concrete615.com 6-8 ............................... Rittz 10 .................... Bezzeled Gang 12 ...........................Charlie P 14 ................... Music Reviews 18 ......... Nashville 10: Simone Star 20 ............... Producer: Wee Wee 22 ....................... DJ Tone Skone 22 .............................DJ Trap 26 ............................. DJ Orig 28 .......... Grafﬁti Proﬁle: Use-UH 30 ..........................DJ Smallz Published by: CONCRETE Marketing Ad Executives: Bryan Deese, Capo Art Director: Rex2-tm Nash 10 Photography: Tavell Brown Photography: Tavell Brown
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CONCRETE: You have a new album coming. What is the title and when is due out? Rittz: It’s called The Life and Times of Jonny Valiant and it will be out on April 16th. It should be crazy. It’s like 20 records give or take. CONCRETE: Who are some of the producers you worked with? Rittz: We got a bunch of producers on the album. DJ Burn One and the 5 Points Music group produced a lot of songs. You got Track Bangas. You got Lifted who did the Kanye “Mercy” record and a lot of Pusha-T and G.O.O.D. Music artists. Kasper Beats from Nashville, Matic Lee from Nashville, Coop Take Off On ‘Em from Nashville. You got Bunson & Beaker Beats. Mike Posner produced a record, M. Stacks from Cleveland. There’s a lot of people man. It’s a nice mix. It’s all the same type of vibe that I’ve been going for. CONCRETE: Who are some of the features? Rittz: The features I got so far are Yelawolf, Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko, Mike Posner and I got 2 or 3 in the works of ... that we don’t want to release yet. They’re going to be pretty cool. I’m really happy with who I got for this project. I’m really excited. CONCRETE: What is the ﬁrst video you’re dropping? Rittz: It’s a song called “For Real”. It’s produced by Lifted. That’s coming out ﬁrst. Then we’re going to follow that up with some more. We’ll probably try and do like 5 videos to start off with. CONCRETE: You signed with Strange Music. Why did you make the decision to sign with them? Rittz: Really it’s just how their business is run and how they operate. It was an obvious choice. They’re real cool and let me be me. They’re not sitting over there telling you to make certain type of records. And everything is on time and scheduled. They just run a good business. And they tour constantly, and they have a real dedicated fan base. So it just seemed like the right place for me to be, without being restricted by a major. It’s a lot of artists that I know that get signed to majors and are just kind of sitting around. Or they have to sacriﬁce the type of music they make. They have to make whatever the majors want them to make. We knew with Strange we didn’t have to deal with that. With their track record it just seemed like the right place to be. Now that I’m there I love it. This whole album is my vision. We just did it and turned it in. It pretty much just goes like that. I get along with everybody at Strange. It’s really cool when I go out to Kansas City, everybody moves as a unit. That’s where they are based at in Missouri. I’m just crazy excited to see what this does. continued on pg 8
CONCRETE: What do you and Strange Music have planned out for 2013? Rittz: They’re fully behind me. What’s good with Strange is I’m based here in Atlanta and I hve my own team working for me as well. So we use their resources and their power to do what they do, and we still what we do and hopefully they compliment each other. The plan is to really push this album and have me out tour the Independent Powerhouse Tour. I’ll probably come back from that then go on my own tour in the summer time. Then I have to have an EP out by the end of the year as well. So I’ll be releasing an EP thru Strange Music after the summer tour. So really just trying to push it. With a label and album you want to constantly be out on the road and make sure it’s being seen and not just sitting around wondering if people are catching up on you or not. CONCRETE: When is the Independent Powerhouse Tour and how many cities? Rittz: It starts March 15 and I want to say it goes thru May 15. It’s something like that. It’s 2 months. It’s roughly 50-something dates. I could be off a little. I don’t know if all (the dates) are set in stone. But it starts March 15th and it’s going to be crazy. I’ve toured before with Yelawolf and a group called Rehab from Atlanta, but