YOUR FAVORITE RAPPER’S FAVORITE MAGAZINE
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PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF // Julia Beverly MUSIC EDITOR // Randy Roper FEATURES EDITOR // Eric N. Perrin ASSOCIATE EDITOR // Maurice G. Garland GRAPHIC DESIGNER // David KA ADVERTISING SALES // Che Johnson, Gary Archer PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR // Malik Abdul SPECIAL EDITION EDITOR // Jen McKinnon WEST COAST EDITOR-AT-LARGE // D-Ray LEGAL CONSULTANT // Kyle P. King, P.A. SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER // Adero Dawson ADMINISTRATIVE // Kisha Smith INTERNS // Jee’Van Brown, Torrey Holmes, Memory Martin CONTRIBUTORS // Anthony Roberts, Bogan, Camilo Smith, Charlamagne the God, Chuck T, Cierra Middlebrooks, David Rosario, Diwang Valdez, DJ BackSide, Edward Hall, E-Z Cutt, Gary Archer, Hannibal Matthews, Jacquie Holmes, J Lash, Jason Cordes, Jelani Harper, Joey Colombo, Johnny Louis, Kay Newell, Keadron Smith, Keita Jones, Keith Kennedy, K.G. Mosley, King Yella, Luis Santana, Luvva J, Luxury Mindz, Marcus DeWayne, Matt Sonzala, Maurice G. Garland, Mercedes (Strictly Streets), Natalia Gomez, Portia Jackson, Ray Tamarra, Rico Da Crook, Rohit Loomba, Shannon McCollum, Spiff, Stan Johnson, Swift, Tamara Palmer, Thaddaeus McAdams, Ty Watkins, Wally Sparks, Wendy Day
15 10 things I’m hatin’ on 26 Are you a G? 79 caffeine substitutes 80-81 CD Reviews 20 Chain Reaction 30 Dollar Menu 32 d-ray’s EDITORIAL 82 End Zone 12 Feedback 26 hood deeds
15 jb’s 2 cents 18 Mathematics 26 names of shame 42-50 patiently waiting 19-45 photo galleries 16-17 Rapquest 15 re’s playlist 28 Sidekick Hackin 77-78 TJ’s DJ’s Tastemakers
STREET REPS // 3rd Leg Greg, Adam Murphy, Alex Marin, Al-My-T, Ant Wright, Anthony Deavers, Baydilla, Benz, Big Brd, B-Lord, Big Ed, Big Teach (Big Mouth), Big Thangs, Big Will, Bigg P-Wee, Bigg V, Black, Bogan, Bo Money, Brandi Garcia, Brandon “Silkk” Frazier, Brian Eady, Buggah D. Govanah (On Point), Bull, C Rola, Cartel, Cedric Walker, Cece Collier, Chad Joseph, Charles Brown, Chill, Chuck T, Christian Flores, Clifton Sims, Dee1, Demolition Men, DJ Commando, Danielle Scott, DJ Dap, Delight, Derrick the Franchise, DJ Dimepiece, DJ D’Lyte, Dolla Bill, Dorian Welch, Dwayne Barnum, Dr. Doom, Dynasty, Ed the World Famous, DJ E-Feezy, DJ EFN, Episode, Eric “Crunkatlanta” Hayes, Erik Tee, F4 Entertainment, Fiya, G Dash, G-Mack, George Lopez, Gorilla Promo, Haziq Ali, Hezeleo, H-Vidal, Hotgirl Maximum, Hotshot, J Hype, Jacquie “Jax” Holmes, Jae Slimm, Jammin’ Jay, DJ Jam-X, Janiro Hawkins, Jarvon Lee, Jasmine Crowe, Jay Noii, Jeron Alexander, J Pragmatic, JLN Photography, Joe Anthony, John Costen, Johnny Dang, Judah, Judy Jones, Juice, DJ Juice, Kenneth Clark, Kewan Lewis, Klarc Shepard, Kool Laid, DJ KTone, Kurtis Graham, Kydd Joe, Lex, Lucky, Lump, Lutoyua Thompson, Luvva J, Marco Mall, Mario Grier, Marlei Mar, Maroy, DJ M.O.E., Music & More, Natalia Gomez, DJ Nik Bean, Nikki Kancey, Oscar Garcia, P Love, Pat Pat, Phattlipp, Pimp G, Quest, Quinton Hatfield, DJ Quote, DJ Rage, Rapid Ric, DJ Ricky Ruckus, Rob J Official, Rob Reyes, Robert Lopez, Rob-Lo, Robski, Scorpio, Seneca, Shauntae Hill, Sherita Saulsberry, Silva Reeves, Sir Thurl, DJ Skee, Sly Boogy, Southpaw, Spade Spot, Stax, DJ Strong, Sweetback, Syd Robertson, Teddy T, TJ’s DJ’s, Tim Brown, Tonio, Tony Rudd, Tre Dubb, Tril Wil, Trina Edwards, Troy Kyles, Twin, Vicious, Victor Walker, DJ Vlad, Voodoo, DJ Warrior, White Boi Pizal, Wild Billo, Will Hustle, William Major, Wu Chang, Young Harlem, Yung DVS, Zack Cimini SUBSCRIPTIONS // To subscribe, send check or money order for $20 to: Ozone Magazine, Inc. Attn: Subscriptions Dept 644 Antone St. Suite 6 Atlanta, GA 30318 Phone: 404-350-3887 Fax: 404-350-2497 Website: www.ozonemag.com COVER CREDITS // OJ da Juiceman photos (cover and this page) by Diwang Valdez, Soulja Boy photos by Mat Evanz; Slim Thug photo by SLFEMP; DJ Drama photo by Zach Wolfe. DISCLAIMER // OZONE Magazine is published 11 times per year by OZONE Magazine, Inc. OZONE does not take responsibility for unsolicited materials, misinformation, typographical errors, or misprints. The views contained herein do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or its advertisers. Ads appearing in this magazine are not an endorsement or validation by OZONE Magazine for products or services offered. All photos and illustrations are copyrighted by their respective artists. All other content is copyright 2009 OZONE Magazine, all rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any way without the written consent of the publisher. Printed in the USA.
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74-76 Busta Rhymes 68-69 dj drama 60-62 DJ Quik & Kurupt 56-57 Slim Thug
features 38 52-53 40 34 54-55 36
7 Best patiently waitings 7 best road stories 7 most controversial 7 ways Ozone has impacted 7 years of ozone lucky 7
70-72 oj da juiceman 64-66 soulja boy
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Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit us up at www.myspace.com/ozonemagazine I love y’all mag, but y’all ain’t puttin’ on for the DMV? We’ve got Wale, Southeast Slim, and that young kid City. Do some research. Y’all are puttin’ too many corny niggas on the map. – Smurkey, via email (Washington, DC) JB, I just read your column in Issue #73 and that’s the realest shit I’ve read in a while. I feel exactly the same way. I’m in Atlanta doing music and I always feel alone in a crowd of thousands and too deep when I rock my songs. I feel like nobody has passion in their music anymore. My stage name is 2Focus and that’s because people say that I read and think too much, like you, but I don’t know anything else or any other way to do it. I know God has a reason for me doing music the way I do, but I feel like an alien. - Sean Coleman, via email (Los Angeles, CA via Chicago, IL) JB, your brother recently put me on to your magazine. He is currently incarcerated in the Nevada Department of Prisons. The first issue he ever read was your 6th annual Patiently Waiting edition. I don’t know of any artists more deserving of the “Patiently Waiting” title than all the artists who are locked up and still pushing their music. I don’t have to explain the influence the prison system and the streets have on Hip Hop. My brother is one of those artists who has continued pushing his music despite his circumstances. With only a motif6 and a PXR4 he’s been pushing out songs for over five years! All independent, from the joint! His latest effort is a moment in Las Vegas Hip Hop history. Digstation.com/rasool is as underground as it gets! – Tyrant156, via email (Las Vegas, NV) I am a supporter of OZONE Mag, but when I saw your Top 10 Sexiest Female DJs feature I was like, no way! Let’s set the record straight. If you’re going to feature DJ Princess Cut, use the real one that has a strong base in Texas. Yep, I said it. The real one. Of course, this is no disrespect to the DJ Princess Cut in Atlanta, I hope she goes far in the game, but the Princess Cut that I know has been putting in crazy work for Texas and the Southern Region. – Streetz, via email Music Editor Randy Roper Responds: DJ Princess Cut of Texas was featured in our Sex Issue in 2007, so we are well aware of who she is. The DJs that were selected this year were chosen based off votes that we collected from numerous people within the music business, and DJ Princess Cut of Texas was not selected this year. We can’t really help that they have the same name. JB, I read your 2 Cents section in the latest OZONE and your last paragraph really grabbed my attention. I kind of noticed a little frustration there. You said, “if another Tupac or Andre 3000 doesn’t come along soon, I’m about done with this shit.” Well, you don’t have to wait or look too far. There are many artists like Andre 3000 or Tupac waiting to be discovered or heard, like me. I’ve been hitting your page up from time to time trying to get your attention without coming on too strong. In my music I’m trying to bring a positive message to the streets and the music industry. But you and I know that money (promotion, ads, and marketing) plays a big part in the industry nowadays. Not every talented rapper or R&B singer has the funds to get vehicle wraps and full page ads like a lot of the d-boys-turned-rappers. I understand that this is a business, and I can’t wait for the day when I’ve saved enough cash to run full page ads in one of the three elite magazines (OZONE, Source, and XXL). Anyways, I just wanted you to know that we reality poets and rappers are out here. Some of us just need to be given a chance. – Jacob Izrael, via myspace (Nashville, TN) I read your article with Khia and I must say that she’s the realest I know. She was coming to Coleman [Correctional Institution] a while back to see this guy named Derrick from Tampa and holding him down. I believe she married him, but I’m not sure. She came to his aid and rode it out with him. She was taking photos in the visiting room with all the children and she was a great person to meet. She took pictures with blacks, whites, Hispanics and all. I just wanted you to know that there’s more to her than what I read in [her interview]. Behind the thugness she is a real and true woman, for sure. – Kamara Woodson, via inmatemessage (Florida)
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Did you check out my interview in the Hip Hop Weekly with Soulja Boy on the cover in the Indie Grind Section? It was hell getting in there, but as they say, persistence overcomes resistance 95% of the time. And just a couple months ago I was in Murder Dog Magazine. I called and told Mr. Roper that his judgment was incorrect. He told me I needed practice. I feel like Chamillionaire did with the XXL cat; he’s still a clown. You don’t get in top magazines like OZONE and Murder Dog and Hip Hop Weekly with no talent. So my next quest is XXL since I’ve been turned down by your mag, which is kinda crazy, sinc ei was born and raised in Cashville. Mr. Roper is not gonna like everything niggas put out, but he’s sleeping on the kid, really. He better LIIIIISTTTENN!! I’ll be in XXL this year and then what is his excuse gonna be, feel me? Plus I emailed OJ da Juiceman and he heard some of mu music and gave me a number. Could it be a little hate going on? – Jae Slimm, via Myspace (Detroit, MI) A few people have pointed out to me that Dr. Dre’s Detox was just awarded “the first 5 blunts in OZONE’s history,” which confuses me. I’m not sure if Randy Roper knows the full history of the magazine, but as you know I was awarded the first 5 blunts (with the lovely Editor’s note by you, of course) and then Swamburger the following year. I know it’s been a minute since that time, but it is something I’m proud of and something I represent. I’ve always known you to go for accurate with your publishing. I know opinions are one thing, but documented history is another. I believe this was around the time that you had regional distribution, so it was definitely not just a local thing. So it’s flat-out not true. OZONE Magazine’s history and your history involved a huge number of local artists that supported you, and in turn, was supported by you. I would appreciate it if credit was given where it was due. And as it goes with any digital message, I would like to clarify my tone. By no means am I upset, or hold any negative feelings towards you or your staff. But I would really appreciate if this can be corrected. It affects my integrity, and I’d like to maintain that. - X:144, via Myspace (Orlando, FL) Editor Responds: The Dr. Dre “review” was a joke. Sorry if the sarcasm missed its mark. Long live the Pimp. I have the issue of OZONE you put out when Pimp C died, and I just finished reading it again. I will keep that one issue forever. I appreciate it, because that was one of the trillest cats walking this earth. I listen to a UGK or Pimp C CD every day. I can’t stand the crap they’ve got out right now on the radio and in these ol’ funky-ass clubs. I ain’t hating, just can’t get down with the shit that’s out right now. Like Pimp said, these niggas are some Bugs Bunny-ass niggas. Especially these ol’ dancing dickin-the-booty ass niggas in my hometown. Excuse my language, but I’m just being honest. I come back to Dallas and see these niggas dancing more than the girls. It just doesn’t make sense to me. It’s amazing how the game has changed. If I go to a club out here in Arizona and ask them to play UGK they look at you crazy like they’ve never heard of them, but they’re quick to play some bullshit Kanye or Jay-Z (no hate, but I just can’t listen to them). - Mr. Tex, via email (Arizona, via Dallas, TX) Correction: We neglected to credit Wuz Good for his photo of Billy Blue that appeared in the last issue.appeared in the last issue.
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JB’s 2cents T
he past few weeks have been consumed with my preparations for my mini-tour/birthday parties. I did almost a dozen cities last year and kept getting emails from people asking why I didn’t come to their city, so this year I wanted to do it bigger and better. I’m celebrating turning 28 all across the country. Planning these parties makes it clear why artists have management. It’s tough being the “artist” and the “manager” all in one. Because on one hand, as “manager,” you have to deal with the business and the negotiations and the changes and the inevitable headaches in which you are essentially turning yourself into a commodity, complete with a price tag. How do you place a value on yourself? And then on the other hand, as the “artist,” you have to show up, be happy, enjoy yourself, greet everyone, and be the life of the party – discarding whatever negative feelings you may be harboring from the aforementioned headaches.
10THINGS I’M HATIN’ON
1. Baby Mamas I’m tired of baby mamas bitching bout every fucking thing. Get a job, bitch.
by aspiring porn star Maurice Stoney
Me & Uncle Luke in Miami
5. Bad Ass Kids A nigga was on the corner the other day and a two-year-old kid came up and robbed me. The little nigga didn’t have no gun though, he just held me up with a dirty diaper…and worse, the nigga was robbing me for some weed. 6. Garbage Ass Albums I’m hating on artists who put out raw ass mixtapes, and then garbage ass albums. One word: download. 7. Shit Talking I’m tired of niggas talking shit wit’ their breath smelling like they’ve been brushing with mop bucket water. These niggas are shit talking, literally. Oh stanky breath muthafuckas. 8. Porn Stars I’m hatin’ on porn stars. These bitches fuck for a living and then when they meet a real nigga like me, it’s a no-go. I don’t want it anyway. Your pussy is probably like throwing a hotdog down a hallway. You fucked Mandingo. 9. Twitter I’m tired of muthafuckas saying follow me on Twitter. Nigga, follow you where? 10. Wannabe Models I’m hating on every other bitch with a fat ass or some big titties thinking that they’re a model. Bitch, if you’re not getting paid then you’re not a model. And selling pussy doesn’t count. I’ll still look at that ass, though.
Gorilla Zoe & I rockin’ some real ice in Alaska
OUT DA CUTT
4. People Hating on Obama This nigga gotta fight the housing market, unemployment, the economy, swine flu, and now pirates. Pirates, nigga? Pirates? First McCain, now Captain Hook. Shit, who’s next, Magneto?
Me & Memphitz @ T.I.’s all white party in Miami
3. People who mix dogs I’m tired of people breeding mutts, like a Rottweiler and Pitbull, and it comes out as a Shitbull aka BullShit.
OUT DA CUTT
2. Prostitutes I’m mad because every other bitch is selling pussy now. I know it’s a recession, but damn, even nuns are selling pussy nowadays
Me, Malik, & um.. Captain Hook on the set of 2 Pistols’ video shoot in Tampa
Before party #1 in Anchorage, Alaska (y’all need to go…) where it’s daylight nearly 24 hours a day during the summer, the homie Baydilla from Out da Cutt Records took me and Gorilla Zoe & co. on a tour of the glaciers. This stands out in my mind for two reasons: one, because of something Zoe said and two, because these days it’s almost rare for me to experience something new. After seven years of covering Hip Hop events, I struggle to be inspired by what seems like an endless yearly rotation of the same shit. The same parties, the same shows during which rappers perform the same songs in the same order with the same tired hypeman ad-libs and crowd participation skits, the same music conferences with the same panelists and the same “up-and-coming” rappers who have been “up-and-coming” since I was “up-and-coming,” the same award shows, the same Summer Jams. Even the experiences which used to be unique and exciting – Memorial Day weekend on the beach, for example – now seem routine and dull. And yet the allure is still there because when I wake up in the morning, I ultimately never know what the day might bring. Having a career in the music or entertainment business is like the endless chase for the carrot being dangled in front of you. It’s a constant pursuit of an intangible feeling and the idea that there are still new places to explore and new things to see. It’s the reason why, at the last minute, everyone flocks to events like All Star weekend and the OZONE Awards. It’s that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that you might miss out. That voice that says, “GO.” Fate might have something planned for you there. There might be someone you’re supposed to meet. Something might happen that will change your life. In summary, I totally understood what Gorilla Zoe meant while stripping down from his genuine Alaska fur coat (what kind of fur, we weren’t sure) into a wifebeater atop a boat sailing through literal ice water in the middle of Alaska so far out that our phones didn’t get signals and rhapsodizing that all the money and the fame means nothing; that this is why we do this. The real blessing of our position is being able to travel and enjoy the best scenery, the best food, the best nightlife, the randomness of a life in which heading straight to the airport after leaving the club to hop on a 9 hour flight and then do it all over again is the norm. “Slide Show” with John Legend is my favorite song on T.I.’s Paper Trail album because the hook is so true: life is like a slide show. No matter where I end up, no one can ever take away the memories and images in my mind. All the places I’ve been, all the things I’ve seen; they’re invaluable.
