CLASSIC n** ial editio **spec
DJ BLACK // CHOPPER CITY // KAS A NOVA LIL NUT // LLOYD // CROWE THE CROOK SLIM OF 112 // KEYLO-G // RIDDLES
munki boi entertainment presents
CONTENTS COVER STORy
PG. 30-33 NAPPYVILLE
PG. 16-17 BAD LUCK PG. 34-35 CHOPPER CITY BOYZ PG. 20-21 CREEZE PG. 36-37 CROWE THA CROOK PG. 10 DJ BALO PG. 14-15 DJ BLACK PG. 12 DJ JAY-O PG. 9 DJ WREKK 1 PG. 22-23 G STAK PG. 38-39 G.B. THE FLYBOI PG. 26-27 KAS A NOVA PG. 24-25 KEYLO G PG. 40-41 LIL NUT PG. 46-47 LIL SCOOTY PG. 18-19 LLOYD PG. 28-29 RIDDLES PG. 42-43 SLIM OF 112 PG. 44-45 YOUNG WISE
PG. 8 CLUB LISTING PG. 11 EDITORIAL PG. 7 EVENT LISTING PG. 6 INDIANAPOLIS MAP
PUBLISHER: Julia Beverly SPECIAL EDITIONS EDITOR: Ms Rivercity GRAPHIC DESIGNER: David KA CONTRIBUTORS: Eric Perrin Jeeâ€™Van Brown Randy Roper Trevor Traynor PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR: Malik Abdul SUBSCRIPTIONS: To subscribe, send check or money order for $11 to: Ozone Magazine 644 Antone St. Suite 6 Atlanta, GA 30318 Phone: 404-350-3887 Fax: 404-350-2497 Web: www.ozonemag.com COVER CREDITS: Nappyville photos by Eliot Miller of Munki Boi Studios. 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 2008 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.
Thursday, October 2nd
Staktime Ent. Presents Classic Jump-Off Starring Keylo-G, G-Stak, Lil Nut, Jim E Mac, & Lil Scooty @ The Ugly Monkey 373 S. Illinois Street Ladies free until 12 AM
Friday, October 3rd Mike Epps Comedy Jam @ The Murat Centre 502 N. New Jersey St., Indianapolis, IN 46204 317-239-5151 Tickets: $37.99 Coors Light Friday Nite Classic Cabaret Featuring Brian McKnight and Lakeside @ Indiana Convention Cntr & Lucas Oil Stadium 100 S. Capitol Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46225 317-237-5222 Tickets: $40 per person, $400 per table of ten Tyson Foods’ Classic Pep Rally Featuring Alabama A&M University and Tuskegee University Marching Bands. @ NCAA Hall of Champions 700 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204 317-237-5222 Young Jeezy Performing Live @ The Murat Centre 502 N. New Jersey St., Indianapolis, IN 46204
Circle City Classic Fall Fest @ Pan American Plaza Free admission with game ticket 201 S. Capitol Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46225 317-329-9220 Circle City Tailgate Party Featuring Slim from 112, Shawty Putt, G.B. the FlyBoi @ Pan American Plaza 201 S. Capitol Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46225 12PM The Official Alabama A&M and Tuskegee University Alumni After Party @ Indianapolis Marriott Downtown 350 W. Maryland St., Indianapolis, IN 46225 317-925-2702 Shawty Lo Performing Live Featuring Lil Scooty @ Club Industry 911 Wabash St. Indianapolis, IN Tony Neal’s Celebrity Classic Jam Hosted by Wrekk 1, DJ JF, DJ Panic, Big Pill, Malik Shabazz, T. Neal, & DJ Kev @ Jillian’s 141 S. Meridian St. Downtown Indianapolis Free for first 500 people
Saturday, October 4th Amp Harris VIP Classic Jam 2k8 21 and up. Starring Idris Elba from Daddy’s Little Girl and the hit TV show The Wire; J Rio and JJ from Hot 96.3. @ IN Convention Center & Lucas Oil Stadium 100 S. Capitol Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46225 317-237-5222 Tickets: $10, first 100; $20, regular price. Circle City Classic @ Lucas Oil Stadium 500 S. Capitol Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46225 317-237-5222 Tickets: $10-$45
300 East 300 E. Fall Creek Parkway N DrIndianapolis, IN 46205317-925-5278 6 Lounge 247 South Meridian StreetIndianapolis, IN 46225317-638-6660 Cloud 9 5150 W 38th StIndianapolis, IN 46254317-2974424 Club Industry 911 Wabash St. Indianapolis, IN Club Level 120 E. Market St. Indianapolis, IN 317-964-0433 Have a Nice Day Café 225 S Meridian St Indianapolis, IN 46225 317-635-8824 Ice Lounge 235 S Meridian StIndianapolis, IN 46225317951-2174 Jillian’s Sports Bar & Nightclub 141 S. Meridian St. Downtown Indianapolis The Ugly Monkey 373 S Illinois StIndianapolis, IN 46225317-6368459
Strip Clubs Dream Weavers 5068 E. 10th St. Indianapolis, IN, 46201 317-353-2411 Pure Passion 3849 North Post RoadIndianapolis, IN 46226317-897-6574 Sunset 2320 W 16th StIndianapolis, IN 46222317-6394622
» Words by Jee’Van Brown Known for his high energy and no-holdsbarred interview style, DJ Wrekk 1 is probably one of the busiest DJs in Indianapolis. He DJs on Sirius Satellite Radio’s Shade 45 and Hot Jamz 50. Locally you can catch him on Hot 96.3 FM and IMC TV. What artists out there are making some noise? Right now Nappyville is the biggest artists out here making some noise. It’s a fucking movement with them right now. They’re hot right now. They’re getting crazy spins around the world. Have you put out any mixtapes lately? Yes sir. As a matter of fact, I’ve got a mixtape coming out with Whoo Kid, DJ Noodles, and Sean Mac. I got the Crack Chronicles that’s getting ready to drop and I got one with Webbie. It’s funny because I just got off the phone with E-40 and we’re talking about doing something.
way it did. It was just so crazy because we had already squashed that whole thing and it was all good. I thought it was some funny shit. By the time I woke up it was the number one video on YouTube. When situations get intense like that with artists, how do you get through that? When I do interviews with artists I keep it real. People want to know the real stuff when it comes to interviews. I’m not going to be one of these DJs who comes up with average questions because it’s not going to make me stand out. You have to come up with the pressure and the dirt; if you don’t want it, go somewhere else. Don’t nobody want to know about who produced your album; they want to know why you missed that show and why your chain got snatched. But at the same time, with the Webbie situation I got half a million hits off YouTube and got paid for that. What would you say as a DJ is different between satellite radio and traditional radio? Well on satellite I get to say whatever I want and play whatever I want to play. There are no limits to my creativity. That’s what I love about it. On traditional radio it’s conservative. You have to watch what you say. You have to be politically correct about everything, and if you don’t your boss will be on your head.
How do you feel about the mixtape game as it relates to free downloads vs. selling in stores? It’s a great thing, but it’s a gift and a curse. You really can’t make any money with it because you might end up in a situation like [DJ] Drama. If you’re looking to make some money off of it, you’d better believe the record companies and the RIAA are gonna be after Are you DJing for the Classic? your ass if it pops off. You want to blow up, but I’m at Have a Nice Day Cafe, Club Booth, and you don’t want your stuff to blow up because I’m also going to Jillian’s. the attention will be on you and it’s no way to control that. Let me give you another example, Are any artists performing this year? and this isn’t even with the mixtape scene – a I can’t really get into that but I can say we have while ago Webbie was here in Indianapolis Shawty Putt coming and Slim from 112, but ky Photo from Brand and I was asking him some wanty to havePhun the element ofssurprise for » Photos by we Rivercity about Ms. questions s by » Word him missing shows. I put it out on the internet the Classic. and I had no idea it was going to blow up the OZONE | OZONE |
» Words by Jee’Van Brown DJ Balo has been around for a while and he continues to stay true to the traditional style of being a DJ. Known for his classic mixing, Balo continues to do what he does best while focusing on his up-and-coming artists. What do you have going on right now? Right now I’m a part of Bum Squad DJz. I’ve been with them since 2003. I’m really working on mixtapes. I’ve been working with Short Records trying to get things situated with them. I’ve really been focusing on being a live DJ for artists; the mixtape thing is just something I picked up to gain another crowd. What exactly is Bum Squad DJz? Bum Squad DJz is the core of the Technicians after they broke up. It’s basically a bunch of DJs that break records. We are also affiliated with Atlantic Records and different artists throughout the map. How long have you been DJing? I have been DJing since I was 8 years old so that would be about 26 years.
to be a DJ. I remember when I was growing up all the pioneers would mix and have a certain formula to it, but one thing about Indianapolis DJs, even the ones on the radio, we all mix. We have a formula of mixing and the only ones I hear that still really do it is a couple of DJs in Delaware. I can’t think of any other DJs off the top of my head right now, but it’s really about who you know rather than your skills. That’s kind of with everything, right? Yeah, and it’s the same thing with rap because there are a lot of real DJs all across the world that can really DJ. But there are some, and again I’m not trying to diss no one, there are some who yell all over the mic while they’re DJing. I’m used to playing the records and letting them speak for themselves. But all these programs like Sonar and Lime Wire are making it real easy for DJs. I remember back in the day when us older DJs had to dig through the crates and put a label over the album we wanted to break.
