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OZONE MAGAZINE

YOUR FAVORITE RAPPER’S FAVORITE MAGAZINE

3rd ANNUAL

DJ ISSUE EXTRA HARD LIKE A VIAGRA OVERDOSE

WHO THE F*CK IS

BoB? ace hood r.i.p. static major yukmouth glasses malone TALIB KWELI young dro


OZONE MAGAZINE

YOUR FAVORITE RAPPER’S FAVORITE MAGAZINE

DEY KNOW

SHAWTY BIG UPS TO ALL MY HATERS

LO DO YOU?

3rd ANNUAL

DJ ISSUE ace hood r.i.p. static major yukmouth glasses malone TALIB KWELI young dro OZONE MAG // 


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PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF // Julia Beverly MUSIC EDITOR // Randy Roper FEATURES EDITOR // Eric N. Perrin ASSOCIATE EDITOR // Maurice G. Garland GRAPHIC DESIGNER // David KA ADVERTISING SALES // Che’ Johnson PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR // Malik Abdul SPECIAL EDITION EDITOR // Jen McKinnon MARKETING DIRECTOR // David Muhammad Sr. LEGAL CONSULTANT // Kyle P. King, P.A. SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER // Adero Dawson ADMINISTRATIVE // Kisha Smith INTERN // Kari Bradley CONTRIBUTORS // Alex Cannon, Bogan, Charlamagne the God, Chuck T, Cierra Middlebrooks, Destine Cajuste, Edward Hall, Felita Knight, Jacinta Howard, Jaro Vacek, Jessica Koslow, J Lash, Jason Cordes, Johnny Louis, Keadron Smith, Keith Kennedy, K.G. Mosley, King Yella, Luis Santana, Luxury Mindz, Marcus DeWayne, Matt Sonzala, Maurice G. Garland, Mercedes (Strictly Streets), Natalia Gomez, Ray Tamarra, Rico Da Crook, Robert Gabriel, Rohit Loomba, Shannon McCollum, Spiff, Stan Johnson, Swift, Thaddaeus McAdams, Wally Sparks, Wendy Day STREET REPS // 3rd Leg Greg, Adam Murphy, Alex Marin, Al-My-T, Benz, Big Brd, B-Lord, Big Ed, Big Teach (Big Mouth), Bigg V, Black, Bogan, Bo Money, Brandi Garcia, Brian Eady, Buggah D. Govanah (On Point), Bull, C Rola, Cartel, Cedric Walker, Chad Joseph, Charles Brown, Chill, Chuck T, Christian Flores, Danielle Scott, DJ Dap, Delight, Derrick the Franchise, DJ Dimepiece, DJ D’Lyte, Dolla Bill, Dorian Welch, Dwayne Barnum, Dr. Doom, Dynasty, Ed the World Famous, DJ E-Feezy, DJ EFN, Episode, Eric “Crunkatlanta” Hayes, Erik Tee, F4 Entertainment, G Dash, G-Mack, George Lopez, Gorilla Promo, Haziq Ali, Hezeleo, H-Vidal, Hotgirl Maximum, Jae Slimm, Jammin’ Jay, Janiro Hawkins, Jarvon Lee, Jay Noii, Jeron Alexander, JLN Photography, Joe Anthony, Johnny Dang, Judah, Judy Jones, Kenneth Clark, Klarc Shepard, Kool Laid, Kurtis Graham, Kydd Joe, Lex, Lump, Lutoyua Thompson, Marco Mall, Mario Grier, Marlei Mar, DJ M.O.E., Music & More, Natalia Gomez, Nikki Kancey, Oscar Garcia, P Love, Pat Pat, Phattlipp, Pimp G, Quest, DJ Rage, Rapid Ric, Robert Lopez, Rob-Lo, Robski, Rohit Loomba, Scorpio, Sir Thurl, Southpaw, Spade Spot, Stax, Sweetback, Teddy T, TJ’s DJ’s, Tim Brown, Tony Rudd, Tre Dubb, Tril Wil, Trina Edwards, Troy Kyles, Vicious, Victor Walker, DJ Vlad, Voodoo, Wild Billo, Will Hustle, Wu Chang, Young Harlem, Yung DVS SUBSCRIPTIONS // To subscribe, send check or money order for $20 to: Ozone Magazine, Inc. Attn: Subscriptions Dept 644 Antone St. Suite 6 Atlanta, GA 30318 Phone: 404-350-3887 Fax: 404-350-2497 Website: www.ozonemag.com COVER CREDITS // BOB photos (cover and this page) by Wuz Good; Shawty Lo photo by Earl Randolph. DISCLAIMER // OZONE Magazine is published 12 times per year by OZONE Magazine, Inc. OZONE does not take responsibility for unsolicited materials, misinformation, typographical errors, or misprints. The views contained herein do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or its advertisers. Ads appearing in this magazine are not an endorsement or validation by OZONE Magazine for products or services offered. All photos and illustrations are copyrighted by their respective artists. All other content is copyright 2008 OZONE Magazine, all rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any way without the written consent of the publisher. Printed in the USA.

10 // OZONE MAG

interviews 80-81 R.I.P. STATIC 60-61 TALIB KWELI 85 YOUNG CASH

monthly sections 90 12 16-19 32 86-88 24 13 28 83 22 26 21-43 30 84 44-52 87

END ZONE FEEDBACK RAPQUEST TATTED UP CD REVIEWS CHIN CHECK JB’S 2 CENTS DOLLAR MENU INDUSTRY 101 MATHEMATICS CHAIN REACTION PHOTO GALLERIES SIDEKICK HACKIN’ PRODUCER PROFILE PATIENTLY WAITING CAFFEINE SUBSTITUTES

features 68-79 42 40 36 38 13 34

DJ ISSUE PANEL AFTER THE RAID DJ TECHNOLOGY DJ’S FAVORITE ARTISTS DJ’S LEAST FAVORITE ARTISTS 10 THINGS DJS ARE HATIN’ ON 20 REASONS WE REALLY BECAME DJS


SHAWTY LO

pg 54-57

BOB pg 62-65

OZONE MAG // 11


Send your comments to feedback@ozonemag.com or hit us up at www.myspace.com/ozonemagazine

I don’t appreciate the disrespect and bullshit Randy Roper said about Super & Fame in his mixtape review. True, we jacked for beats, but to say my flow ain’t there – he obviously isn’t doing his job. For him to say that the product was something to ride to only if there was nothing else to play within arm’s reach is ludicrous! I definitely don’t appreciate muthafuckers tryin’ to make out like we don’t like David Banner or that we need him to give us a handout or that we’re dissing him, because we’re not! I said, “It’s like everywhere I go they ask me do I know David Banner and why the fuck he ain’t puttin’ niggas on in Jackson.” I felt like y’all took that shit out of context. What would Super & Fame look like dissing David Banner when [his artist] Marcus. is my muthafuckin’ homie! So tell playboy [Randy Roper] if I ever see him or if I am ever in the A I will stop by. If he’s got a problem you know how to find me. I ain’t no punk ass nigga and you can stop coming to my town interviewing with that bullshit. Like Pimp C say, it ain’t all about this rap shit. You muthafuckers over there need to know that I am an official product of the hood. – Rob Fame (Jackson, MS) I remember when I went to 7-11 to get a chili & cheese dog and went to the magazine rack and saw this cover that caught my eye. I was taken aback to see a rapper on the cover that represented me and the music I love so much. I flipped through each page and was amazed to see all the rappers I love from the South. The quality and colorful pages had me hooked. I had never seen a magazine that even gave the time of day to Southern rappers and there it was: OZONE Magazine! I went back to that 7-11 every few weeks to buy the next issue, and needless to say, I fell in love with OZONE. Thanks for your hard work and dedication to OZONE. Thanks for representing me and the dirty South and giving us a magazine that is all ours. I look forward to each issue. I take the magazine everywhere: the bathroom, the subway, in bed as I relax. It motivates me to want to be in it one day. Thanks for making an amazing magazine! – UP Official, myspace.com/upofficialmyspacepage (Maryland) I love OZONE but if you really want to cover the news on the streets, why don’t you ask why everyone is calling themselves “The Boss” (Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross, etc.)? Slim Thug has got a CD coming out called Boss of All Bosses. From what I know, he claimed that name first and title in Houston, TX in the early 90s and even dropped a CD called The Boss. How would you feel if he called himself The Doggfather or had a white Benz with “Ricky Ross” on the license plate? Would that be right? Not at all. I’m not trying to start no hate or no beef but since you’re the #1 magazine in the country, you’ve gotta do something about that. – Tristan, pavilion600@yahoo.com (Houston, TX) OZONE is a big publication, and I mean that from the perspective of how The Source was looked at with such importance in its heyday. Your magazine is one that a lot of people in the South look towards with respect. When an artist is featured in your magazine, it really speaks a lot to the listening public about that artist. It symbolizes that the artist’s music is worth listening to. – LMS, soundclick.com/lmsmiami (Miami, FL) 12 // OZONE MAG

I’ve been a huge supporter of OZONE since its premiere issue. I recently picked up the sex issue and it was probably some of the most entertaining interviews I’ve ever read. I appreciate what your team does at OZONE. As a consumer, I get tired of seeing the same artists on magazine covers with basically regurgitated information from their previous interviews. OZONE embraces the new artist and independents out there on the grind. - Abe Wilson, abe.a.wilson@gmail.com (Miami, FL) I bought OZONE Magazine and was very impressed! I love JB’s 2 Cents column. Just wanted to take an opportunity to compliment a sistah when she deserves it. As you mentioned in your 2 cents, this industry is dirty enough and women can really take that shit to a new level. I don’t see any need to act like that. Keep doing your thing! - Wendy Collins Squirewell, wendy@sablesoul.com (Nashville, TN) The article Too Short wrote about doing shows in smaller markets is the best article ever run in OZONE. I framed it and it’s hanging on the wall of my office for every rapper to see. Fucking brilliant! Thanks for running it. I might reprint it and have naked hookers hand it out at every convention. – Wendy Day, Rapcoalition@aol.com (Atlanta, GA) I love this culture that we have called Hip Hop. No matter how many Hip Hop magazines I’ve read, I’ve never written into a magazine about anything until now. As young blacks or young people of any race in America, we’re already under a microscope. We’re expected to mess up, to be about nothing, and to fail. I admit I’ve heard some pretty ignorant things in my lifetime, but the comments by Lil Wayne in your December 2007 issue were ignorant as hell. Don’t get me wrong, Wayne is very talented in many aspects. I listen to his music. He’s an icon to the youth, and to make the comments he made [about killing newborn babies] was just irresponsible on his behalf. I am not here to tear Lil’ Wayne down, but to help uplift him. It is our fault as a whole, that he makes comments like that. Most of the youth are the same way today because we (the older generation before them) do not reach back & try to give them that helping hand when we see them doing wrong. What happened to, “It takes a village to raise a child”? The problem is that we have babies raising babies. When I was coming up, I had no choice in whether I was going to church or not. I had to go. Today, these kids are not being raised up in the church, and it shows. No one is taking the proper time to care for them the way that they should be cared for. Someone should sit down with Wayne and discuss with him why he shouldn’t have made those comments. Let’s not lash out against him, but let’s teach the young brother. As far as Charlamagne Tha God goes, I commend you for your “Chin Check” article in the issue with Trina on the cover. Not many would go against Lil’ Wayne like that in fear that he wouldn’t support their magazine anymore. You now have nothing but love from me. Keep doing your thing & represent. Where ever you are from, they must raise them right around there. Tell them to send more of your kind out to the rest of the world. Thank you for bringing that story to the forefront. - DJ O.J. (Atlanta, GA via Hilton Head, SC)


10 THINGS DJs ARE HATIN’ ON by Cristal Bubblin’ (Bumsquad/CORE DJs)

t was so much easier to write my editorials six years ago when OZONE was just a little mini-mag that me and Mercedes used to stick under windshield wipers of cars parked outside Orlando nightclubs and nobody knew who the fuck I was. I could say anything then, but everything’s so political now. Notoriety sucks.

1. INDIE ARTISTS No, I will not play your song that I’ve never heard at 1 AM while the dance floor is packed. And no, you can’t get on the mic either. Don’t waste your time offering me money to play it on my station because my reputation as a tastemaker means more to me than $1,500 and a pair of Air Force Ones, and plus, I’m too cute for Fed time – shout out to Eliot Spitzer!

So yeah, I had some fun this month with the photo ops:

8. Flaggin’ DJs They got beef because they work for AAA Communications and you work for DD Broadcasting. They give you the side-eye at meet-n-greets and constantly talk shit about you to the label reps. Their whole attitude changes when their station flips format, though. How are you gonna fight a dude from Radio One and you only have a one hour mixshow over there at Clear Channel? You’re not even on the website, stupid! I can’t forget about the DJ crew gangstas. Why the hell do you have another man’s logo tatted on you? If you didn’t create it or have licensing rights, you look like a ho. Seriously. You do. 9. DJs that hate anything having to do with radio but CALL their mixtapes “______ Radio” I’ll let you ponder that on your own. 10. Amateur strippers in the DJ booth Unless it’s a strip club, keep your damn clothes on! Trust me, it’s not original, and if the DJ is paying any attention he thinks you’re a skank, and being a skank is worse than being a hoe (skank=Lindsay Lohan; hoe=Kim Kardashian).

I can’t talk shit about why Johnnie Cabbell should be nominated for Worst Manager of the Year, because we would like to have Shawty Lo perform at the OZONE Awards. I can’t brag about how the JB-TJ-Tony Neal tag team helped kill Mixshow Power Summit and we’re aiming for the Dirty Awards next, because I need Radio One to take their Dirty Awards budget and team up with the OZONE Awards instead (coming to Houston this August :). See what I mean? It’s all political.

Helping Roccett develop his photography skills in Phoenix

Aside from all those limitations, I can’t write about anything too scandalous because my mother Googles my 2 Cents every month and analyzes it to figure out what sort of depraved acts of sin I’m getting myself into in this evil world of Hip Hop (yes, I’m being sarcastic). Rap music is not the cause of all the evils in the world and it really irritates me when people act like Hip Hop and spirituality can’t be intertwined. Only God can judge me and if He’d rather speak to me through a Kanye West or Outkast song than a church hymn, it’s nobody else’s business. That’s why this page is always the last one I finish. What can I write about that I haven’t already written about in the previous 65 issues that won’t piss off important people, burn bridges, or break my mother’s heart?

MERCEDES

7. Groupie ass DJs You can’t possibly like every single song by every single artist and be in every damn DJ crew. If your tag looks like this: DJ Slam-A-Jam CORE DJs/Bumsquad DJz/Heavy Hitter DJs/GUnit DJs/Blackwall Street DJs/Hannah Montana DJs/Sanyo DJs/Wal-Mart DJs/Fanta DJs/Zyrtec DJs/ Hov-around DJs/Perdue DJs/Dasani DJs Stop breathing now!

Caressing David Banner’s balls in ATL (it’s just a joke...jeez)

Big Dee looks like he should be a professional wrestler, not a DJ

I’m about to be 27. I guess it’s a nice medium age. Not too young, not too old. I never wanted to get old, but truthfully, now that I’m getting there one year at a time, it’s not so bad. Some things really do get better with age. Me personally, I think I’ve chilled out a little bit. I wait and watch and make decisions based on my observations and plot and plan instead of jumping into everything. Of course, I’ve always been a genius (been hanging out across the street at Zak’s studio this week and Polow’s arrogance might have rubbed off on me... sorry) but I think it’s quite possible that I’m actually getting smarter with age. Life is beautiful! If the mag feels like it’s missing something this month, that’s cause my lil homie Eric (who is somehow related to Elliott Wilson, but not as lame) abandoned us for Chicago. Hit him up (eric.perrin@ozonemag.com) and tell him to get his ass back here ASAP (even though Jen, Maurice, and Randy held it down for the DJ issue).

SCARFACE

6. Undercutting DJs & the promoters that fuck with them For $75, I can guarantee this cat sucks and will show up with no equipment. Hey, you get what you pay for. Next week, I’m charging you double.

Even though I’m extremely blessed and OZONE has come a long way, I still have struggles on a daily basis that I can’t write about because people now have a certain perception of me that must be maintained for the success of my business. Perception and reality, in the music business especially, are two very different things. Despite what you hear in rap lyrics and see on BET, all rappers (and magazine publishers) do not go home at night and roll around in piles of cash. Just tune into MTV Jams (here we are, in the midst of a looming recession and absurd gas/airline prices) and watch how many videos you’ll see of artists bragging about how much money they’ve got. I was watching the other day and literally saw three videos in a row from artists who owe me money, and they were all waving around stacks of cash. Hilarious, but not really.

D-RAY

5. Wannabe DJs Playing what you hear on the radio doesn’t make you a DJ. Can you cut, scratch, or blend? Mixtapes involve mixing and if you can’t do it, it’s not a mixtape. It’s a compilation. You can’t be a DJ if you’ve never jockeyed a disc. Nice iPod, though.

I can’t talk shit about people who owe me money because that’s giving them too much valuable free publicity. I can’t just ramble off the top of my head like I used to because people might take me seriously and think I’m crazy, for real. I can’t write about how funny it is that Elliott Wilson, who never once returned my calls or emails when he was the Almighty Editor of XXL, now wants to be interviewed in OZONE and lounges around on Facebook and Myspace all day hitting up random industry people that he was too good to talk to before trying to get them to watch Miss Rap Supreme (which I totally lost interest in when Khia got kicked off the show--would someone at VH1 please offer her a reality show?).

The job perks of being a female photojournalist: Trey Songz showing off his incredible massage skills in New Orleans

ERIC PERRIN

4. Celebrity DJs He doesn’t know b.p.m.’s from m.p.h. but you’ll pay this Real World reject $5,000 to move the fader and be rude to the guests? And I’ve gotta argue with you for $500 and a bottle of water?

GUTTA

2. Playlists On the radio is one thing but in the club, let me do me! That’s why you hired me, isn’t it? 3. Getting paid at 3 aM Why does it take until 3 AM for you to realize you’re coming up short on my cash? It’s not like this is the first week your club was open - it’s called “expenses,” idiot. Why do we always have to “work with you” on a slow night but you never shoot me a bonus when the club is packed?

jb’s 2cents I

Too $hort wanted me to tell you that I love the Bay almost as much as Pappadeaux

- Julia Beverly, jb@ozonemag.com

Snoop Dogg f/ Too Short & Mistah F.A.B. “Life of Da Party” The Game “Nigga Wit’ An Attitude” Young Buck “My Interview” Rihanna “Take a Bow” Lloyd f/ Lil Wayne “Girls All Around The World” Willie Joe “Get On It” Akon f/ Ray L “Fallin’ In Love” Young Burna “Rather See Her Smiling”

RE’Splaylist

randy.roper@ozonemag.com Pacific Division “Paper” JR Get Money “Nobody” Shawty Redd “Special” Lil Ru “Nasty Song”

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T S E U Q P A R

G.COM

’ , HIT US UP at JB@OZONEMA N I P P O P SEE WOHR ANOTT’SREPRESENTED AT ALL O T S DETROIT, MI: T E E R T REPRESENTED, S E H T Mayor Kilpatrick got caught exchanging dirty text S T I IS messages with his Chief Of Staff Christine Beatty. OZONFEEEHL THAT YOUR CITY IS M IF YOU

NORFOLK, VA:

Lupe Fiasco was in town and had the crowd going crazy. The ODU vs. VCU after party was off the chain and over 200 people were turned away. There were many Valentine’s Day parties, but the hottest joint was at ODU with everyone from cute college girls to certified trap stars in attendance. Derrick Tha Franchise, a.k.a. Young Fame, organized Clothing for the Community and collected over 2,500 items in order to clothe many of Norfolk’s homeless families this season. Encore and Sevens are tied for the hottest club in VA right now. - Derrick Tha Franchise (ContactYoungFame@ gmail.com)

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK

Watch for new releases from veteran lyricist Kurt Dogg (www.myspace.com/4kurtdogg). OKC is blazin’ the middle right now with a surge of new artists such as Kool E Mac from Wize Records, the City Boyz, and Mista Cain. The men over at DeJaVue were at it again with Webbie sliding through. You know Black Heff is putting it down for you. The ever beautiful HoneySiccle made her way to Mississippi for the SEA awards. Hit her up at Myspace. com/honeysiccle. - Marshlynn (Marshlynn.Bolden@uscellular.com) & PL (BeatBrokers77@yahoo.com)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN:

Word is, On Point Entertainment is in conversations to be the first label to sign a major deal from the city. Ladeana and the Leak Magazine have been making much noise across the Midwest. Munki Boy Ent. has also been making a lot of noise in and outside the city with their artists Riddles and Nappyville. Pacman’s CD I Can Hook U Up should be out soon. The Heatspinner DJs will be dropping a monthly mix series for independents. - Lucky The Promo King (srfoleaf@aol.com)

TULSA, OK

Tulsa, Oklahoma’s own General of Hip Hop Dangerous Rob (Myspace.com/DangerousRob) is on a mission for success with DPGC Next Generation (Myspace.com/thedpnextgeneration). This is a group of six talented guys that are shattering the glass with tight lyrics and blasting beats. The party is on and crackin’ at Club Xclusive located at 2182 S. Sheridan Ave. Club Xclusive is Tulsa’s premiere Hip Hop spot with T-Town’s native son JB Smoove on the spins. - Marshlynn Bolden (Marshlynn.Bolden@uscellular.com)

BALTIMORE, MD:

World-known DJ and Baltimore native DNA has a lot going on. Not only has his show Real Radio been banging on XM radio 4 years strong, but he is now negotiating with majors for his label Round Table Music Group, home to artists like Don Brody. DNA and P-Cutta. They’ve blessed the streets with the hottest mixtapes and street albums ever, like the recently released Pimp C – Life after Death. DNA also hooked up with DJ Drama for Motion Picture Shit Vol 3. More projects with Chazz Williams, Gorilla Zoe, Mario, and Paula Campbell are on tap for 2008. - Darkroom Productions (TheDarkRoomInc@yahoo.com)

FORT MYERS/NAPLES, FL: Lil Soldier dropped his debut album Big Hempin’ 24/365. Riskay’s song “Smell Yo Dick,” produced by 105.5’s own DJ Quest, continues to make headlines. It was played on Howard Stern’s radio show. Apparently, Stern loves the song. The Big O turns 29, again, throwing one of the biggest parties to kick off 2008. DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, JT Money, Qwote, and the rest of the 305 crew came to represent. Fab First Lady Niki of 105.5 The Beat was named 2007’s Radio Personality of the Year by Lee Pitts Live. Plies is looking for his next “Bust-it Baby.” Auditions are being held in Tampa. - Jae Rae (JaeRae1055@aol.com)

COLUMBUS, OH:

Buckeey and Bootz came to the city and got loose. Tailor Made was spotted looking for love in the CO too. On the mixtape circuit, Jigga mixes are in high demand with I Am Legend by Team Invasion Midwest, American Gangster Trappers Edition by DJ Dru and D Boogie, and AG vs. TIP by our own DJ Bern. Chris Brown, Soulja Boy, and CO’s dog Bow Wow shut the stadium down this month. The MLK March kicked off Black History Month and Power 107.5 celebrated their 10 year anniversary. This is dedicated to Tony Sharpe – R.I.P. - Big Yogi (ImageInq@gmail.com)

DUMAS, AR:

Interstate Riders’ dropped a mixtape hosted by Countryside Productions. Arkansas’ rap scene is ready for prime time; the talent here can match any state when it comes to music. The Crawfish Festival went down in Dermott, Arkansas. The festival is like Mardi Gras with a country flavor. It’s just like the old Freaknik – anything goes. The Countryside DJ Coalition was formed for DJs in smaller markets. Not to call out names, but some big name coalitions have forgotten where they came from. - DJ Hiley (LamarHiley@yahoo.com) 16 // OZONE MAG

K-Deezy seems to be featured on everybody’s album. Trick-Trick is heating up air waves with “Let’s Work.” Detroit’s Vet Doc Chill is hitting streets hard with “Boom City.” Flint Town’s MC Breed is back with a new group (Bake Up Boyz) and single featuring Jim Jones “I Can Do That.” Identical is getting local video play with “I’m Doin What I Do.” Zone Radio plays all independent/underground artists on 89.3 FM Saturday’s from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. (thezoneradio@gmail.com). D-Party is the hot TV show on 38 WADL. - Eric (itscrunkatlanta@yahoo.com) & AJ (the313report@yahoo.com)

AUSTIN, TX:

Bavu Blakes is releasing a weekly flow in 2008 at 08IsSoGreat.com. DJ Grip took home the Mixtape Rookie of the Year award and DJ Hella Yella took home the Slept on DJ of the Year award at the 2008 SEAs. The Dirty Wormz put on a big show at Antone’s. South Bound held their Birthday Bash at Ruta Maya’s. Will Hustle and DJ Knowledge released What-A-Hustla 4. Paul Wall and Lupe Fiasco came through for concerts at Emo’s and Fuze. Hip Hop journalist Matt Sonzala made a new transition from Houston to Austin to work with SXSW. He also founded AustinSurReal.com. - O.G. of Luxury Mindz (CreativeOG@gmail.com)

DALLAS/FT. WORTH, TX: NEW ORLEANS, LA:

Mardi Gras had everyone eating king cake and sippin’ gumbo in the 504. Here We Go Entertainment and DJ Hollaback had the city on lock for Mardi Gras and All Star. When you come to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, you have to watch the parade under the Claiborne bridge. Artists like Shawt, Young A, K Gates, Skip, Wacko, The Show, Dizzy, and Currency can be seen in the streets. Juggie of Phat Phat receives the “shining harder than a rapper” award for his cameo in B.G.’s new video. 2Cent made its debut on ABC with big fine Amanda looking sexy as ever. - Derrick Tha Franchise (www.Myspace.com/DerrickThaFranchise)

There will be a TX showdown of music conferences this summer between Tony Neal’s TUMS (TX Urban Music Summit) and Mike Moodswing’s TSMC (TX Summer Music Conf.). Donny B is keeping Funkytown Forth Worth artists moving with his channel 28 TV show. The legendary DJ Snake makes Club Torch his official spot. Fat Pimp’s “I’m Getting Money” featuring Young Guerillas is locking down the streets and clubs. Big Tuck’s single “Ain’t a Stain on Me” featuring Fat Bastard is rotating on the airwaves. The 1st lady of screw music DJ Princess Cut continues to drop her Bout to Blow mixtape series. - Edward “Pookie” Hall (www.urbansouth.us@ gmail.com)


CHICAGO, IL:

WGCI’s Go Ill Radio and Timbuck2 have been a success for the Chicago Hip Hop scene. Hymalaya had a single release party for his record “Let Me Get That” with super-promoter Donski Ent. Action signed to Jeezy’s label CTE. Cool Kids have a buzz with their new single “Black Mags.” Not enough artists are working their music on the scene; instead they are going to radio first which is a nono. DJ V Dub was named CTE Midwest DJ and has a new wrapped truck emblazoned with himself and the CTE logo. Ill Eagle is bubbling with performances and an upcoming album. - Jamal Hooks (JHooks@tmail.com)

WASHINGTON, DC:

The 2nd Annual DMV Awards came and went. I slipped in and out of the show without bringing attention to myself. The winners won and some of those who didn’t or weren’t even nominated bitched and complained. Some even made diss tracks towards those that won. Sore losers? On the surface, the DMV Awards is good because it attempts to shine light on those artists who just can’t catch a break from the local media or the industry and gives them a chance to be recognized by their peers. Anyway, congrats to the winners and to everybody else, maybe next year. - Pharoh Talib (Ptalib@gmail.com)

PHILADELPHIA, PA:

Philly’s Hip Hop scene has been cold as of late. Underground artists such as Tu Phace and the Subliminal Orphans, out of The Beat Factory studio in West Philly, continue to spark heat with their alternative worldly approach to Hip Hop. Other artists such as Jakk Frost, Young Chris (formerly of Roc-A-fella), Zeek Butla, Reed Dollaz, Ness from Making the Band, and Ab-Liva continue to supply the streets with their beats and words. Lately, the club scene has been controlled by Dolphin – the promoter who keeps Philly popping. The murder rate dropped with a new mayor. - JO (jabari.oliver@memphisrap.com)

BIRMINGHAM, AL Atlantic Records’ Attitude dropped a mixtape alongside DJ Smallz called Key II the Street V2. Money Hungry Clik, Big Gin, and Snipe dropped new mixtapes. Some notable events are First Fridays of Birmingham at Club Elevations and DJ Lazyboy’s Next 2 Blow Showcase. Regional promoter Redd is doing numerous promotional events. RW Record Pool is still pushing. Corey Barbar (C.B.) of Freewill Records dropped the new single called “Get It While You Can.” DJs Serious, SticMan, Derty Vegas, and Stikubush continue working hard. Say Nigh Ent.’s CEO Bik Lonnie tragically lost his life. His N.B.A. DVD series promoted numerous acts in the city. - K. Bibbs (AllOrNothingPromo@hotmail.com)

COLUMBIA, SC:

Piazo released “Bubble Chevy” and picked up where he left off. His intro for the 5 O’clock Traffic Jam with Big Gee is still a classic. Big Gee is in Dollar’s video and Lucky Leon is in Fat Joe’s video. Daytona and B Lord are killing Club Levels at 1800 Blanding St. and Club Evolutions is still doing big numbers. Big Hurc is dropping a new line for his Metro Certified Clothing. Do Durty is one of the hottest rappers in the streets right now and is gonna take niggas by storm when he hits. Watch out, the Feds are in town. - Rob Lo (RobLoPromo@aol.com)

NASHVILLE, TN: TAMPA, FL:

2 Pistols and T-Pain shot their video for “She Got It” around town. The Illmortal SL Magazine release party was held at Club Empire. DJ Knucklez and Aych hosted as Mo Gutta Game, Deca, BMU, and others performed. Aych stayed on the grind as he celebrated his birthday and the release of his new album just one week after opening for Wu-Tang Clan with Larson and The Villanz. In other news, someone was busted for growing 21 marijuana plants in their home and 300 were found in another home last month. That’s one hell of a green thumb. - Mz T-Rock (MzTRock@yahoo.com)

SAN ANTONIO, TX:

It’s been an exciting and crazy time for San Antonio’s Hip Hop scene. A slew of local and major artists attended the annual Hip Hop Summit with guest speaker Bun B of UGK giving insight on industry woes and advice on staying the course to making it big. The largest MLK march in the country is also the talk of the town. Every year the media pours into town along with many other outof-towners to pay respect to Dr. King. - Bishop Maxx (bishop_maxx@yahoo.com)

MACON, GA

The 11th Hour Award Show was held at the Cox Theater. Winners included Doski Wo for Best Hip Hop Artist. His performance with The Clay was more than memorable. DJ Rodger Riddle took home Best DJ honors and did the damn thing at the after party. Killer Mike had an interesting experience at Club Moneys. Tex James and DJ Rick Flare dropped their new mixtape called We Set the City on Fire. - Ali Roc (radiodj242000@yahoo.com)

TALLAHASSEE, FL:

Tallahassee is now the new urban mecca of music as celebrity after celebrity, from rap stars to NFL stars to comedians, visited the city since Demp Week. Every 5 days we have experienced an entertainment revolution. TJs DJs took over the city with the second quarter Tastemakers Music Conference, which was also TJ Chapman’s birthday. First there was Julius of MTV’s Making the Band, then there was Buddha of I Love New York, now be on the look out for Ms. Myamee, a recent FAMU graduate and Tallahassee resident, on Flavor of Love 3. - DJ Dap (DJDapOnline@gmail.com)

Cashville stand up and get the keys to the chevy. The entire city was at the 2008 SEAs held at the Grand Casino in Tunica, MS. Amongst those who brought home the hardware are Shannon Sanders, Fate Eastwood, C-Lo, Robski, and Becky The Great. G.L.U.W. Entertainment’s Rip performed his hit single “Keys to the Chevy” at Saturday’s kick off party with DJs Sir Swift and Ron C. JC (Block Ent.) and Fluid Outrage (Bang Out Ent.) performed to a crowd of 1,800 plus at Sunday’s awards ceremony and showed the South why Cashville is here! - Janiro (Janiro@southernentawards.com)

MIAMI, FL:

I’m going to school you on a word being used in the 3-0-5 in almost every song that’s climbing up the charts. The word is “shone.” In Ball Greezy’s song “Shone” and Under Surveillance’s song “On Deck” the word “shone” is the main focus, but what does it mean? I asked numerous people and I still have no clue because everyone has their own interpretation. So let’s just say it means a girl who looks good, isn’t embarrassed to give it up, and drinks it to the last drop. Wow! No wonder it’s in all the songs. Welcome to Miami. - Supa Cindy (www.Myspace.com/Supadupe)

OZONE MAG // 17


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

PORTLAND, OR: (503)

King Khazm of the Zulu Nation (206 Chapter) recently celebrated his 30th birthday. When you roll through Olympia, “Rock, Rock Y’all” at The Royal Lounge on Fridays, featuring the dopest mixes of Hip Hop, Rock, and Blues. Lacey, WA’s Jonathan Stewart, is about to be that lottery pick. Nu Sound (NS) has been making major noise as a producer out of the Northwest while working with cats from The Bay Area. Quincy Jones was recently honored in his native city of Seattle as an icon and the genius that he has proven to be. - Luvva J (Myspace.com/luvvaj)

The original OG, Ice-T and his beautiful wife Coco (yes she looks as good in person if not better) slid through the Rose City with Bay Area Legend, Andre Nickatina for the sold-out Annual Pisces Party. Ice even took the stage and performed before placing the cape on Nickatina a la James Brown…memorable! The 503’s original hustla Cool Nutz is receiving critical acclaim for his current release King Cool Nutz. And don’t sleep on Native America’s #1 DJ, DJ Tee out of Idaho. Idaho’s got some heat and Tee’s been repping the mixtape game since 1994 – real tough like. Check him out on Myspace. - Luvva J (Myspace.com/luvvaj)

VALLEJO, CA: (707)

In this tiny town, the Thizz Entertainment and Sick Wid It camps continue on big with major releases from Thizz frontman/Cutthoat Committee member Dubee with his new album Last of a Thizzin Breed (there’s also Thizz or Die and The Best Of Thizz Nation). On the other side of town, E-40’s young lad (and one of the Bay’s most sought-after producers) Droop-E releases his compilation The Sick Wid It Umbrella: The Machine to keep fans settled until Pops drop his new collector’s piece. All these albums and more can be found at Vallejo Street Show (owners of the Hunid Racks/Mac Dre/2Pac energy drink), one of the only independent record stores in the entire county. - Kay Newell (kayozonemag@gmail.com)

LAS VEGAS, NV: (702)

The UNLV Running Rebels won their second Mountain West Conference Championship and moved on to the Sweet Sixteen. Three of Hip Hop’s biggest stars came through Vegas. The Heart of the City Tour featuring Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige came through the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The Glow in the Dark tour featuring Kanye West, along with N.E.R.D., and Lupe Fiasco had an outdoor concert. Also heating things up in Vegas is upcoming comedian Mike P’s weekly comedy show at Poetry Nightclub every Friday night. With a variety of comedians hosting each week, his various characters and sketches will surely have you falling out of your seat. - Portia Jackson (PortiaJ@sprint.blackberry.net)

DENVER, CO (303, 720)

DJ Ktone’s Welcome to Denver b-day bash was off the hook. DJ Drama, Willie the Kid, Big Tuck, Fat B, and Kia Shine all came in town for the 4-day event, and the whole town joined them. DJ Ktone and Innerstate Ike are set to drop Turf BarbieDoll Radio; DJ 4M drops 4M Radio Vol. 1; and Young Doe drops his second album within a year called A Product of the Eighties. DJ SD and KDJ Above have Soul in the City locked on Mondays, and Fridays at The Loft is going hard now. Hawkman made the Patiently Waiting section in the February issue of OZONE, and 107.1 is the new station in town. We’ll see how long that lasts. - DJ Ktone (Myspace.com/djktonedotcom)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: (415)CyPHOENIX, AZ:

Over 700 producers from around the country attended Money Management Group’s One Stop Shop at the Hyatt Regency located in downtown Phoenix. Many producers were able to sell their beats on the spot to artists and producers alike. Stoudamire’s downtown and Sky Lounge both hosted the star-studded after parties for the many producers and visitors. Green Lantern and Whoo Kid delivered the musical stylings for the affairs on the 1’s and 2’s and all was good. Swizz Beats, DJ Cannon, and DJ Premier were just a few of the famed producers who joined the conference. Also, Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige hit the Valley for a soldout performance at the US Airways Center. - Jasmine Crowe (jasmine@mystjazz.com)

SACRAMENTO, CA: (916)

