THE SOUTHERN VOICE OF HIP HOP MUSIC
WANTS HIS MONEY!
HOT BOYS REUNION?
MANNIE FRESH LEAVES CASH MONEY
ESG DIRTY YO GOTTI REMY MA JAZZE PHA PAUL WALL KILLER MIKE TRICK DADDY YOUNG JEEZY
DAVID BANNER PLAY WITH IT!
PUBLISHER/EDITOR: Julia Beverly MUSIC REVIEWS: ADG, Wally Sparks CONTRIBUTORS: AJ Woodson, Bogan, Cynthia Coutard, Dain Burroughs, Darnella Dunham, Felisha Foxx, Felita Knight, Iisha Hillmon, Jaro Vacek, Jessica Koslow, J Lash, Katerina Perez, Keith Kennedy, K.G. Mosley, King Yella, Lisa Coleman, Malik “Copafeel” Abdul, Marcus DeWayne, Matt Sonzala, Maurice G. Garland, Natalia Gomez, Noel Malcolm, Ray Tamarra, Rayfield Warren, Rohit Loomba, Spiff, Swift SALES CONSULTANT: Che’ Johnson (Gotta Boogie) LEGAL AFFAIRS: Kyle P. King, P.A. (King Law Firm)
AUG05 CONTENTS FEATURES:
ESG pg A19 TURK pg B20-21 DIRTY pg A26-27 REMY MA pg B11 COVER STORIES: ALLSTARS pg B13 DAVID BANNER pg A32-38 YO GOTTI pg A17 LIL WAYNE pg B22-23 PAUL WALL pg B26-28 KILLER MIKE pg B30-31 B.G./MANNIE FRESH pg B19 CHAMILLIONAIRE pg A22-24 5TH WARD WEEBIE pg A29
STREET REPS: Al-My-T, B-Lord, Bill Rickett, Black, Bull, Cedric Walker, Chill, Chilly C, Chuck T, Controller, Dap, Delight, Dereck Washington, Derek Jurand, Dwayne Barnum, Dr. Doom, Ed the World Famous, Episode, General, H-Vidal, Hollywood, Jammin’ Jay, Janky, Jason Brown, Joe Anthony, Judah, Kamikaze, Klarc Shepard, Kydd Joe, Lex, Lump, Marco Mall, Miguel, Mr. Lee, Music & More, Nick@Nite, Nikki Kancey, Pat Pat, PhattLipp, Pimp G, Quest, Red Dawn, Rippy, Rob-Lo, Statik, Stax, TJ’s DJ’s, Trina Edwards, Vicious, Victor Walker, Voodoo, Wild Bill, Young Harlem CIRCULATION: Mercedes (Strictly Streets) Buggah D. Govanah (On Point) Big Teach (Big Mouth) Efren Mauricio (Direct Promo) To subscribe, send check or money order for $11 to: 1516 E. Colonial Dr. Suite 205 Orlando, FL 32803 Phone: 407-447-6063 Fax: 407-447-6064 Web: www.ozonemag.com Cover credits: David Banner, Chamillionaire, and Killer Mike photos by Julia Beverly; Paul Wall photo by Cara Pastore. OZONE Magazine is published eleven times annually by OZONE Magazine, Inc. OZONE does not take responsibility for unsolicited materials, misinformation, typographical errors, or misprints. The views contained herein do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or its advertisers. Ads appearing in this magazine are not an endorsement or validation by OZONE Magazine for products or services offered. All photos and illustrations are copyrighted by their respective artists. All other content is copyright 2005 OZONE Magazine, all rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any way without the written consent of the publisher. Printed in the USA.
DAVID BANNER’S SPECIAL EDITION COMIC BOOK: LIL JON pg A42-43 NELLY pg A44 JAZZE PHA pg A45 GET COOL pg A46 MARCUS. pg A47 TRICK DADDY pg A48 LIL SCRAPPY pg A49 MANNIE FRESH pg A49 GANGSTA GRILLZ pg A50
MONTHLY SECTIONS: FEEDBACK pg A10 CHICK FLIX pg B46 PHOTOS pg A12-20, B8-18 LIVE SHOW REVIEWS pg B49 CD & DVD REVIEWS pg B38-44 CAFFEINE SUBSTITUTES pg B45 GROUPIE CONFESSIONS pg A13 INDUSTRY 101: WENDY WASHINGTON pg B35 EDITORIALS: JB’s 2 CENTS pg A11 MATHEMATICS pg B15 GUEST EDITORIALS pg B9 PRISON DIARIES: C-MURDER pg A15 OZONE AUGUST 2005
Hate it? Love it? Send your comments to: email@example.com OZONE reserves the right to edit comments for clarity or length.
It’s about time a Southern-based magazine put it down. I’m up here in Virginia, a.k.a. the Top of the South, and I got ahold of your mag. I’m gonna be following y’all from now on. It’s good to see underground and mainstream Southern artist gettin’ their shine on. Keep up the good work and keep it gangsta! JB I fuck with ya! – LadyDWell, firstname.lastname@example.org (Virginia) I’ve been following your mag for about a year now and I must say that I’m genuinely happy with your success. I thoroughly enjoy your publication and actually look forward to my copy each month. As a female, I just wanted to send the support and let you know that you’re doing your thing, withstanding obstacles, and most importantly, facilitating a connection. I see the growth with the website and the magazine and know that you have so much more in the works. Do your thing, stay on the scene, and all you deserve will surely be at your feet. And all those who oppose you without reason will come to regret ever fucking with you! – Skyy, kasmith@ radio-one.com (Houston, TX) I been peepin’ your editorials lately in the mag. I must say I’m impressed with your heart. You goin’ real heavy against some big dawgs. – Keinon Johnson (Atlanta, GA) First off, I’d like to thank you for allowing me the opportunity to speak my mind in your magazine this month. I don’t want to beat around the bush, so I will get to the point. I am Dame Dozha. There’s an uncanny resemblance between me and another rapper from Jacksonville, Pimp G. So weird that we are from the same town, Jacksonville, and we are both involved in the same industry, but there is one thing that is not
the same: our talent. I used to be approached all the time while hustling my music, and the people would say that they knew of me and would call me Pimp G. Everyone says we look just alike. I used to be in denial but I have accepted the resemblance for what it is worth, free publicity. When he is in your mag, it’s almost like I am in your mag. I actually met him and told him about how I felt, that we looked alike, and it was weird that we do the same thing. After meeting him, I traded CDs with him, but didn’t pay much attention to it the first time. Then, tonight, my evil twin has come to the city I dwell in, Tallahassee. He was at The Moon, a place I like to consider my night sanctuar. We greeted each other and he gave me his mixtape. I felt the need to separate myself from him because of the confusion it would cause to have us in the same place at the same time. Now, I did expect the guy to be good at what he does. I had high expectations, thinking that he looks like me, so he must be blessed with talent as well. Besides, he is in OZONE. Paid for the ad, but he is also in the O of OZONE. So he must be doing something right that I am not, and I commend him for that. So, I was excited, in fact. The suspense was killing me, wondering what his CD sounded like. I just got through giving it a thorough listening session. Well, as thorough as I could stand, because the music was garbage. Beyond garbage. Words can not explain how bad it was. I even called in reinforcements to come listen, because I tend to be a hater. I don’t give anyone much credit. But this guy made me feel the need to write you. I am baffled at the quality of the sound, stature of the cadence he uses, and even the appearance of the CD. It’s all god awful. If you don’t believe me, ask someone, and listen yourself. I plan to let him know my-
self but I had to tell you and the world how I felt. Also, I respect Young Cash for the drive he appears to have, but he too is on Pimp G’s mixtape (which doesn’t even have a name). The fact that he has the audacity to rap with this man lowers my respect completely. Again, I am a hater even to my crew, but I am also honest. If you print any of this, and he wants beef on wax, I’m ready. Your move, twin. Dame Dozha, email@example.com (Jacksonville, FL) The new issue looks great. Spent the morning reading it. Thank you for putting up with the bullshit interviews, doing graphic design, and draggin’ your camera around to get pics, cause it’s worth it when you put out this good of a product. To people who are tryin’ to come up in the game, you do have a true medium set up to offer an inside look at the real Hip Hop game. We appreciate it, and even though you may have some competition, that just shows that you’re on to something. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and none I have seen have anything on OZONE. You do a consistently great job with the publication. It helps us, and many more like us, more than you will ever know. - Trey Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org (Enterprise, AL) I think you should put my baby Pitbull in the magazine more. He is the finest and most talented Latino rapper. Nobody can outdo him. Everyobdy should know his name. If you’re not a fan you should be. It’s the sound of his voice and his fine-ass looks that drive me wild. Pitbull, we love you and what you stand for. Tell the haters to be gone. You’re #1 in my book. - MissPittbull07@aol.com < You see, kids, this is what happens when you write bad checks, won’t pay your OZONE invoice from last year and threaten the editor via Blackberry: you get put on blast! Hint to aspiring record label owners: you’re supposed to pay your bills before you buy the fleet of wrapped vans! The Source is next! Final warning!
OZONE AUGUST 2005
internet goin’ nuts Read David Banner’s interview, because he’s right: the harsh reality of the music business is that people don’t give a fuck about you. I realized it a few years ago but it’s the type of thing where you have to constantly remind yourself so you don’t believe the hype. All those hugs and fake love don’t mean anything. Let’s just stop pretending. You don’t know me, and I don’t know you. This is just a job. So do me a favor. Let’s begin a policy of brutal honestly when it comes to OZONE Magazine. Don’t send me a kiss-ass email that begins with “I love your magazine” and ends with a few paragraphs about your group and how wonderful you are and that you’re the next big thing and OZONE is sleeping on you. Please, please tell me how you really feel, and if you don’t love it don’t say it. I don’t like to have my ass kissed, unless your name happens to be Al Lindstrom (in that case, I thoroughly enjoyed the quasi-apology but I’m still waiting for Rene’s).
Trevor, me, and Greg G @ Icon in Orlando
If you don’t like me, or the magazine, just say it. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind out of fear that I’ll rip your pathetic ass to shreds in my next editorial, even though I probably will. DJ Chill, Matt Sonzala, and me at KPFT Damage Control radio in Houston
I’ve been on the road almost every day this month and somehow managed to churn out a 100 pages, thanks mostly to a lightweight Dell laptop, a mobile high-speed internet card from Verizon, my trusty driver, and contributions from a number of good people. Someday I’m going to write a book about traveling on a budget, but today I’ll just leave you with this nugget of knowledge: sleep is not a travel necessity, but showering is. A $5-10 guest pass to the local gym (gyms have showers, you know) is much cheaper than any hotel room. And if you can’t imagine going a night on the road without sleep, you’ll never make it in this industry so quit wasting your time and go get a 9-5. I stay in the OZONE truck because if I have to go through one more airport full-body search I will SCREAM.
They say sleep is the cousin of death. Think of all the things I would’ve missed this month if sleep was a requirement. Pitbull and Lil Jon disrupting a Mary Kay convention and trying to get me drunk in Dallas? A memorable 4 AM IHOP breakfast in Houston? A week in New York thanks to the good people at Universal? Dame Dash making the most of some really stupid questions on a panel at How Can I Be Down in Miami? Jay-Z greeting Young Jeezy at his album release party, or 50 and Eminem hanging out backstage at the Anger Management tour in Atlanta (you will not see photos of either of these incidents in the magazine because of overzealous bodyguards)?
Me, Mike, and Pit in Dallas
Speaking of overzealous bodyguards, I have a question for Interscope/Violator/Clear Channel/ Radio One/all other overprotective entities: how famous do I have to be to get a permanent all-access photo pass tattooed on my hand? Cause I feel like I’ve paid my dues. G-Unit has, like, a twenty page photo agreement that you’re required to sign before you can even get near any of their artists. In fact, I’m probably violating the agreement by even mentioning it, so I’m sure a cease and desist order will be forthcoming from the Interscope/XXL Corporation (ha, ha). Thanks for the plug, Elliott, you played into my game beautifully! I’m good at this too, yes? Shouts out to Matt & Chill at Damage Control (KPFT) in Houston, Miss Info at Hot 97 in New York, and Michael Soul in Columbus, Georgia, for showing some love on their respective radio shows. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the coolest white girl in the South is finally available for radio and television interviews, and I’m getting better at the on-camera shit, so Barbara Walters, watch your back. Judging from the last TJ’s DJ’s, some of you aspiring rappers must have missed my editorial about bad breath. Smoking weed, gold grills, bad hygiene, and networking do not mix. At the next pool meeting, if I offer you an Altoid, get the hint. I was just kidding about the ass-kissing though. Feel free to keep doing it, I don’t mind. - JB the Brutally Honest (email@example.com)
Guilty pleasure: Black Eyed Peas “Don’t Phuck with My Heart” Ying Yang Twins f/ Bun B “23 Hour Lockdown” Grandaddy Souf f/ Get Cool “Run It” Tony Yayo f/ 50 Cent “I Know You Don’t Love Me” Chamillionaire, Pastor Troy, Killer Mike “Southern Takeover” David Banner f/ Jazze Pha “We Should Be Fuckin’” P$C f/ T.I. & Lil Scrappy “I’m A King”
Bun B “Draped Up” Webbie “Crank It Up” Jay-Z “Back Then (remix)” Remy Ma “Secret Location” 334 Mobb “Keep It Pimpin’” Young Jeezy “Trapster”
ho’s got the internet goin’ nuts? This month it’s Karrine Steffans, a.k.a. Superhead, who fucked a bunch of famous dudes (Kool G Rap, Ja Rule, P Diddy, Dr. Dre, Usher, Ray J, Irv Gotti, Bobby Brown, Xzibit) and wrote a book about it, trying to pass it off as a “cautionary tale.” Although the writing style itself is not impressive and her constant claims that she’s learned her lesson are not convincing, the book landed on the New York Times’ bestseller list thanks to its scandalous content and plenty of free radio publicity. Needless to say, the men mentioned in this book were not pleased, and I’m sure their wives weren’t either. But the person whose reputation has suffered the most isn’t even mentioned in the book: Tigger. In the first chapter, Superhead says that she will not reveal the most damaging information, like “the music industry lover” who she caught in bed with another man. When Kool G Rap and his wife, Ma Barker, called in to a New York radio station to dispute many of Superhead’s claims, Ma Barker insinuated that this man was Tigger. Superhead didn’t confirm or deny the claim, simply stating, “That’s not in the book.” Here’s Tigger’s side of the story: Do you know Kool G Rap’s wife Ma Barker? Tigger: I don’t know her. I met her once when Kool G Rap came to Rap City, but I have no idea why she’s bringing my name up and telling lies about me on the radio. Do you know Superhead? Tigger: I do know Superhead, but we were just friends. Usually when you hear a rumor there’s some sort of truth to it. Where do you think this came from? Tigger: I have no idea where that came from. I’ve been trying to find Super to find out where this is all coming from. I have no idea. For the record, are you hetereosexual? Tigger: I am heterosexual. I love women. I have never engaged in any homosexual activities, and I do not like men. I have not, and will not, be entering into any man ever in my lifetime. There’s nobody on this earth that could tell you that I’m even remotely homosexual. I was actually on Hot 97 this morning and I challenged Ms. Jones or anybody else who wants to challenge me to put up $100,000 against my $100,000 to take a polygraph test. And when I win, the money is gonna go towards my charity for HIV/AIDS prevention. What was your motivation for starting a charity for HIV/AIDS prevention? Tigger: I started the charity in Washington, D.C., which is by far the most highly infected area in the country. One out of twenty people in D.C. are infected, and 25-30% of the people who are infected don’t know. OZONE AUGUST 2005
01: Young Cash, David Banner, and Jae Millz @ Club Raj (NYC) 02: DJ Dr. Doom, DJ PLO, and DJ Dap @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 03: Too Short and the Bishop of Crunk reppin’ OZONE @ Visions for Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 04: Webbie and Lil Boosie performing @ The Underground (Tampa, FL) 05: Todd Moscowitz, Mervyn Mack, and DJ Clark Kent reppin’ OZONE @ Club Raj (NYC) 06: Nutty Boy Entertainment reppin’ OZONE @ Firestone for Jamlando Record Pool meeting (Orlando, FL) 07: BloodLine crew @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 08: Dewayne Barnum and Get Cool @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 09: Sandra Jacquemin and Lisa Lisa (Miami, FL) 10: DJ Fresh reppin’ CRUNK!!! @ WQSL The Beat (New Bern, NC) 11: Slim Thug and Ebony Eyez (Houston, TX) 12: Apex and Mercedes @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 13: Fish N Grits and Fresh Kid Ice @ KPFT Damage Control radio (Houston, TX) 14: Young City and Young A @ Rap It Up block party (New Orleans, LA) 15: Mr. Collipark and Jim Jonsin @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 16: DJ G-Spot, Malik Shabazz, DJ Lil John, Big Al, and Ike G Da @ How Can I Be Down (Miami, FL) 17: Young Cash, MIke Jones, and T-Roy (Jacksonville, FL) 18: Medicine Men: KLC, Moby Dick, Craig B, and O’Dell @ their studios (Baton Rouge, LA) 19: Bohagon, Lil Scrappy, and Rob Mac @ Anger Management tour (Dallas, TX) 20: Timbaland, Fat Joe, and Paul Wall @ Jim Jones’ video shoot (Miami, FL) 21: DJ Clue and Dave Mays @ State (Miami, FL) Photo Credits: Bogan: #20 Greg G: #12 Julia Beverly: #01,02,03,05, 06,07,08,13,15,16,17,19 Keadron Smith: #11 King Yella: #18 Luis Santana: #04 Marcus Jethro: #14 Rico Da Crook: #21 Sandra Jacquemin: #09 Travis Mealer: #10 A12
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Disclaimer: These interviews are anonymous, so we cannot verify if they are true or not. All details (cities, club names, hotel names) have been removed. These stories do not necessarily represent the opinions of OZONE Magazine. These stories did not necessarily occur recently, so if you are currently seeing one of these fine gentlemen, no need to curse him out. These stories are from different women.
SLICK ‘EM (PRETTY RICKY) How did you meet Slick ‘Em from Pretty Ricky? We actually went to high school together. We had a class together and we were friends first. I really didn’t like him cause he’s not all that attractive to me, but he had a nice personality.
If you have a celebrity confession, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will reply with a phone number where you can call anonymously to be interviewed.
Was he in the group Pretty Ricky when you met him? They were forming the group, but they weren’t very well-known at the time. They were just starting out.
Was it more exciting because he was in the group? Yeah, a lot more.
Where did you meet Lil Wayne? We met after a concert, several years ago. Did you approach him, or did he approach you? How did you meet? Actually, one of his friends had approached me outside the club and we were talking. Then Wayne came by. I guess he tells his friends what to do or whatever. I ended up talking to Wayne. Was it a friendly conversation or pick-up lines or what? It was just a little conversation like, where I’m from, stuff like that. He asked me if I wanted to get on the bus with him. Me and my friends went with them. Were you a Lil Wayne fan before you met him? Yeah, I am a big fan of his. That was my main reason for wanting to get on the bus.
he is. Why do you think he was interested in you? I’m just his type. He likes light-skinned girls with long hair. That’s just what I’ve observed from being around him. We never really talked about it. How was he in bed? Oh, he’s good. I mean, cause he’s such a little guy, people wouldn’t expect much out of him. But he’s good. He’s very energetic. He can go for a minute. Did he do anything unusual? Not really anything unusual, but he does stuff during sex. Like, he might be smoking during sex, or drinking during sex. Stuff like that. And he always says, “Please, say the baby,” like in
Did you have a relationship with him or just a one-time thing? We dated for a few months. When did it become sexual? We were at their house. It was just me, Slick, and Pleasure, and we were chillin’ in the room watching movies. We were watching the movie “Baby Boy” and Slick ‘Em was like, “That’s gonna be us one day.” We were just playing around and stuff and eventually one thing led to another. How old were you? We’re the same age. We were both 17. Do you think you were too young to be having sex? Nah, not really.
“[Lil Wayne] is such a little guy, people wouldn’t expect much out of him. But he’s good in bed. He’s very energetic. He can go for a minute.”
Was the bus headed back to the hotel? Yeah, we went back to the hotel after the show. It was cool. His friends were around for a minute. I think they had to leave a few hours later, so that time, nothing really went on. We just exchanged numbers. He called me and we kept in touch. We met back up a while later in [another city]. Then we lost touch for a few months. He’d switched numbers. One of my friends had been at the show too, and she hooked up with one of his friends. When she went to see him, I ran into Wayne again and we got back in contact.
When did it become sexual? When me and him started fucking, that’s when he was with Nivea. I started reading magazines that said she was his girlfriend, but he never said anything about it. But he’s kind of a ladies’ man about it. He wasn’t trying to jump into it. He was a gentleman. He’s a real respectful guy. What was the situation when you finally hooked up? His friends were all in the room, smoking and stuff, and when everybody left it was just me and him. He took a few phone calls, but when my phone rang he wanted me to cut my phone off. We were in the front room of the suite and then we moved into the bedroom. It was like 4 or 5 in the morning. We started talking and one thing led to another. Obviously, he’s got a lot of girls chasing after him because of who
that song “Soldier.” (laughing) Did you only sleep together once or was it a relationship? No, it was several times. Did he ever throw on a Lil Wayne CD to listen to during sex? He played a Lloyd CD once during sex, but mostly, nah. He never played a Lil Wayne CD. It’d usually be so late we’d go to sleep right afterwards. Why did it end? He got married, so I respect that. We talk every now and then but we don’t sleep together any more. There have been rumors that some people in the Cash Money camp are gay. Did you ever see anything that would make you think that? Oh, no, no, not at all. I haven’t seen any signs of that, and I’ve been around all of them a lot – Cash Money and Sqad Up and the new Young Money camp. I never saw anything like that going on. Would you consider yourself a groupie? No, I wouldn’t consider myself a groupie, because I wasn’t doing it because of who he was. I was kinda into him as a person. I acted the same with him as I would with a regular person who’s not a rapper.
So was it good or bad? I’d say it was pretty good, but, I guess because he was young – still is young – he liked to play around and joke around a lot. That’s kind of a turn-off when I’m in the mood to do something. He’d be telling jokes, acting silly, playing around. What did you do in bed? He likes really rough sex, and he likes to take it out and cum on your stomach. He does that a lot. So you think he just needs to grow up a little. He needs to grow up a lot. Even when I see him on TV, he’s the loudmouth. He’s always the one that wants to play around. He acts the same in person. Do you still sleep with Slick ‘Em now? No, but we still talk occasionally. We’re not together anymore. Why did it end? I don’t really know. I think it’s because the group started getting bigger and people started to know who they were. He started to get bigheaded about the situation. He feels like girls are always gonna want him wherever they go, so he doesn’t need to have a girl. I don’t really know. When you see him on TV, how does that make you feel? Just to know that other girls want him, that makes me want him back. OZONE AUGUST 2005
01: Joe Budden and Fabolous on South Beach (Miami, FL) 02: Zay and models @ low rider car show (Houston, TX) 03: Killer Mike and David Banner parking lot pimpin’ outside Purple Ribbon Records (Atlanta, GA) 04: Spiff and Ice Shuler @ Harlem Grill (NYC) 05: C.O., Mark, and Pitbull @ Anger Management tour (Dallas, TX) 06: Marquis Daniels and B.G. @ Cairo (Orlando, FL) 07: FoSho @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 08: Smilez and Phil Becker @ 95.3’s car show (Kissimmee, FL) 09: I-20 and Lil Fate @ Visions for Young Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 10: DJ Magic Mike and Jill Strada @ Antigua (Orlando, FL) 11: Baby and Baby D @ Visions for Young Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 12: X and Mr. Collipark @ Club Raj (NYC) 13: BloodRaw and Haitian Fresh reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 14: Chopper City Records’ VL Mike, BG, and Sniper (New Orleans, LA) 15: Dirty @ Kartouche for Upstart Record Pool meeting (Jacksonville, FL) 16: Kaine, Mr. Collipark, D-Roc, and Big Teach @ Ying Yang Twins’ album release party (Miami, FL) 17: Play-N-Skillz, Pitbull, and Lil Jon @ Anger Management tour (Dallas, TX) 18: Fat Joe, Paul Wall, and Jim Jones on the set of “Summer” (Miami, FL) 19: Southpaw reppin’ David Banner on the set of Chamillionaire and Lil Flip’s “Turn It Up” 20: Fiend reppin’ OZONE (New Orleans, LA) 21: RX, Philly, and Mr. Murdoch (West Palm Beach, FL) Photo Credits: Bogan: #18 J Lash: #01,16 Julia Beverly: #03,04,05,06, 07,09,11,12,13,15,17,19,21 King Yella: #20 Malik Abdul: #10 Marcus Jethro: #14 Spiff: #08 T-City Promotions: #02
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If you have a comment or question for C-Murder, email it to feedback@ozonemag. com or write him here (do not send CDs): Corey Miller #58815110 P.O. Box 388 Gretna, LA 70054
01: DJ Quest and DJ 007 @ Club Envie for 007’s birthday (Ft. Myers, FL) 02: Lil Jon and Pitbull reppin’ OZONE @ Anger Management tour (Dallas, TX) 03: Amerie and DJ Clue @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 04: Ted Lucas, Trina, and Dr. Teeth on the set of “Don’t Trip” (Miami, FL) 05: Tone, Q-Tip, and Sylvia Rhone @ his listening session (NYC) 06: Sindy Gilbert, James Eichelberger, and KK Richmond @ Supper Club for FEDS magazine party (NYC) 07: DJ Dagwood and DJ Weezy reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 08: Letoya Luckett and Ebony Eyez (Houston, TX) 09: Black Mike and Rell @ Cairo (Orlando, FL) 10: Paul Wall’s Reebok signing (Houston, TX) 11: Mercedes and Christina @ the Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 12: Bobby Valentino live (Jacksonville, NC) 13: B.G. reppin’ OZONE (Orlando, FL) 14: Tigger, Two Faces, and Playa Rae reppin’ OZONE @ Kasanova’s (Oklahoma City, OK) 15: DJ H-Vidal and Webbie reppin’ OZONE @ The Underground (Tampa, FL) 16: Snowman dancers @ Visions for Young Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 17: Big Boi outside Purple Ribbon Records (Atlanta, GA) 18: Wes Phillips, Mr. Collipark, Troy Hudson, Memphitz, TJ Chapman, Static, & Jim Jonsin @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 19: Theripy, Get Cool, Legion of Doom DJs, and Suthern Boi @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 20: Steve Rifkind, David Banner, and Gaby @ Electric Lady for his Certified listening session (NYC) 21: Strictly Business @ How Can I Be Down (Miami, FL) Photo Credits: Bogan: #04 Travis Mealer: #12 DJ Quest: #01 Johnny Lewis: #21 Julia Beverly: #02,05,06,07, 09,13,16,17,18,19,20 Keadron Smith: #08 Luis Santana: #15 Malik Abdul: #11 Playa Rae: #14 Rico Da Crook: #03 T-City Promotions: #10 A16
OZONE AUGUST 2005
How long have you been rapping? Man, I been doing this since I was like 13 or 14, back in the day when Skinny Pimp was real hot and Three 6 [Mafia] was just starting out on the mixtape circuit. When I was around 15 or 16, that’s when we first started releasing albums. I put out three indie albums, mostly through Select-O-Hits. Did you mostly listen to Memphis rap? I listened to some rap outside of Memphis, but I was most inspired by people like 8Ball & MJG and Skinny Pimp, people that were right around here. When people talk about Southern music, do you feel like Memphis doesn’t get the proper respect it deserves as compared to, say, Atlanta or Houston? Memphis played a big part as far as the Southern sound. I ain’t a person who really dwells on that. I just wanna take it to the level that it should’ve been. How would you describe your music? I know people are probably gonna put it in the gangsta rap category, but I call it reality music. I ain’t talkin’ about, “Kill kill, murder murder,” I’m talkin’ about stuff that happens every day. It’s real life, so people everywhere are gonna be able to relate to it. You put out three albums independently? Two through Select-O-Hits and one through TVT, the Life album. We had a distribution situation with TVT but it was still indie. From the Dope Game To the Rap Game was the first album, and Self-Explanatory was the second. Those were my solo projects. I put out a host of other indie projects. For anybody else who’s indie and struggling with distribution, would you recommend Select-O-Hits? Yeah, I have a good relationship with them, and made a lot of money with them. Did you decide to stay independent because the situation was better for you financially? Probably not all the way, but that was part of it. With a lot of indie rappers, it comes to a point where you have to expand to even be hot down here. It’s like, you’ve come as far as you gonna go in Memphis. When I put out my third album I had money, but I wanted to go to the next level. I felt like I had put in enough work independently. Now, I’m trying to take it to the next level and get the shine for Memphis. I want to take Memphis to the next level. That was the main reason I wanted to go with a major company – I could do stuff that other artists around here didn’t do. It ain’t all about Memphis not getting the credit. I think a big part of it is that the rappers who were able to do it didn’t. If you’re from Memphis, why are you shooting all your videos in Miami and Atlanta? Everything we do, we wanna be right here where we come from. This is where I grew up. Who exactly are the Block Burnaz? Block Burnaz is the group that’s signed to my label. I got a production deal with Cash Money, so we’re able to put out different acts through the Cash Money/Universal situation. Block Burnaz is one of the first groups I took that way. I’ve also got a solo artist, All-Star, out of Nashville.