Where do you DJ at? Right now I do a lot of DJing at college parties and I’m trying to get back into the radio and Wow, so how have you seen the DJ game doing more internet shows. But I’m more of Pchange since back then as far as records, to Funk, Earth Wind and Fire era kind of guy. When CDs, and mixtapes? I DJ at these younger parties as soon as I put I’ve seen it change a lot since back in the day on a hype record they start fighting. I’m mainly because I learned back in the Kool Herc days. trying to push my artists through my company I actually learned from my stepfather Shawty, APC 1000 Productions to get them out there and the first records I mixed were Nucleus and and known. We’re kind of like Swisha House; s them on my ky Photo Phun from s by Brand Jamaica »Funk together. way ity I have seen the we’reynot really a label but I put » Photo Riverc s by Ms.The Word game change now is that it’s more of a political mixtapes because they have their own thing game now. Because everybody wants to be a going on too. DJ but they really don’t have the skills it takes 10 | OZONE
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DJ Jay-O took full advantage of last year’s internship with DJ Scream and HoodRich. Now an official member of the team, Jay-O is using his new position to help Indianapolis artists put out quality product. How were you able to become a part of the HoodRich crew and get to where you’re at now? I was at Indiana University and I organized an internship with Scream last summer. I got the internship and went down to Atlanta. I put in hard work and they made me part of the team. Were you doing mixtapes prior to the internship? I had probably done five mixtapes at that point. I did one with Trae, DSR from Dallas, Jim E Mac from Indianapolis, Nappyville, and G.B. the FlyBoi. I had already been working with the Indiana scene and some nationwide stuff. Do you only do artist tapes or do you do compilation-style tapes? I had a series called Gangsta Muzic but when I got to Atlanta I did a Lil Boosie: Life Stories mixtape. It was a real big tape. I put it together the right way, more artistically, and that kinda led to a series I started in January called The Chronicles. I did an N.W.A and Snoop Dogg Chronicles. People really liked it ‘cause it sounded like a documentary. Those mixtapes really tell a story. That’s the series I’m most proud of. I started off being influenced by big mixtape DJs and then took it to another level that nobody else has really done. When I was in college I studied History so I kinda took Rap History and put it together in a mixtape. Anybody can listen to ‘em and learn about how N.W.A and Snoop Dogg came along. Are you planning to do another Chronicles tape? I’m working on Part 3 right now and some other tapes that will take The Chronicles even further with bigger concepts. Part 3 is going to be The Hot Boys but it’s also going to have 12 | OZONE
Louisiana and New Orleans rap. It’s going to start with early New Orleans Rap, then go into Bounce, then Cash Money and No Limit. Were you ever tempted to stay in Atlanta after your internship? Yeah. After I graduated I had made up my mind to come back to Atlanta. Since Scream and Spinz from HoodRich already had the artists tapes down there, I was gonna come in and push some more creative stuff like these Chronicles mixtapes. But Scream encouraged me to stay in Indianapolis and start working with the artists here. You seem to be doing well there so far. Yeah. It’s going well. There is a lot of talent up here but the scene is real small. There’s not a lot of people making things happen. The tapes are coming out good but as far as the scene goes, there’s not a whole lot going on. Who are some other artists you’re working with? I’m grinding with G.B. the FlyBoi. I really like his music. He has a single called “Freak U” we’re pushing. I think he has a lot of potential. Most of my work has been with him. We’re like 5 or 10 thousand units strong in the streets. I’m also working on a tape for an artist named Pacman, and one for Lil Scooty and MRC. They’re definitely doing their thing.
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» Words by Jee’Van Brown DJ Black definitely puts on for his city. Through his strong ties with Three 6 Mafia and a tour DJ position with Hyptonize Minds, DJ Black has brought a lot of shine on Naptown – and he doesn’t mind sharing the fruits of his labor. What have you been up to lately? I just took a lil’ time off since May, going through a personal situation, but everything is straight and I’m back. Everything’s still in effect with Three 6 Mafia, HoodRich, and my mix CDs, I just had to take some personal time for myself, for the first time in ten years. What’s your relationship with HoodRich? You combined efforts? For those that don’t know, that’s DJ Scream out of Atlanta. HoodRich is a crew of the hottest DJs putting the hottest music out in these streets. We got DJs Swamp Izzo, MLK, the names go on. We’re ready to take that movement to the next level. It’s like HoodRich street A&Rs. I’m also with Hittmenn DJs and I have my own crew taking off in January. As a street A&R, who do you think is the future of the Rap game? Lil Nut – he’s from Indianapolis. He’s got a real nice sound. You’ve got O.J Da Juice in Atlanta. Yung D. is a new member of Hypnotize Minds. He got a new single called “Damn” that we just shot a video for. Of course we got Lil Wyte and Chrome on Hypnotize Minds. Chrome got a single that’s blowing up the radio called “She Fine” featuring T-Pain. Now that your break is over, do you have plans to hit the road soon? I’m ‘bout to be on the road with the Nelly House of Blues Tour, the BET College Tour, and you’ll see me at anything Hypnotize Mindz and Three 6 Mafia has going on. What are some crazy things you’ve experienced while on the road? Honestly, when we perform on the road, we come in, do the show, and in less than ten minutes we are out the building and already on the
highway. We keep it business first. Really, the craziest thing I’ve experienced is when I walk out on stage and play the music and the crowd starts going crazy. It’s a good feeling every time. So you’re saying the perception of being on tour isn’t really what everyone might think? Touring is work. It’s a job, but it’s fun at the same time. When you start mixin’ fun and your job together, you start getting lazy and getting a big head. You put business second and ass first, and then slowly but surely you’ll start to fall off. Being on the road is overrated ‘cause most artists sleep every chance they get, wake up and do the venue, then go home. Where is your store located at? I know you’re closing one of the stores down. I work hands-on in my record stores. You can come to my store and DJ Black is gon’ serve you a CD. Holla at me at Dragged Up Music located on 34th and Keystone. It’s a Soundscan store. With most of your music family being in Memphis, do you see a big difference in their market and yours? When I go down to Memphis, they take my language and make fun of it in a joking way. But it’s kinda the same ‘cause don’t none of the artists get along. Everybody is just now starting to network. When people come together it makes everything easier for the city. Things are the same for that but as far as the people, Memphis is a lil’ more advanced. But don’t get it fucked up, there’s more than corn in Naptown. You have some strong feelings about “computer DJs,” huh? Man, I hate that shit! I hate the simple fact that it’s just the click of a mouse. You’re taking the art away from a mixtape. It’s not a mixtape, it’s a music CD. But I’m not hating the player, I’m hating the game. What else is going on with you? I got a set on Rap City for a whole week in January. My ten year anniversary is in January too.
