L.E.P. GANG RELATED
JQ SHAWTY LO // LOW // B Y LL E SH // R TARR // TR F LITTLE BROTHE SONNY RICH // DANNY! // SNOOK DA ROKKS DJ CHUCK T //
k e wee ik b h c ea b ion** myrtle **special edit
H C I R Y N N O S T K C U H C J D & aw music cookin’ up r
TY LO // RAIN JQ AW H S // B Y ELL // TR FLOW // ROTHER // SH L.E.P. // LITTLE B OK DA ROKKSTARR // LE-LE DANNY! // SNO
week e ik b ch a e b ** myrtle **special edition
9 MILLION Words // Charlamagne tha God
Originating from Dalzell, South Carolina, 9 Million is proof that you don’t have to be from a major music mecca to create hit records. He’s lent his production expertise to nearly all of the hot artists in South Carolina, along with artists like Gorilla Zoe, B.o.B., and Sean Paul of the YoungBloodz. A lot people don’t know that you’re responsible for so many South Carolina classics. Give them a quick list of some joints you’ve produced. I did “Hey You Shawty” and “I’m Clean” for CollardGreens and his new single “HeartBreaker.” I did “Don’t I Look Good” For Lil Ru, “I’m a Legend” for Mr. Flip, and “Everybody Lookin” by CollardGreens, which Atlantic Records’ VP Kevin Liles purchased for one of his artists. I did “Ya Know” by Mr. Flip. I also produced Lil Ru’s second single under Capitol Records, “I’m Spinnin It.” I did Mr. Flip’s new single “Geek Music” and I produced the hottest song in the south right now, “Nasty Song” by Lil Ru. What exactly is your title with Headhunter Records? I’m co-CEO along with my partner Lil Bo. I’m also the official in-house producer. I do a little of everything, from marketing and structuring our company, to the little things that make our label and artists successful. Some people think that as long as you have a hot song you’re gonna automatically be successful, and that’s not reality. It takes a team of individuals with a common goal to make that record successful, and I think my partner did a great job putting this team together. How do you deal with artists feeling like they’re not getting the attention they deserve, especially when the focus is on one man out of the crew? That’s what’s so good about the team. The artists on the roster are real humble. Everyone understands business. We all know that everybody can’t be in the spotlight at the same time. We all made a conscious decision to push Lil Project, and it’s been working. Now that we’ve started getting attention from the majors, we’ve been working with all of our artists a lot more. I want everybody on the label to have hit records.
How is everything with Lil Ru’s situation? Is it true he got dropped from Capitol? Everything is cool. Lil Ru is not with Capitol Records any longer, but it was a decision made by Head Hunter Management not to continue with the terms of the contract. Why hasn’t Headhunter released any full length albums? You always have a smash single but it’s rarely anything at retail. I know the streets are dying to know why they can’t cop the albums in the stores. Actually we just released Lil Ru’s album/mix CD called Microwave Music. It has all original tracks produced by me and my label mate Freddie L. But before this, we just didn’t feel like the time was right to release any projects. We wanted to keep the streets wanting more. I didn’t want to over-flood the market before we had total control. Now that we have control of the market, you’re gonna see a lot of projects in retail stores everywhere. So what’s on deck for Nine Mill and Headhunter in 2008? I’m working with my labelmates CollardGreens and Mr. Flip right now. Their projects will be dropping this fall so we’re in the studio every day and night. I’ve also been working with a lot of major and independent artists. I got a lot of people coming at me for tracks right now. I guess you can say I’m hot right now, feel me? Website: Myspace.com/headhunterlabel
IKE G DA Words // Ms. Rivercity
An avid supporter of Carolina music, Ike G brings homestate talent to the masses via Sirius Satellite Radio. He can be heard on CORE DJ Radio Saturdays from midnight - 2 AM and Sundays from noon - 2 PM. For those who don’t know, what’s your history as a DJ? I started out under my cousin Tony Tone out here. When I got to North Carolina he was on the radio and basically brought me up under his wing. I’ve been doing this since 1996. Were you doing any other radio work before CORE DJ Radio came about? I’ve been on the radio in Fayetteville at WZFX and WCCG, as well as out of state: KDOL in Iowa and WNOV in Milwaukee. When the CORE DJs broke through and got the Sirius show, I had done Sirius before so I knew the format. I was one of the first DJs to go ahead and get it poppin’. What will you have going on for Bike Week? I got a gang of clubs. I DJ at the East Coast Customs Bike Show. I got Shawty Lo and Plies coming to Studebakers. I got the K9 Bike Club Welcome to Bike Week 08 Kickoff Party on Thursday. After I leave my last show on Saturday, I’ll be hitting up Miami. I’m grinding the whole weekend. Tell me about some of the new records you’re supporting at the moment. I’m focusing a lot on independent artists coming out of the Carolinas. I’m messing with Small World real hard. As far as mainstream artists, I’m digging Shawty Lo’s swag, Rick Ross of course. Weezy is killin’ the game. Right along with other DJs nowadays, I put a lot of focus on independent artists, especially from the Carolinas. How difficult is it to break an indie artist versus a new record from a major artist? If the record is hot it’s gonna break. The reason why I say I put my main focus on it is because the Carolinas have been jumped over for years. Look at the whole movement; it went from New York to Florida to Texas back to Florida and Atlanta. Carolina hasn’t really got a foot in the door. We got a little exposure when Petey Pablo came out but we’re trying to take it to that next level. | OZONE
I take the hottest artists I can find in these Carolina streets and give ‘em an opportunity. I play ‘em on my Sirius show, get ‘em BDS spins so when they go to these labels they got a platform. Local radio cats ain’t really giving ‘em no spins and helping ‘em out so I’m trying to give ‘em a bigger audience. What do Carolina rappers have to offer the rest of the world? We call ourselves the middle East ‘cause we’re not really the South or the East Coast; we’re in the middle. You’re not gonna get just a down South flow; you’re gonna get some cats that sound like they’re straight from the heart of Brooklyn and some cats that sound like they from Port Arthur, Texas. You’ll get a little bit of everything combined into one. Our styles are so diverse and cultured. Is there anything else you want to mention? I’ve got the Carolina Coalition, which is my promotions and marketing company. I gotta shout out the CORE DJs. We’re bringing the CORE Retreat to Carolina next go around. Shout out to the Wright Brothers, First in Flight Ent., Grandaddy Souf. I’m on the road with J. Bully and Small World who’s signed to DTP. Website: Myspace.com/Djikegda910
TAB D’BIASI Words // Ms. Rivercity
Both a radio personality and a DJ, Tab D’Biasi got his start at Power 98 interning and working his way up. Da Million Dolla DJ can be heard from noon - 1 PM and 2 AM - 6 AM every Monday through Friday. Why do you call yourself Da Million Dolla DJ? My name is Tab; that’s my initials. When I started DJing I couldn’t think of a DJ name. I was drinking one day and came up with the name of an old wrestler who used to call himself Tad D’Biasi. I just flipped it. He used to call himself The Million Dollar Man. He would come in the ring with money all the time. I was a wrestling fan as a kid. So if you hadn’t become a DJ you might have become a wrestler? Hell no! I’m too little. I woulda probably been a wrestling flunky or something. Is Power 98 the first station you DJed at? Yeah. I did college radio back home in Jersey. When I got down here I got the opportunity to intern under Nate Quick. He saw me DJing at a party and said I should be on the radio. I thought he was playing. I ran into him three more times and he said the same thing. I figured I might as well go for it ‘cause something kept me running into this dude. With all the changes in the radio business, where do you see technology taking it for both DJs and artists? Free radio is becoming harder ‘cause you got all these other outlets. Free radio is governed by a lot of people that don’t take chances. As a DJ, we’re out in the streets more so we know what’s poppin’ and what to take a chance on. Sometimes we don’t get the liberty to do that. With digital downloads, I feel it’s better. It might be hurting the industry now but the industry’s gotta come up with ways to combat that. It’s all about the consumer. If we didn’t have artists only making one or two good songs on a CD, they would be selling more units. What’s something that the general public might not understand about what you do? In radio you have to follow certain rules and guidelines. I used to always listen to radio | OZONE
DJs when I was coming up and they always said it’s politics going on. But you might not agree with that until you’re in the loop and see it for yourself. Radio’s main concern is keeping listeners tuned in. In their mind, if you play something unrecognizable, people might turn the channel. It’s the same thing in the club. How do you get people to accept something new? We have a mixshow meeting with the DJs and our music director at the station. We rate the new records and if we all feel the same way about it, we’ll add it to the mixshow rotation. It bubbles from mixshow rotation to regular rotation. I think it goes from the radio to the club really. The more people hear it on the radio, the more they want to hear it in the club. Internet is a good kickoff too sometimes, like with Soulja Boy. Everybody knew “Crank Dat” before it dropped [as a major label single] so radio was forced to play it. Who are some artists you think will be around for a while? I think Hurricane will be out for a while because he can flip styles. When you try to stay in the same lane all the time and you dead end, there’s nowhere to go. Like with snap music, when it died you don’t hear from those artists no more. It’s hard for them to get another single poppin’. The rap game is changing so fast. Contact: Milliondolladj@gmail.com
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD Words // Randy Roper
He went from South Carolina to the Wendy Williams Experience, and now Charlamagne Tha God is one of the top radio personalities in the country. Some rappers hate, some listeners do, too. But since no one knows what’s coming out of his mouth next, people love listening to him. You’ve been on the Wendy Williams Experience for two years now. Tell me how that whole experience has been. As far as radio, that was an adjustment because I come from doing my own show, “Charlamagne Tha God’s Concrete Jungle” in the Carolinas. I’ve never been nobody’s co-host. So it’s not my system, it’s her system. I had to find a way to do my numbers and put up my points within her system. But as far as the career aspect, it was the best move I could’ve made at the time. My talent is showcased on a national level now. I went from zero to sixty in 15 seconds and in the next two years I’m going to go from 60 to 200. It’s a beautiful thing. Wendy has a bad rep with a lot of people. Do people that don’t like Wendy not like Charlamagne Tha God? I came into the situation with my own enemies. It’s like the industry hates me just as much as they hate her. I think it’s just because we don’t kiss the ass of the celebrities. Nobody’s come up to me like, “I don’t like Wendy, so I don’t like you.” But I have heard people say, “Wendy, I like you, but I don’t like Charlamagne.”
