YOUR FAVORITE RAPPER’S FAVORITE MAGAZINE
RICK ROSS WHITE ON WHITE PHANTOM CRUNCHY BLACK ON LEAVING THREE 6
UNCLE LUKE vs. HIS EX BIRMINGHAM, AL PROUD TO BE BAMA
ACAFOOL YO GOTTI
NEW ORLEANS’ NINTH WARD 9 MONTHS LATER
TWISTED BLACK YUNG JOC SQAD UP PITBULL K-RINO FIEND Z-RO KHIA DAZ
PUBLISHER/EDITOR: Julia Beverly MUSIC EDITOR: Maurice G. Garland ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Matt Sonzala ADVERTISING SALES: Che’ Johnson (Gotta Boogie) Greg G PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR: Malik “Copafeel” Abdul MARKETING CONSULTANT: David Muhammad LEGAL CONSULTANT: Kyle P. King, P.A. (King Law Firm) SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER: Destine Cajuste MEDIA RELATIONS: Cynthia L. Coutard ADMINISTRATIVE: Cordice Gardner Nikki Kancey Tana Hergenraeder CONTRIBUTORS: ADG, Amanda Diva, Bogan, Carlton Wade, Charlamagne the God, Charles Parsons, Chuck T, E-Feezy, Edward Hall, Felita Knight, Iisha Hillmon, Jacinta Howard, Jaro Vacek, Jessica Koslow, J Lash, Jason Cordes, Jo Jo, Johnny Louis, Kamikaze, Keadron Smith, Keith Kennedy, K.G. Mosley, Killer Mike, King Yella, Lamar Lawshe, Lisa Coleman, Marcus DeWayne, Mercedes (Strictly Streets), Natalia Gomez, Ray Tamarra, Rico Da Crook, Robert Gabriel, Rohit Loomba, Shannon McCollum, Spiff, Swift, Wally Sparks, Wendy Day STREET REPS: Al-My-T, B-Lord, Big Teach (Big Mouth), Bigg C, Bigg V, Black, Brian Franklin, Buggah D. Govanah (On Point), Bull, C Rola, Cedric Walker, Chill, Chilly C, Chuck T, Controller, DJ Dap, David Muhammad, Delight, Derrick the Franchise, Dolla Bill, Dwayne Barnum, Dr. Doom, Ed the World Famous, Episode, General, Haziq Ali, H-Vidal, Hollywood, J Fresh, Jammin’ Jay, Janky, Joe Anthony, Judah, Kamikaze, KC, Klarc Shepard, Kuzzo, Kydd Joe, Lex, Lil D, Lump, Marco Mall, Miguel, Mr. Lee, Music & More, Nick@Nite, Nikki Kancey, Pat Pat, PhattLipp, Pimp G, Quest, Raj Smoove, Rippy, Rob-Lo, Stax, TJ’s DJ’s, TJ Bless, Trina Edwards, Vicious, Victor Walker, Voodoo, Wild Billo, Young Harlem DISTRIBUTION: Curtis Circulation, LLC To subscribe, send check or money order for $11 to Ozone Magazine, Inc. 1310 W. Colonial Dr. Suite 10 Orlando, FL 32804 Phone: 407-447-6063 Fax: 407-447-6064 Web: www.ozonemag.com Cover credits: Rick Ross photo by Julia Beverly; Sqad Up photo by Jaro Vacek; Pitbull photo by Ray Tamarra. OZONE Magazine is published monthly 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 2006 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.
INTERVIEWS Crunchy Black pg 22 Twisted Black pg 30 G-Dash pg 68-69 K-Rino pg 56-58 Fiend pg 52-53 Z-Ro pg 60-62 Khia pg 72-74 Yo Gotti pg 26 Acafool pg 46 Pitbull pg 48 Daz pg 76 FEATURES New Orleans’ Ninth Ward pg 88-99 A Day In the Life Of Yunc Joc pg 70 Birmingham, AL pg 84-85
Rick Ross pg 78-81 Sqad Up pg 64-66
MONTHLY SECTIONS Photo Galleries pg 21-47 CD Reviews pg 102-103 Mathematics pg 18-19 Mixtapes pg 104-105 DVD Reviews pg 108 Roland Powell pg 17 Feedback pg 12-14 Industry 101 pg 28 JB’s 2 Cents pg 17 Chin Check pg 20 DJ Profile pg 82 Live pg 113-114 Flipside pg 24
With cats on your team like Che Boogie and articles on Saigon, you not only got your finger on the game you got your foot in it. Thanks for keepin’ me up on this biz shit! Keep talkin’ to the thugs and takin’ all those pictures. – J Lanski, firstname.lastname@example.org (Philadelphia, PA) know you all in the South really show so much love, that’s *whyYou the South ain’t dyin’ no time soon. I do some music business in the South and I always tell my people in D.C. that this is the way it’s supposed to be done. – E Dot Bay, email@example.com (Washington, DC)
Much thanks for the exposure you have helped place on Dallas/Ft. Worth artists. We are focused to make sure that this is a long standing relationship between DFW and OZONE Magazine. One thing I’m sure of is that you will witness a steady and prosperous grind from the Big Ben camp. I assure you that there was no ink wasted on the article “Dallas Got Next” by Matt Sonzala. Thanks for believing! – Stuart “Sarge” Wallace, firstname.lastname@example.org (Dallas, TX)
I work in the broadcasting industry and I am very familiar with the way the media twists stories. I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you for providing the forum and allowing the Bishop of Crunk to tell his side of the story. On the day that the accident occurred I was in Atlanta and was supposed to get up with him to get music for my mixtape. I had just spoken to him earlier that week. I have known the Bishop for ten years now from when we worked together as teenagers for the Atlanta Olympic games. When I got the news about the accident there was a lot of speculation as to what happened. At first I was disappointed but then I thought to myself, Bishop isn’t on that stuff. We tried to find out what hospital he was in but no one would give us any answers. I think it was very cool of you to allow him to tell his own story and clear up all of the rumors. You know how the hip-hop industry is, and people are always looking for the next controversy. – G-Smove, email@example.com (Columbus, GA) Thank you, OZONE Magazine, for helping to shine a light on South *Carolina hip-hop! It has been great to finally see South Carolina getting some shine on hip-hop’s radar. Although it is impossible to cover all South Carolina artists, thanks for your coverage of Piazo, Lil Ru, Collard Greens, DJ B-Lord, and all others covered. – Kingsley Waring, firstname.lastname@example.org (Columbia, SC)
I have been reppin’ South Carolina now in the music industry for about fifteen years. I was featured in, or helped out with, South Carolina spreads in The Source, Down, Murder Dog, and several other magazines that have done write-ups on South Carolina artists. But the OZONE Bike Week special edition was the most thorough, complete, in-depth, well-rounded representation of South Carolina in a magazine that I have ever seen! When I first got the email from Chuck T about it I was smug as usual, because even though it sounds great, it usually comes out weak or lopsided. But your issue was page after page after page of artists that I not only have heard of, but have actually booked and done work with. You don’t know how many times cats here in South Carolina use those little opportunities to blackball, sideswipe, and overlook South Carolina cats that are doing it for real. I can’t stand opening magazines and seeing someone reppin’ South Carolina that no one has ever heard of and they haven’t put any grind time in. Although the spread was mostly focused on street-oriented artists, all of those artists in that magazine – even promo rep Rob-Lo – I can vouch for. I’ve seen their grind first-hand or heard about them from one of the other cats in that magazine. So OZONE, I just want to say thank you for reppin’ my state so well. From this point on, I will make it my business to see that the companies I am involved with do business with you. I’ve never been a supporter of ad dollars for national mags, only local mags like Urban Pages, until now. I’d be proud to spend my money with y’all. Thanks a million times. Nothin’ but SC love. – Shekeese the Beast, email@example.com (Columbia, SC) 12
JB, keep doing your thing. You’re good at what you do so fuck whoever’s got a bad word to say about you. OZONE is the new street bible. You got the hottest pictures, great articles, and no other magazine can touch your interviews. That’s why they hate, but fuck ‘em. It’s not your fault their shit ain’t what’s happenin’. Muthafuckers need to step their game up instead of hating on OZONE. I can’t say it enough: fuck ‘em! – DJ Cube, firstname.lastname@example.org (Columbus, OH) good OZONE? I like how you rep the South to the death, *butWhat’s your boy Roland Powell with his comment on how the South
doesn’t need help from New York is bullshit. We all need each other to make this hip-hop thing last. I don’t think New York is hating on South music, I just think New York is mad that so many garbage artists are trying to be like the South and make radio-dance-get crunk type songs. That’s the South’s thing, and New York should learn that they can only bring to the table what they’ve been bringing for years – good lyricism. On another note, where the fuck does Cam’Ron get off dissing Hov? Cam’Ron is a bitch. I’m from Harlem and I grew up around 145th & Lenox. Dude has always been pussy and so has Jim Jones and Zeeky. I don’t know too much about Juelz but I know that the only real niggas in the whole camp back then was Mgruff, Big L, and Blodshed. Ya boy Cam is puss and if he’s the don he claims he is then why the hell did he let G-Unot diss Juelz on stage? Fuckin’ clown, a.k.a. the Pink Gangsta Cam-Ron Tam-Pon. – Tyreke Williams, email@example.com (Harlem, NY)
In the feedback of your June issue, someone used my name in *an article going off on Plies. There is only one Jessica Freeman in
Ft. Myers and that’s me. I would like a retraction done to that article since I didn’t say any of that stuff. I’ve known Nod (Plies) and his brother Ronnell for over 20 years and I can honestly say Nod is one of the coolest people you’ll ever meet. I know who wrote the article and used my name because the dumb bitch had to put her name in it some where for the attention. Also, why would I use my real name on some shit like that? If I have anything to say to anyone I let them know directly. I don’t print bullshit about them in a fuckin’ magazine. There’s enough money out here for everyone to make so if you don’t like Plies you don’t have to buy his shit. If you’re going to be woman enough to talk shit about someone, be woman enough to stand behind your words and use your own name next time, bitch. - Jessica Freeman, SupaStah68@hotmail.com (Ft. Myers, FL)
I read the July issue of JB’s 2 Cents and you say “nobody in your backyard knows” how big OZONE has become. I beg to differ. While I’m a survey of one, I do recognize what you have done. As an independent record label with start up artists, Image Records has to grind and fight many of the same issues as you did with the big guys. – Dino DeRose, firstname.lastname@example.org (Orlando, FL)
Hey OZONE, just picked up issue number 47 and read the 2 Cents where you said Flyidcg a.k.a. Flyi da cool guy texted you about violence in Jacksonville. I will agree with him that Jacksonville, FL is a very violent city. All the media outlets, not just your magazine, have the power to help stop some of the senseless violence that is going on in our inner cities. I hope for goodness sake we don’t have many more murders here, or anywhere else for that matter. We have a lot of young people that are killing each other over some of the most silliest issues. Please ask your readers again and again to stop hating on each other and stop the violence! Big ups to Flyidcg and other artists like Shot Out for trying to put an end or at least slow down our murder rate from rising. Together we can make it work. – Adam Italian, email@example.com (Jacksonville, FL)
feedback you probably get this all the time, but I just thought I’d *giveJB,youI know props on all your accomplishments. I have been a subscriber
for a few years and I have read all your 2 Cents. I know you get a lot of hate from people for being a white girl in the rap industry doing your thing and being so successful. I saw you down in Miami on Memorial Day weekend and you were so courteous and stopped to give me and my girl some new issues. I have you as a friend on Myspace and always read all the bulletins, you really keep people up on the new and upcoming. Anyway I just thought I’d take a second to say thanks, because I have done some promotional work for some record labels and clothing lines down there and have come across some of the biggest successful assholes ever. Just wanted to show some love, looking forward to the next issue. – Brittney, firstname.lastname@example.org
First off, thanks for showing love to the Dallas rap scene going back *to the 90s. Most people (even those around here) don’t know how long
D-Town has been on the grind. I do have a question on one influential emcee from the early Dallas days, MC Ron C (the real one, more on that later). No love for Ron? Nemesis’ DJ Snake was his producer, and he made some classic music around ’88-’89. I went to school with Ron C, Kottonmouth, and Ra’Koo (Bryan Adams). A few years ago I was excited to hear that Ron C (now going by the OG Ron C) was down with Swisha House, until I ran into Ron at our homie’s barbershop and he informed me that it wasn’t him. He was, in fact, incarcerated with the fake Ron, and when they got out, BOOM! OG Ron C was born! Now coming from the streets, I know how shit can get twisted, so I am trying to see if you can verify who the Houston Ron C is and where he got his name from. Let me know what’s up, cause every time I hear the name OG Ron C, it burns me up! – E Bang, email@example.com (Dallas, TX)
or people associated with certain artists. – Adrian Dantley, firstname.lastname@example.org up JB. I’m part of the Miami movement that’s going on in *the What 305. I got a little buzz but money is just stopping me from get-
ting bigger. I got my shit on the underground radio stations, a few mixtapes, and did drops for a couple DJs. I also got 30 CORE DJs playing my shit. I like you – not relationship-wise even though you’re fine as fuck – but you’re cool as hell. You’re getting bigger and yet you still ain’t turned Hollywood; you still be in the hood. I got a lot of respect for you. – Dadeking@aol.com (Miami, FL)
I copped the last four OZONE mags because I see how y’all get *down with the indies. So now it’s Murder Dog and OZONE, my two
favorites, even though I buy at least 15 different hip-hop magazines every month. I got to keep up with what’s going on in different regions. Keep up the good work. – PR Dean, email@example.com
First of all, I just want to give you props for grinding and making OZONE one of the top magazines. But I have to ask you – what kind of sense does it make to have a DJ review another DJ’s mixtape? That’s like having the owner of one record store conduct reviews of other record stores. Of course the owner isn’t going to recommend the other stores highly because he wants people to shop at HIS store. As a DJ, speaking on behalf of other DJs, I really don’t understand how the rating system is fair. But much continued success to OZONE. – DJ Burn One, firstname.lastname@example.org really want to know what’s the politics behind your Miami Memo*rialIDay issue. I’ve been telling you about Webbz, Jimmy Henchmen’s
new artist, but have received no love. It’s not usual for Jimmy Henchmen to handpick an artist from The Bottom and put him on his selective roster. I ride for The Bottom, but many of the artists who were featured in your issue don’t even have a buzz or release anticipation close to Webbz. I’m an avid reader of your mag and hold it dear to me like I used to do with The Source magazine. I hope your magazine will steer clear of the biased path The Source decided to follow. - Big Wills, email@example.com
OG Ron C responds: If you were in jail with a Ron C it sure wasn’t me. I’ve never been locked up for more than two days. My name is authentic – my real name is Ronald Coleman. Anybody who really knows me knows that I’ve been DJing since 9th grade, for 19 years now. If you do the math, that means I started around ’87-’88. Yeah, people knew about the rapper Ron C with the few songs he dropped, but people also knew about DJ Ron C who was DJing parties in Houston. It’s not my fault the good Lord blessed me to take DJing to another level. Maybe if the rapper Ron C hadn’t gone to jail, he’d be the famous Ron C. I get much love around Dallas, playa. Ask around. You need to do more research before writing to these magazines. As far as the “OG” part of my name, if you’re from the streets then you’d know that those two letters are earned. The streets gave me that name. I hope a real OG Ron C fan replies to this to set the record straight, somebody who really knows, cause obviously you don’t.
JB, I loved your 2 Cents. Girl, you are so right. Not too many people realize that they should enjoy the moment now, or realize that things will get better if they’re not good right now. I felt like you were talking to me. That’s what I’ve been telling myself. To hear you say it just strengthened the fight we all should have to keep going. – Natalia Gomez (Pensacola, FL)
JB, I’ve been watching how fast you have grown and you look *good. Whenever I told people that a young white girl owns and puts
I read my first OZONE this month with Trick Daddy on the cover, and I must say I am truly impressed. I just left your website, listening to Benzino’s crazy ass, and I am trippin’! He needs to get over it, he hating cause his mag is getting crushed by a woman, a white woman at that! I just wanted to encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing, and I love your 2 Cents. I know you get tired of people mistaking your kindness for weakness, cause I often find myself in those same types of situations, where I’ve either got to cuss somebody out or cut their ass off! Either way, it is only now that I am beginning to accept that God expect us (the righteous) to go off sometimes, because that may be the only way you can get anyone to listen. I say all of this because you have not only encouraged me but you have motivated me to take the next step despite the discouragement and distractions. Life is full of challenges and challenging people, and it is during these challenges that you really find out where your faith lies. I too would like to have my own magazine one day, and it is truly a blessing when God confirms that your dreams aren’t in vain. I wish you all the success and rewards that this life has to offer. Keep your head up and keep doing your thing! What the hell is a slut monkey anyway? – IFE, firstname.lastname@example.org I can’t believe OZONE came to the Carolinas and missed the hottest *artist in the market. Chop Dezol has been holding it down for years.
I noticed y’all had no one from the entire upstate in the edition, even though Chop Dezel is known through the entire Carolina region. Chop and his crew are reppin’ out of Anderson and Greenville, SC. Consider this a heads up, cause y’all probably got your list from certain artists
this mag together, they’d be like, “Get the fuck out of here.” Most other people who produced magazines said OZONE would never make it. And now those who used to look down on your mag are trying to be a part of it. Keep up the good work! – Disco Rick, email@example.com (Miami, FL)
OZONE, that was a good look putting Cam’Ron in your mag. *Thanks for showing the East coast some love. I hate hearing about
how the South runs the music industry. No, it’s not like that. The East coast rappers now have record labels and are signing Southern artists. The number one rapper is 50 Cent. He sold 10 million and 5 million on his last album, that’s more than any South artists put together. I got love for the South, but everybody’s eating their own way. If you go to Cali you hear nothing but Cali music and some East coast and some South. The only thing about the South is that they’ll make commercial songs in a hot minute. You see Chingy making songs like faggot-ass Nelly would. The South is doing their thing and that’s good for the culture but look at the movement and not the record sales. The whole world is leaning and snapping; that’s bullshit, that’s not real hip-hop. And don’t let me forget D4L’s bullshit and “Mike Jones! Who? Mike Jones!” It all adds up to fucked-up, whack-ass music that only lasts one year. Even some East coast artists fuck up too. Cam’Ron’s album was trash; Mobb Deep’s album was okay. I want to thank you for putting East coast dudes on there to show that you are not just dick-riding the South. Everybody should get a shot OZONE
feedback to put their hood up. – Ghedi the Great, firstname.lastname@example.org Editor responds: “Dick-riding the South?” We are the South. I just read your 20 Essential Southern Albums list in the May 2006 *issue. Who’s doing your research? First of all, on page 87, the song is not called “Me & You,” it’s called “Two Dope Boys in a Cadillac.” “Me & You” is the name for “Elevators.” On page 88 you misspelled the title in the quote from Thorough from South Circle. On page 89, the first album to be distributed in Cash Money’s Universal deal was the Big Tymers’ How You Luv That? Vol. 2. On page 91, the song isn’t called “Back Up Plan,” it’s called “Plan B,” and the timing of the No Limit exodus/AWOL is way off. On page 104, it’s “Sippin’ on SOME Syrup,” not “Sippin’ on Da Syrup.” I’m sure if I had actually read the reasonings behind the articles, I would have found more errors. This is my first time picking up the magazine, prompted because I saw the editor on SOHH.com. Step your game up in the future. – email@example.com (Orlando, FL)
We’ve been reppin’ OZONE since my friend went up North and brought back a mag with Camoflauge on the cover. I couldn’t believe it when I saw him on the cover - right then I knew he wasn’t bringin’ some Source bullshit. Keep reppin’ our state like you’ve been doing. - Twisted Funk DJs (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
I’m really feeling this magazine. I’ve never seen or read a magazine that has the artists that are looked at by our generation on a regular basis. Some magazines may spotlight an artist of our liking one or two times a year just to keep us on their roster, but it’s nothing compared to what you are doing in Orlando, FL. I commend you for your work and I will keep you in my prayers and hope that you thrive and grow so big that you are hated by all of the world and loved by the heavens. – Lency Pooh, firstname.lastname@example.org
For guys like me who always want to know the game, Wendy Day and Industry 101 are pluses for me, and I’m sure others as well. So please keep those in any issue you do. I’m going through the June issue right now, and so far no complaints. Everyone on my floor keeps wanting to borrow it before I can finish it. I tell them, don’t buy comissary for a week and get a subscription instead. - Dajie
I just received the issue with Yung Joc on the cover, and I must say that you’ve done it again with the new issue! The article on Luke was the most interesting. I actually knew Freeda, his ex-girlfriend. She used to hang around my old station in New Orleans (KNOU) with Grand Hussle. It’s a shame that he put her out like that. - Derrick Tha Franchise, email@example.com (Virginia Beach, VA)
First, I would like to start out by saying that I enjoy OZONE. Secondly, I respect your First Amendment rights. Nevertheless, I am quite bothered by the caption in the July issue, page 39 number 23: “What would you do for an OZONE mag?” I worked my ass off preparing for that show! I’ve seen less serious artists with their names in the caption. I’m an artist who is serious about my craft and puts in 150%. I have been so excited and waiting to see my face in the magazine that I respect, however, I feel downright rejected as a serious female artist. To answer your question, I will put on a hell of a show! The next time I will be featured on the cover. Thanks, OZONe for the motivation! - Lady N-Chantment, firstname.lastname@example.org Correction: The song “Knockin’ Doors Down” on last month’s JB’s Playlist is Pimp C f/ Lil Keke and POP. Hate it? Love it? Send your comments to email@example.com OZONE reserves the right to edit comments for clarity or length.
’ve been avoiding it for so long and holding back to stop it from happening, but unfortunately it seems that I will have to embrace my impending fame. I never wanted to be famous. I wanted people to know my name and respect it, but I didn’t want all the bullshit that comes with visibility. I know you New Yorkers are shaking your heads, like, What is this conceited bitch talking about now? Come on a little promo run with me down South and see for yourself. I’m like a damn artist. I love it and hate it at the same time. My new rapper friend says that fame isn’t sexy; it doesn’t turn him on. Since he reads my smart ass editorials I have to say that I’m feelin’ his philosophy that reaping the rewards of hard work is much sexier than fame. Unfortunately, they’re sometimes the same thing.
10 Things I’m Hatin’ On By Roland “Lil Duval” Powell
Disclaimer: This is really what everybody else is sayin’. I know I’m dead wrong, but I’m hating anyway.
1. Lebron James Ain’t he the oldest looking 20-year-old you’ve ever seen in your life? 2. “I’m A Real Nigga” If one more person tells me that shit – if you’re real, your actions will show it. Just cause you will shoot a nigga or sell dope, that doesn’t mean you’re real. 3. Rappers That Swear They’re Street News flash! If you’re a professional rapper and you’re still in the streets, you’re a damn fool. That’s the whole point of rapping in the first place – to get out of the streets. You can ask any nigga from the hood in Duval and they will tell you where I’m from and they were also tell you that they are proud to see that I don’t have to be there in those streets with them. 4. Stop Snitching I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but y’all might as well give up with that campaign cause snitching ain’t going nowhere like herpes. Y’all need to devote your time to Stop Letting People Know Yo’ Business. A person can’t snitch on what they don’t know. 5. Niggas That Owe You Money Don’t you hate it when a nigga owes you money and then he gets shot to death? Now you’ve gotta go to the funeral and ask his mama if he left that for you. 6. Arrogant Ugly Bitches Niggas gotta stop fucking anything, cause now these ugly bitches have too much confidence and think they’re the shit. 7. Myself (Lil Duval) I was about to marry a bitch that wasn’t ‘bout shit. I’m always fuckin’ with everyone else about saving a hoe, and my dumb ass did it. It won’t happen again. 8. Blind Item This person who I will not name is the lamest person on TV. Every time I watch them, I always think that their mama or daddy gotta work for BET. 9. Niggas Locked Up Why do niggas in jail act like they passed the bar exam and can tell you how to get out? Why the hell would I listen to you when you’re in here with me? 10. Wal-Mart This has turned into the trap. And why do they only have four registers open when there’s 500 customers?
Steve Austin and I in Dallas
It seems that the only media outlet not interested in covering the OZONE Awards (August 6th in Orlando, FL, along with TJ’s DJ’s on August 4th & 5th) is XXL, cause Elliott Wilson is a hater. He’s feeling the heat, seeing OZONE sprout up on newsstands, making snide little remarks on his blog and shit. Dude is like twice as old as me and still isn’t on my level. I write my own checks. Having reached the ripe old age of 25 in this fun-filled Gemini freakfest month, I’ve reached that point where I can look back and appreciate all the fun I’ve had and at the same time realize how blessed I was to make it through those years of stupidity relatively unscathed. Translation? I’ve done a lot of dumb things and fortunately only a handful of them have come back to haunt me. I even caught myself lecturing a wild ass intern chick recently, sounding like her mother and shit.
Me and Shawn Jay in Jacksonville
A few things I’ve learned since 17 when I climbed out the window with two duffel bags and $280 and never looked back: Whenever possible, avoid bisexual coke & heroin addicts when searching for a roommate. They’ll ruin your tupperware cooking up that special K. And don’t drink the water in the refrig, literally, cause it might be GHB.
Rockin’ Hatah Blockas with Justin in Tampa
Do not videotape yourself fucking. Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever. If you already have a collection, watch them all one last time and then destroy them. Enjoy being broke. More money really does bring more problems. Do not fall in love with a rapper. Better yet, don’t fall in love, period.
If a guy does something fucked up to you, report it right away. “Stop snitching” doesn’t always apply. Wrong is wrong. If a creepy, scrawny, ugly con-artist sneaks in, climbs in bed with you while you’re asleep, naked, and tries to rape you, REPORT IT, or 7 years later you may find yourself with an obsessed Bambino, me, and Stax in Jackson cyberstalker fresh out of prison (“press releases” from convicted rapists via Myspace bulletins are generally not credible; if you got that blast hit me up for the real story). Like my homie Rick Ross says, who the fuck you think you’re fuckin’ with? I’m a fuckin’ boss. I rode in two Phantoms and a Bentley this month. Don’t own either one yet, but it’ll come. I’m not in this position by accident or luck. Every day I’m hustlin’. Plus, I got a friend up top. No weapon formed against me shall prosper... TJ, me, Too $hort, & Billy in Jacksonville
- Julia Beverly, firstname.lastname@example.org
T.I. f/ Jamie Foxx “Live in the Sky” David Banner f/ Yola “Get Money” DMX “Lord Give Me A Sign” Ray Cash, Pimp C, Project Pat, T.I. “Bumpin’ My Music (remix)” T.I. f/ B.G. & Young Jeezy “I’m Straight” Kirk Franklin “Looking For You” India Arie f/ Akon “I Am Not My Hair (remix)” Plies f/ Akon “Wanna Fuck You”
jb’splaylist Pimp C “Free” Mr. Magic “Shorty” Rick Ross “I’m Bad” Kelis f/ Too $hort “Bossy”
by Wendy Day
Networking At A Conference Or Seminar Attending conferences and seminars is a great way to build a career in the music industry or to promote an artist to industry insiders and industry wannabes. Industry functions are a great way to learn, network, promote, and meet other people. It’s also a wonderful way to see who’s who. Over the phone, any radio promoter or street team person can tell you they are the shit, but seeing how others interact with them and who they know and how they do their jobs is priceless. Most artists who are coming into this industry have weak teams. This is due mostly to the fact that when you are brand new or up and coming, it’s hard to attract the top level people to help build a career. To drive my point even further, in the past 13 years I have been in this business, I can count on one hand the number of artists that have had worthy teams behind them (the reality is: who an artist has representing them is a huge reflection on how that artist handles business and the level of success he or she achieves). An industry-savvy team, with some knowledge of how the industry works (real knowledge, not perceived knowledge), with good networking skills can balance out a host of negative qualities. For example, I met Mistah F.A.B. from the Bay Area this weekend in Fresno, and his team was so on point that I will bend over backwards to help him (and them). Even though I have heard his name many times, I have never heard his music. But I know he will succeed based on his team that surrounds him and represents him (plus his charisma and character is crazy cool too). And I’ll bend over backwards to help. On Moms! The best way to prepare for an industry event, convention, or seminar is to get an advance copy of the schedule of events. This can usually be found on the event’s website, or by calling ahead and asking for it. A smart person has already registered in advance for the event, which often includes an automatic receipt of the information and schedule. Look over this information before even leaving for the event. Know which panels and performances you want to attend. If you already have some experience and connections in the industry, call around and see who else you know will be going there. Then, you can set up meetings ahead of time to reconnect with people you know, or people who are crucial to moving your career, or your artist’s career, forward. Make sure you attend as many educational events as you can - that’s where the real movers and shakers are. Coming up, that’s how I met Puffy. I happened to be sitting next to him in the audience at a panel at the New Music Seminar. We were both relatively new (he was an intern at a record label) to the industry and shared information. If you are attending the event with more than one person, and there are simultaneous events happening at the same time, you can each attend separate events so you can share knowledge and meet the most people. Ask everyone you meet for a business card, and make sure you have one to give to them (Kinko’s is the cheapest place to print up B&W business cards if you don’t have a budget). You can jot a note on the back of each card you receive to remind you who they are and what they do. So if you meet Blue Williams from Family Tree, for example, you might jot down on the back of his card: “tall, bald guy manages Outkast and Nick Cannon.” When you get home, you have a better chance of remembering who and what Family Tree is. After you meet hundreds of people, it’s hard to recall who’s who without these little triggers for your memory. At each event you attend, break out of your comfort zone and sit or stand next to people you don’t know. Be outgoing and introduce yourself to people. Meet the folks that everyone else seems to know, and the person to your left and to your right. Everyone is shy, everyone is afraid of being rejected, but if you want to succeed, this is what you need to do. This is a “who you know” business, and if meeting people scares you, you need to be working at another job where you don’t need to interact with others. If meeting the speakers or the panelists is your goal, bear in mind that 18
this is the same goal as hundreds of others. They will not remember you, even if they just met you on the elevator yesterday. Keep reminding them of who you are and where they met you, if being remembered is important to you. Too $hort is on my Board of Advisors and just yesterday he was sitting in front of me on the airplane. After we landed, and when I saw he was not busy with someone else or talking on the phone, I walked up to him, extended my hand and said “Hi, I’m Wendy Day. You are on my Board of Rap Coalition.” He then remembered me immediately - I could see it in his eyes. He didn’t recognize me prior to that, nor should he. I don’t interact with him regularly. It did not offend me on the plane that he did not acknowledge me or recognize me. He meets thousands of people and fans everyday. I am not, nor should I ever be, his priority even though he is mine. When you step up to the panelists, either right after the panel or elsewhere at the event, don’t take up a lot of their time. They are there to be accessible to everyone, not just you. If you don’t have that little voice in your head that tells you when to walk away, a good rule of thumb is to never take up more than three minutes unless they are speaking to you as much as you are speaking to them. Someone nodding while you are running your mouth a mile a minute is politeness, not them being engrossed in what you are saying. If they are engrossed, the conversation will be more of a give and take with them asking questions and interjecting ideas and thoughts. Get their card, move on, and follow up later. You only get one chance to make a first impression - make it a good one. Okay, I know it’s hard to get executives (or anyone who is actually doing something) to call you back. I used to pride myself on returning every call and email, but that stopped about seven years ago. It’s impossible for me to call everyone back and respond to every email (although I do try). It’s impossible! I get over 300 calls a day, and close to 150 emails (Saturday and Sunday are a bit slower, but not by much). And I consider myself very accessible. If you think you will call Chris Lighty at Violator or Jermaine Dupri at Virgin and get a call returned immediately, you are nuts (or you are a platinum recording artist and they actually might call you back). Everyone has a business to run, and experience has told executives that 99% of the calls they get are a waste of time. They are from people who: 1) didn’t do their research and are asking questions they could have found out elsewhere by doing some reading, or 2) they are asking for something that the executive can’t do for them anyway, or 3) they will be out of business next week because they thought it was easier than it really is. If you want to catch the attention of someone who is relatively well known, or successful at what they do, you may need to have some level of success, even if it’s minimal. When you meet people at an event, tell them what you’ve accomplished. If I meet 50 people with names I do not recognize, but one person is someone I’ve read about or heard about, that person is getting my attention first. Because they have built something already, they have a better chance of catching my eye (and ear). This goes ditto for phone calls, and if I have time leftover at the end of the day, I call back as many people as I can - but the names I recognize get called back first. Also, do the research. If you are a new artist looking for a manager, for example, don’t stalk managers who never take on new artists as clients. You get one chance to waste people’s times. In this industry, we all remember the people who have lost us money, made us money, or wasted our time. If you have to be one of those three, be the one to make us money. But don’t be angry when you call us out of the blue with a “million dollar” idea and you don’t get a return call. Chances are good we are already working on our own million dollar ideas. Better to build your idea and call us when there is a buzz on it and we feel we can just apply our connections to help you. I find most people in this industry are helpful and will share their connections and contacts, but only when you are ready for that (ready in our opinion, not yours). If you are handing your demo to people, make sure it has your name, phone number, email, website address, and myspace page clearly on the CD label. At the very least, this should be in black ink, but with the ease of CD label printing today (Office Max, Kinko’s, etc.), there is no reason your CD should not have a nice label printed for it - the presentation represents you. A smart artist would also get the person’s
out (selling 30,000+ CDs regionally according to SoundScan is the ultimate way to catch my attention). I will have already called you to find out who you are and what you have going on. If I can help you, I will - you don’t even have to ask. If you are giving packages to label reps at an event, you need to stand out in their minds as well. If they are going to sign you (although I do not know of any artist who really got signed from a demo), they need to be able to rationalize the signing to their bosses. The best way to get a deal is with leverage, some regional sales, and some radio spins. This reduces the label’s risk. For a major label to put out your record, they will spend close to $2 million (total) on everything. That means you saying, “I’m the most talented and I know it,” is not good reasoning to them. But having a buzz and a track record and a few thousand fans already in place (or 30,000) IS good reasoning. Learn the business. Learn why and how artists get signed. Learn which labels are good and which ones suck. This way you won’t look stupid when you step to them and give them reasons why you’d be a good risk for them. Just wanting a record deal does not make you worthy.
