Ozone West #66 - Apr 2008

Page 1




West Coast Representative


Patiently Waiting

YUKMOUTH Godzilla is Back

KUZZO FLY Don’t Spill It

ith, w e E ssu J JUICr i J D L, D mo e e h t LI FE EE & OZONE WEST // FEL BIG D



Publisher Julia Beverly Editor-AT-LARGE D-Ray GRAPHIC DESIGNER David KA Music EditorS Randy Roper Maurice G. Garland ADVERTISING SALES Che Johnson Isiah Campbell Contributors Big Fase 100, DJ BackSide, DJ E-Z Cutt, Jelani, Jessica Essien, Joey Colombo,Kay Newell, Keita Jones, Luvva J, Nippy Swagga, Portia Jackson, Shemp, Todd Davis, Ty Watkins Street Reps Anthony Deavers, Bigg P-Wee, Bigthangs, Big Will, Dee1, Demolition Men, DJ Jam-X, DJ Juice, DJ KTone, DJ Nik Bean, DJ Quote, DJ Skee, DJ Strong & Warrior, J Hype, Jasmine Crowe, John Costen, Juice, Kewan Lewis, Luvva J, Maroy, Rob J Official, Rob Reyes, Shauntae Hill, Sherita Saulsberry, Sly Boogy, Syd Robertson, Tonio, Twin, William Major, Zack Cimini COVER CREDITS Sky Balla photos by D-Ray; Glasses Malone photos by Ray Tamarra.

editor’s note THAT DJ MADE MY DAY


amn, that DJ made my day!

A DJ’s role is one of the biggest and most important parts of the music industry. I will bang all day for my real dope DJs, so I should also bang against these whack-ass fake DJs--the ones who smile in your face like they support, but they really hate and talk the utmost shit once you’re out of their city. It’s sad but true; this is why the real music is sometimes overlooked. The ego of a DJ can be ugly. Unless you started in the streets, you can’t please the streets. You can’t candycoat the situation by hiding behind a playlist. Today, we have 70% bedroom DJs. Bedroom DJs are followers; they just play whatever their CD changer has in it. The other 30% bang for what they believe in, setting trends and breaking records and giving back where they can help by rolling the dice and taking chances. I was in the club the other night and I heard the same song over and over at least four times within an hour, and it wasn’t a Top 5 hit! The club is where you should be open to new music. If it clears the dance floor, then hey, you have a point proven, especially if that artist is in the house. But if you play a banger due to demand in the club and then won’t put it on your playlist, that’s your ego taking food out of someone’s family’s mouth. Karma is a bitch! If an artist’s talent is in front of you and you’re in a position to help them get to the next step, why wouldn’t you? I go to other cities and they have the same problems, but the few DJs that do get down the right way and break records pick new artists from their area and support them hard by mixing their records with all the national hits. They make sure the artists from their area are represented. These same DJs get all kinds of exclusive

songs, drops, intros, and outros so they can put out mixtapes or even albums with exclusive songs. This helps put them in a better position. We have a few DJs like this on the West Coast, but not like everywhere else. After doing this issue, I see why we only have a few doing it! They’re the smart ones; the ones who have the self-promotion game down pat. They always make time, somehow, some way. It’s 10% sleep, 90% work. They’re getting it done! Notice they are having Luals for a feast while you’re still eating McDonald’s drive-thru. Take the time to promote yourself and don’t sell yourself short of your own success. Look at the way that some artists get sold short when it comes to radio spins even though they’re the dopest performers and all-around artists. My top picks when it comes to shows are Tech N9ne, Mistah FAB, Lil Wayne, David Banner, Andre Nickatina, and last but not least – the late Mac Dre (T.I.P.). I enjoyed a Mac Dre show, not even taking pictures, but really watching the show. These are the kinds of artists that deserve the support of DJs, and anyone else who puts everything into their shows, not just the records that sound like everything else that’s on the radio. For OZONE’s annual DJ issue, I reached out to some DJs on my coast who do their part in the West Coast movement. Even I was fooled by a few DJs who I thought had their shit together, but they couldn’t even find the time to answer a few questions (excluding DJ D-Wrek, which was my fault for not getting the questions to him on time). We’re gonna do a DJ Booth on you! Stay true to the visual if you’re not gonna stay true to your ears. - D-RAY, dray@ozonemag.com

ozone west 7-13 8 10 12 14 15 16-17


Roccett & me in Phoenix

Me & Wendy Day in Phoenix

Zakee & me in the Bay

18-19 sky balla 20-23 25 26



(above L-R): San Quinn & his family on the set of Lil Quinn’s “Children Are The Future” in San Francisco, CA; Ray J, Lunch, & video models on the set of Lunch’s “Get ‘Em Girl” video shoot in Los Angeles, CA (Photos: D-Ray); Reggie Bush & Kim Kardashian @ LRG gifting suite during Sundance film festival in Salt Lake City, UT (Photo courtesy of LRG)

01 // Marcel Shipp & guests @ Stoudemire’s for One Stop Shop afterparty (Phoenix, AZ) 02 // JJ & Cellski @ Mission Rock for DJ Juice’s birthday party (San Francisco, CA) 03 // Augee & Snoop Dogg @ 350 Vault for Big Boy’s backstage breakfast (Long Beach, CA) 04 // Tyson & Chamillionaire @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 05 // Will Gordon & Arif Gursel @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 06 // No ID & Cinque @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 07 // Snoop Dogg @ 350 Vault for Big Boy’s backstage breakfast (Long Beach, CA) 08 // Kafani & The Jacka @ Orcale Arena for the Warriors game (Oakland, CA) 09 // Abdul & Lil Quinn on the set of Lil Quinn’s “Children Are The Future” (San Francisco, CA) 10 // Keak da Sneak, Kid, & Haji Springer on the set of Keak’s “That Go” (Oakland, CA) 11 // Pharrell, DJ Jam-X, & Omarion @ Teyana Taylor’s showcase (Los Angeles, CA) 12 // Harm, Indie, & Keak da Sneak on the set of Keak’s “That Go” (Oakland, CA) 13 // David, Marcus, Keak da Sneak, & Hayves on the set of Keak’s “That Go” (Oakland, CA) 14 // Shar Jackson @ LRG gifting suite during Sundance film festival (Salt Lake City, UT) 15 // Nick Cannon & Woodie White @ LRG gifting suite during Sundance film festival (Salt Lake City, UT) 16 // DJ Skee & Big Boy @ 350 Vault for Big Boy’s backstage breakfast (Long Beach, CA) 17 // San Quinn loves the kids on the set of Lil Quinn’s “Children Are The Future” (San Francisco, CA) 18 // VI, Turf Talk & CooKoo on the set of Mainy Mike’s “We Pop That” (Stockton, CA) 19 // Cellski & DJ Toomp @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) Photo Credits: D-Ray (02,03,04,07,08,09,10,12,13,16,17,19); DJ Jam-X (11); Jessica Essien (18); Julia Beverly (05,06); LRG (14,15); Ms Rivercity (01)



irst of all, I want to thank the Hip Hop DJs for just being DJs and keeping the tradition of mixing and blending songs alive. I have a lot of respect for the DJs who make it look so easy to do incredible things with turntables, CDJs, and Serato. I’m also feeling the way y’all didn’t let the music industry kill the artform. The DJ was always the boss in old school Hip Hop crews. Today, through mixtapes, radio mixshows, and DJ pools, the DJs still have the power. I used to DJ at East Oakland house parties when I was a teenager and even though I quit making beats and DJing a long time ago, I still get excited when I hear a good mixtape or see a DJ make everybody at the party have a good time. I remember going to parties and high school dances before I’d ever been in a studio and asking the DJ if he could play an instrumental so I could rap. I would be very humble and promise him that if he let me spit, I would rock the crowd and not fuck up the party vibe. That’s how I developed my style of doing good shows with just the music and the microphone, no gimmicks. Old school New York rappers always tell stories about their DJs in the late 70s and early 80s. Back then, the rappers needed a DJ’s approval to get some recognition. It was the exact same way in Los Angeles and The Bay. Every West Coast concert in the early 80s had dance crews and rappers opening the show for DJ crews like Uncle Jam’s Army. I would be in the crowd amazed by every aspect of Hip Hop, but clearly understanding that the DJs were the top dogs. Over the years, the industry attempted to push the rappers up front and act like the DJs weren’t important; just entourage members. I think it’s safe to say that most of the hottest Hip Hop producers are DJs or used to be DJs. I went to a DJ seminar in Miami years ago and the DJs were telling the label executives to stop sending t-shirts as a “thank you” for breaking and supporting their singles. They told the labels that they need to show some respect and acknowledge their accomplishments. In 2008, through unity, DJs are highly respected by both artists and labels. A lot of on-air radio personalities are DJs who regularly spin at local clubs. Mastering the turntables can take you all over the world to places you never thought you’d go. All you rappers with big egos who think you’re the shit need to recognize how valuable friendships and business relationships with DJs can be. Greg Street, DJ Khaled, Felli Fel, DJ Drama and hundreds of other DJs have proven to be the main factor in rapper’s careers as they’re getting started. Recently, mixtapes play better than most rapper’s major label albums. To me, candy-painted cars, tats and airbrushed graffiti on clothing keep Hip Hop colorful. All the songs that have their own dance and the dance movements across the country keep Hip Hop moving. Rappers come a dime a dozen but when we hear a new one we love, they keep the spirit of controlling the microphone alive. Mixtapes, remixes, mash-ups, DJs who move up the ladder to become music directors and program directors at radio stations, and especially the DJ crews like the CORE DJs are keeping Hip Hop alive. So, thanks to the DJs for always being my favorite part of Hip Hop. I think you’re the backbone of our industry. Anybody who disagrees has got to be my favorite word: Biiiiiiitch!!!! // Photo: D-Ray



(above L-R): Mistah FAB & Bun B @ 17 Hertz Studios in Hayward, CA (Photo: D-Ray); Swizz Beatz, Cinque, & Don Cannon @ One Stop Shop in Phoenix, AZ (Photo: Julia Beverly); Keak da Sneak on the set of Keak’s “That Go” in Oakland, CA (Photo: D-Ray)

