First of all, we’d like to extend our sincere apologies that this issue is late. There are a lot of big things going on for Coast 2 Coast that we are very excited about, including our participation as a sponsor at 2010’s Best of the Best International Music Festival, happening over Memorial Day weekend in Miami. As an official sponsor, Coast 2 Coast will be in the building at all major events, including the concert and various pre- and post-concert parties. You can read all about the concert and some of the many artists that are appearing in this issue’s cover story. And for anyone who might be in the Miami area and hasn’t gotten tickets, go to bestofthebest. com and cop those right away! Coast 2 Coast had a great time and strong presence at the Core DJ Retreat in Orlando May 7–10. It was another important event of networking and branding for tons of DJs, artists, labels, and companies. In other upcoming news and events, don’t forget about the 2010 Coast 2 Coast Convention August 27–29 at Newport Beachside Resort in Miami Beach, FL. There’s more information at coast2coastconvention.com. And look out for Coast 2 Coast Radio coming soon! It will be based out of Miami, and will feature mixshows and more from the hottest Coast 2 Coast DJs from all around the world. As far as this issue, we have a number of great interviews featured from former D-Block member J-Hood, Philly artist Scholar, Maff Test, DJ Epps, DJ Headbussa, and more up-and-coming independent hustlers. Also check out our featured article from the NewIndustryTips.com series, “A&R Uncut.” It offers a glimpse into the world of major labels that artists don’t often consider. We’d like to thank our readers and the artists for their patience with this issue. We’re always striving to do better and bring you the best in mixtape and music culture. As always, check out coast2coastmixtapes.com for the latest! Kyle Hiersche aka Lil Fats Owner/CEO Coast 2 Coast Mixtapes & Magazine
Katie Kervin Executive Editor Coast 2 Coast Magazine
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Where are you currently based? Miami, FL. What is your daily routine as a DJ? Well now that I have my first son, we wake up and I drop him off to his nanny. Then I begin work, which is a couple hours on the phone and laptop, then lunch, then a couple of hours in the studio doing hits or mixtapes. Then I spend time with the family. Then I hit the streets to show face and promote DJ Epps. Yep, every day is a long day. How often do you do mixtapes? What is your biggest/best series called? I would have to say “Eppstacy.” That’s my R&B series which has been hosted by everyone from Lil Mo to John Legend. Look out for my “Follow Me” series coming out too. Do you do any radio or club appearances? If so when and where? One thing about me is I keep it moving so I can stay fresh. If I stay one place like some of the locals then I won’t get nowhere. As for radio, I’m currently hanging and waiting patiently for Power 96 to put me on. What DJs influenced you to become a DJ? Several did: Kid Capri as a party rocker, DJ Craze as a technician DJ, Red Alert and Funk Flex as a radio DJ, Jam Master Jay as an artist DJ, Tony Touch and Whoo Kid for mixtapes, and DJ Laz Morning Show is where I wanna be in another decade. How important is the DJ’s role in the music industry? We make ‘em or break ‘em baby. We too important. Without us there is no Celine Dion, 2pac, Justin Bieber, Jamie Foxx, Lil Wayne, etcetera. Without us you will NOT, and I repeat, NOT succeed! Somebody has to break your record—and that’s a DJ fuckers! How do you think the role of the DJ is changing with the new music industry moving in different directions? We are also known to be A&Rs now And also artists. Us DJs changed the new music industry by taking control of what we play and how we break it. What have you done to keep up with or stay ahead of the fast paced music industry today? Keep fresh, new, and young cats around or under me, ‘cause I have a lot on my plate and they keep me in tuned. Big shout to DJ Young Cee on that last issue! What’s your advice to independent artists looking to break into the game? Use my 3 Cs: Communicate, Concentrate, and Collaborate. Also, stay humble, patient, and stay grindin’. Don’t let no one say you can’t do it. Don’t get it twisted, make sure you have a couple haters to keep you motivated! What’s your advice on how artists should approach a DJ to play their music? Do’s and Don’ts? Do give us presents, dinner, lunch, or something. Do not annoy DJs, take your time and be patient with us, and don’t come to us with garbage or unfinished product…Dude I hate that! And one more thing to EVERYBODY: stop giving us music in the club to play for the very first time without us reviewing it. Why would you wanna put a DJ in that position? Are you fucking crazy? Do you have any specific artists that you work with? G-unit, Fatman Scoop, TWO FIVE (50 Cent’s cousin), Heavy D, Trina, Jacki O, Pretty Ricky, and Flo Rida. Are there any up-and-coming artists that you think the industry should keep an eye out for? Swazy Styles, T-Drop, Smokey, Casely, Nonsense, Qwote, Sam Krow, Git Fresh, Black Dada, and Redd Eyezz. And we all from the 305. What projects are you working on for the near future? More mixtapes. And I’m working on my “Follow Me.” Album coming soon. Anything else you would like to add? Just know that when it comes to Miami, the real deal is Epps, and I’m pretty sure the world can tell you that. Big shouts to Nightbreederz, G-Unit, Shadyville DJs, Word Up DJs, Chop Shop barber shop, Alize, 305hiphop. com, Heavy Rotation, VIP Music, Diaz Bros., and all the DJ Epps fans and family. Thank you dearly for your support! wwwdjepps.net. Twitter.com/djepps Facebook.com/djepps Myspace.com/djepps Followmedjepps@gmail.com
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What city are you based out of? I’m located in Tampa, Florida. Born in raised in Orlando, been in Tampa for about ten years. What is your daily routine as a DJ? Wake up, thank the Lord for waking me up...I check my e-mails and listen to new music for about an hour, then proceed to check Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks till about noon, then I start putting music together for future mixtapes. How often do you do mixtapes? What is your biggest/best series called? At least two times a month. [My biggest series is] “Supply & Demand” (Google me!). Do you do any radio or club appearances? If so when and where? I do work for radio, I work in promotions and programming for Wild 94.1. As far as clubs, there’s no steady home, but I’m at Club Skye in Ybor [Tampa] every other Friday. Which DJs influenced you to become a DJ? DJ Jelly, Jam Pony Express, DJ Screw. I’m more into mixes and blends, not necessarily into the juggling and tricks. How important do you think the DJ’s role in the music industry is? The role of a DJ is very important. We dictate at least 90% of the music that gets heard. How do