It seems like you’ve got good business sense. Where did you get that from? Did you read up on the music industry before you got into it, or just a natural hustler? I didn’t really read up on it. I took the hustle mentality from being in the streets and just took it to the music industry. To me, it’s common sense. If you how to add and multiply, it’s not too hard to figure out. If you’re getting $8 per CD through Select-O-Hits and you sell 10,000 CDs, that’s $80,000. It’s just common sense. You’re your own boss. I guess you just have to have the money in the beginning to do what you have to do. I just took the same street mentality, the hustle format, and did it with the rap game. It’s the same game, really. You look kinda clean-cut. Is that part of your image, to separate yourself from people’s perception of a Southern rapper? It ain’t really that I try to do it, it’s just how I am. I would always stay fly, but I ain’t never believed in tryin’ to look rough. Certain people do that – they try to look hard and shit. We wanna stay fly, stay fresh, look good. We on some playa shit. What other parts of Memphis culture do you plan on exposing to the world? I wanna show them how real it is down here. People associate Memphis with the club. They think we in the club all day jumpin’ around, getting buck, sweating and wearing big straw hats. It’s all about pimpin’. It’s real life down here. People getting money, people looking good, having common sense. It ain’t no country shit. It might be a small city on the map, but it’s equal to New York, Atlanta, any other city. It’s real down here. It ain’t what their perception is down here. I wanna show that to the whole world. What’s the name of your new album? Back To The Basics. We got Baby on there, Bun B, 8Ball, All Star, Block Burnaz, you know. You have deals with both Cash Money and TVT, and there have been rumors in the past that
they don’t like to pay people. Have you had any problems getting your money? We got lawyers, managers, people who stay on top of that. Me coming from the streets, it’s part of the street code. I heard stories about Cash Money and TVT, but where I’m from you don’t get in other people’s business. That didn’t bother me when it came to making my decision. I was taught not to get in other people’s business. I ain’t thinking twice about what they done with former artists. I’m worried about my money and my money only. I stay out of people’s business. Once again, a lot of shit is on the artist. If you ain’t on top of your business, it’s on you. Some people put themselves in a position to get done like that. I just use the same strategies to get my paper. I stay on top of my game and don’t leave no hole open for anybody to get over on you. That’s just life. If you just wanna be a rapper and all you’re concerned about is girls and getting high, you ain’t paying attention to your money ‘til you wake up. I ain’t sayin’ it’s cool for companies to do artists like that, I’m just sayin’, you have to do you and stay on top of your business. What other projects are you working on? I do this Blackout Squad CD, where I take all the Memphis rappers that I can work with and put it together. We do the Blackout CD every so often. We’re about to release Volume 2. We’ve got another indie act called V-Slash that’s about to drop too. What do you look for when you sign a new artist? We’re looking for a person who can do them, who doesn’t need me in the studio with them all day. Kinda like All-Star. Dude was hot in his own market before I even heard of him, so it ain’t hard work with him. He just like me, he run his own situation. I just help him add gas to his fire. It’s the same situation we have with Cash Money. The let us do us 100%, and when we’re finished they do what they do. - Julia Beverly, email@example.com OZONE AUGUST 2005
01: Chamillionaire and Lil Flip on the video set for “Turn It Up” (Houston, TX) 02: Peter Thomas and Damon Dash @ How Can I Be Down (Miami, FL) 03: Justis and Russell Simmons reppin’ OZONE @ Live 8 (Philadelphia, PA) 04: Webbie and DJ G-Man @ KBXX The Box (Houston, TX) 05: Payne, DJ Killatone, and DJ Y-Not @ Firestone for Upstart Record Pool meeting (Orlando, FL) 06: Iz, friend, and DJ Kaoss @ Cavern (Greenville, NC) 07: Keith Kennedy, Ed the World Famous, and Ric Ross @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 08: Ole-E and CJ @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 09: EZ Money, JoJo, and Jock Smoove reppin’ OZONE @ Visions for Young Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 10: DJ Entice and Smitty (Miami, FL) 11: Gu and T-City promotional models @ Paul Wall’s Reebok signing (Houston, TX) 12: Grace Remedi and Shawanna Paris @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 13: Trina, Doug E. Fresh, and Rob Celestin @ How Can I Be Down (Miami, FL) 14: Raw from No Luv and Big L reppin’ OZONE @ Kartouche for Upstart Record Pool (Jacksonville, FL) 15: Slick Pulla, Slim Thug, and BloodRaw @ Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 16: Mr. Collipark, DJ Dap, and Lady T reppin’ OZONE @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 17: Chamillionaire and OG Ron C filming “Turn It Up” (Houston, TX) 18: Owe Jive reppin’ OZONE @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 19: Erick Sermon and David Banner @ Club Raj (NYC) 20: Paul Wall and the Transplants (Houston, TX) 21: DJ Chill and Rapid Ric’s full-body premiere in OZONE (Houston, TX) Photo Credits: Felita Knight: #03 J Lash: #13 Julia Beverly: #01,02,05,07, 08,09,14,15,16,17,18,19,21 Keadron Smith: #04,11 Malik Abdul: #12 Matt Sonzala: #20 Sandra Jacquemin: #10 Travis Mealer: #06 A18
OZONE AUGUST 2005
A lot of people have heard of ESG, but don’t know exactly who you are. I’m originally from about thirty minutes outside of New Orleans. My dad was always going back and forth to Houston, so I first met DJ Screw in 1993. I did a demo with my homeboys and it became a regional hit. I went to the penitentiary from 1995-1998, and while I was locked up, my album sold over 200,000 copies independently. When I got out in 1998, Screw had just passed away. I was tryin’ to find a way to keep the South alive. I did another album called The Shining, and in 2000 we sold 85,000 copies of another album. At the time, I was with a label that didn’t want to deal wth the major labels. I was in the studio learning and I knew I could do it myself. We tried to take this shit to another level independently. Selling 120,000 units or more wholesale, you could make a million dollars independently. I was talking to Interscope, but that didn’t work out because of some bullshit. When people aren’t used to having money, they get a little money and do some bullshit. Are you referring to the accusation that Slim Thug cockblocked your deal at Interscope? Yeah, when we were doing shows together we were getting love. Steve Rifkind at Universal liked the album. The album that I created, and put all this work into, running around to DJs and getting radio play and promo shows. [Slim Thug] goes to New York by himself like it’s something he created by himself. It’s some crazy shit. Then, he called me and was like, “Jimmy Iovine wants to talk to us.” I never even brought up the Universal shit; I left it alone. He never called me back about Interscope and I was like, “What happened?” He was like, “Jimmy don’t want to talk to both of us, they wanna talk to me.” Everybody knows in this industry that there’s a few artists that pop up, but most of the time they want to sign an artist who has Soundscan and BDS. Slim had never even dropped an album, so that was kinda strange to me. I came to find out that he had told them I already signed to another label. When he was in the meeting, Interscope asked why I wasn’t there and he said I was signing with somebody else. One of the attorneys who actually worked on the deal with Slim is the one who told me that shit. That’s how I am, I just speak my mind. I didn’t go on a “bash Slim Thug” campaign or a “I’m gonna whup his ass” campaign. I just try to look at it like this: Lil Flip ran with ESG, Slim Thug ran with ESG, before they even made it to be heard nationwide. These are people that are being looked up to, so I just sit back and laugh. There’s people who molded their craft off what they do. I ain’t trippin’ though, I ain’t put out any new music bashing him. I ain’t just a rapper dude. I rap to get paid, but hey, I had a murder charge in 1995 that got dropped to self defense cause that’s what it really was. I had a drug charge, niggas snitching on me and lying. I did four years in the pen. I done been through it all. I’m not tryin’ to come in the industry like, “Fuck you, fuck you,” I’m comin’ in the industry as an entrepreneur. I been making moves and making hits. I’m gonna bring you somebody else from the South that the rest of the world can really respect as a new artist. The whole music scene is kinda focused on Houston. Not just Houston, but people like Boosie and Webbie from Baton Rouge. The South is finally getting they due. I’m kinda like a UGK down here, someone that
everybody knows and loves but the rest of the world just hasn’t had a chance to feel me yet. That’s what I’m tryin’ to do this year. I’m one of Houston’s best kept secrets.
battle rappers who can’t make records. I don’t even wanna be mentioned in any category with battle rappers. I did that way back when I first started rapping.
Do you think the Houston artists with major deals are representing the culture properly? Well, I’m glad for the whole Swishahouse thing, but a lot of people around the world are thinking Mike Jones damn near created Screw music and don’t really understand the history of it. But it makes me feel good when you’ve got somebody like Chamillionaire putting the light on Screw music. I like how Paul Wall reached out to Big Pokey and put him on “Sittin’ Sideways,” that was a playa move. Even though Mike Jones went platinum, a lot of people in Houston don’t really respect his music. We’re just really trying to make sure we bring people quality music. Back in the days, everybody went out and bought albums, not just one hit song on the radio. Now you’ve got so many people with one hot song, but you get them in the studio and they can’t even come up with a real song.
Do you think the art of freestyling has been watered down because mixtapes and Rap City “freestyles” are often written rhymes? Yeah, man, that ain’t a freestyle. Ever since I can remember, I used to just embarrass niggas in battle raps. They’d come with all their metaphors and “yo’ mama”s and they might get a few “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd, but when it’s my turn, I’ll be talking about their cheapass tennis shoes, their nappy-ass hair, their fake jewelry, their homeboys next to them with a muthafuckin’ Roc-A-Fella chain you bought in the middle of the mall. Nobody’s tryin’ to hear their dumbass metaphors any more. They’re amazed by how I do my freestyles. I talk about things on the wall, the club we’re in, anything. That’s a real freestyle. My son, he’s four years old, and he can really freestyle too. He’ll be like, “I’m with my daddy / We ridin’ around in the car,” he’ll make up words and shit.
Your freestyle on the Dirty States DVD was impressive. Yeah, man, that night we was twisted up. I started freestyling when I was twelve years old. Back then everybody used to be into breakdancing or saying raps from a Run-DMC or N.W.A song. I just started rapping about what was around me. I did a big citywide talent show when I was in the seventh grade. Twelve years old, I just freestyled. I was talking about the whole crowd, and everybody went crazy. I did that until I graduated, and when I was in college I started doing shows all throughout the South and Midwest. When I went into a new city, I’d always do a straight acapella. I don’t even worry about that “freestyle king” title, but the true Screwed Up Click knows that the phrase “freestyle king” came up when people were talking about ESG, Keke, and Phat Pat back in the day. Sony was like, “Hey, Flip, we’ll say that Screw gave you the title ‘freestyle king.’” Not only can I freestyle, but I’m a beast in the studio. A lot of times you have
Why don’t you and Lil Flip battle for the title of “freestyle king”? Aw, man. I’m on good terms with Flip. I fucks with T.I., too, but it ain’t no bad blood. But I promise you, I put this on my son, if you asked Flip, he would never agree to battle me. He rolled with me in and out of town. We’ve had rap battles for fun, and he know goddamn well there ain’t too many rappers that could see me on some freestyle stuff. I don’t really consider battle rapping to be freestyling. Freestyling is just entertaining and standing up on that mic and never falling off, going off the top of your head. Flip wouldn’t even attempt to come in the ring with me. But he knows I love to see him doing his thing, though. Even though Slim Thug hated on me with the deal and did some foul shit, I don’t wish nothing bad on him. They’re both products of the ESG tree. - Photo and words by Julia Beverly OZONE AUGUST 2005
01: Woodie, TJ Chapman, and Kevin reppin’ LRG on the set of David Banner’s “Play” (Los Angeles, CA) 02: VA, DJ Kaoss, DJ Fresh, and RO-D at Cavern (Greenville, NC) 03: Uncle Luke, Big Teach, and DRoc @ the Ying Yang Twins’ album release party (Miami, FL) 04: Young Jeezy and Clay @ Visions (Atlanta, GA) 05: Grace, ESG, Hawk, and Los @ Screwed Up Records (Houston, TX) 06: Thomas, Malik Abdul, and Joey Nice @ Jamlando Record Pool meeting (Orlando, FL) 07: T-Roy, Dereck Washington, Noah, and Ron Smuv @ Upstart Record Pool meeting (Jacksonville, FL) 08: K-Oz, DJ Nasty, and Ricky P @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 09: Ted Lucas and Plies on the set of Trina’s “Don’t Trip” (Miami, FL) 10: DJ Jelly and Cha Cha Jones reppin’ OZONE @ Visions (Atlanta, GA) 11: Serious and Josh @ Visions for Young Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 12: Tye Boogie and AJ Woodson @ Young Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 13: Gil Green and Zay on the set of Chamillionaire’s “Turn It Up” (Houston, TX) 14: DJ Magic Mike reppin’ OZONE @ Antigua (Orlando, FL) 15: C Rola and T-City Promotions reppin’ OZONE @ low rider car show (Houston, TX) 16: Stay Fresh, Lil Scrappy, and Mark reading OZONE (Dallas, TX) 17: Lil Flip and Sqad Up on the set of Chamillionaire’s “Turn It Up” (Houston, TX) 18: Models (Miami, FL) 19: Mr. Mauricio and DJ Khaled filming Jim Jones’ “Summer” (Miami, FL) 20: Big Herc, Jigga JT, Valerie, Derrick Da Franchise, Freda, and Young City (New Orleans, LA) 21: David Banner and Young Cash reppin’ OZONE @ Club Raj (NYC) Photo Credits: Bogan: #18,19 J Lash: #03,09 Julia Beverly: #04,06,07,10, 11,12,13,16,17,21 Malik Abdul: #08,14 Marcus Jethro: #20 Matt Sonzala: #05 T-City Promotions: #15 TJ Chapman: #01 Travis Mealer: #02
PAUL WALL’S FORMER RAP PARTNER CHAMILLIONAIRE IS USED TO BEING
THE BAD GUY. NOW HE’S BACK FOR REVENGE.
WORDS & PHOTOS: JULIA BEVERLY
OZONE AUGUST 2005
You’ve had a lot of success in Houston, but do you feel like you haven’t gotten that mainstream recognition yet? I mean, it could always be better, but a lot of people know of us outside of the Houston market. I was doing shows in Cleveland and Denver and all kinds of places before I even got signed to a major. The bootlegs and the mixtapes help, you know. Everybody wants to show the world what they have, so that’s what I’m ready to do. With a lot of Houston artists signing deals, did you feel pressure to get signed? Not really. It’s just that when you are having a certain level of success on the underground, everybody wants to step it up and show the world what they’ve got. People are like, “He can do it regionally, but not nationally.” But that doesn’t really bother me. The main thing that motivates me is just being financially set. I don’t care about being famous more than I care about being financially set. It was a lot of people coming to me about getting signed, so it just happened that way. I didn’t go to New York trying to get signed, that’s just how it turned out. What labels did you talk to? It was a bidding war. I talked to a lot of people, from Def Jam to Asylum/Warner. Asylum actually wanted to sign me, and I didn’t know that Swishahouse was signing with them. When I found out, I was like, “I can’t do it.” Joie was real cool, they came to Houston and hollered at me, but I just couldn’t do it. You didn’t sign to Asylum because you didn’t want to be labelmates with Mike Jones and Paul Wall? Yeah, honestly. And I told [Asylum] that. But honestly, Universal gave me the best deal. It was a deal that made sense for me. Honestly, at first, Universal was the label I didn’t want to sign with. But when I learned how their system worked, I found out a way to make it work for me. I’m a person who likes to have a lot of control. How did the relationship between you and Paul Wall deteriorate? I can’t really put my finger on it. I could point out a lot of little things, but they’re really just little things. I don’t know, honestly. I hear all kinds of stuff from the streets, but I’ve never heard it directly from him. I’ve sat there next to Paul for so many years and seen him smile at people that he really hated. I’m just not that type of person. Who would’ve known he could do that to me, too? He was actually sitting there smiling and not telling me what was wrong. So would you say that he caused the split? Nah, it’s a little bit of both. We both were going in different directions and arguing. I’m a person that cares more about the business. For a while, when we were doing shows, we’d do the good guy/bad guy thing. Kinda like good cop/bad cop. And he would be the good cop. We didn’t have a manager. I had to go out there and be the bad guy. I was doing it for the team. He’d be whispering in my ear, “$3,500. Don’t go lower.” So I’d tell [the promoter], “$3,500. I can’t go lower.” I was doing it for the team. And he’s telling them, “I don’t know why Chamillion trippin’.” So he’s looking like the good guy. And I was cool with that, because I didn’t care. But now that we split up, everybody remembers that he was the good guy and I was the bad guy. He’s trying to turn it on me. Most people that
know me are like, Chamillion’s cool. It is what it is. I don’t go out there tryin’ to be friends with everybody. I just do me. You can’t really worry about that too much, cause at the end of the day, that’s just business. That’s everybody. People smile in your face all day and lie to you. That’s what this business is built on. It’s a lot of fake people. I don’t need that. I just hang with my team and make money. A lot of Houston artists are making noise on a national level right now, but a lot of those artists don’t get along with each other. That don’t really matter, because the fans who are on the outside looking in don’t really know about that stuff and don’t really care. If you’re a Mike Jones fan and a Chamillionaire fan, you’ll go buy both CDs regardless of whether they’re beefing or not. Of course, when you see a city have success, you don’t want to see everybody go at each other. But to me it’s not that bad, it’s just a little tension. Even the beef or whatever that I was in, I felt like it was something I had to do. If I had to do it again, I’d do it again. People can have whatever opinion they want. That’s just how I feel. Do you feel like the CD you put out dissing Mike Jones was a bit of overkill? I heard that before. People are like, “Man, you did a whole CD.” Man, people are so dumb. I’m not saying my fans are stupid, though, don’t quote me wrong. But people don’t really pay attention to stuff. You could explain the meaning and the reason why you do something, but they’re only gonna hear what they want to hear. As far as the overkill thing, it was three CDs, and one of them was chopped and screwed. Originally, the CD wasn’t even about him. Count how many songs it really was. They’re acting like it was a hundred songs about dude. (laughing) Well, honestly, it was a lot. But we did leak a lot that were already done. It got to a point where DJs kept putting it on their mix CDs, so it just looked like Chamillionaire was out there doing all these mix CDs when in reality I had only done Mixtape Messiah. It was so many mixtapes lingering on after that, they were like, he’s still killing dude. It wasn’t really like that. a lot of my fans took it more
“REVENGE IS SUCCESS. I LOVE THIS POSITION THAT I’M IN RIGHT NOW, BECAUSE I’M SO CONFIDENT. THERE ARE A LOT OF FANS OUT THERE THAT YOU CAN’T COUNT ON SOUNDSCAN OR BDS.”
serious than I did. I heard people say all kinds of stuff, but I don’t care what they say. I know what he did to me. Ultimately, do you think the beef with Mike Jones helped or hurt your career? Nah, man, I don’t think it hurt. You don’t understand the cult following that I have. I don’t really think about that and measure it. I don’t think it hurt my career, so I guess it helped it. Honestly, when I dropped it, I thought it was gonna backfire. But I’m the type of person that can only hold it in for so long. I have to say what’s on my mind. If right now, we’re sitting here and I’m not feeling you, I just can’t hide it. It’ll make me feel better if I say, “I don’t like you.” Some people might say that makes me an asshole, but that makes me feel better. It makes me feel like a real nigga. When I wake up in the morning and look at myself in the mirror, I’m comfortable with myself. I was just basically venting. The way I grew up, I’ve been around a lot of fake stuff all my life. I got tired of dealing with that world. People tell me that’s just the way it is, you have to pretend. I’m a person that’s like, nobody’s gonna control my life. People told me that no matter where I signed a major deal, I was gonna get screwed, so just worry about the show money. I’m like, nah, I don’t wanna just worry about the show money. I just wanna be comfortable with every part of my life. When I signed the contract, I wanted to feel comfortable with it. What’s the name of your album? It’s called The Sound of Revenge, and it’s dropping September 27th. Wasn’t it originally going to be called Controversy Sells? Yeah, originally, my album was gonna be called Controversy Sells, but it’s crazy the way it panned out. When people were saying, “It’s a publicity stunt,” they basically turned it into a publicity stunt. There was a concept to Controversy Sells, just like Kanye West’s College Dropout had a concept throughout it. That’s how I was doing my album. [Paid In Full], the label I used to be signed to with Paul [Wall], put out Controversy Sells. They started dissing me on all the skits and took my old vocals and put them with new Paul Wall verses. I thought it was funny that they dissed me on all the skits, because my fans were calling the label cursing them out. Every great rapper has a story, and all this is creating a big story for me. Before, I was just a young kid that could spit. Now, they’re into the whole story – the breakup of Swishahouse, the breakup with Paul – and it just creates a story for me. People like to feel like they know you and what you’ve been through. Honestly, Mike Jones has got a song called “Back Then,” and it’s successful because it’s telling the story of what he’s been through to get to where he’s at. People can relate to it, because honestly, a lot of his music isn’t the best. That’s just my opinion. At the same time, I understand why somebody could relate to his story. Anyway, the vocals they put on the Controversy Sells album was old throwaway stuff. When I left [Paid In Full], I took my music with me. It made me real mad when I heard it, because I didn’t think there was any Paul Wall and Chamillionaire songs left. Then I hear Paul rapping over an old verse of mine, shooting little shots at me. I’m supposed to be quiet about this? For a while, me and Paul wasn’t cool, but I was telling everybody we were. I knew the power of my words. If I say, “We ain’t cool,” it’s divide and conquer. People OZONE AUGUST 2005
would start getting in my ear and getting in his ear. When I’m hearing stuff like that, I can’t be quiet. Eventually I’m gonna have to get mad. It is what it is. There’s a lot of stuff I know about the whole Swishahouse situation that I don’t even talk about. There’s stuff I could say in the interview right now, and people would be like “Whoa.” Just to prove I’m right. But I’m not gonna do that. It’s not for the media. The media would love that, but I don’t get down like that. So now there’s Revenge. Well, The Sound of Revenge album title is not directed at anyone personally. It could be anybody. People just doubt you, and revenge is success. I love this position that I’m in right now, because I’m so confident. I know my music, I know the market and what it needs, and I feel like I’m about to bridge that gap. If I fail and fall flat on my face, oh well. But I love this position I’m in right now. The Sound of Revenge, just watch me. I’m gonna create a hell of a story when I’m successful. There are a lot of fans out there that you can’t count on Soundscan or BDS. These people aren’t with me when I’m going through the streets and hearing what people are saying. I’m doing shows in towns that ain’t even got no radio station, with two thousand people in there screaming my underground lyrics. It’s crazy right now. Slim Thug just sold 125,000 on his first week out. I just won a bet. Somebody bet me that he wouldn’t crack a hundred. We’ve got big fan bases in the Texas area. Let’s say, hypothetically speaking, Mike Jones’ album outsells yours. Would you feel like you lost if that happened? Remember, I dissed Mike because I had to get it off my chest. A lot of times the label will try to push it on. I’ve got footage with two thousand fans screaming “Dyke Jones.” How come I never put it out? Do you know what a label would love to do with that? Honestly, I just wanted him to stop talking about me. Now, when they ask him about Chamillionaire in the interviews, he says, “Next question.” That’s all I wanted him to do. That has nothing to do with the success of his album. He left it alone and didn’t say anything, so if his album does whatever, I mean, I don’t need to get caught up in that. Of course the fans are gonna be keeping count, because they take this stuff a lot more seriously than probably the artists do. Me, I know what my deal looks like from the inside. I don’t know what a lot of other people’s deals look like from the inside. I might not be able to tell the fans that I’m making more money than somebody else, but who cares? Like B.G., now that he’s on Koch, he might be making more money than when he was at Cash Money. Who knows? As long as he feels comfortable that’s cool. I’m gonna get in this game, make as much money as I can, open up a whole bunch of businesses, and fall back. If somebody else wants to analyze who sold more, that’s on them. Who are some of the artists featured on The Sound of Revenge? We’ve got Krayzie Bone on there, rapping fast, and a song with Bun B. Bun B’s my favorite rapper. I got Scarface and Lil Wayne on there. The Lil Wayne track is produced by Mannie Fresh. Cool & Dre went in the studio and did like three tracks for me, and one went on my album. Basically, I remember when me and Paul first came out with Get Ya Mind Correct. It was different than everything else that was coming out of Texas, and it was successful because it was different. That’s what I’m trying to do for Texas. I’m trying to do something that’s lyrically tight, Southern, and the whole world can appreciate it. I don’t run with the trends. At the end of the day, it’s just good music. A24
OZONE AUGUST 2005
“THERE’S A LOT OF STUFF I KNOW ABOUT THE WHOLE SWISHAHOUSE SITUATION THAT I DON’T EVEN TALK ABOUT.”
WORDS & PHOTOS: JULIA BEVERLY A26
OZONE AUGUST 2005
What’s going on with you guys? Pimp: Really, man, we done started our own label and we’re doing it big with Rap-A-Lot. This is our second album with Rap-A-Lot. Gangsta: “Rollie Pollie” is the first single off the album, featuring Bun B. It’s a hot club song. It seems like you fell off the map for a minute. Were you just laying low, or recording? Pimp: I wouldn’t say we fell off the map, but we had to get our business straight. There was a lot of issues with our management and the label we were with. Now we’re doing our thing directly with Rap-A-Lot. We had to shoot ‘em down cause there was a lot of funny business going on. Now we’re dealing directly with J and things are better. How did you end up at Rap-A-Lot? Gangsta: When we were having those problems at Universal, Scarface was a fan of our music. He was like, “If y’all niggas ever need a home, come down to Rap-A-Lot and holla at J. After we got done doing what we had to do over there, we hollered at J the next week. We signed in Houston. What’s the difference between Universal and Rap-A-Lot? Is it more family-oriented? Gangsta: Yeah, it’s more family-oriented. You can tell J directly what you want to do. With Universal, you had to go through ten niggas before you could see Monty or Avery. That right there has got a lot to do with it. Did signing with Rap-A-Lot open the doors for you to work with other artists on the label like Bun B? Gangsta: Yeah, you know, we’ve got our own creativity. They give us leeway to make our decisions. How is this album Hood Stories different from your last album? Gangsta: This album is just a little more mature. We representing Alabama and letting niggas know where we’ve been, just keeping it hood. Pimp: We more mature. We grew up a little bit more. We get older every album and talk about something new and different. How does Montgomery, Alabama, compare to other cities you’ve visited on the road? Gangsta: Places like New York and Cali are just
(l to r) Da Pimp and Da Gangsta
bigger cities, that’s all. It’s pretty much the same. We more laid-back, more country. We talk a lil’ slower than the East coast or West coast, but person-to-person, we the same. Who’s featured on the album? Pimp: We kept it simple. It’s a lot of cats tryin’ to eat and a lot of cats already eating, so we like to deal with the ones that’s tryin’ to eat. We’ve got Lil Burn One and Lil Mario from our label. Lil Burn One was on “That’s Why I.” Those are our artists; he’s our first cousin. Lil Mario was on “Get Your Hands Off Me.” We’ve also got another new artist on our label, Rell. We kept it hood. We used the dudes that are still around the neighborhood instead of getting those big names that are already eating. We kept it simple. Love the song we did with Bun B, “Gangsta.” We ain’t got too many features. What about production? Any big names, or mostly in-house? Gangsta: Mostly in-house. Mike Dean, Maximillian, Killa B out of St. Louis, and some other upcoming producers doin’ their thing. It shows our growth. We kept it on that Southern slang. We had a debate in the magazine recently – Bohagon didn’t like the fact that Field Mob had pigs in their video to represent life in the country. Pimp: You’ve got to rep where you come from. Field Mob put pigs in they video? I ain’t seen nobody else put pigs in their video, so they came different and I love them for that shit. It’s the country. That’s gangsta. How can you hide being from the country? Albany, Georgia is the same as where we come from, Montgomery, Alabama. Shit, we were raised ‘round cows and pigs, so if they took that to the next level and put it in their video, that’s love. I don’t know what exactly Bohagon said. Maybe he meant it in a different way. I got love for Bohagon too, so I think it was just a misconception. Do you think the North has a perception of country rappers that includes pigs and such? Pimp: They always gonna think like that. That’s how we’re portrayed. But we’re ridin’ big Chevys down here with 26’s. Y’all shit ain’t no harder than ours; ain’t no different. We doing our thing. We could laugh at how they talk or act, so it goes both ways. For people who might not be familiar with you, what’s been your biggest hits so far? Pimp: “Hit The Flo’,” “I Wish,” and “Candy Man.” “Hit The Flo’” opened the doors; that was the first hit off our first album.