Check out Sumthin Terrible’s new Album You Stupid. Doey Rock has a new a Sic Wid It album and movement titled 916 Unified with a hot song featuring J Gibb called “So Sac With It.” Also, Jay-Syth of Omina Labs is releasing a new album, The Resume, and Chris Webber’s spot Center Court in Natomas is the new place for star-studded Hip Hop parties. Hassan has been puttin’ it down and the newest buzz is artist Cawzlos with the single “The Real Sac Kings” on Fuse Entertainment. - Zay (zaemai@gmail.com)

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press Hill shut down the famed Fillmore Theater on four twenty and the Mezzanine continues to support the Hip Hop movement with various performances by Devin the Dude and Bun B followed by David Banner and Saigon. Comedian and Bay Area native Paul Mooney comes home to do seven shows at Cobbs Comedy club. Last but not least, The Bay releases three exclusive new sneakers including the ostrich and leather joints. Really, they’re called The Bays and you can check out baysusa.com to cop ‘em. - Kay Newell (kayozonemag@gmail.com)

SAN JOSE, CA: (408)

Metal Mouth Productions’ mixtape madman DJ Rah2K has teamed up with Mr. F.A.B. to create a finely crafted double disc mixtape, The Guillotine: Off With His Head. Every track is a freestyle in true F.A.B. form. The Glow in the Dark tour (Kanye West and Rhianna) performed to a sold-out crowd at HP Pavilion. In anticipation of his fifth album, Tear Gas, The Jacka will make a rare South Bay appearance at UGMX Studios with DJ Tito Bell in the mix. - Kay Newell (kayozonemag@gmail.com)


MILWAUKEE, WI:

They call it Brew City, Kil-town, Cream City, Miltown or an hour and a half from Chi. Call it what you want – Milwaukee’s highly anticipated 3rd Annual Roll Call event, scheduled for April 18th at Questions 3040 W. North Ave., is labeled MKE’s biggest music industry networking party. It’s known for drawing entertainment professionals from throughout the Midwest, inviting entrepreneurs, artists, labels, media, designers, and taste makers. It’s open to scouts and cross promotions. Over 300 artists and producers have participated making it a very important and fulfilling event in a hungry ass city. Go to Myspace.com/mkerollcall to get involved. - Gorilla Promo (info@gorillapromo.com)

CINCINNATI, OH:

MEMPHIS, TN:

JACKSON, MS:

Memphis shone bright this year with a few wins at the SEAs. DJ Rob Storm walked away with Old School DJ of the Year; Yo Gotti received Impact Artist of the Year; and Playa Fly won Performance of the Year. Teflon Don won the Memphisrap.com Showcase judged by a panel of industry officials. His performance definitely stood out. The 2nd place winners were Hip Hop band B-Rob and female rapper Lil Sha. Stay on the look out for these hot new artists. Yo Gotti got some major attention with his mixtape Cocaine Muzik. It received good responses from media and fans. - Deanna Brown (Deanna.Brown@MemphisRap.com)

COLUMBUS, GA:

The face of nightlife has changed yet again as a few clubs either closed, changed names, or people flat out lost interest. L’s Place is now Club Envy; Ritmo is now Club 21; and they’re about to open a new Super Wal-Mart, which is just like a club on the 1st and 15th. DK’s second single “Outer Space” is killing it and getting heavy rotation. Rhythm Salon and Cash-P’s Tattoo shop just celebrated their anniversaries, and the party was insane. Slick Seville became the only person ever from Columbus to be in Unsigned Hype and Ebony’s Top 30 under 30. - Slick Seville (SlickSeville@gmail.com)

OAKLAND, CA: (510)

The Heart of the City tour left the town smokin’ on 4/20 at Oracle Arena (that’s a special day for all you cheeba heads). Keyshia Cole came home to hold auditions for singers/dancers to back her up on tour later this summer. Oakland factor Lee Majors activates his Scraper Music mixtape with Guerrilla Ent. while Demolition Men unload Nuthin But Slap, their sixth edition hosted by Jacka. The Warriors look to make its second back-to-back post season run as the first round gets under way. - Kay Newell (kayozonemag@gmail.com)

HUNTSVILLE, AL:

Jackie Chain’s song “Rollin” is getting big play. Mata from the group X.O. has a new mixtape Dreadman 3 (Myspace.com/MajoPaper). Other Paper Route Records artists are M.A., Big Pope, Jhi-Ali, Gunt, Nicky 2 States, Mr. Marcellus, Dawgy Baggz, and Mali Boi from Block Beataz. Slo-Mo is still on the move. DJ 7/11 rocks Club Apex on Fri and Sat nights. The Greenroom and Benchwarmers also keep balanced crowds. Adult clubs like Visions, Playaz Club, and Silver Dollar stay hot. Check out Jo-Ski Love’s Homegrown show on 103.1. Also look out for GMane’s new mixtape, G2G, F.T.P., and Tear It Up Click. - GMane (GMane256@gmail.com)

MONTGOMERY, AL:

Trina was almost “Single Again” for real when she came here to perform at Frontstreet. Her single is the new female anthem in Montgomery, but it was too damn cold. Plus, Plies was in Troy on the same night, 45 minutes from Montgomery. That’s where everybody was at. Seriously, trying to see Plies in Alabama is like looking for Waldo on the cereal box; he’s suppose to be there but you never see him. Chappy got the streets on lock again with “Rollin” featuring B.O.B. and Homebwoi. They performed it at Diamonds. - Hot Girl Maximum (HotGirl.Maximum@gmail.com)

KANSAS CITY, MO/KS:

R&B Thug Bishop Young Don’s new project Sex Music drops this month. His listening party in January was attended by the who’s-who of the Kansas City music scene. Bishop has written songs for artists like J. Holiday, Ginuwine and Joe. Comedian Lil Derrick from Mississippi got caught up by the Feds trying to move 32 pounds of the good green via public transportation (city bus). There are talks that KC mixtape moguls Tha Streetmonstaz will be operating under a new name. Tech N9ne is going back on tour again this month and will be dropping a new album Killer. - Kenny Diamondz (KennyDiamondz@gmail.com)

Word is, Chad Johnson is not thrilled with the Bengals’ Camp and is likely to go home and play for the Dolphins. A lot of fires have sprung up this winter and the Cincinnati Fire Department is having problems fighting them. The suspension bridge located on I-75, a major artery between Ohio and Kentucky, is feared to need major repairs amidst the amount of traffic that crosses it everyday. A&E’s First 48 has featured Cincinnati, Ohio and the violent murders that are under investigation in the city. Black-Jackk’s new song “They Like” is another hit coming out of the Stun-Aholics camp. - Judy Jones (Judy@JJonesent.com) J Money and 3535 Entertainment are back again with the hit single “Give Her to Me.” It’s increasingly getting airplay. The crowd was not so pleased with the performance by Rocko of the hit “Umma Do Me.” Some say not only does he need more development but he’s trying to bite off Jeezy. Gutta and World recently collaborated with Lil Boosie on a club banger putting them on blast. Saints’ player Charles Grant, one of the city’s honorary bottle poppers, was recently stabbed in a nightclub but he’s okay. Monta Ellis hit a career high of 35 points taking his NBA career to new heights. - Tambra Cherie (TambraCherie@aol.com) & Stax (blockwear@tmo.blackberry.net)

JACKSONVILLE, FL:

Young Cash is no longer signed to SRC/Universal Records. T-Pain is rumored to be highly involved with Cash’s album dropping in April. The OZONE Model Search/White Party with Point Blank Ent. and Jackie-O’s RNR release party both went down on the same day with big turnouts. TREAL tore up the stage with Nephew and Hustle House for Mob Boss’ B-day Bash. Unity Fest was a good look for the city although the turn out wasn’t so good. Raw, Anonymous and his sister Blu Cantrell opened up for Flo Rida at Plush. Freeway, Keyshia Cole, Boosie and Webbie all stopped through this month. - Lil Rudy (LilRudyRu@yahoo.com)

LOUISVILLE, KY

Another movement has started through multimedia. G.P. launched 92.7fm Impact Radio. LS premieres Da Show – a Hip Hop TV show that features unsigned artists, videos, and guest appearances by national recording artists. The League brought us Flashing Lights Friday at Club Felt 4th Street Live. Y.V. has a hot song out now “I Got a Dollar” featuring Polow Da Don. Elite Muzic held an A&R Talent Showcase/Model search. Will someone be signed soon? DJ Q DJed the Pepsi Challenge at the Super Bowl and dropped a Super Bowl mixtape hosted by G-Unit’s Hot Rod. - Divine Da Instagata (OuttaDaShopEnt@hotmail.com

ST. LOUIS, MO:

Hittbreaka DJ Mr. Marcus’ mixtape radio show brought in ‘08 right with interviews from B Legit, Styles P., and Manish Man. Disclosure Newszine had a packed house at their one year anniversary party. A Verb and Street Status DVD packed the house with WW4 with Young Holla edging out Young Ill. STL’s renagade artist Dutch Jackson and OutDaWoodWorks hit the streets with Mad Azz Middle Vol. 3. It’s a solo Dutch Jackson mixtape with features from DerrtyBoi Montana, County Brown, EQ, and Ill Spitta. Young Jeezy performed to a packed a house at The Spotlite. - Jesse James (JesseJames314@aol.com)


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(above L-R): Young Dro & BG @ The CORE DJs Retreat in New Orleans, LA; Yung Berg, Ray J & J. Holiday @ Spring Bling in Riviera Beach, FL (Photos: Terrence Tyson); Baby & Lil Wayne @ the King’s Ent. Almost a Hot Boy Reunion in New Orleans, LA (Photo: Marcus DeWayne)

01 // DJ Quote & Albie Montgomery @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 02 // Guest, Paris Jontae, Ashlee Ford, & guest @ Sobe Live for her birthday party (Miami, FL) 03 // Grand Prix & Jackie Chain @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 04 // Lil Boosie, Bigga Rankin, & J-Baby @ the Hypnotized Tour (Augusta, GA) 05 // DJ Greo & K Foxx @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s “Trilla” album release party (Miami, FL) 06 // Pitbull & Qwote on the set of Qwote’s “Don’t Wanna Fight” (Miami, FL) 07 // Kaspa & YV @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 08 // Hoetester @ T-Pain’s Grammy Appreciation concert (Jacksonville, FL) 09 // Renaldo & London @ Atlanta 300 bowling alley (Atlanta, GA) 10 // ESG & Queen @ Warehouse Live (Houston, TX) 11 // Crisco Kidd & the Grit Boyz @ Music Depot (Houston, TX) 12 // Trap Starz & DJ Big Bink (Dallas, TX) 13 // Tina, 2 Pistols, & Cindy Nuzzo @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 14 // DJ Bishop V Luv & DJ Sir Thurl @ Society (St Louis, MO) 15 // Mean Green & DJ Battlecat @ Warehouse Live (Houston, TX) 16 // DJ KTone & Citty @ Unity (Memphis, TN) 17 // Wild Wayne & Inersha @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 18 // Roccett, Q Parker from 112, & Rick Edwards @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 19 // Dr. Doom & Jessica Rochelle @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 20 // Jessica & Taheira @ RJ’s for OZONE party during Spring Bling weekend (West Palm Beach, FL) Photo Credits: Bogan (02); D’Lyte (12); DJ KTone (16); J Lash (06); Julia Beverly (01,05,07,09,17); King Yella (14); Knowledge (10,11,15); Malik Abdul (13,20); Ms Rivercity (03); Terrence Tyson (04,08,18,19)

OZONEMAG MAG////21 21 OZONE


Day.com) Developing Relationships | By Wendy Day (www.Wendy

Y

ou’ve heard me stress the importance of team, over and over again. Just as Lebron James, who is inarguably one of the best basketball players in the world, could not take on and win against the worst team in the league by himself, even as talented as he is, no artist can succeed without a team of people propelling them forward. I just got back from spending 28 days on the road with BloodRaw, where we went to 26 different cities. He has an album dropping this Spring, and we felt it was best to get him back in front of his fans, and potential new fans, to connect with the new music and reconfirm all the work and grind that Raw has put in over the years that he was unsigned. It was time to take Mr. Florida regional, and then national. Since there is no money involved in the early stages of an artist’s career, it’s important for the team to be devoted and work harder than if there was actual payment involved. Getting people to do work on speculation (the promise of something in the future that may or may not actually happen) is extremely difficult. That dedication is based on the relationships that the artist has-someone who believes in the artist as a person and their ability to succeed, will put in hard work, dedication, and time. There were seven of us who went out on the road with Raw. Our individual relationships with Raw and/or CTE (Young Jeezy’s label) is what got us out on the road with him, and kept us there when times got tough. Not one of us was paid to be there. Not even Raw. We woke up every day in a different city, visited retail stores, radio stations, DJs, clubs, high schools, the ‘hood in every city, and malls. In some cities we even spent time on campuses at the black colleges. The key was to figure out who would buy a BloodRaw CD and reach them in the areas where they’d be hanging out. Performing at the clubs every night was also important to let folks see and hear the single, “Louie,” featuring Young Jeezy. Working a single is what spreads the word about an artist and the impending CD release. Relationships are what enabled us to find key people in each market to take us around and share their market with us. While an artist can infiltrate a market without someone from that market involved, it’s always easier when there is someone there who can roll with the team from point to point. It also gives the artist a local contact person so that if something is going on in that market, they can educate the artist, or easily reach out to the artist to bring him or her back for a show or an important event. So in a market like Mobile AL, where a key industry person like Dirty Dan was there to take us to all of the ‘hoods, the strip clubs, the radio clubs, the malls, high schools that mattered, and even to show us the best chicken wing shack and a local studio where the artists in Mobile record, it was invaluable to have that relationship that allowed Dan to do all that work as a favor to us. He was even able to get us into the radio station to appear on Nick@Nite’s show, and BloodRaw’s relationship with Nick kept us there most of the night. Relationships go further than money in the music business. While many people try to buy their way into the industry, the smart ones learn to leverage their relationships and trade favors. But the important aspect of trading favors is to actually remember what people have done for you in the past and repay their kindness when you can.

22 // OZONE MAG

As we visited with DJs along our promo tour, one resounding theme kept recurring. The DJs, both club and radio, could recount endless stories about artists they’ve helped in the past by showing love on a record, only to have gotten nothing in return but broken promises. One of the DJs in SC shared a story about helping an artist years ago who had no budget but had a hit record, and while this artist promised the moon to DJs throughout the south, once he became a star he changed all of his phone numbers and did nothing for any of the DJs. He hadn’t just burned one bridge, he’s burned many. This is a “who you know” business. Knowing the wrong people is just as detrimental to a career as knowing the right people and fucking them over. It may not even be the artist’s intention to fuck them over, it may just happen because it’s the circumstance the artist is in. Regardless, a burned bridge is a burned bridge. They are almost impossible to repair. There was a radio DJ of some importance who told me a story about an artist who always called him every few days when he had a record that was about to come out. He would stress to the DJ how much he needed him on the record because his label wasn’t fully behind him. He’d even pop into the market semi-regularly and stay at the DJ’s house, eat his food, and drink his booze. The artist would do free show after free show as he attempted to build his career—for everybody but the DJ who was helping him. Then, once the artist had some success, not only could the DJ no longer get in touch with the artist, but the artist stopped coming through his market to promote, bypassing this market for bigger markets where he could make more money. To add insult to injury, the label, not knowing there was once a relationship between the artist and the DJ, hired the competing DJ across town to do street team work for the project (the artist never stepped in to right this wrong). Do you imagine this key DJ will ever support anything this artist does? If this artist has artists coming up under him, do you suppose this DJ will ever support any of them? Probably not. After staying at this man’s house, and getting countless spins on a record that could have gone to another artist with a bigger budget, the least this artist could have done was arrange to come back once he was successful, and do a free show for the DJ. Most DJs have a night during the week where they have club access, and doing a show and letting the DJ have the door is a nice way to let everyone eat and repay a favor. Some artists are too short-sighted to see this. Sadly, the artists who’ve come before and done people wrong, are making it difficult for the new artists coming through now and need help. Many of the DJs, promoters, and street team guys have been burned so many times that they are reluctant to work with anyone new. It hurts everyone in the industry. Relationships are key to success in this business. It’s important to guard your relationships and connections as tightly as you guard your money—in fact, when the money is gone, all you’ll have left are your relationships. At the very least, call everyone that has helped you get to whatever level you are at right now, and tell them thank you! Maybe even ask them if there’s anything you can do for them…


(above L-R): Trey Songz & Julia Beverly @ Comedy Club for Southern Hustlin tour afterparty in Hampton Roads, VA (Photo: Julia Beverly); BloodRaw, Young Buck, & Young Jeezy @ Justin’s in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Eric Perrin); Jimmy Henchman & Rick Ross @ Patchwerk for Rick Ross’s “Trilla” listening session in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly)

01 // DJ KTone & DJ Juice @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 02 // Drumma Boy, Rick Ross, & Ebony Love @ Patchwerk for Rick Ross’s “Trilla” listening session (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Jason Geter, Lil C, & Alfamega @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 04 // Zain & M Geezy @ T-Pain’s Grammy Appreciation concert (Jacksonville, FL) 05 // Grind Mode & Tarvoria @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 06 // David Banner & DJ Trauma @ Atlanta 300 bowling alley (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Ciara, & Valeisha @ Hip Hop Summit Action Network Awards (New York, NY) 08 // DJ Nasty, Melyssa Ford, & Flo Rida @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 09 // DJ Impact, DJ Demp, Akon, & Tony Neal @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 10 // DJ Bishop V Luv & DJ Dwight Stone @ The Beat (St Louis, MO) 11 // T-Mo Goodie & Freddy Hydro @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 12 // Kevin Delaney, B Rich, & TJ Chapman on the set of BOB’s “Haterz Everywhere” (Atlanta, GA) 13 // JR & Johnny @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s “Trilla” album release party (Miami, FL) 14 // Fiya & DJ Rip @ Dream for The CORE DJs Awards (New Orleans, LA) 15 // Mon-E G, Rick Ross & Fat Boy @ T-Pain’s Grammy Appreciation concert (Jacksonville, FL) 16 // Princess & Fat Boy @ the Hypnotized Tour (Augusta, GA) 17 // Mac Boney & Alfamega @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 18 // Teresa & Snoop Dogg @ Warehouse Live (Houston, TX) 19 // DJ Frosty, Hen Roc, DJ Drama, & Willie the Kid @ Level for B-Lord’s birthday party (Columbia, SC) Photo Credits: Clevis Harrison (19); Eric Perrin (12); Johnny Nunez (07); Julia Beverly (01,02,06,09,11,13,14); King Yella (10); Knowledge (18); Malik Abdul (05,08); Terrence Tyson (03,04,15,16,17)

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CHIN CHECK By Charlamagne Tha God J

esus would have been a radio personality/DJ. I want you to understand exactly what I just said so I will repeat it again. Jesus would have been a radio personality/DJ. How did I come to this conclusion? Well, Jesus was a public servant. He is an example of a man who truly came to serve. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan says we should not want public office or positions of power so that we can become big shots. We should want public office and positions of power so that we can serve. Jesus himself said, “He who would be great among you, let him be your servant.” What Would Jesus Do If He Was A Jock? He would be a public servant. He would serve the needs of the people. If you’re a radio personality/DJ and you don’t feel that you are a public servant, you need to do us all a favor and dress like Bin Laden and go running up to the White House with a backpack on screaming JIHAD! The people have needs, so those of us in service are only good if we can use our power to satisfy the needs of those whom we serve. Let’s be clear, we all know the radio personality/DJ game is a thankless business. The hours are long and the money is short. Most of us probably wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t have a genuine love for what we do. Think about the headaches you go through when dealing with program directors who don’t even live the lifestyle. Think about having to compete with other radio personalities and DJs who are so far outside the demographic you are targeting that they think Day 26 is a four week weight loss program guaranteed to have you 20 pounds lighter on the 26th day. Even worse, they think Shawty Lo is an artificial sweetener for young kids with diabetes. I ask Mass Communication majors all the time, “Are you getting involved with radio because you have a genuine love for the game?” and, “Do you want to be involved because you have a genuine need or desire to make the lives of others better?” If not, then I would strongly suggest another profession; something that does not have you directly affecting the lives of the people that hear you on a daily basis. I know there are some radio personality/DJs out there right now saying, “Man Charlamagne sit your ass down somewhere, I’m just here to collect my little piece of a paycheck and keep it moving.” Well, my friend, that is why your ratings suck. That is why you still don’t have

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that shift you wanted at the station. That is why no one is returning your calls about that air check you sent out. That is why you can’t get any more than $200 to spin at a party and that is why the streets of the city you are in don’t fuck with you. The reason is because you have not embraced the divine position that God has put you in, the position of public servant. A lot of times we get caught up in our own hype and we stop serving the needs of the people. We start thinking it’s all about us. DJs play what they want to hear or what they’re feeling instead of really checking the pulse of the city and seeing what the people want to hear. I know DJs that won’t play local records that are smash hits on the radio just because the artist hasn’t personally come to holla at them and rub their balls. Message to those DJs: Your purpose in life will only be found in service to others and in being connected to something far greater than your punk ass ego. And you wonder why local artists want to fight your ass now. It’s called karma. You’re being punished for not doing your divine duty as a public servant. I also have an issue with DJs who don’t play records because they are directly affiliated with certain crews. DJ Khaled shouldn’t stop playing G-Unit music just because they have issues with Fat Joe. Now they have thrown Khaled into the socalled beef, but that is only because Khaled chose sides and stopped playing G Unit music. It’s the same thing with Whoo Kid. He shouldn’t stop playing Fat Joe’s records because Joe has a so-called beef with 50. When you start getting caught up like that, you as a DJ are totally abandoning the needs of the people. You mean to tell me no one has called Khaled’s show and requested a G-Unit record? No one has called Whoo Kid and requested a Fat Joe record? I’m sure they have, and when these DJs don’t play the records because they can’t swallow their false sense of pride to serve the needs of the people, what does that listener do? They switch stations. That listener goes somewhere where their needs can be served. Law 20 in the 48 Laws of Power says “Do not commit to anyone, it is the fool who always rushes to take sides. Do not commit to any side or cause but yourself.” If you are a truly a public servant committing to yourself or your cause is not a problem because your cause is to serve the needs of the

public and not the needs of the crew you wear on a chain around your neck. Whenever you DJs and radio personalities get put in a situation where you have to make a decision between your ego and the needs of the people simply ask yourself, “What Would Jesus Do If He Was a Jock?” If Jesus was in New York spinning in a club or on the radio and he knew that the people where demanding Southern music, he wouldn’t purposely play hours of everything else and only do a 15 minute Southern set. Jesus would serve the needs of the people because a true public servant comes to serve! When it comes to being a radio personality/DJ there are forces greater than your ego that are always at work. Do you think Jesus would get caught up in radio station beef? Jocks not talking to other jocks in the streets because they work at rival stations. I hate to see jocks throwing shots at each other because anything can and will happen in this business, and that jock you are dissing could be your co-worker one day or better yet your boss! Malcolm X was a public servant and so was Martin Luther King Jr. You never saw them dissing each other even though they didn’t agree with each other’s approaches. Do you know why? Because even with different approaches they were fighting for the same cause. Instead of throwing shots at each other and fighting for positions in the ratings, radio stations should be coming together and devising ways to make the city you are in the best city it can possibly be. What Would Jesus Do If He Was a Jock? That is the question; Jesus would use his platform to teach. He would give the people food for thought to digest. Every day, when I approach the mic as co-host of the Wendy Williams Experience, I make it my duty to give the people a jewel. I make it my duty to plant a seed in someone’s brain. P.E.A.C.E. can be a acronym for Please Educate Allah’s Children’s Everyday! That is why you come on the radio six days a week, because God is giving you a chance to teach, and that is the duty of a public servant! I encourage all radio personalities/DJs to get on your job. The people in the city you are in need you. Stop going to the station just to collect a check. God put you in the position you are in for a reason. You have the power to change lives. There is a reason they call it radio programming. You are psychologically programming people’s mental states through the radio. DJs, those BDS spins mean the world to an artist! You can single-handedly change someone’s life by simply playing a record enough times! Don’t abuse your power, people! If you have any doubts about your position, simply ask, “What Would Jesus Do If He Was a Jock?”


(above L-R): T-Pain & DJ Khaled on the set of ‘Cashflow’ in Miami, FL (Photo: Malik Abdul); Mannie Fresh, Slim, BG, & Baby @ Dream for The CORE DJs Awards in New Orleans, LA; Too $hort & Scarface @ Pappadeaux in Houston, TX (Photos: Julia Beverly)

01 // DJ Wildhairr, TBGz & Mike Clarke on the set of Lil Will’s video shoot for “My Dougie” (Dallas, TX) 02 // Anthony Murray & BG @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 03 // Breezy & Yo Gotti @ the Hypnotized Tour (Augusta, GA) 04 // Ashley Morton & Bigga Rankin @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 05 // Crime Mob @ T-Pain’s Grammy Appreciation concert (Jacksonville, FL) 06 // DJ Nasty, DJ Khaled, Ace, The Runners, KC, & Bali on the set of Ace’s “Cash Flow” (Miami, FL) 07 // Lil Duval & Young Dro @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 08 // Shawn Jay & Lil Hen @ T-Pain’s Grammy Appreciation concert (Jacksonville, FL) 09 // DJ Foot & Trey Songz @ House of Blues (New Orleans, LA) 10 // Ed the World Famous & DJ Will @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s “Trilla” album release party (Miami, FL) 11 // Jersey, Darkari, KC, Smilez, Tony Khuu, Southstar, Basim, and John Kocky @ Voyage for Tony Khuu’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 12 // Hezeleo & Chris Johnson @ Bun B’s 2 Trill listening party (Houston, TX) 13 // Get Cool & David Banner @ Atlanta 300 bowling alley (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Tank & DJ Showtime @ Versace Mansion pool party (Miami, FL) 15 // Guest & Ratt @ T-Pain’s Grammy Appreciation concert (Jacksonville, FL) 16 // The Clipse & Big Earl (Orlando, FL) 17 // Young Dro & DJ Demp @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 18 // Trick Daddy & the Dunk Ryders on the set of Ace’s “Cash Flow” (Miami, FL) 19 // Bun B & DJ Chill @ Bun B’s 2 Trill listening party (Houston, TX) 20 // Mercedes & Greg G @ Club Destiny (Orlando, FL) Photo Credits: Big Earl (16); Bogan (14); Edward Hall (01); Eric Perrin (13); Julia Beverly (07,09,10); Knowledge (12,19); Leon Lloyd (06,18); Malik Abdul (20); Terrence Tyson (02,03,04,05,08,15,17); Tony Khuu (11)

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She Liked my NECKLACE and started relaxin’, that’s what the fuck I call a…

DON’T WORRY, Be happy

YOUNG DRO

A

see it coming, like, “What the fuck is that?” Then they see the smiley face with the grill. It has about $25,000 [worth] of diamonds in the teeth. So it shines in the teeth, it glistens in the sun.

If you want value on them muthafuckas, you’ll get all white diamonds, if you wanna be able to have value on your shit. So, I got all white diamonds.

That’s my logo, man. You know, the smiley face on my CD. I like to keep people happy. You gotta keep it smiling, shawty. You don’t wanna see no frowned up people everywhere you go. //

And when the sun hit it, it’s the same size of my face. I got a big ass face. (laughs) And when the sun hit it, it’s so big, shawty. Niggas don’t even wanna

As told to Randy Roper Photo by Julia Beverly

yden Diamond & Company made the chain for me. It’s [worth] over a $100,000, about $125,000. It’s a fool. I’m all white diamonds. I got some blood diamonds up in there. I ain’t wit’ all them color diamonds and all that shit.

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(above L-R): Rocko & DJ Khaled @ Wildsplash in Tampa, FL (Photo: Malik Abdul); Jus Bleezy & The Goons on the set of “Comin’ For You” in St Louis, MO (Photo: King Yella); Snoop Dogg reppin’ UGK @ Warehouse Live in Houston, TX (Photo: Knowledge)

01 // DJ Blak, Court Digga, & Tiffany Johnson @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 02 // Eric Perrin, Keith Kennedy, & Jeanise Chaplin @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 03 // Bless & 5th Ward Weebie @ The CORE DJs retreat (New Orleans, LA) 04 // Tigger, DJ Clue, & DJ Quote (Miami, FL) 05 // Guest, DJ Commando, TJ Chapman, DJ Demp, & Tony Neal @ Dream for The CORE DJs Awards (New Orleans, LA) 06 // Willie Joe & BOB @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 07 // Mama C, Queen, Hezeleo, & Eddie Rabbit @ Bun B’s 2 Trill listening party (Houston, TX) 08 // Ivey from College Hill & Haitian Fresh on the set of Haitian Fresh’s video (Tampa, FL) 09 // BG & Akon @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 10 // David Banner & Kyle Norman of Jagged Edge @ Atlanta 300 bowling alley (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Gutta, Stax, DJ Q45, & World @ Blockwear store (Jackson, MS) 12 // Larry Dogg @ the Babylon Boyz car show (Ft Myers, FL) 13 // Playboy Tre & BOB on the set of BOB’s “Haterz Everywhere” (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Shake Severs & Ashlee Ford @ Sobe Live for her birthday party (Miami, FL) 15 // D-Rocc, Mercedes, & Hen Roc @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 16 // Joe Anthony & Akon @ Dream for The CORE DJs Awards (New Orleans, LA) 17 // Renaldo & Chingy @ Atlanta 300 bowling alley (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Rick Ross, Yung Joc, & Amir Shaw @ Patchwerk for Rick Ross’s Trilla listening session (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Ms Rivercity & Trill Will @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 20 // DJ Nasty, Trick Daddy, & The Bad Guy @ Society (St Louis, MO) Photo Credits: Bogan (14); DJ Quote (04); Eric Perrin (13); Julia Beverly (01,03,05,06,09,10,15,16,17,18); King Yella (20); Knowledge (07); Malik Abdul (08,11,12); Terrence Tyson (02,19)

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Butterfly

Words by Eric N. Perrin

T

his is the story of Butterfly, a 19 year stripper who has a unique effect on people—the uncanny ability to command the attention of anyone in her presence. “When I’m dancing I like to be the center of attention,” she admits. “Everything about me is glamorous.” But her Butterfly Effect doesn’t end there. When she flaps her wings, it won’t cause a tidal wave on the other side of the world, or even the club for that matter, but it will cause a monsoon all around the supple stripper. Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Butterfly moved to Atlanta at the age of 5. She remembers herself being a shy girl for several years before finally realizing her true personality in high school. “I’m a pretty wild person,” says the caterpillar that cocooned into the blossoming Butterfly. “I just like to have fun.” And five nights a week, “fun” for Butterfly includes dancing naked on stage with several of her coworkers. According to the Indian and Jamaican combination, watching her at work is not your typical strip club experience. “Dancing is something I’m just naturally good at. There’s nothing challenging about it for me,” she says. Though she’s only been dancing for 8 months, her personality has led her to become a fan favorite among the Strokers clientele. “I chose the name ‘Butterfly’ because it means ‘life,’ and I’m full of it,” she says. Eventually, Butterfly has plans of entrepreneur endeavors, all of which include large amounts of money. “I’m just trying to get paid,” she says. And though she intends to one day be swimming in money, for now she does the butterfly stroke in the stacks of cash that come from the club.

Website: www.strokersclub.com 770-270-0350 Photographer: Sean Cokes 404-622-7733 Make-Up Artist: Mike Mike 678-732-5285 Hairstylist: Baby Boy 404-396-2739

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(above L-R): Baby Boy & his father @ the CORE DJs Retreat in New Orleans, LA; Three 6 Mafia @ the CORE DJs Retreat in New Orleans, LA (Photos: Julia Beverly); Buckeey & Lola Luv @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s “Trilla” album release party in Miami, FL (Photo: Thaddaeus McAdams)

01 // James Prince Jr & DJ B-Do @ Bun B’s 2 Trill listening party (Houston, TX) 02 // Lil Bankhead & Amir Shaw @ Patchwerk for Rick Ross’s Trilla listening session (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Q Parker of 112, Juggie, DJ Rip, & Tony Neal @ Dream for The CORE DJs Awards (New Orleans, LA) 04 // Tarvoria & Sir Knight Train @ Club Destiny (Orlando, FL) 05 // DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, & Ace Gutta @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 06 // Jus Bleezy & DJ Kay Slay @ DJ Technology Retreat (St Louis, MO) 07 // Uncle Luke & the original 2 Live Crew dancers @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 08 // Shawty Lo & Johnnie Cabbell @ Southern Hustlin Tour (Hampton Roads, VA) 09 // Soulja Slim’s mother & BloodRaw @ Dream for the CORE DJ Awards (New Orleans, LA) 10 // DJ Nasty, Dre, & DJ Khaled @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s “Trilla” album release party (Miami, FL) 11 // Crisco Kid, Kiotti, JR, & DJ Noble @ 93.3 (Houston, TX) 12 // Fatboy @ Kush Lounge for OZONE party (Charleston, SC) 13 // Drop and Serve Entertainment @ Kush Lounge for OZONE party (Charleston, SC) 14 // Rich Boy, video model, & DJ Aaries on the set of BOB’s “Haterz Everywhere” (Atlanta, GA) 15 // DJ GT, Snoop Dogg, & J-Que @ 97.9 (Houston, TX) 16 // Doug E Fresh & Snoop Dogg @ Hip Hop Summit Action Network Awards (New York, NY) 17 // Grandaddy Souf, Ike G Da, & Willie Joe @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 18 // Marlon, DJ Nasty, Pat Nix, DJ Q45, guest, & Spiff @ The Roxy for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 19 // Ted Lucas & Qwote on the set of Qwote’s “Don’t Wanna Fight” (Miami, FL) 20 // DJ Finesse & his girlfriend @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) Photo Credits: Bogan (19); Eric Perrin (14); Johnny Nunez (16); Julia Beverly (02,03,08,10,17,20); King Yella (06); Knowledge (01,11,15); Malik Abdul (04,05,07,18); Terrence Tyson (09,12,13)

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TREY SONGZ & SHAWTY LO TREY SONGZ: Hey Shorty Low, whats up? Shawty Lo: I told you, it’s L-O!!! Trey Songz: Oh, my fault, man. Hey, I wanna talk to you about my next album. I want you to rap on my first single. Shawty Lo: Shawty Lo usually charges 20 thousand for a verse, but I’m not too familiar with your work so we’ll just settle at an even 25 grand. Trey Songz: You’re not familiar with my work? I’m all over the place, where you been at? Shawty Lo: BANKHEAD!!!! Been pullin’ capers. Trey Songz: Well, look. If you rap on my album, I’ll put you on some of my hoes, I got a lot. Shawty Lo: These bitches? I dunn fucked ‘em all. TREY SONGZ: Okay, well we can make a trade then. I’ll sing a hook on your next album if you rap a verse on mine. I’ve done all kinds of features. I was on Twista’s “Girl Tonight.” I sang on Scarface’s “Girl You Know,” Marques Houston’s “First Time,” and even on Drake’s “Replacement Girl” song.

OZONE EXCLUSIVE Textin’ is no longer safe now that OZONE’s dangerous minds have hacked the system.