you think the role of the DJ is changing with the new music industry moving in different directions? The role isn’t changing, DJs are still influential, just the new technology with the music is moving so fast. What have you done to keep up with or stay ahead of the fast paced music industry today? I’ve built connects with label reps and stay logged in on the new music forms and sites. What’s your advice to independent artists looking to break into the game? Be consistent and persistent—but not annoying—and be yourself. What’s your advice on how artists should approach a DJ to play their music? Do’s and Don’ts? Don’t approach a DJ while the DJ actually is actually DJing a set. Don’t approach a DJ with money to just play your song at the club, ‘cause what happens is, the DJ takes your money plays forty-five seconds, maybe more if the song is okay, and you’re now stuck to paying him every time you want your song played. No business relationship has been established. Do call or e-mail a DJ on his off day, we’re humans also. Do you have any specific artists that you work with? Yes, Crosstown Thrax from Orlando, FL. Hwy Boyz from Lake Wales, FL, and Numbas who lives in Tampa. I do a lot of consulting and advising for others. Are there any up-and-coming artists that you think the industry should keep an eye out for? Yes, those three artists I just mentioned. There are a few other in the Central Florida area: Tom. G, Prophit, Javon Black, Aych, T-Geezy, PI Bang, and a list of others. Florida has a lot of talent. What projects are you working on for the near future? Right now just pushing the “Supply & Demand” mixtape brand along with DJ HeadBussa as an all-round DJ and host. I’m looking to step into radio personality and A&R also. Not to mention I’m working on my own drink called “HeadBussa.” Talking with legal advisors now about that. Anything else? Wanna give a shout out to Coast2Coast for fuckin’ with me, it’s definitely a honor and a pleasure to be a part of a movement that’s actually moving. And I fuck with anybody that fucks with me, artists, DJs, etcetera. Holla at me 813333-3718..PING! www.djheadbussa.com (all individual social network contacts are on there)
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read countless blogs and articles and listen to many aspiring and not-so-aspiring artists say the same thing: “Fuck the Majors!” Those with an opinion are quick to downplay the importance of the machine responsible for the catalogs of music that we have cherished since the introduction of the ADAT recorder and 45s. They are under the impression that a lack of major label monopolies will somehow save our ears from the consistent garbage that we are exposed to. Others feel that if it were not for the major labels’ opinion on their music, they would outsell Jay-Z. Not likely. But let us really entertain the idea of “No More Major Labels.” Major means more than minor, and anybody with more than a grade school education should understand that being considered a “major” anything just means you are bigger than anything smaller than you. So a “major” label just means one that has a larger market share because it has more capital, which allows for more resources and a wider range of exposure. A free market may sound like a gift to those who find it hard to get noticed or haven’t had luck with their major label relationships. But a free market means that anyone with a little extra money can be a star. Without major labels, there would be no more mass market, and smaller territories would be flooded with people releasing their self-proclaimed “hits” on and offline with little attention to quality or direction. Furthermore, if we absorb the idea of a free market where all artists have equal opportunity to promote to a consumer market, there are resources that these artists would need to provide themselves to even compete with the least successful artist. Because as long as you are trying to sell yourself, you are in fact as much of a product as that last box of Tide. You need: a) development (producers, studio, songwriters, etcetera); b) distribution (iTunes, retail stores); c) advertising/promotion (agencies, online and print publications, etcetera); and d) most importantly, unless you can be in a thousand places at once, you need a solid team (and not just your high school homeboys), people who actually know what organization, planning, and consumer behavior mean. If this were the case, advertising and promotion agencies would reign supreme, freely charging whatever they wanted to promote just your single to just your region or neighborhood. Distributors like iTunes would increase their percentage of sale to account for the increased server
space and become more selective in who they allow to sell through their portal. You would have to pay broadcast and online radio for just a hint of radio play because you desperately need more exposure than your neighbor. Independent artists would be completely reliant upon banks to obtain enough capital to outdo the exposure of the five thousand songs released in that one day. Major labels are lenient banks. They loan you a set amount of money to pursue a dream that would otherwise be difficult to pursue in exchange for a percentage of your successful, or unsuccessful, business—with no guarantee that you will be as good as they are betting. Now ask yourself, would Citibank give you a loan to be the next Kanye West? Or maybe you can hope for an increase in private investors who will throw all of their available funds into a few talented acts. These talented acts can go on to sell millions of records, and this investor will decide to become an indie label. Then this indie label will have enough capital and resources to take market share from the majors and then you can submit your demo to them. It can land on top of the thousands of demos the free market has provoked, they can sign you, criticize and change you, make bad marketing decisions, release a few budding artists that keep the lights on, wait for more records to sell from the two priority artists—that sell less records than their last record—in an effort to finance your underdeveloped project and then drop you for not meeting expectations. Oh, right… that’s a major. Ok class, I repeat: anything that is bigger than the smallest thing is major. So if you were one of those people thinking “Fuck the Majors!” Realize the fact that a lack of major labels would only lead to the evolution of other major labels. Instead of wishing for the demise of the major labels, let’s all get together and pray for the layoffs of all A&Rs who lack the drive to innovate and/or seek talent outside of their friends and family. Pray for the firing of executives who don’t understand the importance of creative vision and variety, and anyone who bases what is hot now on what was hot last year. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org Check out the full post and more at NewIndustryTips.com!
