Ozone West #72 - Oct 2008

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editor’s note

Publisher Julia Beverly




hen we think of a “dope fiend,” a lot of things come to mind. We think of the grimy, wigged out people on the streets, but little do you know it could be the person sitting next to you. Weed is one thing, but when people start abusing man-made drugs, that’s another thing. People who know that I’m the Thizz Entertainment photographer assume that I pop thizz pills. I do not pop at all. Never have, never will, and to set the record straight, everyone on THIZZ is not on THIZZ!

Music EditorS Randy Roper Maurice G. Garland ADVERTISING SALES Che Johnson Gary Archer Isiah Campbell Richard Spoon Contributors Camilo Smith, DJ BackSide, DJ E-Z Cutt, Gary Archer, Jelani Harper, Jessica Essien, Jessica “Mz Jae” Hagmaier, Joey Colombo, Kay Newell, Keita Jones, Luvva J, Portia Jackson, Tamara Palmer, Ty Watkins Street Reps Ant Wright, Anthony Deavers, Baydilla, Bigg P-Wee, Big Thangs, Big Will, Dee1, Demolition Men, DJ Jam-X, DJ Juice, DJ KTone, DJ Nik Bean, DJ Quote, DJ Skee, DJ Strong & Warrior, Gary Archer, J Hype, Jasmine Crowe, Jessica Essien, John Costen, Juice, Kewan Lewis, Luvva J, Maroy, Rob J Official, Rob Reyes, Shauntae Hill, Sherita Saulsberry, Sly Boogy, Syd Robertson, Tonio, Twin, William Major, Zack Cimini COVER CREDITS San Quinn photo by D-Ray; K-Boy photo by retOnephotography.

I don’t know why people can’t seem to get that willpower they need to help themselves, especially if they are talented and have a career ahead of them. That’s not saying that people without those same talents or goals should be on dope; all people doing dope should slow down. You should really reflect on the difference you see in yourself when you’re on dope and off. I believe everyone should watch video footage of themselves high! It may be a shock to see how ignorant they act! Trust me, if they don’t want to let the reality of their ignorance affect them, seeing themselves on camera will help! I believe people make the best decisions they can with the info they have. Most people that do dope tend to think they are doing the dope; that’s the way it starts. But when the dope starts doing them that’s when the real problems start. To become sober is very, very challenging! If you don’t have the willpower or the support, or you just don’t want to stop, you honestly won’t be able to stop. You’ll continue to relapse. Detox is something you have to want. It’s not for your family or friends; it’s for you!

I’ve been through the oddest things with people on dope and watched them apologize after they sobered up. You have to remind yourself sometimes that an apology isn’t good enough. You need help. Burning bridges, hurting feelings, and maybe even physically harming yourself or another person is serious! People on dope really aren’t themselves. I’ve surrounded myself with people, not knowing that they do dope. Then there are the surprises: wow! They do dope? I used to be shocked when I found out that someone I knew did dope. Now I’m not shocked at all, and that is sad. I want better things for my family and friends. Just say no! Make a change. Surprise yourself! Help yourself and your relationships! This is a little off the subject, or maybe not. After an experience I had with the same people using the same excuses for acting a donkey, I sat back and reflected on how people change when they’re on dope or coming down off it. I personally hate to hear another person making an excuse for a drunk or a dope head. You’re really not helping them by making excuses for them, you’re hurting them. If you’re a true friend, they need you to tell them what a donkey they made out of themselves! It’s a made-up vision in their addicted mind. This kind of nonsense is getting the best of a lot of people right now. Please take the time to look in the yellow pages and get help. Smoking weed is one thing, but when you start doing man-made dope, that’s when it kills. You don’t have a clue of the poison you’re putting your body through. Please understand that poisoning your body and mind is so toxic! You’re on borrowed time already. Why speed your expiration date up with that shit? And not only that, but you may be burning a bridge you can’t ever mend! “Sorry” is just a word. Ignorance is an action!

Pitbull, me, & Baby Bash in Sacramento for Mexican Independence Day

Me and Maya @ Haji Springer’s video shoot in San Jose

Strong Arm Steady “Can’t Let It Go” Problem “Wherever You Like” Jay Rock f/ Lil Wayne “All My Life” Mistah FAB “Dipped In Butter” Glasses Malone f/ Lil Wayne “Haterz” Dem HoodStarz f/ Gucci Mane “Got A Problem” San Quinn, Big Rich, & Boo Banga “SF Anthem”

- D-Ray Editor-At-Large dray@ozonemag.com

Me & Diggs in Vegas for Magic



Bishop Lamont “Grow Up” The Jacka “All Over Me” E-40 f/ Akon “Wake It Up”


//Production Credits THE PACK “VANS,” MiSTAH FAB “GOIN’ CRAZY” THE PACK “I’m SHININ’,” Too $hort “LOSE IT,”

even though she hadn’t played in years, I figured she still had it. I showed her what I wanted, and she played it on a regular acoustic guitar. The name of the song is “Meant That Much” and it’s gonna come out on my mixtape. Lil B from The Pack is singing on it too. It’s gonna be funny to people, because it shows a side they don’t see from us.


erving as both a rapper and the inhouse producer of The Pack, Young L can’t afford to take any L’s when it comes to making music. The man behind their 2006 hit “Vans” has to put in double-duty everyday to make sure his group is putting out the best music possible. Hard work and perfection might have been inherited from his parents, who both spent time as pieces in respective bands. His mother was a guitar player on the 14piece ensemble Kotoja while his father played drums for popular Nigerian star Sonny Okosun. Gearing up for his solo mixtape debut Cutty Row/Based Sensation, which will feature him rapping and singing equally, Young L is looking to prove that at just 21 years old, he is musically wise beyond his years. Aside from your parents being involved in music, how and why did you start making music yourself? I liked rapping when I was younger, but I was more into skateboarding. It actually started as a joke. Me and some friends had Cool Edit Pro and were using the early version of Fruity Loops. We would make little beats and rap over them. It started taking up a lot of my time and the people I hung with got interested too. What kind of beats were you making? Were they at all similar to the music your parents were making? My dad did upbeat African music. My mom played jazz, but I’m not really into jazz like that. I think the patterns in the music could be similar. I find comfort in patterns. How did your parent react to you choosing to make Hip Hop music as opposed to what they were doing? They welcomed it 100%, from when I first started to when I got my first hit record. My mom was proud, bragging about me to her friends. After I came in the industry, just doing the day to day recording I still like to show my parents what I’m doing. My mom used to actually manage The Pack, and she was very instrumental in getting “Vans” out there. Have you worked with you parents at all musically? I did make a beat with my mom on Reason 4. It has good guitar sounds so when I was playing it on the keyboard I was imagining someone strumming a guitar, but it wasn’t the same on a keyboard. My mom played guitar, and // OZONE WEST

