RAW, UNCENSORED WEST COAST RAP SHIT
TECH N9NE KILLER ON THE LOOSE
G STACK The Purple Movement
J DIGGS Remembers Mac Dre
PSYCHO BITCHES Are You One Of Them?
: T S eS CITY U Q AP NSA
Go To War Over Bishop Lamont
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Publisher Julia Beverly Editor-in-chief Jessica “Mz Jae” Hagmaier Editor-AT-LARGE D-Ray GRAPHIC DESIGNER David KA Music EditorS Randy Roper Maurice G. Garland ADVERTISING SALES Che Johnson Isiah Campbell Contributors Big Fase 100, DJ BackSide, DJ E-Z Cutt, Jelani, Jessica Essien, Joey Colombo,Kay Newell, Keita Jones, Luvva J, Nippy Swagga, Portia Jackson, Shemp, Todd Davis, Ty Watkins Street Reps Anthony Deavers, Bigg P-Wee, Bigthangs, Big Will, Dee1, Demolition Men, DJ Jam-X, DJ Juice, DJ KTone, DJ Nik Bean, DJ Quote, DJ Skee, DJ Strong & Warrior, J Hype, Jasmine Crowe, John Costen, Juice, Kewan Lewis, Luvva J, Maroy, Rob J Official, Rob Reyes, Shauntae Hill, Sherita Saulsberry, Sly Boogy, Syd Robertson, Tonio, Twin, William Major, Zack Cimini
editor’s note THE REST OF THE WEST
t’s funny, no matter where I go when I leave Colorado, the misconceptions are the same. I could be in Atlanta, New York, New Jersey, or even the NO, and the questions are always the same when people ask me where I’m from: “Damn, they listen to Hip Hop in Colorado?” “Damn, they got black people in Colorado?” “Oh, so you must’ve never seen anybody like me before, huh?” And all I can say is “WOW!” Just to let the world know, and anyone else who has even has the slightest doubt in their minds: Yes, Hip Hop is alive and well in Colorado. Just like in so many other states, Hip Hop is the life and breath, and can mean life and death, for many, many, people in the mountain state. But, to be clear, Denver does not sit in the mountains; in fact we’re roughly an hour and a half to 2 hours from the slopes. Yes, it gets HOT here. This year it was 70 degrees in January, and it’s been hitting 90 here ever since May. No, this isn’t Compton or Queens, but everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING you find there and in any other major city in the U.S., is found in Denver as well, both the good and the bad. Just a little introduction to the state I claim, for all those non-believers out there. We love Hip Hop, we live Hip Hop, we die Hip Hop. To live and die in L.A., it’s the same in CO. We live it and love it, good and bad. We’re met with adversity here just like in other states.
We may not be as big in the industry yet, but we are on the bubble, a necessary market for all artists to try and penetrate. We’ve hosted the All Star game and we’re about to host the Democratic National Convention. We get major acts out here all the time; Ice Cube, Lil Wayne, Wyclef Jean, David Banner, Twista, T.I., Yukmouth, J. Diggs, and a few others were all here for various events recently. We even have our own Hip Hop police, but that’s a story for another day. I’m not taking anything away from any other state. I grew up all over the world, the daughter of an Air Force Lt. Colonel. In fact, I’ve lived in more countries then states, so I’ve always had love for and an understanding of almost everybody. This is just my way of reminding everybody out there to not always believe everything you hear. I love Cali, but there’s more to the West then one state. The forgotten states of the West all have a place in Hip Hop. And it’s not the state that makes Hip Hop. Hip Hop makes the state. Everywhere you look, you can see the influence of the genre. From Hollywood to Bali-wood, Hip Hop is worldwide. So don’t ever count an artist out because they’re from New Mexico, Washington, Colorado, Arizona, or shit, even Alaska! Talent is everywhere. It’s all over the West, and we’re working on re-launching this takeover! It’s true that history repeats itself, and the West has had a major impact on the industry for a reason. The West is coming back. The message is the same. Right now we’re just working on the remix! - Jessica “Mz Jae” Hagmaier Jessica.Hagmaier@ozonemag.com
COVER CREDITS Tech N9ne photo by D-Ray; G Stack photo by Piankhi Me and David Banner @ Summer Jam
Me and Don Juan @ Purple Paradise
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The Bay Way by D-Ray PSYCHO BITCHES
Life on the road! Artists have a challenge when it comes to relationships. How do you do it? I’m a photographer that’s been on some road trips! Tour buses, RVs, cars, planes, however we are traveling. I respect the women/girls/ bitches/wives (whatever you are representing yourself as) that’s gettin’ it, doin’ them! But then there are the females that aren’t quite so cool. They call and call and call, talking about nothing, just trying to hear some background noise to start a fight to mess up the whole mood, not just for the person they’re really going through it with, but the rest of us on the tour too. Or how about the hoes that get mad over other hoes getting more attention? They take pimpin’ all out of their mind. They forget that they’re hoes and start thinking that’s their boyfriend, trippin’ on him and questioning his judgment. Why? To get yourself caught up and ain’t none of your business. Now you’re getting an uppercut to the ribcage, getting the ass-beating you know is deserved in a pimp’s mind? Go get that money to make them want to show you extra attention. Play your role! Be real with yourself and know the role you play. If you can’t take the hand you’re dealt, fold. Reflect? It’s all in your decision-making. You’re grown. But to all the pimps pimpin’ underage girls or the girls who have no father figure and are easy to prey on, remember that could be your mom, daughter, or niece that some other man is preying on to make his income and live large as she sells her soul to keep you happy. Understand that if you are with someone in the industry, no matter how fat, ugly, or dry-humored he might be, there are always gonna be hoes, groupies, and gold-digging bitches that will test the situation just trying to hang out and gain fame! You see what it’s about! Females, I know it’s hard to deal with, but real talk, these groupies are plain pathetic. If your partner strays he really wasn’t yours to begin with, so why make a donkey out of yourself and go plain psycho with jealousy and then try to get back into the relationship? Think about it. Why are you wasting so much energy? Yeah, I’m gonna go there! I can’t deny the things I see out on the road, in the studio, and at these shows. The amazing thing is, it’s not just you! Wake up call! As a female, it’s wild and amazing. I only trust the things I see and hear. You’re only a victim if you choose to be blind or choose to turn your head. I’ve seen artists’ women fully understand trying to humble themselves with other females, and I always wonder how long it took them to adjust to that life? How can you try to not show emotion when a groupie is flirting with your guy right in front of you, and he doesn’t give a shit if he hurts your feelings cause he’s an artist claiming that all these females are just “fans”? Get real. Sad but true: so many females put themselves through it because they really loved that man before he became a famous artist. Then, on the flip side, there’s insecure girlfriends and wives who are so scared of embarrassment that they just plain go psycho! Shit! They’ll total your whips, break your shit, and go bad on your mama with no shame! If you have kids, they’ll threaten that you won’t see your kids. they’ll put a tracking device in your phone or on your whip to know where you are at all times. They’ll call your phone a hundred times as you tell her, “I’m at the studio,” and if females are around they know to be quiet. She’s checking your phone, questioning all the numbers. Sometimes you get caught slipping, forgetting to delete text messages. Or how about an extra phone she doesn’t know about? You’re telling her stories you may not even remember later? You catch