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hough his name might suggest things haven’t went well for him, Bad Luck claims his experiences have been nothing but positive. Ever since winning the first talent show he ever entered, Bad Luck knew he was destined for good fortune. Who is Bad Luck? Well, I’m with Rebel World Records. I basically got street music. I’m from the hood so I make music that relates to people from my area. Which of your songs best expresses issues related to those people? The single we’re pushing right now is called “Cop’em.” It’s basically about buying whatever you want. The hook is: “I see it/I like it/I want it/ I buy it.” That’s what we’re pushing right now. Ok, so it’s about spending money. What do you usually spend your money on? I got a clothing fetish. They call me the walking mannequin. I get fresh, that’s what I do. When you see me you gonna know that I’m fresh. I’m sure everyone asks you about your rap name. Why do you call yourself Bad Luck? I don’t personally have bad luck. (laughs) But a lot of crazy things happen around me so people started saying, “Man, you bad luck.” It just stuck. It’s been my name for over ten years. Were people calling you Bad Luck before you started rapping? Yeah, they been calling me that, but I been rapping forever. I just never really had a name. It’s a catchy name. My thing is, I’m trying to turn bad luck into a good thang. Everybody needs a lil’ luck in they life. You said you’ve been rapping forever. Exactly how long is that? I been rapping since I was 9 years old, that’s when I did my first talent show and I won. It’s been on ever since. Who were some rappers that you looked up to back then? I came up on Geto Boys, Scarface, Snoop, people like that. I was young listening to grown music. Did your folks encourage you to do the talent shows or was that something you got into on your own? I always liked attention. I love the spotlight. I’m a fiend for attention. I’m a messenger. I guess
that’s my gift. I been rapping in front of my mama’s friends and other people my whole life. It’s just something that came natural. Is rapping your only talent or are there other things you do well? Nah, I feel like I can do anything that can be done. I hoop, play sports, video games, anything. So you can sing? Shit! I’ll try, but I can’t. What’s the history behind your label Rebel World Records? We started off being called Naptown Records and it was located in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2000, my CEO Marlin Driver moved the studio back home to Indianapolis and I was the first artist he signed when he got back. We were like childhood friends. We went through a lot of ups and downs. When we first started we had eleven artists on the label, now we’re down to just one. In 2003, the Co-CEO, Lee Driver, was murdered. So we done had our ups and downs. But now we’re headed in the right direction. How was the label based in Huntsville, Alabama but called Naptown Records? The CEO is from Indianapolis. He was down in Alabama going to college and that’s where he started the label. He was still connected to here ‘cause this is his home. What do you and the label have going on as far as mixtapes or albums? I just dropped a mixtape called It’s Not a Game. We got it in mom and pop stores here, like DJ Black’s store. It ain’t in no major stores. In general, mom and pop stores aren’t doing very well. Are they doing better in your city? They’re just like everywhere else. They struggling. That’s why we gotta do all the footwork ourselves. I’m in the club five nights a week with the music, and in the streets, the gas station, wherever. That’s the hustle. We need the mom and pop stores, they help us out, but we gotta do a lot ourselves. With you out promoting the mixtape, are you getting a lot of shows? Yeah, I just opened up for Plies. For the last couple of years, I’ve opened up for any major artist that comes through Indianapolis. I done opened up for everybody from Lil Wayne to 8Ball.
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loyd insists he is ready to leave his “comfort zone,” but today you’d never know it. He is sitting at a table on the outside patio section of his favorite breakfast restaurant, J. Christopher’s, and he couldn’t look more at home. Every morning he walks two blocks from his suburban Atlanta apartment to this trendy breakfast spot (imagine Waffle House meets The Four Seasons Brunch) and orders the exact same meal — a grilled chicken breast, cheese grits, scrambled eggs, bacon strips, and one pancake. He knows all the waitresses by name, and they all know exactly what he wants when he asks for “the usual.” Sitting at a table across from his closest friends and manager on a sunny Wednesday around his way, there is no reason Lloyd shouldn’t be comfortable—but he’s not. In fact, he is far from it. The 22-year-old singer has recorded charttopping singles, and sold records all around the world, but he still feels uncomfortable with his position in the game. Plagued by an insatiable hunger which can’t be cured by any bacon and eggs, the Lessons in Love instructor is longing for more. He won’t be full until his song catalogue rivals The Beatles, and he is looked at as the greatest performer since Michael Jackson or Bobby Brown. But right now it’s time for him to eat.
When I was pulling up to the restaurant your single, “Girls Around the World,” had just come on the radio, so that must be a sign that this is going to be a good interview. (laughs) Every time I see you, man, something crazy happens, like the time we did the interview at the hotel, and my cousin wrecked the Benz right as we were pulling in. So hopefully nothing too crazy will happen today. Yeah, hopefully. That song is a hit though; it propelled you to a top ten debut, man. You can never go wrong singing about the ladies. Yeah, and I really do want all the girls. I wanna make all the girls my girls. I wanna have 3 million girlfriends at one time and have all of them be cool with each other. Seriously, when I walk in the club, I want all these other R&B dudes to be irrelevant. All these other niggas shouldn’t even matter. My shit should be the hottest. Damn, so right now, at this point in your career, do you feel like you’re the best? I feel like I’m top five in the game for R&B singers, hands down. I feel like I’m building a nice catalogue of music. One day I’ll be able to rock for 2 hours straight on they ass, but I do think that top 5 ain’t good enough. The rest of this interview is featured in OZONE Magazine’s September issue.
“We some country boys,” he says casually, right before he orders his carnival of calories. “We gotta start the day off with a little pork on our forks.” And for Lloyd it’s always pork, never beef; and perhaps that’s what has hindered his career thus far. “This music [industry] is all about drama,” he laments. “That’s probably why I haven’t sold those 2 or 3 million albums—I don’t really like to deal with drama.” Today is a little different, however. His third album, Lessons in Love, has just been released, debuting at number 7 on the Billboard 200 chart. Although Lloyd is content with the song selection and overall album, he still desires to grow as an artist, and even suggests that his label, The Inc., has hindered this growth. Lloyd is more than ready for his robust musical taste, which includes such genres as alternative and electronic to reflect more in his own work, and maybe it’s time, he feels, to stop being so damn cool with everybody. OZONE | 19
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s one quarter of the rap group Merc Squad, Creeze has been an instrumental asset to his labelmates. Now that Merc Squad has branded themselves as a collective, Creeze is trying his hand at some solo projects. What have you been working on lately? I got into an accident after the Kentucky Derby so it slowed me up as far as getting out, promoting, and doing what I like to do. I had to go to the chiropractor and doctor three times a week so I just stayed at home and in the studio. I know you’re doing your solo thing, but are you still with the Merc Squad too? It’s still all love. We’re working on Merc Squad songs and mixtapes. We all keep in touch and we’re still working. I’m just trying to branch out and do Creeze. Did you come up with any good songs while you were in the studio? I got a single called “All Good” featuring Nappy Roots. We reached out to them and they blessed us on a track. We feel like it’s something we can really push. We have other things in the works as far as features, singles, stuff like that. We’re gonna start servicing the [Nappy Roots] record soon. We’re gonna test it in some markets, get some satellite and mixshow play and then go from there. What are some other good promotion outlets for independent artists like yourself? I think the streets play a main part in promoting and letting people know who you are. The internet is a good source, the clubs, the mom and pop stores, clothing stores and the small Arab gas stations. You gotta make yourself open to promoting. Were you doing your solo thing before you got down with the Merc Squad? Yeah and no. I didn’t really wanna do the solo thing, I wanted to work with a group. I won’t say I got pushed into being a solo artist, it was something I grew into. The group thang is real tough and it’s a lot of responsibilities to uphold within the group. I thought the solo thing would really pay off first. Do you think having to deal with the challenge of being in a group has made you a better artist overall? Most definitely. Dealing with a lot of individuals and running the company helped me prepare myself in the long run and made me stronger. Dealing with certain situations,
sometimes you might gotta bite your lip, but it’s all business. Do you have a separate label for your solo projects and the group projects? My company is titled Dodge This Productions. Merc Squad and Creeze are the artists signed to the company. We got in-house production, we got our own studio – the graphics, the photos, everything is in-house. We got people that’s really willing to work. What would say are your strongest qualities as an artist or as a person in general? Being humble, being myself, and keeping it real. I’m a humble, laid-back person. I like to show my work instead of talking. I don’t go outside of my boundaries and try to be something I’m not. That’s the main key with me. So when you say you try to be yourself, does that interfere with the goals of the group? I have my own goals. The solo thang is really about me expressing myself, expressing a whole lot of things going on in my private life, and releasing some tension. I’m just trying to let Creeze come out. Is that your ultimate purpose behind creating music? I love being involved in music. I been doing music since I was a child, playing instruments and stuff like that, so it just stuck with me. Out of all the elements in the game that you need to succeed, are there any aspects you’re trying to improve on? Improving my craft is the main thing and maybe improve some of the ins-and-outs of the business, being responsible and professional. How do you try to improve your craft? As far as improving as an artist, it might take sitting in front of a mirror and coming up with ideas, coming up with a distinctive voice so people know who you are. Those are certain things I think will bring out an artist so people will notice them and their character. Do you have any projects coming up? We’re working on my Louisville Lip mixtape which should be ready for the CORE DJ Retreat. There’s another Merc Squad mixtape coming up called Grand Entrance Volume 5. We have a compilation coming out called Smoke Till You Drop. We’ll have a few features on it. I’ll be working with DJ Drizzle and Swag, Inc. on some Creeze and Merc Squad mixtape series. You can check me out on Myspace.com/ Creeze502 and Myspace.com/MercSquad. OZONE | 21
