RAW, UNCENSORED WEST COAST RAP SHIT
LIVE FROM FEDERAL PRISON
H A L A S U H Z A G I F B O OF THE M
DOPE, GUNS, & RELIGION
YUKMOUTH Drugs Are In His Nature
TOO $HORT Hustlin’ Isn’t The Only Option SAN QUINN Gettin’ Grown
King of Oakland
The Silverback Gorilla
GER N I N PR AMEre S I J J D mo HA &
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editor’s note NEW BeGINNINGS
Publisher Julia Beverly
(BUT I’m NOT NEW)
Editor-AT-LARGE D-Ray GRAPHIC DESIGNER David KA Music EditorS Randy Roper Maurice G. Garland ADVERTISING SALES Che Johnson Isiah Campbell Contributors Big Fase 100, DJ BackSide, DJ E-Z Cutt, Jelani, Jessica Essien, Joey Colombo,Kay Newell, Keita Jones, Luvva J, Nippy Swagga, Portia Jackson, Shemp, Todd Davis, Ty Watkins Street Reps Anthony Deavers, Bigg P-Wee, Big Will, Dee1, Demolition Men, DJ Jam-X, DJ Juice, DJ KTone, DJ Nik Bean, DJ Quote, DJ Skee, DJ Strong & Warrior, J Hype, Jasmine Crowe, John Costen, Juice, Kewan Lewis, Luvva J, Maroy, Rob J Official, Rob Reyes, Shauntae Hill, Sherita Saulsberry, Sly Boogy, Syd Robertson, Tonio, Twin, William Major, Zack Cimini COVER CREDITS Husalah photo courtesy of V. Alston.
art of the game is understanding that this industry is cutthroat. Being a female in it is even worse! You really have to earn the respect you receive. You’re gonna have many doors shut in your face. Sometimes you’ll understand it and learn to respect it, but other times you’ll be confused. I’ve learned not to be confused – just understand that they have BITCHASSNESS in them! Thanks for the word Diddy! It truly fits a lot of situations. I’m gonna put something out here right now to make a lot of people wonder. Somebody asked me to shoot a few artists at a XXL party as their personal photographer. Mind you, the party was in the Bay Area! Holla! I am the Bay! I said it! Check the photo credits. Check my resume. The Bay is what I am! So when you come to the Bay you should already know who to call. That’s real, not arrogant. I didn’t commit to the shoot because I was scheduled to be in L.A., but I didn’t make it to L.A. so I figured I’d support a Bay party, XXL or not, because my family is gonna be in the house. Like I normally do, I hit the host of the party to confirm my arrival so there wouldn’t be any surprises at the door. Since I’ve known him for years I figured there would be no problems. Boy, was I wrong! I was told that I was welcome to come, but not my camera.
tion, and trust that if I had had my wrapped truck at that time, I would’ve made sure it was parked out front! Later I found out that they had other photographers hit the party claiming they shot for OZONE. I guess their cameras didn’t carry the fear mine did. Now I realize that my camera is a threat! OZONE WEST! Statements are being made! So, West Coast, stand tall and show that we deserve this before the shine ends! The XXL reps are haters. I know their magazine is feeling the OZONE invasion! Remember, it’s all about the team you pick. XXL used to be big out here, but trust me, the streets and the barbershops can’t wait for the new issue of OZONE! OZONE is not new at all. It’s been around and it gets around. It’s not just in the West Coast and it’s not a new publication. JB has been putting it down! She’s the down south queen that made that team effort to support who she believed in, and the artists made the effort to pay out of their own pockets to support the mag! Look at the folks she was down with from the beginning – Pitbull, David Banner, Lil Boosie – I can go on and on!
So I try to compose my attitude and stay professional. Okay. If you know me, you know I don’t leave the house without my camera in my Louis Vuitton camera bag and my Chucks on my feet. Why else would I be out if it’s not work? I’m not trying to kick it. Please. I don’t drink. The reason was the fear of the photos being placed in a competing magazine??
WEST COAST, let’s get it together. If this isn’t a hobby for you and your label, invest in your career and respect the people that help you and believe in you. Don’t blind yourself or let your management blind you to believe that you did it yourself, because baby, you didn’t! You sure like to see yourself in that OZONE West photo gallery. That’s US supporting YOU. So where do you come in? We’ll continue to do our part, and all we ask is that you do your part. What other magazine shows so much love to West Coast artists (not counting Snoop)? What up, Snoop? My point is – get your business up!
OZONE TOOK OVER. That’s the way I took that conversa-
- D-RAY, firstname.lastname@example.org
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RAPQWEST PHOTO GALLERIES SHORT STORIES CHAIN REACTION PATIENTLY WAITING: CHRIS NOTEZ PATIENTLY WAITING: HAJI SPRINGER
16-18 husalah 19 20 21 22-23 24 25 26
LIL D SAN QUINN MUGZI YUKMOUTH DJ BOOTH: DJ AMEN CD REVIEWS END ZONE
MAMA SAID KN OCK YOU OUT! Me & LL Cool J at Magic in Vegas! OZONE WEST //
> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > city >>>> Don’t see your ?
SEA-TAC, WA (The 206/253/360 & The 604 Too!)
Look for the Live From I-5 Brand’s Price of The Game release, focused on an anti-prison theme and executive produced by Seattle media-executive, Kitty Wu. The 206 Zulus just celebrated their 4 year anniversary with visitors coming from NY, Philly, Arizona and Oregon. 206 Zulu will also host the Hip Hop segment of the long-lived Folk Life Festival. A brand new Hip Hop format station may be launching in Vancouver, BC – we miss the old Beat 94.5! Check for Think Tank Studios’ compilation, a D&D-like project. Finally, look for Ghetto Prez and Block Teamsters’ new lifestyle magazine, Night EFX. - Luvva J (Myspace.com/luvvaj)
artists clubs, DJs and t us know which m Hit us up and le esenting: JB@ozonemag.co repr are worthy of
PORTLAND, OR (503)
In an effort to escape the haters, Portland OG on the mic, Cool Nutz is supposedly quitting America and heading to Norway with The Source’s Soren Baker documenting the trip – true or false? I saw him rockin’ The Mint in Olympia, WA… Andre Nickatina and Coco are headlining a tour that will touch Portland in early March for the annual Pisces Party. Rookie on the IR, Greg Oden, threw a major bash with the A-listers in full effect. Look for new music from Portland’s own Braille, Lilla Damone, Siren’s Echo and Kenny Mack & 6ix. When you come to the 503, check out The Ohm and Greek Cuisine. - Luvva J (Myspace.com/luvvaj)
DENVER, CO (303, 720)
One of the biggest weekends in town, besides All-Star, hit Denver. DJ Ktone’s birthday bash weekend brought to town artists like Big Tuck, DJ Drama, Kia Shine and OG Ron C for a four day extravaganza. Young J.R.’s album release with E-40 and Jayo Felony was huge, and an unknown promoter brought Chingy to town and flopped. Young Doe is set to drop his new album A Product of the Eighties, and Innerstate Ike is dropping Turf Barbie Doll Radio. DJs Big Spade, Chief Rocka, Sabotage, Desert E, Ktone, Krhyminyl, Kdj Above, and 4M are keeping the city moving with weekly spots. Vouch Mag is set to launch real soon so be on the lookout for that. - DJ Ktone (Myspace.com/djktonedotcom)
Oakland, CA (510)
A recent parking lot shooting left three people wounded at Zazoos. This situation was the last straw for city officials. The promoter surrendered their cabaret permit leaving the town without an official Top 40/Hip Hop club to party at (for now). In the meantime, the Paramount Theater plays the alternative for the grown and sophisticated as it hosts Keith Sweat and Bell Biv Devoe’s Ladies Night Reunion Tour. Chris Rock will perform four sold-out nights on the strength that the town loves a good laugh. - Kay Newell (Kayozonemag@gmail.com)
LAS VEGAS, NV: (702)
San Jose, CA (408)
The Southbay is a whole different breed surrounded by multi-million dollar corporations and the police department’s zero tolerance policy. Nonetheless, with all that money floatin’ around, Silicon Valley has a tremendous nightlife. KMEL’s DJ Rick Lee and super-hyphy producer Traxamillion hold down open mic Wednesdays at the Underground Spot inside UGMX Studios. It’s open to all ages and no ID is required. The ultra sexy Fahrenheit lounge and restaurant is for the valley’s fashionably elite with an event happening every night (like Karaoke on Mondays and College Night on Tuesdays) and rotating DJs in the mix. And don’t miss the action on Friday and Saturday nights at Cuchini’s and just up the way in the city of Sunnyvale the spot to be is Abyss. - Kay Newell (Kayozonemag@gmail.com)
Phoenix, AZ (602,623, 480)
It’s been “magical” in Vegas with the Magic Fashion Convention bringing many people in the industry together over a 3 day span. Jay-Z, Beyonce, Diddy, LL Cool J, and Young Jeezy were all spotted at the Magic Convention. Undefeated boxing champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather celebrated his birthday at Jet Nightclub. His next fight is scheduled in the WWE ring at Wrestlemania on Pay Per View. Everyone’s been sliding through keeping it lit in Vegas. Both Poetry and Spin Nightclub have been battling for the best acts with performers rockin’ both clubs including Lil Wayne, Young Buck, E-40, DJ Kid Capri, Ray J, Yung Berg, and Fabolous. The scene is sizzlin’ before the summer begins. - Portia Jackson (PortiaJ@sprint.blackberry.net)
San Francisco, CA (415)
VALLEJO, CA: (707)
While the city of Vall-E-Jo continues making headlines in their efforts to avoid being the first California city to go bankrupt, E-40 is putting the final touches on his soon-to-be released album Ball Street Journal. The first single, “Turf Drop,” produced by and featuring Lil Jon, proves that hyphy isn’t dead. - Kay Newell (Kayozonemag@gmail.com)
Famed Hip Hop journalist Eric Arnold put Hip Hop station 106 KMEL (and music director Big Von Johnson) on blast for [editor’s note: “allegedly”] killing the hyphy movement and its lack of proper support toward Bay artists. There’s a lot of rattled nerves in the station so this should have an interesting outcome. The nightlife continues to flourish all over town as promoters Location415 keep it crackin’ with special events for the Bay’s beloved sports teams (Warriors, Raiders, 49ers). Just up the Peninsula, Wild 94.9’s DJ E-Rock and KMEL’s DJ Rick Lee get in the mix at the newest hotspot Gossip Ultra Lounge in San Mateo. - Kay Newell (Kayozonemag@gmail.com)
