10-14 ........................ Yo Gotti 16 .................................Grip 20 ............................. All Star 22 ........................... Zed Zilla 26 .................... Fate Eastwood 28 ................................. Gyft 32 ...... What’s Your Issue w/ Big Sue 34-36 ....................Whip Game 38-42 ................. Memphis 10s This issue is dedicated to the grind. To my entire staff, the city, the models, the photographers, the promoters and the artists: WE THANK YOU. We appreciate you and we promise to bring the heat each and every issue for the next year! Remember: You Can’t Lose When The City’s Behind You! Published by: Concrete Magazine Editor in Chief: Corporate Cory Sparks Assistant Editor: Amariah Tyler Sales Manager: Ricardo Hunter Ad Sales: Shabrea Hunter Distribution: Hunter Promotions Editorial Assistant: Danielle Eddins Art Director: Audie Adams Publishing Consultant: Bryan Deese
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When we decided to Launch Concrete Magazine over a year ago, we knew we had to make a statement in getting our brand in the streets. Our ﬁrst cover with Yo Gotti got the attention of the city and immediately solidiﬁed what we were trying to do: Represent Memphis on a local but National Scale. Love him or hate him, he is the King of Memphis. His fan base and following is organic. They love his music. But most importantly: Memphis loves him. Since that ﬁrst cover, he managed to build a bigger and stronger fan base, buy his way out of a record deal just in time to cash a hefty check from J Records. In this 1 year Anniversary Issue, we explore Yo Gotti, his I&E team, and why he feels he’s just getting started. CONCRETE: As one of the CEO’s of I&E, a proliﬁc artist, businessman, and role model you’ve accomplished quite a lot at such a young age. How does it feel to be on top of your game? Yo Gotti: I wouldn’t even say I’m on top of my game. I JUST got an opportunity to get on top of my game. I feel like the door is open and I’m in the doorway. I ain’t went through it yet. CONCRETE: How old were you when you ﬁrst started recording and getting into the music game? Yo Gotti: When I ﬁrst started recording I was probably like 14. That was the ﬁrst time I recorded but I really wasn’t concerned about getting into music. I was just doing it because we was doing it around the neighborhood. I probably was like 17 when I was like I really wanted to get into it. That was probably right after I got my ﬁrst check for music shit. Up until then I was just doing it to be doing it. CONCRETE: Was there someone or an artist that you looked up to that made you say “Hey. This is what I want to do.” Yo Gotti: I mean everybody. Everybody that was on TV and everybody that was living the life that I wanted. Nice cars, jewelry, 5 star chicks, know what I’m saying? So, music people and just street n*gg*s in general – the dope boys from the neighborhood that had Cadillac’s on rims. Them n*ggas just inspired me to want money in general. Then I continued on pg 12
started focusing more on n*ggas like Skinny Pimp. Back in the day he had a Drop Top 5.0 and I was like, “Man, that n*gga clean”, know what I’m saying, but I was always a hustler. CONCRETE: As an artist who values the streets that he came from, you remain humble to your roots and represent Memphis to the fullest. How important is keeping it real to you? Yo Gotti: Keeping it real is very important to me, but the way I keep it real may not be the way that another person keeps it real with themselves. I think where people twist it is that everybody think that everybody real is the same. Keeping it real with me is not only making sure that me, my family and my homeboys and their families are straight, but giving people who don’t know no other thing outside of selling drugs or hustling to some negative degree and showing them the positive way. That’s me keeping it real. Some people say me buying a person I know a house is keeping it real or I didn’t keep it real because I didn’t buy you a house. That ain’t keeping it real to me. Giving a real n*gga whose life has the odds against it a chance to do something for himself is keeping it real to me. That’s how I go about life. CONCRETE: After signing with Polo Grounds/J Records, was it a moment like ﬁnally or just another stepping stone for you? Yo Gotti: Right now it’s just another stepping stone because we ain’t really accomplished nothing. You know, they just gave us a lot of money but we been had money so it’s just more money to go on top of the money that we had. Until we bring the album out and do something that me and my team set our goals toward to do, we just working. CONCRETE: Are you working on your debut album with them now? Yo Gotti: Yeah, Live From the Kitchen is the album. We probably 50 songs in and we still going. We’ll probably be 100 songs in by the time they pick 14. We making it a classic. It’s got to be a classic. CONCRETE: A lot of people complain about hard it is getting anything accomplished music-wise in Memphis but you have made it work. What’s your advice to other artists who are looking up to you? Yo Gotti: Quit complaining and take care of your business. Don’t nobody owe you nothing. As long as you think somebody owe you something, the longer you gone stay f*cked up. Ain’t nobody give me nothing. I didn’t run behind the DJ’s to get my sh*t played in Memphis. continued on pg 14