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lso known as the “Lyrical Terrorist,” G-Stak has spent over a decade perfecting his craft both in and out of the booth. With the Circle City Classic bringing out the town, G-Stak is busy showing the streets why he’s still a major player in the game. Introduce yourself and give us some of your background history in the rap game. This is G-Stak, a.k.a. BossHawg. I been putting it down for ten plus years. I started out doing talent shows in high school, doing gong shows, and talent shows throughout the city. I came out with my first album in 1998 called World Wide Huslin’. The album sold over 10,000 copies on independent distribution in the first year. How many projects have you released to date? I’ve done about seven projects. World Wide Hustlin’ was the first. Then I came with Raw Dawg, Convicted and a DJ Panic mixtape called Real OG/Hot Like Fish Grease. After that I did a 3-disc box set called Flood the Streets and volumes one and two of my Dirty Mix mixtapes. Which of these projects would you consider to be the most successful and why? World Wide Hustlin’ basically established me as an artist and connected me to the streets and the streets were labeling it as a classic. What’s your opinion on the Naptown scene? Is it growing and getting better? Since I started it’s definitely growing and getting bigger and better. The city started showing more unity and everyone started working together more. I see Naptown as being the Atlanta or Houston of the Midwest soon. What do you love most about your city? I love my family, friends, and my babies. What are some things you’ve had to overcome in order to continue your music career? Being in and out of prison and losing five years of my career in the music industry. Living in Indianapolis is challenging. It’s a city that’s not really known for Hip Hop music, it’s known more for sports: basketball, football, racing. You seem to be a more seasoned rapper. Explain how you’ve improved your craft over the years. Just time, marinating, experience, and keeping up with the industry. All that along with repetition, practice, and staying one with the streets
has made me a better artist. Talk to me about some of the songs you have out right now. What are they about and how are you promoting them? I got three albums that just dropped at the same time. It’s something the industry hasn’t really seen yet, and that’s just volume one. But some of my hot tracks are “Move Work,” “Shake ‘Em,” and “It’s Your World.” I promote with show performances, radio promotion, and hardcore internet promotions like Myspace (Myspace. com/GStak), blog sites, forums, and digital distribution through iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, and a few others. Who all have you collaborated with or performed with over the years? It’s so many people it’s hard to keep track of to be honest. But I’ve worked with Keylo-G, N.A.P, Jim E. Mac, Lil Scooty, Lo Life, Chris Style, Soulja Boy, Spice 1, 8Ball, Bamn Biggahalow, AK, Alandra, Poose Man, the entire Dawg Life family. I do a lot of performances and collabs in and out of town. Tell me about the team of people you work with and what are their roles in your career. Dennis “Fatman” Boyd is the CEO of Real About Entertainment. Big Weezy from Real About Entertainment handles my beats, marketing, and managing. Freddie “P” Peterson also does marketing and promotions. Big Pete from Strategy Entertainment also handles my management, marketing and booking. Jones from Rap Alliance Productions is a producer/ engineer. DJ DJ and J Goldz do my graphic design. Ron Mac is my financial investor. Eric “Starter Kit” Coke is the Partner and Founder of StakTime Entertainment. This issue is for the Circle City Classic. Tell the people some places they gotta check out while they’re in town. The Official Circle City Classic Jump Off is at The Ugly Monkey – 50 West South Street –October 2nd. It starts at 9pm. The Reunion Show starts at noon at PanAm Plaza October 4th. And make sure you hit up every record store that sells G-Stack. What’s next for you? I got more shows, more CDs, and a group album from G-Stak and Keylo-G coming soon. It’s called Unkut Records and Staktime Ent. Present First Round Draft Picks. I got some more collaborations coming and we about to flood the city with mixtapes.
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eylo-G is one of the original Naptown power movers. Formerly associated with the group N.A.P., Keylo-G had a successful run on the charts back in the days. Nearly a decade later, the Circle City vet is still making moves.
on my mind. I had a lot of animosity built up in me so I really wasn’t making nothin’ for the radio. I was just making hood shit. All that sugar coated shit was soft to me and I kept it rough and raw. But now they be requesting me so much, and I went through some shit with a lil’ female so I made a lil’ song. Everybody like it. It’s some real shit.
What’s your history in the Naptown rap game? I started off with a group here called N.A.P. My first tape dropped in ’96. It was in the Midwest region and a little bit down south and on the west coast. We had distribution through SelectO-Hits. We did a lot of touring. I went on tour with 8Ball & MJG, Master P and ‘em. I done did all kinds of shows with big names like Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and Too Short. We did a video for our song “Out Hustlin’” and it wasn’t even nationwide but we was #2 on the Billboard charts, under Tupac. We made a lot of noise.
Everybody acts like they’ve never had feelings for a female but every dude has gone through something with a female before. Yeah, exactly. Everything I’m rapping about is real. The women problems I deal with, when I had baby mama drama I made a song about that. I talk about stuff that goes on the world, even the election, the fucked up president, bullshit that goes on with Bush. I talk about hood shit, grinding. I ain’t major yet so I still gotta hustle and do what I gotta do to keep the lights on. Everything I rap about I do.
So what happened with the group? A lot of stuff started happening. You know how it be when it’s a lot of people. I was the first one to leave. It seemed like when I cut out it was all over. I was damn near the hypest member of the group. I wrote a majority of the hooks that got us a lot of radio play. I was just ready to go ‘cause I was gettin’ screwed out of a lot of money. And then people in the group was goin’ through stuff so I cut out and started doing my solo thang. In ’99 I had a solo album called It Ain’t Where You From. I sold 10,000 independent, underground copies of that. What have you been working on recently? I just dropped an EP called The Return of the Pushaman. It’s hot right now. They been playin’ me on the radio. I got a single on there for the ladies called “Stick With Me.” On Myspace I been gettin’ like over 10 or 15 thousand plays and about 400 downloads a day on my own, no cheatin’, no codes, none of that crazy stuff. I go straight by the book ‘cause I wanna see who’s really playing me. What’s your Myspace page for people who wanna check the facts and see if that’s true. Myspace.com/MrUnkut. Why did you make a song for ladies? They radio started hitting me about it. I was getting to the point where I was just making a lot of underground hood shit. For a while I was just frustrated with everything and I had a lot
Are you a political type dude? I’m political and street. I’m versatile. I can rap about anything. I don’t just stick to one subject and only talk about diamonds, being iced-out, and rims and all that shit. That’s cool to a certain extent, but that’s lil’ man shit, I’m on some grown man shit. How difficult is it being from a city with no major outlets in the music business? It’s hard because we don’t have a lot of people lookin’ at us. But then, a lot of major people are from Indianapolis, like Michael Jackson, Mike Epps. We got a lot of people here doin’ it but they never come back and put us on. There’s a lot of talent here and I’m trying to bring everybody together. I got a compilation coming out in the spring called First Round Draft Pick. It got all the hottest artists from the city on it. It’s coming out on my label Unkut Records. But yeah, it’s hard here so I leave a lot. I go to Florida, Georgia, California. I do all my networking and handling stores myself instead of waitin’ on somebody to come and knock on my damn door. I get out and get it. What else do you have going on? What will you be doing during the Classic? The owner of the radio station is doing an N.A.P. reunion for my group. That’s going on Oct. 4th. I’m working on my new album called I Am Legend. I’m going to drop the compilation and my solo album in the spring. Look for that “Mr. Gold Grill” video.
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an Brown » WORDS BY Jee’V DLUX Designs of sy te ur Co » Photos
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eing raised by a father who taught Kas A. Nova everything about the drug game may have had a less positive influence on the Chicago native, but his past shaped his future and rhymes, which ultimately created a notable regional and internet buzz. The name of your next mixtape coming out is called Between Heaven & Hell. Why did you choose to name it that? Every day in life we’re tempted by all types of transgressions, and I’m finding a way to live a better life but I have also had homies on the grind that’s going through hell. With those certain situations going on, I’m trying to make the right choices. You lived in California for a while, right? Yeah I lived in Long Beach for a couple of years. I was back and forth from the west to the midwest. I actually got offered a deal out there by Mr. Suge Knight and that was in May 2000. Death Row Records unfortunately had a lot of stipulations with the contract and as you know, they lost their distribution with Interscope. If I would have signed the contract, you wouldn’t have heard shit from me. How was it meeting him? He a large nigga. He about 6’4” and about 6’4” wide too. He’s a cool dude though, but due to his reputation he has a bad name. What inspired you to start rapping? I started when I was in high school. I was the class clown and I used to always play around with rhymes all the time. After a while, a lot of my friends started telling me I needed to really pursue that. So I started listening to people and watching videos and was thinking to myself, these niggas getting money and they talking about nothing. So after a while it was kind of like therapy. I started writing my problems on paper. You have a large fan base. Would you say most of your fan base is street? Yeah it’s real underground. But it’s not just street, it’s also versatile because I want everybody to vibe with it. I don’t just aim for a particular audience, I want your momma to like it, I want your grandma to like it, I want your sister to like it, I want the streets to like it, and I want the backpacker to like it. I don’t want to be placed in just one genre or category.