How would you describe your style of music? Gangsta: We’ve got club music, soulful music, gangsta shit, pimp shit. We touch on different points. All our albums have always been versatile. Do you have a favorite song on this album Hood Stories? Pimp: I think mine is “Pray For Me.” It uses a sample from “Message in a Bottle.” We just asking our momma and grandmomma to pray for us, cause it seems like our prayers aren’t reaching. It seems like your grandmomma and momma are always closer to God, so if they got the hookup with God, maybe they can hookup one of their prayers. I really like that song; it’s really touching. We talking to our momma and God. It looks like you’ve lost weight. Pimp: I was 314, now I’m down to 259. But I’m always gonna have the gut, that’s just my image. I just had to trim down for health reasons. You know, I give a fuck about my image, having that big stomach, but I’m just tryin’ to be healthy. What’s your diet? Pimp: I drink a lot of liquids and eat only twice a day to make sure I ain’t just being doggish. I drink juice, water, and a lot of liquids. I drink liquor. I ain’t never really cared for beer, but we drink plenty of liquor and plenty of weed so it’s a balance. Gangsta: I don’t eat pork no more, I cut that out for health reasons. I just like to know what’s going in my body. If it ain’t good for me, I ain’t gonna eat it. I eat a little red meat and chicken, but I’m tryin’ to slack up on that too. Pimp: I still eat pig ears though. I love pig ear sandwiches and chitlins. Love it, love it. I don’t think I can leave it alone. I might be on a diet, but a pig ear sandwich every now and then is okay. (laughing) Nah, I’m just fuckin’ with you, but I’m still on pork though. I just watch how I eat. I don’t overdo it no more. Instead of two Big Mac’s, now it’s just one. Instead of five eggs with cheese, it’s two. Did you notice a change when you stopped eating pork? Gangsta: Yeah, I started feeling a little better. No high blood pressure, no headaches. Do you exercise? Pimp: Yeah, I exercise. I get up in the morning and throughout the whole day I end up doing about 300 pushups. I do ten here, and if I’m thinking about it I drop and do ten later. Throughout the whole day it ends up being like 300. I do pushups, situps, and we be on them barbells too. Shoutouts to my homeboy Rodney, my personal trainer. I go to World’s Gym in Montgomery, Alabama. Gangsta: I just like to do pushups and situps and curls and all that. I don’t do too much. I kinda gained a little weight so I’m tryin’ to work it off. Pimp: The number one workout plan for me is fuckin’ three different hoes three times a week. That’s the best cardio a man can get. Anything else you want to say? Gangsta: Let everybody know we’ve been gone for a hot second but we’re back. This time in the game, we’re dropping something every six months. We ain’t leaving no more. The album is in stores August 16th, Hood Stories. Go get it. Alabama, stand up! OZONE AUGUST 2005
How did you start rapping? My story is basically like the average street rapper. I just started out bouncing from club to club, getting on the mic with the DJs around my city and creating a buzz for my name. I got into a situation with a local record company called Mobile Records and did my first disc with them, Show The World. The hot song off that album was “5th Ward Weebie Got Them Hoes Off The Heezy.” I was mostly on some street rap, thug shit, but it was that one bounce song that everybody liked. How long were you with Mobile Records? For about a year. Then I ran into Partners N Crime, some real legends in the game. They’re with UTP and Rap-A-Lot now, but they were with Southcoast at the time. They discovered me in the club. I had a real hot name for myself. They had already laid down six albums with back-to-back hits, so they were already underground legends in New Orleans. They were kinda like my industry parents. They raised me and showed me the game; gave me the chemistry and the formula to make hits. I released an album through Southcoast under their direction in 2000. We sold 15,000 with no radio play and no video play. The radio didn’t wanna play us, but it was so hot in the streets they couldn’t deny us. Then I ran into Kane & Abel through Partners N Crime, and we did a song called “Shake It Like A Dog.” That song blew out of the water independently, which gave me some recognition. We did a video and it made it to the top 10 on the Billboard charts. I got some real nice regional attention off that song. Did the major labels come looking for you? The labels were really knocking on the door but the labels, Southcoast and Most Wanted, kinda kept that away from me. Me as an artist, nobody had direct contact with me. I feel like that’s held back a lot of artists. They didn’t give me the opportunity to say “Yeah” or “Nay,” because they were doing all the talking. They didn’t want me talking to them, which is understandable, but not understandable because they didn’t give me the opportunity. The song I did with Kane & Abel opened up another opportunity at the time. Kane & Abel were really interested in me, and I was loyal. At the time, the best move was to go on the road with Kane & Abel because they were creating work for me. I don’t have no regrets. I did 500,000 indie on the album, ghetto platinum, featuring Mystikal, Three 6 Mafia, Mr. Serv-On, Fiend, and Kane & Abel. It was a real step up for me. At that point in my life, I was making elevated moves. That opened up all new doors for me. I got picked to be the regional spokesperson for Burger King’s breakfast campaign. I did a Judge Mathis commercial. We got [Master] P’s attention. I was still on the road with Kane & Abel, but they were facing some jail time. They had a case hanging over their heads. I don’t want to get too detailed into that, but when P called, I took the opportunity. I was never signed to No Limit, but P flew me out to Texas to record with him. That’s when we created the song “Oowee.” I had already laid it down off a bounce beat raw, but when I got with P I really made it into a real song. We also did “Rock The Boat,” which was on the Game Face album. I didn’t know he was gonna pick it for a single, I just went out there to do work. When the video hit BET and MTV and all that good
shit, we hit Rap City, 106th & Park, Soul Train, and all that. P was basically in negotiation mode with me at that time. It’s no bad blood with me and P. A lot of times when somebody leaves No Limit people think it’s a bad situation, but my situation was different. It was more like a workfor-hire situation. I did songs for his album and the 504 Boyz album. I was featured on “Tight Whips.”
both of my songs for singles. I know what my capabilities are, but these labels are ignoring me like they don’t see me. The labels really piss on 5th Ward Weebie, for real. They know about me; they heard about me. They know what I’m doing. If they wanna holla, they know where to find me. It’s like a Mike Jones situation. Everybody has their struggle process where they’ve gotta grind. I ain’t trippin’, I’m just doing me.
Why not sign to No Limit? We wanted to move forward with me signing to No Limit, but it’s a business. With my previous situations, I was more cautious doing business with anybody. My lawyers and his lawyers were getting together, and at the end of the day, the agreement was not official so we just called a truce. He’s good, I’m good, we just decided to go separate ways. It’s no beef or bad blood. We just weren’t seeing eye-to-eye on the business. It’s all good. I got exposure, and he got a hit. It was a good situation for both of us.
Do people confuse you with Webbie? Yeah, it’s a lot of confusion because the names are similar. They’re spelled different, though, and I’ve always been 5th Ward Weebie.
What do you think is the next step to get more mainstream exposure? I just gotta keep working and doing me. I’m not really worried about the majors right now, to be honest. I’m doing me, indie. When I’ve made enough noise on my own, the labels are gonna come in and bank me up, but that’s not something I’m banking on. I don’t set myself up for big disappointments. I don’t want to wait on a major label. If you keep grinding and rocking the streets and creating a buzz for yourself, it’ll happen. Jay-Z said a long time ago, “Treat your first like your last and your last like your first.” It’s always a startover process. I believe I’ve done so much work in this game that I’m not starting over, I’m just grinding harder. I gotta do more work. I don’t have a team of niggas. I don’t have fifty muthafuckers in the office working for my company. It’s really just me with about three other people. The labels are really gonna have to be talking what I’m talking, because I done put so much work in the game. Come on, man. Not to be feeling my own shit, but you know, Master P fucked with a nigga like me and then picked
I heard you were facing a murder charge? Yeah, they tried to C-Murder me. Much love, shout outs to my dawg C-Murder, keep your head up. I beat that case, man. New evidence, no probably cause. It was just a he-said, shesaid situation. I was the only known name in the club from New Orleans, so they put a stamp on New Orleans. They figure everybody from New Orleans is a headbusser and a murderer. Niggas ain’t stupid. I’m not scared and I’m not no hoe, but I’m not stupid. I’m a rapper out here performing, trying to make money. Why would I be stupid enough to murder somebody in the club and put somebody in a predicament? They couldn’t put two and two together. When they found out I had video footage of the actual incident, they tried to break the charge down from second degree murder to accessory after the fact. First they said I murdered somebody, then they said I didn’t but I know who did. Since they couldn’t charge me with murder they tried to bring it down. It was a bunch of bullshit. Those dicksuckers ain’t even know what they was doing. My lawyer beat that. They really ain’t have nothing on me. Hip-hop is under a telescope. They always try to knock off young black rappers who are getting money. If we do anything other than what they expect, they try to pin a murder on us. It’s crazy. I just move on from that shit. - Julia Beverly OZONE AUGUST 2005
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PUT IN YEARS OF HARD WORK TO GET TO THE TOP. NOW HE’S GOT TO “PLAY” TO STAY THERE. WORDS & PHOTOS: JULIA BEVERLY
OZONE AUGUST 2005
o you think MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water was your weakest album because it was put together so quickly? Nah, because I’ve heard people say that was their favorite album. I was trying to make a record for the streets, and I think I really accomplished that. The songs that are on the CD could’ve been at the same level of a “Like A Pimp” or any other record that I ever produced, it was just a timing thing. “My Lord,” that was the equivalent of a “Cadillac on 22’s.” “Crank It Up” was jammin’. Even now that I go back and listen to the CD, that shit was jammin’. It’s just not what people expected from me. Even if you listen to “Play,” nobody expects that from David Banner, at all. Most people don’t even know that’s my song. People don’t expect to hear a song like “Play” because you’re known for being politically and spiritually active in the community? Well damn, I’m still a grown-ass man. I’m thirtyone years old. I think the problem is that people don’t understand that we’re just people who make songs. Actors can make a movie, and it’s just a movie. We stick an R-rated sticker on it. A porn actor could say his porn is art, but rappers can’t just make movies. I wanna make music that affects every part of a person’s brain. What people don’t know is that song has a deep meaning to it. First of all, Mr. Collipark a.k.a. DJ Smurf, the guy that signed the Ying Yang Twins and produces for the Ying Yang Twins, came up with something called intimate club music. He said that crunk music left a lot of the ladies out, so we’re gonna have to start making music for the ladies. He told me, “I want you to be a part of this movement. The whisper song was just the beginning of my music, and I want you to be a part of it. Your duty is to make songs, not for every woman in the club, but for one woman in the club. Your duty is to make every woman feel like she’s that one woman.” I coupled that with a conversation I had with a friend of mine who’s a dyke. She does both men and women, and I asked her why. She said, “Because men are selfish. But when a woman loves a man, she’ll do anything she can for that man.” So I was thinking, damn, if a dude made a song saying the stuff that women want to hear, but still from a man’s perspective, he’s outta here. It’s a hit. Having been in the music industry for several years now, what would you say is the harshest reality of the business? People don’t really care about what’s right. They care about themselves. No matter how much right you do or how much you do for the community, no matter what you’re going through – your father’s sick, you’re sick, you just fell off a motorcycle and broke half your body up – people don’t care about you. They only care about
themselves. Nobody cares if you had a bad day. Nobody cares if this is your first time out. If you went from being on the streets, homeless, to being considered a ten-million dollar dude in less than a week, nobody cares that it’s gonna take a minute to get adjusted to that. People don’t give a fuck about you. I’m a good person and I love people, but it took my own mother to tell me, “Everyone’s not like you.” All the stuff I did in the streets before, the negative things I did to people, I did them because of a necessity. I did stuff that I would never talk about on the record, I would never say it in a magazine. Hurting people physically, emotionally? Yeah. All of that. But all the stuff I ever did, it was out of necessity, because I had no way to eat or had to provide for my family. I never did anything just because I wanted to do something negative. Anybody I ever did something to deserved it because they put their hands on me or stepped in front of whatever I had to do in life. So that’s the harshest reality – people don’t give a fuck about you. People only care about what they can get out of a situation. Do you want to talk about your father’s illness, or your health problems? No, not really. Like I said, people don’t give a fuck about that. People are like, “Where’s David Banner?” Seven months ago I almost died from a heart attack. I had been on the road for two years straight. I had put out four albums – Mississippi, MTA2, and both chopped & Screwed albums – all in one year. I stayed on the road from promo to promo. People are like, “Why you ain’t been here?” It was because I was working. Not only that, I’m a producer too. I’m a platinum producer. I’m actually bigger as a producer than I am as a rapper, and I spend more time trying to be a rapper. People never understood that when I leave from a show, I can’t go home. I can’t go party. I gotta go do a beat for Young Buck, or Nelly, or whoever. If you make more money as a producer and
spend more time trying to rap, why rap? Because I have a goal. I can have more of an effect on the world being a rapper. It’s cool being a producer, and you make more money. But I can always make money. God has blessed me to be able to make money. But some people said I had an effect on the Emmett Till case. Some people say I changed the way that people view Mississippi. Regardless of whether these things are true or not, these are powers that I have only through becoming a rapper. I can’t go on TV and be like, “Hey, I’m a producer!” Being able to be on VH1 and MTV and BET means more to me than any money. I don’t believe that a producer could get the cover of OZONE Magazine - could he? To be immortalized in history means more to me than money does. Nobody can take my cover of OZONE away. Nobody can take my cover of The Source or Fader or URB away. That’s history. That goes down in history forever. Nobody can “x” me out of history. That’s what means the most to me, being a historical figure. Where does your obsession with firearms and weapons come from? I understand that the government is no more honest or upstanding than the average man. The government and the police department are just as crooked as any individual. You’ve got racist people who will kill you because of your color; racist cops who will kill you because of your color. If a police man has the right to bear arms, regular everyday people should have the right to bear arms. Wouldn’t it be dangerous for anyone to be able to obtain a gun, at any time, any place? I really don’t think it’d be any more dangerous. A person who really wants to get it poppin’ can find what they need. That’s what I don’t understand about these bullshit laws. A person who’s a criminal doesn’t give a fuck about the repercussions of the law anyway. Think about it. You seem to be a natural politician. Do you
“PEOPLE DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT YOU. PEOPLE ONLY CARE ABOUT WHAT THEY CAN GET OUT OF A SITUATION.”
OZONE AUGUST 2005
think you’ll ever run for office? It’s funny you ask that, because a good friend of mine in the music industry is trying to prep me to become the governor of Mississippi. He says that constantly. I don’t like the word “politician.” To me, a politician is a person who has an ulterior motive. Originally, a person who ran for office was supposed to be a regular person from the community who cared about the people. Today’s politicians only use politics to position themselves for other things – real estate, finances, war, power, or influence. Me, I love people. I love being around people and I’m not afraid to speak to people. It’s funny because in America today, with the exception of some parts of the South, people don’t even speak to each other. People would rather fight you than greet you. That’s not how I was raised. I love people and enjoy people. I love my fans and I love people who want to be around me. So, if God puts me in a position that fits for me to run for office, then that’s what I’ll do. When I ran for SGA president at Southern [University], it wasn’t because I had a motive. It was just the
position that the students at Southern were in at the time. It was bad. I’d always hear people say, “If somebody real ran for office, I’d vote for them and I’d be involved.” It was real pitiful around campus. I ran because of the state we were in at the time, not really because it was something I wanted to do. If you did decide to run for governor of Mississippi, don’t you think you’d have a lot of detractors who’d criticize your lyrics? I don’t worry about them. That’s the problem with a lot of politicians. Nobody’s perfect. You need somebody regular in office, who’s made mistakes, who can understand the plight of the common man. If you haven’t went through anything, how can you understand the average person? That’s the problem with America. You’ve got all these people who were born to be politicians. They don’t know nothing about real life and real people, therefore, they can’t adjust or cater to real people. They’re fake. They’re artificial people. You and Lil Flip had planned to do an album together, but that never happened, and he isn’t featured on your new album. Did the T.I. vs. Lil Flip situation cause problems for you since you’re friends with both of them? Nah. Me and Flip had a song together for this album, but we’d sampled the Eurythmics and the sample didn’t clear. When T.I. and Lil Flip had beef, they both were very understanding about the relationship that I had with each of them. Wasn’t Chaka Zulu managing you for a short time? Me and Chaka are still the best of friends. He just had so much on his plate, and didn’t want to compromise the friendship that we had. With me being as serious about my career as I can be at times, he just had too much going on. There was a rumor that you dissed Kanye West. That’s not true. One of the things I hate about rap is that it’s turning into the WWF. Everybody’s looking for beef and drama. I’m so sick of people talking about ‘Pac and Biggie and how much they cared about them, but they still perpetuate violence between rappers. A DJ brought me
“TO BE IMMORTALIZED IN HISTORY MEANS MORE TO ME THAN MONEY DOES. NOBODY CAN ‘X’ ME OUT OF HISTORY.” A34
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a beat he wanted me to rap over, [Kanye West’s] “Diamonds Are Forever,” and I did the song the way I woulda done it if it was my song. People turned that into a diss. You’ve always been very accessible to people in the industry. Why did you recently change your phone number? Somebody put my phone number on the internet and told people to call me if they wanted a deal. A thousand people called me and it was just overwhelming. Somebody called me and growled, “David Banner, you the realest nigga evaaaaaaahhhhh!” and hung up. I was like, wow, it’s time to change my number. When it comes time to narrow down the songs that are going to make it on your album, how do you choose? For Certified, I tried to put nothing but hits on there. Every song on there could be a single, I think. I just tried to stop being personal about it. I let people hear it. I called a lot of DJs and got their opinions. People wondered why you named your song “Cadillac on 22’s” and it wasn’t really about a Cadillac on 22’s. It actually did have to do with Cadillac on 22’s. People don’t wanna think about it. It was a message to God. I was basically saying that I want to do what’s right, but it’s hard when you’re trying to reach kids who come from nothing. They see the hustlers with Cadillacs on 22’s. It’s hard to get their attention and talk about something positive that may not materialize right now. They can see that Cadillac on 22’s; they can touch it. They’ve watered down rap so much that there’s no imagination no more. People don’t dig deeper into the songs. Like I said in a freestyle, “Cadillac on 22’s, that was cool / But y’all would rather see a nigga act a muthafuckin’ fool.” Record companies don’t want people to think. You don’t talk about death as much as you used to. I try to be a little brighter now. I went back and listened to my last two albums and it was so fuckin’ morbid and depressing. I don’t want to feel like that no more. A friend of mine was like, “Dawg, you not struggling no more. Smile, be happy. Your
life is getting better. You’re blessed.” As much as I’ve been blessed, I’m still a really down person a little bit. The crowd will never see that, though. I’m so critical of myself and my career. I don’t ever take time out to be happy about the things I’ve accomplished. I concentrate more on the things I didn’t do right; relationships I could’ve handled better. Let’s talk about some of the other people you worked with on this album, like Jazze Pha. My thing with Jazze Pha goes a whole lot further than just music. When I was in Atlanta and was doing bad, Jazze helped me out. A lot of the early work I got was because Jazze would always allow me to come into his studio. Bonecrusher was the one that introduced me to all of them. When I was doing bad, Jazze would just tell me to come in and sit back and studio. I never forgot his kindness. He would even give me drum sounds and stuff. Lil Jon. Lil Jon was just interested in me because he saw the hustle, and early on he’d even help me out with beats. When he got hot, dude still supported me and made sure I got good looks in his videos. The whole Atlanta movement really supported me and what I was trying to do for Mississippi. Lil Scrappy. Scrappy’s like my little brother. He reminds me of how I was at that age. I always wanted to make sure he’d be aight, even before his career popped off. Scrappy just recently came back to Mississippi and did a free concert for the kids for me. Mannie Fresh. I met Mannie Fresh at The Source Awards, when all of us performed – me, him, Ying Yang, Bonecrusher, everybody. Mannie was like, “Dude, you’re one of my favorite artists, cause you’re the underdog. I root for the underdog, and I wanna help you.” Ever since then, Mannie has always helped me, given me sounds, always keeping me updated on what’s going on. If somebody’s working on some stuff, he’ll make sure I’m a part of it. Me, Jazze, and Mannie are just the get money brothers. Trick Daddy. Trick goes down in history for me because “Thug Holiday” was the first big hit I ever had. Trick really got it poppin’ for me, and he’s always helped me do well. Whenever he sees me, he either tells me what I’m doing wrong or what I’m doing right. Nelly. When I produced “Tip Drill” for Nelly, he had already sold like fifteen million, so for Nelly to come to me for production was really big. Everywhere I went, people would tell me, “Nelly was talking about your beats on the radio.” Dealing with Nelly is one of the things that helped solidify David Banner as a top-notch producer, and of course, “Tip Drill” was the ghetto video of the century. T.I. “Rubber Band Man” was the biggest production credit of my career so far. T.I. told me a long time ago, “If you believe in me and work with me, I’m gonna take this song and flip it a million times and come back and get you.” A lot of people say that, but not too many people keep their word. Dude came back and took care of me, so that let me know that it’s still some men in this industry that can keep their word. Even before he blew up Tip always made sure he paid whatever he could for beats – he didn’t want nothing for free. Twista. Twista’s one of the best homies in the game. We’ve known each other for almost ten years. Whenever I call him, he’s there. (Above) Banner was elected SGA President of Southern University in 1996, but don’t call him a politician UGUST 2005 2005 OZONE OZONE A AUGUST
OZONE AUGUST 2005
BEHIND THE SCENES ON THE SET OF DAVID BANNER’S “PLAY”
OZONE AUGUST 2005
Photos by TJ Chapman
IN TODAY’S ADVENTURE, THE MISSISSIPPI MADMAN DAVID BANNER MORPHS INTO THE INCREDIBLE HULK AND INTRODUCES US TO THE REST OF HIS CERTIFIED SUPERHERO SQUAD!
WORDS/PHOTO ILLUSTRATIONS: JULIA BEVERLY ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS: TJ CHAPMAN, JARO VACEK, CJ PETERS, & KING YELLA
OZONE AUGUST 2005
FINALLY! MY OWN COMIC BOOK! YEA!
DAVID BANNER’S VIDEO APPEARANCES! LIL JON, FAT JOE, & TRICK DADDY’S “PLAY NO GAMES”!
SO FRESH, SO CLEAN ON THE SET OF “PLAY”!
WITH LIL FLIP ON THE SET OF YUNG WUN’S “TEAR IT UP”!
LUDACRIS’ “DIAMOND IN THE BACK”! WITH LIL JON ON THE SET OF “CRANK IT UP”!
CARL THOMAS’ “MY FIRST LOVE”!
YOUNG BUCK’S “LET ME IN”!
ON THE SET OF YUNG WUN’S “WALK IT, TALK IT” WITH YUNG & SWIZZLE!
WITH BOOSIE ON THE SET OF “AIN’T GOT NOTHIN” ON THE SET OF CARL THOMAS’ “MY FIRST LOVE”! WITH COUSIN DEWAYNE ON THE SET OF “CADILLAC ON 22’S”!
WITH WILLIE AND COUSIN SWEETS ON THE SET OF “CRANK IT UP”!
FUN FACT: DAVID BANNER WILL HAVE A SUPPORTING ROLE IN CRAIG BREWER’S NEXT FILM, BLACK SNAKE MOON. BREWER ALSO DIRECTED HUSTL E & FLOW. OZONE AUGUST 2005
DAVID BANNER’S CERTIFIED OZONE COMIC BOOK!
...THE KING OF CRUNK CAN DOWN A PIMP CUP OF CRUNK!!! ENERGY DRINK AND CURSE OUT HIS CEO IN A SINGLE BOUND! What song are you featured on for David Banner’s new album Certified? The song I’m on, “Treat Me Like,” featuring Jadakiss, was supposed to be on the album, but [my label] TVT are some bitches. In case y’all didn’t know, I’ll never record another album for TVT again. You’re hearing it right here in OZONE. Wow. This sounds like it’s gonna be an interesting interview. Yeah. I don’t fuck with [TVT Records owner] Steve Gottlieb. Why’s that? He don’t know how to pay people and take care of the people that helped take his label to another level. You’ve gotta take care of the people that helped you make money and basically made your company and made other artists wanna come to your fuckin’ label. Is he just birdfeeding you, giving you small checks? He ain’t even doing that. I ain’t getting shit. How many copies did your album sell? Total, with all the albums that we’ve ever put out, I’ve had record sales totaling probably about ten million, and I ain’t seen no money from the label. None at all. Zip, zero. Show money and production is how I’m getting paid.
Is there some legal action being taken? We’ve got some things going on with Mr. Steve Gottlieb. How can he do that, legally, if you’ve got a contract? Well, you know, people hide things and claim that there are reasons why you ain’t got your money. But it’s all bullshit. Claiming that they’ve got to recoup expenses? Yeah, that’s part of the bullshit, but damn dawg, we sold a lot of records. Shoulda recouped by now. I don’t wanna get into all the contract details, but basically, fuck Steve Gottlieb. I need my money. What about the other artists that you helped bring to the label? Are they getting paid? I don’t know if Pitbull is happy. I don’t know if Ying Yang is happy. I don’t think Jacki-O is happy. I don’t think Teedra Moses is happy. I don’t think anybody’s happy at TVT. So what’s the problem? Wouldn’t a CEO want to keep his biggest artist happy? Yeah, you would think that. One of the main rules of having a record company is to take care of your people. Take care of your little soldiers and they’ll be down with you forever. He don’t take care of nobody. It wasn’t an issue before, with previous albums? Yeah, it was, but sometimes you let stuff build up so you can get a more substantial payday later on. When is your contract up? I have a couple more years, but legally, that stuff will all be worked out. Somebody else might wanna pick up the contract or whatever. Who knows what could happen. All I know is that I don’t fuck with Steve Gottlieb. I’m not gonna do any more records for TVT. I’d rather quit rapping than give this muthafucker another album. So because of the issues with TVT, you can’t appear on other
LIL JON’S VITAL STATS:
ALTER EGO: JONATHAN SMITH COSTUME: PLATINUM GRILL, SUNGLASSES SUPERPOWER: ZERO TO CRUNK IN 60 SECONDS! artists’ albums? Right, and that goes back to the Banner thing. [Steve Gottlieb] and Banner had worked out something, and I guess he’s reneging on their agreement. Whenever you’re signed to a label, you have to get clearance to appear as a feature on other artists’ albums. Banner personally talked to Mr. Gottlieb on a couple occasions about me getting on a record for his album. I think Mr. Gottlieb told Banner that he would clear it, but since now I’m not recording for Steve or even talking to Steve, he thinks he can get back at me by not clearing features. He won’t even let me get in videos. I did the “I’m A King” song with P$C and he sent the label letters preventing them from using the footage. I can’t get in the video for the YoungBloodz “Presidential.” It’s a bunch of fuckin’ bullshit. He’s hating. But he can’t get to me, because I can still make money as a producer. He can’t hurt me. Why wasn’t a video filmed for “Lovers & Friends”? There were rumors that you had problems with Usher. Do you feel like the record coulda been bigger than what it was? That was the labels again. When you’ve got a song with three superstars from
FUN FACT: DAVID BANNER APPEARED IN ONE OF LIL JON’S FIRST VIDEOS, “BIA BIA,” SPITTING FLAMES - LITERALLY! A42
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Yeah, they clearly tried to Punk me. They tried to get me with the same shit they did to T.I., but it didn’t work. T.I. was getting on a private jet, and there was some bags in there and they were like, “Who’s bags are these?” On mine, they had a body in the bag. Dude was duct-taped and tied up and shit. On T.I.’s they had some bullets in the bag. He’s on probation, so this muthafucker was trippin’, buggin’ out.
GETTING CRUNK!!! AT THE OAKLEY PARTY IN LOS ANGELES!
three different labels, everybody wants the best for their artists. The situation just never got worked out. I ain’t really mad, because we still had the #1 record. The fans showed that they loved it because they made it #1 without a video. Me and Usher are cool. We’ve talked a few times recently. I’m gonna be doing some tracks for some of his other artists. Was it a similar situation, where the label didn’t want to clear the features? Yeah, it was clearances, and mismanaging. Steve has his Def Jam problems because of the Lyor Cohen lawsuit. Def Jam has a sour taste in their mouths with Steve from that situation, so that could be part of the problem with getting Ludacris’ verse cleared. It’s just crazy. Were you happy with the Crunk Juice album sales? My album sales are amazing. Two million plus and the record is still selling. I’m blessed to even be able to put out the last album. I look at everything as a blessing. I don’t look at anything negative, because no matter how much negative shit happens to you, there’s always something positive you could pull out of it. I showed people I could do some shit other than crunk music. I showed them I could do R&B shit too. It showed that people loved me and Usher and Luda together. Why aren’t the Eastside Boyz on the Anger Management tour with you? They’re at home working on their album. I don’t really wanna be an artist right now. I wanna produce. Even though I’ve had all this success, I haven’t really been able to sit at home and do tracks like most producers. They wanna become as big as I am. They wanna become stars too. When we do stuff together, sometimes people just talk to me because they don’t know who the Eastside Boyz are. They wanna do their own thing and stand on their own two feet, so they’re at home working on their record. I came out to do the shows cause the shows were already booked, and somebody’s gotta go do the shows. So they’re home doing their album. Me, Scrappy, and Bohagon are working on their albums. We’ve got the studio on the bus so we comin’ up with some hot shit. Did Trillville skip the tour because of the Lil Scrappy beef? Nah, Scrappy and Trillville are cool. They had their problems, but they worked that shit out after those mixtapes came out. Trillville is doing their thing. I needed to bring Scrappy on the road to keep him out there. Trillville just had a big record and their album’s coming, but Scrappy hasn’t had anything since “No Problems.”