In some ways I see myself as, say, a minimalist. My ideal life would involve no extravagance; no clutter. Just simplicity and art. And “art” comes in many forms. The wrinkled old homeless lady who sleeps nightly on Washington Ave in South Beach amidst the energy of the nightlife and the youth streaming in and out of clubs; that’s art. Art is all around if you look for it. And I crave more more art, less bullshit. More being an “artist,” less being a “manager.” Less headaches. But at the same time, organization is more who I am. I’m not an outgoing, fun, get-on-the-mic, middle-of-the-dance-floor, center-of-attention type person. It’s all about coming to grips with who you are, your strengths and weaknesses, and balancing them out. Being able to find the positive in every situation and not allowing the exhaustion and the burn-out that comes from routine keep you from seeing the beauty in life or anticipating what new things may come. - Julia Beverly, email@example.com
Lil Boosie f/ Young Jeezy & Webbie “Better Believe It” Ludacris f/ Young Jeezy “285 (Drinkin N Drivin)” Jeremih f/ Fabolous “Birthday Sex (Remix)” Travis Porter “Black Boy, White Boy” Tyga f/ Lil Wayne “Lay You Down” Rapid Ric f/ Devin The Dude, B.o.B., Cory Mo & Chalie Boy “Gettin High” Clipse f/ Kanye West & Bun B “Kinda Like a Big Deal (Remix)” Rick Ross f/ Frank Lini, Gunplay & Torch “Throw Em In The Sky”
firstname.lastname@example.org Lil Wayne & Drake “I’m Goin’ In” Gucci Mane f/ Plies “Wasted” The-Dream “Hater” Young Dro f/ Yung LA “Take Off”
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Three Six Mafia came to town and rocked The Platinum. Juvenile and Soulja Boy came to town as well. T. Rose’s crowds have been growing weekly with her showcase at Club Onyx on Thursdays. Also check out The High Note Lounge every Wednesday night. StreetTalk Magazine packed out Club 1709. DJ Holiday, Mr. Collipark, 95.7 Jamz, V.I.C, M-16, B.A Boyz, Freewill Records, Redd, and more were in the building. Attitude’s new single “Blow Ya Back Out” has been getting radio play. R.W. Record Pool is moving in a good direction. Grade A Muzik & BHamMusicBlog.blogspot.com are giving Alabama Hip Hop more exposure. K.D.’s new mixtape Playaz Prezident is out now. - K. Bibbs (AllOrNothingPromo@hotmail.com)
DALLAS/FT. WORTH, TX:
KiKi J from K104 is supporting the local artists on air with Street Swag Sundays. SHO from Skyhigh World is gaining the ladies attention with “Stick N Move” while Cutta C is making everybody “Ack a Azz.” The BBU ladies have taken over promotions from Aggtown to Funkytown. Dorrough officially signed with E1 Music. Fam Life DJ KG has Stone Trail on lock. Porsha Nicole joined UrbanSouthRadio.com. Definition DJ Tuss is in the mix, G-Spot, the new after hours, and Tele and Dirty Harriet are the truth. Free Rally D, Jack Fraust, Pat Bush, Boleg and Kevin Handy who released his novel Game Time Decision. - Edward “Pookie” Hall (email@example.com)
DJ KTone’s annual b-day weekend was off the hook. With special guests DJ Q45, DJ Michael “5000” Watts and DJ Dimepiece, the event was packed all 3 nights. J Holiday, E-40, Yung Berg, K’naan, and more touched the city as well. Jewell Tyme music opened up at the Nuggets game. Be looking out for producer Scorp Dezel from Colorado Springs who did Young Buck’s new single “Did You Miss Me,” and Mack 10 featuring Jim Jones and Lil Wayne “So Sharp.” Whygee, Tone Skarfo, Rockie, The Foodchain are picking up a buzz in the city. Sheads BBQ and Fish is now back open on 12203 E. Iliff Ave., Unit H. - DJ Ktone (Myspace.com/djktonedotcom)
Flip Wilson dropped his latest DVD, Sonny the Gangster. The monthly industry mixer at the Bull Frog was another successful event. Jadakiss held a listening party at Puffer Red’s in Ypsilanti. Bootleg of the Dayton Family is dropping 16 // OZONE MAG
another solo album this summer with collaborations from some of the South’s hottest artists. Tone-Tone’s new single featuring Lil Wayne and Lloyd is tearing up the radio. Young Buck also stopped through the hood showing love to the streets. The Detroit Rap world lost another soldier – Mitch-E-Mitch passed away. - AJ (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Gucci Mane is back in the streets and Gainesville was one of the first to show overwhelming love as he performed at 8 Seconds Nightclub. Local artist Ms. Chi and the 17-year-old phenom Young Benny Maxi are heating up the indie scene with their singles “Got Em Mad” and “Shorty is a Winner.” Klarc Shepard and DJ Flow hosted/mixed Brisco’s latest mixtape Midnight Massacre during his mini-tour of North Central Florida. - Jett Jackson (email@example.com)
My favorite show last month was DJ Quik’s Groove, where the OG performed for a sold out crowd at the Key Club on Sunset. Lady of Rage, B-Real, Daz, Kurupt, Glasses Malone, and Sugar Free also performed. The knitting factory was the spot for the New West with performances from Mykestro, Bishop Lamont, and G. Malone. Keri Hilson had her album release at Area. And 93.5 KDAY brought L.A. closer to its favorite stars with exclusive events like “Lunch with Luda,” and “Brunch with Bow Wow.” - Devi Dev (firstname.lastname@example.org)
OJ da Juiceman, Artillary South, and XO locked down Crossroads. Gorilla Zoe and Project Pat came to Ebony Club. 6 TRE G has the airwaves in a choke hold with “On A Roll.” G-Side and SlowmotionSoundz have been hitting the road heavy. The Cole Boyz put together a remix for “The Woodz” featuring ST, Lil Chappy, Dirty, and Fat Rat. The new Block Beattaz studio is open for business. Rich Boy appeared at the Benchwarmers. Joski and Illie Ill held down the party scene. 103.5 has been throwing some sick parties. DJ Burn One hosted G-Mane’s Smoke Some Kill. - Codie G (email@example.com)
while Shyne opens its doors and provides upscale urban fashion for all. - Janiro (Janiro@southernentawards.com)
JACKSON, MS: Shawty Lo (pictured with Tambra Cherie), DJ Drama, and Lil Will invaded Freelon’s. Lil C and Scrilla Boy represented for the independent scene. Lil C turned out the show, along with 1Life1Love’s Scrilla, gaining more momentum from the crowd than national artists. Look out for Scrilla’s singles “Speakers” and “Rock Boy.” The mayor (R.I.P.) had a federal mistrial and landed on Mediatakeout.com with some of the “model” citizens. Word has it Mo Williams is bringing Lebron James to his annual weekend. Boo the Boss dropped a new mixtape with DJ Scream. He brought Mississippi to Atlanta’s own Velvet Room when he performed at Jeezy’s after party. - Tambra Cherie (TambraCherie@aol.com) & Stax (firstname.lastname@example.org)
T-Roy of 93.3 the Beat and DJ King Ron held it down with their long-running Open Mic Monday event (even Flo-Rida stopped through to check it out). Bigga Rankin brought OJ da Juiceman and Gucci Mane back to back at Plush, and the newcomers at HighLife Music have successfully branded a new Saturday night on the Westside at Sharkys. Point Blank Ent. is still holding it down every Wednesday at Aqua by the beaches. Rumor has it that many Duval County artists have deals on the table, and I’ll be sure to report it when the rumors turn to reality. - Lil Rudy (LilRudyRu@yahoo.com)
LAS VEGAS, NV:
T.I. made a tour stop at Thomas & Mack Event Center with Jazmine Sullivan, and Lil Wayne rocked the Palms Hotel. Speaking of hotels, a new hotel sprung up with a classic grand opening. The “M” Resort is the newest addition for luxury accommodations featuring gaming, dining, entertainment, and spa/salon services. Another great luxury hotel is Trump Hotel, featuring great prices and no gaming. Reggae in the Desert, a true smokers’ festival, takes place June 13th from 2pm to 11pm at Clark County Amphitheater. - Portia Jackson (PortiaJ@sprint.blackberry.net)
LOS ANGELES, CA:
Busta Rhymes performed at Club Nokia with openers U-N-I and Diz Gabron. The Game, Nipsey Hustle, and Jay Rock all got down at L.A. Live; and The Dream had his secret Myspace party at Area with surprise guests Kanye West, Fabolous, and Electrik Red. 93.5 KDAY, Kanye West, Rick Ross, Quik and Keri Hilson rolled through for interviews (hardknock.tv) - Devi Dev (email@example.com)
Hard Rock Café Memphis put on a one of a kind “Master of the Microphone” event. Each contestant had to freestyle battle to rap and rock music. The winner was Patrick Worthy, a.k.a. Poncho Piffy. He received a golden microphone trophy and studio time at Band House Studios. Other big winners out of Memphis came from the SEA award show – we walked away with Industry Power Player with Freddy Hydro, Website of the Year with Memphisrap.com, Model of the Year with Pebbelz, Indie Producer of the Year with Drumma Boy, and Event of the Year with Crunkfest. - Deanna Brown (Deanna.Brown@MemphisRap.com)
NASHVILLE, TN: Ace Rip showed out at the SEAs by opening the show with his singles “Keys to the Chevy” and “Firecracker,” reminding everyone why he is the Ace. Speaking of the SEAs, several of the city’s finest won awards, including DJ Wheezy (Best Intro on a Mixtape), 101.1 “The Beat” WUBT (Radio Station of the Year), AG (Impact Personality), Allstar (Indy Rap Album of the Year), Paper (Slept On Artist) and Deshun Smith (Photographer/Journalist of the Year). S.E.V.E.N. Promotions is gearing up for their annual fashion show
100.3 The Beat and Radio One presented the 2nd Annual Music & Entertainment Conference at the Marriott Downtown. Jamie Foxx, The Dream, Jadakiss, Brandy, and Ryan Leslie were all panelists. DJ Touchtone holds it down with the touchdown show on 100.3 The Beat Sun-Thur 10pm-2am. Philly Hip Hop Reader (www.phillyhiphopreader.com) is a youth literacy program developed by the Urban League of Philadelphia to encourage middle school and high school students to read. Every Monday Boy Wonder, a.k.a. Andre Coles, hosts World Cafe Live’s weekly Open Stage and Talent Competiton. Artist on the rise are The Last Donna, HomeMadeSoul, and Doc DollaSigns. - Infamous6ixx (firstname.lastname@example.org)
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND:
T-Pain definitely felt the pain as his Dublin concert clocked less than 200 ticket sales, while his partner-in-rhyme Akon managed to sell 3,000+ tickets just weeks before. Blackhouse Studios opened in Dublin last month, specializing in urban music, with the first artist Yung Brady getting an opportunity to open up for a resurgent D-12 last week. - Kev Storrs (email@example.com)
RICHMOND, TRI-CITIES, VA:
Big Get It of GMGB released his album Get It City featuring last year’s hot single “Disco Ballin Remix” with Trey Songz. Dollar Gang’s artist J Nero released his CD The Unexpected. Jay30, The Promotions King, is building his brand by promoting the hottest events, artist showcases, and parties in the Cap City. The Coffee Shop, located off Union Street in Petersburg, VA, hosts poetry/Hip Hop every Friday night. Soul Singer Rodney Stith performed his acoustic set there and is currently promoting his R&B CD My Life. Any performing arts artist can showcase in this fly urban spot. - Atiyyah Wali (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lil Weezy and the I Am Music Tour passed through Mackramento. The tour played to a sold out crowd at Arco Arena. The Boss Rick Ross was a guest on 103.5 The Bomb, Short E’s show, where he discussed his ongoing beef with 50 Cent and his recent admission of being a former correctional officer. Bueno released the first video off his Maloof Money project. The Bueno video “Around the World” featuring The Jacka and Dubb 20 definitely had the Nor Cal streets buzzing. - Lavega “Kream” Sims (email@example.com)
ST. LOUIS, MO:
Ray Goss hit the streets with his Meet Ray Goss mixtape hosted by County Brown. Stevie Stone signed with Ruthless Records. He also has a mixtape in the streets along with a dope single “Wait a Minute” which is getting some radio spins. Yung Ro’s “Donk Dat” is still growing nationally and he hit the streets with the “Donk Dat” remix featuring Chingy and City Spud. Yung Ro also rocked a dope Step Show at McCluer South High School. DJ T Gutta has his Respect the DJ Vol. 2 in the streets and on datpiff.com. DJ Trackstar’s Boogie Bang 18 is hosted by Phonte. Rockwell Knuckles’ mixtape The Glow is available now. - Jesse James (JesseJames314@aol.com)
KRS One interrupted his own set to endorse opening act Dynasty at The Tamiami Bar in St, Petersburg. Javon Black, Lil Kee, and Strizzo performed their smash hit, “Shawty Tear It Up” alongside Sean Kingston at Wild Splash, and followed up with a remix featuring Kingston as well. The track also earned Black a deal with Universal Republic. The Basiqs continued their assault on the scene with another solid performance opening up for Raekwon and Ghostface at The Ritz Ybor. DJ Knucklez released Knuckle Up Round 4 hosted by Slim Thug. - Slick Worthington (Myspace.com/SlickWorthington)
Wale won the 2009 DMV Award for Best Male Rapper, Shy Thoro won Best Female, and Topp Dogg Hill took home the trophy for Best Rap Group. Madam Madon walked away with the crown at the annual Queen of the DMV all-female rap contest. Tyrone Norris, founder of www.dcrap.com, organized the 3-day Engage Hip Hop Festival. Woosie, who’s claiming Cash Money Records, did an interview with DJ Vlad and sparked major beef by dissing Marky and Kenny Burns (Studio 43). Kaye M responded with a song dissing Woosie. Don’t forget to check out new singles “Red Carpet” by Likeblood and “I Mean Business” by the Diamond District. OZONE MAG // 17
MY JUDGMENT DAY | By Wendy Day (www.RAP-COALITION
.I. told us, on his last album, to appreciate what we have instead of focusing on what we don’t have. In a world where materialism is king, and fame and money are the alter at which we worship, it’s hard to remember to be thankful for what we have. I’ve been soul searching a lot this past year as many of you know who follow my ramblings and writings. I’m bored with this declining industry. And then it hit me all at once this week: if I don’t like the way that it is, I’m going to have to change it. Or at least change my little section of it. I suck at keeping in touch with folks, which is pathetic because this is a who-you-know industry. I’ve decided to create a strong inner circle of people around me who are successful at what they do, those who really want to implement positive change, and anyone interested in moving together as part of a team. United we stand, divided we fall. We can bitch about the haters, the lack of creativity in the music, and the declining sales in the marketplace, but until we do something about it, this is what we will be stuck with. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the current environment, I just hate some of the things that are making it stagnant and ruining the business side of what we do. The plus side is that a depression in any economy forces out those who don’t have passion or staying power. It forces out the bad business folks. It forces out, naturally, the bullshit. This week marks the beginning of my 18th year in the urban music business. I’m still doing today what I started when I got into the industry: helping artists. Some of you haven’t even lived as long as I’ve been making a difference in urban music. There are years where I didn’t make a dime, and years where I made a grip of gwop. Neither slowed me down or stopped me. Money doesn’t drive me. There are years where my name came up often and years where folks barely heard from me. But I’m still here. I am tremendously thankful that I am still good at what I do, still successful, and that I am still relevant (at least in most circles). I had a long discussion with a wise friend last week. He told me about when he was locked down and sitting in the hole for the sixth consecutive week. He shared with me that it wasn’t the memories of the material shit that kept him sane or brought him joy. He couldn’t recall how the new Bentley smelled, or how it felt to move into the 15,000 square foot house, or even how it felt to fuck three women at once. But he distinctly recalled his baby’s touch. Those irreplaceable moments are what saw him through. I remembered back to a time when I didn’t care what I drove (a 1995 Isuzu Rodeo), or what I wore (pajama bottoms from Target run $11), or what purse I carried (a $20 backpack holds more than a thousand dollar Gucci purse any day). I looked around my cluttered house that’s so overcrowded with stuff I don’t need that I bought on shopping trips that I thought were making me happy at the time. Truth is, if my house caught fire in the middle of the night, I’d grab my little dog, photos of my Mom and my boyfriend that I can’t replace, and probably my baby blanket that has sentimental value to me. Everything else can go. After I did the Cash Money $30 million deal, they didn’t pay me (please don’t email me about this: I sued them and long story short, three years after I did their deal, they paid me right before we went to court). Because I had been cash advancing my credit cards to survive while I worked their deal, not getting paid had resounding affects. I got evicted, my credit went into the toilet (which lasted until just recently), and I lost everything I owned in the eviction. A humbling experience. But it sure made moving easy, and rebuilding fun. Some of the stuff I can’t ever get back, like baby pictures, photos of my father who passed away, old out of print books, demo tapes from now-famous rappers, etc. But it’s all just stuff!! I really didn’t lose anything because I got to keep me. It’s like my friend said about sitting in solitary confinement - what he missed most was his daughter’s touch. The stuff that matters. We’ve always had excessive materialism in urban music. In the early 80s, I heard Slick Rick say in a rhyme that he had his Ballys on. Once I learned that they were shoes, I couldn’t go buy a pair of Ballys fast enough. When you grow up poor with
nothing, you want to be able to obtain whatever you feel you’ve missed. It’s just natural human desire. The Hip Hop Nation is no different. I wanted to own all of the things that I grew up around, but could never afford. Having been raised with morals, ethics, and a conscience slowed me down a bit, but I found industries where there was a fast track to money. For a minute I rebelled against my love affair with money, and studied African American studies with the intention of helping young Black folks start businesses - the only true way that I saw to empower oneself. Often distracted from that path by the glitz of the music industry, and the smoke and mirrors of fame, I found my journey to be more cyclical than an even growth upwards. And the music seemed to follow my own evolution. The positive lyrics of Public Enemy in the late 80s clashed with Jay-Z and Biggie’s early love of popping bottles in the early 90s, just as today Lupe Fiasco and Talib Kweli try to overtake Young Jeezy and T.I. in my CD changer. But here’s what I have learned over the years, and if sharing my insight helps one person reading this, then today is a great day: Balance and moderation, in life, are key! Materialism and the love of money is not necessarily evil - but letting them control and consume your life is evil. Just as we all need toys and trinkets to play with, so do we need things in our life that give us hope and something to believe in! Making money for the sake of buying shit and collecting cash is empty. Doing something you believe in and are passionate about is fulfilling. Collecting trinkets and souvenirs along the way makes perfect sense, provided it is done with intelligence and wisdom. Buying a $125,000 car to drive doesn’t make good financial sense if you can’t afford it or if you have other more important things to do with your money. Then your trinket becomes another source of stress. Just ask most of the rappers out here who didn’t figure that their careers wouldn’t always be on an upswing and got in over their heads. This is probably a great place to interject that making music or songs for the sake of collecting a check is also empty. If your music isn’t based on truth and your own passion, you may sell a few CDs and downloads at first, but your follow up release will tank heavily when the fans catch on that you’re just a gimmick. The masses will have moved on to the next gimmick, and the 100,000 or so hard core fans that do believe in your movement won’t keep you afloat unless you are indie-and you aren’t, because you chased that big advance check (which is long gone). The music industry is not the new dope game. There are no quick licks to hit here, I promise you! I’ve been reading a lot of goal setting and motivational books over the past year. They helped to an extent, but I had to do the inner work myself. I had to figure out what makes me happy and what I really want to do next with my life (sometimes it’s as much pressure to reach your goals and have to figure out what’s next, then it is to never reach a goal to begin with LOL). I had to fix the problems in my life and celebrate the positives. This was challenging because I tend to focus on what I don’t have and what went wrong, rather than to focus on the blessings I have and what went right. I’ve decided to get more organized, be more active in the positive segments of my community, and to make changes to the aspects of this industry that I don’t like (but have the ability to impact). I’m becoming less judgmental, less know-it-all prone, and more generous and sharing than ever (which is a challenge because I was already pretty open with that). I’m expanding my inner circle to include like-minded successful folks, and I’m devoting more time to helping those less fortunate (my personal focus is on non-violent offenders who are incarcerated). The negative folks around me and those looking to tear others down rather than build themselves up can all eat a fat baby’s dick. They no longer exist in my vision and I refuse to give any credence or energy to them. They’ll fade away in a minute anyway, as they always do. “Your values are in disarray, prioritizing horribly Unhappy with your riches ‘cause you’re piss poor morally” - T.I. “Live Your Life”
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(above L-R): Khia & Shawty @ Uptown Comedy Club for Shawty Shawty’s Roast in Atlanta, GA; Paul Wall & Bay Bay in Shreveport, LA (Photos: Eric Perrin); Talib Kweli & DJ Eque @ Poetry in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: D-Ray)
01 // Buggah D Govanah & DJ 360 @ Dolce for Flo Rida’s album release party (Miami, FL) 02 // E-40, Chocolate & Slim the Mobster @ Expressions Studio (Berkeley, CA) 03 // Kia Shine & The Preps @ Ten Pin bowling alley for Kia Shine’s “Checkin’ My Fresh” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Gorilla Zoe & Ms Rivercity @ Plies’ car show (Tampa, FL) 05 // D-Lo & Beeda Weeda on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 06 // The Jacka & Deltrice on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 07 // Jay Rock, DJ Drama, & Glasses Malone on the set of DJ Drama’s “Daydreaming” video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 08 // Ju & Shawty Lo @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Lil Jon & ladies on the set of “That’s How I Go” (Los Angeles, CA) 10 // Comedians Shawty Shawty & Chris Jones @ Pure (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Ya Boy & DJ SourMilk @ Hot Import Nights Car Show (San Mateo, CA) 12 // Allstar & Becky the Great @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) 13 // UB Clothing @ Ten Pin bowling alley for Kia Shine’s “Checkin’ My Fresh” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Network & Turf Talk on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 15 // Bay Bay & Big Chief @ Koko’s for Bay Bay’s birthday bash (Shreveport, LA) 16 // Michael Blackston, Shawty, & Supreme @ Uptown Comedy Club for Shawty Shawty’s Roast (Atlanta, GA) 17 // DJ Black & his brother reppin’ CRUNK!!! @ Big Engine Entertainment’s Christmas party (Indianapolis, IN) 18 // Prynce & Bu @ Pure (Atlanta, GA) 19 // DJ Nik Bean & Damani on the set of DJ Drama’s “Daydreaming” video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (02,05,06,07,09,11,14,19); Deshun Smith (12); Eric Perrin (04,15,16,17); Julia Beverly (01,03,08,10,13,18)
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She Liked my NECKLACE and started relaxin’, that’s what the fuck I call a…
o at Icebox Jewelry in Atlanta made this piece for me. I’ve been talking to him for a minute about doing it. To be honest, I wish I had this piece last year. Even though I had a crazy, big, huge record, for some reason nobody really knows what I look like. So I wanted to have something with my name on it. [The design] was my logo that Universal Republic put together for me last year. A lot of cats saw my logo but didn’t know my face. With this piece, they can put two and two together. The back of the piece is [engraved] too with “R.I.P. Big Bro – Twitta.” My brother got killed in prison. It was his vision to do music; it really wasn’t mine. I was playing sports, but right before he passed I kinda got interested [in music] and got tangled up in the streets so eventually there was nothing else I could do but music. Whenever I conduct business, even when I’m doing my shows, I [think] of him as if he was with me. Whatever I’ve got going on, I’m not gonna forget him in any kinda way, so I put his name and “Rest In Peace” on the back of my piece.