he will kill newborn babies, somebody had to check him. You do a lot of things outside of radio. Care to talk about that? Yo, my South Crack [Carolina] album should be out no later than August. We got distribution through EMI for our label imprint Stupid Dope Moves. I got a real nice TV situation ‘bout to go on. God is good. Anything else you want to talk about? I just got named one of the Top 30 radio personalities under the age of thirty. It’s a big thing because it’s not just black radio; it’s country, rock, and different people in the industry under the age of thirty. In 2005 I got named one of the top influential people in arts and entertainment under the age of 30 in South Carolina. Now I’m saying that to say this: WHXK Hot 103.9 in Columbia, SC won’t let me do [my show] “Concrete Jungle.” I asked [the station’s program director] Chris Conners numerous times; he says the general manager Steve Patterson always says “no.” I think it’s funny how I’m one of the top personalities in the nation; I work for Inner City Broadcasting, but they won’t let me do “Concrete Jungle” when I come to the town and it bothers me. It’s not like they don’t need the help; they’re number 13 in the market and their competition is number 3. I was on one day a week after they demoted me and now I’m one of the top 30 under 30.
What was your problem with comments Lil Wayne made in a recent article in OZONE? I’m writing a book called Socially Irresponsible and a lot of times people in general with a voice, when you’re an influential person like Lil Wayne--when you got a brother like that saying, “I won’t rap about you, I’ll murder you, your family, your wife, and your newborn baby--that should’ve had everybody in an outrage. We don’t get outraged for nothing. They shot Sean Bell 50 times; we didn’t get outraged. Jena 6, we didn’t get outraged. We saw how they responded to Hurricane Katrina; we didn’t get outraged. People really don’t care no more. But when you hear a brother saying
R R A T S K K O R A D K O O N S UMBIA, SC s. Words // M
10 | OZONE
Currently on the road with Boosie, Rick Ross, Pleasure P., and Plies, Snook is poppin’ bottles like a true Rokk Starr. It’s a lifestyle Snook exposed long before it became the current trend. Here Snook speaks on the tour and how he’s finally getting the recognition he deserves. You’ve worked with a lot of big names in the industry. Who all have you collaborated with lately? My latest collaborations were with Lil Boosie, Yo Gotti, and T-Pain. I’ve worked with Sean Paul from the YoungBloodz, Lil Mo, Rich Boy, and Princess of Crime Mob. Tell me about the album American Roc Star. The album is set to come out late ’08. A lot of groups came out and everybody wanted to do the rockstar thing; they had the fad with it. I don’t party like a rock star; I live like one. The album’s gonna show you the life and times of real hood rock star, like going to the club, poppin’ bottles. That’s my lifestyle, everything I do. I can’t really go into depth. I’m open to a lot of different things. Elaborate on what you mean by “groups that came out wanting to do the rockstar thing.” I had a song called “Rockstar” on Myspace. It wasn’t “Party Like a Rockstar.” It was about living like a rockstar. I had a live band come in and play it. I released it on Myspace right out the studio, no mix on it or anything. Maybe like a month or so later I hear the “Party Like a Rockstar” song. I had already done business with a record label out of New York on the song prior to that. So are you saying that you think the Shop Boyz got the idea for their song from yours? I can’t remember what publication it was in, but I actually read an article – I don’t like to say names ‘cause that’s how you make other people famous – but he was like, “I heard the song on Myspace and I liked it so we wanted to put our own twist to it.” That’s where that came from. It seems like the major DJs are cosigning you. How did you get their support? They just like my music. I was down in Jacksonville at Vision Sounds – shout out to Jawad – recording a lot of my mixtapes and Bigga Rankin heard some of the music. One of my managers had a relationship with Bigga and they were having a lunch meeting one day. Bigga was telling him
that he liked it. He got behind it and put my music out there, let other DJs hear it. The South Carolina DJs jumped on it quick once they heard it. It was like a domino effect, a nice lil’ chain reaction. Who do you consider to be the most inspirational artists throughout history? Big Daddy Kane was the ultimate performer. He wasn’t just a rapper; he actually did acrobatics and all types of stuff. When you came to see Big Daddy Kane you knew you were gonna leave outta there sweating. Other than that, I like Biggie Smalls. He inspired me with his lyrical content. Nobody can tell a story better than Biggie to me. Jay-Z’s business mind was inspiring. He somehow made it through the adversity and got to where he needed to be. And last but not least, Lil Wayne’s grind is crazy. He had 77 features last year; that speaks for itself. When you think of your biggest dream in life what comes to mind? Getting my mother outta the hood. However I have to accomplish that dream, I’ll do it. The music industry is definitely part of my dream ‘cause I plan on that being my outlet, but it’s by any means necessary. Tell me about the history behind Southern Dynasty Records. The label was started by me and my big homie that’s locked up right now. I’m originally from New Jersey and I came to South Carolina in ’99 to go to school. I stopped going to school in ’01 to further my career in music. I met Chris and we started the label. I was the first artist under the label, currently still the only artist under the label. He got messed up with the whole Federal thing and went to jail. We had to branch off into ventures with other people. My homie Mixx and Biggs came in and took over the business side. Do you have any upcoming events or promotional plans you want to mention before we go? I’m on the Hypnotized tour with Lil Boosie, Rick Ross, Pleasure P, and Plies. Shout out to SSP and Mon E. G. the Ghostwriter. We’ve been to Augusta, Columbia, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Kansas City, and it’s still going so keep your ears out for that. Watch out for the new mixtape coming soon. Website: Myspace.com/Snookmusic
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! Y N N DA
SC COLUMBIA, Words // Ms. RivHeercrtfeitylder rid
Photo // Ing
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Danny! is not your average rapper. You can’t box him in or classify him. Although several comparisons to Kanye and Little Brother have been made, after one listen to Danny’s music, it’s obvious he’s a one-of-akind musician. What’s your background as an artist and producer? I started making beats and writing lyrics when I was a kid. When I turned 19 I decided to go full force with it. I put out my first album in 2004. A lot of people were feeling it. People were trying to compare me to Kanye West too much so I got a lot of flack for that. I kept working at it, trying to get people to take me seriously. After a while people said, “Okay, this guy has something.” I put out my third CD and that’s when things fell into place. Everybody was saying it was the best album they heard in a while. A couple of the tracks were selected for the Grammy Short List in 2007. I got an invitation to go to the show. That was a testament as to how far you can go in music if you keep working at it. What happened after that? A month before I went to the Grammys I got a record deal with a label in Manhattan called Def Jux. I’m working on my album for them right now. Before that, I’m going to put out one last independent album on my own. Are you doing a movie or something? That’s actually the album I’m working on called And I Love Her, the original motion picture soundtrack. It’s not really a soundtrack and there’s no movie at this point. I was trying to pattern it after this Beatles’ movie called A Hard Day’s Night. The cover art and song titles were based off of the Beatles. It’s really a movie on wax. From start to finish it’s like watching a movie but you’re listening to it. Halfway through it I thought it wouldn’t hurt to do a movie, so we’re talking to a few people right now about shooting something for it to go along with the album release. You’re music definitely falls in a class of its own. If you had to title your sound, what would you call it? (long pause) I don’t know. If people aren’t saying Kanye, they’re saying old-school.