Your father had a real negative influence on you growing up. How has that affected you as a rapper? Oh yeah, I can’t even call him my father because he never fathered me, but he was there. He had his hands full, especially when it came to selling dope. At the age of 12 he was showing me how to cut dope. But I look back on it and I don’t regret it because it taught me a lot about the streets. Plus, everything happens for a reason. With having over 400 songs stashed away, how often do you record? Man I write a song whenever even when I’m at work. People look at me like I’m crazy because I’m always writing lyrics down on napkins. But that’s just how I am. I’m always writing down lyrics in my sidekick. It’s funny because I will wake up in the morning with songs in my head. It’s a blessing. I’m just using my time before God take it away. Do you have any songs on the radio? I don’t know if you’re familiar with DJ Kid Scratch down here with Power 92; he’s with Violator. We’re actually trying to get a good radio song going on. It’s not as easy as it may seem. Nowadays they want a big time marketing company behind you. Let’s cut the bullshit, they want money. It’s still a business and you have to come with it. What’s going on with you and 50/50 Records? I’m actually not signed with them. I’m just really close and affiliated with them. Your MySpace has over 10 million plays. What has come from that? It’s been such a crazy transition for us – the digital market, Paypal, MySpace is just wild. I actually had to ship some CDs to Japan once. That was shocking. Knowing that they don’t speak no English but buying the CD anyway is a blessing. Even though shipping it off costs way more than the CD, but it’s cool. What was the key to gaining all those MySpace hits? Promotion. I think you can sell some hot shit in the sun if it’s promoted right. At the end of the day, it’s all about marketing and promotion.
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» Photo » WORDS BY Je e’V by Eliot Miller o an Brown f Munki Boi St
4-year-old Riddles is more complex than your stereotypical rapper. Contrary to most lyricists, he didn’t even grow up listening to Hip Hop. But that didn’t stop him from developing superior skills along with some creative concepts. What’s the theme behind your latest CD? What can people expect to hear? It’s called Remedy: The Mixtape. Basically, it’s like everything these artists are missing in the game. We got a bunch of prescription bottles on the cover that say things like Hip Hop Knowledge, Swagger, Lyrical Ability. The music I do is mixture of R&B and Hip Hop, it’s like the origin of Hip Hop. They can expect a lot of wordplay, a lot of cuts in there for the ladies – that’s a majority of my audience. I love ‘em. So has one of those ladies managed to lock you down yet or are you still mingling? Um, I’m not mingling, but I’m not locked down. So with the whole concept mixtape, and with your name being Riddles, I figure you’re a pretty intellectual type of dude. Is the wordplay and being able to express yourself what got you into rapping, or was it something else? Oh yeah. You know what’s crazy? Like a lot of artists, I started off doing poetry at a young age. I began rapping when I was 16. In poetry you got different rhyme schemes and patterns. Once I started rapping I took my knowledge of poetry and put it into ridin’ beats and making music. I started listening to DMX and Jay-Z when they first came out and that’s how I got into Hip Hop. 28 | OZONE
So you weren’t actually raised on Hip Hop? No, DMX and Jay-Z actually introduced me to Hip Hop. I was raised around my grandparents and they listened to blues. My mother listened to old school and R&B. I was raised up around that so it influenced my music. That’s why my music isn’t so hardcore. I wasn’t raised in the streets and I don’t do street music. I don’t support violence. I don’t knock it, but you won’t see me doing it. So your song “This Ain’t That” with 8Ball has a lot of rock instruments in it. I take it you were influenced by a lot of different genres. All of it. You hit it right on the nose. I’ll listen to the alternative station; I’ll listen to R&B/old school station; I’ll listen to the Hip Hop station. I love all kinds of music. I listen to everything and it all influences my music. How did you hook up with 8Ball for that song? My peeps that own my label had a few connects. They were saying I did a lot of songs for the ladies and I had that locked down, so they thought I should get on a song with 8Ball, who’s a legend, and it would be a good look for me. I was like, I don’t know, I don’t wanna sway away from what I do. But it came together well. How long have you been with Munki Boi Ent? Is The Remedy mixtape your first project with them? Oh no, I’ve been with them forever, before it was even called Munki Boi Ent. I was the first artist on the label. It was just three of us – me, my manager, and J.
Who all is on the label now? Just me and Nappyville. I produced one of their singles called “Take Em Off,” and I also have a verse on it. It’s a song for the ladies. It’s blazing right now. They’re loving it. So you’re a producer as well? A producer, a writer. All kinds of music inspired me and there’s no limits to what I can do. Coming from someone with a lot of musical knowledge, what would you say is the difference between music in the Midwest verses other regions? Indianapolis is like melting pot. I was born and raised in St. Louis until I was like 16 years old. The whole Midwest is inspired by all the other coasts. East coast, west coast, down south, they
all come through the Midwest so our music is a mixture of everything. When you hear a Midwest artist it’s real spectacular because we have a little bit of everybody. What are some things you’re into outside of music? Nothing really. I was into sports. That was my original goal, but I ended up breaking my finger and dislocating my shoulder so I had to move on to something else. That’s how I got into music. What’s next for you and Munki Boi Ent? Look out for us. We started from the ground up. Our label is bringing real talent. We’re not just gonna give you one single. Our music is endless. I want people to know I’m a well rounded artist – I don’t have corners. OZONE | 29
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» Wo s by Eliords by Ms. R ive t Mille r of Murcit y nki Boi Stu
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oung True & Rokstar are undeterred when it comes to putting on for their city. Even their Nappyville name, which is another term for Indianapolis, is representative of their hometown pride. Recently, the newly formed duo came to the conclusion that they hold the key to what’s missing in the Midwest – and Hip Hop in general. Their out-of-the-ordinary qualities are indeed impressive, as their fun-loving sound has given them two chart toppers – “Supa Clean” and “Take ‘Em Off” – both which have spread with supernatural speed. Nappyville has been creating a huge buzz in the Midwest and word is spreading about you guys. For those who aren’t familiar with you, tell people what y’all are all about. Young True: We’re bringing a brand new sound to the Midwest. Nothing against everybody that came out of the Midwest, but right now there’s a drought in the Midwest. What we got going on right now is promoting the single “Supa Clean” with Boosie. Coming from Indianapolis, we’re really trying to solidify our city and put it on the map. That’s our main goal. What’s so unique about Indianapolis? What are you bringing to the table that people should know about? Young True: Our city is a lot different and we don’t get the same respect that a lot of other cities do. I think we have the same exact amount of talent, if not more, but we get overlooked ‘cause the city isn’t recognized. We’re trying to bring that recognition to the city, the way it should be. So you guys had been doing your solo thing before hooking up as a group. What made you want to combine efforts? Young True: We been working together for years and our songs came together so well, and we were so in sync, we said let’s go on ahead and do it. We used the name Nappyville, which is what we call the city, and just put the city on our back and ran with it. Basically “Supa Clean” was one of the first songs we did. We had a few songs before that, but “Supa Clean” was the one everybody picked up on and got behind so we put a big push behind it and ran with it. So literally, as soon as we came together we started making hits. Rokstar: We weren’t even a group yet when I made “Supa Clean.” I was just making music for him, collabing on a lot of stuff.