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yourself wondering, “How come she is trippin’?” Duh! She just drilled you with the same question five different ways and none of your answers matched. Or how about the girl you feel you have an open relationship with? Now she wants to know about the girl you knocked up after the club and had a one night stand? She’ll hold it against you later because you’re really breaking her spirit. And how about the other woman? Do you not realize you will never be #1? But remember, it’s not always females. Some males are just as psycho, and they do the same things and act out in ignorance. Why are there so many unhealthy relationships where we are settling for less than we’re worth? When your relationship becomes violent, physically or verbally, it’s time for a change. And if you’re being threatened, there is truth to the statement. Never underestimate a violent thought. The drugs, jealousy, or just the plain devil has taken over that person’s mind. Looks aren’t everything. When a person is stealing from you, breaking into your house, vandalizing your property, putting their hands on you, and calling names, that pistol in your gut is coming soon. Don’t be in denial of how far that person may go. They’re already out of body as they are being disrespectful, so the freedom is far from their thoughts. If they can’t have you, no one can! If they can’t be in your world, they’ll destroy your hard-earned property because they have no concept of what it’s like to have pride. They’re the ones who can’t look at themselves in the mirror and say, “I love you,” and mean it. Loyalty is something that’s missing from a lot of people’s characters today. It’s sad. Real friends and real business pa’tnas are all so hard to come by. Remember, loyalty is something that is within you, not something you learn. Loyalty plays a big role in any relationship, whether it’s friendship, intimacy, work, or marriage. Trust and respect is something you earn, not deserve, in a relationship or in the streets. Psycho bitches are caused by false hope! Broken hearts bring fatal attractions that make psycho bitches. It used to be M.O.B. Money Over Bitches but somewhere down the line more began to trick, so this is where psycho bitches came from! // - D-Ray, email@example.com
(above L-R): Cellski & Turf Talk on the set of “All Over Me” in San Francisco, CA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Tech N9Ne & Scenario @ OZONE’s Rapquest shoot in Kansas City, MO (Photo: DRay); Too $hort and his main bitch @ the Up All Nite Studios in Oakland, CA (Photo: Julia Beverly)
01 // Kai Henry, David Banner, Baron Davis, & AP (San Francisco, CA) 02 // Big Rich, Lil Quinn & crew on the set of “SF Anthem” video shoot (San Francisco, CA) 03 // Willie Hen & The Jacka on the set of Jacka’s “All Over Me” (San Francisco, CA) 04 // DJ Stupac & King Yeyo @ Blue Ice (Denver, CO) 05 // Grant & Tech N9ne @ OZONE’s Rapquest shoot (Kansas City, MO) 06 // Mistah FAB & Philly45 @ Grand Lake Theater for the Ghost Ride Your Whip Premiere (Oakland, CA) 07 // Paul Wall & Skin Head Rick @ Tech N9ne’s Fire & Ice Tour (Humboldt County, CA) 08 // DJ KTone & Kia Shine @ Blue Ice for KTone’s birthday bash (Denver, CO) 09 // J Diggs & Skrapi @ Grand Lake Theater for the Ghost Ride Your Whip Premiere (Oakland, CA) 10 // Eddie @ Highline Jewelry (San Francisco, CA) 11 // Abe, Gary Archer, Haji Springer, Marty James, & Rhythm X @ Record House (San Francisco, CA) 12 // Colby O’Donis, John Costen, & Enrique @ Fresno Convention Center for Q97’s Spring Jam (Fresno, CA) 13 // Matt Blaque & Haji Springer on the set of “SF Anthem” video shoot (San Francisco, CA) 14 // Dewayne Wiggins & Iris @ Up All Nite Studios (Oakland, CA) 15 // Laroo & Unc on the set of The Jacka’s “All Over Me” (San Francisco, CA) 16 // Willie Hen, Zakee, & San Quinn on the set of “SF Anthem” video shoot (San Francisco, CA) 17 // The Jacka, DJ Rick Lee, & Young L on the set of The Jacka’s “All Over Me” (San Francisco, CA) 18 // Dewayne Wiggins & Black @ Up All Nite Studios (Oakland, CA) 19 // San Quinn & family on the set of “SF Anthem” video shoot (San Francisco, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (02,03,05,06,07,09,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19); DJ KTone (04,08); Julia Beverly (01)
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lackberry? iPhone? Sidekick? What’s your drug of choice? Me personally, I’m hooked on CRACKBERRY. It’s more than my personal assistant, it’s like a close friend. I back up my files on my laptop and desktop computers. I don’t care if it’s lost or stolen, because I’ll just buy a new one and upload my 2,500 contacts, memos, calendar appointments, text messages, and emails to the new crackberry. If you lose your phone and can’t get your contacts back, it’s like a relative died and you mourn for your information. When someone gets ahold of your phone and reads your text messages or emails, I don’t have to tell you how fucked up that can be. Nowadays we’re all having text sex (it’s the new phone sex. U ain’t know?), talking about people we don’t like, hooking up secret dates, business deals, forwarding info and all kinds of other shit like email blasts, party invites, chain letters... the list is endless. If you’re in love, maybe the very last thing you do before you go to bed is check your phone for whatever reason. As soon as you wake up, you roll over, check your phone again and then you say good morning to the one you love. Texting has taken over our lives. People walk around with their heads pointed to the ground and their thumbs hitting the keys as fast as possible. We carry on multiple “conversations” at a time. Some of us even insist on using instant messenger or blackberry messenger so we can get the texts as soon as they’re typed. And texting while driving is worse than drunk driving. I’ve been at dinner tables with eight people, and everybody’s texting at the same time. I try to put my crackberry away at times like that, but important messages just keep coming through so I HAVE to reply. For a real player like me, this shit is amazing. I can bust a nut and text my other woman with no problems. Who remembers having a beeper back before cell phones were popular, or even before beepers made it to the ‘hood? You would check your beeper and then stop at a phone booth to call somebody back. Or, if you didn’t have a beeper, you’d have to be at home by the phone so people could find you. Pimpin’ is so hi-tech these days, instead of pulling your Caddy over to the curb and saying, “Bitch, where the fuck you been all day?!” now you can just call her and say, “Bitch, where the fuck you at?!” Instant results! We get offended when certain people don’t answer our calls or texts. Not to mention, a lot of times, text messages and emails can be misunderstood. You send a sexy text and it reads back like a pervert sent it. You tell a joke and it reads back like an insult. Slang and abbreviated words aren’t always understood either, but we’re all still addicted to our personal communicating devices. M’fuckas like me will reply to your texts before we will answer your calls. If I give my number out, I always tell people, “Text me. Don’t call me, because I won’t answer.” It’s true. If texting was an Olympic sport, I would be a gold medalist. I’m on my crackberry right now and even though you’re reading this, you’re probably on yours too so I’ll holla at you later. Go ahead and reply, Biiiiiiiiitch!!!! // Hit me up on my crackberry at ShortStories@ozonemag.com
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“TEXTING HAS TAKEN OVER OUR LIVES. BLACKBERRY? IPHONE? SIDEKICK? WHAT’S YOUR DRUG OF CHOICE?”