Weeks after the shocking Super Bowl win for the New York Giants, the most watched Super Bowl to-date, Phoenix is still cooling off from one hot weekend. The OZONE Super Bowl edition featuring Bizzy Bone on the cover led all the fans to the star-studded events including parties from companies like Playboy and Victoria’s Secret, to events featuring T-Pain, Flo Rida, Fat Joe, P. Diddy and more. This month G-Unit’s Sha Money XL brought us the highly attended One-Stop-Shop Producers Conference on with more than 700 producers hitting the Valley. It’s called the One Stop Shop by Money Management Group because there is no other place you can go to sell tracks to A&R’s, find a good manager, and shop for a publishing deal. It was one sure stop for March! - Jasmine Crowe (email@example.com)
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(above L-R): Travis Barker & Mistah FAB @ Jet Nightclub in the Mirage for Stars & Straps Magic afterparty in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: D-Ray); Young Buck, Roccett, & Young Jeezy @ Jet for Famous Stars & Straps Magic afterparty in Las Vegas, NV; Lil Wayne & Mack Maine @ Tucson Convention Center in Tucson, AZ (Photos: Julia Beverly)
01 // The Federation @ Poetry (Las Vegas, NV) 02 // Mitchy Slick & ladies @ Club Asia in Planet Hollywood (Las Vegas, NV) 03 // Big Tuck @ the Yums booth during Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 04 // Keisha Nicole & Devi Dev on the set of Glasses Malone’s “Certified” video shoot (Watts, CA) 05 // Roccett & Red Cafe @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 06 // Yung Joc & Doug E Fresh @ Glendale Civic Center during Super Bowl weekend (Phoenix, AZ) 07 // Lil Wayne & guest @ Tucson Convention Center (Tucson, AZ) 08 // Doug E Fresh’s sons Tripps, Gleamz, & Slim of Square Off @ Glendale Civic Center during Super Bowl weekend (Phoenix, AZ) 09 // Kurupt & Damani @ the Playboy Club for Snoop Dogg’s “Life Of The Party” video shoot (Las Vegas, NV) 10 // Phil Tha Agony & Talib Kweli on the set of Strong Arm Steady’s “Stripper Pole” video shoot (Las Vegas, NV) 11 // Matt, Gino Green, & Kevin @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 12 // Travis Barker & crew with Mr Cartoon & Paul Wall @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 13 // Rizzo, Krayzie Bone, & Mauly T @ Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, CA) 14 // Jeff Panzer & Akon on the set of Glasses Malone’s “Certified” video shoot (Watts, CA) 15 // Mistah FAB & Dove @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 16 // Colby O’Donis, Delicious D, & Homeboy Miguel @ Club Vivid (San Jose, CA) 17 // Chris Notez & Ernie Romero on the set of Bizzy Bone’s “A Song For You” (Phoenix, AZ) 18 // Bishop Lamont & Cy Fyre (Los Angeles, CA) 19 // Spider Loc & TD @ Spin Nightclub for Magic afterparty (Las Vegas, NV) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,02,04,05,09,10,13,14,15,16); Intl K (18); Julia Beverly (03,06,07,08,11,12,17,19)
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or over twenty years, rappers have been telling stories of selling drugs and everything that goes along with it: the best cars, the finest women, getting shot, making more money than any of us can imagine, doing time in prison, killing enemies, or being killed. Our grandfathers could’ve been street thugs when they were young. The option has always been there. I’m from East Oakland, California, and what I saw coming up in the 80s and what I see right now today is basically identical. In some cities like Los Angeles or Chicago, a youngsta from the hood is given the opportunity to join a gang when they get to middle school or even while they’re still in elementary school. People say “that’s just the way it is,” but I don’t think that’s true. I know what it was like in the hood before crack cocaine turned us into a bunch of Tony Montanas. With the invention of crack cocaine and the introduction of automatic weapons into the inner cities, the government was able to put new laws on the books to lock up crack dealers and users for several years even if their case involved only small amounts of the drug. I’m in my 40s now and a lot of my homies that went to prison when we were in our 20s are just now coming home. Ask them to tell you about their cases. They say the Feds, the state, and the local authorities lie to get convictions; they’ll interpret laws any way they want to be able to convict you. Once they get you in the system, it’s hard to be free again. When you come home, you’re on parole or in a halfway house and any minor run-in with the law might land you right back in prison. People who have been through this process can tell you that it was a set-up. Hustling and having a lot of money for a few years is not worth doing 30 years in prison. I truly respect a hustler who comes from nothing and is still able to get a taste of the good life. I like to see you at the club pulling up in a new Benz with a female that looks like a video vixen. I can’t hate on that. But what I do hate is the fact that a lot of street hustlers don’t invest in the hood before it’s too late. How many drug dealers can you name that never fell off, never went to prison, and never got killed? I don’t know the answer to that question. I can’t even tell you why a youngsta would even pick crack dealing as his occupation, unless he doesn’t know that it’s a trap. But if he says, “I’m selling dope in the ‘trap,’” he must know exactly what it is. It doesn’t make sense why anybody would become a crackhead for the first time these days, now that we’ve all seen the results of smoking crack. The point I’m trying to make is this: Do you know why you’re a thug? It’s because you’ve been brainwashed and programmed for self-destruction so you can fill the prisons, which are modern-day slave warehouses. You’re a thug because it’s easier for us to kill each other than for America to personally wipe out the undesirable descendants of African slaves. What’s the difference between a serial killer and a lil’ homie in the hood who kills over and over again in the name of holding down his gang and being a real thug til the day he dies? Not much, in my opinion. We call ‘em “riders.” I don’t blame rap music, but I do understand how we got brainwashed. I’ve been raising lil’ pimps for over twenty years in the name of entertainment. For me to be in a studio and not rap about pimps and hoes is like a crackhead having a pipe and a rock but not smoking it. But I can’t even tell the lil’ homies that all this time I’ve been rapping about pimpin’, I really treat my women good. I admit to being a player, but I don’t call the women around me “bitches.” A lot of rapping “thugs” never sold drugs and never will sell drugs. It’s entertainment.
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Do you know why you’re a thug? It’s because you’ve been brainwashed and programmed for self-destruction so you can fill the prisons, which are modern-day slave warehouses. You’re a thug because it’s easier for us to kill each other than for America to personally wipe out the undesirable descendants of African slaves.
I see the lil’ homies disrespecting females and looking over to me for approval. They talk openly about violence, just like their fathers did in the 80s. Many of our youngstas have already accepted death, prison, and the thug life as their only option. I think that as the community’s loudest voice, rappers need to tell the truth: KIDS IN THE INNER CITIES OF AMERICA DO HAVE CHOICES. It’s okay to be “square.” It’s okay if you’re not a “thug.” It’s okay to go to college, and it’s okay to chase your dreams. // Photo: D-Ray
(above L-R): Bizzy Bone & DMX on the set of Bizzy Bone’s “A Song For You” in Phoenix, AZ (Photo: Julia Beverly); Spider Loc & Roccett @ Jet Nightclub in the Mirage for Stars & Straps Magic afterparty in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: D-Ray); Mr Cartoon & Paul Wall @ Magic in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: Julia Beverly)
01 // Mistah FAB, Glasses Malone, Jamal, & Akon on the set of Glasses Malone’s “Certified” video shoot (Watts, CA) 02 // Nicho & Suge Knight @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 03 // Krondon & DJ Big Dee on the set of Strong Arm Steady’s “Stripper Pole” video shoot (Las Vegas, NV) 04 // Kanardo Davis & Bizzy Bone on the set of Bizzy Bone’s “A Song For You” (Phoenix, AZ) 05 // Young Jeezy & Young Buck @ Jet for Famous Stars & Straps Magic afterparty (Las Vegas, NV) 06 // LL Cool J @ the Todd Smith booth during Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 07 // Dem Hoodstarz, Layzie Bone, & Bun B @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 08 // Michael Watts & Da Ryno @ the Yums booth during Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 09 // Roccett & Akon @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 10 // Dre Dae & DJ Big Dee @ Spin Nightclub for Magic afterparty (Las Vegas, NV) 11 // Thaddaeus McAdams & Young Jeezy @ Strike Bowling Alley in the Rio for Young Jeezy’s listening party (Las Vegas, NV) 12 // J Diggs & K-Loc @ the Blow Big Show (Humbolt County, CA) 13 // Clay D & Young Buck @ Spin Nightclub for Magic afterparty (Las Vegas, NV) 14 // Travis Barker & Young Jeezy @ Jet for Famous Stars & Straps Magic afterparty (Las Vegas, NV) 15 // Tef & D-Ray @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 16 // Sha Money XL & his wife @ Jet Nightclub in the Mirage for Stars & Straps Magic afterparty (Las Vegas, NV) 17 // Layzie Bone, Bun B, & Mauly T @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 18 // Cellski & Chingo Bling @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 19 // DMX revving up his engine on the set of Bizzy Bone’s “A Song For You” (Phoenix, AZ) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,02,03,09,11,12,16); Julia Beverly (05,06,07,08,13,14,15,17,18); Lamar Rashaw (04,10);
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She Liked my NECKLACE and started relaxin’, that’s what the fuck I call a… hey say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, this picture is worth $1.3 million. These fine pieces of flashy artwork are brought to you by Ben Baller and Icee Fresh Jewels. Pay close attention or you just might miss something. Check the Interstate 10 piece. Yes, that one. It was made over 3 years ago and has been bitten by your favorite rapper. All of them. And they have failed miserably each and every time. Peep the iced out cross to the right. Yeah, Fat Joe has that exact same cross in the “Make It Rain” video. And on the left side, the soon to be infamous praying hands piece made popular by none other than the late, great Pimp C. You will get a better look at this piece real soon. I promise. The flyboys piece. Utter ridiculous with the flying wings design and last but not least, the whole damn state of California iced out!! Are you serious?! Then on the left wrist an iced out G-Shock watch with the face frozen and the right wrist a fully flooded out band and face.
