RAW, UNCENSORED WEST COAST RAP SHIT
B Legit | Jayo Felony | The Outlawz Jay Rock | Bueno | Mistah FAB | DJ Fresh
THEPACK Based Out and Keepinâ€™ it Lit
Mistah Fab Dj Fresh
Destroys Another Victim
The Franchise Flow
RapqWest We city to city
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Publisher Julia Beverly Editor-In-Chief N. Ali Early Art Director Tene Gooden Music Editor Randy Roper ADVERTISING SALES Che Johnson Isiah Campbell Contributors Big Fase 100 D-Ray DJ BackSide DJ E-Z Cutt Eric Johnson Jessica Essien Joey Colombo Keita Jones Luvva J Regi Mentle Shemp Todd Davis Ty Watkins Wendy Day Street Reps Anthony Deavers, Bigg P-Wee, Dee1, Demolition Men, DJ Jam-X, DJ Juice, DJ KTone, DJ Quote, DJ Strong & DJ Warrior, John Costen, Juice, Kewan Lewis, Maroy, Rob J Official, Rob Reyes, Sherita Saulsberry, Sly Boogy, William Major COVER CREDITS The Pack photos courtesy of Jive Records
ozone west 6 8 10 12 21 22-23 24 25 26
rap q west WEST IS BACKSIDE: mistah fab $hort stories Jayo Felony b legit The Outlawz dj 2 dj: Dj Fresh SLAP END ZONE
14 15 16 17
PATIENTLY WAITING: young doe PATIENTLY WAITING: taje PATIENTLY WAITING: bueno PATIENTLY WAITING: jay rock
eems like it was only a couple issues ago when I vented about this cat who said he wanted to help us out on the West Coast side of things. He’d made it clear to me that he wasn’t into “selling ads,” but was more of a “brand builder.” And then I… well, I responded on this here page. The funny thing is, that’s exactly what we seem to be doing. Since my exclusive “release therapy,” we’ve grown as much as I figured we would.
Unsurprisingly, OZONE West has moved to attract the Coast’s brightest young talent (Kafani, Hot Dollar, Willy Northpole, Glasses Malone, Bishop Lamont, etc.) and kept it funky with the vets (E-40, San Quinn, Too $hort, AMG, Quik, etc.) all the while. We’ve bonded with some of the most effective street promoters in the country and established a network of photographers, deejays and downright hustlers that continues to expand by the day. (Shouts to all the contributors from KC to Denver, Las Vegas to the Bay, Alaska, the City of Angels and everywhere in between, who don’t rest until we make it happen – every issue.) Plain and simple, we couldn’t do it without you. So, if you’ve followed OZONE West since its inception, you know very well that we have no problem keeping it lit for those who deserve it and Fabby Davis Jr. (pg. 8, DJ Backside) just happens to be perhaps our most popular subject who’s never graced the cover (Wassup widit Fab?). But we just couldn’t help it this time. I must have been in the office all of an
hour before I started getting emails and texts about what he’d done the night before. That YouTube is a muthafucka!! FAB granted us an exclusive, where he details his mindset going in and intermittent thoughts therein the battle that destroyed one of Detroit’s most heralded emcees. Moving on, the Outlawz (pg. 22), honorary West Coast affiliates for obvious reasons, shared their latest work of art with us whereby they welcomed back longstanding member Fatal Hussein. And again, thanks to our very helpful team, we managed to find our way out of the Bay and LA, scooping the comeback story of the millennium in San Diego bred Jayo Felony (pg. 12). Young Doe, the newest signee to Bay Area imprint City Hall Records, makes a second consecutive appearance for the 5280 and Bueno spreads “Good Game” (pg. 16) live and direct from Sacramento. I’d be remiss not to mention our cover subjects, The Pack (“The Fantastic Four,” pg. 18), whose Jive debut Based Boys, promises to be one of the strangest, most likable albums this year – give a fuck where you from. So get into it. Go make a turkey sandwich, pour a big ass glass of Kool-Aid (red of course) and read all about it. Holla if ya hear me! N. Ali Early Editor Ali.email@example.com
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SEA-TAC, WA (The 206/253/360 & The 604 Too!)
As usual, The Virgo, Seattle’s (and maybe the West Coast’s) largest and longest running party blew the roof off and was packed out. Seattle OGs, Kun Luv, Mr. Supreme and Lovesick Larry rocked the spot! The leak of SP’s forthcoming release The Appreciation Of… is DOPE! Producer-extraordinaire Bean One has signed on as lead producer of Equipto’s (San Francisco) new album on the Million Dollar Digital label – a good interstate move. Big shouts to our NW DJs: Kutz, Supafly, B-Mello, Scene, Funk Daddy, Playboy LJ, Flipout & Jay Swing, Kippy & Slimrock. - Luvva J
artists clubs, DJs and t us know which ag.com Hit us up and le esenting: Ali.Early@ozonem repr are worthy of
PORTLAND, OR (503)
Cool Nutz continues to exemplify the word “hustler.” He and DJ Chill have signed on to rock with Kansas City’s finest Tech N9ne on his national tour. Portland’s Budget Money and his homeboy DJ Tee continue their reign as Northwest Mixtape Kings. Budget Money out of The 503 and DJ Tee (Native America’s #1 DJ) out of Idaho have been doin’ it big since the ‘80s. Starchile at Jammin’ 95 FM has been a powerful voice for independent Hip-Hop with his weekly Sunday show for years! Check for Maniac Loc’s new CD dropping soon! - Luvva J
DENVER, CO (303, 720)
Denver’s music scene has never seen so much publicity. Young Doe’s regional release Welcome to The Maze had 1000 pre-orders, great for an indie. Innerstate Ike got national exposure as the first Denver indie artist ever interviewed in OZONE Mag. DJ K-Tone has been doing mixes for Core DJ radio on Sirius Satellite, and DJ Bedz is the official winner of the Pepsi DJ competition. Fat Lee’s club hit “Elbows And Wrists” is getting attention in spots like Tip Drill Tuesdays @ Paradise and on mixtapes. Certified Customs has officially re-opened on Broadway downtown. R.I.P to Colfax CAC - Sep. 28th is officially CAC Day in the Town. - DJ Ktone (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Oakland, CA (510)
The town is slim pickings when it comes to straight Hip-Hop nightlife. Legendary Geoffrey’s has the most slappin’ night hands down on 1st Saturdays with resident DJ Juice in the mix. Kafani’s Money is My Motivation recently hit the streets with a solid response. TTS (Time To Shine) Mixtape Vol. 1 is hard in the streets and shows; featuring Man Man & PB, hosted and mixed by DJ Juice. The Live Wire tour with J-Stalin, Shady Nate and Beeda Weeda is all over CA. The Purple Mayne G-Stack (of The Delinquents) returns with his 3rd mixtape release since the summer The Purple Presidential Mixtape Vol. 1 and his compilation George W. Kush is set to drop November 13, 2007. – DJ Juice
Las Vegas, NV (702)
Sacramento, CA (916)
Shout out to Shawdow for making drama free Hip Hop happen at Zokku each Thursday night. This month look out for the Omina Bust CD Release party featuring Tone Malone at the Hard Rock Cafe downtown. Also, peep all the Bay Area and Sacramento artists out at the Boardwalk in the Heights. And if you haven’t been to Powerhouse in Folsom it’s always packed with Folsom’s Finest Dymes as is Tunnel 21 with the Sac Dymes. - Zay, email@example.com
San Jose, CA (408)
Cuccini’s Club on Tuesdays through Saturdays has a hot mixed crowd every night. Supremacy Events, Big Dave Presents, Twisted Illuzions and Dynasty Girls are the party promoters. Scores/Club Raw, Taste Ultra Lounge, Angels and Club Glo take the cake on the weekends. DJ Jammin J, J. Espinosa, DJ Boy Wonder, DJ E Rock, Leslie Perez, DJ Nick, Don Lynch, Rah2K, DJ J Spin, Dj Ruben R, Dj Destro, DJ Cali are all on the radar. Hosts Freddie Hot Sauce and Playboi keep the vibes right and MingleNow, Napkin Nights and EventVibe kill it with the crazy pics! Drew Deezy and the DJs of Metal Mouth Productions are rising emcees. – DJ Backside
Los Angeles, CA (213, 323, 310)
Richmond, CA (510)
Looking for that spot that does your haircut right everytime? Mark’s Barber Shop in Hilltop Mall (that’s where Lil Juice goes) got you faded. Smoke Shops are abundant in every hood in “The Rich.” From shoes to blunts and DJ Juice mixtapes, to shit I can’t name, it’s good. Da Trendsettaz (Mr. Trend, Stixky, Diggs & Lil Blank Blank) have not one, but two singles out that really slap. The lead single “Strike A Pose” (Produced by Erk Tha Jerk) and Stunna Shades “Yeah Dat Slap” (Produced by J-Official) definitely have that fresh new breed swagg. A Hip Hop night club in Richmond? “Hell no! Would never work,” but PAL (Police Activities League) is taking a stand with after school programs and tutoring classes. - DJ Juice
