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DJ PrOstyLe rOn BrOwZ LL cOOL J Q-tiP

suPerBOwL sPeciAL eDitiOn sPOrts:

terry KenneDy muhAmmAD ALi GinA cArAnO

BustA rhymes

JAnuAry 2009

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BAcK On his B.s.

SPORTS & HIP-HOP

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EDITOR’S NOTES

E

very year I try to convince myself that I will follow through with my New Year’s resolutions. Last year I swore to myself that I was not going to spend so much money on shopping and getting my hair and nails done. Sure enough, I failed right off the bat. I was up in the mall and changing my hair color more than ever. By the end of the year, my New Year’s resolutions started to come into play—but not how I expected. The reason was simple enough: I had run out of money, so I had no choice but to cut back on my unnecessary habits. This year I plan to pull a Britney Spears and get my act together. Starting with this letter, I will no longer put off writing it until the day before we go to press. In addition, I will be keeping a close eye on my budget. Lets be real: we are in a recession, and I’m tapped out from Christmas shopping. But enough with all that. To start off the New Year, we had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Arab Money himself, Busta Rhymes, who is a good example of what this issue is all about—reinvention. Though times are tough and things are changing so much in the entertainment industry, there are those that have stepped up to the plate and shown that they can remain on top no matter what. A fitting theme for our January issue, reinvention is all around. From the New Year to the White House, things are changing like they always do. The question is, are we ready for it?

ISSUE #3 reinvention Publishing CEO Publishing Jamar ChristianCEO Jamar Christian

editor-In-chief Finance Manager Chianna Ray Maurice Wilson, Jr.

CREATIVE DIRECTOR editor-In-chief Rocky Segarra Chianna Ray

MANAGINGDIRECTOR EDITOr CREATIVE Tiffany Segarra Branch Rocky

Associate editor CONTENT ADVISOR Nicole Vickers René Perez Music Music Editor Editor Jessie Jessie Maguire Maguire Writers STAFF Writers Jonnine Jonnine Yarbrough Yarbrough Alvin JohnMallory Sankitts, Jr. René Perez Jr. Alvin Mallory, Contributing ContributingWriters Writers Annaliese Ciana Liu Hightower Chris Perkins ContributORS Contributors Jennifer Cortez DJ OnPoint Terrence Tyson DJ NastyDowell Elizabeth Mercedes Streets Designers DJ D Strong Norilí Maldonado Lena G.

Chianna Ray Editor-In-Chief

Roman V. Rusinov Angel Rivera Designers RajahMaldonado Cooper Norilí Roman V. Rusinov Angel Rivera Images Rajah Cooper Wesley Armstrong

Corday Cardwell Justin Murray

Executive ASSISTANT Maria Aguilar

Executive Assistant Advertising Maria Aguilar / Marketing Director Eddie Forbes

Advertising / Marketing Director Ad Sales Ray Diaz Dana Marie Licata Bryce Fremont

Ad Sales Harold Lett Finance Manager Maurice Wilson, Jr.

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advertise@goatmag.com advertise@goatmag.com editorial@goatmag.com editorial@goatmag.com subscribe@goatmag.com subscribe@goatmag.com

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JOIN THE MUSIC DROP NOW! VISIT GOATMAG.COM FOR DETAILS

WE WILL Contact the top A&Rs PlacE ads in G.O.A.T. Magazine on a monthly basis PurchasE radio spots on a monthly basis Attend Conferences AND MUCH MORE...

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FEATURES 16. WHAT’S UP WITH RON BROWZ? We cornered hitmaker/MC ron Browz and chopped it up a little about his two hit collaborations “Pop Champagne” and “Arab Money,” and his take on the digital download world

68. THE OOOWIE EFFECT Can hip-hop survive without weed?

70. JORDAN’S SNEAkER LINE over 23 years, Air Jordans have transformed from a shoe line into a culture

72. REINVENTION An overview of how artists and athletes have reinvented themselves to remain successful, and fit today’s ever changing need for something innovative and fresh

38.

Q-TIP

the Picasso of hip-hop sat down with us and gave us a little insight on how to stay current, his new album, and the benefits of touring

60.

GINA CARANO

the face of Womens’ MMA, Gina Carano, discusses the fall of EliteXC and upcoming bouts

COVER STORy

50. bACk ON HIS b.S. After three years, Busta rhymes is Back on His B.S. with a classic sound and a new album

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40.

RESPECT DA GRIND terry Kennedy has shown the world that skating transcends cultural lines

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SECTIONS rEINvENtIoN

10. TRENDSETTER

DJ Prostyle

18. EVENTS 20 . LIMELIGHT 22 . OPEN MIC 24 . HEAVy HITTER

LL Cool J

28 . ART & CULTURE

Justin Bua

31 . 5 GREATEST SONGS OF ALL TIME 32 . FAST FACTS

DJ OnPoint

34 . EVENTS 36 . yOU’VE SEEN ‘EM FIRST 46 . HIGHLIGHTS 48 . WOO-SAH 54 . G.O.A.T. GIRL 58 . 5 GREATEST ATHLETES OF ALL TIME 64 . HEAVy HITTER

Muhammad Ali

73 . MUSIC REVIEWS 76 . bEST OF bOTH WORLDS

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54.

G.O.A.T. GIRL SPORTS & HIP-HOP

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DJ PROSTYLE

trenDsetter

DOminAtinG the rADiO, tv, XBOX AnD BeyOnD… 10

JAN FEB 2008 GOATMAG.COM


with A recOrD LABeL, PrOmOtiOn cOmPAny AnD successfuL DJ cAreer, this virtuOsO PrOves thAt his nAme is Quite fittinG SPORTS & HIP-HOP

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“rADiO’s Been vitAL … BeinG On the rADiO is the reAsOn why i’ve cOnnecteD with A LOt Of inDustry PeOPLe … everythinG reALLy KinDA rOOteD frOm rADiO AnD BrAncheD Out intO ALL the thinGs i’m DOinG nOw.” Words rené Perez Photos roman v. rusinov originating from Queens, DJ Prostyle was raised in orlando where he started DJing at the age of 13. Prostyle, whose father was also a DJ, credits DJ Kid Capri with inspiring him to get into the music business, and he remains his biggest role model. Now, after more than 15 years on the turntables, DJ Prostyle has helped lead the way for the current trend of DJs who are becoming multifaceted entrepreneurs. He is a renowned radio DJ, co-host and DJ on 106 & Park, record label owner, party promoter, Ciroc vodka partner and the host of a groundbreaking hiphop program on Xbox Live. A prime example of a go-getter, Prostyle acknowledges radio as being an important part of his success.

the scenes and [get] really gritty with them and show you how they really living. It’s not on a set nowhere, it’s rated r [laughs]. It just is what it is; it’s a real dope look. It’s Hip Hop 360 – the name of the show says it all,” he continued.

“radio’s been vital … Being on the radio is the reason why I’ve connected with a lot of industry people. From me connecting with industry people, I connected with other people who then led me into tv. So everything really kinda rooted from radio and branched out into all the things I’m doing now,” he explained.

“Every time I feel I get comfortable, I feel like I gotta do something else. that’s exactly what happened, I said I’m gonna start a label. I started All Pro records because of Traffik. From there, when I saw the love I was getting from a lot of people with the whole movement and [them saying] ‘It’s about time you did a label,’ a lot of people wanted to get down … I started signing other people, people I was cool with, people who I felt had talent … It really took off real good,” he said.

After moving to orlando, there was no stopping DJ Prostyle. He was soon spinning at the flyest clubs and parties around the city and eventually landed a mixshow at 102 JAMZ, one of the largest stations in the market. It was then that he struck gold when he caught the attention of DJ Enuff, who invited him to join the elite DJ crew known as the Heavy Hitters. Not content with just dominating the airwaves, Prostyle’s skills as a radio DJ would eventually lead him to the powerhouse known as BEt. Because the network was unfamiliar with Southern crowds at its Spring Bling events in Daytona Beach, it teamed up with DJ Prostyle, who impressed them so much that he became a guest DJ on Rap City. Eventually this face time would prove priceless to the DJ, as it led to an official spot on BET’s top-rated 106 & Park every Friday. “I’ve been lucky enough to be blessed to make it through the storm so far for the last couple of years, because there’s been a lot of faces coming and going and I’ve still been blessed enough to be there and be a part of BEt,” he said. Another opportunity for innovation came recently when he was chosen to host Xbox Live’s Hip Hop 360 program. As more and more readers, gamers and listeners flock to the Internet and game consoles for their entertainment, Prostyle shows that he is up to the challenge of keeping with the times. Accessible through the console’s Dashboard function, the live show (set to launch in the near future) will feature an in-depth look at some of the hottest artists in the game. “once again, I was lucky enough to be blessed with the opportunity to be the host of that show. I just travel the country, travel the world and hang out with artists, interview artists and really get behind

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A successful businessman, Prostyle is the CEo of his All Pro brand, which includes a travel company, promotion company and, most importantly, his All Pro Records music label. His first artist, Traffik, is on the rise and recently released a remix of his hit single “Hercules,” featuring Pitbull, Gorilla Zoe and Jadakiss. In the near future, Prostyle hopes to introduce some quality talent into the hip-hop arena.

Not one to get complacent, DJ Prostyle has no intention of putting on the brakes anytime soon. With both a clothing and shoe line in the works (and possibly a jewelry line), along with his DJ career, music label and promotion company, Prostyle is at the top of his game. Despite his accomplishments, he consistently makes it a point to show his gratitude. “I’m just the type who a lot of things have fallen into place [for]. I got a publicist behind me; I got a lot of things going on. I’m reaching out to movie scenes and getting into movies and getting into more tv things. I’ve built a great relationship with Diddy and a couple of other really big people in the industry who I’m having big conversations with. there’s not too much I can talk about right now, but there’s definitely gonna be a lot in the future. I’m obviously gonna continue my radio show. the record label is my main focus right now. the parties are going great, tv is going great. they got the Xbox show coming out. I’m blessed in a lot of ways …” Prostyle has been a pioneer in many different ways, using his Latin roots to help further reggaeton’s reach and bringing business smarts to his ambitious endeavors. repping both New York and Florida, Prostyle has shown that DJs can not only scratch, mix and work the mic but also bring their skills into related projects. As this month’s G.o.A.t. Trendsetter, Prostyle insists that anyone in any field can also be great. “Everybody has their own art and everybody is that go-to person. When I talk about Greatest of All time, it’s just that person that dominates what they do, no matter what it is that they do.”


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WHAT’S UP RON BROWZ? WITH

Words John Sankitts, Jr.

O

k I’m so tipsy, seriously, I can’t pop any more champagne bottles to Ron Browz’s sizzling Jim Jones collabo, “Pop Champagne.” It has a catchy hook that’s formatted using Auto-Tune, but with a composition of a talented maestro. Ron Browz, aka “Ether Boy,” is a Harlem native that has been producing bangers since the early ‘90s. His list of heavy hitters includes artists like Big L, Nas, Ludacris, DMX, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Busta Rhymes, Jae Millz, Lil Kim, and Jim Jones just to name a few. Now as an artist on the record “Pop Champagne,” he is blazing the airwaves with Jim Jones picking away at its bass-line breakdown. Browz has that magic that he sprinkles onto any project he touches, turning it gold or even platinum. RB has a few other scorching hit records on

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rotation, including one with the general himself, Busta Rhymes, on “Arab Money.” The track has Arabic-sounding chants that place you in another realm of hip-hop, opening up ears in the process. As an artist who relies on record sales, we asked for his take on digital downloads and file-sharing, like LimeWire. “Well, it can benefit you with promotion and to have access to your music, but then again it can hinder you from making money. It can create a buzz and it can kill you at the same time,” he replied. Signed with Universal Motown, he also has an arsenal of artists he’s working with, like Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, and Amerie, who will be releasing their albums soon. Now, just to mix it up a little, he’s got his own artists that he’s working on, like T-Rex who’s signed to his Money Ave Label. Whatever

you do, make sure you pack a parachute when you hear the next jump off called “Jumping (Out the Window),” which is already leaving a trail of fire across air traffic like Ghost Rider. He has four records on Jim Jones’ album and two joints on Busta Rhymes’ album, along with being the executive producer of N.O.R.E.’s album. He’s patiently waiting to do a collabo with the man himself, HOV aka Jay-Z ... so get at him Mr. Carter, it’s Harlem World calling. Pay attention to this maverick, with several gold and platinum plaques under his belt, as he releases his album, Jumping out the Window, on March 17. Make sure you’re sober and away from any ledges, ‘cause it’s sure to have you jumping! “I’m going all out, not scared to take a risk, not scared to do something different.”


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18

EVENTS

ADCOLOR AWARDS

BoCA rAtoN rESort & CLUB BOCA RATON, fL

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Photos Wuz Good & Ace Cruz


Photos rocky segarra

BIGDADDYKANE liv niGHTClub MIAMI, fL

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LIMELIGHT

Words Jonnine Yarbrough

Age: 20 Height: 6’0” Weight: 180 lbs. Position: Midfielder

W

ith impressive credentials and years of experience under his belt, Matt Conte is ready to take the lacrosse world by storm. Conte, a Pennsylvania native who has been playing lacrosse since the third grade, attended Malvern Preparatory High School in Malvern, PA. Conte and his team finished in the top four in the state all four consecutive years, and won the state championship during Matt’s second year in attendance. Malvern Prep also ranked in the nation’s top 25 lacrosse teams, finishing 13th in Matt’s senior year. Not only has Matt experienced success with his team, he has individual accolades as well. He was first team in the all-league, all-city and all-area sections. He was also a two-time member of the STX Blue Chip Lacrosse Camp, which includes the 100 best players in the nation. After being recruited by 35 Division I NCAA lacrosse programs, Matt selected the University of North Carolina, whose lacrosse program is currently ranked in the top 10. Judging by his track record, UNC can expect big things from Matt Conte this season.