Describe The Pack’s creative process. I make the beat and have them hop on it. But I think the best songs come about when at least one other group member is in the studio with me. Right now it’s mainly me and Lil B in the studio working. That’s where I get my motivation from. He really has that love for music. Are you out trying to work with artists outside of The Pack, and if so, does your youth help or hurt your chances? I still go through being a youngster. If I reach out to people who are on, they just look at me like I’m young. I have a couple hits, a couple albums and a video on MTV Jams, but I don’t have a huge discography. But now I have a lot of people who want to work with me. I was ahead of my time when I was younger, sampling songs. Everybody gets doubted sometimes. You’ve told us that you use Reason 4, G4 Mac Computer, and an Oxygen 49 Keyboard. Do you prefer software over hardware? I’m very visual with my production. I prefer software; that’s what I’ve been using since I started. I like to see the patterns and melodies and I’ve always been into computers. Do you mix your own beats or you have a favorite engineer to work with? I mix my own stuff for the mixtapes, but for an album, my favorite engineer is Leslie from Patchwerk Studios in ATL. I had the chance to sit down with him for the first EP and the Based Boys album and I like how he works. Do you compose your music mostly with samples or original sounds? Mostly original sounds but a lot of people don’t know how good my sample beats are because they just hear what I do with The Pack. I’m a really diverse producer. When I first started all I did was sample because I didn’t like the sounds Fruity Loops had, they sounded cheap. When I was younger I was a big Roc-A-Fella head. Hearing what Just Blaze and Kanye were doing made me want to sample. I used to sample R&B but now I moved on from that and now. I look into rock and acoustics. Rock had a lot of energy in the 70s and 80s. I think so many rockers was experimenting with drugs and so much was going on in society, it had an effect on the music back then. The stuff with electric guitars was great. They had drum patterns that aren’t really used anymore. It was musically intense. It’s like you’re in an action scene in a movie. How can artist get a slap from you? Hit me on myspace.com/YoungLMusicPage or myspace.com/ThePack but don’t hit me if you ain’t got no guap. //

(above L-R): Christian Audigier & TI @ Caesar’s Palace for When I Move You Move in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: Julia Beverly); The Game and Bow Wow @ their Madden challenge in Los Angeles, CA (Photo: DJ Jam-X); DJ Franzen & Jay Jay @ Club Moon in The Palms in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: D-Ray)

01 // Mistah FAB & Lil Evil @ The Record House Studio (Fremont, CA) 02 // Jacky & King Yella @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 03 // Cellski & Big Tuck @ Club Moon in The Palms (Las Vegas, NV) 04 // Dem HoodStarz & Pops on the set of Dem Hoodstarz video shoot (East Palo Alto, CA) 05 // Maroy, Green Up Crew, Roccett, & Rob G @ Poetry (Las Vegas, NV) 06 // Julia Bond @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 07 // Hurricane Chris, Glasses Malone, & Mistah FAB @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 08 // Too Short meets the devil @ The Palms (Las Vegas, NV) 09 // Haji Springer & J Diggs @ Club Moon in The Palms (Las Vegas, NV) 10 // DJ KTone & DJ Stupac @ Blue Ice (Denver, CO) 11 // Steph Jones & The Paco Brothers @ Caesar’s Palace for When I Move You Move (Las Vegas, NV) 12 // Dummy Juice & crew @ Cali Expo Mexican Independence Day (Sacramento, CA) 13 // Chuy Gomez & ladies @ 1015 Folsom (San Francisco, CA) 14 // Pleasure P & Cooda Love @ Caesar’s Palace for When I Move You Move (Las Vegas, NV) 15 // K-Loc, Chingo Bling, & Haji Springer on the set of Haji Springer’s “Hurry Up & Buy” video shoot (San Jose, CA) 16 // The Jacka, PK, & Cellski @ Grand Ballroom for Hip Hop Sony Live Tour (San Francisco, CA) 17 // Mistah FAB, Glasses Malone, & Boo Ya Tribe @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 18 // Roccett, Paul Wall, & K-Boy @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) Photo Credits: Adam Van Vranken (10); D-Ray (01,02,03,04,05,07,09,12,13,15,16,17,18); Julia Beverly (08,11,14); King Yella (06)


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



lawless records lets you know they’re eatin’

his is a “Lawless” piece, which means that all of us mean everything or nothing. That’s what we learned from my nigga, Big Skinny. R.I.P. Big Skinny. He helped started this shit. He got killed in his apartment complex, about four or five years ago. He was shot in the head. That’s what the “L” stands for. We are not going by any of these industry rules, we are going by our own rules. We pay for our own. It’s everything or nothing. Lawless, that’s us!

Carl at Highline Jewelers in Southland Mall in Hayward, CA, did this piece. I cashed out a nice piece of change for this piece. It compliments the brightness of the Lil Boosie bracelet and the Brightin Watch. It’s got red, white, and yellow diamonds. The red ones are blood diamonds. The white diamonds defines the clarity, the clenaness. It’s all placed on a white gold medallion, and it’s heavy, like a dinner plate. We’re letting you know that we’re eating. // myspace.com/demhoodstarz

As told to D-Ray Photo by D-Ray


(above L-R): Mistah FAB, Julia Beverly, & Roccett @ Magic in Las Vegas, NV; Pitbull & Baby Bash @ Cali Expo Mexican Independence Day in Sacramento, CA (Photos: D-Ray); Teairra Mari & Pleasure P @ Caesar’s Palace for When I Move You Move in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: Julia Beverly)

01 // AP9 & Big Mike on the set of Haji Springer’s “Hurry Up & Buy” video shoot (San Jose, CA) 02 // Guest, Jayo Felony, & Mistah FAB @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 03 // Roccett & Osirus @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 04 // Gary Archer & J Diggs @ Time Out for J Diggs’ birthday party (Concord, CA) 05 // TJ Chapman & Beeda Weeda @ Poetry (Las Vegas, NV) 06 // Mistah FAB & Jay Rock @ Poetry (Las Vegas, NV) 07 // One Block Radius @ 1015 Folsom (San Francisco, CA) 08 // Don Cannon, Jeanise Chaplin, & Cellski @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 09 // Kimbo Slice, Kimora Lee, & Djimon Hounsou @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 10 // Lil Evil, Baby Bash, & Goldie on the set of Haji Springer’s “Hurry Up & Buy” video shoot (San Jose, CA) 11 // Haji Springer, One Block Radius, Gary Archer, & Rhythm X @ 1015 Folsom (San Francisco, CA) 12 // Dee Sonoram & Shorty @ Club Zokku for Playaz Club (San Francisco, CA) 13 // Chingo Bling & Scweez on the set of Haji Springer’s “Hurry Up & Buy” video shoot (San Jose, CA) 14 // Sloan & Hurricane Chris @ Poetry (Las Vegas, NV) 15 // Joe & Rydah J Klyde @ Time Out for J Diggs’ birthday party (Concord, CA) 16 // J Diggs, T-Banks, & Dre Dae @ Poetry (Las Vegas, NV) 17 // DJ Eque & Talib Kweli @ Grand Ballroom for Hip Hop Sony Live Tour (San Francisco, CA) 18 // T-Banks, Maroy, & T @ Poetry (Las Vegas, NV) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,02,03,04,05,06,07,08,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17); Julia Beverly (18)