Club OPM is NO MORE. One of the desert’s biggest clubs, OPM is now “Poetry” since an October 5th renovation where Oakland Raider guests Dante Culpepper, Kirk Morrison and Stewart Schweigert celebrated the new look of the nightclub. The Poetry grand opening is October 19th and will be hosted by Nick Cannon. DJ Franzen and DJ Big Dee will continue to rock the party along with special resident DJs Kid Capri, Jazzy Jeff, and Biz Markie. 2 Teez is creating a buzz in the streets after hitting the stage and killing it when he opened up for Shawnna (formerly of DTP). - Portia Jackson, Portiaj@sprint.blackberry.net
San Francisco, CA (415)
This Bay Area city (and Bay Hip-Hop party goers) took another hit by a recent shooting that ultimately shut down nightclub Jilian’s. But there’s still Fanatics, Whisper, Club 6, 330 Ritch and the newly re-opened and remodeled Kelly’s Mission Rock. Look out for the new Frisco compilation All-City featuring a bevy of SF artists, including Big Rich, Boo Banger, Lucky Lou, San Quinn, Bread Me Out Boys, Drunken Beatmaster, Jinx, Telly Mac and Bubbz. It’s produced by Davey D. Be sure to check out the new video for “That Swagg” by EvenOdds (D.E.O. & M.A.) on YouTube. - DJ Juice
The Los Angeles music scene is alive and well with upcoming albums in the works by veterans Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, B-Real of Cypress Hill and The War zone (MC Eiht, Kam & Goldie Loc). Debut albums by Bishop Lamont (Aftermath), Glasses Malone (Cash Money), Crooked I, Taje, Roccett, Strong Arm Steady and Jay Rock are also on the way via recently released and highly acclaimed Cali Untouchable Radio Series street mixtapes as well. To The Basque on Monday Nights, The Day After on Thursdays, 740 in Downtown L.A. on Saturday, and On Mood on Sunday Nights, keep it lit for party goers. Also catch live performances at The Vault 350 in Long Beach, The Sunset House of Blues and The Key Club in West Hollywood. - DJ Warrior, myspace.com/djwarrior
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(above L-R): Young Jeezy & Roccett @ Magic in Las Vegas, NV; Mistah FAB & Brittnee @ Sushi Groove for her Sweet 16 in Walnut Creek, CA; Yung Berg & Rich Boy @ Club Elements in Hollywood, CA (Photos by D-Ray)
01 // Scoot of Dem HoodStarz, Duna, Kilo, Jacka, & Band Aid of Dem HoodStarz @ 17 Hertz Studio (Hayward, CA) 02 // Lee Majors, The Jacka & Mistah FAB @ Karribeans Club for Back To The 80s party (Oakland, CA) 03 // Making The Band 4 @ Jet Nighclub for Rocawear’s Magic party (Las Vegas, NV) 04 // Rh2k, DJ Amen & Box Kev @ Phoenix Theater for the Last Super Hyphy (Petaluma, CA) 05 // Don’t Know & Lil Scrappy @ Basques (Hollywood, CA) 06 // Crooked I, Roccett, Mad Linx, & DJ Vlad @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 07 // DJ Big Dee, Osiris, Dre Dae, & Tony Neal @ OPM for Hip Hop Weekly’s Magic party (Las Vegas, NV) 08 // Goldie & Jessi Malay @ Loft 11 (San Francisco, CA) 09 // Olis Simmons & Mistah FAB (Las Vegas, NV) 10 // Waz & Do It Movin @ Killa Tay’s birthday party (Fresno, CA) 11 // Guest, Dame Fame, Kafani & Hopper @ Loft 11 (San Francisco, CA) 12 // Sumthin Terrible @ Time Out for Dru Down’s birthday party (Concord, CA) 13 // Shady Nate & J Stalin @ Loft 11 (San Francisco, CA) 14 // FedX, Gary Archer, & AP9 @ Time Out for AP9’s Birthday Party (Concord, CA) 15 // Kafani & crew @ Loft 11 (San Francisco, CA) 16 // The Jacka & crew @ Karribeans Club for Back To The 80s party (Oakland, CA) 17 // Sick Wid It @ Loft 11 (San Francisco, CA) 18 // Bumsquad DJs @ Bumsquad DJz Retreat (Los Angeles, CA) 19 // Haji Springer & Julia Beverly @ Jet Nighclub for Rocawear’s Magic party (Las Vegas, NV) All photos by D-Ray except #10 by Jessica Essien & #18 by Intl K
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The West is Back…Side:
The Bay Area’s DJ BackSide links up with the Best of the West to see what’s really goin’ on in their heads!
“Right now, I want to battle Soundscan. I heard he’s a hell of a competitor. If the fans out there want to see me battle, then put up the money and let’s do it.”
mistah fab Y
ou may have not been there, but you probably saw it on youtube.com. I’m talking about one of the most talked-about freestyle battles of the year and the consensus is that “Mistah FAB destroyed him” - “him” being Royce the 5’9, and Mistah FAB being the destroyer. This past September, AllHipHop.com’s Steve Raze set up a battle in New York City with 4 emcees. It ended up being just two, and after viewing it several times online, there really was no contest. I got a chance to talk to Mistah FAB about his victory. You being from Oakland, CA, how was this battle set up in the first place? We were all in Miami at the OZONE awards and Atlantic had a showcase where I got a chance to freestyle on the mic. Steve Raze from AllHipHop.com said they were going to have a battle for AllHipHop week. I was like, “I don’t be doin’ that shit no more, man.” But Steve said it was a good look and it’s some industry shit. There were gonna be some good names out there, so I said, “Okay, fuck it, let’s do it.” It was supposed to be me, Joe Budden, Phonte from Little Brother and Royce da 5’9.
Was there any point in the battle where you were like, “This is whack?” I mean, yeah. The way the whole thing was set up [was whack]. I was wondering what was going on with the Joe Budden thing at first. Something I also thought was whack was when they told me to not “get personal” in the battle. I was just like, “Are we going to battle or are we friends?” It was so much shit I could have talked about, but we kept it respectable. When did you know you won the battle? After the first round, after I spit, before Royce even spit. I could just see how the crowd was. It was going to be hard for him to get them back. Even after my first bar, Fat Man Scoop was like, “Oh, this shit is over.” Have people from the East Coast been hittin’ you since then? I kicked it with Noreaga the night after that and he told me, “Son, you just did ten years of promotions in New York. Niggas in New York is gonna remember you forever.” I also got it in with Busta Rhymes, Saigon —
Tou were supposed to battle Joe Budden, right? Yeah, Joe Budden’s excuse was that his brother just got shot. Then he was “on his way.” Then he was “comin’ through the tunnel.” Then he was “parking.” But at the end of the day, he didn’t show up. It’s funny though, because there were pictures of him later that night at another club. So I guess it wasn’t important to him.
Weren’t you dissing Saigon in your freestyle when you said, “You ain’t never gonna come out like Saigon’s album”? That wasn’t a diss. We’re like brothers. The line was blown up by the media. We’re both on Atlantic Records. We both have projects we want them to put out, but they are not putting us out. Saigon’s album is crazy and I’ve been waiting three years for it to come out.
Were you nervous comin’ out from the West Coast? No, not necessarily. The main thing is, when you go out to New York and battle, you have to be already expecting the unexpected. I thought they were going to do some funny judging shit or something. It didn’t really matter who I battled that night. I was going to win.
Do you think Royce has career after this? Where has his career been? I mean, after he fell out with Eminem, it’s been hard for him. I don’t want to say his career is necessarily over, but it’s over. He taught Eminem how to rap though, so I respect him. Eminem is my favorite rapper. So anyone who taught him how to rap, I respect ‘em. I have nothing but respect for Royce.
Going into the battle, what was your strategy? There wasn’t any strategy. The strategy is to get them to fight my fight and that’s freestylin’. Nobody can fuck with me off the head. Nobody has beat me in a freestyle and actually been freestylin’. It’s either been something they wrote or something like that. I’m like Muhammad Ali or Mayweather. What about all the New York rapper/DJ references? You didn’t prepare that? Damn, as long as I been doin’ this shit, they still come up with somethin’. I mean, no. Remy was in there, Chamillionaire was in there, Craig G was a judge, and Fat Man Scoop was on stage. So for anyone to say that was a “prestyle” is funny because anybody I talked about was in there. If I’m in New York, of course I’m goin’ to use New York references. I’m not about to go to New York and rap about Oakland. They don’t know nothin’ about that.
