PUBLISHER/EDITOR: Julia Beverly MUSIC REVIEWS: ADG, Wally Sparks CONTRIBUTORS: AJ Woodson, Bogan, Cynthia Coutard, Dain Burroughs, Darnella Dunham, Felisha Foxx, Felita Knight, Iisha Hillmon, Jaro Vacek, Jessica Koslow, J Lash, Katerina Perez, Keith Kennedy, K.G. Mosley, King Yella, Lisa Coleman, Malik “Copafeel” Abdul, Marcus DeWayne, Matt Sonzala, Maurice G. Garland, Natalia Gomez, Noel Malcolm, Ray Tamarra, Rayfield Warren, Rohit Loomba, Spiff, Swift SALES CONSULTANT: Che’ Johnson (Gotta Boogie) LEGAL AFFAIRS: Kyle P. King, P.A. (King Law Firm) STREET REPS: Al-My-T, B-Lord, Bill Rickett, Black, Bull, Cedric Walker, Chill, Chilly C, Chuck T, Controller, Dap, Delight, Dereck Washington, Derek Jurand, Dwayne Barnum, Dr. Doom, Ed the World Famous, Episode, General, H-Vidal, Hollywood, Jammin’ Jay, Janky, Jason Brown, Joe Anthony, Judah, Kamikaze, Klarc Shepard, Kydd Joe, Lex, Lump, Marco Mall, Miguel, Mr. Lee, Music & More, Nick@Nite, Pat Pat, PhattLipp, Pimp G, Quest, Red Dawn, Rippy, Rob-Lo, Statik, Stax, TJ’s DJ’s, Trina Edwards, Vicious, Victor Walker, Voodoo, Wild Bill
JUL05 CONTENTS COVER: WEBBIE pg A26 P$C pg B22-23 FEATURES: TONY YAYO pg A17 SMITTY pg A19 TOK pg A31 112 pg B13 Z-RO pg B18-19
ADMINISTRATIVE: Melinda Pas, Nikki Kancey CIRCULATION: Mercedes (Strictly Streets) Buggah D. Govanah (On Point) Big Teach (Big Mouth) Efren Mauricio (Direct Promo) To subscribe, send check or money order for $11 to: 1516 E. Colonial Dr. Suite 205 Orlando, FL 32803 Phone: 407-447-6063 Fax: 407-447-6064 Web: www.ozonemag.com Cover credits: P$C photo by Eric Johnson; Webbie, Smitty, & Pimp G photos by Julia Beverly. OZONE Magazine is published eleven times annually by OZONE Magazine, Inc. OZONE does not take responsibility for unsolicited materials, misinformation, typographical errors, or misprints. The views contained herein do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or its advertisers. Ads appearing in this magazine are not an endorsement or validation by OZONE Magazine for products or services offered. All photos and illustrations are copyrighted by their respective artists. All other content is copyright 2005 OZONE Magazine, all rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any way without the written consent of the publisher. Printed in the USA.
MONTHLY SECTIONS: 16 BARS pg A20 FEEDBACK pg A10 JB’s 2 CENTS pg A11 ON THE SET pg A23,27 PHOTOS pg A12-18, B8-16 LIVE SHOW REVIEWS pg B31 CD & DVD REVIEWS pg B24-26 CAFFEINE SUBSTITUTES pg B17 GROUPIE CONFESSIONS pg A13 DAVID BANNER’S MOVIE REVIEWS pg B29 FLIPSIDE: FIELD MOB vs. BOHAGON pg A24 INDUSTRY 101: JAMES CRUZ pg A33 PROFILES: MR. COLLIPARK pg B15 CLINTON SPARKS pg B17 PRISON DIARIES: C-MURDER pg A15 FREEKY ZEKEY pg B11 OZONE JULY 2005
Hate it? Love it? Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org OZONE reserves the right to edit comments for clarity or length.
I just wanted to pass a compliment on to you and your staff. Your magazine is killing it right now. I first saw your magazine in 2003 when I came to Florida for Memorial Day Weekend. I know your magazine is still killin’ it cause my man from Brooklyn still lives down there. Keep up the great work, I know how much work it takes to get something of that quality up and running and consistent. - U-Majesty, majesty2774@aol. com (Brooklyn, NY) JB, keep on bussin’ folks heads open! I love reading the 2 cents column you write, mainly because you are literally the realest! - Shaine Freeman, email@example.com (Atlanta, GA) I’m not feeling much of anything on the airwaves right now, including some of the artists that are featured in your magazine, but I am feeling your 2 cents column. It goes without saying that the “urban” music industry sucks right now. Being “hot” just means they can afford to sit closer to the clouds. You have heart, maybe more than any rapper you’ve interviewed. Keep doing what you do. - Greii Arrington, greii@ coastaldistribution.com (Atlanta, GA) This really ain’t that serious, but I just read the SOHH.com/OZONE article about Atlanta hip-hop and I was quite surprised at the conclusion of the article that there was no mention of the original “King of Crunk,” Pastor Troy. Some purists would lament that Pastor Troy ain’t an official ATLien, but nevertheless, he has paid his dues and helped to keep ATL relevant. I’m just a fan speaking on behalf of Troy, because it seems like there’s a place for Troy in that article. He seems to get overlooked by the general hip-hop audience, and in this case it seemed like a huge oversight. - firstname.lastname@example.org (Atlanta, GA) I recently read your May issue and was inspired to write you. I have been noticing OZONE around the streets of Tallahassee since 2004 and I have to admit that I used to overlook your mag. And I regret it. In the summertime during a trip to Orlando, a few OZONEs came across my path and I took a little interest. I skimmed through and looked at a couple of pics. I used to refer to your magazine as a “looker mag,” which was close-minded of me. I even read a couple of articles online a couple months ago to do a little research, but still was far from really reading one. And then I came across your May issue, and you guys really impressed me with your interest in underground hip-hop especially here in the South. The thing that inspired me to write you today was your editorial and feedback page. Everyone needs to read JB’s 2 cents. I can’t wait to meet you, throw a mic in your hand, a A10
OZONE JULY 2005
bandanna around your head, and label you the white female Tupac because you have indeed sparked at least one young mind. I thought you took a big risk in damn near slandering BET (a station that your target audience adores and probably can’t live without) but you did it so gracefully, with such confidence and respect. No wonder you get so much love from us. You didn’t even take the victim role, just laughed about the whole thing, showing them that their hurdles are nothing for you to jump over while finishing the race. You have inspired me to get back on the journalism horse and ride that bad boy home. I’ve gotta hustle up some money now to subscribe to your magazine cause it is worth it, hands down. - Dame Dozha, email@example.com (Tallahassee, FL) Whoa! I had never heard of your magazine until today. I did a random search online for groupies and rappers, because I was trying to find out if stories I had heard about them are true. This is the most entertaining publication I have come across in a long time. I enjoyed it so much that I emailed your website link to everyone I know. Keep repping the South, and the sexy stories! - Jai, firstname.lastname@example.org (Tulsa, OK) Keep up the good work. The issues keep getting better. I attended Spring Bling in Daytona, and the Spring Bling issue was very informative, showing me how to get around and where the parties were going to be at. OZONE is one of the best magazines around. - Larry Breland, email@example.com (Jackson, MS) I’m so happy to see SOHH.com and OZONE bringing more light to the South. I just read the incredible first installment regarding Atlanta at SOHH.com. I am so happy to see the South, and specifically Atlanta, getting more light. I am hoping you will do the research, however, and see the large part Memphis has played in Atlanta’s musical history. While Lil Jon did indeed bring crunk to international attention (and very well, I might add), Three 6 Mafia were creating crunk music back when Jon was still a premier bass producer cranking out those compilation records for Jermaine over at So So Def. Jon is an incredible producer - in fact, he has made some of my favorite songs and certainly some amazing crunk music. He has done a far better job of promotion than Three 6 could ever dream of doing. But he did not create, nor found, crunk music anymore than Run-DMC found hip hop. Perfect it? Maybe. Create it? No. Not that you ever actually said the words that Jon created crunk music, I just am clearing up any misperception that could happen from the article by the omission of the fact that crunk was born and bred
in Memphis long before it hit Atlanta. Also, in the article, you invite readers to “name a city that has a spectrum of artists ranging from the crunkest of the crunk to the hardest of the hard; all of whom make their own trails and sound like no other? Email us when you find an answer.” There are cities like this all over the country - again, Memphis springs to mind immediately. I hate to be seen as being on the Memphis bandwagon, but let’s face it - when I left New York two years ago to move to the South, I could have chosen anywhere to live. I chose Memphis. For Southern music, it’s akin to New Yorkers making a trek to the Bronx out of love for hip-hop. I love Atlanta, don’t get me wrong. I spent six months there in 1999 and 2000. It’s the center of Southern artists grinding and putting out their own CDs. We all know how much I love that! In that respect, I wish Memphis would take something back from Atlanta and follow their lead. But in terms of historical accuracy, I have to give Memphis its props. As David Banner said when he made his single “Gangsta Walk,” it’s time folks recognized the large part Memphis has played in Southern music, rap music, and dance styles in general. - Wendy Day, firstname.lastname@example.org (Memphis, TN) Congratulations on how consistently great the magazine is every issue. It is a true insider’s guide to Southern hip-hop. Lord knows it helps us keep up with what’s goin on, especially being here in South ‘Bama, we’re a little isolated. - Trey Wilson, email@example.com (Enterprise, AL) I read your scathing testimonial about BET’s corporate practices to the media. OZONE is one of those thriving publications that I find interesting, especially your celebrity gossip section. I agree with you one hundred percent when you write about the lack of professionalism and the outright display of entitlement from some of today’s urban media executives and label reps. Everyone is getting “fat” or concerned with getting fat. No one in the game is starving any more. Grassroots marketing efforts are only embraced once you have been accepted by the “masses” (meaning you have to be “in” with BET’s Stephen Hill before his flunkies can accommodate you, and that’s purely wrong and unacceptable). - Shirley T. (New York, NY) Corrections: In the June 2005 issue we neglected to credit Jessica Koslow for her interview with Jermaine Dupri, and Bogan for his photo of Trick Daddy, XZibit, and Ras Kass.
These days, there’s a million and one magazines trying to come out. There’s a few trying to take OZONE’s spot. Some of them even have big budgets for expensive photographers and expensive graphic designers. Contrary to popular belief, I am not rich, and the real reason I contribute the majority of OZONE’s photos and graphic design is due to budgeting issues, not arrogance. Unfortunately, in the midst of the pretty pictures, some magazine publishers seem to lose focus of the real purpose of having a medium like this. If you knew how much it costs to print this shit every month, you’d understand why I try to pack as much text as possible onto each page. Words are powerful. Whenever you have a voice, you have a responsiblity to say something meaningful. That’s why I get really depressed when I enter the hibernation stage of publishing a magazine (a.k.a. production week) and don’t have some really gritty editorial shit. And that doesn’t mean something negative or controversial - just something interesting. A message. Anything. Something that makes you think. Some of you rappers are really, really fucking boring. Honestly. I get a headache doing some of these interviews because they’re so mind-numbingly dumb. And don’t flip through this issue trying to figure out who I’m talking about, cause I’m not pointing fingers. I’m just fed up. I’ve been doing this interview thing for a long time. I don’t even need to ask certain questions any more because I already know what the answer will be: some dumb cliché. One rapper, who hears my frequent venting on this topic, often tries to defend his peers by saying that they haven’t been educated properly and I should be editing their interviews to make them sound less stupid. But I’m not expecting you guys to write a damn thesis. I don’t care how many times you curse or if your grammar is correct, I just don’t want to hear the same meaningless drivel. When I went into hibernation mode this month things were looking a little bleak on the editorial side. Fortunately, I got to do a few last-minute interviews which restored my faith in this whole hip-hop journalism thing. Originally, I wasn’t too hyped about interviewing Smitty or Z-Ro, but they both came through with some real shit that turned me into a fan. The first time I met Smitty was at Meli’s Seafood restaurant across from Power 96 in Miami, and he gave the traditional “Wait ‘til you do an article on me, my story is crazy!” spiel, and I was thinking, Yeah, right. Six months after our photo shoot amidst the fish tanks and sea shells, I finally listened to his story. He’s had a really crazy ride through the industry and picked up a lot of knowledge on the way. I’ve only met Z-Ro once, in Austin, and he was looking pissed off and ready to kick some dude’s ass. Apparently, that’s just a day in the life of Z-Ro. Z-Ro also has a lot to say and he certainly doesn’t hold his tongue. Hopefully we won’t see him on a Dave Chappelle “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong” skit someday. Those of you who failed media training need to go sit in the corner and read Smitty and Z-Ro’s interviews. Actually, go read the entire issue, because it turned out better than I expected. Tony Yayo and Violator’s VP of Marketing James Cruz also had intelligent interviews (but not quite as brutally honest as I prefer because the G-Unit/Shady/Aftermath/Interscope Publicity Machine never sleeps). 112, TOK, Mr. Collipark, and Clinton Sparks also had some real shit to say, and our prison pen-pals C-Murder and the Diplomats’ Freeky Zekey checked in with some thoughts from behind the walls. Notice how I filled up my entire editorial bitching about rappers who don’t have anything to say - mostly because I couldn’t think of anything to say? That’s why I’m so good at this shit. - JB the Professional Bullshitter (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Guilty pleasure: Mariah Carey “We Belong Together” Young Jeezy f/ Akon “Soul Survivor” David Banner f/ Jazze Pha & 8Ball “My Gun” Ludacris f/ Bobby Valentino “Pimpin’ All Over The World” Field Mob f/ Ludacris “Georgia” C-Loc f/ Webbie “Gutta Girl” Smitty “Diamonds On My Neck”
YoungBloodz “Presidential” Rihanna “Pon De Replay” Jimmy Chocolate “Gangsta” Bedo “Like Me” Ray Cash “Ready Rocks” Mr. Bigg Time “Footwork”
01: Tank and Lyfe @ the Hilton (Jacksonville, FL) 02: If you were at Dawgman’s Crunkfest, you’d understand why his crew is hanging out in front of the bank with big smiles (Orlando, FL) 03: Lil Scrappy and his brother Chris on the set of P$C’s “I’m The King” video (Atlanta, GA) 04: Tony Yayo and Malik Abdul reppin’ OZONE @ Hpnotiq (Orlando, FL) 05: DJ Passthamic and Acafool (Tampa, FL) 06: DTP’s Tity Boy, Mami Chula, and DJ Jelly @ Compound for Boyz N Da Hood’s release party (Atlanta, GA) 07: Nu-Ridians @ AKA Lounge (Orlando, FL) 08: Supa Cindy and Big Lip Bandit @ Memorial Weekend celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 09: John Doe and DJ Kool Kid on South Beach (Miami, FL) 10: Slim Thug reppin’ OZONE @ Rap-A-Lot vs. Bad Boy celeb bball game (Houston, TX) 11: David Banner goes in for the kill @ Memorial Weekend celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 12: Capleton reppin’ OZONE @ VP Records’ show (Miami, FL) 13: Willie and Sweets @ Club Deep (Miami, FL) 14: Doug E. Fresh @ Vibe Musicfest (Atlanta, GA) 15: Triple J and 21 Reese reppin’ OZONE @ Firestone for Dawgman’s Crunkfest (Orlando, FL) 16: David Banner and Pitbull reppin’ CRUNK!!! @ Club Deep (Miami, FL) 17: BloodRaw, Young Jeezy, and Slick Pulla reppin’ CTE (Orlando, FL) 18: Twista, Miss T, and Chingy @ Stiletto Sundays (New Orleans, LA) 19: Boyz N Da Hood and Greg Street @ V103 (Atlanta, GA) 20: Bohagon, Stay Fresh, and Cutty @ Hard Rock (Orlando, FL) 21: Jazze Pha and Polow @ Compound for Boyz N Da Hood’s release party (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Iisha Hillmon: #03 Julia Beverly: #01,04,06,08, 09,11,13,14,15,16,17,19,20,21 Keadron Smith: #10 Malik Abdul: #02,12 Marcus Jethro: #07 Matt Daniels: #05 Miguel Matos: #07 A12
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Disclaimer: These interviews are anonymous, so we cannot verify if they are true or not. All details (cities, club names, hotel names) have been removed. These stories do not necessarily represent the opinions of OZONE Magazine. These stories did not necessarily occur recently, so if you are currently seeing one of these fine gentlemen, no need to curse him out. These stories are from different women.
Yeah. He asked me if I wanted [to do drugs] and even when I said no, he’d still do it all night long. Were you attracted to him as a person, or did you mostly sleep with him – or attempt to sleep with him – because he’s famous? He’s nice, but I think he has a wife or something. He has game.
If you have a celebrity confession, send an email to email@example.com and we will reply with a phone number where you can call anonymously to be interviewed.
MARIO WINANS: How did you meet Mario Winans? I work at [a strip club]. Is he a frequent customer? Yeah. That’s kind of strange, because people have a perception of Mario Winans as a quiet, gospel type of dude. I wouldn’t picture him being a frequent strip club customer. (laughing) He does a lot of stuff you wouldn’t picture him doing. He’s slept with a lot of girls that work at the strip club. He comes into the same strip club all the time, whenever he’s in town, but he doesn’t spend any money. He’ll act like he’s going to spend money, but he never does. He’ll bring all his boys up in there, like, his “cousin” or his “brother.” He expects to get the star treatment for him and all his boys. So he’s really cheap, huh? Basically. I mean, he showed me a good time when I went out with him, but at the strip club he’s cheap.
get [some drugs]. He knows I don’t do anything, and even if I did, I wouldn’t do it around a boy that I liked. He’d still call me to come over and party with him. I couldn’t believe he was calling me like, asking for a favor. Like I said, he’s cheap. What kind of drugs? Do you want to be more specific? I shouldn’t. All I can say is that he wasn’t able to perform [in bed]. So Mario Winans isn’t as conservative or Christian as people might expect him to be, because of his family and his music? He says “God bless” like every other word. He’s always talking about “God bless this,” “God bless that.”
