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July / August / September ‘06

I Cover, Features & Editorials Cover S tory

Mia X Page 16


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Music Editor Alan Harrison

Advertising Manager Aaron Colom Layout Traci Cymone Cover & Review Graphics Gregory Spencer at Web Design Bryant Cook at Reviews Jimmy Biggs, Kevin “K.G.” Gordon, Alan Harrison, Ty Jones, and The Unknown Playa Staff Writers J. Dirty, Libor Jany, Honey Love, & Khadine Sherman


Cover Photo Courtesy Mia X


ON Trillville Page 5

Managing Editor Kevin Gordon

Contributors Bob Baker, Charlie Braxton, Tommy B., Anthony Colom, Dub G., Kevin “K.G.”Gordon, CHICK Alan Harrison, James Johnson, Gregory Spencer, & ALANA Urbanconnectionz.Com


Anthony Colom (Colom Media Group, LLC)

Marketing & Promotions Manager Dub G.


Publisher / Editor-In-Chief

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily the views and opinion of The Colom Media Group, LLC, The New Power Magazine, nor any of our advertisers. Colom Media Group, LLC does not claim any responsibility for stories, photographs, interviews, nor any other advertising or promotional material sent to us that has (And Why It’s Important) been misrepresented. This publication may not be reproTHE LOW DOWN duced in whole nor in part without the written permission of the publisher. Copyright © 2006, Colom Media Group, LLC. THE DOWN LOW All Rights Reserved.

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Dub G. Email: inum. So we have to come better than the last time. We got Lil Jon on the tracks and I did a couple on it. 3-6 Mafia and Project Pat on it. TPain, E-40, Lloyd, Trill Town Mafia, Too Short, Cutty & Bohagon. The first single is called "Stackin," featuring Project Pat. We took our time with it. When it comes together and hits the streets everyone will feel it. DG – Going into the backdrop, what's the word on Trillville and Lil Scrappy? Don P – On my end its all good. BME wasn't big enough at the time to support 2 cats of our status and ambitions. Now it's big enough for him to be on his side and do his thing, and we on ours and do us. Everybody making bread so we good. DG – What are your thoughts on the A's snap music scene?


Atlanta, Georgia


Interview by

Don P – To me it’s just regular music, but instead of using a clap or snare you use a snap. It is what it is. It's not that serious to be digging into so hard. It's dance music like bass music was. It's like me explaining when I walk in the club and ask what's up with the booty music. I walk in and girls dancing and I'm cool. You don't see a dude on the block snapping his fingers getting money. It's a dance like all the rest of them. It's getting money. Don't worry bout what we doing. Get your own thing and get money. Plain and simple.

All Or Nothing ew people actually have the talent to wear many hats in the business world. I had the pleasure to sit down with a mogul in the making. Don P of the super group Trillville talks about his business ventures and what it is to be the man.

DG – I'm going to jump right into the business of things because you have climbed the ranks in record time. Don P – Well of course we have the Trillville thing going on. Trillville Reloaded coming out real soon. Then you got Trillvillians, Inc. That's my label. I got Gunnz from Birmingham, Alabama. His deal is through Track Boyz Entertainment. It's a 50/50 venture between us. Trill Town Mafia is going through Trillvillians, Inc / Rap-A-Lot/ Asylum. I also have Sara Stokes from Da Band, and we're shopping her a deal as we speak. I got 3 major deals on the table, so I'm trying to get it.

DG – Do you feel that the crunk sound is falling off?

DG – Now how did the Rap-A-Lot situation come about? Don P – It was cool how J and I hooked up. I always wanted to work with Rap-A-Lot no matter what the business was. I ended up getting more than I bargained for. He heard me do an interview on a website called and I said I want to work with cats like J Prince and Bun B, and J flew me out to Houston the next day. We sat down and he came with a joint venture deal that was nice. I went in thinking I was just going to get my group on, but I got blessed with the situation. DG – What's going to be the first release? Don P – Trill Town Mafia’s album, "Goes Without Sayin" is going to be first up. The album features Pimp C, Trillville, Skip from UTP, Sara Stokes, Lloyd and myself. It will be out August 31 on my birthday. Go get three copies as my present. DG – What's good with the new Trillville joint?

DG – How did you hook up with Sara Stokes? Don P – She actually hooked up with me. She saw what I was doing and was a fan of the music. She had just got out of her contract and was looking for a movement rather than go straight major. We're in the trenches together and hoping to make history.

Don P – This is going to help all the eggs I got planted to hatch. This album is going to be so big this time. We were about to come out awhile ago but we stepped back and made the album go from being a platinum album to a classic. A lot of people come out and rush they album and it sucks. Then they're scrambling to see how they gone eat tomorrow. We dropped an EP that went plat-

(662) 251-0075

Don P – I don't really get into the sound thing. That's just other people trying to put us in a box saying we don't do real music. Everything we do is put into a category so they can make it into a fad or something. This is how we rock. Why can't it just be a hot record or good music ? Crunk is just like Hyphy. It's a lifestyle that was put into a musical form. I feel like if I don't speak on your music in a negative way, don't do it to mine. The reason other cats are here is because we chilled and enjoyed our money for a minute. Your have to think, we ran the game for 2 years straight with no let up. We can politely close the door and get back to the task at hand. We made the radio come to the streets of the South. In turn, you have what you have today. DG – Where do you see southern music in the next five to ten years? Don P – Just doing what we do. We've been here for a while. Our sales are so good at home. We got us. Long as we look after us, we good. We still gone be pimping as usual, riding 32's by then. We not going anywhere. DG – Any last words for the fans? Don P – Go to,,, and be on the lookout for the new albums.

I The New Power I




apper M1 has traveled quite a lengthy road in his career. For the past decade, he and his partner Stickman, together as the group Dead Prez, have blessed the game with what many would consider the epitome of solid hip-hop. Sometimes taking a more political route with their music, they have managed to stay true to the streets and their core fanbase.

Interview by

James Johnson

of Dead Prez

before. We always have had control in that aspect. We just did not have control over marketing and promotion. The pimpin for all my art, for them to own it, and for me to get a couple of quarters, and then their machine is not even prepared to promote it, that's a problem. Wow, it just seemed crazy for "Revolutionary, But Gangsta" to be one of your biggest albums, but the label not do much for it. M1: I think it's obvious the intentions that were there. I can tell you that when you look back at that, you're not deceived. You see it loud and clear, and it's why we had to make a break. We have not even decided where we want to go, as far as distributing our next album, so it's like, almost Democrats and Republicans. You have to choose a road. Well you don't have to, but you end up doing it anyway. It's like, for me, Koch is the ability to see more profit on my records. And it's not to say anything bad about Koch, but knowing that their promotion is nowhere near that of the big boys, I still know I get more money. That's just it right there. Most people go into their deals with them knowing already that the promotion is up to them. That's something that people should be doing from the get-go, regardless of the label they are with. M1: Exactly. But so many people go in, expecting somebody else to do everything for them. M1: That is so so true! That's what the success has been with Dead Prez. We walked our own dog with "Let's Get Free", and then we toured around the world. We went with D'Angelo, and again with Erykah Badu. Also, as far as promotion, I see you've been heavily involved with the internet. Is that something you've always been into? M1: Well, I recognize the phenomenon of the internet, but I could never really use it regularly. It was just a form of communication to me, but now, it's like a movement. You know, I'm just getting acquainted with it in that way. It's amazing, how, for a while, so many people never paid attention to it, but now, the labels have gone so far as to create departments of people that do nothing but work the web aspect. M1: That' smart too. To me, that's the only way to do it. I think that like, with MySpace, they could actually take over the whole web department of the label. I'm shocked at how much they have grown man! M1: Yeah, exactly. Now what other avenues are you traveling, as far as your promotion, and what is there really time for, being that you're on the road all the time? And I know touring is definitely a handful. M1: You're right. It is definitely a handful. It is the biggest marketing and promo tool. Letting them feel what you are going through. That is like the campaign. On the other hand, I do speaking engagements at colleges, and I'll end up doing many things to compliment the album, that may not be rap.

Confidential is, lemme see, a new chapter in, you know, our opportunity to free our people. Revolutionary music from a revolutionary culture. This is not at all a Dead Prez record. The sound, sonically, is not the same. My partner Stickman was a major force in production behind Dead Prez, but he didn't produce on this album at all. So that

Now, just over ten years into their career, we're getting the opportunity to see each member flourish as a respective solo artist. First up to bat is M1 with the highly anticipated "Confidential". Described by M1 himself as "revolutionary music from a revolutionary culture", the album is just what the hip-hop world needs. We recently took some time and talked to M1 about the album and what he has in store for fans. He also talks about his tour with Ghostface, as well as his all-out crusade to educate hip-hop fans on this revolutionary culture. Yo man, first off, I must thank you tremendously for your time. I know there's so much going on right now, and you're busy‌ M1: No problem man. I think the first thing a lot of people want to know is what's going on with Dead Prez? This isn't the end of the group is it? M1: Oh no, not at all. Don't even think about it. So tell me about that new album? M1: Well the album is called "Confidential". It's been out in stores, since the 21st of March. It's getting a pretty good response in the streets. Not a big banger out the gate, and it's nowhere near what I want to sell, but we're on tour, and it's growing daily. I'm able to hit more markets, and as people hear it, I get a great response. Well, I think one of the things with you, and Dead Prez as a whole, is that you have a set fanbase, so no matter what, you will automatically sell a certain number guaranteed. I think that's a good thing. M1: Yep, definitely so. So how has touring been going? I know you've been out with Ghostface, right? M1: Right, I've been with Ghost from market to market. Like I said, it's been growing, and the shows have been near sold out everyday. It's a great combination to get Ghostface, M1, Dead Prez, and Wu-Tang together. It's been a great experience kicking it with my homie Ghost. How did you two end up linking together for the tour in the first place? M1: Well I think we've been looking for each other for the past few years. I did the "Run" single with him, which was the breakout single for him on his last album, and then we did a remix, which didn't get too much play, but it gave me an opportunity to connect with him, so I was able to come back and ask him to work with me on my album. So he's on the album, and then when it came down to touring, our albums came out a week apart from each other, so I just felt like it would be great to hook onto whatever he was doing on the road. Now we all know the general flavor that you present on your music, but what can people that don't know much about you expect from the album? M1: Well it

Email :

was a conscious move, with him not producing on the album? M1:: Oh yeah, it was very conscious. I wanted to explore different sounds of music. We came on the scene around 1996, and I think that after 10 years of doing what we were able to do, I think people should get a chance to know us individually, as well as a group. Stickman raps on the album, but the influence on the beats, some of it is mellow, some of it is sexy, some is hardcore. It's very diverse, the way the album is. It's a blessing to be in this for as long as you have been, because as you've seen, a lot of people don't make it that long. M1: Man, I make sacrifices, but it's not easy. You don't pay your rent, easily, when you're talking about freeing political prisoners and such (laughing). That's not very lucrative talk. Somehow, we made it thru, and to tell you the truth, I'm not going anywhere. Now what do you think the difference will be, being that you're not with a major? Of course, Koch Entertainment is a major in itself, but you're not with Sony anymore, so what differences do you see? M1: There's nothing creatively that we could not do


P- Pluck JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA Name : Gregory Weatherington II Stage Name : Poloneius Pluck (P-Pluck) Hometown : Jacksonville, FL / Tallahassee, FL Albums : Poloneius Pluck LP, King Of The Burbs (Coming 2006) Mixtapes : Beginning Of The End and Campaign Vol. 1 Highlight: North Florida / South Georgia Freestyle King 2003 - Present Performances : Opening act for T.I., Juvenile, Fat Joe, G-Unit, and Twista Extras : Majored in Electrical Engineering At Florida A & M University



ac p s

c e.




c lu


Thank You Kanye West By Tommy B.


ecently, George Bush made his first trip to the NAACP annual convention after rejecting their invitation for the past five years. It wasn't just that he has turned down the invitation from America's oldest Civil Rights group for the last five years, but Bush is the first president in over 70 years to do so.

people, the youth or the streets.