(above L-R): Demolition Men @ Club 6 in San Francisco, CA (Photo: D-Ray); Big Von & David Banner @ KMEL in San Francisco, CA (Photo: Julia Beverly); 2 Pistols & Colby O’Donis @ Fresno Convention Center for Q97’s Spring Jam in Fresno, CA (Photo: D-Ray)
01 // The Jacka & Collin @ Mezzanine for David Banner’s birthday party (San Francisco, CA) 02 // Dee Sonoram & Kafani the Ice King @ Fresno Convention Center for Q97’s Spring Jam (Fresno, CA) 03 // Mohawk Marlon & Tito Bell @ Club Agenda for DJ Rah2K’s birthday party (San Jose, CA) 04 // David Banner & DJ Skee @ Mezzanine for David Banner’s birthday party (San Francisco, CA) 05 // Julox, Fat B, & Big Tuck @ Angelo’s (Denver, CO) 06 // Haji Springer & NVUS Twins on the set of The Jacka’s “All Over Me” (San Francisco, CA) 07 // Pretty Black & The Jacka @ Club 6 (San Francisco, CA) 08 // Bigga Rankin & Miss Dynasty on the Hypnotized Tour (Kansas City, MO) 09 // DJ Moe1, Traxamillion, & DJ Juice on the set of “SF Anthem” video shoot (San Francisco, CA) 10 // Jae Synth & Dezit Eaze @ Omina Labs (Sacramento, CA) 11 // Man Up Squad on the set of “Spiritual” (Tucson, AZ) 12 // Tito Bell, DJ Rick Lee, DJ Juice, & DJ Imperial on the set of The Jacka’s “All Over Me” (San Francisco, CA) 13 // Esinchill @ Oakland airport (Oakland, CA) 14 // Matt Blaque, Abe Legend, & Haji Springer @ The Record House (Fremont, CA) 15 // Fan & Bash Bash @ Discovery Park for Cinco de Mayo (Sacramento, CA) 16 // Davey D & Gary Archer @ Grand Lake Theater for the Ghost Ride Your Whip Premiere (Oakland, CA) 17 // Demolition Men & ladies on the set of The Jacka’s “All Over Me” (San Francisco, CA) 18 // King Yeyo & Mike Clarke @ Certified (Denver, CO) 19 // DJ Devro & DJ Quest on the set of The Jacka’s “All Over Me” (San Francisco, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,02,03,04,06,07,09,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,19); DJ KTone (05,18); Rebecca Knoblauch (10); Terrence Tyson (08)
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She Liked my NECKLACE and started relaxin’, that’s what the fuck I call a…
J DIGGS THIZZ IN PEACE
y piece is my heart. It’s a real portrait of my best friend, Mac Dre, who passed away in 2004. I wear it everywhere I go. This is my way of keeping my best friend alive and with me at all times. Mac Dre is the founder and CEO of my record label Thizz Entertainment, and my piece is also the logo for the record label. After Dre passed, Kilo appointed me President of Thizz Nation. We stamp every official Thizz project with this same Mac Dre Thizz Nation stamp. Mac Dre was also my co-defendant in my 1992 bank robbery case, in which I received 10 years and Mac Dre got five years for refusing to testify against me and my cousin Kilo in a case he had no involvement with. He did what most rap niggas talk about doing: he kept his mouth closed and did his muthafuckin’ time. He is also being featured alongside me and my crew the Romper Room Crew on BET’s American Gangster.
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The chain and the piece total are worth over $200,000. It was made by Exotic Jewelry in Richmond, by David Bling. This diamond chain was put around my neck by my baby brother from another mother, Bleu Davinci of the BMF Family. Fuck what they say; we’re still here. Me and Bleu lived together for a couple years. We did the entire country on a tour bus with the fam and my Dirty Girls. We were together in Vegas the day he was grabbed by the letter boys [Federal agents]. Bleu put two diamond chains around my neck worth close to half a million dollars. I bring the other one out on special occasions. R.I.P. Mac Dre. Free BMF! // Photo by D-Ray
(above L-R): DJ Black & Juicy J in Los Angeles, CA (Photo: DJ Black); Big Rich & San Quinn @ Toons Nightclub in San Jose, CA (Photo: D-Ray); Cellski & The Jacka on the set of “All Over Me” in San Francisco, CA (Photo: Julia Beverly)
01 // DJ Devro, DJ Juice, & DJ Quote on the set of The Jacka’s “All Over Me” (San Francisco, CA) 02 // DJ Skee & Kai Henry @ Mezzanine for David Banner’s birthday party (San Francisco, CA) 03 // Lady Innerstate & Michael Watts @ Angelo’s (Denver, CO) 04 // Dee Sonoram & Ray J @ Fresno Convention Center for Q97’s Spring Jam (Fresno, CA) 05 // Doin It Movin, Miami Da Most, & Tuff Da Goon @ Grand Lake Theater for the Ghost Ride Your Whip Premiere (Oakland, CA) 06 // Cinque & family on the set of “Spiritual” (Tucson, AZ) 07 // Richie Rich, Mistah FAB, & Davey D @ Up All Nite Studios (Oakland, CA) 08 // Uno, Too $hort, & Stunna @ Phoenix Theater (Petaluma, CA) 09 // The Jacka & Jerm of 2C Custom Clothing on the set of The Jacka’s “All Over Me” (San Francisco, CA) 10 // DJ Vlad, Kilo, Keak da Sneak, J Diggs, & Big Dant @ Keak Da Sneak’s release party (Mountain View, CA) 11 // Geezy & Tuff Da Goon @ Grand Lake Theater for the Ghost Ride Your Whip Premiere (Oakland, CA) 12 // Baby Bash & Big Al @ Discovery Park for Cinco de Mayo (Sacramento, CA) 13 // Big Rich & crew on the set of Jacka’s “All Over Me” (San Francisco, CA) 14 // Peanut & J @ Club Mighty (San Francisco, CA) 15 // 2C Clothing on the set of Jacka’s “All Over Me” (San Francisco, CA) 16 // Kafani The Ice King, DJ Lace & Roscoe Umali @ Fresno Convention Center for Q97’s Spring Jam (Fresno, CA) 17 // Too $hort & crew @ Phoenix Theater (Petaluma, CA) 18 // J Diggs & Kadda Mac @ Grand Lake Theater for the Ghost Ride Your Whip Premiere (Oakland, CA) 19 // Miami Da Most, Keak Da Sneak, DJ Vlad, & ladies @ Keak Da Sneak’s release party (Mountain View, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,02,04,05,06,08,09,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19); DJ KTone (03); Eric Arnold (07)
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ecently, Los Angeles exploded. The internet has played a vital part in both the increasing popularity of Hip Hop and also in the demise of record sales. In this particular instance, the internet was the first witness to the release of two key tracks off Bishop Lamont’s highly anticipated album that isn’t due out until November. Apparently, the person responsible for leaking the tracks is DJ Warrior’s former business partner DJ Strong. The incident was first brought to light through a YouTube clip where Warrior and Bishop confronted DJ Strong and his girlfriend. In defense of Bishop Lamont, DJ Warrior released the following statement: “[DJ Strong] was a business partner of mine until March 2007. He has stolen money from the company, and also hasn’t paid back owed money. He gave my brand, Hip Hop West, a bad name. He’s been illegally using the Hip Hop West name to make money for a while and he sells the Bishop Lamont Unauthorized CD, puts his name on it after he was told not to, and sells the master to over 10 bootleggers for few hundred dollars each. The New West has banned this guy from Hip Hop. This guy is worse than Empire, who illegally put the Lil Wayne mixtapes out. This guy is a disgrace to Hip Hop and to the streets.” How long have you been affiliated with DJ Strong and how did you link up? DJ Warrior: He was a DJ that I saw on the internet and asked him if he wanted to be in a record pool. Eventually he started coming around and scooping out what I had going on. He was a grinder; he was sincere about what he was doing. So I showed him what to do. I fixed him up and gave him street cred. I introduced him to everybody. I told him, “You do your part, I’ll do my part, and we’ll build an empire.” I took him under my wing. From day one people always had problems with him, but if you’re my partner, I’m going to stick by your side. Eventually the problems started interfering with the business. What kind of problems? Any street problem he had with a DJ or a rapper came into the business side s and became my problem as well. Being his partner, I had to stick by him, but it was only for so long I could afford to do that. I started noticing that money was missing from the account and different ventures we had going on, so we had to split ways. He kept continuing to use the brand that I own 51% of, and making money