card and send another demo in the mail in a few weeks. Last week, I went to the Tampa Music Conference. I received over 200 demo CDs. I had to buy an additional suitcase just to get them home. The airline lost my bag, losing every CD I received. Regardless, even if I got them all home, how long do you suppose it would take me to listen to all of those CDs, with me working 20-hour days, seven days a week on my own projects? I don’t critique music or demo CDs, nor am I qualified to give feedback, so why am I even listening to them? The only way to catch my attention is to build a buzz in your area and stand
Lastly, once you get home it’s important to follow up with all of the people you met. Not all of them will respond to you, and not all will even return your calls. Just do the best you can, be as professional as you can, and don’t stalk anyone (if you call everyday for two weeks and don’t get a call back from anyone - not even an assistant, that’s a hint that they are too busy for you). Attending industry functions can be worth the money you spend to be there, but you have to do the work to get the most out of it. - Wendy Day of Rap Coalition (www.wendyday.com)
by Charlamagne The God I’m a real nigga and I don’t like rappers. Let me get my Mike Jones on: I’m a real nigga and I don’t like rappers, I’m a real nigga and I don’t like rappers, I’m a real nigga and I don’t like rappers. I hate rappers; fuck them all! What I really hate is the fact that all the good rappers are dead: Big L, Biggie, Big Pun, and ‘Pac. Chingy is still alive, and so is D4L - not that I wish death on them, but God must have a sense of humor. Doesn’t that seem like a cruel joke that the greats are dead but the whack get to live? I have so much on mind to share. Where do I start? Okay, let’s pick up where I started. I’m a real nigga and I don’t like rappers. I just finished watching the Smack DVD that was distributed by Koch and really I hate to see rappers spend so much time trying to keep it real that they come off as totally fake. I don’t understand why you dudes flash guns on DVDs and rock ski masks like you’re fucking Dumb Donald from Fat Albert and the Junkyard Gang. You muthafuckers talk about “stop snitching,” but the truth is you’re snitching on your damn self! You’re on DVDs committing crimes and talking about committing crimes! Guns are not legal and neither are pounds of reefer. You bastards be talking about what you will do if somebody run up on you and I swear to god you make me want to be the one to run up on you! I know that you guys are just pretending. I repeat, in my best DMX voice: I’m a real nigga and I don’t like rappers. I hate you bastards with a passion. Can we talk about some things? The “we” I’m talking about is my generation, hip-hop you idiots. Cam got shot and said that somebody threw up a Roc-A-Fella sign when they did it. Two days later he has a verse out on the “Get ‘Em Daddy” remix talking about the incident. He puts out the diss record to Jay the same week. Ironic, isn’t it?
Gravy goes to do an interview on Hot 97 and gets shot in the ass. He goes up to do the interview anyway, comes down, realizes he’s shot and instead of going in the ambulance he says, “Where’s my car?” A Bentley magically appears and he follows the ambulance. One week later, mix tapes pop up with titles like “Who Shot Gravy.” Ironic, isn’t it? Beanie Sigel gets shot and even the police say they think it’s a publicity stunt. He goes to the studio right after the incident and by the weekend he has a record out rapping about the incident. Ironic, isn’t it? Message to rappers: Publicity stunts do not work! Nobody cares if you get shot in the arm or in the ass! If you want to do a real publicity stunt and sell some records, do five good albums with great singles and hire somebody to kill you! You have to get MURDERED! Big L went gold after being killed, Biggie went diamond, and ‘Pac has sold more records dead than he did alive. In the words of Young Jeezy, “KILL YOURSELF!!!” I’m venting on a lot this month. I’m upset at Jay-Z because he’s letting Cam’Ron bully him. I dig Cam, but he’s wasting his time with rap. He should be a comedian. He’s one of the most entertaining rappers in the game and right now he’s winning the fight with Jay. You may not think so, but Jay’s not responding. That little not-so-subliminal shit on the “Hustlin’” remix was not what’s up! Cam came right back at Hov’s neck over the “It’s Going Down” instrumental and he talked about Jay not being able to justify his slippers. Jay being out of retirement is like Jordan on the Wizards; he got right in Hov’s ass! Hov is the president of Def Jam, he’s rocking suits and fucking Beyonce, but I think Cam might have pulled his card. Jay needs to go to Brooklyn, get a beef patty with some cocoa bread and take off the Louie Slippers. Put on the white Air Forces - not even the premium joints, just the plain white-on-whites, sniff some of that Marcy air and ether Cam lyrically. I know he can do it, but he hasn’t yet. Is he scared? He can’t be that busy, because if he was he wouldn’t have thrown the little jabs at Cam on the “Hustlin’” remix. That alone lets you know he’s talking about Cam. Fuck that diet shit you on with Beyonce, Hov, it’s time to go in! The streets are saying you got soft! Take off the blazer, remove the tie, let the world know Superman is alive! Now it’s 1:37 in the AM and I am tipsy from George Vesselle champagne and Alize and I’m trying to figure out why OZONE does not have a radio personality of the year award for the 1st Annual OZONE Awards! I would win it hands down! I’m 25 years old, I’ve been doing radio for six years, I’ve been to four different stations in South Carolina alone and have raised so much hell that my radio aunt Wendy Williams snatched me up and made me her co-host. I went from market #89 to market number #1 and am now syndicated on ten different stations throughout the country! Kiss my ass to everybody who treated me like a toilet and shitted on me throughout my rise to the top. But to be honest, nothing has changed and I still rep the dirt roads of Moncks Corner, South Carolina, and will beat you with a frozen turkey leg left over from Thanksgiving if you try to play me. I love you all dearly, unless you’re a fake ass gangsta rapper. I will end it like I started it: I’m a real ni**a and I don’t like rappers! Sincerely Gangsta, Charlamagne Tha God - Check out Charlamagne the God online at www.cthagod.com or www.myspace.com/cthagod 20
01: Andre 3000 and Chaka Zulu @ Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 02: DJ B-Lord, TJ Chapman, and DJ H-Vidal @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 03: DJ Joe Pro @ Liquid Blue (Newport News, VA) 04: Ladies @ Hal Mal’s for OZONE’s Industry Meet & Greet (Jackson, MS) 05: Kaspa, Baby D, and JNice @ 112 (Atlanta, gA) 06: Mousa, Skull Duggery, Linda, KLC, Fiend, and Spin at KLC’s video shoot (New Orleans, LA) 07: DJ Quote, Yeyo, and DJ Warrior @ OZONE & Bulletproof’s celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 08: Jim Jones and Big Kuntry @ OZONE & Bulletproof’s celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 09: Dolla Bill and Lil Joe @ OZONE’s Dallas Got Next release party (Dallas, TX) 10: Rockwilder and Busta Rhymes @ City for Busta’s birthday party (NYC) 11: Snoop Dogg and Timbaland (Miami, FL) 12: MC Fatal and Mr Blakes at Rapid Ric’s video shoot (Austin, TX) 13: Supa Cindy’s “I Know I Can” young women’s summit (Miami, FL) 14: Luke & Q @ Come Together Day (Jacksonvillle, FL) 15: Too $hort, E-40, Lil Jon, and Sean Paul @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 16: The Nappy Roots with Chamillionaire at his platinum party (NYC) 17: 3/4 of Pretty Ricky with Big Lip Bandit @ Supa Cindy’s summit (Miami, FL) 18: J Prince and his son J Prince Jr. @ Trae’s listening session (Houston, TX) 19: Guest, Lil Wayne, and Currensy @ The Venue (Gainesville, FL) 20: Bigga Rankin, Rick Ross, and J Baby @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 21: Young Dro, Bianca Mendez, and Clay Evans @ Mansion (Miami, FL) Photos: Bogan (11); Julia Beverly (01,02,04,05,07,08,09 ,13,15,17,19,20,21); Keadron Smith (18); Malik Abdul (14); Matt Sonzala (12); Mesha Clark (03); Promotivation (06); Rico da Crook (10); Soul Brother (16)
mystory Two 6 Mafia:
Crunchy Black Explains His Reasons For Leaving Memphis’ Legendary Rap Group
y situation with the group [Three 6 Mafia] is no more. I ain’t goin’ back, and I ain’t tryin’ to go back. They played the wrong games. I’m doing my own thing. I got my own studio and production team. It’s all me now. I got the Hard Hitters rolling with me.
We were supposed to be friends way before all this business, and they did a lot of little hoe shit that they didn’t really need to be doing. I’ve been going up and down with the label for all these 16 years, but since everybody else had left, I said I’d stay and make it work. So I stayed. I let them use my album for The Most Known Unknowns, and I still had problems. That shit right there was my shit. Half of it was mine and half of it was theirs, but they used the ideas that I gave them. Everything was mine. They just wasn’t treating me right. Since it’s just three niggas in the group, I ain’t supposed to be having no problems at all. The first strike was [over] $50,000. After we got done doing the promotion on The Most Known Unknowns, [DJ] Paul called me to the studio to come and get the back end of the money from the album. I was supposed to be getting like $150,000 on the back end. When I got down to the studio, he told me I had to give him $50,000 for a lawyer. I said okay, cause I didn’t know what the business was. They’d been taking care of all the business. I know they’ve been with that bullshit, but I gave them the $50,000. When we went to the lawyer, they told me to sit outdoors. They wasn’t tryin’ to handle no business for me; they were handling business for themselves. When I started paying close attention to shit, I realized that they wasn’t really working for me. The second strike was when we got pulled over [on tour]. I was in the backseat, asleep, and the highway cop pulled us over and got everybody out of the car. They woke me up and the dog sniffed the cars and all that shit. We were at the borderline. The dog went through the car and didn’t find nothing, so they let us go. When we got to where we were going, doing a big event, Juicy was like, “What did the police have y’all for? What happened?” and Paul told him, “Crunchy almost got us locked up.” I was like, how the hell? I was asleep. If we’d been locked up, we’d be in jail talking about that shit. We were at the show. I pulled the lil’ weed I had on me out of my pants. I got weed on me, feel me, so if we was fucked up the dog woulda sniffed me and all that. My right hand man, the driver, called me to the side when we got ready to leave [the show] and told me, “Paul said you gotta find your own way to the shows.” Like, damn, I ain’t a part of the group? There’s some shiesty shit going on. So I said okay and started renting cars when we went out of town and shit. But I didn’t get no appreciation for staying down with them and making the label look good. That’s all I was really looking for. I wasn’t looking for no extra cheese; I knew that would come later just by it being three niggas in the group. That’s the way I was thinking, but they was thinking a whole different way. They was thinking they could fuck me even more, feel me? The third strike was when they had me paying for my own incidentals. When we’d get to New York and shit and be checking into hotel rooms, I gotta give these folks two, three weeks worth of $100. They’d pull out the black card and put all the security [rooms] on the black card, but Crunchy gotta pay for his own. I could understand if I was the type of guy that tears up rooms and shit like that, but I’m not. I ain’t got a history of tearing up rooms, so I shouldn’t have to pay my own incidentals. Y’all are my producers. That’s what producers are supposed to do for the artist. I gave ‘em three tries and then I said fuck this shit. I figured I could do it on my own and get my own money. They ain’t giving me what they’re supposed to be giving me. That’s really why I left. I do my own thing with the real homies; niggas that won’t cross you for the cheese. So I just said fuck it and called Sony. I told Sony that I was leaving and they were like, “Sorry to hear that,” and what not. But Sony’s part of it too. All they had to do was make them niggas do right. They’re sending them money. 22
You see all the rappers that left [Three 6]. [Gangsta] Boo left. [Lord] Infamous left. Muthafuckers ain’t leavin this kind of life if they’re getting treated right. Lord and Paul are kinfolk, so he’s supposed to be super straight. But Lord Infamous was getting high, so he just got tired of riding out of town. With [Gangsta] Boo, her and Paul had a relationship. They fell out on the relationship and Boo started getting mad at him cause he wasn’t buying new Cadillac trucks and houses like he was doing at first. It slowed down her money. Koop’s problem was that he didn’t have no family in Memphis. Paul was buying his brother houses and cars to let Koop ride in to feel like somebody was taking care of him. Koop was doing Paul wrong, and Paul was doing him wrong. Everybody left for different reasons, but money was a part of it. But I ain’t doing no hating. I hope they do their thing, and I’m doing my thing. I’m bringing out the Crunchy Black album; I think I owe that to the fans. I like my fans a little more than I like a couple of these niggas I was running around with. I think I owe the fans that much, to let them know why I left Three 6 Mafia. I really let them know my ups and downs, the good and the bad with Three 6 Mafia. The mixtape is all brand new beats and brand new raps. Paul and them kept cutting me off stuff. That album [The Most Known Unknowns] was basically all my stuff, but they’d cut me off the songs and put somebody else on there. I didn’t feel that was cool. On “Stay Fly” and “Pop My Collar” my verse was shortened. I know they cut everybody else’s money, but damn, it ain’t nothin’ but three of us and they still couldn’t do right. I can’t keep on letting somebody else make all the money. I was only getting enough to pay bills, buy a house, a couple cars, and that’s it. They ain’t sending no royalties or nothing. I just really got fed up with that type of shit and left New York early one morning. I got on a plane and came home. I had been away from [Three 6 Mafia] for three months before they said something, cause they didn’t wanna let nobody know that I left. But if you’re a fan of Paul and Juicy, stay a fan. Don’t just jump on my bandwagon. I’m not mad at them. I appreciate the business they taught me, and I appreciate them pushing me away so I could do my own thing. I’m not mad at that. I’m doing good by myself. I got a team that I’ve been rolling with since way before Paul. I’m taking niggas that are tired of standing on the corner slangin’ weed and letting them get on this album with me. The Hard Hitters are niggas that are really from the hood. I told them niggas to get a little God in their life and he’ll steer them in another direction. They were paying attention to what was going on in my life so they started making moves down the right road. I told them to put the dope down and pick up the mic, and that bitch is sounding real good. I still got love for them, though. That’s why I called the DJ [Lil Larry] and told him I was gonna kick his ass. Project Pat had just got out of jail and he was at the club telling people that he appreciated the fan mail and the money on his books, and [Lil Larry] played a song from a group that we didn’t like. You can’t disrespect and play a song like that. So yes, I wanted to kick his ass. But no, I didn’t shoot at him. No, I didn’t pay nobody to shoot at him. No, I didn’t send nobody to shoot at him. Just like he had beef with me, he had beef with everybody else. Niggas think that just because they got a little job on the radio that they can treat rappers wrong. I wasn’t the only one that was mad at him. But I saw Lil Larry at the car wash right next door to 107 and I told him face to face, “I don’t want to kill you. I wanted to fight you, but I don’t wanna see you die over no bullshit.” So we shook hands and squashed it. It’s finished. I left it alone; it’s over. But I ain’t wanna kill him. I just wanted to show that I’m a man and you can’t play games with my niggas like that. Tell all these young niggas out here to stop getting lost. Don’t fill their head up like they’ve got to sell drugs to be somebody. They ain’t gotta do all that.
01: Rasaq, Chamillionaire, Kid Money KG, and Acafool rockin’ Hatah Blockas (Tampa, FL) 02: Xtaci and Young Dro @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 03: Clipse and the Re-Up Gang @ Gypsy Tea Room (Dallas, TX) 04: Ike G Da, Court Digga, and Tony Neal (Miami, FL) 05: Decon, Boy Wonder, and Sandman (Tampa, FL) 06: Rock T and Trakk Team @ Stress Room for OZONE’s Dallas Got Next release party (Dallas, TX) 07: @ Hal Mal’s for OZONE’s Industry Meet & Greet (Jackson, MS) 08: Lil Wayne reppin’ OZONE @ The Venue (Gainesville, FL) 09: Gipp and Ali @ OZONE & Bulletproof’s celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 10: JT the Bigga Figga and Yola @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 11: Jimmy Cozier and Olivia (NYC) 12: Huddycombs and Cavario on South Beach (Miami, FL) 13: Nancy Byron and Trae @ his listening session (Houston, TX) 14: DJ Majick and Cindy Nuzzo @ Terrell Owens’ pool party (Atlanta, GA) 15: DJ Khaled, Dre, and Rick Ross @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 16: K Foxx and Sean Paul (Miami, FL) 17: Angel, Parish, Bella, & Crystal on the set of KLC’s “Play That Shit Loud” video shoot (New Orleans, LA) 18: Riskay, Dreesy Baby, DJ Speed Racer, DJ Dap, & DJ Lil Boy @ Blazin’ 102.3 (Tallahassee, FL) 19: Cedric Hollywood, Tony Neal, Rich Dollaz, and Hen-Roc @ Crobar (Miami, FL) 20: Keith Henery, J-Khrist, and DJ Chuck T @ Quarterly Explosion (Florence, SC) 21: Rashad and Khao @ Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) Photos: DJ Dap (18); Gary LaRochelle (11); J Lash (16); Julia Beverly (02,05,06,07, 08,09,10,12,15,19,21); Keadron Smith (13); King Yella (03); Malik Abdul (14,20); Matt Daniels (01); Mercedes (04); Promotivation (17)
flipside Battle of the Sexes: Uncle Luke vs. his ex-girlfriend Freda Here at OZONE magazine, we got a call from Uncle Luke’s ex-girlfriend Freda in response to his interview in the July issue. Apparently, she objected to his description of her as a “ghetto hoochie,” among other things. Just to make things interesting, we gave both Freda and Uncle Luke a chance to tell their side of the story. (below: Luke and Freda in happier times; photo by Marcus DeWayne)
HER SIDE: Why were you upset about Luke’s interview? He said that I was ghetto and wasn’t intelligent. That’s not true. It’s been almost a year since we’ve been separated, but I see that he just wants to keep playing games. I’m the “ghetto hoochie,” right? Ghetto hoochies don’t get $30,000 wedding rings. You don’t make a hoe a housewife. You don’t marry a hoe, right? I still have the ring. So if I was a hoe, why did he want to marry me? Why did the relationship end? I got fed up. Me and Luke were together for three years. I gave up my scholarship, my salon in New Orleans, everything; I gave up everything to help him and his career. I didn’t want to just play girlfriend; I wanted to be wifey. I didn’t want to play any games with Luke. If I’ma be here cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the kids, you’ve gotta make me your wife. Luke said, “You can be my wife.” He always wants a young girl because he can’t handle a person his own age. I was 20 years younger than him, but I was mature and on top of my game. He wanted me to mess with women, and I didn’t want to mess with women. If you’re gonna be with me, support me and what I want. I didn’t like Luke Skywalker. Luther Campbell is a totally different person, but he doesn’t know how to control Luke Skywalker. You can’t talk about me one way in the streets and then come back acting different at home. I just got tired of playing games. Luke, you’re 45 years old. Stop acting like you’re 14. I got older and more mature, and I’d rather go to an upscale restaurant and he’d rather go to the strip club. It got played out. I told him to get out of the game and start acting his age. He’s too old to be running across the stage. I was trying to help him but he wasn’t trying to help himself. I’d hear things in the streets [that he said about me], and yet I’m the woman living with him and I’ve got the wedding ring on. I got tired of listening to the gossip; him saying one thing and the streets saying something else. He described you as “ghetto.” Do you agree? No. When I was with Luke, I was in medical school. There’s a time and place for everything, but I’m not “ghetto.” I never grew up in the projects. I never was on Section 8 or welfare. I didn’t grow up like that, and I don’t treat myself like that. You try things when you’re younger, but as you mature you grow out of it. When I was trying to model and do calendars, all that was in fun when I was in college. I don’t think he was able to mature with me. He was still stuck in the 2 Live Crew days. He’s selfish and stubborn and that’s why he’s right there where he’s at. How can you grow with somebody that’s selfish? He’s intimidated by anyone who’s bettering themselves. He gets jealous. He knew I was an attractive, intelligent woman. One night we had a big fight at the Rollexx; that was the last straw. It was two months before the wedding. We were gonna get married on New Year’s Day. A woman [at the club] wanted me and Luke lost it. They were fighting over me at the club, but I would never date a woman. Luke thinks that every woman is like his lifestyle. He thinks that all women do women and all women cheat on men. He’ll never be happy until he lets the 2 Live Crew and Luke Skywalker lifestyle go. How can you treat women like shit in the streets and still decide to get married? It’s not gonna work. Every woman is not like your songs and your videos. He can’t trust women because of his lifestyle. We used to battle about that all the time. Do you still speak to Luke? He wanted to get back together up until All Star weekend when I told him it’s over; let it go. He always goes for younger women because he thinks he can manipulate their minds. Once you put your heart out to him he’ll smack you in the face. Because of his lifestyle he thinks all women stick bottles in their pussies and cheat on their men. Once he gets past that, he’ll have a better life. Until then, he’ll never be happy. 24
HIS SIDE: Freda didn’t like your comments about her in your interview in last month’s issue. That bitch stole money and my fiance’s ring from my house. She was claiming that she was my fiancé. All of them do that. My fiancé is from Houston; that’s who’s ring it was. Me and her didn’t get married so she gave me the ring back. The ring was in my room and while I was throwing this girl [Freda] out of my house. She stole the ring and vandalized my house. She was one of my freaks. She wasn’t my girlfriend. She came down from New Orleans and was staying with me. I was seeing her, but I noticed that she was an animal. I tried her. I put a couple of my boys on her, and every dude that hollered at her, she was fuckin’ them. So I told her she had to go. She didn’t wanna go so I put her out and she started vandalizing shit. She says that she was in medical school. (laughing) Call up Circuit City in Hialeah. How could she be in medical school and working at Circuit City? Call up Deon’s Beauty Salon in Carol City. She was a hairdresser. You stand by your statement that she’s “ghetto”? No question about it. Straight ghetto. She’s in your magazine’s photo galleries with all the different artists. Do you ever see an artist’s real woman up in the magazine with a whole bunch of other celebrity niggas? One thing about us hip-hop niggas is that we’re very conscious about our women. Our women have to be respectable. Rule number one – they can’t fuck with no other rap niggas or singing niggas or entertaining niggas. Niggas don’t wife them kind of girls. That’s some Hollywood shit; they’re the ones that switch wives and shit. She says you were trying to force her to be with other women. Naw. You think I’ve got those kinds of problems? Look at the Freak Show. I see that shit all fuckin’ day. I’m doing pornos right now. I ain’t in the pornos, but I go through tons of footage. That shit don’t do nothing for me – two women sleeping with each other. In her opinion, you’ll never be happy until you leave the Luke Skywalker lifestyle behind. I’m happy right now. I have a nice woman; I’m back to what I’m used to dating. See, that was when I was going through a phase. My fiancé was a nice girl, a very educated biochemist. That’s what I like – librarian types. I was going through a phase [with Freda] where I thought I should try one of them out, cause I never dated a ghetto girl. She was an experiment. I had to convince myself. Everybody was saying that I needed to be with a ghetto girl. The librarian girls’ families get nervous about them dating Luke, a hip-hop guy. There’s so much family pressure. That was the first time I was in love, the girl before [Freda]. Everybody thinks I’m supposed to fuck with some ghetto-ass muthafucker, so I tried it, and now I’m back to what I normally do. I’m happy. I’m in love with my old lady; she’s a law student in her last year and I’m pretty sure we’ll be walking down the aisle soon. If a bitch don’t know who the president is and can’t have an intellectual discussion about the United States government and talk to me about significant things that really concern the country and the state of hip-hop from a business standpoint, I can’t function with them. I don’t wanna talk about how many Cristal bottles we’re gonna buy at the club. Anything else you’d like to say to Freda? I wish her the best of luck, and you can read the true story about her in my book coming out later this year. Tell her to please return the ring that she stole from my house. Even if I did give her the ring, if we didn’t get married she’s supposed to give it back, right? So that tells you what kind of hoe she is. She can’t justify it either way. She’s a mutt. I’m still trying to figure out how she got in T.I.’s [“Front Back”] video.
