4 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
What is your daily routine as a DJ? My daily routine consists of checking online for all news updates that are Hip Hop related, checking my email for track submissions, downloading, vinyl organizing and practice every single day, sharpening my craft/skill. I can never let my guard down. How often do you do mixtapes? What is your biggest/best series called? I’ve been working on tapes every month. My biggest series is my “Western Hospitality” series, where I hand-pick & showcase upcoming west coast talent, in 2008 the “western hospitality series dropped every 7th of every month that entire year! But my best series was the “Hip Hop Weekly” mixtape series w/ Slaughterhouse MC Crooked I! The 3-part series played a part in Crooked I winning 2008’s “West Coast Mixtape Artist of The Year” for the Justo mixtape awards, was a ground breaking series of Crooked I continually bangin’ out tracks for 52 weeks straight—an entire year long—and was privileged to be a part of a west coast milestone in Hip Hop. Do you do any radio or club appearances? If so when and where? I was spinning music on Sirius radio for 2+ years, but my current time and schedule only allows studio and mixtape work, however I do have some things planned for 2010 as far as club appearances. What DJs were you influenced by to become a DJ? Kool DJ EQ, Mixmaster Mike, DJ Q-Bert, DJ Syfa... How important do you think the DJs role in the music industry is? The art of deejaying has been slightly ignored or misunderstood as far as its role in the industry but the past few years things have slowly evolved/changed due to resilience and multitasking of dj’s producing, advising, mixtape deejaying and simply refusing to be ignored/looked past and standing up and enforcing change/respect in this ever-changing music industry. How do you think the role of the DJ is changing with the new music industry moving in different directions? Once again our role is slighted as far as how much we have to go through and how much weight/responsibility we have to carry dealing with labels, hungry artists, disgruntled artists, club promoters, a&r’s, major/indie execs, etc. Our role changes every day we wake up, but that’s what sets us apart from other peoples positions in the industry because we take it in stride for the love and for the business of it all. Realizing our intellectual property and making the most of it every single day is what gets us through the good, bad and the ugliest of times…all for the music, artists and culture. What have you done to keep up with or stay ahead of the fast paced music industry today? I’ve recognized my gift to the world and stayed true to it while maintaining a chameleon-like presence, forever trying to stay adapted to the changing climate of music business, keeping positive and keeping my 3rd eye open to everything, as well as my heart open as well. Whats your advice to independent artists looking to break into the game? Stay realistic, keep the initial hunger that made you sacrifice things in your life in your delivery/tone in music. Support the known dj’s and especially take care of the new and upcoming dj’s because you never know what your future holds. Educate and discipline yourself on the business of music, stay a fan of music & keep an open mind to things that dj’s suggest to you. Whats your advice on how an artist should approach a DJ to play their music? Do’s and Don’ts? Be genuine, study/listen to that dj’s work before you just get at them. We’re smarter and realize more than people think, Be patient, you never know how many artists that a dj is dealing with at one time, which is usually a lot if he’s grinding hard like the rest of us. Don’t send us the same message that you would send to every other dj, be genuine, we use machines to manifest our dreams and sounds but we aren’t machines ourselves—we have a conscience and an ear for what we wanna hear and should hear. Do you have any specific artists that you work with? I’m working with every single artist/group that I wanna work with and will work with every artist I ever dreamed of conducting business with cause the genetic code of relentless is in my DNA and every artist I aspire to work with that hears from me recognizes my genuine love for their music and determination to mold/create new and great music to mix for the masses with the particular artist/group.
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 5
Are there any up & coming artists that you think the industry should keep an eye out for in 2010? The ones that we co-sign on our projects and the ones that the living-musical greats co-sign. My people/fans just stay alive, keep an open ear and mind and you will always hear them from us…the record never stops until we pull that needle off the record & that will never happen, shit don’t stop, like 2Pac used to say! What projects are you currently working on for the near future? I just completed a Michael Jackson promo tape titled “Eternal Legend”. Already working on volume two due to the King of Pop-ular demand and just wrapping up tapes with All Nightaz, Young Cal & Swag! I’m also gearing up for big projects with Mistah Fab, Stacee Adamz, Bigg Steele, HuxFam, Young Tecc…the continuation of my “Western Hospitality” series, and a few others that I can’t legally disclose to you right now. Stay tuned. Anything else you would like to say for this interview—your myspace, website, twitter, etc? My sincere thanks to the Coast2Coast mixtape dj’s movement/coalition, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few—or the one—that’s why I do what I do, I would not be working on music if there were no lives to affect and/or change for the better. Hit me up at www.twitter.com/september7th, my MySpace link is on that page so follow me, request me, google me— caliuntouchables.com—and SUPPORT YOUR MIXTAPE DJ’s!!! Buy our tapes, request our tapes—LIVE, LOVE, and STAY ALIVE!
6 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 7
Where are you located and/or based out of? I’m based out of Philadelphia, PA—OfficialStreetRadio.com-ville (laughing). What is your daily routine as a DJ? I wake up in the morning, I go straight to OfficialStreetRadio.com so I can get the latest in industry news and mixtapes, and of course you know I go to Coast2CoastMixtapes.com, yamean! Then I work on daily mixes, like the Philly Support Philly mixes. How often do you do mixtapes? What is your biggest/best series called? At least once a week, for artists signed or unsigned. The biggest and best series is called OfficialStreetRadio. com’s and Coast 2 Coast Mixtape DJ’s World Recognition. That series features signed and unsigned artists across the globe. World Recognition is like a home cook, soulful meal. You going to get ya peas, ya corn, ya proteins, yamean. We give you throwbacks on there, we give you exclusives, and it’s all mixed by me, DJ Nophrillz, 100% mixed. Do you do any radio or club appearances? If so when and where? I DJ for the biggest clothing chain in Pennsylvania, called The Villa, I do that every Friday and Saturday, 52nd and Market St. Philadelphia, Pa. That’s the heart of mixtapes in Philly; all the artists in Philly come to 52nd St. to put their mixtapes out there, to do video blogs, and interviews for websites. And I do different events from the Dubb
8 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
Car Show, concerts, and parties. I don’t do house parties no more, that’s a wrap, they’re too dangerous. (laughs) But we do all types of events, no event is too big or too small. What DJs were you influenced by to become a DJ? The DJ’s I was influenced by were, Jazzy Jeff, DJ Ran, Jeff had a track “Live From Union Square” that I definitely use to listen to each and every day, when he was transformin. He was the first DJ to do a transformer scratch on a record, and Philadelphia is known for the transformer scratch. And Philadelphia is known for havin some of the best DJ’s around the world, like Cash Money, DJ Ghetto, DJ Active, the list goes on and on. Major shout out to DJ Ran, he put on for Philly big. How important do you think the DJs role in the music industry is? Ima take a quote from Wycelf, “DJ’s are the life line for which you feed your soul”. The DJ is the father of HipHop, if you go to the beginning it was DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince, it was the DJ name than the rapper because the DJ put the rapper on. Before there were recordings the DJ’s controlled the music in the parks, and you had to have the DJ’s permission to even rock. So we’re definitely the fathers of everything. And with the Coast2Coast Mixtapes and Coast2Coast DJ’s, we’re a bigger organization of DJ’s which can get a artist’s record poppin all over the world. Certain DJ’s are connected to a certain organization like a Coast2Coast, which can gives artists an opportunity to get their music heard all over the world. And that’s why the DJ is important, and you can never get rid of us no matter what you do. How do you think the role of the DJ is changing with the new music industry moving in different directions? I feel like its hurtin real DJ’s like me, it’s no disrespect, you can’t hate the players you gotta hate the game, so it’s no disrespect to the DJ’s that they called “Push Play DJ’s”. Because you got DJ’s that download mp3’s and they get from websites, and some of them even have the music before me, with that being said a lot of consumers don’t really know what a real DJ is. They see these mixtapes and the guys say “I’m DJ Such and Such”, and it’s basically them getting mp3’s. But when you hear a mixtape from a DJ NoPhrillz, from a DJ Revolution, or a DJ Ran and DJ’s like that you will understand what the importance of a DJ is. A lot of real djs are getting pushed to the back burner from the way the music industry is moving with the technology of Serato and people being able to get MP3’s and a lot of people think they are real DJ’s now cause of things like DJ Hero … now that’s phraud … you have to spend time in your room and you got to learn how to mix records. You know real recognize real and the real DJ’s are always going to shine. What have you done to keep up with or stay ahead of the fast paced music industry today? You have to go back to go forward. I went back to the days when a mixtape was a mixtape. When you had songs and you weren’t selling an exclusive. When you were selling an atmosphere and basically if you get a NoPhrillz mixtape … that’s what Im going to do at a party, that’s what Im going to do when I come to your event. So for me I just keep it all mixed up, old school joints, exclusive joints, different kinds
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 9
of blends just to separate myself from the pack. And being a turntablist and respecting the fore-fathers of this mixtape game. Whats your advice to independent artists looking to break into the game? Number 1, you got to be serious about your craft. You got to be on your twitter game, your facebook game, your MySpace game, and you definitely gotta be on your blog game and you gotta do something to separate yourself from the pack. There are a million and one Jeezy’s, a million and one people talking about Trappin, even if you are going to talk about Trappin, it gotta sound different, you gotta go against the grain, and I feel like a lot of you artists need to go back to go forward and you need to understand where it all came from so you can understand where it’s going. Whats your advice on how an artist should approach a DJ to play their music? Do’s and Don’ts? You want to build up a relationship with a DJ whether he’s local or on the internet. This is what I tell all artists, listen to this clearly, what you do is you make a freestyle up for this DJ, put their name in it make it seem like they are the greatest DJ in the world, do drops for them, that’s the first way, its like giving them a gift and showin them that you respect them as DJ. That would be the fastest way to get my attention. We all like custom stuff. Do you have any specific artists that you work with? I work with a lot of artists. Exponent Ent works with all the top artist in Philly. We got J Griff, Loose & PT, TrapStreet, Freeway, Doesya, Street Spittas, E. Ness, Rich Quick, Big Lou the list goes on. We also do the RS Radio Show in NYC, shout out to Valentine. We work with the dudes from the highest part of the totem pole to the lowest part of the totem pole.
10 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
Are there any up & coming artists that you think the industry should keep an eye out for in 2010? Nicki Minaj, reason being she has a swag that you can’t teach and I’m not the biggest fan of a swag rapper but she definitely got a flow too and she has a brand and the lane is wide open. And of course you see what Drake is doing, Drake got next. But as far as unsigned artists right now, its looking dark, there’s a lot of carbon copies and instead of dudes wanting to make a hit record. What projects are you currently working on for the near future? World Recognition V6 is next. Two mixtapes droppin with Freeway. All types of mixtapes with artist from across the globe right now. Whats your myspace, website, twitter, etc? www.officialstreetradio.com, www.myspace.com/djnophrillz, www.twitter.com/djnophrillz, www.facebook.com/nophrillz Anything else you would like to say for this interview? Log onto officialstreetradio.com. I support all signed and unsigned artist from all over the world. My main thing is I want to see an artist that’s serious about their craft, I want to see them on their grind and that’s the artist that I will support. And it’s definitely powered by Exponent Entertainment. Shout out to Ccelli, Jodie, Big OC Diesel, Ms Angeline, Money Mark, Dani Jay. Hit up our hotline at 215.948.BEAT. OfficialStreetRadio.com, DJ NoPhrillz, the maybach of this mixtape shit, this is my motto and you know where you heard it first, there’s a lot of phraud out there and it might just be you, Let it Play … I Gotchu!!!