How did you meet Bobby Valentino? I went to school with him a few years ago, at Clark Atlanta. Everybody just knew him as that boy that used to be in Mista. They had that song “Blackberry Molasses” in like 1996. Nobody cared too much, but everybody knew him as the guy that played baseball and used to be in Mista. He used to call my dorm and my roommates would sing his little song to him over the phone and he’d get so excited. They’d sing “Blackberry Molasses” or that other song Mista had on the Why Do Fools Fall In Love soundtrack. What is he like? He’s corny as hell. He’s not someone that I’d want to date ever again. He drove a gold Lexus. I used to walk to class and he’d always pull up next to me and ask if I wanted a ride. I was like, “No, thank you.” One day I decided to be nice and I let him come pick me up. So it was a pity date? Yeah. I went to his house, and he played that “Blackberry Molasses” song like eight times. His house smelled like burnt spaghetti. I wouldn’t fuck him, so I told him to take me back home. He didn’t tell me what his real name was, either. He said his name was Valentino and I was like, “Who the hell would name their son Valentino?”
“[Mario Winans] does [drugs], and I don’t. So he was real rude. He didn’t really care about having sex anyway. He tried, but it was only like two minutes.”
Where did he take you when you went out with him? He had a limo come pick me up and take me to the studio. We were just hanging out, drinking. We went out to some clubs afterwards. Did it start as a friendly relationship or sexual? We hung out a few times. See, I don’t know I if I wanna put him out there. There’s a reason why we didn’t really have sex. I spent the night with him a few times but we barely had sex. It’s hard to explain it. He wanted to have sex, but he was so messed up he couldn’t perform. I was real drunk so I just went to sleep and he stayed up all night. I woke up the next day and he kinda went to sleep. The first time it kinda freaked me out, but we went out again and the same thing happened. I’m sure there’s a lot of other girls with the same story. So, the other strippers that had sex with him, did they have a bad experience like yours or a good experience? Like, oh my god, should I actually say this? It was real rude of him, what he did. He thought he was extra famous. See, he does drugs, and I don’t. So he was real rude. He didn’t really care about having sex anyway. He tried, but it was like only two minutes, and I was like, “You just gotta stop” again. It was the second time. Then, he called my cell one time out of the blue trying to
Did that strike you as hypocritical? Kinda hypocritical, yeah. He’s not stupid, though. When we were at the mall one time he saw some younger girls but he wouldn’t mess with them. I think he goes to strip clubs to make sure the girls he fucks are old enough. So what was he like in bed? He’s sexy, but I can’t really say how he is in bed, because he wasn’t performing very well. He stood in front of me and put his hands behind his head. So he’s like, butt naked, standing there and just waiting in front of me, licking his lips and shit, waiting for me to give him head. I was like, “What are you doing?” I guess he felt like if I gave him head it would help him out, but I wasn’t into that. Then he tried to have sex with me. Do you think he expected you to do whatever he wanted because he’s famous and you’re a stripper? Yeah. Maybe not because I’m a stripper, but more because he’s famous. I mean, how could you take a girl you don’t even know back to where you live? He has a big portrait of his daughter at his house, and pictures of his baby mom and kids everywhere. I mean, he just doesn’t care. For me to know as much as I know, I mean, for him to do the stuff he did in front of me and he didn’t care that I saw? He did things in front of you that could’ve put his career at risk?
What do you mean, you wouldn’t fuck him? Was he trying to put the moves on you? He was reaching over, trying to rub my back, saying, “Let me give you a massage,” all that shit. He was so boring. I didn’t go out with him again after that. So when you started seeing Bobby Valentino all over TV and hearing “Slow Down” all over the radio, what was your reaction? I told my mom, “That’s that boy I told you about,” and she just started laughing. My friends from college call me from Georgia all the time now and they’re like, “Ha, ha, ha, I can’t believe you went on a date with that guy.” Now that he’s famous, do you wish you’d hooked up with him or at least stayed in touch? No. Definitely not. He’s not cute at all, not to me, anyway. I don’t like boys that think just cause they take you somewhere you’ve got to fuck them. Boys who are in college always think they’re gonna get some pussy just cause they play a sport. I guess he thought that’s what was about to happen, but he was wrong. I heard from other girls that was all he wanted anyway. Oh, no. Not me. OZONE JULY 2005
01: Young Jeezy and DJ Fahrenheit @ the Radisson (Orlando, FL) 02: Models reppin’ OZONE on the set of Webbie’s “Bad Bitch” (Miami, FL) 03: Konkrete @ Greg Street’s car show (Atlanta, GA) 04: Ray J and DJ Chill reppin’ OZONE @ Rap-A-Lot vs. Bad Boy celeb bball game (Houston, TX) 05: Joe Buddens and Zab Judah @ Memorial Weekend celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 06: Block, Mami Chula, Jody Breeze, and Big Gee @ Music Midtown (Atlanta, GA) 07: Ump, Trick Daddy, and Jerry Rushin @ Memorial Weekend celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 08: Assassin and Elephant Man @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 09: Serious and BloodRaw @ Compound for Boyz N Da Hood’s release party (Miami, FL) 10: Bedo and DJ Prostyle reppin’ OZONE @ Hard Rock for T.I.’s MTV taping 11: JC Crunk and Vanessa @ Club Deep (Miami, FL) 12: J-Dawg, DJ Walgee, and DJ Saxwell @ First Friday (Orlando, FL) 13: Lyfe and Greg Street reppin’ OZONE @ Vibe’s Musicfest (Atlanta, GA) 14: OHB reppin’ OZONE @ Dawgman’s Crunkfest (Orlando, FL) 15: Shane, J Green, and Dawgman @ his Crunkfest (Orlando, FL) 16: Keyshia Cole and the YoungBloodz @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 17: Crime Mob with Hot 104’s Derrick da Franchise and Trelli Trell (New Orleans, LA) 18: Pretty Ricky and Elephant Man @ the Hilton (Jacksonville, FL) 19: Kim Porter, Harve Pierre, Block, and Greg Street @ Compound for Boyz N Da Hood’s release party (Atlanta, GA) 20: Tye Dash, Young Cash, Ms. Hollywood of Spoil’d Rotten, Reg Reg Askew, and Kinsu @ the Marriott (Miami, FL) 21: Turk, Todd Moscowitz, and Mel on the set of Webbie’s “Bad Bitch” (Miami, FL) Photo Credits: Iisha Hillmon: #03 Julia Beverly: #01,05,06,07,08, 09,11,13,14,15,16,18,19,20,21 Keadron Smith: #04 Malik Abdul: #02,10,12 Marcus Jethro: #17 A14
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If you have a comment or question for C-Murder, email it to feedback@ozonemag. com or write him here (do not send CDs): Corey Miller #58815110 P.O. Box 388 Gretna, LA 70054
01: Frank Ski and Jazze Pha @ Compound for Boyz N Da Hood’s release party (Atlanta, GA) 02: DJ Kool Kid and friends @ Club Deep (Miami, FL) 03: Smoke of Field Mob and Chaka Zulu reppin’ OZONE @ Vibe’s Musicfest (Atlanta, GA) 04: Greg G and Tony C at Zinc Bar (Orlando, FL) 05: Marques Houston and Nick Cannon @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 06: Lil Boosie, Webbie, and Dr. Teeth on the set of “Bad Bitch” (Miami, FL) 07: Trillville performing @ Hard Rock for their MTV taping (Orlando, FL) 08: Lyfe @ House of Blues (Orlando, FL) 09: Ray reppin’ OZONE (Orlando, FL) 10: Trick Daddy and Benji Brown @ Memorial Weekend celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 11: Gotti’s unique shooting technique @ Memorial Weekend celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 12: Young Jeezy and Mami Chula @ Compound for Boyz N Da Hood’s release party (Atlanta, GA) 13: Sir Knight Train and Quincy reppin’ OZONE @ the Central Florida Networking Meeting (Orlando, FL) 14: Iisha Hillmon and Joi reppin’ OZONE (Atlanta, GA) 15: Plies, Disco, and Paul Clark @ Firestone for Dawgman’s Crunkfest (Orlando, FL) 16: Tank, David Banner, and DJ Dr. Doom @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 17: Hen-Roc, Greg Street, and Shawn Prez reppin’ OZONE @ V103 (Atlanta, GA) 18: DJ Drama, Don Cannon, and Jaycee @ Vibe’s Musicfest (Atlanta, GA) 19: Foxx, Big Head, Lil Boosie, and Webbie on the set of “Bad Bitch” (Miami, FL) 20: Chad Johnson, David Banner, and Trick Daddy celebrating the South’s win at the Memorial Weekend celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 21: Malik Abdul and video models on the set of Webbie’s “Bad Bitch” (Miami, FL) Photo Credits: Iisha Hillmon: #14 Julia Beverly: #01,02,03,04, 06,07,09,10,11,12,15,16,17, 18,19,20,21 Malik Abdul: #05,13 Sophia Jones: #08 A16
OZONE JULY 2005
The posters promoting your album show you behind bars. Even though that was reality for you, do you think it gives other people the wrong impression of what prison is like? I’m gonna be honest with you. Even though I did two years in jail, in no way, shape, or form am I trying to glorify my prison time. I’m not telling kids that if they do years in prison, that’s gonna put hair on their chest or make them feel like they’re somebody. Male or female. The way I spread the message is, every radio show I do, every magazine interview I do, I tell kids to stay out of jail. I’m from the bottom, so I’m the perfect example of someone who can make it - just like 50, Banks, and Buck. My album is called Thoughts Of A Predicate Felon. It comes out on July 12th. A predicate felon is someone who goes in and out of jail. But it’s the things you go through that make you who you are as a person. I wasn’t out there robbin’ people, I just got caught up in situations. Everybody who goes to jail is not a bad guy. You have good people in jail, but the system is not made to rehabilitate you. Let me ask you a question. If I had an armed robbery charge and you had a business, would you let me work behind your register? Probably not. Right. So how am I gonna be rehabilitated if I can’t get a job? I’m back in the streets. So what do you think is the solution? People have to stop putting that stamp on felons and judging them a certain way. If you did your time, you’re rehabilitated. A lot of people change in jail. I never try to glorify my prison time. I tell kids to stay out of jail. I’ve seen people get cut, stabbed in jail. They throw your things around, open your butthole for another man to look in it, lift your genitals. You think I’m gonna go tell kids to go through that? That doesn’t make you a man or a woman to go to jail. They only reason people like me is because they feel they can relate to me. See how I mingle in the crowds? I’m still hood. When I was in jail I mingled around wtih the people in the general population - I was in there like a regular inmate, not Tony Yayo. People feel like they can relate to me more than the average rapper that’s talking about something they’ve never been through.
with 50 back in 1995 before 50 got shot. It was a pimpin’ record. Pimp C and Bun B was on 50’s Power of The Dollar record, before he got shot. I would say free Pimp C. I always liked him as an artist.
Aside from the actual charges, what was the underlying reason you were in jail? I don’t know where you grew up, but I grew up in Southside Jamaica Queens, and everybody’s a drug dealer. I think 70% of the people in life turn into what their environment is, and the other 30% sway the other way. There are people in my neighborhood that are doctors and lawyers, but those are the 30%. The other 70% are drug dealers. If you hang around enough drug dealers, eventually you might become a drug dealer. I think my addiction to selling drugs was the fast money. My mother always told me to go to college and I’d get that nice car and nice house, but I’d just seen a guy make that in twelve months. I always looked up to the older guys in my neighborhood, and I think that if they were lawyers and doctors, then I probably would be a lawyer or a doctor. I wouldn’t be rhyming about the harsh realities of my life.
Since 50 Cent and the other G-Unit artists have put up huge numbers, do you feel a lot of pressure for your album to sell? When I first came home from jail, I felt a lot of pressure. When I came home, I was on house arrest. I had to be home at a certain time, and I couldn’t go out at all for eight months. I had a studio in my condo in Manhattan so basically I just worked. Consistency is the key to everything in this game. Look at Pablo Escobar - biggest drug dealer in the world. Look at Michael Jordan. Look at Wayne Gretzky. Consistency. I just feel blessed. I’m in a good position, and even though the pressure was there, now 50’s comparing my album to Get Rich Or Die Trying. Knock on wood, I’m the only rapper out of G-Unit that hasn’t been shot. So the album is about the harsh realities of my life in prison.
If you could free any other incarcerated rapper, who would it be and why? I would have to say “Free Pimp C.” I respect Pimp C. They did a record
50 said that when you came out of jail, he had a million dollars waiting for you? Yeah, a million dollars after taxes. If the situation was reversed, can you honestly say you’d save up a million for him? Yeah, if I had it like that, why not? If the relationship was there. It���s a brotherhood thing. I can’t say that for everybody, but me and 50 are like brothers. I been with him since the Jam Master Jay situation - rest in peace. I been with him after he got shot, in the hospital, I was still on the street dealin’ with issues. 50’s my brother from another mother.
Whenever a major artist introduces his crew, it’s hard for them to exceed his success. I don’t think it’s hard, but I think you have to show that you’re a star on your own. I believe I’m a natural born star. I believe I’m made for TV, magazines, videos, everything. Everything I do, I’ve perfected it. You see me on TV, I’m
comfortable. I’m never nervous. If you see me doing an interview, I’m never nervous. I believe I was made for this. And sometimes it’s not just about the artist but it’s the boss. A lot of artists want to shine but they don’t want their group to shine. With us it’s different. 50 wants us to shine. 50 gave me a million dollars when I came home so I wouldn’t feel left out that these guys had more money than me while I was incarcerated. I think it’s on the main artist to decide if they want to let everyone in the group shine. Coming out of prison and being handed a million dollars, was it hard for you to restrain yourself from spending it all? When I came home, I really spent a lot of money on family members. I wear my own sneakers and my own clothes, I think that’s the best marketing tool. I spent a lot of money on other people - bailin’ people out of jail, sending people in jail food and commissary, stuff like that. I helped my moms out, helped my sister out. She just had a baby. I had a daughter while I was incarcerated. She’s two years old. I spent all my money on her. Besides that, I spent money on jewelry. Cars is not really a big thing. We have all kinds of vehicles. Bulletproof vehicles, Bentleys, Escalades, all types of vehicles. Now that you’re off house arrest, are their limitations while you’re on tour? Yeah, I just got the ankle bracelet off. Basically I have to report to my parole officer on a certain day. I’ve gotta call in and stay out of trouble. Is it hard to stay out of trouble, since you have a lot of temptations around you on tour? Yeah, I used to smoke weed and stuff like that, but I figure I’ve got the Anger Management tour coming up and the album coming up. I can make about two million dollars between June and August, so to me, I don’t think two million dollars is worth a hundred dollar bag of haze or dro. People would look at me like I’m an idiot. - Interview & photo by Julia Beverly OZONE JULY 2005
01: Slim Thug and Young Jeezy @ Music Midtown (Atlanta, GA) 02: JC, Cubo, and Pitbull @ Club Deep for CRUNK!!!/Oakley party (Miami, FL) 03: Suga D and friends reppin’ OZONE @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 04: DJ Jelly and T. Waters @ Compound for Boyz N Da Hood’s release party (Atlanta, GA) 05: Bigga Rankin and DJ Mastermind reppin’ OZONE @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 06: Common @ Vibe’s Musicfest (Atlanta, GA) 07: BJ and Mouse on the set of Webbie’s “Bad Bitch” (Miami, FL) 08: Dr. Doom, Jimmy Chocolate, and Pitbull reppin’ OZONE @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 09: Jigga, DJ Hektic, Rob Nice, Young Buck, Raj Smoove, and DJ Wop (New Orleans, LA) 10: Jen and Melissa @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 11: KLC and Chingy @ Stiletto Sundays (New Orleans, LA) 12: Q and James Gilchrist reppin’ OZONE @ Cairo (Orlando, FL) 13: Cory Mo reppin’ OZONE @ Rap-A-Lot vs. Bad Boy celeb bball game (Houston, TX) 14: H-Vidal and David Banner (Tampa, FL) 15: Allen Iverson and David Banner @ Memorial Weekend celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 16: Rico Brooks, Mel, Big Duke, Block, Jody Breeze, Greg Street, Jason Wiley, Harve Pierre, Big Gee, and Young Jeezy @ V103 (Atlanta, GA) 17: Daunte Culpepper and Baby on South Beach (Miami, FL) 18: Young Cash, JT Money, Shawn Jay, and Mami Chula @ Compound for Boyz N Da Hood’s release party (Atlanta, GA) 19: Foxx, Turk, and Webbie on the set of “Bad Bitch” (Miami, FL) 20: Luis Duran, D-Strong, and Thomas reppin’ OZONE @ Hard Rock for Mike Jones’ MTV taping (Orlando, FL) 21: Vibe’s Kenard Gibbs and Bob Miller with Burger King execs @ Vibe’s Musicfest (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: H Vidal: #14 Julia Beverly: #01,02,03,04,05, 06,07,08,15,16,17,18,19,20,21 Keadron Smith: #13 Malik Abdul: #10,12 Marcus Jethro: #09,11 A18
OZONE JULY 2005
How did you go from being an unknown Miami artist to writing lyrics for P. Diddy? I got started by writing for Dr. Dre. I spit a couple hundred bars for him and he flew me out to L.A. I was supposed to sign with Dre, but things didn’t work out. This was even before Game was over there. We still had a good relationship, and I ended up going to New York to spit for Jay-Z. Jay said he was loving it, but he didn’t get back in touch with us as quickly as I liked. I don’t know if he was feelin’ me or wasn’t. I was back in L.A. on the set of Jay Leno and I told Puff, “I don’t want to sign to Bad Boy, I just wanna write for you.” He sent me home with a track and I wrote to it. He flew me out to New York to stay at his house on Broadway, just writing. I wrote his verse for “Burning Up” with Freeway and Faith. JayZ came back like, “Yeah, I wanna sign him,” so they were trying to work it out but it’s taking a long time. In the meantime, I wrote Puff’s verses for [B2K’s] “Bump Bump Bump” and [Baby’s] “How You Do That Dance.” I run into Block at the Baby shoot. Block manages Boyz N Da Hood now. We started talking about the group Face Mob. I was already cool with them and Scarface, so Block calls ‘Face on the phone. ‘Face is like, “Yeah, yeah, Smitty,” so they flew me down to Atlanta to work on the Face Mob album with Jazze Pha. I had just written Puff’s verse for [Nelly’s] “Shake Ya Tailfeather.” What happened to Face Mob? It was me, Big Gee [of Boyz N Da Hood], and a dude named Young Malice. We did about fourteen songs and a little promo run. ‘Face shopped the project to Jay. Jay thought it would be better to sign me through Face Mob, cause he’s a New York label and I would fit better in Face Mob. Everybody was talkin’ about, “Jay gonna sign Face Mob.” They started taking me to Sony, everybody, but for whatever reason, ‘Face didn’t want to do the deal with Jay. I guess he was tryin’ to get away from Def Jam, but I can’t really speculate on that. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. While they were waiting on the Face Mob situation, the Bad Boy 2 soundtrack was about to come out. The labels started hearing the buzz around me and started putting bids on the table. Capital, Violator, Arista, everybody. I was staying in New York, recording my demo with Puff. If he went out of town, I’d be recording joints. I’d go to a different meeting every day. [Label executives] would take me out to dinner trying to get me to sign with them. The people who gave me the most love and the most money was J Records. I didn’t really have a hit record at the time, so we started getting all the production – Kanye West, Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, Mannie Fresh, everybody – and I already had the features before I got signed. I had the record with Jamie Foxx, Kanye West, ‘Face, Game, everybody before I got signed. When you told Puff you wanted to be his ghostwriter rather than an artist, was that really what you wanted or was it means to an end? Technically I’m not a ghostwriter, because I get publishing. I get credit for my music. At that point I had become tired of writing for Dre, but the situation was so good for me. I know everybody’s trying to get signed to Bad Boy, so I came to Puff like a businessman. I knew if I could write for him, I could get in a position where people would be checking for me. His