Shawty Lo: Yeah, but them shits was whack. I don’t do no girly ass music like that, and if I did I would just get Chris Brown. Trey Songz: Chris Brown? I put him on. Everybody knows I run Virginia! VA all day! I’m the man on this side! Shawty Lo: Well, gotdamn. It must be 2 sides!!! That boy Chris Brown he da shit. He be doin all that dancing and shit, and he fuckin that Rihanna bitch. Shit, that nigga dunn dunn it all… Trey Songz, not so much. Trey Songz: What, muthafucka? I’m the man! Shawty Lo: Naw nigga, I’m Da Man! Bitch, I’m Da Man. I got no wife, but the white be my girlfriend. But I do kinda like that one song you got, “Cryin’ Out For Me.” That’s kinda hot. Trey Songz: Nigga, that ain’t me, that’s Mario’s fucking song. Shawty Lo: Well gottdamn, you got Mario’s number? Trey Songz: Fuck you, you can’t rap anyway nigga. I was just trying to do you a favor. SHawty Lo: Big ups…to all my HATERZ!! - From the minds of Eric Perrin and Randy Roper (Photos by Julia Beverly)

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(above L-R): David Banner & London @ Atlanta 300 bowling alley in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Young Jeezy & ‘Make Your Dreams Come True’ contest winner @ Justin’s in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Eric Perrin); Akon & Lil Duval @ The CORE DJs Retreat in New Orleans, LA (Photo: Ms Rivercity)

01 // Tony Neal & Chopper City Boyz @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 02 // Gyant of SOHH.com & Erica of YBF @ Killer Mike and Pastor Troy’s listening party (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Kiotti & Rick Ross @ 93.3 (Houston, TX) 04 // Guest, Baby D, guest, & Unk @ Level for B-Lord’s birthday party (Columbia, SC) 05 // Day 26 (Jacksonville, FL) 06 // DJ Clue & DeRay Davis @ Versace Mansion (Miami, FL) 07 // Rick Ross & Ted Lucas @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s “Trilla” album release party (Miami, FL) 08 // Shaggy, Qwote, & video models on the set of Qwote’s “Don’t Wanna Fight” (Miami, FL) 09 // Jus Bleezy & Yo Gotti @ DJ Technology Retreat (St Louis, MO) 10 // DJ Raj Smoove, UTP, & Partners N Crime @ Dream for The CORE DJs Awards (New Orleans, LA) 11 // Malik Abdul, Randy Roper, Tearany, & DJ Chuck T @ Kush Lounge for OZONE party (Charleston, SC) 12 // Sweetz & David Banner @ Atlanta 300 bowling alley (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Omar, Mercedes, & Red Rat @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 14 // Ms. Rivercity & Big L @ T-Pain’s Grammy Appreciation concert (Jacksonville, FL) 15 // Golden Boy, Julia Beverly, DJ B-Do, & guests @ SF2 (Houston, TX) 16 // Christina Clark & DJ Nasty @ The Roxy for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 17 // VIC @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 18 // Small World & DJ Impact @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 19 // J Boss & DJ Hi-C @ Warehouse Live for Snoop Dogg’s listening party (Houston, TX) Photo Credits: Bogan (06); Clevis Harrison (04); Eric Perrin (02,12); J Lash (08); Julia Beverly (01,07,10,18); King Yella (09); Knowledge (03,15,19); Malik Abdul (13,16); Ms Rivercity (17); Stephanie Brooks (05); Terrence Tyson (11,14)

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terrence tyson

TERRENCE TYSON

terrence tyson

D-RAY

tatted UP

TERRENCE TYSON

D-RAY

D-RAY


(above L-R): Yung Joc & Cheri Dennis @ the CORE DJs Retreat in New Orleans, LA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Udonis Haslem & Flo Rida @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s “Trilla” album release party in Miami, FL (Photo: Thaddaeus McAdams); Juvenile @ Dream for The CORE DJs Awards in New Orleans, LA (Photo: Julia Beverly)

01 // The Runners & Bali @ Club Destiny (Orlando, FL) 02 // Rashan Ali & Emperor Searcy @ Atlanta 300 bowling alley (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Phatt Lipp & Pat @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 04 // Southstar, TV Johnny, & Tony Khuu @ Voyage for Tony Khuu’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 05 // DJ Demp, Cino, & the Franchize Boyz @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 06 // Daz & Kurupt @ 97.9 (Houston, TX) 07 // DJ Ro & Juvenile @ the King’s Ent. Almost a Hot Boy Reunion (New Orleans, LA) 08 // Big Kuntry, BG, & Young Dro @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 09 // Kardinal Offishal & Rock City @ Dream for The CORE DJs Awards (New Orleans, LA) 10 // Christina Clark & Terrence Tyson @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 11 // DJ Jack of Spade & Big Smooth @ Comedy Club for Southern Hustlin tour afterparty (Hampton Roads, VA) 12 // Rob, Wataz, & Cato @ Kush Lounge for OZONE party (Charleston, SC) 13 // Baje, DJ Entice, & Ashlee Ford @ Sobe Live for her birthday party (Miami, FL) 14 // DJ Koolaid, Corleone, DJ Lil Boy & Bigga Rankin @ T-Pain’s Grammy Appreciation concert (Jacksonville, FL) 15 // Jha Jha & DJ D-Money @ The Globe for Webbie’s release party (Jacksonville, FL) 16 // Micha Porat, Ashlee Ford, & C-Ride @ Sobe Live for her birthday party (Miami, FL) 17 // Shawty Lo & DJ H-Vidal @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 18 // Treal & J Holiday @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 19 // Young Cash & E-Class @ T-Pain’s Grammy Appreciation concert (Jacksonville, FL) Photo Credits: Bogan (13,16); Julia Beverly (02,03,05,09,11); Knowledge (06); Luis Santana (17); Malik Abdul (01,15,18); Marcus DeWayne (07); Terrence Tyson (08,10,12,14,19); Tony Khuu (04)

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10 Became A DJ

ReasonS They Really By Eric Perrin

If you ask most DJs what inspired them to start spinning, they’ll probably give a pre-programmed, automatic answer like, “For the love of the music,” or something similar. But here we expose to real reasons why John Doe decided to become DJ Jay Dough.

10. Couldn’t make beats He tried to play around on Frooty Loops and his beats came out sounding like Sesame Street jingles. So instead of purchasing ProTools, he invested in Serato.

9. He became bored with school He was supposed to be an accountant, but got frustrated with class and said, “Fuck it!”

8. Potential bribes from drug dealing wannabe rappers Need we say more?

7. Power When other guys are strenuously screaming over the music to holla at hoes, the DJ can talk right through the speakers. 6. Free drinks At first, free drinks are a perk of the job, but after every aspiring emcee in the club offers to buy the DJ a drink, it becomes an easy recipe for alcoholism.

1

5. Needed to lose some weight but didn’t like working out. Have you even seen a good DJ spin at a crowded club? That shit is a workout.

4. got tiRed of working at Wal-Mart Spinnin’ records at the club wins over restocking shelves and rolling back prices at Wal-Mart any day, unless that club is Sam’s. 3. couldn’t figure out how to get in the A&R business Most DJ’s are really A&Rs at heart, but since it’s harder to become an A&R than it is to succeed as a rapper, John Doe settles for spinning records.

2. Abundance of hoes Being a DJ instantly makes you the most popular dude at the club. When you add that popularity to the abundance of groupies and “models” who stand around the DJ booth, every day is a great day to DJ.

couldn’t make it as a rapper time: writers, managers, label tly desired to be a rapper at some point in Everybody in the Hip Hop industry has secre are no different. execs, and street team reps included. DJs

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(above L-R): Murphy Lee & Hoopz @ Lumen in St Louis, MO (Photo: King Yella); Q from 112, Phoenix da Firestarter, & Lyfe Jennings @ the CORE DJs Retreat in New Orleans, LA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Haitian Fresh & JT Money on the set of Haitian Fresh’s video in Miami, FL (Photo: Malik Abdul)

01 // DJ Broadway Joe, Kia Shine, & DJ Cain @ Power 92 (Little Rock, AR) 02 // DJ Trauma, Rashan Ali, JC, & Yung Joc @ DJTrauma.com’s launch party (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Clem & Young Jeezy @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s Trilla album release party (Miami, FL) 04 // Gutta & Trey Songz @ House of Blues (New Orleans, LA) 05 // Yung Joc, Small World, DJ Lil John, Willy Northpole, & Shareefa @ The CORE DJs retreat (New Orleans, LA) 06 // Ace signing autographs on the set of Ace’s “Cash Flow” (Miami, FL) 07 // Rock City, DJ Trauma, Benny D, & ladies @ DJTrauma.com’s launch party (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Rick Ross & Trae (Houston, TX) 09 // DJ Nasty & Plies @ The Roxy for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 10 // DJ Big Bink, Rick Ross, & DJ Steve Nice (Dallas, TX) 11 // Isis & Tony Neal @ Dream for The CORE DJs Awards (New Orleans, LA) 12 // Ruthless Records & The CORE DJs @ The CORE DJs retreat (New Orleans, LA) 13 // DJ Nasty & Sam Sneak @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s Trilla album release party (Miami, FL) 14 // DJ Eddie Deville & DJ Noble @ Warehouse Live for Snoop Dogg’s listening party (Houston, TX) 15 // Chaka Zulu, guest, & Jamal Coleman @ DJTrauma.com’s launch party (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Chopper City Boyz & Big Kuntry @ House of Blues (New Orleans, LA) 17 // Kerisha Smith, David Banner, & Kisha Smith @ Atlanta 300 bowling alley (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Gucci Poochie & Gorilla Zoe @ Dreams (Atlanta, GA) 19 // DJ B-Lord, TJ Chapman, BOB, & B Rich @ Level for B-Lord’s birthday party (Columbia, SC) Photo Credits: Clevis Harrison (19); DJ Who (01); Edward Hall (10); Eric Perrin (17); Julia Beverly (04,05,11,12,13,16); Knowledge (14); Leon LLoyd (06); Malik Abdul (09); Thaddaeus McAdams (02,03,07,15,18)

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Who is the best artist to work with? Why? We asked this year’s esteemed panel of DJs (you can meet them on page 68, and OZONE West page 20) to break down their experiences with some of the biggest names in the game and explain who they enjoy working with the most, and why.

“If I had to choose just one, it would probably be Fiend. He gets very involved with his projects.” – Aaries

“Fiend is very humble and really has a passion for his craft, songwriting, production, and, shows.” – Incognito

“Shock G from Digital Underground is a childhood hero of mine that I’ve managed to befriend. He’s an amazing artist and a wellspoken, thought-provoking guy. I’d jump in front of a bus for him.” – Bedz

“Yung Joc is always ready, very professional, very easy to get along with, and always puts forth 110%.” – Jo-Ski Luv

“David Banner. He’s never turned his back on the DJs.” – Bishop “It’s a tie between Shawty Lo and Gucci Mane. There are no lies and no waiting when it comes to them. They take care of business promptly. The Clipse and John Legend are a close second for the same reasons.” – Black Bill Gates “Shawty Lo. He’s willing to do the lil shit. Also shouts out to Collard Greens, Plies, Gorilla Zoe, Jim Jones, Young Buck, Yo Gotti, Young Jeezy – they all help when they can.” – B-Lord

“Hurricane Chris always makes sure I’m taken care of.” – King Arthur “David Banner is my brother and we always have a great time. There are so many good artists out there that we make classics with I’d have to say most of the artists are good to work with.” – Skee “I’m going have to say my boy E-40. He’s one of the most humble dudes out there. If I need something I can call him and he has it for me. He’s never on that superstar status, just a real cat.” – Knuckles

“Got to big up my homies 3 Deep, very humble cats who respect the DJs.” – Chill

“The best artist I have worked with has to be Trey Songz. That boy is a beast. I tried to tell cats back in ‘05 he was next up. Now look at him.” – Radio

“Akon because he is a visionary and open minded to new ideas.” – Clinton Sparks

“David Banner. He’s like your favorite uncle.” – Rage

“Contrary to popular belief, 50 Cent is the best. He answered every question, signed every autograph, took every picture, and didn’t whine about time, water, skittles or any of that usual diva crap.” – Cristal Bubblin “I did a mixtape with Young Jeezy before his first album came out and he was just so cool and humble. I met him in Miami and was really feeling his “Trap or Die” record so when he got to Baltimore we linked up and knocked out the Trap The Industry CD, which many people tell is a classic.” – DNA “Lil Keke ‘cause he’s just a 150% real dude at all times and he has raw talent.” – Dre “So far, I’d have to say 50 Cent, Swizz Beatz, Plies, and Rich Boy. If they’ve agreed to do something, they’ve made it happen.” – Ekin “Jeezy and CTE. They pretty much know the vision for any project.” – Folk “Young Dro. He hosted a mix CD for me and he’s real appreciative of what the DJs do for artists. A lot of artists are assholes.” – Frogie “Talib Kweli is real cool and comes through if you need him to get stuff done.” – Furious Styles

“David Banner is cool as hell, also shout out to my man Rick Ross; he always looks out. Both of these guys are down to earth and understand the game. I was floored how cool David Banner was when I met him as an intern. I even asked him ‘Why are you so cool? You’re a major label artist and I’m a pathetic intern!’ His response was ‘I don’t know who you’re gonna become.’ Three years later I have a #1 show in a top 20 market. Smart guy.” – Peter Parker

“I’ve had some great experiences with Fat Joe.” – Yorkie “My man Baby Boy Da Prince. That dude knows how to work and makes it easy for a DJ to work a record.” – Big Dee “I love Queen Latifah. She makes it feel like a party on stage. Then after the show, we hang and party.” – Eque “Tupac. Back in my days with Death Row Records, I had the chance to see him in the studio. I have never seen anyone with the drive and willingness to work 24/7. His energy and determination pumped everyone in the studio to keep going no matter how tired they were. Nothing but respect for a fallen Hip Hop legend.” – E-Z Cutt

“Shawty Lo is an easy dude to get along with but his manager Johnny sucks!” – Kydd Joe “G. Malone because he allows me to do me. We have the same work ethic so it goes hand in hand.” – Nik Bean “Lil Jon is a lot of fun in the studio and on video sets. Diddy always goes that extra mile to make sure everything looks and sounds tight, the same with Kanye and Akon. Luda will always give you a hot verse. Basically everyone I’ve worked with so far on my projects has been a pleasure to work with.” – Felli Fel “Ludacris. He’s dope, fun and hard working.” – Jiji Sweet “The artists that aren’t stuck up or feelin’ themselves. David Banner, Akon, Pitbull, and Ghostface Killah are real humble.” – Lace “My big brother Mistah F.A.B. He just goes in the studio and freestyles every track. It’s crazy.” – Tito Bell - Compiled by Ms Rivercity

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(above L-R): DJ Kay Slay & Vic Damone @ Society in St Louis, MO (Photo: King Yella); DJ Drama & DJ B-Lord @ Level for B-Lord’s birthday party in Columbia, SC (Photo: Clevis Harrison); Devin the Dude & Hezeleo @ Warehouse Live in Houston, TX (Photo: Knowledge)

01 // BG, BloodRaw, & Roccett @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 02 // Slim, Tony Neal, & Baby @ Dream for The CORE DJs Awards (New Orleans, LA) 03 // Randy Roper & Malik Abdul @ Kush Lounge for OZONE party (Charleston, SC) 04 // Alfamega, Mac Boney, Big Kuntry, Young LA, Willie the Kid, LA, DJ Infamous, Jeanise, & Lil C @ The CORE DJs retreat (New Orleans, LA) 05 // Terrence & Snook @ the Hypnotized Tour (Augusta, GA) 06 // A-Rab & Soulja Boy @ Spring Bling (Riviera Beach, FL) 07 // Boxie & Trey Songz @ House of Blues (New Orleans, LA) 08 // Plies & J-Baby @ the Hypnotized Tour (Augusta, GA) 09 // Slim Thug & DJ B-Do @ Warehouse Live (Houston, TX) 10 // Big Trev, guest, Baby, & Mac @ the Babylon Boyz car show (Ft Myers, FL) 11 // A Baby, Rocko, & B @ Rhythm City (Dallas, TX) 12 // Midget Mac & Shoeb Malik @ T-Pain’s Grammy Appreciation concert (Jacksonville, FL) 13 // Nikita Keisha & Ms Rivercity @ Justin’s (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Toro, Haitian Fresh, Ross, & Ballgreezy on the set of Haitian Fresh’s video (Miami, FL) 15 // TJ Chapman, Trey Songz, & BOB @ House of Blues (New Orleans, LA) 16 // Vee & Shakir Stewart @ Dreamz (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Aleshia Steele, Mercedes, & DJ Misbehavior @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 18 // Rick Ross & Flo Rida @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 19 // Ace Gutta & Fabolous on the set of Ace’s “Cash Flow” (Miami, FL) Photo Credits: Edward Hall (11); Eric Perrin (13,16); Julia Beverly (02,04,07,15); Knowledge (09); Leon Lloyd (18); Malik Abdul (10,14,19); Ms Rivercity (17); Terrence Tyson (01,03,05,06,08,12)

OZONEMAG MAG////37 37 OZONE


On the flip side, we asked our DJ panel which artists left the worst impression.

Who is the worst artist to work with? Why? artist images--------------

“Artists who are stuck on themselves and feel like they don’t need you. I can’t work with them. If I ask you respectfully and professionally for something and you come at me sideways like I need you…I can’t use bad language in a public magazine so you know the response.” – 2Mello

“The lazy artist who expects you to do something for him or her. These artists basically expect a hand out because of the label they’re signed to or they affiliation with someone else. These artists usually don’t last long in the rap game because they don’t realize that at the end the day, nobody owes you shit.” – 31 Degreez “Rappers. Emcees are great to work with. Most rappers are in it just to get paid and be seen and get ass. Like Phonte from Little Brother says, ‘What’s the difference between a rapper and emcee? When the money is gone, the emcee will be the only one rappin’!” – Bee “I never really ran across anybody who I didn’t like. If anything, I hate when artists come to your spot and don’t speak, especially when you broke their record. That’s disrespectful and a good way to not get your shit played. Even if one DJ is not as important as another DJ, it doesn’t matter how big or small the market is, a spin is a spin.” – Chill “The worst artists to work with are the ones always wanting something for free. The word “free” does not exist, especially to a DJ doing most of the work to get you out there. You better have some dinero or have something to trade.” – Gottem

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“I met an unknown artist a year ago who bugged the crap out of me to put him on the radio. I had him do a demo and drop it off at the station. I tried to tell him at least 19 of the 20 songs would have to be redone before any label pays attention to it. He got pissed and told me, ‘All 20 songs are hits; you’re just hating on my style.’ I washed my hands of him. It’s not always just the music we deal with, but artists’ egos and that ‘you can’t tell me nothing’ attitude. DJs can break or make your career, so keep that in mind the next time you think your song can be successful without us.” – Civil Rightz “DMX. It could be the split personality thing; I’m not sure.” – Ekin

“Webbie. He came to do a show with us but wanted to get 2 live mics before he got off the bus, basically so he could shout himself out from the bus while someone else was on stage performing. Then he wouldn’t come off the bus until he heard his song playing. Then in the middle of the last song, his superhigh ass drops the mic and walks offstage, leaving us wondering if he was finished or just needed a pee break. Not a good look for a 2-hit wonder, especially when one of those songs was basically the rapists’ anthem of 2005. Webster you need to stop!” – Cristal Bubblin “Any artist that harasses me to play their record while I’m in the middle of my set in the club. Come holla at me early in the night and it’s all good.” – JoNasty

“The Game doesn’t respect the DJs.” – King Arthur “Joe Budden is never on time and might not show up at all.” – Furious Styles “All of them are bad to work with once they get past the humble stage.” – Kydd Joe

“Fat Joe didn’t show me too much respect. Also, they’re not technically artists, but the And 1 street ball guys could be the worst interview ever.” – Peter Parker “I’m gonna catch heat for this, but it’s my truth. I don’t like working with most Hip Hop artists, particularly males. From my experience working with most Hip Hop artists, there is a lack of professionalism and respect.” – Storm “The worst artists I’ve experienced are mostly unsigned artists. No disrespect, but most of them don’t take the time to learn the business. Understand that radio is a business and the employees should be treated accordingly. The club DJ that you want to play your song is at his/her job and chances are it’s not just a hobby anymore. It’s 10 million artists in this country that want their song played.” – Tab D’Biassi “Jaheim is a total jerk and thinks he’s a star. Busta Rhymes is iffy. He’s gotta get comfortable first, whether that means eating, taking a nap, or whatever. Then he’ll talk with you and pour his heart out. R Kelly and Keyshia Cole are just drama.” – Wrekk 1 “Soulja Boy. He’s a kid, so what do you expect?” – Big Dee


(above L-R): Trina’s in-store signing @ FYE in Orlando, FL (Photo: Malik Abdul); Rocko @ Rhythm City in Dallas, TX (Photo: Edward Hall); Shawty Lo with his OZONE article in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Eric Perrin)

01 // Yung Berg, Ray J, & J Holiday @ Spring Bling (Riviera Beach, FL) 02 // Mike Jones @ Spring Bling (Riviera Beach, FL) 03 // Fat Bastard & Big Tuck (Lewisville, TX) 04 // Lil Peace @ Rhythm City (Dallas, TX) 05 // KO @ RJ’s for OZONE party during Spring Bling weekend (West Palm Beach, FL) 06 // DJ Drama & Princess @ Level for B-Lord’s birthday party (Columbia, SC) 07 // Rocko passing Ozone to a fan during his performance @ Club Mystique (Virginia Beach, VA) 08 // DJ Qub & DJ Chuck T @ Kush Lounge for OZONE party (Charleston, SC) 09 // Big B, Pavar Snipes, & Angus Black of 103 JAMZ’s Buddah Brothers Morning Show @ Military Circle Mall (Norfolk, VA) 10 // Caridad @ the Babylon Boyz car show (Ft Myers, FL) 11 // Lex & Shoeb Malik @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 12 // Jason of WNSB Hot 91.1 chillen @ Club Mystique (Virginia Beach, VA) 13 // Don Cannon & Big Kap @ Patchwerk for Rick Ross’s “Trilla” listening session (Atlanta, GA) 14 // DJ Trauma @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 15 // Big Teach on the set of Ace’s “Cashflow” (Miami, FL) 16 // BOB & Willie Joe on the set of BOB’s “Haterz Everywhere” (Atlanta, GA) 17 // KG & Tre Dubb @ Club Hypnotiq (Dallas, TX) 18 // NFL @ Rhythm City (Dallas, TX) 19 // Randy Roper, Snook, & Deidrich @ Level for B-Lord’s birthday party (Columbia, SC) 20 // KC @ Club Destiny (Orlando, FL) 21 // Trina & Toya @ the Babylon Boyz car show (Ft Myers, FL) 22 // 2 Pistols @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 23 // Amber & Don Dada @ RJ’s for OZONE party during Spring Bling weekend (West Palm Beach, FL) 24 // Phatt Lipp & ladies @ RJ’s for OZONE party during Spring Bling weekend (West Palm Beach, FL) 25 // Coach K @ The Roxy for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 26 // The original 2 Live Crew dancerse @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 27 // Disco & his son @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 28 // Da Ryno & Ms Rita @ Club Hypnotic (Killeen, TX) 29 // DJ Lil E on the set of Lil Will’s video shoot for Lil Will’s “My Dougie” (Dallas, TX) 30 // DJ 151 @ Club Destiny (Orlando, FL) 31 // Griffy 2K @ Atlanta 300 bowling alley (Atlanta, GA) 32 // Coco Renea & friends @ 103 JAMZ (Norfolk, VA) 33 // E-Class @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 34 // Soopafly @ 93.3 (Houston, TX) 35 // DJ Chuck T @ Kush Lounge for OZONE party (Charleston, SC) Photo Credits: Clevis Harrison (06,19); Coco Renea (07,09,12,32); Edward Hall (03,04,18,29); Eric Perrin (16,31); Julia Beverly (13); Knowledge (34); Kurtis Graham (17); Luis Santana (22); Malik Abdul (01,05,10,11,14,15,20,21,23,24,25,26,27,30,33); Terrence Tyson (02,08,35); Tre Dubb (28)

OZONE MAG // 39


DJ Technology

When Keeping It Real Goes… “Keep It Real” has been one of Hip Hop’s favorite phrases for a long time. It seems to apply to everything from song authenticity to image consciousness. If you aren’t repping for your block, you’re not keeping it real. If you’re rapping about lavish things you don’t own, you’re not keeping it real. If you dare step outside of your musical box, you’re not keeping it real. But most of these attacks are made on the rappers, never the DJs. Considered to be the backbone of Hip Hop music, the DJ’s “realness” is rarely brought into question aside from the occasional payola accusation. In an age where flossy rappers continue to get even more attention, the low-key DJ is heralded as one of the last real figures left in the culture. But at the turn of the century, Hip Hop DJs began squabbling amongst each other as to who was a real DJ or not. The advent and growing popularity of CD turntables gave DJs an option to choose between plastic or vinyl. Many felt that using CD turntables was blasphemous and stuck with their vinyl.

That stubbornness to change wasn’t very disastrous since record labels continued to press up vinyl for DJs. Add that to minor timing issues on the CD turntables, DJs could still afford to stick to their guns.

Development Manager for Beat Source. “We want to sell in the 12-inch format with the explicit, clean, acapella and instrumental versions. We really think this is the next step in the industry. Digital distribution at its finest.”

But now, with new technological advances catering to the digital format, that “keep it real” attitude DJs exhibited with their precious vinyl can prove to be costly this time around.

The upstart service is the urban branch of Beat Port, which specializes in servicing DJs with Dance music. “Dance music DJs are always up on the new technology. It’s us in the Hip Hop world who are always behind on stuff,” adds DJ Jelly. “Everybody wants to keep it real. I don’t mind being authentic, but the way the world is, you have to change with the times.”

Since its debut in 2004, Serato’s Scratch Live has all but eliminated vinyl. The software/hardware DJ program allows DJs to scratch and mix MP3 files the same way they can records. As with previous DJ innovations, Scratch Live was scoffed at initially, but now it’s become the undeniable standard. “I’m not gonna lie, I wanted to ‘keep it real’ when Serato dropped,” admits DJ Jelly of Big Oomp Records and Southern Style DJs. “I sat on it for a almost a year. As much as technology like that helps, it actually brings the value of the DJ down. Because now anyone can just program mixes.” Although programs like Serato can make sub-par DJs at least sound average, good DJs still have an advantage with their extensive record collections. Hard-to-find classics and rare grooves not usually available in digital format allow them to create a uniqueness in their sets and mixes. But, there is a new service on the horizon that may make the playing field even more level. Launched in February of this year, Denver-based Beat Source is looking to capitalize on the void of classic Hip Hop records available on the net. Acting as something like an iTunes for DJs, subscribers can purchase and download hard to find songs with high-quality bitrates that aren’t usually available at download sites like Limewire. “There are a lot of classics from the 90s are sitting on shelves at record stores not making money and it’s hard to find songs like those in one place in digital format,” says Francois Baptiste, Business

Gadgets

(continued on page 79)

As technological advances continue the force the music industry into becoming a consumers market, DJs will have to adjust if they want to remain viable tastemakers and gatekeepers for music. “’Keeping it real’ is the coined term, but the industry is changing everyday,” says Baptiste. “If you don’t want to change, you might as well just DJ as a hobby.” // - Maurice G. Garland

Tired of lugging around that heavy laptop? Between 0.16 to 0.76 inches thin and weighing only 3.0 pounds, MacBook Air sets new standards for ultraportable computing. Retail Price: around $1,800

Virtual DJ by Numark: Numark’s Virtual Vinyl Computer DJ System with Interface allows you to use your computer and any analog turntable or CD player to scratch, mix, and sample digital audio files. Retail Price: between $430 - $500

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“It’s gonna take some more years to really blow because the music industry execs treat videos differently than CDs,” says Ellonzo “DJ Lonnie” Hanks of Atlanta, Georgia, house DJ at Atlanta’s popular 300 bowling alley. He mentions that DJs shy away from video mixing because the cost of building a video library and obtaining the proper equipment can run up to $10,000. “Labels still look at the music video as a promotional tool. Since they cater to networks like BET and MTV, they’re not turning to the DJ yet.”

Apple’s MacBook Air

Cool

DJ

Another sign of the times is video mixing. While the trend has yet to catch on with a lot of DJs, it stands to be next phenomenon as DJs try to find new ways to set themselves apart from their competition. But as innovative as it is, it will take a commitment from both sides of the table to make it work.


(above L-R): Snoop Dogg @ 93.3 in Houston, TX (Photo: Knowledge); Trey Songz @ Southern Hustlin Tour in Hampton Roads, VA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Webbie @ 93.3 in Houston, TX (Photo: Knowledge)

01 // BloodRaw & Eric Perrin @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 02 // BG @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 03 // Webbie & Lil Boosie @ Spring Bling (Riviera Beach, FL) 04 // Lil Ro of the Wyld Boyz & Ooops @ OZONE (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Trick Daddy on the set of Ace’s Ace’s “Cashflow” (Miami, FL) 06 // Chingy @ Atlanta 300 bowling alley (Atlanta, GA) 07 // DJ Christion @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 08 // J-Nicks with Da Fam’s article (Atlanta, GA) 09 // DJ Sir Thurl @ Society (St Louis, MO) 10 // DJ Wildhairr & Rick Ross @ Visions for Rick Ross’s listening party (Dallas, TX) 11 // Keith Kennedy, Nutt Skywalker & Ricky Fontaine on the set of BOB’s “Haterz Everywhere” (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Duval Diamondz @ The Globe for Webbie’s release party (Jacksonville, FL) 13 // Coco Renea & Bobby V @ the Aqua Lounge (Virginia Beach, VA) 14 // Slim @ the Babylon Boyz car show (Ft. Myers, FL) 15 // J Holiday @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 16 // Kisha & Kerishia Smith @ Atlanta 300 bowling alley (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Al Johnson @ RJ’s for OZONE party during Spring Bling weekend (West Palm Beach, FL) 18 // Destine Cajuste @ Club Destiny (Orlando, FL) 19 // Big Sam & K. Esco chillin with 103 JAMZ (Norfolk, VA) 20 // Paul Wall & Tre Dubb @ Hypnotic (Killeen, TX) 21 // Pitbull @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 22 // Fabolous on the set of Ace’s “Cashflow” (Miami, FL) 23 // Thaddaeus McAdams @ Justin’s (Atlanta, GA) 24 // DJ Big Sam @ Comedy Club for Southern Hustlin tour afterparty (Hampton Roads, VA) 25 // DJ Prostyle @ Spring Bling (Riviera Beach, FL) 26 // Coco Renea & Rampage on set @ his video shoot (Newport News, VA) 27 // Butch Hartfield & DJ Big Bink @ Visions for Rick Ross’s listening party (Dallas, TX) 28 // Rick Ross @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 29 // DJ K-Roc & DJ Drop @ Rhythm City (Dallas, TX) 30 // Gil Green on the set of Ace’s Ace’s “Cashflow” (Miami, FL) 31 // Naffau @ RJ’s for OZONE party during Spring Bling weekend (West Palm Beach, FL) 32 // DJ Detroit & DJ Bishop @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 33 // Mike Fresh & Grandaddy Souf @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 34 // Lil C, Big Kuntry, Young LA, Big Swoll, & Jason Geter @ the CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 35 // LaLa & Trina @ the Beacon (Orlando, FL) Photo Credits: Coco Renea (13,19,26); Edward Hall (10,27,29); Eric Perrin (06,08,11,16,23); Julia Beverly (02,24,34); King Yella (09); Leon Lloyd (05,30); Malik Abdul (07,12,14,15,17,18,21, 22,25,28,31); Ms Rivercity (32); Randy Roper (04); Skarzz (35); Terrence Tyson (01,03,33); Tre Dubb (20)

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The Day The Game Changed

It was January 26th, 2007, an average day in Atlanta, GA. Matter of fact, it was the day after Martin Luther King’s birthday and DJ Drama was on top of the mixtape world. His Gangsta Grillz mixtape series had already assisted T.I. in becoming the “King of the South,” helped Young Jeezy create one of the greatest movements the game had ever seen, and given Lil Wayne the medium to become the best rapper alive without an album out. When it came to making Southern artists relevant, DJ Drama was key. Everyone knew, if you wanted to break a record in the South, you’d see Drama. If you were a new artist and needed a buzz in the street, you’d see Drama. If you were an established artist with a new album on the horizon, you’d see Drama. If the mixtape game were the drug game, Gangsta Grillz mixtapes were Blue Magic. Maybe the Feds thought his mixtapes were drugs. On the aforementioned date, Morrow and Clayton County police raided the Aphilliates Music Group office, as if Drama was Frank Lucas. 81,000 mixtape CDs, computers, recording equipment and cars were all confiscated. Not to mention, the companies’ assets were frozen. Tyree “Drama” Simmons, and his associate Donald “Don” Cannon, were both pinned to the ground with M16s drawn on them, and arrested on charges of bootlegging and racketeering. What had started as just another day of feeding the streets with arguably the best mixtapes series in the game ended with Drama and Don Cannon behind bars. And as Drama calls it, it was “the day the game changed.” The two DJs spent the next 24 hours in jail, before being released on $100,000 bonds. They returned home to a “Free Drama and Cannon” campaign that had literally sprung up overnight, complete with “Free Drama and Cannon” shirts. The streets had rallied behind them, but at the same time, not completely understanding what happened. Once the lights were turned on, mixtape advocates spread like roaches. Mixtape DJs paused their burners. Websites that sold and distributed mixtapes, such as mixunit.com and mixtapekings.com, halted the sale of mixtapes. Record label promo departments that normally allocated funds (upwards of $20,000 per collaboration) for artists to work with mixtape DJs turned their backs on the situation. As Drama told OZONE during his May 2007 interview, “I never felt like I was doing anything wrong. To me, all I’ve been doing was something that was part of Hip Hop, a part of the music business, something that I’ve always gotten support in. So at what point would I be thinking I was doing something wrong?” Well, technically, it is against the law. Yes, mixtapes have always been a part of Hip Hop. Back in the days, Grandmaster Flex and the Furious Five, Kool Herc, DJ Hollywood and Africa Bambaataa sold mixtapes. Lovebug Starski, S&S and Ron G continued the trend. Funkmaster Flex and Clue took it to new heights. Magic Mike, Jelly and Michael Watts made it into a craze down South. 50 Cent and Whoo Kid evolved mixtapes into street album format, and Drama adopted that same format and made it work in the Dirty South. But throughout the years, while it was never really discussed or regulated, selling mixtapes have always been illegal. Drama’s run-in with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) was not the first. In April 2005, Carolina mixtape DJ Chuck T was investigated for allegedly violating federal copyright infringement laws. “My [investigation] was in the earlier stages of the RIAA vs. the mixtape thing,” Chuck T explains. “They really didn’t know what they were looking for, or what to look for. I got off with a fine for not having my address on the CDs. There’s actually a law that says you’ve gotta have the origin of the manufacturer and the copywrite holder posted on the CD. A lot of mixtapes don’t have that.” After Chuck T’s investigation, he states that he tried to

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warn others involved with selling mixtapes and even discussed his troubles during his May 2005 interview with OZONE, but his warnings fell on deaf ears. “I screamed at the top of my lungs what was going on with his whole mixtape shit, and niggas said I was lying,” he says. “I’m talking about DJs, rappers, people in the streets. Niggas thought I was lying and pulling a publicity stunt. I told people, [the RIAA] said they were going to dig deeper and investigate more cases. Then, all of a sudden DJ Drama gets knocked and everybody’s crying and running to pack up their mixtapes, sell their burners and get the fuck outta Dodge.” Now, more than a year later, a lot of things have changed since Drama and Cannon got pinched. For example, mixunit.com. Once a site that was predominantly based on selling mixtapes, Mix Unit changed its focus and added a larger variety to its online store. “Mixtapes were what we were known for, primarily,” says founder and co-owner of Mix Unit, Mario Rios. “But once [DJ Drama’s] whole situation went down, we really shifted the focus and kinda tried to make a broader store. We have clothing, thousands of pieces of wax, thousands of DVDs, kicks, everything related to Hip Hop.” While selling mixtapes was once the norm, many DJs and artists have begun giving their tapes away for free. Many have offered their projects through free downloads on their personal websites, blogs and Myspace. And with the increasing popularity of the internet, free music on the internet isn’t expected to go anywhere, anytime soon. “Music is dropping for free, digitally online,” Don Cannon says. “If you ain’t in the internet game in the next couple of years, then all that underground music is gonna be hard to get. People are putting their music up on blogs and websites. That’s the future.” “Artists and DJs are giving their mixtapes away for free downloads because at the end of the day, a mixtape is your business card,” Drama adds. “I think the mixtape game is definitely being enhanced by new ways of getting the music to the people. A lot of people are getting them through free downloads and websites. Artists are still breaking themselves as artists because their music is being heard and it’s getting to an enormous amount of people.” The worldwide web has changed how mixtapes are distributed, but that’s not the only change since the raid. With Drama and Cannon on hiatus due to their legal matters and other DJs unsure about the legal risk involved, the top mixtape hierarchy was rearranged. Mixtape DJs such as Smallz, Scream, Bigga Rankin and Chuck T stepped up, as others quietly bowed out. “What happened with Drama scared a lot of DJs who were my competition,” Chuck T says. “A lot of niggas who were my competition dropped out of the mixtape game. A lot of niggas that were in it for the money and really didn’t give a damn about preserving the mixtape culture, they were the first to tuck their tails and run.” “[Mixtapes] have been good for me,” DJ Scream adds. “It helped me branch into other things on the executive end. A lot of industry people and labels have respected my ear, and credit me for bringing artists to the table first. That opened a lot of doors for me on the marketing and promotions end.” Drama has returned to releasing mixtapes to the streets. Since August 2007, he has worked with artists like Fabolous, the Clipse and Gorilla Zoe, and in the near future,

has plans to collaborate with 50 Cent and G-Unit. “I think [the mixtape game] was slow for awhile and people were concerned and nervous,” he says. “But a year later, like anything in Hip Hop, we learn to adjust and we learn to overcome, and we keep on rolling. I’m proud of the big artists that still embrace mixtapes. I’m proud of the newcomer DJs have really gotten their grind on. I’m proud of the top notch DJs who are still consistently out here.” What about the recording industry? Are labels and the RIAA satisfied with the adjustments? With the decline in album sales across the music industry, how much of the blame can be put on mixtapes? Is there a direct correlation between mixtapes and album sales? Do mixtapes affect album sales, negatively or positively? According to Drama, it’s the latter. “Last year, no big artist really broke off mixtapes,” he says. “The last couple years, you look at Game, you look at 50, you look at Jeezy, you look at Wayne. These are all people that came up off mixtapes. Those are all artists that had very high [selling] debut albums, excluding Wayne. One of the ways Wayne got to his dominance is through mixtapes. No records were being sold because no movements were breaking in the streets, particularly from the mixtape era. There was an era in time when all your favorite artists came from mixtapes and that era kinda halted. So, the decline of record sales was affected by the decline of the mixtape era.” Without question, mixtapes have been vital to the careers of many artists. They have helped veteran rappers like Joe Budden and the Clipse remain relevant to the underground and allow them to supply fans with new music, while in limbo with record labels. And for new artists like Aphilliates Music Group newcomer, Willie The Kid, mixtapes have been the ideal platform for introducing themselves to the streets and establishing a fan base before releasing a debut album. “Mixtapes have become the number one tool for marketing an artist,” Willie, who has released two Gangsta Grillz mixtape with DJ Drama, says. “Nothing can quite do it like a mixtape, as far as letting an artist go and do it without any restraints and hit the streets first, right to the people. The majority of the exposure I got came from the mixtapes.” The game has changed since that day, but Drama and Don Cannon are fine, if not better off, since their arrests. No formal charges or indictment have been brought against them. Their Gangsta Grillz radio show on Atlanta radio station Hot 107.9 increased from one day to five days a week. Cannon has produced tracks for Outkast, Freeway, and Fabolous, and Drama’s Gangsta Grillz album was released on Atlantic Records last December. Still, their continued success and RIAA battle hasn’t stopped their influence in the streets, as the two have both returned to dropping mixtapes (of course, with their addresses and a disclaimer on the CDs now). “Where Hip Hop goes, mixtapes will go,” Drama says “Mixtapes have always been here. They’ve evolved over the years, and are gonna keep evolving. I’m still grinding and people are still looking for DJ Drama. I’m still getting money, still doing shows, still doing radio, still traveling the world. Life is good, man. I’ll never leave the mixtape game alone. That’s what got me here.” // - Words by Randy Roper


