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OZONE MAGAZINE

YOUR FAVORITE RAPPER’S FAVORITE MAGAZINE

PIMP MY VOICE AND MACK THESE BEATS

SEAN KINGSTON MS CHERRY 2 PISTOLS TAMPA TONY YUNG BERG

THREE 6 DAVID MAFIA

BANNER GUCCI

THREE 6 MANE MAFIA ROCK GUCCI CITY MANE YUNG ROCK CITY JOC

YUNG JOC

MS CHERRY

2 PISTOLS

TAMPA TONY

DAVID BANNER

YUNG

BERG & more

OZONE MAG // 


YOUR FAVORITE RAPPER’S FAVORITE MAGAZINE

ROCK CITY YUNG BERG DAVID BANNER YUNG JOC 2 PISTOLS TAMPA TONY MS CHERRY SEAN KINGSTON GUCCI MANE & MORE!

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THREE 6 MAFIA


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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 // Three 6 Mafia photos by Ty Watkins; David Banner cover photos by Ty Watkins; David Banner photo (this page) by Mike Frost; Yung Berg photo by Meeno; Gucci Mane photo by Julia Beverly. 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.

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monthly sections 82 End Zone 14 Feedback 18-21 Rapquest 34 Tatted Up 78-80 CD Reviews 26 Chin Check

15 JB’s 2 Cents 24 Mathematics 28 Chain Reaction 32 Sidekick Hackin 25-45 photo galleries 40-48 patiently waiting 81 Caffeine Substitutes


interviews 66-67 Yung Joc 62-63 2 pistols 50-51 rock city 56-57 yung berg 64-65 Ms Cherry 68-69 Tampa Tony 72-73 Gucci Mane

features 36 Dj booth 75 industry 101 74 board game

pg 58-61 R E DAVID BANN pg 52-55 IA F A THREE 6 M OZONE MAG // 13


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

Your shit is the realest mag out. I tried to read XXL the other day because they had Rick Ross on the cover, but that shit was boring. I like the articles that Wendy Day and Charlamagne Tha God write; that shit adds to the mag. JB’s 2 Cents is official. Your magazine always keeps it both educational and entertaining. – Metro Records, myspace.com/metroswag (South Carolina)

OZONE is the only magazine I read because y’all represent the real. Y’all had Shawty Lo and B.o.B. on the covers and both of them are doing they thang in the A. Magazines like XXL or VIBE or Source ain’t showing no real love to the South like OZONE is. Keep doing your thing JB! You and everybody at OZONE is the shit! - Tony Nix (Atlanta, GA)

What’s poppin’, OZONE? I just copped issue #65, the Drug Issue, and thought it was real informative for cats that are idolizing the drug game. It’s a real eye-opener for youngsters who think they’re going to rich by hugging the block hustling. I’ve been reading your magazine for a minute and respect your grind. OZONE filled a niche market when the Source got bought out and XXL became garbage. My only problem is that you don’t show love to your readers and artists overseas. I’m from Amsterdam and I’m one of the illest emcees on the planet. I look forward to being featured in OZONE one day. By the way, Amsterdam was founded on drug culture and is the weed and ecstasy capital of the world. – Tyger Vinum, myspace.com/tygervinum (Amsterdam)

Fuck OZONE! Especially that muthafucka Randy Roper. That nigga’s a hater. He be giving muthafuckers one and two blunts in his reviews, so he must be a hatin’ ass nigga. That’s why I don’t read OZONE. And nobody wants your 2 Cents, JB. We don’t care what the fuck you got to say. Y’all put all kinds of muthafuckers I never heard of before in your magazine. Sonny Rich and Jus Bleezy and 9th Ward? I ain’t never heard of any of these niggas. And what the fuck is a Memphitz? That’s why I don’t read y’all shit. Y’all need to put me on the cover. I’m about to take over this rap shit. - Yung Trouble (Tampa, FL)

I’ve gotta show some love to the greats over there at OZONE Magazine. Keep giving us a real publication that we can relate to and we’re gonna keep buying up the issues as soon as they hit the shelf. - DJ Philosophy I look forward to each and every issue of OZONE. I’m in love with your magazine. I was at Safeway and picked up an issue of XXL Magazine and saw that they were featuring rappers that OZONE said was hot two years ago. OZONE is so ahead of the curve it ain’t funny. I love your new Dollar Menu feature. It’s amazing to read about a stripper that I just tipped the night before. I love OZONE magazine so much that whenever I get my mail, it’s the first thing I look for. It brightens my day, real talk. Good job on the drug issue. I loved Wendy Day’s interview with Calvin Klein. Y’all are killin’ the rap mag game right now, so keep up the good work! OZONE Mag is nothin’ but quality material. – upfans@verizon.net (Maryland) OZONE is a must in da Sipp and Arkansas. The mags are like crack. I think there must be something in between the pages that makes this magazine so addictive! - Bigg V, vradio@gmail.com (Cleveland, MS)

I got the new issue of the magazine in the mail and it’s nice as usual. I like the new layout for Patiently Waiting. Much cleaner looking! – Jesse James, jessejames314@aol.com (St. Louis, MO) That Frank Melton due y’all had in the Drug Issue sounded crazy as hell. But all politicians are crooked anyway. They’re no different from the dudes on the block slanging, they just wear suits and ties instead of white tees and AF1s. I had friends who went to Jackson State University and they used to talk about some dude named Frank, but I never thought it was some old ass mayor dude. He sounds like he has that town on lock. Hope I don’t ever get pulled over riding through there. Why didn’t any of the rappers from Jacktown spoke on him? Y’all should do more articles like this. - Keven Jones (Memphis, TN) I’m writing to say that the DJ issue y’all just did was aight, but it coulda been much better. How y’all gonna have that weak ass TRAKTOR Scratch in there and not the best invention for DJs ever made, Serato? Plus, who are all these sorry ass DJs I ain’t neva heard of in this mag? Shout out to DJ Scream and King Arthur; I’ve heard of them, but them other folks are nobodys, shawty. They aint even got no mixtapes out. Weak. Anyway, keep up the good shit. Just step up your game next year for the DJ issue. - DJ Traphouse, TrapHouseDJs@gmail.com

Correction: Our apologies to 404 Music, as the name of their label was spelled incorrectly in last month’s MJG interview.

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jb’s 2cents

T

he concept of a “press junket” is basically that record labels call up a bunch of local and regional magazines and give ‘em a free trip to meet an artist in exchange for coverage. They spend a little change to fly you somewhere and put you up in a nice hotel, and essentially, they own you for the weekend. You’re their whore. The label publicist will turn into a drill sergeant and you are expected to act like just one of the many cattle being herded towards the feeding trough (which, in this case, is an artist who is extremely tired of being asked the same questions every 15 minutes all day long). Press junkets suck. Granted, I’ve never been one to function well in groups, I had a bunch of birthday parties and a lot of folks came out: so perhaps it’s my fault. I’m much more comfortable roaming freely on my own.

10 THINGS I’M HATIN’ ON PART 2

by comedian Kiana Dancie myspace.com/kianadancie

3. Chicks With Good Head, Especially You, Superhead Fam, I am the trillest you’ll ever meet. But I’ll be the first to tell you that I can’t give good head. I have tried! I have big sexy lips, a wet mouth, and my lip gloss is always poppin’, but I have a gap in my teeth. I have all the proper tools but I am a scraper! So, yes, I’m hating on the chicks with the mean head game. It’s a sad situation when you meet a dude and he is just as excited about you as you are about him, and then when you finally get down to business, you scrape him! You’ll never be asked for head again. Damn! I gave him a band-aid though. 4. The Broad That Owns Ketchup, Teresa Heinz Kerry Don’t you wish your mama was smart enough to smash tomatoes, add some salt, and whatever else makes the recipe for ketchup? If Ms. Teresa decided to shut down the ketchup business, black folks would be in trouble. Black folks will put ketchup on everything from noodles to nipples! Don’t get that look on y’all face, y’all know y’all done tried it! You better hope that Senator John Kerry keeps lil mama happy or you’ll have some dry-ass curly fries, or nipples, whichever is your thing. 5. Afghan Beards In The Summer Bruh, it must be a million degrees on the tip of your chin. I beg... no, I plead that you reconsider the Afghan beard that someone (*cough*RickRoss*cough*) has made a fashion statement. I do understand the need for facial hair, especially on a grown man, but really, do you have to look like Osama bin Laden? Maybe that’s why we can’t find him.

MALIK ABDUL KISHA SMITH

2. Chicks With Pinky Toes That Won’t Stay In The Sandal If I can see that your toe is not in your shoe, can’t you see too? I know that sometimes, ladies, we take the pain to look cute and buy things that are too small for us. But we have to declare the renegade pinky toe unacceptable. Trust me, the shoes may be hot as hell, but if your toes is hanging off and out, you lowered its rating on the bad-ass shoe meter. Please, for the sake of all of us, upgrade. Get your correct shoe size!

First there was the David Banner/Akon/Grandaddy Souf junket in Mississippi during OZONE’s early days. While touring a civil rights landmark in Jackson, a black female journalist (I use the term loosely) cornered me and told me that I better fucking pay attention, since I was already “stealing” black culture (it is important to note that her magazine was printed at Kinko’s and had artists’ names misspelled on the cover). Then there was the Cuban Link junket. I arrived after a couple weeks on the road with a suitcase full of dirty laundry. My last stop before flying to Puerto Rico for the junket had been New York, where the guys at SRC happened to throw me some Terror Squad baby tees (back when I was broke enough to appreciate free promo shirts). I didn’t realize until later why everyone was glaring at me when I arrived at the Cuban Link junket in a TS shirt (not being fully versed in the Cuban Link vs. Fat Joe beef). The rumor that there was a “Fat Joe spy” on the premises didn’t help the situation.

Grafh & I @ Plumm in NYC

Webbie & I @ Rhythm City in Dallas...

TIFANY J

1. Kim Kardashian’s Ass As a sister, I’m very offended that this chick’s ass is so big! Brothas, y’all know a sista that’s light in the ass is a disappointment! Trust me, I know! When I wear my hottest jeans, I try to stay facing forward because I don’t want him to see my flatty. KK, is that really your ass? Reggie, tell us the truth! We won’t tell you told!

I love to travel, and traveling on someone else’s dime is even better, so I really shouldn’t complain. But the fact is that every press junket I’ve ever been to has involved some kind of drama. Publicists seem to hate my guts off top. I guess I can’t blame them because I’m not too fond of them either, but I’m always confused trying to figure out where the animosity comes from. I bust my ass and work hard and take my craft seriously. Other magazine owners love me to my face but I can hear the shit-talking as soon as I turn my back. “Who the fuck does this white bitch think she is?” Yeah, I heard you. Well, the quality of your product was as good as mine, you should be able to say it to my face, no?

And we can’t forget the Choppa junket during Mardi Gras in New Orleans (pre-Katrina). I was not invited to this junket because I had um...issues...with the publicist (who shall remain nameless, since we are friends now :). I made arrangements to attend anyway. Who can keep me out of a Southern rap industry event? Anyway, the whole ordeal resulted in her attempting to leave me stranded at 3 in the morning at a New Orleans hood club (there were ambulances parked outside all night “just in case,” just to give you an idea of where this club was at) and them (the publicists!!) trying to prevent me from interviewing Choppa, which was the whole point of the junket. The irony was that while the rest of the journalists and photographers were getting tipsy in VIP, I was on stage simultaneously filming Choppa’s show and taking pictures. I really believe that success breeds hatred and jealousy in other people who are lacking the same ambition. It always baffled me how my work ethic, and/or the relationships I have directly with artists and their management and their entourages which has been built over years of work, seems to make some of my peers - and even the publicists, whose entire job is supposedly to help me do everything possible to promote their artists - hate me. It makes zero sense.

...and Willy Northpole from Phoenix, who looks like he could Anyway, all that is old irrelevant shit. But it’s amazing when I look back at those old press be Grafh’s West Coast twin? junkets and realize that 90% of the magazines that used to attend don’t exist anymore. Hell, some people have “magazines” strictly for the purpose of getting free trips courtesy of these record labels. The labels themselves are probably the only ones who will ever see copies of the magazine; the consumers don’t. I always try to be humble and let my work (OZONE) speak for itself. But let’s be realistic. When you look at the tremendous growth OZONE has had since those early days, you’d think certain people would congratulate me, but instead, the animosity tripled. I don’t get it. When it comes to credibility in this Hip Hop game, OZONE has arguably surpassed The Source and is right up there with the XXLs and VIBEs. You’ve gotta respect me for that. It’s funny that when Lil Wayne has a press junket half a mile from my office (the infamous junket at which he told Foundation Magazine “fuck mixtape DJs”), I’m not invited. So when I hear about it through other journalists and make arrangements to come myself, a complete icy chill comes over the room when I step inside. Other magazine publishers are Striking a jail pose with Bun B, Kardinal Offishall, & David Ban- asking for my autograph and the publicist will barely acknowledge me. It’s crazy. ner @ Bar Rio in Houston Some of these industry fools still don’t respect OZONE, but that’s okay. They will learn. You’ll see. Wait til I get my money right!!! I used to listen to Tupac back in the day: “Get my weight up with my hate and pay ‘em back when I’m bigger.” I’ve probably quoted this line before but it’s so powerful and it’s always stuck in my head. I was on a mission, dude. A mission to show people that they have to respect me and they have to fucking take me seriously. I don’t give a fuck if I’m invited to a Lil Wayne press junket as long as Lil Wayne fucks with me, because these industry folks are full of shit anyway. Artists will always fuck with me because I didn’t get into this shit for money or fame or groupie pursuits. I got into this for the love of the art form, the creativity and the energy and the hustle of the culture; the joy of watching any artistic project come together, whether it’s a song in the recording studio or a magazine in the OZONE office. Anybody who doesn’t respect me yet can kiss my ass. I’m just getting started. Kisha & Michelle are now com- Julia Beverly, jb@ozonemag.com pletely infatuated with Pitbull

Young Jeezy f/ Kanye West “Put On” Yung LA f/ Young Dro & T.I. “Ain’t I (Remix)” Wale f/ Lil Wayne “Nike Boots (Remix)” Danny! f/ Von Pea “I Don’t Know” Boo Rossini “Head Like Kush” Kidz In The Hall “Inner Me” Tay Dizm f/ T-Pain & Rick Ross “Beam Me Up” Yung Berg f/ Casha “The Business”

RE’Splaylist

randy.roper@ozonemag.com London “One 2 Many” T-Pain “Silver & Gold” Keri Hilson “Energy” B Simm “Talk For A Minute”

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OZONE MAG // 17


BALTIMORE, MD: The Get Em Mamis are taking the city of Bmore by storm with their Cold Summer campaign. Every Friday (May 2nd thru September 5th) they are releasing a freestyle over a classic female Hip Hop instrumental. From “Push It” to “Paper Thin” to “Supersonic,” these two females are the buzz of Hip Hop. They have recently been covered in magazines like Rolling Stone, VIBE, and US Weekly. The freestyles are available every week on their Myspace page and Fader.com. They are definitely the next big thing in Hip Hop. - Darkroom Productions (TheDarkRoomInc@yahoo.com)

ABILENE/SAN ANGELO, TX:

Slaughter House Entertainment brought some heat to the City of Lene with performances by Trae and Steak-n-Shrimp’s Lucky Luciano. Dallas’ Immortal Soldierz shared the stage with First Class, MT Clique, Rob Lloyd, and DJ ‘Rreal. Poetic Thug dropped his 13th CD Down South Thugz Vol. 3 with tracks from HAWK, Big Gem, Lucky Luciano, Grimm, Coast, and Kiotti. First Class released their mixtape Get It Done Vol. 3: M.A.S.H. MODE hosted by Kyle Lee. It features Spark Dawg, Da Ryno, and Fade Dogg. DJ Skid spins the Bat Cave; DJ Obzene works College Nights at El Sitio; and DJ Jale is at Midnite Rodeo 3. - Christian Flores (cdog@radioabilene.com)

CHICAGO, IL:

Texas Relay weekend had 50,000+ visitors to the city. Bavu Blakes and Trey Songz were some of the performers who took stage at the Urban Music Festival. Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Rianna, and N.E.R.D came through for the Glow in the Dark Tour. Rapid Ric’s new single “Call Me,” from his upcoming Whut It Dew album, features Chamillionaire and Chalie Boy. Bun B came to town for an instore signing at Music Mania and his II Trill album release party at Emo’s. - O.G. of Luxury Mindz (www.luxurymindz.com)

Hot Stylz is now signed to Swagg Team/Jive Records, Yung Joc’s label. DJ Shaun T had his Midwest Concert Series at Reggie’s. Twista is getting ready to release the Speedknot Mobstaz album on his Get Money Gang imprint. Cool Kids are touring globally. Fremont Jackson appeared on B.E.T.’s Freestyle Friday. DJ KC Perfect bangs out Club Dvine and the Negro League Café. He also mixes on CORE DJs Sirius Mixshow Radio. DJ Shotime is releasing his TOO HOT for TV series. Check out the blogspot NOIDvstraxster.com. Power 92 celebrated their 7-year anniversary. Ben1 and Shawnna have a new single building on the airwaves. L.E.P. performed with Shawty Lo at the Suite. - Jamal Hooks (JHooks@tmail.com)

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS:

CINCINNATI, OH:

AUSTIN, TX:

Chop the Truth and The Block Burnaz tore it down at Nel’s Sports Bar & Lounge. The Swamp Root Klik has announced they are releasing their album Mississippi’s Secret Weapon. Huggy Bear the Poet, along with Shakespear and friends, have mad poetry skills. Some of Shakespear’s Katrina footage was used in Spike Lee’s film When the Levees Broke. Get ready for DJ Deliyte’s 1st Annual Producer & Artist Summit. - DJ Deliyte (unodasound@yahoo.com)

BIRMINGHAM, AL:

Bun B hit the town during the Miles College Annual M-Day to promote his new album II Trill. The Carter Group Car Show took place at The Alabama State Fairgrounds, with Pastor Troy and many others swinging through. Yo Gotti graced the stage at The Continental Ballroom. M.P. dropped another mixtape. DJ C. Ross of 103.1 WEUP/Freewill Records dropped Showtyme Take 2 featuring Youngbloodz, Playaz Circle, Khao, Gucci Mane, and Corey Barbar. OZONE Magazine came through for the B.A. Boyz’ video shoot. View Mobb is doing shows around the city and Birmingham J’s new single “Cazals” is getting spins. - K. Bibbs (AllOrNothingPromo@hotmail.com) 18 // OZONE MAG

Khadijah, “Queen of The City,” has been grinding really hard and teaming up with the Mixen Vixen, DJ Dimepiece, to show these niggas who’s the “Boss.” The Ritz nightclub is going strong this summer and has a huge roster of acts on the upcoming list. B-Luck is the youngest cat on the roster and he’s hatin’ on everybody, so don’t take that shit personal – it’s just B-Luck. Kayo Montana has released his DVD Before the Deal and it can be seen on all the local channels. - Judy Jones (Judy@JJonesent.com)

COLUMBUS, GA:

Foxie 105’s Family Day in the Park is coming. Over the years, Family Day in the Park has introduced artists like Mary J. Blige. It was the first place T.I. performed after his 2004 prison release, and on that same day, hosted Crime Mob’s “Knuck If You Buck” video shoot. In addition to Family Day, two big name artists are scheduled to make a stop in the fountain city, and the second annual Hip Hop Summit kicks off in July. - Slick Seville (SlickSeville@gmail.com)


COLUMBUS, OH: Mr. Scarface, 2 Pistols, Ray J, Rocko, Shawty Lo, Dwele, Eric Roberson, Bun B, and even The Flavor of Love girls have stopped by to kick it. Elephant Man got his trunk grabbed by some wild fans (go to flypaperblog.com to see the video). The Flypaper had its first industry event with execs from Def Jam, B.E.T., Interscope, and other labels. On the music scene, look out for Ohio’s own Searius Add; he’s blowing up in the Midwest. His Unplugged concert was dope. Fly Union is performing with The Cool Kids on some of the Midwest dates. - Yohannan Terrell (ImageInq@gmail.com)

DALLAS/FT. WORTH, TX:

Teenage artist Lil Twist signed with Cash Money. Stub a Lean has everybody wearing his Addiktion clothing, while Fat Pimp is making the clubs and radio do the “Rack Daddy.” 97.9 the Beat Car Show & Concert had downtown crunk. Metro Muzik is letting all local artists perform at Palm Beach on Friday nights. The Trap Star Cartel is keeping the Westside of the Metroplex on chill with “I’m Cool.” Club 820 is your new Sunday night spot in Funkytown. Tre D is on the airwaves with “Gutta Chick” and Versatile dropped his Verses the World album. Free Twisted Black, Z-Ro, and Boleg city. - Edward “Pookie” Hall (urbansouth@gmail.com)

DENVER, CO:

The historical Holly Strip in Park Hill was burned down, and the community is outraged. On the Eastside of town, the creator of the Crips in Denver during the 80s, Michael “Cyco Mike” Asbury, was murdered. The Nuggets talk about trading Carmelo and Camby. On a better note, Innerstate Ike dropped his best work titled Jay-Z of the Blacktop. Ktone T.V. video show now airs weekly along with Groove Zone and Real Hip Hop 5280. Freestyle Fridays at ONI’s Barbershop is poppin’; The Loft is jam packed weekly as well as 95.7 the Party out at Paladium. Summer Jam is featuring about 10 big artists and First Saturdays at Blue Ice is gonna be big all summer. - DJ Ktone (Myspace.com/djktonedotcom)

DETROIT, MI:

Deezy’s new project Roll Model is in the streets. Trick-Trick is heating up the airwaves with “Let’s Work.” Identical is getting video play with their single “I’m Doin What I Do.” The Zone Radio (89.3 FM) celebrated its 6-year anniversary. FM 98 WJLB had their annual What’s Next on the Menu Concert at St. Andrews Hall. Stretch Money was featured on AllHipHop.com. Radio personality Cheron and Flavor of Love 2 winner Deelishis had an on-air altercation with Khia. D12 is set to drop a new mixtape. You can expect to hear Eminem, as well as Royce Da 5’9”, Guilty Simpson, King Gordy, Monica Blaire, Marv Won, Famous & Flame, and Rock Bottom. Lady Blade is working on her mixtape Queen of the City. - AJ (the313report@yahoo.com) & Eric tha Crunk (Myspace. com/CrunkAtlantaMusic)

DOTHAN, AL:

D&R Promotions and Creative Vybes Entertainment teamed up for the first annual Community Day on Spring Street. In attendance to show support were Tallahassee rapper Tre Snatch; Mobile rapper Thao; Hood Hard DJ Marcus Kage, and over 200 members of the community of all ages. There was music, food, and fun for all. Musical guests scheduled to make appearances in the near future include BloodRaw, Dolla, Kinfolk Kia Shine, and Young Ralph. - DJ Akil (DJ.Akil@yahoo.com)

GAINESVILLE, FL:

Miami invades the Ville with featured performances from Brisco, Ace Hood, Bizzle, Trick Daddy and the Dunk Ryders, as well as the first act signed to Yung Joc’s label, Hot Stylz. Since it’s a college town, summer has slowed down the club scene but that hasn’t stopped the B.R.E. Cartel from tearing it down on the 1’s and 2’s every Saturday, along with Mr. Ripper and DJ 44 putting it down every Thirsty Thursday. DJ Terrah of Magic 101.3 and the Gatekeepers makes history by being the first from Gainesville to appear on BET’s Rap City. - Jett Jackson (g5jett@gmail.com)

HOUSTON, TX:

Bun B is II Trill and showed it at Bar Rio for his album release party. GL Productions is pushing out hits for Letoya Luckett’s new CD, as well as the new smash

“Ridin Wit’ No Ceiling” from Boss Hogg Outlaws and Slim Thugga. The G Kamp is reppin’ South of Houston with the new project Against All Oddz. The love for Pimp C is so strong that G Kamp is giving a percent of sales to his kids. H.I.S.D. is bringing the original Hip Hop with “The District.” Byron Bank, Uppa Dek, Trae, and ABN all dropped smashes recently. - Jay Gamble (My.Upclose@gmail.com)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN:

Brew, Ms. Dumas, and ABC Bail Bonds is staying busy getting folks out of jail. Picture Perfect has club pics on lock. They also have player prices on portfolio packages and a new location at 38th and Park. Lil PeeWee and Dimelife Ent. are getting a buzz in the streets. Gig Fam is putting on shows to support the local rap scene. Trash Life Ent. and HoggBillies did the crunkest performance I’ve ever seen in Indianapolis. Nappyville’s single “Supa Clean” with Lil Boosie is blazin’ airwaves. Dragged Up Music’s new location is shocking the world with its impressive murals and graffiti. Check out the DJ Screw, UGK, and Gucci Mane murals. - DJ Black (djblackhcp@tmail.com)

JACKSON, MS:

Young Jeezy made his way back to the Capital City courtesy of his newest addition to the CTE label, Boo “Rossini.” Stax’s 6th Annual Birthday Takeover was crazy. A gunman opened fire inside Upper Level, creating another ruckus with the mayor. Rick Ross and Webbie hit the city, and Webbie had a little altercation with the sheriff’s department upon his arrival. Soulja Boy, Hurricane Chris, and B.E.T. host Terrence J also came through the city, making the kids happy with an end of the school year jam. - Tambra Cherie (TambraCherie@aol.com) & Stax (blockwear@tmo. blackberry.net)

JACKSONVILLE, FL:

Midget Mac brought VH1 to the city while filming for his new show I Love Money (coming July 7th). We can’t get enough of Boosie and Webbie, plus Yo Gotti and Pleasure P stopped through for Bigga Rankin’s 16th Cool Runnings Anniversary at Plush. Bigga flew over 15 hard-working Jacksonvillians (including Midget Mac, myself, DJ Kool-Aid, Ms. Dynasty, and Terrence Tyson) to Kansas City for Mon-E-G’s video featuring Yo Gotti and Rick Ross. The HardHeadz shot a video with Swordz; Young Jeezy stunted through the city for Garfield’s birthday; and C.E.O. not only threw another outrageous Foam Party but also dropped a new mixtape with DJ Q45. A Lot 2 Lose has a new club smash “Ballin on You” featuring Shawn Jay. - Lil Rudy (LilRudyRu@yahoo.com)

KANSAS CITY, MO/KS:

OZONE Magazine and MTV Jams invaded the town and filmed the next episode of Rapquest. Kansas City’s King Tech N9ne was one of the featured artists in the shoot and his new album Killer is in stores now. Be on the look out for Legion the Legend; he just signed with STL production team The Trackboyz and his single “Paramedic” is blazing Hot 103 Jamz’ Underground Heat. DJ Rice is working on his Still in These Streets compilation that will feature the street banger “Whip It” from Chain Gang Parolees. - Kenny Diamondz (KennyDiamondz@gmail.com)