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 11
What city are you based out of? I’m based in Albany, NY, a.k.a. Cap City, but I also do a lot of work in NYC. What is your daily routine as a DJ? I get new music in every day, so I have a lot to go through. I also operate a recording studio/production company, an indie record label, a graphic design company, and several other industry related dot-coms, so my days are real busy. I work about 80 hours a week and rarely take a day off. How often do you put out mixtapes? What is your biggest or best series called? I’m good for dropping two to six mixtapes a week. Right now, my biggest series is my “Bottom Bitch” series. It drops weekly and features the newest commercial hits. I don’t mix, scratch, or host the CD so that’s why I call it my bottom bitch. It holds me down when I’m too busy to get it in on the tables and really do what I do. I also got a series called “Swag on Deck” that’s more geared to the streets. Do you do any radio or club appearances? When and where? I’ve played all the clubs out here in Cap City, I do some in NYC, and have been featured as far away as Florida. I don’t just put out mixtapes, I really rock parties too. I don’t fuck with the radio out here in Albany; we only have one hip hop station, and it doesn’t support the local talent at all. They only have two djs in their pocket, the rest is syndicated. I’m currently working on a syndicated show, so stay tuned for that in 2010. Which DJs influenced you? Damn I have to go with Tony Touch, Flex, Clue, Skribble, and so on. I’m not gonna name ‘em all but, you know, djs that take their craft seriously. How important is the DJ’s role in the music industry? DJs are the gateway to the public. We’re important ‘cause we’re the reason a record breaks. We keep the artists’ buzz alive in between their commercial releases, and give new artists a chance to get heard when the industry won’t. Basically the game needs us. How do you think the role of the DJ is changing with the new music industry moving in different directions? I can’t speak for every dj in the industry, but I’ve taken a lot of my work online, diversified into other business areas, and rolled it all into a brand. I think you’ll see a lot of
12 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
other guys out there take their hustle online, and take the hip hop mentality into graphic design and marketing like I have. Everyone is gonna evolve in their own way, but djs are a strong group. We’ll all survive and adapt somehow. What have you done to keep up, with or stay ahead of, the fast paced music industry today? I live it. You can’t fall behind the game if you’re livin’ it, 24/7. What’s your advice to independent artists looking to break into the game? This is a good question. I’m gonna break it down for you artists out there: Invest in yourself. Nobody’s gonna invest in you if you don’t invest in yourself. If you work hard enough and deserve it, you’ll get it. Be original. There are so many rappers out there today; the game is over saturated. Artists need to stop copying what they already hear and think about what’s next. Since everyone’s an artist nowadays, I feel like we have more rappers than listeners, and you need to stand out if you want to get noticed. Don’t listen to your friends and family—they will gas you up. If you want to be a professional you need an outside opinion from a professional, even if you gotta pay ‘em (see Rule 1). They’ll take you more seriously if you treat them like a professional, rather than sending a MySpace message saying “check out my music.” I get 50 of those a day, and I don’t reply ‘cause there’s just not enough time. Get your sound quality up. If you’re recording sounds like shit it’ll destroy the entire song. Remain humble. I can’t deal with arrogant rappers. Don’t get it twisted, arrogance and confidence are two different things. Be confident, but remember, you’ll never get anybody’s respect if you don’t give it. Be consistent. Artists come and go everyday. If you stay consistent, you will stand out. And the list goes on, but I can’t give out everything. What’s your advice on how artists should approach a DJ to play their music? Any dos and don’ts? Do pay us what we are asking for, for slots. Like I said before, invest in yourself and you’ll go further. I put a lot of promotional work and investments into my mixtapes, so it’s not like your paying me, you’re just helping me promote you better. I hate cheap ass people, always asking for favors or deals. I’m not a flea market, people. Don’t brag about yourself, who you know, or how popular you are unless you can back it up. If you try this with me, I will Google you, ‘cause I know that if you’re making noise like that I would have heard of you. I follow the game very closely. Do have good quality recordings. I put a lot of commercial music on my mixes, so if your music sounds like a shower recording, it’s just gonna make you look bad compared to the rest of the tracks. Are there any specific artists that you work with? I’m not really looking to work with anyone specific right now. I work with artists more as a producer than as a dj. I’ve produced beats for dozens of artists, like Rab from Skullgang/Dipset and Drag-on. I am always on the lookout for hot new talent though. All you artists out there, holla at me for beats and mixtape collaborations! Are there any up-and-coming artists that the industry should keep an eye out for in 2010? Everyone should definitely look out for The Hot G’z—the newest artists under Empire State Records. Mr. Hundred Dollar Bills, only BRO G-reppin’ the BX! We’ve got some exclusives in the works. My dude OGK from Florida, puttin’ it down in the South. J.Seven—I produced most of his album that’s coming out soon. BR (Born Ready), out of Pittsburgh, holding it down. St. Laz—he definitely grinds like crazy. And shout out to Derty Den, we haven’t met, but I hosted a C2C tape with him. He definitely had a good sound. Shout out to all the Coast 2 Coast and Hi Rollerz recording artists too. I’m a real dude so I’m not afraid to big up people when I feel they deserve it. Real recognizes real. What projects are you working on for the near future? I always have something new, but definitely look out for that new Hot G’z mixtape, droppin’ November 10th, called “Lyrical Graffiti.” It’s gonna be crazy! Grammy Music, the album by J.Seven, is gonna be droppin’ soon, and you should always expect more mixtapes. They don’t call me Green Monster for nothing; I grind HARD! Anything else you would like to say? Yeah, shout out to Lil Fats and Coast2Coast again, they’ve been showing me a lot of love and it feels good to grind with people who as work as hard as I do. Shout out to my business partner Darren and the ESR team, A&R Anthony, Jah Jah, Claud a.k.a Muzikizme, True, Melly Mel from 18 Bars DVD, and everyone else who holds me down! Make sure you check out my websites, www.jgreenmoneytalkz.com and www.SwaggAmerica.com, they support indie rappers and DJs for free, plus the sites have all the latest Hip Hop news from across the country. Artists, make sure you look out for the hottest beat production website, www.Rapammunition.com, coming soon. If you’re a producer interested in selling your beats, hit me up on my site. For graphic web design, we are launching GreenMonsterGraphics.com soon. Make sure you swing by there and we’ll take your graphics to the next level. The takeover is coming soon, I promise you. And you already know, MONEYTALKZ MOTHERFUCKAZ. www.myspace.com/jgreenmoneytalkz, www.twitter.com/jgmoneytalkz, www.facebook.com/jgreenmoneytalkz, www.empirestaterecords.com
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 13
14 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
When and how did you first become a recording artist? Well, I became a serious recording artist back in 2005 after I failed to make it into grad school for acting at Penn State. Prior to that, I had done some work with a group called Nepalm, but it wasn’t until the acting took a backseat that I realized what I was really here to do. I took most of 2005 to study the industry and see how to do things like copyright my music, make royalty money from my music, harness my flow, find my stage name, put together my hip hop plays on stage, and build a studio in my crib. I built a camp of producers with Strada, Professa, Capish, and Street Level, got graphic and web designers with DJ Andrew, and much more. So when I really stepped in the industry, I could move with no breaks. In 2006 I sent out a 10 track to magazines and major sites, and 730 from HipHopgame.com reached out to me first and put my demo on blast through his weekly column on the site. I look at that as the moment I broke into the hip hop community ‘cause I met all the producers on the label from that situation and I dropped my first big mixtape, “Statements & Stipulations,” through HipHopgame.com. I was even recognized on MTV Mixtape Mondays, which was big for someone like myself who just really entered the game 6 months prior. I think every artist has that moment where someone reaches out with some type of stature in the industry and they kind of validate your status as a real recording artist. So, to sum it up, I became a real recording artist in 2006. What made you want to become a recording artist? I always loved how creative hip hop was when I was growing up and my mother always said I was an entertainer, so those two factors kind of forced me into becoming a recording artist. I remember watching Yo! MTV Raps or getting up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday just so I could tape the Yo! MTV Raps Countdown. I remember only eating in high school twice a week at one point just so I could buy two new $8.99 rap tapes that week. Those might seem like small details, but that would soon define what I am becoming now and why my outlook on hip hop is all about entertaining the crowd, being creative, and putting out quality music. That’s how the Rakims, the Public Enemys, the EPMDs, the Redmans, and the Tribe Called Quests of this world put it down in the late ‘80s into the ‘90s. I think with all that influence growing up I was destined to eventually become a recording artist myself. What’s your current record label? As of March 2009, I opened the doors to my label NU Revolution Entertainment, LLC. Since that time I have done label deals with Unruly Records for Chubb Rock and my collaboration album—hitting stores November 17th. I’ve charted the album on the CMJ Charts through Foundation Media, made marketing deals with Joint One, LLC in Japan to market my image, music and brand, made sponsorship deals with HipHopdx, 2 Dope Boyz, the major download site FrostWire, and even ya’ll at Coast 2 Coast for my mixtapes. I wrote and licensed music to Sega/ Nintendo, Wii, and Puma Fragrances, gained syndication for my station Revolt Radio and even do some part time booking of DJs for the Record Breaker section in HipHop Weekly, to name a few. I would say taking 2005 to get my biz-ness straight worked, don’t ya think? What city are you currently based out of? I’m currently in Baltimore, MD and have been out here for about 11 years. What’s the current project you’re promoting? I’m actually promoting two projects right now. First, you can look out for Chubb Rock and my album, Bridging the Gap, hitting stores on November 17th, so please go support that. I believe it’s one of those albums that you can play from front to back. Then, on December 17th, I am dropping my biggest mixtape yet through Coast 2 Coast, 2 Dope Boyz, HipHopx, and FrostWire called “Overdue & Underrated.” Look for production from Judah, Strada,
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 15
Capish, DJ King Assassin, Street Level, and more. Artists like Jakk Frost, Chubb Rock, Philly Swain, Ruste Juxx, V-Stylez, RatheMC, NU Revolution Ent. Group, Kontact & Black Knight, a nice amount of DMV artists, and more cover the project. What and when is your next project? After the two projects I just mentioned, my debut album Vintage Experience will be dropping in March overseas in the UK, with radio and press promotion from Suzy Zenouzi of Mojona who broke Lupe Fiasco out there in 2004. Hopefully come July or August the US version will be hitting the States. Why am I making the move overseas first? Well, it will give me an opportunity to live off my music—which is the dream—create a stable financial situation for my label mates, tour, and most of all my music will get a fair shot to succeed. What have you been doing career-wise for the past few months? To be honest, I have been dealing with the headaches of getting Chubb and my album in stores, recouping money I lost, redefining my sound, gaining more business for the label, being smarter about the business deals I choose, and bringing my station Revolt Radio to a higher level come the start of 2010. What are your career plans for the next few months? On the business tip, I mentioned the station Revolt Radio. I plan to get it licensed through ASCAP, so I, my label mates, and artists alike can get paid royalties from having music on our station. I am also putting together great package deals for unsigned and independent artists to gain the much needed exposure they deserve when new mixtapes and albums drop. I would also like to gain FM radio syndication to go along with the great stations Unheard Radio and Mixlawax we have backing us up already. Right now we have three DJs: DJ Nominal, DJ Ykcor, and DJ Leche that spin on the shows and do work on my mixtapes as well. Over the next few months I would like to bring in a few more serious DJs like those guys to do some shows and mixtapes as well. I have been lucky enough to have a great host in my cousin Black Knight, who is also an artist on the label. Right now he is doing three shows a week and will probably have more in 2010, so check us all out on revoltradio.com. On the artist tip, I am nursing a torn achilles back to health. I plan on getting into the best shape of my life over the next two months to prepare to become a star in the UK. I feel my time to actually call music my job is approaching, so stay tuned. Have you done or are you planning to do mixtapes in the future? To date you can find my mixtapes, “Statements & Stipulations,” “Statements & Stipulations Special Edition,” “The Revolution Begins with a Takeover” Vols. 1 and 2, “The Mid-Year Review,” “The 2008 Resolution & Recap,” “A Crack in the Bridge,” and on December 17th, “Overdue & Underrated,” online. I make my mixtapes like albums, so please look them up and enjoy the material. What is your opinion of the mixtape game and market? I think the market is only as good as the artists and DJs make it. Some artists choose to saturate the market with mixtapes once a month, some once a year, it just depends on your approach. In my opinion, if you can get sites like this or reputable DJs that are not in it for the money to validate your mixtape, it’s worth putting out to the masses. I think if you haven’t reached a level where you can make business deals for a free download mixtape then you should keep building your buzz ‘til the mixtape door opens. The industry definitely doesn’t need any more covers floating around MySpace that were made with Microsoft Paint. Have pride in your material if you put it out and that will also lend some validity to the mixtape game. What is your opinion on the importance of DJs and how does that affect you as an artist? I do believe DJs were more important back in the day ‘cause they actually broke records and actually had to know how to spin on the 1s and 2s. Not to say some DJs don’t operate like that anymore, but we are in the day and age where if you have a Mac or Seratos you can stick the “DJ” in front of your name. Still, there are millions of DJs like artists, so if you can become friends with some of the genuine ones, your record could make some type of impact. In the end, I think it just depends on the DJs status in the game as well. Where do you think the music industry is headed as a whole? That depends on who the labels continue to sign. Right now it seems like the fast food rapper is in, while cats like myself with longevity are shunned. Labels and radio go for the safe snap jingle that makes millions of dollars off ringtones, while the albums brick when they drop. I just don’t understand that part of it. Wouldn’t you rather make money off of an artist for the next 10 years instead of the next few months? Are there any other ventures you want to let our readers know about? Yeah, I definitely plan on going back to acting once I am established in the music industry. That was my major in college and I still incorporate it in my music through my stage shows.
