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RAW, UNCENSORED WEST COAST RAP SHIT

compton to vegas

CINO organized grind

STRONG ARM STEADY KRUSHADELIC HAWKMAN

DEM HOODSTARZ Hustle & Flow

RAPQWEST We Get Around YOUNG L

The Pack’s Producer Gets His $$$ Right

ls l k H2re ch we A ee R m DJ & mo OZONE WEST // 


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editor’s note

Publisher Julia Beverly

Peace Be UntoYou

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 Cino photo by D-Ray

I

can distinctly remember when I first learned what the month of February meant. I was in the fourth grade and my history class was studying the chapter dedicated to African Americans. I learned about Nat Turner (perhaps a year or two after my grandfather proudly told me I was a direct descendant of the former rebel/slave), Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, Carter G. Woodson (the man responsible for creating Black History Week/Month), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and plenty of others. At the end of the day it pissed me off to know that our history wasn’t significant enough to just blend with the rest of the book. But then again, there was a sense of pride that I carried with me, knowing what and who I’d come from, what my ancestors were up against, what they survived and overcame, just so I could sit in that there seat. Yes, beyond the pagan holiday that falls in the middle of the month (also the date Frederick Douglass claimed as his birthday), and the one specific to me eight days later that announced me to the world some thirty years ago, February is the month that we are urged to remember, to reflect and to continue to move forward. In that respect, I trust we are all doing our part to honor our forefathers who paved the way. Without them we wouldn’t be able to celebrate our most recent triumph, which comes in the form of the Barack Obama campaign.

abortion and a number of other issues. However, if the only reason I vote for him is because he is a black man, it means that I am supporting the causes that my ancestors fought so hard for. And that’s enough for me. He’s withstood attacks on his character and legitimacy by the likes of multi-million dollar businessmen like Magic Johnson (a Clinton supporter who called him a “rookie”) and Bob Johnson (who implied Obama was incapable of running the country because he experimented with drugs as a youth - comments he later attempted to clean up, implying he meant “community organizing”). It all just makes a nigga completely comfortable with the idea of rolling the dice. If you believe in something you should embrace it wholeheartedly and if you don’t, it seems like it would make life a helluva lot easier to just do away with it. I don’t really care that dude did drugs as a youth. Who didn’t? And I really don’t care that there is an email going around that declares him a Muslim who can’t wait to get into office so he can blow America up from the inside out. Obama’s a brave man to be running for President of the United States in the first place. If he can stand firm, knowing there are forces out there desperately attempting to derail his campaign and ultimately take him down if he does in fact win, call me one of the few million new young and mighty who has his back. I’m out.

Now a politician is a politician and none of them have made me move one way or the other in years past (I feel you Lupe). I can honestly say that choosing from the lesser of two evils has never been on my “things to do list.” But Obama is different–for obvious reasons-and I like where he stands on health care, education, drugs,

N. Ali Early ali@kreativesouls.com

ozone west 6 7-13 8 10 12 14 16-17 18

rapqwest PHOTO GALLERIES short stories CHAIN REACTION patiently Waiting: kruchadelic Patiently Waiting: hawkman Dem hoodstarz board game: meech wells

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Srong arm steady dj profile Slap end zone

19-21 cino

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PORTLAND, OR (503)

Just in time to push his highly anticipated CD in early 2008, the legendary DJ Chill is throwing an after party/new year’s eve party at The Ohm following the Wu-Tang Clan show at The Roseland Theatre. Cool Nutz is really and truly a hustler – look for this man and respect the game of a true legend from The 503, he’s got a solo gem, King Cool Nutz, in stores featuring his homeboy from The Bay, E-40, Ras Kass, Bosko & more. All love, respect and peace to Pimp C (R.I.P.) & Spice 1. I grew up with these brothers. - Luvva J (Myspace.com/luvvaj)

SEA-TAC, WA (The 206/253/360 & The 604 Too!)

The Pacific Northwest Hip Hop community has a real conscience. The annual Hip Hop For The Homeless Benefit was sponsored by Crowd Control Enterprises. It went down at The Mint in Olympia, WA and featured a who’s who of the Hip Hop community. The program was founded in Vancouver, BC. Check for the Northwest Urban Debate Foundation. It fuses Hip Hop & Debate and is growing rapidly – shots to Jen & Stella (Free Ya Mind)! Respect to Sabzi of Blue Scholars (Seattle, WA) who recently won the Red Bull-Big Tune national producer battle! DJ Kun Luv’s ‘Download’ radio show was recently cancelled, cutting indy airplay – that’s whack! - Luvva 1 (Myspace.com/luvvaj)

DENVER, CO (303, 720)

The town is showing love to R&B group LG and DJ Ktone for reppin on B.E.T.’s 106th and Park in December. The group’s single, “Hey Miss Lady,” has been gaining a buzz since then. Innerstate Ike dropped Bullets and Blessings also in December to make him the only artist in the state to drop 12 projects in 1 year. Both Eve and Fabolous were supposed to headline shows the same weekend and it didn’t happen. Fusion Mag came out hard, Petey & Mass Prod dropped, Mr. Midas and DJ Shadoe dropped, and Blue Ice nightclub is revived on Saturdays. It’s lookin green on the turf. – DJ K-Tone (myspace.com/djktonedotcom)

Oakland, CA (510)

Zazoo’s with KMEL’s Sana G on Saturday nights, located in the quaint Jack London Square district, continues to bring out the best of the best with no problems after the club closes. Check for VJTV Comcast channel 78 for the best of the old and all the new Rap and R&B music videos. While we’re on the subject of hot videos, Kuzzo Fly is reppin’ the Town real hard on MTV Jams with “Don’t Spill It” featuring Mistah FAB, Bleu DaVinci and J-Diggs. Speakin’ of FAB, look for that new single “Life of the Party” with the Doggfather himself, the big homie Snoop. Eddi Projex finally released his solo debut Now or Never. The City’s famed Paramount Theater will play host to Cedric the Entertainer and Jill Scott for future dates, and Kimball’s continues to keep crowd controlled with their strict rules on Hip Hop music but allow NBA and NFL players to host parties at this lavish establishment. – Kay Newell (Kayshowmaga@aol.com)

LOS ANGELES, CA (916)

The scene in Los Angeles wouldn’t be a scene without parties @ Shag, Basque and Façade and with DJ Mark Da Spot leadin’ the pack with promotions for all three; all these events are celebrity-filled. With 2008 here, the artists are more than a buzz out here. All looking to release albums or street albums this year are (but not limited to): Bishop Lamont, Glasses Malone, Topic, Strong Arm Steady and a host of others. A powerteam collaboration is also on the rise with DJ Nikbean and DJ Felli Fel looking to host a few projects this year, the first with Spider Loc. With DJ Felli Fel’s success with his single “Get Buck in Here” featuring Ludacris, Lil Jon, Akon and Diddy, The Heavy Hitter is looking to release a project of his own as well. – DJ Backside (djbackside@tmail.com)

Sacramento, CA (916) San Jose, CA (408)

Spending the Holidays in San Jose wasn’t a problem. Wild 94.9 as always has been takin’ over the city with Jose Melendez and Leslie Perez, as well as Don Lynch @ Taste Ultra Lounge. Producer Traxamillion’s “This My One” remix with E-40 and Too $hort slaps in every car out this way. DJ J Spin consistently feeds everyone with Dem Hoodstarz sound, releasing a few exclusive mixtapes that have gained attention around the city. – DJ Backside (DJBackside@tmail.com)

Phoenix, AZ (602,623, 480)

Shot out to Shawdow for making drama free Hip Hop happen at Zokku each Thursday night. This month, lookout 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 is always packed with Folsom’s Finest Dymes as is Tunnel 21 with the Sac Dymes. Folsom and Tunnel 21 are Saturday Nights. – Isiah Campbell (zaemai@gmail.com)