eyes lit up when I said that. He was surprised, like he’d never seen someone willing to take that sacrifice. When you write for Puff, he’s doing you a favor. He knows his worth. He knows that if you write for him, you’re gonna get credibility as a musician and an artist. With Dre, he’ll cut you a check immediately, but the difference is that it takes forever to come out because Dre is so meticulous. You might write some really hot stuff for Dre that never comes out, but that’s his prerogative. Or, you might write something that’s kinda hot for Puff, and it’ll get 8,000 spins immediately. Where did you get your writing ability from? I’ve always been good at writing, but Puff really taught me how to switch up my flows. A lot of rappers are so monotonous. Puff taught me how to switch it up. Working with Dre taught me the passion of music and to be meticulous with the sound. With Dre it’s all about the feeling of the music. Puff likes to be creative and innovative. If Puff is able to teach rappers how to flow, why would he need to pay a writer? Dre and Puff are moguls. They don’t have time to sit and be creative. They know what they need – workhorses to sit there and write ten, twelve verses a day. If you see how Puffy moves, it’d be impossible for him to sit down and write rhymes. They don’t need me. It’s just a timing thing. They need a person to sit with them, not ask to be a superstar, not want to be in their position, and just grind with them. They’re already hot. They don’t need me, I need them. And now I’m in a position where I can step into the forefront and be who I can be. Hopefully one day I’ll get to their status and give young rappers the opportunities they gave me. Did it ever make you jealous to see them get all the credit for something you’d written? The only time I felt that was with the “Tailfeather” song, because it did win a Grammy. Puff thanked me like a gentleman, though. What’s funny is that he didn’t like the verse I wrote, and it won a Grammy. If I write a verse that’s
reflective of my life, I wouldn’t give that to another rapper, because if they blew up off that song I would be crushed. When I write for Dre or Puff, I’m writing about their life, not mine. A lot of those records didn’t matter to me because it was just getting exposure. But “Shake Ya Tailfeather,” I was like, damn! He won a Grammy! I wish I coulda got tickets to sit at the Grammys, because I was such a big part of that record. But to this day, I’ve never called Bad Boy asking for a plaque about any of these records. I’m out here trying to make a platinum plaque for Smitty. As a writer, you’ve just gotta be creative. Most R&B artists don’t write their own stuff. Usher did not write “Yeah!” R&B artists get signed for their vocals and their ability to entertain. I haven’t seen an R&B artist who writes their own lyrics in a long time. I love Mary J Blige to death, but when Mary sings, it’s not her pain that you’re hearing. It’s the writer’s pain. I try to depict my own pain. A lot of rappers are trying to live Jay-Z’s life or live Biggie’s life. I don’t have to rap about bricks. I’m a street rapper, not a drug dealer. What’s the difference? It’s a big difference. There’s so many other issues on the streets: welfare, health care, poverty, drug addiction, broken families, single mothers. A lot of rappers just want to be drug dealers. If you think that’s all there is to the streets, you’re closing yourself off to another vein of street music. That’s why my album is called Life of A Troubled Child. It comes out August 23rd. We might move it up, depending on the first single, “Diamonds On My Neck.” The next single is “Dope Man,” produced by Timbaland and featuring Mannie Fresh. I’m glad “Diamonds On My Neck” is getting so much love from radio, but I’m anxious for it to end so you can see what I’ve got next. There’s not too many rappers from my community, Little Haiti. I want to expose Little Haiti to the world. Little Haiti has a voice. I’m not the voice, but I’m one of them. Let’s make it a movement. - Interview and photo by Julia Beverly OZONE JULY 2005
OZONE JULY 2005
(01) Stat Quo checkin’ out OZONE and taking directions all at the same time. (02) Labelmates Young Buck and Stat Quo take some time to do drops, interviews, take pictures, and sign autographs during a short break on the set. (03) The audio cart, being moved to another location to pick up better sound. (04) A stripper gets prepared for her close-up. (05) Bun B reappears after leaving to get some dollar bills for the stripper scene. (06) Producer Decatur Black checkin’ out OZONE. (07) VTR checking for continuity errors and bad lighting. (08) Stay Fresh shows some love while being rushed upstairs for his cameo. (09) Young Buck on the way out.
(01) T.I. flashing his grill for the cameras right after director Benny Boom yells “Cut!” (02) Tiny holds it down for her man behind the scenes. (03) Big Kuntry of the P$C checks in with Atlanta’s own Bishop of Crunk. (04) The P$C gets in position for the next shot. (05) Police use caution tape to prevent onlookers from getting too close to the filming location. (06) Lil Scrappy getting directions for his shot. (07) The King of Crunk Lil Jon stops by for a cameo appearance, while Benny Boom directs T.I. amd the P$C. Big Kuntry worries that he may have stepped in something. (08) The Drum Majors stopping by the set. (09) Grand Hustle’s female rap duo, Xtaci, getting ready for their cameo.
Director: Mike Taylor Photos: Iisha Hillmon
Director: Benny Boom Photos: Iisha Hillmon OZONE JULY 2005
In our May 2005 interview with BME artist/Lil Jon protege Bohagon, he said, “I ain’t no country bumpkin. A lot of people have this perception of the country that I’m trying to erase. People see videos of the country where niggas playing with pigs.” Field Mob, who featured a pig in their video, apparently took the comment as a personal insult and dissed Bohagon during their concert at The Firehouse in Columbus, Georgia. We spoke with Bohagon, Field Mob’s Shawn Jay, and the concert promoter (101.3 The Beat’s Program Director DJ Controller) to find out what really happened. (interviews by Julia Beverly) SHAWN JAY: What did Bohagon say that started this beef? I heard he said something in XXL? It wasn’t XXL, it was that beautiful OZONE Magazine. And it’s crazy cause I was just tellin’ Jazze Pha the other day that I liked [Bohagon’s] music. And I seen him at Body Tap and he said what up to me but he was actin’ funny. Then I go home and read the OZONE Magazine and he’s in there talkin’ ‘bout people havin’ pigs in their videos. Are you sure his comment was supposed to be a diss to you? Bubba Sparxxx had a pig in his video too. Maybe it was just a general statement. We started that country shit, even though [Bubba Sparxxx is] my dawg, we still did it first. I don’t give a fuck. I never made any sly remarks that [Bohagon] woulda thought was supposed to be a diss to him. Real niggas do real things. And y’all got into a fistfight in Columbus? What happened exactly? Shit, I’m still pretty. I left with all my jewelry after fightin’ ‘bout four of five of them boys. I ain’t fight with Bohagon; we never had a fight, let’s clear that up for the record. Do I look like I was fightin’? You see me. I’m very pretty. I’m my biggest fan. So whatever story y’all wanna put out there, it’s cool. I’m good. I still got all my jewelry on. I just wanted to clear that up, because you know how the internet is. Allhiphop.com must not like me, cause they keep lyin’ on me and puttin’ some bullshit out there. But it’s all good, cause I’m still pretty. It’s no beef. I have no beef with the nigga. So if Bohagon walked by right now, would y’all be able to have a civil conversation or would it be a fight? A fight? No, for what? I heard people were comin’ up to my label the next day tryin’ to squash the shit, and I’m like, what are you tryin’ to squash? There’s no beef. He didn’t say anything to me. I’ve still not talked to Bohagon. You good, homie! Come see me! I’m good, I’m excellent! But don’t be tellin’ no lies on me. I did start this country shit. Niggas be tryin’ to sound like Smoke and shit. Everybody be tryin’ to bite that country shit, but we did start it. Anything else you want to say? I ain’t no hater. Buy Bohagon’s album when it comes out. Buy it! I can’t believe that nigga dissed me, though. That’s what hurt me ‘bout it. He wasn’t even near me and I was showin’ this nigga love, biggin’ him up! Ask Jazze. Ask a real nigga how I’m showin’ this nigga love, and then I’m reading the magazine, like, what!? Yeah, I got a pig in my video! I’ll have another one if I want to! Why do another nigga worry about how I get my paper? A24
OZONE JULY 2005
BOHAGON: Was your statement in OZONE about pigs intended to be a Field Mob diss? Nah. I didn’t say their name. I just said that because, when everybody finds out where I’m from, they automatically assume that I’m like [Field Mob] and link me to them. People think we kick it the same way. All I was sayin’ is that you ain’t gonna see no pigs in my video. [Field Mob] took it differently, and they came to my city and disrespected me. They dissed you at a concert in Columbus? I did the birthday bash with one station there, and [Field Mob] was on the other station dissin’ me that same evening but I wasn’t listening so I didn’t know nothing about it. I get to the club that night and me and my folks go to VIP, and all I hear is, “Fuck Bohagon, fuck you, you pussy nigga!” Shawn Jay said I just wanna be like Field Mob, I can’t rap like them. He said, “Don’t hide, come see me.” He in my city, sayin’ this! In my hometown, my backyard! So it turned into a physical altercation? Yeah. Was anyone injured? I wasn’t injured. I’m good. I know what went down, but I ain’t tryin’ to put their business in the street. I ain’t tryin’ to make it like no Flip and T.I. shit. I ain’t tryin’ to be rappin’ about them. We had a disagreement, and if they ready to let it go, I’m ready to let it go. It’s on them. They disrespected me, and that’s why the shit happened. It ain’t like I got some vendetta against them niggas. You were cool with them before? Yeah! We had just kicked it a few weeks before. Smoke had come to a show I did at Chocolate’s, he was on stage with me and shit. I seen Shawn Jay at Body Tap a few weeks ago. Yeah, he mentioned that, and he said that it seemed like you had an attitude or were kinda cold towards him. Hell naw. When I seen [Shawn Jay] at Body Tap, it was a party Greg Street threw. It was packed to capacity. I was high as hell. I dapped him up and kept it moving. I definitely ain’t dissed him at the party. I got love for them cats. Why would I be out here disrespecting him? I just let people know that I’m not gonna have pigs in my video. I ain’t wish no ill will on them or nothing. Regardless, if he felt like I ain’t show him no love at the Body Tap, I dapped him up and said “What’s happenin’.” I ain’t disrespect him. Like, the towns we’re from are like 30, 40, 50 miles apart. I don’t need to be dissin’ these cats, cause we reppin’ the same area. It sounds like everybody’s ready to smooth over the situation. What’s the chances of you sitting down and talking to Field Mob and resolving things? I actually talked to Smoke the other day on the phone. It was like a six-way call. I told him I ain’t got no problem with them, but at the same time, I’m a man and you can’t disrespect me. Anything else you want to say? I want everybody to know that I ain’t got nothing but love for Field Mob. I was put in a position where I ain’t have no choice. They put me in that position. I was actually a Field Mob fan. I disagreed with the pigs in the video, but aside from that, I’m a Field Mob fan.
DJ CONTROLLER: What did you see happen at the concert in Columbus? While Field Mob was doing their show, they took a long pause and talked about Bohagon like a dog. They said they represent the South, and don’t appreciate Bohagon doin’ magazine interviews putting down the South. When they came off the stage, Bohagon’s entourage met them with blows. Was it an all-out fight or a minor scuffle? It was way beyond a minor scuffle. We saw Bohagon’s entourage successfully whoop Shawn’s ass, however, Field Mob’s entourage did considerable damage to Bohagon too. Smoke kinda ran out of the action. Did security or police get involved? There was no police involvement, but the club security had to pull several people apart. Being the promoter of the event, did you feel like it was a negative situation for your station or for the city? I think it was negative for hip-hop shows across the board, because we already catch hell trying to get venues and insurance for these type of events. I really hated to see these guys that are looked up to by our listening audience demonstrate that type of hostility and lack of self-control. Anything else you want to say? Bohagon personally called me the next day to apologize, and I thought that was big of him. He said it wasn’t his ambition to be out here with that type of hostility, but the fact that he was being disrespected and there was 2,000 people in the place, he felt like he had to do something.
Despite its quiet country atmosphere, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, once had the #2 highest murder rate in the nation. “It’s real gutta,” admits 19-year-old Baton Rouge native Webster “Webbie” Gradney, Jr. “But it’s nice if you mind your own business. When I’m gone for too long, I be missin’ it. That’s where I’m from, that’s home.” A typical child of the ghetto, Webbie’s upbringing was anything but stable. His mother, Jocelyn, died of cancer when he was just eight years old. He spent his early teen years shuttling back and forth between the care of his father and grandmother.
ment, co-owned by the legendary Pimp C of UGK. “Webbie [signed with Trill] after I was incarcerated, so I haven’t had the chance to work with him,” says Pimp C. “But I know he can take it to the top. He’s got a knack for writing singles. I can see that already and it’s still early in his career. Very talented guy.” Webbie felt comfortable with the label because he felt they had his best interest at heart. “They was keeping it real,” he says. “I used to just rap, and they’d take care of me like it was a family. I ain’t really sign [a contract] until it was time for the serious shit to start happenin’.”
Ever since he was five years old, writing rhymes had been his release. “My big cousin from California taught me how to rap,” Webbie recalls, adding that his mother was a music lover who often danced to her favorite songs. Intrigued by music that reflected his rough surroundings, he started listening to “all the gangsta rappers, all that shit that hits hard,” including the Geto Boys, 2Pac, Eazy E, Snoop Dogg, 8Ball & MJG, UGK, and Scarface.
Trill teamed Webbie up with fellow Baton Rouge native Lil Boosie, and together the two gained an impressive street following with independent releases like Gangsta Muzik. Webbie isn’t sure exactly how many albums they’ve sold independently. “[I don’t know, I just know] it’s a lot for niggas who ain’t got a deal. I just know it’s been way more hoes comin’ up to me than before,” laughs Webbie.
Webbie struggled throughout school, prevented from playing his favorite sports (basketball and football) because of his poor grades. “I cared about school, but I used to get expelled for fights. I’d have loved to make all A’s, but I just never did.” His interests lay elsewhere. At the time, New Orleans-based powerhouses like No Limit and Cash Money were dominating the urban music scene. Less than an hour away, Baton Rouge felt the impact. “We was rockin’ right with them,” says Webbie. “I was already rappin’ before I heard them, but [to see them make it] made it start seeming more real.”
After creating a buzz with their underground albums, Webbie broke into the mainstream in 2004 with hot radio singles like “Gimme Dat” and “Bad Bitch.” Boosie & Webbie were soon the hottest unsigned commodity in the South, attracting the attention of numerous major record labels. Trill eventually signed a label deal with Asylum, the independent “incubator” branch of Warner Music Group. Webbie’s upcoming debut album, the appropriately titled Savage Life, is expected to drop in July 2005. “Everything I rap about is my life,” explains Webbie. “It’s like ‘thug life,’ but I call it ‘Savage Life’. I don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t rapping.”
At age 15, Webbie found a home with local indie label Trill Entertain-
WEBBIE TRILL’S WILD CHILD WORDS & PHOTO: JULIA BEVERLY
OZONE JULY 2005
(01) Killer Mike relaxes, preparing for an interview before shooting the next scene. (02) Here, a video model gets her hair by a stylist in-between shots. (03) Killer Mike checks in with a few friends on set while conducting business by phone. (04) Killer Mike posters are used to create an interesting backdrop for various TV interviews. (05) All the males featured in the video line up to see a professional barber on set. (06) Director Hype Williams checkin’ in with OZONE before filming the next scene. (07) A make-up artist touches up a model for her close-up. (08) Sleepy Brown on the set. (09) Singer Scar waiting for his cameo.
(01) The setting for the video is a bright yellow mansion in North Miami Beach, complete with a pool and hammock in the backyard. (02) Webbie poses for the cameras in front of the mansion with a Range Rover as the backdrop. (03) When Trina arrives on set, her mom is on-hand to help with styling. (04) For Trina’s scene, she pulls up in front of the house. (05) Webbie, accompanied by two “bad bitches,” checks out Trina as she enters the house. (06) After lunch break, the weather takes a turn for the worse, as heavy rains and thunder threaten to end the shoot. (07) Regardless, filming continues in the safety of the house and patio. Webbie can’t resist getting a look at Trina’s ass. (08) Out on the patio, two models await instructions for their scene. (09) Director Dr. Teeth checks out some angles for his next shot.