LAS VEGAS, NV:

Jay-Z, Kanye West, Memphis Bleek, Lupe Fiasco, Pharrell, DJ Clue, Flo-Rida, Sugar Hill Gang, Lil Jon, DJ Drama, and Ludacris have all been on the scene. Las Vegas sends our condolences to the family and friends of Orish Grinstead – original member of R&B group 702 and twin sister of Irish – who recently passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. - Portia Jackson (PortiaJ@sprint.blackberry.net)

LOS ANGELES, CA:

Jay-Z and Mary J. murdered L.A. with three stellar shows, followed a week later by Kanye West’s Glow in the Dark Tour. KPWR’s annual Powerhouse Concert boasts one of the dopest line-ups that a Rap fan could imagine, featuring performances by Lil Wayne, Game, Ice Cube, T-Pain, Chris Brown, Colby O’Donis and more. USC Super Frosh, O.J. Mayo, enters the NBA draft amidst allegations he violated NCAA rules and took the cheese while in school. Oh well, get that money playboy. R.I.P. to Xzibit’s son Xavier who passed after only 11 days in the world. Our prayers are with you X. - Ant Wright of Swag, Inc. (www.Myspace.com/antsandg) OZONE MAG // 19


NASHVILLE, TN:

LOUISVILLE, KY:

Derby Weekend was off the meat rack with parties galore. Friday, DJs Q45 and Dimepiece were on the 1’s & 2’s at The Villa. Saturday, the Grand Gala was a star-studded event with celebs like Gabrielle Union, Bob Johnson, Michael Strahan, T-Mo Goodie, Tracy Edmonds, and others. Ms. Sharlene Shanklin organized this event. Darrell Griffith’s party popped as usual; DJ Kid Capri did him, so did Plaiboi, BDMJ, Famous, and ThruDaRoof. Sunday, the Funk Flex Car Show was very colorful. KYMP Kamp hosted the 2nd Annual Awards. Our hearts go out to Static’s wife Avonti and Lil D for the Tribute to a Legend at City Block. - Divine Da Instagata (OuttaDaShopEnt@hotmail.com)

KILLEEN/BELTON/TEMPLE/WACO, TX:

Smoke networked with J Prince Jr. and D Glover to bring in heavy-hitters Trae, Jayton and Boss of A.B.N, A Dub, D Ward, and Mike Hop to Club Hypnotic. My Lyfe Records’ N’Riyah, Yung Money, and Adykted Sol have a serious buzz in Central Texas. L.A. of B106.3 discussed OZONE’s Purple Rain article live on the radio. Big Lunny had an Apple Bottom Show at Club Rio. Spark Dawg, MJ, and Mike Hee of Green City were on 713 the Beat and Gutta of Mack’s on the Rise drops his single “Wood on My Dash.” - Tre Dubb (tredubb@hotmail.com)

Shan Foster is officially headed to the NBA and TSU’s own Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was selected in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. Hang Time shut the city down again for their two-year anniversary party. Pearl Fusion Retro is now open and the 1st Tennessee Music Conference and Hip Hop Awards plans to shine even more light on the state. C-Dub, C-Lo, and Crisis are now Derrty DJs. Skateboard P’s single “Fresh out the Club” produced by Fate Eastwood is a summer anthem and the Annual Cancer/Leo Birthday Bash hosted by JC, Serious, and Lady Mirage Models sets the standard. - Janiro (Janiro@southernentawards.com)

NEW ORLEANS, LA:

Q93’s Slab 1 is the new King of Nights in the 504. He’s the perfect successor to Wild Wayne. The Hip Hop Hour with Alex McConduit is the hottest show on Loyola University’s campus. They began syndicating to WODU Radio in Norfolk, VA by featuring female rapper 3D Na’Tee. DJ Money Fresh has The Duck Off poppin’ every week. Every Hornets’ home playoff game was followed by an after party and the ladies were in the building. The hottest new releases out of the Creole cockpit are The Show’s Victory Lap, K-Gates and B.G.’s mixtape, and Curren$y’s joint “Welcome to the Winner’s Circle.”

OCALA, FL:

C. Wakeley and the Gatekeepers came to town promoting Two Dogg Records’ Certified (formerly Big Koon & Hollywood). Other emerging Ocala acts are Jit & S.G. of Kornerboy Ent. and K.S.B. The 2nd Annual Lil Boy’s Pushing Big Wheels Car Show got rained out but will be rescheduled. DJ Leezy’s next mixtape Tote Tha City 3 is coming soon. - DJ Leezy (DJLeezy352@yahoo.com)- Derrick Tha Franchise (www.Myspace. com/DerrickThaFranchise)

NEW YORK, NY

MACON, GA:

Mixtape season kicks off with Insane of 2G and 97.9’s 4J (a.k.a. Mr. 4th Of July) releasing Keeping My Sanity. Forsyth is in the game with a hot one from Bishop City. His “Polo’s and Ice Cream” is a club banger. DJs Ric Flare, Teknikz and Storm set it off at The Rock for Teknikz’ B-Day Bash. Gorilla Zoe and Bohagon came through as well. - Ali Roc (radiodj242000@yahoo.com)

Maino’s smash single “Hi Hater” has been brewing in NYC for a minute now and is about to bubble across the country. Google it, YouTube it, get it in your life ASAP. On the underground level, a few artists making serious noise are The League from Long Island (getting a heavy co-sign from Sha Money and Kay Slay); Nikal Fieldz (a caucasian MC from Rochester with the crazy single “Racist”); and a female emcee with a lyrical obsession, Nina B from Ravenel Records. - J. Hatch (www.Myspace.com/jasonhadshian)

MANATEE COUNTY, FL:

PITTSBURGH, PA:

Rumba Lounge held a Gorilla Zoe concert with opening act Geno & Skunk performing their single “Bucket.” The single was included on the latest TJs DJs Tastemaker’s Only CD. Slip-N-Slide Street artist Chill Da Million Dollar Man continues to make his presence seen all over Florida. There’s definitely been a drought in the night life for Bradenton, Sarasota, and Palmetto since Club Heat closed. The only regular survivor is the Big Bro Comedy Show held every Friday at the Bella Vista Building. Open mic is from 10-11 PM, followed by comics from B.E.T. and Last Comic Standing. It’s hosted by Gigallo Weeze and 96.5 FM is on the scene. For more info call 941-592-0343. - Hollywoodred (era9880@yahoo.com)

MEMPHIS, TN:

Gangsta Boo and La Chat have created their own remix of Three 6’s “I’d Rather.” Although they may have just been fucking off, they definitely had fun with this one. Rapper Teflon Don has been getting lots of attention ever since winning the Memphisrap.com Showcase and has been marketing himself quite well. Kia Shine has been spotted handing out some new singles around town. Not sure what to expect with his latest single titled “My New Style,” but we do know he’s been on the collaboration tip with some other Memphis artists. - Deanna Brown (Deanna.Brown@MemphisRap.com)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA:

With headquarters like AOL and Google within walking distance, this wealthy town is not all work and no play. The Shoreline Amphitheater used to be home to KMEL’s Summer Jam concerts until a person was murdered after the show in 2005. The venue scaled back for a couple of years, yet it’s willing to host the Rock The Bells 2008 concert featuring Mos Def, Redman and Method Man, A Tribe Called Quest, Raekwon, and Ghostface along with a slew of other artists that started this rap shit (Nas and Rakim). And for the grown and sexy, the legendary Stevie Wonder performs for one night only when he makes a rare Bay Area appearance. - Kay Newell (kayozonemag@gmail.com)

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Warner Brothers’ own Wiz Khalifa has everybody saying “Say Yea” and Paper Boys Entertainment is pushing “Trap Walk” featuring DJ Unk. S. Money is still the man and DJs Boogie, GQ, Kode Wred, Black Steel, and Schizo are working hard. F-Block Records got the single “Wrist Game” and their new mixtape All About the Gwap. “We Run It” is all over the net. Boaz and Vonn Treeze continue to supply the hits. “Go hard or go home” is Pittsburgh’s new motto. - Lola Sims (lolasims@gmail.com)

PORTLAND, OR & IDAHO:

Monster tours are hitting The Rose City this summer. Too $hort, Andre Nickatina, Mike P, and Cool Nutz all on one stage – it’s a West Coast Classic. Don’t sleep on the 503 grindas like Lil’ Fats of Hi Rollerz Records. His Coast 2 Coast mixtape series is validated and his label just officially signed The Source’s Unsigned Hype Slo Poke, a.k.a. SP, to a deal for his second full length project The Appreciation Of. That’s three NW artists in The Source’s Unsigned Hype in less than half a year – something’s in the water, baby. - Luvva J (Myspace.com/luvvaj)

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND:

Rumors are rampant this month about the return of Ireland’s only Hip Hop radio station Vibe FM which was shut down five years ago by local police. With a full schedule leaked to us, it appears that within weeks the pirate will be back on air, stronger than before. UK’s #1 Jodie Aysha was in Dublin this month, performing the hit single “Heartbroken” to a capacity crowd. The heavier Hip Hop fans were treated to sold-out Madlib and A-Trak shows, while it was a month that saw numerous Hip Hop spots known for supporting local talent struggle to stay afloat. - Kev Storrs (kevstorrs@gmail.com)

SAN DIEGO, CA:

Independent underground artists from Diego to L.A. unite on the fifth installment of the Street Pressure mixtape series. Z90.3’s Extreme Autofest invaded the Chargers Qualcomm Stadium; the event even took time to address Diego’s underground illegal Street Racing problems via Racelegal.com. Tourism is


soaring this year and the Hip Hop community is taking advantage of the boom with shows by Erykah Badu, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Day 26, and even a Secret Breakfast show with Usher. - Ant Wright of Swag, Inc. (Myspace.com/antsandg)

MONTGOMERY, AL: WJWZ had a special meet-and-greet for its listeners. The Sky Bar and Grill is the new hot spot on Fri and Sat nights. DJ Frank White and Greg Street released Gump’s Most Hated Vol. 5. The Maxximum Exposure Networking and Music Conference was tight. Even though the host was going off on everybody, it still allowed participants to network with T.J. Chapman, DJ Aaries, Reewine Radio, Cadillac Don (above, with Hot Girl Maximum and Kamikaze), Khao, Riskay, Dr. Fangaz, Lil Chappy, Bama Hip Hop, etc. Killa Katt and King South are rumored to be dissing T. Long since they’ve gotten with Tight 2 Def. All I know is somebody sold somebody’s jewelry to get somebody out of jail. - DJ Frank White (Myspace.com/DJFrankWhite96) & Hot Girl Maximum (HotGirl. Maximum@gmail.com)

SAVANNAH, GA:

The month kicked off with White Chocolate’s Birthday at Club 170. Yola and Clouds Entertainment showed haters they weren’t gon’ give up on throwing the best parties of the season. They added 2 Pistols and V.I.C. to their summer line-up and even bigger stars are coming soon. The Next 2 Blow mixtape will be released soon featuring only the best in the underground music world from all corners of the map. Here’s your Rapquest tip of the month: use your hobby to get paid. - Lucky (Myspace.com/She_She)

SEA-TAC, WA:

Highly anticipated heat not only describes the Northwest’s desire for summer, but also Framework’s long overdue release on Keivarae Entertainment, This is It. Recent Northwest visitors included J. Ross-Parrelli – the singer/MC’s debut, Soooul Full Mixed Jams is dope; so is her live show. Pamona, CA’s Kokane has moved up to The 206. Seattle’s Dyme Def is another NW entity christened as The Source’s Unsigned Hype – that’s three in half a year (SP, Mikey Vegas & Illa J). - Luvva J (Myspace.com/luvvaj)

ST. LOUIS, MO:

Vic Damone, Jus Bleezy, and Ooops have been blessed in OZONE’s Patiently Waiting. County Brown is now STL’s Hittmenn DJ rep and yours truly, Jesse James, is now a HittBreaka DJ. Mr. Marcus Mixtape had Liffy Stokes of SpeedKnot Mobstaz on his radio show. Hot mixtapes include DJ Bishop V Luv’s Something to Say Vol. 4, E Dubb Da Hustla’s Double Jeopardy Vol. 2, DJ Smalls and Gena’s The Breakthrough, DJ AJ’s Holla at Ya Derrty, DJ Trakstar’s Boogie Bang 13, Nimmy Russell’s Beautiful People, and DerrtyBoi Montana’s DerrtyBoi Radio. Da Banggaz also hit the streets with New STL Vol. 2 which includes a DVD. - Jesse James (JesseJames314@aol.com)

TALLAHASSEE, FL:

The streets are buzzin’ with lots of new records out of Florida. Ace Hood got the new joint “Cash Flow” featuring our very own T-Pain and my man Rick Ross. This record is going hard, as is Grind Mode’s new joint “She So Fly” and Bizzle’s “Naked Hustle.” TJ’s DJ’s Music Conference was a success with some of the hottest producers doing their thing in the beat battle. We had a special surprise guest appearance by Chilli of TLC to add to the excitement. - DJ Dap (DJDapOnline@gmail.com)

TAMPA, FL:

DJs Mingle Mixx and Coz manned the 1’s and 2’s while 3rd Leg Greg hosted the Women’s NCAA Final Four at The St. Pete Times Ice Forum. Aych returned to 106 & Park in a losing effort, but launched his own line of bottled water called Aych 2-O. MC Serch called into The Hip-Hawk Hour to discuss Khia’s addition to VH1’s Miss Rap Supreme. Hip Hop Soda Shop hosted Tango’s album listening party and “16 Bars” video shoot. GateKeeper affiliate DJ Shizm appeared on BET’s Rap City. - Slick Worthington (SlickWorthi813@gmail.com)

TULSA, OK

It’s goin’ down at Club Pure every weekend with DJ GoodGround as their newest resident DJ. Top-Bar Code, Ramal Hometown Heat, and The Goodfellas presents The Summer Swag Beach Party with DJ King Arthur and V.I.C. Dem Franchize Boyz visited 105.3 KJAMZ and Kool Keith conducted the exclusive interview. DJ Dre the Monsta heats up the street with his newest mixtape entitled Certified Street Invasion Vol. 2 co-hosted by yours truly, DJ Civil Rightz. - DJ Civil Rightz (Myspace.com/DJCivilRightz)

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA:

Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, N.E.R.D., and Rhianna were in town for the Glow in the Dark Tour. Kanye was the best by far. Plies came to Club Mystique and had all the dope boys in full effect. “Who Hotter than Me?” is one of the hottest joints in VA right now. Doubt Gotcha was featured on BET’s Rap City and really represented for the hood. Old Dominion University’s Campus Chaos, initiated by Nicki Anderson, brought Cassidy, Wale, and Hurricane Chris to the 757. Joe Pro continues to reign as the King of Clubs in VA. - Young Fame (contactyoungfame@gmail.com)

WASHINGTON, DC:

Since signing with Interscope and Mark Ronson’s Alido Records, Wale has been popping up all over the place as Hip Hop’s newest talent. The sneaker-head emcee has been trading bars with his favorite rapper Black Thought. He appeared with Chrisette Michelle on The Roots’ video “Rising Up” and on the David Letterman Show. From the Rock the Bells concert to LRG ads, Wale is shining much deserved light on Washington, DC. He just dropped his Seinfeld-inspired Mixtape About Nothing and his debut album is due out later this year. - Pharoh Talib (Ptalib@gmail.com) OZONE MAG // 21


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OZONE MAG // 23


yDay.com) CONFERENCES AND SEMINARS | By Wendy Day (www.Wend

T

hese days, it seems like everyone is doing a conference and/or awards show in Hip Hop. What is up with that? I guess people see one or two people do it, and they think they have the proper connections, knowledge, and opinions to do it their damn selves. The problem is, most fail. It’s not a money maker, and most people seem to think it’s a quick come up. It’s really not. Ask anyone who has done a conference or awards show. I believe in knowledge, so in the past three years, I have attended every seminar, conference, and summit that seemed worthy and fit my schedule. This kept me on the road for at least 10 days a month in the past few years, yet only a handful of these events were worthwhile. I have attended so many bullshit events that I am now officially burned out on seminars, award shows, and conferences. Most of the events lacked the proper funding to advertise and promote the event properly, so numerous times I ended up speaking to rooms with less than 50 people. Almost all of the events were done in nightclubs, which confused the attendees when they were told to shut up and listen to the folks on stage speaking. As you can guess, most didn’t shut up, so we ended up speaking to ourselves and the first 10 feet of attendees with the dull hum of voices in the background to thoroughly distract and insult us. And at almost every conference, I ended up speaking along side of people who were more interested in self-promoting their company or crew, or who gave wrong information to the attendees. My favorite was a local lawyer who told the crowd that artists didn’t need to copyright their music. Idiot! Seems more than a few of the conventions trick folks into coming by offering showcase spots (for $500 to $2,000 a spot), telling the artists that they will get to perform in front of industry folks (yeah, folks like me who wouldn’t stay for a showcase even with a gun to my head) who could sign them and make all of their dreams come true. These suckers who pay for showcase spots are obviously the people who are talking through the panels in the back of the room because the majority of panelists actually tell artists exactly how to get signed to a record deal (if you were listening, you’d know too). Hell, I spoke over 40 times in the past 14 months, and at every event I talked about how to get a deal and how ineffective it is to hand out demos. At the end of every panel, I was bombarded with demos. I also skipped every showcase (while it’s important for artists to practice their craft and perform, doing so in front of the industry with the intention of getting signed to a major label is a waste—doing so in front of consumers who will buy a CD is a better move; more strategic, and the sales are more likely to attract a label to sign you). The importance of a local seminar in smaller towns and cities is its ability to bring together like-minded people. In areas like Gainesville, Memphis, Augusta, San Antonio, or Jackson, a seminar brings together local radio people, DJs, retailers, artists, etc, into one place so they can network and interact with each other. It’s a great way for new people to get to know who is who, and an even better way to plan to work together on projects and build relationships. This is a who-you-know business. In a perfect world, these events may even bring in successful national or regional folks from the music industry who are willing to share their secrets of success (with the folks who aren’t rudely talking to each other during the panel).

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I built my career at conferences and seminars that matter—that’s how I learned much of what I know about this business. I met folks, kept in touch, and learned from their experiences. Instead, we now have hundreds of little seminars that no one attends, with panelists who don’t really matter and attendees who didn’t come to learn. So, if you are planning a conference or seminar in your area, please make sure you find the perfect venue (nightclubs are for showcases, not panel discussions), and sponsors who are willing to invest in your vision. Make sure your panelists are a nice mix of successful people who genuinely want to share useful information (as opposed to airing out others or pumping up their own businesses). Your panelists should consist of local successful people, regionally established industry people, and nationally significant people—all with proven track records. The panelists should be people willing to give back, not people coming into your marketplace to “rape” the local artists. Plan the panels according to your market. If you have an abundance of indie labels in your area (like anywhere in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, etc) make certain you have panelists who can share knowledge on putting out an indie record and maybe a LEGITIMATE distributor on the panel. If your market has no great producers but a ton of rappers, make sure you have some regional and national producers on the panel to help both the artists and the up and coming producers learn. Fill the void! Whatever your community is missing is what you should be offering. You will most likely need to fly key people in and put them up in a decent hotel. That is standard unless you have the connections and power to ask people to come at their own expense. Panel discussions should last at least an hour to get a real discussion going, and almost as long for the audience to ask questions. Make sure you post an event schedule on a website so people know where to go and what’s going on. It’s a good idea to print that schedule out and hand it to your attendees as they come to your event. Make sure the panelists receive it ahead of time so they can attend more than just their panel. Have a moderator who can control the crowd and keep the discussion moving in a lively fashion. This is just as important as having interesting panelists. Make sure you spread the word about your event. Just using free MySpace blasts are not enough. Radio ads, flyers and posters, and advertising to the urban music community at least two months ahead is key for a small event. Six months ahead if you are trying to attract attendance from a larger area like your entire region. The SEAs begin advertising the next year’s event the week after the SEAs end. You don’t have to be that thorough, but maybe that’s why the attendance there always breaks a couple thousand. If your event wasn’t worthy of people attending this year, there won’t be a next year. I know I won’t be back. And lastly, if there’s already a successful event in your area or region, find another avenue. Why try to copy or compete with something that already works and works well? TJ’s DJ’s springs to mind. Every Quarter, his event attracts 3,000+ people, mostly key artists and industry people. If you are in that region, why would you want to compete with that? You’d end up looking bad, unable to attract the volume and the key people that his events attract. Don’t follow, lead. Find what’s missing in your region and supply that. And then be sure to do it well. //


(above L-R): Willy Northpole & Shareefa @ MTV Jams’ ATL Week filming in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity); UGK 4Ever mural on the set of Bun B’s “That’s Gangsta” in Port Arthur, TX (Photo: Knowledge); Trae & Tony Neal @ Crisco Kidd’s birthday party in Houston, TX (Photo: Julia Beverly)

01 // Rockwilder & DJ Q45 @ The Marlin (Miami, FL) 02 // Maricia Magana & DJ Playboy @ Pashaa Ultra Lounge for Crisco Kidd’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 03 // Greg Street, DJ Blak, & Mistah FAB @ WVEE (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Ump, Suthern Boy, & Gorilla Tek @ Prive for Trina’s album release party (Miami, FL) 05 // J Cash & Jon Young @ Koha for Treal’s video shoot (Orlando, FL) 06 // Gorilla Zoe & Vee @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s “Trilla” album release party (Miami, FL) 07 // Killa Kyleon & Bun B @ Bar Rio for Bun B’s 2 Trill album release party (Houston, TX) 08 // Trae & Smitty @ Paul Wall’s birthday concert (Houston, TX) 09 // Lil C & Khao on the set of “How We Do It In The A” (Atlanta, GA) 10 // DJ Irie & Cee-Lo @ Hooter’s Beach Ball festival (Miami, FL) 11 // Donimo & Spark Dawg @ The Beat 713 (Houston, TX) 12 // Nnette interviewing Yung Berg & Ray J (Houston, TX) 13 // Yung Joc, Dapa, Grind, & guest on the set of Hot Stylz “Lookin Boy” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 14 // DJ Dr Doom & Stephanie B @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 15 // Brandi Garcia & Troublesum @ Pashaa Ultra Lounge for Crisco Kidd’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 16 // JC & Gorilla Zoe @ DJ Teknikz’ birthday bash (Macon, GA) 17 // Slim Thug & DJ EFX (Houston, TX) 18 // The Dream & Party 93.3 staff @ 93.3 (Houston, TX) 19 // Teresa, Eddie DeVille, Crisco Kidd, & Unique of the Grit Boys @ Pashaa Ultra Lounge for Crisco Kidd’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 20 // Bankroll Jonez & Chamillionaire @ Pashaa Ultra Lounge for Crisco Kidd’s birthday party (Houston, TX) Photo Credits: Bogan (04); Johnny Louis (10); Julia Beverly (03,06,07,09); Knowledge (02,08,11,12,15,17,18,19,20); Malik Abdul (01,05); Ms Rivercity (16); Terrence Tyson (13,14)

OZONEMAG MAG////25 25 OZONE


CHIN CHECK By Charlamagne Tha God We now take a small break from being positive and uplifting our community to criticize this culture that we love called Hip Hop. Why? In the immortal words of TIP off the T.I. vs. T.I.P. album, Act Three, Track 16, Verse Three (song “Tell Em’ I Said That”), bar 11, “Cause the game feels like the real niggas on strike!” There is a lot of bullshit going on in the industry that is rubbing Cthagod the wrong way. For a giant, these are just small things that are bothering me, almost like that small pea the princess felt through those 20 mattresses and 20 feather beds (step your fairy tale game up). 1. Nas changing his album title Nas is my second favorite emcee of all time. Number one is Ghostface Killah, two is Rakim Allah, four is Andre 3000 and five is TIP, if you’re wondering. It pisses me off that he changed the title of his album because he buckled under the pressure of Corporate America. Nas is more concerned about his bottom line, the almighty dollar and not the impact that title would have had on the world. There was a sense of urgency to go out and grab that album because Nas was rebelling against the system and going against the grain. People who were not even fans of Nas were going to grab that album just off the title alone, because they wanted to know what this guy could possibly be talking about. Now, that sense of urgency has dissipated. Diehard fans like me will support him, but I’m still disgusted. People get a Revelation of Truth and they’re scared to stand on that truth because of the persecution that comes with it. People who really believe in the message they’re delivering have a spirit that knows no matter what persecution they encounter on account of those words will only make them stronger. I guess Nas isn’t willing to fight for his truth. That is why the scripture reads, “Many are called but only a few are chosen.” Nas had a Revelation to call his album Nigger but he obviously doesn’t have the strength to stand up for it under the persecution of his record label and whoever else pressured him to change the title of his CD. What’s funny is that he would not have been the first to do it. ODB had Nigga Please, 2Pac had Strictly 4 My Niggaz, Richard Pryor had Bicentennial Nigga and That Nigga’s Crazy. Hell, N.W.A stands for Niggas With Attitude! The conversation probably went like this from the higher-ups at Universal, “Hey, call that nigga LA Reid and tell him to tell that nigga Nas to change his album title or we’re firing both them niggas.” 2. Lil Punk Ass Wayne How many passes are we going give this clown Lil Wayne? It’s to the point that we’re all are going to have to start taking the blame for his bullshit. The media, the consumers, radio stations and video channels. We are the enablers of this guy’s ignorance. He said he’s

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going to kill newborn babies. He said he stopped sniffing cocaine because it gives him acne? That is the best reason he could find to stop using cocaine? Now he says he created the whole genre of mixtapes, he says “fuck mixtape DJs,” and you guys let him slide with a half-ass apology to DJ Drama? Please. I totally cosign my brother DJ Chuck T and his movement to download Lil Wayne’s CD to death. I hear y’all, “Naw, that’s fucked up. You are taking money out of Wayne’s pockets!” Negro please. The only check Lil Wayne needs right now is a reality check. No need to get into a whole bunch of rhetoric over Lil Lame, check the archives of OZONE and read my Fuck Lil Wayne editorial. I heard the Carter 3. It’s good, nothing amazing, just like the writer of the album. I keep telling y’all Lil Wayne is overrated, over-hyped, he has over-extended his welcome, and he’ll probably die of an overdose. 3. Dj Drama Drama is my man but damn he was soft on Wayne. I distinctly remember MTV asking Lil Wayne about DJ Drama’s situation after the Federal raid and Wayne said, “Smarten up.” “It’s a bad thing, but you gotta play the game fair.” “If you don’t play fair, all kind of things can happen.” “You gotta watch people like DJ Clue; watch people like DJ Khaled, they do it right.” “You gotta do it right.” Wayne said, “It’s gonna be a message, the authorities, ain’t playing.” “They gonna make an example.” “They gonna straighten the game out.” “A lot of companies take a fall with those mixtapes.” “Niggas be caking up off them mixtapes.” “The artists can drop his album and everybody knows that Hip Hop album sales are in decline; nobody ain’t gonna buy the album and everybody gets the mix tapes off of the Internet or whatever way they get it.” “The artists ain’t caking, but the nigga you made the mixtape with is caking up.” “Thank God I ain’t got that problem, but I know a lot of people who do!” He threw Drama under the bus and Drama should have returned the favor when he called in with that “I apologize but I meant every word I said. Fuck y’all, I’ll chew your face off” apology. What really bothered me about this interview is when Drama let Wayne diss every DJ that uses Serato or Final Scratch. Wayne talked about how DJs be in the club with the computer on top of the turntables. Duh! Drama, how did you let this cornball diss damn near every DJ in the game? Name a DJ who is not using Serato or Final Scratch? Fred Flintstone ass DJs still using turntables probably can’t afford to upgrade. Wayne called Drama and basically said, “I apologize but fuck y’all anyway.” So basically, Drama let Wayne say “Fuck mixtape DJs” twice. Not only did Drama let him say it, but he asked him to do a Dedication Three. Last time I checked, Drama was one of the kings of the mixtape game. So when Wayne says “fuck mixtape DJs,” I would think this means you too, Drama. This situation is the

equivalent of a man slapping the shit out of a female, apologizing, slapping the shit out of her again, and then the female asks that man for sex. 4. VOCODER EPIDEMIC What is wrong with you dudes? Since when is it okay to just take a bite out of another man’s swagger? T-Pain came with the voice coder thing for this generation (salute to Roger Troutman) and now every rapper and their weed carrier wants to use the voice coder! Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, everybody. Even local rappers in Any Hood USA are using this shit. I want to speak for T-Pain because he is too much of a gentleman to say, “Get off my dick! Can I live? Can I at least get a third album out before y’all start chewing on my shit?” I saw this happen with Das Efx. Their style was dope but before they could get a second album out, other emcees bit off their style and played it out so bad that by the time the originators of the style came back around, nobody wanted to hear that shit! Imitation is not always the best form of flattery. 5. Shawty Lo vs. TI We all know TI in a rap battle against Shawty Lo is about as competitive as a lawn mower against grass but what bothered me is that Shawty Lo was calling out TI for not being from Bankhead when in reality he should be an equal opportunity hater (like myself) and call out every person repping the “A” who wasn’t even born in Georgia! Wikipedia some of these people: Usher (Chattanooga, TN), Ludacris (Champaign, IL), Young Jeezy (Columbia, SC), Ciara (Austin, TX), and Jermaine Dupri (Ashville, NC), and these are just the ones I can name off the top of my head. Maybe we should do a feature in OZONE called “It ain’t where you from, it’s where you at, but where exactly are you from again?” Now that I’m done venting, I’ve got real shit to go write about. I just want you suckers to remember that the Cultural Critic Charlamagne Tha God is always atching. Salute to Bianca Barnes over at BET for coining me the Cultural Critic, thank you. I can’t stop calling myself that now! P.S. South Carolina a.k.a South Crack The Album in stores August 19th!


