Rappers Delite Issue 03 Erick Sermon
Rapper’s Delite issue 03 is here with legendary rapper and producer Erick Sermon, along with M.O.P.’s Billy Danze, Scram Jones and Iron Solomon. Plus, up and coming talents Everybody Official and we find out if you are going to Rhyme or Die. We question the difference between Rap and Hip Hop and a pioneer weighs in!
ISSUE 03: Spring 2012 Every day is a new beginning Rapper’s Delite Magazine Info@RappersDelite.com EDIT and Bits Editor in Chief Rocker Will Loiseau Senile Editor Drew Spence BRAND Nu Beings Specialist/Manager Pedro Mojica Marketing, Public Relations Richera Jones Rapper’s Delite is created using Abobe Indesign CS5.5 Special thanks to photographer Danny Fong of Platinum Studios for images of Erick Sermon, Everybody Official, Boogie Bangga and Top Captins. Meaty Editor Griffin Avid Another turn as interns Abbey “notablondedike” Klondyke Chris “Broken Axle” Axelrod Xodus “Master Beater” Phoenix Live Scribes Cee Brooke Sean Pen Shadow Box Starr J Scarpen T Smokestack Read Dat! © Rapper’s Delite Magazine. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or resold without prior written consent of the publisher. Rapper’s Delite recognizes all copyrights contained in this issue. Where possible we acknowledge the copyright holder. All contributions are submitted and accepted on the basis of a non-exclusive worldwide license to publish or to license others to do so unless otherwise agreed in advance in writing The 4 elements meet cutting-edge entertainment T he process of attaining or surpassing bars you may have set for yourself takes patience. Add to that a good mood even when situations get a lil’ funky. Yeah, those all too familiar places where the gloomiest of outlooks reside. Manage those thoughts and actions and you’re on your way because the sun always shines somewhere. Some of us experience success quicker than others. The only thing we can control is our own actions. What’s all this poetic wax about? In this issue we got to talk with a few individuals who have persevered. We examine our most valuable asset; our bodies. You only get one. Tweak a few daily habits here and there and you may find yourself in the places you’ve only conceived with your mind’s eye. Golden! What’s better than that? Have you ever asked or been asked what’s the difference between Hip Hop and Rap? Does it even matter? We’ll get into that and start the discussion. Don’t forget to take our quiz and test your knowledge on this issue’s cover artist. As always, we also shed some light on some talented, hungry up-and-coming spitters. Stay tuned. Independent artists consistently on their hustle get better over time. We’re no different and we hope you appreciate our dedication in making each issue better than the last. Whatever direction your journey takes, you must be the change you wish to see. That’s what I tell myself about the albums I’ve been writing, recording, re-recording, rehearsing, re-mixing and mastering for forever and a day. Lightning in a 40-ounce bottle is a sight to admire and it’s not easy to accept that perfection is not under our control. Is a masterpiece ever completely finished? Enjoy the ride and bask in the creative process. When you reach your goal, step back and be happy with what you’ve accomplished. We’re just getting started. -Will Loiseau, Editor In Chief Billy Danze Still In the Trenches Words by Will Loiseau A s one half of the world famous M.O.P., Billy Danze has been a voice for the underdog since he came into the game with his partner in rhyme Lil’ Fame. Still touring and constantly creating he hasn’t forgotten what his initial struggles were like. When he’s not shutting down stages and recording hood bangers, he’s been focusing his attention on the new wave of up and coming talent. The Brownsville, Brooklyn native is in the thick of a fight to keep authentic Hip Hop alive and well into the future. From the frustrations of having the odds stacked against him success was crafted. In our conversation, he breaks down everything from his new business venture, the gift of being able to touch audiences with his life experiences and the lost art of dancing and having fun. All the yelling, fussing and cussing you’ve heard over the years in the music actually had a major purpose. Follow as we R.U.N. with Billy Danze. Will: With all the trials and tribulations that you’ve gone through with the record labels what lesson stands out and how do you think you can help the young artists to avoid those pitfalls? Billy: Everything that we’ve been through, it’s all been learning experiences…whether it was something that we had gone through ourselves or another artist. We’ve been down for 20 years now so I’ve seen a lot. I’ve been with the biggest labels. I’ve been with the smallest labels and everything in between. What I’m doing now for the young artists is basically trying to give them a platform. When you do deals with companies the company always makes sure that they’re okay. They don’t really care about the artist. The artists are now like cattle. They just move them from one spot to another. The labels get what they need. They’ll hustle the artist out of their publishing, make them work harder and tell them the story that if they work harder it’s better for them even though the label benefits. They try to make it seem as if the artists really need the labels. In reality, the labels need the artists. Try to imagine a world with no music? If we all decided to stop making music and we stopped the DJs from playing our songs, what the hell is gonna happen? The world would go crazy! The dopest and the wackest artists on the planet can stand on the same platform with or without a label. Was there a particular moment that you decided to start the R.U.N. initiative? Over the years I’d seen so much. Regardless of what caliber dude I am when I’m on the block, I’ve actually got a heart. I’m smart enough to understand right from wrong. I travel the world so I see a lot of kids who can rap circles around whoever’s supposed to be the top guy whether it’s today, yesterday or whoever will be the top guy tomorrow. These kids don’t have the opportunity to be able to get on the phone with Jay-Z or get in touch with 50 [Cent] or call [DJ] Premier but I do. The ability to stay in the business 20 years didn’t just happen on my own. This came from the passion of the kids that wanted to hear me and [Lil’] Fame get on a record. They gave me an opportunity to get out of the street and help my kids and help my situation so why not do whatever I can do for them? Technology now allows you to record in your bedroom and put it out quickly using the Internet. How do you plan to help artists distribute their music? they were a part of R.U.N. Together there’s no way all of us can be stopped. We got kids from all over the United States, Switzerland, Sweden, Africa, Croatia, Italy, France and everywhere. They’ve all got a buzz going from where they at. When we add the history of M.O.P. and all the work I put in there’s no way we can’t win. What keeps you as hungry now as you were in ’92 when you first stepped on the scene? I’m good at being myself. Fame is so good at being Fame it’s ridiculous. I’ve known him for so long that I know his every move. He’s never out of pocket. The hunger from me is I represent that part of society that people may try and forget about. Whether it be dope emcees, hood emcees or the ghetto community. I got a voice and I speak for all of those people. If you travel anywhere in the world whether it be New Zealand, Paris, Italy where you see on television how it’s all beautiful. When they show New York on T.V. they’ll always show Manhattan. They don’t show you Wyandanch or Brownsville. Anywhere you go in the world there’s a hood. I’m always gonna be heard because I’ve got a lot to say. Most distribution companies are tied to the major labels. It doesn’t really matter what company you go with as long as they can get you where you need to be. You would need to cover the rest. With R.U.N. artists look out for each other. Worse case scenario we’ll get 20,000 people that support one another. As an artist all you would have to do is put a mixtape out for $5 to all of us as a family. We’re building a world inside of a world so we don’t need the people who look at us as outcasts. I just need for artists to hustle as hard as they did before Because artist development is no longer a priority at labels is there one major weakness that you see in artists whether you’re watching a live performance or video? There are a lot of dudes out there that get up on the stage and perform like the crowd is supposed to perform for them. What happen to the dudes that really go in and put in the work like a Busta Rhymes? You’ve got a few cats that are current and still do it like that. R.U.N. will help the artists that need help in developing their skills. For the most part, the first submissions that we got for the First Wave mixtape was so fuckin’ incredible. We had no plans to keep this an ongoing thing at first but these dudes can rap. I’m not sure about everybody’s performances yet but a lot of these dudes got it! I’m always here to help them and show them how to do certain things. I’m so hands on with this. I’m helping ‘em every step of the way. I would have to count you and Fame as the only group who can twist somebody’s head off 20,000 different ways on record and it never gets boring to listen to. Is there any topic lyrically that you feel you haven’t covered yet? At some point I wanna talk about females. I’m a man with a family. I’ve got daughters. What happened to real fun? Chicks don’t even dance no more. I wanna say something about a girl turning around and bending over and moving your ass around and not dancing. I wanna try and uplift them in some way. I come from a long line of pushers, pimps, dealers and shit like that. From the pimp side I would be going against the grain but I’m actually a grown man so I gotta say something about it. You’ll notice that we never talk about females on our records. One reason is that we’re basically stick up kids. We did vow never to harm a woman. I come from an era where people danced and had fun. What example is set for young girls when all they see is other girls turning around and shaking their ass? I’m gonna touch on that at some point. I might have to curse a few broads out. Can we look forward to M.O.P. reuniting for a complete album with DJ Premier? I talked to Premier recently and we’re definitely gonna work on a project. It’s