Director: Hype Williams Photos: Iisha Hillmon
Director: Dr. Teeth Photos: Julia Beverly & Bogan OZONE JULY 2005
Where are you from? I’m Pimp G, from Jacksonville, Florida. I’ve been rapping since I was 13, but I really been puttin’ it down since 1996. What do you do besides rap? I’m a rapper, but I also do promotions. I started my own promotions company, Crunk City King Promotions. Being a rapper nowadays, you have to do more than one thing to keep things going. The radio stations here in Jacksonville wouldn’t play me, so I became my own DJ and put out my own mixtapes, pushed my own stuff on the streets. What’s the single that you’re pushing now? My new single is “I Make Big Money” with Young Cash, and “Shawty Got Some Bomb Ass Head.” I got a Daytona Spring Break DVD that I’ve been pushing too. I do DVDs, I do my own production and film my own videos. Have the radio stations been showing you more love now? Yeah, they been showing me more love since I been doing more things on my own. They wonder how I’m doing all this stuff without going through them. And of course I promote the OZONE Magazine, because we need a magazine to represent for the South. All the other magazines up North are only talking about Jay-Z and all the hip-hop stuff, but we never had anything for us. OZONE is a blessing for the new indie rap groups down South. Are you putting out an album? I’ve got an album finished but I’ve just been pushing my mix CD and my single, trying to catch a buzz throughout the South and get a distribution deal. Most of my tracks are produced by me and M-Geezy. I’m also working with another company called LapInc. That’s a company we formed together; it’s a group of us – Killer J and Lil’ Redd and a few other people – we all came together to make a big clique. We’re all solo artists but we’re working together. Do you want to give any shoutouts? To all the indies, keep your head up and keep grinding. You can check me out on the website www.LapInc.org. I’m shooting a video for the song with Young Cash, so any models that want to get in the video can holla at me. Or, if anybody wants to put their car in the video, they can holla at me. I do promotions for everybody in Jacksonville, so call me at 904-536-6122.
How has T.O.K. grown in the last five years? Flex: When we just came in, we wanted to have a hit so badly. Once we got the first hit, at times it sounded like we tried to mimic the first hit because we didn’t know exactly what to do. Through the years it’s become more natural for us. We’ve started experimenting more, but still keeping the same vibe. Alex: Our music has grown, and our vocal talents have matured. To some extent, our subject matter is a lot deeper. It’s not always about jumping up and down and having fun with the girls. It’s a lot more personal. Our fan base has grown and we’re now headline acts instead of just opening acts. You get a greater appreciation of the music and the hard work you’ve put in, because you see how your music affects other people. It’s a humbling experience. Bay-C: I think the most important thing is that we’ve become more comfortable on-stage. We’ve grown in terms of success. At first people were skeptical, but now we’ve proven ourselves. We’ve also grown individually. We’ve matured, and we’re touching more topics that we probably would have shied away from at first just to prove that we could do Dancehall. Now that we’ve proven it, we’re thinking outside the box and touching certain topics. People can be proud to know that TOK has broadened their horizons. To me, the magic of TOK is when you guys really sing and give amazing harmonies. To you, what is the magic? Flex: We started out singing harmony, which is what we know best. At the same time, some of the songs that hit for us are the ones we feel. For me, that’s what makes the difference in a TOK song. When we did “Chi Chi Man,” there was just chemistry with the riddim and the chorus. We knew it would be a hit based on the vibe. Sometimes in the studio you can tell. With “When You Cry/Footprints,” Alex had lost his brother. It was a very emotional time for the group. Each person knew Gavin, so it was easier for us to write about because it was so close to home. It’s not necessarily because of the harmonies, it has more to do with the vibe and where your mind is when you record the song and write it. What’s everyone’s role within the group? Bay-C: Me personally, I sometimes consider myself the quarterback of the team. I stay in the background and make sure everything runs smoothly. Flex is normally in the forefront, jumping into the crowd or climbing up the stage. Alex has definitely carved out his niche because he has a distinctive voice. The girls love his voice for “Galang Gal” and “Gal You A Lead.” Craigy-T has his own flavor as well, he’s the higher of the deejays. He’s got his own flavor, from “Eagles Cry” to “One Set of Footprints.” When we started out, everybody would dress alike. After a while, we kinda stayed away from that so everybody could show their personality. Now our roles have been defined. How do you explain the success of your new song “Footprints”? Craigy-T: I think that song has a very important message. Everyone needs to know there’s something more powerful watching over them, and in times of need there’s somebody they can hold on to. It means a lot to us, and it means a lot to the world.
(l to r): Craigy-T, Alex, Flex, and Bay-C
As a group, you pray before each performance. How important is God to you individually? Craigy-T: To me, God has always been important in my life. I’ve always believed in God, always believed in Christ. Recently, I found a new relationship with him. I’m more secure in myself now and more secure in the love that he has for me and that I have for him. I’m feeling good, happy, protected, loved, cared for, and guided. TOK is definitely together not by choice or by arbitrary happenings; I believe we were meant to sing together and deliver certain messages. I believe that it was by divine decree that we were put together, because our personalities are so different. Sometimes we have major arguments that might make it seem like it’s the end, but the love that we have for each other and for God always brings us through that. What’s the secret that keeps TOK together? Alex: Even though we have different ideas on how to reach our goals, we all have the same goals. Even though our methods may be different, we’re not focused on the money or the ego, we’re focused on the music. The thing that eases the problems we may have as a group is laughter. It’s the fact that we are able to have bad situations and then laugh at them. If you didn’t laugh, you would go crazy. Bay-C: We’ve been singing for almost 13 years, and I agree, the main thing that keeps us together is actually laughter. We can laugh at each other, there are no egos. There’s no one that’s above or beyond the down-to-earth status that we try to keep among ourselves. We don’t take life too serious. In a stressful industry like this, sometimes you have to keep a free spirit and let go of the business to be fully creative. That’s basically what keeps us together, the laughter. What’s been the most significant change in the group the last couple years? Bay-C: We’re switching it up. For the last two years, DJ Buddha has been our DJ on the road. When we’re in Jamaica, we have a mixtape guy called CD Koffa that handles our stuff locally. We switched up bands right now. We’re working with
BLAZE, the band that used to play with Beenie Man. Our website, www.TOKworld.com, is up, and it keeps us grounded. We can listen to our fans through the guestbook and forums. Our album is coming out June 28th, 2005. What’s your favorite song on the new album? Flex: “Hail Ladies.” The thing about that song, it’s a nice party vibe. I mean, the one-drop thing is going on good because you have Junior Gong and a couple of other people doing it, but too much of one thing at a time is too much for people’s ears. I think that song is a party song. Even though people want to hear messages sometimes, you have to make them enjoy themselves too. That’s just the perfect blend. It’s taking you back to the original TOK, but not forgetting where we are right now. Bay-C: On this album, I’d say “I Gets High.” I’m biased. It was produced by Richard Browne. Big song, big producer. The song is melodious and I like the way we’re flowing on it. Craigy-T: “Footprints,” naturally. Alex: “Footprints.” Alex, your brother was killed, and it’s impacted you in profound ways. What have you learned from such a heartbreaking experience that you could share with others? Alex: It’s inevitable. Everybody has to go through some amount of pain and suffering at some point in their life. The best thing I can suggest is to talk to a close friend or a family member about it, because you don’t want to have it all bottled up inside. If you can’t get it out, it’ll eat away at you and probably end up destroying you. You have to find an outlet. My outlet is music. That might not be for everybody, but for me, it’s my therapy. My family, my mom and my father, you have to find ways of coping and dealing with it. It’s hard. It’s never over and never done. It’s something you live with the rest of your life, something you go to your grave with. You just try your best to deal with it. - Rudegal OZONE JULY 2005
How did you get started in the music business? I played a lot of sports when I was young, and I got to a pretty high level in baseball. I went away to play ball and I blew out my right knee. When I came home, I had no other options. All my life, I grew up around hustlers and ballers, but they always told me, “This game ain’t for you. Do something with yourself.” I had a lot of negative influences, but more positive influences. I got an internship at Mercury Records. By the end of the internship, there was 160 interns and two jobs. Myself and Jana Fleishman got the jobs. Who did you work with at Mercury Records? Vanessa Williams, Black Sheep, Brian McKnight, but I also worked with artists like Bon Jovi, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Def Leppard on the rock side. Musically, that gave me great taste, because back then rock & roll was the shit. R&B was still “black music.” I was the retail marketing assistant. Then I became the national marketing coordinator. I was tracking sales at the indie retail level and making sure our distribution system was doing their job in merchandising. This was right before Soundscan and BDS, so realistically, your tracking of how many times records were getting played was based on phone calls. I was the person seeing if these retailers needed extra marketing materials. We did merchandising for in-stores and stuff like that. Do you think the effectiveness of indie retailers has declined recently? Yes, definitely. I believe the mom & pop stores are losing ground to the big chains because they can afford to buy more product. But there’s nothing like a neighborhood store that’s hot. These guys made history as far as holding their own. You can’t find 12”s at Blockbuster or Virgin, but you can find singles and mixtapes and unreleased tapes at mom & pop stores. That’s their bread & butter. A lot of neighborhood music stores help break regional acts. A lot of music industry people won’t admit that, but I’m comfortable saying it. Do you think that the laws against mixtapes need to be revised to make it easier on indie retail stores? I don’t get into those types of conversations, because there’s publishing issues and I do represent artists and their music. I do think that mom & pop stores should be given heavier discounts. I think the one-stops they buy from should be discounted. But there are credit issues. I think mom & pops should be given a line of credit so they can compete with the Blockbusters & the Virgin music stores. They have gotten some breaks, but at the end of the day, they need to be able to compete. This is a business. You’ve got to spend money to make money. What’s your job title at Violator? I’m Vice President of Marketing. I work with Busta Rhymes, 50 Cent, Missy Elliott, Mobb Deep, and all the other stuff we represent like Reebok and the G-Unit brand. I’m involved with advertising, street marketing, commercials, anything to do with 50’s businesses – vitamin water, G-Unit sneakers, watches, clothing. I’m involved in every aspect of marketing & promotions. How did you end up in marketing? I was always told that I was a born promotions man with a big mouth. I left Mercury and decided that to get a better understanding of retail I’d have to focus on one market and micromanage. I went to Universal Distribution and worked under the Universal umbrella, which represented Interscope and Gef-
9,000 times on the radio. Records like “Disco Inferno” and “Candy Shop” being #1. Hip-hop was built on battle raps. Beef records are glorified attention-grabbers. It’s always going to be difficult when you’re trying to maintain something as big and as powerful as G-Unit. It’s tough to get a job done, but beef records make it exciting. Are you ever concerned about your safety? Remember, we’re from the streets. It is what it is. If you’re a ballplayer, if you’re worried about getting hurt you’re gonna end up getting hurt. Do you regret leaving sports for music? No, I don’t regret it. It was God’s blessing. God didn’t want me to play sports.
VP of Marketing Violator Management fen. I worked with 2Pac, Blackstreet, New Edition, GZA, and the Roots, and because I had the rock & roll experience I also worked with acts like Marilyn Manson and No Doubt early in their careers. They’re impactful artists. When you first saw Gwen Stefani, it was very powerful. Because I’m Latino and I have a background in Latin music, they also represented artists like Marc Anthony, Tito Puente, and Celia Cruz. Through that, I started working with Reebok, serving artists with promo products and gear. I went to work at Reebok as a regional marketing manager. I did a lot of stuff with Allen Iverson, prior to their S. Carters. We had a crew called the Drop Squad, and these guys were responsible for urban music marketing way before anybody thought about giving a rapper a sneaker. The whole time I was working at Reebok I was trying to get Puffy a sneaker deal, but it didn’t work out. It was before our time. Puff really liked my attitude and wanted me to work at Bad Boy, so I left Reebok. I went to work at Bad Boy for a while, and then it was time for me to grown on my own. Puff told me to go learn that management shit and hold down my man Lighty at Violator. Lighty’s offer was the lowest amount of money but the biggest opportunity. That was the best advice I ever got. G-Unit is known to stir up a lot of controversy. How does that affect you working on the business side? For the record, beef doesn’t sell records. They’re for impact. You know what sells records? Records like “P.I.M.P.” and “21 Questions” spinning
When Violator chooses artists to manage, what are they looking for? We look for work ethic; people who are willing to be team players. Everybody has to play their role, stay in their lane, and deliver. We look for people who are visionaries like Busta, Missy, and 50. These are visionary artists that have changed the sound of music. They’ve gone above and beyond anything that’s been done before musically and entertainment-wise. We’re looking for exceptional individuals. What’s a typical day like for you? Every day changes. It could be getting 50 ready for his tour, getting Busta ready to do his video, talking to an Interscope A&R, getting on the phone with Atlantic, talking about Missy’s project, reading BDS, watching Soundscan, watching videos for approval, reading over show contracts, looking at an advertising campaign. As a management company, do you have to be the bad guy sometimes to negotiate between the label and the artist? It’s extremely important to make sure that the artists’ vision is respected and acknowledged by the label. You don’t just hand over a CD and say, “I hope this works.” If an artist put their dreams onto a CD, how dare I or anybody else on the team not go 110% to promote it? That means being involved in every single aspect of breaking that act. What’s your opinion on 50 Cent vs. Game? When you’re family, brothers fight. Brothers have disagreements. It certainly looks bad, but sometimes brothers don’t talk to each other for years. I don’t get into it too much. It is what it is. Right now we don’t understand it, but it will all work itself out. Everything happens for a reason. What are the requirements for someone to hold a position as VP of Marketing? First and foremost, you don’t sleep. No sleeping allowed. Second, you’ve got to be able to communicate with people and speak their language. I’ve got to be able to hang out with a street cat, but I’ve also got to be able to talk to the President of Reebok. The third thing is follow-through. The last thing you want to do is let an opportunity slide through the cracks. You need to have great energy, communication, and perfect follow-through. Return every call, because you never know what it could lead to. Treat people at the bottom the same as those on top. Be respectful of everyone’s position. Enjoy what you do. Play your role. Wake up every morning willing to learn. If you follow those simple rules, it’ll guarantee you success and satisfaction.
“You need great energy, communication, and perfect followthrough... Treat people at the bottom the same as those on top.”