How did you figure it out? Luda hit me one time like, “Yo, nigga, word on the street is that Ashton Kutcher is tryin’ to get us. Keep your eyes out, be on the lookout. We the only niggas he ain’t got.” So I was on edge from that day forward. Anything weird happening, I’m going crazy, like, “What the fuck? Y’all tryin’ to punk me?” So it only took me about five minutes to figure that out. Muthafuckers were sayin’ slick shit. And usually, when you get on a private jet, it’s on a runway. This jet is in a hanger, and there’s a Winnebago in the hanger. It was just a couple things that didn’t make sense. And a body in a bag? Come on, man, you ain’t gonna get me with that. You gotta do better than that. I don’t think they’re gonna air it, cause [Ashton Kutcher] is supposed to be invincible and shit. When I interviewed you a year ago you predicted that Ciara’s “Goodies” would be your next big record. You turned out to be right – what’s your prediction for the next big record? I got a couple new ones. I just did a Styles P and Akon song that’s hot, and I’ve got an Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg song (whistles), that shit is crazy. It’s for Ice Cube’s album. Then I’ve got an Elephant Man joint. We still figuring out records for E-40, Scrappy, and Bohagon. They’ve got one called “White Girl” that’s hot. Any interesting tour stories from Anger Management? To me it’s just work. Every day I’ve gotta be mentally ready to get out there and give niggas a good show. We haven’t toured since the Crunk Juice album, so to get out here and touch these fans after Dave Chappelle and Crunk Juice, it’s great. Eminem brings me on stage with him every night now to close out the shows, so that’s like Em cosigning for me. At the end of the show, he says, “Lil Jon, is it over?” The last thing the audience hears is me saying “Yeah!” and “What?!” So I ain’t really got no crazy stories, I’m just out here working. I’m like a brand-new artist, that’s how I’m looking at the shit. Even though I’m out here with [Eminem and 50 Cent] I’m still the opening act, so I’m grindin’, making contacts with the DJs and trying to make business happen. CRUNK!!! Energy Drink happened because we were on tour. When we went on the Grey Goose tour I met the guy from Grey Goose, Sydney Frank, and that’s how he got involved with CRUNK!!! Energy Drink. He put the money up. So, after the last tour CRUNK!!! Energy Drink happened, and this is a way bigger tour so who knows what’s gonna happen. We’re just looking for opportunities. Anything else you’d like to say about Banner’s album? Banner, you need a vacation, you piece of shit. You work too hard. Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t think y’all understand. Y’all really need to go pick up Banner’s new album, because this muthafucker was going crazy. Julia can attest to that – he was losing his mind, no sleep, working on this damn album to make y’all muthafuckers happy. So you need to give that man the courtesy and go pick it up. Buy his muthafuckin’ album. BANNER AND JON AT FUNKMASTER FLEX’S CAR SHOW IN MIAMI!
Was Scrappy trying to leave BME for G-Unit? Scrappy and 50 are real cool, and Scrappy and Buck are real cool. So, you know, that’s his people. He’s not trying to leave BME cause BME got him to where he’s at, but I guess if 50 can help us make Scrappy a bigger artist, let’s do it. We’re in this game to sell units. I didn’t expect Game to sell as many records as he did, but when 50 stepped in he helped Game become way bigger and sell more records than he would’ve by himself. It might end up being the same type of situation with Scrappy. It’s all a business, you know? I have to figure it out. It could be just 50 talkin’ on some records. I heard they tried to Punk you on MTV. OZONE AUGUST 2005
DAVID BANNER’S CERTIFIED OZONE COMIC BOOK!
THIS ST. LOUIS SUPERPOWER’S CO-SIGN HELPED CARRY DAVID BANNER’S PRODUCTION CAREER TO NEW HEIGHTS! Why did you decide to drop two albums on the same day, Sweat and Suit? Honestly, I went into the whole project looking to do one joint. Then I just started doing so much material I thought it would be hot to do something different and new. How long did it take you to record the album? I probably did the bulk of it in about a month, a month and a half. From there I was just adding on pieces here and there. After you do it, you want to listen, see what you got, see what you don’t have, see what you might wanna add. When you go into the studio do you specifically say, “Now I’m going to make a song for the ladies” or “Now I’m going to make a party song”? What’s the process like? I just go in and do it. I work with a lot of my in-house producers like Basement Beats and Mo’ Beats, so I pretty much already know what it is I wanna do. I’m not really trying to categorize it and say, “This one’s for this” or “This one’s for that.” But it does get to a point to where you have to be like, “Okay, do I have everything to make this a well-rounded album?” That’s when I came up with the whole concept of doing two albums. I realized that people have supported me on both ends of the music that I do. I’ve had people support me on the “#1”, “Hot in Herre,” “Air Force Ones,” “Country Grammar,” and “E.I.” But they also supported “Pimp Juice,” “Ride Wit Me” and “Dilemma.” So I was like, “How about if I just separated them and did one album of each?” Let’s talk about some of the collaborations on your album. They sound natural. Some collaborations nowadays are basically just people sending files back and forth. Well, sometimes you have to do the parts separately because of scheduling. I would love to be in the studio with the artist every time, but it just doesn’t work out that way. With Christina, we were in the studio at the same time. With Jaheim, we never got to be in the studio at the same time because he had a lot of stuff he had to do in New York, and I had a lot of stuff I was doing out of L.A. It was impossible to hook up, so we communicated on the phone lines, working back and forth. We had a vibe, an understanding of what we wanted out of the song, so it was easy. We were both thinking in the same direction. What was the studio process with Christina like? We were just in the studio just chillin’, having fun because the song is so uptempo. Christina’s voice is incredible, so we just really cut it loose. It was a bit different for both of us because it was our first time working together. We had to feel each other out, but after a while we just had a ball. You also have hot Southern artists like David Banner and T.I. on your album. Why did you decide to collaborate with them? Because I appreciate what they do. I’ve always been a fan of artists like T.I. and Big Gipp. I’ve been a fan of Goodie Mob since before I was an artist. I grew up on [labels like] South Circle and Suave House [with artists like] Mr. Mike. Now that I get a chance to work with artists from the South that aren’t necessarily selling records on a national scale, I take advantage of it. I’m so appreciative of all the support people have given to me. I’m not taking it lightly and I don’t expect to do it each time I come out. I don’t expect to sell over 5 million albums every time I come out. Am I hoping for it? Yeah. But if it don’t happen, will I be upset? No, because who can really say that they’ve accomplished everything I’ve accomplished in their first few years? We also have Nelly the businessman. You’ve been making some
IT MUST BE
YOUR ASS, CAUSE IT AIN’T YOUR FACE!
NELLY’S VITAL STATS:
ALTER EGO: CORNELL HAYNES JR. COSTUME: GOLD TOOTH, BAND-AID SUPERPOWER: RAP-SANGIN’! serious power moves lately. You have to. You want to be able to explore other options. I idolize P. Diddy, Jay-Z, Russell Simmons, Master P and people who have had success outside of music. It shows people that you’re not just a dumb-ass rapper with a doo-rag on, because there are still a lot of people out there who think that’s all rappers are. A lot of people think that, and we don’t help them out a lot when we first get in the game. We don’t do much to change their minds. And that’s because you’re taking kids that a lot of times come from nothing. All of a sudden you give them something and you expect them to know how to operate and manage it and make it last and make it functional. That’s just not the case. You’re taking a kid who just yesterday was hanging out on the block, chillin’ with his homies and all of a sudden he’s a businessman and he’s an entrepreneur. You have people who go to school for 15 and 12 years just to learn how to do that. So it’s culture shock. Boom: here’s this money, now know how to manage it and know what to do with it to make more. We all want to be able to go outside of music and make something happen so we can stop rapping. Then we can do albums at our leisure, because we’re feeling the music, not because we have to do it to make money. That’s where I’m trying to get to in my career.
FUN FACT: DAVID BANNER PRODUCED THE BEAT FOR NELLY’S INFAMOUS “TIP DRILL,” A REMIX OF HIS HIT “E.I.” A44
OZONE AUGUST 2005
DAVID BANNER’S CERTIFIED OZONE COMIC BOOK!
...THE UNDERRATED MEMPHIS MACK INJECTS SOME PIMPIN’ FLAVOR TO DAVID BANNER’S NEW ALBUM CERTIFIED! How did you and David Banner start working together? I met Banner a few years back. He used to come through my studio with Bonecrusher. He was really tryin’ to grind. He spent a lot of time at my studio, just watching and checkin’ out what was going on and the way I did things. I’m from Memphis and he’s from Jackson, so we kinda like cousins anyway. I remember once he mentioned that you’d let him borrow some production equipment. Oh, I let him use my sounds. Borrowing equipment is nothing, but he wanted to borrow some sounds. In production, nobody does that. I mean, Banner’s just that kinda guy. I wouldn’t give that to anybody. It’s only a couple producers that I would do that for. What song did you produce on his new album Certified? I produced “We Should Be Fuckin’.” We was in the studio kickin’ it, and I told him that’s what he needed. I don’t think he really heard the potential at first, but he took a stab at it just because he felt like it was cool. He was really checkin’ out the vibe of the song and he fell in love with it.
Being from Memphis, how would you compare the music scene in Memphis to the scene in Atlanta? I think Memphis is definitely a musical city. Atlanta just had more resources with LaFace and So So Def and Dallas Austin and everybody doing they thing. Atlanta just had that head start on a big label level. I’ve got so much going on out here in Atlanta, I don’t know if I could leave my city now. It’s like going out of town. I’ve gotta be here. It’s so much more going on here for me. It’s more friendly for record labels, too. If a label wants to send Mariah Carey down here to Atlanta, she can come see Jazze Pha, Dallas Austin, and JD all at one time. It’s more accessible. Didn’t you originally have a joint venture with Young Jeezy? Why did you go separate ways? It’s just that Jeezy wanted to go his own way with his project. I told him in the beginning that I wasn’t gonna hold him to a contract, because if he wanted to be gone he could go. I didn’t go to L.A. Reid, I didn’t go to nobody at Def Jam, I went to Jeezy and I told him myself – do whatever you want to do with your situation. We had no beef; nothing like that. I love him, he’s like my little brother. He can always come to me and holla at me. He knows who put him on, and as long as we know, it’s all good. You seem to have a knack for finding new talent. Is there any up-and-coming artists you’d like to name? Yeah, look out for my man Tone Tone, out of Detroit, and my group Nephew. I’m also closing a deal with a young female that’s incredible, but I don’t want to say her name yet. And, of course, Jody Breeze is still with Shonuff and Boyz N Da Hood. Ciara’s doing movies and a tour right now.
JAZZE PHA’S VITAL STATS:
ALTER EGO: FENZELL WASHINGTONZELL COSTUME: SUNGLASSES, 5X JERSEY SUPERPOWER: EAR FOR NEW TALENT feeling. It’s just the typical story of someone who’s like, if I make it, I ain’t gonna be able to hide it. If I make a few mill, you’ll know. I’m gonna put on some new rims, new clothes, and new jewels.
What’s going on with your solo project? Me and Cee-Lo are doing a whole album together right now called The Happy Hour. That’s the next thing. As far as my solo project, I had problems with Atlantic Records. They didn’t want to do what they were supposed to do for the Jazze Pha project, so I had to find a way to do something else. It’ll be coming out in November, and I’m doing the majority of the production. Me and Atlantic Records are not seeing eye to eye right now. I’ve got a label deal now with Capital.
Do you ever just sit back and think about the fact that you make money to do what you love? Aw, yeah, I mean, I can’t believe it sometimes. But it ain’t always easy work. A lot of people see the effortlessness and the fun parts of the music. The easy part is in the studio. It takes nothing to cut a record. If it was that easy to push it and make a whole country of people feel the same way about the song, everybody would do it. There’s a lot of work involved. To wake up at 7 AM to take a flight, day after day after day, people don’t understand what kind of wear and tear we go through.
On Slim Thug’s “Incredible Feeling,” you talk about how much fun it is to make money. Is that your main motivation for being in this business, or is it more about the music? You know, that’s just one aspect of it. It’s a celebration. It’s really a great
Are there any producers today that you feel are underrated? Yeah, Jazze Pha! But it’s cool, because that’s why I stepped up and started saying my name and letting people know that my presence is here. Showing up in the videos has done a lot for my career in the last few years.
FUN FACT: JAZZE PHA’S FATHER, JAMES ALEXANDER, WAS A MEMBER OF THE LEGENDARY SOUL SINGERS THE BAR-KAYS! OZONE AUGUST 2005
DAVID BANNER’S CERTIFIED OZONE COMIC BOOK!
...OUR HERO SETS OUT TO PROVE THAT HIS HOMETOWN OF CORDELE, GEORGIA, IS MORE THAN JUST AN I-75 SPEED TRAP! Where are you from? Cordele, Georgia. Twenty minutes from Albany and thirty minutes from Macon. For some reason I thought you were from the Carolinas, because of your affiliation with Petey Pablo. Nah, nah, I’m from Cordele, Georgia. Get it right. I ain’t from Atlanta, I ain’t from Albany, I’m from Cordele, Georgia. The speed trap near the Florida/Georgia border? Riiiiight. You go through there and you’ll get pulled over quick. How many speeding tickets have you got in Cordele? Nine. Are you the first rapper from Cordele? Yeah, I’m the first producer and rapper from Cordele. How did you get into the music game? I started producing first. I was working with Field Mob and started rapping on the side. Then it went from me meeting Petey Pablo and producing for Petey Pablo to going on the road with Petey Pablo as his DJ. I’m not a DJ, but he fired his DJ [Dynamite] the night we met. He bought some beats from me and he gave me the job to just push “stop” and “play” at every show for $300. He bought five tracks from me that night in Pensacola we met and he had a show that night. He gave me the job as his DJ. I went on the road with him for six months last year.
MY CITY, CORDELE, GA, AIN’T EVEN GOT NO DAMN MALL!
How did you go from being Petey’s DJ to being an artist? I been doing this here rappin’ thing for a minute, and I been producing for a minute. It just blew up, from Field Mob to Petey to Grandaddy Souf to David Banner to Lil Scrappy to Nelly and everybody else. What are some tracks you’ve produced? Grandaddy Souf’s “Run It,” I produced that and rapped the second verse. David Banner’s “I Put That On Everything,” with him and Twista. I just did beats for Lil Scrappy and Nelly, but I don’t know the name of their songs yet. As a rapper, are you signed or independent? I’m gonna drop my album indie. My mix CD, Get Cool a.k.a. Mr. Cordele, comes out August 8th. I’m gonna keep on grinding from there until somebody offers me a good publishing deal, and then I’m gonna start my own label and bring my group along, UGB. I’ll keep going from there. Your voice kinda sounds like Petey Pablo. Yeah, I done heard that a lot. They say I sound like Petey, or Banner, or Ludacris. I try not to sound like none of them. I try to sound like myself, with my deep voice and sangin’ and rappin’ over tracks. I got a different style from everybody else. I’m the first rapper to sang, rap, harmonize, and make my own beats all on one song. Why do you think you’ll be successful as a rapper when there’s thousands of other people trying to rap? Because I’m a country boy and I’m very different. My sound is different from everybody else and I’m more hungry than everybody else. I’m in a small town. We ain’t even got no damn mall. Which do you enjoy more: producing or rapping? Both. Producers make more money, but I like being in the spotlight. I used to be in a singing group and I’d get mad cause I was in the background. I
GET COOL’S VITAL STATS:
ALTER EGO: WILLIE POOLE COSTUME: GOLD GRILL, 3-FINGERED CHAIN SUPERPOWER: MEMORABLE VOICE used to sing bass, but the lead singer was up front and he’d get all the women. That’s why I quit the group and started rapping. How did you end up working with David Banner? He heard the track I did for Bloodraw and Pastor Troy, “My Block Burn,” and he got in touch with Bloodraw. TJ the DJ got involved somehow and got my number and told me to call Banner. I called him and sent him some beat CDs, and a week later I went up there to mix down that track for him. David Banner is my boy, my homie, and I’m glad he noticed my talent. He’s behind me 100%. He’s the coolest brother a guy could meet and he cool to work with and everything. The track I did for him is a band beat, it’s him featuring Twista, “I Put That On Everything.” I hope it does good for him. I love the guy. Did you get the chance to work with Twista also? Nah, Twista wasn’t there, they just sent the beat to him. Get Cool blessed OZONE with a beat CD filled with 30+ hot tracks. For a copy, email email@example.com.
FUN FACT: GET COOL PRODUCED BLOODRAW’S “MY BLOCK BURN,” GRANDADDY SOUF’S “RUN IT,” AND DAVID BANNER’S “PUT THAT ON EVERYTHING” WITH TWISTA! A46
OZONE AUGUST 2005
DAVID BANNER’S CERTIFIED OZONE COMIC BOOK!
MARCUS.! ...THE FIRST ARTIST ON B.I.G.F.A.C.E. ENTERTAINMENT, THIS SLICK-SPITTING MEMPHIS RAPPER IS HERE TO SAVE THE DAY!
INTRODUCING... EAST MEMPHIS IN THE HOUSE, MANE..
I hear you’re a little bruised right now. What happened? Yeah, man, comin’ off Banner’s house there’s a blind turn, and this lady was speeding and she let me have it. She hit my driver’s door. On the real, it was kinda ugly, man. My ribs were broken. It’s been two weeks, going on my third week. They told me anywhere from four to six weeks [to recover], so I’m just sitting around waiting. I’m feeling a lot better than when I first got my ass knocked off. Still sore, but the swelling’s been going down a lot. It don’t hurt anymore. Did your life flash before your eyes? I’ve been in a couple fender benders before, but yeah, a lot of crazy shit flashes in front of you. You can’t take life for granted. A week prior to that, a friend of mine from school was killed in a car accident, and another dude I know died in a car accident recently. I coulda been dead instead of having a couple of broken ribs, so I’m just trying to be a little more thankful. How did you become David Banner’s first artist? I’m from Memphis, and I came down to Jackson State University to play ball but I broke my foot. I was in a group called the Doberman Gang. Banner was in the group Crooked Lettaz with Kamikaze, who went to Jackson State. When I met Kamikaze, we hit it off. We did a couple songs with him and eventually I met Banner. We were at Kamikaze’s house, and we walked a few blocks just talking. He was a real dude. I guess you could say we had a connection. He was out of town at the time, going to school at Southern University in Baton Rouge, but every time I saw him it was on some real cool shit. Originally we were gonna be the first artists out on [Kamikaze’s] OurGlass Entertainment, but that didn’t work out. It was all cool though, ain’t no bad blood. Me and DB had never lost contact, we were always good friends, and one day he pulled me to the side, like, “I know you’re a writer and a rapper, and I make hella beats, all day, every day, so let’s put two and two together.” You were featured on Banner’s song “Gangsta Walk” along with Three 6 Mafia and 8Ball & MJG. Being from Memphis, how did it feel to be a part of history like that? I came up listening to the cats that I’m on the song with. It’s long overdue for gangsta walkin’ to go nationwide. Everybody in the industry has been jumpin’ on Southern music, so now it’s cool to be crunk. We been getting buck in Memphis since I was a little nigga. Niggas been gangsta walkin’ in Memphis ever since I could remember. I think that’s the first dance I actually knew how to do. I give DB a whole lot of props for reaching out and making that song happen. That’s the first time those two cliques got together on the same song, so it was real big. Me, I’m representing East Memphis. The gangsta walk is like one-two steppin’. It’s kinda like a mosh pit, but a little more organized. It’s not just a whole lot of pushin’. When you see any of the Three 6 Mafia videos, you’ll see Crunchy Black gangsta walkin’. Throughout the years, it’s kinda changed and upgraded. There’s a lot of different versions. They leaning like Michael Jackson nowadays. Do you still spell your name with a period at the end? That’s all the time. The period don’t go nowhere. I use my real name, Marcus., because it kinda explains to folks what I’m about. My music is real humble and to the point. It’s me. Ain’t no attitude or no debating. I don’t jump on what’s hot to make me a quick buck. In the rap game, niggas wanna jump on what’s hot and they switch they whole style up. More power to ya, but I couldn’t be nobody but myself. That’s why I do it like that, man. The period is to let them know that’s me and that’s it. When I say “humble,” I mean that I’m just speaking about life, stuff that a lot of folks can relate to. Regardless of what kind of car you drive or what you’ve got around your neck, we all still livin’ in the same world. I just talk about regular life, whether I’m driving a hoopty or a clean-ass Cadillac.
MARCUS.’ VITAL STATS:
ALTER EGO: MARCUS WILLIAMS COSTUME: GOATEE, RUBBER BANDS SUPERPOWER: KEEPIN’ IT PIMPIN’ On the road, you’re Banner’s hype man, barber, artist, and..? Whatever I need to be doing so we can win. I’m an artist first, but Banner supports me like a brother so whatever he needs I’m here to do it. I got a couple mixtapes coming out, and we’re working on my solo album. We got the studio in the back of the [Certified] tour bus, so we definitely doin’ our thing in the lab. Will you be able to establish your own identity as an artist? I’ve got my own sound. Memphis got a lot of different flavors. It’s more than just “Tear Da Club Up.” When I was comin’ up I was listening to the Isley Brothers, Bobby Womack, Isaac Hayes, and Al Green. My music has more of a soulful feel to it. Working under Banner’s wing, it’s gonna hit niggas out of left field. He’s gonna be doing the primary production on my album. When you hear him produce for other cats, his music really goes to another level that they probably wouldn’t have expected. They’re probably used to the crunk stuff he does. It’s gonna be stuff you can get buck to on my album, but I make a lot of ridin’ music first. I definitely separate myself, man, not just from DB. It’s just me. Going back to my rap name, I can’t be nobody but me. It’ll definitely show, man.
FUN FACT: FORMERLY KNOWN AS MR. MARCUS, HE SHORTENED HIS NAME TO “MARCUS.” TO AVOID BEING CONFUSED WITH THE PORN STAR OF THE SAME NAME! OZONE AUGUST 2005
DAVID BANNER’S CERTIFIED OZONE COMIC BOOK!
...THE MAYOR OF MIAMI AND CEO OF THE DONK RYDERS REPRESENTS FOR DAVID BANNER AND ALL THE “REAL NIGGAS”! David Banner says that every time you see him, you tell him what he’s doing right or wrong. What’s your advice now? The only thing I think he need to do is an X-rated version of the video for that new single he got, “Play.” Let them girls show some inner thighs. You’ve been working with David Banner for a while. Yeah, you know, he [produced my song] “Thug Holiday.” You could tell he was raised by an older woman cause he’s a real nigga like me. When we first worked together I got a good vibe from him. Since then, money ain’t changed him, and the deal ain’t changed him. The prices of his beats are still the same for me. I’d put him in the category of a real nigga. What appealed to you about his beat for “Thug Holiday”? I explained to him what I wanted and he gave me exactly what I asked for. After [Latocha] Scott got on the song he did some more shit to the beat. “Thug Holiday” was a big song for me and also for him because it’s so personal. All of Banner’s songs are the same as mine; we tell stories in our songs. We make sense all the way through. I’m looking forward to working on my next album with him. I don’t know the name of the album yet, because I always name my albums at the last minute. We did a song together, but I don’t know if it’s gonna make his album. Worst come to worst, it’ll be on my album. One way or the other, we gonna work together again. I only work with real niggas; that’s why I don’t have a lot of big features on my album. The dudes that the media and the fans think are real are the dudes that don’t sign autographs and don’t take pictures.
DADE COUNTY IN THIS MUTHAFUCKA, YOU BITCHES!
You’re featured on Jeezy’s album. Who are some other artists you plan to work with that fall into the “real” category? I’m working on a track right now with Camron. I like Beanie Sigel, and of course that nigga Jay-Z. I like Nas. Besides that, I like the Eric B and Rakim. Out of the West coast, Snoop is my nigga. I like them niggas from the Bay area like E-40 and Daz, that’s real nigga shit. In the South, I like Scarface and that nigga Slim Thug. Besides that, you know, all my niggas in the 305 like Pitbull and Dirtbag. I saw an article recently on Slip-N-Slide and there were quite a few people featured, including Trina and Ted Lucas, but you weren’t. Are you distancing yourself from Slip-N-Slide? I am an artist signed to Slip-N-Slide, but I’m also a man that has his own record label. I gotta eat too. I wish them the best. Were you happy with the success of your last album? No, I feel like Thug Matrimony could’ve did better, but I know it did good, because I have a bigger fan base now. I do both hood records and crossover records. I think I had one of the first rap songs in the last ten years or so to be played on pop stations, with the exception of the Nelly and Kelly [Rowland] collabo [“Dilemma”]. Kelly is my girl. She’s real sexy, and that’s the only girl I could like and my wife won’t get mad. I heard her and that Dallas Cowboys dude aren’t together no more, so shout out to Kelly. Are you glad Ricky Williams came back to the Dolphins? I talked about Ricky real bad, so if Ricky could forgive me for all the shit I said about him, then I could forgive him for running out on us last season. Why did you name your label Donk Ryder Records? A donk ryder is somebody who rides in a Chevy. You know, Chevys are real big in Miami. We call a Chevy ’71, ’72, ’73, ’74, ’75, or ’76 hardtop convertible a “donk.” The Donk Ryder Click mixtape is coming out. I’ve got my little brother Soup, also known as Slime. He’s got two names. I got Lil Thailand and a young cat named Iceberg. I got a joint venture with one of Poe Boy’s artists, Brisco.
TRICK DADDY’S VITAL STATS:
ALTER EGO: MAURICE YOUNG COSTUME: DICKIES, ANYTHING REPPIN’ MIA SUPERPOWER: KEEPIN’ IT REAL I heard you didn’t like our 25 Greatest Southern Artists list. I had some issues, but they weren’t about me. I think I fell in a decent category because you had some real top-notch dudes in there. Some of the people you had in the top 5, like 2 Live Crew, Geto Boys, and Outkast, really sold records and kept it consistent. 2 Live Crew opened a lot of doors when music from the South wasn’t getting airplay. Scarface should’ve had his own section outside of the Geto Boys. I think Tupac should’ve been number one. Tupac was from all over. Tupac was the baby of a lady who was a baby of the slaves. Us black folks have come a long way. Of course there’s nothing you or I could’ve done about slavery. But we came a long way on those slave ships. Them ships was crowded and niggas wasn’t eating. They came over here and worked the shit outta them. All them big strong niggas got sold for a lot of money. The pretty black women had to have sex with the masters. ‘Pac represented for the streets all over the world, so he could’ve been on the “25 Greatest Southern Artists” list. Anything else you wanna say? Donk Ryders comin’ real soon. All you suckers and fuck niggas, keep hatin’. Y’all will be dead in a minute so don’t even worry about it.
FUN FACT: TRICK DADDY’S “THUG HOLIDAY” WAS DAVID BANNER’S BREAKTHROUGH PRODUCTION CREDIT. A48
OZONE AUGUST 2005
DAVID BANNER’S CERTIFIED OZONE COMIC BOOK!
A-TOWN, STAY DOWN, SHAWTY!
LIL SCRAPP Y’S VITAL STATS: ALTER EGO: DARRYL RICHARDSON COSTUME: PIMP CUP, BME CHAIN SUPERPOWER: STAYING SUPER CRUNK
What’s it been like working with David Banner? Lil Scrappy: Banner is like the big brother that I never had. He’s the one that kinda put me back on my game a little bit. He sat there and told me, “Dawg, you real. I know you short or whatever, so you feel like you gotta be extra crunk cause you’re the small nigga, but nigga, you is Lil Scrappy, feel me? Can’t nobody take that away from you.” When he told me that, and all the shit he went through, I was like, damn. He’s a straight uplifting person, and you can tell throughout his career he’s uplifting too. But on the mic he’s a straight beats. On the beats, too. Are you featured on his album Certified? Lil Scrappy: Nah, I’m not on his album. Shoulda been, though. But he gave me a beat for my album, “G’ed Up.” When I say “G’s Up,” I’m talking about God’s lil’ thug cause God is up, feel me? I’m a real person, so through the hood music I slide God in there every now and then. That’s what David Banner does too. You can’t just be out here in the streets and be waking up in the morning by your lonesome thinking there’s nobody to help you and shit. That’s the type of nigga David Banner is.