01 // Grouchy Greg & Dedra Davis @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 02 // Tattoo, Big Bly, & Luscious Liz @ 350 Vault for Big Boy’s backstage breakfast (Long Beach, CA) 03 // Jadakiss & DJ KTone @ Blue Ice (Denver, CO) 04 // Angie & guest @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 05 // DJ Juice & guest @ Mission Rock for his birthday party (San Francisco, CA) 06 // Jiggolo & Cinque @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 07 // Ray J & video models on the set of Lunch’s “Get ‘Em Girl” video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 08 // Sha Money & Swizz Beatz @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 09 // Roccett & Mistah FAB @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 10 // Shorty Mac, Ray J, & D Vicci on the set of Lunch’s “Get ‘Em Girl” video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 11 // Chamillionaire @ LRG gifting suite during Sundance film festival (Salt Lake City, UT) 12 // Lee Majors & K-Max @ KPOO (San Francisco, CA) 13 // Mike & Brian of Day 26 @ Virgin Megastore (San Francisco, CA) 14 // Chuck Creekmur, Broadway, & Chamillionaire @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 15 // Keak da Sneak & Mike Mosely on the set of Keak’s “That Go” (Oakland, CA) 16 // Halim Rice & Sha Money @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 17 // 40 Glocc & Sixteen @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 18 // Don Magic Juan & ladies on the set of Lunch’s “Get ‘Em Girl” video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 19 // Nick Ngo & Metro @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) Photo Credits: D-Ray (02,04,05,07,08,09,10,12,13,15,17,18,19); DJ KTone (03); Julia Beverly (01,14,16); LRG (11); Ms Rivercity (06)


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


his is my Godzilla medallion. That’s one of my nicknames, and I already have the super-ill Regime Dragon pieces. I wanted something real Godzilla. I was in the Bay wigglin’ and I went to Karl at Highline Jewelry. Big shout out to Highline. I started fuckin’ with him early. I was one of the first big rappers to come through and get a [chain] done at Highline. We put the piece together; laid it out. Karl told me that his cousin King Johnny would make it out in Houston. The piece is 87 carats, with yellow and blue diamonds. Shit is definitely super dope. He called me and said it was finished, so when I went to get it, they told me I could have it for the “low.” The “low” was a tremendous, outrageous price of 45 stacks. I said, “Just cause I have money does not mean I am gonna fuck it off.” I told them, “I’m cool. I don’t want the piece for that much [money].” I just left that shit there. I’m from the Bay and he was trying to charge me out of town prices, like I don’t have a choice of where to buy my jewels. I know he already gave some people their pieces and let other people borrow shit for photo shoots. No love for Yuk? Shit.

That’s why I started fuckin’ with Johnny Dang [at TV Jewelry] and spending bread with him out in Houston. I got my watch for $40,000, the bracelet for $15,000, and the grill for $15,000. That’s $70,000 [I had already spent]


with Johnny. So he hits me and says, “What’s up with that Godzilla piece?” I said, “Fuck that piece.” Johnny said, “I made that piece. I made FAB’s pieces, almost all of the custom pieces from [Highline].” I said, “Naw, King Johnny made it.” He repeated, “Never. I did.” Then he asked me why I didn’t want it, and I said, “Shit, he wants $45,000 for it. Mistah FAB’s piece is over 100 carats and I know he didn’t spend that much for his.”

YUKMOUTH FIGHTing WORDS Johnny almost fell out when I told him [the price Highline was charging me]. He said he’d get the piece back and sell it to me for a lot less. I’m not gonna front on my man Johnny [by revealing the price], but y’all can try to get that Yuk price. Shit, notice that I had already spent $70,000 [with Johnny]. So he got the piece back and I bought it from Johnny Dang fast, nowhere near the $45,000. So I went from Highline to Johnny, yaddamean? A lot of jewelry stores run the hype like they make the pieces, but they are actually getting them for a lot cheaper and then charging an extra $20,00030,000. They might be smacking other muthafuckers in the head for their pieces, but you ain’t gonna smack me in the head like that. At the end of the day, I don’t have to spend my money with you. I’ll get my diamonds and pieces somewhere else, period. Straight up. // Words and Photo by D-Ray

(above L-R): Don Cannon & Roccett @ One Stop Shop in Phoenix, AZ; Julia Beverly & Cinque @ One Stop Shop in Phoenix, AZ (Photos: D-Ray); Chamillionaire & Sha Money @ One Stop Shop in Phoenix, AZ (Photo: Julia Beverly)

01 // Snoop Dogg & DJ Skee @ 350 Vault for Big Boy’s backstage breakfast (Long Beach, CA) 02 // Roccett & Cellski @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 03 // Wendy Day & DJ Toomp @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 04 // Doey Rock & JaeSynth @ Club Silk for Sacramento’s Rap Connection (Sacramento, CA) 05 // Snoop Dogg, Big Boy, & Fuzzy @ 350 Vault for Big Boy’s backstage breakfast (Long Beach, CA) 06 // Keak da Sneak & Mozart on the set of Keak’s “That Go” (Oakland, CA) 07 // Lil Quinn & San Quinn on the set of Lil Quinn’s “Children Are The Future” (San Francisco, CA) 08 // Nik Bean & 40 Glocc @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 09 // Ray J & Lunch on the set of Lunch’s “Get ‘Em Girl” video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 10 // John Legend @ LRG gifting suite during Sundance film festival (Salt Lake City, UT) 11 // Mistah FAB & Nio @ 17 Hertz Studios (Hayward, CA) 12 // Brian Grey, DJ Skee, & Gary Archer @ 350 Vault for Big Boy’s backstage breakfast (Long Beach, CA) 13 // Broadway, Chamillionaire, Julia Beverly, & Chuck Creekmur @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 14 // Day 26 @ Virgin Megastore (San Francisco, CA) 15 // Sha Money, Rick Edwards, & Roccett @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 16 // Hayves & Keak da Sneak on the set of Keak’s “That Go” (Oakland, CA) 17 // Guest & Snoop Dogg @ 350 Vault for Big Boy’s backstage breakfast (Long Beach, CA) 18 // Andrew Bess & Vanessa Valdez @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 19 // Burnz, Roccett, & Cellski, & Atllas @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,03,05,06,07,09,11,12,13,14,15,16,17); Jessica Essien (04); Julia Beverly (02,08,18,19); LRG (10)



LOS ANGELES, CA Words by MAURICE G. GARLAND With whispers and rants of Hip Hop music dying a slow death, the one pulse showing a lifeline has to be the live show. Live shows give you the images the cover art can’t. They put audio and visual to the lyrics you read in the liner notes. They also let you see if the person rapping on the CD really is who they say they are. For what its worth, Blu seems to the splitting image of what he raps about. Hitting the stage at Atlanta’s near-Spring music festival, A3C, Blu calmly talks to the crowd, asking, “Y’all chillin’ and shit?” before he gets into his set. He opens with the fan favorite “No Greater Love,” a truthful account of that dreaded four-letter word. Winning the mostly new listener audience over halfway through, he starts offering his critically acclaimed collaboration with producer Exile, Beneath the Heavens, for $10. Greenbacks float through the air. By the time he starts performing his single “Blu Collar Workers” he’s definitely holding true to the song title, digging in his pockets, breaking $20s and giving change to customers, all without missing a beat or a line. “But make sure you put that I was giving away the promos,” urges Blu with a smile during a post-show conversation in the concert lobby. “I wasn’t selling those.” The promos he speaks of are for his upcoming release, The Piece Talks, that he’s recorded under the name C.R.A.C. (pronounced “crass,” standing for Collecting Respect Anna Check), a collective with Detroit-made emcee/producer Ta’Raach. It’s the third shot out of Blu’s catalog, all of which follow the one-producer blueprint. “It’s all about the chemistry,” explains Blu, of the method behind his madness. His debut effort, Johnson & Johnson, was handled exclusively by producer Mainframe. “Coming together lets you get somebody else’s ideas to build off of, not just your own. It’s a dope way not to wear yourself too thin. If the both of you are building empires together, it’s a kingdom at the end of the day.” With his Below the Heavens album drawing comparisons to Nas’ Illmatic, Blu should be reaching kingdom status sooner than later. When he does, he’ll have plenty of room for his fans touting him as the latest “Hip Hop hope,” even though he humbly scoffs at the notion. “I’m just adding to what’s already here,” he says non-chalantly, making sure to shout out his musical partner Ta’Raach, who missed his flight and didn’t make it to tonight’s show. “People feel that I’m filling void because the texture of sound isn’t there anymore. My music is easy to relate to because you’ve felt that feeling before. But I don’t feel like I’m filling a void, I just feel like I’m adding to 34 years of what’s been going down.”