01: Jazze Pha and Sean Paul @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 02: Buggah D. Govanah, guest, Wyclef, and JImmy Rosemond (Miami, FL) 03: Julia Beverly, Keith Kennedy, Tuesday Donaldson, Boneface, TJ Chapman, and Rich Boy @ Get Em Awards (Pensacola, FL) 04: Acafool and Ms. Monique @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 05: Remy Ma and Fatman Scoop (Miami, FL) 06: Young Shad, Bambino da Golden Child, and guest @ OZONE’s Industry Meet & Greet (Jackson, MS) 07: Deca and Big Mook @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 08: Ump and Freestyle Steve @ OZONE & Bulletproof’s celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 09: Malik Abdul and Dior George @ Get Em Magazine Awards (Pensacola, FL) 10: Kenny Burns and DJ JNice @ AG Ent.’s pool party (Atlanta, GA) 11: TV Johnny and Kendra Wilkinson @ the Playboy Mansion (Los Angeles, CA) 12: Sir Knight Train and Plies @ Upper Level (Orlando, FL) 13: Uncle Luke and fans (Jackson, MS) 14: Gerald Girbaud and Kenny Redd @ Hal Mal’s (Jackson, MS) 15: DJ Chill, Steve Austin, and Royal @ Stress Room (Dallas, TX) 16: Akon and Too $hort @ Terrell Owens’ pool party (Atlanta, GA) 17: DJ Aggravated and Brandi Garcia @ TV Jewelry’s (Houston, TX) 18: Gipp, St. Lunatics, Nelly, Skip Cheatham, and Ali @ Greg Street’s car show (Dallas, TX) 19: Princess Cut, Lil Phil, and Money Waters @ Stress Room (Dallas, TX) 20: Guest, Matt Daniels, and Acafool @ TampaHipHop.com BBQ (Tampa, FL) 21: Latin Prince and Lucky Leon @ Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) Photos: J Lash (02); Jaro Vacek (13);Julia Beverly (01,06,08,10, 12,14,15,16,21); Keadron Smith (17); King Yella (18); Malik Abdul (03,04,09); Matt Sonzala (19); Ms Rivercity (07); Sandman (20); Sophia Jones (05); Spiff (11)
q&a Yo Gotti (Memphis, TN)
our name has been tied up in a lot of drama lately. First off, what happened between you and Memphis DJ Freddy Hydro? He brought someone on the air during his radio show and allowed them to diss you? Oh, to me, it was nothing. It was just a little situation where some folks had something to say about me on the radio. To me personally, I felt like dude didn’t have to air that [without me being there to tell my side]. I’ve been in plenty of radio stations before where shit was prerecorded. I thought me and Freddy Hydro were cool. I been knew him, before this rap shit. Then he turned into a DJ. I felt like it was some disrespectful shit towards me, and I felt like he shouldn’t have done it. Since Freddy is, or was, a part of The CORE DJs, the whole situation started a rumor that the CORE wasn’t supporting your project because of it. I’m real cool with Tony Neal and the rest of the CORE DJs, so like you said, it was just a rumor. It wasn’t nothin’. I talked to them and they talked to me and we’re cool. It was just a rumor. The artist that Freddy brought on the air dissing you – why do they have beef with you? Man, those dudes are nobody out here. I don’t even know dude. Still, to this day, I don’t know who he is. Feel me? More people knew Hydro than knew dude [that was dissing me] so most people were like, man, what is Hydro doing? I heard that Freddy is pressing charges against you because of the little altercation or whatever that ensued after the radio interview. That’s what I heard too. But as of right now nobody’s came to me or nothing. Do you look at situations like this as just part of the game? Is it a sign of your success? Back 2 Basics the album is in stores now. It’s really nothing to me, cause where I come from I’ve been through way worse stuff than this fake industry shit. Every day people really get hurt and go to jail, where I’m from. That’s everyday real life shit, not this lil shit that goes on with these industry niggas. What’s the issue between you and Three 6 Mafia? Everybody knows that me and Three 6 ain’t never been cool, from day one. My problem was mainly with Crunchy [Black]. He got on a little small TV show in Memphis and had a lot of things to say about me. Me and dude are two different people – he’s an artist and I’m a boss. Were you happy for them winning the Academy Awards? I think it was a good look for them and for Memphis period. The Oscar and everything makes more industry people look at Memphis, but it don’t change my way of living day-to-day or nobody like me. Do you think the movie Hustle & Flow was an accurate look at Memphis? I think it was a good look because they actually came and shot a movie. But they came from Hollywood and tried to imitate Memphis. We don’t drive cars like that Caprice Chevy with different colored fronts. Niggas run in Benzes and Bentleys and shit too just like in L.A. or New York or ATL or MIA. Niggas are getting money out here. Our clubs don’t look like houses. But outside of that it was a good look. I wanted them to do the shit 100%. There was also a shooting at your album release party. Yeah, somebody had shot the club up. That ain’t have nothing to do with me. When you’ve got 1,500-2,000 people in the club, shit happens. That was out of my control. In Memphis, where I come from and how I am, anything that goes down anywhere around me they’re gonna put my name in it because of where I’m from and the type of people I attract. If you’ve got 2,000 hood niggas coming to party with me, everybody knows you can’t control them. Shit, anything can go down at any time. Aside from your album Back 2 Basics what other projects are you 26
working on? I’m in L.A. at Lil Wayne’s video shoot right now. All Star is finna drop this new single on Cash Money/Universal called “Tear It Up.” We just finished La Chat’s project; she’s gonna come out in August. I’m just staying in the studio. I’m full time grinding doing what I do. Hopefully we won’t hear about any more Yo Gotti beef. (laughing) Like I said, I’ma just do me. I wake up and roll over every day tryin’ to stay away from trouble, but you know how that goes. It ain’t really no beef with none of them cats. Where I’m from, beef is cats ridin’ around looking for each other tryin’ to do something. I just got niggas who don’t like me, you know what I mean? Whenever I ain’t workin’ I’m in Memphis in my hood with no security or nothing. I could be touched easy, so I ain’t got no beef, in my eyes. - Julia Beverly
01: E-40, David Banner, and Lil Jon @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 02: Fat Joe, Jimmy Rosemond, DJ Khaled, and Macho (Miami, FL) 03: Young Dro and TJ Chapman @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 04: DJ Dr. Doom and T-Roy @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 05: Rock Bottom, Pretty Ricky, and Supa Cindy @ her “I Know I Can” young women’s summit (Miami, FL) 06: Troy Marshall, Big Will, and DJ B-Lord @ Quarterly Explosion (Florence, SC) 07: The Runners and DJ D-Strong @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 08: Noreaga and his son @ Puerto Rican Day parade (NYC) 09: Devyne Stephens and DJ J-Nice @ AG Ent./Terrell Owens’ pool party (Atlanta, GA) 10: Ice Cube and Joe Anthony @ Gypsy Tea Room (Dallas, TX) 11: Ron Artest and Wilk @ OZONE/Bulletproof’s celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 12: Coach and Pimp J @ Cairo (Orlando, FL) 13: DJ EFN and Smitty (Miami, FL) 14: J-Rock and Bigg V @ Hal Mal’s (Jackson, MS) 15: Jim Jones and Jeezy @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 16: Too $hort a.k.a. Short Dog with Short Dawg a.k.a. Dat Boy Short @ Terrell Owens’ house (Atlanta, GA) 17: K-Rino and Matt Sonzala @ KPFT Damage Control (Houston, TX) 18: Raj Smoove, EF Cuttin, & 504 Fudge on the set of KLC’s video shoot (New Orleans, LA) 19: Black Meezy, Rapid Ric, and Mr. Blakes on the set of Ric’s video (Austin, TX) 20: Benji Brown and Bulletproof cheerleaders @ OZONE celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 21: Slim and Sam @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) Photos: Bogan (20); J Lash (02); Julia Beverly (01,03,05,09,12,14,15, 16,17); King Yella (10); Malik Abdul (04,06,07,21); Matt Sonzala (19); Mercedes (11,13); Promotivation (18); Spiff (08)
industry101 Shakir Stewart
Senior Vice President of A&R Island Def Jam Records Who are some of the artists you work with? I signed Rick Ross and Young Jeezy; those are the two projects I’m working on now. I also have a 14-year-old prodigy named Karina. I’m developing music for her. She’s an R&B/pop artist, classically trained at the piano. How did you come across Rick Ross and Young Jeezy? Of course they each had a real heavy street buzz before they got signed. Nowadays in the South for a lot of artists, radio is opening up to breaking unsigned talent. I don’t go off just the buzz. I strictly judge it off the artist and the music. One thing about both Jeezy and Rick Ross is that these guys really have talent. They really can rap, they have incredible ideas, and they were unique in their own senses.
A lot of A&Rs check Soundscan and BDS – what are your methods for seeking out the next Rick Rosses and Young Jeezys? I can’t chase BDS or Soundscan for an artist. They might generate spins but only have one or two singles. There’s no longevity. I like to be in business with an artist that has true talent, that can be around for 5, 6, or 7 albums, if not more. Of course you have to monitor radio, but beyond the song I look at the artist’s integrity and creativity. I have relationships in different cities with the lawyers, managers, interns around the studios, people like that. You have to listen to as much as you possibly can and just keep your ear to the streets.
So just because an artist has a buzz, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re talented? I think there’s a lot of different kids of buzzes. Sometimes a buzz is created but the artist might not warrant that buzz. As an executive you have to be careful what you go after based on buzz. A buzz can be created by one or two people, or a buzz can be created by the streets. You’ve got to do your homework and make sure you’re going after the right artist.
Have you seen anyone get a deal off a demo or do you think those days are dead? I’ve definitely seen people get deals off demos. In the rap game, outside of the demo you also have to do something to create a real organic buzz in your region. But it boils down to the artist – can they make songs? Bottom line. Do they make unique records? A lot of rappers out there are great freestylers, great battle rappers, but can they make songs? Freestyle albums haven’t sold well.
With some of Jeezy’s content and probably now with Rick coming out, they’ve been criticized by mainstream America with their music being so drug-related. Being an executive, behind the scenes, since you are really the one promoting the records, is it ever an issue for you personally? I believe in an artists’ freedom of speech. Of course I’m aware of the sensitivity of a lot of the issues they address. Jeezy’s first album was really an excerpt of his life. That was his vision of the life he had lived. So although I realize that some of the things he discussed are controversial, it’s his reality. He understands that there also has to be a positive message, and as he continues to put out records I think the public will see a more mature side of Jeezy.
For someone trying to get into the music business behind the scenes, do you think interning is the best way to go? I definitely think interning is a great route. The music industry is a closed society; somebody has to invite you in. Whether you’re interning, being an assistant, bringing water into the building, whatever it takes for you to get to a place where someone in a position of power can recognize your talent. You have to do what you have to do. it’s a by any and all means situation.
As an A&R what role do you play in the creative process, and how do you bring out the best in your artist while still allowing them to be themselves? First of all, every artist is different. You can’t “A&R” every artist the same, for lack of a better word. Some artists already have a direction; some artists need a direction. I have great relationships and great communication with all the artists. It’s about letting their vision and their message come to life. Aside from your communication skills, what are some other important qualities for an executive like yourself to have in order to be successful? If you’re an A&R, you’ve got to have ears. You have to hear what you think the public is going to like. I also pride myself on making sure I have great relationships with my artist. The A&R is the bridge; you’re the person that connects the artist to the label. You have to have a clear understanding of who your artist is and what and how he wants to be perceived because there’s a lot of meetings that take place in the corporate office that the artist might not be a part of and you have to make sure that you are delivering the correct message and making sure your speaking on behalf of the artist. You’re their spokesperson. During the recording process, there’s no one closer to that artist than the A&R. Both Rick Ross and Jeezy mentioned that Def Jam was the place they’d like to end up. Does working for a label with a reputation like Def Jam make it easier to attract talent? Def Jam speaks for itself. When L.A. Reid 28
came in and made that transition from Arista, it was important for the new regime to break a successful new artist in hip-hop. For us, that was Young Jeezy. Considering the legacy that we have and the fact that we do have a great president in Jay-Z, who’s a legend himself, it was important to break a new artist and let the streets know that the new Def Jam does understand what to do. There was a blueprint that was built – how to take an artist with a buzz and deliver double platinum status.
Did your college education help you in the music business? I think it was definitely helpful considering the fact that there’s a lot more to the music business than just the music. There’s a corporate aspect of it, so as far as understanding the marketing and the financial aspect, my education has definitely played a role in my career for the success I’ve had. Do you think it’s hard for executives to balance that 9-5 corporate world and still be able to relate to what the streets want to year? Yeah, but you have to be able to do that, because that’s the difference between average executives and top-level executives. You have to do it all. A lot of times we’re up til the wee hours of the morning and we still have to get up early and close deals with lawyers and read contracts. That’s a part of this business. In order to stay on top of the game you’ve got to do it all. Are you planning to stay in an A&R position or is there somewhere else you’d like to go with your career? I’d like to have my own entertainment company that would be a record company as well as a publishing company. I would definitely like to have equity in something. I wouldn’t want to just continue to make money for everybody else without making money for myself. That’s just me being a good businessman. I just want to be affiliated with great artists, artists with substance who have touched people’s lives in some way. I’m a true fan of music and I just want to be in business with people who really love music and take this business seriously. Do you have an address where people can send their demos or CDs? Island Def Jam, Attn: Shakir Stewart 500 Bishop St Suite A4 Atlanta GA 30318 - Words and photo by Julia Beverly
(Above): Shakir (in the green shirt) on the set of his artist Rick Ross’ video shoot
01: Field Mob and DJ Dap filming for JAM TV @ Club 1090 (Tallahassee, FL) 02: DJ Envy and Busta Rhymes @ City for Busta’s birthday party (NYC) 03: Point Blank @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 04: Stay Fresh and Lil Jon @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 05: Swimsuit models @ Hotel Victor (Miami, FL) 06: K-Rab and B.H.I. @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 07: J Lash and ladies (Miami, FL) 08: Attitude hustlin’ CDs on South Beach (Miami, FL) 09: Rapid Ric and the What It Dew? family on the set of his video (Austin, TX) 10: H Flow and Paula Michelle @ AG Ent./Terrell Owens’ pool party (Atlanta, GA) 11: Shrimp and Marly Mar @ Quarterly Explosion (Florence, SC) 12: Real and Lex on South Beach (Miami, FL) 13: JR Writer and his manager (Houston, TX) 14: Mr. Collipark and P Stones @ Firestone for Dawgman’s Crunkfest (Orlando, FL) 15: Eclipse and Big Bird @ Hal Mal’s for OZONE’s Industry Meet & Greet (Jackson, MS) 16: Corey Cleghorn and DJ Chill @ Stress Room for OZONE’s Dallas Got Next release party (Dallas, TX) 17: DJ Black and David Banner @ Stankonia (Atlanta, GA) 18: Da Muzicianz showing off their OZONE cover @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 19: H. Ringer, Angel, Cutty Ranks, and Sandman (Tampa, FL) 20: Sticks, Quincy, and Dawgman @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 21: DJ 2-D-Q, DJ South Paw, Chico Rico, and Jamie Lee of Basswood Lane at Backroom (Austin, TX) Photos: Bogan (05); DJ Dap (01); Julia Beverly (04,06, 08,10,12,14,15,16,17); Luxury Mindz (09,21); Malik Abdul (03,07,11,18,20); Rico Da Crook (02); Sandman (19)
q&a Twisted Black (Dallas, TX)
ou recently inked a deal with TVT. How did that come about? My man Lee, who is our broker, took the music to Steve Gottlieb at TVT. He heard it and it was pretty much a wrap from there. Marvin Mack who does radio over there heard our record and told Steve this was a deal that had to be done no matter what. So all the numbers added up and it just made sense. They heard the buzz, man. I got the mixtapes, Hustle or Go Broke. You can’t forget, I been grinding for years. It just now came full circle. This was a lifetime in the making. But really when I came home I got it in three years. It took me three years to get it so really I was kind of blessed. Just grinding. If you ain’t on that road, you ain’t eating. If you ain’t putting out mixtapes, and marketing yourself, you ain’t eating. These labels not giving out deals no more. They want to jump in business with you. My buzz came from retail, cause they were making a lot of money off of me. They are interested in me as a businessman too. I been pushing my own records independently in more markets than my backyard. Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, it just picked up from there. Have you been independent for your whole career? Yeah, but for a minute I flirted with Suave House. That was back in 1998, 1999. Then I got locked up. How did you get with Suave House? Bobby Taylor, who used to play for the Eagles, was helping us with the label and he had the plug over there at Suave House. They heard our project, One Gud Cide, which was me and Evil C. That was what made me famous. But I went to jail before that ever came out. But One Gud Cide had an album out didn’t y’all? Yeah, we had an album out. We only got a chance to sell about 10,000 cause I went to jail. That release came out independent. It didn’t come out under Suave House cause after I got locked up they let us go. How long were you away for? First I did a year, and then I came back and ended up doing two more years. So I was gone for a total of three years. I had another One Gud Cide album before that with another partner called Look What the Streets Made. That’s pretty much my start. What’s the name Twisted Black all about? Is there a meaning behind that? When I got shot in my face, I kind of smile crooked. That’s where the Twisted come from, and Black, I always been Black you know what I mean? That’s what they call me. How did you get shot? It was a hit, an organized hit on my life. I was like 19 years old. That’s all I’m gonna say about that. Were you born and raised in Ft. Worth? No, I was actually born in Detroit. I moved when I was in elementary school. I was in Detroit til I was about 12. What was Fort Worth like coming up as a rapper in the mid-90’s? Fort Worth wasn’t really cracking when I was coming out. It was all about Dallas, like it is still to this day. Now we getting a little light because of myself and 6’2 and some other people are starting to get their shine, like The Saucy Boys, Big Ben, Kilo the Twin, and Bossalini. Were you working with Greg Street at one point? We was gonna do a single deal with Greg Street. But it never panned out. He’s like a good friend with our career. Much love to Greg Street. What all have you released as a solo artist so far? As a solo artist to date I just have my Late Bloomer and Life of Tommy Burns. My new one is called Street Legends. That’s the one droppin’ on TVT. Lyrically you come with a different approach from a lot of people. It’s real personal and reality based. Where does that come from? It comes from my gut and my soul man. I done seen all facets of life, 30
from jail to the streets. The good to the bad, you know, family problems, everything. I really just spit life across the records. My life across the records. Know what I mean? That’s where it comes from. All my dealings in life. Why did you go to jail? Back then I went for tampering with ID numbers and then assault on a police officer. They ran the two concurrent, back to back. It wasn’t no assault. It wasn’t like they said it was. I was really running from him, trying to get away and he fell down and hurt himself and they charged me with it. I wasn’t trying to fight or nothing like that. Man, I was 19 years old. I was just a kid. Do you talk much about the prison system in your music? Yeah I talk about it cause I’m a product of it. I been in and out since I was 13 years old. I definitely ain’t no stranger to it. I spit what I live. I been through it so you gonna hear a lot of it. You gonna really hear it in-depth. What are some of the things you try to tell the young people about prison and the life you have led? Man, when I do it, I want young people to hear my music and hopefully stay away. I’m really putting this information in they face so they can know to not do it, you know what I mean? My music is not meant to glorify it. I’ll tell you what I went through and hopefully you’ll stay away from it. But you know, rappers ain’t role models. We try to be as best as we can but they get it twisted. If they learn from our music, take the mistakes we made and don’t do it. If we can come across like that then it’s good. You seem to actually take that approach seriously. I really do. I guess that’s what keeps me with a fan base too. I don’t really look for the single. I don’t really need radio. I’m just now getting radio, but I been selling records without it. “I’m a Fool Wit It” is my single now. Everybody’s a fool with it out here in Funkytown right now. That’s the hottest single at radio out here. You’ll be hearing it across the country now. The second single is called “Tru Hustler” with BG. Who produced “I’m a Fool Wit It”? DJ Toomp out of Atlanta gave us that heat. He’s dope, he reached out to me; much love to Toomp. I’m working mostly with in house producers now. It’s all up in the air though. We’re at the beginning stages. Do you have any contact info? www.twistedblack145.com - Words and photo by Matt Sonzala
01: Juelz Santana and Big Kuntry @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 02: DJs @ Family Day in the Park (Columbus, GA) 03: Choppa, Tony Neal, and TJ Chapman @ Get Em Magazine Awards (Pensacola, FL) 04: Big Swoll, Donny Money, and guest @ Hal Mal’s for OZONE’s Industry Meet & Greet (Jackson, MS) 05: Big D, Trina, and Lil Wayne (Miami, FL) 06: DJ Chill, Lil Bowles, and Pikasso @ Stress Room for OZONE’s Dallas Got Next release party (Dallas, TX) 07: Shawn Jay, Ghostface, and Trife reppin’ OZONE @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 08: Paula Michelle and Ray @ AG Ent./Terrell Owens’ pool party (Atlanta, GA) 09: Uncle Luke (Jackson, MS) 10: Pretty Ricky promoting safe sex @ Supa Cindy’s “I Know I Can” summit (Miami, FL) 11: Rich Boy and Ray Ray @ Get Em Magazine Awards (Pensacola, FL) 12: Steve Austin and Matt Sonzala @ Stress Room for OZONE’s Dallas Got Next release party (Dallas, TX) 13: Farrah and Jennifer @ Dragon Room (Orlando, FL) 14: Rick Ross recruiting for the Army? (Jacksonville, FL) 15: Trick Daddy and BloodRaw @ Firestone for Dawgman’s Crunkfest (Orlando, FL) 16: Cat Daddy and Mia X @ Gypsy Tea Room (Dallas, TX) 17: Lil Wayne and Currensy @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 18: Gotti and Xtaci @ OZONE/Bulletproof’s celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 19: S.E.G.A. Boys reppin’ OZONE 20: Dirty Mouf of Trillville with his stunner shades and Jazze Pha @ Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 21: Bella reppin’ OZONE and www.UrbanSouth.us Photos: Charles Wakeley (19); Edward Hall (21); J Lash (05); Jaro Vacek (09); Julia Beverly (01,02,04,06,08,10,11,14,15, 17,18,20); King Yella (16); Malik Abdul (03,07,13); Matt Sonzala (12)
01: Guest, J-Money, Cadillac Don, and Stax @ Hal & Mal’s for OZONE’s Industry Meet & Greet (Jackson, MS) 02: Jadakiss, Remy Ma, and Sheek Louch @ Hotel Victor (Miami, FL) 03: Yola and his crew @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 04: Sqad Up, Stax, and DJ Hustleman @ Hal & Mal’s for OZONE’s Industry Meet & Greet (Jackson, MS) 05: DJ K-Tone and Paul Wall reppin’ OZONE @ Blue Ice (Denver, CO) 06: Frank Ski and Too $hort @ 112 (Atlanta, GA) 07: Juicy J, Jerry Clark, and Blackjak @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 08: Trick Daddy and Dre @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 09: DJ Chill and Lil G @ Stress Room for Dallas Got Next release party (Dallas, TX) 10: Rick Ross and LA Smooth (Miami, FL) 11: DJ Trademark and Phantom @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 12: E-40 and DJ Quote (Denver, CO) 13: G-Mack and J-Holla @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 14: Malik Abdul and Dawgman @ Firestone for his Crunkfest (Orlando, FL) 15: Brisco, Rick Ross, and Byron Trice (Charleston, SC) 16: BloodLine crew @ OZONE/Bulletproof’s celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 17: Bella, Mousa, and Parish reppin’ OZONE @ Street Customs (New Orleans, LA) 18: Trae and J Prince @ his listening session (Houston, TX) 19: Bianca, KC, and Sara @ Xchange Lounge (Orlando, FL) 20: Guest, Short Dawg, and Akon @ AG Ent./Terrell Owens’ pool party (Atlanta, GA) 21: DJ Khaled and Kelis @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) Photos: Bogan (02,10); DJ KTone (05); DJ Quote (12); Jason Cordes (15); Julia Beverly (01,03,04,06,07,08,09, 13,14,16,20,21); Keadron Smith (18); Malik Abdul (11,19); Promotivation (17)
01: Marcus Palk a.k.a. Miles from Moesha, DJ Demp, and Pleasure from Pretty Ricky (Miami, FL) 02: Zab Judah and Gotti @ OZONE/Bulletproof’s celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 03: Yung Joc, Jody Breeze, and Block @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 04: Chalie Boy and video models on the set of Rapid Ric’s “Pullin’ Up” (Austin, TX) 05: Akon and Pacman Jones @ AG Ent./Terrell Owens’ party (Atlanta, GA) 06: Janky John and guest @ Hal & Mal’s for OZONE’s Industry Meet & Greet (Jackson, MS) 07: Miz, Pistol Pete, and DJ Khaled @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 08: Busta Rhymes and Slick Rick @ Summer Jam (NYC) 09: Dee Money and Spiff TV @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 10: Nick Cannon and Hoopz (Miami, FL) 11: Wickett Crickett and TV Johnny @ the grand opening of TV Jewelry’s new store (Houston, TX) 12: Rock City @ AG Ent./ Terrell Owens’ pool party (Atlanta, GA) 13: Mista Long and Money Waters (Dallas, TX) 14: Kristy and Audrey @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 15: Too $hort, Greg Street, and Big Duke @ Yung Joc’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 16: Boogieman, Lil Phil, JJ Chianese, Money Waters, Pookie from Urban South, BoBo Luchiano, Vi’Naam, Steve Austin, Cho, Thesis, Coach Cognac, Olmann, GuGu E. Michaels, and Dat Boy Baker @ Nexxus Media Studios (Dallas, TX) 17: Legion of Doom @ Hal & Mal’s (Jackson, MS) 19: Kiotti and Tomar of Carnival Beats during Texas Relays (Austin, TX) 20: Trick Daddy and Jim Jones @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 21: DJ Mars and DJ J-Nice @ Terrell Owens’ pool party (Atlanta, GA) Photos: Czar Allen (15); J Lash (10); Julia Beverly (01,02,03,05 ,06,07,09,12,16,17,20,21); Keadron Smith (11); Luxury Mindz (04); Malik Abdul (14); Matt Sonzala (13,18); Sophia Jones (19); Swift (08)
01: Jay-Z and Young Jeezy performing together @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 02: Daz, Jermaine Dupri, and DJ Irie on the set of Daz’ video (Miami, FL) 03: DJ Doc, Joe Nasty, and Mista Maine @ Hal & Mal’s (Jackson, MS) 04: Southstar, Jimmie Boi, and Sean Paul (Houston, TX) 05: Akon, Devyne Stephens, and Kenny Burns @ AG Ent./Terrell Owens’ pool party (Atlanta, GA) 06: Turf Affiliates reppin’ OZONE @ Nexxus Media Studios (Dallas, TX) 07: Dolla Bill and Magno on the set of Rapid Ric’s “Pullin’ Up” video shoot (Austin, TX) 08: Fabo of D4L @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 09: Kinfolk Nakia Shine and DJ Khaled (MIami, FL) 10: Akon @ Terrell Owens’ pool party (Atlanta, GA) 11: Bebe, guest, and Jeanise @ Terrell Owens’ pool party (Atlanta, GA) 12: @ The Venue (Gainesville, FL) 13: Cadillac Don and Rick James @ Hal & Mal’s for OZONE’s Industry Meet & Greet (Jackson, MS) 14: Eazy E and Yung Joc @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 15: Gu and Paul Wall (Denver, CO) 16: Smitty and Cory Gunz @ The CORE DJs Memorial Day weekend event (Miami, FL) 17: K Paul, Jamie Lee of Basswood Lane, Black Mike, and Duce at the Backroom (Austin, TX) 18: Too $hort and Lyfe Jennings @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 19: Trick Daddy, DJ Demp, Mr. Collipark, and P Stones @ Firestone for Dawgman’s Crunkfest (Orlando, FL) 20: OZONE street team Wilk, Mercedes, Brandon, and Destine @ OZONE celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 21: DJ Stylez and Freestyle Steve @ Deco (Miami, FL) Photos: Craig Bukata (02); DJ Quote (15); Edward Hall (06); Julia Beverly (01,03,05,08,10, 12,13,14,16,18,19,21); Keadron Smith (04); Kinfolk Nakia Shine (09); Luxury Mindz (07,17); Malik Abdul (11); Mercedes (20)
01: Skip of UTP, DJ Demp, and Juvenile @ Cairo (Orlando, FL) 02: Sonny Chulo and Jonny Bravo @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 03: Reppin’ OZONE on South Beach (Miami, FL) 04: GG, JB, and KB @ Nexxus Media (Dallas, TX) 05: Fonsworth Bentley and DJ Khaled @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 06: Yayo, TV Johnny, and DJ Quote (Denver, CO) 07: Little Brother and Cocoa Renae @ Club Liquid Blue (Newport News, VA) 08: Busta Rhymes and Mama Mia with their Hatah Blockas (Tampa, FL) 09: Guest and Benz @ Hal & Mal’s for OZONE’s Industry Meet & Greet (Jackson, MS) 10: DJ Black and Marcus. @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 11: Udonis Haslem and K Foxx @ OZONE/Bulletproof’s celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 12: White Boi Pizal and Plies @ Upper Level (Orlando, FL) 13: Supa Cindy, Lil Brianna, and Belkys Nerey @ “I Know I Can” summit (Miami, FL) 14: Greg Street and models @ his car show (Dallas, TX) 15: DJ EFN, Eddie, guest, and Keith Kennedy @ The CORE DJs Memorial Day weekend event (Miami, FL) 16: Monoply Records reppin’ their OZONE cover during Bike Week (Myrtle Beach, SC) 17: Kid Capri and Slim Thug (Miami, FL) 18: Greg Street and Nelly @ his car show (Dallas, TX) 19: Remington Steele and Voice of Da Streetz @ Xchange Lounge (Orlando, FL) 20: Fiend and Darkage reppin’ OZONE on the set of KLC’s video (New Orleans, LA) 21: DJ Infamous, B Paiz, and Chad Brown @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) Photos: Bogan (11,17); DJ Quote (06); Edward Hall (04); Julia Beverly (01,03,09,10, 12,13,15,21); King Yella (14,18); Malik Abdul (02,05,16,19); Matt Daniels (08); Mesha Clark (07); Promotivation (20)
01: Rick Ross, D-Roc, and Kelis @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 02: Junebuhg, Jonny Bravo and crew @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 03: Stacey and Echoing Soundz crew with Twista (Miami, FL) 04: The CORE DJs @ Crobar with Kid Capri (Miami, FL) 05: Sqad Up @ Upper Level (Orlando, FL) 06: Terrence, Jason Riley, and Greg G @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 07: Klarc Shepard and the B.R.E. Boys @ The Venue (Gainesville, FL) 08: Dre and Sandman (Tampa, FL) 09: So So Def mascot and ladies @ Hotel Victor (Miami, FL) 10: DJ Scientist @ Club Kryptonite (Myrtle Beach, SC) 11: Bun B and Lil Juan of Street Pharmacy at Lakeview Club (Bryan, TX) 12: Jermaine Dupri and Mariah Carey performing together @ Summer Jam (NYC) 13: Cedric Walker and Danny @ The Venue (Gainesville, FL) 14: Allen Iverson and a friend (Miami, FL) 15: Young Jeezy and Skip Cheatham @ Greg Street’s car show (Dallas, TX) 16: Chaka Zulu, Jeff Dixon, and Jazze Pha @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 17: D.D.C. a.k.a. Dirty Dialect Click (Dallas, TX) 18: Freestyle Steve and Jim Jones @ OZONE/ Bulletproof’s celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 19: Smitty and Tampa Tony @ The CORE DJs Memorial Day weekend event (Miami, FL) 20: Guest, Stack$, and E-Class (Miami, FL) 21: Pop n Bulletz @ V Lounge (Charlotte, NC) 22: Carmelo Anthony and P-Life @ Jadakiss’ birthday party (NYC) Photos: Bogan (09); Da Dreak (17); Greg G (06); J Lash (14,20); Julia Beverly (01, 03,04,05,07,13,16,18,19); King Yella (15); Kool Laid (20); Malik Abdul (02,10); Rico Da Crook (21); Sandman (08); Street Pharmacy (11); Swift (12)
01: Too $hort @ KNOZ (Sacramento, CA) 02: Young Jeezy and Slick Pulla reppin’ OZONE @ Greg Street’s car show (Dallas, TX) 03: AK, Big Kuntry, DJ Sense, and David Banner @ Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 04: Yung Joc and Block (Atlanta, GA) 05: Pimp C and Wild Billo @ Big Daddy’s (Mobile, AL) 06: Tequila @ Stress Room for OZONE’s Dallas Got Next release party (Dallas, TX) 07: Young City @ Crobar (Miami, FL) 08: Pookie, guest, and Uncle Pauly @ Stress Room (Dallas, TX) 09: Tampa Tony, Tarvoria, and J-Shin @ OZONE & Bulletproof celebrity bball game (Miami, FL) 10: Monique (Miami, FL) 11: Ghostwridah and DJ Ideal @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 12: Charles Wakeley, Big Cee Jay, Big Amp, guests, and J-Holla @ Get Em Awards (Pensacola, FL) 13: TJ Chapman and Grafh @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 14: Kevin Black @ Quarterly Explosion (Florence, SC) 15: Riskay @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 16: DJ Khaled @ WJBT’s Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 17: Chyna Whyte and Keith Kennedy @ Get Em Awards (Pensacola, FL) 18: Sqad Up @ Get Em Magazine Awards (Pensacola, FL) 19: Fully Thug and Mr Fitness @ Backroom (Austin, TX) 20: Boo da Boss Playa @ Seagram’s Gin model search (Jackson, MS) 21: Pookie and DJ Big Bink @ 97.9 The Beat (Dallas, TX) 22: Rob-Lo and DJ B-Lord @ Quarterly Explosion (Florence, SC) 23: Kid Capri @ Hotel Victor (Miami, FL) 24: Bigalow and guest @ OZONE’s Industry Meet & Greet (Jackson, MS) 25: Craig B, DJ Spin, and KLC @ Infirmary (Baton Rouge, LA) 26: George Lopez and DSR @ Greg Street’s car show (Dallas, TX) 27: Lyfe @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 28: K-Rab @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 29: Shawn Jay @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 30: DJ Dagwood @ Get Em Magazine Awards (Pensacola, FL) 31: Wendy Day @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 32: Greg G and Michael Watts @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 33: Money Waters, D’Lyte, & MC @ Stress Room for OZONE’s Dallas Got Next release party (Dallas, TX) 34: Cocoa Renea and Yung Joc @ Club Broadway (Norfolk, VA) 35: Tity Boy @ Hotel Victor (Miami, FL) 36: Jeanise and DJ B-Lord @ Quarterly Explosion (Florence, SC) 37: Wolf Gang @ Manila Ave (Virginia Beach, VA) 38: DJ Tom Tom @ V Lounge (Charlotte, NC) Photos: Berto (25); Bogan (10,23,35); Charles Wakeley (12); Czar Allen (04); Edward Hall (20,21); Julia Beverly (03,07,09,11,13,18,24,28,29,33); King Yella (02,26); Kool Laid (38); Luxury Mindz (19); Malik Abdul (14,15,16,1 7,22,27,30,31,32,36); Matt Sonzala (06,08); Mesha Clark (34,37); Wild Billo (05); Will Major (01)