(above L-R): Queen & Bun B @ Society in St Louis, MO (Photo: King Yella); Rick Ross @ 93.3 in Houston, TX (Photo: Knowledge); Ooops @ Dante’s in St Louis, MO (Photo: King Yella)

01 // Big Tigger @ Spring Bling (Riviera Beach, FL) 02 // Rich Boy on the set of BOB’s “Haterz Everywhere” (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Flo Rida @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 04 // Gucci Poochie, Ace Gutta, & DJ Nasty @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 05 // Lil Boosie & Ruin @ Southern Hustlin Tour (Hampton Roads, VA) 06 // Tosin @ Club Hypnotic (Killeen, TX) 07 // Rosci @ Spring Bling (Riviera Beach, FL) 08 // DJ Chuck T, Malik Abdul, & Hubie @ Kush Lounge for OZONE party (Charleston, SC) 09 // Kid Money KG & DJ Majick @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 10 // Ms Rita & J Prince Jr @ Club Hypnotic (Killeen, TX) 11 // Orlando @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 12 // Magno & Tre Dubb @ Club Hypnotic (Killeen, TX) 13 // Chantal @ RJ’s for OZONE party during Spring Bling weekend (West Palm Beach, FL) 14 // Pimp J @ Club Destiny (Orlando, FL) 15 // DJ Khaled @ Spring Bling (Riviera Beach, FL) 16 // DJ B-Lord & Snook @ Level for B-Lord’s birthday party (Columbia, SC) 17 // Krazy Yogi @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 18 // Jeff Johnson @ Club Destiny (Orlando, FL) 19 // Turner & Smiles @ The Cut Recording Studio (Virginia Beach, VA) 20 // KD da Duke, Lisa Mac, & Big Tuck @ Club Hypnotiq (Dallas, TX) 21 // E-Class, Tity Boi of Playaz Circle, & D’Lyte @ CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 22 // Akon, Lil Duval, & Jason Geter @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 23 // Da Trappa & Rocky Road’s Crew @ Club Mystique (Virginia Beach, VA) 24 // DJ Crystyle & Huey @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 25 // DJ Scoodz @ RJ’s for OZONE party during Spring Bling weekend (West Palm Beach, FL) 26 // DJ Twista @ The Cave (Virginia Beach, VA) 27 // Doughski & Stubb-A-Lean on the set of Lil Will’s video shoot for Lil Will’s “My Dougie” (Dallas, TX) 28 // DJ Nasty & LV of Nasty Beatmakers @ The Roxy for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 29 // Bali @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 30 // Brian of Jagged Edge (Atlanta, GA) 31 // Big Chief @ Rhythm City (Dallas, TX) 32 // Coco Renea & Big B of the Buddah Brothers Morning Show (Norfolk, VA) 33 // Coco Renea & Ralph of Azzure Denim (Norfolk, VA) 34 // Bruce Chan the Back Pack King & Coco Renea @ Club Mystique (Virginia Beach, VA) 35 // Soulja Boy @ Spring Bling (Riviera Beach, FL) Photo Credits: Clevis Harrison (16); Coco Renea (19,23,26,32,33,34); D’Lyte (21); Edward Hall (27,31); Eric Perrin (02,30); Julia Beverly (05); Kurtis Graham (20); Malik Abdul (03,04,07,09,1 1,13,14,15,17,18,24,25,28,29,35); Terrence Tyson (01,08,22); Tre Dubb (06,10,12)

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SONNY RICH CHARLOTTE, NC Words by ANTHONY ROBERTS Outside of the Bobcats, heads in Charlotte haven’t had much to cheer about these days. Well, wait a minute, actually they haven’t had anything to cheer about these days. But if homegrown rhyme spitter Sonny Rich has anything to say about it, they definitely will soon. Having scribbled in his rhyme book since the 7th grade, Rich always had an insatiable passion for Hip Hop, but seemed to have a knack for always being derailed by what he calls “real life.”

ties with an East coast influence will only help him reach a larger fanbase.

After deciding to pursue his emcee dreams with reckless abandon only a year ago, he’s already gearing up to drop his debut disc The V.I.R.U.S. (Voice Inside Rebel Urban Soldiers) on Keeplock Entertainment. And with so much lyrical dexterity, many people often forget that he’s from North Cackalack.

Never one to be pegged as just another rapper, Sonny Rich also says that he feels like it’s his duty to be different than other emcees currently in the game and that he’s putting not just his city, but his whole state on his back, hoping that everybody will catch The V.I.R.U.S. when it drops.

“People be confused, like, is he from Charlotte?” he says of his attention to lyrical detail. “They don’t usually hear down South artists with so much lyrical content. I’m kinda like a rare breed down here.”

“When everybody goes right, I try to go left. I don’t like to do what everybody else is doing. I want to separate myself from other artists,” he explains.

Explaining that his affinity for complex rhymes came from his love for storytellers like Scarface, Andre 3000 and Raekwon during his formative years, the Carolina rhymer is more than confident that his mix of down South sensibili

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“With my sound, I’m going to touch a little bit of everybody,” he explains. “I can make these down South, bass-heavy records and still cater to those looking for lyrics. Kinda like what Jay [Z] brings to the game. Everybody feels him, no matter where you’re from.”

“I tried to analyze everything out there and looked for those gaps that nobody is really touching on right now,” Sonny concludes. “Everybody just thinks of Petey Pablo when they think of here. I feel like the Carolinas are heavily overlooked in Hip Hop and I want to shine some light on my area.”


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JUS BLEEZY ST. LOUIS, MO

Words by CIERRA MIDDLEBROOKS PHOTO BY KING YELLA At a time when ringtones are selling more than albums and one hit wonders are at an all-time high, St. Louis manages to be the home of one of the few real rappers left in the game. Jus Bleezy is known around STL as the original rap innovator. His creative and aggressive flow earned him credibility in the streets, and he says it wasn’t a bad place to grow up. “Growing up in St. Louis was a good experience and it gave me great opportunities,” says Bleezy. “The only thing that set me back is where I’m at with my career right now; it should have been there ten years ago.” Ten years ago Jus Bleezy was rapping but he was into the streets more than the studio. An incident at the St. Louis club, The Smith Center, gave Bleezy a night he would never forget. While leaving the club after a show he was shot seven times with both an AK-47 and a 9 millimeter. Homicide detectives pronounced him dead at the scene of the crime but he somehow revived in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Although he cheated death, the incident didn’t leave a lasting effect on him. “It affected me, but when you’re in the streets certain things come with it and

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I was prepared to die if need be,” begins Bleezy. “When you’re in the streets living that street shit, getting shot up just comes with it.” After the shooting Bleezy moved on with his music, releasing his first radio single “Women Ain’t All That Bad,” which received great reviews and top 40 airplay on radio stations. It ultimately caught the eye of Universal Records and he and his business partner Guccio signed a distribution deal with the label that he describes as “pure bullshit.” “That shit didn’t work out at all,” he says. “I would never do that shit again in my life. They didn’t want to give us information. They put our shit in the stores and didn’t want to tell us where it was at. It just wasn’t a good move.” With that experience up under his belt, Bleezy is pursuing the rest of his career as an indie artist, gaining respect from some of Hip Hop’s finest such as Bun B, Jim Jones, Rick Ross, and a host of others. His current new single “Like Me” featuring Trey Songz is heating up airwaves fast and Bleezy is ready to make a lasting impression on Hip Hop. “I got way too much power in music. You can’t compare me to an artist; you have to compare me to an icon,” says Bleezy. “I’m coming in to kill the game and ain’t nobody stopping me.”


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Patiently Waiting

JC

NASHVILLE, TN

Words by Anthony Roberts PHOTO BY HANNIBAL MATTHEWS For Nashville crooner JC, the never-ending hustle is just a part of the game. It’s a part that he both understands and feeds on simultaneously. Having made a name for himself on the all but non-existent R&B scene in his hometown, a chance meeting with up-and-coming music mogul Russell “Block” Spencer of Block Entertainment through mutual friends would prove to be just the opportunity that he needed to get his voice out to the masses. But if you’re thinking that his smooth R&B appeal may not fit in with the camp that houses Yung Joc, Gorilla Zoe and Boyz N Da Hood, think again. “I kinda carry myself like a rapper, as far as my grind. I think that’s what he liked about me,” he says to why Big Block put him down with the team. “I met Block and I had already had an independent album out and had sold a couple thousand copies myself, on the street. I started off singing to rap tracks because that’s all I could get at the time in Nashville. I was doing that way before T-Pain or Akon.” Having relocated to the much friendlier confines of Atlanta, the young vocalist immediately generated a healthy buzz from his Gorilla Zoe-assisted single “Nobody I Know.” His new fanbase is eagerly anticipating his major label

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debut Voicemail, due out at the end of summer. “I wrote the whole album and co-produced it with my partner Trey Styles. You pop it in, and it’s like you’re checking your voicemail,” explains JC. “It says, ‘You have 16 new messages,’ and goes on from there. The record takes you from the club all the way down to the John Legend-type songs with just the piano.” With help from a few friends including Yung Joc, Jody Breeze and Rick Ross, JC is hoping that those who appreciate good R&B with an edge will be able to appreciate his album. And though he no longer resides in his hometown of Nashville, he hasn’t forgotten about it or taken lightly the amount of responsibility he has to his city. “Nashville kinda has a glass ceiling and you can only get so far,” he says. “I feel like I got as far as I could there and I still didn’t feel like I had gotten anywhere.” He continues, “Nashville is a lot more known for country [music] and gospel. We never had a contemporary R&B artist to come out of Nashville and blow up. I’m in Atlanta now and there’s different industry politics here. I have a bigger platform. It gets to be a little pressure because I know a lot of people [back home] would be disappointed if I didn’t make it.”


ACE HOOD DEERFIELD BEACH, FL Words by MS RIVERCITY PHOTO BY MALIK ABDUL “We the Best” is a phrase that has become synonymous with the southern Florida music machine thanks to everyone from DJ Khaled to Rick Ross shouting it to the point of near overkill; the ultimate goal of branding. With the ongoing success of Miami’s current artists, the momentum must continue with a new breed of we-the-best talent. Ace Hood symbolizes a seed of rebirth for the next generation. Born in Port St. Lucia, Florida, Antoine “Ace Hood” McColister relocated to Broward County at the age of five after his parents’ separation. Although his father was a scarce figure in Antoine’s and his four siblings’ lives, the entertainment genes were passed down. In addition to his birth father being in a band, his step-father was a recording artist and part of a singing group, resulting in Ace’s eventual dive into music. By the time he was a young adult, Ace had begun to market himself as a rapper, growing in both talent and exposure. Located near one of the buzzing hubs for Hip Hop, Ace was in a prime position to network with the power players of Miami, including his future boss DJ Khaled. “Me and Khaled met up at the station 99 Jamz. I wanted to perform at his birthday bash but it ended up being something further than that,” says Ace about his first encounter with the CEO of We The Best Music. “Basically, he said he would listen to the song and once he listened to it, he called my manager back that night and told him he wanted to hear me on a bigger record. He sent ‘I’m So Hood’ over to me and I ripped it down and sent it to him the next day.” After becoming the first artist signed to We The Best, Def Jam entered the mix after Ace impressed label head L.A. Reid. “He ran ‘Cash Flow’ back five times, literally,” says Ace. “He never does that for new artists. I stepped out of the room and twenty minutes later it’s We the Best/Def Jam.” The Runners-produced single “Cash Flow” has over 23,000 plays on Myspace and counting. Sure, the T-Pain hook coupled with a Rick Ross’ guest appearance is garnering a mass of public appeal, but it’s Ace’s fierce lyrics that are keeping attention building for his debut album, Gutta. “I use the term ‘gutta’ a lot because it represents me as a person,” he explains. “From my swag to my slang and how I do things.” Near completion, Gutta features major-league production from J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Gold Rush, The Runners, and Cool & Dre. Aside from completing several hit records and bringing a new swag to the game, Ace Hood is also driven to prove that being from a small city is an obstacle that can be overcome by a determined artist. “I want people to get a new energy and give the game a different look,” he says. “Growing up in a small city, [my situation] lets people know that you can be from nowhere and grow up to be something major.”

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Patiently Waiting


V.I.C.

ATLANTA, GA

Words by CIERRA MIDDLEBROOKS PHOTO BY KEVIN TERELL

Last summer Soulja Boy had the whole world cranking it. This summer Atlanta rapper V.I.C. has everyone “getting silly.” “Get Silly,” produced by Soulja Boy, is the latest hit record that has created its own dance moves, although that’s not what the song was intended for.

“Getting silly started out as a form of speech like my chain ‘silly,’ my whip ‘silly,’ meaning it was sweet,” V.I.C. says. “It evolved into a dance by itself.” V.I.C. was born in New York and moved to Atlanta when he was ten years old. When he moved to Atlanta, that’s when he says he began to experience life. “It was so much violence going on at the time that I was living in New York that my parents wouldn’t even let me go outside and play,” he remembers. “So, I didn’t really start experiencing life until I moved to Atlanta and from there on it was all good.”

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He started rapping at an early age, and while he was still in grade school the teachers asked him to write a rap and perform it in front of the school. “Man, I don’t know what made them ask me to write the rap and perform it, but I did and everybody loved it,” he says. “From then on I knew I wanted to be a rapper.” Now at age 24, V.I.C. is getting ready to release his debut album and although “Get Silly” is his hit single, he says the album will not consist of the same type of songs. In an era of ringtone rappers V.I.C. does not want to be mentioned in that category. “Some people get into the game just to try and make some quick money and you can tell by the lyrical content”, he says. “But I do it because I really love it, so I don’t consider myself a ringtone rapper.” His debut album The Beast is scheduled to be release this summer and will feature production from Mr. Collipark and other well-known producers, but don’t expect to see any collaborations. “I want to showcase my skills on the album so I decided not to collaborate,” he says. “The album is going to be a banger though. I can’t wait for the people to hear it.”


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LO LIMIT Dey Know he’s Da Man who Dunn Dunn it all, but what it is about Shawty Lo and his solo debut, Units In The City, that would make the fans Foolish to forget? Words by Eric N. Perrin Photos by Earl Randolph

R

ight now Shawty Lo is blatantly breaking the law. He’s a block away from his beloved Bankhead Highway, on an abandoned street, home to dope fiends and hood urchins—-and he is standing on about 40,000 bricks. His ever-present army of white-tee clad soldiers are all paranoid that the police are on their way, but Lo doesn’t muster an ounce of concern. “Man, calm down! The police ain’t worried about us!” yells a defiant Shawty Lo, motioning the photographer to continue with the photo shoot from the remains of a recently bulldozed building. Lo’s voiced disregard doesn’t ease the anxiety of his nervous crew (seconds earlier, the owner of the demolished building threatened to call the police for trespassing on private property), but when Shawty Lo gives an order, his generals follow, so they remain quiet. “They just wanna be around they king,” Lo later says about his loyal laborers. And right now, Shawty Lo certainly feels like a king. It’s late afternoon on the west side of Atlanta and even though the sun is hiding beneath the overcast sky, Carlos “Shawty Lo” Walker is basking in the bright lights of a flashing camera. It’s no secret that Carlos Walker was a once prominent drug lord who served time in prison for his dealings, but now he’s paid his dues, and done his time. He and his “generals” have been moving units in OZONE MAG // 55


this city since 1993, and today is no different.

rick at Club Crucial, and DJ Pooh.

Lo’s Units In The City still come packaged in plastic, but now they’re distributed through Asylum and peddled by pushers such as Best Buy and Sam Goody. Shawty Lo maintains that he never intended to be a rapper, but that’s exactly what he’s become. Like it or not, his hit single “Dey Know,” which samples the classic 1970 Edwin Starr hit, “War,” has undoubtedly become one of the hottest songs in the South, and if you add that to his growing resume including tracks such as “Dunn Dunn” and 2005’s “I’m Da Man,” it becomes apparent that Shawty Lo is quickly becoming a staple of the ATL music scene.

You get a lot of love in the streets. How were you able to acquire so much respect around the hood? Look around you. We’re right here on my street, Bankhead. Everything about me is Bankhead. My album release party was crazy, man. There were like 500 people left outside that couldn’t get in, and it even snowed on that day. So it goes to show that people came out to mess with me. But I don’t even consider myself a rapper. I consider myself as a finesser; I call it the “slow flow.” I finesse the speech. Basically, I talk about my life stories, my adventures, everything I done been through. Shawty Lo is the real Bankhead and I do it for my people, man. Ain’t nobody can mention Bankhead without acknowledging me. I don’t care who you is, I am Bankhead. 2610 Bankhead Highway-—the place you at right now. No matter what I get, I’m just so hood. They say I’m ghetto-struck. I might got me a big house in the woods somewhere but you know when I’m out kickin’ it, this where I like to be, right on Bankhead. This is where I make all my music at, right here at 2610 Studio.

Lo’s life is essentially similar to many of his predecessors who transitioned from trapper to rapper, but one element that makes Shawty Lo truly unique is that if you want him, you really can find him in the A. He’ll be on the west side, more specifically, right in front of his studio at 2610 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway. The official name of the road was recently changed, but is still referred to by natives as “Bankhead Highway.” “I don’t need no security guards or nothing out here,” says Lo. Even amidst his growing fame and success, he refuses to relocate his D4L studios and bounce from Bankhead. “All you see is me and my homeboys.” The Bowen Home hero adds, “No matter what kinda money I get, I’ll still be right here.” Minutes after his photo shoot in the demolished building, Shawty Lo sits in the backseat of his chauffeured Cadillac Escalade outside of his Bankhead studio. He has a fresh order of Chinese chicken wings and a lingering hangover from the night before (Rocko’s album release party), but for Shawty Lo, life doesn’t get much better than this. He is making his mark on the world from the very same street he grew up on, surrounded by lifelong friends and a comfortable setting. Shawty Lo is in his element, and there’s Lo Limit is sight. It seems like life has been treating you pretty well lately. Life been crazy, but it’s been good. The road has been kinda crazy. I’m on the road five days a week, from Wednesday until Monday, so I barely have time for my family. The album is in stores right now, Units In the City. And everything’s been good. I got my group Cosanostra Chain Gang coming right behind me with Face Spaided, Ms. T, Red Boy, and the rest of my artists coming right behind me. Shouts to my brother Stuntman, Mook B, and the rest of D4L, and I gotta shout out my man Der-

The shawty lo you don’t know

The only thing that outnumbers strip clubs in Atlanta are the recording studios. Everywhere you go in ATL there are a million really nice studios, but you choose to record all your music in this spot. No offense, but it looks kinda outdated compared to some most of the other studios. It’s the ugliest little studio in the world, but this is where all the hits come from. This is my comfort zone. This is where I feel most safe at. I feel more safe here than anywhere. I record all my music right here. You see the equipment? I won’t even change it around, I leave everything the same. I recorded one song at Yung Joc’s studio; that’s the only time I ever recorded anything outside if 2610 Studio. I guess it just feels like home. Shit, this studio is right down the street from the projects I grew up in, Bowen Homes. I lived at 928 Wood Circle, apartment 479, born and raised. When did you move out of Bowen Homes? ’93. But I didn’t really choose to move out. My grandma passed away when I was 17, and when she passed that put me out in the streets. My mother was on drugs when I was coming up so my grandmother raised me and my sister. After she died I used to be out in the streets just doing whatever, but if she hadn’t passed I probably wouldn’t be in my shoes today; she was like my crutch. She wouldn’t let me do nothing! She made sure I went

When was the last time you cried? My album release party. It just felt good, man. Real niggas cry. It wasn’t no hurtful cry or nothing, it was just, “Damn, it’s finally here.” When was the last time you went to church? I ain’t been to church in about a year. Even though I don’t go to church I still believe in God. I pray every day. I’m definitely into God. When’s the last time you ate some really good food? All the time. That’s what the South is—food. Good soul food, sweet tea and lemonade. That’s what we do down south. My favorite place to eat in Atlanta is Spondivits. When’s the last time you threw up? I feel like I gotta throw up right now. I got a hangover from last night at Rocko’s album release party. I drank so damn much!

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to school—and we were poor, but she made me and my sister Ann were fed, clean, and went to school. We probably didn’t have a lot on Christmas and stuff like that, but she made a way for us. That’s why I love that song “Dear Mama” by Tupac, because it reminded me of what I went through. So after she died what exactly did you get into? I started off robbin’ and doing all kinda stuff, and I got caught up in ’94. But God blessed me; I just got boot camp and came home in ’95. In 1995 I was like the little Debo in the hood. I was good with my hands. I’m a good fighter. And this older dude named Cool pulled me to the side one day and said, “Lo, the way you round here kickin’ these niggas’ ass, you gon’ have a lot of followers.” So I formed a little clique. You remember No Limit? Yeah. Well we used to call ourselves Lo Limit. And I was introduced to the drug game because [in] Bowen Homes that’s all there was: drugs. I didn’t wanna be like Michael Jordan or Michael Jackson. I knew the gotdamn big boys riding the Cadillacs and the Devilles, and that’s what I wanted to be. I wanted girls and money. I already had the muscle in the hood, so what came next is that I started getting money in the hood; I learned how to cook work. I got tired of people selling me bullshit already cooked, so I just started buying the powder and tried to do it myself. It took me fucking up about ten times, but after I got it down, I started doubling my profits. Whatever I cooked I could clone it, and that made me have the best prices in town. Me and my crew took over. I was that guy. We was getting money, man, and that’s when I became that nigga. I took the streets over around ’96, and I had a million run. I had no teacher, no guidance, nothing. I learned a lot of shit on my own, and I came to be that nigga in Atlanta, and that’s why the streets of Atlanta respect me so much. The people respected you as dope boy and a Bankhead icon, but how did you get them to take you seriously from a music perspective? Just being real, man, dey know. If you listen to my music, man, that’s what I do. I talk about my life. I entertain. I’m not no regular rapper, when I talk about something, I’m talking about something I really lived. I don’t like to brag about it or nothing, but like I said, I’m the real D-boy from Atlanta. I’m who people used to have to see. Now, God has blessed me with rap. How did you transition from trapping to rapping? I used to be a crazy young nigga, but I look at life a whole lot different now. I respect life. I dunn had money. I’ve been so successful in the dope game I thought I’d never go broke. But around

When was the last time somebody really pissed you off? Every day, but I get over it. I’m humble now; I ain’t got the attitude I used to. I get mad every day but I realize that everybody’s human, so that’s what it is. I don’t get mad to the point where I react on it. I’m a businessman, so I use my head. What’s the largest amount of money you’ve ever withdrawn from the bank? I’m a street nigga so I’ve seen more street money than music money. The music money might be on the way now, but I’ve definitely seen more money in the streets, so I ain’t never really took no whole lot of money out the bank. If you had to be from any other city besides ATL, where would it be? Vegas. Vegas makes me feel just like when I’m at home.


2001, I fell off. God stripped me of that money because I was arrogant. I didn’t think it was possible for me to go broke, but that year made me real humble. By 2002 I came right back bigger than before and I was smarter than ever. Back in the day I used to always have the big chains and jewelry on, and people used to always ask me if I was a rapper, so I decided that I should go ahead and invest my money into this music industry. So I went and got dudes that I knew who had been rapping forever, like Fabo, Mook B, and Stuntman. I got them all together and formed a group. People don’t know that D4L goes way back before rap. We ain’t no gang or nothing, but a long time ago me and brotha Block started calling our clique D4L; so when I formed a rap group I decided to call it D4L. This was back in 2003. People had us confused though; they heard “Laffy Taffy” and didn’t realize that Shawty Lo was a reaI street nigga. I wasn’t no rapper back then. I wasn’t a rapper until after I came home from prison in 2005. Initially you were more of the businessman behind the scenes? Yeah, and what people don’t know is that “I’m Da Man” was my first solo song I ever did. I had put together D4L, but I wasn’t trying to be a rapper. I was more of the businessman behind it. I wasn’t trying to be the rapper, I was the CEO. I wanted to be what Baby is to Cash Money, and what Puff is to Bad Boy, but when I first came home from prison in 2005, after doing a year, people were telling me that D4L wasn’t shit without Fabo. So I did “I’m Da Man” just to let them know, and people really embraced that song; people wanted to hear more from me. In the back of my mind I was thinking that I came up with that song by luck. But I stayed with it. I just kept recording, and recording, and I hooked up with Scream in ’06 and did the mix CD and the rest was history. Speaking of DJs, as you know, this is our DJ issue. How significant have DJs been in the development of your career? To be honest with you, the DJ’s are more important than the artist. Without them we wouldn’t be heard. DJ T-Rock broke a lot of my music. Him and DJ Scream are largely responsible for my movement. I’ve also got a good road DJ, Swamp Izzo. Without the DJs we artists wouldn’t be heard; we’d be lost. It’s just like a marriage: husband and wife. We as artists gotta have the DJ. I appreciate all the DJs all around the world that play my shit, and all the rest of the DJs who play other rappers’ shit. Shawty Lo is there for the DJs in whatever way they need me, from drops to whatever. I’m always there for the DJs. Aside from the love you get from DJs, why else do you think you’ve been so successful in the rap game? Because I’ve always stayed the same, man. Like Jay-Z said, “Never change, man.” When I be on the road doing shows out of town, everybody from the fans, to the [club] owner, to the promoter, they all tell me the same thing. They tell me I’m gonna go far in the game, because I shake everybodys hand, I stay at the club even after I’m finished performing, and I take pictures with everybody. I’m very humble. The best thing about me is that

I’m always 100. I’m uncut. I’ve always had the same homeboys, and I’ve always stayed real. Tell me about the “Dey Know” remix. You’ve got an all-star cast on that song. How did you set that up? Shawty Lo and the Big Cats! Basically, you wouldn’t believe it, but everybody kinda reached out to me about getting on the song. The song was out there bubbling, and then next thing you know I’m getting calls from everybody. Jeezy called me up talkin’ about, “I’m fucking wit’ it.” Luda called and said the same thing. I seen Plies at Club Crucial and he told me to call him up because he wanted to get on it. Then Wayne got on it, so it was crazy how it came together. The album sales aren’t necessarily reflecting the magnitude of your buzz thus far. Are you disappointed at all with the amount of units you’re pushing right now? I’m independent, so I’m alright. But I feel the world don’t really know ‘bout Shawty Lo right now, so I think [album sales are] gon’ pick up. The South knows about Shawty Lo, but up top and in other parts of the country they only know about my single, “Dey Know.” They probably got those negative ideas about D4L or whatever, but once they hear that second and third single dey gon’ know. It’s gon’ pick up, plus, like I said, I’m independent, so I ain’t worried about a thang.

“ when I first started rapping I was strictly a dope boy; I didn’t have time for the studio, I was in the street making money ” Before your album came out you issued a press release saying that people who bootleg your album are cheating themselves. But times are hard, and the recession is affecting everyone. Why should people go out and buy your album instead of bootlegging it? ‘Cause I ain’t no one-hit wonder. Shit, I ain’t no two-hit wonder, three-hit, four-hit, or five-hit wonder. I’m that nigga, man. I make good music. If they bootleg it, they bootleg it, but I feel like I got a good CD. It’s gon get heard regardless, and Shawty Lo ain’t hurtin’ for shit. I’m a hustler before anything. But the album is hot. I got music for the kids, the teens, and the grown folks. The album is solid. It’s real, ain’t no fiction to it. And if I’m lying, it must be two sides. My whole team worked on it, so it ain’t just me. It’s independent with Asylum, but the team that I put together to make the movement what it is today is D4L Records, Hitt Afta Hitt, and Hood Rich Entertainment. It was more than just me going into the studio rapping. Without my team none of my success would have been possible. You’ve also recently released another press release denying the rumor that you have HIV. I know people always target celebrities with malicious gossip and whatnot; is that where you think that story came from? Man, people say a lot of shit. That shit goes in one ear and out the other. They talked about Jesus and He’s da almighty, so of course they gon’ talk and make up false shit about me. It’s all good. If it wasn’t for haters it wouldn’t be no playas. You know how that shit goes.

What’s the biggest drawback of being a popular rapper? What’s the most challenging part? Traveling. It’s a different state every day, all day. It’s a real job, for folks that don’t know. It’s crazy. Yeah, but there’s no money like show money. Oh yeah, it’s great money. I ain’t even gon’ flex, but I been getting’ money, period. You know, show money, or whatever. What I can get for a whole [brick], man, I can get for a show. What do you see as your biggest accomplishment in music? Just the fact that I was able to take over the rap game. In my younger days, nobody thought I would come to be the big dope boy in Atlanta, but I did. If you had seen how I was raised, you would’ve never thought I’d grow up to be that guy. But I was that guy; I was serving the city. Now look at the music: I came into the music game, and not in a million years would anybody think that I would be that rapper, that guy. But they me love right now. They sing word for word every song that I do in the club. I get good show money. I’m booked 4 or 5 days a week. When you’re not rapping, or touring, or working, what do you spend your time doing? Basically I chill with fam. I do exactly what I’m doing now. I ain’t working now. I’m on Bankhead outside my studio having a conversation. I be at the studio everyday, but I don’t record everyday. We just be sitting here, kickin’ it, doing whatever, me and my homeboys. I be with the same hood niggas, you see ‘em right there. (points to collection of white tee wearing hooligans) I be right here in the hood, no security, no nothing; niggas know what it is. A lot of people discredited you as a rapper after they heard the simplicity of some of the D4L records, but you’ve managed to somehow separate yourself from that image. Well, just to let the critics know—we went gold off that [Down 4 Life] album, because it was a great album. It started off slow but it ended up doing well. But if you listened to my raps from back then [in 2005], you wouldn’t even believe what I’m doing now. You’d be like, “Damn, that man transformed.” But the reason I transformed so fast is because when I first started rapping I was strictly a dope boy; I didn’t have time for the studio. I was in the street making money. I had opened up the studio for [the group] to work, and they would call me like, “Lo, c’mon to the studio, we gotta a little song we want you to jump on real quick.” And that’s what I did. I would go to the club and throw money to make us look good, so people would pay attention to us and know who D4L was. I was in the streets most of the time they were in the studio, but then I got locked up, and when I came back from prison I couldn’t go back to the streets no more, so that forced me to be in the studio more. And I transformed as a rapper. You’ve obviously been successful as a rapper, but you still get a lot of criticism about not being the most lyrical dude. What’s your response to that? I need to get better. I need to get better at rappin’, man. I ain’t no freestyler. I call my shit the oven; I like to take my time writing songs. I just can’t go and write no song in 15 minutes. I take all day on one song, but when it comes out of that oven, it’s gon’ be right. I’m trying to get faster at what I do, but besides that, I don’t need to prove nothing to nobody, I’ma just be me. I can’t be nobody but me, man. 100, I am a G. //

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WORDS BY MAURICE G. GARLAND

Talib Kweli is from Brooklyn. . Talib Kweli is a rapper. . Talib Kweli goes to parties. . Talib Kweli curses. .