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BEN BALLER We shut down the Slauson Super Mall in Los Angeles when these pics were taken. No one could walk by and NOT stop and stare at the display of ice on Ben. One girl even stopped and broke out her camera phone and took her own picture too. “Is he a rapper?” You can hear some people saying as they walked by and stared in amazement. Naw, sweetheart, rappers don’t get gwap like this. In LA, the hustlers are the real go-gettas. The gangstas are the ones living it up like rappers wish they could. The last thing I asked Ben Baller was, “Can anybody fuck with Icee Fresh Jewels right now?” His answer was, “Just shut the fuck up with that question right there, homie. Nobody can see us.” And there you have it. Words by Big Chris Photo by Shaiquann
(above L-R): Glasses Malone & Mack 10 on the set of Glasses Malone’s “Certified” video shoot in Watts, CA; Fabolous & Young Jeezy @ Strike Bowling Alley in the Rio for Young Jeezy’s listening party in Las Vegas, NV (Photos: D-Ray); Bun B & Big Tuck @ Magic in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: Julia Beverly)
01 // The Jacka & Haji Springer @ the Blow Big Show (Humbolt County, CA) 02 // Rick Edwards, D-Ray, & Roccett @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 03 // Latin Prince, Mack 10, Glasses Malone, & Nick Peace on the set of Glasses Malone’s “Certified” video shoot (Watts, CA) 04 // DJ Amen & Solemon @ Tucson Convention Center (Tucson, AZ) 05 // Michael Watts & Mama Cita @ the Yums booth during Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 06 // Young Buck & Spider Loc @ Spin Nightclub for Magic afterparty (Las Vegas, NV) 07 // Mistah FAB & Taje @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 08 // Bone Thugz N Harmony & their crew @ Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, CA) 09 // Young Dro, Richie Rich, & Bun B @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 10 // DMX pours a glass for Bizzy Bone on the set of Bizzy Bone’s “A Song For You” (Phoenix, AZ) 11 // Bibi Guns & Dee Sonoram @ Jet Nightclub in the Mirage for Stars & Straps Magic afterparty (Las Vegas, NV) 12 // King Tech, the Avila Brothers, DJ Revolution, BamBoo, & Roc-C @ Power 106 (Los Angeles, CA) 13 // Kam & Taje on the set of Glasses Malone’s “Certified” video shoot (Watts, CA) 14 // FedX & Rydah J. Klyde @ the Blow Big Show (Humbolt County, CA) 15 // Mitchy Slick, Talib Kweli, & Krondon on the set of Strong Arm Steady’s “Stripper Pole” video shoot (Las Vegas, NV) 16 // Colby O’Donis & G. Malone on the set of Glasses Malone’s “Certified” video shoot (Watts, CA) 17 // Bun B & Sha Money XL @ Spin Nightclub for Magic afterparty (Las Vegas, NV) 18 // Kevin Delaney & Spiff @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 19 // Little Bruce & Dubee aka Suga Wolf @ the Blow Big Show (Humbolt County, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,03,04,07,08,11,12,13,14,15,16,19); Julia Beverly (02,05,06,09,10,17,18)
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lessed” is the word often used when Ch ris gratefully describe s his deal with After Notez Platinum Records. Collaborat ing with his labelm Bone, Notez blesse ate Bizzy d the emotionally cha rged chorus for Biz single “A Song for zy’s new You.” The song, wh ich also features DM trates years of expe X, illusrience which Chris acquired through the choir and singing gro church ups during his youth taught him the art of vocal instrumenta . This experience not only tion note, it also demonst rates where his imme and hitting just the right are derived from. asurable depth and soul When asked to talk about the inspirati on behind the song explains, “‘A Song Chris for You’ is a classic from my guy Donn God bless his soul. y Hathaway, It’s a positive messa ge for all the peop through the struggle le going . Wh emotion from the son en it graced my ears, I felt a lot of soul an g. I definitely put tha gonna touch a lot t magic behind it. It’s d of people and really cha happy to be a part of it.” It’s an experie nge people’s lives. I’m nce that Notez humb to as “unbelievable ly refers .” He continues, “H ere I am as a kid list these artists, never ening to actually thinking I wo with anybody like that. It’s a dream to uld end up on [a record] me. Everything is un ing before my eyes foldso fast that I don’t even have time to breath e, think, or anything .I just wanna say tha t I’m ecstatic. I tha nk Go for this opportunit y that I have with the d m. It’s an experience I will only was working wit never forget.” Not h two music vetera ns a memory that Chris will never forget, bu t so was the filming the video which rec ently aired on Rap City. Th e scene was one tha t he describes as beau tiful. “We shot it ou t in Arizona at a big ol’ mansion. It’s gonn a be my mansion one day,” Chris envisions. After being discovere d R&B showcase in Gle at a local Hip Hop and ndale, Arizona by Aft er Platinum’s Ernie Ro mero, Chris was ask ed to corroborate his tal ents in the studio. From there the opportunit ies “I’ve had an opportu mounted. Chris says, nity to get on a Big gie Smalls tribute track wit Bobby Valentino, an h Chingy, 50 Cent, d Lil Kim. I’ve done a lot of stuff with MC Ma gic. I got a lot of son gs on Bizzy’s album. It’s all coming so fast for your boy.” Although Chris admits that “A Song You” is his biggest for record to date, he is currently piecing togeth er melodies for his own album slated for rel ease this summer. Chris hopes that the message behind his music makes a difference in the world. “I done been through a gang of stuff and I want to have an opportunity to write about it. I know som the experiences I’v e of e be and I’m definitely no en through in my life t the only person tha been through these t’s things. I’m proud to be
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privileged to share these experiences with illustrates his purpo se by saying, “I’m try people.” He furthers ing is not like that no mo re. It hasn’t been lik to make classics. Music just trying to bring e that in years so we something real spe ’re cial back to the mu and give everybod sic ga y something they can really feel. That’s my me overall goal. Yeah, I wanna make mone main y and take care of myself, my friends my family, and live my biggest dreams, but first an most, I just wanna d foremake people happy and make God happ y.” These sentiments cap tur aside from his giving e his good hearted nature in a nutsh ell, pe also says he’s the mi rsonality and outgoing characteristics but , Chris ssing element in the he adds. “There’s no game. “I’m definite ly real,” ta case the ladies were lot of realness out there anymore.” An d in wo the future of R&B, he ndering what Notez brings to the tab le as reveals, “I’m a great kitchen with me, it’s cook. If you ever ge a wr t in the type of guy. I got som ap. I’m just a cool, calm, collected, humble ething for everybod and family. That’s me y. I’m everybody’s friend wrapped up in one beautiful package.” // Words by Ms. Riverc ity
(above L-R): Red Cafe & Akon @ Magic in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: D-Ray); Willie Esco & Willy Northpole @ the Blanco Label booth during Magic in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: Julia Beverly); Bishop Lamont & his mom on the set of Glasses Malone’s “Certified” video shoot in Watts, CA (Photo: D-Ray)
01 // Glasses Malone, Kilo, & Mistah FAB on the set of Glasses Malone’s “Certified” video shoot (Watts, CA) 02 // DJ Big Dee & DJ Masterweb @ Spin Nightclub (Las Vegas, NV) 03 // Strong Arm Steady & ladies on the set of Strong Arm Steady’s “Stripper Pole” video shoot (Las Vegas, NV) 04 // Miami Da Most & AP9 @ the Blow Big Show (Humbolt County, CA) 05 // Tito Bell & Pitbull @ Poetry (Las Vegas, NV) 06 // Bun B & Young Buck @ Spin Nightclub for Magic afterparty (Las Vegas, NV) 07 // Pusha T of The Clipse & Mistah FAB @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 08 // John Costen, Ray J, & Dorsey @ Club Vivid (San Jose, CA) 09 // DJ Franzen & Young Jeezy @ Strike Bowling Alley in the Rio for Young Jeezy’s listening party (Las Vegas, NV) 10 // Selomon & crew @ Club Pearl for Royal Epic Clothing afterparty (Tucson, AZ) 11 // Lamar Rashaw & DMX on the set of Bizzy Bone’s “A Song For You” (Phoenix, AZ) 12 // Mistah FAB & Osiris of Swurv Radio @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 13 // Ed Strickland, Bizzy Bone, Ernie Romero, & Rage on the set of Bizzy Bone’s Bizzy Bone’s “A Song For You” (Phoenix, AZ) 14 // Lil Wayne & D-Ray @ Tucson Convention Center (Tucson, AZ) 15 // Roccett & Smurf @ Jet for Famous Stars & Straps Magic afterparty (Las Vegas, NV) 16 // Astor Chambers, guest, Clark Kent, & guest @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 17 // Dre Dae & Pitbull @ Spin Nightclub for Magic afterparty (Las Vegas, NV) 18 // Guest, Bizzy Bone, Rage, DMX, Ernie Romero, & Chris Notez on the set of Bizzy Bone’s Bizzy Bone’s “A Song For You” (Phoenix, AZ) 19 // Dave Mays reppin’ Monsta Magazine @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,03,04,05,08,09,13,15,18); Julia Beverly (02,06,07,12,14,16,17,19); Lamar Rashaw (11); Malik Abdul (10)
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r e g n i r p S i j Ha world sonalities in the medical hen you have multiple per moncom it’s ld wor rap but in the it’s called schizophrenia, inger. Spr i Haj now Lil Wayne and place. It worked for Diddy, an all-white at rs colo ht brig ring wea Springer stands out like he’s raised on the grimy ian ethnicity, that he was party due partly to his Ind and for one of the s rap as importantly he streets of Oakland, and just . Bay the in most prominent rap labels
record for the eration of Thizz artists who Unlike some of the new gen Haji is one of the few whom he shared a Dre, label but never knew Mac Mac Dre are cool,” h the King himself. “Me and personal relationship wit ance in Humboldt form per a r afte m roo el a hot he says reminiscing from up a lot of shows ned ope I and ne, r the pho and J. Diggs County. “I talked to him ove me th] [wi ’ nin away. ‘Rims Spin when he big for him before he passed l rea a certain time, and it was was actually my song at album?’ It gave me my on it put I ‘Can me, asked ustry.” my jump-start in the ind classic Thizz-certified In 2007 Haji released the financed videos for ally son per (he dy Bud Hello “Indian Rapper/I’m and k” Bac ji’s “Ha the singles the album by ted mo pro and A Do My Thang” mble a taxi cab) rese to i wrapping a Chrysler Hem first record, the his d ppe but eight years prior dro er the moniker und , Talk . P.I.D d uce rod Bambino-p P.I.D. alot had changed in Between the seven years hy movement was hyp the and a, the Bay Are t name in exchange tha d dde she taking off so he s “was getting say he m for Haji Springer, who on tracks for his king wor le Whi .” ney mo re mo ortunity that would next album Haji saw an opp explains, “[A] He . life his nge eventually cha when I seen so fed closed mouth don’t get , ‘Cuz, what’s up? I like was I day one gs Dig J. , I see your posters know you fresh out the pen I’m that Indian g; son a do s everywhere, let’ g purple clouds alin exh ly dude,’” he says slow fucked with me, and and e cam “He air. the in ‘Rims Spinnin’. It the first song we did was t me into Thizz and ugh bro gs was big how Dig . It was a blessing ody ryb introduced me to eve them even lettin’ for doing all that stuff [and] se I wasn’t black. ‘cau shit this in me a boy like I keep it real so but y alit ion nat I’m a different ” me. h wit that’s why they fuck l sounds of Bay artInfluenced by the musica Nickatina and Dre re And ily, fam ists like GLP h Keak the Sneak, wit ked Dog, and having wor i’s third album, Haj h Yukmouth, and Baby Bas Hindu version to a also re’s (the ce Prin Indian this year), is more be released in India later than the hyphy ent vem about the Haji mo conceited, but I’m on movement. “Not to sound doing,” he says, still I’m t wha of l leve r anothe India. “I can get to trip nt rece a weary from re about bringing mo it’s but hyphy sometimes rappin’ in my I’m le. that real music to the tab showing people it of e som on , too ge, langua h this shit. I let ‘em that I’m really flexible wit e spit it; it’s not a dud ian know that this Ind kid.” // the game. Do not sleep on Words by Kay Newell Photo by D-Ray
