Call your cable provider to request MTV Jams Comcast Cable 1-800-COMCAST www.comcast.com Atlanta, GA Comcast ch. 167 Augusta, GA Comcast ch. 142 Charleston, SC Comcast ch. 167 Chattanooga, TN Comcast ch. 142 Ft. Laud., FL Comcast ch. 142 Hattiesburg, MS Comcast ch. 142 Houston, TX Comcast ch. 134 Jacksonville, FL Comcast ch. 470 Knoxville, TN Comcast ch. 142 Little Rock, AR Comcast ch. 142 Miami, FL Comcast ch. 142 Mobile, AL Comcast ch. 142 Montgomery, AL Comcast ch. 304 Naples, FL Comcast ch. 142 Nashville, TN Comcast ch. 142 Panama City, FL Comcast ch. 142 Richmond, VA Comcast ch. 142 Savannah, GA Comcast ch. 142 Tallahassee, FL Comcast ch. 142 Charter Digital 1-800-GETCHARTER www.charter.com Birmingham, AL Charter ch. 304 Dallas, TX Charter ch. 227 Greenville, SC Charter ch. 204 Ft. Worth, TX Charter ch. 229 Spartanburg, SC Charter ch. 204 Grande Communications www.grandecom.com Austin, TX Grande ch. 185
PUBLISHERS: Julia Beverly (JB) Chino EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Julia Beverly (JB) MUSIC REVIEWS: ADG, Wally Sparks CONTRIBUTORS: Bogan, Cynthia Coutard, Dain Burroughs, Darnella Dunham, Felisha Foxx, Felita Knight, Iisha Hillmon, Jaro Vacek, Jessica Koslow, J Lash, Katerina Perez, Keith Kennedy, K.G. Mosley, King Yella, Lisa Coleman, Malik “Copafeel” Abdul, Marcus DeWayne, Matt Sonzala, Maurice G. Garland, Natalia Gomez, Ray Tamarra, Rayfield Warren, Rohit Loomba, Spiff, Swift SALES CONSULTANT: Che’ Johnson (Gotta Boogie) LEGAL AFFAIRS: Kyle P. King, P.A. (King Law Firm) STREET REPS: Al-My-T, B-Lord, Bill Rickett, Black, Bull, Cedric Walker, Chill, Chilly C, Controller, Dap, Delight, Dereck Washington, Derek Jurand, Dwayne Barnum, Dr. Doom, Ed the World Famous, Episode, General, H-Vidal, Hollywood, Jammin’ Jay, Janky, Jason Brown, Joe Anthony, Judah, Kamikaze, Klarc Shepard, Kydd Joe, Lex, Lump, Marco Mall, Miguel, Mr. Lee, Music & More, Nick@Nite, Pat Pat, PhattLipp, Pimp G, Quest, Red Dawn, Rippy, Rob-Lo, Statik, TJ’s DJ’s, Trina Edwards, Victor Walker, Voodoo, Wild Bill ADMINISTRATIVE: Melinda Pos, Nikki Kancey WEBMASTER: Noel Malcolm CIRCULATION: Mercedes (Strictly Streets) Buggah D. Govanah (On Point) Big Teach (Big Mouth) Efren Mauricio (Direct Promo) To subscribe, send check or money order for $11 to: Main office: 1516 E. Colonial Dr. Suite 205 Orlando, FL 32803 Phone: 407-447-6063 Fax: 407-447-6064 Web: www.ozonemag.com Miami office: 555 NE 15th St. Suite 7731 Miami, FL 33132 Cover credits: Pitbull photo by Julia Beverly; Out Da Cutt photo by Eric Johnson; Uncle Luke photo by Julia Beverly. OZONE Magazine is published eleven times annually by OZONE Magazine, Inc. OZONE does not take responsibility for unsolicited materials, misinformation, typographical errors, or misprints. The views contained herein do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or its advertisers. Ads appearing in this magazine are not an endorsement or validation by OZONE Magazine for products or services offered. All photos and illustrations are copyrighted by their respective artists. All other content is copyright 2005 OZONE Magazine, all rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any way without the written consent of the publisher. Printed in the USA.
I just got my first issue of OZONE Magazine. I really enjoyed it. Y’all will be around to see the fall of the other top magazines. Y’all are straight-up in your articles, and that’s what counts. That’s what separates y’all from the rest of the pack. Keep up the good work. I’m gonna subscribe to y’all shit. Y’all the bomb. Arian a.k.a. Bean 43rd of the Fo-Tre Rydas (Mayo Correctional Inst., FL) This is the first time I’ve read OZONE. The quality of your magazine is real hot! This is definitely something that I could get used to. For some reason, I find that your magazine is more personal than other magazines like XXL or The Source. This is the first time in a long time that I’ve read a magazine straight through, from cover to cover. I’m just really starting to get into Southern music and this magazine put me onto a lot of up and coming artists. – Najja Howard, firstname.lastname@example.org (Chicago, IL) As a fan of OZONE Magazine, I gotta tell ya that those groupie stories you have are the wildest shit ever. But as a rapper, my biggest fear is ending up in there! You may be saving a lot of rap marriages, cause niggas ain’t tryin’ to end up in that section! – Killer Mike (Atlanta, GA) I’m glad y’all exist. I’m dead-ass serious. My favorite part of OZONE is the photos. It’s okay to see big name stars in the magazine (boring), but when I see artists from my own city in the pictures, it makes me feel good to see that they’re getting some shine too. I’m about to subscribe to OZONE, and so are my cousins. We’re tired of seeing all that popular bullshit in magazines. It’s the same shit we see on MTV, VH1, and BET. Thanks, OZONE, for holding down the South! - 904 Balla, Q904Balla@aol.com (Jacksonville, FL) Yo, C-Murder, what’s good. I read your “Prison Diary: Trials & Tribulations” in the OZONE Magazine last month. I’m glad to see you holdin’ ya head up while you in there. My mans just recently got locked up, he doin’ five years. He was somethin’ like my brother, so it’s kinda hard livin’ without him. I know your brothers and the rest of your fam gotta be goin’ through it. For what it’s worth, man, you’re in my prayers. Stay up. – Brian Lewis, email@example.com (Tampa, FL) JB, I feel your 2 cents! Sometimes I forget why I’m in this game and why I started making mix CDs – cause it’s fun and I want people to hear the same hot shit I like! Now it’s gotten so political. People want to pay to get on ‘em, and people want to sponsor them but their music ain’t all that good. Now I’m trying to take my CDs back to that time when music was just fun and before the record labels got involved! I am also blessed to be able to wake up and can’t wait to get to work. I love it! – Scorpio, firstname.lastname@example.org (Atlanta, GA) I just read your article on pirate radio in the February issue, which was overdue, to say the least. The article gave me a little motivation to see other soldiers like myself in the war of underground radio vs. corporate radio. Uncle Luke couldn’t have said it better! I hope your readers out there completely understand what’s going on with pirate radio down here in South Florida. It’s an everyday struggle for our own rights, freedom of speech, and a big “fuck you” to corporate radio and supporters who are attempting to destroy hip-hop culture by forcefeeding our generation. Then they wonder why sales are down, labels are folding and merging daily, and no one in our generation wants to listen to corporate radio. Somebody please save our culture, because if I hear Ja Rule’s “New York, New York” one more time on Clear Channel
OZONE APR 2005
I might… never mind. I enjoyed the article, though. Don’t forget about the rest of the soldiers out here in the battlefield fighting for our rights. While many stations are only on for a couple hours down here in South Florida, I’ve been down here ridin’ out 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for over two years and there ain’t a damn thang the Feds can do. I’ve been busted six times and still ridin’ out. Check me out whenever you’re in Ft. Myers (97.3 FM), Naples (103.3 FM), or Immokalee (106.1 FM) areas. Y’all first-timers should get at me, too, if you don’t want the Feds messing with your station. Technology is a beast. Use it to your advantage! Knowledge is everything. For y’all labels that would like promotion, this is one of the fastest-growing markets in the country (25,000 listeners/potential customers). You can stream me 24 hours a day as well; a real pirate radio survivor like Dawgman. Don’t forget about Raylo in Palm Beach, Bo tha Lover in Dade, and Delroy in Ft. Lauderdale, either, they’re real pirate radio soldiers that deserve to be mentioned in your magazine too. – J-Style, email@example.com or 239-784-4352 (Ft. Myers, FL) Your magazine is the best way for our Southern voices to be heard. God bless your company for the good work! The issue with T.I. on the cover is fire. I’m gonna keep it gangsta and subscribe to your magazine. I need something that’s original and true, from the streets. - Mondraw Brown (Bennettville, SC) Since the first time I picked up an OZONE Magazine from a radio station who reps you to the fullest (102.3 in T-Town Tallahassee), I couldn’t keep my eyes out of it. The articles are full of info. I really loved the article you did on my true ryda Khia. That bitch is so real. I like her cause she’s real about everything she does and says, regardless of how people take it. Khia is Khia with or without the cameras rolling. She’s my top female rapper. My girl owns the title “Queen of the South.” She knows that’s her shit, that’s why she ain’t sweatin’ it. She’s playin’ it cool. Most of all, I like her cause she ain’t like the rest of these industry bitches who get a lil’ cash and act as if they can’t be touched. Fuck ‘em, Khia is real! Keep reppin’ for all the real bitches out here, Khia, cause I’m one of ‘em and you speak loud enough for all of us to be heard. - Boss B (Miami, FL) Thanks for your interview with Akon. He’s a new breed of R&B mixed with hip-hop and pop. He’s got a crystal-smooth voice that suits any type of music. Akon’s popularity is spreading all over my neighborhood in Australia. These new faces in music are gonna make it big. Akon is going all the way. - Anton, firstname.lastname@example.org (Australia) Yo, I’ve got an internet radio station in the Bay area. I’ve been getting your mags, right on. I don’t really like dirty South music too much but it’s a pretty good read. I’m lovin’ that article about the pirate radio stations. The Trick Daddy breakdown about how you had to get at him for the interview was hot too. A lot of Orlando people have been emailing me with hate mail cause I’ve got www.95Live.com, but it’s cool. I’m gonna be on pirate radio out here in the Bay area soon enough. - Sly, email@example.com (San Francisco, CA) I’ve been reading the last few issues of OZONE and that groupie confessions shit is off the wall. I can’t believe these stupid-ass high-profile rappers are still running around fucking groupie hoes without a condom, and most of them have wives at home. But I will admit, that shit is funny and good reading. As long as them hoes keep doing it, OZONE need to keep exposing they nasty asses! - Melissa (Raleigh, NC)
Putting out an issue called “25 Greatest Southern Artists of All Time” is basically an open invitation to send us hate mail. Selecting the top 25 of anything is a daunting task, especially when you’re dealing with Southern music fans who are fiercely loyal to their region. I’m quite sure that no one will agree 100% with our 25 selections. Florida residents will be pissed that JT Money/Poison Clan aren’t on the list. Atlanta residents will argue for Hitman Sammy Sam. If you’re from Louisiana, you’re probably wondering why Fiend and Soulja Slim aren’t in the top 25. Then, there’s dozens of other artists from Tennessee and Texas and other parts of the South who deserve to be recognized. You can never please everyone, but regardless, this issue is a classic. The 25 Greatest theme was actually MTV’s idea (shouts to Buttahman, Tuma, and Che). Who am I to turn down MTV? In case you skipped over the big-ass ad on the inside cover and went straight to my editorial, April 16th & 17th is OZONE’s Dirty South weekend on MTV Jams. They’ll be airing a two-hour special (which will be re-run numerous times) based on this issue. MTV Jams is a brand-new channel geared towards the urban audience, and it’s nothing but music videos - no commercials. If you don’t get the channel already, call your cable provider to request it. Now, my disclaimer: This is not my list. I repeat, this is not my list. I was wearing diapers while some of these artists were struggling to get record deals. Geto Boys? 2 Live Crew? 8Ball & MJG? Three 6 Mafia? Magic Mike? Way before my time. I’m 23, y’all. I might be a vet in the hustling-to-put-out-a-magazine-every-month department, but I’m a rookie when it comes to Southern music history. That’s why I called on some OG’s like TJ Chapman (TJ’s DJ’s) and FLX (Dirty States of America DVD) as well as some of our in-house Southern music fanatics (Wally Sparks, Matt Sonzala) to come up with this list. Then, MTV crossed out some of our old-school selections and replaced them with newer, more commercial artists. Some of you will object to the inclusion of artists like Lil Flip and Petey Pablo in place of a Devin the Dude or a Soulja Slim, and I feel your pain. But MTV made a valid point: artists like Lil Flip have crossed over into entirely different markets, exposing new listeners to Southern music and paving the way for all of us to make more money. So what’s the criteria? What determines if an artist qualifies as “great”? There’s many things that we took into consideration. How many records have they released? How many records have they sold? How strong is their following? What influence did they have on the artists that came after them? Especially in Southern music, the line between producers and DJs and artists gets blurry. There’s many individuals who have influenced Southern music through their mixtapes or production (for example, DJ Jelly, Jam Pony Express, Jazze Pha) but haven’t technically released an album as an artist. There’s also dozens of Southern artists with a lot of potential who haven’t had the time to prove themselves as “great” yet (almost every artIst on this list has released three or more full-length albums). So why do they qualify as “great” Southern artists? Scarface and the Geto Boys paved the way for Southern music. Uncle Luke and 2 Live Crew defended our freedom of speech. UGK has a diehard fan base and is highly respected by every artist on this list. Outkast? One of the greatest hip-hop groups ever, no question. DJ Screw created a genre. 8Ball & MJG have been in the game for years and are still relevant today. Three 6 Mafia laid the foundation for crunk artists like Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz, who have churned out your favorite club records consistently for the past several years. The Cash Money (Juvenile, Lil Wayne, B.G., etc) and No Limit (Master P, Mystikal, Mia X, etc.) eras gave Southern artists the blueprint to turn independent success into major success. Trick Daddy and Pastor Troy showed us how to get crunk, but still brought a deeper message. David Banner and Petey Pablo put their respective states on the map. Bass music pioneer DJ Magic Mike sold millions of records independently, and CC Lemonhead, Jay-Ski, and Thrill da Playa collectively sold over 60 million albums as Quad City DJs, 69 Boyz, and 95 South. Ludacris and T.I. have sold records and proven themselves as great MCs, period. Goodie Mob and the Dungeon Family brought a fresh sound and a conscience to the industry, while artists like Lil Flip and Jermaine Dupri helped Southern music reach the mainstream. I learned a lot of history putting together this issue, so hopefully you will too. - Julia Beverly, firstname.lastname@example.org
Guilty pleasures: B5 “All I Do” & Will Smith “Switch” Mario f/ Jadakiss & T.I. “Let Me Love U (remix)” Daddy Yankee, Pitbull, Lil Jon, Nore “Gasolina (remix)” C-Murder f/ B.G. “Y’all Heard of Me” YoungBloodz f/ Young Buck “Datz Me” Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz f/ Bohagon “Get Crunk” Pretty Ricky & the Maverix “Grind With Me”
Lil Scrappy “Still Down” Tori Alamaze “Don’t Cha” John Legend “Ordinary People” DirtBag “Ladies Love Me” 50 Cent “Baltimore Love Thing” Fantasia “Truth Is”
“I don’t think DJ Magic Mike (#12) ever got his credit. He sold millions of records, straight underground.” - Uncle Luke (#2) “Outkast (#4) has been accepted across the world and are never afraid to reinvent themselves. I have a lot of respect for them as pioneers. They showed us how to crossover and still be respected.” - Pitbull “We used to listen to Three 6 Mafia (#7) and 8Ball & MJG (#6) to get crunk. They paved the way for crunk music because they were always making records for fools get rowdy in the club. ” - Lil Jon (#8) “Before I even signed with Swishahouse, I was jammin’ DJ Screw (#5) tapes. I came up listening to UGK (#3) and the Geto Boys (#1).” - Mike Jones “David Banner (#14) has been real supportive while I’ve been [incarcerated]. He’s a good dude, and a great producer.” - Pimp C (#3) “I’d put up everything I got in the bank on Scarface (#1) versus any rapper in the world. ‘Face is one of the top five rappers, period, not just in the South.” - David Banner (#14) “Master P (#10) had an empire: No Limit everything. He was an entrepreneur. He owned the music industry when his label was at its peak. Mia X (#23) always spit fire; she held her own in a camp full of dudes.” - Lil Jon (#8) “Without the Geto Boys (#1), people like me wouldn’t even be here. They paved the way for all these rappers.” - Chamillionaire “Uncle Luke (#2) revolutionized the game. He distributed his own records; put out whatever the fuck he wanted. He taught muthafuckers how to go get this money. Everything they’re doing now, he’s done already.” - Pitbull “T.I. (#15) showed that Southern cats have lyrics. He represents the average hood cat and is able to articulate it in a way the whole world can understand.” - David Banner (#14) “DJ Screw (#5) didn’t just create a hit record. He created an art form.” - Michael Watts “Ludacris (#13) has a distinct voice, and he’s real creative. He came up in radio, so he’s got a business mentality. I can listen to Ludacris all day long, that’s why [“Get Back”] is the ringtone on my phone.” - Uncle Luke (#2) “Pimp C and Bun B (#3) are great lyricists and dope storytellers, and Pimp C is a dope producer. Free Pimp C, dammit!” - Lil Jon “Lil Jon (#8) took Southern music to the next level. He defined the crunk genre and really kicked the doors open for all of us to make money.” - David Banner (#14) “DJ Screw (#5) was a true artist. He’d paint a picture to make you feel a certain way. His tapes were relaxing, calming.” - OG Ron C OZONE APR 2005
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
Words Rohit Loomba
JERMAINE DUPRI 5 ESSENTIAL JERMAINE DUPRI TRACKS Jermaine Dupri f/ Jay-Z “Money Ain’t a Thang” Life in 1472 1998 JD teaches everyone about the life of a baller with some help from Jay-Z. Jermaine Dupri f/ Mariah Carey “Sweetheart” Life in 1472 1998 JD bangs out one for the women with the beautiful Mariah Carey. Jealous, Janet? Jermaine Dupri f/ Mase & Lil Kim “Get Dealt With” Life in 1472 1998 Mase and JD explain how the women love their cash, while Lil Kim retorts from the women’s perspective: “Play y’all niggas like dummies / Click-click, Show me the money!” Jermaine Dupri “Welcome to Atlanta” Instructions 2001 In addition to encouraging dozens of remixes all across the country, “Welcome to Atlanta” introduced a new phrase to the hip-hop dictionary: MBP (Most Ballinist Player). Jermaine Dupri f/ Nate Dogg “Ballin’ Out of Control” Instructions 2001 Continuing to brag about his baller lifestyle, JD borrows from the fairy tales: “Mirror mirror on the wall / Who’s the biggest baller of all?”
o one articulates it better than Jermaine Dupri himself on his hit single “Money Ain’t a Thang”: “I make the big moves, do the big things / Take small groups, turn them into big names.” This is exactly what JD has done throughout his career, turning himself and others into platinum stars.
reach number one on Billboard’s Pop, R&B, and Rap charts with multiple singles. Applying the Xscape formula to a male quartet, JD helped produce and release Jagged Edge’s debut album JE Heartbreak in 2000, which was certified gold with hit singles “Promise” and “Let’s Get Married.”
JD’s father, Atlanta manager Michael Mauldin, first exposed him to the world of music. As a child, JD attended studio sessions for his father’s funk band Brick and began imitating his father. He could play the drum lines to the entire Brick catalog by age five. That same year, JD landed a slot as a dancer for the Fresh Fest Concert, featuring Run-DMC, Whodini, Grandmaster Flash, and the Fat Boys.
With his name already established as a producer, JD released his own album in 1998, Life in 1472. The album boasted appearances by artists such as Nas, Jay-Z, DMX, Slick Rick, Mariah Carey, Warren G, 8Ball, Lil Kim, and some of JD’s labelmates. The motivation for releasing the album was simply for JD to have a platform to fully display his creativity and artistic expression. “I didn’t make this album to prove that I can rhyme with a Nas, a Slick Rick, or a Jay-Z,” he admitted. Thanks in part to hits like “Money Ain’t a Thang” and “The Party Continues,” Life in 1472 went platinum and only added to his credibility as a talented producer and artist.
By the time JD began experimenting with production, he didn’t have any equipment except a drum machine. “I would keep all the bass lines and samples in my head,” he recalls. “When I got to the studio, I’d just tell somebody to play it for me.” Five years later, at age fourteen, JD’s production career truly began when he signed a contract with Silk Thymes Leather. In 1989 he formed So So Def Productions. Two years later, he stumbled into two backwards-jean-wearing rappers named Kris Kross at a local mall. JD signed the group and put together their album, Totally Krossed Out, which soon attained quadruple platinum success. After Kris Kross, JD began producing for rap trio TLC, who achieved even greater success. TLC’s first two albums totaled over fifteen million copies sold. In 1993 and 1994, JD went on to unveil female R&B quartet Xscape and female rapper Da Brat. They both went on to achieve platinum success in a relatively short period of time, establishing Dupri as one of the most respected and sought-after R&B producers of his time. Completely immersed in the R&B world, JD began working with greats such as Mariah Carey when he became involved in producing My Way, the sophomore release from a young singer. In 1996, Dupri became the first producer to
Life in 1472 was a party album, featuring JD rapping about his life of bling over funk-laded, head-bob-inducing beats. JD didn’t bother getting personal on the album, sticking to tales of cars, homes, and jewelry. Not only did JD come strong on the production end, but he brought the same strength as a rapper. Joining the ranks of the dual rapper/producer talents like Dr. Dre, P. Diddy and RZA, JD proved that he could go toe-to-toe with some of the best rappers in the game. JD released his follow-up album, Instructions, in 2001. His hit single, “Welcome to Atlanta,” spawned dozens of response records from cities all over the nation. Three years later, he released his third solo album, Green Light. Continuing to work with hip-hop’s most influential artists, JD has maintained his position as a legendary producer in the new millennium and has also established himself as an outstanding businessman. Formerly housed at Arista and Jive, Dupri’s imprint So So Def found a new home at Virgin Records. In 2005, Dupri was named President of Virgin’s urban music division. Currently, he’s working on projects with So So Def artists like T Waters and Daz Dillinger, as
well as producing for artists like Mariah Carey and Bow Wow. Aside from the music industry, Dupri became co-owner of the Chicago-based 3 Vodka in 2004. He became interested in the product because of its unique soy distilled taste. “3 Vodka is representative of what I look for in a brand. From the inside out, it’s a flawless product,” he says. JD’s acquisition of 3 Vodka was the beginning of his attempts to broaden his business interests beyond the music realm, although he implements the same approach to his beverage as he does to his music: “My passion for the brand is similar to my approach with music: superiority, uniqueness and perfection must all be achieved. That’s how I describe 3 Vodka.” JD plans to open a 24-hour cafe, Def Cafe, in Atlanta’s Buckhead district, and is also working on a pilot for a television show similar to Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Other projects are currently underway to build the So So Def brand, including toy replicas of Da Brat, Bonecrusher, JD himself, and the Afroman logo. It is the culmination of all these accomplishments and efforts, both musical and non-musical, which set JD apart as one of the South’s most influential artists. With a catalog boasting several platinum singles and albums, JD has established himself as a popular producer and artist who has consistently stayed on the cutting edge of hip-hop. Having worked with some of hip-hop’s most established artists including Nas, Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, and the Neptunes, JD is popular with fans and also within the industry. Through his business ventures, JD has firmly secured his place as a true entrepreneur with clever marketing schemes. Whether promoting his So So Def label or wandering into the liquor business, JD displays a true knack for managing and maintaining proper investments. He’s gone above and beyond the label of an artist, wearing multiple hats - DJ, producer, MC, and executive - allowing him to take his music to higher levels than many artists. With a resume listing greats like Aretha Franklin, Mase, Camron, and Aaliyah, there’s no doubt that JD is the real deal. OZONE APR 2005
Words Julia Beverly
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
PETEY PABLO 5 ESSENTIAL PETEY PABLO TRACKS
Petey Pablo “Raise Up” Diary of a Sinner: 1st Entry 2001 This North Carolina anthem introduced Petey to the world and later prompted an “all-cities” remix. Petey Pablo “Fool For Love” Diary of a Sinner: 1st Entry 2001 Thugs get lonely too. Petey Pablo “My Testimony” Diary of a Sinner: 1st Entry 2001 A rare glimpse inside the mind of Mr. Freek-A-Leek: “Kidnapped and confined / Within a system designed / To destroy the innocent child that I used to be.” Petey Pablo “Freek-A-Leek” Still Writing in My Diary: 2nd Entry 2004 Armed with a killer beat from Lil Jon similar to Usher’s “Yeah!”, “Freek-A-Leek” ranked #3 on the list of 2004’s biggest hip-hop radio singles. Petey extends an open invitation to the ladies who like to fuck, provided they “ain’t scared of a big dick.” Ciara f/ Petey Pablo “Goodies” Goodies 2004 Petey explains how he gets the goodies over another crunk Lil Jon beat.
etey Pablo is crazy. Anyone who’s met him, friend or foe, can vouch for this statement. But, then again, name a talented artist who isn’t? If you’ve been reading OZONE for any length of time (or any other hip-hop magazine, for that matter) you’ve heard the story many, many times: Talented teenager gets caught up in the street life and goes to prison. After serving his time, he decides to use his real-life experiences as the basis for a rap album, hoping to be “discovered” and get a record deal. Rarely do those stories end on a positive note. Petey Pablo is one of the few that has successfully turned his life around. Born Moses Barrett in Greensville, North Carolina, his early musical exploits included singing in the church choir and school chorus. “My mama always called me Petey,” he says, adding the surname Pablo in memory of a fallen soldier. In high school, he became enamored with hip-hop, but the streets were still calling. He was arrested as a teenager and spent over five years behind bars (he declines to discuss the details when asked why he was incarcerated, answering succinctly, “For breaking the law.”) Still, he admits, “The experience made me who I am today.” Today, he’s a rap star. Not only is he a star, but he’s somehow bypassed many of the obstacles that stood in the way of other Southern artists. He didn’t struggle independently for years, selling CDs out of the trunk of his car. He got signed to a major label without ever dropping a single. He hates doing interviews, avoids cameras, and doesn’t show up for radio promos. He accepts money from major corporations trying to market to the hip-hop audience, but not without attitude (“I gotta give a shoutout to Seagram’s Gin, cause I drink it, and they’re payin’ me for it”). While other rappers strive for the spotlight and spend time developing relationships with DJs, producers, and other artists, Petey simply doesn’t give a fuck. 10
OZONE APR 2005
So how does he do it? Why is Petey Pablo a star? Perhaps it’s because he consistently drops hits. He uses his God-given talent to create songs. We’ll forgive him for the pathetic “Blow Your Whistle” and instead focus on bangers like “Raise Up,” “Freek-A-Leek,” and “Goodies.” Aside from the commercial hits, he’s also got spiritual songs. Petey Pablo is one of the few artists who can discuss God and fucking in the same sentence without it coming across as a contradiction, probably because he sincerely believes in both: “Freek-A-Leek:” Do you want it in ya pussy? Do you want it in ya ass? I’ll give you anything you can handle! “My Testimony”: My tears would soak the pages I write upon If I couldn’t close the windows to my soul and stand strong in the midst of these storms “Fool For Love”: I got caught up in something worse than drugs I’m a motherfuckin’ fool for love While incarcerated, Petey practiced freestyling. He went to New York as soon as he got released, virtually penniless and homeless. He befriended Black Rob at a New York city nightclub, who gave him a place to crash. Rob featured Petey on the remix to his single “Whoa,” one of the hottest tracks out at the time. Along with Black Rob, Petey met other rappers who vouched for his skills, such as Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes. Soon enough, Petey did get “discovered.” “We were in the [club] bathroom rhymin’ and freestylin’ and Jive’s head A&R [David Lighty] walked in the bathroom,” he remembers. “It was me, [Black] Rob, and Doug E. Fresh. [Lighty] asked me if I was signed, and I was like, ‘Nah.’ He told me, ‘Come over to Jive and we’ll give you everything you want.’” Jive arranged for Petey to be featured on labelmate Mystikal’s album, and hooked him up with
Timbaland to record for his debut. The Timboproduced “Raise Up” was an instant success. Petey’s grimy hook single-handedly put the Carolinas on the hip-hop map, and before his album even dropped, Petey Pablo was a household name. Jive released his debut album, Diary of a Sinner: 1st Entry, in 2001, which nearly reached platinum status. After the hype surrounding “Raise Up” died down, Petey appeared on a few regional hits like Lil Jon’s “Rep Yo City,” but appeared destined for one-hit-wonderland. As Jive prepared to release his follow-up album, Still Writing in My Diary: 2nd Entry, the lukewarm response to his lead single “Blow Your Whistle” put the album on hold. Petey stumbled onto a hit in 2004 while skimming through Lil Jon tracks that had previously been given to Jive for Mystikal’s album. He recorded “Freek-A-Leek,” which was leaked to radio almost instantly and became nearly an overnight sensation. The success of Usher’s “Yeah!”, which was derived from the same Lil Jon beat, only helped resurrect Petey’s career. “Freek-A-Leek” was eventually remixed with guest appearances from Twista and Jermaine Dupri, and the enormous success of the song at radio prompted Jive to release his sophomore album. Alongside “Freek-A-Leek,” Still Writing In my Diary: 2nd Entry also contained thoughtful tracks like “He Spoke to Me.” The label recruited Petey to drop 16 bars for female Jive artists Ciara and Rasheeda, which helped keep him in the spotlight for the rest of 2004. Although “Freek-A-Leek”’s subject matter wasn’t typical of Petey’s music, Uncle Luke christened him as the official torchbearer for fuck songs. Disgruntled with Jive’s treatment of his career, Petey found a kindred spirit in an unlikely place: Suge Knight. Proclaiming himself the newest member of Death Row, Petey’s next career move is one big question mark. If all else fails, he can always record another hit.