MATT CONTE

Why He Deserves To Be In the Limelight: “I deserve to be in the limelight because I am a very hard worker and I will stop at nothing to achieve my goals. I strive to be on top at everything I do.” – Matt Conte

University of NorTH CAROLINA

Age: 17 Height: 6’0” Weight: 170 lbs. Position: Quarterback/Defensive back

M

ainland High School has a history of producing extraordinary athletes, and Greg Ross is no exception. He is the son of former college quarterback Greg Ross, Sr., who is also a college coach. Last season, Greg passed for 24 touchdowns with only six interceptions (81 percent efficiency) and rushed for 445 yards. His passing rate thus far is outstanding. With 49 attempts, he has completed 33 passes with only one interception, and accumulated 501 yards and eight touchdowns through the air. Greg leads by example, has great field vision, target accuracy and escape ability. He reads the option like no other, and his arm is exceptionally strong, which allows for great velocity. Ross led his team to an undefeated season and into the regional finals. Most importantly, he has the total respect of his teammates and coaches. Greg is a D-I prospect and quite possibly one of the best quarterbacks in Florida. In the right system, Greg will be a tremendous college quarterback.

GREG ROSS

MAINLAND HIGH SCHOOL, Daytona Beach

Why he deserves to be in the Limelight: “I deserve to be in the limelight because God has given me the talent He felt I needed to show everybody. He blessed me with the ability to come out and play hard. He also gave me the chance to come to this great school and follow in the footsteps of all the other great athletes who came before me.” – Greg Ross

Age: 18 Height: 5’8’’ Weight: 185 lbs.

A

t the age of 18, Marc Davis is ready to take the world of motorsports by storm. Taken under the wing of the Joe Gibbs Racing program, Davis has had the opportunity to show the racing world what he’s about. In 2006, Davis won his first race at Hickory, which also made him the second African-American to do so. Using this finish as a platform, Davis entered NASCAR’s Camping World Series East division, a northeastern touring series consisting of 13 tracks. In 2007, Davis had seven top-10 finishes and five top-5 finishes. In the No. 18 car, he is racing toward his goal to drive in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series. On February 6th, 2008, Davis was recognized nationally when he was invited to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. This privilege is usually bestowed upon the Sprint Cup Series champion. A history-maker in his own right, Davis was requested in honor of Black History Month. Seemingly overnight, Davis has become the posterboy for diversity, but, while he is honored, Davis wants to be known not for his race, but how he races.

MARC DAVIS

NASCAR & ARCA RE/MAX CIRCUITS

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Why He Deserves To Be In The Limelight: “ NASCAR is the No. 1 spectator sport in America, having 17 of the top 20 highest attendance events.  I drive for Joe Gibbs Racing and I love the competition.  Watch for me in NASCAR as I drive my way to the top. Watch for me in G.O.A.T.” – Marc Davis


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OPEN MIC Compiled by John sankitts, Jr. Illustration by roman v. rusinov

SONGS

BARS

MEANING

ludacris Fuckin’ Or What?

But you acting like a rabbit how you cling to

His lady friend can’t get her hands off

them carrots.

his diamond jewelry.

lil Wayne Don’t Get It

It's probably on the Web, like I'm a damn

His info is linked up all over the

tarantula.

Internet.

Cassidy Crack

I was moving in all black with the toolies and all

He’s dressed in black, armed and

that.

ready to do a robbery.

Missy Elliott Ching-a-Ling

Cause the back so stacked it’s like sitting on a

She’s got a big, heavy ass that looks

jack.

like it’s jacked up on a car jack.

Redman What U Lookin’ 4

I get petrified every time I see the man throw the

He gets scared when the police flash

lights on (whoop whoop).

the lights on behind him.

Ice Cube Really Doe Fabolous Paper Touching Red Café Moving Out

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I’m shady with da .380 old school diploma.

He handles his business with his street smarts and a 9mm pistol.

Curves on her hip make me wanna black berry

Sexy, voluptuous lady he wants to call

her.

on his BlackBerry cell phone.

With the poppies I got credit like Visa.

The Latino dealers front him narcotics.


INTERPRETATIONS

Alex Roman, Bridgeport, CT

Whoever he’s talking to don’t wanna let go of his diamonds.

Andrew Lewis, Tampa, FL

You like diamonds a lot.

Jacob Walker, Raleigh, NC

He’s like all over the ‘Net.

Shevon Jackson, Orlando, FL

His music is all over the World Wide Web.

Kenesha Smith, Miami, FL

He’s driving a black car with a gun.

Joseph White, Chicago, IL

He’s making moves in the night with his tools.

Sonia Rodriguez, San Juan, PR

Her butt is so high it’s like on a tow truck.

Devonte Anderson, Compton, CA

Her ass is so thick you may need a jack to hold it up.

William Miller, Orlando, FL

That means the popo is behind him.

Niesha Young, Atlanta, GA

He’s scared when they put a spotlight on him.

Tyrell Moore, Seattle, WA

He nasty with his .380 gun.

Olivia Lopez, Orlando, FL

He has a 3.8 GPA?

Julius Popolous, Brooklyn, NY

He wants to put berries and cream all over her and lick it off.

Mike Seguin, Alhambra, CA

He wants to send a text to a fly girl?

Chloe Scott, Naples, FL

He gets free marijuana from the Latinos?

Jose Garcia, Queens, NY

He can score with the Spanish cats for frizo.

OPEN MIC IS A DECIPHERING OF SOME OF THE TOP LYRICISTS’ LYRICS AND INTERPRETATIONS FROM THEIR BIGGEST FANS.

PARTICIPANTS

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HEAVYHITTER ISSUE #3

LL COOL J

Words John Sankitts, Jr.

MR. LIVING LEGEND COOL JAMES Phenomenon. One of Canibus’ verses was, “L, is that a mic on your arm? Let me borrow that.” Canibus alleged that it was his own way of showing respect to the rap veteran. When LL heard the rhyme, however, he got offended and turned the collaboration into a battle record. He contested the request and turned from ladies man to man killer with his diabolical, gritty response to the young apprentice. This somewhat closed the book on Canibus’ career, making it hard for him to be a commercial success. Canibus did retaliate equally hard with his single “Second Round K.O.,” bringing to light some content from LL’s book that made his diss seem razor sharp. LL’s forceful response with “The Ripper Strikes Back” morphed a verse into a samurai sword – slicing and dicing Canibus into a puree. This isn’t the first time he’s been attacked. He eradicated Kool Mo Dee, MC Hammer and Ice T in a record called “To Da Break of Dawn,” in which one of his best lyrical offenses was too hot to handle. LL Cool J is an intelligent, crafty artist who would do a collabo record with an R&B supergroup that would make a buzz and cheddar, while simultaneously dropping his album as the hit was climbing the charts.

I

t’s blistering hot outside and I have the wrench to turn the fire hydrant on in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. As my cousin pulls up, he has his outrageous stereo system bumping “Back Seat (Of My Jeep)” from LL Cool J’s album 14 Shots to the Dome. It was the jam that started that block party off and all the ladies got wet. Born James Todd Smith in 1968 in St. Albans, Queens, cultural icon LL Cool J (Ladies Love Cool James) is an American-born rap artist, maverick and prodigy of reinvention. He’s been consistent with unforgettable hits and has been doing this for 24 years. LL Cool J puts a capital “L” in longevity; the album Radio alone can stand the test of time as one of Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums of all time. There have been many rap artists out there who have dissed Mr. Smith ‘cause he’s not your conventional, rough-and-rugged, street-thug rapper – something he really doesn’t claim to be. Still, with all the hating that’s going on, his credibility speaks for itself.

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Ok, so he doesn’t rhyme about how many drugs he has sold, the platinum chains he has, or how many years he spent in prison. Instead, he chooses to let the mic absorb his lyrical arsenal, something that has built his credibility and longevity. He’s a ladies’ man and may even be the inventor of the rap ballads he’s been doing well since the ‘80s (and even recently with the scorching single “Baby”). His R&B collaborations and signature classics have had so much mass appeal that they have stamped him as one of the Greatest Of All Time. You can’t compare to being signed to the same record label for 22 years, numerous movies, a sitcom, a clothing line, four books and the perfect image-marketing apparatus in the industry – his body. He has enough classics and collabos with elite R&B singers to create his own Billboard chart. But even with all that success, there are haters, naysayers and critics who are always trying to pull his card. An amateur rapper named Canibus was asked to kick a verse on LL’s “4,3,2,1” track with Method Man, DMX, and Redman from LL’s 1997 album

With numerous platinum albums, and a new album in rotation, can we please top him with the G.O.A.T. crown? Of course we can. Well, the haters, the less fortunate and the diminutive career wanksters out there would say otherwise. They’re probably more like, “He’s not gangster,” “He got no real skills,” his only fans are “fans that wear high heels.” Well, if that’s true, his career has been on top for over twenty years and he still has the ability to reform and transform with enough classics to open a music museum. Mr. Smith met every genre with something new to offer. Where one will be president of a record label and stifle other artists into a void, LL relatively declines that 9-to-5 position to be what he is – an artist that’s always evolving and exploiting new artistic avenues. It’s now 2009, and LL has a new critically acclaimed album, Exit 13, in which he claims has some of his best work to date. He also has a humble clothing line geared to his fans and regular hip-hop heads that want to embrace the hip-hop fashion style but want an affordable price tag. With Sears as his main retail distributor, it’s a clever move because Sears is

worldwide and has a long, successful track record as a multi-goods retailer. With these types of business decisions being implemented, it’s apparent that Mr. Smith is not your average gangster, ex-drug dealing, jail-bid having, case-catching rapper. Instead, he is a shrewd pupil of the game that has evolved into an iconic figure. He has embraced what success can do for you; LL Cool J has had public, as well as personal, creative and monetary success throughout his illustrious career, something that few hip-hop artists can match. The G.O.A.T. recently spoke to DJ Angie Martinez and expressed that he has gotten to a plateau – where he can enjoy the benefits and the impact his music has brought to his fans. He also offered some advice to his haters saying, “We got to be careful that before we start to compare ourselves to others, we must make a benchmark for ourselves.” Now, there’s a lot of talent out there, and if you have been doing this as long as LL has, you would be demanding respect. LL’s lyrical assassination approach puts all MCs to sleep, even those with restaurants, basketball teams, liquor brands, and those wannabe gangster rappers wearing 3-pound, 10-carat jewelry, that walk around with 50 undercover cops posing as body guards with 30 other “yes men” in their entourage. LL chooses to walk around solo, with a smile on his face all the way to the bank. LL’s business regimen and lyrical swagger are like no other and are untouchable when compared to his industry colleagues. Now you may say I’m all on Mr. Smith’s gonads, but the truth is that he’s a legendary cultural icon that has risen up decade after decade to stay relevant and has the credibility, music and image to back it up. Although LL has had his share of personal demons and setbacks, he’s always found a way for his fans to know that he was still tangible and still around. His departure from Def Jam will just bring an end to this era; with his album Exit 13 (signifying his 13 albums), he’s sure to leave future emcees something to cling to. As for it being his last album, it’s still questionable. With his deep passion for the game, I don’t think he can walk away without continuing to throw some veteran punches to the competition. Therefore, leave this happily married father of four, business man, hip-hop artist, accomplished actor, sitcom star, clothing-line creator, four-book authoring, lip licking, microphone-tattoo having, fitness guru, rap supastar, out-of-your-league artist absent from your quick, claim-to-fame, 16-bar-diss or else you’ll be the next victim to get your career stitched up. LL Cool J will no doubt go down in the music industry as one of the G.O.A.T.s, especially when we can’t live without our radio.


“

We got to be careful that before we start to compare ourselves to others, we must make a benchmark for ourselves.