off of it and not paying me. Publicly, the issues between me and him weren’t known, so what he was doing damaged the name that I put all my blood, sweat, and tears into. Do you think the alleged incident between DJ Strong and Bishop Lamont is a good example of how bootlegging is hurting the music industry? DJ Warrior: Yes, once it’s on the internet it’s over. It’s a wrap. I think the mixtape game is totally out of control. A lot of DJ’s are mad because of what Lil Wayne said, but I think he was targeting one or two DJ’s that’s been fucking him over for a long time. I was seeing a different Lil Wayne mixtape every two weeks. It was ridiculous. I didn’t know those tapes were unofficial until I heard his statement. Every mixtape I’ve ever put out, I’ve worked with the artist personally, and I know them personally. What do you think is going to be the Aftermath - no pun intended - of this whole situation? DJ Warrior: He’s going to court, both for Bishop’s shit and on my shit. If I was Strong I would apologize and move onto something else. If I was him I wouldn’t even fuck with this business right now, because no matter how corporate Hip Hop gets, it’s still a street business. People on the streets think he’s a bitch; they think he’s a mark, and they’re going to think he did all this illegally. So, Bishop, tell us about this project you were working on. It was a mixtape to hype up the upcoming album release? Bishop Lamont: Exactly. I did a five mixtape series, and this last one was The Confessional. It’s the last one before the album comes out. It’s just a way to keep feeding the streets music. It’s about progress, evolution, energy; it’s about giving people good music at a time when there’s only bullshit. How did DJ Strong get involved with your project? Bishop Lamont: Nah, Nah. It’s DJ Thong. He got involved because he lied to Whoo Kid and told him he’s the man on the West Coast. He told Whoo Kid that he needed DJ Thong to facilitate the West Coast side of things, like niggas don’t already know who Whoo Kid is and like Whoo Kid ain’t already got love 14 // OZONE WEST
from all the
^ BISHOP LAMONT’S THE CONFESSIONAL < DJ WARRIOR DJ STRONG>
rappers on the West Coast. That nigga was lyin’ to him, gassing him up and shit, acting like I actually fuck with Thong. Whoo Kid brings it up to me finally. [Strong] puts up a fake cover with my head on Mack 10’s body, with the name Confessions, like I’m Usher. It’s The Confessional cocksucker. So I called [DJ Strong] peacefully and respectfully and I said “Yo, you can’t be a part of this jump off; this is just me and Whoo Kid. I get down with a lot of other DJ’s tough, but I reached out to Whoo Kid for this, so you jumpin’ in out of nowhere, I don’t even roll with you like that. It would look disrespectful to a fly ass nigga like DJ Skee or DJ Warrior. Who are you? So he just threw it out there to be spiteful, on some fuckery, and sold it to bootleggers. That’s already copyright infringement. So the leaked tracks got you in some hot water with Dr. Dre and Aftermath? Bishop Lamont: Aftermath was bugging on my phone. But I wasn’t answering no calls until I dealt with it. I went over there to see the hoe ass nigga [DJ Strong]. I was just going to talk to him, but he called the police. Then he called his lawyer and his lawyer called me. The bitch ass nigga called the police and his lawyer, so now he’s gotta deal with Aftermath’s lawyer. Now you’ve gotta go against [Dr.] Dre’s money. Then the nigga tried to sell it overseas to some other cats. Bottom line is, DJ Thong’s career is over. You try and put out some gay-ass statement talkin’ about, “We are the West Coast.” You ain’t the West Coast if you’re trying to fuck West Coast niggas over. You’re not struggling, nigga. You got mad cheese in that store you ripped off from DJ Warrior. You got mad credit cards. You graduated from UC Santa Barbara. Stop lying. You ain’t like my niggas out here in the streets. Fuck DJ Thong. Well, DJ Drama was charged with bootlegging and copyright infringement also. Looking at the mixtape game as a whole, it’s kind of a thin line between bootlegging and “legitimate” mixtapes, don’t you think? Bishop Lamont: When a nigga steals music and put it out on purpose just to leak an album to try to fuck an artist over, that nigga knows he’s doing wrong. When you take a cat like Drama that’s just trying to help artists’ careers bubble because the labels ain’t doing shit, there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s just the government and the record labels being greedy since record sales ain’t shit. They’re going after the people making mixtapes because that’s free money. They hate it when artists get paid another way. There really ain’t nothing wrong with it except when niggas are doing shit without clearance, like DJ Thong. He tried to fuck up my movement, but God turned a negative into a positive. When we exposed him for the bitch that he is, that took The Confessional through the roof. That was the best commercial I could’ve had. I’m still going to get the money for the records that he leaked, and I’m still going to pay the producers that did those tracks. Dre is just trying to make sure no Dr. Dre beats are released. This nigga charge $500,000 a beat, and I’ve got six or seven Dre beats on my album. Cocksuckers tryin’ to leak shit? C’mon, man, this is big business here. You’re playing with us like you like to play with yourself and your life partner. No. Sounds like he had a reason to call the police when you went to see him. Bishop Lamont: I wanted to pimp slap him. I can’t lie to you about that. I wanted to slap the shit out of him, because he did some spiteful shit after I was respectful, after I was a gentleman. Not only are you disrespecting one of my peers, but you’re disrespecting me to my face even after a long sincere discussion on the phone. He cried. He told the homeboy, “I’m living a nightmare.” Bitch ass nigga, you tried to fuck me! You tried to fuck the West Coast! You tried to fuck with Aftermath! You tried to fuck with the streets! Are you fucking crazy? Didn’t you learn not to do that at UC Santa Barbara? Where can people find this infamous mixtape? Bishop Lamont: I never charge people; I’m a servant of the people. You can download it from myspace.com/bishoplamont or www.bishoplamont.com Numerous attempts were made to conduct a formal interview with DJ Strong, who released the following statement: “With everything going on and all I’m accused of, I’m gonna have to lay low on this one and say ‘no comment.’ Thanks to OZONE for the chance to respond.” //
(above L-R): Haji Springer with his article on the set of “SF Anthem” video shoot in San Francisco, CA (Photo: D-Ray); David Banner & DJ Rick Lee @ KMEL in San Francisco, CA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Richie Rich @ Up All Nite Studios in Oakland, CA (Photo: D-Ray)