But I wouldn’t say that at all; I’d say new-school, something fresh, an updated version of what we’re all familiar with. It’s not just one sound. I have songs that have cymbals you’d hear on a Rick Ross song, but I’m still doing me. I sound international. I can’t even classify myself. The only reason why I understand people comparing me to Kanye is because I titled my first album The College Kicked-Out. I did it in a joking way, not because I wanted to be like Kanye. At the time I got kicked out of school for something stupid. After that you went to the Savannah College of Art & Design, right? Yeah, I’m still there now. I got kicked out and moved here a year later in 2005. I lost a lot of credits but that’s not gonna keep me out of school. We’ll see how far the music is gonna take me but I want to have something to fall back on. I’m studying sequential art, storyboarding, TV shows, movies and things like that. You have the right look to star in movies. Have you thought about that? Me and my friend were joking about going into movies if this rap stuff doesn’t work out. We do talk about it. We could make up a sitcom or movie and people would laugh at it. I’ve never acted professionally but I have thought about doing it after everything else has been accomplished in music. What would be the perfect character for you to play? Some neurotic character, somebody’s who’s wildin’ out for no reason, someone crazy. That’s not completely me but I’d definitely play someone funny that makes somebody laugh, unintentionally or otherwise. What are some other things people should be looking out for? Check for this album. We’re working some things out as far as distribution. Look out for updates on Myspace. Shout out to Charlamagne and Randy Exclusive. Randy’s kicking around a mixtape idea with Sam King and Charlamagne’s got me on the South Kak album. Play my music and you won’t be disappointed. Website: Myspace.com/Mcdanny
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JQ 14 | OZONE
C S , G R U B E G ORAN
Words // Cha
Y’all might be sick of all these dance records from the South, but don’t throw up until you hear Statehouse Records’ young hit maker J.Q. His single “Crank Dat Roy” has become a powerhouse on both Myspace and YouTube.
I’m signed to State House Records. Shout out to Mo – The People’s CEO. But I got other responsibilities that deal with the label. I’m personally invested in it so I know everything that’s going own. I’m in the business of making money.
You’ve got some records and dances that I’m betting are gonna pop off. Either you’re creative as hell or you’ve got too much time on your hands. How do you come up with those joints? I’m just creative as hell. It’s just a process I follow when it comes to making records. Every artist has got his or her own method. I like feel-good music, so that’s what I make. I got dance records; I got street records; I got sex records; it just so happened to be the dance record that popped off big time for me after promoting it heavy.
I hear y’all have been getting approached by a lot of labels trying to sign you. Who are the labels that have been trying to sign you for pennies and sell your publishing for millions? And what do you expect from a major label? Some labels approached us already. We’re just tryna get in a situation where both parties benefit. The right situation will present itself soon.
“The Elroy” has been bubbling in the streets of Orangeburg for a minute. Where did that dance originate from? Someone told me y’all got it from a crackhead named Elroy. The dance is something a few people where doing in O-Burg by Elroy. What I did was come along and make a track about it and freak the dance. Everybody needs to go to YouTube and type in “Crank Dat Roy” and see the views. I’ve got 400,000+ views. You can post a comment while you’re at it. A lot of people are gonna come at you and say the music you make is not Hip Hop. How are you gonna handle that when people say that to you? I do what I do for my fans. You can’t win everybody, and I’m not trying to. One thing I learned is you can’t take what critics say too seriously or you gonna end up at the doctor’s office getting pills for a bunch of migraine headaches. Are you getting any groupie love off of the success of “The Elroy?” (laughs) I’m nowhere close to what you getting. I’m tryin’ to catch up though. What’s your situation with State House Records?
You need to sign with Stupid Dope Moves, Inc. If you’re gonna get raped, at least get raped by people you know. (laughs) When you find good people who are willing to do anything for you before the money, you keep ‘em. It’s like Lil Wayne and Baby; it’s all about loyalty at the end of the day. Money comes and goes but real people are hard to come across. I’m happy with my situation. Naw I’m just fucking with you, but I really like what you dudes are doing; that’s why “The Elroy” is the first single off of South Crack The Album. I’m expecting some real major moves from y’all. Tell the people where State House is going. Stupid Dope Moves has been making moves in South Carolina for a minute and we all respect the work you put in, Charlamagne. The album is gonna be a success. In the mean time, everybody can pick up my mixtape/album Brand New in stores and online. You can check www.myspace.com/ shrmuzic or www.myspace.com/jqmuzic for more info. I just wanna thank every person that plays the record at home, school, iPod and everything. I also want to thank all the DJs that play my music. I will keep delivering hot music for you; just keep supporting your boy. South Carolina I got you for life. Website: Myspace.com/shrmuzic
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L I , O G A C I CH Words // Eric
No disrespect to the West Coast, but Chicago started this gangsta shit--yet, looking at most of the city’s current successful Hip Hop acts, you’d never know it. Backpack and skateboard rap have dominated The ‘Go and may give many outsiders the wrong impression of the city home to the most infamous gangsters since Al Capone. Make no mistakes: Chicago is a criminal city. If the current violent streak continues, it will be without question 2008’s murder capitol of America, and at times can make Compton look like Connecticut. And while Lupe Fiasco and The Cool Kids can kick push through parts of the city with ease, they certainly weren’t frolicking around The Bogus Boys Low End neighborhood. Count, Moonie, and Big Rugg, also known as the Low End Professionals give a new meaning to the word “real.” Straight off the streets, these three don’t attest to be anything they aren’t, but even though they do gangbanging music, they’ve proved that you can do so without promoting violence. “They blamed Hip Hop for everything that’s going on in the streets and in the gangs,” says the Infared Records CEO who just goes by the name E. “But [no gang] is worse than the government. Right now Chicago is the murder capitol. We’re talking about what’s going on down here.” Not only is the group talking about what’s been going on in the crime riddled Chi-Town, but they’ve also transcended Chicago’s recent reputation for friendly rap, and are representing the city their way. The Low End is a very distinct hood in Chicago, but for people that aren’t as familiar with the city, can you give a little description of what it’s like out there? Count: It’s grimy on the Low, real grimy, that’s where all the projects are—State Street. The whole South Side, really the whole Chicago is grimy, but the Low End got a whole ‘nother story to tell, it’s the grimiest. “Bogus” is a trademark word in the Chicago vernacular. Can you explain why you guys call yourselves Bogus Boys? Moonie: Chicago started the whole gang banging movement, and we feel if you gon’ be a part of something you should at least know the history behind it. In Chicago back in the 80’s and 90’s [Gangster Disciple
leader] Larry Hoover had a hit mob called the Bogus Boys. When he had a problem with m’fuckas he would send them Bogus Boys to do his murdering. My cousin was an official member of that, and I grew up around him. The Bogus Boys got so big that they basically revolted and told Larry Hoover, “Fuck you,” in a sense. Of course Larry Hoover didn’t like that, so he had anybody who said they were a Bogus Boy killed. Most of them got annihilated, but there are still some that are around now, like my cousin Andre Gill. They call him Billy the Kidd. So that’s where the name Bogus Boys comes from; it was a hit mob from the GD’s. Tell me about the movement? Count: The movement is going well. We all kinda came up together. We from Inglewood on the Low End of Chicago, and we all came together, and decided to do music. We would be in the projects just messin’ around, man, and eventually we got serious. We first had a deal with Interscope, and then we got out of that and we got signed to Sony, but then my little brother got killed, so that kinda scared them, so we got outta that deal. Now, we’ve been grinding independently, we got like 100,000 mixtapes out in the street. We got that fanbase going, and we got songs out here on the radio now on like 40 stations. We got songs with Jim Jones, Young Dro, Fabolous, and we got a song with Rick Ross called “Thug Girl.” We definitely gotta buzz going, especially in Chicago. Moonie: The movement is strong. We get like 10,000 hits a day on Myspace. We’re in the new Kanye video, “Homecoming,” and the new Yung Berg video “Do Dat There.” We get love from all the DJ’s: Ferris, VDubb, Sean Mac, all the Violators, we mess with all the DJs. We got a serious movement; I can go to Cabrini Green and get 100 niggas out here. I can go to West Side—to the village, K-Town and get a hundred niggas. I can go to the south side and get a hundred niggas. Who does most of your production? Big Rugg: We got two producers that do all our production: Low Key and the Fly Boyz. In your opinion, what is Chicago’s role in the national Hip Hop scene right now? Count: Man, Hip Hop moves around from this coast, to that coast, to down South, but Chicago has always been on something different. We weren’t really about Hip Hop OZONE | 17
here, we were more about the organizations in the streets. Rap hit hard around here like everywhere else in the country, but in Chicago, we don’t have any major labels, so people just have to get their buzz up and perfect their craft. We’ve got the momentum, and we’re pushing down the door and creating opportunities out here. The Chicago story needs to be heard and that’s what we’re here doing. There definitely seems to be a distinct connection between the culture of Chicago and the South. Count: Well, Chicago has a little bit more of an edge to it then down South does. People up here are a little less friendly than cats down South, but there are definitely a lot of similarities. The South is as gangsta as it gets, and so is the Chi. But Chicago has a lot of different musical styles, and some music from the Chi is really similar to Southern music. The Bogus Boys get love everywhere we go, whether it’s the East Coast, West Coast, or Down South. What type of fans come to your shows? Count: Our fanbase is diverse. We keep it in the streets, but the females do what they do, too. We gear some of our music to the females. We got some songs for the guys, and some for the lil’ juvies, ‘cause they be out in the streets, too. Basically, we make music based on the last 6 months of our lives, so what’s currently going on the world, you gon’ hear in our music. We make music for the streets, for our hood. I wish I could tell you something different, but we ain’t in the corporate buildings downtown, so I can’t tell you about that. I’m in the streets every day. We’re in the streets right now while I’m talking to you. As Chicago artists, what attracted you guys to Bike Week in Myrtle Beach? We just wanna be a part of whatever’s going on. That’s how we’re getting our music and our movement out there. We go everywhere that’s poppin’. What it is about L.E.P and The Bogus Boys that makes y’all different from the legions of other independent rap groups? Our story. We’re different. Our streets is different—they’re more structured. You need to hear about our political prisoners. We structured these organizations, and had these neighborhoods under control where it wasn’t all wild out here like it is now. They took the structure out of the streets when 18 | OZONE