MANNIE FRESH’S VITAL STATS: ALTER EGO: BYRON THOMAS COSTUME: NONE SUPERPOWER: RIDICULOUS BEATS
Did you do production for David Banner’s new album Certified? Mannie Fresh: We’re still doing a song. I’m gonna do one for him. I’m in Houston right now and David left here yesterday. I’m gonna try to get a song on there cause his album got pushed back. Have you enjoyed working with David Banner in the past? Mannie Fresh: That’s like my brother. When we work together, I don’t look at it like work. There ain’t really no words I could say. David is just a good dude. What about your own solo projects, are you working on another album? Mannie Fresh: Nah, I’m pretty much doing everybody else’s songs. I probably won’t even do that again. I never really wanted to be an artist. It’s cool, but I kinda wanna concentrate on doing production. That’s what I love to do. When you start to do one thing, it takes away from another. I’m tired of stretching myself out. OZONE AUGUST 2005
THE SOUTHERN VOICE OF HIP HOP MUSIC
ESG DIRTY YO GOTTI REMY MA JAZZE PHA PAUL WALL TRICK DADDY YOUNG JEEZY DAVID BANNER CHAMILLIONAIRE
WANTS HIS MONEY!
HOT BOYS REUNION? MANNIE FRESH LEAVES CASH MONEY
PAUL WALL THE PEOPLE’S CHAMP
01: Big Kuntry and Slim Thug @ Visions for Young Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 02: Big Cotten and Shock Muzik @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 03: David Banner’s listening session @ Studio 7303 (Houston, TX) 04: Shawty, DJ Jelly, and Bigga Rankin @ Visions for Young Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 05: Joe Anthony and Lil Jon @ Anger Management tour (Dallas, TX) 06: Peter Thomas and Damon Dash @ How Can I Be Down (Miami, FL) 07: Scarface performing @ Roxy (Houston, TX) 08: Peter Thomas and Benzino @ How Can I Be Down (Miami, FL) 09: Jody Breeze reppin’ OZONE @ Visions for Young Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 10: Ruthie, Sandy, and Rashaun @ Cairo (Orlando, FL) 11: Gucci Mane and Darrell Johnson @ Hot 104.5’s Rap It Up block party (New Orleans, LA) 12: DJ EFX and JR reppin’ OZONE @ How Can I Be Down (Miami, FL) 13: Like father, like son: Lil Troy and T2 (Houston, TX) 14: Mr. Collipark and Jokaman @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 15: Willie, Cubo, Piccalo, and Jimmy Chocolate @ Upstart Record Pool (Jacksonville, FL) 16: 8Ball, Young Buck, and MJG shooting their video for “Stay Fly” (Miami, FL) 17: DJ Clue and Chad of The Neptunes @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 18: On the set of Pretty Ricky’s “Your Body” (Miami, FL) 19: Gil Green, Chamillionaire, and Lil Flip on the set of “Turn It Up” (Houston, TX) 20: Sway, Big WIll, and Luke @ the Rollexx (Miami, FL) 21: Devin the Dude gets his Pacman on @ Studio 7303 (Houston, TX) Photo Credits: Bogan: #16,17,18,20 Johnny Louis: #08 Julia Beverly: #01,02,04,05, 06,12,13,14,15,19 Keadron Smith: #03 Malik Abdul: #09,10 Marcus Jethro: #11 Matt Sonzala: #07,21 B8
OZONE AUGUST 2005
GUEST EDITORIALS Got something to get off your chest? Email firstname.lastname@example.org The Job of Entertainment
A Punk Rock Approach to Hip-Hop
By Matt Sonzala
Planning For The Future
he NBA has it. The NFL has it. Hollywood actors have it. Hell, even your local garbage man or fast food employee has it. However, if your occupation is Hip Hop artist, you don’t have it.
What is “it,” exactly? I’m talking about a pension fund. A retirement fund, a 401K. Better yet, we Hip Hop artists often lack something as fundamental as healthcare or life insurance. The basic benefits that are offered to nearly every working citizen in the country never reach those of us who call “Hip Hop” our job. For the most part, America doesn’t look at rap as a “real” occupation. They’re regularly bombarded with images of lavish homes, big SUVs, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of jewelry hanging from the necks and wrists of more successful artists. But in reality, hip-hop artists are hustlers on a really tight schedule. We average a career span of 3-5 years, if we’re lucky. After all the records have been recorded and all the advances have been recouped, we still have families to take care of. To society, we’re expendable. Once we’ve stopped entertaining them, we’re flushed from public consciousness. And if you haven’t been wise with your savings, you could very well become another VH1 Behind The Music casualty. Hip-hop is my job. It’s how I put food on my table and clothes on my kids’ backs. I haven’t sold a million records, but I make a comfortable living as an independent artist. I’m blessed. But there are many who pursue this thing called hip-hop while working day jobs. As I’ve learned, this rap game is something that you must be devoted to 24/7 in order to reach your full potential. It’s hard, however, to do that when you’ve got bills to pay. The hometown won’t support you, and promoters are constantly asking for “promos.” You can’t live off hope. But why should we? Why are a couple of former Leaders of the New School working minimum-wage jobs? Why did I once see a legendary artist in the offices of Ichiban Records asking for money to take his daughter to a doctor? How can an artist entertain us for “x” amount of years and then suddenly have nothing to show for it? In Mississippi, we are taking steps to change this reality. Almost a year ago, the Mississippi Artists and Producers Coalition (M.A.P.) was formed in an effort to unite the state’s artists under one umbrella. The goal is to promote Mississippi hip-hop and organize a union. That’s right, folks, I said “union.” In the next three years, M.A.P. hopes to establish an organization that will provide a pension fund for Mississippi emcees. Not only that, but also life insurance, a health and dental plan, and a credit union designed to hold artists’ earnings and offer loans to aspiring entrepreneurs. We currently boast over 100 members throughout the state and have made our mark by organizing our own shows and releasing two compilation albums under the coalition banner. We’re taking our music back! The hip-hop industry is set up to make you famous before it makes you rich. Selfishness and deceit permeate the business, making it hard for the little guy to survive. Labels pimp us. If you’re independent, concert promoters short you while juggling the balls of every rapperof-the-moment. M.A.P. pledges to cut out the middleman. Hopefully, we will create a blueprint for other states to follow suit. You deserve to be compensated for your work, as with any job. You deserve to be able to provide for your family, as with any job. Mississippi has stood up. Now you do the same. - Kamikaze is CEO and artist on OurGlass Entertainment. He is also President and Founder of the M.A.P. Coalition. For more information on the Mississippi Artists and Producers Coalition, please call 601-212-6381 or 601-317-1891 or e-mail us at map_LLC@yahoo.com.
Taking Your Career Into Your Own Hands
on’t be scared off by the title. No one expects you to grab a guitar and a shave your waves into a Mohawk. We’re not suggesting you should abandon your regional sounds in favor of some Limp Bizkitesque bullshit. No, the point of this column is more to teach the ways that you, the rapper, producer, or DJ can take your career into your own hands and thrive. This month we’ll focus on touring as an independent artist. It’s no secret that the bulk of an artists’ money comes from touring. Sure, some rappers live the fast life for a few good years as they ride out a couple of hit singles, but what do they do before and after that peak? Sit on your ass? Sadly, many do. In order to thrive in this business, you have to get out there in front of the people. Young punk rock bands do it all the time, without an ounce of tour support. Take a band like Green Day, for example. You may or may not have ever heard of them, and when they first started in the late 80’s, no one else had ever heard of them either. This trio of guys from the Bay Area in California began putting out their own records with a local indie label called Lookout Records, much like many rappers do today, but what set them apart from the pack was their relentless drive. For ten years they struggled as an independent band, mostly on the road. They had a piece of shit van, one that probably broke down often, and they hit the road consistently playing gigs for next to nothing. As they progressed, the shows started becoming more lucrative, they sold more records, shirts, hats, bumper stickers, and posters, and eventually landed a deal with Warner Bros. With a proven track record both on record and on the road, they were able to write their own ticket when it came time to sign with the majors. Their first release on Warner Bros., Dookie, sold 10 million copies. They had already done their “artist development” before ever coming to the majors, and they had already established relationships with venues not only around the country but around the world. And they did it themselves. In hip-hop, David Banner is a great example of this same process. He traveled around the country, sleeping in his van, surrounded by what seemed like everything he owned. One deep he would ride from his modest home in Jackson, Mississippi to wherever he could work. If the moment called for him, he was there. Performing, producing, doing features, whatever. Unfortunately, many rap artists are raised on MTV, BET, and commercial radio, and only see the glamour and glitz side of the business. I bet you think your career starts and ends with your first and last hit. It’s not true. Last week I had a conversation with Fresh Kid Ice of the 2 Live Crew. If you know your history, you know that 2 Live Crew hasn’t had a hit in over ten years. But if you pay attention, you know that 2 Live Crew (or some combination of 2 Live Crew members) has performed in your town in the past year. And they’ve performed in your town every year since they started. How can they do this? It’s simple. Everyone knows that the basis of this business is relationships. If you don’t get out there and meet people and make things happen, you are not going to thrive. I don’t care if you come from a bustling rap mecca like Houston or Atlanta or a small town like Mobile or Tallahassee. If you don’t get up and go take your music to the people, you are not going to be heard. It takes real determination and stamina. Often, you will lose money on the first few tours. Unlike the dope game, the money is not always fast. It’s no secret that many of us in this game need to develop some patience and get away from the fast money mentality. The real success stories in this game put in time, effort, and often their own money to make their career jump off. It doesn’t take much, and the formula has been proven time and time again. So what are you waiting for? - Matt Sonzala is a freelance writer and photographer for OZONE, Murder Dog, The Source, XXL, and various other publications. He also hosts a weekly radio show, Damage Control, on KPFT FM in Houston, Texas. For more information, visit Matt’s always-entertaining blog at www.houstonsoreal.blogspot.com. OZONE AUGUST 2005
01: Dizzee Rascal and Bun B @ Studio 7303 (Houston, TX) 02: Young Buck and Grandaddy Souf on South Beach (Miami, FL) 03: Yung Redd and SLAB @ KPFT Damage Control radio (Houston, TX) 04: Bigga Rankin and Young Cash @ Kartouche for Upstart Record Pool meeting (Jacksonville, FL) 05: Chamillionaire with video models on the set of “Turn It Up” (Houston, TX) 06: Legion of Doom DJs reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 07: Bruce and video models on the set of Chamillionaire’s “Turn It Up” (Houston, TX) 08: Damon Dash, Rachel Roy, and their daughter @ How Can I Be Down (Miami, FL) 09: ESG reppin’ OZONE @ Club Raj (NYC) 10: Sally Anthony and Static reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 11: Nino and Disco @ Cairo (Orlando, FL) 12: Jacki-O reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 13: Xtaci @ Visions for Young Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 14: Dizzee Rascal and the g.r.i.T. Boys @ KPFT Damage Control radio (Houston, TX) 15: Get Cool and Collard Greens @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 16: Smack and David Banner @ Electric Lady Studios for his Certified listening session (NYC) 17: Jim Jonsin and Pretty Ricky on the set of “Your Body” (Miami, FL) 18: 50 Cent performing @ the Anger Management tour (Dallas, TX) 19: Three 6 Mafia, 8Ball, and Young Buck reppin’ OZONE on the set of “Stay Fly” (Miami, FL) 20: Treal and Acafool @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 21: Sylvia Rhone, Yummy, and Rockwilder @ Harlem Grill (NYC) Photo Credits: Bogan: #02,17,19 Julia Beverly: #03,04,06,07, 08,09,10,11,13,15,16,18,21 Malik Abdul: #12 Matt Daniels: #20 Matt Sonzala: #01,05,14
OZONE AUGUST 2005
Remy Ma strolls into New York’s Electric Lady Studios at 9 AM, where a group of reporters and various industry folks have gathered to hear cuts from her upcoming album. “This 9 AM thing was not my idea,” she begins abruptly. Waving a bag of Skittles and a blunt, her “ghetto breakfast,” Remy makes her way to the front of the studio. In an outfit slightly more dressy than usual, Remy is clearly uncomfortable, wiggling out of her heels within five minutes of the session and moaning, “I couldn’t find my Uptowns this morning!” With Remy, what you see is what you get. The only female in the Terror Squad crew, she still acts like one of the dudes. Still, there’s just Something About Remy, which is actually the title of her debut album scheduled for release this summer through SRC/Universal. With stellar beats from the likes of Cool & Dre, DJ Khaled, David Banner, Scott Storch, and other up-and-coming producers, Remy has been blessed with a fiery backdrop for her crisp vocals. Later in the day, Remy is rocking a wifebeater (no bra, of course) and posted up in a hotel suite, visibly bored from doing a string of interviews. OZONE attempts to break up the monotony. Are you sick of doing interviews? I hate telling the “how-I-started” story over, and over, and over, and over again. Haven’t these people read any articles I’ve done in the last six years? God, I hate that question. Aside from interviews, what’s the worst part of being an artist? I hate the fucking schedule. Like, nothing’s on time, but everything’s on time, you know what I mean? Everything has a time, but it’s never on time. It’s just so much shit. How did the attitude within Terror Squad change when Pun passed? For a minute everything was crazy, with Cuban [Link] leaving and then [Triple] Seis leaving. Joe was going through a lot of family issues at the time. I didn’t have a record deal. Tony Sunshine was like, in the middle of a record deal. Everything was real crazy right after Pun passed. I can’t say that it panned out the best way, because I would’ve liked to see everybody stay together. What’s your opinion on some of the accusations that have been leveled at Fat Joe by Cuban Link and other people who’ve left the camp? They say Joe doesn’t want his crew to shine and doesn’t pay them properly. A lot of people just don’t understand that Joe has soooo many people that depend on him. It’s hard when everybody’s depending on you. You can never make everybody happy, so it gets to a point where you just decide, I’m gonna try to make myself happy. Trying to make everybody else happy is not working and I’m not happy either, so at least I’ll be happy this way. I respect that. That’s why I don’t ask nobody for anything free. I don’t expect any handouts. I don’t expect anything to be given to me, because nothing was given to him. He doesn’t owe anybody anything. Sometimes, people are like, “If that was me, I would…” But you’re not in that situation. You don’t know how it is to have everybody
depending on you. he has me, Geddy, Prospect, all the people that work with us, his family, his cousins, his uncles, his brothers and sisters, his wife, his wife’s family. They’re callin’ her because they know that’s her man. Like, it’s crazy. That’s the part people don’t understand. He don’t owe me nothing. Big Pun’s chain is up for an auction on eBay. Is his family really hurting that bad financially? I wouldn’t know. I mean, I know for a fact that I’ve given the kids money on different occasions. Joe has given them money. When Pun passed, though, he had a lot of taxes and bills that weren’t taken care of. It’s so many personal things going on behind the scenes between Joe and Pun’s wife that people don’t know about. It’s a lot of animosity between them. She put out a DVD where she’s totally disrespecting [Pun’s] name. How do you expect the people who loved your husband to do things for you when everything you’re doing is degrading his name and character? That’s not gonna make people want to help you. Me personally, if I was in possession of Pun’s chain, I’d rather be dead broke and starving in the streets than to put his chain on eBay. Maybe a pawn shop as the last straw, because you can still get it back. How you gonna sell it to someone you don’t even know? That’s crazy. That’s totally disrespectful. Are you still cool with Cuban and Seis? I speak to both of them. They have their differences with Joe. It’s a bit of a conflict with me being friends with all of them, but I feel like I shouldn’t be forced to pick. They’re all my friends, and I’ve known all of them for the same amount of time. Neither side has done anything to hurt me. Do you think the timing is right for you to come out as a solo female artist because there really aren’t any females holdin’ it down right now? I feel like the timing is right for me, period, not just because of me being female. It’s not about being a female rapper. I wanna be compared to all other rappers, period. Other guys and other
females. I want people to go to the store and think, Am I going to buy this guy’s album or am I going to buy Remy’s album? It’s easy to choose me when it’s between two girls. I’d feel like I accomplished something more if you chose my album over a guy’s album. Do you think New York rap is in a rut? I think New York needs a comeback right now. But at the same time, I’m not gonna put down the South. I like Young Jeezy, I like Slim Thug. It’s been New York for so many years. It used to be that everybody was trying to sound like they were from New York. Now, everywhere else is getting play, and New Yorkers are trying to flip our style to incorporate it with theirs. We don’t need to hear the same thing all the time. Are you relieved to finally have your first solo project? Yes, yes, yes! And it’s still not even here yet. So I’m about to relieved. All the tension and pressure. I have the first-time jitters. It’s so much pressure, because they expect so much. I’m 100% content with everything on this album, but people are crazy. You never know what they’re gonna think. Consumers be buggin’ sometimes. Why do you think the Terror Squad album didn’t sell well even with “Lean Back”? We didn’t go on tour. We didn’t promote. We didn’t have ads like we were supposed to. Promotion counts for a lot. It wasn’t pushed right. You’re picky with your beat selection? So very picky. Producers hate me. But I have to like it if I’m gonna put my fuckin’ lyrics over it. Your beat can’t be whack in any shape, form, or fashion. If you could steal a beat, what would it be? T.I.’s “A.S.A.P.,” and the “Hate It Or Love It” beat that Cool & Dre did for Game and 50. Cool & Dre are fuckin’ down with Terror Squad, so how did I miss that one?? - Words and photo by Julia Beverly OZONE AUGUST 2005
01: Lil Flip and Z-Ro on the set of Chamillionaire’s “Turn It Up” (Houston, TX) 02: Young Harlem and James Eichelberger @ Harlem Grill (NYC) 03: Chamillionaire on the set of “Turn It Up” (Houston, TX) 04: Mr. Collipark and Uncle Luke @ Ying Yang Twins’ album release party (Miami, FL) 05: Treal performing @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 06: MTV’s Rahman Dukes and Joseph Patel @ Q-Tip’s listening session (NYC) 07: Memphitz and TJ Chapman @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 08: Models Montana and Leann on the set of Jim Jones’ video (Miami, FL) 09: Deuce Poppi @ Young Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 10: Alonzo Mourning and his wife @ Zo’s Summer Groove (Miami, FL) 11: Q reppin’ OZONE @ Visions for Young Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 12: Tony Yayo @ Anger Management tour (Dallas, TX) 13: Meech and DJ Demp @ Young Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 14: Oxycottontail and Devin the Dude @ Rothko (NYC) 15: Scott Storch, Amerie, and her manager/ boyfriend Lenny @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 16: J-Dot, DJ Fresh, and DJ Kaoss @ Cavern (Greenville, NC) 17: David Simoneau, Malik Abdul, and Carina @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 18: Pretty Tony and Jack Nasty @ AMA Studios (Gulfport, MS) 19: DJ Demp, Tampa Tony, and BloodRaw @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 20: NuBreed Entertainment reppin’ OZONE @ Firestone for Upstart Record Pool meeting (Orlando, FL) 21: Hawk, ESG, Sway, DJ Chill, and Yungstar @ Screwed Up Records & Tapes (Houston, TX) Photo Credits: Bogan: #08 J Lash: #04,10 Julia Beverly: #01,02,06,07, 09,12,13,19,20 Malik Abdul: #11,17 Matt Daniels: #05 Matt Sonzala: #03,14,21 P Love: #18 Rico Da Crook: #15 Travis Mealer: #16 B12
OZONE AUGUST 2005
St. Louis, the gateway Arch city, has a storm brewing in the form of gangsta rap group The AllStars. Group members Nimmy Russel, Trust, Top Dolla, and Vic Damone have captivated their city with tales of hustling, street life, and partying. Top promoters and coCEOs Guccio and Just Black are the guiding hand behind the group and their successes. The AllStars’ album All City features names like Akon, Styles P, Bun B, Webbie, Murphy Lee, and Chingy. How did the AllStars come together? Just Black: The AllStars came together in 1999. I started this company in 1991. I was the first artist out of St. Louis to represent gangsta music independently. I didn’t really know what I was doing when I first started out, but I just did my songs and put it out. How has the music business changed from the time when you first started rapping until today? Just Black: It’s not even music right now. It’s politics. It’s all political, it’s all about the game. It’s all about who you know. It’s not really about the music like it was back then. The game has changed tremendously. Do you think the changes in the game have benefited you and the AllStars, or made it tougher for you to succeed? Just Black: Nah, it helped us. Gangsta music has never been represented in St. Louis like we’ve been doing it. It’s 390 independent record labels in my city, and I can assure you that over half of them are gangsta rap labels. But you’ve got to do it right so hundreds of thousands of people can know who you are. There aren’t a lot of people who know how to do it right. We know how to shape songs to get mainstream acceptance. Why do you think the AllStars are so popular in St. Louis? Would you credit that to Guccio and your promotional savvy? Just Black: You know, Guccio had a record label in 1993 called Good as Gold. He already had the promotional game down, and so I did I, so we really had come together even before we had the AllStars. Once we came together we developed the AllStars. It took us a while to get to this point, because we’ve been working with them for so long, teaching them different aspects of the game. We always knew they were good rappers, but we had to turn them into writers and entertainers and mold them into good artists. What was the AllStars’ first project? Just Black: We were developing the group from 1999 til 2003. we did our first project in 2002, which was a mixtape. In 2003 we put out our first album, The Movement. What does each member of the AllStars bring to the table? Just Black: Trust is the strongest player of the group. He’s got a real pimpin’, player style. He’s grassroots, straight from the street. He keeps most of his lyrics real, real basic. Playa style. Vic Damone is the real laid-back, gangsta-type playa. He keeps it real to the situation. He’s going to give you the real, straight and direct. He don’t write about nothing but facts. He spent a little time in the military. Then you’ve got Top Dolla. He’s the crunk man, he’s extra crunk. He’s the one
that keeps everybody straight and together. He’s always on time and puts forth the effort. Next, Nimmy Russel is the wild one. His whole image is just wildin’ out. He’s a battle rapper too. He brings that hardcore street sound. Are all the members of the AllStars from the same neighborhood? Just Black: Nimmy’s from the West side of St. Louis. Top Dolla and Trust are from the North side of St. Louis. Vic Damone is from Illinois, across the water, East St. Louis. Who’s featured on the All-City album? Just Black: Webbie, Bun B, Akon, Styles P, Murphy Lee, Just Black, Icon and Chingy. How did you get big-name features, being independent? Just Black: This is 2005, and we’ve been in the game since the early 90s. For over thirteen years, we’ve been building relationships. That’s how we met all these people. We didn’t have to call their agents or go through middlemen, we didn’t have to do none of that. They gave us their prices direct. Each one of these artists flew in, dropped their stuff, collected their money, and that was it. Except Styles P, cause he did his right after he got out of jail. We were actually gonna go with Jadakiss, but we felt that Styles P fit what we were doing a little more. Tell me about some of the producers who contributed tracks to the All City album. Just Black: We’ve got our own in-house producers, 1-0 Productions. We’ve got some tracks from Organized Noize but I’m not sure if they’ll e on this album. We went to the West coast and got a few tracks, but most of it is from the MidWest producers. We wanted to keep it real Southern, real home style. We decided instead of spending $30,000 on production and $10,000 on features, we’d be better served if we spent the bigger bulk on the features and the rest on production. What’s the first single? Just Black: The first single is “So Serious.” The
remix features Chingy. Speaking of Chingy, with him and Nelly having a war of words, how do you guys get along with both cliques? Just Black: They’re not really beefing. It’s just a verbal beef. It’s like, a rapper said something about another rapper, and that’s it. That isn’t street beef. It’s a DJ up here named DJ Bishop who’s a part of our house staff, and he put out this mix CD called Beef. He took some exclusives from Nelly and some exclusives from Chingy. Bishop did it so big that the rappers had to speak out about it. It got to the point that radio stations had to take two days out of the week to get Nelly and Chingy and them on the phone and sort things out. It’s not a legitimate beef, though. If it was real there would be casualties. With all the members of the group coming from different parts of the Lou, do they get along pretty well? Just Black: They get along good because Guccio and I really raised them as a group. We put them on the road and took them all over, and they just bonded with each other. Each one of them is ready to put out a solo project, but they understand how important the group is and that they need one another to be successful. What group would you compare the AllStars to, past or present? Just Black: I’d have to say N.W.A. Is there anything else you’d like to say? Just Black: Go out and pick up the All City album. Check us out on the web at www.bobqp. com. I’ve also got to mention that Bun B is our partna, for real! Look out for my solo project Grown Folks Music coming real soon, as well as a new youth rap group that we’re developing. We’re an entertainment company, first and foremost, and we’ve got a lot of big things happening. - JC (Photo: Andre B. Murray) OZONE AUGUST 2005
01: Nas and Devin the Dude @ Rothko (NYC) 02: Pimp G and Ful of Drama Records @ Kartouche for Upstart Record Pool meeting (Jacksonville, FL) 03: Red Dogg, Pimp J, Clay D, and Tim Brown reppin’ OZONE @ Firestone for Jamlando Record Pool meeting (Orlando, FL) 04: Kaine, Da Musicians, and Theo Brown gettin’ CRUNK!!! @ Club Raj (NYC) 05: Trillville and Big Herc @ Rap It Up block party (New Orleans, LA) 06: Hoodz DVD @ Universal press junket (NYC) 07: Butta Smoove, Malik Abdul, and O-Eazy @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 08: Jim Jones getting in shape before his video shoot (Miami, FL) 09: Lil Wayne on the set of Trina’s video for “Don’t Trip” (Miami, FL) 10: T2 reppin’ OZONE by the Chillmobile (Houston, TX) 11: Scarface and Kyla Staten @ Studio 7303 for David Banner’s listening session (Houston, TX) 12: Dolla Signs defeats VA in the MC Royal Rumble Pt. 2 (Greenville, NC) 13: Karen Douglas and Money Mark (Miami, FL) 14: Scott Storch and a friend @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 15: TJ Chapman and Playa Poncho @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 16: Chad Brown, Noah, Ray Daniels, and Mizike @ Cairo (Orlando, FL) 17: Lil Jon, Stay Fresh, Bohagon, Lil Scrappy, and Pitbull @ Anger Management tour (Dallas, TX) 18: Vince Phillips, Emperor Searcy, and DJ Will @ Visions (Atlanta, GA) 19: The GhostWriters and Money Mark reppin’ OZONE @ KPFT Damage Control radio (Houston, TX) 20: Lil Jon showing off his Oakley tour bus @ Anger Management (Dallas, TX) 21: BSU Photo Credits: Bogan: #08,09,13,14 BSU: #21 DJ Fresh: #12 Julia Beverly: #02,03,04,06, 15,16,17,18,19,20 Keadron Smith: #10,11 Malik Abdul: #07 Marcus Jethro: #05 Matt Sonzala: #01
OZONE AUGUST 2005
MATHEMATICS Financial realities of the music business
DIFFERENT TYPES OF RECORD DEALS
by Wendy Day founder of Rap Coalition (RapCoalition.org and RapCointelpro.com)
here are a multitude of different deals out there for any recording artist. It depends solely on what you agree to contractually. There is no such thing as a standard contract; a contract is just an agreement between two people that says who will do what by when, what happens if they do NOT do it, and how everyone gets paid. You don’t get what you deserve in this business, you get what you negotiate. A contract can tie you up for three to seven years, so be VERY careful what you sign! Just like every deal is different, so is every record label. While one may be great at radio, another one might suck at radio but be great at blitzing the streets. It’s important to know the label’s strengths and weaknesses when negotiating a deal. In the deals I negotiate, I always make sure the artist is compensated for the area in which the label is weak. So if the label is weak at radio, for example, I make certain there is an additional budget for the artist’s team to hire their own radio promotion people. When dealing with an independent label to do a deal, it is important that they know what they are doing and have done if before, are properly financed, and are well connected in the industry. Any idiot can spend $11 at Kinko’s to print business cards saying they own a record label. You are an even bigger idiot if you sign a deal with one. It is important to have an entertainment attorney finalize any deal (or negotiate it, if you are not skilled in this area - I have done numerous deals and still always have a lawyer by my side in every deal) because it isn’t always what’s written in a contract that can hurt you, but often what is missing. Every contract is different because every situation is different! Recording contracts are set up to benefit the label and not the artist, so many changes are needed. In fact, I once heard that the average contract goes back and forth seven times. My deals go back and forth even more than that. David Banner’s paperwork went back and forth for nine months until it was right - by the time he signed his contract and got paid, his first CD had been out for six or seven months. This is not standard, nor do I recommend anyone ever put out a CD before the contract is signed. There are basically three different types of deals and then everything in-between. Deals are not quite so cut and dry, so I have outlined the three basic types of deals, but a deal can fall in between any of these extremes. All deals are attainable based on the leverage of the artist, how badly the label wants to sign the artist, who is on their team that the label sees as added value (for example, a successful producer or a connected manager), if other labels are bidding for the artist as well, and the track record of success of the artist or producers.