would be disrespectful to come up here and not recognize them. Big up to Tiffany J and DJ Quote. Were you expecting to win? I’m not gonna say I was expecting to win. I knew I had a good chance. Out of the four guys it was stiff competition. For whatever reason, everyone deserved the award obviously, so, I think my chances were just a bit better. I worked hard for it, so I can understand why I won the award. Explain to people what you mean when you say you worked hard. What all have you had to do to get where you’re at right now? Nothing but live it, that’s it. Wake up and do it. With anything you do every day for months at a time, you’re gonna get better at it. Everything I do has something to do with my career, whether it’s hitting the gym or working on my craft, working on speeches, taking pictures, whatever. It’s just to make me a star and make me a better all-around entertainer. I do this every single day. I know you’re in Atlanta a lot working with DTP. How often do you get to go back home? If I’m lucky, maybe once a month. I live in Arizona but I set up my business in Atlanta. I have to be where my business is. I can work anywhere else and still live in Arizona. But I basically live in Atlanta because I’m here 95% of the time. Has anyone back home reached out to you about the award? I know you’re the man out there. Yeah, I get a lot of support. A lot of local emcees are real proud of me. A lot of fans hit me on Myspace. The radio stations, everybody knows about it. I don’t know how big of a deal it is to everyone else, but it’s big for us, for Arizona, to finally be getting recognized for something.


ometimes labeled as the forgotten West Coast state, Arizona is often overshadowed by L.A., the Bay, and Las Vegas. Willy Northpole is helping to slowly change that. 2008 has been a good year for the Phoenix son, and bringing home the award for Patiently Waiting Arizona at the OZONE Awards shed light on both himself and his peers. We wanted to give you a chance to speak on your win at the OZONE Awards. What would you like to say to everyone? First of all, of course, thank the Man above – Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. I want to thank my moms, the whole crew, my little girl Seraya. I wanna thank my record label Disturbing Tha Peace for believing in me – Chaka, Def Jam, everybody down there, all the radio stations, all the DJs who keep it funky with you, all of the internet sites, OZONE for giving me a little shine, of course the neighborhood, Southside Phoenix, all the emcees from the hometown. Last but not least, the whole personal squad, my people who keep me and the movement going, which is my management team. It


What’s going on with the “Body Marked Up” single? It’s walking on its own legs right now. We put it out there and got some nationwide airplay. It made it to BET and MTV Jams. It shocked me because we didn’t really push to get it on the TV screen like that, but MTV jumped on it and they liked it. Shout out to MTV and all the hosts showing love and playing the video. But it’s still out there. We’ve got a remix coming out featuring Jim Jones, Lil Scrappy, Spider Loc, Paul Wall and Cashis. Now we’re moving on to another song called “Hood Dreamer” with B.O.B. It should be out sometime in November or December. Is there anything else you want people to be looking out for? I wanna give a shout out to all the people that won an OZONE Award and all the people that were nominated for Patiently Waiting Arizona. You can watch my show on Kyte TV at Myspace.com/WillyNorthpole. My phone number is 602-903-5325, if anyone wants to holla at me about some business. I’ve got the DUB Magazine cover coming out. I’m on a song with The Game and Ludacris for my album. It’s gonna be crazy. The Disturbing Tha Peace compilation is coming out, and don’t forget my album Tha Connect. Words by Ms Rivercity Photo by Hannibal Matthews

(above L-R): E-40 on the set of Dem Hoodstarz video shoot in East Palo Alto, CA (Photo: D-Ray); DJ KTone & Roccett @ Hip Hop Heaven for Roccett’s in-store in Denver, CO (Photo: Adam Van Vranken); Angela & Vanessa Simmons @ Magic in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: King Yella)

01 // Matt Daniels, Gary Archer, TJ Chapman, & TV Johnny @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 02 // Baby Bash & ladies on the set of Haji Springer’s “Hurry Up & Buy” video shoot (San Jose, CA) 03 // Glasses Malone, Mistah FAB, & Dre Dae @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 04 // Guest & Cino @ Poetry (Las Vegas, NV) 05 // Jay Jay & Asher Roth @ Club Moon in The Palms (Las Vegas, NV) 06 // Lil Duval & Steph Jones @ Caesar’s Palace for When I Move You Move (Las Vegas, NV) 07 // E-40 & Dem HoodStarz on the set of Dem Hoodstarz video shoot (East Palo Alto, CA) 08 // Talib Kweli @ Leverde Lounge for his birthday party (San Francisco, CA) 09 // TI & TJ Chapman @ Caesar’s Palace for When I Move You Move (Las Vegas, NV) 10 // K-Boy & ladies @ Poetry (Las Vegas, NV) 11 // Rumaldo, Jennifer, & Mitchy Slick @ Grand Ballroom for Hip Hop Sony Live Tour (San Francisco, CA) 12 // Chuck, Patty, & Dee Sonoram @ Club Zokku for Playaz Club (San Francisco, CA) 13 // Cellski, guest, & The Jacka @ New Territory Apparel (Hayward, CA) 14 // Relly Rel & Jesse James @ New Territory Apparel (Hayward, CA) 15 // Biaje, J Diggs, Suge Knight, & guest @ Palms (Las Vegas, NV) 16 // Demolition Men & K-Loc @ Street Symphony Studio (Fremont, CA) 17 // Chingo Bling & Tito Bell on the set of Haji Springer’s “Hurry Up & Buy” video shoot (San Jose, CA) 18 // Big Mike & Gary Archer on the set of Haji Springer’s “Hurry Up & Buy” video shoot (San Jose, CA) 19 // Boss Hog @ The Crest Theater for Mac Dre Dae (Fresno, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (02,03,04,05,07,08,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19); Julia Beverly (06,09); King Yella (01)