�

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WAkING THE SLEEPING GIANTS TWO yEARS AGO, THE NEW yORk GIANTS SHOCkED THE WORLD – CAN THEy DO IT AGAIN? Words Jonnine Yarbrough

I

n 2005, they finished first in the NFC East, with a record of 11-5, but lost to the Carolina Panthers in the first round of the playoffs. Just a year later, the Giants went 8-8, which again was enough to get them to the playoffs, where they lost by a field goal to the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round. It seemed that, no matter how hard the Big Blue Wrecking Crew played all season long, they just couldn’t make it over the playoff hump into the Super Bowl … until 2007. the ’07 season was a real Cinderella story for the G-Men. to many, the 2007 season would seemingly be like all the others, as the Giants suffered horrible losses to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 and the Green Bay Packers in Week 2. But in Week 3, something changed. When the Giants stepped onto FedEx Field to face off against Clinton Portis and the Washington redskins, no one expected that would be the day the Big Blue would make their turnaround. the game started off slowly, but in the third quarter, quarterback Eli Manning threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Plaxico Burress. this play seemed to spark something within the Giants, as both the offensive and defensive lines contributed to the 24-17 defeat of the redskins. From Week 3 on, the Giants seemed to be unstoppable, crushing every opponent by 10 or more points. though the Giants ran into several hurdles during the season, including the seemingly undefeatable Cowboys, the losses still

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weren’t enough to throw the Giants off of their newfound groove. In the final game of the season, the Giants attempted to do what every other team could not – defeat the New England Patriots. the Giants put forth a valiant effort, even giving the Pats their largest deficit of the season in the third quarter, but fell short, losing by only three points. With their regular season ending at 10-6, the Giants had done enough to take a Wild Card slot against the tampa Bay Buccaneers. After defeating the Bucs, the Giants moved on to face Green Bay again – this time for the NFC Championship. In the -1 degree weather, many teams would have been at a disadvantage. the Giants, however, were unfazed, as they kept the game close and entered into overtime to defeat the Packers, 23-20. By now, most were in complete disbelief, not only because the Giants had defeated the second-seeded Packers on their home turf, but also because this win meant one thing – for the first time in seven years, the New York Giants were going to the Super Bowl. A majority of the NFL’s spectators felt they knew what the outcome of the game would be, but Giants fans knew better. G-Men supporters were on the edge of their seats as their team, again, prepared to show everyone else in the league how to take down an undefeated team. the game was low scoring, as the defensive lines of both teams were hard at work. By halftime, New England was up 7-3. the fourth quarter, however, was when

the show really began. With 11 minutes left in the game, Eli Manning proved that he was more than just “Peyton’s little brother,” throwing passes with incredible accuracy. At two minutes, New England was up, 14-10 and everyone knew the Giants needed a major play to turn things around … but no one could have predicted what happened next. After a failed interception for the Pats, the Big Blue were set up on their own 44-yard line with 1:15 remaining. on the snap, Eli did a quick spin move to evade a sack and gunned a 32-yard pass to David tyree who, in the midst of rodney Harrison’s tight coverage, caught the ball against his helmet and held on as he was taken down. Momentum remained high as Manning shot a 13-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress to beat the previously undefeated New England Patriots, 17-14, in what has been called one of the biggest upsets in football history. According to Giants co-owner, John Mara, the game was “the greatest victory in the history of this franchise, without question.” the Super Bowl seemed to be the spark that the Giants needed to get going. In the 2008 season, they have been unstoppable. After clenching the No. 1 seed in the NFC and gaining home-field advantage for the playoffs, the Giants finished out their regular season at 12-4. Now that the sleeping Giants have been awakened, all eyes are on them to see if they can pull another upset and defend their title as the Super Bowl Champions.


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ART & CULTURE REINVENTION

DISTORTED

URBAN REALISM

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roundbreaking artist Justin BUA is internationally known for his bestselling collection of fine art posters --The DJ being one of the most popular prints of all time. Born in 1968 in NYC’s untamed Upper West Side and raised between Manhattan and East Flatbush, Brooklyn, BUA was fascinated by the raw, visceral street life of the city. He attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Performing Arts and complemented his education on the streets by writing graffiti and performing worldwide with breakdancing crews. BUA went on to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California where he earned a BFA in Illustration. Starting in the world of commercial art, BUA designed and illustrated myriad projects, from skateboards and CD covers to advertising campaigns. He developed the look and feel of the opening sequence for MTV’s Lyricist Lounge Show, EA Sports video games NBA Street and NFL Street, and the world of Slum Village’s award winning music video “Tainted” among others. He designed the BUA line of apparel and a limited edition shoe line with PF Flyers that sold out completely. Currently, he teaches figure drawing at the University of Southern California, while continuing to be a

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Art Justin Bua Title “FM Jerkins”

leading innovator in both the fine and commercial art worlds. BUA’s energetic and vocal worldwide fan base ranges from former presidents, actors, musicians, professional athletes, and dancers, to street kids and art connoisseurs. In his first book, The Beat of Urban Art, BUA lays out his unique vision, melding urban rhythms, graffiti, and classical art training. This visually arresting book is about his life, his work, and the birth of hip-hop. As we follow BUA through his turbulent youth, navigating the streets and underground worlds of the urban jungle, we recognize the powerful evolution of BUA’s distinct style—“Distorted Urban Realism.” Following in the footsteps of the great masters, BUA represents the lives of both the revered and the marginalized, the heroes and the underdogs of his time—New York City during the 1970s and ’80s. With an autobiographical narrative illustrated with photographs, drawings, sketches, studies, and explanations of how many of his paintings were created, The Beat of Urban Art takes you into the head of the modern-day Toulouse-Lautrec. For more on Justin Bua visit:

JUSTINBUA.COM


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5 GREATEST SONGS OF ALL TIME

PICKED BY DJ NASTY

(AKA The Groovin’ Cuban AKA Nasty Beatmakers AKA Big Dawg Pitbulls AKA DTP)

5.

NOTORIOUS B.I.G. “ONE MORE CHANCE”

Album: Ready to Die

Written By: Notorious B.I.G.

Original Release Date: Sep. 13, 1994

Rashad Smith

ARTIST: Notorious B.I.G.

Label: Bad Boy Records

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ne More Chance” was the third track on The Notorious B.I.G.’s debut album, Ready to Die, which was recorded in Hit Factory recording studios in New York and released in 1994. The song was then released as a single on June 9, 1995. The sexually explicit hip-hop ballad hit the airwaves and became an instant

Produced By: Sean “Puffy” Combs &

hit. The song featured additional vocals by Notorious B.I.G.’s future wife, Faith Evans and Mary J. Blige. A sample of DeBarge’s “Stay With Me” was also used. The song was such a success that a remix version of the song was released a year later, which not only brought back Evans and Mary J., but also had vocals by Bad Boy’s female group, Total.

4. 3. 2. 1.

LIL WAYNE

“I’M ME (MICHAEL PHELPS ANTHEM)”

ERIC B & RAKIM “ERIC B IS PRESIDENT”

SNOOP DOGG “GIN & JUICE”

DRE & SNOOP “DEEP COVER”

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DJ OnPoint offers 8 tips on

how to survive

in the music industry

1. Patience: Patience is a virtue ... Nothing in this business is going to happen overnight. As long as you keep doing what you’re supposed to do, you’re good. It’ll happen when it’s supposed to, not when you think it should. 2. Persistence: You can’t get discouraged if someone tells you “no.” Keep coming back with something better until you hear “yes.” You have to have a thick skin in this business. However, be careful – there is definitely a fine line between persistence and being annoying! 3. Consistency: Consistency is big whether you’re an artist, DJ, aspiring exec or whatever. With anything you do, you must be consistent with it. As an artist, especially in this day and age, if you disappear for too long it’s hard to come back. The only way to get hot in this game is to build momentum. Momentum can’t exist if you don’t have consistency! 4. Quality over Quantity: In my opinion, you should never sacrifice quality for quantity. For example, as a DJ I’d much rather drop 10 mixtapes in one year and have them all be considered hot, as opposed to me dropping 30 mixtapes and only 10 being considered hot. Even as an artist, let’s say you’re working on an album or mixtape and you have 25 tracks. If 16 of them are dope and 9 are just ok, get rid of those 9 and just keep the 16 bangers. Get rid of the excess fat! 5. Network: You have to be sociable: keep yourself out on the scene and in the loop. Go to as many events as possible. Meet as many people as you can. The more people you know, the better. Of course I know you’ve heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” 6. Resourceful: You have to be able to use who and what is around you to your advantage. What is the purpose of networking if you don’t utilize your resources?! 7. You’re only as strong as your team: You cannot do it all by yourself; you need a team. However, your team has to consist of people who share a common goal and have the same hunger, if not more, than yourself. This kind of goes hand and hand with being resourceful. 8. Market yourself: You have to know how to keep yourself out there and visible. Be able to create a brand!

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GOOD LIFE EXPERIENCE

CHAMPIONS OF THE GOOD LIFE

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Photos Harold lett


GOOD LIFE EXPEIRIENCE LEGENTS OF THE GOOD LIFE

Photos Harold lett

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PLIES’ CAR SHOW

AT THE HIP-HOP SODA SHOP

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Photos Harold lett & John sankitts, Jr.


DIMONDS AND PEARLS CELEBRITY GALA

Photos Harold lett

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ESPN THE MAGAZINE NEXT BIG WEEKEND

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Photos John sankitts, Jr.


Photos Rajah Cooper & John Sankitts, Jr.

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UNDER THE VEIL SUPERBOWL PARTY 2 WITH NELLY AND ANTONIO TARVER

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Photos Harold lett


NFL EXPERIENCE

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YOU’VE SEEN ‘EM FIRST

Words John Sankitts, Jr.

BALI

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tand up Orlando! We have a winner. Rap artist Bali (McClyndon Randolph), originally from an impoverished, crime-ridden part of Fort Pierce, is now planted in Orlando, FL. He has grinded his way through adversity, landed a few good collabos, and gotten signed to record label Trak-N-Field Entertainment, which fills the air waves with bangers. With something to prove, Bali comes running out the gate like a thoroughbred, fueled by The Runners, the hitmaking dual production team and new record label owners. Bali’s wordplay and hooks are consistent and catchy but still smooth in their delivery. Bali flows with confidence, along with that “stunt-on-‘em” attitude, on his single “Everywhere Ya Boy Go,” produced – of course – by The Runners. We asked who some of his influences are and he answered with “Jay-Z and Snoop for their longevity, T.I. and Kanye for keeping it consistent, along

with Rick Ross and Jeezy for the grind they put to get there.” With all these examples to pull from, he’s sure to keep it hot, be in the game for a long time, and keep his grinding in full effect. Bali, whose name is as unique as the artist himself, says “There’s a lot of talent here in Orlando, but it takes the DJs and the city itself to support these artists.” Bali’s metaphors and versatile lyrical arsenal will definitely be a contribution to the hip-hop movement, not to mention the humanitarian contributions he’s involved with. He’s definitely a force to be reckoned with. Keep a look out for this talented, aggressive, silver-tongued lyricist and don’t be surprised if this next phenom is dropping bars on every club banger. “Everywhere ya boy go, dough I’m gonna get it.”

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alk about a pack of hungry wolves – Tampa’s Latin League is just that. Composed of members Sal, F2, D-Nero and Bandido, they will stun the hip-hop/reggaeton community like Kimbo losing his last fight. Their whole camp has an array of Latino nationalities from countries like Cuba, Panama, Peru, Honduras, Uruguay and Puerto Rico. This diverse, predominantly Latino clique (Sal is of Arab decent and cousin of DJ Khaled) is reeling out an electric, soulful, lyrically diverse kaleidoscope of music with Latin undertones that will make the most thuggish gangster bob his head. They linked up by running into each other at events and shows, then decided that they should come together to form Latin League. Their sound pulls from various influences, ranging from Puerto Rico’s King of Salsa Hector Lavoe, Willie Colon, and El General to hip-hop elites like Timbaland, Big Pun, Dr. Dre and Pharrell. Fusing hip-hop, reggaeton, dancehall and salsa, their sound is rhythmic, clean, distinctive and all in unison. Don’t get it twisted, they can spit fire in English, Spanish, and Arabic, and their records reflect that versatility. The members of this humble, yet driven squad all have day jobs but spend every free nanosecond with their music. They are set to go on tour in Texas and countries like Mexico, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic.

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With their eyes on the prize and a few big names attached, they’re sure to charm your ears with something new and hypnotic. Keep a look out for this talented, versatile set of soldiers sure to be in the major leagues of hip-hop. Oh, and by the way guys, say hello to Captain Castillo in Puerto Plata, DR, for me … and please get my watch back.


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he beat cut, so what, I’m still rhyming.” Just had to start off with the idiosyncratic rhyming from the shrewd MC Vic D, a Universal Records signee. “[Erick] Sermon was lost in Queens and found a diamond,” is a bar which states his claim to fame. Raw with it and very clever with his lingo, this Southside Queen’s native has a lot to prove, as his predecessors left big shoes to fill. Vic gets right down to biz, dropping bars like Snickers with Rick Ross on the record “Go Hard,” showing how adaptable he is. He has worked with some A-listers, like Weezy on the “Hey Lil Mama” remix and Rick Ross on the “Go Hard” joint, and the list is sure to escalate to the untouchables. Equipped with an arsenal of swagger and a signature style, he has Southside Queens on high alert, not on that goon, 50 Cent tip, but more on the crafty, slick-tongued, metaphoric, money-making chatter. He also has legendary Erick Sermon, second half of the EPMD duo, on the producing team just to add the needed iconic sound that is linked with success. Vic chooses his tracks like a grand prix racer chooses his tires, with a keen ear for head bobbing, foot stomping, body bouncing music. His mixtape T.O.S. (Talk of Southside) has an array of music and is a personification of the skills that have tattooed his name on the minds of many in the industry. With Def Squad behind him, his album will definitely be crammed with head bangers. Vic also has a business-minded persona, jumping into the clothing-line scene along with opening a daycare in 2009 with a business partner and mom dukes. He’s setting an example to other artists out there to invest their money and have back up plans for those days you find yourself cashing food stamps for money again. So stay tuned for a prominent album oozing out of his label soon.

VIC D

B

rooklyn never ceases to amaze us with hungry hip-hop vultures that eat up any chance to be heard. Skyzoo was born Gregory Skyler Taylor. Rapping since the age of 9, this Bedford-Stuyvesant native is becoming a threat to lyricist wannabes. His wordplay is like a puzzle that fits picture-perfect with a bouncy track hitting in the background. Named one of the Top 10 MCs Alive by NY’s Hot 97, and winner of the UMA Lyricist of the Year award, he’s already developing a buzz in the hip-hop community. Without the use of gimmicks, he comes to us transparent in his demeanor and in his lyrics. He’s real with his image and is very adamant on being real in the game. Mixtapes are the main vehicle used to get his name out there. “Mixtapes are extremely essential. They are a part of the foundation of our culture as far as hip-hop is concerned,” he explained. He praises the mixtape, but also fuses that platform with digital outlets like MySpace and YouTube. Skyzoo was close to the late J Dilla, who was one of his biggest inspirations and favorite producer. He gave a tribute to him with a smooth delivery on a record called “Sky’s Last Donut.” Working with producer 9th Wonder helped unleash his creative flow, and in 2006, he released his critically acclaimed EP, Present Cloud 9: the 3 Day High, which was made in three days. He’s working on his first full-length album, The Salvation, which will be released soon. The sky’s the limit for this ultramodern MC that will about-face anyone who thinks he can’t be mainstream, with his clever swag and prolific, prophetic-like storytelling. He is sure to get his name etched on plenty of awards and become another one of Brooklyn’s self-made, hip-hop phenoms.

