6-7 ............................... Zilla 8 ....................... Justin Ledlow 10 ........................ Eric Echoes 12 ................................ Aggy 13 ................... Music Reviews 14 ...................... Levon Duece 15 ... Alabama the Beautiful: K.Scruggs 17 .........................Whipgame 18 ...... Alabama the Beautiful: Darcell 19 .........................Whipgame 21 ......Visual Artist: Jason Langford 24 .................... Coley’s Corner 26-27 ......................... Level 8 29 ........................... DJ Fresh Editors: Angela Bradshaw, Rick Bradshaw Graphic Design: Jamal Turner, Jude Boi Ad Executives: Rick Bradshaw Art Director: Rex2-tm Photography- Isaac Ward Staff: Durell Grifﬁn, Coley Roberts, Chandler Hayes, Bennie, Don Publishing Consultant: Bryan Deese
CONCRETE Magazine PO Box 3542, Huntsville, AL 35810 firstname.lastname@example.org 256.542.1150 © CONCRETE Magazine 2013
After charting Billboard, two major label situations and 10 albums down, when the Dirty Boyz drop you better “Hit the Floe”. With thirteen plus years in the game Montgomery, Alabama rap duo Pimp (Daniel Thomas) and Gangsta (Tavares Webster) are back with a vengeance. Their ﬁrst task at hand is to tell their story for those that “musta forgot” and in doing so help someone else along the way. CONCRETE: What was it like growing up in Montgomery, AL? Pimp: I’m older than him, so it was a different experience. I caught a lot of that blend from the 70s. I didn’t get a lot of that hard racism coming up until you get older, and you understood what the concept was and then you saw it. Gangsta: We had the struggle part. Mom was a single parent and Dad wasn’t really there, so you know how that story goes. We had the part where you lose homeboys, gang bangin’ and stuff like that but pretty much a regular childhood. CONCRETE: Are both of you still members of Folk Nation? Gangsta: It was an early decision for me, something I did when I was younger. It felt like home for me so that’s what I stuck with. CONCRETE: What is BOOLU Nation Empowerment? Pimp: I started it two years ago. Bosses Opportunity to Organize Lead and Unify. I changed the meaning of the B a few times, because there were so many women that wanted to be apart of the organization. So to incorporate the sisters into it to, for a woman to want to be a part of it makes it super powerful. Women are on the tedious stuff with ease. It’s basically dedicated to what’s going on in Alabama. Montgomery just had our 35th homicide this year last night. Each one of the guys were very young. The generation from yesterday is way different than the generation of today. These young dudes shoot ﬁrst then think about the consequences later. A lesson from a preacher that’s 50 with a suit on isn’t cool to them, but to get the message from the Dirty Boyz will be cool. We are making it cool to talk about a situation before you kill. To get the message from people in the streets, and look just like them, it ﬂies off better. We are taking the recognition and respect we have and putting it towards a greater cause. It’s a nice movement. CONCRETE: What separates Dirty Boyz from other rappers? Dirty Boyz: When we came out in 1999, that same hustle about ourselves and diversity in our music we kept that. In thirteen years you have a lot of rappers that lose themselves when the wind blows this way or that way. We are going to continue to do our type of music because we have fans that love this music. It would have been crazy for us to start wearing skinny jeans and dancing when that fad came along. It wouldn’t even look right (laughs). CONCRETE: How did the record “Hit the Floe” come about? Dirty Boyz: I went to the movies one night and when we came out the movies, my car was gone. I was sick. Dr. Fingers did the beat and I wanted to vent on it, “Let me ask you a question You remember my ‘Lac, the green one that I had with my name in the back, why you won’t tell me hell who stole that”. The dude who stole my Cadillac,
I want to thank you. Universal called the African head shop to see how the Monica CD was doing. The guy told him ‘Monica CD is doing alright, but there are some young dudes down here that are selling like 30 to 40 a day.’ He told him to send the album, when they heard “Hit the Floe” that’s the song they wanted to sign us on. CONCRETE: What was behind you leaving Universal? Dirty Boyz: We didn’t feel we were getting what Nelly or Cash Money was getting. We didn’t feel they were pushing as much behind us as they could. We found out our manager was trying to buy us back from Universal, because he wasn’t happy with the initial deal he did with them. The ﬁrst deal was a “slave deal”, whip and chain type deal. He tried to come out of that and Universal was like ‘hell no we not letting them go, they sold four hundred and something thousand off this album.’ He ﬁnally found a way to remove us from with them. At that time we had six albums with his company Inﬁnity. CONCRETE: What was Black Klown Label? Gangsta: It was hot. I signed nine of the hottest dudes out of Montgomery. Two of them are with us now Wicked and Twist. I think we bit off more than we could chew. Trying to maintain a label with nine guys. We weren’t focusing on each group with the love they needed. We were trying to push all of them at the same time. We did two hot albums and Lil Burn One album Love for the Game. So many emotions and egos, a label like that can quickly diminish. CONCRETE: After hitting the Billboard charts so early in your career, what does success look like for you now? Dirty Boyz: Finding the fan base we had then. We have to ﬁnd them and let them know we are back. We have to come back shake hands and apologize for being gone for so long. We are doing that initial ground work. CONCRETE: What can we expect on the new album, Think Like a Pimp Act Like a Gangsta? Dirty Boyz: Pretty much that same Pimp and Gangsta sound just elevated to what’s going on today. It has a different ﬂava, it’s Alabama at it’s best. It doesn’t sound like anything else that’s out right now, it’s our own sound. You can put it on now or ten years from now and it will stand the test of time. It promotes growth in us and shows people these boys are ten albums
down and still not bullshitting. It’s a testament to everything we did thirteen years ago. CONCRETE: Tell us about track one on the new album? Dirty Boyz: It really sets it off. “Y’all Musta of Forgot” was directed to a lot of the radio stations and industry. They must have forgot we did this ﬁrst and we are the best at it. So let us show you since you want to play crazy. Letting you know ain’t shit changed, we the Dirty Boyz and we still gone be here. CONCRETE: How’s the relationship with artists and DJs in Alabama? Gangsta: As far as these Alabama DJs and radio personalities, give us the respect that you all give Atlanta artist. You have a lot of DJs on the radio that won’t show love the local artist when they can. You have more radio DJs in Alabama playing Atlanta artist that you would think this was Atlanta. I’m not trying to be funny, but Atlanta isn’t giving us that love. This information isn’t for us to throw shots. Alabama needs to take notes from Atlanta. That’s how these guys are blowing up cause their local DJs show true love. So, I’m asking all the local DJs in AL to show our local artist a little more love than you have been. You know putting the music on the radio raises the prices of shows and puts money in everyone’s pocket. Challenge the artist to bring you a hot track, if it’s a hot song give us that respect. CONCRETE: Anything else you want to touch on? Dirty Boyz: Growth in the game. From then to now, we were babies no one knew anything. We knocked over a couple of lamps, but eventually we got to the light switch which is right now. We have to teach the ones that are coming up now, when you walk in a room cut the light switch on off top. Don’t walk through the room dark. Handle your paperwork. Make sure all your material is copyrighted and do the proper procedures to set a foundation.
CONCRETE: What is the Epic Comedy Hour Hour? Justin Ledlow: Me and a few friends would go to Humphries and different venues and ask if we could do a few minutes of comedy either before or in between the band sets. So we did that for a while. I personally hated it because the audiences did not care, they were there to see a band. In 2011, I e-mailed the Flying Monkey and let them know what we were trying to do. They got back to me and said they had July 15th open. I put it together and came up with the name Epic Comedy Hour, and we had our ﬁrst show. We had 260 people show Hour up, and I was blown away. CONCRETE: What was your initial promotion? Justin Ledlow: It was all through Facebook and a Huntsville Times article. I had gone to them and let them know we were all local and trying to get a comedy show started. CONCRETE: Who performed at the ﬁrst Epic Comedy Hour Hour? Justin Ledlow: Tom Hand, Stephen Claybrooks, Nicole Boquette, Landen Traller, Jason Steinhauser – he has actually been doing comedy longer than me, and Jason still helps runs the show. We added Scott Eason the next month. hHe is king of Huntsville comedy, he is naturally funny. Tim Kelly also helps to run the show currently. CONCRETE: Can you tell us about the fourth show? Justin Ledlow: Hadn’t had a show for about three months so I had some time to think. That’s when I started the branding. I made posters with the logo and decided this was going to have a brand to it. We invited a ton of people and put it out there like before. This show was either going to make or break us. We end up having 400 people show up with standing room only. CONCRETE: How do you keep fresh material? Justin Ledlow: You’re asking the wrong person, cause I hate writing. I hate it! I started doing improv a year and a half ago, so I’m much better just going off the cuff. A lot of times, I will talk to the audience or take an idea and run with it. Yes it’s risky but when it works it’s great. CONCRETE: What’s next? Justin Ledlow: We started and an open mic at Knuckleheads in Madison. It will be the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. We also have shows at the Flying Monkey November 29th and December 27th.