I’ve never toured with Strange. I’m excited for it. CONCRETE: You toured a lot in 2012 what lessons did you take away from the road? Rittz: There were a couple. The positive ones were every night I would into the crowd with the fans. That seemed to make a big difference. I’d just get done with my set and walk into the crowd by myself or with my DJ. I go out shake hands and meet people and have drinks with people. I’d really let people chop it up with me and not seem like I’m untouchable. A lot of people perform and then they disappear, and fans are really wanting to hollar at them. Which is not a bad thing in all cases. I’m not saying anything bad about artists that do that, because some people can’t walk out into the crowd like that. While I can I try and do it the most. I think that really goes a long way. But the main thing with me touring is I like to party and drink. When I came home from the last tour, it was the longest I’d ever been out on tour straight, like 60+ dates, I was burned out. I wasn’t even making complete sentences. What I learned from that is I have to learn to turn it into a healthy lifestyle. One that doesn’t put me into the ground. When you’re out there really going that hard all the time, you have to ﬁnd a balance. With the energy that you put into the show, and the alcohol and late nights and no sleeping, it wears down on the body. It’s just lessons learned with the industry these days it’s a lot of touring going on to make money in the rap game. Just trying to balance out to make sure you can do it for a long time without wearing yourself out in the mean time. CONCRETE: You’re part of the Slumerican movement. What is the latest with that? Rittz: I think it’s strong. Yelawolf is just put out Trunk Music Returns I think March 14th. So there’s about a month between that and when my album comes out. I stay reppin’ Slumerican. I think it’s going to constantly grow as a brand. So it’s good. Yelawolf is doing good. I talked to him recently. He’s up there in Nashville. It’s going great. CONCRETE: Any shout-outs? Rittz: Shout out to the whole Slumerican crew, Strange Music crew and shout out to Gwinnett County, ATL and shout out to CONCRETE Magazine. Full Interview online at: CONCRETE615.com
CONCRETE: Y’all have a new project about to drop. What can you tell us about it? Cali: We’re pushing Big Bang Theory with 6-Tre-G from Alabama. We got Young Breed who was with MMG, just signed to Rick Ross’s label. We got CTN, we got Paper on it. We got Generation X. Greedy Money with production. Lil Vac: We got new producers, we got of course SickSense. Cali: We got beats by G.O.T.H.A.M. on it, Shell Sizzle... Steezie: We waiting for Young Fate to get at us. That’s our brother, we waiting for him to get at us. Right now Big Bang Theory is almost wrapped up. 2013 we about to push harder. CONCRETE: Do you have any videos coming out? Lil Vac: We got 5 done already. The one with CTN was shot by Charlie P and Black Fly. We got the one with Young Bree from MMG, called “Day Off.” We got “Party Started” shot at Travell’s studio up at Brown Photography shot by Charlie Brown. We also got “Vigorously” also shot by Charlie Brown. We shot the intro to the album shot by Charlie Brown too. We got 5 of ‘em ready to hit you with. CONCRETE: What record off the album that you are really going to push?
Cali: We got one that we all feel is going to be the next, I don’t want to say it’s going to be like “Die Young”, but it’s the next one to touch the city. We will probably push it after the project drops. We are concentrated on “Party Started” right now. But after the album, it’s called “So Cashville,” and I think its going to be the strongest that we have. Lil Vac: Yeah. “So Cashville” is going to be big. CONCRETE: What solo projects do y’all have out? Steezie: I got a solo project called Dead Presidents. I had a whole bunch of music that was getting pushed to the side, so I just wrapped it up and put it out so we can focus on the Bezzeled Gang now. It was just some stuff to put out and give the fans something while they are waiting, but we are all focused on the group. Cali: I don’t see me doing a solo no time soon. Probably after the next 2 group projects. CONCRETE: Any shout outs? Cali: Deﬁnitely free PSG. Free Big Fridge. Free Young Buck. Free LAG. Shout out to WoLo. Be on the look out for that WoLo. Steezie: Just be on the lookout for WoLo; video shot in Vegas. I ain’t got nothing else to say, I’m dusted.
