6-10 ........Other Side of Nashville 12 ......................... DJ Wick-It 14 ........................Whip Game 18 ........... Producer Proﬁle: O.G. 20 ................... Music Reviews 22 ..................... Fluid Outrage 24 .............................. Vonex 26 ..............Erica Elle/B Howard 28 ............... Barber: Phil Beene 30 ............... Nashville 10: Drea Our ﬁrst issue of 2011 is here! We went out on a limb with this one and tried to shine light on people making rap music in Nashville that doesn’t have your traditional Southern 808 boom-tick beats. They lean more to the electronic side of music. They’re far from gangster and their shows are more likely to be at a rock venue than an urban club. We hope you enjoy us spotlighting the other side of Nashville. Published by: CONCRETE Marketing Ad Executives: Bryan Deese, Capo Art Director: Rex2 Nash10 Photography: Tavell Brown
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CONCRETE: You might have been the most visible urban artist and producer in 2010. Can you give us the highlights from last year? Rio: On the local tip man we did Bezzeled Gang, we got “Nerd” going. We really got Star Murphy going to. She also had a feature with Bezzeled Gang. Star Murphy really had a big year this year. Star Murphy really had a big year last year. She got up to like 7,000 plus twitter fans. She had the song with Waka. I arrange. Not only do I help write, but I arrange all her stuff as well. So even if she’s on other tracks, I’m still kind of behind the scenes with her. That’s my girl. I started up Camrin W, sounding good. A lot of local work, but it’s making the moves that Nashville needs to see I think. I got songs with Chancellor Warhol, Dee Goodz, different people that are pushing the envelope. There’s nothing wrong with the Nashville sound. A lot of times that’s your Fates your Broadways, that’s going to give you kind of that “hood swang” and I love that too. But sometimes, I like to go more electronic or more R&B.
CONCRETE: Can you break down your discography for us? Dee Goodz: My ﬁrst mixtape ever, recorded in my dorm room was called The Bigger Dreams Project Project. It was OK. From there I hooked up with CollegeKidsDropOut.com. We dropped a mixtape there that was for the local scene. It was crazy because a lot of the major blogs picked it up. We were like, “How? How did they even know?” That was done in school. That was my last tape while in college. I moved back to Nashville in early January 2010. Then I did ConGRADulations, which was big. That did about 65,000 downloads. That was done strictly for the internet. Then I relocated to Los Angeles for a while. I wanted to learn the underground scene. I ﬁgured where better to go than L.A.. It has its own enriched sound. I felt it just dealt with me as a person, just going somewhere new, experiencing something different. While out there I recorded Floetic Justice, Vol. 1. That’s up to par right now. That was in August (2010). That’s sitting at about 125,000 downloads right now. At the end of this month we’ll be releasing Floetic Justice, Vol. 2. It’s got a lot of different sounds on it. It’s going to be big. Floetic Justice did really well, got me a couple of shows. I performed in L.A. at The Roxy, House of Blues in New Orleans. It made a lot of noise. Volume 2 should be even bigger.
Photo: Brown Photography
For some time now, Nashville’s hip-hop community has had a strong under current of producers and MCs leaning in a new direction. They’ve created a different lane than the Nashville sound personaﬁed by Buck, Paper and Allstar. Here’s a quick look at this new wave.
CONCRETE: Let’s talk about your most recent project, Japanese Lunchbox Lunchbox. Can you give us an overview of that project and how it cam to be? Chancellor: That album cam about I would say almost by accident. I was a part of the electro-rap group N.O.B.O.T.S. We made a couple of songs that are on Japanese Lunchbox Lunchbox. He was going in a different direction with his production, and I was going a different direction with my music. That’s when I really took my project seriously. People were like, “You really need to put these songs out.” And real life happens, so you have more to talk about. Then I met up with my good friend and producer Aaron Harmon who is out of Vegas. He engineered and produced like 70% of the album. He mixed and mastered and everything. He’s in a rock band called Enjoy the Zoo. I actually got inspired being on the indy-rock scene with the N.O.B.O.T.S. I just put those two together and Japanese Lunchbox came out. I was going through real life stuff with a girl at the time. You want to talk about it in the best way possible without mentioning names.