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I sent in some [jewelry] and got some of it melted down, so my piece only cost like $45k with the chain. He worked out a lil situation with me. I ain’t go all out like these niggas spending $100k and shit on their pieces. I originally wanted my [Universal Republic] logo to have choppers but they didn’t include that. A lot of niggas think “2 Pistols” and they’re thinkin’ of a 9 [mm] or a handgun, but you know, bein’ from the South and bein’ in the streets, I had to put choppers on there. I don’t have a set release date, but we just shot the video for “Lights Down Low” [with Young Joe and C-Ride] and I’ve got a second single on the way titled “Bed, Bath, and Beyond.” That record is gonna put me where I need to be. I’ve also got a record called “Swag For Sale” featuring Lil Wayne and Shawty Lo, and that record is gonna put me in the streets where I need to be. “Bed, Bath, & Beyond” is gonna top “She Got It.” That’s gonna kill radio. I’m takin’ this chick from the bed, to the bath, and beyond. (laughs) Keri Hilson is finishing that up right now. // Words and Photo by Julia Beverly
(above L-R): J Money & Yung Ralph @ Crucial for J Money’s mixtape release party in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity); Trina @ her Louis Vuitton photo shoot in Miami, FL; Raekwon & J Diggs @ the W Hotel in Scottsdale, AZ (Photo: D-Ray)
01 // ShaGee reppin’ Band-Aide @ Hot Import Nights Car Show (San Mateo, CA) 02 // DJ KTone, Ms November, & Michael “5000” Watts @ The Loft (Denver, CO) 03 // DJ Benni Boom & Rasheeda @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) 04 // DJ Trauma & Rock City @ Ten Pin bowling alley for Kia Shine’s “Checkin’ My Fresh” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Clyde Carson & Maine @ Hot Import Nights Car Show (San Mateo, CA) 06 // E-40 & Willie Joe on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 07 // The Jacka & AP9 on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 08 // Lil Scrappy & Shawty Lo @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Polow da Don & Ladies @ MOSI Super Bowl party (Tampa, FL) 10 // Gorilla Pits @ Street Symphony Studios (Fremont, CA) 11 // Big Mike, Tyga, & CeCe @ UGMX (San Jose, CA) 12 // Piccalo & DJ Christion @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 13 // Angela Yee, Jeff Dixon, & Julia Beverly @ Atlanta 300 (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Johnnie Cabbell & Benny @ Pure (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Bu @ Pure (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Miss Pebbles & Miss Memphis @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) 17 // BallGreezy & Byron Trice @ Dolce for Flo Rida’s album release party (Miami, FL) 18 // Actor Christian Keyes & The New Orleans Hornets Honey Bees @ The New Orleans Arena (New Orleans, LA) 19 // Ya Boy & Nick Ngo @ Hot Import Nights Car Show (San Mateo, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,02,05,06,07,10,11,19); Eric Perrin (09); Julia Beverly (04,13,14,15,17); Kingpin (03,16); Malik Abdul (12); Marcus DeWayne (18); Ms Rivercity (08)
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(above L-R): Flo Rida & Brisco @ Dolce for Flo Rida’s album release party in Miami, FL (Photo: Julia Beverly); TI & Young Jeezy @ the Farewell Tour in Detroit, MI (Photo: Thaddaeus McAdams); Maino & Kafani Da Ice King @ Otis Lounge in San Francisco, CA (Photo: D-Ray)
01 // DJ Quik & the Goodfellas @ 93.5 The Beat (Burbank, CA) 02 // GuddaGudda & 211 @ The Palms for the I Am Music Tour (Las Vegas, NV) 03 // Kimo & Suge Knight @ Pink Diamonds for the Romper Room Gang’s American Gangsta release party (San Francisco, CA) 04 // DJ Drama & DJ Jonasty @ Freelon’s (Jackson, MS) 05 // Montana da Mac & guest @ Pure (Atlanta, GA) 06 // OJ da Juiceman & Miami Mike @ Coan Park for Soulja Boy’s “Gucci Bandana” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Snoop Dogg, JT Tha Bigga Figga, Rappin 4Tay, & Daz @ the Mezzanine (San Francisco, CA) 08 // E-40 & Turf Talk on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 09 // Drake, Lil Twist, & Jas Prince @ Universal Citywalk (Los Angeles, CA) 10 // Firemann DJs @ Plus for the Gucci Mane Welcome Home party (Jacksonville, FL) 11 // Mack Maine, Tezz, & guest @ Cash Money’s Pre-Grammy party (Hollywood, CA) 12 // Big Chris & Jeff “Left Hook” Lacey @ Studio Inc for Jeff “Left Hook” Lacey’s fight afterparty (Tampa, FL) 13 // Big Gripp & Tony Neal @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) 14 // Nick Ngo, Scoot of Dem Hoodstarz, & RO @ Hot Import Nights Car Show (San Mateo, CA) 15 // Da Bizness @ Patchwerk Studios for Music University (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Buttahman & Kia Shine @ Ten Pin bowling alley for Kia Shine’s “Checkin’ My Fresh” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 17 // K-Loc, The Jacka & PK @ 17 Hertz Studios (Hayward, CA) 18 // Nicki Minaj & DJ Chuck T @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) 19 // Arab & JBAR @ Coan Park for Soulja Boy’s “Gucci Bandana” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 20 // Turf Talk, J Stalin, & Erk The Jerk on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,02,03,07,08,09,11,14,17,20); Julia Beverly (05,16); Kingpin (10,12,13); Ms Rivercity (06,15,18,19); Ralph Smith (04)
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(above L-R): Tank & Shawty Lo @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Jas Prince & J Prince @ The Palms for the I Am Music Tour in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: D-Ray); Mistah FAB & Baydilla in Anchorage, AK (Photo: Julia Beverly)
01 // Jasper Cameron & Polow da Don @ Patchwerk Studios for Music University (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Mohawk Marlon, B-Legit, Kenn, & Willie Joe @ Laverde Lounge (San Francisco, CA) 03 // Jarvis & Kadife Sylvester @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 04 // BG & Sho Zoe @ Plies’ car show (Tampa, FL) 05 // Roccett, Jer-Z, & DJ Purfiya @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) 06 // Busta Rhymes & Wyclef @ Dolce for Flo Rida’s album release party (Miami, FL) 07 // DJ KTone & DJ Dimepiece @ Club 303 (Denver, CO) 08 // Shawty Lo & Young Jeezy @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 09 // AP9 & Deltrice on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 10 // Lil Wayne & Jas Prince @ Cash Money’s Pre-Grammy party (Hollywood, CA) 11 // Haji Springer, Stooie Bros, & E-40 on the set of “That’s How I Go” (Los Angeles, CA) 12 // Dah Dah & Daz @ the Mezzanine (San Francisco, CA) 13 // Dub G & Bankroll Jonez @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) 14 // Dorrough, Dame Fame & John Costen @ Otis Lounge (San Francisco, CA) 15 // Yo Gotti & Deshun Smith @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) 16 // Guest, Rocko, & KP @ the Artistry for Rick Ross’s listening party (Atlanta, GA) 17 // P-Nut & Cam @ Ten Pin bowling alley for Kia Shine’s “Checkin’ My Fresh” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Kaspa & DJ Ace @ Throbacks for Streettalk Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Fresh Kid Ice of 2 Live Crew & TJ Chapman (Tampa, FL) 20 // Tampa Stacy, Big CO, & DJ Benni Boom @ Plus for the Gucci Mane Welcome Home party (Jacksonville, FL) Photo Credits: D-Ray (02,09,10,11,12,14); Deshun Smith (15); DJ KTone (07); Eric Perrin (16); Julia Beverly (03,06,08,17); Kingpin (05,20); Maurice Garland (19); Ms Rivercity (01,13,18); Terrence Tyson (04)
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Are You a G? 7 Questions to FIND OUT if R&B star SAMMIE is the 7th letter of the alphabet. Sammie, who first signed with Capitol Records at age 12, is among an elite class of musicians who have topped the charts in two different decades. In the late 90’s he released the wildly popular singles, “I Like,” and “The Crazy Things I Do For Love,” and currently, he is the melodic voice featured on Soulja Boy’s “Kiss Me Thru The Phone.” Having separated from Dallas Austin and Rowdy Records, Sammie recently started his own imprint, Star Camp, and is working on his third album, Coming Of Age. A. Do you have any aliases? My New York friends call me Samo, my aunties called me Sambo, and my pops, I don’t understand how he got this name, but they call him Foxy, so they call me Foxy Jr. sometimes, too. I guess I got that name my default. No way can we award points to a male R&B artists for a nickname like Foxy Jr., sorry brotha. B. What’s the most untrue rumor you’ve heard about yourself? People have these misconceptions that I’m real cocky and arrogant, and I’m far from that. I’m real humble, and I think me going to school and graduating from a public high school helped me to stay humble, and to stay real and stay true. Most child stars are home schooled or have private tutors, so we’ll award Sammie for actually being G’ enough to tough it out in an Atlanta public high school. 26 // OZONE MAG
C. How did the kids in high school treat you? My freshman year of high school was one of the craziest years ever. The dudes were hating, but the ladies loved me. I used to have security escort me to class, but I figured if I just stayed down and stayed true, in due time people would really get to see me. Midway through my sophomore year I was just a regular dude on campus, nobody was trippin’ on who I was. I played basketball for two years, I was homecoming king, I was on the choir my junior and senior years. I pretty much lived the regular, normal high school life. The fact that you had security escorts and sung on the choir omit you from gaining points on this question. D. When was the last time you got in a fight? I got in some altercations in high school, but not really any fist fights. I’m a hot-head, so when I get mad I might say the craziest thing and my mouth probably kept me out of a lot of fights. I’m from Miami, so I’ve always been tough, and I always had heart. I talk a lot of trash, and I play basketball, so if I’m bustin’ your ass in basketball, I’m gonna let you know I’m bustin’ your ass, so a couple of times I got into a push or shove here, but nothing major. Sammie and Bow Wow probably square up all the time on the court. E. Craziest thing you’ve ever done for love? My ex-girlfriend was the only chick I’ve ever been in love with. I sent her flowers ‘cause I couldn’t
be there for her birthday, and that’s not crazy, but I was just really gone over her. I was really sprung for a minute. I was 18, so I was wide open. Check: If buying a chick flowers for her birthday when he was out on the road is craziest thing he’s ever done for love, Sammie has us all beat on this one. F. Worst song you’ve been a part of? It was a song called “Hey” that was just too pop for me. It didn’t come out, thank God, I recorded it, and every song is not gonna be a hot record, but one thing I’ve been blessed with is the ability to sing, so I can really sound good. I can make a bad song sound good, and a good song sound great, and that’s not being cocky, that’s just a blessing. Foxy Jr. gets credit for being confident in his singing abilities. G. Do you have friends or relatives in jail? I do, unfortunately. Sammie didn’t really want to talk about this question, which means whomever he knows in jail is either a really close relative, or did something punishingly severe. Score: 4/7 Nicknames like Foxy Jr, and security escorts almost cost Sammie a passing grade, but overall his modesty and decision to attend public schools amidst his celebrity promoted Sammie to a G’. Look out for Coming of Age, which he says is his most personal album yet. - Eric Perrin
Hood Deeds WORDS By Eric Perrin // PHOTO BY JOHNNY NUNEZ On May 11th, rapper and community activist T.I. joined forces with Al Sharpton in Harlem, NY to speak out against gun violence in the community. T.I., which is facing an impending one year and one day sentence for felony gun possession, took the opportunity to apologize to those in attendance before stating his case. “The same gun activity that I’m standing right here in front of you today attempting to stop, I was once was a part of it. I once played a huge, huge part in promoting it. A lot of people do it as a fashion statement, but for me it was a part of life,” he said. “LeBron James played basketball, Walter Payton played football; I carried guns and slung dope as a 13 year old. That’s why I feel like I owe you guys an apology, but I feel like all the experiences that I gathered in that time is exactly the tools that I need to be able to get out here and reach the people that are now doing what I used to do.” T.I. also took the opportunity to speak on his looming prison sentence, stating, “I will be back. And when I get back you gon’ see me standing stronger, wiser, richer, and I’ma be singing the same song.” Sharpton, who was speaking to a home crowd in his native New York, expressed his belief that T.I. shouldn’t be imprisoned at all. “He made a mistake, and he’s trying to correct a mistake. We don’t need him locked down. We need him out here trying to correct the mistakes,” Sharpton said to a roaring audience. The event was broadcast on MTVNews.com.
1. DJ PETER PARKER (www.myspace.com/djpeterparker1)
Yeah, a DJ named Clark Kent has become a Hip Hop legend, but that doesn’t mean every superhero alter ego is cool. Peter Parker was and still is the epitome of a geek. This Queens, New York-based DJ isn’t making the name any cooler. Known for DJing and taking photos in a Spider Man mask, Parker has ties to the Duck Down Records family and he hosts a podcast, Rhyme Tyme, where the likes of Slum Village have stopped by.
2. THE METERMAIDS (www.myspace.com/metermaids) Sure, metermaids may have their own reality show on cable TV a year or so ago but that still doesn’t make them cool enough to name your rap group after them. 3. LO-DOWN ENTERTAINMENT (www.myspace.com/valetv)
The words “low” and “down” are like oil and water, they will never mix. Though it’s not as bad as the Down Low Entertainment moniker we featured months ago, this is still a pig that doesn’t fly straight.
(above L-R): Yung LA & Young Dro on the set of their “Take Off” video shoot in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity); BG with his mother & son on the set of the Chopper City Boyz’ ‘Bubble Gum’ video shoot in New Orleans, LA (Photo: Marcus DeWayne); Droop-E & E-40 @ Pure in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: D-Ray)
01 // Lil Chuckee, Mack Maine, & Lil Twist @ the I Am Music tour (San Jose, CA) 02 // E, Rob Reyes & Maino @ Otis Lounge (San Francisco, CA) 03 // Playaz Circle @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Treal @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) 05 // UNI @ the Key Club (Los Angeles, CA) 06 // Kia Shine & DJ Trauma @ Ten Pin bowling alley for Kia Shine’s “Checkin’ My Fresh” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Rappin 4Tay, Snoop Dogg, JT Tha Bigga Figga, Dru Down, Kurupt, & Daz @ the Mezzanine (San Francisco, CA) 08 // Carol City Cartel, Rick Ross, & Block @ BET’s Spring Bling (Riviera Beach, FL) 09 // Guest & Summer Walker on the set of DJ Drama’s “Daydreaming” video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 10 // Damani, Bad Lucc, Glasses Malone, & Terrace Martin @ Avalon (Hollywood, CA) 11 // Janiro Hawkins & guests @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) 12 // XSF & Haji Springer @ Street Symphony Studios (Fremont, CA) 13 // Sleepy, Droop-E, & D-Lo on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 14 // Guest & Maino @ Otis Lounge (San Francisco, CA) 15 // DJ Drama & Tambra Cherie @ Freelon’s (Jackson, MS) 16 // DJ Tito Bell & DJ Amen on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 17 // Juggie & Rick Ross @ NV Lounge for Rick Ross’s afterparty (New Orleans, LA) 18 // Mari, Devi Dev, DJ Backside, & D-Ray on the set of “That’s How I Go” (Los Angeles, CA) 19 // Freddy Hydro & Janiro Hawkins @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,02,05,07,09,10,12,13,14,16,18); DJ Who (11); Julia Beverly (03,06); Kingpin (19); Marcus DeWayne (17); Ms Rivercity (04); Ralph Smith (15); Terrence Tyson (08)
OZONE MAG // 27
YOUNG JEEZY & ALFAMEGA Alfamega: Hey Boss, I need to holla at you about something real serious. Jeezy:Whut up fool? I heard you got pushed off a building and broke yo legs? Alfamega: Affirmative. Jeezy: Damn my nigga, you straight? Alfamega: Negative. Hell no, I ain’t straight. I can’t walk. Got fired from my last gig and Grand Hustle cancelled my health benefits, got a nigga all fucked up. I need to holla at u bout a job. Jeezy: Damn my nigga, that’s fucked up, but we ain’t hiring no more. It’s a Recession. Everybody broke. Alfamega: Copy that, But U need me, you done turnt all soft and shit fuckin wit khloe Kardatchien and shit. I can give you street cred, look what I did from my last employer. I used to knock niggas out left and right. Jeezy: Man, my nigga. I ain’t got no positions open. Why don’t you go to DTP or something? Alfamega: What about Blood Raw job? That nigga ain’t doing nothing. Jeezy: Hell naw nigga, Blood Raw be makin them good ass lattes and cappuccinos. That shit’s like crack, nigga. Alfamega: What about Slick Pulla’s job? He ain’t loyal. I got evidence that he was conspiring with DJ Drama last week about doing a mixtape. But ain’t hear that from me. Jeezy: I don’t know about all that, but bottom line is that I ain’t got no job for you my nigga…ain’t you an informant?
OZONE EXCLUSIVE Textin’ is no longer safe now that OZONE’s dangerous minds have hacked the system.
Alfamega: What kinda benefits package does CTE provide? Cause Grand Hustle gave me a 401K, and full medical and dental insurance with some free Akoo clothes. But all I want from you is Medical insurance and some 8732 clothes…naw nevermind. I don’t need that shit. Let me just get some insurance so I can get my legs fixed. Jeezy: Man dude, I told yo ass we ain’t hiring. Alfamega: Fuck you, nigga. Rick Ross already offered me a job anyway, I just ain’t wanna fuck with the police no more. But now it’s on. I’m gon’ start my own group, The Alfabet Boyz. You better watch yo back, nigga.
From the minds of Eric Perrin & Randy Roper Photos by Thaddaeus McAdams & Julia Beverly
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(above L-R): DJ Black & OJ da Juiceman @ Club Industry in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity); Young Dro, Maino, & Kia Shine @ Ten Pin bowling alley for Kia Shine’s “Checkin’ My Fresh” video shoot in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Stunna of The Pack & Tyga @ Cash Money’s Pre-Grammy party in Hollywood, CA (Photo: D-Ray)
01 // Lady Dolla, Tracey Smith & Chopper City Records VP Carol Dorsey on the set of the Chopper City Boyz’ “Bubble Gum” video shoot (New Orleans, LA) 02 // Droop-E, Scoot of Dem Hoodstarz, & Nump on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 03 // VIC & Hollywood @ Pure (Atlanta, GA) 04 // DJ Infamous & MLK @ Pure (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Daz Dillinger & Soopafly @ Avalon (Hollywood, CA) 06 // Busta Rhymes & Latin Prince @ the Grammys radio room (Los Angeles, CA) 07 // DJ Scream & J Money @ Crucial for J Money’s mixtape release party (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Baydilla & P-Nut @ KGOT (Anchorage, AK) 09 // Oakland Raiders’ Damarcus Russell & Baby @ The Rock (Las Vegas, NV) 10 // Mr Marcus & Aurora Jolie on the set of Trey Songz’ “Brand New” (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Baydilla & Cam @ Club Elixir for OZONE’s Alaska party (Anchorage, AK) 12 // Bigga Rankin & Terrence Tyson @ Plus for the Gucci Mane Welcome Home party (Jacksonville, FL) 13 // Rachel, guest, & Shawty Lo @ Freelon’s (Jackson, MS) 14 // Dah Dah, Kurupt, & Supa Fly @ the Mezzanine (San Francisco, CA) 15 // Kenya Cabine & Jadakiss @ E93 (Savannah, GA) 16 // Checkin’ Their Fresh @ Ten Pin bowling alley for Kia Shine’s “Checkin’ My Fresh” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Chris J & Suga D @ the Underground (Tampa, FL) 18 // Jigga JT & New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin & his wife @ the Bayou Classic (New Orleans, LA) 19 // Mad Linx, DJ Q45, Mr Indiana, & T @ Big Engine Entertainment’s Christmas Party (Indianapolis, IN) 20 // Flesh Bone & Layzie Bone of Bone Thugs N Harmony (Los Angeles, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (02,05,06,09,14,20); Eric Perrin (19); Julia Beverly (03,04,08,10,11,16); Kenya Cabine (15); Kingpin (12); Marcus DeWayne (01,18); Ms Rivercity (07); Ralph Smith (13); Terrence Tyson (17)
OZONE MAG // 29
When a woman gives herself a nickname like Toni, she’s probably trying to tell the world something about her personality. In the case of this Akron, Ohio native, the unisex name she selected does just that. “I chose the name Toni because I think it’s sexy for a girl to have a guy’s name and wear it well. I’m a little mannish in bed so the name really fits me,” she divulges. And when asked in which ways she’s “mannish” in bed, Toni confidently responds, “I’m pretty controlling, not exactly to the point of being a dominatrix, but I love to be in control. I’m very dominant. I’m definitely not the kind of girl that lays on my back during sex. I like running the show.” Not only does Toni enjoy running the show, but she’s usually the star as well. Whether she is on stage dancing, walking down the runway modeling, or starring in a music video, Toni commands attention. And when she is not on somebody’s stage, she’s probably at home deeply engaged in one of her favorite urban erotica novels. Toni is an avid adult content reader and even plans on one day bringing her own experiences to the page. “One day I want to write my own erotica,” she confesses. “And it wouldn’t necessarily be a biography of my own life, but I have a lot of experiences that I would incorporate in a book. It would probably be just as steamy, if not worse, than the stories I read.” Aside from her love of provocative literature, Toni is also passionate about modeling. Though she feels her height and 3424-38 frame will hinder her from high fashion, the tasty temptress believes there is a place for her in the modeling world. “I’d love to do Playboy or even Victoria Secret,” she says. “I’m very controlling sexually and I’d love to model lingerie. I think lingerie is powerful, and that would really fit my personality.” Words by Eric Perrin Website: Strokersclub.com Booking: myspace.com/strokersatl Photography: DC The Brain Supreme dcphotoimaging.com Make up and Hair Styling by Mike Mike 678-732-5285
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(above L-R): Block & Gorilla Zoe @ Plies’ car show in Tampa, FL (Photo: Eric Perrin); Willis McGahee & Dante Culpepper @ his youth football camp in Miami, FL (Photo: J Lash); Shawty Lo & Drumma Boy @ Gorilla Zoe’s movie screening in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity)
01 // Lil Duval & Ms Dynasty on the set of Young Dro & Yung LA’s “Take Off” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Grand Hussle & Power 102.9’s DownTown Leslie Brown @ The Bobby Valentino concert @ Club Xquisite (New Orleans, LA) 03 // Killer Mike & Chubbie Baby @ the Artistry for Rick Ross’s listening party (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Kenny Burns & Echo Hattix (Tampa, FL) 05 // Cory Mo, Greg Street, Fonsworth Bentley, & Dee Sonoram @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 06 // JC & Gorilla Zoe @ the Atlanta Zoo for Zoe’s “Don’t Feed The Animals” listening party (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Bay Bay, Yung Joc, & Paul Wall @ Koko’s for Bay Bay’s birthday bash (Shreveport, LA) 08 // Mistah FAB & Prynce @ Pure (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Haitian Fresh, Busta Rhymes, & Wyclef @ Dolce for Flo Rida’s album release party (Miami, FL) 10 // J Diggs & ladies @ Pink Diamonds for the Romper Room Gang’s American Gangsta release party (San Francisco, CA) 11 // Cali, Danger, DJ Q45 & Caviar (Pittsburgh, PA) 12 // Megga & Buddy-Ro @ Club Elixir for OZONE’s Alaska party (Anchorage, AK) 13 // Big Chris, Hoopz, guest, & Riskay @ Studio Inc for Jeff “Left Hook” Lacey’s fight afterparty (Tampa, FL) 14 // DJ E-Feezy & Big Juan @ Jim Porters (Louisville, KY) 15 // Bishop Magic Don Juan & Bad Lucc @ Avalon (Hollywood, CA) 16 // Mr Collipark & Kaye Dunaway @ Pure (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Fat Joe, Jim Jonsin, & Rico Love @ Automatic Slims for Jim Jonsin’s Grammy party (Ft Lauderdale, FL) 18 // DJ Southern Belle & Kingpin @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) Photo Credits: D-Ray (10,15); DJ Who (18); Eric Perrin (03,07); Julia Beverly (05,08,09,12,16); Kingpin (13); Malik Abdul (14); Marcus DeWayne (02); Ms Rivercity (01,06); Seth Browarnik (17); Terrence Tyson (04,11)
OZONE MAG // 31
editor’s note I’m Just Sayin’tho by D-Ray S
even years! Congratulations to the whole OZONE family. It takes so much to keep a magazine together, especially today with so many businesses folding! Having a team of believers brings success. Believe that!
time I go through my archives of these years. I get calls every week asking if I have a picture of kids that keep killing each other. Sometimes I’m the only person who has pictures of them. These moments, good or bad, are moments we can never get back.
Seven years back, wow. There’s so much to touch on with such a small column. Back then, I was in the game for a couple years working for another magazine out of the West Coast. It was very similar to OZONE, although it didn’t have my favorite part (the eye catching Photo Galleries). As much time as that takes to put together, JB never took the section away.