01 // Krizz Kaliko @ Tech N9ne’s Fire & Ice Tour (Humboldt County, CA) 02 // Mistah FAB on the set of The Jacka’s “All Over Me” (San Francisco, CA) 03 // Uno of The Pack & crew @ Phoenix Theater (Petaluma, CA) 04 // Tofu De La Moore @ Zokkus for Sick Wid It & 916 Unified listening party (Sacramento, CA) 05 // Kilo on the set of The Jacka’s “All Over Me” (San Francisco, CA) 06 // J Intell & Doey Rock @ Zokku for 916 Unified listening party (San Francisco, CA) 07 // PK on the set of “SF Anthem” video shoot (San Francisco, CA) 08 // Baby Bash @ Discovery Park for Cinco de Mayo (Sacramento, CA) 09 // Sean Kennedy @ The Record House (Fremont, CA) 10 // Sauce @ Tech N9ne’s Fire & Ice Tour (Humboldt County, CA) 11 // Silky Slim & A Plus @ Westcoast Wednesdays (Fresno, CA) 12 // DJ KTone & DJ Smallz @ The Palladium (Denver, CO) 13 // Lil Evil & Lil Corner on the set of The Jacka’s “All Over Me” (San Francisco, CA) 14 // Kyd & Turf Talk on the set of Mainy Mike’s “We On That” video shoot (Sacramento, CA) 15 // Sweetz & Willie @ Mezzanine for David Banner’s birthday party (San Francisco, CA) 16 // Big Body Gotti @ Club Mighty (San Francisco, CA) 17 // DJ Amen @ Phoenix Theater (Petaluma, CA) 18 // DJ Mighty Mike & DJ Smurf @ Zokkus for Sick Wid It & 916 Unified listening party (Sacramento, CA) 19 // Trackademics on the set of “SF Anthem” video shoot (San Francisco, CA) 20 // Young Win @ Club Agenda for DJ Rah2K’s birthday party (San Jose, CA) 21 // Do It Movin & Jae Synth @ Zokkus for Sick Wid It & 916 Unified listening party (Sacramento, CA) 22 // DJ Rah2K @ Club Agenda for DJ Rah2K’s birthday party (San Jose, CA) 23 // Bright & Ebol @ Upscale Club (Orange County, CA) 24 // Diego Redd @ Westcoast Wednesdays (Fresno, CA) 25 // Freddie Hot Sauce & Family Tree @ Club Agenda for DJ Rah2K’s birthday party (San Jose, CA) 26 // Tycoon @ Bennie Owens’ lab (Oakland, CA) 27 // Aaron @ Club Mighty (San Francisco, CA) 28 // Lil Quinn @ Toons Nightclub (San Jose, CA) 29 // P Coat Jackson & Hoodchild @ Westcoast Wednesdays (Fresno, CA) 30 // Eric Perrin @ OZONE’s Rapquest shoot (Kansas City, MO) 31 // Big Omeezy @ Zokkus for Sick Wid It & 916 Unified listening party (Sacramento, CA) 32 // Gu @ Tech N9ne’s Fire & Ice Tour (Humboldt County, CA) 33 // Fatality, Boo Banger, & Traxamillion on the set of “SF Anthem” video shoot (San Francisco, CA) 34 // Nova & Mike Diddy @ Westcoast Wednesdays (Fresno, CA) 35 // Rich Nix, SugaKane & Eddie Projex @ The Crest Theater (Fresno, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,02,03,05,07,08,09,10,13,16,17,19,20,22,23,25,27,28,30,32,33); DJ KTone (12); Jessica Essien (04,11,14,18,21,24,26,29,31,34,35); Julia Beverly (15); Rebecca Knoblauch (06)
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Patien Waitintgly When the hyphy movement surfaced around 2003 a handful of the Bay’s new generation of rappers dubbed themselves the “New Bay,” particularly those from Oakland, basically writing off everyone that came before them. In hindsight they created a sound catered for the hyperactive A.D.D. generation, but what artists like Too $hort, Richie Rich and MC Hammer created during the 90s was a movement. Oakland reigned musically during that era as groups like 3XS Krazy, The Luniz, and Digital Underground continued the push as major labels kept them in the national spotlight. Even though The Delinquents (aka G-Stack and V-White) didn’t receive as much national attention, they were still major factors in the city’s musical history. “Most of us came from a family member putting your record out or a very close friend, or putting our own record out,” G-Stack explains now, 16 years deep in the game and counting with the release of his ninth album (eight with The Delinquents), the solo prequel My Purple Chronicles in preparation for this summer’s Purple Hood. “JT The Bigga Figga, A.W.O.L., all of us came from the struggle,” he remembers. “They just kinda rode the wave of something cats established. I would never call Too $hort or E-40 ‘old.’ I would call them ‘legends.’”
Since then, the music scene has changed, as local stations like 94.9 and 106.1 pick and choose which Bay artist’s bandwagon they want to ride. But for G-Stack, that passive attitude “is irrelevant” compared to a new movement he’s leading with The Heem Team and Dot of the Mekanix. “Radio is irrelevant, even though I need them,” he says with a hint of resentment. “They’re becoming irrelevant and I’m structuring my material, my movement, and my records around it. If I do get radio that’s a bonus, but it’s frustrating. The way consumers [think] now, if you’re not on the radio, theythink something’s wrong with you. I’m tryin’ to do my thing so that if I don’t get radio, people will wonder what’s wrong with them, not what’s wrong with me.” Right now G-Stack is heading up the purple movement (if you don’t know what it means, ask somebody), and for his new position as leader please refer to him as the Purple Mane from Purple City. “People ask me why I’m not putting, ‘Formerly of The Delinquents’ on my CD,” he says. “It’s because I don’t wanna follow nothin’. I wanna set another trend. I want them to follow me and bite me. If people put purple on their CD cover now, cats are callin’ me like, ‘They bitin’ you.’ No, they’re not. Purple is a color, but I’m building it like a movement. I want people to appreciate that I can be original, even though I know purple has been done before, but not in the way that I am doing it.” - Words by Kay T. Newell // Photos by Piankhi
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Can you talk about how you acquired such a unique style? You definitely have a swagger and style that’s one-of-a-kind.
Being from the Midwest, we’re right here in the heart of the middle. With that being said, we get it from the East, the South, the West, the North, or wherever it’s coming from. It’s a musical overload. And by my family being into not just rap music and R&B, but into Gospel, orchestral music, and rock & roll, all that was instilled into me. I think with me being in the middle and my family being diverse, it created Tech N9ne. That’s what my name means – Technique Number 9. We spell Tech, T-E-C-H, but it’s not like the gun which is spelled T-E-C. It’s short for Technique and Number 9 is the number of completion. 9 months completes a pregnancy; a cat has 9 lives; the whole 9 yards is everything. Technique Number 9 is the complete technique of rhyme. With my family being diverse and being in the middle and me being a lover of all types of music, that’s where my style came from. It’s ambidextrous – left or right, up or down, I don’t care. It’s everything. 20 // OZONE WEST
You’ve obviously established a presence in the game that’s unprecedented, especially for a Kansas City artist. How were you able to take over the game and get to the position you’re at right now? Kansas City doesn’t have a lot of opportunities when it comes to music. We ain’t got no Sony Midwest. We ain’t got no Def Jam Midwest. I had to blow it up here ‘cause that’s where it starts, at home. From here, all the DJs and clubs were finding out about Tech N9ne. Next thing you know, I’m on the radio and it spread. It spread to Cali through Quincy Jones. From Quincy Jones and QD3, it spread to everybody. It put me on the Gang Related soundtrack, Tupac’s movie. That’s how a lot of people got to know about me, and being on the Wake Up show with Sway and King Tech. I’m just a veteran in the game with everything, being on Yukmouth’s albums, the Thugged Out: The Albulation and so on, being everywhere at once. That’s how you probably heard my music, through all the connections we made through me being a politician, going state to state, city to city, shaking hands and kissing babies – just like how Master P did it. Nobody knew Master P when he first came to Kansas City, but he was doing little hole-in-the-wall clubs, getting the people to know his name. That’s exactly what we do. We’ll go to Oregon; we don’t care where the show is. I remember when I first did a show in San Diego. It was like 7 people in the crowd. Now we’re selling out whatever [venues] we do there. Being a politician is how you branch out from your town. I’ve been in this since I wrote my first rhyme in 1985. I’m proud to be where I’m at right now, at the top of my game. With Kansas City as a whole, you’ve been able to do your thing but a lot of your predecessors or people that followed you haven’t been able to establish themselves like you have. Why do you think that is? Kansas City on the Hip Hop scene is huge. You got a lot of cats that hit the road too. Rich the Factor hits the road; The Popper hits the road. It’s a lot of others. I guess they just gotta hit a lot more places. We’ll go everywhere. We done did a show up in Lawson, in the middle of a field, standing on a cooler, yadidamean? We did raves. It’s about being a politician so you gotta do it to the fullest. Not saying that my dudes don’t do it to the fullest, but nobody does it like us. But they can go with me whenever they want ‘cause I got love for all my cats. But if you’re really trying to be the President of Rap like I’ve been trying to be for a long time, you got to be in the running. We’ve been doing this independently, but we’re trying to get my name known