DJ’s told me when it was time. When my sh*t got hot enough, they came and found me. N*ggas wake up every day and try to ﬁgure out why Yo Gotti ain’t f*cking with ‘em or why Devin Steel ain’t f*cking with ‘em, why Boogaloo ain’t f*cking with ‘em, or why Lil Larry ain’t f*cking with ‘em. Evidently it ain’t time for you to be f*cked with. The artists that are my competition shouldn’t be their competition but their minds are so small they can’t think past Memphis. So when your local rappers get up, they have me on their minds when they should have Jay-Z on their minds. CONCRETE: What do you think the problem with the music game in Memphis is and why we seem underrated? Yo Gotti: They need to get up off they ass and stop coming with all this complaining shit. N*ggas around the world f*ck with Playa Fly, 8Ball & MJG, Three 6 and a lot of n*ggas from Memphis. So, it ain’t just the city. Like, my whole structure is totally different from any n*gga I see now or any came from Memphis. When I started doing it, for one, I was doing it because it was more of a hobby for me in the beginning. We didn’t really care if the DJ didn’t play it and really didn’t understand it to a certain degree. Now if a n*gga ﬁrst song or mixtape, if he ain’t got a song on the radio or in the club he’s mad at the world. It didn’t even matter to me. When I ﬁrst got a check and when people started trying to sit me down and was like, “Dude, you can really do something.” I mean, industry people was telling me like “Your song can make it out of this city,” and I was like “Aw yeah. Ok. Whatever.” It took for my n*ggas in my hood to explain it to me like this, like “Look, homie. You the only person got a chance. If you make it, we all make it.” One of my homies who just passed, Big Poochie, kind of helped me to see and help me get focused. I mean, I had n*ggas who believed in me more than I believed in myself. We all were doing the same shit but they were telling me to focus more on rapping. I was like, “F*ck this. I’m got to stay in the race with this paper.” Then Poochie told me, “Man you like our Elvis. If you make it, we all make it.” That’s when I was like, I got to get up out of this motherfucker cause it’s bigger than me and if I don’t get up out of here all my homeboys gone end up dead or in the Fed. CONCRETE: What’s in the future for the Yo Gotti brand and I&E? Yo Gotti: We’re focused on taking me to the next level and still standing for what we stand for. Yo Gotti gonna continue to be what I started off being. It motivates me to see people change their life from negative to positive and still have that hustle format. I think street is not the way you rap. It’s more of a culture. It’s a way of thinking and a way of carrying yourself. If you come from that life for real, you always gone think certain ways whether you’re doing positive things or negative things. So, our goal is to take I&E as a company to the next level, to make Zilla, All Star and our Producers the biggest artist and best producers in the game. So that they can help everybody who’s believing in us to achieve their goals.
CONCRETE: As CEO of I&E along with Yo Gotti, you make sure that things run smoothly. What’s a day in your life like? Grip: Just busy – phone calls, meetings, making sure people get booked for all the shows, contracts, stuff the label needs done, I get it done. Gotti just needs to focus more on the rapping part. CONCRETE: For those who don’t know, how did you and Gotti meet? Grip: Well, really we’re cousins. We just had the talent coming up. I had a little paper and he had a little paper so we just invested in the company. CONCRETE: Not only are you all I&E the company, but you all brothers as well. How important is maintaining that relationship to you? Grip: That’s the most important thing – to maintain that relationship – because we’re all we got. We’re all we’ve been around so that’s the most important thing as well as maintaining a relationship with our other artists too. CONCRETE: As an independent company, you hold your own in the music industry that used to be totally dominated by major labels. Do you believe the majors will cease to exist or just adapt and branch into smaller labels? Grip: I believe they will adapt into smaller labels. They ain’t gone go away, but they’ll adapt into smaller labels. CONCRETE: Ok, tell me about your publishing company Street Tunes. Grip: Street Tunes is a publishing company me and Gotti started back in 2005 with a lot of young producers like Fate Eastwood and Hot Rod, who produced 5 Star and Fate Eastwood who produced Grey Goose and all that. It’s just a production company of young dudes that got that ﬁre and we just named it Street Tunes. CONCRETE: What is your vision for I&E? Grip: Big vision – to be a multi-million dollar record company and then you know we wanna do movies, clothing line, and all that. Right now we just focusing on music. CONCRETE: How many artists and producers are there in all on your team? Grip: We have ﬁve artists including Gotti and three producers. We still adding on to Street Tunes. We always looking for producers to sign. If you got that heat, we trying to sign you. CONCRETE: Not getting too personal, but is there a lady in your life? Grip: [Laughs] No. I am single, not married and looking for a 5 Star Chick.