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Philadelphia artist Scholar states that it’s his desire for universal appeal and his love for live performance that sets him apart from other rappers in the game. Signed to Allen Iverson’s ABK Music Group at the age of 17 as part of the hip hop group LNS, Scholar has been making his way to the forefront of the music industry, opening for stars like Plies and Beyonce, and touring London along the way. Scholar recently took the time to talk to Coast 2 Coast about his history, his music, and the unique world he’s created on his upcoming album, Insanity Plea 2. So where does the name come from? Actually, one day I was getting on the elevator, and I let this older lady on first, and she said “oh you’re such a gentleman and a scholar.” And it happened to me about two more times after that, I held the door for two other people at different times, and they said the same thing. So I felt as though it was a coincidence. And a lot of people throughout my whole life told me that I was very intelligent, so I went with that name. For those that aren’t familiar, tell us a little about your history and how you got started in the game. First and foremost, my name is Scholar, aka Lito. I actually started off in the music industry basically listening to music. I was really listening to people like R. Kelly and Jodeci, K-Ci and JoJo, people of that nature. And I used to also watch videos, and the person who inspired me the most, who really made me just wanna be the best at making music is Michael Jackson. I know a lot of people say the same thing, but he inspires almost every artist. And his videos inspired me the most because he’s the best performer. And me as an artist, I think that’s my strongest asset, my performance. I have a great and unique performance. And that’s what made me want to start music. What kind of sound can listeners expect from Scholar? No matter what I do, you can always expect energy from Scholar. You can always expect music that people can relate to, music that makes people happy, very inspirational, motivational music. I have a very big sound. The beats that I pick are very big and powerful; I want to make an impact. I always make sure my choice in music is very big and it touches your soul as a listener. Are you trying to set yourself apart from other rappers? Are you trying to be attractive to a wider audience? I’m looking to be universal, worldwide. I do have some music that can touch the underground market because that’s my culture, where I come from. I always want to give that to the listeners. But I enjoy mainstream music, and I do a lot of mainstream music. I feel I have more to give to the world than just underground music. I want to be able to touch people from all over, even outside of the country. It’s not only a hip hop sound from me, but you will also get a rock element and a pop element from my music. And you’ve got an album coming up, right? Can you tell us about the project? It’s called Insanity Plea 2 IMU. It’s titled IMU because a lot of people say that people are crazy. But I think that everybody is a little crazy in their own way. This album is an offspring of my mixtape called “Insanity Plea.” And we had so much success with that over the Internet that we wanted to actually bring out an album, because there was a demand for it… the album is basically a world that I created that I live in, and people will just have to go purchase it to see what I’m talking about. But it’s phenomenal, and it’s very original. Powerful. What’s some of the best advice you’ve gotten, or would give to other upand-coming artists? The best advice that I have ever gotten was no matter what nobody tells you, if you put your mind to it, you could do it. I would add something to that…do it your own way, [but] follow other people’s footsteps. I always studied the greats, not only in hip hop, I studied everybody, every artist that I could get my hands or my eyes on. Jay-Z to Michael Jackson, to Marilyn Manson to Green Day, everybody. I take a piece of something from every artist, including what I bring to the table, and make it one. And that’s the advice that I would give. www.scherzergroup.com/scholar.html
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he well-known controversy around J-Hood’s request to be released from his contract with D-Block Records (along with surrounding issues with LOX members Jadakiss, Sheek Louch, and Styles P) created a lot of buzz about the New York emcee’s loyalty, but it’s clear that all J-Hood wants to do is put out his music. Now working independently and with his own company, ODG Entertainment, J-Hood spoke with Coast 2 Coast about the difficulty—and satisfaction—of going it alone. How has your career changed since the D-Block situation? I mean, a lot of things have changed. I’ve had to rebuild my fan base—not really re-build, but try to gain a couple more fans…I lost a couple of the fans that I had. It’s been real bumpy, which was expected. As soon as I decided to leave, I weighed out the options of what could happen. It definitely happened like I thought it was gonna happen, but more extreme…A lot of people got it misconstrued, they didn’t understand the whole situation. They didn’t even try to get an understanding of why I did it. You know, these guys are legends, so whatever they say has to be this way—and this is a young, disrespectful dude, so I’m not really trying to hear what he saying. That’s how a lot of it went. Don’t get me wrong. I understood that the stuff that I was doing and the route that I took, and the way that I went about things, it wasn’t the best. They saying I’m disloyal and disrespectful, but if you really sit down and break down the situation, I don’t know nobody, and I repeat nobody, that would have stayed in a situation at a label where they didn’t drop and they was there for eight to nine years. I don’t know nobody like that. If that’s not loyal, I don’t know what loyal is. I don’t care to try to show anybody what loyal is. Are you satisfied with being on your own? Definitely. Because if I fail at anything, I have no fingers to point. And I’m more comfortable with that, knowing that if I make a mistake and mess up my career, that it was a mistake that I made, versus a mistake that somebody else made. I have 100% control over my projects. You’ve got a video out now for your single “Turn It Up.” That’s the first single that we pushing right now. [It’s] produced by Young Lo, he’s an up-and-coming guy out of Far Rockaway, Queens. “Turn It Up” is just a party banger, a feel-good club song. And I felt the streets was telling me, you got to turn it up, so I incorporated that in the hook, and just ran with it. Tell us about the album? June 29 the album is coming out. Sorry I Made You Wait.