CONCRETE: Your album The Come Up has a wide variates of sounds. How did you approach each song and adapt to each new sound? Young Rell: I feel like a great album is a collage of things. It has something on there for everybody. As cliché as that sounds, a great album has something everyone can relate to. They might not be able to relate to it, but are curious about the subject and you can educate them. Every great album, that I revere as a classic has had that. When I go to the studio I never set out to make one certain song. It’s however I’m feeling that day. CONCRETE: Do you write before the studio, once you’re in the session? What’s that process? Young Rell: The Come Up had a little of all that. I prefer to e-mail with producers. But that project was not just a Young Rell’s project. It was a Young Rell’s and Shannon Sanders project. So we did a lot of song concepts together. We’d come up with a concept and a hook, and I’d take it home and ﬁnish the verses off. That type of thing. I’m always writing though, bars and shit.
Photo: Brown Photography
CONCRETE: Your new, self titled album is out. For someone who hasn’t heard Sam and Tre, how would you describe your sound? Sam: There is a lot of electronic elements in the record. There’s a lot of electronic sounds. I take inﬂuence from a lot of Glitch music. That’s my side of it. Tre’s side of it is the hip-hop. So there’s a mixture of that hip-hop with the electronic sound as well. Basically it’s just something to party to. It’s a really good vibe. It has a little mystery to it as well. I don’t think it’s like anything else. I haven’t heard anything that’s like our sound. There’s things that are similar, but not quite like us.
In rap music, just like any part of popular culture, trends come and go. The popularity of regions, whose artists and style dominate sways from coast to coast, city to city like a giant pendulum. The South has been the heavy focus of hip-hop for the better part of a decade. We ruled the 2000s. But today, that 8-0-8 boom tick beat with trap raps that epitamizes the South has given ground to heavy synthesized sounds, distorted bass and ﬂows less concerned about the block as they are the block-party. It’s similar to the “New Wave” movement in Rock music from the early 1980s. We noticed the change occurring locally when The Cool Kids (Chicago) sold out Exit/In (Dec 2008). The show was packed with the next generation of Nashville MCs. In the December 2009 issue of GQ an article titled “Gangster Killa” featuring Drake, Wale and Kid Kudi signaled this attitude was mainstream. Local style reﬂects these changes, while still remaining distinctly Southern. Nashville is rich with producers from many genres. Our network of universities and trade schools speciﬁc to the music industry has always attracted young musicians. This helps Nashville transition from era to era better than most cities. Many of the MCs today are college educated and look to the 90s for lyrical inﬂuence. The Southern rap that dominated the last decade and is still relevant today is not something these cats relate to. They’re rhymes are written in the classroom not in the trap house. This new wave of producers and MCs have gotten a lot of attention in Nashville. They’re more likely rocking shows at a rock club on Elliston than an urban club in Antioch. And that’s a good thing. After all, Nashville has room for more than one side to its hip-hop scene. This crop proves it.