SKYZOO

R

eally Doe! All MCs disperse from the stage and exit to the rear, Chi-Town’s new lyrical prodigy has made his entrance. Put Kanye, Lupe and Q-Tip in a blender and you’ll get Really Doe, a frosty MC out of the Windy City. The hum is that this homegrown artist is making music with hip-hop’s supastar Kanye West on West’s record label, G.O.O.D. Music Inc. RD linked up with Kanye through a high school friend when they were teenagers, and they have been good friends ever since. You can hear for yourself, with his provoking swag and metamorphic bars that will have you saying “Damn!” on the collaborative single “Disperse” with fellow labelmate GLC. Really Doe, a crafty MC, released his single “Plastic” through iTunes to keep his fans at ease and focused. He also wanted to let the world know that he’s still collaborating with West and will be dropping a scorching hot album called First Impression in the first quarter of 2009. RD confidently said, “You can expect a classic album from me. When you talk about rap or music, my name will be brought up throughout the years.” You will definitely need your plastic when purchasing the album that’s sure to be a classic. Well, if Kanye has something to do with it, it better be.

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THE PICASSO OF HIP-HOP “The Abstract moves us once again into the light of reinventiveness” Words John sankitts, Jr.

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n this day and age, you must be able to reinvent and stay unsullied; old school is the new school nowadays, and if you look out there, everything that was, is now. Q-tip (born Jonathan Davis), the front man of the critically acclaimed, socially conscious music group A tribe Called Quest, is just that – an embodiment of reinvention. tip aka “Kamaal the Abstract,” is coming back new, though it’s not like he was ever old. Instead, he’s like a caterpillar – creating, renewing, reinventing, perfecting and when ready, he re-enters the hip-hop arena like a colorful butterfly that flies into the air with some new sound of music, and a new message. the “Abstract,” who reps Queens, is one hard-working entertainer; he has an impressive collaborative resume,

cus and to reshuffle his layers of artistry and his craft, to be perceived in a different way, in a way not initially done. With his newest album, The Renaissance, Q-tip aims to take his fans in the direction of an awakening, of accepting change, of music thatʼs enriched with innovation. this artist feels that always being on tour is an important asset, a vital tool in reaching out to his fans and having his music be tangible. If youʼve ever seen him perform, youʼll agree that his performance on stage, with his live band, is similar to Pavarotti belting out his strong, omnipresent, emotional notes. Q-tip has a strong stage presence with a hip-hop bounce in his heels, sweating profusely, with his heart and soul being absorbed through the mic – all with the agenda of wooing and pleas-

this hip-hop luminary has gotten the green card to be able to bless his fans with an embodiment of work that will have them surprisingly content. Q-tip is really one of those artists that define longevity; his raspy, melodious voice is so distinctive that there’s no second guessing when you hear his drop on another artist’s single. In this scenario, The Renaissance offers a universal message, with a great jazzy, soulful vocalization that’s complimented by old school funk, strong bass lines and quality piano arrangements. Working with the late J Dilla’s golden touch, you can expect it to have an eclectic mix of jazz, electronica, and classic r&B sounds that would leave you convinced that Kamaal the Abstract is definitely back. This time, he has more control over the production, content

the diverse and toe-tapping, jazzy, r&B sound that makes his fans as loyal as they are. the Abstract will continue to make and sell great records and, among other things, continue to do collabos with hip-hop and R&B music elites. With over fifty featured appearances with other artists, an illustrious past with A tribe Called Quest era, and several films under his belt, this iconic MC will definitely be considered one the hardest and most influential, working entertainers in the music industry. A resident of Englewood Cliffs, NJ, he stays close to the tri-State region that has formed so much of his artistic success. this brilliant artist is just too funky; he is jazzy and full of life, although he is as simple and as

“Everyone brings something new to the table … in which you can learn from … It helps prepare you for different styles, teaches and informs you about different approaches to being creative.”

working with an array of artists from the Jungle Brothers to Lupe Fiasco. Tip addressed us on the benefits of collaborating with many artists and said, “Everyone brings something new to the table … in which you can learn from … It helps prepare you for different styles, teaches and informs you about different approaches to being creative.” reinvention to Q-tip is to always be universal, to have the ability to refo-

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ing his fans. Heʼs definitely quite the showman.

and sports an impressive attitude and collection of soulful, classic music.

The “Abstract Poet” is definitely an individualist with his jazz-influenced records. When asked who some of his favorite and most influential jazz musicians are, he included John Coltrane, Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock, and Miles Davis from a long list of greats. He also added that there will always be a jazz undertone in his music because “he loves it so much and respects it … and it’s the last, true American-bred art of music.”

Although the jazzy format is toned down in this attempt, it sure comes together effortlessly, making this album an incarnation of the old school, bombastic funk that evokes memories of A tribe Called Quest; a sound that Q-tip virtually gave birth to all those years ago. Although he takes some risks with The Renaissance, this nostalgic icon will forever be remembered as the front man of the tribe, and this new album will crown him as a true renaissance man and solidify his bequest and relevant power. Hopefully corporate, bureaucratic stupidity will not affect the shear brilliance the album will bring to his fans.

It’s been nine years since his last solo album, and with his latest effort he has gotten great reviews and is making a big statement in the industry. this is a testament to the fact that he’s been in the game for a few decades and is still evolving, making records, is still visible, and is simultaneously tattooing his presence in the music realm.

the hip-hop industry should really be thankful to have this creative, alwaysevolving artist that reinvents, has staying power, and continues to bring forth

down-to-earth as anyone else. When not in the spotlight, he enjoys reading, cooking and a lot of relaxing when not on tour. He’s still able to be on magazine covers, in movies, and even endorse other kinds of music, decades after spitting those first bars with Phife Dawg (“Can I Kick It?”). He has an arsenal of classically arranged hits from which he can still rock any party when the fire is dimming. The Renaissance is indeed a selfproclaiming title that’s sure to grasp the ear and fill it with harmonious, funky, futuristic, foreign beats, as well as make a statement to the industry that age doesn’t matter, nor does being different and bold enough to go where your average artist wont. Be prepared to hear more of this painter-of-music genius and don’t count him out yet ‘cause this musical brother can still kick it, “Yes He Can.”


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respect da grind Interview Jonnine Yarbrough

From tricks to kicks, Terry Kennedy is doing it all

I

n an environment where gang activity and violence are the norm, Terry Kennedy found escape in an activity that was not typical for his neighborhood – skateboarding. At the age of 23, Terry Kennedy and his crew have taken the sport by storm, reinventing the image of the skating world.

Skateboarding has gained an undeniable presence in hip-hop. How do you feel you’ve contributed to that success? I think by just staying true to who I was. I’m a big music fan. I grew up in a household that was big on hip-hop. So I just kept my same attitude, my same upbringing. So I think it just went hand-in-hand, because I still looked like the normal, typical kid out the neighborhood, but I just skateboard, you know? How does it feel to participate in a sport that is dominated by white skaters (in a commercial sense)? What’s so crazy about that, dude, is like, that’s the first thing I ever did. I always tell people when I interview like, that was the first community I ever went around and was actually accepted. I played football and basketball and all that stuff in high school, but I was smaller then, so I wasn’t accepted. It was like “Oh you ain’t fast enough” or “Oh you ain’t got enough weight.” I came into the situation with dirty shoes on, dirty threads and everybody was just like “Hey, let’s skate.” It wasn’t nothin’ like, “Oh, this dude look outta the ordinary.” It was real cool. How do you view African-Americans in skating? Dude, they’re talented man. It’s a lot of young dudes that’s under me that are African-American that are sponsored by a couple of companies that I’m on, and those dudes, the way they progressed, man, it’s amazing. Like when I go back to my neighborhood in Long Beach, I see the kids in the neighborhood skating, and … it’s crazy. Because, like, I’ll say, “Yo, let me see a kickflip,” and they kickflip and I’m like “Damn!” It’s

definitely growing at a rapid speed. It’s amazing to go back and see stuff like that – kids going in the right direction and at the same time its cool. So many girls call me sexy now just off the simple fact that I skate, you know? [laughs] It’s crazy … kids love it because it makes you feel good about yourself. You’re not, like, abandoned with the situation, like when I came through. Now you can wear it like a badge of honor. You got your little board, and you do what you do and people accept it. That’s an overall blessing. Do you think that Team Ice Cream had a major role in commercial skating? Oh, heck yeah man, hands down. To this day, I always thank Pharrell. I just saw him just a few days ago, actually. And I appreciate that dude, because he was the one that helped us bring the situation we had to a bigger and better plateau. It was only like respected in the white communities, like the commercial side of things – not the inner cities and the kids that really do it. So he helped broadcast our talents in a way that would have our community accept it and be down for it. Like, “Damn! They travel, and they got chains and this and that.” It’s crazy because it appeals to our people and paints that picture. That’s why, to this day, I always say I love that dude to death. He’s like my big brother and I respect everything he’s done for us. And he caught a lot of bullshit behind it and he kept with it. And that shows his dedication to it. A lot of people in the skate community were hating on him and hating on me throughout the situation because it was like “What’s going on?” We caught a lot of wrap behind it. Like, when the video came out and people saw it, the press stuff and everything, and they accepted it, [I was] like “Whoa, I didn’t know it was that real.” It was monumental. It was fun … it was really fun.

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“Now when I go home, those same dudes that were going hard on me go out there and buy my board and my shoes and they skate, so it’s a blessing.” Did your environment play a major role in your decision to skate? Not for the better side of it. Long story short – growing up, I used to have to hide my board at my friend’s house and put my skate shoes in my backpack when I went through my neighborhood. Because, like, all my brothers gangbanged and all that crazy stuff, so I guess the fact that I wanted to skate made our community look weak. I don’t know what the fuck it was, but them niggas used to always be on me when they saw me with a board … It’s crazy though, man, because now when I go home, those same dudes that were going hard on me go out there and buy my board and my shoes and they skate, so it’s a blessing. I’ve been shot behind it and all that crazy stuff. But I’m here, and I’m blessed. And everything’s smooth. Do you have a moment that you consider to be the highlight of your career so far? Yeah … [laughing]. I tripped out because I’m in the Vibe magazine with Obama. That shit was like … I didn’t even know. I was on the Baker Tour in Alabama. I was at 7-11 and the Vibe cover had him on there, and I picked it up and I was flipping through it, and they had me in there talking about how I was one of the main support-

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ers that helped push [Barack Obama]. I’m like “Damn!” because that’s crazy, just to even have your name next to Barack Obama’s. I mean, that shit blew my grandma back! My grandma, she’s a big fan of his, and she was like “Damn, boy!” I mean, I don’t know … they asked me a quote and I spray painted his name on my board so when I skate I look down at it and I get more inspiration. Anytime I feel like I can’t do something, I just look down at my board and see “Obama,” then I go hard. But it tripped me out because … to be in there and speak on that man’s behalf … that was crazy. What’s your signature move? Mostly “fakie” tricks … I like switching up the grinds, too. Talk a little bit about [your rap group/brand] Fly Society and the upcoming projects. Yeah! The Fly Society thing is going well; we’ve got a couple of offers on the table, so hopefully we seal one of these deals. We’re looking to push the album out like next year – summer. Around the same time as my shoe [release] because my shoe comes out on Supra in March of next year, so we’re trying to keep it around that. We have the clothing line that we did – Fly Society Apparel through Kr3w Clothing – my other clothing line. It’ll

be out spring of ’09. And that’s it. I mean, the music and all that has been good and we’ve been staying busy and focused. Who are the other members of Fly Society? Well, it’s actually like a whole big movement. It’s the skateboarding, the rapping, the fashion … it’s just ripped and mixed and it’s like all one world. There’s a lot of us. What is your signature style of dress? I only wear the stuff I’m endorsed by. But, like, I don’t wear my clothes big, I keep them slim. Nice and neat, because I don’t like baggy clothes. I hate looking down at my jeans and seeing them shits just drooping all over my shoes … when I’m skating. That shit is just not cool. That’s not me. I just keep it really basic, clean. That’s it. But I see everybody dressing like skaters, rockin’ Supras and stuff, that’s crazy. That’s powerful. What is one time in your career that you reinvented yourself? Yeah, from my childhood to growing up and getting sponsored. Like when I first got sponsored, I didn’t take it seriously. I was still hanging around and being a knucklehead, because I got sponsored in like 9th grade. I was

just making a couple of dollars and I bought a few clothes and started acting a fool. But then, you know I got shot, right? So after that, it made me wise up a lot. But before, I was so bad! I was bad … I was a terrible littleass dude from Long Beach. I was just a fuckin’ knucklehead. A bad little peasy-head motherfucker man. But then I got around Pharrell and those guys, and they showed me how to straighten up my business and stuff in a dope manner. Who are your picks for the top 5 greatest athletes of all time? Michael Jordan, David Beckham … that dude is the boss. Kobe, Ken Griffey, Jr. Growing up, I used to love the Ken Griffey shoes, man. I never got a pair and I wanted them SO bad! My mom was not messing with it. Oh! Bruce Lee. I know he ain’t no athlete, but Bruce Lee is a fucking G, too, man. That dude was … whoo! Is there anything you’d like for the readers to know? Yeah, don’t forget to check out Sk8site.com. Go there and check out the latest footage of us just kickin’ it, hanging out, doing everyday stuff and just skating.


