 // Lil Ru & crew @ Pure for Lil Ru’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Killer Mike & Mickey Factz @ Velvet Room for Heineken Red Star Soul show (Atlanta, GA) 04 // DJ Priest @ V103 Car Show (Atlanta, GA) 05 // JW & Screwww @ Aja for Young Jeezy’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 06 // Nasty Beatmakers’ Lenny, Ludacris, DJ Nasty, Lil Scrappy, Ace Hood, & fans on the set of Ace Hood’s “Born An OG” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Unladylike @ Bash at the Bay (Toledo, OH) 08 // Mario & Jeremih @ V103’s Car and Bike Show (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Director, DJ Q45, Quentin Groves, & J Dash @ J-Dash’s “Wop” video shoot (Miami, FL) 10 // Guest, State House Records, & Faazon @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 11 // G-Hud & DJ Drop on the set of Ca$h’s “Walk Wit A Dip” video shoot (Dallas, TX) 12 // Boo & JW @ Silk Restaurant for Kinky B’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Ca$h & G Mack @ Club 2026 for “Walk Wit A Dip” video shoot (Dallas, TX) 14 // Jodie Mac, Neek, & DJ Blaze @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 15 // DJ Christion, Macho, Pistol Pete, & guest @ Skye for DJ Christion’s birthday party (Tampa, FL) 16 // Robin Fly & Stay Fresh @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 17 // Tahira Wright & Orlando McGhee @ the W Hotel for Konsole Kingz’ Madden event (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Yung Ro & BloodRaw @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 19 // Cheerleaders @ the W Hotel for the Konsole Kingz Madden NFL 10 event (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Clevis Harrison (10,14); Devon Buckner (19); Edward Hall (01,11); Eric Perrin (02,06,07); Luis Santana (15); Malik Abdul (04,05,12,16,18); Maurice Garland (03,17); Ms Rivercity (08,13); Terrence Tyson (09)
OZONE MAG // 19
CHIN CHECK By Charlamagne Tha God The Curious Case Of
Niatia Jessica Kirkland a.k.a. Lil Mama I have witnessed a lot of fuckery in my day. Humorous fuckery, tragic fuckery, depressing fuckery, and more, but the fuckery I witnessed on September 13th, 2009, was some fuckery that I have never seen before. The fuckery I am talking about is that of Niatia Jessica Kirkland a.k.a. Lil Mama. I had to Wikipedia Lil Mama because in my mind, I thought I had missed something. But according to her Wikipedia bio, I didn’t miss shit. One album (Voice of The Young People), the kid-friendly single (“My Lip Gloss is Poppin’”) and she’s currently a judge on America’s Best Dance Crew. When the hell did Lil Mama showcase dance skills worthy of being a judge on that show? Unfortunately I fear we will never know, but I digress. Let’s stick to the matter at hand. By now you all know that she crashed Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ stellar performance of “Empire State of Mind” at the MTV Video Music Awards. She ruined what would have otherwise been a flawless performance. Jay-Z isn’t the most animated performer in the world, but he has such a massive catalogue of hits that when you do go to his shows, you’re sure to be entertained. On the night of September 13th everything was lining up for Jay perfectly. Exit out of the Maybach (10!), walk to the stage (10!), placing the New York Yankees hat on flawlessly (10!), rising from up under the stage to face the crowd (10!)! Alicia Keys was looking and sounding incredible too. The magic was there. Everything was so right until Niatia Jessica Kirkland made it all so wrong. When she approached Jay-Z immediately backed up, understandably, because Lil Mama came on the stage looking like a deranged Nas fan still mad about “Takeover.” Lil Mama looked like a wild Robot Chicken whose sole mission was to come and peck Jay-Z to death! My initial reaction was, “She’s corny for that.” Then, I realized maybe she got caught up in all the New York imagery on the stage and said to herself, “The only thing missing on that stage is a pigeon! Let me swoop in and really set it off!” It’s like that hood booger came out of nowhere! There was a rumor that Lil Mama was hiding under Sway from MTV’s hat the whole time waiting
for her chance to strike. The rumor hasn’t been confirmed, but it’s certainly believable. Plus, if you plan to crash the stage, could you at least dress for the part? Lil Mama looked like she was sponsored by Rainbow, Wet Seal, and Charlotte Russe. I had to look at it with my third eye, though. Sometimes you have to see things as they are, not as they appear to be. I feel that a higher power was in control of that Lil Mama situation because it was a symbol; a message to us. Wwe all need to stay in our muthafuckin’ lane! TLC said it best: “Don’t go chasing waterfalls / Just stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to.” In Lil Mama’s case, she should stick to those puddles, and don’t go jumping in grown people’s pools! I hate to say this, but I would love to see Lil Mama blackballed for a little while after that stunt. It’s not like her career was popping off crazy to begin with but whatever little bit of life was left, I would like to see that shut down for a second. These little kids have to realize that there are consequences and repercussions to their actions, and they can’t just ruin an OG’s moment because they feel like it. So, Niatia Jessica Kirkland, I just want you to go away. No freestyles, no songs, no interviews. Just disappear until they start shooting the Keyshia Cole biopic. The role you were born to play (a young Frankie) lies in that film. Streetfully Yours, Sincerely Gangsta, Gutta Always, Charlamagne Tha God Follow Me On Twitter www.twitter.com/cthagod www.twitter.com/missfree
1. DJ Head Debiase (pictured at right) www.myspace.com/djheaddebiase In what’s obviously supposed to be a play on the name of the popular wrestler Ted “Million Dollar Man” Dibiase, this one falls flat broke. Its never a good idea, especially as a dude, to have any type of fellatious innuendos in your name. Oh, he’s an Aphilliates DJ, by the way. 2. Get Your Life Together Promotions
Funny that this is the name of a group that has gone down in internet infamy for performing a song titled “I Eat the Pussy” on stage with small children dancing next to them. Practice what you preach, no?
www.myspace.com/poorpocketmuzik Granted, the candy bar is a favorite of many, but the name still sounds questionable. To actually adopt it as a rap moniker is even more nutty. by Maurice G. Garland
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(above L-R): DJ Greg Street & Jadakiss @ Obsessions in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Devon Buckner); Lil Jon & Pitbull @ The Tabernacle in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Eric Perrin); Yo Gotti & Nene @ Pearl Bistro in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Malik Abdul)
01 // Guest, Necole Bitchie, guest, Teyana Taylor, & Lola Luv @ Karu & Y (Miami, FL) 02 // DJ Sean Mac & Kenny Boom @ Religion (Chicago, IL) 03 // Bree & Bree Mayweather Live @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 04 // Rock City & Verse @ the W Hotel for Konsole Kingz’ Madden event (Atlanta, GA) 05 // G Fresh & Rob Green on the set of J Futuristic’s “First Name Last Name” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 06 // Trina & Lil Fate @ Obsessions (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Yung Joc & DJ Drama performing @ Clark Atlanta University’s Homecoming (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Lil Jon, Pitbull, Emperor Searcy, & Shawty Putt @ The Tabernacle (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Pleasure P & his family @ Karu & Y (Miami, FL) 10 // JoJo, DJ Commando, & Marcell @ Last Level Lounge (Waterloo, IA) 11 // TJ Chapman & Yung Ro @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 12 // Christina Clark & DJ Q45 @ Marquis Daniels’ pool party (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Cassidy & BallGreezy @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 14 // DJ Cleve & Sauce @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 15 // Mullage @ The Tabernacle (Atlanta, GA) 16 // JC & Malik Abdul @ The Tabernacle (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Rob Mac, Squeak, & Drumma Boy @ the W Hotel for the Konsole Kingz Madden NFL 10 event (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Sho & Pookie @ Cirque (Dallas, TX) 19 // Killer Mike & Dukwon on the set of Dukwon’s “Polo” video shoot (Jacksonville, FL) Photo Credits: Bogan (01,09,13); Chics with Pics (18); Clevis Harrison (14); Devon Buckner (06,17);DJ Commando (10); Eric Perrin (02,08,15,16); Insyte Photography (19); Malik Abdul (03,07,11); Maurice Garland (04); Ms Rivercity (05); Terrence Tyson (12)
OZONE MAG // 21
She Liked my NECKLACE and started relaxin’, that’s what the fuck I call a… 22 // OZONE MAG
chain still hangs low
y new chain favors the symbol of my car, my [BMW] 750. It’s got blue diamonds, white diamonds, black diamonds, and the words ”BMG” and “JIBBS” in white diamonds. It’s actually sitting on some new gold they make called black gold, and it has a black gold rope that’s holding it.
It took my jeweler Jason of Beverly Hills three weeks to make it and he finished right in time for me to shoot my video. I don’t know how many diamonds it has or anything like that, but I know it’s a lot of diamonds. The materials alone would probably cost about $30,000 but this piece cost more because it’s personalized with my name and all that. If you look at it up close there’s a lot of little “JIBBS” and “BMG”s engraved throughout the gold, and there’s a whole ‘nother charm on the back. I’ve always been known to have a crazy chain game and people are telling me I’ve got the best chain in the game right now. It’s real creative. Nobody ever thought of nothing like this before. // As told to Eric Perrin
(above L-R): Trai D & Zaytoven @ Zaytoven’s studio in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity); Bonecrusher & Drumma Boy @ the W Hotel for the Konsole Kingz Madden NFL 10 event in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Devon Buckner); Jeremih & Sean Garrett @ V103’s Car and Bike Show in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity)
01 // Hankadon & J Dash @ J-Dash’s ‘Wop’ video shoot (Miami, FL) 02 // Nene & Emperor Searcy @ Pearl Bistro (Atlanta, GA) 03 // La Loca, DJ Christion, & Maino @ Skye for DJ Christion’s birthday party (Tampa, FL) 04 // DJ Holiday, DJ Drama, & DJ Jaycee @ the W Hotel for Konsole Kingz’ Madden event (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Pretty Money @ Karu & Y (Miami, FL) 06 // Monica, The Dream, Vawn, & Jazze Pha @ V103’s Car and Bike Show (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Lil Scrappy signing autographs on the set of Ace Hood’s “Born An OG” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Young Jeezy making it rain @ Take One (Miami, FL) 09 // Kane of the Ying Yang Twins on the set of Ace Hood’s “Born An OG” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Starr, DJ Grave Digga, & DJ Phatz on the set of Ca$h’s “Walk Wit A Dip” video shoot (Dallas, TX) 11 // Allie & Squeak @ SubZero for Almost Famous (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Brisco & video director Larceny on the set of Brisco’s video shoot (Miami, FL) 13 // Cool, 2 Pistols, & Ivan @ Skye for DJ Christion’s birthday party (Tampa, FL) 14 // Tori T of ECM & models @ the 400 Club (Miami, FL) 15 // Girls of Take One Lounge (Miami, FL) 16 // Don Cannon & Kinky B @ Silk Restaurant for Kinky B’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Rovella Williams & Myko Slim @ SubZero for Almost Famous (Atlanta, GA) 18 // DJ Trauma & Berto @ Luckie Lounge (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Janelle Monae & Killer Mike @ Velvet Room for Heineken Red Star Soul show (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Bogan (05,08,12,14,15); Devon Buckner (11,17); Edward Hall (10); Eric Perrin (07,09); Luis Santana (03,13); Malik Abdul (02,16,18); Maurice Garland (04,19); Ms Rivercity (06); Terrence Tyson (01)
OZONE MAG // 23
Are You a G? 7 Questions to FIND OUT if R&B STAR LYFE is the 7th letter of the alphabet. Lyfe is currently working on what he says will be his final album, an 11-track creation called Sooner Than Later. And since he plans on retiring soon, we figured we better determine his G’ status sooner than later. A. Your hometown of Toledo, Ohio, doesn’t sound too hood, but it definitely has a grimy side. How was it growing up there? I really don’t remember. I don’t have nothing that was really stands out because I lived in prison more than I lived in any other place in my live anyway. I got more memories of that than I do of Toledo. Damn, the title of this feature is “Are You A G” and by definition, there’s probably never been a more textbook response. B. Being that you were in prison for ten years, how did you not go crazy? It was the music. I was just writing my music, keeping my little hopes alive. Really the music was my hope, it kept me from doing a lot of stuff that I might’ve otherwise did. As a music magazine, there’s no way we can not award him a point for this answer. C. Since you’re from a small town and are one of the only artists to “make it” from your city, do you feel an obligation to help other artists from Toledo get on? I don’t know if I have an obligation just to [Toledo], but I feel like whenever you have a certain form of popularity you have an obligation not to put out anything that would be harmful, cause in reality 24 // OZONE MAG
music is a product. If you make cheesecake, you’re not gonna put out a cheesecake that’s gonna harm the consumer. Some people do, but that’s their thing. If Lyfe wasn’t a felon he could certainly be politician, because this proves he can dance around a question. D. Can you recall any crazy fan requests that you had to decline? One of the craziest things was when I was in Minneapolis signing autographs and this big lady got to the front and started yelling, “I got something for you to sign!” She started undoing her pants and I’m thinkin’ she wanted me to sign her stomach or something like that, but this lady pulled her whole pants down and pulled out her little man in the moat. She opened it up and was like, “Sign right here.” I was like look, “Buckle yo action back up, and I’ll sign yo stomach.” So I’m trying to sign her stomach but she got so many stretch marks that I can’t even get a straight line, so I did what I could. It looked like a computer chip, because the marker kept skipping. Then later on that same night I was at the hotel, kicking it with a few of my cousins, and out of nowhere she came in like, “Dere he go!” and she started unbuckling her stuff again trying to get me to sign it. I told my security she had to go. Man in the moat? We’ve never heard that analogy before, but big girls need love too. Since Lyfe had security handle his heavyweight, we can’t award him any points for this one.
abcdefG E. Do you have a stylist in your entourage? Naw, I roll with about ten people: my band, my background singers, my security dude, road manager, and me. Of course this was a trick question, but Lyfe passed, so we’ll give him a point. F. I heard you got the name Lyfe in prison, but what did they call you before you were locked up? They used to call me Cash. I used to get it in, I was at work. Sounds like he could’ve been a character on “Menace II Society.” G. Do you ever get worried that somebody might snatch your chain, or is that not a concern since it’s a Jesus piece? Man, I be having a different relationship with cats. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, because dudes probably really don’t care about me like that [because] they don’t know me, but I think they have a certain amount of respect for me, ya dig? And a lot of them chains they be snatching are flimsy anyway. It’d be hard for somebody to snatch my chain off. My [chain] would be a challenge. His answer sounded even more confident in real life than it does on paper. Score 5/7 Music industry politics and cheesecake cost Lyfe a few points, but anybody familiar with his story already knew LJ would pass this test pretty easily. - Words by Eric Perrin
Hood Deeds WORDS By Eric Perrin PHOTOS COURTESY OF MAYWEATHER PROMOTIONS
Floyd Mayweather Jr. doesn’t give much hope to any of his opponents. The undefeated professional boxer with a 39-0 record has been brutally effective in establishing himself as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and has arguably destroyed the lives of many who have squared up against him. But outside of the ring, Mayweather has a completely different agenda. On August 14th, the boxer took time out of his training schedule to speak to a group of teenagers from the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY) at their Safe Place Drop-In Center in Las Vegas. His goal was to instill a message of inspiration. “I have been fortunate enough to rise above what I was faced with as a young kid in Grand Rapids,” said Mayweather. “If even a fraction of what I said to these kids today can give them hope, then I have done what I came here to do.” His words resonated and his attendance alone had an impact on the teen members of NPHY who attend the life skill program at the center once a week. “Today was one of the most inspirational days of my life,” said Breanna Watkins, age 18. “It’s not easy to keep your head up and push through the storm, but after today, I realize that no matter how much you struggle, it is possible to make it out on top. I really appreciate that Floyd Mayweather and his team took the time out of their schedules to give us words of encouragement.” Tim Mullin, the Director of Operations at NPHY, also expressed his gratitude. ”It’s great to have a professional athlete like Floyd Mayweather come in and teach our kids what it takes to rise to the top of his profession,” he said. Though his recent trip to the Safe Place Drop-In Center was Mayweather’s first, he and his entourage frequently prepare hundreds of packed lunches for distribution to homeless people living on the streets of Central Las Vegas. //
(above L-R): Attitude & Yo Gotti on the set of Attitude’s “I Be Like” video shoot in Atlanta, GA; Sean Garrett, Vawn, & Jazze Pha @ V103’s Car and Bike Show in Atlanta, GA (Photos: Ms Rivercity); Diamond, Lil Scrappy, & his daughter @ the W Hotel for Konsole Kingz’ Madden event in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Maurice Garland)
01 // Rock City & ladies @ the W Hotel for the Konsole Kingz Madden NFL 10 event (Atlanta, GA) 02 // DJ Drama & DJ Holiday @ the W Hotel for the Konsole Kingz Madden NFL 10 event (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Sandman & Mike Jones @ 95.7 The Beat (Tampa, FL) 04 // Team I.R.A.C. & Big Ish @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 05 // J-Bo & ladies @ SubZero for Almost Famous (Atlanta, GA) 06 // Jermaine Dupri @ the W Hotel for the Konsole Kingz Madden NFL 10 event (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Lil Scrappy & Stay Fresh on the set of Ace Hood’s “Born An OG” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Pimp C’s son and mother presenting Rick Ross with a plaque @ Club Pompeii (Houston, TX) 09 // Killer Mike & Big Kuntry @ Mood Lounge for Killer Mike’s Underground Atlanta release party (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Fam Life Doo Dez & DJ Lil E on the set of Ca$h’s “Walk Wit A Dip” video shoot (Dallas, TX) 11 // Christina Clark & Disco Jr @ Marquis Daniels’ pool party (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Rich Kids @ V103’s Car and Bike Show (Atlanta, GA) 13 // DJ Shaolin & DJ Ace @ the DUB Car Show (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Venom & DJ Aaries @ SubZero for Almost Famous (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Malik Abdul & Benny Entertainment @ Pure for Lil Ru’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Guest, Lil Kee, & Javon Black @ Skye for DJ Christion’s birthday party (Tampa, FL) 17 // Bettie Grind & DJ Chuck T @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 18 // Mr Boomtown & Ca$h @ Club 2026 for “Walk Wit A Dip” video shoot (Dallas, TX) 19 // Ms Rivercity & DJ Holiday @ Club Libra for Atlanta Record Pool meeting (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Clevis Harrison (04,17); Devon Buckner (01,02,05,06,13,14); Edward Hall (10); Eric Perrin (07,15); Lamont DeSal (08); Luis Santana (16); Maurice Garland (09); Ms Rivercity (12,18,19); Sandman (03); Terrence Tyson (11)
OZONE MAG // 25
DRAKE & DIDDY DIDDY: Diddy Text, Diddy Text, Diddy Text. What’s up mothafucker!!?? DRAKE: Hey Sean, how are you my friend? DIDDY: You should already know how I’m doing! Don’t you follow me on twitter? @iamdiddy muthafucker! I’m 6 and half hours into a 36 hour tantric sex session but I took a break because I was thinking about you! DRAKE: Um, I’m honored and tremendously humbled that you’re thinking about me, but I’m not sure how comfortable I am with that, Sean. DIDDY: Check this out: I was mid-stroke and the thought just hit me outta nowhere, “Drake should be the next artist on Bad Boy!” I have amazing vision. DRAKE: Well I already signed to a label, but thank you for considering me. DIDDY: Don’t worry about that little contract you signed. I’ll talk to Wayne, I’ll talk to Baby, we’ll work it out. What U think about being the next member of Day 26? DRAKE: Um, I think they’re great artists and I’m honored that you think so highly of me, but I’m kinda doing my own thing right now. DIDDY: You’re doing it, but you’re not doing it the Bad Boy way baby! I can make you famous. I’m talking ‘bout Sean John ads, free Ciroc vodka, and I’ll even let you audition for the next season of “Making the Band.” Take that. DRAKE: No thanks. DIDDY: U makin a big mistake. Within 6 months you could be as big as Yung Joc. Ain’t that what you want? DRAKE: Naw, I just wanna be successful.
DIDDY: I know successful when I see it. Success is Craig Mack, Black Rob, Shyne, Cassie, Carl Thomas, Mase, Mark Curry, Loon, Da Band and Danity Kane. I made them what they are and I’m willing to do the same thing for you!
Textin’ is no longer safe now that OZONE’s dangerous minds have hacked the system.