gonna happen soon. We’re gonna set up a date and get rolling. Who have you always wanted to collaborate with that you haven’t had the chance to yet? Since I was a kid I always wanted to stand next to Rakim. I had a chance to be in his video but I never had a chance to do a record with him. As much as I wanna be the dopest emcee on the planet, to me he’s the dopest emcee. Although it would be a long shot, if I was ever given the award for best lyricist I would break it in three pieces. I would give a piece to [Kool] G Rap and I would give a piece to Scarface. Those dudes are the most incredible emcees. What other projects can we look forward to? There will be another M.O.P. album coming this year. I want people to really focus on this R.U.N. movement. It’s something great. There are artists out there that really deserve a shot. People say you’ve gotta have a movement now days so I said, fuck it let’s build the biggest movement and have the entire planet down. The first mixtape dropped on February 15. We have the power to bring the next wave of Hip Hop stars. We don’t want to control the music but we wanna get our people in cause they deserve to shine. Check us out at webuildhits.com Thank you for talking with RD Mag. Man of Many Hats Words by T. Smokestack ew Rochelle, NY’s Scram Jones has made music for more than a few familiar N names in the music industry. On the flip side, he’s also shared the microphone with some legendary rhyme slingers you might have heard of. What many don’t know is that this noble student of Hip Hop’s periodic table honed his skills through DJ battles. Bitten by the bug he didn’t stop there continuing on a journey to create a one man band. Degrees in audio engineering and sociology help him to study his audience and provide sonic solutions. We talked with the versatile record spinner/producer/ emcee and asked him, what’s next? Tell me about the first time you performed live as a rapper. Where was it? What was the crowd reaction? Did you have a record out at the time? Scram Jones: First time I performed live as a rapper was at a show at Ithaca College (Ithaca, NY) - I had my boys on stage and basically rapped to them- lol - I wasn’t ready yet to face the crowd - and I think I screamed my lyrics-lol! Later, I learned to connect with the crowd, command my voice and use breath control. I had some records on Napster out at the time and a demo floating around but no big records. It still was cool cuz I had a band on stage with me and turntables so I made up for it by scratching with the band…this was 99! Some of the methods you used to gain a buzz were open-mic shows and contests. Do you still feel that’s the way for young emcees to break into the industry? Yeah - I mean new artists gotta use everything and anything to get out there - some get heard at open mics and battles others thru the internet and others through association… How does being a DJ and producer help you as an emcee? Being a DJ helps me cuz I know what works in the club and what people respond to. I also have so many old school records that it’s fun to go back in time and snatch one up to rap to. I did that on my mixtape The Hat Trick where for example I sampled a KRS-One record “Return of the Boom-Bap” – It’s also cool that I’m able to scratch my choruses. Being a producer helps me because I am able to make a beat that’s tailored for me. I like to rap to up-tempo beats so I may make myself a beat at 95 BPM to rap with an old school sample. That’s the shit I like to rap to. As a producer, what’s your favorite hardware or software tool? MPC 2000, 2500 or 5000 - I started on a MPC 2000 then a MPC 2500 and now a MPC 5000. They all are pretty similar besides a couple upgrades - and of course pro tools... What was your first record you heard on the radio? The first record I produced that I heard on the radio was Jae Millz “No,No,No” – [Funkmaster] Flex was dropping bombs on it - it was amazing cuz me and Millz were both unknown at the time and we were getting burn on Hot97... What are your thoughts on the level of lyricism in the music today? I think it’s downgraded a lot. I think lyricism reached its peak with [Big] Pun and Eminem and Nas and maybe after 2005. Rappers realized simple rap was selling more and everyone dumbed down. The priority became money and not who got the most skills on mic...I guess that’s the business of music verses music….now there’s a lot of new rappers that think they killing it but they’re not! Lol. The emcees in the 90s would’ve chewed them but there is still some sick emcees out there trying to keep lyricism alive like Slaughterhouse, Kendrick Lamar, etc. “Rappers realized simple rap was selling more and everyone dumbed down. The priority became money and not who got the most skills on mic...I guess that’s the business of music verses music….now there’s a lot of new rappers that think they killing it but they’re not! “ Is there really a difference between a mixtape and an album these days? A mixtape has just become a free album (without dressing it up all the way as an album and without needing a single). Original beats are so much easier to acquire now from new producers who just want their name out that a rapper could fill a CD with original music. Then they give it out for free and hope to get shows off it. If not, they drop another ASAP until the buzz is strong enough to drop an album thru a company Tell us about the projects you’ve got lined up for this year. This year I’m dropping a compilation album with all my production called Beast Music. It has an amazing roster on it: Raekwon, Styles P, Fat Joe, Beanie Sigel, Joel Ortiz, N.O.R.E., etc. Who would you like to produce an entire album for? Jay-Z! Eminem! Sean Price! Nas! Where do you see yourself and Hip Hop as a whole in five years? I’m hoping I’ve got some big records under the belt. I’ve yet to produce a real big commercial single so I’m hoping I accomplish that- and I’ve yet to drop a solo album with me as the artist so I hope I do that maybe twice over! Lol. I’m really looking forward to getting this One-Man Band show I’ve been working on out on the road. It’s where I’m making beats on stage and rapping and playing keys and scratching-crazy shit. I want people to respect all three things I do – DJ, emcee and produce. RD would like to thank you for your time. You can follow him on his journey at scramjones. com and reach him on Twitter.com/scramjones BARTENDAZ Keep it Moving If someone were to ask you to name your most prized possession what would you say? Would it be those $250 shoes in your closet? How about the car in your driveway? What about the shiny piece of jewelry you love wearing? If any of these or other material things came to mind before your physical well-being...READ ON. The recent untimely deaths of Adam “MCA” Yauch, Nate Dogg and Heavy D caught people by surprise. The ongoing medical issues of DJ Kool Herc, Rick Ross, the Hip Hop nation and world in general are further warning that the state of our health should be of great concern. BARTENDAZ/Giant Thinking Inc. is a non-profit organization looking to inspire selfempowerment and impact lives through the principles of physical, social and moral excellence. It’s CEO & founder is Hassan Yasin aka Giant. We recently caught up with the scientific link behind the movement, Dr. Goodbody aka the Athletic Alchemist. Pull up and have a drink. Words by Will Loiseau Will: When did you become a member of the Bartendaz? Dr. G: I’ve been a member of the Bartendaz for the last six years. Why do you call yourself an athletic alchemist? That’s a great question. Alchemy is the ability to transform your base metals to a higher form. Basically, I use athletics and movement to transform my lower self into my higher self. The alchemist is a title that alludes to that ability to bring about our higher selves by using our lower selves being our physical bodies. When you study history and look back at certain things like tai chi and yoga you can see that the Bartendaz is something new and at the same time it harps back to those indigenous movement systems. Those systems tie in to the ability to use your body as an instrument for a higher purpose. Every year we seem to be losing members of the Hip Hop community and the population as a whole due to preventable causes. Why is health and fitness an ongoing problem? It’s because of the images that we see especially, when we think about Hip Hop. Your readers should know that the founder of Hip Hop, DJ Kool Herc is actually a member of the Bartendaz as well. He told the CEO and founder Hassan Yasin aka Giant and me that health and fitness was the fifth and sixth elements of Hip Hop that kinda got forgotten. Break dancing or B-boying was a part of that athleticism. Now when we fastforward and look at the way Hip Hop or rap music is packaged to the mass media, people are over-indulging in things that are Do you have to consult a physician when you stand up and have to talk to a physician when you push up from the bed i we’re scaring ourselves to a point where we’re afraid to do our pull ups, dips, squats and jumping are natural functions. If yo walk to a dip bar or up a flight of stairs then maybe you shoul counter-productive to our health. What we find is that as we start to mature certain lifestyle choices you make in your teens and late-twenties don’t really evolve with your physical make up as you begin to approach your thirties and step into your forties. The Hip Hop nation hasn’t really been aware of the need for good health. That goes back for any young movement. You can look back to a young jazz or a young rock, even techno music. The young generation may feel the need to live on the fringes of society whether that is hard drug use, marijuana or alcohol. The young people do it to experience their liberation to a degree. What we know now as we’ve had some time to assess is Hip Hop is in its mid-life crisis. One of the things that have been causing this crisis is that the health hasn’t been addressed. It makes no sense for an MC Breed to fall out and have a heart attack playing basketball in his mid-thirties, Heavy D to die from a blood clot, for Phife [A Tribe Called Quest] to have kidney issues or various other individuals to be inflicted with these diseases. Hip Hop is just a microcosm of the macro of what’s going on in society. Our grandparents didn’t have many of these diseases 50 years ago. These diseases are being manifested because of lack of movement and improper nutrition and it’s become the model. The popular