CONCRETE: Charlie P is ﬁnally about to put out a mixtape. What is the title? Charlie P: It’s called the “Black Market Mixtape.” CONCRETE: When is it going to drop? Charlie P: I’m gonna wait until March. I’m not just gonna throw it out there, I’m gonna wait until March. Middle of March. CONCRETE: Is it all original? Charlie P: All original man. All original productions, hard, dude. Got some beats from G.O.T.H.A.M. City. Some of my online dudes too who have been reaching out to me. It’s all original tho. CONCRETE: Is it mixed by a DJ? Charlie P: I’m going to get DJ D.L. to hop on it for me. He really was the one who motivated me to do it. I have been moving all over getting my hustle on. I looked at my e-mail one day, he took one of my pictures, and had a cover together, so I was like yeah, it’s time. CONCRETE: When you got that e-mail in your inbox did you already have a bunch of tracks ready to go? Charlie P: Man I probably have like 60 or 70 tracks. I wake up sometimes at 6 o’clock in the morning, or if I don’t sleep, I just go into the studio; this whole mixtape is freestyle I don’t write anything. I just go into the studio, hear that beat, freestyle on that joint. Put it together. Get some feedback. Rehab was just pushing me like “Do it.” They sat around, but they still bangin, so I’m putting them out and getting some response. CONCRETE: What’s next after this, if this gets good response? Charlie P: I’m going to just keep shooting them out as long as they want them I will keep dishing them out. Just the other night I was in the studio until 4 in the morning, experimenting with some different stuff. I kind of want to do different kinds of music now. I’ve been a lot more places, I done seen a lot more things, I have learned a lot. I look at music different a little bit. Before I was like fuck it man, but now I want to make some big records, make some people feel some things. Shit like that.
G-Child - Cut Throaters
G-Child is the real deal, and Cut Throaters is a soundtrack for life in Nashville’s notorious Jo Johnson projects (gone but not forgotten). The standout song “Jo Johnson Been Ratchet” has a lot of buzz behind it, and the original plus a remix featuring a large crew are both included. Several Jo Johnson vets also check in to co-sign G-Child’s street resumé. G-Child lives by the time honored ‘G Code’ taught to him by Oaktown, and these ethos are expressed in “Open Up Da Door” a kick door anthem, “Real Pride” and “Dopeman Anthem”. His “Boyz in Da Hood” remix puts shine on some of Cashville’s hardest hoods. Check this mix out, it goes hard.
Hella Yella 615, Squikee - Mr. & Mrs. Sick
Hella Yella 615 and Squikee are Mr. and Mrs. Sick Sick, a play on the 2005 movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith. The album cover is based on the poster and the skits are clips of Pitt and Jolie in marriage counseling. It’s a fun and well executed concept. Their voices and styles compliment each other well. Squikee has a variety of ﬂows from double-time (“Wake Up”) to almost screwed down slow. Hella Yella provides the steady, deep to mid-range tone vocals. Their chemistry is best on “PM”, “BFGF”, “What You Want” and “Cup Full”. Make sure you give this fresh mix a listen.
DJ Tone Skone & DJ Ofﬁcial - CA$Hville MTA: Metro Trafﬁcking Authority
DJ Tone Skone and DJ Ofﬁcial join forces on CA$Hville MTA, a mix of Nashville’s hottest street artists. They start the mix off hard with Young Buck’s “Oh Lord” (#FREEBUCK). Other local heroes include Lito, oFISHal, C.U.B., Bezzeled Gang, Mello Rello, Quanie Cash, Charlie P, Don Frizzle, Jellyroll and more. They’re also breaking a lot of new Nashville artists on this mix. They get in and out of each track quickly, so the pace is fast and energetic. The playlist is a who’s who of Cashville’s most ratchet artists. This shit goes HAM for the city!
Jamal Al-Amin - Speakin’ in Tongues
Jamal Al-Amin is a Muslim spoken word artist. Speakin’ in Tongues is a 26 track project of his poems over atmospheric beats and melodies. He brings the spiritual heat with incredible lyrics and clever wordplay. With a militant tone he rails against the ills of modern society including drugs, violence and institutional racism. Besides looking at the evils perpetrated against his people Jamal holds the mirror up to his people and discusses both the ﬂaws and beauty. “Black President” is a salute to Barack and Michelle. “Who Do You Love” is an ode to Allah and the virtues of the prophet Mohammed. This is a project for the thoughtful revolutionary.