I

f you were to insert another name in the place of his, those four character traits would probably translate into being just a regular ass dude. But for some reason ever since “KWAA-LEEE” has been in the game, he’s been looked as an outsider that the average rap fan is afraid to like. Is it because he uses “big words” when he raps? Is it because he talks about religion and politics more than he does clubbing and smoking? Whatever it is, Kweli has been labeled everything from “backpacker” to “conscious” when really, he probably doing and saying the same things as your favorite rapper, just a little bit better. Now, Kweli is labeling himself and taking control of his own destiny. 60 // OZONE MAG


Can you explain what it means to be a MCEO, and tell us about the mixtape you just dropped of the same name? That’s the name I came up with for myself after I signed my deal with Warner for Blacksmith. Being [an MCEO] is the only way I could survive in this business. I had to take control of my career, I couldn’t be a 16-bar rapper anymore. The MCEO mixtape is a way to stay prolific and feed my fanbase. My fanbase is supportive, but this is my creative way to market myself. I can’t go the traditional route of having a record that fits into the radio mix or have a video on 106th & Park. Those avenues have closed down for me. So putting out this mixtape with Mick Boogie gives it a certain quality. But ain’t really just about me promoting the music. The meat and potatoes is that it’s a good product for the fans. How inclusive is it of the rest of the Blacksmith roster? The mixtape feels like a compilation because it ain’t just about me. There’s songs off Jean Grey’s Jeanius album. There are Strong Arm Steady freestyles all through it. It’s definitely a family affair. It’s in the tradition of other mixtapes I’ve done. This is setting up the world for Strong Arm Steady and Jean to show they are quality writers. It’s like our exercise. Has it been difficult wearing both the rapper and executive hat? It’s been difficult because you have to make executive decisions that a creative decision doesn’t mesh with, and vice versa. I’m blessed to have trustworthy people around me that keep me grounded. But I never forget to put the MC part first. The music and product come before the business. Without that, there is no business to discuss. Being a record executive in this current climate has to be different from how it was years ago. What avenues are you focusing on? I have no choice but to focus on digital; that’s the future and my company is the future. Worrying about selling CDs is archaic. Radio is a dinosaur, it’s not a trendsetter or tastemaker. So we focus on the internet and clubs. My music hasn’t been traditional club music, but every once a while I have a song that breaks through to the clubs and gets on the radio. Focusing on getting radio spins is like putting the cart before the horse.I have to figure out what outlets serves me the best and what I can control with my own hands. What string of events happened to make you have to start your own label? Well first, Blacksmith is my management company ran by Corey Smyth, my manger and business partner. We called the label Blacksmith for name recognition. It was a string of events. I was on Geffen and my album leaked onto the net and the label didn’t respond properly. They dropped the ball and that showed me what they thought of me. The lack of support staggered me. I was doing the job of the record company: calling DJs, paying for my own videos, shit that in my early career was taken care of by the company. It took years to get off Geffen and get an imprint with Warner. In that time we put out mixtapes to stay prolific on a street level and then I came with Eardrum. A lot of people like to say that you are their favorite rapper, but sometimes it seems like they are afraid to admit it. Have you ever noticed that? Yeah. That sentiment is also from people who say that I’m their favorite rapper because they heard Jay-Z say it or know that I fuck with Kanye or other rappers who are famous. They’re not familiar with my catalog, they just think it’s some cool shit to say. But I take it however I get it. To be mentioned in the caliber of MCs I get mentioned with is an honor. I know I’m good at what I do to even be mentioned in those circles. Has it been a battle to do different things from what people expect of you? It definitely has. There’s times when I make music I wanna make for the sake of making it and people accuse me of trying to make music for the purpose of selling a record. On my Beautiful Struggle album, when I worked with The Neptunes and Mary J. Blige, people said I was working with them to sell records. It’s not to sell records, but shit, Mary J. Blige is the Queen of Hip Hop. I respect her music more than her sales. With The Neptunes, I just like their music. That would really bother me, because damn, why can’t I work with them because I like their music? Why can’t I work with David Banner, because I’m “underground”? Why I can’t I work with DJ Quik, because I’m from the East Coast? Those things bother me, but I found a way to deal with it by owning my own label and controlling my input and my perception of me. I used to allow my perception of me to run wild. But with the records I put out, I control that and now I got things popping off. Like my project with Res, called Idol Worship. I found a way to have a group and do music with a different dynamic and not have it be “Kweli” music. But, that kind of criticism helps me creatively. Did you ever fully embrace the “backpacker” term that was thrown on you early in your career? I embraced the sentiment of the independent artist. When I was on Rawkus being a “backpacker” was centered around being independent and putting out

12-inches. Its funny because the term was used to diss people who was just about the music, but they’re the true hustlers. I quickly learned that you can’t let people just say what they want about you. You can’t let people decide your politics or how you view Hip Hop. On your last album Eardrum, you covered a lot of bases and again did some unexpected things. What was your goal with that album? My first focus was to make music that sounded good. I think people focus so much on my lyrics and my partnerships that they don’t give me credit for the music I put out and the producers I’ve selected and what I’ve added to music in general. I felt that I needed to prove how versatile my music could be. I worked with Jean Grae, KRS-One, Norah Jones, and Justin Timberlake just to throw [my versatility] in people’s faces. People try to say I tried to sell records with Mary J. Blige, but now I’m working with Norah and Justin, and it’s still more Hip Hop than your favorite Hip Hop artist. Its definitely a competitive spirit in what I do. But first and foremost you’ve gotta be honest with yourself. So I chose the content and subject I wanted to deal with and producers I wanted to work with. I think the sound I went for was influenced by the Pete Rock era. That’s why Pete is such an anchor to that album. Do you think Hip Hop is getting back to being more homogenous as opposed to it being so segregated? I think every city has their time and every sound has its place. I think the sound now is more homogenized, which is a sound that works well in a place like Miami because of the technology making the music easier to put out and spread faster. So it’s getting more international than you’ve ever heard before. So it has more influence internationally than your average inner city mix right now. People playing club music and music from overseas in the mix, I’ve never seen that before. That’s where I see it going. On that note, you have a label with a female MC and a group of West coast MCs. What led you to sign the groups you have? It was family first. I grew up with Jean and she’s been my favorite MC for years. I met Strong Arm Steady through Xzibit, who used to be deeply involved with the group. Them dudes held me down when I came to Cali. I wasn’t checking for their music, honestly, for a while, because they were my homeboys. But their mixtapes kept getting doper and doper. Each of them have their own fans and things popping off and they all write, but they gel in a way that couldn’t be denied. What are some of the mistakes you’ve seen other artists make with their own labels, and how are you trying to avoid making those same mistakes? A big mistake is having a vanity label and not really putting in the legwork of a CEO to make sure the product is in the street. Some artists either don’t know [how], or have the time or resources to make it pop off. It’s hard to find people who share your vision. That’s why I look up to people like Luda and Chaka [Zulu], or Jay, Dame and Biggs. People who came in the game together and have been able to see each others’ visions and compliment each other. Back in 2004 you appeared on the cover of The Ave with Al Sharpton and let it be known that you don’t vote. Do you still feel the same way? There was no Barack Obama running in 2004. In my lifetime I’ve never seen anything like this. The opinions I laid out in The Ave, I had a checklist of reasons why I don’t vote. But Barack is inspirational enough to make me put my checklist to the side and support him. He is running an impressive campaign. I like how he presents and handles himself. In the late 80s and early 90s we had voices like Ice Cube and Public Enemy speaking on presidential elections and the political climate at that time. Do you think more artists today should be speaking up on things? The times have gotten worse since them. Sometimes the revolutionary spirit gets co-opted and translated into love of money and capitalism, which is sad, because we really have our chance and opportunity to build something strong with Hip Hop. But I don’t look to artists for that inspiration. I look to the activists and soldiers in the struggle. Artists are followers by nature and want everybody to like them, and they are real sensitive and vain. I know that because I’m an artist. It’s time for people in the community in general to speak up. The artists will follow what the people are doing. Anything else you want to share? Jean Grae’s album with 9th Wonder, Jeanius, is coming in April, and we’re really excited about that one. We’re working diligently on Strong Arm Steady’s Arms & Hammers. I just dropped the “Hostile Gospel” remix with Nina Sky, Joell Ortiz and Blu. I will have a video for that soon, but right now we are pushing the original version of the song. Also, look out for the new Reflection Eternal album with me and Hi-Tek that’s coming out on Blacksmith. Will we see another Black Star (Kweli & Mos Def) album? It’s not on the schedule, but it’s possible. // OZONE MAG // 61


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Words by RANDY ROPER

y now you’ve heard the name, seen the promotional posters and t-shirts, heard his single “Haterz Everywhere” and at least, seen the cover of this very magazine in your hands. And you’re still probably thinking to yourself, “Who the fuck is B.o.B.?” If you ask him, he’ll run down a list that describes his various acronyms—business over bullshit, billions over bitches, bring one blunt, bring one beer—-the list goes on and on. But none of those really describes who B.o.B. truly is. Born Bobby Ray Simmons, this rapper/producer from Decatur, GA, grew up making music to escape the complexity of being a kid, and, well, he has always been “different.” He doesn’t rap about being in the club, guns, money, cars, jewelry or drugs (well, he does rap about smoking, but not dealing). Not to knock anyone that does, but B.o.B. and his music may come off slightly left field. For a 19-year-old, who signed his deal with producer Jim Jonsin’s Rebel Rock/Atlantic Records imprint at only 17, B.o.B. has loads to get off his intricate mind. “The only thing people talk about is being amped in the club and there ain’t nothing wrong with that, but we gotta address a lot of shit,” he explains. “People experience death, people experience depression, a lot of people experience addictions, a lot of people experience someone going to jail. It’s a lot of other shit that can be talked about.” With his debut album The Adventures of B.o.B. slated for release later this year, OZONE sat down with the new school ATLien to educate you so that the next time you hear his name, you won’t have to ask, “Who the fuck is B.o.B.?” You’ll know. You’re from Decatur, Georgia. So has Decatur always been greater for you? I’ve been in Decatur since I was 2. I was born in Winston-Salem, NC and we moved down to the Eastside [of Atlanta] and I’ve been there ever since. In Decatur, it’s like any other hood. You know how every city’s got the hood side, so coming up I didn’t go to school in Decatur. For the first part of school years, I was in the magnet program. So I was going over to the other side [of

PHOTOS BY WUZ GOOD Atlanta] and that experience was real diverse. You’re in a class with a lot of Asian kids, a lot of white kids, a lot of African kids, and you really see the different mind states. And then, coming back home to the Eastside, and seeing how the hood is and how it all operates, it really makes you see what’s going on. So, since I was a kid, I really had a broad picture. And plus, when I was coming up, my family was struggling. I don’t wanna say we were in poverty, but we really were struggling. But I feel like struggle isn’t really determined by being in the hood. I feel like struggle is a spiritual thing. Because spiritually, when you’re struggling with something, it shows in your environment and it shows in your actions and it shows in everything that you do. So, that’s why “the hood” is in the state that it’s in. Cause a lot of people are struggling with themselves, or struggling spiritually, struggling with addiction, whether it be addiction to food, addiction to sex, addiction to cars, addiction to money, everything. So, going over to the other side of town and seeing how they live, it’s not necessarily good or better, cause you’ve got equal opportunity, anywhere you are. But it’s just that you’re seeing the state that it’s in and it’s a really good comparison. Did you turn to music to escape the hood? You know what’s crazy? Back in the day, we didn’t really buy albums. Most of the time my brother used to tape-record the radio and we’d catch all the freestyles and all the songs, and that’s how we’d listen to [music] when we wanted to listen to it. My brother found a $20 bill one day and he bought the DMX album [It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot], and I listened to his album and I studied it. I wrote out his lyrics and I’d study his raps. And I’d figure out how he rapped. So, I started doing my own shit, and he had skits on his shit, so I started doing my own skits and then recording them with my tape player. I used to go in the bathroom and hang up sheets to get some sound proofing. I used desk mics, [would] download beats off the internet, and I’d try to do my own thing. Do you start making beats back then, too? Back then, I used to want to but I didn’t know how. And I didn’t learn how until I got into the ninth grade, and my cousin Swag showed me how to make ‘em. So, my love for rapping really grew into a love for music in general, since

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I’ve been a kid. And now I’m producing, engineering, playing guitar, [and] playing a little bit of keys. Pretty much any instrument I pick up, I can learn something on it. But I’m really trying to master the guitar. You started off in a group with Swag, didn’t you? My cousin Swag, he played the drums. I was in the eight grade, we both knew we could rap. Our families used to have Christmas talent shows, and we’d go perform. My manager [B. Rich] saw us rapping at the Christmas talent show, and he was like, “Y’all are pretty talented.” At the time, B. Rich was doing a talent show at Blues in the Alley, in Underground Atlanta. We used to always try to get at him like, “What you think, what you think?” Man, we sucked back then. We were terrible. I just heard some [of our old] shit today at the photo shoot, and it was terrible. But we still just wanted to rap. We felt like that shit way back in the day. We felt like we were the shit. So, Swag, he played the drums and he did his thing at the showcase, but I was too young to go to the showcase. He went up there, played the drums and he killed it, like Drumline-type shit and had the whole club amped. So, he really had the opportunity and he came home like, “How serious are you about doing this rap shit?” I’m in the eight grade, but I’m already serious. I’m like, “Nigga, hell yeah! Dawg, I’m serious.” He dapped me up like, “Let’s do this, let’s be a group.” At the time, it was me, Swag and my brother. After a while, my brother quit, and me and my cousin formed a group called the Klinic. I was in ninth grade and my cousin was in tenth or eleventh. We both produced; he taught me how to use Frooty Loops. He was in Macon in high school, so we used to have to send beats back and forth through email. We got our demo together and let B. Rich hear it. We finally got a demo good enough for B. Rich to fuck with us. We started grinding. And over the years were just working, getting better, and by the time my cousin graduated he really wanted to go to college to study business, to get the business side, so he could help the team with his business. At the time, I didn’t wanna go to college, so we kinda split ways, man. You know, we

fam, there’s always love. He went to college and I just keep doing my thing. I didn’t have the name B.o.B. until I was outside a club and Willie Joe was like, “B.o.B.!” Cause you know, my name’s Bob. I was like, “That’s my fucking name.” Shout out to Willie Joe, he gave me my fucking name. You’re name is an acronym too, right? What does B.o.B. stand for? Business over bullshit. Billions over bitches. Bring one blunt. Bring one beer. Bring one broad. Baller on a budget. There’s never been one better. Been one before. I’m burning on blunts. Blast ‘em on beats. Blast off beats. Bangin’ on beats. Man, all that shit, man. You’ve been open in your music about being picked on in school. Every kid got picked on by somebody, you know what I mean? And it’s just all about how you deal with it. When I look back on my life, [I realized that] I’m a sensitive person. I guess my sensitivity is why I’m even doing this job and why I even wanted to be a rapper. Coming up I was struggling at home and going to school, and I really just grew into a shell and went into a real dark depression. Every kid goes through it. Nobody really wants to admit it, but everybody goes through depression and I went through mine when I was in middle school. I just went in this shell and started rapping, because rapping was my therapy. At the time, I didn’t really know what I was doing, it really just called me. It formed in my life. I’m real anxious all the time. I gotta be doing something. Ever since I was in the third grade, every now and then when I’d get bored, I’d rap. But when I got into in middle school and I went into that shell, I really ventured off into it. I was like, “Shit, let me see how far I can go with this.” That experience really aged me past my years, and I feel like that’s how I’m able to do what I’m doing now. I feel like I’m biting off a lot to chew for a 19-year-old. I hadn’t even graduated [from] high school yet, and I went out to get a [record] deal and I got it. And my life really started changing. A lot of people look at that like it’s a jackpot and a success, but really it’s responsibility. With great power comes

great responsibility. The more successful I get, the more responsible I’ve gotta be. It’s easy to lose if you’re not disciplined. I got signed when I was in high school, so I started going on the road a lot. I tried to work out something with my school, where I could be on the road and do [home]work, but they weren’t really having it. Nobody really knew me at the time, on a national scale. So, I went about doing my thing and the label started paying for my online classes. I started taking them online when I was on the road traveling. You’re co-managed by TJ’s DJ’s founder TJ Chapman. How did you meet TJ? It’s crazy that I met TJ on 9/11. On September 11, I was at Club Crucial. It was my first time performing “Cloud 9” and I got an encore and a standing ovation. And I’m like, “Shit, what did I do?!” I just came out there with a little smoke song. And it’s slow tempo, and it didsn’t really fit into the Hip Hop scene in Atlanta at the time. Nor does it fit into the club scene, so you got me--a 17-year-old high school drop out--trying to push this song that fits in nowhere and not going to college. I’m trying to figure out, “How the hell am I gonna get this to work?” I wasn’t even gonna perform it, but Playboy Tre and B. Rich told me to perform it. TJ saw it and was like, “This kid is amazing.” B. Rich let him hear a bunch of my music, and TJ really saw how diverse I was and how unique the music was. He wanted to be down with it and he came on the team, and we’ve been grinding ever since. Where do you get the influence for the uniqueness in your music? It’s not like most Atlanta music. I come from planet Nibiru and on that planet a lot of the music is really different because we watch a lot of the different forms of music here on Earth. A lot of rock, a lot of techno, jazz, a lot of alternative music, I like everything. I listen to everything, man, and I feel like my influence is meshed into one. And still, people really haven’t seen what we can do with my music. When I say “we,” I mean the different forms of B.o.B. Sometimes I may not want to do rap, I might want to do something else. It’s like so many different versions of me that I gotta deal with when I get in the studio, so I can focus

“I HAVEN’T EVEN GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL YET AND I GOT A RECORD DEAL. A LOT OF PEOPLE LOOK AT THAT LIKE IT’S A JACKPOT, BUT REALLY IT’S RESPONSIBILITY. WITH GREAT POWER COMES great RESPONSIBILITY.”

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it all into one song. I record a lot and I got a lot of songs, but a lot of the time I get in the studio and I just sit there, and I don’t know what to do. I’m staring into space, trying to figure out where I wanna go next. Sometimes it can be really frustrating. The more talent, the harder it is to out-do yourself. I’m constantly trying to out-do myself. Our readers may think you’re kinda weird. Exactly. And I am. But if you understand what I mean when I say that, then you get it. And even if you don’t understand, my music is gonna make you understand. And that’s why I’m warming up people for the album, cause the music is really me, and I feel like I’m meshed in with so many different sounds from some many different places. That I’m giving it back and reflecting it back with the music. You have songs like “Left Field” and “Lonely People,” does that reflect what you’re saying now and what’s going on with you? Yeah. When I make my music, at the end of the day, we’re all humans. We all feel the same way. Everybody ain’t always happy all the time. Everybody ain’t always sad all the time. Everybody don’t always fit in all the time. It’s so many different emotions that we all experience that nobody really talks about. I’m talking about a lot of that on my album. And not only that, but it feels good. At the end of day we wanna feel good. So, I wanna make people feel good with my music. I feel like I’m really trying to speak on a general level, to reach the most people. I’m really just trying to get people to wake up and see what’s going on. You know, you got me all philosophical and shit. (laughs) “Haterz Everywhere” has been a big record for you. I made “Haterz” in the studio, and I was having fun with it. A lot of people talk about haters and they say it with a negative tone in their voice. Haters are funny to me, cause I’m good. Whatever a nigga thinks or what a nigga says, has no value in your day. You get up, you brush your teeth, you eat, you shit, you go to work, you go to school. Regardless of what anybody says, you gon’ have to do that. So, why let what people say get you down, or why let people get you pissed off? Just smile at them. Fuck it. That’s why the song’s got that tempo. (singing) Haters everywhere we go! When I’m at my shows, I have fun doing that, and if there’s a dude hating, we call him out and keep it going. It’s just a song for the haters. I feel like the haters need a song. Did you think that was going to the song that helped break you? I never woulda thought that. It’s crazy cause the haters never really got any attention. I feel like that’s why it caught on, cause there are a lot of haters out there. What do you have planned for your album? The Adventures of B.o.B. is coming, hopefully, in 2008. The date keeps getting pushed back, cause you know how it is with the labels. They wanna format your music and cookie-cut it. You gotta get

your fan base behind your music. The album is dope. I really feel good about this album. I really feel like it’s a classic album. God was really with me on this album. There will never be another album like this cause it’s my first album, and your first album is from whenever you were born to now. You’re covering all those experiences. And I ain’t been living but for nineteen years, but I still feel like I’ve been through so much, and I’m really letting out all that pain and all that feeling on this album. How difficult was it for you to be 17 years old and signed to a major label like Atlantic? I had to learn really quick that it wasn’t about a jackpot. I really thought, “Man, if I get a deal, I’ll hit a jackpot. I’ll get this money, then I can be fresh. And I can just get what I want.” I’m being honest, that’s what I thought. I was like, “I’m fittin’ to get fresh. I’ma get these clothes, I can buy all the weed I want to.” I had to learn that it wasn’t about that. I was forced to grow up really fast and really be responsible. One thing about this industry is that you put your life into it. It’s your life, literally. I breathe, eat, shit, sleep and piss B.o.B. And you gotta take it more seriously than just trying to smoke a blunt all day. I’ve seen you in the advertisements for LRG. Man, it’s great, man. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. We did a spring photo shoot in New York and the pictures came out so good, they were like, “Shit, man, let’s just put it on a billboard.” I thought was going to be a small square or something. I wasn’t thinking too much of it, but I knew it was going to be a real good look. It turns out that they used the entire twenty-five foot billboard [in the middle of Times Square] and put the picture on it. And I’m like, “Oh my God, that’s crazy.” It’s dope, man. It’s really crazy. You’re signed to Atlantic through Jim Jonsin’s Rebel Rock Entertainment. Why’d you choose to sign with him? And is that where you get your rock influence? I definitely owe a lot of that rock influence to Jim Jonsin. I always kinda liked rock, but Jim Jonsin really pushed me to show how much I loved it. TJ introduced me to Jim Jonsin soon after I performed at Crucial and he heard my music and he saw the [rock] influence. He was like, “We’d go great together.” He was like, “B.o.B., regardless if you sign with me, I still wanna work with you because I respect you and I respect what you do.” I was also looking at a lot of other labels to sign with. I was looking at Grand Hustle [and] Polo Grounds with Bryan Leach in New York. I was comfortable with Jim Jonsin and Rebel Rock. Your style is so different from most Atlanta artists. What do you think about other Atlanta artists and most of the music that comes out of the city? I think a lot of the music coming out of Atlanta is just a lot of what people are thinking about. When people think about Atlanta, they think about what

“People really haven’t seen what we can do with my music. When I say “we,” I mean the different forms of B.o.B. It’s so many different versions of me that I gotta deal with when I get in the studio.” they see on MTV and BET. It’s a big party going on and Atlanta is the life of the party. Everybody else sees it and they’re like, “Shit, let me do it too.” And there ain’t really nothing wrong with the music coming out, but I feel like there should be a balance. My whole life, I felt like at some point in time I was gonna have to step up and fill in that balance. My hats go off to all the Atlanta artists and all the artists doing their thing. But I’m really trying to do something different. because I am different. All the Atlanta artists, when they do what they do what they do, they’re doing them. But I’m different, so I’ma do me anyway. And it just stands out. I feel like a lot of people think I’m really trying to attack Atlanta music, or in a way, trying to raise myself above it. But I’m neck and neck with all these artists. I’ve seen Fabo perform and Fabo’s a great performer. Willie Joe’s a great performer. I feel like with a lot of these artists, we’re in the same boat, I feel like I’m just different. I feel like they’re in one spot of the boat, and I’m waaaaaay over here in the back. But it’s all love, man. Do you think you’re misunderstood? I don’t think I’m misunderstood. I think I’m really here to inspire people. When people hear my music and see my shows, I think they know what my passion is. When I’m doing my shows and I’m performing “Haterz Everwhere,” it’s real. It’s not just a show, it’s a show in the sense that I’m up on stage and the spotlight is on me, and when fans give me that energy back, it’s amazing. It’s the most amazing thing in the world. When I’m on the road doing shows, you never know where you’re gonna go but I gotta put my passion in it, cause that’s the only thing that’s protecting me when I’m on this road. I ain’t got nothing else. I ain’t got no security guards. Don’t nobody got no heat like that. I don’t even wanna draw that energy to myself. It’s just me, my team Ham Squad, and CDs. It’s usually me, B. Rich, Playboy Tre, TJ and Swag on the road. We roll with the Haterz t-shirts and a box of CDs. That’s all we got and we just hit the road and grind. Is there anything you want to tell your haters? Keep hating. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it. And it’s just fuel for success for people. So, keep it up. Good work. //

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OZONE MAG // 67


Without the DJ, there is no sound, no movement, no party. EVERY year, OZONE pays homage to those that keep us in tune with the newest hits and old school classics. We also print their contact info for all the other people who would like to thank them for a job well done. The following portion of this issue outlines everything these ladies and gentlemen have gone through to make your Hip Hop and R&B experience one to remember.

Compiled by Ms. Rivercity

DJ Aspekt (Miami, FL) DJ 2Mello (Baltimore, MD)

Mr. Undercover R&B has earned countless accolades including Best R&B DJ at the 2008 Southern Ent. Awards and a nomination for Best R&B Mixtape DJ at the 2008 Justo Mixtape Awards. DJ 2Mello also holds down The Wake Up Mix on WXDU 88.7 FM in North Carolina and the Sprint/Nextel Mobile Mixshow Radio on www.focusonthedj.com. dj2mello@gmail.com for mp3s, dj2mello@tmail.com for mixtape inquiries For booking call Barbara with Forever Entertainment 410746-2335

DJ 31 Degreez (Summerville, SC)

Finding a niche in the Texas market, 31 Degreez unleashed his Texas Massacre series when the Lonestar State was at the top of the Hip Hop movement. Since then he has used his creativity and innovation to consistently break new talent on mixtapes and in clubs. dj31degreezmp3@gmail.com

DJ Aaries (Atlanta, GA)

DJ Aaries relocated from South Carolina to Atlanta and took full advantage of the Southern Rap mecca. Founder of the Hood Hard Hitmakers and the new face of Rocawear, Aaries goes by several other monikers including The Hulk and the Official South Cack Representer. djaariesmp3@gmail.com Mailing address: P.O. Box 127 St. Matthews, SC 29135

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Known as Mr. Focus and tour DJ for upcoming artist Frank Black, DJ Aspekt has several interesting tactics for branding himself, including his slogan: Neva Trust a Skinny DJ. Though he may have once been starving for his spot in the music biz, Aspekt currently enjoys a very healthy career breaking records on the Miami scene. alloutallstars@gmail.com Mailing address: 828 SW 2 St., Apt. 6 Miami, FL 33130

DJ Averi Minor (Chicago, IL)

There’s nothing minor about this DJ’s resume. He’s toured with Slick Rick and Jeru the Damaja; rocked concerts for Snoop, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Bilal, Little Brother; and presently DJs at the House of Blues and Funky Budda in Chicago. In addition to mixing on KBOL 100.1 FM in Waterloo, Iowa, Averi Minor is also part of the internet and satellite radio movement on 1073VIP.com, Goodfellasradio.net, and Sirius Radio’s Backspin 43. djaveriminor@gmail.com, avecity@tmail.com Mailing address: 1220 S. Blue Island # 3B Chicago, IL 60608

DJ Bedz (Denver, CO)

Also referred to as The White Shadow, Bedz is a fixture in the radio circuit, mixing for XM 66 Raw, 107.1 KONN in Denver, and 96.1 KIPT in Colorado Springs. His club lineup consists of Lo Beheme, Purple Martini, and the Loft. Adding to his well-roundedness, Bedz’ recent mixtape releases include Face Off, Dirty South Flavaz 4 with Jody Breeze, Party to Go, Scratchwutchyalike with Digital Underground, and War at 33 1/3 featuring Public Enemy. djbedz@gmail.com Mailing address: White Shadow Productions 7540 E. Harvard Ave. #104 Denver, CO 80231


Clinton Sparks (Boston, MA) DJ Bee (Norfolk, VA)

Clinton Sparks is a renowned DJ for Smashtime Radio, a worldwide syndicated show. He’s also toured with Diddy and currently spins for several clubs across the globe like Body English in the Hard Rock Casino Las Vegas. All of his CDs, including Hip Pop Rockstar II with Diddy and Konnected to A Kon with Akon, can be downloaded for free at clintonsparks.com. Smashtimemp3@gmail.com

Big Sue (Memphis, TN)

Cristal Bubblin (Houston, TX/New Brunswick, NJ) The bubbling voice of KPTY Party 93.3 in Houston, TX, Cristal Bubblin began her career in radio as an intern before accepting a weekend position with 102 Jamz in Greensboro, NC. Now the life of the party, Cristal’s honest personality and candid sense of humor have become her trademark on the airwaves. cristalbubblin@gmail.com

Noting influences such as Jazzy Jeff and Spinbad, DJ Bee is a turntablist in its truest form. He can be seen rocking parties at Clubs Entourage and Nationwide in Norfolk, and can be heard on the air waves via 103 Jamz, XM 66 Raw, and XM 65 The Rhyme. beesus@mac.com Patience, a strong network, and an even stronger work ethic are traits that accompany Big Sue’s role as Premiere Female Spinner in Memphis. WHRK employs Suzie as Assistant Program Director and Morning and Midday Personality. She also occupies the booth at Clubs Silver Spoon and Level 2. bigsuzie@gmail.com Mailing address: WHRK 2650 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Ste 4100 Memphis, TN 38118

DJ Bishop (Omaha, NE)

Member of The CORE and Crowd Rockas DJ crews, Mr. Exclusive, a.k.a. That DJ Who Wears the Baseball Gloves, currently DJs for Power 106.9 and XM 67 The City. His most recent mixtape project was DJ Bishop Presents: Mixx Compilation Vol. 112 – yes, that’s right - volume one hundred and twelve. Bishop2g@gmail.com Mailing address: 5085 Ida St. Omaha, NE 68152

DJ B-Lord (Charleston, SC)

DJ B-Lord has come full circle, from picking cucumbers with Mexicans, to becoming one of the South’s most respected DJs. Spinning on Columbia SC’s WHXT and Savannah’s WEAS, B-Lord is also known for his club skills, with a nomination for Best Club DJ at the 2007 OZONE Awards. blorddj@aol.com

DJ Black Bill Gates (Atlanta, GA/Savannah, GA)

DJ Derty Vegas (Birmingham, AL)

DJ Derty Vegas reps the Street Hitter DJs, RC Promotions & Marketing, and S.Y.F. Entertainment Sound Squad Pro. He’s also a DJ for WBHJ 95.7 Jamz and Goodfellasradio. net. Derty Vegas got his big break as the youngest strip club DJ in Birmingham and moved on to several other club gigs over the past four years. HE ALSO SENDS ALL HIS MESSAGES WITH THE CAPS LOCK ON SO THAT IT’S HARD TO READ, but we forgive him. streethitterdjs@gmail.com

DJ DNA (Baltimore, MD/Washington D.C.)

Mixtape master and radio mixer DJ DNA currently spins for XM 66 Raw and Direct TV Channel 846. The list of his latest CDs is too long to name in its entirety, but includes Motion Picture Shit with DJ Drama, BlackHand America, and Get on My Level Vol. 6 hosted by Gorilla Zoe and 8Ball & MJG. If you’re in the D.C./MD area, you can catch DNA at the Lotus Lounge, Bar Nun, and Kasbahs. Mp3DNA@gmail.com

Black Bill Gates’ affiliations include Hood Rich Ent./Media, Shade 45 Sirius Satellite, Pure Pain Records, So So Def Radio, Legion of Doom, DTP, and Stainless Ent., just to name a few. He also spins at The Underground on Fridays, Club Miami on Saturdays, Dreamz ATL, 24K Gentlemen’s Club, and various other hot spots in the Atlanta area. 404-542-0847 (Rip), blackbillgates@gmail.com, myspace. com/theblackbillgates

DJ Dre (Fort Worth, TX)

DJ Bomshell Boogie (New Orleans, LA)

DJ Drizzle (Cincinnatti, OH)

Quickly becoming NOLA’s favorite femme fatale on the tables, Bomshell Boogie got her start spinning old school Rap and R&B in a renovated lounge after Hurricane Katrina. Now blasting everything from street bangers to Top 40 hits at The Cricket Club and Perkins, Boogie specializes in blending genres to please her entire audience. bomshellboogie@gmail.com

DJ Chill (Lafayette, LA)

DJ Chill is the official tour for Trill Ent.’s 3 Deep. When he’s not on the road promoting with the group, Chill is in the lab mixing up tapes like Nite Caps Vol. 3, Certified Hustling 1.5 Def Jam Edition, Grown N Sexy Vol. 3, and 3 Deep’s First 6 Months. 337-781-5878 chill.dj@gmail.com Mailing address: 2826 Louisiana Ave., Apt. 1101 Lafayette, LA 70501

DJ Civil Rightz (Tulsa, OK)

Civil Rightz is an advocate for the Tulsa Hip Hop community. Famed for being The Tulsa Sports Animal on 97.1 FM, the “Pop Lock King” also spins at Soco’s and The Otherside while keeping the mixtape circuit in tune to the latest hits. poplockking@hotmail.com, myspace.com/djcivilrightz Mailing address: LeAndre’ Purley 6734 South Peoria Ave. Tulsa, OK 74136

Dre has DJed for some of the hottest concerts to hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area like Pimp C, Trae, Lil Keke, Lil Boosie, Webbie, Yung Joc, Twisted Black, and Big Moe, just to name a few. His internet mixshow can be heard at donnybradio.com and his club regimen includes Club Axis, Crystals, and Da Ranch. djdre817@gmail.com, myspace.com/djdre07 Natti’s own DJ Drizzle tours with one of Ohio’s biggest underground artists, Black-Jackk. When he’s not mixing on 88.3 FM or spinning at Garage and Cin City Lounge, Drizzle is busy marketing himself worldwide via the net at Myspace.com/DJDrizzle. 513-557-8356, djdrizzle513@yahoo.com Mailing address: P.O. Box 40655 Cincinnati, OH 45240

DJ Ekin (Tampa, FL)

“Tampa’s most connected DJ” earned his title via his shows on WBTP 95.7 The Beat and Shade 45 Sirius Satellite. The opening of BET Soundstage Club in Orlando, Florida put Ekin on the club map, and it’s been on and poppin’ ever since. djekin@gmail.com

DJ Flatline (Toronto, Canada)

Repping the MilkCrate Fam and the Canadian mixtape circuit, DJ Flatline has a taste for the golden era of Hip Hop music. He’s toured all over the world, bringing classic Hip Hop to the masses. djflatlinemixtapes@gmail.com

DJ Folk (Rome, GA/Greensboro, NC)

DJ Folk’s career began with an internship at Grand Hustle. His latest mixtape projects are Blood Raw’s Against All Odds, Slick Pulla’s Omerta, and M.O.S.’ It’s Like a Movie. thecartelpromo@gmail.com, thecartelmusic@gmail.com

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DJ Frogie (Atlanta, GA/Memphis, TN)

Frogie’s Who Run It series is making a notable mark in the Southern mixtape community. Currently on Chapter 11 of the series, Frogie has begun other projects like Frogie Style Radio and Club Sexxy. Currently the resident DJ at Lion’s Lounge in Marietta, GA and on WQFS 90.9 in Greensboro, NC, Frogie seems to have the DJ game on lock. djfrogie@gmail.com

Furious Styles (Washington, D.C.)