// OZONE WEST
So you don’t battle anymore unless it’s worth it? Or… [Not] unless it’s money; if the money is right. $15,000, $20,000, set it up. But other than that, I’m not battlin’ no regular dudes. Ever since I won this battle people been hittin’ me on myspace like, “Yo, I’ll kill you in a battle,” and this and that. I’m not going to put myself in a position where I can’t win. If there was one dude you’d want to battle, who would it be? Right now, I want to battle Soundscan. I heard he’s a hell of a competitor. Let me sell some records and put my shit out. If the fans out there want to see me battle, then put up the money and let’s do it. // Photos by Ray Tamarra & D-Ray
(above L-R): Ya Boy & Omar Cruz @ Bumsquad DJz Retreat in Los Angeles, CA (Photo: Intl K); B-Legit & Turf Talk @ Time Out for Dru Down’s birthday party in Concord, CA; Tum Tum & Big Tuck @ Magic in Las Vegas, NV (Photos: D-Ray)
01 // Mistah FAB, Lil Jon, & Lil Al @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 02 // J Stalin & Lee Majors @ Karribeans Club for Back To The 80s party (Oakland, CA) 03 // Eddie Projex, Kafani & Big Harry @ Loft 11 (San Francisco, CA) 04 // DJ, Rich Boy & Homeboy Miguel @ Club Elements (Hollywood, CA) 05 // Nick Cannon @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 06 // Roccett & Rich Boy @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 07 // J Diggs, Duna, & Bleu Davinci @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 08 // Rick Rock & Goldie @ Loft 11 (San Francisco, CA) 09 // Dem HoodStarz & DJ Strong @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 10 // The Architecks @ Phoenix Theater for the Last Super Hyphy (Petaluma, CA) 11 // K-Loc & Rick Lee @ Loft 11 (San Francisco, CA) 12 // Guest, Latin Prince, & Hen-Roc @ Bumsquad DJz Retreat (Los Angeles, CA) 13 // Julia Beverly & Tito Bell @ OPM for Hip Hop Weekly’s Magic party (Las Vegas, NV) 14 // D-Ray & LL Cool J @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 15 // Turf Talk, Double D Girls, & J Nash @ Time Out for Dru Down’s birthday party (Concord, CA) 16 // Sugar Hill Gang @ The Old School Tour (San Jose, CA) 17 // Homeboy Miguel, Rich Boy, & Danny @ Club Elements (Hollywood, CA) 18 // Selua & Jon Nash @ Phoenix Theater for the Last Super Hyphy (Petaluma, CA) 19 // Cellski, Roccett, & Rick Edwards @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) All photos by D-Ray except #12 by Intl K
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o you think you can rap or make hot beats? Does everyone who hears your music love it? The first time I ever recorded in a studio 22 years ago, I knew I was good and I knew the music was good. I knew that Oakland and the whole Bay Area would love it. I knew that making music was the only thing I wanted to do. At first, my only goal was to march in the Southern University marching band, but when that didn’t happen, Hip Hop was more than enough to fulfill my dreams. After recording my debut album Don’t Stop Rappin’ in 1985, someone very successful, who I looked up to, told me not to forget them when I became a big star. That shit sounded so crazy to me because I didn’t care about being famous and I didn’t wanna be famous. I just loved making music. Then the album dropped and my career started taking off. The same O.G. used to always run the game down to me and I’ll always remember the day he said, “Don’t forget to have fun.” Some of the things the O.G.s taught me as a teenager didn’t start making sense until later in life, but “don’t forget to have fun” made sense immediately. I’ve met a lot of people in the last 20 years, and have seen a lot of them over and over again as the years go by. They always ask me why I’m so cool or why I’m so humble. They say I’m easy to work with and in a good mood most of the time. I think the main reason is that I didn’t forget to have fun. It takes some serious dedication to maintain a 20 year rap career. It’s not always a party. Sometimes I don’t like traveling. Seems like somebody’s always fucking something up. I never take time off because rap fans don’t like to wait around until you feel like going back in the studio. They just get a new favorite rapper. Some artists treat their fans like shit. Others treat their employees like shit. I’ve seen a few celebrity temper tantrums. The victims are usually crew members, employees, fans, promoters, engineers or even label execs. You might get yelled at like you’re a child, fired instantly or beat down by security over the smallest thing. Can you imagine being rich and famous and unhappy everyday because of all the wrong things that people around you do? Not me. I’m trying to fix whatever’s not right and as soon as I deal with the problem, I try to remember to have fun. Life is too short to be pissed off all the time. I think a fucked up attitude is bad karma. Some of the people you shit on might become richer or more famous than you in the future. Some of them you might actually need in the future. Interns end up being Vice Presidents if they stay with the company long enough, and the new VP ain’t fuckin’ with you if you used to treat him like shit. I’m the O.G. now and I’m giving you the best game I ever got: “Don’t forget to have fun.” Work hard, play hard and whatever you do, “don’t stop rappin’!” Biiiiiiiitch!!!!!! //
10 // OZONE WEST
(above L-R): Lil Scrappy, Stay Fresh, & DeRay Davis @ Basques in Hollywood, CA; Big Rich, San Quinn, & Fillmore Mike @ Phoenix Theater for the Last Super Hyphy in Petaluma, CA; Dem HoodStarz & Making The Band 4 @ Magic in Las Vegas, NV (Photos by D-Ray)
01 // Ricky P, Spiff, Mistah FAB, DJ Nasty, & Roccett @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 02 // J.Stalin & Devaghn @ Loft 11 (San Francisco, CA) 03 // Rob G, DJ Southpaw & Pryme Status @ Bumsquad DJz Retreat (Los Angeles, CA) 04 // Lil Fizz & Roccett @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 05 // Scoot of Dem HoodStarz with a Miskeen model @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 06 // Mugzi & Turf Talk @ Phoenix Theater for the Last Super Hyphy (Petaluma, CA) 07 // Glasses Malone, DJ Holiday, & Lil Scrappy @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 08 // Goldie, Laroo, Jon Nash, & Thump @ Loft 11 (San Francisco, CA) 09 // Mistah FAB & DJ Franzen @ OPM for Hip Hop Weekly’s Magic party (Las Vegas, NV) 10 // Jaff & DJ Impereal reppin’ the Demolition Men’s OZONE mixtape (Oakland, CA) 11 // Pretty Blk & DJ Boriqua1 @ Karribeans Club for Back To The 80s party (Oakland, CA) 12 // Haji Springer, B-Legit, & Taz @ Phoenix Theater for the Last Super Hyphy (Petaluma, CA) 13 // Guest, G-Stack, & Band Aid of Dem HoodStarz @ Phoenix Theater for the Last Super Hyphy (Petaluma, CA) 14 // Tha Kidd, Pretty Blk, Booka, & guest @ Karribeans Club for Back To The 80s party (Oakland, CA) 15 // Tito Bell & DJ Backside @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 16 // AP9 & Mugzi @ Phoenix Theater for the Last Super Hyphy (Petaluma, CA) 17 // Spcie 1 & crew @ Time Out for Dru Down’s birthday party (Concord, CA) 18 // DJ C-Style, Rob Base & The Furious 5 @ The Old School Tour (San Jose, CA) 19 // Homeboy Miguel & Omar Cruz @ Club Elements (Hollywood, CA) 20 // Delegintz & crew @ Loft 11 (San Francisco, CA) All photos by D-Ray except #3 by Intl K & #10 by DJ Impereal
OZONE OZONEWEST MAG////11 11
Words // Todd Davis
orn and bred in San Diego, California, rapper Jayo Felony is no stranger to the music industry. Discovered by the late, legendary DJ/producer Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC fame, Jayo, who has known ties to the notorious Neighborhood Rollin’ 40’s Crip street gang, made his much heralded musical debut on his 1995 JMJ/Def Jam Records’ distributed LP Take a Ride. In ’98, his stellar, more poignant sophomore project Watcha Gonna Do? hit record stores to massive fanfare, and Jayo’s bright future in Hip Hop seemed only inevitable. Or, so it was thought… Fast forward nearly ten years later and Jayo has quietly released a pair of mediocre selling albums. However, his heavily anticipated return finds him in rare form, sounding better than ever and more than ready to do what he does best. Musically, it has been quite awhile since we last from you. Where have you been and what exactly have you been up to since the release of your last CD Crip Hop in 2001? I’ve just been chilling and getting off into something else, which is directing these films that I’m about to start doing. I’m getting ready for my new projects and the new album called Don’t Get Meatballed. I always kept working and staying away from the suckas, man. I revamped my plan and got the right people behind me ‘cause I knew it was like riding a bike with this rapping. I wasn’t gonna do nothing but get better, so I’m back to show ‘em what it do.
Y’all Oppressors, so it’s more to me than just about people thinking I’m a gangbanger and all that shit. I’m bringing it back to the table. I’m bringing Crips [and] Bloods together. I’m coming with Esse’s and whites, homie. It’s all about getting this bread and one nation under God. Earlier this year we saw the release of Criminal Intent, a collaboration project with both you and Spice 1, which to my understanding wasn’t even supposed to be available to the public. Do you care to explain that whole mishap? Me and my boy Spice were just fuckin’ around in the studio and somebody had got in the studio and stole the material, and then they put some other tracks under the material. We never recorded those tracks on those beats. So, somebody just went in there and did some fugazi shit and tried to throw it out to the public. I didn’t want the public to be mislead, thinking that me and Spice 1 just threw some bullshit out there. Me and Spice 1 don’t play like that. If we were gonna come with a project, it’d be hot, believe that. What has been the ultimate key to your longevity? Man, I’m [gonna] tell you the truth, homie, on some real shit, I feel like my rap skills have got me this far and if I didn’t rap the way I did, I wouldn’t be here today. So, I just thank God for blessing me with the talent, and to deal with the best of ‘em and to compete with the best of ‘em, but now I’m just having fun. I’m just doing me. What I’ve changed in my life and in my career is that I’m fighting for my people and I’m on that good side. I’m on that hood side. I’m on that left side, and I’m fighting for what’s hood. And, I’m on the right side, homey, so I’m gonna fight for the good. That’s what I’m about right now.
