here is a myth that says death comes in threes. A more positive thinker would tell you that success comes in threes too. In horse racing the Triple Crown is the ultimate prize. In hockey the Hat Trick (three goals in one game) is the ultimate highlight. In basketball, the 3-peat is what make guys like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Byrant get remembered in the history books. Success in three transcends into Hip Hop too. Run-DMC. Dr. Dre, Eminem and 50 Cent. And if all goes their way, Jermaine Dupri, Nitti and new jack 9th Ward will triple their success as well. But, the road there has started off rough for the trio.
“Alright, this what happened,” sighs Nitti, telling the story of a bus malfunction during their Southeastern promotional strip club tour. “Our bus driver did something with the bus where he turned on two many buttons and stuff. When he turned them buttons on, it was like he blew something up. He blew a battery up or something. We was stuck out there in Dallas. We couldn’t leave ‘til the next afternoon. We had to end up paying about ten thousand dollars in batteries and stuff. He blew up some batteries and blamed that shit on us. But we ain’t tear the bus up, he wanna blame it on us, that’s all. But we got back to Atlanta and we got a new bus driver, so we good.” “I was actually in the strip club waiting on them and they called us talking about the bus was on fire,” says Dupri. “I think somebody turned the bus on and it burnt out all the batteries on the bus or whatever. I don’t know the particulars but the bus was fucked up and they had to ride back with no air conditioning. From Dallas to Atlanta with no AC? That’s nasty.”
th Ward himself has traveled harder journeys. A native of New Orleans, the rapper born Jamal Williams was in the N.O. when Hurricane Katrina hit. Luckily for him, he had the resources and sense to get out of town.
What were you doing when Katrina hit? 9th Ward: I was just in the bed and I saw the news. It was like mandatory evacuation. We always get hurricanes in New Orleans. Some [outsiders] asked, “Why did people stay?” We stayed cause it’s a normal thing to see a hurricane coming our way. But this was the first time it hit that hard. It wasn’t really the hurricane that hurt our city, it was the levees that broke. When the levees broke, all the water from the Gulf of Mexico, the lake, and the Mississippi River just came flooding into our city because our city is below sea level. The water just started rising, rising, rising and it just set in there. It was the water that devastated us. It really wasn’t the hurricane; the winds and the rain. When they told us to leave, we sat there. It wasn’t nothing. Niggas sat there and got caught up in the situation to where I was there. Everybody saw what happened on TV, people holding up signs, stuck on roofs. I ain’t had none of that to deal with. Luckily I was blessed to have a car, so I got away from a lot of it, but I was stuck in a lot of traffic. I was stuck on the interstate when a lot of the shit was happening but I had nowhere else to go. FEMA kicked in a little late. It took seven days just to rescue people, that just wasn’t overnight. I was in Red Cross shelter for about two months in Baton Rouge. It was about a thousand of us in there just sleeping on cots. We ain’t had nowhere to go. Some people went to Dallas. [FEMA] flew people anywhere; they were just trying to get you out of there. The bulk of us went to Houston, but they were flying you anywhere you wanted to go to get you out of the danger zone. In New Orleans, the water kept rising. I was in Baton Rouge, sleeping with thousands of people on a cot. Just watching on the big screen TV, one of them projectors, like a movie. And we were watching the news all the time just trying to see when we could go back to New Orleans. They wouldn’t let anybody go back. I ain’t get back to New Orleans for about three months. You weren’t allowed to back into the city. Just imagine if you couldn’t go home for three months. If you out yo’ place, but you know deep inside you can go home, it’s something different. But when you’re out of your environment, your element, and you know you can’t go back, that’ll fuck you up. And then when you go back and see the devastation, that’ll fuck you up even more. When I finally did get back to my house, my room was in my bed. And I had just brought a brand new bed. I thought I could save something, but there were looters. I had Gucci. I had jewelry. I had clothes. My shit was gone. One
OZONE MAG // 43