florida classic special edition
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ions p r o m o t Block oom to the
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KC // LADY LYRIC J CASH // FLYY //// tuck // & MORE & G UN YO R // TREAL ITIAN FRESH // JON EZ & SOUTHSTA IL SM // hankadon // HA ER H C EA PAPA DUCK // PR
ion special edit
n o d a hank
DY LYRIC // FLYY // KC // LA & MORE SH A C J & G JON YOUN L // tuck // AITIAN FRESH // UTHSTAR // TREA front-line // HK // PREACHER // SMILEZ & SO PAPA DUC
The reason w y Front-Line P been successfh romot ions u made a businesl is because we have actuhas have a physica s out of being promoters. ally We l office, a staff , etc. - Front-Line Pro mot io ns
PUBLISHER: Julia Beverly CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER: N. Ali Early GUEST EDITOR: Ms. Rivercity ART DIRECTOR: Tene Gooden CONTRIBUTORS: Terrence Tyson PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR: Malik Abdul STREET TEAM DIRECTOR: Mercedes Streets 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: Front-Line Promotions (cover and this page) photos by Terrence Tyson; Hankadon photos by Terrence Tyson; Jon Young photo by Tyson Robertson; Haitian Fresh photo by Malik Abdul. DISCLAIMER:
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 2007 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.
FLORIDA CLASSditiIC on**
**special e Section A
8 DJ Dapa 9 Editorial 10 DJ Slym 11 Orlando Map 12 DJ Smallz 13 Kaye & King JB 14-15 club & event Listing 16-17 Haitian Fresh 18-19 Jon Young & J Cash 21 DJ Nasty 26-27 Papa Duck
4-6 8-9 12-13 14-15 16 17 18-19 20-21 24-25 26-27
KC Lady Lyric Preacher Smilez & Southstar Sytonnia Mercedes Treal Tuck Big Koon & Hollywood Flyy
22-23 HANKADON OZONE |
apa originally set out to DJ. After working the underground radio circuit with Dawgman in Orlando, Dapa became a part of the Hittmenn DJs and eventually started his own management company. He now assists many artists’ careers in the Central Florida area. You work with a lot of artists in Florida. Tell me about the management company. I’ve got my management company with Pee Wee Kirkland which is called S.O.G. Management. We manage Benisour, Stick 3000, Wes Fif, Paperview, Furyis Stylze the producer and we just got a new artist named Grind. Between doing the management and running Hittmenn DJs, I’m real busy. How long have you been working with the Hittmenn DJs? The Hittmenn DJs started four years ago and I was one of the first people they pulled in. Greg Street and Kaspa put it together and asked me and Dawgman to get in it. I set up tours and different types of things. I set up tours for The Franchise Boyz, Young Capone, P. Stones, and Rich Boy. We just put together I-15’s tour. That’s Polow Da Don’s new R&B group. What were you doing prior to the Hittmenn DJs? Me and Dawgman had a studio together and we had the underground radio station. I was doing that and working records. Originally I started off as a DJ years ago in ’95. I started working with a record label called Backstage Records. It was run by the Diaz Brothers. I was doing marketing for that label with the Diaz Brothers and Pitbull. We had an artist named Black Face we were working with. Black Face had a record with Fat Joe. We’re the ones that introduced Khaled to Fat Joe. Do you still DJ at all? Not really. The last time I DJed I went overseas in Europe. I mean I’ll party rock and get on as a favor or as a guest. What will you and your artists be doing during the Florida Classic weekend? 8 | OZONE
All the artists that I’m working with, whether it’s through Hittmenn or my own personal artists, will be at Dawgman’s events like the car show. We’re at The Buzz Record Pool on Friday. Saturday is the block party and Sunday is the car show and after party. Where are you from originally? I’m originally from Toronto, Canada. I grew up in Miami. I went to high school and everything in Miami. I moved up to Orlando in ’98. What are some of the differences between Miami and Orlando? The Miami scene has been growing since even when I was down there. Half of Miami is dance music and heavily dance influenced. A lot of people automatically assume it’s like a second New York but there’s a lot of Dirty South in Miami. A lot of people think that the handful of artists that are popping off in Miami are the only artists there but those are just the ones that are shining right now. I think Orlando is starting to network and pull together. There’s a lot of talent in Orlando. You got K.C., Stick 3000, The Runners, DJ Nasty, and DJ Prostyle. From the DJs to the managers to the artists, everyone is starting to pull together. For example, all my artists have features with K.C. I believe in him. I think he’s the next big R&B artist to come out. I support artists in Orlando before any other artists outside of here because I live here. Do you have anything else going on? Pee Wee Kirkland just signed a movie deal. Dreamworks is doing a motion picture on his life. So I’m going to be getting into doing the film. I’m working on the soundtrack. We have the management company but we also have the record label. Do you have a website? HittmennDJsLive.com and Myspace.com/MrDapa. // Words: Ms. Rivercity Photo: Teran Photography
florida classic special edition
editorial Ms Rivercity
eing from the Sunshine State, it’s good to hear everyone talking about the Florida movement. I guess I’m kind of biased, but I really do feel that our state has a lot going on. DJ Nasty is a monster; The Runners keep on hustlin’; DJ Smallz is making history; and everyone is saying KC is the next big R&B singer. I’ve known Treal and Haitian Fresh for a while now so when I heard they made some progress over the last few months, I was glad to get the opportunity to interview them…again. It’s almost like my career has grown with theirs. Awww, that’s sweet. LOL. But seriously, there’s a lot going on in Florida and Orlando is always booming. I travel to the O so much it might as well be my second home. So if you’re in town for the Classic, make sure you check out everything the city has to offer. And if you ain’t sure what’s popping, just read the interviews. - Ms. Rivercity
Where are you from originally? I was born in Ft. Lauderdale, raised in Palm Beach County and I live in Orlando. I guess I’m from Palm Beach County; that’s what I claim. What were some of the most memorable events you provided music at? I think the car show during last year’s Florida Classic was one of the most memorable. That was a good one with DJ Q45. I did a step show two years ago with about 4,000 people. Me and Lil Duval were cracking back and forth on each other.
Where will you be DJing during the Florida Classic this year? We’re doing the Karma Corner with Whilin Entertainment. I believe it’s on Saturday. We have a few other things on the table that we’re negotiating.
J Slym has been making his mark in the world of DJing for several years now. As a club and mixtape DJ, Slym heavily promotes up-and-coming artists, especially those of Haitian decent. With a unique niche in his field, Slym is on the rise in Central Florida. You’ve been working on your mixtape game lately. What do you have in the works? I just put out a mixtape called So Mufuckin Florida. It’s a series. I drop one every month with Florida artists that have hot music. The last one featured a little bit of hosting by BloodRaw. The next one is gonna be hosted by Haitian Fresh or Papa Duck. Those are promotional for the Florida artists. The Street Buzz mixtape series is for every artist. The slogan for that is, “If you don’t have a Street Buzz mixtape then you don’t have a street buzz”. How do you represent for your fellow Haitians? I got the Haitians in Hip Hop mixtape about to come out featuring Redd Eyezz, Papa Duck, Haitian Fresh and Mecca. That’s basically to showcase Haitians that are doing it big in the Hip Hop game. I got Jacki-O on there; she’s half Haitian. I got Joe Hound on there also. Any Haitian artists that are making noise can send me their music and I’ll throw them on there. 10 | OZONE
Besides Whilin Entertainment, do you have any other DJ affiliations? Clientell Family, Mo Muzik Ent, Hard Hat Productions, Supreme Team DJs, Hittmenn DJs and a couple of others. How did you become involved in the entertainment business? What made you interested in it? My love of music. I love music. I wanted to learn about it more and see where I could take this music thing. That’s why I jumped in the industry. What has been the most challenging part of getting your foot in the door as a DJ? My biggest challenge is that I get involved in doing so much for other people that I don’t really focus on myself. I try to help everybody else win thinking I’m probably going to win too once I help them win. But it never happens like that. I’ve been there for everybody else but everybody else isn’t really helping me. Where would you like to see yourself in the next few years? I wanna be one of those cats like Khaled, or even bigger than Khaled. I want to sell millions of records. I plan on dropping a single within the next month. I just want to keep promoting the mixtape series and let people see that I have the #1 mixtape series in the streets. If you listen to everybody else’s mixtape, they don’t put as much work into the mixtapes as I do, you know chopping ‘em up with the drops and everything. The quality of my mixtapes and the amount of work I put in makes me different from other DJs. Do you want to give out any contact info or website? You can reach me at 407-470-5820 or DJSlymOrlando@gmail.com. // Words: Ms. Rivercity Photo: D Suave
OZONE | 11
dj smallz Another thing I wanted to do was showcase all the talent in different cities of Florida. I don’t like when people think of Florida and they only think of one city. That’s disrespectful to me. I wanted to rejuvenate the Florida movement. Khaled and Rick Ross are doing their thing in Miami; Plies is doing his thing in Fort Myers; Treal is doing their thing in Orlando. I wanted to call all the troops to battle and put Florida back on the map. It’s been a long time since Florida has had a stamp in the Southern Hip Hop music industry. I have a certain power as a Florida DJ. I’m a national DJ but I’m a Florida DJ first. “Gunshine State” is a statement. Actually, Treal signed to Universal Republic and Haitian Fresh signed to Sak Pase/Universal right after the record came out. Universal hit me about that and then hit Wyclef. There’s a couple of other artists that are about to sign off of that song.