16 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
Anything else? Yeah, I just want to thank some people for my continued success. To everyone on NU Revolution Entertainment, Professa, Black Knight, Kontact, Strada, Capish, Street Level, DJ Andrew, Diallo, Nick Dyer, Shannon Smith, Michelle and Juanita Parker, DJ Ykcor, DJ Nominal, DJ Leche, Unheard Radio, Mixlawax, Lord Faz, Joel a.k.a. Shakes, 2 Dope Boyz, Dub MD, Lil Fatz, Coast 2 Coast, HipHopdx, Khal from Rock the Dub, Chubb Love, Bill Baker, Jessica from OC 104, Shuzz and DJ Joey Slick from Joint One, Kimia Collins, Vintage Clothing Limited, Sarah Keys, Poot, Steve Raze from AllHipHop, Savvy from 102.5 KDON, DJ Luicidal from 90.5 KSJS, DJ King Assassin, DJ E-Nygma, G-Light Films, the whole DMV, and many more. www.wordsmithmusic.com www.myspace.com/classicwordsmithmusic www.facebook.com/wordsmith www.youtube.com/wordsmith42 www.reverbnation.com/wordsmithmusic www.twitter.com/wordsmithmusic
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 17
What city are you based out of? Columbia/Sumter, South Carolina What is your daily routine as a DJ? It changes from day to day. I’m always moving around, finding new stores for my mixtapes, and keeping my store running. So, usually I open my store (a smoke and music shop) and make sure I’m stocked up on everything—new music comes out every day, so I get new mixtapes in every other day. I check my e-mail to see what new songs I got in my inbox, check the web for what new mixtapes are out, and keep my ear open on who’s the next artist that’s got some music about to pop. I spend a lot of my time in my studio that’s in the back of my store, making mixtapes and duplicating, printing and packaging my CDs. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not duplicating CDs—I always hit my clients up and see what music their customers are asking for. Right now, Gucci is basically the top artist that customers ask for. I also get started on my covers, or call graphic designers I work with to do covers every week too. Don’t get much sleep at all, it’s steady grind! How often do you put out mixtapes? What is your biggest or best series called? I do mixtapes every week. I probably average about 8-15 mixtapes a month. I would do more than that, but it takes time getting the covers back, and riding out putting them in the stores. My main series is “Shootin’ the Breeze,” Vol. 45 coming in the next couple of weeks! Do you do any radio or club appearances? When and where? I do club and radio appearances. I DJ every Tuesday at Fantasy Island strip club in Columbia, SC. We be jamming in there—I break a lot of new music right there in the club every week. I’ve also been into college radio for about three years. We currently are off the air, but are working to get things running again. The stations are 90.5 FM Columbia (University South Carolina) and 95.5 FM Newberry (Newberry College). Which DJs influenced you? DJ Prince Ice, DJ Sheekeese Da Beast, DJ B-Lord, DJ King Bee, DJ King Pin, DJ Stylz. There’s more than that down the line—DJ Clue, Funkmaster Flex, and Whoo Kid got me wanting to push the mixtapes from back in the middle and late 90s. I used to buy all their mixes! How important is the DJ’s role in the music industry? DJs are the most important. You are not getting in without the DJs. We see the new music before it comes, and it is the DJs that break the music, and the DJs who make artists hotter than life after their music has broken. For example, Wayne wouldn’t have sold a million copies of his album in the first week if it weren’t for all the mixtape DJs dropping mixes of him. The DJs made him hotter every day by dropping new mixes. DJs as a whole got some major power in making artists hot! How do you think the role of the DJ is changing with the new music industry moving in different directions? The roles are not changing, you just can’t be lazy. DJs gotta grind like artists now. New music drops every day, you gotta stay on your shit and be consistent. You can’t just drop one mixtape and have all month to move it—you gotta drop and move copies the first week, and you gotta hit the Net right when you drop. What have you done to keep up with or stay ahead of the fast paced music industry today? I’ve just tried to up my game with my mixes, by getting a faster computer, buying a couple of work vehicles to distribute the mixes, opening my store so I got somewhat a base of operations, and just keeping my ear to street and watching the Net like a hawk. What’s your advice to independent artists looking to break into the game? Treat it like a business, don’t even do it if it’s just for fun. Come into the game serious. If you want to make it, you better be like those athletes playing in the pros—be ready to pay your dues before you get in there, and then be ready to work harder than before once you get in. What’s your advice on how artists should approach a DJ to play their music? Any dos and don’ts? Do have your song on CD and flash drive; have access to a computer; learn how to use the Internet and e-mail because some DJs want the song e-mailed to them; get text messaging on your phone (that way you can text the DJ your info—they are more likely to reply back that way). Don’t bring your CD to a club and expect the DJ to
18 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
play it right then; ask the DJ to get you on because you say you’re hot; expect to blow up ‘cause the DJ did your mixtape; e-mail a song that’s not titled right—title your music “Artist - Title of track.mp3.” Are there any specific artists that you work with? Oh yeah, I got several artists I work with from South Carolina. I’m gonna try to name everybody so bear with me… Kenny Kane (Columbia, SC), T-Roc (Columbia, SC), Rulette The Rogue (McBEE, SC), Fat Rat Da Czar (Columbia, SC), Just Rich Gates (Sumter, SC), KEKE (Columbia, SC), Trapstar (Greenville, SC), Big Quinn (Greenville, SC), Alazae (Charleston, SC), Volcanic and Illa Gezey (Sumter, SC), Ricky Prince (Greenville, SC), Hollywood (Columbia, SC), Snook Da Rokkstarr (Columbia, SC), Yadda Dolla (Columbia, SC), Sauce (Florence, SC), Lil Brod (Columbia, SC), Mr. Flip (Columbia, SC), Collard Greens (Columbia, SC), Preach (Columbia, SC), Amen (Cheraw, SC), Boss G (Columbia, SC), Rell G (Columbia, SC), Danny! (Columbia, SC), BJ Cash (Columbia, SC), Charlie Waters (Columbia, SC), Primo Star (Aiken, SC), Marly Mar (Charleston, SC), P Watts (Columbia, SC), Piazo (Columbia, SC), Teezy (Columbia, SC), Marcus Allen (Columbia, SC), Mike Smith (Columbia, SC), Amore Rayne (Charleston, SC), Carlos Cartel (Charleston, SC), Outside of the state: Diablo Archer (Rocky Mt., NC), Alabama Connect (Montgomery, AL), Ju from D4L (Atlanta, GA), Waka Flocka Flames(Atlanta, GA), Papa Duck (Bell Glades, FL) Are there any up-and-coming artists that you think the industry should keep an eye out for in 2010? Lil’ Brod (Columbia, SC), Kenny Kane (Columbia, SC), Waka Flocka Flames (Atlanta, GA) What projects are you working on for the near future? Got a bunch of them, but to name a few, I’m working on “Shootin’ the Breeze 45,” “Traptapemusic.com Part 5,” and “Bad MutherFuckers Part 10.” Anything else you would like to say? Thank you and Coast 2 Coast for working with me, and thanks to everybody that works with me. Make sure to keep checking the site www. traptapemusic.com all day every day! PEACE. www.myspace.com/cannonbanyon www.twitter.com/DjCannonBanyon www.traptapemusic.com
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 19
Hey Darq, what’s good fam? Welcome to Coast 2 Coast Magazine. Tell us a little bit of history on the name and where you rep. What up Coast 2 Coast Mag, the name is Darq. Being Caucasian and having the name Darq causes some controversy, but it actually started as a joke and became much more. Before I started rapping, I got into a fight on the block with a homie who didn’t speak good English. Instead of telling me he was gonna give me a black eye, he said he was gonna “dark” my eye. We had jokes for a while, and when I started rapping, it stuck with me. I had planned to be called the Dark Knight but friends had told me it had been done, so I just left the Knight part behind. I dropped the K upped the Q and became Darq. I think darq is the absence of light, and that Darq is more than a name—it’s a mind state. I rep the BX all day. Bronx born and bred. The birthplace of hip hop, and I’m trying to put it back on the map.