globally. I’m trying to be the number 1 politician. Listen to the music. Come to a show and see if I’m bluffing. We’ve been humble for a long time. A lot of people love what we do and how we do business, but this new album I got called Killer, it kinda put a chip on my shoulder because I wish the industry was more about good music instead of payola. Me and Travis O’Guin use our own money. We ain’t got $20,000 to give to some DJ to play our stuff 24-7. I wish it was more about the quality and content, as opposed to the money. I understand everybody’s gotta get paid and everybody’s palms gotta get greased, but if it was about how good I was, I’d be a billionaire. We’re gonna bang it into they heads to where they gotta see me. They’re gonna have to see me when they come to the show, when they start hearing more DJs playing me. MTV and BET are gon’ have to see me. It’s written in the wind ‘cause this is raw. You’ll hear a lot of rappers say, “This is raw, this is real,” but naw, this ain’t real, this is right. Some of your past label situations in the past haven’t worked out well. How is Fontana/Universal distribution working out so far? We finally got with a partner [Fontana] that pays us on time. All me and Travis’ past partners like Mark Stephens Cerami – fuck him very much for running with our money – we’re suing them as we speak, yadidamean? Jay Faires at JCOR – fuck him very much. He ran with our money also. I know where they live, but in this business you can’t go in their homes and hem them up because you’ll be in jail for life. You gotta pay money to get your money back. It’s crazy. But with Fontana, we were able to get tour buses and buy Benzes. Travis just bought a Maybach. It’s a wonderful thing. We’ve only done two albums with Fontana and with that, we’re already seeing shit. All those albums I did in the past like Anghellic, Absolute Power, Vintage Tech, Anghellic Reparation, and our DVD Tech N9ne Experience, my fans are still buying those and we don’t get no money from that. It’s all at Sony. I guess that would bring the Killer out in you. Is that where your album title is derived from? Usually when you talk to Tech N9ne, there’s a deep meaning behind something, but simplicity is the key on this one. Killer is simply saying – and this is rock & roll terminology – this music is all killer, no filler. Now to go along with what you asked, I wish I could be a killer and get my money from these
muthafuckas with a pistol. We’d love to do it Kansas City style but we have to be “professional” ‘cause we have children. What’s the concept behind your snake and bat chain? Nobody would ever think of that but Tech N9ne. The snake and the bat are nocturnal creatures. A lot of people who see it think I’m a devil worshiper. What the hell is a devil? Anybody ever had any proof? You ever seen a ghost? I ain’t never seen nothing supernatural so I question a lot of people when they talk about Satan and super-natural beings. They thought this [symbol] meant sadomasochism – S&M. This is an S and an M, but it stands for Strange Music. I got the name Strange back when I was with Quincy Jones. I did this deal with Windswept Publishing and they wanted to know the name of my publishing company. I wanted to call it EGN Arts – that’s Strange spelled backwards. So when I hooked up with Travis O’Guin in the late 90’s, he said, “I want to start this label and split everything 50/50.” I said, “Yeah, let’s do it. I wanna call it Strange Music.” He liked it. I was a big Jim Morrison fan. The Doors had a song (singing) “People are strange…when you’re strange, faces come out in the rain…” I loved it. It was kinda creepy, like dark circus sounding music. I was really into that. They used to call me the Black Jim Morrison. That’s where Strange Music came from – the snake and the bat. Is that also how you would describe your sound? Strange. Totally. When you listen to a Tech N9ne song, you know it’s Tech N9ne. It’s distinctive. It’s all about pitch. A lot of people don’t know pitch. A lot of rappers are monotone. The way I say my name “Tech N9ne!” (with emphasis), it’s exciting. It’s strange. My rhymes are like that. It’s a little bit to the left and I love it. I love being special. If you had caught me a couple of years ago, I had red spikes in my hair. You’d still see it today if I knew how to take care of dyed hair. But I’m a black dude so I don’t really know nothing about that. I was on a lot of drugs back then – a lot of ecstasy, shrooms, GHB. I was killing myself slowly and contributing to genocide back in the day. I came out of that, but I would never take back what that gave me, that wild Tech N9ne with the red spiked hair. But it started falling out so I had to cut it all off and start over. I’m going to grow it all the way down my back. It’s gonna be beautiful. Compared to how you started back in ’85, how has your career compared to what you anticipated? What did you envision when you first started? I remember an interview Jim Carrey did after that Batman movie where he played The Riddler. They asked him if was surprised to get $25 million. And he said, “No. I’ve been planning this all my life.” I’m similar. When I first set out to do this Tech N9ne thing, I knew that I wanted my stuff to be for the world. So naw, we ain’t there yet. We’re getting there. We haven’t exceeded our limit when it comes to fans. There’s more to be taken. I always expected for everybody to be involved, so you can imagine how I felt when they called me to Denmark last year to perform for 60,000 people with Kanye [West], Tool, Guns and Roses, and George Clinton & the P-Funk All-Stars, doing it big. You can imagine how I felt when I went to Australia with The Luniz, Dru Down, and Kurupt, doing it big. That’s what I’ve been planning since I started; just to get my music to the rest of the world. When I got a cat calling me from Turkey wanting me on a song, thank God for the internet, baby. No, I’m not surprised at what’s happened. I’m thankful for what’s happened, but it hasn’t happened like it needs to for the entire world to know my story. What’s so special and important about my story? I am everything you are. I’m human. My ups and downs, my happiness, my sadness, my fuck-ups, that’s what we all have in common. That’s what I want to get to the rest of the world. When people talk about Tech N9ne retiring one day, what thoughts cross your mind? I’m doing Killer like it’s my last album. I’m saying everything I always wanted to say but held back. My mama taught me if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all, but I’ve been humble all my life. I’ve been the nice guy and always got the short end of the stick. But now, it’s looking way brighter. What me and Travis built in the years we’ve had Strange Music, it’s turning into something humongous. I can’t quit until my mission is done, when you see me everywhere, when I can’t go to Japan without them mobbing me. If I can walk in the mall and these bitches don’t melt, that means my job’s not over. You feel me? I’m not done. I’m trying to get to where my babies’ babies are well-off. Russell Simmons said he likes seeing these young cats come up from the ghetto and now they have rich kids. I feel him. That’s what I’m reaching for. //