J Smallz, creator of the Southern Smoke and Fear Factor mixtape series, recently made history with the release of “Welcome to the Gunshine State.” The record, which features 30 of Florida’s finest artists, was produced, arranged and marketed by Smallz himself. How is the “Gunshine State” record doing? The “Gunshine State” record was really crazy. It took about two months to put it together from start to finish. I produced the record. That was the first record that I displayed my production skills on. Coming up into the game, I was naturally a percussionist. I studied drums; I can tune and read music; I can play the xylophone and the drum set. I’m gifted musically. I’ve been working on beats for the last two years but it wasn’t something I wanted to come out the gate with. I wanted to brand Southern Smoke and DJ Smallz before I branded that element and my skills. What was the purpose behind the record? One of the main priorities and goals was to unite Florida. That was a really hard thing to do. When you do your research in Florida, you notice that a lot of artists in different counties don’t do records together. I don’t know if it’s an ego situation or an affiliation situation, but it’s a problem. People aren’t supporting each other. 12 | OZONE
Where can people hear the song? You can download the record for free on www.DJSmallz.com. We’re also giving away a free ringtone of the hook. The record is on a bunch of mixtapes. If you haven’t heard it, go to your local mixtape DJ and check it out. Your promotions company is pretty successful. What are your plans for selling beats? I have SouthPromo.com which is my marketing company. We’re doing something totally different that no DJ has ever done. We’re doing a Southern Smoke college tour for various Homecomings this fall. We started that in Gainesville and it’s a 9 city tour. As far as the production side, that’s something I’m working on. The Game just took two records for his Black Wall Street compilation. He put UGK on one of the records. I’m shopping records to Grand Hustle, Slip N Slide, that sort of thing. Look out for my production game to be real serious. What mixtapes are you working on? I’m working on a Southern Smoke album. Shout out to all the DJs doing albums – Khaled, Drama, Felli Fel. The Southern Smoke album is going to raise the bar for DJ albums. We’ve got a different set up and marketing plan. It’s an album that’s never been done before. It has crazy, twisted concepts. It’s scheduled to drop in the summer of 2008. It’s strictly a Southern album. Everybody from the legends to the up-and-comers is on this thing. I’m going to leak the single around New Years. // Words by Ms. Rivercity // Photo by Terrence Tyson
Top 5 Clubs in Orlando & Tampa
By DJs Kaye Dunaway and King JB
Want to know where to chill at while you’re in Central Florida? We hit up two well-known party starters for the scoop on the hot spots. Kaye Dunaway currently spins in Orlando’s nightclubs and on 102 Jamz. King JB can be heard on Tampa’s WILD 98.7 in addition to his weekly club residencies. They gave us their list of top 5 clubs where you can get your party on while you’re in the area for the Florida Classic. Orlando – Kaye Dunaway Firestone on Sunday Night - 578 N. Orange Avenue 1. With DJ Nasty, Disco and the City Boyz, and DJ D Strong. It’s the longest running Sunday night in the history of Orlando, not to mention this is where it truly gets crunk! Trick Daddy, Lil Boosie and Jeezy are always at Firestone when they come to town. Plus, what else are you gonna do on Sunday?
Antigua on Friday Night - 41 W. Church Street 2. Magic Mike, the platinum producer who helped put Florida booty shake on the map, murders the turntables every Friday night! You have to see it to believe it! That alone is the only reason to frequent Antigua. Magic Mike is a beast!
Whispers on Thursday Night - 4732 S. Kirkman Road 3. Frontline makes plenty of moves in the streets here in the O. And this is one night where I know I will hear new shit, which is what I
like as a DJ. Plus, you get a good mixture of the hood and the industry folk on a frequent basis. Shouts to DJ Ceasar and DJ Q45 – one of the best DJs out there. After all, he did win OZONE’s Club DJ of the Year Award! on Friday Night - 740 Bennett Rd. 4.Roxy Phat Fridays at the Roxy is where to find all the sexy people! Club Status on Saturday Night - 912 W. Colonial Drive 5. This is Orlando’s best kept secret. Yours truly does her thing, Kaye Dunaway a.k.a. The Ladies Champ, is the #1 female DJ in the South on the turntables! Damn right, so holla at me. Tampa – King JB 13 Lounge and Café - 2475 McMullen-Booth Rd, Clearwater, FL 1. This is my favorite spot. It’s mostly old school Hip Hop with an upscale feel. It’s an indoor and outdoor spot in one venue. Blue Martini - 2223 N. West Shore Blvd. 2. Blue Martini is the ultimate Sunday night spot. It’s a good mix of people. at the Hard Rock Casino - 5223 Orient Rd. 3.Floyd’s This is the only place you can drink after 3 AM! Club Skye in Ybor City - 1509 E. 8th Ave. 4. Skye is the weekend spot for my home WILD 98.7. It’s always packed! Park Cafe - 1806 W. Platt St. 5.Hyde This is a beautiful place. There’s always sexy women there! Compiled by Ms. Rivercity // Photos by Terrence Tyson
OZONE | 13
2007 CLASSIC A ID R O L F
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 15th 6 PM – 10 PM // 2nd Annual Street Buzz music conference @ Club Whispers Industry panels, artist showcases, producer battles, networking & more Call 407-575-6085 for artist showcase/sponsorship info 9:30 PM – 3 AM // Girlfriend Thursdays @ Club Whispers with DJ Q45 FRIDAY NOVEMBER 16th 4 PM – 9:30 PM // Front-Line Promotions VIP Happy Hour @ Whispers 8 PM – until // Front-Line Promotions Florida Classic Step Show & Comedy Jam with Terrance & Rosci @ the Orange County Convention Center 9PM - 2 AM // Kingz of the County Jam II Club Volcano’s (behind Wet-N-Wild) Crime Mob, Wes Fif, Haitian Fresh, Drop, Grind, Dirty Gee, Mr Orange County & more live in concert All Ages event - Everyone free before 9:30 $200 Rock Yo Hips contest & $200 Crank Dat contest 10 PM – 3 AM // Front-Line Promotions’ Alumni Jam @ Club Whispers with Doug E. Fresh 10 PM - 3 AM // Front-Line Promotions’ Phat Fridays at the Roxy with Big Tigger, Bigga Rankin, & The Runners SATURDAY NOVEMBER 17th 5 PM - 11 PM // Ultimate Classic Block Party outside Firestone with Lil Wayne, Lil Boosie, & Trick Daddy. All Ages! www.ticketweb.com 321-662-1510 12 PM - until // FAMU vs. BCC Celebrity Tailgate Party with Clientell Party Starters, Wes Fif, Drop, Grind, & Dirty Gee @ the Solo Gas Station (Tampa & Church) 9 PM - until // Official Saturdays Classic Edition @ Club Zion (Bennett Rd. across from Roxy) with Wes Fif, Tampa Tony, Disco Jr., DJ D-Strong & more 9 PM – 3 AM // Front-Line Promotions’ Grown Folks Night @ The House of Blues with Doug E. Fresh & DJ Q45 9 PM - until // 2nd Annual Classic Fest Block Party @ Element Nightclub with Crime Mob, Haitian Fresh, Field Mob, Young Cash, Yo Gotti, Midget Mac & Jacki-O 9 PM – 3 AM // Front-Line Promotions’ Velvet Rope @ Whispers with DJ Kid Capri 9 PM – 3 AM // World Famous Saturday Night Live with DJ Greg G @ Icon 9:30 PM – 3 AM // Front-Line Promotions’ Classic Luau @ The Roxy with Plies & DJ Khaled SUNDAY NOVEMBER 18th 12 PM - 7 PM Dawgman Entertainment & Front-Line Promotions 9th Annual Riding Big car show/ concert @ Emerald Field (Central Florida Fairgrounds) with Playaz Circle, Flo-Rida, Lil Duval, DJ Q45, & DJ Picha P - all ages - 407-575-6085 or ridingbigcarshow.com
14 | OZONE
g Mall Listin all Florida M Blossom Trail 8001 S Orange 00 77 685 407Magic Mall . Dr 2155 W. Colonial 79 07 864 407-
The Groove CityWalk at Universal Orlando 6000 Universal Blvd. 407-363-8000
all Millenia M . 4200 Conroy Rd 407-363-3555 Mall West Oaks ive Dr 9401 W. Colonial 401-294-2775 rk Mall Winter Pa Ave. ks 641 W. Fairban 32789 FL , rk Pa er nt Wi 407-671-3232
Hard Rock Live HardRock.com Universal CityWalk 407-351-5483 Heroes Nightclub 426 E. Kennedy 407-740-0556
club Listing AKA Lounge 68 East Pine Street 407-839-3707 Antigua 41 W. Church St. 407-649-4270 Back Booth www.backbooth.com 37 W. Pine Street 407-999-2570 Bob Marley - A Tribute to Freedom CityWalk at Universal Orlando 6000 Universal Blvd. 407-224-2262 BET Soundstage Downtown Disney Pleasure Island Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 407-934-7781 The Blue Room 17 W. Pine St. (downtown Orlando) 321-277-0412
Cleo’s Gentlemen’s Club 1310 S. Orange Blossom Trail 407-839-8559 Club Paris 122 W. Church St. 407-849-0808 Club Status 912 W. Colonial Drive 407-841-1462 Club Whispers ClubWhispers.net 4732 S. Kirkman Road 407-290-9896 Element Nightclub 39 W. Pine Street 407-841-1566 Firestone ClubatFirestone.com 578 N. Orange Avenue 407-872-0066
House of Blues HOB.com 1490 E. Buena Vista Dr. Lake Buena Vista, FL 407-934-BLUE Icon Nightclub 20 E. Central Blvd. 407-649-6496 Matrix & Metropolis Pointe Orlando 9101 International Drive 407-370-3700 Motown Cafe Universal CityWalk 407-363-8000 The Roxy 740 Bennett Rd. 407-898-4004
Slingapour’s 25 Wall Street Plaza 407-849-9904
Screamers (downtown Orlando) 360 State Lane 407-244-0299 Sky60 64 N. Orange Avenue 407-246-1599 Tabu Nightclub TabuNightclub.com 46 N. Orange Avenue 407-648-8363 TD Waterhouse 600 W. Amelia St. 407-849-2020 Tropical Magic Nightclub 801 N. John Young Parkway Zinc Bar TheZincBar.com 13 S. Orange Avenue 407-246-1755 Central Florida Fairgrounds 4903 W. Colonial Drive Eastmonte Civic Center 830 Magnolia Drive Altamonte Springs, FL Expo Center 500 W. Livingston (across from TD Waterhouse)
The Social OrlandoSocial.com 54 N. Orange Ave 407-246-1599 OZONE | 15
16 | OZONE
Haitian Fresh represents a lot of things including the Haitian community, Daytona Beach, and most recently Sak Pase Records. Fresh just inked a deal with Wyclef Jean’s imprint label and is taking full advantage of his new situation. How did you end up signing the deal with Wyclef on Sak Pase Records/Refugee Camp? A lot of people in Florida were talking about me and the buzz I have. They’ve seen my shows, my grind and that I was a different artist. Nigel from Universal called Wyclef and asked him why he hadn’t signed me. Wyclef sent his people to Miami and they did their research and saw that everything was fine. Wyclef called me and he’s my family now. Has anything changed with your life since then? My life hasn’t changed because I was a six figure nigga way before the deal. As far as the music and the industry and the fame, yeah it’s changed but I’m still the same person. I answer my phone for everybody. It’s changed in a lot of positive ways. Your phone is probably ringing a lot more now though. Man, the shit is ringing off the hook. I got three phones now. I answer for everybody though ‘cause I love people. That’s why I do this. I don’t do this for me. At first I had a little bit of money and I loved music, so I wanted to show the Haitian community and the hood that I could do this. Then I fucked around and fell in love with it. The streets chose me and embraced me as an artist. Wyclef nicknamed me the million dollar artist. How long is the contract for? Basically, Wyclef told me it’s for life. Blood in, blood out. He don’t want me to discuss the details but it was big. Put it this way: Haitian Fresh is happy. He called my mama and told her to stop working. It’s a lot of people that believed in me and are happy for me. That’s the love I’m getting from the streets as a major right now. There’s a lot of people that had something to do with it but the main person is Haitian Fresh. He never gave up. Tell me about the single with Wyclef and Boosie. “Gon Joc” song is the number one song in the country. Wyclef loved it as soon as he heard it. It was me and Boosie at first and it was already hot in the street.