- Julia Beverly OZONE JULY 2005
Check out other indie magazines online at MAGCOALITION.com (916) Magazine / The Yay Sacramento, CA www.the916.com 916-452-2482
ACE Magazine West Palm Beach, FL 772-332-7979 acemagonline.com
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Holla Magazine Atlanta, GA www.hollamag.com 770-438-0112
HooD Magazine Daytona Beach, FL 386-235-6846 everythinghood.com
Next Level Magazine On Tha Real Magazine New York, NY Austin, TX thenextlevelmagazine.com www.onthareal.com
Streetz Magazine Virginia 800-770-1078 www.streetzmag.com
Strip Joint Magazine Miami, FL 954-447-7246 stripjointmagazine.com
Block 2 Block Magazine Grand Prairie, TX 214-597-0883 block2blockonline.com
Da Seen Magazine Miami, FL 786-263-2724
Don Diva Magazine New York, NY www.dondivamag.com 877-366-3482
Exposure Magazine Chicago, IL 847-366-8915
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Iceberg Magazine Jacksonville, FL icebergmag.com 904-472-5711
Industri Magazine Houston, TX www.theindustri.com 866-309-9997
The Juice Magazine Atlanta, GA 866-34-JUICE thejuicemagazine.net
Owners Illustrated Mag Washington, DC 202-607-3629 ownersillustrated.com
OZONE Magazine Orlando, FL 407-447-6063 ozonemag.com
Rude Magazine New Orleans, LA 504-246-1491 darudemagazine.com
True Magazine Boston, MA www.truemag.com 617-740-7122
Urban Living Magazine Urban Pages Magazine Nashville, TN Charleston, SC 615-497-5036 email@example.com urbanlivingmag.com 843-747-5131
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01: Maceo reppin’ OZONE @ Greg Street’s car show (Atlanta, GA) 02: Denise and Jaycee reppin’ OZONE @ Compound for Boyz N Da Hood’s release party (Atlanta, GA) 03: Da Sick One and Big Earl @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 04: Smilez & Southstar reppin’ OZONE @ 95.3’s car expo (Kissimmee, FL) 05: Front-Line’s Pat Nix and Willie Fischer reppin’ OZONE @ First Fridays (Orlando, FL) 06: Rob Love and DJ Demp @ Memorial Weekend celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 07: Purple and friends @ Club Deep (Miami, FL) 08: Gucci Mane performing @ 95.3’s car expo (Kissimmee, FL) 09: Lil Will performing the hook to “So Icy” @ Dawgman’s Crunkfest (Orlando, FL) 10: Mike Jones racking up his phone bill, backstage @ Hard Rock for his MTV taping (Orlando, FL) 11: P Diddy accepting an award @ Rap-A-Lot vs. Bad Boy celeb bball game (Houston, TX) 12: T.I. performing @ Hard Rock for his MTV taping (Orlando, FL) 13: DJ 151 and Decap @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 14: Trina and Hoe Tester on the set of “Bad Bitch” (Miami, FL) 15: Tony Yayo and DJ Nasty @ Hpnotiq (Orlando, FL) 16: Boy Toy calendar models @ Dub car show (New Orleans, LA) 17: Tank, Pitbull, Elephant Man, Sean Paul of the YoungBloodz, and David Banner @ the Hilton (Jacksonville, FL) 18: Paul Wall, Bun B, and Slim Thug @ Hard Rock for Mike Jones’ MTV taping (Orlando, FL) 19: Lil Boosie, Mouse, and Webbie reppin’ OZONE on the set of “Bad Bitch” (Miami, FL) 20: Freestyle Steve and Jim Jones @ Memorial Weekend celeb game (Miami, FL) 21: MC Quake, DJ Chill, and Kiotti reppin’ OZONE @ RapA-Lot vs. Bad Boy celeb bball game (Houston, TX) Photo Credits: Iisha Hillmon: #01 Julia Beverly: #02,06,07,09, 10,13,14,15,17,18,19,20 Malik Abdul: #03,05,12 Darren Thomas: #04 Keadron Smith: #11,21 Marcus Jethro: #16 Spiff: #08 B8
OZONE JULY 2005
01: Marcus. and DJ Kool Kid @ Club Deep for CRUNK!!!/Oakley party (Miami, FL) 02: 112 @ Vibe’s Musicfest (Atlanta, GA) 03: DJ H-Vidal, DJ Affect, and Smitty (Tampa, FL) 04: The YoungBloodz and DJ Q45 @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 05: Malik Abdul and friends @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 06: Lick ‘em Low, Gary, Mellow, and Drew @ Memorial Weekend pool party (Orlando, FL) 07: Big E, Kaspa, and Lady T @ Compound for Boyz N Da Hood’s release party (Atlanta, GA) 08: DJ K-Ozz and D-Rock @ the Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 09: Webbie and Trina on the set of “Bad Bitch” (Miami, FL) 10: DJ Infamous and DJ Scorpio reppin’ OZONE @ V103 (Atlanta, GA) 11: Big Karl reppin’ OZONE @ Music Midtown (Atlanta, GA) 12: Mike Sherman and David Banner @ the Intercontinental (Miami, FL) 13: Mel reppin’ OZONE @ Rap-A-Lot vs. Bad Boy celeb bball game (Houston, TX) 14: Riskay reppin’ OZONE @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 15: DJ Nasty and DJ Demp @ Firestone for Dawgman’s Crunkfest (Orlando, FL) 16: Pussycat Dolls performing during halftime of the Memorial Weekend celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 17: Dan, Paul Wall, Gu, and Slim Thug reppin’ Algierz gear @ Hard Rock for Mike Jones’ MTV taping (Orlando, FL) 18: Young Jeezy’s C.T.E. clique @ Memorial Wkend pool party (Orlando, FL) 19: Easy-E, Gene Dot Com, and Dr. Doom @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 20: Lil Brann, Mike Jones, and International Red @ Hard Rock for Mike Jones’ MTV taping (Orlando, FL) 21: Money and DJ X-Rated @ Pin-Ups (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: H Vidal: #03 Iisha Hillmon: #21 Julia Beverly: #01,02,04,06,07,0 9,10,11,12,15,16,17,18,19,20 Keadron Smith: #13 Malik Abdul: #04,08,14 B10
OZONE JULY 2005
You can write to Freeky Zekey here (do not send CDs): Ezekial Jiles #0831798 Franklin Correctional Center P.O. Box 155 Bunn, NC 27508
01: Jason Geter and L.A. from Trillville @ Compound for Boyz N Da Hood’s release party (Atlanta,GA) 02: Fidel Cashflow, Jade Foxx and friends @ AKA Lounge for Full Impact All-Stars show (Orlando, FL) 03: Greg Street and Coach @ V103 (Atlanta, GA) 04: Treal reppin’ OZONE @ Central Florida Networking Meeting (Orlando, FL) 05: David Banner and Bigga Rankin reppin’ Duval @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 06: Young Stunnas @ Memorial Weekend celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 07: Young Noah and Mami Chula @ Compound for Boyz N Da Hood’s release party (Atlanta, GA) 08: Amerie performing @ Vibe’s Musicfest (Atlanta,GA) 09: Pitbull and Jeremy @ CRUNK!!!/Oakley party (Miami, FL) 10: Jill Strada reppin’ OZONE @ 95.3’s car expo (Kissimmee, FL) 11: Baby, Steve Hegwood, and Slim @ Hot 104.5 (New Orleans, LA) 12: Capleton and Freddie McGregor @ VP Records’ concert (Miami, FL) 13: DJ Hot Rod, Mad Linx, and Zay @ Club Envy (Savannah, GA) 14: Najah, O-Eazy, and Gina @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 15: Dinero’s got Kool Kid’s back (Miami, FL) 16: J Prince and P Diddy share a moment @ Rap-A-Lot vs. Bad Boy celeb bball game (Houston, TX) 17: Aphilliates’ DJ Sense, Matthew Verden, Don Cannon, and Orlando McGhee @ Vibe’s Musicfest (Atlanta, GA) 18: Tony Yayo and Orlando DJs @ Hpnotiq (Orlando, FL) 19: Boyz N Da Hood and Slim Thug @ Music Midtown (Atlanta, GA) 20: Nick Cannon and YoungBlood J-Bo @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 21: Marcus and the Boy Toy calendar models @ Hot 104 (New Orleans, LA) Photo Credits: Darren Thomas: #10 Fidel Cashflow: #02 Julia Beverly: #01,03,05,06, 07,08,09,15,17,18,19,20 Keadron Smith: #16 Malik Abdul: #04,12,14 Marcus Jethro: #11,21 Nikki Kancey: #13 B12
OZONE JULY 2005
What are your interests outside the studio? Mike (of 112): The things I’m pursuing outside of 112 are acting and a restaurant in Miami I’m part owner of, along with Dre and Big Boi from Outkast. My real pursuit is to be in Hollywood. I know it’s real cliché for artists to try their hand at acting, but I actually wanted to act before I started singing. I’m a fan of acting and how people can transform from one person to another. It’s always amazed me how you can go from being a killer to being a handicapped patient when you’re an actor. What acting roles have you taken on so far? The only acting I’ve done so far is with the group. We did something for Moesha, and I play the lead role in our next video, “What If.” I’m the guy coming home from work, the corporate America type of guy. My girl comes outside with a number in her hand and there’s a brawl. She’s raising all kinds of hell outside and I’m trying to get in the house. She throws her ring at me, kicks my bag, jumps in the car, and takes off. I go after her, and she goes down a one-way street and gets in an accident. She dies in the video. It’s a lot of emotion and theatrical aspects to the video. It’s much different than what 112 is accustomed to. When you’re starting off in acting, it’s good to let people see you in a different light. The Fat Cats came up with the concept. As a unit, we said the video had to be something different. When people think of 112, they’re thinking we’re gonna dance our way out of it, and that wasn’t what we’re trying to do. This is our fifth album, and it’s time to start changing up. We told Def Jam and Fat Cats that we need a different look for 112. We need to play roles in this video. The only way people will see us in a different light is if we give them a different light. They wanted to give the lead role to another actor, but we were like, why do that when you have guys in the group who want to pursue acting? We all auditioned for the lead role and I won. It’s sort of a short film/music video. Were there disputes within the group after your last album? Our fourth album had mediocre success. Everyone knows it, even 112. We weren’t focused. It wasn’t disputes within the group, but here’s what happened: when we got out of our production deal with Bad Boy and got with Def Jam, they gave us a ton of money and we didn’t know what we were doing with it. We basically went out and had a good time and lost focus of what was important and what made 112 so special. The reason our first three albums worked was because we were so tedious. On the fourth album, we got a little lax. We still had a fan base but it wasn’t the same caliber as our previous albums, so we really started looking at ourselves. We knew it was our fault, so we decided to fix things. We decided to get focused. We took any piece of negative press and taped it on the wall so we could see it and get our focus back, and then we went back in the studio. Daron’s got a studio in his house, so we started recording for Pleasure and Pain even before we got the budget. “You Already Know” and “What If” were among the first two records we did, and from there, we just tried to top the last record. What are the differences between Bad Boy and Def Jam? One of the differences is that Bad
Boy is a boutique label, smaller and more family-based, while Def Jam is a conglomerate, a big machine. Def Jam has all the money, all the numbers, all the contacts, but it’s kinda robotic. They make things happen quicker but they’re not interested in you as a person. They throw all their artists out and whatever sticks, they put money behind it. Are you happy with this album in terms of units moved? Absolutely. Just with this first single we’re certified gold already. That’s amazing in and of itself, because most people don’t get a second opportunity to go out there and get to the level where they used to be. Could it be better? Absolutely, but we’ll take gold off the first single for now. Aside from your in-house producer, who else did you work with on the album? Jermaine Dupri was one of them. Working with him, I was just impressed. It was all him. He actually sung to us, and he sings well enough so we can understand where he’s coming from. When we were on Bad Boy, Puffy wouldn’t really be one-on-one putting the tracks together, but he’d tell us how it needed to be done. We just assumed it was like that with Jermaine, but it wasn’t. I’ve got a new level of respect for him. We also worked with Delight on “What If.” Initially we didn’t like him, because he came off kinda arrogant and brash, but the more we worked with him we started to respect him. In the end, it was an incredible record. We also worked with Mario Winans. He’s like family to us. We’ve known him since ’93 when he was working with Dallas Austin. What do you think of the some of the newer singers that are out today? I think they’re hot. I think they’re necessary because R&B is making its way back into the forefront of music. I feel like the John Legends and Anthony Hamiltons are definitely necessary. We’re not as mainstream as a Destiny’s Child or Usher, but we’re necessary. They teach us that you can’t forget your roots, because the minute
you do that, they’ll forget you. Who wrote most of the album? Most of it came from the group and some of it came from Sean Garrett. He did a lot of records for Usher, Destiny’s Child, and Fantasia. But the majority of it came from the group. Who better to tell 112’s story than 112? Everything we wrote about has affected at least one of us in some way. It’s about experience. You’ve got features from T.I., Jermaine Dupri, and Three 6 Mafia. Was there anyone in particular you enjoyed working with? Because of the scheduling, we really didn’t have a chance to sit and vibe with them. We knew T.I. just from Atlanta, we were fans of Three 6 Mafia’s music, and working with JD we just asked him to put a sixteen on the album. But we didn’t actually have the opportunity to sit in the studio with them. Sometimes it’s better that way. Are there any solo or side projects coming up for the members of 112? There’s always going to be a 112, but what makes us so unique is the exact same thing that doesn’t let us work on the business end. The reason 112 is so unique is because we’re all so different. But when it comes to business, as an artist you have to act as a unit. For us, it’s hard to come up with a plan of action. As a corporation, we have a lot of work to do. We’re just focused on the group. What’s the group dynamic like now that you’re back on tour? We’re right back where we were at the beginning, just being a fan favorite. People love to see us perform and they really just interact with us. It’s night and day from the fourth album. This album reminds me of the grind, the energy and the love for the music that we have. There’s no greater group of guys I’d rather sing with. - Rohit Loomba (photo: Roger Erickson) OZONE JULY 2005
01: Slim Goodye and Rich Boy @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 02: Gutta Boys and the Get Back Boys @ Tropical Magic (Orlando, FL) 03: Tanisha and Teddy T @ Firestone for Dawgman’s Crunkfest (Orlando, FL) 04: DJ Chill and X-Trct reppin’ OZONE @ Rap-A-Lot vs. Bad Boy celeb bball game (Houston, TX) 05: Video models on the set of DMX’s new video (Miami, FL) 06: Mert @ First Fridays (Orlando, FL) 07: Obie and Lil Shawn reppin’ OZONE @ 95.3’s car expo (Kissimmee, FL) 08: Jeremy and Scott @ Club Deep for CRUNK!!!/ Oakley party (Miami, FL) 09: Comedian Benji Brown getting dragged out of the Memorial Weekend celeb bball game in cuffs. Joke or not? We’ll never know (MIami, FL) 10: Letoya Luckett reppin’ OZONE @ Rap-A-Lot vs. Bad Boy celeb bball game (Houston, TX) 11: Big Earl reppin’ Big Pun (Orlando, FL) 12: Video models reading OZONE on the set of Webbie’s “Bad Bitch” (Miami, FL) 13: Kunsistent-C and Shoeb @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 14: Shawn Prez and Kaspa @ Boyz N Da Hood’s release party (Atlanta, GA) 15: Greg G and friends @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 16: Lil’ Brann, Mike Jones, Lotto, Slim Thug, and friends reading OZONE @ Hard Rock (Orlando, FL) 17: Bigga Rankin, Kaspa, Dawgman, J-Baby, Shoeb, and friends reppin’ OZONE @ Firestone for Dawgman’s Crunkfest (Orlando, FL) 18: Crime Mob and Shawty reppin’ OZONE on the set of P$C’s “I’m The King” (Atlanta, GA) 19: Paul Wall, Bun B, Joie Manda, and Gu @ Hard Rock (Orlando, FL) 20: Mike and Real @ Compound for Boyz N Da Hood’s release party (Atlanta, GA) 21: Assassin and Mighty Samson @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) Photo Credits: Bogan: #05,12 Darren Thomas: #07 Iisha Hillmon: #18 Julia Beverly: #03,08,09,13, 14,16,17,10,20,21 Keadron Smith: #04,10 Malik Abdul: #01,06,11,15 B14
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Most people know you as DJ Smurf, but lately you’ve been going by “Mr. Collipark.” Why the name change? It’s just the brand now. It’s time to brand the whole thing. Even as “DJ Smurf” I always had Collipark Music, so it’s like, I am Collipark Music. It’s just like a Mike Jones promotion. It’s just branding myself. I’m from College Park, Georgia, of course, and that’s the way we actually say it. You’re the owner of Collipark Music? What artists are signed to the label? Yep. The Ying Yang Twins, Homebwoi, and Kadallack Boys are the artists signed to the label. Homebwoi also has a production deal with the label, and we have other producers like Jevor, Tom Slick, and Midnight Black. Homebwoi is a talent you don’t find too often. I’m not trying to recreate what I did with Ying Yang, but my goal is to bring refreshing music to the game. Kadallack is on some street shit. Homebwoi is gonna be an artist that really makes his mark as being something special in the game, mark my words. Did you start in the game as a DJ? Yeah, I started DJing for MC Shy D back in 1990. I used to play the trumpet in the band, so I was always interested in anything to do with music. This was back when Run-DMC was just coming out. The rap scene was just starting. I went from DJing, to producing, to rapping, to becoming the CEO of the company. When I got with MC Shy D, he went to jail. This was during the time he was suing Luke. He got locked up for a year for aggravated assault, and when he came out he did the deal with Ichiban. I produced about 75% of his album on Ichiban, The Comeback. That was my introduction. I would fuck around, but I wasn’t serious about rapping. I dropped a record called “Lord Of This” which I submitted to an Ichiban compilation, and they gave me a deal through it. A lot of producers started out as DJs. It’s just a natural progression. Producing ain’t nothin’ but mixing. I wasn’t playing keyboards, I was just sampling and mixing records in the drum machine. As you get more into it, you start studying and taking the art form seriously. I learned how to fuck around on the keyboard and started buying new toys to play with. What role have you played in the Ying Yang Twins’ success? D-Roc was always a solo artist, and he ran with a crew. Kane was one of the guys that would be with them. They all rapped. D-Roc had come into the studio to do a record with me and brought Kane with him. They weren’t a group at the time, but the song was so hot I told them it was magic. After that song was on my So Crunk album through Ichiban, they came up with the name Ying Yang Twins. I don’t think the were seriously considering it a group; it was just something to call themselves at the time. I hooked up with Searcy and them and did the So So Def Bass All Stars Vol. 3, and that’s when I signed them. Raheem the Dream really made me get serious with it, because he was a bass artist who reinvented himself. I was like, if he can do it, I can do it. I always felt like I was more of a musician than most bass artists. I actually studied rap. I was listening to hip-hop records back when it wasn’t popular in Atlanta. Musically, I was always there, but I had to play catch up on the CEO side.
Where did the Ying Yang Twins’ persona come from? Did you develop that? It was a combination of things. They’ve always been wild. If anything, I just molded it and provided direction. Back then I really didn’t know what I was doing, but I guess I molded a career for both of them without even knowing it. We were just doing what we had to do to sell records. We didn’t have videos, radio promotions teams, all that shit. Whatever we had to do to make people remember us. I think we did it for too long, acting crazy and saying “HANH!” and all that. It was all part of the marketing plan. If people sat down and had a real conversation with the Ying Yang Twins, do you think they’d be shocked? I think Kane more so than D-Roc. D-Roc has always had aspirations of being a businessman. He gets in a mode where he’s really on point with his business. I compare Kane to George Clinton as far as being an artist. He’s so talented and so deep and so musical when you check him outside the Ying Yang shit. A lot of people are really thrown when they find out the depth he has. D-Roc is almost always in character, so I don’t think too many people see the serious side of him. He’s usually acting out in public. There’s rumors that artists are not happy at TVT because of financial issues. Is that a problem you’re having? I’ve been with a lot of different distributors, so I know that even if I’m pissed off at TVT and go over to Interscope or something, in the beginning I might be happy but ultimately it’ll come down to the same shit. Whenever you sell a lot of records, the label is gonna try to find a way to justify not paying you a lump sum of money. You just have to stay creative and keep the demand for what you do at a high level at the label so they’ll respect you. That’s the only way I get paid. I know that wherever I go it’s gonna be problems, so I try not to let those problems overshadow what I have to do as a company or as a CEO. I don’t let these companies throw wool over my eyes. I only want what I’ve earned, but when I earn it, I want it. Most of the music that’s come out of Collipark is strip club music. Is it correct to assume that you guys just love strippers, or is it more of a gimmick to sell records? It’s just easy for us. There’s real musicians and real artists within our camp, that’s what’s so dope about us. We could do that shit in our sleep. It’s stupid to possess the talent for something and not do it. We’re platinum. I know people who can make records about serious shit or whatever they choose to write about, but they can’t even sell 100,000 units. That’s what we chose to do at the time to put ourselves out there, and the impact was so big and so strong. Being indie, I didn’t want to take a chance on any other type of music when we were so successful making songs for the strip clubs. We’ve got people’s attention now so they give us a chance. When you recorded “Wait” did you anticipate it becoming as huge as it is? No. We never planned on putting out “Wait” as a single, but it got leaked out and it opened the door for us. I actually did it at first for a DJ Smallz mixtape. I always liked the record, but I never thought it would pick up like this. I never took the shit that seriously. That was just us doing what we do. We’ve got music that’s never been put out – it’s just shit we do as art-
ists when we’re not thinking about selling records. Kane, as an artist, was real frustrated that he doesn’t get that respect as an MC. That shit has always fucked with him. I think it got to the point where it would have hindered the success to keep smothering that side of the group. There’s still a long way for us to go, but you’ll see. Do you think this new “intimate club music” that you introduced with “Wait” will inspire a new genre as big as, for example, Screw music or crunk music? I hope it does, but because the subject matter is so taboo, you never know. I’ve got another one on Juvenile’s album called “Lingerie.” I don’t know how big it’s gonna get, I just know I’m happy to be a part of something that’s different and original. That’s always my goal. I think the success of David Banner’s “Play” record is gonna help determine the future of intimate club music. If Banner’s record succeeds at a certain level, it’s definitely gonna be a big thing that’s gonna be around for a while. The rest of this shit is so stale, man. Come on. Songs like “Wait” and “Pull My Hair” and “Play” are refreshing. What singles have you produced that people would know you from? All the Ying Yang Twins singles except “Salt Shaker.” I also did the three singles B.G. has put out through Koch, including “Hottest Of The Hot,” “I Want It,” and “Where They At,” which was originally Homebwoi’s song. Would you like to give out any contact info? Log on to www.colliparkmusic.com or for production call 678-545-1365.