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pril 25th started off as a moderately warm day in Kansas City, slightly overcast with predictions of rain. By mid-day, the temperature dropped nearly fifteen degrees and a hazy drizzle set upon the city. Though an unstable climate threatened to halt a historical moment in KC Hip Hop, not even an ominous cloud cover was able to overshadow the positive vibe in the air. It was a day of new beginnings. It was a day when over 30 artists and DJs would put down street beef, color clashing, and underlying hostility to unite for a photo signifying one cause. Unity, often quoted as being one of KC’s biggest hurdles, found its way to the heart of the city’s new Power and Light District that Friday afternoon. As everyone crowded together for a snapshot that would capture some of the city’s greatest talent, ground was broken. “We saw unity today,” says Travis O’Guin, Co-CEO of Strange Music. “We saw a large amount of artists come together peacefully and be a part of the photo shoot. We’re working with each other a lot more. I really think the city is slept on because of the [lack of] unity. Once you start having success, instead of endorsing and congratulating that, often times it’s hated on. That’s the difficult part about this city, but now people have gone out and done their own thing and a few different labels are having some independent success. Now that there’s more unity, I think there will be a hell of a lot more exposure for Kansas City. We’re gonna do everything we can to ensure that we put this bitch on the map, with Tech [N9ne] and everybody else that’s involved.” Because the mainstream music industry has side-stepped Kansas City (even when the spotlight was on St. Louis), local indie labels have had to open doors for themselves. One of the labels with the strongest footholds is Strange Music. As the brainchild of Tech N9ne and Travis O’Guin, Strange Music has virtually become a touring and merchandising powerhouse. After enduring a few setbacks with distribution and major label partnerships in the past, Strange Music now has a more solid situation with Fontana/Universal. Tech N9ne’s new album Killer (with guest features from Ice Cube, Scarface, Paul Wall, Mistah FAB, Shawnna, and others) will be the third release under Fontana/Universal. Things are finally looking up for the “Kansas City King.” In addition to Tech N9ne, several other artists on the Strange Music roster are enjoying the success that comes with independence, like Kutt Calhoun, Skatterman & Snug Brim, Ill Bill, Grave Plott, and Prozak, who all have albums scheduled to be released mid-2008. Krizz Kaliko, who lends his opera-like voice to many of Tech N9ne’s choruses, recently released his album Vitiligo. When it comes to characterizing the style of Kansas City, Krizz Kaliko explains, “We’ve got our own distinctive sound, swagger, language, our own dances, everything – just like the Bay, just like down South. But there’s a ghetto in
(artists pictured in the photo above include the following, in alphabetical order): Bishop, Black Walt, Cash Image, D Locc Da Chop, DJ Fresh, Hobo Tone, Hustlamade Bugz, Kutt Calhoun, Krizz Kaliko, Paul Mussan, The Popper, R.O.B., Rondoe, S.S.P., Skatterman, Snug Brim, Tay Diggs, Tech N9ne, Toothpic, Van Brunt Ent., Xta-C, Young Don D. Our sincere apologies to anyone we forgot.
every city and it’s pretty much the same [everywhere]. That street edge is usually a major component of the music in Kansas City. On Strange Music, we got all of the elements – hood, rock, East Coast. Myself, I try to make my own lane. The lane I made for myself is called The Funkra, which means funk, rock, rap, R&B, and opera. It’s musical gumbo.” “Musical gumbo” is a term that well suits Kansas City as a whole. Kutt Kalhoun says, “We got a collection of everything. We get a mixture of the East, Down South, the West. All that comes through Kansas City. We’re like the core of everything. We’re known for our lyrical styles and patterns in our music. I think the showmanship value of what we got is very unique. We’re very creative. When you come to Kansas City, the basic apparel you see is creased jeans and a nice, crispy t-shirt. KC had the Rockport boots. That’s the whole Kansas City theme right there. We don’t try to be like nobody else. You got down South, the way they do they cars. You got the East coast, the way they wear they clothes and do they thang. You got the West coast, they’re more on some Dickies stuff. We got a mixture of all that, but we run with our own style that we created for ourselves. That’s just in our swagger.” Straddling the Missouri/Kansas border, Kansas City rests in the dead center of the U.S. map, making it the merging point for all four regions. Because of its location, pinning a definitive label on the KC sound is difficult. “We take all those different sounds, mesh ‘em together, and come up with something super, super hot,” says Kenny Diamondz, host of Underground Heat on KPRS. Underground Heat is one of the few outlets for the city’s emerging artists. Recently, Van Brunt Entertainment’s artist Cash Image received hundreds of local radio spins with his single “In My Chevy” produced by Don Juan. Introduced by Underground Heat, the single spread from a mixshow to regular rotation, later reaching airwaves in markets outside of the city. Other KPRS residents like JT Quick, Sean Tyler, and DJ Fresh also play an important role in the development of KC’s presence. In the late 90s, DJ Fresh put together an album called The 50 Emcees where he highlighted the city’s top talent. Grant Rice, who formerly toured with Tech N9ne and is presently a member of The Regime with Yukmouth, credits the album for putting him on. He recalls, “DJ Fresh put flyers out everywhere saying he was putting the 50 best rappers in Kansas City on the album. Everybody was trying out. I got OZONE WEST // 23
(L-R above): Mon E G, Grant Rice, SSP’s Fat Boy, Kenny Diamondz & ROB, & Rich the Factor
there too late [but I battled] a dude, smoked him, and got on the album. Tech heard my voice and The Popper called me saying that Tech N9ne wanted to meet me. Right off jump, me and Tech clicked ‘cause we were both into other types of music. All the unity back then was amazing. But when Mac Dre [was killed], it drew a line. It stopped a lot of shit.” Kansas City was a haven for Bay Area legends like Mac Dre. “I can remember underground cats that were big back in the days, like DJ Quik, Spice 1, Mac Mall, all these dudes hit really big here. I don’t know why it was bigger here than anywhere else, but we’ve always had closely knit ties with the Bay. The Bay Area artists would even move up here ‘cause they could get so much money here doing shows and verses,” Krizz Kaliko explains.
Slip N Slide Streets). S.S.P.’s front artist, Mon E G, a.k.a. The Ghostwriter, may be recognizable from OZONE’s photo galleries (www.ozonemag.com, if you’re not up on that). Mon E G recently returned home from the Hypnotized Tour where he shared the stage with Rick Ross, Plies, Dream, Lil Boosie, Pleasure P, and T-Pain. His “Chevy Anthem (remix)” video featuring Rick Ross and Yo Gotti is scheduled for release in the near future. There are numerous artists struggling for a shot at fame, and while only a few have received a national nod from the industry, many have found international fans through mediums like Myspace and YouTube. One such artist is The KC Gift. His dance song “Do the Double Dutch” has inspired kids across the globe to hop on home video and show off their moves. Collectively, with all the videos posted on the net, “Do the Double Dutch” has earned approximately half a million views.
The murder of Mac Dre while he was in Kansas City for a performance caused a rift amongst people in the town. Allegedly, the death of local rap legend Fat Tone was a retaliation killing for Mac Dre’s death.
Speaking of rappers on the rise, DJ Fresh wanted to make sure these names did not go unmentioned: Locc the Chop, The Weapon, J-Casino, B-Hood, Legion the Legend, X-Tacy, Infinity, Young Boss, and D-Figga, along with several others already discussed. It’s also a little-known fact that Bishop, one of the town’s very own natives, worked with both Hip Hop legends and R&B sensations. Bishop’s voice can be heard on the hook of Tupac’s “Changes” and his writing talents are displayed on Joe’s “Stutter.”
It’s no secret that Kansas City has a reputation for its crime rate. Often referred to as “Killer City,” the town’s number of homicides and gang-related activities are probably just as famous as its number of fountains and BBQ spots. “Kansas City is cutthroat,” Snug Brim says. “You ain’t safe unless you’re on your home turf with your real people. Anytime you cross that line, you’re out of bounds. You’ve gotta be in your part of town, and if you ain’t you better have your people with you. Kansas City is small but deadly.”