DRAKE: Once again, I’m honored and extremely humbled, but I’m happy with my current situation. DIDDY: Drake, do you have some bitchassness in you? Cause I thought you wanted to be the fuckin best! DRAKE: Look Sean, it’s 4am and I have a doctors appointment for my knee in the morning. I need to get some sleep. I gotta go. DIDDY: Step your game up, I’m doin’ 72 hours straight! From the minds of Eric Perrin & Randy Roper Photos by Eric Perrin & Julia Beverly
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(above L-R): DJ B-Lord & DJ Chuck T @ The Coop for SC Music Awards in Columbia, SC (Photo: Clevis Harrison); Lil Kim making it rain @ Take One in Miami, FL (Photo: Bogan); Diamond & Yo Gotti on the set of Attitude’s ‘I Be Like’ video shoot in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity)
01 // J Futuristic & video model on the set of J Futuristic’s “First Name Last Name” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Young Joe, Eka Simone, & Richie Wess on the set of their “Call On Me” video shoot (Tampa, FL) 03 // T-Pain’s father Shaheed & Bigga Rankin @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 04 // Snook Da Rokk Star, B-Lord, DJ Blaze, Kenny Kane, DJ Chuck T, & Sauce @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 05 // Rich Girl @ the W Hotel for the Konsole Kingz Madden NFL 10 event (Atlanta, GA) 06 // Lisa Raye, Lil Kim, & Alex Thomas @ Take One (Miami, FL) 07 // Omarion & Chris Brown @ Karu & Y (Miami, FL) 08 // Travis Porter @ La Rumba (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Jeremih, Jazze Pha, & Vawn @ V103’s Car and Bike Show (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Charles Reed & Pleasure P @ Karu & Y (Miami, FL) 11 // DJ Ike G Da & DJ Chuck T @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 12 // Rovella Williams & CJ @ the W Hotel for the Konsole Kingz Madden NFL 10 event (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Beanie Sigel & ladies @ Religion (Chicago, IL) 14 // DJ Christion & Dre @ Skye for DJ Christion’s birthday bash (Tampa, FL) 15 // Guest & Q Parker @ the W Hotel for the Konsole Kingz Madden NFL 10 event (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Ladies of Essence (Rosedale, MS) 17 // Ms Ja & Lil Meany on the set of J Futuristic’s video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Dee Sonoram, La Loca, Dorrough, & Jay @ Skye for DJ Christion’s birthday party (Tampa, FL) 19 // Kenya Cabine, Hurricane Chris, & AJ Savage @ E93 (Savannah, GA) Photo Credits: Bogan (06,07,10); Clevis Harrison (04,11); Devon Buckner (05,12,15); Edward Hall (16); Eric Perrin (13); Kenya Cabine (19); Luis Santana (18); Malik Abdul (03); Ms Ja (17); Ms Rivercity (01,08,09); Terrence Tyson (02); Travis Pendergrass (14)
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Baltimore NATIVE Camielle has seen A LOT. She’s witnessed victims BEING shot at point blank range, ducked down during drivebys, and often heard shots fired in the club. it only makes sense that she would choose a profession that allows her to shoot people ALL DAY LONG. “I’m used to being around blood, so giving people shots doesn’t bother me,” says 22-year-old Camielle, who went to college and earned a degree as a medical assistant. “I just want to make people feel better, so if giving them a shot will make them better, that’s what I do.” After graduating, Camielle bolted from Baltimore for Atlanta, where she found a job in her field administering shots to sick patients. Instead, Camille decided to hold off on her medical career. Eventually, she wants to become a Certified Nurse’s Assistant, but for now, Camille spends her nights as a different kind of healthcare provider, and at her clinic, cash is the only acceptable form of payment. “[When I go into medicine] I’m gonna take care of my patients just as good as I take care of the guys at the strip club,” she confidently states. “But for now I’m a dancer and I love being the center of attention.” Dancing is not all she does. As a mother of two young sons, Camielle stays perpetually busy. Whenever she isn’t at work or busy with her children, she relishes any opportunity to shop or read “hood books.” Some of her favorite titles include Sheisty 1 and 2, Deadly Ex, True to the Game, Trophy Wife, and The Coldest Winter Ever. Camielle thinks that much of her personality comes from the books she reads, but perhaps much of her feistiness comes from her astrological sign. “I am a Virgo,” proudly proclaims the Baltimore bad girl. “Virgos are sexy, and we like to take charge. That is very true for me, especially in bed. I love to be in control. I’m a very dominant person.” Words by Eric Perrin Website: Strokersclub.com Booking: myspace.com/strokersatl Photography: DC The Brain Supreme dcphotoimaging.com Make up and Hair Styling by Mike Mike 678-732-5285
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(above L-R): Rocko & his son @ V103’s Car and Bike Show in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity); Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian with Terrence J @ Karu & Y in Miami, FL (Photo: Bogan); Daz & Kurupt @ Miller Lite Crawfish Festival afterparty in Jackson, MS (Photo: Erica Hicks)
01 // Guest & Pistol Pete @ Skye for DJ Christion’s birthday bash (Tampa, FL) 02 // Don Cannon & DJ Mars @ the W Hotel for Konsole Kingz’ Madden event (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Bryant McKinnie and Jamal Woolard aka Gravy @ Take One (Miami, FL) 04 // Lil Duval & Horseman @ Trae Day (Houston, TX) 05 // Hydro, DJ Q45, Malik Abdul, & J Dash @ J-Dash’s “Wop” video shoot (Miami, FL) 06 // ET & Nicki Minaj @ La Rumba (Atlanta, GA) 07 // The Dream & Jeremih @ V103’s Car and Bike Show (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Akon, Shawty Lo, Jay, & crew @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Jazze Pha & Mr Collipark @ the W Hotel for Konsole Kingz’ Madden event (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Nation Boy & Jodie Mac @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 11 // DJ B-Lord, Yung Daze, DJ Chuck T, & Chop Dezol @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 12 // Clay Evans & Rovella Williams @ SubZero for Almost Famous (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Swazy Baby & Bigga Rankin @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 14 // Danger & Buckwheat @ Bottoms Up (Tampa, FL) 15 // Kenny Boo & model @ Religion (Chicago, IL) 16 // Preacher & Billy Wiz @ Marquis Daniels’ pool party (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Magno @ Club 2026 for “Walk Wit A Dip” video shoot (Dallas, TX) 18 // Verse Simmonds & ladies @ the W Hotel for the Konsole Kingz Madden NFL 10 event (Atlanta, GA) 19 // DJ Merk & Dorrough @ Club 2026 for “Walk Wit A Dip” video shoot (Dallas, TX) Photo Credits: Bogan (03); Clevis Harrison (10,11); Devon Buckner (12,18); Eric Perrin (15); Julia Beverly (08); Malik Abdul (13); Maurice Garland (02,09); Ms Rivercity (06,07,17,19); RomieVizon (04); Terrence Tyson (05,14,16); Travis Pendergrass (01)
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Top 12 ModelS: The Rosario Twins TWO Is Better Than ONE
A federal penitentiary is probably the last place you’d expect to stumble upon a modeling contract. But for identical twins Melinda and Melissa Rosario, the unexpected is reality. The 22-year-old stallions originally from Hyattsville, Maryland had never modeled professionally a day in their life, but the pictures they sent their incarcerated father just so happened to catch the right eye. “We would send pictures to our father in prison all the time and all his inmate friends would try to steal them,” laughs Melissa. “Our pictures made our dad really popular in prison,” adds Melinda. And as serendipity would have it, the twins’ father was incarcerated with Big Gates, who became a fan of the girls as well. After discovering that Melinda and Melissa were huge Plies
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fans, Gates arranged for his brother to send autographs to Coleman Correctional Facility’s favorite daughters. Eventually, the South Florida mogul asked the college coeds to join his newest endeavor, Top 12 Models, and they happily accepted the offer. “We don’t know much about modeling,” says Melissa. “But [Big Gates and Top 12] are really nice people, and they wouldn’t make us do anything we wouldn’t want to do. Everything is very professional with them.” Among the many perks of being models, the former Hard Rock Café waitresses enjoy meeting new people and being exposed to so many exciting adventures. “We’ve met so many interesting people with different personalities,” says Melinda. “Things that we normally would’ve never been able to do, we got to do because of modeling.” “And taking pictures is fun too,” adds Melissa.
While the sisters are literally identical in almost every physical aspect, their taste in men couldn’t be more dissimilar. “We’re not into the same kind of guys at all,” admits Melissa. “Melinda likes bad boys and I’m into the nice ones. I go more for personality and professionalism.” And though the twins may be flirtatiously playful, professionalism is certainly a quality they employ in their own careers as models as well. Despite the fact they might one day pivot into acting, their current focus is on the task at hand. “Big Gates thought we should take acting classes because that would make us a little more versatile,” explains Melinda. “And if we feel like we’re good at it and like acting, that might end up being a career switch, but right now we’re just modeling.” Words by Eric Perrin
(above L-R): Jadakiss & Trae @ Bam in Houston, TX (Photo: Lamont DeSal); Yung Joc, Necole Bitchie, & Lil Duval @ Luckie Lounge in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Malik Abdul); Tony Neal & Uncle Luke @ Sobe Live in Miami, FL (Photo: Bogan)
01 // Roxy Reynolds & her cousin @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 02 // Reppin Stunna Beverages on the set of Dukwon’s “Polo” video shoot (Jacksonville, FL) 03 // DJ MLK & DJ Infamous @ Luckie Lounge (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Young Joe & Richie Wess on the set of their “Call On Me” video shoot (Tampa, FL) 05 // Hankadon, DJ Q45, & Quentin Groves @ J-Dash’s “Wop” video shoot (Miami, FL) 06 // Trae, Greg Street, Young Jeezy, C-Dog, & DJ Cap @ Cirque (Dallas, TX) 07 // Shawty Putt & Lil Jon @ The Tabernacle (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Lenny, Ace Hood, & DJ Nasty on the set of Ace Hood’s “Born An OG” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Nina Sky @ The Tabernacle (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Git Fresh @ Karu & Y (Miami, FL) 11 // DJ St Lou, Porsha, Loaded, JuJu, Pookie, Caesar, DJ Snake, & Cowboy @ RKN Studios for Urban South Radio (Dallas, TX) 12 // Young Joe, DJ Spinatik, Richie Wess, & Brian White on the set of their “Call On Me” video shoot (Tampa, FL) 13 // Keith the Beast, Pimp G, & ladies on the set of their video shoot (Jacksonville, FL) 14 // Mr Boomtown & J Futuristic on the set of J Futuristic’s “First Name Last Name” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 15 // DJ Wildhairr & Fam Life JuJu @ Rackdaddy’s for Juneteenth Block Party (Dallas, TX) 16 // Lil Scrappy & fans on the set of Ace Hood’s “Born An OG” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Dukwon & ladies on the set of Dukwon’s “Polo” video shoot (Jacksonville, FL) 18 // Jay, Fat Joe, & Juan @ Skye for DJ Christion’s birthday party (Tampa, FL) Photo Credits: Bogan (01,10); Chics With Pics (06); Edward Hall (11,15); Eric Perrin (07,08,09,16); Insyte Photography (02,17); Keith the Beast (13); Luis Santana (18); Malik Abdul (03); Ms Rivercity (14); Terrence Tyson (04,05,12)
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(above L-R): Young Jeezy gets ready to make it rain @ Take One in Miami, FL (Photo: Bogan); Marquis Daniels & DJ Q45 @ Marquis Daniels’ pool party in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Terrence Tyson); DJ Christion & Fat Joe @ Skye for DJ Christion’s birthday party in Tampa, FL (Photo: Luis Santana)
01 // JW, Young Jeezy, Kinky B, Bama, & Boo @ Silk Restaurant for Kinky B’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Nicki Minaj & Charnae @ La Rumba (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Killer Mike & Princess @ Mood Lounge for Killer Mike’s Underground Atlanta release party (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Dorrough & Ca$h @ Club 2026 for “Walk Wit A Dip” video shoot (Dallas, TX) 05 // Guests, DJ Christion, guest, Macho, & Fat Joe @ Skye for DJ Christion’s birthday bash (Tampa, FL) 06 // Lil Scrappy, his daughter, & ladies @ the W Hotel for the Konsole Kingz Madden NFL 10 event (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Baby & video model (Miami, FL) 08 // Kinky B, Don Cannon, DJ Infamous, & DJ Trauma @ Silk Restaurant for Kinky B’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Big Boi & Lil Bankhead @ V103’s Car and Bike Show (Atlanta, GA) 10 // DJ Dyce, Boss G, Piazo, & DJ Cannon Banyon @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 11 // Stat Quo & video model on the set of Dukwon’s “Polo” video shoot (Jacksonville, FL) 12 // Ace Hood & Young Strizzy on the set of Ace Hood’s “Born An OG” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Pretty Ricky on the set of “Tipsy” (Jacksonville, FL) 14 // Memphis Bleek & ladies @ Religion (Chicago, IL) 15 // George Dukes & Doug E Fresh on South Beach (Miami, FL) 16 // Juney Boomdata, DJ Holiday, B Rich, guest, & Don P @ Club Libra for Atlanta Record Pool meeting (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Cutmaster Swiff, Killer Mike, & DJ Toomp @ Mood Lounge for Killer Mike’s Underground Atlanta release party (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Sauce & DJ Chuck T @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 19 // Travis Porter & J Futuristic on the set of J Futuristic’s “First Name Last Name” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Bogan (15); Carl Lewis (07); Clevis Harrison (10,18); Devon Buckner (06); Eric Perrin (12,14); Insyte Photography (11); Malik Abdul (01,08); Maurice Garland (03,17); Ms Ja (19); Ms Rivercity (02,04,09,16); Terrence Tyson (13); Travis Pendergrass (05)
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With mixtape DJ’s coming a dime a dozen, International Tour DJs are striking gold overseas.
Words by Maurice G. Garland Photos by Julia Beverly
DJ Mars, who recently completed an European tour, adds, “Over there they respect the DJ on a whole ‘nother level. There are DJs over there that sell out stadiums on their own. The European respect is way different than in America. They view the DJ as the artist.”
t’s a known fact that the DJ is considered to be the backbone of Hip Hop. When you think of some of the most influential artists, groups and crews, almost of all of them were backed by a DJ on their albums, shows and ultimately their tours.
Just like a personal barber tailors their look, the DJ tailors their sound. Presentation is key, especially when the artist hits the road and takes on the world at large. A solid DJ can be an artist’s translator when seeking to establish a rapport with a crowd that probably doesn’t speak their language. “Sometimes you may do a show in a country where they like Hip Hop, but it won’t make them bounce,” says internationally known spin master and World Famous Superfriends founder DJ Mars who has traveled with the likes of Ciara, Keri Hilson and Ne-Yo. “But with me being the DJ, I’m the first voice the crowd hears when they walk into an arena. So I have to rock whatever they’re into. Me playing certain records sets the tone for the artist and makes them more comfortable when they come out on stage.” This should come as no surprise to the international Hip Hop fan. It’s been said for years that fans overseas seem to have a fonder appreciation for all things Hip Hop, from the music to the culture. Adopting the attitude of excitement and appreciation that fans in the States once had in Hip Hop’s early, pre-corporate influence days, fans in other countries rarely take Hip Hop for granted. The artform is still fairly new in those areas, and in some instances considered underground when compared to some of more popular forms of World music. Because of this, Hip Hop is rarely segmented, unlike in America where location plays a key role in an artist’s popularity.
“They’re very receptive to different cultures and music overseas,” says DJ Benny D, Akon’s current tour DJ. “When you are overseas, everything that is connected are from different countries, unlike in the States. They all have different languages and styles of music. You really get to broaden everything. The top ten countdowns in Europe include everything. So you may hear a German song at #8, a French song at #4, and Akon at #2.”
Often they can make the same demands as artists too. “When I perform in Africa I have between 40,000 - 60,000 people coming to see me perform,” says Benny D. “Then you have DJs that do raves and these guys have to perform in warehouses that hold ten to twenty thousand people because there are no clubs that can house these guys. They demand more money than what an average rap artist gets for a concert.” As with anyone else that travels, a tour DJ is also able to set himself apart from the competition by diversifying their palette. If you think an Atlanta DJ is upping his stock by traveling to Memphis, Houston and Miami, imagine what one who hits Paris, London and Brussels is doing for themselves. “Traveling overseas opens up your music vocabulary,” reveals Jaycee. “The records that we play over here may not rock over there. I was in South Africa once and I swore I was killing them playing Lil Wayne and 50 Cent. But the DJ that came behind me played some music called Kwaito and his first response shitted on what I had just been doing for the last two hours.” Unfortunately, vocabulary can also be a problem. “They may know the songs but they don’t know what I’m saying,” says Mars, reflecting a date he had in Japan. “I can say ‘Put your hands up,’ but they won’t do it until they see me putting my hands up.” DJ Blak, Yung Joc’s tour DJ, adds, “Music is universal, though. It doesn’t matter what language you speak. They won’t know an ounce of English, but they’ll know all the words to the songs.” // Favorite Places to DJ: DJ Mars: Japan, Brussels, Kenya, Italy, San Tropez DJ Black: Africa, Japan, Jamaica, St. Martin, Puerto Rico DJ Jaycee: South Africa, Japan, London, Sweden DJ Benny D: Canada, Ivory Coast, Liberia
With Hip Hop music becoming more and more popular on the global stage, the DJ’s popularity is growing right along with it. In America the DJ is rapidly becoming known more for his A&R skills than his actual turntable skills. But in other countries, DJ skills are still expected and respected. Reminiscent of Hip Hop’s first days, the DJ many times takes precedent over the artist. “In a country like Japan they really love the DJ,” says Jaycee, tour DJ for Ludacris. “For me to be spotted and asked for autographs, that shit was just crazy. The higher your skill level is as a DJ the more they love you. But sometimes, they love the DJ so much that it really doesn’t even matter. I remember one DJ I was with that isn’t really known for cutting or scratching, but the crowd was still amazed, just standing around him the whole time.” 34 // OZONE MAG
(above): Jaycee in the booth (left): DJ Mars & Ciara
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ig Gates Records’ new artist Fella has a story similar to many other hustlers-turned-emcees. You know, the classic ‘rapper has rough childhood, rapper hustles on the block, rapper gets caught, goes to prison, and comes out as a rapper’ story? Well, that pretty much sums up Fella’s rap foundation. In fact, the Polk County, Florida boy even acknowledges the similarity in his plight. “I’m just like every other rap nigga trying to make a name for himself,” confesses Fella. “But I feel like what separates me is that I’m going hard and I ain’t gon’ ease up.” But then again, how could he ease up—that’s not something his label would allow. Big Gates Records has cultivated a pedigree that doesn’t tolerate easing up, especially not when Plies, the label’s signature artist, has cranked out four albums in two years. And though Fella understands the lofty expectations, he is excited by the challenge. “Plies is definitely helping me elevate to the next level,” admits Fella. “I feel like riding with somebody who’s got credentials under his name and the streets on lock is gon’ help me lock this rap shit down.” Long before Fella decided he wanted to lock the rap game down, he held the streets hostage in another capacity, hustlin’ by any means necessary. But one night, after casually playing around in the studio, Fella accidentally created a hit street single, “Pop A Pill.” The track instantly made waves throughout Southwest Florida, and in fact, it was this record that initially attracted the A&Rs at Big Gates Records. “I had the whole streets rockin’ [to that record], but I wasn’t really focused on the shit because I was still in the streets doing my thang, tryin’ to get my hustle on. I got caught up in a situation and had to do a couple years in prison behind a dope charge, [but] when I came home [Big Gates’ A&R] Trina still was on me. She found a way to get a hold of me.” Eventually, the record made its way to the ears of Big Gates himself, who was so impressed with Fella’s music that he passed it on to Plies, who immediately suggested Fella be signed to the label. “I felt like Fella’s situation was special,” says Plies. “I was able to listen to him and say, ‘With the right system in place, he has a chance to really be that nigga.’” Hoping to prove Plies right, Fella is currently promoting his debut mixtape A Pill and a Half, which is also hosted by and featuring Plies. “This is just a perfect situation,” says Fella. “We’re doing it, man. We’re here now and it’s just a matter of time.” www.myspace.com/fellamusik www.twitter.com/fellaonyac For booking information call 813-458-9833 Words by Eric Perrin Pictures by Hannibal Matthews
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(above L-R): Yo Gotti @ Pearl Bistro in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Malik Abdul); JW @ Velvet Room for Don Cannon’s birthday party in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Young Jeezy @ Young Jeezy’s Adidas in-store in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Eric Perrin)
01 // Jazze Pha & Mr Collipark @ the W Hotel for the Konsole Kingz Madden NFL 10 event (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Big Chief @ Club Nico’s for Pookie from Urban South’s birthday bash (Tyler, TX) 03 // Yung Joc @ Luckie Lounge (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Young Dip @ Hot 104.1 (St Louis, MO) 05 // GT & DJ B-Lord @ The Coop for the SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 06 // BB @ Obsessions (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Drumma Boy & Don P @ Hoops 4 Hope (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Carbon @ Silk Restaurant for Kinky B’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 09 // DJ J1 @ Pearl Bistro (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Clay Evans & Snake @ Luckie Lounge (Atlanta, GA) 11 // BloodRaw, Mighty Mike, & crew @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 12 // Zaytoven & ET @ the DUB Car Show (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Guest, Yung Joc, & Clay Evans @ Luckie Lounge (Atlanta, GA) 14 // DJ Greg Street & Trina @ Obsessions (Atlanta, GA) 15 // DJ Phantom, Miltikit, & Slim Black @ the Victor Hotel (Chicago, IL) 16 // DJ SouthernBread @ Obsessions (Atlanta, GA) 17 // DJ B-Lord @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 18 // Chicago Larry & Miltikit @ the Victor Hotel (Chicago, IL) 19 // Jarvis @ Primal (Atlanta, GA) 20 // J-Mill 21 // Jon Hearst @ RiverfrontRadio.com (St Louis, MO) 22 // Gold Mouf @ Silk for Kinky B’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 23 // Maceo & Young Capone @ Pearl Bistro (Atlanta, GA) 24 // Miskeen booth @ V103 Car Show (Atlanta, GA) 25 // Natalia Gomez @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 26 // Supastar J Kwik @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 27 // Sauce @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 28 // Lil Ru @ Pure for Lil Ru’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 29 // Jimmy @ Lil J’s mom & Pop store (Shreveport, LA) 30 // Memphitz & Hit Squad @ Primal (Atlanta, GA) 31 // Kutt Throat & Kollosus on the set of J Futuristic’s “First Name Last Name” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 32 // Tracye Bryant @ Luckie Lounge (Atlanta, GA) 33 // Redbone & Nico’s @ Club Nico’s for Pookie from Urban South’s birthday bash (Tyler, TX) 34 // Randy Roper & Bettie Grind @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 35 // Owe of Street Status DVD @ Word Battle (St Louis, MO) Photo Credits: Clevis Harrison (17,27,34); Devon Buckner (01,06,12,14,16); Edward Hall (02,33); Eric Perrin (28); Malik Abdul (03,08,09,10,11,13,15,18,19,22,23,24,25,26,30,32); Ms Ja (05,31); Ms Rivercity (07); Tammie White (04,21,29,35)
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here have been quite a few famous Bettys in music and entertainment. There’s famed R&B singer Betty Wright, there was Playgirl model Bettie Page, a couple cartoon characters Betty Boop and Betty Rubble, and the ABC television series Ugly Betty. And of course, what would America be without Betty Crocker recipes? But a rapper named Bettie? It’s a first for Charlotte, NC emcee Bettie Grind. He plans to make a name for himself that has nothing to do with singing, pinup girls, cartoons or cooking. “People used to say, ‘I bet he grind, I bet he hustles,’” says the rapper, born Greg Brown. “[My name] came from that. I incorporated my hustle, brought it to life, and tried to spin a more positive light on it than just getting money.” Raised along with his three sisters by a single mother, Grind faced turmoil early in life. When he was nine, his father was arrested and served ten years in prison on drug charges. And years later, his brother was murdered by a childhood friend. Growing up as the only man in the household, he felt the pressure of providing for his family at a young age and developed a hustler’s mentality. It wasn’t until his best friend was murdered that the Queen City native turned to music as an outlet, and in 2005, he started Hood Supastar Entertainment in memory of his fallen comrade. In 2006, he released “Pop Lock,” which became his first song to spin on radio, followed by an EP
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called King QC that set the Hood Supastar movement in motion. Last year, his record “Dammit I’m Fly,” produced by Drumma Boy, became a regional smash, making Grind one of Charlotte’s most notable rappers. But his biggest break came when legendary Chicago producer No I.D. heard “Dammit I’m Fly.” The production luminary was so impressed by Grind’s music he made plans to work with the budding emcee. “I went to see No I.D. and he was like, ‘When I’m finished with [Jay-Z’s] album, I’m focusing on you.” Grind recalls. Now, with his single continuing to generate new radio spins, No I.D. collaborations pending, a new mix with DJ Chuck T called The G’z Us Mixtape in the streets, and major labels like Def Jam, Universal, Warner Bros. and Jive Records taking notice, Bettie’s grind is finally starting to pay off. And he’s ready to become the first rapper from Charlotte—one of the South’s most populated cities, ahead of Hip Hop hotbeds like Atlanta and
Miami—to achieve major mainstream success. “I love my city,” he begins. “I love North and South Carolina. I’m the best regardless of what they say. Nobody in the Carolinas has worked like I’ve worked. Just trying to show that we can work hard and brand ourselves, it’s time. I can’t say no more than that. It’s time.” Words by Randy Roper
(above L-R): Yung LA @ Libra for Travis Porter’s mixtape release party in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Ja); Ace Hood & Ludacris on the set of Ace Hood’s ‘Born An OG’ video shoot in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Eric Perrin); TV Johnny & Paul Wall @ Hot 93.3 Summer Jam in Austin, TX (Photo: Edward Hall)
01 // Dorrough @ 104.1 (St Louis, MO) 02 // Nene, Emperor Searcy, & Greg @ Pearl Bistro (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Jody Breeze @ V103 Car Show (Atlanta, GA) 04 // J Futuristic on the set of J Futuristic’s “First Name Last Name” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Lil Scrappy & TJ Chapman @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 06 // Yung Ro @ his video shoot (St Louis, MO) 07 // DJ Holiday @ Primal (Atlanta, GA) 08 // DJ Skillz @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 09 // BJ Cash, guest, & Nation Boy @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 10 // King Yella @ Yung Ro’s video shoot (St Louis, MO) 11 // Black-Jackk @ Kalyko’s video shoot (Cincinnati, OH) 12 // J-Rocc @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 13 // GT @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 14 // B Luck @ Kalyko’s video shoot (Cincinnati, OH) 15 // Miltikit @ the Victor Hotel (Chicago, IL) 16 // Ms. Blasian Persuasion & DJ Chuck T @ The Coop for the SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 17 // Les Wild @ Last Level Lounge (Waterloo, IA) 18 // Matt Daniels & Kenny Barto of Justice League @ Luckie Lounge (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Guest & Piccalo (Miami, FL) 20 // Javon Black @ Bottoms Up (Tampa, FL) 21 // DJ JoNasty & Marcus @ Club Dreamz for Twitter Tuesdays (Jackson, MS) 22 // Fella @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 23 // Renaldo Balkman @ Bottoms Up (Tampa, FL) 24 // Vistoso Bosses @ V103 Car Show (Atlanta, GA) 25 // Jeevan Brown & Ms Ja on the set of J Futuristic’s video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 26 // Randy Roper & DJ B-Lord @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 27 // Showstopper @ Primal for DJ Appreciation Night (Atlanta, GA) 28 // DJ Cannon Banyon @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 29 // Boo @ Silk Restaurant for Kinky B’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 30 // Carlos Cartel & DJ Dyce @ The Coop for the SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 31 // Piazo @ The Coop for SC Music Awards (Columbia, SC) 32 // Young Thad @ the DUB Car Show (Atlanta, GA) 33 // Torry, Benny, & guest @ Luckie Lounge (Atlanta, GA) 34 // Crystal Lopez @ the DUB Car Show (Atlanta, GA) 35 // Clarence Weatherspoon & J Money @ Touch (Jackson, MS) Photo Credits: Carl Lewis (19); Clevis Harrison (08,09,12,13,26,28,31); Devon Buckner (27,32,34); DJ Commando (17); Judy Jones (11,14); Malik Abdul (02,03,05,07,15,18,22,24,29, 33); Ms Ja (04,16,25,30); Soufpaw (21,35); Tammie White (01,06,10); Terrence Tyson (20,23)
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e tellin’ the real Atlanta story,” Big Bank Black explains, of the respect his label Duct Tape Entertainment receives in the city. “Everybody over here was born at Grady Hospital – Atlanta’s most popular hospital. It’s a culture – we’re real Grady Babies. Not to take nothin’ away from the other artists, but we bring the real shit.” What started out as a street movement turned underground record label, Duct Tape Entertainment, which houses the rappers Alley Boy, Trouble, Veli-Sosa, B-Green, Da Undadog, and Da Runts, was solely meant to be a business venture for Big Bank Black. Until he accidently turned into an artist. “Alley went to jail and we were working his record with Gucci called ‘Look at My Charm’,” Black recalls, of the events that led him to the booth. “It was pickin’ up real heavy but he had to take a fall. I really just wanted to keep the campaign goin’, so I went in and dropped ‘Try It Out.’”