San Francisco, CA (415)

“San Francisco Anthem” featuring Big Rich, San Quinn and Banger is murdering KMEL with production handled by Traxxamillion, while the underground jump-off is “Mobbin’ All Day” by Frisco’s own Sky Balla with E-40 and San Quinn. Messy Marv is free (for now) so you know he’ll be on the grind hard starting with Draped Up and Chipped Out 2. Loft 11 and Suite One 8 One continues to be gracious toward the rap artists and those alike allowing functions to take place in their clubs (Freeway, Keak da Sneak and Trey Songz have all blessed the stage with their presence) and Fillmore is the place to be for all rap concerts (The Clipse and Nas were here). – Kay Newell (Kayshowmaga@aol.com)

Recently the newly single Shaquille O’Neil and Dwayne Wade hosted two separate, sell out parties bringing the Heat in Scottsdale. The Super Bowl also brought exciting parties with A-list celebs including 50 Cent, Ludacris, and many more. With news of the 2009 All-Star game coming to Phoenix, it’s safe to say that the West is back and Phoenix is the place to be! – Jasmine Crowe (mystjazzevp@gmail.com)

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>>>>>

(above L-R): Suge Knight & AP9 @ The Palms in Las Vegas, NV; Clyde Carson & B-Legit @ Poetry Nighclub for E-40’s birthday party in Las Vegas, NV (Photos: D-Ray); Too $hort & David Banner @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: Julia Beverly)

01 // Yung Berg, Sean Kingston, & Ray J @ the W Hotel for Lawman Music Conference (Newark, CA) 02 // Glasses Malone & 211 @ Triq Nightclub (Las Vegas, NV) 03 // DJ Backside & DJ Big Dee @ Poetry (Las Vegas, NV) 04 // DJ Drama & Scoot of Dem HoodStarz @ The Palms for Power Summit reunion (Las Vegas, NV) 05 // Clyde Carson & Maine @ Triq Nightclub (Las Vegas, NV) 06 // Clyde Carson, Baby Boy, & Mistah FAB @ Triq Nightclub (Las Vegas, NV) 07 // DJ Quote & Paul Wall (Denver, CO) 08 // JR Get Money & Baby Boy @ The Palms during Power Summit reunion (Las Vegas, NV) 09 // Ashanti & Desire Temptations @ the W Hotel for Lawman Music Conference (Newark, CA) 10 // Greg Lawley & The Pack @ the W Hotel for Lawman Music Conference (Newark, CA) 11 // DJ Knuckles & The Jacka @ The Palms for Def Jam suite party during Power Summit reunion (Las Vegas, NV) 12 // Y.S. & Baby Bash @ the W Hotel for Lawman Music Conference (Newark, CA) 13 // Mamacita & Glasses Malone @ Triq Nightclub (Las Vegas, NV) 14 // Dee Sonaram & Steve Chavez @ the W Hotel for Lawman Music Conference (Newark, CA) 15 // Tila Tequila & DJ Vlad @ The Palms during Power Summit reunion (Las Vegas, NV) 16 // Kafani The Ice King & Hasi @ Loft 11 for Keak’s birthday party (San Francisco, CA) 17 // Freeway & Traxamillion @ The Palms for Def Jam suite party during Power Summit reunion (Las Vegas, NV) 18 // D-Ray, DJ Backside, & DJ Karmel @ The Palms for Power Summit reunion (Las Vegas, NV) 19 // Mad Linx & Felli Fel @ The Palms during Power Summit reunion (Las Vegas, NV) Photo Credits: All photos by D-Ray except #7 by AZ for FOB Productions

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I

f you were a major recording artist who had songs on the radio and videos in rotation and your manager’s phone was ringing off the hook, would you only perform on tours in big cities at huge arenas or would you also do secondary smaller cities that can’t pay you arena money, but love you just as much as the big city folks? I actually like going to the smaller towns better than the big cities. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no greater feeling than giving a good performance in front of thousands and thousands of fans in a big stadium or arena, but I really like the idea of traveling to a small town, going to the mall, a good restaurant or some local event that’s taking place while I’m there, and then performing that night to a not-so-big crowd that’s full of energy. The folks in the crowd hi-five you and the ladies grab your ankles while they try to come on stage with you. Sometimes after I perform, I go out in the crowd to shake hands and take pictures. People come up to me all the time everywhere I go and say they took a picture with me years ago, got an autograph, or we just met and hung out after one of my shows. It’s a good feeling knowing that thousands, maybe even millions of people, have a Too $hort story to tell. When you’re on a big tour with stage sets, tour buses, dancers, DJs, personal assistants, family, and friends, it’s cool to move around with a large entourage. But when you go into the smaller cities after the big tour is over, sometimes they can only afford to fly you and whoever you really need to make the show happen. If you demand 20 plane tickets and 15 hotel rooms, the promoter might not be able to make a profit because your travel expenses are too high. Only a few artists command that supreme status of never having to go into small markets because they’re so huge at that time. If you want to see them and you live in a small town, you’ll have to drive two or three hours to see them perform in the nearest big city. The majority of us don’t have it like that, and chances are, you don’t either. So I’m asking you again, would you go into the smaller towns and do a show knowing that they can’t pay you big money or fly your cousins and best friends out, too? If you plan on having a long rap career, you might want to consider having a lower price and a set of different demands for those little towns that have big love for you. I’ve flown on planes as small as crop dusters so my fans could see me up close and personal in their hometowns. I’ve jumped off planes in major cities and driven up to four hours to get to cities without commercial airports. Why? I do it because I have maintained close personal ties with promoters, fans, and local artists in both big cities and small cities so that when I’m coming to their area, they’ll have nothing but good things to say about me. If you think networking is only valuable when you do it with industry insiders, you’ve got the game fucked up. Back in the day, I would hear a lot of folks say that they still have a picture they took with me years ago. Now they say, “I put the picture you took with me on my Myspace page.” To me, if my photo is on a bedroom dresser, in a photo book, or on Myspace, that’s all advertising. If someone tells you a story about me, that’s marketing. 25 years into my career, I don’t need a hot single to keep my phone ringing because I’ve built a network of “friends” that I keep in touch with and do business with over and over again. A lot of them are from small towns. If you think you’re so hot that you’re above going into smaller markets and humbling your ego to take a pay cut or trim your entourage down for a day or two, you’ll be missing out on a lot of the benefits they have to offer.

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It’s a good feeling knowing that thousands, maybe even millions of people, have a Too $hort story to tell... If you think networking is only valuable when you do it with industry insiders, you’ve got the game fucked up. if my photo is on [someone’s] bedroom dresser, in a photo book, or on their Myspace page, that’s all advertising. If someone tells you a story about me, that’s marketing.