Mashville - Monthly event held at either The End or Mercy Lounge, Nashville, TN Sound Therapy - Every Friday night at Home Plate Bar & Grill, 1928 9th Ave. North, Nashville, TN
CONCRETE: How did the whole Big Boi, Black Keys The Brothers of Chico Dusty happen? Wick-It: A few months ago I made one single mash-up of Big Boi and the Black Keys. I put it online, on my website and stuff. Big Boi and his people stumbled across it, and they started blasting it on Big Boi’s facebook, on his twitter and on his website. It really increased the web activity for that song especially and my web hits in general. I got a big spike in internet activity. His management even hit me up and gave me props. It was really cool. So the next obvious step, was to take it a step further and do a whole album of Big Boi and Black Keys mash-ups. I put it out on December 21st. CONCRETE: So is it an ofﬁcial project? Wick-It: It’s kind of an ofﬁcial project NOW. I did it on my own accord at ﬁrst just to see how it would do. I had stayed in contact with his management, but it was my idea, my project. CONCRETE: The Brothers of Chico Dusty has exploded online, and gotten great acclaim nationally. Can you detail for our readers how this thing took off and went viral? Who covered it nationally ﬁrst, etc.? Wick-It: First it started getting picked up by some of the smaller blogs and spreading around. Then some of the bigger blogs like Nah Right Right, Smoking Section, OK Player Player, Preﬁx Magazine, Free Williamsburg, they all started picking up on it and posting it. Eventually, a day or two later Spin Magazine did a write up on it online. Spin Magazine actually sent it to The Black Keys. I was fairly certain that Big Boi and his people were cool with the project, cause they were already supporting the single mash-up. But what was really exciting was, it was on Christmas Eve when The Black Keys posted it up on their facebook page. That was really an awesome feeling, because A) I knew they weren’t going to be upset that it had gone viral on the internet. You know, it’s there stuff. B) It felt really good to have a mash-up project doing really well online and getting a whole lot of hits, but at the same time having the support of both artists who I was mashing-up. That was a really cool feeling. CONCRETE: Any last words, shout outs? Wick-It: I deﬁnitely want to shout out my Mashville crew, the Every Thing’s Nice crew. You can come check my music out online. I have over ﬁfty songs for free download. It’s soundcloud.com/wickit. That’s about it. full interview at concrete615.com
As of print time, between BandCamp, SoundCloud and individual postings, Brothers of Chico Dusty has almost half a million plays. Hear it yourself: Mashville.BandCamp.com
2005 Dodge Magnum RT 5.7L V8 HEMI black and yellow paint with gold metal ﬂake, 24” black and yellow wheels
From the 2010 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. November 2010
Photo: Brown Photography
CONCRETE: What got you into music? O.G.: I grew up around it. I’ve been playing piano and drums. I’ve always been a musician. Just pulling all the way over into the production lane elevated everything. CONCRETE: So you did production with Fate Eastwood. What was that situation all about? O.G.: It was wild being able to work with a local legend, especially how it all happened. It happened that Jody Stevens introduced me to Fate. After that me and Fate was doing a lot of records together. It was stuff for Allstar, Paper, a lot of the local cats. We brought along my cousin Q, and that’s how the A-Team started. It was us three. Then Fate was moving (to Atlanta), so we all kind of branched apart, but we’re still super tight. As far as the work we did, the work was crazy. Sessions day-in, day-out. I thank Fate a lot for what I’ve accomplished. And I’m kind of branching and building my own as well. CONCRETE: As a producer, what are some of the big artists you’ve worked with? O.G.: I have to say Tech-9, being that he’s one of the biggest independent artists period. I ﬁgured that was a super-plus for me. Just placement in general anyone from Tech-N9ne to Krizz Kaliko, almost all of Strange Music (Tech N9ne’s label) I’ve produced for. Then there’s Yo Gotti, Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, all those type cats. CONCRETE: Where do you get your sounds? O.G.: It’s a lot EQing. To get the sound that I’ve learned and helped create, you just got to use a lot of EQing. (I) know how to make custom sounds basically. Studying music and studying enough to where you can make your own custom sounds will take you a long way. And it keeps you out of the box of which so many people get stuck into. CONCRETE: So what drum machine and computer programs do you use? O.G.: The drum machine I use is actually a digital drum machine. It’s called the Korg padKontrol. That’s all I use. It’s got the best response for production. I suggest everybody get one. I like it better than the MPC and everything else. As far as the programs I use, I’m strictly Fruity Loops all the way. As far as recording I go thru Reaper. twitter: @og615
Tha City Paper - DOPaminE
“Mr. Super-star Life” is back with his trademark ﬂow and Paper’s still puttin’ on for Nashville. This mix is chopped full of hits. Songs like “Who Are Ya,” “Quakin,” and “Bank Roll Heavy” pack that classic Paper swag. He even revisits the hits “Tha City Paper” (for those late to the party) and “What’s Up Bluff.” “100 MPH” is a nod to all the people locked down and is an emotional track. But the standout has to be “Heavy” which features a hook by Gucci Mane and a verse by O.J. Da Juiceman. This is Paper’s ﬁrst project with indy label Felonious Music Group, who have always put money behind their artists. This partnership should beneﬁt both sides. DOPEaminE is a great start.