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dope, guns, l ah & religion Words and p hotos by D-R ay
usalah was born into the life of his name, straight out of the El Pueblo Housing projects in Pittsburg, CA. He is a legend in his community; it’s always a huge party when Husalah is out. If you’ve never heard his music, you should take the time to gig for a minute, straight Hus style. Here, OZONE brings light to one of the Bay’s biggest talents, whose record “Cuttin’ It Up” is a regional favorite. Hus’ is also 1/4 of the popular group the Mob Figaz. Currently serving a five year sentence for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute in San Pedro, CA, Husalah has spent his time in prison strengthening his faith. How old were you when you recorded your first song? I was about 11 or 12, me and my producer RobLo, back in about 6th or 7th grade. We had a group called Undaje. We were dope. Rob use to steal raps from his older brother Jaquin, so I had to come tight. I never knew he was stealing raps from a grown man until I got older, so I was rapping in a group with a grown man when I was only 11. I guess that’s another reason why I’m so dope. That’s crazy you asked that question; it brought back memories. Kris Kross wore their clothes inside out, but we wore ours backwards. (laughs) We were real young ninjas, you know, his beats were as dope then as they are now. Rob is actually amazing and super dope. How did you hook up with The Jacka, Rydah J. Klyde, Fed X and AP9? We are all from the East Bay, and grew up in Pittsburg as kids - Jacka, Fed X and Klyde. Klyde is my blood cousin; same projects, same family. Then AP9 came out here and got on with the illest ninjas doing it. How did you become one of the Mob Figaz? The homie C-Bo got out of prison in ‘96 or ‘97. He heard about a pack of young ninjas who had heat, and he came to a record shop to listen. I was playing [basketball] in the local gym, dunking and shitting on people, and AP9 came in the gym and said, “Aye, bro, C-Bo is out here.” I said, “I don’t give a shit. Fuck rap! That shit is for fake-ass dudes who front. I’m rich and selling dope is my occupation. You can sing and dance all you want, but I’m cool.” But AP was persistent and he persuaded me to go outside. Young C-Bo pulled up in a sporty SL Benz AMG thang, stupid clean, and I said, “Fuck it, let’s do it.” Money was my life at that time. We went to the lab and recorded “Ride Til We Die.” It was an instant dumb-ass stupid slap, and C-Bo said we were a group and going on tour. I was really young so I had to ask my mom to sign me off with consent [forms]. All I can remember about that day was how the headlights on that Benz looked like they were blue; that new Euro shit. I was dedicated [to rap] from that day on. I 16 16 //// OZONE OZONE WEST WEST
wanted to be like C-Bo, young and rich. What is one of your most memorable moments with the Mob? When C-Bo dropped “Til My Casket Drop,” I was still a young dirtbag choppin’ O’s and you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t going to be the illest ninja ever in life. When I first heard somebody slide through stuntin’, he pulled to the stop sign and the driver looked over at the crowd, rolled down his window, and punched his gas. His shit was stupid running, and he slid across the intersection, and let his top drop while he was still burning rubber, figure eight-ing and everything. When he turned his slap up I heard my voice; it was our song, “Ride Till We Die,” the first song to ever be on a real record, blaring out of about six twelve [inch speakers] in a drop 1970 Cutlass, ridiculously clean, on five-time Zeniths. It made me feel like, this is everything I am to be, Mob for life. Youngstas love shit like that. That’s why I fuck with young ninjas who never had a record. I try to put them all on, I love the young ninjas. Do you normally write your verses or freestyle them in the studio? A lot of my music is off the [top of my] head. I feel it and I go. I focus on the music first, and when the music is slapping, I feel like I’m thirteen again and I’m in the car parked in the middle of my hood, blowing trees, and we four deep, making beats pounding on the console of the car - hitting the roof for bass while another person beat boxes. And it’s on me to spit dope to that perfect slap. That’s how I feel when I’m on. I love this shit. I do it for young ninjas who live like that, to let them know that the raggedy Cutlass you rap in can turn into a million-dollar studio, or a stage with ten thousand fans. You often speak of Islam and occasionally rhyme in Arabic. Can you explain your faith, and how is your current incarceration testing it? I first realized that I was something other than what I saw on the wall at church as a young youth. I was raised in a religious family and my mother is very open to truth. I saw a lot of other kids getting baptized and I asked, “Why am I not baptized? Everybody is happy for them. Can I do that too so everybody can be happy for me at church?” My mother said, “When you understand what it means to [be baptized], then it is your choice. It’s between you and Allah.” By the time I was around ten years old, I heard KRS-One rapping about knowledge. That’ was the second album I ever owned after [Too $hort’s] Born to Mack: [KRS-One’s Boogie Down Productions’] Criminal Minded. The cover was a likeness of Malcolm X. “Love’s Gonna Get You” was my favorite joint. As a kid,
my dad would make me rap around all the dope [fiends] and hustlers. I was only a kid and I thought KRS-One was a Muslim, so I said, “I’m gonna be a Muslim when I grow up.” That’s really when it first crossed my mind. Arabic is the international language of Muslims worldwide. We pray in Arabic, we recite the Quran. Anywhere in the world there is a brother greeting you and speaking in Arabic. One in every five humans are Muslim! People don’t realize that. You’ve got several different names. How did you get them and what do they mean? I am the fourth, I come from a long line of strong and solid bloodlines, so obviously I was given the names of my father and his father. As for the names you hear throughout my music, along my path I’ve been many places and around many cultures, and my peers tend to bestow these names upon me. As for my [rap] name Husalah (pronounced “Hus’la”), I mean, I’m in a Federal prison for distribution of narcotics, so what more do I have to say? I should have chosen something like “The Husalah That Got Away,” because you truly do manifest your name. But I look at it like this: the name Husalah has the root “Hus” in it, [short] for “hustler,” but it also has the word “Salah,” which means “prayer” in Arabic. So I guess you could say that my name means “remember Allah.” That’s better than [a name meaning] “drug dealer,” at least to me. I’m Muslim before anything. Since you’re currently incarcerated, is there anything you’d like to say about the informant who snitched on you? How close were you to that person, and why do you think they did it? I was told on by a close friend, and even worst a Muslim. But Hiram was destined to fall, and deep down when you know that people around you aren’t cut out for the level of crime you’re committing, it’s your fault for fucking with someone that weak in the first place. The money canceled the risk, but to be perfectly honest, the streets have a strange way of giving those who cross it what they deserve. May Allah bless the souls of the countless many who fall, and those who have yet to [fall] but still owe the game. For me, I accepted the possibility of prison, even life if it came to it, that’s when you have a grasp on how real this shit is. I might get life or I might not live past this summer - that’s the mindstate of a true hustler. It’s a harsh reality you must accept when it comes to this street shit. When you get to a certain level, you hear it over and over: “It’s either prison or death.” For me, it happened to be prison, and for that I am thankful. I paid my price and I’ve got receipts. I stayed solid and paid the game its taxes. How about you? Ask yourself if this is a reality you’re willing to accept. This shit ain’t for play. I sacrificed for every dollar I ever made. With this hustlin’ shit, it’s not about an outfit or a chain or a car. It’s not on you, it’s in you. What can you tell us about your experience being on the run from the law? How long was it ‘til they caught up with you, what were you actually doing, and how much rapping and performing were you able to get done during that period? [The Feds] had been investigating me since May 2001, and [they] said that I distributed somewhere around 20 to 30 [kilos] until I was detained in July of that same year. I was snatched in a huge Chicago sting on July 3, 2001. I could smell the [4th of July] barbeque from the county jail yard in Cook County [Illinois]. I love Chicago, they showed me nothing but love, but the police had nothing on me. I was not driving and I hadn’t touched a single kilo myself, so I was released. I moved to New York the next month and tried to resume my music [career], but when 9/11 came I left New York. Around
Thanksgiving  the house I was staying at was raided, and I was named as a fugitive. I remained free until a week after my child was born in January 2003. I mostly stayed in the many projects I knew, from my own - the El Pueblo projects - to all over the town, OAK, even Shoreview in San Francisco. I would be walking like I was a regular tenant, seeing Fed cars and just acting like I belonged there. I felt at home right in the places they would never think I was, right in the middle of the ‘jects. All I did was watch over my little young hustlers I knew. I lived how they lived, like I had nothing left. I had money, but when you can’t go home? What good is it? I slummed it out. I barely rapped. It was like a dream that was real. I knew I had to face this shit, and all I could do was thug it out until they got me. Here I am, still solid and feeling great, like a real ninja should, no matter what. After your sentencing, what was your mindstate for the next few months knowing you were going in? How did it affect your work ethic and your motivation to be in the booth? When I was sentenced [to five years], I was almost happy. Five years seems like a long time to an ordinary person, but when you live this shit, it’s either that or death. I would gladly hop on a few
who knew my dad supported me, protected me, and raised me from a crumb snatcher into a young ninja pushing [weight]. I was trying to be like my big brother Spice Trig and Sauce Kelly, R.I.P., you know, dudes who stood for everything that is sold. And before I knew it, the world was in my hands. The sacrifice almost seems like nothing. All the death and destruction was collateral damage in the struggle. My mind got fixed on “getting it” and taking this thing far past what any person could imagine. It became my identity. I started high school as the skinny dude who was the class clown, and the girls never took me seriously. They said, “You’re cute, but you dress dusty.” The rich kids had Jordans on. I had on Cortez and Five O Ones. I got snagged with about $60 worth of crack at school, and they said, “You’re smart and we hate to have to do this, but you can’t play basketball.” I never looked back. By the next basketball season, I came back to the school and showed up at the game. But this time I wasn’t playing ball. I was ballin’ on they punk ass! I was the cutest dude in town by then. I was Young Hus. That shit made me. Soon after that, C-Bo came and put me into the studio. I could not stop [moving weight]. The hustle was still in me. Even though we made good money as rappers, the streets had more to offer. The risk was nothing to me; I’d grown accustomed to death and destruction. I was raised in it and before I knew it, I was almost the only one left of my original crew. I miss my people, but the struggle must go on. To this day I look around and say, “Damn, where did everybody go?” Allah’s got them.