Whether you live in Atlanta or Houston or New York or the Midwest or the West Coast, look at a map and notice how many cities are within a 5-6 hour driving range or an hour flight away. Get off your high horse and get that money, man. Everybody can’t be Jay-Z or Justin Timberlake on tours that make millions of dollars. Stay in your lane and make sure you don’t go flying past the lil’ towns that love your music without stopping and showing love back. // Photo: D-Ray


(above L-R): Jay-Z & Young Jeezy @ the grand opening of Jay-Z’s 40-40 Club in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: Thaddaeus McAdams); Gorilla Zoe, Flo Rida, & Rick Ross @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: Julia Beverly); Punk & Buddha @ Club Facade in Hollywood, CA (Photo: D-Ray)

01 // Mad Linx & Too $hort @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 02 // J Diggs & Big Dant @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 03 // Guerilla Black, Glasses Malone, & Macadoshis @ Facades for the Nu West Movement (Los Angeles, CA) 04 // Yung Joc, Dre Dae, DJ Blak, & DJ Big Dee @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 05 // Matt Daniels & Mario @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 06 // The Jacka, AP9, & Rydah J Klyde @ The Phoenix Theater for Merry Thizzmas concert (Petaluma, CA) 07 // Antonio Tarver & wife Denise @ the grand opening of Jay-Z’s 40-40 Club (Las Vegas, NV) 08 // Goldie of The Federation & guest @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 09 // Too $hort & AP9 @ The Palms (Las Vegas, NV) 10 // Slim of 112, Mario, & Q of 112 @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 11 // Kuzzo Fly & Big Moe @ The Phoenix Theater for Merry Thizzmas concert (Petaluma, CA) 12 // Gorilla Pits @ The Phoenix Theater for Merry Thizzmas concert (Petaluma, CA) 13 // Boo & Too $hort @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 14 // DJ Q45 & Webbie @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 15 // Troy Marshall @ his son @ Park Plaza Hotel for Interscope’s Christmas party (Los Angeles, CA) 16 // Miami da Most, Kilo & Lil Miami @ The Phoenix Theater for Merry Thizzmas concert (Petaluma, CA) 17 // Rob J Official, Big Dant, DJ Juice, & Kilo @ The Phoenix Theater for Merry Thizzmas concert (Petaluma, CA) 18 // Flo Rida & Baby Boy @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 19 // Paula Patton & Robin Thicke @ the grand opening of Jay-Z’s 40-40 Club (Las Vegas, NV) 20 // Tito Bell, DJ Amen, & Yogi Calhoon @ The Phoenix Theater for Merry Thizzmas concert (Petaluma, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (02,03,08,09,11,12,13,15,16); Julia Beverly (01,05,06,17,18,20); King Yella (10,14); Thaddaeus McAdams (04,07,19)

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She Liked my NECKLACE and started relaxin’, that’s what the fuck I call a… Once I got my money right, Kafani and Pretty Black from The Mob introduced me to Carl at Highline Jewelry. He did 40’s 40 Water chain, all that. I showed him my idea. I’ve been asking him for a piece for a while, I just didn’t have my money right yet. He took a picture of the tattoo on my hand and once he showed me the artwork for it, I was diggin’ it. It was hot. A lot of people have red diamonds, so just to switch it up, I told him to make

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of THE PACK GHOSTBUSTER

“ T

he same ghost character that I have on my chain, I have tattooed on my hand. It’s kinda like my brand or logo for me as an artist and an icon. [It’s modeled after] the ghost Boo, from Mario Kart. I have it tattooed on me, so I just thought it’d be a sick piece. It’s on some whole other shit. I always like to be real creative with whatever I do, so I wanted to make a statement with this chain.

YOUNG L

the ghost’s tongue out of red rubies instead of diamonds. I thought that’d be sicker cause everybody has red diamonds, but I’ve got rubies. It turned out sick. It didn’t cost me that much cause I got a good deal over at Highline. I don’t even know what it’s worth, to tell you the truth, I haven’t gotten it appraised yet cause I just got the chain. I gave him my old chain, my old watch, my top and bottom set of my grill; all my jewels, plus some cash out of my pocket. It’s around 30 carats. Hit me up at Myspace.com/YoungL As told to Julia Beverly Photo by D-Ray


(above L-R): Melyssa Ford & Ray J @ Club Republic for Melyssa Ford’s costume party in Hollywood, CA; AP9 & Kafani Da Ice King @ The Palms in Las Vegas, NV (Photos: D-Ray); Paul Wall & Webbie @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: King Yella)

01 // Lucky & Kafani Da Ice King @ The Palms (Las Vegas, NV) 02 // Too $hort & Mistah FAB @ Kimball’s (Oakland, CA) 03 // Sanford Wallace & Mad Linx @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 04 // DJ Q45, DJ Big Dee, & Gorilla Zoe @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 05 // Mistah FAB & Rydah J. Klyde @ The Phoenix Theater for Merry Thizzmas concert (Petaluma, CA) 06 // Clearly, OZONE is the shit 07 // Mistah FAB, DJ Q45, & David Banner @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 08 // Flo Rida, Rick Ross, & Gunplay of Carol City Cartel @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 09 // Sumthin Terrible @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 10 // Malik Abdul, guest, & Mad Linx @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 11 // Black, Webbie, Courtney Scott, & Mike Fresh @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 12 // Yogi Calhoon & Kuzzo Fly @ The Phoenix Theater for Merry Thizzmas concert (Petaluma, CA) 13 // Neal, Thaddaeus McAdams, & Rico Brooks @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 14 // King Yella, Randy Roper, & Malik Abdul @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 15 // Mob Figaz FedX, AP9, & The Jacka @ 1015 Folsom for Freeway’s album release party (San Francisco, CA) 16 // Gorilla Zoe, Baby Boy, & D-Ray @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 17 // DJ Reflex, DJ Skee, & Glasses Malone @ West Coast Regional Awards (Universal City, CA) 18 // DJ Q45, Dre Dae, Mario, & Mad Linx @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,05,06,08,09,12,15,17); Julia Beverly (02,04); King Yella (03,07,10,11,13,18); Thaddaeus McAdams (14,16)

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Krushadelic NESS I S U B Y L T C STRI minute now. in it to win it for a rushadelic has been tually putting out (ac me ga the in g Eighteen years stron know what it feels like to go to a to records) and has yet a! Straight out of West Oakland, he s the Bay Are for rd ha ng shi phy movement. “I wa Pu 9-5. entatives of the hy w res slo rep t rly tha ea in’ the do s of was one everybody wa /hyphy shit, when s you can hear on some up tempo to my earlier album ck ba ce tra u yo If funk/mob music. he says. that hyphy sound,” h Jullie D. ound Rebellion wit r in a group Undergr Way We Came the ’ gin Dig He began his caree ’t Ain first album They They released their

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. Yes, those good ol’ Don’t Tweek in 1993 by ed low ble, in the fol , 91 19 at Em in s at its most profita ependent music wa .O.P.’s album S.N sed ea early 90’s when ind rel d an also produced sistently cassette tape era. He Starv’n. Since then, he has been con was once or N Po He p. the of cam s t en yle est nm Lif Armada Entertai the m sa fro wa ts ort jec $h pro Too dropping crew (that amous Dangerous tinued pursuing con ur ne a member of the inf pre tre en t, the young member of); after tha r. ee car n ow his . He ent pots, not just rap hands in many differ ases, and all wc sho y ed Krushadelic has his com s, g, writing book business to get is also into producin other facets of the tly collaborated en rec that buck. He (Next Friday, ry Cur with Don “D.C.” “Krushadelic for ) xt Ne er Aft y da Fri dy.” The DVD me Co p Ho Hip ts presen rts, Mike Bonbe Ro y Ton es also featur s you’ve ian ed com ner, and a lot of f Comedy De d an seen on Comic View w at the sho a er eth tog t pu Jam. He nd which kla Oa in tre ea Th Paramount h pressuc in s iew received rave rev w York Ne the as tigious publcations esn’t distract do ll sti t tha t Bu Times. ry goal, which is him from his prima making music. album Ghost He just released the cks, videos, tra ing ng ba h Rider, wit features like and heavy-hitting Too $hort, Keak Chaka Khan, Ray J, many more. He d an , 40 Ek, ea Da Sn Young Bari, ist art w ne a also has et right now ern int the who’s blazin’ derground Un 9th coming soon. The be coming soon, l wil um alb n llio Rebe o books written accompanied by tw self. One is a him n by the Delic Ma industry. “I how-to book on the a book for the ite wr to d nte wa just ow how to go kn y the so s youngster ding contracts, rea , on uti about distrib ve in this mo y all and how to basic ond book will sec e Th d. sai he ,” game experiences in be on Krushadelic’s // the industry. - Nippy Swagga