Tell me a little about the films you’re working on. Right now we’re working on some short films. I’m actually doing a short film for my new project called Don’t Get Meatballed that’s gonna be inside [the CD]. The first 300,000 people that get this album [will also] get this movie that ain’t gonna be available nowhere else. We’re just starting to do things different than how they do it in the industry. I’m directing my new videos from my new album, as well as [filming] documentaries and things like that. Once I get crackin’ with that, then we’re gonna hit ‘em in the head with these feature films.
Everyone either knows you already, or will become familiar with you for and through your music, but what would you want these people to know about Jayo Felony that they won’t get from listening to your records? I’m representing for my people. Just like C.R.I.P. stand for Community Revolution and Progress, J.A.Y.O. stands for Justice Against Y’all Oppressors, understand me? So, that’s what I’m pushing -I fight for that good.
So you’ll be both in front and behind the camera as well? Yes, yes. This is my passion. I mean, this is making my career all the way 360 [degrees] a whole full circle of what Jayo Felony is about. It’s actually bringing my vision to life of how I want to be perceived, and how I want people to understand what I’m doing. I’m bringing my vision to life as well as bringing my music back to the game, so it’s gonna be fun, man.
What would these same people find you doing in your spare time, completely away from music? I be ballin’ you up on that basketball court, man, you already know, baby! Or, hitting you up on that Madden or that boxing, you know I like that PlayStation. I like the boxing. I like the year 2004 Fight Night, that’s the one I play ‘cause that’s the realist one they made.
What prompted your decision to title the new album Don’t Get Meatballed? It’s basically a positive message because I talk about how people are quick to pick up a gun, but they’re scared to take it from the shoulders. A lot of good people would still be around if people weren’t scared to take an ass whooping, so it’s basically a positive message about how if people were more in tuned of taking it from the shoulders, then you could live to tell about it instead of being so quick to pick up a gun and take another person’s life.
As for the immediate future what’s next for Jayo Felony? I got my new mixtape out right now called, Too The Nec: Time Is Bread. That’s the first mix-tape that I put out and my dawg [DJ Nik Bean] put it out for me. I just wanted to get that out there for my fans. My new album is coming out beginning of the year, but my new single called “Dancin’” will be out for the holiday season.
How do you feel that this project either differs and/or compares to other Jayo Felony records? I’m just a little bit more humble and I’m more mature than I was back then. I still rap about some of the same stuff because it’s just some clever stuff, man. I mean, I ain’t tootin’ my own horn, but I know I be coming with some clever shit, man. But, I just matured, and I just built up a bigger purpose than just me talking about how dope of a rapper I am and all this shit. I feel I’m fighting for the struggle of my people now, and I want people to know that I’m on a whole ‘nother level. J.A.Y.O. stands for Justice Against 12 // OZONE WEST
There have been talks for quite some time now about that superstar collective, The Riflemen, consisting of you, Kurupt, Prodigy from Mobb Deep and 40 Glocc. What’s up with it? Is it on the backburner for now or will it eventually see the light of day? It ain’t nothing put to the backburner that I do, man. I don’t give a fuck if I have to put every nigga in that group in a headlock to do this album, it’s gonna happen. Believe that! I’ll guarantee you that. I promise you, you guys [are] gonna get this Riflemen album. We all pushin’ it - me, Kurupt, Prodigy and 40. We finna to be shittin’ on ‘em in a minute. It’s definitely gonna happen. //
(above L-R): Rick Rock with his OZONE article @ Loft 11 in San Francisco, CA; Kafani Tha Ice King with his OZONE cover @ Loft 11 in San Francisco, CA; Yukmouth @ Power 106 in Los Angeles, CA (Photos by D-Ray)
01 // Lil Jon @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 02 // LL Cool J @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 03 // DJ Big Dee & Mad Linx @ OPM for OZONE’s VMA afterparty (Las Vegas, NV) 04 // AP9 @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 05 // Bun B @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 06 // Gorilla Zoe & DJ Jam-X @ The Highlands (Hollywood, CA) 07 // B-Legit @ Time Out for Dru Down’s birthday party (Concord, CA) 08 // Black C of RBL Posse @ Time Out for AP9’s Birthday Party (Concord, CA) 09 // DJ Animal (Albuquerque, NM) 10 // DJ Warrior @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 11 // The Dragons @ 17 Hertz Studio (Hayward, CA) 12 // Munip & Guce @ 17 Hertz Studio (Hayward, CA) 13 // Do It Movin @ Club Zokkus for Players Ball (Sacramento, CA) 14 // Turf Talk @ Time Out for Dru Down’s birthday party (Concord, CA) 15 // Beeda Weeda @ J Stalin’s video shoot (Oakland, CA) 16 // Cognito, Ap9 & Loki @ Time Out for AP9’s Birthday Party (Concord, CA) 17 // DJ Thump @ Time Out for Dru Down’s birthday party (Concord, CA) 18 // Dru Down @ Time Out for Dru Down’s birthday party (Concord, CA) 19 // Bueno & Doey Rock @ Club Zokkus for Doey Rock’s birthday party (Sacramento, CA) 20 // Chuey Gomez @ The Old School Tour (San Jose, CA) 21 // Rich Boy @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 22 // The Jacka @ Karribeans Club for Back To The 80s party (Oakland, CA) 23 // J Diggs @ 17 Hertz Studio (Hayward, CA) 24 // Maserati Rick & C-Bo @ Knights of Columbus for Killa Tay’s birthday party (Fresno, CA) 25 // Supreme & Hogg @ Club Tequila (Fresno, CA) 26 // Lee Majors @ Karribeans Club for Back To The 80s party (Oakland, CA) 27 // K-Loc @ 17 Hertz Studio (Hayward, CA) 28 // Rick Lee @ Loft 11 (San Francisco, CA) 29 // Jae Synth @ Omina Labs (Sacramento, CA) 30 // P.K. & Gary Archer @ Karribeans Club for Back To The 80s party (Oakland, CA) 31 // Rah Digga & Rampage (Albuquerque, NM) 32 // Raz B @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 33 // Sauce, Sho, & J Gibb on the set of “You Stupid” (Sacramento, CA) 34 // Stat Quo & Mistah FAB @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 35 // Tito Bell & Travis Barker @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) Photo Credits: Beno (09,31); D-Ray (01,02,04,05,07,08,10,11,12,14,16,17,18,20,21,22,23,26,27,28,30,32,34,35); DJ Jam-X (06); Jessica Essien (13,19,24,25,29,33); Julia Beverly (03); Lady Tae (15)
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e o D g n u o Y ve o L f o k c o R
12 years old, Young Doe (born Charles McClure) won a trophy. But unlike most kids who bring home awards at that age, it wasn’t for Little League football or basketball — it was for winning a freestyle battle. Before he hit puberty, he knew he was destined for a life of rhyme. “I was the youngest one involved in the battle,” Doe, who also dons the alias Charles Truth remembers. “That’s how I started getting my recognition.”