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The response to “Try It Out,” a record featuring Kandi (the songwriter appearing on Real Housewives of Atlanta) and produced by Zaytoven, was immediately huge. Though it wasn’t his initial plan to push the record, at the urging of those around him, Black put his support behind it as an artist and businessman. “Try It Out” quickly progressed throughout the city, becoming one of the most requested songs in the club and on the radio, where it stands today. It was a typical blessing in disguise, an unfortunate setback that created all the right opportunities for the CEOslash-rapper. His follow up single “Stop Playin,” which has already landed on many DJ’s radars, is a continuation of the sound Black is capitalizing on. Since embracing his newfound role, he’s added another dimension to Duct Tape Entertainment. “We’re just creating our own lane,” he says. “Alley’s gonna bring the gutta and I’m gonna bring the playa side of it.” Now that his main artist Alley Boy is home and recently signed a deal
with Atlantic Records, Black is working towards branching out his entire label as a cohesive unit. “I’m trying to bring the whole movement at one time,” Black reveals. “’Try It Out’ is the song that caught on first, and we’re gonna let that get us through the door.” With an organized promotions team, a reputable name in the streets, and most importantly, a collection of music that people support, Black and Duct Tape have all the pieces in place. “We’re tryin’ to be the biggest independent label in the south until somebody gives us a major situation,” he continues. “You might even see me passing out CDs myself. We ain’t afraid to touch the people – we’re right there with ‘em ‘cause that’s where we come from.” Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Diwang Valdez
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played State House’s “Crank Dat Roy,” the crowd of 10,000+ erupted. Geter was so impressed that he contacted State House and invited them to Atlanta, were he signed the group to the label that he and T.I. built.
fter “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” “Crank Dat Batman,” “Crank Dat Superman,” and “Crank Dat (insert your favorite superhero here),” the last thing Hip Hop needs is another “Crank Dat” dance. Nonetheless, Grand Hustle and their latest acquisitions State House, a four-member group from South Carolina, are confident people across the nation will learn how to “Crank Dat Roy.” “The difference with this one is the whole feel of the record,” says State House member and founder Mo. “It’s a street record, and at the same time it’s so easy that everybody can do it.” South Carolinians can attest. For years, “The Elroy” (as the rumor goes, it was named after a neighborhood wino) had been a popular dance craze amongst college students and natives of Orangeburg, SC. In 2006, Mo launched State House Records and decided to create a song to
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go along with “The Elroy” dance. Together with State House artist JQ, the two arranged “Crank Dat Roy,” a song modeled in the same vein as Soulja Boy’s breakthrough record. The tune quickly spread across the city and was later added to Youtube. By the summer of 2008, “Crank Dat Roy” was a statewide dance phenomenon.
Although the group shaped their reputation off a city dance, they know that signing to the label that houses the likes of Young Dro, Big Kuntry, and Killer Mike is just the beginning. “I feel like we’re in there now,” A-Butta says. “But now that our foot is in there, we’ve gotta work a lot harder.”
But according to Mo, JQ wasn’t prepared for the success of the record and botched the opportunity with poor work ethic, missing out on shows. “Instead of moving the project forward, [he] was taking the project backwards,” says Mo. So he reassembled State House as a group, releasing JQ and adding Columbia, SC rapper Juve, Brooklyn, NY transplant A-Butta, and Florence, SC rapper/ producer J. Slayer. The collective remixed “Crank Dat Roy,” adding Def Jam signee Lil Ru and Juney Boomdata of “Wuz Up With That Cookie” fame, and continued to push the record.
“’Crank Dat Roy’ is just a foot in the door,” Juve adds. “It might be difficult to get people to look past the dance records, but that’s the image we’re gonna push out, [still] letting people know that we can rap.” And the group hopes their Brand New mixtape hosted by DJ Chuck T, and “Crank Dat Roy” Grand Hustle remix featuring Yung L.A. will prove it.
In May 2009, Grand Hustle Records co-CEO Jason Geter was at 102 Jamz’ Summer Jam in Greensboro, NC, with his artist Yung LA. When the DJ
“When you hear these other records, you pretty much don’t have a choice but to get on, because the records are incredible,” Mo states. “I know once those songs get out the right way, it’s gonna be crazy.” Words by Randy Roper
side from having a name that sparks confusion (the 3-man group Travis Porter is often mistaken for one person), several other things make this trio “different-er.” Since the introduction of their first song “Baddest Bitch,” it was clear that Quez, Ali, and Strap were deviating from the norm. Their sing-songy choruses and playful antics struck a chord with fans, and since then things have escalated quickly for the Atlanta-based teens. After “Baddest Bitch” took off, Travis Porter’s second major single, “Black Boy White Boy,” caught the attention of their ATL rap predecessors, some of whom felt a certain a way about their style. “I was still in school [when Young Dro released the YouTube video],” Strap recalls. “People were like, ‘You heard Young Dro talkin’ ‘bout y’all?’ I was like, ‘Man, that means we doin’ somethin’ good.’” Though they were highly effective at creating their own buzz, having a recognizable name like Young Dro publicly acknowledge them took
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things a few steps further. They capitalized on the moment by dropping the Who is Travis Porter? mixtape and I’m a Differenter with DJ Teknikz. What started out as two step-brothers (Ali and Quez) just having fun rapping with their friend Strap, soon became a collective of consistent hit makers. During their mixtape promotion and local showcases, Travis Porter had several other songs catch on, including “Uhh Huhh” featuring J. Futuristic (formerly J. Money), “Boom Boom Clap,” and the most recent favorite, “Turnt Up.” “We’re a creative team,” Quez describes their chemistry. “I’ll come in with a crazy chorus, I’ll do the rough draft, then Ali will come in with the edits, and Strap does the final draft. Our music makes you wanna dance. It’s like we’re at Six Flags or something.” “We just have fun,” Ali adds. Now that the second edition of I’m a Differenter
is heavily circulating, it’s apparent that Travis Porter’s formula is here to stay. Although they’ve yet to ink major label papers, the groundwork has definitely been laid. “We want to make sure our album is top priority when we sign to a label,” their manager/CEO Charlie explains. “We still have some development to do, but we’ll be ready soon.” At the heels of breaking the mainstream barrier, Travis Porter is steadily working. They have projects in the works with DJ Smallz, DJ Spinz, and several others, all in an effort to increase their awareness. “I want to sell albums and make history,” Ali states. Strap continues, “We want those ride or die fans, not fans that just love that one song. We’re history in the making – Travis Porter.” Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Michael Schmelling
posedâ€? with what was â€œsup Facing a year in jabuil m in stores, Boosie reveals to be a classic al tes being Superbad. why he actually ha Garland Words by Maurice G. ldez Photos by Diwang Va
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“It’s a dirty world that we live in Can’t even trust ya own family at times... Nigga will make your whole family cry.” - Lil Boosie “Dirty World”
il Boosie isn’t crying, and neither are any of the other people in his midtown Atlanta hotel room. But he sure does look pissed off. In town for the BET Hip Hop Awards, Boosie Bad Azz is apparently having a bad day. Opting to do his interviews from his hotel room instead of coming outside, he isn’t much in the mood for talking. Hell, it almost sounds like he isn’t really in the mood to go to the award show either. After all, he wasn’t nominated for anything. “If this was the Ghetto Hip Hop Awards, I’d win every award,” says Boosie, of his absence from Hip Hop award shows, period. “I guess a lot of ‘Hip Hop’ don’t relate to me. I guess I don’t meet their quota.” “Hip Hop” may not fully embrace Boosie. But in many Southern cities like Jackson, MS, Charleston, SC and Columbus, GA, Boosie is Hip Hop. Though the mainstream may only recognize him from songs like his 2006 club hit “Zoom” and his appearances on Foxx’s “Wipe Me Down” and Webbie’s “Independent,” Boosie has been a walking legend in the South for seven years. Brought into the game by C-Loc (the man also responsible for giving Young Bleed, Max Minelli and CTE’s Boo their first taste of national recognition), Boosie released his first solo album Youngest of Da Camp in 2000. But it wasn’t until he hooked up with the Pimp C-endorsed Trill Entertainment and released 2003’s For My Thugz and two collaborative efforts with labelmate Webbie (Ghetto Stories and Gangsta Muzik) that he grew into one of the most underrated Southern rappers with a diehard fan base.
Superbad just hit the streets and people are saying good things about it. The album did have a lot of features on it, which was odd considering we never saw that from you in the past. Really, I didn’t have a lot of features. I brought ten songs to the album with just me on there. My CEO was trying to blow his son [Lil Phat] up, and put him on my CD. [The only features] I thought were on my album was Webbie, [Young] Jeezy, Trina, and Bobby Valentino. I didn’t tell [Turk] to put [Lil Phat] on there. When I saw Phat on a quarter of my album, that was the CEO trying to blow him up. That’s what made the album look like it had more features. He’s on five songs, and I ain’t like that shit at all. I wasn’t going for a lot of features, I was going for a classic. They weakened it. Have you spoken with your CEO since this happened? We’re not talking right now. I will express it in songs they’ll hear later. I am going to express it though. Every nigga in every city is calling me asking, “Why is [Lil Phat] on so many songs?” No, I turned the album in and the CEO put that nigga on the rest of the songs. [Turk’s response: We don’t talk as often as we used to because we both have legal issues that we are working through, but [we speak] at least once a week. My business manager talks to him four or five times a day, so we are communicating. You see the album out and him working. That’s us getting it done.] If that’s true, we can see why you’re eager to start your own company. That’s why I’m focused on getting my own shit. They’re trying to blow their son up off me. I’m trying to do my thing, so this new album I’m doing, I’m turning it in straight to the people in New York so it ain’t gonna have nobody from Trill on the album but Webbie.
However, Boosie’s buzz failed to reach fire-hot proportions as his next solo, 2006’s Bad Azz, didn’t appear until three years later. In 2009, he dropped Superbad. “Why [do] me and Webbie only put out one album every three years?” he ponders, rhetorically. “Because somebody’s stupid! Me and Webbie are supposed to be ten times bigger than what we are right now. Nobody makes better music than us. That’s how I feel, and that’s the truth.” Musings like these make it apparent that Boosie’s professional relationship with his Trill Entertainment label home is starting to sour, fast. “Just think if I had seven albums out right now,” says Boosie, averaging out the results of him releasing one album for every year he’s been signed to Trill. “Nobody could touch me. I’d be getting $100k a show right now. But I got a stupid ass label. They don’t know what to do with me. So I’ma do something with myself. I can record my own music, shoot my own videos, do my own DVDs; I don’t need nobody for nothing.” Ironically, one of the people he’s angry with agrees with him, to a degree. “I share in those frustrations,” says Marcus “Turk” Roach, co-CEO of Trill Ent. “The easiest way to fix [the problem] is for Boosie to stay in the studio recording. Until recently, he didn’t always have the same work ethic he has now. I guess when you see other artists dropping albums three [times] to your one, it encourages you to get in [the studio] and produce quality music.” He continues, “We have always encouraged Boosie and all our other artists to stand up and be businessmen.” Boosie’s first step towards independence is starting his own company, Bad Azz Entertainment. From this day forth, he says that’s all he’s focusing on. To him, right now, Trill is in his past. Even though Superbad just came out last month, it’s already ancient history.
“You ain’t got be featured on my tape, I don’t need you niggas anyway” - Lil Boosie - “Boosie When You Gonna Drop”
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Why would they do that to you? They might’ve thought I was doing my thing too much and figured since I got one of the biggest albums of the year coming out, let me put my son on there and get him famous. I was disappointed by that. They’re not letting me have say-so on what’s on my album. I wanted a double disc and couldn’t get that. There’s all kinds of fucked-up shit going on with me. I feel like if there was more of me on [Superbad], it would’ve been a classic. Most people fast-forward his shit and rewind my shit; it makes people have to keep fucking with the song. I like for people to let my songs ride. So that was a big-ass mistake, trying to blow your son up on my album. Some people sons have it and others don’t, like his son. [Turk’s response: Our normal practice of doing records is similar to most labels. We have tracks and artist hop on them. The artist with the hottest verse stays on the track. Three of the songs that Phat is featured on, Boosie delivered to us with his verse already on there.] But you don’t have a problem with Lil Phat himself though, right? I ain’t got no problem with lil’ buddy, they ain’t gangsta no way. My thing is, I turn an album in and you put him on all those songs like that. This is my album. They know if they called and asked me [if they could add him], I’ma say, “Shit no!” So don’t do no shit like put him on five songs. You don’t do that to me like that. You got me having listening sessions for people and I’m having to explain my CD?
Oh wow, so the songs were just popping up on you too? Yeah, the verses were just popping up. I’m like damn, he’s on this song too? This song? That shit hurt me, brah. They’ll never get that chance again. This next album [Free At Last] I’m turning in straight to Warner Bros.; [Trill] cant touch this one. I get all the recording money and production money; they can’t touch this one. We don’t have no beats from no Trill Ent producers either. I’ve got a label deal now. They’re writing me a check. I can imagine something like that would affect your trust level of people in the music industry. I don’t trust nobody in the record industry. Money is the root of all evil. They don’t like to pay you, so you gotta get lawyers involved. If street niggas kept it street, you wouldn’t have to get lawyers involved. So far you’ve made it pretty clear that you don’t particularly care for your own album. But what are you hearing your fans say about it? Fans tell me they love the album, but they’re still asking why [Lil Phat] is on all the songs. “Is he your artist?” Fuck no. They’re all asking the same thing. His father wanted his son to be on Superbad. That’s just niggas not caring how hard I worked to make a classic. It’s a dirty world. I had been finished that shit. I could’ve had the album out two years ago. I could’ve had eight albums out [by now], but our label are stupid asses. Trill spent all their money on stupid-ass people who ain’t gonna sell no fucking records. They’re stupid asses. Put the money [into] me and Webbie, niggas who have been winning from day one. Instead, you go and put out a group album with nine people on the cover [2007’s Trill Entertainment Presents: Survival of the Fittest]. Why not do a Gangsta Muzik 2 with me and Webbie? You’re gonna do a group album with nine muthafuckas on the cover? You stupid. Put the money where people want the money. How long have you been doing Bad Azz Entertainment? Two-and-a-half years. It was just me being a businessman knowing that if I kept doing mixtapes I’d eventually get a deal. There’s two CEOs at Trill. With my company there’s just one CEO, so I own everything. It’s just me being a man. I write better music [when I’m recording for] my own label too. I got more people with better work ethic, and my production is better. I make more music [by myself ] than I was over there [at Trill]. What are some things you’ve learned from your time at other labels that you plan on implementing at your own label? I learned you can try to be loyal, but that shit doesn’t roll accordingly. I saw Trill had me just rapping my whole damn life, recouping 100% on everything. I just learned about the game and it’s crazy now, it ain’t no love no more. I’m strictly trying to get my money. All this other shit is irrelevant. I’ve made [other] niggas money for years, and now it seems like they don’t want to see me get no money. I’m gonna let my artist get their royalties and shit. You work, you get paid. That’s how I’m doing it.