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(above L-R): Young Buck @ his booth during Magic in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: Julia Beverly); Tito Bell making love to a mannequin @ Magic in Las Vegas, NV; Snoop Dogg, Mistah FAB, & Too $hort @ the Playboy Club for the ‘Life of the Party’ video shoot in Las Vegas, NV (Photos: D-Ray)

01 // The Pack @ Tucson Convention Center (Tucson, AZ) 02 // Cipha Sounds, Angela Yee, Bun B, & Michael Watts @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 03 // Dem Hoodstarz & Roccett @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 04 // J Diggs & Tito Bell @ the Playboy Club for the “Life of the Party” video shoot (Las Vegas, NV) 05 // DMX & Don Salter on the set of Bizzy Bone’s “A Song For You” (Phoenix, AZ) 06 // Bun B & Young Jeezy @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 07 // Roccett & Fabolous @ Strike Bowling Alley in the Rio for Young Jeezy’s listening party (Las Vegas, NV) 08 // Mistah FAB & Layzie Bone @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 09 // Young Jeezy playing with his balls @ Strike Bowling Alley in the Rio for his listening party (Las Vegas, NV) 10 // The Dragons & J Diggs @ the Blow Big Show (Humbolt County, CA) 11 // Vinny Blanco & Chingo Bling @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 12 // TD & Goldie of The Federation @ Spin Nightclub for Magic afterparty (Las Vegas, NV) 13 // King Tech & DJ Revolution @ Power 106 (Los Angeles, CA) 14 // Gary LaRochelle, Cheri Dennis, & DJ Lite @ Glendale Civic Center during Super Bowl weekend (Phoenix, AZ) 15 // B-Luv & Talib Kweli @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 16 // LL Cool J & D-Ray @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 17 // AP9 & Remy Red @ the Blow Big Show (Humbolt County, CA) 18 // Boo, Meezy, & Too $hort @ Spin Nightclub (Las Vegas, NV) 19 // Spider Loc & Bun B @ Spin Nightclub for Magic afterparty (Las Vegas, NV) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,03,04,05,07,09,10,13,15,17); Julia Beverly (02,06,08,11,12,16,18,19)

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Hawkman treet Stuck on S ter, or the spark a change for the bet ife-altering events either kman, it Haw ee, emc red Denver-rea worse—no in betweens. For was the former. ax Cac was murfrequent collaborator, Colf When his blood cousin and out of trouble in n bee ’d , Hawkman, who dered a couple of years ago should have been him. it d, min his In it. lost rly since he hit puberty, nea ,” he says, recalling wasn’t into the street life “I felt guilty because Cac of the streets and out get would urge him to ple could’ve instances where his cousin peo e, all the shit that I’ve don into the studio. “Based on .” him not me, been understood if it would’ve

L

Denver, Co

h his guilt—partly kman is still grappling wit Over two years later, Haw instead of sinking, But up. ed ed, he was lock because when Cac was kill et music. Always stre e pent up emotion to mak he’s chosen to utilize his Elite Entertainhis for ets stre the in or tect playing the role of the pro the dark places he’s ily, Hawk’s music mirrors ment labelmates and fam ns of the world may rpto Sha Al done. While the been and the things he’s es, Hawk has made mak ghetto reality music he have a problem with the n. a dam a solid effort to not give g to them,” the deep in the ghetto; I’m speakin “I’m like a million niggas date, “Gangstar,” to . One of his biggest hits voiced 28 year-old argues ects his ideology. refl ctly dire , hem ant o rad which he claims is a Colo the Kanye “I don’t give a fuck about d I don’t hate “An es, tinu niggas,” he con re’s a place the k on nobody, I just thin . Kanye can’t Hop Hip in ody ryb eve for . They ain’t tell niggas from here shit .” shit t gonna feel tha s due out With his upcoming release y on Elite log ino Crim r, yea t early nex and Mayhem, der Mur and Entertainment C-Bo after by ted which will be presen presence on k’s Haw , jail of out s get he y continues the Midwest rap scene onl mark his ing mak y to grow. Initiall group, MNLD alongside Denver based rap ed to Elite (most of whom are now sign in the sts) arti solo as ent inm Enterta bouts t stan con k’s Haw late-nineties, lined his rap with the legal system side career for a long time. e the music “I really honestly didn’t tak got killed and seriously until my cousin path I’m on that’s what got me on the music side,” the on d use foc g now, bein has two also he t tha ing he says, add uding the Bomb mixtapes circulating, incl “Since I’ve Money hosted by DJ KTone. hing.” mas n bee I’ve , jail of got out reached new His musical work ethic has day, he feels heights. At the end of the cousin. And he has to represent for his e his sound mis pro com to ing he isn’t will for anyone. et shit,” “That’s all I know is the stre e from. I com I re whe at’s he says. “Th but not to es, issu l do speak on politica rwhelm my the point where I let it ove , it’s music for music. I make reality rap are still stuck in who ple peo the turf and that reality.” // Words by Jacinta Howard

14 // OZONE WEST


(above L-R): Flo Rida @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: Julia Beverly); Julia Beverly & Lil Wayne @ Tucson Convention Center in Tucson, AZ (Photo: D-Ray); Too $hort with his $hort Stories article @ Spin Nightclub in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: Julia Beverly)

01 // David Banner @ Record Plant (Hollywood, CA) 02 // Ray J @ Club Vivid (San Jose, CA) 03 // DJ Quote & Juice @ Tucson Convention Center (Tucson, AZ) 04 // Rydah J Klyde, D-Ray, & AP9 @ The Phoenix Theater for Merry Thizzmas concert (Petaluma, CA) 05 // Rick Edwards & Lil Fizz @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 06 // Young Buck @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 07 // Ludacris @ Club Rain during Super Bowl Weekend (Scottsdale, AZ) 08 // DJ Devro @ 1015 Folsom for Freeway’s album release party (San Francisco, CA) 09 // Selah @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 10 // Double D Promotions @ Glendale Civic Center (Glendale, AZ) 11 // DJ Amen @ Tucson Convention Centre (Tucson, AZ) 12 // Fat Ant & Turf Talk @ Kimball’s (Oakland, CA) 13 // Bishop Lamont on the set of Glasses Malone’s “Certified” video shoot (Watts, CA) 14 // DJ Buddha & Pitbull @ Club Mist during Super Bowl weekend (Scottsdale, AZ) 15 // D-Ray & Yung Berg @ Tucson Convention Centre (Tucson, AZ) 16 // Pusha of The Clipse @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 17 // PSD Tha Drivah & Lil PSD @ Benihana’s (Walnut Creek, CA) 18 // Meezy Montana & Taz @ the Blow Big Show (Humbolt County, CA) 19 // Moe @ The Phoenix Theater for Merry Thizzmas concert (Petaluma, CA) 20 // Colby O’Donis on the set of Glasses Malone’s “Certified” video shoot (Watts, CA) 21 // Cheri Dennis @ Glendale Civic Center during Super Bowl weekend (Phoenix, AZ) 22 // Al Lee @ 2 C’s Clothing (San Leandro, CA) 23 // Paul Wall & Gu @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 24 // Kevin Liles @ Club Rain during Super Bowl Weekend (Scottsdale, AZ) 25 // J Diggs @ the Blow Big Show (Humbolt County, CA) 26 // Gorilla Zoe & Julia Beverly @ L’Ermitage (Beverly Hills, CA) 27 // Cyrus @ Tucson Convention Center (Tucson, AZ) 28 // Royal Epic Clothing @ Tucson Convention Center (Tucson, AZ) 29 // Tum Tum @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 30 // Baby Boy @ Spin Nightclub for OZONE New Years weekend (Las Vegas, NV) 31 // The Jacka & Garrett @ 17 Hertz Studio (Hayward, CA) 32 // Taje on the set of Glasses Malone’s “Certified” video shoot (Watts, CA) 33 // Willy Northpole @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 34 // Akon on the set of Glasses Malone’s “Certified” video shoot (Watts, CA) 35 // Bizzy Bone on the set of “A Song For You” (Phoenix, AZ) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,02,05,06,08,12,13,17,18,19,20,22,25,26,28,29,31,32,34); Julia Beverly (03,04,07,09,14,16,21,23,24,27,30,33); Lamar Rashaw (35); Malik Abdul (10,11,15)