It's quite obvious why Bush has repeatedly turned down the invitation. We all know it's no secret that black people have a more than hostile attitude towards the Republican Party, and George Bush is the head whipping boy. Honestly, only a fool would show up to such an ambush. So why did he come this year? I think the NAACP owes a bit of gratitude to a group that they spend a lot of time bashing as well - The Hip Hop Nation!

When it comes to the youth, you hear the same rhetoric from these Civil Rights Era groups and individuals. You know the line-pull your pants up and stop using the N-word towards each other. Yet when West Virginia Senator (D) and former KKK member, Robert Byrd, used the term "nigger" during an interview on Fox News Sunday a few years back, there was hardly a peep from any of the Civil Rights groups. Then NAACP president, Kwesi Mfume, did call the Senators use of the term "repulsive", but there were no calls for resignation or boycotts (Can you imagine the uproar if Bush used the exact same term). But the Rev. Al Sharpton had the nerve to call for a boycott of Aaron McGruder's Hip Hop influenced cartoon, the Boondocks, for its excessive use of the word "nigga".

To be more specific, they owe Kanye West a big thank you. Had Kanye West not uttered those six simple words heard around the world (I think everyone reading this knows the phrase to which I'm referring), Bush would have given the NAACP the middle finger again this year. But I'm pretty sure that Kanye won't receive as much as a thank you card from the NAACP. And I think that this is the truest testament to the fact the NAACP is not only an outdated organization, but they have little to no connection to the

There's also the constant complaining from the Civil Rights groups and their supporters that rapper's constant "battles" and "beefs" on their records/CD's is an indication of young Black peoples racial self - hate. Yet, these unelected Black leaders openly attack other black ELECTED officials by calling them "Amos-n-Andy's" and "Uncle Toms" simply for having different politically ideologies. And let's not forget that back in 1988, Al Sharpton and Roy Innis, the National Chairman of the

Congress of Racial Equality, got into an actual physical altercation on national TV. 50 Cent and Ja Rule never did that! Is it just me, or does anyone else find it ironic that a member of the Hip Hop Nation, whom the NAACP constantly blames for what's wrong with black people, was able to accomplish what they had failed at for the last five years? Now, I will be the first to admit there are some aspects of Hip Hop that I'm not completely at ease with; but good or bad, Hip Hop is the voice of the streets and the voice of the next generation of movers and shakers. So Kanye, if you're reading this, I will go ahead and shout you out a "thank you" on behalf of the people who are too stubborn and stuck in their old fashion ways to admit they needed your help. ottoms1

Mizz Na’ Tasha Herndon / Reston, Virginia

(662) 251-0075

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hat’s happening Lu ? Hey , what’s going on ? U guys are from Charlotte, North Carolina, right ? Right ! Let me hear your story, man. Lu: Well, my brother Ricky G. was the one who started the label about 10 years ago. He started it with a couple of his friends from the neighborhood. That didn’t work out. I was doing my own thing. So we just got together and made it happen. We started the Dollar Squad. That’s the group. The label is called DSG Entertainment. So you’re both still a part of the group ? Lu: Yeah, we’re partners. Ricky G. is really the star of the group. Is there any pressure having that title placed on u ? Ricky G: Yeah man, but it ain’t just no title - it’s the way it is. We got dreams and everybody wants to make it. I just gotta be the one who does a lot of the work. How many people are there in the group ? Lu: We have 6 members. You’ve got A.N.T., Ricky G., myself - Don Lucci, my cousin G., Envy (the girl in the group), and Quata Key. And you’ve been together as a group how long ? Lu: Man, about 8 or 9 years. I know yall have something you’re workin’ on. Tell us about it. Lu: The cd that we have out right


now is the Bounty Hunter cd. We also got an underground mix cd called The Carolina Collision. We’ve all done various solo projects and as a group. Right now, we going full-blast with the group and tryin to take it to the next level. Compared to some of the other artists coming out of North Carolina, does your material stand out ? Lu: As far as making noise, we number one right now. The person who probably comes close right now is S. Dub. That’s our homeboy. Other than that, I really don’t see nobody else. Performance-wise, nobody’s even close. We just some country boys from Carolina getting play all the way up in Indiana. We getting it in Texas. We all over. It’s really becoming a movement. U got a lot of groups in North Carolina and Charlotte who are hot and doing their thang. U know what I’m saying ? We doing some collaborations with em. We really tryin to put our city and state on the map. Ricky G: We settin’ standards in the city. We got a lot of talent in the city. Not just rappers. We gotta hella singers here, athletes, and everything. They startin’ to recognize it. Are yall doing anything different in North Carolina. What’s gonna separate u ? Lu: We not tryin to do what everybody else is doin’. We do what we do for us. U really wouldn’t get the just of it until u see us perform. When we perform, we put on a show. It’s not just going on stage walking around yo, yo, yo. U know? We’re really professional with what we do. That’s one thing that really separates us from a lot of independent acts. Anything else yall workin’ on. Ricky G: Yeah, I got like 4 or 5 mixtapes I’m bout to drop. I do a lot of features. I had an album done about 3 or 4 years ago that’s just sittin’ in the cut. I’m sittin on about three - four albums right now. And I’m spittin’ fiire. We really lookin’ for distribution. What direction are yall going with the label and group ? Are u lookin’ for independent distribution to do your own thing and keep more money in your pocket, or are u after independent distribution hoping to make something happen so you’ll land that major deal ? Ricky G: We just lookin’ for distribution right now. How is the working relationship within the group ? U know, artist come and go even in acts with major deals making major money. Ricky G: We all been together a long time. We all

family. Lu and Quata Key, them my brothers. A.N.T. is my cousin and Envy is my brothers girl. So, we ain’t going no damn where. So the rest of the group doesn’t see u guys as having that Master P / Puffy syndrome do they ? U know, saying why don’t yall just run the label and stop trying to be featured artists on label ? Lu: I think everybody knows their role in the group and the company. Ricky G: It is sort of that sometimes. Everybody wants right now, but they know that their time can’t be right now. We all have an understanding, though, that we have to focus on one thing at atime, and any track that we do together, everybody just puts their all into it. I tell em all the time... I’m in the studio right now writing and doing my thing, yall be writing, too, so that when your time comes you’ll be ready. A lot of strip clubs are breakin songs for artists these days - has the strip clubs played an important role in what yall do ? Ricky G: Yeah, they opening plenty peoples eyes up in there. When the women love your songs, them niggas gone love ya song anyway. U know what I’m sayin’ ? They follow behind the women. It’s like... that done broke the ice for us. So do yall have any problems gettin radio spins in Charlotte ? Cause Petey Pablo told me awhile back that North Carolina ain’t really showin’ independents a whole lot of love. Ricky G: That’s true. Yeah man, definitely ! A lot of us don’t know the ropes. It’s hard going up to a radio station anywhere and gettin’ them to play something; unless u got a reputation in the city. It’s hard to get into heavy rotation. They may only play your stuff on the weekend even when u that damn good. We that hot fire coming out of Carolina. Carolina coming ! Queen City, baby. We got North and South Carolina. There’s a lot of talent here. I don’t know about Mississippi, but here, u can’t turn on the radio and not here 5 songs in a row from Atlanta artists. Them boys can come here and make 5 and 10 thousand dollars a show, or just to appear at a club. U know what I’m sayin ? And we can’t, because they won’t give us that kind of recognition. It’s like, here, we give all the respect to Atlanta and we don’t have our own name. We don’t have our own image. U got people in the club in Charlotte, North Carolina, that’ll throw up an “A” before they’ll throw up a “C”. And I take that to heart.

are not ready for the major independents. You have to have something under your belt. If you haven't done much when a major comes to you with an offer, you get what they offer and that's it. You have no leverage. If you have had some units sold on the independent level you can say well come better because I have sold 10,000 units or more and have a track record. I personally don't like how the majors interfere with the artist’s direction. I think they

those artists so it's cool. That's another thing about these deals. They will block you from doing other projects in your down-time to keep your name out there. They give you guidelines. Some have lost their deal and come back - so it's ok.

JOHN “J-DOGG” SHAW MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE Southern music has always been about two things. Hustle and grind the streets. One man has seen many of these street grinders grow into major artists and companies. John "J-Dogg" Shaw has overseen projects from an impressive list of artists. We chatted with him about the state of the independent game.

DG – How do you go about getting with Select-O-Hits?

DG – What's the deal?

J-Dogg – You got to have people ready to buy your music. In theory, if you have a pressed-up album with a barcode and a 1 sheet, we can take it. On the other side, if no one knows about your product who is going to order it. The record might be great, but if you not out doing promotions who is going to know to buy it. The album needs to be fully packaged : barcode and a 1 sheet. If you're hoping for us to do the pressing, you need a marketing plan. We want to see what your plan is, to make the best of your release. We make money when you make money

J-Dogg – I'm good. Been on vacation and doing retail runs. Staying busy.

DG – How should an independent approach the radio?

DG – Explain to our readers just who is J-Dogg ?

J-Dogg – I aim for smaller & secondary markets. Why the smaller markets ? Because they tend to be less political. I t's easier to get play. The major conglomerates don't own many of them. Some can play what they want to. It's easier ways to get play. I look at the radio for getting records sold out of a store, not for hood fame and just because you can. People want BDS and Media Base but at the end of the day if you can’’t sell any records then what good is it to have it played. Then some people jump into radio promotions and don't have a street buzz. Get a buzz first then go for the radio. If they ain’t playing it in the clubs or on the streets what good is the radio. That's my philosophy. Unless you have fans calling the radio for the song who saw you in the streets with product and got it, who's going to call. The mix-show jocks have a big part in breaking new artists, so make sure you hit them up with the music first. That can transition into the bigger picture.

J-Dogg – I work for Select-O-Hits Music Distribution out of Memphis, Tennessee. We are a national distributor of independent music. I was, and still am, involved in production work with Al Kapone. I have a degree in music education. I'm also a freelance writer and southern music historian. DG – Now how has southern rap changed over the years? J-Dogg – I haven't been pleased in what I have seen. Don't blame it all on the southern artists. I think a lot of the major record labels and media moguls have had a negative affect on the music. I think now people are making music for a target audience. They're hoping to jump on what is popular at the time and not do what they really want to do. Majors are looking for a certain kind of artist to be the next artist that's out now.

DG – What do you think about the southern mixtape game?