(above L-R): Chamillionaire & Lil B of The Pack in Houston, TX (Photo: Knowledge); Gucci Mane & Yung Berg @ Luckie’s in Atlanta, GA (Photo: D-Ray); Lil Mama & Pleasure P @ Club Level for The Beat’s birthday bash in Columbia, SC (Photo: Terrence Tyson)

01 // Horseman, guest, & Unique of the Grit Boys @ Pashaa Ultra Lounge for Crisco Kidd’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 02 // Shinea, Malik Abdul, & Shannon @ Studio Inc for OZONE model search (Tampa, FL) 03 // Matthew Knowles, J Xavier, & guest @ 97.9 (Houston, TX) 04 // The Pack (Houston, TX) 05 // D’Lyte, Big Bink, & Ebony @ The Beat car show (Dallas, TX) 06 // DJ Holiday, Rocko, Kaspa, & YV @ Club Level for The Beat’s birthday bash (Columbia, SC) 07 // Lil Boosie reppin’ Sixteen Seventy clothing @ Kush Lounge (Charleston, SC) 08 // Bun B & ESG on the set of Bun B’s “That’s Gangsta” (Port Arthur, TX) 09 // LeToya Luckett & Kay Newell @ Zak’s Studio (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Uncle Luke & Demetrius Allen @ Sobe Live for Too $hort’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 11 // DJ Hi-C, Elora Mason, & OG Ron C @ Glo (Houston, TX) 12 // Grand Prix & DJ Miss Behavior @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 13 // Big Cee Jay, C Wakeley, Mighty Mike, Grand Prix, Big Amp, & J Holla @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 14 // Crisco Kidd & DJ Jack Frost @ Sharpstown (Houston, TX) 15 // GMack @ KYMP Awards (Louisville, KY) 16 // DJ Teknikz & Gorilla Zoe @ DJ Teknikz’ birthday bash (Macon, GA) 17 // J-Boss & DJ Hi-C @ Papa’s BBQ (Houston, TX) 18 // QC Partystarters Big Chris & Marquis with model search contestants @ Studio Inc for OZONE model search (Tampa, FL) 19 // Keith Kennedy & DJ Smallz @ The Edge for OZONE party (Tallahassee, FL) Photo Credits: D-Ray (09); Edward Hall (05); Julia Beverly (10); Knowledge (01,03,04,08,11,14,17); Malik Abdul (15); Ms Rivercity (16); Terrence Tyson (02,06,07,12,13,18,19)

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She Liked my NECKLACE and started relaxin’, that’s what the fuck I call a… wanted to be different from the rest. A lot of people have a lot of chains, but I feel that [the Crayola box chain] represented me. It’s very young, very different. Nobody ever had the idea, so I got it done. I got it done by Johnny.

CHILD’s PLAY

“ I

SEAN KINGSTON color crayon diamonds in it, and I got it. [Fans] go crazy. They always want to take pictures with it and hold it to see how much it weights. They go crazy for it. It’s just ridiculous.

The chain is worth $95,000, and it’s made up of all real diamonds. The piece is crazy!

I’m getting my record label chain made right now. My own record label I’m coming out with is called Time Is Money Entertainment, so I’m getting a Time Is Money chain. So, be on the lookout for that and a lot more pieces and a lot more watches. //

I used to love crayons when I was growing up. So, I said I’m gonna get a custom designed crayon box chain when I get older, with all the different

As told to Randy Roper Photo by Johnny Nunez

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(above L-R): Trina & Raekwon @ Prive for Trina’s album release party in Miami, FL (Photo: Bogan); Terrence J & Rashan Ali @ House in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Too $hort reppin’ UGK in Miami, FL (Photo: Julia Beverly)

01 // Kisha, Jenn, & Kerisha @ Luckie’s for BMI Urban showcase (Atlanta, GA) 02 // DJ KTone & Hakeem The Dream @ Club Dolce (St Louis, MO) 03 // Money Hungry Click @ Club Red for the BA Boys’ “I Like All That” video shoot (Birmingham, AL) 04 // Guest, Emperor Searcy, & Yung Joc on the set of “Lookin Boy” (Atlanta, GA) 05 // JR, TV Johnny & family, & Dreadlocks @ 93.3 (Houston, TX) 06 // Seventeen & Corey on the set of Bun B’s “That’s Gangsta” (Port Arthur, TX) 07 // Treal @ Koha for their video shoot (Orlando, FL) 08 // Mama Wes, Lil Wayne, J Prince, Bun B, Chamillionaire, & Z-Ro @ Bar Rio for Bun B’s 2 Trill album release party (Houston, TX) 09 // Mack Maine & Lil Scrappy @ Luckie’s for BMI Urban showcase (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Bigg V & Pookie @ Club Millenium (Greenville, MS) 11 // Steph Lova & DJ Ebonix @ 97.9 (Houston, TX) 12 // Video models on the set of Rick Ross’s “Here I Am” video shoot (Miami, FL) 13 // Eric Perrin & la Princess @ Villa Fontana for G-Mack’s party with Bun B (Louisville, KY) 14 // Hi-C, DJ Aaries, & OG Ron C @ the GO DJs Conference (Houston, TX) 15 // JP & Jeff Dixon on the set of “How We Do It In The A” (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Ray J & DJ Headbussa @ Studio Inc (Tampa, FL) 17 // TJ Chapman, ESG, & Cory Mo @ Bar Rio for Bun B’s 2 Trill album release party (Houston, TX) 18 // Da Ryno, Fiya, Wickett Crickett, & guest @ Crisco Kidd’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 19 // Bigg V & Bigga Rankin @ Club Fermier (Cleveland, MS) Photo Credits: DJ Aaries (14); DJ KTone (02); Edward Hall (10); Eric Perrin (03); J Lash (12); Julia Beverly (01,08,09,15,17,18); Knowledge (05,06,11); Luis Santana (16); Malik Abdul (06,07,13); Ralph Smith (19); Thaddaeus McAdams (04)

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(above L-R): Miss Dynasty & Midget Mac on the set of Mon-E G’s video shoot in Jacksonville, FL (Photo: Terrence Tyson); OJ Da Juice Man & Gucci Mane @ Patchwerk in Atlanta, GA; Lil Chuckee & Lil Wayne @ Patchwerk in Atlanta, GA (Photos: Julia Beverly)

01 // Hezeleo, Mama C, Corey, Seventeen, TOE, Big Bubb, & DJ B-Do on the set of Bun B’s “That’s Gangsta” (Port Arthur, TX) 02 // Gettin’ CRUNK!!! @ Club Red for the BA Boys’ “I Like All That” video shoot (Birmingham, AL) 03 // Mz Kitti & Queen @ Bar Rio for Bun B’s 2 Trill album release party (Houston, TX) 04 // Ray Lavender, Rock City, & Nick Love on the set of Rock City’s video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Chile & Steph Lova @ 97.9 (Houston, TX) 06 // DJ Prostyle, Tony C, & DJ Greg G @ Tabu (Orlando, FL) 07 // Uno of The Pack & Famous (Houston, TX) 08 // Cory Mo & Chamillionaire @ Crisco Kidd’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 09 // Tony Neal, TQ, & Kid Capri @ City Block for Static Major tribute (Louisville, KY) 10 // Trina & Slim Thug @ Prive for Trina’s album release party (Miami, FL) 11 // Reggie Reg, OG Ron C, Junius, & DJ Hi-C @ Papa’s BBQ (Houston, TX) 12 // Terri Thomas & J Que @ TSU (Houston, TX) 13 // Dat Boy Short & Bryan Michael Cox @ Luckie’s for BMI Urban showcase (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Junius, DJ Coolaid, & guest @ Papa’s BBQ (Houston, TX) 15 // Mad Linx & Matt Daniels @ Ora Lounge (Miami, FL) 16 // Ali Vegas & video models on the set of his video shoot (Miami, FL) 17 // ESG & his wife on the set of Bun B’s “That’s Gangsta” (Port Arthur, TX) 18 // Willie & Mike of Day 26 with Ashlei @ Papa’s BBQ (Houston, TX) 19 // Daphane & Young B (Houston, TX) 20 // Lil Bankhead, Mac Boney & BloodRaw @ Club Crucial for BloodRaw’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Bogan (10); DJ Greg G (06); Eric Perrin (02); J Lash (16); Julia Beverly (03,04,08,13); Knowledge (01,05,07,11,12,14,17,18,19); Malik Abdul (09); Terrence Tyson (15,20)

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JERMAINE DUPRI & GREG STREET Greg Street: Jerlame, we need to talk. Jermaine Dupri: No, you’re dead to me. Greg Street: C’mon, man. I remember U since ‘93 when U used to wear ur clothes backwards and fuck with Kriss Kross. You’ve been messing with little kids before Chris Stokes. I didn’t mean the Slow Slow Death thing. What’s this beef about? Jermaine Dupri: I had some leftover tilapia from my restaurant in the V103 break room and you ate it! Greg Street: What the fuck is tilapia? I’m not messing with Janet. Jermaine Dupri: No, you dumb country muthafucka. Tilapia is fish, which is my favorite dish. Greg Street: Jermaine, U know I won’t eat the food from your restaurant. It wasn’t me. But why’d U have to go on the internet and say “DJs are dead” over some tilapia? Jermaine Dupri: It wasn’t just that. When U walked by me in the V103 hallway the other day, U stepped on my J’s. I borrowed them from Bow Wow and now I gotta buy him a new pair. Greg Street: My bad, JD. Why didn’t U just call me about it?

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

Jermaine Dupri: I’ve been busy. I’m trying to get Janet Jackson and Soulja Boy together for the “Yahh Bitch Yahh” So So Def remix. Then I’m gonna get her on the V.I.C. “Get Silly” So So Def remix. And after that, the “Smell Yo Dick” So So Def remix. Greg Street: You gotta stop making all this whack music, man. Jermaine Dupri: What? “Smell Yo Dick” is your record. I’m doing U a favor. U need to put 9th Ward on your album too. Greg Street: Who? Jermaine Dupri: U know, my new artist. He has this record with Janet. Wait til U hear it. It’s crazy. Greg Street: Nah, man. I’m cool. I gotta go. It’s 6:00 and my show’s about to start. I’ll see U at the station tonight. I’ll leave the mic down low for U, I know U can’t reach it sometimes. - From the minds of Eric Perrin and Randy Roper (Photos by Tyson Horne & Julia Beverly)

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(above L-R): Chaka Zulu & Ciara @ Luckie’s for BMI Urban showcase in Atlanta, GA; J Prince, Jas Prince, & Lil Wayne @ Bar Rio for Bun B’s 2 Trill album release party in Houston, TX (Photos: Julia Beverly); Hurricane Chris & Trae in Houston, TX (Photo: Kurtis Graham)

01 // Terrence J, JP, & Fred Jenkins @ Frequency (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Lady Dolla & Chopper City Boyz @ SU Springfest (Baton Rouge, LA) 03 // Midget Mac & Shawty on the set of Hot Stylz “Lookin Boy” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 04 // TV Johnny & Crime @ Paul Wall’s birthday concert (Houston, TX) 05 // Mack Maine, Lil Chuckee, & Big Man @ Patchwerk (Atlanta, GA) 06 // BSU & crew @ The Edge for OZONE party (Tallahassee, FL) 07 // Yung Joc & Shawty on the set of Hot Stylz “Lookin Boy” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Queen, Young Buck, & Young B on the set of Bun B’s “That’s Gangsta” (Port Arthur, TX) 09 // Flo Rida & D’Lyte @ The Beat car show (Dallas, TX) 10 // Jay Love, DJ Nasty, DJ D-Wrek, & DJ Q45 @ The Roxy for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 11 // Big Chris, Simone, Marquis, and Neak @ Studio Inc for OZONE model search (Tampa, FL) 12 // Bigga Rankin & Fat Boy on the set of Mon-E G’s video shoot (Jacksonville, FL) 13 // DJ KTone & All Star @ DJ Technology Retreat (St Louis, MO) 14 // Stretch, D’Lyte, & E-Class @ Rhythm City (Dallas, TX) 15 // Dymond & Stephanie Perry @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 16 // Kaspa & YV @ Powerfest (Augusta, GA) 17 // Toro & DJ Khaled on the set of ‘Foolish’ remix video shoot (Miami, FL) 18 // Bigga Rankin, Rick Ross, & Kadife Sylvester @ Patchwerk for Rick Ross’s “Trilla” listening session (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Shareefa & LeLe @ MTV Jams’ ATL Week filming (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: DJ KTone (13); DJ Who (02); D-Ray (05); Edward Hall (09,14); Julia Beverly (01,18); Knowledge (04,08); Malik Abdul (10,17); Ms Rivercity (19); Terrence Tyson (03,06,07,11,12,15,16)

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D-RAY

TATTOO BY JOE STU 404-2072131

HANNIBAL MATTHEWS

KNOWLEDGE

TERRENCE TYSON

tatted UP

D-RAY


(above L-R): Midget Mac & Lil Duval on the set of Hot Stylz “Lookin Boy” video shoot in Atlanta, GA; Brisco & Freeway @ Ora Lounge in Miami, FL (Photos: Terrence Tyson); Corey & Slim Thug on the set of Bun B’s “That’s Gangsta” in Port Arthur, TX (Photo: Knowledge)

01 // Seventeen, TOE, Big Bubb, & DJ B-Do @ Bun B’s birthday bash (Houston, TX) 02 // Tony Neal & DJ Epps @ The Marlin (Miami, FL) 03 // TJ Chapman, BloodRaw, Chaos of Grind Mode, Mr Bones, Dreesy Baby, Ezone, Speedracer, & Shon D @ The CORE DJs Retreat (New Orleans, LA) 04 // Malik Abdul, TJ Chapman, DJ Dr Doom, & Tony Neal @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 05 // Lavish Models & Trae (Houston, TX) 06 // Young Felz & Three 6 Mafia @ TSU (Houston, TX) 07 // Alfamega & DJ Q45 @ The Marlin (Miami, FL) 08 // Rich Boy & DJ Demp @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 09 // Teddy T & Chaos @ Funkmaster Flex’s car show (Louisville, KY) 10 // Bartenders @ The Edge for OZONE party (Tallahassee, FL) 11 // Chill da Million Dollar Man & DJ 2Gun @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 12 // Troy Gather & Lil Boosie @ Kush Lounge for Sixteen Seventy’s Lil Boosie show (Charleston, SC) 13 // White Boi Pizal & friends @ Destiny for Dawgman’s Crunkfest (Orlando, FL) 14 // Ethiopia, YV, & Keri Hilson @ Luckie’s for BMI Urban showcase (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Jarvis & Rock City on the set of Rock City’s video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Crisco Kidd & Slim Thug @ Crisco Kidd’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 17 // Keisha Glinton & Patrick Benoit @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 18 // Trae, Nancy Byron, & Stacy Schoubroek @ Crisco Kidd’s birthday party (Houston, TX) Photo Credits: Julia Beverly (14,15,16,18); Knowledge (01,06); Kurtis Graham (05); Malik Abdul (02,07,09,13); Terrence Tyson (03,04,08,10,11,12,17)

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Hometown: Born in Charleston, SC (raised in Florence, SC) Website: myspace.com/SCDJBlord Radio Station: WXHT/Columbia, SC, WEAS/Savannah, GA Mixtape Series: Trojan Man Clubs: All Over South Cack TV Appearances: BET’s Rap City 38 Times, 106 & Park, TRL Live, Carson Daly (w/ Petey Pablo) Awards: #1 DJ In The South 2008 SEA, TJ’s Tastemaker Award 2006, Make It Happen Award, 2007 SMES, Best Host On A Mixtape 2007, Best Club DJ 2007 SEA, South DJ Of The Year Tech.Nitions 2004 3 Songs In Current Rotation: Lil Ru “Nasty Song,” Snook Da Rokk Star ft. Lil Boosie “Models,” Mr. Taylor “Mirror Dance”

The South Cack Kingpin tells the origins of his infamous “Happy Juice” concoction and explains why he believes his home state is next on deck. One night, I was going to the club. I used to drink Grey Goose and Red Bull all the time, but I was just tired of that drink. I gotta have some type of extra shit in my liquor, cause if I don’t, the liquor makes me tired. I’ll be good for a while, then after a couple of hours, the liquor starts bringing me down. I was tired of drinking the Red Bulls, hearing all kinds of crazy shit, like it has something in it that’ll give you heart attacks. So, I just decided to come up with my own concoction, something that I could take to the club with me. Something that’ll get my mind right, as far as the alcohol part and something else that’ll keep my energy up for the night. I just came up with something that I knew tasted good and something that I could drink all night. The first time I took it to a club was Snook’s CD release party. And having it that one night, the shit got such a crazy response from people that saw the bottle, people that I let get some of it, shit just caught on like wildfire after that. It just gives people another reason to come to my parties. I never charge people if they want to get some. If it’s somebody I fuck wit’ like that, all they gotta do is come up and ask me. If I’m doing a party, I’m gonna have Happy Juice on deck. So, it’s just another reason for people to come fuck wit’ me at the club.

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It’s already trademarked and patented. I did that after I saw the potential. So, anybody out there that feels like they wanna bite my shit, it’s too late. I done beat y’all to it. So, y’all just stay tuned. Happy Juice is coming to a city near you, so watch out for it. As far as South Carolina music, a DJ is only as good as the music they play. They got their shit going and they’re working with artists in their market. It ain’t about being the top DJ [in South Carolina], it’s more about the people around you and the quality of their work and their grind and their hustle, and just being able to contribute to what they’re doing. That’s really the only way South Carolina is going to be able to make it in the music industry. If the major players in the market, from the program directors to the DJs to the artists to the promoters, step their game up, we can all figure out how everybody can eat off the music. It’s about me doing everything I can do to make sure muthafuckas take that seriously. And make sure muthafuckas know we’re down here and make South Cack a force to be fucked with. At the same time, making sure everybody’s eating and making money off this shit. I see that shit happening real soon. Forever, everybody’s been saying, “Why do they always forget about South Carolina?” But if you look at it, the timing is perfect. I challenge anybody to show me another region that’s got the potential we’ve got, that hasn’t done it already. Other regions have done it. New York did it, Atlanta did it, the West Coast did it, Houston did it, New Orleans did it, and Miami’s doing it now. At this point, muthafuckas from South Carolina can’t be crying, whining and making excuses about why they don’t fuck with us, cause now it’s our turn to jump up and make sure muthafuckas do fuck with us. I’ve been saying South Carolina is the final frontier; this is the last unexplored region. They can come down here and break bread with us. A lot of artists only come down here when they’re doing shows. Boosie’s been to South Carolina probably 20-30 times in the last year, and every time he comes, he’s getting $15k-20k a pop. Now it’s time for us to get money in our own market. Now Lil Ru’s going around doing shows. JQ and Snook are getting paid shows. Like I said, the timing is perfect. I guess it was God’s plan or our destiny that it took so long for a reason. That’s just the way the shit was supposed to happen. We just gotta be prepared to take advantage of the opportunity. // - As told to Randy Roper // Photo by Clevis Harrison


(above L-R): Boo Rossini & Young Jeezy @ Freelon’s in Jackson, MS (Photo: Ralph Smith); Bootz, Trina, & Buckeey @ Prive for Trina’s album release party in Miami, FL (Photo: Bogan); Bow Wow & Bryan Michael Cox @ Luckie’s for BMI Urban showcase in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly)

01 // Gunplay & DJ Khaled on the set of Rick Ross’s “Here I Am” video shoot (Miami, FL) 02 // J Xavier & Team Pluto @ Sharpstown (Houston, TX) 03 // OZONE fans @ Club Red for the BA Boys’ “I Like All That” video shoot (Birmingham, AL) 04 // DJ Miss Behavior & Wuz Good @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 05 // Trai D & Lil Duval on the set of Hot Stylz’ video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 06 // Yung Joc & Hot Stylz on the set of “Lookin Boy” (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Wendy Day & Mannie Fresh @ GO DJs Music Conference (Houston, TX) 08 // Mr Collipark & Venom @ Club Level for The Beat’s birthday bash (Columbia, SC) 09 // Lil Boosie & Bankroll Jonez @ Kush Lounge for Sixteen Seventy’s Lil Boosie show (Charleston, SC) 10 // Nova & the Babylon Bunnies @ the Babylon Boyz car show (Ft Myers, FL) 11 // Shady, Jelly, DJ Fresh, Unk, Miss E, & BF @ Crossroads (Huntsville, AL) 12 // Justice League & Rick Ross @ Patchwerk for Rick Ross’s “Trilla” listening session (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Buttahman & Tuma Basa @ MTV Jams’ ATL Week filming (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Willie & J-Boss @ Papa’s BBQ (Houston, TX) 15 // Guest, Trae, & Mike Frost @ Paul Wall’s birthday concert (Houston, TX) 16 // Seventeen, DJ B-Do, Big Bubb, Corey, TOE, & Hezeleo on the set of Bun B’s “That’s Gangsta” (Port Arthur, TX) 17 // Ali Vegas & crew on the set of his video shoot (Miami, FL) 18 // Kyjuan, Brandon, Murphy Lee & DJ Kut @ Dolce (St Louis, MO) Photo Credits: DJ Fresh (11); Eric Perrin (03); J Lash (01,17); Julia Beverly (05,12); King Yella (18); Knowledge (02,14,15,16); Lamont DeSal (07); Malik Abdul (10); Ms Rivercity (13); Terrence Tyson (04,08,09); Thaddaeus McAdams (06)

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(above L-R): Dunk Ryders & Pitbull on the set of Dunk Ryder’s video shoot in Miami, FL (Photo: Leon Lloyd); Lil Wayne & Clinton Portis @ Prive for Trina’s album release party in Miami, FL (Photo: Bogan); Dolla & Bu @ Luckie’s for BMI Urban showcase in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly)

01 // Gucci Mane & MLK @ Luckie’s (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Dem Franchize Boyz & Kadife Sylvester @ City Block for Static Major tribute (Louisville, KY) 03 // Rick Ross, Peckas, & DJ Khaled on the set of Rick Ross’s “Here I Am” video shoot (Miami, FL) 04 // Mama Wes & Red Boy on the set of Bun B’s “That’s Gangsta” (Port Arthur, TX) 05 // Jimi Jump, Jazze Pha, & DJ Who @ Platinum 21 (Atlanta, GA) 06 // DJ B-Lord & his Happy Juice @ Kush Lounge for Sixteen Seventy’s Lil Boosie show (Charleston, SC) 07 // Slim Thug on the set of Bun B’s “That’s Gangsta” (Port Arthur, TX) 08 // Bun B, Jas Prince, Mama Wes, J Prince, & Z-Ro @ Bar Rio for Bun B’s 2 Trill album release party (Houston, TX) 09 // Dunk Ryders @ Northwestern High for Memorial Day celeb basketball game (Miami, FL) 10 // Mean Green & Jazzie @ Pashaa Ultra Lounge for Crisco Kidd’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 11 // J Que, D’Lyte, guest, Reggie Reg, OG Ron C, Cristal Bubblin, DJ Hi-C, Bay Bay, & guest @ GO DJs Music Conference (Houston, TX) 12 // Xavier, Fiyah, & Omar on the set of Bun B’s “That’s Gangsta” (Port Arthur, TX) 13 // Trae & DJ Hella Yella (Austin, TX) 14 // Lil Hen, DJ Jonasty, Malik Abdul, & Young Cash @ The Marlin (Miami, FL) 15 // Jimi Jump & Unk @ SU Springfest (Baton Rouge, LA) 16 // Udonis Haslem & Rick Ross on the set of Rick Ross’s “Here I Am” video shoot (Miami, FL) 17 // Terri Thomas & Yung Berg @ 97.9 (Houston, TX) 18 // BloodRaw & Pee Wee @ Club Crucial for BloodRaw’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Kiotti, Crisco Kidd, & Chamillionaire @ Crisco Kidd’s birthday party (Houston, TX) Photo Credits: DJ Who (05,15); J Lash (03,16); Julia Beverly (08,19); Knowledge (04,07,10,12,17); Kurtis Graham (13); Lamont DeSal (11); Malik Abdul (02,14); Ms Rivercity (01,09); Terrence Tyson (06,18)

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y l t n e i t a PWaiting the major away when group member and Count’s brother Larro was killed. Now, they are going the independent route.