Starting off with college radio at D.C.’s American University, Furious Styles eventually graduated to XM 66 Raw where he presently enjoys the handcuff-free playlists and ability to play what the people want to hear. Mailing address: DJ Furious Styles XM Radio 1500 Eckington Pl. NE Washington, D.C. 20002

DJ Gloss (Houston, TX) Sky Lounge, Next, and E4 are some of the clubs where you can catch Gloss packing the dance floor. Her mixtapes are a huge hit with fans, especially since she passes out lip gloss to her female patrons. djglossmusic@gmail.com Mailing address: 3013 Fountainview, Suite 205 Houston, TX 77057 DJ Gottem (Killeen, TX) Originally a club DJ, Gottem moved to radio when B106’s Program Director offered him a position as night show personality and mixer. Now with a strong club, radio, and mixtape following, Gottem is officially a tastemaker in the 254 area. djgottem@yahoo.com, myspace.com/gottem12 H-Dub (Columbia, SC) Hot 103.9’s number one night show DJ started off in sales before landing the weeknight gig from 6-10 p.m. and Saturdays from 2-7 p.m. H-Dub, also known as Hollywood Dub, is also a member of the Def DJs. 877-874-1039, www. hot1039fm.com DJ Holiday (Atlanta, GA)

A member of the Aphilliates Music Group, DJ Holiday has toured with Lil Scrappy and Rocko. The 26-year-old considers himself to be an all-around DJ, spinning at several clubs in the Atlanta area like Gold Bar, Esso, Noir, and Dreamz ATL while maintaining a steady mixtape buzz. djholiday1@gmail.com Mailing address: 147 Walker Street, Atlanta, GA 30303

Hotgirl Maxximum (Montgomery, AL)

Maxximum is a DJ and Music Director for WKXN FM in Montgomery, AL. You can also find her at Club Fusions, Diamonds, The Red Rose, and Ritmo. As part of the Hood Hard DJs, she consistently drops mixtapes and has even been on tour with Nappy Roots. hotgirl.maximum@gmail.com

Incognito (Columbus, GA/Albany, GA)

Incognito became the youngest on air personality in Columbus at the age of 16. Currently 23 years old, he hosts at Club Envy and can be heard on 98.3 The Beat and 96.3 WJIZ. datboyinc@yahoo.com

DJ Joe Pro (Norfolk, VA)

Known for his risqué mix DVD covers, Joe Pro has made his own lane in the mixtape world. He recently won Best Mix DVD of the Year at the 2008 Southern Ent. Awards. Aside from his mixtapes and DVDs, Joe also DJs at Clubs Majik City 1 & 2, Liquid Blue, Purple Reign, Red Velvet, Crazy Daves, Champagne, Entourage, and Encore. joepro757@hotmail.com

DJ Jonasty (Jackson, MS)

Aside from DJing at Freelons Bar & Groove, 99 Jams WJMI, and being the Music Director for Cool Jazz 88.5, Jonasty is also a part-time comedian. No, not really, but he is known for his keen humor and wit while rocking a crowd, not to 70 // OZONE MAG

mention his signature dance moves. 601-918-0505, djjonasty@sprint.blackberry.net, djjonasty@gmail.com, myspace.com/djjonasty

Jo-Ski Luv (Huntsville, AL)

Hailing from Rocket City U.S.A., Jo-Ski DJs at Players Club, Ebony Club, The Knock, and The Green Room. He is a night jock 103.1 WEUP FM, can be heard on Shade 45 Sirius Satellite, and is a member of the CORE DJs. corejoski@gmail.com

DJ Judge Mental

Thirty-something-year-old Judge (yes, that’s his real name) Mental is a tour DJ for 112’s Q. Parker and WXBT 100.1 The Beat. He’s DJed at some of the hottest clubs in the U.S. and abroad, including Atlanta’s famed Club Crucial, while compiling his Dirt Law mixtape series. JudgeMentalMusic@gmail.com

King Arthur (Atlanta, GA/Los Angeles, CA/Las Vegas, NV)

King Arthur got his big break by doing what any young, inexperienced DJ would do…lie. After convincing a club promoter to put him on stage in front of 2,000 people, he quickly moved up the ranks in the L.A. club scene. King Arthur eventually moved to Atlanta where he currently DJs at Pure (Tuesdays), Taboo (Fridays - live broadcast on 102.5), Devinci (Saturdays), and Velvet Room (Sundays - live broadcast on Hot 107.9). kingarthur1079@gmail Mailing address: 701 Fir Chase Fairburn, GA, 30213

Kydd Joe (Augusta, GA)

Otherwise known as “The Crown Holder,” Kydd Joe mixes at WPRW Power 107.7 and Club Dreams, 3000, 706, and Sound Track. Priding himself on the ability to interact with the crowd, Kydd Joe attributes his skills to his mentors DJs Night Train and Greg Nyce. kyddjoe@gmail.com Mailing address: 101 Katherine St. Grovetown, GA 30813

DJ Lil Steve (Houston, TX) After winning Mixtape Rookie of the Year at the 2006 Southern Ent. Awards and catching the attention of OG Ron C, DJ Lil Steve quickly stormed the Texas mixtape scene, recently releasing Straight Gangsta 4 and The Mixtape Before the Series. He also occupies the DJ booth at nightclubs like Perfect Rack and Da Spot. djlilsteve@gmail.com DJ Marc X (El Paso, TX)

Marc X has gotten in his fair share of trouble for playing “non-approved” music at Power 102.1 FM, but that doesn’t stop him from bringing the hits to the streets. Marc spins at the Wet Ultra Lounge and Shooters Niteclub, is a member of the Bumsquad DJz, and recently put out his Chronicles of the Gecko Bros. mixtape. djmarcx@gmail.com Mailing address: 9155 Dyer St. B-80 MB#179 El Paso, TX 79924

DJ Marlei Mar (Lexington & Louisville, KY)

A Kentucky representer, Marlon “Marlei Mar” Thompson is an active member of the KYMP DJs and Music Pool and releases new editions of his KYMP Radio series often. He also DJs at Club Villa Fontana, Fusion Lounge, and several other mobile gigs. 502-681-4318, kympkampdjsmp3@gmail.com, myspace. com/djmarleimar

DJ Mesta (Torino, Italy)

This year’s DJ issue has gone global. DJ Mesta spins all over Europe, the Middle East, Nigeria, and considers himself to be a “citizen of the world.” He’s also a digital guru, dropping several mixtapes including the Get Dat Paper series, via iTunes. Mailing address: C.L.M. Marchesin Via Piacenza 6 10127 Torino - ITALY


MLK (Atlanta, GA)

Raised in Washington, GA and now residing in Atlanta, MLK has made a name for himself in the A-Town mixtape circuit. He’s collaborated on several projects for the Hood Rich Ent. fam, and currently DJs at Seasons, Club Miami, The Ritz, The Library, Club 44, and The Block. mlkng1@gmail.com, myspace.com/mlkng

DJ Peachez (Richmond, VA)

DJ Slab1 (New Orleans, LA) Slab1 is a radio jock for Q93 and DJs special events at Club Ampersand in New Orleans. He’s also toured with Cash Money and notes Mannie Fresh as one of his greatest influences. djslab1@yahoo.com DJ Spontaneous (Baltimore, MD)

The first and only female to have a mixshow in the Richmond area, Peachez has a substantial resume as a mixer. In addition to her show on iPower 92.1, she also spins at End Zone in Hopewell, VA and the Hyperlink in Richmond and is on her 12th mixtape volume of Street Heat. Peachez also belongs to the CORE DJs crew. djpeachez@gmail.com, myspace.com/djpeachezvs

When Spontaneous believes in a record, he puts his all behind it, even if it means losing his radio gig. There’s nothing wrong with being a record breaker and even though he’s no longer on the airwaves, he maintains a strong presence in clubs like Edens Lounge, Sistas Place, Rush Hour, Pejus Lounge, Club One, and various other spots in Baltimore and D.C. djspontaneous@gmail.com

Mr. Peter Parker (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN/Boston, MA)

DJ Storm (Tallahassee, FL)

96.3’s Peter Parker is truly a Super Man of radio. In fact, he has a #1 show in a top 20 market. After an internship with WBOT 97.7 in Boston, Peter Parker worked closely with Clinton Sparks until he eventually moved to the Twin Cities. Alongside DJing at Club Valentino’s, Visage, Axis, and Escape, Peter recently released How Hard Do You Hu$tle Vol. 3 hosted by Lupe Fiasco and Vol. 4 Hosted by Ice Cube. peterparkerb96@gmail.com

DJ Q (Kansas City, MO)

Quintin “DJ Q” Randle is quickly establishing his brand name. Formerly at clubs Kabal, The Hangout, Phase II, Moda, and Rain, Q currently rocks the party at Club Zen in Kansas City and the Madrigall Martini Bar as both DJ and hypeman. Q is also managed by KPRS’ Kenny Diamondz. qrandle5@gmail.com

DJ Radio (South Jersey, NJ)

DJ Radio belongs to the StreetSweeper crew, alongside DJ Kay Slay, and is part of the Shade 45 Sirius Satellite family. You can catch Radio every Wednesday night from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. or on his Mr. Sold Out mixtape series. 609-839-9769, Radio1212@gmail.com

DJ Rage (Nashville, TN)

Affiliated with the Slip-N-Slide DJs, FutureStar DJs, and HoodHard DJs, DJ Rage mixes for WQQK 92.1 in Nashville and KOPW 106.9 in Omaha. Along with his mixtape game (We Run the City Vol. 1-3), Rage also holds down the club scene at The Firm Ultra Lounge and The Place Ultra Lounge. Ragedj@gmail.com

DJ RNS (Richmond, VA)

DJ RNS’ mixshow Iregula Radio can be heard every Tuesday at 9 p.m. on XM Channel 66, DirecTV Channel 846, and AOL Radio. A fixture in the club scene, DJ RNS has rocked crowds at some of the hottest venues on the East coast including LOVE (formerly Dream Night Club), FUR, The Cotton Club, Club Fevers, Pearl, The Cherry Lounge, Mansion, Club Secrets, Hyperlink Café (featured on BET’s College Hill VSU), Velocity, Paradise Lounge and TONIC Martini Bar. info@djrns.com, www.djrns.com

DJ RO (New Orleans, LA)

DJ RO has maintained a live mixshow in N.O. for the last 17 years. You can hear him on 93.3’s 5 O’Clock Fix during the week and Club 93 on weekends. He’s also a Pepsi Division DJ and spins at Club Ceasars, The Duck Off, Cricket Club, House of Blues, and Club 7140. djro504@gmail.com, www.djro.com, myspace.com/djro504

DJ Shotime (Chicago, IL)

Don “DJ Shotime” Ellis is a member of the Core Streetz DJs. “Mr. 7 Days 7 Nights” has a full week of club gigs: Club Buddah Lounge (Mon.), Club Wet (Tues.), Club D’vine (Weds. & Thurs.), Tini Martini (Fri. & Sun.). It looks like Saturday is currently open to the highest bidder. djshotime@gmail.com, myspace.com/shotimedj

Formerly a DJ for FAMU’s college station, DJ Storm now mixes for WWLD Blazin 102.3 in a town with a huge college population. Don’t you wish you were her? Storm is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to exposing new music – mixtapes, tours, radio, clubs – she does it all with style. myspace.com/djstormonline

Tab D’Biassi (NJ, NC, SC)

Otherwise known as “Da Million Dolla DJ,” Tab D’Biassi mixes for Power 98 WPEG in Charlotte Monday – Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. He also spins at Crush every Friday and frequently DJs college events. Tab belongs to the Bum Squad DJz and Shadyville DJs networks.

DJ Tre (Montgomery, AL) Tre’ Hamilton is a 24-year-old DJ for 107.1 WKXN/WKXK in Montgomery, AL. “The South’s Crunkest DJ” adds flavor to several clubs in the area such as Rose Supper Club, Frontstreet Entertainment, Club Diamonds, and Club Fusion. Tre’s latest mixtape efforts include The World Is Yours, It’s Official, and Welcome to Kutgomery. Djtre334@gmail.com DJ Unpredictable (Jackson, MS)

Formerly a marching band consultant for Jackson State University, DJ Unpredictable now uses his ear for music while DJing at Hot 97.7 WRBJ. The “untouchable, unstoppable” DJ Unpredictable also rocks the club crowd at Freelon’s Da Groove.

DJ Whitey (Nashville, TN)

DJ Whitey, commonly referred to as “The President,” keeps Nashville’s nightlife crackin’ at clubs Zen, Decades, Fuel, and also takes his skills on the road. In addition to his club credentials, Whitey is also a strong candidate on the mixtape ballots. 615-947-4342, djwhitey718@hotmail.com, www.myspace. com/djwhitey

DJ Wrekk 1 (Indianapolis, IN/St. Louis, MO)

Wrekk 1 is a natural when it comes to the super-hype “DJ Voice.” Presently a jock for Hot 96.3 WHHH and Sirius Satellite Radio, DJ Wrekk 1 also amps up the spot at Club 7, Midtowns, Vogue, and Ice. He’s assisted with tours for Nelly and UGK and still found time to release several mixtapes. We doubt he’ll ever need to work at McDonald’s again. Wrekk1@hotmail.com

DJ Yorkie (Miami, FL) After being rated one of the Top 10 Sexiest Female DJs in this year’s Sex Issue, OZONE readers couldn’t get enough of DJ Yorkie. While being a woman in a male-dominated industry has been tough, her qualifications surpass many of her male counterparts. Her Southern Cookin’ and Battle of the Cities mixtapes are heating up Miami while she builds a solid club foundation at The Fifth, Ivy, Nocturnal, Houstons, Broadway, to name a few. djyorkiemusic@gmail.com

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For many DJs, the struggle for respect was a long, often frustrating, battle. For others, being in the right place at the right time was all it took:

a shot. After the party he promised me if he was elected president of the Alphas the following Fall, he would make me the official DJ for all of their events. He kept his promise.” – Frogie

How did you get your big break as a DJ?

“I used to DJ underground basement parties for free in downtown Tucson so I could build up my name. Then I got paid club gigs. I moved to Houston and linked up with DJ Chill and Young Samm. I started dropping mixtapes and spinning sets at 90.1 KPFT. I recently won 2008 Female DJ of the Year at the SEAs.” – Gloss

“In 2003 I started learning how to mix from my brother and cousin. I got my first set of turntables and after six months of practice, I ventured out with demos to get into the club. I got my first break when the owner of the Greenmount Lounge in Baltimore City gave me my own night on Wednesdays spinning Reggae/Dancehall music.” – 2Mello “I dropped Texas Massacre when Texas had a crazy buzz behind that ‘Still Tippin’ joint.” – 31 Degreez “I started out spinning with DJ Phingaz all over South Carolina. He advised me to get my own equipment one day, which I did and here I am today.” – Aaries “Blindly submitting my mix CDs allowed me to land a few club gigs, and when those clubs advertised on the radio it helped build up my name recognition. Doing that helped me meet DJ Chonz, and after that the dominos fell.” – Bedz “I prepared, then I begged for it. I’ve been in radio for years as a personality, and 3 years ago the same DJs that help me get my foot in the door at the station, helped me get on.” – Big Sue “I received my big break by fate mixed with timing and chance. I was walking passed this Thai restaurant that was closed after Hurricane Katrina. I went in and a guy name DJ Poppa Bear was cleaning the joint, saying that they were converting it into a bar. I asked him if I could spin there when it opened. He replied ‘Sure!’ A few months later he called and offered me an underground Hip Hop night. The night grew huge, and it became one of the most popular nights for underground, old school rap, and R&B.” – Bomshell Boogie “I did a house party for one of my childhood homies back in ‘91. He needed a DJ and I always wanted to learn, so I DJed the whole party with tapes! I still don’t know how I did that.” – Chill “I started off as an intern at 106.9 K-Hits in Tulsa. After three months, the program director offered me a job at the station five days a week. Two years later, I’m now a morning show producer at 97.1. If it wasn’t for God using two phenomenal program directors like Tod Tucker and Kevin Ward, I could still be flipping burgers at McDonald’s.” – Civil Rightz “I started doing mixtapes in ‘94, promoting my own parties, and DJing at Morgan State University while in college. Things really took off in 2002 when I stepped up my mixtape grind and began getting my product out nationwide. That, along with the use of my industry relationships over the years, eventually landed me the gig at XM Satellite Radio on 66 RAW where I’ve been for 3 and a half years now.” – DNA “I’ve been fortunate enough to have a couple of big breaks. The opening of the BET Soundstage Club in Orlando was definitely a big one for me. It set the tone for me in Central Florida.” – Ekin “I was a freshman at TSU and another DJ was supposed to spin this party for my homeboy TJ but didn’t show up. So TJ called me and gave me 72 // OZONE MAG

“I got my big break working this hot spot in Killeen, TX called Club Ice with my boy DJ Chuk. CC Cruz, the program director for B106, offered me a position on the night show as a radio personality and mixer.” – Gottem “I was with this guy that was a DJ, and ended up marrying him. I went to Alabama State University for radio/television broadcasting and did an internship with S.N.A. (Michael London) and the rest is history.” – Hot Girl Maxximum “I started doing mixtapes in high school which became very popular. Then I started doing all the major parties and dances from there, which led to doing rap concerts, shows in clubs, comedy clubs, and strip clubs.” – Joe Pro

“I was at a college party and the DJ was whack. I went to the DJ, no lie, and started going through his CD books and telling him what to play. He says, ‘Watch this stuff for me, I’m going outside.’ He gave me $20 and left. I rocked the party with his music and his equipment. A Que dog came up to me and hired me for an afterparty at the Capitol City Classic. That was my first club gig and me and my partner rocked it like crazy.” – JoNasty “After slaving for three years at my current station, doing whatever shift and task that was asked of me, our night jock resigned and I took his place. It was a situation of being in the right place at the right time.” – Jo-Ski Luv “7 Oasis Promotions (Troy Marshall and Daddy Rich) was doing College Mondays at Paradise 24 in Los Angeles. I used to go every week and paid to get in. I got tired of paying so I lied to them, telling them I was doing a lot of parties when I had actually only done a couple of house parties. The first party I did for them was at the Alfa Convention in Los Angeles and there where 2,000 people there. I was nervous as fuck! I was thinking what the fuck did i get myself into?” – King Arthur “A guy by the name of Minnesota Fattz gave me a shot. DJs Night Train and Greg Nyce showed me the ropes.” – Kydd Joe “When I was 17, after five years of running around trying to get his attention, I finally got the legendary OG Ron C to listen to my mixtape The Intermission, which won me Rookie of the Year at the 2006 SEAs. After asking me a million questions, he made it official. I was his protégé and the rest was magic.” – Lil Steve “I don’t feel as if I really had that big break yet, others may think differently. I thank Black Bill Gates and DJ Scream for introducing me to the mixtape game and helping me brand my name.” – MLK

“I was an intern/street team go-getter at WBOT 97.7 in Boston in ‘02 and I got a chance to host The Fever with Clinton Sparks every Saturday night. It was a great learning how to do a mixshow from a brilliant DJ.” – Peter Parker “Being a StreetSweeper alongside DJ Kayslay and the opportunity to be part of StreetSweeper Radio on Shade 45, Sirius Satellite Radio.” – Radio “I started DJing house parties and high school dances, branded my name, and caught the attention of the local radio station Q93 New Orleans’ mixtape host Lebron Joseph.” – RO “92Q had a DJ competition at Stone Soul Picnic that was judged by a crowd of 30,000 people. I earned a spot on the morning show mixing for 15 minutes and then became an on air personality on the Big Phat Morning Show.” – Spontaneous “A former employee of WPEG by the name of Nate Quick gave me the chance to intern under him after hearing me DJ at a couple of local parties.” – Tab D’Biassi “Two good friends of mine threw parties all the time at a local night club called the Cabana Club. They hired me for an anniversary party because the DJ was running late and might not show up. That was the first time I ever DJed at a night club and some other club owners were there. They saw what I could do I’ve been booked every weekend ever since.” – Tre “While in high school I participated in the Association of Black Journalist Workshop where a few of the radio DJs were teaching classes on radio broadcasting. Marc Clark suggested that I apply to work at the radio station. I applied for an internship and got accepted.” – Wrekk 1 “It all started with a DJ friend that allowed me to get on one of his sets; then it was all uphill.” – Yorkie Catchy slogans and other marketing strategies have helped many DJs like Drama and Whoo Kid take over the mixtape game. From ear-catching aliases to eye-attracting dances, this year’s panel of DJs has their own forms of branding: What is your trademark as a DJ? “My slogan is ‘Neva trust a skinny DJ’!”– Aspekt “I call myself the Sonic Menace because when I play a record I’m gonna give it to you the way I want you to hear it. I call myself The Incredible because DJs like me are far and few in between. A lot of DJs don’t honor the system of showing skills.” – Averi Minor “There’s no obvious gimmick, but I’ve worked really hard to brand my White Shadow alias. My mixtape motto is ‘For those who like their mix CDs mixed.’ I’ve never been a compilation jockey and never will be.” – Bedz “I’m a turntablist that can make the normal ear appreciate the art form and I can rock any type of party.” – Bee “I’m the premiere female spinner in Memphis.” – Big Sue “Ask anyone about the Bishop logo and matching baseball gloves.” – Bishop


“In the beginning, it was me saying “Black Bill Gates Hoe” on my mixtapes, but now it’s definitely my ability to rock a crowd. Ask anybody who’s been to Club Miami or any of the events I’ve played.” – Black Bill Gates “I love to integrate songs from different social scenes and expose them to spots that never get that certain type of music. And no matter where I’m at, I always play a Soulja Slim song. R.I.P.” – Bomshell Boogie “I’m known for leaving the turntables to jump on the dance floor to bust a move before the next song begins.” – Civil Rightz “Disassembling buildings and smashing down parties worldwide. Having the most energetic radio show on the planet. Being a DJ that not only plays hits but makes the hits too. Being very creative and original on my mixtapes.” – Clinton Sparks “Telling the 100% honest, sometimes brutal, truth – a.k.a. being a hater. LOL.” – Cristal Bubblin “My trademark has been my custom DJ Dre clothing that I’m often seen in.” – Dre “I am ‘Tampa’s Most Connected DJ.’” – Ekin “I like to do intros with a lot of cuts on my mixtapes to catch peoples’ attention early. I try different things with blends too, like new acapellas with old school instrumentals. I get more creative than a lot of other DJs in the game now.” – Frogie

“I showcase new talent, not just the A-list artists. I’m the outlet for a lot of independent and up coming artists who need support.” – Radio “People tell me they love watching me spin because they can see the passion that I have for it. I want everyone to get lost in the music with me, and I think people feel that.” – Spontaneous “I dance a lot when I’m DJing; people always mention that to me.” – Storm “Never half-assing, whether it’s 1 or 10,000 in attendance.” – Tab D’Biassi “My trademark is the ‘South’s Crunkest DJ.’ I’m known for always talking freaky to the ladies when I’m DJing.” – Tre “The Untouchable / The Unstoppable.” – Unpredictable From “picking cucumbers with Mexicans” to selling shoes, your favorite DJs have had some very interesting employment opportunities prior to rockin’ the crowd: What jobs did you have prior to DJing? “I cut grass, sold newspapers, and the worse job of all was washing dishes at Ryan’s. That lasted three days and I had to give it up.” – 31 Degreez “Sears, gas station, motivational speaking, and the grocery store.” – Aaries

“I give away lip gloss with my mixtapes. Respect my shine.” – Gloss

“Forklift operator, Jiffy Lube, Circuit City, Burger King, too many to name.” – Bee

“The phrase I always say around people and on my mixtapes is ‘Gottem Coach.’ It’s like a term you would use while playing basketball or football after scoring the winning point.” – Gottem

“I’ve had a few, from throwing boxes for FedEx, to working in a dry cleaner. I’ve sold sneakers and answered phones for Greyhound.” – Big Sue

“The ladies love me.” – Holiday “I’m just silly as hell. My strong point is my song selection and my blending. When you see me in the booth mixing, I’m literally having the best time of my life. I got a dance that I do to Fabo’s ‘Scotty.’ Now people in the crowd do my dance when I drop it.” – JoNasty “My trademark as a DJ has always been my mixtapes, which feature the hottest intros, mixes, and blends. Also my trademark CD covers featuring the hottest models/exotic dancers worldwide.” – Joe Pro “My slogans are ‘I ain’t playing no games’ and ‘Everybody from the front to the back!’” – King Arthur “Blending Hip Hop and R&B with Reggaeton; making people dance no matter what; breaking new trends; producing hot beats; releasing mixtapes on iTunes; and of course being Italian.” – Mesta “I’m known for playing a variety of music and having the most creative mix CDs in the Richmond area. I’m also known for being the first and only female DJ to have a mixshow in the Richmond, VA market.” – Peachez I’m my own hypeman. I feed off my crowd and their participation, which makes me have a better set.” – Q

“I’m serious with computers and have interned, worked, and consulted for at least 5 Fortune 500 companies before the age of 25, all of which I left because they couldn’t deal with my other profession. I quit my final position when they refused to let me take off to film Rap City.” – Black Bill Gates “Picking cucumbers with Mexicans.” – B-Lord “I’m a licensed Cosmetologist. I worked as a make-up artist for Lancome and MAC. I paid for my first set of equipment bartending in a nightclub.” – Bomshell Boogie “I worked for fast food restaurants, construction, lawyer’s office, plus work-study jobs in college.” – Chill

“I was at UPS for four years. The month I went full-time and was about to make a career out of it, I fell through a staircase carrying an 85 pound package. I injured my back and couldn’t do that job anymore so I had to make my dreams of being in the music business a reality, fast.” – Clinton Sparks “I grew up sweeping hair and folding towels in my mother’s hair salon; then I was a cashier at the Rutgers University Bookstore; then a sales associate at Sneaker Stadium. During my years in radio, I’ve worked for insurance companies and been a waitress. Shout out to Olive Garden.” – Cristal Bubblin

“I was the format coordinator for the urban music department at a company called Active Industry Research, Inc. where I did national radio promotions. Before that I interned with several labels including PolyGram, Def Jam, EMI, and Virgin while in college, working a full time job doing collections, promoting and planning parties.” – DNA “High-end home theatre installation.” – Flatline “Sacked groceries at Kroger, telemarketer, warehouse clerk.” – Frogie “Basketball coach for youth at the boys and girls club, dental tech, then I became a dental insurance administrator.” – Gloss “Before DJing, my legal job was being a waiter.” – Gottem

“I worked at the airport loading bags and I was a hotel bell boy.” – Holiday “I was a daycare worker and I was working at the deli in Bruno’s when I made my mind up to pursue this.” – Hot Girl Maxximum “FYE, Copelands, and Best Buy.” – Incognito “I had lots of jobs while DJing part-time such as receiving clerk at the department store Hess’s, working the drive thru at Hardees, and environmental field technician.” – Joe Pro “Underground Station in the Metro Mall in Jackson, slangin’ Timbs. I also used to drive forklifts in a warehouse. It sucked, but the pay was good.” – JoNasty “I didn’t have any before DJing. I had many during DJing, from fast food to managing a multi-million dollar company.” – Judge Mental “Selling hot dogs at The Great Western Forum, scooping ice cream, title insurance, Federal Express, MCA Records, and Power 88.1 in Las Vegas.” – King Arthur “I was working at a Toyota dealership.” – Marc X

“I work in the financial services industry. I’ve been a loan officer and also an annuity specialist.” – Peachez “I used to do lead paint removal, not a great look. I also worked at Guitar Center for four days.” – Peter Parker “I started at a video store and went to Home Depot. After Home Depot, I moved to a bill collection agency for a year, spent a couple of months at an eBay store, and another few months at the IRS. Finally after the IRS, I worked for an auto parts plant doing inventory full time.” – Q “I worked for TSA.” – Rage “I was working as an office assistant at my school. Then I had the retail clothing store job for a minute. But don’t get it twisted, I still work. Ain’t no Hollywood over here; I got bills to pay!” – RNS “Fast food chains and hotel jobs.” – RO “Truck driver, Payless Shoes, retail.” – Shotime “McDonalds, telemarketing, door to door sales, debt management, everything under the sun.” – Spontaneous OZONE OZONEMAG MAG////7373


“I have a Master’s degree, so fortunately I haven’t had too many shitty jobs. I used to be a media/ marketing specialist for the University of Florida. I was a spokesperson for the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which most people would never guess. They were good jobs, but I’m glad I don’t have an 8-5 now.” – Storm “Wendy’s, Shop Rite, Transamerica, Hertz, and a few barbershops.” – Tab D’Biassi “Before I started making a living off of DJing, I was an electrician and I DJed private parties on the weekend.” – Tre “Marching Band Consultant for Jackson State University and Resident & Leasing Director for The Palisades at E-City, which is a student and faculty housing complex.” – Unpredictable “Bartender and student.” – Whitey “I used to work at McDonald’s, and in a warehouse packing wholesale grocery orders. I hated it.” – Wrekk 1 “I’m actually still a Behavior Therapist. I work with special needs children under the Autism spectrum.” – Yorkie With all the new outlets for spinning music, we wondered if internet, satellite, and podcasts are making traditional radio obsolete. According to most DJs, terrestrial radio is still alive and kicking, but artists and listeners alike are slowly appreciating other radio entities more: Are internet radio, satellite radio, and podcasts killing traditional radio stations? “I don’t think they are killing traditional radio stations; I just think they give artists on the come up a viable place to be heard as not everyone can get played in the traditional radio format. Internet radio, satellite radio and podcasts are the wave of the future.” – 2Mello “I would say they are attracting a different listener, but they aren’t killing regular radio. Regular radio is still in high demand and has major input on what’s hot and what’s not.” – 31 Degreez “No. They’re a totally different forum from traditional radio. A lot of people are looking to the net to fulfill their radio itch but in the same token, a lot of people aren’t internet savvy enough to find a radio station on the net so I’d say they both serve their purpose.” – Averi Minor “It’s killing their revenue perhaps, but not the musical art form. There is a much better variety of outlets for music to be heard in the modern era, and it puts the power in the hands of the artists more so than the record companies and corporations.” – Bedz

“All these mediums serve a purpose, but at the end of the day, how do you kill something that’s free?” – Big Sue “No because until internet radio, satellite, etc. are made easy to obtain like normal radio, traditional radio will continue to win.” – Bishop “Yes because they are breaking records; they are

letting mixshow DJs be DJs; and they are not playing the same records you hear in rotation all day long.” – Chill “I don’t think so. At the end of the day, it’s all about the listeners’ preference. Everyone doesn’t have access to the internet to hear internet radio or a podcast broadcast. Also, the consumer pays for satellite radio so why not just listen to traditional radio for free? I think it’s beneficial to have different sources of radio for people to choose from, but traditional radio will always be a fan favorite in my book.” – Civil Rightz

“No not really. Traditional radio is free. You can’t beat free. The rest cater to a certain type of audience that will pay for or search for content, which is a small percentage compared to those struggling with gas prices and the way the economy is right now. Who wants to pay a monthly fee to hear these artists curse at them all day?” – Cristal Bubblin “No. It’s kind of like having cable television or Direct TV. You’re always going to have basic radio stations like having your basic television stations but satellite radio, internet radio, and podcasts cater more to a wider audience without watering down what the listeners are looking to hear. They give listeners more options and encourage traditional radio stations to step their programming game up.” – DNA “A lil bit. The airwaves are saturated just like the rest of the industry right now. It’s not like back in the day where you would tune into that one dope show every week to hear some crazy exclusives like a Future Flavas or a Stretch Armstong show. Now you just find it on the net and download it. There are still a few good shows left. You still have Premo’s show on a Friday night, so Satellite radio is good in that sense.” – Flatline “Satellite is killing the radio ‘cause we have the ability to play what we think the people would here and break acts and not be handcuffed.” – Furious Styles “Not at all because there’s nothing more personal than tuning into your local station for the 411 and local hits.” – H-Dub “No. I really appreciate them, to be honest. Whatever we have to do to keep good music out, I’m with it. It’s still a lot of unheard voices and the web, satellite, and podcasts pick up where traditional radio slacks off.” – Incognito

“Traditional radio is killing itself. It isn’t about giving the people something they want to hear. It’s about advertising dollars and running commercials, so they take the 10 most popular songs and run them into the ground whether we like it or not.” – JoNasty “They brought that on themselves by having strict rules on what to play. Play something different for a change. Satellite and internet radio are doing that.” – Lil Steve “Yeah and no. The only way they are killing radio is by leaking new music before commercial radio gets it, but artists are not getting deals off internet and satellite radio yet. When artists can benefit from them, then commercial radio will have to give indie artists more play.” – Marlei Mar “I don’t think any of the new mediums are killing traditional radio. The station I’m on, iPower 92, is

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interactive. People can listen to podcasts and look at the people in our studio on ipower921.com. As far as satellite radio, not everybody wants to pay for it, and some people can’t afford it. Traditional radio stations will always be here, but they may have to make some changes.” – Peachez “Yes and no. New media is affecting the sales and ratings but commercial radio will always be community driven. Your iPod can’t tell you where the hot club is on Friday night. Terrestrial radio is learning how to adapt in ways that will create a whole new look and sound, like b96hiphop.com.” – Peter Parker “Hell yeah. People get tired of listening to the same songs and long ass commercials – they play more commercials than music. FM radio is terrible in my city. Satellite radio is getting so much love in the new cars and devices and all that ‘cause you can get a better variety of music, interviews, exclusives, etc. I wouldn’t close the casket on traditional radio stations, but they are definitely losing the War of Radio. Podcasts are a good look too. I definitely got one of those for my XM mixshow on www.DJRNS.com.” – DJ RNS “No. In the end the format with the strongest personalities and freshest product will win.” – Slab1 “Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of people switch over to satellite radio and iPods within the past couple of years and I know traditional radio is feeling that change. Unless radio starts breaking new music, adding more specialty shows – Reggae, local artist spotlight, etc. – they’ll continue losing that battle.” – Spontaneous

“Someone needs to kill traditional radio, quickly. Traditional radio sucks! This is coming from someone with 10 years in the biz. It’s way too corporate. It’s lost touch with artists, DJs, and most importantly, the people who listen.” – Storm “Yes. Most people I know like it much better because it’s raw and uncensored so you get more raw interviews. Along with getting to hear the club versions of songs, it’s commercial free.” – Tre “No. Radio gives you mainstream hits that are being pushed by the labels and internet and sattelite give you exclusives and underground hits. They work hand in hand in my opinion.” – Whitey The average listener might not realize that the DJ doesn’t always call the shots when it comes to radio. Playlists dictated by PDs and MDs, and politics in general, often control which songs reach the mainstream and which don’t: How restrictive is your playlist? Have you ever gotten in trouble for playing something that wasn’t on the list? “Fortunately for me, I get to play what I feel as long as the bad language is edited out. I’ve heard conversations with radio DJs and label reps asking that a certain record be played and the response from the DJ was ‘I have a boss. I can’t play that record until he says I can.’ It’s sad.” – 2Mello “At my prior radio station, yes. I got in trouble because there was nothing but playlist mix shows. Currently I’m enjoying the freedom on satellite radio and my White Shadow Radio show has


structure, but at the end of the day I choose my songs.” – Bedz “My playlist is open thanks to good training, knowing how to sandwich new records with hits, and listeners trusting I will play dope shit.” – Bee “We have a playlist but we have freedom. We just can’t get too crazy, for example, having a whole show with all new music is a no-no.” – Bishop “Hot 103.9 lets me do me. Shout out to Chris Conners. E93 be on some bullshit sometimes.” – B-Lord “My program director decides what should be played, so it’s out of my hands completely.” – Civil Rightz

“Yes. I used to have a PD who had no clue what was hot and when I was breaking 50 Cent’s ‘Wanksta’ I was bringing it back, popping shit, blowing it up, and he called me and said, ‘Stop playing that record; it’s a novelty record and 50 will never be anything.’ Needless to say, he’s no longer in radio. There’s nothing worse than a PD who is not openminded, at least to DJs who actually are in the club and know what’s poppin’.” – Clinton Sparks “Playlists are restrictive all over. What people fail to understand is radio is based on numbers – the more people that listen, the more you can sell ad time for. I know a lot of talented artists with no radio love because they don’t have a buzz. Radio is 30% community service, 70% ratings. We gotta eat too. I haven’t gotten in trouble for playing a record, but I did get suspended for not playing ‘Laffy Taffy’ and R. Kelly records. I don’t condone whack rappers or child molesters!” – Cristal Bubblin “I have total freedom over what I play on my mixshow on 66 RAW. It’s an unedited Hip Hop station so the only way I would get in trouble is if I played some crazy R&B or Pop records that were totally left field of the station’s format.” - DNA “As with anything, there are rules. Being that I’m the Mixshow Coordinator, I’ve got a little say with my PD and MD. I got into trouble years back with Phil Michaels, my PD over at WPYO in Orlando. I had a record I thought was a certified banger. DMX and Jay-Z were at the top of their game, so why not blast it off?” – Ekin “On regular radio I can basically do what I want as long as the track is radio friendly, but you gotta stick with the more popular stuff to keep the listeners’ attention. As far as my online station, I play what I want, curse words and all. There’s more room for experimentation.” – Frogie “I’m fortunate enough to be the Hip Hop and R&B music director for my station, so my playlist is not very restrictive. But, once when I was working at another radio station, I did get in trouble for trying to slip in some music. It was when the Dirty Boyz had first come out and I was trying to show them some love.” – Hot Girl Maxximum “My show is based on my personality first, but also my ear for music. I’ve had major restrictions in the past, but currently I have the highest rated night show from 7-11 p.m in station history. A lot changes when you’re #1.” – Peter Parker “The playlists can be pretty restrictive, which can

be annoying, but you have to communicate with the PD/MD if you really believe in a song and feel it’s in the best interest of the station. I was fired for playing this song by Deemi called ‘Soundtrack of My Life’ because it wasn’t on the list. It never became a #1 hit, but I still feel it was a good song.” – Spontaneous “Without rules you would have chaos. At

my station we believe everybody deserves a chance. If the record is good enough it will stand on its own. Yes, I have gotten in trouble for playing something I shouldn’t have played. It wasn’t because I was being reckless; I just should have checked with my PD before I played it. Sometimes things are going on behind the scenes that we as mixers know nothing about. That’s why you have to be on the same page with the rest of your mixers and management. Together we stand but divided you will take the fall.” – Jo-Ski Luv “It’s very restrictive. We’re allowed a certain number of songs to spike and I stay in trouble with my PD for playing records.” – Marc X “As a mixshow DJ, the playlist at my station is very restrictive. If there is a new R&B or Hip Hop artist that I really like, I have to make a suggestion to put it on the list.” – Peachez “We have a mixshow list that we must follow. We meet every week and go over new music and vote to see if it makes the list. My situation is a lil different because I’m also the night jock. I can play records not on the list during my show but just like anything, you can’t go overboard.” – Wrekk 1 Every successful DJ needs to know their craft, but what else should a DJ acquire before hitting the streets?: Besides talent, what are 3 things a DJ needs to have to be successful? “Determination for the ones who will always tell you that you won’t succeed. Creativity which makes you different from the other DJs and humility to always lend a helping hand to another DJ or artist who is on the come-up. Never forget where you came from.” – 2Mello “A following, an effective moniker, a true skill for crowd control.” – Averi Minor “Humility, work ethic, and resolve.” – Bedz “Knowledge of music, the ability to mix – not just on beat but the transitions gotta make sense. Just because two songs have the same tempo doesn’t mean they mix. And a hunger for the artform. If you do it just for money and fame eventually you’ll lose your passion for it.” – Bee “A serious work ethic, a wide range of musical tastes, and an undying respect for their profession.” – Black Bill Gates “It’s important to keep your ear to the streets because change is constant. Secondly, a strong sense of self. Everyone wants to make you in the image that they want. Third, good equipment, sleep, Red Bull, and people that ride or die for you.” – Bomshell Boogie “Personality, humility, and knowledge of the business.” – Cristal Bubblin

“Being open minded about your music, being humble, and having hustle.” – Derty Vegas “Love for the music will keep you going. You have to be on your grind 24/7 because the entertainment industry is rough and can send you working at McDonald’s in no time. Most importantly, you have to have good business sense. The DJ is always the first person people are trying to get over on when it comes to getting paid.” - DNA

“A lot of connections, good song selections, and girls. You’ve got to have good looking women around you; it attracts a lot of attention whether or not you suck at DJing.” – Gottem “To be a successful DJ it’s very important that you market yourself, treat DJing like you would any other business, and know how to read your crowd.” – Dre “Business savvy. Your word should mean something because that’s all that you have at the end of the day. A good team. If you look at the ones who are really making it, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes to keep it moving.” – Ekin “Hustle, determination, and some money invested in themselves.” – Folk “Be consistent, be professional, and network.” – Furious Styles “Business savvy, long term goals as a DJ, and of course a good ear for music.” – Gloss “Know music front and back; know how to put on a show with the mic; and have some damn swag.” – Holiday “Loyalty, prayer, and hustle.” – Incognito