01: Slick Pulla with his OZONE article @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 02: Jadakiss and Sheek Louch @ Hotel Victor (Miami, FL) 03: Steve Austin @ Nexxus Media Studios (Dallas, TX) 04: Pastor Troy @ Get Em Magazine Awards (Pensacola, FL) 05: Play-N-Skillz @ Greg Street’s car show (Dallas, TX) 06: Ms. Dynasty and Young Cash @ Hotel Victor (Miami, FL) 07: Slick Pulla and Young Jeezy @ Firestone for Dawgman’s Crunkfest (Orlando, FL) 08: Dior George and Tuesday Donaldson @ Get Em Magazine Awards (Pensacola, FL) 09: DJ Caesar @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 10: AK, Big Kuntry, and Rashad @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 11: Jizno and Kottonmouth @ Stress Room for OZONE’s Dallas Got Next release party (Dallas, TX) 12: S Dub @ V Lounge (Charlotte, NC) 13: Wine-O @ Greg Street’s car show (Dallas, TX) 14: Pimp G and guest @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 15: Frank Ski @ Yung Joc’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 16: Johnny Louis @ Miami Dade Comm. College (Miami, FL) 17: Mobb Deep @ Oxygen (Coconut Grove, FL) 18: Cheri Dennis @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 19: DJ Quote and Yeyo @ OZONE & Bulletproof’s celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 20: Rasheeda @ Quarterly Explosion (Florence, SC) 21: Dolla Bill and Chalie Boy during Texas Relay Weekend (Austin, TX) 22: DJ Drop reppin’ Dallas Got Next @ 97.9 The Beat (Dallas, TX) 23: Snipe and Big Gen (Birmingham, AL) 24: Black Widow and Latina (Dallas, TX) 25: Charles Wakeley @ Get Em Magazine Awards (Pensacola, FL) 26: Wild Billo and Rich Boy @ D’Marie’s fashion show (Mobile, AL) 27: Young Shad @ Hal-Mal’s (Jackson, MS) 28: Lil Fate, TJ Chapman, and Shawn Jay @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 29: Models @ Hotel Victor (Miami, FL) 30: Juvenile (Jacksonville, FL) 31: Charlieo @ Quarterly Explosion (Florence, SC) 32: DJ Princess Cuts (Dallas, TX) 33: Adassi and Hype (Miami, FL) 34: Greg Street (Atlanta, GA) 35: Meghan Rochelle @ Family Day in the Park (Columbus, GA) 36: Piazo and DJ B-Lord @ Studabakers (Myrtle Beach, SC) 37: Corey Cleghorn and Big Chief @ Stress Room (Dallas, TX) 38: Ms. Sassy and Krazy (Tampa, FL) Photos: Bogan (02,06,17,29); Czar Allen (15,34); Edward Hall (03,11,22,24,32); Johnny Louis (16); Julia Beverly (01,04,07,10,14,19,23,2 7,28,33,35,37,38); King Yella (05,13); Kool Laid (12); Luxury Mindz (21); Malik Abdul (08,09,18,20,25,31,36); Ron Locklear (30); Wild Billo (26)
q&a Acafool (Tampa, FL)
hear you’re in the middle of a nice little bidding war right now thanks to the success of your single “Hatah Blockas.” Yeah, Sony, Universal, Asylum, and we’re going to go meet with Capitol and Interscope. Has your head blown up yet? Head blown up? No, ma’am. No reason to, it’s just progress that you work towards and see the results. No reason to get a big head because it’s just work. How long have you been in the game? I’ve been doing this for about six years, and been promoting Acafool for three years. I was a producer before I was even Acafool as an artist. Do you still produce? Yeah, I produce most of my own stuff. I produced the track for “Hatah Blockas” and I do most of my production. I’m also going to get some production done by the Justice League and I’m working with some guys that I teach. Where do you teach? I teach at the International Academy of Design & Technology. I teach audio production and Pro Tools to students that are interested in getting into the music industry. I help them get their feet wet in all the programs that are industry standard. Once your rap career really takes off, do you think you’ll be able to continue teaching? How will you balance both? Right now I’m just gonna keep working. Depending on the success of the record, it’s taking off. Based on the income I’m getting from show money I more than likely won’t be teaching anymore. Are the labels impressed with the fact that you’re a producer also? Do you think that plays a key part with their interest in you? A lot of people don’t know that I’m a producer. They bought into the song and the “Hatah Blocka” movement itself. A lot of people still aren’t aware that I’m the producer as well. The song itself could be seen as a gimmick. How can you be recognized as an all-around artist, not just the “Hatah Blocka” guy? To some degree, it’s tough to avoid because this is the record that’s getting the name out there. So for those that think it’s a gimmick, cool. But this isn’t the first song to come from Acafool. The first song was “Hell No,” and that wasn’t a gimmick. As far as the follow-up record, we’re gonna go out there and allow the people to decide what’s the best song. It’s just like the test marketing we did for “Hatah Blockas.” People responded well, so we’re gonna let the DJs and the people decide what should be the next single. On the next single, they’ll get to see all the different aspects of Acafool. They can get a real introduction. Most of the production is by me, so they can see I’m far from a gimmick rapper. I call myself an entertainer. Where did you come up with the concept for “Hatah Blockas”? The concept came right around last November from my homeboy Tim from Street Grinders out of Polk County. He had the idea for the song but no specific hook. I just pulled out a track I had and we put the song together. I thought the best way to market it would be to actually get some shades and market them to DJs. We gave them a pair of Hatah Blockas as well as the record, and it worked. As an “entertainer,” what other forms of media are you planning on going into? I’m looking to get into any avenue that’s gonna best bring notoriety for me as a producer, artist, actor, and songwriter. All those things come with the entertainment business. Those are just stepping stones. My plan was always to find a way to break in and showcase more of my talent; on the movie side as well. It’s always been in the plan. I’m gonna try to capitalize on all that God gave me. Do you feel that Tampa’s music scene has been supportive? Tampa’s been very supportive of the record. Wild 98.7, The Beat, all
the radio stations, all the DJs have showed hella love. It was after three years of building relationships that we finally got the record that everybody felt confident in. They got behind it 100%, so to me, Tampa showed a lot of love. What methods did you use to build relationships? Off rip, man, I learned the building relationships aspect when I was first marketing and producing for my initial artist. I understood that you need to be in the clubs at 10 PM before the DJs set up. You need to be buying them drinks, staying in contact, trying not to be annoying but still doing follow-up and trying to get their advice and trying to get them involved in what you’re trying to do so they feel like they’re a part of it. I think it’s important for any artist trying to make it happen in any market – if you just started out, one, don’t quit your day job. Two, work on putting out the best music possible and build relationships with the DJs. Most aspiring rappers don’t admit to having a day job. To each his own. It all comes down to how you hustle and grind. As for myself, I always knew that the cardinal rule of trying to get into this business is that you’re gonna go broke first before you see any results. I came from a situation where I started off broke, and I didn’t wanna go back to that position. I went to college, got my education, and got a job. Even when I was just a producer no one knew who Acafool was. I was still working a 9-5 and hitting the clubs, doing what I gotta do. The same thing with my people. Everybody works; that’s our hustle. That’s how we grind. To each his own. If you’re moving weight, that’s what you do. But hey, I’d rather have another means of making money until my hustle starts to pay off. What’s the image you’re going for? Nappy hair, straw hat is what they’ll see. I’m from Florida. I’m from the South, Dickies and all. Sometimes you’ll see me in jeans; but it all represents Acafool. The hair represents the commitment, the hat represents my Haitian heritage, and I wear whatever makes me comfortable on stage to connect with the people. You’re known for your live performances. (laughing) That’s the key right now. Performance is key. I like to perform as if I’m a fan. I want to be able to connect with the audience when it comes to my performances. I like to get involved with the crowd, jump out, stop and talk to them, give out drinks. Those fans are like family to me. It’s like a regular holiday festival, getting with your family. How does your hair represent commitment? I haven’t cut my hair since I really got into music production. The goal initially was to help my artist get signed. Things didn’t work out so then it went over to me and I decided I wasn’t gonna cut my hair until things took off. But now, it’s a double-edged sword, because I might not be able to cut my hair. A lot of people have pulled me to the side and told me, “Don’t cut your hair.” So I can’t predict what’s gonna happen with my hair. I’m gonna stick with it because that’s what people are familiar with; it’s a cool persona. If that’s what people like to see, that’s what they’re gonna get. Do you have a website? Yeah, check out www.acafool.com or myspace.com/acafool. - Words and photo by Julia Beverly
01: Young Dro @ V Lounge (Charlotte, NC) 02: Rick Ross showin’ off his OZONE cover @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 03: Treal and White Boi Pizal @ Upper Level (Orlando, FL) 04: Twisted Black @ Greg Street’s car show (Dallas, TX) 05: Twista and K Foxx (Miami, FL) 06: Jody Breeze @ Yung Joc’s release party (Atlanta, GA) 07: Trae @ SUC concert (Houston, TX) 08: QuickMixx Rick and LXBUB @ Stress Room (Dallas, TX) 09: DJ Cleve @ Quarterly Explosion (Florence, SC) 10: Bigga Rankin and Disco @ Firestone for Dawgman’s Crunkfest (Orlando, FL) 11: Brannon Scales @ Quarterly Explosion (Florence, SC) 12: Chamillionaire @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 13: Big Duke @ Yung Joc’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 14: Oozie @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 15: Clout Models @ Stress Room for OZONE’s Dallas Got Next release party (Dallas, TX) 16: DJ Finesse @ WJMI 99 Jams (Jackson, MS) 17: Sir Knight Train and DJ @ The Venue (Gainesville, FL) 18: Jeanise @ Studabakers (Myrtle Beach, SC) 19: Citty @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 20: Rick Ross @ Greg Street’s car show (Dallas, TX) 21: Bigg V (Jackson, MS) 22: Kelis @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 23: JT the Bigga Figga and Khao @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 24: Bigga Rankin (Jacksonville, FL) 25: Xtaci @ OZONE & Bulletproof celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 26: DJ Roc @ Studabakers (Myrtle Beach, SC) 27: Piazo @ Studabakers (Myrtle Beach, SC) 28: D’Lyte @ Stress Room for OZONE’s Dallas Got Next release party (Dallas, TX) 29: Gazelle @ Quarterly Explosion (Florence, SC) 30: J Blaze @ Club Kryptonite (Myrtle Beach, SC) 31: Remy Ma @ Hotel Victor (Miami, FL) 32: Skip Cheatham, DJ Chill, and Steve Nice @ K104 (Dallas, TX) 33: Lil Fate and Shawn Jay @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 34: BloodRaw and Cristal Bubblin @ Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 35: Young Fella and Lord Drake @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 36: Too $hort @ Yung Joc’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 37: 103.5 The Beat @ Hotel Victor (Miami, FL) 38: Fonsworth Bentley and Ray Cash @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) Photos: Bogan (25,31,37); Cap One (08); Czar Allen (06,13,36); Edward Hall (15,21,28,29,30); Julia Beverly (02,03,05,10,12,14,16,17,19,23, 32,34,38); Keadron Smith (07); King Yella (04,20); Kool Laid (01); Malik Abdul (09,11,18,22,26,27,33,35); Ron Locklear (24)
q&a Pitbull (Miami, FL)
ou’ve always repped hard for Cuba, especially on your new album El Mariel. Americans are kinda oblivious to stuff going on in other countries. Do you stay in touch with what’s happening there? I’m always in touch with Cuba. You really have no choice when you live in Miami. Oh, man. In Cuba you have no right to speak your mind. There’s no opportunities. You have people hungry over there. Poverty, bottom line. What do you think about all these immigration debates? Well, as soon as Cubans touch ground they have the right to stay in America and they have a chance at citizenship. All of my family were immigrants, so I feel for them. The way they’re setting up the laws, they’re stripping them of their rights and setting them up for failure because anybody that tries to help them gets in trouble. The way I see it is this: America is supposed to be the land of the free and the land of opportunity, so everybody should get equal opportunity to the rights and freedoms of being an American. Do you touch on some of these subjects on your new album or is it mostly party records? Of course we’ve got party records, but I’m touching on a lot of different things. You’ve got to cater to everything in the game. That’s why I called it El Mariel; it’s my boat lift. I’m coming, and hopefully I’ll be able to take advantage of all these opportunities. Your boat lift? You don’t feel like you’ve achieved your full potential yet in this game? In no way, shape, or form. This is just the beginning. The next step is making a stamp. All I really need on this album right here is for one song to bust open like three times the size of “Dammit Man.” Once I do one of those, it’ll put me in a whole different category in the game where I’ve covered all bases. Spanish, in the club, in the streets, political, deep, storytelling, whatever. Pit can cover all the bases. That’s basically what I want to do with this album – show my versatility. Do you think being with an indie label has limited your potential reach or prevented people from seeing you as a superstar? I don’t think it’s limiting. No matter where you are, if you’re a star you’re a star, bottom line. But I like it better like that. If they throw you out there quick and you blow it up, it ain’t a slow grind. You know how we say in the South: a slow grind is a fa’ sho’ grind. That’s how I look at it with my career. I want a career like T.I. and Jay-Z. I want a career that’s constantly growing, no decline. A constant incline. I sold 600,000 on M.I.A.M.I. and 300,000 on Money Is Still A Major Issue with no promotions. So if I do 800,000 or 900,000 on my next album, I’m happy. If I hit a million, it’s a blessing. And I’m gonna come back to back with a Spanish album, so it’s a blessing. Your last album seemed like it had a lot of commercial/radio records. Is this one going to have more of a raw sound to it, like your mixtapes? Well, a lot of my records didn’t get cleared cause of sample issues. So a lot of the records that I wanted to put on M.I.A.M.I., I couldn’t use. So that’s basically what happened. With this album, I’m getting the chance to work on some things. So if it outdoes the last album, it’s great. It’s gonna be more like a mixtape, exactly. There’ll be like four club-oriented records on there like a “Bojangles,” and the rest is gonna be those mixtape records. In Uncle Luke’s interview he said that you and Rick Ross are gonna be the ones to take Miami’s music scene to the next level. Do you agree? I think that’s 150% accurate. Rick Ross is gonna help show the world what I’ve been doing in Miami. I jumped on the “Holla At Me Baby” song with DJ Khaled and all them folks, and “Born And Raised” with Trick Daddy and Rick Ross. People are starting to see the other side of Pitbull. Cats like Rick Ross, he doesn’t make the type of records I make. But when he comes out and says that Pit been doing it for years and they love Pit in Miami, that’s another stripe earned. That’s only gonna help the whole Pitbull movement. As far as me and [Rick] Ross doing a record together, I’d love to do it but I don’t know, because of 48
these Def Jam and TVT issues. Do you think your rap skills are underrated? People can call me anything but broke, because at the end of the day that’s all I care about. I don’t care what they think. If they’re thinking about me that’s a beautiful thing because that means they’re listening to me and adding fuel to the fire. So for those that don’t know Pit, I’m not in a rush. What comes quickly leaves quickly. Those that know Pit know how I get down and what I’ve done. If I’ve got an opportunity that I can take full advantage of, why not? I’d be a foolish businessman not to. Are you still dealing with Diddy and Bad Boy Latino? I’d doing non-exclusive consulting for them. I respect them. I idolize Diddy and Emilio. I’d love to be in their shoes ten years from now. But the way things were being handled, I wasn’t really too happy with it. I’m rather step out and bring them whatever I’ve got, and if they’re interested, cool. Who’s producing this album? On production, of course you’re gonna have Lil Jon, the Diaz Brothers, Jim Jonsin, Mayhem, and I’m trying to hook up with Pharrell right now. We’ll see if that works out. As far as features, we’re working with Twista. I got one with Ying Yang, and I’m trying to get Luke and Rick Ross on there. Cubo, Piccolo, a new cat named Bang that just jumped out. Really, I just wanna make sure the hometeam gets that look so we can take this thing to the next level. - Julia Beverly (Photo: Ray Tamarra)
FIEND WORDS: LEON BAILEY
ou been laying low. What have you been up to? Ain’t nothing, man, Beats, hooks, lyrics, ya know what I’m sayin’? Running this label FE. Getting ready to release this The Addiction album on June 27th. This album is what everyone been waiting for six, seven years. Look out for the DVD also, Fiend The Addiction DVD. What are the features and production lineup looking like? Beats By the Bound and Crack Alley. Beats By the Pound go by the name Medicine Men, but it’s still the Pound. As far as features I kept it basically a solo like a Fiend album like what the people been wanting from me. I introduced my artist Corner Boy P and a few other cats, but I kept it how the fans been wantin’. Beats By the Pound did about half the CD, and Crack Alley is me. How do you think your production has progressed since you began to produce? Oh, it’s crazy. I’m ready for a nigga ass. Being ready, I got a little bit ahead of what’s happening right now. We on time like a muthafucka right now. Beats knock like them bitches tryin’ to collect rent. What are some tracks that you consider your favorites? “That Iron Gang,” that’s one of my favorites, “Do Right, Do Better,” “Bottom of the Map,” that’s crazy, “Want It All.” There’s so many songs, and we took the best 18 songs off the project and kind of put it together. I did like 100 songs or whatever. Tell me more about the DVD; I’m interested in hearing about that. The DVD is crazy; some buddies got together and put together some thoughts. We freestyling and doing some things together and let people see the day to day operations that are going on with myself and the company. A few questions that haven’t been asked maybe in magazines, video shows, internet radio, or regular radio shows. All on the DVD and should be out the following weeks after the album. Are DVDs and movies something you will do more in the future? I’m putting together a few films, but it’s strictly gonna be on some comedies. A few dramas, but mostly comedies. I want to keep us as people laughing with a smile on our faces. Are you the one that is writing the scripts? So far I am, but I’m open minded to scripts, but I’m a small company and believe moving one step at a time to when I know that something I can do. I don’t want to over commit and not deliver on nothing I do. Writing a script doesn’t necessarily need me to write it in rhyme form. Writing a CD needs me to put it in rhyme form for you to catch on immediately soon as I said or I’m gonna say what I’m saying. How did you get into doing that? I was doing some of that for No Limit Records without actually being labeled that. I played my part with hooks, listening for a hype track, or whatever. I did it for a lot of independent companies. Puff used to always tell me, “I’m a fan of yours and you make great music.” Maybe that’s all what I need to hear right there in order to do what I need to do. I don’t need no co-signer by me to know that I must be doing something right, so I just offer my services to other people. We make great music together and we make a financial something nice also too. If anybody out there need a hit record whether it’s R&B or rap just yell at us email@example.com. I want to get more in depth with the writing. It’s really not only writing the lyrics for an artist right? There is more to it. It’s like an A&R basically. It’s showing a person how to say, perform, create a hit record, or search for the hit record to get it out yourself. I come in and help create something new and something next without it leaking to another company for them to get the dollars of the new song. Do artists have any issues with you trying to guide them how the
song should be? All the time. Some less than others, but for the most part its smooth sailing. Sometimes it’s creative differences because they might be young and used to doing things by they selves which is great if you can do it yourself. I’m just along to make sure things go smoothly. It’s a part of the business. You just need to be prepared and willing to communicate with that artist and see what it is that y’all can do. Perform some kind of median between the record label and artist. I heard that you got a deal with Atlantic now. What made you decide to sign with them? It was the people, Mike Caren, Craig Kallman, Damon Eden, Aaron Bay-Schuck, those types of people that made me look beyond just company brick walls and steel rods. They made me look more into that. They more real people then just business and them the kind of people that I rather make my dollar with. When will your debut album with them come out? Some time in 2007. I’m still trying to figure out where I want to record the album. Sleepy Eye Jones “International Jones” that’s going to be the release on Atlantic and its gon’ be something enjoyed by all ages. It’s like Fiend meets Curtis [Mayfield], Isaac [Hayes], and Barry [White] for a weekend session jam. It’s a little bit far off, but do you think with the right promotion on your Atlantic debut that you will receive the proper recognition for the music that you have created through out your career? Yeah, of course I’ma gain some new fans, a lot of new ones, but at the same time we right on time. Our fans that’s been there gon’ be able to enjoy and get kicks out of something new as well. Let’s talk more about your label. Is it your primary focus to establish it or are you more concerned about The Addiction? The label’s already established; we got over 450,000 units sold independently. We just haven’t decided to sign with a major and we just aren’t as consistent with the releases, but we are quite established as a label. As far as making it a competitive label with the rest of the companies that’s out there that’s kind of on the consumers. They will have us all in that switch up of things going out there of who got this year or don’t have it. We just focused on making good music man, real good music so the people can relate to it. People that want to create standards more than people that just follow. Tell me about the artists that you have signed to your label. Corner Boy P, first release after The Addiction on my label Fe. We got a few other artists, but right now we just focused on this one, one at a time so we can get everything up and running. He’s one person that have recorded a lot of music with and he’s seen the structure of our company over the years. He’s become part of the company, so Corner Boy P is who I put the label on. He’s the truth. If you looking to who I’m a handle it over to that’s who I’m turning my things over to Corner Boy P. He might come out on Atlantic too, Atlantic been looking to sign him. I don’t want to expose a few of the labels, but a brother company that I work with. Y’all know that they know wassup too. You have been signed by a few labels throughout your career. Do you take anything from your former CEOs to make sure you do not make the same mistakes in the future? Don’t do what other niggas do. Simple as that. Don’t do what other niggas do. I ain’t got no mistresses, I ain’t got all sorts of people I don’t know about, I ain’t no fuck ass nigga trying to fuck nobody. If I don’t got it I don’t got it, if I have it I have it. Anything else that you want to say? Check out www.myspace.com/fiendent. Look out for my album The Addiction. It’s serious that people get it because it’s on. If you thought you was thirsty or salivating since Street Life then this right here will quench your thirst no doubt. Look for me on the next MTV Jamz and if you need beats, hooks, records call us up. You can check our hood records and Billboards to see what we doing. OZONE
K-RINO WORDS & PHOTO: MATT SONZALA
ou were one of the first people to release rap music in Houston. You’ve been around this scene since day one. In the past few years, all eyes seem to be on Houston and the city is blowing up. Have you, one of the pioneers of this music, benefited at all from this Houston resurgence? Yeah, I think I have benefited from it. It might be indirectly but I have. With all the attention that the mainstream cats are getting in Houston it’s making people focus on Houston who might not ordinarily focus on Houston. So whether it be through the internet or somebody just might be in a different state and see a record that’s from Houston and they interested in the Houston sound now, it might lead to a sale or a hit on the website. So indirectly, yeah I think I have benefited but for the most part it’s just about the people who been down with me and the SPC for years. You haven’t seen that expand much since all this came about? Not really. I think the game has changed so much to where the things that I talk about, the topics that I speak on in my records really ain’t popular topics. So it’s still not something that’s appealing to the masses to where I could look and see a dramatic change as far as record sales or an overall popularity. It might be getting that way because I feel a little buzz developing but 10 or 12 years ago and I was way stronger than I am now as far as buzz and popularity. I think that may be true in the Houston streets, but lately I have heard from people all over the world asking about K-Rino and the South Park Coalition and wanting to hear more. I attribute that mostly to the internet. At the time when we really was just getting started, the internet really wasn’t around. It wasn’t something that everybody was just plugged into like they are now. But we had the streets on fire. And really that’s what we trying to do now. We trying to recapture the streets like we had in the early to mid-90’s. I think that for me and the type of music that I do, that’s gonna be the best option for me. I go into these streets and go into these hoods and find the people who were down for us back in the days, who might be wondering where we are. The people that I honestly make my music for, that I think about when I’m writing, the majority of them cats don’t have internet access. They don’t have computers. They living in projects, the ghetto. There was a time when we didn’t have to focus on the radio stations or none of that because we had the streets on lock. We was moving 20,000 - 30,000 units in the streets without no radio play and limited promotion. The topics I hear on your records are about the streets and are reality based, so why do you think the streets are so into the fantasy raps being kicked by the mainstream? It’s a couple of reasons. Number one, I think that the hand of the industry is so strong that they flood the streets, they flood the whole entire market with that type of rap. So you see a lot of it on the videos, you hear it 15 - 20 times a day on the radio from 15 - 20 different artists. At some point if you’re getting fed something enough, then it catches on like that. But as far as me, there’s a difference, I’m on some subliminal, make you think type topics. Or just something that the little man in the street that’s going through things struggling can relate to. I don’t glorify a lot of flash, a lot of glitz, a lot of glamour. Grills in your mouth, rims on your car, I don’t have no problem with that, but I don’t glorify that and that’s what’s in right now. Also I feel like it’s a situation of me being from the old school like I am, growing up in the era with KRSOne and Public Enemy, I think the industry intentionally filtered out that type of rap, what we call conscious rap, and replaced it with a lot of the materialism and the sex, drugs and violence. To really dumb down the minds of the listeners. Why would it be in the industry’s best interest to dumb down the mind of the listener? Well you gotta look at it like this. The rap game is something that started in the black community. The black community was waking up when they seen groups like Public Enemy, KRS-One, X-Clan, and even in the
early ‘90’s when the Terrorists was doing they thing. I feel that there’s a hidden hand that don’t want to see the black community awake and don’t want to see us focusing on conscious topics. So when the gangsta rap, materialism and all that did hit the scene, that was something that diverted our minds away from positive thinking. Let’s talk about these rims, let’s talk about sex, let’s talk about violence. And it took the focus off of that. So I do think that the industry had a strong influence in doing that. A lot of what we see on the surface, it’s bigger than just the music. Notice that you don’t hear conscious rap on the radio much anymore. Nobody’s mind is on uplifting. Everybody’s mind is either on partying, or obtaining material things. To me, that was done intentionally. Even deeper than that, besides the music, people aren’t really looking for any kind of a message today. There’s so many things going on in the world that they should pay attention to but it’s never really brought to light. To me that was a process, because there was a time when it wasn’t like that. There was a time when you could just listen to a record. Even the Geto Boys. The Geto Boys, a long time ago, had a song called “No Sell Out.” They were speaking on conscious topics back then and they used to play that song on the radio a lot. It’s a situation now where over years, they stopped letting that kind of rap be heard and be exposed to the public, then new generations grow up never even knowing that type of rap even existed. So all they are exposed to is 20 inch rims and grills in yo’ mouth and ice on the wrist and whatever the case may be, which is cool, but when you make your music you gotta have balance. You gotta give some balance so there’s always an alternative. If I’m gonna talk about my rims and my grill and what I got, it’s cool, but what about me talking to the hood and telling them how they can obtain it? A lot of people have told me, “He got it, but there’s a whole lot of other people in the hood who ain’t got it. So it’s like, you throwing it in our face, give us some game on how to get it.” You gotta give another side. A lot of the music today is just about cocaine too, aside from all the other shit. These cats have one topic in their whole repertoire. That’s right, drug sellin’. All of that, man. There gotta be an alternative to that. You can’t just glorify drug sellin’. A lot of that has gotten better. The reason why I was focusing on the materialism is because that’s kind of what’s in the forefront right now - the flash and all that. In the beginning, the gang life, the drug sellin’, that was glorified in records. Now it’s still glorified but it’s kind of explained, and people offer solutions: “This is why I did what I did.” They give reasons why. Whether they studio with it or they real with it, but the materialism is what’s in the forefront right now and it’s clouding the mind of the listener. This music is so influential. Kids hear the stuff and they feel like this is what they need to strive for, when in reality, everybody not gonna make it in that. You gotta find out what your gift, what your talent is, and pursue that. In a sense, that’s all part of the American way - get things rather than do things. Right, but there’s gotta be substance. There’s nothing wrong with having those things, but you gotta have substance within yourself so that those things don’t ruin you. A lot of people have those things and have had those things and lost them. A lot of people in Houston have reached a mountaintop, and then they end up back in the valley. How did you actually start putting out records? I saw Rap-A-Lot, I saw how they were doing what they were doing and I always wanted to do what they did. I always had respect for J. And I always looked at the situation like, “I wanna do what he doing.” Me and my old man, we was like “Let’s do what J did. Let’s do what Russell did.” We was always in the mode that if somebody offered us something that we couldn’t refuse, then yeah we gonna take it, but as of now we just gonna do it ourselves.
You started your label with your father? Yeah, see, I came up in a time when people weren’t even thinking about making records in Houston. It was unheard of. It was just about rapping on the street corner, rapping on the talent show and it just crossed my mind. Matter of fact, we sitting in MacGregor Park doing this interview, and we was riding through MacGregor Park on the other side. I might have been about 15 years old and my dad asked me what I wanted to do with my music and I said, “Man, I wanna make a record.” It don’t sound funny now but in 1985, coming from Houston, my old man was like, “Alright, let’s make a record.” He never looked at me like, “What you mean? Aw, man you can’t do that man.” He said, “Let’s do it.” And we did it. We went right in the studio, and we didn’t know what we was doing. It was on the job training and we went in the studio and it was one of the first rap records to drop in Houston. It dropped in like ’86, ’87. We were in a learning situation, and we made a lot of mistakes. We were in situations to sign with majors, we tried to go that route and the independent game was just starting with RapA-Lot. It took us all over the country but it didn’t work for us. It really wasn’t for us, but I was glad I went through it.
Yeah, last year we released a B-1 album on our group label. I got my label Black Book International and we, the South Park Coalition got our own label called Full Circle Entertainment.