It’s my first solo LP that I’m dropping. I had to create my own company and get my own distribution. I was with three of the greatest lyricists in the game, and I still can’t drop an album. That shows a lot of people, it ain’t as easy as you think—I mean it is easy, but look at that…I had to get on my own to drop an album. That should show a lot of y’all people trying to get in the game something right there. I have OJ da Juiceman and Lil Flip on my third single, if not the fourth one. I have another record with Chingy, it’s a crazy club banger. I have a record with Jay Rock. I got another record with JR Writer outta Dipset [and] a record with Tone Trump outta Philly. I don’t even want to give everybody away, I got a lot of collaborations on the album. How do you feel about the game now as an independent artist? It’s a grind. It’s definitely a grind. I’m not on a major, so you have to do everything by yourself. We actually funding my whole project, as far as videos, as far as the marketing, promotion, and everything. Everything is basically coming out of pocket. We trying to do, not exactly what a major do, but as far as it look like it’s on the same level, you know? So we out there grinding every day, setting up these interviews, setting up the press dates, whatever. Whatever we gotta do to promote this album. It’s like a hands-on experience. It’s a good thing, ‘cause at the end of the day…we did this on our own. We created a classic album, we did what we had to do to get it out there. You’ll be respected more at the end of the day. But it’s definitely a lot more work. www.ODGEnt.ning.com www.twitter.com/J_Hood_ODG
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Lockout Records is your company? Can you tell us a little about that, how you got it started? I started Lockout back in late ’03 early ’04, with a name that kind of described the city I’m from—being so-called locked out the industry. [It also has] the meaning of not being locked into one thing creatively, referring to the ability to expand as being “locked out.” Meeting all business requirements, it started out as a LLC, then later incorporated in 2007 and is still going strong now. What can listeners expect to hear from your music? A well-rounded variety of delivery over random beat selection from whatever genre I feel like rippin’ to. I do music for the hustlin’ risk-takers and rider chicks. I like to have fun with comical but serious insults for people trying to be what they’re not. Being that you should find comfort in being yourself and hold your middle finger up to who pressure you to be some other shit. What would you say sets you apart from other emcees who are out right now? My gumbo flow that’s liable to surprise, with a different style on any jacked track or original track at any time, as well as the comfort of being myself and doin’ Maff, not pressured to make music that everybody making. I’m just wondering when somebody gon’ dare to be different and quit lyin’ over tracks… You have “Big Bizness” Vol. 1 that you released with DJ Khaled. Are there more mixtapes coming? I got “Big Biz” Vol. 2 on the way, it got pushed, held up from its original release date due to all the movemaking, but that’s all good ‘cause it built up anticipation. So I’m looking to drop that around late May/early June. What is your opinion of the mixtape game in general? Mixtapes are cool for letting it be known what you got to offer from an indie standpoint and can serve as a bridge between albums for artists with major labels needing to stay relevant. Me, I kinda do ‘em for both reasons as well as for fun. But even more important with the mixtape game is that I’d rather grind hard as hell with a couple mixtapes than to put out twenty mixtapes with most of them not getting the push they need due to all recording and no promo. How the music industry, from an independent artist standpoint? It’s another animal from an indie perspective because the grind gotta be harder, but the reward is larger, so it evens out. Plus, you gotta overdo a lot of things to let people know what it is. But I don’t mind that ‘cause that’s what I like to do anyway. With that said, a lotta people assume we with a major label because of the consistent presence.
You have a couple of singles out now, right? Indeed. I got a the single by the name of “Come Like That” produced by Jon Wain, which is a joint letting ‘em know yeah, the shine is on point but it ain’t come on a silver spoon, you gotta grind for it. That got picked up in nine markets out the gate, [and it’s] still spreading. We also got the “When They Talk About Me” song featuring Nipsey Hussle that we pushing ‘cause it kinda became a single on it’s own with everybody really feeling the record. Just helps the agenda of keeping something hot in their ears, ya know. You’ve worked with Nipsey Hussle, Khaled, is there anyone else you are working with or would like to? Oh yeah, definitely. Right now working with the Bay Area’s Messy Marv, ATL’s Drumma Boy, and just spoke with DJ Smalls on doing a mixtape. So everything’s on the rise. As well I look forward to working with others, but meanwhile I’m letting it show how hard ya boy can hold his own on a track at any time. What have you been doing career-wise for the past few months? Recording album material as well as new mixtape tracks. Interviews with different folks, video shoots, photo shoots, hitting different cities under the performance and product placement promo act, difference guest appearances, writing for different artists, talking to a few labels while still focusing on me and what we got going already. Aside [from] that, you know, the whole nine, just achieving success. What are your career plans for the rest of 2010? Take more steps forward into that limelight, gain some more haters, promo tour, hit ‘em with some more material and just keep doing what I think is one of the most important things, which is staying consistent with the push. Letting the earthlings on their planet know who Maff Test, a.k.a. Young Harvey, is. Are there any other ventures you want to let our readers know about? Stay alert for the Interstate G movement, which consists of different Maff Test EPs of four to six tracks with a few features with artists from wherever that’s making major moves. We got Jon Wain’s “Nightlife” EP of all timeless hits on the way as well, out from under LOR, so keep them eyes pealed and ears open! Shoutouts? Shoutout to the whole city of Harvey, a.k.a. Harvey World. Shoutout to everybody who been rockin’ with Maff Test music from the jump, Rock/Black Armor, Jon Wain, Reno, 100 Racks, DJ MLK, Family Biz Ent., Jack Danielz, all the mom and pop stores posting Maff posters and stocking Maff music, all the stations that show my record love based on our indie grind, and Angel Da $ Magnet holdin’ shit down in the streets. www.mafftestmusic.com www.twitter.com/mafftest www.myspace.com/mafftest www.facebook.com/mafftest
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Fly Gypsy – FG*XL: Remixtape The unlikely pair of Jamaican emcee Kowboy Kom and Russian producer/ musician Alexi combined to form one of the freshest groups coming visible in hip hop lately, Washington D.C.’s Fly Gypsy. “FG*XL: Remixtape” is just what the title suggests—a compilation of industry tracks remixed by the duo with a new and engaging spin. A follow-up to the December ’09 release of their debut album, Change for a Dollar, this is not a typical hip hop mixtape. But it is arguably one of the more creative takes on the mixtape genre to come out this year. Fly Gypsy leaves their mark on popular tracks including Jay-Z’s “Venus vs. Mars” and Lil Wayne’s “Drop the World. “I Wanna Rock” showcase Kom’s skill as a lyricist (this version definitely stands apart from the numerous remixes that have been done to this track). Drake and Timbaland’s “Say Something” is deftly remixed by Alexi, who adds an extra twist and depth to the production of all the tracks here. Remixes are not limited to hip hop beats, with other additions including “Know Your Enemy” featuring rock band Green Day. Fly Gypsy may not be for everyone; some fans of hardcore or more hustler-type hip hop will have a hard time feeling “FG*XL: Remixtape.” But most who are true hip hop fans and respect the art of remixing a track (as opposed to just rapping over an industry beat) will definitely appreciate this project.