DG – What are your thoughts on major deals vs. the independent rou te? J-Dogg – The problem you run into is that the majors are interested in making money for themselves. That don't mean that they won’t let you eat at all, but they want to make the bulk of the money. In fairness with an artist deal, they do the bulk of the work. The days of artist development are over. These labels aren't looking for raw talent to mold to be the next big thing. You damn near have to be the next big thing already. They might put you on their independent distributor that they own, but when you do so much, they upstream you to the parent company. Coming from a real independent distributor you have the freedom to go wherever you please. Not everybody’s ready for that major deal. Some

have put pressure on certain artists to change their style to sell units. DG – You have worked with some real big names on their way up. Who are some of the people you have dealt with? J-Dogg – We had early projects from Fiend, Pastor Troy, 3-6 Mafia, 8Ball & MJG, Yo Gotti, Mr. Serv-On, Mike Jones & Magno, Young Buck, David Banner and the list goes on. Very few come back to do independent projects af ter they get on. Some want to do an independent project but their contract won’t give them the space. We have had a lot of referrals from

J-Dogg – Unless your mixtape is full of original music they are technically illegal. They cause distributors to get sued. We can’t deal with it because if you have a major artist on it and a barcode and sell some units and the major company wasn't notified they will sue anyone who carries that mixtape. We learned the hard way about carrying mixtapes. I don't have a problem with them, but we can’t deal with them. I t should be done handto-hand, not in a store. If the mixtape is designed to make some money to help with your above ground release or to keep your name out until you get another full album, then that's great. Be original.

Interview by Dub G. E-mail :


you sell drug, and you get caught, but GOD has the mercy upon the sinners - like prostitution. He wasn’t saying go strip! They told us no, because that was not what they wanted us to program ourselves with. Then, Kanye said to me, “Let me have it. Let me finish writing it, and I’ll make sure it gets out there”. And he did! I think on top of everything, it pushed a lot of boundaries and opened up doors. If anything, I think it challenged the listener in many ways. Just him talking about other things alone. Rhymefest: I t definitely challenged people to step

Lately, that has all gone out the window. With the exception of a few, most notable those like Common, Mos Def, Kanye West, Dead Prez, QTip, Wise Intelligent, and so forth, most rappers could care less about who is listening to what they’re saying. More importantly, people are finding it harder and harder to relate to what their so-called leaders are saying. The sad thing is that much of today’s youth have grown attached and accustomed to the materialistic views in hip-hop. For that reason, some rappers may want to speak more “consciously”, but fear a backlash from young consumers. One rapper who appears to be unconcerned with that theory is Rhymefest. I t’s definitely a good thing, too, because this brother just may be the answer for hip-hop! He’s just what we need to turn hip-hop around, and he’s already had a head start before now. Along with Kanye West, he wrote the hip-hop classic, “Jesus Walks”. The two worked tirelessly at get a spotlight for the track without any success. Kanye would soon release the track via his debut album, “The College Dropout”, and the rest would be history. Now, after a few years of work, Rhymefest is finally ready to drop his album, “Blue Collar. On his first single, “Brand New”, he tackles the materialistic content that many are focusing on, and gives his own take. With Rhymefest, hip-hop is truly headed in an all new direction. We recently caught up with the Chicago rhyme slinger to talk about the new album and everything else that’s jumping off with him. Rhymefest: What’s going on James? All is good here man. What’s happening on your end? Rhymefest: Chillin…chillin. Just trying to make the best of my day. Well of course, I have to thank you for your time today. Rhymefest: It’s all good man, but let me warn you.... I’m a very intelligent guy. Ask me good questions and challenge me. Work out my brain. I can talk about economics, politics, social issues, and so forth…. Well first, I want you to elaborate on how you got started with everything? Rhymefest: Well basically, starting with the Jesus Walks thing, you know, I don’t believe it’s my song, or Kanye’s song. I believe that it was delivered by the creator. It was inspiration.We were only used as the vehicle for the song. I found the sample. I’m sitting around listening to music, and the sample came up. It really moved me. You’re not the only one man. I t moved millions. Rhymefest: Yeah, and I was like this needs to be a track. Me and Kanye, we grew up together, and we were buddies, so I handed it to him. I t was originally for my demo. He made the beat, and it was incredible. I wanted to use it for my demo. We made the song, and we took it around to different peo-

ple. This was around the same time that Jay-Z was doing The Blueprint. We took it around to different A&R’s, and Kanye would set up meetings. They would say no! They would say “Is the streets talking about Jesus?” I’m so glad you mention that man, because everybody knows how ‘taboo” it’s made out to be when people talk about Jesus in their music. Rhymefest: Right, but I don’t even think it was that we were talking about Jesus. We were talking about social issues, you know. Like,


I The New Power I

Reality Hip-Hop their game up. Af ter that, you heard more people trying to do what they consider positive rap. I think what people messed up was that this wasn’t positive rap. This was real streets rap. We was really talking about what’s going on in the streets. That’s what I’m doing on my “Blue Collar” album. I’m talking about real streets. When I talk about blue collar, I’m talking about real people. In my neighborhood, it’s a tough neighborhood. You might not see six people on the corner selling drugs, but you might see f ive people at the bus stop. This blue collar album is about that struggle. I love the idea that you relate your rhymes, lyrics, and thoughts to everyday life and the things that are really going on in the streets. There’s so much talk about jewelry and different shit that so many people can not relate to. So many people talk about where they come from, but they can’t relate to anything that real people are going through. Rhymefest: I agree with you, and that’s what I’m bringing with “Blue Collar”. Let me tell you about the streets, or where I’m from at least. You know, I dropped out of high school. I went back and got a G.E.D. I wasn’t satisfied, so I went back to night school and got a Diploma. I wasn’t satisf ied, so I went to college and studied elementary education. I got out, and was teaching kids. I realized why our school systems are flawed. I grew up with drug addicts in my family. My aunt was a drug addict. My mom was on drugs for a minute. Do you know how it feels, to be in the eighth grade and have a little girl come up to you and say “my brother just sold your mother some drugs”? That’s deep! Rhymefest: You know what I’m saying? That’s what I’ve been going through. Cousins not talking, and then growing up to learn that they were molested by uncles and shit. These is the streets that ain’t nobody talking about. I t’s crazy that you mention all of this, because it goes on in so many families. The same thing happened with cousins in my family. Rhymefest: You have to deal with this as you’re older. My thing is, it happens in a lot of our families, but all a lot of us have to talk about is going to the club and shit. You know, like my thing is that if you wanna talk about the streets, and talk about being gangstas, real gangstas ain’t riding around listening to Mobb, and Mafia. Real gangstas is riding around listening to The Isley Brothers. Exactly. People that put music in music. Rhymefest: Right. Then you got people saying that Kanye West ain’t street. But he’s more street than many people out there. People relate to him and his music.

(662) 251-0075

Rhymefest: Thank you. Is Stevie Wonder not street because he made Ribbon In The Sky? Is Marvin Gaye not street because he made Mercy Mercy Me? My thing is, I’m not concerned with who street and who is not street. I make good music, and try to let it f ind a home. Its like, if you can help anyone with your music, and it can’t be related to, then what is the true purpose? Rhymefest: But a lot of us are creating monsters in the people. We are turning the public against what’s real, by being superhero action figure niggaz. The people are saying, you ain’t no action figure nigga. I’m saying that you don’t have to be. You can just be you! “Blue Collar” is production heavy. You got Just Blaze, No I.D., Cool & Dre, Mark Ronson, Kanye West. I t ain’t a mixtape and it ain’t a compilation. You’re buying Rhymefest, and you’re going to get a majority Rhymefest. I can appreciate the fact that the people you featured on your music, they are actually saying something in their music alone.Rhymefest: I have people that are close to me. Me and Just Blaze are Buddies. Me and Cool & Dre are cool as hell. Me and Kanye, we’re like best friends. Me and No I.D. are Muslim brothers. Me and Mark Ronson, I’m signed to his label. So there’s a connection with everybody. It ain’t just because it was hot, or the person is hot! My thing, O.D.B., I worked with him, and wrote for him before he passed. Mario, Carl Thomas, you know ? I liked how you touched on the materialistic society in “Brand New”. Rhymefest: You know, I take something old and make it new to me. I just like that there’s actually a topic, and the music doesn’t get compromised in the effort of making a single. Rhymefest: Well you know, I wanna sell records. I wanna be famous, but I also realize that I have a duty to tell the truth. And when you fulfill that du ty, people neglect to realize that you come out on top in the end. Those that fulfill this duty last longer, and their career is more fruitful, as opposed to those that don’t, and they’re gone in a few years. So many people do so many things to get on top, and then they can’t keep up. Rhymefest: I agree with you. Q-TIP told me something, like how you’re saying now. Man, Q-Tip is like one of the most under-rated cats out there! Rhymefest: You right. I’m listening to you brother, and the two of you have a lot in common, as far as how you think and talk. He’s so under-rated, and I’m wishing he would get something out there. Rhymefest: Yeah, he’s doing his thing. I appreciate that brother. I think a lot of people are going to dig the direction you’ve gone in with your album. Rhymefest: I hope so. But you know, we need more good brothers like you. I know you think that you’re just an individual, but you have power. You got power, and what you say, how you depict your articles, makes a difference as far as what people think about the movement. What is your u ltimate goal with this album? Rhymefest: It will def ine a moment in the era we live in. I want it to resonate in the hearts and minds of people, blue collar, and otherwise. Any shows coming up man? Coming to Cleveland soon? Rhymefest: Oh you’re in Cleveland? I just left Cleveland recently. Cleveland is the real hood man. So many people don’t know that, man. Rhymefest: Yeah, I love Cleveland. Some of them neighborhoods is bad. I was at Hot Sauce Williams on Superior. I t was crazy. But you know, I got my hands full. I’ll get this album and my idea out to as many people as I can. Deal with brothers like yourself and see if we can organize something to change the game permanently. Thank you so much man. I appreciate this, and the conversation was good. We need to do this again. Rhymefest: You got my email man. I appreciate you as well. I encourage everyone to go out and pick up “Blue Collar”. Ride with it! You will be thoroughly entertained.



ip-Hop began as a pure art form that was once about simple expression. One could use it not only to express the good and bad going on within their life, but also as a way to relate their lives to those that might be listening. Back in the day, as some would say, more artist were responsible for the things they said, and there was a true knowledge and concern for what was being relayed to the masses.

Interview by James Johnson Email :

Publisher’s Point Life Is For The Living By Anthony Colom E-mail :


he month of June, in this year, 2006, was an unbelievable month in my life. One that I will never forget. They say that God doesn’t put more on u than u can handle. I’m not gonna lie..... my mind and body have been exhausted. But it’s true, I’m still here. I’m happy, healthy, and I’m well.