“Lights, camera, action, pose (woof) I know I’m looking good for these hoes like (woof) People compare me to ‘Pac so off top I’m like (woof) This gangsta shit don’t stop, when I drop it’s like (woof)” - Lil Boosie “I’m A Dog” While Boosie is no stranger to trouble, a specific case he caught last October that actually poses a threat to his budding career. According to reports, Boosie was stopped by police officers who smelled the scent a marijuana coming from his car. When pulled over it was both reported and rumored that he refused to get out of the car, attempted to bribe the officers, and even tried to drive off. When police searched the car, they also found a gun. Ultimately he was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of a firearm with a controlled dangerous substance, and resisting an officer. While the impending punishment has loomed over his head for the past year, it didn’t stop Boosie from making music or doing shows. But when he was reportedly sentenced in September to two years in prison (Boosie says it’s only one year, if that) things seem to be coming to a momentary halt. The current situation you’re in is similar to what we saw Tupac going through 15 years ago. People already compare you to him musically, but has this comparison crossed your mind at all? It always crosses my mind. Every time I see ‘Pac on TV I think to myself, “I’m going through the same thing he was.” Hopefully somebody comes along
and buys me out of my contract just like [Suge] did for ‘Pac. (laughs) Puffy, 50, Jigga, I hope y’all listening. I’ma be the biggest nigga in the game when I get home. Come buy me out of this pain and let me make some billions for y’all niggas. I might be gone for a while but that’s gonna make me the biggest nigga in the game. I’m coming out hard, man. Well, earlier you said you didn’t appreciate how Trill was treating you. The names you just mentioned don’t have the cleanest records when it comes to being label CEOs either. I got lawyers now. I ain’t gonna let a nigga whip me on contract no more. If he sees my best interest and can make me what I want to be, I’ma roll with him. Fuck what he did to the last nigga. It’s about me trying to get on, fuck them other niggas. But really, I’d feel like I’m just punching these crackers back in the face for what they’re doing to me. This is my first conviction. Jesse Jackson needs to be down here screaming for me too. This my first conviction and I’m doing jail time. I know millions of people with paper on them for gun and drug charges, but [I got sentenced] because of who I am. They’re just trying to make an example out of me, but it’s gonna blow back up in their face. I’m not a convicted felon, so I [should be] eligible for papers. Simple as that. I’m gonna make them afraid to look out their window at night. I’m coming home with a grudge on my shoulder. Well, we’ve yet to hear your version of what actually happened the day you were arrested. I was coming from a funeral, and my pa’tna left his gun in my car. Narcotic officers blocked me in. I locked my door and finished smoking and got out. Wasn’t no bribing, none of that shit going on. I got caught with marijuana and my friend’s gun was in the car. This the same courtroom that sent Mystikal away. Before I take it to trial, I’ll go lay down for 365 days. It’s something but it’s nothing. I’m the one that’s got to do the time, by myself. Niggas be talking about, “Keep your head up.” Fuck you, nigga. Don’t worry if my head is up. Suck my dick, bitch. I’m the one that’s gotta do this time. Y’all are gonna be at home still wiping your ass with Charmin. If you see me with my head down, bitch, just look the other way. Don’t tell me shit about “Keep ya head up.” Fuck all that. Put something in a nigga’s account. I’m just going to do a year and I’ll be back. Might be 10 months. I’m gonna try and get my GED or something. The day you were sentenced, you said you wanted to focus on spending more time with your family. Have you been able to do that? Not really. I’ve got so much music I’m trying to do. Some of my children don’t even live with me and they mama be tripping. When I go back to court on November 9th, I’m not asking for a 25 day extension to keep me out of jail. I’m just going in. I can’t stand how they’re doing me. They’re not letting me travel with this shit on my leg. It’s time to get this shit over with. Do you look at all of this happening as a sign? Maybe you needed to slow down in some areas of your life? I’m just accepting it. I see it as God tapping me on my wrist a little bit. He’s sending me to jail so I can learn the hard way. But when I get out, it’s my chance to show him I’m thankful. It’s coming back triple. I think this jail shit is about to take me farther than being on the streets for three years could’ve taken me. Everything happens for a reason. It’s fucked up that it has to work that way, but I think it’s gonna work out in my favor. Staying four years on the street, still putting out just one album, or going to jail 1011 months with a CD coming out 2 weeks after that? That’s high publicity. Jail only makes you sell more records. Niggas are already asking to book me for the first Saturday I’m home. Offering [amounts of ] money I’ve never gotten before [for shows]. I’m just gonna be in there chilling, looking at pictures, beating my dick to bad bitches. Besides that, have you given any thought to what you’re gonna do to pass the time? Many artists who get locked up say they don’t feel inspired to write music while they’re in there. Lift weights, sleep. I don’t be having no vibe in there to write music. I don’t write music until I’ve been [in prison] for about a month. I do always end up writing music, but it’s jail-oriented [music], and I’m more versatile than that. Is there anything else you want to share? The name of my next album is Free At Last. [impersonates Martin Luther King] Free at last, free at last…that’s yo muthafuckin’ ass. //
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This past weekend you hit the streets again. What was your mindset at the time you found out that you were gonna actually be released? It felt like a dream, with me being in them conditions for so long, and the amount of pressure and problems that’s going on inside those places. I think everybody out there knows that [prison] isn’t the best conditions to be living in. So it’s just me coming out and seeing my brother, seeing the rest of my family and being able to be free. I can’t really describe the feeling – overwhelming joy is the best way to put it. It’s like winning the lottery for $500 million. How would you feel, you know what I mean? I really don’t think you could tell me. You were in for three years, right? Yeah, three long, rough, hard years. Second time, three years. It was actually two sentences. It was a three year sentence and a twenty-seven month sentence combined with state and federal charges. Did you get out early for good behavior? I was basically allowed to get out when the time was up. (laughs) The Feds don’t really give you any favors unless you’re snitching. Sometimes they don’t give you favors then [either]. It was [just] me doing my time and my time being up. So you did your time and you’re free to go? I think a lot of people were under the impression that you were away for a lot longer than that. Yeah, ‘cause most people want bad for you anyways, especially when you ain’t got anything going for you. JB, when you were first trying to come up with a magazine years ago, you weren’t on anybody’s radar so they really didn’t care about what you were doing. You weren’t a factor. But once you are successful, people have knowledge of your success. That comes with the fame as well. That’s when all the hatred comes. People wish bad for you at that point. Some [people] wanted me to be gone forever, you know? It was a serious case, six attempted murders, first degree, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, federal violation and shooting into a building. Each charge is enough to put you away forever. So people just prejudge situations. Were you able to take a plea bargain on those charges, or what actually developed when it came to your sentencing? It took about a year. The prosecutors didn’t want to talk to me, you know? They believed that it was an open and shut case. They felt like I was done; the state had ninety witnesses against me. They found six guns in the car, the car [was] in my name, I [was] driving, and they’ve got all of the victims who were shot. Not only [were there] ninety witnesses who didn’t get shot [testifying against me], but the other five victims who actually got shot, the majority of them were sayin’ I did it. That’s how I got the six attempted murder charges in the first degree. So with those type of charges people rightfully assume for the worst instead of the best. Obviously, your brother has become a lot more successful on a national level since you went away, so is there a sense of you coming back to join the party? Or are you going back on the road resuming what you were doing in the early stages? I don’t wanna say too much and give away too much. While I was away, I was able to do a lot of things and make a lot of things happen to keep his career going upward. I can’t get into the de50 // OZONE MAG
tails, ‘cause you know Feds read magazines too. But I had a lot of things going on that kept increasing my brother’s success. I was always there when it was decision-making time, and [I had] a lot of lawyers coming to see me, a lot of business partners, my A&Rs, marketing managers. So I was connected enough with my team where I kept things going. All the silent decisions were still being made by me. But now I’m hands on and I don’t have to wait for somebody to come and get me. I don’t have to worry about only having 300 minutes a month [to talk on the phone]. I can talk that in a few hours. Now I can say more and do things faster and more accurately. I used to write a lot of letters. I sometimes wrote five to ten letters a day, to my executive team, to get certain things answered and certain things done the way I needed them done. I never stopped and never gave up on increasing my brother’s success. Thank God I was able to start the party and now rejoin the party. Do you think going through that whole experience has made you a better businessman? Obviously you had to adapt to your circumstances. Yeah, I think it did, extremely. I don’t wanna give the system too much credit because the system helps destroy lives. I’m just one of the few chosen ones that went into the system, utilized it, got better as a businessman and better as a person, and actually kept things going. Most people go into the system, they ain’t got no lawyer money, so they’re dead from the beginning. They just play cards, play dominoes, work out and shoot basketball or play flag football or do something recreational. They really don’t utilize the system. I’m just one of the few that took the time. I took the time twice – I started my company in prison, [during my] first bid. So I’ve utilized both situations to become better. I was reading the Wall Street Journal every day, the USA Today every day, Business Week every day, Economist magazines every day, OZONE, you know, just different publications. I’m one of the few dudes that doesn’t watch TV much, other than a few videos to keep up with the business trends, but other than that it’s mainly work. So definitely it enhanced me as a business person. It taught me a lot of patience and expanded my mind. Some artists have had negative things to say about your brother. We all know that when you become successful you have haters but at the same time, do you think that there is any validity to statements that have been made? Where do you think those statements are coming from? For one, I can say off the top of my head, as you mentioned with success definitely comes haters, but when a guy is a competitor to another rapper in the same area, street music, or whatever they call it, goon music, or thug music, you’re competing on a level that is gonna be built on animosity. But in our black “world” sometimes the competitive edge gets outta hand and goes a little further and becomes hatred, instead of being a competitive edge. Sometimes Mercedes and BMW get a [lot] right across the street from one another so they can compete. But BMW ain’t gonna walk across the street and shoot all the cars in the Mercedes parking lot, and Mercedes ain’t gonna do that either. They’re just gonna try to hire the best people and make the best vehicle. They’re gonna try to be in the best location and target certain consumers. It’s more of a thinking game with these major companies for the same consumer, versus the rapper. This is no different than what goes on with the major
record labels that are headed by the white boys. But the rap industry is more of an enemy game, it goes further than competition. It turns into hatred and animosity. You and Plies seem to have a different perspective on the whole game. You look at it as strictly a business. If you look at the whole Miami movement, there were maybe some problems between certain people in the past, but they kinda put on – you know Khaled brings people together for videos, they kinda do shows together, and everyone shows up at Mansion. And Plies always seems to kinda distance himself from that a little bit. I can agree with that. He kinda distances himself from a lot of the industry functions, and he does it for a lot of reasons. His main reason has always been that his big brother is not there. So he’s never really felt as if he has friends or family with the industry. But he knows that when it comes down to the power of his voice, he is the streets, and appears to be the radio [too]. He has the biggest street movement right now. I’m sure a couple people might debate that, but the truth is he’s the one selling out venues now, he’s the one people are going out and buying the albums like crazy for, and he’s the one that’s making number one radio hits back-to-back, which most street rappers can’t do. He’s dropped 3 CDs in sixteen months, and another album, Goon Affiliated. He’s doing a lot of things that street rappers never did without losing any of his fanbase. He’s keeping his format very similar to when you first met him some years ago, but definitely he’s doing more of the same. And what about you - do you share the same mentality as your brother? I’m more of the industry type of dude, more so than Plies. I use to be more like my brother [with a] street mentality. But I think I’ve developed to a certain degree. I’ve also been the business-minded one, and my brother has always been the music one. It’s normally me that says, “Let’s do a feature.” It’s me that says, “Let’s go ahead and get these videos done.” I cosign a lot of things that he doesn’t really care to do. It’s me that says, “Let’s do a song with an R&B dude.” It’s always been me that’s brought people in; it’s never really been him. So when I left, it was kinda like leaving him out in the world alone. He couldn’t call me so he couldn’t ever get my opinion on a lot of things ‘til after the fact. Sometimes I would give out instructions but it would be too late due to the limited time we had to talk. But I’m finally back, and I can make those types of moves now. The next album is gonna be unexplainable. It’s gonna actually have rap features for the first time. But again, that’s my idea, not his. I know you have some other artists. Will the rest of the Big Gates’ roster be going through your Atlantic Records situation as well? Or are you looking for new homes for them? With Chris J, he took off so fast being on Plies’ top ten hit “Put it On Ya” that Universal Republic called; Sony called. And it wasn’t like we had sent them a demo. They called based on music they’d heard. After that song got big and he had a performance on 106 & Park with Plies, people started calling the next day. Right now I’m laying back. I wanna do it the way I did the Plies situation. We worked it underground first and then the majors came to us. I get more leverage that way versus me going to them, taking a peanut deal, like we a monkey or something, and nobody ever hears your music. Most of those major labels have hundreds of thousands of artists
over there that you’ve never heard of and never will. Fella, my newest rap artist, is taking over the streets with his Pill & a Half mixtape. Also, I’ve got a rapper named Zach King and an R&B singer named Lil Rufus who will both have music out next month. Do you think taking that same approach you did with Plies with an R&B artist is gonna work? It’s a little bit different to break an artist on the R&B side than on the Rap side. You’re definitely right. I’m taking Chris J to radio right now. I sent his album independently to the radio stations. I’m working his single two ways, radio primarily, but I’m also working it in the street. Plies was strictly street first and then radio caught on. I’m working that project in a similar way but better, especially ‘cause it’s R&B. It’s more like a street-ish version of R&B. Chris J is like the new R. Kelly of R&B. Lil Rufus, an R&B singer, is 20 years old, and is considered the “new” sound of R&B. I’m working them both radio and street at the same time. Now that you’re scouting new talent, what have you learned from the past as far as finding artists for your team? What are you looking for in those artists? Definitely work ethic is important. When I sign artists I make sure my artists are straight. I take care of bills, I send them checks every week, I file taxes for them, and I make sure they have vehicles, once they’ve proven themselves. They don’t have to have albums out. Even with no radio spins and no street buzz, once they can prove to me that they can deliver great music, that’s when I open all the financial doors for ‘em. Even with our artists, their managers always call us and wanna know what the budget is? I always tell ‘em, it’s an unlimited budget. I don’t work off budgets. It’s an open budget. Whatever we’ve got to do to get your project to work financially, I’m gonna do it. So I don’t wanna give you a budget for marketing or a budget for recording. We’re gonna record and we’re gonna market ‘til the consumer says, “This is what we want.” If an artist doesn’t work, it’s the label’s fault. Labels sign artists, and artists depend on the label. So I feel that if the artist never works, never takes off, never blows up, then it’s the label’s fault ‘cause the label should’ve never signed the artist. Unless something happens like the artist gets killed or goes to prison forever - obviously then it’s [not the label’s fault]. If the artist is still free to move and still free to do what he does, and can’t come up with good music, then it’s still the label’s fault because they believed in this guy, or they believed in this girl, so if nothing works, then the label didn’t know what they were doing, and the A&R didn’t know what he was doing, and the executives didn’t know what they were doing. What’s your ultimate goal for the way Big Gates Records is perceived? When you hear names like Cash Money or Slip N Slide, people kinda know what that label stands for and what type of music they represent. So what’s your vision for Big Gates Records and what direction are you going?
You’ll notice that I never got a logo. No Limit had the tank, Cash Money got the dollar sign, Slip N Slide has had a couple different logos. Much respect to Ted though, the owner of Slip N Slide, I look at him more like a buddy than a business partner. Big Gates Records is its own logo. There’s really no certain category that I want the label to be classified in. I’m not even going the street rap route like most of those labels that I just mentioned. They went street rap. I’m not really trying to classify myself into a certain realm. It’s kinda like a major [label]. When you think of any major, you think of a little bit of everything. Since you’ve been branded so far with Plies, people kinda expect Big Gates Records to go in that direction, as far as street rap. But with two R&B acts coming up next, it seems like you’re trying to broaden your horizons. But don’t you think that a recognizable logo is crucial to developing a company’s brand and image? No disrespect to them, but Big Gates is the new go-to company. Even when you look at the videos and the magazines and the radio charts and the different places, all the different places you see Big Gates, is also where you always see big things. My brother kept my name alive everywhere he went. And the rappers that got mad at him were saying, “Your brother is the real one,” so they kept this whole Big Gates thing alive and it’s even gotten bigger. All kinds of people from magazines, to radio, to internet were trying to [interview me when I got released] and I’m taking a lot of them, but this is my first one [with OZONE]. The name Big Gates alone has generated more press and publicity then I could have ever paid for. And that’s what separates my label’s brand from these other brands. There’s no
categorizing Big Gates. What was the first thing that you did when you got out? When I first got out I thought I was dreamin’. I really didn’t do much. I really didn’t want to eat anything. I was just really thankful to God that he blessed me again, ‘cause I was just as done as they thought. When I walked out I was just blessed that I was able to go through the system twice without telling on anybody, without breaking down and turning Muslim. (laughs) I was just thankful that I went in one way and came out a better way. And that was all I really did when I got out; I was just thankful. I didn’t really believe it was real until a couple days later. That’s why I decided to do this interview, because now I’m realizing I’m actually out and free. It’s reality, not a dream, and I’m out on a good Monday back working, back in stride. They won’t let me run my own company due to the restriction that I’m on for a couple months. But I’m working for people that know people, still musically related. You mentioned earlier that you’re at the Mercedes Benz dealership. What are you about to pick up? I don’t know. I really hate that I said Mercedes, ‘cause I feel like I’m freely promoting them now. You know how I feel about that. Yeah, you sound like your brother. I’m heavily on [Plies] about that. I stay down his throat about [not] promoting a brand for free. Well, maybe they’ll give you a discount. They might. Well, you know how it is with Mercedes. They don’t market to our people, they say. The street folks, and most of the minorities, if you’re not an executive they don’t really try to deal with you too tough. But we buy them anyway ‘cause I’m sitting in one right now. (laughs) I love utilizing their image. Are there any other purchases you have planned now that you’ve been released? What’s the itinerary looking like this week? My main thing right now is focusing on getting into the technology field. I’ve been studying that for some years now. That’s one of the directions I’m heading in. I wanna get some of that technology money that we black folks don’t seem like we’ve figured out how to do. I’m heading into different directions, but my core is music. I have production companies out there. I take calculated financial risks with my money. My brother loves all the other stuff. He loves the jewelry. I think they say he’s got the best jewelry game in the music industry. He’s caught up in the custom jewelry and all the cars. He’s got Bentleys, Maseratis, convertibles, and all this other stuff that he doesn’t even drive. I’m the opposite of that. I’m looking for something else to invest in. Are there any other upcoming projects you want to speak on? Are you actively looking for new artists to sign? We just signed a new artist that’s gonna remake the face of the industry. He’s a rap artist, Fella, the second rap artist that I’ve signed. He’s totally different from Plies. He has a mixtape out right now called Pill & a Half. I’m working him the same way that I worked Plies. Fella also has a hit out right now called “On Yac,” featuring Plies. // OZONE MAG // 51
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no longer claims to be real. by now, we all know. From his 2007 debut The Real Testament to his follow-up The Definition of Real all the way to his third outing The RealIst, Fort Myers’ Plies has constantly re-iterated his realness. Now, with his brother Big Gates home from prison, Plies feels it’s about time to pivot from his once ubiquitous “real” philosophy and bring the world Goon Affiliated. On his fourth album in 2 years, Plies is promising to do it bigger than he’s ever done it. He guarantees a classic or your money back, and is confident that his latest effort will be far better than any of its predecessors. You’ve always had a great balance between street music and commercial music. How are you able to go the commercial route but maintain love from the streets at the same time? I actually give my following all that credit, the people who gravitate towards my situation. I just always make music that’s true to me. I never one time went in the studio and said, “Let me make a record for radio.” I never did. Before my career really blossomed, I was on a national level with certain records like “Get You Wet,” or “Ms. Pretty Pussy.” There were a lot of records that were working for me without the national exposure. I was working on a national level before I ever got signed to a major, and those situations were what I like to consider a testament to the people that really fuck with me. A lot of those records from “Shawty,” to “Bust It Baby,” to “Hypnotize,” to “Becky,” and “I Got Plenty Money,” I just personally feel like I make diverse music. I ain’t mad every day, so I don’t make just mad music. I think I’m probably one of a few artists that this industry really accepts in terms of being able to make diverse music. I’ve learned that there’s a lot of different types of music fans in the world—there’s people who only listen to radio, there are people that just watch the outlets on cable TV that play videos, there’s certain people that just listen to shit that’s only in the streets. I realize that a lot of people just know Plies based on what’s playing on the radio as opposed to what’s actually been on three of my albums as well as my mixtapes, so for me to find that balance, I credit the people that fuck with me and support me. Even when you hear records on the radio, people gotta request those records for them to keep playing ‘em. What made you decide to release “Becky” as a single? That’s a pretty unlikely radio record. I actually cut that record about three weeks before we had the Super Bowl down here in Tampa. I remember having a couple of my homeboys listen to it, and I love [creating] a record that [brings] everybody to a unanimous consensus. When everybody heard that record they felt like it was a major record. When my brother Big Gates came home [from prison] I played my album for him and “Becky” was the third song on the album, as soon as he heard that song he told me that he didn’t need to hear no more records, because he wanted that to be the first single for my new project. I would’ve never tried that shit at radio. I thought it was a “helluva” record, but at the same time I definitely gotta give him all the credit, because he picked it to be the single. After three albums, what keeps you motivated?