Paatiiteinntgly W

(above L-R): Guce & Kafani @ Crossroads in Fresno, CA (Photo: Jessica Essien); Scoot of Dem Hoodstarz with their article @ The Record House in Fremont, CA; Bun B @ 17 Hertz Studios in Hayward, CA (Photos: D-Ray)

01 // Ya Boy @ 600 Club for T. Free’s birthday bash (Fresno, CA) 02 // Willie of Day 26 @ Virgin Megastore (San Francisco, CA) 03 // Keak da Sneak & Bro Hef on the set of Keak da Sneak’s Keak’s “That Go” (Oakland, CA) 04 // Punk & Wolf @ Club Facade (Hollywood, CA) 05 // Pretty Black on the set of Keak da Sneak’s Keak’s “That Go” (Oakland, CA) 06 // Mistah FAB @ 17 Hertz Studios (Hayward, CA) 07 // Mr Tone @ 17 Hertz Studios (Hayward, CA) 08 // The Bloc Boyz @ All Stars (Los Angeles, CA) 09 // Guest & Yung Joc @ Glendale Civic Center during Super Bowl weekend (Phoenix, AZ) 10 // Blac, Killa Tay, & Shavako @ The Crossroads (Fresno, CA) 11 // Kitty @ The Crossroads (Fresno, CA) 12 // Cinai @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 13 // Teyana Taylor & DJ Jam-X (Los Angeles, CA) 14 // Leslie Perez @ Wile 94.9 (San Francisco, CA) 15 // King Duce Guys on the set of Keak da Sneak’s Keak’s “That Go” (Oakland, CA) 16 // Fat Ant on the set of Keak da Sneak’s Keak’s “That Go” (Oakland, CA) 17 // Kyd of Tha Sluggaz & Turf Talk on the set of Mainy Mike’s “We Pop That” (Stockton, CA) 18 // Doug E Fresh @ Glendale Civic Center during Super Bowl weekend (Phoenix, AZ) 19 // DJ Green Lantern @ Stoudemire’s for One Stop Shop afterparty (Phoenix, AZ) 20 // K-Max @ KPOO (San Francisco, CA) 21 // Cory Mo @ 17 Hertz Studios (Hayward, CA) 22 // Kafani @ Mission Rock for DJ Juice’s birthday party (San Francisco, CA) 23 // Killa Tay & Guce @ The Crossroads (Fresno, CA) 24 // Jiggolo @ One Stop Shop (Phoenix, AZ) 25 // Haji Springer & Yukmouth @ Dumps Recording Studio (Hollywood, CA) 26 // Gutta Mob @ The Phoenix Theater for Merry Thizzmas concert (Petaluma, CA) 27 // Doey Rock & DJ Kodac @ Club Silk (Sacramento, CA) 28 // DJ Juice @ Mission Rock for his birthday party (San Francisco, CA) 29 // Haji Springer @ The Record House (Fremont, CA) 30 // Harm on the set of Keak da Sneak’s Keak’s “That Go” (Oakland, CA) 31 // Glasses Malone @ the 600 Club (Fresno, CA) 32 // Jasmine Crowe & Slim @ Stoudemire’s for One Stop Shop afterparty (Phoenix, AZ) 33 // Q & Sumthin Terrible @ Jammin 97.7 (Monterey, CA) 34 // Lee Majors & his sons on the set of Keak da Sneak’s Keak’s “That Go” (Oakland, CA) 35 // Kyd of Tha Sluggaz & video models on the set of Mainy Mike’s “We Pop That” (Stockton, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (02,03,04,05,06,07,14,15,16,20,21,22,25,26,28,29,30,33,34); DJ Jam-X (13); Jessica Essien (01,08,10,11,17,23,27,31,35); Julia Beverly (09,18); Ms Rivercity (12,19,24,32)


Patiently Waiting

KHARISMA OAKLAND, CA Words BY MAURICE G. GARLAND // PHOTOS BY D-RaY Already dubbed the “Queens of Cali” by both Kafani and producer Amp Live, Kharisma have a lot to live up to. As if being an all-female group in a maledominated industry wasn’t enough, they’re also seeking to introduce their unique blend of Hip Hop and R&B to an already skeptical and fickle public. “We just want to let these young girls out here coming up know that there is a certain way to handle business,” offers group member and Oakland native Lulabell. “I see a lot of females playing themselves, and they don’t have anyone to relate to in the music industry. So we’re stepping up to the plate and representing for all the D-girls, strippers, emcees and moneymakers.” “Women are mostly put down as sex objects that are there to pump up music videos,” frowns the group’s other half, Gin, who originally hails from Amsterdam. “I hope through our music we can educate women.” Kharisma’s first lesson will come in the form of their unnamed debut album set to drop on Kafani’s Ice King Music imprint. Representing the Bay, home to the independent hustle, the duo not only plans to show the fellas how to grind, but how to rap as well.


“I’m tired of these lazy ass rappers putting out Brokeback Mountain ass material, ya feel me?” blasts Lulabell, insisting that Kharisma will bring back the art of real entertainment. “We need to step our game up as artists and really put out quality work. I feel that we as females need to have proper representation out here.” Both members entered the game as solo artists but met through mutual friends in Atlanta. After finding an explosive chemistry in the studio, the ladies decided to put that notion that women don’t get along to rest and collaborate. With Lulabell matching her experience as a former member of the Babyface Assassins with Gin’s established career in Europe, the future can’t help but look bright for them. Naming everyone from MC Lyte to Lil Kim, Pam Grier to Oprah as their inspiration, songs like “Walk Like A Model” and “Hood Culture” use potent production and a variety of flows and content showing that a woman’s touch just might be what Hip Hop needs right now. “We feel the market is wide open,” says Lulabell. “There is a need for female emcees right now.” //




aised in the Bay Area with deep roots in the South, Kuzzo Fly brings a totally different vibe to Bay Area rap. He has a way of bringing high energy without being hyphy. He manages to have a good time but still keep it gangster. Unlike a lot of artists, he has a plan. He doesn’t want to get famous through a passing trend. He’s really in it for the streets. That’s how he got the name “Kuzzo,” because he isn’t trying to do more then the average dboy. He’s not with all that flashy jewelry that’ll make somebody want to rob you. He’d rather just jump out on the block and smoke a blunt and talk shit with you like one of your family members, but then leave the block and make a banging track. He’s most noted for his latest single “Don’t Spill It,” which features Mistah FAB, Bleu DaVinci, and J-Diggs. The record is currently airing on MTV Jams and other Comcast stations. He’s also known for being Mistah FAB’s hype man, even though Kuzzo has his own agenda and his own label Bay Kountry Ent. “I work with [FAB’s label] Faeva Afta Records,” he says. “But I also have my own label. A lot of people think FAB put out the [‘Don’t Spill It’] video, but I put that together myself.” The video was filmed and directed by Rush Film, who made wonders out of the 18-hour-long shoot. Even before the “Don’t Spill It” video, Kuzzo Fly was no stranger to being in front of the camera. Along with Moss Da Boss, he released the Smoklamentary DVD. “We smoked about 3 pounds while we were making it,” laughs Kuzzo. With the success of “Don’t Spill It,” he had opportunities to get a single deal and put out an album, but he wanted to do better then that. “I really read,” he states. “You feel me? I read the OZONE Magazine and see what these other artists are doing and then I check the Soundscan. Technology is a muthafucka; all these rap niggas are talking bout their [money] but they’re only moving like 5,000 units. It ain’t making no sense! So what I’m trying to do is brand my sound and then come out. I got an off-brand style. It’s the Bay with a down South swag to it.” Right now, Kuzzo is working on his Smoke N Thizz project with Mistah FAB, as well as the Bay Kountry mixtape with a 3-disc DVD bonus pack: the mixtape, the Smoklamentary DVD, and the mixtape DVD with the “Don’t Spill It” video on it. He also has the Skinny Niggaz Giggin mixtape coming out with Husulah of the Mob Figaz and B-Luv of Thizz Entertainment. “We did this project to show people that we have fun but we will still beat the fuck out of you,” Kuzzo laughs. He is also working on a mixtape with Munip called Feet 2 Da Concrete from the Bay 2 Da Kountry.

Paatiiteinntgly W

Kuzzo Fly definitely has more in the making; he’s one of those up and coming artist to look out for. He is pushing hard, representing right, and out to get it. // myspace.com/sykuzzo


Words BY maurice g. garland photo by ray tamarra

“Fuck Glasses Malone.” That may not be something that you hear often right now. Especially since the newest artist on the Cash Money roster, by way of Mack 10’s Hoo-Banging label is being looked at as the freshest voice out the West Coast since The Game. But evidently, Glasses himself has been hearing the F-word attached to his name more than he’d like, so he’s going to embrace the sentiment rather than erase it. “Yeah, fuck Glasses Malone,” says the stocky Watts, California emcee, mentioning that he will be titling his next mixtape after the phrase. “I got a reputation, so people feel like they can’t talk shit about me in public so they say it behind my back. So in 2008, I’ma cater to the haters. I’m even building a website, FuckGlassesMalone.com, where you can diss me. Each song on this mixtape is going to irritate or piss people off.” That might be a daunting task. Ever since he dropped his now-classic 2005 mixtape White Lightning, Glasses has done everything but irritate rap fans. To date that project alone has sold over 30,000 copies and according to Glasses, still moves 10 to 12 copies daily over the internet. Eventually his buzz grew to the point that it caught the attention a Roc-A-Fella Records, who offered Glasses a deal. When asked why he didn’t sign, Malone only says they didn’t offer what he felt he was worth. Shortly after, he signed a highly-publicized million-plus deal with Sony. “I felt like a marked man when I signed that deal,” laughs Malone, likening his payday to the infamous Dave Chappelle skit where after he signed his multi-million dollar television show deal, everyone that came in contact with him threatened to extort him. “You can’t tell people that kind of shit, man. Everybody in the hood thought I got it in cash. Man, if them people would have gave me that money in cash? They would have had to hunt me down for that album.” Unfortunately, that situation, as lucrative as it appeared to be, didn’t work out. Within months Glasses requested to be released from his contract at Sony, and at first his requests were denied. But with some wheel-greasing from Mack 10 and now-incarcerated Charles “Chilly” Patton (Lupe Fiasco’s business partner), Glasses was released and inked a deal with Cash Money. With a new chapter in his life opening, Glasses hopes that being from the City of Angels will mesh with his new crew from the home of the Saints. You signing with Cash Money is kind of similar to when Snoop Dogg signed with No Limit. He’s said that being around Master P strengthened his work ethic and business acumen. What can be said of your experience with Cash Money so far? The way they work has rubbed off on me. I was in the studio with Wayne and I just watched how much fun he was having. And being with Baby--a lot of