Petty - Short But Sweet
East Nashville native, Petty has dropped another mixtape Short But Sweet Sweet. It’s his 6th project in 18 months (including Petty Presley Presley). He makes a departure on the production tip with Short but Sweet using sample heavy beats from Brooklyn team The Stuyvesants. All the songs are short – many are under 2 minutes. Petty’s word play is really tight. His ﬂow is smooth and conﬁdent going from one cadence to the next effortlessly. It’s a lot of raps about the ladies, jumping from romantic to straight nasty in an instant, reﬂecting the frantic urges of a testosterone ﬁlled brain. “Drinking With The Old Heads” is a self-critique of lyrical content as told from the perspective of neighbors chatting over a couple brews. Petty is showing consistent artistry, and someone to watch.
18 Photo by: Tavell Brown - Brown-Photography.net
CONCRETE: Where are you from originally? Wee Wee: Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. CONCRETE: How did you get into music? Were you into music before you got into rap and producing? Wee Wee: Yeah, basically I think its genes. My daddy use to ride around and listen to music, like the old school gangsta rap. He use to have turntables, and on the side when he was not getting into trouble he was making bass tapes and mixtapes for himself. My mom was strict, but my dad was more like “Yeah, let him make beats.” I would be asleep and he would wake me up and bring me into the back room with his friends like “Come back here, make some beats. Play on this keyboard.” He would be drunk rapping. So my mom saw what I was doing with him, and they both bought me my ﬁrst beat machine. I was about 10 or 11 years old when I started with him. CONCRETE: What are some of your bigger producer credits? Wee Wee: There are a couple of tracks I got on 2 mixtapes, one with a guy called OG Blue Dirty. The other is called Born A Soldier called “Haul Ass.” He got another track with Gucci Mane and Young Scooter called “Sky Diving.” It’s on The Deﬁnition Of An OG mixtape. I did a track for one of T.I.’s groups D.O.P.E., I think they are from Atlanta. There is a guy Rich Kid Shawty who is T.I.’s cousin, and there is another guy called Yung Bookie, I got one of his. It was supposed to be a single. Then they got the guy Marco Bennett who is real popular in Atlanta on there. I got on one of his projects, that song was retweeted on T.I.’s page, it was a popular song but not quite a single. CONCRETE: What equipment do you use? Wee Wee: Right now I just got a MIDI controller and Fruity Loops. I use to have a Phantom X6, and I had Machine, it’s a little beat machine by Native Instruments. I don’t use that no more, and I got rid of the Phantom... but when I got into real deal virtual instruments. Ever since then I just sold everything else and stayed with Fruity Loops. CONCRETE: Locally who do you work with a lot? Wee Wee: I use to work a lot with Bezzeled Gang, but we are both really busy. I pay bills with this stuff and they got a lot going on. They still call me up. I got 2 songs on their new joint. You heard of Cook Up Boss, that’s like my big brother outside of music. I’m always on one of his projects. Everything that comes out, I’m on it. CONCRETE: Any last words or shout outs? Wee Wee: My family. Let me shout out my other brother from another mother Wee Dog. He got the same name as me, he took my name, he’s like 10 years older than me. He’s like my big brother. Shout out to everyone who rock with me, the fans and basically that’s it.