Was that with the group Real Chill? Right, that was with the group Real Chill. Me and my boy Preppie J and GT. We went everywhere - New York, L.A., Atlanta - dealing with different record labels. A lot of labels were interested in us but we just couldn’t find nothing that suited us, or suited our camp. Nobody really respected us. They didn’t respect Houston. They didn’t respect what we could bring to the table. People had interest but we’d have been more of an experiment to them. That’s just how I looked at it.
What is the Dead End? The Dead End is like, if we got on Martin Luther King and went straight south without stopping, you would run into the Dead End. It’s not a Dead End no more because they opened the street up and the street run all the way through now. But it used to really be a Dead End. You couldn’t go no further down Martin Luther King. It had about 4 or 5 huge apartment complexes down there. You had the Orleans, Kings Gate, the Esperanza and Summerwood. Summerwood and Esperanza, they tore those down. Orleans and Kings Gate are still around but just have different names. Anybody from the hood they know, that’s Kings Gate and the Orleans. So when people say the Dead End, they still say Dead End to this day even though it’s not a dead end no more.
Did you release a 12” single? Yeah we had a 12” single of a song called “Rockin’ It.” You know we came up in the Run DMC, Whodini, Fat Boys era. We was on some old school in and out, wearing your warm ups like Run-DMC, we was in that mode you know? Trying to be what we thought was what you had to be in the industry at that time. But we was true to it and had love for it. So once we started seeing what the industry really was about, started learning the game, a couple of cats started losing love for it, but I’ve never really lost that love for it man. I’ve seen the potential to grow in it and it started to become a job for me. I have always been able to go back to my roots and remember how fun it was. That’s what kept me doing it so long. Back in 1985 or ’86, were there any Houston artists that influenced you? Yeah, in the streets. Not putting out no records. Of course you got people like Jazzy Red, he had Kids Jam on 90.9 KTSU crunk on Saturday morning. That was the station. You had Jazzy Red, Lester Sir Pace, Wickett Crickett, OG Style, all those cats was people that everyone in the city would listen to them to hear all the hits that was coming out of New York, plus you could walk your own demo in there. There was this one cat who came down here from New York. His name was T Mack T. He was really the one who I give a lot of credit to as far as teaching me a lot about how to rap, and teaching me the game and how to battle. This dude at the time, personal opinion, I had never heard anyone that was better than him in person, outside of Run-DMC. I was like, “Man this dude here is the greatest dude I ever heard in my life.” So I just gravitated towards him and hung around him every day. How many records have you released since 1986? In total, I think about 14, give or take one or two. 13, 14 or 15 projects. If you take Real Chill to the COD album that me and Dope E. did in 1990. Those were the two groups I was in and the rest were solos with a couple of SPC projects. So about 15 all together. Have you released albums by any other artists in South Park Coalition besides yourself? 58
South Park Coalition was one of the first groups I heard about in Houston. Can you tell me a little about South Park? Where is it in Houston, and who were some of the artists who came up around you? South Park is on the Southeast side of Houston, TX, and the hood stretches for a long, long way. It’s a huge neighborhood to a point where you got hoods inside of hoods. You got Sunnyside, you got Yellowstone, you got just people claiming hoods inside the hoods. South Acres. People will make streets popular. Hershelwood. So it’s a situation where people started taking pride in where they are from, even though South Park is the whole area. The Dead End is where I’m from. It’s a beautiful thing because a lot of the rappers in the city are from the South Park area or just this side of town. And now you got a lot of cats on the North Side that’s holding it down and representing for Houston too. That’s what it’s about, bringing it all together.
What stopped the road? It was a real dead end. You just drive until you get to the block and it got a dead end sign and it’s nothing but fields. Just fields after that. But they busted it open and made the street run all the way through it.
Z-RO WORDS: JULIA BEVERLY
I hear you’re about to go away for a minute. We’re not gonna talk about that. Okay. What projects are you working on right now? I’ve got a couple projects I’m working on right now. My solo project, me and Pimp C doing a project, me and K-Rino doing a project, and I’m putting out my mixtape with King of the Ghetto Entertainment: Some Jammin’ Ass Shit Volume 1. And I can’t forget the Kings of the South Volume 2 with me and Lil Flip that’s gonna be coming out also. A lot of shit coming out right now. Are these projects mixtapes or actual albums that will be in-stores? Of course the Rap-A-Lot projects are gonna be in stores, but the rest of the other shit is mixtapes. The Lil Flip shit, the K-Rino shit, and the Pimp C shit are actual albums. There’s a lot of shit going on. With all the attention that’s on Houston right now, do you think it’s time for the rest of the world to recognize people like yourself and K-Rino? Most definitely, especially K-Rino. He’s the most talented nigga in the rap game, I don’t give a damn what nobody else say. I know I’ve got more attention than he’s got right now, but he deserves at least the attention that I’ve got and then some. We’re real about this rap shit. Our shit can’t hit the radio cause it’s not radio friendly. That’s basically it. We don’t own no diamond chains, millions of dollars, and 40 acre houses and shit. We’re on that other shit, that street shit. Who are some of the other rappers in Houston that the world hasn’t heard
yet? Shit, most defiantly Street Military. The whole South Park Coalition. There’s a whole lot of cats that are real, real talented but on a national level they haven’t been heard yet. Point Blank, cats like that have been grindin’ for ten, fifteen years and they started this shit for the Houston boys. Them niggas really deserve a crown; they kings in this shit. Kings need to get their fair shot like everybody else. Since you do represent the streets, but you’re also a rapper, do you think the street element has affected the rap game too much to the point where we’re seeing rappers like Hawk getting killed? When you talk about violence in hip-hop in Houston, it’s way different than hip-hop in any other city and state. Down here in the South, like Flip said in the Beef 3 DVD, we ain’t got too many opportunities down here as far as major record labels are concerned. We don’t get paid as often as other muthafuckers in New York. It’s hard to make money with rap money down here, I’ll put it like that. So a lot of us down South rappers, especially here in Houston, we’re still living in the streets trying to make ends meet. Half of us are still hustling, doing whatever the fuck we got to do to get by. A lot of times if you get into bed with somebody on some dirt, you can’t really get out of the bed as easy as you got into the bed. So if a muthafucker is owin’ a nigga money, you know, shit like that, a nigga got videos to pay for. We got features to pay for. Getting a chick and a blunt every now and then don’t front that bill. A lot of us are still in them 60 60
crack alleys and shit. A lot of us are still in them duplexes fuckin’ with the pyrex, makin’ that shit come back. So that’s why casualties happen. We’re trying to make it cause it’s harder than a bitch to make it down here where you ain’t really got no label support; no major labels to just really fish out some heavy-ass signing bonuses or living expenses. Down here we’ve got our labels and that’s really about it. The rest of the shit is on us. Some labels help muthafuckers, and some labels don’t help and you just sign just for the fact of being signed. So while you’re sitting on somebody’s label you gotta do something to get some bread. You can’t just sit there waiting on a label thinking that one of these years they’re gonna cut you a check. Naw, fuck that. You’ve got to get out while you waitin’ on that check and however you can, you’ve got to make ends meet. For you, what’s the benefit of being with Rap-A-Lot? The main benefit is the exposure, cause I got a following like a muthafucker. I had my following before I got to Rap-A-Lot. I sit back and look around and see how over the past two years I’ve witnessed my following getting larger. I used to go to muthafuckin’ venues and walk out on stage and count every muthafucker in there before my first song came on. Lately, I can’t count that shit no mo’. It’s like, wall-to-wall, fire marshals in this bitch threatening to shut it down. I’m going a whole lot of places I ain’t been before on some music-related business, just cause a nigga’s signed to Rap-A-Lot. And I’m meeting muthafuckers; if I wasn’t on Rap-A-Lot, I wouldn’t know half these music celebrities I know now like David Banner. It’s a whole lot of them. I wouldn’t have known Flip, which is most definitely exposure. I’m going to different cities all the time and it’s mainly because of my two biggest albums on Rap-A-Lot. The production was better. The whole quality stepped up a notch as opposed to the King of the Ghetto Days when a muthafucker didn’t know how to mix and master properly, had a nigga sounding all rinky dinky and shit. The exposure and the quality of music has been a good experience. What was your relationship with Hawk? Hawk was my nigga. That nigga would just call me up out of nowhere and speak to a nigga, just checkin’ up on me and shit. We used to ride around, smoke, get high off that good kush, that good weed, do songs and shit together. He was like a brother and a father. But when I was going through it, that nigga would talk to me like Screw used to talk to me, like, “It’s gonna be alright, look at the bright side” type of shit. He had just got married and had another baby. I was fuckin’ with this man. If he didn’t have a show that night, he was gonna ride with me in my car to my show just to show homeboy support. The weekend before he died, me, Point Blank, Lil Keke, and Hawk had a show in Marshall, TX. That’s the last time I seen that nigga. I got footage on my DVD and everything. Hawk is just a real nigga; I can’t even put it in no other words than that. That shit hurts. They knocked a good nigga out the game. In my personal opinion, Hawk was like the closest form of Jesus in a non-superhuman body. It’s just funny; I just flashed back. I ain’t seen that nigga frown before. Even when that nigga was dead broke he was smiling with you, huggin’ and shakin’ your hand. Take all the pictures you want. He was a model citizen, for real. Fuck rap, that nigga was just John Hawkins, the coolest nigga on the face of the earth. For that bullshit to happen to him, that’s fucked up. That nigga ain’t never do no left-handed shit to nobody. That nigga ain’t never harmed nobody. He was raising his family, trying to make sure this Screwed Up Click album comes out jammin’. We got a lot of beef and shit in our clique but that nigga was the glue holding us together, keeping us focused and keeping our eyes on the prize. That was his passion. That was his last passion that dude had before he laid down, to make sure the whole Screwed Up Click got back together and did this album for Screw and Fat Pat and put it in stores so we can finally have our crown as a group for the South. That nigga was hard workin’. That nigga ain’t shot nobody. If that nigga owed you some money, you was gonna get your money back the next day. He was on that type of shit. That nigga was just love. Do you think he was just in the wrong place at the right time? That’s one of the ways to look at it. Shit been fucked up out here like a muthafucker for the last six months. Our shit been fucked up, from regular 211s to 187s. The 187s been multipled by threes lately. Muthafuckers are getting murdered and robbed every day, every night, in broad daylight. Just yesterday a muthafucker ran in the video game shop and went in that bitch shootin’ everybody to go steal some fuckin’ X-Box games. It’s off the chain down here right now. Some newspaper articles have blamed the rise in crime to the Katrina survivors that moved to Houston. Do you think there’s truth
to that? Yeah, it’s some truth to it. You’ve got people from the projects and all of a sudden their shit is gone from a hurricane. A lot of them got out in time but when they made it to where they were going, they ain’t have nothing but the clothes on their back and the car they was driving. So you’ve got these ultimately broke people driving into the big city, seeing a whole bunch of money. I was a victim of that shit, about 16 or 17 years ago when a nigga was coming up, sleepin’ in the muthafuckin’ projects in my hood. We was sleepin’ in the park. We didn’t have no money in our muthafuckin’ pockets, so let a nigga pull up on some chrome rims and leave his keys in the car while he run in the store. You’ll take it! We takin’ that shit, cause 15 or 16 years ago, we know a baby ‘Lac on some chrome rims, we can take it to the chop shop and get at least $2,500 - $3,000. Today it’s the same shit going on and it’s worse now because a whole lot of rappers live in Houston. Everybody’s got a live-ass car and some live-ass jewelry. Half of the shit is them and the other half of the shit is us. Those of us that are from Houston, we do it just because we know society is gonna blame it on the New Orleans people. That’s why muthafuckers in Houston contribute to the jackin’ and shit. As far as the New Orleans people, don’t get me wrong, I ain’t tryin’ to justify what muthafuckers be doin’. But these people don’t have shit, not even a change of boxers. So if they roll up on some square-ass nigga, showin’ his money, counting his money in front of a muthafucker, yeah, he gon’ get got. This is my ratio right here: 50% New Orleans, 50% Houston to make it 100% fucked-up. That shit is sad, but it’s reality down here right now. 26 people a month die in Houston right now. That’s how many muthafuckers are returning to the dirty every month in Houston right now. Jackin’ and drug dealing, crazy shit. Muthafuckers pullin’ up to buy a key of dope and they ain’t got no muthafuckin’ money, just guns and shit. Crazy, but it’s reality though. Any release dates we should be looking out for? My mixtape Some Jammin’ Ass Shit Volume 1 will be out next month. I don’t know when Ra-A-Lot’s going to release that album. Power, my independent album, will follow two months after the mixtape hits shelves. And the same day Power drops, I’m dropping my monthly DVD magazine entitled Z-Ro Vision. That’ll be coming out every month like a regular DVD magazine. It’s some extreme interviews, new ZRo songs debuted at the end; it’s gonna be some live-ass shit. New songs, unheard songs, freestyles and shit, fights, a whole lot of shit is gonna be on there. That’s gonna be dropping simultaneously with the Power album. As far as the Z-Ro and K-Rino album, we’re still in the lab with that. Me and Pimp C are still in the lab with our project. I also got a compilation coming out, Kings of the Ghetto Entertainment, where I’m gonna introduce another nigga to the rap game kinda like I did with Trae. I’m takin’ this nigga Big Boss from Detroit and I’m fuckin’ with him. He’s dangerous on the microphone, and he’s dangerous with that pen and pad. Plus he’s dangerous with the freestyles so I’m fuckin’ with him. The album is ready right now so I’m doing a lot of shit, tryin’ to make this shit work. Tryin’ to get rich. Do you know when the Screwed Up Click album is going to come out? We through with that muthafucker now. Really, to tell you the truth, it was supposed to be out last year. We were going through so many problems and shit amongst ourselves. The date kept getting pushed back, kept getting pushed back. We couldn’t agree. Instead of releasing it and causing conflicts amongst ourselves, we chose to step back and let Hawk decide when the album gonna come out. He was like, “Okay, look, let’s get all of us back together as a family and start fuckin’ around with each other and then hop back on the Screwed Up Click album. Every weekend we was having a lil’ meeting at the Screwed Up Click studio in the 3rd Ward. We up there listening to Hawk talk. Now that he’s gone, what we’re gonna do first is release his DJ Drama mixtape. Screwed Up Click gon’ drop and DJ Drama gon’ drop and Hawk’s album gonna drop. I ain’t got to lie, we got some jammin’ ass shit on that album You and Trae were having some problems – did Hawk’s passing bring you back together in any way? I can’t really speak for him. I don’t really know. I ain’t really thought about that shit like that. To me, it was like we lost another soldier and we came together right quick to show our condolences. I think eh wants to fuck with me more right now. And I kinda want to fuck with that nigga too. We’re people, you know what I’m sayin’? And more importantly, we supposed to be kinfolk. I’ll say it. We ain’t beefin’ or nothing. We ain’t really talking to one another but we ain’t beefin’. So everything’s copacetic. OZONE
SQAD UP WORDS: JULIA BEVERLY PHOTOS: JARO VACEK
et’s start by introducing yourselves. Young Yo: It’s your boy Young Yo. Sqad Up! I’ve been doing this for about five or six years. I started out with Lil Wayne and Cash Money; started the Sqad Up and been doing it ever since, mixtape after mixtape. Now we’re about to do it big. Still doing the underground thing, we’re about to take it nationwide. Album coming out August 8th. Supa Blanco: This is your boy Supa, the Mouth of the South. We’ve been doing it for about five years. It started as a friendship, everybody originally started out with Lil Wayne. We were friends before we were rappers. We were on the Nellyville tour and we just started playing in the studio. We pressed up a hundred CDs of our first Sqad Up and it just caught fire from there. We’ve been doing it ever since. Gudda: This ya boy Young Gudda, when I started rappin’, man, Wayne caught me fresh off the stoop for real. I was out there in the streets doing my thing. Me and Sup’ go way back to the sixth grade. Sup’ was out in Arizona, I was out in the streets. Wayne and Yo’ was runnin’ around together. I caught Wayne at a dice game at Yo’s house. Me and Wayne were shooting dice and we became friends from there. He wanted to start his own record label called Young Money Records. He asked me if I wanted to rap on it. It was Money Youngin’ at first, but Baby changed it to Young Money and asked me if I wanted to rap. So I started writing raps. The first rap I ever wrote was a hit. Nutt Da Kidd: We been out here doing it since the Spike Lee days, the school days. This is K-I-Double D, ya feel me? Me and Wayne was trying to get the label together and the cat picked me fresh off the block. He put together some real niggas. How did things deteriorate between y’all and Lil Wayne? Supa: See how he’s takin’ over the game right now? I’m proud to see that’s what he’s doing. That’s really what we broke up behind, cause he coulda been did that. If you think about it, he might be the best, for real. But it was just about him putting his foot down. We was running around the whole circuit. We was in Ft. Lauderdale five times a month just doing Sqad Up shows. When he had 500 Degreez, we was all doing Sqad Up shows. He was trying to put our company in Baby’s hands. We seen how Baby was doing them artists, you know? Everybody left for the same situation in the Cash Money camp, so we wasn’t trying to fall under that umbrella. We ain’t wanna get stuck under that so we had a better chance of tryin’ it ourselves. We watched TQ leave, we watched Juvy leave, we watched Turk leave, we watched B.G. leave, and finally we just rode, man. Why did everybody leave? Gudda: Everybody looked at it like we just left dude hangin’, but it wasn’t like that. We asked dude before we left him: Why don’t you come out here and go do your own shows? We’ll get our own label on the side and we can do the Sqad Up thing and you can still do your Cash Money thing. He’s like, “My daddy’s Baby,” and all that. We weren’t with that. We know what kind of business they do, and we don’t do our business like that, so we told them we was gonna do our thang. He was like, “Go do your thang,” and we left that day. As far as the dissin’ goes, a lot of people look at us like we bombed first, but really he made songs on the low and never put ‘em out. We got word from the inside, from people he was dealing with. Is there still beef between you and Wayne? Supa: No, he’s the man. I love his daughter. Man, him and Yo used to catch the bus together. Young Yo: Yeah, you know, it’s all good. I’m happy for him and what he’s doing. We ‘bout to do it real big. We stood up on our own two feet and we about to do it like it’s supposed to be done. Is it fair to say that you guys are almost like a rap boy-band kinda thing? Everyone: Nah, nah, nah! (laughing) Nutt Da Kidd: Gudda will knock ya shit loose! (laughing) Then I’ll come behind him and finish ‘em off. Gudda: I’ll tell you why we get that. See, the ladies love us. The thing
about us is that before they seen Sqad Up, they thought Gudda was like 300 pounds. When they finally see that Gudda is fly as fuck, we take advantage of that. The niggas accept us through our music; they know that we’re hard not just pretty boy ass niggas. But we like to get fly like everybody else. That’s where I feel we caught the advantage. Niggas felt our music before they even knew what we looked like. And we ain’t glorifying the street thing, but all of us did get our hustle on. If you’ve seen us for the last three or four years, all the jewelry, the ice, that’s all street money. Mixtape money. We’ve been in the streets; we ain’t just started rappin’. That’s why we talk about what’s real. This is some real shit. I’ma tell you some shit. A lot of that shit Wayne wrote, he might have caught me comin’ in and baggin’ up some shit. That dude is a genius. He’d be like, “How much are you gonna make off that?” Went to the back. That muthafucker’ll have a rap thinkin’ he’s Tony Montana. He can call it like that, ya hear me? If you look aback at his old album, I think it was called “Grown Man.” That whole song was based on me. He came to me and was like, “I wrote this song, Gudda. You’re gonna love this song, cause I wrote this song just lookin’ at you and what you do.” And it wasn’t bad cause we was all brothers; so you’re watching your big brothers do something, so it’s not false. He was around it, feel me? So they can’t get mad cause we like to get fly, man. That’s that bullshit. The hoes be choosin’ and that’s where the conflict comes in at. For people that are fans of your mixtapes, what’s different about the album? Why should they go pick it up? Gudda: It’s way more than a mixtape. A lot of people used to hand us all the mixtapes, but we were like, how can we come up with a fire album? We took our time with it. We sat back, looked at all the kinks in it from the first album. We had to get all the way focused on our music and step our game up. Believe that. Y’all gonna love it. All of us gotta speak, and all of us gotta just have better lyrics. They all know us from goin’ back to back, just smashin’ shit up on a mixtape and not givin’ a fuck. We got songs for the ladies, we got songs for the clubs, and we still got songs for the street. Supa: A lot of people, they label us as the bad guys. We bombin’ on everybody. But niggas ain’t know that we got caught between a situation where we gotta choose either Wayne or the Sqad. It’s cool to like Wayne and the Sqad, you know? Everybody’s grown, man, we matured. That beef shit is out the door. A lot of the mixtapes were just fueled off pure emotion. We lost our best friend. A lto of that shit was just in the studio. We make real songs, we make real music. We got David Banner, Mannie Fresh – if you look at Now or Never, we recorded that in two weeks just off emotions, just trying to show people how we do this shit without Wayne. Crack Tracks produced the whole album. This shit was just a lot; that’s why it took us a long time to come back. We had to get our business in order. We had to sit back and realize that we couldn’t be hot-heads. We was whilin’, and you know that for a fact. We was really out here whilin’. We look at it like, the music business is a business. And we’ve got it in order now. We’ve got a staff, J-Rock and JX, and it’s goin’ down. Gudda: Free Big League! This is Gudda speakin’ for the whole Sqad. Free Big League! When you read this article, I want y’all to throw up your “L” when you read that quote right there. Free Big League. He’ll be home soon. Of course you guys are representing New Orleans, and everybody knows New Orleans had a rough year last year. What did y’all go through during that time period when Hurricane Katrina hit? Gudda: I was stuck out there for real, for real. For three days. We was sittin’ in the crib, about two stories up. We fell asleep through the hurricane and when we woke up, they had like eight feet of water outside. We sat around for a couple days, helicopters flying around. Some police on the boats said they were coming back to get us; they never came back. After the second day, I told my dude, “We gotta get in this water.” Everybody said a little prayer, and we just hopped in that water and swam for it, man. We got out on the third day. We had to hotwire a truck to get out of New Orleans. I really don’t wanna say this, but I had to put a pistol in the police’s face to get a boat to get out of this muthafucker. They was doing us bad out there. People strugglin’, dying out there. We stealing food for old folks, trying to help out infants and kids on the interstate that was stuck. That muthafucker wasn’t even trying to help us. Bush flew clean over us, three times. Right over us. We was OZONE
waving at the muthafucker like, “C’mon, what are you gonna do?” and he’s just flying back and forth. Supa: Yo, we was watching the VMAs. They told us, “Go get your water, go get your candles,” they do that shit to us every year. Fuck all that, we’d be stuck with candles and water, the young lil niggas that we are. So the VMAs were on that night and we got some barbeque and some lean, we gonna do our thang. Young Yo: We passed out. Everything’s flashing and we’re like, “Shit! Damn!” We ain’t never stole a car in our life, you know? My man has stolen cars so we got him on the phone like, “You gotta connect what wire to what wire, nigga?” It was hectic, man. Me and Sup’ had a little fight, you know? Nine niggas in one room fighting. I lost my grandfather out there during the hurricane. I just found out, cause I hadn’t been able ot get in contact with him. I just found that out. Rest in Peace Freddie. Rest in Peace to all the people we lost during Katrina. Are you living in Houston now? Supa: I’ma tell you for real, they runnin’ us like slaves. We’re on a 52-day promo tour, but yeah, we are settled in Houston now. Did you lose a lot of stuff in the hurricane? Gudda: We lost everything. We still don’t have electricity where we from. Nutt Da Kidd: I’m back in the N.O., stayin’ in the same hood like it’s all good. Shouts to Lil Flip, man, he held us down when we got out there. And fuck FEMA. And thank you to the Red Cross – I know I made up about 50 children, but you know, we all needed that bad. So I’m sorry if y’all gotta come back and ask for your money back. But you look like you’re doing okay now. Ice and everything. Supa: If you look at the blue star, that’s for Katrina. That’s blue ice for Katrina. Soon as we got to Houston Flip had these waitin’ for us. What is your affiliation with Lil Flip? Supa: I’ma break it down for you. When it was forbidden to fuck with the Sqad, dude had “Game Over” poppin’ and he was one of the hottest niggas in the game. We seen him at The Source Awards and he was like, “I’m a fan of y’all. I fuck with y’all.” We knocked out about four or five mixtapes. Truly, that’s my dawg. That’s our friend. I don’t give a fuck what the situation is; no one man is gonna make me turn on him. People out here can’t really tell you why they don’t like Flip. It was some bandwagon shit. Flip don’t ever gotta make another song in his life – that’s still my dude, feel me? That’s our friend. We hold him down. But as far as the Clover G situation, he has his situation, and we have Money Yung’N records. But we’re some real niggas. We can’t turn our back on him just cause everybody likes T.I. and Slim Thug right now. Speaking of Slim Thug, he made that comment that y’all looked like B5. Supa: And what the fuck he look like? He lookin’ more like Frankenstein than we look like B5. You was a fool for that one. Nah, but we ain’t even thinkin’ about that clown. His album went double wood, so fuck it. So give me a little info on the album. Gudda: The album comes out August 8th. We got Fresh on the first single, got David Banner on a track, my dude Real on the track “Man I Miss My Dawg,” that’s strictly to hold the city down, you know? Shouts to L.O.G., Joe Atlanta, Smooth Jizzle, and that’s a wrap. Flip on that album fo’ sho’. August 8th go catch the album, we’ll rebuild that bitch and we’re coming home. Don’t forget that website, man. www.sqad-up.com and don’t forget about myspace. We ain’t responsible for that thing. We didn’t know we had a myspace until there was 40,000 views. That’s www.myspace.com/sqadshitbitch. And we got a DVD that’s gonna be with the album too, so you can get all the footage from Hurricane Katrina, from now and before. We got Volume 1 in the streets and that’s gonna be with the album August 8th. And shouts out to Julia Beverly, the hardest working woman in show business, man. Everywhere I’m at, I see her. Shouts out to OZONE. Y’all know she’s on your asses, man. Sqad Up, baby! 66
G DASH WORDS: JULIA BEVERLY
PHOTO: MIKE FROST
A lot of people affiliate Michael Watts with SwishaHouse. Yeah, Watts is the co-CEO and he plays more of the creative part of the SwishaHouse. I handle the business part of the SwishaHouse. Basically, we’ve got two different roles. He plays his role and I play my role. I give my role 100% and he gives his 100% and as long as we both play our part everything will come out successfully. Me and Watts are kinda like brothers. We have our disagreements at times, but it’s business so we’re always able to settle our differences and compromise. Paul Wall has name-dropped you in several of his songs as the SwishaHouse check-writer. Do you enjoy the publicity? Really, I don’t even trip on it. I’m sorta like a low-key type of guy, so it don’t bother me. They definitely know my name now with Paul Wall and Lil Keke and other artists shouting me out in their songs. On the flip side, Mike Jones has distanced himself from SwishaHouse and he definitely doesn’t name-drop you. It don’t bother me. We support Mike Jones and everything he’s doing. At the end of the day it’s all business. How long ago did you and Watts actually hook up? Me and Watts hooked up in the mid 80s. Watts was still in high school. He was a DJ back then and I was actually rapping. I started getting older and the rap thing really wasn’t going nowhere. I didn’t want to be one of those guys that’s 30 years old talking about getting a deal. I just started concentrating on the business aspects of the game. Did you ever picture SwishaHouse becoming as big as it is now? From day one I had the big picture, and I knew it was gonna take years of hard work and grinding. Now, it paid off. I’m a visionary. If I’m trying to accomplish a goal, I don’t go into it thinking it’s gonna happen overnight. Everything you do that’s a success takes years of work and grinding. SwishaHouse started out as Watts’ mixtape hustle. It was just a clique of guys that used to get on Watts’ mixtapes. The popularity of the mixtapes is what started the label’s vision. Back then, in the beginning, I was just helping Watts with his mixtapes. In 1999 we partnered up and formed the actual label, which is actually called Swishablast. Why do you think Houston, in particular, is such a hot spot for indie labels to become successful? For a long time, besides Rap-A-Lot, major labels wasn’t really looking for talent down in these parts. So a lot of guys that was rapping had to do it independently, out of their trunk. At one time they had alright distribution through Southwest Wholesale, and the mixtape was just so profitable down here. That’s why it took a long time, even when the majors started paying attention, for them to even sign deals. They were getting like $8/CD at the time so they was like, “Fuck a deal.” Honestly, I had a different experience than a lot of other artists because I didn’t let [Southwest Wholesale] press up my product. A lot of guys had problems cause they was letting them have their master and press up their product, but we were getting our own product manufactured. So I ain’t really have any complaints about getting paid. I’d make them pay me. In order to fill an order, I had to get a check. So the money kinda stayed flowing with us. What do you think makes you successful as a business owner? I try to be detail-oriented with everything I do. I try to be involved with everything that’s going on with my label. I don’t just let the label tell me what they’re doing. We get in contact with these people; we really don’t let nobody middleman us with none of our business affairs. That’s where a lot of the problems come with these major labels – middlemen. If you’re not on your business there’ll be something going on over there that you don’t even know about because you’re not involved. So we try to be hands-on with all our stuff, all our businesses. How did Paul Wall and Mike Jones come to the SwishaHouse camp? I’d have to credit that to T Farris for bringing Mike Jones and Paul back to the label. At the time, we were kinda rebuilding. There was a time when all the previous artists from the previous cliques had kind of
abandoned the label, and T Farris just took the initiative to go out there and find new acts. He came back with Magnificent and Mike Jones, and around that same time he signed Paul Wall back to the label. Why did everyone leave the label in the first place? I don’t know. Listening to those guys at the time, I’d have to say that it was a money issue. They were complaining about money being divided too many ways. That’s when I jumped in on the business end and started running it like a business. Slim Thug used to be part of SwishaHouse, right? Slim was never signed to the label, he was just part of the clique. We still have a working relationship with Slim, so it wasn’t never one of those things where he left and was bitter. With SwishaHouse’s indie success, I’m sure you attracted a lot of major labels. What made you decide to hook up with Asylum? Sony and Universal came to us. I’d have to say that it was money that attracted me to take the Asylum Deal. It was also the P&D situation before the upstream, meaning that with our P&D situation we have an option to upstream our artists to either Warner Bros or Atlantic. So basically I’d have to say it was the money, and also they were interested in the label. Sony and Universal were interested in artist deals. Are you happy with your situation at Asylum? I’m happy with the way things progressed for my artists, but as far as dealing with my partners, I’m not happy. But right now we’re negotiating and trying to work it out to make me happy. I’d like to do a deal directly with Warner Bros. Asylum was designed to be an incubator label for new indie labels. They were kinda providing marketing and promotions to help build up that indie label to a certain point. Our entity has surpassed the incubator system, and we don’t need to be groomed. It’s time for them to find the next indie label and groom them into the next SwishaHouse. What made you decide to sign Lil Keke? He’s actually signed to TF Records, which is T Farris’ label. He was also the president of SwishaHouse before he resigned to start his own label. We’ve always been interested in Lil Keke. He’s a very talented guy. Him and Fat Pat started the candy paint and the syrup sippin’ and all the slang they use down here in Texas on the underground raps. The industry spotlight has been on Houston for a minute now. How long do you think that’s going to last? The Houston movement is just getting started, but it’s gonna keep going around. People forget that Houston had its time once before with i Rap-A-Lot’s explosion. And if you wanna be technical, the South ihad its time once before with No Limit, Cash Money, and Suave House. I heard that J Prince actually owns part of SwishaHouse. Is that true? That’s not true, but Rap-A-Lot and Asylum are partners on our deal. Rap-A-Lot and SwishaHouse are not partners, but Rap-A-Lot and Asylum are partners related to our deal. They split the distribution fees. Asylum was gonna back up out of our deal because we needed a lot of money up front. They were gonna back up out of the deal, and J Prince had just inked his deal with Asylum. He basically told them that he was willing to put his money where his mouth was. That’s actually how it happened. I think J Prince actually funded the deal. I guess they didn’t have enough faith in us to put that money up, but J stepped up and put his money where his mouth was. What upcoming projects should we be looking out for? Paul Wall’s project Get Money Stay True will be coming in September. We’ve also got a movie coming out, and The Day Hell Broke Loose 3 coming out in August. Also in August we’ve got Lil Keke’s Loved By Few Hated By Many coming out. That “Chunk Up The Deuce” is the first single; it’s blowing up everywhere. We’ve also got Archie Lee’s mixtape coming out; the title of his album is Hollyhood. Look out for Cooda Bang’s Big Bang Theory and Yung Redd and E-Class. OZONE
YUNG JOC WORDS & PHOTO: MAURICE G. GARLAND
he day is June 6, 2006. 666. The day that Block Ent./Bad Boy South artist Yung Joc sees his debut album New Joc City hit the shelves. The numbers in the date are all too fitting because so far the day has been a beast and its left its mark on Mr. “Its Goin’ Down.”