also Although he first gained attention for freestyling, Doe soon realized he , had notable writing and production talent. Combining the three elements he quickly earned himself a name throughout his hometown of Denver. In 1997 he released his first project with popular Montebello-based rap group, MNLD. The following year he released his debut solo album, Somethin Terrible, solidifying his entry into the game. Since then he’s worked with everyone from Bizzy Bone and Young Noble to C-Bo and Bad Azz. He also did a tour throughout the South alongside Crime Mob in 2006. Ten years and several releases later, Doe is showing everyone what others saw in him at age 12. His new album Welcome to the Maze dropped in September on Elite Entertainment with distribution from Bay Area-based City Hall Records to wide acclaim. “This is my best project,” he says confidently, explaining that the album title is based off of his Montebello neighborhood, which is difficult to navigate for outsiders. “I talk about a lot of shit that goes on around me; shit I’ve been through. I speak on it, but I get creative with what I see.” While his last album, 2006’s Broken Home, was accompanied with a DVD, this time he decided to go a different route and drop a book of the same title. The plot of the novel loosely follows the songs on the CDs, exploring the struggles of a young man dealing with making tough life decisions which ultimately land him in prison. “I always wanted to write a book,” Doe, who missed out on a key musical opportunity with City Hall Records years ago due to his own legal troubles, says. “I felt like I had potential and was creative enough to write one. Writing Welcome to the Maze kept me from being able to run the streets like I wanted to.” Focused on completing the book and album, Doe says he studied other street novel authors like Donald Goines and Terri Woods to help him with the format. The book is available online and will also be distributed City Hall. When it’s all said and done, he wants his name attached to the city like #7. “This is where I came up,” he says. “I want to have this shit at home. I want to help bring the town up. It’s a lot of niggas that depend on me to be here and help guide them through.” // Words by Jacinta Howard
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Taje Catch and Release
rowing up in a fathe rless home, New We st representative Taj like many a peer of e always had love his for the music game quick,” he remembe , Taje got caught up in the streets by . But a product of rs, taking a short pa the age of ten years the time. I even ha Los Angeles, use, “which would old. “I got put onto d to sign a contract lead to a lot of ba getting my own thi that said I was go d be ngs very ha vio r. I did ing go to class.” n’t feel a need to go By the time he wa to school half s fifteen, Taje’s mo ther ordered him to young hardhead ch either abide by he ose the road less tra r rules or leave he veled and suffered or stay in the city r home indefinitely of Angels to pursu for it. . Needless to say, the e his mind to, I do well,” music goals, Taje fou With the option to either move to Ne he says, “whether w Jersey to reunite nd him sel f sub merged by his fam it’s crime, music or wh with his father iliar surroundings. atever.” Unfortunate “Anything I put my ly, music always took a back seat to crime an as a result, Taje fou nd himself homeles d , living in cars and on the streets. For the next 8 years, Taje went through different sp urts of good and bad. “I got stuff quick and then lost stuff quick ,” he tells. After a huge bust in 2005 and almost fac some serious time, ing Taje felt it was tim e to focus on the music . He started with a CD/ DVD combo entitled Hot Box - The Mixtap Classic. “I smoke a e lot knows that,” Taje ad of weed, everyone mits. “But really I used it as an analogy to say the game.’ When yo , ‘I’m smokin’ out u go into a room ful l of smoke, you want to what I’m doin’ right get out. And that’s now. Me and Bisho p Lamont especially; we are makin’ nigga s step they game up , whether they like to admit it or not.” Since his infamous new beginning, Taj e has become the cat alyst that he was bo rn to be. He opened a studio just outside of the Los Angeles area and formed LN S Entertainment, fue ling coming artists Bisho projects for up and p Lamont (Afterma th), Glasses Malone (Ca sh Money Records) an Roccett (CTE West) . In the same space d of time Taje’s mixtape has saturated all of Southern California, instigating a seque l with West Coast Mix tap and appearances on e King DJ Warrior BET and MTV’s “You Heard it First.” While he plays his part in the moveme nt, the still unsigned draft pick won’t so on forget his inspiring run at success. “I tal k about strugglin’ be cause I’ve struggle d a lot,” he reasons. “I talk about ballin ’ because I’ve done that. I’ve been at the of the mountain an top d the bottom as we ll. I’m not insecure at all, I just talk abou t all the real shit that I’v e been through, go od or bad. Real nigga s can do that.” // www.myspace.com/ taje1 Words by DJ Backs
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o n e Bu GOOD GAME
Group. So good, in fact, that the self all good with Bueno and Noyz Music a you don’t already know, it’s definitely Richmond, CA, where he snatched up d time to patronize Exotic Jewelry in foun o” ment . Sacra of shine to “King d time aime o’s procl it is Buen would be proud of – clearly a sign that nice iced-out watch that any player high school he was a star athlete and s, idual to find his true love of music. In indiv ented i-tal mult this for hard ’t State L.A. “I got the best of both world It wasn transferred and graduated from Cal later He o USC. Buen to ip real,” larsh for scho l hood etbal the received a bask because I’m from For those begins, “but I got that other element.” Sac, that don’t know, Bueno represents South area, the in s hood ed -test block most one of the “Stackaotherwise known as “Mackamento,” mento” or even “The Clapitol.”
ity As Sac artists fight to define their ident , Keak Da among Bay Area giants such as E-40 that Sneak and Mistah FAB, Bueno contends tired of Sacramento rappers (old and new), are industhe in ses rhou powe as d ooke being overl their ing bring and ting bora try. So they are colla voices out movement to the forefront. “It’s some er says. “So here that wanna be heard,” the rapp to expose g tryin is game this in doing all we’re If a ible. poss as le peop ourselves to as many he’s tight, nigga says he’s cute, if a nigga says yourself to if a nigga says he’s real, just expose be the them let and ible poss as le peop as many judge.” are truly Well, the votes are in and the people , Change 2003 in album first His o. Buen feeling ns such tycoo tin’ y-hit heav red The Game, featu outh, the as E-40, the late, great Mac Dre, Yukm essive Mob Figaz and Keak da Sneak; an impr ct. proje first a alone let , album any roster for down, dropSince then he has in no way slowed Vol. 1, I ping five mixtapes – Bueno Exclusives amento Mack to me Welco 2, Vol. Game Love This ng Day Signi The and 4 Vol. Butta Vol. 3, Gunz -Nreleased Vol. 1. Then there’s his latest album, a play off this year, The Sacramento B, which is , The town home his in r pape news local of the culate from Sacramento Bee. This album is imma s alone start to finish; and just one of his song h F.A.B., “West Up (Remix)” features E-40, Mista res are San Quinn and Keak Da Sneak. But featu is holdo Buen all. at album this not what made his name ing his own and letting you know why a force to be means “Good.” The boy is definitely his worth prove to work will and with reckoned Noyz of esy court album led on the new untit Music Group/SMC/Universal. // www.myspace.com/buenonoyz Words by Nippy Swagga Photo by Jessica Essien
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Jay Rock Special De livery
hen I started out, I was just playing around rhyming different little bulls hit together,” he remembers. “Then little doing people start feeling it. Then I shit I was said, ‘Shit, a nigga might have some type of talent.’ So I really started conc what I was writing, making sure the entrating on shit was really on point.”
However, the streets continued to call Jay Rock and he continued to answer. A Bounty Hunter (Blood gang) to the as Care Free Curl at the Compton Swap heart, he was active meet in the mid ‘80s. But one day that all changed. The Big Homie, Dude Dawg Rock’s growing legend and let it be known that he wanted to have a sit , heard about Jay down. “I was kind of running from the kinda big homie that will tell you need nigga, ‘cause he the to cut that bullshit out,” he tells. “I’m trying to hide from this nigga ‘cause all that bullshit he talking about.” I don’t want to hear Without warning, Dude Dawg showed up one day while Jay Rock was getti ng his hair cut. They had their sit down himself and by the end of the conversat , Dude Dawg expressed ion the budding rapper found himself on his way to Top Dawg Entertainment’s There, the menacing CEO would orde r Jay Rock to stay put until he made headquarters. four songs to his satisfaction. “I got in there four quick songs for the nigga,” says Jay Rock. “I’m on the bullshit right now, and knocked out cause I’m trying to get out. I got mone and this nigga tripping on me.” y on the streets Needless to say, Dude Dawg ordered the door to remain locked until Watts ’ newfound phenomenon came corre gas was praising me so I good I was ct. And when he did, “Niglike, ‘Shit I ain’t never felt like this!’ Niggas was patting me on my back and and shit.” Soon after the yelling and hollering brouhaha came a deal with Warner Brothers, which was inked just last September. Jay Rock’s kept the streets lit with his Watts Finest mixtape series (three volumes). He’s also set to drop another mixtape entitled No Sleep Til NYC – an old school tribute of sorts. But nothing he’s done will match the energy he promises to bring on his heavily anticipated album, Follow Me Home, scheduled for a first quarter release. “I’m going to show everybody what I been through what goes on in my projects. It’s just my story man it’s coming from the heart. It’s real.” // myspace.com/jayrock Words by N. Ali Early
OZONE WEST // 17
It was fortunate that we skated and everything. But I just want people to know that it’s not a joke. We do real tricks. It’s not all for show. We really do this.
We tryna make an impact on the game. We want y’all to see our career evolve. We wanna evolve with the people.