ew artists emerge on the rap scene every day, all with the same hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Some want in the game to get rich, some want in the game to make a better life for their family, and, some just want in the game to bag bitches. But due to the overall lack of quality music that’s being blasted on the airwaves nowadays, it seems that it is now easier to get into the industry than ever before. However, due to extreme oversaturation, an artist’s success once in the industry now depends less on talent and more on the grind of the individual and the respect he establishes for himself. There have been many artists featured in the Patiently Waiting section of OZONE over the years, and let’s face it, some are still content to wait, patiently, for success to come to them. However, there a few such as Rocko, 2 Pistols, Plies, and, of course, The Jacka, who have capitalized off the opportunity and exposure offered by coverage in OZONE, and continued to grind to create even more success on their own. Not only has The Jacka, one fifth of legendary West Coast rap group, Mob Figaz, been featured countless times in OZONE, as well as other major publications and internet sites, he also won the Patiently Waiting: California award at this year’s OZONE Awards. He is working on countless mixtapes, including one with Freeway. His single and video, “All Over Me,” has been blazing the airwaves and over his almost decade in the game he has established himself as one of the most respected West Coast artists in the game. Respect is, in fact, one of the hardest feats to accomplish in the industry, given that commercial and mainstream success is by far not a guarantee for outright respect from your peers. The now overly easy access into a once unbelievably talented pool of individuals has created a black hole in the genre. There are major artists in the game figuring that fact out at this very moment. It doesn’t matter how much money you make or how many videos you have out at one time. It doesn’t matter who you are if you don’t have the respect artists such as The Jacka have earned. It’s simple: out-of-towners, tuck your chains when you’re in the Golden State! You can buy that shit back, but you can never buy respect! What have you been doing since you were recognized at the OZONE Awards as the Patiently Waiting Artist of the Year for California? Man, I’ve just been running round this bitch like a politician trying to get elected. Winning the award was a big thing to me. It wasn’t just winning, it was the fact that everybody came out to Houston to support. That was one of the biggest things I’ve ever achieved, so it was really an honor to win, especially going up against some real, tough competition. It was cool. What has winning the award done for your career? It’s really helped out. It’s such a big magazine. I’m pretty sure that every artist who comes out wants to get an article in OZONE, you know? It’s a really big deal. It’s been a short time since it happened, but people are reaching out, wanting to do business. It’s always a good thing to pick up a magazine and see yourself in it. For any artist, when other people see you in the OZONE it’s always a good thing. OZONE is really on its way to the top. All the other magazines have really fallen off because they weren’t keeping it real. OZONE is already up there with XXL. Words by Mz. Jae 14 // OZONE WEST

(above L-R): J Diggs @ The Crest Theater for Mac Dre Dae in Fresno, CA (Photo: D-Ray); David Banner @ DUB Car Show in Los Angeles, CA (Photo: Chris B); Tech N9ne @ Grand Ball Room in San Francisco, CA (Photo: D-Ray)

01 // Pitbull @ Cali Expo Mexican Independence Day (Sacramento, CA) 02 // Jay Rock @ Poetry (Las Vegas, NV) 03 // J Nash & Mistah FAB @ Washington Park (Alameda, CA) 04 // Kutt Calhoun @ Grand Ball Room (San Francisco, CA) 05 // Kardinal Offishal @ DUB Car Show (Los Angeles, CA) 06 // AP9 on the set of Haji Springer’s “Hurry Up & Buy” video shoot (San Jose, CA) 07 // Roccett @ Poetry (Las Vegas, NV) 08 // Rick Edwards @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 09 // DJ Amen & Fingerz @ Poetry (Las Vegas, NV) 10 // Tito Bell on the set of Haji Springer’s “Hurry Up & Buy” video shoot (San Jose, CA) 11 // David Banner & the NVUS Twins @ Club Zokku for Playaz Club (San Francisco, CA) 12 // Omeezy @ Cali Expo Mexican Independence Day (Sacramento, CA) 13 // Sauce @ Club Zokku for Playaz Club (San Francisco, CA) 14 // Cellski @ New Territory Apparel (Hayward, CA) 15 // Bueno @ Club Zokku for Playaz Club (San Francisco, CA) 16 // Lil Evil @ The Record House Studio (Fremont, CA) 17 // Roccett & Rick Edwards @ Hip Hop Heaven for Roccett’s in-store (Denver, CO) 18 // Krondon @ Grand Ball Room (San Francisco, CA) 19 // Krizz Kalico @ Grand Ball Room (San Francisco, CA) 20 // Rise & Grinch on the set of Haji Springer’s “Hurry Up & Buy” video shoot (San Jose, CA) 21 // Tattoo, Liz, & Big Boy @ Cali Expo Mexican Independence Day (Sacramento, CA) 22 // Haji Springer @ the Dragon Studio (San Leandro, CA) 23 // XSF @ The Record House (Fremont, CA) 24 // Shorty @ Cali Expo Mexican Independence Day (Sacramento, CA) 25 // Lee Majors @ Grand Ballroom for Hip Hop Sony Live Tour (San Francisco, CA) 26 // YB @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 27 // Spark Dawg @ Poetry (Las Vegas, NV) 28 // Bavgate & Kilo @ Time Out for J Diggs’ birthday party (Concord, CA) 29 // Barber & Rat @ The Crest Theater (Fresno, CA) 30 // Boo Banger @ the Record House Studio (Fremont, CA) 31 // Tito B @ The Record House (Fremont, CA) 32 // Nump on the set of Haji Springer’s “Hurry Up & Buy” video shoot (San Jose, CA) 33 // The Jacka @ Grand Ballroom for Hip Hop Sony Live Tour (San Francisco, CA) 34 // Sleep Dank @ The Crest Theater (Fresno, CA) 35 // Coolio Da Unda Dog @ The Crest Theater (Fresno, CA) Photo Credits: Adam Van Vranken (17); Chris B (05); D-Ray (01,02,03,04,06,07,08,09,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35)


No one represents San Francisco rap quite like San Quinn. At age 30, Quincy Brooks IV is a 15year veteran of the scene who has transcended trends (from the low-end rumble of mobb music to the uptempo rave of hyphy) and stayed a relevant and powerful voice. CEO of his own Done Deal Entertainment, he’s also been influencing independent hustlers nationwide since the early 90s (he and JT The Bigga Figga famously dabbled with Priority Records just as Master P and his No Limit empire was rising to fame in the same stable). 2008 has been a good year musically for San Quinn; his All City 41Feva album with Boo Banga and Big Rich yielded a breakthrough tune, “The SF Anthem.” However, it’s been a rough year personally, as he readily admits. In an interview conducted a few weeks before the release of his seventh solo album From a Boy to a Man, San Quinn was very open about many of his current issues, yet declined to comment on a volatile situation involving his cousin and former collaborator Messy Marv that ignited in late September. Each has released scathing battle songs that have been volleyed around the Internet and basically broken Bay Area rap fans’ hearts—one even went as far as to construct a loving tribute to the two in happier times, backed by their street classics. There are definitely growing pains, but this is far from a sitcom. It’s a sad reality that encompasses drug addiction, violence, and accusations of snitching; a reality that has dangerously divided a family and friends. You’ve had a good year so far with “The SF Anthem”; I recently saw you when B.O.B. brought you guys on stage at the Rock The Bells concert to perform it not once, but twice! Yeah, shout out to B.O.B. — “The Anthem” is doing good for me. I finally touched MTV and let the world know that there’s real homeboys from San Francisco that’s pushing the line about San Francisco from Fillmore to Hunter’s Point and Lakeview and everywhere else. Our city is so pretty. Do you think that people who don’t live in San Francisco don’t understand that it really isn’t all prettiness here? Right, because the rich and the poor live hand in hand in San Francisco. I live on a block where it’s all million-dollar houses, and we done sold crack off the porches of the million-dollar houses. Muthafuckers have been killed and the property value ain’t dropped, it’s going up. People don’t know about the Fillmore and Hunter’s Point and about James Beasley and Charles Tatum and Ronnie Newt. These real gangsters put real shit down and transferred it over to people like JT The Bigga Figga, who was 19 years old and started up a crew and got a record deal. We lost our deal at Priority, so I feel like I lost $375 million, because that’s how much [Master] P made. That’s why people can’t understand my drive. Some of these niggas are doing this for a chain or a car, or to say they’re the nigga. I’m doing it because I’m trying to change San Francisco financially and make it an economic power in the Hip Hop community. Because in Frisco, I have great white pa’tnas and I love them. I have great Filipino pa’tnas, good Samoan friends, a lot of Latino friends. We all hang together; they represent San Quinn and I represent them. What’s the story behind your new album From a Boy to a Man? My album is the album of my career so far. I put a lot of heart into it. I put out my first album when I was 15, in the 9th grade. I wrote the whole album. And I’ve been doing this for 15 years. I’m only 30 years old now. I grew up in the music, and that’s what the title means. What marks this passage to manhood besides turning the landmark age of 30? What’s happening musically that’s transforming you? I have better company around me and I think I have a way better selection of beats. When I did The Rock [in 2006], I had marital problems. I was on cocaine real tough. I didn’t know I was an addict, I thought I was just partying and shit. The Rock was a great record, it had [local hit] “Hell Yeah.” But on this record From a Boy to a Man, I configured all in the 16 // OZONE WEST