Head Entertainment had its short-lived deal with Universal, it was this type of deal, according to Roy Jones, Jr. The only thing the major label or distributor is really responsible for with a distribution deal is getting the CDs into stores and collecting the money. The artist does everything else. The length of the deal usually runs 3 years and rarely, if ever, goes to an artist who doesn’t already have proper funding already in place. The artist always owns the masters. This is the type of deal a successful independent label would seek with a major label after they have released numerous successful independent projects regionally. This is also the type of deal an independent label would seek from an independent distributor such as Select-O-Hits, Navarre, and/or Bayside Distribution. This is an area where artists and indie labels MUST understand the difference between being a label and being a production company. An indie label has the money to effectively market and promote a CD, the experience and know-how to do so successfully, and a strong work ethic since the indie label does everything but get the CD into the store and collect the money. A production company makes a great CD, but needs to have a label to deliver it to, because that’s all they have is a great CD. If you have a great CD but no experience and no money to market and promote, you are NOT an independent record label - I don’t care what your Kinko’s printed business card says. You are not a record label. This is why Koch, Asylum, Fontana, and TVT exist. They offer deals that allow people to think they are their own record label, but they do most of the work and advance most of the money, making it more of a joint venture deal, and usually a 60-40 split (60% to the indie label, that is). Joint Venture Deal: This is also a deal that is not easy to get from a major label without a track record of success. It is usually around a 50-50 split, and the term can run from 3 to 7 years. Most labels split the work with the artist (or indie label) but offer the sole funding for the deal. There can be an advance, which is always recoupable before the splits, and it is up to negotiation whether the label owns the masters or splits them with the artist. Most joint venture deals are not profitable for the artist, because most major labels never recoup all that they have spent. Unless you have some say over what is spent, how and where it is spent, it is hard to control this type of deal.
Distribution Deal (sometimes called a P&D deal for “pressing and distribution”): This is the most difficult deal to get. It can be an 80-20 split, with the major label making 20% and the artist making 80%. There is rarely money advanced (in a few cases I have seen pressing costs advanced).
Artist Deal: By far, this is the most popular and common record deal. The label does everything, except record the album (although they pay for it), and they have complete control and ownership. The term is usually for 5 to 7 years, and the average percentage for the artist is 12% (meaning the major label keeps 88%). Out of that percentage, the artist pays back everything the label spends that is recoupable, rarely leaving the artist any money unless the sales are exceptional (meaning platinum).
This deal is usually reserved for the most successful artists where the label perceives little risk and sees value in allowing the artist to do the bulk of the marketing, promotion, radio, and video work. Cash Money has this type of deal, as did No Limit back in the mid-90s at Priority. When Body
Hope this quick breakdown gives you a starting place to do more research!! In my next Mathematics column in the next issue of OZONE, I will break down the exact financials of an artist’s record deal. If you have any questions, please write to me at Mathematics@RapCoalition.org. OZONE AUGUST 2005
01: Gabe Tesoriero, Shawn Costner, and Ashaunna Ayars @ Young Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 02: Maino, Tone, and Yummy @ Harlem Grill (NYC) 03: Pattie and DJ Infinite reppin’ OZONE @ Firestone for Jamlando Record Pool meeting (Orlando, FL) 04: Lil Wayne, Boo, and Dizzy @ Cairo (Orlando, FL) 05: DJ Clue and DJ Ideal on South Beach (Miami, FL) 06: DJ Chill and DJ Ryno @ KPFT Damage Control radio (Houston, TX) 07: J-Mills and DJ J-Kwik @ Visions for Young Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 08: Game and Twista @ Dub car show (Miami, FL) 09: Earl Thomas and Don Dinero @ How Can I Be Down (Miami, FL) 10: Playa Rae, Tigger, and Eddie Brasco @ Club Kasanova’s (Oklahoma City, OK) 11: The Diplomats’ Jha Jha and Karen Civil reppin’ OZONE on the set of Jim Jones’ video (Miami, FL) 12: Partners N Crime @ Rap-A-Lot vs. Swishahouse celeb bball game (Houston, TX) 13: Dizzee Rascal and Nancy Byron @ the Gridiron (Houston, TX) 14: O-Solo reppin’ OZONE @ Club Raj (NYC) 15: David Banner and Zay reppin’ OZONE @ low rider car show (Houston, TX) 16: Fabolous and Young Jeezy @ Visions for his album release party (Atlanta, GA) 17: Tone, Chamillionaire, and Bruce Carbone @ his Sound of Revenge listening session (NYC) 18: Tity Boy, Ludacris, Lil Fate, I-20, and Dolla Boy @ Visions for Young Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 19: Trina the diva on her video set (Miami, FL) 20: Mike Dean, Bun B, and Willie D @ Rap-A-Lot vs. Swishahouse celeb bball game (Houston, TX) 21: Lil Flip reppin’ Treason clothing on the set of “Turn It Up” (Houston, TX) Photo Credits: Bogan: #05,11,19 J Lash: #08 Julia Beverly: #01,02,03,04, 06,07,09,14,16,17,18,21 Matt Sonzala: #12,13,20 Playa Rae: #10 T-City Promotions: #15 B16
OZONE AUGUST 2005
01: Neef and Joe Budden @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 02: ESG and Dizzee Rascal (Houston, TX) 03: Black, Mike Fresh, Webbie, and Hoe Tester on the set of Webbie’s “Bad Bitch” (Miami, FL) 04: C-Note, DJ Chill, and Hawk reppin’ OZONE (Houston, TX) 05: Get Cool and BloodRaw @ Visions (Atlanta, GA) 06: Dan and Michael Watts @ celeb bball game (Houston, TX) 07: Roland Powell and DJ Jelly @ Visions for Young Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 08: Hip-Hop Today TV @ How Can I Be Down (Miami, FL) 09: Niko and La’keia @ Bulletproof celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 10: Beat Bullies on the set of Chamillionaire’s “Tear It Up” (Houston, TX) 11: Gangsta Boo reppin’ OZONE @ Visions for Young Jeezy’s album release party (Atlanta, GA) 12: Young Buck and Redeyez reppin’ OZONE on the set of “Stay Fly” (Miami, FL) 13: Picasso and Brian Michael Cox @ Visions (Atlanta, GA) 14: A real chameleon on the set of Chamillionaire’s “Turn It Up” (Houston, TX) 15: Kaine and Mr. Collipark @ the Ying Yang Twins’ album release party (Miami, FL) 16: David Banner and OG Ron C @ Studio 7303 for his Certified listening session (Houston, TX) 17: Zay, DJ Chill, and Matt Sonzala reppin’ OZONE on the set of Chamillionaire’s “Turn It Up” (Houston, TX) 18: Lil Jon officially inducting Bryan Leach into the BME family (Dallas, TX) 19: Rasaq and Chamillionaire on the set of “Turn It Up” (Houston, TX) 20: Boo da Boss Playa, Slick Pulla, and Serious @ Visions (Atlanta, GA) 21: Gil Green reppin’ Kriminaltized Jeans (Houston, TX) Photo Credits: Bogan: #12 J Lash: #09,15 JC Crunk: #18 Julia Beverly: #03,05,07,08, 10,11,13,17,19,20,21 Keadron Smith: #16 Matt Sonzala: #02,04,06,14 Rico Da Crook: #01 B18
OZONE AUGUST 2005
WILL THERE BE A
HOT BOYS REUNION? “There’s four different people, you know, so there’s negotiations from four different angles. I’m ready to do it if they’re ready to do it. It’s easy for us four to get in the room and agree to do it, but since pretty much everybody is signed with a different record company, we’ve got to work that out first. But Baby don’t have no say-so. That’s part of the deal. Everybody wants to do it, but they fact is, they don’t want him involved. That’s how the whole thing came to be. They asked me if I wanted to do it, and since three of the four Hot Boys don’t want Baby to have no part of the project, that’s the way it’s gotta happen.” - Mannie Fresh “I talked to Mannie the other day. He’s no longer with Baby. He got his own thing he’s doing. He did some cuts for Juvenile and he’s doing some cuts for B.G. The conversation we had was basically that we need to get back together and do this thing. There’s gonna be a Hot Boy reunion when I come home.” - Turk “To tell you the truth, I heard we are about to do something like that. They asked me if I agreed. I ain’t trippin’. Maybe we will do a reunion album. That’s what I heard, but the boss gotta agree on that first. They could say he’s greedy or whatever, but the boss still gotta agree on that for me to do anything. I could say I agree and I wanna do it, but still, if he don’t agree, I can’t do it. And I’m the President of Cash Money Records now, so it’ll have to be released under Cash Money. Baby would have to sign off on it cause he gonna have to get his too.” - Lil Wayne “It’s a possibility, as long as Birdman ain’t got nothin’ to do with it. He might have to sign off on [Lil] Wayne’s behalf, but not on my behalf.” - B.G.
Is this the end of an era?
MANNIE FRESH STRIKES OUT ON HIS OWN I heard that you’ve left Cash Money and there’s a Hot Boys reunion project in the works. Well, we doing something like that, but it ain’t what y’all think. It ain’t nothin’ messed up with Cash Money, I’m just doing my own thing. That part of it is true – Chubby Boy Records. But it ain’t ended on no bad note or whatever, it’s just time for me to do me. That’s all.
“IT’S OFFICIAL THAT I’M NOT WITH [CASH MONEY] NO MORE, BUT IT AIN’T A SITUATION WHERE WE GONNA BE NAME-CALLING AND GOING BACK AND FORTH. IT’S NO BAD BLOOD.” - MANNIE FRESH
Sounds like you’re being political. It’s official that I’m not with them no more, but I’m doing my own thing. It ain’t a situation where we gonna be name-calling and going back and forth. It’s just me maturing. It’s time for me to do me. It’s no bad blood.
B.G. THE BABY GANGSTA IS LOVING LIFE AFTER CASH MONEY What’s the status of the lawsuit you filed against Cash Money? It’s looking good, really, really good. I can’t really talk much on it but it’s looking real good. You just dropped a new album? Yeah, I just dropped my new album Life After Cash Money. Life’s going good, I’m just doing what I do. I’ve got a Chopper City Boys album I’m about to drop too. How are things with Koch compared to the situation you used to be in at Cash Money? It’s alright. At the time it was the best situation for me, and I was just trying to drop an album cause I hadn’t dropped one in about two years. At that time, that was the best choice. I’m finished with that situation and I’m movin’ on now. I got like three or four different deals on the table right now for my label. Have you been in contact with Turk? Yeah, I talked to him about a week ago. They say he’s supposed to go back to court on August 1st and it’s looking good for him, so hopefully he’ll be home soon. I wish him the best in his situation and I can’t wait for him to come home. He said that it may have been a good thing he got locked up because he was able to get over his drug addiction. Ya know, if that’s how he feels about it, that’s good. I can’t really speak on that, but I know I wouldn’t want to go to jail over it. I was fortunate enough to not have to go to jail to overcome [addiction]. How did you overcome it? Just quit cold turkey? Yeah, I just felt it inside me. It just wasn’t there no more – the feeling, the drive, the craving. I was just craving money, and [heroin] and money don’t mix. OZONE AUGUST 2005
OZONE AUGUST 2005
Why are you in prison? They allege that I shot a police officer. I’ve been held without bond in Memphis, Tennessee, on attempted murder and possession of a firearm charges. The firearm charge is a federal charge. I go to court on August 1st. The judge gave [the prosecution] til the first to find a material witness. I don’t know if they’re gonna proceed or go forward with the charges. I’ve been in jail for eighteen months, and I’m finally going to get a fair trial. I’ve been waiting from the beginning. They denied all my suppression hearings and bond hearings. The police sued me for $60 million dollars before I got prosecuted. They wasn’t even tryin’ to take me to trial. Do you think you’re being treated unfairly because you’re a rapper? Yeah, that’s basically what it is. There was three of us in the house, and the other two people that was with me went home. They hit me with the charges. I’m not gonna talk about my case, but I know one thing – I’m innocent. Hopefully they’ll dismiss the charges before I even go to court and it’ll get settled like that. If we have to go to trial, the world gonna see the truth. Worst-case scenario, how much time are you looking at? To tell you the truth, I don’t even know what I’m facing because I know I didn’t do anything. I’m not worried about what I’m facing. I know I’m coming home, for a fact.
You were kinda the quietest member of Cash Money. We heard Juvenile and B.G.’s reasons for leaving, but what were your reasons?
was just the thing to do. It was like a fashion statement. All the girls wanted a nigga with the dope dick. That’s the reason why I got on it. I didn’t think I was a junkie, but now that I’m not in denial, I can see it for what it really was. Like I said, since I’ve been through that, now I could go and tell someone who’s in that same predicament that there is a way out. There is a God that can deliver you from it if you put your mind to it.
a fuck about us at all. It was all about [Baby]. When I came home from jail after 7 months, in 2001, I decided to leave and signed a deal with Koch. Have you kept in contact with anyone from Cash Money? B.G.’s been down here twice to see me. I haven’t really talked to Juve. I talked to Baby, Fresh, and Slim. Are any of them helping with your current legal situation? They ain’t fuckin’ with me like that. My court costs and all that, I’m takin’ care of. I’d say B.G. is my main dawg. He keep it real. He ain’t never changed. But when you get in a situation
Where do you think you’d be right now if you weren’t in prison? Three days before the incident [I’m in prison for] on January 26th, 2004, I got on my knees and prayed to God. I told God, “I don’t know when I’m gonna stop using drugs, unless it’s life threatening.” Three days later, I guess God answered my prayers, because right now I’m supposed to be dead. God protected me and shielded me. I know that. I’ve been here for eighteen months. Even though things look bad on the outside, I know it’s a spiritual awakening because it’s something I prayed for. I wanted deliverance from those drugs. I wanted my life back, my career back. I’ve got my own label now and a lot of people want to sign me to their label, so it’s a blessing. If the charges against you are dropped, how do you avoid falling back into the same addiction? Staying focused. Doing what I want to do and not worry about other people. Being in control of my life and accepting the things I can’t change. I can’t change drugs. I can’t change people’s attitudes. I gotta be concerned with
“BACK THEN, [HEROIN] WAS JUST THE THING TO DO. IT WAS LIKE A FASHION STATEMENT. ALL THE GIRLS WANTED A NIGGA WITH THE DOPE DICK. I DIDN’T THINK I WAS A JUNKIE, BUT NOW THAT I’M NOT IN DENIAL, I CAN SEE IT FOR WHAT IT REALLY WAS ... I GUESS GOD ANSWERED MY PRAYERS, BECAUSE RIGHT NOW I’M SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD.” The same - money problems. I wasn’t getting what I was supposed to be getting, and that’s the reason I left. Money problems. It was always supposed to be a family thing. We were young men. We trusted people, and that was our downfall. We trusted Baby to do the right thing and treat us fairly, which he didn’t. [Lil] Wayne was actually the youngest of the Hot Boys, but they raised me. I been with them since I was 15 years old, but when the big money came, Baby just wanted to be greedy. He wanted everything for himself, the money, the spotlight. He was birdfeeding us, basically, just giving us enough. We were young niggas, and he’d just give us enough to be satisfied. He was giving us cars and jewelry, but on the backend, no royalties. We were blinded to it because of all the fancy things he was giving us. When did it come to a breaking point? When did you decide to leave? I went to jail in 2000, when my Young & Thuggin’ CD came out. I kinda had that feeling, like, Damn, man, I’m locked up, I got a whole album and I’m part of the Hot Boys and these boys ain’t answering my phone calls or returning my letters - what’s going on? I went through the whole seven months trying to figure out if they were just showing me tough love cause of my drug habit, or they just sayin’ fuck me. I was confused. When i came home, Juvenile and B.G. had left. To me, that meant they ain’t give
like this here, people just tend to forget about you. [Cash Money] says they’ve got love for me. They get in all these magazines and scream my name, but that shit ain’t real. I still got love for those niggas, because I’ve got “Baby,” “Slim,” and “Mannie” tattooed on my chest. I got loyalty love for them, but it was wrong how they did a nigga. I can’t cry over spilt milk, though. I just have to learn from it and capitalize from it. I’m 24 years old now. I was young then. Now I’ve got my own label, Young & Thuggin’ Music. I’m the leader now, I’m the CEO, so I guess I had to go through that to get to where I’m at now. With this jail situation, it took me coming here to kick my drug habit and get back focused on my career.
me and what I’m doing.
When you were with Cash Money, do you think they encouraged your drug habit to keep your mind off the business? No, I wouldn’t say they condoned us getting high. They’d always tell us, “Y’all don’t want to be doing that.” I ain’t gonna put my habit on Baby. I’d say he’s probably the reason I turned to [drugs], but it’s not his fault I was putting it up my nose or putting it in my arm.
Why did he leave? Same situation. Baby playing games with money. Baby is a selfish, greedy-ass nigga. That’s just what it is. That’s no secret. So if any muthafucker is thinking he’s straight, he’s not.
Do you think that drug abuse is a severe problem in New Orleans? It’s not just in Louisiana. I love my city, so I ain’t gonna say it’s the city’s fault or the state’s fault because drugs are all over. Back then, it
Do you plan on releasing any material while you’re incarcerated? I released Penitentiary Chances last year in April. I got another album called Still A Hot Boy that I plan on releasing later on in August. I haven’t really set a release date because of my trial. I might hold it back or I might release it, it depends on how everything goes. I’ve got 21 cuts with production from DJ Toomp. There’s rumors that Mannie Fresh is also leaving Cash Money. I talked to Mannie the other day. He’s no longer with Baby.
B.G. sued Cash Money. Do you plan on taking legal action against them as well? Yeah, I plan to take legal action. Basically, everybody’s gotta take legal action against Baby because we started Cash Money. He was the CEO, but without us, it wasn’t no Cash Money. We weren’t paying attention to the paperwork like we should’ve, and we were so young. Fifteen, sixteen years old. OZONE AUGUST 2005
Have you started classes at the University of Houston? Yes ma’am. I’m in my second semester. How does it feel to go from the rap game to a classroom? I’m not actually sitting in class every day. To tell the truth, it’s just like another job. I have a tutor, so I just go into the classes to take the exams. There are rumors that Mannie Fresh is leaving Cash Money. I think Mannie’s already gone. I think he’s already got a solo deal with someone. I don’t really wanna say who, because I’m not sure. Have you seen that coming for a while? You know, I’ve been the only child by my mother for twenty years. I’m 22 now and my brother is two. My momma always told me to worry about myself first. That’s all I ever did – focus on myself and what’s gonna better me. I guess that type of stuff would’ve been a blur to me, because I’m so focused on me. When it happened, I didn’t really see it coming, because I’m focused on me. Having interviewed Turk, B.G., and other people who have done business with Baby, everybody says the same thing: he’s greedy, doesn’t take care of his
people. Do you think it’s different in your situation because of the relationship? I mean, that has a lot to do with it, but that relationship just began. I mean, he’s been my father since day one, but the way the world is seeing the relationship now is new. They’re looking at it like I’m the one he really cares about, but it just became like that. No one else is around. At the end of the day when the smoke clears, he can see who’s still there. You never had the same type of money problems that Juvenile, Turk, and B.G. complained about? Like I said, I’m the youngest, so I can’t speak for a grown man. They probably had different issues than me. To me, $100,000 is like a million dollars. I could live off that for two years. I wouldn’t even ask for no money, and my mom, she’s a well-off woman. She’s a working woman. Even though I’m signed to Baby, still to this day, my momma will break her neck to get me anything. It was always that way. It’d be times when everybody had just got a new car. I’d come around with a new car three months later because my mom bought it for me.
So it wasn’t an issue because you weren’t hurting for money. Not at all. Do you think Mannie Fresh’s departure from Cash Money will affect your career? Any Lil Wayne fan knows that they bought Lil Wayne’s album not because of the single, but because Lil Wayne can spit. You don’t think Mannie leaving would have the same result as Beats By The Pound leaving No Limit? I never listened to No Limit so I don’t really know, but you know, music is changing and evolving. Back in the day, that music was what was up. It still is. You’ve got Young Jeezy’s hottest single with Mannie Fresh. But you’ve also got Swizz Beatz, Kanye West, and a lot of other producers. I’ve come to that point as an artist where I’ve got to grow. Any Lil Wayne fan can go back to my first round of spitting and they’ll know that I touched the mic to rap, not to make you move just to make you listen. So for me, as an artist, I’m progressing, so I need my music to also. Me sticking with Mannie Fresh would be the same sound.
Who are you working with for your new album? Swizz Beatz, Cool & Dre from the Terror Squad, Havoc from Mobb Deep, X-Files, Howard M from Baton Rouge, and my man from the Dipset. I heard you and Camron are real cool. Yeah, that’s my big brother. When I come to the city, I don’t have to stay in the hotel. That type of shit. I’m on Juelz Santana’s second single, and me and Boo hopped on their mixtape. Juelz and Young Jeezy got a mixtape coming out and I jumped on that too. When you get calls from artists like Destiny’s Child and Bobby Valentino for appearances, do you feel like you’re getting more respect as a lyricist on a mainstream level? I think the Destiny’s Child thing was just because they from the South and they keeping it real. That’s how we all looked at it. T.I. and Wayne, that’s the South, so I felt like that’s what that was about. As far as Bobby, we just real cool. To tell you the truth, I sent the song back to him with one verse and they sent it right back like, “Yo, you need to do two verses.” I mean, I appreciate it. Do you think you don’t get the same type of respect as a lyricist from New York? Of course I don’t get that type of respect, but you can’t blame that on the South. You can’t
blame that on where you’re from. If you’re talented, you’re talented. Some of the greatest muthafuckers come from places you ain’t never heard of. It ain’t really about that. I just don’t get the exposure everybody gets. I stay low, I stay in the cut. My lights always dim. You see people like 50 Cent and them on TV all day so you have no choice but to see them. There’s been plenty of 50 songs I hated just cause I heard it so much.
What is Slim’s role in Cash Money? Slim owns it. Baby is the mouth. Slim’s the brains, though. He makes all the final decisions. Everything we’ve ever said, everything Baby’s ever done is what Slim told him to do. Slim sits back and watches. On the tour bus back in the days as the Hot Boys, that’s what I did. B.G. and all them rode Baby’s bus, but I always rode on Slim’s bus. I’ve got that same attitude. I guess I didn’t see what they saw.
Do you think that’s because of the machine that’s behind you? It ain’t about the machine that’s behind me, it’s the machine that’s behind them.
What artists do you have on Young Money? First up is my man Currency, he used to be in No Limit. That’s my first solo artist, then I got a roster full after that.
So if you were on Interscope, you’d be more commercially successful? Probably so. But I love my situation; I wouldn’t give it up for the world. I’m President of a selfmade company. I never have to make another rap in my life. Every day I wake up wondering if I still want to be a rapper, and that’s kinda scary. I really do wake up thinking, man, I got so much stuff to do now. I don’t even have time to go to the studio, and when I do go to the studio, I’m trying to get my artist to record.
Are most of the artists you’ve signed based in New Orleans? Well, Boo – from Boo & Gotti – is from Chicago. He said when it’s time for his album to come out he’s gonna flip a coin to decide if it’ll come out through Cash Money or Young Money. Boo’s in this group I got comin’ out called the Paperboys. It’s gonna be crazy – it’s me, Boo, Kurupt, and Juelz. East coast, West coast, down South, Midwest. We haven’t recorded any songs yet, but we’re anxious right now. We’re just excited that everybody’s been approved. Everybody’s situation is straight; we got all the paperwork done.
So you’re literally in the office every day, doing paperwork and sitting behind a desk? Yeah. I’m the CEO of my label, Young Money, and the President of Cash Money. The Young Money office is located in Miami, and the Cash Money office of course will always be located in New Orleans.
Are you working on a new solo album? The Carter 2 is coming in October. They keep leakin’ it, but it’s cool. I assure you that no songs that get leaked will be on The Carter 2. They’re making me work harder. - Julia Beverly
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PAUL WALL BABY WORDS: MATT SONZALA PHOTOS: MIKE FROST Houston is getting a lot more media attention these days. Do you think you’re partly responsible for that? Naw, I just played my role in keeping the torch lit. Even if there never woulda been a Paul Wall, it still would’ve happened. I think a lot of it comes from UGK, with Pimp C being locked up. That has a lot to do with the media and press situation, because everybody wants to know what he’s locked up for, when he’s getting out, what is Bun B doing, and what are their plans for when he gets out. I think that draws a lot of attention to it, and being a positive person, you can look at the positive in the situation. Of course it’s a bad thing that he’s locked up, but it could always be worse. Just looking at the positive in the situation has drawn a lot of attention to what’s going on in Houston. When anybody asks about Houston rap, you can’t mention Houston rap without mentioning what Rap-A-Lot has done with J Prince and the Geto Boys, and of course what UGK has done. You can’t mention Texas rap without mentioning UGK, so naw, I don’t feel responsible. We’ve had everything in Texas for years – our own distribution, sales, and fans, but we never really had the media. Now all of a sudden it’s like a media feeding frenzy down here. Do you think people like yourself, Chamillionaire, and Slim Thug have brought it to the next level? Well, back then we was just on some different type stuff. I was real bragadocious back then. We were all in the Swishahouse. It was just about bragging about how much money we had, how fly we were. It was all about being fly. Of course we got a lot of that from the Screwed Up Click, because the way Lil Keke used to deliver his raps was just so fly. He’d take something so simple and add emphasis to it and change the way it came out. I think a lot of the country is so one-track minded that they never expected this to happen. But when you’ve got sounds like the Hot Boys and No Limit in Louisiana, and you look at what Nelly did for St. Louis, those are respected styles coming from those areas. Not that everybody in Louisiana sounds like the Hot Boys or No Limit or that everybody in St. Louis sounds like Nelly, but you definitely can tell where they’re from. In Houston, you’ve B26
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got myself, Mike Jones, Slim Thug, we don’t all sound the same but you can tell from our slang and our voice that we all come from the same background. That’s what the different geographical regions have done for music. They’ve brought their scene and culture to the rest of the world, and that’s what’s going on in Houston. Houston is dead smack in the middle of the country and dead smack at the bottom. We’ve been living in our own little world down here for so long. We didn’t get any media attention and that was cool with us cause we were getting money. A lot of other people around the country were getting a gang of media attention but they weren’t getting too much money. We’re trying to introduce this sound to the rest of the world. Shouts out to DJ Screw for inventing this.