CONCRETE: After being underground for a while, you garnered national attention with your hit “Grey Goose” and have been unstoppable ever since. Growing up on the eastside of Nashville, did you ever think you would be where you are today? All Star: I deﬁnitely didn’t rule it out. Coming from where I come from, it kind of put me in a state of mind to be ready for whatever. That’s kind of the story of my career until now. You mentioned the Grey Goose record, and that was kind of a starting point for a lot of people as far as when I became recognizable and all that. To me – another thing about the environment that I come from – you’re only as relevant as what you’ve done lately. And that’s to say that you’ve got the fastest car and when someone gets one faster, no one’s talking about you anymore. Just always having that mindset that there’s always more to do or there’s a bigger step to take, bigger challenge or bigger goal. CONCRETE: Your hit single “Crazy” with Yo Gotti and Lil’ Wayne is burning up the airwaves. Does being a part of the I&E team and Cash Money motivate you to grind harder? All Star: Oh, most deﬁnitely. It’s more than a motivation. It’s like being drafted to a team that’s fresh off a championship. If you look at I&E on an independent level, as a company, I’m glad to be one of those pieces to making it more of a complete puzzle as an independent power. These are dudes that come from the same type of thing that I come from and that’s all the way up to Cash Money. And that’s to say that with both of those I’m just trying to be a vessel and a large percent. I know what’s going on and my job is to do what I do within their whole structure of things and establish myself. CONCRETE: Speaking of grinding, you have your own website Grindhardonline.com. Tell me a little about that and your idea behind it. All Star: Grind Hard – the music group, the clothing line – that’s an imprint that me and my homies kind of established as a brand. I mean, I’m no fool. I’m a student of the same game that I’m a part of. If you’re looking for pictures and information, new music, videos or if you’re looking for something All Star Company or the Grind Hard brand, my goal is that you’ll eventually ﬁnd it all there. It’s a social networking site kind of like Facebook and MySpace and as of right now everything is pretty much free. CONCRETE: You do a lot ... What can we expect from All Star in the future? All Star: My goal is to get into that other side, that other money, or what else there is out there. I’m working on Starlito’s Way the movie which kind of puts you in the mind of “The Streets is Watching”. I want people to understand how much sense my music makes as it’s compared to real life because everything I make is a reality. My album with Cash Money is titled Cash Money Laundering and if you stay tuned to that website you should stay tuned to everything that’s going on. CONCRETE: Any shout outs or anything else you would like to tell our readers? All Star: Grindhardonline.com. Me and Gotti are putting out a mixtape together. I should have two or three or any number of solo mixtapes; one is called Crazy and one is called I Love You Too. Also, Starlito’s Way the movie and Cash Money Laundering, my major label debut. We’re getting a date together now for its release. My team – Mike J, Sleazy, Jean, Kush – I mean, it’s Grind Hard! You know when the album and this industry stuff run its course, hopefully I’ll make history.