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HIGHLIGHTS ISSUE #3

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In Major League Baseball, there are off-season trades being made, deals being written out, and scandals being worked out. through the baseball mayhem, the league was able to come up with their American and National League Most valuable Players. the American League MvP is Boston red Sox second baseman, Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia hit 17 homeruns, had 83 rBIs, scored 118 runs, stole 20 bases and had a batting average of .326. In the National League, St. Louis Cardinals’ first baseman Albert Pujols won the honor of being the National League MvP. Pujols had a .357 batting average, had 116 rBIs, scored 100 runs, stole a whopping seven bases, and blasted off 37 homeruns.

NFL

HIGHLIGHT MOMENT OF THE MONTH SUPER bOWL XLII: UNDERDOGS SHOCk THE WORLD

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ndefeated throughout the majority of the season, the New England Patriots were clearly the fan favorite to win the 2007 Super Bowl. With new addition randy Moss as the Pats top receiver, New England was thought to be ready for their underdog opponent, the New York Giants. the Giants went into the game with a 10-6 record, compared to the 16-0 held by the Patriots. During the first half, there were only 10 points scored total. On a 63 yard, 16-play drive down the field that lasted almost 10 minutes, the Giants pulled off a field goal attempt. With nearly five minutes left in the first quarter, the Pats were able to put together a drive that capped the first half in rare Patriot form. Pass after pass they moved the ball down the field and finally, taking only three seconds off the clock of the second quarter, the Pats scored with a oneyard Maroney run. This is the first time in Super Bowl history that there were only two possessions in the first quarter of play. the second half is where things began to change as momentum was placed in the hands of the Giants. the third quarter was scoreless but early in the forth, with a march of 80 yards in a little less than four minutes and a short, five-yard pass to David Tyree, New York went up 10-7. Two possessions later for the Patriots and with a quick pass to randy Moss, the Patriots went back up 14-10. With two minutes and 42 seconds left on the clock, the Giants seemed determined to score as they received the ball and began a drive on their own 17-yard line. In the shotgun formation and with short passes here and there, the Giants were steadily moving down the field. On a sack-in-progress, Eli Manning pulled out of a crowd of Patriots defenders and flung the ball 32 yards down the middle of the field to David Tyree on the reception that made headlines around the world. An unorthodox pass, which seemed to stick to the helmet of tyree, surprised everyone in the stadium and those watching. the Giants were now first and ten with the end zone in clear sight. Sacked twice, now third and 11, Manning completed a pass to Steve Smith that put the Giants on the New England 13-yard line. A 13-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress put the Giants on top 17-14; it was up to the Giants defense to hold on to the lead. With three incomplete passes and a sack, the Patriots went four and out, and all that was needed was for Eli Manning to take a knee and make New York Giants Super Bowl history.

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Michael Huyghue, commissioner of the soon-to-exist United Football League, thinks the one-time NFL superstar Michael vick would be a prime star athlete for the UFL. Even though vick is working out his legal issues, many, like Huyghue, think he’s going to be ready to get back on the football field. Talk has also been made in the in NFL that there are a couple teams waiting for news that vick has been reinstated because of their interest in the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback.

Also in the NFL, players Kevin and Pat Williams (Minnesota vikings defensive linemen), Deuce McAllister (New orleans Saints running back), Charles Grant, Will Smith (New orleans Saints defensive linemen) and Brian Pittman (Houston texans long snapper) were suspended for four games (the last four of the season) for using diuretics and violating league anti-doping policy. If the player’s teams make the playoffs, they’ll be able to return to active status on the roster of their respective team. MLS On Nov. 23, the first MLS Cup was won by the Columbus Crew. though the New York red Bulls put up a very good fight, the Crew beat the Red Bulls 3-1. the Columbus Crew’s Guillermo Barros Schelotto was awarded the MLS Most valuable Player award. Schelotto recorded 19 assists and 7 goals for the season, helping the Crew finish with a 17-7-6 record. NCAA College football has brought many surprises, disappointments and thrills to its fans and followers. From unsuspecting coaches retiring to the big BCS question of who will be number one,

college football has given a lot to look forward to. Some would say it’s almost like watching an intense soap opera, except you’d just add in a good game or two. the biggest thing in college football seems to be the BCS polling, how it’s done, and why it’s even used. the battle from the teams competing for the NCAA championship and the controversy with the polling of each team has taken over college football. BCS polling is done partially by computer mathematical equations and by BCS board members. the undefeated Ball State Cardinals turned down their invitation to the Humanitarian Bowl to play against Boise State. Coincidently this bowl game is played on Boise State’s home field in Idaho. It is said that the reason behind Ball State declining this offer is this very fact. Playing such a big bowl game as the opposing away team, especially with the game being so far from their home campus would be a major disadvantage for Ball State and a win-win situation for Boise. NHL

the U.S. Junior team selected a couple top prospects for the team. James van riemsdyk and Colin Wilson were two of the 22 players picked to play for the National Junior team. In last year’s draft, the Flyers picked van riemsdyk second overall. He is a wing for New Hampshire and is tied for 11th place in points per game in the NCAA. Nashville chose Colin Wilson in this draft. He’s ranked second with the record of 20 points for Boston University. the National team will play in the 2009 World Junior Championships, which are being held in ottawa. Both of the men were on the team last year when they placed fourth. With three players being picked, the University of Minnesota has the highest number of players from its school on the Junior team. From these three players, Chad Fairchild was picked for a second year. During the ottawa Senators-Atlanta thrashers game, a man carrying beers to his seat tripped over a woman’s purse, fell over a couple people, then over the railing he went. Falling from the third level at Scotiabank Place, the man was rushed to the hospital and treated for lacerations. During the accident, it was reported that the man wasn’t drunk; it was just a misplacement of the feet. It was a 15-foot, straight-down drop from the third level to the first. This was the first incident like this in the stadium’s 13 years of existence.


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wOO-sAh

You A re The Greatest Of A ll Time

Words Ciana liu

T

he phrase “You are the greatest of all time” is a key point within a grand concept. This phrase holds many significant meanings if you take it apart slice by slice. This idea of one being the best is more than an idea to some – it is a way of life. In the worlds of hip-hop and sports, individuals often deem themselves as being the best of the best. What stimulus do you think they have that makes them the greatest of all time? I think the answer to this question is simpler than we think. They live up to their claims because they truly and honestly believe in themselves and their ability. Most of the greats have mastered the idea of making dreams become reality. If you are wondering how, just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride that I’m going to take you on. The ideas are going to be easy enough for you to master in no time – just think and allow your greater self to understand the concepts. I don’t know about you, but as a lover of hip-hop and sports I equate all of life’s experiences to songs or famous quotes by my favorite athletes and hip-hop artists. So let’s use R. Kelly as an example and look at his platinum hit “I Believe I Can Fly.” Love it or hate it, we all know the words to that song. The song taps on a key point though. It emphasizes the idea of believing in yourself and honestly embracing what it feels like to break through and exceed all boundaries. This idea is not a new one guys. It is the same value that was instilled in us from day one. As humans, we were born with the innate ability to own our dreams and work them into reality. Okay, to shed some more light on this idea lets take a crash course. Let’s take it back … way back into time, when you were in your toddler years. There were no worries, no ceilings to your dreams, and no discouragement. You were already put on this earth with divine favor. You also came equipped with the tools and know-how for success. As a little owner of your destiny, you walked around with your little chest poked out, head held high. You already knew you were going to grow up and be a singing star, astronaut, pro ball player and the president. Remember how you felt? You felt happy and confident right? Unfortunately, that all changed for many of us as we got older. Society gave us a real rude awakening by telling us that our dreams were “hopeless aspirations.” From that point on, many of us set aside those tools that we were put on earth with – the very tools that gave us the ability to speak our dreams into existence. I think that I felt that way too because society often says, “There are very few people who can hold the title of the greatest of all time.” Society has taught us all to put other human beings on pedestals and tell ourselves “I can never be that strong, fast, handsome or beautiful.” Well if that was the case, then right here, right now we here at G.O.A.T. want to be the first to tell you, if no one ever has, that you are phenomenal and capable. You are the greatest of all time. Right here, right now, at this very moment, no change necessary. You are the best. Just send us two easy payments of $49. 99 and we’ll tell you all about it. Just making sure I got your attention. Seriously though, the answers you need to unlock that power within are right here,

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made easy enough for you to learn in only a few minutes. If you notice throughout the article, I continue to make reference to you as being the greatest of all time. I did this for a reason. Let’s do a little reflection. How did you feel when you read that statement? It felt good right? It was supposed to. That statement is an example of a positive affirmation. According to ehow.com, an affirmation is the act of affirming or state of being affirmed, assertion. Something declared to be true; a positive statement or judgment. Affirmations can be used to change your current situation into something better than you ever thought possible. Affirmations can be written, spoken or simply thought about throughout the day. The use of all three methods is most effective. Here are five simple steps to help you along the way: Step 1. Select an area of your life that you want to improve. For example: physical strength or career success. Try to be as specific as possible. Daily affirmations will be based around this. Step 2. Write out a specific phrase, a positive affirmation. Step 3. Make the phrase in the present tense, as if it is already finished. For example: “I am physically impeccable and the strongest person alive.” Step 4. Decide on the best way for you to practice and use these affirmations. Post them on your bathroom mirror, record them on a CD and listen to them as you drive. Use whatever method you can come up with to make it work for you. Step 5. Repeat your affirmations often. Do it at least three times daily, if not more. By doing this, you are putting that affirmation into your very powerful subconscious mind. There it is. As simple as simple can be! Remember, as humans that inner power and energy resides in all of us. Haven’t you heard that we only use a small percentage of our brain’s full potential, and if we used more we could do remarkable things? “Brain so good could have swore you went to college,” said King of the South T.I. Isn’t that what he was really referring to? Maybe not, but the mind is a remarkable thing. It just needs to be nurtured and molded into what we want it to be. Sometimes we just need a simple reminder like “You are the greatest of all time” to bring out that latent potential. Remember that all energy is transferable, both positive and negative. In order to beat the balance struggle, we must embrace and believe in our ability to achieve greatness. If you ever forget it, just pop in an R. Kelly cut like “You Remind Me Of Something (My Jeep).” Well, maybe not that song. “I Believe I Can Fly,” that’s what it was. Get inspired and do some more research on the topic of affirmation, because the information will blow you away. Take advantage of the opportunity to improve your current situation. Make your dreams become your reality and fulfill your aspiration of getting on that G.O.A.T. status.


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bAck on his b.s. AN INTERVIEW WITH

Busta rhymes

Words Jonnine Yarbrough

“I’ve accomplished pretty much everything that I wanted to accomplish, so now everything that I’m doing is for the people that I love, which is the fans…”

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First, he had us all in check, then he let us know how dangerous he was with hits such as “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” and “Pass The Courvoisier.” Since 1989, Trevor Smith, better known as Busta Rhymes, has been captivating the masses with his eclectic beats and energetic vocals. His distinct sound has kept Busta Rhymes atop the list of favorites in the game. After three years, Busta is ready to do what he does best and is set to drop his new album, Back on My B.S., on February 10. With a new outlook and new label, Busta Rhymes promises a return to his roots What was your mindset while creating your new album, Back on My B.S.? My mindset was really just like, what could I do this time to really just solidify and guarantee my happiness, as well as the fulfillment of the people that have been growing with and loving Busta Rhymes from the beginning of his career? A lot of times, [artists] do music for ourselves first, because we’ve gotta be happy with it. But instead of making music for myself, and making other people’s opinions second, I kind of prioritize that just as much as I prioritize my own satisfaction ... It’s a subtle difference in how I approach my music, but it’s a significant one, because it helped me really, really capture what I was trying to do, which was try and bring it back to the Busta Rhymes that everyone has grown to know and love. It was fortunate for me that at this time in my life -- in my career -- I’ve accomplished pretty much everything that I wanted to accomplish, so now everything that I’m doing is for the people that I love, which is the fans, primarily. I would find people in different instances that would be like “Yo Bus, I want some of that old wild-out and some of those club bangas and that high energy.” The last album ... got a bit personal and it was darker, so I just wanted to bring that feel good back. I’m just bringing it back to the core elements of what Busta Rhymes was known to do.

Why did you change the name of the album from “Before Hell Freezes Over” to “Back on My B.S.”? Actually, the first title was “Before Hell Freezes Over,” then it was “Blessed,” then it was “Back On My B.S.” This album describes a lot of the way the album was starting to feel. “Back on My B.S.” seemed to be the most appropriate title for the way it sounded, both sonically and vibewise. Also, my career came full circle. When I started, I was rockin’ with Sylvia Rhone when she was the CEO of Elektra Records, then in 2000, I left and went to Jive with Clive Davis. Then in March of 2003, I went to Aftermath/Interscope, and now I’m back with Sylvia at Universal Motown. And initially, I was making records that garnished platinum success. The most monumental contributions that I made to hip-hop were with Sylvia and [included] the over-the-top videos and significant statements, as far as creative contribution. Now that I’m back with her, we’re gonna pick up where we left off and get back on our b.s. and supply what was missing since we were apart. In addition to the new Busta Rhymes I have to bring to the table and the old Busta Rhymes that everyone knows and loves, I’m back with a company that understands how to do business with the Busta Rhymes brand and paint

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the elaborate pictures that I love to create. All that combined made me feel like it was the most appropriate title. It’s actually funny you asked that question, because Pharrell was a strong supporter of me getting back with Sylvia and he’s actually the one that gave me the name for the album. Everything just felt right.