people question him like he don’t do this for real--man, I saw him do 16 songs in 5 days. They work hard, and that’s why they deserve everything they get. I ain’t never seen no shit like how Wayne records; that little nigga goes hard. Even Baby, he ain’t the biggest lyricist in the world but he works hard. I see why the South [is] running the game now. What do you mean by that? I can get records from Khaled, [Rick] Ross, and it’s nothing. Being down South and then coming home, you want to spit on these niggas, whup their ass because they ain’t working like them. Especially these older niggas. They bitches, man. They don’t work like them, man. They not open to working with the younger generation like these [Southern] niggas are. That shit is amazing. One of the best things that happened to me was signing with Mack 10 and Cash Money. I’m in a position to do great, I just want to man up and do it like its supposed to be done. We can see the work ethic in action. You’re working on a lot of projects this season. You spoke on Fuck Glasses Malone; let’s talk about the other ones. Me and Mack are working on an album, and so are me and Mistah FAB. Then I got my other mixtape Gangstas Don’t Dance, where I’m just going crazy on the dance records that’s been coming out. In the West we bang, so we’re just kicking dope ass raps over the dance records, and it’s a chance for us to make club records to send to the clubs. Just me and my Blu Division team. I got off on “Crank That Batman” and “Shoulder Lean.” Shout out to [Young] Dro, my man fuck with him tough and he was cool when I asked him for a feature. It’s real fun, enjoyable music. Why would you do that? It’s seems like out there being hard is the thing to be. I say the same thing all the time. I grew up in that generation of having fun with the shit. I’m in my mid-20s so the music I remember from Ice Cube and them, all that shit was shit-talking music. You talk real life and you talk shit, that’s the mode I come from. I’m a real life nigga so I talk about real life issues like my mom being in jail for 20 yeas for drugs, or laughing at these rap niggas running from Suge. That’s what makes art the shit, when you have fun with it and do what niggas won’t do. I don’t look at what the last nigga did, I look at what the next nigga wanna do. With that said, what should people be expecting from your album Beach Cruiser and when does it hit the streets? It’s due in summer time. The album is already done. The way I do music is in that old school, Ice Cube, Death Certificate mode, with a theme to it. Beach Cruiser is a story of a day. All of my albums will sequence with a story, [and] they will all go together. The album rolls from day to night. The club records are at the end of the day, like at the end of the day you party. All the skits and transitions keep the story going. It’s real thick in content.

When you came out, besides your association with The Game, you didn’t really have a connection to the N.W.A family tree. Was it difficult for you to get people, especially radio folks, to understand where you were coming from? Nah, hands down people know what’s up with me. They know I am the West Coast and what the West Coast sounds like. People hear me on the Toomp beat and think I’m like Jeezy. I’ma Crip for real, people don’t just talk like this. I talk West coast gangsta shit. I get respect everywhere I go. If you listen to a combination of my songs, you’ll know what I do and what I sound like. Of course you want radio stations to accept the music. Sometimes it takes a little time, [but] it’s all in due time. As long as I got the West Coast I’ll be okay. But I get love nationwide. Greg Street, J Tweezy, Skip Cheatam, Kay Slay, they all show me love. You just can’t rush it though. Especially with my type of music. I’m dealing with real life issues. I don’t make trendy music, I make real shit. Whether I’m talking about something as shallow as cars and stunting, it’s all grown man shit. I don’t rap about clothes, I rap about houses and shit like that. I’m not really on shoes or clothes, I’m on that grown man shit as far as getting that real life expensive shit. You speak about doing grown man shit. A couple of years ago you blogged about Jay-Z’s Kingdom Come album getting a lukewarm response because he was being too grown. Do you fear getting the same kind of feedback? No, because I’m not talking to that extent. That nigga was talking about crazy ass balling. That’s what I’m saying when he’s getting old. All the places he went, that’s next level shit. I’d don’t give a shit if you 12, you want a mansion, you want a Phantom, you want a couple million dollars. I’m just saying I’m past the Jordans, I’ve had every pair. I just talk about shit I can get that I ain’t got yet. I got a Bentley, Silverado and a Camaro. Now I’m trying to get to that next level. That’s what I mean when I say “grown.” Jay is next level, he was rapping about buying malls, I’m still trying to get a store in the mall. Everybody couldn’t relate to what he was saying; that’s all I meant.

--------------------------------------As a man of his stature, Glasses Malone probably wouldn’t be allowed to rap about shoes and clothes even if he wanted to. Coming from Watts, shoes and clothes are things most would probably beg for instead of brag about. In some instances, not having the right shoes and clothes on could very well get you killed. Home to violent riots, gang related deaths and high rates of impoverishment Watts isn’t designed to birth many success stories. --------------------------------------You’ve put it out there that you do don’t drink or do any kind of drugs. Why? I ain’t spending money on no shit to make me feel good. I just can’t do that. Not some shit that’s temporary, I just cant get into that. Then nobody really gave me a good reason to do it. Most times niggas be like, “Smoke weed, you got nothing else to do.” What kinda logic is that? Niggas pop X and be like, “You gonna fuck this bitch way harder.” I can fuck hard without the X. Niggas be like, “Drink and you’ll be faded, nigga.” I’m high off life. I wake up every day with a new challenge; that shit is like adrenaline to me. I never heard a good reason to get high. A family member dies so I’m supposed to get drunk over that? Hell naw, that’s

a reason to live longer. I’m not knocking people that do that, but I’ll be damned if a nigga pressures me into doing anything. So what’s really going on in your neck of the woods? Is the black and brown conflict still strong out there? Black and brown is forever and a day. But it’s in certain ‘hoods, and it’s not on sight. It’s just the gangs. When you’re banging, a lot of the hoods got beef with Black gangs immediately. But it’s not a race war going on out here where the average Hispanic or black man is fighting out here. It just gets out of control and spills over to the regular world sometimes. It’s fucked up, but it ain’t as bad as it could be. What is it exactly that makes banging generational? With so many lives being lost or affected by it, you’d think someone would get tired of it. It’s just all the people dying and the continuousness of practicing that ignorant shit. Even the kid that listens to G. Malone and hears me screaming unity is gonna hear another rapper that ain’t from here saying they a Crip or Blood acting like it’s cool. It’s a lot of years of niggas getting killed. You can’t stop this shit in one day. A lot of Bloods and Crips [have] been killers for 30 years. It’s easy to break a glass window, [but] it’s hard as fuck to fix it. You gotta get a new panel, take the frame out. If you break a community for years over and over again, it’s gonna be hell to put it back together. So it’s gonna take me doing shows with Crips and Bloods together. I’ve had 13 great shows like that, but all it takes is one bad one to make [the other 13] not mean shit. At the end of the day, everybody’s got their own thing, it just seem a lot worse here. People think it’s Crips and Bloods in L.A., but it’s not. Its 7th Street Watts Crips, Rolling 60s Crips, and it’s Long Beach Rolling 20s Crips, but none of those Crips are the same. So you think it’s just Bloods and Crips, but it’s a tribal thing, Crips go at Crips and Bloods go at Bloods. You’ve got neighborhood unity. It’s like having the same last name - every “Williams” in the world ain’t related. That’s how it is with banging. It ain’t Crips against Bloods, its neighborhoods against neighborhoods. Growing up around that, how did you even get into rapping? At the time, in 1998, I was trapping real tough. I was slanging water and sherm at the time. Fucking with one of my boys, hanging out with him, they was battle rapping and was kinda clowning on each other. So I started getting into it as a whole. In 2000, I kinda had a gig and was trapping at the same time. I recorded my first song with my younger brother who just got out. So you don’t have the familiar rap story about only getting in the game to not sell drugs and not be poor? Nah, this isn’t the regular rap story. I wasn’t a nigga who came up poor and broke. I had every pair of Jordans, all the jeans. I came up with a lot of shit I wanted, Nintendo games all that. My mom was a registered nurse but she was also a trapstar. She’s in the pen right now for 10 birds and 7 gallons of sherm. I came up in a house where I saw her work, but I was also brought up with rules, like not snitching. So I think I got the balance between the street and the real world. I don’t remember growing up without nothing, but I do remember having everything taken from me 2-3 times and having to regain everything back.

medical field? When I was in high school I got a 1320 on my SAT, and I wanted to be a pharmacist. I wanted to go to Azuza Pacific in LA. I felt like I was gonna hustle on the side like mom and have a regular job. When I started getting in the streets and getting money, it was different because I got addicted to the hustle. So when I started going to Cerritos College I’d just go to my math class and get back in the street. No English class, no other classes, I was liking that money. After a while I stopped doing math. It was early and my favorite shit to do. I took statistics in college and everything. I’m really good at math for some reason. -----------------------------------------

If Glasses has his way, he’ll have plenty of plaques and dollars to count when Beach Cruiser hits the streets this year. Beyond that, he looks forward to counting how many times he can top his debut album. ----------------------------------------“I don’t think this is my best record, actually,” he admits. “I think my next album will be better because I don’t have to compromise and make shallow songs. People understand how street I am but if you go too deep on niggas, they don’t know how street you are. I just want people to really give a listen to it and make my contribution to West Coast Hip Hop; Hip Hop as a whole.” Is it frustrating having to compromise on certain things when making your album? Yeah, especially being a real nigga. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and you do that so next time you don’t have to do it. It ain’t gonna kill me. The songs ain’t bad, they’re just shallow songs that don’t have any real life substance to it. I wish I could make my album like Scarface’s MADE album, with substance on every song. But my next album will be able to be that and I’m not worried about it. It’s only three or four song on the album that’s shallow. Out of 15 records, that ain’t bad. Everything else is real deep. You know what, though? Even the three or four I think are shallow, two of them might pass. People will understand that they go with the album. It’s like your favorite movie. You may not like certain scenes, but you sill love the movie. I hope that’s what I do with Beach Cruiser. Besides Beach Cruiser, what else are you working on? I’m doing an album with Mack 10, he put me on and we’re just gonna have a ball. Then me and Mistah FAB are bringing Cali together with our album. He’s a real live nigga. I brought him to Watts and he didn’t take off his chain. Another rapper I brought out here, he tucked his chain in. I won’t put him on blast because he a cool lil nigga, but FAB never tucked his chain in. He wasn’t scared. I gained a certain respect for that nigga. Doing the records I’m doing with them, I get to have fun. My album is more serious business, but I have fun making it because I live the challenge creatively. But with Mack, I get to show how cold I am on the mic. I like doing those types of albums because one of my favorite albums was Westside Connection when him, Cube and WC hooked up. That’s dope to me. Imagine if Hov and Nas put out an album or if Jeezy and Akon would have finished the album they started. //