I thought it was over when my grandfather passed away. Mind you, I just started working with OZONE Magazine 5 months before his passing so I began to lose focus when I saw him deteriorating due to the illness. The day after his funeral I had to hop on a flight to my first OZONE Awards, the 2nd annual in Miami. I was not myself. I was real numb and I had my walls closed. I sucked it up and it turned out to be a great trip, but when I got back to the West Coast I kinda gave up for a few months, feeling like my heart just died.
There’s so much to reflect back on since then. I quit my guaranteed paycheck to join the grind of the Hip Hop world. Also, I had to balance taking care of my ill grandfather, who had Parkinson’s disease and dementia. That was a part of my journey which allowed me to continue taking photos in the game. R.I.P. Grandpa, 2007. My hero forever. In the beginning I was taking a lot of Mistah FAB’s pictures. I saw a talent in him that I couldn’t deny. So to be able to freeze moments throughout his whole career is priceless. I was also shooting red carpet Hollywood events with platinum artists, not to mention, I do have a James Brown photo. That’s when I started to realize that the Bay Area needed me. I thought, damn, why not help home get on through my lens?
I wasn’t sure about this career I chose any longer. Not just from the loss of my grandfather, but all the BULLSHIT. The stress of dealing with promoters, managers, artists, publicists, and whoever else came with the program. I went back, reflected, separated myself from everything, and thought about the time I gave up to this game. That was time I could’ve been spending with my grandfather. That made me think of what he would want. He would want me to complete my journey. He didn’t raise a quitter.
Fabby is a superstar and he was who really drew me to the urban side of photography. I feel like I have to help tell his musical story through my lens. By 2003, the hyphy movement popped off and I happened to be at the forefront of the movement with my lens, freezing the craziest, most hyphy things you can ever imagine. Concerts, sideshows, rap battles, dreads, turf dancing, the whole nine. Be on the look out for the photo book; it will be coming soon to show the world the movement with plenty of visual examples.
I began to go extra hard for my coast, the West Coast. Throw your W’s up! I have been running ever since. I got a chance to get great photos of many artists I would’ve never got to build with if I had quit. Thanks JB for the love and opportunity. And to my lady Wendy Day, I love you for the cosign! G. Archer, you’re the best for keeping me going! Fabby, kid, without you I would have never perfected my performance shots! Frank Herrera, thanks for the top secret talk; that keeps me on my toes in this industry. And shout out to all the other artists who played a part in keeping me hungry in the game. If you do not approach the music industry with focus and grind, your talent won’t matter. Just keep it up and step your bars up or move out of the way for the real talent. Don’t clog the drain anymore. If you have a hobby, that’s one thing. A career is another. You have to be serious, hungry, humble, and willing to accept the criticism and politics in this game. Trust me, the politics are ugly!
Around that time, I also met one of my favorite rappers of all time. “Too Hard For The Fucking Radio” Mac Dre himself. “I’m a boss, fuck what it cost.” He’s a legend! T.I.P. Meeting Dre was like, wow! I was so silly I really didn’t believe it was Dre. We were doing a radio run and they played “California Livin’.” I was giggling to the song and he walked out of the studio and said, “You know nothing about this!” I looked at him with a crazy look and said, “Shit, you know nothing about this!” He gave me a Thizz Face, smiled, went out front and lit up a Backwood. G.A. then told me, “That’s Mac Dre’s song.” Then I realized, yes, that is muthafuckin’ Mac Dre!
I have no regrets when it comes to what I do, although it’s a difficult task at times. I’m pretty anti-social, I’m a loner, and I don’t really trust too many people because not too many of them can trust themselves. With that being said, I’m happy with this journey I’ve chosen. I do this for the love I have for the talent in others. I feel like the kid who gets benched for being bad at recess. You can see and hear the kids playing as you’re watching them, but can’t join the fun. I’m a square when it comes to partying; I don’t drink of party too hard. I love to stay at the house. I only go because I get that exclusive treatment and experience.
From that day on, “Thizz iz what it iz.” I became the official THIZZ photographer during the last years of Dre’s life and I’ve been THIZZ ever since! I’ve got one of the only photos of Dre at his last birthday party. The growth of my photography career has been a wild journey. Many experiences, many growing pains, juggling through these years taking care of my granddaddy and seeing so many soldiers in the game falling to the fast life or the Federal Pen. It’s a pain I feel in my heart and a super rush in my brain every
Support those who support you! Family first. Loyalty is rare today and success is hard to come by. Respect is something you earn, not deserve. The way I see it, the more people that hate me, the less people I have to please!
I believe in the talent coming from the Bay. I have been lucky enough to have shot photos of almost everyone from the Bay. I never had the opportunity to shoot Tupac, and I’m saddened by that. By the time I became serious about my photo grind a hater had already taken his life.
- D-Ray, OZONE West Editor-At-Large firstname.lastname@example.org
Kilo, D-Ray, & J-Diggs @ Pink Diamonds for Me & Roccett gettin’ breakthe Romper Room Gang’s American Gangsta fast in Vegas after hittin’ LAX release party in San Francisco
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Mack Maine & me in LA
Mario & me in LA at Baby Bash’s video shoot
(above L-R): Young Jeezy & Ludacris @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Akon & Glasses Malone on the set of DJ Drama’s “Daydreaming” video shoot in Los Angeles, CA; DJ Quik @ the Key Club for his birthday party in Hollywood, CA (Photos: D-Ray)
01 // OJ, Courtney Money, & G Boy @ Club Industry (Atlanta, GA) 02 // RahMean & Cellski @ The Room (San Francisco, CA) 03 // Suge Knight, J-Diggs, Kilo, & Big Dante @ Pink Diamonds for the Romper Room Gang’s American Gangsta release party (San Francisco, CA) 04 // Guest, Nokey, & Roccett @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 05 // DJ Rick Lee & Kafani @ Otis Lounge (San Francisco, CA) 06 // Droop-E & Laroo @ Pure (Las Vegas, NV) 07 // Fat Joe & DJ Khaled @ Velvet Room for DJ Infamous’ anniversary party (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Kafani Da Ice King & Dorrough @ Otis Lounge (San Francisco, CA) 09 // DJ Q45 & Rick Ross @ NV Lounge for Rick Ross’s afterparty (New Orleans, LA) 10 // J Nicks & Gucci Mane @ Primetime for Gucci Mane’s Welcome Home party (Atlanta, GA) 11 // DJ Ekin & Shayna Smith @ BET’s Spring Bling (Riviera Beach, FL) 12 // C.E.O, Willie Joe, Traxamillion, & Nump on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 13 // Gary Archer & Frank White @ Laverde Lounge (San Francisco, CA) 14 // Fish Scales of the Nappy Roots & guest @ Pure (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Kingpin & DJ Stupac @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) 16 // Dubb Union’s Soopafly, Damani, & Bad Lucc @ Avalon (Hollywood, CA) 17 // Lil Wun, Baby Boy & Rick Ross @ NV Lounge for Rick Ross’s afterparty (New Orleans, LA) 18 // Betty Wright & Jim Jonsin @ Automatic Slims for Jim Jonsin’s Grammy party (Ft Lauderdale, FL) 19 // Rovella Williams & Ms Rivercity @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) 20 // Mr Smith & guest @ Club 360 for Rick Ross’s Super Bowl viewing party (Tampa, FL) Photo Credits: D-Ray (02,03,05,06,08,12,13,16); Eric Perrin (10,20); Julia Beverly (04,07,14); Kingpin (15,19); Marcus DeWayne (09,17); Ms Rivercity (01); Seth Browarnik (18); Terrence Tyson (11)
OZONE MAG // 33
Ways Ozone Impacted The Game Rappers are more careful about the groupies they mess with
If you’re wondering why you don’t see Groupie Confessions in Ozone anymore, it’s because rappers stopped messing with a lot of them in fear of getting put on blast. Who would’ve ever thought that our funny little column would have rappers scared of free pussy?
Made Mr. 9-to-5 think “hey, I can do it too!”
DJ Green Lantern once joked that OZONE is full of people he’s never heard of. That’s kind of the point. We break artists before the rest of the media hops on the bandwagon, and that’s why we’re your “favorite rapper’s favorite magazine.” But with that, we get flooded with interview requests from artists that we’ve never heard of either. Message to up and coming rappers: just because you see a rapper in the magazine that YOU don’t know, doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve it. We don’t just pick random cats off the street or interview everyone that asks. We do have a vetting process.
Made pictures worth more than a thousand words
Over the years, we’ve found that to some, having a picture in the OZONE photo galleries is a greater accomplishment than earning a PhD. Our galleries were around before most of your favorite club photos websites too. So, guess you can say we’ve been making stars out of the non-talented for some time now.
We Made It Cool To Hate
Lil Duval’s “10 Things I’m Hating On” column actually made it funny and cool to hate. Most haters are afraid to show their face in fear of a public ass-whupping, but Duval not only put his face on his work, he called out people and places he was liable to run into the next day. When he stopped doing the column, we feared not being able to keep it going. But to our surprise, people volunteered to fill his hating throne.
Let everyone know “the South had something to say”
We’re not going to even begin to try to list the number of rappers that appeared in OZONE months, or even years, before they began popping up other magazines after they signed deals or landed on the Billboard charts. We won’t brag about putting Pimp C on the cover (below left) while he was prison or being there the day he got out . Probably won’t speak on spawning at least a dozen OZONE Jr. magazines claiming to cover Southern Hip Hop either.
Made everyone want to be free
Before OZONE, it was hard to find a good rap magazine outside of the newsstands free of charge. When we hit in 2002 giving our mags away at clubs and industry events, all of a sudden everyone wanted to give theirs away too.
Took the blame for everything that ruined Hip Hop
Every Southern artist that gets blamed for “ruining Hip Hop” was either featured in OZONE first or only interviewed for OZONE. Every fight at every award show gets compared to the OZONE awards even though we’ve only had three of them. Any rapper that gets locked up? It’s because of something he said in our magazine. Beef? Always our fault too.
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(above L-R): Damani & Snoop Dogg @ the Mezzanine in San Francisco, CA; Allen Iverson & Jas Prince @ the W Hotel in Scottsdale, AZ (Photos: D-Ray); Rick Ross & Tity Boy of Playaz Circle @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly)
01 // Guest & Chad Johnson @ Willis McGahee’s youth football camp (Miami, FL) 02 // Big CO & Jackie Chain @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) 03 // Kerisha & Markus @ Ten Pin bowling alley for Kia Shine’s “Checkin’ My Fresh” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Eddy & Abe @ Caliskatz (Freont, CA) 05 // BOB, DJ King Ron, Bigga Rankin, Derek Washington, & TJ Chapman @ Big Spenda Studios (Jacksonville, FL) 06 // DJ Holiday, Gucci Mane, & Zaytoven @ Metronome Studios (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Young Dro gets his pole waxed @ Ten Pin bowling alley for Kia Shine’s “Checkin’ My Fresh” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 08 // J Nicks & Monica @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Colby O’Donis & Jay Rock @ the Grammys radio room (Los Angeles, CA) 10 // Drake & DJ Mack @ American Airlines Arena (Dallas, TX) 11 // Madeleine, Mistah FAB, & Roslyn @ Club Elixir for OZONE’s Alaska party (Anchorage, AK) 12 // Kia Shine & video models @ Ten Pin bowling alley for Kia Shine’s “Checkin’ My Fresh” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Shayna Smith & Lyntina Townsend @ BET’s Spring Bling (Riviera Beach, FL) 14 // Venom & guests @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) 15 // ATL bloggers @ Atlanta 300 (Atlanta, GA) 16 // DJ Rick Lee & Traxamillion @ Otis Lounge (San Francisco, CA) 17 // Debra & Gucci Mane @ 3141 for DJ Infamous’ live mixtape session (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Lady Mirage Models @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) 19 // Ju & Waka Flocka Flame @ Coan Park for Soulja Boy’s “Gucci Bandana” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (04,09,16); DJ Who (14); Eric Perrin (17); J Lash (01); Julia Beverly (03,07,11,12,15); Kingpin (02); Ms Rivercity (06,08,18,19); Terrence Tyson (05,13); Tre Dubb (10)
OZONE MAG // 35
LUCKY SEVEN ARTISTS Note from the editor (JB): I did not write this :)
These artists must have had luck on their side to have gotten on in the first place.
If Jermaine Dupri hadn’t given Young Bow Wow a record deal out of boredom, or a momentary lapse in good judgment, we doubt Lambo Moss would have ever gotten on, or gotten with Ciara. He might have still had a shot with Superhead though. Things were going great for Bow Wow – he had a solid female fan base, he had a Black Card, he had it all – until he tried to go hood. If he’d just kept it 100, Bow Wow could have gone all the way to Miley Cyrus status.
Anyone that can create a valid career out of a reality show role is fortunate. Claiming their fame on Diddy’s Making the Band Part 20,000, Danity Kane sold a million copies of their debut studio album. We can’t explain how they accomplished this when nobody can name one record these chicks sing. Nor can people identify any of the group members aside from the blonde slutty one, and D Woods. Though they were blessed with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, D.K. fouled it up when they tried to bite the hand that feeds them. Nobody goes against Diddy. Nobody.
MIMS (above left)
Not much really needs to be said here, but just for laughs we’ll come up with a few words. First off, what kind of name is MIMS? That right there should have shut down his career. Second of all, MIMS stands for…hold on, let’s Google it…Music is My Savior. As corny as his name is, people seemed to overlook it when “This is Why I’m Hot” hit the Billboard charts. Despite having a moniker more questionable than Kanye’s heterosexuality, and having virtually no co-signers in his hometown, MIMS landed one of the hottest records of 2007. After failing to place another radio single MIMS should have disappeared, but he instead he released a second album earlier this year. This time MIMS wasn’t as lucky with the numbers, but you have to give him credit for trying.
OJ da Juiceman (left)
Nobody thought OJ da Juiceman would make it past being a “catchy ad-lib rapper,” but after landing a #1 radio chart topper with “Make the Trap Say Aye,” OJ’s buzz is going strong, even in New York. Speaking of lucky, how do you get a song on the radio with every other word edited out? “Quarter (pause), half a (pause), whole (pause), aye!” Besides having a super radio unfriendly single, Juice also faced a big challenge being affiliated with another rapper – Gucci Mane. Now that OJ’s beaten the odds, some might even look at OJ and Gucci as the next Big Boi and Andre…well, that might be a stretch.
Everybody loves to hate the Shop Boyz, so we figured they should be added to this list. We’re not exactly sure how their first (and only) major hit got so big, started a movement that spread quicker than the Swine Flu, and disappeared faster than Cassie’s naked internet pics. Guess it was a fluke. Locally in Atlanta, the Shop Boyz can still be heard in clubs and on the radio, but outside of their hometown the trio has sadly been forgotten, along with chain wallets and spiky belts.
He’s been criticized, mocked, blamed for the demise of Hip Hop, even robbed at gunpoint, but Young Soulja keeps on ticking. Not only does he create a new hit damn near every week, SB is so popular he has his own personal videographer from Worldstarhiphop.com following him 24 hours a day – just in case he does something interesting in his sleep. Even though he has more haters than anyone could count, and he’s yet to be taken seriously as an artist, SB has more money, cars, clothes, and hoes than some of your favorite rappers. YouTube him.
2 Pistols (left)
For a one-hit wonder, Two Pee’s (a.k.a. Yung Berg) sure does get a lot of record deals. Why do people keep signing him? Is he related to a major label executive? Who did he smash to get on? Ever since the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League gave their young protégé the boot and publicly dissed him, it’s been tough times for 2 Pistols. But at least he’s still got a lot of jewelry. That counts for something.
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(above L-R): Gucci Mane & Soulja Boy @ Coan Park for Soulja Boy’s “Gucci Bandana” video shoot in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity); Slim Thug & Papa Duck @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party in Orlando, FL (Photo: Malik Abdul); Aurora Jolie & Mr Marcus @ the Velvet Room for DJ Infamous’ anniversary party in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Eric Perrin)
01 // Rico Brooks, Gorilla Zoe, & Mike Kyser on South Beach (Miami, FL) 02 // AP9, Unk & Kafani Da Ice King on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 03 // Bigga Rankin, OJ Da Juiceman, & G-Boy (Jacksonville, FL) 04 // Cam & Kia Shine @ Ten Pin bowling alley for Kia Shine’s “Checkin’ My Fresh” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 05 // DJ Nik Bean & J. Wells @ Avalon (Hollywood, CA) 06 // Baby Bash & Mario on the set of Baby Bash’s “That’s How I Go” (Los Angeles, CA) 07 // Waka Flocka Flame & DJ Drama @ Coan Park for Soulja Boy’s “Gucci Bandana” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Lil Scrappy, Willy Northpole, Ludacris, I-20, Lil Fate, & Shawnna @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Jay Rock, 211, & Omarion @ Cash Money’s Pre-Grammy party (Hollywood, CA) 10 // J Prince & Lady Unique @ The Palms for the I Am Music Tour (Las Vegas, NV) 11 // Asher Roth & Kenny Hamilton @ 95.5 (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Damani, Diamond, & Glasses Malone @ Avalon (Hollywood, CA) 13 // Plies models @ Plies’ car show (Tampa, FL) 14 // Q da Kid & guest @ Atlanta 300 (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Kia Shine & Lil C @ Ten Pin bowling alley for Kia Shine’s “Checkin’ My Fresh” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Sophia Del Carmen & Jim Jonsin @ Automatic Slims for Jim Jonsin’s Grammy party (Ft Lauderdale, FL) 17 // Baby Boy, Love & Suave Bob @ NV Lounge for Rick Ross’s afterparty (New Orleans, LA) 18 // Scoot & Dem Hoodstarz crew reppin’ Band-Aide @ Hot Import Nights Car Show (San Mateo, CA) 19 // Turf Talk & Gary Archer @ Street Symphony Studios (Fremont, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (02,05,06,09,10,12,18,19); Eric Perrin (13); Julia Beverly (01,04,08,14,15); Marcus DeWayne (17); Ms Rivercity (07,11); Seth Browarnik (16); Terrence Tyson (03)
OZONE MAG // 37
BEST Ozone PATIENTLY WAITINGS
Words by Randy Roper Photos by Julia Beverly
Over the years, OZONE has been the first to introduce the “unknown” artists who go on to becomem superstars. Sometimes we miss on rappers like Apollo Kreed, Big Mook, Kenny Thomas, who are never heard from again. But other times we hit with artists like Webbie, Yung Joc and Chamillionaire, who go on to stardom. And yes, we take pride in acquainting readers with artists that other publications take months, sometimes years, to catch onto. So, for our 7th Anniversary issue, we decided to take a look back at seven Patiently Waiting alumni that define the term “patiently waiting to blow.” You might not have known who they were back then, but you damn sure know who they are now.
Featured In: Issue #16 (September 2003) Back in 2003, Akon was a brand new SRC/Universal artist, waiting to release his debut album. Today he’s a Grammy-nominated international star, and his three albums have sold millions of copies worldwide.
Featured In: Issue #31 (February 2005) When Gucci Mane (left, in 2005) was first featured in OZONE, his single “So Icy” was just beginning to take off. Four years, six albums (who knows how many mixtapes), numerous hood classic singles, and a few jail stints later, Gucci has arguably the hottest street buzz of any rapper, not only in the South, but the rap game, period.
Featured In: Issue #24 (June 2004) In 2004, a then 20-year-old Boosie had already amassed a street buzz that most indie artists could never imagine. Five years later, while his commercial success remains imminent, Boosie Bad Azz has reached legendary status throughout the South.
Featured In: Issue #38 (September 2005) By the time Plies (left, in 2005) released his first official single “Shawty” in 2007, OZONE was two years ahead of the curve. Since 2007, Plies has released three albums in as many years, and his buzz amongst the streets and mainstream makes him on of the biggest rap stars of today. But we knew that was bound to happen since 2005.
Featured In: Issue #17 (October 2003) Before he was “da biggest boss that you’ve seen thus far,” Rick Ross (above right, in 2003) was patiently waiting on Slip-NSlide’s roster behind Trick Daddy and Trina. Fast-forward to 2009, and Da Boss has three #1 albums under his belt, and has been at the forefront of Miami’s rise to power in the rap game.
Featured In: Issue #34 (May 2005) Around 2005, this rappa ternt sanga (left, in 2005) from Tallahassee was riding the wave of his first single “Sprung.” Although OZONE was the first to feature T-Pain, no one predicted he’d become a Grammy-winning artist, with three successful albums, countless collaborations, and influence the entire game to record in auto-tune.
Featured In: Issue #24 (May 2004) Nowadays, Jeezy (right, in 2004) is without question one of the South’s brightest rap stars. But when OZONE introduced him in 2004, he was a member of Boyz N Da Hood and had just inked a deal with Def Jam.