“I could not stop [moving weight]. The hustle was still in me. Even though we made good money as rappers, the streets had more to offer. The risk was nothing to me; I’d grown accustomed to death and destruction.” years on the shelf over the “big ride” [death] any day. I was relieved it was over. I felt like I beat it because they dropped [my charges] from conspiracy to possession. Conspiracy comes with a mandatory minimum of ten years, and I would’ve had to do whatever [time] I got, no choice, no options. Real ninjas take their time, period. Anything else and you’re less than a woman and you should sit down to use the bathroom. You’re a bitch, period, but you bleed from your face when you get lit up not from your vagina like a traditional woman. I made a few more songs and went to prison as a man. My music reflects me, so that’s what the fans got. Can you tell us about any of your personal experiences or addictions with dope? You’ve made references in your songs to hop and china white. How real was it for you? You ain’t right for that question. What about the young dudes who are waiting to hear me say, “I sprayed heroin on my weed.” Dope ain’t cool. That’s how I look at it. Don’t fuck with it. You might find yourself with a gorilla on your back when you thought it was only a monkey. How’d you first get started pushing weight? After your rap career popped off, why keep moving it? I come from a long line of street dudes, like I said, we all even share a name. When I was coming up, I was Lil Boobie James and everybody said to me, “Boy, you’re going to be exactly like your daddy.” He’s a good man, real solid, but I thought I was going to play sports or some shit like that. I was against grinding. My pa’tnas started selling dope at age 10 or 11; that’s how long my hood was. I’m from a legendary project of the East Bay, the quiet money capital. So with all the respect the people had for my father even though he spent a lot of time in prison it was as if he never left. His blood was in me, hidden. I loved him and when I heard stories of all the street hustles he put down, it was almost like the people of the underworld looked to me to be the new king. All the old school friends
You’ve wrapped, “I sold crack all my life, many dreams I killed.” How can you reconcile this with yourself? With your faith? With the plight of Black people in this country? You know, that’s one of my worst fears, the punishment I must face. I can try to convince myself that I had no choice, but I knew better. When you commit evil and you have a relationship with Allah, you shall be held accountable for everything you do. I remember nights I had close calls busting at people, getting busted at, car wrecks. Sometimes I was running from the police; they were all over the hood and I refused to leave. I was into the overnighters real heavy. That was me, the young ninja with the stupid two for ten jumbos. I remember hitting gates, barely getting away from the boys. I would be in somebody’s backyard and I would look up and see that the moon was so bright it felt like it was daytime. That’s how much I stayed out at night. I would think to myself in those people’s backyards, “God is not protecting me right now. God would never allow me to behave like this. What I’m doing is the work of Shaytain, the devil.” That’s who was with me right then. I felt like that many nights. I am sure I must pay. It hurts me. Even if I knew not at the time what I was doing, it still hurts. Other times I would be out of town, out of state, and I would pick up money from people: shoe boxes full of bundles of money, and the money would reek of death; blood. One time I even had to get another room to keep the money in. It was screaming every story of every soul who had been destroyed for my personal gain. It made me feel sick inside. Until I went to the mall. I’m joking, but it’s not that funny. Sad but true. Why are you currently serving time? I was put in Federal prison for Possession with Intent to Distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. I received [a sentence of] 60 months. I never spent a night in prison until I came for this. I had a long run [of freedom] so I can’t be mad. If you get money the ways I did, be prepared to do time. If you aren’t prepared, get out. You’re not cut OZONE WEST // 17
out for it. It’s coming. Every empire falls, from the great Romans all the way down to YOU, Joe Hustle. Who are you, anyway? Move over. Here comes the next baller. You had your time; how did you spend your profits? Here are some years to think about it. Now get back, and when you get out if you think you’re ready, try again. Now that you’re down, do you think about life on the outside? Were you truly happy? Was there anything you see now that was trapping you, mentally or spiritually, or that contributed to your demise? I always knew I was in a fortunate situation. I knew that if people understood me or not, I would still be who Allah intends me to be. It’s been a rough road and I paid so much. I sacrificed a lot. I lost a lot. I lost friends, I lost love, I hurt a lot of people, and for that reason I remained distant from most. I accepted [my lifestyle], and I didn’t wish to have any passengers along on the path I took. I drive coupes on the streets, two-seaters. I do my own thing. My reality may seem to be the next man’s nightmare, but at the same time, my actuality is the next man’s dream. I dance in the middle of a war zone and somehow I don’t have a scar. Emotions is only based on something you miss. I don’t even know what emotions are; all I know is that I feel alive. I would go through it all again if that was what it took to know what I know now: Allah is greather than anything great, and I am a warrior. People are making mixtapes and albums with certain Mob Figaz on them. Does that bother you? I’m in prison; they need to keep the grind alive. I’m cool with it. I don’t look at it as disrespect, as long as the Mob is keeping it lit. I’m good; staying healthy and avoiding busting heads every day. This game we grew up in is vicious. The life we are forced to live is deadly. Most street ninjas don’t know that what they ride with every day on the block would only get them two years in state prison but can get you 20 years in the Federal system fast. Only a few ounces of crack is damn near a ten year [sentence] off top for a first-time [offender]. And if you’ve got a [gun] now it’s about ten more [years]. It’s crazy. Ten ounces of crack will get you more time than ten kilos of cocaine. Why? Because young blacks deal crack, and rich people like Lindsay Lohan snort coke. Crack is only a processed version of its true form, cocaine. It’s like that old song, “They Smart Boy.” Watch out. This shit is no joke. Should we expect to see a complete Mob Figaz album anytime in the future? I have faith that we are going to record and release an album, but we’ve been through so much. I’m happy to see my ninjas alive. Feddy sustained a bullet to the head and not only is he alive but he still talks more shit than before. We’ve all been in legal trouble. We are fools to have went through all this crazy shit when all we had to do was make music. The people pull for us everywhere we go. When I came to prison, people knew the song from the first and only Mob Figaz album and I forgot them. I was so caught up in trying to be some type of overlord that I forgot about the people and the music. But if I get rich we all get rich. If Rydah gets rich, we’re all rich. If Jacka gets rich, we’re all rich. Since you’ve been in the Feds you have an anthem on the streets “Cuttin’ it Up.” It’s performed in your name and fans go dumb. Does that surprise you? I always was the one in the group to have my own fans. I always had the super grimy dudes and women who liked what I brought to the table. I was cool with just being on the hook, or having the start off verse, and letting everybody else shine. I like to see everybody get on, because deep down, I know what I’ma do. I’m great and it takes time for people 18////OZONE OZONEWEST WEST 18
to see that. I won’t tell you I’m great, you’re going to have to find out that secret. People started to get that special secret while I was in here, so now it’s not just the grimy hustlers who love me, but regular people too. Who would’ve known? Regular people like maniac music. That’s kind of funny to me. Has the music game changed since you started? A lot has changed. People rap about selling kilos but they’re wearing fake chains. It’s crazy. I was a young ninja with dreams so I support even the smallest rappers. As long as you’re a solid person, I fucks with you. I’ll even do your crazy dance. I love black culture and everything that is project and ghetto. I’m gonna need everybody to make a hit song so the whole hood can do a concert. We can have a million dances that white people love and the hood can have stars again, not just dope dealers, who might only be there until they get shot or end up here in Federal prison, looking at pictures of what we had. Whatever it takes to feed the kids, I’m all for it, even the songs that sound like they were [recorded] in the bathroom. Take [that song] to number one so Junebug can stunt and buy a car and some rims, so I won’t have to give him a ride. I drive two-seaters and the other seat is for baby with the big butt, so you need to get your own car so we can get in traffic and stunt on everybody.