No disrespect to the West Coast, but Chicago started this gangsta shit. But you’d never know it from looking at most of the city’s current successful Hip Hop acts. Music from the likes of Lupe Fiasco and The Cool Kids have dominated Chi-Town and may give outsiders the wrong impression of the city home to the most infamous gangsters since Al Capone. Count, Moonie, and Big Rugg, also known as the Low End Professionals (L.E.P.) come from that side of the tracks. Straight off the streets of the South Side, these three don’t attest to be anything they aren’t. But even though they do gangbanging music, they’ve proved that you can do so without promoting violence. “You need to hear about our political prisoners who structured these organizations, and had these neighborhoods under control where it wasn’t all wild out here like it is now,” says Count. “They took the structure out the streets when they locked up our chiefs and our other leaders. It wasn’t all this random killing before then. We got a serious story to tell. This is a Chicago thing, plus, we got some really good music.” L.E.P. are not rookies to the game. They once had a deal with Interscope, but soon parted ways. They bounced back and inked with Sony, but scared

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“We’ve been out here grinding,” urges Moonie, mentioning that they have songs with Jim Jones, Young Dro, Fabolous and Rick Ross in rotation on 40 stations. “We’ve had a few labels call us, but they’re offering 360 deals. We don’t want a 360 deal. We’ve been good by ourselves, so why would we get into a situation where somebody can control our music?” L.E.P.’s independence is a quality embedded in them from their past. Also known as the Bogus Boys, the group borrows their alias from an offshoot of Larry Hoover’s Gangster Disciples. “In Chicago back in the 80’s and 90’s Larry Hoover had a hit mob called the Bogus Boys. When he had a problem with m’fuckas, he would send the Bogus Boys to do his murdering. My cousin was an official member of that, and I grew up around him,” Moonie reveals, likening the name choice to how many New York rappers go by Italian gangster names like Gotti and Gambino. “The Bogus Boys got so big that they basically revolted and told Larry Hoover ‘fuck you,’ in a sense. Of course Larry Hoover didn’t like that, so he made it so anybody who said they was a Bogus Boy would be killed. Most of them got annihilated, but there are still some that are around now.” If L.E.P. has their way, they’ll be around even longer. - Words by Eric Perrin


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Paatiiteinntgly W this was where I needed to be. I conquered the toughest crowd in New York, and [I was] singing doo-wop.” Most artists earn their greatest degree of success by sharing compelling stories of their own experiences. Vocalist Boxie plans the achieve fame in the same manner. At just 18 years old, this rhythmic observer has earned a reputation for piercing people’s hearts with the chilling tales of heartache and tragedy he has witnessed growing up in South Jamaica, Queens. But unlike other contemporary talents, this crooner has an old-school vibe. “I’m a street soul singer,” he says. “I’m more like that person you heard on the corner doo-wopping in the ‘50s.” Boxie, known to some as Jason Dendy, developed his charismatic vocals as a choir member at Blanche Memorial Baptist Church in Jamaica, New York. But in 2002, the superstar-in-training took a step forward in his career by singing “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” in front of the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem. That led to a spot on Showtime At The Apollo, a syndicated television competition he would go on to win. “That was the biggest thing for me because I watched Apollo growing up,” the teenage sensation recalls. “When I won, it changed everything. I knew

For the next few years, Boxie recorded homemade audiotapes through a karaoke machine and hustled them throughout his neighborhood. Then, in 2005, he began polishing up his game with Irv Gotti, Ja Rule and the rest of the camp at Murder Inc. Although he courted offers from Def Jam and Motown, he ultimately signed with Polo Grounds Music in April 2007. “Polo Grounds is a hard working label and they showed love from the gate,” he explains. “It’s one thing to do business with somebody, but it’s another thing to have a friendship behind your business. That’s what Polo Grounds brings to their artists. They allow the artists to be friends other than just artists to the label. It’s a family.” Since then, Boxie collaborated with fellow family member Hurricane Chris for his single “Playas Rock.” But for now, the charismatic vocalist is concentrated on generating excitement with his radio-friendly ballad “Let Me Show You.” Much like his childhood influences Stevie Wonder and Frankie Lymon, Boxie is planning to achieve great success when he premieres his studio debut in late 2008. “Every few years, you get one of those timeless projects that speaks for itself,” he says. “This is one of those projects.” - Words by Bear Frazier // Photo by Julia Beverly

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y l t n e i t a PWaiting Men lie. From the Sex & the City chicks, Ashanti, Kelis, Oprah, Dr. Phil... the list of folks who have made a killing stating the obvious is endless as the half-truths that guys let slip from their lips on the regular. But London imagines a different world—one where people cut the bullshit. Personally, he doesn’t have a problem telling a woman where he stands. If she can deal with it, cool. If not, he keeps it moving. “I can’t be changed, but I let you know how I am off the jump,” the 23 year-old singer says. His Universal/KPM debut, Man of My Word, backs up his claims. London’s plainspoken tendencies show up on his upbeat lead single, “One Too Many.” The track candidly speaks on paying the consequences for indulging in too much alcohol in the club and making bad hook-up decisions. But his honesty doesn’t stop there. “Want You Back,” where he admits to screwing up in a relationship, and “Sometimes,” an emotional track about trying to convince his woman that the boys will be boys cliché is more than a myth, further illustrate his forthright mentality. Raised in Oakland, CA, London learned at a young age to channel his creative energy into music. In Oakland it helped keep him out of trouble. In Atlanta it helped him survive. When he moved to the A in 2002 after enrolling in a summer program at Morehouse College, he didn’t realize that he’d end up sleeping in friend’s offices and on desks in his homeboy’s dorm rooms. “I was staying from pillar to post, really, I was homeless,” he says candidly, adding that he eventually landed a job at Macy’s. Finding that he couldn’t get financial aid to attend the expensive college was a setback, but it only strengthened his will to break into the business. He formed a group, Best of Friends, with a couple of Morehouse students and started performing around campus, drawing a flock of loyal female fans. “I knew a night manager at a studio and they would let me come record,” he adds. “I would have to go at four in the morning, so I would stay up all night. The engineer would let me come in and write to his tracks, but I had to leave at seven when everybody got there.” His persistence paid off. One of the engineers was so in love with the track he produced for London that he started playing it around the studio, which led to London hooking up with his current A&R, Sean Harris at Universal Records, in 2004. He inked his deal in 2007, and his album, due out in September, features production from Rodney Jerkins and the Juganots, among others. The project is both street and bedroom-ready. But what’s more, it’s full of reality tales that London says reflect his own straightforward tendencies. “Man of My Word really lets people get into me,” he says. “It’s keeping it real with people and letting them know that I am who I am.” - Words by Jacinta Howard // Photo by Julia Beverly 44 // OZONE MAG


(above L-R): Ray J & Yung Berg @ Powerfest in Augusta, GA (Photo: Terrence Tyson); Hezeleo @ The Beat car show in Dallas, TX (Photo: Edward Hall); Don Cannon on the set of “How We Do It In The A” in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly)

01 // T-Hud, Tony Neal, & Lil D @ City Block for Static Major tribute (Louisville, KY) 02 // The DEY @ Party 93.3 (Houston, TX) 03 // Talib Kweli @ Janus Landing (St Petersburg, FL) 04 // Reppin’ OZONE @ Club Millenium (Greenville, MS) 05 // Mr. Jerry @ Downtown Music (St. Louis, MO) 06 // Mercedes & Dapa on the set of Hot Stylz “Lookin Boy” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Toro with his article @ Northwestern High for Memorial Day celeb basketball game (Miami, FL) 08 // Hollywood @ Studio Inc for OZONE model search (Tampa, FL) 09 // Crisco Kidd & Brian Angel from Day 26 @ Pashaa Ultra Lounge for Crisco Kidd’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 10 // Big Chris & Malik Abdul @ Studio Inc for OZONE model search (Tampa, FL) 11 // Leon Lloyd @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 12 // Boomtown & LA Chic Models @ GO DJs Music Conference (Houston, TX) 13 // Bryan Michael Cox @ Luckie’s for BMI Urban showcase (Atlanta, GA) 14 // VIC @ Funkmaster Flex’s car show (Louisville, KY) 15 // DJ B-Lord & Randy Roper @ Kush Lounge for Sixteen Seventy’s Lil Boosie show (Charleston, SC) 16 // DJ Black & guest on the set of Hot Stylz “Lookin Boy” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 17 // DJ 151, Jessica Williams, & DJ Smallz @ The Edge for OZONE party (Tallahassee, FL) 18 // Dawgman & Brisco @ Destiny for Dawgman’s Crunkfest (Orlando, FL) 19 // TR Flow & Carlos Cartel @ Kush Lounge for Sixteen Seventy’s Lil Boosie show (Charleston, SC) 20 // Lioness @ Koha (Orlando, FL) 21 // Memphis Bleek @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 22 // Grind on the set of Hot Stylz’ “Lookin Boy” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 23 // DJ Mr King & Marlei Mar @ Villa Fontana for G-Mack’s party with Bun B (Louisville, KY) 24 // Tre Dubb, Slim Thug, & Ms Rita @ Texas Relays (Austin, TX) 25 // Scooby of the Grit Boys & Young B (Houston, TX) 26 // Fate Eastwood & Stix @ Lovenoise for Darnell Levine’s release party (Nashville, TN) 27 // DJ Slikk @ Villa Fontana for G-Mack’s party with Bun B (Louisville, KY) 28 // Lil Boosie & crew @ Kush Lounge for Sixteen Seventy’s Lil Boosie show (Charleston, SC) 29 // Veda Loca & Trina @ The Beat (Dallas, TX) 30 // DJ Tre @ DJ Teknikz’ birthday bash (Macon, GA) 31 // Ricky Rich (Houston, TX) 32 // Shawty Lo & Kydd Joe @ Powerfest (Augusta, GA) 33 // Kiotti & 9th Ward @ 93.3 (Houston, TX) 34 // Kiki the 1st Lady @ The Beat (St. Louis, MO) 35 // Yung Joc & Midget Mac on the set of Hot Stylz’ “Lookin Boy” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credit: Bogan (11,21); D’Lyte (29); Edward Hall (04); Janiro Hawkins (26); Julia Beverly (13,22); Knowledge (02,09,25,31,33); Lamont DeSal (12); Luis Santana (03); Malik Abdul (01,14,18,20,23,27); Ms Rivercity (07,30); Tammie White (05,34); Terrence Tyson (06,08,10,15,16,17,19,28,32,35); Tre Dubb (24)

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y l t n e i t a PWaiting They say you can tell a lot about a person by their name. On his Slip N’ Slide/Jive debut, singer and songwriter, Qwote, definitely lives up to his. “There a storyline behind everything that I write,” he says of his narrative album, Qwote Unqwote, due out this summer. “I set it up for the listeners from the beginning to the end. I talk about real life affairs.” Earning the nickname Lil’ Qwote as kid after folks in his neighborhood realized he’d call fraudulent characters out on anything they said in a heartbeat, the 25 year-old prides himself on speaking nothing but the truth. His dance track featuring Trina, “Don’t Wanna Fight,” starts the album off just the way he wanted, capturing a universal, but down home sound. “This is a classic album,” he says confidently. “The lyrics actually have substance. It’s really an emotional [record].” Born in Haiti and raised in Miami, Qwote remembers his grandmother filling the house with the soulful sounds of Sam Cooke and the Temptations. Calling upon those influences to help shape his own musical identity, Qwote got his start writing for other artists. He worked extensively on Trina’s latest album. Impressed with his abilities, Slip N’ Slide decided to sign him in 2007. From there he inked a distribution deal with Jive Records

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after flying out to New York and impressing the label’s CEO Barry Weiss. Illustrating his agility with the pen, Qwote’s Final Cut/Slip-N-Slide/Jive debut bounces and weaves between pleads of apology on the woeful “I’m Sorry” to tales about wanting to break up with a girl on “Rose on a Lonely Sunday.” And while he says his album appeals to everyone, Qwote is really all about speaking to the ladies. “We be messing up so much, man,” he chuckles. “I want to please the ladies and I want to use it as a manual for the fellas too. We gotta get it together. I want this album to help keep relationships happy.” With Jim Jonsin, Mr. Collipark and Lil Jon (who he says is “cool as hell” to work with) behind the boards, Qwote is confident his project will reach all kinds of listeners. “I want this album to introduce me to the world,” he says. “This is the gift that God gave me. I want it to show that I was meant for this industry.” And you can quote him on that. - Words by Jacinta Howard // Photo by Bogan


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It’s a celebration whenever a young Hip Hop artist rises to mainstream prominence because stereotypically, they burn their fortune on gas-guzzling Escalades and oversized Jesus pieces that strain their necks. But if 20-year-old Leland Austin, otherwise known as Yung LA, earns a hefty paycheck, he plans to purchase a city. “I wanna save all the houses because right now, in Atlanta, they’re tearing down all the projects,” he says. “If I had Donald Trump bucks, I’d buy the hood and renovate it.” The aspiring landlord hopes to make millions through slinging rhymes. In 2000, Yung LA was introduced to the art form when his aunt wrote him a verse – a verse he would recite to classmates through his tenure in middle school. Eventually, the budding rapper wrote his own bars and displayed his talent at club events and various neighborhoods in Atlanta, Georgia. While the local phenomenon worked with a handful of small independent labels, the partnerships were brief. “I would get sold dreams,” he explains. “People weren’t always keeping it real with me. They didn’t think I had what it takes to take it to the next level. I went through a lot just to get stable.” That included selling narcotics for five years just to have some sort of income. In 2007, however, the lyricist worked alongside DJ Likwid for his self-

Patien Waitintgly

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financed mixtape Crush Da Block. Though the Atlanta emcees printed up just 700 copies, it spread like wildfire throughout the community and Young Dro even dropped by his apartment later that May. “We went to Grand Hustle’s [office],” LA recalls. “[Co-owner] Jason Geter listened and everything was a go.” Nowadays, the budding rapper is off the streets and spends most of his time recording music. Though a debut album is in the works, Yung LA is in the midst of flooding the streets with Stupid Fruity Swag, a charismatic mixtape featuring mesmerizing cuts including “Fall Back” with Yung Ralph and his single “Ain’t I,” where Big Kuntry lends a hand. It’s more than just a mixtape, however. For Yung LA, Stupid Fruity Swag is also a lifestyle. “I like wearing a whole lot of loud spring colors like lime green, orange and yellow. Those colors are fruity like an orange, peach or apple,” the Grand Hustle standout explains. “It’s not only the clothes you have on, but your swag can be so immaculate to the point where you say, ‘This man has a stupid fruity swag.’” Perhaps his rhymes, and keen fashion sense, will earn him those Donald Trump bucks. - Words by Bear Frazier // Photo by Terrence Tyson


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(l-r) Timothy & Theron

I PHILLIPS R // PHOTO: AMAD PE RO Y ND RA WORDS:

A

kon’s convict-ternt-sanga success and T-Pain’s rappa-ternt-auto-tune specialist prowess have made Konvict Muzik a bondafied record label. And while ‘Kon and Pain having been smacking asses on the dance floor, buying dranks and falling in love with bartenders, all while recording enough hooks to put Nate Dogg out of business, Konvict’s R. City (also known as Rock City) has been patiently waiting. As they’ve waited their turn, these two brothers from the Virgin Islands (Timothy “Don’t Talk Much” and Theron “Da Spokesman”) have penned songs for everyone from Usher to Mario to Enrique Iglesias and made a name for themselves through energetic live performances throughout the Southeast. Fusing together rap, R&B, pop and reggae, R.C. delivers a sound moderately familiar, yet refreshingly new. Now, as they countdown the days until their debut album Wake The Neighbors hits stores, Akon’s best kept secrets are about shake things up. 50 // OZONE MAG


Coming from St. Thomas, what brought y’all to Atlanta? Timothy: People are really struggling [in St. Thomas]. A lot of people see the beaches and the palm trees and they think that if you go to the Virgin Islands, you’ll go to St. Thomas and be living the life. But it’s like any other part of the world. It’s hoods down there. It’s people down there that are really, really living hard. We were one of those people. It just so happens that me and my brother were blessed and gifted with this music shit. We did it around the island til we got so big on the island and throughout the Virgin Islands we couldn’t get any bigger back home. So we left home, and after we graduated high school, my parents gave us the options of like, “Yo, if y’all want to go to college, we’ll do our best to help. But if y’all are gonna do music, you’ve gotta be men. You’re gonna still have our support, but you just gotta know that’s on y’all.” So we did the music thing. We left and we went to Miami, cause we had family there and one of our best friends was there. We stayed there for like six months and got a little recognition around the city. It just wasn’t moving at the pace that we expected. This was right around the time when Lil Jon and the Ying Yang twins were poppin’, you know, that whole Southern movement. Atlanta was blowing up, so me and my brother thought that’s where we need to be. Somebody was flying us up here to do a show in Atlanta and me and my brother were like, “Man, how bout when we go there we just stay there?” At the time we didn’t know where we were gonna stay. The people that were bringing us to do the show put us up in a hotel. We were like, “We’ll figure that shit out when we get there.” We came to Atlanta, did the show, and long story short, we figured it out. We stuck around here for two years, living here and there, and shit was hard. How did Akon come into the picture? Timothy: Benny D, Akon’s DJ, is one of our best friends. We all came up together. He actually used to be our DJ, so when we came to Atlanta, it was all three of us trying to do this shit together. We did mad talent shows in Atlanta at the time. Our name started to get familiar and people started fucking with us. We started getting a little recognition, but shit was still hard. We ain’t get a deal or nothing. We started fucking with these producers. Shit didn’t really go the way it was supposed to and we kinda fell out. They had sent us back to St. Thomas, like, “Yo, we need to stack some paper up. So we’re gonna send y’all down there for a month and bring y’all back up when shit is right, so we can move forward.” [They] sent us back to St. Thomas and left us there. But it wasn’t that bad; at least we were at home. We’ve got family there; this was in 2004. Me and my brother got on our grind and got regular jobs and were like, “Fuck everybody, we’re gonna do this shit ourselves. We’re sick and tired of depending on muthafuckas selling us dreams and shit and nothing is happening.” So we saved our money and moved back to Atlanta in ’05. Been on the grind like crazy, trying to get it and started doing shows again. At this time, Benny was DJing for Akon. Little did we know Akon was gonna be as big as he is now, but Akon showed us love even before he had a deal. We were like, “Benny, the nigga needs a DJ. Go do that shit and if shit pops, you can come back and get us.” Then we started doing shows after we moved back here, got a big, big buzz throughout the streets. But still, nobody was really fuckin’ with us as artists. So we wrote a song on Akon’s record Konvicted called “The Rain.” After that, a lot of people started reaching out to us as songwriters and we started getting a lot of work. That’s what really got us in the game. At this time we didn’t even do our deal yet. We continued to do shows and a lot of artists that we wrote for spread the word like, “Yo, Rock City, them niggas is the next niggas.” It’s a blessing because people like Usher were saying that about me and my brother. So the word got around and Benny told [Akon] like, “Yo, you need to fuck them. Like, them niggas, they ready.” We did the deal with Kon and since then we been grinding, banging out mixtapes, doing shows, and we here where we at right now. Yeah, when Usher and Akon start co-signing for you, that’s a good sign you’re on your way. Theron: Man, this is a blessing, coming from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. We’ve worked with Usher, Macy Gray, Enrique Iglesias, the Pussycat Dolls, Mario, Sean Kingston, and Leona Lewis. The album that we’re working on right now is called Wake the Neighbors. We had three independent albums that we put out back in the Virgin Islands that did pretty well for an independent group, especially being that Hip Hop wasn’t as big in the Virgin Islands as it is now. I think this is our best album because we’ve finally learned how to fuse all the music together. We been rapping and singing, but it sounded like confusion at first. I think we were talented but didn’t know how to fuse all that music to make it sound like one thing. This album, man, with our manager Ray, Erica Grayson our A&R, Nikki Benjamin, our product manager, our publicist Jasmine, Devyne Stephens, everybody in our camp, the Juggernauts, the producers, Hypnotics, Jevuan. I think our whole team collectively pushed our talent to where it needed to be.

What can you tell me about your album? Theron: It’s called Wake The Neighbors. The concept of the album, well, we don’t like to predict the future, but we kinda had a trilogy in mind. First is Wake The Neighbors. Then we wanted to go with There Goes The Neighborhood, and finally The Eviction Notice. Wake The Neighbors is like, we’re moving into the neighborhood and doing something different, and the world needs to wake up. Y’all need to see what’s going on around you and change it. The album is a collective of Hip Hop, reggae, R&B, pop, alternative, everything; it’s just big melody. We rap American, we rap in our accent, the way we naturally talk. We do some reggae shit, we do huge pop records. Then we do some urban type of R&B. So, I can honestly say it does have something for everybody. I’m not gonna say everybody’s gonna like it. We’re all entitled to our own opinions, and that’s something that we stress. We just want people to fuck with us. How much influence did Akon have on your album? Theron: To be honest, Akon signed us because he was so busy and so much going on, he needed somebody that he didn’t have to cater to. We’ve never been in the studio with Akon, not once. He signed us basically knowing that we could do our own thing, and he’s excited about it. He was like, “Man, I love y’all niggas.” Working with Akon is a blessing because he’s the first person we’ve ever been around that let us do us. He don’t jump. He’s like, “Yo, I believe in what y’all do and I wouldn’t sign y’all if I didn’t.” He’s excited like we are. How’d you decide to go with “Losin’ It” as your first single. It’s more R&B? Theron: Man, you’ve gotta blame our A&R Erica Grayson. We wrote the song for Trey Songz, and she said, “No, you can’t give him that song, that song’s a fuckin’ smash.” We didn’t wanna make a song like that, but she was like, “Trust me. Just do it.” Timothy: We’re some compromising dudes, so we decided to try it. Theron: If it’s good, what would it hurt? And if it’s whack, okay, we didn’t want to do it anyway. Every time we played that record for [somebody], it stood out. When you hear it from a lot of people, we just said, “Okay, I guess this is the record.” Konvict Muzik has a lot of artists: Akon, T-Pain, Ray Lavender, Colby O’Donis. Were you ever wondering when you were going to get your turn? Theron: I ain’t gonna lie to you, not really. The songwriting thing was moving so well. We always had another outlet to express ourselves through music. I was just proud to say, “God, if I could wake up every morning and let music be my living, I’ll be happy.” And at that time, Rock City the artists weren’t big, but Rock City the writers were getting work everywhere. We were never mad. I was actually happy for ‘Kon, cause we knew Kon when he was just as broke as we were. To see that brother succeed was a blessing to us. When Akon put out Konvicted, I don’t think he even knew it was gonna be that big. Nobody knew. He was like “Oh, shit.” Cause we got signed before [Akon’s] album came out and [the label] had a lot of plans, and then the nigga became the biggest thing on the planet and we were like, “Wow.” We always knew we would get our turn, and after the past few years, we’ve just learned to be patient. The main focus was to take care of our family; my daughter, my brother’s niece, my mom and dad, and we were able to do that. We ain’t never had too many complaints. I can’t even lie. Did you ever consider just keeping your careers as songwriters and not pursuing the artist thing any further? Theron: No, the artist thing was always #1. But at least we were able to feed our families. I mean, we were dirt broke, damn near homeless. They didn’t have nothing to eat. We’d have to eat a slice of cheese. So when we were able to feed our families, we weren’t able to complain too much. Don’t get me wrong, we wanna win as artists so bad, man. I pray about it every night, and my brother does too. We talk about it all the time. We sit in the car and talk about it. We wanna win. We’ve been blessed, so I can’t sit here and try to complain, but we’ve been waiting patiently for our turn. We see it coming and we hope it works out. You were featured in OZONE’s Patiently Waiting years ago. Was that your first interview? Theron: That was one of our first interviews. That was our first big magazine. That was a blessing, because in our minds we appreciate everything. In our mind, OZONE is as big as it [gets]. We were like, “What are they doing interviewing us? We ain’t nobody.” Our manager and people around us are always try to remind us, “Yo, y’all are talented.” We be like, “For real?” We’re just excited that people actually like our shit. //

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You just came off a European Tour. What was the overseas response and how is it different than what you get here in the States? Juicy J: We hit like twelve cities in three weeks. It was great. It was off the chain. People were going crazy. What is the overall message of your new album Last 2 Walk? DJ Paul: It’s just the same thing. It’s just some gangsta shit like we always do it. A lot of people were nervous when they heard the “Lolli” record because, you know, it’s different, but we just want the fans to know that the overall album is just like any other Three 6 Mafia album. It’s thug shit man, it’s crazy, it’s one of our best albums ever, so you’re going to love it. You’ve already released two huge singles off Last 2 Walk, “Lolli” and “I’d Rather.” What else can we expect to come next? Juicy J: There’s a bunch of songs on there that could be singles. When the album comes out we’re going to let the fans decide what they want to be the next single. With all this internet stuff we’ve put out three or four songs over the last few years, we’re just giving the fans something while they wait. It’s an appetizer, you know what I mean? Was that the line of thinking when you released “Doe Boy Fresh” as a single with no album? DJ Paul: “Doe Boy Fresh” was going to be a single on the album, but we ended up re-recording the majority of the album. There are a lot of songs on the album that will be bonus tracks for different retail outlets. When “Doe Boy Fresh” was released as a single it sold over a million ringtones and a million downloads, but we just didn’t feel that the album was all the way ready, so we went back because we wanted to make sure we at least had four to five singles on there before we released the album. So we went back and re-recorded “Lolli,” which is probably one of the biggest Three 6 Mafia songs in history. We re-recorded “I’d Rather” and a bunch of other songs, so it’s a