20 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
At an early age you moved to Philly from the BX. How did that affect your musical experiences? At the age of 17, I left the Bronx and moved to Philly. The Bronx is where hip hop began and Philly is the birthplace of soul. Now that I’m back home in the Bronx, I try to use both influences in my music—the Bronx for the lyrics and Philly for the soul. You won Most Promising Male Artist at the Underground Music Awards in August ’09. How did it feel to get nominated and then what was it like to win? The nomination was an honor and the win was amazing. I felt like I was finally being recognized for my hard work, determination, and dedication. People who weren’t paying attention at first, finally were. The award has put a lot of positive attention on me and my movement, and I’m staying on my grind to live up to the title. How has the award helped your career overall, and why do you feel the title suits what Darq represents? The award has helped my career by putting attention on all my hard work. The Darqness is spreading because this award has everyone listening to what I have to say. It’s a reward for everything I’ve been through. It’s a stepping-stone to get me where I need to be. Being the most promising artist is fitting to me because I always thought I could be a star. I think I have the promise and determination to be successful. You recently released “BX” with Bugz and a Bronx heavyweight, Cuban Link. How did that collab come about and what was the response like? The collabo was crazy. The beat has a Pun sample and I was gonna do whatever it took to get my idol’s brother, Cuban, on the remix. I was always a fan of Cuban and I linked up with him through the help of AD The General and the N.A.N. movement. After three months and moving some chess pieces, I was face to face with him. He agreed to do the remix and I put Bugz on it—three Bronx spitters paying tribute to the borough and to Big Pun. It came out crazy and the response has been amazing. People are really feeling the track and it puts me on a whole new level. Talk about your new video “Bronx to the Bay.” What was the concept all about and how did you link with Airis? The concept of “Bronx to the Bay” is bringing two cities together. The Bronx and the Bay–where hip hop isn’t being recognized as much these days. It’s also about unifying the East and West Coasts. I met Airis through my West Coast manager in ‘08. Once we linked up, we decided to do a song together and the rest is history. What are some of the strategic things you are doing as a new artist on the grind to stay above water going into 2010? I’m featuring on songs with a lot of up-and-coming artists on their grind. I’m interviewing on a lot of Internet sites—allhiphop.com, yoraps.com, and istandardproducers.com, to name a few. I’m trying to keep my buzz up and my name and movement relevant. I’m working on getting the mixtape out, “Darq R.A.W. (Risking it all Willingly)” and constantly writing. What’s it gonna take for the masses to really notice you and assist in getting you to that next level? Getting the mixtape out, making new videos, keeping the interviews coming, and keeping the Internet buzz alive. Once there is material out there for people to listen to and watch, I think the masses will really take notice. The feedback I get from everyone will help push me through to the next level and keep me wanting more. What’s up next on Darq’s agenda? Releasing the street album, “Darq R.A.W. (Risking it all Willingly),” getting the videos done for the new songs, continuing to finish up my commercial release, writing the hits to come, and keeping my buzz alive. I’m doing shows in New York, Philly, and Boston this month and next month and performing in showcases with Microphone Bully and AD The General. I’m staying on my grind. Any shouts? Da Nu New York Movement, iStandard Producers, Microphone Bully, Coast 2 Coast Mag, AllHipHop.com, and all the websites and magazines putting Darq out there. My kids, the Too Much Entertainment family, my family, friends, and believers, Redd, Amy Davis, Young Bugz, and everyone who works so hard with me—my collaborators, supporters, and my fans. www.myspace.com/darqness, www.facebook.com/darqraw, www.twitter.comdarqbxkid, www.youtube.com/darqraw
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 21
When and how did you first become a recording artist? When Four In The Clip came out, I officially had a career. That came out in December 2007. Since then I’ve dropped two mixtapes—“Untold Scriptures” came out in May 2008 and “The Latin Marksman” dropped this past February. What made you want to become a recording artist? I never really aspired to be an artist, it kind of just came to me. I feel as though if you have something, you should run with it. I know some heads wanna be a rapper ‘cause from the outside looking in, it looks cool. Trust me, I ain’t one of those people.
22 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
What’s your current record label? Right now I have my own company called Milestone Music Group. What city are you currently based out of? Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. What’s the current project you’re promoting? Right now I’m working “The Latin Marksman 2” with Tony Touch and a mixtape called “The Nomads,” where I rap all over Madlib beats. What and when is your next project? Well the two tapes I just told you about and the “Untold Scriptures 2,” which is going to be like an official album more or less. What have you been doing career-wise for the past few months? Lately I’ve just been knocking out joints for these projects I’m working on and networking for a situation for “Untold Scriptures 2.” I always get feature offers from other artists, so I’m always busy knocking verses out for other people. What are your career plans for the next few months? I’m going to focus on doing tours so I can push these projects. What is your opinion of the mixtape game and market? In my opinion, the mixtape game has shifted and gone digital. Most of the stars DJ-wise that came from the mixtape scene don’t do mixtapes anymore—they’ve moved on to other ventures. Kay Slay, Green Lantern, Whoo Kid, and Tony Touch very rarely do mixtapes these days. The mixtape game lost its star power from the DJ side and until that comes back, it’s going to be a little bland. What is your opinion on the importance of DJs and how does that affect you as an artist? I think back when 50 used the mixtapes, as well as other cats that popped off tapes, the DJs were essential. A specific DJ could break your record and you could be a star. That’s not the case these days. I think DJs will always be very important but these days they aren’t essential for an artist. You used to have to get a DJ to play your record for a fan to hear but now with the Internet and other outlets, we go directly to the fans without the middleman. I still love dealing with DJs though, don’t get it twisted. Where do you think the music industry is headed as a whole? Well actually, it’s already shifting to the point where selling music isn’t the main focus anymore. Rapping right now is a platform for you to eventually use as a marketing tool to get checks from liquor and clothing companies. I remember telling my boy who’s a DJ that CDs will be extinct and people will just buy music digitally, and he thought I was crazy. Now I don’t look so crazy anymore. Technology has always affected the way this industry is run, and with all the new technology coming out expect the music business to follow technology’s footsteps. Are there any other ventures you want to let our readers know about? Right now I’m currently writing two books and working on a movie script. Stay tuned for that. Anything else? Thanks for the interview, homie. Stay up. www.myspace.com/NinoBless www.twitter.com/NinoBless www.ninobless.com www.blogtv.com/people/ninobless
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 23
When and how did you first become a recording artist? I first became an artist about eight years ago. I was writing a lot and getting in for a few hours a week at a local recording studio. Until i met an old homie from school (Prophecy) he was producing at the time and told me to come in. Ever since we’ve been recording together to create many projects. What made you want to become a recording artist? I’d say the number 1 thing that made me become a recording artist would be “influence”. Influence from the greats of hip hop. I wanted to express myself like they expressed themselves. I wont lie I was also attracted to the bright lights and fame. Lastly what made me become an artist is that I know I can do it, I was born to do it. I always have a vision before creating anything. Its my passion its what I love to do.
24 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
What’s your current record label? Block Exchange Entertainment What city are you currently located in/based out of? I’m currently located in Vancouver BC Canada but I’m originally raised from Edmonton, Alberta Canada. What’s the current project you’re promoting? Well the current project we are about to promote is “LIMITLESS” the album. What and when is your next project? I’ve been working on this project for over 5 + years. It will feature some of the hottest independent producers and singers in the industry. I’ve personally handpicked beats and singers from over 10,000 tracks. This project will have a cinematic feel as though a story is being told top to bottom. It will feature Rock/Pop/Rnb/ aspects fused with Rap release date Summer 2010. What have you been doing career wise for the past few months? The past few months we’ve just been hitting conference’s and working really hard on a single that we can base the project around. Also networking to the right people and working on distribution/promotion. What are your career plans for the next few months? We will be releasing the single “without you” on iTunes and also filming the music video for it. Also laying the base for Limitless promotion wise. Have you done or are you planning to do mixtapes in the future? I have done one mixtape when i first started to rap. But we are currently working on three mixtapes. All of them to promote separate singles for the limitless campaign. The first of three mixtapes will be release 1st quarter 2010 exclusively on coast2coastmixtapes.com. What is your opinion on the mixtape game/market? I’m not gonna lie cause I’m a very straight forward person but, it feels like the same material rotating in a overcrowded market. As an independent artist on Coast 2 Coast Mixtapes I see the true meaning to the mixtape game and market as an artist cause Coast 2 Coast regulates their shit to the fans and they do it professionally with big support every month. It helps us independent artist shine with them big boiz in the industry. What is your opinion on the importance of DJs and how does that affect you as an artist? The importance of the DJ is equivalent to how important a mic is to a rapper—it’s a necessity. DJ’s MAKE THE WORLD GO ROUND. Where do you think the music industry is headed as a whole? I think its headed into a complete digital era. The artist will have to do more shows or have other business ventures on the go to sustain himself in the industry. Also digital promotional firms will pretty much be in the high ups by the major labels cause everything is equally accessible. The industry is already slowly shifting that way. Are there any other ventures you want to let our readers know about? We over at BXE have a few things in the concept phases. High-quality diamond ROX watches . ROX VODKA and a special beat agency for independent artists. All set for 2011. What is your myspace address, twitter, website, etc? www.myspace.com/thisisRox, www.twitter.com/Roxmusic www.facebook.com/thisisRox Anything else? Be on the look out for exclusive tracks from ROX on Coast2CoastMixtapes.com and shouts to all the Coast 2 Coast Mixtape DJ coalition. Remember the name respect the difference—ROX.
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 25
What city are you based out of? The 608—Janesville, Wisconsin. But you can find me in Madison, Milwaukee, Delevan, Beliot, and Rockford. What is your daily routine as a DJ? If it’s a weekday, I usually wake up, check the e-mail to see what artists I work with got poppin’, head to class, come back, review a few records, get some mixtape covers poppin’ off, start plannin’ for my next mix, and go from there. If it’s a weekend, I usually wake up, smoke a cigar to start my day off, and take all the new exclusive records I’ve gotten through the week and blast ‘em off to my DJs I associate with, so we can break records. How often do you put out mixtapes? What is your biggest or best series called? I try to do 8 mixtapes a month, so 2 a week. My biggest series is “Smokin Session.” Shout out to all my partners I’ve had on there: Tone Trump, Ashley Logan, SparkDawg, P Dubb Mancini, and a couple others. If I missed you, scream at me. Do you do any radio or club appearances? When and where? I’ve been asked to co-host a few radio shows, but as of right now, I’m in the works to acquire my own. As far as shows in the past few months, I was at the Hurricane Chris concert—big ups to my homie Smokes of IMG (Imperial Music Group), he performed and rocked the crowd. Which DJs influenced you? DJ Scream, DJ Drama, DJ Whoo Kid, DJ Smallz, BWS’ DJ Haze, and DJ Skee. I mean, it’s crazy how much I would bang these guys’ mixtapes out back to back. It got to the point where I knew all the song transitions and drops. But it surely made an impact on me. How important is the DJ’s role in the music industry? I feel like the DJ has a lot to do with the process of breaking a record. I hear plenty excellent, A+ songs from time to time, but the element of promotion just isn’t there, so it doesn’t hit its exact target. As a DJ, I look at all the artists I work with as family, we all are on different ventures, but when we click up we always deliver what’s needed. Mixtapes are killing the game right now, so I feel the mixtape DJs have an important role in getting the music to the listener. And with the Internet, that’s no problem. How do you think the role of the DJ is changing with the new music industry moving in different directions? I feel like the role of the DJ is evolving into a position where DJs work with artists so much they help build that artist, and fine tune their craft. With, say, exclusive beats for freestyles—you may have an artist who doesn’t do Southern style beats, or East Coast, or West Coast, but the DJ helps them develop in those areas, so they have that edge of versatility. What have you done to keep up with, or stay ahead of, the fast paced music industry today? I keep good, strong relationships with my artists, attend many phone conferences, and try to network with as many people as possible. What’s your advice to independent artists looking to break into the game? Approach DJs and tell them what you’re about, where you wanna go, and what you wanna do. Right now if I was an artist, I would be trying to send my records to DJs globally, expand out of just one area, because there are so many ears in the world you can reach with the appropriate channels. What’s your advice on how artists should approach a DJ to play their music? Any dos and don’ts? I can only really speak from my experiences. One of the don’ts is never come at the DJ wrong. At the end of the day, if the DJ doesn’t wanna play your record, it won’t be played. You gotta focus on building strong relationships and partnerships, and I feel like both the artists and the DJ have very important roles. It’s gotta go hand in hand, not lopsided.