But you have to admit it’s fallen off a little bit. Ten years ago when these stations were really fighting each other, they were a lot more open to supporting the community. But Houston never had to rely on radio. What’s it take for an independent artist to really infiltrate the streets in Houston? It’s a combination of a lot of things. Of course, your music gotta jam, and you gotta be consistent with your music. You can’t just jam every now and then; that ain’t gonna work. You gotta be consistent with it. It also takes time and patience. Swishahouse been doing this since 1995. I started rapping in 1999 with Swishahouse but I was doing stuff with them in terms of street promotion and DJing since 1996 or 1997. It takes time. If it’s meant to be, it’s gonna be. People rush things too much; they jump the gun or switch their style up. I think the main thing is just being patient. Most people aren’t patient and they want to compete There’s a lot of articles about Houston fo- on the same level as the big boys. You just gotta cused on beef within the city. I don’t really do you and make good music. see that. Artists say that Houston doesn’t show support. Houston is hot right now, but it’s also a close-knit I hear a lot of people in Houston say that. community. How is it for outside producers or laThey’re like, “Aw, man, the radio be hating.” bels coming in and looking for Houston artists? But if you look at the playlists statistically, With the success of songs that have a sample in Houston shows more love to local artists than the hook, like “Still Tippin’,” “Back Then,” “Sitany other city across the country except for tin’ Sideways,” and even “They Don’t Know,” too maybe Atlanta, New York, and L.A Any station many people are trying to do that. They gonna wear in the country is gonna be playing Lil Jon and that shit out. It’s already worn out in my eyes. If T.I., cause that shit’s hot. If you’re in Atlanta you keep doing that shit, it takes away from it. and they’re playing T.I., that’s not the same They think that all you’ve got to do to make a as playing a local artist. Yeah, he’s from At- Houston artist pop is to get a song with a sample lanta, but he’s not a local artist. He’s a na- in the hook. I think that takes away from what tional artist. Houston is the only city in the the city has to offer. Going back to the samples country – at least from what I’ve seen, and we took, that shit ain’t nothin’ new. That’s been I’ve been to every radio station in the coun- going on in Houston forever. When UGK did “Diatry – at any given time, you’re gonna have an monds and Wood,” it was a sample from the Screw independent artist on the playlist in Houston. tape [Grace]. And that’s a classic song. People are They always show a lot of love to local talent. wearing it out now; putting any type of sample ot I really didn’t notice that at first cause I was any type of beat. That shit ain’t working. People caught up in that too, thinking they’re hating. need to just do them. Of course Screw music is the It’s not that they’re hating, they’ve just gotta backbone of Houston, but there’s a lot of people follow protocol. There’s procedures they have who are not coming up in that Screw genre. You’ve to go through and people they’ve gotta an- got people like Chingo Bling – his fans aren’t necswer to. They can’t just play whatever they essarily fans of his because he’s slowed down. Peowant. It’s a system, and you’ve gotta respect ple like Chingo Bling because he’s Chingo Bling. that. If you abide by the rules and you’ve got But at the same time, you’ve gotta respect the some jammin’ music, it’s gonna get played Screw Above all you’ve gotta respect the Screw. though. If you don’t respect DJ Screw and the Screwed Up
Click and people came before you and paved the way and laid the foundation for all this shit, then you’re stepping on people’s toes. I hear people say, “Man, I ain’t with that Screw music, I’m doing some other stuff.” Not to discredit them, but they’re separating themselves from the heart of the city. The heart of the city is what DJ Screw created. That’s not to say they won’t survive, but that’s always the rumor in Houston. They say people aren’t gonna like your music unless it’s screwed. That’s not necessarily true, but I just think that’s embedded in people’s minds. Here in Houston, if it’s done right, it just sounds better Screwed. It sounds better to us. But shit, Jay-Z is jammin’, whether he’s Screwed or regular spee. I’ve met a bunch of big-name producers who have moved to Houston, and it seems like they all have the same agenda. They move to Houston with more of a pop sound or a national sound, some production more appropriate for Puffy Daddy or Snoop. Like what Pharrell tried to do with Slim Thug. That shit don’t work. Even with me. When we were working on the album, my buzz and the media attention is humongous, so we were trying to find out what we could do to get radio play. They’re like, “Let’s get Pharrell or Timbaland or Dr. Dre on a beat and somebody big on a feature or a hook.” That’s what a lot of people moving to Houston are trying to do – bring that mainstream sound. But that’s not gonna work. That didn’t work with Slim Thug. What worked with Slim Thug was “Three Kings,” which had him rapping on a Texas beat that Mr. Lee made. He had Bun B and TI on there, and he was doing Slim Thug. That’s what works. I don’t know if it was Interscope or Geffen holding it up. I know it wasn’t Slim Thug, cause he was tellin’ me the whole time, “Man, I don’t know why they won’t push this ‘Three Kings.’” If they would’ve pushed “Three Kings” it would’ve been one of the biggest singles of last year. But Slim still did incredible his first week. Interscope thought “Still Tippin’” wasn’t gonna work, but now everybody over there is kicking themselves in the ass because they didn’t put it on Slim’s album. “Still Tippin’” was originally Slim Thug’s song? Yeah, of course. It’s his freestyle, his hook. Did you have a problem with that becoming a Mike Jones single? Even in Vibe magazine, they made it sound like Mike Jones was doing you and Slim a favor to put y’all on his song. Naw. To be honest, I was just happy to have a song that was as big a hit as “Still Tippin’.” T Farris put me on the song. Originally they did “Still Tippin’” to a different beat and it just wasn’t it. That just wasn’t the one. The beat for “Still Tippin’” that you hear today was the last beat we had left for The Day Hell Broke Loose Pt. 2 and nobody wanted to rap on it. The way the beat was tracked, it was just a constant loop and it was hard to write to. T just told me to write to it as a freestyle. That’s what I did. Salih Williams made both of those beats, and “Back Then” and “Sittin’ Sideways” too. I was just honored to be on the song. I don’t want to discredit Mike by saying it’s Slim’s song, but it is Slim’s song. it was originally on The Day Hell Broke Loose Part 2. When that song was originally made, it was around the same time that major changes started happening at Swishahouse. People always compare Houston to Atlanta. They say, “Man, we need to get along, like they do in Atlanta.” But shit, if you go to Atlanta, everybody don’t always get along. There’s a lot of
camaraderie; that’s true. You see a lot of people doing features with other artists, because Atlanta has so many major acts: Monica, Usher, Lil Jon, TI, Goodie Mob, Boyz N Da Hood, Young Jeezy, Jermaine Dupri, Mariah Carey, Jagged Edge, Ciara, Ludacris, the list goes on. When Usher gets on a song with TI, I don’t think it’s because he’s from Atlanta, it’s because he’s one of the number one rappers in the country. When I do a song with Slim Thug, I consider him one of the prominent rappers in the country When I do a song with Bun B, it’s because he’s a legend. It’s not just because he’s from Houston, it’s because I respect his music and his hustle. There’s only one or two people in Houston that don’t get along with everybody. With everything happening in Houston, do you see the music industry migrating here to give it the backbone that Atlanta has? Realistically, it’s just a matter of time. Houston is the fourth largest city in the country, so that shit is bound to happen anyway. The rap scene in Houston has been so “local” for a long time and everybody doubted the sound, but look at the sales. Chicago was Mike Jones’ #1 market. Chicago bought more Mike Jones CDs than Houston and Dallas did. It’s not a local sound. The sound is everywhere. I was in the airport today and I got stopped by some white kids from Iowa! For real! They mama came up to me and asked me to take pictures with her kids. I threw a peace sign up and they was like, “Aw, he chunkin’ the deuce.” Cuz they saw me on MTV with Sway. When MTV came down here, they brought so much attention to what’s going on in Houston. Shortly after the Swishahouse/Asylum deal, it was announced that you’d gone over to Atlantic. How did that happen? Well, Asylum is a branch off of Warner Bros. and Atlantic. So when we go to Asylum, the ultimate goal is to get upstreamed to either Atlantic or Warner Bros. Mike Jones got upstreamed to Warner Bros., so strategically, it was good for me to go to Atlantic. If we were both on Warner they would always push us together and have us do everything together, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it takes away from our individuality. Being on Atlantic, they can focus on pushing me. We both support each other and team up when we can for the big situations. T.I. and Grand Hustle are also teamed up with Atlantic, so since I’m so close with them Atlantic has taken notice of me for a long time.
when Watts used to let me pass out flyers for him. Then he started putting me on mix CDs. It was an honor just to be in the mix. I give him 100% of the credit. T Farris put me on “Still Tippin’,” which gave me a lot of publicity and exposure. I give Swishahouse 100% of my credit, next to God. Whatever Mike’s got going on, he’s doing his thing. I support him and what he do. I really have no idea what’s going on. I don’t know why he don’t stay Swishahouse. It’s good to hear you being positive about the situation. But even during the short time you weren’t with Swishahouse, your release with Chamillionaire, Get Ya Mind Correct, was an independent milestone for Houston in terms of sales and style. Thank you. A lot of that was just because we teamed up with Madd Hatta and Cat and Paid in Full. Madd Hatta is just a genius when it comes to making business decisions, and Cat’s work ethic is phenomenal. They didn’t’ force anything on us and let us make our own decisions with the direction we wanted to go. We were young and ready to work, just happy to be in that position. We were full of energy and made it into a positive situation. I was just happy to be a part of it. I’ve been blessed because my whole career, from start to finish, has been a lot of good situations. I’m still climbing the ladder though. It’s good to see the amount of success I’ve had to day, and I’m not even at the top yet. I’m still in the middle. But even if everything ends today, I can honestly look back and say, “Damn, I had one hell of a career.” I’m just blessed to be where I’m at.
Mike Jones doesn’t seem to be reppin’ Swishahouse anymore on TV or in interviews. Just an observation. Have you noticed that? Yeah, definitely. Shit, not just in interviews, but he ain’t. I support Mike in what he do. I don’t know if that’s something he’s got with Swishahouse, or if he’s just doing his own thing. He’s always had the Ice Age company, so that aint’ nothing new.
Have you heard Chamillionaire’s new Man on Fire disc and the shots he took at you? He’s claiming that he ghostwrote stuff for you on Get Ya Mind Correct. I’ve heard about it, but I haven’t heard the CD myself. Man, I ain’t worried about that shit. I don’t concern myself with those type of things. I focus on positive things, like putting down $80,000 on this house to bring my interest rates down. I’m not worried about negativity. I wish him all the best. I hope he’s successful. I ain’t got no hard feelings. I hope he sells a million records his first week, cause if he does, everybody who buys his album is gonna go back and buy Get Ya Mind Correct and Controversy Sells. That’s more money in my pocket.
How much credit do you give Swishahouse in your career? Me? Shit, 100% of my credit. I would’t be shit without Michael Watts, G. Dash, and T Farris. They started all the shit with me back in 1996
You are one of the few rappers who seems to stay out of all the beef. There’s been situations where I’ve thought about it, and I played chess. I think actions speak louder than words. I don’t talk about it, I
Is it still Swishahouse though? Oh, yeah, everything we do is Swishahouse. We’re just using Atlantic and Asylum’s resources. The artists signed to Swishahouse are myself, Mike Jones, Archie Lee, Cooda Bang, Aqueleo, and R&B singer Crystal.
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and Hawk, they came before me and they kind of helped bring me to where I’m at today. They reached out to me at different times and gave me a helping hand. Bun B came and did some stuff with me and gave me a helping hand. That let me know I need to help somebody else and keep it going. I gotta keep showing love down the line and help people coming out behind me. It’s not just about me, it’s about keeping the heart pumping in the city. That’s why I always let it be known about what DJ Screw has done.
be about it as best I can. I’m Paul Wall. Part of me is a real nice guy. But shit, I’ve got a temper too. If you push my buttons enough I’m gonna go off. When I listen to music, though, I don’t wanna hear about that shit. I just wanna hear good music. Since that’s what I want to hear, I try to abide by those same principles when I’m making music. My career doesn’t thrive off making a scene and stirring up commotion and trouble. I’ve been blessed to be around people like Salih Williams and Pretty Todd and Calvin Earl, the G.R.i.T. boys and Yung Redd and Trae who support me 100% in everything I do. The industry likes to play up all of that controversy though. Have you ever been approached by someone in the business who might want you to jump into these controversies? Oh yeah, definitely, a lot. And shit, I be doing interviews sometimes and they try to rile me up. Only magazines I got at my house is OZONE. What producers are you working with? I got Salih Williams, and I wish I would have got more from him but he’s so hot right now it’s hard to get with him. I got KLC from the Medicine Men. DJ Paul and Juicy J, Sanchez and K-O from Grand Hustle and of course the Grid Iron, Pretty Todd and Calvin Earl. You came up with Pretty Todd right? Yeah, we went to college together at the University of Houston. I’ve known him longer than that, but that’s when we first started clicking up and hanging tough. Myself, Calvin and Pretty Todd, we all pretty much have the same vision. Musically we want to make good music, with musical concepts and themes. We don’t want to make the same music, we want to make groundbreaking music. We don’t want to make the same old shit and we don’t want to make trendy music for now, we want to make timeless music where you can put the song in five years from now and it’s still gonna jam. That’s the ultimate goal for what we’re doing. We all have our own different backgrounds and creative concepts and roles that we play. The shit that they doing is just ferocious. And with the G.R.i.T. Boys and Yung Redd teaming up too, I’m just happy to be a part of it. I know I keep saying that shit, but I never in a million years expected that I’d be in the position that I’m in. Never. So just for me to be here is like wow, I’m just happy to be here. I’m enjoying this to the fullest, living it up and trying to make sure my stay here lasts as long as it can. And I’m trying to do what’s right. People like Bun B and Big Hawk, they really reached out to me. And they helped me in my journey and in my path and being that they are legends, Bun B B28
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You’re one of the few white rappers that doesn’t come off as a gimmick. With me, it was never an issue growing up. My mom always instilled in me that I’m Paul. It’s not that I’m white and everyone else is black, I’m just Paul and they are who they are. It don’t make a difference what race you are. Houston is so multi-cultural. Since we’re so close to the border of Mexico, the Hispanic population is humungous. And we’re so close to the Gulf of Mexico that the Caribbean is right around the corner, so we’ve got a large Jamaican population, Cuban population, Puerto Rican population and Trinidadian population. The Indian population is huge. The Asian population is huge. There’s only two airports in America that fly directly into Pakistan, and Houston is one of them. The city is multi-cultural. My mom always instilled that in me and taught me anti-racism. She wasn’t even neutral about the shit; she taught me that it’s not cool to be racist. Shit, it’s 2005, not 1960. It’s never been an issue with me in life or in rap. It’s just me being me. The only place people really mention it is when I go on the East coast. Other than that, nobody ever points it out. I’m cool with a lot of rappers, and I’m cool with other white rappers like Haystak, Bubba Sparxxx, and White Dawg. Racism is a lot more prominent up North even though people have the perception that the South is racist. That stigma also relates to the fact that we never had the media down here. People don’t even know what Houston is about, like you say in the song. Yeah, just like Bun says, “All they know is what we tell ‘em and what we sell ‘em.” That’s all they know. They don’t’ even really grasp what we have going on. They have no idea. That’s why people on a major label say, “We have an album, let’s get it screwed and chopped,” and go to the cheapest DJ they can find. Then it don’t sell because the DJ didn’t do it right. They could’ve just went to Michael Watts. They don’t understand that just anybody can’t screw and chop. Even to this day, if DJ Screw didn’t do it, it ain’t screwed. But at the same time, we’ve gotta honor his legacy, so that’s why we call it screw music. DJ Screw is a legend. He paved the way and created the backbone of everything we are in Houston. What are some of the records that you’ve screwed and chopped as a DJ? I did T.I.’s Urban Legend, Lil Flip’s last CD, the new C-Murder and Master P CDs. I did Z-Ro’s Let The Truth Be Told. But the one that I took the most pride in was DEA. That was DJ Screw’s group, Dead End Alliance. Screw, Fat Pat, Hawk, Lil Keke, KK, and all the main rappers from the first Screwed Up Click were on that album. 3-2, ESG, and Big Moe were on the album too. It was a classic, one of my favorite albums of all time. I always asked Hawk when he was gonna put out the screwed and chopped version, and I bugged him so much he was like “Go on and do it.” I did it and took a lot of pride in that. I went back
and listened to a lot of Screw tapes and tried to emulate it as best as I could. What’s the going rate for an album to get screwed and chopped? Do you make a lot of money doing that? Yeah, a lot of it depends on the artist. There’s always different ways. Of course, getting points on the album is one way. As far as flat fees, it can be anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000. It depends on the artist, the label, the relationship, and the album. Is it a lengthy process you have to put a lot of thought into or is it just natural? I just jump in and knock it right out. I can do it in a few hours, a whole day or so. But Michael Watts, he really put a lot of time into it. Every project he does. Shit Michael Watts doing his thing. He doing a great job of carrying the torch, carrying on the legacy. When was the first time you heard DJ Screw? When I heard rap I heard Screw. There was Screw tapes and there was the radio. As a little kid I didn’t understand what it was all about, I just thought that that shit was jammin’ more than the radio was jammin’. Shit, it’s just what we would listen to. It’s just like any other form of music. There’s country, rock, jazz, classical, rap, pop, R&B, and Screw music. For me it was just an option of a different form of music. You’ve set a new landmark though, because you are screwing and chopping The Transplants, a rock album. How did that come about, and how does that process differ from screwing and chopping a rap CD? Man, it pretty much was the same process, but it took a lot of effort. I had always been a fan of Tim Armstrong and Rancid and Travis Barker and Blink 182 and Skinhead Rob anyway. I met them at Atlantic Records’ offices. When we met they was showing me love, telling me they were fans of my music. I was like, “Man, you gotta be kidding me. Y’all are fans of my music?” They played me their new album and I was like, “Man, y’all need to let me go on and screw and chop that bitch.” They were like, “Hell yeah.” They just wanted to hear how it would sound. Atlantic asked me to do it on a promotional tip, but the buzz around it got so big that they decided to put out a commercial release. Just like anything else, I’m just happy to be a part of it. Do you listen to rock music too? Yeah, I listen to a lot of different forms of music. I gotta diversify. I can’t just watch BET Uncut and 106th & Park all the time, either. I watch Bill O’Reilly, everything. Even though I don’t agree with thing I see on Bill O’Reilly all the time and the way he talks to people, it’s good to watch it just from an educational standpoint. I’m trying to understand a different side of the fence. I’m trying to understand where he’s coming from, even though I don’t agree with it. It helps me step my game up. I watch CNN and Court Tv and Forensic Files. A lot of shit. It ain’t just entertainment all the time. I’m soaking up information. Outside of hip-hop, who are some of the artists you listened to coming up? Sade. That was one of the first CDs I screwed and chopped on my own. I use to jam to Phil Collins with Jimmy D in the lab. I got that from a lot of my older partnas in the hood. They used to jam that shit, and I was like, “Man, that shit jammin’.”
f honesty is brutal and the truth hurts, Killer Mike is pain personified. Known among his peers as a man who holds his tongue for no one (not even his mentors Outkast), Killa Kill from Adamsville has used his talents to speak on whatever comes to mind and doesn’t give a damn what you think about it. Rather, he’s concerned that you think about it.
words: MAURICE G. GARLAND photos: JULIA BEVERLY B30
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Today, however, Mike is actually pondering what people think of him, or not think of him, for that matter. “I wasn’t on [OZONE’s] 25 Greatest Southern artists list, and that’s a problem for me,” he growls, puffing on a freshly unwrapped Al Capone cigar. “Somehow in the midst of twenty-five muthafuckas my name gets forgotten? I’ma make sure that never happens again.”
admits the artist who once recorded a song titled “Rap Is Dead.” “But you got to understand that the stance I was coming from wasn’t a criticism of Dre, it was a critique of the state of Hip Hop. Nobody is above critiquing; niggas come to me all the time and tell me they think I sound better over certain beats. I should be open enough to accept that shit. I don’t have a problem with Dre, but I’m just like any other fan. I’m asking, ‘Why the fuck you stop rapping? Nigga, you one of the top 5 emcees I ever heard in my life, why don’t you love rap anymore?’ I genuinely want to know. [Dre] gets in some articles and says Hip Hop done ran its course and don’t have nothing left. How can you say that when you got niggas like Webbie and Boosie putting Baton Rouge on the map and the south approaching its zenith? Or niggas like Talib Kweli becoming your favorite street rapper’s favorite rapper and niggas like Bun B staying in the game 15 years and still rapping hard?”
Being left off that list wasn’t the first time amnesia has fallen on Killer Mike’s name. His lyrically acclaimed but production-critiqued 2003 debut Monster quietly sold 511,000 copies off the strength of the singles “A.D.I.D.A.S.,” “Akshon (Yeah!),” and its crunked-out remix “Re-Akshon.” But, according to Mike, Columbia Records (pun intended) killed the project’s chances of going platinum when they undershipped the record, thus making Monster lovers buy the CD from the local bootlegger. On top of that, his label Aquemini Records’ distribution home, Sony, merged with BMG and laid-off most the people responsible for promoting his record, thus pushing it further down the priority list. That string of events resulted in a failure to completely exploit the exposure he was receiving from his breakthrough appearance on that year’s anthem, Bonecrusher’s “Neva Scared.”
Ever the optimist, Mike hasn’t looked at the situation as a failure. Instead, he’s acting like Dre isn’t the only peer/elder to feel Killer a shark on a mission for its elusive prey after Mike’s compassioncatching the scent of ate wrath. On his DJ its blood. “That situ“I DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH [ANDRE Sense mixtape The ation just keeps me 3000], BUT JUST LIKE ANY OTHER FAN, I’M he uses “Dundoing my crunches and ASKING, ‘WHY THE FUCK YOU STOP RAPPING? Killer, geon Family Dedicapush-ups and writing a WHY DON’T YOU LOVE RAP ANYMORE?’ I tion” to both praise little later at night,” GENUINELY WANT TO KNOW.” - KILLER MIKE and plead his extendsays Mike about his ed family to return to album that pretty much attained slept-on status the day it was re- into a Memphis Bleek mold where his mentors the rap game and reestablish themselves. leased. “Who would have thought that a nigga are constantly telling him he’s just one hit from Adamsville would be heard and appreci- away. But, Killer Kill has already come of age, “They did something great,” he says in a voice ated by that many people? But this time I want got The Understanding and is looking to use this hinting that no one else agrees with him. “In album to show he is a M.A.D.E. man. the South it has always been about humility, but to sell 1 to 5 million.” really, fuck humility! Everybody talks bad about “This time” translates into Killer Mike’s sopho- “I’m not just some dude Outkast brought out,” T.O. but no one gave a shit about him until he more release Ghetto Extraordinary, an album frowns the rapper who got introduced to listen- started giving a fuck about himself. So if by asthat has the poise, production, and personnel ers on ‘Kast’s 2000 drum-and-bass romp “Funk- sociation I’m DF, I’ma rep this shit and never to propel Mike to that million-selling mark. anella.” “I’m me. I was blessed to be signed by let you forget what legacy I’m a part of. The DF Monster was recorded on a strict budget that the premiere rap group on earth. It ain’t a gift flag done landed in the muthafucking mud, so I’ma pick it up. I just can’t rep no shit that gets saw him using affordable studios and no big- and curse, its gift man.” overlooked.” name appearances. His new album, however, sees him with more resources, including his own The biggest gift to be received from his assostudio conveniently located across from ‘Kast’s ciation so far is the 2002 Grammy for Best Rap At the same time, he is also planting his own Stankonia Studios and a little assistance from Performance by a Group or Duo for his part in flag in the ground, Grind Time Official. Com“The Whole World.” But the blessing in disguise prised of S.L. Jones, Young Pill, Nickel Plated Three 6 Mafia, 8 Ball & MJG, and Jagged Edge. is the fact that he is now in a fresh situation. Nario, Bigg Slim, Jackpot, G.G. McGhee, Zach The self-proclaimed “King Kong of the South” Aquemini, the label founded and ran by Big Boi Nichols, Sharpshooter, Cuzo and Shawty Mark, continues to spit his brash blend of street in- and Andre 3000, dissolved after Dre decided to GTO is a team of lyricists that Mike feels will do tellectualism, prototypical G shit and flat out pursue a career in Hollywood instead of acting him proud and keep him sharp as well. soapboxing by cranking out the police brutal- like a record exec. Now the new Big Boi-helmed ity addressing “Shot Down,” the semi-auto- Purple Ribbon imprint, which is also home to “I don’t need those industry relationships where biographical “Mama Said,” and “Niggas Down Sleepy Brown, Bubba Sparxxx, Konkrete and we cool one year and we dissing each other next. I’d rather make friends with a bunch dope South,” a reworked version of Master P and Scar, is where the Killer rests. ass niggas who hungry,” he boasts, mentionUGK’s decade old classic “Playaz From the South.” His first single “My Chrome” has all the “You’re gonna get a better sense of who I am ing that all of their recording goes down at his makings of a hit: a cameo from a commercially because I’m out here by myself now,” says the Grind House studio. “I want to be a conduit for accepted multi-platinum selling artist (Big Boi) former Morehouse College philosophy major other niggas who are great. If you ain’t helping who went to school as a part of a bet to prove others then you living your life in vain.” and a dancer-clad video by Hype Williams. a naysaying high school teacher wrong. “You “I don’t want to be a B-level artist my whole ca- don’t see Big and Dre next to me all the time Ultimately, the artist born Michael Santiago reer. And the only way to do that is to crush, kill ‘cause they doing their thing. So that puts me in Render wants to see the culture he loves and knows like the back of his hand help itself. He and destroy,” says Mike, whose cynical voice- the best light I ever been in, totally alone.” feels that the only way to do that is to speak mail threatens, “If I don’t go platinum, I’m going back to robbing niggas.” “Its not about my But loneliness is a feeling that’s hard to deal the truth. art being B-level, it’s just that when you don’t with, and Mike has been dealing with it the go platinum then that’s just what it is. I ain’t best way he knows how, rapping about it with “Niggas telling you the truth about the good shit stupid. Reebok ain’t called me about my en- that brutal honesty of his. The outspoken MC about coming up, but not the whole truth. Part snatched ears like a snagged doorknocker when of the truth is just as bad as a lie,” he says. dorsement deal.” he called out his movie-making mentor on DJ “Yeah, I used to make money off crack, but that Mike’s perception of A-level is a towering one. Drama’s Gangsta Grillz XI. In the society gut- shit ain’t good for the neighborhood. It fucked How can you ever be satisfied with a gold-sell- check “Bad Day Worse Day” Mike emphatically a lot of people up. The first time I ever counted ing record when you’ve been discovered and rhymed: “Q-Tip’s singing, Dre 3000 acting/Got out $10,000 to myself, just from the stench of endorsed by Outkast, who’ve sold over 17 mil- damn, niggas too good for this rappin’?/I’m just the money and the thought of what I had to do asking, what the fuck happened?” to get it, I threw up. That’s the truth.” lion albums? Hell, the way things look, he could easily fall
“That put a strain on our relationship at first,”
Does it hurt yet? OZONE AUGUST 2005
What was your career path? Did you go to college? I majored in history at Vassar and then I became a paralegal for a big law firm. I was on my way to law school when I started freelance writing because I was interested in pop culture. A friend of mine, Kevin Powell, encouraged me to try and get published. He was very instrumental when I was starting to write. I go published in Vibe and a few other magazines, just little pieces here and there. That led to me working at Arista’s publicity department as an assistant. I was just trying to meet more editors to get more writing assignments, and plus, I liked music. Arista went through some changes and I ended up taking on more responsibilities, so basically I got into public relations by accident. I started doing campaigns and reaching out to journalists. I was there at Arista when Bad Boy was launching Craig Mack and Biggie, so that was interesting to work with them from the ground up. I got an offer to go over to Jive, where I worked with KRS-One and Tribe Called Quest. I ended up coming to Universal from Jive. To sum it up, I went to college to go to law school but I ended up in publicity, and due to having solid relationships with journalists and editors and growing with those people, I was able to get this position. I think it’s a real blessing to work around music and creativity at this level. Since your degree isn’t applicable to the music industry, do you think college was a waste of time? No, I don’t. There are different types of publicity – there’s event planning, personal party publicists, and publicity for a label. Publicity for a label involves strategically planning from the ground up. You’re taking a completely unknown artist from A to Z. It encompasses the other parts of publicity. A lot of people think it’s just getting into parties and stuff like that, but you need skills to do this type of job. You need to be able to analyze the artist; figure out how they’re different from everybody else. You’ve got to be able to sell them to smart people, because writers and journalists read just about everything. You can’t pull the wool over them. You have to be articulate. Fresh out of high school, I don’t think you have the skills you’d need. Universal is one of the few labels that does press junkets for local magazines. How important do you think grassroots publications are? I think they’re absolutely essential. I started doing junkets back at Jive, working with E-40. I’m from Colorado, so I was familiar with E-40 and Too Short, but a lot of the writers were very isolated. Outkast had just started – I worked with them at Arista, actually – but outside of the East Coast it was basically just Death Row. No one really understood who E-40 was. I flew out a bunch of journalists to Vallejo, California. No one understood what his reality was like until we got to his house party and we saw how he flowed. After that, we all got it – who he was, what the music was about. We did a press junket again for Cash Money. We flew all the magazines out to New Orleans. When Juvenile came out with “Ha,” they didn’t understand. But when you go down to New Orleans and see how people were living then, you can understand his lyrics. That’s how the junket concept came about; just trying to help journalists understand how the music is shaped by the artists’ environment. In every region, there’s a magazine that means more and has more of a reach than some of the national magazines, because people are familiar with them and they support local artists a lot more. It’s just like a mixtape. To me, street magazines are like mixtapes. Grassroots magazines reach out to people immediately.
seeing it through. Persistence counts too. If you’re trying to get the attention of a major label, you’ve got to make sure that we receive magazines regularly. If it’s not on stands, we don’t know how regularly it comes out.