Wyclef just took it worldwide. He’s on the hook. The video should be done in the next couple of months. Me and Wyclef got two other singles. Right now, Wyclef’s “The Sweetest Girl” is one of the top 10 songs in the country. So that’s what we’re focusing on. We go on tour in January to 27 cities. Everything is perfect. Wyclef is going to produce most of my album. Certified Beats from New York produced “Boss Status” featuring Busta Rhymes and Rick Ross. That’s going to be the next single. That’s hot. But right now it’s all about “Gon Joc.” What else are you working on at the moment? I’ve got like 5 or 6 other singles that are ready. Haitian Fresh is gonna be around for a while. If a person hates me, they need to just sit back ‘cause I’m gonna be knocking ‘em out with new hits. I got a lot of singles by myself and I got a lot of platinum people that’s a part of my album. I would have gave up ten million dollars to be with Sak Pase Records because it’s a home. There’s no place like home. With anyone else, when the money runs out they kick you out, but with Wyclef it’s family. I’m a different artist. Anybody can rap but not anybody can be an artist. The rap part is easy. I’m a true artist. That’s what makes Haitian Fresh different. Plus I can do it in all kind of languages. And the hood loves me. To be a Haitian rapper and get the streets to love you is hard but I did it. Fuck everybody that don’t like me. If they heard my album they would apologize. You’ve been struggling to break out for a long time. Did you ever get discouraged? Of course, a lot of times I wanted to give up but I love God. Everything you see has already been written. Whatever I touch turns platinum. I worked on my craft and learned the studio. I feel like I’m the bomb right now. Not being cocky, but nobody can fuck with me. What else would you like to mention? I want to give a shout out to everybody in Daytona, my daughter, D-Strong, DJ Nasty, DJ Quik – my DJ, Sak Pase Records, Gon Joc Girls, 102 Jamz, all my Haitians. I represent not only Haitians but all independent artists. Tifre is the number 1 manager in the world. Rest in Peace to all the Zoe Pound Revolutionaries. // Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Malik Abdul OZONE | 17
jon Young and J. Cash are a perfect example of why keeping up with current music trends is important. The Myspace Monsters landed a deal with Defient Entertainment under Warner Music earlier this year, which only further stirred up their bubbling careers. How long ago did you become artists with Defient Entertainment/Warner Music? Jon Young: We’ve been with them since the middle of the year. Since about May or June. One of the investors in the label was checking for the top artists on Myspace and they contacted us through that. Were you each doing your solo thing prior to teaming 18 | OZONE
up? J. Cash: We’ve been working together for about ten years now. Jon Young happened to make his Myspace page first and it took off. Then we created the Jon Young and J. Cash page shortly after that. Myspace thought it was a fake and deleted it so then we made the J. Cash page. While we’re two separate people, we’re still doing the Jon Young and J. Cash thing. We didn’t want to have a group name; instead we wanted to use each of our solo names to build a buzz for each of us at the same time. Jon Young: A lot of times in a group you don’t know too much about the individuals. That’s why we kept our names in the title.
jon young & j cash
sounding. J. Cash: We have a bunch of different sounds and whenever we go in to make a song we don’t really know if we’re going to come out this type of song. It just comes out. While the fans understand that you could come out with a different sound of music, the industry wants you to just stick with your one sound. So that’s what gets kind of confusing when we’re trying to pick a single. If we follow up with a different single, most of our fans will understand, but some people might not get it because they only want to see you one way. Jon Young: It’s not like we sit down and say we’re going to make a club song. It’s just whatever we’re feeling on that day. Do you have any projects out right now? Jon Young: For the past couple of years we’ve been getting our own CDs made and selling ‘em on the streets or online. Even in Japan and Europe people have been buying our CDs. We’re still pushing the Keep Movin CD, Slept On CD and Jon Young’s City I Luv CD. Jon Young: We just dropped a mixtape called Track Breakers. It’s promoting a lot of up-and-coming artists – some underground, some recently signed. That’s doing really well. You guys have been hitting the stage more lately. What shows have you done recently? J. Cash: We’ve done a couple of shows at House of Blues in the past couple of months. We’ve done Sobe Live down in Miami during the OZONE Awards weekend. We’ve done shows out by UCF. We did one out in Hernando Beach on the West Coast of Florida. We had a real good turn out at that. We’ve been trying to get a show buzz going for us. We’ve been doing pretty good.
How’s the single with Boosie doing? Are you still promoting it or have you come up with something else? J. Cash: It’s going well. It’s playing on XM radio. It’s kind of spread out across the country on certain radio stations. It’s getting the buzz out there for us. But whether it’s the single we end up going with or not, we’re not really sure. Right now we just wanted to get it out there to build up a buzz and get the industry talking about us. What other types of songs do you have in the works? Jon Young: We do a lot of different types of songs. We’ll do some more R&B sounding songs, we got a few of those tracks that we might push real soon. We got “Just Chill” and “Spoken For” which are more melodic
Is there ever any competition between you guys? J. Cash: I wouldn’t say there’s any competition. We really just try to work together. Jon Young makes all the beats and then I’ll come up with a concept and he comes up with a hook. Or he’ll come up with the beat and we’ll write the hook. We kick back and pop out ideas and try to make it happen. We’ve been friends way before this so that helps out a lot. This is something fun for us to do. Jon Young: We each play our own role. I do the beats and he’s good with concepts. We know what our abilities are so we just work together with that. We don’t really clash on anything. What else would you like to mention? J. Cash: We’ll be releasing a major album in 2008. It will be in stores nationwide. Anyone wanting to check out our music and show schedule can go to our website Myspace.com/JonYoungMusic and Myspace.com/officialjcash. // Words: Ms. Rivercity Photo: Tyson Robertson
OZONE | 19
Florida is home to plenty of vets when it comes to music; it’s also the birthplace for a lot of up-and-coming talent as well. We asked DJ Nasty for his list of who’s who in the Sunshine State and his personal favorite songs from those people. He gave us some insight on the hottest rappers and producers in the state, according to a professional.
Top 10 HITMAKERS IN Trick Daddy - “I’m So Hood” FLORIDA 1. Need I say more? The opening line to that record is amazing. Everybody wanna mu’fuckin’ know why? Trick Daddy is the king of By DJ Nasty
Florida! [DJ Khaled’s] ‘I’m So Hood’ is the biggest record in the world.
The Runners – “Bet That” – Trick Daddy, “Hustlin” – Rick 2. Ross, “All the Above” – Beanie Sigel feat. R. Kelly I got to go with the home team. They’re the biggest producers in the game right now. They’ve got too many records to name. “Hustlin’” is still the biggest record in the club. “All the Above” is a smash! They changed the game in down South Hip Hop. Rick Ross – “Speedin” feat. R. Kelly 3. Rick Ross is the future! His record “Speedin” featuring R. Kelly is amazing. It’s a big record. It’s gonna take Rick Ross to that next level.
DJ Khaled – “We Takin Over” 4. Khaled is the hardest working man in show business and “We Takin’ Over” is a great record. – “I Am the Club” 5.Plies Plies is the realest nigga I ever met! Pitbull – “That’s Nasty” 6. Pitbull is one of the top 10 because he’s versatile. “That’s Nasty” was the first record me and him ever recorded together. It was two Cubans doing it big.
Cool & Dre – “Brown Paper Bag” 7. That record was an inspiration. When I heard that record it made me want to make music. It made me want to kill the clubs. It’s an inspirational record.
Brisco – “What You Want” 8. That record is killing street clubs out in Dade county! Of course it’s produced by DJ Nasty of the Nasty Beatmakers. Flo-Rida – “Get Low” featuring T-Pain 9. This is the #1 most requested record in the club right now. All the girls want to hear the “Apple Bottom Song.” That’s what they call it. They don’t even know it’s called “Get Low.”