WORDS BY TAMARA PALMER PHOTOS BY D-RAY daytime, I didn’t have to stay gone from my house and my family. But now, me and my wife are kinda getting separated because I never really regained my trust with her. So it’s all just a part of being from a boy to a man and that’s what San Quinn is. When you hear me, you hear my life. I’m not lying about nothing, I’m not glamorizing nothing. I ain’t never knocked nobody’s head off. When you hear me on this album you’re just going to hear me shooting it from the heart, from a grown man’s perspective? If you had gone through just an addiction or just a separation, that would be a lot to deal with, but you’re dealing with the consequences of two very traumatic things. Is it stressful? Yeah, well, right now I’m riding around with all my clothes in the car. But I’m waiting for my album to come out and I’m going to work hard to take care of my sons. That’s my number one thing to do. And I haven’t been around them lately in the last three or four weeks but I’m preparing to tour America—tour the world—so they can hear San Quinn and see who I really am. I’m a brother from the Fillmore District that represents rap music, man. Hip Hop is alive in San Francisco, and hopefully I can make the world know that, respect it, and get these people out here to go buy some records and pay for the downloads. Stop bootlegging, because my album is worth it! I have a song on the album with PSD called “Reinforced Steel.” Shout out to PSD, he’s in prison right now. Sometimes we go through shit and we get frustrated, but we bounce back. Cosmo is on that record with me. I’ve got my song “Do Ya Thizzle” on there, my tribute to Mac Dre and the hyphy movement. Thizz, they’re real geeked and a lot of suckers hated on them, but they can keep the thing going. For instance, in Atlanta and places like that, they’re keeping the shit going. I have a song with my son Lil Quinn called “Billionaire.” The hook is, “College education for your children, that’s what I call living.” This is shit that niggas ain’t saying, but we should be saying. I’m not preaching or nothing like that, but I am positive. But it’s also real. I was reading the interview with your son Lil Quinn in OZONE West a few months ago, and he sounded like he was 20 rather than 11. Is he like a little man already? He is! Quincy is going to be one of the best rappers to come out of California and the world. He reads the thesaurus. He likes synonyms and antonyms and has an infatuation with big words. When you put that in rapping, you couldn’t ask for nothing better, man. He is the light of my life and what keeps me going. I just want to show him a good example of a man. I want to be a good father and also a serious artist. I gained a family when I was 18. It saved my life. I raised a 23-year-old stepdaughter and an 18-year-old stepson from [ages] six and 11, and I have an 11-year-old and a 6-year-old now that’s mine with that woman. I raised that family. I can’t say I was perfect, but I grew up raising a family. I never got a chance to really be on my own and open up my own doors to my own house and fuck with three, four bitches. I ain’t never even did that. I had two, three girlfriends then I’ve been dedicated to rap music. So you’ve been through a lot for age 30. Yeah, so people who rap and talk about, “He ain’t got no chain,” well, I got a luxury whip, nigga. I have a family, and nobody has dirty tennis shoes or an empty refrigerator. I’ve been doing this since I was 18. It ain’t


too many men that even hold that responsibility, let alone someone who is a public figure. Some might say that held me back, but for me it made me go from a boy to a man, you hear me? Maybe you could have done other things with your career if you hadn’t had the family, but that wasn’t your reality, was it? You can lose your life out here being dedicated to niggas, turning to the streets with your friends without finding some substance in life. I already had my calling when I was in high school. I’m blessed to be blessed with rap. We all are. But yeah, if they want to hear a real, real San Francisco G, they’ve gotta check this out. The album is off the hook from front to back. Over the last few years they’ve been building the new jazz center and plaza and more expensive housing and businesses in the Fillmore District. What do you think of all of this gentrification in your hood? I’m going to tell you a story, and people can also refer to the [public television station] KQED [documentary] on the Western Addition/Fillmore. My mother’s name is Sharon Hamilton and my grandfather’s name is Wilbur Hamilton. My grandfather helped start the re-gentrification. [Late urban planner] Justin Hermann, you know Justin Hermann Plaza? That was my grandfather’s best friend. My grandfather went around and helped the