Wendy Washington Senior VP of Media Relations
If you read something negative about an artist you represent, are you personally offended? When you’re an artist, everything is fair game. Some people are gonna like your album, some aren’t. Some people are gonna like what you stand for, and some aren’t. Everything is par for the course, and I understand that. I also understand that sometimes it doesn’t matter whether it’s good or bad, sometimes it’s just free advertising. I try to maintain a professional stance, but I do get rubbed the wrong way when something is misquoted or unfairly written. If there’s a negative article and the writer clearly doesn’t respect the artist or the rap genre, I have a problem with that. But I don’t expect everything to be rosy and wonderful. If your artist gets arrested, are you secretly happy for the publicity? No, never. If an artist is talented they’ll get the press anyway. I don’t think you need negativity to fuel press. Unfortunately, a lot of press does thrive off negativity. A talented artist with a great product doesn’t need those gimmicks. What advice would you give to someone trying to start up a grassroots publication? One thing that we look at with these junkets is follow through. Do you have a track record? If we invest our money in you by making sure you have great editorial content – not just ten minutes on the phone or before the show in your area – are you gonna be around in a few months? Starting up, you really have to have a business plan or something that shows you’re committed to
Have you ever been put in a position where you had to promote a product you didn’t personally agree with? Like, for example, Nelly’s “Tip Drill”? I do believe in everyone’s right to express themselves creatively and artistically. I’ve only been in a position once or twice where I objected to something and chose not to work that project. As far as “Tip Drill,” I felt that Nelly had the right to express himself. But do I agree with some of the decisions that young women make to get into this business? No, I don’t. Ladies can keep their clothes on – they don’t need to do that to make it in this business. I think the “Tip Drill” video did start a healthy debate in hip-hop. I don’t feel compromised as a woman by the records that I’m promoting, but that doesn’t mean I agree with everything. Sometimes I have questions, and I’m in a position where I can question an artist one-on-one. Hopefully through that dialogue I can inspire them to think, but I also believe in their freedom. Have you ever represented an artist who wouldn’t show up for interviews? Absolutely. At first I used to get really upset, but now, if I’ve got an artist like that, I just don’t make commitments on their behalf. There’s so many artists and so few slots for artists trying to get signed, so if they don’t want it, someone else does. You have a lot of staff in your publicity department. How do you make sure everything runs smoothly internally? Luckily, it just seems like the staff is large, because this time around we have a lot of great interns. This is another reason people need to stay in school, because a lot of companies won’t let you intern anymore unless you’re in college and receiving credit for doing an internship. It’s not as easy as it once was. So, it looks like we have a bigger staff than we actually do. With the last press junket, there was really just four of us that put together the whole thing, and we just stay focused. It took 3-4 weeks of consistently getting together and planning; trying to assign people different tasks. What are you looking for when you select interns? The interns that stand out to me are the ones that don’t stand around and don’t need to be told what to do. They’re like, “How can I help? What can I do?” They take initiative. If you see me running around, nobody should be standing still. A lot of people think things are beneath them, like running to the store or getting clips. Things like that show follow through. No matter how trivial or small you think the job you’re doing is, someone’s always paying attention. If you don’t have to ask someone two or three times to do a small task, that establishes their credibility. We’ve hired some interns because they were ready for more responsibility, but a lot of people feel like, “I didn’t know I was coming up here to run errands and do clippings.” The ones that get more out of the experience are the ones that do it without complaining. They’re bright and eager.
“No matter how trivial or small you think the job you’re doing is, someone’s always paying attention.”
How could someone apply for an internship? Send in your resume to the Universal/Motown Records Media Relations Department/Internship at 1755 Broadway, New York, NY, 10019. OZONE AUGUST 2005
WEBBIE SAVAGE LIFE Trill/Asylum/Warner
VARIOUS HUSTLE & FLOW SOUNDTRACK Grand Hustle/Atlantic/Warner
If you ever wanted to know what authentic independent Southern Hip Hop music sounds like, this album is a good start. Webbie’s sound is explicitly Southern. Some people would see that as a roadblock to national airplay and platinum plaque. Others will see this as the type of artistic and creative control that, if presented in the right manner, can also lead to the platinum promised land.
I’m going to be a little biased with this review, mainly because I’m from Tennessee. If you haven’t seen the movie Hustle & Flow, it’s about a down-and-out pimp from Memphis who has dreams of breaking into the music game.
Fortunately for Webbie, his current situation is the latter. Webbie does his music his way, for his community. Fresh off the independent success of Gangsta Muzik, a joint album with his Trill Entertainment labelmate Lil Boosie, Webbie already has a steady fan base ready to line up at stores to buy his debut solo album Savage Life. Webbie’s debut does not disappoint. Savage Life picks up right where Gangsta Muzik left off. The first joint, “G Shit,” is exactly what it claims to be – gangsta shit. Even though this album has its share of features, including Mannie Fresh, Trina, Bun B, and B.G., Webbie remains the star. Aside from the gangsta music, Webbie has his fair share of misogynistic records that women still love. By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the album’s lead single, “Give Me That,” where Webbie and Bun B encourage all the women to give it up. Another record sure to be a hit with the ladies is the Mannie Fresh-assisted “Come Here Bitch.” Take a wild guess what that record is about. If you want to feel like you just ran through an authentic dirty South hood club, listen to this album. - Wally Sparks B38
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Now that you know I’m biased, here is my beef with this soundtrack: where are all the Memphis artists? Sure, you’ve got 8Ball & MJG, Nasty Nardo, and Al Kapone, but that’s not enough. But, rather than dedicating my entire review to this travesty, I’ll focus on how good the rest of the album is. This album is a classic hood movie soundtrack done in the image of the Menace II Society soundtrack, but it’s nowhere as good as that one was. Instead of putting out a compilation of throwaway tracks, remixes, and old album cuts from newly signed artists in the Warner Music Group stable, this soundtrack could have used more Memphis influence and less Atlanta influence. No disrespect to the Atlanta artists, because their songs are good, but they could’ve been better uses somewhere else. The songs done by the movies lead character D Jay are sort of an anomaly. They’re dope in a way, because they sound like real Memphis records (Al Kapone and Frayser Boy wrote the lyrics, and DJ Paul and Juicy J produced some of the beats). But the songs are still whack, because I know they’re fake. I guess that’s Hollywood for you. Still, no matter how much Terrance Howard talks about all the “anna on his chest,” ol’ buddy ain’t from Memphis.
YOUNG JEEZY LET’S GET IT: THUG MOTIVATION 101 Def Jam First things first. What the fuck is up with that intro? I wonder if that’s a beat from the engineer who supposedly got his head cracked for leaking this album? The beat is kinda dope in a weird Eastern Asian sitar kind of way. It just seems so out of place. As for the rest of the album, it’s exactly what you’d expect. Perhaps Jeezy says it best: “See, I spit it for y’all, on the real, my nigga, shit, I spit it for y’all.” Up next we have what could be the next ATL anthem: “Bang,” featuring T.I. and Lil Scrappy. Straight rida music! Throughout the album, Jeezy’s signature ad-libs (“Yeaaaaah,” “That’s riiiiiight,” and “Let’s get it!”) get a little old, but aren’t quite as nerve-wracking as “Who!? MIKE JONES!” Young Jeezy seems to be a graduate of the Project Pat school of rapping. He has the ability to put together extremely simple rhymes without making them sound like nursery rhymes. His flow is so smooth and fluid, you get so caught up in singing you don’t realize he’s not doing any Eminem-like verbal acrobatics.
Note to all you A&Rs over at Warner: Playa Fly, Gangsta Blac, Yo Gotti, Skinny Pimp, and DJ Squeeky are all from Memphis, and could’ve contributed greatly to the soundtrack. And even though Three 6 Mafia had cameos in the movie and did some beats for D Jay, they aren’t on the soundtrack. The next person who makes a movie about Memphis rap and doesn’t include Three 6 Mafia on the soundtrack should be clubbed over the head.
On the cut “Last of A Dying Breed,” featuring Young Buck and Trick Daddy, Young Jeezy and his collaborators explain why real men are scarce. The song also seems to be a gangsta tribute to Scarface and 2Pac. On “My Hood,” Jeezy rides a rubberband man-type rhythm and gives love to the place closest to his heart. Another standout cut is “Soul Survivor,” featuring a gut hook from Akon. The passion on this song is intense, and I don’t think anyone but Akon could’ve sung this hook. The Streetz Iz Watchin’ and Trap Or Die mixtapes got us all hyped up for the album, and Jeezy does what he always does: deliver that dope!
- Wally Sparks
- Wally Sparks
TREY SONGZ I GOTTA MAKE IT Atlantic/Warner Stories of hard times and struggles are often the foundation of many rap releases, but they’re rarely the basis for a full-fledged R&B album. Especially not when it’s coming from a young crooner with the official stamp of approval from the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin. But this is the case of up-and-coming soul stirrer Trey Songz. His debut album, I Gotta Make It, is full of the tales of hard times you’d expect to hear from a new rapper trying to break into the overcrowded urban music scene. Hailing from the small town of Petersburg, Virginia, Trey combines the raw emotion of Al Green with the nimble vocal gymnastics of Marvin Gaye. Evidence of this lethal combination can be heard on his lead single, “Just Gotta Make It,” where it seems as if Trey is begging the audience to have his back throughout his struggle. Other notable songs include “Cheat On You,” “Your Behind,” and the remix of the lead single, which features labelmate Juvenile and the aforementioned Aretha Franklin. With such a heavyweight co-signing, the pressure is on the deliver the goods. Trey Songz comes through beautifully. - Wally Sparks
diddy to spit some game to a prospective Mrs. Spoolz. From what he describes, she is as beautiful as the melody of this track. Jody Mo / Vibin’ – Florida Boy Contact: Furquann – 904.545.5539 “Vibin’” has a sense of an old school song with a new school spin. Jody Mo does a good job blending the two worlds to make a cool vibe.
TJ’S DJ’S 2nd QUARTER 2005 TASTEMAKERS ONLY XCLUSIVES (www.TJsDJs.com) T-Pain / I’m Sprung – Jive Contact: TJ Chapman – 850.877.6090 This is the quintessential definition of a hit record. At first listen this “rapper turnt sanga” captures your attention and takes you on a musical ride that parallels ecstasy. T-Pain’s star will continue to rise. Z-Ro f. Devin The Dude, Juvenile / The Mule – Rap-A-Lot Contact: Xavier James – 713.680.8588 Z-Ro enlisted the services of Devin and Juvenile to tell the tales of what happens when women are d-whupped, or rather when they’re hit with the mule. The collaboration works well and gives good advice to prevent your tires from being slashed. BG f. Homebwoi / Where Dey At – Chopper City Contact: Jamal – 504.940.5793 On another Mr. ColliPark (“Wait (The Whisper Song)”) track, BG and Homebwoi tag team to make another cut that the streets and Cerwin Vegas will love. Special shout goes to Mr. ColliPark for the creative use of a heartbeat. Rich Boy / Niggaz Get To Poppin’ – Interscope Contact: Ian Fletcher – 310.925.6736 This Alabama native expertly rides 16 bar verses over an Indian influenced track to create a song that will have asses poppin’ as much as pistols at a Jamaican new year’s party. Trina f. Lil Wayne / Fly Nigga – Slip-N-Slide Contact: Roc – 305.535.7595 Trina has returned to the music scene by visiting the landlord of the Carter, Lil Wayne. The pair playfully trade secrets on how to pull that fly stunna or stunnette. Lil Fatt / Big Bottles – Big Planz Contact: Desmond Pollard – 334.549.4119 Lil Fatt makes his contribution to the club scene by poppin’ “Big Bottles” with his Big Planz posse. If this record has any validity, a night out with Lil Fatt sounds like a spectacular evening that would make Donald Trump jealous. Phifty 50 / Let ‘Em Hate – Phifty-50 Contact: Ray Goody – 904.626.9446 Phifty 50 puts detractors on blast with this cut. These Jacksonville natives understand that if you don’t have haters, you’re not doing it right. Wideframe / What It Do – RND Contact: Derrick McKinney – 713.521.2616 x12 This Texas native releases a laid-back track about how to hang in the Lone Star State. J. Spoolz / Beautiful – New Money Contact: Frank – 412.758.2750 J. Spoolz takes advantage of this radio friendly B42
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21 Reese f. Triple J / Fly As I – Hustle House Contact: Todd Brinson – 561.209.3868 Heavily reppin’ Palm Beach (bitch!), 21 Reese and Triple J conspire to create a cut that states how sexually fly they are. Over the heavy guitar strings, this cut comes of as a cut that can be played to help set the mood. AMZ / Big Chevy’s – Infared Contact: Kane – 954.665.4279 In this ode to the South Florida classic whip, Chevy’s, AMZ creates a track that makes any car collector proud. Tone / Doin’ It Over Here – Digital Soul Contact: Doc – 202.561.5838 This Philly representa’ jumps on this club track and blows it up like dynamite! “Doin’ It Over Here” will have your head bumpin’ like an 808 before you realize it. Knowa Logic / Get Atcha – The Hit Connect Contact: Knowa Logic – 321.947.4052 Knowa Logic’s flow matches this track perfectly. This is another shining example of how the South can ride a beat just as good as or better than any other region in the Union. Kimillion / Fever – Rough World Contact: Mickey Rallens – 786.586.4653 “Fever” will have your temperature rising in the club. But, be careful as Kimillion’s version is highly contagious. Make sure there are paramedics around in case you get too caught up. Bomb Squad / What’s Really Real – R-N-S Contact: Bomb Squad – 813.601.1122 This Tampa crew created a track that is easy to two step to. Plus, as with most Tampa cuts, it can double as a smoking track as well. Rita Mosley f. Trap / Water – Fem Fatale Contact: Earl Graves – 586.709.1557 The bass line in “Water” gets the dance floor rippling with hands in the air. Rita Mosley’s sultry vocals suck in the listener and become as refreshing as cold H2O. Steve Austin / Bussa Move – Bioniq Labs Contact: Steve Austin – 214.264.6666 Steve Austin went into the lab and spared no expense creating a track that makes you wanna “Bussa Move.” But, if you listen carefully, this song will also land you in the hospital if you don’t stick and move. Woody / Don’t Even Worry ‘Bout It – MiWice Contact: Mimi – 561.236.5739 If you think you’ve had a bad day, put on Woody’s latest cut, “Don’t Even Worry ‘Bout It.” It is a jammin’ hip-hop blues track that will make your troubles seem miniscule by comparison. Poncho / Fi De Gals Dem – City Boy Contact: Ewen A. – 561.718.9066 Poncho puts down gutta verses over an island track that will have women whinnin’ on time. Stat Quo / Like That – Interscope Contact: Zeek – 404.786.3157
This Statlanta native takes full advantage of his abilities to rock a mic. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the track fully captivates your being and forces you to vibe. Suave Smooth / Gangstas, Thugs – Headquarter Contact: Jermaine – 561.389.5525 The high pitched crunk machine, Suave Smooth is back to deliver another tune that quenches your thirst for good music that rides at the same time. Anytime Suave Smooth blesses a track, you are in for a treat or a concussion from rocking your skull too much. Boo / Say It To My Face – J Contact: Greedy – 917.673.4940 Shouts to this crooked letta representa, Boo. “Say It To My Face” has been in circulation for some time, but now that J is behind it hopefully the rest of the nation will catch on to what the South already knows, Boo is nice with his. Scoundrels f. Pastor Troy / Ghetto – Invisible Contact: KD – 706.393.3773 The Scoundrel Squad link with Pastor Troy on this cut to let the people know about life in the “Ghetto.” While it may not always be pretty, The Scoundrel Squad show that with some good friends, even the ghetto can sound good. Racket City / Ya’ll Don’t Want It – Analysis Contact: Michael – 404.222.0766 This moody track by Racket City is perfect for riding slowly around the city of their hometown of Atlanta. Plus, “Ya’ll Don’t Want It” helps you get your nerve up if you’re about to go into battle. Pitbull / Down South – Slip-N-Slide Contact: Jullian – 786.344.4433 This is a celebration of the Southern culture as Pitbull and company spit about what makes the South so great. In addition, the classic Florida track takes it back to the era of Trick Daddy’s upbringing too many moons ago. Young Cash / Gimme A Bottle – D&G/SRC Contact: Young Cash – 904.622.6229 Young Cash has proudly taken the 904 and placed it squarely on his back. To celebrate his recent signing to SRC, pass the bottle, throw this cut on and watch a party develop. Tampa Tony / Let’s Smoke – R-N-S Contact: Tampa Tony – 850.210.3480 “Let’s Smoke” is a themed song that celebrates The Blunt Splitter. The Blunt Splitter is Tampa Tony’s invention that is the greatest devise for smokers since the herb itself. Get one today! Baby Stone / Catchin’ Cases – Corner Boy Contact: Miclarre – 866.716.7068 In this righteous tune, Baby Stone is speaking out against the recent rise in our people catchin’ cases. But the real answer lies in a simple statement, STOP SNITCHING! Young Swiss f. BG / Pimping In It – Holla Point Contact: Rob – 347.256.6530 Young Swiss and BG team to create a track that is a point by point break down on what pimping is. Plus, the track is so cool that it does half of the game spitting for you. Partners-In-Crime / Pooh Shooter – RapA-Lot Contact: Xavier – 713.680.8588
Partners-In-Crime take advantage move to the head of the class like of this island melody to make a Robin Givens. song that will have big bubbles bouncing from left to right. AMZ / Combustion – Infrared Contact: Kane – 954.665.4279 TQ f. Mike Jones / Tear This The Almighty Zoe are a group of Bitch Up – HUD Muzic folks you do not want to mess with. Joan Scott – 909.396.1310 With “Combustion” this is your The Cali crooner TQ partnered warning or you may end up lost and with Mike Jones to make a club never found. song designed to “Tear This Bitch Up.” Make sure you get your Mari / Silly of Me – Big Shot game in early, because once TQ Jay Mendez – 201.993.4184 and Mike Jones get going there This jazzy R&B tune is a song of won’t be much candy left. redemption by Mari. She understands that not every relationship Tha Chief f. Gangsta Boo / Get works out, but she takes personal Back Space – Stay Paid responsibility for her mistakes and Contact: Rod – 678.283.8057 will learn from them. Ya gotta love After a long mission, Tha Chief that. found where Gangsta Boo has been hiding and recruited her E-Scrilla / Whole Life - Fast Flip to jump on this club track. Boo Contact: E-Scrilla – 561.452.3506 brushes off the dust and attacks There is a reason why scrilla is in the mic as if no time has passed. this artist’s name. His whole life he’s been making that bread and Young Capone f. Daz, T-Rock / will continue to make stacks until I’m Hot – So So Def the end. Contact: Mel – 212.786.8215 Young Capone matches lyrics to 7 Cal / All Soldiers – RIP the title of the record ”I’m Hot.” Contact: Ian – 561.615.4211 Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have Daz This is a sober celebration of the check in and rip this fire track. fallen soldiers in the wars created by politicians who don’t have the 21 Reese / Lean To The Front courage to fight themselves. 7 Cal – Hustle House does a good job in preserving their Contact: Todd – 561.209.3868 memory with “All Soldiers.” “Lean To The Front” is for those who are the best at what you do. - Keith “1st Prophet” Kennedy, Make sure you let folks know and email@example.com
THE RAW REPORT www.RawReport.com Raw, unadulterated, fresh, and interesting! It’s the Raw Report DVD Magazine, with informative, flawless interviews. Actually, the Raw Report is probably the only DVD magazine that lets the interviewer interview themselves. For instance, in one chapter called “Up Your Game,” Bob Johnson (founder of BET and current owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats) give insights into his billiondollar BET sale to media giant Viacom. He talks about branding the BET name and his reasons for selling. The first chapter deals with the Game vs. 50 Cent beef, presented as a documentary along the lines of a 60 Minutes segment. When Raw Report interviews The Game, he is candid and funny, and answers every question with some real gully, gutta shit. When asked if he’d fucked R&B star Mya yet, he replies, “Naw, she turned me down.” When asked if he’d do a song with Memphis Bleek, he said, “Naw! Even if I died and came back with a Roc chain.” Chuck Taylor talks about his company, The Black Wall Street, being from Compton, and how he bought every house on the block he grew up on. Next, Mississippi is represented through a candid interview with Boo Da Boss Playa. Boo talks about how he was the first artist to ever drop a double CD in Mississippi, and how Clive Davis signed him on the spot. When asked about fellow Mississippian David Banner, Boo quickly lets you know that he’s from Canton and Banner is from Jackson, and their music is different. Next Boo introduces his new single, “Miss Me With That Rap Shit,” featuring Young Jeezy and Bleu Davinci. The cover features Boyz N Da Hood, so the Raw Report interviews Block, the mastermind who organized this Southern rap supergroup. All the members take turns telling their story, and you come away knowing the Boyz a little better. The Raw Report DVD magazine definitely sets itself apart from all other DVD magazines. Their commercials are flashy, the features are produced and edited professionally, and the freestyles give artists a chance to shine and show off their skills (Elliott Ness’ freestyle is worth listening to). In the “Whips” section, Luda takes you for a spin in his new Bentley GT convertible coupe, but be careful if you’re thinking of running up on him for the jack move, cause Luda carries an extra clip! Pick up a copy of the Raw Report and you won’t be disappointed. - Malik Abdul, firstname.lastname@example.org B44
OZONE AUGUST 2005
ROLAND POWELL DAT BOY FUNNY
TRILL ENTERTAINMENT BOOSIE & WEBBIE: GANGSTA MUZIK www.TrillEntertainment.com
You’ve probably seen Roland Powell in a lot of your favorite music videos, BET Comicview, Showtime at the Apollo, or on Cedric the Entertainer’s Platinum DVD series. Representing Jacksonville, Florida, better known as Duval County, Roland reps the city proudly everywhere he performs under the name Lil Duval.
Louisiana is known for bringing that next-level music out of the South. It started in New Orleans with the Miller boys, better known as Master P, C-Murder, and Silkk Da Shocker. The Cash Money Millionaires took the sound to another level. It seems that the next dynasty to arise out of Louisiana is Trill Entertainment, hailing from Baton Rouge.
Here, Powell gives you hilarious skits about real-life situations (growing up in the hood, baby mama drama, player hating), and it’s all mixed with his off-tune singing. Powell also takes you to some of the hardest comedy clubs, where the audience is encouraged to boo the comedian if he sucks. Dat Boy Funny is an accurately titled DVD. If you love standup comedy and skits, this DVD should definitely be in your collection. - Malik Abdul
The DVD starts with Lil Boosie showing off his money, guns, and cars (BMW 745 and a Dodge Magnum) and giving a tour of his neighborhood. Next up is Webbie, who explains his upbringing and how he got started rapping. In this DVD you’ll hear and see for yourself how one of the summer’s biggest songs (the Body Head Bangers “Do It Big”) was modified from an original Webbie song. According to Webbie, he created the song at age 17. Magic and Roy Jones took the hook “Do It Big” and released the song nationally. To back up his claims, the DVD shows videos of Webbie performing both songs. Although rumors suggest that Boosie and Webbie don’t get along too well, Webbie denies the claims. He says that while recording the album Gangsta Muzik together, he and Boosie were like brothers. In any family there wil be differences of opinions, but the competition makes them each strive to be better rappers.
ALL ACCESS VOLUME 9 www.TheDVDMagazine.com This edition of All Access features a must-see behind-the-scenes freestyle from Hot 97 featuring Memphis Bleek, the Young Gunz, and Jay-Z. Next, Clinton Sparks shows how it’s done on his Sirius radio show. The Get Familiar captain shows why and how he never stops. Gloria Velez and Joe Budden are at it again. In Volume 8 they seemed like a lovable couple, with Joe admitting that he licks her secret spot and bragging about how good Glo gives head. Now they hate each other? Gloria reveals Joe’s hidden talent by playing a saved message of Budden singing, “I wanna make love all through the day.” It isn’t flattering. She also claims that he lied about his age, can’t walk through his own hood, doesn’t have a big dick, doesn’t know what to do in bed, and couldn’t last more than five minutes. She claims that he is one of her groupies and won’t take “no” for an answer. To hear Budden’s response, you have to pick up the limited edition of the DVD. As always, there’s plenty of eye candy from behind-the-scenes at various video shoots, including Fat Joe, Beanie Sigel, and Cuban Link. These are the women Mike Jones is rapping about: “a dime that’s top of the line.” All Access goes behind the scenes of Sigel’s video shoot for “Feel It In The Air,” featuring Method Man. This DVD also includes an exclusive interview with Beanie before he went to jail. Juelz Santana talks about how Dipset is poised to bring Hip Hop back to dominance. Puffing on the best purple, Jim Jones explains why he doesn’t give a fuck about major labels.
Overall, this DVD is an interesting look at two talented artists with very different personas. Boosie has that gangsta vibe, and Webbie has star power and crossover appeal.
From the North to the South, All Access talks to the self-proclaimed King of the South T.I. In this interview, a shirtless T.I. explains how he’s been getting women since the sixth grade. The limited version of this DVD is full of hot interviews and behind-thescenes footage.
- Malik Abdul
- Malik Abdul
01: Clinton Sparks (hosted by Eminem) “Anger Management 3” www.ClintonSparks.com Boston, MA 02: DJ Strong & DJ Warrior (hosted by Kurupt) “Untouchable Radio 5” CaliUntouchableDJs.com Los Angeles, CA 03: DJ Kool Kid “The Diesel Flashbacks” www.DJKoolKid.com NYC
04: DJ Ideal “Interscope South” www.DJIdeal.net Miami, FL 05: DJ Kurupt “Real Talk Pt. 2” www.DJKurupt.com NYC
06: Klarc Shepard “Pink Chocolate” 404-488-9943 Gainesville, FL 07: DJ Scream & Ron C (hosted by Stat Quo) “Only The Crunk Survive Meets I-95” 770-875-3
544 Atlanta, GA
08: DJ Y-Not (hosted by Payne) www.Nubreedent.com 407-923-8156 Orlando, FL 09: DJ Smallz (hosted by Master P) “Southern Smoke 20” www.DJSm allz.com Ft. Myers, FL 10: Voice of Da Streetz (hosted by Tony Yayo) “Hood Radio Pt. 5” Orlando, FL 11: P Cutta & DNA “Automotive Rhythms” www.PCutta.com
DJ Chuck T “Down South Slangin’ Vol. 17” www.DJChuckT.com 352-246-4495 Hot tracks: #02 - David Banner f/ Jazze Pha & 8Ball “My Gun” #05 - Chamillionaire f/ Lil Flip “Turn It Up” #27 - Young Jeezy f/ Akon “Soul Survivor” #30 - Bonecrusher f/ Killer Mike & Trick Daddy “It’s On”
12: DJ Ideal & OG Ron C (hosted by Bun B) “Da Bottom Vol 4. Chopped & Screwed” www.DJIdeal.net Miami, FL 13: DJ S1 “Survival of the Illest: Dipset vs. Swishahouse” djs1@tma il.com mixtaperadio.net 14: DJ RPM (hosted by Gucci Mane) “Dirty Money Pt. 4” 15: Greg Street “Celebrity Car & Bike Show mix CD” www.GregStreetCa rShow.com Atlanta, GA 16: DJ EFN (hosted by Stat Quo) “Unstoppable Vol. 32” Miami, FL 17: DJ Barry Bee “Mixtape Serial Killa Pt. 2” 252-758-1122 Affishaul@ yahoo.com NC 18: DJ Quote (hosted by Mike Jones) “Who? The Mixtape” www.DJQuoteTheBeatmaker.com Denver, CO 19: DJ Purfiya (hosted by Sojo) “Stop Sleepin Vol. 2: Welcome to the FLA” DJPurfiya05@yahoo.com FL 20: DJ GQ (hosted by Pee Wee Kirkland & Mr. Cheeks) “Part 14” DJGQ@tmail.com 954-572-3445 Miami, FL
OZONE AUGUST 2005
By 9:30, the streets around Atlanta’s Visions Nightclub were already buzzing. With a line at the front door down the street and around the corner, and a massive crowd surrounding the VIP red carpet out back, Jeezy’s buzz was clearly about to climax with the release party for his major label solo debut. While guests at the VIP entrance struggled for position, various rappers, DJs, and industry figures strolled up the red carpet. Killer Mike, Too Short, Gangsta Boo, Ludacris and his DTP family, Khia, Jody Breeze, Boo da Boss Playa, Field Mob, and comedians Roland Powell and Shawty braved the sweltering July heat to come out and show support.
Venue: Visions Nightclub Location: Atlanta, GA Date: July 26th, 2005
Jeezy arrived fashionably late, well after 12:30, after the fire marshal had shut down all entrances. With Slim Thug and his CTE entourage in tow, Jeezy strolled the red carpet and greeted the media before heading into the packed nightclub (1). The path upstairs to the VIP section within the VIP section was overwhelmingly crowded and humid. Jeezy and co. moved (slowly) towards an ultra-exclusive section of the VIP where JayZ and Beyonce were hiding out from the crowd, alongside Ludacris. While everyone jockeyed for position, I moved to a slightly less crowded part of the club, where the open bar was adorned with snowmen (2). Just when you thought it was too late for a performance, Jeezy and co. hit the stage (3). Backed by his CTE artists Slick Pulla and BloodRaw, fellow Boyz N Da Hood member Big Duke, and a whole bunch of guys wearing all black, Jeezy’s crew runs deep (4, 5). Fellow BMF affiliate Fabolous made a guest appearance (6). Jeezy ran through a string of street hits (“Ova Here,” “Air Forces”) along with new cuts off his album (“Then What,” “Tear That Pussy Up,” “Soul Survivor”). The crowd was already familiar with the material, since bootleg copies of the album hit the streets weeks ago. Nonetheless, judging from the fans in the front row holding up copies of the actual album (7), it doesn’t look like the bootlegging hurt Jeezy’s Soundscan too much.
On one cut, Jeezy assured his folk on lockdown that he won’t enjoy the success until they’re home, but he still looked like he was enjoying himself (8). When 3 AM rolled around, the club turned off the sound system. Everyone left sweaty as fuck, but satisfied with a fire performance and a story to tell. Ain’t nothin’ like a gangsta party, right? - Julia Beverly OZONE AUGUST 2005