In June we were gearing up for The 2nd Annual Mississippi Hip-Hop Conference on June 24th, and at the same time, putting together this issue of The New Power. Everything was hectic. On June 14th, my mother calls and says my uncle (her brother) was found dead in his front yard. He was a diabetic, overweight, and had had open-heart surgery recently. I’m rushing to Ripley, Mississippi from Columbus because they tell me that no funeral arrangements can be made until I get there because he wanted me to handle that. We made the arrangements and had the funeral about 3 days later. A little over a week later, my grandmother (my mother’s mother) was taken to the hospital with chest pains. She had been upset that her only son had died. On June 23, the night before the conference, I called and spoke to her at the hospital. She said she was fine and that she’d be going home the next day. The next day was the day of the conference. I’m running around town on full-blast taking care of last minute stuff for the conference. I go to Office Depot and while there, my father calls and says my grandmother just died. I can’t even explain what’s going through my head at that point. I’m like.... damn this conference ! Damn this magazine ! I don’t give a damn about none of this shit right now. My mother tells me not to come to Ripley. She says stay in Columbus because u have all these people coming and they’re depending on u. She said there’s nothing u can do right now. I knew we had these people coming to town, put this was my family, my grandmother. This was my last grandmother. My father’s mother died August 2005. So I had just lost both of my grandmothers and an uncle in less than one year. It was unreal. It really was. So here I am greeting people and smiling all day at the conference and charity basketball game. The only people there who knew what was going on was my wife, my sister-in-law, and my niece. I stood up at the end of the conference and presented fellow Mississippian and hip-hop historian, Charlie Braxton, the 1st Annual Mississippi Hip-Hop Pioneer Award. I know a little bit about some things that Charlie has been through in his life. Such as his home burning down and his losing everything he owned; gold and platinum plaques given to him, manuscripts he was working on, a vast music collection, and his families personal belongings. The whole time I’m thinking about his life, my uncle and my grandmother. I damn near lost it just trying to give this man his award. Yeah, I know you’re probably thinking it ain’t gangsta to cry. Well, I ain’t no gangsta. The bible even says Jesus wept. Would u tell Jesus it ain’t gangsta to cry ? By the end of the month of June I was getting ready to live. From now on, I’m gonna do what I want to do and what I need to do. I’ve never been on a plane. It’s never been something I cared to do, but we’ve been invited to TJ’s DJ’s / Ozone Awards in Orlando and I hate driving, too. I stay in vehicles all the time and sometimes just hate having to go somewhere. But, I’m a publisher and u gotta do what cha gotta do. We drove to GTP Fam’s conference in St. Peterburg, Florida and I said the next time I go to Florida I’m flying, cause that’s a long damn drive. So I’m about to do it. Yeah, I’m gonna fly ! Are u gonna continue to sit around never having done the things that u could have done or wanted to do in life ? When u gonna record that cd you’ve been talking about for 3 years ? When u gonna go back to school to get your diploma or degree ? When u gonna open that business that you’ve been saving for ? You’re 30 years old. When u gonna have that child you’ve been talking about ? You’ve been wanting to start a clothing line. When u gonna do it ? Girl, u do some mean hair. When u gonna open your shop ? Say playa, you’ve got a good job. When u gonna get rid of that raggedy-ass car ? U say u can do this. When u gonna publish your magazine ? DON’T DO IT ! Will u be here tomorrow ? Life is for the living. When are u gonna start living ?

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Broderick Colom


NP: For all the readers who may not know you, introduce yourself. Spark Dawg: Basically, I’m just a young cat straight out of Texas looking to bring some more southern lyrics to the game. As far as my background. A couple of years ago, I took a greyhound out to ATL hoping to land a record deal either doing a lot of underground shows, showcases, or talent searches. Finally, I got discovered my a dude named Lil Flava, who used to sing in the group Ghetto Mafia. They had a hit back in the day called Straight from the Deck. He was the one singing the hook on that. He also asked me if I wanted to open up for a show he was booking acts for. The headliners were Pastor Troy, Trillville, and Lil Scrappy. I ended up doing the show and I was approached by Lil Scrappy's manager, Serious. At that time he was both managing Scrappy and Crime Mobb. This was before they had the distribution deal with Warner Brothers. They had just signed with BME under Lil Jon at that time. They was kind of known, they had a song on the radio, but it wasn't as big as it is now with the videos in rotation on MTV and BET. Of course me hearing Scrappy on the radio, I figured it would be a good look for me to have the same manager as him. So of course, I agreed. Things was going pretty good. We recorded a lot of material together. But at the same time, sometime you get that gut instinct there is a person that doesn't have your best interest at heart. As time went by, I started to realize I was really an outsider or an outcast in that situation cause here I am around a bunch of people I didn't know- I didn't grow up with. At that time I was the only dude from Texas in this circle. A lot of things I thought should have happened, didn't happen. I recorded a lot of material and a lot of it got no attention. Crime Mobb was booking shows and secured a deal with Warner Bros. and so did Scrappy. At the same time I'm over here sharing the same manager as Scrappy and Crime Mobb, and I'm working two jobs out here. I really didn't feel like the manager knew how to handle me since I wasn't from there. I was making totally different types of music than they was making. That was when crunk was really in. So at that time, me and my manager kind of fell out. We really didn't get along. It didn't have anything to do with me and Scrappy. He was just another artist he as managing. So, it wasn't really nothing Scrappy could do. At the time I was supposedly in Lil Scrappy's click called G's Up. That was what we was representing at the time. I just didn't feel like they could handle an artist like me. So I packed up everything I had and came back to Texas af ter a two year stint. I t was real hard for me, cause I had to come home and face everybody that I lef t, everybody that was rooting for me back home in Texas. Basically, I had to start over back at square one. I really wasn't stressing at the time cause I came back home and my focus was a lot better than it was when I was in Atlanta. Now my name is hotter than it ever was when I was with the "Prince of Crunk" and all that stuff. Everything worked out. I hit the mixtape scene hard. I hooked up with my DJ, DJ Explicit. We put together a mixtape called "Streets of the Dirty South Pt.4". I t was hosted by me, Paul Wall, and Magno out of Houston. It just so happened we ended up winning a SEA Award for that one for

“I’m not signed. Don’t have any type of management. Everything that people know about me is by word of mouth.” "Best Rap Mixtape". That was a blessing within itself. I was actually nominated for "Mixtape Rookie of the Year". I didn't get to take that home. But we did get to bring home "Best Rap Mixtape" which was a good accomplishment for me. In that same category, we went up against Young Jeezy and DJ Drama for "Trap of Die". For us to come home with that award was just crazy. So here we are now discussing deals with a couple labels. They see my grind and they know my back story. That's why everything is gravy. I'm not even tripping. I'm here now. Texas is officially here in the building. NP: Since the Southern Entertainment Awards, how have the DJs, promoter, and artists been treating you? Spark Dawg: All man! Its nothing but love now. The perfect example is just last week, I had a interview go up on And its crazy, cause the interview, I think they had before me was Lloyd Banks, and the one they had after me was DJ Khaled, if I'm not mistaken. Just for my name to be mentioned in the same caliber is crazy. I mean, I'm not signed. Don't have any type of management. Everything that people know about me is by word of mouth, or my heavy presence on the southern mixtape scene. I'm on everybody's mixtape, especially if it is a DJ from the South. You gone find at least one Spark Dawg track on their track listing, from Chuck T, DJ Obscene out

Interview by

Alan Harrison Email

of Florida, 3-6 Mafia's personal DJ, DJ Black. I'm out here getting it man. I never lost that focus. I had to start all over. It made me a better artist. To be real with you, I don't think a lot of people know the names of the people in the G's Up Click. That's no disrespect to them. Just that I came out here grinding. I'm not about to be stuck in anybody's shadow. I was there at a point in time in somebody's shadow. I felt that I had to break out on my own. But like I said, a lot of people who are unsigned that end up on are in something called the "Breeding Ground". That's their special name for the "unsigned hype". But they did a real feature on me like I was a major artist out here. That just goes to show you what hard work can do for you man. NP: What impact are you trying to make with your music? Spark Dawg: Really, I am doing this cause I want to take care of my family. I'm coming from a small town out of Texas. I'm not coming from Houston. I'm not coming out of Dallas. I'm coming out of central Texas from a small town called Killeen. I grew up with a bunch of dudes out here who I feel should be in the game, my click that I run with called "Green City". I feel like I have a responsibility to put them on. I feel they deserve it. Starting with Mike Hee, MJ, J. Scott, Big Spade, Yung Texxus. I'm going to do everything I can to kick the door down for the click and bring everybody else in like a real nigga should.

Sidekick", which is real huge right now. Its crazy! I just finally got an original beat for the song since it has been on the underground tip for awhile now. I got a marketing team behind me now called "Hustle Fam". They are actually in the middle stages for an endorsement deal with T-mobile. I t is bigger than rap. I t is a bigger picture out here. With God willing, that will go down. That will be a real beautiful situation for ya boy. I may not even need a rap deal. I might sit back and collect that endorsement money. That endorsement money is that white folk bread. I can't hate that. Hopefully, that will go through. That one of the biggest things outside of rap that I am doing. Besides that, I have been making gold grillz for five years. I have been doing that since I was in high school. That kind of got me popular when I was growing up, cause I had everybody rocking gold grillz back in the day. I'm still doing that. So, rapping is cool, I plan on pursuing that. I had to find a legal hustle, cause I'm not signed yet. I'm not doing no coast to coast worldwide tour getting 10, 20 or 30 thousand a show. Luckily I was blessed to find a legal hustle to get me paid. So, I have been doing that by making gold grillz. NP: What kept Spark Dawg motivated when it seemed like things weren't going to get any better, when you saw you were down to the last of your last? Spark Dawg: Just knowing that I have been there. You know what I’m saying? When you see it all and then have it all taken away from you, it's no going back. I have been there, I have been escorted in clubs with a bodyguard with Lil Scrappy straight to VIP popping bottles. I have been to the video shoots. My first video I was in was the "Headbussa videoshoot". We was all on stage with our G's Up jackets on and I was still representing with a bright-ass orange Houston Astros fitted cap on. I have lived that life for a little bit, then have it all taken away. I refuse not to get back where I suppose to be. What keeps me motivated is the memories of rolling around with Scrappy in that circle, cause I know how it feels. And I know that I deserve it. I'm not going to stop. I'm going to get there. I'm going to do it the right way. I'm going to bring my family in. And we just gone continue to eat. Lets get this money. NP: It seems now that Texas is really coming together. Everybody is getting on each others songs helping each other out. How do you feel about that? Spark Dawg: Man, I love it! When it came time for me to do a remix of "I'm from Texas", I reached out to Magno. He hopped on it. I have heard and been around Magno andhave seen people come up to him and ask him for a feature. Then he’ll tell the nigga to put up $600 or something like that. To get that love from Magno, and for him to respect my craf t and music where he would jump on my song at no cost. It was crazy. Then for me to reach out to DSR and get Tum-Tum, now the song is certified platinum down here. You got Magno representing south Texas from Houston, you got me in the middle from Killeen, the you got DSR who are the kings of Dallas who are in north Texas. We had the whole state of Texas sewed up with that song. It was gravy. NP: Before we close this interview, is there anything else you want to tell the readers?