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(above L-R): 50 Cent & Bay Bay @ Kokopellis for Bay Bay’s birthday bash in Shreveport, LA (Photo: Eric Perrin); Drake, Nicki Minaj, & Trey Songz @ the I Am Music Tour in Hampton, VA (Photo: Jax); Rocko & Rick Ross @ The Artistry in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Eric Perrin)
01 // Mekele, Lady Dolla, Quita, & the Chopper City models @ The Venue for the Chopper City Boyz listening party (New Orleans, LA) 02 // DJ Scream, Fonsworth Bentley, & DJ Spinz @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Mistah FAB, Day Day, & Baydilla @ Club Elixir for OZONE’s Alaska party (Anchorage, AK) 04 // Justin, Randy Roper, Big Ced, & Kenny Brewer @ Club Dreams for his birthday party (Columbia, SC) 05 // DJ Backside, Memphitz, & D-Ray @ Cash Money’s Pre-Grammy party (Hollywood, CA) 06 // Glasses Malone, Snoop Dogg, Tha Deacon, Damani, Jay Rock, & Soopafly on the set of DJ Drama’s “Daydreaming” video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 07 // Bobby V & video model on the set of his video shoot for “Hands On Me” (Atlanta, GA) 08 // E-40 & DJ Tito Bell on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 09 // DJ Blak & Teddy Bishop @ Patchwerk Studios for Music University (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Fonsworth Bentley, J Money, & Dee Sonoram @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Rob Reyes & his wife @ Otis Lounge (San Francisco, CA) 12 // Rick Rock, Unk, E-40, & Stress of The Federation on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin’” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 13 // The Jacka, T-Wayne, Scoot of Dem Hoodstarz, & Cellski on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin’” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 14 // Chaos & guest @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 15 // DJ Brad & Kaspa @ Throbacks for Streettalk Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Sweetness & Lil Rudy @ Plus for the Gucci Mane Welcome Home party (Jacksonville, FL) 17 // Klypso & Droop-E @ Expressions Studio (Berkeley, CA) 18 // Gucci Mane & J Money @ Primetime for Gucci Mane’s Welcome Home party (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Hoopz, Jeff Lacey, & Buckwheat @ Studio Inc for Jeff “Left Hook” Lacey’s fight afterparty (Tampa, FL) Photo Credits: D-Ray (05,06,08,11,12,13,17); Eric Perrin (04,07,18); Julia Beverly (03,10); Kingpin (16,19); Malik Abdul (14); Marcus DeWayne (01); Ms Rivercity (02,09,15)
OZONE MAG // 39
most controversial ozone moments Words and Photos by Julia Beverly
Lil Scrappy vs. the Orlando Police Department
Featured in: Issue #20 (February 2004) When Lil Scrappy dove shirtless into a crowded gymnasium full of high school girls during a performance of “Headbussas,” a damn near riot ensued, ending with Scrappy being pushed backwards nearly 20 feet off the stage by the Orlando Police Department. Thanks to some incriminating footage captured by yours truly, the moment will forever be remembered on the Beef DVDs. Scrappy avoided doing shows in Orlando for several years after that, and reportedly filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against OPD, the conclusion of which was never made public.
Lil Flip vs. T.I.
Featured in: Issue #25 (July 2004) As absurd as it may sound now, Lil Flip vs. T.I. was once viewed as a potentially fair fight. T.I., who was incarcerated at the time, managed to make a surprise appearance at Atlanta’s Hot 107.9’s birthday bash, where Flip was schedule to perform and had allegedly been making negative remarks about Tip while he was away. T.I. performed a scathing freestyle and held up the now-infamous pictures of Flip in the leprechaun suit with the title “GAME OVER” (photo at left). I hadn’t yet switched over to a digital camera at the time; had it been digital, I no doubt would’ve deleted this now-classic photo, since my first impression was that Tip was holding up some type of promotional posters.
Groupie Confessions Debut
Featured in: Issue #29 (November 2004) Who would’ve guessed that after years of covering underground Southern rappers, it would be Jay-Z’s dick that finally got us nationwide exposure? On New Years Day 2005, the New York Post (image at left) got ahold of a copy of OZONE’s annual sex issue in which groupies told sex tales about Jay-Z, Method Man, and others. OZONE’s office phones rang incessantly for a week with subscription and advertising requests. Can’t complain.
Lil Jon vs. TVT & Mannie Fresh vs. Cash Money
Featured in: Issue #37 (August 2005) Being in the right place at the right time led me to a couple unintentional exclusive breaking news articles/interviews in this issue. While conducting interviews for David Banner’s OZONE comic book, I sat down with Lil Jon on the Anger Management tour and the first words out of his mouth were “fuck Steve Gottlieb” of TVT Records, the label he was signed to at the time. A lot of legal drama ensued. Also, in a separate interview, Mannie Fresh matter-offactly revealed that he was leaving Cash Money.
Featured in: Issue #40 (December 2005) I tagged along for two days with a real-life pimp and his house full of brainwashed (in my opinion) hoes for the 2005 sex issue. The pimp insisted on me reading every line of the article to him by phone for edits, a bad idea considering that his lines were being tapped by Federal investigators who eventually arrested him for various prostitution charges involving transporting minors across state lines.
The Infamous Benzino Voicemails
Featured in: Issue #41 (January 2006) After sarcastically awarding Benzino the “Extortionist of the Year” Award for his work with The Source Magazine, I received several violent late night calls from then-Source owners Dave Mays & Benzino. The subsequent voicemails Benzino left on the OZONE office phone were released on the net (via the CORE DJs & Funkmaster Flex) so the world could appreciate his unique catchphrases (“Slut Monkey” being the most popular).
The Chronicles of Pimp C Debut
Featured in: Issue #58 (August 2007) That line on Jeezy’s “My President” where he forgives Pimp C for “speaking his mind”? That was our fault. When Pimp C called me late one night wanting to start his own OZONE column (above), I thought it was a great idea. Didn’t envision that his ranting about “dick-in-thebooty-ass” Ne-Yo and Russell Simmons and “quit lyin’ about dope prices” which kinda sounded like Jeezy jabs and statements like “Atlanta is not the South” would land him on radio stations across the country. Although he never named names, his “$17,500” comments were widely interpreted as Jeezy disses, and nearly led to bloodshed at the 2nd Annual OZONE Awards. R.I.P. Pimp C. Gotta love him.
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(above L-R): 106 & Park’s Terrance J & Bobby Valentino @ the Bayou Classic in New Orleans, LA (Photo: Marcus DeWayne); Young Dro & Yung Joc @ Kokopellis for Bay Bay’s birthday bash in Shreveport, LA (Photo: Maurice Garland); Baby & Allen Iverson @ the W Hotel in Scottsdale, AZ (Photo: D-Ray)
01 // Anthony Hamilton & his band @ House of Blues (New Orleans, LA) 02 // Big L, Benz, & Boo da Boss Playa @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Tyga & G.E.D. @ UGMX (San Jose, CA) 04 // 8Ball & fans @ Echo Studios for 8Ball & MJG’s listening session (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Pretty Ricky & Plies @ BET’s Spring Bling (Riviera Beach, FL) 06 // Cool & Dre @ Cash Money’s Pre-Grammy party (Hollywood, CA) 07 // Actor Jaime Hector & Lil Scrappy on the set of the movie “Just Another Day” (Orlando, FL) 08 // Mike Jones & Diamond @ The Loft (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Nicki Minaj & So Icey Boys @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) 10 // DJ Hi-C & Maino (Houston, TX) 11 // Mike Jones & fans on the set of “Swagg Thru Da Roof” (Houston, TX) 12 // DJ Nasty, The Incredibles, & Dru of The Runners @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s “Deeper Than Rap” release party (Miami, FL) 13 // Stress of The Federation & Rick Rock on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin’” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 14 // Asher Roth & Ms Rivercity @ 95.5 (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Chopper City’s Bubble Gum models on the set of the Chopper City Boyz’ “Bubble Gum” video shoot (New Orleans, LA) 16 // Nappy Roots & DJ Scorpio @ The Loft (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Paul Wall & DJ Scorpio @ The Loft (Atlanta, GA) 18 // DJ Prez & DJ Drama @ The Place (Nashville, TN) Photo Credits: D-Ray (03,06,13); Eric Perrin (04); Ichigo (10); Janiro Hawkins (18); Jen McKinnon (09); Julia Beverly (02,12); Lamont DeSal (11); Lawrence Odum (07); Marcus DeWayne (01,15); Ms Rivercity (08,14,16,17); Terrence Tyson (05)
OZONE MAG // 41
ately, rappin’ doesn’t hold as much weight without some sangin’ to go with it. This format has worked well for Plies over the past couple of years, and aside from his previous features with T-Pain, the Florida Goon has another secret sangin’ weapon – Memphis native Chris J. Known for his vocal additions on Plies’ “Put It On Ya,” Chris J is now an integral part of Big Gates Records, which also includes the R&B quartet Unique Image. Chris’ journey might not have started with his appearance on BET’s Wild Out Wednesday, but it’s definitely where things turn a turn for the better. “[Plies’ brother] Big Gates was watching 106th & Park and I was singing on the competition,” Chris explains. “That was the same day Plies and T-Pain were performing ‘Shawty’ on there and the label was watching me. Big Gates asked me to send more material so I sent about 17 songs, and from there they were interested in signing me as an artist.” It took a whole lifetime of practice, sleepless nights, and sacrifice to get to that point. At the age of 11, Chris J lost his mother to violence, a painful experience that eventually led him to his dream. “After my mom passed, it became a dream for me to become a household name. My brothers were in a band and the older I got they said I could really sing. They actually fired their two lead singers and put me and my nephew in when we were like 14 years old. It really inspired me to [want to become] a big-time star.”
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Chris J spent his nights in bars and nightclubs singing with his brothers, and had to be at school by at 7 a.m. The lifestyle taught him discipline, which he would capitalize from during his solo career. Using his personal funds and resources, Chris pressed up his own CDs and hit the road promoting his music. The recognition he built put him on stage with the likes of Anthony Hamilton, Marques Houston, Mike Jones, Ginuwine, and Nick Cannon. In 2005, Chris J became the first Memphis artist to perform at the Fedex Forum. “It was a show with Monique and Gerald Levert,” he recalls. “They gave me 15 minutes to sing. A lot of people in Memphis loved me because my ‘Bubble Bath’ song had been circulating here for a minute. But standing on that stage in front of about 12,000 people was really an amazing feeling.” After landing an audition for Wild Out Wednesdays, Chris J flew himself to New York where his dedication would soon pay off. “When it’s an opportunity I’ll take my last dime, my light bill and house note money, to be seen,” he states enthusiastically. “Out of 500 people that auditioned, they were only going to call 3 people back.” Chris J was one of those three. Proving himself as a standout soloist, Chris J is readying himself for the release of his debut album, Secrets. “It’s not just two or three songs on my album that sound good. I’m not that type of singer,” he promises. “I want you to love my album from the beginning to the end. I have confidence in myself and I’m here to make some noise.” Words by Ms Rivercity
(above L-R): Shawty Shawty with his OZONE article @ Uptown Comedy Club in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Eric Perrin); Lloyd and his OZONE cover story @ The International Arts Fest in New Orleans, LA (Photo: Marcus DeWayne); Laroo and his Patiently Waiting OZONE feature on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin” video shoot in Mountain View, CA (Photo: D-Ray)
01 // DJ Drama & Gucci Mane @ Coan Park for Soulja Boy’s “Gucci Bandana” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Trey Songz & Drake @ the I Am Music Tour (Hampton, VA) 03 // TI on the set of DJ Drama’s “Daydreaming” video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 04 // Shawnna @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Pleasure P @ Dolce for Flo Rida’s album release party (Miami, FL) 06 // Ms Rita & Jas Prince @ American Airlines Arena (Dallas, TX) 07 // Mistah FAB @ Pure (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Partners N Crime & B.Carroll @ Club NV (New Orleans, LA) 09 // Maino & Rob Reyes @ Otis Lounge (San Francisco, CA) 10 // Dun Dun of Los Rakas & Kaz Kyzer @ Who The Fuck Is G Malone concert (Los Angeles, CA) 11 // Tony Neal @ Pure (Atlanta, GA) 12 // DG Yola & DJ Drama @ Coan Park for Soulja Boy’s “Gucci Bandana” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 13 // AirTime, Love & Sporty @ NV Lounge for Rick Ross’s afterparty (New Orleans, LA) 14 // Chris Lee @ Stockton Civic Center for E-40’s release party (Stockton, CA) 15 // Mekele, DJ Black N Mild, & Quita @ The Venue for the Chopper City Boyz listening party (New Orleans, LA) 16 // Lady Dolla @ Plies’ car show (Tampa, FL) 17 // Midget Mac @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 18 // KC @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 19 // Dorrough @ Otis Lounge (San Francisco, CA) 20 // Gucci Mane @ Primetime for Gucci Mane’s Welcome Home party (Atlanta, GA) 21 // Macho @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 22 // Ace Hood @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 23 // Doug E Fresh & guest @ All Star weekend (Phoenix, AZ) 24 // Johnnie Cabbell & Beyonce @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 25 // Christina Clark @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 26 // Guest & Rocko @ The Artistry (Atlanta, GA) 27 // DJ Nez @ Throbacks for Streettalk Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 28 // Kia Shine @ Club Elixir for OZONE’s Alaska party (Anchorage, AK) 29 // Gucci Poochie & Byron Trice @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 30 // Benny & DJ Infamous @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 31 // Big Engine Entertainment reppin’ OZONE @ Cloud 9 (Indianapolis, IN) 32 // Jay & Dre City, DJ Bruckup, & Hotel @ Spelman College for Market Friday (Atlanta, GA) 33 // Elisio of Treal @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 34 // Love, Baby Boy & Mia X @ NV Lounge for Rick Ross’s afterparty (New Orleans, LA) 35 // J Money (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (03,09,10,14,19); Eric Perrin (20,26,31); Jax (02); Julia Beverly (04,05,07,11,24,28,29,30); Malik Abdul (17,18,21,22,25,33); Marcus DeWayne (08,13,15,34); Marcus Howell (23); Ms Rivercity (01,12,27,32,35); Terrence Tyson (16); Tre Dubb (06)
OZONE MAG // 43
hen most people think about Los Angeles, California’s culture, more than likely cinematography of John Singleton movies Boyz N The Hood and Baby Boy, or lyrics from pioneer rap group N.W.A come to mind. But gangbanging, ’64 Impalas, good Cali bud and “gangsta” rap is only one side of the City of Angels. On the flipside you’ll find a group like U-N-I, an Inglewood, CA duo, consisting of Yannick “Thurzday” Koffi and Yonas “Y-O” Semere Michael, who are more Pharcyde than “niggas wit’ an attitude.” “We represent that common individual,” Thurzday says. “The majority of the people out here in the West aren’t gangbanging. Gangbanging is what the West is known for, so [we’re] just the refurbish of common rappers, rapping about their lifestyles. The first people to do it were like the Pharcyde and Souls of Mischief. They rapped about their lifestyles and they weren’t gangster, they just made good music.” Y-O and Thurzday first met in high school in 1999, and along with two other MCs formed a four-member group. But after a couple mixtapes, the group split, and Y-O and Thurzday decided to stick together as a duo. The name U-N-I originated from the song “UNIverse at War” on The Roots’ 1996 album Illadelph Halflife. In 2007, U-N-I released their debut street album, Fried Chicken & Watermelon, which received critical acclaim. It featured the singles “Beautiful Day” and “Soul Hop,” whose videos received play on MTV Jams and MTV2. “We named the album [Fried Chicken & Watermelon] because it’s a stereotype for every American-American. [They say] we all like chicken and watermelon,”
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Y-O explains. “And us being from the West Coast, we’re looked at in the same light as every West Coast artist: gangsta rap. So basically, we’re tired of that. We’re [trying] to break that stereotype for West Coast artists.” As a follow up to Fried Chicken & Watermelon, earlier this year, the duo released a mixtape with DJ Mick Boogie entitled Before There Was Love, featuring the likes of Talib Kweli, Big Pooh, Evidence and Black Milk. And this past March, they released another street album A Love Supreme, produced entirely by LA producer Ro Blvd. Both projects have given U-N-I momentum and notoriety to help shake their coast’s stereotypes. With the buzz surrounding their street albums and singles, along with praise from numerous media outlets, U-N-I (who is still independent) has seemingly exhaled a fresh breath into the West Coast rap scene. ““We’ve done everything indie,” Thurzday begins. “We shot our own videos, put our music out ourselves. And people are following the steps that we laid down. So, I feel like we’re trendsetters in this new wave. We’re just trying to pioneer a new era.” Words by Randy Roper Photo by Ed Canas
(above L-R): The Jacka @ The Record House Studio in Fremont, CA (Photo: D-Ray); Tearany @ Plies’ car show in Tampa, FL (Photo: Terrence Tyson); Deltrice @ Town Bizzness Oscar Grant emergency meeting in Oakland, CA (Photo: D-Ray)
01 // Greg Street & DJ Infamous @ Pure (Atlanta, GA) 02 // DJ Drama on the set of Soulja Boy’s “Gucci Bandana” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 03 // TI @ HP Pavillion for 94.9’s Wild Jam (San Jose, CA) 04 // DJ Black N Mild & Love @ NV Lounge for Rick Ross’s afterparty (New Orleans, LA) 05 // B.Carroll, Gar, Quita & Love @ Club Hush for Partners N Crime birthday bash (New Orleans, LA) 06 // TJ Chapman & T-Pain’s dad Shaheed Najm @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 07 // Nicki Minaj @ Coen Park for Soulja Boy’s “Gucci Bandana” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Yung Joc (Shreveport, LA) 09 // Willie Joe @ Laverde Lounge (San Francisco, CA) 10 // Raz-B of B2K @ (Los Angeles, CA) 11 // Suga D @ BET’s Spring Bling (Riviera Beach, FL) 12 // Phatt Lipp, TJ Chapman, & DJ Smallz @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 13 // DJ Khaled @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 14 // Yung LA (Shreveport, LA) 15 // Gucci Mane on the set of Soulja Boy’s “Gucci Bandana” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Johnnie Cabbell & Roger @ Primetime for Gucci Mane’s Welcome Home party (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Natalia @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 18 // BG @ Plies’ car show (Tampa, FL) 19 // DJ Clue @ All Star weekend (Phoenix, AZ) 20 // Carol City Cartel & Sam Sneak @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 21 // DJ Q45 & Suga D @ Plies’ car show (Tampa, FL) 22 // Trey Songz on the set of “Brand New” (Atlanta, GA) 23 // Lil Chuckee @ Omega video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 24 // Terrence Tyson & Fireman DJs @ Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 25 // DJ Ace & DJ Teknikz @ Fox Sports Grill for Yung Ralph’s Big Cat Records signing party (Atlanta, GA) 26 // Jody Breeze @ Omega video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 27 // J Money @ Phillips Arena for TI’s Farewell Concert (Atlanta, GA) 28 // Cowboy & DJ Smallz @ Hang Time’s 3 Year Anniversary (Nashville, TN) 29 // Pebbelz @ Hang Time’s 3 Year Anniversary (Nashville, TN) 30 // Myammee @ Hang Time’s 3 Year Anniversary (Nashville, TN) 31 // DJ Drama @ The Place (Nashville, TN) 32 // DJ Crisis & Montana @ Hang Time’s 3 Year Anniversary (Nashville, TN) 33 // Dolowite & Fate Eastwood @ The Place (Nashville, TN) 34 // BOB @ Phillips Arena for TI’s Farewell Concert (Atlanta, GA) 35 // Traxamillion @ Club Suede (San Francisco, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (03,09,10,35); Devon Buckner (25); Eric Perrin (08,14,16); Janiro Hawkins (28,29,30,31,32,33); Julia Beverly (01,20,22); Malik Abdul (02,06,07,12,13,15,17); Marcus DeWayne (04,05); Marcus Howell (19); Ms Ja (23,26,27,34); Ms Rivercity (24); Terrence Tyson (11,18,21)
OZONE MAG // 45
nlike many typical female rappers, Gunna and Tee come with a hardcore, dynamic style that supercedes a majority of their male counterparts. Noting a range of influences from Missy Elliott and Gangsta Boo to Twista and BoneThugs-N-Harmony, the duo delivers qualities so unique and marketable they caught the attention of L.A. Reid, who recently signed the St. Louis rappers to Def Jam through a joint venture with Voicez. “We were discovered through our manager Sita Lewis,” says Tee, as she explains the group’s history. “We drove 22 hours to New York for a BET talent search and waited in line for 15 hours to perform. We didn’t perform until 4 in the morning, and we only had a couple minutes to do a song.” A couple minutes was all it took for Sita to recognize Unladylike’s talent. She moved them from their hometown, where they’d created a local fan base, to New York where they’d get a shot at creating a national name for themselves. After recording for a solid 8 months straight, their manager felt they were ready for the true test. “Last October, Sita took us to L.A. Reid to perform for him,” Gunna says. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity so we let go of all the nervousness and just went in.” After showcasing several songs, Unladylike presented what is now their current single “Bartender” and according to Tee, Reid went crazy. Even though they have a major label home and their album Unladylike Radio is nearly complete, Gunna and Tee are pushing harder than they ever have before. “Everybody thinks that once you get signed everything is all peaches and cream and that labels are going to do everything for you,” Gunna states. “But we learned that labels are only going to do so much and we have to show them we’re eager and hungry for this. It’s hard work so we learned to stay focused and grind it out.” “We’ve definitely learned discipline,” Tee adds. “We’re learning the business side of the industry.” Realizing the journey is a long one and their goals won’t be reached overnight, the tagteam femcees are focused on putting in work for their forthcoming debut, which is anything but ladylike. Their follow up single “D’ough” proves their impressive hit-making abilities are consistent. “We have the ability to compete with everybody that’s out in the industry today,” says Gunna. “We go harder than most dudes.” Words by Ms Rivercity 46 // OZONE MAG
(above L-R): Amon with his ad @ Rasputin’s in Campbell, CA (Photo: D-Ray); Mistah FAB reading his favorite porn star’s interview in OZONE @ Industry Studios in Kansas City, MO (Photo: Ms Rivercity); Mack Maine reading his article @ the I Am Music Tour in Hampton, VA (Photo: Jax)
01 // TV Johnny on the set of Soulja Boy’s “Gucci Bandana” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Mr Collipark @ Coan Park for Soulja Boy’s “Gucci Bandana” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Tito Bell & TI @ HP Pavillion for 94.9’s Wild Jam (San Jose, CA) 04 // Quita, Skip, B.Carroll & Love @ Club Hush for Partners N Crime birthday bash (New Orleans, LA) 05 // Miami Mike @ Coan Park for Soulja Boy’s “Gucci Bandana” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 06 // Clyde Carson @ The Game’s “Camera Phone” video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 07 // Greg Street & Mistah FAB @ Pure (Atlanta, GA) 08 // DJ Juice on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 09 // Monica @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Laroo & Turf Talk @ HP Pavillion for 94.9’s Wild Jam (San Jose, CA) 11 // Jeevan Brown, Adero Dawson, Maurice Garland, & Matt Daniels @ MOSI Super Bowl party (Tampa, FL) 12 // Hip Hop Chef @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 13 // Quint Black & Too $hort @ Club Flow (Dallas, TX) 14 // Stevie Joe @ Rasputin’s (Campbell, CA) 15 // Kadife Sylvester & DJ Infamous @ Phillips Arena for the Swagga Like Us concert (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Flo Rida @ Club 360 for Rick Ross’s Super Bowl viewing party (Tampa, FL) 17 // Mad Linx @ Club 360 for Rick Ross’s Super Bowl viewing party (Tampa, FL) 18 // Malik Abdul, Love, & DJ Q45 @ NV Lounge for Rick Ross’s afterparty (New Orleans, LA) 19 // Cash Camp @ Coan Park for Soulja Boy’s “Gucci Bandana” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 20 // AP9 on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 21 // Love, Rikki Lynn, Malik, Lady Dolla, & Honey @ NV Lounge for Rick Ross’s afterparty (New Orleans, LA) 22 // Cali & Danger @ Club Dreamz (Pittsburgh, PA) 23 // Kenny B of Justice League & Slim-E @ Hot Beats (Atlanta, GA) 24 // Columbus Short @ Club Dreamz (Pittsburgh, PA) 25 // DJ Aaries & OJ da Juiceman on the set of Soulja Boy’s “Gucci Bandana” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 26 // Big Doughski G & DJ Cap @ Big T Plaza (Oakcliff, TX) 27 // Don Vido & DJ Mack @ Maximedia Studios for Texas Summer Music Conference (Dallas, TX) 28 // E-40 on the set of Laroo’s “Money Ain’t Trippin” video shoot (Mountain View, CA) 29 // Killer Mike @ the OZONE office (Atlanta, GA) 30 // Atomic Bomb, Unique, & Cali @ Club Dreamz (Pittsburgh, PA) 31 // DJ Deuce @ Ice Bar for Definition DJs meeting (Dallas, TX) 32 // Letoya Luckett @ BET’s Spring Bling (Riviera Beach, FL) 33 // DJ K-Nyce & Shimmy @ Unk’s meet & greet (Cleveland, OH) 34 // White T & Tre Dubb @ American Airlines Arena (Dallas, TX) 35 // Gucci Mane reading OZONE on the set of Soulja Boy’s “Gucci Bandana” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (03,06,08,10,14,20,28); Edward Hall (13,26,31); Eric Perrin (11,16,17,29); Julia Beverly (07,09,15); Malik Abdul (01,12,25,35); Marcus DeWayne (04,18,21); Marlo Martin-Jackson (33); Ms Rivercity (02,05,19,23); Terrence Tyson (22,24,30,32); Tre Dubb (27,34) OZONE MAG // 47
ailing from Detroit, but working in Atlanta, you can think of LoFat in the same way you may think of your favorite athlete. He reps for his hometown, but he has to do the same for where he works.