Did you ever want to go to school to be in the OZONE WEST // 17

When you hear the word “tycoon,” you might envision John D. Rockefeller, the oil tycoon who monopolized the production of black gold in the United States during the early 1900s. You may even think of Roller Coaster Tycoon, the video game that allows you to create your own theme park. But chances are you won’t envision Bay Area rapper and successful street hustler Sky Balla — not yet, at least. However, if Sky has his way, the world will soon recognize his Tycoon Status. Born in San Francisco’s Fillmore district, SB was heavily influenced by such Cali legends as Mac Dre, Too $hort, Ice-T, Eazy E, and his self-proclaimed “big brother,” San Quinn. In high school, Sky teamed up with friends Debo and Telli Mack to form a group called Tha Gamblaz. San Quinn eventually brought the group into The GLP (Get Low Playaz) family, teaching them the music industry ropes. However, the street life and money soon overwhelmed Sky. He dropped out of George Washington High School, and for a few years he strayed from rap as well. Today, however, Sky Balla’s passion for Hip Hop is stronger than ever. He and his partner Young Rell have combined to form Tycoon Status, an independent record label distributed by Koch, and with Sky’s debut solo album coming this spring, he is ready to carry the Tycoon Status brand on his back. Sky Balla is ready to show the world his potential, and he promises the sky is the limit. 18 // OZONE WEST

By Eric Perrin Photos by D Ray So what is the Bay scene looking like right now? It seems like it’s treating you pretty well? The Bay scene is lovely, man. We on fire. My whole team is eating real good. We’re shining real bright and pushing hard line on this movement, so it’s a beautiful thing out here in the Bay. Can you define what exactly the Sky Balla movement is? My movement is the streets. I’m the voice box of the block, yadamean, and a ventriloquist for every hustler that’s out there. I’m the spokesman for the people out here in these streets, and that’s the movement it’s BYOB—Be Your Own Boss. The movement is getting’ this money, and staying solid, and staying suckerfree. Judging from your pictures, it seems like you’ve been pretty successful gettin’ this money thus far. Definitely, all praises due to the Man up above. I always keep God first everyday, yadamean. I count my blessings every day. I’m down to earth, I’m a real dude, and I stay hungry and humble.

streets you have to come to the streets, and I’m always in the streets.

How did you get into rap? I got started back in the days, growing up in Fillmore, going to George Washington High School, me and my patnas Debo and Telli Mack, we formed a group called Tha Gamblaz. We were some hungry, young dudes at age 15, and 16. Me and San Quinn were homies. We grew up in the same hood, on the same block, yadamean? Quinn embraced me, and he brought me and Tha Gamblaz into the GLP (Get Low Playaz) Family with FT the Bigga Figga, San Quinn, Seff tha Gaffla, D-moe the Youngsta, yadamean. That’s how I got my start, and then we did The Operation Takeover, and jumped on that West Coast Bad Boys Part II, and that’s when I really started taking it serious. I was like 17 on a platinum record. So where did your career go from there? After that I kinda fell back off the rap shit. I got discouraged ‘cause I wasn’t making no money off the rap game. I was getting more money in the streets than I was off rap, so I was like, “Damn, this rap ain’t payin’ me, but the streets is payin’ me, and I’m eating in the streets.” So my focus was back on gettin’ my grind on and gettin’ my hustle on, but in ’05 I came back in as a solo artist. I dropped Tha Mobb Report, which had big name features on there, big name producers, and that’s what really kicked off my whole buzz, and gave me my little jumpstart in being a well-respected young entrepreneur. Now m’fuckas respect my hustle, and they see my grind, and they understand my story and my struggle. I got good networking skills, so I’ve networked, and you know, real recognize real. I’m out here gettin’ that gwap, and cats with money tend to embrace other cats who gettin’ money. But to answer your question, San Quinn put me on at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done. I know San Quinn put you on, but aside from helping you get in the game, what did you gain from being around Quinn? Oh, man, he really taught me how to be an independent grinder, yadamean. He taught me how to stay focused to really be able to perfect my craft. With that being said, he was a legendary dude in my hood, so I pay homage to the big homie. Loyalty ain’t just a word; it’s a lifestyle with us.

As you kid, even before high school, what first made you want to rap? Growing up in Fillmore, San Francisco, the city where I’m from, the cats who was really getting money and getting recognition from rap were The Get Low Playaz, and RBL, and cats like Kool Nut, Cellski, E-40, Too $hort, The Luniz, Seagram, Master P, cats like that. So when I seen cats really getting money off some independent shit, I was like, “Okay I really need to focus and jump into this shit.” I’m a 80s baby so I grew up listening to cats like Too $hort, Eazy E, Big Daddy Kane, Special Ed, Ice-T, shit like that, so I was birthed into Hip Hop, so I have a love and a passion for the music. I love rap, but I’m not a rapper. I’m a hustla first. This rap shit is what I love, but it’s another way to hustle, and another way to feed me, my friends, and my family, and those in my inner circle. What do you love most about rap? What I love most about rap is getting in the booth and coming up with creative shit. Rapping is basically like hustling; you’re making something from nothing. I’m writer; I have a passion and love to write songs. What kind of style would say your music embodies? I make hustle-motivated, money music, yadamean. It’s that hood, go-get it music for the ballas and the cats who are gettin’ it how they live. I’m the voice of the hood, and the spokesman for the ghetto and every real nigga in every hood in America and across the world. And my music is definitely for the real bitches out there that are hustlers in whatever they doing, whether they’re strippers, escorts, boosters, or check fraud bitches. My shit is for everybody. A few years back the whole country was checking for the Bay and now it seems like that buzz has kinda died down. What are your thoughts on that? 40 had it poppin’, and nobody else stepped up to the plate to push the line with him. But right now it’s all about the unity and the movement. That’s what everybody in the Bay Area is focused on right now, because that’s why cats down South and on the East Coast have been succeeding. It’s all about [the attitude of] “If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,” because at the end of the day it’s all about putting each other on. For people who haven’t been exposed to the Bay Area sound, what message would you give them about the Bay? I’d tell the people to get familiar. All you gotta do is get in the streets and you gon’ hear about it. I’m out here for these streets. If you speak for the

Your single “Mobbin’ All Day” features San Quinn and E-40. How did that project come about? That was real simple. San Quinn has been my big homie for many moons, many calendars. He raised me, watched me go from a boy to a man, you figadeal me? And then 40, that’s my big uncle, I’m his young nephew, so we coordinated that project real, real simple. My boy Cozmo did the beat, and we just put it together. Being that you are relatively new to the game, what was it that made 40 respect your project enough to jump on your single? Like I said, man, real recognize real. Real bosses do boss shit. It’s nothing to a boss, it’s something to a worker, yadamean. Real niggas embrace me, because when they look at me, they see what they was before they got that major deal—a young, hungry dude that’s humble, but still about his business, and about his money. Looking at the guest list on your album you’ve got Cassidy, Hell Rell, Mistah FAB, and Slick Pulla- that’s East Coast, West Coast, and down South. You’re encompassing a wide variety of artists. Yeah, and I’m real disappointed I couldn’t catch up with my boy Rich the Factor, that’s my Midwest connect, the Kansas City Royal himself. His schedule was real, real busy though. He’s been grinding real hard on the road. But I like to cover every area. The West Coast, East Coast, down South and the Midwest. You can’t just be regional. You gotta do this shit for everybody. Tell me about the album Tycoon Status. Yeah, right now I’m just focused on nothing but pushing this album, Tycoon Status; that’s my main focus. I got a lot of big names and big name producers on there, that’s gon’ be out April 15th. I’ve been in the studio a lot, so I got like a hundred songs. I got like three albums already done, but I’m trying to just focus on one project at a time, so we can capitalize on each individual operation. Your label is called Tycoon Status also, right? Can you tell us a little bit more about your record label? Tycoon Status is me and my pa’tna rich Young Rell. We’re co-partners in this shit, and Tycoon Status is a movement. We plan on being like a West Coast Roc-A-Fella or No Limit or Cash Money. We’re signing up all the artists we feel have star quality and multi-million dollar potential. We’re doing our independent thing and we’ve got distribution through Koch. R.I.P. Mac Dre. //


West Coast

DJ issue Compiled by D-Ray, Ms. Rivercity, Maurice Garland

DJ Big Dee (Las Vegas, NV)

Las Vegas is also known as Lost Wages, but DJ Big Dee is stacking chips around that way. Spinning at Club Spin, Rumjungle, and Club Poetry keeps the bills paid while mixing at Hot 97.5 adds even more. Touring with Bone Thug-NHarmony and Dogg Pound also seems like sure bets in Big Dee’s portfolio. bigdee702@gmail.com

DJ Eque (Los Angeles, CA)

As one of XM Satellite’s favorite divas, DJ Eque enjoys the freedom to break whatever records she sees fit. Also the tour DJ for Danity Kane and Queen Latifah, Eque is a seasoned crowd pleaser and can spin a variety of genres from Hip Hop and R&B to Elector and House music. djeque@gmail.com Mailing address: 10907 Magnolia Blvd. Hollywood, CA 91601

DJ Espee (Los Angeles, CA via South Jersey)

Even though he’s building his name on the West Coast, DJ Espee got all his game by watching and listening to spin masters in what many consider to be the DJ mecca, Philadelphia. Meshing his bicoastal skills together has helped him become known for his Undercrowned Hustla mixtape series that exclusively features unsigned underground artists. This May he’s stepping up his game and putting out Unstoppable, hosted by Roccett. www.myspace.com/djespee, espeemusic@gmail.com

DJ Juice (Bay Area, CA)

If you ask DJ Juice to tell you of all his accomplishments, you’d need a Snicker bar. He’s DJed events during The Grammys, BET Awards, Billboard Awards, Radio Music Awards, American Music Awards, and the Vibe Awards, just to name a few. He’s been sponsored by both Remy Martin and Seagram’s Gin and has been nominated at Justo’s Mixtape Awards for Best West Coast Mixtape DJ, twice. Also known as Your Favorite DJ’s Favorite DJ, Juice definitely has what Omar Epps had to kill to get. coredjjuice@gmail.com, www.djjuice.biz www.myspace.com/djjuicemixtapes

DJ Knuckles (Bay Area and Sacramento, CA)