NP: How do you feel about the re-recognition of Texas, you know awhile back when UGK first go hot, Ghetto Boys, RapA- lot, Screwed-Up Click, how do you feel about being recognized as coming from Texas? Spark Dawg: I t is a beautiful thing. One way that the newer cats are showing homage, respect, and showing that we have not forgot them, if you listen to a lot of Texas records, we are sampling hooks from old Swisha House members, and UGK. I mean everybody is taking hot lines that we fell in love with when we was in middle school and high school, Jay-Z said it the best - "U made it a hot line, I'm going to make it a hot song". I feel like that is one way we show them that we haven't forgot where we came from. And we are showing them that we do know our history. My biggest hit today was a underground hit called "I'm from Texas", where I sampled Pimp C on the hook. I took that from a verse he spit on Ludacris album from a song called "Stick em Up". Shout outs to Pimp C. I recorded that track while I was with Scrappy. I presented that song to my manager at the time. But he past on it. I t took me to come home and blow that song up on the mixtape scene. I t goes to show you another example why that situation was not good for me. I had to move around. NP: What other ventures are you getting into besides music? Spark Dawg: Another on of my underground hits that really got me hot was a joint called "Hit me on my Sidekick". I did a little jackin for beats thing, I took a beat that Maceo and Phats rapped off called "Nextel Chirp". And I did that song "Hit me on my

Spark Dawg: Yeah, I got two solo mixtapes that I am dropping before I decide to put out my official album. I'm dropping one called " B4 the Major Deal". I'm putting that out with one of the biggest Djs out of Austin called DJ Grip. He is famous for dropping triple disc mixtapes out here. He sell like ten thousand every time he drops. Then one of my biggest supporters, DJ Chuck T out of the Carolinas, we hooked up and he gone do a mixtape on me called, "Spark Dawg is the future of the South". I really plan on getting a bigger buzz off that. The buzz I got right now, people don't understand. I never dropped no mixtape yet. I never put out no Spark Dawg mixtape before. People know me form being on a lot of mixtapes. Hosting a lot of mixtapes. Imagine if I put out an all-Spark Dawg mixtape. My name is so hot just from seeing it everywhere. So, I'm really bout to hurt the game with this one right here. Once we do that then we are going to drop "The Lone Star Kid". Also, I got a joint mix-album that I am doing with Yung Texxus. I t is being mixed by DJ Scream and DJExplicit. It is called "Interest to Co-sign". We call it that because Yung Texxus was featured in the Source Magazine for Unsigned Hype and I’m pretty much co-signed by all Djs on That’s my biggest co-sign today as far as the industry. Last but not least, I'm putting out 'Young, Rich, and Dangerous". That's the mixtape where Big Spade who stands for the "Young", Rich stands for me, Spark Dawg, and Mike Hee, we are like the guerillas of the click, saying that he is Dangerous. And shouts out to every DJ that ever put a Spark Dawg track on their mixtape. And shout out to Alan Harrison and The New Power Magazine for doing this interview.

New Orleans, Louisiana

MIA X s No Limit's first lady, Mia X became one of the few female MCs in Southern hip hop that consistently sold more than a few thousand copies. Yet Despite her fiery flow and sharp witty lyrics, Mia X, the woman who billed herself as the biggest mama often found herself faced with the same dilemma that so many women find when entering a job market run by men, struggling to earn her proper respect as a MC.


Interview by

Charlie Braxton certain artist's voices and things like that. I worked hard." But above all Mia was the label's maternal figure, often feeding and protecting her close-knit family of hard-nose rappers like a mother hen, especially when it came to the female groupies on the road. "I took my position at No Limit very serious. During my run at No Limit nobody got into any trouble," says Mia Proudly. "Yes, I was a playa hater extraordinaire. I would go out into the hall and if I saw a bunch of females standing in the hall I would go, what y'all doing up here I know y'all not up here trying to fuck because y'all don't even know these men. I know y'all not up here trying to sleep with strangers. Yes, I did that because I wanted to protect them because I saw the potential in so many of the guys."

"You know with women sometimes it's hard because we have to fight for so much. We have to fight to be respected and recognized as lyricists. We're already dealing with [male] egos. We're in a canoe full of testosterone so it can be pretty frustrating," says Mia who has shed 45 pounds for health purposes – she has Type 2 diabetes.

it soured their relationship. The results of all of this internal chaos plus No Limit losing their distribution deal with Priority caused her album Sister Stories to be delayed. P. inked a new distribution deal with Universal in 1999, Mia finally made preparation to record. But a calamity struck that would be the beginning of a series of tragedies that would change Mia's life forever. On Sept. 8, 1999, Mia’s mother, a devout follower of the teachings of Marcus Garvey, was killed in a freak accident. Seven months later her father died, leaving Mia and her sister Ashley behind to care for their ailing grandmother who suffered a stroke shortly after seeing her daughter buried. Shortly after her father died, her friend and former label mate, Big Ed, died of cancer. A few months after moving in with Mia, she was one, leaving Mia alone to face one of the most difficult periods in her life. "Everybody knows the relationship that I had with my parents and it was extremely and still is to this very day, devastating, says Mia. To add insult to injury, Master P didn't attend either one of her parent's funeral, but did find the time to attend football star Allen Field's last rites. That was the final straw for her. For the first time since she's known Master P, Mia set aside her emotions and made a cold hard business decision.

Mia started her career as Polo B back in 1984. She was a member of the New Orleans hip hop group New York Inc, which included Cash Money's Mannie Fresh. New York Inc. ran the Crescent City hip hop scene for almost five years. New York Inc. disbanded in 87 and Mia became pregnant with her first child Sean and 20 months later she had her second baby Tai.

"When the friction began with P and the producers, I think that it's fair to In 1994, Mia X was recruited into say that that's when the friction began the No Limit army when Master P heard a copy of Mia's tapes with P and myself. Because I knew and went over to her house and shared his vision of building one how hard the producers worked," of the largest independent record

labels in the world. "It was something about the twinkle in his eyes that let me know that this is what he wanted to do." Convinced that Master P was an honorable man, Mia X followed him back to Richmond California where she, Mr. Serv On, and producers Mo B Dick and KLC all shared an apartment while working on several albums, including her debut LP Good Girl Gone Bad. Although the story of No Limit's meteoric rise to the top has been told a thousand times –some of it accurate and some of it not so accurately—few people know Mia X's enormous contribution to the label's legacy. Aside from releasing three full length albums (Good Girl Gone Bad, Unladylike and Mama Drama, the latter two reaching gold status), Mia recruited artists Kane & Abel, Mac and Fiend, served as an unofficial A&R, writing hooks for hit songs such as Master P's Make ‘Em (Na, Na, Na, Na). "A lotta time my role was [picking out songs for] the earlier re-makes. You know, selecting songs that matched

By the fall of 2000, Mia's surrogate family began falling apart at the seams as disgruntled soldiers went AWOL, unhappy with the direction that the tank was headed in while the Colonel went off to South Carolina to pursue his dream of being a pro baller. First Beats by the Pound members Craig B, KLC, Mo B. Dick and Odell left the ranks. They were followed by Mr. Serv-On, Fiend, Big Ed, Skull Duggery, and Mystikal. Although it broke her heart to see the men she calls her children leave the fold, Mia X stayed true to the tank and kept riding for the cause, hoping against hope that all parties involved could reconcile the problem. They never did. Mia was heartbroken. Soon, her relationship with Percy began to crumble, especially when her loyalty to Beats by the Pound wouldn't let her record with P’s new producers. "When the friction began with P and the producers, I think that it's fair to say that that's when the friction began with P and myself. Because I knew how hard the producers worked," says Mia. "I knew that the guys made a lotta sacrifices. I knew that P made a lotta sacrifices as well. But I think that different people had their hand in that situation between P and the producers and

"I guess that the bitter pill for me to swallow was that when someone else dies who was an athlete, he got up and he put a suit on and he went to that funeral," laments Mia. "So that was kinda like a slap in the face, but you know that you gotta just keep it moving. He lost his distribution deal with Universal and [as a result] he lost me as an artist. It was just business you know. The whole thing is a sad tragedy. I am sorry that it had to happen."

Now on her own in the aftermath of Katrina, Mia X is re-building both her life and her career. She relocated from New Orleans to Dallas and is in the process of establishing her own Music Life label, on which her long awaited fourth album drops this February. Her Sister Stories will finally be told as only Mia X can tell it. Part political, part spiritual, part street, spiced with a strong dose of feminine game, Sister Stories finds a mature, triumphant Mia X returning to the rap game with even more poise and confidence than when she first walked in it. "Sister Stories is a little bit of everything. It's the spiritual side, the criminal side; the sexual side….it's just everything. It's just everything that men and women go through. A lotta men [are] feeling the material that they've heard so far because I think that I represent the girl that most guys ether have children with or marry. It ain't no high end fashion shit going over here. I'm just the real. I ain't fucking with my nose or none of that. I'm just me—what ya see is what ya get. And I ain't had no complaints yet."

Mr. Serv-On


rom 1994 to 1999 No Limit Records was the game. One of the pioneers of that movement was Mr. Serv-On. His time on the tank was a wild ride of ups and downs. I caught up with him to see what's been going on in his world and what's up with the future.

DG – What's good with you homie?

Mr. Serv-On – I'm cool. Trying to get back what's mine. DG – Now a lot of people want to know where have you been? Mr. Serv-On – My last album was back in 2003 called "No More Questions". I used that to answer a lot of questions people still had about the whole No Limit situation. It came out on D3 / Rivera Entertainment and I feel that it was some of my best work. I t was funny because af ter my first week they went out of business. We went back to the building and everything was gone. I had up front orders that needed to be filled and everything was good but no one was there. That made me sit back and take some time for myself. I had a new son so I enjoyed life and watched the rap game grow into what it is now. DG – How were things going from a major to an independent role? Mr. Serv-On – We was always independent. It just looked bigger than life. We were selling so many records it was like we had Universal, Def Jam or someone like that was pushing us. I learned a lot in the game, as far as when I lef t, people took sides. Retail people who said I love your music and I cant keep it in the store went to I can’t order your album because I'm cool with P. Radio jocks was like I feel your music, its hot, but we got this thing with P and we don't want to step on his toes. People were real ass-kissers. People dealt with you different. The calls stopped getting answered when I left No Limit. It wasn't about your talent. I t was about you affiliation.

DG – What is your take on the southern music now? Mr. Serv-On – It's cool but the real street music aint there much anymore. A lot of these new rappers need to show some respect for the ones who opened the doors for yall to do southern music on the level its on. Rap-A-Lot opened the doors and we took it to another level that won't be duplicated again. Our way of business, production and marketing is what rap is surrounded by. We gave the blueprint to make a hit in the streets. A lot of the new rappers in the South act like they started this movement. I know where you got ya style f rom. Beats By The Pound gave you the formula to what you hear now. I aint gone throw my leg up or snapping my fingers but it’s all apart of the sound now. I came f rom a time where murder was real in the club. The music is making folks have a good time and not want to beef in the club anymore. That's a good thing. I look at it from an OG level. When you played some of our music back then, you got your head smashed in if you had beef. The music is steadily evolving. A few artists are bringing it back to the street level. The dj's are breaking new music all day now from the underground. It's a good thing, but we cant live by the tv. People miss that hard shit, and in time it will come back around. DG – Going back to the home turf, have you been back to New Orleans since Katrina? Mr. Serv-On – I was in it when it happened. I stayed away for awhile af ter I was able to get out. I went back and cried for the city. Everything about me, and is me, is gone. My life cycle was thrown off. You can build it back but it will never be the same. The courts and schools and blocks that made me were washed out. I don't go back much, plus, I know what they doing. They don't want black people to be there. I know they blew that levee. If they didn't then the water would have been in the white areas, the Garden District. That's a lot of expensive land that stretches all the way to the lakefront. Now they can bull dose all that land and build big beautiful houses all the way to the lake. They got them people out of there. That will go down with me like the JFK murder. There are going to be $300 to $400,000 houses out there. My people can't afford

“Fans want the camp back together, but it's not us. I'll do it because I'm about business, but I won’t deal with P on the money issue. Beats By The Pound will have to do the music or I wouldn't do it.” DG – Was it easier to sell records more hand-to- hand rather the major outlets? Mr. Serv-On – I found out hand- to-hand was better. After all this time without being on tv, I still have true fans that buy my records for me. I can sell 100,000 units to date and be good. I had real No Limit fans come up to me and say I was wrong to do P like that. It was crazy to hear you fake for leaving, but I still support you. Let it be known, nobody was dropped f rom No Limit. People walked off and lef t. My reasons for leav ing were, it just wasn't gangsta no more. It wasn't real anymore. I

that. We from a hustling city and all they give us is $10,000 for all we had. People go out to other cities and think the N.O. is coming back strong and spend that money and come back to the city with nothing. That's why the crime rate is like it is. Then they arresting you as you come in. It's not right. The government is worrying about what's going on in the other countries more than what's going on under their noses. Then you have the "good time" folks who are in a different place with a straight job, nice crib and better schools going back to the city with their kids because the clubs jumping. So, our people are at fault, too. The city will never be the same.