CONCRETE: Can you tell us about your mixtape series? Tone Skone: I’ve got a new series called Block Radio and another series called Turn Your Radio Up. I do this Bus Down Radio. And I do a mix series called Dope House which is primarily like street shit. CONCRETE: Break down each one what they’re all about? Tone Skone: Well Block Radio is kind of like Top 40 stuff, where I break a lot of stuff. I break records on each one. Dope House is more street shit, trap shit. Bus Down Radio is my R&B and rap mixture. There’s something for the ladies and for the guys. Like if you’re riding with your girl, or a couple of chicks riding and a couple of dudes. It doesn’t matter cause it goes across demographics. CONCRETE: You do a lot of stuff for artists outside of being a DJ. Can you tell us about the different things you do to help artists? Tone Skone: Well I’ve been interning for Sony Red/Red Distribution a division of Sony working for an A&R named Supa. Basically I’m trying to ﬁnd an artist we could actually break and get distribution. On top of that I do artist development. That’s like a lost art. Everybody wants to rap, but the labels don’t have artist development departments. The artists have to develop themselves and the label will catch them when they’re ready. So I’m trying to bring that art back to it and help guys get themselves prepared as an artist before they just get out there and mess up. I also do marketing and PR. Basically, I’m like a one stop shop. If I can’t help them, I can put them in the right direction. CONCRETE: Where are some of the areas you see artists lacking that you can help them in? Tone Skone: Number one is focusing on a market. A lot of people feel like it’s all about getting your home base, so if you’re from Nashville you have to get Nashville ﬁrst. It’s not really about that. It’s about getting a market period. A lot of artists don’t realize it’s sometimes just as easy to take a small town and work your budget. If your budget is big, then you can take a big market, cause big markets take big budgets. But if your budget is small, then you literally have to ﬁnd a small market where that budget can be big. Artists lack the knowledge of that. They listen to these other artists that are deliberately telling them the wrong thing to do. Cause they listened to (the same bad advice) and once they ﬁgured it out they didn’t want to pass that information on. They just keep the tradition going of having to ﬁnd out on your own. CONCRETE: Any shout outs? Tone Skone: Shout out to my Block Club DJs. Shout out to Coast to Coast DJs. My Drill Life team and Sony Red. We going to get it this year.
CONCRETE: Where are you from originally? DJ Trap: I’m from Nashville. CONCRETE: How long have you been DJing? DJ Trap: Seriously, about 2 and a half years. CONCRETE: How did you get started? DJ Trap: Doing like teen parties with Chill Will. I got my ﬁrst 18+ gig when Weezy started DJing at L.A.X. and I was doing it with CDs then, but everything has changed. CONCRETE: What equipment you working with now? DJ Trap: I use Serato and Technics 1200s, I try to go old school. My uncle in Florida does a lot of big parties down there, and I got a lot of stuff from him. CONCRETE: Where are you DJing in town now? DJ Trap: Tuesdays at Cirok with L.G., Fridays at Center Stage, Saturdays at Lizzies, and we’re working on Sundays at Center Stage. Sundays will be in the mix real soon. CONCRETE: Do you have any mixtapes out? DJ Trap: Yeah, I got one with my bro DJ Bravo, shout out to him; We’re Brothers Vol Vol. 1 with Volume 2 on the way. I did the “Bars Major” mixtape with Pilot Gang, I Told You So and I Told You So Gold Edition coming out. Pilot Gang, Prime Time’s Clariﬁcation will be out real soon. I am working on a lot of stuff right now. Me and Bravo, that’s my brother, we do a lot, if you see him, you are probably gonna see me too. I haven’t had time to focus on a mixtape myself. CONCRETE: What do you have planned for 2013? DJ Trap: Turnt Up Tuesdays, so in the summer time people are here to party. I’m looking for Tuesdays to be a bigger night. Fridays, the only 18+ club in Nashville, at Center Stage. By summer time everything should be growing. We are gonna push these mixtapes, and hopefully we can get our guys signed. Primetime, Schoolboy, hopefully we can get them signed. Schoolboy Saved By the Bell, we just got that recorded, so I would say it will Bell be out in late March. CONCRETE: Any last words or shout outs? DJ Trap: Shoutout to my trainer R-Dub, shout out to the whole Pilot Gang, Rico, Bars, Prime. Shout out to my bro DJ Bravo and anyone that mess with him.