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
Words Julia Beverly / Photo J Lash
5 ESSENTIAL MIA X TRACKS Master P f/ Mia X “Bout It, Bout It Pt. 2” Ice Cream Man 1996 Mia X spits fire on the ghetto “national anthem.” Mia X f/ TRU & Mystikal “You Don’t Wanna Go 2 War” Unlady Like 1997 Mama Mia trades verses with the TRU boys and the newest No Limit recruit, Mystikal, over this KLC classic. Mia X f/ Master P & Foxy Brown “Party Don’t Stop” Unlady Like 1997 Before “Make Em Say Uhh,” this was the first No Limit record to get consistent radio play nationwide. Pairing up Foxy Brown and Mia X was a stroke of marketing genius. TRU f/ Mia X “Freak Hoes” TRU 2 Da Game 1997 After TRU drops three verses telling women to bend over and touch their toes on this Southern strip club classic, Mia X crashes the testosterone party and reminds the ladies: If you’re gonna do what they’re asking, make sure you get that money! TRU f/ Mia X “No Limit Soldiers” TRU 2 Da Game 1997
t a time when Foxy Brown and Lil Kim were battling for female dominance in the rap game, Mia X made history as one of the first female rappers in the South to get national exposure. The world was first introduced to Mia X in the mid-90’s through her appearances on No Limit party anthems like “Bout It, Bout It Pt. 2” and “Party Don’t Stop.” But her rap career had actually begun a decade earlier, when she was still a young teenager.
promotions, no radio play, no videos. She spent the next several years performing throughout the South and promoting the record. “I put out The Payback with an old friend who was based in New Orleans,” Mia recalls. “We were actually making copies of the tape ourselves. We’d be dubbing two or three tapes at a time and selling them out of the trunk. Once we got a barcode, we got a lil’ distribution deal and put it in Texas and Florida. Things took off from there.”
In 1984, Mia was recruited for a five-member rap group which also included a young Mannie Fresh. Founded by a Queens native, the group was called New York Incorporated and brought the sounds of the East coast to New Orleans. Their Southern-flavored rhymes over East coast breakbeats was a formula for success. Within a short period of time, New York Incorporated was getting paid to open shows for popular 80’s acts like Jekyll & Hyde and Kool Mo Dee. By age 14, Mia X was a “professional” rapper.
At the time, groups like Salt-N-Pepa were moving over 2 million units, so Mia didn’t grasp magnitude of her accomplishment. “I didn’t realize how big it was until I looked at it from a monetary standpoint,” she says. Most of the major labels weren’t aware of Mia’s underground success, but a few did approach her. With the money that she was making independently and her regional fame, she was comfortable financially and didn’t see any reason to sign with a major. Plus, she didn’t feel that she was ready. “I was trying to develop my sound,” she says. “I wanted to be the total package lyrically.”
In 1986, New York Incorporated officially disbanded. Although many rap groups dissolve due to internal conflict, creative differences, or financial mismanagement, their reason was much simpler. They needed to “concentrate on high school.” Mannie Fresh and Mia X were a year apart in school, and they graduated in ‘87 and ‘88, respectively. Mannie was gaining a reputation as a DJ around New Orleans. After graduation, Mia had a baby and dropped out of the music scene. For many female artists, childbirth spells the end of their career. But for Mia, it was just the beginning. “[Pursuing a rap career] with a baby wasn’t as difficult as you might think, because I had a strong support system,” Mia X recalls. “My mother was in my corner 100% and she knew rap wasn’t something I was just playin’ with.” After a brief hiatus to adjust to motherhood, Mia released an indie album called The Payback in 1992. The response proved that New Orleans rap fans hadn’t forgotten about Mia X. She sold over 77,000 copies with no marketing, no
In addition to developing her rap skills, Mia was active in the New Orleans community as a motivational speaker and mentor. She began working with the school board and various homes for battered women, sharing her own experiences and providing hope for women and children who had none. The more active she became in the community, the less focused she was on pursuing her rap career. “I didn’t really go to the clubs much, but you could definitely find me at an educational function or a battered womens’ event. Any event that pertained to helping our city, you’d see me there,” she says. In late 1994, Mia X met a young entrepreneur named Percy Miller. He’d heard her record and was looking for a female rapper to add to his roster. Although several independent labels had already tried to sign Mia, something made her take Percy - a.k.a. Master P - seriously. “Most of the [label owners] I had come in contact with just wanted to say they had a label, and they weren’t really hustlin’. Something in [Master] P’s eyes let me know that he was very serious about turning his label into something big.”
Master P’s label, No Limit, did become “something big.” Something huge, in fact. And Mia X played a key role. Virtually every hit that put No Limit on the map featured a blazing verse from the Mama Mia herself: “No Limit Soldiers,” “Make ‘Em Say Uhhh,” and many other songs that defined the No Limit era. While No Limit was putting New Orleans on the map, there were rumors of beef between the camp and another New Orleans-based powerhouse: Cash Money. Mia, who had maintained a friendship with Mannie Fresh and considers Brian “Baby” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams as brothers, never saw it that way. “I didn’t really feed into what the media was saying about Cash Money and No Limit, cause personally, I never saw any beef.” Her stint with No Limit ultimately came to an end in 1998, and they attempted to reunite in 2001 but the “business wasn’t straight.” Even to this day, Mia X rarely receives the credit she deserves. At the time of No Limit’s success, many hip-hop fans considered Southern rap music to be a gimmick and didn’t take her seriously as a lyricist. Plus, she adds, “Image is everything for sisters. [The female artists] were half-nekkid and shit, and I was one of the plussize girls.” Mia X’s filthy mouth, no-nonsense attitude, and “sassiness can be heard in the music of many up-and-coming female Southern rappers today: Trina, Jacki-O, Khia, Miss T, and the Ghetto Twins, for example. Today, Mia continues her work within the community, speaking at educational events such as BET’s Rap it Up. “I’ve been [on the road] with so many men, and I saw so many sisters put themselves in a position to be just another verse in a song,” she says. “When I speak to women, I tell them not to be that next rhyme. Handle yourself like a lady.” Representing for the females both on and off wax, Mia recently formed her own label, Music Life, and is recording a new album. “I didn’t get the opportunity to do a lot of collaborations at No Limit,” she says. “I’ve got this indie freedom now, so I’m spreading my wings.” OZONE APR 2005
Words Sally Salinas / Photo Julia Beverly
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
5 ESSENTIAL LIL FLIP TRACKS Lil Flip “Soufside Still Holdin’” The Leprechaun 2000 This was the classic anthem in Cloverland back before anyone outside his hood knew of Flip’s now-infamous Lucky Charms CD cover. Lil Flip f/ David Banner, C-Note “What Y’all Wanna Do” Undaground Legend 2002 Over a crunk uptempo beat, Flip and co. taunt the East Coast and let ‘em know how we do it down South. “We bump that Screw down here, okay?” Lil Flip “Way We Ball” Undaground Legend 2002 This tale of how players do it in H-Town pushed Flip into the national spotlight. Lil Flip f/ Lea “Sunshine” U Gotta Feel Me 2004 This mellow laid-back summer jam for the ladies took Flip’s career to all-new heights. Lil Flip “Game Over” U Gotta Feel Me 2004 Utilizing a catchy Pac-Man video game sample and crazy hook, Flip declared “Game Over” and pissed off a certain “skinny rapper” along the way.
here’s no question that Lil Flip has made an impact on the rap game over the past few years. Although he may not be the most lyrical MC, rumor has it that the late DJ Screw once branded him with the impressive title “The Freestyle King.” He possesses a certain signature trait that can’t be denied. That trait is simplicity, and as we all know, simplicity is the essence of good design. His unique flow remains unmatched. Down South, success isn’t measured by who can write the illest line or who has the hardest poetry. It’s about money. Long considered the redhead stepchild of hip-hop, the South has contributed more to the musical lexicon than any other region. Just like Houston’s Lightenin’ Hopkins revolutionized the blues back in the days of the previous generation, artists like Lil’ Flip and his contemporaries in the Screwed Up Click have revolutionized the way people look at rap. And they did it organically. Flip’s career was built from the ground up by the legendary DJ Screw. Sold hand-to-hand, Screw’s cassette tapes full of rap jams slowed down to a syrupy pace took the region by storm and became an underground sensation. Screw music may be new to those who came up outside of the Texas borders, but for folks in the bowels of the dirty South, those slowed-down beats have been a dominating force for years. If you were featured rapping on a Screw tape, you were guaranteed ghetto gold before even releasing a CD. Enter Lil Flip, a teenage prodigy with a penchant for freestyling and an A-1 business partner. Under the direction of Houston legend Hump, Flip first entered the scene in 1999 with his group, H$E, but it was his solo debut, The Leprechaun, that pushed him over the top. His single “I Can Do It” was a smash in Texas and pushed the record sales to over 180,000 (technically, it was a double CD, so 90,000 copies counts as 180,000). Regardless, the sales numbers were impressive for an independent artist. With his Lucky Charms cereal box styled cover, complete with Lil Flip actually dressed as a Lep12
OZONE APR 2005
rechaun (a tribute to his neighborhood, Cloverland), outsiders would have never guessed that this man was about to become one of the biggest sellers in Southern rap history. However, his fans and friends from the massive metropolis of H-Town knew that Flip was something special. In the time between the independent release of The Leprechaun and his major label debut Undaground Legend, Flip and co. dropped over twenty mix CDs jampacked with flows and freestyles from the man himself over other people’s beats. Some of these discs sold over 20,000 copies, and as the majors began to take notice, Lil Flip became a household name in the South. Eventually Flip signed with Loud Records, then transferred directly to the parent company Sony when Loud folded. With the help of the mega-hit “Way We Ball,” Undaground Legend went platinum. Flip was also featured on David Banner’s breakthrough single, “Like a Pimp,” helping to turn all industry eyes on Houston for the first time since the Geto Boys’ early days. 2004 saw the release of Flip’s third double disc, U Gotta Feel Me, produced mostly by Dallas legends Play-N-Skillz. The hit single, “Game Over,” produced by Nick Fury, almost never happened because Flip originally objected to the use of the classic Pac Man video game sounds in the track. Mr. Mixx of 2 Live Crew had used the same sample less than a year earlier for the Houston hit “This is For My...” which also featured Slim Thug, T2, and Flip’s arch nemesis, ESG. Fortunately, Flip decided to use the beat for “Game Over,” and the song took him platinum once again. After “Game Over,” Flip released the radiofriendly “Sunshine,” featuring Lea. Despite the inclusion of questionable lines like “I’ll treat you like milk, I’ll do nothing but spoil you,” the song was a massive success and helped Flip’s career crossover into a whole new audience. Soon, he was appearing on remixes with commercially successful artists like Beyonce. With the success of U Gotta Feel Me, he was able to tour the world to promote the record,
setting Lil Flip apart from his Houston contemporaries. He’s one of the only rap artists from his city who’s ever had the opportunity to perform outside the United States. While other Houston artists like K-Rino, 5th Ward Boyz and Slim Thug have performed spot dates outside the U.S., Flip entertained crowds in London, Amsterdam, Paris, and Toronto on his own. Even with his career thriving commercially, Lil Flip’s beef with T.I. in late 2004 threatened his street credibility. An incarcerated T.I. heard that Flip had been performing at shows in Atlanta and challenging T.I.’s claim to the Southern throne. Whether the allegations were true or not, immediately upon his release, T.I. made it his mission to destroy Flip’s career with a highly publicized diss at Hot 107.9’s annual Birthday Bash and a scathing mix CD. Although rumors are flying about a recent altercation that reportedly occurred between T.I. and Lil Flip in Cloverland, Flip seems to have weathered the storm successfully. And, as they say, any publicity is good publicity. Flip has also ventured into other industries, releasing his own liquor (Lucky Nites) and signing a shoe deal with Diadora. Bringing the style and sound of Houston to a mainstream audience, it could be argued that Flip is partially responsible for the current wave of Texas artists on their way to national success (Slim Thug, Mike Jones, PaulWall). As one of the first in his region to put up impressive sales numbers without the boost of a major label, artists like Flip opened the floodgates for Houston’s thriving underground market to expand into the mainstream. Having broken off from the label that took him to Sony and helped mold him as an artist, in the past year Flip has truly stepped out on his own. His new label, Clover G’s, features the Botany Boys and other friends from his Cloverland neighborhood. The group is poised for success, and while this Undaground Legend has already accomplished some big things, he’s still on his way up.
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
Words AJ Woodson / Photo Jonathan Mannion
5 ESSENTIAL B.G. TRACKS B.G. “True Story” True Story 1995 Pre-Mannie Fresh, the title cut of his first album set it all in motion for the Baby Gangsta. B.G. “Get Your Shine On” It’s All On U Vol. 1 & 2 1997 A hot-ass club tune. End of story. B.G. f/ Big Tymers & Hot Boys “Bling Bling” Chopper City in the Ghetto 1999 B.G.’s most well-known single became hip-hop vernacular. The term “bling-bling” has been thrown around by everyone from Paris Hilton to Jay-Z, so much so that the Oxford English dictionary has now recognized and added the terminology. B.G. “Cash Money Is An Army” Chopper City in the Ghetto 1999 On this track, B.G. truly began to blossom as an MC, and Mannie Fresh perfected his patented style. B.G. “With Tha B.G.” Chopper City in the Ghetto 1999 B.G. shines on this mellow autobiographical joint spiked with intricate twists. The track highlights his seemingly nonchalant flow and distinctive nasal drawl.
et me paint you a quick picture. You sign to New Orleans-based independent label Cash Money Records at the age of eleven, when most of your peers are just trying to deal with puberty. You’re on a road to destruction, keeping yourself occupied by stealing cars and doing things that would break your mama’s heart. Getting offered a record deal at such an early age was probably the best and worst thing that could’ve happened to you.
The record deal gives you a much-needed outlet to express yourself and tell your story, but you’re also exposed to a lifestyle of fast cash, loose women, and drugs that has beat down and totally destroyed many artists twice your age. You release six solo albums before your 18th birthday. Your debut, True Story, is a semi-autobiographical account of your coming-of-age in the poverty-ridden streets of uptown New Orleans. Over the next five years, you release an album each year, including one as a member of the Hot Boys. By the time you turn 18, your label has finally signed a major distribution deal with Universal Records. Your first nationally-distributed album, Chopper City in the Ghetto, debuts at number nine on the Billboard Top 200. Your single, “Bling Bling,” becomes a street anthem and before you know it, blows up nationally. Then, the business begins to destroy your perception of the “family” you thought you were a part of. Those who you looked up to and thought had ya back weren’t breakin’ you off with ya skrilla the way they were supposed to. You’re barely 21, and already experiencing the hip-hop equivalent of a mid-life crisis. You left mom’s crib at just 14. You step away from the cats you used to be down with, the cats you used to rock stages with. Now you’re standing on lonely stages without your crew and going for dolo. You start to feel isolated, kinda like Ice Cube probably did when he quit N.W.A.
Many artists who have experienced far less haven’t survived. They’ve disappeared in this what-have-you-done-lately business of hip-hop. But somehow, you maintain. Your fans continue to support you. The streets continue to embrace you. You show the whole world that there is, in fact, life after Cash Money.
a nigga feel real good,” beams B.G. “They’ve got some great artists in the South, so to be considered one of the greatest by OZONE Magazine makes a nigga feel real good about himself, fa’ sure.”
Before, others were handling your business, and all you had to do was pick up a mic. The only thing you had to worry about was writing rhymes and rocking the mic. Now, you’re basically starting over. You have to pick up the pieces and build your own empire. Now, you’re the H.N.I.C., and mad heads are depending on you to sign their check.
B.G. just turned 25, and he’s already 12 years deep in the business. He’s released nine solo albums to date, plus two more albums with the Hot Boys. He’s recorded enough collaborations to fill five CDs, and he’s also got a rap sheet that’s almost as long as his string of hits. One thing you can’t deny is that B-Gizzle truly qualifies as The Heart Of The Streetz, as the title of his upcoming independently released album implies.
You started in this business as a kid, and now you have a kid. Sounds like a great plot in a book, or a screenplay for movie-of-the-week. But it’s not fiction, it’s the life and times of the Hot Boy alumni. There’s a reason why he’s called B.G.: Baby Gangsta.
He’s overcome poverty, a rough childhood, a bad record deal, incarceration, drug addiction, and much more. The fact that B.G. is still producing hits nearly a decade after he first dropped as a teenager is a testament to his musical abilities.
“I’m more in control now,” says B.G. “It’s me, it’s my operation. Back then I was just an artist and I didn’t know what was going on. Now, I’m an artist and a CEO. I’m more in the loop of what’s goin’ on. Before I was just working. Whatever they’d tell me to do, I did, because I thought we were a family. But at the same time, they was pimpin’ a nigga on some slick shit. I was signed to people I thought was family. Now I know that it’s 90% business, 10% talent. You could be the coldest nigga out, but if ya business ain’t on point, you won’t make it. Nowadays, I’ve got my business right.”
He went from being an eleven-year old troublemaker to the originator of the term “bling-bling.” Today, the phrase has become symbolic of the entire Cash Money movement. “Bling bling” is used by clueless newscasters and journalists across the country to describe anything hip-hop related. The phrase was even added to the dictionary. How many rappers can say they’re responsible for additions to the dictionary?
Unfortunately, getting his business right meant parting ways with his rhyming partners Lil Wayne, Juvenile, and Turk. Juvenile and Turk also departed from Cash Money, and as Lil Wayne grows older and gains more independence, fans are still hoping that a Hot Boys reunion album is possible. You can’t talk about the greatest Southern artists without mentioning his name. B.G. was certainly one of the most prolific teenagers in music history, not just in hip-hop. “That makes
B.G. knows that the story of his life would be a great screenplay for a dramatic movie, and that’s exactly what he plans to do with his experiences. Look out for the DVD of his life, coming soon. It’ll cover everything he’s been through in life thus far. “I’m not ashamed of my past,” says B.G. “I’m a real nigga. The shit I’ve been through has made me the man I am today.” He’s currently finishing up his label Chopper City’s three-album deal with distributor Koch Records and preparing to renegotiate for future releases. Over the years B.G. has proved he has staying power and the skills to pay the bills. OZONE APR 2005
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
69 BOYZ/QUAD CITY/95 SOUTH 5 ESSENTIAL 69 BOYZ/QUAD CITY/95 SOUTH TRACKS 95 South “Whoot There It Is” Quad City Knock 1993 This single sold over three million copies worldwide, making 95 South a household name nearly overnight. 69 Boyz “Tootsee Roll” Nineteen Ninety Quad 1994 America’s new love affair with booty music grew as this double-platinum single was awarded Best Rap Single at the 1994 Billboard Awards. Quad City “C’Mon ‘N Ride It (The Train)” Get On Up & Dance 1996 With moves rivaling Atlanta’s Bankhead bounce, the “train” kept people’s arms happy on the dance floor. Quad City “Space Jam” Space Jam Soundtrack 1996 The lead single for Michael Jordan’s partially animated film introduced Quad City to a whole new audience. Above: 69 Boyz Inset: Jay-Ski and Thrill da Playa
hen high school friends Nathaniel “CC Lemonhead” Orange and Johnny “Jay-Ski” McGowan teamed up in their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida to do some production work in the early 90’s, they never imagined how far their talent could take them. They were instrumental in creating a new genre of vibrant bass music, appropriately called “booty music” for its ability to get the ladies on the dance floor. The budding beatmakers created their own company, CeeJai Productions. They formed a group, The S.W.A.T. Team, up with other longtime friends, former high school football star Albert “Thrill da Playa” Van Bryant and Mike Mike. The foursome worked together on 95 South’s Quad City Knock, writing and producing the group’s debut in 1993. The triple-platinum hit “Whoot There it Is” catapulted the group’s album into Billboard’s Top 20 R&B Charts. Their success put Jacksonville (commonly known as Duuuuval) onto the proverbial map. In 1993, CC released his solo album Bass to Another Level, calling upon Thrill once again to lay down some vocals. Thrill da Playa and Mike Mike formed the group 69 Boyz with Barry “Fast” Wright and Greg “Slow” Thomas, bringing CC Lemonhead and Jay-Ski into the fold for the 1994 platinum album Nineteen Ninety Quad. The project contained the monumental hit “Tootsee Roll,” a club favorite which soon became a double-platinum mainstream crossover sensation. The song garnered the group a Billboard Award for Best Rap Single in 1994 and was a nightclub staple for several years. In addition to hitting the #1 spot on the Billboard Rap chart in 1994, the single rested in the Top 10 on both the R&B and Hot 100 charts for an astounding 38 weeks in early 1995. Without the impact of any major label machine behind them, they were still achieving major success. As the “booty” movement exploded throughout the South with groups like Poison Clan, Splack Pack, and Gucci Crew II pushing out hot tracks, Thrill da Playa and his cohorts were focusing on how they could create an industry that didn’t exist. Guerilla street team 14
OZONE APR 2005
69 Boyz “Woof Woof” The Wait is Over 1998 This song also landed on the soundtrack for Eddie Murphy’s remake of Dr. Doolittle.
tactics were their method for pushing the group beyond the Jacksonville area. “[We were] one of the first crews to actually go out and attack a lot of these large events, like Spring break and Freaknik,” Thrill recalls. “We would take teams of 20-30 people, but our approach was so different at the time. We wanted to stay true to our market, but there was no industry in Jacksonville. We had to go out and bring the industry back home. We were competing with Bad Boy and Death Row, and right there at the top of the charts was the 69 Boyz - outlasting the Notorious B.I.G. on the Rap charts in our position at number one.” The movement continued in 1995 with 95 South’s One Mo’ Gen LP and CC Lemonhead’s solo album Prep. Major labels could no longer deny the force. Atlantic Records released Quad City’s Get On Up and Dance in 1996, and the first single “C’Mon ‘N Ride It (The Train)” proved to be yet another successful platinum club hit blessed by CC, Jay-Ski, and Thrill’s creativity. With some money and promotional support, Quad City contributed the title track for the Space Jam soundtrack and rounded out 1996 with their platinum All Star Christmas. Thrill da Playa contends that the foundation they laid independently was the most critical factor in their success. “We had our highs, we had our lows, but I think [because of] the handson experience, everybody today from our crew owns their publishing. We’re still doing music, and we have our own independent businesses based off that opportunity. The fact that everybody who worked on the record then is still eating from that record today is something that a lot of crews can’t say.” 69 Boyz emerged once again on Atlantic Records with “Woof Woof” in 1998, which appeared on their album The Wait is Over as well as the Dr Doolittle soundtrack. Thrill da Playa ventured out on his own in 1999 for The Very Best of Home Bass album, and 95 South released Tightwork 3000 (without the participation of CC Lemonhead or Jay-Ski) on RCA Records in 2000. Meanwhile, Jay-Ski was in the studio with Luke preparing the infamous project Luke’s Freak
Fest, a collaborative effort that included contributions from Big Pun and the Terror Squad, Krayzie Bone, and Goodie Mob. In 2001, 69 Boyz released Trunk Funk 101, and Thrill da Playa pushed out Dunks N D’s followed by The Return of the Big Bronco in the same year. In continuation of the legacy, Thrill released Broamz, Chrome, and Redbones in 2003. While the booty bass scene quieted down, crunk music began to take over. The new sound of crunk brought together the best of the old and the new, preparing longtime fans for the release of Thrill’s upcoming album. The Sounds of My Impala features artists such as T.I. the Ying Yang Twins, Field Mob, and Jacki-O. Thrill currently hosts his own Ghetto Fabulous Live radio show on Tallahassee’s 100.7 The Beat, and has received several honors and awards for his contributions to the scene. He also produces the annual Ghetto Fabulous Live awards, recognizing artists and business people who continue to elevate the music scene in the Southeast. With the single “Tootsee Roll” noted as the second-longest running single in the history of Billboard, collective international sales of over 60 million units (Thrill da Playa and 69 Boyz alone accounting for over 35 million of those sales), two Grammy nominations, eight Soul Train Award nominations, six Billboard Music Award nominations, and a Source Award nomination, there’s no denying the impact that the Quad City family has had on the music industry. While their legacy in Southern music will never be forgotten, all of the individuals involved with the success of 95 South, Quad City DJs, and 69 Boyz have grown up and moved into new phases of their lives for better or worse, and there’s plenty of rumors floating around about the worse. “It’s important to understand that the music industry - and life in general - takes its toll on people,” says Thrill. “The main thing is that we came together as a business, and we worked together as a family. Today the strongest support we could have for anyone going through struggles in the business is to always highlight the good things.”