Dub G. E-mail: DG – Word is you have a new album in the works. What's the word on that? Mr. Serv-On – I live by the 2Pac code. Do a track a day. I have so much material I broke them into 3 or 4 different albums. One is for hand-to-hand and the other is the one that is going to stores, called "Heart Music". That means the South is losing a lot of its blood to the heart. I’m gone bring the blood back. The first single is called "Stomp For Ya Hood". I'm going to put that fear in ya of knowing here comes another South record. There are a lot of personal feelings in this album. I got a few tracks for the masses, but the rest is that real street music. I’m that one who is going to step out and be that problem you don't want. Not to start off a beef but it is what it is. I have been reading what a few other people have been saying in interviews and on tv about the South and they aiming at Atlanta, but it aint going down like that. The South is going to stand up. The South runs from Texas to Virginia, so pick ya poison. When you look at that map and call out names of artist from their respected state, you look at Louisiana you gone say Mr. Serv-On in the mix. DG – Who are you working with on the new album? Mr. Serv-On – I got my artist Mark X's. He's what D'Angelo was. Ghetto Red, who is out of New Orleans. A few cats out of Dallas and a lot of me. I got tracks from KLC and you, Dub-G, on there. I t's still a work in progress. I'm shooting for October for a release. I'm also working on the Hunna Cru album. That's me, Ghetto Red, and Mark X's. I got a grown man project called "Pressha Music". I t's on some live band and different type music. DG – Any other projects in the works? Mr. Serv-On – I got a clothing line "Corner Boy Wear" coming out. I t has different sayings and area codes on it. We got shirts, jeans and hats. It's real streetwise. Then the female line called "Cute Country Girl". I got the Hunna Chick jeans for the ladies with the outrageous backside. I got all kinds of accessories for them. Eain Smith is the designer along with myself. We starting a film company with the first project "From The Porch To The Streets: A East Dallas Story". It's about a ball player who went to the street life. I wrote and will bedirecting it. I got different things going on. I'm putting together a compilation called "My Way, Your Way". I t's me with cats from all over the world. This is going to be real big. DG – Where can we go to see what's going on with you? Mr. Serv-On – Hit me up at I put up a new song every week. Then you can get albums you can’t get nowhere else. I'm good and thanks to all the fans for sticking with me throughout the thick and the thin. One love.

New Orleans, Louisiana

didn't like wearing the suits and shit. I didn't like not challenging Cash Money when they came at us. When P and KLC went at it I didn't like that because I brought KLC to No limit. Then I got caught in the middle. After that, I was like... it’s time for me to go. I wasn't feeling it. From 1994 -1999 we were there. We gave P that sound. Before 1994, P didn't rap like he rap now, or talk about the stuff he talks about now. You can go check his earlier work. During that time there was 60 million records sold. Now, af ter 1999, count how many records he sold, and don't count Romeo because that's a whole different market. Fans want the camp back together, but it's not us. I'll do it because I'm about business, but I won’t deal with P. on the money issue. Beats By The Pound will have to do the music or I wouldn't do it. P gave his word over the years but that's issues that you let die down over time, but the real needs to be known. I always record, but now, to put an album together is something I haven't did in a while. I was working retail for KLC’s new album. The real strength of fans brought me back. Now the same stores and other people who wouldn't deal with me because of P were asking for new material since P has fell off and did them wrong in the end, too. We did the han- to-hand in the earlier days to get out and become the household name we were. Then it was like we got on some pretty shit. P was like we don't have to do that any more. I went back to the old way and it was the best thing for me. I believe why other cats saying they can’t sell records because of us is that they don't have our angle on the game. Hand-to-hand sales gets the job done. Holla at these people. People don't see you for 2 years and someone else takes your place. Any young artist should get off your ass and hit the block with your music. Learn the business f irst then apply yourself.

Interview by

Interview by

New Quest Youth Conference Saving Our Black Youth Greg Lewis, Conference Co-Founder


t feels good to see that there’s still someone out here fighting for our black and brown youth. Someone in it for more than a little face-time. Someone in it for more their 15 minutes of fame. In Columbus, Mississippi, a father and daughter, Greg Lewis and Nadia Dale, have teamed up to give something back to a generation of young people desperately seeking their way and their own identity. Imagine if we could get all of our people in all of our communites to raise up and do the same thing. Hey, tell me about what it is you’re trying to do for the black youth of your community ? Nadia: We got this conference that’s about empowering black youth. It will involve topics that are affecting our communities, such as the criminal justice system, how the hip-hop culture is affecting our children, training yourself to own a business rather than work for someone else, and the importance of having a black identity.

Anthony Colom Email :

What made yall want to take this on and put something like this together? Nadia: Just seeing the need and wanting to address it. We’re tired of reading about somebody’s child being locked up, and seeing little kids not being able to say their ABCs, but can quote u all the lyrics from a rap song. There’s definitely a need, but this will be the first time our children will be able to address it themselves with a group of peers and experts that they don’t have to be intimidated to be around. I think for so long it was just the older generation getting together and talking about how bad things were, but nobody was getting together with the younger generation. Nobody has to be told anymore how bad it is. We all see it. All those except the young kids wrapped up in it. We hope that the parents will attend with them. Let’s see what we can do to bring it where it needs to be. How important a role do u think a lack of self-esteem plays in the troubles of our youth today ? Nadia: It plays a major role with the boys, and the girls particularly. U know, not telling yourself that you’re beautiful enough, so that when u hear it from a man it’s not foreign to u and u don’t react to it immediately. That’s probably the biggest problem with the young women. The young men are intimidated by intelligence. I don’t know when it became uncool to be considered smart. Nobody wants to quote, unquote, talk like a white boy. They don’t want to speak appropriate english. Were u able to get the support of local businesses and sponsors ? Greg: Yes, The Conventions and Visitors Bureau, The City of Columbus, several law firms, like Gholson, Hicks, & Nichols, The Edwards Insurance Agency, and some others. As Nadia said, the whole purpose of the conference is to create dialogue. We don’t wanna get there and say u do this, u do that. We want the dialogue so all parties can better under-

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stand each other. For so long, we the adults, were the problem. Because we sat there and did nothing. Now’s the time to step up to show and tell these kids who and what they really are, and show them how to look at the media and determine what’s positve and what’s negative. Nadia : We come from an intelligent people. It’s time our children know that. Who are some of your guest speakers ? Greg: We have Professor Beatrice Nevins who is our premiere speaker. She’s a professor at New York University. Lashonda Mickens, who is an artist / CEO of Sweatbox Entertainment out of South Carolina. We have a local pastor, James Boyd, and Rebecca Calyco from Memphis, Tennessee. Nadia: This is one area that I’m really excited about. I think we have an all-star panel that’s gonna leave these kids with the information that won’t even allow them to fail. We have people who have come from many walks of life and they made it. Rebecca Calyco is a women from Memphis who owns her own business. What she does is provide u with small-business loans. We also have a former classmate of mine from Jackson State University who has his own clothing line that’s doing really well. I’m just really excited about this panel because it teaches kids how to hustle, and hustle legally. Greg: We have some area police chiefs and attorneys coming to speak also. We’d like to add u as well. In the end, what do u hope to see come about as a result of this conference ? Nadia: I’m hoping that every child that leaves, leaves motivated with a new perspective on life because they now know who they are, truely. I hope they learn how to interact with all people with confidence. I’m hoping that once it’s over they’ll know the royal breed of people that they come from.

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Interview by

Meridian, Mississippi


Kevin “K.G.” Gordon Email: Hip-Hop movement. NP: Tell us a little about yourself. Who is K.R.I.T.? Krit: Man, Krit, I'm not one of your typical rappers. I'm just doing me. I'm just trying to show the world we got that

SOULFUL soul, that crunk music, that real music, and I'm just trying to be that King Remembered In Time. That's all I want them to remember me as doing it big - being on top with this real shit. NP: Where are you from? Krit: Meridian Mississippi, 601! NP: For those who may not know, we understand that not only do you rap, but you also produce, too. How long have you rapped and how Photo by Vince at Durdy Work MMG long have you produced? Krit: I've been rapping for about seven years and prohis is one way that ducing for about five. When I started rapping I would describe down here, they were selling tracks for about the young man 200-300 dollars, and at the time, I was like... I that goes by the can't afford that, and I felt like I could do tracks name of K.R.I.T as good as or even better than what I heard, so (King RememberI started producing my own stuff and it turned ed In Time.) and out good, and it went on from there. I started the passion that he reading books on the different programs and puts behind the learning how different instruments should be music that he placed and formatted and that lead to me prooffers to the rest of ducing the tracks for my mixtape. NP: I see the world. that you're a student of the game. Who Nowadays most of would be your dream collaboration, producthe music we hear lacks feeling - lacks soul ing an album with, and who would be your but when you come from the land of the blues dream collaboration as an mc? Krit: Man…. I and soul you can't help but be exactly that, would love to put together a record with Kanye soulful. Coming out of Meridian Mississippi, we West NP: Why Kanye West? Krit: Man it's introduce you to Big K.R.I.T. the next artist on something about the music - the sampling the campaign to help the massive Mississippi because I sample, and you'll see how soulful it

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is at times, just the pure sound of how the drums kick and the melody plays out. I really dig that. As far as mc's, Jay-Z, that would be crazy, that would be a dream right there. NP: What do you feel is the Mississippi sound? Krit: Soul! Its like, in Mississippi, we really don't have the opportunity that most states have to get out there, but when we get out there, we grind, its like really, that grind makes you. A nigga go through a lot just to be able to get his music heard here, there, or wherever, you

I The New Power I

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know? When a nigga can't gets that shit out for so long its frustrating, and once he finally get his music out there, there's so much pain and so much soul behind the music, that's what I feel Mississippi music is mostly made up of. NP: You have two mixtapes out right now, See Me on Top1 and See Me on Top 2, tell us about that? Krit: See Me on Top 1 is me mostly putting out the type of music that I like to put out and the music I like to listen to. See Me on Top 2, I had Dj Folk (Break'em off Djs). He helped push me. He got on there and did some drops for me and we put it together to showcase my lyrical skills. Instead of just doing so many original songs I rapped over some instrumentals to show a wide range of my lyrical skills. NP: We know that you got a buzz with a lot of record pools and Djs in the States, how does it feel to have a buzz overseas in Germany? And who helped with that? Krit: Dj Dollar Bill, and its crazy to be an unsigned artist and still be on the independent grind and still get recognized on mixtapes and be exposed over there. It’s crazy. NP: What can we expect from KRIT in the near future and also the long run? Krit: I'm definitely trying to do it big with the rapping and the producing, I really want to be able to do both. I also want to be able to collaborate with other artists. I also have artist under my label and I'm trying to push them with my production. Make sure you are on the look out for my album Kritical Acclaim, that's the one that I'm working on now. I'm just trying to show them a different side of the South. I'm just going to keep it real and I'm going to try to express myself in every song and never try to mislead. I'm going to touch on every base and I believe that subject matter really does count.