01: Gucci Mane reppin’ OZONE (Jacksonville, FL) 02: Gil Green and DMX on the set of his new video (Miami, FL) 03: DJ DX7 and Dirtbag reppin’ OZONE (Miami, FL) 04: Boosie and Webbie and video models on the set of “Bad Bitch” (Miami, FL) 05: Joe Budden and Victor reppin’ OZONE @ Memorial Weekend celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 06: X and video models reppin’ OZONE on the set of DMX’s new video (Miami, FL) 07: Nero and Tom G @ 105.5 The Beat’s Crunkfest (Ft. Myers, FL) 08: Lauren Johnson and Greg G @ Zinc Bar (Orlando, FL) 09: Swizz Beatz reading OZONE on the set of DMX’s new video (Miami, FL) 10: America’s Next Top Model Tiffany and Bill Will @ Coco’s Lounge (Miami, FL) 11: Bulletproof cheerleaders reppin’ OZONE @ their Memorial Weekend celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 12: Paul and friends @ Icon’s foam party (Orlando, FL) 13: Trina and J Lash share a moment on the set of Webbie’s “Bad Bitch” (Miami, FL) 14: Master P and Kunsistent-C @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) 15: Young Cash, T-Pain, and Pimp G reppin’ OZONE @ the Hilton (Jacksonville, FL) 16: Swizz Beatz and DJ Khaled on the set of DMX’s new video (Miami, FL) 17: Webbie and some bad bitches on the set of his video for “Bad Bitch” (Miami, FL) 18: Smitty and Larry Dogg @ Memorial Weekend celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 19: Swizz Beatz, X, and Scott Storch on the set of DMX’s new video (Miami, FL) 20: Ja Rule and Lloyd on South Beach (Miami, FL) 21: The ladies of Crime Mob and Shoeb @ Come Together Day (Jacksonville, FL) Photo Credits: Bogan: #02,03,04,05,06,09, 10,11,13,16,17,19,20 Greg G: #08,12 Julia Beverly: #18 Pat Pat: #07 Pimp G: #01,15 Shoeb Malik: #14,21 B16
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You’re born and raised in Boston, huh? Boston isn’t exactly known for hip-hop. How did you get interested in music? I have no clue what got me interested in music. There was nobody around me that was doing it, it wasn’t the cool thing to do, there were no influences. On the radio stations back then they used to do crazy seven-minute long mixes of songs. You’d only hear them on specialty shows on the pop station. When I was about ten years old, I started trying to emulate those remixes. I had a dual cassette deck. I’d hit pause, rewind a little bit, spin it back, and record. I wanted to manipulate the song to do what I wanted it to do. My mother had this little stereo I’d use in place of a crossfader. That’s how I taught myself to DJ. In Boston there wasn’t anything going on like that at the time. A couple years later, Yo! MTV Raps came into play, and I started getting influenced by people like Jazzy Jeff. When did you start making money as a DJ? My goal was never to be a DJ. I really wanted to be a producer. I used to rob houses when I was 12 or 13; that’s how I got the money to buy my first set of turntables. I had the turntables set up and the older kids would come over and rap. I befriended local radio station DJs and they started playing my songs on the radio. The DJs would tell their friends at the label, “My friend Clinton, he makes awesome beats,” and they’d be like, “Yeah, whatever. Just play our record.” I was like, damn, what can I do to make people interested in me? I wasn’t trying to pursue radio, but I figured I’d have to become somebody important for them to listen to me. I found out about a company called Super Radio, a syndication company that used to run their mixes on the local station. I literally harassed them for a year. They kept telling me, “We have a mixer. No, we don’t pay him. We’re happy. Don’t call anymore, we don’t know who you are.” I put together a mix and found out where they were located. I just showed up one day. When I introduced myself I could tell the guy was thinking, Oh, great, this fuckin’ guy. I was like, “Look, give me five minutes of your time. Either you’re gonna find a champion by accident or I’ll never bother you again. You’ve got nothing to lose.” The guy had me waiting in the lobby for at least three hours. When he came back out, he was leaving. I guess he forgot I was there. He popped in my CD, and was like, “This is you?!?” He asked me if I could start in two weeks. That was my very first DJ gig. I was about 20 years old, and a had a syndicated show reaching ten cities. A few years later an urban station opened up in Boston. At the time I was on the morning show on a different station, doing skits and dumb shit. I was always tryin’ to get on as a mixer, so I ended up going to Hot 97 once the opportunity came. Then another station opened up in Connecticut, which wasn’t too far away, and a friend of mine knew the PD so he cosigned for me and my CD was on the top of the pile.
Where are you currently on the air? I’m still syndicated, and I also do Hot 97 in Boston, Hot 93 in Connecticut, 100.3 The Beat in North Carolina, Pittsburg, Baltimore, K103 The Monster in Montreal, Canada, and I also do Shade 45 every week in New York. You don’t really fit the typical image of a hiphop DJ. Is that ever an issue, as far as people taking you seriously? Most people that I meet have heard of Clinton Sparks, so they’re like, “Aw, I didn’t know you were white!” I hear that all the time. Actually it just happened earlier today when I was coming up here to Sirius Radio. One of the security guards overheard someone say my name, and he was like, “You’re Clinton Sparks? I didn’t know you were white.” But, overall, race has nothing to do with it. Good music is good music. You’re one of the few DJs who openly talks about your wife and kids. Is it hard to maintain a family life within the music business? It’s not hard, because to me, maintaining is being faithful and coming home to them and working for them. I don’t drink and I don’t chase ass. The only thing that sucks is that I’m gone so much. Whenever I have the opportunity, I bring them with me. My goal in life isn’t to make money to buy jewelry and floss in front of people, my goal is to make sure my family is stable. So, if they’re not with me, what’s the point? Is the “Get Familiar” catchphrase a way of branding yourself as a DJ? It’s very essential to marketing. Everybody says, “Yo, ya heard?” and “Feel me?”, all those cliché lines. I started jotting down ideas and came up with “Get familiar.” I just took a regular phrase and tried to associate it with myself. What DJ crews are you affiliated with? I’m cool with everybody: CORE DJs, Pitbulls, Heavy Hitters. It’s not about the crew, it’s about the individual. I respect everybody. If I can do anything to help an individual and/or their organization, I’ll do it. I feel honored when people embrace me as part of their organization. DJ Ran kinda called you out and disrespected you in front of everybody at the last Tech.Nitions conference. Ran was a dick for doing that. If I had heard him, it woulda been a bigger situation inside that venue. When he found out that I knew, he called and apologized up and down for a half hour. It’s not like he sonned me and I just backed down. I was in the back of the venue trying to leave, and people were stopping and talking to me. What am I gonna say, “Fuck you”?
Ran was asking everybody to be quiet, so I was being as quiet as possible. You know, Ran always wants to look like the big guy, so he wanted to show off in front of people. He was just frustrated that his shit was so unorganized and people weren’t adhering to his requests to be quiet. I heard you might be taking Green Lantern’s former position at Shady Records? No, no, I’m not replacing Green Lantern. He’s an incredible talent. Me and Eminem just did the official Anger Management tour CD. The entire CD is all exclusive stuff: Mobb Deep, Eminem, M.O.P., David Banner, the Clipse, Kardinal Offishal, Juelz Santana, Talib Kweli, everybody. The situation with Green Lantern leaving Shady was unfortunate, but Green will be alright. He’s a talented dude. It’s not like he’s down for the count. You can’t expect a DJ not to play all types of music, cause that’s his job, but at the same time when you’re down with a crew you’ve got to be sensitive to their situations. What other projects are you working on? Me and my partner Daoda are creating our own radio syndication company. I just did a deal with Def Jam Mobile to create scratch tones. It’s custom made ringtones. For example, if you get a private incoming call, you can have Biggie saying, “Who the hell is this?” Or, if your baby mama calls, I cut up different records to create a ringtone that goes, “Uh oh! It’s my baby mama.” You can go to DefJamMobile. com to download scratchtones. We’ve also got MixUnit.com, the biggest urban lifestyle website. I’m working on a reality TV program and a hip-hop children’s television program. C Sparks clothing will be out next month. I didn’t want to do a clothing line, cause everybody does that and it’s kinda cheesy, but this company just gave me such incredible designs I had to do it. It’s representing the b-boy thing, which is huge overseas. One of the designs is a baseball v-neck shirt with “B-Boy” across the front in the Boston Red Sox’ font. It’s dope. I’m working on my own album which is gonna come out next year through Koch. I did all the production and it features Slim Thug, Busta Rhymes, the Diplomats, Talib Kweli, Common, Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Kardinal Offishal. Damn. Is there anything you don’t do? I’m always trying to stay busy. If I’m not doing something I feel inadequate, like, what’s the point of being alive? It’s a problem that I have. It’s almost to the point where I have to seek help for it. Even my wife tells me I’m doing too much. I never say “No.”
OZONE JULY 2005
I hear you’re in a feisty mood today. Yeah, I’m in a saucy mood right now. I’m feelin’ myself right now. I ain’t masturbating, though. That’s good to know. So since you’re in a saucy mood, tell me why Z-Ro is the greatest rapper of all time. Shit, you know. I can’t tell you that it’s because I bring the real. I can’t tell you it’s because I’m a ghetto preacher, because that’s everybody’s story. It’s just because when I start my shit off, I finish it. I ain’t gonna jump from shit to shit without concluding the first shit. I ain’t gonna open the door before I close the last one. I give muthafuckers the complete shit. Did you come into the game through DJ Screw? I really started doing this shit on my own, back when a muthafucker had to pay to open up for somebody. I had a clique called the Boomerang Clique. This was back when artists like Too Short, 2 Live Crew, and Bone Thugs & Harmony were comin’ through. Back when that shit was crunk. When I met Screw, I was already puttin’ it down. He was a realass cat. He put me where I needed to be. He was definitely one of the reasons why Z-Ro popped off. When Screw passed, how did it affect you personally? Man, he was a friend. I was like, “Fuck rap.” My partner is dead, my friend is dead. I ain’t even wanna do this shit no more, to tell you the truth. These bitch-ass niggas down here are so selfish. Selfish-ass CEOs with short arms and deep pockets. Muthafuckers don’t wanna break bread. Screw was like a confidant in hard times. He showed me it was gonna be alright. That shit actually shut me down for a long-ass time. That shit just hurt. I couldn’t do music for months. Fuck a sound room, fuck a microphone. I was on some straight ridin’ shit. That’s when that gang shit really took an influence in my life. I always been Crippin’ but shit, I was just representing for the hood. When Screw went in the box, I really got Crip crazy and muthafuckers really started gettin’ it. What inspired you to come back to music after that? It’s real, real, real hard to stop doing something when everybody else around you is lovin’ you when you do it. I don’t give a damn if I’m pleasing the people next door or not, but as I’m getting older and older, you know, that grown man shit catches up with you. You’ve got responsibilities. You’ve got rents and mortgages and car notes and shit. It’s either keep on with the penitentiary chances out here doing that shit, or stick to something that’s gonna keep me free a little bit longer. I had to get my focus together and really buckle down so I could have a chance at having a life out here. People say that Screw died from a codeine overdose. When he passed, did you stop sipping as heavily? Did it change people’s attitudes about the drug? Obviously, to a person outside that didn’t really know what was going on, if they’re smart they would be like “Damn, if that killed dude, let me stop using.” But just to clarify B18
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all the bullshit that’s been going around, let me tell you this. Codeine, man, that’s a downer. That’s that shit that’ll put you to sleep and shit. When they did the autopsy, what they found in the codeine sample was some ice. That’s some ol’ white boy speed type shit. That’s an upper. Somebody slipped something in my nigga’s drink. Only a bitch-ass muthafucker would do some shit like that. A stand-up cat is gonna murder a nigga to his face. Whoever did that was a muthafuckin’ coward, but it musta been somebody close to us cause Screw didn’t fuck with too many cats. Somebody slipped something in my man’s drank that made his heart blow up from the inside. So, I mean, I’m drankin’ now while I’m doin’ this muthafuckin’ interview. Ain’t nobody tapped my muthafuckin’ drank. What’s the benefits of sippin’ lean? For a dude like me, I been doing this shit for a while, so I don’t even feel the lean off that shit no more. I don’t drink heavy now. Back in the day it was custom for you to show up at Screw’s house with eight ounces or a pint and do a dub. That was all your favorite songs slowed up on the tape plus a freestyle from your favorite artist from H-Town or the surrounding areas. I used to put a pint of that shit in a two-liter and not share with nobody. Now I drank probably like two ounces in a twenty ounce. Does it relax you, help you to chill out? It’ll have the effect of a Xanax or some shit. Just don’t go driving. If you drink a whole pint and go driving, you fuckin’ with your life. I don’t know, I mean, I wouldn’t tell nobody to drank the shit, but everything we do nowadays kills us in the end. I wouldn’t be biggin’ up the shit, though, I wouldn’t be tellin’ other people to sip drank. There’s a lot of Houston artists blowing up on the national scene. Is there any sense of jealousy that you aren’t really recognized yet on a mainstream level? Nah, it’s not that at all. I understand totally what’s going on right now. It’s just that some
shit is radio-friendly and some shit ain’t. Maybe I could cuss on this interview with OZONE, but shit, if I’m fuckin’ with that dude on MTV, I can’t say “damn” or “shit” or none of that shit. A nigga like me, I’m not gonna check my language to please the next muthafucker. I’m gonna keep my shit gutta. That’s why you can’t send Z-Ro to award shows, because on my way up to shake Magic Johnson’s hand, I’m gonna stop and slap the shit out of your favorite rapper. That’s why I’m not up there on the stage. But can’t nobody with a deal right now see Z-Ro. They can’t see me on the streets, and they can’t see me with a fuckin’ mic neither. These niggas with deals know they can not fuck with Joseph McVey. The only thing that’s different is that they’re dressing up the image of a dope dealer and packaging that shit and making that shit look good for corporate America to buy it. Me, I ain’t gonna kiss nobody’s ass for no commercial play, cause the niggas down in the bottom buy my shit. There’s a ghetto everywhere, and them ghettos support Z-Ro. I been driving the same cars these niggas be driving on TV, and after the video shoot I don’t have to give it back. How many copies did your last album sell? I don’t check that shit. Z-Ro pays attention to show money, cause that’s the money, period. I don’t give a fuck what your rap label is giving you; it ain’t gonna see your show money unless you just a lazy-ass nigga. Your album is doing very well in Texas, but do you think that outside of Texas you’re being slept on because it’s not promoted on a mainstream level? As far as promotion it could be a little better, but for the most part, it’s good. As far as going to cities and shit, we do our traveling thing and then come the fuck back to the crib. I do me. I don’t cater to what other muthafuckers want. If I was to change up anyway then I wouldn’t be Z-Ro no more. We just do that gangsta real-life grown man music. Outside of rap, what kind of music has inspired you?
I just like music period. I listen to a lot of gospel music. I fuck with rock & roll every now and then, but mostly I listen to religious music. It seems like you’ve got a problem with a lot of rappers. Shit, I ain’t got a problem with nobody. I mean, aside from me always boosting DJ Screw cause the bitch-ass nigga Watts ain’t do it. I ain’t beefin’ with him, though, I just think he’s a bitch-ass nigga. And he knows that I think he’s a bitch-ass nigga. When I see him in public he walks by me, but I’m not beefin’ with him. If I was beefin’ with him I woulda shot him up like six months ago. I deal with niggas as they come. When I interviewed Watts a few months ago we discussed Screw music, and he gave Screw credit for creating the genre. He didn’t say anything that seemed to be disrespectful towards Screw. Do you think it’s possible that you misunderstood something he said or took it out of content? Nah. Of course Watts paid homage to Screw in your interview because he knows I’m in his ass like a G-string. He’s not gonna say disrespectful shit on TV and in the muthafuckin’ magazines now because he’s watching his ass. A bitch-ass nigga will always bow down if he knows he can’t beat you. It’s either ride with you or get stomped the fuck out. Right now, Watts knows he’s wrong, and Mike Jones knows he’s wrong for making little bullshit-ass statements like Screw ain’t never exist on this muthafuckin’ earth. Like I said, Screw was my partna beyond some music shit. Anytime a muthafucker slows some shit down and calls it Screwed and chopped, I tell them, “Bitch, that shit is slowed down and chopped.” That’s all I’m sayin’. That’s why a muthafucker is gonna jump on TV and say “Big ups to DJ Screw,” because he knows the Screwed Up Clique is watching his bitch-ass.
everybody else in the hood. I ain’t livin’ like the muthafuckers from How I’m Living, but I ain’t in the hood no more. I understand why I’m not on the next plateau and I’m cool with that. Suge Knight and Death Row was the best example of muthafuckers bein’ like, we ain’t gotta dress up shit to get rich. Suge Knight is gonna slap muthafuckers. He got a whole lotta cuss words for the camera. They gonna have to bleep out the cuss words, and they gonna have to blur out the ass-whuppin’ from the video. I know if Suge and Pac could do that shit, I don’t have to change to make it. If I stay at this level, I’m cool, cause I’ve got a following. Them Z-Ro fans are some faithful-ass fans. If I go out tonight, I’m cool with my 16 records. It anger a necessity for you as an artist? Like, when you’re mad, does it inspire you to go in the booth and just let loose? To tell you the truth, I have more problems in every day life with hood niggas. Rap niggas don’t fuck with me. Them hoes are fake are something. I don’t never get into it with a rap nigga, cause a rap nigga knows I’m gonna beat his bitch-ass up. My beefs be with niggas in the trap and shit, or Blood niggas and Crip niggas. My shit is on some street shit. Sometimes the proper way to vent that shit out is whupping that microphone’s ass one or two good times. I ain’t had to do too many beef songs, though. When you ride on one nigga the right way, they all fall in line. I don’t need no beef.
being fake or something, but he ain’t place no nametag on his shit. When you just throw something out there and don’t place a nametag on it, there’s gonna be a whole lotta muthafuckers who hear that shit and think you talkin’ ‘bout them. So, you know, the nigga Flip threw a rock out there and the nigga Slim thought he was talking about him. And I’ll tell you on the cool right now, I ain’t gonna tell you who he was talkin’ ‘bout. I’ll let Flip tell you that. But I will tell you that he was not talking about Slim Thug. That’s real talk right there. He wasn’t talking about Slim on the song, but you know, Slim responded. It’s cool to play and all, but I guarantee niggas don’t want me up in they head. Well, it seems like you have issues with a lot of artists in Houston. Is there anyone with a major deal that you do feel is representing the city properly? Everybody I come across says that [Lil] Flip is representing us wrong. But the thing is, everybody who says that shit is a rapper who’s broke and don’t nobody know shit about them. So yeah, I’m gonna say that my man Flip is holding that shit down how the fuck it’s supposed to go down. He doing what the fuck he supposed to be doing. He fuckin’ with Sqad Up and a whole lot of local niggas. Flip is fuckin’ with Houston. He from Houston. He ain’t flyin’ everywhere else, tryin’ to give a nigga from Timbuktu a deal. He fuckin’ with Cloverland. Niggas were shittin’ on him back then because he didn’t have shit, but now that he’s got shit everybody thinks he owes them something. Dude is a family man. He’s raising his family but he’ll still put his G suit on and go out on the streets and do it like he supposed to do it. So, I’m gonna say Flip is holdin’ it down. Dude is at home right now doin’ homework with his daughter. That’s real.