“I would pick up shoe boxes full of bundles of money, and the money would reek of death; blood. I had to get another room to keep the money in. It was screaming every story of every soul who had been destroyed for my personal gain.” Who did you look up to as a youngster that influenced your rap career? I grew up in the Bay Area, and I really didn’t look up to any particular rapper. I looked up to the dudes who my favorite rappers were talking about and emulating. Two of them to be exact, who I happen to be on the yard with. Both are known as legends, Bay Area icons, who inspired everything from how we walk to how we hustle: Lil D and JB. These two men sacrificed a lot to remain men with honor and integrity, and stood for everything that is honor in the world that people glorify in music. To me it’s not just that they are legendary hustlers. They stand for ambition and strength, traits that any person can look up to, not just street people. You’ve got a unique style. Do you have a stylist? My mom is my real stylist. I’m from El Pueblo and staying dipped is what we do. Even when I was young and dudes pulled overnighters for Jordan money, I had to have Gucci sneaker and kick money. My hood stays stupid clean. Mobsters, hustlers, and players 100% across the board. I’m the type of dude that can knock you out with a left hook while you’re still thinking, “He won’t fight me with a coke white $600 sport suit on.” Before you know it, you’re down flat. I’m everything fake dudes wish to be, live in the flesh. Shitting on people. Having fun. How have you been spending your time in prison? The first year I was wilding out, like every young ninja that come to prison. Slapping the shit outta anybody I wasn’t feeling. I was winning fights, but when I got moved to a [higher security prison], I had to think, “Hold on, player.” So I learned how to do my bid like a real ninja; feeding my mind, striving towards my faith in Allah. Work out, soak up game, bullshit around, talk shit, listen to all the different types of lies you hear in prison. Everybody says they had thousands of bricks. Some really did,
so it’s fun to hear it all. If you know somebody in prison, your actions are all we have to go on. If you don’t look out, how do we know [that you love us]? This shit is our reality. Look out for whoever you love that’s in a place like this. It’s real shit. I see you’ve been working out. What’s that about? You peep that? (laughs) I’m working my supermodel game for when I peel out in that new stupid coupe. I can’t let my car look better than me. What should we expect when you come home? Don’t expect anything. I am a Muslim before rap, before anything. My path is the will of Allah. I don’t mean to sound like I’m preaching, but it’s true. Have you been writing songs? I really don’t write in here. I’m an artist who works on emotion and vibes, and I’m not in a place that exudes creativity. I look up and see a thousand ugly dudes. How could I be feeling it in that circumstance? I do listen to a lot of music from all genres and I have a lot of ideas. The verses fall into place for me, but the music and feelings are first. Verses are only words, but the music moves the soul. What’s the latest book you read? RIYAHD-US-SALEHEEN, a book of habits and fortress of the Muslim. I read it every day. You’ve got a good view at Terminal Island, huh? Yeah, my bunk actually sits right on the L.A. harbor, so I’m beachfront. This is actually an island, and I always wanted to have a beachfront estate. I never imagined it would be a Federal Correctional Facility (laughs) but I have a great view. I’m right on the water and I sleep with the sound of the waves and the tide rolling in. My life amazes me sometimes When I get back, the world won’t be the same. Is there anything else you’d like to say? Everything a man goes through can only make him stronger or destroy him. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. People have their priorities fucked up, and the reality of life is that this shit is not a joke. Have faith in Allah, and strive for what you believe in. To everybody in the system, stay solid, and believe that Allah does not bestow upon any man that which he can not handle. Even when this shit seems like a no-win [situation], keep pulling. Shout out to my young ninjas in this shit who I’ve been bidding with: JB, Big Boob, Mark Young V, my brother Mike Mike, Slick G, my pops, everybody that’s down, everybody from the Pueblo area. If I’m on, you’re on. Most above all, the uhmmah across the world. Allah the Glorified and Exalted is greater than anything great. //
Mistah FAB, Lil D, & Turf Talk
Known to some as the “King of Oakland,” Darryl “Lil D” Reed was born on December 12th, 1968. Throughout his teenage years he helped fuel the crack cocaine epidemic in East Oakland and beyond, becoming one of the most powerful drug dealers in the Bay Area. Today, he is serving a 35 year sentence in a Federal prison on Terminal Island. Words and Photos by D-Ray
Why are you currently incarcerated? While growing up in the environment I was exposed to, I witnessed a lot of people struggling. Both of my parents worked very hard to provide for me and my little sister. Personally, I never felt that I was poor, but I used to hear so many black people-including my parents-complain about how much harder it is for us to get ahead. So as I got older I began to ask, “Why is it more difficult [for black people]?” That’s when I became familiar with racism and how it affects our communities. My parents stressed education, so I studied pretty hard and became a bright kid, but I just felt that I wasn’t going to work my butt off for twenty years for the government and still be barely getting by myself. SO I formed a somewhat rebellious attitude. I decided that I was going to do whatever I had to do to help my mom and others do better financially. I started scalping tickets at sporting events and holding drugs for my older homeboys. I got involved in selling marijuana and then I got involved with cocaine by simply buying 1/16th of an ounce. I was just a 16 year old kid trying to help my family get ahead. I didn’t know that I would flourish like I did, and I damn sure couldn’t imagine what kind of damage I was causing to the communities. Unfortunately, the prosecutor and the judge who sentenced me concluded that I should’ve known exactly what my activities were doing to the community. I was given a 35 year sentence for being convicted of [possession of] 14 kilos of crack cocaine and 7 kilos of powder [cocaine]. That was my first time ever being convicted of any felony. Most people think that I was convicted of a murder. I’ve been incarcerated since December 7th, 1988, six days after my 20th birthday. If nothing changes with the law I’ll do another 10 ½ years [before I’m released]. I know that selling drugs is a bad thing, but 35 years and life [sentences] do not serve justice. I strongly believe that I’ve done more than enough time for the crimes I was convicted of. How did you get down in the streets? I was hustling for a purpose. I really wanted to purchase my momma a house and look out for my family and friends. The first thing I learned was to save for a rainy day. I showed discipline at a very early age. I used to stack my money in shoeboxes and feel good about my achievements. I was a great thinker who could always figure out ways to generate income, resolve conflict, and come up with sound solutions to everyday problems. Those qualities attracted people to me in droves. I became very popular around the time I got to 9th grade. Dudes from different neighborhoods trusted and respected me enough to where I could squash damn near any beef. Nobody from my era had that type of power. People listened to me because I’m a great communicator; I express myself well. I had a lot of power in the streets but never abused it. I stopped a lot of violence that the authorities were well aware of when I was out there. Have your friends and family been supportive? I have a strong support system of immediate family and friends who appreciate the wisdom and knowledge that I share. They have witnessed me mature into the wise man that I am today. I’ve built strong relationships with my son and daughter, who are both continuing their education, one in the Midwest and the other in California. I’ve met some people who are trying to make a difference in the community of Oakland like Olis at Youth UpRising youth center, and Nicole and Diana at the Ella Baker Center. We’ve discussed ideas of how to try to curb some of the violence. I sit down with some of the rappers from time to time, like Mistah FAB, Too $hort, [MC] Hammer, and others, trying to figure out ways to get through to these youngsters who feel like the world is against them. Even though I do get some support from these people, a lot of my so-called homies that I went out of my way to help [when I was free] don’t do shit for me [now]. So don’t think that my folks kept it 100%. What’s a typical day like for you? I get up at 6 AM, wash my face, brush my teeth, go to breakfast, come back and watch the news until 7 AM. Sometimes I take a little nap before I go exercise from 9 AM to 10:30 AM, every Monday through Friday. I check my emails before
Too $hort, Kilo, Turf Talk, Lil D, & guests
I head back to my unit to shower up before they serve lunch, which I don’t eat most days. Then I’ll do some reading or writing for a couple hours. I enjoy reading a variety of news publications and books like the Female Brain that help broaden my ability to grow mentally. At 5 PM I might go eat dinner, check my emails, and respond to the ones that are first priority. Then I go walk with one of my guys that I vibe with for an hour, head back to the unit, make a call to check on moms or one of my folks. Watch some TV, like Nip Tuck, Prison Break, or A&E. At around 11 or midnight I crash out and get ready for my next day of prison life, which doesn’t consist of much. I don’t hang out on the yard a lot because all you hear is old war stories and dudes complaining about how their girl ran off. I’m antisocial in a sense because I don’t trust too many people unless I’ve known them my entire life. Also I did fifteen years all over the country before they brought me back to California, so I don’t need a bunch of homies [with me] to do my time. Have you been keeping up with the conditions in Oakland – the murder rate that’s out of control, and a lot of kids, both boys and girls, going to jail? Sure I keep up with this, and it’s very sad because our youth seem to have lost hope. With our poor education system, it’s not possible for their mentality to change. Elected officials are willing to invest in building more prisons, but not better the schools. The bad part is that our people keep voting these people into office. We have to demand better programs for our kids. Why can’t we have a Youth UpRising in San Francisco and not just in Oakland? Can you name at least one positive thing about being incarcerated? To be very honest, nothing is positive about this experience. I feel that as I would’ve gotten older, I would have realized that I could be successful in legitimate ways. Have you thought about the next phase of your life when you’re released? I have more than prepared myself for when I get released. I’ve learned a lot about real estate and the entertainment industry and I have the people and resources to immediately bring me in. Also, I would definitely like to go out and do some speaking engagements with our youth. I owe them that. If you could speak to kids who are going down the same road you went down, what advice would you give them? Don’t be influenced by the money, cars, jewelry, clothes, and women, because the price you pay isn’t worth it. Today you have a better chance at accumulating these things legitimately because of opportunities like the internet. But you have to be serious about learning in school so that you can compete in the workplace. Drinking, drugs, and unsafe sex will only destroy your future. Don’t waste your life away like I did. One love. Where can our readers write to you? Darryl Reed 83801-001 PO Box 3007 Terminal Island, CA 90731 E-40 & Lil D
OZONE WEST // 19
Getting Grown Words by Jelani Photo by D-Ray
THE OLDER & WISER SAN QUINN! There are certain memories--indelible images--embedded within the fortress of San Quinn’s mind, detailing the dramatic chronicles of his turbulent rise From A Boy To A Man. The defining moments of both his career and his life, these torrid flashbacks are subject to constant scrutiny, review, and on some occasions, discussion.
NEWSFLASH: BUSINESS IS BUSINESS!! Priority Records office, 1996. The Sucka Free native has just returned to his new label home, courtesy of a once in a lifetime record deal with childhood friend and Get Low Records owner JT The Bigga Figga. Pac is alive. Yay Area radio boldly supports its homegrown artists, proudly championing the burgeoning scene to a nation wide audience of artists, labels, and adoring fans. 18-year-old Quinn, however, is about to get one of the harsher lessons of his fledgling career. “Silkk the Shocker [had] dropped the same day [as me] with The Shocker,” Quinn remembers. “Silkk’s my pa’tna, too. And this is no disrespect; this is a competitive, stupid young kid. So I’m talking to the A&R and he’s like, ‘Yeah, Silkk The Shocker just sold like, 40,000 this week’.” Pause. “You only sold like 14,000.” Another pause, followed by a juvenile outburst of hubris. “I was like, ‘Put me and Silkk the Shocker in a room and I’ll out-rap him.’ He said it didn’t have nothing to do with that--it was business.” The ambiguities behind the business of the rap game (a paradox in itself) still dominate the Northern California scene Quinn emerged from. It was, after all, business that led Quinn to spit out his first solo, Don‘t Cross Me, at the precocious age of 15. It was personal business that led to his affiliation and subsequent signing with JT (whose son is Quinn’s cousin) which enabled him to infiltrate the offices of Priority Records. And it was unmistakably business which led the youngsters (Fig was less than 25 at the time) to lose their label deal two years later, temporarily ending their professional dealings together. “That kind of fucked me up,” Quinn revealed. “And that’s when I started fucking with blow, right around that time. I started selling dope, and everything turned from rapping more into forming a street nigga.”