CONCRETE: You’ve been underground for years. As a part of Gotti’s team, do you feel that it’s your time to shine now? Zed: Of course I feel like it’s my time to shine. I’ve been underground for years and by him being the dude that’s been making the hits in the city for the longest, I feel like he’s ready to put me in that position. And I’m ready! CONCRETE: How did you hook up with him and become a part of I&E? Zed: That’s why I said I mess with Gotti. I wish Playa Fly and Blac would’ve did this when Three Six was supposed to do this for him. He’s like the only one that reached out and tried to give a helping hand. Being a Memphis underground artist, he knew and heard the music out in the streets; he reached back and gave me a helping hand. He came to one of the shows and I performed that Zilla song (one of my little hot songs) and he seen the reaction of the crowd and we been together ever since. CONCRETE: Why do you consider yourself “The Landlord of the South”? Zed: I feel it’s my time to shine. I’ve been underground so many years and I’ve kind of opened a lot of doors for a lot of us South Memphis rappers (besides Fly and Blac) after they fell off the scene. So I’ve been holding it down. Now I’m everywhere; all out of town reppin’ South Memphis and holding it down. So if they trying to get on with South Memphis, you know you gotta pay the landlord. CONCRETE: So is it just South Memphis or the South in general? Zed: It’s just South Memphis right now. CONCRETE: How do you feel that you have grown as an artist than when you ﬁrst started out grinding? Zed: I was just making music at ﬁrst. I never approached a cd as far as trying to look for a single. I was making my own beats. My ﬁrst two or three CD’s I made using my own beats. So it was just making it work at ﬁrst. But now as far as me getting in the industry, I know what it takes. You need those beats and I know how to format a single now. I was just doing music. I had about twenty songs on each CD I put out at ﬁrst; never really knowing the business part of the game. CONCRETE: And how did you learn about the business side of things? Zed: That’s a lot of stuff Gotti is helping me with right there – artist development. I’ve been through the struggle, I know the streets and I know what it takes, but just the business part of it. That’s what I’ve been having trouble with. CONCRETE: Is there a new album or mixtape that we should be checking for? Zed: Yeah, I’m working on a Southern Smoke right now. Gotti and I have a Two Sides to Every Story: The North and South CD we working on. CONCRETE: Is that for this year? Zed: Yeah, that’s for this year. CONCRETE: How would you describe your style of rapping and ﬂow? Zed: I don’t like to put it in no box though because I like music. I’ll hop on a jazz track or classical track. I’ll hop on anything. Whatever topic you come with me with, any kind of topic, I can rap or write about it. CONCRETE: Anything else you would like to say to our readers? Zed: Yeah, shout out to South Memphis, Fourth and Walker, Gaston Park and my squad CEO.
CONCRETE: You have produced for many notable artists and have become a force to be reckoned with in the industry. How did you get your start in the music game? F. Eastwood: I got my start in the music game by coming up with Allstar and the whole Yo Gotti movement because they’re like my brothers. That’s what really got me in the industry but I’ve always been in love with music. CONCRETE: Who were some of your inﬂuences that inspired you to break out on your own? F. Eastwood: It was the vets like Dr. Dre, Timbaland, J. Dilla, Carlos Broady and Lil’ Jon. Lil Jon really had a big inﬂuence on me though. CONCRETE: As a part of I&E, how did you and Gotti hook up? F. Eastwood: It was through word of mouth actually. They had a song with a basic chorus and they were wondering who was doing that beat, and it was me. CONCRETE: Ok, so how long have you been producing? F. Eastwood: I would say about ten years now. CONCRETE: Who all are you working with now? F. Eastwood: We’re really doing the family thing right now. So, we’re kind of keeping everything I & E. We’re trying to give Gotti a well-rounded album, give the family a well-rounded album. Zed, Star, Dinero; you know just all of them. We’re trying to do the family thing right now then we’re going to start branching out. CONCRETE: Not only are you a producer, but you’re an artist as well. Are you working on anything for yourself right now? F. Eastwood: I’m working on the Dirty Harry album actually but it’s not a big thing for me right now. I’m more focused on being the company’s producer. CONCRETE: So you’re the sole producer? F. Eastwood: We have a production team called Street Tunes. It’s me and Hot Rod. CONCRETE: There are so many producers nowadays – What separates you from the masses? F. Eastwood: I would have to say music. Like, a lot of people say they produce, make beats and write music but I can actually sit down and I know my chords, my strings, and I write all my own stuff. You know, a lot of people – and I ain’t hatin’ on them or nothing – like what they do is they make beats. I think a lot of people get it twisted from making beats and being a producer. A producer is a person that’s actually putting the song together. CONCRETE: Any last words for our readers? F. Eastwood: Check me out at myspace.com/ fateeastwood.