DJ Knuckles’ myspace page has a tour schedule with him DJing everywhere from San Francisco to Orlando to Indianapolis. As a member of the Heavy Hitter DJs, being on the road is just something that comes with the territory. But if you can’t keep up with him, he can be heard on KMEL. Operating off his 4 P’s: practice, patience, persistence, and positioning, Knuckles’ punch is only getting stronger. djknuckles23@aol.com, www.myspace.com/djknuckles Mailing address: Attn: DJ Knuckles 813 Harbor Blvd. #130 West Sacramento, CA 95691

DJ Lace (Fresno, CA)

DJ Lace was bagging groceries, doing customer service calls, and working at Foot Locker before he finally got his break as a DJ. After interning at KSFM 102.5 and KBMB 103.5 he’s now getting checks spinning at Goldiggers/The Bastille and holding down the Music Director post at Q97. Known as one of the few DJs who can rock the mic while spinning, Lace is definitely a person you need to know. Mailing address: 617 W Tulare Ave. Visalia, CA 93277

DJ Nik Bean (Los Angeles, CA)

DJ Nik Bean is killing the mixtape circuit right now. Crooked I’s St. Valentine’s Day Bossacre, Stat Quo’s Statistically Speaking, and Streetz of L.A. 4 with DJ Drama & DJ Felli Fel are all his creations. After putting out mixtapes with both Hot Dollar and Glasses Malone alongside their major label signings, Nik Bean became the go-to guy in L.A. djnikbean@gmail.com Mailing address: P.O. Box 330866 Pacoima, CA 91333

DJ E-Z Cutt (Seaside, CA)

Whether he’s spinning in Chicago, Miami or somewhere else, DJ E-Z Cutt is bringing the West Coast with him. One of the few active DJs that can say they’ve toured with N.W.A, MC Hammer, UTFO, Heavy D, and Salt-N-Pepa and actually worked with 2Pac, E-Z credits his staying power to simply having an ear for music. ezcutt@tmail.com, ezcutt@netsape.net Mailing address: 1791 Yosemite St. Seaside, CA 93955-3913

DJ Felli Fel (Los Angeles, CA) With over 1.6 million listeners a day, DJ Felli Fel holds a prime night show spot at Power 106 KPWR. Already a Goldselling producer, Felli Fel will be releasing an album later this year under So So Def/Island Def Jam titled Go DJ. Mailing address: 145 S. Glenoaks Blvd. #404 Burbank, CA 91502 DJ Jiji Sweet (Los Angeles, CA) An advocate for the females in Hip Hop movement, Jiji Sweet has toured with SWV and Teedra Moses while noting Spinderella, Cocoa Chanelle, and Jazzy Joyce as a few of her inspirations. After a prior career in sports broadcasting, Jiji made moves to 102.3 KJLH and Mix 106 where she currently spins the newest hits. If you’re not able to tune into her broadcast, you can catch one of her mixtapes from the The Sweet Factory series. jiji@jijisweet.com, jijisweet@gmail.com


DJ Skee (Los Angeles, CA)

Known worldwide from Los Angeles to Dubai, DJ Skee has become the main stamp on every blockbuster mixtape coming from the City Of Angels. He got his start under industry guru Steve Rifkind and hustled everything from songs to Playstations to sneakers to stay afloat. He now runs an empire that includes his widely popular website Skee.tv and holds down double duties as a mixer on Power 106 and Sirius.

DJ sourMILK (Rialto, CA)

Though he isn’t big on words, DJ sourMILK’s resume speaks volumes. Holding down posts at the Vault in Pasadena, Basque in Hollywood, and Aubergine in San Diego as well as mixing at Power 106, sourMILK actually has his life looking rather sweet. Currently touring with Ya Boy, Kia Shine and the newly signed Problem, sourMILK is poised to leave a lasting taste in the industry’s mouth. sourmilk106@gmail.com

DJ Tito Bell (San Jose, CA)

DJ Tito Bell gets in a lot of trouble for playing banned hyphy records in the club, but he doesn’t care. If you DJed at Wet (San Jose’s biggest club) and mixed at Wild 94.9, you probably wouldn’t care either. As a Faeva Afta Entertainment (Mistah FAB) affiliate, you can only expect this 21year old to cause an even bigger ruckus for years to come. titobell@gmail.com

How did you get your big break as a DJ? “DJ Jiji Sweet, a friend of mine, blessed me with the skill.” – Big Dee “I met Mike Bivins through a friend and he put me down with the East Coast Family movement.” – Eque “I always knew I wanted to do something in the industry, but couldn’t figure out what. I couldn’t rap or sing to save my life. In the summer of ‘98 I came up with DJing. I started listening to a Philly station, 103.9, a lot. I got into the mixshows and I was feeling the style of the DJs. Just from listening to these DJs, I picked up really quickly and I got my first DJ set that winter. I’ve been on the grind for almost 10 years now.” – Espee “I started DJing in middle school. Then I DJed my own high school dances where a local radio station contacted me to join them.” – E-Z Cutt “I came to L.A. to shop some beats and I stopped by Power 106. Luckily I ran into DJ Eman and Jimmy Steal (VP of Programming). They had heard of me from being a well-known DJ and on air personality in Dallas. They were looking for a night jock and had me audition; before I knew it I got the part.” – Felli Fel “I started in college at the University of Arizona, DJing Kappa and Omega Parties.” – Jiji Sweet “I’ve been doing mixtapes since I was 13, which led to mobile and club gigs. Once I felt I had peaked in the Bay Area scene, I went to Los Angeles and spread it East from there. Everything I’ve ever achieved was from people listening to my mixtapes – my audio business card. That led to me DJing at The Grammys, BET Awards, Billboard Awards, Radio Music Awards, American Music Awards, Vibe Awards, King Magazine, Smooth Magazine, Do or Die, Twista, the last 5 NBA All-Star Weekends, MTV’s Sweet 16, Miami Memorial Day Weekend, etc. Then I got sponsored by Remy Martin Cognac, Seagram’s Gin, 41510.com Clothing, Five Four Clothing, Def Jam University, Bays Shoes, FilthyDripped.com Custom Clothing, 510 Airbrush, and many others.” – Juice “Honestly, it was God’s timing for me. He let me meet the right people at the right time and they gave me the opportunity to jump on the radio and show my skills.” – Knuckles “I started carrying crates for DJ Craig G and Majestic Jalil in Sacramento. They taught me how to spin and put me on with them whenever they had an event. Then I interned at 102.5 KSFM doing mostly street team promotional work. I learned about running the boards in the studio from Big Al. Then I went on to intern for KBMB, 103.5 The Bomb, where I had an opportunity to be on-air. The rest is history.” – Lace “I was consistently everywhere, in everyone’s face. My relationships grew with hot upcoming artists. Last year when Hot Dollar and G. Malone got their major record deals, I put out mixtapes on each of them. Doing tapes for both of them solidified me as the go-to guy out here. You could consider those mixtapes, along with the 40 Glocc and Jayo Felony tapes, my big break, but it was really the consistent grind that created a foundation for me on the streets.” – Nik Bean

“I started off under DJ Stretch Armstrong in NYC. Through him I got linked to Steve Rifkind, then CEO of Loud Records, when I was 16. I gave him a proposal on what I thought he was doing wrong. He hired me and moved me to L.A. from Minnesota, where I was doing radio, mixtapes, etc. The rest is history.” – Skee “I started on the Power 106 street team and worked my way up. The first time I was ever asked to DJ on air was at a live remote with Tha Goodfellas.” – sourMILK “DJing at the Aloha skating rink every Friday night for 800 teenagers. My biggest break was hooking up with Mistah FAB, Gary Archer, and D-Ray, Official Entertainment, New Management. Shit really started poppin’ for me.” – Tito Bell What is your trademark as a DJ? “Talking shit in the mic.” – Big Dee “I’m a music lover. I spin just about everything, from Hip Hop and R&B to Electro and House.” – Eque “I’ve been known not to just work with signed and popular artists, but I also work with hungry, underground artists. I make it my job to keep it real and give them a chance to be heard. That’s where my mixtape series Undercrowned Hustla comes from. We’re a family in Hip Hop; I like to keep it that way and put out artists like LAT, Kombat, or even MDK, which is now doing very well for himself.” – Espee “I’m known as your favorite West Coast DJ. I specialize in bringing the West Coast to any venue, like Chicago, Miami, etc.” – E-Z Cutt “The one listeners are probably most familiar with is my siren. Whenever I blast off a new record I hit my siren to make it official. I’m also a huge baseball cap collector. You could say another one of my trademarks is my fitted LA Dodgers or Atlanta Braves cap; you can almost never catch me without one on.” – Felli Fel “Catering to what the crowd needs. I can rock any crowd, any age group.” – Jiji Sweet “My trademark has always been my mixtapes. A lot of my DJ friends always tell me that I’m their favorite DJ; thus ‘DJ Juice: Your Favorite DJ’s Favorite DJ.’ I’ve always been an undeniable party rocker. I get the crowd involved and the vibe is unmatched.” – Juice “Being able to DJ on three turntables.” – Knuckles “I’m known for rocking the shit out of the mic while I DJ. Not all DJs should try this; some have it and some don’t. I do!” – Lace “I take pride in being a tastemaker. It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon but not everybody can see a vision in advance. When you’re trying to come up, you got to stay ten steps ahead of everyone. I started predicting hot artists and music before anyone else. That’s why the streets gave me the title Mixtape King of L.A. They depend on me to give them the hot new West Coast shit.” – Nik Bean