With the getting-money mentality that KC artists are known for, it’s a wonder no one has stepped in and cultivated the possibilities. Besides just a culture rich in musical history, from jazz to blues to Hip Hop, KC has a lot to offer the outside world. Arrowhead Stadium, home to the Kansas City Chiefs, boasts of the loudest NFL fans; the Negro Leagues Museum is based in KC; and the new Sprint Center and Power and Light District attract many visitors to the freshly renovated downtown area.
Despite the obstacles, Kansas City rappers, producers, promoters, and DJs are slowly coming together in a positive way. “This [Rapquest shoot] we’re doing today, it’s a great thing to see artists come together from the 816 and 913. We’ve been divided for so long,” says local Kansas City rapper Hobo Tone.
“I couldn’t think of no better place to be than Kansas City,” Tech N9ne states during his Rapquest interview. “I have a house in Sherman Oaks, California but I ain’t never there. I’m here. This is my comfort zone. Ask any of the presidents where they go eat – Gates BBQ. We’re famous for BBQ. Have you been around this place? It’s beautiful. People just wanna go to the ghetto. We got a lot of ghettos and it’s good. That’s where I’m from. My Uncle Ike raised me on 9th Street. We’re right there on 18th and Vine. Jazz, Charlie Parker, anybody who ever called themselves doing jazz – 18th and Vine, baby.”
Another major player in the unification of KC is The Popper, who works closely with his brother DJ Fresh to put the city on the map. Before the release of his mainstream single “I Do” in 2003, The Popper was well-known in the underground for his lyrical, true Hip Hop style. Recently, he’s gained recognition for his KC Landmarks mixtapes, which showcase both legendary and up-and-coming artists from both sides of the water (Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas). 10,000 copies of The Popper’s first mixtape were given away, which created a crazy buzz in the city. Due to the popularity of his first KC Landmarks tape, The Popper was able to branch off and lend a hand to others in his hometown. Now that the momentum and anticipation have grown, other artists are investing in the movement like Donta Slusha, Rondoe, Big Ben, HustlaMade Bugz, Tay Diggs, Ron Ron, and Paul Mussan, who all have their own mixtape under the KC Landmarks brand.
“This is the AMC headquarters. When I go to other towns and they talk about rap, they say we got that gangster. Yeah, we got gangster but on Sundays you can go to The Peanut if you’re into Hip Hop/backpack music and wanna see breakdancers do their thug-thizzle. If you wanna go to a rave you can go to Envy on Saturdays. If you want the college scene, where the Q Dogs are steppin’, you might wanna go to Zen on Fridays. Our Rodeo Drive is called The Plaza, where you can go to buy your Chanel glasses and your Armani. Everything that you love, it’s all here. If I take you around the whole city, you might wanna get you a spot here. We’re a little bit smaller than New York and L.A., but we got everything they got, and we got emcees that bust better than most too,” Tech continues.
A common name in the streets of Kansas City is Rich the Factor. Through consistency and credibility, Rich the Factor’s sales have increased over the years throughout various regions. With over seven projects released, Rich the Factor has become a respected figure in the KC rap community. His label, Major Factor Records, is also home to artists like Rush, Rappin Twan, Sliccs, and Young Fe, who have collectively released a number of albums and mixtapes.
Excited about shedding light on their city, Tech N9ne and Strange Music sponsored the Rapquest photo. During the home-town stop on his Fire and Ice Tour with Paul Wall, Tech N9ne invited his rap brethren out for a day that will always be remembered (by the KC Hip Hop cast, at least). //
The Southside Posse, another crew worthy of mention, has recently emerged from Kansas City through its work with Bigga Rankin (CORE DJs, Hittmenn DJs,
Be looking out for more info on the KC camp as Kenny Diamondz breaks down the haps in his monthly Rapquest article. (KennyDiamondz@gmail.com)
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Tyga/No Introduction Young Money/Decaydance Riding off the buzz from his lead single “Coconut Juice” this Compton bred rapper has hit the scene with an evolutionary sound that can only be described as Hip Pop. This album is definitely targeted towards the new generation of Hip Hop heads with songs like “AIM” which talks about internet chatting and the out-ofthis-world sound of, “Space Joyridin’.” Even with 13 tracks No Introduction fails to cover the basics of a solid album. Best case scenario is ringtones for this kid. “Coconut Juice” bought you a blunt cause my girl likes it. — Jared Anderson
DJ Haze & Black Wall Street/BWS Radio Part 4 Black Wall Street is dropping more than stocks on Wall Street these days in preparation for Game’s LAX. BWS Radio Part 4 has its high points, like Juice’s “Ownership Tag,” but also has several tracks that aren’t all that enticing. While Juice has been doing more than his part, offering heat on most recent BWS efforts, the same doesn’t go for Elijah and Southside. BWS is using the LAX hype to its advantage and is showing signs of success outside of Game with artists like Juice. — Rohit Loomba
DJ Whoo Kid & Bishop Lamont/The Confessional Dropping solid mixtapes over the last year and some change, Bishop Lamont has already proved that he can make good music and potentially great albums. Why he has yet to release one, no one knows. Until then, listeners will have to settle for his latest mixtape where the production presents a well balanced attack, but Bishop himself sounds like he’s practicing for his impending album. The concepts have been done before, but songs like “What People Do” and “One Night” sound great even though they’re lacking the “it” factor that would make you want to listen again. Even though tracks like “Be Cool” featuring Xzibit, Ras Kass, Glasses Malone and Mykstro save the day with some good old fashioned, high-quality L.A. Hip Hop shit, The Confessional is probably a secret that would be better if kept. — Maurice G. Garland
Keak Da Sneak/Deified Koch With a catalogue that’s twice as deep as major label artists, Keak da Sneak has made a living as an underground regional artist. With his first national look since his 3XKrazy days, Keak puts all of his cards on the table with a 23-track CD. Unlike mixtapes, albums are better when concise, and this album falls victim to simply being too long for its own good. Songs like “Oakland” featuring Mistah F.A.B. and even the silly “Ass Chauffeur” could be stand outs, but by the time you reach the end of the album, you forget what you liked about it. Young Mozart handles all of the production, striking gold here and there but has some glaring missteps along the way. As harsh as it may sound, there’s only so much of Keak’s voice you can take without feeling like you have to cough. — Maurice G. Garland JP a.k.a. Lil Suave/Hi Haters Atlanta native and Ft. Collins, CO transplant JP a.k.a. Lil Suave shocks with the release of his second mixtape, Hi Haters. Unlike most artists who throw verses over the hottest beats of the moment, JP picks a variety of beats, both new and old, that best showcase his witty lyricism, Southern swag, and unique style. Stand out tracks include the title track and “Top Dog.” Delivery of the message is good, but could be stronger on a few of the tracks. The talent is definitely there. It will be interesting to see how JP performs with original beats and production. Bottom line, this is how you make a mixtape. — Jessica Hagmaier Don Cannon & Willy Northpole/Street Kings (28 Grams) DTP’s Arizona rep Willy Northpole brings 28 Grams with help from Don Cannon. Northpole and his apathetic delivery leave much to be desired and the only saving moments come with “Self Biography” and “Get Up and Get Down.” While Northpole has an interesting story of how his career came about, his music isn’t quite as fascinating. More energy and emotion in his delivery will help Northpole on his DTP debut. — Rohit Loomba
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Lil Wayne Venue: HP Pavilion Promoter: Lawman Promotions Event: Wild 94.9â€™s Wild Jam City: San Jose, CA Date: June 12th, 2008 Photo: D-Ray
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