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
Words Maurice Garland / Photo ShannonMCC.com (l to r) Big Gipp, Cee-Lo, Khujo, and T-Mo
GOODIE MOB 5 ESSENTIAL GOODIE MOB TRACKS
Outkast f/ Cee-Lo and Big Gipp “Git Up, Git Out” Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik 1993 Cee-Lo and Gipp helped Outkast create one of the most motivating songs in hiphop. Goodie Mob “Cell Therapy” Soul Food 1995 The truth in this song made you question everything in the United States. The only thing eerier than the beats’ piano riff is that many of their predictions came true. Goodie Mob f/ Big Boi and Cool Breeze “Dirty South” Soul Food 1995 You can’t blame Goodie Mob for coining this term, which has now become a tired cliche everyone in the country uses to describe the Southeast region. Goodie Mob “Beautiful Skin” Still Standing 1998 This much-needed ode to the black woman wasn’t as lovey-dovey as LL’s “I Need Love,” but still as strong as Pac’s “Dear Mama.” Goodie Mob “They Don’t Dance No Mo’” Still Standing 1998
hen Goodie Mob (Robert “T-Mo” Barnetet, Willie “Khujo” Knighton, Cameron “Big Gipp” Gipp and Thomas “CeeLo” Calloway) crept onto the scene in 1995, hip-hop was in desperate need of something, well...good. Death Row inmates, Bad Boy, and a slew of rappers were blurring the line between Scarface and Al Pacino. Elected officials were switching their campaign agendas from combating police brutality to attacking violence and misogyny in rap lyrics. Public Enemy was out of the scope, X-Clan was extinct, ‘Pac was having trust issues and KRS was pretty much the only One still preaching that we’re all in the same gang headed for self-destruction. And then “Cell Therapy” came out. The eerie one-finger piano plucking beat and conspiracytheory lyrics actually had us thinking for a change. This was the introduction to Goodie Mob’s debut, Soul Food, one of the most important hip-hop albums ever. The cover image of four brothers praying spoke volumes, and the content held true to its title. The ground-breaking effort opened with a prayer (“Free”), continued with meditations (“Thought Process”), autobiographies (“Sesame Street”), and soulstirring questioning (“I Didn’t Ask to Come”). The sonic Mother’s Day gift “Guess Who” had even the hardest thugs kissing their mom when they got home at night, verses like the sermon Cee-Lo dropped at the end of “Fighting” changed lives on the spot, while playful songs like the title track showed that this group of deep thinkers do like to have fun. But the album will always and forever be remembered for two songs: “Goodie Bag” and “Dirty South.” The lyrical exercise “Goodie Bag” was originally a freestyle community radio cipher with fellow newcomers The Roots. “Dirty South” was intended to be the soundtrack for Atlanta’s shady South side, but was embraced by the entire region. The G-Mo-B was tatted up, unshaven with mouths full of gold. They showed the world that you could be conscious without the crocheted coifs, and spiritual without the gaudy Jesus pieces
hanging from iced-out medallions. Most of all, they showed that it was okay to be yourself in and out of the booth. You could still see Khujo or Cee-Lo posted at Greenbriar Mall during Freaknik, Big Gipp chillin’ at the Braves game on the weekend, or T-Mo standing in line at The Beautiful restaurant. They never changed, but the same couldn’t be said about their music. Initially, Goodie supporters were caught offguard with the bow-throwing single “They Don’t Dance (No Mo’),” not knowing what to expect from the upcoming album Still Standing. Did they sell out? Did they crumble to the critics and sale-driven record execs? Are they trying to appease radio? No. Not really. And hell naw! Just like its predecessor, Still Standing opened with Cee-Lo’s voice. But this time, he wasn’t praying. He was kind of angry, letting us know the difference between blacks and niggas. This was followed with “Black Ice,” the definitive Dungeon Family track. Bass-driven beat, offkilter hook (“Sky hiiiigh, sky hiiiigh”), coded lyrics and an appearance from Big and ‘Dre. It was 1998 and the Southeast, particularly Atlanta, was becoming the place to live. Goodie spoke for those who didn’t have a voice on “Fly Away,” reminding you, When in Rome, do as the Romans do...or get your ass beat. Overall, their sophomore effort brought more exposure. Nail and hair salons were blasting the woman-appreciating “Beautiful Skin.” The title track had brothers on lockdown flooding LaFace’s offices with letters. Cee-Lo’s verse on “I Refuse Limitation” was featured as a hip-hop quotable in The Source, and Khujo’s unique style won respect from hip-hop heads. Gipp entered celebrity status when he married soul singer Joi. Even though Still Standing was a slept-on album, it still provided a much-needed safe haven for the civilians caught up in the No Limit Soldiers’ 1998 reign of terror. As 1999 began to wind down, “Chain Swang” had already leaked to radio and people were wondering what Goodie was up to. The pressure from critics, label execs and radio finally penetrated the Mob’s walls. The commercialized
first single “Get Rich to This” got more radio spins than any of Goodie’s prior singles, but blatant attempts at pop success like “Ghetto Enuff” were too much to bear. Released at the end of 1999, the injured racehorse that was World Party was taken out to the woods and shot before the Spring even hit. Within most groups, creative differences and a lackluster album will cause divide amongst its creators. Goode Mob was no exception. After having a dominating presence on the Dungeon Family compilation Even in Darkness, Goodie Mob broke up. Solo success was moderate at best. T-Mo’s T-Mo to the Fullest is still collecting dust, Khujo’s The Man Not the Dog was avoided like the plague, Gipp’s Mutant Mindframe made a little noise (emphasis on the “little”), and Cee-Lo’s two albums Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections and Cee-Lo Green is the Soul Machine blossomed the brain but barely busted a grape at the sales register. Realizing that a fist is stronger than a finger, Goodie tried to get back together. After harsh words and miscommunications, the supposed reunion One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show happened sans Cee-Lo. The album did achieve the conscious/commercial balance that World Party fumbled, however, that one missing monkey did slow the show down a bit. Goodie Mob officially disbanded the following year, but last month reported that the group was back together - all four of them. It’s hard to tell if their reunion can have the same effect as their introduction ten years ago, but then again, today’s rap climate is pretty much the same. Rappers are still emulating Tony Montana, civic leaders are calling for radio and television boycotts of rap music. For the moment, politics and spirituality are in style. Goodie Mob has stood the test of time. They’ve survived breakups and the amputation of Khujo’s right leg after a car accident. They’ve boldly stepped out of Outkast’s looming shadow (a feat no other Dungeon Family artist has accomplished) and earned their position as one of the greatest groups to come out of the South. OZONE APR 2005
Words Dove / Photo Raandu Avion (R.I.P.)
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
LIL WAYNE 5 ESSENTIAL LIL WAYNE TRACKS
Juvenile f/ Lil Wayne “Run For It” 400 Degreez 1998 Even though some people might have mistaken the hook for “Run Forrest, run,” it was Lil Wayne’s remarkable cameo that earned him a strong buzz. Lil Wayne “The Block is Hot” The Block is Hot 1999 The title track from the 16-year-old’s first solo album brought him to the forefront of Southern lyricists. Critics took notice of his abilities. Lil Wayne “Get Off the Corner” Lights Out 2000 Still a teen, the bouncing cadence of Lil Wayne’s rhymes solidified his star potential. Lil Wayne “Way of Life” 500 Degreez 2002 Setting aside some of his youthful angst for a grown and sexy vibe, Wayen teamed up with the Big Tymers and R&B pretty boy TQ for this upbeat radio favorite. Lil Wayne “Go DJ” Tha Carter 2004 The title track from the 16-year-old’s first solo album brought him to the forefront of Southern lyricists. Critics took notice of his abilities.
il Wayne is a rare find in hip-hop - a child prodigy who has maintained his success into adulthood. At eleven years old, he became the youngest artist on the New Orleansbased Cash Money Records, owned by brothers Brian “Baby” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams. His articulate rapid-fire flow and exuberant personality set him apart from the pack of emerging Southern artists in the early 90s, and he received accolades for his lyrical gifts from the time he spit his first verse. Still going through puberty, he made his recording debut on B.G.’s first EP, True Story, in 1993, ripping the mic with a ferocity that earned him instant respect. He appeared again on the 1997 Hot Boys album Get It How U Live It, and enjoyed the independent success that followed. The Hot Boys crew consisted of Lil Wayne, Juvenile, B.G., and Young Turk. They pushed over 400,000 copies without any national promotion, putting Cash Money in a position to barter a major distribution deal with Universal Records under the guidance of independent consultant Wendy Day. In 1998, Wayne sparked lyrical fire once again on the album How You Love That, a project put out by the duo of Baby and Slim who dubbed themselves the Big Tymers. With his popularity growing in the Southern underground scene, it was the 1999 release of the Hot Boys second album, Guerilla Warfare, that brought Lil Wayne national attention. The Hot Boys reached the Top 5 on the Billboard Album charts. Cash Money dropped two more releases back-to-back in the first half of 1999, Juvenile’s 400 Degreez and B.G.’s Chopper City in the Ghetto. All eyes were on the Magnolia Ward clique. Sadly, while Wayne was awaiting his big break on the solo tip, his father was shot and killed in a robbery. Instead of letting it slow him down, Wayne dug in his heels and poured his focus into the music. Lil Wayne released his solo debut, Tha Block is Hot, in 1999. He was only 16 years old at the time. It sold over a quarter-million copies in the first week and debuted at number three on
OZONE APR 2005
the charts. The title track “Tha Block is Hot” was a fan favorite, and people were buzzing about the teenage sensation as his album went on to achieve platinum status. The track “Fuck The World” was dedicated to his deceased father, and the world soon found out that young Wayne was already a father himself. Despite his personal setbacks and life changes, he was recognized for his talent and received a Source Award nomination for Best New Artist. The Hot Boys were awarded Group of the Year at the same ceremony. Wayne’s sophomore effort, Lights Out, was released in 2000. Shortly thereafter, the Hot Boys were disbanded as Juvenile, B.G. and Turk all left the Cash Money roster, claiming financial mismanagement. In 2002 Wayne dropped 500 Degreez, an aggressive assortment of songs that went over well with fans. He went on to exchange back-and-forth lyrical barbs with former labelmate Juvenile. Maturity won out in the end and both men ceased their lyrical fire. Juvenile later came back to Cash Money for a brief time, but things were never quite the same as they had been in the beginning. Following the path of Cash Money moguls Baby and Slim, Wayne started up his own entertainment company, Young Money Records. He began working with some up-and-coming talent, breaking them on mixtapes and doing some freestyles himself, while steadily working on his own fourth solo album. Wayne’s advice to his artists and anyone coming up in the game is simple: “Keep your head up, and keep your eyes on your paper. That’s the only thing I’ve done, and I’m still here,” he asserts. “I’m here in a great position, so if you’re trying to be where I’m at or anywhere close to it, that’s what I did.” When The Carter was released in 2004, Wayne had finally reached his 21st birthday. His first single “Go DJ” customarily went straight to the top of the charts. He cites the album as his biggest career highlight thus far, and has received praise across the board from critics and fans alike for his consistency and growth on the project. He plans to branch out into other en-
trepreneurial endeavors, but music will always be at the forefront of his being. Wayne also aims to become a well-rounded individual, not just a rapper. He’s currently attending college in Houston, studying Psychology. “I feel like I know everything there is to know about rap,” he explains. “I know what to say, when to say it, how to say it, how every beat should sound. Now I wanna know everything there is to know about something else. I don’t wanna be thirty years old and just know about rap. I wanna be able to talk to somebody; sit down and have an hour long conversation about something besides rap.” Near the end of 2004 when Jay-Z announced his new position as President of Def Jam Records, Lil Wayne stirred up the rumor mill by announcing that he was considering signing with Def Jam. Def Jam’s interest prompted a bidding war between several major labels. Ultimately, it seems that Lil Wayne will remain on Cash Money Records with Baby, who he now refers to as his “pa.” As the only remaining member of the Hot Boys on Cash Money Records, Wayne is left to carry on the legacy. Although they’re no longer on the same label, fans still hope to see a Lil Wayne/Juvenile/B.G./Turk reunion someday. A promoter in Tampa, Florida boldly brought Lil Wayne and B.G. both to perform on the same night, and things ended on a positive note as the two reunited on stage to the crowd’s delight. At a time when most MCs are just getting started in the music business, Lil Wayne is already a seasoned vet in every aspect of the game. Regardless of his acquired business acumen, he wants people to reflect on and relate to his art at the end of the day. “When somebody cuts on a song from me, I want them to be able to feel everything I’m talking about,” explains Wayne. “Even if they like it or don’t like it, I want them to know exactly what I’m talking about. That’s my main goal right there. If you know what I’m talking about then you know me, because that’s what my music does - it reflects me.”
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
Words Bayer Mack / Photo King Yella
MYSTIKAL 5 ESSENTIAL MYSTIKAL TRACKS
Mystikal “Here I Go” Mind of Mystikal 1995 You ain’t got to look for a real nigga down South. If you want beef, he’ll let you know where to find him. Mystikal “Man Right Chea” Unpredictable 1997 Somebody said you was looking to get your ass whupped again? Well... Mystikal “Ain’t Gonna See Tomorrow” Let’s Get Ready 2000 There’s more relevant truth contained in this one song than in some rapper’s entire careers. Mystikal f/ Outkast “Neck of Da Woods” Let’s Get Ready 2000 Outkast never did a song with Master P, but even they had to acknowledge a legitimate heir to the throne. Mystikal f/ Nivea “Danger” Let’s Get Ready 2000 One of Mystikal’s most successful commercial singles, he gained a whole new audience with this hot beat and Nivea-assisted hook.
reparation plus opportunity equals success. You would be hard pressed to find another rapper, besides 50 Cent, that embodies this principle better than Mystikal. He is the quintessential blue collar artist. Born deep in the swamps of Louisiana, Michael Tyler got his start challenging and opening shows for New Orleans rap pioneers like Warren Mayes, MC Thick, Sporty T, Gregory D and future Cash Money Records beat wizard Mannie Fresh. This growing notoriety led to the release of his self-titled debut on local indie Big Boy Records in 1995. While nowhere near a classic, the album did feature two tracks, “Y’all Ain’t Ready” and “Not That Nigga,” which foreshadowed the lyrical bravado that would come to epitomize Mystikal’s style. Jive was impressed enough with the burgeoning talent to sign him to a deal, which was reason to pause in the mid-nineties because, besides Outkast, there were no Southern rappers being signed to major labels. By the time Jive re-released the record in 1996 as Mind of Mystikal – this version included the pre-crunk, club riot anthem “Here I Go” – Mystikal seemed well on his way to living up to his “Prince of the South” claims. There was something unique about him. He matched his witty use of pop culture with a deep underlying sense of seriousness, like the disturbing track “Murderer,” a chilling verbal assault on the man that killed his sister. This made for a distinctive quality not found in any of his Southern rap contemporaries. In the city of New Orleans, he was the only rapper making noise on a major level. This caught the attention of Master P, who was looking to fortify his No Limit Records roster with someone other than family members. Mystikal and fellow Disc Makers alumnus, Fiend, provided the Tank with just the amount of legitimate lyrical firepower needed to blitzkrieg the rap world. By opting to take a supporting role to Master P’s ghetto Bill Gates aspirations, Mystikal laced his pockets quite handsomely, but found his creativity stifled by the Colonel’s micro management.
Mystikal’s first album for No Limit, 1997’s Unpredictable, was severely bogged down with guest appearances by labelmates and P’s old Bay Area cronies, but still managed to produce a trademark gem in “The Man Right Chea” – a blistering follow-up to Mind of Mystikal’s “Here I Go.” The rapper was quickly building a reputation down South as the soldier you least wanted to get into a lyrical squab with. While other rappers ducked warfare to avoid the risk of exposing their sub par skills, Mystikal was itching for a fight. Even so, Mystikal was relegated to session player status in P’s camp. He made guest appearances on the seemingly endless supply of Pen ‘n Pixel-ated product rolling off the No Limit assembly line and only owned the spotlight on five of the sixteen tracks on his next release, 1999’s Ghetto Fabulous. Mystikal hadn’t had a true solo album since 1995. The rap world knew his name as part of No Limit, but they didn’t really know him. Meanwhile, it can be said that Brian and Ronald Williams of Cash Money Records learned a lot from No Limit. However, it doesn’t seem that Master P learned anything from Cash Money. If he had, he would have noticed that the one person that always gets paid on time in Baby and Slim’s camp is Mannie Fresh. Instead, one of the most active business minds in Hip-Hop made one of the colossal blunders in rap history by dissolving No Limit’s relationship with Beats by the Pound over a reported $50,000 “disagreement.” While a defiant Master P proclaimed that “a beat can’t make me,” Mystikal was well aware the wheels had fallen off the Tank. The departure of Beats by the Pound, now the Medicine Men, paved the way for Mystikal’s exit. Now, instead of having to strike out on his own with unfamiliar producers, he would have the luxury of experimenting with new beat makers, like the Neptunes, while having the comfort of doing the bulk of his recording with a team he had grown to know and trust. It was the opportunity Mystikal had been preparing for his whole career.
What resulted was 2000’s breakout smash Let’s Get Ready. Everything was set up perfectly. Mystikal had already established a strong following in rowdy white tee circles with songs like “Man Right Chea.” The Neptunes provided two radioready-made-for-MTV singles in “Shake Ya Ass” and “Danger.” Even comedian Cedric the Entertainer was opening his Kings of Comedy sets with “Here I Go.” This sizzling mix of street credibility and commercial appeal was thrust upon the unsuspecting public with all the force of a tsunami. Let’s Get Ready expertly showcased Mystikal’s stunning lyrical acrobatics (“U Would If U Could”), refreshing creativity (“Family”) and introspective spiritual analysis (“Ain’t Gonna See Tomorrow”). Like a well trained professional boxer, Mystikal exhibited a dazzling array of lyrical punches and combinations, easily dispatching foes on “Ready To Rumble” and “I Rock, I Roll.” Southern rap royalty, Outkast, even produced two heaters to seal the win. The summer jam “Neck Uv Da Woods,” featuring Andre and Big Boi, cemented Mystikal’s upper echelon status, while “Braids” subtly jabbed former label No Limit: “You should’ve known better! Is it cause I flow better? They kept me in the shade.” Let’s Get Ready fulfilled all the promise Mystikal demonstrated five years earlier. Still, the industry was completely caught off guard when the album sold over 300,000 units in its first week to take the Number 1 spot on Billboard from Madonna and hold off platinum boy band 98 Degrees. Eventually selling more than two million copies, Let’s Get Ready was so popular, Master P actually claimed he had produced the disc himself. 2001’s disappointing Tarantula featured the unimaginative “Pussy Crook.” Mystikal then began hosting his own Liquid City porn series. In a dark ironic twist, the rapper was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison for extortion and sexual battery in 2004. OZONE APR 2005
Words Keith Kennedy / Photo Michael Blackwell
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
PASTOR TROY 5 ESSENTIAL PASTOR TROY TRACKS
Pastor Troy “No Mo’ Play in GA” We Ready - I Declare War 1999 The defining track of Troy’s career, this true classic always moves the crowd. Pastor Troy “Vice Versa” Face Off 2001 Demonstrating Troy’s versatility (“Yeah!”), this record showed that the Pastor can deliver a pew-shaking sermon (“Yeah!”) to keep the congregation’s attention while dropping knowledge (“Yeah!”). Pastor Troy “You Can’t Pimp Me” Universal Soldier 2002 Pastor Troy is no sucker artist hungry for a record deal. After all, before he signed with a major pimp, he moved 200,000 of his hoes from the truck. Pastor Troy f/ Ms. Jade “Are We Cuttin’” Universal Soldier 2002 Troy showed his versatility on this hard Timbaland track. Lil Jon f/ Pastor Troy “Throw it Up” Kings of Crunk 2002 This haunting track is the perfect backdrop for Lil Jon and Pastor Troy’s tag team. If this song comes on and you don’t get amped, check your pulse.
ecoming the people’s champ is a tall mountain to climb. Many have tried, but few have succeeded. To sport the belt, the streets need to trust that you’ll never leave them. A champ puts an entire region on his back and carries them to glory. You’ve got to be able to knock out the reigning champ to earn the crowd’s respect. The down South Georgia boy, Pastor Troy, has done all of that and more. Picture the music scene in 1999. Destiny’s Child was trying to pay their “Bills,” Jay-Z was about to “Get a What” with Ja Rule, and Juvenile and the Cash Money crew were teaching folks how to “Back That Thang Up.” Meanwhile, there was a hungry individual attending school in Augusta, GA. He’d had a chance meeting with the leader of the No Limit tank, Master P. Although P wasn’t as strong musically at the time as he had been a few years earlier when “Bout It, Bout It” took the world by storm, he was still one of Forbes’ richest men. Pastor Troy was hungry to become a No Limit soldier, and knew that if Master P took the time to listen to him and his group while in Augusta, his dreams of becoming a rap star would finally materialize. Master P eventually brushed off Troy, making way for one of the most potent response records since Tupac’s “Hit Em Up.”
gregation, shouting, “We ready!” “No Mo Play in GA” became a permanent staple in DJ sets throughout the South. Troy was floored when he saw professional athletes like Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens using the track to get hype before a game. Master P noticed the new wave of aggression and released an answer record, “It’s On, We Ready.” The people sensed a fighter in the ropes and didn’t accept it. P used his influence and attempted to prevent DJs and radio stations from playing the record, but the people knew what they wanted to hear. “No Mo’ Play” was all over the airwaves. When all else failed, Master P forced Universal to drop their newly signed act, Pastor Troy. But just when Master P thought he had won, he learned a hard lesson: Don’t deny the people.
“It wasn’t no big deal,” Pastor Troy remembers and laughs. “It’s the same thing I be doing to people now.” Troy boldly went into the studio to put a name on a faceless track. It would become his coming out party, “No Mo’ Play in GA.”
Atlanta’s 97.5, featuring an aspiring personality named Chris Luva Luva (now Ludacris), was preparing to have their first summer jam birthday bash. Tickets flew out of the box office when Troy was announced as a performer, but fans hesitated when news began to circulate that he wasn’t going to make the show. Master P pulled one more string to replace Troy in the lineup. The night of the show, Master P was booed viciously by 30,000 people. Goodie Mob invited Troy as a special guest during their set, and the crowd exploded when they realized it was Troy standing in the limelight with his now-famous gold championship belt on his shoulder. A new king had been crowned.
Using the same philosophy 50 Cent would later employ on Ja Rule, Pastor Troy attacked the largest Southern music icon at the time: Master P. Just to make sure there were no misunderstandings as to Troy’s target, the tune opened with a call to No Limit studios inviting P to war. “No Mo’ Play” was unlike any of the sounds at the time and ushered in a new age of chant tracks. When the first note dropped, it bottomed bass bins from the Keys to the Alamo with no apologies. There was automatic gunfire in the track to get listeners even more amped, much like a reggae bashment. Pastor Troy found himself leading his new club con-
But, one tune does not make a legend. When you’re the champ, people are constantly trying to get your crown. “I’ve seen a lot of rappers come, and a lot of rappers go. Anyone can have a hit single, but you’ve gotta be able to follow it up,” he says. Over the years, Troy has heeded his own advice by consistently dropping music the people can feel. His duality between religion and the evil of the streets spawned one of his more memorable follow-ups in “Vice Versa.” Plus, he let everyone know that “This The City” and “You Can’t Pimp Me.” Troy linked up with Lil Jon to “Throw it Up” and with Timbaland to ask the ladies, “Are We Cuttin’?” He’s also
OZONE APR 2005
worked with Jazze Pha, Jermaine Dupri, Lil Wayne, Juvenile, the Ying Yang Twins, David Banner, Three 6 Mafia, Ludacris, UGK, and before Nas thought of the idea - his pops Pastor Troy, Sr. Since then, Pastor Troy has dropped street hit after street hit, and several records with his crew, D.S.G.B. (Down South Georgia Boys). He dropped a number of albums independently through his own label, Madd Society. After Master P pulled rank, Universal decided to resign Pastor Troy and eventually released Face Off and Universal Soldier. After disappointing record sales of his third major album, By Any Means Necessary, Universal had to clean house and Troy was dropped from the label. As a true champ, he didn’t let that stop his reign as he continued to release his CDs without the support of a major. After all, his debut indie album We Ready: I Declare War featuring “No Mo’ Play” sold over 200,000 units. “Why would I want to make $1/album at Universal when I get $8/album independently?” he laughs. “My generation was the first to watch rap peak. I just knew I had to get into it and make a career off of this.” Any good champ knows when his time is up. Pastor Troy is looking forward to a time when he can relax at his house overlooking a lake with a parking space large enough for his mammoth F-650. That’s why Troy has invested his money into things that can generate income for the future. He went from being the debut artist at The Bounce to owning and renaming the Atlanta hotspot The Palladium. It’s now a venue that can hold up to 3,000 partygoers and hosts a state-of-the-art recording facility. “Sometimes I think, man, I should have bought that Ferrari instead,” Troy muses. “But, at the same time, if you do it right in business you can buy ten Ferraris.” Pastor Troy attributes his successful career to the streets, explaining, “People love me because I’ve been loyal and true to them. Whenever you’re true to it, they’ll love you for it.” Spoken like a true champion.
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
Words Wally Sparks / Photo Eric Johnson
5 ESSENTIAL T.I. TRACKS T.I. “Dope Boyz” I’m Serious 2001 T.I.’s core audience identifies with this hustler’s anthem the most. T.I. “Still Ain’t Forgave Myself” I’m Serious 2001 It’s rare for any 20 year old male to have the insight to pour his heart into a song like T.I. did here, painting a vivid picture of his life in rhyme. T.I. f/ Beenie Man “I’m Serious” I’m Serious 2001 At a time when the Neptunes were synonymous with Jay-Z, Nore, Busta Rhymes, and Ray J, a young, pompous, arrogant son of a hustler spit some of the most boastful rhymes ever on one of their rawest beats to date. T.I. “Rubberband Man” Trap Muzik 2003 This was the breakthrough song for both T.I. as a rapper and David Banner as a producer; the track that made everyone outside the South take notice. T.I. “Motivation” Urban Legend 2004 If this “fuck the haters” joint doesn’t motivate you, nothing will.
t’s been said that hustlers are of a different breed. It’s also been said that you can’t learn to be a hustler; you have to be born one. Enter Clifford Harris Jr., better known in today’s rap climate as the Southern lyrical sharpshooter T.I.
I clearly remember the first two times I ever heard T.I. on wax. One was on a song by an extremely important and underrated Atlanta rap group called P.A. (Parental Advisory). Their album My Life Yo Entertainment contained a song called “Down Flat,” and the second verse, by some kid named T.I. grabbed my attention. “Here go another fat, cut of that, G shit in another rap, now I done made me another track tighter than them other cats.” Now, what’s so special about that line? Nothing, really, when you read it on paper. But if you’d heard it delivered in a fluid manner with staccato cadence, you would’ve been rewinding like I was. The second time was while flipping through stations in Atlanta. I heard a remix of a popular R&B song at the time, Co-Ed’s “Roll With Me,” which featured T.I. Just like the P.A. song, I was immediately taken aback by how well T.I.’s nimble rhymes were bouncing all over this slow R&B groove. First and foremost, my impression of T.I. was as a dope MC. Regardless of his subject matter, the guy could flat-out spit. He was nice. Dumb nice, as they would say in New York. After hearing both of those songs I was ready to hear more, but I couldn’t find any more music featuring T.I. In 2001, I made one of the most important music purchases of my life. I’d become bored with hearing Cash Money, No Limit, Three 6 Mafia, and Lil Jon in the clubs. I was ready for something new; something fresh. From the first time I listened to T.I.’s debut I’m Serious, I felt as if I was listening to something important. It was a changing of the guard. My thoughts were solidified when I
reached the final track on that album, “Grand Royal.” All throughout the album I was smirking at the idea that this kid had the audacity to call himself the King of the South. But on this particular song, he said something that let me know that T.I. really believed what he was saying: “King of da South, labeled as one of the greatest when it comes to the flow / I can give a damn what you think cause if the legends of the South ain’t complainin’ / Why in the hell or the fuck would I care what you sayin’?” That’s when I was sure T.I. was going to be around for a long time.
ways, but his buzz was still growing at a blistering pace. His debut album continued to sell, and sell, and sell some more - without any label support, and virtually no promotion. Once the word got out that T.I. was a free agent, a super bidding war ensued.
Not everyone was so quick to embrace T.I., however. Many felt that he wasn’t qualified to claim the throne to the South on his first album, but regardless of their opinion, he still got everyone’s attention. A hustler by nature with a knack for creative marketing ideas, there’s two things T.I. does best: talk enough shit to grab everyone’s attention, and rap well enough to back up all the shit he talks.
Fully aware of his worth, T.I. was able to negotiate a deal which included four singles (with videos) for his next album. His sophomore release, Trap Muzik, was top priority at his new home, Atlantic Records. The commercial success of his breakthrough single, the David Banner-produced “Rubberband Man,” was matched by an album full of introspective lyrics and beats hard enough for any trap. Other notable Trap Muzik cuts like “Let’s Get Away” and “I Still Luv You” showed his versatility.