OZONE OZONEWEST WEST////15 15


16 // OZONE WEST


Words by Kay Newell // Photo by D-Ray

singles back to back to back. You can’t really refuse us on the next round. How did the song “Video Vixen” come about? BA: We did “Video Vixen” ‘cause we knew it was for the Too $hort compilation, and Too $hort’s favorite word is “bitch.” We wanted to give ‘em somethin’ that was evolved around that subject. Not necessarily that word, but somethin’ around it. We feel like every dude-even if they don’t right now-at one point they looked at a video girl and was like, “I wanna do that,” whether they admit it or not. I know a lot of girls that feel the same way, and even if she don’t wanna be a video vixen she lookin’ at herself in the mirror and sayin’, “I coulda been one of them.” Everybody’s gonna be able to relate to it a little bit. That was the first single for the I Love The Bay compilation.

Since releasing the album in ‘06 have things gone as planned? Band Aid: We were hopin’ for a deal. A few of them came our way. We wasn’t in it for the money ‘cause what they was offering we already got. [They were offering] a few hundred thousand, and people get happy with that few hundred thousand but don’t realize there’s a recording budget, marketing budget, and videos [included]. All of that and they in the hole. We ain’t playin’ that game. How did you guys come together? Scoot: I was doing my solo thang. Me and Band-Aide was in a crew with these niggas called Totally Insane which was my older homies. They let me get on they album in ’98, but I was doing some solo shit when Band-Aide came home from the pen. Before we was rappin’ we was on the block together, feel me? So there never was no beef between y’all? Weren’t you in Totally Insane and Band in a group called Neva Legal? Scoot: I was fuckin’ with them niggas too, but I was always a solo act. We was all just still one crew though. It ain’t like it was Totally Insane ova here, Neva Legal ova there. We was always one crew. You guys are good for doin’ mixtapes. BA: We got this new mixtape called the Cheech and Chong mixtape. We ain’t gave ‘em nothin’ since the last album. They can go to our website or our myspace and listen to it. We plan on droppin’ [the new album] in February, and we gotta couple of meetings with some ole big wigs, so it’s a real good look. Like I said, the money they was offering we already got, so it’s really business with us. Its pretty competitive in the Bay. Do you feel like underdogs? BA: We’re the dudes that’s always been reaching out with everybody in the Bay. When we did our song “Grown Man On” and did the remix, we reached out to everybody from the Bay. We been on some “let’s get our shit together” but you got a couple helium heads that felt like they gotta do it on they own and that’s good, too. But at the same time it’s lonely at the top and it’s hard to get there. Despite your last album droppin’ in ‘06 you guys are still actually promoting the album and releasing singles like it just came out. BA: We got this new video, the “Uggh” remix. We were gonna shoot a video for “Video Vixen,” and still might. That’s up in the air. We got two more videos that we gon’ shoot, and we just gon’ prepare to hit ‘em like the majors. Three

For those outside the Bay, explain a lil’ bit about East Palo Alto? BA: It’s two and a half square miles. We were the murder capital back in ‘92. That’s nothin’ to glorify, but that’s where a lot of people came up [that’s in this rap game]. It’s really a small city filled with Latinos, blacks and a few whites, Asians, pacific islanders, and we all in like one little area. It’s like in a hole, a cage. It’s the smallest city in the Bay Area and there’s a whole lotta tragedy out here. No doubt East Palo Alto is hard, and yet your Lawless record label has a longstanding history for giving back to the community. BA: We been raised around this shit so we tryin’ to show ‘em different-the young ones growin’ up under us. Not tryin’ to come off as no type of role model because I wouldn’t consider myself one, although I wouldn’t lead nobody down a one-way street. I wouldn’t have nobody runnin’ down no path of destruction. We try to lead them in a different way so they see there’s somethin’ else other than the street. We’ve gotten keys to our city and that didn’t mean shit ‘round here cause the police ran up in my grandma’s yard, searched me, stripped me down and took $6,000 out my pocket. I was on my way to a show, I had that money advanced [as a show deposit]. It didn’t really mean shit, but at the same time we were presented with that because of the hard work. We done threw free barbeques, free turkey giveaways, free backpacks for the kids, stop the violence concerts, all that shit out here. It really ain’t no gimmick. We give back to our hood, we been givin’ back to our hood. Would you classify yourselves as part of the hyphy movement? BA: They think the whole Bay is on the hyphy sound, but don’t get it twisted the whole Bay will get hyphy. Tupac was hyphy, E-40, Mac Dre-they been down since hyphy started so it’s just like your energy, and that’s all it is. In Northern California we carry a lotta energy about our stuff. It ain’t necessarily just the music, ‘cause we don’t have hyphy music. Not knockin’ nothin’ on hyphy, but people might think our sound is this way [when] you got muthafuckas from all over this whole Bay with all different sounds, and niggas be on some gutta shit. It’s like Atlanta; how Atlanta got a lot of different sounds. Speakin’ of being different, you guys did a commercial for the CW network? BA: We done been on the CW for the [sitcom] “Kings of Queens.” Our song has been played on TV for [MTV’s] “Rob and Big.” We’ve performed in penitentiaries. There’s hella shit about Dem Hoodstarz that people really need to know about. Like what? BA: Our song, “Grown Man” got more spins than any song in Bay Area history. It surpassed “I Got 5 On It” which had the most spins. //

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Boardgame

meech

life, but that’s so cliché, and that Meech is anything but cliché. Before hitting puberty, he was already stroking a keyboard on stage. Shortly after, he was producing and writing for Tracey Lewis, son of George Clinton, and quickly graduated to working with Clinton himself. Then a meeting with Def Jef, who shared the same management as his mother, evolved into a team known as The Arsenal. A double up of dope producers equated to the biggest hit, “I Got Skillz,” from an unlikely rapper, Shaquille O’Neil. However, Shaq Diesel was far from being his claim to fame. It was the notorious partnership between him and Snoop Dogg that certified him as a West Coast beat dealer. “I did so many songs with him,” Meech recalls, “at one point he [Snoop] was like, me and you, we did like 1,000 songs or something crazy like that. A lot that made sense on those records [Da Game is to Be Told Not Sold, Top Dogg, and The Last Meal], that’s what’s missing right now, but I think we can get back to that.”