argument is “I don’t have the time” or I’m too busy in the morning or at night. I’m too tired from doing this and that.” What’s a way for an individual to fit exercise in a busy schedule? You can do an around the world which is basically pushups, pull-ups, dips, squats and lunges. You can do three sets of each in 15-20 minutes and get a total body workout especially when you use the Bartendaz natural movements. The only limitation is your imagination. Too many people make excuses for why they don’t have enough time. If you don’t have time for your health what about when you’re in the hospital and you HAVE to make time? When your time on this planet is cut short and you wish you would’ve made time for health... The rich men in the world would give you all his money if he could purchase health. The healthiest man might be the poorest man but he wouldn’t trade his health for no amount of riches. The Bartendaz are trying to illuminate the fact that your health is your wealth. Everyone has the ability to go out and do things that can benefit themselves, their families and the world. Would you suggest consulting a physician before beginning an exercise program? That’s another good question. Do you have to consult a physician when you stand up and walk to the bathroom? Do you have to talk to a physician when you push up from the bed in the morning? It’s almost like we’re scaring ourselves to a point where we’re afraid to do our natural movements. Push ups, pull ups, dips, squats and jumping are natural functions. If you for some reason feel you can’t walk to a dip bar or up a flight of stairs then maybe you should consult a physician. At that point, your problem is well beyond the average. People in general health do not need consultation to walk a flight of stairs, to do a push up or to do a pull up. We’re putting ourselves in a box and making ourselves unhealthy. We’re giving doctors all the power over us because this society is dictated by lack of movement and gluttonism. To be politically correct, I’d say you could consult a physician if you felt you had to. Why do you think nutrition is treated as such a low priority in the school curriculums? There are a couple of reasons for that. Our schools are big businesses. They have outside vendors that control the foods that are being served in schools. Companies like Coca Cola, Del-Monte and Mars. These companies pay to have vending machines set up. We are sorely undereducated in nutrition. You’d be surprised at how many people are digging their graves with forks, spoons and knives. Part of the Bartendaz mission is to help raise awareness of the other options available. School is not a place where common sense is taught. You learn book information in order to go into the world and become a worker. It’s not made to teach you or educate you to become a better person or human being. walk to the bathroom? Do you in the morning? It’s almost like r natural movements. Push ups, ou for some reason feel you can’t ld consult a physician. What did you eat for breakfast this morning and how long did it take to prepare? Dr. G: This morning, I had a bowl of oatmeal with some guava to flavor it, almonds and a glass of room temperature water with lemon. It took me less than ten minutes to prepare. What do you tell somebody who says it’s too expensive to eat healthy? Doesn’t a $5 combo meal from the fast food spot or bodega make more sense? That’s a reality that we deal with but I think that when you start to study the nutrition choices that we have you’ll see different. The box of oatmeal that I bought costs $3.99 and I can eat 7 bowls of oatmeal. That box will last me a week. The almonds cost $1.99. So, it’s not as expensive as people may think. After a while, you start to become a conscious consumer. The dollar menu and $3.99 combos are cheap and all around us for a reason. We need to apply a microscope to the choices that we’re making. A lot of times, people make it harder than it is. You have to be consistent. Where can our audience purchase your videos? You can find all Bartendaz videos online at www.bartendaznyc.com. The readers should know that the videos we placed on YouTube are just the tip of the iceberg. After having our videos on YouTube for the last 5 years people are starting to say that they’ve gotten hurt. Our videos are a virtual business card but at the same time once you’re attracted to what we’re doing you gotta understand natural progress. This goes back to your earlier question. You should know that everything you see in the video are advanced movements. They came after a certain amount of progressions. Before you get to those movements you must master the basics. Before you make a word you gotta know your ABC’s. The alphabet makes words, the words make a sentence, sentences make a paragraph, paragraphs make a chapter, chapters make a book and the book tells a story. The Bartendaz tell the story of an indigenous, natural movement. Those advanced techniques you see on the videos are simply combinations of basic moves. Master the basics! A lot of people may think that they’re getting it in but they’re getting it injured. Any artists you plan to work with in the future? Styles P, Lil’ Cease, Sway Calloway from MTV, Dr. Dre and Warren G, N.O.R.E., RBG Fit Club and Stic. There is a vanguard of people in the Hip Hop community who are pushing to raise the awareness of the health and fitness bar. We’re blessed to be at the forefront. We started in the parks. Hip Hop started in the parks. We’re a movement for humanity in general. We want this to be a part of the mental fabric of the youth. Anything you’d like to say to those who follow the Bartendaz movement? We wanna thank Rapper’s Delite for giving us an opportunity to help spread the Bartendaz mantra of “health is wealth” and “movement is medicine”. Bartendaz is a brother program to our bigger program called GIANT Thinking. This is a mental, physical and a spiritual thing. Those three components are what you need to have total health. We’re working with Nike, we working on a web series, a book and movie documenting how the movement got started. We now have Bartendaz in Africa, Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, Israel and Iraq. We’ve touched the souls of people from various backgrounds and cultures all around the world. We focus on making people look inside of themselves. There’s a science and art behind this. It’s more than just doing some fancy tricks on a bar. Your physical vehicle is the one thing you have with you all the time. The reality is that you can improve that in a fun and creative way to make living more enjoyable. We made this product for our environment because we didn’t want to become products of our environment. Better people make a better world. Our destiny is greatness so let’s claim that. Thank you for enlightening our readers. Name: Winnie B Twitter: @winnieb4eva Facebook: Winnie Bee Profession: model/actress Measurements: 34 26 40 Favorite Sport: Basketball Astrological Sign: Aquarius What body part of yours attracts the most attention? My mouth Now, what would you like people to be attracted to? My mind Sleep or sex? Sex If you had to sleep with one woman who would it be? ALICIA KEYS Can we buy you a drink and if so, what kind? Long Island [Iced Tea] a strong drink for a strong ass woman. Ever had a one night stand? Yes, I think everyone has at least once in their life. Have you ever told a lie? Hummm. Lol. Yes, I only tell lil white lies though. Hahah The biggest misconception about me is… I’m drama Preferred type of underwear? None really…I think they are pointless. During sex they are gonna come right off :) What artist in the music industry has influenced you? Nicki Minaj for some strange reason I guess cuz people tried to tell her she couldn’t get in the game. She actually did and in the end haters will be haters and always wish for your down fall. What advice do you have for any upcoming models, dancers, musicians that are trying to break into the entertainment industry? Be true to yourself and do you. Forget what anybody else thinks of you and regret nothing and go for it all. The Reemergence of an Artist An observer inside the cluttered, two-story home in the suburban, Long Island neighborhood of Brentwood would be forgiven for thinking that the man annoyed with troubleshooting his erratic internet cable connection- was a novice around sound and video devices. To the contrary, the younger looking than his age vet is actually one of the most sought after tour and party DJ’s in the country. In addition to being a championship battle DJ, he’s anchored the ones and two’s for some of the world’s most popular musicians. On a Wednesday night, DJ Diamond is standing behind his turntables, readying tonight’s playlist on the laptop. He’s preparing to blast the airwaves with his worldcastradio.com daily show. Quite evident from the open luggage, dusty speakers and clothes littered throughout the living room/DJ room is that he doesn’t spend much time at home. He’s been busy travelling the world and preparing audiences for the launch of his new movement. America’s #1 Brand DJ is at it again. Get ready! Words by Will Loiseau Will: You’re one of the most sought after tour DJ’s in the world. Break that down for us. DJ Diamond: I’ve toured with legends such as Wu Tang, The Gravediggaz, EPMD, The Artist Formally Known as Prince, who might be known as Prince again. I’m not sure. [Laughter erupts.] Beyonce, MTV/P. Diddy’s Making the Band, Anthony Anderson’s personal DJ. I’m one of the members of the world famous X-Ecutioners/X-Men DJ’s and the list goes on. What was the first record or cassette that you purchased with your own dollars? Wow! I’m gonna have to go back. I wasn’t really into tapes like that but I think the first cassette tape I ever brought was Redman’s first album [Whut? Thee Album.] I couldn’t even tell you the first record…I’ve been buying records ever since I was ten. I know it was something Hip Hop. As a producer what was the first sample that you used that made a record and got airplay? It was a break beat called “Pussy Foot”. I did a Gravediggaz remix for their single “The Night the Earth Cried”. In my remix I used the sample and it got pretty popular. As a kid, who did you hear or who did you see that made you wanna rap/ DJ? Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew. I was maybe about seven years old and I used to live in Bushwick, Brooklyn. They came to P.S. 45 [Horace E. Greene] which was a public school. They did a show in the park that was attached to the school. Right then and there I knew I wanted to do this forever. Not really what Doug E. was doing but I wanted to do what the DJ’s were doing. What Chill Will and Barry Bee were doing is what got me going. I knew I wanted to be a DJ. Name some records you’ve used in the club that never failed when trying to hype up a crowd. That’s tough to answer because it all depends on the crowd. There are so many different types of crowds now because there are so many different genres of music. I would have to say anything Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson’s music transcends every audience in every genre. He’s my go-to dude if I can’t figure a crowd out. Why is it that whenever you’re spinning a hot record as a DJ or watching an emcee perform a smash song at a show, the crowd’s initial burst of energy always seems to die down after the first verse? Good question. Die-hard fans of the song will sing the entire song for the length that you play it. People who are what I call, “Proxy fans” of the song, meaning that they’re fans because they’re hearing it on the radio, they like it even though they might not be a particularly huge fan of the artist. They like the song for what it is. Those folks may die down. I have noticed that. When the song first comes on they’ll be like “Oh, that’s my shit!” They go hard and then after the first chorus or hook when it goes into the second verse…it’s not the same hype as when it first hits the ears. I don’t know if I can really answer why. Hopefully, “Apples & Bananas” will fix that because I try to keep the whole song exciting. Tell us about your new project. I’m now going to be referred to as DJ Diamond “The Artist”. That’s how you’ll be able to find me on Itunes, Amazon and any other notable outlet for music. My new project is called Don’t Label Me. The title has a two-fold purpose. One, it means for labels to stay away from me. I got my own money and Original X-Men / Executioner / World Famous / ATEAM DJ / Tour DJ for MTV Making The Band / Prince / Beyonce / DJ for Anthony Anderson’s Mixtape Comedy Series / DJ For Proctor & Gamble / Guess / General Motors / Boost Mobile / MTV / BET / Fox 5 NY / Artist / Producer / Party Rocker / Battle DJ / Actor there’s nothing you can do for me. So, I don’t need a major record label deal. I’m going straight independent. Two, it means exactly what it says. Don’t label me. I’m an artist who makes all types of music. Just because my first song was a fast, ass-shaking, fist-pumping record don’t think my second song is gonna be that. My second song could be about god. It could be about the streets. It could be about the strip club. It might be about elevating your mind. I make everything and I live in the moment. I make whatever I feel at the time. Let me show you that I can make dope music in all different styles. A lot of artists never get to express themselves the way that they want because they’re bound by the laws of the major record labels. Now that we’re in the age of independence you’re gonna see artists doing a lot of different things that you may have never expected before. But I don’t think any of them really figured out a way to verbalize it. Consumers are very one-dimensional and un-open-minded. They’re stuck in their ways because they’ve been molded and shaped by big record labels in association with major FM radio. Do you think that your ability to be versatile is what makes your sound stand out? No, I think there are others that are bringing it to the game. I just don’t think anyone has intelligently thought about how to make it part of their marketing strategy. I know a lot of artists feel the same way I do. A lot of artists never get to express themselves the way that they want because they’re bound by the laws of the major record labels. Now that we’re in the age of independence you’re gonna see artists doing a lot of different things that you may have never expected before. But I don’t think any of them really figured out a way to verbalize it. Consumers are very one-dimensional and un-open-minded. They’re stuck in their ways because they’ve been molded and shaped by big record labels in association with major FM radio. With those two entities working together consumers have been programmed. I’m trying to help de-program you. I’m gonna make a song and you’re gonna like it. Then, I’m gonna make another song that’s gonna sound totally different. It’s still me and you loved the first record I made. Give the next one an equal opportunity. I don’t wanna get stuck like a Rick Ross. He makes great music but 7 out of 10 songs sound the same. Why? That’s the formula that works for him. That’s the label that’s been put on him. That’s what the fans want so he has to give the fans what they’re asking for. I wanna give the fans me and I’m a complex individual. There’s a lot of things that make me up so don’t expect to just hear one sound. Don’t label me. What words of wisdom can you give to those thinking about making it in this industry? Make sure that everything that you do is well thought out. You can fail terribly with a great song but if you have no plan for it you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Make sure you cover every base that needs to be covered. It’s not just about making a song in the studio and throwing it up on the wall to see if it sticks. There are a lot of steps involved. You need marketing and PR. Those are two of the biggest things. You’re never gonna be hot if there’s nobody talking about how hot you are. With the emergence of the internet you also need the visual. Those three things and a good team around you will set you up for success. What else would you like to say to the RD Massive? Follow DJ Diamond on Twitter @DJDiamond. Hit me up on Facebook.com/therealdjdiamond. If you’re on Google Plus look for DJ Diamond. If you’re on Reverb Nation, search for DJ Diamond. Get at me at DJDiamond.com. The new club smash hit is called “Apples & Bananas”. Thank you for keeping us up to speed on the latest. Rap VS Hip Hop is there a difference? does it matter in 2012 and beyond? Words by Drew Spence I attended the New Jersey Golden State Film Festival for the premier of I Want MY Name Back, a documentary by Roger Paradiso profiling the early years and recent history of The Sugarhill Gang. This is a film you need to see because it gives us the back-story to what may be the most important song in the history of Rap music. “Rapper’s Delight” gave us the single lyric that every person has at least said once. “..a hip hop the hippie the hippie to the hip hip hop, a you dont stop the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat ..” Iconic. Along with the film premier and concert I was invited to attend a panel discussion moderated by RD Mag heavy Will Loiseau and the Original Sugarhill Gang (minus Big Bank Hank) and newest member, the charismatic Hen Dog. They are now called Rapper’s Delight -the band with added musicians and an awesome new sound that’s a translation to what Hip Hop could be when laid down by its funky forefathers. A special guest at the discussion was legendary Rap pioneer Kangol Kid from UTFO that gave us their hit “Roxanne Roxanne” and spawned a hundred replies and inspired other superstars like Roxanne Shante. Kangol was asked what he thought about today’s rappers and what they’ve done with their artform. This is that moment when he is supposed to say that every modern rapper sucks and they are a bunch of clowns and they are ruining music. His answer was surprisingly different. He told us- the rappers of today are his children and kids can either do good or bad, but you love them anyway. They all fall under the banner of hip hop and should be allowed to be who they are. As a parent you don’t always approve of what you child is doing, but you care about them. Unexpected. Also, I disagree. But who am I to give my 2 cents on this sensitive subject? I’ve always seen the split between rap and hip hop and never thought it was a big deal. The only people that say there is no split tend to be people who say they don’t care and as long as the song is good, they with it. It’s a weird position to say something doesn’t exist only because it’s not important to you. Never one to miss a good debate, I shared my idea that rap and hip hop are distinct and if anything Hip Hop might be a subdivision of Rap Music. In other words, rap is the larger entity with numerous branches or subgenres. Gangsta-rapper, conscious-rapper, battlerapper even underground rapper. Now try to slap those prefixes in front of hip hopper and it doesn’t work. What kind of rap are you into? Hip hop, mostly. You know what they mean. I’m not heavily concerned with which one is given top-rank umbrella status, but to see no division baffles me. It seems so…innate and just common sense or just common to hear and see the difference. Things got interesting. Firstly I mentioned the four elements [b-boying or breaking, DJing, Emceeing and Graffiti) as technical aspects that define hip hop. He said not emceeing, but instead rapping because there was no difference before records came out. Good one. He asked me if Lil’ Kim was hip hop. Good question. I paused. He said I was thinking too hard. I said I’m a thoughtful man. I asked him Which Lil’ Kim? If you mean the little girl from Brooklyn spittin verses for Biggie, then yes. If you mean the woman running around getting face jobs and implants, then no, that’s a rap star. He asked me if Lil’ Kim was hip hop. Good question. I paused. He said I was thinking too hard. I said I’m a thoughtful man. I asked him Which Lil’ Kim? If you mean the little girl from Brooklyn spittin verses for Biggie, then yes. If you mean the woman running around getting face jobs and implants, then no, that’s a rap star. No slight to Lil’ Kim, I have no idea what kind of personal demons she’s facing or claim I could live her life bigger and better than she has. I’m just saying it’s not black or white and there are grey areas and influences with every artist. I didn’t consider Nelly to be “a hip hop artist”, but his song about Air Force Ones is so hip hop. It’s a song about sneakers as relevant as RUN DMC rhyming about their Adidas in their time. There are rappers that MC and emcees with rap records. I related the difference to be tied to samplingboth physical sampling and interpolation. Hip hop is the original adaptation of an idea and rap music is the commercial exploitation of the result. For example, hip hoppers might create their own style by wearing