Four years later, T.I. has one platinum and two gold albums to his credit, so it seems as if my hunch was right. Now one of the biggest stars in hip-hop, T.I. has become a leader of the pack. The raw truth and emotion in his lyrics has helped him earn the respect of older fans and the attention of the younger fans. One of T.I.’s strongest qualities as a rapper is the fact that he never turns his back on his core audience. He’s dedicated to representing the code of the streets, informing hustlers how to get money legally. He never forgets where he came from, and that’s why his fans always come back for more. Although radio-friendly joints are a necessity, T.I.’s always got something for the hustlers. And even though he often brags about material possessions, he also voices the internal struggles of a hustler in a way that only a former dope boy could. Like most Southern artists, T.I. knows how to make money the independent way. He was initially signed to Arista, but the label’s president was abruptly relieved of his job shortly after he was signed. T.I. and Arista eventually parted
With a sharp hustler’s intuition, T.I. and his cohorts took to the street to capitalize on his rapidly growing buzz, releasing three volumes of his self-produced In The Streets mixtape series. The success of this mixtape series turned the heat up on the continuous bidding war for T.I.
Not feeling any effects of the sophomore jinx, Trap Muzik has sold over 700,000 copies to date and is still selling consistently. With his third album Urban Legend currently tearing up the charts, T.I. has been earning comparisons to some of the all-time greats in the rap game. Most notably, Pharrell referred to T.I. as the “Jay-Z of the South.” T.I.’s confidence is often interpreted as arrogance, and over the years he’s accumulated more than one enemy in the rap game. In 2004, T.I. settled a petty misunderstanding with Ludacris and the DTP camp and entered into a war of words with Lil Flip. T.I. emerged the victor in the battle, strengthening his claim as King of the South. He’s soothed over the tension with some of his former rivals and forged informal partnerships with other respected Southern lyricists like Scarface and Trick Daddy. And as T.I. pointed out years ago, if they don’t mind that he calls himself the King of the South, why should you? OZONE APR 2005
Words & Photo Julia Beverly
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
DAVID BANNER 5 ESSENTIAL DAVID BANNER TRACKS
Crooked Lettaz f/ Pimp C “Get Crunk” Grey Skies 1999 Long before “crunk” became a part of mainstream America’s vocabulary, David Banner and Kamikaze gained local notoriety with this Mississippi classic produced by (and featuring) Banner’s favorite rapper, Pimp C. David Banner f/ Bonecrusher “Lil Jones” Them Firewater Boyz 2000 Banner teamed up with Bonecrusher for another underground favorite. David Banner f/ Lil Flip “Like a Pimp” Mississippi: The Album 2003 This simple but effective collabo was recorded in 15 minutes. David Banner “Cadillac on 22s” Mississippi: The Album 2003 Banner’s letter to God: “I know these kids are listenin’ / I know I’m here for a mission / But it’s so hard to get ‘em when 22” rims are glistenin’.” David Banner f/ Scarface “The Game” MTA2:Baptized in Dirty Water 2003 A hidden gem on the rushed MTA2, Banner shows his diversity by singing the blues while ‘Face spits the real.
hether attacking the booth with his trademark “Yeah!”, micromanaging behind the boards, throwing his 200+ pound frame off stage into a sea of fans, or mentoring children at the local Boys & Girls Club, David Banner – born Lavell Crump – approaches everything in life with passion. Truly a candidate for VH1’s Driven, Banner’s all-around sincerity is the intangible quality which separates the great artists from the good artists and the influential from the forgotten. Born and raised in (of course) Jackson, Mississippi, Lavell adopted the stage name David Banner from the Incredible Hulk. He’s personable and positive, but he’s also that mean muthafucker who “might getcha jaw broke” or “teach your young miss to suck a dick.” Although family values are high priority in Mississippi, Jackson once had the highest murder rate in the South. Equal exposure to the “ideal” family life and street elements would later form the dual personalities often heard in Banner’s lyrics. While producing tracks in college for fellow Jackson rapper Kamikaze, the two learned that they shared similar interests and made a good musical match. Banner’s charismatic stage presence and thick Southern accent sharply contrasted with Kamikaze’s even-toned grade-A lyricism. Eager to put their state on the map, they formed the duo Crooked Lettaz and landed a deal with Tommy Boy. Their debut album Grey Skies got rave reviews, but was poorly promoted and tanked commercially. Banner went to New York in 1999 with “$300 and a pistol” attempting to get a release from the label. Rap Coalition founder Wendy Day helped the group break free from Tommy Boy and a shiesty manager, but it was only a small victory. Crooked Lettaz was back at square one, so the group went into survival mode: every man for himself. Back home in Mississippi, Banner used his newfound freedom to drop several indie releases under his imprint b.i.G.f.a.c.e. (“believe in God for all comes eventually”), promoting them hard with limited resources. He recorded tracks with artists like Pimp C, Devin the Dude, Noreaga, and Fiend, and sold underground albums 20
OZONE APR 2005
like Them Firewater Boyz Vol. 1 hand-to-hand and through his website. Banner gained a reputation for personally delivering online orders to his customer’s front doorstep. Even more than the music, it was this one-on-one personal connection that left an impression on his fans. Constantly striving for the spotlight, he tried other routes to fame, including a homemade audition for MTV’s The Real World which displayed his two passions: music and firearms. While honing his skills as a rapper and developing his unique flow, he learned how to “ghetto rig” studio equipment. Using his production skills to survive, he lived in his Astro van, cruising every Southern interstate imaginable to sell tracks to indie labels. Through his travels, he developed relationship with other new artists like T.I., Lil Jon, and Bonecrusher, and caught his first big production break with Trick Daddy’s “Thug Holiday.” Banner soon landed two tracks on Lil Flip’s platinum Undaground Legend. When Banner’s van/studio was stolen while he visited a Birmingham radio station in 2002, it was a devastating loss. Fortunately, the thief had thrown out his masters nearby, and he was able to salvage some tracks - including “Like a Pimp,” which less than a year later landed him an unprecedented deal with SRC/Universal worth a reported $10 million. He reflected on the incident to the Clarion Ledger in 2003: “You know where I was when I signed my deal? Birmingham — the same town where my van got stolen. I was driving through there when they called and said the paperwork was ready. They faxed it to me at a Kinko’s. God was just testing me. [Both of those things happening in the same city] was no coincidence. God said, ‘I’m gonna strip you of everything to see if you’re worthy of the blessings that I’m gonna send your way. And if you believe in me and stay constant to my will, then I’ll give you everything you want 10, 20, 30-fold.’ Another lesson learned.” Borrowing from the region’s blues and rock influences, he might even be labeled a “conscious” rapper if it wasn’t for his thick country drawl. Amidst the pimpin’ and woodgrain-grippin’, Banner often explores deeper subject matter.
Always precocious (his third-grade standardized tests displayed college-level reading skills), he was not only intelligent but popular in college. While serving as SGA President at Southern University, he once debated then-Vice President Al Gore. Political issues were a significant theme on his second major release, MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water, as Banner openly criticized the war in Iraq. With his experiences growing up in Mississippi, a state with a long history of racial conflict, Banner morphs into the Incredible Hulk at the mere mention of the word “slavery.” Fortunately, he’s able to unleash that anger into thought-provoking tracks. More mellow songs like “Cadillac on 22s” explore the questions of basic human nature – life, death, love, family, and God – with a raw, vulnerable honesty. Still, politics and spirituality don’t generally translate into record sales. It took a simpler message – “Real guls get down on the flo’, on the flo’” – to propel Banner into the national spotlight. His addictive beat and catchy hook coupled with Lil Flip’s vocals helped “Like a Pimp” become one of the surprise hits of 2003. Almost overnight, Banner became officially famous with the back-to-back releases of Mississippi: The Album and MTA2. He was carrying the state on his back – literally. Suddenly, it became cool for rappers to shout out the state which Banner once angrily referred to as “the place which y’all don’t mention in y’all songs” (see Nas and Olu Dara’s “Bridging the Gap” and T.I.’s “Tha King”). A&Rs rescued small-town Southern demos from their trash bins, and other Mississippi rappers got signed to major labels. Now that Mississippi is officially on the rap map, Banner has moved on to conquer larger territory. While heading out to Hollywood for auditions and acting classes, he’s been putting in overtime in the studio to create his newest masterpiece, Certified. “They never certified me [gold] for Mississippi,” he explains. “So I’ve got a point to prove.” The only thing more dangerous than an educated black man is an educated black man with a point to prove and a mic, so it’s safe to assume that Banner will be Certified by the end of 2005.
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
Words Jessica Koslow / Photo Julia Beverly
LUDACRIS 5 ESSENTIAL LUDACRIS TRACKS
Ludacris f/ Shawnna “What’s Your Fantasy” Incognegro 2000 This humorous fuckfest with labelmate Shawnna helped earn Luda his Def Jam deal. Ludacris f/ Pharrell “Southern Hospitality” Back For the First Time 2000 Luda turned “throw dem bows” into a catchphrase with this club favorite. Ludacris f/ Nate Dogg “Area Codes” Word of Mouf 2001 Along with hip-hop’s favorite hooker Nate Dogg, Ludacris’ catchy wordplay had everyone singing along with their ode to “hoes in different area codes.” Nas f/ Ludacris & Jadakiss “Made U Look (remix)” God’s Son 2002 Luda’s verse on Nas’ remix remains one of his best with classic punchlines like “You never stood half a chance like Siamese Twins,” and “It’s ‘Cris the menace / With mo’ shit out on the streets than evicted tenants.” Ludacris “Stand Up” Chicken & Beer 2003 Luda’s couplet is as hilarious as the video: “Watch out for my medallion, my dia-
hristopher Bridges was born on September 11th. What was once a historic day for hip-hip is now a disastrous date etched in the memory of mankind. Yet Ludacris has a history of turning tragedy into triumph. For example, think of his Bill O’Reilly/Pepsi endorsement deal debacle. In the end, who was acting a fool?
careers of Chingy and DTP members Shawnna and I-20.
Not only is Luda one of the hottest mouths of the South, but it could be argued that he’s one of the greatest MCs to ever touch the mic. It’s not because he breaks new lyrical ground, or touches topics deeper than your average MC. It’s that Ludacris says the same ol’ thing with his own clever twist.
Four albums in the can and I’m still in the game (What up?) And last album, they don’t like me to tell this Debuted at #1 and sold more records than Elvis (Shut up!) Still you lookin’ at a man that’s financially stable Only nigga gettin’ checks cut from four different labels I’m over ten million sold, every album is crack And for now I’m ‘bout to carry Def Jam on my back
Hear how Luda spins the ordinary: “Our bullets give you a deep tissue massage.” He’s also known for poking fun at everyone from Chi-Ali (“I’m young, wild, and strapped like Chi-Ali”) to white women (“I’m the new phenomenon like white women with ass”). Many can relate when he spoofs John Witherspoon’s “cooooordinate” or references pop culture (“I’ve been saved by mo’ bells than Lark Voorhies”). It’s not just his lyrics. It’s his hypnotic, rhythmic, in-your-face delivery that marks Luda as a master MC. Plus - and I’m speaking to the ladies now - his voice is straight sexy. Luda started as a radio DJ in Atlanta, known as Chris Luva Luva. His is the story of a rookie who studied the rap game extensively before entering the ring. This is not the tale of a gangsta who, two years ago, wen tout and bought every classic ever recorded, listened to them thoroughly, and became an overnight hip-hop pop sensation. Luda’s story began with hard work and dedication, and is powered by persistence. Since Scarface handpicked Luda as the first artist on Def Jam South in 2000, Luda has executive-produced his four solo multiplatinum albums. His Disturbing Tha Peace label, which was responsible for selling 61,000 copies of his first indie CD Incognegro, has launched the
These days, success is measured in units sold and Billboard spots held. Ludacris sells units and holds spots on the Billboard charts, and brags about it on the intro to his album Red Light District:
Luda is not only a pro at making hits for himself (“What’s Your Fantasy?”, “Southern Hospitality,” “Area Codes,” “Move Bitch,” “Stand Up,” “Get Back,” “Number One Spot”) but his 16s push other artists’ songs up the charts. Just ask Missy Elliott (“One Minute Man”), Jermaine Dupri (“Welcome to Atlanta”), and Usher (“Yeah!”), just to name a few. Luda has the Midas tongue. His joints light up the club, compliment car cruising, and most importantly, guarantee a smile on your face. In addition to Luda the hitmaker, record breaker, and hip-hopreneur, he’s also creeping on the silver screen. He starred in 2 Fast 2 Furious, had a cameo in Honey, and has two movies scheduled to be released in 2005. Luda knows how to diversify. He is one of the faces of Boost Mobile and once endorsed Pepsi. Along with his label co-owners and management team of brothers Chaka Zulu and Jeff Dixon, we can only expect more big money moves from Luda and DTP in the future. Luda’s two most recent videos only reinforced his rank as one of rap’s most creative artists. With “Number One Spot/Potion,” Chris gives Austin Powers a Ludacris makeover. He even
enlisted the movie’s mini-me actor Verne Troyer and legends Slick Rick and Quincy Jones, who produced “Soul Bossa Nova,” the sample in Powers’ theme song. Not too many rappers can claim a Quincy Jones cosign. Jones has often been heard proclaiming, “I’m a big fan of Ludacris.” The way Luda uses Austin Powers imagery throughout “Number One Spot,” from his most recent album Red Light District, is pure genius: Causin’ lyrical disasters, it’s the master Make music for mini-me’s, models and fat bastards Stay on the track, hit the ground runnin’ like Flo Jo Sent back in time and I’ve never lost my mojo While Lil Fip and T.I. battle for the King of the South title, Ludacris prefers the title “King of the Kings.” He’s not looking to dominate just below the Mason-Dixon. Christopher Bridges considers himself an international P.I.M.P., rhyming, “Please tell your bitch, stop playing with my zipper / Or I’ll brrrr, stick her, hahaha stick her!” He’s looking beyond his backyard. That’s what makes Ludacris one of the best. While broadcasting on the Atlanta airwaves, he saw the big picture way before anyone else. He was at the forefront of the Southern explosion, and will remain at the top of the rap heap even if the fire ever fades. Ludacris appeals to everyone on every coast. As he so eloquently puts it on Red Light District’s “Large Amounts”: So if I choose before I’m 30 I can lay in the sun My dividends can show and prove the real meaning of fun That’s why I live by the sword but you can die by my gun The IRS will never sweat me or even put up a fight Cause I’m sure I pay more in taxes than you made in your life OZONE APR 2005
Words Keith Kennedy
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
DJ MAGIC MIKE 5 ESSENTIAL MAGIC MIKE TRACKS
Magic Mike “Magic Mike Cuts the Records” Magic Mike and the Royal Posse 1990 This song helped put Magic Mike on the yellow brick road for many, many years to come. Magic Mike “Drop the Bass” Magic Mike and the Royal Posse 1990 “Drop the Bass” disrupted the monotonous tone of the club scene, and the dance floor hasn’t been still since. Magic Mike “Feel the Bass” Magic Mike and the Royal Posse 1990 “Feel the Bass” established a pattern of utilizing car shows and the streets to break a record. Magic Mike & DJ Scratch’s Coca Cola Commercial Watching a DJ pair up with a Fortune 500 company like Coca-Cola to film a commercial was extremely innovative. Magic Mike “Vicious Bass” 1999 This single went gold at a time when complete hip-hop albums couldn’t.
pioneer is someone who ventures into uncharted territory, leaving a mark for others to follow. So, if a DJ sold over 6 million units and became the first to earn one platinum and five gold certified plaques, would he qualify? How about if he was one of the first urban acts to be tapped by Madison Avenue to carry the marketing flag for Coca-Cola, Nike, Pioneer, and Microsoft’s X-Box? What if he had four albums on the Billboard charts at once, including two released on the same day? What if he had his own drive-time radio show at age 13 and a career spanning 25 years? For these reasons and many more, DJ Magic Mike is not only a pioneer but also a Southern legend. “My passion comes from loving music all my life,” says Magic Mike of his career spanning 25 years. Formerly known as Mixmaster Mike, his career began out of necessity. In 1981, Mike wanted to rearrange Prince’s “Controversy.” After much thought, he utilized the tools on the tape deck. He fondly reminisces, “I wanted a certain break in the song. I recorded it using the pause button to get the parts I needed.” His new innovation, the pause tape, would soon pay off in spades. Mixmaster Mike recorded other songs with his new technique, placing his favorites on mixtapes played on his boombox. His mother took notice of his skills and gave his tape to the program director at WOKB-AM in Orlando. The PD was impressed and hired Mixmaster Mike - at age 13 - for the drive-time Traffic Jam show. Mixmaster Mike soon became the house DJ for WOKB’s night at Skate World. Suddenly, his name was rippling through the streets of Orlando. Later, the owners of the club New York Times took note and employed the Mixmaster. Ironically, to enter the club you had to be at least 18, but for booth control youth wasn’t a concern. The owners weren’t aware that Mike was underage until he asked for a night off to attend his senior prom! Mike was young, but as the club owners noted, he was Magic on the wheels. The name stuck. Mixmaster Mike graduated to Magic Mike.
OZONE APR 2005
As his name grew larger and evolved, so did his power to mystify the crowd. He became a top draw in Orlando and moved on to the burgeoning club Electric Avenue. Meanwhile, the Florida bass scene was beginning to take shape, with many artists stopping through to witness Mike’s talents. MC Shy-D and Gigolo Tony attempted to recruit Mike for road tours. When Electric Avenue ran its course, Beatmaster Clay D approached Magic Mike with the idea of putting out an album. Eager for a new challenge, Mike agreed, and the duo recorded “Creep Dog” and eight other songs that eventually formed Clay D’s Boot the Booty album. But Mike was unhappy with his situation. He was being paid as a work-for-hire, not as a producer of the album. He left the label, Vision Records, when they tried to sign him to an unfavorable contract. Mike’s name was removed when Clay D released his follow-up albums Shake Them Titties and You Be You & I Be Me. Magic Mike considered it “paying my dues” and moved on. Magic Mike’s first solo record, “Magic Mike Cuts the Record,” generated a huge buzz. However, there was nowhere to purchase the record. Jimmy Jamz introduced Magic Mike to Tom Reich, which resulted in a 50/50 label deal to form Cheetah Records. In 1989, “Magic Mike Cuts the Record” led the DJ Magic Mike & the Royal Posse album. “Drop the Bass” and “Feel the Bass” soon followed, culminating in a three-prong attack. Their goal was to hit 20,000 copies to appear on the prestigious Billboard chart. Magic Mike and Tom Reich were flabbergasted to find that DJ Magic Mike & the Royal Posse had topped over 1.3 million units! The RIAA couldn’t believe an independent label could sell so much product. They called chain stores and checked sales receipts to find that not only were the numbers accurate, but in many stores, DJ Magic Mike was outselling MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice in their prime! Magic Mike’s follow-up album, Bass is the Name of the Game, went gold in eight short months, marking the first time an instrumental album had reached that plateau. Ain’t No Doubt About
It reached gold status in three months. Even the single “It’s Automatic,” with Vicious Bass, was decorated in gold. Where did this demand come from? “We were different,” Magic Mike explains. “We didn’t sound like anyone. You didn’t hear DJs cut and mixing on records. Plus, car shows couldn’t get music from anywhere else with the deep bottom until folks began to copy.” Then on March 3rd, 1993, nine years before Nelly, DJ Magic Mike made history as the first rap act to release two albums on the same day. Bass: The Final Frontier (gold) and This is How it Should be Done (400,000 units) were released with much fanfare. Suddenly, he had four albums on the Billboard charts at one time, and Vibe Magazine labeled him “The Best Platinum Artist You Never Heard Of.” He was soon laced with the latest Nike gear, Sure microphones, Pioneer DJ equipment, and Coca-Cola products. In 1995, DJ Magic Mike released Bass Bowl to a surprisingly lackluster response. He walked away from his creation at Cheetah Records and took time to re-energize and watch his newborn son grow. In 1997, Interscope Records licensed some of his music and re-released it for the Booties in Motion project. Interscope wasn’t interested in renegotiating for volume two, so Magic Mike took the project to K-Tel Records. The label soon folded. In 2000, Restless Records scooped Mike for the Magic Kingdom album and suffered the same fate. Magic Mike was forced to take a step back. He scanned the scene, his achievements, and setbacks to realize that he’d gotten away from his first love: DJing. Today, Magic Mike is continuing to follow his heart. “I just love the energy I receive from the crowd when I perform. A DJ has a lot of power playing records. You can either use it positively or negatively.” Today, he delights fans at venues around the world, all the way from Japan back home to Orlando where he has 2,000 weekly partygoers at Club Antigua on smash and listeners grooving to his radio show on WPYO.
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
Words & Photo Julia Beverly
TRICK DADDY 5 ESSENTIAL TRICK DADDY TRACKS
Trick Daddy f/ Trina “Nann Nigga” www.thug.com 1998 Trick and Trina compete to show who’s nastier on their first hit single. Trick Daddy “I’m a Thug” Thugs Are Us 2001 The timeless classic combines Trick’s vocals with a kids’ singalong chorus: “I don’t know what this world’s gonna bring, but I know one thing: this is the life for me.” Trick Daddy f/ Latocha Scott “Thug Holiday” Thug Holiday 2002 One of Trick’s biggest hits to date, this introspective track showed he had more on his mind than just fuckin’ and thuggin’. Latocha Scott’s hook was perfect, too. Trick Daddy f/ Cee-Lo & Big Boi “Dro in Da Wind” Thug Holiday 2002 With the combination of Trick, Cee-Lo, Big Boi, and an incredible track, how could you lose? This song produced the unforgettable phrase “Trick loves the kids!” Trick Daddy f/ Khia & Tampa Tony “J.O.D.D.” Thug Matrimony 2004 Trick Daddy went back to his bass roots with this Florida banger, joined by the strong vocals of the thug missus herself Khia and the foul mouth of Tampa Tony.
erriam-Webster’s dictionary defines a “thug” as “a brutal ruffian or assassin,” synonymous with a “gangster” or “killer.” Although Trick Daddy has been known to brag, “Where I’m from, we tote big guns,” throughout his career he’s also attempted to redefine the common perception of a “thug.” Born into poverty, he ran the streets in Miami’s rough Liberty City and spent several teenage years in prison, so he speaks from experience. Although he proudly represents the “thugs,” there’s often a deeper message in his lyrics.
when he came back with the song ‘Nann Nigga,’ because everybody knew who he was already from his first album.”
In addition to being one of the few artists to emerge from the Miami bass scene and achieve national recognition, Trick Daddy also holds the record for most consistent album titles. After scanning his catalog of six albums - Based on a True Story, www.thug.com, Book of Thugs: Chapter AK Verse 47, Thugs Are Us, Thug Holiday, and Thug Matrimony - there should be no doubt in your mind which segment of the population he represents. One of the few “thugs” who has been embraced by the mainstream, Trick Daddy is known for entertaining crowds all the way from grimy hood clubs to Howard Stern’s TV show.
With the success of Trick’s debut, Slip-N-Slide’s roster continued to grow. They’d already signed C.O. and Money Mark (Treplus) who later appeared on Trick’s smash single “Take It To The House.” Slip-N-Slide recruited Trina, the former girlfriend of Trick’s deceased brother Hollywood, to appear alongside him on “Nann Nigga.” In 1998 the song appeared on Trick Daddy’s second album, www.thug.com (yes, that really is his website). Sex always sells, so Trick and Trina’s explicit sparring (Trick’s “Eat the pussy with your legs up, then blow it all in your butt,” vs. Trina’s “Quick to deep-throat the dick and let another bitch straight lick the clit”) brought them both widespread recognition.
“Thug Holiday,” produced by a then-unknown producer named David Banner, showed a different side of Trick. Dedicated to his deceased brother and “everybody in the county jail, state pen,” he spoke for those who had no voice. Trick Daddy knows how get the club jumpin’, but he also knows how to make you think. On this title track, he pleaded for a “thug holiday” and asked thought-provoking questions (“In all my history books, only ones who died was the Americans / But who’s responsible for Vietnam? / And hold on, there’s more, we had two World Wars / How come the judges make more than the teachers is making / When they the ones raising all the taxes and got us fighting for education? / Life is crazy, ain’t it?”).
“Nann Nigga” was an enormous hit, reaching far beyond Miami into the rest of the Southeastern region and even the Midwest. The success they’d achieved independently caught the attention of several major labels, and Slip-N-Slide ultimately signed a deal with Atlantic Records. Trick Daddy’s first major label release, Book of Thugs: Chapter AK Verse 47, dropped in 2000. Propelled by the club hit “Shut Up,” the album did moderately well and lived up to their expectations.
Two years later, a more mature, married Trick Daddy returned with his sixth full-length album, Thug Matrimony: Married to the Streets. This time, Trick Daddy appears wearing a white suit, beard trimmed neatly. His kindler, gentler image is reflected in the music, with songs like “4 Eva” and “Children’s Song.” Still, when it comes to rockin’ the clubs and representin’ the thugs, he hasn’t lost his touch. The crunk “Let’s Go,” booty-shakin’ “J.O.D.D.,” and radio-friendly “Sugar” all received heavy airplay.
But it was Trick’s next back-to-back releases, Thugs Are Us and Thug Holiday, that firmly established him nationwide. Thugs Are Us contained the massive hit “I’m A Thug,” which became an anthem for thugs everywhere and anyone secure with their position in life. At a time when Southern music was just starting to break into the hip-hop scene heavily, Trick proudly proclaimed, “Can’t Fuck With the South.”
Trick Daddy has consistently churned out hits to make you dance and think. Most black men in America are treated like “thugs” even if they don’t act like one, and the rest of the country has always been secretly fascinated with the “thug” lifestyle. The fact that Trick Daddy has embraced the word so consistently throughout his career explains how he’s been able to reach such a wide audience.
Maurice “Trick Daddy Dollars” Young first broke onto the Miami bass scene as one of the artists featured on “Scarred,” the hit single from 2 Live Crew frontman Uncle Luke’s solo debut. Soon after, Miami entrepreneur Ted “Touche” Lucas signed him to Slip-N-Slide Records. At the time Florida was known for bass music, with a history of successful booty-shaking artists like JT Money & the Poison Clan. Capitalizing off the buzz “Scarred” had created, Slip-N-Slide released Trick Daddy’s Based on a True Story in 1997. The album, the cover of which featured a shirtless Trick Daddy standing in front of a gigantic food stamp, gained a cult following in Miami’s underground pirate radio scene. “Nobody really picked up on Based on a True Story, but pirate radio killed it,” remembers Miami DJ Teddy T. “We used to play his entire CD [on pirate radio]. That’s what brought him to the forefront
Although Based on A True Story didn’t reach beyond Miami, it established Trick’s potential and laid the foundation for what was about to come. It also showed that he was versatile, not just limited to booty music. “Trick Daddy is one of those few artists who can flip it,” says Uncle Luke. “He’s showed that he can be successful with both bass music and gangsta music.”
While the world was becoming familiar with his name through music, the cover of Thug Holiday defined Trick visually. The unforgettable image showed Trick’s ever-present scowl and blinging row of gold teeth up close and personal. The album was full of big-name features, as Trick proved his lyrical abilities alongside great artists like Scarface and Big Boi. Thug Holiday contained massive hits like the title track and “Dro in Da Wind” as well as underground favorites like “Gangsta” and “Ain’t No Santa.”