Goons United by the New School (G.U.N.S.) – The Gun Show Goons United by the New School (G.U.N.S.) bring their down South flow and swagger on their mixtape “The Gun Show.” Members Young AC, J-Balla, T-Sunna, and Pebo Florida represent Deepside Entertainment and South Florida. The mixtape is one of several that are precursors to the debut album The New Era, slated for release in July 2010. The tracks on the mixtape vary in style from the more hardcore gangster/ hustler, to upbeat party, to tracks explicitly targeted to females, such as the remix to Trey Songs “Invented Sex.” It’s clear that the G.U.N.S. want to show their street side, but are out to prove their “grown man” status as well. There are tracks here that stand out, especially when the group deviates from the norm. “Doing My Thing” almost sounds like a combination between a down South and West Coast beat and sound to create an upbeat, head-bobbing track, and party track “Come On” would probably go in the club. “Luv Bout It” combines an upbeat sample track and is a good representation of each member’s individual flow. For those that like a harder style and flow, there are tracks such as “Came to Get Live” and “Rippin @zz.” Overall, this 14-track mixtape is worth a listen. G.U.N.S. will need to bring a little more on the full album, but this one should pique some listeners’ interest for the upcoming project.
Jadakiss – Champ is Here Vol. 3 Jadakiss has been a mixtape favorite for years, especially with his world famous “Champ Is Here” series. The wait for the next volume is over, the much anticipated “Champ is Here Vol. 3” is finally out in collaboration with DJ Drama and DJ Green Lantern. Boasting mostly original production, ‘Kiss goes in from start to finish with guest appearances from artists such as Nas, Nicki Minaj, Yo Gotti, Uncle Murda, Meek Mill, and of course his D-Block family Styles P, Sheek Louch, and Bully. Although he has a number of features riding shotgun, Jada maintains a good amount of solo joints and makes sure to give fans enough of himself to tide them over until the next release. Known as one of the most real and lyrical artists in the industry, Jadakiss is a rare breed who’s been able to stay on top of the game for years both on the underground scene and commercially. Jada has recently seen the most success with his certified Gold album The Last Kiss, which was released on Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam last year. Since then, he has seemed to keep a low profile, apart from the occasional guest appearance and show footage popping up on the Internet. This mixtape marks the return of the Kiss of Death as Jada lets everyone know he is back in a major way, but is now slowing down until his next album. The mixtape is scattered with original production from DJ Green Lantern and others, with over 20 actual tracks to give the fiends a taste of what they missed and keep them ready for the next Jadakiss album.
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Don Cannon & Young Jeezy - Trap or Die II Young Jeezy has always been a voice of the streets, embodying a realness that is rarely seen or felt in hip hop. Jeezy’s most famous releases may not be his albums, but is more likely to be his notorious street mixtape “Trap or Die.” So what better to follow up with than “Trap or Die II?” Production and hosting on the mixtape is handled by Atlanta veteran DJ and platinum producer, Don Cannon, who brings a smooth and funky sample vibe to most of the tracks. 22 tracks fill up the project from start to finish with all-star guest appearances from The Clipse, Plies, Bun B, Trick Daddy, and Scarface. Between the production, song quality and guest features, “Trap or Die II” seems to be more of an album than a mixtape. Regardless of the fact that he is now a multi-platinum rap star, Jeezy continues to hold down the streets around the country and world, especially at the bottom of the map. Southern hip hop fans are usually first to say that Jeezy is one of the realest rappers ever, right next to T.I., Bun B, Pimp C, and other southern greats. In preparation for his next album, Thug Motivation 103, Jeezy has been plugging the “Trap or Die II” mixtape as a way to segue into the new album which, is sure to please Jeezy fans worldwide—like his albums always do.