they locked up our chiefs and our leaders. It wasn’t all this random killing before then. We got a serious story to tell; this is a Chicago thing, and plus we’ve got some really good music. We’ve got cool production, nice features, and it’s real professional. It’s on point, and it’s industry ready. Big Rugg: We don’t advocate violence, we only talk about what we see. We put out 120,000 copies of our mixtapes last year, we got 60,000 out in the streets right now. We’ve done the Raw Report, The Source, and a couple of other small magazines. Our grind is so ugly. We’ve got our wrapped vans, a hundred miles moving. A label is gon’ really have to come get it with us, and put they money where they mouth is. Not too long ago, you released a Yung Berg diss. Where did that come from? E: Yung Berg used to be on our label. He tells everybody that DMX signed him, but actually we were in a meeting in New York with DMX. I wasn’t gonna go with the deal they were trying to offer us, because we weren’t getting enough from the label. [Yung Berg’s] dad lied and said he had left his bag in the meeting room; he went back in and got DMX’s number. Once we got back to Chicago we didn’t hear from Berg again. Then we found out he had went back up there and signed a deal with DMX. Shorty feels he’s in a good situation right now, but we’ll see where his career is when the real gangstas come through. We’re in his video, but we still dissing him. He knows he can’t come to the city without letting us in his video. So do you still have animosity with him? E: Until he straightens it out with Moonie I ain’t got nothing to say to him. I put $50,000 dollars into him for he and his daddy to be where they are. Yung Berg wanted to be on so bad, he would cross his mother or father to get in the game. Okay, so getting back to L.E.P., tell me about your current label situation? Moonie: We’re independent now. Infared is our label. We were with Sony, but when Larro got killed, the label kinda got scared. We got off the label and started pushing the music ourselves. We’ve had a few labels call us offering 360 deals. We don’t want a 360 deal. We’ve been good by ourselves, why would we get into a situation where somebody can control our music? Website: www.myspace.com/bogusboyslep
YOUNG S DUB Words // Ms. Rivercity
S.Dub enjoyed a brief record deal under Russell Simmons Music Group. With the label now out of commission, Young S.Dub reveals plans to further his own label as the Mayor of Charlotte. You look pretty young. How long have you been in the rap game? I’m 22 now. I’ve been doing this seriously since I was 18. I’m from Charlotte, NC and I performed a lot to build a buzz in my city. I really didn’t expect it at first coming out on my first local album called Official Take Over. I opened arenas for big artists at the time. I got signed to Russell Simmons Music Group and I was on the Waist Deep soundtrack – the movie with The Game, Larenz Tate, Tyrese, and Meagan Good. What happened with the label situation? The label kinda crashed and I started my own label called Everything Profit – ETP. I’ve just been promoting that and doing shows. Last night I had a show at the old Comedy Zone. They’re bringing that back. I did my hit single “I’m Fly” produced by Krazy Figgz. He’s gonna be a big problem for the industry. Krazy’s gonna be the executive producer ‘cause he’s got every sound – the rock, the Hip Hop, whatever. He can adapt and make any type of track, not just Down South records. Basically, when it folded, I took the songs that were in my possession and put ‘em on other producers’ beats.
Were you pretty disappointed when your first big break didn’t go as planned? How did you bounce back from that? When I got signed, I was working on the album in Atlanta. I had about eight songs with production from DJ Toomp, Drumma Boy, and a couple of Charlotte producers. I don’t really know what happened with the label, but it didn’t have nothing to do with me as an artist. It wasn’t like I got dropped off the label or I didn’t have no singles. The song that was on the Waist Deep soundtrack had a buzz in my city and rotation on the radio. We was waiting on a video to be shot for it. Technically I’m still signed under that label under Def Jam. What are you planning to do about that? I want to get released off the label ‘cause I’ve got people that want to do other situations with me. Some people might say they’ll buy me out of the contract and re-sign me, you got people that believe in me like that, but what if something doesn’t come out right? I’m trying to get released so I can do my own thing and promote my own label. I want to bring my people in with me but I got to get through the dirt first. I know I’ve got what it takes to be on the next level, win awards, be in movies, and all that. I’m still a young ass dude and the man in my city, the new face of the South. Website: Myspace.com/Sdubthegreat
You have a mixtape coming out with Chuck T. How did you link up with him? It’s called I’m the Man in My City. I’m still putting the finishing touches on it. I’m looking forward to putting it out and letting ‘em really know who I am and why I’m at this point, and why I have the right to call myself the Mayor of My City. I got another mixtape coming out before the Chuck T tape called Kings of the Queen with my dawgs Sport E. Odie and DJ Cease Fire. I’m trying to have both mixtapes in the streets at once. Sport E. Odie is a big party promoter out here. He’s got the college crowds and with DJ Chuck T being known all around the Carolinas and having relationships in other cities, I thought it was a good idea to go with him too.
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Words // Ms. Rivercity
The new blood of DTP, Le-Le is a writer and artist from Jackson, MS. After finishing a degree at Howard University in D.C., Le-Le came to the A to pursue her goals. Less than a month later she became an official Disturbing Tha Peace family member. When you were growing up did you ever imagine you’d be an entertainer? Actually, I did. Me and my sister would listen to songs and make our own renditions of them. Singing and music was always in the works. My daddy had his own band. I always wanted to be an entertainer; I just never planned it out or nothing like that. How did you go from Le-Le the regular chick to Le-Le the rapper? What was the turning point? Probably when I went to school. I majored in radio, television, and film. Being in the studio and utilizing the music really helped me to hone my skills and get my weight up on the writing tip. I’ve always been a writer but getting in a real studio didn’t happen until I went off to college. What made DTP want to sign you? Actually it was on some fate shit. An A&R from DTP heard some music I had done in D.C., and Chaka heard some music too. They called each other like, “It’s this chick I heard that’s tight. She got a fire ass song.” Come to find out, the same chick was me on both ends. It just took off from there. Did they sign you off the “I’m Da Shit” song or is that new? That’s the one I got the single deal off of. I’m trying to make this the ladies’ anthem. I think female power has been lost in the industry. If you think back to the days of Salt N Pepa, that’s when female emcees were fly. I think we’ve lost that over the years. I’m trying to bring that aspect back to the game. Did you move to Atlanta prior to signing with DTP or afterwards? I was already here. That’s why I just know that it’s destiny. I moved here on August 6th and my situation with DTP happened in September. I was planning on moving to Atlanta to see where that would take me. I was living in D.C. for like seven years. I wanted 20 | OZONE
to be closer to home but I wasn’t ready to go home yet. Anybody’s who has been to Jackson knows nothing positive is coming out of Jackson right now. My roots are in Jackson and when I die I’ll be in Jackson, but I feel like it doesn’t have the opportunities. In order for me to help somebody, I’ma need to get myself right first. If you look at Mississippi, it’s at the bottom of everything – education, even the mayor himself. I know DTP has several other artists. Where do you fall in the timeline for releasing an album? DTP is very music driven. I think the more music we put out, the better they can decide who to drop first. I’m not tripping. I’ve learned patience. I want it to be right and not rush nothing. My other labelmate Willy Northpole has something coming out in Summer 2008. What’s next on your agenda? Check for the movement titled The Get It In Girl Click. That’s a group of women that’s about their business and making the best out of situations. Check for my album coming up this summer, as well as some more singles we’re trying to put out as soon as possible. Website: Myspace.com/LeLeonthemic
YOUNG SWIFT Words // Randy Roper
While other rappers his age “Crank Dat [insert dance name here],” 17-year-old, Durham, NC rapper Young Swift is the anti-crank. He has NC hitmaker 9th Wonder proving him with the sounds and Raw 66 on XM radio spinning his songs on heavy rotation, making him a young dude the Carolinas need to be familiar with.
played on XM? It’s a lot of things going on for me right now. I just signed a management deal with Nina 9. We got a lot of things in the works, as far as me and her and what we’re gon’ do outside of the station. We shot a video for one of the tracks and we’ve been in the studio, trying to work on some new music.
At 17 your music is lyrical. Why aren’t you doing dances like other artists your age? When I first started listening to music, that wasn’t really the type of music I was listening to. I listened to Nas, Jay-Z, Pac, Biggie, stuff like that.
You’ve done some work with 9th Wonder. How did you hook up with him? I met him when I was 14. I was in a group and we met him at a Hip Hop conference. My dad told him that we rapped and whatnot, but he wasn’t paying too much attention to us. But he actually did a remix for us, so we were all excited about that. Last year, I had a Hip Hop class that he was teaching, so I met him again. I went up to the studio, and he remembered I rapped, and he was giving a tour of the studio, showing people this and that. So, he asked me to hop in the booth, so I rapped for him. We did a couple tracks together and we’ve been cool ever since. I got a track [produced by 9th Wonder] called “Young Love,” got a song called “Thinking of You,” “Magic Show,” “Competition Is None,” a bunch of stuff.