CONCRETE: What is your name? Eric: Eric Courtney Edwards II. CONCRETE: What were your musical beginnings? Eric: Everyday when we woke up my dad would be playing the piano. Hymns and old songs from the Eagles or Black Birds. My mom would be cooking breakfast and creep in and sing along with him. CONCRETE: What were your early musical inspirations? Eric: Dr. James Jackson at Johnson High School was a very inspiring force in my whole musical development. He would be the next person in line after my parents and siblings. He was the band director at Johnson. He formed a gospel choir at Johnson. We rivaled the Mississippi Mass Choir and toured all over. CONCRETE: What is Majestic Casual Casual? Eric: That body of work was a part of my heart, experimentation, dredging up old memories as well as things that were currently happening. Those things combined molded that project. The name came from the way of life that was going at the time. We took our time and worked on it from January of this year to the hour we submitted it. CONCRETE: What is success for you in this industry? Eric: Being able to live from my musical efforts and approach any venue or genre with my voice and be able to have it accepted. Kind of like an Andre 3000. CONCRETE: Who did production on Majestic Casual Casual? Eric: Block Beattaz and Bransen. We recorded “Breath” at Brandon Browns studio. All the other songs we recorded at my home studio. DJ Cunta co-wrote “Falling in Love” and “Casual”. We would go in with no direction. I would have the songs in my head. Until I found Cunta there was no one I felt comfortable working with. CONCRETE: What’s it like producing music with your brother Bransen? Eric: Confusing. Bransen is a perfectionist. He likes his work to be perfect. So with me being really loose and untamed and just everywhere, sometimes we clash. His work is some of the best musical work that I’ve ever had an opportunity to work with. He actually did three songs on the album. CONCRETE: If forced to do something outside of entertainment what would you do? Eric: I would have no purpose. (laughs) I would be a lawyer. I like to talk, search through things and be right. I like to be right even when I’m wrong.
CONCRETE: Where are you from? Aggy: Southern tip of Sweden, Malmo. CONCRETE: What are your musical beginnings? Aggy: It was when I was ten my mom put me in guitar school. I skipped a few classes even though my mom was paying for it (laughs). Then I started a cover band with some of my friends which was more fun than playing guitar by yourself. I played the bass and I kind of sang, well I wouldn’t call it singing really. When I was around ﬁfteen I decided to rap, but I didn’t have any beats. So, I started making beats on the computer, about eleven years ago. CONCRETE: Tell us about TrappMusik? Aggy: That’s my group with Trappadon and Tub Von Trap. We make some kind of down-south, Houston inﬂuenced feel good hip-hop. It’s really slow and laid back. We use a lot of chopped and screwed. We are the dirty south of Sweden, so we play off that too. I would consider myself to have the slowest hip-hop music in Sweden, that’s our thing. Sweden has a lot of similarities with the States. The east coast of Sweden is very much like the east coast of the States, and the north and south have similarities too. CONCRETE: Do you have any upcoming projects? Aggy: I’m engineering for the band called Urban Ninjas, it’s like an 80s funk band from my city. I’m also going to work on a solo project for one of the members in the group. Starting work on another TrappMusik CD, since we released it this summer we haven’t really been in the studio since then. We are still promoting the album that released in the beginning of the summer and have some videos coming out from the album. We’ve released one video from the album and I’m probably gonna shoot another one while I’m out here. We have three members, I’m out here (United States) then next month one of my boys, Tub Von Trap goes to India and he will shoot his part there, then Trappadon is going to Thailand in December so he will shoot his part of the video in Thailand.
Dirty Boyz - Think Like A Pimp Act Like A Gangsta
It’s been a minute since I have heard from this down south group. With the new album Think Like A Pimp Act Like A Gangsta it’s like the never left. That Slow Hard Core Gangsta Shit Stays In This album as well. Songs like Phony, One Nite and They Got It all remind me of the “Hit The Floor & Rolling Vogues” Days. Songs like From Da Back,She Bi & Pose 2. Let you know how they deal wit dem Dirty South Gulz. I can’t really ﬁnd anything bad 2 say about the album. If you liked them then you will like them now. If you are new to this group but like artists like Devin The Dude or Z-Ro or Tre Da Truth. Then you will appreciate them as well.
Eric Echoes - Majestic Casual
This was a cool EP it’s sounded like a futuristic Anthony Hamilton. When I say that the songs are based on sex,love & just a good time. But I hear the soulfulness. Songs like Birthday Girl & Falling In Love are great indicators on what direction this artist is going. The Strongest song is Majestic Nightmare, that song Jaaammmin. My only regret is that is an EP. He has ALBUM potiential.