their jeans a few sizes too big. A hip hop minded retailer would simply order more of the larger sizes to keep up with the demand. Someone looking to profit off the look would begin to market over-sized jeans and emulate the look of what rappers wear. A hip hopper wouldn’t buy those jeans because they would be seen as corny. But if you were outside of the culture, you might feel like you were being closer to rap music and its look if your jeans had “rapper’s pants” embroidered on the back pocket. It’s the difference between leading and following. I wouldn’t even say that one form is superior to the other. I think we need both to have a complete musical diet. The last idea he left me with is that angry and jealous hip hoppers created the division after the rap direction made money and became the leading voice. Rap records gave us Rap Stars. It gave the world an image to attach to our music and a look that would have an indelible influence on world fashion and culture. Hip hop defined itself as a culture while rap went on to impact every culture. This puzzle just got a lot more pieces, but what’s the big picture? I’ve stood there, at a concert and watched rappers perform their biggest hits- sometimes as weakly as rapping OVER their record and wished that an MC would If you’ve ever released a piece of music into the world, you were undoubtedly met with a genre or style description menu. There is always a choice between rap and hip hop with numerous sub-divisions. These labels are important for helping our target audiences find what they want easier. Labels also have a bad habit of creating imaginary limitations of what something can be. There is a sense of purity behind hip hop where skill (in all aspects) sets the bar. This idea doesn’t exist in other genres of music since most other forms were not born from a competitive spirit. The battle emcee verses the commercial rapper. Well, we can see that the spirit is still there as rappers compete in the trappings of their universe – sales and the trappings of succe$$. In a classic sense, a hip hopper competes for the moment, the respect earned in the moments he displays his style, skills and talents. A rapper competes using his (personal) style, skills, talent and is also concerned with the result$. Our music also needs legitimacy as a genre in world sense. A culture must have identifying signature or a look that symbolizes the mass of people behind it. With commercialization and exploitation comes economic leverage. Huge selling Rap records delivers a real power that forces the larger music world to take the artform seriously. We gain a voice and platform to speak to those OUTSIDE the creative world and culture of rap and hip hop. I’ve been there. I’ve stood there, at a concert and watched rappers perform their biggest hits- sometimes as weakly as rapping OVER their record and wished that an MC would show up. I’ve also spent long hours listening to emcee after emcee spit killer rhymes and wished someone had a song or even a verse I recognized. There is a time and place for everything and everything has a context. I need both in my life. The street music aspect must be kept. It must remain the music and expression of people, people who can create something from nothing. Like all forms of folk music, it must require very little to create and participate. Common items: Cardboard, spray paint, two turntables and a microphone. That is a living culture based on human interaction. Both are linked and need each other to survive. Any imbalance jeopardizes the longevity of the artform. This is the sentiment we are hoping every person with an ounce of clout echoes when asked about the state of urban music. Maybe if we keep saying it, something will change. Perhaps what is most important is not how we see the difference but how we react to the differences. You have the choice to support what you like and ignore what you don’t. And since what most of us like rolls back and forth across this line so much, maybe it isn’t so much a war about music, but a war over mindset. Maybe the people who say they don’t care had it right all along. show up. DANTE Don’t Sleep We recently got an opportunity to chat with Dante Bacote. He’s a young up and coming artist with a vast array of talents who we think you should watch out for. Words by Pedro Mojica I must begin this interview with a quote from your profile on Facebook which reads… “Happiness is a choice that requires Effort at times” ....Now...it takes a lot of effort to be CEO/ Head Producer/ Engineer/ Rapper/ Writer/ Composer/ Actor/ Model/ and a college student of communication. How do you do it? How happy are you and are you willing to share some? How do I do it? The answer is simple like ‘Nike’ I just do it; no ifs ands or buts, because if I don’t do it for myself who will. I’m happy now that God still gives me breathes to take allowing me to continue to move forward and bring about a positive change. I’ll be happier once I’ve made entertainment my full time career and the only thing I do is eat, sleep, and breathe entertaining and everything it encompasses. Tell me about your acting career. I started in the 6th grade doing improv comedy at my middle school. I decided to go full force with it and put together a resume then found an agent. I landed my first job which was a play in The Julliard [School] in NYC titled “Shakespeare Get a Clue”. I had a comedic role and once I saw the reaction from the crowd…being able to make them happy and smile even for a moment I knew that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Each role got bigger as time progressed from a Nickelodeon Fashion Pilot that never aired to being on the series finale of the hit HBO series “The Sopranos” to doing an indie film as a cop’s son in “Boy Wonder”. I then landed my greatest acting accomplishment to date with the star role in the Warner Bros film “The Prodigies” casted by the incredible Avy Kaufman who also did Denzel’s “American Gangster”. After that I followed up with a couple roles on ABC’s “One Life to Live”. I’m now auditioning and getting gigs as they come along. Tell me about your music career? I began music simultaneously with my acting career. Started off in snare drum class in middle school and my father asked me if I was serious about music. After I said yes he got me my first MPC Yamaha RS7000. From there I started stacking beats…making at least 3 a day for a couple summers, something like Kanye. It got to the point where my friends and family said they’re incredible and I should make songs with them since I was already writing poetry. So from that day I became a triple threat in the music industry. I’m an artist who writes, composes and produces all on my own. I made my first CD “Don’t Stop, Never Be Satisfied” which gained a local buzz. My second CD “The People’s Champ” gained a national buzz with sponsorships from Coast2Coast Mixtapes & several clothing sponsors. After putting out my third CD “Black Box” my fan base went International. I’ve performed in CT, NYC, FL, Luxembourg and Paris. After each show I’ve gained more fans and connections. I’m in the process now of inking a couple deals with some majors, selling beats, and songs. Right now I’m networking daily and started my own label “Immortal Music Group” growing my entity and attaching like-minded positive people to an unstoppable movement as I go. What are you most passionate about? I enjoy acting and making music equally but if I had to pick it’d be music. http://www.facebook.com/dante.bacote What can we expect from you this summer? This summer expect more hard work, more new music, more shows, more articles and my name coming up everywhere you are. I’m in the works of many major partnerships and shows in the near future with A-list clientele, but you know how the industry goes. You have to keep everything under wraps so there are no contract conflictions. As far as acting, I’m getting ready to begin pre-production of an independent film called “Love Is Love”. I’m also working with producer Doc Ish of Eminem’s “We Made You” on a sketch comedy show. Your song “Victory” is hot and one of my favorite tracks. It sort of fits your mission...I wish you all the best...see you on the red carpet! RBMA NYC 2012 Presents: Smif-n-Wessun ft. Black Moon @ Brooklynâ€™s Public Assembly Rhyme or Die? The keys to better health are in your hands! Get up and ride out. W riting, recording, performing, shooting videos, interviews and enduring a rigorous tour schedule. Sound exhausting? Well, being a rapper these days is sort of like playing a sport. In order to excite fans at a show or last any decent amount of time as an artist in show-business, health must become a focus. The mere mention of medical insurance can lead to frowns on the faces and put fear in the hearts of a Hip hop artist. This is no different for the nearly 40% of American workers who are not covered through their employers. These services are rarely, if ever, included in recording contracts. If that were the case, diving from the stage into a sea of loyal fans would be the norm and not the exception. Out of pocket medical costs can send even the most privileged among us running to bankruptcy court in no time. So how can this growing problem ever be solved? Images and lyrics with references to alcohol, smoke and junk food are so familiar to us itâ€™s become part of our development as we grow from kids to adults. These powerful messages can have a lasting effect on our brains. The chemical damage to our bodies only intensifies as the years go by. The key is making the correct connection between the foods and lifestyle habits we choose with the premature sicknesses Words by Soundoff and deaths of our friends and family. Ever wonder why high-blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and cancer run in your family? Dietary dirty bombs in the form of sugary, oily, salty processed foods and meds are all major culprits. They are not only addicting but toxic. For those of you who actually take a moment to read ingredients labels: congratulations. Have you ever had trouble pronouncing any of the ingredients? If so, your body will have problems digesting it. You like the color orange? You enjoy the smell of cut pineapple? Instead of playing guinea pig for the latest orange-pineapplebacon-berry-BBQ flavored lab experiment, try eating real fruit. Youâ€™ll get all of your basic nutrients with the sweet taste humans naturally crave. Your body will love it. Besides, you donâ€™t really want your heart pumping