Your buzz is coming through XM radio 66 Raw. How’d you get your music played on XM? XM has been a blessing for me and my whole career. Leo G and Nina 9, they’re like the greatest things since sliced bread. I got love for them. Nina peeped it out first over Myspace, then she let Leo G hear it and he started playing “The Cool Dude (Slow Motion)”. He started playing it; people started liking it, putting it on regular rotation or whatnot. And now, I just gave [Leo G] another song called “Amen” that he’s been running a couple times. What opportunities have come from getting your music
It’s been hard for artists to get on out of the Carolinas. What are you, being a new younger artist, bringing that’s different than the Carolina artists that came before you? I’m just bringing more of a balance to it. A lot of people say Hip Hop is dead, and they blame Soulja Boy’s type of music. I’m not blaming that, I’m just saying there needs to be more of a balance between the Soulja Boys and real Hip Hop. What projects are you working on now? I’m working on a new mixtape called The Return. That’s gonna be complete by the summer. I got beats from E. Jones; he just did Talib Kweli’s new album. A cat named Gotti who’s worked with T.I.; I got BQ Music on it; I got a new cat named Picasso. He’s a monster. I got a guy named Kwes the Beast on it. How does it feel to be so young and making a name for yourself in the music business? It feels great. Outside of my youth, just doing it, period, feels great. Being young and doing it is just a plus. OZONE | 21
TR FLOW Words // Ms. Rivercity
Along with the Carolina Pathfindaz, TR Flow has created a resume that includes promotion, clothing, and an all-around movement with his “Baby Mama Real” song. Here he speaks on where his inspiration comes from and what it will take for the Carolinas to pop off. What’s been going on with you over the last year? What’s new? I dropped a new mix CD called Child Support Money talking about being out here hustling and feeding the kids. My “Baby Mama Real” song is still strong in South Carolina. I just opened a nightclub out in Walterboro. Everything is going good. Have you been through some baby mama issues yourself? Yeah, I’ve got kids and a couple baby mamas so I’ve been through those situations. The “Baby Mama Real” song came from another song that was real popular in the city. I got the inspiration from the guy that had that song. We put it together and that’s what made it successful. I was going through a situation dealing with child support with my baby mama. One day I was thinking to myself, “Man, this would be a good connection to take it from being a fun dance song, dealing with the ladies, and digging deeper into the issue of child support money.” I know a lot of people can relate to it. Why do you think the Carolinas are often overlooked in the music industry? I can’t tell you why they don’t give us credit. If record companies would do their research and analyze it, they’ll see that it’s some top-grade talent here. They just haven’t made it down this way to really look. I listen to a lot of things in the industry, and a lot of stuff where I’m from; a lot of stuff is weak compared to the stuff going on here. We got some hot music. People outside of the Carolinas move to it. We don’t be fakin’ with it. We respect real talent, real money, real rappers. The thing I don’t like is a lot of dudes sitting in the government of the rap game come to the Carolinas and they don’t really know how to support, push another man up, or give ‘em knowledge. Why they can’t open the door? If somebody opened a door for you, what 22 | OZONE
dollar amount do you think you’d be worth? If you give me $300,000 I’ma be alright. If you asked me five years ago when rap was really making money, I’d need a million dollars. Put my song anywhere and they’re gonna love it. I’m telling you from experience, not to be arrogant. Put me in the studio for three months, and I’ma get you paid. What else do you want to mention? What’s going on with the Carolina Pathfindaz? I got the video for the remix with Petey Pablo. I got some other remixes coming. I got some new joints called “Check that Hoe” and “Hands on Your Hips.” As far as these rappers and DJs who say they’re riding around in Phantoms and Bentleys and think they all that, you need to pay attention to what’s going on in Florida and how they coming together. DJ Khaled brings all the powerhouses together. These dudes here claiming they getting money and they hot but they ain’t showing me nothing. We need to come together. You ain’t gotta get together with someone that don’t got a buzz; come together with people that got movements. I’ve been out here with the Carolina Pathfindaz. Look at the club promotions, clothing, CDs, anything around here, we started that. That’s why I got the right to say what I said. And if anyone has a problem with it, come see me.
CARLOS CARTEL Words // Charlamagne Tha God
You’ve probably seen his ads in OZONE and thought to yourself, “Man, this dude is crazy.” But honestly, there aren’t too many artists who market themselves better than Carlos Cartel. Let’s find out why: When I first saw your ads in OZONE I called Chuck T, like, “What the fuck is wrong with Carlos? Is he trying to sell CDs or cocaine?” What was your thought process behind that? First of all, that wasn’t a smart thing for me to do, but it was necessary. It was a story behind the brick of cocaine I put in the two-page ad in the mag. On the first page, I sat a brick of cocaine on the table and told you about the positive things I could do out of something negative – as far as my own wrapped van, ads in magazines, songs with major artists, rather than buying unnecessary things that would not help once my run is over in the dope game. Look at it as motivation for niggas who rap who don’t know what to do with dope money. I also saw you on so many street
DVDs I was like, damn, Carlos is on his grind, but you were showcasing your arsenal of guns more than your talent. Why? For a while I was the triggaman in my city; niggas know to call me for straps. Also, who would you rather listen to, a nigga holding a mic or holding an AK with a hundred round drum? You’re a smart man if you said the nigga with an AK. So I went that route and it worked. Every DVD you see me on, after I floss the AKs, I drop a freestyle. That’s the part where I speak and y’all listen. One thing I started to appreciate is the fact you seem to invest in yourself a lot with wrapped trucks, flyers, ads in national publications. What motivated you to start doing that? Simple. I play chess, not checkers, and by saying that I use my mind a lot more. You’re also known as “Cause Hell Cartel”; you’ve had altercations with Juvenile and Lil Wayne, among others. Has your reputation ever caused any doors to shut for you in the industry? I run and make money on the streets of one of the hardest streets in America. I’m around guerillas all day; so if I’m around guerillas all day I’ll know when I see a monkey. But as far as them hurting my career, let’s just say this is my third year in the bike week edition – so you answer that. Why do you think the Carolinas haven’t popped off in the industry yet? Because you got a lot of fuck niggas who’s in position to help niggas out going for self and picking favorites. Tell people what to look for from Carlos Cartel in the future. Look for the new album The World is Cartel’s. Check me out on Myspace.com/ Carloscartel and Myspace.com/Causehellcartel. I’m also on BlackPlanet and me and my dawg T Drumma got the new clothing line called Everythang Mix coming soon. Website: Myspace.com/CarlosCartel
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Section A PUBLISHER: Julia Beverly GUEST EDITOR: Charlamagne Tha God CONTRIBUTORS: Earl Randolph Eric Perrin Jen McKinnon Jason Cordes Randy Roper PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR: Malik Abdul Distributors: DJ B-Lord DJ Chuck T Rob-Lo Strictly Streets SUBSCRIPTIONS: To subscribe, send check or money order for $11 to: Ozone Magazine 644 Antone St. Suite 6 Atlanta, GA 30318 Phone: 404-350-3887 Fax: 404-350-2497 Web: www.ozonemag.com
6 7 8 9 10-11 12-13 14-15 16-17 22
GUEST Editorial Myrtle Beach map Event Listing Club Listing Little Brother Shelly B Shawty Lo Rain PIMP
18-20 Sonny Rich 19-21 DJ CHUCK T
Section b 4 9 Million 6 Ike G 8 Tab Dâ€™Biasi 9 Charlamagne Tha God 10-11 Snook Da Rokk Starr 12-13 Danny! 14-15 J.Q 19 S Dub 20 LE-LE 21 young swift 22 TR FLOW 23 carlos cartel
COVER CREDITS: Sonny Rich & DJ Chuck T photos by Jay Black. DISCLAIMER:
OZONE does not take responsibility for unsolicited materials, misinformation, typographical errors, or misprints. The views contained herein do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or its advertisers. Ads appearing in this magazine are not an endorsement or validation by OZONE Magazine for products or services offered. All photos and illustrations are copyrighted by their respective artists. All other content is copyright 2008 OZONE Magazine, all rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any way without the written consent of the publisher. Printed in the USA.