Starlito - Starlito’s Way 3, Life Insurance
All Star aka Starlito is shining again on the latest addition of his Starlito’s Way street albums. It has plenty of local producers like Coop, Fate Eastwood, Nyse and Broadway. He uses Moptop of The Perfextionists for another party anthem. This one is titled “I Shake Life” and describes the whirl-wind, party life of a successful rapper. There’s also a remix of “I Go HAM” featuring Gucci Mane. For the most part though, this is an introspective project and the beats are mellow. Star always comes with quality, so you know this project is good.
Mr. Lay Low - Get That Money!
This is a three song sampler from Mr. Lay Low aka Maximilien. Each track has a different feel, but a common theme ... women. The ﬁrst song “Get That Money” is a stripper anthem fueled by a Cutting Crew “Died In Your Arms Tonight” sample. It’s a certiﬁed banger. “Work It” is a freaky tale with pimpin’ ﬂows. Lay Low’s delivery is glassy smooth and has a West Coast inﬂuence. “Feels So Good” is a fantastic voyage to ecstasy. Lay Low goes hard (no pun intended) on this EP. He has one thing on his mind... Meow!
Barz Major - Air Trafﬁc Control
From the South Side of Cashville comes Barz Major. He’s got Fate Eastwood backing him in a major way. Fate produced the majority of tracks on Barz new mixtape Air Trafﬁc Control. He starts the mix off hard with “Pilot Gang” an introduction to his ultra-ﬂy squadron. “Show My Ass” is the track that is made for bumping in the ride and probably the hardest joint on the mix. “Climax” is a detailed description of the freaky things Barz does with the ladies behind closed doors. “Errytime” is his song about ballin’ with consistency. Barz is not a gangster, but he can handle his shit. Ride with him, he’s putting on for 615.
Sam & Tre
The debut from Nashville producer/MC combo Sam and Tre is a glitched out, hip-hop house party of an album. Sam’s synthesized melodies are laced with deep, bass-heavy electro beats and ﬁt perfectly with Tre’s raw, Southern voice. It’s a raging cocktail! Tracks like “We Do,” “Party Time” and “Runnin” are high energy. Slower tempo joints include the smokers anthem “Ridin’” and “Everything You Lookin For.” Subjects are everyday life like kickin’ it, relationships and more kickin’ it. Sam and Tre have great chemistry on this joint. It’s super nice with a really unique sound! You need to ﬁnd this in your life.