DJ Nasty/Nasty Beatmakers – “I’m Me” – Lil Wayne 10. Last but not least, of course, you can’t mention Florida without mentioning DJ Nasty and the Nasty Beatmakers. Me and
brother did “I’m Me” for Lil Wayne. It’s on The Carter III album. I’ve never heard Wayne spit like this in my life. He shut it down! Compiled by Ms. Rivercity // Photo by Julia Beverly
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front22 | OZONE
(l-r) Front-Lineâ€™s Pat Nix and Willie Fisher
...at the end of the day the Promotion game is a business. We deal with major corporations everyday to solidify sponsorships for events or they hire us to plan events for them. You have to conduct yourself accordingly. No one wants to deal with companies who are not professional, especially Promoters. At the same time, we still keep it hot in the streets by throwin’ the hottest parties, treating people with respect. We support the people that support us. That’s the Boardroom to the Block.” OZONE | 23
ince the Florida Classic moved to Orlando twelve years ago, Front-Line Promotions has been coordinating the events and concerts surrounding the weekend. Co-owned by Pat Nix and Willie Fisher, Front-Line is one of the largest promotion companies in the South, thanks to their savvy business smarts and years of experience.
What were you doing prior to starting Front-Line? Pat Nix: I was a car salesman for Toyota. Willie Fisher: I played professional basketball in Turkey. Why did you leave those professions for the promotions business? PN: We saw a need to fill a void in Central Florida for urban entertainment. I had personally already been doing parties and promotions in college as a member of Kappa Alpha Psi. I was in charge of fund raising so it was my job to come up with events and parties to raise money for our non-profit. WF: It wasn’t anything I had wanted to do. It was just something that fell into my lap. I ended up getting a venue, the Roxy Nightclub. I was introduced to Pat and we joined forces. It was just luck for me. Pat, you’re a FAMU alumni. What was your major in college? PN: My major was in Business/Economics and my minor was in Marketing. It fits what I’m doing in a way, but not totally. Most of the people that came out of Business/Economics at FAMU are working for Fortune 500 companies but I decided to go a different route. I wanted to be my own boss and not answer to nobody. Your company has been in business for over a decade. What do you think it takes to run a successful promotions company? Pat: First of all, it has to be a business. A lot of people just put money together and think they can just do things, but we had an angle. There’s not that many full-fledged black business promotions companies in the country. You have to treat it as a business from A to Z. You can only go as far as your money will take you. The reason why Front-Line Promotions has been successful is because we have actually made a business out of being promoters. We have a physical office, a staff, etc. We deal with major corporations every day to solidify sponsorships for events, or they hire us to plan events for them. You have to conduct yourself accordingly. No one wants to deal with companies who are not professional, especially promoters. At the same time, we still keep it hot in the streets by throwin’ the hottest parties, treating people with respect. We support the people that support us. That’s the Boardroom to the Block.
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Wille Fisher: And you also need to reinvest. Sometimes people don’t understand the business. They have a successful event and think that’s how it’s going to go all the time. You can’t be like that. You have to reinvest the money. You also have to reinvent the wheel as much as possible. You got to stay fresh. Were those some things you had to learn the hard way? PN: Definitely. We lost thousands of dollars while learning the business in the beginning but those were lessons we needed to be successful. You have a lot of fly-by-night promotions companies. You might have Such-n-Such Entertainment one week and a month later the business is gone because they’ve done an unsuccessful event. WF: You have to be very selective and pick your battles when choosing what you want to do. Be smart about the things you get into. Everything that comes to you is not for you. Front-Line started with the two of you. How many employees do you have now? PN: With the inception of our nightclub Club Whispers we purchased about three years ago, we have a total of about 30 employees. What goes into setting up all the events for the Florida Classic? WF: We start from A and go all the way to Z. We handle the marketing, get the flyers and commercials prepared, get acts, take care of travel; it’s a widespread list. How long does it take to get everything organized? WF: Well, the Florida Classic is pretty much our pet project; it’s one of our babies. We have been one of the official marketing companies for the Florida Classic since day one. I’d say we prepare for it all year long, and really go into high gear about six months out. We come up with our ideas and what we plan to do to make it happen and make the ideas come to fruition around four months out. What are some of the other events your company has scheduled for the upcoming year? PN: One is the Florida A&M Homecoming Concert. We have Lil Wayne, Plies, Boosie and Webbie, Musiq Soul Child and T-Pain coming to the Leon County Convention Center. We’ll bring about 12,000 people in the Convention Center in Tallahassee for FAMU’s Homecoming. Our company was contracted to produce, promote and market that show and also help choose and book the talent. It’s really a collaboration between Front-Line Promotions and Florida A&M University. Another event is the Memorial Day cruise to the Caribbean. We’re going to go on a cruise ship with talent like Doug E. Fresh and different acts and different hosts like Kid Capri and Big Tigger. It leaves out of South Florida and travels to the Caribbean Islands. It’s a 4 day/4 night cruise.
That’s creative. How did you come up with that idea? PN: To be honest, one of our DJs that we’ve dealt with for years, DJ Saxwell, had been doing it on a smaller level with another company. They decided to step down because it wasn’t a major success for that company. We all got together and said we could make it big. I would say the idea came from Saxwell. Does your company do events outside of Florida? PN: Oh yeah. We do events all around the country. We do big events for the Super Bowl, the NBA All Star Game, Essence Music Festival and things like that. What are your plans for expansion? Are you happy with the size of your company or would you like to see it grow even more? PN: We were just thinking about that last night. We plan to start a teen division with Front-Line to capture a younger audience so when they get older they’ll know about Front-Line. Also, we’re going to get into the ad agency business. We have relationships with all the major radio stations, mainly in the South. We can really go out and do a lot of good marketing for other companies. Of course, Willie and myself don’t just play into going to the club every day so we’re going to expand into other businesses like restaurants, day care centers. Willie already has a dump truck business. We really plan to go to a whole other level. We also plan to start buying tours and things of that nature. How do you stay ahead of the competition in the entertainment business? PN: We really feel that we’re our own competition. Competition is healthy but we feel we’re own our competition because the more and more we push each other, the further we’re going to go. What is the most rewarding part of your job? WF: Seeing an event go successfully. It takes hard work to put on an event but at the end of the day knowing that it was a success, not just money-wise but everything went good – the artists showed up, there weren’t any incidents, things like that, that’s when we’re happy. PN: I would say the same thing Willie just said – seeing that everything came together and went fine. It’s not always about the money. Sometimes it’s about the look and the perception. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand. Sometimes they do an event and may not have made the money, or may have lost some money, but sometimes success is based on what your customers feel. It’s about how the party or concert turned out. WF: As long as your customers are happy, that’s a success. If they’re not happy, then it’s not a success. Some promoters are happy they made a lot of money, but their people are upset. That’s not a successful event because it’s going to be real hard for you to come back and do another one. A lot of people also might not understand the entertainment business runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What are your thoughts on that? Is that difficult? PN: You’re definitely right about that. I have people in my family that ask me to go here and there for them and do this for them, but I got to go to work. They don’t look at it as a real full-time job, but it’s more than a full-time job. It’s 24 hours a day. We may get a call at 5:30 in the morning that something went wrong at our club and we may have to get up out of bed and go see what’s going on. It takes a lot of planning to put together all the stuff that we do. We do events almost every day of the week. Do you have a website where people can view your upcoming parties? PN: FrontLineEvents.com andClubWhispers.net Do you have any other knowledge to share? WF: I don’t want to seem too harsh, but we have a problem of trying to make people understand that we all need to support each other. Pat mentioned that we have a nightclub. There’s only one other black owned club in Central Florida. We try to make sure that our community understands that we’re entrepreneurs; we’re business owners. We need support. The only way this place is going to continue to run is if we all stick together. You have clubs that open up and say they’re not doing any Hip Hop, but what they’re really saying is they’re not doing any blacks. But as soon as their club starts to fail, they turn to the black dollar. The black dollar is the strongest dollar in the nightclub business right now. You have a lot of cliques, like the upscale urban people, and sometimes they tend to stray away from an urban owned club. People told us in the beginning when we opened the club that we need to be as diverse as possible. We said no. We’re trendsetters; we set our own standards. We have a full-fledged urban club and we’re proud of it. You can get your Hip Hop on one night, your R&B and Neo-Soul on another, your Reggae on another and your Latin on another night. We’re diverse, but we’re diverse in the minority community. PN: A lot of times people look at us, including other promotion companies, and say that we don’t want to share the wealth. It took a lot to get where we are and I always practice this quote: I don’t have any control of how the wind blows, but I can adjust my sails to reach my destination. For people who don’t understand, everyone has the right to do business and it’s up to you to go out there and make it happen. // Words by Ms. Rivercity // Photos by Terrence Tyson
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r aised in Belle Glade, Florida, Papa Duck earned the support of the streets as an artist/producer. At the age of 15, Papa Duck purchased his first keyboard and set out to make his mark in the music industry. He currently resides in Orlando where he is working on his debut self-titled album.
For those who don’t know, what’s the history behind Papa Duck? How did you get to where you are today? Hard grinding. Attacking the streets and staying consistent with what we do. Just making hot records. What have you been doing to keep your momentum going? Basically I just have passion for music. It ain’t just about money with me. It’s always something I’ve dreamed of and wanted to do. Also by me losing my partner John John, I got to do it. It’s a commitment now. Ain’t no turning back. In your opinion, what are some qualities an artist needs in order to maintain longevity? I’d say originality. Being able to make the right decisions and not spend money on the wrong things. You got to blueprint the whole situation. Be smart about it and be consistent. And make hot records. Was there ever a time you felt like giving up? How did you overcome that? Yeah, when I lost John it really made me want to say fuck it. But it went the other way around and made me go harder. What are the best qualities about yourself as an artist? I think I put together a good album. I also got a hell of a street team behind me. How does having a street team help? We blueprint the whole situation. We attack small cities…I
probably shouldn’t even be telling my blueprint. But we pretty much just attacked the streets. We targeted small cities rather than bigger cities. I make hot records, hot music, shit people want to hear. I put it out; I don’t just hold on to it. Without giving away your whole blueprint, what are some good ways to promote music? Investing in your own duplication is good. That way you cut your duplication costs. Targeting small cities at the right time is good. First of all, you got to have good music. Second of all, you got to narrow it down. Catch the hottest club in the hottest cities. You want to cater to the people in that club and pass out your music. When you done burnt that city down move on to the next one. If your music is good enough, it’ll grow legs. That’s the blueprint. You’ve been around for a while. Have you seen a lot of people come and go in this industry? Yeah, for the right and wrong reasons. I’ve seen people come and go. It’s good to pay attention to certain situations ‘cause it let’s you know what to do and what not to do. Why do you think those people didn’t make it? I would have to say it’s because of lack of hustle and lack of faith. If you want to do it, you gonna do it regardless of your financial situation or whatever. When you’re not making music, what are some things you like to do? What spots are popping in your city? Me personally, I’m a movies man. I like to go to the movies. I like to go out to eat so I like to go to City Walk. My eating spot for soul food is Johnson’s Diner. Tabu with DJ Nasty on Wednesdays is off the glass. I like Cleo’s. Firestone is popping on Sunday. Is there anything else you want to talk about? Every time I come it’s gonna be different. My album is gonna be well worth purchasing. It’s going to be something on there for you. You can just be looking out for me. You know Papa Duck go hard in the paint. I got my situation with Butter Boy Records, Lil Rock Dog Records and Island Boy Entertainment. How can people check out your music? I got PapaDuck.com and Myspace.com/PapaDuckMusic If someone wants to book you for a show, how do they reach you? My manager’s numbers are 850-210-9573 and 352231-3760. // Words: Ms. Rivercity Photo: D Suave
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Have you always wanted to be in music or was it something that you just fell into? I was about 6 years old when my mom put a group together in church and I’ve been singing ever since then. I started trying to do it professionally when I was at the age of 14. I just know it was something I had a passion for and it was something I loved doing. Music is a very big part of my life. I wake up singing. I’m just fortunate to be able to make a living off of doing something I love so much.