very year artists from South to North Carolina look forward to this magazine because there aren’t any national publications that give the Carolinas a “Good Money” look like OZONE. Last year my homie Randy “Mr. Exclusive” Roper was the Guest Editor for the Bike Week Edition. In case you haven’t heard, Randy is busy. Between OZONE, writersblockmedia.net, and smashing blogger groupies, he just doesn’t have time (careful about picking up groupies, Randy, because if you give an inadequate performance in the bedroom, the next blog you read might be about you). When Randy told me he wasn’t doing the Bike Week Edition, I got at JB and requested to take the reigns on this one. She agreed and Ms. Rivercity and I got together and BONG, here it is! Truth is, this is a bittersweet situation. On one hand, I love when my state gets a look on a national level. It feels like we’re one step closer to our goals. On the other hand, I see a bunch of individuals but they aren’t one collective unit like they should be. Artists in Columbia don’t drive that hour and a half to see what’s going on in Charleston, and Charleston artists don’t take that ride to Columbia. Why? We have two cities that could benefit tremendously from fucking with each other, but they don’t. We have to come together and make this music thing happen for ourselves. The majors have never given us anything and truthfully we don’t give enough of ourselves to each other. How can you expect from someone else what you’re not giving to yourself? I have something I call the Carolina Nine Point Theory. If executed properly, a Carolina artist can’t help but win. The Carolina Nine Point Theory is that there are certain areas that--when infiltrated--artists can | OZONE
enjoy tremendous success: Charleston, Columbia, Florence, Spartanburg, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro. Imagine your song spinning on all the stations in these markets. Imagine your record causing the club to go crazy. Imagine your mixtape bumping in whips throughout all these markets. Imagine having an independent album in stores of all of these markets. Your name would ring bells! Not just in the Carolinas, but in the South and eventually the country. I don’t understand why our artists run to Atlanta, Miami, or NY when they haven’t even made it shake in their own backyard. With all this prime real estate here, why are y’all trying to cop land somewhere else? I need DJs and radio personalities from both states to let each other know which Carolina artists are bucking off in their respective cities. We have to play each other’s records, both on the radio and in the clubs. Individually there are a few people in the Carolinas making it, but that’s not doing anything for the Carolinas as a whole. It’s about a collective effort to turn the Carolinas into a brand we can all benefit from. Think about that when you’re busting Stupid Dope Moves on the strip during Bike Week in Myrtle Beach. When you see me, South Crack’s Prime Minister, salute! Streetfully Yours, Charlamagne Tha God
mYRtle beach map
K BIKE WEE H C A E B E MYRTL
EVENT LISTING Thursday, May 22
Thirsty Thursdays f/ DJ Ike G @ Studebaker’s 10 PM - 3 AM 2000 N. Kings Hwy., Myrtle Beach, SC (843) 448-9747 Friday, May 23 East Coast Custom Motorcycle Show @ Myrtle Beach Convention Center 2101 N. Oak St. (714) 513-8409 (Sarah Timleck) 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM Blackout Party @ Myrtle Beach Convention Center 2101 N. Oak St. 9:00 PM – 3:00 AM DJ Ike G and The Carolina Coalition Presents… The Welcome to BBW 08 Hosted by K9 Bike Club @ Myrtle Beach Drag Strip 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM George Clinton and the Funkadelics @ Hard Rock Park www.HardRockPark.com Plies Performing Live @ Studebaker’s 10 PM - 3 AM 2000 N. Kings Hwy., Myrtle Beach, SC (843) 448-9747 Friday Night Freak Off @ Club Kryptonite Music by DJ B-Lord, Doors open @ 9 PM, ladies free until 10 2925 Hollywood Dr., Myrtle Beach, SC (843) 839-9200 Saturday, May 24 East Coast Custom Motorcycle Show 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM @ Myrtle Beach Convention Center Music by DJ Ike G 2101 N. Oak St. (714) 513-8409 (Sarah Timleck) Comedy Show @ Myrtle Beach Convention Center 2101 N. Oak St. 7:00 PM – 12:00 AM Precious Metals Bike Fest 08 Party @ 2001 Night Club 920 Lake Arrowhead Rd. Myrtle Beach, SC (843) 449-9435 Shawty Lo Performing Live @ Studebaker’s 2000 N. Kings Hwy., Myrtle Beach, SC (843) 448-9747 10:00 PM – 3:00 AM Supastar Saturday @ Club Kryptonite 2925 Hollywood Dr., Myrtle Beach, SC (843) 839-9200 | OZONE
Sunday, May 25 East Coast Custom Motorcycle Show @ Myrtle Beach Convention Center 11 AM - 4 PM 2101 N. Oak St. (714) 513-8409 (Sarah Timleck) Ruff Ryder Concert @ Myrtle Beach Convention Center 2101 N. Oak St. 4:00 PM Othaz Records, Rico Barrino, & DJ Ced @ Studebaker’s 2000 N. Kings Hwy., Myrtle Beach, SC (843) 448-9747 Sista Girl Sunday @ Club Kryptonite w/ DJ B-Lord 2925 Hollywood Dr., Myrtle Beach, SC (843) 839-9200 Doors open @ 9 PM, ladies free until 10
CLUB LISTING 2001 NIGHTCLUB 920 Lake Arrowhead Rd. Myrtle Beach, SC 29572 (843) 449-9435 THE AFTERDECK 9719 Hwy 17 N. Myrtle Beach, SC (843) 449-3655 DERRIERE’S GENTLEMENS CLUB 804 Seaboard St. Myrtle Beach, SC (843) 946-6615 THE G SPOT (After Hours Spot) 3636 Highway 90 Longs, SC 29568 Club Isis 9578 S. Ocean Hwy Pawley’s Island, SC 29585 Club Kryptonite 2925 Hollywood Dr. Myrtle Beach, SC 29577 (843) 839-9200 Liquid City 504 Yaupon Circle Myrtle Beach, SC 29577 (843) 626-4919 Planet Hollywood 2915 Hollywood Dr. Myrtle Beach (843) 448-7827 Studebaker’s 2000 N. Kings Hwy. Myrtle Beach, SC 29577 (843) 448-9747
R E H T O R B E L T T I L HAM, NC DUR
At one point you dropped the Separate but Equal mixtape with Drama. Are you starting to feel like it’s more of an equal thing now? Phonte of Little Brother: Things are always lookin’ good. For me, it ain’t really so much about getting on the Grammys and shit like that. I’m always getting hit up from people I respect, telling me they respect my work. That’s what it’s all about. As far as us being equal, I don’t think that’s ever gonna happen. I think we’re always gonna kinda be the underdogs, the odd-men-out. But we’re still able to make a living doing what we love. We’re still able to tour and see the world. We can put out records whenever we 10 | OZONE
an Words by R
want, so I can’t complain. Would you ever trade that for one hit record that blows everybody out the water? I personally wouldn’t. Hindsight is always 20-20. If I was 19 and you said, “Do you wanna have one hit and make $10 million dollars or have a career for 25 years?”, who knows how I would answer. Going through the industry over the years and seeing what people go through, I wouldn’t trade places with nobody. I’m always working to achieve more, but I’m good where I’m at. Once you get a big hit record, they don’t even know you anymore; they just know your record.
Y’all released The Get Back with ABB Records. Are y’all done with major labels all together? Personally I’m done. I think for his solo record Pooh may look into distribution with some majors. For me, it doesn’t make sense to sign my life over and give up all that control. I’m doing all my projects pretty much on my own with just distributing. I personally don’t see the need to sign to another label again. For me, it would be the kiss of death. Is that the main reason you leaked The Get Back album? Nah, the album had already leaked and it was missing a track. I didn’t want people hearing the incomplete record. So that’s when I was like, “Fuck it, let’s just put the shit out. Let me give it to the fans and see what they say.” It turned out to be a real good thing. A lot of fans were surprised, like, “I can’t believe this motherfucka just gave his album away; that’s the most gangster shit ever.” A lot of cats were like, “Just on the strength of this, I’m going to buy two copies.” Nothing says that you trust your product more than you giving it away. It’s saying, “Yo, this record is so dope, I’ma give it to you and y’all are still gonna wanna buy it ‘cause this shit is quality.” It’s all about making a product you can stand behind and be proud of.
importance of that? It’s the life blood of any artist. It’s more important to talk to that kid that hits me up on Myspace than it is to reach the kid listening to the radio. That’s a person that, if you reel them in and keep giving ‘em quality product and treat them right, you’ll lock them in for life. If somebody hears your song on the radio, that’s just a casual listener. But with a person that’s reaching out to you, checking out your site, signing up to the mailing list, that can be the difference between paying your mortgage or not. I tell my fans all the time, “I’m not in business with any record label. I’m in business with y’all.” What’s the difference between the Little Brother sound now as compared to when 9th Wonder was your producer? The main thing we always keep in our music is the essence of soul, that raw unbridled honesty. To me, it’s just something that hits you in the heart. It strikes a chord of truth in you and you’re like, damn I can’t even front on that. That’s the main thing that has remained the same with 9th’s absence. As far as differences, our music has become a lot more vibrant, a lot bigger. The tempos have gotten faster. When we do shows now, you can feel it really shaking the floors. What’s next for Little Brother? I just finished up the album with my man ZO! out of Detroit. We’re doing a project called ZO! and Tigallo Love the 80s. After that I got the Foreign Exchange album with Nicholay called Leave It All Behind. Pooh is gearing up for his second solo album called Dirty Pretty Things. He’s got a crazy record with Young RJ. And we’re releasing a DJ-free version of the And Justice For All mixtape with some new songs. Website: Myspace.com/Littlebrother
You do a good job connecting with your fans, whether it’s through Myspace blogs or YouTube videos. Can you touch on the
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B Y L L E SH
, NC RALEIGH Ms Rivercity
Words // graphy Street Photo ak O // to Pho
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The HBIC – Head Bitch in Carolina – believes strongly in the independent grind and not settling for second best. We spoke with Shelly to find out what’s next in her busy schedule and why it’s important to build the right relationships. What’s your label situation like at the moment? Have you had any offers on the table? We’ve had some offers, but definitely not what we’re looking for. I’m not one of those artists that’s just gonna jump the gun on the first thing that comes to me. I take my career and everything I do very seriously. Right now I’ve got a situation with Official Entertainment as far as management, marketing, and promotions, and also Stupid Dope Moves with Charlamagne tha God. We’re releasing an album under his label soon. When the labels come correct with a situation, that’s when we’ll make a move. What makes you the “HBIC?” Over the years I’ve been able to capitalize on marketing right here in North Carolina. I go out there in the streets and do the footwork; I do the promotions; I distribute my own projects; I do shows. I’ve really been recognized for my stage performance. And I don’t have to go outside of my state to get that recognition. A lot of attention is starting to come to us now because of the grind that I have and a lot of other artists in North Carolina. What makes your shows so talked about? I heard you’ve opened up for a lot of major artists. I put all my shows together myself. I don’t have a DJ or hypeman. The fact that I am a female and I can get on any type of stage – I can go to a college, or a show in the hood – it doesn’t matter what type of crowd it is, I can move it myself. I think my energy and the way I interact with the people draws them in.