“I love my city to death, but the politics are different,” says LoFat about his decision to put it in most of his work in Atlanta. “Even with Eminem, they didn’t just embrace him immediately. He had to leave and go get put on with [Dr.] Dre for them to embrace him. The radio station wasn’t giving him love until he started making noise elsewhere. It’s a hard market to break.” Hailing from a city where the mainstream media only gravitates to Em, but also was home to a wide spectrum of artists ranging from the Esham to Slum Village, there doesn’t seem to be much room for Lo Fat’s street-skewed brand of music. Falling from the Detroit’s Most Wanted family tree (his cousin was in the group), LoFat’s music just maybe more akin to what you hear in the news about the D. “The typical experience up there is drugs, or your parents working for the Big 3,” he says. “You can go 10 different families in 10 different neighborhoods and you’re going to meet at least 2 or 3 people from each family that’s had someone shot or killed over drugs. We had fun like roller skating too, but Detroit is a money getting city.” Staying true what he came up, LoFat isn’t going to deviate too far from his environment. Earlier this year he released his Money Talks mixtape on his very own Cold Cash Records. DJ Bishop and Hittmenn DJs endorsed project is powered LoFat’s single “Walk It To the Bank” featuring Yung LA and Rocko. “I’m not gonna stop talking about getting money,” says Fat, who’s upcoming album is entitled Gorilla Money. “I don’t know a nigga who don’t want money. If you know a person that don’t want no money, you’re looking at a person who don’t want to live.” Words by Maurice G. Garland
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asspike Miles isn’t your typical R&B artist, so don’t expect to hear many (if any) love ballads from him. Growing in Boston, Massachusetts (Roxbury, the same hood as Bobby Brown to be exact), Miles’ music has a sound that’s as edgy as the Beantown streets that he came up on. “All my music is Boston,” says Miles, who gets his “Masspike” moniker from the state’s nickname for the Massachusetts Turnpike. “It’s all influenced by the Bean. What happened in the Bean, what’s seen in the Bean, I came up in the Bean, I recorded it in the Bean.” Parallel to his Boston roots is Miles’ musical pedigree. He was named by his father (a jazz musician himself ) after legendary musician Miles Davis, and grew up surrounded by music. His father played various jazz instruments and continuously listened to music by Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonius Monk. With these influences around him, Miles took to music and singing, and by age 11 he was discovered by music producer Maurice Starr (who also discovered New Edition and New Kids on The Block) in 1992, and placed the young vocalist in the Warner Bros. R&B group Perfect Gentlemen. With Miles as the lead singer, Perfect Gentlemen released a self-titled album in 1993, but the group, as Miles put it, “got older and wanted to do different things.”
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Miles continued to work in the music industry. He teamed up with Boston rapper and businessman Benzino, and began writing and producing for artists such as Montell Jordan, Fabolous, J.R. Writer, B.G. and Freeway. And he formed his own record label with his business partner Roc Dukati, which landed their artist Smoke Bulga a deal with Sony. Regardless of his behind the scenes involvements, Miles continued recording his own music. And in 2008, he hooked up with Rick Ross for the single “Get It Together,” which eventually led to Ross signing Miles to his Maybach Music imprint. “[Ross] saw the hustle and the grind, and how serious I took it,” Miles says of Ross’ interest in signing him. “Not only that, I’m an up-and-coming boss. I take control of my own and I don’t ask a nigga for nothing. He saw that I was self-sufficient, so he took me under his wing.” Since joining Maybach, a mixtape The Pursuit of Happiness with DJ Khaled and Bigga Rankin, numerous music videos produced by Jordan Tower Films, a feature on “Murder Mami” off of Ross’ album Deeper Than Rap, and a T-Pain-assisted single “What Is Ur Name” has the industry starting to take notice of the rugged singer from Beantown. When it’s all said and done, sanguinely, the route down this Masspike leads Miles to down the road of success. Words by Randy Roper Photo by Derek Koutijamia
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FAVORITE ozone ROAD TRIPS March 2009 - Shreveport, LA Bay Bay’s Birthday Bash by Features Editor Eric Perrin
Associate Editor Maurice Garland and I hesitantly ventured to Shreveport, Louisiana for DJ Hollyhood Bay Bay’s Birthday Bash. Neither of us had ever been to Shreveport and didn’t really know what to expect, especially when the first three hours of our time in Shreveport were spent at the airport waiting for a ride. But when we finally get in touch with Bay Bay, he and his people showed us a great time. They took us to all the must-see hood staples, including the barbershop, soul food spots, and the ever important street dentist’s office. The whole city was abuzz about his birthday. Bay Bay brought a slew of celebrity guests with him as he traveled through Shreveport handing out tickets to his friends around the city. Yung Joc, Young Dro, and Yung LA, and even Paul Wall were in the van with us as Bay Bay made his rounds. He initially lured Maurice and I to Shreveport by spreading a rumor that 50 Cent was going to be there, but honestly I didn’t believe that in the slightest. He even kept speaking in code about Fif’s planned appearance all throughout the day but I was skeptical. It wasn’t that I doubted Bay Bay’s clout, or ability to bring prominent acts to his birthday party, but 50 Cent in Shreveport? Yeah right. We got to the club early for the party, and the line was already a block long. The first performers hit the stage around 1 AM, and the show was jamming. Paul Wall and the onslaught of Y(o)ung’s definitely did their thing. Finally, by 3 AM it seemed like the night was over. Dro, Joc, and LA performed a raucous finale and then Bay Bay came on stage to thank them. I was standing on stage towards the DJ booth and was just about ready to pack my camera up when he started talking that G-Unit shit again. I was like, “C’mon Bay Bay, give it up.” And then, low and behold, I see an angry Tony Yayo walking up the stage stairs yelling for everybody to move. When 50 hit the stage he instantly seized the opportunity to take a few blows at the opening acts, stating something on the lines of, “There’s been a lot of young’s here tonight…Young Dro, Yung LA, and who was that last nigga? Oh yeah, Yung Joc. All you were missing was Young Jeeeeeezy.” He laughed it off in a cynical manner and then got to the performance. 50, Banks, and Yayo performed damn near their whole catalogue. Midway through their show 50 took the time to announce how important relationships are in life. He stated, “I haven’t performed at a nightclub in over two years. I don’t do anything but arenas and stadiums. Nobody could even pay me enough to come to Shreveport, Louisiana and perform at a club, but I fuck with Bay Bay and he fucks with me, so I’m here outta love.” That statement really resonated with me, because far too often do we underestimate to power of networking and relationships. Bay Bay’s birthday party was iconic, and adding to that, the town showed OZONE so much of that seldom seen Southern Hospitality that overall, our trip to ShreVEGAS proved to be one of dopest road trips I had been on in a while. And we travel a lot.
February 2008 - New orleans, LA All Star weekend By Special Editions Editor Ms. Rivercity
All Star February 2008 was the best OZONE trip for me to date, but it was also the most catastrophic. I had just moved to Atlanta from Jacksonville and everything was going great. The recession hadn’t set in yet. 52 // OZONE MAG
Gas hadn’t shot up to $5 a gallon yet. We’d just finished a classic mini edition for the New Orleans artists and we all packed up the truck to go promote it. It was me, Julia, Terrence Tyson, Malik, Randy Exclusive, and Eric Perrin. Upon arrival, we made ourselves comfortable in the hotel lobby for five hours until we were allowed to check into our rooms. The hotel was the shit though, right on Bourbon Street overlooking everything. For two days we ran the streets of NOLA from 10 Am to 6 AM. Day and night there was always something to do, leading up to the Grand Finale which was supposed to be a Hot Boys Reunion at Club Dreams. The night of the big show the club was stupid packed – later I found out the Hot Boys had no idea the club was promoting a reunion, they all thought they were booked separately. I managed to haggle my way in with Tril Wil – shouts to Wil for always looking out for me in New Orleans – but some of our other crew was stuck outside.. So I’m up in V.I.P. chillin’ with Mannie Fresh and T.Q., and Wil says, “Don’t go outside Jen, they’re shooting.” My first thought was, damn our people are out there. So I start texting everyone and Julia hits me back like, “My brother got shot.” All Julia said was that he got shot so I’m thinking he’s dead or something, and nobody would hit me back and let me know what was going on. Turns out he just took a couple bullets to the leg, nothing serious. He did however set us white folks back a few years – how does the only Caucasian person in a mob of people manage to get shot? At least he made it home safely with a new leg cast and some street cred. It was a trip none of us will ever forget – especially not Malik and Eric, who were stuck at the hospital all night with a flat tire and dead battery. I personally had a blast the entire time, does that make me a bad person?
FEBRUARY 2009 - TAMPA, FL Super Bowl Weekend by Associate Editor Maurice G. Garland
When I heard that we were going down to Tampa, FL for Super Bowl XLIII, I had to go. Not because I wanted to go to Tampa, but because my Pittsburgh Steelers were playing and I wanted to be in the atmosphere. I rode down with Eric in the OZONE truck, which was already a shaky decision. The Tahoe was truly acting like the end part of its name in the weeks leading up to the trip, randomly refusing to start and leaving staff members stranded in the process. Fortunately the truck didn’t give us any problems on the way down, but it seems like it drove us into some as soon as we arrived. The first problem was lodging. The first night we arrived, we were supposed to be staying at some guy’s house. A guy that didn’t answer his phone for an hour. A guy who none of us knew. A guy who apparently stayed in a lavish neighborhood pharmaceutical reps of another kind also called home, if you know what I’m getting at. I must admit, the house was nice, on some Tony Montana, Jr. shit. But even he sensed that a group of dudes weren’t just trying to be up in another man’s house. So what does he do? Offers us another house that he owned across the street. He said the house had no refrigerator, beds or couches, but he was going to lend us some mattresses. Add this to the fact that when we went to check the house out, one of his friends moved his parked car over to the new house. Very suspicious. Fast forward past that (we found a hotel to stay in) we actually started having a good time the night before the game. We walked the strip in Ybor City for little bit and started to head back. Of course, the Ta-Hoe started bitching again. It wouldn’t start. After sitting in the middle of Tampa for about 45 minutes and calling around for a jump, 2 Live Crew happened to roll up on us. When we told them we were stranded, they didn’t really offer to help. Instead, they said they’ll help us if we interviewed them for the magazine. So, I whipped out my Flip cam and just talked to them for a little bit. They talked about their new album coming out and...
Yeah, they wound up being no help. Guess 2 Live Crew don’t have the same effect with Hoes that they used to. Anyways, we sat outside for another 30 minutes and right when our backup ride showed up, the truck decided to start again. Go figure. I don’t really remember much that happened after that. Not because was inebriated as one of our staff members seems to think, but because Tampa was pretty dead to be a Super Bowl host. The only other memory that I can walk away with from the trip is the only one that matters. The Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl for a sixth time. The most in NFL history.
March 2006 - Miami, FL & Atlanta, GA T-Pain video shoot & TI release party by Editor-In-Chief Julia Beverly
Over the past seven years I’ve had dozens of incredible, crazy, fun, fucked up, unbelievable road trips. I sat here for hours trying to decide which one to write about. I know it’s called “favorite” road trips. But honestly, all my “favorite” trips involve some type of personal shit I shouldn’t be putting in a magazine. So I chose to write about this trip, not because it was the best or my favorite, but because I walked away from it a stronger person. When I started out as a photographer/magazine editor, labels frequently hired photographers for video shoots. Since I lived in Orlando and the shoots usually took place in Atlanta, Miami, or Los Angeles, there wasn’t much money left over by the time I paid for travel expenses, but I found that being on set with artists all day long was a great way to build relationships, not to mention get exclusive pictures and interviews for the mag. So it wasn’t unusual for me to shoot a video all day in Miami, drive 9 hours overnight to Atlanta, pay a few bucks to shower up at a gym, shoot another video the next day and get a quick power nap in the artist’s trailer during breaks, as Lil Jon & co. have caught me doing on more than one occasion. On this trip, back in March 2006, I was commissioned to shoot T-Pain’s “In Luv Wit A Stripper” remix video shoot in Miami. I had actually played a minor role in putting the remix together. Me and Jive’s A&R for the project (Memphitz) were at TV Johnny’s at Sharpstown Mall in Houston getting him fitted for a grill when Twista’s manager called him back to say he wanted to do it, so I fielded the call. After he got the grill mold taken out, we mulled over the issue of how to fit Twista onto a remix that half a dozen other artists were already in the process of recording for (“just split it up and let everybody do half a verse” was my suggestion, if memory serves correctly :). The setup for the video shoot itself was kind of dry but the cast of characters was incredible. Everybody came through. Pimp C had just been released from prison and we did a miniature photo shoot on set of him in his white mink coat. R Kelly, who usually never takes photos, had a conversation with me and let me take tons of pics since I was shooting for Jive. He got hungry midway through the shoot and drove down the street to McDonald’s in a luxury car and asked if I wanted a bag of french fries when he returned. Me, of course, snapping away the whole time. Classic stuff. I stayed in town for Dre’s “Chevy Ridin’ High” and Khaled’s “Holla At Me” video shoots, loaded all the pics to my laptop, and hit the road for T.I.’s King album release party in Atlanta the next night. I got in town close to midnight and headed straight for Visions. They demanded $60 to park in the main parking lot, far beyond my meager budget at the time. So I rode around and finally found a spot several blocks away. Trying to look cute, I had on a lil skirt with no pockets. I put everything in the truck console – credit cards, cash, the whole nine – and brought only my ID and camera inside. The party was packed. A sweaty Pastor Troy grabbed me and said, “I need that OZONE cover!” as artists often do. I told him the cost of the advertising package and he, inexplicably, pressed five hundred dollar bills into my hand, no questions asked, and disappeared back into the crowd. Having nowhere to put them, I stuck them in my waistband. My on-and-off love interest was at the party but we were decidedly in “off” mode. After the club closed he was enough of a gentleman to drive several blocks to my truck to drop me off (with a “sit down and shut the fuck up, woman” to clarify that I was not yet forgiven for whatever wrong I had done). As he drove away I realized with shock that my door handle had been drilled through. All my luggage was gone. All my credit cards, cash, clothes, electronics, video camera, laptop, etc were gone. All my pictures from the past week in Miami, including the T-Pain video shoot and the R Kelly and Pimp C exclusives, were gone. I was more sick over the pictures than anything else. Everything else could be replaced. To this day, only one photo remains; a Pimp C shot that I had emailed to Vibe the night before. I called the aforementioned love interest and said I’d been robbed, expect-
ing him to turn around immediately. He said he had work to do but, “Do you need anything?” I said “No, I’m good,” fully expecting him (as women do) to know that what I meant was, NO, everything was NOT good, and he needed to come back right now or I was gonna lose it. He didn’t get it. “Well, call me if you need anything,” and hung up. At that, I almost started to break down and cry. Then I felt the sweaty $500 still stuck in the waistband of my skirt and realized that I wasn’t alone. Somebody was looking out, and at least I had money to get home. It was enough encouragement to help me get myself together. It must be true that God works in mysterious ways. What are the chances? I found the closest 24 hour Wal-Mart. By that time it was about 5 AM and the loudspeaker at the store was blasting the pop song with the hook, “I get knocked down, but I get up again / You’re never gonna keep me down,” and amidst all the emotions churning inside me I couldn’t help but smile, feeling silly as hell walking around an empty Wal-Mart with a big grin on my face. As it turned out, the $500 was more than enough for some clothes, bathroom necessities, a hotel room, and gas for the trip back home. Despite calling Pastor Troy numerous times after that to make sure he got his money’s worth, I never got a call back. Maybe he doesn’t remember. Shout out to Pastor Troy for the timely gift.
August 2008 - Houston, TX 3rd annual OZONE Awards by Subscriptions Manager Adero Dawson
I had just gotten the nod to come along with the rest of the staff as we headed out to Houston for my first OZONE Awards. Randy, Maurice, Jen, and I packed up the OZONE truck and hit the road. I had heard so much about the awards; each year it gets bigger and better, attracting all types of people from all walks of life. But I knew I was there to work, not for leisure. I was there to help with ground transportation, and lucky for me, I wound up driving an ‘09 Cadillac Escalade all weekend! Little did I know that the plans would change. Instead of the original plan (picking up talent from the airport) I became basically the personal assistant to the host of the OZONE Awards (funny-ass DeRay Davis). Overall DeRay (a comedian from my hometown of Chicago), Sylvia (his “real” assistant), and his personal cameraman Coodie (he shot Kanye’s “Through the Wire”) were all pretty cool. All in all, I had an absolute ball of a time out in H-Town. Shout out to the Premiere of Houston, J Prince of Rap-A-Lot Records, who let us come through and hoop at his rec center.
April 2009 - West Palm Beach, FL BET’s Spring Bling by Strizzy the Intern
After a nine hour drive to West Palm, DJ Q45 picked us up in the Range Rover to hit up Sobe Live in Miami. We partied all night and hit up Spring Bling the next day. Plies wouldn’t take pictures for anybody except OZONE. We saw Trina’s sexy ass, Flo Rida, Ricky Ross the Boss, Brutha, Terrence & Rosci, Gorilla Zoe, Bussa Buss, Yung LA, about everybody you can think of. The whole trip was crazy. Me and Eric hit the road once it was all over and headed back to the Hip Hop capitol of the world, Atlanta.
March 2007 - Austin, TX SXSW by Music Editor Randy Roper
Before the trip, I had never even heard of SXSW, one of the largest music festivals in the country. From rock to rap to country, artists from all over the world traveled to Austin to perform there, and for a music junkie like myself, this was like being in rock ‘n roll/rap heaven. Willie D, Chamillionaire and UGK performed our first night there. Meeting Bun B and Pimp C was interesting. I remember Eric tried to take a picture of Pimp C and he was like, “Aye, nigga! Don’t take my picture without asking first.” But the UGK show was crazy, and that was just one of the many acts that we saw that weekend. But the most fun came on the final night of SXSW, because it coincided with St. Patrick’s Day, and downtown Austin was in full party mode. It was almost like being in New Orleans for Mardi Gras (I’ve actually never been to Mardi Gras, but I can imagine). People were partying in the street, drunk, sippin’ lean, girls kissing girls and flashing their titties. Well, maybe they weren’t flashing their titties, but that’s how I remember it. Eric and I were running the streets in awe. We even bumped into Amy Winehouse walking the streets. That was before she was on crack, so we didn’t recognize her. We were too busy trying to find random girls to take pictures with us for Facebook purposes to even notice.
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Slim Thug loves his occupation, but hates his job. You know, the same way a painter may love to create, but dreads trying to sell IT. Or the way truck driver loves the feeling he gets when sitting behind the wheel, but loathes having to drive across the country at the drop of a dime. That’s the way Slim Thug feels right now. “I like rapping, but I don’t like the bullshit,” he says matter-of-factly sitting inside the lobby of Atlanta’s 95.5 The Beat. “It’s a lot of bullshit that comes along with it. Everybody in the business has to do a lot of politicking. It stifles creativity, makes you not want to do it.” He pauses, shrugging off any notion of impending frustration. “Say you got a song that you fuck with, that you know will go. But you’re working with a bunch of people who ain’t from where you’re from, don’t know shit about anything you ever did. They just feel like they know what they’re talking about. So you go in there with the record you believe in and want to push, they don’t have to do nothing. You can give them the record and they don’t send it
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nowhere, don’t put their machine behind it at all. So it looks like the song ain’t work when really they ain’t push it.” “The bullshit” is a term that way too many rappers are familiar with. Though it can be applied to relationships with friends, dealings with groupies or squabbles with other rappers, it’s mostly used when describing being signed to a label that does little more than stamp their logo on the album. It’s almost as if the header on their contracts say just that, “The Bullshit.” The ones who manage to have careers A.B. (After Bullshit) are few and far between. Rap A.B. usually ends with either your face on a milk carton or your name being at the bad end of a “what happened to” question.
released Slim’s Already Platinum, an album chock-full of high priced beats and features. The album didn’t exactly live up to the lofty title. The years that followed saw numerous delays of his sophomore album Boss of All Bosses and an eventual split from the conglomerate. Since the split Slim has returned to his independent roots and inked a distribution deal with Koch Records for his Boss Hogg Outlawz label and group. After releasing two installments of BHO’s Serve & Collect series, Slim is stepping back out on the solo front.