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So Rokstar, give me some of your background history. Rokstar: I produce. I been making beats for about 10 years. I first started playing in church back in the day and everything escalated to making beats. I ain’t always rap. Just being around real lyrical people, it started to rub off. Do you produce all of the music for your group then? Rokstar: Yeah, I did the whole album with the exception of two records. You’re referring to the Supernatural album? Rokstar: Yeah, it just dropped a few weeks ago. It’s in Best Buys and Wal-Marts in this region, and it’s online. It’s moving pretty good right now. How long was the process for completing the album? Rokstar: Not too long. Not to sound arrogant, but the music comes real easy. It’s kinda like a format to it and as long as you stick to the format you’ll keep cranking out hits, even if the songs don’t sound alike or it’s not the same subject or even the same genre. It’s like a hit factory formula, I don’t know, it’s just something I figured out I guess. It didn’t take too long to make the album. We’re actually working on the second album right now. How would you describe your image? How do you want people to view you? Young True: We got one word we tell everybody, and it’s supernatural. We use that word over and over. We ain’t like nobody. You can’t compare us to no other group. We’re not like 8Ball and MJG or nobody, there’s no comparison. We do every kind of music we can do. We’re not just rappers, we’re all around artists. Rokstar: We’re something different to the industry. Everybody keeps telling us we’re a breath of fresh air. It’s not the typical music that’s been out lately. Me being a producer, I listen to all kinds of music. Everything from Pop, to Classical, to R&B, to Rock & Roll. I use all of that throughout the album. We’re not like regular rappers or regular people. We’re kinda out of touch from everyone else. What made you want to feature Boosie on “Supa Clean” as opposed to another nationally known artist? Young True: We had several people to choose from, but we felt like Boosie is a very big artist in our market. He’s also a good artist for the type of song we had. Our CEO J. Black asked
us what we thought about Boosie, so when Boosie came to the city we got him on it to see what it would sound like. When the song came back it sounded good so we pushed it. The record was good, but once Boosie got on it, it took it to the next level. The new song “Take ‘Em Off” is doing real well too. How did that come about? Young True: It’s basically a slow joint. It was more catered towards the ladies but now the fellas like it too. It’s a whole different sound from anything that’s out right now. We put it out and everybody liked it. It’s one of those records where as soon as you hear it for the first time you’re gonna like it. It was produced by Riddles and he got a verse on the extended version. Rokstar: It’s one of those songs that makes you say wow and you’re singing along by the second hook. It draws you in and makes you wanna hear it again. Everybody has the same reaction. A lot of your music appeals to females, and then dudes eventually catch on to it. Is that your target audience? Young True: It just depends. We make music based on what we deal with in our real life, and if it ain’t someone in our record label or in our circle, we don’t deal with males at all. We cater to the ladies all day. We make music from our standpoint, and males that are like us are gonna like it too. All we really care about is the women. Not that we don’t care about the niggas, we got love for them too. If a dude sees a good girl get on something, he’s gonna get on it too. Who are some of the important people behind your movement? Young True: First of all, I wanna give a lot of love to Brian Wallace, the program director. He’s a big part of our movement. He’s the one that really believed in us and got our song on the air. We got close to 1,000 spins in our city. Also, DJ Duck and DJ Wrekk 1 are real important in our movement, James Rutherford and our CEO J. Black. Did you have to get “Supa Clean” hot in the streets before radio picked it up? Young True: To tell you the truth, we didn’t even get it hot. Most people gotta push a record for a long time in the streets. But with this song, the radio station came to us. I never even seen the radio station until they called me. I didn’t even give a damn about going
to radio and begging them to play my song. I feel like if you got a hot enough song then put it out and it’ll go where it’s gonna go. Music spreads like wildfire if it’s hot. So as soon as we made the song, we took it to a couple of DJs. DJ JF took it back to the lab and let everybody hear it. The station called us and said they wanted to throw it in rotation. Rokstar: The crazy thing was nobody even knew we was from here. They heard the song and got in contact with us and then found out we was from here. They was just blown away so they jumped on the record. Did you know the song was going to be a hit right off top? Rokstar: We was just playing around in the studio and I came up with a skeleton for the beat and he added some ideas. Once the beat was made he threw a hook on it. The crazy thing was, at first he hated the hook. He wanted to me to erase it, but I was like, nah this is something different. He thought it sounded stupid. If you really, really listen to it, it sounds funny, but it works. We really don’t talk like that. What do y’all have going on during the Circle City Classic weekend? Young True: We’re gonna be all around the city. You can catch us anywhere anything’s happening. We have like 9 shows. Our favorite spot to go to is Sunset Strip Club. We love it. We be in Cloud Nine too, that’s a nightclub. What do you want people to know about you guys as artists, people, and Nappyville as a whole? Rokstar: Look out for the album. We’re about to shoot the “Supa Clean” video. Another thing I do is videography. We’re about to do a video for every song on the album. It’ll be like the album but in DVD form so you can actually watch the album. The “Take ‘Em Off” video is in the editing booth, finishing it up. Young True: I want to let everybody know we’re down-to-earth, real people. We’re just doing what we like to do. We ain’t following no trends, we ain’t going with the new fads. We just living our lives, having fun, and making music. We’re real blessed. We got a good team around us. Our song is picking up all over the country. We feel like we’re about to do something super major and put on for our city.
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t’s been three years since the most infamous storm in U.S. history, and still, the first thing that comes to most minds upon the mere mention of New Orleans is Hurricane Katrina. The FEMA trailers still litter the lawns of the once-proud neighborhoods, mold continues to engulf the interior of many abandon homes throughout the city, and the crime rate remains through the roof; comparing New Orleans to a jungle is still a very fair interpretation. And while most of the New Orleans rap community has left, the Chopper City Boyz are still there, and they’re still hungry. B.G., Gar, and Snipe are hunters in the jungle, and like it or not, they’re at the top of the food chain. The three essentially solo artists, who hunt in a pack, have seen more success in the game than most would imagine. Their first project, 2007’s We Got This, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Independent Albums chart and made it to #21 on the Hot 200 chart. The Koch release sold almost 30,000 copies in its first week, and led to a new deal with Asylum. One unique element that certainly attracted Asylum to CCB is that while many veteran artists such as B.G. attempt to form a group with lesser known emcees, Gar and Snipe can actually hold their own on the mic. The Chopper City Boyz have become a respected collective, drawing comparisons to many of the legendary rap groups from New Orleans’ past. However, not all the news surrounding the Chopper City Boyz has been positive. Following the release of We Got This, the group experienced a rather ugly divorce with longtime member VL Mike. Mike had accused B.G. of being dishonest and unfair financially, and had just begun a solo career when he was gunned down in New Orleans on April 20th, 2008. B.G. and the rest of the group maintain that regardless of their situation, VL Mike was family and they have mourned his passing.
The world has been familiar with B.G. for a long time, but most people aren’t as familiar with Snipe and Gar. Can you guys tell me what it is that you bring to the group, and why people should pay attention to you? Snipe: I bring myself to the table, that’s what makes me unique. I’m a different individual, everybody not the same. I bring my originality to the table. Gar: I’m the same nigga that be in every hood. Same nigga, different story, same struggle. I bring my heart and my authenticity to the group. I’m a real nigga, I’m real loyal, and every circle needs a nigga like me. I’m gonna display that, and show that to the world. What made you guys do a song like “Bubblegum?” It’s a hot track, but it seems like a deviation from your normal style of music. B.G.: Honestly, we already got the streets on lock, we already know that the album is gonna be gutter-gutter-gutter, so we really just wanted to show another side of the Chopper City Boyz, and give ‘em a club record, a female record, a radio friendly record, but at the same time have it G’d up. Do you find it frustrating that artists like yourself, who usually rap about street life are somewhat forced to do “Bubblegum” rap to get mainstream success? B.G.: Don’t for a second get it twisted, man. “Bubblegum” is just the name of the song... The rest of this interview is featured in OZONE Magazine’s September issue.
“We looked at him as family,” says Gar. “We made history together, so of course it hurt when we lost him. But now we’ve gotta focus on the future.” And in focusing on the future, the group is gearing up to release Life in the Concrete Jungle this fall. Fueled by the catchy club anthem “Bubblegum,” featuring New Orleans artist Lady Dolla, the Chopper City Boyz are looking to eat again, and this time they have a bigger appetite.