From listening to your music it’s clear that you have a strong personality. Where does that come from? I think it comes from everything I’ve been through and experienced, and things I’ve learned being in the industry. I’m a people person. I’ve learned how to build and maintain relationships. That’s a key factor in being an artist. Other than just recording, writing, and performing, you have to know how to be a people person. I enjoy everything that I do. What are some important things in life you try to make time for? To be honest, I don’t do anything else but music. I haven’t quite gotten to where I want to be in my life so there’s no time for sleeping or playing or clubbing. I don’t even do the club unless I have to be there for an event or show or have to interact with the people concerning my music. Outside of the music, family is very important to me. Me and my mother are very close. She’s my best friend and a huge supporter. What else do you have in the works? I’m working on Shelly B Promotions, an event promotions company specializing in mainstream and commercial party experiences, and at the same time bringing the up-and-coming sounds and artists to the forefront. I’ve been putting together a lot of my own shows in North Carolina and giving unsigned artists a chance to get they shine on. I got the HBIC mixtape out right now. That’s hosted by DJ Barry Bee. I’m working on a few video shoots and a DVD. I’m looking at releasing a couple of albums within the next few years. I’m just gonna keep grinding. Website: Myspace.com/Shellyb1
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Perrin Words // Eric dolph an R l ar E Photo //
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ight now Shawty Lo is blatantly breaking the law. He’s a block away from his beloved Bankhead Highway, on an abandoned street, home to dope fiends and hood urchins—-and he is standing on about 40,000 bricks. His everpresent army of white-tee clad soldiers are all paranoid that the police are on their way, but Lo doesn’t muster an ounce of concern. “Man, calm down! The police ain’t worried about us!” yells a defiant Shawty Lo, motioning the photographer to continue with the photo shoot from the remains of a recently bulldozed building. Lo’s voiced disregard doesn’t ease the anxiety of his nervous crew (seconds earlier, the owner of the demolished building threatened to call the police for trespassing on private property), but when Shawty Lo gives an order, his generals follow, so they remain quiet. “They just wanna be around they king,” Lo later says about his loyal laborers. And right now, Shawty Lo certainly feels like a king. It’s late afternoon on the west side of Atlanta and even though the sun is hiding beneath the overcast sky, Carlos “Shawty Lo” Walker is basking in the bright lights of a flashing camera. It’s no secret that Carlos Walker was a once prominent drug lord who served time in prison for his dealings, but now he’s paid his dues, and done his time. He and his “generals” have been moving units in this city since 1993, and today is no different. Lo’s Units In The City still come packaged in plastic, but now they’re distributed through Asylum and peddled by pushers such as Best Buy and Sam Goody. Shawty Lo maintains that he never intended to be a rapper, but that’s exactly what he’s become. Like it or not, his hit single “Dey Know,” which samples the classic 1970 Edwin Starr hit, “War,” has undoubtedly become one of the hottest songs in the South, and if you add that to his growing resume including tracks such as “Dunn Dunn” and 2005’s “I’m Da Man,” it becomes apparent that Shawty Lo is quickly becoming a staple of the ATL music scene.
Hollowell Parkway. The official name was recently changed, but is still referred to by natives as “Bankhead Highway.” “I don’t need no security guards or nothing out here,” says Lo. Even amidst his growing fame and success, he refuses to relocate his D4L studios and bounce from Bankhead. “All you see is me and my homeboys.” The Bowen Home hero adds, “No matter what kinda money I get, I’ll still be right here.” Minutes after his photo shoot in the demolished building, Shawty Lo sits in the backseat of his chauffeured Cadillac Escalade outside of his Bankhead studio. He has a fresh order of Chinese chicken wings and a lingering hangover from the night before (Rocko’s album release party), but for Shawty Lo, life doesn’t get much better than this. He is making his mark on the world from the very same street he grew up on, surrounded by lifelong friends and a comfortable setting. Shawty Lo is in his element, and there’s Lo Limit is sight. You get a lot of love in the streets. How were you able to acquire so much respect around the hood? Look around you. We’re right here on my street, Bankhead... For the full interview, log on to ozonemag. com or pick up the April issue of OZONE Magazine featuring double covers with Shawty Lo and B.o.B.!
Lo’s life is essentially similar to many of his predecessors who transitioned from trapper to rapper, but one element that makes Shawty Lo truly unique is that if you want him, you really can find him in the A. He’ll be on the west side, more specifically, right in front of his studio at 2610 Donald Lee OZONE | 15
RAIN 16 | OZONE
NC , E L L I V E T T FAYE dy Roper
Words // Ran
ver the last few months Randy “Rain” Watford has been seen on every medium available for an up-and-coming artist, so his face may be familiar. Expect heavy Rain in the foreseeable future, and we’re not talking bad weather or a stack of ones in the air. Coming out of Fayetteville, NC, has it been harder for you to get heard? Yeah, it makes it harder because Fayetteville is a military base city. The problem with that is, people from the city are always coming in and out. There’s always new people moving in and people that have been here for years moving out. So it’s kinda hard to get your buzz up, ‘cause the people that relate to you and know you, let’s say you’re putting in a two year grind out here, those same people might not even be here. So, it’s harder to build your buzz out here versus a place like New York or Atlanta. That’s why it forces me to hit other markets to promote my music. At one point you moved to New York. Is that the reason you moved there? I moved there because I wound up dropping out of school. My mother basically told me, “You can’t stay here with me if you’re not gonna be in school.” I figured I’d go to New York. My father was staying there at the time; I didn’t really know him ‘cause he was locked up for the majority of my young life. I thought it’d be a good time to get to know him and at the same time pursue my career. How did New York work out for you? My mother wasn’t there and my father wasn’t helping me. As far as the music goes, I had to get out there and grind on my own. I didn’t know anybody up there. It put me in a situation where I was forced to grow up a little bit quicker and be more mature at an early age. You have been able to establish a buzz. But your buzz is more internet and DVD related. The buzz I got now is from me keeping up on what was going on. As soon as the DVDs started poppin’, I made sure I jumped into that. A lot of people catch on to things late. I was always a person that keeps my eyes open, and my ears open, to see what the next thing was. Every opportunity that opens, I make sure I attack it. What a lot of
artists do nowadays is, they come out and release records but nobody knows their story. That’s why you might see somebody with a hit record on MTV and BET, but they won’t sell no records when their album comes out because nobody knows them. People don’t really buy into your music; they buy into your character. People like Jeezy because of his persona, so the people that were relating to him bought his music. And that’s what I’m doing right now. I’m giving people me, who I am. That’s why you see me in different magazines, on DVDs, I’m giving you a chance to see me before I present all my music. You were recently on Rap City’s “Spit Yo Game.” How’d that opportunity come about? BET reached out. That was crazy. I don’t have a record deal. So for me to be doing all this with no deal, this has nothing to do with me; this is God pushing opportunities to me and I tackle them. For me to be on BET and come back to my hood, and people see me like, “Yo, I just saw you on BET,” it motivates me ‘cause I’m one of theirs. They didn’t grow up with the rappers in the game now; they grew up with me. Seeing me on TV shows them that there’s something else they can do. Not too long ago, you dropped a mixtape with Don Cannon. What kind of response did you get from that? The mixtape with Don Cannon was like the classic for the streets. The CD’s called Highly Unanticipated and I did that to basically clown and joke on my situation. Most artists come out and be fronting like, “I’m the hottest dude out, they’re anticipating me,” and I felt the exact opposite. I feel like I’m hot and putting good music out, but nobody’s waiting to hear a Rain CD. So, I feel like the theme we were going with, we tackled it pretty good. Are you going to be at Bike Week this year? Yeah, any situation like this, you gotta be there, especially when it’s your town or your state. I’ll have the whole team with me, First in Flight Entertainment. Best believe you’ll see me out there with like fifty people. They’re gon’ have Rain t-shirts on, passing out Highly Unanticipated CDs and we’re gon’ try to make an impact out there. OZONE | 17
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& DJ CHUCK T
CHARLOTTE’s TRAPMAN and the CAROLINA KING link up to share their recipes for COOKIN’ UP RAW MUSIC... Words // Charlamagne Tha God & Ms. Rivercity Photo // Jason Cordes for Uimages Photography