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good thing we pushed the album back, cause we wouldn’t of had any of those songs if we put it out back then. Juicy J: The album is a lot stronger now. It wasn’t as strong back then. We’ve got better production and everything. DJ Paul: We got more features too, like Akon and Good Charlotte. We have stronger features on there now. Will you be doing a United States tour with the release of the new album? DJ Paul: Yeah, we’re going to tour the states. When we were overseas we promoted the new album because it’s going to come out the same day over there, they can order it online. So now we’re going to hit the road in the states. We just left Vegas so we’re definitely going to hit some more spots. The last album, Most Known Unknown, was huge with singles like “Stay Fly,” “Poppin’ My Collar,” “Side 2 Side,” “Pussy Got You Hooked,” and all the remixes. How is Last 2 Walk going to top that? DJ Paul: We don’t know yet. We really don’t make an album to try and top the last the last album. Most Known Unknown is an old album, you know, all those checks are cashed, all those drugs are used, the beers are drunk, all that shit is over

Most Known Unknown is an old album, you know, all those checks are cashed, all those drugs ARE used, the beers are drunk, all that shit is over with. We’re just trying to make something we know the fans are going to like.

with. We’re just trying to make something we know the fans are going to like. We know our fans’ minds, so if we like it, they should like it too. We just try to make something they’re going to like every go ‘round. We don’t focus on none of the past, we just go and look toward the future, and what’s going on in the sound of the world. That’s what we focus on, and we’ll see what happens. How did you link up with with Unk on the new album? DJ Paul: Man, that was great. We actually just did a song for DJ Unk’s album as well. You have made a few movies and obviously had a hand in Hustle and Flow. Any more movie projects in the works? DJ Paul: We actually had three movies, Choices I, Choices II, and Queen of Me, which was a comedy. We just wrote three more movies: one called The Streets of Memphis, Choices III, and we’ve got a Hip Hop film that is still untitled. We’re always working on the movie thing and writing movies. Tell me about your new clothing line. DJ Paul: We’ve got an online store. The clothing isn’t available in stores, so if someone gets one out of a store, they’re buying a bootleg. The online store is www.dangerusskandulus.com or www.myspace.com/dxsclothing. It’s been doing real good. It’s Hip Hop rock gear. It’s mainly tshirts, but we’ve got some bandanas coming out and some sexy t-shirts for the ladies. So it’s just a t-shirt line as of now. So speaking of rock music, a lot of Hip Hop artists are reaching out across the different genres of music. What else are you doing to blend the two? DJ Paul: We’ve got a song on our album with Good Charlotte. We did TRL with them. We were kicking it backstage at the premiere of some video, I can’t remember, and we ended up being in first class together on our flight back to L.A. right after TRL. We started talking to them and that turned into getting together and just drinking and chilling and letting us hear some tracks they made, and


we were like, “Man, this shit is dope.” We ended up rapping over it, and it’s really a strong song. You’ve gotten recognition from mainstream America by winning an Oscar and appearing on CBS’s Numbers. How has that exposure affected your careers and musical focus? Juicy J: I mean, I think it’s good, you know? The music is still the same. But as far as our name and recognition and momentum with our new album coming out, I think it’s good. Everybody’s expecting and waiting on this new album, so I think it’s been a great help. Given that you haven’t really altered your sound over the years, how do you stay relevant throughout all the fads Hip Hop has seen in the last 18 years? DJ Paul: We just focus on what we know our fans are going to want to hear. We don’t try to go with something that’s hot at the time or something that everybody else is doing. We keep up with the sound whenever we can to really make it relevant, but again, you gotta go with what got you there. We don’t try to trick our fans, with one album sounding one way and one album going straight to the left. That’s how you start losing fans; they’ll be nervous to buy your album. We never had to do as much promotion because our fans always knew what they were going to get. Our fans always come first. The rap game has changed a lot since you first came in, with the introduction of ringtones, iTunes, Napster. How have you adjusted your approach to the business side of the game? Juicy J: We just make sure our accounting is in place so every time we sell a ringtone, we get something off that. DJ Paul: The internet is so sneaky. There are so many ways for people to steal your music, you’ve gotta be careful. You can’t stop it from happening, it’s just a part of the world today, and it’s only going to get worse. All you rappers out there reading this, I hope you’re saving your money. You’ve had a lot of members come and go over the years from the Hypnotized Mindz camp. How have you two kept your focus and kept the music going? Juicy J: You just have to stay focused on the music and the dreams, and the accomplishments we’re trying to achieve. We’re just pushing the Hypnotized Mindz Entertainment label on top of Three 6 Mafia and carrying the label. We always try to stay focused on that, and that’s mainly how we’ve managed to stay together and keep working. We work hard everyday, and yeah, we’ve made money, but we try to keep putting music out that people want to hear. We’re all about the fans at the end of the day. Without the fans we wouldn’t have success, so we give the fans what they deserve and push the Three 6 Mafia brand and Hypnotized Mindz brand over the top. Are you planning to add more members to the group in the future as you have in the past? Juicy J: Oh, no. We’re not looking to add any more

members. We’ve got two members officially, and we’ll leave it at that. DJ Paul: That’s all we need. What do you do outside of music to stay grounded as human beings? What are your normal everyday activities? Juicy J: Go to a bar! DJ Paul: Go to a bar! What other business ventures are you currently working on? DJ Paul: We really just focus on our other artists. We always keep some independent artists on board. We’ve got an artist named Frayser Boy; his album The Key just dropped last month. We’ve got another artist named Yung D; his album is probably dropping in August. Lil Wyte always does real, real good on the independent circuit. And Project Pat has got a new album coming out and we’ve got an artist named Chrome. We’ve always got something independent rolling on the side. Besides being on the road, we’re working on their albums. What are you guys doing personally to develop your artists? DJ Paul: We mainly just talk to them. Music is one thing, but having your mind right is the main thing. So we mainly just talk to our guys. Hypnotized Minds is a school. It’s a training camp, not just a record label. We talk to our artists about getting their finances straight, teaching them how to be a man and take care of their family and get the bills paid on time, keeping the household together and staying out of trouble, and how to overcome an problem without pulling out a weapon. There are ways to get around things without getting into trouble. There’s always going to be people in your face trying to bring you down. So we always try to talk to our artists and get their minds right to overcome anything that they might come across. Speaking of staying out of trouble, you guys have never really been in the tabloids like some other rappers. Why is that? Juicy J: We just maintain our focus. You never know what may happen, so it’s best to just kinda stick to yourself and do what you do without running the streets, because that’s how you get caught up. You just gotta stay focused. That’s the main thing. There’s time for partying and a time for mischief, but you gotta separate the two. You can’t mix ‘em both together because they don’t mix. You never know what could happen, but you should almost always know which way to go. You know if you want to go to the bar, you gotta pick your bar. You guys influence a lot of people and I’m sure there are countless artists who want to work with you. What’s the process for an up and coming artist who is wanting to work with you? Juicy J: Just hit us up. We’re willing to work with anyone, you know? We like working with underground artists because when you work with

“We talk to our artists about getting their finances straight, teaching them how to be a man and take care of their family and get the bills paid on time, keeping the household together and staying out of trouble.”

underground artists you help ‘em come up. It’s a good feeling, getting behind someone who’s out there grinding just like we were back in the day and knowing we helped ‘em out to make them a nationally known and a worldwide artist. We don’t mind working with anybody. It’s all good you know? It’s not all about the money its about the Hip Hop game and being in the business and ensuring the game reaches the next level. We’re trying to keep the Hip Hop game going. I think it’s good for business because it extends your name and makes you a team player. We’re team players, we roll with the team. How would you compare the current state of Hip Hop to when you first came out? Juicy J: You know, it’s different. You’ve got all this bootlegging goin’ on. Back then there wasn’t that much bootlegging. You could come out with a record, not even have no radio play, and sell a million copies. Now you’ve gotta have radio play, promotion, it’s a lil tougher now, but you know, times change. The internet has taken over the whole music industry. We just gotta keep coming up with new ideas and new ways to get our point across, and trying to get our albums out there and the clothing line. There’s other things you’ve gotta do in Hip Hop now to make it. You gotta keep some underground music rollin’, as well as putting out major music. It’s a challenge right now, but we’re going to work around it. It’s all good. Will there be a second season of Adventures In Hollyhood? DJ Paul: Nah, we ain’t doing that no more, but we’ll probably do another TV show. It was cool, but it was time-consuming. We’ve gotta get back on this music. Juicy J: We’ve gotta give the fans what they deserve and what they’ve been waiting on. Do you have any ideas for how you’d like to do your next TV show? DJ Paul: We can’t tell you that yet because it’s a secret. Juicy J: Yeah, it’s in the works right now. DJ Paul: I would do a dating show! You could go for years with those. Juicy J: Go on different dates with all kinds of women from all over the world. A worldwide look on dating! //

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WORDS: RANDY ROPER // PHOTO: MEENO

Don’t call Yung Berg a “one hit wonder.” Now that he has “Sexy Lady,” “Sexy Can I” and his latest single “The Business” under his belt, this 22-year-old rapper/producer/songwriter from the Windy City would much rather be referred to as a “young boss.” His debut album Look What You Made Me drops this August, but Berg is already confident he’s the best. You’re considered a new artist, but a lot of people don’t know that you were signed to DMX’s Bloodline Records. Can you talked about that situation? I got my first deal at 15. I was signed to DMX’s record label Bloodline through Def Jam. It was a good situation for me. It allowed me to see a lot of different things that were happening in the game and be around a lot of different people, like while Roc-A-Fella was crackin’ and X had the Ruff Ryder movement crackin’. I was able to be around that [and] soak up a lot of good energy. But my parents shipped me to boot camp when I was 17 to Montana. So, I lost my deal. And I had just got back on my grind; I had already had relationships with people like Eve. So, I went out to L.A. with Eve, she’s like my big sister, she was doing her TV show. I got with my crew, then I leaked my song to the radio and now here we are. Did you get frustrated when you lost your deal because your parents sent you to boot camp? Aw, hell yeah. That shit was fucked up. I was young; I felt it was my time. But I guess apparently it wasn’t. The single that you leaked to radio was “Sexy Lady,” right? How was it watching that record break? It was great. I sold a million ringtones. I got a lot of money, did a lot of shows and continued on my journey to where I’m at right now. Most of the artists that are known for coming out of Chicago are more like the Commons and Kanye Wests. Did they influence you at all? Your music doesn’t sound like that real heavy Chi-Town type music. They definitely were influences for me. But that’s what the misconception is about Chicago; it’s not one type of music that can come out of Chicago. Everybody’s not a conscious rapper and deep thinker like Lupe

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or real positive and very reading or a black leader like Common or like Kanye. There are different people in different states. I’m just the young of it, the more youth, urban of what’s going on in. People don’t know much about you. What type of artist do you consider yourself to be? I’m a jack of all trades, dawg. I produce, I write, I own my own record company. I’m just young. I’m a young boss, man. That’s what I am. Everything I do is young bossed up. I put my own records out, produce my own records, I write R&B for other people, I write raps for other people. I’m real self-contained. If people say Yung Berg is a one hit wonder, how do you take that criticism? They can’t say that cause I’ve been on so many other songs besides “Sexy Lady” now. Me and Ray J got a song [“Sexy Can I”] that went #1. My other record “Do That There” is out burning up in the clubs. My official single off the album “The Business,” its about to have like fifty ads next week. So, there’s no way for you to say I’m a one hit wonder, it’s too many fuckin’ songs. How’d you hook up with Ray J? Ray J is one of my niggas. I asked him to be on my album back in the day. And then, when “Sexy Lady” was poppin’, I recorded “Sexy Can I” last year. They wanted it to be my single but I was like, “if it becomes my single, I’m gonna be the sexiest muthafucka alive.” And I was like, “Nah, I can’t do that.” Cause I didn’t wanna be in a box. I already knew people were looking at me and trying to view me in a different way. I felt like I had to do something different. So, we made it his single. But it’s not really his single, it’s my single, it’s a duel single, you know what I’m sayin’. It’s on his album, it’s on my album. And shit, I just wanted to get my Chirs Brown, T-Pain look on. I’m sitting here watching BET now. “Sexy Can I” just went off and “Do That There” just came on. What’s the situation with your album? The album comes out August 12. As far as feature wise, on the album, we got Lloyd, Trey Songz, Amerie, Eve, Collie Buddz, Twista and my YB artist, her name is Casha. She’s the most important feature on the album for me. She’s on the first single called “The Business,” a record I wrote and produced with my man Rob Holiday. It’s produced by me and Young Bosses, with the exception of “Do That There” which was produced by Exel. My man Boogs produced one song called “Can I Get Your Number.” And then Collipark produced the joint with me and Lloyd called “Manager.” You’ve been in the news and on the internet in a lot of beef lately. First of all, with Bow Wow. Where did that start? Honestly, I’ve always been a competitive dude. When I was signed to X, at that time Bow Wow was poppin’ off with Jermaine [Dupri]. I always felt like rivalry, it was never like no hate or nothing like that. But I wanted to get it poppin’ then. Later on in life, we started fucking some of the same hoes. And then our bitches talk, they started saying Bow said this and that, so I started getting a bad taste in my mouth about Bow. And then, I said what I said. But the most important thing is that me and the boy, we linked up. We talked about it like some grown men and it’s all good. I don’t got no hate for Bow Wow or nothing. He’s cool. But I’m just doing me. The most important thing in my life is myself and my crew. And if you ain’t in alliance with me and we ain’t cool, then fuck you. SandraRose.com had a picture of you and Bow Wow, saying that you all had a fight at a bowling alley. So, all of that was untrue? Man, that shit was so fugazy. I was telling that nigga happy birthday or whatever the fuck was going on. We damn near came together to meet up there to go to [Atlanta] 300 [bowling alley] and then go to his birthday party at Velvet Room after that. So, Sandra Rose, she just loves Bow Wow, [you can tell] by the way her website looks. She likes dick sucking on that nigga. I mean, it’s all love though. Another situation you got into was with your Flo-Rida comments. You got some backlash from that too. Were the comments you made about Flo-Rida taken out of context? Yeah, like come on, man. I’m from the Chi, we play the dozens. We talk shit, shallow spit all day. I didn’t mean no disrespect when I said [“Your album got pushed back like Flo-Rida’s hairline”]. The camera was rolling, I ain’t know it was gonna hit the net like that and be what it was. I didn’t even know the fucking shit was rolling. I was just in the Epic office talking to my manager and talking to these guys from XXL about my album. Then Brisco came back with this whole [threats] and shit, despite the fact that last weekend I shot my video for “The Business” [in Miami]. I was in

the same hotel as Flo-Rida for four days. My thing is, I was just joking and if you’re really gonna take it that far and be that upset about it, what can I do? I can reach out saying it’s love with me on my end, let’s get to the money. But if he ain’t wanna do that, I can only respect him as a man for that. As far Brisco, whatever. We good, my dude. We did a song together. I respect you being a young goon and jumping out there for your man. But if it was really that real beef, dawg, you would’ve got my number from Wayne. I talk to Wayne on a regular basis. He shoulda reached out to me on some grown man shit. When you go straight to the internet, that’s some hoe shit. Why would you go straight to the internet when you got a direct contact on me, if you really got a problem with me? Maybe he wanted to be famous. Maybe he’s peeping my success and he felt like it was a good look to do that. Is there anything else going on with you that we didn’t talk about? Just the fact that I’m 22 years old and I’m writing and producing at the capacity that I am right now. Don’t ever call me a one-hit-wonder when I wrote [and] produced “Sexy Lady.” I’m the writer, producer and the artist. People got to go to producers and other artists to make a hit. I broke through this game on my own. I ain’t put out a dud yet. Any other tracks out there that you wrote or produce that people don’t know you did? I’m involved with a lot things right now with my boy Tricky Stewart. I’m working on shit so crazy, from my artist Casha, all the way to a whole other left field. I’m working on Heidi, from The Hills TV show, I’m writing R&B for her. All the way from the urban hood to the whitest of the white MTV, I’m across the spectrum. And I don’t know no 22-year-old nigga that’s doing this. [My shit isn’t] like that Soulja Boy shit, like how them beats be sounding. That ain’t no real beat, dawg. My little nephew could make that shit with four spoons and slapping his hands together and a nigga kicking a drum. What are you saying? You don’t respect the beats that Soulja Boy’s making? Nah, I do respect it. It makes the club go crazy. But I just don’t think that it’s groundbreaking or anything like that. I’m all about putting out lifechanging music. When you hear “The Business” and know it’s produced and written by me, it’s gonna sink in. You sound real confident, man. Are you feeling like you’re the best in your age bracket right now? I mean, in my age bracket, 23 and under, yeah, I really feel like that. As an all-around package though, as a young boss. I’m running this. I’m signed to my own record company. I’ve put out Top Ten records. I’ve just got my platinum plaques and shit. I’ve sold millions of ringtones already. I have five records in rotatio, on the radio and my album hasn’t even come out yet. How many videos have I been on and my album hasn’t come out yet? When I go on my promo tour, I’m gonna be playing six songs off my album that have been in rotation, that have been charted on Billboard. I just don’t know anybody else that’s doing it. I watch, I read the credits in the albums. Like when you look at producer, everybody that broke into this game—and when I say these references, I’m not saying I don’t like these people—from a Hurricane Chris to Soulja [Boy] to all these other people are backed by somebody. I ride on my own dick, bro. Ain’t no Colliparks or none of these other niggas jumping out in Scooby Doos and slippers for me, baby. I come out by myself. I ain’t got no man with millions of records behind me, telling the world that I’m the next best shit since sliced bread. So I gotta be my own thang and I’ve done that consistently. And once you really take a look at it for what it’s worth, you’ll really understand everything. That’s what makes me a young boss and that’s what makes them artists. If people read comments like this in a magazine, they might take offens. Are you ready to take the backlash from statements like that? Like I said, if you’re gonna keep it 100, you’re doing an interview. If you’re gonna quote me right, then quote me right. If not, then take Hurricane and Soulja’s name out of it. And just say that they are artists. Name me one artist that broke through in 07-08 without a cosign? I just don’t know anybody that’s doing it. I watch TV. I’m in tune with the game. Everybody that came out, came out with somebody. It’s like, “Yo, this my little nigga.” I don’t have anybody saying, “This is that new nigga.” I have to make my own lane, and I love that lane for myself. Once I get there, I’m glad it wasn’t a super-progression; I came out, “Sexy Lady” did a million ringtones, stupid downloads, I sold a 100,000 singles on my EP and everything. My album hadn’t even come out but at the same token, I did that shit by myself, dawg. I took the song to the radio before I even got a record deal. That’s a young boss, my nigga. //

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If stuntin’ is a habit for Dav Mississippi ra id Banner, so pper has an o is speaking h pinion on eve is mind. The Hop to the m rything from edia coverag the current st e of Katrina. A fact statemen ate of Hip nd his extrem ts about Geo ely blunt and rge Bush hav government’ m atter-ofe probably ea s watch list. rned him a sp ot on the But quite sim ply, David Ba he cares abo nner just doe ut is his musi sn’t give a fuck c, and telling . The only thin glad to tell yo The Greatest g u that his is th S to ry E ve e album that’s r Told. He’ll be plaguing our going to add society, and sa ress all the is y all the thing Nas is concern sues s you’re to afr ed, Hip Hop Is aid to say. As Dead. But Ban Story Ever Told far as ner is convin will bring abo ce d th u t a th t T e h resurrection o e Greatest And if you do f Hip Hop. n’t agree… W ell, who gives a fuck? What can we expect from yo ur new album I honestly thin , Th k th just the new Da is album is going to shoc e Greatest Story Ever Told? k everybody. vi Not radio head. He d Banner fans. I was in the mastering lab, just people in the hood, no w t and I got a qu For this album as like “Dude, you may have ote from an ol , I had decided the best rap al d I wasn’t even hits, hits, hits. bu m sin ce Th go e As I had been moving around ing to put politics in it. I w Fugees’ Score.” after Katrina, as just going and the Sean the United Stat to put Bell stuff that are you going es , ev er y hood that I I addressed, pe to went to ople were aski are going right say on this album? I know ng me, “Banne you’ve got so now with Geor r, what mething to sa really want to ge Bush and ga y.” Th he s to go back an ar politics; they wanna hear prices, people in the ‘hood, e way things d re so fo enough of wha ally re-do the album. I thin mething that means somet r the first time, k it was really t people want a blessing beca hing. So I had from David Ba use now it’s ju nner, and wha st t they need.

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How did the record “Get Like Me” with Chris Brown come about? I was in my basement in Atlanta making the beat, and honestly, I think this was the first time in my life that I made [a beat] and knew it was a hit. If you listen to that beat, it’s not like anything you’re hearing on the radio. It’s fresh, it feels good, but it’s got a slice of hood in it. Originally the track was me, Yung Joc, and Jim Jones. I already had Jim Jones on another track on the album, and one of the criticisms I had been getting from my fans was that I always have songs with other people and they want to hear more David Banner. I really believe that with the way records are selling, if you’re going to get it you need to get it now because it’s only going to get worse before it gets better. I’ve got a lot of strong relationships, and Chris Brown is really like my little brother. So I called Chris up and was like, “Dude, it’s time for that favor.” He was like, “The only way I can do it is if you don’t put me on an R&B song. I wanna be on a straight hood song. I want you to put me in there like I’m rapping.” And that’s what he’s doing [on “Get Like Me”]. He has 12 bars just like any other rapper. This song is going to be bigger than “Play.” It’s just such a blessing. I have a new look and new songs. It’s almost like I’m a rapper with a brand new career. Why did you decide to come with a new look? I got sick. I was 21 points from diabetes. I had high blood pressure, it was 191 over 141. I was literally about to die. I had sleep apnea. The doctor plainly told me that if I didn’t do anything about it, I was going to die. It’s so funny when people talk shit and they really don’t know what’s going on. I know I look good, damn it, but people never really know what’s going on in your life. I don’t like that America has reduced us to believing everything we see on TV. You make assumptions on people’s real lives based on what they say on a record or do on TV. Then, on top of that, why does our generation always have to look at the negative? Why can’t people just say, “Damn, that boy is getting his life together; getting healthy.” Have you been focusing more on production than being an artist lately? First of all, July 15th, everybody go pick up The Greatest Story Ever Told. If you love David Banner stop talking about it and go buy the album. As far as me as a producer, I’ve always had hot

beats. But it’s funny, Pharrell told me, “Banner, man, you are possibly one of the best producers I have ever heard in my life, but you don’t put out the kind of music you produce yourself.” And what I’ve noticed is that a lot of rappers are uncomfortable with anything outside of what they feel the streets want. Back in the day, the streets didn’t tell Curtis Mayfield or Prince what to do. They were leaders; they were visionaries. My music has always been two years ahead of people, but it takes people who are visionaries to really latch onto it. If you look at [T.I.’s] “Rubberband Man,” which I produced, at the time were scared to do that kind of music. It was hood, but the beat was so bright. But T.I. was a visionary, so that’s the kind of person who’s going to gravitate to David Banner. If you look at this new “LaLa” I produced for Lil Wayne [on The Carter 3], that’s the craziest beat you have ever heard. No one would ever expect that, but Wayne is a visionary. So with me and my production, one of the reasons it’s taken me so long to blossom is because I have to work with artists that aren’t scared. The producers that are really big, like Timbaland and Pharrell, had artists who really believed in them, like Aaliyah and The Clipse. Those artists really believed in their vision and listened to them. So it’s going to take a minute to find the artists that are like, “Banner, I’m going to ride with you every time, because I believe in your vision.” How are you able to produce so many styles for so many different artists? When I grew up I listened to a diverse set of music. My uncle was a DJ from the north, and he got a job at a Blue’s Station and couldn’t use all his records, so he gave them to me. I was listening to music that people around me weren’t listening to. I was listening to Outkast and the old Cash Money, but I was also listening to the BeatNuts, Souls of Mystery, and The Boo-Yaa Tribe. I was listening to The Police and Culture Club. I was a big cartoon-head, and I love scores and movie soundtracks. I think that’s the reason why my music sounds so diverse. You’ve always been able to teeter on the line between commercial Hip Hop and conscious Hip Hop. How have you managed to do so and not alienate any of your fans, or have you? Well, actually, I have alienated a lot of my fans, but I’ve also gained a lot of new ones. Anytime you make a change, some people are not going

to understand it. A wise man once said, “If you’re not making a lot of mistakes, you’re not making enough decisions. If you make a lot of decisions and you’re a leader, then of course you’re going to make some mistakes.” I haven’t always made the best decisions musically, but I’ve always stood by people and have remained tangible no matter how big or my small my record is. If you look at how we’re doing our interview now, we’re outside, walking around, sitting down, and having a conversation. That’s how I’ve always tried to be with my fans. Just travel with me. Why is our music the only form of music where we don’t allow our artists to grow? We gotta learn how to let our artists grow. Because the only way we’re going to stay the same is if we die. But what I do think that people like is that I just continue to be me. David Banner is going to be David Banner. If you disrespect him he’s going to whoop your ass, and if you show him a compliment, he’s going to give you a hug. When Hurricane Katrina came through everybody focused on New Orleans, while other states were devastated as well. How are things in Mississippi almost three years after Katrina hit? Mississippi is still hurting. My brothers and sisters in New Orleans were affected [by Katrina] mostly because the local government didn’t rebuild the levees like they were supposed to. Millions of dollars were allocated to help rebuild the levees, and the local government only spent half of it. If you look at New Orleans, they caught the residuals of Katrina, whether it be the flood, the rain, etc. The actual eye of Hurricane Katrina hit Colston, Mississippi and Southern Alabama. It’s just strange that people would talk about Katrina and not talk about the places where the storm actually hit. The reason is that Alabama and Mississippi are not tourist attractions. If you don’t have cameras, you don’t get any attention. People only care about what America is shoving down their throat. And that’s the reason America is in the position it’s in now. If America was a city, the South is the ghetto, and Mississippi would be considered the most ghetto. We’re the poorest state in the United States. So, logically, it would make sense that we should’ve gotten the financial aid and attention we needed after Katrina. But you and I both know that’s not the case. Musically, what’s the state of Mississippi right now? People are still grinding. People are still doing what they need to do to come up. One young rapper that I like is named Savvy. Lyrically, that boy’s spitting on the level of a Nas, but he’s still from Mississippi, so he has the Mississippi slang. I’m really watching what this cat is going to do. But Mississippi is still grinding, the sound is developing, and it’s really coming. I really think Mississippi is going to shock a lot of people when the time comes. What is the overall state of Hip Hop right now in