26 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
Do you have any specific artists that you work with? Tone Trump, P Dubb Mancini, my dude P., Porter Felon—takin’ ‘em out to war in the streets—shit’s bananas homie but sometimes things happen. SparkDawg, we got something epic coming pretty soon. Yung Mavrick, San Antonio on deck, Shelly Renee— that girl got some amazing vocals, check her out off top. Big ups to the homie Roccett, Get Your Green Up Ent., and Steph over at Celeb Mound. Also shout out to the homie Freeky Zeeky and 730 Dips. And last but not least, the artist I work in closet relation with is IMG’s Smokes. Listen, y’all really have no idea what the Midwest is about to do. I have been in the studio with the big homie over the past week, and dude get it in. Wisconsin stand up! You can check him out at www.SmokesMusic.com. Also, be sure to grab the All or Nothing album coming out March 2010. I got an exclusive preview…Y’all really ain’t ready! Are there any up-and-coming artists that you think the industry should keep an eye out for in 2010? I most definitely say Smokes, Yung Mavrick, Nappyville, L.E.P Bogus Boyz, and many others, but those are just off top. What projects are you working on for the near future? Me and Smokes will be soon flooding the streets with tapes. “Smokin Session 9” is still comin’ after a few months of delay—gotta make ‘em want it. “The Best of SparkDawg” hosted by SparkDawg, and I might be working on a project with Chicago’s Mikkey Halstaad. I got a few others on deck, but you will just have to wait and see. Anything else you would like to say? First and foremost, I’d like to thank Lil Fats, Fillet, Nick, and the cutevoiced desk girl when I call the office. All my homies around here in the 608, I’m not saying names just because y’all know who you are, all the artists I’ve worked with, and everybody who’s taken the time to read this and listen to my tapes. If you believe, you can achieve, reach your goals, and live your dreams. www.myspace.com/southsidekaze www.twitter.com/djkaze www.mixtapepass.com/djkaze www.kazemixtapes.net (coming soon!)
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 27
28 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
What is your daily routine as a DJ? Well, daily I wake up and check my e-mails—I get sent so many records that it takes time to listen to them all. I try though. Upload pictures, update social sites, and just reply to my fans out there. It’s hard work when you one of NY’s hardest workin’ DJs. How often do you put out mixtapes? What is your biggest or best series called? I do three-a-month, sometimes four, depending on the artists. I don’t just drop regular mixtapes, I do classics, and host many up-and-coming artist mixtapes as well. I’m what you call the go-to guy out here. I make mixtapes sound like albums. My biggest series to date would be my “NU Radio” series. I’ve had many exclusives on there, as well as hot artists just giving me the shit they didn’t give others. That’s why I’m DJ NU. Do you do any radio or club appearances? When and where? Yes, I do radio besides NURadio, which I drop on the Internet all the time. I also do mix shows around the US. I do RS Radio on thatshiphop.com Thursdays from 8-10 p.m., which airs on iTunes Podcast and 1.FM as well. The show lets me bring the streets and my remix game to the world. Which DJs influenced you? Well, on my come-up it’s different, ‘cause I actually know how to DJ on turntables, so my upbringing wasn’t mp3 and shit. I respected the DJs for what I learned from them. My favorites were Red Alert, Funkmaster Flex, DJ Clue, DJ Scratch, and DJ Premier. I learned a lot from them as far as getting new records, how to break ‘em and scratch ‘em up to the point that the crowd wouldn’t lose the hype. I gets busy in the clubs— nowadays DJs can’t even keep a crowd goin’. I know, I be there. How important is the DJ’s role in the music industry? Very important in the game today. A DJ is the dude, Mr. Everything. I mean without them, you wouldn’t know what to do, or who’s gonna play you, or where to get your honest opinion from. It’s like an artist without a DJ isn’t an artist yet. They gotta learn to respect the DJ. He is the one who gets the crowd where it needs to be for you to come on to the stage and do your job as an artist. A lot of them don’t know that, but there would be no music game without us. How do you think the role of the DJ is changing with the new music industry moving in different directions? Well as of now, DJs like myself are treated like artists instead of just a dude you give your record to. We actually call shots now, so I see that the companies have finally found the time to respect the DJ, ‘cause we makin’ these companies grow without them even knowing. Now you don’t have to book an artist to pack a club, you can do it with the right DJ. We are changing the direction in this game; they follow us now. We get the new music, we play it, and we support it as well. Ask A&R or other execs—we are the ones in the studio now with artists, and we get the music straight from the source. No more going to him, her, and them. That’s outta here. What have you done to keep up with, or stay ahead of, the fast paced music industry today? DJ NU: I just stay active in the game. You gotta do more than just DJ now. I try to just stay relevant as far as stayin’ in the studio with artists, creating with them, showing them new tricks on how to make the classic records. I produce, engineer, as well as mix and master, so I could do a whole album and have no help. That’s rare in the game. I have my own company, NuRadio Inc., which allows me to do more. Artists know a little bit, but when they look at the DJ, they understand he plays the records that made their careers, so why not take his advice? It’s kind of a real job now, no more hobby. Whats your advice to independent artists looking to break into the game? Stay focused on what you tryin’ to do. Don’t be a closed-minded artist, let people in that mean well. A lot of artists are scared to take advice. They think they know it all, but that’s just not the case. There are people here that know what you tryin’ to do and could help. You just gotta be humble. Angry just gets you shelved, real talk. Make music for the people, not your hood, ‘cause they buyin’ what they hear. Don’t think it’s all about you, remember people are buyin’ that shit, so if you not supplyin’, they gonna find someone else who is, and that’s real. So stay business, stop takin’ everything personal—that’s for chicks. What’s your advice on how artists should approach a DJ to play their music? Any dos and don’ts? Well, you do want the DJ to know you, but you don’t want him to hate, so: - Take your time and greet a DJ before handing him some music, ‘cause he won’t play it if he don’t feel like he knows you. - Ask for an e-mail instead of a number, ‘cause numbers change, e-mails don’t. Don’t be mad at him if he asks you to e-mail it and doesn’t want to carry a CD you brought for him—we in a new era, so don’t be mad, it’s business. - Try stayin’ in touch with him instead of hittin’ him when you want something. That’s whack biz, it shows you a cornball.
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 29
- Don’t bring 100 people with you to meet a DJ, ‘cause guess what? We ain’t fuckin’ with you. This ain’t no show, it’s a meet and greet. - Stop tryin’ to make us play music that only you like. Just keep ‘em coming, we will let you know when you hit us with the one. Bringing the same record makes us know you ain’t ready to do biz. - Don’t try to run up on us everywhere, ‘cause at the end of the day we’re human, and we don’t wanna be fucked with when we with family, so know the game. Do you have any specific artists that you work with? Yessir. Right now I’m working with Papoose, Ike Dirty, Mikey Bloodshot, M.O.P., Heartbreak Kid, GTC, J. Brice, AZ, Young Kalico, Nic Shinez, Lil Fats, Amil, and Thugacation. Are there any up-and-coming artists that you think the industry should keep an eye out for in 2010? Yes. Besides me working with them personally, Mikey Bloodshot, Papoose, Frank Rizo, 2Chang, J. Brice, Ike Dirty, H.O. Da Diamond Dolla, and Teardrop Tiz are some artists I know you will be impressed by. They have great peopleskills, flow, and just hits under they belt, so those are my faves. What projects are you working on for the near future? As of right now, I got a lot of projects. Mikey Bloodshot “Million Dollar Dreams,” DJ NU album Nu World Order, a Heartbreak Kid project, “Papoose Season,” G.T.C. “Something for Streets,” and my DVD premier Da Grind DVD, which will have everybody in the game. That’s my baby right there, I could go on and on, but I’ma be humble. I got projects though—everybody wants to work with me, so it’s hard when you that nice at everything. Anything else you would like to say? You could catch me in Fabolous’ movie Loso’s Way, and in a lot of videos online. Doin’ cameos is a great way to get out there. Also, just try and do it all. I would like to thank Coast 2 Coast on giving me the chance to let people know what I’m doin’ and my worth at this game we in. I’ve done a lot, I’m still doin’ it, and I just want people to know that the dream of becoming what you want to become does not happen overnight. So like I was told, you better have 10 years in, so you know what you getting into, ‘cause this game isn’t for the weak-minded. Being a DJ, tastemaker, producer, engineer, and an exec at this only shows you that as a person, you have to do it all in order to know what it is you wanna do in this game. You never know. Remember, you gotta have contacts, connects, and know the right people. Do your background check on folks. There’s a lot of false advertising goin’ on—not here though! Thanks Lil Fats. www.myspace.com/nuradio www.myspace.com/djnu www.twitter.com/djnuonline www.twitter.com/djnu www.youtube.com/nuradio1 www.coast2coastmixtapedjs.com/djnu www.djnu.wordpress.com www.facebook.com/djnuisback firstname.lastname@example.org
30 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 31
What city are you based out of? Houston, Texas. What is your daily routine as a DJ? While I wish I could say that I DJ full time, I have a regular 9–5 job and a family to take care of. Thankfully, with the support of my wife, I am able to spend the majority of my evenings, once my family obligations are complete, just focusing on being a DJ. Most of my time is spent creating mixes, but I make sure to give enough of my time to networking with other DJs and artists. How often do you put out mixtapes? What is your biggest or best series called? I do a monthly series called “Whiplash Radio.” I have also been actively mixing the Coast 2 Coast Mixtape DJs “Showcase” volumes on a regular basis. Do you do any radio or club appearances? When and where? Not since moving to Texas. The club scene has been quiet for me. When I was living in New Jersey and then Washington, I did have the chance to play clubs quite often. What DJs influenced you? It all started around 1986, after I bought Run DMC’s new album Raising Hell. After hearing Jam Master Jay, one of the most compelling turntablists Hip Hop has ever seen, I wanted to do the same. The problem was that I was 11 and only had a double tape deck to use! While working at Scratch DJ Academy in NYC I was influenced by the likes of Grandwizzard Theodore, Luv Bug Starski, Grandmaster Caz, DJ Spinbad, DJ AM, Z-Trip, as well as NYC great I.Emerge—former ITF & DMC champ. How important do you think the DJ’s role in the music industry is? The DJ’s role in the music industry has always been a key focal point that some have failed to pay attention to. The DJ is that link to the masses that can get your music out there. It doesn’t matter if you are a radio DJ, club DJ, mobile DJ, or mixtape DJ, every DJ has the ability to break new music to the public. How do you think the role of the DJ is changing with the new music industry moving in different directions? I think this makes us busier. More great artists are coming out now that may have never left their basement 5 years ago. But thanks to the explosion of Web 2.0 and social networking it is easier for them to be heard and network with great DJs. The DJ’s role will always be the same—to bring the hot new shit to the people. It’s our job to break new music whether it’s a major or indie artist. Our job will not change…even if DJ Hero sells a trillion units! What have you done to keep up with, or stay ahead of, the fast paced music industry today? Network, network, network. I joined forces with Coast 2 Coast as a Mixtape DJ in the early weeks of 2009 so I could stay ahead of the curve. I am also an active member of a few “DJ Only” web forums where I can connect with DJs that have the same passion that I do. What’s your advice to independent artists looking to break into the game? Again, network, network, network. Take the opportunity to make face-to-face contacts. While it may take time and some money, the benefits of actually meeting someone face-to-face helps build valuable relationships. Remember, this is a business. Sometimes you have to spend a little money to make money. What’s your advice on how artists should approach a DJ to play their music? Any dos and don’ts? Get in contact with a DJ face-to-face or by working with the likes of Coast 2 Coast, Core DJs, or Bumsquad DJs. Treat your communication like a job interview. Be professional and literate. Do not spam a DJ on his social networking sites begging to be listened to, or saying that you are hot in the streets. DJs already know who is hot in the streets. For example, I currently have over 150 “friend” requests pending on MySpace from artists saying, “Yo, listen to my track.” Those slackers get to wait. Do you have any specific artists that you work with? Yes, I have been working with Biggmann outta Sacramento, California. He has been on almost every “Whiplash Radio” volume this year. Biggmann and I have our mixtape in the works, called “Pure Titanium.” Stay tuned for it to drop soon.