For Slim, “The Bullshit” explains his stint at Interscope Records. After a half-decade of building his own buzz and brand via his affiliation with Swisha House and his own Boss Hogg Outlawz collective, the mega-label came knocking and came up with the idea of pairing him with uberproducer Pharrell and his Star Trak imprint.
Boss of All Bosses has been a long time coming. What all have you been up to since Already Platinum? Yeah, man. I really wanna se my artists [Boss Hogg Outlawz] be successful, so I was taking my time trying to promote them. At the same time I was trying to get off of Interscope. Now that I got that out of the way it’s time to drop another album. My whole dream is to see my artists surpass my success. If I can have my artists get hot and sell records, I’m cool. That’s what I’m in the game to see.
Hoping to cash in on the Houston Takeover that Slim’s appearance on Mike Jones’ breakout single “Still Tippin’” helped spark, Interscope quickly
Is the material on your album new, or is it leftovers from the Interscope days? Most of the leaks ain’t on the album, maybe 1 or
2. I rerecorded everything. A lot of the records I recorded got leaked or gonna end up leaked. I’m sitting on a bunch of songs. I started over because I left Interscope. When you’re working on an indie budget, it’s cheaper than a major budget. So when you’re on a major, you have a better budget to buy big producer’s beats. But when you’re indie your budget ain’t that big so you have to really work off relationships. I still got big producers on my album but it’s from relationships. I still pay for it, but the indie way. Did you have to dig deep into your pockets to pay for Pharrell’s beats even when you were signed to his label? I didn’t have to dig out of my pocket but it still came out of my budget. Of course he had to get paid, it was at a discounted price, wasn’t what he usually charge. But I definitely had to pay. At this point, do you think you will ever do business with a major again? It’s hard to believe. Honestly I’m taking it one day at a time. Right now it’s looking good. I have a distribution deal with Koch, not a label deal. So I’m not stuck. If they take care of business, I’m chilling. I feel more comfortable over here. Over the last couple of years you’ve been putting out the Boss Hogg Outlawz projects, did you have to readjust to being a solo artist for this album? I never stopped. I was always working. Even though you ain’t hear it, the music was still getting made. I got so many songs done, I was still recording. The hardest part was picking what I wanted on the album. That was the hardest part, making it sound good together. With this being your first look in a minute, did you want to come back out as an artist with universal appeal or cater more to your Houston roots? It’s gonna be mostly a Houston [sound]. That’s what the whole outlook is. On this album I wanted to do me like I was doing it before I got a deal. I didn’t have an A&R. I picked the beats. I worked with [producers like] Jim Jonsin so there’s still national songs on there too. “Radio songs” included? Of course. You need that. The more radio play you get, the more records your sell. It goes together. If you’re getting played in a lot of different cities, people know you’ve got an album coming. But if you ain’t got a radio song, it’s harder to get people to recognize that you’re coming out. [“I Run”] is my biggest radio song, but it’s actually a street song. I never thought of this as my radio song. I got another Jim Jonsin song called “Smile.” The radio folks wanted me to go with that, but that song don’t describe me. I wasn’t about to be gone three years and then come back with a song that goes “smile for the camera.” So I had to do this. [“I Run”] was my street record and this song right here has surpassed what Interscope did for me. “3 Kings,” “Like a Boss,” “I Ain’t Heard of That.” None of those songs got as many spins as this one. That goes to show you how this works better for me. Koch got me on 106th & Park and Interscope couldn’t do that for me. Ever since he made his blip on the national rap radar, Slim has always presented himself
as someone cut of the “I’m not a rapper, I’m a hustler” cloth. So hearing him talk about having an interest in jumping into Hollywood or other ventures comes as no surprise. “They said I did good, actually,” says Slim about his brief appearance in the upcoming urban drama Days of Wrath. He plays an accomplice to David Banner’s character in the film. “It wasn’t a big part in the movie. They paid good money; I was surprised. I don’t know what the movie is about. I just did my part and was out that bitch. All I said was ‘Nah, they ain’t picking up G’ and that was it. [laughs] But they gave me $30,000 for that one line.” Even when he was at the age where most kids hear their first rap song and decide that’s what they want to pursue, Slim was about the dollar dollar bill. “I was never the nigga who wanted to be a rapper,” he admits. “I was 12 years old, and my older brother was rapping. I told him to write me a rap and I was gonna memorize that shit. It was something about my bike. I just went around the ‘hood telling everybody the rap. It was just a little joke to me.” He laughs and continues, “I’d freestyle, and that shit started making me some money. I never had a job in my life, never filled out an application. When I was 17 in high school, I was into some street shit. I wasn’t moving birds or no shit like that but I had the 2 for the 5 at the school house going live. I had drank and shit like that. But the tapes were going fast. I was getting $15 a tape. I was making so much money the [school] principal made me stop selling them.” We’ve never heard much about you, outside of rap or before rap. Tell us what it was like for you growing up. It wasn’t like I was from the ‘hood where it was more fucked up than anyone else’s. Everyone was selling dope so I was just falling in line. My house was the cook house. Mama watching All My Children, my brother was cooking it up in the kitchen. My mama knew what it was. I was tall but I ain’t play ball because it wasn’t reality to me. That was like hitting the lotto. The work right here, so get the money. I never had big ass dreams. But when I saw rap could make money that’s when I started doing the shit. So how did you actually get into rap? It came by accident. I was at a party and [DJ Michael] Watts was DJing, back in ‘98. I was 17 in high school at a party, before Swisha House existed. Watts heard me freestyle at a party, and told me to come to his house and freestyle on a mixtape. I went over there, did the shit, and it caught on fire. That first mixtape we put out was so big on the North, Swisha ‘98. Niggas was buying tapes from me. We did another one. It got bigger and bigger, fast, in a matter of months. I was getting paid 5G’s to bust on other people beats. I remember I did Juvenile’s “400 Degreez,” Missy’s “Hot Boys,” some R. Kelly beats, “Wanna Be A Baller” all kinda shit. I was getting it doing shows on other people beats. I was in a whole another game. Dudes like ESG were peeping me from jail, he wanted to do a song with me when he got out. We did a song and squashed the Northside/Southside shit with “Braids and Fades.” After that it was a wrap.
What was the first song you did with an original beat? I think the first original beat song I did was a song with Mad Hatta and Yungsta. Then me and ESG did “Braids and Fades.” Then we did “Candy Coated Excursions.” We ended up doing an album together. That was the first. Then I did my Boyz N Blue album. I never did a solo independent album. People don’t understand that I was promoting Already Platinum, but that was gonna be an independent album. I named it that because I was eating like a platinum nigga. “3 Kings” was done before I had a deal. I was gonna put it out independent and it just so happened they came with the money so I was like fuck it. I ain’t mad at anything I did. Interscope didn’t get me on the radio but they put me in the right position to fuck with Beyonce and Gwen Stefani. I got the looks from that and got promo in a major way outside the country. So I’m back independent with a major look. But honestly, Interscope ain’t set those up. Pharrell set me up with Gwen. She liked what I did on one of Pharrell’s beats and wanted me on her song. With Beyonce, we were in Houston at the last Destiny’s Child show and they wanted me to do “Still Tippin’.” The next day the label called wanting me on a song. I got a MTV award for [“Check Up On It”] and it wasn’t through Interscope. Some people love your raps, but others say you only rap about cars, money, etc. Do you find it difficult trying to dispute that notion? Or do you care? It’s still difficult. I still don’t know what to talk about, to this day. I don’t be in the studio like that. To this day, I’m not a real rapper. I know rappers always say that shit, but I don’t live in the studio. Niggas have to drag me into the studio. I write my raps in the car. Give me a beat CD, and I’ll ride around with that shit doing raps. I write my raps in the phone because I’m driving. I write sometimes, when I’m in the studio, but it’s hard being creative in a studio where there ain’t shit but walls and speakers. It don’t do nothing for me. I was never that kind of nigga. I never got shit done in the studio. Sometimes it works but the majority of the time it doesn’t work. That’s how I make most of [my records]. If I’m on a song with another artist I’ll be like, fuck it, I’ll do it [in the studio]. When we interviewed Devin the Dude last year, he mentioned that he’s slightly bothered when artists or producers offer to work with him, but the song themes rarely go beyond sex and weed. As if he can’t rap about anything else. Does it bother you when people come to you for cars and money songs? Yeah, whenever it’s something about bosses they call me. Damn near every beat someone gives me got some shit saying “boss” on there. But I’ll rap to whatever; it don’t matter as long as I like the beat. Niggas always want me to rap about cars and shit. I can rap about anything, really. On this album I do that. But being that I only put out one album, people don’t know who I am. Plus, that album wasn’t even really me. That was an album with a major label and their input. A muthafucka don’t know who Slim Thug is. Hell, I don’t even know, so I know they don’t know. I’m still trying to find myself, I ain’t put out nothing but one album. I can’t say I know what all my shit about, I won’t even lie. //
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LIFE IN PRISON, THE MAN WHO GAINED FAME AS PIMP MR MARJANI FIGHTING SNOOKY IN THE AMERICAN PIMP DVD TELLS HIS SIDE OF THE STORY I’m just trying to keep my company afloat, because there’s some FBI agents and police that’ve been messing with me for the last 20 years. They really didn’t know that I was still alive. They thought Pimp Snooky was dead, because since I got out of Federal prison in 2000, I’ve been going under the name of Mr. Marjani. That’s my oldest daughter’s name. My name is Malani Marjani Avery, which means “black pure Avery.” Under that name, I’ve been throwing concerts and parties. I have my own artist and my own record company, Royalty Records. All of the people that said I’m one of the biggest pimps or most recognized pimps or most reputable pimps, they really don’t know the truth about who I am, Derek Avery. The person that I created fifteen years ago, has nothing to do with the person I am today. I can start and stop a war just by my presence. I’ve been affiliated with the streets for so long they doubted [I would make it out]. My brother is doing life in prison for a murder case. They told me seventeen years ago I’d end up in prison. It’s the same three cops that’s been messing with my family and have sent me to prison both times. The reason these cops [have it out for me] is because they’re only making $60,000-$70,000 a year, and that’s my tennis shoe money. When I came back to Milwaukee and opened up my clothing store, and my nightclub, the streets got to talkin’, like, “Hey, that’s Pimp Snooky’s joint.” When I was sitting in my nightclub with my kids, the police came in and said, “Nigga, you ain’t no ghetto savior.” I told ‘em they should’ve fucked with me twenty years ago. My money is legitimate now. I don’t do anything crooked. The bitches that [the police] say are my hoes are actually my baby mamas. So I can’t be around my baby mamas because y’all say they’re prostitutes? These are the same cops that told me when I got out of prison, “Your life is over. You’ll never be successful.” When I got out I moved away from Milwaukee. I moved to Las Vegas and there were some influential people around here that supported me. Everybody in the world was loving this character, Pimp Snooky, not even knowing that Pimp Snooky holds a charity event every year. I give away 300 book bags and tennis shoes to kids. I throw a yearly carnival every year with my nightclub; a whole block party. I give away a hundred tennis shoes every Thanksgiving for the last four years and forty turkeys in the neighborhood. They don’t know that part of me. They only see what’s on the internet, and none of the Pimp Snooky sites or Pimp Snooky myspace page are mine. Back in 1998 when I did the movie [American Pimp] I was on federal bond and state probation. In order to be on parole, you must comply with their rules and their stipulations; you must have a job and you must show your income. They gave me permission to do every [pimp] movie I’v done, and fifteen years later, they’re trying to prosecute me because I’m around known drug dealers, hustlers, pimps, and hoes? That doesn’t mean shit. I own a nightclub. I get paid for that. Right now, in Las Vegas, Nevada, they are charging me with pandering. I was in a casino and an undercover officer came up to me asking [if I would] buy sex. I was with my artists, and we were drunk, high, and kickin’ it. We’re like, “Lady, you don’t look good enough for us to buy no sex from ya,” so she changes up from buying sex into saying, “I wanna work for you.” [I respond,] “What do you mean you wanna work for me? You don’t even know who I am.” You know, we laughed it off. Next thing you know, I’m under arrest. They charged me with pandering and later changed it to attempt to pander. “Attempt to pander” means aiding, coercing, offering to purchase clothes, food, anything. Ain’t none of this shit happen. I didn’t make Pimp Snooky. The Hughes Brothers put me on the [DVD] cover and titled me “American Pimp.” HBO paid me for that. Jerry Springer paid me for that. Every movie I’ve been in, I’ve been paid for it. Every CD I’ve been on, I’ve been paid to do that. Why would I attempt to pander? I don’t need a broad’s money. I own five major corporations. I own a nightclub and a clothing line. Why would I need to talk to a girl to get me some money? I don’t need that. Now, if I wanted to knock her, I would. I can knock damn near any broad in the world but that’s not even my interest anymore. When I got out of prison, I was a well-known, established legend; a household name because of the movie [American Pimp]. I sent letters to the Hughes Brothers saying, “Listen, I didn’t ask y’all to put me on those [DVD] covers. Compensate me.” Nobody would pay me, so I figured if everybody’s gonna capitalize off my name while I was in prison, I’ma turn around and do the same thing. But instead of doing it with Pimp Snooky, I did it with [the name]
Mr. Marjani. I can show people how to go into a bank without a business plan, without collateral, with just a credit score, and show you how to get $65,000 to $75,000. I can show you which bank to go to. I know how to get rated on Dunn & Bradstreet. I know how to build a corporation. The same energy we put into hustling and negative shit and criminal shit and hurting each other in the streets, we can put that energy into doing some positive shit. That’s what the banks are there for; to loan us money. When I started to do that over the last three or four years – I was going into banks and getting $200,000 and $300,000 [loans] with no static. I started showing everybody [how to do it]. “Hey brother, the same way you go out here and sell two, three, four, five ounces of drugs and take a risk of going to prison, why don’t you apply that same energy with your crew and find out who’s got a good credit score?” Know how to show equity. Know how to buy commercial property and then you can go to the bank. And you can still ride around with these jewels and cars and everything else that you think is gonna make you happy. Ain’t no retirement or 401K in the streets. [The police] think my money is all street-affiliated. But my investors are all people that exist. The FBI has went to [my investors] and said, “Did you give this man half a million dollars?” and they say, “Yes.” [The FBI] asks, “Why? He’s a convicted felon. He’s a pimp. He’s been to prison.” [The FBI] keeps thinking that I get my money from women, but I’ve gotten my money from private investors for the last three years. And I’ve juggled my money very well. I’m facing life in [prison] in Nevada and I’m facing life in the Eastern district of Wisconsin. I’m fighting both charges. They’re trying to say that I’m a habitual offender, but I don’t even have a bad criminal record. I’ve been to prison for child support and felony possession of a firearm, but that’s not habitual. I’ve never been charged with pandering [before] in my life. Even the photos that we took [for OZONE Magazine] at my celebrity birthday party [in Minneapolis] are being used as evidence against me. They’re saying that the ladies in the pictures are prostitutes, and the guys in the pictures are my artists. [But] the ladies in these pictures are my kids’ mothers. They’ve been with me for twelve, eight, nine, thirteen years. But that’s the kind of evidence they’re using. They’re using the Pimp Snooky Myspace page as evidence, and that’s not even my Myspace page. The whole case is malicious. It’s biased. It’s entrapment, because at the end of the preliminary hearing, they clearly stated that all three of the cops that arrested me that night saw [my] Pimps Up, Hoes Down video in the American Pimp DVD. The state is using these same cops as “expert witnesses.” If you ask them, “What makes you an expert [on pimpin’]?” They’ll say they read some Iceberg Slim books and studied HBO’s Pimps Up Hoes Down and the American Pimp DVD. So the whole Vice [department] in Nevada studied me. I’m the person they saw on the DVD covers of those videos and I’m the person who stands out on those tapes. If you see Wesley Snipes at the Mandalay Bay, are you gonna think he’s a vampire slayer or a daywalker just because you saw him on Blade? That’s the same way people identify me. We really don’t know exactly all the charges Milwaukee is bringing against [me]. They’re still postponing court dates and looking for more witnesses. If you’ve gone to court four times with the same evidence and they said [it wasn’t enough] to try me, then leave me alone. My advice to everybody is to take the same energy and motivation and skills that you would put into the streets and apply it into some positive things. Don’t be afraid. Be determined about what you want. If you’re in the game, you’re gonna die or go to jail. Period. There’s no future in it. And if you think the materialistic shit is gonna make you happy, you’re sadly mistaken. It’s lonely at the top. Money doesn’t bring happiness. Understanding, respect, and love is what’s gonna carry you. I’m struggling right now trying to keep my kids. [The Feds] are trying to stop me from seeing my kids. They’re telling my kids’ mothers not to communicate with me, and I don’t think that’s right. I have a total of 23 kids and I have no child support problems. They’re trying to cause child support problems. None of my kids are neglected. I have five kids that are getting aid from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by two different baby mothers. I pay $750/month and I’ve been current with my child support and they aren’t complaining about anything. The federal government and the IRS guy, Robert Warren, is going to my kids’ mothers asking them to [pursue] me for more money. They’re trying to hit me from all angles. It’s heavy. I could go real deep, revealing dirty cops and a whole bunch of crooked ass shit. So they really don’t wanna play with me.
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Almost two years ago, while recording the song “Press Play” for Snoop Dogg’s Ego Trippin’ album, Snoop’s fellow West Coast legends DJ Quik and Kurupt remembered how much fun it is to work together, something they haven’t done much of for the past several years. Encouraged by the Doggfather, they continued vibing in the studio together throughout 2008. The resulting album, The BlaQKout LP, is full of ear-bending and eyeopening musical moments. The wideranging samples alone, which span the spectrum from Soul II Soul’s classic “Back to Life” to Moroccan sounds lifted from the Discovery Channel TV show Bizarre Foods, took six months to clear. The biggest surprise of all may be to hear how happy these former mean muggers are in life and in music. But don’t take this for being soft. With songs like “Fuck Yall,” they’re throwing up a middle finger to anyone who has a problem with the smiles. What’s the history of your working relationship prior to BlaQKout? DJ Quik: Me and Kurupt always had a mutual respect for each other, and I always looked for the opportunity to produce records [for] him. I had to chance to work with him when he was a solo artist on Antra [in 2001] and that was great. The business was right and I’ve always appreciated his business savvy. He always does the right things for himself. Because now we both have companies at Fontana — real businesses, corporations set in place — it just seemed like a no-brainer to be able to come together and do a record to show our solidarity even to our distributors. Snoop put a stamp on it. We came together again during the Ego Trippin’ sessions and it just felt so nostalgic and so right that it made sense to do it. And this ain’t the only one. We’re looking to start something with this, especially with his next record coming out, Street Lights. On my next DJ Quik album I’ll be leaning on him for things, even for direction as well as lyrics. He’s gonna keep it square: If he doesn’t like a beat, he gonna say it. You’re gonna see it on him. If it doesn’t move him, it doesn’t move him. He’s been helping me step my game up when it comes to beats because he’s always in the studio with the good Dr. [Dre]. And to continue to be on that level, you’ve gotta rise to the occasion and do something that will impress everybody. Do you feel like people you’ve worked with in the past have kinda kissed your ass when giving you feedback about your beats, but Kurupt will really tell you what’s up? DJ Quik: Back then, it was a different thing. I don’t think it was “kissing my ass,” but I know there were probably some beats that I coulda did a little bit better with myself, but because of time constraints we didn’t put our whole [effort] into it. We had a certain amount of studio time paid for and when we ran out of studio time, it was like, “Okay, this is good enough. Do we all agree?” Everyone would say it’s cool and we would just mix it and get it over with and get it done. That was cool because I learned how to work like an assembly line. I take a business model from
what Berry Gordy did, that kind of recording. In a sense, that’s kind of what Death Row was too, a musical assembly line with the best players. I’ve recaptured a little bit of that with Kurupt on this BlaQKout album. How long have you actually known each other? DJ Quik: I met Kurupt in late ’91, early ’92. Right before The Chronic came out, I went to a listening session with the good Dr. and heard it before it was released, when he had just struck his deal with Death Row and [the label] didn’t even have a logo yet. He invited me down and I met Snoop and Daz and Kurupt. I think I met Warren G that day too, but he wasn’t real talkative. But I was just impressed to be in their presence because you kinda knew they were the next thing. “Deep Cover” had already did what it did and we all acknowledged Snoop as the new best voice in Hip Hop and we wanted to be around their shine because they were shining. That can’t help but rub off on you, to be around brilliant people. DJ Quik: Yeah, especially if you consider yourself the light as well. I know that what I do is sometimes a little risky and avant-garde. But if you do it with the right people it can be more of a movement than a record that can get ridiculed. Avant-garde is an interesting way to describe your style because you have wandered a little further and wider than other producers for samples and melodic inspiration. DJ Quik: We [used] common samples back in the day. We all sampled our James Brown and Funkadelic stuff. But then I realized that there was an array of music outside our bubble that could be linked to for inspiration. Me sampling the the Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar for the Truth Hurts [song “Addictive”], to be able to be open to that kind of music and turn it into a hit record is special in its own right. I don’t think it would have been as big if it was a common sample. If I had sampled the Spinners or Gladys Knight and the Pips, I don’t think it would have the same impact. We showed our worldliness, plus we had been around the world a couple of times and had a chance to listen to all kinds of music. Good music is good music; it doesn’t matter what region it comes from. Kurupt: That’s right. Kurupt, can you take us back to the early 90s when you two met and you heard Quik’s beats? What did you think about him at the time? Kurupt: I grew up to DJ Quik, so I was already aware of him before we met. Sometimes your legend precedes you. I already knew about his music since Quik is the Name and Born and Raised in Compton. I was already up on who he was and already had a certain amount of respect and love for his musical talent. So when we met, it was already written. So you knew even then that you’d work together? Kurupt: It was a dream. Even working with Dr. Dre, all those things are dreams. You never expect to meet them. You know, this is real life. You hear this guy on the radio; you never expect to work with them. I know for a fact that I sat back in my room many times and sat with some of my homies and we banged records and the most important things at that time was smoking good and banging some DJ Quik and just having a good time and having a ball. And so when I went to Death Row all my dreams were coming true.