W

hen you’ve got music running through your veins, it’s hard to not to come with bangin’ beats. For the past decade, Meech Wells has supplied exactly that. Though less ubiquitous than the West Coast’s favorite Doctor, Meech has been its biggest donor, giving up only that good stuff just to keep the West alive. With his newest project, a street album series entitled The New West World Order, he’s letting it be known that the West Coast ain’t dead, the swagger is still OG, the artists are ready, but what’s lacking is the love. But now with Meech making the transition from donor to surgeon, he’s ready to innovate, to regulate, to resuscitate the West Coast. An advantageous, yet humble beginning is how Meech arrived. Slugs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails are what little boys are supposed to be made of. Lucky for Meech it was a Motown crown and that 70’s soul sound that made him. Like the name he bears, he is a perfect blend of his creators. Nicknamed after his father, Cecil “Meech” Womack, brother to Bobby (think “Across 110th Street” and “If You Think You’re Lonely Now”), he carries on the same steeze which resonates in his beats. Choosing to keep the name Wells, he pays homage to his mother Mary, a wise decision on Meech’s part, considering Mary Wells is one of the most respected artists ever. You’ve probably heard her sampled, and never known it, but your favorite producer does. She made hits like “My Guy,” “The One Who Really Loves You,” “What’s the Matter With You Baby,” and the list goes on. With this blend of ancestry and the environment to cultivate, it was only a matter of time before Meech took over the family business. As a natural born citizen of L.A., it was easy for him to get trapped by street 18 // OZONE WEST

Resurrecting classic Snoop, though, is not top priority on his agenda; it’s about orchestrating the success of the New West. Meech is “banking on these young kids” to bring something else to his music, something else to the West. He believes in evolving because “we can’t stay on the same level; everything has to develop with the technology.” The first installment of The New West World Order, mixed by DJ Hustle, offers this fresh sound and gets you acquainted with the West’s next generation. The street album features The Game, Juice, Jay Rock, E-White, Topic, Glasses Malone along with his own artists, Eastwood, Young Joker, and Young Mack. It is West Up for sure, but also serves up a different dose that the Left Coast is in dire need of. It’s the rebuilding of the community bringing the New West together, and passing the torch. “It’s cool when others blow up,” Meech acknowledges, “It’s good for all of us.” With websites like myspace.com and dubcnn.com, Meech is taking advantage of technology and laying down the foundation for a New West Coast community. “This is what needs to happen: People need to keep dropping stuff and doing like the other coasts. Like [Lil] Wayne; he’s got 20 some mixtapes out, and I know it’s hard without the budget, but they got to keep on… if you fall off and doing articles but not dropping nothing, what’s the point?” And dropping them New West bombs is what Meech is all about. He’s staying relevant and making sure everyone’s staying active. With his company, In The Zone Production, where “it’s beyond beats, it’s about business,” he’s slowly bringing back a pulse to West Coast Hip Hop. Reach out to Meech Wells at myspace.com/tharealmeechwells. // Words by bombai // Photo by Money Moses


CINO

ORGANIZED GRIND WORDS: N. ALI EARLY

B

orn in Compton, California, Vegas based rapper Cino indulged, in real life, the cinematic fervor that most movie directors live to fantasize over. While his Bel Air peers were sizing up rims for their new Benzes, he was embracing the pressure of living as a fourth generation Carver Park Compton Crip. By the age of 21 his good conscience forced him to make a decision as to whether he would continue to risk his life on the same streets that were rapidly absorbing his friends and family, or find reprieve in some other city. Since choosing Sin City two defining years ago, the 23-year-old has found himself focused and more importantly, a main component in the family that is Triple P Records. Upon impressing CEO Dwayne “Crum” Crumwell enough to organize a seven month multi-city/state promotional tour through the South, which included Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and Arkansas, Cino’s spent his days wrapping up In The Closet – his unofficial mixtape debut and an as yet untitled debut album to follow. What was your experience in Compton where gangbangin’ is concerned? I’m like the fourth generation from my neighborhood. My daddy was one of the young foot soldiers back in the 70’s. We had the 80’s on lock and I’m fourth generation from my block. But you know, a nigga tried to turn himself around. I wouldn’t say I was the hardest, but being hard is not [an option] when that’s all you grew up around.

“Anywhere you go you got niggas somewhere outdoing the next, but most niggas don’t speak on what they did and I’m one of them cats.”

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“I always was a nigga that chased them broads. I always liked women. I can’t fake it.” 20 // OZONE WEST


What set you claim? Carver Park. It’s over there in Willowbrook District, but it’s Compton nigga rules. It states that Carver Park is Compton. We right on the other side of Nickerson Gardens. But in my music, you’ll see that it’s a difference. I’m a little something different. You wouldn’t even expect a nigga that comes from that area to be makin’ that type of music. So what is your message? What are you talkin’ about? I tell you about my life and things that I experience. Then I got the message songs with the substance also. But for the most part, I like to rap to the girls. I like to rap to the women. We got a lot of ugly goin’ on, but at the same time people want to have fun. I like havin’ fun. What straight nigga’ gon’ say he don’t like women? It sounds like you weren’t in a whole heap of trouble before the move to Vegas. Your immediate goal wasn’t bein’ the “hardest nigga” — The thing about that, if a nigga will sit here and tell you he the hardest, he a damn lie. It’s a gang of niggas out here doin’ whatever. Anywhere you go you got niggas somewhere who’s outdoing the next, but most niggas don’t speak on what they did and I’m one of them cats. I try to keep things quiet and to the side. I moved out here to change my life and find something different. But where your story is concerned, what happened to make you want to leave? Basically, fuckin’ around with knuckleheads and me being one all at the same time, I can’t just put the blame on everybody else. Me fuckin’ with knuckleheads, being a knucklehead, doin’ wild shit, I had to look at myself. I had homeboys from my inner circle that I grew up with, dyin’. Some of my homeboys was dead. Niggas was facin’ seven years. My other nigga had just got seventeen [years]. My little cousin is fighting his case right now. All that type of shit. Being amongst it and being a part of it, sooner or later it’s going to catch up with you. What you live by you go by. But there wasn’t anything specific or a general incident that happened that made you want to bounce? It was everything. Two years before I moved out here, [I had two] homeboys [named] Lamar, same name, different families. They both grew up on the block with me. One was involved in some hood shit, got killed. The other one was just being him and ended up getting killed. I’m from a neighborhood, I ain’t gon’ lie, we ain’t too much loved by the rest of the city. We don’t have a lot of friends. We don’t click up with niggas. Niggas don’t really like my neighborhood and don’t nobody really get along with us, cause it’s a lot of knuckleheads and niggas do a lot of stupid shit. I was trapped in that frame of mind and had to get away from it. But I seen a lot of that shit and it wasn’t no good comin’ from it. Regardless, I love my niggas. I love my hood, but sometimes you gotta do for yourself. The hood ain’t gon’ be there all the time. You can talk about that homie love and all that type of shit, but niggas ain’t gon’ pay your bills for you or nothin’. So did you already have a network when you moved to Vegas? Is that part of the reason why you went there or was it a leap of faith? I had a brother. My brother stays out here, so I just moved out here. I didn’t know nobody from the label. A nigga moved out here lookin’ to find work, really. From where I’m from it’s real crowded in California and it’s harder to find jobs. So I was lookin’ to find a job. What kind of work were you doing? I had a little factory job. A nigga was workin’ at a warehouse – Clark County Community Food Bank. Got boxes down, delivered shit, basically just maintaining the warehouse. How’d you hook up with Triple P Records? It actually happened at work. It was a man by the name of Barry Brag. He played the guitar and one day niggas was at work and he started playin’. I was like, “I didn’t know you played the guitar,” and he said, “I play everything.” So he started playin’ and I started spittin’. So he was like, “Man, my homeboy got a studio,” which is the CEO of the company – Dwayne Crumwell a.k.a. Crum. He called Wayne on the phone one day and I spit something for him. Next day I got a call from the Vice President of the label. I spit, spit again and they wanted me to come through the studio. I’m thinkin’ they’re just auditioning me one day and I do a freestyle to a BG beat and next thing I know it’s going on the Gangsta Grillz (Insane Gangsta Grillz) mixtape. So we did the last one with Drama before he got cracked. So after that I was fuckin’ with Triple P real heavy. We live in a reality conscious society/industry and we love to represent. How