32 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
Are there any up-and-coming artists that you think the industry should keep an eye out for in 2010? Everyone should not sleep on Biggmann, Tone Trump, Slick Watts, and The Kaps. Blink an eye and you will be sorry you weren’t listening when I told you so! What projects are you working on for the near future? Well I am working with Biggmann on “Pure Titanium,” which is coming to a close soon. I am also linked up with fellow Coast 2 Coast DJ K Yung and her mixtape series “Girls vs Boys.” Coast 2 Coast has given me plenty of work as well on the Coast 2 Coast DJ series “The Showcase.” And of course, my “Whiplash Radio” series. Oh yeah, and I need to get some new wood floors installed in the family room at the crib, wanna help? Anything else you would like to say? I’ma let you finish, but I just wanted to say that Coast 2 Coast had the best convention of all time! (Inspired by Kanye.) On the real though, respect the DJ! www.twitter.com/djwhiplash www.myspace.com/djwhiplash http://djwhiplash.podomatic.com www.djwhiplash.com
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 33
34 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
Where are you located and/or based out of? Originally from Dallas, TX now residing in Denver Colorado What is your daily routine as a DJ? Get up at 5am, check email, twitter, MySpace, facebook, watch the news then start checking out new music, working on mixtapes, and always planning something bigger and better. How often do you do mixtapes? Atleast 2-3 a week. What is your biggest/best series called? Simply Blended! Blends are my favorite thing to do as a dj, so that’s love! Do you do any radio or club appearances? If so when and where? Yes, catch me opening shows around the Denver area, shout out to Livenation! What DJs were you influenced by to become a DJ? The list is endless but I think when I started going to DJ competitions in Dallas I was blown away, I was like “i want to do that” How important do you think the DJs role in the music industry is? They are the most important factor in music. Artists rely on dj’s to get their music out, without us they can’t survive. Dj’s need artists too though so it definitely works both ways, just always respect each other! How do you think the role of the DJ is changing with the new music industry moving in different directions? The interent game is crazy. You look at mixtape downloads compared to real album sales, it’s not hard to see the dj[‘s are killin it. I think the dj is making the artists work harder, there’s a ton of competition out there, what seperates you from the rest? That’s real. What have you done to keep up with or stay ahead of the fast-paced music industry today? I always try to think outside of the box as far as who I want to feature on mixtapes, or blend I create, or mix I do. Like I said, there’s so much competition out there unless you come with something different and unique, you’re a dime a dozen. Whats your advice to independent artists looking to break into the game? Work your ass off, never complain about your problems just fix them, stay positive, never be satisfied and visualize your ultimate goal. Whats your advice on how an artist should approach a DJ to play their music? Do’s and Don’ts? DO: offer a dj something to listen to your music, whether it’s 10 bucks or whatever offer something, we get hundreds of tracks in our inbox, we don’t listen to them all, we don’t have time, offer something, it might be worth it! DON’T: email blast w/ out introducing yourself, embeded music player posts on myspace, fake subject emails, etc etc, none of that works, EVER. Do you have any specific artists that you work with? Yes, I just did a track with Paul Wall ft. The Alumni, due out soon, very blessed to have worked w/ The People’s Champ! Are there any up & coming artists that you think the industry should keep an eye out for in 2010? Yes, my boys The Alumni (www.myspace.com/multialumni) They are the new UGK QUOTE ME! What projects are you currently working on for the near future? Working on a TBGZ mixtape hosted by Lil Ronnie from Dallas, TX, Coast 2 Coast Exclusives 15 Hosted by Ace Hood and many more Blend tapes! Whats your myspace, website, twitter, etc? www.mixtape-dj.com, www.myspace.com/djstupac, www.twitter.com/djstupac Anything else you would like to say for this interview? Shout out to Coast 2 Coast for showin so much love, thank you to all my fans, y’all are the SHIT! I won’t stop as long as y’all don’t, ONE LOVE.
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 35
What’s up 5 Star? For those new to the name, break down the meaning. What’s good? Well, 5 Star came from the 5 things I’ve become known for: an emcee, a doctor, an author, songwriter and spoken-word artist. Obviously, the name implies something great…I plan on doing the name justice. [Laughs] Your story is definitely very interesting…a plastic surgeon by day and an emcee by night! Walk us through your day to day and how you handle the immense responsibilities. Damn, it’s a long walk. [Laughs] Certainly, being a surgeon requires a lot dedication and time. I usually get to the hospital around 7 a.m. where I see patients, operate, and do what doctors do. A lot of writing, a little bit of blood, but very much a privilege to make a huge difference in people’s lives. As expected, you have to be totally focused at the hospital, but I always have a beat CD for the car ride home. I’ve written many a joint behind the wheel. Might not be totally legal—it sort of makes cell phone use while driving a joke. [Laughs] Fortunately, music is something that comes real natural to me. While I have to be efficient, I can bang out a song or two a night. Then, I read for my next operation for the next day, and the story continues. It gets pretty crazy but it’s second nature now. I have a home studio for pre-production and I work my own sessions, so I grind for real. When did you first get introduced to hip hop and why the transition? Well, I’ve always followed Hip Hop, and my ability to write carried me to the music. As a spoken-word artist, people said I always spit like an emcee, and I just proved them right I guess. I’ve always heard melodies, and that combined with my ability to spit made me dangerous. With over 400 tracks in just over 3 years, it’s a craft I constantly seek to perfect. You have a new single in rotation at several stations across the country, entitled “Get To Know U,” which has over 90 spins. How do you feel about the recognition you’re getting from radio, and what type of response are you getting from DJs in general? For me, it’s time to run, you know. Right now it’s all about exposure, and this first single is really making people take notice. The record is special, with a great storyline and amazing production. This single should go all the way. I expect great things from this one. “Get To Know U” is produced by mega-platinum producer Jimi Kendrix, who has worked with G-Unit, Jay-Z, Ashanti, Ja Rule, Tupac, and more. How did you guys link and how does it feel to be amongst the list of superstars he has created hits for? As those who work with Jimi know, his production is genius. To be recognized along with that list is definitely a compliment, but Jimi knows when he sees something special. I plan on making history here, and Jimi certainly deserves a great deal of credit for co-signing me as an artist. He didn’t have to put himself out there for a doctor that spits. [Laughs] What’s the basic concept behind “Get To Know U?” Explain the creative process once you got the music. The concept is fresh and the track is a bit of a throwback of sorts. It’s about how a man and a woman can be in the same setting and have totally different perceptions. It’s a throwback in that it has a storyline around a theme. It’s a record everyone can relate to. [Laughs] As far as the creative process, it’s really simple. Jimi sends the beat and I blackout, send it back, and we go. I haven’t kept a Jimi beat longer than a day, I’m sure of that. I always say Jimi throws hanging curves and I touch home. You are also a touring poet with a previously published book, and were the recipient of the Chicago Truth Award. What are some of the main similarities and differences between poetry and hip hop as respective genres? I think there are many parallels. Obviously, it’s all writing in different formats. Without music, poetry really depends on grabbing the reader or listener with content. While poetry is a slow walk, music feels like a sprint. It’s about making an impact from the second the record plays. Ultimately, music is a format that can reach millions and make a global impact. It’s poetry to the masses. To me, music is freedom.
36 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
What’s next on the agenda for you? Right now we are totally focused on exposure. We have an album on deck through my company, MD Entertainment, LLC, and we are in the process of finding a major label home. My agenda is to go down as one of the greats. I wouldn’t be wasting my breath if I didn’t feel like the music wasn’t on that level. Any shouts or plugs? Got to shout out Shondel Harrison, COO of my company MD Entertainment, LLC. I have to plug all the producers and artists in Chicago I have had the opportunity to collaborate with. I really want to thank I-Standard for always showing support for the 5 Star movement. Certainly, a huge shout out goes to Jimi Kendrix and The Smith Brothers for believing in me as an artist, and for helping to make such great music. I got to thank Eric Beasley (Asylum), Ant Rich (Jive), and Skid (Bad Boy) for their advice and support. Oh, and last but not least Kevin Writer, an amazing songwriter, producer, and artist. www.myspace.com/5star1, www.youtube.com/5starhiphop, www.twitter.com/5star1, www.sonicbids.com/5star, Google me! “5 Star Get to Know U”
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 37
When and how did you first become a recording artist? I first became a recording artist, as far as gettin’ into the craft, at 19, but it wasn’t until I took music in college that I really got serious about makin’ it a career choice. What made you want to become a recording artist? I saw firsthand how someone can literally go from rags to riches overnight from one hit! What’s your current record label? My current record label is my own Hellrazor Entertainment Co., run by a partner. We’re actually negotiating major distribution for me and my other artists, but we’re still open to more lucrative negotiations. What city are you currently based out of? I’m currently on the outskirts of L.A., in San Bernardino County. What’s the current project you’re promoting? My most recent project to date I’m promoting is my mixtape entitled “18Shots2ThaDome,” hosted by Cali Untouchables DJ Raze1. Featuring, in my opinion, the hottest new artists comin’ out of the West Coast—Glasses Malone and Gypsy Stokes of Konvict Muzik. By far Akon’s best artist, if you ask me. C2C: What and when is your next project? A Dot K: My next project I hope to be with y’all…gotta check my budget though! What have you been doing career wise for the past few months? I’ve been recording new material, and tryin’ to square away this video with my peeps Glasses Malone for one of the collabs featured on my current mixtape, “West Coast Supreme.” What are your career plans for the next few months? I’m plannin’ on finishing my new album, and makin’ it a classic. Have you done or are you planning to do mixtapes in the future? Most definitely. What is your opinion on the mixtape game and market? I feel it’s a great outlet for artists to be heard and build a fan base— with the help of the Internet it reaches worldwide. What is your opinion on the importance of DJs, and how does that affect you as an artist? DJs bring the voice to the people in masses—clubs, parties, radio…we owe a lot to the DJs! Where do you think the music industry is headed as a whole? That’s a good question. I feel there is a lack of creativity right now more than ever. Artists need to dig deeper within themselves and pull out something meaningful and unique to deliver to the listeners. If it don’t change, we will be in bad shape in the years to come. Anything else? Yeah, be on the lookout for the new West! Shout out to G Malone, he’s holdin’ the torch, and we comin’… www.myspace.com/hellrazorentmuzik www.myspace.com/adotkmuzik
38 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
When and how did you first become a recording artist? – BZO TREMENDOUZ aka The Southeast San Diego King became an official artist in 2000 but I’ve been rapping since the mid 90’s. Seeing and going through things in my life made me want to tell my story through music. – About a year and a half ago, I started getting serious with it and now I’m trying to turn it into my career this is what I want to do my whole life. What made you want to become a recording artist? – I’ve always had a passion for music and I like expressing my freedom of speech. – My love and passion I’ve always had for music, it drives me to be creative I’d be doing this either way deal or no deal. What’s your current record label? – Swack Star Ent./WestRightz/illkind – Swack Star Ent. What city are you currently located in/based out of? Portland. What’s the current project you’re promoting? Leaders of The New School one of our current mixtapes. What and when is your next project? We are working on the The Take Over Mixtape . What have you been doing career wise for the past few months? We’ve done shows, promoting online, working on signing a deal with a major. What are your career plans for the next few months? Grinding in the studio, working on our projects, we also both got solo projects coming soon. Have you done or are you planning to do mixtapes in the future? We’ve got a few out but we plan on doing two more before we drop the album. What is your opinion on the mixtape game/market? It’s a great way to market your music and get fans to anticipate your album. What is your opinion on the importance of DJs and how does that affect you as an artist? It’s important to build relationships with DJs, they have the power to get your music heard all over the country whether it be the radio or the clubs. Where do you think the music industry is headed as a whole? It’s got its pros and cons—the internet can help get you out there but also hurt your sales. But, as an independent artist there are a lot more opportunities for you to succeed now. Are there any other ventures you want to let our readers know about? We are looking for rappers, singers and producers to sign to our label. What is your myspace address, twitter, website, etc? www.swackunit.com, www.myspace.com/bvandbzotremendouz, www. twitter.com/BV_SSE, www.twitter.com/BZOTREMENDOUZ Anything else? Thanks to all the fans for all their support and C2C for this opportunity.