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» Words by Ms. Rivercity » Photos by Brandy from
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fter releasing a long collection of underground mixtapes, Crowe Da Crook recently dropped his first independent studio album. Here he discusses the purpose behind his lyrics, his work with Haystack, and plans for stepping his game up next year. Everybody’s got a story. What’s yours? What got you interested in music? I started writing raps in 1994. Then I got into some trouble and went to prison. Ever since I got out two years ago, I been doing the music thang full-time. In two years I’ve performed all over the Midwest, Tennessee, Kentucky. I just dropped my first studio album in August. I have about ten underground mixtapes. I also work with a couple of groups – me and my little brother got a group called Thurobreed and me and my dude Paulbearer got a group called Hawgbillyz. We sold almost a thousand copies of our mix-CD Chevys and Cocaine in the last three months. I’m currently signed to a deal with Fatman Records. We’re talking to Koch and Select-O-Hits about distributing a compilation called Fatman Records & Haystack Present: Livin’ That Trash Life. How did you link up with Haystack? Dough, the owner of Fatman Records, is real good friends with Haystack. When I started messing with Dough on the music tip, he seen some potential so we signed the papers. He asked me did I want to feature Haystack on my album. I said yeah so he brought Haystack up here in January and we did a show. Your album is called Mask on My Face. So do you literally put on a mask and rob people? A lot of the album is from my experience. I wrote a lot of it while I was in the penitentiary. There was times when I wrote raps in the dope house, in the kitchen while my dudes was cooking crack. It ain’t all negative. There’s some gangsta shit on there but there’s some positive shit too. A couple years ago I lost my wife to drugs and there’s songs about that. There’s songs about how I’ve tried to change since I got out of prison. There’s political stuff on there. The song “Mask on My Face” is from experiences of having to really put a ski mask on and do what I need to do to feed my family. What’s going on with the groups you’re in? My little brother is out on bond. He’s facing habitual felony charges. So we’re trying to finish the Thurobreed album now. Me and my dude Paulbearer did the Hawgbillyz CD. I hear Chevys and Cocaine playing all over the city. They play
it down in Tennessee. We’ve sold a lot of CDs in Kentucky. After he drops his solo album we’re gonna go real hard on a Hawgbillyz studio album. That’s the only CD I’m going to do next year except for a DJ Choice and maybe a DJ Black mixtape. Have people ever made comparisons between you and other white rappers like Bubba Sparxx? No, not at all. People compare me to Young Buck or Tupac. People even say my stage presence reminds them of Biggie. I don’t really get compared to other white rappers. Being a white rapper, do you feel like you have to prove yourself more than other rappers do? I don’t think so. I’ve had more black folks buy my album than white folks. My music is aggressive and real. I’m talking to you right now while I’m living in the projects. We’re the only white people on the street and everybody on my street bought my album. They love it. I’ve done shows in front of white folks and I’ll see a couple folks bobbing their heads, but when I do shows in front of black folks they go crazy. Are you performing during the Circle City Classic? Yeah, I got a show at The Ugly Monkey with Jim E Mac, Keylo-G, and G-Stak. We also got a show coming up that’s north of Indianapolis called Crunktoberfest. It’s on October 25th at noon. It’s got all kinds of people from Dayton, OH, Kentucky, Nashville, Detroit. How would you describe the Midwest movement? A lot of cats in Detroit and Dayton are aiming towards that Hip Hop shit. The cats in Chi like Kanye and Twista got they own lil’ style. We got Hip Hop lyrics but when we spit it’s real shit. It’s hard times right now with the economy fucked up. There’s some folks here that rap fast but I don’t rap fast. A lot of people think the Midwest is a lot of fast rappers but I just rap what comes to mind. What’s the overall plan to use music to better your life? Hopefully we’ll get this distribution deal with Fatman. Maybe I can take that money and invest it, maybe move out the projects. All I do is grind and I’m gonna keep doing what I’m doing ‘cause it’s working.
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.B. the FlyBoi knows how to make a good first impression. His debut mixtape hosted by DJ Scream opened a lot of doors for the new-comer and now he’s gearing up for his second project featuring DJ Jay-O. At 23 years old, G.B. has already developed a standout style, both musically and image-wise, and hopes to take his next single nationwide. What do you have going on right now? I’ve been working on my second mixtape Fly America II with DJ Jay-O. I put the first one out with HoodRich’s DJ Jay-O and DJ Scream. What was the response like on the first mixtape? That was just an introduction to get me out here. I had nothing but good feedback. My people in my hometown are ridin’ with me, I got some people in the A ridin’ with me, throughout the whole Midwest. It was a good look. Are you originally from Indianapolis? I’m from Indianapolis. I stayed in Chattanooga, TN during the summers with my grandma and auntie so I got a lil’ southern in me. What are some places people should check out when they come to your city? It’s not as big as Miami or New York, but it’s a lot to do in the city. You can hit up Cloud Nine. Have a Nice Day Café is gon’ be poppin’. A lot of people describe the Midwest as a melting pot. Is that how you would describe your music? I don’t really think we have a distinct sound in the Midwest. Some people think the Midwest is biting off the South and it’s not like that. Everybody sounds different. I got a bounce to my music; you can ride to it and it’s for the clubs. What songs do you have out right now that people are supporting? I have a song called “Think I’m Icey” that’s getting played throughout the Midwest on
the radio. Right now I have a new single called “Freak U.” It’s hot. My little 20-year-old brother is doing his thing as a singer. It’s a banger. I appreciate everyone that supports it. It’s a song for the ladies but you can bang it in the clubs too. The fellas like it too. You can hear my music on Myspace.com/GBtheFlyBoi. How did you get your rap name? When I was younger and coming up, no matter if we were going through hard times or not, my mom always made sure I stayed fresh. Everybody already called me G.B. and my mama called me FlyBoi. G.B. stands for my real name Greg Branson. How old are you? I’ll be 23 on October 16th. Do you ever run into people from back in the day and what is their response to the success you’ve had lately? They really support me. They wanna see me make it. They motivate me to keep doing what I’m doing. You got any shows coming up? Actually I just had a big show with DJ Scream at Cloud Nine. That turned out well. Tonight I’m performing at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. I’m performing at the Tailgate Party during the Circle City Classic. How were you able to start getting booked? I be on Facebook, Myspace. I’m in all the Midwest magazines, all the magazines in the city. Party promoters hit me up and ask me to perform. What is Fly Star Entertainment? That’s the record label I’m on. That’s my record label, me and a guy named MJ. Fly Star Entertainment consists of MJ, he’s like the OG of the family, Tiggy, he’s the R&B singer, DJ Jay-O, and Hamp is Mr. Do It All. He’s like a promoter. He makes sure everything is going good. Did you have anything else to add? Welcome to the Circle City, Naptown.
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fter learning how to make good on his past mistakes, Lil Nut is finally seeing his positive deeds pay off. Using knowledge he gained through life’s trial and errors, Nut has become a lyrical preacher in the Indianapolis streets.
Go ahead and tell everybody a little bit about yourself. My real name is Marco Clark. I was born in St. Louis and moved to Mississippi when I was a year old. My family is from Clarksdale, Mississippi. I was in Mississippi ‘til the first grade. Then moved to Indianapolis and that’s where I was raised at. Coming up, I earned my name because they used to call me The Bighead Nut. I took the Bighead off and changed it to Lil Nut. How long had you been rapping before people became familiar with your name? I always been rapping since I was little. I was writing songs in second grade. I really started getting serious about it when I got out of the penitentiary in 2002. I started going to the studio and really doing this music thing. I dropped one album in 2003 called Wear I Liv through Blackstone/Warner Brothers. The album featured 8Ball and MJG, Coo Coo Cal, Bosco and some other artists. The album was mixed and mastered on the west coast. It’s still on the shelves at some stores. I also have volumes one and two of Da Show Stoppas underground tapes. Both of those got me hot in the streets of Indiana and Indianapolis. What happened with the Blackstone deal? That was just a distribution deal. I looked at it like a stepping stone. As far as where I’m at right now, I got my own label MGG Entertainment. I got an artist on the label, I got comedians. We’re gonna do a lot of stuff. We been workin’ real hard. What does MGG stand for? It stands for Money Go Getter. You mentioned Da Show Stoppas mixtapes. What’s up with the In My Prime CD? That’s my newest CD I got out right now. A lot of people are ridin’‘round bumping it and saying they can’t take it out their CD player, saying it’s one of the hottest CDs out in the country. Right now I’m just shopping around, doing my networking thing with different magazines and
DJs. I’m messing around with HoodRich DJs, Hittmenn DJs, and a lot of hot DJs in my city. I’m doing collabos with a lot of artists from Detroit, Chicago, and Cincinnati. I’m trying to do a lot more. A lot of people know me when they see me, even artists that’s blown up. My name’s ringing, I’m just gon’ keep pushing and working. It’s in God’s hands. What is the significance behind the title of In My Prime? Why do you think you’re in your prime at this moment? I’m in my prime as far as it the business aspect of it. I done got my knowledge up, I got my foundation right. I’m also in my prime as far as my music. I know exactly how I want to present myself. I know exactly what my mission is. I’m more explosive on the stage, that’s why they call me show stoppa. As far as artistry, I got everything down pat. I’m feeling more ready than I’ve ever been. I’m in my prime. You had mentioned being in prison, what was the situation behind that and how did it affect your life? I got a good mother, real respectful, taught us all the morals of life. She tried her best to keep us out of things. I really didn’t have a father figure around to keep me from veering off so I was kinda raised by the streets. I made a lot of wrong choices, but everything that happened in my life made me the man I am today. I was in and out of juvenile until I got old enough to go to jail. Finally, I went to the penitentiary for assaulting a police officer. They originally gave me ten years, but I ended up serving three. I got out in 2002 and been doing music. I ain’t went back to jail since then. I done went from taking from the hood to giving back to the hood. I have a whole bunch of songs about how I came up, trying to talk to people. This issue is for the Circle City Classic. What do you have going on that weekend? I’ll be performing Thursday at The Ugly Monkey with Lil Scooty, Jim E Mac, Keylo-G, and G-Stak. Friday I should be performing at 300. I’ll be around, doing a lot of networking, the rest of the days. Tell everybody they can contact me at Myspace.com/LilNut317. One love to the OZONE.
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» Words by Randy Roper
He’s a member of a Grammy winning R&B quartet that sold millions of records. Now, Slim of the R&B group 112 tells OZONE why going for self is “So Fly.”