“I create innovative and credible mixtapes for the streets, being the first to break artists like Akon or Game. I host specialty shows on two of the largest broadcasters in the world, without having limits and playlists. And I rock Hollywood crowds at stuff like Paris Hilton’s New Years Eve party at LAX in Las Vegas. I also developed Skee.TV, which everyone is trying to copy now.” – Skee “My drop: DJ sourMILK Uugghh! Shout out to Goldie Gold of The Federation for that.” – sourMILK Who is your greatest influence? “DJ Touchtone. I respect him because he’s the only blind DJ I’ve ever known. Another influence was DJ JCNY. The very first mixtape I picked up was his and I can still listen to it today. I stopped doing mixtapes for a long time until I heard DJ Skee. I got back into it after I heard that “300 Bars N Runnin’” joint he mixed for The Game. I’m part of a new crew called The Real DJs. There’s always something going on with the crew that makes me push harder. Last but not least, Hip Hop is my influence. As long as the fresh music keeps coming, I can’t imagine myself ever quitting.” – Espee “DJ Clark Kent.” – Eque “Jam Master Jay, Jazzy Jeff, Cash Money, Latin Prince, DJ Splice, Mike T and all the DJs that came before me and made it possible for me to be a DJ.” – E-Z Cutt “Jam Master Jay. I had the good fortune of interviewing him and the rest of Run-DMC years back before he unfortunately passed away. R.I.P.” – Felli Fel “Female DJs on the move like Spinderella, Cocoa Chanelle, Jazzy Joyce. They’re pioneers in the game.” – Jiji Sweet “My dad, Big Juice, Sr. He passed away before I made a solid name for myself. He only got to see me when I was struggling and trying to make a name for myself. I would trade all this to have him back. I do this shit for my pops and my 3 year old son, Lil Juice. He’s DJing too. He’s starting to take out you sucka ass DJs!” – Juice “God, my mother, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Jam Master Jay.” – Knuckles “My son. When I think about him, it influences me to stay focused. I do this not just for the love, but to be able to support me and mine. Outside of that, all my peers I’ve come to know and work with in the industry on my way to where I’m at now.” – Lace “I listened to Whoo Kid, Green Lantern, and DJ Drama tapes. Plus my big homie Felli Fel had some dope mixtapes out, like this one he did with Game live on the radio. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Drama and Felli, and last weekend I got to meet Whoo Kid and Green Lantern. Green Lantern was familiar with my name, so that was a great feeling.” – Nik Bean


What jobs did you have prior to DJing? “I was a male stripper…just playing.” – Big Dee “I worked at UPS.” – Eque “I’ve had jobs from pushing carts and bagging groceries to unloading trucks on the graveyard shift and construction. They aren’t the best jobs in the world but they’ve helped pay the bills!” – Espee “I’ve had almost every job under the sun, from delivering auto parts, to producing beats for radio commercials.” – Felli Fel “The last real job I had was parking cars about 8 or 9 years ago. I got fired over some bullshit and that’s when I got mad at the world and went on my grind. Luckily I already had a lil name so I just pushed harder.” – Juice “I was in school getting my degrees on – three BAs to be exact.” – Knuckles “Bagged groceries, call center customer service for Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless, Footlocker, D.E.M.O.” – Lace “None really. I’ve always been a known street hustler in the city. People used to call me all the time to see how they could make some money.” – Nik Bean “The only job I ever had was at Loud/SRC. Before that I made money hustling shoes, Playstations, whatever people wanted and couldn’t find themselves.” – Skee “I was a janitor, a cable guy, and I had a couple factory jobs.” – sourMILK “I never had a job until I was the youngest intern at Wild 94.9 – the biggest radio station in the Bay Area for the last 8 and a half years.” – Tito Bell Are internet radio, satellite radio, and podcasts killing traditional radio stations? “I think they are a good avenue because it’s easier to break records. There’s no one to answer to so you get to play real shit.” – Big Dee “Traditional radio is killing itself with all the corporate red tape, and playing the same 10 songs every hour. People are getting tired of it.” – Eque “The more ways you can broadcast music, the better. It can kill the regular FM stations; they haven’t been getting the attention like they used to. But having all of these other options is expanding music and making it easier to play what the listeners want to hear.” – Espee “I truly believe they’re just different venues to bring music to the masses. I think traditional radio is killing itself by playing songs that have been paid for and not songs that are hot. Listeners are turning away from traditional radio because they’re tired of being force-fed songs and not getting to hear real music.” – E-Z Cutt “Internet and new forms of entertainment have definitely taken a toll on regular radio, but I wouldn’t say they’re killing traditional radio stations. The same things are also happening with TV and YouTube but I wouldn’t say YouTube is killing television.” – Felli Fel 22 // OZONE WEST

“No, I don’t think so. Traditional radio will always be around because it is free, no subscription needed. Satellite, internet, and podcasting are great because artists can broaden their listener base.” – Jiji Sweet “They’re actually saving us from it. They’re doing what commercial radio used to do before it went corporate. Radio is so corporate now that the streets don’t get any love like back in the day. I DJ on Sirius Satellite and we can play whatever we want, even explicit versions. So DJs are free to play hot album songs that people are really feeling and are able to break records.” – Juice “I don’t think they’re killing traditional stations because traditional stations have adapted now and have their own version of internet radio. Plus, radio is free. People have to pay for some internet and satellite radio.” – Knuckles “I don’t think satellite is killing it. In order for that to happen, the demand would have to be higher than it is now. When you look at the cost of gas and living now, most people aren’t able to afford it. Podcasts and internet radio don’t offer enough. On radio, you also get promotions and station events as well as station clubs. It’s a little more in touch with the listener.” – Lace “No, it’s just giving listeners more choices. Satellite radio gives listeners a direct connection with the artists without the middleman. Traditional radio supplies their audience with new music so they ain’t going anywhere anytime soon. Internet radio doesn’t have much influence at all in Hip Hop. I don’t know anybody who listens to it to be honest, but it’s a good start for artists who don’t have any other outlets. Podcasts can help, especially if you have a time slot when everybody is sleeping. Satellite radio has its own lane because it’s uncensored and commercial free.” – Nik Bean “Yes and no. I love Sirius and the freedom I have. We also podcast and have a ton of listeners, but not everyone has it installed. It’s like cable verses network. There’s room for everything.” – Skee “No, I don’t think so. Why wouldn’t people listen to the radio? It’s free!” – sourMILK “A little bit of both. Yes, because you can hear unedited song versions without commercials, and interviews that you wouldn’t usually hear on a commercial station. The reason why it’s not [killing radio] is because you don’t get the same audience that listens to the bigger commercial stations like the high school kids, or people on the way to the club, or people that don’t know about satellite. It’s also way harder to break your record [without traditional radio.]” – Tito Bell How restrictive is your playlist? Have you ever gotten in trouble for playing something that wasn’t on the list? “Man, real talk, radio is bullshit. It’s all about numbers and favors and it doesn’t benefit anyone but the labels and PDs.” – Big Dee “I’ve always played what I wanted to play. It’s never been a problem with my playlist; listeners either like what I play or they don’t and tune me off. I don’t play just anything, obviously. I support underground talent but if the flow is all over the place, and the beat sounds like its a mile away with the voice slobbering all over the mic, it’s not

making my play list.” – Espee “That’s the reason why I’m not on the radio anymore. I had the highest rated mixshow (the Hip Hop Havoc Mix) in Central California because I was given the freedom to mix whatever I thought was hot. But after my ratings went up, my PD and MD asked (demanded) that I add songs on a playlist they made up. I decided to leave because I didn’t have the freedom to play what was hot, but was forced to play what was paid for.” – E-Z Cutt “Fortunately, I have a lot of flexibility at my station and a part of my job is to introduce new music. I actually co-host a show every day at 2 PM with Yesi Ortix called New at 2 just for that reason. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t also run new records by the other DJs at the station. In fact, even if I introduce a new record, the DJs and I still have to vote whether it ultimately makes it onto the station’s play list or not.” – Felli Fel “Yes the playlist has been restricted, especially when I was at 100.3 The Beat. Sure I’ve gotten in trouble at times, but that’s how it is for DJs who listen to what’s hot. We always wanna be on it first. But at times that does not go well with what programming has in mind.” – Jiji Sweet “I’ve DJed on commercial radio a couple of times and most of the time I was given a list and told to choose from that. Or I was given that bullshit list where first you play two songs from the list, then play a classic, then play a familiar song that’s not new but ain’t a classic, then go back to a brand new fire song…bullshit.” – Juice “I guess it depends on what station you’re on. We all have playlists no matter what anyone says, but you also have stations like mine, 106 KMEL, that are usually one of the first stations to break music. We don’t go crazy with a bunch of records. Every DJ at my station has a good radio background so if we’re going to play a record that’s not on the list, and we think it’s going to be a smash, we play it and surround it with records that our audience is familiar with. For example, if I get a new E-40 record and I think it’ going to be a smash I’m play it and surround it with hits.” – Knuckles “Yes. If you play something you’re not supposed to, you can get in trouble. I’ve even heard of people losing their jobs. The restrictions on the playlists can vary depending the programming for that station; luckily we just play the hits so our playlist isn’t a problem.” – Lace “I’ve made a niche of designing my own playlists so I’ve been careful to never have to follow a playlist. My audience would look at me crazy if I was playing some corny shit all of a sudden.” – Skee “All the time, but that’s Tito Bell for you. Out here in the Bay, you’re not allowed to play hyphy records, but I still do.” – Tito Bell Besides talent, what are 3 things a DJ needs to have to be successful? “Creativity is big. A boring DJ is not good. Personality and presence are important.” – Big Dee “Number one, you need a good manager. Two, you should have a following of people who come to the party just to hear you spin. And number three, just be humble. Never think you’re bigger than the music.” – Eque

“First thing is to have some big goals set. Another thing is having connects that you trust to help you get where you want to be. And a big thing that every DJ needs to have is major productivity and focus. I admit, I wasted a couple of years in my life and could have been more successful by now.” – Espee “A DJ must have an ear for music to pick out hits. A DJ should know how to mix music; the ability to blend music is a must. A DJ must have the ability to read a crowd; he or she should know how to move any crowd.” – E-Z Cutt

with the cops and we were free to go.” – Nik Bean

What was the last record you broke?

“Every experience is a good one. Having to strip down at the airport like three times in a row wasn’t a very good look though.” – sourMILK

“Dolla’s ‘Who Da Fuck Is That.” I got that shit buzzing in the club out this way. I got the white folks singing that shit.” – Big Dee

“I just got off a dope ass tour with Mistah FAB and Zion I. The worst was when I left my cell phone at the airport on the first day of the tour.” – Tito Bell

“Shawty Putt featuring Lil Jon ‘Dat Baby.’ It’s a hilarious song with a Maury Povich sample that Jon sent me where the hook says ‘Dat baby don’t look like me!’ It’s becoming an internet phenomenon now. The second Lil Jon sent it to me I played it on the air and in the clubs wherever I spun. People started to take to it like crazy in L.A.” – Felli Fel

If a rapper came out of the closet and was openly gay, would you still spin his/her records?