How was it working with such a wide array of artists? [The album] has Mary J. Blige, Jamie Foxx, Common, Pharrell, Akon, T.I., T-Pain, Jellyroll, Estelle ... on the production side, there’s Focus, Dr. Dre, Pharrell, Cool & Dre, Needles, [DJ] Khalil, J Dilla, Dreaddy, Mr. Porter -- a major range of contributions. People really came to the table and contributed pieces to the puzzle to help me make [the album] what I wanted it to be. It feels good to have this kind of support at this stage of my career. There’s a lot of love, a lot of people that feel like they wanna be a part of this thing I wanna build as a career and as legacy, and they honor and respect it the way I honor and respect their careers. It’s a blessing.

As an originator of hip-hop with Leaders of the New School, how do you feel the rap game has changed during your time? The game has changed like it always changes. One thing about hip-hop that has always kept it in the forefront is that it’s always fresh. And as far as the changes, I always feel good about it, because it allows balance to be maintained. One timeframe will be gangsta rap, and then you’ll have radio-friendly records that are geared toward females, geared toward clubs, etcetera. The West Coast will have their run; and the same for the East Coast, the Dirty South, the Midwest ... everyone figures out what they need to do and they have their run, and everything is beautiful with the game. The only thing I might have a subtle issue with is the craziness that illegal downloading has spiraled into. It depreciates the value of the content. It’s good because of all the promo that you get; it’s a good amount of exposure early enough for consumers to decide whether or not they want to spend money. But it’s also bad because it depreciates the value of content. I think the game is in an amazing space right now though.

With eight albums you’re a veteran in the game. What advice do you have for young artists that want longevity? Don’t be scared to do you. Be comfortable in your own skin. If you try to be something you ain’t, one

day you’re gonna wake up and forget how to follow the movie script, and people are gonna see that you were frontin’ and you weren’t living what you were really doing on an honest level. At the end of the day, know the fine line. Don’t get caught up in the hype of what people create and try to get you to live up to. If you were a certain individual before you got on, hold onto it as long as you can. The game will change you a bit just like everything in life; you go through things, circumstances and outcomes [that] help you make new decisions, especially if it’s something you don’t wanna go through again. Ain’t nobody telling you to be stupid. If you go through things that ain’t too cool, you go through, and it changes people. Make necessary changes, and don’t compromise who you are as far as your core is concerned. Be honest with yourself; make as much money as you can ... THIS IS A BUSINESS. The money you make isn’t promised tomorrow, so hold onto it and stretch as long as you can. Put it in places where you don’t have to be a slave to the music industry. You can generate other revenue outside of music. Keep your peace of mind, ‘cuz the industry can twist your head up, but for the most part, have fun, enjoy it, and do it to the fullest.

What are your picks for the five greatest songs of all time? There’s a lot of songs ... I can do albums. Ready to Die and Life After Death (Notorious B.I.G.), both of those albums were good, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (Public Enemy), the song “Eric B. is President” (Eric B. and Rakim), Illmatic (Nas), and new shit, Tha Carter III (Lil Wayne).

How do you feel about the results of the election? This is the greatest time of our generation and probably the history of the United States. I don’t think anyone foresaw it until it got close to November 4, and truth was undisputable at a certain point, because it was just too obvious how many were proBarack. It was the greatest day in my life. I’ve never felt this kind of excitement, and I’ve felt many excitements. I’m not trying to downplay any of them, because nothing can replace the birth of my child, me rippin’ my first show on stage, my first platinum record ... but having a black president ... I’m a person that always has “what if” conversations, but they’re so far-fetched that they’ve always remained “what ifs.” So, to see one manifest and come to fruition just brought about [a] whole new level of inspiration and set a new standard for me personally. I’m extremely happy in the purest form and truest meaning of the word. That’s Busta Rhymes for you ... I’m good. For more info on Busta visit:

BUSTARHYMES.COM


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JANUARY

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Photos Wuz Good


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5

GreAtest AthLetes Of ALL time Words Jonnine Yarbrough

michAeL JOrDAn birTH dATe: February 17, 1963 birTH PlACe: Brooklyn, New York HeiGHT: 6’6” PrOFessiOn: NBA Phenomenon When the Greatest Athlete of All time is mentioned, one name comes to mind: Michael Jordan. For almost two decades, Michael “Air” Jordan has been entertaining and inspiring fans of the game of basketball. Because of his stellar performances at his alma mater, University of North Carolina, as well as his main team, the Chicago Bulls, it is often forgotten that Jordan is a New York native. Born in Brooklyn, Jordan quickly made a name for himself far beyond his NYC borough. As a freshman at the University of North Carolina, he was named ACC Freshman of the Year and won the NCAA Championship against NBA rival Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas. Jordan entered the NBA in 1984 and was named rookie of the Year. Throughout his career, he was a 14-time NBA All-Star, a member of the first olympic gold medal-winning “Dream team” and in 1996 was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

JAcKie JOyner-Kersee Birth Date: March 3, 1962 Birth Place: East St. Louis, Illinois Height: 5’10’’ Profession: olympic track and Field Great

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wALter PAytOn Birth Date: July 25, 1954 Birth Place: Columbia, Mississippi Height: 5’10” Profession: NFL Sensation

tOny hAwK Birth Date: May 12, 1968 Birth Place: San Diego, California Height: 6’2” Profession: Skateboarding Marvel

Arthur Ashe Birth Date: July 10, 1943 Birth Place: richmond, virginia Height: 6’1” Profession: tennis Legend


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GINA CARANO

“I’VE JUST ALWAyS bEEN GOOD AT FIGHTING I GUESS [LAUGHS]. I DIDN’T MEAN TO bE GOOD AT THAT, bUT THAT’S JUST WHAT IT ENDED UP bEING.” Words Jonnine Yarbrough

I

n the short time that Mixed Martial Arts has taken to become popular, many fighters in the sport have made names for themselves – like Kimbo Slice, Frank Shamrock and Brock Lesnar. But of these and other top MMA fighters, how many can brag of an undefeated career record? Gina Carano can. Muay Thai fighter Gina Carano’s entrance into the world of Mixed Martial Arts was not only unexpected, but also unprecedented. After years of kickboxing and Muay thai, Carano was tapped to fight in the first-ever sanctioned women’s MMA bout against the United Kingdom’s rosi Sexton. “[The fight] was in Las Vegas, Nevada, which is like the fight capital of the world,” Carano explained. “I got a chance to make history, so I didn’t think twice about it. It didn’t scare me, I didn’t hesitate, and I was just kinda like, ‘Sure! I’ll do it!’” the transition for Carano was a welcome one. “It’s actually nice to have the ability to do anything in the cage as opposed to kickboxing. I like it better.” In February of 2007, Carano went toe-to-toe against Julie Kedzie in a Showtime EliteXC match. In the bout, dubbed “the fight of the night,” Carano won by unanimous decision. Carano seems to be a natural in MMA, but it wasn’t something that had always been in her plans. “I didn’t know, when I was younger, that a woman could be a professional fighter, but I got into a couple of fights,” Carano said. “I grew up a tomboy and it’s not because I’m a controversial person. I’ve just always been good at fighting I guess [laughs]. I didn’t mean to be good at that, but that’s just what it ended up being.” As a fighter, Carano says the reaction she gets to people finding out her profession are often the same.

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“If they originally don’t know, the transition is kinda funny because once they find out, people are like, ‘You don’t look like a fighter, you don’t act like a fighter.’ And I mean, I don’t know what a fighter is supposed to look like or is supposed to act like, but most of the ones I know are big dorks [laughs].” one thing that is standard, she says, is what defines a true MMA fighter. “You definitely have to have the skill and be skilled in at least one MMA. Mine, coming in, was Muay thai. And everybody was like ‘oh, I’m gonna take her down,’ and it’s not always that easy, because they forgot to look at the fact that I’ve been wrestling and I’ve been a tomboy for most of my life. So I have that kind of experience, even though it’s not official experience. But yeah, I think you have to be a good all-around athlete and all-around good fighter, because you can have someone who’s good at Jiu-Jitsu and someone that’s good at Muay thai, and the JiuJitsu person can knock out the Muay thai person just because they’re an instinctually good fighter. So [an MMA fighter is] an all-around fighter who I think can adapt to different circumstances.” over the past three years, Carano has been dominating the world of MMA, with her most recent fight resulting in an undisputed win in her favor. Just when it seemed that Carano’s career was set to take off, her sponsor EliteXC folded and talk of bankruptcy began. Just before the closing of EliteXC, it was announced that Carano would square off against Cristiane “the Cyborg” Santos. Because of the recent events, many have speculated that they fight may or may not happen. However, Carano says that there’s no debate to be had since after seeing Santos fight, Carano has wanted to meet her in the cage. “That fight’s definitely gonna happen. I know that there’s so many people that wanna put it on, and it’s such a good fight for people to buy [on PayPer-View]. And there’s always a place to fight, that’s the beauty of it … there’s always gonna be

somewhere to fight. We’re in contact with her people, so we want to give the fans what they’re looking for, and we both respect each other and want to fight each other.” Although Carano describes the situation with EliteXC as “all up in the air right now,” she’s confident that everything else will work itself out. In the meantime, Carano is just living life and taking it all in, one moment at a time. “I’ve been so blessed up until now to have gotten as far as I have and to have the notoriety that I have, so I’m really just thankful right now,” Carano said. “I never saw my life going in this direction so it’s really cool, and anything that happens from here on out I’ll just be continually grateful for because at any given time, your life can take a completely different direction, so I just try and roll with it and try to take as many different opportunities as I can. I couldn’t even tell you what I’m gonna do in, like, a month … I couldn’t even tell you what I’m doing tomorrow! ok, maybe tomorrow [laughs], but I’m not a planner really … I just try to do the best that I can with what I’ve been given and just try to follow God’s direction for my life. In the cage, or a month or year or five years from now – I have no idea.” No matter where Gina Carano ends up, it’s a sure bet that she’ll dominate. Her drive and performance are very similar to some of the athletes which she holds in high regard, and whom she considers to be the greatest athletes of all time. “[I have a tough time choosing between] Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. I think Jordan, randy Couture, Shawn Johnson, Bukaow (thai fighter), and Lucia Rijker would be my picks for the top five athletes of all time.” So anywhere MMA is present, look for Gina Carano. She’ll probably be the one “rear naked choking” out the other girl, or doing another of her signature finishing moves. “I’ve got a really tough right hand, which is like my secret weapon.”


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64

HEAVYHITTER ISSUE #3

“ MUHAMMAD I am the greatest.

ALI

Words Jonnine Yarbrough

I said that even before i knew i was

W

hen the phrase Heavy Hitter comes to mind, an undeniable image in every sense of the word appears – and it appears in the form of all-time great boxing champion, Muhammad Ali. Born Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali’s ability to “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” won him multiple titles and much recognition throughout his career.

Ali rose to greatness from humble beginnings in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. At age 12, Ali won two Golden Gloves championships in the middleweight division and an AAU title for the light-heavyweight division. Just out of high school, Ali won the light-heavyweight gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Standing at 6’3” and weighing 190 pounds, Muhammad Ali shocked everyone with his lightning-fast jabs and fancy footwork. After his return from Rome, Ali returned to Louisville, where he entered into and won his first professional fight against Tunney Hunsaker. In a span of only three years, Ali gained a record of 19-0, with all but four being knockouts. His first title fight came in 1964 when he faced off against Sonny Liston. After six rounds, Muhammad Ali “shook up the world,” defeating Sonny Liston and proving to the world that he was the greatest. A year later, Ali met Liston again in the ring for a rematch. In only the first round, Ali delivered a lightning-fast, powerful blow to the side of Liston’s head, winning the fight. Although some speculated that Liston had thrown the fight,

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most simply saw it as another testament to Ali’s greatness, deeming the move the “phantom punch.”

the ropes, waiting to absorb Foreman’s every blow. Ali’s ingenious method would later be known as the “Rope-A-Dope.”

Six years later, Madison Square Garden filled to capacity with fans ready to witness what was to be called “The Fight of the Century.” With Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier both being undefeated, this fight was heavily anticipated. After fifteen grueling rounds, Frazier sent Ali to the mat, handing Ali the first loss of his professional career. After being publically taunted by Ali, Frazier agreed to, again, meet Ali in the ring. This time, Ali refused to be defeated. After twelve rounds, Ali was unanimously declared the winner. However, this win was still overshadowed by his previous loss.

After his victory over Foreman, Ali seemed unbeatable. After a long string of victories, Ali returned to the ring to meet Joe Frazier for the third time. “The Thrilla In Manila” was highly publicized by the media, and although Ali was undertrained and overly confident, he still proved to be too much for the focused Frazier. Despite Frazier’s pleas to continue, after fourteen rounds Frazier’s trainer decided to stop the fight, declaring Ali the winner once again.

Another landmark fight in Ali’s career came in 1974, when he challenged George Foreman to a bout in Zaire, which was promoted as “The Rumble in the Jungle.” After initially losing to Frazier, Ali made his comeback in what is still thought of as one of the greatest upsets in sports history. Strategically, Ali stated prior to the bout that, true to his style, he was going to dance around Foreman, but in a shock to Foreman, Ali lunged at him, catching him with a quick right hook. After failing to knock him out in the first round, Ali realized that power wasn’t the way to take down his opponent; he would need endurance. Foreman’s fights seemingly never went past a second round, so Ali decided to use this to his advantage and simply wait for Foreman to tire. When the bell sounded for the second round to begin, instead of going for Foreman, Ali ran to

In 1981, Ali appeared in the ring for the final time, but was defeated by an up-and-coming fighter, Trevor Berbick. Three years later, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but his achievements and prolific career far outshine the physical symptoms of his illness. Since his retirement, Ali has been honored on numerous occasions, including BBC’s Sports Personality of the Century, and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1996, he was recognized at the Olympic Games in Atlanta and was selected to light the Olympic torch. Ali is the only athlete to have won the linear heavyweight championship three times (won by defeating consecutive titleholders), a title that is traced back over 100 years. Often the underdog, Ali emerged victorious from many bouts. Although his days in the ring have since passed, Muhammad Ali has not, by any means, been forgotten. Even today, Ali is still ranked as one of the greatest athletes of all time.