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WORDS BY N. ALI EARLY PHOTOS COURTESY OF JIVE RECORDS
ince scoring with the mid-tempo hit “Vans” a year ago, The Pack has gained the notoriety that they once dreamed of prior to their chance meeting with Too Short. As members of the Up All Nite crew, the skateboard friendly foursome went on to drop an EP, Skateboards To Scrapers that same year and signed an artist deal with Jive/Zomba in the process. Having survived the standard industry quandaries that set many a group back from would-be success, members Stunna, Lil B, Lil Uno and Young L have bound together to create their own sound and inspire a nation of “rappers who skate.” Just in case they’re not just ready to express their individuality fully, The Pack’s Jive debut, Based Boys, drops the day before Halloween. In it, they promise a treat, no matter where you’re from or what you represent. You all have been able to create a pretty heavy media swirl without even dropping an album. What do you attribute that to? Stunna: I just give that shit pretty much to hardcore fans. Niggas can’t do nuthin’ if niggas don’t like you. Our fans really love us. You can have a fan that’ll get your single or buy your ringtone, but they don’t buy your album. We have true fans and we get to do all the things that true artists get to do, all without putting out an album. It’s good music and people stay tuned in to good music. That’s how I think we’re able to do what we do. You’re still on Up All Nite, but did the move to Jive do anything to effect the relationship with Short? Are you still involved with Up All Nite like that or does Jive consume all your time at this stage? Young L: To tell you the truth, we do our own thing pretty much. We’re involved with both labels, but we were recruited to both labels pretty much be-
cause we were doing everything ourselves. We were used to booking our own studio sessions. We were working in the studio by ourselves. We don’t [really] use any outside producers because I produce pretty much everything. So we communicate with both labels. Short is in the Bay often now, so we do our thing with the Up All Nite Crew and when we’re out on the East Coast we hit everybody in the Jive office. So we pretty much stay in touch with everybody, because it’s vital to our career. Stunna: [As far as] the relationships, we just check in. [Short] ain’t really gotta do too much for us besides the label perspective. But it’s pretty much just us. They say they need a new album, so we all link up to do it ourselves. It’s not like we gotta call Up All Nite or Jive to set up some studio time. We ain’t gotta do none of that. Like L said, we pretty much got recruited because we’re a self-sufficient group. We don’t be needin’ all that shit. We just need that stamp. That’s what they’re for. How did your relationship with Short come about? Stunna: Short was on his way to a show in Berkeley, where three of the [group] members are from. Uno’s from Frisco. But he was on his way to a show and we run we’re we at. So he was listening to us and he was like, “Who are these lil’ niggas, man?” So he did his research and found out who we were. And Uno’s dad knows Short from way back in the day before Uno was even thought of. They got past history so that was another good thing. So Short was like, “I’m fuckin’ with you lil’ niggas.” And ever since then it was cool. Short flew us out to Atlanta for a cool minute and we was doin’ some music out there. But it just evolved because he heard about us doin’ our thing and Uno had a good relationship with him and his family too. So that just closed the deal. OZONE WEST // 19
We tryna make an impact on the game. We want y’all to see our career evolve. We wanna evolve with the people. How did the four of you meet? Stunna: I knew L because me and L skateboard. Me and L knew each other since 7th grade. He ended up having to go to another high school. I stayed at Berkeley High. He ran into Lil B and he put Lil B on individually. I’m still at Berkeley High. I put Lil Uno on individually and that made four of us. Y’all skateboard for real. huh? How does that translate in terms of Hip Hop and how you’re received by this “thugged out” industry? How has the skateboard genre blended into Hip Hop and what impact do you think you’ve had on it? Lil B: I don’t skateboard, but from what I’m seeing now, it’s a lot of skateboard rappers out there and they’re trying to capitalize off skateboarding. And I see ‘em tryna look like us. Not us individually, but as our group, they tryna look like us and capitalize off of it. I don’t even skateboard and I see it. Stunna: I remember when I was doin’ this shit and niggas was laughin’ at me. Niggas was roastin’ me. Niggas was talkin’ about I’m a joke. They was questionin’ my hoodness all throughout because I was skateboarding. But I kept it true to myself and I know I can speak for me and L, because we’re the skateboarders of the group. I remember when we were looked at as outcasts, like [skateboarding] wasn’t cool. But we stuck to it and niggas can really rap. We really make good music. So people had to overlook that fact and then people like Lupe [Fiasco] came out, and Pharrell, he’s with the skateboarding shit too. So I think what’s happening is that a lot of people skate and really got talent with the rap and we’re just speaking up and it’s slowly but surely opening up a window for us. It wasn’t cool, but now people are looking at it like, “Oh, I can make money off that crossover shit.” We didn’t really think about it as crossover shit. We thought about it as, “Nigga, this is what we really do.” Go get me a skateboard right now and I’ll hit a 360 for you. I really do this. I’m not finna play around with it. I just think that it really worked in our favor. It was a timing thing. We came out when it was a little bit poppin’ and we just made it look a little better. Young L: I pretty much agree with what Stunna was saying. It was fortunate that we skated and everything. But I just want people to know that it’s not a joke. You can see us in our videos, in the “Vans” video. We do real tricks. It’s not all for show. Niggas really do this. To all you people out there rappin’, who think it’s a gimmick, who don’t really skate like that and are not really with the shit, I really feel like they need to fall back. I’m not even going to say any names, cause that’s not my place. I’m just tryna keep it real for the fam. So where the music is concerned, how much of the skateboarder’s mentality or skateboarding terms do you incorporate into what you do? Or is the music more of a reflection of Hip Hop and/or the hood? Young L: I think the music is just a reflection of us as people. Skateboarding is just something that I do in my offtime. It’s not like I’ma rap a certain way ‘cause I skateboard. It’s just something that I do. Skateboarding definitely plays a role in my creative input to my music, just because I have that kind of disregard for what other people think. I’m already putting myself out there as an African American skateboarder, so that in and of itself shows that I’m not afraid to be different. Stunna: Yeah, he hit it on the head. It’s not like we’re going outside talkin’ about skateboarding or anything else. It’s just a reflection of one’s self. It’s purely a diary. You might hear me talkin’ about him skatin’ down the street, but you’re going to hear me talkin’ about other stuff too and you’re going to hear what we do. It’s pretty much our diary. We don’t wanna start rapping about that too much to start capitalizing off of it. So two of you don’t skateboard, but that’s basically what’s come to define you through the song “Vans.” That’s people see and hear. So if that isn’t what defines y’all, what does? Young L: That’s a good question. Stunna: To tell you the honest to God truth, I don’t know what defines me yet. I just turned 20 on September 30th, homie. I’m still tryna find myself as a young nigga. I’m still tryna play my cards and play the hand that’s dealt. I’ma find myself in a minute. But I know if I had to choose as of right now, what defines me and if I had to speak for the group, we’re just young, fresh, fly niggas doin’ they thang. And that’s just what it is. Gettin’ they money and gettin’ they gwop, cause we know our chance only comes once. So we tryna make an impact on the game. We tryna be niggas that you grow with. We want y’all to see our career evolve. We wanna evolve with the people. Tell us about “based music.” Who came up with that term? Young L: That’s a term that people used to use in the neighborhoods we grew up in. It started off as a negative term, from what I know. People would be
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like, “Oh, that nigga based. He hella based. He trippin’ right now.” If he off a pill or something he might be based. But you ain’t gotta be off drugs. It’s basically just being on some different shit, being on some creative shit, on some colorful shit. Just some different shit. So to describe us as being “based” basically means that we play on the opposite side of the field. We don’t run with the regular, default niggas. We’re trendsetters over here. That’s pretty much how we roll. We roll original, 100%. Yeah, ‘cause the generation I came from, base meant crack. (laughter) So it’s basically being off in the stratosphere. Is that where you’re going with it? Stunna: Yeah, that’s where it started from. It’s like the word “nigga.” Nigga started off as a derogatory comment and niggas just flipped it. Basehead was a derogatory comment, but we took it like bein’ based was being fresh, cause I’ll see a nigga and he’d be so out of it to the point where he’s cool. He made something out of what he was doing because he was so out of his mind. That’s how our music is. We’re going to do whatever the fuck we feel. If I walk up in the studio and L pulls up a beat, base music is: instead of me thinking, “Oh, this needs to be a song about the club,” or “This needs to be a song about the street,” I just go up in that muthafucka and rap. I just go off the top of the head and I lose my mind and that’s how we do it. That’s base music for you. So tell us about the debut album. Young L: Based Boys, October 30th. It’s crazy because even though we made so much music in the past, it was like starting from square one. The whole sound is fresh. It’s all bangers, even if you’re not from the Bay. You could be from Germany, France, Wyoming, wherever and you’re going to feel it. We’re just puttin’ ourselves out there and trying to earn that respect that we deserve. We’ve been putting a lot of work in against all odds. People don’t know what goes on behind the scenes, but we’ve just been puttin’ all our work into our album. So I just really hope that people respect it. It’s going to be a classic. Definitely. Stunna: And the video for the new single, “In My Car,” is gon’ be crazy. We’ll be back where we need to be, cause like L said, it’s been against all odds. I don’t wanna go into what’s been happening, but it’s a lot of people that didn’t want us to succeed. A lot of people didn’t want to see us shine, but we did the damn thing. Shout out to Crush Management, Bob, Ant, and everybody who helped us get this fuckin’ project done, cause this was damn near like tryna have ice water in hell. It damn near didn’t happen. You all definitely have a different sound courtesy of Young L. Interestingly enough, you all had some other producers you worked with right? Young L: Yeah, we have [Mr.] Collipark, Pit; we went to a lot of people, but we’re so different and so accustomed to working amongst ourselves, it was really difficult to make a hit with another producer. So with me ending up producing most of the joints, it worked out well and it turned out great. Stunna: We really tried. It’s a lot of hot producers we worked with or wanted to. We worked with Lil Jon. We worked with Scott Storch. We worked with Speedy from the CTE camp. It’s not that their music isn’t great; everybody that I just named has made hits and makes great music. But The Pack is so weird as a whole. To capture what we do, we just kinda had to be ourselves and it’s hard to be yourselves when somebody has [other ideas] for you. The way we work, it’s so unorthodox that it’s just kinda hard to go outside of Young L. Good enough. Most people associate your brand of Hip Hop with hyphy, but people who claim hyphy don’t necessarily consider it something that you do, but more something that you are. What’s your take on that? Young L: I think a lot of people might just look at us and the way we act and say we “hyphy” cause we’re just some young wild ass niggas. I’ma keep it lit. We be damn near gettin’ kicked off tours and shit. But I think we evolved from that and slightly branched off into our own base realm to do our own thing. But I can’t sit here and say I never made a hyphy song, cause if you really do your Wolfpack history and you know “Booty Bounce Bopper,” you know we really came from that. So we really started that slap shit for these young niggas. So I really think that hyphy is still a part of me and it’s always going to be a part of us. //
W WHAT DEI DON’T KENOYET. I JUST FINES M I M STILL TRYTURNED 2D0M...YSE’ LF... BUT AS NA FIN NOW, WE’RE JUST OF RIGHFTRESH, FLY NIGGAS YOUNG, THANG. DOIN’ THEY
’ Words by Todd Davis Photos courtesy of SMC Recordings
Hyphy movement going on and the music from the Bay Area taking a whole different turn, they kinda requested it back. So, I brought it back with the Throwblock (Muzic). Why did you start another imprint? Aren’t you still co-owner of Sick Wid’ It Records? Of course I’m always Sick Wid’ It! It’s me and 40’s company that we created together, and Block Movement is more of what I’m doing on my own, another independent. It started with accounting differences, and you have to be able to identify with that when it comes in. But if you look at the logo of Block Movement, it’s still the hog. But, it’s just like he’s standing up. He’s a little bit rougher, like on the block. It’s all related though. With that being said, as far as Block Movement is concerned, who all is a part of that roster? I got this young guy, Taj-He-Spitz, and he just turned eighteen. I’m dealing with him right now. We’ve got a couple of mixtapes coming out on him. One is called Meal Ticket 2 and then Jewelry Money. He’s featured all over my album. Then, we’re gonna do a Block Gang album, which is me, Taj-He-Spitz and Duna. Those are the two main artists that I’m focused on right now. What’s the current status of Sick Wid’ It? Well, you know, on the West Coast there’s very few artists that are really signed to a major deal anymore. But we’re still hustling though. Turf Talk just came out recently. We got a lot of up and coming acts. They’re on the table ready to go, but for the most part ‘bout the only thing I think that’s really gonna [be released on a] major in 2008 would be the B-Legit and E-40 album. So, y’all are finally gonna deliver on that long overdue, highly anticipated duet LP? Yeah, it’s a must-have! We’re just trying to keep that in the can until it’s ready to go, ‘cause we’ve been talking, talking, talking… so this time we want to really prove it and do it. Although you are often described as one of the best emcees on the Left Coast, it seems that you always tend to fly under the mainstream’s radar. Why do you think that is? I don’t know. Maybe because I put out records independently. I never really had a major label record deal, as far as an artist deal to where a company invested to spend money on me to put me out like that. Even with Jive Records, it was just a hybrid deal. I wasn’t really [signed to them] as an artist. So all my walks have been, what I want to call, from the ground up type of thing. I’ve never really had help, but it’s okay because, like I say, my fans stayed loyal. My first album that I put out, Tryin’ to Get a Buck, on the solo with no promotions, sold 100,000 units, and it’s been good ever since. And, once I got a taste of the independent money, man, it’s kinda hard to say, “I’ll just go and do an album for X amount of dollars.”