do you feel about being a real nigga from Compton, in Vegas, on some rap shit? I don’t really think it’s no problem, cause the key word is “real.” I always been a real nigga. All the niggas from my family was real niggas and all the niggas from my circle is real niggas. I don’t never have problems goin’ back to my hood. I visit my hood often. I was just down there. It’s really that our label is about talent, so that’s what it is. Real recognize real. It don’t matter where you at. I’m always going to forever rep my city cause that’s where I’m from. That’s where I was born and raised. It’s just my label is based out of Vegas. On the flip side, what about Vegas? Do you feel a duty to include the place where you are and give it some shine? Yeah, I hear you. Vegas, it goes down out here and all that type of stuff. I ran into a lot of real muthafuckas and I ran into a lot of muthafuckas that wasn’t so real. But shit, I ran into both in Compton too, from everywhere. So basically, it don’t really matter where you from, long as you a real muthafucka and you a man of yo’ word and you a straight up nigga. You’ll never have problems out of me and I’ma fuck with you. But if you on some other type shit, I can’t deal with you. I don’t care where you from. What types of strides have you made with Triple P since signing with them? Right now, they gave me a real opportunity to really pursue my dream and go after what I know. I’m working on my album. We got a lot of shit comin’ up. We got shows. They hooked me up with a real bomb ass producer by the name of Dub Knox. He from the Bay, a real West Coast producer. He grimey with it. He go hard. He hooked me up with another dude by the name of Ishmael and he’s a master with the keys. So basically, it’s like they puttin’ me in all the right places and puttin’ me in the right people’s company. I’m gettin’ all the right beats. I could be on some hood shit, cause that’s what I grew up around. But then at the same time, I gotta be me. I always was a nigga that chased them broads. I always liked women. I can’t fake it. That’s going to be in my music and I like to have fun. I do my thang. What about product? We actually workin’ on a mixtape right now. We did a lot of them songs in the closet while we was on the road. Real shit. Stuff that I experienced while I was on the road. We got a lot of things goin’. And we workin’ on my album at the same time too. My album’s almost finished. We lookin’ to work with different cats. The album is so different and doin’ so much that we got like four or five potential singles. It’s goin’ down. Y’all started workin’ the radio yet? Shit, a little bit. We been feedin’ it to DJs and we been gettin’ a good response out of them. A lot of DJs gettin’ back at us askin’ what they can do to help out with my project; club DJs and radio DJs. We gettin’ good feedback. They wanna know if they can put my songs on their mixtapes and they playin’ it in the clubs and stuff like that. Being the third artist on the label, how do you feel about your chances, seeing what they did or didn’t do? I feel my chances are real good because I got people behind me that’s workin’ too. We all got a goal that we’re tryna meet. We all wanna make it in this industry. We’re an independent label. We’re tryna get it and basically we’re all grinding. So when you see somebody grinding like that and you a hustler and you come from a hustler’s background and you grind also, it’s lovely. We all doin’ our thang. Everybody is doing what it takes to get us to that next level. What do you hope to accomplish as a rapper? What are your goals? First of all to live better, to do better by my family. I want to have longevity in this music business, venture off into other things and set a foundation for my family. I want to create businesses, go back home and set up some programs. I got dreams of doin’ that. You got people who can’t feed themselves, clothe themselves or know how to get a job to do that. So I plan on helping people. What should we expect from that album? We got a lotta shit. We touchin’ everywhere. We make music for everybody. I’m a hood nigga. I make music for the hood and that’s what I surround myself with. I love my niggas and they love me back. But I was always that type of person that didn’t just think hood. I always had a mind of my own. Not to say that niggas that think hood ain’t got they own mind, but I was always my own person. My nigga DW, when we first did it, I told him I was thinkin’ Amsterdam. I’m thinkin’ everywhere. Not just regional or coastal. I’m thinkin’ oversees as well as hood, East Coast, West Coast, down South… I’m thinkin’ for all that. I’m makin’ music for everybody. //

OZONE WEST // 21


(L-R) Krondon, Phil The Agony, and Mitchy Slick

Strong Arm Steady 22 // OZONE WEST


MIX AND MOB Words by DJ Backside // Photo by D-Ray

T

he Strong Arm Steady Gang is really serious. They’re serious about their music, serious about their grind, and even serious when it came to this interview. A Southern Cali, West Coast Hip Hop group formed in 2002 with original member Xzibit, they began putting together mixtapes in 2003. Since then, Krondon, Phil The Agony, and Mitchy Slick have had a cumulative 30+ mixtapes released to the streets of Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Atlanta, New York, and beyond. Their debut street album was released last August 2007 and with a new deal through Blacksmith/Warner Bros., they plan to release their first major label album in 2008. Who else was initially a part of the group Strong Arm Steady? Krondon: Xzibit was part of the official group. And really, Strong Arm Steady is a movement; we are just the face of it. We got cats like Chase Infinite and Planet Asia, and Mitchy Slick has got a label called Wrongkind Records. We got people from the Bay and down South and east coast that are part of the movement, like Talib Kweli. We are just the faces. It came together as a platform for new artists to be heard. What is Xzibit’s role in the group right now? Krondon: He’s just inspiration from far off places. He doesn’t partake in any of the recordings right now, but he’s definitely with us in spirit. Why do you do so many mixtapes? Mitchy Slick: Well, that was the whole concept and plan. [We took] the idea that Dipset was doin’ on the East coast, and we were the first to do it on the West Coast. We did it because there wasn’t any other way for our music to be heard. Now everybody wants to say that shit, but really we were the first to jump on that scene and bring it out here. The flood of mixtapes now is crazy though. Phil the Agony: Yeah, I mean, we was at the W hotel, and the W hotel had a mixtape.

As artists that are known well on the underground Hip Hop circuit, especially through your mixtapes, you seem to travel a lot. Do you have any crazy stories from being on the road so much? Mitchy Slick: Just that slow grind. I come from the underground West Coast gangsta rap. You know, Brother Lynch, E-40 and all that. A lot of people don’t understand why we ain’t eatin over here on the West Coast. We go to New York, and they be on us, Germany, Norway, all that. It’s really mean on that road, rockin’ shows everyday. Havin’ to drink warm tea and honey and all that shit. It’s work. Krondon: But you get to see people’s lifestyles in different places—like how people live in Norway and shit, and then you go to a place like Atlanta and see how these big records develop and shit, and then come back to the West Coast and see how these records don’t develop out here. But what about some crazy road stories? Krondon: No. Those that tell don’t know, and those that know don’t tell. So you have the Deep Hearted album out now, and looking to put out another album in 2008. Are you getting away from the mixtape game? Phil the Agony: No, mixtapes are like exercise for us, because it might be a Prince loop or some Michael Jackson sample that we can’t clear, that we might want to rhyme over. That’s what mixtapes are for. Krondon: Yeah, and sometimes, the beat might deserve a better song. Why did it take two years for Deep Hearted to come together? Phil the Agony: This is a street album, just to put out there with songs that we have been doing with people from all over like Juvenile, Ras Kass, Paul Wall, Chamillionaire, [and] Talib [Kweli]. We put Deep Hearted together so that it could be all collaboration songs, so once the real album comes out, Arms and Hammers through Blacksmith/Warner Bros., people can just focus on the group. The Arms and Hammers album is goin’ to sound West Coast-like when Dr. Dre says, “When you come to the West Coast, this is how your music is goin’ to sound.” The time frame thing was that in the middle of making Deep Hearted we got a situation with Blacksmith/Warner where they will put some serious money behind it. But for right now, go get that Deep Hearted. It’s all across the map, it’s worldly and it’s ghetto shit on there too. You all came together as solo artists. Is that what the future holds as well? Phil the Agony: Right now we are pushing the brand of Strong Arm Steady. Everyone knows us individually, but we’ve been workin’ on pushin’ the brand first. But we definitely will have solo albums comin’ after. It’s like WuTang; a lot of great minds comin’ together. //