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66

SPOTLIGHT

Words Jonnine Yarbrough

university Of ALABAmA fOOtBALL

A

lthough their first game in 1892 was a 56-0 win, the University of Alabama’s new football team didn’t gain national recognition for nearly 30 years.

After the first few games, the sport quickly became popular among students at the University of Alabama, but the 1896 board of trustees for the University felt differently. Deeming the team’s away games a waste of money, the board passed a rule that prohibited the team from playing games off campus. After playing only one game the following season, the University of Alabama’s football program was cancelled in 1898. the students who had quickly developed a strong love for their football team strongly challenged the decision, which eventually was reversed. the team began travelling again in 1899, and played consistently until 1918, due to World War I.

In 1922, the University of Alabama faced off against the University of Pennsylvania and emerged victorious with a score of 9-7. three years later, under the direction of coach Wallace Wade, the team had its first undefeated season and attended the 1926 rose Bowl, where they showed up and showed out. After trailing, Alabama overcame the deficit to beat Washington, 20-19. the team’s nickname was coined in 1948, when Auburn University and the University of Alabama met in Birmingham and played an intense game in what was described as “a sea of red mud.” the team, which was originally referred to as the Crimson White (the school’s colors), managed to tie with Auburn, 6-6. Birmingham News reporter Zipp Newman is credited with popularizing the name “Crimson tide.”

GLencOffee

Florida native Glen Coffee used this season to prove himself to any and everyone that thought he was just the power running back. through a series of several games, Coffee transformed into a machine, finding holes and running hard. At 6’1”, 198 lbs., Coffee was originally the backup tailback in his sophomore year. Coffee played smart and played well – well enough to earn three starts and rank second on the ream with 129 carries and 545 yards on the ground. Last season, he won the Derrick thomas Community Service Award.

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the home of the Crimson tide, Bryant-Denny Stadium, is partially named after legendary University of Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. opened in 1929, the stadium originally seated 12,000. the stadium now holds 92,138 fans. the 2008 team is said to have restored the pride in Crimson tide football, after transforming from underdog to undefeated. With players like Glen Coffee and rolando McClain, the Crimson tide shocked many with their season record of 12-1. the tide’s single loss to Florida was disappointing, but not spirit breaking. Fans of the team are proud of the past season, and are already looking ahead to 2009. With a new level of morale and promising new players such as Star Jackson and A.J. McCarron, the Crimson tide seems ready to do it all again next season.

rOLAnDOmccLAin

this linebacker from Decatur was ranked No. 1 in the state, No. 2 among inside linebackers, and No. 25 overall, according to Rivals.com. In his first season with the Crimson tide, he played in all 13 games, starting in eight. During the regular-season finale game against Auburn, McClain recorded a careerhigh 15 tackles and made his first interception, returning for 23 yards. McClain is only the eighth player in Crimson tide history to start as a freshman. He earned the team’s Academic Excellence Award in his freshman year, and in only his sophomore year, the 6’4”, 249-pound player has already created a buzz in the NFL.


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The OOOwie Effect

THE RINSING OF HIP-HOP – CAN IT SURVIVE WITHOUT THE HERb? Words John sankitts, Jr. Illustration roman v. rusinov

I

t’s 1990, Erlangen, Germany. I’m in a limo with my black-and-white, striped Adidas gleaming like a pearl-coated set of piano keys, and I’m chilling with some iconic hip-hop artists. We were on the way to a club called Marilyn’s to cop some hashish. they needed a hundred dollar piece and my friend told them that I could find it for them. Well, I did it, and we instantly became best friends once the potent smoke hit their lungs. When I got out of that limo, I had a permanent joker smile for months. Fast forward to 2008. I’m sitting on the couch at some recording studio in orlando, FL; the producer is cramped up in the soundproof room, hot boxing with the artist. I started seeing double and caught the munchies as I caught a whiff of the potent kush smoke they let escape from the room. As I watched, I started to wonder, “What would hiphop be like without the mood-altering herb?” The mind-bending flower was glorified by West Coast rappers Snoop Dogg and Cypress Hill, and East Coast rappers like red Man, Method Man and the rest of the Wu-tang Clan. It’s still the main ingredient that puts an artist in a creative realm, with all their golden eggs, and helps produce hits. It’s widely used in the industry, somewhat like having a cup of coffee to jump-start the day or, in this case, the session. It’s so old now though, I mean really, you can’t rap or write without being high? Wow! What a crutch. I have been at clubs where rap artists will be performing, and when in the vIP section it’s like B.Y.o.W. along with a gas mask. You better be holding some good icky sticky wicky, kush, bubble thrax, or ooooowie or else your stay in vIP will be cut short and you’ll be ejected like a baseball player arguing with the umpire.

Its use is so blatant, you can see it at every video shoot, every concert, and every movie set that has artist-turned-actors – it’s everywhere. Should we just accept that it’s part of the hip-hop culture? or can we rinse hip-hop and clean up the image that stains the youth and influences the fans? this music culture has an abundant amount of different ingredients that represent hip-hop, so will it lose its edge if it’s a cleaner, clear minded, more polished entity? the hip-hop community wants to be referred to in an equal, non-condescending way, yet they are the biggest blunt smoking, pill popping, bottle gulping, woman jumping and not to mention drug dealing, bail bond junkies in the entertainment arena. I mean really, it might be for the better: we can start using big words in our interviews instead of the third grade grammar we’ve been spoon feeding you all. Plus, how stupid will you look claiming you’re so talented and so rich but you’re still getting arrested for drug-related incidents? then you wonder why you’re doing a gazillion hours of community service for free. I challenge the industry to clean up its act and try doing it sober and clear minded. there are some hip-hop artists out there that do just that, and have been very successful and critically acclaimed for their clean, positive image. they have also been offered bigger and better opportunities, especially when they’ve outgrown their fitted cap and turned 40. Like Nas said, “Imagine smoking weed in the streets without cops harassing.” Well it’s 2009. Imagine hearing a song, going to a concert, or even seeing a video without the herb and all that accompanies it. What would hip-hop be like? Maybe you won’t be shelved for three years after signing your life away to these record label executives because you’re higher than a kite, tore up

on four pills with your pimp cup filled with Henny talking about, “Yeahhhhh! I’m rich bitch!” Rinsing hip-hop of its blemishes will definitely lift the level of respect it’s given. It will also tidy up the smoky image that just doesn’t look cute anymore and leaves everyone in vIP talking in your face saying, “Yo dawg! We’re going to hook up fo sho to do some biz,” with that dragon breath kicking you in the face like Bruce Lee. Maybe we will get a new form of hip-hop with the content being positive, uplifting, and with a purpose in its delivery, its image, and lyrics. this way it can change and influence our youth and fans, bringing them to an elevated plateau in which they’re really doing something. or you can be that artist wearing the big, fat, 17-pound bling-bling of a chain around your neck, bottle popping in the back of a limo, money raining on the million dollar set of your video shoot with your rented Lamborghini. that’s supposed to tell us what? that you’re the man? that you’re saving the world? That you’ve helped in the fight against terrorism? or that you sent food to a third World country that has millions starving? or that you helped in finding a cure for AIDS, cancer, or Alzheimer’s, or helped to promote a bill in Congress that will benefit your people? Imagine hip-hop without the “ooowie” effect. If you’re not living what you’re kicking, then be real and make a difference. Be that artist that employs a cleaner, positive, drug-free image and has content that can actually influence in a positive, trendsetting way. We now have a brother from another mother in the White House, so we know that “All is possible if you really want change.” So, can hiphop survive without the herb? I think it can.

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Sole Survivor

Words Jonnine Yarbrough

take the chances and the risks that other shoe “They companies won’t take to create a product that a new culture can enjoy. ” Hate ‘em or love ‘em … Air Jordans are here to stay

I

n 1984, the Nike shoe company, which had built an empire by creating trendsetting designs, had reached a plateau and needed something fresh and new that would breathe life back into their dying line. During this time, Michael Jordan was just a rookie in the NBA, but already had several endorsements and was considering several options for a sneaker contract. Nike viewed this as an opportune time to approach the rising star with a mutually beneficial offer. With players such as Magic Johnson and Larry Bird already backing Converse, it seemed to be the obvious choice for Jordan as well. However, after Nike presented their “Air Jordan” concept to him and his manager, Jordan was on board. In 1985, the Air Jordan I hit the court running when Number 23 gave them their first reveal. Although the black and red shoes cost him a $5,000 fine per game (before the Jordans, most basketball shoes were white), the demand for the shoe was high, so Jordan continued to wear them, and Nike kept paying the fines. In retrospect, $5,000 was a small price to pay, considering the vast success of the Jordan brand. Since the AJIs made their debut, the line has become increasingly popular – so much so that the once- omnipresent Jumpman logo and the trendy commercials (Spike Lee as Mars Blackmon in the “Mars and Mike” ad campaign) are rarely seen, and this lack of advertising hasn’t affected sales in the least. “[Jordan] has a very powerful brand presence,” said AOK (Ay Okay), sound designer and music producer for the Air Jordan Web site, Jumpman23. com. “Once you build to a certain point, there’s awareness and you don’t need that much marketing power. They’ve pretty much obliterated marketing via the Internet, as well as grassroots marketing, and the brand has been seeded for so many years that the brand is like a household name, like a Coca-Cola or a Kleenex. So at a certain point in a brand’s career, it can run with minimal marketing as long as the Internet marketing and grassroots marketing are there.” The evolution of the Jordan has been constant, and consistently effective. The creative minds behind the revolutionary shoe have created a formula of observing the trends created by Jordan-wearers and capitalizing on them. The forces behind the designs had, arguably, their greatest idea when they decided to reinvent the shoe that started it all. “The most sold Jordan to date is the Air Jordan I. They’ve done so many retro versions of the shoe,” he said. The original Air Jordan I was black and red, and was released with two sets of laces (one black and one red). In 1994, a white, black and red version of the original was released, but was not favored by consumers. That same year, a retro version of the Air Jordan II was created. This shoe was widely accepted, partially due to the stylish look of the low-top, as opposed to the high-top. Seven years later, a patent-leather remake of the Retro I was released in black and white and was very popular amongst Air Jordan fans. Through experiences such as these, creators of the shoe learned that, in order to keep the line in high demand, they would constantly have to think outside of the box. The Air Jordan I is the most duplicated and

black-marketed shoe in the Jordan line. The first major change that designers made to the style of the sneaker came with the creation of the Jordan III. The style of this shoe was innovative and drastically different from anything the company had ever done. This was the first Jordan to present a visible air-sole (a small bubble of compressed air that provides cushion on impact, similar to the Nike Air Max) that is so popular in many shoes today. The AJIII was also the sneaker that designers used to debut the new Jumpman logo in place of the wings. Despite the fact that the AJIII was highly unpopular upon its release, it is, arguably, the most popular Jordan sold to date. Another frontrunner in the Jordan line was the AJXI. This shoe, originally released in 1995, was retroed in 2000, and re-retroed multiple times, making it the fastest-selling Jordan design in history. Despite the dreaded gum sole that turned yellow after extended wear, this design was, and still is, one of the most popular Jordan designs. Many think that the release date may have been a factor, as 1995 was also the year that “His Airness” returned to the NBA after retiring in 1993. When it seemed that the brand had done all it could with the line, it reached into their bag of tricks and pulled out its newest creation – the Jordan Fusion line. The line blends some of the best-loved Jordan styles with another footwear legend – the Nike Air Force 1 collection. The Fusions have quickly become the latest must-have in hip-hop culture. The invention of the Jordan line attracted a whole new demographic to Nike, consisting mostly of African-American males from the ages of 15 to 23. The demographic, AOK said, has not changed since the shoe was introduced, and he believes it will not change. Through this demographic, another marketable opportunity was presented – the hip-hop world. “There’s such a big subculture that surrounds the brand, that I believe it directly correlates itself with the hip-hop culture. I mean, Michael Jordan is not from the hip-hop culture, but hip-hop has attached itself to the brand because it’s so fashionable. The color waves match everything that ever comes out, and that’s a good coordination between the designers and other clothing labels. It’s fresh, it’s new, it’s hip and it takes chances, it directly reflects what hip-hop is. It mixes the old with the new, i.e., the Fusion. I believe that is the shoe version of hip-hop,” he said. After 25 years and 23 designs, the popularity of the Air Jordan brand is ever-increasing. Today, the purpose behind the design of the shoes has changed from strictly performance to style and functionality as well, making the Jordan line a triple-threat and king of the athletic shoe industry. AOK seems to share the view that many avid fans, wearers and collectors have of the Jordans. “They take the chances and the risks that other shoe companies won’t take to create a product that a new culture can enjoy. They’re renewing the brand culture.”

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Reinvention

New trends and technologies make entertainers fight for their keep Words René Perez for a season. At this point, Jordan branched out, starring in Space Jam and signing numerous, lucrative endorsement deals – including the popular Air Jordan line that is still highly successful today. In addition to doing promotions for his Jordan brand, he is associated with various charities and serves as a manager for the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats.