black people move out of Fillmore. They hated him, Wilbur Hamilton; he even tore down my great-grandfather’s church on Sutter Street. They had 45-year plan of re-gentrification in San Francisco that started in 1964. They’ve been meaning to get us out of there. They knew a messiah would be born out of there that was going to change that community and they didn’t know how to stop it so they started separating us and getting us out of there. You still can lose your life in Fillmore. There just isn’t that sense of pride here no more. It’s not that it’s a slum, but everybody done crossed everybody to the point where we lost sense of who we really were. So my family partook in the re-gentrification and I feel like it’s my duty to come back and clean up my family’s mistakes, because he didn’t know what he was doing. It’s on me. The shit is so real, it’s already been written. It’s already been pre-history. People can look on the Internet for KQED and the Western Addition and they can see all this information on Wilbur Hamilton. And guess what? This shit isn’t even over, because it doesn’t stop until 2009. They’ve still got one more year of shit to do. What’s your assessment of the Bay Area music scene and what’s happened over the last couple of years? Well, we definitely haven’t seen anybody be successful. In Oakland, they’ve got plenty of basketball players and Too $hort, I’m going to call him the Godfather. Godfather $hort, he done did it all. Everybody knows him all over the world, he’s a Hip Hop legend. That’s something for them kids to hold on to — ain’t nobody really succeeded from Frisco on no level except for criminal activity. So the kids begin to embrace criminal activity because people like us got record deals, but they fell through. Do you hear what I’m saying? The record deals fell through, and we still can be seen on the corner, so it caused a lot of humility. We didn’t take our shit to another level, so why should they believe in us? They wanna listen to other fake rappers that aren’t out there with the community. So the sucka who be having everybody listening is pushing the bullshit line and he ain’t helping the community. And ain’t nobody made it to the point where they can [help]. I mean, somebody like me—I’m just going to say me, I won’t mention nobody else’s names—I’ve only sold 30,000 units as the most records I’ve sold by myself at once. So I really believe [that’s why] the children embrace ignorance and violence. They [envy], “You know he killed what’s his name?” So now there’s niggas outside trying to get a body. [People say] “Well, I killed five niggas.” [And others say] “Well, you know he knocked down 10, nigga.” You know what I mean? Like he just got a diploma or a scholarship. No, you just killed a human! And that’s what’s happened, they’re embracing death instead of embracing life and living a lifestyle. Like my boy who made [HBO documentary] Bastards of the Party said, “Gangbanging isn’t a lifestyle, it’s a death style.” I really feel like they’re grabbing death, and I’m partially responsible. That’s why my sons are where they’re at and I’m out here on my own with a real team getting money so I can do it for them. Because even staying at my house with my family is selfish, to a certain extent. There’s more people that need help, there’s more people that need love. It could be me around a conversation where a nigga’s talking about going to get a body, and it ain’t for nothing. He’s emotionally distraught. I need to let him know that when he whacks somebody, he’s gonna end up getting whacked or he’s going to get one of his cousins or his friends whacked while they looking for him, and that’s just bullshit. Now that you’ve explained your family history and how much you are rooted to the community, I don’t have to ask why you didn’t move to LA or New York to have an easier time with your music career, do I? I can’t abandon the city. I’ve got to do it for that soil. I’ve gotta do it for the little kids that haven’t even been born yet that will eventually run my company. It’s a multi-million dollar, billion dollar thing. That’s what I’m trying to set up, I promise you. And with timing and with God, it’s going to happen for me. I put out my own album too this time; first time in all my years. Finally, after 15 years of getting fronted money and all that other shit, I am my own boss. And it’s beautiful. //



ost rappers quit their day jobs to chase the rap life, because usually their day job leaves them with broken spirit and wallet. But in the case of Roscoe Umali, his day job paid pretty well.

“I was in the mortgage industry and had my own business. I wasn’t no little dude either,” says the Philippines-born MC. “But I woke up one day and I wasn’t happy. When you’re trying to get paid it seems like money is the only goal, but if you’re not getting fulfillment, its not worth it.” With this epiphany Umali decided to get back to his first love, Hip Hop. Prior to working in real estate, Roscoe was in the streets, rapping and eventually becoming a member Drunken Tiger, the first Korean rap group do go multi-platinum. But in 2001 he decided to finish school and explore some business opportunities. Even though he was raking in money and buying the kinds of cars and houses that rappers love to brag about, he wasn’t happy. Granted, hopping back on the microphone gave Umali a new found ap-

preciation for life. It wasn’t the easiest task in the world as he had to brush off a little rust. But now, he is developing a golden touch. His DJ Warrior-hosted mixtape offering I Love My DJ’s Vol. 1 was well received on the West Coast, laced with features from Talib Kweli, Pitbull and Smiff-N-Wessun. Umali’s hit single from that mixtape “Live It Up” featuring Bobby V and E-40 propelled him above being just a local phenomenon. “Our success overseas has been attractive and helped us out with the collaborations that have taken place,” says Umali about his universal appeal. “Other artists see working with me as tapping into a new fanbase. I have a fanbase that stretches beyond a region. I’ve got a culture that rides for me.” The Artisan Records founder adds, “But it’s important to me to be looked at as a dope rapper who just happens to be Filipino. Not a just a good Filipino rapper.” Still riding off the success of “Live It Up,” Umali is gearing up to release the second installment of I Love My DJ’s which promises to have just as much, if not more, of an impact. Sounds like “quitting your day job” has worked out fine for Roscoe. “I do Hip Hop because I’m nice, not because I need the bread,” says the entrepreneur, who also owns his own line of sneakers. “If we signed to a [major] label, they would have to bring something we’re not [able to do] independently.” Words by Maurice G. Garland

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ith Barry Bonds out of baseball and the 49ers defense looking suspect as ever, the city of San Francisco is yearning for some hits. Hopefully newjack duo MA (Money Always) and D.E.O., collectively known as Even Odds, can bring some of those back to the town.

you’ll also come across more aggressive cuts like “Boss In the Bay” and their next video single “Get Money All Day,” featuring Big Rich. Their debut EP Been Official displays more of their diversity in both production and lyrical content, a quality they feel separates them from their peers.

“We want to bring authenticity back to music,” bluntly says MA. “Music that will stand the test of time like Marvin Gaye, Duke Ellington and can go against any genre.”

They’ve been doing that since 1999 when they founded their label Official Business. Their 2002 debut The Officials V.1 caused a stir with features from San Quinn as well as other artists on their label. Their follow up The Laxative built on that buzz, moving 5,000 units in the Bay and 1,000 in Japan.

Friends since they met in middle school, Even Odds both hail from the same Fillmore district that’s birthed names like JT Tha Bigga Figga, Andre Nickatina and San Quinn. Obviously a far cry from the names they dropped as their inspirations, the contrast is blatantly heard in their music.

“But us being so young at the time was a gift and a curse,” says D.E.O. The group was in high school when they first started. “People were impressed with the package we put together, but we were too young to get in the club and do shows.”

Log on to their myspace page and you’re greeted by their top back cruiser “Feels Good” featuring former Christion crooner Allen Anthony. You’ll also see a video for their equally club and radio ready single “That Swagg.” But

Since then, the group has recorded a catalog that boasts 25,000 units moved independently. Going into 2009, they are poised to make sure that their debut album The Revision becomes the Bay’s next favorite. “We touch on a lot of hood politics,” says D.E.O., offering a sneak peak into the album that will feature The Jacka, Big Rich and San Quinn, to name a few. “We touch on the election a little bit and how our mayor is trying to gentrify the city and the schools. The party stuff, we don’t go head first in but we do it because its needed. We were never hyphy, and that’s probably why you didn’t hear about us in 2006.” Interview by Saba G Words by Maurice G. Garland

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outh Central Los Angeles. You’ve seen it in movies and heard about it on records. But what’s been simply entertainment for you has been K-Boy’s reality. The youngest artist signed to Cash Money recording artist Glasses Malone’s Blu Division imprint, K-Boy was born into the world under the realities of the gang affiliations through his family relations, and was not able to escape the temptations early on in his life. But these days, he’s attempting to pull a 180. K-Boy’s new mission as a rapper is one of street unity. “I think I brought everything on myself, I think I made my life hard,” K-Boy says of joining a gang at the early age of 12. “My mother did the best for me the way she could, but I chose the street route. A lot of these people out here don’t even know why they are gangbangin’. I got into it because I wanted to get the dudes who killed my uncle.” After going to Juvenile Hall twice, K-Boy realized that bangin’ wasn’t his life’s calling. So after fulfilling his promise to his grandmother to finish high school, he decided to try his hand at rapping. When a mutual friend introduced him to Malone around the time he was linked with The Game’s Black Wall Street, Boy saw an opportunity to impress him. After hearing him spit, Malone offered a spot on his team. Seeing Game and Malone’s joining of red and blue as a step in the right direction, K signed up on the spot.