Kool-Aid do you? Inactive lifestyles are just as dangerous. Sitting at a day job or countless hours in the studio can take a brutal toll on your body and mind. Stress not only eats away at the mind but also suppresses our physical abilities. The heart is a muscle that needs to be trained like any other. Lack of equipment is no excuse for not getting it in. Calisthenics (push-ups, pull-ups, squats, planks, dips, stretching, etc.) require no gym memberships. You can do them out in fresh air or in the privacy of your own residence. All you need is motivation and a commitment towards fitness goals. You’re more likely to pursue objectives that you’ve either written down or said out loud. Write down a list of small changes that you’d like to see in yourself. Wake up, get out of bed and make it happen. Exercise for 15-20 minutes a day and you’ll be on your way. You may want to team up with a friend to motivate each other. Start slow and stick to the plan. It usually takes about 21 days to establish a life changing habit. Expect to see noticeable results in six weeks. Creativity can grab us at any time. Getting in the zone for a few days is a beautiful thing. Words and ideas fit into place like puzzle pieces. It’s also just as nice to get rest and recharge the batteries. Functioning without sleep can lead to chronic fatigue and numerous other health issues. Adapting to changes is a big part of being in this business and finding time to either nap or sleep is critical to sharp thinking and maneuvering. Throughout the years, we’ve been conditioned into thinking it was normal to voluntarily abuse our bodies. Our lyrical heroes made it look so cool. Proper health education isn’t taught in schools and most “medical pros” are clueless when it comes to nutrition. To make matters worse, fast food options are constantly in our faces. These habits were passed down for generations. Most residents in inner-cities live in dead-zones. This is a term to describe areas where fruits and vegetables are scarce. We love our bodegas and street meat vendor carts. We’ve formed relationships with their owners. They’ve greatly influenced our childhoods and have been the backdrops for some of our favorite videos. Unfortunately, the products sold inside are mostly filled with the chemicals we should avoid. Traveling further to get what you really need will eventually pay off. How many shows and promotional opportunities have you missed due to health issues? How many times have you gone on stage to perform feeling less than your best? Maybe you’ve pulled it off a few times but your reflexes, attention to detail and overall sound will be negatively affected. Catching a buzz every now and then is understandable. Getting blasted on a regular basis is a recipe for disaster. It’s inevitable that this type of behavior will have an impact on yourself, family and revenue streams. The stakes in this game are much higher than they were decades ago. Practicing preventive medicine can save more lives than any other method. There are certain things that you’ll have to give up in order to get what you want. You’ll have to do some things you may not want to do at first. Give them a try. You’ll be glad you did. If you feel the need to check with your doctor beforehand, do that. Your fans and supporters will take notice. Implement some of these steps in your life and check back with us soon for another installment. Health is wealth. RD Massive! Keep us updated on your progress. We’d like to hear from you. Hit us up at: Wellness@ rappersdelite.com TRIS J out of Chi-town, Tris J has been around the music mix for a hot minute. Less than a year ago, he decided to grab the mic and give rhyming a shot. After Straight hooking up with life-long friend Sir Michael Rocks he’s been flowing ever since. Three months in the studio became 9 tracks and a new mixtape titled Tris World. Brand new to the spotlight and slowly getting in the pocket with his flow, the future looks promising for this young up and comer. While putting his roots together with TPC [ToothPick Clique], “Too Short Back”, a tribute to the Oakland, CA rap vet, was made and from there they knew they had something going. Tris World has been creating a buzz of late so we kicked it over the wireless with Tris to see what else he’s got in store. Rapper’s Delite highlights artists and producers that have what it takes to make a splash in the industry. This next korner is dedicated to up and koming with drive and determination. talent, Want to be here? info@RappersDelite.com Is there anybody in particular that you’ve seen perform or heard that made you want to start rhyming? Actually, it was just from hanging around Mikey and his rapper friends who were doing big things. Curren$y, Dom [Kennedy], Asher [Roth], Mac Miller, etc. We’d run into these guys all the time. I was in that environment already. I started to pick up on what they were doing. I’ve seen all of them perform for years and was a fan. I got to meet them at their raw state so that definitely inspired me to get to where I am now. What’s on tap for the future? I got a bunch of shows coming up. I’ll be on the next Mac Miller [Macadelic] tour. After that, I’ll keep hitting the road and making more music. Other than that you can look out for the Toothpick Clique clothing line. That’s some fresh shit that we put together. Me and the fellas was wearing it so we said to ourselves that we might be able to go somewhere with it. We just got it up and running. People can check that out at www.toothpickclique.com. We’ve got a basic catalog of sweats, some tees and our logos on some other things. Chicago is legendary for making noise and holding it down musically. What are you going to bring to the table to differentiate yourself? I’m bringing the straight modern playa. It’s everything I was raised on. I’m a dude that’s only 24 years old and already like an O.G. to the little homies coming up. We’re basically putting our own spin on everything you’ve probably heard coming out of the Chi. It’s made for everybody that’s into right now. This shit is gold. I bring that versatility like it’s nothing. What are you listening to now in the headphones or what do you blast when riding around in the whip? James Brown, [Young] Jeezy, I just made a new car ride CD the other day. I got Big Mike, Lil’ Wayne, ASAP Rocky and the new Mac [Miller]. Who do you rely on for tracks and who do you plan to work with production wise on your future projects? I’ve been working with a lot of local cats and young producers that sent beats to my email for the mixtape. I’ve got some CARDO on there, Billionaire Boyscout, DJ Thunder, Thelonious Martin, Braggs, Lex Luger. Me and CARDO are planning on finishing an EP with like six or seven tracks. I’m starting to get in tune with a lot of the up and coming Chicago acts as well. I keep getting new stuff every day. We gonna style it out. Do you have any last thoughts? Keep your ears open and get ready. I should finish several projects before the summer. Tris J is about to get it poppin in one hot second so be on the lookout. Boogie Bangga comes straight at you from Central Islip, New York. His music is therapeutic and intended to fill the social void. He is motivated by the harsh realities of everyday life. Even with the odds stacked against him, Boogie Bangga is determined to become a success story and bring you fresh music with an original and different sound. Inspired by some of the best artists, including Tupac, James Blunt, John Mayer, U2, Biggie, Jay-Z, Marvin Gaye, Hector Lavoe, Frankie Ruiz, Nas, 50 Cent, DMX, Marc Anthony, Lady Gaga, Akon, Kanye West, Eminem, Prince and Big Punisher, BB is poised to make an impact, stay tuned for more news on this Long Island gem. http://www.reverbnation.com/boogiebangga007 http://www.facebook.com/BoogieBangga https://twitter.com/#!/boogiebangga007 Scarface Joey, V.B., and J Gunna are all men of honor. They came together with the same dream and conquered it. Scarface Joey was born and raised in Far Rockaway Queens in the Redfern houses. He was raised by his grandparents who were some of the main individuals that introduced him to music and good music at that. Scarface Joey started rapping at the age of seven. At the near age of twelve he attended a studio to record his first song ever. . He grazed his presence at many studios and stages and was a consecutive champion on the battles scenes from New York to Detroit. He was a dream to individuals and was respected as a phenomenal artist. V.B. is also a Veteran from the streets of Far the jugular vein and was announced dead at the hospital and revived twice. He was paralyzed for almost a year and confined to a wheel chair and colostomy bag. After being nursed back to health by family and friends he soon learned how to walk and continue an maintain a comfortable lifestyle. In Early 2006, things began to take an interesting turn for the proclaimed “Miracle Boy” he worked hard at becoming an independent man and started writing rhymes and creating hit singles. J Gunna is from Hempstead Long Island and his story is straight to the point. “Trapper turned Rapper” not knowing too much about how to be a rapper J Gunna grew up grew up in the drug infested projects of Terrace Ave. He uses his rap as a way to escape poverty, drugs and violence that he is surrounded by on a daily basis. He tells his story through his music so one can feel his struggle. J Gunna is the voice of the streets and his everyday life influences him and gives him motivation to become great. Mission Statement: Top Captins mission is to create a culture of progression. Nurturing and inspiring the “Best of the Best” through fashion and entertainment. Links and websites: http://www.themostinfamous.com/profile/TOPCAPTINSENT www.facebook.com/topcaptins www.youtube.com/topcaptinsent Rockaway where he was acknowledged as a hype man who brought excitement to the crowds. He is a well resected man and has been through a lot. In 2004 not long after V.B. and his family left the streets of Far Rockaway and bought a home in Jamaica NY. Braze coming home from working his city job stopped on Sutphin Blvd to see a couple of friends was gunned down and left for dead. He was shot six times and stabbed in www.twitter.com/topcaptinsent www.twitter.com/topcaptins Instagram: @Topcaptins Current Mixtapes 1. Top Captins Ent. Presents Scarface Joey “It’s Me” Vol.1 2. Top Captins Ent. Presents “Salute” Vol.1 www.datpiff.com Words by Pedro Mojica How did you guys establish the name of the group? Pedro: How