“Codeine is a downer...When they did the autopsy [on DJ Screw] they found ice, some ol’ white boy speed type shit. That’s an upper. Somebody slipped something in my nigga’s drink. Only a bitch-ass muthafucker would do some shit like that. A stand-up cat is gonna murder a nigga to his face.”
If you’re not willing to compromise to reach a more mainstream audience, does that mean you’re not concerned with mainstream success? Do you want to be on TV and touring the world? I mean, who wouldn’t want to be on TV and touring the world? But it’s all about understanding who I am as an artist. Artists, especially good artists, are faced with this situation every single day. This shit gets old. All the clubs in Texas, Louisiana, and the surrounding areas, I know their club employees’ names by heart because I’ve done so many shows there. The average nigga, especially if he’s a good artist, wants to see some new territory. But sometimes the shit these muthafuckers want you to do is just downright degrading. If you’re a real nigga like me, I was always taught that pink was for a punk-ass nigga. Muthafuckers are wearing pink shirts and shit. I ain’t gonna do that. It’s just certain shit I ain’t gonna do. I ain’t worried about the next nigga. So you’re not concerned with what other people, or the mainstream rap listeners, think about you. Whether I put out a song that says “I hate you, bitch” or “I love the hoe,” I’m into pleasing myself with everything I do. Right now, the shit I’ve been doing has me living well off. I’m living better than
There’s another rapper out of Texas who’s been sending some little sideways remarks at you. What’s your response to that? I don’t even know who you’re talking about. I didn’t wanna say names, but I heard that Slim Thug recently referred to you as “some dude named Z-Ro.” Oh, yeah, yeah, I remember that. Well, shit, if he can say that shit to my face then it’s on. I ain’t gonna lie, you can run your mouth for twenty years but don’t put your hands on me, because I will come to your block and bitch slap you, no matter how short or tall you is. I’m gonna put it dead on your bitch ass without no help. It’s a reason if I’m coming for you. No matter who you may be, or who you may know. To me, disrespectful shit is if a nigga says, “Fuck that nigga, I’m gonna whoop that nigga.” If the nigga do it like that, then the nigga gotta wear a vest even when he’s in his crib. I ain’t gonna tell you no lies. Niggas in the H know what to say to piss me off, that’s why they don’t say it. Niggas wanna be fly, you know, spread your wings, ruffle your feathers. Come to me in my face and say some shit and direct that shit at me with a nametag. See how long you’ll be standing up after that. And y’all can print that. Why do you think Slim would have a problem with you? See, I got this song with Paul Wall and Lil Flip on it. Lil Flip says a line about someone’s platinum
What can we expect from your new project with Trae? You can expect a whole lot of pain-driven shit. I ain’t gonna lie, this album here, there’s a whole lotta things poppin’ on this muthafucker. There’s a whole lot of nametags and a whole lot of drama on this bitch. It’s also a whole lotta laid-back shit on this album too. It’s gonna be a grown man album. We got tracks produced by Trae and I, a whole lot of in-house shit. What other projects do you have out right now? You just did a mixtape with Lil Flip, right? Yeah, there’s the mixtape with Flip, Kings Of The South. We working on the second volume to that, Kings Of The South Vol. 2. I’m on Sqad Up’s new shit, and I got a track on Flip’s new album. I ain’t rappin’ on it, I just did the beat. I got my new shit, Let The Truth Be Told. I’m finna release the Crip side to that album, Let The C Be Told. Some Blood niggas are gonna pick that shit up and listen to it too. That’s coming out on King Of The Ghetto Entertainment. And of course I’m still fuckin’ with my own niggas, Houston pioneers. I ain’t have to go out side the 713 area code to get no jammin’ ass song with no hot-ass niggas. I’m still fuckin’ with my niggas. Keep supporting down South rap. There’s real shit down here. - Julia Beverly & Wally Sparks OZONE JULY 2005
P$C PIMP SQUAD CLICK
WORDS: AJ WOODSON // PHOTOS: ERIC JOHNSON
(l to r): Mac-Boney, Big Kuntry, T.I. C-Rod, and AK
n the hip-hop game these days, rappers make all sorts of outlandish claims. Some claim to be the best or the baddest. Some claim to be the hardest, while others simply live out their gangsta fantasies, fakin’ the funk to a dope beat bangin’ from the trunk. On the surface, Atlanta-based rapper T.I. may appear to be just another emcee ranting and raving about his talent. However, with T.I., it’s more than that. The self-proclaimed “King of the South” paints a picture of Southern inner-city life that many of his contemporaries have failed to do. In the same way Jigga put the Empire State on his back after the untimely death of the Notorious one, TIP is holding it down for the ATL, standing 5’9” with the soul of a 6’4” nigga. T.I.: Without me, this group put this [album] together themselves. This ain’t no shit I put together and just had them do verses on. At the end of the day, I saw what I felt was missing, filled in hooks and verses where I felt they should go, but they made this album. Whatever you hear, if you like it, it ain’t because of me. I’m just there to make sure everything is facilitated. I’m the conductor. They makin’ they own music. It doesn’t sound like a T.I. album. You can tell from the first single. You’re gonna be surprised and pleased with the outcome of this album. It’s really something for the streets. Probably the most gutter album you’ll hear me on. It’s a collection of characters with their own points of view, their own states of mind. It ain’t just my opinion told to you five different times. Now that T.I.’s made a name for himself by any means necessary, he came back for his boys from Bankhead who’ve been down with him since day one. They’re the Pimp Squad Click, a.k.a. P$C. Don’t get it twisted, though. T.I.’s five-member Atlanta collective is much more than just his homies. Big Kuntry, C-Rod, Mac-Boney, and AK the silent assassin (they say he doesn’t talk much in interviews, but spits fire on the microphone) have each held it down on their own in the streets. They’ve also been featured here and there on T.I.’s albums. After one listen to P$C’s debut disc 25 To Life, it’s clear that this ain’t just a T.I.-and-friends album. Mac-Boney: I been doing this thing forever. I been rapping since I was ten years old. I did my first talent contest in fifth grade. Me and AK did the seventh-grade talent contest, and at thirteen we did our first live in-studio tracks. We met TIP around age fifteen. He was already holdin’ it down. We drove up to New York City and banged out like four records and he did about three more by himself. I just knew then that he knew what time it was as far as the music business.” Now that 404 is the area code of choice, fans and record company execs can’t get enough of the dirty South – ATL in particular. But for P$C, this ain’t nothin’ new. They have history. Once you’ve got the streets behind you, like P$C does, the industry comes to you.
“P$C put [the album ‘25 To Life’] together themselves. This ain’t no shit I put together and just had them do verses on...I’m just the conductor. They makin’ they own music. You’re gonna be surprised and pleased with the outcome of this album. It’s really something for the streets. Probably the most gutter album you’ll hear me on. It’s a collection of characters with their own points of view, their own states of mind. It ain’t just my opinion told to you five different times.” - T.I. C-Rod: We was the first ones to put out real mixtapes, down South in Atlanta, not the booty-shaking mixtapes. AK and Mac-Boney put out a mixtape and I did a solo mixtape. Big Kuntry did a solo mixtape and people bought it like it was our album! People be comin’ up to us like, “Yo, I got ya album!” We built the demand and got them impatiently waiting our debut album. While the P$C was holding it down in the streets, their general TIP took the industry by storm. His current solo album Urban Legend is loaded with singles, during a time when most people are happy to find a CD with three decent songs. In addition to P$C’s freshman effort 25 To Life which drops this August, their camp is also dropping the Hustle And Flow soundtrack. Aside from the music game, they’ve got several movies in development, a clothing company in the works, and a club called The Trap opening soon in Bankhead. These cats are living up to the name of their label, Grand Hustle (distributed by Atlantic Records). T.I.: We got six or seven movie opportunities right now. One of them is Shottas 2, with my man Cess [Silvera]. He also wrote a movie for me called Grand Hustle, which should begin production in the summertime. I’m meeting with Joel Silver, who produced Lethal Weapon 4, about doing something with Mike Epps. A lot of opportunities are presenting themselves. As the group vibes in the parking lot outside their downtown Atlanta studio, it’s easy to tell that this isn’t just a collection of rappers that was put together to form a group by some record exec or producer. You can feel the family vibe and the camaraderie. Mac-Boney and C-Rod are actually cousins, who first got open to the idea of kickin’ rhymes for a living after another cousin bought an N.W.A tape. “We’re friends first,” says Mac-Boney. “Then we handle the business. T.I., who arrived at the Grand Hustle offices in a fly-ass shiny black Rolls Royce, is proud of his crew. “P$C is a family. Some of them are label executives and managers, but there’s five of us that rap together.” The group came up with the album title 25 to Life because they all happen to be 25, and plan to be in the rap game for life. “Expect nothing but that heat on this album,” brags C-Rod. “We got songs for the young ladies, we got songs for these sucker-ass rappers who always talking about killing somebody who ain’t killing shit.” Although 25 to Life includes features from the likes of Lloyd, Paul Wall, and Slim Thug, the P$C makes it clear that they’re capable of holdin’ down a full album by themselves. “We just tryin’ to deliver a quality product,” chimes in Mac-Boney. “We gonna keep putting CDs out, keep smashing the market. We’re gonna do what we gotta do in this game and represent all day long.” It’s P$C’s turn to shine, and they’re here to stay.
OZONE JULY 2005
YING YANG TWINS U.S.A.: UNITED STATE OF ATLANTA Collipark/TVT
BOYZ N DA HOOD BOYZ N DA HOOD Block Ent./Bad Boy
HANNNNHHHH!!!! I was preparing myself for the onslaught of loud yelling for about the next 45 minutes when I put in the new album from the Ying Yang Twins. But I was pleasantly surprised. The first record, “Fuck The Ying Yang Twins,” is on some straight gangsta shit. Because the Twins’ claim to fame is their ability to create rambunctious party anthems designed to blow speakers and make strippers thunderclap their assets, people have pigeonholed them in the “corny” category without taking a real listen. Kane & D-Roc are very good at making complete songs, and have much more depth than their image portrays. Songs like “Long Time” with Anthony Hamilton (basically a gospel record) and “Live Again” with Maroon 5 (an introspective take on the life of a stripper) help prove their versatility.
This is it: the album every hood in the Southeast has been eagerly anticipating. It’s the debut effort from P Diddy’s appointed “N.W.A of the South,” Boyz N Da Hood. Young Jeezy, Jody Breeze, Big Gee, and Big Duke bring the straight gutter shit right to your front door. They’ve even got media marvel Puff sounding like a G. The “Boyz N Da Hood Interlude” should’ve been stretched into a full song. Another one of the standout records on this album is “Gangstas,” produced by Erick Sermon and featuring a posthumous verse from the late Eazy-E. Even though it’s Another surprising thing about this album an older verse, it sounds like is the Ying Yang Twins’ social commentary. I Eazy never lost a step, and know you’re thinking, I know this dude didn’t Boyz N Da Hood sound right at just use the term “social commentary” and home alongside the godfather “Ying Yang Twins” in the same sentence. But of this gangsta shit. it’s true! Take one listen to “Ghetto Classics” and you’ll agree. The topics discussed If you’re a lame and want include the war in Iraq, overcrowded prisons, to learn the ins and outs of government mishandling, the poverty rate being a full-time d-boy, this in Atlanta, and the Brian Nichols case that album is a sound investleft several dead at an Atlanta courthouse ment. Take one listen to the earlier this year. And all that is discussed conversational “Trap Niggaz” without a single “HANH!” After hearing all for a quick crash course. All these records, it’s easier to understand the four guys in the group have title of the album. U.S.A. seems to be a cry very distinct rhyme styles for help: we’ve got problems right here in that mesh well collectively, our own backyard that need to be addressed, and they all spit that raw. and our own government is choosing to The production value of this overlook them. Hence the title, United State album is grade A, provided of Atlanta. by Jazze Pha, DJ Toomp, Nitti, and the aforementioned With all that said, don’t worry: the Twins Erick Sermon. Every beat is haven’t turned into Chuck D just yet. The a banger, matching up flawparty records they’re known for are still here lessly with the hard-edged in abundance. Their second single, “Badd,” content. featuring Mike Jones, reminds you of the classic “Whistle While You Twerk” sound. The Another good thing about this hook is certain to become the new stripper record is that it’s virtually P anthem: “You want this money? Then you Diddy-free, aside from the ingotta be a BADD BITCH!” Just like the first tro. There’s hardly any “Can’t single, “Wait,” the joint “Pull My Hair” is stop, won’t stop”s, “Uh another example of what the Twins’ longtime huh”s, or “Bad Boy baby”s producer Mr. Collipark (a.k.a. DJ Smurf) calls marring the sonic landscape. “intimate club music.” Overall, this album is It’s very rare to find an album full of the shit you expect, along with a few that’s exactly what it’s advercurveballs that give you a new look at the tised as: an album by Boyz N Ying Yang Twins. Da Hood is exactly that. - Wally Sparks, email@example.com B24
OZONE JULY 2005
- Wally Sparks
MISSY ELLIOTT THE COOKBOOK Missy Elliott truly cares about having fun, and making music for you to have fun with. She’s a creative genius; the hip-hop Willy Wonka. The Cookbook is a visit to Missy’s chocolate factory – this time she’s using ingredients found in the kitchen. As always, Missy is backed up with a superb sonic landscape courtesy of Timbaland. She also gives some shine on this album to a host of up-and-coming boardsmiths. Missy’s affinity for the golden era hip-hop of the late 80’s and early 90’s is clear throughout the entire album, especially on “Irresistibly Delicious,” which features the greatest storyteller in hip-hop history, Slick Rick. Another standout cut is “Meltdown,” where Missy discusses an experience with a guy who didn’t know how to work the magic stick over a saucy Scott Storch production. Is it just me, or does it sound like Scott Storch has been using Lil Jon’s drum kit lately? Either way, the end result is jammin’. Everyone’s favorite self-promoter Mike Jones shows up for a guest appearance on “Joy,” and you have to wonder if Missy heard Mike Jones’ reply to her previous record “Pussycat” (“Dick don’t fail me now”). On the Neptunes’ track “On & On,” Missy gets her Roxanne Shante on, spittin’ some sharp lyrics over pulsating drums. “We Run This” is another hot joint full of throwback flair. The Cookbook covers all bases. The beats are bangin’ enough to keep the kids listening, but she’s still got enough soul to get the old heads reminiscing about how music was so much better back in the day. Missy may be the most important female artist of the 21st century, and this album just helps solidify her legacy. - Wally Sparks
MASTER P THE GHETTO BILL New No Limit/Koch Master P is someone you can either hate or love. But regardless, you have to respect him. Who else can say that they’ve had their own action figure? I’ll admit that I was ready to bash this album, but I couldn’t, especially after listening to the first cut “Best Hustler” repeatedly. It’s five minutes of ghetto inspiration. If Young Jeezy is serious about creating thug motivation, this song should be required listening. Master P breaks down his contributions to hip-hop and erases any doubt that he is indeed the best hustler in the rap game. This man knows his worth, and realizes the power that comes with being a $400 million dollar man. P put his best foot forward with the opening track, but as far as the rest of the album, it’s the same musically mediocre No Limit release we’ve become accustomed to. The weak attempt at a radio track, “Get The Party Crackin’,” featuring P’s younger brother Silkk and new No Limit signee Halleluyah, fails miserably. The attempt to retool LL Cool J’s classic hip-hop ballad “I Need Love” into the laughable “I Need Dubs” is a serious misstep also. There are a few shining moments, however. Songs like “Yappin’,” featuring Young Buck, and “Shut It Down,” featuring Slim Thug, are reminiscent of the old Ghetto D Master P. “There They Go” brings back memories of chairs flying in the local hood spot. As a whole, The Ghetto Bill gives diehard fans their much-needed No Limit fix, but fails to become the gold-and-platinum jewel P may have been hoping for. - Wally Sparks
BABY THE BIRDMAN FAST MONEY Cash Money/Universal
SLIM THUG ALREADY PLATINUM Star Trak/Interscope
Aside from a few videos and the cover of OZONE Magazine, there seemed to be absolutely no hype around the release of the Birdman’s sophomore LP Fast Money. But even with the lack of promotion, you’d be a fool to think that the self-proclaimed #1 Stunna would settle for catching a brick the second time around due to some label red tape. After all, the Birdman has always been a hustler. He’s gonna get that money regardless of whatever obstacles are put in front of him – which is what Fast Money is all about.
We’ve all heard the story: popular underground rapper signs with big-time producers and scores major deal, yada yada yada. I ain’t gonna bore you with shit you already know. But this is some jammin’ ass music. It’s so rare that when it happens it’s something special. When an artist and a producer are perfectly in sync, the music that’s recorded is timeless. Think Dr. Dre and Snoop, Timbaland and Missy, DJ Toomp and T.I, or Three 6 Mafia and Project Pat. There’s a new combination to add to that list: The Neptunes and Slim Thug.