I

t’s no secret that the entertainment industry is changing, evolving and, at times, struggling to keep up with today’s fast-paced culture and impatient consumers. The widespread popularity of the Internet has revolutionized the way people get and pay for content. Though money is flowing into digital outlets, such as the ever-popular iTunes Store, illegal downloading remains rampant, and albums and movies leak before their release dates. People expect instant gratification and want everything available at their fingertips at any time. Celebrities’ embarrassing mistakes, no matter how small, are captured and broadcast on YouTube within hours, drawing thousands of views. As a result, it has proven even harder for established hip-hop and sports heavyweights to stay on top of their game. This is further complicated by the use of digital technologies that can make virtually anyone a singer. For example, through the increasing use of Auto-Tune, rappers, singers and everything in between are changing their sound and creeping into territory once thought to be exclusive. Though it has been a somewhat trying time for artists and athletes, there are those who have taken the challenge head on, reinventing themselves to keep with the times and prove their staying power – all the while remaining relevant to fans of all ages. In the sports arena, a good example would be Tony Hawk. He transformed a professional skateboard career into one characterized by his own line of video games, sponsorships, promotions and side business ventures. These have all helped him stay a major player in the sports world. Another notable athlete would be Dwanye “The Rock” Johnson. This former college football player went on to become a hugely successful wrestler, later finding continued success in acting. Deion Sanders is another standout, having gone from a successful college career in football, baseball and track to a star run in professional football and baseball (with multiple teams, no less). Since retirement, Sanders has gone on to become a manager of the Arena Football League’s Austin Wranglers, an NFL analyst and, more recently, the star of the Oxygen reality show, Deion & Pilar: Prime Time Love. Of course, one can’t forget “His Airness” Michael Jordan. After being drafted by the Chicago Bulls following a successful basketball stint at the University of South Carolina, Jordan led the Bulls to three consecutive championships. From here, he cemented his star status in the league, as well as on the baseball field

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On the other end of the spectrum, we have multiple music artists who have managed to stay current, fresh and at the top of the charts by reinventing their look, sound and style. After changing her appearance and diversifying her music, Rihanna went from moderate success to international superstardom, with five No. 1 hits. Debuting with a reggaetinged album, she would eventually explode onto the stage with Good Girl Gone Bad, which featured elements of pop, hip-hop, rock, and techno. The album propelled her into the spotlight and highlighted an evolving singer who had broadened her audience and opened up the door for smash collaborations with Maroon 5 and T.I. Similarly, Kanye West went from being a talented producer for artists like Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Common and Janet Jackson to an incredible artist in his own right. With his first three albums, West was not afraid to experiment with different subject matter, art direction and musical elements not usually heard in hip-hop, including gospel on “Jesus Walks,” bluegrass on “The New Workout Plan,” blues on “Gold Digger,” and electronica on “Flashing Lights” and “Stronger.” Perhaps his most notable transformation came with the release of 808s & Heartbreak, in which West sang instead of rapped and also traded in comedy and wit for a more mellow, darker sound. Incorporating tribal drumbeats, stirring string sections and electronic elements, West took a bold risk and introduced himself to a whole new fan base. Perhaps no one has mastered the art of reinvention better than Sean “Diddy” Combs. Having been part of the music scene for nearly 20 years, the ever-hustling Combs turned his humble beginnings into an empire known as Bad Boy Entertainment – one that has made him close to $350 million. This business mogul has been a driving factor behind numerous artists and has also achieved success on his own. Combs has adopted the role of producer, rapper, clothing designer, dancer, actor, executive, promoter and trendsetter through the years. Through name changes and bold business undertakings, Combs has managed to always stay ahead of the curve and prove that he is a force to be reckoned with – most recently launching the careers of Day26 and Danity Kane. These shining examples in the music and sports industries have shown that it takes more than just a hit single, a stunning play or high-rolling lifestyle to maintain longevity in the entertainment world. Entertainers need to assimilate current trends, take daring chances, find new ways to stay in the public eye and, most importantly, face challenges that the economy, technology or the industry may bring their way. Though there is no set formula on achieving lasting success, these entertainers have shown that with the right combination of hustle and talent, anything is possible.

AOK

“I have a T-Mobile Wing. I like the Wing because its like the G1 but it came out before the G1, so I still have the touch screen, I can run my applications on it, I can check my emails, upload music to it, I can edit music. I just like it all the way around ‘cause its user friendly.”

Gina Carano

“I have the Sprint Instinct and ummm I like it! I dunno…I like it cause it’s easy. It’s not like the iPhone . I have Sprint, so I got the closest thing to it. It’s simple, it’s easy, and I like it. I think this thing’s great.”

Ron Browz

BlackBerry, likes the convenience of being able to do everything on one device

2 pistols

Sprint Instinct, likes the GPS

Q-Tip

BlackBerry, likes the e-mail

Busta RHYMES

BlackBerry, likes the convenience

DJ Prostyle White iPhone

DJ Nasty

BlackBerry “I have an ILL program that allows me to listen & download MP3s so I can send & listen to my beats when I’m on the road in my car, in a club, wherever I’m at & I can e-mail beats to any artist like Ross, Luda or Khaled on the spot. It’s The Bomb! What phone do you rock? Hit us up at editorial@goatmag.com or myspace.com/thegoatmag


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ALbUMREVIEWS

Words rené Perez

ISSUE #3

AkON

PLIES

kEySHIA COLE

bRANDy

freedom

Da Realist

A Different Me

Human

though Akon has been the driving force behind some of the biggest singles of the past year, he is back on the scene with a new solo album that confirms why he became a star in the first place. freedom features Akon’s trademark top-notch production, quality vocals and captivating hooks. offering a refreshing mix of techno, r&B, hip-hop, reggae and pop, the album deals with sex, partying, love, longing, bragging, and, of course, freedom. the record takes off with the high-energy, dance-friendly “right Now (Na Na Na)” and continues that momentum with the sonic masterpiece “Beautiful,” featuring protégés Colby o’Donis and Kardinal offishall. the result is an electronic-infused, uptempo love song that’s elevated by o’Donis’ silky vocals and Kardinal’s raw delivery. A more personal side can be found on the midtempo track “Birthmark,” the angst-filled “Over the Edge,” and the feel-good “Be With You,” which incorporates reggae elements. With freedom, Akon reasserts his status as a talented solo artist – an innovator who is set on maintaining his relevance and delivering a record that should not be missed.

released just six months after his second album, Plies’ latest effort has some solid content but lacks some of the substance from his earlier work. Plies’ rapping style and delivery are largely on point, though his rhymes are sometimes on the basic side. In the current hip-hop scene, full of so much innovation and exploration of deeper themes and issues, I can’t help but be somewhat unimpressed with his latest record. to be fair, the album features some standout tracks, such as the r&B tinged “Want It, Need It” featuring Ashanti, and “Put it on Ya,” as well as the club banger “Make a Movie.” thankfully, a deeper side shows through on songs such as “Gotta Be,” “Family Straight” and “2nd Chance,” which deal with topics such as drug abuse, prison sentencing and family illness. overall, for this to be his third album, I don’t see much progression in Plies. though the album represents a respectable effort, the lack of hits along the lines of “Shawty,” “Hypnotized” or “Bust it Baby Pt. 2,” coupled with fairly average songs, definitely hampers its path to success.

the r&B songstress proclaims in the intro that she wants to “introduce a sexier side,” a theme that is apparent in her latest offering. throughout the record, Cole exhibits a more mature, confident and rich sound as she focuses less on heartbreak and more about having fun, being a woman and exploring her sensuality. the diverse makeup of the album includes midtempo, crisp, polished r&B fare on “No other” and the standout “oh-oh, Yeah-Yea” featuring Nas. Cole’s voice truly soars on the commanding ballads “You Complete Me,” “Brand New” and “trust,” a melodic duet with Monica. Cole doesn’t disappoint when it comes to her uptempo material, as seen on album highlights like the jazz-and-funk infused “Make Me over,” the 80sinspired “Please Don’t Stop,” and “Erotic,” a seductive, atmospheric, rock-tinged standout. Although it was released just over a year since her last album, A Different Me is just that – a refreshing take on Keyshia Cole’s signature sound that shows her injecting just enough new elements into the mix. Fans and newcomers alike would be wise to pick up this album, one that’s full of quality tracks, impressive vocals and plenty of entertainment.

Her first release in over four years, the record showcases an introspective, personal, more mature Brandy that has thankfully reconnected with her longtime protégé, rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. through the course of the album, she explores what it means to be human and to be yourself. the result is a genuine, heartfelt, emotional album with fresh, stirring beats, and moving orchestration that perfectly complements Brandy’s powerful delivery. Much of the album is characterized by catchy, midtempo tracks such as “The Definition,” the haunting “Fall,” and her smash, uplifting single “right Here (Departed).” A major highlight is the hot, pulsating track “Piano Man” that will have you moving in your seat and singing along. Another standout is the earnest “Long Distance,” in which she laments the difficulty of maintaining a long-distance relationship. As a whole, Human is a bold, new sound for Brandy that showcases her soaring vocals. I’ll admit that the album won’t be for everyone; if you’re looking for uptempo, club-friendly tracks, then you’ll be sorely disappointed. However, if you’re looking for great album with excellent beats and down-to-earth lyrics – you’ve found the right one.

COMMON

Universal Mind Control

Common’s eighth studio album has him teaming up with the spacey, techno-based sounds of the Neptunes. As producers on a majority of the album, their influence shines through as Common explores more upbeat, feel-good music. the record begins with the head-bobbing, high-energy, electronic-filled bliss known as “Universal Mind Control.” Arguably the album’s best track, it ends up setting the bar perhaps too high as the rest of the songs fail to match its excellence. I have to admit I have mixed feelings about the album; some of the songs work really well with Common’s flow, while others I could have done without. though a little repetitive, “Sex 4 Suga” works well as a smooth, sultry track that’s complemented by Common’s slick delivery and a minimalyet-sensual beat. Another standout is the laid-back, chilled-out “Announcement” that feels like an update

on classic Common material. the bold, high-impact “Gladiator” is also hugely successful in pairing fresh Neptunes’ beats with Common’s powerful, intellectual delivery – something also apparent on “Inhale.” Despite such strong pickings, there are also some tracks that failed to deliver, like the off-the-wall “Make My Day,” the strangely bubbly “Changes” and the puzzling “Everywhere,” which feels out of place with its electro-pop vibe, not to mention that Common only has one verse (the rest is sung by collaborator Martina topley-Bird). Despite its shortcomings, Universal Mind Control features polished production, intelligent lyricism and hit singles that are sure to appeal to Common fans, as well as those who are looking for a taste of something new.

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BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

Words René Perez

ISSUE #3

ou’d be hard pressed to think of a duo that has dominated the fields of sports and hip-hop more than Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal and Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley. An imposing stature is not the only thing that the two superstars share – these entertainers have proven to be masters of reinvention. Keeping up with the times and staying relevant has awarded them fame, money, countless awards and, most importantly, respect.

Each of these men has demonstrated exceptional talent in both the sports and hip-hop arenas. They have been able to reach a new generation of fans through their long-lasting dedication to their craft. The two have managed to breathe new energy into their respective fields, securing their status as talented stars. Because of this, they embody the Best of Both Worlds.

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TIMBALAND

SHAQUILLE O’NEAL

imbaland has been a consistent hitmaker for over 15 years by bringing bold, exotic beats into hip-hop. The superproducer has been the driving force behind such diverse superstars as Madonna, Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado, JayZ, Aaliyah, Nas, Ludacris and Björk. Perhaps one of the most in-demand producers in recent history, Timbaland is known for his so-called “Midas Touch” – creating chart-topping classics for nearly everyone he works with. Not content with just working behind the scenes, Timbaland is also a successful solo artist and shows that when it comes to the music industry, he is truly a maestro.

haq has brought attention and success to any team he’s been a part of, whether it be the Magic, the Lakers, the Heat or the Suns. He helped the Lakers win three NBA championships in a row and helped bring the title to the Heat as well. In addition, he has been a successful rapper, appeared in several movies and TV shows, had many lucrative product endorsements and contributed to various video games. As such, Shaq is still a major force both on and off the court, 16 years after starting his professional basketball career.

1. Born in 1971 2. Entered music scene in 1993 with production work on Jodeci’s Diary of a Mad Band 3. Earned $22 million in 2008 as a producer/collaborator 4. Has a residence in Miami, FL 5. Proud father 6. Plans to release Beaterator, a music mixing game, in the summer of 2009 7. Had a feud with fellow producer Scott Storch 8. Has released two solo hip-hop albums in addition to his numerous collaborations 9. Active supporter of Designers Against AIDS and is the Education Ambassador for The Gentleman’s Fund 10. Has won two Grammys (including 11 additional nominations) as well as awards from ASCAP, BET, and Vibe. He was named an Honorary Patron of the Philosophical Society of Trinity College, Dublin (a distinction more than 300 years old)

1. Born in 1972 2. Started professional career in 1992 as the first draft pick for the Orlando Magic 3. Earned $32 million in 2008 as an NBA player 4. Has a residence in Miami, FL 5. Proud father 6. Released a fighting game, Shaq Fu, in 1994 7. Had a feud with fellow NBA star Kobe Bryant 8. Has released four hip-hop albums 9. Hosted Shaq’s Big Challenge, a TV show that helped obese kids lose weight. He also hopes to use real-estate deals to help Orlando homeowners 10. He has numerous awards and accomplishments, including NBA Rookie of the Year and NBA Most Valuable Player. He has four NBA championships and was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History

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G.O.A.T. Magazine March/April 2009  

G.O.A.T. Magazine March/April 2009

G.O.A.T. Magazine March/April 2009  

G.O.A.T. Magazine March/April 2009

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