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 39
Bizz, the Prince of Jersey, hails from a small town called Bayonne in Hudson County, New Jersey. Signed to Blakglobe Records with distribution through Koch, Bizz has begun to storm the hip hop airwaves, easily living up to his personal declaration of being “the best in his age group.” At just 23 years old, Bizz recently released his debut album Prince Of Jersey which features artists like Freeway, O. Parker from 112, Kinetic 9 of Killarmy, Hozfa & Jag, and Omillio Sparks. Production on the album is by 4th Disciple, Bunnie Sigler, Vandalized Production, Saintman, and Teflon. The first single off the album is titled “Ringtone,” and features Freeway. Bizz has been touring nationally, performing the single from Cleveland, OH to Puerto Rico, and everywhere in between. Bizz maintains an appreciation for the fundamental connections in the hip hop industry, remaining real and touchable to his fan base even after his notoriety has grown through his major label deal. “A lot of cats coming out think they can just get a beef blog on World Star and they don’t have to grind and hit the people, or put out hot records and mixtapes,” he says. “I just stay consistent with the grassroots, even though I have a major album out.” Musically, Bizz is able to deliver an eclectic range that appeals to a wide listening audience. Between club bangers, a true East Coast sound that will excite the underground, tracks catered to ladies and more, Bizz’s talent as a rapper becomes undeniable the deeper you get into his music. With a background influence that includes some of the hardest hitters on the East Coast, Bizz knows the extent to which the industry is craving realness, and has confidence in his ability to bring that back to life. With his single receiving more and more radio play, and his album Prince Of Jersey taking off across the country, Bizz lives up to his proclamation that he is “the best in his age group.” www.myspace.com/bizzonline www.facebook.com/bizzonline www.twitter.com/bizztheprince
40 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
Johnny Game—who is set to release the fourth and most accomplished album of an already storied career—is by no means your average Hip Hop star. While a lot of rappers might talk the talk and call themselves soldiers, Johnny has truly lived it. A six-year stint in the army punctuated a musical career that started when he was just 11 years old. But far from slowing his career down, the military hiatus has made Johnny an even better artist; something confirmed by the relentless brilliance of new album ‘Hood Muzik’. The record is both a continuation of the style that Johnny has made his own through his three previous albums and a departure from the usual mass-market Hip Hop and R&B that seems to dominate the airwaves. A true independent, Johnny has produced tunes that show he has an ear for a hit, while still being able to lay down conscious, intelligent lyrics. Combined, this makes ‘Hood Muzik’ a record as much for the real Hip Hop headz as it is for the dancefloor. Whether driving round town, listening at work or just chilling at home, the tracks here will have you both moving and thinking. And that’s not something you can say of most rappers… Being an accomplished DJ as well as a rapper, Johnny has an ear for a smooth beat as well as killer rhyme. It is a talent that has already brought some major attention. He has worked with luminaries such as DJ Chronic, Question, Pappa Duck, Santino and Meaksta, alongside a host of big name producers, and has contributed to the famous Coast 2 Coast mixtapes. And it’s not just the industry that’s all a-blaze for Johnny. The people love him too. He has had three songs make it to number one on the soundclick.com hip hop chart. He has clocked up more than 30,000 plays on jango.com and an amazing 350,000 myspace plays. Not bad for an independent artist! And one thing’s for sure: the only way is up for Johnny. Why? Because this soldier’s got Game. The album, ‘Hood Muzik’, is out October 31st—don’t miss out. Mikeljones1973@yahoo.com Myspace.com/johnnygame1‑
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 41
Bizz – From Now Till I Drop (Hosted By DJ Vlad) Bizz hails from New Jersey, and it definitely shows in his mixtape “From Now Till I Drop,” hosted by DJ Vlad. A precursor to his debut solo album Prince of Jersey released by Blackglobe Records, the mixtape underlines the rapper’s East Coast roots, and features heavy hitters like Young Joc, Freeway, Gucci Mane, and Fabolous. Bizz raps over recognizable industry beats such as Drake’s “Successful” and JayZ’s “Brooklyn Stand Up,” and has also included a few previews from his album. Tracks like “Ringtone” featuring Freeway and “Rise of Autotune” show that Bizz embraces certain trends in the industry, while openly despising others like skinny jeans and beef blogs, as we hear in the skit “Beef Blog Interview.” Though the topics are not earth shattering—most of his raps are about his hustle, staying above his haters, and women—the emcee’s metaphors are on point and his flow is smooth throughout. Certain songs stand out, such as “Hustler’s Prayer,” (also featuring Freeway) in which Bizz shows off his ability to tell a story through his lyrics. Bizz’s consistently solid flow is the most notable aspect of this mixtape. Rapping evenly over all the beats, you can’t help but appreciate his talent and feel what he’s saying. He holds his own with other artists featured. While he gives props to newer artists like Drake, Kid Cuddy, and Wale, Bizz makes it clear that he is gunning to establish his place as the “best in his age group.” “From Now Till I Drop” may not cement this title for Bizz, but his ability and focus make it a must-listen, and without a doubt builds the hype for his debut album.
DJ NoPhrillz – Ventilation X-Rigormortus Mixtape Vol. 1 DJ NoPhrillz of OfficialStreetRadio.com and Coast 2 Coast Mixtape DJs is a prolific mixtape DJ, and he does not disappoint with “Ventilation X-Rigormortus Mixtape Vol. 1,” which he hosts and mixes. “Rigormortus” features VX Records artists Da Wizerd, Jus Chill, D.Y.M.E., and Nemesis, along with Tone Trump, Belvi, and more. If you’re looking for a mixtape that bangs practically all the way through, this one’s for you. Nemesis is definitely a stand out here, with tracks like “Tan Betty” and “Risky” showcasing his quick spit flow and charismatic delivery. His collaborations with fellow Ventilation X artists are some of the strongest on the mixtape. Other noteworthy tracks include Tone Trump’s “How I’m Livin,” which is also featured on his album Trump Life, and “Skater Onna Rail,” an anthem by Cell that will appeal to hustlers and club-goers alike. “Ventilation X-Rigormortus Mixtape Vol. 1” will have listeners hooked without question. It’s clear that a lot of thought went into the development of this mixtape. The featured artists come hard, the production sounds top-notch, and the tracks fit together nicely. NoPhrillz clean mixing and scratching only adds to the overall quality of the project. Each track on this mixtape seems to beat more than the last, and the transitions are smooth and impressive. Subjects generally focus around hustle and street life, but there are different styles thrown in, so the mixtape will be able to attract interest and appreciation from a wide audience. “Vol. 1” should be the first of many to come in this series.
Mikey Vegaz - The Definition of Fli Vol. 3: Cocaine Poetry Mikey Vegaz’ “The Definition of Fli Vol. 3: Cocaine Poetry” delivers everything we’ve come to expect from the rapper, as well as from the Fli Boi movement. With a knockout combination of catchy hooks, clever lyricism, and endless swagger, Mikey Vegaz continues to live up to the standards set by previous installments in the “Definition of Fli” series. The 18-track mixtape is hosted by Young Mo Da Kid and mixed by DJ Fatboy. It features notorious names in the Northwest hip hop scene like Richy Qwavoo, Syko, Mac Geez, Lil Face, T. Soprano, and Kenny Mack, who lend different lyrical styles to create a diversified sound that encompasses the full range that exists in the Fli Boi movement. The subject matter varies from the hustle, to women, to an ideal for success and lifestyle that the Fli Bois strive for. There are clean transitions between tracks that create a steady flow and a wellorganized sound. The beats vary from East to West Coast styles, with combinations of street and more harmonious sounds. Mikey Vegaz is able to change his lyrics in a way that makes them fitting and appropriate no matter what the production calls for. The mixtape is lyrically impressive as well—continuing the reputation that Vegaz has built on past projects for clever punchlines and catchy hooks. “Cocaine Poetry” is not only a strong final installment in the “Definition of Fli” series, but is an honest representation of Mikey Vegaz as an artist, as well as an addition to any hip hop fan’s regular rotation.
42 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
Famoe – Xplicit
International artist Famoe has created a work with worldwide appeal in the promotional sampler for his album Xplicit. Combining an unmistakable lust for success with thoughtful lyrics and a passionate delivery, Famoe clearly expresses his desire and drive to overcome any obstacle in the way of his professional achievement. The album is under Rap & Rhymes Records, and features a variety of artists—from Spider Loc of G-Unit, to Scola from Dru Hill, and includes Hot Rod, R&B singer Anosha, and others. The sampler showcases tracks from Xplicit which draw on Famoe’s life experiences as an Italian rapper from Germany—who spits in English—but whose musical influences come directly from hip hop culture in the U.S. Famoe is no stranger to the music game. With features on a variety of mixtapes including “Coast 2 Coast Mixtape Vol. 50,” his own “Y’all We Gon’ Beat,” hosted by DJ Woogie, and another album under his belt, Famoe has clearly transformed his passion into his career. Xplicit is autobiographical, but with various tracks and musical styles, it appeals to all listeners. Famoe’s fiery delivery forces the audience to truly understand the enthusiasm he has for the craft and for his own music. This preview highlights tracks that range from club bangers, to songs that reach out to female listeners, to anthems that exemplify Famoe’s hustle and accomplishments in the game. Musically it is mostly upbeat, with production varying from the grandiose to more subtle tracks. All balance beats and instrumentals to establish a consistent style throughout the project, combining elements that create a sampler that certainly shows us what Famoe is made of.
Lupe Fiasco – Enemy of the State: A Love Story Lupe Fiasco’s new mixtape has no DJ, no talking, no scratching and little skits or delays. It is a mixtape that is only 22 minutes short but gets straight to the point with Lupe killing beat after beat that he hi-jacked from other rappers. All 9 beats should never be used again, Lupe Fiasco put them to rest for good and in some cases made the original version of the song irrelevant. Enemy Of The State has no hooks and no singing, its 22 minutes of straight lyrics being delivered with Lupe’s new care free rhyme style. Fans have early been awaiting Lupe ‘s next release so this should serve to be a great way to tide over their appetite until the next mixtape drops this Christmas before his album which will be titled, LASERS. One of the highlight of Enemy of the State: A Love Story include “Yoga Flame” which is a crazy fast paced freestyle over Lil Wayne’s “Fireman” beat. Other highlights include his “Say Something” and “Popular Demand” freestyles which he uses to close out the mixtape with one of his dopest lines, “…I mean look at what I’m droppin here/ do this for the block and the blogosphere/ now you aint ready for the heavy so I’ll keep it light as jogging gear…” After he closes out the mixtape, a commercial plays for Lupe Fiasco’s attempts to raise awareness for the Global Clean Water Crisis by climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro among other celebrities. Enemy of the State is one of the dopest mixtapes this year, if you enjoy lyrics, content and real Hip Hop, Lupe Fiasco’s new mixtape will prove to be a great investment of your listening time.