Photo: Brown Photography
CONCRETE: Your recent project H2O, we heard that wasn’t a planned release, but you just recorded all this great material and had it. What’s the story behind putting out H2O? Fluid Outrage: I was going through a lot of things in life last year, a couple of homies turn on you, girls acting certain ways, just a lot of negative stuff. So one day I was sitting around and I was like, “I’m about to do this.” It was real personal. I went in and actually recorded all those songs in four days for H2O. The meaning of that is due to the streets being messed up, let me put something out to motivate people a little more. ‘It ain’t nothing. We don’t stop here. Keep moving. It’s bigger than just the streets out here.’ That’s why I was like, ‘Let me just elaborate a little bit more on the real, real, real of what people are feeling right now.’ Cause everybody was going through something at that time, me too. So I hit them with H2O. I got a lot of producers sent tracks in. A lot of hot tracks from different places, overseas, here, everywhere. I just jumped on it and put my heart into it. It came out great. Plus with the Buck movement, it helped me a lot too. I been going with the guys from Cashville Records. I’m letting him get his things together. I’m keeping my thing going. We about to get it going soon as everything is right. CONCRETE: You turned around and dropped another project The Vaccine. Can you tell us about that project? Fluid Outrage: They call me Flu, short for Fluid Outrage. So I went with the Flu concept. Everybody been sick, so I’m the ﬂu shot. It’s the ﬂu shot, The Vaccine. I’m going to come cure you. I went deep on this one. I think I topped the H2O on this one. This is one of my best projects along with H2O. I gave them life with H2O. Now I’m giving them the whole, the all of me with Vaccine. From back then when I started, just everything all in one collection, it’s me. The Vaccine is real hot. Same kind of producers, they from different places. It ain’t just one constant type sound. I didn’t just use one producer. It’s real tough, The Vaccine. CONCRETE: What’s the ﬁrst single from The Vaccine? Fluid Outrage: My main single right now is “I’m All Dat” produced by Vonex. It’s been heavy in the city. DJ Sir Swift has got in rotation. DJ LW got it in rotation. I got the t-shirts out there to go with it. I got like six or seven DJs that’s out there pumping it real good right now. It’s in they rotation. That’s the new thing “Im All Dat.” That’s the ﬁrst single off of The Vaccine street album.
Photo: Brown Photography
CONCRETE: Where are you from originally? Vonex: I’m from Nashville, Tennessee, Inglewood representer, East Side Cashville. CONCRETE: You have a new mixtape, Still Doing Me, Volume 1, hosted by Don Cannon. It’s all original production by you. Can you give an overview of this project? Vonex: It’s actually sixteen tracks. I got an additional track that I’m just talking on, but it’s like sixteen tracks. All production by me. I got two tracks on there that I got mixed and mastered by DJ Dev. But I mix my own stuff, produce my own stuff, record. CONCRETE: How long did that project take to complete? Vonex: I’d say about a year and a half. I already had songs that I wanted to put out. I just wanted to put out the right songs. I wanted to have the right music that everyone could relate to and bang and bump in their cars. But at the same time, I wanted it to be a ﬁre ass mixtape. It’s a blessing. CONCRETE: How did you link with Don Cannon for this project? Vonex: Everything is a blessing. It worked itself out how it worked itself out. My manager came to me and was like, “You want to get a DJ to host your mixtape? We’ve got to get a hot DJ.” I like Drama, Cannon, I like Scream, I like Holiday, I like DJ Smallz. But my ﬁrst option was always Cannon. I already I knew I wanted Cannon on my mixtape. I had seen him on MTV Jams where he had hosted Young Jeezy’s Trap or Die Vol. 2. I had heard it, and I liked the way he road the mixtape. So that made me want him. A couple weeks later, we were having dinner. Me, him and my manager were talking. He was feeling the vibe, and a month later we had a mixtape. CONCRETE: Since you write and produce songs, what is your technique for crafting a song? Vonex: If I do a sample track, I’ll listen to the original track about thirty times before I even think about doing the beat. I’ll ﬁgure out exactly what I’m going to sample from the track. And when I’m making the track I’m actually thinking about the words that I’m going to say on the track until I ﬁnish with the high hats, the kicks, snare and I put it all together. Then I can actually sit back, listen to it and think about the verses like I really want to. But when I’m making the track, I’m thinking, I’m thinking. When I get done with the actual production it’s like, “OK I got four bars. I can go on and get another eight or ten or a hot sixteen.” Even without a sample driven track, I might come up with a hook in my head. Just humming it. I’ll hum the hook while I’m playing it. Once I do the hook, I can actually lay it down once I ﬁnish the track. The verses and hook will naturally come.