are you guys gonna stay relevant Mason Drive: We all linked up together and was like using your style of rap? let’s get this music thing together. Fortunately, we’re Newt: We always gonna make the same music. surrounded by good people so we decided to use a You gotta be able to reach the people each and name that would fit all of us. every year. You gotta be able to relate to the Kap B.: Lyrically, family wise, everything. You don’t people each and every time. even have to deal with music to be official. If you’re You guys are each coming with different doing what you’re doing 110% then you’re official. styles right? We got something for everybody. What projects have you guys been working on? Tell me a little bit about your style. Mason Drive: We did a couple of compilations. We Newt: Me personally, I don’t really have a style. got The Cutting Room Floor that should be dropping I was never really a rapper. I just do good music. soon. We got a few things going on. I’m just a hustler who hustles music. If you relate to me you can relate to real life situations. You just you can find the show listings, tracks, CD’s, up coming gonna feel me…if not, that’s on you. projects, photos and we are updating everyday. You Pedro: What’s poppin with the production? can purchase T-shirts and other merchandise we Who’s handling that for you guys? have available. We also have hoodies, wristbands Bobby Goodnow: Production comes from all over the place. Now days with the way the internet and we can have them shipped to wherever you are. Be official with whatever you do! works, we get a lot of beats off Soundcloud. That’s How often do you guys work on your craft? where all the producers are. You gotta go out there L.O.E.: There’s six artists so for everyday of the and support your producers and make sure you week we hustle besides Sunday. We need a break purchase their beats. We get beats from cats out too. We’re in the studio almost everyday making in Switzerland, local cats and all over the world. new music, photos, hollering at people on Twitter and Where can people go to find out what you guys on Facebook. Shouts out to Rapper’s Delite for the are up to? Kap B.: Everybodyofficial.com is where opportunity. http://www.reverbnation.com/everybodyofficial In Case You Missed The Bus… Words by Cee Brooke Xzibit At the Speed of Life T he list of quality albums that dropped in 1996 was a rap fan’s dream. From 2Pac’s All Eyez on Me and Don Killuminati to the Fugees’ The Score it was all too easy to overlook a hungry rapper from California. After making a couple of appearances on The Alkaholiks Coast II Coast album, Xzibit signed a solo deal with the fast growing rap label Loud Records. I was a big East coast music supporter and X to the Z got major spins in the whip. You could hear the influence of Tha Liks, Public Enemy and other lyrical artists who made conscious decisions to go against the grain. The album starts out with an instrumental interlude. This was like a prerequisite for underground albums at the time. It allowed you to match your skills with the artist on the record and spit a quick sixteen before the next song came on. The first time I ever heard X on a track was when I saw the “Paparazzi” video. The timing of this song was right on point. “Selling out” was one of the most derogatory accusations someone could have made towards rappers getting exposure and making money. He lyrically killed all rappers who weren’t official on the streets. I couldn’t have ever pictured him as the host of MTV’s Pimp My Ride but you can’t hate the player. On “Eyes May Shine” like a lot of the songs on this album hit hard with deep bass lines and hard snares. Xzibit raps, “Eyes may shine, teeth may grit and all of that shit and ya still won’t step so what’s next/All of a sudden, you aint saying nothing” before the sample of Prodigy’s voice comes in. It was only right that he recorded the killa Havoc produced remix with label mates Mobb Deep. Initially, I was pissed it wasn’t on here but that version was recorded after this album hit stores. A must listen. The E-Swift produced “Plastic Surgery” with Ras Kass and Saafir is one of my favorites. It was a good break from the struggles and darkness in the rhymes. The formation of the Golden State Warriors rap group amongst these three never materialized but this joint hit the way it’s supposed to. They went in and had fun on this song. X killed it with “Your flow reminds me of a nigga that I just don’t feel/same style and delivery might as well have his grill.” “Foundation” is another well-placed break from the aggressiveness and a strong song on this album. The message of a new life being born is solid and DJ Muggs creates a smooth backdrop with choir voices, a twinkle piano loop and a babies’ cry. Songs like “Just Maintain” and “Bird’s Eye View” showcase the underrated style and flows of the Likwid Crew. This album had just the right amount of guest appearances while still proving that the X to the Z could rap about different topics with his own voice. At the Speed of Life didn’t position high on the album charts when it came out but if beats and rhymes are your thing give it a listen. IRON SOLOMON Battle: an extended contest, struggle, or controversy. Chances are you’ve probably seen Iron Solomon on YouTube taking out the best known freestyle rappers during his run of major MC battles. These days, you’re more likely to see or hear him working on records with many of the same people he grew up listening to. The emcee and budding producer with the witty punchlines is mixing it up his way. Wise investment of the earnings he accumulated from the battle circuit enabled him to build his own recording studio. His debut album Monster touches topics ranging from challenges he’s faced along the way, dealing with family drama and partying hard. Fresh off of his visit to the west coast as part of the recent Boot Camp Clik tour, Iron Solomon talked with me about the new album and how he’s been able to use his versatility as one of his most powerful weapons. Will: Most rappers who begin their careers battling in cyphers haven’t been able to make the transition to recording artist. How have you been able to manage? Iron Solomon: I’ve been in the studio from a young age. There are a lot of musicians in my family and there were always instruments and music equipment in the house. I’ve always been around music. Even when I was dedicating a lot of energy to be in battles, I would always still be in the studio working and trying to refine my craft. I surround myself with musicians and artists that are not just into hip hop. I made a decision to really focus on it and be patient. I wasn’t thinking that I was already good at it. Once you step in the studio feeling like you’re already a good song writer because you won a battle then you’re never gonna become a good song writer. I approach things like I never won a battle. I’m like a rookie every time and I learn from my mistakes. I’m not afraid to access something I may have done as being wack. I just figure out why it wasn’t good and try and do a better job next time. You play any musical instruments? Yeah, I play the guitar a little bit. I play the piano and some percussion. I’ve played a few instruments on the Monster album. How did the concept for this album come about? The idea for Monster came from Frankenstein. The thing I love most about Hip hop is that it’s a collage culture. Whenever we get dressed we pull clothing from different styles and different walks of life. We put it all together and make it make sense. When we make music we might sample a break beat from a record from a certain era. A string section might come from another genre. You mix it and make something new and sometimes more powerful than the original. Frankenstein the monster is a collage human being. He was put together from a bunch of different pieces of people that were dead and he becomes more powerful. Hip hop has taken things that were thrown away by some and remixed them. Frankenstein was also misunderstood. People thought that he was a criminal when he was actually just trying to find a girl. Hip hop and its young generation have always been very misunderstood. We take all the violence and anything we see happening in the world and regurgitate it. You can’t blame us for being the way that we are. We’re dealing with what’s been given to us. Chuck D said that Hip hop is our “CNN” and that still holds true. Just because we talk about what’s going on doesn’t make us vulgar. The stories on the news are vulgar. One of the songs on the album that caught my attention was “15 Minutes”. On the hook you show tribute to Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh. Who else did you enjoy listening to on this journey? I was a big NWA fan. The earliest hip hop I was exposed to was kinda all over the place. Digital Underground, Eric B. & Rakim, Nice & Smooth, The stuff that really reached me was Biggie, Wu-Tang Clan, Jay-Z, Nas. From a production standpoint The Fugees were huge. The Score was a big milestone record for me…The Beastie Boys, Company Flow. I’ve always listened to a broad range of Hip hop and music. After I listened to “Cold World” I gotta ask, are you a father? Was that song based on a true story? That story was about a close friend of mine. I haven’t had the fortune of becoming a father yet. It’s something I look forward to. He’s a young guy I’ve known since age 11 and I was with him in the hospital witnessing what he was going through. The way that life pans out sometimes is crazy. You can’t make up real life when it happens that way. My friends and family are so important to me and make me who I am. Sometimes when someone close to you is going through something you feel like you’re going through it as much as they are. I was amazed at the power of the situation. I had to write about it. Whether you can relate to being a young parent or being in a relationship or not having a father or mother who was there the way you wanted, the song might reach people. Few independent artists are getting spins on traditional radio stations. What are your thoughts on internet and satellite radio? I think it’s great. In this era, we are so fortunate to have access to media outlets that are directly connecting us to the fans. There was a time in the music industry not too long ago where it was a mystery as to how to reach fans. There were gatekeepers who you had to go through in order to get on the radio. Now, it’s no longer a mystery. Many media outlets don’t necessarily