only be available for internet download, but the demand forced K-Boy to press up hard copies for the streets. Though the content wasn’t necessarily representative of the “peacemaker of the streets” title he strives for, K-Boy insists that his transformation is a work in progress. “I’m still part of the problem right now, so I’m tryin’ to become a part of the solution,” say K. His upcoming The Green Tape project will attempt to fuse red and blue together. “I went to everybody who is poppin’ in the streets right now in LA and who were ‘[gang] affiliated’ and got them on the mixtape together. There are hoods that are actually enemies comin’ together on this tape.” With plans to put out collaborative projects with fellow Los Angeles rappers Joe Moses, Nipsey Hussle, and Jay Rock, as well as his Blu Division brethren, K-Boy’s unity mission should be accomplished in no time. Words by DJ Backside Photo by retOnephotography

After spending a couple years as a member of Block Boyz, a group he co-founded with close friend Ace, K-Boy stepped out solo in 2007. Since then he’s dropped four projects. His first, Jackin’ For Beats, was intended to

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ost artists are considered blessed when they have one exceptional talent. Krizz Kaliko has several. As Tech N9ne’s right-hand man, the Kansas City native excelled as a songwriter, singer, rapper, stage performer, and all-around entertainer. Now, as a solo artist, Krizz has taken each one of these gifts to a higher level.

Through his affiliation with Strange Music, Krizz has co-starred in sold-out shows with countless heavyweights like Jay-Z, T.I., Keyshia Cole, Busta Rhymes, DMX, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Twista, DJ Quik, the Ying Yang Twins and Yukmouth. Barely recovered from the Fire and Ice Tour with Paul Wall, Krizz and his labelmates are already on the road again for the 2008 Strictly Strange Tour.

With his 2008 debut release titled Tech N9ne Presents: Krizz Kaliko Vitiligo, Krizz exposed a new genre of music he calls Funkra. “On Strange Music, we’ve got all of the elements: hood, rock, [and] East Coast,” Krizz says. “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.” Blending these influences together, Krizz originated a strong soulful sound that is easily recognized as one-of-a-kind. It is a sound that complements both his larger-than-life persona and his out-of-the-ordinary appearance.

After years of playing a sideline position, Krizz has finally taken the center stage with his own identity. Excited about the completion of his first LP, Krizz says, “If you listen to Tech’s music over the years, you’ll hear me doing all of the hooks, singing on his albums. That’s what people mostly knew me for. But on my new album, I rap a lot more and sing. It’s a rollercoaster ride.”

“I always stood out,” he remembers. “I have a skin disorder called Vitiligo, which is basically white, patchy skin where your pigmentation cells break down. Most cats probably look at me crazy. I stuck out anyway so I was just like, I’ma do whatever to make sure you see me. People started making comments about my hair, so I just went wilder with it. I’m really a rock [star] trapped in a rapper’s body.” Growing up on the Southside of KC, Krizz often felt like an outcast amongst his peers, but with time he embraced his physical differences and used them to his advantage as a musician. After catching the attention of Tech N9ne in the late 90s, Krizz worked with him on several projects and soon became a fundamental element of Tech N9ne’s stage show, eventually signing to the label co-owned by Tech.

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With virtually no major radio play and the absence of a music video, Vitiligo (distributed through Fontana/Universal) has sold over 20,000 copies independently. According to charts on Billboard.com, the record impressively peaked at #20 – Top Rap Albums, #19 – Top Indie Albums, #50 – Top R&B/ Hip Hop Albums, and #167 on The Billboard 200. It is an achievement Krizz hopes to surpass with his forthcoming album, appropriately titled Genius. Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by D-Ray

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nown for putting out compilations with titles like 17 Reasons, 18 Wit A Bullet, 34 Reasons and 17 Wit A Thizz, Thizz Latin/ Black N Brown Ent’s CEO Julio Sanchez a.k.a. Goldtoes lets you know what he’s about before he even opens his mouth. But the San Francisco-based hustler insist that he’s much more.

United Playaz non-profit organization in 2005 after himself being targeted by Bay Area police and labeled “gang-related.” “By doing this, I’m helping to guide individuals into taking a more positive avenue in life,” he says. “I’m working with a group of Latin individuals that identify with a certain lifestyle to begin the process of social change.”

“I know how it is to be let down because of the lifestyle I chose,” says Goldtoes, whose company boasts a catalog of nearly 30 mixtapes and albums. “A lot of opportunities have been blocked for me in this music game [since I’m] a Latino from the West Coast.”

Grounded in reality, Goldtoes knows what keeps the lights on and what will fund his community efforts. So expect to see the Thizz Latin brand to continue to grow and expand. Topping all of the company’s projects is the film 17 Reasons: A Northern California Crime Story. This is the follow-up to other recently released projects like 18 Reasons, 18 Reasons Wit A Thizz, Thizzed Up N Dranked Out, The Return of the West, and The Rise of the South.

Putting his power, money and influence to positive use, Goldtoes is hoping to balance his musical content with community activism. Through his Black N Brown initiative, Toes not only aspires to calm tensions between African and Latin Americans, but amongst Latinos themselves. His 2007 release The Gold Rush serves as an audio bridge, featuring a wide range of artists from different backgrounds including Beeda Weeda, Haji Springer and Jimmy Roses. “I strive even more to work with those who people feel are the root of the problem and make them part of the solution,” says ‘Toes. “I show them a legitimate way to earn an income through the music industry.” He joined the

Known for his hard work ethic and the ability to bring the best out of other artists, Goldtoes is looking to broaden his reach from the West to the rest of the country. From the looks of it, he’s about to build a pretty impressive pipeline. Interview by D-Ray Words by Maurice G. Garland