DJ Smoke Presents: Smoked Out Radio Pt. 20 – Hosted By Freekey Zekey Chicago’s DJ Smoke’s 20th volume of “Smoked Out Radio” is a monster of a mixtape, there’s really no other way to put it. Fifty-four tracks run almost three hours, and it would be impossible to name all the artists in a short rundown. Freeky Zekey hosts, and a number of his tracks are featured on the project. Pt. 20 is just one of many series and mixtapes in Smoke’s arsenal. Many of the tracks on the mixtape are by mainstream artists from Drake and Ludacris, to Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy, but DJ Smoke clearly is well-connected to the streets, as there are by up-and-coming or independent artists. Tracks from the most well-known artists of course stand out, especially Ludacris’ humorous tribute to the Tiger Woods scandal and text message culture, “Sexting,” and Glasses Malone featuring Snoop Dogg on “Eastsidin’ Crip Game. Other tracks that shine include Nipsey Hussle ft. Lyaz “Return of the Mack,” “80s Baby” from Jo Blak, and Sewamouf’s “I Be Laughin,’” which features the emcee spitting over
malicious and eerie laughter. It’s almost impossible to take “Smoked Out Radio Pt. 20” all in at one time. But with such a variety of artists and music, there’s something here for most hip hop fans. Even if you only liked a fifth of the songs here, it’s still a solid download, and you’re bound to feel more than that.
Club Embassy – Diplomatic Immunity Vikki Secret and Ada Verdi make up the female duo Club Embassy. With a recently released mixtape “Diplomatic Immunity,” the pair’s sound can characterized as urban pop, with several electro-type club tracks thrown in for good measure. The project is hosted by DJ Whoo Kid, which definitely a good stamp of approval for these relatively new artists. While both have been involved in music for years, they’re now backed by Ron Artest and are setting out to create a buzz in the U.S. and internationally. Though the majority are remix tracks, the span of this mixtape shows off Vikki and Ada’s writing and performing skills. Certain tracks, like “California Love” feel like they rely too heavily on Autotune, especially when it is clear that both women can sing. It is often used effectively, even on many of the songs here, but we could have done without its intensity here without losing the feel of the track. With features from artists like Mistah F.A.B., Verse Simmonds, Bamboo, Nivla, and more, Club Embassy’s style and lyrics show a swagged-out female perspective that is somewhat unexpected given the club vibe of a lot of the tracks, but absolutely works for the duo. Standouts include “Throw it in My Hand” and “Get Money,” a reggaeton-infused track featuring Mistah F.A.B. and Bamboo. “Diplomatic Immunity” will definitely appeal to the ladies, but it should be hard for any guy to deny that this is good club music. Everyone should look out for what these ladies will come with next.
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Big Mike & DJ Thoro – The Hot 100 Vol. 1 “The Hot 100” Vol. 1 is just what the title sounds like: a 100-track beast of a mixtape featuring all that’s hot in hip hop. Big Mike and DJ Thoro have teamed up again to add to the large list of mixtapes they’ve already collaborated on. What’s interesting about this one is that it’s not all about dropping the newest unheard tracks from the most popular artists, which is what we hear on a lot of mixtapes these days. We certainly get that here (in 100 tracks you’re bound to find some of the same songs currently spinning on the radio). But “The Hot 100” also features some crazy remixes, and some older tracks that you might not have heard lately. There’s no way to name all the artists here, but a sampling includes Jay-Z, The Game, Tupac, Statik Selektah, Raekwon, Jadakiss, Ludacris, Biggie, T.I. Lil Wayne, Jay Rock, Rick Ross, Easy-E, Drake, Craig Mack…the list goes on and on. And on. This mixtape has most of the tracks you’d expect to hear, like Drake and Trey Songz’ “Successful.” This mixtape has tracks that catch you by surprise, like a remix of Rick Ross’ “Till The Sun Comes Up” to Dr. Dre’s “The Watcher” beat. This mixtape has Tupac freestyles and a “battle” track between Biggie and ‘Pac. In short, “The Hot 100” is crazy—and it definitely spans the spectrum of hip hop greatness. And this is just the first volume.
Hux Fam – Hux Fam Volume One Founding members of the rap group Hux Fam, Bamboo and Phenom, recently released a mixtape featuring a series of tracks that are sure to remind people that West Coast hip hop is alive as well. Originally formed in 1994, Hux Fam has a number of albums and mixtapes under their belt, and the LRP Entertainment representatives are at it again with “Hux Fam Volume One.” The mixtape is presented by September 7th and Young Prince with production handled by Prince Purps, Cool & Dre, Sha Money XL, DJ Khalil. There are several September 7th remix tracks featured including “Reminder,” “Say Something,” and “Carry Out,” where Hux Fam put their own spin on recognizable industry beats. The project also boasts a variety of features from West Coast stars like Keak Da Sneak, Glasses Malone, Stacee Adams, Mistah F.A.B., and more. “Volume One” runs long at 29 tracks, but the variety of music makes it a mixtape you can easily play at a party or in the whip and not feel like you’re tired of listening. Standout tracks include West Coast bangers “We Chillin’” and “West Up,” along with “Paper Chase,” which has a mellow vibe that sounds like something you’d play on a summer afternoon. “Hux Fam Volume One” will please Hux Fam’s existing fans, and is arguably a must-listen for West Coast hip hop fans all over. Minus the remix tracks, this one definitely sounds like an album and is more than worth the free download. Lo-Boy – The First 48 Miami Miami artist Lo-Boy has been catching a buzz around Miami lately, and his mixtape “The First 48 Miami” shows us why. With the title playing off the popular A&E TV of the same name, it’s clear that the Str8 Drop Records artist is out to murder the Miami music scene. On “Get It In,” Lo-Boy repeats “I just get it in / I just get it in,” which seems to be true based on the fact that the track, featuring Rick Ross, has been getting spins on the Miami airwaves and in clubs across the country lately. Hosted by Maybach Music Group’s DJ Sam Sneak, the mixtape definitely sounds like a certified street album. Lo-Boy may not win any awards for lyricism on this one, but “The First 48 Miami” accomplishes what it should as an album of hustler music. The project features a number of artists including Tony-O, Charles Reid, and others. Many of the tracks are musically similar to one another, and the choice of topics is predictable, but Lo-Boy has a raspy and engaging flow that works well with the style. The Rick Ross feature track shines of course, along with “No Hook #2” and “She Da One,” which differ slightly in style and subject. On the strength of this first single, especially as it’s just off the mixtape, Lo-Boy should be able to go far. We’ll certainly be waiting to see what he has in store on a full album.