NO NONSENSE Interview by hip-hop game. They Anthony Colom feel that it’s something that’ll give ‘em a voice Email : and a sense of direction. who helped u put this project together ? Who influenced u ? E-40, Rakim, Pac, AZ, Scarface, Big Mike, and Easy E. How did u occupy your time while u were in prison ? I studied the business, wrote a lot of songs, and did shows in the joint, and read a lot of books. So u performed for the other inmates ? Did they try to censor what u said on stage ?


efore we get started, where are u are from ? I’m in Olympia, Washington.

Ok, the state of Washington. We haven’t heard a lot from yall on the national scene since Sir Mixalot. What’s the hip-hop scene like out there these days ? Most of our influences come from California’s bay area. Right now, the Northwest doesn’t have that figure who stands out. Sir Mixalot didn’t rep to the fullest. He did on the ladies tip. It’s more serious than that out here. We need more cohesiveness. Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia arecompeting with each other. I rep ‘em all. Washington state wide open. (Laughing) We got Bill Gates’ money. How long have u been rapping ? About 13 months. Only 13 months ? Yeah, I spent 9 years in the federal pen and 2 years in the state prison. I wrote 600 songs while I was locked down. There are a lot of brothers locked up who want to get into the

They try to really censor u. The Fed is where they hide their secrets. They’ll give a brother 30 years for a little bit of cocaine. Did u know that Gary, Indiana is the only city in this country with Marshal Law ? There, you’ll go to The Fed for a misdemeanor. I didn’t know that. Check it out. You’ve got a new cd dropping. What’s it called ? Federally Raised. It dropped in July. What can we expect from this project ? The sound is undefined. It’s Rakim to Pac. It’s more street. Somebody gotta speak the truth. I been to the pen. I ain’t scared. The beef is with them, not with each other. I wanna enlighten people and bring hip-hop back to it’s truest form. I wanna keep making hot street music. I’m a street cat and always will be. My ultimate goal is to blow the West back up. Is there a high concentration of black and brown people in the Northwest ? Yeah, slaves ran here because it was free country. I was born in Pennsylvania, but moved here when I was a shorty. Who are some of the artists and producers

Production was done by Humble Child (Spice 1, Juelz Santana, & Chingy) and Tanguerey Loc (Brotha Lynch). Dirty Gs, Double O, and D. Taylor are on the album also. They’re also artists on our Double Trouble label. Ok, what else have yall got going on ? We just did Seaside Splash in Oregon. We’re on a Midwest tour this summer. We just did Fargo, North Dakota. U ever been there ? Never ! It was all love. Man, I’d like to shout out my manager, my twin brother, Steve Jones. He held me down while I was in the pen. He’s been at the forefront of this. Every market has a face right now except the Northwest. That’s me ! Everybody needs to get use to it. This is my mission. Hands down, I’m a lyricist. Big shout out to The New Power for holding us down with this one. That’s what we do. Thanx !

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Interview by




James Johnson Email : time. Are you still doing them for other albums? fter only a few years in the game, Avant has managed to climb to the top of the R&B realm. Regarded as one of the industry's leading crooners, he's well on his way to becoming a legend of his time. After taking a couple of years off, he's back and ready to storm the world with his new album "The Director". We

talked with him nearly 6 months ago as he was working on the album, and now, we've caught up with him again as he's ready to unleash his masterpiece. Read what this Cleveland star has to say about the album, his move into the world of publishing, and his future plans of running a label.


Avant: Right now, I'm focusing more on mine. I do have plans to do a duet album with Keke Wyatt. That ought to be pretty good. So many people thought that she was your artist to begin witH. Avant: Right. But I've also been writing and submitting songs to other artists as well. I'm just trying to move into the next thing that's hot. This is definitely going to be my year.

ple thought Ms. Keke Wyatt was my artist before, when she actually wasn't. Now, she may possibly end up being my first artist that I bring out. Nothing has really changed too much in the process, but I've just been putting much focus into getting this album completed and released. It's a blessing that people are even still looking for me. You're in that pot, feeling like you don't really matter anymore. It's a blessing that people come up to me and say they want more. My music is not just about me. It's about the artistry. How far do you see your career going, as far as putting out albums?

Who are some of the other artists that you've written for?


Avant: I've written songs for so many people. I‘ve just got to submit everything now.


What is the process of you doing a song for someone else? Do you just start writing when you get the urge, or do they contactyou and ask you?

Avant: I see it going extremely far. I have a record company that truly believes in me. Before, I had a lot of people that didn't care. I think you'll be seeing and hearing a lot of me.

You got people here in Cleveland of course, like The Ojays, and Gerald Levert, that have been doing it for years and many many albums. Do you see yourself going that long and far? Avant: I'm willing to do it! So what else it going on for you?

It's been like 6 months since I last talked with you. What's been going on in between that time and now?

Avant: That's just what I do. I write out something, and then submit Avant: Basically, it's just getting this record company off the ground, going in and negotiating things, working on this publishing deal, and getting out there on tour so that people can feel the new album. I'm shooting a documentary of my life, but it's never enough. That's why I'm always out there, and on the phones like now.

Avant: Man, I've just been working real hard, trying to get this album together. I was blessed to be able to get some features done with different artists during their down time. Now it's time for me to get back on top of my job.

As far as you obtaining your publishing deal, is that something you find to be hard as an artist?

OK, because the last time we spoke, you seemed to be about done with the album, and the single with Lil Wayne & J.D. was circulating pretty good.

Avant: Is kind of difficult, because when you get a publishing deal, it opens up so many other avenues and ways for you to make money.

Avant: Yeah, but basically, I wanted to go in and do a few extra things for the album. I just had to sit back for a minute and weigh out all of my options with having a full album.

Any final comments at all? Avant: Just tell the people I love ‘em. I feel like I'm bringing it back to the forefront.

So is that single with Lil Wayne and J.D. still a song that will be on the album?

What goes on when you take time off? Is there a lot of free time, or are you working on other things?

Avant: It's definitely still going to be on the album. We were just testing the market with that song. We got really far with that record, and it had a lot of commercial appeal. Then we hit em heavy with "4 minutes". Now I'm back, and I'm ready to do it.

Avant: When I took time off, it was because I had a son. The time was needed, and I'm glad I did it. Now I'm just trying to make things better for him.

How has the vibe on the album changed since before, being that you went back in? Avant: It didn't really change. That's one of the things I had to make sure that I didn't do. It still has that same element. I'm still a balladeer, and people understand that. I just added a couple of joints with Lloyd Banks and The Pussy Cat Dolls. There's a lot more flavor on the album now. You spoke a little bit about the features you were doing last

Good man. Congratulations on that. Do you feel like you will have a struggle dividing your time now? it to them and see if they like it. I'm kinda switching lanes. And that's definitely a good thing to do that. So what made you want to move into writing for other artists?

Avant: I don't. He'll really appreciate it when he can get up and go spend some money. Well again, thank you for your time Avant.

Avant: I just enjoy writing music, period! So if I can do that, and become another artist for that moment, then I think it really works and f its totally. That's my whole goal as an artist, Have you decided on your next single as the album approaches release? Avant: It may be this track called "Grown Ass Man". Describe that song to me and what you're talking about? Avant: Basically saying you don't have to be ashamed that a grown man working on you, and I won't stop til I make her moan, you know. I t's one of those records, you know, everybody feel like they grown. So it's really giving props to everybody (laughing). Promo-wise, what's going on for you? Have you started lining up shows yet? Avant: I'm looking at some time in June. I'll hit ‘em with a House of Blues tour first, and then, I'll come back and do a full tour. You talked before about starting your own label. Has that moved any further since we last talked ? Avant: Well actually, it has. You mentioned before that a lot of peo-

Avant: Oh, thank you man.

Who Do You Sound Like ? (And Why It’s Important)

The Low Down On The Down Low By Tommy B.

By Bob Baker


dmit it. Most musicians hate to compare themselves to other artists. Does this describe you? If you feel you are a unique, one-of-a-kind creative being, I wholeheartedly agree with you. But if you think you shouldn't tarnish your musical identity with comparisons to other artists, I ask you to reconsider.

Why? It has everything to do with this crazy little hunk of matter called the human brain. According to the Berkeley Lab, "Humans retrieve information best when it can be linked to other related information." In other words, without a familiar reference point, people have a tough time filing away and remembering new sights, sounds, smells, etc. Tapping Into 'The System' In an article by Allen Barker, he writes, "Memory is a dynamic process. It arises from reminders and cues." The process that helps the brain sort out new stimulus is called "associative memory." Barker continues, "An associative memory is a memory system that takes an input 'key' and produces the 'closest' stored memory that matches that key. If the memory had stored a picture of a chair, for example, and were presented with a 'key' of half a chair, it would fill in the remaining half of the chair." If you think this is all impractical mumbo jumbo, check out the work being done by Pandora. It's Music Genome Project is a system that analyzes music using "a set of attributes that capture not only the musical identity of a song, but also many significant qualities that are relevant to understanding the musical preferences of consumers who browse the material. Each song is analyzed along 400 distinct musical attributes to create a complete musical analysis." Sounds deep, but in essence, the Pandora research works much like Amazon's "customers who bought X also purchased Y" recommendations. Making the Mental Music Connection


not sure what I will do if I have to see one more book or television program claiming to expose this new phenomenon called the Down Low Brother ! I mean really, is this Down Low thing really still a secret to anyone ? These TV shows and book authors claim they only want to inform the public, and they have, but now they are just feeding a frenzy of paranoia.

I knew it was getting out of control when the other day someone ask me if heard that Busta Rhymes was gay. I was like, WHAT ? It seems now that every brother that gets a little paper and starts taking a little better care of himself, is now all of a sudden a prime suspect of being a down low brother. Busta is not alone; we?ve all fueled the fire to some rumor or gossip about Michael Vick, Jay-Z, or 50 Cent supposedly being on the down low. And what’s funny is when you ask someone, How do you know ? You can never get a first hand confirmation, it?s always, My best friend’s cousin knows the Sunday night bartender’s nephew, who saw him in Bulldog’s on Saturday.(For those outside of Georgia, Bulldogs is a gay club here in ATL) Now don’t get me wrong, I was more than a little shocked at how widespread the whole down low thing is, especially here in Atlanta. But should we be that surprised by it ? I mean, with the increasing incarceration rate of Black men, it is pretty reasonable to assume that the rate of gay sex among Black men has increased as well. I personally believe this is where this epidemic, if you will, gained its momentum. Most men in prison, who indulge in gay sex while incarcerated, don’t consider themselves gay. So once they come back to the regular world, let’s just say they have developed some appetites that need to be feed. And just like that the Homo Thug is born. So over the past few decades, a segment of the Black community has grown to see sex between men as just another form of freaky sex and not an indication of their homosexuality. But at the other end of the spectrum, you have Black women hooking up with obviously gay men, then have the nerve to act surprise when he finally comes out to her, or even worse, catches him with his pants down, literally! For example, bestselling author, Terry McMillan, recently made headlines after finding out her husband of several years was gay. The same brother who supposedly got her groove back !! Now, I honestly felt sorry for her for about two seconds. But when I saw her and her ex- husband on Oprah addressing the issue on national TV, all I could say was, HELL NAW ! This dude is so homosexual that Ray Charles could see that he was gay! And he’s blind AND dead! And when she was on the show, she was just so angry and mad at the world, not to mention adding fuel to the paranoia that every Black man out here is under suspicion. I just find it hard to believe that no one in her family, not even one of her girlfriends, didn’t at least mention that this guy seemed a little gay. I mean they were together for several years; it only took me two seconds to see it.