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is videos look like he’s got a major label budget; he’s been featured in XXL Magazine; BET.com voted him to be one of the breakthrough artists in the music industry and all I keep asking people is, “Who the fuck is Sonny Rich?” Well, let’s ask him. Sonny Rich, who the fuck are you? Nigga, I’m me! I’m just a nigga tryin’ to make it, bra. I’ma straight 704 soldier. Keep Lock Entertainment is the label you rep. They’re indie, but they promote you like a major, so who is selling all the kilos of cocaine that’s funding the situation? Man I don’t know nothing ‘bout no kilos. I rap homie! (laughs) You won’t catch me on no DVDs talking about I sell dope, or done sold this and that. It’s only in my music. It’s entertainment, baby. I asked that question ‘cause I have heard you refer to yourself as Da Trapman and the whole trapper-turned-rapper thing is kind of corny for the simple fact that rappers be lying. Is that your life for real or are you just following the current trend? On some real shit, bra, I’ve traveled down every lane in life, from the streets to a regular 9 to 5, to the military, so when you hear me speak on the trap it’s nothing fabricated. There was a time in my life when I was out there doing what I thought I had to do to make a decent living in this fucked up world we live in. Does that name define who I am? No, it’s just a part of my life that I’m not proud of, but at the same time I’m not ashamed of it either. The name itself “Da Trapman” came from my partnas when I returned home from the military. They always used to say, “The city’s gotta voice now that the Trapman is home.” Charlotte, NC is not known for its Hip Hop scene. How did you establish such a big buzz in this city? And how did that buzz go from the city to the industry? To be truthful, it’s a lot of talent in Charlotte as well as the whole Carolinas, North and South, but as far as me, I didn’t sound like anybody else so it made me stand out. The city as well as the industry took notice of that fact. Charlotte has got some bad broads and I know they’re recognizing your status. What’s the groupie love like for a neighbor
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SONNY C RICH hood superstar like yourself? Well, the chicks have always been there, homie. The fame from music ain’t make Sonny Rich. I been pimpin’ since pimpin’ been pimpin’. (laughs) What’s the reason you think the Carolinas haven’t popped off in the industry yet? And how will your upcoming album The Virus make sure it does? I can’t really say, but I know when the album drops I’m going to shock a lot people and these labels will start to take notice of the Carolinas ‘cause we really go hard down here. You got a hell of a name. It makes me want to ask you to borrow some bread. How Rich are you, Sonny? My ribs ain’t touching or nothing but I ain’t where I wanna be by a long shot. What’s your relationship with the Carolina King DJ Chuck T? That’s my nigga! I’ve been a fan of his work for a minute and I always wanted to work alongside him on a project and we finally did it. That’s one DJ I can honestly say if he needed me for anything I would go all out to help anyway I could. Let the people know what to expect from Sonny Rich in the future. The future looks very promising for ya boy, ya feel me? But the people can expect me to keep dropping that 704 music, a classic album on in May, and a voice that’s going to ring bells in this music industry. Website: Myspace.com/Sonnyrich704
& DJ CHUCK T
he self-proclaimed Carolina King has rightfully earned his title over the years. Consistently releasing CD after CD, DJ Chuck T has received a number of awards and accolades which he himself cannot even count. We spoke with the Down South Slangin’ mastermind to find out what else is up his sleeve for 2008. You drop a ton of mixtapes. How quickly can you finish one? It depends on what type of mixtape it is. If it’s a blend tape, then it will take anywhere from two weeks to a month to put it together. If it’s a paying artist’s mixtape, then it takes me about two to three days to mix it, bring some records back, blend it together and make it sound real professional. If it’s an exclusive tape, where the focus is on the music and not so much skills, that can take me a day or two max. What else is new with you? Right now my main goal is my new company Publicity Stunt Marketing. I’m trying to make the transition away from the mixtape game because at the end of the day it’s still illegal. No matter how many label reps call me wanting me to play their artists, it’s illegal. It’s nothing we can really do until labels decide to make mixtapes legal and regulate them. Publicity Stunt Marketing/Management/Consulting is the new company. I’m focusing on taking some artists from the Carolinas and showing ‘em how the industry works; really trying to take some Carolina artists to the top. Who are some artists you’re working with? My main goal is staying neutral, helping anybody who’s talented and making moves in the Carolinas. I’ve even blasted out music from artists who I didn’t see eye to eye with. I look at it like I’m one of the pioneers in Carolina music and I have a responsibility to set aside personal issues. I see you’re promoting your brother, P.I.M.P. Yeah, P.I.M.P. is my older brother. He’s
been rapping since we were children. He used to have the turntables in his room. My other brother would play like he was the DJ. I was the youngest so they used to make me control the volume. They gave me the bullshit job. We’ve been honing our craft since we were little. He recently started taking rap seriously when he came home from jail in 2001. He did a five year bid for drug trafficking. I just recently started working with him ‘cause I just saw him take things seriously. I’m his younger brother, so I understand it’s hard for him to listen to my [advice[ when it comes to the music industry. Recently we were able to get past the egos and start working together. It seems like you’d have a successful radio show. You say whatever is on your mind. I’ve been on radio before and to be honest, it’s not a road I want to go back down unless the station is willing to give me some type of control. Radio is an industry where the jock is never supposed to be bigger than the station. We saw that when my homeboy Charlamagne Tha God became bigger than the station and they got rid of him. Thank God he already had something in the works with Wendy Williams. It was like a big “fuck you” to jump from market number 50 to market number 1. It shows you the mentality of radio. I don’t have time to sacrifice sitting at a computer at a radio station for pennies. I’ve built my stock up enough for people to know what I bring to the table. Look at all I’ve accomplished without radio. The radio PDs and General Managers should be throwing the checkbook at me but they’re not. I’m one of the top mixtape DJs in the world without radio. What are you killing the streets with next? I’m working on Down South Slangin’ 50 and I just released Sexxxplicit R&B 40. My longevity in the R&B mixtape scene is equal to my longevity in dirty South mixtapes. I just finished the Sonny Rich mixtape which will hit the streets around Bike Week. I’m about to put out my brother’s album. I’m working on a CD with Black Jerus from North Carolina, who has produced for G-Unit and Snoop Dogg. We’re getting together with Jozeemo to do an album called True Identity. I’m about to get into executive producing, marketing and promoting artists, management, and label consulting, just using a lot of knowledge I’ve gained over 10 years in the business to help out my people. Website: Myspace.com/Djchuckt OZONE | 21
Words // Charlamagne Tha God
One thing about Charleston is that a lot of artists in the booth are really in the streets living what they spit. One artist is trying to be known more for the records he writes than the criminal record the system has written up on him. P.I.M.P. Peace G! What the Mixx Is? I’m good family, just chilling, keeping it real, and staying as fresh as I can. Glad to hear that, homie, especially since the day we’re doing this interview is a day before you’re scheduled to go in and do a six year bid. How much is that weighing on you? Any time away from your family and close friends is gonna fuck with your mind a little but I knew what I was doing and the consequences, so like the real G that I am, I man up and take my charge, keep my mouth closed, and come home. It doesn’t deter me at all because I never gave up on anything. I’ll always follow my dreams and rapping is one of them. Six years is a long time but I don’t fall under the 85% law so I’ll be eligible for parole after a year. Plus I only get better with time, like some good wine. You are one of the more socially conscious rappers in South Carolina. Are your experiences in the system what prompted you to put some truth in these babies’ brains? Yes, because I’m a real dude. If I said it, I’ve done it, but it ain’t about that. I know young black kids listen to my music. I have 3 kids from the ages of 4 to 14 and I would never let my kids do some of the shit I’ve done. It’s my obligation to give them some real game that’s gonna benefit them. A muthafucker told you a lie if they said being in jail is cool or being dead or being somewhere strung out on drugs is cool. DJ Chuck T is your blood brother. What are the benefits of having one of the most influential DJs
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as your brother? Chuck T is a real good dude. I love him to death and if anyone fucks with him I’m do something stupid and go back to jail. (laughs) I’m joking, but I respect his opinion. He never tells me something I did was straight tight; he always lets me know what I can improve on. I believe that has helped me become a well-rounded rapper, because I know how to take constructive criticism. So you’re featured on South Carolina The Album with one of my favorite records, period, “Fishhead.” Explain “Fishhead” for those outside of Charleston who don’t understand why that’s a term we don’t like. People outside of Charleston use it in a negative way because they say we eat fish with everything. Charleston is a port city, so you could expect that. But come to Charleston and get some of this good fish. Try Ernie’s downtown on Remount Rd. or Bertha’s Kitchen, but just don’t call nobody Fishhead or you might get hurt. I know that you have a lot of material that you’re planning to release while you’re incarcerated. Give us a rundown of what to expect. You can expect that real music from me – fire lyrics, stimulating tracks, unique swag. I’m tell you ‘bout the game, not only the good side but the bad side as well. I’m touch on some political issues. I consider myself intelligent so I’m always talk about something positive. Communication rules the nation. //
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Published on May 25, 2008