Zilla - Book Of Trill
Zilla has been inspired by UGK & Big K.R.I.T. . He comes out the gate reminding me of Pimp with his subject matter in Book Of Trill. Songs Like Erry Witcha Way, Day By Day he sounds like K.R.I.T. . All his songs sound very southern typical.Zilla does not step out of the southern subject box & that’s ok I can deal wit that. I wish this EP was a Full Album. It’s a solid buy.
Grilly - Pour Up A Player
This Mixtape is Jammin out the gate songs like Real,Trill & Stankin Lankin, bang like a southern album should. I can’t ﬁnd a ﬂaw in this Mix CD. Grilly bounces back & forth between slow baselines & laid back pimp beats. “Melody On” Really Stood out to me as well as “Rule The World”. I can tell that he has been inspired by Big K.R.I.T. Another Song “Missed Opportunity” really made me listen 2 every lyric. Grilly should have made an album. I feel he is ready for the Big Leagues.
CONCRETE: What is your name? Levon: Mario Levon Pickett. CONCRETE: Where you from? Levon: Athens, AL. CONCRETE: Growing up in Athens? Levon: It’s a small town and a lot of people know each other. It’s pretty boring, there are a lot of people with talent but they are afraid to pursue it. CONCRETE: What made you decide to participate in the open mic showcase? Levon: I heard about it on the radio (103.1 WeUP). I had doubts in myself initially. I was on FB and a friend wrote me saying I should do it. I went and people kept asking me was I nervous. I wasn’t nervous because I wasn’t there to win it. I just wanted people to hear my music and feel it. I’ve never won anything in my life so when they called my name I felt like I was on top of the world. CONCRETE: What is your lyrical content about? Levon: I rap about the truth. When you listen to my lyrics it’s actually teaching some type of lesson. I rap about the streets but not about the violence and murder or sailing drugs, a lot of people have done that before so that’s nothing special. I rap about what I know and what I see. I’m not trying to promote any negative content. CONCRETE: What are your interests outside of rapping? Levon: I like sports. I’m very athletic. CONCRETE: Five words to describe you as an artist? Levon: Articulate, spontaneous, creative, truthful, charismatic. CONCRETE: Recent features? Levon: I have a song out with a young singer named Brealla. It’s a real good song called “Stay Gone” I’d like to put her on my mixtape. CONCRETE: What’s next for you? Levon: I’m working on a mixtape called No Expectations. CONCRETE: Who do you currently record with? Levon: Maurice Hicks of Four Corners. CONCRETE: Anything else? Levon: People should know that I am humble and truthful. I speak the truth whether someone likes it or not but they will respect it. Don’t worry about what other people say cause when you do they hold you back.
1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass Droptop, on 28â€? DUB Spinners
1975 Pontiac Grand Prix on 30” Big Homie’s
PREPARATION Prior to becoming incarcerated there was nothing that could prepare me for what I would go through. The days of sitting at home alone, whether I wanted to or not, doesn’t come close to sitting in an 8X10 cell alone. Having my mother tell me to take out the trash, and having someone tell me when to eat and bathe, can’t be compared either. Unfortunately for me I was unable to prepare for the way that I currently live. However, to anyone pursuing a career, job, or going off to school, it’s very important to properly prepare yourselves. Preparation is so vital that it can determine whether or not you get that job you’ve been wanting. Passing tomorrow’s exams is much easier after study and preparation today. Preparing yourself for what is expected, as well as, unexpected gives you the advantage and conﬁdence needed to enter any situation. Sincerely, Coley Roberts
CONCRETE: How did you get involved in production? Chris: I did some things in high school. I started listening to Swedish rap artist in it’s inphant stages. After high school I had so much recording equipment at home that one night i just thought I needed a studio. I went on google and found one like ten minutes from my home, that’s Level 8 Studios. CONCRETE: Are you self taught? Chris: I had like one music class that I learned the basic of recording. After that I took it from there. I actually sang in the choir for about six years. CONCRETE: What is your creative process for production? Chris: Some time by myself, something to smoke and drink (laughs). I always do sketches and I try to get some creative input from the artist, spitting over the sketch. I like to have the rapper do his part and then I do my part. It’s more than just sending a beat and thinking that will be it. CONCRETE: What software do you use? Chris: I use a Swedish software called Reason, since 2000 when I actually started producing myself. A friend of mine showed me the sequencer and how to make sounds basically and it went from there. I actually had to crash course and learn Protools in like 24 hours, I was fortunate to use the Block Beattaz facilities and they only use Protools,Mali Boi produces in Reason. The ﬁrst session was real sketchy. I picked up some basics from seeing Mali record, but I didn’t know all of it. It only took one session though and I pretty much got it. CONCRETE: What are the dynamics of a producer session? Chris: We haven’t really done that here. CP and I made a beat together at our studio in Sweden. CONCRETE: What upcoming projects do you have? Chris: Finish up Shazaams new album, he just released his EP that we ﬁnished in June. The Slow Motion project with ST. will get ﬁnished when I get home. Silvana Imam a female rapper from Stockholm new single coming up that I produced. She has a style that’s in between rap and spoken word.