You’ve never abandoned where you came from. Not just in the way that you still represent, Vallejo, California to the fullest, but you are still very much a part of your community. Has it been difficult to maintain that as you became more and more successful? Naw, one thing about the block, as far as this whole label thing, Block Movement, when we came in the game, how we got popular, we went to the ‘hood, touched people, kissed babies, shook hands with the D-Boys, and that’s just what it is. I am that. That’s me. I am the ‘hood. I am the block. So, I’m addicted to it. I can’t do nothing else. That’s where I come from and that’s what I do.
ong considered one of the Bay Area’s hardest emcees, Brandt Jones a.k.a. B-Legit the Savage’s stellar career has consistently eluded major label status. Save for what he calls a “hybrid deal” with Jive that was suffocated by a bubble-gum, pop-friendly era, B-lah has survived the good ole fashion way: by pleasing the streets. Appropriately, the business minded mogul is in the second phase of building his own brand – the Block Movement – per Throwblock Muzic. Actually a warmer for his sixth solo release (untitled as of yet) in the way of the streetape trend, this collection of sorted slap is more meal than appetizer and yet another nod for the people’s choice.
Is it fair to say that you are happy with the current state of Hip Hop music and West Coast rap in general? Well, West Coast rap really doesn’t have any identity as of right now. Nobody’s really doing too much. There’s no West Coast sound right now. Like you said, we kinda fell off quick. I think mainly we got away from the element of making songs and storytelling. We were known in the Bay Area for our funky bass lines and pimp style raps/Mobb style raps and it got to going another direction to where they really didn’t understand anymore. The South kinda adapted our sound and added a hi-hat to it, and they’re winning with it now.
Why did you choose to go ahead and put this out versus just coming with your next solo record? Well, you know, I like it because I get a lot of fans that request Mobb Music, and these are tracks that were done in those days. A lot of tracks that I did are from back in 2001, like the one with the late, great Mac Dre. I’m using it as a leadoff single, like a warm up single, and it’s called “Game.” With the
Do you think the trend will come back full-circle and end up out West again? Yeah, I’m pretty sure if we stick to doing what we do we’ll finally get some love back again. We had it on lock, and we were winning, but everybody deserves a turn. It’s the other people’s turn now – the South’s turn. After that music is hopefully done doing its thing, then we keep doing our thing and we might be hot again. I’m just gonna do me for right now though. // OZONE WEST // 21
REUNITED & RECOUPED Words by Lee Hubbard
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the mid 1990s the Outlawz a.k.a. Outlaw Immortalz was a rap collaborative that took the Hip Hop industry by storm. Founded by Tupac Shakur in 1995 after his release from prison, the group featured a contrasting Hip Hop style of political philosophy, the streets and energy on wax that was unheard of at the time. All of this could be summed up in the infamous single “Hit Em Up,” a diss towards Biggie Smalls, Bad Boy Records and New York Hip Hop. The group looked like they were ready for stardom based on the reaction in the streets to “Hit Em Up” and several other tracks with Tupac that they appeared on over the next year. But this never materialized to the level which many thought, due to double tragedies which affected the group. Tupac was killed in late 1996 in Las Vegas, Nevada, followed two months after by the killing of another Outlawz member Kadafi, in New Jersey. Since that time, the Outlawz have assumed various forms in the last ten years, releasing six albums. Now they are back with their latest album, Thug In Thug Out, the reunion that brought Fatal Hussein back into the fold. Since most of the group relocated to Atlanta, they’ve signed a major record deal and are finally posing that ever intimidating unified front once again. OZONE was able to talk to Noble and Fatal Hussein about what they have been up to in the past few years and what is going on today with the group.
albums last year alone. Young Noble and Lazy Bone’s album (Thug Brothers), Outlawz and Dead Prez (Can’t Sell Dope Forever) and then Noble and stic.man from dead prez (Soldier to Soldier) and then we had the Noble and Edi Amin album (Outlaw Culture). The name of our latest project is Thug In Thug Out. Me and Fatal are the featured artists on this. Fatal: After Pac died, I inked a deal with Relativity. I did a record called In The Line of Fire. It did all right. Relativity winded up shutting down. I ended up getting another solo deal with Rap-A-Lot records. With Rap-A-Lot, I recorded a banging album that would have been a classic. It was called Fatal, but I was on the run with the law and ended up getting locked up. I was locked up for like two years, so that was that album and the big homie J Prince had to do what he had to do when I was gone. I came home in 2002 and caught a couple of features on other people’s albums, with artists like Three Six Mafia, Gangsta Boo, some of Pac’s other stuff that was released, Jim Jones and Ja Rule. My street credibility never went anywhere, though. I still was official. What is this difference between your sound now and in the past? Noble: I think our sound is more focused and more mature. Back then, we were younger and a little more reckless and we didn’t give a fuck. The first thing niggas heard me on was [Tupac’s] Makaveli with “Hail Mary.” We were raw as hell back then. But our style is more fulfilled now. We are on some real ghetto gospel stuff. Fatal: There is a difference, but not that much. When I was rapping with Tupac, I was full of fire, full of flames. I was amped up on some street shit. But now, I got a taste of the good life. I’m calm and laid back. You can actually hear what I’m talking about now.
Over the past ten years what has happened with the group? Noble: We kind of went our separate ways. Fatal was doing solo stuff and we were doing our thing. So we got together for this project.
What do you think about the state of Hip Hop and rap today? Noble: I think it’s definitely more corporate driven then art form driven. Everybody is trying to do the same thing or sound the same. Most of this shit sounds the same and there’s not that much substance as far as the main artists are concerned. We just got in the game now with a major label. We’ve been on over fifty million records sold and we are now just getting a record deal, something is wrong with that picture. It’s the content of our music. They hear our music and it’s real shit. It’s like we didn’t fit in the box.
Fatal: After ‘Pac died, I just came straight home. So Khadafi and I went back to the East Coast. Since ‘Pac was dead, it was no reason to be out on the West Coast. It was back to regular life as I know it. When we were home, the Outlawz wanted to keep it moving. And so they did some things and I did some things.
Fatal: In my opinion, nothing is subject to stay the same. That radio shit coming out, I guess that is what a nigga has to do to make money. Who wants to be a hard rapping broke nigga? If a joker can change his style up and get money, then that is what it is. A nigga should not be hard all the time. You have to have style. People fall in love with your character.
After Tupac’s death, why did most of the group move to the ATL? Noble: We have a lot of roots out here. We have been coming out here for years. After ‘Pac died, we came to Atlanta to get out of L.A. Afeni, Tupac’s mother told us to come out here, and that saved our lives.
How did you get a deal with Young Buck’s Cashville Records? Noble: That happened out of nowhere. C-Bo, our partner, signed with Young Buck. As soon as he got over there, he told Buck he needed to sign us. We didn’t have a situation and C-Bo has always supported us, so Buck listened. He came to Atlanta and we met with him face-to-face and it was a done deal. The next Outlawz album will be on Buck’s label. It’s called God’s Plan. We dropped the single two weeks ago called “Driving Down the Freeway.” It features Buck rapping as well. It’s not done yet, but we’re in the studio working on it right now.
