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DEM FRANCHIZE BOYZ

WORDS: MAURICE G. GARLAND PHOTOS: BARRY UNDERHILL

Dem Franchize Boyz hardly know what a regular day feels like anymore. They are on the road doing shows 6 days out of the week, and at the airport on the seventh. They’ve been zig-zagging from New York to Cali to Atlanta and all points in between capitalizing on the success of their current hits “Oh I Think They Like Me” and “Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It.”

shot and low blow, this foursome is putting their energy into things like building their own “franchize,” DFB Records. In the middle of promoting their upcoming album in Los Angeles, DFB got a brief moment to sit down an interview. They had a thousand things going on, but what can you say, they are some busy dudes. That’s a good thing, though.

As they gear up to release their upcoming album On Top Of Our Game DFB appreciates their busy schedule, knowing that hard work definitely pays off. However, this scenario looks very familiar.

Your new deal at So So Def/Virgin is a second chance of sorts. How are things different from your Universal situation? Parlae: We are more involved with the record label staff and the people behind the scenes. This time around we’ve got a good understanding of what exactly is going on in our careers.

Back in September 2004, Jamaal “Pimpin’” Willingham, Bernard “Jizzal Man” Leverette, Maurice “Parlae” Gleaton and Gerald “Buddie” Tiller were fresh out of their teens with a hit single (“White Tees”), a recording contract with Universal, and debut album dropping on the same day as Nelly’s Sweat/Suit. But by the end of the month it became obvious where Universal was applying the bulk of their money and muscle. Even as their unofficial street single “Oh I Think They Like Me” popped up on mixtapes and radio stations throughout the South, they couldn’t convince their recording home to push it as follow-up single. Frustrated with the lack of support DFB sought a release and was granted one in 2005. True to their grind DFB continued to work their music in the same streets that took them from the West side of Atlanta to national television in the first place. They eventually got noticed by a person who appears more suite than street, So So Def head honcho Jermaine Dupri. Since the ink dried on their new contract with JD, they’ve been acting as ambassadors for mainstream media’s newest media darling, the “snap music” phenomenon. And just like most artists that the media embraces, they’ve had have to deal with tons of naysayers and biters. Unscathed, DFB realizes that things like this come with the territory. So instead of spending time answering to every pot

Before you got with JD, you were working with Raheem the Dream right? How was that? Parlae: He just showed us love. We was already out there doing our thing. We just didn’t know anybody at the majors yet. He helped us get the major deal at Universal. Do you guys own the rights to all of your music? Because hopping on Virgin on the strength of a song you did at Universal isn’t something that just happens everyday. Parlae: We own all our music. All of us got our own publishing deals. Just being from the streets at first we didn’t have no publishing. But now we’re getting all that money back. You’re often credited as the originators of Atlanta’s “snap music” movement. With so many artists making this type of music now, how do you guys plan to stand out from the rest? Parlae: By doing the same thing we did to make “White Tee” stand out, just being ourselves. We had people copying us then, when folks making songs about this color tee and that color tee. We had snap music was on the first album, but people ain’t pay attention to it then. Jizzal Man: It’s a trend that we setting. I think its good that so many people are doing it. Its gonna keep us alive because its gonna be hard to not go through us to make this type of music. OZONE

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