CONCRETE: What brings you to the United States? Tony: For me and Chris we have a company called Mokument Media and Level 8 Studios, we both have been listening to “South” rap for ten plus years. I came here two years ago and a guy from Sweden in LA showed me G-Side. I listen to Alabama music like Dirty Boyz they are my favorite rap group. When he showed me G- Side they were actually already big in Sweden with the younger crowd, they loved G-Side. I typed in Huntsville rappers and found out there are a lot of good rappers, so I made it up in my mind I’m going to Huntsville. I came and was here for two days and linked up with Codie G and met everyone at the Speed of Sound Studios. We are networking all the time of course, the main issue this trip is that we got funding from the Swedish state for Chris to make music with ST, Mic Strange and Norty Hugh. We are also going to involve live musicians from the area and other rappers. CONCRETE: How did you get involved with music? Tony: I’ve been listening to rap since 1990, I worked as a graphic designer for 10 years and I got fed up with bosses and customers. Me and Chris go back since he was little I met with Chris a few years later and he let me know he had a studio. Back in the day I use to rap I went in the booth spit a verse and it was the worst. I liked the feeling so much I started bringing people there to rap, quit my job as a graphic designer and went to school for business. CONCRETE: What current project you are working on here? Tony: The project is with three rappers, ST, Mic Strange and Norty Hugh. They have worked with each other and they have few tracks where they have done features with each other but they each have different styles. The process has been different. EAch night we are in the studio and Chris will ﬁnd a beat or the sketch of a beat and I will give them topic of stuff to rap about. I try to get a feel of Huntsville, AL in different ways. One topic was to get a map of Huntsville in eight bars or verses. We also tried to mess around with the structure of tracks. Now a days the format is three sixteens and a hook or three twelves and a hook, we have been doing eight bars and a hook, limited bars and no hook. On every track we are going to have different live instruments. You have so much talent here in rap and music. The project name is Gumbo, it describes the whole process of taking different elements and styles and mixing it all together.
CONCRETE: How did you get your start at Hot 103.5? DJ Fresh: The owner that was bringing the station called me and I jumped at the opportunity. It was brand new and to have an opportunity to mold and image the station was a blessing. It just so happened that I worked for the owner at 97.9. Me being ex military set well with him. We went hot in December of 07 but we consider 08 being the ofﬁcial start. CONCRETE: Can you discuss Alabama’s presence or lack of presence in the industry? DJ Fresh: Once you get something going, if all the other markets aren’t on the same page, we never are going to have that presence. Fortunately and unfortunately, it takes cosigning for some situations. That’s one tool I use to check for things. I have relationships with prominent guys in the game and I value their word. CONCRETE: What are the logistics of getting radio play? DJ Fresh: If you are an artist and you come to me with a product (CD) and you are not registered whether with Media Base or BDS (Broadcast Data Systems), you should also be registered to a publishing company (i.e. ASCAP, BMI) then I’m not messing with you. For example, an artist goes in the studio makes a track and brings it to me to get play. What are you doing for yourself ﬁrst? When you are not registered, that’s your money, that’s how they calculate your spins and royalties. I’m hard on any artist especially locals, so that you take the game more seriously before you approach radio. CONCRETE: What’s next for you? DJ Fresh: My concentration is on Birthday Bash in November. It’s kind of a crazy reasoning for it being a week long. I stumbled on the reason by accident a little bit. I picked up a CONCRETE Magazine one day and every artist I was putting in a request for would say they weren’t available on the date I picked, but would have another date. In this market I could take it as a negative, but I turned it into a challenge. I wanted to do something that hadn’t been done. So for everyone that said they weren’t available on the day I selected, I decided to do the whole week. I wanted to work with every venue here and lock them down. The market said it was crazy. The ﬁrst Birthday Bash, I credit breaking B.O.B ﬂat out. We’ve been doing it every year since, I’ve got some other ideas this year though. CONCRETE: Anything else you want to touch on? DJ Fresh: A lot of times I’m misunderstood because people take my conﬁdence and professionalism as arrogance. When I exemplify that, people take it the wrong way. I am still open minded and learn from stuff, but I’ve been doing it for years so I know what I’m doing.