I feel like the company. I’m honored to be a part of a system that’s ran like a mini-major in terms of the whole Big Gates Records brand. Even with this “Becky” situation, this is all our vision. It ain’t a label or a business partner that put a dime into this situation besides Big Gates Records, and we’ve got a record that’s crazy in the streets and crazy on radio. I think that mindframe allows us to be who we are as a company. We pride ourselves on not being the only ones around here eating and driving nice cars. From top to bottom as a company we believe in paying our employees, so with that being said, you might see me on the road with 9 or 10 niggas, but all 9 or 10 of them niggas [are] eating. I ain’t got no homeboys with me on the road; this is business. Every nigga you see me with is eating; when I’m eating, he’s eating, and when I ain’t eating, he’s still eating. I feel like for us to have as a company with the amount of people we have on payroll, I can’t sit down. Let’s talk about your upcoming album Goon Affiliated. This is the first album you haven’t included the word “real” in the title. Why are you switching things up? We wanted to make sure this project right here was something totally different than anything I ever did. I believe in the old cliché, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but at the same time this is my first opportunity to have my brother home and for him to actually be hands-on with my situation. For people who know how the Federal system works, for the last three years with my brother being locked up, we were working off of 300 minutes per month that he was allowed to talk on the phone. This interview here itself can run us 200 minutes alone, so we were trying to conduct business with a very limited timeframe. Now that he’s home and able to be completely hands-on with my projects, we wanted to change everything; still make great quality music but change that whole “real” philosophy. We’re always trying to find what elevated the music from the last project, so with the Goon Affiliated situation, we felt like it was a good transition and a good title. You don’t have to be a goon to be goon affiliated. You can know a nigga that’s a goon and still be goon affiliated. I feel like that title covered everything. The name wasn’t too tough and it wasn’t too soft, so we felt like it fell right in the middle. When Big Gates went to prison, your situation was completely different than it is now. Being that he was incarcerated during your rise to fame, did he actually know how big you had become while he was locked up? The great thing about that is, I guess for niggas that done been locked up, or for niggas that’s currently in the system, whether it’s in the county jail or federal state prison, they get the information before we get the information. Most niggas that’s locked up were some of the most relevant niggas in the street at some point in time. I know it sounds crazy, but people in jail are able to get a good gauge on a person’s star power when they’re locked up. It’s not true for different aspects of life like fashion and other shit like that, but music is different. I knew he [Big Gates] had a good idea of how I had grown as an artist in terms of my celebrity status and it didn’t surprise him at all what we were able to do, because he was always in the loop and had kinda seen it and felt it on the inside. What surprised me the most was his ability to adapt and adjust [to life outside] and come home full speed ahead. He had 60 or 70 things he wanted
to do his first day home, and I’ve seen at least 45 of those things already completed. That was more impressive to me than my fame probably was to him. What was the first thing you guys did when he got home? We went to work the first day. The day he got home was like a 19 hour day for us. We probably spent at least 19 hours in the office. Throughout your whole career, which one of your songs has the most significance to you? I have a record that was one of the bonus cuts on one of my albums, but it kinda got lost in the shuffle because only certain stores actually carry the bonus tracks. My personal favorite record is a record that most people haven’t heard, it’s called “Die Together.” That was a record I wrote to my brother and it’s basically saying, “When it’s my time to go, I just wish me and him could die together.” It wasn’t the biggest record, it didn’t make the charts or anything, but as far as personal feelings and how I felt, that was probably the most proud I’ve ever been of any record I released or put out. My favorite Plies song is probably “Bid Long.” That was one of the first of your songs I ever heard. I agree; that’s one of my top five favorites, too. And the crazy part is that some labels don’t have the ability to gauge those kinds of records. They gauge a successful record off black and white, like how many ringtones it’s selling, or how many digital singles sales, or how many times it’s spun on the radio. The corporate major label system isn’t designed to detect those kinds of records, and for an artist/businessman it allows me to continue to know how important records like “Bid Long” are. Radio stations ain’t playing those kinds of records, and in my opinion those are the realest kinds of records that a nigga can put out because they touch people when they hear it; it’s no different than a “Somebody Loves You” record. I can perform “Bid Long” in any part of the country and they sing that bitch all the way through. There are other records I’ve done in my career like “Family Straight,” and others that are real meaningful records, but these records get lost from a corporate and radio standpoint. I’ll always make ‘em for the streets because they mean the most. That probably increases your longevity also, because people hear radio singles so much that they tired of hearing them after a few months, but a street record can live forever. Totally, and that’s how I feel about this “Becky” record. This was the first record in my career that’s given me both. I had “Bust It Baby,” which was a big record: 13,000 spins, 100 million in audience at radio, but I wasn’t hearing that muthafucker in the streets. I was only hearing it on the radio. I feel like “Becky” is the first record that’s both huge on the radio and in the streets. The record is coming back number 1 most requested at all these different radio stations all over the country, and it has given me the biggest feel in the streets that I’ve ever had, and I think anytime you have a record that does both, that’s a real record. Of course the radio songs mean more to your pockets than a street song would, so if you had to decide between making one or the other which would you choose? I think my core following and what made me who I am will always be my street ties and my
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street affiliation. I just try to continue allowing myself to be who I am through my music. I got a particular song on my new album and one of the lines is, “I’m on my fourth album and still ain’t told my first lie.” And I personally take pride in that situation. For me to be able to make the music that I make and make it from a personal level and a personal experience that’s what I take pride in as a businessman and as an artist. I’m not finna get on a record that ain’t me, regardless of how much another label or another artist wants to pay me to be a part of it. I’m not finna write something that wasn’t factual information to my situation, and to me that’s an entity to this game that no longer exists. People ain’t standing on principles, values, and morals anymore. We 54 // OZONE MAG
talk about that all the time as a company; you got a lotta niggas that’s music whores. Niggas [are] willing to do whatever to get a check, and that’ll never happen to me as an artist. For me to pigeonhole and to fine line it, I’m just gonna continue to make music that represents who I am and wherever it falls or however it hits, whether it’s radio or in the streets. I’m gon’ just try to always keep up and strategize my situation to best fit the current record that I got out. Why have you put out so many albums so soon? This is your fourth one in 2 years. It’s about always trying to do what I currently had never seen done before, and to do it not for personal gratification but to also do what
makes the most sense for this company, Big Gates Records as a company and as a brand. If you look around now, there’s a lot of things that have transitioned. When I first did “Shawty,” at that particular time it wasn’t cool for a street nigga to do a song talkin’ about a broad. Now I look around and niggas are freely doing femaledriven records, and that game has definitely changed. Also, I look at it from coming back out quick, that was a whole other phase that was redefined by The Real Testament, The Definition of Real, and The REAList. Now you look around and niggas are rushing to come back out and labels are allowing niggas to come back out quick and help kill themselves because niggas don’t understand that at the end of the year,
corporate America has a number they trying to reach. They have a quota to reach every year and they don’t care if they gotta put out 20 niggas to sell 2 million records. It’s just about reaching that quota so they can keep their jobs as a staff. But on my end, I’d never rush my situation if it wasn’t working in the best interest of what we’re trying to do as a company. For me to see two gold albums in 10 months, over a million records sold, that’s a hell of an accomplishment for what this game liked to consider a new artist out of the gate. To collectively have sold over a million and a half records in 18 months, very few niggas in the game are doing that. It takes most niggas 18 months to work one record. When you decide your career is over, how many albums would you have liked to release? I don’t really have a number that I’m trying to reach as an artist. As long as I can continue to creatively put music together that I’m cool with being in the streets with my name on it, I’ll continue to go at the rate I’ve been going. What’s so special about this Goon Affiliated situation is that I didn’t really have my other ear here with me to put together an album. Now that I’ve got my brother home, I’ve got my other ear. I have music that I let him listen to when he first got home, and he was saying, “Damn brah, how in the hell this wasn’t on any of the first three albums?” And it was because, for me, I was trying to paint a certain picture with every album. I know some records that I thought were gonna be bigger than other records, like “Worth Goin FED Fo” from my second album, at the time a lot of niggas I know was getting fucked up, so I felt it was a personal record for me. But looking back at it, I would’ve never put that record on the album. So for me to have him home is what makes this [album] so positive for me. I feel so good about the Goon Affiliated album that I’m actually trying to get the label to allow me to put this album in the stores and let any motherfucka that buys it and don’t like it get their money back. I feel that confident about this particular project. So I’m assuming this is your best album ever? It’s probably twice as good as any album I’ve ever put out. From front to back, 18 tracks, it won’t even be close. Aside from Big Gates being home, what is it about Good Affiliated that’s so much better than all your other albums? It’s the first time I’ve allowed myself to kinda come out my shell and really go out and fuck with a lot of different producers. And not major producers, because I feel it’s a lot of niggas in Fort Myers that got a beat machine that never had no major placement and can go out and make a quality track just as good as a nigga charging $150,000. I never allowed myself to get caught up in the production game. I had a vision that I was trying to accomplish, and I studied all of my [previous] three albums. When my brother came home -- and a lotta niggas would never tell you this, but -- I feel confident that my brother is my number one fan, totally, and it ain’t got shit to do with him being my brother or nothing. He fucks with my music in that magnitude, so we went back in and listened to all my albums, all my mixtapes, and we put together 15 songs from all my albums and mixtapes that would’ve made one classic album that would be around the next 10 years. When we put that together it allowed me to say, “Aight, this is what I want to do with this Goon Affiliated.” You’re known to give away stacks of money at
all of your shows. I heard you even gave away $50,000 at a show once. Are these just stunts or does the Plies stimulus package have a purpose? I do it because I understand that there is some nigga trying to get to my show, in whatever particular city I’m in, that is trying to hustle to get his outfit together or get the money to ball in the club the way he wants to, and may probably get locked up in the process. Every city that I go to, I remind myself of that, and I’m almost certain that no matter where I go, somebody got fucked up trying to get to my show and didn’t make it. When there’s a barricade set up at my shows with a six-foot gap between the stage and the barricade, I tell security to take that shit down and let people get up to be able to touch me, because I understand how important that is for people who are spending top dollars to be able to come be a part of my situation. Have you ever heard back from any of the people in the crowd you’ve given money to? There was a nigga in Greensboro, North Carolina that I gave a stack to because he was just coming home from prison, and the next time I went to Greensboro the nigga showed up at my show. I actually didn’t remember him until he made me remember him and the situation. But the nigga told me, “Look at me, nigga. Let me take you outside and show you how I’m ridin’ now. I’m the man in my city, bruh; ever since you gave me a stack you put me back on my feet.” And I’m telling you, that was one of the best feelings I ever had in fucking with this music shit. But I’ve heard back from a lot of people who write feedback letters to The Power of Visions, which is our non-profit organization. So I get a lot of support mail—I don’t like to call it “fan” mail, because I think the term “fan” is an understatement to my supporters—but I get a lot of support mail from people who follow my situation and I always put it together and allow myself time to read it all when I get on my bus going to whatever city I’m going to. I prefer being on the bus instead of flying because it allows me time to read all the mail that I done got over the last two to three weeks. Let’s talk for a second about the situation between you and T-Pain. Thankfully, it never really escalated. You kept it moving and he kept it moving, but have you two talked and settled it at all? Um, naw. I feel like a lot of this game is built for that. I pride myself in where I’m at, and I ain’t wrote nann diss record about nann nigga. I think when you dissect this game, unfortunately when it’s two niggas that’s arguing it’s always a hot nigga and a not-a-hot nigga. It ain’t never two hot niggas arguing, it never happens and I allow myself to understand that. I’ll be the first person to tell you that “Shawty” was a helluva record for my career, and T-Pain took a part in that situation, so I’ll never come across as being ungrateful for any of my features or any of the people who has assisted in my career thus far, but I’m smart enough to know, too, at the end of the day, it’s more about what I do than what anybody else does and I kind of take that approach from a business standpoint. I’m only as good as my work ethic, and I understand that. Speaking of business and work ethic, listening to your music you have a distinct Plies sound, and then in talking to you, you sound a lot more polished and professional. Where do you find the balance between the way you rap and the way you speak normally? I think it’s important to be able to wear more
than one hat. If you look at the niggas in this game that are successful, it’s the niggas that’s able to do both. I got a couple homeboys I wouldn’t even take to yo house, just because I understand and am willing to take responsibility for any of my partners and any of my actions. I let my pants sag every time I walk out the house, but I wouldn’t go to church like that. So for me, I think I understand this business a little better than most and for me it’s important for me to continue to educate myself and to groom myself to one day be what I think I have the capability of becoming. I ain’t never been ashamed, nor have I ever been afraid of allowing myself to get knowledge. I was telling somebody the other day about the streets, and if you ain’t careful, the streets’ll trick you. The streets talk bad about niggas that’s been to college, but as soon as you get fucked up you go and hire a nigga that went to college [as your attorney]. I understand that and I try to diversify myself well enough that I’m able to engage in any conversation. I recently interviewed Fella, a new artist you’ve kinda taken under your wing. What did you see in him as an artist that made you want to work with him? Once again, it was just me being honest with the situation. One of the employees of [Big Gates Records] brought Fella’s music to my brother and one day I was just driving by the office and my brother told me to listen to Fella’s music because it was something he thought I’d like. He gave me the CD, I got in my car, and before I got to the stop sign I had to skim through like 2 tracks. By the time I got on I-75, I called my brother and said, “Bruh, sign this nigga, man.” I know you probably get handed a million CDs every month. How many new artist submissions do you actually listen to? If I get a million I’m trying to listen to a million, because I look at it from a street perspective. Let’s say I get 40 CDs on the road this Friday. I say to myself, “There’s 40 niggas that’s trying to show me they tried.” I look at it like a nigga’s tryin’ to give me free money, because if he’s the right nigga, whether he’s a beat man or an artist, I would be a fool not to fuck with him. I feel like Fella was one of those situations. With the right system in place he can really be the right nigga. You have a tendency to deal with artists and producers who aren’t really known. Why do you think it’s important to work with artists and producers that aren’t yet established? It’s always important to me, and when the album’s track listing gets revealed I’ll be able to tell you more about who is on there, because this is the first album where I have other rappers featured on my album. I’ve never done it before, but this is something that me and my brother felt would be good to do. I know that my core following has other niggas that they like listening to, too. I know I ain’t the only nigga a mu’fucka listens to everyday, so I know my core following would like to hear me work with other rappers as well. The first dude I actually worked with on this album—I’ll tell you who it is once the track listing comes out—was just a dude I fuck with musically, I actually listen to his music. I ain’t never been a name chaser. I gotta be able to believe the nigga that’s on my album, and I know a lotta niggas can’t say that. A lot of artists will fuck with a nigga just because he’s hot, but I can’t do that. It’s some niggas that do features who don’t even know the artist they doing the feature for, but if a nigga’s on my album, that’s letting you know I believe that this nigga is a real nigga. // OZONE MAG // 55
You probably didn’t know that Bubba Sparxxx released a compilation with Greg Street through Koch this year. And you probably didn’t know that because there was no major single, no television, magazine, or radio advertisements, and definitely zero buzz surrounding his sales. As a result, the album only sold 230 copies its first week. (That’s not a typo). Ouch. We think for now it’s safe to say that Bubba Sparxx is officially M.I.A. – he wouldn’t return our calls, and he wouldn’t even call his DJ back. He’s probably shacked up with Ms. New Booty poppin’ X pills, or maybe he’s working on another album. We’ll be nice and give him the benefit of the doubt.
We haven’t heard a whole lot from the Mouth of the South since her reality show days on Miss Rap Supreme where she stirred up entertaining controversy. Though the Thug Misses did release her third studio project, Nasti Muzik, shortly after that, for which she is currently on tour performing the album with a live band. She is also putting together her new album, Motor Mouf/Khia Shamone, Khia’s R&B debut, due out next year. As for more reality television, Khia says she hasn’t been offered enough dough yet. “As boring as the shows that are on right now, I’m sure they’re gonna come up with the [right] numbers next year,” she predicts.
Sometimes having a big hit can be a blessing and a curse, especially if the song becomes bigger than the artist. In 2007, Yola had one of the most heavily played radio records in Atlanta, “Ain’t Gon Let Up,” and what followed for the young ATL native was a string of bad luck. Unable to produce another record as big as his first, Yola was brushed under the rug by fickle rap fans and his record label, even though the song is still played at nightclubs. He was also robbed and shot in the face, an event some believe ended his career. Earlier this year, Yola released the popular song “Imma Dog” with Gucci Mane and “Lost My Mind” with J. Money. Things were looking up for him until August when he had to turn himself in for a one-year prison sentence. According to a blog on his website, the charges stem from an incident where Yola shot his cousin in self-defense. The blog also states that Yola is still releasing his debut album Gutta Work. Hopefully his luck will turn around.
Due to a pending sentencing for a gun charge received over 2 years ago, Blood Raw has been laying low since debuting his album My Life the True Testimony with CTE. He was convicted of the crime, which carries a penalty of anywhere from 5 years to probation, shortly after he beat a highly publicized Federal drug conspiracy charge. In the meantime, Blood is still on the road promoting his first album while preparing for his sophomore project Raw Redemption due out later this year. He’s also working on Blood Raw Ent., the USDA album, various mixtapes, and increasing visibility for Raw Redemption. “When I released my last album [the timing was bad],” he says. “My product manager got fired. My video wasn’t played on BET because of legal issues with Louis Vuitton. But my album was still successful because I outsold all new artists in 2008, other than Shawty Lo and Rocko. This time we’ve gotta dot our i’s and cross our t’s.”
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Some might say Trillville died when Crunk Music fizzled out. And from the outside looking in, that would be a reasonable assumption. But diehard Trillville fans are aware of the 2008 underground album Straight Up No Chaser, and most Atlanta residents know that Don P still has a successful production career. As of late, he’s placed beats with J. Futuristic (J. Money), Block, and Yung Joc’s Swagg Team. He says, “Atlanta is based on movements – first there was booty shake movement, then crunk, then snap music, then the rock-n-roll movement, and of course dope boy music never goes anywhere. Now we’re on the swag movement/fruity shit. I like to be a part of every movement, I evolve with the times.” Along with his solo album Global Warming, Don P also promises there will be another Trillville project coming soon.
After releasing his debut album in 2007 under the group D.S.R., Tum Tum’s noise outside of Dallas seemed to die down, but Zillaman has stayed hard at work. Though the spirit of Dirty South Rydaz weakened after failing to meet Universal’s sales expectations, Tum’s side group, TBGz, flourished. Along with TBGz’ projects, Tum is working with the super group Dallas City Council (D.C.C.) which is comprised of Lil Wil, BIG Hood Boss, Fat Pimp, Dorrough, Play n Skillz, Marquis Daniels, and others. He also has endorsements through Algierz and Yums clothing, a recent mixtape entitled TumK9: The Grassy Knoll, and a nearly finished mixtape with Chalie Boy. Tum also plans to release a second solo album: No Struggle No Progress and promises the D.S.R. album will soon materialize. “Everybody’s gonna break through and everybody’s gonna see what’s poppin’ in Dallas,” he says. “We got people like Dorrough, Big Chief, Tuck – I like where we’re at right now [in the Dallas scene].”
When Jody Breeze emerged on the rap scene five years ago, he had multiple red carpets laid out for him. A deal through Jazze Pha’s ShoNuff Records as a solo artist, another one at Block/Bad Boy as a member of Boyz N Da Hood, and rap magazines clamoring to tell his story. But after numerous fumbles at Shonuff and BNDH fading into relative obscurity, Jody Breeze was left alone. “I had to fall back, plus the rap game got salty too,” says Jody, mentioning that a year long stint on probation tied him down. “I had to switch my circle up. I was dealing with people who didn’t know what they were doing.” While he insists that he has no bad blood with any of his former co-workers including Jazze Pha, Diddy and Block, Jody says that his decision to sever business ties with them had to be done in order for him to grow as a man. That growth has had an impact on his music as well. “When I first came out, I was all about ‘shoot ‘em up bang bang, we moving this’,” he admits. “I was 18 then. I just turned 25, and I’m a daddy now. That trap shit is old. To all you young people thinking trappin’ is where it’s at, it really ain’t.” After writing for Lloyd, Yung Joc, Jazze Pha and even winning a BMI award for his writing on Diddy’s “Come To Me,” Jody officially reintroduced himself to listeners with his latest mixtape, The Album Before The Album.
Not much publicity has surrounded Houston pioneer E.S.G. since his stellar freestyle during the 2008 OZONE Awards (shameless plug). It’s been over five years since he’s released a studio album and the underground Boss Hogg will tell you it’s because he was blackballed by the music industry powers-that-be. But now that the alleged ban has been lifted, E.S.G.’s 7th official album is scheduled for release this fall under E1 Music. For the album, E.S.G. says he stuck to his roots and is delivering his full, raw story, starting with “The Intro,” an audio autobiography. Everyday Street Gangsta also features Slim Thug, the late Big Hawk (R.I.P.), Chamillionaire, and E.S.G.’s 8 year old son. “Man, it’s just a monster,” he says of his long-awaited project. “I’m taking you on tour of some real Southern music.”
Smoke (of Field Mob)
As one half of Field Mob, Smoke played a role in Southern Hip Hop’s emergence in the early2000s. After label woes during their first two albums, they came back stronger than ever in 2006 with a new deal at Disturbing Tha Peace. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out too well either. “It was legal problems,” says Smoke matter-of-factly. “I had to go off and do a little time, and you can’t promote when you’re locked up. So I don’t blame them for leaving us alone. You can’t work when you’re in jail.” Insisting that there’s no bad blood between him and his former label home, or his rap partner Shawn Jay, Smoke recently released a solo mixtape called Grandma Tried on his own label, FBI (Field Mob Incorporated). “Who doesn’t want to do their solo thing?” he says. “Even Jermaine Jackson went solo. People looked at it as a Field Mob breaking up, when it’s not. Like I said on my twitter page, “I don’t break up with dudes.” We support each other’s solo efforts. I put this out for people who I know were going to mess with it.”
Many people don’t realize that Slimm Calhoun’s 2001 debut The Skinny is what introduced Atlanta “trap music” to the masses before T.I. stamped it on the map. “The stuff people are on now, I was on back then,” he says. “Only difference with mine is that we had music under it. I was ahead of my time.” After appearing on a couple Outkast albums, Field Mob’s second LP and a few other underground releases, Slimm seemingly disappeared. But as he’ll tell you, he never stopped working. “I still have relationships with all of these artists out here doing their thing right now,” he says, mentioning that he’s appeared on plenty of mixtapes and albums over the years. “I got a couple things out there, but since they’re independent projects, they’re not really mainstream and a lot of people don’t know about them.” Recently, Slimm popped up on three songs from Killer Mike’s Underground Atlanta compilation. He’s also working with Fonsworth Bentley, Bobby V, and The Outlawz on upcoming projects, among others.
After their third album World Party came and went, both Goodie Mob and their label home (LaFace) seemed to crumble. Cee-Lo went on to enjoy solo success while Big Gipp, Khujo and T-Mo set out to prove that “one monkey” couldn’t stop the show. But last year Goodie Mob were spotted together numerous times including a surprise performance at a Nelly show in Atlanta. In fall 2009 their reunion show shut down the city, and rumors follow of a new album that is already near completion. “Our split was never a personal one, only professional,” says Cee-Lo.
In the early 2000’s, Lil Flip was poised to be the crown holder of Southern Hip Hop. After smashing the underground with The Leprechaun he had major labels tripping over themselves to sign him. When he eventually settled with Sony, he went on to release hit records, platinum albums, and work with everyone from David Banner to Pharrell. But after losing a “battle” with his then-Georgia equivalent T.I., label woes followed and Flip faded into rap obscurity... in America. According to Flip, he is still a popular artist overseas and has been doing quite a bit of touring. He recently put out a new album Respect Me and has plans to end the year by releasing nine mixtapes themed after Hip Hop classics (Reasonable Clout, Ready to Fly, All Eyez On Flip) and another album called Ahead of My Time. “Fifty percent of the time that Houston gets brought up, my name gets left out,” says Flip. “It used to piss me off, but a lot of these rappers can’t go overseas or do what I do. I’m coming back independent. I own my masters and no one can tell me what to do.”
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When Saigon graced the cover of our April 2006 issue, it was due mainly to recent comments he made about the South, blaming the region for “dumbing down Hip Hop.” After that Saigon’s blunt opinionated statements and outburst started becoming more known than his actual music. In 2007, frustration from his debut album The Greatest Story Never Told being constantly delayed led to his infamous “I Quit” blog, where he scolded his then label home Atlantic Records and the rap game at large for “pumping poison to the kids” and declared his retirement from rap. Later that same year he stirred up more controversy after video surfaced of him punching Mobb Deep’s Prodigy at a club in New York. Then in 2009 Saigon got entangled in a rap battle with Joe Budden. While his near-mythical debut album has yet to be released, Saigon plans to resurface with Warning Shots 2 through Just Blaze’s Fort Knox Entertainment and Amalgam Digital.
Ying Yang TwinS
Always heralded as one of the more lyrical artists on Master P’s heavily populated No Limit roster, Fiend was also one of the few to keep working after the camouflaged empire began to wither away at the turn of the century. He released a moderately successful street album series Can I Burn in the early 2000’s and also had a brief stint being signed to Ruff Ryders. From there he hooked up with DJ Paul & Juicy J to form a group called Da Headbussaz and released Dat’s How It Happen To’ Em in 2003. While he was never highly recognized on the national rap radar, Fiend has made plenty of moves behind the scenes penning Twista to Trey Songz’ hit “Girl Tonight” as well as producing for C-Murder, Jadakiss and Lil Wayne, among others. In addition to working as a “Street A&R” for Atlantic Records for a spell, rumors have circulated for a year that he is set to sign to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation imprint. His latest mixtape Fiend 4 Da Money was released this past spring.
Ozonemag.com caught up with the Ying Yang Twins at a recent Lil Scrappy/Ace Hood/Ludacris video shoot in Atlanta, where Kaine was carrying around a bottle of their new Ying Yang Premium Vodka. He also took the opportunity to show us his weathered and tattered passport, evidence that the group has been touring the world while their popularity in the States has waned over the last couple of years. Plans are in order for a Ying Yang Forever world tour as well as a new album entitled Me and the Other One that they plan to release independently since they are currently embroiled in what Kaine referred to as a “Mexican standoff” with the record labels. And although it hasn’t been updated in a while, the Twins recently delved into the online arena by launching their own online community, YingYangTwinRadio.com.
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When Stat Quo joined the Aftermath roster in 2003 he was poised to be one of the front runners in the game when it came to Southern lyricism. After all, he was signed after Scarface himself pursued him for the Def Jam South imprint he was running at the time. After appearing on Young Buck’s Straight Outta Cashville as well as Eminem’s Encore, his much delayed album Statlanta looked like it was finally coming out. In 2009, the album has yet to see the light of day. To keep his name out there Stat has launched a campaign where he has released a mixtape every two months for the last year. Announcing his departure from Aftermath in late 2008, he is currently working the independent circuit and will be releasing another mixtape called The Great Depression this fall.