Concrete: As winner of K97’S Next Big Thing, you won a record deal with Koch Records. How excited are you? Gyft: Very excited. It’s an opportunity that doesn’t come around too often. Being in the music game for a few years now, you understand that opportunities don’t really come around too often. I’m deﬁnitely excited about it and I’m looking forward to taking full advantage of it and taking it to the next step. Concrete: What are some notable songs of yours? Gyft: I had a single out, “Holla at My Kinfolk” maybe like a year ago. I also had “Walking in Memphis” and another song called “Yeah Yeah”. They all got decent spins on the radio. Concrete: Outside of music, what are some other hustles that you do as well? Gyft: I do a little real estate. I have a business with my brother in which we do inﬂatables for the kids. We bring those out to people who want to do parties for their kids. I try to do things outside of music that has nothing to do with music at all. I like to kind of diversify what I do. Concrete: Do you feel as an artist from Memphis, that the artists here or Memphis music in general gets the respect that it deserves? Gyft: No, I think that we’re deﬁnitely slept on but I think it’s partly our fault also because I don’t think we allow enough different styles of music. We tend to get stuck on this one particular sound. I think that once we start allowing these other artists here that may sound a little different in...I mean that was one of my biggest knocks starting out. People said that I didn’t have the typical “Memphis sound” and that it didn’t sound like regular Memphis music. So, I think once we start to allow people here to sound different then we’ll start to see more progress. Concrete: What do you bring to the table that’s different or unique from a lot of other artists that are out now? Gyft: I think I’m kind of throwback if you want to call it, because I have a little more focus on my wordplay. It’s not just about what’s catchy in a hook or saying what people want to hear. I try to, you know, say what people can relate to. The lyrics are just so basic now. I try to give people something to think about or something they may catch on the second verse and start listening to it. Concrete: Anything else you have for our readers? Gyft: Yeah, be looking out for the mixtape, I Am Memphis. It’s out now and will be up for digital download within the next couple of weeks on my MySpace at www.myspace.com/gyfted1.
Big Sue...What’s the deal??? I’m reaching out to you because I don’t have anyone to turn to that works in entertainment to receive advice from. You’re a knowledgeable and highly respected woman and you consistently deliver the scoop. I’m an Indie artist that moved to Memphis 2 years ago and I have been ACTIVELY pursuing my music career. I chose to move to Memphis because of this town’s historical impact in the music industry from a global aspect. The issue that I am having is getting local DJs and producers to take me seriously about my musical project. I am a female and I sing and rap on most of my songs, as well as write my own lyrics. I have songs that are completed, but because I’m promoting myself, I can’t get any local clubs to play my songs. However when I share my music with locals, I get positive response! My goal is to create music that all kinds of people enjoy and ﬁnd entertaining but not getting radio airplay and my songs played in local clubs have paralyzed my mission. Do I really have what it takes? Are people just saying that they like my music to be nice? Big Sue, I need the REAL deal on how to break my music. Greatly Appreciated, Stef Luva Hey Stef, Thank you for the compliment and Welcome to Memphis! Very few are taken seriously before they “get on”. You have the fortune of being a rare fem-cee who hasn’t come from a male camp. Plus you are going at it alone so I understand the dilemma. So here’s a brief run-down of the basics. From a street and viral point of view, your hustle has to be insane: Build your buzz and people will ﬁnd you; you can start with those “locals”. Dealing with producers is relatively simple. If you have money for studio time, you have will have their attention. When dealing with djs, don’t expect to accomplish much if you approach them at the club. Instead of dropping off a cd (most djs are on mp3s now anyway) emails are way more effective. If you’re trying to develop a relationship with certain djs, don’t send a blast; personalize it for a better chance at getting feedback. Djs are usually pretty straight up, so they may like your sound and just not the particular record. When it comes to radio, we take new music every day and we (K-97) also give indie artists exposure every Sunday night with the show “Independents Day” hosted by DJ 007. Reach out for him at independen email@example.com. And here’s another shameless plug; get to know Setting The Pace and Hunter Promotions! Their contacts are in this mag! Hope that helps Stef and Good Luck!
Got a question for Sue? Email her at concretesue@gmail with the subject line “I Got Issues” and she’ll offer the best/worst advice known to man.
Yo Gotti 2009 Lamborghini Spyder
Grip 2009 Jaguar XF