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ou’re in rap group with this guy who’s clearly a better businessman than emcee. You want to trust his business vision, but he’s taking a little too long to put your music out. As much as you enjoy working with the guy, you just can’t quell that hunger to go out and get your own. So, you leave. You put out a few well-received records, your former group member moves away and does the same, only with a new set of co-workers. You continue to put out some well-received records, but your former partner winds up blowing up and becoming a millionaire and an infamous icon in the music industry. Would you regret you decision? Bay Area vet Chilee Powdah made that choice, and he hasn’t looked back since. “Back then I was real hungry, so I wasn’t as patient as I am now,” says Powdah, an original member of Master P’s group TRU who left the group before it became the flagship of No Limit Records. “It was a good experience because I got a lot of game on the business. I was with P walking into In-A-Minute records when it was just us, RBL Posse, Rappin’ 4-Tay and Too $hort. I don’t have any regrets, though.” Nor should he. A decade and some change later Powdah is still putting out albums and being accepted as a veteran artist who can still keep up with


the youngsters. Since releasing his first album Late Night Gafflin’ in 1992 featuring the breakout single “Dank and Drank,” Powdah has built a musical catalog that include over 30 releases, including albums, mixtapes, and compilations. “I’ve been able to stay afloat because I stay in the streets,” says Powdah, crediting his ability to still relate to the Bay’s younger rappers to his staying power. “Even though I’m on some grown man shit, they see that and respect it. They look at the long line of records I’ve put out. It doesn’t matter how much they sold; they see the consistency and they know I don’t hold onto game. I share it.” Powdah is adding to his catalog with his upcoming Real Rich/Koch-distributed release Stunnas On My Face. Powered by the singles “Lil Mama” featuring Mistah F.A.B. and “V.I.P.” featuring his artist Don P, Powdah insists that the record will become an instant favorite. “People are going to hear some of my most focused work this time around,” says Powdah, who spends a lot of time jetting back and forth between his Richmond, California roots and Arizona, which he has adopted as his second home. “With this album, I wasn’t trying to appeal to everybody, but I think I got something that’s appealing to everybody.” Interview by N.A. Words by Maurice G. Garland


very new artist says they’re coming to change the game, but few live up to the lofty goal. So when Panamanian duo Los Rakas claims they’re going to change the way you listen to music, you can’t help but be skeptical. However, within seconds of your first listen to one of their songs, you’ll be convinced that these guys are actually different. Comprised of Filthy Rich and Dun Dun, the duo blends Spanish with English, Hip Hop and Reggaeton, creating a brand they’ve labeled “Panabay.” “The reason we decided to try something different was because we felt the industry was saturated with the same kind of music,” says Filthy Rich. The group dropped their first project The Spanglish Experiment in 2006, featuring the single “Panabay Twist.” Originally operating as two solo entities, the duo shared a common background. Filthy Rich was born in the Bay and raised in Panama City, while the reverse applied to Dun Dun. Mutual friends helped them unite to push a bigger agenda.

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“The story we are telling is the one of an Afro-Latin minority,” urges Dun Dun. “Our story contains chapters that American AfroLatinos experience on a day to day basis. Experiences such as immigration, relationships, and poverty.” Influenced by a bevy of artists including Celia Cruz, Nas, Buju Banton, and Yukmouth, Los Rakas’ unique style has afforded them the opportunity to grace stages with the likes of KRS-ONE, dead prez, Goapele and Zion I, truly a testament to their diverse content and lyricism. “In raising our bar with subject matter and themes, that give us the inspiration to write our lyrics,” says Rich. “We’re incorporating English and the Spanish vocabulary. That brings two different cultures together.” That ideal is most evident on songs like “No Me Digas No (I Don’t Say No).” The lyrics are rapped entirely in Spanish, but the beat is allAmerican, easily comparable to the current club banger. “We are artists that were formed in the barrio, meaning the hood,” says Dun. “We will never leave our hood behind as we evolve onto a national level.” Filthy Rich adds, “The plan for our career is to always bring something original and continue to evolve. We want to do different genres of music, never sell out, and represent the Panabay for life.” Interview by Saba G Words by Maurice G. Garland



Barack Obama rally Location: Metro Park City: Jacksonville, FL Date: September 20th, 2008 Photo: Terrence Tyson


DJ Haze & The Game/Black Wall Street Radio 5 The Game’s latest album L.A.X. was released a few months ago, but that didn’t stop the L.A. emcee and his Black Wall street gang from flooding the streets with more new music. “Baggage Claim,” “Nightmares” equipped with a Jay-Z diss, and “Compton Story” (Game’s rendition of Slick Rick’s “Children’s Story”), are all Chuck Taylor solo tracks that make this mixtape a must-listen. But Juice, Clyde Carson, X.O. and Nu Jersey Devil prove that Black Wall is far from a one man gang on tracks like “In These Streets,” “I’m So Hood,” and “Reflection In The Mirror.” - Randy Roper Blu & Mainframe Are: Johnson & Johnson Clearly, Blu works best when he’s working backwards. Though this collab with producer Mainframe is his third nationally received project, this is actually his debut that was recorded prior to Beneath the Heavens. Just like his other projects, Blu works comfortably in the one rapper/one producer mode, making each song sound custom made instead of A&Rranged. New ears will be easily excited by the basic but funky looped beats and nimble rapping, while familiar ears may walk away wishing for more. - Maurice G. Garland DJ Warrior & Planet Asia/Pain Language Don’t let anybody tell you that lyrics don’t matter or aren’t alive anymore in Hip Hop, because Planet Asia has them for days. Asia doesn’t do much to disappoint lyrically, but at the same time, he doesn’t do a lot to excite either. Many times he takes you on a verbal roller coaster that leaves you more bewildered than thrilled. Organic production serves as the proper backdrop for his words, but doesn’t serve much purpose outside of listening at your desk or getting you amped for a cypher of your own. - Maurice G. Garland

DJ Burn One & Ms. Williams/Perfect 10/Drift City In 2008 any new female rapper is either going to get compared to Lauryn Hill or Lil Kim. Fortunately, Ms. Williams sounds like she’s on her way to carving her own niche down the middle. Williams wastes no time establishing herself on the mic finding a balance between wordplay and fourplay, leaning more towards the former. Backed by appropriate production that matches both her baritone braggadocio and melodic falsettos, the only setback to Perfect 10 is that fact that it’s 21 tracks long and has too many features, which allows some of Williams’ male counterparts to actually dampen her presence. - Maurice G. Garland Demolition Men & Mistah F.A.B./Play Time Is Over On Play Time Is Over Mistah F.A.B. and the Demolition Men quit the fun and games and take an uncut Hip Hop approach to this mixtape. Fab goes in lyrically on “Welcome To Town,” trades verses with Glasses Malone on “Blowin’ Up,” and sips lean with Bun B, Paul Wall and Chamillionaire on “2 MPH.” Production and concept-wise, a couple tracks like “Swag (Let Me Show You),” “Umm Hmm” and “Dipped In Butter” still sound somewhat playful, but more often than not on this project, Fabby Davis Jr. leaves the ghostriding and yellow bus games behind and lets the rhymes speak for themselves. - Randy Roper Crooked I/The Block Obama Crooked I’s idea of change is slightly different from presidential candidate Barack Obama’s, but on The Block Obama, the Left Coast rapper takes his campaign through the streets of L.A. Crook makes his issues with rappers clear as he covers M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” flips Lil Wayne’s “A Milli,” vents on “Hard on da Blvd” and reintroduces the city of Long Beach on “Welcome To My City.” Tracks like “Freaks” and “W’s Down” don’t do much for Crook’s hood politics, but there are more than enough moments throughout this mixtape’s 20 cuts that announce his “time for change” philosophies to West Coast rap politics. - Randy Roper