Words by Julia Beverly Photo by Diwang Valdez
THE SON OF SOUTHERN RAP PIONEER AND RAP-A-LOT founder J PRINCE, JAS PRINCE IS BOTH CONTINUING THE FAMILY LEGACY AND STAKING HIS OWN CLAIM TO FAME AS A YOUNG CEO WITH A SHARP EAR FOR FRESH TALENT. JUST ASK DRAKE AND LIL WAYNE. Lately, you’ve been on the road with the Lil Wayne and Young Money tour. Me and [Lil Wayne’s manager] Tezz are business partners. If Tezz isn’t there and they need anything, they call on me and I can make it happen. I’m Young CEO. Wherever I can fit in and make things happen, I play that role. Your father established quite a legacy in the game as the CEO and Founder of Rap-A-Lot and pioneer of this whole Southern movement. Of course the name recognition is positive but there’s probably a lot of pressure on you also to live up to those expectations. What are the pros and cons of having a famous father? I believe it’s more negative, because people always wanna point the finger at [my father] and say, “You’re only doing this because of your dad.” Some of that is true, but at the same time, I’m my own man. My father lets me do things how I wanna do them, but he always let me know that he’s there if I need him. Of course he’s gonna let me fall and hit my head sometimes, but at the same time, I learn from my mistakes. I don’t mind doing that. I like to do stuff on my own and if I have a question or whatever, I can call on my dad because I know he’s done it before and he can tell me how to fix it or how to move on. From an early age, was it always your dream to follow in his footsteps? Oh yeah. Even when I was young he’d make sure I had a summer job at Rap-A-Lot. He’d have me sweeping the floor, or in the shipping room learning how to ship stuff. As I started growing older, I got interested in marketing. I didn’t take it as seriously as I should’ve. I believe that if I had been more focused at a younger age, I’d be at a different level than I am right now. But still, I’ve been around it and I’ve learned the game from my old man. He’s the best in the game. The game has changed a lot since the early days of Rap-A-Lot. Would you say it’s harder or easier to build a record label these days? It’s harder now because you have to worry about bootlegs and all that. But artists like Wayne and Drake have their set fan base and they just promote themselves as artists. Some artists just have hot singles but they don’t have a hot classic album. I mean, I don’t normally just buy albums. But if it’s a hot classic album, I buy it. Trey Songz’ album just came out. I love that album; I bought that album. It’s different nowadays from back then. I believe back then [artists] were more in the streets. It was more about being seen. Nowadays I think a lot of people just lay back and let the album do what it do. But the streets are what
sells this Hip Hop music. If the streets and the hood are backing you, you’re gonna make it. That’s how a lot of dance songs get on the radio, because the DJs make it hot in the clubs first. Do you think the fact that Wayne and Drake put out so many mixtapes and free music is helping them sell albums? It helps. I believe all artists should do mixtapes. Wayne just gives them away because he wants everybody to hear his music. That’s one hardworking dude, man. I have never seen anybody that stays in the studio as much as Wayne does. He’s in the studio every night. The night after he won his fourth Grammy, everybody [else] was talking about going out [to the afterparties] and he was on the bus recording, talking about, “This is for my next album.” We were like, “Whoa.” But that’s what hard work is about. If you love your craft like Wayne does, you know you’ve gotta perfect it and let the people know you love it. They’ll see it in your work. And it’s the same thing with Drake. Drake won’t just get on anybody’s song. He doesn’t care who you are. He loves the music so much that when he raps about something, you can feel it. It’s kinda like Z-Ro. I think if Z-Ro had a [better] work ethic, he could be the next ‘Pac or Scarface. You feel his pain when he raps. The artist has gotta want it. You can push an artist as much as you want from the record label standpoint, but the artist has gotta want it. They’ve gotta have that hunger, like a pitbull after blood. Wayne’s got it already and he still acts like he wants it. Like Wayne says, “They print a lot of money, but there’s not one dollar that says Dwayne Carter can’t have it.” What was your involvement with Drake? I found Drake on Myspace. I believe Myspace is the easiest way to find hot artists in every region. I was going through a bunch of artists and did a worldwide blast to find out who had the most hits. I came across Drake’s page; yellow boy from Canada. The first song I clicked on was “Replacement Girl” with Trey Songz, and I was like, “Damn, this nigga can rap!” I wondered if he was signed. He’s got a video, a song with Trey Songz.. no label? I sent him a message and introduced myself. A couple days later I got a response back. “No, I’m not signed.” He gave me his number and we talked for a while. In my mind, I’m like, “This boy is a star. He raps, sings, and acts.” So I’m pushing it to everybody, like, “I got this artist named Drake, and I’m gonna sign him.” I hit Wayne like, “Yo, bro.
I got this artist I want you to hear.” Wayne kept pushing it back, like, “Yeah, yeah. Alright.” Two years ago I did a concert [in Houston] on New Year’s Eve with Wayne. The next day, after the concert, we were chillin’ at the hotel and Wayne asked me to take him to the jewelry store. He jumped in my truck. All the time, I’m thinking about business, so I put in this Drake CD. He was feeling it, bobbing his head. Drake said some slick line, and Wayne was like, “Yo, who is this, man? This boy nice!” I said, “That’s the nigga Drake I been telling you about.” Then I played “Brand New,” a song where Drake is singing. Wayne was like, “Man, who is this?” I said, “That’s Drake!” He’s like, “Bro, he sings too? Man, call him right now. Get him on the next flight to Houston.” I called Drake, and he was at the barbershop. He’s like, “Yo, this Drizzy,” and Wayne was like, “Yo, it’s Weezy.” He was kinda shocked. Wayne said, “Get on the next flight to Houston. I’ma holla at you when you get here.” Drake called me back like, “Was that Wayne for real?” He flew out the next morning and we went to the studio that night. The next day we got on the bus and rode from Houston to Atlanta. We had a long ride and got to talk over some things. That night we went to the studio, and that’s when he recorded “Forever” and “Stunt Hard.” From then on, it’s history. What new projects are you working on now? I’m still a part of the Drake movement. They’re trying to do a reality show on me. I’ve got a clothing line coming out called Young Heartthrob. I’ve got a lot of stuff on the table right now, I’m just structuring it right so I can make the right moves. I’m still involved on the Rap-ALot side too; that’s my family, always. Rap-A-Lot for life. Cash Money and Rap-A-Lot are about to do some big things together. We’re gonna keep it all in the family. Cash Money, Young Money, Rap-A-Lot, and my label, Young Empire. Is there one piece of advice your father/mentor has given you that sticks out over the years? My dad always told me, “Wait broke the wagon.” Meaning, keep going. Don’t wait on anything. Just keep moving. Stay persistent. In the music business, persistence means you’re hungry. That’s what I’ve learned all my life as I’ve worked on albums, like Bun’s album and everything that Rap-A-lot was involved with. Persistence, persistence. This young dude is persistent. You might bug somebody, but they know that you’re on your business. // OZONE OZONEMAG MAG////59 59
Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Ben Watts
Typically speaking, quality tends to diminish as time wears on an artist. Days on the road are exhausting, time in the studio takes a backseat to time on the stage, and somewhere between pleasing record label execs, taking pictures for fans, and juggling a non-stop schedule designed TO makE a dollar, an artist TENDS TO LOSE touch with their craft. But then there are the exceptions – the ones that crystallize, rather than crack, under pressure. Trey Songz is that exception. With the release of his third studio album, Ready, Songz shows us that progress is in his nature, and with each effort he improves. Still in the middle of a hectic promo tour, Trey takes a moment to discuss where he comes from, where he’s going, and why he’s built for the long haul. Are you tired of talking about the new album yet? Yeah, it gets redundant after a while, but with somethin’ you’re so proud of you never get tired of lettin’ the world know about it. What do you think is the most creative song on Ready? The most be creative song on the album would be “Black Roses.” What’s the most personal song on the album? Is it “Black Roses,” or is there another song that’s closer to your heart? You know, even the personal songs, in a lot of ways, have portions that involve my feelings, but there are portions that aren’t my feelings. But I’d say “Love Lost” is the most personal record. There’s an obvious growth musically between this album and your last project. Everyone’s talking about how you stepped your game up as far as the music, but how else have you grown since the release of your last album? As a businessman, I’ve aligned the stars on how to do things. I’ve kinda found the matrix as far as what will pull people in. The planning and marketing and everything that was done to promote this album was more so myself and my team than anything else. I think we did a great job. I pat ourselves on the back about that. I think the steam that was created before the album came out was almost like the perfect storm. I think that in itself shows the growth as a businessman. Anyone that’s followed your career can see the progress. You really got out there and worked 24/7, non-stop. Do you think that made you appreciate your success more, or maybe kept you down-to-earth? Most definitely. It’s definitely put me in a place 60 // OZONE MAG
where I know it’s worth it. I know what it’s like to not have all that I have now. I worked very hard to get all that I have now. It’s also given me the will to work just as hard as I did when I was first tryin’ to get on. What are some things in life you haven’t obtained yet that you’re still striving for? Well, one day I hope to have a family. That’s something I would really enjoy, something that will come when it’s time. Do you think being an artist affects your ability to have personal relationships? Or is that something you can fit into your life right now? My career is my life right now. It’s a sacrifice I make to be who I am, to achieve what I want to achieve. There’s certain things I can’t do and I’m dealing with that. Maybe it’ll bite me in the ass later, but I’m sleepin’ with success right now. Obviously you had to go through some life situations to write the songs you sing. When’s the last time you were really in love? Probably two years ago. What did you learn from that experience? I learned that to be in love you have to be able to give it your all, and I couldn’t give that. What are some other things people wouldn’t necessarily know about you? Who is the man behind Trey Songz? Things that they shouldn’t know. (laughs) It’s just that I give so much of myself, there’s not much that they don’t know. I hold on to what they don’t know. How does being from Virginia affect your music? As humans, I think where we grow up is what sets the foundation for who we’re gonna be – the way we grow up, the way we’re raised, the things we’re told, and the environment we’re set in. I was in a very loving environment, as far as the people that raised me. There weren’t too many men in my life so I had to learn a lot on my own. Being from Virginia has definitely made me who I am in a lot of ways, but I have lived in different places – Florida, Kansas, all different parts of Maryland, New Jersey – so I think that’s given me a multicultural look at life, and a more diverse approach to things. Petersburg, which is a predominantly black city, is very poverty stricken. Why did you live in so many different places? My mother married a military man when I was 7 years old. Do you think always having to pack up and move prepared you for life on the road? The longest I lived in one place was the first seven years of my life. I’ve lived somewhere dif-
ferent every year since then, with the exception of the four years I went to high school. Where do you think you’ll retire? I’m not sure. That’s a good question. We talked about your family and your background a little, but are there any other pivotal moments in your life that affected your career? Was there a defining moment that really made you realize music was for you? The love that I had for music was definitely enhanced after I recorded the first song I had ever written. I kept playing it over and over, and hearing myself on a song, it sounded like it could go on the radio. I kept tellin’ my mama and my cousin, I was like, “Man, I did this song, it sounds like it could be on the radio. It sounds so good, dawg.” Did they believe you? I mean, after they heard it. I wasn’t the best vocalist back then, but the song had great structure. My mentor and producer helped me through it. I watched him make the track in twenty minutes and that was amazing to me. That’s when my love for music just blossomed. I was just so interested in it and wanted to know everything about it. How old were you when you recorded that song? 15. Did you take voice lessons or was it something that came naturally to you? I’ve never taken voice lessons, actually. I’m gettin’ my first vocal coach comin’ up soon. After your third album you’re gonna get a vocal coach? Yuuup, after my third album, ‘cause I strive to be great. I feel like there’s no better time than the present, when everybody’s talkin’ about my growth now. I plan to grow more. Where do you go now? You’re out promoting the album right now, but what’s the overall plan for the near future? The tour with starts off September 29th in Los Angeles. You can get tickets at BET.com or TreySongz.com – check for the dates. I’m very excited about that. I’m headlining the tour. Mario, Day 26, Sean Garrett, and a few other acts will be on it as well. And the question you probably get asked all the time now -- are you doing more records with Drake? Most definitely. We got somethin’ in the bag. Is there anything else you want to say? Just let my fans know I appreciate the support. For people who may have supported me from day one, or even if you just started yesterday, I appreciate you. //
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Dorrough/Dorrough Music/E1 Music Judging from his self-titled release, newcomer Dorrough has an obvious strength in making singles that sell. Songs like “Ice Cream Paint Job,”“Caramel Sunday,”“Piece and Chain,” and “Wired to the T” illustrate why he’s currently E1 Music’s #1 breadwinner and a staple in Southern nightclubs. Dorrough’s Achilles heel, however, is storytelling. When obvious attempts are made to broaden his catalog of music (“Never Changed,”“Feel This Way”) D-O-Double R’s skills appear to be adolescent. For those who appreciate profound lyrics, this album comes up short, but if you like ringtone records, this is the jammin’-est album of the year. - Ms. Rivercity
Slaughterhouse/Slaughterhouse/E1 Music Ladies and gentleman please be sure to take any rappers into your home, lock the door, and protect them, because Slaughterhouse is on the loose. This four-man lyrical wrecking crew uses their self-titled debut to assure everybody that Hip Hop still lingers out there, and that there are still emcees able to bend words around a beat. Each Slaughterhouse member is fairly represented on the album and will leave listeners with a handful of quotable bars, although some of them may only come over mediocre production. Bottom line - fans rejoice, rappers take notes. - Rohit Loomba
Killer Mike/Underground Atlanta/Grand Hustle/SMC There are a lot of underground acts in the A that don’t get the exposure they desire, and Killer Mike’s Underground Atlanta is designed to bring attention to some of those artists. But on some cuts, it sounds more like Mike invited other rappers to get on the album just so he could murder them (“I’mma Fool With It” alongside Big Kuntry, “Trunk” featuring Gucci Mane and “Put On” with Dem Get Away Boyz). Mike doesn’t appear on every song, but when he does, it will make you wish for more Killa Kill from the Ville, and less Travis Porter (“Freaky Girls”) and Trillville (“I Be Off Dat”). Still, this album is a valiant effort on Mike’s behalf and a good representation of the A-Town’s unheralded. - Randy Roper
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Trick Daddy, Ice Berg & DJ Scream/Dunk Ryde or Die Trick Daddy’s been M.I.A. (and I don’t mean Miami) for so long, even if this mixtape sucked, hearing brand new Trick music would be a cool with most Dirty South rap fans. Fortunately for Daddy Dollars fans, Dunk Ryde or Die is one for heavy rotation. “This The Shit I Live,”“Ruby Red” and “I Can Feel It” are vintage T-Double-D tracks, proving the 305 veteran can still drop bangers. Although this mixtape’s costar Dunk Ryder member Ice Berg’s contributions aren’t as impressive as Trick’s (especially his solo cuts), listeners shouldn’t mind him riding shotgun on some songs. —Randy Roper Yung Joc/Grind Flu/ Swagg Team While Joc sits in Block Entertainment/Bad Boy label limbo, the ATown rapper releases Grind Flu, a free album, under his own terms. The guest features on this 19-track street album are numerous as Joc brings in a long list of artists, including Shawty Lo, Gucci Mane, OJ da Juiceman, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, Pleasure P, and Yung Ralph. Every song on here isn’t a winner, but Grind Flu has something for the streets (“Birds”), clubs (“Drinks Up”), ladies (“Winner”), and radio (“Choose Me”), and shows Joc can grind on his own. Take that, Puff. You too, Block. Randy Roper
Lil Boosie & Hurricane Chris/ Category 7: A Bad Ass Hurricane On Category 7, two of Louisiana finest rappers unite for what they call A Bad Ass Hurricane. Boosie and Chris fans will truly appreciate this mixtape, as songs like “Going Hard Tonight,”“Lime Lite” and “Pain (Lil Ivy)” give imageries of struggle, and pain, mixed with a musical bounce that Bad Ass and Hurricane fans love. But the majority of the mixtape’s production is handled by Big Wayne, which gives the project a recurrent sound that’s dulls through 17 cuts. Still, Category 7 is a good warm-up for both of their new solo albums coming out later this year. - Randy Roper Cam’ron, Vado & DJ Drama/Boss of All Bosses Cam’ron finally came out of hiding this year, and even released a new album in May, but after that, he went right back into being clammed up. Fortunately, we didn’t have to go too long without hearing from Killa Cam again, as the Harlem MC came right back with a new mixtape, this time it’s one of DJ Drama’s much acclaimed Gangsta Grillz tapes, and Cam and Dram don’t disappoint. It would have been better without Cam’s sidekick, Vado, who sounds like 100 other rappers from NYC. But even Vado’s presence couldn’t wreck this one, as Boss of All Bosses is arguably one of Drama’s best Gangsta Grillz in recent memory and a better overall project than Cam’s latest album, Crime Pays. - Randy Roper
Chamillionaire/Mixtape Messiah 7 Said to be the final installment of Chamillionaire’s Mixtape Messiah series, the Houston rapper drops a 2-disc project with enough new music to make fans forget King Koopa hasn’t released a major album since 2007. Most of the tracks on MM7 are over instrumentals like Drake’s “Best I Ever Had,” KiD CuDi’s “Day ‘n’ Night” and Plies’“Plenty Money,” but Cham does a good job of adding his own twist, sometimes outshining the original songs. His own original cuts are few, but songs like “Denzel Washington” featuring Z-Ro, “Gucci & Fendi,”“Solo” with Crooked I and “I Know Ya Mad” with Bun B will hold fans until his next album Venom drops. Mixtape Messiah will go down as a classic mixtape series, but Cham went out on top with this one. - Randy Roper Tity Boi, DJ Scream & DJ Teknikz/All Ice On Me I’m not sure why Tity Boi figured the people needed a double disc mixtape from him, but this DJ Scream and DJ Teknikz presentation turned out to be a good idea. Although Tity 2 Chains isn’t rapping about much of anything, he’s still an above average rapper with a consistency for picking good beats, which is usually the formula for good music. No disrespect to his Playaz Circle counterpart, but Dolla isn’t missed at all, as it’s obvious Tit is the nicer of the two Disturbing Tha Peace artists. All Ice On Me has a ton of standout tracks, and we shouldn’t expect anything less from the Duffle Bag Boyz new release Flight 360. - Randy Roper
Jody Breeze & DJ Bobby Black/ Album Before the Album Da Young Gunna’s newest project may be moderately overselling itself with the title. Definitely not the album everyone is anticipating, this assortment of industr-beat freestyles and original singles is an above-average attempt at satisfying his anxious enthusiasts. Jody demonstrates the familiar flow he’s acclaimed for on tracks like “Dope Boy Swag,”“Bitch Get Off Me,” and “Let’s Ride,” and offers an escape from his norm on “She Don’t Want You.” There are no bells and whistles here, just straight Breeze, and one invited guest (“Ghetto” ft. Yo Gotti). Throughout his pre-album, Jody claims he’s the answer to the void in Hip Hop - well, we’re eagerly awaiting his grand emergence. - Ms. Rivercity Ms. Brown & Don Cannon/ Under the Influence of Ms. Brown/S-Line Ent. & Warner Bros Ms. Brown has all the makings of a super-singer: the image, the team, the presence. What’s she’s missing however, is an inviting voice. That’s not to say she doesn’t sing well. On songs like “Just Listen” and “Weary,” which appear at the end of the tape, Brown gives us a glimpse of her intoxicating capabilities. But she mostly opts for a punk-rock-pop style reminiscent of Pink, and it’s overwhelmingly hard to endure for 13 tracks. Sure, songs like “Wonderland” and “Bitches” make Ms. Brown a standout act, but her strange crooning and left field themes make Under the Influence a buzz killer. - Ms. Rivercity
J. Green & Supastar J Kwik/ Fresh Out Da Gates Florida natives might remember the club hit “Paralyze” by the group OHB, and if so, you might remember lead group member J. Green. Fresh Out Da Gates (well, fresh out of prison, that is), Green’s music and rhyme flow sounds a lot like a poor man’s Plies, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Luckily for J. Green, he has quite a few songs produced by The Runners like “60 Seconds” and “From Da Bottom” that make him sound halfway decent, but those Runners’ songs aren’t enough to make up for the rest of Green’s music. Most of the songs on Fresh Out Da Gates sound dated and amateur, and are outright painful to listen to. Trying to figure why J Kwik would cosign this is even more baffling. Lets hope J. Green and OHB can make better music in the future, because this mixtape is all types of wrong. - Randy Roper
Rain & Don Cannon/American Dreamin’ Part 2 Coming out of Fayetteville, NC, Rain has amounted a significant buzz on the internet and Carolina streets, and after listening to his second American Dreamin’ mixtape, it’s easy to hear his rhyme flow is a big reason why. This is the second time Rain hooked up with Don Cannon, and this mixtape has songs like “Shoot This Down,”“Lady In a Red Dress” and “Ride” that justify Cannon’s stamp. On the other hand, Rain’s raspy voice does start to get boring, and the beats start sounding alike throughout the 14-track mix. Not to takeaway from the American Dreamin’ II’s solid body of work, but maybe he’ll experiment and reach outside of his comfort zone on his next project. - Randy Roper
Travis Porter & DJ Teknikz/I’m a Differenter 2 Travis Porter’s second mixtape with DJ Teknikz isn’t much different(er) from their last effort. The Atlanta trio has plenty of music that’s fun to sing-along to, but those songs also border the lines of annoyance. Tracks like “A.D.I.D.A.S.,”“Life of the Party” and “Whole Hood Fuck With Me” will entertain TP’s juvenile audience, while “Turnt Up” should prove to be a club banger from A-Town to H-Town in the coming months. Similar to Soulja Boy, most people just won’t get Travis Porter. But for those that understand what they’re getting into before listening, I’m a Differenter 2 is cool for what it is. - Randy Roper
Curren$y & Wiz Khalifa/ How Fly You can’t tell Pittsburgh’s Wiz Khalifa or New Orleans’ Curren$y they aren’t fly, so collaborating on a mixtape would sound like a good idea. Through 15 cuts, Wiz and Spitta trade bars, but Currens$y’s monotone flow and Khalifa’s acute pitch do not mix well together, making for songs that are drastically different from verse to verse. Overall, this mixtape does have quality songs like “The Check Point,”“Layover” and “The Life” that show each MC’s individual talents, despite the lack of chemistry for the duration of How Fly. - Randy Roper
JW & DJ Folk/Get It From the Muscle 2 If you liked Plies’ sound the first time around, and again when 2 Pistols and Brisco came out, then you’re going to love CTE’s new muscle man JW. With the second installment of Get It From the Muscle, J-Dub is “Baik At It” with another helping of we-heard-it-all-before street rhyming. It’s clear Jeezy isn’t signing anyone that surpasses his skill level, but having a bunch of goon lookin’ dudes on deck probably serves a purpose. On the upside, JW picks good beats for covering popular topics like “Ballin and Hustlin,”“Street Life,” and “Real Ni***z.” - Ms. Rivercity
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From the Fab Five of the early 90s University of Michigan basketball team to the Bad Boys of the Detroit Pistons, the state of Michigan has been known for producing some of the best five-man teams the world has ever seen. Now, production unit the Olympicks hope to keep that tradition going as they make a name for themselves in the music industry. Comprised of Jay Fab, Knoxville, BP, PC, and Flawless, this squad of producers are quickly carving a lane for themselves. they have produced tracks for Rick Ross, Young Jeezy’s CTE CREW, Lil Mama, Young Dro, and Jim Jones, just to name a few. Now with a freshly inked deal making them in-house producers for RICK Ross’S Maybach Music label, the Olympicks will be running rings around the competition for years to come. Tell us how The Olympicks came together. Jay Fab: We were all individual producers and we were all cool with the same artists. We always produced around each other, plus we were under the same umbrella under a management company in Atlanta. This was for a good 2 years. We were on a roller coaster and nothing was really getting anywhere. I felt like we would be a unit if we all clicked and put our individuality behind us, took the tags off our beats and
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everything. BP: We already worked together before, so the transition from being individuals into a group was easy. We used to share opportunities all the time. So it fit perfectly. How does it work having five producers? Does everyone have input on each beat? BP: To a certain extent yes and then no. We all have our certain strengths and like with Fab, he’s good at pop music so he may lead the track with that and then Knox will come with the samples and then everyone else will add something. PC: With it being five of us it’s actually better, because we can be the contact person for different relationships that we have, instead of all five us talking to a person. There can be one contact person for separate situations. Jay Fab: Certain days all five of us will be in the studio, but we’ll have more than one session going on, so we can be in different rooms and can make our own playlists. It works out better for the five of us. Even as your names gets bigger, you still work with underground artists too. Why? BP: Everybody is hungry in the underground. We’re working with a female artist named Siya right now and she just has that thing. She raps like a female and doesn’t try to rap like a dude, she’s balanced, and she has pizzazz. We like to be hands-on working with people, a lot. With them it’s more about the music, it’s not for superduper business. When we’re in the studio with a big artist, nine times out of ten we don’t have a lot of time with them because it’s more about business. With underground artists, there are no time constraints.