Fatal: I just went straight back to New Jersey. How did moving to Atlanta save your lives? Did you feel threatened in L.A.? Noble: No. But after Pac died, we did not care. We were on some other shit. We were ready to kill whoever. It was a real messed up situation. Being in LA, there was a lot going on. We were riding around everyday, eight or nine of us strapped in a van on some other stuff. It was at the point we did not care. Afeni saw this and told us to get out of there. So we decided to leave. Fatal: I did not care about nothing. It was like, “What am I doing out here, if my man is gone?” I only knew Pac. I didn’t know any of those other niggas, so I just felt like it was safe for me to go to Jersey. Shortly after this, Khadafi was killed in Jersey. What were you guys thinking at this time? Noble: Pac passed on September 13 and Khadafi passed on November 10th on the same day we had the memorial for Tupac. So it was like back-to-back deaths with the two major guys who started the Outlawz, Pac and Khadafi, so it was crazy. Fatal: It was a fucked up family situation with us. One of the Outlawz, Napoleon, his cousin killed Khadafi. Khadafi and Napoleon’s cousin were good friends. They were playing around with a gun, young kid shit and Napoleon got killed. They were playing around with the gun and Khadafi tried to smack the gun out of his hand it went off. What has been happening music-wise since then with the group? Nobel: We’ve been grinding and we never stopped. We dropped like four
Fatal: Noble and Edi inked that deal. That shit did not get around this way. But love is love. If they’re in, I’m in. That’s what we were missing before, communication. What else are you two doing? Noble: I started a film company called Hollyhood Films. Our first movie is called Dear Mama, the life story of Afeni Shakur which will be a major motion picture. We actually are shopping it right now. We have some big people getting behind this project. There’s a lot of people who don’t know about her. Her story is colder than Tupac’s story because she was a real-life revolutionary. She was really in the action; she was down with the Panthers and they were really against the system. When she was pregnant with Tupac she was facing 352 years and defending herself in court. She beat a court case that could have put her away for life. That alone deserves a film. She was a dynamic public figure in her time. Fatal: I got a solo album coming out called Born Legendary and I’m smashing the streets with mixtapes like 1090 Official, New Jersey DOC, Fatalvelli volume 1 and 2 and many more. Also I’ve got the independent movie Cash Rules, which was filmed by my man Young Antonio. It’s a true story about some Newark hustlers. I played Akubar Prey, a big-time dealer that ran Newark. He’s in the Feds now. I am trying to get this Jersey scene on the map. Also, the Afeni Shakur movie. It will be big. //
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et’s just be honest: Mixtapes are only poppin’ nowadays if you had a brand goin’ before “the (infamous) raid.” Gangsta Grillz isn’t the only mixtape series that has been makin’ noise. In the Bay Area, DJ Fresh has created what he calls his “franchise” of mixtapes - The Tonite Show. “You have to have a franchise these days, a consistency,” he says. With countless mixtapes to his credit, the Fresh franchise is clearly one of the streets’ favorites. “It wasn’t all easy though,” he admits. “At first cats wouldn’t really work with me, but eventually the artists have started coming to me.” Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Fresh was raised in Oakland, CA and has more than a franchise under under his sleeves. He has a legacy to uphold. One of Fresh’s older brothers, DJ Dummy, is Common’s DJ. His other older brother is a DJ. Their father was a DJ, and for the record, DJ Fresh was ranked the 3rd Best DJ in the Nation in 1999 at the ITF Technique DJ Championships. “All that scratchin’, turntablist stuff, I can do all that, but right now my heart is really in producing,” he says, offering his interest in building directly with the “best of the Bay.” Beginning with the self-proclaimed “Prince of the Bay,” Mistah FAB, The Tonite Show series came about when Fresh was editing Mistah FAB’s first DVD, The Freestyle King. It’s called The Tonite Show series simply because it was recorded at night, and because of its originality. Soon after came mixtapes with Smigg Dirtee, J Stalin and Beeda Weeda, Nump, Mr. Tower and Chris da 5th. “The Bay is steppin’ up their game right now,” Fresh says excitedly. “The digital thing is wassup because the accessibility. Being able to make original songs like I do and put it on iTunes right away is what’s good. And within my camp [PTB, Livewire, Heiroglyphics] there is more unity.” Recently coming off the Rock the Bells and Living Legend Tours DJing for Nas this past summer, DJ Fresh is essentially aiming to combine his East Coast roots with his Bay Area brand. “It’s like I’m the barbershop: everyone can meet up through there,” he reasons. “With my original production [on The Tonite Show Mixtapes], I can link a Common with Mistah FAB or a J Stalin with Nas.” // myspace.com/djfreshh Words by DJ Backside
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Young Doe / Welcome to the Maze City Hall / Elite Entertainment Young Doe makes himself at home on his City Hall debut Welcome to the Maze. Known primarily for its penchant to push Bay Area independents, Doe’s arrival as a product of Denver, CO, suggests The Hall’s healthy appreciation for the 5280’s growing music scene. To boot, Bay factors such as Messy Marv (“It Ain’t No Thing”), Jacka (“I Don’t Wanna Sign”), Killa Tay and legendary Sac rappers C-Bo (“Codes of the Movement”) and Marvaless (“One”), bless Welcome… All but two of the tracks boast features, including Denver’s Mr. Mannish, Colfax Cac and Innerstate Ike, which at times work to submerge Doe deep off into the Maze. Still, he escapes to deliver a solid piece of work. – N. Ali Early The Jacka, Rydah J. Klyde & Fed-X (of the Mob Figaz) / Mob Trial 2 City Hall / Million Dollar Dream In the second installment of its kind, Mob Trial 2 picks up where the original left off. As the only constant in both versions (AP9 and Husalah), The Jacka continues to show why he is one of the West Coast’s most slept-on artists via solos “Reign God” and the bouncy “Go Hard Is All I Know.” When the three featured Mob Figaz members share the mic, the results are similar, proving an indefensible aesthetic among the multi-member (five) collective. Radio-ready ditties like “Got To Make Her Mine,” featuring AP9, Mike Marshall and incarcerated Mob member Husalah and “The Same Thing Everyday” maintain balance under their tumultuous circumstances. – N. Ali Early Demolition Men Presents: Zion I / Hustle Hard Collection While the Bay Area’s Hip Hop scene is synonymous with rap gods E-40, Too $hort and now a host of youngstas that woke the world up to “hyphy,” Amp Live and MC Zion, collectively known as Zion I, arguably encompass what has come to define the most independent rap genre in the game. Underground as a duo can be, they’ve survived a decade by creating their own lane and pushing their brand to the throttle – beneath the surface. Their version of the Hustle Hard Collection with Bay Area mixtape kings Impereal & Devro a.k.a. the Demolition Men is that and more. With appearances by the self-proclaimed freestyle king Mistah FAB (“Hit Em”), Turf Talk (“The Bay”) and Too $hort (“Lose Your Head”), socially aware rhymes over live acoustics meet traditional slap for a headbobbing blend that works. – N. Ali Early
Doey Rock, DJ Koday & DJ Boy Wonder /The 40/40 Club Sacramento emcee Doey Rock holds nothing back on The 40/40 Club mixtape. From the opening track “I Said It” to the last cut “Not Thru,” Rock lyrically goes the distance with sharp bars and hooks throughout 29 tracks. On “Legend” he stakes his claim as a “young legend in the making” while paying homage to the greats like Bob Marley and Muhammed Ali. He proves that New Yorkers aren’t the only ones that can spit hard 16s as he goes bar for bar with Raekwon the Chef on “Toe To Toe.” Both political and street savvy, he throws a middle finger to the attacks on Hip Hop on “Not Guilty” and serves as a street ambassador on “Take a Ride Wit Me.” With only a couple tracks that feel out of place, Doey rocks his latest offering in true Sick Wit It fashion. — Randy Roper Smigg Dirtee /The Resume / Black Armor Smigg Dirtee must have called every rapper he has ever met for a reference/appearance on The Resume. Although Smigg D leans on his West Coast homies, he does show rap skills as he collaborates with Killa Tay and C-Bo on “Yey Yey” and trades street tales with I-Rocc and A-Wax on “Live This Life.” But some tracks would have been better off without outside verses. A few subpar verses and god-awful hooks look more like minuses than pluses on Dirtee’s resume. Dirtee’s album feels more like a compilation than a solo album. But tracks like “It’s Like That” and “Last Dance” and help from Mistah FAB, Messy Marv, Daz Dillinger and B-Legit, has his Resume looking good. — Randy Roper Various ArtistS /Omina Bust / Sosla This compilation coming straight out of the Omina Laboratories features new, unreleased music from some of the best the West has to offer. Although some tracks should have remained locked away in the Sacramento studio, there are enough bangers to warrant Omina Bust some spins. B-Legit, Turf Talk and Skurge start things off the Bay Area way on “Smashmatic” and Tone Malone smooths things out with Doey Rock on “I Won’t Hurt You.” While those tracks make for solid cuts, “Shake ‘Um Off” with Keak Da Sneak, B-Smoove and Jae Synth is the exact opposite. And someone made a mistake by give Ron Artest a microphone to spit a 16 on “Music Box.” Nonetheless, Omina compiled enough quality tracks for fans to enjoy. — Randy Roper
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E-40 Event: Last Super Hyphy Venue: Phoenix Theater City: Petaluma, CA Date: September 29th, 2007 Photo: D-Ray
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Ozone West #61 - Nov 2007