NEWSFLASH: ROLL, WON’T YOU COME OVER? 3rd Street, The 49er Club, 1997. Explosive Mode, Quinn’s magnum opus collaborative effort with blood-cousin Messy Marv, is burning up the streets and the adolescent’s life. Having sidestepped a contract with Master P, who himself is fresh off the success of his first film and soundtrack I’m Bout It, Quinn is back to the independent grind with all of its querulous funds and infamy as he arrives at his wife’s baby shower for his first born son. Somewhere in the back of his mind reverberates P’s prophetic admonition, “You’re gonna deal with a nigga from the street and all [his] problems will become [your] problems; you and Mess should just sign with me.” “Niggas robbed my baby shower, man,” he recounts easily. “I had to hide in the muthafucking place; they pulled a gun on Mess. Mess didn’t give up the [car] keys [to his ’Vette] or nothing. They put a gun to Mess’s head. I’m hiding up under pots and pans in the joint, 19 years old, thinking they’re finna kill Mess. I didn’t have no strap or nothing.” “[They robbed us cuz] our executive producer had went to jail,” he continued. “He fucked around and shot some niggas, and me and Mess were driving through the projects in the car that he shot at the niggas in, before he shot at them! He told us get up out of there, so we [did] and he goes back and gets at the niggas in the car. So word got around that me and Mess had got at them. So he gets out and we all rolling and I get a call from my sister like, ‘Quit driving dude’s Tahoe who’s putting out your record.’ This is all the music business. I was like, ‘I ain’t worried ‘bout them niggas; they’re from a certain project in Frisco.’” 20 // OZONE WEST
FLASHBACK 3: LIES, STRAWS, MIRRORS AND PLATES The most difficult of his recollections to isolate, this spiraling series of remembrances dates back to the early 90’s and ends, somewhere, in Quinn’s conscience. Often shrouded in deception both of body and spirit, his lengthy courtship of Britney, Christina and Blondie--not to be confused with that of his wife--may perhaps be the final measuring stick by which his story may be judged--and upon whose ultimate demise his true transition to manhood may be evidenced. “Where I come from, muthafuckers was smoking blow with their weed,” Quinn admitted. “That was the original thing. Like with me, I done used. You look up, muthafuckers giving you a plate, right? Then next thing you know, you buying it. But when you get the first plate you’re saying, ‘I ain’t finna buy that shit.’ Next thing you know you look up 10 years later, [and] you’re buying it. You look up six, seven eight years later, you’re out all night, lying to your wife and your kids and your folks; you done embarrassed niggas at the party.” Quinn’s reconciliation with his life and career will be brought to the forefront this spring with April’s release of his anticipated long player, From A Boy To A Man. Including heat from Sean T, Cosmo and Davey D on the boards and Messy Marv, Lil’ Quinn and PSD sprinkling the tracks with certified soil-based game, it will be his final say on the exacting journey whose toll he is just now beginning to weigh; a lasting contribution to the Movement. “Me and Mess wrote Exxplosive Mode together,” Quinn related. “I was high as a kite when we wrote that. We were 19 years old experimenting. That’s why I say I looked up and a muthafucker was, you know, on blow. It was normal; when I was 15 I had started smoking cocaine and weed. Just ’cuz it was what muthafuckers was doing. It was a part of growing up where [I was] at. And I had an uzi, you know? Not bragging on that shit, but I didn’t have it to kill nobody but it’s just that I lived in the neighborhood.” “From the era we come from if you fuck with hard, you a dope fiend. If you smoke crack you a crackhead. And I’m not glamorizing blow but blow is flyer. I guarantee you somebody in the Forbes Top 10 snorts cocaine. Crack is cheap; they see you with it outside bent over. With me and blow, muthafuckers might’ve seen me with my eyes bugged, but I ain’t never pull out my plate out around nobody. Except for the gangsters that I was having the blow with. So it wasn’t noticeable... Til a nigga muthafuckin’ mouth starts moving and shit off blow. Your mouth moves too though. You get lockjaw, your muthafuckin’ eyes will be bugged out your head. You want to keep drinking to level it out.”
The Silverback Gorilla E-40’s younger brother Mugzi soaks up game. ------------------------------------------
“Wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” - Killah Priest, “Wisdom”, Heavy Mental Wisdom. To speak wise words. To see things clearly for what they are, not for what they appear to be. But everybody ain’t able. Those who are, should let it be known. Those who ain’t, need to get a good sponge and soak… “How can you not listen to an elder - an older person - and they lived to be twice your age?” demanded an incredulous Mugzi one rain-soaked winter afternoon. “Like they ain’t never been through what you’ve been through before?” -----------------------------------------1324 Magazine Street. The soil. The turf. The heart of the Hillside, that notorious section of Vallejo where many of the shoot-em-up, rah-rah, cookin’ cakes cracked out tales from E-40’s early raps took place. The same place that Mugzi called home, developed his formative years in, along with the same 40 Water Mugzi calls brother. Eldest brother, to be exact, and whose company, Sick-Wid-It Records, Mugzi is currently co-piloting with 40’s son Droop. Then there’s the relationship with Mugzi’s other brother, boss balla D-Shot, and his plethora of film and record releases throughout the years. Sista Suga T and cousin B-Legit each rounded out the Area’s first family of rap, the Click, and have sprouted their own respective albums, labels, and careers. No wonder Mugzi’s pushing his 30/30 imprint, with flagship artist (and cousin) Turf Talk, a new Mugzilla solo debut, and project after project with the Mossie, a group consisting of yet another cousin, Kaveo, and day one patna Tap Dat Ass. With such aspiring examples from his physicals, he had little choice but to get it. But first, there was still Magazine. “I grew up in it,” Mugzi laughed. “Soon as I popped out mom’s stomach I was right up in it, in the thick of it. I can’t talk about that type of situation. That’s like lightweight snitching - lightweight indicting yourself. Where I was born and raised it was knocks all day. The streets [were] flooded; it was good hustle. But you never use while you’re tying to sell it, or while you’re doing what you do. That’s the number one rule, I feel. Some people get caught up in it, and next thing you know their smoking their count up. If you want to make profit, you’re not gonna be dipping in your shit.” --------------------------------------------------------------A montage of sounds and colors, Beats By the Bay’s video for “Stay In School” assaults its viewer with an assortment of the hues and intonations of rappers from nearly every part of the Yay. Mugzi and 40 blaze through their respective eight bars along with Dem Hoodstarz, Cellski, Keak Da Sneak, the Jacka and more, urging the youth to get right for the sake of posterity - and a world we’ll all inhabit. Such a message may not have come immediate to Mugzilla, but it was no less natural a progression. “When you’re a kid, you’re going to get involved in certain things that are around you,” Mr. 30/30 reasoned. “You turn into a product of your environment.
But the wise men, my brothers, was detouring me out the way also. I [would] sneak and dibble dabble, and do what I got to do, but at the same time they were like, ‘Ah naw, man, don’t do nothing with him’.” “As I got a little older, I got a little wiser. It ain’t the thang to do. I like doing this over here better than I like doing this over [there]. I don’t like being stressed out, worried about the po-po’s when I could be over there playing some good ball, got a few women loving me, doing what I do. And having a ball with it; being a star that way too then [coming] back to the track and be like what up? ‘Aw man, you was over there, you just ran for 150 yards that game.’ I’m loving it. That felt way better than sitting out there being a lookout, or going out there trying to get my little knocks off worrying about the po-pos. But at the same time you gotta do what you gotta do. You live and you learn, so once you live and you learn you try to break it down and teach others that’s coming up under you.” Just like it was taught to you. --------------------------------------------------------------The Sick-Wid-It Umbrella will be dropping the compilation The Machine in midApril, soon followed by 916 Unified. Future 30/30 releases include Mugzilla’s solo, a Lifestyles of the Disobeyish 2 compilation, and forthcoming projects from Turf Talk and Poppy Cash. // Words by Jelani // Photo by Jessica Essien OZONE WEST // 21
e r u t a n y m in
Yukmouth may have been born into the drug game, but he doesnâ€™t plan on dying in it. Words by Maurice G. Garland // Photo by D-Ray
22 // OZONE WEST
s one half of the Luniz, Yukmouth a.k.a. Smoke-A-Lot helped make weed Hip Hop’s drug of choice when he recorded “I Got 5 On It.” As comical as that song was, Yuk’s life as it pertains to drugs is serious business. Here he speaks on growing up in Oakland during the crack epidemic, rap’s fascination with D-boy rappers and how his mother died while in rehab before she could recover from her personal bouts with drug abuse. Talk to us about your experiences growing up in Oakland during the start of the crack epidemic. I was right there. I grew up in the projects, 65th and east 14th in East Oakland. My projects was ran by niggas like Lil D and Felix Mitchell; kingpins. I grew up under that card, so all I seen was niggas in the ‘hood pushing weight, dope fiends fighting and getting beat up, bullets hitting my windows. It was rough growing up. I’m on welfare, Section 8, mom spending the welfare checks on drugs. I had to eventually start hustling to survive in life. We were homeless and shit behind the crack epidemic. We got evicted out of the projects [and were] sleeping and eating at the Salvation Army. We stayed with relative to relative, all because of the crack epidemic. It made my life change. So you got to see how a lot of cats went from being Black Panthers to dope fiends. I was born in the 70s so I was raised around the Panthers. Everybody wanted to be a Panther or Muslim; trying to uplift the community. My father was in the Black Guerilla Family, the offspring of the Panthers, but [he was] in prison. Everybody was speaking Swahili and all types of stuff. My family was BGF, so I grew up around that. [Everybody in] the community was riding for the cause but when crack hit, it shut it down. All the Black Panthers, the centers started shutting down, the leaders started getting on crack, dying off and going to jail. The death of the Black Panther movement grew into dudes being kingpins and dope fiends. Since you saw it with you own eyes, do you think the CIA and the government implanted crack in your community? Yeah, I believe they did it. They were scared of the Panthers; they knew it was the next big revolutionary thing since Malcolm X. The Panthers was THAT on the West Coast and they was branching out and getting Panthers on the East Coast and Down South. [There were] Panthers in Chicago; it was going everywhere and they were scared of it. Stuff started getting bombed and they blamed it on the Panthers and they started wiping them out byaking them to jail with outrageous sentences. They put AIDS and crack in the Bay to destroy the Panthers and that’s when it started. You’ve rapped about being a drug dealer. Seeing the extreme destruction that drugs brought to your community, why did you decide to get into the drug trade yourself? It wasn’t a hard decision. I was poor and [moving from] family to family, but once I got with one part of my family, they were selling all the drugs. I started living with my uncle and it was a crack house. He lived where he worked at, me and my two sisters. So I got to see it hands-on, one-on-one. [I learned] how to do it, sell it, and cook it. It wasn’t hard. I was getting spoiled. My aunt bought me outfits. I was in 7th grade with Gucci and gold chains on. My uncle was spoiling me. Then he went to jail and my sister had to hustle, then she went to jail. I was used to that life, so I said fuck it. I hustled for school clothes, then cars. I had my own apartment when I was 17. I started hustling because it was in my face. I tried to work [real jobs]. I worked at Taco Bell. I worked at Domino’s [Pizza]. I had jobs but the hustle was making so much money that I quit. Did you ever sell drugs to your family members? I never sold to my relatives, but my friends did. They said they sold to my uncle or my father. I didn’t want to believe it. My family tried to keep it away from me, but I knew they did it. My mom did drugs but I never sold to her. Did your mom ever beat her drug addiction? She never got over it. My mom passed. She died in rehab. She was trying to get her life back straight but the rehab [center] caught on fire. They locked them in their rooms when they [were] in rehab. I guess the staff member that let them out went to go get some food. When he came back the building was burning. They had gates on the windows, so they couldn’t get out. So my mom got burned to death [while] trying to sober up and get her life right. Damn. We had to sue the city, all types of stuff just to get retribution and to feel better. We sued, but it still wasn’t worth my mother’s life. We had to go through a lot of stuff. Just losing [my] mother, period. That’s the most important thing in life outside of your kids. My sisters crying, I’m crying, going through it. Because when she got out of rehab, she was gonna live with us. We were looking forward to that. A lot of rappers, yourself included, rap about drugs. What’s the fascination?