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your opinion? I think Hip Hop is just in a cleansing period. I think all of the people who got into Hip Hop to use it to specifically get out the hood, or put their people on one, or those who more or less look at it like a legal dope game, can’t do it like they used to. The people who are really meant to be here are going to be the ones left standing when this drought is over. As blunt as I can put it, Hip Hop is on its cycle right now. It’s gotta bleed, it’s gotta cleanse itself, and hopefully I can be one of the few that remains successful until we make it through this period. What you would say is the #1 misconception the fans have of the industry? Just that everything you see on the song or in the video is real. I think that’s what’s killing rap music. People are more concerned with what rappers are doing than if they have talent. I personally don’t give a fuck who you killed. I personally don’t give a fuck how much dope you sold. If you made that much money selling dope then why are you rapping? If it’s really popping like that then you wouldn’t need to rap. And people can’t be in the streets like they’re saying they are, because I look on their roster and they’ve got 30 or 40 shows. They ain’t in the streets like that. I just seen you! Our music is supposed to be an expression of what it’s like in the streets. But we’re giving the misconception to kids that you’ve gotta be a dope dealer and you’ve gotta have killed somebody. I don’t mind stories because we need stories to keep the world informed about the plight that’s going on in our hood. But when are we going to start solving some of these problems? Now we’re getting to the point that we don’t even believe these are problems any more. Anything that hurts people, we’ve turned it into something positive. Now everybody thinks it’s cool to be a killer. You know, I’ve shot at people in the past. I’ve done shit that I wasn’t supposed to. But that’s not anything I’m proud of. I’ll talk about it just so people know that I went through

what they’re gonig through, and they can make the transition into something positive. We’re the only generation, and I mean everybody, white, black, whatever you may be, who are happy with being niggers. We’re happy with being uneducated; we’re happy with being from the hood. I love my hood because that’s where I’m from, but that’s not where I want my kids to stay. I represent it so that people from there can feel good about themselves, but I don’t want them to think that’s the place you’re supposed to be. We’re in the hood because at one point in time they wouldn’t let us go anywhere else. Now we keep ourselves there. That’s some bullshit. Going back to your reference to T.I. What’s your outlook on his legal situation, how it went down, and in turn how rappers are portrayed in the media? Of course the media is always going to portray rappers in a bad light. But one of the things I don’t like about a lot of rappers nowadays is that we’re in other folks’ business to much. Me and T.I. have a really good relationship, and regardless of what happened, or how it happened, I don’t want my homeboy to be in jail. Until he comes to me and speaks specifically about the situation, I stay out of it. He has my full support, and one thing he told me was that it’s not what people think it is. America wants us to be portrayed as niggas. For example, when the Sean Bell incident happened, that’s how he was portrayed. That way when the general public sees it, they won’t be shocked. They’ll see it as us getting what we deserve. Since you made the effort to talk about politics on your new album, what impact do you think Barack Obama would make on the presidency if he’s elected? Hopefully, I think it’ll be positive, and it’ll show people that no matter what background they come from, they have the power to influence others. I think it’s going to be a real positive situation. The only thing I don’t like about it is that we’re coming off of George Bush. George Bush has fucked up so bad that Obama is going to spend his whole first term cleaning up all the bullshit that George Bush left behind. Even if they stop the war today, it’s going to take two years to get the troops out. Even if the gas prices stop increasing, the people that sell oil have now grown

accustomed to getting that big money for their product, so why are they going to settle for something less? As far as politics and Obama, I’m very happy for him. I’m very happy that an African American even has the opportunity to become president, but why is it that every time we get an opportunity it’s under fucked-up circumstances? A black man finally gets the opportunity to come into office, and he’s coming after the worst president in history! No matter how good you are, if you’re cleaning up it’s going to take you a minute to turn shit around. Even if you’re the best president that has ever walked the earth, coming in after George Bush, 50% of your efforts is going to be cleaning up his fuck ups. Gas and the war alone will take up an entire presidency. I just hope he has the opportunity, and the right team around him. So the country’s fucked up, George Bush is fucked up, and the Hip Hop game is fucked up. What’s going to take to change all that? The Greatest Story Ever Told. July 15th, purchase that CD. It will change the face of Hip Hop. It will change the way you look at Hip Hop. My album is truly greater then any other rapper who reads this article. Period. And I’m not even saying that on some conceited shit. I’m proud of this album. For the first time in my life I’m proud of myself. I listen to this album and I’m proud. This isn’t a job to me, this is something I love. And there isn’t any bullshit on this record. Every lyric, every line, every beat, had some love in it. Greatest Story Ever Told, July 15th. Ok, so last question… I love titties. Okay, one MORE question. What else are you working on right now? I’m working on trying not to go crazy. I’m just trying to keep my sanity. I know as artists we shouldn’t concentrate on the small things, but you know, what I do is important to me. I want to work. We got “Get Like Me” and it’s poppin’, but at the same time, I want people to understand this album. When ol’ boy told me this album reminded him of The Score, by The Fugees, that touched my heart because I know how that album touched people. But if people don’t have the opportunity or don’t know to go to David Banner for that type of album, then it’s just like a tree fell in the forest and wasn’t nobody in that muthafucka. That’s how I feel about this album. We got a big ol’ oak tree in the forest that’s about to tear the whole damn forest down. I always tell everybody this is the album they want but not necessarily who they want it from. This is the album they’ve been wanting to bring Hip Hop back. //

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A PER // PHOTO: JULI WORDS: RANDY RO

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bum Death Befostre ping his debut al ho ’s 2 Pi ols he d an ts ar er ch up the a teenag , but now, ng as bi w im he cl ce is sin It” il t ja Go he -out of his life. His hit single “S ’s been in-andan art a new chapter in st d do the same. He nd hi be st Dishonor will le pa s troubled is looking to ave hi The first time I interviewed you, you were just getting started with the Justice League. And now “She Got It” is a hit. How is success treating you? It feels good just to have a record the people accept. I love all the success I’m having. I feel very fortunate. I don’t want nobody to think I take my situation for granted. I love my situation. What was your reaction when “She Got It” started to break? It was cool, but a lot of people had mixed feelings because [T-Pain] was on so many records at the time. [People were like], “Dude looks like Plies,” or, “He came out just like Plies with a T-Pain record.” The comparison started to get crazy for me. That’s the number one thing I hated the most out of the situation. People still didn’t give me my credit yet but I think they might second guess that now that I got this second single with Ray J called “You Know Me.” Hopefully people will be like, “Okay, dude got another record,” although I do have another R&B singer on there. We just wanted that feature on there to give it that look. But I don’t feel like cats are giving me my credit that I should be getting. My success is cool but at the same time, I still hear 62 // OZONE MAG

the comments like, “Without T-Pain it wouldn’t be this way, without Ray J it wouldn’t be that way.” I just want my people to understand that I’m here and it’s a lot of other artists that collaborated on records with other people and they give them their credit. I just want my credit, that’s all. If you keep coming with these R&B singles, they’re going to give you credit for being LL Cool J. What do you want people to see your image as? If they wanna look at me like LL, that’s cool. He’s ten years strong in the game. My situation is well-rounded. I can talk about anything when it comes to a song. Cause I’ve been through some of everything. I got my own relationship issues that I don’t care too much about speaking openly about. And I got my situation where I’m in the streets heavy, and I can talk about that. I write [my lyrics] well-rounded and I don’t want you to look at 2 Pistols and think he only talks about females, or he only talks about goons or street shit. I want cats to understand that I’m an artist. I can speak on any topic and it’s going to be a good song. Speaking of the streets, can you speak on your street life and being in and


out of prison, before music? The cats that I grew up around are different from the cats that are out there now. To get in the situation that they are right now, man, there’s a lot of snitching and negative energy in the streets right now. Cats value now the dude that got shot. They value the cat that go in there and snitch. They like these niggas with street stories, oh, I did this and I did that. They some makebelieve ass niggas, they like that. They don’t want a nigga that walk it, they just want a nigga that talk good. The like whatever sounds good. They don’t really sit back and realize what is right in front of you. The niggas that I grew up with, ain’t none of them niggas here like that. And it’s fucked up. They’re not here because of niggas that was snitching. I grew up in a different code. That’s why my album is title Death Before Dishonor. I’d rather die before I’m disloyal in any kind of way. I titled it that because I wanted something that was well-rounded, and I could speak from any angle on that. It’s something that best represents me and what I stand for. At the end of the day, my house arrest situation, all of that’s over with. But I still get profiled. If you travel with me, you always get random searched in the airport, trust me. When you come through the line with me, they’re gonna search you every time. I don’t think there’s been a flight yet that I ain’t got randomly searched, or my niggas ain’t got randomly searched. I gotta get travel permits and all this extra shit to go anywhere in the country right now, because of my charges. I went to court about a week and a half ago to try and get off this shit. Just so they could be like, “The nigga’s doing something positive with his life.” And the muthafuckin’ State Prosecutor was like, “We don’t give a fuck what he’s doing with his life now. We’re watching him because of shit that he did prior to his success. So, they ain’t trying to hear that shit. She felt like me getting out of jail and [being] put on probation and house arrest was a good enough break. Even though I did my time on their probation. They wanna see a nigga that’s successful, a nigga that’s trying to do something with his life, suffer or be miserable. They want me to not even be able to enjoy my life cause y’all got me checking in three, four times a month. Asking me how much I made this month, how long I’m gonna be in this city, and every time I go to the airport I’m getting checked and searched. C’mon, man. Enough is enough, my nigga. It’s crazy that you have to go through all of that, when you’re trying do something positive. I did a little give back to my neighborhood, and put slip-n-slides up, little jump around shits that kids could go in. I had a cook bring 200 pounds of chicken, just for the hood. I think I’m halfway successful right now. I don’t even think I’m in the position that I should be in, with me having the blessings that I’ve had. But I’m at where I’m at, and I’m gonna be content with that until I get to where I’m trying to get to. But I don’t have a problem with giving back at all. How do you explain to the fans that you are a more positive person now, with all the negativity surrounding you? The fans that really really pay attention to my situation and really realize where I came from, they don’t get caught up in the [Plies] comparisons and really know that my story is true. It’s not some shit that’s fabricated like majority of these rappers. All I’m asking is that y’all continue supporting me. Cause I’m gonna stay that same dude. I ain’t gonna change. No matter how much money I get, or what I do, or if I get any movie roles, or whatever I get into, I’ma be that same dude that I’ve been from the hood, from the block. I mean, I can spend my money now and ain’t gotta worry about police kicking in my door or causing drama. And at the same time, I’m the same dude. I haven’t changed. I’m gon’ always be the same dude. Why did you name yourself 2 Pistols? My name 2 Pistols came from one of my cousins that’s in the Feds right now. It was just given to me cause of my personality. I’m a Gemini, so one minute I’ll be over here, cool, kicking it with you and the next minute I’ve be flippin’ out about something. I’ve got two personalities. In the hood, of course they’re gonna twist things, so instead of saying, “That nigga is two people,” they say, “He’s 2 Pistols.” It was just something that was said that was kicked around and it kinda stuck like that. I ain’t wanna change that because on my court documents, that was the name I was called when I was in the streets. That’s what people knew me as. I ain’t wanna jump in the game and use another person’s name and get famous off of their street presence. Why not just use my own name? It was kinda hard for people to understand it and adapt to it but it stood out! It might be negative at first but when they get to know me, they’re like, “Okay, dude is cool.”

Have you had any problems getting mainstream or crossover attention because of your name? Once you get branded as something, you stick with it. That was my name; I got branded like that. When it came to rap, I didn’t really think about politics. And didn’t think they might not wanna play my video. Or they might not want to sell my CD in stores for retail. They automatically think violence, and I think that I’m being stereotyped. They’ve got [other artists like] Sex Pistols, Guns N’ Roses, all kinds of shit. Just cause it says 2 Pistols and he raps, they assume he’s gotta be talking about some violent shit. It can’t just be a name. Leave it as a name and let the music speak for itself. I hate that shit, to be honest with you. It hurt my situation a lot. I think would’ve had a lot more going on, with the success that I having with my record, if my name wasn’t that. But I live by that. I live by the gun, die by the gun. I just take the good with the bad with it. Fuck it. I’m just doing me. What can you tell me about your album? It’s a well-rounded album. I got T-Pain on there, of course. I got Ray J on there, of course. I got another record with Trey Songz that’s crazy. I got a record on there called “Flex,” where I use the sample from Mad Cobra’s “Flex” from a while back. My family originates from the Bahamas so I had to throw some island flavor in that shit. I got Blood Raw and Slick Pulla on there from CTE. I got my clique on there, Blood Money Entertainment. The rest of the album is pretty much me. I did a record where I had Fergie on the record first, but then we had clearance issues so we ended up putting Tyra B on the record, it’s called “Candy Coated Diamonds.” It’s a good album. Billboard and a couple other people that reviewed it said that even though I’m a new artist, I’ve got three or more singles on the album. They said they don’t remember the last time there’s been a new artist who had as many records I have on my album, as far as singles. I just think the people are gonna get their money’s worth if they go out and purchase my project. Real talk. New artists always come and go. What are you going to do to maintain and stay in the game? I’m collaborating with some up-and-coming cats and I’m on their first singles. I think I’ma stay relevant that way. And I’ma look forward to working on any project I can work on; jumping on a couple features and anybody that got a remix, I’ll jump on that. I’m gonna do whatever I gotta do to stand out. I’m gonna put some more mixtapes out. I’ma stay hot in the streets. I’m still gonna be dropping singles off this album come this time next year. So, I can eat off this album for a little minute, and like I said, I’ma do mixtapes and features to stay relevant. What’s your relationship with the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League? I have a production agreement with them. They worked on the album. They didn’t have to do as many records as they did on the album. We were scheduled to do two records, but we worked so well together that damn near every record that we did together could’ve been a single. They got nine tracks on the album and I got a couple other producers too. The J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, they want it bad. They’re really on their grind. I be getting mad cause they be selling some of these hot beats adn I’m like, “Why’d you give that nigga that beat? You shoulda gave it to me!” I be getting mad about that sometimes but we good. I’m getting ready to do an independent deal for my artists. They were talking about doing something with G-Unit/BME. But I don’t know if we’re going that route or not. We got a couple different people we are talking to. I’m getting ready to put my artists out. Of course, I’m gonna have Justice League on the production. So, shit moving over here. We’re standing on our own. We’re separated. I’m a part of the whole Florida movement, of course. But cats got their own sections in Florida that’s doing they thing. Back to “She Got It.” Name some females celebrities that got it and why? Sanna Lathan. She got it. Why she got it? Man, I don’t know. I mean, shit, nigga, look at her. I can’t really explain, just look at her. I gotta give it to her, off top. I be fuckin’ with Ray J about this one. I think Kim [Kardashian] got it, too. I don’t know what she is. I don’t know if she’s Italian. Either way, she’s still pretty much a snowflake. Kim Kardashian, of course, she got it. A lot of niggas saying that shit right now. Who else? The chick Vida Guerra, although Game had his whatever with her. Now look, I picked all angles on that one. They can’t be trippin’, saying P only caters to one specific female. I gave you a black chick. I gave you a white chick and a Spanish chick. So, to each it’s own. Whatever one you wanna fuck with, whatever race you wanna go at, I gave you the finest ones that I feel that come from that type of background.

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MISS RAP SUPREME STANDOUT MS. CHERRY IS READY TO SHOW THE WORLD THAT SHE’S MORE THAN JUST A REALITY SHOW STAR OR T-PAIN’S BABY MAMA A lot of people might recognize you from the VH1 reality show Miss Rap Supreme, but you actually had a rap career before the show and were interviewed in OZONE a few times before. For people who don’t know, let them know what you were doing before the show. A lot of people think that it started with the show, but I’ve been rapping since I was 13 years old. I’m 24 now. You were signed to Streetwise Records and had a couple of songs that were hittin’ locally in Atlanta. What happened to Streetwise? Since they’re still going through some [legal] issues, it’s kinda hard to talk about it. A lot of people saw it on the news or the internet. I was in Albany when [the story hit the news]. [The news] said they’d been locked up. When I drove back up to Atlanta, the girl from the office told me to come to her house. When I came to her house, [Big T, the CEO of Streetwise] jumped out from behind the door and was like, “They can’t catch me!” You know how it is. You’re in the streets trying to turn your street money clean, so that’s why they [had] the record label. My contract [with Streetwise] has expired, so I guess you could say I’m a free agent. Did you think it was a good career move going on a reality show? Sometimes it can come off as a gimmick. It was hard to know how the show was gonna be. All I knew was that VH1 was having a reality show about female rappers. I haven’t really seen any female artists that I feel are real competition. It’s a lot of [female] rappers that were hot once, but where are they now? So I felt like I couldn’t lose. I didn’t know how it was gonna [turn out] so I felt like it was a win-win. Has the show resulted in a lot of recognition and opportunities for you from record labels and other media outlets? Definitely. I think it was a great opportunity because now, everywhere I go, I never have to explain, “Hi, I’m Ms Cherry. I had a song called ‘It’s Whatever.’ You might’ve seen me in XXL or OZONE.” A lot of labels reached out and clothing lines gave me free clothes and stuff. I get a lot of phone calls that I wanted to get when I was with Streetwise. You and Khia didn’t get along too well on the show. Did you know her before you got on the show? Was that real animosity or did y’all make it extra dramatic for television? Yeah, I sure did [know her before]. She’s real extra. I really think she did that for TV, cause after the argument [when the cameras went off] she’d kinda laugh. She was picking at all the girls but nobody stood up to her. They’d just let her say whatever she wanted, but I was like, “Wait a minute, bitch. Who the fuck do you think you is?” You both live here in Atlanta. Did things end on a more positive note or is it gonna get ugly if you both show up at the same place at the same time? I saw her in the club at my birthday party at Central Station in Atlanta. The whole rest of my party was like, “Man, let’s whoop this hoe’s ass.” I was like, “I don’t start shit; I finish it. Let’s see what she does.” She acted like she didn’t even see me. I’m standing right in front of her like, “Hello?” I just wanted her to say one thing. I wouldn’t even have to do nothing. That’s what she doesn’t realize – you can’t come to somebody else’s city and expect to live there. Even if I never go outside the house, my whole family lives here. I’ve got aunties, cousins, and friends from elementary, middle, and high school. But, it’s really not that serious. I think she’s very immature. You saw her on the show crying. She’s so dramatic, oh my God. She’s just extra all the time. On the show she was crying about her mom and stuff. I think she really needs help. She doesn’t have that mama figure, somebody to hold a mirror in front of her and say, “Khia, don’t wear that. Khia, don’t say that. Khia, don’t get on the radio in Atlanta where you live and make a complete asshole out of yourself.” I think she needs a role model. Who do you think would be a good role model for Khia? 64 // OZONE MAG

: WORDS & PHOTO Y RL JULIA BEVE


I don’t know who could be her role model. They’d probably quit. She’s about to drop an album. Any predictions on how much she’ll sell? I hope that whatever her goal is, she meets it. That way she can start a new profession instead of this professional hating that she’s doing. I’ve never seen anything like it. This bitch is a professional hater. She’s really ill. That’s why I’m not even mad at her. I feel sorry for her. When you were on the VH1 show, it was revealed that you have a baby with T-Pain. What were you thinking messing around with a married man? I didn’t know in the beginning. How could I know? When was the beginning? Years ago. About three and a half years ago. First of all, we were both really young. I wasn’t even thinking about having kids. But I asked him once because he had a tan on his finger which means that there was jewelry [or a wedding ring] there. I asked him [if he was married] and he denied it. I believed it because clearly he was so young. It is what it is. At his house, it was no sign of [a wife]. It was all his stuff in the closet (laughs). I mean, if that was me [as his wife], I woulda left something there. Anything, anywhere. I mean, how was I supposed to know? I didn’t know that he was married and then after I did find out, I was mad. I cursed him out and stopped talking to him. But the feelings were already there. People always ask me, “Did you really like him, or was it just because of his money?” They don’t realize that back then, he didn’t have [money] like he’s got now. This was back when his first record came out? It hadn’t even come out yet. We could go to the store and it wasn’t that big of a deal. It definitely wasn’t because of money. He came to Atlanta and rode in my Impala and stayed on Bankhead with me. It wasn’t ‘bout no money. You just liked his striped dreads? (laughs) They weren’t striped then. They were black. I didn’t like that striped shit when he did it, but, you know, he’s a character. So even when you found out that he was married, you kept messing with him. Yeah, I found out, and in so many words, [he said] that he was so young and made a mistake. We were really good friends. It wasn’t really about him cheating on his wife. The baby thing just happened. We really were friends. That boy is so talented. People always tell me that everything’s out in the open now with her, and they really do live together now. People ask me, “How do you feel? When you hear his songs do you get upset?” No, because at the end of the day if he’s platinum, that means we’re platinum. I could never get mad at that. He’s always been so talented. Even when he didn’t have as much [success] as he has now, just being in the studio with him is inspiring. So it was more of a musical connection between you at first? I think it really was. So is your next single gonna have a T-Pain hook? People always ask me that. He wanted me to be on [his label] Nappy Boy but I thought it would be kinda a conflict of interest. How would that work out? But he did make me a beat that I never used. He always asked me what I did with it. I did do the little bridge for “Church,” the second song on his last album. Was there some drama between you and his wife? There never really was no drama. People always wanna give me advice, like, “If I were you, I’d tell her this and that,” but it’s not even that serious. Me and her never had words. I’m sure she doesn’t know the whole story of what happened between us. It’s just really messed up when somebody on the outside tries to give their opinion of a situation they don’t know anything about. Everybody’s like, “How did you have a baby by him when you knew he was married?” I don’t know anyone who goes around looking for married men [to have babies with]. When I first met him, he wasn’t married to my knowledge. I developed feelings for somebody who [I thought] wasn’t married, so I don’t think I can be at fault for that. The best part of the situation is my son King, and I love him. Shout out to my son Kingston. How old is your son now? He’s thirteen months old. And the thing is, my Streetwise family used to pick on [T-Pain] because of how he looked and dressed, and they picked on me for liking him. But I really felt love when we were together. His friends and family even told me that he really loved me, and that’s why I had my son, because I felt like it was true love. Years had gone by, money had come and gone by, and he never changed. I loved him for that and I felt like he was somebody I could know and love for the rest of my life. That’s why I chose to have Kingston in spite of the circumstances. Is it difficult trying to have a rap career and be a mother at the same time?

My son changed my whole life. I was reading the old interview I did [in OZONE] and I said, “I don’t even like kids.” I was serious. Even now, I still don’t like kids. I just love mine. I swear he changed my whole life. Before, I’d want to be at the club all the time, just waiting to perform. Now I have to find somebody to keep him. I don’t like him to go places with other people. I want him to be with me all the time. I think I might hinder myself more than he hinders me. I could take him to my mama’s house, but I just don’t want to. Do you think he’ll be a singer one day… with a vocoder? (laughs) Somebody sent me a text message with a link to a baby crying with the [T-Pain vocoder] on it. Ridiculous. But yeah, when we’re in the studio he loves to beat on the piano and try to sing into the microphone. When you did the reality show, was T-Pain worried about the story getting out there to the public? Well, he acted like he wasn’t ever worried about it. Wherever you were at, he was like, “Julia’s gonna take a picture of us [and put it in OZONE]. What are you gonna do?” I was like, “I’m not the one who should be worried.” That was before the baby. So y’all were sneaking around hiding from me? I wasn’t hiding from you. He swore you had so many pictures of us. When he did the interview with you [for his cover story last year], he was like, “She knows.” And I was like, “You better not tell her.” I just didn’t want to be known as “T-Pain’s baby mama.” What kinda shit is that? I was Ms Cherry before I knew him, and that’s who I wanna be known as. I don’t ever want people to start forgetting my name and start calling me “T-Pain’s baby mama.” That was one good thing about the [VH1 show]. People know my name and don’t just know me as “T-Pain’s baby mama.” I know that was gonna come out anyway, though. When you’re on a show like that, they really look up everything. You sign a paper giving them permission, and they look up your [criminal] records, medical records, everything. So the VH1 folks put it out there? No, but during the initial interview, they had a picture of [T-Pain] clipped to the interview sheet with the questions they were gonna ask me when I got to L.A. I was looking at the paper, like, “What the fuck?” They said they didn’t wanna use [that information] in the show, but they asked me if it would be okay. I was like, “Well, it’s not a secret, but I don’t want it to be a big deal. I want people to see me on this show. It ain’t about him. Y’all see him on TV all the time. Can I have this little show? Can this be mine?” If I had made it a big deal on the show [by] talking about him every five minutes, they would’ve put it in. But I didn’t. If one of the girls asked me about it, I told ‘em, but I never made it a big deal. Why do you think the female rap scene in general is so dead right now? That’s a good question. It’d be easy for me to say, “They need me,” or whatever. I think I was supposed to win [the reality show]. When we did the challenge at the shooting range, they saw my [criminal] record and saw that I had been arrested. But they didn’t know that the whole time, I was still going through it. I could possibly go back to Atlanta and go to jail. The whole time we did the show, they were asking us stuff about [female rappers who have had legal troubles] like Remy Ma, Foxy Brown, Lil Kim, and the future of Hip Hop. But I never said anything about [my pending court cases] until it came up. There was some stuff that happened way before I had Kingston, but I was still going to court for it. You know how they’ll drag shit out, just waiting for you to miss a court date so they can lock yo’ ass up? I had three felony charges of aggravated assault with a pistol. Each charge carried 20 years. So even though this was something that happened before I had my son, these things were still hanging over my head. What are your future plans? Do you have any record deals on the table? Yeah. I’m trying to see who I wanna go with. I want it to be a good situation. I think a lot of people take [bad] record deals because of their hunger or need. I’m trying to take my time with it and pick out the right situation. I’ve got a new song called “Thank You.” It’s talking about how I always wanted to be a star when I was younger, and now people wave when they see me in my car. That’s a real crossover song. I’m singing on it. No vocoder? No vocoder, just me. A lot of people are like, “Who is that singing?” They don’t really believe it’s me. The name of my album is called Urban Beauty. I’m working on that. Yo Yo from the show is tryna help me get where I need to be. Shout out to LRG; thanks for the Luxurie clothes. Anything else you want to plug? Thank you to all my fans. I have millions of fans all over the world. I love y’all. They be on my Myspace page really trippin’. I talk to everybody. That’s really me on my Myspace page (myspace.com/therealmscherry). // OZONE MAG // 65


DDAEUS McADAMS WORDS: JULIA BEVERLY // PHOTO: THA

I know you’ve been going through some changes and you got a lot of new things coming up. You’re in the studio, right? Is this your new spot? My spot is being built right now. I’m actually working at Block Entertainment right now. So I guess you and Block are good now. There were some rumors about what’s going on at the Block Entertainment camp. Sometimes there are misunderstandings. Sometimes people get things misconstrued. Sometimes things get misinterpreted and people make what they will out of it. Sometimes people show pain on their face day to day; people pick up on certain things. But other than that, it’s no different than anybody else’s family situation or label situation. Shit happens. It’s just one of those things. Other than that, I’m good. I’m paid. Everybody I fuck with is paid. That’s what it is. How did you come across your new group Hot 66 // OZONE MAG

Stylz? I was in the studio and I had just finished up this record with me, Shawty Lo, and Jody Breeze called “Ah Yeah.” I took it to the Blue Flame in Bankhead and dropped it off with my pa’tna DJ Hershey. Hershey played the record. Right when people started saying it’s a drought on the work and gas was finna go up, nobody in the [strip] club was tippin’ but me and my crew. Hershey was like, “Damn dawg, you the only nigga in this bitch tippin’. This shit looks crazy.” We started laughing. He said, “It looks like a club full of robbers ‘cause they all looking at ya.” I said, “Yeah, it’s cool.” He said, “I got this song I’m finna play for niggas just standing around lookin’.” He played [“Lookin Ass Nigga”] and I was like, “Damn, this shit is funny.” He said he didn’t know who they were signed to. My personal assistant Tameka Howard got on the internet the next day and she found the dudes. They flew down on a Sunday, we re-recorded the record, and by Wednesday we had a deal on the table [with Jive]. We re-recorded the record

because I definitely had to bring the quality up. It was a muddy, low-quality, home version of the record. It was the original. It contained the essence of rawness; it didn’t matter if it was the best clarity. Even when I mixed the record, I didn’t try to put the best mix on it sonically. I just wanted it to be clear enough for radio so it would still a hit and sound clear. Do you think humor is missing from Hip Hop these days? I think humor is missing right now in our world anyway, ‘cause ain’t shit funny out here right now. Gas is up to $5 a gallon damn near. Ain’t nothin’ funny about that. You gotta think, people in the hood are struggling every day to put $2.89 in they car. Now they’re talkin’ ‘bout you gotta spend $4.39. C’mon, man. Ain’t nothin’ funny out here right now. Naturally when the cost of gas goes up, so does everything else ‘cause of transportation. That’s a big part of you being able to receive commerce, food, whatever. We need [humor] sometimes. That’s why the record is doing so well.