On the cut “My Territory,” Birdman lets it be known that he runs his set with an iron fist. Over a catchy guitar riff, he dares anyone to come take his spot. One of the most glaring things about this album is the absence of Mannie Fresh’s lush production. Mannie only provides three tracks on this 17-track opus, and one of them is a remake of an old B.G. cut from happier times. Under the moniker “The Crime Family,” Batman, Deezle, O.G., T-Mix, and even the Birdman himself get behind the boards to provide the soundtrack for Fast Money. Although it might seem odd that Mannie’s beats are few and far between, the change actually provides a different sound that accompanies Baby’s lyrical maturation very well. Don’t get it twisted, though, he still only talks about money. The Birdman’s flow is becoming eerily similar to Lil Wayne. Could there be some ghostwriting going on? I guess we’ll never know.
Even though this album has been heavily bootlegged, it still seems fresh. On the first track, “Move Something,” the big boss of the Nawf explains how he arrived at his current position. “I ain’t tryin’ to move and groove ya / I’m here to teach and tell / And take this here time to introduce myself,” Slim spits. After the formal introduction, Slim Thug proceeds to flip the major label hierarchy a Texas-sized bird with lines like “I ain’t signin’ for crumbs and givin’ up my income to get treated like a bum / You must think I’m dumb, HA!”
Baby also uses this album to introduce Cash Money’s new blood. On “Ghetto Life,” former Tommy Boy signee 6 Shot trades verses with Baby. There’s also a cameo from Bun B (quickly becoming the Busta Rhymes of the South because he’s on EVERYTHING) over a slick string-driven track.
Already four singles deep by the actual album release date, Slim has at least four other songs that could be singles as well. At the front of the pack is “Chicken Strip,” a Neptunes-produced club singer that will do exactly what it’s designed for: get the chickens to strip.
On “Cash Money Niggas,” we are introduced to Lil Carl, who sounds like a combination of all the Hot Boys in one. And let’s not forget Cash Money songbird Lil Mo, who joins Baby for the radio joint “Solid Chic.” Although change is a good thing, the end result on this project is just slightly above mediocre. It’s got enough dope songs to catch your attention, but ultimately it’s full of filler.
Next up is “I Do It For You,” a guitar-sample driven joint where Slim Thug gives it up for his home and his close circle of family and friends. There’s also the standout joint “I Love This Game,” produced by Rick Rubin, where Slim explains why he loves what he’s doing. This album is a winner from beginning to end.
- Wally Sparks
- Wally Sparks
LIL SCRAPPY vs. DON P
There’s more beef cooking on the Hotlanta stove, and this time it’s between BME labelmates Lil Scrappy and Don P (of the group Trillville). Although the beef has been simmering for a while, it’s finally boiled over with the release of two mixtapes: Lil Scrappy’s “Full Metal Jacket” (mixed by the Aphilliates’ Don Cannon) and Don P’s “Target Practice” (mixed by Hoodrich Entertainment’s DJ Scream). The venom on each tape is deadly. Both parties question each others’ masculinity and defame each other to the highest degree. Scrappy lets off shots speaking about Don P’s bedroom preferences. In response, Don P busts back talking about Scrappy’s earlier years as a blonde-haired club hopper. While Scrappy’s mixtape is heavier on the lyricism, Don P’s mixtape is full of barbershop humor. Don P needs some help when it comes to constructing a full diss record, but his skits, on the other hand, are absolutely hilarious. It’s hard to say who’s the clear-cut winner of this beef, because both combatants got good shots off. We’ll have to leave it up to the streets to decide who’s the ultimate winner. - Wally Sparks OZONE JULY 2005
VLAD THE BUTCHER HOT IN HERE www.DJVlad.com Drop down and get your eagle on! That’s exactly what you would like to do when you see what the Butcher has chopped up. Some of the DVDs I review are good, some are very good, and some are so bad they go straight from the DVD player to the garbage. But Vlad’s DVD is on another level. Vlad gives you the exclusives. Some of the guests appearing on this DVD are Akon, Baby Bash, Fabolous, and Paul Cain, but what really stands out is the clarity of the video. The cinematography is steady and crisp. Hot In Here goes behind the scenes of music videos. Instead of just showing the video models, they interview them. And most importantly, they’re all dymes! This is also the first DVD I’ve seen where they interview the porn stars. Porn stars like Mr. Marcus and Justin Slayer explain how they got into the business. And, of course, there are a bunch of hot actresses involved, but Vlad does this differently. He doesn’t show any hardcore porn scenes, just little bits and pieces to keep you amped up. There’s one actress on the set during the Mr. Marcus interview – Mya – who is a good enough reason to pick up this DVD. If that isn’t enough, the Brazilian trip is probably where the title of this DVD comes from. Next, the Ying Yang Twins divulge that they’re not really brothers, and explain how they came together as a group. They don’t classify themselves as crunk artists. They’re definitely trying to put a distinction between their music and Lil Jon’s. You’ll have to purchase this DVD for yourself to find out how the whisper song came about. This DVD has so many chapters, I can’t write about all of them. The most creative is the crackhead scene – I’m not even sure what to say about that – and the “Cribs” section, where Vlad shows you the best way to have your dishes washed.
GHETTO NOMICS INNERCITY STREET BALL innercitystreetball.com You better have your sneakers laced up tight! This DVD is all about breaking ankles, sick crossovers, crazy dunks, and hot hip-hop music. It’s hosted by Hannibal and D-Black, and it’s basically a collage of clips of springtime ball. The first segment is called Tournament Time, featuring clips of crazy dunks, lay-ups, and passes. Mount Vernon, New York, used to be known for bringing out big music cats like Heavy D, but it will now be known as the home of street baller The Pharmacist. This kid knows how to serve it up. This DVD has plenty of bonus music features, like a hot freestyle by The Roots, Rahzel doing the beatbox, and an old-school interview with Jay-Z. It’s funny to see Jay on tape giving props to Jaz-O. Plus, there’s also bonus concert footage of Jay performing songs from Reasonable Doubt.
Overall, with this DVD, you get a lot more than you bargained for. There’s also interviews with new R&B sensation Trey Songz and Amerie, who claims that people aren’t interested in who she is dating (she is wrong). Nevertheless, Vlad’s remix of Amerie’s “One Thing” with Biggie’s “Big Poppa” is pure genius. There are many guest appearances from major artists, and of course the AVN Awards afterparty is a must-see.
Another can’t-miss chapter is the Layup Line, with crazy high-flying dunks. White boy Pillz proves that white men can not only jump, they can fly. This kid has some ferocious dunks. This is a very good DVD to have in your whip, with great music and lots of exclusives. Most importantly, it has great production and nonstop action.
- Malik Abdul
- Malik Abdul
OZONE JULY 2005
ALL ACCESS VOL. 8 www.thedvdmagazine.com The current issue of All Access features the self-proclaimed God, J-Hova! Jay-Z talks about his evolution from being the king of rap to being the man in charge at Def Jam. All Access gives you a little history of the god emcee’s rise in the rap game with exclusive concert footage and an in-depth interview about his split from longtime friend and business partner Damon Dash. Jay-Z lets you into his world, but it’s still politics as usual. Meanwhile, it seems that things are getting a little heated over at Full Surface Records. Freestyle king Cassidy, who went eight rounds to defeat Freeway in one of Philly’s most memorable rap battles, is longing to battle a couple of big name cats for some stacks. And get this – he wants to do it on pay-per-view! Cassidy calls out some names of cats he’d like to battle. I won’t reveal all the names that Cassidy throws out there, but one is a big name on the West coast. He throws a quick jab at Jae Millz and a sharp uppercut at Shells, stating that even though they’re signed, they aren’t in the same category as he is because they don’t have any records. Sounds like fighting words! Also in this months’ edition, we learn that The Inc is not dead. Instead of the rap game, however, they’re dabbling into more corrupt games like the boxing world. Seems like The Inc hasn’t learned its lesson yet. Either Irv Gotti wants to build an empire, or just keep the Feds watching. Anyway, they’ve got two of the hottest new boxing prospects – Curtis Stevens a.k.a. Showtime and Jaidon Codrington a.k.a. The Don – collectively known as the Chin Checkers. These boxers are undefeated and have the skills, talent, and charisma to take it to the top. Speaking of The Inc, Lloyd explains how he met and got signed by Gotti. And as flavorful as ever, you have the All Access models and video queens. It’s eye candy time. This DVD also features Fabolous’ Hit Factory listening party for his album Real Talk. He gives an update on future projects and plugs Desert Storm’s new artist Paul Cain. When it’s All Access, you get all access! - Malik Abdul, firstname.lastname@example.org
01: DJ Scream (hosted by the Ying Yang Twins) “Only The Crunk Survive X” DJScream@tmail.com Atlanta, GA 02: DJ Strong & DJ Warrior (hosted by Kurupt) “Untouchable Radio 5” CaliUntouchableDJs.com Los Angeles, CA 03: DJ Dub “Hip-Hop Soul 4” www.DJDub.com
04: Voice of Da Streetz “Crunk Of The Streetz” Nosa@tmail.com 407-256-8487 Orlando, FL 05: Evil Empire “Be South Vol. 4” NYC
06: DJ Kool Kid (hosted by Paul Wall) “Sittin’ Sideways” www.DJKoolKid.com NYC 07: DJ Folk (hosted by Stat Quo) “Deep In Da Game 3” 216-798-2 480 Gr8sthit1@yahoo.com Atlanta, GA 08: DJ Dimepiece (hosted by Mike Jones) “Highly Anticipated Vol. 7” www.DJDimepiece.com Nashville, TN 09: DJ Phingaprint & Struggle Wear “Grind Or Go Home” 601-454-5 802 Strugglewear@KennyRedd.com Jackson, MS 10: DJ Bilal & DJ G-Spot “Going Global” www.DJBijal.com 917-592-6917 NYC 11: DJ Smallz (hosted by Ying Yang Twins & Baby) “Southern Smoke 19” www.DJSmallz.com Ft. Myers, FL 12: DJ Aspekt / All Out All-Stars “Welcome to 305” AllOutEnt305@gmail.com Miami, FL 13: DJ Jack Da Ripper “North East vs. Dirty South” www.DaRipper.com 917-578-2517 NYC 14: DJ Killatone (hosted by B.G.) “Walk With Da New South 2” www.DJKillatone.com Orlando, FL 15: DJ G-Spot (hosted by The Replacementz) “Inspired by The South 3” www.DJGSpot.com 917-592-6917 16: DJ Scorpio (hosted by the Ying Yang Twins) “Hanh!” email@example.com Atlanta, GA 17: DJ Don Juan (hosted by Stat Quo) “Summertime” www.DJ-D on-Juan.com 615-977-4103 Nashville, TN 18: DJ Fur.E “Da Firestarter Vol. 2” DJFure@yahoo.com 19: DJ RPM (hosted by Slim Thug) “Dirty Money” DirtyMoneyMusic@y ahoo.com
DJ Drama & DJ Jaycee (hosted by Webbie) “Gangsta Grillz 14” 404-524-1266 www.GangstaGrillz.com Hot tracks: #04 YoungBloodz “Presidential” #09 - Boyz N Da Hood f/ Eazy-E “Gangsta” #13 - Webbie f/ Trina “Bad Bitch (remix)” #14 - Jay-Z “Back Then” #21 - Scrappy f/ Pooh Baby “Pop Off”
20: DJ Hotsauce “Trap Sounds Vol. 1”
OZONE JULY 2005
Disclaimer: I really hate giving movies a rating, because sometimes I start liking them more or less later. I may come back next month and recant something after I see a movie again. I’m the same way about music. Sometimes you don’t get it the first time. STAR WARS EPISODE III: RETURN OF THE SITH REVISED! I want to go back to the Star Wars review that I did last month to talk about my Darth Vader complex. That’s the reason for my disclaimer, because sometimes I see things in a movie that later affect my personal life. Hopefully my reviews will help other people who are going through the same things. When I first got into the music industry, I didn’t want to have any negativity attached to my career. That’s why I never borrowed money from people and I started doing my own beats. But it’s crazy, because back when people feared me more and I was doing things I wasn’t supposed to do, no questions were asked. It seems that the more you try to do positive things, more adversity comes your way. The reason I call it the Darth Vader complex is because he became what he fought against all his life. He became the symbol of evil, all the things he’d fought against. The more I continue to be in the music industry, the more evil I see in the game. For a minute, I saw myself wanting to become just what I fought against because of the things people had tried to do to me. I want people to watch themselves as they matriculate through this world, because it’s so easy to become what we’re fighting against. We’ve got to watch ourselves. When you’ve gained power, you’ve learned how to manipulate people. Most of the people who have power are people who were taken advantage of before. So now, not only do they have power, but they can take it to another level cause they’re emotional about it. Look at all the anger and power that Darth Vader had, and he turned it against the same people he was supposed to be protecting. Even though I know that I have more guns than the average person, and the power and the influence to affect somebody’s life, I choose not to take advantage of that. But I still have to deal with my inner demons and inner ego. Then, to be attacked by people that you loved and trusted the most, it makes you question what good and bad really is. But if we listen to that small voice in our heart, God will tell us what’s right and wrong. B28
OZONE JULY 2005
This movie sucked. For one thing, we sat in the movie for an hour before we saw Batman. I understand you have to develop a story and a character, but it shouldn’t take that long. The movie went on for a whole hour before you see Batman.
The trailer for Hostage made me want to go see it. When I’m on tour, I watch the trailers for all the pay-perview movies they have at the hotel. The preview was so fuckin’ good, I had to go
The other thing I hated about the movie was that there was no true antagonist. There wasn’t one person he was really fighting against. In Spiderman, you knew he was fighting the Green Goblin. In this movie, you didn’t know who the fuck Batman was fighting against. The fight scenes were so choppy and fast that you weren’t really able to enjoy them. And it was so dark, all you’d see was a couple punches and them flying into the air. The dude that played Batman acted very well, but to me, he just didn’t look right. The costume didn’t look right on him. When they picked the character for Wolverine in X-Men, he looked like a wolverine. This just looked like a dude with a bat mask on. Most people already know the story of Batman. His parents were killed and then he became the night avenger. The story line is basically about him facing his fears. His parents were killed by an evil entity, and that’s when he fell down a hole and a bunch of bats attacked him. He was scared of bats, and that’s why he became Batman. He’d faced his biggest fear, so he wanted everybody else to face it too. Even though I’m David Banner, I’ll admit that The Hulk is the only comic book movie that sucked more than Batman. It’s crazy, because [my artist] Marcus. is a big lover of comic books like I am, so we went to the movie as fans. Marcus. fell asleep in the movie. The only redeeming thing about this movie was Batman’s car. The car was cool. I think Marvel Comics has been kicking DC Comic’s ass for so long with Spiderman and X-Men that they had to come out with a movie, but they hurt themselves more than they helped with this one. Now I’m afraid to see the Superman movie that’s about to come out, cause that’s supposed to be the greatest comic book of all time. I think Spiderman raised the bar and they were trying to compete. If you’re gonna do it, do it right, because you have faithful followers. I’m a comic book head, but Batman Begins sucked. It sucked so bad I wouldn’t even want to watch it on DVD. I’ll give it a “2,” though, cause I’m a nice guy.
watch the movie.
Hostage lived up to my high expectations. The only thing I didn’t like about the movie is that it was so Diehard-ish. It’s the same thing people do to rappers. If you do one dope beat, people want all your beats to sound the same way. Diehard is one of my favorite movies, so I didn’t really have a problem with the similarities, but sometimes that takes away from how good an actor is or can potentially be. It’s a drama/action movie where Bruce Willis plays a negotiator. He’s one of the best negotiators in this big city, and during one of his hostage situations, a whole family dies and the little boy dies in his arms. That affects him so much mentally that he moves to a smaller city, where he’s involved with another hostage situation and he has flashbacks to the kid dying. The thing I liked about this movie was the subplots. There’s at least three different subplots focusing on crazy relationships between some of the main characters. Then, there’s Bruce Willis’ story. He’s combating the past and facing his fears. On top of that, you’ve got a whole bunch of shooting and fires and explosions and all that mixed in. It’s really a story about family and facing your
WJBT’s annual Come Together Day regularly pulls a nice lineup of artists (it doesn’t hurt that Clear Channel’s VP of Urban Programming, Doc Wynter, also happens to be the PD of the station) and an estimated 20,000 fans. In years past, the event has been marred by heavy rains, but this year the weather cooperated. After navigating the traffic surrounding the venue, we finally arrived, having missed the YoungBloodz and Master P. R&B singer Tank’s (1) on-stage striptease had the front row of girls screaming. No one recognized Keyshia Cole (2) with her newly blonde hair until she began belting out from-the-gut renditions of her singles. “Be careful what you wish for,” she cautioned the girls in the audience, “Because when I said ‘I Just Want It To Be Over,’ my wish came true.”
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Location: Jacksonville, FL Date: June 19th, 2005
Nick Cannon (3) stripped down and performed the interesting combination of “Gigolo” and “Can I Live.” Midway through Marques Houston’s (4) first song, a fight broke out in the back of the large audience. Apparently Jacksonville is a little too ghetto for Marques, who was escorted offstage by his bodyguard. He returned later to finish but still seemed shook. With the hot afternoon sun glaring down, back-to-back dancehall sets from Assassin and Elephant Man (5) quieted the crowd. Although “the energy god” put on a great performance, this was clearly a Dirty South crowd, not a dancehall crowd. Speaking of energy, David Banner (6,7) kicked off his set with “Might Getcha,” which ignited the crowd. Banner will do damn near anything during a performance - run, climb, stage-dive, hang from rafters - to make it entertaining. In this large outdoor venue, he had plenty of ground to cover, even climbing an enormous set of scaffolding. After the sun set, Lyfe (8) performed cuts off his debut album. Pitbull (9), fresh off a show in Orlando two hours south, arrived just in time to inject some Cuban flavor (and give OZONE a huge shout out). Scheduled performer Gucci Mane was a no-show, so WJBT jocks Easy-E, Gene Dot Com, and DJ Dr. Doom led the crowd in the best live rendition of “So Icy” I’ve heard so far. Rounding out the lineup was Pretty Ricky and the Ying Yang Twins, who are going to accuse me of hating them for not staying to watch their show. The audience clearly loves the Ying Yang Twins, judging from the screams through the backstage gate, so I’m sure their show was spectacular even though I cut out early. All in all, it was a summer day in the Florida sun filled with great performances and lots of shirtless male artists. What more could I ask for?
- Julia Beverly OZONE JULY 2005