require any money to get on. This allows genuine artists to break through. You look at for example a Kendrick Lamar or Big K.R.I.T. People might look at Wiz Khalifa as a huge pop artist but he got that way through an organic following. Ten years ago that might not have been possible. Once you left a major label you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go online and build a fan base in your own way. As a business-minded artist, how did you form the team that helps you to navigate through this industry? My main partners are people that I’m close friends with. We’ve been making music together for a long time. Sometimes I’ll meet people through Twitter. I respond to everyone who hits me up. I check out people’s bios and things. One of the lessons that I’ve learned the past couple of years is that the people that want to work with you are the people you want to work with. Even if you have the biggest managers and lawyers, the relationship might not turn out to be what you wanted. If you have someone who’s willing to work from the ground level, take your calls at 4 a.m., those are the people you want to work with. I’ve been lucky to have those types of people around me. What’s in the future for Iron Solomon? I hope to continue to make better music and have more people hear it. I hope to be in a situation where I can work with people I’ve always looked up to and that I’m a fan of now. I’d like to have the freedom to create music and videos the way that I want to. You need resources and certain relationships. Down the line, ten years from now, I’d like to be working with up and coming artists. Developing other people’s careers is what I’d want to do. I’m such a fan of music and Hip hop that I always want to be able to make a career out of being creative. Your time is always appreciated. Thanks for kicking it with RD Mag. ERICK SERMON We all have a purpose for being here. Those of us whose talents are discovered much earlier than others are often referred to as prodigies. For others, the true nature of our calling can come from over-looked sources at the most unexpected of times. Brentwood, Long Islandâ€™s Erick Sermon, one half of the pioneer group EPMD, had plenty going well for him. With a successful group and solo recording career, a long list of accolades and a steady schedule of music projects to complete, the future appeared to be headed right where anyone would expect. It all changed one day in November of 2011. Erick had suffered a heart attack that caught many of his family, friends and fans by surprise. We recently caught up with The GreenEyed Bandit at his home studio and talked about his new view on life, his medical scare and the need for variety in the culture we all know and love called Hip Hop. Pigeonhole Principles - Words by Erick Sermon as told to Pedro Mojica and Alah Adams has to be a wave change and I gotta bring it. I was hanging with Raekwon recently Ein Atlantic CityThere and we was talking. I was like Rae, you gotta continue doing what you doing because rick Sermon: we need that. We need more stuff coming through with some different sounding music, other types of conversation. We’re one-sided and there’s no balance. We need to make a change in the category system like pop culture does. They not gonna let Britney Spears call herself Rock and Roll. No, you’re pop! Blink 182, you’re alternative! We’re the only genre who got no categories. It don’t work. You got gangsta, southern and more conscious rap. We need that. Same way they have Soft Rock and Roll, alternative jazz, adult contemporary. We just have one genre, Hip Hop. We’re bigger than that. I’m gonna be that forefront dude for the digital world. A Close Call I’m speaking with Russell [Simmons] the other day and he’s like, “Erick, what’s up? Come see me.” I was returning phone calls to those who reached out to me after the heart attack. I thanked them for not being boushie and upscale. They were down to earth like I am. This is bigger than me. Having a heart attack was about getting across to a black man that the leading cause of our deaths is heart disease. It’s not AIDS, HIV or cancer. This disease is the number one killer. I talked to Fat Joe and he told me six of his friends died from heart disease. We know about Big Pun’s heart attack but it was five other friends that weren’t obese who died from heart failure. That’s why he changed his diet and lost so much weight. I believe that’s why it happened to me so I could live and be an advocate and warn people. You need to go to the doctor for regular checkups. We falling off like flies. High blood pressure and stress is laying us out. It’s deadlier to the black community than guns or anything else. That was the most alarming thing I ever heard. I’m trying to put together the Erick Sermon Foundation to help the youth in the Hip Hop community focus on healthcare in the near future. The Importance of a Mentor You know how many artists who graduated from me talking to them? All the talks I had with [Ice] Cube when he left N.W.A. The talks I had with Q-Tip at the Juice [Movie] premier. I talked with Crucial Conflict in Chicago. Rapper’s graduated because I told them to stay in school. Eminem said he snuck into the elevator in Detroit to go watch EPMD. When he got in the elevator I was there. He told me he rapped and I told him to keep doing what he was doing and you’ll make it one day. Steering the Wheels of Music Music is a second language that’s never going anywhere. The way that it sounds and the direction it’s going in now is making our kids ignorant. It’s making our youth wanna become rappers. Kids stopped going to school. You’ve got guys that say they care about the youth but still glorify certain lifestyles heavy. America don’t give a fuck about the music sounding the way it does. They like it. They tell their kids to not do what those other kids do. It’s just entertainment. You make sure you still go to school and do the right thing. We’re not doing that. We’re trying to become what we hear in the music. With all these things going on in the world and not one record talk about it? Marvin Gaye made a record called, “What’s Going On?” Stevie Wonder was raised in the inner-city. When EPMD talked about “Gold Digger”, “Crossover” there was a message somewhere. On “So Whatcha Sayin”, we said, “People round town talkin this and that/ Of how we sound like the R, and that our music was wack/Dropped the album Strictly Business and you thought we was bold/Thirty days later, the LP went gold/So what you sayin. We were still hard and you still was amped to it. Rakim was the best ever to put a message in a record. We told the children some things. Pedro Mojica: How do you plan to implement your authentic sound to the younger generation? A lot of my colleagues are not trying to refresh themselves. See what’s going on, do you but be current. People always ask me how I stay so relevant. I stay around rappers. I also stay around music. I got XM radio. I listen to satellite radio. This is my life. Even though I’m a father, no matter what I’m gonna always be Hip Hop. If you’re an emcee how you move or how you talk is gonna always be Hip Hop. I’m not the one who’ll turn stuff off and be like “I hate this music”. My kids like this music. This is not my era. All you gotta do is do you. You can’t compete with these young people or do what they’re doing. It’s just that simple. Sade proved it. Raekwon proved it. Maxwell proved it. The list goes on and on. These are people who kept it real with themselves. If you can’t do that then you can’t be here because you’ll look foolish and you won’t win. People my age still wanna hear rap. They still wanna hear R&B but nobody’s making what they wanna hear. We’re the consumers. I’m the one who gives my sons and daughters the money to go out and buy records. I want something to buy too. That’s why Sade sells so many records. The mainstream has got so many people confused. You think that everybody’s listening to what’s playing on radio but they’re not. Go and ask the person next to you when was the last time they brought an album. Whose record did they buy? They play old music. It’s a mirage out there. Earlier this year I put out the Breath of Fresh Air mixtape that was just a warm-up for me to get ready and come through. The Jimi Hendrix joint [“A Way Out”]speaks on what we as a people are trying to do. It could be finding a way out of a relationship, your struggle, your house or your job. With me it was the things I was doing to even get a heart attack. It got a huge response from the women. You know you’re gonna get the Swizz [Beatz] party record. I had to put that out there before putting out anything else. Once the audiences’ ears are open they have to listen. You gotta plan your moves carefully so that you won’t be out there looking crazy. You gotta play the game somehow. Play the game your way so that you can get stuff done the way you want to. Pedro Mojica: Do you feel like you’ve been given a second chance? I know what my purpose is now. I’ve got to change music somehow. I’m not taking anything away from anybody but that is an important language. You have memories from where you were when you heard certain records. A song can make you feel a certain way. You can’t do nothing without music. No commercials are coming on. When you’re at the dentist office or the airport you’ve gotta have sound. It’s not going anywhere. I need to start a wave of getting balance. I look forward to a new beginning. Hip Hop is still young. Who’s writing the next chapter after the strip club? T here eventually comes a point where we begin to take on more responsibilities and move closer toward accomplishments. Certain decisions have to be made. You may have to quit hanging with that weak crew. You know the ones who always find ways to convince you to derail your plans. It might even be time to reroute the direction of your career. One thing most of us have control over is our choices. Itâ€™s what life is all about. In these pages, we got to share thoughts with individuals who made decisions to take certain paths. As a result, they found themselves in places they had only dreamed of years earlier. W hen the mind and body are in accord, weâ€™re able to work at our max. That synergy is a feeling unmatched in each individual. Health is wealth. Keep visualizing, setting goals and surpassing them on your way to the top. Download http://www.RappersDelite.com/issue03/mixtape.zip http://www.musicxray.com/profiles/3177 http://rappersdelite.wordpress.com/