Most of the time when you hear that record you’re gonna be in your car. You’re gonna be driving and weighing out what’s in your bank account and in your pocket and where you’ve got to go and everything you’ve got to pay. [The record] is just one of them thangs to lighten up your day and put a smile on your face, to know that people can still have fun with what they do. Do you think sometimes people get you misconstrued as just being a joker, just a funny, cool type of dude and not really a street dude? I think what happens is, I’ma cat that came from the hood, but I always wanted better. In my mind, everything I gotta do, I don’t have to be hood to do it. I think a lot of times people misconstrue hood with just straight up ignorance – like if I don’t say some ignorant shit, I’m not hood. You can’t just say that. It is what it is. Some people do say, “He’s a cool cat; he ain’t gon’ do nothing. He probably ain’t never did this, sold no dope, trapped, none of that.” Hey man, just ‘cause I don’t talk about it in none of my music don’t mean I ain’t never did it. Just ‘cause I don’t tell you what the work cost me when I was comin’ up

emphasize how much drugs they’ve sold and how many people they’ve killed in their music? Because it’s more people that listen to that music that can relate to shit that the average cat in the street does. If you feel like your consumer base is only the hood, then you’ve gotta say the shit that’s right next door to ‘em, that’s right downstairs in they own house, the shit they see walkin’ right outta they door. You gotta paint that picture for ‘em so when they pop it in, it feels like they’re comfortable; in their environment. They can understand it with their eyes closed. They can understand it if you say it backwards. A lot of times people use that as their reference, what they’ve done and what they’ve been through. It kinda validates who their character is as a rapper or hood nigga. What’s your take on the so-called Atlanta beef between Shawty Lo and T.I.? It’s all good. I know it’s a better way to Bankhead on the map and show that Atlanta’s got some real hustlers and squads here, but they’re putting Bankhead on the map. That’s what they’re doin’. T.I.P. already put Bankhead on the map; don’t get me wrong on that, but Shawty Lo been in the streets for a long time, for real. I think some people blew what he said out of proportion and then it turned into a nigga realizing that people are actually fucking with him by saying that. It just turned into niggas talkin’ shit to each other. But at the end of the day, I think both of them cats are some hustlers. They’re smart enough to not do nothing dumb and jeopardize their careers or freedom. I think it’s moreso them utilizing what they got, using their talents, and the art of marketing what they do. That’s how I feel, to be honest with you. How does Bankhead compare to College Park? How would you break that down for somebody who’s not from Atlanta? It’s hood anywhere in Atlanta. Anywhere you go in Atlanta it gon’ be hood. The thang about it is, some parts in Atlanta are just more slum shit. You gotta think, in Atlanta, Bankhead is super-ghetto. College Park is ghetto as hell, but it might not have as many projects. College Park’s got projects, but Bankhead’s got a lot of projects. You got Bankhead Courts. You can turn around off of Bankhead and you got Etheridge. You go on up and you get to Overlook Atlanta. You can’t forget Bowen Homes. It’s a lot of places you can go right there on Bankhead and be like, “This shit is super-hood.” It ain’t like there’s no hoods in other cities, but I think sometimes the level of positivity could be greater in some parts of Atlanta.

don’t mean I never did it. I did a lot of shit. Matter of fact, I just released a record. Block put out a record I did called “What’s Really Good” on the No BitchAssNess mixtape. Listen to it. It’s truth to a lot of shit, and a lot of the shit is rumors too. It’s one of those records where I’m talking in third person. I’m rapping about myself and what people say about me. Then after you hear the record you’re gonna be like, “Damn, shawty said some real shit.” Then you gon’ turn around and see a crazy ass video like “Lookin Boy.” It’s like, “Damn, he really explained it. He’s an entertainer.” Sometimes you have to explore different things to entertain people. Shit we used to do to entertain you doesn’t necessarily entertain you as much anymore. Why do you think artists feel so much pressure to

When you say you signed Hot Stylz, do you have a production company or a label? What’s the name of your company? My company is called Swagg Team Entertainment. I feel like we’re a full-blown entertainment company. It’s one of those record labels where I stand behind the people I believe in and the people I stand behind believe in me. (laughs) No homo. So who do you having coming out besides Hot Stylz? I got Traeyon. He’s an R&B dude. He can really blow. You’ve got my dude Grind outta Kissimmee. He’s a Puerto Rican cat that grew up in the hood, but when you hear him you’re not gonna even believe he’s Puerto Rican. I got more cats comin’ like Play Boi. It’s the Swagg Team All Stars. Right now I’m just enjoying being able to make some decisions, as far as being in that CEO seat.

Are all of those coming through Jive or are you looking for different things for everybody? I’m looking for different outlets. I have had a very good relationship with Jive in the past, helping establish a relationship by doing records with a lot of their different artists, like the record “Fuck You Pay Me” with my homie Sonny V, and of course the record with T-Pain, “Buy You a Drank.” We built such a good relationship that they took me everywhere with T-Pain. I traveled the country with this guy, at different award shows and everything. They didn’t have to do that. Homie coulda rapped the part himself. But they really believed in the artists and supported them enough to do that, to spend that extra money to make sure he was well-accommodated. I took heed to the whole process that I witnessed, so inevitably I went to them. I have a few associates [at Jive] that are highly favored, so it was a better situation to walk into it like that. And what’s the status of your next solo project? Or are you kinda focusing more on the label and your other business ventures? I’m focused, making sure all my music is right. I’m very focused on both. But for the most part, can’t nobody do Joc but Joc, so I’m gonna be focused from a different angle on my project. With my label, I can sit back and say, “This is what needs to be done, here’s a checklist of the steps I have to take to make it work.” For the most part, I’m working. Do you know when your next solo project will be coming out? November. It’s called Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood. You were on the Forbes list last year for rappers who made the most money, correct? Aside from the things we’ve already discussed, what are you doing to make sure you maintain your spot on the list this year? I’m planning. All these things we’re talking about right now, it’s not just talk. You’ve got some people that just talk shit and say what they’re gonna do and what they wanna do, but you never see it manifested. With my case it’s a little different. Instead of me going around talking a lot, I really just let it happen. That way you can never say, “He just talked a lot but I never saw much progress. I heard a lot of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives come outta his mouth but I never saw success manifest from what he spoke.” I’d rather just let my actions speak a lot louder than my words. That sounds like a good way to finish off this interview. Anything else you’d like to add?. For anybody that’s listening, God bless you. Life is too short. If something ain’t working, don’t give up. Just keep doin’ what you do ‘cause best believe, I felt like giving up a million times but I didn’t. I put my faith in God. I believed in myself and I just hit the block running. I laced up the Nike Airs and just went running. I said, “I’ma get to the finish line one way or the other.” I still ain’t made it to the finish line ‘cause I don’t know what my finish line in life really is, but I’m still runnin’ the hell outta this race. We get tired ‘cause we’re human, but as long as you continue to prepare for tomorrow and keep puttin’ your all into it, you’ll be alright. That’s what I wanna leave with the fans. When you think about Joc, know that I’ma real nigga. I’m not with no games. I’ma grown man. I got kids. It’s not a game. //

OZONE MAG // 67


WORDS BY MAURICE G. GARLAND

T

here are plenty of stories inside the Federal Holding Facility in Makento County, Florida. There’s the one about the Columbian fisherman who got busted with dope on his boat that he didn’t even know was there. There’s the one about the guy serving life for killing his cousin in a domestic dispute. Then there’s the one about the promising rapper who, like so many other inmates, was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. That story belongs to Tampa Tony. Born Antonio Alls in Orlando, Florida, Tampa Tony was the prototypical independent Southern rapper. He was a king in his local domain with a loyal fanbase that even multi-platinum artists on a major label couldn’t boast about having. You could run into him at the neighborhood gas station minutes after or even while his song was playing on the radio. He could generate more cheers in his city than some of the headlining artists he opened for. Tony got his start as a DJ with the famed Rock It Rod DJs in the mid-80’s. Leaving the turntables behind, he secured a role as hypeman for MC Nas-D of “My Cadillac” fame. With bass music still recognized as powerful force, he eventually got bit with the rapping bug and pursued a career on the mic. His first national look came when he hooked up with music industry luminary Tony Mercedes, known for his work with LaFace Records. Their relationship birthed the song “Dis Dick” on the Ain’t Nothing But A Bass Thing compilation. After a few controversial contract disputes, Tony went out on his own and put out the single “Pull That Choo Choo,” one of the many bass songs of the time using a Barry White sample that went on to become an underground hit. Through the mid-2000s Tampa Tony had a string of club hits including the widely popular “Keep Jukin,’” that can still be heard in random Florida clubs 68 // OZONE MAG

to this day. That song’s popularity led to a cameo on “J.O.D.D.” on Trick Daddy’s Thug Matrimony album, a song that also appeared in the movie The 40 Year Old Virgin. It also led to an ill-fated deal with Southbeat Records. Disenchanted with the industry after numerous conflicts with the label, Tony opted to step back from the limelight and start his own business. Not as a record executive, but as an actual inventor. After a few failures, Tony finally stuck gold when he invented Da Splitta, a discrete device containing a razor blade that split blunt cigars in half, making it easier for smokers who didn’t want to deal with the hassle of wetting and cutting the blunts with keychains or finger nails. While the device was as primitive as it was innovative, Tony proved himself to be ingenius by making sure the device itself didn’t have to touch the marijuana, thus excluding it from being considered illegal drug paraphernalia. The invention was an instant success, drawing interest all across the country and even as far away as Canada. By the time Tony developed a sleeker prototype designed to act as a lighter holder as well, he had moved on to building an even bigger business empire. In August 2006, Tony debuted his Da Splitter clothing line, or DS Apparel for short, that included not only t-shirts and hat, but sneakers as well. The line was to introduce what he called “the smoker’s look.” He also re-entered the rap industry by founding his own label Da Splitta Records, with plans to put out albums from his newly formed group Da Splitta Squad. With so many projects on his plate, Tony was recognized by his peers when he was nominated for the 2006 OZONE Award for Hustler of the Year. His new dealings also brought around some “new people,” according to some unnamed sources. In 2007, Tony re-focused on his solo career with plans to drop an album that would eventually make him a household name. Backed by production from Jim Jonsin and guest appearances from T-Pain, Tony was well on his way to becoming a star after nearly 20 years in the game. But 20 seconds would bring his progress to a halt. On October 12, 2006 in Pasco County, Florida Tony was arrested for accepting


a delivery of twenty-four kilos of cocaine. According to a press release from the United States Department of Justice, law enforcement agents also seized $20,000 from Tony’s car along with three other gentlemen. One of the men was from Arizona, where the cocaine originated. On November 8, 2007, Tony was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and possession with intent to distribute.

Is your case related to his at all? To the outside eye, people may be saying, “What the hell is going on in Tampa?” No. No. Totally unrelated.

Similar to the case of Big Oomp recording artist Baby D who is currently sitting in an Ohio prison without bond for allegedly trafficking cocaine, this incident seems completely out of character for a rapper known for party records. Never really considered a threat to society, Tony has gone from making hit records to being hit with a record.

To the best of your knowledge, everybody in your circle was clean and not into the drug trade, right? They were clean, that I know of. But you never know what they’re doing when they aren’t around you.

Speaking out for the first time since his incarceration, Tony got on the phone with OZONE Magazine to talk about what happened, what he’s seen and heard during his incarceration and how he plans to get back home.

What do you think it is about you that made the government single you out in this case? I guess because of my shoe company. They saw my jewelry and a lot of stuff and figured I was in the drug business, but I never was.

This person that you say set you up, were they in your immediate circle? They wasn’t a business partner, he was just a person I knew. If I needed something, I’d go to him.

We might as well get right into it sinse we don’t have a lot of time to talk. What happened that night you were arrested? I am appealing the sentence and procedures in the case because they were wrong. But I can’t too much talk about it.

In your case, do you think they are making you into an example? When the judge sentenced me, he said he ain’t want to give [the life sentence] to me. He said he felt like the law wasn’t right. He saw that I only had two priors for small weed possession, but there was nothing he could do because the state prosecutors are the ones that filed the life sentence against me. He said there was nothing he could do; his hands were tied.

So you can’t talk about the arrest at all? I can’t talk about that night. Basically I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Someone set me up to get the heat off them. A lot of the people we’ve talked to say they couldn’t imagine you being into the drug trade. Anybody that knows me knows I never was that type of guy. I dealt with weed because I smoked, but nothing like this. I was really at the wrong place at the wrong time. Did you know this person that set you up? Yes, I knew this person. Not a close friend but I knew he was dealing, though. A lot of recording artists have been getting jammed up lately. Do you think rappers are being targeted? The whole system is divide and conquer. They are using people to snitch on each other and we just fall in. If you’ve got a weed habit and you buy it from somebody and it turns out they were already in trouble but they don’t want to take the trouble themselves, they figure you’ve got money so you can get out of the trouble. The government sees what you’ve got going on too and think the money came from drugs. So they say, “Tell us something and we’ll give you a deal.” But I don’t have anyone to tell on. I’m not doing that. They want me to snitch, and I won’t, because I don’t know anything. That’s why they gave me life. They think I’m holding back evidence or information. When they pulled your file, did they see that you had a prior record? Do you thnk that may have played a part? I have two felonies on my record for small amounts of marijuana. Smoke amounts of marijuana. They were just over the amount for misdemeanor, so they became felonies. Are you aware of the case of David Lee Gay Jr., a.k.a. Fee, Plies’ manager, who was arrested on similar charges in Tampa late last year? Yes. That was my pa’tna.

drug charges? I never heard of life sentences because people didn’t go to trial. It’s really bad in Florida, from Ft. Myers to Naples to Jacksonville, the middle district of Florida. I don’t know the main reason but what they are doing is like legal lynching. Guys are signing pleas because you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Guys are signing pleas for 5 to 40 years. If you go to trial it’s 10 to life, so most of them take the plea and end up with 15 years. It’s all done to make them cooperate. They threaten them with time. They tell you, “You’re at 20 years, but if you cooperate we’ll knock you down to 7. If you’re at 10 we’ll knock you down to 2.” Guys ain’t doing no time in jail, they just work their time off. They got one thing called a 5k1, that’s before you sign your plea, before they sentence you, that’s a downward departure, that’s when you snitch on people; testify on people. Then you have a rule 35 that is another departure that gets your time cut and what they’re doing there is party cooperation. If you’re locked up and they don’t trust you to let you out to knock someone off, if you have a girl outside or a friend, they hook them up with your agent or lawyer and get them to [set up] a deal with someone. So when they get them knocked off, they give the credit to you.

Tony in June 2006 with his DS Apparel shoes

In your time in prison so far, what have you seen that’s surprised you? I see now that it’s a lot of people in here and the system is so messed up, people are doing anything to get home. I have to put this out there so people will know. But you have people who got 10 year sentences and they’re jumping on cases. They’re case jumpers. Explain that. Y’all might be talking about your case. He knows all of your info now, so he’ll call his agent or lawyer and tell them that he has info on you. So, when you finally go to trial to try and beat your case, he’s at your trial, testifying. You don’t know nothing about him, but he knows about you so he can tell the judge. Its like kicking a dog when he’s down. It’s ridiculous, I look at some of these cats and shake my head. Recently there were two dudes [here] who were best friends. One of them went to trial and the other one showed up and testified on him. It’s ridiculous that it’s allowed to happen. It’s pitiful. It’s guys in here from Columbia that got caught in Columbian waters and they’re bringing them over here when the U.S. ain’t even supposed to be in Columbnian waters. So they’re just stuck here. The boats were filled with coke, but they are fishermen. They should be in jail in their country.

{operator notifies us that we only have one minute left. Tony hangs up and calls right back} Prior to this happening to you, did you know of anyone who caught an outrageous sentence over

Being that you are behind the wall, does it make you look at all the “stop snitching” stuff differently? A whole lot differently. Everybody that knows me asks me what happened. That’s how I’m finding all this information. These dudes be in here talking about snitching like it’s rims or gold. Back then you’d get killed for snitching, but now its like Evisu jeans. It’s a fad. I can tell you some of these cases and you wouldn’t believe it. I heard one where this guy met with these dudes, saying it was some dope in the warehouse. He was an undercover cop. When they went to rob the warehouse, the cops were there, and they gave them 20 years and better, no dope. They’re locked up for thinking they’re gonna do something. One guy went to trial and started talking, so he got his time knocked off from 20 years to 4 years. Is there anything that you want to tell people to keep them from getting stuck in a situation like yours? I’d tell people that if you know anyone [who’s dealing with] drugs, leave them alone. The system is messed up. The jail system is so crowded. They spend more money on jails than education. People in the music industry have to verbalize this. They’re killing our race right now. There’s a 17-year-old serving 30 years for [getting caught with] 10 grams of cocaine. They did him like that because he had priors. How are being treated in there and how do you expect your appeal to go? I’m treated okay. People just try to encourage me. I think I’ll be home next year. I’m going to win this appeal against the prosecutors and police. // OZONE MAG // 69


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Y : JULIA BEVERL WORDS & PHOTO

Gucci Mane had a rough start to his rap career, which included a well-publicized beef with Young Jeezy over the ownership of his introductory single “So Icey” and a somewhat related shooting incident that landed Gucci behind bars for murder (it was later determined that Gucci’s actions had been in self-defense and he was set free). Later, he parted ways with his label Big Cat Records (who released a CD that he says was unauthorized) and landed at Asylum Records. Gucci was a little upset with us here at OZONE for a while, too, but now that all the dust has settled (Gucci and Jeezy were recently spotted at the same Atlanta nightclub around the same time with no incidents) and he’s continued building on his street popularity with hits like “Freaky Girl,” we decided it was time for OZONE and Gucci to squash the beef too. You’ve got a new artist that’s picking up a buzz. Tell me about him. His name is O.J. so we always call him Da Juice Man. We grew up together since we were little kids. We’re like brothers. That’s my best friend. He always rapped; he wasn’t even as good as he is now but he put it together. He’s getting his own show money now and he put out three mixtapes with his own money, so now he’s merged with my label and we’re gonna try a project with him. It’s a gamble. It’s gonna come out independently on my label, So Icey Entertainment. This is the first project I’ve put out besides my major album that I put out myself. I did a partnership with Asylum/Atlantic on my first project and it was a success, so I’m finna come out with my follow-up. I ain’t titled it yet. We’re gonna come out with the Juiceman’s debut and then the So Icey Boyz. Why did you leave Big Cat Records and go to Asylum? The day I got out of jail, I left Big Cat. While I was locked up, I had six months to think and I realized that I maybe made the wrong move. Things weren’t right. The books weren’t right. All my Big Cat records were just like mixtapes. They ain’t chop no money over to me. They were like, “Your investment is gonna come back to you.” I was waiting on a pot of gold; I was naïve. That’s what I blame it on. I ain’t know a lot about the music industry, and I didn’t even have a lot of talent at the time. I just was a businessman; I saw an opportunity. People were saying I was a one-hitwonder, but I knew I could put an album together. They were a smart record label, and I respect them on that to this day. But as far as me, I was always the muscle. I pride myself on being that, and as I grew and got with the CEO of my label now, she taught me a lot more things. They were teaching me nothing at [Big Cat] because they were trying to take advantage of me. Everything I did with them, I split down the middle. We had a joint venture. I never profited [from that deal]; that’s just the God’s honest truth. Even for my video for “Go ‘Head,” I paid about $30,000 out of my pocket. And their attorney got money too; he told me himself. He flew down here and I picked him up in my car. He was in on the trick too, but I learned from it and pushed on. I would never do that to my artists. I’ma give them a percentage and they ain’t gotta fund nothing out of their pocket. Were you happier with the way Asylum handled your album? Asylum did most of the footwork with me, and my deal was upstreamed to Atlantic. We were all partners, as well as Czar Entertainment; can’t forget Jimmy and Teddy. A lot of people had input on my album, and that’s what made the swag different than my mixtapes. I dominated my mixtapes with all my thinking, all my input, and all my creations. I’d be in Patchwerk every day with no budget. What’s up with you and Buffie the Body? There was a video clip of y’all together floating around on YouTube. Is that your girl? That’s definitely not my girl. I ain’t got nothing bad to say about her but I 72 // OZONE MAG


heard on the internet she was doing something about me. I never seen it; I’ve been on the road. Folks ask me if I talk to her. I used to date her previously, but not anymore. That was like two or three years ago. If you saw the pictures [of us together], my tattoos are different than they are now. My congrats to her with whatever she’s trying to do [with the YouTube videos]. It flatters me. I’m from the neighborhood, East Atlanta Zone 6, so for anybody trying to claim I did something [sexual] with them, it makes me feel good. I like to be talked about. I like notoriety. I’ve been notorious for both bad and good [things]. I’m infamous. I can’t run from that. I guess the beef between you and Jeezy has calmed down? It never really came to an end, I guess. I don’t never see him. Promoters that book me never book me with him [on the same show], of course. I stay on the road five days outta seven. Even when I wasn’t making no money I was promoting my stuff, so that enabled me to make a lot more money. I’m on the road every day. I guess we don’t coincide ‘cause of that. I’m making a lot of money that I wasn’t making [when I was in jail], so I’m not tryna mess that up. If I bump heads with him or anybody else, it is what it is. I live by the creed to each have his day. I ain’t never ran from nobody. I go to the club one deep. They see me when I go out, throwing them sacks of money. Everybody know me for throwing money; that’s why I’m despised. I’m hated and loved. It’s a whole bunch of people that love me, and a whole bunch of people that don’t. If you go past [Atlanta freeway] 285, I’m like Michael Jackson. If I touch [a fan’s] hand they might fall out. That’s straight up; I done had that happen. They fall out and security’s pulling them out and they wake up and say, “Put me down.” Is there anything you wanna say to OZONE? I never went on record to say anything bad about y’all and I never will. I appreciate when I first started out y’all [let me plug] my clothing line I was trying to put out. I don’t wanna seem like I’m coppin’ deuces but I appreciate you. Even though y’all said stuff about me, a lot of people didn’t put me in nothin’. VIBE gave me Biggest Chain of the Year; y’all gave me Beer Gut of the Year – boom, I’ll be somebody. That’s what I was aiming for. I rapped about the Dirty Awards and they booed me. It ain’t like y’all was the only ones that feel like Gucci ain’t putting together his best, but I can’t help that I have a nasal flow. You do have a little beer gut. Do you think it’s time to hit the gym? I eat out all the time. You know, Moore’s Steakhouse, it’s $500 a plate. Just for me and you, Julia. We can go; I got it. That’s how I kick it. I don’t drink beer; I got a rider that comes with five bottles of Cristal, five bottles of Grey Goose, and five bottles of Patron. I’m kicking it, partying five days a week, so yeah, that might force me to have a beer gut ‘cause I ball. I go hard in the club. Even on my off days, like tonight, I might go hard. When Rocko saw me and Jermaine Dupri and Frank Nitti at his release party, we were in there throwing racks on Rocko ‘cause we support him. We’re gonna support him by throwing $30,000 ‘cause I rock with him like that. Ask him about me. Now, Mr. Magic City [Young Jeezy], I ain’t see nobody in there. I was throwing 30 racks out of them Louis bags. Ask all the girls in there; ask all the rappers, like they asked ‘em about that Fat Joe and Papoose shit, ask ‘em, “Did Gucci throw 30 bags?” Ask ‘em did I make Fernando cut the music back on all my new songs, and I don’t never show up. Ask ‘em did I come in there with 50 goons in all black and red, and didn’t nobody make a move. Ask ‘em did Big Cat niggas come in there saying, ‘Do we have some problems? Are you in there trippin’ about that Big Cat shit?’ Ask ‘em did we take niggas in the bathroom and talk to ‘em and put they pussy out before we kick ‘em in they ass. That’s how we rock. But ain’t nobody ever come talk to us, so we appreciate somebody coming to cover So Icey, ‘cause we deep. We rock the whole East Atlanta. Nobody got goons but us in East Atlanta. These folks ain’t from here. Gucci Mane been here since he was 9; I got a click, a gang. They down with me diehard. I got [people] all over the state and they’re down with me. That’s why I get offended when somebody talks about me. Today, I fired my DJ and my security guard just for saying the wrong thing to me. I’m the boss. What did they say? They didn’t say much of nothing; they just said something at the wrong time. You can’t talk to the boss like that. See, you can talk from far away and write and I don’t know who the writer is. But you can’t come up to me and say something in my face. Not saying I’m big and bad but I’m not finna go up to Hulk Hogan face to face and say, ‘Fuck you, Hulk Hogan.’ I know that. It’s just like D-Bo. Don’t play with the kid. On a serious note, you were facing some serious time. I ain’t doing no talking about that. Gag order. C’mon, best lawyers in town, same one T.I. had. I ain’t turn him on to them but I been had their lawyer hired out of my pockets. We had three lawyers; shout out to them. That’s what kept me going.