OZONE APR 2005
Words Coby Kindles / Photo Tim Alexander
MASTER P 5 ESSENTIAL MASTER P TRACKS TRU “I’m Bout It, Bout It” True 1995 This song introduced a Southern street catchphrase later used across the nation by folk who really and truly don’t give a fuck. A classic for sure! Master P f/ UGK “Break ‘Em Off Somethin’” Ice Cream Man 1996 Virtually every No Limit/UGK collabo became a Southern classic, and this one contains one of Master P’s greatest verses: “Hustler, balla, gangsta, cap-peela, who I be? Yo’ neighborhood drug dealer!” C’mon, everyone knows that shit! Master P “Burbans & Lacs” Ghetto D 1997 A great ride-out song for Chevys all throughout the South. P’s shining moment: a solo record with a Beats by the Pound track so retarded he could do no wrong. Master P f/ No Limit Soldiers “Make Em Say Uhhh” Ghetto D 1997 Master P’s biggest hit to date made almost the entire No Limit roster into superstars. TRU “No Limit Soldiers” TRU 2 Da Game 1997 In living color gangsterisms over a wicked piano-driven beat with rattling 808s.
ercy Miller, a.k.a. Master P, found success with his underground label No Limit at a time when the music industry had begun to close its doors to gangsta rap. Masterminding many of the greatest commercial sensations of Southern music, he established an empire in the late 90’s and became one of the wealthiest Americans in the world. In 1990, using $10,000 he inherited from the death of his grandfather, he opened an independent record store in Richmond, California. He called it No Limit because there was no limit to his plans. Once he familiarized himself with the music industry as a retailer, P took his entrepreneurial savvy to the next level by becoming an entertainer and record label CEO. He began to build his fortune in 1991 with the creation of No Limit Records. He adopted an army tank as his logo and released his first album Get Away Clean and a second in 1992 entitled Mama’s Bad Boy. Both flopped, but P didn’t give up hope. Two years later, he released an underground CD called The Ghetto’s Tryin’ to Kill Me, which sold over 100,000 units independently. His next release, 99 Ways to Die, sold twice as many without major distribution. When major labels heard that P had sold over a quarter million records by himself, they approached him with record deals. He contracted with Priority Records to press and distribute his product, but remained sole proprietor and CEO of his label. “In order for me to stay true to myself and my company, I had to maintain complete creative control,” asserts P. When the deal was solidified with Priority in 1995, No Limit released TRU, adding P’s brothers Silkk the Shocker and C-Murder to the mix. Their album True sold over 400,000 units with the hit “Bout It, Bout It.” The No Limit tank was finally rolling. P’s next venture made music history as he executive produced the first rap compilations Down South Hustlers and West Coast Bad Boyz, holding down the Billboard charts for several months. Cheaply produced and recorded, with no backing from mainstream radio or television, P had built No Limit from an 24
OZONE APR 2005
underground sensation to a mini-dynasty. As No Limit Records gained more notoriety, P unleashed the 1996 solo Ice Cream Man, which sold over 800,000 copies and debuted at number three on the charts. Soon after came Kane & Abel’s The 7 Sins and Silkk the Shocker’s self-titled album which debuted at number six. In 1997, P released a compilation album in memory of Tupac Shakur which debuted at number two on the R&B chart and number eight on the Top 200 chart. No Limit was now a powerhouse. In the following weeks, P scored big with the release of TRU’s new album TRU 2 Da Game, which debuted at number two on the R&B chart, number one on the Rap chart, and number eight on the Top 200. Within one week of its release, TRU 2 Da Game was certified gold. A month later, it was double platinum. In June of 1997, P crossed over into the movie industry and produced his first feature film, I’m Bout It. The straight-to-video project was financed, written, and directed by Master P and debuted at number one. P starred in the film, which was based loosely on his life growing up in New Orleans’ Calliope Projects. The soundtrack to I’m Bout It went platinum, and made history by being the first straight-to-video soundtrack on the Billboard charts. The latter part of 1997 brought P’s muchanticipated solo album, Ghetto Dope, which featured Foxy Brown, TRU, Mystikal, Too Short, E-40, and Mia X. All the tracks on Ghetto Dope were produced by No Limit’s in-house producers Beats By The Pound. Master P brought home yet another platinum plaque. He used his albums to promote his entire roster, which consisted of Silkk the Shocker, C-Murder, Mia X, Mystikal, and Young Bleed. By the end of the decade, No Limit had firmly established itself as one of hip-hop’s Fortune 500. No Limit was regularly cranking out at least ten albums a year. Never content to rest on his accomplishments, P wrote and directed another movie, I Got the Hook-Up, which hit theaters in 1998 at the same time as his chart-topping album, MP Da Last Don. No Limit signed Snoop Dogg when his
contract expired with Death Row and released Snoop’s Da Game Is To Be Sold, Not To Be Told later that year. In 1999, P added yet another entity to his growing empire. He established No Limit Sports Management, acquired a license, and became a sports agent. He began to reminisce on his own short-live collegiate years as an NCAA guard for the University of Houston. He’d dropped out of school and forfeited an athletic scholarship to start his business, so basketball was yet another dream deferred. He tried out for a professional basketball team and earned memberships with the Continental, National and American Basketball Associations. The seemingly unstoppable Master P also became a professional wrestler, formed a clothing line, and started a non-profit organization. P continues to make hits, but has slowed down on the No Limit from these days as he becomes more involved in his son’s career. At just 15, Lil Romeo has recorded five albums, stars in his own TV show which airs on the Nickelodeon cable network, and is filming his fourth movie with P. He follows in his father’s footsteps, endorsing P. Miller and No Limit gear. P’s latest double album, Good Side/Bad Side, marks his tenth solo appearance and includes tracks from his brothers C and Silkk as well as Lil Romeo. Forever a trendsetter, P packaged this one-of-a-kind limited edition version with a full-length film on DVD. In the past fifteen years, Master P’s No Limit Records has released more than 50 albums (12 multi-platinum, 10 platinum, and 12 gold), collectively selling over 50 million albums worldwide. With various business and philanthropic ventures, Master P has proven that there is no end to his resilience, and absolutely No Limit to his extraordinary vision. He shocked the entire music industry by ignoring the standard formulas and doing it the No Limit way. His empire has had a major impact on the Southern music industry, and will continue to have an impact for years to come.
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
Words Bayer Mack / Photo Jonathan Mannion
5 ESSENTIAL JUVENILE TRACKS Juvenile “Ha” 400 Degreez 1998 Even so-called hip-hop “purists” couldn’t front on this Cash Money masterpiece. Juvenile “Back That Azz Up” 400 Degreez 1998 This club staple helped Juve sell more than five million copies of 400 Degreez. Juvenile “U Understand” G Code 1999 Mannie Fresh is the producer, but the beat is just blaze. Juve completely murders this track and all playa hatas within earshot. Juvenile “Set it Off” Project English 2001 Juvenile once said that he signed with Cash Money to rap over this beat. The retooled underground classic sounded ficka, ficka, Fresh. Juvenile “In My Life” Juve the Great 2003 On this reunion track, Juvenile and Mannie Fresh prove why they’re the hip-hop equivalent of Montana to Rice: touchdown. Since almost every great rap marriage has ended in some sort of acrimony, it’s good to see brothers swallow their pride.
“You ridin’ in a Benz on 20” rims, ha?”
caught very little of what Juvenile said the first time I saw the video for “Ha,” but one thing was for certain – it was on fire. His unique Cajun-flavored flow was simplistic, yet intoxicating. Even clubgoers as far away as the notoriously fickle crowd of New York City’s infamous hip-hop club, The Tunnel, couldn’t resist. Juve’s tantalizing mix of raw urban reality and rhythmic delivery captivated listeners. Born Terius Gray, the rapper learned the importance of engaging an audience in the early ‘90s alongside legendary turntablist DJ Jimi. While elementary by today’s standards, Juvenile’s performance on tracks like “Bounce for the Juvenile” showcased his ability to connect with a crowd through the use of everyday “slanguage” and shared experience. Cash Money Records recognized this star potential and signed Juve, releasing his solo debut, Soulja Rags, in 1996. The album only hinted at what was to come two years later. There are two schools of hustling in the street: cohabitation and expansion. With cohabitation, as long as you eating good, you ain’t worried about someone else. With expansion, however, you take the hottest block from someone else by force and start slangin’ your own product uncontested. A hungry Cash Money Records subscribed to the latter school of thought. However, it would take some serious muscle for sibling co-owners Brian “Baby” and Ronald “Slim” Williams to strongarm the block from Master P’s seemingly invincible No Limit Empire. The first single, “Ha,” from Juvenile’s sophomore release 400 Degreez, served as the opening salvo in this Bayou Cold War between the two camps. Juvenile was the cannon and Mannie Fresh was the battering ram. Already a veteran in New Orleans rap circles, Fresh had slit his wrist and poured blood into the beat. Matched with Juvenile’s observations on the subtleties of modern ghetto life, “Ha,” was an all-out assault on the rap industry as a whole.
Having validated his street credentials on the blistering “Ha,” Juve proved he could get females, young and old, to shake their booty on the dance floor with “Back That Thang Up.” The infectious club single skyrocketed to the top of the charts and helped 400 Degreez sell nearly five million records domestically. The album’s success helped set the stage for the “bling bling” era and thrust Juvenile into the ranks of hip-hop’s elite. By the release of Juvenile’s highly anticipated follow-up, G Code in 1999, the Cash Money Millonaires were superstars in the game. Juve’s lead role in the platinum straight-to-video release Baller Blockin’ had significantly increased his celebrity stock and the first single, “U Understand,” cemented his reputation as a hit maker. While somewhat formulaic in concept, G Code still thrived commercially; selling nearly 300,000 copies in its first week. However, besides the first single, the album lacked originality, and only managed to do about a fourth of the total sales generated by its predecessor. “Take me to jail, take my muthafuckin’ ass to jail!” Behind the scenes, the trappings of fame and fortune were beginning to sow seeds of discord between Juvenile and Cash Money Records ownership. The growing tension came to a head in 2001 when Juve publicly severed ties with the label. Citing financial disputes and creative differences, the rapper announced the formation of his UTP Records label with the backing of Universal. Although it featured the banger “Set It Off,” Juvenile’s third and “final” album for Cash Money, the gold-certified Project English, suffered from the CMR formula of matching one blistering Mannie Fresh track with fifteen other joints only fit for a demo. Juvenile found himself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the new millennium. In July of 2000, the rapper was found guilty of several misdemeanors after chasing five strippers down the street with an ice pick (they reportedly let a tub overflow upstairs during his housewarming party). He was later arrested in March of 2001
for allegedly striking a man in the head with a bottle of Moet at the Improv Comedy Club in Miami. To make matters worse, UTP’s deal with Universal Records never really materialized, so a mature Juvenile found himself going back to his old Cash Money home in 2003. “Y’all can’t do nuthin’ but love Fresh, ha?” The reunion album, Juve the Great, was pure Louisiana voodoo featuring everything fans had originally loved about the crew. A reinvigorated Mannie Fresh delivered the usual in the disc’s explosive first single, “In My Life,” which also featured the maestro on vocals, while the Birdman himself joined Juve on the refreshingly positive breakup-to-makeup anthem “Bounce Back.” No one, however, could have imagined the public response to “Slow Motion,” featuring fallen No Limit artist Soulja Slim. The collabo shot to number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and became one of the biggest singles of 2004. The future got even brighter for Juvenile in 2004 after he entered into an exclusive longterm worldwide contract with Atlantic Records that included distribution for his UTP (Uptown Projects) imprint. His first artists, partners Wacko and Skip, scored a hit single with “Nolia Clap” on Rap-A-Lot Records, Juvenile’s first without Cash Money, and the public is once again eagerly anticipating something from that yella Nolia Boy in 2005. In December of last year, I had the pleasure of interviewing southern rap legend Willie D of the Geto Boys. Always the most outspoken member of the pioneering trio, I asked Willie when was the last time he heard something on a record that shocked or caused him to raise an eyebrow. “Juvenile say some crazy shit,” was his response. “But he say shit that I would say. Like on his new album with UTP he say, ‘Order a drink and sit yo black ass down.’ That’s some real shit. I love how he put regular conversation in the rap.” Apparently, everyone else does too. OZONE APR 2005
Words Julia Beverly / Photo Michael Blackwell
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
LIL JON & THE EASTSIDE BOYZ 5 ESSENTIAL LIL JON & THE EASTSIDE BOYZ TRACKS Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz “Bia Bia” Put Yo Hood Up 2001 A true testament to their hook-writing skills, this one is guaranteed to get you crunk. LIl Jon & the Eastside Boyz f/ Mystikal & Krayzie Bone “I Don’t Give a Fuck” Kings of Crunk 2002 The hypnotic beat and live-ass video contributed to the success of this early hit. Lil Jon & the ESB f/ E-40, Petey Pablo, Bun B, & 8Ball “Rep Yo City” Kings of Crunk 2002 Lil Jon & the ESB enlisted four talented rappers to rep their respective ‘hoods. Lil Jon & the ESB f/ Ying Yang Twins “Get Low” Kings of Crunk 2002 Their adaptation of an old-school fraternity chant became a massive hit and even spawned a hit reggae remix, propelling Kings of Crunk to platinum status.
(l to r) Big Sam, Lil Jon, and Lil Bo
former DJ and So So Def A&R, in 2004 Lil Jon truly earned the title Producer of the Year. But he’s also transcended the boundaries of Southern music into one of the most recognizable figures in American pop culture. His trademark “look” - the dreads, sunglasses, and grill - has turned simple catchphrases like “What!” and “Yeah!” into part of every frat boy’s vocabulary. Along with the Eastside Boyz Big Sam and Lil Bo, Jon defined the “crunk” movement, which has become a cultural phenomenon. Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz’ albums have not only hovered on the charts consistently for the past several years, but they’ve done it independently. They’ve become the flagship artist for the urban division of New York-based independent label TVT Records, putting them in a class all by themselves. Although they may not have the benefits of a major label, they also don’t have to deal with the drawbacks of a major label. Instead of spitting out albums with one hit song and a bunch of filler, Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz consistently produce albums with four, five, even six singles. In addition to his own blossoming career, Lil Jon has also played a key role in pushing his labelmates’ careers to the next level - for example, the Ying Yang Twins and Pitbull. His own artists are rising stars - Lil Scrappy, Trillville, Bohagon, Oobie, and Chyna White. He’s produced hit singles for countless artists, including Usher, Petey Pablo, and Ciara. And aside from the music, Lil Jon has ventured into other entrepreneurial ventures, including a porn DVD, CRUNK!! Energy Drink, and Oakley sunglasses. Born into a privileged Atlanta family, Jon was always talented, but a self-described “lazy-ass muthafucker.” It took a verbal kick in the ass from friend and eventual business partner Rob Mac to take his potential seriously. Jon started DJing in the Atlanta scene in the early 90’s. His ear for music caught the attention of So So Def CEO and artist Jermaine Dupri, who hired Jon as an A&R for the label. During the next seven years at So So Def, Jon oversaw the production of the So So Def Bass All-Stars compilation al26
OZONE APR 2005
Lil Jon & the ESB f/ Usher & Ludacris “Lovers & Friends” Crunk Juice 2004 The bass from this remake of Michael Sterling’s slow jam could be heard blasting from speakers everywhere in late 2004. Usher & Luda killed it, too.
bums, which went gold and spawned hit singles like INOJ’s “Love You Down.” They also featured then-unknown artists like the Ying Yang Twins, DJ Smurf, and the Eastside Boyz. Jon was also a DJ on several Atlanta radio stations. As an experienced DJ and A&R, Jon knew what the people wanted to hear. “Every DJ wants to make a record, so it was just a natural progression for me,” he says of his next career move. He produced a beat and played it over the phone for Eastside Boy Big Sam in 1999. Ten minutes later, “Who You Wit’” was born. The buzz created by “Who You Wit’” was followed by similar records like “Bia Bia,” which are still getting the clubs crunk six years later. Next, Jon linked up with Rob Mac and longtime friends Vince Phillips and Dwayne “Emperor” Searcy to form BME (Black Market Entertainment). While many businesses with multiple co-owners suffer from internal conflict, this foursome works because each individual serves a specific purpose and the have a common goal. An experienced entertainment attorney, Vince handles the business aspects. Searcy, a popular radio and club DJ in Atlanta, was influential in securing airplay for Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz’ records. By the year 2000, Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz’ debut album Put Yo Hood Up was complete. TVT A&R Bryan Leach was visiting Atlanta to meet with the Dungeon Family and noticed two Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz’ records getting heavy spins on Atlanta airwaves: “Just a Bitch” and “I LIke Dem Girlz,” featuring Jazze Pha. When he saw them performing live, he was floored. “It was a capacity crowd,” Bryan recalls. “I saw guys with their shirts off, sweating, basically slam-dancing. It was the energy of the Onyx show with the intensity of a rock show and the hardness and darkness of a Public Enemy or NWA. I figured we could sell a shitload of records.” Although Jon was being courted by other labels, TVT’s independent structure appealed to him creatively and financially. BME signed a production deal with TVT and by mid2002, Put Yo Hood Up was certified gold.
Even though Put Yo Hood Up was successful, Jon believed that they should be reaching a wider audience. They dropped Kings of Crunk in 2002, enlisting Fat Joe and Trick Daddy for the lead single “Play No Games.” Fat Joe and Trick Daddy’s presence on the record helped open the floodgates. The certified platinum Kings of Crunk established Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz as the leader of this new movement in Southern music, with a whopping seven songs receiving club and radio play. And they saved the best for last. By the end of 2003, “Get Low” had the entire world singing “From the window, to the wall,” even if (as Dave Chapelle gleefully noted) white people hadn’t yet figured out what “skeet” meant. But along with their success came the criticism. “Lil Jon is ruining hip-hop,” whined some hiphop purists. “We don’t consider ourselves rappers,” countered Jon. “We’re crunk artists. Our goal is to make records that’ll make the club get out of control so people can have a good time. That’s why we work with a lot of rappers.” Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz’ albums have featured too many artists to mention. But don’t they sound so much better over a Lil Jon beat? After working Kings of Crunk for a solid two years, Jon & the Eastside Boyz spent an entire summer living in an oceanfront Miami mansion, partying their asses off and recording their third album. Thanks in part to the mainstream exposure Jon gained from Dave Chapelle’s parodies of him, the highly-anticipated Crunk Juice was certified double-platinum just months after its release - unheard of for an independent album. Propelled by singles like “What U Gon’ Do” and “Lovers & Friends,” there’s plenty more where that came from. Today, Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz are officially stars, but they still employ the same humble attitude that helped them rise to the top: it’s all about making good music. As both a producer and an artist, Lil Jon has proven himself a talented musician both within and beyond the boundaries of “crunk” music.
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
Words Wally Sparks / Photo Julia Beverly
THREE 6 MAFIA 5 ESSENTIAL THREE 6 MAFIA TRACKS Three 6 Mafia “Tear the Club Up” Mystic Stylez 1995 This song is considered by many to be the birth of crunk music. Every DJ below the Mason-Dixon line has a story to tell involving this record. Tear Up Da Club Thugs “Slob on My Knob” CrazyNDaLazDayz 1999 One of the greatest call-and-response records in the history of Southern rap music. Barely even two minutes long, this song has become a surefire party starter. Three 6 Mafia “Who Run It” When the Smoke Clears 2000 Three 6 Mafia at its very best: all six members rapping together over a classic menacing beat from super producers DJ Paul and Juicy J. Three 6 Mafia f/ UGK “Sippin’ on Some Syrup” When the Smoke Clears 2000 This song introduced the rest of the nation to the well-known intoxicating practice in the South: sipping on a liquid concoction of prescription codeine and liquor. Three 6 Mafia “You Scared Pt. 2” Da Unbreakables 2003 This Southern club classic is an instantly recognizable beat.
J Paul, Juicy J, Crunchy Black, Lord Infamous, Gangsta Boo, and Koopsta Knicca are the six individuals who make up the group synonymous with the soundscape of Memphis, Tennessee: Three 6 Mafia. Although two of these artists have since moved on to navigate their own solo careers outside of the Three 6 fold, the undeniable impact of this group on the Southern music scene can’t be duplicated. What started as two young mixtape DJs battling each other became a movement. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, DJ Paul and Juicy J were both staples in Memphis’ mixtape circuit. While battling each other for local supremacy, they gained respect for each other’s work and decided that it would be best for them to come together. They both had a strong following, so working together would ensure they’d be at the top of the local budding rap scene. DJ Paul and Juicy J both had their own rappers that appeared frequently on their mixtapes, so they decided to form a super group with those rappers. Thus, the legend of Three 6 Mafia began. In the midst of the Salt-N-Pepa, Queen Latifah, and Monie Love era, Three 6 Mafia can be credited as one of the first groups in the South to put out a hardcore female rapper. Touted as possibly one of the best female rhyme spitters to ever come out of the South, Gangsta Boo was the perfect ingredient to add to the Three 6 Mafia mix. Gangsta Boo earned respect from all the males in the Southern rap game and had a great influence on other female rappers. Fast-forwarding a few years into the mid-90’s, we started to see the growth of Three 6 Mafia. They’d always had a devoted fan base. They began to release self-promoted independent albums full of club classics that were riot-enticing if played in the club at the wrong time. Although Three 6 Mafia had already had several well-known local jams, nothing could prepare them or their fans for what was about to come. Spearhead-
(l to r) Juicy J, Crunchy Black, DJ Paul, and Lord Infamous
ing the “gangsta walking” and “buck jumping” craze that was birthed in Memphis, Three 6 Mafia released a song that is now considered the first crunk record: “Tear Da Club Up.” “Tear Da Club Up” was like a virus. It spread throughout the Southeast at a fast and furious pace. What made this song unique was the hypnotizing effect it seemed to have on club patrons whenever it was played. Once the DJ dropped the needle on the record, they’d do as the song instructed them to do: “Tear Da Club Up,” literally! Club owners, fearing the potential destruction of their venue, began to fine DJs for playing the record. Some clubs even banned the record.
Young Buck, the YoungBloodz, and many more. Three 6 Mafia is ready to spread their sound all over the world. Another hat Three 6 Mafia seems to wear with style is that of an independent filmmaker. Their first independent film, Choices, set a record for the best-selling independent film. The film also served as the launching pad for one of Three 6 Mafia’s most celebrated artists, Project Pat.
For many years, Three 6 Mafia’s music was limited to the Southeast. By industry standards that’s not a good thing, but for DJ Paul and Juicy J, it wasn’t a big deal. They were making money hand-over-fist selling their product independently, directly to their consumers. Three 6 Mafia always understood simple economics from day one: you create a demand, then supply the product.
As a part of Three 6’s Hypnotized Mindz camp, Project Pat also has a Three 6 Mafia-produced platinum album to his credit. Since then, Three 6 Mafia has also been able to guide the careers of artists such as Lil Wyte, Frayser Boy, and La Chat to phenomenal success in the independent market. For example, Lil Wyte’s first solo album Doubt Me Now has sold over 150,000 to date, with little video or radio airplay. Three 6 Mafia also plans to work with several up and coming artists. The newest member of the Hypnotized Mindz camp is Florida-based artist Grandaddy Souf, who enjoyed regional success with his single “Savage Journey (Fuck da Law).” His style is a perfect match for Three 6’s beats.
Rumored to be just as menacing in the boardroom as they are behind the mic, DJ Paul and Juicy J have proven that their brash declarations of “We run this independent shit” are not words to be taken lightly. Boasting over ten independently released albums with numbers totaling over 500,000 strong, that statement holds some major weight.
With a track record spanning over a decade in the music industry, Three 6 Mafia has earned their respect from artists and executives alike. They’ve left their stamp on the industry without ever compromising themselves or their music. They’ve been able to achieve the artistic freedom and the financial success that many artists can only dream of.
Major labels began to see the potential in Three 6 Mafia. They first signed with Relativity Records, then moved to Loud Records, and eventually landed at their current home of Columbia/Sony. Three 6 Mafia has earned the right to boast that they’re the first group from Memphis with a platinum album.
Crunk music, a form of Southern music which they helped lay the foundation for, has enjoyed tremendous success in recent years. Every time your favorite artist encourages you to wild out in the club, you are paying silent homage to the trailblazers, Three 6 Mafia.
DJ Paul and Juicy J aren’t limited to just CEOs and artists, either. After years of creating and maintaining the Three 6 Mafia sound, these super producers have become sought-after beatmakers in the industry. Their client list is filled with names like Ludacris, T.I., Killer Mike,
There’s many reasons why Three 6 Mafia is considered one of the greatest groups in Southern history. Their longevity, their uncompromising disposition, their shrewd business acumen, and most importantly, their music have all combined into one big pot of their mind-hypnotizing sound. OZONE APR 2005
Words Bayer Mack
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
8BALL & MJG 5 ESSENTIAL 8BALL & MJG TRACKS
8Ball & MJG “Mr. Big” Comin’ Out Hard 1993 A gangsta-walk anthem and the group’s first big hit, “Mr. Big” slashed through clubs down South like a hot knife through butter. 8Ball & MJG “Lay It Down” On The Outside Looking In 1994 Although this album was tame compared to Comin Out Hard, “Lay It Down” was fightin’ music at its best. 8Ball & MJG “Space Age Pimpin’” On Top of The World 1995 8Ball & MJG’s answer to Outkast’s “Funky Ride.” Champagne, weed, and stout sistas in negligee - oh boy! 8Ball & MJG “Just Like Candy” Suave House: The Album of The Year 1996 This ode to candy-painted Chevys is a true Southern classic. Tela f/ 8Ball & MJG “Sho Nuff” Piece of Mind 1996 This is actually Tela’s single, but labemates Ball & G blaze the Jazze Pha track so hard, you’d think it was theirs.
ashville, Tennessee circa 1993: I’m in the office of Sonny Paradise, founder of Street Flavor Records (Haystack, Pistol). He’s listening to my three-song maxi single “Leave Em Alone” when suddenly he stops the tape. “I like this,” he says. “But you know how you say ‘Main?’ That’s kinda country. You might want to [work on] that.” And that was that. I didn’t get a record deal with Street Flavor, so I started my own label and got distribution from Select-O-Hits in Memphis. They had experience with “country rappers” like me. In fact, Johnny Phillips and his crew were starting to make a mint off a local group with accents as thick as molasses, beats made for the hole-in-the-wall club scene, and a keen sense of marketing. Their name was 8Ball & MJG. 8Ball & MJG had undoubtedly encountered the same type of resistance from uninitiated northerners like Paradise many times before. That’s why they named their first offering on Suave House Comin’ Out Hard. You see, coming from Tennessee with no major label, no heritage of Hip-Hop and the country music stigma firmly attached, it was mandatory that the duo make a seismic impact. They couldn’t just knock on the door. They would have to kick that motherfucker down. In many ways, 8Ball & MJG are to fellow southern rap pioneers Outkast what Richard Pryor was to Bill Cosby. While the Cos’ enjoyed the mainstream success and acceptance of Johnny Carson and Ed Sullivan, Pryor staked his claim in the “blue” comedy clubs of the Northeast and in seedy Midwest nightspots. While both comic legends inspired generations to come, more black comedians would eventually eat off of the template Pryor created than the image Cosby fostered. Similarly, Outkast’s 1994 debut Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik showed that a southern rapper could be just as lyrical and creative as someone from the East or West coast. 8Ball & MJG’s Comin Out Hard, released ten months earlier, 28
OZONE APR 2005
proved that we didn’t have to change how we dressed, talked or acted to move units. Armed with the extraordinary marketing talents of Suave House founder Tony Draper, Comin Out Hard set a number of precedents. It introduced Pen ‘n Pixel graphics to the hip-hop world with the colorful cover art of the two MCs whizzing through downtown in a Lexus coupe. While an upstart label boss named Percy Miller was trying to downplay his southern roots by embedding himself and his fledgling No Limit Records in the Northern California music scene, Suave House was embracing the South with all the fervor of a mothball-smelling auntie at a family reunion. There were no Bloods, no Crips, no left coast or tri-state slang to speak of in a Ball & G lyric because these things didn’t exist where they lived. They spoke the language of the South. They talked about the things that went on in Memphis: pimping, robbing and dealing drugs. With both guns blazing, Suave House released its two nine millimeter boys on the public. Comin’ Out Hard was a perfect blend of the cinematic (“Armed Robbery,” “Mr. Big”) the hardcore (“Pimps,” “Niggas Like Us”) and the prophetic (“Comin Out Hard,” “Pimps In The House”). While rappers like Too $hort spoke of being a pimp, 8-Ball & MJG laid down the cold hard realities of pimpin’ in their rhymes. Far from politically correct, 8Ball & MJG loaded their debut outing with all the shock value of a Donald Goines novel while cushioning the blow with sweet soul samples like “Love TKO” from Teddy Pendergrass. One could argue that Andre and Big Boi saw how music fans in the Southeast gravitated to this “pimpology,” thus the playalistic theme of Cadillacmuzik which expertly concealed the group’s deeper creative motivations. While Outkast began their extraterrestrial flight with their second release ATLiens, 8-Ball & MJG also started to evolve. Buoyed by their independent success, the album On The Outside Looking In featured a guest appearance by then nationally-recognized rap star MC Breed – a sign
that Ball & G were reaching audiences outside the Dirty Dirty. Having nowhere near the impact of Comin’ Out Hard, their sophomore release did include the “get buck” classic “Lay It Down” and further established 8Ball & MJG’s credibility in the music industry. By far their crowning achievement, the group’s third album On Top Of The World was a sonic journey through the life of one of the South’s most influential rap teams. Debuting at Number 2 on Billboard behind the Dogg Pound’s Dogg Food was no small feat for two country playas during the G Funk Era, but Ball & G managed to pull it off. On Top Of The World revealed a more socially, spiritually and creatively sharp 8Ball & MJG. They urged listeners to avoid the evils of casual cocaine use (“Funk Mission”), to be wary of less-than-genuine associates (“Friend or Foe”) and detailed the struggle hustlers experience trying to leave the game behind (“What Can I Do?”). Social introspection aside, the boys from Orange Mound still slipped in one for the playas with “Space Age Pimpin’.” The success of On Top Of The World opened many doors for the duo, including solo projects. Though MJG’s blistering gold-certified No More Glory was largely overshadowed by Eightball’s multi-platinum triple CD Lost, it is now widelyconsidered the better of the two discs. Sadly, it is at this point the 8-Ball & MJG story takes a turn for the worse. Their thirst for mainstream hip-hop acceptance, coupled with internal disputes with Suave House, led to the group bouncing from label to label for several years. They eventually landed at Bad Boy, where they released the more commercially-driven Living Legends. Looking back now, I remember shuddering at a photo of Ball and G sporting denim jackets, gold teeth and jheri curls on Comin’ Out Hard. I thought, “These niggas gonna push us back 20 years.” Little did I know that they were ushering in today’s dominant force in music.