Another site that understands the importance of this concept is The home page reads "Find new music like your favorite music! Just browse for your favorite music artists and we'll tell you the new and upcoming artists that are influenced by them!" To add your act, But I feel that Terry McMillan got exactly what she was looking for. We often fail to mention that the Feminism Movement has been a huge success in America. Any acts of overt go to the submission page at Convinced yet? Music fans need clues. People who enjoy your music also enjoy other artists. And many of those artists are more familiar to the masses than you are right now. So tap into the mental links that already exist in the minds of fans who support other similar-sounding artists. Bob Baker is the author of "Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook," "Unleash the Artist Within" and "Branding Yourself Online." He also publishes, a web site and e-zine that deliver marketing tips, self-promotion ideas and other empowering messages to music people of all kinds. Get your FREE subscription to Bob's e-zine by visiting today.

masculinity have been deemed anti-social behavior. So now, more and more women seek out men who are more like a close girlfriend. Traditional rites of passage for young boys, like fighting and roughhousing, have been replaced quiet time and request for them to talk about their feelings. Young boys all over the country all being doped up with drugs like Ritalin, because there female teachers don’t want deal the aggressive nature of young boys. Excuse me while I straight talk for a moment, but a big part of the Feminism Movement was getting men to get in touch with their feminine side. So we shouldn’t be surprised that a lot of them have. literally! Now with all that said, I do understand why women would be extremely concerned about whether their boyfriend or husband enjoys the company of men. It’s an issue of perception. There are a lot of women out here who still want a man to be a man. The traditional image of man. A man’s man. A man who’s going to make them feel safe and protected. A man that will move mountains for her; she just doesn’t want it to be Brokeback Mountain.

(662) 251-0075 I The New Power I



Interview by

Anthony Colom E-mail:


Da Soul Boy. That’s an unusual name for a rapper. What made u go with that and do people think you’re a singer when they hear that ? My mother gave me that name when I was younger. It just stuck so I kept using it. And yeah, some people do think I’m gonna sing when they hear the name. O.K. where u from, man ? I’m from Waynesboro, Mississippi. That’s pretty close to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I’m from a small city. It ain’t New York or nothing. That’s why u gotta hit these magazines like The New Power to promote and help get yourself out there and let folks know that shit going on here just like the rest of the world. A lot of people feel like if u not from a big city then u don’t know what’s really happening. But, it ain’t where u from, it’s where u at. I been rapping since ‘99. I just recently had an eye operation and now I’m back on my grind. Thank God ! What do u think the odds of your succeeding in this business are coming from a small town in Mississippi ? Master P. and P. Diddy bleed just like me. They’re men. I’m a man. They made money in this business, why can’t I ? They ain’t no better than me or u. We gotta help our own. Is this your first cd ? Yeah, my first one. R.C. Da Soul Boy: The Ghetto Epistle. I’m also working on a mixtape. I think this album is my own sound. It took me 3 years to make it. When people hear it they’re gonna love it. I have confidence in it. I sat back and studied the game - studied the business. I didn’t want to put this cd out until I learned how to work the equipment in my studio. After 3 years, I feel like I really know this equipment. If u start making some noise on the street with this cd and a major label were to come hunting for u, what would it take for u to sign with em ? I’m tryin’ to do this independently, but don’t get me wrong..... If Universal or sombody was to step to me with a 100 grand, I’ll sign. That’s all it would take ? Some people might say that ain’t shit. Hey, I got people to feed. God gives us sense to get that

money when we can. Every man’s destiny is different. Everbody ain’t gone be rich. Sometimes u gotta get it when u can. U may never have that chance again. On your cd..... did u work with people in your area, or did u do some stuff with folks from other parts of the state ? Yeah, it was pretty much people in my area. Man, people should know that u can make money locally, first, if u got that support. U ain’t gotta be running to the larger cities right off. The New Power Magazine is right here in Columbus. U made that happen right here. U got all these people tryin’ to run off to ATL and California to do this, to do that. Let’s make this happen right here. How have u been received by the djs ? The ones that I’ve come in contact with are loving it. Some of em are bumpin’ it. It’s catching on. It takes time sometime. U know what I’m sayin ? If I can’t hear or haven’t heard your music, how would u describe it to me ? First of all I want them to go to and check it out. Listen to it. See what u think.

got one ? Yeah, as a matter of fact I do. Man, I’m even workin’ on a book. I plan on lettin’ the world know that I’m here. What made u wanna write a book ? It’s really about my mom and her struggles. She grew up northern Mississippi, in Greenville. Everybody’s got a story to tell. I don’t care where u from. So obviously u don’t feel like u have to be a Puffy or a Jay Z to write a book and have people find it interesting. U know, being that you’re not a household name. They got a lot of money, but they’re not the only ones with an interesting life or story to tell. I’ve been through a lot. They try to make me look like I’m selling dope, got people calling my phone trying to buy dope. RC Records ain’t about that. We about Selling cds. They trying to set me up - wondering what I’m doin. I’m an entertainer. U see? I got a story just like them.

A lot of rappers are doing dvds these days. U

Waynesboro, Mississippi



DJ DOLLAR BILL & DJ HOT SAUCE ith the way that Hip-Hop has gone global, its not surprising that the elements of Hip-Hop have done the same. From breaking to tagging to b-boy, hip-hop has gone global in a true since with djing, which is another element of hip-hop, also breaking the global borderlines and moving at a pace that is rivaling the U.S. movement. Germany is not known through out the world for having a strong presence in the hip-hop world but it will be soon known as the home of two of the hottest emerging djs in central Europe who helped start that movement. Influenced by a southern style (Dj Jelly) Dj Dollar Bill and Dj Hot Sauce are taking the dj element of the mixtape game to another level in Germany and probably to a club near you.


Where in Germany are you guys from? DJ Hotsauce: Munich/ Wuerzburg DJ Dollar Bill: Wuerzburg How long have you been djing? DJ Dollar Bill: 19 years. I'm 35 shawty - still rockin' it and cuttin' them hoes. DJ Hotsauce: 6 years. I’m 21 years old and already killin' em. Who or what inspired you to become a DJ? DJ Hotsauce: DJ JELLY DJ DOLLAR BILL: I just grew up with the whole movement back then, breakin', djing, and all that. Whats your favorite old school record? DJ DOLLAR BILL: Curties Mayfield’s "Eddie You Should Know Better"

Interview by

Kevin “KG” Gordon Email : DJ Hotsauce: Blend cds (gotta keep it real). DJ Dollar Bill: Blend cds (that's the truth). What separates your mixes from other dj’s mixes? DJ DOLLAR BILL: Well, I think we give people the whole package (BLENDS,EXCLUSIVES & HOST) DJ HOTSAUCE: We took the host of a compilation cd and put it with the new bangers on a non-stop mix. What’s the hip-hop scene like in Germany? And how is it different from the U.S. scene? DJ HOTSAUCE: It's big but not as big as in the U.S. But we gettin' there. German rap is growin' at the moment but the most succesful artists are the same as in the US (50, Lil Jon,Snoop - just 2 name the big ones. DJ DOLLAR BILL: I agree with Hotsauce and I want 2 add that the southern hip-hop music is growin' as well and we are a real big part of the movement cause nobody out here is pushin' it like we do, especially in areas where U.S. soldiers are stationed. It can get real real crunk. Just like home. Who's the hottest artist in Germany? DJ DOLLAR BILL: I think there's a couple hot German artists but 2 be honest with you I can't really tell who's the hottest cause that's not really my thang. I'm focused on U.S. artists and push 'em over here - especially from the South. DJ HOTSAUCE: I'm with Dollar Bill but I think "Kool Savas" and "Raptile" are makin' noise at the moment out here. Have you ever dj’d outside of Germany? DJ HOTSAUCE: Yeah...ATL. DJ DOLLAR BILL: Yeah...all over the place. Who are some of the artists that have been featured on your mixtapes? DJ DOLLAR BILL: RASHEEDA, FABO (of D4L), J-NICKS, ALFAMEGA, YOUNGBLOODZ... DJ HOTSAUCE: BABY D, BHI, DAVID BANNER.... Do you only do mixtapes for American artists? DJ HOTSAUCE: Yeah, at the moment. DJ DOLLAR BILL: Yeah, you already know. Do you think that German rappers will ever be successful in the USA? DJ DOLLAR BILL: I don't wanna sound mean and take away their motivation, but I don't think so. DJ HOTSAUCE: It could happen.

DJ HOTSAUCE: Jay-Z "In My Lifetime" (original version)

What's the club scene like in Germany? DJ HOTSAUCE: It's a mix of R & B, South, Dancehall, Rap.......a lotta different cultures getting together at the clubs out here is what gives it a special kind of flavour. DJ DOLLAR BILL: I agree with Hotsauce. You just gotta drive 2 get 2 the good clubs though. They far apart, and see, I’m djing most of the times in those areas where U.S. soldiers at, and that club-scene is almost like the one in the South.....wild !

Do you prefer compilations or blend Cd's?

30 I The New Power I


Whats your fan base like in Germany? DJ DOLLAR BILL: I'm the man. Bitch ! I'm the man. Naw, let me stop. I think I'm doin' pretty good though. I mean I'm djing constatly 4-5 nights a week across the whole country. I'm Ranked 1 on myspace Top Artists in Germany and I also made my name by bringin' southern artists over here on tour (Oomp Camp, Rasheeda, Crime Mob, and more). All that, I think speaks for itself. DJ HOTSAUCE: I'm known 4 some of the crunkest mix cd's ever over here. I'm on da grind 24 /7 to push the whole southern movement which we represent, and I also do a lot of work behind the scene. Final words ? DJ HOTSAUCE: Thanks for the support New Power Magazine. I wanna give a shout out 2 my Family, my Family @ Big Oomp Records. Thanks 4 the chance. Shout out 2 my boy DOLLAR BILL. Everybody that ever got a cd of us -holla at cha self ! Hit me up on DJ DOLLAR BILL: Of course, thank you very much New Power Magazine. Shout out to my folks Rasheeda, Kirk (D-LO Ent.) Jelly, Montay, Unk, Baby D, and the rest at Oomp Camp. See yall when I get there. You already know. Thank you Lord for the blessin'.

The New Power Magazine - V4N3 July 2006  
The New Power Magazine - V4N3 July 2006  

The New Power Magazine: Mia X on the cover