CONCRETE: What challenges do you face as an independent web personality when trying to get content (interviews, etc.)? Erica Elle: I think the most difﬁcult thing overall is one I’m a woman. A lot of women come into the entertainment industry with a man behind them. I think the most difﬁcult part of jumping in independent is at ﬁrst men don’t respect me as a woman. Two, they don’t respect me as a business woman. The thing I’ve seen in my interactions is sometimes people think it’s a game. To me it’s business. I think that’s the most difﬁcult part. CONCRETE: What made you want to start a Web show? Erica Elle: First, Darquan from SoCashville.com approached me about doing an all women’s show. He wanted me to get ﬁve women together and do a View type of show for the internet. It’s hard to ﬁnd women that are on the same level as you. So it ended up being only me, and I turned it into The Erica Elle Show Show.
I told him to mention that we were going to interview all different types of people get their aspects and opinions on different things. He wanted something else for the show. He wanted me to be branded as the talk show host that talked about relationships. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to be a diverse individual that was opinionated. I wanted to be like the hip-hop Oprah. She doesn’t just have a Jay-Z on her show. She also has the Hannah Montana or the Nicki Minaj or the Kanye Wests. I wanted to be a diverse individual with my internet show. I wanted to talk about the beefs subjects, but I also wanted to talk about the fun or the entertainment industry. So, I decided to it all by myself. I got my camera person and was like, ‘We can do this.’ The ﬁrst interview I had was with Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans, and that year he ran 2,000 yards. So it took off from there.
Congratulations to B.Howard for winning the UMC Season 2. He bested seven competitors to win his tournament and land in the ﬁnals. In the ﬁnals he took down the other preliminary winners to claim the championship belt, and bragging rights for 2011.
CONCRETE: How long have you been a barber? Phil: I’ve been a barber about 20 years, roughly. CONCRETE: How did you get into the profession? Phil: Our barber we used to go when we was young, the neighborhood barber Charles Dunbar, one day he was like, “Come on man. Ride with me. I’m going to take you somewhere.” We pulled up, we were at International Barber College. It was out here in Madison. He said, “This would be a good trade for you. Do something with your life. You don’t always have to be sitting back, college and this, that and the other.” He took me to barber college, and I enrolled from there. And the rest is history. CONCRETE: What is it about being a barber that has kept you in it? Phil: The ﬂexibility. I like the freedom of being able to come and go, make my own prices. That’s what I like, the freedom of it. Ain’t too many jobs where you can sit around, go to lunch when you want to, set your own schedule, basically come and go as you please. You get to meet a bunch of people too. CONCRETE: Being in the profession so long, you’ve seen styles come and go. What are some of the funnier styles you’ve had customers ask for? Phil: Barber styles tend to come and go. The things people see and they think is new, it’s old. If you’ve been cutting hair for twenty years, you’ve seen it all. The afro has been in and out, in and out. Braids like to killed the industry. We barely survived the braids. Cutting designs in hair, spray painting the colorful stuff they put in hair, all that stuff is old. They just keep bringing it back. These kids come and want all that stuff in they hair, and I can remember when I got the stuff in my hair. But it has to be some of the colors and designs. Some of that stuff, you’re just taking time out to cut “fruit loops” in someone’s hair (laughs). It’s hilarious. CONCRETE: How long have you been at Quick Cuts? Phil: Going on six years. CONCRETE: You have clientele. Do you take new customers? Phil: Shoot yeah. I cut anybody. Sheep, dogs, whatever, if it needs a hair cut, we’ll cut it. CONCRETE: Any last words for our readers? Phil: All the customers that we’ve had over the years, thank y’all. I’ve had customers hair that I’ve cut for over ﬁfteen years or better. To me longevity in this is really rare, because a lot of barbers go and get regular jobs, and cut hair part time. There’s only a few barbers out here who do this full time. All the cats that’s doing it full time, thank you. And keep the support for Quick Cuts and Mama Josie’s Home Cooking.
Photo: Brown Photography | Make-up: Sherry Waller
Published on Feb 23, 2011
The Other Side of Nashville, The New Wave, Rio, Dee Goodz, San and Tre, Chancellor Warhol, Vonex, Fluid Outrage, Young Rell, Shannon Sanders...