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
Words Matt Sonzala
DJ SCREW 5 ESSENTIAL DJ SCREW TAPES
DJ Screw 3 ‘N The Mornin’, Pt. 2 1995 This album introduced the rest of the world to the originator of the Houston rap sound. DJ Screw June 27th 1996 Features all the prime members of the Screwed Up Click doing what they do best: freestylin’ non-stop til the cows come home. DJ Screw Leanin’ on a Switch 1996 This one had the streets locked down for months. A true classic, Screw showed out on this one. DJ Screw It’s All Good 1997 Featured Fat Pat throughout and started off with the classic Biggie jam, “Kick In the Door,” one of the greatest jams ever Screwed. DJ Screw Mash for My Dreams 1998 Another tape chock full of some of Screw’s artists most classic freestyles.
ew DJs in the world of rap, or any other style of music, have left a legacy as important and revered as DJ Screw’s. The earliest progenitors of hip-hop, namely Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandwizard Theodore and the like may have one up on Screw, born Robert Earl Davis in Smithville, Texas in 1971, but that’s about it. Your favorite DJ from your region may have left his or her mark, and might have even brought the music to your town first, but no one has ever started a movement as strong as the late DJ Screw. Screw started out in the mid to late 80’s like any other hip-hop DJ, cutting and scratching and mixing records on his parent’s home stereo, borrowing and sharing equipment to play parties and clubs. Early on he would DJ for different MCs from his Southside neighborhood, and even contributed to the cuts on the demo that ended up getting the Odd Squad (Devin the Dude’s first group) signed to Rap-A-Lot Records. But it was when he stumbled upon a new style of making mixtapes, one that was all his own, that he began to take over Texas. Reports of how this actually came about are sketchy, but in the early 90’s Screw recorded a mixtape with the records pitched so far down that many people thought he was playing them on the wrong speed. For some reason, people from his hood loved it. Mixtapes were generally used to generate hype, so they were usually upbeat and featured the DJ chanting and yelling to get the audience excited. For, some this new sound was too crazy to accept. But for many, these slowed down tapes became the norm. Screw came from meager beginnings, having moved to Houston from Smithville to stay with his father and enter the city’s burgeoning rap scene. Upon arrival, Screw would extend his hand to almost anyone involved in the music, and in doing that formed the strongest group of rappers to ever reside in Texas, the Screwed Up Click. Early on, DJ Screw would sell his tapes directly from his house. Many times his tapes were made personally for
one person who would come over and select records for him to slow down and mix onto a single Maxell “Gray” cassette tape. These tapes would then be dubbed and sold or traded in the streets, and everyone from Screw’s neighborhood soon had to have a “personal.” As more and more people would come to Screw’s house, he’d let certain artists freestyle on their own personals, and later used the artists he liked the most to appear on tapes he began to circulate in wide release. Screw was a relentless workaholic. He released tapes weekly, if not more, and when word of a new tape began to circulate in the streets, cars full of people would line up around his block in hopes of getting their hands on the newest, freshest mix. Outsiders found his sound a bit hard to swallow, but as he released more and more tapes and his sound began to spread to other cities like Austin and Dallas, Screw music became the norm. It was born in Houston, so the South finally had something to call its own. Screw had mixing skills that could equal or eclipse any of the top DJ’s of his time, but his signature sound, open ear to new music and support for the artists around him was what really got him over. As Screw’s legacy progressed, people in the South began to check for artists in his clique like the late Fat Pat, Lil Keke, Hawk, Grace, Z-Ro, ESG and others. It got to a point where many hip-hop heads around the state of Texas didn’t want to hear anything else. If it wasn’t Screw, it didn’t exist. Young folks had to hear their rap music screwed, or they just didn’t want to hear it. Screw was also a bit of an introvert who liked to keep to himself. He rarely sold his tapes to stores, and if you didn’t get the tape from Screw himself, you probably caught a dub or a bootleg from someone else. This prompted a handful of DJs to try their own hand at making Screw mixes, though only a few (Michael Watts of the Swishahouse, DJ D, PaulWall, OG Ron C, Big Chance) were successful. After a while, when he finally recognized the size of the demand for his tapes, Screw opened
his own store, Screwed Up Records and Tapes. The store was opened specifically to sell his mixtapes, and nothing else. Walking into the shop was like walking into a dope spot. A nondescript storefront led to an empty room with nothing but a few posters hanging on the wall next to a dry erase board that listed the titles of the tapes available for sale that day. The cash register and inventory was kept behind a bulletproof glass window, with a hole at the bottom to slide money into and grab tapes out of. Well into the CD era, Screw only sold tapes, until the day he died. Screw was the man. He launched careers, forged a new sound and brought a certain unity to the Texas rap market that is since unrivaled. It could be argued that Texas rap fans support their own so religiously because DJ Screw gave them something that they could claim ownership of. DJ Screw gave the world artists who truly represented the Houston streets, artists who took the language of the South and made it marketable, artists who spoke directly to their peers. He set a trend that soon became a movement, one that lives on today - four years after the passing of one of the most important men in Texas rap history. DJ Screw died in November of 2000. He was found dead on the bathroom floor of his studio. Some say he died from a heart attack (his mother claims it was his fifth), some say he died from a drug overdose, and some say he may have been poisoned and robbed. It’s yet another mystery left unsolved in the music history books, but regardless, his music lives on and just might be stronger than ever. Now that he’s gone, major labels are releasing “Screwed and Chopped” versions of their albums, radio stations are programming “Screw” mixes and young kids from all the way from Texas to Finland are using computers to pitch down their MP3s and jam “Screw” music. Some argue that Screw was a man, not a genre. Screw was an inspiration and a legend to always be respected. Rest In Peace, Robert Earl Davis. OZONE APR 2005
Words Julia Beverly
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
OUTKAST 5 ESSENTIAL OUTKAST TRACKS
Outkast “Player’s Ball” Southernplayalisticadillacfunkymuzik 1994 This mellow track introduced Atlanta to the Dungeon Family’s unique sound. Outkast “Elevators (Me & You)” ATLiens 1996 Big Boi and Dre’s lyrical chemistry at its finest. Dre explains every starving artists’ dilemma: “I live by the beat like you live check to check / If you don’t move your feet than we don’t eat, so we like neck to neck.” Outkast “Rosa Parks” Aquemini 1998 Rosa Parks didn’t get it, but everyone else did. Outkast “B.O.B.” Stankonia 2000 Outkast spit at warp speed on the strangely titled “Bombs Over Baghdad.” Outkast f/ Killer Mike “The Whole World” Big Boi and Dre present.. 2001 Only Dre and Big Boi could turn a simple piano melody and children’s choir-ish vocals into a true hip-hop classic. Killer Mike lived up to his name, literally murdering this track.
t was the start of somethin’ good When me and my nigga rode the Marta through the hood Just tryin’ to find that hook-up, now every day we looked up At the ceilin’, watchin’ ceilin’ fans go ‘round Tryin’ to catch that feelin’ of instrumental Had my pencil, and plus my paper On their classic 1996 single “Elevators (Me & You),” Andre describes how the story began. One of the greatest duos in hip-hop history, Outkast was formed in the early 90’s when Andre “Andre 3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton met at Tri-Cities High School in Atlanta’s East Point. Soon after Big Boi graduated (Dre dropped out), Outkast linked up with Atlanta-based production company Organized Noize, who had already created hits for R&B supergroup TLC. Recording in a makeshift basement studio, they dubbed themselves the Dungeon Family. Mix Organized Noize’s phenomenal creativity with Big Boi and Dre’s lyrical abilities and a whole lot of weed, and you’ve got a classic single. Outkast’s “Player’s Ball” became the lead single on Atlanta-based LaFace Records’ Christmas album. Based on the response to the record, LaFace CEO Antonio “L.A.” Reid signed Outkast to the label and immediately released their debut, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. The album shot to the top of the charts and was certified platinum by the end of the year, a phenomenal feat for a brand-new rap group. Outkast’s sound was hard to define. Organized Noize’s unique blend of jazz, soul, rock, and funk music provided the perfect backdrop for Big Boi and Dre’s undeniable chemistry.
Although Southern... featured several other notable songs like the title track and the inspirational “Git Up, Git Out,” there was still room for improvement. While recording for their second album, Andre began to discover himself. Commonly described as the “player” (Big Boi) and the “poet” (Andre), they soon looked the part. Instead 30
OZONE APR 2005
of the typical throwbacks-and-baseball caps, Andre began rocking an odd assortment of turbans, tight leather pants, and other strange fashion arrangements reminiscent of the 60’s. In the same way, Outkast began to experiment with their sound. ATLiens, arguably a classic album, went double platinum. No big-name production, no major features outside of the Dungeon Family. Just raw, funky, soulful hip-hop from those two dope boys in a Cadillac. Outkast knew how to get your head nodding, but the closer you listened, the more you heard. “Outkast is by far my favorite group, period. They said some stuff back in the day that I just caught ten years later,” says David Banner, echoing the sentiments of Outkast fans worldwide. Even though Southern... and ATLiens had ushered in a new era in Southern music, the group hadn’t yet received recognition from mainstream America. That soon changed with the release of their third album. Outkast kept thinking outside the box and expanded their style once again with their 1998 release, Aquemini. The album title (a blend of their astrological signs: Big Boi an Aquarius, and Dre a Gemini) once again reflected their amazing chemistry and willingness to step outside the boundaries. Tracks like “Synthesizer,” featuring George Clinton, exposed their audience to entirely new sounds. The biggest single on Aquemini, “Rosa Parks,” was intended to be a tribute to the Civil Rights pioneer. Unfortunately, the elderly Ms. Parks wasn’t flattered. Offended by certain lyrics (“bulldoggin’ hoes,” “ass,” and “shit’s creek,” perhaps), Rosa Parks sued Outkast for false advertising for using her name as the title. The lawsuit was dismissed in late 1999, but still remains in the Supreme Court on an appeal (a fact which Andre 3000 referenced on Sleepy Brown’s 2004 single “I Can’t Wait”). If Rosa Parks had listened a bit closer to the song, she might have overlooked the curse words and caught one of Andre 3000’s most
ingenious verses: I met a gypsy and she hipped me to some life game To stimulate and active the left and right brain She said, “Baby boy, you only funky as your last cut, Focus on the past and your ass’ll be a haswhat” I try to just throw it at you, determine your own adventure (Andre) Got to her station, here’s my destination She got off the bus, the conversation lingered in my head for hours Heeding their own advice, the group continued to keep it funky. Outkast signed a licensing deal for Outkast Clothing Company and formed their own label, Aquemini Records. Over the years, they’ve helped establish the careers of other Dungeon Family-affiliated artists like the Goodie Mob, Killer Mike, and Sleepy Brown. Outkast released Stankonia in late 2000, and the album sold over three million copies thanks to the massive hits “B.O.B.” and “Ms. Jackson.” A year later they released Big Boi and Dre presents... a “greatest hits” album which also contained the classic single “The Whole World,” featuring Killer Mike. Amidst rumors of a breakup, Andre 3000 and Big Boi released a double CD in 2003, Speakerboxx/ The Love Below. Andre’s half was pure musical genius, but a little too bizarre for some hiphop heads. Singles like “Hey Ya” were staples on rock and Top 40 radio stations across the country. Although the album was enormously successful (over nine million copies sold), it hasn’t yet been embraced by diehard Outkast fans. Maybe in ten years, we’ll get it. Perhaps Andre 3000 said it best at the end of his verse on “Rosa Parks”: When the record player get to skippin’ and slowin’ down All y’all can say is, “Them niggas earned they crown.”
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
Words Wally Sparks / Photo King Yella
5 ESSENTIAL UGK TRACKS UGK “Pocket Full of Stones” Too Hard to Swallow 1992 This quintessential UGK song has that classic, slow funk groove, crazy wordplay from Bun B, and Pimp C’s nasal flow that we all love so much. UGK “Front, Back & Side to Side” SuperTight 1994 This ode to candy-painted old-school Chevys during the hot summer months was an instant classic, with a sample from Eazy E’s “Boyz N Da Hood.” UGK “Fuck My Car” Ridin’ Dirty 1996 These hoes don’t wanna fuck me, they wanna fuck my car. How real is that? UGK “Let Me See It” Ridin’ DIrty 1996 Whenever this Southern strip club classic is played at your local gentleman’s club, you better have your ones ready because it’s about to go down. UGK “Murder” Ridin’ Dirty 1996 The deep, haunting bassline is a perfect match for what could be Bun B’s greatest verse ever recorded (“Smelly red jelly all over your Pelle Pelle”).
magine that you sign to a record label in 1992. In fact, you’re one of the first artists in your area to sign to a major record label. You release a debut album to critical acclaim, and your sales reach the industry standard for success. Then, you continue that very same trend for the next five years, dropping two more successful albums. You accomplish all of that without hardly any radio play or music videos. Even with the consistent sales numbers you always attain, your record label still doesn’t have any interest in marketing you properly. For Pimp C and Bun B of the legendary Southern rap group UGK (Underground Kingz), that is the harsh reality. Back in the day, you never saw UGK in The Source, Vibe, or Rap Pages. You never saw UGK videos on Yo! MTV Raps or The Box. Why not? Was it because of their record label’s unwillingness to promote the group properly? Or was it because they were too “trill” to do magazine photo shoots and show up on video sets? My guess is that it was not the latter. Even after enduring conflict with their label, UGK still has diehard fans that support all of their endeavors. Widely considered as one of the greatest Southern rap groups of all time, UGK came into the game in the early 90’s out of a small Texas town called Port Arthur - which they frequently declared to be the land of the “trill.” When UGK broke onto the scene, the sounds of the West coast were dominating radio, club, Jeep, Regal, and Cadillac playlists all over the country. With their debut album, Too Hard to Swallow, UGK seemed to fit right into that gangsta music fold, spitting lurid tales of sex, drugs, and money. The one thing that stood out about UGK, however, was their strong representation of Southern culture. “I’m from PA, bitch.” It was no secret. Like it, love it, or hate it, they didn’t give a fuck about what you thought. Their Southern pride was important at the time, because there were hardly any rap acts out of the South making noise. UGK was not only signed to a major label, but they sold records. They sold records consistent-
(l to r) Pimp C and Bun B
ly enough to prove that they had a loyal fanbase and understood the key to longevity. Their label Jive, however, didn’t understand or care enough to put proper promotion and marketing behind the group. UGK finally got the biggest commercial boost of their career from an unlikely source: Jay-Z. During an interview, Jay-Z was once asked what he listened to when he wasn’t working on his own music. He responded, “There’s an album called Ridin’ Dirty, by a group named UGK. I buy it at every tour stop we make.” Next, Jay gave them some long overdue exposure by recruiting them for his hit single “Big Pimpin’.” Their appearance in the video, which aired heavily on both MTV and BET, exposed UGK to a whole new audience. Even though “Big Pimpin’” was the first time many consumers outside of the South were aware of the group, UGK had already solidified their place in rap history with three gold albums to their credit. One reason the Texas duo has gathered such a dedicated following over the years is because of their stark contrast in rapping styles. Pimp C is the man behind the music, with an unmistakable voice boasting, “It’s Pimp C, bitch!” He’s the man who brags, “I don’t make hip-hop records, I make country rap tunes.” On the other hand, you have Bun B, an artist who is revered by his peers as an MC’s MC. An extremely gifted and clever lyricist, Bun B spits rhymes so sharp they seem to cut right through the music. When these two very opposite styles are meshed together on one track, musical magic happens. Their style and chemistry has been the blueprint for many Southern rap acts. Many have tried to duplicate the UGK style and failed, but there are a select few artists who have seen success following in the UGK mold. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Over the years, UGK has been highly underrated. Have they been avoiding the limelight, or the limelight been avoiding them due to lack of proper promotion and publicity? Whatever the reason, Bun B has been working hard to play
catch-up and reap the benefits that come from having a legendary status in the game. Even today, Bun B’s discography reads like a Hip-Hop Hall of Fame. Their status is so legendary that both Bun B and Pimp C have inked solo deals with the historic Southern record label Rap-ALot Records. Even with all the missteps that Jive has taken in dealing with UGK, the label has since seen the light. They are now trying to cash in on the group’s unwavering fan base by releasing three “unofficial” UGK albums. Jive recently released UGK’s Greatest Hits, an album full of UGK guest appearances, a soundtrack ironically titled Side Hustles, and a chopped & screwed version of UGK’s Greatest Hits. Another reason for the group’s lack of mainstream recognition is Pimp C’s current legal troubles. He was sentenced to eight years in prison for a minor probation violation and has served three years thus far. Despite Pimp C’s situation, UGK’s future seems brighter than ever. Rap-A-Lot recently released a Pimp C album, Sweet James Jones Stories, consisting mostly of dated freestyle material. Thanks to Rap-A-Lot, Pimp C has been doing more interviews while incarcerated than when he was free (look for OZONE’s Pimp C cover story coming next month). Pimp C is up for parole in December 2005, and says he’s written over 2,000 songs while behind bars. Meanwhile, fans are eagerly anticipating the biggest reunion album in Southern hip-hop history. Bun B has been keeping the UGK name alive by recording guest vocals for a myriad of albums, mixtapes and DVDs. He’s been working at a relentless pace ever since his partner was forced to sit still, keeping the UGK flag waving. Fans are still awaiting the return of the true Underground Kingz. With consistent album sales spanning over a decade with virtually no promotion, there’s no question that UGK has secured their place in Southern history. If there’s any doubt left in your mind, just ask your favorite rapper, “Who’s your favorite rapper?” OZONE APR 2005
Words Carlton Wade
# Greatest Southern Artists of all Time 2 LIVE CREW/UNCLE LUKE 5 ESSENTIAL 2 LIVE CREW/UNCLE LUKE TRACKS 2 Live Crew “We Want Some Pussy” Is What We Are 1986 One of the first hip-hop records to incorporate rock & roll sounds, 2 Live Crew was just speaking the real on this club favorite. 2 Live Crew “Me So Horny” As Nasty As They Wanna Be 1989 This enormous crossover record made history as one of the first hip-hop records to use a sample from a movie, Full Metal Jacket. 2 Live Crew “Face Down Ass Up” Banned in the USA 1990 That’s the way we like to fuck! Luke “I Wanna Rock (Doo Doo Brown)” I Got Shit On My Mind 1992 The first bass record to get respect and credibility in the home of hip-hop: New York.
(l to r) Mr. Mixx, Chris Wong Wong, Uncle Luke, and Brother Marquis
hile regions all across the dirty have staked their claims from H-Town to ATL and Memphis to the Crescent, Southern rap finds its deepest roots in the Sunshine State. With do-fa-self groundwork laid by 80’s bass mechanics like Pretty Tony, Gucci Crew II and MC Shy D, South Florida gave Southern hip-hop its earliest voice via booty-shake anthems. None of the South side first-schoolers had as much of an impact as the 2 Live Crew. Made up of Fresh Kid Ice, Brother Marquis, Mr. Mixx and label CEO/hype man Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell, this foulmouthed foursome drew the blueprint to building a fledgling indie label to mainstream success. Orally fondling freaky fuck tales atop ass-shaking 808 drum and bass, the 2 Live Crew brought “booty music” from the Southern underground to platinum success. Nearly two decades ago, 2 Live Crew put MIA - and the entire South - on the hip-hop map. Despite claiming fame in Miami, the 2 Live Crew actually formed in California. The original members of the group were Fresh Kid Ice, DJ Mr. Mixx, and Amazing V, who left soon after the group’s formation. Their electro-funk, break dance-ready breakout single “Revolution” led the group to Florida. In Miami, 2 Live Crew hooked up with local record label owner Luke. The group hadn’t been talking dirty on their records prior to meeting Mr. Doo Doo Brown, but his X-rated influence was definitely heard on their 1986 debut album The 2 Live Crew...Is What We Are.
Uncle Luke f/ Trick Daddy “Scarred” Uncle Luke 1996 Uncle Luke decided to take bass music to the next level, and the result was this nearly indecipherable and yet highly addictive club smash. This is the record that broke Trick Daddy.
record store clerk was hit with felony charges (and later acquitted) after selling the album to a 14-year-old girl in 1987. This prompted the group to sell both clean and explicit versions of their albums. 2 Live Crew is the reason for those must-have parental advisory stickers that adorn most rap albums today. The following year, a record store in Alabama was fined for selling a copy of the group’s sophomore album Move Somethin’ to an undercover cop. Shit really hit the fan with the group’s next release, Nasty As They Wanna Be, in 1989. The next year, Broward County sheriff Nick Navarro secured a ruling from County Circuit Court Judge Mel Grossman that the album was legally obscene. In an attempt to knock the group’s hustle, Navarro threatened record store owners across the country, informing them that they would be subject to prosecution if they sold the album. The group took a staggering blow in June 1989 when District Court Judge Jose Gonzalez ruled that Nasty As They Wanna Be was obscene and illegal to sell. Just two days later, a record store owner was booked for selling the album to an undercover cop, and members of the 2 Live Crew were arrested on obscenity charges for performing at a local club. They were later acquitted, and the record store owner’s conviction was overturned on appeal.
Now with Brother Marquis on board and Luke pumping the crowd, 2 Live shook down Southern dance floors with pornographic rhymes and vibrating ghetto bass on classic club bangers “Get It Girl,” “Throw The Dick,” and everyone’s alltime favorite “We Want Some Pussy.” Without any major label backing or radio play, the album went gold on the low.
Meanwhile, the controversy surrounding the album caused sales to soar past 2 million. Shortly after, music giant Atlantic Records signed Luke and his label Luke Records to a distribution deal. Their following major label album Banned in the USA was a mainstream success. Billed as Luke featuring 2 Live Crew, the album’s title track was a reworking of Bruce Springsteen’s American classic “Banned in the USA” and the group’s second Top 40 hit.
However, along with the popularity of their Xrated rap album came consequences. A Florida
On top of that, 2 Live Crew had the last laugh when in 1992, the Court of Appeals in Atlanta
OZONE APR 2005
overturned Jose Gonzalez’s ruling that Nasty As They Wanna Be was legally obscene. The Court of Appeals’ decision was later upheld by the Supreme Court. Aside from winning court cases, 2 Live Crew’s music was also becoming a staple in Southern rap. In addition to placing a trademark on the unmistakable sound of Miami bass, 2 Live was also a building block for the foundations of Atlanta booty-shake, rowdy Memphis angst, sexually explicit lyrics, and provocative music videos. With stage shows typically comprised of over a dozen naked strippers and videos that were banned from mainstream outlets, 2 Live Crew were pioneers of the sleazy, misogynistic graphics and lyrics that we see in much of today’s hip-hop. Long before Nelly’s “Tip Drill” or BET’s “Uncut,” 2 Live Crew was encouraging women to take it all off on the dance floor - and in their videos. Just throw in the group’s hit “Move Somethin’” and watch the party get hype. Or slide on Luke’s solo joint “H-B-C” and watch all the fellas in the place reply to Luke’s question, “Whatcha like, fellas?” with the answer, “Head, booty, and cock!” Without question, 2 Live Crew changed the game. Regardless of how brash, sleazy, or erotic the music may seem, 2 Live protected our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and expression so we can be as nasty as we damn well wanna be. With their chest-pounding bass and piercing snare, they gave future groups an instrumental lesson plan to follow. And with their gold and platinum accolades, they created an avenue for other Southern groups to follow to shine on a national level. Although the new school artists continue to set trends and break down barriers, 2 Live Crew blazed the trail for their path to stardom and success. Respect your elders.
Greatest Southern Artists of all Time
Words Matt Sonzala
GETO BOYS/SCARFACE 5 ESSENTIAL GETO BOYS TRACKS Geto Boys “Mind of a Lunatic” Grip It! On That Other Level 1989 Them boys have always been insane. This cut showed where the Geto Boys’ heads were at back in the early days. Geto Boys “Let a Hoe be a Hoe” Grip It! On That Other Level 1989 This Willie D solo is the precursor to all the songs that later came out talking about not falling in love with and/or saving hoes. Geto Boys “Mind Playin’ Tricks On Me” We Can’t Be Stopped 1991 This timeless classic brought the reality of the dope game to life. Geto Boys “World is a Ghetto” The Resurrection 1996 They discussed their reach throughout the world on this record, but never really capitalized on it. This one really was a hit all over the world. Geto Boys “Yes Yes Y’all” The Foundation 2005 With this 2005 release, the Geto Boys proved that nearly twenty years after their formation, they’re still wreckin’.
ack in 1986, when the world was still fixated on New York City as the hip-hop mecca and quite possibly the only place where hip-hop could even exist, a group of individuals in Houston, Texas were laying the groundwork for an eventual takeover. In a ramshackle little office overlooking one of the many car lots that populated North Shepherd Drive on the border of the Heights section of their city, an empire was born. This independent empire would change the face of hip-hop music forever.