Already running on fumes from the day before that saw him in New York taping for BET’s 106 and Park, Joc is up at 6 in the morning getting ready to make a couple of radio station appearances. Unfortunately, a glitch found its way into the matrix and threw everything off. Preventing him from taking over Atlanta’s airwaves to promote his album. But the mix-up was not a total loss. Because of the mishap, Joc and crew have little more time on their hands so they head back to Block Ent.’s headquarters. Joc heads straight for the studio as if he’s trained himself to do that every time he walks inside the Decatur-based compound. But, this time vocals are taking a back seat, or couch for that matter. The only thing Joc is laying down is his head. < As his colleagues laugh at his loud snoring, Joc’s publicist Joyce A. Wilson is coordinating the rest of his day. The first order of business is figuring out what Joc is going to be wearing to his album release party at Visions later on that night. Since Joc is still sleep the daunting task of picking sneakers is left up to Bad Boy marketing director Jason Wiley who confers with shoe maker Archie to figure out which pair will look best on Joc’s feet. > The second order of business is getting Joc ready for his interview with local entertainment show The Daily Buzz. The show’s producer and crew are ready to roll as soon as they hit the door. But a drained Joc is still trying to sneak some sleep in as his discusses what’s about to happen with the show’s producer. Eventually, he wakes up and is ready to roll. After recording footage of him rapping in the booth, signing autographs for kids and eating at Ms. Ann’s, he finally gets some more down time. But by now, Joc is wide awake reading about how his song and album are now climbing the chart. > < The next stop is Justin’s Restaurant for DJ Appreciation luncheon where Bad Boy Entertainment will be showing some hospitality to the DJs that helped Joc’s record blow up nationwide. The label flew in DJs from Mississippi, Florida, Virgina, North Carolina, Houston, Memphis and New York City. While being treated to free chicken wings, egg rolls and crab cakes, the lucky DJs get to hear Joc’s album in its entirety. Even though “I Know You See It” has been chosen as the second single, the DJs seem to love “See Me Coming.” After lunch is over with, everyone heads over to the West End to visit the Boys and Girls Club where Joc reminds kids to stay in school and chase their dreams. Of course the kids were probably more interested in hearing about the famous people he’s met and how much money he’s made, but Joc made a lasting impact on the youngsters. > The rest of the day included doing retail walk-thru and radio interviews. And the crescendo was the hectic album-release party at the highlypopular Club Vision in the heart of Buckhead. Of course a lot of partying was done, but in moderation. Because Joc has to wake up the next day and do it all over again. 70
KHIA “I’m pretty without makeup. I don’t need a stylist and I don’t need thousand dollar hairdos. Keep it real, you know those hoes look a hot mess. You catch Trina early in the morning without all that makeup on her face and that hoe looks a hot mess.”
n one of the very first issues of OZONE, when you had first come out with “My Neck My Back,” we printed all your mugshots and jokingly suggested that you use them as part of your promotional materials. What made you decide to finally use your mugshots as your new album cover, years later? Just because I came up with the name Gangstress [for the album]. i am a gangstress, so what better to use than my mugshtos? I just thought it was cute. It matched the name so perfectly. I’m not really inot the “sex sells” thing, so the mugshots seemed fitting for me. So have you been getting into any trouble lately? You got any new mug shots? No! I ain’t got no new ones. I’ve been good lately. Why? You have money now so you don’t have to do anything crazy? My last charge was in ’97, so I haven’t been in trouble in almost ten years. Those were the younger days. I don’t have to run in stores and steal clothes and stuff. I write my raps. Running in stores and stealing clothes – are you referring to someone in particular? No, no one in particular. I’m not tryin’ to just use my mugshots like goin’ to jail is something I’m proud of. That was my past; things that happened in my youth. It’s been almost ten years, so that was then and this is now. Most of the charges sounded like bullshit – disorderly conduct and things like that. Why did you keep getting arrested? When I was like 17, 18, 19, it was just boyfriend stuff, breaking out windows, carrying a concealed weapon. I got in a shootout one time at the club. That’s just the kind of stuff that happens. I was young and wildin’ out. I’m not into that kind of stuff now. Every [mugshot] on there, I was a baby. When your single “My Neck My Back” blew up, you were living in Tampa. Now that you live in Atlanta, people in Tampa kind of feel like you abandoned them and stopped representing the city. I represent Florida. I love Florida. I rep the South to the fullest, but Tampa never really showed me any support. That was the reason I moved to Atlanta. There wasn’t enough recording studios there [in Tampa], there wasn’t much of anything for what I was tryin’ to do. Tampa didn’t have anything to offer so it was time for me to move. You don’t feel like Tampa played a part in the success of “My Neck My Back”? If I remember correctly, that song was in rotation on Tampa radio pretty early. Can’t blow something up that’s already hot. I sold records all over the world and that definitely didn’t have anything to do with Tampa. Tampa didn’t support me from day one. Tampa doesn’t have anything to do with my success at all. Tampa artist Owe Jive has accused you of stealing his song; he did the original song that “My Neck My Back” was based on. His name is Willie Hill, and I’m through talking about Willie. That’s old. I got a new record and it’s gangsta, so now he’s not gonna be able to say, “She stole my song.” We’re gonna see what he has to say now that I have a new album. I’m just through talking about that; it’s funny to me. I got much love for Willie. I went to school with Willie and I know his family. He’s gotta get over it. I never had a problem with him, but I guess he felt that I took an opportunity from him. But it was never like that, and you can’t blame somebody for being talented. I have talent, and “My Neck My Back” wasn’t the only hit I had on the Thug Missus album. Every song on that album was a hit. My music was played all over: Tampa, Orlando, Germany, Greece, everywhere. If he thinks that I was the reason he didn’t succeed, he needs to really wake up. I took control of my situation and I’m out here grinding. I write my music and I do my shows. Come on, Julia, you see me on the grind just like you. I’m grindin’ doing everything by myself. I didn’t stay in Tampa trying to make somebody like me and support me and be on my side. Either you’ve got talent or you don’t. Either you’re gonna get on the grind or you’re gonna be left behind. I love you, Willie. I pray for you. Either you got it or you don’t, and you can’t blame somebody else for something you just don’t have. I don’t know if you saw this, but one of Taz’ partners with Dirty Down Records actually sent OZONE a feedback email in response to your last interview. He publicly offered you a million dollars to sign back with their label. How do you feel about that? That was their last cry for help. They know they wasn’t nothing before
me and they wasn’t gonna be nothing after me. They did some shady shit. I found out early on that they were thieves and I decided I didn’t want to sign a contract with them. After that, they spread rumors that I was dead and that I had AIDS and put out the DSD “Look Back At It” featuring Khia. They did all kinds of slimy, crazy stuff, booking shows in my name. They’re just crooked all they way across the board. I would never do business with them again. It’s no beef and no hate. The bottom line is that they’re crooked and I chose not to be a part of their situation, so they tried to sabotage me instead of just keeping it real. But real recognize real and the hood knows the truth. At the end of the day, where’s Dirty Down Records? I’m so high and they’re so low. Until they learn how to build good relationships with people and be honest and be good businessmen, they’re never gonna have good luck. What goes around comes around, and whatever you do in the dark will come to the light. They’re some shady-ass niggas and they’re never gonna prosper. Even through all that, I still continue to succeed and thrive. They had a good opportunity with me and we could’ve made millions of dollars together. They had to offer me a million dollars cause they know that’s the type of deals that are getting offered to me. Why would I let [Taz] be a part of that? He doesn’t rap, he doesn’t produce, he doesn’t do shit. He just walks around tryin’ to play like he’s got a label and trying to take advantage of people. They seek out artists that aren’t really educated on the music business and try to get them to sign these bootleg contracts that they print up on their home computer. They try to take advantage of people’s lives and people’s talent, so I’m exposing their ass because they’re wrong. If they were fair and built relationships with people, they’d be able to make money. But when you lie and cheat and steal and try to take advantage of people there’s no way you’re gonna achieve anything. Those niggas are clowns and until they learn that, somebody’s gonna fuck ‘em up. Taz claims that he gets a cut off all the albums you put out because you still have some type of contract with them. He wants people to think he’s on top, but he’s at the bottom. I’ve never been signed to Dirty Down Records. I have my own label now, and I’m putting my album out myself. Taz has nothing to do with this, so for him to lie and try to make people think that, why would he do that? Taz is obsessed with me. He’s so in love. I think he eats, sleeps, and dreams about me. I love you too, Taz. It’s all good. I’m so blessed right now. It’s no beef. If he was man enough to apologize for what he did and didn’t try to steal little petty show money, he coulda made big money if he would’ve just kept it real. He wants to be my friend so bad. He uses my name everywhere he goes. He tries to affiliate himself with Khia. I already know I’m a queen, so that makes me look so good and makes him look so simple and stupid. If you’re trying to promote everything you can with my name on it and people in the industry know I don’t fuck with you, it’s making you look stupid. Just let it go. Be man enough to admit that you fucked up and let it go, baby. I got a song on my album called “Forgive Me For My Sins.” Be man enough to ask me for forgiveness and let’s move forward. Don’t continue to lie to kick it, cause everybody knows the truth. So when does the album come out? It comes out July 11th on Thug Missus Entertainment. Warlock is doing the distribution. You’ve been pretty vocal about your beef with Jacki-O. It seems like you have a lot of animosity towards her. Is it personal? I just feel sorry for her. It’s no animosity; I don’t know her personally. Jacki-O got in the same situation with Poe Boy just like Dirty Down tried to do to me, but she just ain’t as strong as me to get out there and get it on her own. It’s a lot of fucked up shit goin’ on. She signed to a label with somebody and only sold 60,000 copies so she owes so much in promotion that she had to go bankrupt. Why would there be animosity? I sold 800,000 copies; she sold 60,000. I own all of my own publishing and I write my own stuff and I don’t owe nobody nothing. My situation is much, much better than hers. That’s just my opinion. I’m not a fan of hers. She said I was a one-hit wonder and I looked a hot mess. Well, this is my hair. I’ve got dreads. I don’t need makeup and expensive hairdos to make me look like something. I’m beautiful even on my worst day. I don’t have to get my ass pumped and I don’t have to walk around butt-naked to sell records. Anybody that knows me knows I’m real. I’m hood. I’m street. I walk around selling CDs. I sell t-shirts. I’m out there networking with my fans. I’m not on that cutie-cutie shit, I’m from the street but I’m beautiful. So it’s not animosity or beef, it’s just that she has her opinion and I have mine. I don’t listen to her music. I’m a better rapper than her. I have sold more records than her, and that’s why I can say I’m the queen of the South. How’s she gonna say she’s the queen of the South when no one even OZONE
really knows her? Wouldn’t you both have something to gain if you worked together or collaborated instead of talking shit about each other? No. I don’t feel that she has talent. I pick and choose who I decide to work with. If I don’t respect you as an artist, why would I work with you? I just don’t like her music and I don’t feel that she’s talented, so I wouldn’t want to work with her – her or Trina. I don’t feel like either one of them are talented. They don’t write their own stuff. They have big-name features and major labels helping them. I’m by myself. I stand alone. How can you be a queen when you’re working for somebody else? You’re a servant if you’re working for somebody else. How are you the queen of the South when Trick or Deuce or Poe Boy got people ghostwriting your stuff? Every female artist that has come out was piggybacking off a man. Jacki-O had Poe Boy to back her up and Trina had Slip-N-Slide to back her up. They had radio promotions. They had street teams. I didn’t have that. I feel like I’m a queen because I stand alone and I write my own shit. I manage myself and book my own shows. Are there any other female rappers you would want to work with? To me, the only other queen is Queen Latifah. There’s no female artists that I listen to. When they rap, they try to sound too hard to be pleasing to men. That’s what makes me feel that a man is writing their stuff, cause it sounds like something a man would want a woman to say or do. My fan base is solid. My girls don’t want to hear that mess. My girls don’t want to see you give a lap dance on the stage to try to entertain a crowd. Females don’t want to see that. They relate to me because they know that I’m writing my own stuff, cause it sounds like something a woman would say. I write about situations; relationships and men. They’re rapping all hardcore about licking pussy and ass and all kinds of crazy stuff, and you can’t get a female fan base like that. You can tell that men are writing their stuff, cause ain’t no way a queen would say no mess out of her mouth like that. Women can’t relate to their stuff and that’s why their records are sitting on the shelf. Of course women talk about sex and relationships and guys, but you can just tell that men are writing their stuff and women don’t wanna hear that. As far as your image, do you think you’d be embraced more by the mainstream if you did have hairstylists and stylists? If you’ve got talent and skills, what do you need all that for? I’m pretty without makeup. I don’t need a stylist and I don’t need thousand dollar hairdos. Keep it real, you know those hoes look a hot mess. You catch Trina early in the morning without all that makeup on her face and that hoe looks a hot mess. Jacki-O’s got thousand dollar hairdos and big money features and big money videos. Trina’s got all that and her budget’s off the chain. That’s why she’s still paying Slip-N-Slide and she’s been signed to them for ten years. Hoe, they ain’t gonna let you go cause your ass still owes them for all the stylists and hairdos and makeup that make you feel like Homie the Clown. That’s all fake; it’s just a pretty picture they’re painting. How you gon’ say you’re reppin’ the hood and get on TV with Gucci and Fendi and hairdos and Bentleys, fakin’ with cake like you on The Young and the Restless? That ain’t how it is in the streets. We don’t walk around with our face painted up like that in the projects. How you gonna say you ghetto and street but then you getting on TV looking like Tyra Banks the supermodel? I’m not gonna let the industry change me. I’ma be me. That’s all I can be. I’m not trying to paint a pretty picture or sell an image. I’m just Khia. I wake up, get dressed, wash my face, put on my clothes and I’m out. I’m not gonna pay somebody to dress me or make my face up. For what? Y’all are not keeping it real in your videos. Y’all are selling an image that you can’t even live up to. Well, the critics could say that even though you did sell a lot of records, that was a few years ago. You haven’t been on the radar too much lately. My stuff is still hot and I travel all over the world. I just got the type of deal that I wanted for myself, and those types of things take time. You can’t just rush into a deal. Do you own your masters? Are you getting hundreds of thousands of dollars up front? Are you in control of your own situation? Do you get money? No. You’re paying a whole bunch of other people and in the end your account is zero. Yeah, they’re gonna give you the thousands of dollars and clothes and put you in a nice hotel, but you’re paying a hundred people and you’re not in control of your situation. They’ve got all your publishing. You don’t write so they’re giving all your writers credit, all your mechanical royalties, all your masters. You don’t have nothing, you’re bankrupt. I had to wait til it was my turn; til I found the situation that was right for me. Thug Missus Entertainment is in control. Thug Missus Entertainment is 74
getting the check. I say what goes and what doesn’t go. I write all my own stuff, so trust me, my publishing and royalties are coming to me. Where are they making money? They can’t make show money cause every song they’ve got has a feature and their shows are horrible. They’re not making writing or publishing money because they’ve got to pay ghostwriters and the label is in control of their masters. So even though I’ve been out of the scene for a long time, I’ve been eating. I do shows every weekend. Everybody in the streets sees me. I’m still eating off my first album that’s five years old. Ask other artists if they’re still eating off their first single. I don’t think so. You have kids, right? How do you balance being a mother and a rapper? Yeah, I have two kids. It’s fun, you know? Sometimes I take them on the road with me when they’re out of school. They’re teenagers; they’re big. My son gets on stage with me and gets excited. He goes in the DJ booth and plays my CD in the right order. He’s gonna be a DJ. I’m trying to get him in this music business already. He’s only 14 years old but he goes out to the shows and sells CDs just like me. They check me into the hotel and carry my suitcases and everything. They’re great. They’re excited and proud of their mommy, cause they’ve watched how hard I work. I love them to death. I do what I do for them. “Snatch the Cat Back” has been out for a minute. Is that the first single you’re going with off this album? We just shot the video which is gonna be dropping at the end of this month. It’s hot, hot, hot. “My Neck My Back” was out for two years before it picked up and got big. So it took time to get into the right situation but yeah, “Snatch the Cat Back” is gonna be the first single. The response is crazy. We just did the video. I wrote and produced this whole album and I’m just so excited that it’s all me. Everybody will have the chance to see that the old Thug Missus is back. We got the streets on lock. The hood already knows. I have a point to prove for those who thought I was a one-hit wonder. There’s a lot of hating going on. There were a lot of people in positions where they could help me but they were intimidated by my strength so they wouldn’t. A lot of DJs hated on me. They knew my shit was hot but just chose not to play the music. But real niggas don’t listen to the radio; real niggas buy CDs. All the radio stations follow the haters, cause they’re followers and not leaders. They don’t know how to make their own decisions. “Oh, Khia’s a bitch. Oh, Khia’s difficult.” Oh, no. Khia is real. If you know me you love me, but if you hate me then hate me. But the bottom line is, what’s the reason to hate me? What did I ever do to you? I never did nothin’ but get out here on my grind and hustle and make a way for myself. Well, a lot of people do say you’re difficult. Not just Dirty Down. This industry is full of bitch ass niggas, for real. They’re intimidated by me. They’re some soft ass niggas and I’m just too real for them. They ain’t thugs; they’re bitch ass niggas with egos. They get intimidated so quickly. They don’t like a woman to be on the same level as them. They don’t respect my strength and drive. They feel that women should submit and bow down. If you come in here strong and know what you want, and you’re not fuckin’ everybody in the industry, they say that you’re a bitch or you’re hard to deal with. Trina has gotten a lot of publicity lately because of her relationship with Lil Wayne. Are you eyeing any famous rappers to help raise your profile a bit or you’re not concerned with that? Didn’t you hear what I just said? Trina’s fucked everybody in the industry. Trina’s name is trash in the industry. Lil Wayne had a crush on Trina when he was young, and those fantasies are filling his mind but he already knows. Honey, tell Lil Wayne to get him a natural beauty with some dreads. How’s he gonna represent the hood when he’s got a bitch with four different types of hair? I wrote the whole Thug Missus album listening to his CD. I love Lil Wayne, and this ain’t got nothing to do with Trina. I’m mad cause he even fucked her. That makes me not even want him no more. But tell him to holla at Khia. Tell him to get a girl with dreads. I know Trina looks cute but when he wakes up in the morning and sees how she looks, I know he regrets it. Is there anything else you wanna plug? Yes, my engineers, J.A. and John Miller, I couldn’t have done it without them. Make sure you go to www.myspace.com/khia or www.ThugMissesEntertainment.com. The wait is over, for all those who thought it was a game. July 11th, you be the judge. Oh yeah, and for all those who want to claim they the Queen of the South, we can do a show anytime, anywhere, and let the streets be the judge.
q&a Daz Do you live in Atlanta now? Yeah. Atlanta, California, L.A., Miami, St. Louis, you know, it all depends on where I want to go this week. I heard that you’ve got some kind of CD pressing plant in Mississippi. Is that true? Yeah, it’s still up and running. I don’t really do duplication for other people. I do it for myself, cause it’s too much work dealing with other people, you know what I mean? I just do it for myself. You’ve been kind of out of the spotlight for a minute. What made you decide that now is the time to go ahead and come out with a new project? It’s just that the time is right. The Dogg Pound is dropping, so I’ma drop my solo album around that time. I look at the same game plan the other homies are using like Jeezy, how he had his group album out and then bounced off into his solo album. Do you have release dates for your projects yet? Yeah, June 27th is the Dogg Pound album, and September 12th is my solo project. When you say you’re using Jeezy’s blueprint as far as with the group, are you also doing a lot of things on the underground scene as far as mixtapes and such? What else are you doing to push that hype? Just releasing music on my website, on the web mainly. Doing shows. I just got off the Ice Cube tour. I’m just putting my money where my mouth is and using it for my own label too. The label is called Dogg Pound Gangsta and it’s distributed through Universal, Fontana. And I’ve got Kurupt’s solo album dropping the same date as the Dogg Pound, so I’m coordinating. So you’re actually signed to Virgin as a solo artist, but then you’ve got your label through Universal? Yeah, I’ve got two labels. I got one at Sony and one at Fontana/Universal. Dogg Pound Gangstas, Daz Entertainment at Virgin, I’m bouncing around. I’ve got four deals. Koch and all that other stuff. You mentioned that you spread your music through the internet. I know there’s been some controversy in the past with posts made under your name on certain message boards and such. Is that actually you, or people using your name? Sometimes it’s me, but sometimes it’s people using my name cause they want to get access. I can go out and use anybody’s computer. All you gotta do is just pull up the website. I remember a while back, somebody had posted Suge’s cell phone number on the internet under your screenname. Yeah, that was a long time ago. So that was really you? Probably, yeah. I’m sure you’re tired of talking about the whole Suge situation. That’s kind of old, right? I mean, he ain’t got nothing no more. You know, he needs a little help right now. He just filed bankruptcy. That’s tricking. Buying all this shit and you know you ain’t making no money, just spending money. He ain’t make nothing when we left. He was getting it and spending it, trying to keep putting out Tupac albums. He ain’t never put out a Daz album, ever. What’s your opinion on the direction of the music movement? You’re based in the South now, and of course the South has really dominated the charts the last couple years, but then we’re seeing this hyphy movement in the Bay area and such. Do you think it’s about to go back to the West coast, or do you think the South is gonna be on top for a while? It’s going to be global. We’ve got to be right there with them, getting money together. Now, everybody can get it. We’ve all had our turn, so now it’s time to get it together. That’s how I look at it. 76
What similarities do you see between, for example, the Bay area and Atlanta on the independent scene? Southern California ain’t that independent. They want to get deals and all that other stuff. The Bay, Atlanta, and Houston, they’re all about the independents. That’s what I’m about: independent. It’s about getting your record played in the club. So for you, you’d rather be signed on Koch and making a high dollar amount per album than being on a major looking like a superstar but not making much money off your album sales? It all depends on how you structure you deal. I recoup all my money. I went through a situation where I had like 16 albums. As long as they sell 30,000 – 40,000 units, that’s $300,000 times 16. I’ma just keep putting out records and having them press up some more, ship them to the distributor, and keep doing the So So Def shit. What’s important to you? The fame, the money, the music? What’s your main motivation? All of the above. My kids, the fans, moms, pops. It just keeps me going; all that stuff. Trying to get to bigger things. I can see myself living where I’m living now and see myself living in a bigger house. I’m going to move, cause it’s getting bigger. As a successful indie artist, what are some of the mistakes you’ve seen other indie artists make that hurts them in the long run? Spending their money in the wrong places and all that types of stuff. You just gotta get out there. We got a good name; we’ve been around since Tupac. We put in a lot of work so we’re like household names. We’ve been here for almost 17 years and we’re still coming with it. Having been around since Tupac and seeing the legacy that he created, do you think that’s something that’s lacking in music today? We don’t really have a ‘Pac or Biggie figure. It’s all about the people. Time goes by; we missed some things that happened. I think we have to look at what it is now. The music is going to come. It just depends on how the people feel about it. People change, you know? The people who was younger back then are older now. Now it’s all about them youngsters. Who do you have as far as features and production? We got Rick Ross on there. The first single I got Snoop Dogg. I got Ice Cube, Kurupt, Avery Storm, Jagged Edge, JD.
“My record is a hit because life is a hustle. Gas is $3.50 a gallon after we went over there [to the Middle East] and killed all them people. I wish somebody would give me [President] Bush’s cell number, so I can call him and ask him. I’m confused... Somebody’s hustlin’. Somebody’s hustlin’ us!” 78
et’s start off by telling the people where we’re at right now. We sittin’ in the M-I-Yayo, we in Miami, downtown, just chillin’ in front of the Miami Herald in a Phantom. It’s Springfest weekend and I just performed and rocked 50,000 people without an album. I feel good right now. I’m chillin’ with the number one mag, OZONE. Yeah, I’m feelin’ the Phantom so I’ve gotta ask – is this Def Jam money? Street money? What’s Rick Ross’ real hustle? Man, it’s everything. I’m just trying to spread my feet and run around a little bit and see what’s really happening. My album Port of Miami is slated to be released this summer and it’s a classic record. Other than that, I’ve got a documentary production named M-I-Yayo: The Cocaine Capital being directed by Antoine Smith. It’s like the top ten countdown of the ten biggest hustlers in the history of Miami, and it goes really in-depth when I talk about the other side of the bridge. Along with my partner E-Class we’re gonna release a compilation CD called Live from 305 featuring Trick Daddy, Pitbull, and Rick Ross. Do you think the whole cocaine thing in rap is a little bit overdone these days? Nah, I ain’t gonna say that, cause that’s the era that I came from and that was the hustle. So for street cats that are really involved in the music, they know the importance of that. I know real street cats and when they first get up at 10 in the morning and cut their phone on, that’s the first thing: “What’s it lookin’ like? What’s happenin’?” You know? So when I think about my immediate surroundings, that’s a part of the struggle. And it’s not so much that I’m glorifying it, but I’m talking about the struggle side of it. A lot of times, dudes don’t have any other choice, for real. I can only speak for real hustlers that go out there on a limb every day. A lot of times, they don’t have a choice. They lifestyle that they get caught up in, there’s no way out. There’s no way you can just stop living today. There’s no way you can just stop running your business. So many people depend on you. It’s a lot of responsibilities and cats in the streets. Who was your biggest influence when you came into the rap game? Luke Skywalker. I remember it like it was yesterday: I was in elementary school when I first seen the “Move Something” single cover. They took it in the back of the alley, standin’ in front of a Cherokee, with his pants down to his knees. And the Cherokee said “Luke Skywalker.” I could remember being a kid and riding around in the back seat with my mom and I was always lookin’ for that Cherokee, cause there was just something about that picture. When I realized that he was from where I was from, man, I knew that dreams can come true. To me, as a kid, just being on a vinyl cover was good enough. So that stayed on my brain. That album cover Luke did most definitely influenced me to become an entrepreneur and pursue my music career. My biggest influences were Luke, Ice Cube, and Big Daddy Kane. I loved Ice Cube’s album Amerikkka’s Most Wanted. That was the turning point when I knew I wanted to make music. I felt like I related to his music so much, as far as what was going on in my community and shit. That was a great fuckin’ album. That’s one of the top five greatest albums in the history of rap. Rick Ross said it and if somebody don’t like it, I’ll sit down and we can break it down. I’m a student of the game. You got to understand, I was skipping school and hanging out at the gameroom where they had the big screen TV playing videos. I remember this fine girl walked in. I was a shorty. She had one of those little Luke booty shorts on and when I seen her, I was like, damn! As soon as Big Daddy Kane walked in with his flat top [on the TV screen] I’ll never forget the face that girl made. I was convinced. I was sold on hip-hop. I was sold! I started growing my flat top the same day. Going back to what you said earlier about the fact that you came up in the cocaine era, what do you think is the new hustle for this era? I don’t know. The streets always change, but there’s always gonna be people who have and people who don’t have. And those people who don’t have, they’ve got a lot of heart and a lot of charisma and they ain’t gonna just lay down. So in our time, that’s what it was on the streets. For people who really hustle, it’s because they have to. I go to some of my homeboy’s houses and it’s crazy. They’ve got six sisters, each one of them got four kids, and it’s crazy. It’s sad. If you were in that position you’d be selling drugs in a week, without a doubt. It’s when people are put in those kind of positions, man, you do what you have to do. Me, when I was young, hangin’ at the places I was hangin’ at, it wasn’t hard for me to hustle. All I had to do was just have
what they wanted when they came. If you’re gonna sit out there, you might as well make some money, right? That was my outlook. It was just the way of life. So what’s the solution to that problem? We could get real, real deep on that one, man. That’s just a struggle that me and my people got to live with. Of course we always pray for the best, but this is the reality. A lot of people talk about certain aspects of hustling but they don’t really get into the consequences of it. Naw, I always make sure that I talk about both sides when I talk about the streets. When I’m at radio stations they always tell me, “Rick Ross, you’ve been doing this for so long, I remember when people said that you were finished.” You know what I tell ‘em, man? The best advice I can give anybody is to put God first and go hard. Say whatever you want, but Rick Ross gonna go hard. I’ma outwork you and I’ma outhustle you. That’s my whole goal, to do better than you’re doing in every aspect cause that’s just how it goes. That was my attitude growing up. My father passed away, and my mama took care of me and my sister by herself. She did a great job and I love her very much for that. That’s why she’s got a new Mercedes now. But I remember her having three jobs at one time. I remember me seein’ her just a little bit. I remember bein’ like, “Fuck school,” and I remember her damn near wanting to kill me cause she was being called to my school when I got in trouble and she couldn’t afford to leave work. That was the whole problem. “When your school called my job and I have to leave, I don’t get paid. You don’t understand what that’s doing.” That’s what she told me. When she said it like that, I realized it was real. When it’s real like that, you wanna help your mom out because you see what’s going on. You see where you can help. So that’s why my record is a hit, because life is a hustle. Gas is $3.50 a gallon after we went over there [to the Middle East] and killed all them people. So what’s the fuckin’ purpose? I wish somebody would give me [President] Bush’s cell number, so I can call him and ask him. I’m confused. I thought that when we went over there [to Iraq] and took the whole country, all the riches, all the wealth, and all the resources of the land was gonna be ours after we put U.S. flags in there. I just knew we was goin’ back to a buck fifty a gallon. But the shit has gotten higher, so that just tells you that somebody’s hustlin’. Somebody’s hustlin’ us! Everybody’s hustling. Exactly, exactly, and the gas companies are exploiting everybody. But guess what? You don’t have a choice. We’re a slave to the gas companies. I’m a slave to them. They’re showing us their true colors. After all this – the Weapons of Mass Destruction and the bin Ladens – Bush don’t have an answer for that. Bush, call me, man, if you got the answer. You read the OZONE, I know you do, cause you smoke weed. And you like Julia, I know you do. So call me and let me know. I’ll put it in my music and let niggas know. But I’m fuckin’ lost, I thought this shit was supposed to get cheaper. So if y’all driving those Hummers and shit, y’all better start fuckin’ hustling. If you’re driving them Suburbans and you wanna ride big you better start fuckin’ hustlin’, cause it’s gonna be $5/gallon next year. Who’s gonna stop it? Only Bush can stop it. It’s a big business! Switching topics, a lot of people heard that you have beef with T.I.. Is that true? Nah, that ain’t true. I just jumped on the remix to [T.I.’s record] “What You Know.” You know, a couple years ago we had our little differences or whatever, but that was just two bosses, you know what I’m sayin’? I was a boss at the time. I respected his grind. I just wanted everybody to recognize where I was coming from and where I stood. But I always respected dude and I just wanna congratulate him on the success of his last album and all of that. When did you start rapping? I was around 14 or 15. But even in elementary school, I was a big fan. I was just a reciter. You know, I just loved it so much I may have picked up a pen and shot little lines. And it was super whack but I just liked doing it so much. I actually got serious my 11th grade year of school, cause I knew I was finna be out of school. U.C.L.A. ain’t kickin’ in the doors for the boy, so I had to keep it real. I had a football scholarship, but I left. The motivation wasn’t there.