is a singer/song writer that is steadily working towards his turn to shine. He’s written hooks for Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, Beanie Sigel, and a host of others. He’s currently creating music for himself and plans to release an album in the near future.
You’ve been working with a lot of people lately. I’ve been doing a lot of writing. I worked with The Runners and Kane. I wrote the hook for Rick Ross’s new single called “Speedin’” featuring R. Kelly. As you know, I did [the hook for Young Jeezy’s] “Go Getta.” I did another hook for Beanie Sigel. I’m also on Chamillionaire’s new album. I did a song called “Won’t Let You Down.” I’m about to start working on my stuff now. You have a big name out there. Why do you think you haven’t made it to the mainstream yet? I think it’s all about timing. I wouldn’t say I haven’t made it to the mainstream yet. I have but not as an artist yet. That’s the next step. I think it’s about building a good story. It makes a name for yourself and gets the industry’s respect. I think we’re on the right path. You said you’re working on your material right now? I’m just now getting in the studio. I’m working with a producer named Danger. He’s done things from Britney Spears’ new single to T.I.’s new single. He’s one of the top producers in the game right now. I just did a deal with him and we’re about to start working on my album. What is your label situation looking like right now? As of right now I don’t have a label situation but I have a few offers on the table. I don’t want to say too much yet but it shouldn’t be a problem. I had a situation a little while ago with Universal. Some things with the business didn’t go how we planned so we got out of that. There’s no bad blood or hard feelings. It’s like that sometimes in the game.
In addition to singing, do you also have the whole R&B dance element thing going on? Definitely. I’ve been doing that. I just try to be as well-rounded as possible. I play instruments. I play the keyboard. I just picked up the guitar. It’s about being as good as I can be all the way around.
What are the best qualities about yourself as an artist? Probably one of the best qualities that helps me out a lot is being a writer as well as a singer. I can tell my own story from my point of view. When you hear something I do, it’s my music, my style. It’s a separate style from anyone else’s. What do you hope to accomplish in the long term with your music? Of course I want to touch a lot of different areas of the entertainment industry. But I just want to focus on one thing at a time. I think sometimes artists get ahead of themselves before they are really established. They try to move on and do too much before they are ready. But of course I’d like to do things like acting. My mom also has a performing arts school. I want to help her out with that and help her develop the school for music and performing arts. There’s a lot of stuff out there that I could do but I just want to focus on right now and take it step by step. What’s the most difficult aspect of being a singer? It’s a tough game all the way around, trying to stay motivated. It’s important to believe in yourself and know that you’re here for a reason and good at what you do. Everybody is put on earth to do something and if you believe that music is what you’re supposed to be doing, don’t let anybody throw you off. The business is a hard business but once you work hard and get on it’s easier. Just make sure you make the right relationships with people. Has music been rewarding to you so far? Definitely. I feel like with music it’s not a profession until it’s paying your bills. Until then it’s just a hobby. It’s definitely rewarding right now ‘cause it’s paying the bills for me. It’s also about the respect of my peers and people noticing what I’m doing. That’s a big reward. // Words by Ms. Rivercity // Photo by Terrence Tyson OZONE |
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ady Lyric is a female emcee, singer and song writer that relocated to Orlando from Queens, NY several years ago. Since her move, Lyric has joined the Bum Squad DJz and currently belongs to an organization founded by MC Lyte.
How did you get your start in music? I started writing poetry at a very young age. All my poems were basically about hustling, struggling, hard times because of where I lived at in the hood. My cousin Fidel Cashflow was in the game already rapping. I used to jump into their cyphers and freestyle with them. I didn’t take it seriously until I turned 18. I went in the booth and started spitting. When I did that, that’s when I knew what I wanted to do. You’re originally from Queens. How would you compare your hometown to Orlando? When I moved here I was 19 years old and it was very slow paced to me. I’m used to a fast pace, being from New York. I moved down here and started hitting up clubs. At first it was just DJ Prostyle and DJ Nasty. I got familiar with them and started getting into cyphers. The scene wasn’t that big. Over the last four years it’s gotten crazy. To me it’s getting like New York. You can go anywhere and Hip Hop is really strong in the South right now. What do you think female artists need to do to be taken seriously in this industry? For one, these females need to start writing their own lyrics and be a little more creative instead of just showing their stuff. I feel there’s really no positive influences except for a few. We’re not even strong anymore. They need to use their brain a little bit more. Let them know what real Hip Hop is about and that we can write lyrics. We ain’t out there just selling our ass. You’re a full time mother. Does raising a child make it difficult to pursue your career? At first it was very difficult. I took about a year and a half off. It was very hard to juggle both, especially being a single mother. But I knew I wanted to make life better so that just motivated me more.
What advice would you give other parents when it comes to balancing family and your career? You’re always gonna have to go out and do shows and spend time away from your child. To keep that balance, try to spend as much time as you can with your child. Communication is the key. Whether it’s your child, your younger sister, whatever, be a positive influence in that person’s life. Always talk to them. That’s what I do with my son. If I can’t be with him all the time, I make sure that I’m in his life. I’m always honest with him too. What’s your opinion on all the controversy and negativity that is surrounding Hip Hop today? I feel the negativity towards Hip Hop needs to stop. There’s other genres of music that are doing exactly the same thing and no one is really saying anything. As a female in the game, as far as women in the videos, people need to understand that these women chose to do that. They’re pointing fingers at the wrong people. I think it’s wrong to point at the artists or say that it’s their fault they’re degrading women. These women are degrading themselves. I also feel they’re putting the light on Hip Hop in order to outshine all those other issues going on in the world, like the war. Tell me about your current projects. I have a mixtape that I just finished with DJ Tito – he’s a CORE DJ. I’ve got a single that’s in rotation called “I Like It.” It’s getting a lot of plays overseas. It’s produced by Grand Larceny. It’s really a party track. Some clubs in Orlando are playing it. A lot of people don’t know that I’m working with MC Lyte as well. She has a clique called The Hip Hop Sisters which I’m part of. It was an honor because she actually recruited me herself. She’s a legend. She really liked what I was doing. She’s coming out with a mix CD as well. It’s gonna be a lot of females on there. I’m about to drop another single called “V.I.P.” That’s for more of a mature audience. It’s a little different than what I’m used to but I’m confident about it. Are you looking for a major deal or would you like to make it work as an independent? Right now I’m not looking for a major. I was in the past. I realized that by doing that it kind of holds you back ‘cause you kind of get discouraged. And right now, ain’t nobody really signing anyone. I’m just going to put my product out. If a major label approaches me and the deal is right we may be able to work on that. Is there anything else you want to mention? You can check me out at Myspace.com/LadyLyric05 or PureCashEntertainment.com. // Words: Ms. Rivercity Photo: Cross Breed
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p reacher is a common name heard in the streets of Orlando, especially recently. After releasing several singles, Preacher is preparing to further spread his street gospel via his first album.
How did you make a name for yourself in Orlando? Hard work and a lot of grind. I started getting on every show I could possibly get. I actually did a lot of shows with just about every major artist you could think of. I just took the money I made from my business – I own a tattoo parlor – and started pushing myself. I’ve featured Rick Ross and Jacki-O. I made a big dent in Florida. I was trying to do the unity thing so I went to every artist here that was doing something and making a name for themselves and I collaborated with them and let everybody know who Preacher was. Have you tattooed any famous people? Yeah, I did the driver Grave Digger; I did Shahiem from Wu Tang. I’ve done a lot of basketball players. A lot of people know me from doing tattoos. That’s something I also wanted to tie into my music career. Paul Wall brought the gold grills to the industry so I want to bring tattoos to the music industry. As far as your music, what are you most known for? My energy. I believe when you hit the stage it’s about showmanship and energy. I don’t think there’s nobody out there that does a show the way I do a show. I bring a lot of things to the table, a lot of energy. I think that’s what’s missing in the industry right now. How would you compare the music scene in your hometown to other cities? It’s a lot more gangsta. Instead of the dirty South we normally hear, in Orlando it’s a little bit more gangsta. The thing I’m bringing to the table is that I’m mixing the two – a commercial feel and gangsta – so that I got a new genre of music. I actually have a genre of music
that can be played on radio but still give you the sense of masculinity. Tell me about some of the singles you’ve had success with. The first single I released was called “Die For Me.” I got a big up North fan base. My first single hit the charts and I was getting about 200 or 300 spins on radio up North. My second single was “We From Florida” featuring Rick Ross and Jacki-O. My third single was “Don’t Push Me.” It featured Shahiem from Wu Tang. I’ve been working on some big projects. With my fourth single, I wanted it to be only me so I can show people what I can do and they don’t think the artists that I’m featuring is what’s carrying me. I want to show people that I can hold my own. My new single is called “Paperchasin’.” I just released it. It’s already tearing up the stations.