How did your new production deal with Maybach Music come about? Jay Fab: The regular story. A video guy at Maybach Music liked our tracks. We played some stuff for Ross and they kept asking for more tracks. It didn’t happen overnight though. Basically Ross really liked the tracks and he’s at a transition period where he is trying to build his dynasty. So it was a combination of good timing and being consistent. We signed a deal where we’re in-house producers with Maybach Music and we can still work with other parties. Ross is a down-to-earth dude. You’ve got artists who have a down-to-earth aura and you have some with a Hollywood aura. But with Ross, you can chop it up with him. BP: He saw our vision enough to want to build his empire around our sound, and that’s big to us. We didn’t need a deal, really, we were cool in our lane, but we got it, and we’re grateful. Who are some of these other parties you’re working with at the moment? Jay Fab: We are working on Teflon Don’s project, an artist named Don Juan, and we’re about to go in with Rocko. We’re trying to do a lot. We traveled to get what we have so far. You have to travel. We were in Atlanta for four months but we were basically working from Michigan. We make the music there but traveled to lay the groundwork. This new situation is a real blessing. We’re glad Ross saw us for our talent and not our name. A lot of artists will only work with you based on your name, or how many placements, hits and awards you have. We appreciate him meshing his vision with our sound. //
Gimme Back My Swag 3
Twitter.com/DjTeknikz 1. Evil Empire “Skull & Bones: Juelz Santana, Lil Wayne & Jim Jones” Twitter.com
/itsevilempire 2. DJ Smallz & DJ Neptune “Southern Smoke TV R&B” Hosted by Sean Garrett twitter.com/DjSmallz Twitter.com/DJNeptune 3. DJ Storm “Drank Epidemic 11” Twitter.com/mrcategory5
4. Lil Fats “Coast 2 Coast 90” Coast2coastmixtapes.com 5. DJ Smoke “Daily Dose: Round 2” Twitter.com/DJSmokeMixtapes 6. DJ Lazy Eyez “Cook Street Podcast 01” DJLazyeyez.com 7. DJ Noodles “Fix Your Face Radio 14” Hosted by Ace Hood Twitter.com /djNoodles 8. DJ Spinz & DJ Pretty Boy Tank “Space Invades 3: Attack of the Clones” Twitter.com/spinzhoodrich Twitter.com/DjPrettyBoyTank 9. DJ Headbussa “Supply & Demand” Twitter.com/DJHEADBUSSA 10. DJ E-Top “Too Hot For The Radio 4” Myspace.com/etopent 11. DJ Peachez “Make a B!tch Rich” Hosted by Nicki Minaj & Tina Marie
12. DJ Point Blanc “Lets Ride” 13. Sidewalk Music and Wonderouz Muzik “King of the Club Vol. 3” Hosted by Beestroh
For the third and final mixtape in DJ Teknikz’ Gimme Back My Swag series, the Atlanta DJ compiles a mix with all the swag music he could find. The newest music from Young Dro (“Got To Know”), Yung LA (“Coolin’”) and J-Futuristic (“Deep Cover”), and a host of other A-Town rappers make for a mixtape that proves Teknikz and the Street Executives have their ears to the streets when it comes to the latest ATL music. DJs, send your mix CDs (with a cover) for consideration to: OZONE Magazine 644 Antone St. Suite 6 Atlanta, GA 30318
14. DJ Dutty Laundry “New World Order: Still Vacant R&B” Myspace.com/duttylaundry 15. DJ Delz “D187 Hood Radio 36” Twitter.com/djdelz 16. DJ Cashis Kay & DJ O.P. “D-Bock Blends Vol. 1” Myspace.com/cashiskay Myspace.com/djopmixtapes 17. DJ Hitz “Young Money Massacre Part 2” Twitter.com/DJHITZ
18. DJ Omega “Grind In Full Vol. 7” Myspace.com/djomega215 19. Tapemasters Inc. & DJ Envy “Purple Codeine 25” Hosted by Alley Boy Tapemastersinc.net Twitter.com/djEnvy 20. DJ Spinatik “Street Runnaz 37” djspinatik.com
OZONE MAG // 65
Throwback: R.I.P. DJ AM pictured here performing with Paul Wall & Travis Barker Venue: The Mezzanine City: San Francisco, CA Date: January 23rd, 2009 Photo: D-Ray
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RAW, UNCENSORED WEST COAST RAP SHIT
D-LO DOWN AKA AKA KILO TERRACE MARTIN SHORT STORIES RESPECT RESPECTTHE THEPIMPIN’ PIMPIN’
DOIN’ DOIN’IT ITIN INAAMAJOR MAJORWAY WAY
editor’s note I’m Just Sayin’tho by D-Ray
et’s talk about the perception of the media. I’m usually the one who has a “who gives a shit?” attitude towards what people think, but the misconceptions always bother me, for some reason. Maybe it’s because whenever people think of you as “media,” they pass judgment, thinking that you’re only into gossip and drama. But that’s where I draw the line with my media coverage.
Every time I’m in LA the city screams for me to stay. I just haven’t been able to bring myself to leave my home, the BAY AREA!
Yes, I read the gossip. I watch it and I hear it! I just don’t speak on it. It’s one of those things about being where I’m from. Besides, I don’t like confrontation, so I’d rather just stay far away from it. I’m “media” because I love the stories my pictures help tell. I have love for Hip Hop and I have love for people making their dreams come true. I have respect for the artists that stay working every day on their dreams. That’s why I do it. It’s my passion to capture all of those special moments.
I know I keep saying this, but it’s the truth: a lot of artists need to quit relying on their music and step their promotion game up big time! Hustlers never stop hustlin’. This business is all about your visual AND your music. You need to create a fanbase, don’t sit around waiting for a fanbase!
I know many careers have been ruined by negative media attention. How fair is that? So when I am thought of as “media” in a negative sense, I take it personally. I try to be a part of the solution (good media) not the problem (bad media). This might be the reason my birthday party was so big to me. I had a crazy time. I want to thank everyone that came out to celebrate with me on my birthday! If you haven’t seen the pictures from the party you can go to OZONE Magazine’s website ozonemag.com and look under D-Ray’s Birthday Party in Beverly Hills! Please go see what all the talk is about! I also have to thank Ballyhoo PR; she did her thing. Big Mike of UGMX, thanks for taking care of all my last-minute needs! You came through BIG TIME! We had a great turnout, with people from Alaska all the way to France! We had pimps, hoes, hustlers, goons, gangstas, OGs, rappers, and did I mention Suge Knight? Yeah, Suge Knight came through! We had gangs and all areas in the house with NO DRAMA. It truly meant a lot. Look out for all the crazy Hustle 101 footage from that night. Another special thanks goes out to London for singing Happy Birthday to me.
Everybody came through my birthday ...you already know J party at Gonapchi in Beverly Hills! Diggs was there... Here’s me and Shorty Mack...
Glasses Malone f/ T-Pain & Birdman “Sun Come Up” Crooked I f/ Snoop Dogg “I Look Good” Snoop Dogg f/ The Dream “Gangsta Luv” Nipsey Hussle “Hussle Is My Last Name” Nipsey Hussle f/ Snoop Dogg & Poo-Bear “Gangsta’s Life” Glasses Malone f/ Slim Tha Mobster “Mutha Fuckin Streets” Bishop Lamont f/ Suga Free, Chevy Jones, Bokey, & Butch Cassidy “Nothing Could Be Better”
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The Bay is my first love, and it’s where I’m from. I will always go hard for the home team! I just feel like it’s time for change. But remember, it’s straight up West Coast all day!
Take Tech N9ne, for instance. He’s one of my favorite artists and he put in the time and the work to build his fanbase. I knew who Tech N9ne was before I even heard his music. His visual and hype were on point! He’s everywhere! He stays on the road, I’d guess, at least 200 days out of the year. Tech, if you’re reading this and I’m wrong with my guesstimation, let me know! You’re a perfect example of how to get it in! Artists need to try to stay on the road as much as possible. It’ll help you create a fanbase with a crazy promotional campaign and music to match. You have to be willing to make certain sacrifices if you’re serious and passionate about your goals. You need to live everyday going for your goals; that’s definitely not happening at your house or just in your city. You have to get hot there first, but after you’ve done that, YOU MUST TAKE THE SHOW ON THE ROAD! Sometimes I’m so disappointed by certain movements and certain artists because they get so big in their region but fail to travel and bring that momentum to other areas so the movement can spread. I know nothing is EASY and nothing is FREE in life. Start by investing in yourself if you want others to invest in you! - D-Ray, OZONE West Editor-At-Large firstname.lastname@example.org
...and of course some of LA’s finest were in the building, like Problem....
...and Jay Rock!
Nipsey Hussle “The Hussle Way” Koolade f/ J-Ro “Get Addicted” Snoop Dogg f/ Nate Dogg “OG” Mack 10 f/ J Holiday “Hood Famous”
(above L-R): San Quinn & Keak Da Sneak on the set of Keak da Sneak’s video shoot in East Oakland, CA; J Diggs & Dirty Girl on the set of J Diggs’ ‘I’m In The Hood’ video shoot in Vallejo, CA; Warren G signing autographs @ Arcata Community Center in Arcata, CA (Photos: D-Ray)
01 // Gary Archer, The Jacka, Sam, & Husalah @ 17Hertz (Hayward, CA) 02 // Shad Gee, Fillmore Rich & Dame Fame @ Toons for Bay Day (San Jose, CA) 03 // Bizarre of D12 @ Arcata Community Center (Arcata, CA) 04 // Jamal & Amon @ Bay Area Producers Conference (Bay Area, CA) 05 // Thizz Kids on the set of J Diggs’ “I’m In The Hood” video shoot (Vallejo, CA) 06 // BOB, Kid Cudi, & Asher Roth @ Regency Ballroom for the Great Hangover Tour (San Francisco, CA) 07 // Soulja Boy & D-Ray @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Concord, CA) 08 // Remembering Mac Dre @ Crest Park (Vallejo, CA) 09 // Too Short, Black, & E-40 @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Concord, CA) 10 // Extreme & Warren G (Hayward, CA) 11 // Demolition Men & Rob E @ Bay Area Producers Conference (Bay Area, CA) 12 // Chuckee Valentino & Cee-Lo @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Concord, CA) 13 // Network & D-Lo @ Gonapchi for D-Ray’s birthday party (Beverly Hills, CA) 14 // Bambino, D-Ray, Jay Rock, Jen, & Punch @ Gonapchi for D-Ray’s birthday party (Beverly Hills, CA) 15 // Warren G & DJ 069 @ Club Underground (Reno, NV) 16 // Miami Mike & E-40 @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Concord, CA) 17 // Lil Chuckee & Tyga (Los Angeles, CA) 18 // E-40 & ProHoeZak on the set of “Don’t Give A Fuck About No Hoe” video shoot (San Jose, CA) 19 // Willie Joe & Sanchez @ Bay Area Producers Conference (Bay Area, CA) Photo Credits: all photos by D-Ray
OZONE WEST // 5
used to daydream a lot when I was a teenager catching the bus and walking around the streets of Oakland. I had dreams of driving the best cars and fucking the finest women, just like any other aspiring player. I practiced on the lil girls in the hood and rapped about it on homemade cassette tapes I used to make with my rap partner Freddy B. I used to see the ballplayers, the big time drug dealers, the pimps, and the successful businessmen, and there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a pimp. I wanted a new Caddy every year and a bunch of long-haired bitches calling me Daddy.
Somehow in the midst of selling tapes all over the Bay Area and daydreaming about being a major pimp from East Oakland, California, the rap game made me so famous, so fast, that I never had a moment to stop and pimp some actual hoes. But I didn’t let that shit stop me from being a pimp. If you’re daydreaming yourself and feeling like a pimp but you don’t have any hoes or dough, that’s not the end of the world. My point is, the most important thing is that you have some game; some real pimp game. You gotta respect the pimpin’, cause it’s something you can apply to your lifestyle even if it has nothing to do with a woman selling her body for money. Pimpin’ is a frame of mind. It’s like yoga or martial arts. If you possess the game, you’ll find yourself much more in control of your emotions. You’ll also find that it’s much easier to control almost every situation you find yourself in, and many of the people you deal with. If you ask me, “How do I get this game, Shortdog?” my answer would be, talk to some pimps and hoes. Read some old books like Iceberg Slim and listen to every Too $hort album ever made. Just do some research and you’re on your way. It’s not about money and it’s not about sex. It’s about respect. Muthafuckers respect the game, especially if they have it and recognize that you have it too. That shit goes a lot way in this society. I know high level executives that have street game and I believe that’s part of the reason they’re so powerful in the business world. There’s even some people who have never lived in the hood or been exposed to the culture of pimps and hoes, but they’ve still managed to possess the game on their own terms.
“[pimpin’] isn’t about money and it’s not about sex. it’s about respect... i know high level executives that have street game AND that’s part of the reason they’re so powerful in the business world.”
The bottom line is, it’s all about controlling your emotions and manipulating situations to favor you. What do you want to do with your life? What are your real dreams about? I’m not trying to encourage you to literally be a pimp and put your hoes to work on the strip. For one, it’s illegal, and there’s a very ugly, negative side to real pimpin’. I’m just saying that the pimp mentality can be applied to your life in many different ways. They say it ain’t trickin’ if you got it. I say, without tricks, pimps wouldn’t exist. So which one are you: the pimp, the hoe, or the trick? Ask yourself. Biiiiiitch!!!!! Hit me up on my crackberry at ShortStories@ozonemag.com
6 // OZONE WEST
(above L-R): Droop-E & E-40 on the set of ‘Don’t Give A Fuck About No Hoe’ video shoot in San Jose, CA; Nio Tha Gift & Big Rich @ Toons for Bay Day in San Jose, CA; Traxamillion @ Zen Lounge for We The West launch party in Mountain View, CA (Photos by D-Ray)
01 // Big Mike, E-40, & D-Lo on the set of “Don’t Give A Fuck About No Hoe” video shoot (San Jose, CA) 02 // Keak da Sneak & pa’tnas on the set of Keak da Sneak’s video shoot (East Oakland, CA) 03 // E-40 & Zoe da Roasta on the set of “Don’t Give A Fuck About No Hoe” video shoot (San Jose, CA) 04 // EvenOdd @ Toons for Bay Day (San Jose, CA) 05 // Kuzzo Fly & Haji Springer @ Gonapchi for D-Ray’s birthday party (Beverly Hills, CA) 06 // Warren G & Bad Lucc (Humbolt County, CA) 07 // J Diggs on the set of J Diggs’ “I’m In The Hood” video shoot (Vallejo, CA) 08 // Jae Millz & Bueno @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Concord, CA) 09 // Lil Twist, E-40, & Lil Chuckee @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Concord, CA) 10 // Too Short & One Tyme (Oakland, CA) 11 // Rico, J Diggs, & Rock Jacobs on the set of J Diggs’ ‘I’m In The Hood’ video shoot (Vallejo, CA) 12 // Tito Bell, Skinhead Rob, & Gary Archer @ The Fast Life Store (Los Angeles, CA) 13 // Dre & Furious @ Bay Area Producers Conference (Bay Area, CA) 14 // Mohawk Marlon & Cellski @ Zen Lounge for We The West launch party (Mountain View, CA) 15 // Willie Joe & Kuzzo Fly @ Zen Lounge for We The West launch party (Mountain View, CA) 16 // The Jacka, D-Ray, & Husalah @ 17Hertz (Hayward, CA) 17 // Nio Tha Gift & Traxamillion @ Zen Lounge for We The West launch party (Mountain View, CA) 18 // BOB & TJ Chapman @ Regency Ballroom for the Great Hangover Tour (San Francisco 19 // Gary Archer, Yukmouth, D-Ray, & guest @ Gonapchi for D-Ray’s birthday party (Beverly Hills, CA) Photo Credits: all photos by D-Ray
OZONE WEST // 7
hroughout the years, countless rap artists have created mega hits. Unfortunately, many fail to follow through with a solid album and maintain a successful career. 20-year-old D-Lo is well aware of the usual pattern and hopes to become one of the hitmakers that moves above and beyond the realm of the one-hit wonders. To date, the biggest song of D-Lo’s career is the fiery “No Ho” from his mixtape The Tonight Show with D-Lo. And from there, the East Oakland native just kind of fell into his current position. “It just came from nowhere,” says the rapper born D-Angelo Porter. “I was never the type, like [to have] been rapping since I was young. [We were] just fucking around in the studio, playing around. I wasn’t thinking about being a rapper. The way the song took off, that’s what made me take rap seriously.” When Porter was seventeen, he started experimenting with rap as he knew it. “I listened to a
8 // OZONE WEST
lot of mainstream artists, but I grew up on Bay area music,” like his favorite artist, Mac Dre. One evening in the studio he was inspired to create “No Ho” over a track that had the signature hyphy sound. The record was enough to gain the approval of everyone in his trusted circle and the response motivated him to start marketing the track on his own. “I just ended up getting hella CDs and burning that one song off on them, passing them out wherever I went—bus stations, schools—wherever I was. I always had them on me.” D-Lo also followed the route of many self-promoters and created a Myspace page for himself, generating even more buzz for “No Ho.” It was a busy year for him, both on the music front and on a personal level, “I ended up having to go to jail for like a year,” he says somberly. While he was trying rap on for size, he still meddled in street business and caught a charge for armed robbery, among other things, which
he declined to discuss. “I had been giving [my CDs] to the DJs after everyone started picking up on it,” D-Lo remembers. “Then I ended up having to turn myself in. By the time I got out in a year, it was smacking. Everyone knew the song.” The day he got out, he had a show. Two weeks after that, his daughter, (“my inspiration,” he says) was born. Since then he’s been on the move, consistently getting show money. His next steps? Touring from Alaska to Nevada, promoting his newest single “She Played Me” and prepping his upcoming album with DJ Fresh, Undeniable Talent, slated for an early 2010 release. “I wanna be known, and seriously, as far as my rapping, I want the world to see and hear a real nigga,” he says with force, in his Bay Area twang. “It’s finally taking off like it’s supposed to.” Words by Nadine Graham Photo by D-Ray
(above L-R): Keak da Sneak & his mama on the set of Keak da Sneak’s video shoot in East Oakland, CA; BOB & Kid Cudi @ Regency Ballroom for the Great Hangover Tour in San Francisco, CA; Suge Knight & D-Ray @ Gonapchi for D-Ray’s birthday party in Beverly Hills, CA (Photos: D-Ray)
01 // D-Lo, Zoe da Roasta, Mac Russ, Droop-E, & E-40 on the set of “Don’t Give A Fuck About No Hoe” video shoot (San Jose, CA) 02 // Miami Mike, EI, & Lil Chuckee @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Concord, CA) 03 // Big Dant, Yukmouth, D-Ray, Chop Black, & Kuzzo Fly @ Gonapchi for D-Ray’s birthday party (Beverly Hills, CA) 04 // Bless & Lil Chuckee @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Concord, CA) 05 // Ghazi & Cellski @ Bay Area Producers Conference (Bay Area, CA) 06 // Vanessa Monet on the set of J Diggs’ ‘I’m In The Hood’ video shoot (Vallejo, CA) 07 // Mack Maine, guest, & Too Short @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Concord, CA) 08 // 211, Ice B, Smurf, & D-Ray @ Gonapchi for D-Ray’s birthday party (Beverly Hills, CA) 09 // E-40 & Lil Chuckee @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Concord, CA) 10 // Ro, Michael Denton, & Nick Ngo @ Bay Area Producers Conference (Bay Area, CA) 11 // Gary Archer, Big Will, DJ Devro, Lil Quinn, & Bennie B @ Bay Area Producers Conference (Bay Area, CA) 12 // K-Max & Erk Tha Jerk @ Bay Area Producers Conference (Bay Area, CA) 13 // Lil Chuckee & Streetz (Los Angeles, CA) 14 // Klypso & his girl @ Bay Area Producers Conference (Bay Area, CA) 15 // Noni Spitz, Taje, Bangloose, G.Malone, D-Ray, Problem, & Bad Lucc @ Gonapchi for D-Ray’s birthday party (Beverly Hills, CA) 16 // J Valentine, Dutch, Big Rich, & Chuck @ Toons for Bay Day (San Jose, CA) 17 // Gary Archer & Cellski @ Zen Lounge for We The West launch party (Mountain View, CA) 18 // D-Lo, Sleepy D, E-40, & Beeda Weeda on the set of “Don’t Give A Fuck About No Hoe” video shoot (San Jose, CA) Photo Credits: all photos by D-Ray
OZONE WEST // 9
Words by Ms. Rivercity
10 // OZONE WEST
WORDS By Maurice G. Garland PHOTOS BY D-RAY
If you’re old enough to remember, the name Lee Majors should ring a bell. He was a widely popular actor in the 70s and 80s mainly known for his characters Steve Austin the Six Million Dollar Man and Colt Seavers the Fall Guy. If you don’t remember, no worrieS. Bay Area rapper Lee Majors is about to re-introduce the name to you in a major way. With his upcoming album Music For The Mob hitting stores this fall, Majors is poised to cash in on a career that he’s spent nearly 15 years building. Having worked with everyone from Tha Jacka to E-40 to Daz Dillinger as both a rapper and producer, Lee Majors has a resume that many artists drool over. But the Oakland hustler spirit in him won’t allow him to rest on his laurels. He recently sat down with OZONE to talk about his beginnings in the rap game, how he literally got on making “dope fiend beats” and why he doesn’t pay artists to hop on his records, but rather gets
them paid in other ways. Are you from Oakland originally? Tell us what it was like growing up there for you. Yes, I’m from West Oakland. I came up in the late 80s, early 90s, during the D-Boy era. It was crazy; a lot of dope being sold. The old school, when they were riding in Mustangs on gold thangs, that era, when cats was really kicking it. The game has totally changed now. Too $hort Born to Mack was the only thing we had to listen to when I was coming up. What else did you grow up on? Lately there’s been a stigma that Bay Area cats don’t listen to anything but their own music. I grew up on East Coast music. Run-DMC, LL Cool J, Biz Markie, Just Ice, Eric B. and Rakim. My mom collected records. So I had the Sugar Hill Gang, Earth, Wind and Fire, Bootsy Collins, Parliament Funkadelic, stuff like that. When did you start making music on your own? I really started going to the studio in 94-95, something like that. I made my first album in ‘96, right before tapes disappeared. There was a group called APG, Action Pack Gangsters,
and the guy who put that out, put me and my brother Rahmean’s first tape out. It was an underground hit in the Bay. That time period is what many refer to as the Golden Era of Bay Area Hip Hop. What was it like entering the game at that time? Yeah, I was getting my feet wet around that time. Dru Down, who is actually my blood cousin, was big, 3XKrazy was doing their thing, 2Pac had just put out All Eyez on Me and had a lot of the Bay Area on there. It was cool just to have that experience and be getting in the music game around that time. We were still young though. I was 15, my brother was 13, and we were just having fun. Were you considered a “kid group”? What kind of music where you making? Around that time you were either pop like Kris Kross or edgy like Illegal. Yeah, I remember both of those groups. Illegal was pretty hard. We were rapping about some gangster shit at the time. Weed, girls, cars. We were hanging around the older dope boys, so that’s what we rapped about. I was into sports real heavy too, but when I dropped out I focused on rap. When we dropped that first album it was right when CD were talking over for real, the
OZONE WEST // 11
tapes were disappearing. We were still in high school, but we were basically known in high schools. We didn’t get on as a group until ‘99 when we put out our first album. I was in a group called Side Industry. We came up under the guys that used to put out Andre Nickatina.