OZONE WEST // 23


dj booth

DJ Rah2k Mix and Flip WORDS BY ANDREW BESS

O

ver the past five years, the Bay Area’s DJ Rah2k has been grinding out mixtapes with the fury only matched by few. Rah networked with the Drama King DJ Kay Slay, joined forces with Streetsweepers and over the last year has contributed over 70 mixtapes to the game. Not to mention, he is the official DJ for Sick Wit It Records own Turf Talk. Let’s get it poppin’ - forget the Bankhead, bounce with the Bay. A lot of music is generated by regional sound. Being from the Bay, what makes your sound different from the rest of the region? First off, a lot of these DJs don’t break records. That’s something I think I do different. Also, I bring an East Coast attitude to the mixtape game out here talking shit, doing shoutouts to stores, labels, and sponsors. I think my style of mixing and hosting is one of a kind. Not too many DJs in the Bay can rock the turntables and rock the mic at the same time. This is why I get a lot of mixtape hosting as well as club gigs, cause I’m a beast when I’m DJing. I’ve traveled all around the country and seen a lot of DJs and most of them just play their region’s [music]. How did you get involved with the Drama King DJ Kay Slay and the rest of the Streetsweepers? I hooked up with DJ Radio of Streetsweepers through my dude DJ E-Rock of Sick Wit It Records, and now we have a series called That’s The Bizzness. We’ve made over a dozen different tapes. Last year I went out there for the Mixtape Awards and chilled with Radio and Slay, and I’ve been in Radio’s ear about bringing the Streetsweeper movement out here. I hit Slay about it and he told me to rep it out here and that if I ever need anything to holler at him. You are also the official DJ for Sick Wit It Records’ Turf Talk, who is E-40’s cousin. How did you become his DJ? (laughs) This was dope, I remember I was DJing this club called Angels in San Jose, and I saw Mugzi and my dude Nanell & E-Rock outside. I’m inside mashing up the club with hella Bay shit and once I see Turf and Mugzi and the rest of Sick Wit It Records enter the venue, I start running thru hella Sick Wit It Record cuts. Mugzi told me to call him and I thought I played some exclusive shit that I shouldn’t have. Anyways, he called and asked me to DJ for Turf Talk. Of course I said yes. A lot of the Bay Area is nationally associated with hyphy music. What are your thoughts on critics saying it was just a fad? That’s what really put us out there on TV, but I would tell the critics to come out here. There’s a lot more then hyphy going on and artists are really making good music. It’s not just hyphy and ghostriding your whip. We just gotta keep pushing for these radio stations to pick up on Bay area music.

24 // OZONE WEST

You’ve worked with Bay artists like E-40, Big Rich, San Quinn, and others like Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, Akon, and T-Pain. Who has been the best to work with and why? Turf Talk and Big Rich are the easiest and best to work with - both got hella bars, and when it comes down to it they about business. Juelz Santana was high as a kite when he hosted a mixtape for me one time and that shit was a hella funny session. Mixtape DJs put in a lot of work but don’t get recognized for it. You’ve dropped over 70 mixtapes alone in 2007. Why do you think mixtape DJs have to work harder than your average artist who drops a record or two a year? That’s simple. Money talks - mixtape DJs do it themselves. I know for a fact that a lot of artists you see in magazines with full page ads get outsold by mixtape DJs. Think about that for a second - the DJ sells more then the artist. It all goes back to money and promo budget. As for me, I’m just pushing tape after tape to support these artists who don’t have major labels behind them to pump their single. You were recently nominated for “Best West Coast Mixtape DJ” for Justo’s Mixtape Awards. What does that mean to your career as a mixtape DJ? All the hard work has amounted to something, not just selling tapes to support my rock star habits. This is what I do day in and day out. I eat, sleep, and shit mixtapes. What other West Coast DJs are you up against? Honestly, I’m not gonna even step on anyone’s ego, so I’m gonna say log onto www.themixtapeawardsonline.com and see for yourself. You’ve had a strong presence this year in the mixtape game. What do you have lined up for 2008? Some projects I’m working on are with artists like Balance, Hot Rod of G-Unit, my dude Bailey, Papoose, Mistah FAB, and Turf Talk. Many artists who are successful in the mixtape circuit aren’t able to pull [their audience] it over to mainstream albums. Why is there such a big difference between albums and mixtapes? I can say that if you doing mixtape numbers over 20-30,000 you should just keep it up, cause someone will notice the fact you pushing weight. Go to as many functions like the Power Summit or award shows anywhere there are record labels. I’ve seen artists do good numbers with street albums, but when it comes to a mixtapes, they might not do so well. It all comes down to if you have a good following and if you have the bars to beat the rest of the competition. //


Too $hort/Get Off The Stage/Jive With his 17th release and an ever-increasing fan base full of new booties, it only makes sense that Short goes back to his roots on Get Off The Stage. Sardonic and scornful throughout, he’s straightforward on the title track, warning groupies (male and female) to kick rocks: “I don’t come to your job tryna flip yo burgers/ I can handle this crowd/ I don’t need your service.” The verbal beatdown continues on “Broke Bitch,” “Shittin’ On Em” and “FUCK YOU,” where he and Mistah FAB trade verses and insults – conceptually of course. – N. Ali Early J-Hype/About My Thizzness/Thizz Ent. As Thizz Nation continues to move about the Bay Area extended, its devout soldiers never miss an opportunity to rep the label Mac Dre built. So goes Mac Dre and Thizz Nation Presents: About My Thizzness, a moving testament to the charismatic rapper. “I Been Out Here,” featuring San Quinn, Rydah J. Klyde and Chop Da Hook Man, is among the tracks where Hype deviates from the Nation’s norm. However, Hype’s desire to rep is loud and clear on “Thizz 4 Life,” “California Dreams Pt. 2” and the Furl-assisted “Space Age Hustle.” – N. Ali Early Clinton Place #9/Never Judge a Book: A Journey Through The Industry In forging necessary relationships with some of the West Coast’s more reputable emcees, Brick City born producer Clinton Place #9 has arrived at a place where he wants to give back. He does just that on Never Judge a Book: A Journey Through The Industry, a compilation featuring lyrical hurlers like Yukmouth, Kurupt, Westside Connection, Roscoe and Canibus, among others. A convincing ride from beginning to end, Never Judge a Book… boast contributions from Dae One and Sir Jinx, hard hitting beats, clever word play and relative subject matter that make it an instant West Coast street classic. – N. Ali Early

Bishop Lamont/Pope Mobile Without so much as a video or a mainstream single, Dr. Dre protégé Bishop Lamont has easily established himself as one of the most dexterous emcees on the Coast. His sociopolitical charged material continues to impress on Pope Mobile. Lamont does his part to edify the listening public on “Anyway,” then offers biological tales of triumph on “Music Shit.” He unapologetically goes at industry cats on “Rappers Wanna Sing,” ultimately urging Nick Cannon to stay in his lane on the amusing hook. The gospel influenced “Street Theology” though, is perhaps the most impressive track, where Bishop manages to teach, not preach. Chuuuuch!! – N. Ali Early Crooked I, DJ Felli Fel & DJ Nik Bean/St. Valentine Day Bossacre On this mixtape, hosted by DJ Felli Fel and DJ Nik Bean, Crooked I drops lyrically superior freestyles over Rick Ross’ “The Boss” and Snoop Dogg’s “Boss’ Life” instrumentals, amidst new bangers like “Crooked Don’t Dance” and “My Life 2.0.” Mr. Hip Hop Weekly may be well into 40 plus weeks of his unprecedented once a week freestyle series, but couple that with the new music on St. Valentine Day Bossacre, and that’s enough to make him a legitimate candidate to bring the West back when his long awaited debut album B.O.S.S.: Being Of Something Serious finally hits the streets. — Randy Roper

OZONE WEST // 25


endzone

I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T women gettin’ a handful of Webbie Venue: Spin Nightclub Event: OZONE’s New Years Eve City: Las Vegas, NV Date: December 31st, 2007 Photo: D-Ray

26 // OZONE WEST


OZONE WEST // 27

Ozone West #64 - Feb 2008  

Ozone West #64 - Feb 2008

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