With radio play and your buzz, have any major labels been seeking you out? From what I’m hearing through the grapevine, I got four labels that are interested – Interscope, Def Jam, Universal and Atlantic. We got a couple of people that’s also promoting us in New York and New Jersey. We get a lot of feedback and they was talking about they wanted to see how much I really want it. I’m looking forward to signing with a very big major. It’s going to have to be somebody big, especially with my creativity. What significance does your name have? How do you live up to it? I got the name Preacher from my father when I was four years old. My father always told me I would be preaching a lot of things people could learn from. A lot of times people get my name mixed up with gospel. It’s not that I don’t want to preach the gospel, but I want to do God’s work in the streets. If I see somebody doing something wrong, I tell them how they should do it right. I tell them how important school is and there’s other ways to make money than selling drugs. I’m an entrepreneur myself. I’m always preaching something positive. I’m from the street so I give them the street perspective. It’s hard for somebody from the streets to listen to somebody’s who’s never done it. I’ve done everything. I’m a positive role model in the community; I’m always giving back. I didn’t get into music just for money, I got into it because I want to voice to the people and make change. Tell me about some of your plans for the future. I’m sitting on tons of music and I realize you can make music all day, but you got to get out here and make something happen. I have a pre-album I’m about to release. When a major label comes, I’m going to be a full package for them. // Words by Ms. Rivercity // Photo by Shang Media LLC OZONE | 13
been five years since their first album came out and everyone’s been wondering when are Smilez & Southstar going to drop the sophomore project. As the duo can attest to, sometimes it’s the business that holds up a project, not the music itself. Now that they’ve signed a fresh deal, Smilez & Southstar are ready to reintroduce themselves to the world. What’s going on with your label situation? Smilez: We finally got it all straight. We’re with Pure Records through Universal. It’s a label out of Miami. We’ve been with them for about a year now. We’re pushing the first single right now featuring KC. We went through a lot of stuff with Trans Con. We had to break our ties with Trans Con. It just took a lot of time for us to get that done with our lawyers. Now that that’s done, we’re ready to move on. Southstar: We got our business right! Are you working on projects with anyone else? Southstar: Right now our main focus is pushing our new album The ReIntroduction. We’re getting ready to release it early next year. We’ve got the single with KC. We’ve got Treal on our album. We’re working with Acafool. We’re really trying to push this Florida movement and shine some light on artists that aren’t just from Miami. We’re trying to
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shine light on artists coming out of Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa, cities that sometimes get overlooked. What producers do you have on the album? Southstar: We have The Runners on a track. We worked with Khaos & Order out of Miami. They produced the “U Know” record with Treal. The Diaz Brothers did the “U” record with KC. We pretty much work with whoever has a hot track that we can vibe to in the studio. Y’all have been working on your sophomore album for a while now. Why haven’t you been able to release it yet? Southstar: We know how long it’s been between this album and our last one. A lot of people have been wondering what’s been going on. That’s why we decided to name this album The ReIntroduction. This album really touches on a lot of topics as far as what’s been going on in between the albums. Also, this is the first album that me and Smilez co-executive produced. We picked all the tracks; we came up with all the concepts. We put this album together so in our opinion, it’s our first real introduction of us being hands on while putting this album together. The title fits good because it’s been five years and everybody wants to know where we’ve been at, so it’s like us reintroduces ourselves to the public.
Smilez & Southstar What advice would you give to other artists trying to break into the mainstream? Southstar: Take control of your own music. A lot of artists think getting a record deal means they’ve made it. What they don’t realize is, when you start letting a lot of other people handle your project, that’s when your project goes a totally different direction. Get a team of people that believe in your vision. The biggest lesson we’ve learned is to be more hands-on. Perfect your craft but at the same time, learn the business. If a major label offers to sign an artist, what are some things the artist should look out for? Smilez: Read the fine print! Definitely have your lawyers in place. Don’t go to your boy ‘cause he knows some of the language. Just because the label sends you a contract doesn’t mean it’s the final contract. It’s a negotiation. Before, labels were giving out big deals but now they’re not giving out those big deals to artists. Nobody’s really selling albums anymore. Labels are looking for that ring tone single because that’s how they’re making their money. They might give you a good deal on your album, but the ring tones are what people are being judged on right now. Don’t be stupid either. If you know you’re not a proven artist yet and you know you haven’t sold a lot of mixtapes or CDs, don’t think you’re going to get a
superstar deal. Get the best deal you can until you prove yourself and renegotiate later. South: Another thing to look out for when labels approach them is make sure they put themselves in the right situation at the right label. As a Hip Hop or R&B act, you want to make sure you’re on a label that has a proven track record with urban acts. You don’t want to sign yourself to a Rock label. Artists need to research the success of the acts that the label puts out. You don’t want to sign to a label and get shelved for two years. Don’t jump at the first opportunity. If one label comes to you, another label knows about you. Once that contract is signed it takes forever to get out of it. How can people contact you? Southstar: You can check out our music and tour dates on Myspace.com/SmilezandSouthstar. Smilez: Any artists that got beats and want us to collab, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. // Words: Ms. Rivercity Photo: Mike Anthony
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e h t r o f last 14 years Sytonnia has been in the radio and television business and is now a very familiar name in the Orlando area. As a former radio personality for 102 Jamz, Sytonnia used her natural gift of gab to spread her positive energy to the public. Besides radio, what other type of media work have you done? A little bit of everything. Most recently I was a producer, anchor and health reporter. I’ve done VJ work, regular television hosting. I did an on-campus type reality show. I was a host for Real Life 101 which is a national syndicated career show for kids. It was shot here in Orlando at Universal Studios. Is radio and television a stepping stone for you? Do you want to move on to something else? Everything I do is a stepping stone. It all helps me hone my skills and become who I am today. Ultimately, I want to be an entertainment report for Entertainment Tonight or Access Hollywood or BET. I’d also like to get into movie production. I also write scripts. I’m not a writer but I’m very creative so I put all kinds of thoughts down on paper and ended up with six scripts. I’d like to possibly sell some of these scripts and see them come to life on the big screen. I started working on one that will hopefully be out early next year. I like to look at myself as a mini Oprah. I want my hands in everything Have you always had an outgoing personality? Yeah, I’m way too nice but God gave me a sweet spirit. I’d rather be happy all the time than miserable. Were you ever star struck by anyone you met? I’m around this so much it doesn’t even phase me but I will admit when I met Oprah I got a little nervous. Seeing such a power force right in front of me and knowing that she came from humble beginnings and is an icon now, she made me nervous. And Janet 16 | OZONE
Jackson. I’m sure everyone can understand that. What are some hot spots people should check out while they’re in Orlando for the Classic? You have to come to my club. I work as the first lady of Front-Line Promotions. I’m doing Girlfriend Thursdays at Club Whispers. Every Friday except for 1st Friday I’m at the Roxy. Saturdays you got to check out Whispers again for the Velvet Rope Edition. The other clubs are Icon, Cairo, Antigua on Fridays, Glow, Lux, and Status. Do you have any advice for someone wanting to get into radio or television? You don’t have to but I would recommend that you go to school to learn the behind the scenes equipment like the teleprompter and how to operate it. If you can take a technical course I would recommend it. As far as developing your voice, if you have the gift of gab then you just have the gift. Of course with experience everything will develop. However you can get into a radio station or on a mixtape or whenever you can use your voice, do it. If you have to volunteer or intern or get on a street team and work your way up go for it. And stay with it. For some people it will happen fast but for some it won’t. Be serious about it too. Some people just want to be a rapper and think they’ll do it via radio. Be serious about your craft and know what you want to do and work hard. How did you get your big break? It’s kind of weird. I was doing a television show and a Program Director from a radio station offered me a one day a week radio spot. I jumped right on it and made it what I wanted. That doesn’t happen for everyone all the time though. // Words: Ms. Rivercity Photo: Terrence Tyson
ercedes is an all around go getter. Her business ventures include Strictly Streets Marketing – a street team service and Society Entertainment – a management company and record label. Mercedes is also Director of Promotions for the CORE DJs and one of the original members of OZONE’s staff. How did you get your start? Coming from an entertainment family, I’ve always been involved with entertainment. I was a professional dancer for many years and played various instruments and wrote music. I discovered the club scene from watching that Patti Labelle show Out All Night where she owned a nightclub/lounge and I was going to clubs from as young as 12. I met Mr. CC, The Reggae Ambassador, at a club one night. For years I heard his radio commercials for his parties and concerts so I really looked up to him. We clicked and he hired me as his tour manager and street team. What services do you offer? I specialize in breaking records, especially the independent artists in Florida. I get music to the DJs by hand and through my MP3 digital record pool. I also create marketing plans for promotional tours, hiring street teams and sending email blasts. Strictly Streets Marketing is strictly a street team. We’ve promoted clubs, movies, albums, clothing lines and even the last presidential election. I also have a network of street teams I hire for national campaigns. My newest venture is Society Entertainment with my partner Casanova which includes a management company and record label. I’m excited about our R&B group 3AM. We just began negotiations for distribution with a few majors. Fella, The Show Stopper, is also with our management company. Who are some of your past clients? I started promoting artists with Max-a-Mil Records. I learned a lot from Big Will, the owner, before he was murdered a few years ago. I had to keep a piece of him alive through what he taught me. I still work with some of the artists from the label like Bravo, South