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B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray B.o.B. a.k.a. Bobby Ray has been on our radar for a few years now with a heavy online presence and a few classic mixtapes under his belt. The Atlanta artist was signed to T.I.’s Grand Hustle label through Jim Jonsin’s Rebel Rock years ago and has been struggling to put out his debut album through parent label Atlantic ever since. The fact that it has been such a long journey to the release of this album is amazing; not only is B.o.B. one of the most talented emcees in the game right now, he also sings, produces his own beats, and plays the piano, drums, and guitar all himself. This one-man band has been doing music since he was a youngster and now at only 21-years-old has a number one radio record, “Beautiful Girls” featuring Bruno Mars. His debut album B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray was highly anticipated by many die-hard hip hop fans as well as mainstream music fans everywhere, and it does not disappoint. The only downfall to the album is that there are only 12 tracks, leaving listeners wanting more of the kid from ATL. The best songs on the album are “Ghost In The Machine,” “Past My Shades” featuring Lupe Fiasco, and “Airplanes Pt II” featuring Hayley Williams (of Paramore) and Eminem. Endorsed by T.I., B.o.B. also gains the impressive stamp of approval from Eminem and Lupe Fiasco, both of whom rarely ever co-sign a new artist. With his second single “Airplanes” climbing the charts quickly, it looks like B.o.B. is finally getting the success that he deserves. Devin the Dude – Suite 420 Devin the Dude’s is the definition of smoking and drinking music. Album after album he gives his fans 420 anthems sprinkled with comedic songs about females, weed, beer, and everyday life. Devin first broke onto the mainstream scene when he appeared on Dr. Dre’s Chronic 2001 and has since built his own independent cult following around the world. His new album, Suite 420, continues his music legacy as he another smoker’s soundtrack released on April 20th (4/20). With smooth production and scattered guest appearances, this album embodies everything that Devin fans want to hear. 15 tracks long, it gives you just enough music to rock to while hoping Devin doesn’t take too long a hiatus before his next project is released to the masses. The Dude mixes comedy skits into this album, much like most of his albums, to keep it interesting and bring the essence of a full album project, as opposed to 15 tracks that were thrown together on a CD. It reminds me of Chronic 2001—most artists just don’t take the time to do that anymore. While most of the album is consistent with the same quality music that we always get from Devin The Dude, he also tries some new styles on this disc. On back-to-back tracks “I Can’t Handle It” and “Where Ya At” Devin seems to adapt the new pop autotune-type track, bringing a Kanye West-like vibe, but with that good old Devin the Dude twist. The tracks prove to be refreshing and keep up with the rest of the album. This is another Devin the Dude smokers’ classic under his belt; catch Devin in Suite 420. Kurupt – Streetlights Though maybe never at the forefront of most people’s minds, Kurupt has still often been hailed as one of the strongest spitters from the West Coast. Recent contributions have left some fans feeling flat about the emcee, though 2009’s Blaqkout was a strong addition to his prolific career. Streetlights is probably not as solid an offering, but it will certainly leave Kurupt fans feeling like the rapper is still a force in the game. Nearly all production on the album (save for a track by Pete Rock and one from Lil Jon) is handled by Terrace Martin, who does a serviceable job of maintaining the West Coast bounce listeners expect to hear from a Kurupt album. A variety of tracks provide very different views of what might be going on in the rapper’s head at this point in his career. “In Gotti We Trust” featuring Xzibit sounds exceptionally angry, while a remix of “Bounce, Rock, Skate” featuring Snoop, DJ Quik, and Terrace Martin brings back the laid back gangsta boogie track we remember. But on the Intro, Terrace Martin proclaims “Enjoy yourself. This is a party, and it’s in the West Coast,” when just a few bars later Kurupt himself spits “I don’t sell a lotta records / ‘Cause people don’t like me / I ain’t mad at ‘em / ‘Cause I don’t like me either.” It’s these contradictions that leave the listener wondering what exactly is going on with Kurupt, all the while still rocking with the West Coast sound and one of its greatest emcees.