Long before the South was even on the hiphop radar, a man named James Smith - a.k.a. J Prince - was quietly preparing for an entire cultural shift. His work went largely unrecognized for years, but as evidenced in 2005, the emergence of one group changed the course of hip-hop music. That group was the Geto Boys. With their controversial rhymes, firebrand production, and fiercely independent spirit, the rap game shifted. While the industry is still primarily controlled by New York based major labels, the Geto Boys paved the way for Southern boys in the hood to make their money - legitimately. Rap-A-Lot Records was one of the first truly independent labels to make noise on a major scale in the rap world. That noise can largely be attributed to three men. The Geto Boys were not always comprised of Willie D, Scarface, and Bushwick Bill, but when this combination came together in 1988, the steamroller that is Southern rap started chugging away. Their first release as a unit, Grip It! On That Other Level, took the gangsta rap reality tales first laid by NWA to a whole ‘nother level, literally. Anything out of bounds for the boys from Compton was fair game for the boys from Houston. Suddenly, no topic was untouchable. Their taboo tales lit a fire under the ass of the hip-hop nation, and a new subgenre was born: Southern rap. Grip It! attracted the attention of Rick Rubin, who had recently left his post at Def Jam Records (the label he cofounded with Russell Simmons) to start his own Def American imprint. Rubin
(l to r) Scarface, Bushwick Bill, and Willie D
had helped launch the careers of artists like LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys, and left to work with dark heavy metal bands like Slayer and Danzig. For him, bringing the Geto Boys into the picture was a natural progression. Their stark, gritty, sometimes grotesque tales of the inner city streets of Houston fit well with Slayer’s macabre stories of the underworld and even recent Def American signee Andrew Dice Clay’s off-color comedy. However, regardless of Rubin’s intentions, Def American’s distributor Geffen Records was not ready to take the plunge. Geffen labeled the Geto Boys’ record too obscene to print or distribute. Def American was left holding a hip-hop classic, the Geto Boys self-titled major label debut (which was really just a remastered version of Grip It!) with no way to distribute it. After some legal finagling, the record was eventually released through another distributor and made major waves. After all the controversy and frustration of dealing with the majors, Rap-A-Lot brought the boys back home to work on what would be their crowning release. Released in 1991, We Can’t Be Stopped featured the unforgettable cover image of a freshly shot Bushwick Bill removing the bandage from the socket where his eye once laid, with Scarface and Willie D pushing him down the hospital hallway. The album produced the group’s biggest hit, “Mind Playin’ Tricks on Me.” An instant classic, it was the introspective story of three paranoid hood characters determined to escape the psychosis that comes with living a less-thanupstanding life on the streets. The Geto Boys weren’t ballin’ out of control, ruling the streets with reckless abandon, or fucking the hoes on this track. They were talking about the other side of the game; the paranoia that comes along with and sometimes eclipses the ill-gotten adoration and money. “Mind Playin’ Tricks on Me” was of the realest depictions of street life ever heard on a record. It broke worldwide, taking the Geto Boys - and
Southern rap - to heights no one had previously imagined. Unfortunately, the Boys never really capitalized on their new-found fame and glory. They rarely toured, never left the United States, and didn’t realize that they were well on their way to becoming one of the most recognizable groups in rap. Internal conflicts and struggles, as well as the ultra-paranoia described in “Mind Playin’ Tricks on Me,” ultimately took its toll on the group. Soon after, lead writer Willie D left and was replaced by Big Mike, a former member of the Convicts. The Geto Boys released their fourth album, the inappropriately titled Til Death Do Us Part. In reality, it was the third incarnation of the Geto Boys. Til Death Do Us Part spawned the underground hits “Straight Gangsterism” and “Crooked Officer,” but the chemistry didn’t fall back into place until the trio reformed with Willie D in 1996. They released another album, The Resurrection, which contained hit single “The World is a Ghetto.” The Geto Boys were household names once again. Even after the success of “The World is a Ghetto,” internal controversies once again forced them apart. Bushwick Bill stepped away from the group, leaving Willie D and Scarface to record 1998’s Da Good, Da Bad, and Da Ugly. The record was ultimately disappointing, plagued with guest appearances that seemed forced. Widely regarded as the “King of the South,” Scarface also has numerous solo albums to his credit. Although still underrated as a lyricist, his releases spanning more than a decade are considered hip-hop classics. After a seven-year hiatus, the Geto Boys reformed and released the new classic CD The Foundation to critical acclaim in early 2005. Could it be that now, 17 years after their inception, the Geto Boys will finally get their just recognition as the greatest Southern artists of all time? OZONE APR 2005
01: Green Lantern and Kay Slay @ Justo’s Mixtape Awards (NYC) 02: Chingo Bling and Grandaddy Souf @ The Core DJs conference (Miami, FL) 03: Pitbull and a young fan @ Calle Ocho (Miami, FL) 04: Big Tuck of DSR and Magno reppin’ OZONE @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 05: Pretty Rickie & the Maverix with DJ Pat Pat and Scrappy (Ft. Myers, FL) 06: Chamillionaire and OG Ron C @ Justo’s Mixtape Awards (NYC) 07: Da BackWudz reppin’ OZONE @ Greg Street’s car show (Atlanta, GA) 08: Slim Thug and Yung Redd @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 09: Tango Redd reppin’ OZONE @ Greg Street’s car show (Atlanta, GA) 10: Samson and Buggah @ Wildsplash (Clearwater, FL) 11: B.G. and his manager Anthony Murray @ CMurder’s video shoot (New Orleans, LA) 12: Tupac’s sister Set Shakur showing off her clothing line Madamevelli @ Compound for the Oscar viewing party for Tupac: Resurrection (Atlanta, GA) 13: Mr. Mauricio reppin’ OZONE @ Funkshon (Miami, FL) 14: Lyfe reppin’ OZONE @ KMJJ (Shreveport, LA) 15: Kamikaze and Big V of the Nappy Roots @ Birdland (Jackson, MS) 16: Webbie and Bun B @ Webbie’s video shoot (Baton Rouge, LA) 17: Don P of Trillville, Lil Jon, David Banner, and L.A. of Trillville reppin’ Crunk Juice @ Stankonia (Atlanta, GA) 18: Young Cash and Mike Jones reppin’ OZONE (Orlando, FL) 19: DJ Nasty, Pitbull, Marlon, Cubo, and Big Earl @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 20: Saigon, Gotti and the Abandoned Nation family @ BB King’s for Justo’s Mixtape Awards (NYC) 21: George Lopez and Killa Kyleon @ SXSW (Austin, TX) Photo Credits: Al-My-T: #14 George Lopez: #04 Jaro Vacek: #15 Julia Beverly: #01,03,06,07, 08,09,10,17,18,19,20,21 King Yella: #16 Marcus Jethro: #11 Pat Pat: #05 Teach: #13 TJ Chapman: #02 6
OZONE APR 2005
01: White Boi Pizal, Tony C, Smoke D, Kamikaze, P Boy Stone, and Marcus. on the set of David Banner’s “Ain’t Got Nothin’” (Los Angeles, CA) 02: C-Bone Jones and the Outlawz @ Compound for the Oscar viewing party for Tupac: Resurrection (Atlanta, GA) 03: Cavario and Dramills reppin’ OZONE @ BB King’s for Justo’s Mixtape Awards (NYC) 04: KG Mosley and 3rd Leg Greg @ Wildsplash (Clearwater, FL) 05: Karl and friends reppin’ On Tha Real Magazine @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 06: D-Roc, Neil H., Morgan Smith, DJ Quote, and TJ Chapman @ The Tudor for The CORE DJs conference (Miami, FL) 07: Double E, Mercedes, and Big Al @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 08: Doug E Fresh and Mike Jones @ Warmer’s Wireless Conference (New Orleans, LA) 09: Beenie Man and Nicole Robinson (New Orleans, LA) 10: Adept and Pitbull @ DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 11: Marcus Jethro and Nas @ Hot 104.5 (New Orleans, LA) 12: Brooke Valentine and Greg G @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 13: Sean Starr and Limp Bizkit’s John Otto @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 14: Darlene, Kanye West, and Freda (New Orleans, LA) 15: Swizz Beatz and Common @ BB King’s for Justo’s Mixtape Awards (NYC) 16: Tito, Chino, Gaby, and Adept @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 17: Jazze Pha’s father James Alexander, David Banner, Ray Fleming, Deanie Parker, and Jazze Pha @ Stax Soul Music Museum (Memphis, TN) 18: Treal reppin’ Orange County @ Tropical Magic (Orlando, FL) 19: Ness, P. Diddy, and The Game @ Justo’s Mixtape Awards (NYC) 20: Hump and Chingo Bling @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 21: Krazy and friends @ Wildsplash (Clearwater, FL) Photo Credits: Donna Premell: #02 Greg G: #07,12 Julia Beverly: #03,04,05,10, 13,15,16,17,18,19,20,21 Marcus Jethro: #08,09,11,14 TJ Chapman: #01,06 8
OZONE APR 2005
Slim Goodye’s attention-grabbing 16 bars are fast becoming a mixt ape favorite in the Central Flori Whether it’s his effortless flow or da area. wicked punchlines (“I gave more chicks nuts than a flight attendan actin’ like a hoe or somethin’ and t,” “She I’m lovin’ it / How you wifey and don’t even know my government?” grab your attention, one thing is ) that sure - he’s got potential. Born in the Bronx, Slim was once a basketba at the University of Missouri. Rath ll star er than pursuing a career as a prof essional athlete, Slim moved dow Orlando “for the weather” and settled into the street life. He’d n to always known he had a knack for but never taken it seriously. “The rapping, n I started seeing all these garb age rappers coming out,” he laug they getting paid to rap, I can get hs. “If paid to rap!” Judging from his lyric s, he’s already getting paid, as tales “peanut-butter Porsches” roll off his tongue. Fact or ficton? “I’ve of got one song called ‘True Fantasy,’ explains. “It’s gonna happen; I alrea ” Slim dy see it happening in front of my aren’t enough to secure fame and face.” These days, killer punchline fortune, but Slim’s confident in s his skills as an all-around rapper. lines are my strong point, but it’s “Punchnothing for me to put together a song easy. I could go in the studio and ,” he says. “It’s a talent for me; it’s make a song in 25 minutes, hook and everything.” His first mixtape, Goodye: Da Young Mobsta, is alrea Slim dy earning him rave reviews. In it, he boldly rhymes over Slim Thug a Boss,” proclaiming, “I’m the real ’s “LIke muthafuckin’ boss.” Only time will someone you’d want to battle lyric tell, Slim Goodye doesn’t sound like ally (contact info: Malik @ 407227Beverly, email@example.com 8460). - Photo and words by Julia
chances are you’ve heard Maceo’s infectious If you’ve tuned into any Atlanta radio station in the past month, that’s been turned into a hit song by a saying everyday another club single “Go Sit Down” repeatedly. It’s yet gone through about three or four difhad we and crunk Atlanta artist. “Our producer Jamon made the beat, used to always say ‘Hoe, sit down’ brother younger My them. of any feeling weren’t really and ferent hooks the hook,” Maceo explains. Maceo being up ended that so e, downtim our during while we were fuckin’ around surrounding areas. He compares the and Atlanta in noise of and his entire QuickFlip clique are making plenty to point out that they aren’t quick is and Money, their “damn good chemistry” to the sounds of vintage Cash in the streets right now to prove s mixtape two got He’s Down.” “Sit like anthems crunk limited to creating Maceo is preparing his full-length album his versatility. While creating a buzz with radio and mixtape play, jammin’-ass music from this album,” some expect can “You Straight Out the Pot to be released this summer. to the street life, he says confidently. He plans to follow-up “Sit Down” with an ode in Atlanta] right “For My Hustla’s.” “Man, it feels good [to have the hottest record ul. I just successf be to things right the doing I’m that now. It just lets me know will continue. gotta work harder than what I did to get to this point, and the success your music, you’ll As long as you stay down with the people that support you and out. – Wally figured game the got already Maceo’s like Sounds says. be fine,” he Sparks/JB (Photo: JB)
Paying industry dues can make or break an artist. Fortunately for J Records’ recording artist Smitty, paying his dues gave him strength and determination. Many people would be surprised to learn that Smitty is a wellknown artist within the industry, having ghostwritten for the likes of Dr. Dre and Truth Hurts. Even P. Diddy’s verse on Nelly’s “Shake Ya Tailfeather” was written by Miami’s “Little Haiti” champion lyricist. “I never wanted to rush into the game as a starving artist with my hand out, begging, ” explains Smitty. “When people have to pay you, they always question your worth. The fact that I played a key role in such successful projects adds instant credibility. Now, people know I have something to offer - I can make them money!” This must be true, since his debut album Definition of a N.I.G.G.A. is loaded with big money production. Jazze Pha, Kanye West, and Swizz Beatz are all contributors, and Mannie Fresh produced his current street single, “One Time.” The single is in heavy rotation on underground radio and mixtapes throughout the South, and Smitty plans to come back with a radio-friendly joint, the Swizz Beatz-produced “Diamonds on My Neck.” Smitty takes pride in his versatility. Artists like Jamie Foxx, Lord Finesse, and Scarface can all vouch for his skills. “Different producers and artists love working with me becuase they know I understand the concept of making a song,” Smitty theorizes. “My experience in songwriting gives me that edge.” The muscle of a major label seems to be the last piece of the puzzle for Smitty, who’s poised to take the industry by storm. - Leaton Reid, firstname.lastname@example.org (Photo: JB)
01: Mr. Magic, Trouble, and Lil Boosie on the set of David Banner’s “Ain’t Got Nothin’” (Los Angeles, CA) 02: Murda One Sound reppin’ OZONE @ Tabu Nightclub (Orlando, FL) 03: DJ Affect and DJ Entice @ Funkshon (Miami, FL) 04: Spoil’d Rotten, Pupp, and Joe Anthony @ The Core DJs conference (Miami, FL) 05: Garnett Reid, Hell Rell, and Juelz Santana @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 06: 216 @ BB King’s for Justo’s Mixtape Awards (NYC) 07: Trillville and Jigga JT @ Warner Music Group’s Wireless Conference (New Orleans, LA) 08: Pitbull and the Crunk Juice models @ Calle Ocho (Miami, FL) 09: Sabai Burnett reppin’ OZONE @ Funkshon (Miami, FL) 10: Lyfe and Al-My-T @ KMJJ (Shreveport, LA) 11: Anthony Hamilton and Jigga JT @ Hot 104.5 (New Orleans, LA) 12: Peedi Crakk and Lil Skrilla @ The Core DJs conference (Miami, FL) 13: Mike Jones and DJ Chill reppin’ OZONE @ Konnections (Houston, TX) 14: Black Thought of The Roots reppin’ OZONE @ Wildsplash (Clearwater, FL) 15: Marlon, Stat Quo, and DJ Nasty @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 16: Latin Prince, Clinton Sparks, and Tony Neal @ The Core DJs conference (Miami, FL) 17: Pastor Troy, Greg Street, and Big Oomp @ Greg Street’s car show (Atlanta, GA) 18: Trae and Z-Ro @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 19: Wayne Wonder and 411 TV @ Wildsplash (Clearwater, FL) 20: Che Boogie, Gully, Saigon, Big Black, Gotti, and Tory outside Club Exit (NYC) 21: Byron, Brooke Valentine, and Orlando @ Wildsplash (Clearwater, FL) Photo Credits: Al-My-T: #10 DJ Chill: #13 Julia Beverly: #05,06,08,14, 15,17,18,19,20,21 Lil Skrilla: #12 Malik Abdul: #02 Marcus Jethro: #07,11 Teach: #03,09 TJ Chapman: #01,04,16 10
OZONE APR 2005
01: Crunk Energy Drink’s bodypainted models @ Calle Ocho (Miami, FL) 02: Z-Ro reppin’ OZONE @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 03: J-Bo of the YoungBloodz, Pitbull, and Big Duke of Boyz N Da Hood @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 04: TJ Chapman, Mr. Magic, and FLX on the set of David Banner’s “Ain’t Got Nothin’” (Los Angeles, CA) 05: Tony Neal and DJ Dimepiece (Los Angeles, CA) 06: J-Dawg, Rube, and Greg G @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 07: Baby Bash and DJ Pat Pat (Ft. Myers, FL) 08: What would you do for OZONE Magazine and Crunk Juice? (Orlando, FL) 09: Maceo reppin’ OZONE @ Greg Street’s car show (Atlanta, GA) 10: Mario reppin’ OZONE @ Wildsplash (Clearwater, FL) 11: Bizmarkie and Boris Kudjoe (New Orleans, LA) 12: Eddie from the Missy Elliot show with Big Earl (Orlando, FL) 13: Pitbull making love to Crunk @ Uncle Luke’s bachelor party (Los Angeles, CA) 14: Supa Cindy and Lisa Lisa reppin’ OZONE @ Funkshon (Miami, FL) 15: L-Boogie, John Legend, and Nicole Robinson @ Hot 104.5 (New Orleans, LA) 16: Mister Cee interviewing P. Diddy while Kevin Liles and Young City look on @ Justo’s Mixtape Awards (NYC) 17: PaulWall, Juvenile, and UTP @ Warner Wireless Conference (New Orleans, LA) 18: Jazze Pha, his father James Alexander, and David Banner admiring Isaac Hayes’ Cadillac @ the Stax Soul Music Museum (Memphis, TN) 19: D-Strong, DJ Nasty, and Juelz Santana @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 20: Malik Abdul, Slim Goodye, and Omar @ Tropical Magic (Orlando, FL) 21: DJ Killatone and DJ EFN @ Justo’s Mixtape Awards (NYC) Photo Credits: Big Earl: #12 Greg G: #06 JC Crunk: #13 Julia Beverly: #01,02,03,09, 10,16,18,19,20,21 Malik Abdul: #08 Marcus Jethro: #11,15,17, Pat Pat: #07 Teach: #14 TJ Chapman: #04,05 12
OZONE APR 2005
(916) Magazine / The Yay ACE Magazine Block 2 Block Magazine Sacramento, CA West Palm Beach, FL Grand Prairie, TX www.the916.com 772-332-7979 214-597-0883 916-452-2482 www.acemagonline.com block2blockonline.com
Don Diva Magazine New York, NY 877-366-3482
Exposure Magazine F.E.D.S. Magazine Chicago, IL New York, NY 847-366-8915 1369 Madison Ave #406 www.exposuremagazines.com NY, NY 10128
Tha Hole Magazine Huntsville, AL 256-652-0804 www.thahole.com
Holla Magazine Atlanta, GA www.hollamag.com 770-438-0112
Iceberg Magazine Jacksonville, FL icebergmag.com 904-472-5711
New Power Magazine Next Level Magazine Owners Illustrated Mag Columbus, MS New York, NY Washington, DC 662-251-0075 thenextlevelmagazine.com 202-607-3629 newpowermagazine.com ownersillustrated.com
Streetz Magazine Virginia 800-770-1078 www.streetzmag.com
Strip Joint Magazine Miami, FL 954-447-7246
That’s What’s Up Miami, FL 954-733-3613
Check out other indie magazines online at
Frosty’s Flava The Grind Magazine Grooveline Magazine Miami, FL Miami, FL Grambling, LA www.frostysflava.com 305-804-4188 groovelinemag.com email@example.com 318-803-0450
Industri Magazine Houston, TX www.theindustri.com 866-309-9997
The Juice Magazine Atlanta, GA 866-34-JUICE thejuicemagazine.net
OZONE Magazine Orlando, FL 407-447-6063 www.ozonemag.com
Rude Magazine New Orleans, LA 504-246-1491
Urban Living Magazine Urban Pages Magazine Nashville, TN Charleston, SC 615-497-5036 firstname.lastname@example.org urbanlivingmag.com 843-747-5131
Hater Magazine Houston, TX www.hatermagazine.com
Neo Magazine Murder Dog Magazine Atlanta, GA Los Angeles, CA email@example.com 707-553-1850 404-806-1480 www.murderdog.com
Seaspot Magazine Seattle, WA 206-320-SPOT seaspotmediagroup.com
UrbLife Magazine Montgomery, AL 334-799-9773
Showcase Magazine Los Angeles, CA 510-481-3080
Xplosive Magazine San Francisco, CA 925-427-9330 firstname.lastname@example.org
01: Kaspa and the ladies of Dulo Marketing & Promotions @ Greg Street’s car show (Atlanta, GA) 02: Scooby of the G.R.i.T. Boys, Lil Ron, Lil Ron, Yung Redd, DJ Chill, and Big Jig of the GhostWriters @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 03: Trillville and Pimp J @ Tropical Magic (Orlando, FL) 04: The Outlawz and Trea Davenport @ Compound for the Oscar viewing party for Tupac: Resurrection (Atlanta, GA) 05: The CORE DJs conference (Miami, FL) 06: Jazze Pha and David Banner @ The Peabody (Memphis, TN) 07: Q and friends reppin’ Ms Cherry’s OZONE cover @ The CORE DJs conference (Miami, FL) 08: Ludacris and Juvenile bling-blingin’ (New Orleans, LA) 09: Swizz Beatz and Justo @ BB King’s for Justo’s Mixtape Awards (NYC) 10: Smoke D and Kamikaze reppin’ Pimp C on the video set of David Banner’s “Ain’t Got Nothin’” (Los Angeles, CA) 11: Bumpy J and Lil Skrilla @ The CORE DJs conference (Miami, FL) 12: PaulWall and DJ Chill reppin’ OZONE @ Club Konnections (Houston, TX) 13: DJ Nasty and Chino @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 14: P. Diddy and The Game @ Justo’s Mixtape Awards (NYC) 15: Green Lantern and DJ Vlad @ Justo’s Mixtape Awards (NYC) 16: Sandman, DJ Ritz, and DJ Knuckles reppin’ OZONE @ Wildsplash (Clearwater, FL) 17: Nasty Beatmakers: LVM and DJ Nasty @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 18: DSR and George Lopez reppin’ OZONE @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 19: The Lumberjacks’ Khujo and T-Mo with DJ Jelly @ Greg Street’s car show (Atlanta, GA) 20: Crunk Juice models with Jimmy Chocolate and Lex Promotions @ Calle Ocho (Miami, FL) 21: Slim Thug and Killa Kyleon @ SXSW (Austin, TX) Photo Credits: DJ Chill: #12 Donna Premell: #04 Julia Beverly: #01,02,03,06,09, 13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21 Lil Skrilla: #11 Marcus Jethro: #08 TJ Chapman: #05,07,10 14
OZONE APR 2005
01: Tampa Tony, Grandaddy Souf, BloodRaw, and Big Mook @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 02: The YoungBloodz and DJ Nasty reppin’ OZONE @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 03: Mr. Cree with the GhostWriters G. Lavacci and Big Jig reppin’ OZONE @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 04: Lil Skrilla and DJ Quote @ The CORE DJs conference (Miami, FL) 05: Al-My-T, Doramus, and Lester Pace reppin’ OZONE @ Doramus’ album release party (Memphis, TN) 06: H Vidal, Slim Thug, DJ Chase, and Zulu @ WBTP (Tampa, FL) 07: Master P and Westside Al Kapone (Jackson, MS) 08: Mad Linx reppin’ OZONE @ Justo’s Mixtape Awards (NYC) 09: Discovering Memphis co-hosts Candice Higgins and Sheba Potts-Wright reppin’ OZONE @ Doramus’ album release party (Memphis, TN) 10: JC Crunk crashes with a model after Calle Ocho (Miami, FL) 11: Kwame reppin’ OZONE @ Justo’s Mixtape Awards (NYC) 12: Marcus Jethro and Ruben Studdard (New Orleans, LA) 13: DJ Sao, Tone, and Big Z @ The CORE DJs conference (Miami, FL) 14: Pitbull gets his freak on @ Uncle Luke’s bachelor party (Los Angeles, CA) 15: P. Diddy showing off his award @ Justo’s Mixtape Awards (NYC) 16: Infamous Lil Larry and Kadife @ Greg Street’s car show (Atlanta, GA) 17: Juelz Santana and Pitbull @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 18: Khia and Big Mook @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 19: Boyz N Da Hood showing off their OZONE cover @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 20: Harold and Jay Love @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 21: Christina Clark and Jeska Manrique @ The CORE DJs conference (Miami, FL) Photo Credits: Al-My-T: #05,09 Big Mook: #01,18 Greg G: #20 H Vidal: #06 JC Crunk: #14 Julia Beverly: #02,03,08,10,11, 15,16,17,19 Lil Skrilla: #04 Marcus Jethro: #12 TJ Chapman: #13,21 Westside Al Kapone: #07 16
OZONE APR 2005
Where are you from? Ft. Myers, Florida. Everything I rap about is from the Ft. Myers perspective. I wanna welcome everybody to Ft. Myers. The Florida music scene is all fucked up right now. People in Florida don’t listen to Florida music. DJs in Florida don’t play Florida music. But me, everything about me is Southern. How did you start rapping? Was it something you dreamed of doing? Naw, I ain’t got too many of them sad stories. My brother was in prison and he kept talkin’ about fuckin’ with the music shit. I thought he was just talkin’ crazy, but when he got out it was something he really wanted to pursue. We were fuckin’ around in the studio and a lot of the concepts I was comin’ up with, everybody was feeling. Once, I was tryin’ to tell a nigga how to say the hook. My brother told me to say the hook in the booth, and when I said it he told me to stay in there. Ever since then, last year, the streets been fuckin’ with a nigga heavy. I ain’t really have no aspirations of being an artist. I don’t really like to be considered an artist. I don’t like to be labeled as a rapper, because rappers and niggas in prison tell the most lies. I’m a fan of the truth. Most of the shit that I hear ain’t really about the truth. The only thing I can do is bring my pen and pull this shit out from life experiences. Right now, the streets are telling me that I’m one of the few niggas out here that’s bringing the truth. What methods did you use to get your album out there? Good music gains legs. It’s real easy to find out if you got a hit or not. The streets gon’ tell you what you got, and that’s the format we used. We got a good little pipeline of niggas I dump music off to: Billy an’ Cool Runnings in Jacksonville, Tight Work in Gainesville, DJ Secret in Polk County, Goodie in the Miami area, and Clay D up in Orlando. How did you get your deal with Slip-N-Slide Records? We had a helluva - well, I don’t like to use the term buzz, cause that means you ain’t did shit yet - but we had a following in Ft. Myers. We had a few songs out, like “Tell Them Crackers That” and “Fix It,” and the feedback was crazy. [Slip-NSlide CEO Ted “Touche” Lucas] got ahold of our record down there in Miami, and he sent one of his A&Rs over here to get us to come down and fuck with him. That was about seven or eight months ago. Why did you decide to sign with Slip-N-Slide? Me and my brother sat down and talked, and it’s like, if we were gonna jump onto another indie I wanted to be on a label that’s a reflection of the type of music I’d be making. All of Slip-N-Slide’s music has been on some street shit. Plus, if they been in the game for ten years and their office is still on South Beach where they probably payin’ 5 G’s a month for rent, they must still have it together. What’s the status of your album at this point? We got an album already knocked out. One thing I hate about this music shit is that I can’t move when I wanna move. Everything’s a process. Everything has to be mapped out. At this point, Trick’s album is out of the way, and Trina’s finishing her shit up, so we’re next. We just got a blueprint we’re working on. We’ll continue to feed the streets with a lot of underground shit. What’s your next project? I got a big mixtape that I’ll be dropping for Black College Reunion. It’s hosted by Billy [from Cool Runnings] and it’s called Thirty Six Ounces. That’s a whole brick, for people who don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about. Hit me up at www.slipnsliderecords.net or 239-878-0089.
Rude Bwoy Entertainment, owned and operated by Jullian Andres Boothe, is currently releasing Pitbull’s album Welcome to the 305, consisting of unreleased tracks. The complilation features the smash single “Down South,” featuring Plies and Duece Poppi, as well as the reggaetone hit “Playa Haters.” The album also has updated production by Unusual Suspects, Taz, AOD Productions, and a hot upcoming produced named Elian. A video is coming soon for the “Playa Haters” remix featuring Trivales and Cubo. The album also features Trina, Lost Tribe, Cubo, Fezzy, Shauna K, Brian Bizz, Jackie, and Trivales. 305 Music is giving new talent in Miami a chance to shine. The label’s future plans include production deals and management deals for other upcoming dancehall, reggaetone, R&B, and rap artists.
OZONE APR 2005
In the past year, Pitbull has transformed from a local Miami hero to national Cuban representative. His official debut album, M.I.A.M.I. (Money is a Major Issue), is certified gold, but he hasn’t stopped hitting the streets with his underground Unleashed mixtape series. Pit’s so popular right now that a Miami label, Rudebwoy Entertainment in association with 305 Music, has put together an album of some of his previously unreleased material. The album, Welcome to the 305, will be released this May. Although Pit is contractually obligated to TVT and legally unable to discuss the album, we checked in with him to find out what life is like as a star. So your album is gold now, right? Thank God for that. And “Toma” is about to take off. The video just started playing. It’s gonna be the new joint of the day on 106th & Park tomorrow, so that’s huge for me. What’s changed for you over the past year? The deeper you get in this game, the more bullshit you gotta deal with. More money, more problems. You really start to see how greedy people are and how money affects relationships. Anybody that knows me knows that I’m still the same dude. I’m out here working, grinding. There ain’t no big changes in my life, other than my family’s lifestyle. Thank God I’m able to provide for them. Around you, though, everything changes, from the fans to the people within your own circle. Any major purchases in the last year? Property. I bought two apartments in Miami and I’m on my way upstate to buy more property. That’s all I give a fuck about: property. Soon it’s gonna be Pitbull Real Estate. I heard you have a shoe deal coming up with Reebok? Yeah, we’ve got Reebok and Nike on board. We’re trying to figure out who we’re gonna go with. We did some test things with Reebok just to show them we had a market, so now they wanna mess with me or whatever. We just gotta work it out. Not money wise, but movement wise. My movement is a little different because I’m able to touch two different worlds and jump in and out of them. Today, they’re really starting to see the power of Latinos. They see me as a marketing tool. What similarities do you see between Latin culture and hip-hop culture? It’s a lot of similarities. It all comes down to one struggle, and I think that’s what brings hip-hop together. Everybody has struggled to get what they want in life, and that’s what makes everybody relate to each other. We love music, basically. Music is the universal language. When you’ve got records like “Toma” or “Culo,” some people don’t know what the fuck they mean. People are still dancing together; that’s what breaks down barriers and makes the music bigger. Speaking of “Toma,” can you translate the Spanish words in that record for us? The hook to “Toma” basically means, “Crazy girl, come here, move it, move it / You want me to eat you? Open your legs.” Do radio stations edit Spanish words? I think you used to get away with a lot more, but ever since “Culo” came out they’ve been watching what I say. When you see the “Toma” video, you’ll notice that they pulled out a bunch of words.