Star, DJ Junebuhg and Sonny Chulo. I also promoted Pitbull, RedMan’s label Gilla House, Justo’s Mixtape Awards and many others. I’m currently the rep for Interscope, Front Line Promotions and Poe Boy. I’m basically on retainer for major labels when they come in town or have artists to promote. Some of my independent clients include Wes Fif, Haitian Fresh, J-Shin, Dat Dude, Papa Duck, Phil 4 Real, Stick 3K, P.O.P.E., Benisour, Keez Clothing, Young Cash, Supa and Traffic. You work with the CORE DJs too, right? I’m the Director of Promotions for The CORE DJs. You can catch us Saturday nights on Sirius Satellite Radio Hot Jamz Channel 50. Every 6 months we hold our CORE DJ Retreat. Starting in 2008, my partner Donata Ellis, the CORE’s Publicist, and I will begin The Florida Urban Music Conference in Orlando. You have a good reputation for getting things done. How do you stay focused? Thank you. Well there is nothing like going through a windshield at 80mph, breaking your back and shoulder and still being able to bounce back to get you focused! After that basically, you can’t tell me nothin’! And if I can quote Kanye, “What don’t kill me can only make me stronger.” When you are truly passionate about something, the focus automatically comes with it. Unlike someone who goes to work 9-5 it never shuts off for me. I’ve been on my own with no family since I was a teen. Failure was never an option. It seems like a lot of people are missing the work ethic. They only see the glamour and not what goes into it. Despite the craziness, I truly enjoy seeing the final product of my efforts. I get satisfaction knowing I’m helping make someone’s dream become a reality. “It’s my job to make you famous.” How can people contact you? Mercedes.Streets@gmail.com or MySpace.com/MercedesStreets. // Words: Ms. Rivercity Photo: Gerald OZONE | 17
Treal 18 | OZONE
Words: Ms. Rivercity Photo: Brett Cassell
lorida has been behind the Treal movement since the foursome first hit the stage. Over the past few years, Treal has showcased their ingenuity and established themselves as consistent hit-makers. “I’m Not Locked Down” recently landed them a single deal with Universal, and a chance to take their talent worldwide. Everyone is talking about your new deal. How did that come about? Poetic: The single was doing its thing on the radio. They seen our spins and came to us with a single deal and we was like, “We’ll see how the deal looks.” It was pretty straight so we went ahead and ran with it. You actually had several deals on the table. Why did you go with Universal? Eliseo: We had been doing everything ourselves and we decided to get a major push. We went with Universal because they had the best deal on the table on the table at the time – not money-wise but situation-wise. Poetic: Record labels be shooting you deals and when they give you the proposal it’s straight but when they send you the contract, there’s so much stuff in the contract that it’s ridiculous. We got pretty good lawyers and their lawyers were sending over stuff that wasn’t nothing like the proposal. They was trying to own our name and own Treal. If we came out with a way we dress they said they got to own that too. If we walked away from the table we couldn’t take Treal at all. I was like c’mon, man, we already made our name and the way we look before the deal. They’re trying to own our life. But right now we got a single deal with Universal. If we keep doing what we doing and the song blows up all over the country, they’ll shoot us an album deal and if it looks good we’ll go with it. How do you think being with Universal will benefit your career? Cheeze: We hope everything goes well. Right now we’re
trying to pick up our radio spins. Hopefully this will take us to a whole other level. Once we’re in the game, it’s a problem. Eliseo: I think it will benefit us by giving us access to the rest of the world. We just need them to get us in some big search engines like Yahoo or things like that and to get our music available to all the DJs across the world. That’s really the only way I look at it. As far as our musical talent, we don’t really look to them for that. T-Sick: To be honest, I don’t think it will really benefit our career until they jump behind us. We’re in the beginning stages of the deal. Until they jump behind us, we finna be doing everything ourselves like we have been. Are you going to wait for an album deal before you release your next album? Poetic: We pretty much got an album done. We got so many songs. We got like three albums ready to go. We’re still gonna drop an album at the beginning of the year regardless. Are you still going to promote “I’m Not Locked Down” for a while? Or are you having something new? Poetic: It’s a lot of people that are just learning about the song. As far as in Orlando, we got a bunch of new songs. We got one called “Zone’n/Fantasy Lady.” It’s kind of got that flavor of “Hypnotize.” It’s like two songs in one. It’s “Zone’n/Fantasy Lady.” At the end it’s a whole different song. Cheeze: “I’m Not Locked Down” still hasn’t been broken yet. It’s just here in Florida. “Zone’n/Fantasy Lady” is kind of like what Justin Timberlake did. It’s a hot song. What else is going on with you guys? T-Sick: We’re doing a lot of writing for other artists, shopping our production and lyrics. We’re staying on the road, still promoting and marketing ourselves. Poetic: We produce a lot of our own tracks and we’re doing beats for a lot of underground artists. We’re looking forward to selling some beats to some big artists. We’re writing for some big artists. Kane Beats from Atlantic Records sent us some beats to write to. Other producers send us tracks and we write hooks and they send ‘em out. We got a couple of songs that Jeezy likes and Rick Ross likes. We’re just waiting on them to come through. Once that happens, Treal will be making some different kind of money. Cheeze: We’re trying to do music with everybody. We’ve gotten tracks with Juvenile. We’re trying to do some of everything. Eliseo: Our music has always been kinda cross over, but we’re trying to have it cross over more by getting more in depth with things like emo, pop, and grunge rock. We’re trying to touch more musical communities. We’re working on a project with The Secret Handshake – he’s huge in the electrical music industry. We got a song with him called “The Good Guy.” It’s crazy. We’re trying to break a new genre of music called hybrid. Hybrid basically means you take three or four different things and mix it. // OZONE | 19
tuck Words: Ms. Rivercity Photo: Terrence Tyson
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uck is a rapper residing in Daytona Beach, Florida. He co-owns Nitro-Tek – a record label and promotions company. Nitro-Tek books many of the major artists that perform in Daytona, allowing Tuck plenty of opportunity to hit the stage. How did you decide to pursue rapping professionally? I recorded my first song when I was 20. The first time I was in the booth it was a fluke. People told me I couldn’t rap so I wanted to prove everybody wrong.
Did you prove them wrong? The first time I got in the booth they was like, “What the hell you doing? Get outta there.” I went back a couple of months later. I was in a group called Rock Bottom and when we did our first song it was a hit in the city. Straight off. The group didn’t work out for me but it was a learning experience. It was time to move on. That’s where it started from. Do you think you would ever try the group thing again? Or are you done with that? If the paperwork is right I would. What’s it like being from a small market like Daytona Beach? Is it hard to promote yourself as an artist? It’s extremely hard. There’s no outlets. Period. You have to make your own path. The best thing to do is to just get away from this city completely. Once everybody else likes you, your hometown doesn’t have a choice but to like you. What have you been doing to get your name out there? Just putting out good music. You can’t deny good music. It will shine wherever it’s coming from. You can be from the smallest town in America but you’re going to hear it one way or another. Have you collaborated with any artists? Anyone else from Daytona? Not really any big artists, just artists on my own label. Eddie Bauer is the newest artist on my label Nitro-Tek. Tell me about your label. Actually it’s my best friend’s label. I’m the first artist on the label. Nitro-Tek is actually a DJing company. With
me being a rapper and his best friend, he started the recording part of the company. I guess me and him kind of own it together. Our company actually promotes shows too. We’ve brought Young Buck, Baby Boy Da Prince and Plies down for a show. We’ve brought Boosie and Webbie for the first time to Daytona. We’ve brought a lot of people. So do you open up for the artists that Nitro-Tek brings to town? Yeah, we do our own opening acts. I opened up for Boosie in Tallahassee. I opened for Jeezy on Father’s Day in Orlando. I did Magic City with Fabo. I get in where I fit in. I’m getting my music out there and promoting myself. What are some things you learned about the music business that you didn’t realize before you started rapping? It’s not as easy as it looks. When I started rapping I thought I would be the next big thing. It’s just like going back to school. Going to music conventions really helped ‘cause you learn the game. You learn what’s really going on behind the scenes and see the steps you need to take so you’re not feeling around in the dark. It gives you a good direction to take and tells you the things you need to do. Who are some of your musical influences? Straight up, Lil Wayne. The Hot Boys album really got me started. He was so young and I was hearing him say all this stuff and I felt like if he could do it I could do it. I took it upon myself to try and get my own style together and go forward from there. Do people ever compare you to anyone else? Not really. I try not to sound like anybody. I just try to give it to you plain and simple, straight from me. How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it before? I’m straight from the streets. It’s straight Hip Hop. That’s what I do. I do it for the club; I do it for all the niggas in the streets. Everybody can feel where I’m coming from. Anybody that can’t feel where I’m coming from, I still encourage you to listen to it. You might like it. What’s your purpose behind making music? I just want to make a lot of money so I can pay some bills. That’s what I’m here for. I just want to be ten years ahead so I can sit back and think about what I want to do, not what I gotta do. Do you have any CDs out? I just dropped Westside Story and I’m working on my next mixtape and my album Daytona 5. Me and Eddie Bauer are helping each other with our projects. NitroTek Volume 8 Street Mix is out too. You can catch me at Nitro-Tek.com or Myspace.com/TuckDaytona. // OZONE | 21
ankadon hails from the streets of Orlando and he has a lot to say about current situation in the Florida rap game. He knows his place and he also knows his goals. With the efforts of his company Level 5 Music Group, Hankadon plans to “spread through the hood like a virus.” What are you working on at the moment? I’m working on my Hankadon Won’t Fail project. We’re doing a major push all across the Southeast with Level 5 Music Group which is a company I own part of.