How did your Slip-N-Slide situation originally come about? To be honest, you know, most people barely get to the root of it. But this is the OZONE. Slip-N-Slide came into play after I was signed to Suave House. My first record deal was with Suave House – shout out to Tony Draper and Block Entertainment. That was my homie; me and Block were dawgs from the streets. That’s how we met. We connected and kept it real gangsta and he was real cool with Draper. My first deal was with Draper, and Slip-N-Slide bought me out of the contract in 2000 or 2001. How did you get Slip-N-Slide’s attention. I was doing my thing on the streets of Miami, so they had heard about me. After the Draper situation, one of the homies out in Atlanta reached out to [Slip-N-Slide CEO] Ted [Lucas]. Ted let him know that he was most definitely interested. They liked the fact that I was coming in a whole other lane from Trick [Daddy]. Trick always represents for the thugs, and he’s the best at that. But I was kinda comin’ on some fly Miami shit. Trick Daddy would be talking about Dickies and I would be talking about Prada. A few years ago, you were frustrated with Slip-N-Slide because they hadn’t put your album out. At that time, I felt like I was ready. I may have been wrong, but I honestly felt like I was ready. I was just being mishandled, and we all know that the pen is mightier than the sword so I just vented. Me and Ted sat down like G’s and we handled that. We worked out our differences. What do you think ultimately changed your situation? The “Hustlin’” record? Yeah, but even before the “Hustlin’” record came along we had started back communicating. We were just tryin’ to decide how we were finna move. Either I was gonna buy myself out of the contract or renegotiate and see how the numbers looked. But it wasn’t no pressure. I was surprised on how he was handling it, and I let [Ted] know straight up. When I brought him the “Hustlin’” record I told him we got to do it big. We got to make a whole new move, I didn’t want to just do that Atlantic shit. I wanted to do some shit that people were really gonna talk about. So let’s just fuck with the biggest of the biggest. Jay-Z don’t get no bigger. There was quite a bidding war for your project. What was the actual deal with Def Jam? It was in the millions. It was a real, real big situation. With Slip-N-Slide being involved, it was a bigger deal. The average artist can get half a million dollars with no pressure, with just a cold set-up or a good buzz. But when you’re predicted as being the biggest new dude in rap, the label knows what they’ve got to bring to the table. I let them know off the jump: I know what I need, and I don’t care about none of the small talk. That’s how we handled it. So from the beginning you knew that you wanted to go with Def Jam? No, I just knew that I wanted it to be one of the top three. We all know that there’s really only two or three real labels and everything else falls under the same systems. I know the kind of people I want to be affiliated with, something different and something big. Everything worked out good – I just wanted to put that little twist on it and be able to rep the South alongside the great names over there at Def Jam. And JayZ, you know, that’s big for the hood period. They love that. You’ve claimed to be one of the greatest ghostwriters in the South. Who are some other artists you’ve written for? (laughs) I love keeping my clients happy. You’ve definitely heard a lot of Rick Ross tunes. Lyrically, do you think you’re on the level of a “East Coast” artist? How do you feel about people who say the South doesn’t have lyrics. I don’t know. Who would say that? New York says that. I’d like to find somebody to tell me that the South doesn’t have lyrics. If somebody says that, it’s obvious they haven’t heard of Rick Ross. It’s obvious they haven’t heard of Lil Wayne. It’s obvious they haven’t heard of T.I. It’s obvious they haven’t heard of Ludacris. The list goes on and on. There’s not too many artists that you can put in front of those names I just named that’s gonna get past them. If you feel different, God bless your heart. What exactly is your situation with Poe Boy? 80
Poe Boy Records is owned by E-Class – he’s my manager and he’s always been my business partner. We did a lot of business with his label Poe Boy Entertainment. I was a silent partner in every project they were involved in. E-Class is my roll dawg from the old school, that’s my brother and he’s a real street nigga. That’s why when you see Rick Ross from Def Jam and Slip-N-Slide, Poe Boy is there too, cause that’s my way of showin’ love. Now that Jacki-O got out of her contract with Poe Boy, she claims E-Class is blackballing her new single. Since you were close to both sides, what’s your opinion on the problems between Poe Boy and Jacki-O? I don’t even know why there is a problem, because during the time she was at Poe Boy, she was successful. She had a successful career. She’s talented; she just needs to refocus and get someone else to put out her album. In my personal opinion, I know what E-Class did for her. My dawg wanted the best for her. She had a good support system. I don’t really know what happened with them personally, because I ain’t never really asked the details. I wish her the best. Do you think you’ll be able to capture the female audience as well as the hustlers? What? Have you been to my shows? They be pullin’ on me, girl. All those girls love Rick Ross. I’m loved. I’m so lovable, colorful, and fuckable. I’m all that. This Ross. This is what I do. I’m wearing these $800 jeans for you, baby. I’m wearing this cologne for you, baby. Most definitely. I got a record with me and Ne-Yo that’s strictly for the ladies. It’s gonna make the ladies just want to cry in the rain. And I got a big record with my homie Rodney from Poe Boy that’s definitely for the ladies. What was the significance of shooting your video at the Carolmart? It’s the heart of Carol City. It’s real hood. That’s where all the trap stars and the hustlas go, and that’s where all the young females go to get their gold weaves and their red weaves. That’s where I saw the Big Daddy Kane video when I was young. I’ve been going there my whole life. I bought my first vinyl their – Run-DMC. I was up there today. You’re known to rock a lot of jewelry; why do you think there’s so much emphasis on that in hip-hop today? Because, man, we grew up with nothing. My mama was from Mississippi and then my dad left. You’ve got to understand, when you grow up without nothin’ and when you ain’t got nothing – when you eatin’ cornflakes at 5:00 in the afternoon and then oatmeal at night – once you get it, you wanna overdo it. Since I was small, I used to take my neighbor’s lawn mower out their garage and cut yards all day just to be able to buy a Big Mac, I swear to God. We was kids and we called it “hustlin’.” We used to sit outside the grocery store and wait for families to come out pushin’ they buggies and just ask to push the buggies for a quarter. We were doing that in elementary school, pushin’ buggies for six or seven hours a day to make $10. I used to wash cars, too. That was one of my best jobs. The video was cool because you showed all different types of hustlin’. Most people assume the song is about selling drugs. Yeah, it ain’t just about that. It ain’t just talkin’ about yayo. This is the MI-Yayo, but there’s hustles going on everywhere. There’s fake Jordans for sale. Not only are the shoes fake, but they make the fake boxes to go with them and all that. But even in South Beach, there’s a lot of big time hustlers over there on Star Island. It’s a lot of yay on both sides of the bridge. A lot of yay got a lot of people over there on South Beach. It’s the movie stars and the big timers who fuck their money up quicker than anybody and would do anything to stay out of the red. It’s the American way. That’s why the bookies are so rich in Miami, muthafuckers, man. But on the other side of the bridge, that’s where the hard hustlin’ is at. If you had to work a 9-5 would you consider that a hustle? Hell yeah, I swear to God. That’s what motivated me to really do the music, cause I can’t do a 9-5. I wouldn’t be happy with life. I wasn’t happy watching my mama and my neighbors. Every day, this is what y’all do? Get up and go to work and make $30,000 a year? Are you fuckin’ serious? How much? To make the kind of money you want to make, you would have to be a fuckin’ rocket scientist. I’d have to go to college, and I had a problem with multiplication. I can’t go past 5’s. What’s six times six? 36.
Good guess. What’s seven times eight? I don’t know. But this is what I’m tellin’ you. It’s hard, man. Do you think rappers take advantage of all their opportunities? Rap is definitely a hustle. You can get endorsements. You’ve got to go hard. That’s why I’ma outwork them. I just got off a five-week tour. I was on a Def Jam promo tour doing radio runs, five different cities a day. In between those cities, I was writing records. I completed a whole mix CD, twenty different freestyles within that time, not to mention the features that I was doing on the road. I’m tryin’ to do everything. I ain’t missing nothin’ because I’ve struggled for so long. Do you think it’s a good thing that it took you so long to get your big break? Of course. It made me a better businessman. Now, I’m into real estate. Before, I wouldn’t have thought about none of that. I would have bought 500 pounds of weed or some shit. When you blow up, that’s when you’re supposed to hustle harder. Why not? Buy 50 acres. Set up some hydro lamps everywhere you go. Do anything you want to do. You said that Uncle Luke was one of your biggest influences – are you hoping to be one of the biggest influences for other rappers? Of course. It hurt me to see how the Luke thing ended. But I still see him and I still respect him; he’s still ridin’ big Benzes. He was parallel to Russell Simmons in the 80s. He was owning Luke Records, having his own distribution, getting all that money for one record, selling two million and selling one million. If I could impact the kids the way Luke did me, of course, I’d be proud of that. Tell us a little about the album Port of Miami. The Runners produced the single, right? Yeah, The Runners produced “Hustlin’.” They’re some young, talented dudes from Orlando. They’re on fire right now. They’re being managed by my brother, my homie DJ Khaled. The Runners gave me that fire. Jazze Pha and Cool & Dre gave me something real special. Just Blaze came to the studio and gave me a gift. Swizz Beatz, Mr. Collipark, Shawty Redd, and I’m still recording. I’ve got eight records to lay right now. Next we’re gonna hit them with the “Hustlin’” remix featuring Jay-Z and Young Jeezy. How was the vibe with Jay-Z? It was real, man. That just made me more excited about [the Def Jam deal]. I sat down with dude and he’s a real nigga. We just sat there and chopped it up. We walked the halls together; I wanted to get in the heart of the system. We sat in the conferences, he introduced me to everybody.
the “Hustlin’” record, but how do you ensure longevity in the game as an artist? The records. The music. If they love it now, it’s only gonna get better. The more things I experience and the more places I go, the more money I blow, the more shit I get. It’s only giving me more ammunition to make music and talk about the things I know the hood wants to hear about. You’ve got to keep reinventing yourself. Every song’s gotta be hotter. There can’t be no gaps. We droppin’ Port of Miami on August 1st, Carol City Cartel coming next, and then the documentary M-I-Yayo is coming. In between that we’re gonna drop a little compilation independent. That’s just extra side money. Then we’re gonna hit them with another Rick Ross. Are you rushing to get Port of Miami in stores since the single is so hot right now? Naw, cause they feel like the single ain’t even reached its peak potential right now. I was on the road last week and we went to a few stations where they just added it that day. So we’re gonna let the single do what it does. We’re gonna slip the remix out there and then we’re gonna come with the follow-up single. I’m getting a lot of love in the streets right now. DJs are calling for vinyl and clean versions and all that. And it’s not even that kind of record, that’s a real performance record that I love performing just to set the tone. Carol City Cartel is the name of your group? Yeah, that’s my artists and I’m in the group too. They’re gonna be the offspring of Rick Ross. They’re so hard. We’re finna have a lot of fun. Is there anything else you want to say? I wanna most definitely plug my debut album Port of Miami coming August 1st. I’m representing the South; much love to everybody from the 305. Carol City Cartel on deck, the documentary M-I-Yayo: The Cocaine Capital executive produced by Rick Ross and directed by Antoine Smith. Keep your eyes open for Slip-N-Slide Records, Poe Boy Entertainment, E-Class, Def Jam Records, Jay-Z, DJ Khaled, Mr. Mauricio, everybody at Def Jam. I just wanna salute everybody who played a part in me getting here. It’s the whole movement. Make sure you look out for that DJ Khaled album and that Dre album. I’m just waiting for the OZONE compilation to come out. See, that’s where I’m finna come out and make sure these niggas do they verses and get their music together. After the Awards it’s gonna be the OZONE compilation CD. I wanna be a partner in that, JB. - Photos and words by Julia Beverly
Do you feel pressure to sell records at Def Jam? There’s been some criticism of Jay-Z that he hasn’t proven himself as an executive yet. Ne-Yo just broke records his first time out. Def Jam is doing good. You’ve seen the success of Young Jeezy and all of them. I don’t really feel no pressure, and it’s obvious that he doesn’t feel pressure either because he just lets me do what I do. He’ll put a bug in my ear for some things, but for the most part I’m just doing what I’m doing and Def Jam is loving it. Of course you’ve got the buzz right now with
djprofile DJ Christion (Tampa, FL) When did you start DJing? DJ Christion: Back in the day when I was 13, I went to my cousin’s graduation in New York City. I heard Funkmaster Flex on the radio, saw Kid Capri live on Def Comedy Jam, and I got to witness the whole essence of it live and in the park with DJs on the ones and twos cutting them up real nasty. Once I saw the whole vibe and how the DJs could basically manipulate the crowd and make them dance, that’s what made me want to get into it. Remember the old stereos with the two tape decks? I had to call people to find them. I had a couple vinyls that were always scratched and I’d make mix CDs – well, mixtapes back in the day. I’d get a CD and place a record player on top of that and two tape decks. To make a long story short, my sister felt sorry for me and bought me a pair of turntables for Christmas. Her boyfriend was a DJ, so he kind of gave her the hookup on some Gemini 1800s. What do you think Tampa’s music scene needs to really blow up? There’s been a lot of hits out of Tampa but not a lot of artists with longevity. DJ Christion: I think it needs more consistency and promotion. Tampa’s kind of known for their jukin’ records. But there’s a couple people out there now that are really bringing it, like Tom G. He kinda blew up off that “City Boy” record but he really has some hot shit. There’s some other cats out here that really have some hot shit that’s not dance shit. It’s more like a Rick Ross where they can spit, they have those club records, those hits, those radio records, but they also have the street singles. So hopefully within this year 2006 a couple more people are gonna step up and really put Tampa out there. I thin we’re just waiting for the right artist to come around. It takes a lot, you know? The artist has to be hungry. You’ve got to be willing to do a hundred drops for DJs in your own city, out of your own city and in another state, wherever it may be. We need one of those Pitbulls. You know how hungry Pitbull was! What role do you think the DJs play when it comes to cities like Tampa where we have seen a lot of records come up? Do you think if more cities had DJs willing to take risks on records we’d see more hit singles from “unknown” groups? DJ Christion: I think so. At the end of the day, an artist can’t make a regional record or a local record. On my show the Sunday Night Bomb, we have a special section for that local artist to get their local shine and nine times out of ten if it’s hot enough we just continue to play it. All the DJs drop the station and it breaks, you know? First it hits the streets, then the clubs, then it goes to radio. We’re behind the artist as long as they bring the smash; that heat. They just can’t come half-stepping. Wild 98.7’s PD Orlando: It depends on which DJs you’re talking about. The club DJ has his finger on the pulse. We just had Rick Ross on our show on Friday and he was talking about that. I told him to explain how he got on to the people who send us boxes and boxes of CDs and take us to lunch and all that. He said you basically have to just get your hustle on. Radio is always the last step. It’s never the first. People make a record, burn a copy, and run down to the radio station. The days of Michael and his brothers getting signed with no record, that’s over. Now you’ve got to show that you have a marketable product, like Luda. Kevin Liles said that if you spend $100,000 on your project and show that you recouped your dollars, they’ll sign you and spend $200,000. If you spend $200,000 and recoup it, they’ll spend $2 million on a project because they know that when they put their promotions machine behind you they’ll get their money back plus a return.
Wild 98.7, correct? DJ Christion: Yeah, Wild 98.7 and Turntable Assassins, that’s my family right there. Turntable Assassins got a lot of DJs all over the place, like Smooth Denali, J-Love, Irie, Entice, DJ Chill in Louisiana, and a couple big mixtape DJs in New York. We’re just trying to build our organization over here real heavy. Why do you think Wild is known for breaking party records moreso than mainstream radio stations in other cities? Wild 98.7’s PD Orlando: Because we’re a station that doesn’t want to dictate culture. Whether it’s Hot 97 or Power 106 or Power 96 or 99 Jamz in their respective cities, stations like that pretty much dictate the culture because they’ve been here so long and they’re swagger is like that. We never really wanted to ride like that. We never really want to think of ourselves as stars, we’re just people lucky enough to be in front of the mic. So we ain’t goin’ to tell you what’s hot, we’re going to wait for you to tell us what’s hot. So, we actually listen. Every time I log onto TampaHipHop.com there’s a post like, “Fuck Orlando, he doesn’t support local music.” Wild 98.7’s PD Orlando: Always. (laughing) I mean, it’s frustrating for these artists, so I understand. I know major artists that get frustrated cause they’re not getting played. So I know if you’re out there and putting your all into it, whether you’re doing it dirty or just borrowing money from moms, it gets a little frustrating. I’m an easy target cause I don’t really care; I’ll let them bust shots at me all day. There’s whack DJs mad out there cause I won’t hire them so they start up a label. I don’t even want to say names because I wouldn’t want to give them any pub. They threaten to fight me and kill me and I’m like, whatever. I’m just trying to win. Do you look at records like “Keep Jukin”” or “City Boy” as being hip-hop records or another genre? Wild 98.7’s PD Orlando: I think it’s all hip-hop. Hip-hop just has different cousins, family, friends; it’s like black people. Black people are light-skinned, dark-skinned, all this stuff. Hip-hop is just taking a different turn where you’ve got “Laffy Taffy,” which is somewhere in the hip-hop family. You’ve got a retarded cousin in the family that everybody never talks to, but he’s part of the family too. “Laffy Taffy” is the retarded cousin. Just look at Vanilla Ice – everybody’s got their page in history. “Laffy Taffy” and “Bet You Can’t Do It Like Me,” same thing, those are the records that force their way on the air. You don’t want to play them cause they ain’t sexy, but they get a big response and kids start downloading them online.
What’s the best way for an artist to approach you to get their record played? DJ Christion: Just approach me like a normal person. Don’t just throw a CD in my face and be like, “Play this.” It doesn’t happen often, though. Nine times out of ten they come up like, “Nice to meet you, I’m working hard, this is my record, can you just listen to it, you don’t have to play it tonight.” When they come to you with a humble attitude like that you’re more likely to take a listen to it. If it’s hot I’ll play it right there in the club. They give DJs a bad rep sometimes cause they say we don’t push local artists, but the record has got to be a smash and it’s got to keep the people moving. No one wants to play the whack shit.
What do you think sets DJ Christion apart from other DJs? Wild 98.7’s PD Orlando: We’ve had a lot of cats that can mix and do stuff in the club and it’s hot and they got their own position, but he was the number one draft pick. He was the kid everyone was talking about. He’s always been on the outside looking in but when he came to the table he was interested in other aspects. I have mixers that just want to perform on air. That’s all they want to do. They don’t want to talk to labels, they don’t want to network with other people. Christion comes in like, “Hey, here’s my man DJ Khaled,” and “Hey, here’s Cool & Dre.” He’s in my office every day with a new friend. And he comes in with records, too. Some of them have been whack and some of them have been hot, but I mean, he’s been out there on the grind. He was in my office really screaming about Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’,” and Dre’s “Chevy Ridin’ High” record. It has a sound that could really work in St. Pete and Tampa – everywhere there’s candy painted cars.
You’re a part of the Turntable Assassins and you also DJ on WLLD
- Photo and words by Julia Beverly
PROUD ‘BAMA WORDS: MAURICE G. GARLAND PHOTO: JARO VACEK
irst-hand experience is always better, and more accurate, than simple research. There’s only so much a text-book, newspaper, website, or [gasp] magazine can tell you about a city and the people who live there. Its not until you are able to touch a person’s hand, hear their voice, walk their streets and breath their air that you really get a full understanding of what they’ve seen and what they’ve been through. Birmingham, Alabama has seen a lot since it was founded in 1871, after the Civil War. It flourished widely during the Industrial Era, and suffered greatly during the Great Depression. While outsiders were reading about notorious segregation proponent Bull O’Connor and watching the Civil Rights movement develop on television, the people here lived it first hand and have the scars to prove it. On the lighter side, Michael Jordan played for their Minor League Baseball team during his brief stint in the sport. The city is also home to two American Idol winners, Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks. But still, the city carries a struggling, underdog attitude. “The times are real hard right now,” says Aquil Abdur-Rasheed, CEO of Kottage Boy Records and owner of landmark retailer Music & More. “People out here are either rapping, doing drugs or in jail. Things are slow for everybody.” That simple research we mentioned earlier would tell you differently. To have www.wikipeia.org tell it, Birmingham is becoming a “major medical research center and a regional banking and publishing power.” That may be true for some, but not for all. “This is a robbing city; everybody trying to get paper here,” bluntly states Kottage Boy recording artist Birmingham J. “By the time I turn 35 I think there will be more junkies than successful people here. I’ve had a lot of homies go to jail at 16 who are getting out now and going back to what they do.” Of course, that is no new trend to urban America. Crime and desolation have always been neighbors to the inner-city. Especially in places like Birmingham, where 74% of the population is black. And like most metropolises with a predominant African-American presence, hip-hop is the main outlet for expression - and alternative for trouble.
Alabama. They were listening to LL Cool J and Run-DMC during the 80s just like the rest of the country. And yes, they got to see them live too. So be careful the next time you throw around that word “Bama” to hint that someone is stupid. Unless you’re adopting its new meaning courtesy of Mobb Tied’s hit, “Beat A Muthafucka’s Ass.” “People are stuck on that crap the comedians be saying on television about us,” smirks DJ Serious, who holds down shows on Birmingham’s WBHJ and Huntsville’s WEUP. “It takes people coming down here to see that we’re getting it just like them. Ten, fifteen years ago all the clubs was playing hip-hop. People don’t think we played Eric B and Rakim and New York hip-hop down here, but we did.” Of course, every hip-hop loving youngster imitated their favorite rapper in the bathroom mirror, scribbled a couple rhymes at school or even performed in a talent show or two. But it wasn’t until the early 90s when groups like Legion of Doom and R.O.A (Reality Of Alabama) came on the scene that Birmingham got something that they could call their own. Initially both groups were recognized more for their street reputations than lyrical prowess, but R.O.A managed to become a presence musically. Feared as a “gang” or “movement,” the primary members rappers Loc and Monk, producer Kano and executive producer Andre Murrell released their first album, G’s 4 Life, on Creeppstyle Records. The immense popularity of songs like “Giggiddy Bang” and “Nina Nina” made them local stars by the time their sophomore effort, Ready 4 Anything, came out on Chip Records. In addition to nearly signing with Rap-A-Lot Records, the group’s album sold 1,000 copies a week in local retail and was picked up by national retailers like Sam Goody, Blockbuster and Camelot. “We had to be pioneers and learn how to do shit on our own,” remembers Kano, mentioning that they had a buzz all over the Southeast and as far as Chicago. “It was the fans that made us who we were, we was just making hood music and they took it in.” Unfortunately, Chip Records could not supply the demand that the
Contrary to popular (close-minded) belief, hip-hop did not skip over
(l to r): Big A, Aquil, Calvin, Rome K, D, DJ Serious, Silkk, CJ Tha Stickman, SLP, Pinky, BTDT, Don Dada, MP, Bill Gunnz, JD, Norris Webb, DJ Lee, Attitude, Larry Mosley, Ron White, Murc, Pepper Hamilton, DJ Stickuhbush, Rap God, Big Magic, Super King, Mista Mal, Dirty D, Young Streetz, Caino, Lyrisis, Absoloot, OZONESincere, Nikki Wells, Modesty XO, Yapoet, K Smith, Chi Chi, and Uncensored
“The Civil Rights movement taught us to pursue what we want. Just like Dr. King fought for what he believed in, we fighting for what we believe in. And we think our music can help people. We’re still living the same dream of helping someone else.” - Snipe group garnered, thus they were unable to capitalize completely. Add this to the fact that R.O.A. was indeed living out the gangsterized parables that they spat and you have Birmingham’s first crack at national recognition put on hold. “We was living like New Jack City times ten,” remembers Kano who went on to work with No Limit Records and the likes of B.G., Roy Jones, Jr. and The Last Mr. Bigg. “Loc went to jail, and other members like Calm Down and Killa were killed.” Proving that Birmingham artists could seriously have a run in the music industry, R.O.A. ignited a fire that would lead to more artists pressing up professionally packaged and quality sounding music. Among them were Red Light District and then-Chip Records artist, Attitude. It was around this time, the mid-90s, that Birmingham began to formulate, or at least try to, their own sound. Many say that Red Light District’s sound was reminiscent of the Native Tongues era, thus making their music more viable for local radio to support. At the same time, most Birmingham artists infused the sounds of neighboring cities like New Orleans, Memphis, Houston and Atlanta; adding their own sense of struggle into the mix. “We do ‘hood music,” implies show promoter Superking who hosts the Last Sunday Showcase at city hodgepodge The High Note. “We make music that comes from the community. We don’t do snap, trap or crunk. Alabama artists gonna have something in their music, like the Goodie Mob did. We exemplify the Black struggle.” “I can’t say that Birmingham has a sound, which is what makes us so dope,” says former Timbaland protégé Attitude who is currently signed to Atlanta-based Aphilliates Music Group. “We’re the pipeline, everything comes through here. Since we’ve been forced to listen to everyone else, our city is a melting pot now.” “Musically, Birmingham is so brand new,” says Lil Homie of 95.7 Jamz. “I’ve seen the culture here change a lot in just the past 5 years. Being so close to Atlanta, its easy for the artists to latch on to them. But I see people trying to get their own identity. Because of that, the city’s music scene is leaving its incubation stage and is maturing into a vibrant industry.” While Birmingham’s music scene is starting to grow legs and crawl, they are careful not be too self-contained. Which is why you see new up-and-coming artists like Mista Mal working with Houston-based producers Mr. Lee, groups like B.A. Boys making moves with Lil Flip and
Bohagon or rappers like Gunnz signing with Jimmy Rosemond’s Czar Entertainment. “The music has to be bigger than Birmingham, we have to be respected on the level of the bigger artists,” says Big Magic, CEO of B.O.M.B Records. “Our competition isn’t each other, it’s the big guys.” From day one, its been “the big guys” who have played a role in Birmingham not getting recognized yet. Whether its labels overlooking them, or not looking period. But unlike other cities, you won’t find a lot of anger in Birmingham when it comes to them being one of the last cities to enjoy the Southern hip-hop explosion. In fact, when you ask about it, you get practically the same answer from almost everybody. “You can say we was overlooked, or u can say that we wasn’t. But what’s first shall be last, what’s last shall be first, it depends how you look at it,” says Kano. “I believe that the last should be first and the first should be last,” adds Derrick Webb, CEO of Ncyte Records, home to the Gator Boys and female R&B duo Lyrsis. “I can’t say we been overlooked, what’s last will come first,” says the increasingly popular Modest XO. Attitude sums it up by saying, “It’s good that all of us aren’t frustrated. This way, we can keep our focus and do better to get noticed.” Frustration and anger took its toll on Birmingham decades ago during the Civil Rights movement. Perhaps that’s why you get that feeling from the artists when you meet them. Because lets face it, the city has lived through worst times than record labels not paying them attention. “The Civil Rights movement taught us to pursue what we want,” says Snipe, one half of Big Gen & Snipe. “Just like Dr. King fought for what he believed in, we fighting for what we believe in. And we think our music can help people. We’re still living the same dream of helping someone else.” “We are the children of the Civil Rights movement so we got the strength and fight in our blood,” says Kano. “You remember Bull O’Connor, this city was built for us not be together. But this music is bringing people together.” He pauses and laughs, “Look at Taylor Hicks and Snoop Dogg.” If Birmingham’s hip-hop artists stay on track, America will be idolizing all of them eventually.
(l to r); Qousto, PR of the Gator Boyz, Handsome King, Entruda, Lucci of the Gator Boyz, DJ Blaze, Anthony, Thedweller, Kid, Big Reese, Reque, Sam Addams, Doc6, Kami Dee, Sonny Blac, Lil Booh, Shawt, Miss Katt, Hustle All Day, Chucky Chuck, Gee, Venus, Jus Chris, Big Gen, and Snipe OZONE
NINE MONTHS LATER
The news cameras are gone and the country’s attention has turned elsewhere, but it’s hurricane season again down South. OZONE took a trip to New Orleans’ infamous Ninth Ward to check on the progress - or lack thereof. PHOTOS: JULIA BEVERLY (pg 90-99) JARO VACEK (pg. 88-89)
e passed through New Orleans earlier this year en route to the All-Star game in Houston, and even the quick drive on I-10 was a shocking reminder of the devastation that had occurred there just a few short months before.