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How did you first become a recording artist? I started making music in 1995. I used it as a way to vent my frustrations and stay out of as much trouble as possible. I’ve always been interested in the arts and the overall creative process. The first time I went to a recording studio, the engineer didn’t have instrumentals for me to use so I had to make my own beats. That’s how I started producing. Are you currently with a record label? I’m with Above All Entertainment/1719 Productions out of Austin, TX. I’m also affiliated with NOIZEMOB and State City Music. Where are you currently based? I’m currently in Tacoma, WA but being in the military, I move around a lot. I’m originally from Birmingham, AL. What’s the current project you’re promoting? I have an instrumental album called The Itis and a mixtape titled “The Passion Of Producer Ruckus” on the way that will showcase my talent as an artist/producer. What can listeners expect to hear from your music? On the artist side you can expect to hear some hard shit. On the producer side , you can expect to hear some hard shit [laughs]. I make sure that as an artist or producer, I give the listeners something that’s gon’ ride. Hard ass shit with a whole lotta bottom. Trunks will rattle, speakers will blow, eardrums will bust and eyes will be open, ya dig. I make Heavy Chevy Music. Are there any artists or DJs you’ve been working with, or would like to? I’ve worked with DJ Pimp out of France , DJ Chuck T out of South Carolina , DJ 405, A Million, and many more. I’ve been featured on more than 70 mixtapes and counting so there’s a lot of DJs out there that I fuck with. As a producer I’ve worked with Rain, NOE (Dipset/Byrdgang), The Real Pack, Tyte Wurk, East End Empire, Uncle Murda, Rated R, NoLay out of the UK, Streetz & Young Deuces, Sha Stimuli, Carlton Banks, Noah Jones, Mac Miller, Tip Tha ILL Spit, Meedah, Kris Wolfe, Dirty Dolla , and many more. Of course my AAE fam, Gutta, Checkmate, and Pacboi Tank. I would like to work with DJ Khaled, DJ Scream, DJ Drama, So Icey Ent., Red Cafe, Rich Boy, Trae, Z-RO, Bun B, B.O.B., Yung Dro, Slum Village, Little Brother, J.Cole, Drake, Dirty Money, and pretty much any artist that’s ready to work. I’m always on the grind and ready for anything. What have you been doing career-wise for the past few months? I’ve just been flooding the market with as much potent product as possible. Through networking I’ve managed to build a lot of healthy relationships with some major and up-and-coming artists. Most importantly I’ve just been studying the game and keeping up with the competition. What is your opinion of the mixtape game and market? I love it. Most of the times a mixtape can be better than an album and that’s usually the case nowadays. I respect the DJs to the fullest. They are the ones breaking records, turning no-names into big names, and grinding on a daily basis with mixtapes, gigs, etc. Without them there wouldn’t be a mixtape game or market so I’m very grateful that they are doing what they’re doing for the artist and producers of today. Are there any other ventures you want to let our readers know about? I’ve got a book coming out in the near future titled The Ethic Of Reciprocity. It’s a fictional work, basically about how the simplest choice you make can affect your future. I also have “They Got Another Thang Coming” the mixtape on the way, along with a few tracks that I produced on NOE’s upcoming album. Anything else you’d like to add? First of all , I’d like to thank Lil Fats and Coast 2 Coast Magazine for having me. I want to give a shoutout to my AAE fam. Loooookkkkk! You know what it is. To all the artists I’ve worked with, let’s continue to build and make this hard shit, and for the ones that I haven’t worked with yet, what the fuck are you waitin’ on? To all of the blog sites that support me and are responsible for breaking most of my music: thanks. Especially Sermon’s Domain, Traps N Trunks, Forbez DVD, and 5 Star Hip Hop. Last but not least I would like to give a shoutout to Wiz Hoffa and the NoizeMob DJs. Without you none of this would’ve happened homie. NoizeMob. We locked and loaded motherfuckers. www.myspace.com/uncleruckmusic www.it’scheckmatehatas.com email@example.com (to purchase beats or hear a sampler)
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How did you first become recording artists? We started out freestyling at lunchtime in high school. Then we decided to take it further and start dropping demos for the streets back in 1997, before mixtapes was a big thing. Where are you currently based? We are based out of Long Beach, CA. What’s the current project you’re promoting? We have an album available now on cdbaby.com, iTunes, and other online distributors. The ablum is called Peep Game. Our single for that album is “Baby Girl.” What can listeners expect to hear from your music? A New Age funk feel, something that will make you move soon as you push play. The industry is missing that right now. Are there any artists or DJs you’ve been working with, or would like to? We would love to work with DJ Felli Fel from Los Angeles and any other DJs that’s willing to play something different from the regular West Coast sound. What are your career plans for the rest of 2010? To push our new single, “Yep Yep” to the limit and get recognized by the labels. Have you done or are you planning to do mixtapes in the future? Yes, in May alone we are going to be on two mixtapes so far: DJ Gemstarr “Deathproof 3” mixtape, and the Coast 2 Coast mixtape with Memphis Bleek hosting. We are going to do a lot more. What is your opinion of the mixtape game and market? I think it’s a good look for hip hop. It helps artists expand their exposure without dropping a album. With mixtapes you can drop some raw and uncut. Are there any other ventures you want to let our readers know about? Yeah, be on a lookout for that new TreAction album, Hungry coming soon. Anything else you’d like to add? To all the labels and management, if you are looking for a new look and sound coming out the West Coast, then contact TreAction, we got what you are looking for. www.myspace.com/TreAction
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How did you first become recording artists? We started freestylin’ for fun in our boy Ed’s garage back in ’99. We developed our styles and found that we had something to offer. Shortly after we began a mission of creating and sticking to our signature sound. Where are you currently based? Riverside, in an area known as the Inland Empire in Southern California. What’s the current project you’re promoting? We’re nearing the finish line of our debut album titled The Juggernautz which we’ve invested a lot of time in to ensure that every track is 100%. Also a documentary on underground hip hop that addresses the issues concerning independent artists like ourselves. What can listeners expect to hear from your music? First and foremost we believe in the fundamental elements of hip hop: lyricism, originality, and honesty. Our listeners can expect to hear exactly that in our music. Are there any artists or DJs you’ve been working with, or would like to? We’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing talent who we’re sure will make their way into the publics eyes. Jon Izie, an incredible vocalist; Spectrum, also a talented singer; S.A.V.I.O.R and Spliff from Microphone Militia; as well as our close friend and producer Mr. Lyrikal. We look forward to working with artists who stand for something and value the craft as we do. What is your opinion of the mixtape game and market? It’s a good way to give fans more of what we do and work with other artists. Where do you think the music industry is headed as a whole? The growth will introduce new perspectives on the world and hopefully shy from the clichés. It will mostly be a cycle where hip hop finds its roots and begins a renovation process. Anything else you’d like to add? We are here for the fans of real hip hop. Our goal is to continue making music how we think it should be made and hope to introduce a new generation of listeners to quality, abstract, underground music. www.myspace.com/societymusik
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