Yukmouth and them, I had to switch it up. I’ve always made real mob music, but when I heard people telling their life story, I figured it’s time for me to start doing that too. I wanted to talk about my struggle, my dope game stories; living in the projects with no lights on.
Your resume boasts that you produce as well. I was always producing, even since I was rapping. We would come up on studio equipment in the street. Dope fiends would sells us keyboards and beat machines, so we had a whole studio built in the back of my mom’s house. This was before ProTools. It was all 4-tracks doing everything the whole way through, no punching in. But I really got established by doing beats for Tha Jacka, Yukmouth and Husalah’s albums. I’ve veered away lately, though.
That seems to be a familiar theme in Oakland. It is, but Oakland has strong roots out here. There are a lot of other things going on out here. When you think of Oakland you have to talk about the Panthers, Too $hort and MC Hammer. For me Oakland is a place that sets trends. Once we do it, someone else comes along and takes it. We were saying “fo’ sheezy” in high school, We don’t even do that anymore.
Where were dope fiends finding beat machines? (laughs) I don’t know. They were probably stealing from somebody else. We ain’t even know how to work the stuff, we just would get it and just build a little studio and make beats. When did your career as a solo artist really start to take off? In 2005, I made a project called Scraper Music, right before the Hyphy stuff blew up, I had my own Scraper movement going. I dropped four albums, including Scrape Thirsty and Scrape King. I had my own Scraper thing going on. This was when I was running with Husalah and he gave me the idea. You say you did this before hyphy, which is interesting. People always assume that “hyphy” started in 2005. But Digital Underground was getting “hyphy,” so to speak, almost twenty years ago. I’m glad you noticed that. Hyphy was never a movement, people just caught onto it slow. Then once they caught on to it they called it a “movement,” but this had been going on. Once they called it a “movement,” it killed it because it didn’t get to a certain level that people thought it would. It pretty much moved down to L.A. Jerk music is the new hyphy. Well, you obviously got out of the “scraper” phase. What made you leave it alone? I started messing with cats who made real music, and it rubs off on you. Back then I was doing my own thing and sticking with that, but when I started hanging around Tha Jacka and
Was it a difficult transition? Once I started doing it, it came easy to me. It was kinda hard to switch from what I was doing to telling stories. I had the producers to make it work, but at the time I was into uptempo music. But I figured I’m getting older, so I need to start making real music. I should have been doing that from the beginning. It’s interesting how you spoke about being around other artists and working with them, that it rubbed off on you. From the outside looking in, you’d be led to think that Bay Area artists don’t have much unity, hence the Area not getting back to the national stage. Everybody messes with each other out here, they just don’t stick together. They only come together to make a song, but don’t work as a unit. It’s not like in the South where they move as a unit. That’s why people have a hard time doing their thing, because they don’t stick together. Not to say that the Bay Area didn’t have plenty of rappers back in the 90s, but do you think the influx of rappers now has anything to do with the lack of support? The thing is that all these cats back then in the Golden Era, those are actually fans. They all bought records. But now, everybody’s rapping or they’re the son, nephew or cousin of a rapper, so it’s hard for them to embrace something new. They want people to embrace their folks. There were a lot of rappers back then, but there’s way more now. You can see who’s out here doing their thing for real, but they made it so easy for you to make music now. People didn’t know about mixing and mastering, photo shoots, printing and all that stuff. Back then it wasn’t in our face how to do it. Even when you look at
an artist like Keak Da Sneak. Back then he was always coming out under someone else. It wasn’t until recently that he started putting his own stuff out. Cats didn’t know the formula [before]. Let’s talk about your upcoming album Music From The Mob. What should people expect? You’re going to see how much I’ve grown, from beginning to end. I’ve got Yukmouth and The Regime on there, Messy Marv, Tha Jacka, Husalah, AP9, and San Quinn. When I do songs, I want features that people will remember. You have a lot of videos out with these artists as well. Do you direct them yourself? Everybody I do videos with, they’re my guy. I really fuck with them on a daily basis. I’m not doing songs with people I don’t really fuck with. Every time someone like Daz is here in the Bay, he hits me up. Everyone else is the same way. I’m with these guys every day. I direct all of my videos too. I scout the locations and everything. I got a half of a movie script written right now. I really want to do movie scores, but right now I’m focusing on the visual side. I saw an interview where you said that you don’t pay artists for features, but instead, you help get them paid. What does that mean? I remember going into this one studio where the guy didn’t have anything in there. He just had a computer, a keyboard and a microphone and was calling it a studio. That’s what I mean when I was talking about how people have access to technology and anyone can record. That wasn’t shit. So when I saw that, I decided to open my own studio. After that, everyone started coming to me to record. At one point everyone was in my building, everyone from JT the Bigga Figga to Bushwick Bill. From there, I started engineering, so I’d be like, “Let’s do a favor for a favor.” But I did pay one person, and that was E-40. I broke bread with him because I grew up on 40 and he respected me. He knew who I was. He didn’t try to break my pockets either. Is there anything else you want to say? Yeah, free Dru Down. They caught him with a burner and they beat him up too. Right now we’re suing the Oakland Police. They already got hella lawsuits against them, but we’re still going at them. He was just about to sign to this new situation with the people who used to run Koch. He’s coming with a new album too Chronicles of A Pimp which is real hot. When you listen you’re going to say, “Dru Down is back!” //
”We CAME up on studio equipment in the street. Dope fiends would sells us keyboards and beat machines, so we had a whole studio built in the back of my mom’s house... before ProTools.“ 12 // OZONE WEST
f you thought African American rappers have a hard time breaking through stereotypes in Hip Hop, imagine what it’s like to be a Mexican American rapper. Without wearing blue bandana or red flannel, people see the color of their skin and just assume you’re just gangbanger looking for trouble. Chicano rap vet Down aka Kilo hopes to dispel this idea. “A ‘Cholo’ is Mexican American growing up in the ‘hood,” explains the man behind the radio smash “Put Your Locs On.” “It’s not gang member, it’s a tradition of how we dress and look. People think it means [gang member], but it’s not like that anymore.” Coming from a culture where family comes first, outsiders often assume that music from Latin America only for them and by them. But with
Down building a rapidly growing buzz, he is both building acceptance and welcoming others into his world. Far from a newcomer to rap, his latest project Definition of an Ese is actually his tenth album to date. Toiling in the underground for years, Down made a name for himself selling his music out of the trunk at the local swap meets. Though the music made an immediate connection with his peers, the world at large wasn’t quite ready for it. Down also admits that he might not have been ready for the world either. “We were selling records and making money, but labels weren’t trying to hear us,” he says. “But our talent was still growing too. We were still in garages rapping making beats out of nothing. It wasn’t the time for us then, but now is the time,
because we’ve shown that we can sell records.” Now that Down has conquered music as a platform, he now has plans to use movies to push his agenda. His first film borrows its name his 2007 hit, “Lean Like A Cholo,” and will be a Latino comedy. It is set to star former world champion boxer Fernando Vargas, John Amos (Good Times, Coming To America) and Tiny Lister, Jr. (Friday). The movie stays in line with the vibe and messages he tries to put forth in his music. “It’s just about chilling on a Sunday and getting into trouble, but we ain’t robbing or stealing,” he urges. “I just want to make people have fun and break stereotypes along the way.” Words by Maurice G. Garland
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He’s touted as one of most talented up-and-coming producers/rappers on the West Coast. After producing tracks for Snoop Dogg and playing saxophone in the Dogg Father’s Snoopadelics band, Terrace Martin is ready to PrOPEL his sound FAR beyond the city of angels. You’re known as a producer and rapper, but a lot of people don’t know that you also play instruments like the saxophone and piano. I was introduced to music through my parents. My mother is a pianist, a singer, and a songwriter. And my father is a drummer. I got introduced to music at a very young age cause around my house there was a lot of different music being played throughout the day. My father played a lot of John Coltrane and Woody Shaw, and my mother would play a lot of Luther [Vandross], a lot of Anita Baker. I grew up with studios in my house, so when I hit fifth grade I told my mom I wanted a drum machine. At that time Hip Hop was so big, my mom bought me a Casio. So I started making beats on that little keyboard. My mom saw that I was real serious with making beats, so she bought me this keyboard called Ensonic EPS that a lot of cats used back in the day. You gotta think, I’m in 6th grade and my mom is buying me a $4,000 keyboard. When did you learn to play the saxophone? 9th grade is when I started playing the saxophone. I went to visit my father in New York, where he was playing at a nightclub. I wasn’t into jazz, I was just doing beats. One night my uncle Richie Love was playing the saxophone, and I was like, “That’s a fly instrument.” This older woman with these huge breasts came up to me and said, “Do you play drummers like your daddy?” I said, “Nah.” She said, “What do you play?” I said, “I don’t play nothing, ma’am.” She said, “Well, I’ma tell you like this, if you play the saxophone, you can make love to your woman without even touching her.” So in 9th grade, (laughs), “Mom, I need to learn how to play the saxophone.” I took a break from Hip Hop cause I really wanted to get that saxophone down. Once
I got the horn down, I fell right back into the drum machine. Where I grew up, there weren’t a lot of good role models. There was a lot of gangbangin’, a lot of things going on that wasn’t positive, and it wasn’t what I wanted to do. But there was another cat that grew up in my neighborhood named Kevin Gilliam a.k.a. Battlecat. I locked in with Battlecat and he taught me how to really get down with the drum machine and MPC. And I met Kurupt and a ton of other people through him. You’ve done a lot of work with Snoop Dogg. How’d you meet him? I met Snoop and Kurupt together when I was 16. Out in L.A. we grew up on Snoop Dogg records. Not only that, but Kurupt showed us we could do it, coming from this area. And this was my first time seeing stars. And it’s not starstuck, it’s like, “Oh my God, he’s tall.” (Laughs) And the thing that makes me remember them is that there was like 30 people in the hallway, and before Snoop left, he walked from the bottom of the hallway to the top and shook everyone’s hand. He looked them all in the eyes and said, “Aight, cuz. Aight, cuz. Aight, cuz.” I was like, this man is Snoop Dogg, he can just leave. And I said, “Lord, I wanna work with Snoop Dogg. That would be a dream come true.” So, when I was like 19 or 20, through Battlecat and a good friend of mine named Marlon Williams, I got the opportunity to play sax in Snoop’s band. Before Snoop had even heard my beats, Soopafly heard my beats, and he gave me my first check. I waited for the opportunity to let Snoop know I had music. I pressed play, he was excited about my music, and he’s been there ever since for me. What was your first placement on a Snoop Dogg album? I played [saxophone] on some songs on Pay tha Cost to Be da Boss, but my first placement was “Joysticc” on the 213 album. A month after that R&G: The Masterpiece came out, and [I produced] “Fresh Pair of Panties On.” Since you have a saxophone and jazz background, how would you define your production sound as a rapper and producer? My production sound has grown now. I used to be concentrated on the whole West Coast [sound]. Now I’m more concentrated on observing music, but still keeping it innovative and interesting. I’m adapting to is this whole new
movement. At one point I wouldn’t have accepted it because I was so close-minded and stuck in that West Coast shell. I did so much work for Snoop Dogg to the point that people thought all I would wanna do is Snoop Dogg records, and that’s not the case. I’ma always ride with Snoop Dogg, but I’m not gonna always do Snoop Dogg [style] music. I wanna expand; I wanna work with everybody. I’m not that interested in working with anyone on the West Coast, no disrespect, but I just need my music to go farther. Is that the main reason you did a mixtape with DJ Drama? It’s funny you say that, cause that is the main reason I did the mixtape with DJ Drama. Drama’s been supporting me since I started. Drama’s another one of my dudes. I was gonna do it with Green Lantern, but Drama’s so accessible to me and he’s such a real good dude and he cares about the music. You know, for minute I was gonna live in Atlanta. Come on to the A, shawty. Yeah, but y’all don’t got no Slauson Swapmeet. Y’all ain’t got no Roscoe’s. Y’all got Gladys Knight’s chicken out there, and her chicken is okay. And kudos to Gucci Mane. What would Gucci Mane sound like on a Dr. Dre beat? I don’t know. I’m used to hearing him over Zaytoven beats. That’s why I need to get with Gucci Mane. So, send a kite to Gucci Mane, make sure he reads this article. Get at me, nigga. Who else are you working with right now? I just completed an album called Melrose with a good friend of mine, Murs. Murs is one of the biggest independent artists in the game right now. He does things like Rock The Bells and he has his own festival called Paid Dues. He does [shows] where nobody’s fighting in the crowd, and everybody’s there to just love music. And there are different colors in the crowd. I don’t just wanna do music for blacks or Hispanics. I wanna make music for blacks, Hispanics, Latinos, Asians, greens, yellows, anybody. If you love music, I wanna rock out with you. And I don’t wanna promote violence, I wanna promote peace. Make love, not war. That’s what Murs is about, and that’s what I’m about right now. And the music is like nothing I’ve ever done; it’s like “ghettoelectro.” Watch when you print this article, somebody’s gonna bite that. “Ghetto-electro.” //
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Nipsey Hussle, DJ Whoo Kid, Johnny Shipes & The Empire Bullets Ain’t Got No Names Vol. 3 Out West, Nipsey Hussle’s Bullets Ain’t Go No Names has his name on the tip of everyone’s tongue, and the much-anticipated Vol. 3 in this popular series further makes Nipsey a name to know out of the Golden State. “Strapped” is the aggressive Nipsey that fans know, whereas the introspective “Tha Hustle Way” and “Shed a Tear” feature Nipsey rhyming on less combative beats but still with assailing lyrical content. And on “Speak My Language” Nipsey lyrically stands tough alongside Lloyd Banks and Cory Gunz. Bullets ain’t got no name, but Nipsey has a name that’s rightfully gaining rap fame. - Randy Roper Snoop Dogg/Bacc To The Chuuch Vol. 1 Doggstyle Snoop Dogg is without question a household name, so it’s only right for Uncle Snoopy to put his nephews on whenever he gets an opportunity. And that’s what Bacc To The Chuuch is all about. As it goes from mixtape to album form, this 16-song compilation sets a platform for artists like Tha Twinz, the Raw Doggz, Hustle Boyz, Chris Starr and Uncle Chucc to take center stage. Snoop appears on a good number of tracks, and Dogg Pound vets Kurupt and Daz make appearances. Although this album would have been better if Snoop jumped on every song, that’s just wishful thinking. Bacc To The Chuuch still has a good mix of music, artists and Snoop verses to be worth a listen. - Randy Roper Berner/Weekend At Bernie’s Bern One Entertainment Weekend At Bernie’s was a great movie, but the same can’t be said for Berner’s album. Problem is Berner isn’t much of a rapper, and every time he raps, it’s as if someone is forcing him to rhyme against his will. Luckily for him, good production and a long list of guest appearances—Bun B, B.G., The Jacka, Slim Thugg, Kneak Da Sneak and many more—mask the stink Berner leaves from his lack of enthusiasm on the mic. Actually, if you fast forward past Berner’s parts, this album isn’t half bad. - Randy Roper
Don Changolini 4000/President of The Game You shouldn’t judge a book, or a CD for that matter, by its cover. But in this case, the bad artwork on Don Changolini’s President of the Game should be a red flag. The beat for “We be Smoking” isn’t bad (even though the hook is offbeat), and guest appearances like Jimmy Roses, Bueno, and San Quinn help easy the pain of listening to Don Changolini. Other than that, there isn’t anything good to say about this album (believe me, I tried). There’s only one excuse for an album to sound this bad: Changolini must be tone deaf. - Randy Roper New Boyz/SKINNY JEANZ AND A MIC If you combined the sparse production of D4L, the dance vibes of the Hyphy movement, and the content and rhyme schemes of The Cool Kids, the result would be the New Boyz’ debut Skinny Jeanz And A Mic. With roughly 60% of the album produced by group member Legacy and producer Talent, the CD doesn’t has much range. But playfully realistic rhymes on songs like “Way 2 Many Chicks” almost make you forget that production-wise, the CD sounds like one long song. While the New Boyz are far from lyrical geniuses, they do put some effort into their rhymes and exhibit decent storytelling skills. In a time when “for the kids” is often code for “whack and mindnumbing,” the New Boyz actually do the term some justice by supplying a soundtrack for teenagers simply wanting to have a good time and stay out of trouble. - Maurice G. Garland Fashawn & The Alchemist/The Antidote On The Antidote, Fresno newcomer Fashawn connects with Cali producer The Alchemist for an 11-track mixtape, solely produced by Alchemist. The sound of this release is much more grittier than some of Fashawn’s previous mixtapes. Alchemist’s influence is evident, and most of the beats sound like tracks that didn’t make Prodigy or Evidence’s last albums. Not that that’s a bad thing, as Fashawn is lyrically sharp over the production. “What’s Your World” and “Fash Plays It Cool” are a lot more enjoyable listens than the rest of the mixtape. Still, this tape shows what Fash can do when paired with one of Hip Hop’s best producers. And his Exile-produced debut album Boy Meets World shouldn’t have as many drab moments as Antidote. - Randy Roper
Patiently Waiting G
rowing up in the same neighborhood in Long Beach, CA, Terry Kennedy and Fuzzy Felix’s history goes way back. So it only made sense that when business came their way, they’d become partners. The crew’s third member, H.I.T., is T.K.’s cousin. “Fuzzy and I have been doing music together for a long time,” adds H.I.T. “The initial grind started with a record called ‘Drama’ that drove T.K. to take things to a new level.” After recording “Drama,” T.K., who is also a well-known professional skateboarder, was immediately excited about the song’s potential. The group tested the record on Myspace, and according to H.I.T., it drew in over a hundred thousand plays in less than a month. It was clear the group stood out from the average sound in their region. Coming from an environment where it’s typical to rock a red or blue flag by a certain age, Fly Society had a heavy burden to carry, but they
weren’t going to let it weigh them down. As upcoming Cali artists, it was normal for people to expect gangbangin’ records from them. “Coming from the West Coast people are like, ‘Okay, we know what y’all are about to come out with,’” says T.K., who in 2005 was shot twice while leaving a party in Long Beach. “But Fly Society is musically taking things to another level that nobody over here is even doing.” On the positive side, T.K. knows that Fly Society is one of a kind, and with their movement they see the hearts of people are being felt. T.K. continues, “We overcame so much and are still overcoming so much. A lot of people tell us they’ve been touched when they see our movement.” Fly Society understands what it means to hustle, and collectively they’ve learned the importance of branding. Alongside their music ventures, the trio got their feet wet in the marketing side with their self-titled clothing line Fly Society. Applying the concept of endorsements, they got rappers,
singers, athletes, and other celebrities to rep their shoe line, The Supras, which became widely popular. “We haven’t even made a big run on the music side of things yet,” T.K. says. “We were already killing it with our fashion. Look at a lot of these videos; a lot of artists have our shoes on.” Not only did Fly Society expand nationally, enlisting the representation of former Young Money affiliate Curren$y, but they are also locally revered. When listing some of the group’s famed Long Beach supporters, Felix proudly names Crooked I and Snoop Dogg as people who have recognized their work. As for the countless everyday listeners checking for the group, Felix says, “Musically a lot of people can relate to it because it’s real.” He adds, “When the label sees us, they see so much hope, and we’re gonna make sure we live up to it.” Words by Quinton Hatfield Photo by Kenny Ong
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Kid Cudi Event: Great Hangover Tour Venue: Regency Ballroom City: San Francisco, CA Date: July 24th, 2009 Photo: D-Ray
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