Words & photo Julia Beverly
Besides promoting your album, what other projects are you working on? We’re gonna drop Unleashed Vol. 5 and then I’m gonna move onto something else. We’re doing more mixtapes and a DVD. I’m doing a bunch of shit this year. I’m also promoting P. Diddy’s new Bad Boy line. It’s me, T.I., and Lil Wayne. I think lyrically, T.I. and Wayne are really putting it down for the South, so it’s an honor for them to throw me in the same class. That just goes to show that I’m putting it down for Miami in a different way. My roots are in booty music, but my movement is different. I can jump on a reggaetone track or a crunk track, so I don’t want people to just look at me as a bootyshaking artist. I might do a record like “Toma,” but I’ve still got four mixtapes out there that’ll show you what else I can do. Do you think reggaetone will blow up commercially? I think they need to throw somebody out there as the king of reggaetone. Booty music had Luke and crunk has Lil Jon, so they need a king. I’m blessed to be able to jump on some reggaetone tracks, but I’m not a reggaetone artist. Puerto Rico holds that torch. OZONE APR 2005
Words Julia Beverly Photos Eric Johnson
Where are you from? Bay-Dilla: I grew up in Alaska. A-Sun: I’m from Rochester, New York. Dead Serious: I’m from Augusta but I’ve lived in Atlanta for ten years. How did Out Da Cutt Records get started? Bay-Dilla: In 1999, me and my brother Wookie had a homeboy in Alaska named Banana Red. He passed away a few years ago, and he had bought a beat machine. We always talked about getting a studio, but we were procrastinating. He bought the beat machine and we ended up buying all this studio equipment. We were just learning how to make beats, messing with it, and we came up with the idea to put out this group called Dem Villains in 1999. It was me, my brother, Wookie, our man HC, Little T, Rob Low, and Hot Rod. We were on some West coast gangsta rap shit. Did you release the album in Alaska? Bay-Dilla: Yeah, we put out three albums in Alaska. We were bouncing back and forth to Atlanta, and that’s where we bumped into Magic B. He’s my cousin from Rochester, and he’s a producer. He was like, “Yo, Atlanta’s the move.” In 2001 we moved the studio down here. Then some bullshit happened and my brother, my cousin, and my kid’s mom, they all got locked up. We were getting it how we lived. What was the independent label scene like in Alaska? Bay-Dilla: It’s a lot of haters, but if they love you, they love you. We’ve got Joker the Bailbondsman and the IE clique up there, and Mika and his clique the AK 49ers. My boy Third Wall moved out to Kansas City. What projects are you working on now? Bay-Dilla: I’m about to put out my solo album, Up North D-Boy. Everybody in Alaska’s been waiting for that for a while. My clique The Usual Suspects is behind me, and their album is gonna do way better than the last album. The first Usual Suspects album was a bunch of bullshit. We had to cut some people off to separate the real from the fake. A-Sun: Right now I got a couple joints done for my solo album, which will be out sometime in 2005. It’s gonna change the game. I know they’re tired of hearing everything watered down. Get ready, cause Out Da Cutt 22
OZONE APR 2005
is bringing something new to the game. The streets are never gonna be the same after we get done. Any real street nigga is gonna feel what I got to say, cause it’s all real. Ain’t nothing made up. When I talk about dope it’s because I sold it. When I talk about my guns, it’s because I really bust ‘em. It’s true stories. When do you expect to drop the album? Bay-Dilla: Be expecting a mixtape to promote the Usual Suspects and Up North D-Boy by mid summer. I’m doing it indie, but me and my boy Joker have been talking about doing some things together. We’re both from Alaska tryin’ to get it. We got a lil’ buzz so we’re gonna shoot a couple more videos and stuff. I got a couple people I hollered at once or twice, but I ain’t wanna do nothing til my record sells. I don’t wanna go at a major until we have a tremendous street buzz. How did the Usual Suspects (A-Sun and Dead Serious) meet? Bay-Dilla: A-Sun’s my cousin. He had got released from the Feds about four years ago and my brother told him to come to Altanta. My brother’s in jail, so I had to pick up where he left off. I’m gonna keep my word to him, so I ain’t gonna have A-Sun down here in Atlanta wasting time. We all know what could happen to somebody that’s been in there, trying to get rich quick. They might end up right back in the same predicament. A-Sun: I decided to come down here and try something different. Bay told me it was a chance to talk about what I’ve been through, you know, the same trials and tribulations everybody goes through in the hood. Bay-Dilla: Dead Serious is my man, I met him through Magic B. He’s just do or die, he’s whatever. All he does is rap. That’s his life. Why were you locked up? A-Sun: Possession of a weapon and drug trafficking. Actually the first time I ever rapped was in prison. Bay and them had just dropped their album How We Roll Up North. I did the intro over the phone and it turned out to be the hottest verse on there. I’ve been rapping ever since. Why did you decide to name the label Out Da Cutt Records? Bay-Dilla: When I tell people I’m from Alaska, they’re like, “Yeah, right,
nigga, you ain’t from Alaska.” And my man A-Sun, he’s from Rochester. A lot of people ain’t really know they got artists poppin’ up every day from Rochester, like Tweet and other artists that’s on 106th & Park. We’re just trying to make our mark in Alaska and Atlanta. People have a certain perception of Alaska, that it’s just a cold barren place. Is that accurate? Bay-Dilla: No. I’ll tell you this - four people got killed in ten days recently. Right now we had a short winter. All the ice was pretty much melted by mid-March, so we’re already pullin’ out the whips on 22’s and trucks on 24’s. In the summertime it doesn’t get dark in Alaska. It’s light 24 hours a day, literally. In the wintertime it might get dark at 6 PM, though. It might get 35-40 degrees below zero. Are you based in Atlanta now? Bay-Dilla: My studio is down here in Decatur, Georgia, because this is where I’ve lived for a year. I’ve been back and forth for four years. I’m gonna open up another studio in Alaska so we’ll have Out Da Cutt North and Out Da Cutt South. Is your style more Southern now that you’re in Atlanta? Bay-Dilla: My style is versatile. I’ve been to the West, East, North, and South, and I sat back for the last three years and studied nigga’s raps. When I step to the plate, I’m bringin’ the heat. I got that d-boy music. I know everybody from the traps. Most of the songs on this album are personal. I’ve
got a song called “Letter to My Family.” It’s three verses, and in each one I’m talkin’ to somebody that went to jail. It’s been four years since I rapped. I’m explaining to people where my brother is, I’m setting the record straight. I’m puttin’ the A-Town stomp down on Alaska. A-Sun: I got money in New York, Pennsylvania, Alaska, and Atlanta, so I fit in anywhere. I wouldn’t compare myself to nobody. I grew up listening to the LOX, Jay-Z, and Master P. I like T.I. and Young Jeezy. People from my hometown say I sound country, and people from Atlanta say I sound like I’m from New York. Dead Serious: I’m the only Southern guy out of the camp, so I’m the dirty South guy with the real deep accent. I’m versatile, though. I’m more than just a Southern rapper, but I am deeply rooted in the South. I’m way beyond a Southern rapper. I’m a world rapper. Are there any features on the album? Bay-Dilla: “It’s Going Down” with Bun B and “Knuckle Up” with Killer Mike. A-Sun and Dead Serious are featured on both of those songs also. Anything else you want to say? Bay-Dilla: Keep your eyes peeled for our producer Magic B. Atlanta, Florida, North, East, West, South, no matter where you go, everybody knows Bay-Dilla. Shoutout to my 907 Gangstas: P-Nut, Little T, Killer Snake, Big Cheese, Dub, and Lil Meze. Dead Serious: Look out for Bay-Dilla, the Usual Suspects, Dead Serious, Magic B, and A-Sun. My album is coming out in 2005. And I love OZONE Magazine, too. I read every edition.
PASTOR TROY FACE OFF 2 Money & the Power/MADD Society
PIMP C SWEET JAMES JONES STORIES Rap-A-Lot/Asylum
It’s always refreshing when an artist is able to step outside their comfort zone and challenge themselves. Outkast have become legends by doing exactly that. Pastor Troy’s new album, Face Off 2, ventures into unexplored territory.
Before I begin, let’s get this disclaimer out of the way: In my eyes, Pimp C can do no wrong. I feel that he is the epitome of all Southern rap artists, and I will argue with you to high noon if you disagree with me. I might even resort to calling your immediate family horrendously degrading names if need be to prove my point is valid.
Even though the Pastor has been known to make the kind of music that you feel deep down in your soul, this collection of songs touches a different nerve. After a haunting rendition of the classic Bone Thugs & Harmony “Ouija Are You With Me” (appropriately retitled “PT Are You With Me”) PT commences the aural assault with “WWW (Who Wan War)”. It’s the classic Pastor Troy war cry over a real European-sounding track. It’s a great balance of hard rhymes over a softer beat. Next, we have the Pastor Troy we’ve grown to love with his classic underground single “Murda Man,” where he takes a shot at the reigning King of crunk, Lil Jon (“Lil Jon used to be my homie, used to be my ace / Now I wanna slap the taste out your mouth”). Dr. Dre must be so proud. Although this album does include the prerequisite booty club songs, get crunk in the club songs, and I’m-gonfuck-a-nigga-up songs, the shining moment is the cut “Acid Rain (In Loving Memory of Kurt Cobain)” with featured vocals from Sky. There’s magic that happens when Pastor Troy’s voice is paired with electric guitars. His voice lets us hear the raw emotion in the vocals. The album is worth purchasing for this song alone. True Pastor Troy fans have nothing to worry about, though. I can’t really see Pastor Disaster flippin’ the script anytime soon and going the heavy metal route. Outside of the hilarious Pimpin’ Ken interlude and the Kurt Cobain tribute, the best moment on the disc is the last record, the drum & bass joint “Keep On Movin’.” This song features a nice sampled hook from the Soul II Soul classic of the same name. I don’t think any of these “crunk” era artists have the nuts to try something like that, let alone pull it off. I strongly suggest picking this one up to add to your collection. - Wally Sparks, email@example.com 28
OZONE APR 2005
Anyway, let’s get on to the review of the new Pimp C album, Sweet James Jones Stories. Here we have 14 tracks of old-school Pimp C rhymes cut and pasted over some dope new beats. There’s also some newer unheard beats that may have been recorded recently. It’s hard to tell if some of these Pimp C masters were outtakes from the UGK masters like the posthumous Tupac catalog, or poorly recorded new verses spliced in to create brand new songs. Either way, I have mixed feelings about the finished product. On one hand, there are some songs that could easily become classics, like “I’s A Playa,” featuring Bun B, Z-Ro and Twista. That’ll have you itching for that UGK reunion album. But along with the good, there are a few miscalculations. “Get My Money,” featuring the Milwaukee Mack Pimpin’ Ken, has a dope premise, but doesn’t live up to its potential. Right after “Get My Money” is the bass-guitar driven funkfest “Young Prostitute,” which sounds like the old Bar-Kays and Funkadelic albums my uncles used to play while they were making me wash their Regals. That joint will definitely be appreciated by the older crowd, but not the younger. The best thing about this album really is Pimp C himself. Many UGK fans may be somewhat disappointed by the album, but still glad to hear Pimp C on wax again. Any real fan of Southern hip-hop music should have this album in their collection out of sheer respect. Plus, the beats are dope. Pimp C can do no wrong, remember? - Wally Sparks, firstname.lastname@example.org
BIG BOI, KILLER MIKE, BUBBA SPARXXX, & THE APHILLIATES GOT THAT PURP Purple Ribbon This mixtape/album is sort of a reintroduction to some familiar names (Killer Mike and Bubba Sparxx) and formal introduction to the rest of Big Boi’s Purple Ribbon batallion (Konkrete and Scar). Good music is always the best form of promotion, and this mixtape accomplishes that goal nicely. Got That Purp is full of bangin’ new exclusive joints from the entire Purple Ribbon roster, Dungeon Family throwback tracks, freestyles, and rare remixes. Mixed by the Aphilliates’ DJ Drama, Don Cannon, and DJ Sense, the mixtape kicks off with a dope-ass joint called “Oh No” featuring Big Boi, Bubba, and often overlooked DF rapper Backbone. There’s another version of this song floating around with Killer Mike on it, but I prefer this version. The MVP of this mixtape has got to be Killer Mike. The first freestyle featured is a classic from an earlier Gangsta Grillz mixtape over the Kanye West-produced “Ain’t No Love” instrumental (“While you was in yo’ PJs watchin’ Cartoon Network, I was networkin’ learnin’ how to serve wet work”). For the second freestyle, Killer Mike uses the backdrop of the 112 bedroom joint “Cupid” and proceeds to absolutely murder (figuratively, and literally) the track with a story of drugs, guns, and violence. It’s simply amazing. It’s a breath of fresh air to hear an MC be an MC again, regardless of the subject matter. Other standout cuts are “Margarita,” featuring Sleepy Brown, Big Boi, and Pharrell, and “Pocket Full of Midz,” which is Bubba Sparxxx’ take on the UGK classic “Pocket Full of Stones.” This disc does not disappoint, and is a must-have for any Dungeon Family fan. - Wally Sparks, email@example.com
01: DJ Drama (hosted by Lil Wayne) “Dedication” 404-524-1266 or GangstaGrillz.com Atlanta, GA 02: DJ Bobby Black (hosted by Mike Jones) “Down & Dirty X” 770-995-2022 or DJBobbyBlack.com Atlanta, GA 03: DJ Suggablack “Street Radio Vol. 1: Live from the Hood” DJSuggab firstname.lastname@example.org NYC 04: DJ Chuck T “Down South Slangin’ Vol. 13” www.DJChuckT.com Charleston, SC 05: What’s Hood ”Diplomatic Instrumentals” WhatsHood@gmail. com
06: DJ Southpaw & DJ Swishocolate (hosted by Arrogant) “The Emissaries” DJ Southpaw40@aol.com Ft. Myers, FL 07: DJ 007 “For the Grown and Sexy” DJ007@tmail.com or 407-963-4 166 Ft. Myers, FL 08: Murda One Sound “Mello Vibez Vol. 3” www.m1sound.com or 407-716-3168 Orlando, FL
DJ Vlad “Hot in Here Vol. 6” www.DJVlad.com Hot tracks: #07 - Fantasia b/w “Still Tippin’” #09 - 2Pac b/w “Lovers & Friends” #21 - Jay-Z b/w “Shine On” #33 - Notorious B.I.G. b/w “One Thing”
09: DJ G-Money “Heat on the Street”
10: DJ Aspekt & DJ Quake (hosted by Wyclef) “Perfect 10” DJAspekt@tmail.com or DJQuake@tmail.com Miami, FL 11: DJ Bishop “Chingy vs. Nelly Vol. 1 (F.E.D.S. Magazine)” NYC 12: DJ Scream (hosted by Boyz N Da Hood) “Only the Crunk Survive Vol. 9” 770-875-3544 Atlanta, GA 13: DJ Rondevu “The Four Horsemen” DJRondevu.com NYC
14: DJ Lex (hosted by Stat Quo) “Determined to Win” SilentKillahDJLex.com 15: Voice of the Streets “All Eyes on 50 Cent” VoiceofDaStreetz.co m or 407-256-8487 Orlando, FL 16: P Cutta “Street Wars Vol. 12” www.PCutta.com NYC 16: DJ Sky “R&B Vibes” DJSky70@aol.com
18: DJ Warrior & DJ Strong “El Reggaeton Mix” WestCoastMixtapeKings.com or 310-384-4202 Los Angeles, CA 19: Mitchell Boy (hosted by BJ That Down South Country Boy) “Audio Narcotics 2” MitchellBoyEntertainment.com 20: White Boi Pizal (hosted by David Banner) “Block Burner” 407-227-1631 or WhiteBoiPizal.net Orlando, FL
OZONE APR 2005
ance by the icon Quincy Jones. Da Backwudz take advantage of this opportunity by creating clever verses mixing in magazine names and record labels to fit the rhyme sceme. “In Double X-L, Murder Dog, the Source, on Vibes, I’m Rolling Stones in late model rides, homey. I’m Grand Hustling, Disturbing the Peace, I’m So Def putting Organized Noize in the streets.” Rest assured, by the end of the song, you’re gonna luv it. TJ’S DJ’S 4th QUARTER TASTEMAKERS ONLY XCLUSIVES CD Disc 2 (www.TJsDJs.com) EE-DE f. RASHEEDA / LET’S GET TO IT (COLLIPARK REMIX) – NME Contact: NME Records – 404.885.5754 Ee-De “beats it from the front back and side to side,” that’s why he’s known as Mr. Up & Down. So, imagine how your speakers are going to feel when mega-producer Beatz-In-Azz (BG’s “I Want It”) gets on the track to enhance the vibration. It must feel good because the Georgia peach Rasheeda was inspired to write a beautifully erotic sweet 16 to accompany the tune. Bonus points go to TJ’s DJ’s CEO, TJ Chapman for having the vision to A&R this project. WOLFPAK f. MURDA BLAK / GET NASTY – VISHOUS VIBES Contact: Lamont Nanton – 866.428.4237 Q-Beatz uses the Newcleus classic, “Jam On It” as a backdrop to have the Wolfpak bring a new nasty twist for the dance floor. When you listen to this tune, the one thing you can’t do is sit still. Once the beat drops you’ll find yourself wanting to shake a tailfeather. “Get Nasty” on record is jamming, but when you witness the energy expelled from the Wolfpak while performing; it is a sight to behold. Visit WolfpakMusic.com to find out for yourself. TAMPA TONY / WINE – ISABOMB Contact: David “Fifalow” Gay – 813.785.7903 Go shawty, just wine to the beat! Don’t know what wine is? It’s when the booty rides the beat from side to side. Tampa Tony keeps the chicks jukin’ with another Tampa nugget. SUAVE SMOOTH / CLAP THAT ASS – HEADQUARTER Contact: Jermaine Watkins – 561.389.5525 The West Palm Beach double threat is back! He’s vicious on the mic and the beats. “Clap That Ass” is no different as he rocks the bass line giving tribute to all of the thick women. Watching the strippers give this tune life gives a whole new meaning to the thunder clap. PRETTIE RICKIE & THE MAVERIX / SO FRESH, SO CLEAN – SUPERSTAR Contact: Phil – 754.235.9204 This song was produced by the original problem child, Total Kaos. He inserts classic Florida horns and utilizes the rewind button masterfully giving this tune a unique perspective. Prettie Rickie & The Maverix put their bid in as to what makes them so fresh and clean. When you “go to church and pay your tithes with a platinum Visa,” you get extra points. DA BACKWUDZ / YOU GONNA LUV ME – ROWDY Contact: Spearhead X – 678.698.4802 Milwaukee Black masterfully produced a track that will do nothing but ring in your mind for some time to come. This song is poised to be huge, especially with a special personal clear30
OZONE APR 2005
JODY / COMEBACK – FLORIDA BOY Contact: Furquann – 904.545.5539 Jody borrows the Isley Brothers “Come Back” to make a song “for everyone that’s got somebody that they ain’t wit right now.” You can feel Jody express his pain through his verses reminiscing about the one that got away. Jody’s not without hope knowing that one day she’ll return, until that day he follows Jay-Z’s lead and makes the song cry. PICASO f. 2PAC & I.U. / GHETTO BLUES – MCS Contact: Zodman – 212.532.8050 Whenever 2Pac blesses the mic from his hidden depot in Cuba it is easy for any accompanying artist to be lost in the shadow. Picaso & I.U. do a good job establishing themselves as their own entity. Their stories networked with the production become uplifting although the theme of the tune is telling hood tales. GOLDEN CHILD / WE GOT THAT – DIGITAL SOUL Contact: Doc – 202.561.5838 “We Got That” brings an old school flavor mixed with a new attitude. The understated beat allows Golden Child to flow as if he’s on a mission to prove that D.C. has real lyricists in its midst. Or, more specifically Golden Child knows he is “the untouchable lyrical terrorist with the skills to knock anyone off the premises.” With a confidence like that, Golden Child won’t need a recount for the truth to be heard. ARCHIE EVERSOLE / GIMME ROOM (CRUNK MIX) – MOBB STAR Contact: Arlinda Garrett – 404.886.4650 Archie Eversole attacks this track like a 46 defense in Madden ’05! Archie is often underrated as a true lyricist. If you don’t give him room to do his thing, he’ll bite back and force you to listen to his bars. Whenever he touches the mic, beware and hide the kids because it’s about to get ugly. XTREMISTS / IS IT JUST US – HARSH REALITY Contact: Mass – 561.319.7221 These children of the cotton pickers have honored the legacy of their ancestors by alerting listeners to the evils of the word. The Xtremists are reminiscent of a Southern Public Enemy by pointing out the wrongs in our society. Asking “is it justice or just us,” they wonder why the courts are systematically destroying their culture and destroying their people. The most enjoyable part of the tune is in the piano riffs that set the insightful tone of the track. VERBAL SCIENCE f. YOUNG CITY (Bad Boy) / WATCHU RIDIN ON – HOT 4 EVA Contact: Short-E – 813.810.4684 Missing in action since his departure from MTV’s “Making The Band 2,” Young City (a.k.a. Chopper) makes an a appearance in Tampa with Verbal Science. Blinging? Big blades on your rides? Is that what’s hot in the streets right now? Well, if you got it like that, either you
can make the song or you cannot make the song. Verbal Science and Young City together prove that they can make a song and don’t need Wyclef. UNCLE HEAD f. CUTTHOAT & CHUCK / GET DIRTY – BOTTOM LYNE Contact: Uncle Head – 850.980.2725 Uncle Head, formerly of the Splack Pack (and Palm Beach, bitch!) continues to drop bangin’ cuts with new Bottom Lyne riders Cutthoat & Chuck. This is a pure ridin’ tune that will have the speakers preaching a hard bass line motivating you to move. Look out for Palm Beach’s favorite uncle as he continues to wiggle and poot his way to the top. DARK HEART / YA GET SKEETED ON – DARK HEART Contact: Flem Black – 813.784.5956 “Ya Gitt Skeeted On” is one of the rare tracks that is self-explanatory. Dark Heart made a song that lists all of the people they have issues with that would provoke them to skeet. For instance, if a girl thinks she’s too cute, “ya gitt skeeted on.” The heavy use of horns in the production is Funk Boogie-ish (producer, “Take It To The House”) and creates a South Florida feel. CHARLIE BOY / WHERE I STAY UP – GOTTA GET IT Contact: Charles Roswell – 561.541.1896 It ain’t where ya from, it’s where ya at. Charlie Boy is proud to let you know where he resides in W. Palm Beach (bitch!). He loved it so much he wrote a song about. Like to hear it? Here it goes. “Where I Stay Up” is a tune that even if you aren’t from WPB, with production this jammin’ you can feel why Charlie Boy is proud of his town. THE SHOCK / JUMP – FUTURE SHOCK Contact: Nick Stamps – 850.251.2059 The hook is “right cheek…jump!, left cheek… jump!” If you can catch a girl that can do that, she is a great talent indeed in need of The Shock. The Shock brings attention to the talented women that are able to have great gluteus maximus control and skills. This is a talent that until now has gone tragically uncelebrated. VELLIE BOYZ / ISLAND – LOCKDOWN Contact: Larry Cornelius – 954.579.4646 The Vellie Boyz sit back in lounge chairs dreaming of what it would be like to be rich and live on your own island. The beat has elements of a Caribbean sound that makes you feel the mist of the crashing waves. Biggie noted, mo’ money mo’ problems, but some problems are good problems. BLACK BOY / MY LIFE – FLORIDA BOY Contact: Furquann – 904.545.5539 Black Boy knows life isn’t easy, especially what he has endured. He felt it best to warn others that the fast thug life isn’t always the best way. This is a warning disguised as a head bobbing smooth tune. Hopefully, Black Boy’s listeners will heed the cautious lines. DONUT / DJ – FIVE Contact: Cassandra Montgomery – 318.218.9082 This melody is a slow jam dedicated to the heartbeat of every dance, the DJ. Try slow grinding in the club without a tune and see how fast a pimp slap can make your head spin like The Exorcist. Donut displays a suave style over this grooving sample of sensual sounds. If a DJ uses this song right, they’ll find the discs won’t be the only thing getting cut up that night. - Keith “1st Prophet” Kennedy, email@example.com
Event: WLLD’s Wildsplash Venue: Coachman Park Location: Clearwater, FL Date: March 12th, 2005 Traditionally, traffic for Wild 98.7’s annual Wildplash at Coachman Park (1) is backed up miles away. 2005 is no exception. After a morning of bumper-to-bumper stop-and-go, the OZONE/CRUNK truck comes to a rest at a makeshift parking lot several blocks away from the park. Brooke Valentine (2) starts things off, and next up is Pitbull. People are still filtering into the park. Florida afternoons in early March are gorgeous. Clear blue sky, sun shining, but not too hot. Event organizers couldn’t have picked a better date (or a better caterer). Wildsplash performance lineups are typically strange, sandwiching acts like Capleton and The Roots between radio favorites like Pitbull and Mario. It makes for a huge, diverse audience, an odd 20,000 person melting pot of hoodrats, teenyboppers, and rastamen.
After Pitbull’s set, Capleton launches into an extended rendition of reggae favorites. His nearly hour-long performance is either spectacular or boring, depending on who you ask. Still, he’s well-received, considering that the majority of the crowd isn’t familiar with his music. Capleton is followed by heartthrob Mario (3). The entire front row of 14-year-old girls is swooning and mouthing “I love you” as he performs his massive hit “U Should Let Me Love You” and his new single, “How Could You?”
While Mario entertains fans backstage, The Roots (4, 5) naturally come through as the highlight of the day. Performing hip-hop songs with a live band is a difficult feat within itself, and The Roots are well-practiced. Along with their own hits (“You Got Me,” “Don’t Say Nuthin’”), they’ve made a career of covering other artists’ singles live (Destiny’s Child’s “Uh Oh,” Game’s “How We Do”). Their covers are so convincing, at times it’s difficult to recall who’s the original artist.
The crowd is quiet for the first half of The Roots’ set. It’s been a long day, and they’re unfamiliar with the material. But by the second half, The Roots’ energy and superb showmanship has won them over (6). The Roots exit stage left to a loud ovation, but Black Thought looks pissed. “That crowd was whack,” he grumbles. Maybe the entire audience didn’t appreciate The Roots’ artistic set, but they certainly won over several new fans in the process. As Black Thought climbs down the steps, a teenage girl grabs him, screaming, “You’re better than 50! You’re better than Em! You’re better than all those muthafuckers! You’re my new favorite rapper!”
After a long delay, the headliners Baby and Lil Wayne finally arrive on tour buses. Wayne runs through renditions of classic joints like “Tha Block is Hot” and “Way of Life” mixed with material from his new album, The Carter. After introducing his new artists Young City and his “pa” Baby, Wayne strips down (7) and drives the crowd into a frenzy with “Go DJ.” Everybody stayed amped til the very end.
- JB & KG (Photos: JB & Luis Santana) OZONE APR 2005