Is the Fruity clothing line still in effect? We’re going to come out with another clothing line, probably my real name Radric Davis, just change it a little bit. As far as clothing, we’ve just been rocking Gucci Mane chains, Mr. Perfect, any name I come with. You know I got a mixtape dropping this week? I got one called Wilt Chainberlain, So Icey Boy with Supastar J. Kwik, So Icey Boy 2 with J. Kwik, and Icey Tech 3 with Dutty Laundry. Supastar J. Kwik is your DJ, right? Is he the one you just fired? No, hell no, Kwik is cool with me. I fired a DJ named Spoon. Kwik is big time now, you know what I mean? Not saying he wasn’t big time before; he’s been big time, he branched off. He make more money doing his thing than what he makes with me, straight up, so you can’t knock him. I lost two DJs like that. They get so hot. I salute him. We still do the mixtape thing. He’s a great part of So Icey. No matter what he says, I’m crazy about him. He helped my career; that’s my boy. And you used to throw him on there for every award; that’s what made me like you. You might not show me no love, but you nominate him and that looks good for me. But you didn’t have me on there performing [at the OZONE Awards]. Too much colored jewelry, not enough white. (laughs) You gotta feel me on that. Where’s your VVS’s at? You got on 30 chains and none of ‘em blinging. Do you think your rap skills have increased a lot? I’m doing great now. I’m better. I ain’t the best rapper but I’m a trapper; I’m a businessman. Birdman ain’t the best rapper but he’s a businessman and [Master] P too. I’m kinda molded like them, so I was always thinking joint venture, then I learned how to rap. Before I rapped, I had jewelry and ran my trap before I even caught on. That was part of me but now I done moved out. Somebody wrote [in a CD review], “Gucci Mane needs to leave the trap alone on his next album.” I can read stuff; I’ve very literate. I read everything. They give Jay-Z acclaim, T.I. acclaim, they give a lot of people acclaim and they downsize me. Don’t nobody say nothing about E-40 with a big gut. What do you read while you spent that time down? I read that Gucci Mane was Most Likely to catch a Fed Case or some shit. Shout out to Vicky Davis, my mama. She sent me that in the county jail and I read it. I saw my first picture of Buffie the Body in jail [in OZONE]. I fucked her, real talk, off of that picture. You turned me on to her. You gave both of us an award and she had a fat ass! I said, “I’ma fuck her when I get out. Swear to God.” I fucked her then and I fucked her later. You think I’m playing. That’s not the only celebrity girl I fucked – now I’m not going to name anyone, but a lot of record labels that I got beef with, I be fucking they girls. I done fucked a couple rappers’ girls. I be doggin’ ‘em, gettin’ head, skeetin’ in they face and shit. I could put a tape out on this shit. Rappers and singers too, and producers and CEOs. I be fucking a lot of celebrity females that have way more money than I’ve got. Like who? I ain’t gonna say Oprah or nothing, but anything up under that I’m knockin’ that shit down. Killing that shit. Anything up under Oprah? Who’s that, Beyonce? Look at Julia! She’s so slick. You think girls don’t find me attractive ‘cause I’m hood and I say what I want? You don’t think girls like my swag? Why wouldn’t they like me? Kimora Lee? I like all women. I ain’t never seen no woman that I thought was ugly. I told you when I seen you with that dude, “You look good.” You thought I was playing. I bet you I got a sack; I bet you I got a mansion; I bet I got 6 or 7 cars. Ask any DVD person. I thought this interview was about to get interesting, but I guess you’re not gonna name any names. You know I can’t do that. But I applaud you for your effort. Is there anything else you wanna say? We can talk all day until my curfew at 2. After that I gotta go. You’re still on probation? How are you able to travel and do shows? You just gotta do what you supposed to do. Any final words? Shout out to OZONE. Shout out to all the independent rappers trying to make it major. Shout out to everybody major trying to make it independently. //

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//Production Credits Lil Wayne “Lollipop,” Trick Daddy f/ Lil Jon & Twista “Lets Go,” Pretty Ricky “Grind With Me” & “Your Body” As told to Randy Roper

The funny thing about “Lollipop” is that I was actually working over at Circle House, on the Danity Kane stuff for Bad Boy. And while I was over there, I worked on a bunch of tracks, and one of them being a basic version beat to “Lollipop.” I played it for the A&Rs over there. They weren’t really feeling it for [Danity Kane]. Pleasure P was working over at my studio with Static [Major] so I took some music over to play for them, some of the newer stuff I had been doing that [Bad Boy] passed on, and Static loved that “Lollipop” beat. He thought it was crazy, he started vibing to it right away. Pleasure was digging it but once Static got done with the hook, he said this gotta be for Lil’ Wayne. Me, Pleasure and Static took it over to Wayne. Wayne and his in-house producer name Diesel added some touches to it and make it stand out a little more to make the record special. When I had the beat done, I thought it was going to be a real simple street record. And once I heard the melody Static was laying on it, I knew it was gonna be something special. I don’t really have a style. I’m doing pop records, rap records and R&B records. So, I kinda touch 74 // OZONE MAG

all bases, including rock. I like to do a little bit of everything. I got records coming out that you won’t even know are done by me. In the past, I did Jamie Foxx’s “Unpredictable” with Bigg D. Me and Bigg D had a production team back then called Unusual Suspects. We did “Let’s Go” for Trick Daddy. Pretty Ricky’s first album, we pretty much did ninety percent of that album. We did “Girl Tonight” for Twista featuring Trey Songz, Trina featuring Kelly Rowland “Here We Go,” and “Show Stoppers” for Danity Kane, just to name a few of them. I worked with Beyonce for about two weeks and we cut six records. Phenomenal songs, they’re amazing records. One of them got leaked on the internet somehow called “Beautiful Nightmare.” I’m pretty sure I got a single on her album, if not a couple. She’s amazing to work with, really super, super talented. Rebel Rock Entertainment is my label imprint through Atlantic Records. I did the deal through Craig Kallman. We have B.o.B., who’s an amazing, super talent out of Decatur, Georgia. To me, he’s like the next Andre 3000. He’s got a song called “Haterz [Everywhere]” that’s out there. The video is doing really well on YouTube. And we’re scheduled to release his record in the third quarter this year. But I’m a fan of B.o.B.’s, he’s probably my fa-

vorite artist. He’s very diversified. He’s a producer, songwriter, rapper, and singer. The kid can do it all and he’s only eighteen. He started playing guitar last year and he’s already doing sessions with his guitar and cutting records with it. He’s sick. I have a group called Save The Hero that me and Rico Love are putting together. We’re doing that Gnarls Barkley type of vibe; not that music but the concept. He’s a songwriter, I’m a producer, and we’re just doing some crazy music. It’s like [new] age, electronic rock and fused with Hip Hop. I’m working with Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, Jordan Taylor on Interscope, Girlicious, and the Pussycat Dolls. We’re getting ready to get in the studio with Trick Daddy on his new stuff, so I’m excited about that. I’ve been doing music for a long time, since the late 80s. I’m really appreciative of the work that’s been done and the artists that have cut my records. By the way, Lil Wayne’s [“Lollipop”] is the #1 song in the country right now. If it wasn’t for songwriters like Static and artists like Lil’ Wayne and Beyonce, we wouldn’t have no shot, so I’d love to thank them, first and foremost. And thanks to Solange for putting me together with her sister and my management at Make You Famous Management.


Industry 101 JASON WILEY

Director of marketing/jive records You may recognize Jason Wiley’s face from MTV’s 2002 season of Making The Band, where he acted as Da Band’s road manager. If not, surely you recognize some of his work. For five years Wiley was instrumental in Bad Boy Records marketing department, serving as everything from an intern to product manager to the creator of Bad Boy South. After a successful run at Bad Boy, Wiley came on board at Jive Records in 2007 as Director of Marketing where he is responsible for marketing campaigns for UGK, Dolla, Huey and R. Kelly. Here the young marketing vet shares his wisdom and experience for all that want to listen. Tell us about your background. I went to school of business at the University of Pennsylvania and studied management and marketing. I started as an intern at Bad Boy right after I graduated, and from there I joined Management Inc., which was Phil Robinson’s [P. Diddy’s manager] company, and I managed Bad Boy’s Da Band. Puff has a reputation for being a marketing genius. What did you learn from being at Bad Boy? Puff will take a penny and make you think it’s a million dollars. He can make the smallest things look like the most luxurious, hottest thing in history. Just to be able to get into his head was one of the greatest learning experiences I’ve had in my young career. Hopefully I’ll have some more of those but I learned how to understand a project and how to understand a consumer and use that as a benefit and make sure that an artist exists. You want people to look at an artist and feel something or understand something. It’s all about connecting with the customer or the fan. What projects did you work on at Bad Boy? The Bad Boys II soundtrack, Making The Band, New Edition, Black Rob, the Biggie Duets project,and the Biggie anniversary project. There was a point at Bad Boy where I was the only marketing person there. I started the Bad Boy South aspect, from the logo to signing the first artist. I was a part of the 8Ball & MJG albums, Boyz N Da Hood, Yung Joc, Gorilla Zoe, B5, Cassie, and Puff’s album. I had to wear 50 hats. I had to market to little kids, to the streets, the pop market, to the straight-up 30-

plus R&B audience. It taught me how to flip hats, how to look at a segmented population, how best to I reach this audience. One of the worst things for a marketing person would be if someone asked you, “When is so-and-so’s album coming out?” and it’s been out for a month. If that’s the situation, you didn’t do your job. People should be aware of your artists.

with that, because sometimes you don’t have that. If I’m working an R&B, Hip Hop, or pop act, you treat those differently. You treat something different from the South than you would from New York than you would from Chicago. You’ve got different fan bases. You get that and grow it. As a marketing person you have to have the ability to take something small and make it bigger.

That said, can you elaborate on how important your job is in this industry? It’s important that everybody understands the artist and the direction of the music. You want to make sure it fits a certain type of picture. You want to make sure the photographer and the stylist understands what kind of artist they are dealing with. I work hard to make sure I sit down with people and go over the music; what kind of direction we’re going in. I want to make sure the final product that goes out is exactly what we want to be seen and it’s beneficial to the consumer and customer. You don’t want a disconnect, like listening to a UGK album and then seeing them and saying, “Man, they soft.” I always make sure there is no disconnect. You don’t want UGK on the cover of Hip Hop Soul. That don’t really mesh, so you put them on certain covers and get them involved with certain clothing lines; things that represent them well.

Speaking of which, can you speak on the challenges are you facing now? You have to do research or you’re in for rude awakening. You’ve got different types of R&B. In that one category alone you have different artists. You wouldn’t say Lee Carr is standing next to R. Kelly, but they are both R&B artists. I’ve got to work both projects, but they are totally different audiences and sounds and sounds. So I have to work them differently. I’ve gotta figure out who I’m targeting; who would be fans of the music. To me, the problem is that unfortunately, labels don’t work projects as a package anymore. They work it with singles. People aren’t buying albums because they are being marketed to as if it’s just a one-off. They don’t even know the album is out. It’s more than just a single when you are working a project, so I try to push the album rather than the single. It’s about the whole package. As a marketing person I always want to make sure that when somebody says, “I love that song!” they love that artist too. I want to make careers, not one-offs.

Do you ask the artists what they think? I’m very hands-on with artists, I like to talk to them and understand them and be in their world for a while. That way I can figure out who they are. I want to make sure whatever I’m doing fits the. I always make sure I’m cool with them; I like to have a hands on relationship. That way I can be vocal in the office building to other departments to make sure they understand who this artist is. How do you market material you don’t like? I’m a marketer first. Even if I don’t like something, there’s a segment of the population that does. I’m not going to be rocking Miley Cyrus in my office but Miley Cyrus has a huge following, so you market the best you can. But luckily, I’ve been a fan of most of the music I’ve had to work with. And they’ve been good people, so I’ve been blessed

How do you make sure the fans feel like a priority? You’ve got to be creative and stretch your dollar, so you can experience more for less. Work the system. You should be able to win; there’s so many outlets. If you don’t take advantage of them, you’re gonna lose. People have to see your artist everywhere. I did a campaign where I had standees and promos playing at a movie theatre. They see a life-sized standee, and they see the promo on the screen, so now you have people talking about it. I’m using bloggers to talk about it. I’m working R. Kelly’s song “Hairbraider” so I’m working with the beauty salons to get the song placed. I always use my resources to my advantage. That’s why they say all publicity is good publicity. If they aren’t talking about it, they don’t care. //

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OZONE MAG // 77


Lil Wayne/Tha Carter III Cash Money/Universal Tha Carter III is without question the most anticipated album of 2008 and a critical moment in Wayne’s quest to be the best rapper alive. Songs like “Mr. Carter” featuring Jay-Z, the Kanyeproduced “Let the Beat Build” and the creativity of “Dr. Carter” easily make this album special. Although it is a good project, Weezy’s many random and shatter-brained bars, along with the album’s lane of comfort, instead of the lyrical aggressiveness and reflection that was displayed on countless mixtapes and leaked tracks, deter this album from being great. C3 does not live up to the massive hype surrounding it (that may have been impossible), but it remains one of this year’s best releases. — Randy Roper

Plies/Definition of Real/ Atlantic/Slip-N-Slide Plies is a perfect example of a rapper that’s not gifted lyrically but still manages to get by with good production, catchy hooks and “real talk.” Oftentimes listening to him struggle to rhyme over beats, while wishing he’d just switch up his flow is painful, but somehow it’s hard not to feel his music. A lot of Definition of Real is goon talk and the other portion is aimed at the ladies (see “Feel Like Fuckin’” and “Please Excuse My Hands”). You’d have to look back at the album cover to make sure it’s not a LL CD, but Plies’ sophomore album isn’t half bad. — Randy Roper

Blood Raw/My Life: The True Testimony/CTE/Def Jam With realness being his main selling point, Blood Raw presents a very transparent look at his life and tribulations throughout. Admitting everything from having an uncle who looks like Jazze Pha to missing the father he never met, Blood Raw wears every emotion possible on his sleeves. Unfortunately, the streamlined production takes away from Blood Raw’s messages about overcoming the odds, wanting to be a good father and refusing to return to the prison system. With many of the beats sounding identical to the formulaic tempos found on the U.S.D.A. album, it comes close to insulting the listener’s intelligence. Fortunately, Raw manages to truly present a real definition of real without confusing it with being ignorant and vulgar. Lord willing, his next album will have more production like what’s found on “Get Away” and “I Miss You” to match his earnest rhymes. Also, there is a Big Rube sighting on the intro track “I’m The Truth.” — Maurice G. Garland

78 // OZONE MAG

Foxy Brown Brooklyn’s Don Diva Black Hand/Koch The Ill Na Na is back with Brooklyn’s Don Diva, an album that revisits her characteristic raunchy rhymes. Foxy Brown spits about the drama in her life, while not forgetting to remind us that she’s still a young millionaire with “Dreams of Fucking a DBoy.” Foxy proves that she’s still hungry and isn’t going to soften up. After her recent bid in solitary at Riker’s, one can only imagine the Foxy that will be unleashed on Black Roses. — Rohit Loomba

Baby D/A-Town Secret Weapon/Big Oomp Baby D has never proclaimed to be lyrically inclined, but he’s always been good at what he did. His third album A-Town Secret Weapon is a continuation of the high-tempo songs he’s known for with a more seasoned DJ Montay overseeing all of the production. Songs like “U Gotta Love It” have D snapping over a menacing synth, bass and guitar combo making for an entertaining listen while “Big Boy Whips” bring nothing new content wise, but the knock is very appropriate for the heavy Chevys at the stoplight. Baby D doesn’t bother stepping outside of himself, which can be good since he knows his lane. But, you’d still like to at least hear him attempt to try other things. — Maurice G. Garland

TMI Boyz/Grindin For a Purpose/TMI Entertainment The debut album from Texas trio the TMI Boyz frankly isn’t much to boast about. “We Fly” is a standout cut, despite a weak hook which brings down the song’s overall quality. “Strugglin” and “One Day At a Time” are quality tracks where the group speaks on real life situations. In terms of the cliché sex songs, “Beat It Up” is worth a listen but the lewd “Buttcheeks” goes in the wrong direction, as do many of the album’s 17 tracks. The TMI Boyz may have a purpose for their grind, but bringing new and refreshing music to the game doesn’t sound like it’s a part of the plan. —Randy Roper

Speednot Mobstaz/ Mobstability II: Nation Bizness/Koch Gliffy Stokes and Mayz are back on the circuit with Mobstability 2: Nation Bizness, an album on which they share stories of life in the Go. While neither offers flawless delivery, both do have shining moments and tracks like “Money and Murder” and “Bush Done Made it Hard” make the effort entertaining. Producer Toxic stays on point throughout and Twista fans will be glad to hear T rip verses in his classic style. — Rohit Loomba

Lil Will/Dolla$, TX/Asylum If you’re expecting the debut album from Dallas, Texas newcomer to be similar to his hit single “My Dougie,” you’d be dead wrong. Surprisingly, Dolla$, TX sounds nothing like the single that put him on the map. While Dolla$, TX is far from groundbreaking material, Will proves that he’s not a song-anddance ringtone rapper and his album does have some music worth listening to.

Max Minelli/The Remedy/ Koch A big breasted nurse holds what hopefully is pain medicine on the cover of Max Minelli’s Remedy, a weak effort with music almost as nauseating as the album cover’s green background. Minelli’s lyrics lack substance, the production is uninspired, and the hooks are underwhelming. After a quick listen to this album it should be no surprise that Remedy only sold 613 copies its first week out. Remedy will leave you wishing the nurse with the pain medicine was real. — Rohit Loomba

Sonny Rich/The V.I.R.U.S./ Keep Lock Ent. The album’s title track “The V.I.R.U.S.” is about the only song where Charlotte, NC rapper Sonny Rich spits rhymes iller than the flu. Other records are more like a runny nose. Rich can rap a little but the album lacks creativity. Someone with an electric guitar was in his ears saying, “You need to make records about money, a couple for the clubs, a few for the trap and one using auto-tunes. Oh, and don’t forget the track for the ladies!” The album is not all bad, but better concepts and beats might have made for a better release. — Randy Roper


OZONE MAG // 79


DJ Infamous & Young Jeezy/The Prime Minister Young Jeezy takes a little break from being the Snowman to spend a little time as The Prime Minister, with help from his advisor DJ Infamous. This change in identity doesn’t do much, though, as Jeezy brings the same sound and flow expected from him, complete with the trademark ad libs. While it’s somewhat disappointing to find Jeezy holding it down like he has before, he flexes his lyrical muscle on all his freestyles, ripping through the monotony. This Prime Minister will be reelected but we can all use a little policy change. — Rohit Loomba

DJ Green Lantern & Nas/ The Nigger Tape Nas calls on Green Lantern to bring the Nigger Tape, a mixtape more akin to an album. Exclusive tracks, including DJ Khalil-produced “Esco Let’s Go,” will more than hold down fans anxious to hear God Son’s upcoming album and gives any album release so far this year more than a run for its money. With no need to put out a mixtape, Nas proves he still holds it down for his fans. —Rohit Loomba Curren$y/Welcome To The Winners Circle It seemed as though Curren$y’s buzz dropped a bit after he released a hit single with Lil Wayne and Remy Ma (“Where Da Cash At”). Since that underground hit, what’s been good with Curren$y? Feeding the streets well, he comes with the new mixtape Welcome To The Winner’s Circle. Spitting over unforgettable classic Hip Hop records, Curren$y shows his respect for Hip Hop to the fullest on this mixtape. Keys tracks that showcase his abilities include “The Only Thing That Matters,” “Bubble Gum Gangstas,” and “Recognize Game.” —Quinton Hatfield

Trae Tha Diary of Tha Truth Trae has been busy holding it down for those on lockdown with a prison tour and all that while put together Tha Diary of Tha Truth, a 17-track effort which will have everyone excited about this Asshole by Nature all over again. Trae’s thick voice and unique delivery are snug with wellselected beats and let everyone know that his “swagger fuck up niggas like [his] jewelry got an attitude.” Diary proves that like him or not, Trae doesn’t give a fuck and can easily hold his own. — Rohit Loomba

Wale/The Mixtape About Nothing From the jump Wale puts it on the table that this mixtape is about nothing, which he states over a sample of the theme song to Seinfeld, a show about nothing. Wale rides the 19 tracks with the swagger of a veteran and a new go-go sound that originates in his hometown of the “DMV.” On standout track “The Kramer,” Wale uses the KKKramer tirade to talk about racism and tie into the Seinfield theme. This mixtape is a summer must-have. Everything from the concept of the mixtape to the beats and rhymes make it a solid effort. — Jared Anderson

DJ Shakim & KP/New Money With mixtapes coming a dime a dozen it’s hard to differentiate one rapper from the other. But even in Atlanta’s oversaturated music market, newcomer KP has managed to put out a CD that will make you remember him. While he doesn’t necessarily say anything that hasn’t been said before, he does a good job of making it sound different. The majority of the songs here have him busting on other people’s beats, but original tracks like “Lean It To The Side” featuring Konkrete’s Blackowned C-Bone give you a peek into what KP is capable of. — Maurice G. Garland

DJ Teknikz & Yung Berg Passport Swag Yung Berg teams up with DJ Teknikz for Passport Swag. Aside from having Cap 1 and Boo on a handful of tracks, Berg does little to introduce Chicago to his audience, which he apparently thinks is the world after modest success with “Sexy Lady.” While there are tracks worth a few listens, thanks to decent production, Berg doesn’t offer anything unforgettable. To become Chi town’s next, Berg needs to find a little more lyricism in himself. —Rohit Loomba Don Cannon/DJ Drama/ Asher Roth/The Greenhouse Effect Mixtape As the buzz around SRC’s newest acquisition Asher Roth reaches comparisons of Eminem proportions, the new “great white hype” hooks up with Don Cannon and DJ Drama for his formal mixtape initiation. Roth rips through beats like “Roc Boys,” “Mr. Me Too,” and “Dey Know,” and it’s evident the kid can spit. Some original tracks show promise but a few cuts are too left field and may be hard for the urban Hip Hop audience to grasp. Still, Asher Roth’s white-boy-from-the-burbs image and witty-college-kid rhymes gives him immeasurable potential. — Randy Roper

80 // OZONE MAG

DJ Swatts & Playboy Tre/ Goodbye America It doesn’t take long to notice the similarities between Playboy Tre’s Goodbye to America and B.o.B.’s recent mixtape. Unnecessary skits plagued B.o.B.’s mixtape and plague Tre’s as well. But fret not, Tre brings a handful of quality tracks such as “Phone Sex,” “Cries,” and “Highs and Lows,” all of which showcase a Tre who finds his flow without much trouble and uses it to bring tracks that aren’t a product of the same old cookie cutter. — Rohit Loomba

9th Wonder & Buckshot/The Formula Duck Down The saying “everything that glitters ain’t gold” can be applied to a lot of the high-profile, glossy rap music dominating the airwaves. With albums like 9th Wonder & Buckshot’s latest collab the phrase “everything underground ain’t great” can be applied. The album’s title is too appropriate in the sense that 9th turns in some of his most predictable production to date, sucking life out of the songs and making you not want to hear the wisdom Buckshot usually spits, especially on the entrepreneurial “Whassup With U?” - Maurice Garland


DJ Teknikz, Big Block & Diddy “No Bitchassness: Georgia Muscle Executive Edition”

1. DJ Chuck T “Down South Slangin’ Volume 49.99” www.djchuckt.com

www.myspace.com/djteknikz

2. DJ Fletch & DJ Slugga “Syrup Sippin N*gga” www.myspace.com/djfletchdallas fletchg@tmail.com www.djslugga.net 3.DJ Spinatik “Got What You Need 2” www.myspace.com/djspinatik

4. DJ Scream & MLK “Hood Rich Radio X” www.myspace.com/4045405000 www.myspace.com/mlkng 5. DJ 31 Degreez & DJ Phenom “I Luv Hip Hop Part 2” www.myspace.com/gophenom 6. The Dopeboy Movement “Bonafied Hustler” Hosted by Rick Ross www.myspace.com/dopeboymuzik305 7. DJ Black Bill Gates “24: Young Kobe” www.myspace.com/theblackbillgates 8. DJ Bobby Black “Crack Addiction: T.I. & Yo Gotti” www.myspace.com/theofficialdjbobbyblack 9. Nik Bean “Streetz of LA 5” Hosted by Roccett www.myspace.com/nikbean 10. DJ Jay-O “Snoop Dogg: The Chronicles II” www.myspace.com/officialdjjayo 11. DJ Drama Boi & Yung Texxus “Got Drama Volume 6” www.myspace.com/dramaboiakadjd

ramaboi

12. Will Hustle & DJ Knowledge “Whatahustle 4” www.myspace.com/willhustle 13. S.U.A. & DJ Scrill “S.U.A. Mixtape Radio: Most Requested” Hosted by Kia Shine www.myspace.com/therealdjscrill 14. E-Top “Why The South Is Hot Part Three” www.myspace.com/etopent etopent@gmail.com 15. DJ Killa K “Dopeboy Muzik Volume 8” www.myspace.com/dopeboymuzik305 djkillak@tmail.com

Since “bitchassness” is still plaguing the streets, Diddy and Big Block hook up with Mr. Georgia Power himself, to rid the streets of this dangerous disease. This mixtape features new music from Gorilla Zoe, Yung Joc, Boyz N Da Hood and the rest of the Block Ent. roster. With this mixtape on the streets, there will be no more bitchassness in ’08.

DJs, send your mix CDs (with a cover) for consideration to: Ozone Magazine 644 Antone St. Suite 6 Atlanta, GA 30318

16. DJ E-V & Klownin Customs “Spinfest The Mixtape 2008” Hosted by Chip Tha Ripper & Kid Cudi www.myspace.com/djev 17. DJ Blak “It’s My Turn” www.myspace.com 404-446-8504 18. DJ Spree “DJ Spree Radio Vol. 3” www.myspace.com /djspree 516-404-6078 19. Tosin & TheScrewShop.com “Can’t See Me” www.thescrewshop.com 20. DJ Scope “Street Certified 26” www.myspace.com/infareddjscope

OZONE OZONE MAG MAG // // 81 81


endzone

Kanye West & Young Jeezy Venue: Phillips Arena Event: Hot 107.9’s Birthday Bash City: Atlanta, GA Date: June 14th,2008 Photo: Terrence Tyson

82 // OZONE MAG


Ozone Mag #68 - Jun 2008