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What single should people be looking for? The main singles I’m pushing off the project are a song called “Murk” and another song called “Florida.” It’s a song that has a lot of buzz down here in Orlando. We got the DJs involved with it. How would you describe those songs? They’re club songs. They’re hood anthems. They’re gutter ass tracks. It’s street music for street niggas. They not really radio-friendly tracks ‘cause that’s not the type of music I’m interested in making right now. What challenges do you face being an independent artist? The most challenges I face are fucking around with these pussy ass, flaw ass other rappers. Period. That’s my biggest challenge – to separate myself from these fuck niggas. None of these niggas is nowhere near
Goons here. We don’t fuck off. We don’t play around. Ok, so back to your beats. All of your production is in-house? All of my production is made by Federal Material. If you’re looking to get in touch with them, call 941815-1924. All of my beats and production is in-house. The only nigga I could really see myself working with is Beethoven or Mouse out of New Orleans. Other than them two niggas, I don’t see myself working with anybody else at this point in time because of what I’m trying to accomplish. Are you eventually looking for a major label deal? Oh yeah, of course. Eventually that’s the goal. Everybody gets into the music industry to make money at the end of the day. Of course for me, respect is a big thing too. As far as the label thing goes, what I’m learning from an independent’s standpoint is that there’s certain checkpoints you got to reach before them niggas gonna step to you with bread that I know I deserve. It’s certain checkpoints I got to reach and my goal is to conquer that shit. If I do that, I know labels gonna come to me. I got a good heavy buzz in the streets right now from Boat Key all the way to Tampa. I know it takes more than that to get the labels’ attention. I’m not ignorant to that. I’m just making sure I take it one week at a time, one city at a time, one goon at a time – from the thug chicks to the real niggas. Are you involved in anything else besides rapping? (laughs) I’m in a lot of other businesses but ain’t too many of ‘em I can say in this magazine like that.
where I am mentally, lyrically, or production-wise. I make my own beats. As far as the big labels, they ain’t gonna come to you until you get a big buzz so I don’t really expect them to be in my face like that until it’s my turn. My biggest problem is separating myself from these fuck ass niggas. Is there someone you’re talking about in particular? Or is that a general statement? I’m speaking in general. I’m not gonna name no names or put nobody out there but it’s a lot of fuck ass niggas in this industry, especially in Florida. Niggas is doing a lot of muthafuckin’ hating. I’m trying to get the hell away from around these niggas. I’m trying to show niggas that Orlando got a lot of shit to muthafuckin’ say. It’s a lot of shit going down in Orlando. It’s a lot of niggas out here that’s claiming they this and they that and all this bullshit but the fuck niggas ain’t ready. It’s Level 5
So who have been some of your biggest supporters? First and foremost is Coach. He’s really helped me get to where I need to be. He’s a real nigga. Some other people that have been supporting me 1000% since day one are OZONE, JB, D-Strong, Official Entertainment, Disco, JR, DJ Recon. I’ma say this too – it’s a lot of muthafuckin’ niggas out there that don’t respect them niggas as DJs. Them niggas to me deserve a lot more than they’re getting right now and I’ma make sure them niggas get anything they need. I also want to mention Firm Life Entertainment out of Southwest Florida, and a lot of the mom and pop stores in Orlando like Mega Chicks, Scholarship, and T Money. What’s next for you? I’ma give everybody a heads up. I’m taking this whole shit over, not just Florida. Ain’t no nigga out there that can fuck with Hankadon, Hankzilla. If you don’t know about me, in a year you gonna know about it. I’m running through the hood like a muthafuckin’ virus. // Words: Ms. Rivercity Photo: Terrence Tyson
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b big koon & hollywood 24 | OZONE
Koon & Hollywood are a duo under the up-coming Florida label Two Dog Records. Their new mixtape hosted by DJ Drama and Bigga Rankin is the talk of the streets in Central Florida. How is the mixtape doing? Hollywood: The mixtape that we just came out with is our second mixtape. We did it with DJ Drama and Bigga Rankin. We’re still grinding it in the streets right now. Actually we just kind of started grinding it. Why did you decide to get both Bigga Rankin and DJ Drama to host it? Hollywood: I’m gonna give my uncle the credit on that one. I’m Bigga Rankin’s nephew. We was kind of blessed. It just happened. Big Koon: We been fucking with Bigga for a while now, for years now. We pretty much went to Bigga Rankin and he set it up. That’s how we got it. What kind of feedback have you gotten so far? Hollywood: Ah man! The streets are going fucking crazy for that shit. I’ve never really seen a response like this. Being a new artist, I’m loving it. Big Koon: We’ve been getting crazy responses from everyone everywhere. Everybody seems to love that first time ever Bigga Rankin/DJ Drama mixtape. What songs are people talking about the most? Hollywood: Mainly the feature with BloodRaw called “Ain’t Nothing to Me.” Blood blessed us with that track. It’s a track on the mixtape that the females love called “Stacks On Deck.” Have you started working on your next project? Hollywood: Yes. We’re actually like super artists. We’re our own promotion team. We’re working on our album right now. It will be out in March. We don’t really have a name yet but we’re leaning towards Mob Ties. Big Koon: Other than that, we’ve just been promoting the mixtape and doing shows. We’ve got a show coming up in Deland. We’ll probably be doing one in Palatka, Tallahassee, Ocala. We’re just going to hit a lot of different towns real heavy getting ready for the album. Will the album feature any other artists? Hollywood: So far we’re working on a track that JUSTICE League produced. It’s featuring Pleasure from Pretty
Ricky. Big Koon: I ain’t gonna get to much into that song ‘cause it’s a secret we have coming. I foresee it being a big radio song. It’s a big song that all the ladies are gonna love. You guys have been traveling and promoting a lot. Is it getting exhausting yet? Hollywood: Yeah, it’s really exhausting. But you gotta do what you gotta do. We work hard. We’re ready for whatever. Big Koon: Nah man, I love it. Being able to get up and do something I love to do every day is a blessing. I wish I could do it ten days a week instead of seven. How do you stay motivated? Hollywood: Actually, the response that we get back from the fans keeps me going. It’s letting me know that if a nigga put in hard work it’s gonna pay off. How old were you when you wrote your first rap? What made you want you want to do it? Hollywood: I was 14 years old. My favorite rapper used to be Mac from No Limit. He just had a swagger about himself and plus he was a street nigga so I looked up to the G. Big Koon: I was just listening to everybody else rap. I grew up listening to 8-Ball & MJG, Tupac. I can’t even remember when I wrote my first rap. I was probably 9 or 10 years old. How would you rate yourself in comparison to some of the other artists from your area? Hollywood: From my area? Basically all the artists from my area…how should I put this? Everybody from my area has they own style. Everybody is nice but as far as lyrics, it’s only a couple of niggas I could name off the top of my head that could even come close to fucking with me. I am the Prince of Florida. Big Koon: I try not to get into that. I just make music that I think everybody is gonna like. I don’t really get into who’s better ‘cause that’s bullshit to me. Everybody likes their own thing. Just ‘cause I don’t like one person don’t mean somebody else won’t like ‘em. I fuck with everybody. Is there anything else you want to mention? Hollywood: Just be on the lookout for the album in March. Tell my fans to keep their ears to the streets ‘cause I always got ‘em. Shout out to Hittmenn DJs, Bigga Rankin, J.V. and One Lee. Big Koon: We some down-to-earth, serious cats who are real out here doing our shit. We’re serious about our music. I want everybody to take a chance and listen to our music. I know it’s going to grow on ‘em and they gonna fall in love with us. Hit us our Myspace page Myspace.com/BigKoonandHollywood. Leave a comment, download a ringtone if you want to. // Words: Ms. Rivercity OZONE | 25
2 flyy 26 26 || OZONE OZONE
26 -year-old Tyree “Flyy” Weston has an interesting story to tell about why he chose to pursue music. After overcoming a set of unusual obstacles, Flyy has had a successful run in the rap industry thus far.
How did you become interested in being an entertainer? When I was young I used to do a lot of writing. Shit just came to mind and I would write it. I ain’t ever really expected to get no deals or make no moves. I always liked being in the spotlight. I was just doing my thing and people respected what I’m doing. I always liked to get attention and show what a nigga could do. What do you do to set yourself apart from other artists trying to get on? I’m humble. I respect every amount of life I get and I give love back. Plus I’m hard working. When shit needs to get done, I get it done. I ain’t playing or stuntin’ or whatever. I got respect for everybody that do their thing. I don’t hold my nuts for nobody.
Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and what are you working on? I’m from Polk County, Florida. Right now I’m working on my new mixtape Still Hungry. I just got finished with a mixtape called Tension on the Compound hosted by DJ Drama. My boy Plies is on there. I had production from Shawty Redd and Total Khaos. Still Hungry should be hitting the streets in the next month or two.
You have two daughters. How do you balance being a father and being a musician? Yeah, I have two girls – Ma Ma and Ty Ty. They’re really the ones that motivate me. I ain’t graduate from high school. I went blind when I was 16 years old. I woke up blind. I had surgery done on my eyes or whatever. But I never really could get out there and get no real job. I was in the streets trying to get it like that. I knew I had to find a way to do something to support my kids. They motivated me to go out here and try to do the right thing. I got to get money. I got to get that cash so I do my music. I hit the road but I talk to them on the phone when I’m gone.
Do you have any singles on the mixtape? We’re working on two or three singles. We got one called “Fresh to Death.” That should have the club jumping. Then we got another one called “Whump.” That’s letting niggas know to get they swerve on. The mixtape by itself is touching on everything. It’s for the club scene and the streets. I ain’t in no box. I got a lot of real talk going on ‘cause I done been through a lot of shit. I do music for everything.
You’re on the road right now? Where are you headed to? Right now I’m on my way to Panama to do a show with Plies. We’ll be up in the Tallahasse area in November. Other than that I’m in the studio grinding this music and trying to get the CD done. I’m getting all the networking done to make it happen. Anybody that heard the Tension on the Compound CD is gonna love Still Hungry. I’ve been really focused.
How long have you been rapping seriously? I’ve been signed to Tight Work Records for about four or five years.
Do you have any other ventures besides the music business? My man Dennis Clark got me into this real estate thing. I got a company called Weston Rena’s Properties. I’m still in the learning process of how to make things move and get through the loopholes as far as the real estate business. I named it Weston Rena’s Properties because I lost my lil sister at the age of 21. Her name was Rena Weston. I used her name in memory of her.
Back in the day I was in a group called Convicted Felons. We had a single out called “Niggas Ain’t Cuffin These Hoes.” That was back in ’98 or ’99. After we broke up I continued writing and got with a couple of producers and put out a demo. I’ve probably been doing music seriously for about ten years.
What else should people know about you? I ain’t going nowhere. If you want to contact me, you can call my manager Big Amp at 813-728-7881. // Words: Ms. Rivercity Photo: KedricLajuan.com
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Ozone Mag Florida Classic 2007 special edition