“This profession will wear you out sometimes so you’ve gotta have the drive to keep going even though nobody may show up at every party you do. You need the ear to know what the people want to hear and what songs go well together when you’re mixing, and professionalism. Get your contracts together. Show up early for your gigs. Have your music organized.” – JoNasty “Excellent marketing and promotions; relationships, not only in the music industry but with the people of the community, with your family; and drive and commitment. You gotta have something deep down inside of you to make you wanna do this job. There are a lot of dues to be paid before you start making serious money.” – Jo-Ski Luv “Strong work ethic, knowledge of technology, and an open mind.” – Judge Mental “Great record selection, great mic work, and a feel for when the record you’re playing has lost its energy.” – King Arthur “Being humble, proactive, and consistent.” – Mesta “Intelligence, motivation and being a real individual. You can have all the talent in the world but if you’re not intelligent, don’t have motivation, and you’re a fake person, you’re going no where.” – Radio “Diversity, personality, crowd control, networking skills. Oh, and the internet.” – Rage

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“Promotion, an ear for music, and most importantly, confidence.” – Shotime “A good mouthpiece. You gotta be able to talk to people and talk with respect. We’re not saving the world; we’re spinning records, so stop thinking you are the shit. Second, musical knowledge/ depth. A monkey can listen to the radio and figure out what’s hot. If you want to be a good DJ, don’t be a monkey. I can go to a party and spin Elvis Presley, Chubby Checkers, Gretchen Wilson, and even Foreigner. If you DJ and don’t know who those artists are, go do some research. And third, a good personality. I’m so tired of these carbon copy DJs. Add your own twists and personality into your sets.” – Storm “Know the music business; know how to network; and most importantly, give the people their money’s worth when they come to your shows. You’re only as good as your last party.” – Tre “A good business plan, a strong work ethic, a squad behind them that works for the ultimate goal.” – Whitey Touring around the world can be blessing and a nightmare at the same time. From being shot at to offending a whole crowd of Germans, these DJs have experienced it all: What was your best and worst tour experience? “The best experience was getting paid over seven digits to do a show. The worst experience was doing a #2 on the tour bus.” – Aaries “I got to spin in an uppity mountain town at a mansion for the afterparty of a ski tour event. There must have been six figures invested in that party. There were circus performers swinging from the ceiling, and the sound system sounded better than a stadium. That was the best experience. The worst experience was being the victim of an elaborate fraud scam. I went all the way to Virginia only to discover I had been played. Long story, but it wasn’t good.” – Bedz “I was in Pittsburgh with Playaz Circle. There was an unfortunate situation between a member of our entourage and some local artists. That small scuffle grew into some of the biggest bullshit I’ve ever heard, saying we were beaten and robbed. The only injuries anybody received was from the raggedy ass stage they had us on that collapsed and two cell phones were lost. It must have been a slow day in rumors or something, because no one laid a hand on me, Tity Boi, or Dolla.” – Black Bill Gates “The best experience is the first time the show jelled together. 3 Deep trusted me to know what song to put on by reading the crowd and we followed each other’s lead. The worst experience is the promo shows we don’t get paid for, but it has to be done.” – Chill “My worst experience was having to load 27 versions of the same song in my instant replay and memorize which one was version that had Puff saying ‘uh huh’ and which one didn’t. Then after all that, not using any of it.” – Clinton Sparks “The best experience was DJing a show in Japan. It’s wild how they barely speak English but relate to the music and love it so much. The respect for 76 // OZONE MAG

the DJ as well as entertainers is huge over there. I’ll never forget doing a show in Japan and having about 20 kids outside waiting just to see me. They were dancing and rapping in Japanese. That shit was crazy!” – DNA “The best was in Germany. They know their shit! The worst was in Ottawa; it was a weird ass crowd.” – Flatline “The best was DJing for T.I. in 2003 when I first got on with Grand Hustle. The worst was getting shot at.” – Folk

“The best was my first night out with my nigga Scrappy. Groupies are great. The worst was missing my flight in Vegas and having to stay at the airport for seven hours.” – Holiday

the rep of a child molester and niggas still needle drop his records. So why not a gay person? If females dance to it, I’ll drop it on ‘em.” – Averi Minor “To me this is a borderline offensive question. A rapper’s sexual preference would have no bearing whatsoever on whether or not I’d play the song. To me, that’s almost like asking if I’d play a song by a rapper if he were White/Black/Latino/Asian/ Candy Striped. Life is too short to be a hate monger looking for reasons not to embrace people.” – Bedz “Most of the DJs in Atlanta openly support the lesbian community and their music, but I honestly believe that Hip Hop will never embrace an openly gay male rapper.” – Black Bill Gates

“The best was getting rock star treatment. The worst was saying, ‘Do my ladies run this mothafucka?!?’ and realizing through the silence that the phrase doesn’t translate well in German!” – Judge Mental

“I could care less if someone is gay, as long as your song moves the people. The gay rappers in my city hold it down harder than some straight ones. They will have the girls dancing in a headstand; I have seen it with my own eyes.” – Bomshell Boogie

“The best was touring Nigeria. I’ve never had bad experiences touring, although I had some scary moments at checkpoints in the Middle East.” – Mesta

“What a person decides to be on their time is on them, as long as the music is hot and the people want it I got to do my job. Money has no sexual preference.” – Chill

“The best was rockin’ in the legendary Tunnel NYC with Cash Money records. The worst was when my needle kept skipping during a concert in MIA.” – Slab1

“Honestly, I couldn’t collaborate with any male homo thugs, real talk. But as far as the females are concerned, we might can work something out. I guess there’s that double standard on what is right and wrong with the situation. I’ll just do what my mother always told me, pray for them and keep it moving.” – Civil Rightz

“Once while in Mobile with a particular artist, we were kicking it at the hotel after the show and had a few girls over. All of a sudden we heard a knock on the door and when I went to see who it was, all I saw was a badge, uniform, and flashlight. Some of the other guys panicked and immediately flushed our doctor-prescribed herbal medicine down the toilet. I opened up the door and it was a damn security guard. He just told us to keep it down a lil bit. I was like, man you guys threw away all of the medicine for a security guard? We had a 7 hour road trip the next day. All I can say is that was the longest 7 hours on the highway ever.” – Jo-Ski Luv

“If they are rapping about what they do in the bedroom explicitly, hell no. I don’t want to hear that shit from straight people. I don’t want to turn on my radio or see a video with anyone’s ass tooted up or vagina spread on my 32 inch t.v., TMI!” – Cristal Bubblin “If the people wanna hear it, then play it. My personal beliefs would say no, but this shit is for the people so if they wanna hear it I’m obliged to play it.” – Folk

“The best experience was opening for Kanye West and Usher. There were over 40,000 people and they were feeling every song I played. So far, the worst thing that’s happened on the road was at a Lil Mo show. I hit the wrong button at the wrong time. If looks could kill…” – Spontaneous

“If the record is hot, why not play it? There are a bunch of wack rappers who are straight so I gotta judge the song by its ability to get the crowd crunk, not by what the artist does in his/her spare time. Hell, Eddie Murphy is still funny even though he was caught with a transsexual hooker.” – Frogie

2008 brings us closer to a time of acceptance when it comes to people’s differences. But have we really become tolerant of “alternative lifestyles” in the Hip Hop industry?:

“If it’s hot I would spin it, even though we play for different teams.” – Furious Styles

If a rapper came out of the closet and was openly gay, would you still spin his/her records? (97% said Yes if the crowd wants it, 2% said no, 1% said Yes for a female artist, no for a male)

“If it’s a guy, naw, but I ain’t got no problem with the ladies, especially sexy ones with fine friends.” – Holiday “Good music is good music. Some of the greatest songs come from gay rappers.” – Incognito

“Yes. At the end of the day what they do is their business. I just wanna know if the music is hot or not; I don’t care about what you do with your sex life.” – 31 Degreez

“If the crowd still rocked to his or her music it would definitely still get played. An artist’s sexual choice doesn’t affect their talent to make good music, but if the artist chooses to openly discuss their sexual preference and destroys their fan base then that can definitely cause their music not to be played.” – Joe Pro

“If he had a hot record I’d support it. See, rappers have been to jail and such. Besides, R. Kelly has

“That would depend if the rapper was rapping hood stuff and then came out gay. Hell no. I won’t


play his stuff no more. That deserves a beat down. Now if you came in rapping about fruit cakes and Super Man this and super soak that and said you was gay then I probably would still spin you.” – Lil Steve “I would still spin his/her record if it is hot. There is a very popular local artist in Richmond that is homosexual, and a lot of DJs spin the record, including myself.” – Peachez “If Kim Kardashian came out of the closet would you still holla? I play what the people want; if the song is hot, it’s hot. As long as they’re making hit records and not hitting on me, we’re cool.” – Peter Parker “If the track was hot I don’t think it matters. Besides, there are a few rappers that have been rumored to have taken that step behind closed doors and they still get tracks played.” – Q

“If it’s hot, why not? If a gay dude makes a song that packs the dance floor I’m playing it every night. Missy Elliott is a rapper, right?” – Spontaneous “Yes, because I’m responsible for breaking good records, not judging individuals.” – Unpredictable No worries for all you wack rappers. There’s still a few notable DJs that would host your mixtape, but it might cost you: If a rapper is wack but they want you to host a mixtape, would you do it for a fee? “No. There are certain standards that must be upheld while being a DJ, even with money involved. DJ Judge Mental said it best at the SEA conference: ‘We as DJs are the gate keepers. We can’t just let anything through unless it’s worthy of getting played.’ I’m not saying that we’re all virtuosos at music appreciation, but if a record is whack to one DJ, it’s more than likely gonna be wack to quite a few DJs.” – 2Mello “I would help them get their stuff tight; then we can get it crackin’.” - Aaries “Absolutely not. I’d do it for free. I respect the grind. We’re all just trying to make it. At the end of the day they will succeed or fail based on the merit of their music, but far be it for me to act like some all-knowing prick who’s too good to show some love. It takes a lot for someone to express that level of interest in me, the least I can do in return is get in the studio for five minutes.” – Bedz “Nope. If a rapper thinks a DJ is wack would they want them to host their mixtape?” – Bee “It depends on the level of whackness. I try not to let my opinion supercede the opinion of the people. So if I can tolerate a rapper’s music I would do it. But if it is something that I can’t stomach out of disgust, I probably won’t.” – Bomshell Boogie

“Everything has a fee. As long as the blends and the scratching are right, I don’t give damn how the rapper sounds. You just do you and I’ma do me.” – Chill “No. Rappers send me demos all the time for me to host their mixtapes, but I never do it until they step their lyrical game up. I can’t work with everyone because my reputation is on the line. If I release whack music I might as well retire from DJing. People won’t respect me.” – Civil Rightz

“It would depend if there’s any other value involved that wouldn’t necessarily include money.” – Clinton Sparks

“No, because that would be bad business attached to my name. People would be second-guessing the next project that I work on.” – Shotime

“Depends on how whack they are and how much paper they’re working with. I ain’t cheap for hot emcees so a whack rapper is going to get taxed. But I do believe that even whack rappers are able to improve if their hustle is right. I’ve seen whack rappers really sharpen their craft and blow up in the music industry.” – DNA

“It’s gonna cost one pound of that good!” – Slab1

“It’s not about the money; I love what I do and if I’m not feeling it I won’t mess with it. That’s just me. Peep my tracklists on my mixtapes and you’ll see what I’m talking about – straight good music from start to finish. And yes, I break new artists.” – Flatline

“I do all hosting for a fee, unless it’s an artist in my circle. It’s not up to me to determine the net worth of an artist. Bottom line, money talks, bullshit runs a marathon.” – Tab D’Biassi

“I really don’t discriminate on what’s whack no more ‘cause what I maye think is whack could be the favorite record of 100,000 other people.” – Folk “Naw, I can’t sacrifice the integrity of my work for money. In a year that artist won’t exist but that piece of shit mixtape with my name on it will.” – Frogie “Yes and I’ll also consult to make it work.” – HDub “Yeah, happens all the time.” – Holiday “Yes, but I’ll have some suggestions about what to do and how to do it. I would add my creative genius on it so that the mixtape wouldn’t be wack.” – Hot Girl Maxximum “Yep. All you sucka emcees get at me. I got a nice lil package plan for you to get you out there big time pimp!” – Jo-Ski Luv “Yeah, of course there’s gonna be a fee. The chances of people listening to it when the artist is whack is like 25% and that increases to 75% if you are hosting it. I’ve also heard a lot of whack crap before and people jammin’ it so it really just depends.” – Lil Steve “Hell naw. I’m a quality DJ. I don’t have time for artists who don’t put time and effort into their work. I spend money and time on my craft, why shouldn’t they?” – Marlei Mar “If a rapper was extremely whack, meaning that the songs were not catchy at all and the production/engineering of the songs were terrible, I would not host that rapper’s mixtape, not even for a fee. It would damage my brand.” – Peachez

“I’m staying out of the business of endorsing artists that I’m not really feeling. The game is saturated by a lot of garbage and I think that we as tastemakers are going to have to help to make some changes.” – Ekin “Not in 2008. I would have had a different answer in ‘04 or ‘05.” – Peter Parker “Hell yeah I would, for a fee. It gives me more experience and something else to place under my belt. You have to learn from both good and bad situations and that could be a learning experience all around and for both sides.” – Q “If the artist just wants a few drops, that’s nothing. But if you want me to host and mix it, then there may be a fee involved.” – RNS

“It depends on if I’ve made my mortgage payment or not. Seriously though, I’ll never say never, but not likely. Shit, I barely have time to do stuff for artists I think are great.” – Storm

“No, I wouldn’t do it for a fee, and I probably wouldn’t do it at all. I like to give people honest feedback. If I’m not feeling you, I’m not going to pretend like I do just to take your money. I got money and I’m a real person. Lying to them to get paid is fake as hell.” – Tre “Charging a fee to host a mixtape would be strictly business. If the rapper was wack, that would be his or her issue and concern.” – Unpredictable “I won’t completely host it, but I will send them a drop. Everyone needs some love.” – Yorkie When it comes to giving credit for breaking records, things can get pretty controversial on the DJ scene. We asked these ladies and gentlemen whose movements they consider themselves to be a part of: What was the last record you broke and how did you break it? “The last record I broke was Jordin Sparks featuring Chris Brown ‘No Air.’ I had it on my mixtape Who’s The King Again Pt. 2 possibly a month or so before the album was released. I also had a YouTube video done for it that was in excess of 50k hits in two days before Zomba Music Group insisted that the Youtube site shut it down. I hear it being played on the radio in my city a lot and I smile because I broke that record!” – 2Mello “As soon as I heard Webbie’s ‘Independent’ I knew it was a hit song. I was one of the first DJs to get behind that record on the mixtape scene. The record was so hot that I put it on my voicemail on both of my phones.” – 31 Degreez

“R. Kelly’s ‘Rockstar.’ I snapped it in half.” – Cristal Bubblin “It’s hard to quantify this and truly take credit, but I helped put Felli Fel’s ‘Get Buck In Here’ in the hands of the right folks at my old station, and I believe we were one of the first stations in the country to add the record, besides Felli’s station.” – Bedz “I break records in twos and threes. I broke Shawty Lo’s ‘They Know’ and Rocko’s ‘Umma Do Me’ in the same week. So well, in fact, that they both came to Club Miami two weeks later on the same night and performed for free. ‘Duffle Bag Boy’ was broken the same way, which led to Playaz Circle and Lil Wayne performing for free, along with Young Jeezy and USDA the same night. It’s well-known that a lot of movements begin with me and Club Miami. Once I’m behind a record, it won’t be long before PDs, MDs, and radio jocks come through to peep crowd reactions.” – Black Bill Gates

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“We played a big part in breaking ‘Get Silly’ by V.I.C. I called in a few favors and the Hood Hard Movement DJs promoted it.” – Aaries “I can honestly say my whole crew Young Voice of the Streets and I were the first in New Orleans to break ‘Independent’ by Webbie. We broke it in this spot called Perkins. It went down every Thursday with Money Fresh and DJ Poppa and every Saturday with DJ Money Fresh and I. I would get on the mic and say ‘I love my niggas, but it’s ladies’ night’ – that actually became a key slogan for me – then I’d slam it on them.” – Bomshell Boogie “On the air I may bring a record back 3 or 4 times to make my listeners pay attention. I’ve broken records from various artists such as Trey Songz, Raheem DeVaughn, Alicia Keys, Usher, and Keyshia Cole in the clubs and Hip Hop artists like Red Café, D-Block, Grafh, Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, and even Soulja Boy on the radio as well as the clubs. I believe I was the first to play the Soulja Boy’s ‘Crank Dat’ in DC just because I was hearing such a strong buzz on it from my friends and family in Atlanta.” – DNA “Blacc Jacc’s ‘Hustle Mean Hard Work’ featuring Lil Keke. I played it 3 or 4 times a night in the club and put it on all my mixtapes.” – Dre “I broke [Young Dro’s] ‘Shoulder Lean’ in November of 2005 on Deep N Da Game 6. I never got the credit that’s due, so Jason Geter, where’s my plaque?” – Folk

“David Banner’s ‘Get Like Me’. If I’m feeling the record I endorse it. I bring it back several times and put my seal of approval on it. I play it more than once. It’s all about convincing the masses.” – Wrekk 1 “Shawty Lo’s ‘Dey Know.’ My boy DJ Scream shot me the song way before everybody else was on to it and I just played the shit out of it at all my gigs.” – Frogie “Collie Buddz’ song ‘Haters.’ I started putting it on mixtapes and playing it in clubs, then I put other people on to do the same. Now I’m working on Grind Mode’s ‘She’s so Fly.’” – Gloss “My nigga Rocko the Don’s new shit ‘Tomorrow.’ I put it on my new mixtape Holiday Season and went hard in the clubs with that one.” – Holiday “Lil Chappy’s ‘Rollin.’ We got it to all the club DJs and played it at all the clubs and shows that I host. We also did a Myspace and internet campaign.” – Hot Girl Maxximum “The last record I broke was ‘Haterz Everywhere’ by B.O.B. I brought it back to Virginia from Atlanta and broke it in the strip clubs, and on my mix CD months ago. Now it’s being played everyday on the radio, the same for ‘Umma Do Me’ by Rocko.” – Joe Pro “I know I was one of the first people, especially in my area, spinning that V.I.C. ‘Get Silly.’ When I get a new record I usually spin it early in the night and see how they feeling it, and double back and spin it again in the peak club hours if the record is that strong.” – JoNasty “Gorilla Zoe’s ‘Hood Figga.’ I was DJing at Club Crucial when it was handed to me. I played it

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that night and had it on a mixtape and radio that week. Dirt Law was on it long before most DJs had it.” – Judge Mental

“Rick Ross’ ‘I’ma Boss.’ It wasn’t too hard to break ‘cause when the streets heard it they could relate.” – Drizzle

“Only one time. Rihanna’s ‘Pon Di Replay.’ Look at her, what would you do? Glad the song was fire.” – Aaries “Nope, because I know that even the most wellkept artist can make whack music.” – Averi Minor

“I played the shit out of Hurricane Chris’ ‘Ay Bay Bay.’ in the clubs and on the radio.” – King Arthur

“Yeah, once or twice. It was a local artist from Louisiana; I don’t remember her name.” – Chill

“The last record I broke was Lloyd’s ‘Get It Shawty’ before the mixshow lists existed. I played it on my show and people started calling in to request it.” – Peachez

“Honestly, I can’t say that I have. I’m pretty leery on who I work with. If the record is wack it’s not getting played no matter how you look. If the record is a hit, but you look like Craig Mack or Khia I’ll play it, but it’s because the song is a club banger, not because of how you look.” – Civil Rightz

“I break records every day. The last record I broke was Lil Wayne’s ‘Lollipop.’ I broke every record in the last two years in MN.” – Peter Parker “Rick Ross’ ‘The Boss.’ I played it like every 15 minutes.” – Rage “I’m constantly playing new music on my mixshow before the FM stations and mixtapes play it. I’m not going to take credit for breaking a particular record; I just do what I’m suppose to do as a DJ which is play the new shit. We stay with the exclusives on satellite radio. My show is not called Iregula Radio for nothing.” – RNS “Ryan Leslie’s ‘Diamond Girl’ and Mavado featuring Jay-Z ‘I’m On the Rock.’ I played them at clubs and on mixtapes religiously. Same with The Dream’s ‘Shawty is da Shit’ and ‘I Luv Ya Girl,’ and Trey Songz’ ‘Can’t Help But Wait.’” – Spontaneous “Some records you can’t break; they are destined to be hits. You might be the first to play it, but you ain’t breaking it. To break a record, it’s gotta be an artist that people aren’t familiar with or a song that’s not impacting radio or doesn’t have a video in rotation. With that said, in Tallahassee I’ve broken Treal’s ‘I’m Not Locked Down,’ Young Ralph’s ‘I Work Hard’ and I’m working on F.a.s.t.’s ‘I’m Good.’” – Storm “Webbie’s ‘Independent,’ Shawty Lo’s ‘Dey Know,’ Rocko’s ‘Umma Do Me,’ B.O.B.’s ‘Haters Everywhere,’ V.I.C.’s ‘Get Silly,’ and ‘Get Like Me’ with David Banner, Yung Joc, Chris Brown, Jim Jones. I broke all those records on a mixtape I did in August ’07. People didn’t understand those songs back then, and now it’s the wildest CD out.” – Tab D’Biassi “The last record I broke was ‘My Dougie’ by Lil Will. I broke it in the club on a college night. It went hard due to the fact some hometown Houston folks knew the record and started the dance trend.” – Unpredictable One of the most common phrases in the music industry is “Sex Sells.” But are DJs really buying into that concept? Surprisingly, most of them aren’t: Have you played a record from an artist strictly because of her/his looks? “Trina. I don’t care how good or bad the song is I always support her records. That’s why she’s da baddest bitch.” – 31 Degreez

“Damn, I’m busted. Gloria Velez.” – Bedz

“Well, after I saw the issue of OZONE with Polow Da Don on the cover, that made me kinda get behind whatever he’s doing.” – Hot Girl Maxximum “No, but I’ve avoided listening to a record because the person on the cover looked like a donkey!” – Clinton Sparks “Nah, you can’t really do that in Hip Hop. The women get cleaned up so the fellas go for it. There are a bunch of ugly, hugely successful male rappers, so I haven’t even had the opportunity to play the ‘just cause he’s fine’ card.” – Cristal Bubblin “Yeah. Afroman’s ‘Because I Got High.’ That was a crazy looking dude with a funny ass record!” – DNA “Nah, I’ve never been down this road.” – Ekin “Nah, but you know I had to cop those Game records with the Hip Hop Honeys on the cover back in the day.” – Flatline “Naw. How the artist looks doesn’t mean anything when people are walking off the dance floor cussing you out.” – Frogie “Nope, not to say that I wouldn’t though. If Trina or Diamond or somebody like that wanted me to spin a record that was wack and they were right there in the club, I’d probably spin it. But their records ain’t wack so I won’t have to worry about that.” – JoNasty

“I’ll play any song for Mya!” – RO “No, I only play records based on relationships.” – Jo-Ski Luv “No, what the hell does looks have to do with how a record sounds?” – Judge Mental “Naw, I don’t do that. This is business and you know what they say: business before pleasure. Plus, if it was that easy then I would have my own label with 25 fine ass girls making millions.” – Lil Steve “Naw, but I’ve watched that Deelishus video a grillion times.” – Spontaneous “Nah, I don’t even watch TV, so I have no idea what most of these artists look like. But if Denzel ever came out with a record, hell yeah, I would play it!” – Storm //


Korg KP3 Kaoss Pad By simply touching, tapping or sliding your finger over the touchpad, the all-new KP3 allows you to control multiple effects parameters and manipulate samples in real time. More than a processor, the KP3 is a complete instrument allowing you to manage, recall, and play back samples; sample on the fly; and add dynamic processing to any audio signal or to the samples themselves. Retail Price: around $400

Portable Mini Hard Drives

Magma Switchbox With the Magma Switchbox Digital DJ, two digital DJSystems like Serato and Final Scratch can be plugged simultaneously to a mixer (also Battle-Mixers with only 2 x Phono/Line inputs) and can be combined with a usual DJ setup. That means that it is possible to constantly switch between the signal of the turntable, the CD-player or two digital DJ setups with two Phono/Line inputs of the mixer.

External hard drives are a must have for any DJ on the go, but the added weight can be cumbersome. USB powered mini hard drives (no AC adapter required) range from 40GB to 250GB and generally weigh less than 4 ounces.

Retail Price: around $200

Retail Price: about $100-$250

“Pro Tools is still the standard, but the SSL Audio Workstation AWS900 is the shit.” – Black Bill Gates “Roland SP-555 and the new Kaoss Pad.” – B-Lord “My favorite DJ software for the past year have been Virtual DJ and PCDJ FX PRO. Both programs enable you to use various special effects, looping, and sample edits. On the producer side, I recommend the KORG microKORG, TRITONEX88, and the KORG Kaoss pad. That should get the job done nicely for any artist.” – Civil Rightz

“DJing with your Ipod.” – MLK “I think DJs should know about recording software if they want to produce good mix CDs. I use Adobe Audition. It’s important to change and enhance sounds so that your mix CDs are exciting for listeners.” – Peachez “I’m big on Adobe Audition. It’s real good for audio production and easy to use.” – Peter Parker

“Some DJs need MP3 101 and Emailing 101.” – Radio

Traktor Scratch 3

“Abbleton Live and Komplete.” – Clinton Sparks

TRAKTOR 3 is a versatile and comprehensive digital DJing solution designed to meet the most professional of standards. The third generation of this award-winning software offers breath-taking sound quality coupled with an unprecedented array of new features – sure to get any party rocking.

“Traktor Scratch 3, Pro Tools. I’m digging mixing powered hard drives the size of a credit card.” live via the internet through Yahoo Live. I’ve – Rage been checking DJ Backside and she’s doing it out there in the Bay! That’s something I’ll be hop“Cool Edit Pro and Pro Tools.” – RO ping on soon.” – Derty Vegas

Retail Price: around $200 Besides Serato, what’s some new technology that DJs and producers should be up on? “Adobe Audition, Cubase and Pro Tools are what DJs swear by. The new Virtual DJ by Numark isn’t bad and M-Audios’ version Torque isn’t bad either.” – 2Mello “That new MacBook Air is the future. That right there is technology at it’s finest.” – 31 Degreez “I got this program on my sidekick called KickMix that lets me spin MP3s live on my phone.” – Averi Minor

“I’m waiting for video mixing to take over the game. It’ll take a while for clubs to catch up on the technology and for DJs to get all the videos, but I believe it’s something everyone will be doing in the club in five years.” – Bedz “All the toys that go with Serato. Though it’s not new, the Magma switch box is on my list.” – Big Sue

“Pioneer DVJ 1000 DVD turntable.” – Dre “Being that Rane has released that hot ass TTM-57 mixer and the video portion is becoming a bigger part of the show, I would say that it would be wise to learn some sort of video editing program, even for basic editing. I cosign Final Cut Pro.” – Ekin “Pioneer has a new CDJ-400 that you can plug a USB jump drive directly into, so you don’t even need a computer. You get the reliability and feel of the Pioneer CDJ series without needing a PC to access all of your mp3 files.” – Frogie “The Vestax VCI-300.” – H-Dub “To me nothing will ever replace 2 Technic 1200s, but I’m really feeling the cats over at Beatsource. com. They have a great new way of distributing your music. It’s all about promoting yourself and getting heard as a DJ or artist.” – Jo-Ski Luv “Jump drives, MIDI in your DJ set, and the latest in laptop technology.” – Judge Mental “RSS feeds.” – Mesta

“Pro Tools, Adobe Audition, and those new USB

“Traktor Scratch.” – Slab1

“Every DJ should have their own website and look into podcasting or something similar. Other than that, revisit the old technology – your turntables. Don’t get lazy because you have Serato; stay sharp.” – Spontaneous “A Mac program called Sequel, Cool Edit, Wave Lab for PCs, Digiwaxx.com, Crateconnect.net, Bumsquaddjz.com, and Shadyvilledjs.net.” – Tab D’Biassi “Nuendo 3.” – Whitey “Virtual DJ is good video shit on that next level.” – Big Dee “Logic. I love it.” – Eque “I use Torq Audio when I spin. It’s a cheaper program almost like Serato. I’m trying to get my hands on the Pioneer DJM-800 4 Channel mixer. It costs a little over $1,500.” – Espee “DVD mixing in the clubs. I’m perfecting that right now.” – Tito Bell // OZONE MAG // 79


L

A Tribute to Stephen “Static Major” Garrett

ouisville, Kentucky is lavish with heavy hitters. Decades ago you could see native son Muhammad Ali delivering jabs in the ring. Every summer you can hear the distinct clink of a Louisville Slugger baseball bat upper-cutting a ball towards centerfield. And up until February 25th, 2008, Louisville native Stephen “Static Major” Garrett was in the studio creating music to hook the entire world. If you’ve listened to the radio at all within the last ten years, you’ve surely heard the hard-knocking hits of Static Major floating through the airwaves. Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody,” “Try Again,” and “Rock the Boat”; Ginuwine’s “Pony,” “So Anxious,” and “Same Ol’ G”; Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name”; Diddy’s “Tell Me”; Pretty Ricky’s “Juicy” and “On the Hotline”; Jay-Z’s “Change the Game”; Nas’ “You Owe Me” and, most recently, Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” were all his creations, just to name a few. But the average fan of Static Major’s compositions probably doesn’t even know who Static was. They probably don’t know that Stephen Garrett was a family man who loved his wife and children infinitely more than music. They probably didn’t know that Static was a great chef who often made meat80 // OZONE MAG

loaf, roasted potatoes, and macaroni and cheese for his out-of-town guests, or that Static was a humble man who kicked it in the hood every week and treated his $400,000 Bentley like it was a used Toyota. Nor do they know that after Static’s sister died at age 22, he adopted his niece, Lexi, who is now a sophomore at the University of Louisville. Sadly enough, they probably have no clue that he died in a hospital in Louisville, Kentucky at the young age of 33. The average fan of Static Major may not know much if anything about him, but Stephen Garrett lived a life that was truly admirable.

BeginningS

On Monday, November 11th, 1974, Stephen Ellis Garrett was a crying newborn in a hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. His mother had just given birth to the third member of the family, and though it was a smooth delivery, it proved to be anything but Static-free. Stephen Garrett came into the world as the man of the house. His mother was a single parent, and his five-year-old sister was both his only sibling and his best friend. From birth, Stephen was surrounded by music. His mother was the director of the choir

By Eric N. Perrin at Joshua Tabernacle Baptist Church, and his sister Melynda played piano. Young Steve was basically bred to be a musician, but as his mother remembers, the boy who would grow to be an outspoken man began life with a much different demeanor. “He was very shy,” remembers his mother, who affectionately goes by “Big Mama.” “I used to have to slip him a little piece of money just to sing solo.” Not many singers can claim they got paid for their shows before they could sign their own name, or even spell it, for that matter. But Stephen could. Perhaps it was the money that motivated him, because the shyness his mother spoke of didn’t last long. At only three years old, Stephen made his television debut singing on a television show called “Sing Ye,” which aired Sundays at 9 AM on WAVE TV, channel 3 in Louisville. “He was 3 years old and he led a 30 voice choir in the song ‘Trouble In My Way,’” recalls his mother. “He was very modest about his talent, but he showed great promise as child.” Stacey Wade, the Director of Art at Static’s recording home Blackground/Universal Records, was also a


childhood friend who grew up in church with him and knew all about the promise he showed as a youth. “When [Static] was 8, my aunt asked him, ‘Stephen, what do you want to be when you grow up?” and he said, ‘I wanna be a singer,’” remembers Wade, describing Static’s singing in church as a treat for everyone in attendance. “At that very young age, he knew exactly what he wanted to do. He was always singing.” Stephen’s singing continued from childhood to adolescence at Wagner High School, where he earned a reputation for being cool, funny and popular with the ladies. Life was somewhat sweet for the 16-year junior until tragedy struck. Stephen’s sister Melynda suffered from pulmonary hypertension, a rare condition that causes heart failure. She was in dire need of a heart-lung transplant, an even rarer procedure which is performed on less than 100 patients in America each year. Sadly, Melynda lost the battle, and died of heart failure at only 22 years old.

group released their first and only album, Cheers 2 You, in 1998. By that time, Static’s career as a songwriter was headed in different direction. Two years before, he had penned his first Billboard #1 record, Ginuwine’s crossover hit “Pony.” “If it wasn’t for Static writing that song, I probably wouldn’t be here today” admits Ginuwine. “Timbaland had just did the beat, and we were just going to just use it for an interlude, but I was like, ‘Nah, Static, we gotta write something to that. That beat is crazy.’ So, Static took about a day to write Pony, and the next night he called me in and he let me hear it, and I was like ‘Yo, that’s a smash!’” Ginuwine and Static went on to make numerous other smashes together, including the chart-topping hits “Same Ol’ G” and “So Anxious.” “I’ve always admired his writing,” adds Ginuwine. “Needless to say, the songs he wrote for me were some of my biggest hits. He really played a major role in my career early on.” Static was also instrumental to Aaliyah’s resurgence. He wrote her smash single, 1998’s “Are You That Somebody.”

According to his mother, Stephen had a hard time coping with his sister’s death, and subsequently got into trouble at school. One bright spot came when he was placed in a high school program, the Burger King Academy, and asked to sing the national anthem at their national symposium. His enthralling performance won him a full scholarship to the University of Louisville where he majored in music. His days at UL proved to be very influential as it was during this time when Stephen heard a braggadocios line on a rap cassette tape that provided him with the name the world would one day know him by.

“Missy was supposed to write it, but we had to turn the song in the next day,” recalls Hankerson about the song that appeared on the Dr. Doolittle soundtrack. “We only had a day to get the record done and we couldn’t get Missy there in time, so Static came in, and he and Aaliyah worked together for the first time. It was an incredible session. They nailed the song in like three hours, and it became the smash that we all know.” That proved to be just the beginning as Static later wrote two more number one hits for Aaliyah, “Try Again,” and “Rock the Boat.”

“He was listening to a song, and the rapper said ‘I cause static in the industry.’ And Steve said, ‘That’s what I want to do, cause static in the industry,’” recalls his longtime business partner and best friend Lil D. Static later added “Major” to his name years later to differentiate himself from other artists who emerged with the name Static.

In 1998 Static was on the road with Timbaland, Ginuwine and Aaliyah on their Blackground tour. The tour made a stop in Static’s hometown of Louisville, for the Kentucky Derby. Real Quiet was the name of the horse who won the Derby that year, but Static Major claimed the biggest prize—his future wife.

It was also at UL where Static came in contact with Smokey and Black, two gospel-turned-R&B singers. The three of them would eventually join forces to form the group Playa. The group finagled their way backstage at a Jodeci concert in Louisville. The Playa collective got in front of Jodeci singer/songwriter DeVante Swing and performed several of his songs a cappella. Impressed, DeVante soon signed Playa to his Swing Mob imprint with Elektra Records. At the time, Playa’s labelmates included then up-and-coming acts such as Ginuwine, Timbaland and Magoo, Missy Elliott and a young songstress by the name of Aaliyah. DeVante Swing became like a mentor to Static. It was under Swing’s tutelage that the young singer blossomed as a songwriter and formed the relationships that would allow his talents to touch the world. “I was talking to the group about management and Static just stood out as a star, right off the bat,” says Jomo Hankerson, President of Blackground Records, who first met Static while he was one third of Playa. “They were all incredible writers, but Static was really the creative force behind what they were doing.” Playa wound up leaving their Swing Mob/Elektra situation and later moved to Def Jam where the

Life

“He was performing with Timbaland, Missy, Ginuwine, and Aaliyah.” remembers Avonti Garrett, Static’s widow, whom he first met following a show that Derby weekend. “We happened to see each other in passing, and he kinda gave the notion that he wanted to talk to me, but I kept going. I saw him the next day at the mall, and I still kept going. I was not trying to deal with an entertainer.” However, sometimes fate can follow you. “About a month after Derby Weekend I was at a park,” recalls Avonti. “I was leaving and Stephen was coming in. I was with my girlfriend and she gave me an ultimatum: Get out of the car and talk to him or she was going to put me out.” After the exchange, a romance between Stephen and Avonti escaladed rapidly and the couple got married exactly a year and a half after they met. “I couldn’t ask for a better husband,” she proclaims. “He was loving, devoted, loyal, and giving. He was my best friend. He would call me 10, 20 times a day, even through the night when he was at the studio.” Coming from a small family where both his mother and grandmother were only children, Static’s dreams of having a big family were realized when he met his in-laws. But nothing compared to his ultimate dream of being a father.