Emilio Rojas & DJ Green Lantern – The Natural With 2010 approaching, the Internet has opened up many doors for new artists in the past few years that may not have been heard otherwise. Emilio Rojas is one of these refreshing new artists with a dope new sound who has used the internet and blog community to his advantage. Originally from Rochester, Emilio recently moved to NYC and took the underground Hip Hop scene by storm through both the web and live shows. His new mixtape with DJ Green Lantern called The Natural is a testament to why Emilio deserves the buzz and attention that he’s been getting lately. With all original production from Green Lantern, Boi-1da, Nottz and other know producers, The Natural is actually more of an album than a mixtape. Without DJ Green Lantern on the mix, this would have been a straight up LP, and it would have been a dope first LP to release for the relatively new emcee. Emilio has a quick and witty flow with a higher pitched voice than most rappers which allows for a slick delivery of his complex but meaningful lyrics. Although he’s no back-pack rapper by any means, Emilio finds a way to weave political points, personal struggle and conscious thoughts into his anthem-like tracks. The mixtape starts off with “The Countdown” and “Piano Bounce” where Emilio goes straight in on bangin beats with crazy flow and lyrics. Shortly after, the tape transitions to “Sympathy For The Devil” where he touches on personal issues such as his father and the rest of his family in a way that makes you feel like you know him personally and feel it through his perspective. Other highlights of this release include “Only Just Begun” produced by Boi-1da and “I Want It All” featuring Dwayne Collins.
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 43
DJ Wheezy – Trill Skillz 5 From Memphis to Nashville, TN, DJ Wheezy characterizes what we’ve come to expect from a down South DJ. His mixtape, “Trill Skillz 5,” does not disappoint. A member of DTP, Hustle Squad, and Future Star DJs, Wheezy has been a staple on the Nashville club scene since 2007 as well as a DJ for a host of national and local artists. The fifth installment of the “Trill Skillz” mixtape series includes big-name artists from across the map such as Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne, E-40, T.I., Young Jeezy, and more— along with tracks from Nashville singer/songwriter Star Murphy, who also hosts. Standout tracks include Gucci Mane’s “Iced Out Bart,” and “Girl You Know” by Lil Wayne featuring Young Money. The mixtape features production from DJ Dev, Kane Beatz, JP, Nitti, and others, that generates a mix of tracks that is still cohesive and representative of DJ Wheezy’s sound. DJ Wheezy’s choices represent a range of styles and tempos, making sure the tape will knock anywhere from the whip to the club. The mixing and production are clean, and any down South mixtape fan will find something to listen to here. Wheezy has come with another bangin’ project, verifying his status as Tennesee’s #1 DJ and further establishing his mark on the mixtape game in general.
Dragonhawk – The Midwest Massacre Mixtape With “The Midwest Massacre Mixtape,” Minneapolis native DragonHawk aims to show hip hop fans what the game has been missing lately from this region. He’s teamed up with Wisconsin artist ILL Nemesis on the majority of tracks, alternating Nemesis’ quick and often clever flow with his own heavy-hitting lyrical style. With a number of albums and countless tracks under his belt, DragonHawk has a right to brag about his skills on features like “Don’t Even Try It” and “Most Wanted.” But the emcee also gives a glimpse into his personal side with insightful additions like “Make It Right,” which some of the struggles that occur outside the booth. With beats from the likes of Vybe Beats, Shadowville, and Nebula, production and sound quality let the listener really focus on the lyrical delivery, especially on ILL Nemesis tracks like “Guilty” that are sure to cut down most competition. The mixtape flows with tracks that feel cohesive, while it still gives a little something for everyone. “The Midwest Massacre Mixtape” lives up to its title. DragonHawk represents his section of the map, and it’s definitely a must-listen for anyone who appreciates Midwest style, but is looking for something a little different.
J-LP – Sniff This Bitch Vol. 2 Winner of the Best Midwest Artist award at the 2008 UMAs, Chicago’s J-LP is at it again with his latest mixtape, “Sniff This Bitch Vol.2,” hosted by DJ Vlad. J-LP is accomplished in the underground game, with his first mixtape release in 2005 followed by several others. The first installment in the “Sniff This Bitch” series was very successful, and has created much buzz for this second volume. The mixtape features tracks from some of the current big names in the game, including Fat Joe, Lil Wayne, Juelz Santana, Wale, Rick Ross, and a long list of others. Many features are familiar and widely popular tracks like Jay-Z’s “Run This Town” and “Forever” by Drake, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, and Eminem. Others that hit hard are Game’s Jay-Z diss track, “I’m So Wavy,” and “Thug Battlefield,” which features Jadakiss, Rick Ross, and Triple C’s. J-LP has also previewed tracks from his debut album Struggle, Hu$tle, Hip-Hop. He demonstrates his confidence and lyrical proficiency in “Snap Shit” and “I’m Fresh,” which can be downloaded as a ringtone. The emcee shows his versatility with tracks that are about his hustle, some directed at the ladies, and bangers that would hit in any club. “Sniff This Bitch Vol. 2” is a solid mixtape that definitely leaves you wanting to hear the whole album.
44 | Coast 2 Coast Magazine
Sha Stimuli – My Soul To Keep Sha Stimuli is the definition of a real emcee and lyricists, he has the capability to take listeners on a ride with complex rhyme schemes and unpredictable patterns of word play. It was this incredible talent that led him to be signed to be signed to Virgin Records in 2007 which put him in Baseline Studios working on an album with producers like Just Blaze and Nottz. In early 2008, legal issues between Virgin Records and Def Jam left Sha Stimuli without a management team and label. In early 2008, together with childhood friend DJ Victorious Stimuli took on an Endeavour to release one mixtape per month for the next 12 months. Each mixtape had a theme and concept, ranging from politics (“March On Washington”) to relationships (“Love Jones”, “The Breakup”), and gained him a significant amount of attention. These mixtapes lead up to the release of Sha Stimuli’s latest album, My Soul To Keep which was released independently through Chamber Muzik/E1 (Koch Records). My Soul To Keep is a musical masterpiece that showcases Stimuli’s ability to craft deep conceptual songs that can make you think, reflect, laugh, cry, dance or just nod your head to a bangin beat and lyrics. With Just Blaze assisting on production, the single “Move Back” is an epic street record that features Freeway and Young Chris. Other than that, guest features are scarce and not needed for Stimuli to pour out his heart and mind over the course of the 16 song album. Personal favorites on the album include “Hang On” “My Soul” “Do It For The Doe” “Good Day” and “Sometimes”. Overall, Sha Stimuli shows that he is a forced to be reckoned with on the underground Hip Hop scene and is looking to break into the main stream of the real Hip Hop audience. Wale – Attention Deficit While listening to Wale’s new album Attention Deficit, you might wonder why more substance based Hip Hop music like this doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Wale has seen great success recently due to his good music, work ethic, affiliation with Jay-Z and Roc Nation and a campaign courtesy of Interscope Records. However, it seems to me Wale is still underrated and there are numerous other emcees just like him who should get more attention and sales than they currently have. Attention Deficit combines quality music and lyrics with new style, fashion and flavor. Guest features include Lady Gaga, J. Cole, Marsha Ambrosius, Gucci Mane, Jazmine Sullivan, Pharrell, Bun B and more. Wale’s unique style and delivery set him apart from most modern Hip Hop artists, he has a laid back swing of his lyrics that’s both different and refreshing. Representing Washington DC, he is one of the first of many talented artists to emerge representing the DMV region (D.C., Maryland and Virginia). He showcases his lyrical talent on the Attention Deficit but also shows his audience that he is capable of deep though provoking concept songs as well as hit records such as “Chillin” and “Pretty Girls”. Production on the album ranges from The Neptunes and Cool & Dre to Mark Ronson and DJ Green Lantern. After listening to the Attention Deficit album in full, it’s no wonder that Wale was able to get management attention from Jay-Z’s Roc Nation as well as a recording deal with Interscope Records through the Allido imprint. Wale proves that he is one of the leaders of the new Hip Hop generation and that he deserved the Top 10 Freshman Class spot earlier in 2009 on the cover of XXL.
50 Cent – Before I Self Destruct Although 50 Cent has dominated the rap game in revenue since he took the industry by storm in 2002, lately has music itself has been less and less received by audiences globally. A lack of solid hit records and creative new content has lead to diminishing sales and interest in 50, however, his new album still bangs in the ride and does what a 50 album is suppose to do. The album boasts top quality production from the likes of Dr. Dre, Tha Bizness, Polow Da Don, Rockwilder and more. On this album Fif keeps guest appearances to a minimum, enlisting only 3 elite superstar features: Eminem, R. Kelly and NeYo. Before I Self Destruct is definitely not a Get Rich Or Die Trying classic, but it does take listeners back to 50’s more grimy street rap past. The album starts off banging with “The Invitation” which is followed with “Days Went By” and they both leave you wanting more of the raw 50 Cent we grew to love years ago. It’s on the 4th song So Disrespectful that fif takes shots at Jay-Z, bringing back the controversial beef that we are used to seeing around the time of a 50 Cent release. “Psycho” is a Dre produced joint that features Eminem and 50 Cent going back and forth with fast complicated rhyme schemes, it’s by far the greatest lyrical display from 50 Cent any time recently. Single wise, “Crime Wave” and “OK, Your Right” have been holding down the street while “Baby By Me” aims at radio and TV. All in all, 50 has another solid album under his belt to add to a very successful career, although the sales of this particular project have fallen short of all expectations.
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 45
Every time this magazine comes out, it takes a lot of effort from myself and the whole Coast 2 Coast team as we try our best to report what’s going on in the mixtape game and underground Hip Hop scene. It is because of this hard work that we have been changing and revamping the new Coast 2 Coast Magazine, making it easier and more streamlined for users to check out and read through. We hope you like the new changes and new direction we are heading in, if you have any suggestions or questions feel free to email us anytime at email@example.com. This issue is the ‘Respect The DJ” issue which pays homage to many of our Coast 2 Coast DJ’s that hold down the mixtape scene 24/7/365. While Coast 2 Coast has become a brand associated with dominating the mixtape industry, we would not be able to accomplish that without the help of real DJs who step up to the plate to break records, break artists and make quality mixtapes. This is why we decided to take the bulk of this issue and dedicate it to a few of our hardest working DJs including the cover story with DJ NoPhrilllz, J.Green Money Talkz and September 7th. Anyone with one foot in the mixtape game knows at least one of those three DJs and for those who have been under a rock, you need to look them up and go check out their mixtapes at www.coast2coastmixtapedjs.com. The mixtape DJ has long been an outlet for artists and producers, allowing exposure in an unconventional form with no rules, regulations or restrictions. In the past few years, the mixtape industry has begun its transition from the streets to the internet. As we approach 2010, it’s safe to say that the internet is dominating the mixtape industry which has caused more DJs to focus on the online aspect of the game. That is why Coast 2 Coast provides the platform and foundation needed for all DJ’s to reach their potential online and in the mixtape game. Don’t get me wrong, mixtapes are still alive in the streets and still represent the pavement, but in this new digital age the computer is a much easier and more organized way for listeners to get, store, organize and listen to mixtapes. Also included in this issue was an exclusive interview with rising underground Hip Hop star, Nino Bless. I feel that Nino Bless and many artists like him do not get the credit or exposure that they deserve, considering that they are some of the best lyricists in the world. Nino Bless was featured on the first “Slaughterhouse” song featuring other renown lyricists Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, Crooked I & Royce Da 5’9”. Like many other talented underground artists, Nino has used the internet as his main outlet to be heard, gaining him die-hard fans from all around the globe as he begins to build a foundation to build his music career on. If you have not yet gave Nino’s music a chance, you definitely need to do so now, you can check him out at www.myspace.com/ninobless. With all that being said, we enjoyed putting together this issue of Coast 2 Coast Magazine and hope that you enjoyed the final product as well. Be on the lookout for the next issue which will feature even more high profile DJ interviews, artist features, mixtape and album reviews. I’m out.
Kyle Hiersche aka Lil Fats Owner/CEO Coast 2 Coast Mixtapes & Magazine
www.coast2coastmixtapes.com | 47