The rap business period is about trends. I’ve been through all the trends. In the 80s it was “fight the power” and medallions, now it’s about “bling bling,” diamonds and being a drug dealer. I think people who don’t know the streets watch TV and [decide], “Jeezy blew up off that shit, so I’ma go at that angle.” You’ve got to know this game because if you say numbers that don’t add up it makes you look like an ass because you really don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. You said that shit because you heard Jeezy [say it]. It don’t go for $17.5 everywhere. 250 grams is not a kilo, that’s a quarter. Niggas gonna know if you’re speaking the right shit. If you’re saying some dumb shit, niggas ain’t gonna buy your shit. Niggas are gonna look at you like a buster. If you’re a backpacker, do your Kanye. If you’re fighting the power, do your Chuck D. If you dance, do your Soulja Boy. But don’t do this trapstar shit if you ain’t never chopped down no shit, or shot at no shit. Don’t even mention that, because if you live by the gun, you die by the gun. Niggas are gonna be coming to your shows asking where you’re from and they’re gonna test you. So you gotta be prepared for this shit. This blood and crip shit, too, niggas are claiming [sets] and they’re not from LA. Niggas glorify shit in Hip Hop, period. You’re gonna get tested by the wrong m’fucka and your album ain’t gonna sell because game recognize game. A lot of rappers are smart. A lot of them came from college, good homes, so everybody ain’t from the projects. They try to pick up clues, read Don Diva, they [think they] gonna listen to Jeezy and Rick Ross and put their shit together and come out with a masterpiece. So at the end of the day, it’s good people that just do that. They just copy cat. We call them sponges in the Bay - soaking up game, but never been in it. Niggas know they’re fake and the whole reason it’s glamorized is because niggas are winning off this shit and niggas follow. When Ja Rule was singing, there were a lot of niggas in love at that time. Then 50 [Cent] came with the gangsta shit and everybody did that. Then Jeezy came with the d-boy shit and now everybody wants to be a trap star. It’s about trends. When ‘Pac was thuggin’, everybody was thuggin’. Niggas gonna follow the top rapper. The industry keeps getting faker and faker. Niggas know the real, fans know the real. We’ve touched on how the Bay was home to crack. Nowadays it seems like it’s the home of ecstasy pills. Niggas is heavily off the X and coke. Everybody is snorting coke and [doing] X and smoking weed. That’s what’s going down in the Bay. All the crackheads had babies born in the 90s and now they done grew up and these m’fuckas are crazy. The crackbabies grew up and they’re crazy; shooting m’fuckas for nothing, robbing for nothing. There’s a lot of dumb shit going down in the Bay right now because of shit that went down in the 80s. To each his own. I’m not one to hate - do your thing - but its crazy to see 17-year-olds snorting coke and doing heroin and shit. Young girls snort coke to stay skinny and then these niggas think they’re gonna be extra tough if they snort coke. They’re all Die Hard Rambo and shit, they’ll shoot up anything so they stay on that, that’s like their Superman juice. That’s what niggas is off right now, its wack. Its like fucking Taliban out there, suicide bombers. These niggas are ready to die and they don’t give a fuck so drugs done took the whole Bay area out, again. The Bay is the player’s graveyard right now. Niggas are dying for nothing and they’re brain dead off these drugs. It’s crazy as fuck out there, period. That’s why I live in L.A. Niggas be like, “Aw, you from the Bay, why’d you [move to L.A.]?” I moved because I know too many niggas, too many kingpins, riders, thieves, everybody’s gonna look at me for something. Or, if bad times happen I might hit the streets instead of waiting until the next show comes or the next check clears. I’m not a rapper rapping about it, I’m trying to get the fuck away from it. I think I’d be dead if I ain’t get away from Oakland when I did. I fuck with the kingpins, I fuck with the killers and I could fuck around and be hanging with them and catch a stray bullet so I’m glad I got out and started a new life for my family where we don’t have to worry about dealers and kingpins and pimps and stray bullets or going to jail or being in the wrong place at the right time. In a previous interview you admitted that albums like Godzilla were recorded when you was heavy off the X. Have you kicked that habit now? I let that shit go. I’m focused right now. I don’t do no X pills, I just smoke weed. I barely drink, I got so many DUIs in the last couple years I cut back on that. I’m just on weed. Weed, water, exercise. I used to have the bumpiest face in America, but in my recent pictures, I got smooth skin, without Photoshop. I’m eating good, looking good. Niggas called my last album a classic and even though Rap-A-Lot didn’t push it, it still came in #46 in the Billboard Top 100. I outsold hella people on 106th & Park with videos because I got a fan base that holds me down. I got big opportunities jumping off for my next deal. I’m not heavy into the drugs, I’m into the kush and occasional champagne or Patron shot. I got kids, I’m old now, I’m cool on that young shit. That shit I was doing, that’s for a nigga who had nothing to live for back in the day. I got 3 kids now. // OZONE WEST // 23
KING OF THE SUPER HYPHY
he future for a DJ is being a businessman. An all-around hustler, marketing, branding; you gotta take care of all corners.
One thing always leads to another. When it came to the concerts, me and my partner were supposed to help this one dude book a show but he died a week before the show. I didn’t know dude; he was just the dude that came to us for help. That was our first concert so we didn’t really know what we were doing but we fell into it, and it was so successful that we kept doing them. I’ve always been big into marketing and branding so I was like, “Let’s push this brand and make this a machine.” By the time we [did] our 20th concert like people didn’t even care who was performing. They just wanted to hear that name and that brand [Super Hyphy]. With the Super Hyphy, basically, it fell onto us [and now] we’re the best at it. I had my street team in the streets. My boy handled all the business, I handled all the marketing and we went hard. We wanted to come with something fresh to really take over the culture at the moment. It was instant success. We sold out twenty shows. We just had the right formula. Our biggest show as far as attendance was Super Hyphy 13 at the Santa Rosa fairgrounds. We had Keak the Sneak, Mistah F.A.B., The Pack, PSD and J. Diggs [performing]. There were over two thousand kids there, and we were doing this every 4 weeks, so it wasn’t like we were only pulling in a thousand every once in a while. We have one to two thousand kids every month.
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[For the last Super Hyphy] we tried to end big. We filmed it and it was real big. E-40 came out and did his thing and killed it. People in other markets and other towns wanted us to expand, and they wanted to get a piece of the Super Hyphy. We still do shows in other places. We’ve got a show coming up with Too $hort and The Pack but it’s not called Super Hyphy. It’s just the same concept because we’re the people that started that. We just did a show with Lil Wayne in Tucson, Arizona with nine thousand people. We do shows in San Diego; we do shows in Los Angeles, Las Vegas…all over the place. A lot of people don’t know that we have an event coordination/production company [called Noisemaker Entertainment] so we throw events all over the West Coast. It’s all about supply and demand. We find people interested in doing events and help them produce it. We get ahold of the artists, [book] travel accommodations, lock down venues, insurance, security, everything. We’re doing some tour dates for the Tech N9ne and Paul Wall shows coming up. The Lil Wayne show is the biggest we’ve done in the last month or two. But we could do anybody. As long as you’ve got the budget we can put it together. // As told to Kay Newell Photo by D-Ray
DJ Aaries & Willie Joe/Thrax On Wax Vol. 2 Vallejo, California representer and ATL transplant Willie Joe hooks up with DJ Aaries for Vol. 2 of Thrax On Wax and over 23 tracks, Joseph proves why he’s the newest Sho’Nuff/Capitol Records signee. Whether Joe is going retarded (“Get On It”), trading lines with B.O.B. (“Life Iz Crazy”) or teaming up with his Wataboy Ent. family (“Keep It Coming”), it’s clear why his buzz in the South is unmatched by other Bay rappers. Willie Joe is an artist to watch in ’08 and Thrax On Wax Vol. 2 is a mixtape desiring of heavy rotation from the Bay to the A. — Randy Roper DJ Warrior & Prime/Transformation
Transformation is the first solo mixtape release from Long Beach emcee Prime, and through 20 cuts the Cali newcomer shows promise but still has room for improvement. Tracks like “Give Me The Grind,” “Dying To Floss” and “Go Hard” are skippable, while “Meagtron” featuring Bishop Lamont, the sped-up flow on “Machine Gun Funk” and “Change” with P. Rod are this mixtape’s best cuts. Prime has a LBC thing going for him but he still has work to do before he becomes the Optimus. — Randy Roper Demolition Men & The Jacka/The Jacka Is The Dopest
The Jacka Is The Dopest is a solid mixtape from top to bottom. “Break Em Off,” “Go Cop Whatever,” “Starz” and “Barney (More Crime)” are memorable tracks amidst numerous standout cuts, while “Doin It Moving” and “Got Paper” are the mere two lessthan-impressive songs. And what The Jacka lacks in mic skills, he makes up for with vivid street tales over dope beats. After listening to this project, The Jacka, without question, is one of the dopest the West Coast has to offer. — Randy Roper
Cinque/Angel Dust Whenever you think of Phoenix, Arizona, the words “hot” and “dry” come to mind. Hometown emcee Cinque leans more towards the former. Backed by production from No I.D. and Suave House’s Jiggolo, ‘Que does a good job in showing that the Suns aren’t the only draw in town. The Eagles’ sampling “U Know U Luv It” and “Space” have ‘Que displaying some nimble word play while “Keep The Shotty On Me” sounds a little G-Unit’ish, but still offers some entertaining moments. Cinque now is far from that guy you saw on Teen Summit back in the day, but, he’s well on his way to making an impact in the rap game. — Maurice G. Garland Snoop Dogg/Ego’ Trippin Geffen When Snoop revealed that he hired other rappers to write his rhymes for Ego Trippin’ it wasn’t too much of a surprise. Anyone with at least one good ear could hear the drop off after the Death Row crumble when he actually had to write his own stuff. But over the last two or three years Snoop has relied more on his personality than lyrical skill, as evidenced by last year’s The Blue Carpet Treatment. Ego Trippin’ has him doing more of the same, but it doesn’t sound quite as good this time around. Highlights include the self-narrative “Neva Have 2 Worry” and “Waste of Time” featuring Raphael Saadiq. But his attempts at being different fall flat, especially the Johnny Cash-inspired “Buy My Medicine” and faux-Mike Jones sounding “Staxxx In My Jeans.” Overall though, Snoop still has enough likable songs to make it a solid album. — Maurice G. Garland
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endzone Nu Jersey Devil Venue: Tucson Convention Center Promoter: Royal Epic Clothing City: Tucson, AZ Date: January 20th, 2008 Photo: D-Ray
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