“Static loved his family, he always talked about them,” remembers R&B songbird Brandy, who worked with Static on her singles “Come As You Are” and “Sirens.” Anyone who spent any amount of time with Static in the studio will tell you the same. “A lot of people don’t know that Static made beats, too. But he never wanted to do it, because he felt it took too much time to do both songwriting and producing,” Lil D points out. “Static was a family man. He wanted to spend time with his kids and his wife.” Although Static only had two biological children, he was a father to four: Lexi Garrett, the 20-year old daughter of his late sister Melynda, who is a sophomore at the University of Louisville, Stephen Garrett Jr., 14, his first son from a relationship prior to marrying Avonti, Donald Jackson, 14, (Avonti’s son from a previous relationship) and Makari Garrett, 7. Static got the two boys involved in sports, especially football. “I don’t care what he was doing or where he was at, he would stop what he was doing and go to his kids’ football game,” says Lil D. But football was far from all he did with them. Static would often take his kids to play laser tag, to race at the go-cart track, or play videogames at the arcade. If he lost, he refused to let them leave until avenged the defeat. “He loved all his children, but our daughter was the love of his life. He just adored her,” explains Avonti. “He would look at her and say, ‘She looks just like me. Everything about her is me.’”

Studio Static

Though his family meant more to Stephen Garrett than anything in the world, the music that Static Major crafted left an indelible mark on the world. Even more impressive was that everyone he worked with was inspired by just being in his presence. “Every time Static walked in the building he brought joy and life to everyone in the building,” explains Bigg B, a long-time Static associate and producer of Jay-Z and Lil’ Wayne’s “Hello Brooklyn.” “I don’t care what kind of day you were having, as soon as Static walked in the room you were ready to work, and make a hot record.” Play of the Play-N-Skillz production team most known for producing Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’ Dirty” shares similar sentiments. “Static influenced us forever,” he admits. “Even the way we do our recordings. We switched everything up after watching Static do it. He showed us the way it’s really supposed to be done. I became a fan in the studio when I was working with him. It was an event just being in the studio with Static.” Pleasure P, formerly the lead singer of Pretty Ricky, looked at Static as an older brother. “It was an honor to even meet somebody like Static. To be in the presence of good people is kind of hard to find in this industry,” he declares. “If you couldn’t vibe with Static something’s wrong with you, because he OZONE MAG // 81


hoods. But the fact that he could really showed me a lot.”

was an easygoing person that everybody liked.”

Static’s worth is measured differently depending on who you ask, but to his family and friends his merit is immeasurable. “To me, Static was the songwriting king of R&B,” says Bigg B. “When it came to the hood R&B records he was the king.”

Static created a style of music that was completely original and unique to only him. He was born with an undeniable ear for music and could envision the finished product before others in the studio even knew the direction.

Static’s former Playa band member Black adds, “I was blessed to be around a musical genius. He was probably one of the top writers in the industry for the last ten years, but he didn’t get the notoriety that he deserved. He helped shape R&B music.”

“We would be in the studio sometimes and the beat would be going one way, and [Static] would be going another,” recalls Avonti. “It almost looked like he was off beat, but that just let me know that he would tap into something else, like another dimension. He was hearing something totally different than what everyone else was hearing.”

Similarly, Play feels Static was a legend. “I put Static in the same sentence as Pimp C,” proclaims Play. “He’s a legend to me. He’s the most humble guy we’ve worked with.”

Play adds, “What was so beautiful and incredible about him was that he was able to work with artists like Jay-Z, and then switch it up to a completely different sound with an artist like David Banner. Even though Static wrote these incredible R&B joints for artists like Aaliyah and Ginuwine, he still had a passion to make hood music.” Static’s passion to make good hood music was remarkable. Even more impressive was his uncanny ability to freestyle his masterpieces, a characteristic claimed by many elite emcees, but uncommon among songwriters. “Static was one of the first dudes we got to see in action without a pen and a pad,” says Play. “For an R&B artist, that’s unheard of. You hear about rappers all the time that just go in the booth and make songs off the top of the head, but Static did it on the R&B tip—harmony, melody, lyrics, everything.” His wife agrees. “We’ve been together ten years, and I’ve never one time seen him write one lyric. He had so many harmonies, I think he just had a true gift from God.” Perhaps it was his competitive spirit that fueled his creativity. “He was always so competitive,” points out Australian music maker Rudy, a.k.a. Groove. “Maybe that was just him being from Louisville. He was always so proud of his city. Like Muhammad Ali, he was always so driven to do things.” Static’s love for his city was undeniable. His mother remembers him telling anyone who would listen about his hometown and state. In fact, Static bragged on his home so much he had a custommade charm crafted in the shape of Kentucky drenched in blue and white diamonds. “The Kentucky piece that he had made was like a $200,000 dollar piece,” exclaims Lil D. “But dude would walk around with his chain on like he didn’t care. He was never scared of nothing. We’d walk around the hood and I’d be nervous, but Static was never scared of nothing.” “Static was a different person,” adds Lil D’s wife, Maemae Washington, who was also good friends with Static. “He always got along with everybody.” Compton crooner and former Cash Money Records member TQ has neighborhood stories as well. “When I first met Static I went to Louisville and Static took me to his neighborhood, and we basically hung out there. You’ll be surprised how many dudes in the industry can’t go to their neighbor82 // OZONE MAG

“He had his own way of expressing music,” Brandy recalls. “He would say, ‘Don’t be afraid of where music takes you.’ I believe that, and will always remember him saying it.”

Death

Stephen Garrett died on February 25th, 2008 in Louisville. It was speculated that the cause of death was a fatal brain aneurism, however, those reports were incorrect according to the story relayed on his brother-in-law’s Myspace page:

“Static was in Atlanta, and began to feel sick. His desire was to go home (Louisville, Kentucky) to be around family and seek medical attention. He had a virus. I, still, don’t know what the name of this virus was, but it was not a life-threatening issue, I do know. This particular virus affects the muscles, throat (quivering of the voice), as well as, causes drooping of the eye. He had no history of illnesses or anything of that nature. When he admitted himself to Baptist Hospital East in Louisville, Kentucky, the doctors presented him with medicine that would treat the virus. The treatment was taking the medicine through a shunt, in the neck, which treats more severe cases of this virus. Quicker than taking pills for days. Though, he didn’t want the shunt, the doctors insisted that he treat it this way. The treatment was a form of dialysis to filter the blood of the virus. He called his mom and told her, “Mama, something doesn’t feel right. It hurts.” When the doctor’s were made aware that the shunt was hurting him, they took it out......it was over! When taking the shunt out, they took it out in the wrong manner that resulted in damaging the artery. He bled to death!” Though most of his family and friends chose not to speak on his death, Smokey felt obligated to clarify the assumptions surrounding his good friend’s passing. “He died only from complications from a medical procedure. Nothing else brought it on, nothing else caused it. In other words, the hospital fucked up. In more reality terms, God don’t make mistakes, and He knows best. We love Static, we miss him, but God loves him more.”

IMPACT

During his 33 years on Earth, Static left an incredible mark on all those he touched. He will always be remembered as someone who made the world a better place. He will be missed by anyone who ever came in contact with him or his music. “I miss him waking me up in the middle of the night to tell me just he wrote a hit,” says his wife. “I miss him for my kids. I miss him for his family,

for his mother, for me. He was good to everybody. I miss him for the world, because the world didn’t get to really see him, or know him. At the time of his death, Static was on the verge of bringing his impending fame to fruition. “Static got offers from Atlantic, G-Unit called, and other major labels,” says Lil D. “But loyalty took him to the people who basically gave him his first million dollars—Blackground.” After signing his deal with Blackground Records, Static had recently completed his solo album Suppertime, and was prepping for its release. Less than three weeks before his death, Static flew to Las Vegas to film a video for “Lollipop,” a single he co-wrote with Lil’ Wayne. “Static’s solo career was really starting to take off,” says Jomo Hankerson, President of Blackground Records. “He was so excited about following up ‘Lollipop’ with his single, ‘I Got My,’ which is out there right now. He was finally gonna get his shot as an artist.” Lil D recalls, “I never saw him get excited about working with anyone the way he did when he was working with Lil Wayne. For the last two or three years that’s all he had been talking about, and he made it happen.” Not only did Static make his collaboration with Lil’ Wayne happen, but the song he helped create has proven to be a tremendous hit. Around a week after posting the song on his Myspace page, Lil’ Wayne received a million page views and rose to the #1 position on the Top Artist profile. Then on March 28th, “Lollipop” jumped 76 spots on Billboard Hot 100 chart going from # 85 to #9. At press time “Lollipop” was #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, solidifying the song as Lil’ Wayne’s highest charting single ever as a lead artist. “I will miss Static,” says Lil Wayne. “We will all miss him. He had a promising future, and a well respected history.” Black adds, “He was so young, we don’t know what other gifts he had yet to give musically. I think the world is gonna miss out on some great songs.” Thankfully, Static had over 1200 songs unreleased at the time of his death, so the world will be blessed with many more of his melodies for years to come. Recently, he worked with artists such as Jessica Simpson, Beyonce, Janet Jackson, Lil Wayne, Bobby Valentino, and Trey Songz. Although he died in his prime, he accomplished great feats. Stephen Garrett is one of the less than 1% of people in the world who became exactly what they said they would as a child. He was persistent and he always knew what he wanted in life. “I’m so proud that he was able to accomplish music as his career,” says his mother. “Music was his lifestyle.” His wife adds, “His legacy will live through his music. When I start missing him I just start playing his music, because it makes me feel close to him. I can still hear his voice, and a lot of people don’t get that when they lose a loved one.” She pauses. “They might save a voicemail or a message, but I have a whole catalogue full of music to listen to. I can hear him talk to me through his lyrics in every song.” // *Special thanks to Dorian “Lil’ D” Washington


Industry 101 SICKAMORE

Known for being the youngest Director of A&R in the game, Sickamore shocked the industry by resigning from his position at Atlantic Records. OZONE recently caught up with Sickamore while he was driving to JFK Airport on his way to Miami to scout talent. We discuss how he went from Mixtape DJ to A&R, why he left his position, and how his consultation company The Famous Firm will change the industry. How in the world does a 16-year-old open up his own record store? Well, I was 16 years old when I got the lease to the record store but 17 when it opened up for business. I went to an Alternative High School where everyone at the school received a mentor. My mentor gave me a few books on business to read my freshman year. I eventually got through the books he gave me and at 15 I wrote my first business plan. After that, the schooling system didn’t really work for me. And from there you started doing mixtapes? Yeah, I had been making mixtapes and selling them while I was still in school. I made the supply for a untapped market. My tapes made money and I kept collecting, and before I was 18 I was running my own business. Then came Saigon? Yep. He had a lot of substance. I knew he would blow up big or not blow up at all. At the time he was working with Mark Ronson and I could tell his talent wasn’t being cultivated in the right way. He just needed branding and new beats. So how’d you hook him up with Just Blaze? I was sponsored by a clothing company to go on the Roc The Mic Tour and Just Blaze had his own tour bus. So, I was just real persistent and told him Kanye was killing it with his label and he needed someone like me to help him with his own label. After awhile he gave me a shot and told me to find an artist and then we’ll see what’s up. So, I brought him Saigon.

So is it a general skill or talent level that you look for in an artist? I look for artists that aren’t green. I look for people who are already moving on their own. It’s about how big your movement is and how hard your camp hustles. Record labels are now looking for artists that have all the tools but need a push. You don’t necessarily need BDS or Soundscan numbers, you just need a buzz or strong momentum. When I look for talent, I’m not looking for someone sitting on their ass wanting something handed to them. You’ve gotta be moving.

signing talent. Our job is about the management of an album. In that position you are the record label’s representative to the artist, and vice versa. It’s important that you can communicate each party’s direction and get them on the same page. A&Rs lose jobs because of the lack of relationships with the artist, their management or production team working with them. Managing relationships is what we get paid for. Contacts are vital to being an A&R. Being able to call up certain producers, or get another artist on a remix is crucial to the job.

Does that mean as an artist you need to come pre-packaged? No, but a lot of people expect a record label to mold artists and develop them. That doesn’t happen anymore. When Nas dropped Illmatic he didn’t do major numbers but when you look back, that was a major project. The labels kept Nas and his fan base grew, but an artist today will not get those same opportunities.

How have you adjusted going from a “boy wonder” into a legitimate force in the industry? Honestly, people aren’t shocked by my age anymore. No one considers me a rookie. I was lucky, because most people have to intern for two years to get to an assistant A&R position for two more years and then maybe after a total of seven or eight years, you might get an A&R gig. I’m just thankful I didn’t lose my youth working for a system I don’t believe in.

Right, cause the labels are about that paper. Yeah, but the upside to having more polished artists is that the more control an artist has, the bigger their return will be. Artists are making a lot more money now than artists in the early 90s, but overall the system doesn’t work. A&Rs make salary and get points on albums but what does it matter if the album doesn’t go 4x platinum? How did you get placed as an A&R so early? I met Hip Hop while working on Saigon’s project at Roc-a-Fella with Just Blaze. Most people don’t know but Saigon was signed on as a joint venture through Hip Hop 1978 not Fort Knox. After the Tru Life deal was done Kyambo brought me in to Atlantic under him and G. Roberson. A&Rs are often perceived as having glamorous jobs, but it is probably the most misunderstood position in the business. What is it that you all actually do? Being an A&R is about anticipation. It’s more than just picking what songs you think will blow up and be hits. We don’t run around the country just

Is that why you left? Yes. I left almost two years to the day I started working for them. It just became frustrating to put my heart and soul in a project that doesn’t come out just to work on something else [the label] wanted me to work on. The music business has stopped being about the music and has become a record business concerned with sales. When music sales went down the music industry went down with it, and it shouldn’t have been that way. I left Atlantic with a plan and four or five interns. I take it you’re referring to your consultation business? Yes, The Famous Firm. The Famous Firm is going to turn into a talent label, where the focus is not as much on artists but talent, which could include graphic designers, engineers, and public affairs professionals, as well as artists. Any person who has their own business wants to get their company to a point where the company functions without you. // Words: Jared Anderson // Photo: Heather Drake

OZONE MAG // 83


BOARD GAME

DJ MONTAY Production Credits: DJ Unk “Walk It Out” & “2 Step,” Flo Rida “Low,” Three Six Mafia “I’d Rather” As told to Randy Roper When I first heard [the final version of “Low”], I really liked it a lot. When I did the beat, I was like, “I’m going to do something different in the game.” I sent it to Atlantic. Atlantic picked the beat out, got T-Pain to write the hook, and then they got Flo Rida on it. They put them together and the rest is history. It didn’t start [breaking] on the urban side, it started pop. I loved the song when it first happened, but what got me going crazy was when I saw Youtube and saw how many people were actually feeling the song. How they were dancing to it at home. They had their own little home videos. I knew the song was about to blow up. Next thing you know, it did. [Unk’s] “Walk It Out” was my first big record. That was my first #1 hit. “2 Step” followed after that, it was #3 or #4 on the charts. Then I did the Flo Rida record [“Low”], which was my next #1. [“Walk It Out”] was surprising to me. I couldn’t believe I [produced] the #1 song in the country. We were telling Unk “Walk It Out” was a hit. Unk was a DJ at the time, so he was breaking his own stuff and I was helping him. Me and DJ Jelly broke “Walk It Out.” Jelly’s on [Atlanta radio station] V103 and I’m on Hot [107.9], so we work together. As the whole Oomp Camp, we made sure the streets had it, everybody in the clubs, everybody. Unk was doing free shows, trying to get the song out there and it worked. I also produced the Dolla record, “Who The Fuck Is That,” “Foolish” on Shawty Lo’s album, I also did Three Six Mafia’s new single “I’d Rather” featuring Unk. We were in the studio together, but they had to leave when I did the beat. I did the beat, sent it to them, and they loved it. They came up with the hook and the whole song for it, we put Unk on it. It’s doing real good right now. It’s picking up everywhere. I like it, it’s different and it’s some Three Six Mafia shit. And me being their first outside producer, I really feel good about it. I’m versatile. I try to do a little bit of everything. I wanna get some of the street money, crunk money, pop money, everything. I don’t care who it is. I’m willing to work. I’m willing to do whatever. I DJ on Hot 107.9 on Tuesdays and Fridays. I’m in the club Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so I keep my ears to the street. I also keep my ears on some different things. I go to different spots throughout the week. Atlanta’s a party city, so they party every day of the week. I go to different clubs to see different vibes. It helps me know what direction to go in when it’s time to make a record. Sometimes you can go in another direction by leading, and you won’t be doing the same old stuff, like how Flo Rida’s record is. It’s an uptempo record, it’s a club record. I just try different stuff to go to another level. I’m going to make my name known. I got two #1’s already and we’ve got the whole 2008 to go. //

84 // OZONE MAG


S

everal years after signing with SRC/Universal, the streets are asking “Why hasn’t Young Cash dropped yet?” It’s a question asked of many artists pushed to the bottom of major label rosters. Instead of waiting on SRC to capitalize on his already-popular name, Cash consulted long time friend T-Pain, who ultimately inked a new deal with Duval County’s favorite celebrity under Nappy Boy Digital. How did your deal with T-Pain’s label come about? I was in L.A. talking to Pain. I told him that SRC was draggin’ their feet with a nigga and I was trying to leave. He told me he was going back to Atlanta to work on Tay Dizm’s album and to come out there. We chopped it up and he said, “You need to be over here with me on my new label. I can get you off [SRC].” Usually it takes a while to get off a label but the next thing you know, I had the release papers. I figured it was gonna be like four to six months, dealing with them stupid ass lawyers, but Pain made it happen in two weeks. [SRC’s CEO] Steve Rifkind is a fair dude. He’ll never try to hold an artist back if they feel they can have a better situation. Me and Steve are still cool. It just wasn’t the place for me. What are the terms of the deal with T-Pain? He’s doing this new shit where it’s all gonna be digital. It’s a two album situation and I’ve still got the freedom to do whatever I want with my M.O.E. and D.C.R. niggas. Did you ask SRC why your album hadn’t come out? I don’t really speak my mind unless I’m in a spot where I’m finna be done with shit. My homeboy Grandaddy Souf used to make demands; I didn’t want to be that type of nigga. I never complained or anything so I could have leverage. When I stepped to Steve Rifkind about it, he was cool with that. I never came to them like, “Y’all need to do this and that.” Everybody knows I’m a humble kid. I don’t be boasting about shit or make demands. Just do what you say you’re gonna do. If you can’t do that, then it’s best for me to move on. Other artists have had issues with SRC; were you

Words by Ms Rivercity // Photo by Terrence Tyson

aware of that prior to signing with them? Honestly, I didn’t really care ‘cause in my opinion, I felt like I had more talent than people that was on their roster. I thought my music would speak for itself. But when your label doesn’t pay attention to your music, what kind of label is that? They didn’t even know “X” was pumpin’ for like a year. I got videos of my shows on YouTube and Myspace rocking crowds and they didn’t even know about the song. If you don’t know that, why am I signed to y’all? I finally called Steve Rifkind and showed him what the song was doing in the club. He said, “We need to get on this record,” and I never heard nothing from that again. Are you going to give those songs a new push under Nappy Boy? They’re still hot and DJs are still hitting me for the record because it never really got pushed; the world never heard ‘em. I’m making new records too. I make street anthems and put ‘em out myself, like “Dope Boys,” “X,” and now I got “Pure Cocaine” that’s going hard. Now that I’m signed to T-Pain, it’s a better environment, and you make good records when you’re in a good environment. Midget Mac has been your best friend for years, but after he got a lot of notoriety on the VH1 show I Love New York, the rumor was that y’all fell out. We ain’t have no falling out. When we got him on the show, I told him it would be beneficial to his career and to mine. I had to get him to understand that all the years I had been carrying him, and now that he’s in the limelight, he could put me out there. It’s ways that you can big up people, as far as radio and interviews. I had to step to him like, “There’s more things you can do to help my career,” because I had been helping him for so long. Everything’s cool now? Yeah. Everybody knows that’s like my little brother. I damn near raised the lil nigga. He hangs around a whole bunch of street niggas but he ain’t no street nigga like that. He’s just got that G mentality from being around me and my niggas for so long. He’s a good nigga. I’m always gonna take care of him no matter what. But sometimes that shit goes to a nigga’s head when they’re on TV. Sometimes you just gotta check a nigga.

Are you touring right now? T-Pain is bringing all his artists on stage between his shows – Jay Lyric, TayDizm, Sophia Fresh, and me. Pain only does arenas and House of Blues and big shit, so it’s gonna be a good look for me. Did you ever feel like you could be doing a lot more with your career, like people were holding you back after you’d looked out for them? Of course. I had way more money when I was in the streets. I bought my Hummer and all my jewelry before the deal. Then when I signed the deal, I couldn’t be in the streets ‘cause I was in the limelight. I didn’t want to be in prison or dead when I was so close to making it. I thought I was gonna be straight, but it didn’t go as planned. I should’ve had a back-up plan and put money away. I was just sitting around doing music. Not making money is one thing, but nothing is ever gonna stop me from making hit songs. I was always making music and trying to help other muthafuckas out. When I came in the game I was just a young nigga with money. I learned that that’s an industry nigga’s dream. They find dope boys that got money and sell ‘em dreams and don’t execute what they say they gonna do. I paid a lot of people to do a lot of shit, niggas saying they can get me radio and deals, but in the end they wasn’t following through. I was helping a lot of people in my circle and showing love as far as features. That’s just how I am. I’m a giving nigga. What’s the deal with your mixtape Straight Drop Volume 3? It’s hosted by Bigga Rankin of course. It’s got a lot of street fire on that bitch. Is there anything else you want to say? Shout out to T-Pain for keepin’ it G. A lot of niggas don’t know, but he used to come to Duval and sleep on my couch, back when he was dead broke. I looked out for him and now it’s coming back around. He’s just a genuine nigga, which we don’t have no more. He saw I was in a fucked up position and he did some real nigga shit. Shout out to my D.C.R. and M.O.E. family, all the hungry artists in Jacksonville and to Bigga Rankin; he’s been standing by my side and believing in me. Shout out to the Nappy Boy family, all them niggas that stepped to me with open arms and no animosity. // OZONE MAG // 85


Rick Ross/Trilla/Def Jam/ Slip-N-Slide/Poe Boy Rick Ross didn’t take any chances on his sophomore album. He brought in the best beats and guest rhymers Def Jam’s money could buy, coupled that with a somewhat improved flow, and released arguably the best Southern rap album of 2008 thus far. Jay-Z, R. Kelly, T-Pain, Nelly, Trey Songz, Lil Wayne, Trick Daddy, Young Jeezy and DJ Khaled all make guest appearances, and the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Mannie Fresh, J.R. Rotem, the Runners, Drumma Boy, DJ Toomp and Nasty Beatmakers all clip in with production. In the end, Rick Ross shines and Trilla, with only a few mishaps, sounds like the work of a boss. — Randy Roper

Yung Ralph/Most Unexpected/Universal Republic “Look Like Money” is a regional hit for Atlanta’s Yung Ralph and on his debut, he tries to shake the one-hit wonder stigma that has plagued many A-Town rappers of late. Ralph’s album has little decent production, and too often, his raps sound like he’s struggling to read his lines off a paper, which makes for god-awful deliveries. The Cool & Dre produced “One Eye Open” is a good beat, but why artists keep allowing Dre to sing on their hooks is the question. And Yo Gotti’s guest appearance can’t even rescue Ralph’s album on “Damn Right.” For Mr. Look Like Money, his hit single, “I Work Hard” and “My Hood” are the only tracks worth listening to, that is, if you can stand listening to Ralph’s dreadful flow. — Randy Roper Flo Rida/Mail On Sunday/Atlantic/Poe Boy

Trina/Still Da Baddest/ Slip-N-Slide On Trina’s latest album, the Queen of Miami returns to prove she’s Still Da Baddest, but her weak flows over mediocre productions could lead listeners to think otherwise. The sexually charged lyrics that the Diamond Princess is known for are still ever-present but songs suffer from her lacking lyrical ability. Rick Ross, Killer Mike, Keyshia Cole and Pitbull all outshine Trina as they assist her on tracks. And while core fans should be somewhat satisfied with her new album, others won’t be as pleased. — Randy Roper

Big Moe/Unfinished Business/KOCH While it can be considered poor taste to release a posthumous Big Moe album since some of the content swirls around the very concoction that may be responsible for his death, it’s pretty much inevitable since syrup was his favorite thing to rap about. And just like Moe’s past catalog, the album jams with the R&Bish production and melodies that made him one of the game’s most unique voices. Although the influx of cameos can make the album sound like a crowded party at times, at least they don’t make it sound like a wake (ala 2Pac’s posthumous albums). Unfinished Business sounds so good at some points that it makes you upset that Moe couldn’t stick around long enough to finish what he started. — Maurice G. Garland

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Mail on Sunday sounds like a rap/pop album, where Flo Rida’s braggadocios rhymes about money and women are all listeners get. “Still Missin’,” “In The Ayer,” “Me & U,” “All My Life” and “Don’t Know How To Act” all either sound like attempts at Top 40 love, or just don’t sound good. This album isn’t all bad, the production is prime and Flo Rida’s rapid singing flow is commendable. But if mail were to come on Sunday, it would be something special, which this album isn’t. — Randy Roper

Fat Joe/Elephant in the Room Terror Squad/Imperial Switching his style to southpaw may have gotten Fat Joe some new friends, but the new sound doesn’t always work in his favor. “You Ain’t Saying Nothing” featuring his Florida pals Dre & Plies feature some entertaining verses, but doesn’t mend well with the production. His bragging about ringtone sales on the Lil Wayne-assisted “The Crackhouse” only proves that Joe is far from Da Gangsta that once repped D.I.T.C. to the fullest. But right when you think Joe steps too far out of his boundaries, he supplies a surprise with “My Conscience” where he trades bars with KRS-ONE, one of the few well-thought out moments on this album. Holding true to its title, Elephant In The Room is a problem—with few solutions. — Maurice G. Garland Gnarls Barkley/The Odd Couple/Atlantic Gnarls Barkley continues their tour of the psyche, taking curious listeners to the canyons of depression. Danger Mouse hits just the right notes to stir a little stomach tingle while Cee-Lo’s lyrics will have listeners questioning their sanity. This brilliant album is a stark reminder of how depressionriddled society has become. Standouts include “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul” and “A Little Better,” among many others. — Rohit Loomba

Kidz in the Hall/The In Crowd/Duck Down What do you get when an Olympic hurdler from New Jersey and a star high school baseball player from Chicago do an album together? A Hip Hop classic! The In Crowd, the second album from Kidz in the Hall, is an impressive collection of rhythms and lyrics, poised to bring attention to Duck Down Records. The album’s feel is wide, ranging from the commercially appealing title track “The in Crowd” to the street sweeper “Driving Down The Block (Remix)” featuring Bun B, Cool Kidz, and The Clipse. Kidz in the Hall have a banger. Recommended to anyone. — Jared Anderson

Jae-Wan/Economic Warfare/ Capricorn Records Economic Warfare may have been a better album if Jae-Wan were actually a good rapper. Unfortunately, although the Chicago emcee’s rhymes are filled with positive and social relevant content, his amateur flow deters his message from effectively reaching listeners’ ears. Songs like “Letter To The President” and “Never Wanna Go Back” have good concepts but aren’t well put-together songs, which is the continuing theme throughout the album. — Randy Roper


DJ Chuck T

“Down South Slangin’ 49.5” 1. Don Cannon “The Cannon Hip Hop Instrumentals: Anthem 1.0” www.myspace.com/djdo ncannon 2. DJ Scream & DJ Khaled “Heavy In The Streets 13: We Goin’ In” www.myspace.com/4045405000 3. Jay Classik “Kingz Of The Underground” Hosted by Yung Texxus/Cash & Magno www.myspac e.com/jayclassik

4. DJ Envy & DJ Drama “Purple Codeine 16: Gangsta Grillz Edition” www.myspace.com/djenvy . DJ Bobby Black “Down & Dirty 30” Hosted by Gorilla Zoe www.myspace.com/djbobbyblack 6. DJ Slym “So Muufu**in’ Florida Pt. 2” www.myspace.com/therealdjslym 7. DJ Infamous “Family Business” www.myspace.com/infamousatl

8. DJ Drama & DJ Holiday “Holiday Season” www.myspace.com/djdrama www.myspace.com/dj_holiday1 9. DJ Princess Cut “Laid Back Stack Vol. 1” www.myspace.com/princesscutatl 10. DJ Wits & G-Swiss “The Network Part I” Hosted by Geolani Grandz www.myspace.com/djwits 11. DJ Jay-O “N.W.A. The Chronicle” www.myspace.com/officialdjjayo 12. DJ Spinz “Rhythm & Swag” www.myspace.com/dj_spinz 13. DJ Dax “H-0 Radio 19” www.dj-dax.com 14. DJ Scrill “You Heard It Here First 4” Hosted by Rocky Fontaine www.myspace.com/therealdjscrill 15. DJ L “Southern Domination 8” www.myspace.com/djlmasterkey

16. DJ Spree “DJ Spree Radio” www.myspace.com/djspree 17. DJ Scream & MLK “Hoodrich Radio 8: The Best Never Rest” www.myspace.com/4045405000 www.myspace.com/mlkng 18. DJ Sureshot “Durty South Shootout” Hosted by The Soundchild Crew www.myspace.com/sureshot1st 19. DJ Kaye Dunaway “H.B.I.C.” www.myspace.com/djkayedunaway 20. Stefan The DJ “Street Bangerz Volume Four” www.myspace.com/stefanthedj

Chuck T’s formula for mixtape success is simple. He takes the newest tracks, throws in a few exclusives, and drops his mixtapes before other DJs even get their artwork designed. On Volume 49.5 of his Down South Slangin’ series, once again Chuck T is two steps ahead of the competition with new tracks from Big Boi featuring Andre 3000 and Raekwon (“Royal Flush”) and Lil Wayne (“Milli”), unreleased music from Flo Rida (“Make A Wish”) and new music from down South up-and-comers VXII (“Coming Down” featuring Bohagon) and Sonny Rich (“Trapman Pt. 2). DJs, send your mix CDs (with a cover) for consideration to: Ozone Magazine 644 Antone St. Suite 6 Atlanta, GA 30318

OZONE OZONE MAG MAG // // 87 87


Yelawolf & DJ Ideal/Stereo: A Hip Hop Tribute to Classic Rock/Redd Klay/Ghet-O-Vision Last summer we saw a wealth of Hip Hop artists sloppily inject rock music into their music, only to later admit that they didn’t even listen to the genre. ‘Bama representer Yelawolf does both Hip Hop and rock justice with this timeless effort. Sampling everything from Pink Floyd’s “Brick In The Wall” to AC/DC’s “TNT,” ‘Wolf goes in on every track, offering something refreshing on each one. “Brown Sugar” shows that he can stretch his imagination. “Break The Chain” has him grounded in reality while “Burnout” lets you know he can just say “fuck it” and still sound good. A lot of artists try to mesh rock and rap, but Yela has perfected it. — Maurice G. Garland DJ Teknikz & Gorilla Zoe/Joog Music Zoe’s Welcome To The Zoo wasn’t released that long ago but this ATL “Hood Nigga” didn’t waste anytime dropping a mixtape with DJ Teknikz, filled with brand new music. Zoe shows his skills on “Rumble In The Jungle” and “Dreams,” but tracks like “Waddle” and “Blow Money” detract from his true potential. “Purple Drink” with Jody Breeze, “Call Me” featuring Lloyd, and “Right & Wrong” are all album-quality tracks, but he does make a mess of Trey Songz’s “Can’t Help But Wait” and Timbaland’s “Apologize.” Zoe drops a few forgettable tracks on Joog Music but this mixtape has plenty of songs that could have even made the cut on his debut album. — Randy Roper Don P & DJ Scream/Target Practice Two For the last few years Don P and Trillville have been on a hiatus, and during that time, crunk music has been on life support. Four years have passed since Trillville’s debut album was released, and listening to Target Practice Two, songs built on simplistic hooks and singalong chants like “Get Loose,” “Neva Eva Fall Off” and “Hot Yet” sound recycled and dated. And with Don P being a better producer than rapper, he lacks the lyrical dexterity to carry a solo project. Hopefully, by the time Trillville releases their next album, Don P will find a way to reinvent the sound that was successful for Trillville in 2004. — Randy Roper Sonny Rich & DJ Kay Slay 85 Wit Da Hard On 85 Wit Da Hard, Sonny Rich hooks up with the Drama King to show the industry how rappers in Charlottle, NC spit. Here, Rich rips the instrumentals to this year’s biggest hits, and in many cases he makes the songs his own. He showcases the skills of an above-average rapper, with a good delivery, witty one-liners and punchlines. Sonny is impressive on tracks like Lil Wayne’s “Gossip,” Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights” and Jay-Z’s “Roc Boys,” but stumbles when emulating the flows of Shawty Lo on “Dey Know” and Rocko’s “Umma Do Me.” If he remains true to his skills, instead of dumbing down his rhymes, he’ll be an artist to watch in 2008. — Randy Roper DJ Obscene & Trae The Truth/ Houston We Have A Problem 5

Whoever is telling you that Houston Hip Hop is losing their steam must have hopped on the bandwagon in 2005. From the sounds of this mixtape, Houston isn’t sweating the fact that the mainstream fans have moved on. All of the all-stars from Killa Kyleon and Magno to Uncle Brad and Mr. 3-2 show up with worthy offerings, letting you know that not a damn thing has changed where they’re from. They also pull out classic Texas beats like UGK’s “Woodwheel” and ‘Face’s “In Cold Blood” for Lil’ Flip and Lunch Money to bust over. If you still ride for H-Town, this is the tape for you. — Maurice G. Garland

88 // OZONE MAG

Big Kuntry, DJ Scream & MLK/Cocaine Kuntry If Big Kuntry King is in fact a self-proclaimed king, this effort is clearly an indication of a crumbling empire, ripe for a quick and easy takeover. Generally lackluster tracks and nothing all that memorable about his voice or delivery leaves the Grand Hustle affiliate’s latest work far from attention grabbing. Kuntry needs to leave the duties of kingship to T.I.P. and focus on coming up the ranks for himself. — Rohit Loomba

POE BOY RADIO For years Poe Boy has been that other label making noise in Miami’s music scene, but the roster featured on this mixtape will definitely assist them in becoming the place for all things MIA. Flagship artist Rick Ross ditches his uninspired “for the album” flows and attacks this offering showing his true skills and star power, especially on “Get Love Too” and “Journey Into Sound.” Co-MVP Flo Rida shows that he has even more to offer that what he does on his radio hits while Brisco gets down for his on every track. Carol City Cartel makes impressive appearances, Torch on “I Ain’t Supposed To Be Here” and Gunplay on “Killswitch” and “Extra Nice,” in particular. All 33 tracks on this mixtape have something different to offer instead of only relying on predicable synth-heavy “Miami sound” production. Perhaps the best mixtape of 2008, so far! — Maurice G. Garland

Devin the Dude/Smoke Sessions Vol. 1 His first release since leaving his longtime RapA-Lot recording home, Devin gets as nasty as he wants to be. He tops his infamous “thick white snot” line from “Fuck Faces” multiple times throughout, only this time it’s more blatant than clever. On “The Real Thing,” he chastises women who prefer dildos over ding-dongs with a hook that sings, “It’s hung but it don’t hang, it swings but it don’t swang / It’s not a natural ding-a-lang, bitch you need the real thang.” The only other thing rapped about on the project is Devin’s other vice, smoking weed. Although there are some decent beats here and there, this smoke session sounds more like an orgy. — Maurice G. Garland

Young Buck, The Cartel & The Empire/ Rumors Young Buck has had his fair share of apparent differences with G-Unit but these don’t surface much on Rumors, which even features G-Unit affiliates. Buck doesn’t veer much from his standard, but, in any case, his delivery is top notch as he shares about Vitamin Water and Fat Joe, over well-selected beats, which will leave speakers everywhere hitting hard. And, oh yea, Buck didn’t get Monica pregnant. — Rohit Loomba

Young City & DJ Obscene/M.O.E. Volume 2 Chopper, a.k.a. Young City, returns to the mixtape scene. Although his delivery flows smoothly, the tracks start running together with Chopper failing to show much variation between tracks. Poor beat selection also plagues this mixtape, on which Chopper lets everyone know that he’s been doing well and getting his fair share of show money. With definite talent, perhaps all Chopper needs is some inspiration. — Rohit Loomba


OZONE MAG // 89


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Nu Jersey DevilTrey Songz Venue: House of Blues Event: Trey Songz & J Holiday tour City: New Orleans, LA Date: March 14th, 2008 Photo: Julia Beverly

90 // OZONE MAG


Ozone Mag #66 - Apr 2008