How are the relationships now? I was actually the last person that wanted to jump out and do it [solo]. It’s just that my situation rose faster. I was the last person to start on it and the first person to have it grow a little.
It’s been about three years since 112 dropped their last album. What have you been up to since that last album? We’ve been doing tours worldwide and I’ve been getting my label together, M3 Productions. It’s a great work in process. I just made history with Asylum because I’m the first R&B singer that they signed. Basically, I’m working from the ground up, bracing myself to be the next Def Jam and Arista. I’m trying to do the same thing with M3 Productions.
So what do you think is the difference between your solo music compared to 112? With 112, we all played roles to make sure the 112 brand and sound was developed. When I’m performing it’s definitely a significant difference, because [in a group] you’ve got three other guys out there that got your back. They dance just as well, that can sing just as well and it’s all love. But with the solo project I had to find my own niche and almost reinvent a sound, I didn’t want to go out there and pick the same producers as everybody else uses...
How did you decide to become a solo artist? I didn’t want to do a solo project actually. I wanted to start my own label, and I looked at it as a business. It’s easy [for me to be the first artist] ‘cause I already have a sound and a brand with 112, and it’s easier to get the ball rolling with my label and build equity so I can pave the way for other artists who I’m about to sign. It’s a good look. Even though I really didn’t want to do a solo project, I’m happy I did because the first single is doing real good.
Why you think your situation rose faster? I don’t know. I put that in God’s hands right there. I just feel blessed that I’m not making a bunch of mistakes. Whatever he wants to happen, I put it in his hands and let it happen.
The rest of this interview is featured in OZONE Magazine’s September issue.
Why didn’t you want to do a solo project? I felt like I sang enough with 112. I was very comfortable with the role I played in the group, I just never had that desire to be an solo artist. But businesswise I did want to be the CEO of my own company and I wanted to do something I hadn’t done before. With 112 we’ve been in this for 12 years, we’ve won every single award there is: Grammys, MTV, BET Awards, everything, so what can elevate me to the next level? It’s about challenging yourself and growing from being an artist to a young CEO. Is everybody in the group still cool? OZONE | 43
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oung Wise is ready to give his hometown a voice and he knows that he’s the key person to do it. The cocky rapper has been behind the scenes but is now ready to open up the curtains for him and his home state of Ohio. What do you have going on right now? I just got out of a contract with Multiman Music Group that I was in for three years. I’m just doing my own thing with promotions and I got a couple of mixtapes out right now. I’m just pushing my new album and trying to get my internet game up more because my Myspace is crazy. How long have you been rapping? I don’t even remember when I started, but my whole family has been affiliated with music, and my mom was a backup singer for Patti Labelle. How did you hook up with Multiman Music Group? I was up in New York trying to expand a little bit and I had a couple of spots on MTV’s Real World where my song played in the background, and I had a spot on ESPN with a show called “City Slam.” I just kind of bumped into him, while he was working the Paris Hilton project when she was working with Scott Storch, and he hooked me up with a ghost writing project for this kid from Disney. When I first started I really was just working with him without no paperwork so after a while we went ahead and made it official. I’m still back and forth to New York taking care of different projects. What rappers inspired you coming up? Everybody, but Jay really inspired me around 7th and 8th grade when Reasonable Doubt came out. As I got older I started to look at who would be my competition and in my range. Julez was buzzing around that time. Wayne wasn’t as popular as he is now and that’s crazy. Biggie and Tupac of course. I was a die hard Pac fan but people I respect is Red Cafe, Julez, Fab, Wayne, and of course Bone Thugs N Harmony. When Bone came out everybody was expecting rappers from Ohio to sound like them, but I’m trying to change that and make a difference.
Speaking of rappers from Ohio, I read your blog about Bow Wow. What’s going on with that? Nothing. Maybe that’s the problem, I feel like he ain’t doing his part as far as home. We from a place where we get overlooked. The game has moved from the east coast, to the west coast, back to the east coast, then down south. You know when he was small it was all good because he was young, but now you older and you have the chance to show your support for home. I love my home I show my support and I’m thankful for the support of others, and if I had the chance I would be helping my city. It’s almost kind of disrespectful and people out here don’t even think of him when it comes to rappers from Ohio; they think of Bone. What kind of style would you bring to the game? The real Midwest – that’s all I can think of. I will bring style the game really hasn’t heard yet because you’ve heard the east, west, and south sound. The Midwest doesn’t really have a sound. I think my style is the real Midwest, that cockiness and little bit of danger that’s showing that we deserve something. Do you think the game is oversaturated with backpack rappers? Oh yeah, the game is so commercial right now and its ringtone season. To me a backpack rapper isn’t Hip Hop because all they do is rap about stuff that has no relevance, and that’s cool if that’s all you know. If all you know is rap and what goes on in the studio then you a backpack rapper. If all you know is what’s going on in the streets then you a gangsta rapper, and if all you know is your life then you a real nigga. What’s your biggest accomplishment thus far? I’m thankful for everything that I have accomplished. I have opened tours for Akon and Ne-Yo and that was pretty cool. I didn’t even plan that one; I just went through and the promoter liked me and put me on. I appreciate the little things, for example, somebody may call me and be like, I just heard your song on MTV. I love little stuff like that. Then my video “Ryder” was on MTV2 for 14 weeks straight. It also aired on VH1, so that probably was of the biggest achievement so far.
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Âť Photo b WORDS BY Ms. Riv y Carrie Het tle f ercit y or Tekro x LLC
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il Scooty is the Naptown new blood. At 21 years old, he’s already emerging as the future of the Circle City, the Midwest, and Hip Hop as a whole. Don’t let his age and level of experience mislead you, Scooty is capable of producing hit after hit.
during Circle City Classic weekend. It’s gonna be starring Keylo-G – he used to be in a group called N.A.P., they was on Billboards and everything back in the day. Then you got Lil Nut, G-Stak, and Jim E Mac. GB the FlyBoi is definitely doing his thang right now. Those are the people with the limelight.
Introduce yourself to our readers. My nickname has been Lil Scooty since I was a kid. I been rapping for two or three years. I just finished up my first mixtape hosted by DJ B Swift from the radio station. I got MRC Entertainment going on. That’s our label. Are you the only artist on the label? It’s me, Kano, Spitty Spark, and Indiana Tom. You can probably compare us to Trill Entertainment, how everybody is basically solo artists but it’s one big family.
Tell me about your future plans. I’m trying to drop another mixtape with DJ Jay-O from HoodRich. I’m working on my first EP called 21 Years. I’m trying to drop that on January 1st, my birthday. I’m in college for Network Administration, finishing school right now. I just finished my first year. I got another year and a half before I get my Associates Degree. I’m going to school full time.
What made you decide you were ready to put out a full project? I been rapping since back in the day, rapping to kids in the neighborhood, freestyling in clubs and at parties. Everybody kept asking me when I was gonna put a CD out. I didn’t think I was ready for an album so I did the mixtape thang. Which songs do you think are the best on the CD? Right now I got a single called “Brown Louie Bag” featuring Young True of Nappyville and GB the FlyBoi. Actually they just played it on the radio about ten minutes ago.
How are you able to balance college and a rap career? It’s cool. I can promote at school. Everybody at school knows about me. Even the teachers support me. They see me out here on my grind. They see me come to school every day and balance it out. It’s kinda hard but I look at it like gettin’ up to go to school is like another hustle, just like going to the studio and writing raps. It’s about the money at the end of the day. Is the money why you started rapping? Well, I started off rapping as a hobby, just as something to do to pass time. And then there’s the money. But this is my #1 hobby. How would you describe Lil Scooty? I’m just trying to set myself up for my future. I’m an outgoing guy, cool person to be around. I’m just an all around cool person. I can basically fit in good with anybody. I kick it with the thugs, I kick it with the upper-class people.
How did you link up with Young True and GB? Are you guys good about networking in the city? As far as Nappyville, they always been doing their thing as long as I can remember. They always been the #1 local cats in the city. They hit me up on Myspace and told me the songs I had were good but I needed some better quality. So I started recording with them and built a relationship like that. They just like family too. As far as GB, I seen him doing his thang and we basically met on Myspace. We been kickin’ it and networking ever since then.
Beside the show you already mentioned, what else do you have going on during the Circle City Classic? I’ll be performing at Club Industry that weekend on October 4th. We’re bringing Shawty Lo down here and I’m opening up for him. That’ll be my biggest highlight for Classic Weekend.
Besides Nappyville, who are some of the local legends as far as rapping goes? We actually got a show on Thursday the 2nd
What else you got on your mind? That’s about it. People are gon’ hear a lot from me. I’m gon’ be on my grind 24-7 hustling.
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Ozone Mag Circle City Classic 2008