CONCRETE: You just won the RedBull ThreeStyle DJ Battle in Nashville. Talk about what your game plan was going into it and how you put your set together? DJ Orig: The main criteria for the judgment was to play three styles of music. From the beginning I was always blending multiple styles and trying to create a crate of this and crate of that, not trying to stick to any one format, sometimes playing top 40. I knew right off the top that I was going to progress into a mid tempo hip hop, to a high tempo dance, to a higher tempo of trap and dub step. I started out at 95 BPM, worked my way up to 130, then work it up to 140. That was my initial idea, and while I’m putting together the songs people like to hear in hip hop. In my mind, you gotta bring the old school, you have to serenade the people with old school. Then you bring in the new school, what’s relevant right now. Then, I’m a nerd for production, I’m big into production right now and have had the opportunity to write with some other artists on their songs, so I have a need to learn the key of songs and how it relates to the groove of the music. That dictated how I moved through the tempo of the music. Would start out at like 105 BPM and try it with different songs when they were in key. That way when you drop it, it’s melodic and it ﬂows. I did that with some new songs that were hot, that I actually like myself. I actually used a song I produced as a beat in the ﬁrst part to scratch over. Then I went into the upper tempos like 120/130, some house, electro, African beat stuff with Diplo. Being a turntablist and scratch DJ I wanted to ﬂex my skills on a faster tempo, so I really put my scratching on the fast tempo dance. With Dub Step and Trap music being the new type of music the kids love. I embrace it, I never chewed it up and became a dub step DJ, but I really like it. I didn’t want to play the super deep dub step stuff that only dub step heads know, but I didn’t want to go too pop, so I played some mid-level stuff I really like. Then I wanted to incorporate trap, I grew up on Dirty South rap when I moved to Tennessee with Three-6-Maﬁa, and No Limit, all that. That trap has that Dirty South beat to it. I found some really good Ludacris and a “Thriller” remix, and that’s pretty much how my set played out. CONCRETE: Any last words or shoutouts? DJ Orig: I want to give a shoutout to all my DJ friends and music friends. Shout out to Big Smo. Shout out to my engineer John Connor, he came all the way from Delaware to live this country life. I want to give a shoutout to my mom. You have been there, you started out by telling me to get a job and that this was stupid, now you get me gigs. Shout out to my girlfriend Meghan, I love you, and shout out to anyone out there who is foolin’ with me.
CONCRETE: What makes grafﬁti fun for you? Use: The people I meet, the places I end up, and the things that I see along the way. I also love the fact that it’s constantly changing and evolving; grafﬁti is always there for me when nothing else makes sense. Shout out to the UH’s nationwide.
CONCRETE: How long have you been DJing? DJ Smallz: I ﬁrst got interested in DJing when I was in middle school. I saw DJ Scribble on MTV’s Spring Break Break. He was pumping up the crowd and it seemed like an awesome job to have. Getting payed to spin music and pump up the crowd, I think any kid sitting on their couch during the summer was hip to that. Around high school I ﬁnally bought my own equipment. My friend in New York told me DJs up there were doing mixtapes. But nobody was doing them down South. He put me onto Clue, Whoo Kid mixtapes. So I created my own and passed them out around my high school. It just lifted off from there. I did my ﬁrst Southern Smoke mix when I was still in high school. I’ve been doing it for a minute now. It’s been about 10 years now. That was the summer of 2003 when I came out with my ﬁrst Southern Smoke mixtape. CONCRETE: You have a new DJ album dropping this year. Can you tell us about it? DJ Smallz: As far as the Southern Smoke brand we been playing music, breaking music for the last 10 years. Right now I’m working on my debut DJ album with the Southern Smoke brand. Obviously it will be called Southern Smoke. I got the Grammy nominated producer Drumma Boy executive producing the project. That’s something crazy that we’ve been working on. I don’t want it to be like any other DJ album you’ve heard. Of course shout out to all the DJ albums that have been succesful from Clue, Funkmaster Flex, Khalid, Drama. Hats off to all those guys. But I’ve got a totally different concept, a totally different focus for mine. If I can give you a hint the concept for the album “Runnin’ this Chronic 2001.” Because that was personally one of my favorite albums of all time. I know a lot of people like Chronic but I like Chronic 2001, and instead of Dr. Dre I got Drumma Boy, and instead of the chronic we got “Southern Smoke”. That’s all I can say about that. CONCRETE: Do you think to be successful a modern DJ has to be more of a marketing expert than an expert at DJing? DJ Smallz: To be honest, I think it’s always been that way. I’d say it’s really about 20% skill and 80% marketing. But it’s always been like that. Maybe people are starting to notice it more now, but it’s been that way in sports, the movie industry, the music industry, pretty much anything. Even restaurants, it might not be the best restaurant but it’s got a couple of bangin’ dishes and that’s what it’s branded as. Like they’re known for “chicken and wafﬂes” well shoot, there you go. So it’s always been like that.