“Persistence, patience, and the ability to give listeners what they want to hear.” – Felli Fel

“Yeah, I would. Good music is good music, as long as you keep that shit real.” – Big Dee

“Hustle, hustle, hustle.” – Jiji Sweet

“I would keep playing their music if it was good. What they do in their private life is their business. It’s all about the music.” – Eque

“Mouthpiece; gotta be able to sell yourself. Connections. Real grind. Good business, brand yourself, be computer savvy.” – Juice “Practice is the #1 priority. Yelling on a mic and stopping a record is not what makes a good DJ. You need to blend, mix, scratch, and put records together in ways that produces the same energy in the crowd that I have. Second is patience. Not everything happens overnight. Third is persistence. There’s a difference between persistence and aggravation; you need to be careful when trying to connect with powerful people. If you aggravate someone too much or rub them the wrong way, it could be a wrap with them. And lastly, don’t be afraid to let go. When a better position opens for you, make room for the next DJ to take your old position. Don’t try to keep everything for yourself and end up losing it all.” – Knuckles “Work ethic, focus, and creativity.” – Skee “Mic skills, an ear for music, and you need to know the right people.” – sourMILK

“Well, if they’re coming onto me, I’m not keeping any song of theirs in my music library. As long as everything is cool and the talent is in the music, I’ll play it, unless the lyrics are just too much to handle.” – Espee “Sure. Sexual preference has nothing to do with good music.” – Jiji Sweet “I really don’t think it would matter what I did because I’m almost certain the majority of DJs wouldn’t fuck with it anyway. It’s fucked up but that’s the truth. The gay male rapper would get black-balled for sure. I don’t think the gay female rapper would get black-balled hardly at all. Aren’t there some gay rappers out there now?” – Juice “Wow, that would be crazy. I think I would play it just to hear the controversy from callers because you know they’re going to be talking.” – Knuckles “Of course I would! If the music is hot, the music is hot. Let God judge.” – Lace

“People skills, image, personality.” – Tito Bell What were your best and worst tour experiences? “I’ve had so many great ones, from Danity Kane to Queen Latifah to Faith Evans. Even with Hip Hop artists like Erick Sermon and Luther Campbell, they were all great. I guess the worst was when I was with Danity Kane. I always start the show off introducing the girls and for some reason the hard drive started skipping on stage in front of 20,000 people. It was crazy. There was nothing I could do but play the music from my laptop.” – Eque “Back in the days when I was real young, I was blessed to DJ a West Coast tour with N.W.A, MC Hammer, UTFO, Heavy D and Salt-N-Pepa. That opportunity opened up a lot of doors for me as a DJ. I’m very thankful. The worst was being on that same tour when there was a shooting and I witnessed someone being shot.” – E-Z Cutt “So far I’ve had the best experience with fans showing me so much love. A lot of times they say, ‘DJ Nik Bean, muthafucka.’ My mixtape tags have really stuck to people. So far the worst experience was getting pulled over by the police in Tijuana. The guy driving us around had an open beer container in the front seat. We were in a car full of 8 people. They said they were gonna arrest all of us. The police started searching everyone. Luckily the promoter got an important person on the phone

If a rapper is wack but they want you to host a mixtape, would you do it for a fee?

“Shawty Lo’s [‘Dey Know’]. I just kept banging it out here on the West and now it’s poppin’.” – Jiji Sweet “What’s good about KMEL is we break records as a whole. It doesn’t matter who plays what first, as long as the record gets out. I think the last record we broke was David Banner’s ‘Get Like Me.’ We were one of the first stations on it.” – Knuckles “Soulja Boy’s ‘Crank Dat.’ I popped it off in the clubs first, then I convinced my PD to break it on the air after I showed him the dance. I knew that one was gonna be a hit.” – Lace “I was the first DJ in L.A. to fuck with Keak Da Sneak’s ‘Super Hyphy.’ I put it on a mixtape six months before they played it on the radio out here.” – Nik Bean “It’s great to introduce new music that’s blowing up at the street level in its original market and take it to the next level. We did that with the Shawty Lo record, and tons in the past.” – Skee “Usher’s ‘Love In This Club.’ I world premiered it and have been behind it ever since. That record is crazy!” – sourMILK “I played [Snoop Dogg f/ Mistah FAB & Too $hort] ‘Life of the Party’ and told everybody it was open bar on for the next then minutes. I played it two times in a row.” – Tito Bell

“Nope. You can’t pay me to play wack shit. I got a name to live up to. Not a good look.” – Big Dee

Have you played a record from an artist strictly because of her/his looks?

“Usually if there is a right amount of money involved, I’ll host any mixtape. If the rapper is just straight garbage, I can’t put my name on the project because I gotta save my reputation. Every DJ needs to watch out for their rep.” – Espee

“Yeah, this bad ass chick came up to me in the club with her single. Oh my God. I played it and the floor cleared, but I got her number.” – Big Dee

“Hell no. The most valuable thing in the music business is your name and if you’re associated with something wack, everyone knows you sold out and your name wouldn’t be worth much.” – E-Z Cutt “No, because at the end of the day your name is attached to that mixtape and if people buy it and are disappointed, they will think twice about buying a mixtape with your name on it again. You might make a quick buck but it’ll hurt your brand in the long run.” – Juice “It depends on how much money. Nah, just playing. Probably not because you have to put your name behind it, and most likely you want to promote it. You can’t justify a wack rapper. But I guess if you wanna make some money you can; I just can’t do it.” – Knuckles “I’d say no. If they were really wack, a lot of money wouldn’t change my mind.” – Lace

“I never believed in playing records based on how the artist looks. They can be the fattest person in the world and only be 3 feet tall, but they might have the illest flow or voice. Yeah, looks can help but I believe in the music. If you were blind and heard a song, would you be able to tell what the artist looks like?” – Espee “Never. If I did, I wouldn’t be a real DJ.” – E-Z Cutt “No. That’s terrible. If a record sucks it sucks; no looks can make it sound better.” – Knuckles “No! Hits, son, hits. If it’s wack, it’s wack.” – Lace “No. It’s all about the quality of the music. Looks can only get you so far, eventually you have to back it up with some substance.” – Nik Bean “Never off of his looks, but off of her looks… Nah, shit’s gotta be hot. I’m not gonna play nothing I never heard unless Gary Archer gives it to me.” – Tito Bell OZONE WEST // 23


Ray J/All I Feel Knockout/KOCH We’re not quite sure what’s gotten into Brandy’s brother. Whether he’s making sex tapes or running around with Whitney Houston or smoking green with Snoop Dogg, Ray J has been completely out of control. On his fourth solo album, songs about promiscuity (“Sexy Can I”), cheating (“Girl From The Bronx”) jump offs (“Jump Off”), pimpin’ (“Like To Trick”) and being real (“Real Niggas”), reflect Ray J’s seemingly contrived bad boy image. But those songs and topics do not translate into good music. All I Feel has a few ups and more downs, and will leave listeners wishing Ray J was feeling more than what he offers. — Randy Roper

Lameez/Cruel Intentions: The Aftermath of 1995 Mobfioso Music/2Black 19 songs. That’s a lot of songs on any album from any artist, let alone a relatively new one. But Cali-bred Lameez manages to keep the listener’s attention for most of the album with some quality West Coast production. Though the content doesn’t switch up much, Young Meez’s voice and ability to craft entertaining hooks help his song making ability standout amongst the monotony. — Maurice G. Garland

The Game & BLACK Wall Street/Black Wall Street Radio 3 BWS Radio Volume 3 comes out as The Game enjoys a 60 day all expenses paid trip in the can. But no worries, Juice a.k.a. “the new breath of the West,” proves that he can hold down the Black Wall Street without breaking a sweat as he delivers Game-reminiscent verses. Miami resident Stack$ also joins Game, Juice, and friends as they heat up the West before the hurricane is let loose and L.A.X. hits us all. — Rohit Loomba

Roccett, DJ Warrior, DJ Skee & Dow Jones Corporate America The last time OZONE reviewed a project featuring Roccett, the CTE artist expressed his discontent by taking shots at our writer during a Sirius radio interview. Hopefully he won’t be as displeased this time. On Corporate America, “Run These Streets,” “What You Gone Do,” “We Shall Overcome” and others are all good, but not great records. His beat selection is good and his rhymes have some dexterous content, but his hooks could be better and his flow could be sharper. Overall, Roccett makes quality street music and Corporate Album will bump from L.A. to ATL, but he still needs to hone his mic skills to legitimately reach his true potential. — Randy Roper DJ Strong & Burnz/Burnin’ Season At some points Burnz reminds you of when rappers used to get on tracks and just rap. No radio, club or for-the-ladies joints, just rap. Backed by above average production, Burnz convinces you that he puts his all into every rhyme he spits, but his delivery could use some work, especially when he gets left behind on high tempo tracks like “The Wait.” Overall Burnz gives a good enough effort to make you want to hear what he sounds like next time. — Maurice G. Garland C.R.A.C. Knuckles/The Piece Talks/Tres With Blu’s 2007 collaboration with producer DJ/producer Exile Below the Heavens being touted as the best album that year, the only way Blu could top it in 2008 was to come out with something made in 2005. Recorded under the name C.R.A.C. (pronounced “crass” and standing for “collecting respect anna check”) Blu and Detroit-producer Ta’Raach release The Piece Talks contains very layered production, sometimes swallowing the crafty lyrics. The end of the album will lose your ears but the nod-factor on songs like “Mr. Big Fish,” “Pop Them Boys,” “Respect” and “Go!” keeps your attention. — Maurice G. Garland



David Banner Venue: Club Mezzanine Event: David Banner’s birthday party City: San Francisco, CA Date: April 12th, 2008 Photo: D-Ray