Since then, I’d had the idea to do a photo spread documenting the aftermath - what’s left in the city now that most of its residents have relocated to Houston, Baton Rouge, Atlanta, and other parts of the country. So when I had a spare day in between OZONE release parties in Jackson, MS and Dallas, TX, me and my homie Stax hopped in the OZONE/CRUNK!!! truck and took a trip down to the N.O. to see what remains nine months after Hurricane Katrina. To be honest, these photos don’t capture it at all. I was a little disappointed with how they turned out. The photos just look like snapshots of rubble; a random junkyard. There’s no way to express, in print, the feeling you get when you see blocks and blocks and blocks of flattened buildings that once were home-sweet-home to millions of people; miles and miles of devastation that has largely been forgotten in the minds of the American people.
(below) Beachfront hotel in Pass Christian, MS
“We fell asleep through the hurricane and when we woke up, they had like eight feet of water outside. We sat around for a couple days, helicopters flying around. Some police on the boats said they were coming back to get us; they never came back. After the second day, I told my dude, ‘We gotta get in this water.’ Everybody said a little prayer, and we just hopped in that water and swam for it, man. We got out on the third day. We had to hotwire a truck to get out of New Orleans. I really don’t wanna say this, but I had to put a pistol in the police’s face to get a boat to get out of this muthafucker.”
- Gudda (Sqad Up)
The first floor of this elementary school in the Ninth Ward was underwater, as seen in the library (above and at left). The buildingâ€™s upper levels were spared and apparently the roof of the 2nd floor served as home for a few people during the hurricane (below).
Most of the citiesâ€™ overpasses still look like this - a virtual graveyard of flooded vehicles, stripped of anything remotely valuable.
“My homie in Pass Christian, MS, says that their whole neighborhood is being bulldozed. The places where the most affluent people stay, of course they’re being refurbished. But in most places, it ain’t too much different right now than it was right after the hurricane, and that’s really pitiful. But as long as the cameras are not on, people are gonna take their time.”
– David Banner
“How do you rebuild Iraq but you don’t rebuild New Orleans? That’s what I want to know. You gotta help the people first, and the people will clean up their own mess. Instead of going straight for the contractors, put the victims first! Help the people first and the people will clean up their own mess. You can kill two birds with one stone. ”
– Skip (UTP)
“They’re slowly but surely rebuilding, but I don’t see no major improvements. They’re still price-gouging everybody; still raising the rent up on everybody. I think they made a lot of promises they knew they couldn’t keep. They said the levees were gonna be ready before this hurricane season; this hurricane season is here and the levees aren’t ready.”
– 5th Ward Weebie 96
In the hardest-hit areas of the Ninth Ward, closest to the levees, many homes were completely swept off their foundation into neighboring properties. Most sobering is the little signs of humanity amongst the piles of junk, like the purse below.
Neighborhoods like the one shown above resemble ghost-towns; completely abandoned.
“I learned a lot from [Katrina]. I lived to learn how to learn from everybody. I lived to learn how to learn from any situation that I went through. I had an experience of my own. I had people in the past, people in my family tellin’ me about Hurricane Betsy and stuff like that; hurricanes that came through and did the same thing.”
YO GOTTI BACK 2 DA BASICS TVT Records
DA MUZICIANZ IN STORES NOW TVT Records
BUSTA RHYMES THE BIG BANG Aftermath
Just as advertised, Yo Gotti keeps it basic with his latest effort. He opens with the Drumma Boy-produced “That’s What’s Up” which uses the tried and true formula of using a phrase to build a song around. Example: “What up haters, what up hustlas, what up real niggas, what up bustas.” This method is used again on “Shawty.”
Thanks to a couple “HANH??!?!”s here and there, D-Roc earned a reputation as being the more animated half of the Ying Yang Twinz. Now that he has teamed up with his younger brother Mr. Ball and Da Birthday Boy to form Da Musicianz, you can expect exponential energy.
Sometimes change is hard to accept. That being said, it’s been kind of difficult to accept the new Busta Rhymes that we’ve been seeing over the past couple of years. You know, the one who wore throwbacks and fitted caps instead of neon-green leather jackets. The one who started packing pistols on DJ Whoo Kid DVD’s instead of “coming through like G.I. Joe.” And oh, don’t forget the one who made ballads with Mariah Carey.
He then takes time to remind you where he’s at and where he’s from; the streets. On “Where I’m At” he walks the listener through Memphis’ crackhouses, strip clubs, hoe tracks and other seedy areas. Later on he reiterates what he’s about on “I’m A Thug” featuring D’Nero of the Blockburnaz where Gotti boasts, “I’m a gangsta you an actress / You be dreaming, I make it happen / I ain’t a G, I ain’t a Crip, I ain’t a blood, but I be fuckin’ with them niggas, I’m thug.” And like most thugs, Yo Gotti definitely knows how to deal with females. “Shawty Violating (Wup That Hoe)” has Gotti, with assistance from La Chat, insisting that the ladies duke it out with any woman getting on their nerves. On “Warrior” he talks about meeting a well-proportioned woman so mesmerizing that he thought “she was Serena” and “looks thicker than Trina.” But he is also sure to let you know that not every woman is as good as they look on “That’s Not Yo’ Bitch” where he admits that a bad experience in seventh grade, and another years later, changed his outlook on females completely. Another “Basic” covered on this album is of course disposable income and how to get it. “Spend It Cuz U Got It” featuring All Star comes off as a Memphis version of Jigga and JD’s “Money Ain’t A Thang.” Gotti hooks up with his Cash Money partners Lil’ Wayne and Baby for “I Got Them” to exchange some good old-fashioned dope game business tips. Fortunately, Gotti does leave some food for thought at times. On “Cold Game” he gives aspiring crack dealers a dose of reality, warning them about disloyalty, bad product, undercover agents and the possibility of getting caught. He then reveals the pitfalls of running a street pharmacy on “25 To Life” where he cleverly uses the number 25 in repetition to get his point across.
For starters, D-Roc puts out a PSA telling listeners that this album is strictly for the clubs and he keeps his promise. “Bust It Wide Open” has Mr. Ball establishing himself as the melodic one of the group, with Birthday Boy showing he is the rambunctious one. Especially on “Crazyman” where the Da Musicianz make an attempt at creating yet another Atlanta dance craze. The difference here is that they encourage you to make up your own move and simply name it after the song. They come with another dance on “Go Dumb” where they borrow from their friends in the Bay Area and throw some Down South strip club flavor on a hyphy beat. After that, Da Musicianz focus on making people dance instead of creating new ones. On “Til Yo’ Back Get So’” they applaud the ladies who like to shake their asses until…their back gets sore. They hook up with Mr. Collipark “Gyrate” to make a derriere-shaker that sounds like “Breakin’” meets “The Player’s Club.” At times, Da Musicianz good-natured dance tunes take a pornographic turn. So be sure to keep the kids away from songs like “On Me” where D-Roc does his best Mr. Marcus impersonation and rhymes “skin, skin me and shawty putting it in, a brand new bed so we gotta break the bitch in… / It’s time to let the fucking begin, say hello to my little friend.” On “Pop That” the group seems to make a throwaway song with a hook that repeats “pop that pussy, shake that ass” over and over.
Well, get ready for more change as a dread-less Busta drops some of his strongest work since the late 90s. By now, “Touch It” and its all-star cast remix has been engrained in your head while the follow-up single “I Love My Bitch” is on its way to doing the same. So we won’t embellish on those songs. But this album is full of songs that you yourself will probably play over and over again. One of them is “New York Shit.” Even if you aren’t from the five boroughs, this song can be appreciated when Bussa Bus lays it out simple and plain, “I’m on my New York shit, you niggas know we deserve the props we get.” He attempts to add validity to that statement by enlisting Q-Tip for two cameos (“Get You Some” and “You Can’t Hold A Torch”), Nas (“Don’t Get Carried Away”) and Raekwon (“Goldmine”). While most of this NYC contemporaries are complaining about their down period, Busta uses this album to not only show that his city can still crank out good music, but that he may be getting better with time. On “Legend of the Fall Offs” he takes on a personality of a hip-hop grim reaper, illustrating what happens to rappers who no longer have the spotlight. He also establishes and backs up his own legendary status by making songs with the likes of Stevie Wonder (“Been Through the Storm”) and Rick James (“In The Ghetto”).
Ultimately, after listening to this album Yo Gotti shows that he is a guy with common sense and something to say. But it rarely comes out.
Outside of blunders like “Girls I Know” featuring Fabo of D4L and the laughable “Hush,” Da Musicianz succeed at making a party on CD. Hell, some of this stuff may even get some burn at your favorite gym.
His Aftermath affiliation is felt throughout the album, whether it’s the dark production or the occasional 50 Cent/Eminem sounding hooks. But the sound is cohesive and effective. The Big Bang makes the impact that Busta promised.
- Kale Swanson
- Cedric Boothe
- Patriq Morton
DJ KHALED LISTENNN: THE ALBUM Terror Squad/Koch
FIELD MOB LIGHT POLES AND PINE TREES DTP/Capitol
Once upon a time (actually about 5 to 10 years ago), high-profile compilation CDs were a music listener’s dream. All of the hottest artists at the time brought their A-game trying to outdo each other, thus making the whole album tight.
Six years ago Field Mob, T.I., Ludacris and Killer Mike were the starting five for the new wave of Southern hip-hop artists poised to take the genre to all new heights. While all have received critical acclaim, only two have been able to pair superstardom with it, leaving the other three to wallow in “slept-on” status. Hoping to do away with the pillows and mattresses that have plagued their career, Field Mob’s third album Light Poles and Pine Trees acts as an alarm clock for all the sleepy heads.
In 2006 thanks to a plethora of mixtapes dropping every week, those types of albums are damn near non-existent. But Miami’s mixtape king DJ Khaled digs deep into his Rolodex and attempts to resurrect the long lost art of putting together a great compilation. He starts off strong with the 305-stamped “Born N Raised” by Trick Daddy featuring Pitbull and Rick Ross. This is followed by “Gangsta Shit” featuring a lyrically-improved Young Jeezy, Slick Pulla, Bloodraw and the always consistent Bun B. Khaled flexes even more muscles by getting the Louis Vutton Don Kanye West to craft an exclusive, “Grammy Family,” featuring Consequence and John Legend. But even with shiny names like Lil’ Wayne, Paul Wall, Fat Joe, Twista and countless others on the album, it’s the grimy music that stands out. Already floating in underground circles for months, “Problem” by Beanie Sigel featuring Jadakiss is easily the stand out track because of the lyrics and on top of that seeing the Broad Street Bully and Al Qaeda Jada burying their hatchet. More musical unity is shown on “Candy Paint” with Slim Thug, Chamillionare and Trina. Other combinations include Freeway and Clipse hooking up for “Where You At” and Lil’ Scrappy collabing with Homebwoi on “Never Be Nothing Like Me.” While it’s rather impressive to see so many names on this album, it becomes evident halfway through the album that one important person is missing: Khaled! Listennn-ing to the last half of the album will have you questioning whether or not this is his album. No drops, no scratches, nothing. On top of that, the overall quality of the music takes a nose dive as well. Birdman’s “Still Fly” brings nothing worth remembering while Dre’s “Movement” sounds like a Rick Ross song gone wrong. The only highlight of the last half of the album is T.I.’s “Dip Slide Ride Out,” which already appeared on his Gangsta Grillz: The Leak release. Listennn started off with a bang but it sounds like both the artists and DJ forgot that an album is supposed to go past nine tracks. - T. Shaws
Paying homage to those before them, the hook for “1, 2, 3” borrows from MJG’s verse on “Comin’ Out Hard” and best believe Shawn Jay and Chevy P proceed to “go off” just like the song says. Well aware that people don’t appreciate their music, Shawn spits, “Two years off the scene I heard enough of your fucking trash / We return now to make you suffer like succotash” and Chevy follows with, “Your lyrics, I bet they taste sweet / Stop spitting them Kit Kat candy bars and give me a break please.” The lyrical gymnastics continue on the previously leaked “My Wheels.” There’s nothing new under the sun to be said about cars, but Jay damn sure tries with lines like “My sound system is like your life, I got the hi’s and lows.” Chevy keeps the wit flowing on “Area Code 229” when he boasts that he “moves more trees than lumberjacks during Christmas time.” The Albany, Georgia a.k.a. Smallbany duo also takes the opportunity to show they are deeper than their metaphors. “Blacker The Berry” uses 2Pac’s voice from “Keep Ya Head Up” to give Chevy a backdrop to speak on his experiences growing up dark-skinned. Fittingly, Jay shows his darker side on “I Hate You” where he does his best Kelis impersonation talking about his relationship with his baby’s mama, summing it up by saying, “Women hold a grudge like piss on a road trip.” “Pistol Grip” has the usually peaceful Mob speaking some gun talk, however, their jovial wordplay eliminates any threatening element. There are virtually no missteps on this album, but songs like “Sorry Baby” featuring Bobby Valentino and the X-rated “Eat Em Up, Beat Em Up” may be the only songs that will have you thinking about pushing the skip button. The strip club themed “Baby Bend Over” offers nothing new, but it’s still entertaining to hear Shawn and Chevy mimic Nice and Smooth’s rhyme pattern from “Hip-Hop Junkies.” But those minor flaws are easily forgotten thanks to songs like the guitar-laden ride out song “At the Park,” “Smilin’” featuring their labelmate and boss Ludacris, and “It’s Over” where they close the album out with their uncanny ability to create impeccable cadence. It’s debatable if this is their best album, but it stands out from 613: Ashy to Classy and From Tha Roota to Tha Toota because Field Mob keeps the high-pitched rhymes to a minimum and they don’t get as silly as they used to in their early work. Point blank, Light Poles and Pine Trees is the epitome of Southern hiphop; crafty lyricism with a country twang over trunk-rattling beats. - Maurice G. Garland OZONE
mixtapereviews DJ SMALLZ PRESENTS CURRENSY & MACK MAINE G-SERIES VOL. 1 As the President of Cash Money Records, Lil’ Wayne has a hard task ahead of him: taking the helm of a record label that has a history of raping artists and dropping artists just as quick as they sign them. It’s hard to believe that he can resurrect the label that had the game on lock for most of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Lil’ Wayne has teamed up with DJ Smallz to present Cash Money’s newest artists Currensy and Mack Maine. Mack Maine is unfamiliar to a lot of us, but most of us know Currensy, a.k.a. The Hot Spitta, from his days as a soldier in Master P’s No Limit Army. To my surprise, both of these artist shine pretty bright on this mixtape. Currensy’s lyrics are his strong point and he shows it on songs like “Poppin’ them Bottles” and “Dro.” His style is way too laid back and if you aren’t totally awake he may just put you to sleep. Mack Maine is VERY energetic though. He’s definitely not as tight on the lyrics as Currensy is, but he makes up for it with his style and flare. The boy shines bright on “Front Back” and “Ball Bats” and even though you can hear some Lil’ Wayne influences in his style it’s not overbearing. Both artists still need a lil’ work, but they’re both good picks for Cash Money. With a lil’ help from the Birdman Jr. these two artists may be able to lead Cash Money back to the promised land. - DJ Chuck T DJ SMALLZ & JODY BREEZE THE GAME IS A BREEZE After puttin’ in heavy work in the streets for the last 2 years as part of the supergroup Boyz N Da Hood Jody Breeze finally gives us another taste of what he can do on his own. The “Young Gunna” enlists the help of “Mr. Southern Smoke” DJ Smallz to help him put out his 2nd solo mixtape and hopefully capitalize off of the rep he’s built as being one of the tightest members of Boyz N Da Hood. Jody Breeze stands next to a star-studded cast on his mixtape, but proves he can hold his own and not be overshadowed. He rides with 8Ball and Jazze Pha on “Ballin’ My Life Away” and goes verse for verse with Slim Thug on Stackin’ Paper”. “Back In Business” feat. Lil’ Wayne and Boyz N Da Hood is joint also a banger. Jody Breeze is one of the south’s most promising artists and he proves it on this mixtape. This mixtape will definitely have you waiting on for his album to drop. - DJ Chuck T DJ DRAMA & LIL WAYNE DEDICATION PT. 2 The mixtape has to be the most highly anticipated mixtape of 2006. The streets have been fiending for this CD for the last 8 months and DJ Drama and Weezy F. Baby have finally hit the block and opened up shop. I’mma be honest with you, I thought the first Dedication was kinda whack and I personally wasn’t impressed with it, but I was eagar to peep this one out just to see if Weezy had stepped it up a notch. Well, he did! The first thing that stood out to me about this Dedication was that the quality of the songs was better. I’m glad dude gave Drama some professionally mixed tracks to work with on this CD. Also, his beat selection was a whole lot better. He ripped every track on this CD and I only hit the skip button once. Weezy rips tha Biggie Smallz “Spit Your Game” track on “Spitter” and murders that Outkast “Southernplayalistc” beat on the “South Music” freestyle. His original tracks are hot too. “Walk It Off” reminds me of Lil’ Wayne in his younger days when he was spittin’ flames on that first Hot Boyz album. Weezy has named himself “The ‘Best Rapper Alive,” and, although he’s not, he comes close. The only niggas fuckin’ with him lyrically and stylistically are T.I. and Bun B, who are both his elders I might add. - DJ Chuck T MICK BOOGIE & RICK ROSS RICK THE RULER Second to that Lil’ Wayne and DJ Drama Dedication Pt. 2 mixtape, this CD has to be the most highly anticipated mixtape on the streets. Rick Ross has grinded 104 OZONE
hard for over 8 years and it seems like it’s all paying off in 2006. The boy has popped up on damn near every mixtape that’s dropped in the last 6 months and “Hustlin’” is without a doubt the street anthem of 2006. From start to finish, this CD was put together very well. I gotta give “The Commissioner” Mick Boogie two thumbs up on the arrangement. Rick Ross didn’t really shine like I expected him to, though. I was amped up like a muthafucka to bump this shit straight through but his flow gets very redundant by the end of the CD and it’s almost like this CD is one long song with different beats. I gotta give Rick some credit though, he ripped “Whip It Real Hard” and “Grippin’ Grain.” Those two tracks are sure to stay on repeat on every real nigga’s CD player. He also came hard on the remix for “Gettin’ Some Head.” I know Rick is gonna be doing another mixtape here real soon with either DJ Drama or Khaled so I’mma cross my fingers and hope the boy dont let me down on that one. I believe in Rick Ross and wanna see him win. - DJ Chuck T LLOYD BANKS & WHOO KID MO’ MONEY IN THE BANK Damn! With the G-Unit machine lookin’ like its about to run out of gas, 50 Cent looks to Lloyd Banks to save his empire from crumbling. After Mobb Deep and Tony Yayo put up lackluster numbers and failed to live up the hype that was created to promote their albums, the Unit’s reputation falls on shoulders of the “Boy Wonder.” I popped in this CD with the hopes of hearing some straight New York crack music, and guess what: I did! This CD was a banger from start to finish and had me nodding my head so hard I caught whiplash. Banks hasn’t lost a step and still delivers the lyrical masterpieces and witty punchlines that made most of us feel him in the first place. It’s also very obvious that he brings out the best in his G-Unit labelmates also. 50 Cent shines, Yayo shines, Young Buck shines and so does Spyder Loc and Mobb Deep. This CD took me back to 2004 when G-Unit was on top and it didn’t seem like it was possible for them to fall off. “Cake,” featuring 50 Cent, is one of the standout tracks on this CD and so is “Shitty City.” “My House” featuring Timbaland is supposed to be Banks’ first single, but honestly, it isn’t that great to me. “Killa’s Theme” featuring Tony Yayo and “Special” are guaranteed bangers and also take you back to G-Unit’ss glory days. After listening to this CD I only have 2 words for you: Cop it! - DJ Chuck T ATTITUDE & DJ WALLY SPARKS KEYS TO THE STREETS ALABAMA STAND UP!! Attitude a.k.a. The Dirt Road Mack has teamed up with DJ Wally Sparks to present to you his first official mixtape. No longer with the Aphilliates Music Group, Attitude steps out on his own to prove to the dirty South music community that there’s more hidden jewels in Alabama then just the 334 M.O.B.B.. After appearing on countless mixtapes and grinding the streets hard, Attitude finally delivers us a full serving of what he’s capable of. From the jump I was amazed at the production on the CD. I don’t know who’s doing production for that boy, but they definitely gave him some heat to spit on. He meshes well with all the original tracks on the CD and that’s the key when it come to making a good song. Attitude straight wrecks “First Thing First” and “Right Quick.” These joints were so hot they even had my 3 year old son bouncing around like I mixed some Crunk Juice in his Capri Sun. His freestyle over “Hustlin’” was pretty tight and so was his freestyle over Miss B’s club anthem “Bottle Action.” Attitude has a very distinct sound and delivery that separates him from most of the Southern rappers out today. His hooks tend to be little average and lack originality at times, but I can’t really say that any of the tracks on this CD were worthy of the skip button. I like hearing new artists from the South rep where they’re from and Attitude doesn’t let you mistake where he’s from. He makes it plain on about 98% of the CD that he’s from Alabama, and he’s proud of it too. After blasting this CD for the last 80 minutes. I can definitely say that if Attitude doesn’t have a deal by the end of the summer then somebody must be hatin’ like a muthafucka! - DJ Chuck T
DJ BURNONE & DJ FUNKY & BIG KUNTRY COCAINE After being in the shadow of platinum recording artist T.I. for the last few years, P$C’s Big Kuntry is ready to step out on his own and make moves on the solo tip. I’ve been a Big Kuntry fan for the last few years and when I got this CD on the mail I couldn’t wait to hear it. Big Kuntry keeps that signature synth-heavy P$C sound thru the whole CD and that right there was enough to make me put my stamp of approval on this joint. “Loked Out” and “Microwave” are definitely joints to check for and “Let’s Get It” featuring Loreal is a banger too. One track that’s a must to listen to is “Underdog.” Unlike that Young Dro CD, Burnone put this one together tight. The CD flowed real well and was arranged perfectly. Niggas need to stop sleeping on Big Kuntry. Dude is the truth for real. - DJ Chuck T DJ IDEAL & PITBULL UNLEASHED VOLUME 6 Pitbull is by far one of the South’s most underrated artists and anyone who listens to this CD will agree. I don’t know if it’s because a lot of people know him for his uptempo club tracks or the fact that he’s Latino, but niggas don’t give him the credit he deserves. Not only can Pitbull put together a hot song for the club, but the boy got some heat for the streets too. DJ Ideal reminds us of how well rounded Pitbull is by packin’ this CD with over 30 tracks of exclusive freestyles, classic Pitbull tracks, and bangin’ guest features he’s done for other artists. There’s something on this CD for everybody and that may be a gift and a curse for Pitbull. He may just be too versatile. He reps for the clubs on tracks like “Bojangles” and the “Snap Ya Fingers Remix”. He reps for the ladies on the “In Love With a Stripper (RMX)” and “You Better
Tell Her” along side Teedra Moses. And you know he gives the street niggas some heat too on “Born and Raised” and “I’m On It.” This CD is pure fire, but Pitbull really killed it with his freestyles over “Hail Mary” and “Warning.” Pitbull has every aspect of the game covered as far as hip-hop is concerned, but I think he fails to catch a solid fan base because his music is all over the place. Some emcees are just too good for their own good if you know what I mean. If you’re a true hip-hop lover and a fan of hip-hop music and you’re not a Pitbull fan by the end of this CD, something is wrong with you or you’re just a plain hater. - DJ Chuck T BIG NEIL & BIGGA RANKIN I first got this CD down in Daytona and had it laying around for months, but after seeing his ad in OZONE for a few months I figured I’d check it out. I must admit I was pretty surprised. I didn’t expect much from a rapper from Cincinnati, OH, but this nigga has some real talent. His standout feature is his voice and delivery. He lyrically spits like a down South nigga, but has the swagger of an East coast rapper. This is a definite plus because it’s going to allow him to appeal to the masses and not get stuck in a box. A lot of Midwest artists either try too hard to be Southern or try too hard to be from NY, but Big Neil has a style that’s a perfect mix of both. I thought that “Dope Boy Music” ft. Rick Ross would be the standout track, but it wasn’t. I had “Mix It With The Bakin’ Soda” on repeat for at least a good 30 minutes, and “Put ‘Em In The Air” was hot too. He straight ripped a freestyle over the “Diamonds” instrumental and I was bumpin’ “See Me Fresh” so loud my baby mama came and shut my computer off. The CD had some songs that were kinda lackluster and Big Neil could’ve picked some better beats, but I can honestly say that for a nigga from a place that isn’t known for hip-hop he came hard. 85% of the CD was hot and nowadays that’s a good thing. I get TONS of CDs that get trashed after the first 2 tracks. This CD wasn’t one of them! [IMG]http://www.ozonemag.com/apr2006/600/Apr06-15.jpg[/ IMG]- DJ Chuck T
by Malik Abdul HARDCORE: RAW AND UNCUT www.realfights.com
That’s what the title says, and that’s what it is! If you like fistfights, all-out brawls, shootings, and bodies lying in the street, then this is a DVD for you. The makers of the controversial multi-platinum Ghetto Fights have put together another DVD filled with uncut brawling. This DVD also features women fighting, and these girls are throwing down! – Malik Abdul CRACKHEADS GONE WILD www.crackheadsgonewild.com You’ve heard of Girls Gone Wild, Latinos Gone Wild, and so forth, but Crackheads Gone Wild is a new one. These are real-life stories; some funny, some hardhitting. In most of them, you’ll see the lost hope of people who had dreams; the lost hope of families who have also become victims to their loved ones’ addiction. This DVD shows the reality of an extremely addictive drug. Crack has been kicked under the rug as the government turns America’s focus to terrorism. They don’t show crack addicts on the evening news, but they’re out there. This DVD exposes the government’s lost “War on Drugs.” If this DVD was edited properly it could be up for some awards, but the title Crackheads Gone Wild takes away from the seriousness of the documentary. This is a realistic view of the world of crackheads. It deals with their stories, their views, their voices, and their lives. I think it’s a bit inappropriate to rate this DVD with blunts, but I do highly recommend it. – Malik Abdul UNDERGROUND If you liked The Fast & The Furious, here’s a DVD for you, with hot cars, hot models and underground street racing. It’s all hosted by Big C, a wild and crazy Cali dude who seems to have enough energy and exuberance to feed the whole state. He’s got enough hot models and clout to get into all the hot spots and car shows. Don’t mist he Von Dutch photo shoot, the late night street racing, and pirate radio station interviews where you have to paddle-spank the naked Asian host. – Malik Abdul WILL HUSTLE TV This exclusive DVD deals with all the new beef in the Southern rap game and features interviews with powerhouses like OG Willie D of the Geto Boys, who talks some real gangsta shit. The beef is tough out in the state of Texas. Austin is on fire right now. They’re going at Z-Ro, calling him “Z-Ho,” and actually going at the whole Rap-A-Lot camp. Trae responds. Then Z-Ro responds and tries to set them straight. Next, Will Hustle takes us down to Atlanta to talk to Rock, formerly of Three 6 Mafia. Rock literally goes off on DJ Paul and Juicy J, calling them “sucker-ass niggas” who charge their own artists for tracks. He reveals that Lil Wyte is being charged $20,000 for each track that he uses from Three 6. Rock promises that if he sees anyone from the Hypnotized Mindz camp, he will kick their ass. Loaded with underground artists, Will Hustle TV is making its mark. – Malik Abdul 108 OZONE
PIMP C PIMPALATION: RETURN OF THE TRILL www.rapalotrecords.com From the opening intro of this DVD, you’ll see a live interview with Pimp C from behind bars up until the day he was freed. You’ll live through Pimp C himself, from hugging his mom to shopping for Bentleys and jewelry and hitting the studio to lay down new tracks. The knowledge Pimp C shares about the Texas prison system is something you should pay to hear. I could go on and on about this DVD, but it would take a whole magazine to let you know how insightful it really is. J Prince, owner of Rap-A-Lot Records, imparts wisdom about the music business. There’s also appearances from every major artist in the industry – Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, Young Jeezy, Slim Thug, and Chamillionaire, just to name a few. This is definitely a DVD you should check out whenever you need knowledge and inspiration. – Malik Abdul REALITY TV: LIVE FROM NEW ORLEANS Imagine being asleep in your bed with the sound of rain pounding on your rooftop, whistling winds, and trees rocking back and forth. Your roof is creaking and the candlelight flickering. The power has been out for hours. You crawl deeper under the covers, thinking that the storm will be over in an hour or so. When you wake up, you hear screams all throughout the house. Your family is panicking; there’s water inside the house and it’s rising! You get out of your warm bed and make it to the roof. Not only are you cold, but the wind and the rain are pounding. You’re holding your newborn baby, your four-year-old is crying, and your grandmother is still inside the house because she’s too old to make it to the roof. You have to make a choice – leave the baby on the bed with the water rising, or try to get your grandmother onto the roof. You choose to save the baby with guilt surging throughout your body. Imagine surviving until the next morning and looking around in horror to see dead bodies float past. Wildlife, dogs, cats, and feces float by, and your newborn is crying from the hunger pains. Two days pass and finally a helicopter rescues your wife and two kids with the baby, take them away, and you are happy because you know anywhere is better than this place. Finally you find a way to float past all the debris, dead bodies, and stench, and you make it to the bridge, where there are thousands of people. To your dismay, there is no food or water – only more angry, confused people looking for family members. No one seems to know anything. The helicopters are coming in and bringing more people onto the bridge. The dust that the propellers are kicking up only makes your throat more parched, your skin more dry, and your clothes more dirty. After four days of this, they start putting you on yellow buses. When you get to your destination, there’s no food. No place to sleep. No place to take a bath. You smell, you’re dirty, you’re tired – and you are in the richest country in the world! This Reality TV: Live From New Orleans DVD really gives you the real inside story. The music played throughout the DVD fits every scene. But the real genius of this DVD is that it shows what New Orleans was before Katrina – the Mardi Gras, the murder rate, the good food, the good music – and then they show how the government abandoned their city. One insightful comment on this DVD noted how George Bush gave 45 minute speeches on terrorism, but a 30-second speech about the devastation. All in all, it’s a powerful documentary. – Malik Abdul
t.i.live T.I.’s emotional performance of “Live In The Sky” in memory of Philant Phillips Arena in Atlanta, GA on June 17th, 2006 Photo: Julia Beverly
lilwaynelive Lil Wayne gets his Bob Marley on @ The Venue in Gainesville, FL on June 3rd, 2006 Photo: Malik Abdul
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