First I was working with Dr. Dre and then I met DJ Quik and so many other people like that. But no, I never had the expectation that we would ever work together the way we are doing it today. When I met Quik, it was one of those things where you can honestly say you met one of your goals in life. DJ Quik was like showing me that, you know what, I must be elevating because I’m running across all the people that I wanted to meet in the first place. Snoop is the one who brought me over to Death Row, so when I got there and was able to get on a Dr. Dre track, just being there was everything. To be able to be a part of that music was everything, so I was just following the lead. And to be able to run across the people that I met there that I consider legendary, like D.O.C., it just let me know I was where I wanted to be and I can’t be wrong. I just came from living in Hawthorne and living off of 59th and Crenshaw to now having a family in this music business that’s destined to win — when I got to Death Row, you could just feel it in your bones that we were destined to win. When you work with Quik, do you feel like he brings out a different side of your abilities? Kurupt: Oh, definitely. When me and Quik get to work, it’s pressure free. He’s not looking for
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He’s not looking for many things from me but for me to enjoy myself when I’m laying my raps. DJ Quik: I’m a technical person — I’ve spent a lot of money on equipment and wasted a lot of money on equipment and am always trying to find the new, popping sound, like the clearest microphones. And I be wanting Kurupt to, like, really get off on his voice in the studio I built and what he sounds like to his headphones. And Dre does that too, but everybody doesn’t do that. I’ve worked with people who really don’t care about the sound. Some people even say it now, like, “We don’t give a fuck about no sound. We’re just rapping.” But how can you do that to a man who was responsible for selling almost 100 million records? It’s good that you work in the studio together, because it seems like so many people just get sent beats and rap over them. DJ Quik: I’ve seen that done and that doesn’t always give you the hot shit. The magic of BlaQKout is that we both did the record in the same room. The beat was done where we did the lyrics and where we wrote together and vibed together. Doing that in a scaled down environment with not a lot of people around, and Kurupt being always sharp and tactful and always quick with what he does, sometimes he’s quicker than I would like because he’s done and then he’s leaving! And then it’s like it’s over and we’ve still got another hour we can work on more stuff! So I just end up staying and doing another beat that we can work on together for the next time and he ends up liking that so it’s like tandem [track after track]. It’s the energy too, what he brings to
the studio. When he’s here, you know he’s here and when he’s gone, you know he’s gone. And I always want to take advantage of that. So you feel like he brings out a good side of your talent, too? DJ Quik: Yeah, he makes me stretch out. I put down some of my old ways of doing records, like some of the really expensive ways of calling in all the bass players and the guitar players and having to pay union scale and what-not. Not that you don’t need that, but that don’t always guarantee you a hit. Why waste those resources when you can dig deep within yourself and find chords that you never played before? I’m always looking for the next hot thing, something that moves me. And it’s not that I’m jaded and the old stuff doesn’t move me. The old stuff moves me when I hear it in its complete form as it was. Like, the Dogg Food album will never go out of style to me. Doggystyle will never go out of style, and these records are 17 years old. But, to try to recreate that right now, it’s going to sound like we’re struggling. I figure, we got new hot gear, we got new drum sounds, our careers are based on our expertise. Why not go with what’s new and have fun with it? Even if it’s a bit too new; I’ve been accused of being a bit too far ahead of the curve where it takes people a year or two to get with my records. So I’m making it more accessible. I’m stepping it down enough to where people can get on board. BlaQKout is accessible; it’s one complete musical thought. It’s not all over the place, it’s not random. It sounds like we’re doing it together. We back each other up on the vocals.
Right there, not when he’s gone and I go in and do an overdub. We put energy into this record. People should be able to hear your friendship on this record. DJ Quik: We spent enough time being brash, being angry. Now, we’re happy. It’s cool, it’s a different time. It’s a different climate. With the economy what it is, people want to party more and dance and forget about their struggles and losing their jobs and potentially losing their cars and their house that they owned and built. So we did a record that was kind of lighthearted in that we’re doing records that take you away from the struggles. It’s going to get better. We’ll ride the wave. Kurupt: That’s right. DJ Quik: And I’ll speak for myself: The last record I put out, I’d become a little bit disenchanted with how little shine we were getting for being pioneers. I was getting a lot of disses in interviews and in magazines I was reading real abrasive things about me. I didn’t step out to fuck people over or diss people, but to hear some of the things being said about me, I had to dig deep and do a little introspection and realize that I had more potential than that. My output wasn’t matching the quality of my talent. But now I’m back into doing records. And we’ve been doing a bunch of records; we’ve been producing people and having fun. To take this all the way back to Snoop, the Ego Trippin’ album gave me this crazy kind of freedom. It gave Snoop this crazy kind of freedom, and now we’re benefiting from it. Snoop pretty much virtually brought me out of retirement. I was kind of done. I was thinking about selling my equipment. I’m glad that Snoop saved the day, and also glad that you two sound like you’re humble and excited to be making music with each other. It’s great, because I suppose if you thought you were the shit, there would be nothing less to strive to achieve, right? Kurupt: That’s just what we do. We’re humble people. We’ve done so much that there’s nothing we can really brag about; all we can do is be happy that we were a part of the situation. I was up for a Grammy [in 1996] for “What Would You Do” and there was nothing for me to do but to be as arrogant as I could be, even though I didn’t win. But later in life as I got older I learned that it’s not about the arrogance of it but it’s about the respect of the talent that we have. That’s what makes us different in this day and age. We’re seasoned now, so we’re going to step the ballgame up. People are going to look at us weird, like, “I don’t even recognize those two. That can’t be Quik and Kurupt! They’re talking about something — I like it, but it doesn’t seem like them.” Well it is, bitches! //
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Raised on a childhood audiovisual diet of little more than the opulent, boundary blurring boasts of the No Limit Soldiers and Cash Money Millionaires, DeAndre Way defied the odds of living in a small Southern town (Batesville, Mississippi; population: 7,000) to become a millionaire by the age of 16 and reach the stratospheric heights of pop music superhero stardom by the will of hard work. Feel free to love him or hate him — as he tells OZONE, he doesn’t particularly care either way. But you will respect his hustle. You’re in the middle of a big TV promo tour. When you meet people like Jay Leno or Barbara Walters or Regis and Kelly, what kind of interactions do you have with them off-camera? Who do you think they think Soulja Boy is? They just think I’m a hustler. I have conversations with them backstage and they just say my story is amazing. All the self-promotion that I used to make myself a celebrity and just to have become a millionaire at the age of 16 is crazy to them. Every single show that I do, every time I have a conversation with the person who hosts the show and the people backstage — like, I ran into Adam Sandler at the Tonight Show and he was just like, “Man, your story is amazing. You’re one out of millions.” I’m just thankful to be on their show and they’re giving me props. This is what hard work and determination does. It pays off. Do you ever feel like you’re in a dream? Yeah, I ain’t gon’ even lie: I told my man to pinch me last night. I got eight figures that just came in; I almost had a heart attack. So you’re not taking this for granted, then. Nah, I ain’t taking this for granted at all. I always say to myself that tomor64 // OZONE MAG
row, this could all be gone, so that’s why I always stay grinding and I always stay working. My grind been the same since before I got signed; I just keep that same drive and that same passion I had even before I got signed. And that’s what keeps me ahead of the game. How old were you when you first wanted to start rapping? I was 11 years old when I first said I wanted to become a rapper. I used to watch Master P and Cash Money on TV and I used to say, man, I wanna be like them. I wanna have all the money, I wanna have all the cars, I wanna have all the girls. I wanna stand on stage and have people screaming my name. I wanna be felt in the streets, I wanna be heard on the radio, I wanna be seen on TV. That was my dream, and I accomplished that dream five years later, at 16. Did your family help you realize your dream? No, not really. My family really didn’t play any part in my musical career. My daddy gave me a computer when I got to Mississippi and I used what he gave me to get to where I’m at, but as far as my family, they ain’t played no part in my musical career. I did everything myself. Did they discourage you from pursuing music? They didn’t tell me that I was doing the wrong thing, but my family wanted me to focus on school. They looked at my rapping like it was taking away from my education. They wanted me to finish high school and graduate college and things like that, but I had another plan. Do you think college is in your future? Yeah, I always want to attend college. I don’t think right now I would be able to attend physical college, but I want to attend college. Lil Wayne was doing some college work online. Maybe you could do that? Yeah, man, but I want the whole college experience. I’m online on YouTube
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and Twitter and Facebook, but I want to get the actual college experience. How do you find life in Los Angeles as a parttime resident? I mean, it’s crazy, it’s cool. I just landed my first acting role in a TV show called The Game on the CW Network and BET. My character is called Ray Ray. I moved out to L.A. to pursue my acting career, so I go back and forth. I got a house and condo in Atlanta, a house in Mississippi, and a condo in L.A. It’s cool out there. It’s like, as soon as you hit the club — the first time I went to the club I ran into Paris Hilton, Andy Milonakis, Dr. Dre, Polow the Don, Rich Boy, Kim Kardashian, Reggie Bush. It was, like, a million celebrities in the club and it was just crazy. L.A. is the spot. You’ve gotten a lot of criticism in the media, with predictions that you’d be no more than a one-hit wonder. But, now that you’ve gotten another song in the top 10, do you feel like the tide is turning and people are respecting your grind a little bit more now? People are respecting my grind. They’re respecting me, period, because people lie, but the numbers don’t. Even though people were saying I was going to be a one-hit wonder, my first single “Crank Dat” went five times platinum. And if you want to count it all together, it’s 10 million, because it’s five million singles and five million ringtones. So for people to be doubting me, I could really care less, because my grind is impeccable. My hustle, my strive, and my determination is going to get me wherever I want to be in life, and that’s whether you rocking with me or you going against me. If you going against me, you going to get rolled over. If you riding with me, we gonna ride until the wheels fall off. When you’re on a schedule like what you’re describing, do you feel like you have enough time to work on or think about creating music? Oh hell no, because if I get to a point where I feel like that, then I’m canceling everything. If I get to the point where I feel I ain’t putting in enough time for my music, then I’mma cancel my whole schedule for a week and we’re going to go into the studio and sit there and vibe until I get my feelings back right, because music is what got me here. Buying jewelry and houses and cars and getting all the models and superstar chicks and stuff like that, what brought all that was the music. So if the music ever falls off, man, all of that is gonna fall off with it. Will you miss out on money because you want to work on music, has that ever happened? Nah, I always balance it out. Do you sacrifice sleep? Is that the compromise that keeps everything going? My motto — I got it tattooed on my chest — is “sleep 10%.” I sleep 10% of my day, that’s 2.4 hours. That’s all I need. Really? I don’t need sleep. I’m a straight hustler. Sleeping, that’s the cousin of death. I’ma sleep when I’m dead. What ever happened to the “beef” between you and Ice T? Uh, I don’t know. It was never really like no situ-
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ation with Ice T. He dissed me on a mixtape and I came back and told him how I felt and that was it. It was never no beef or anything like that, I just spoke on him speaking about me. I addressed the situation and that’s it. But c’mon, it turned into a kind of an entertainment thing for the viewers of YouTube. I mean, you came back with the cartoon, which was a little bit above and beyond just addressing it. It seemed like y’all intended for the beef to entertain people. I mean, it was really just me doing me. Niggas get in beef and stuff like that all the time. But, at the end of the day, you can’t judge nobody, whether it’s Ice T, whether it’s Soulja Boy, whether it’s any rapper. Niggas be acting like they’re better than you. If you have more money than somebody, that doesn’t mean you’re better than them. If you’ve got more street cred than somebody, that doesn’t mean you better than somebody. They ain’t stop making guns when they made your gun, they ain’t stop making hoods when they made your hood. I got a hood too, nigga, I got guns too, I got money too, I got a family too. I know Bloods, I know Crips, I know gangsters and vicelords, you know what I’m saying? I went to school like you did, I’m black just like you, I make money just like you do. So, at the end of the day, Ice T can’t judge me, and nobody else can judge me either. And I can’t judge them. But when you tell me to “eat a dick,” I’m, like, “Nigga, fuck you!” I don’t give a fuck how much work you put in, how much street cred you got. Niggas ain’t fittin’ to just diss me and expect me not to say nann, because I don’t give a fuck.
Can’t nobody tell you how to live your life and can’t nobody tell me how to live my life, and once people figure that out, we’ll be off in a better place. People talk about recession this, recession that. Fuck that. That makes sense on a human-to-human, basic respect level. Yeah, and that’s what people have to understand. I don’t give a fuck if I’m 18 and you’re 40, at the end of the day, you can’t judge me for shit. You can’t speak on me and not expect to get spoke back on, you know what I’m saying? That’s just how it is. I don’t give a fuck who you are. Sometimes you go way over the top with being flashy, like in the “Rich Nigga Shit” videos. Is it just because you have new money and love the ability to buy things? Do you think you’ll grow out of that? At the end of the day, no matter if I got $10 in my bank account or I got $10 million in my bank account, it’s my money. If you got $10 million in your bank account, that’s your money. That’s the logic that I go by. When I was working at Burger King and making $200 a week, I was buying clothes or shit to eat or gas for the car or a fake grill to put in my mouth because it was my money and that’s what I wanted. Now, I’m making the money that I make now, I’m buying what I want, no matter what it is. Can’t nobody tell you how to live your life and can’t nobody tell me how to live my life, and once people figure that out, we’ll be off in a better place. People talk about recession this, recession that. Fuck that. Well, it’s a time when people are losing their jobs and homes, so maybe they don’t always
want to see other people blowing their noses with Franklins. But my question is, why are you attracted to buying things like that and being a show-off? That’s just how I was brought up. I saw rappers on TV buying diamonds and shooting videos on islands and yachts and stuff like that, so I guess that’s what I was attracted to as a kid. Now that I have my business in position to be on the level of those rappers that I saw when I was younger, I want those same things. It’s like if I was a nerd and all I watched was cartoons and Power Rangers when I was little and now I am grown and want to buy all the Power Rangers I can find, or all the Power Rangers DVDs and stuff, or anything like that. It’s just what I was accustomed to, and just what I like. Just because another person is hurting, or another person ain’t got the type of money that I got or hasn’t achieved the type of success that I got, that’s not gonna stop me from living my life. I don’t give a fuck. That means you did something wrong with your life. That ain’t got nothing to do with me. I don’t know you and you don’t know me. You just know Soulja Boy from TV, dog. I don’t know nobody personally, even when it comes to my fans. I don’t know them personally. I love them for buying my music and that’s who I do it for, they inspire me to go to work every day and go to my concerts and stand on stage and perform for them. But, at the end of the day, I don’t know nann one of them personally. There could be murderers in the crowd, there could be rapists in the crowd, we don’t know none of these people personally. Each and every person is different on a personal level. But on a professional level, Soulja Boy Tellem, I do my duty and make these hit records for my fans. Can you tell me about your next album, The DeAndre Way? I’m reaching out to a lot of A-list Hip Hop artists like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Eminem, and 50 Cent [for features]. My first two albums were not recorded as albums. My first album was just a whole lot of songs [I had released] on the Internet. I went into the studio when I got signed and re-recorded the album professionally. But for The DeAndre Way, this is the first album that I’m actually taking seriously to record as a real album. It is admittedly a great title! DeAndre Way is my government name, that’s my real name. For my third album, I’m going away from the Soulja Boy stuff and it’s gonna be 100% real. From the packaging, the promotion, the artists featured on there, and the way it’s presented, it’s going to be my biggest and best album, period. And it’s gonna get the most wideranging audience. This is going to be the biggest audience I reach in my career. Will you be experimenting musically? Yes, I’m actually recording in the studio with a live band on a couple of the records. It’s gonna be a lot of different styles and a lot of different techniques that I use. My lyrical skills have grown amazingly on this album. I look at it as growth both as an artist and a person, and I’m gonna speak on real shit. I can’t wait to put it out. It’s going to be 100% me though. I’m not going to let anybody tell me what to do. If this album flops, or if this album is the worst move in my career, ends my career, or whatever, I at least get to say that I did that. //
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Whether he’s having his studio raided by federal agents with guns borrowed from T.I., fighting lawsuits for supposedly stealing a lesser known DJ’s name, or being insulted by one of the game’s biggest emcees, DJ Drama definitely lives up to his name. AND YET the Philadelphia native is perhaps the most calm and laid back person in rap; his Twitter bio simply reads, “I FEED THESE STREETS,” and over the past 5 years that’s all he’s ever set out to do. Currently prepping the release of his second studio album on Atlantic, Gangsta Grillz The Album: Volume 2, The iPod King is promising one thing: consistently hot music. Going into Volume 2, as opposed to the first Gangsta Grillz album, how has your mentality changed? What have you done differently? I don’t really know if my mentality has changed. The first album was like my whole career brand accumulated into one project. This one was a little more laid back in terms of me putting it together and getting it out. I definitely think it’s another quality project and a solid album. I’m keepin’ it consistent with the music. But this project has a lot of people I didn’t get to work with on the first album, so that was an advantage for me. Who did you get to work with on this album that you didn’t get to work with on the last album? Luda’s on this album, Busta’s on this album, Nas, Scarface, Trick Daddy, Dream, Akon, Snoop, Fabolous, Ray J, Gucci—those were all people I really wanted to work with that [weren’t] on the last album. What track are you most excited about on this project? I don’t really have one; I like it from beginning to end. I think it has a good feel to it, it’s well rounded, pretty much something for the street, but you also got mood music on there. It’s very diverse and the lineup is great. One the first album I remember you saying you 68 // OZONE MAG
had a hard time getting all the clearances from the labels. Did you find that to be a similar challenge on Volume 2? Actually, it wasn’t as difficult this time. I think I learned a lot from the first album so as I was working on the clearances I handled it differently. I really gotta thank all the labels for coming through on the clearances for me, that part wasn’t as difficult this go around. In your honest opinion, which album was a better disc, Gangsta Grillz Volume 1, or 2? Honestly, I like both of them. I mean Volume 1 was banging, Volume 2 is banging. That’s like asking me, “What’s your favorite mixtape?” If you ask me what’s better I’m going to say, ”If you have my first album, you gotta have my second album.” Gangsta Grillz The Album: Volume 1 was released amidst all the controversy with the RIAA raid and whatnot, a year and a half later you’re coming with Volume 2. How have you managed to stay relevant for so long as a DJ? Good music, and just being creative. Me being a DJ, it’s really just about staying on the pulse of the game, staying ahead. After my first album last year I kept my grind up with the mixtapes. I put out a bunch of classics last year, from the Luda to the Gucci, to the Dedication. I stay on the road, I stay doing gigs, and I stay working. Once you get in a good position it’s important to hold on and put in the work. I love what I do, I love being able to represent the culture and being able to represent the music and bringing it to the people. You mentioned Gucci and The Movie mixtape you did with him, which got a lot of acclaim, but caused a lot of controversy because he was the adversary of one of your longtime allies, Jeezy. You’ve always stayed pretty diplomatic in dealing with artists. What made you decide to cross enemy lines and work with Gucci? The streets called for it. At the end of the day, I’m an ambassador to the people, and that’s what they wanted to see. They wanted to see Drama and Gucci work, so we got it in, we did it and we made a classic. Gucci’s on fire. I respect his work, I respect what he’s doing and we got busy. Did you consider your relationship with Jeezy at all, or was that something you weren’t con-
cerned with? I’m about the music. I’m about good music. If Gucci has a banging song I’m gonna play it, and if Jeezy has a banging song I’m gonna play it. At the end of the day that’s really what it comes down to. Outside of the music I really don’t get involved with anything else. What are the disadvantages of being a wellknown, somewhat-celebrity DJ? I don’t know if there really is a disadvantage, but at times I think people feel that I’m not a real DJ, that I can’t get behind two turntables and rock. I always come to show and prove, so if that’s on somebody’s mind I can prove them wrong. But to be honest, there’s not a lot of disadvantages. I’m in a very blessed position, to be recognized in a lot of places that I go, or for my name to be heralded. I’ve been in the game a long time, and I’ve been a student of the game a long time. I don’t know if I consider myself a celebrity DJ, I mean, I’m world renowned, I’m well known, but I just come to do my thing. Recently Don Cannon left The Aphilliates. What was the reason for his departure from the group? It ain’t nothing, Cannon’s my little brother. He’ll always be my little brother. Okay. You seem to have pretty keen insight into what subgenre of Hip Hop is forthcoming. Who do you predict will dominate the third and fourth quarters of ’09? I’m looking forward to everybody doing their thing this year. I’m always excited when artists come out and rock, so there’s a good handful of artists I’m checking for. Any names specifically? I just like the evolution of the game. I’m excited about the direction it’s going in. What direction do you think the game is going to go right now? To me, it seems kind of ambiguous. Naw, I don’t think so. There’s a lot of quality projects coming out. People have still been able to drop hot mixtapes, and create good buzzes and whatnot, but I think Hip Hop is always exciting. There’s always bullshit out, but the bullshit comes and goes. What’s hot and fresh is gonna make its way. //
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Somewhere between being an underground icon and a mainstream idol, there’s almost a purgatory a rapper must pass through before reaching the next level. This is the line OJ da Juiceman is currently walking. Not yet a radio takeover artist, but far beyond local celebrity status, OJ is ready for elevation. After releasing his first project under Asylum earlier this year, which OJ describes as more of a compilation than an official album, he’s preparing to unveil a second album. This time he’s met with more anticipation and more respect, thanks to a few new collaborations and an obvious improvement in skill. “I just stayed true to what I wanted to do,” OJ says when talking about how far he’s come. In staying true to what he does best, the Atlanta street rhymer continues supplying his mixtape demand and spreading into other markets. Recently he’s been a part of some interesting collaborations, including a feature with R. Kelly and a guest appearance with Red Café, Jadakiss, and Diddy – proving OJ can branch out and stick to his roots at the same time. “I’m just keepin’ it OJ da Juiceman – one hundred.” You’ve been on the grind daily. What’s a typical day like for you now that your career has taken off all the way? Really, I’m trying to get back in the studio ‘cause I’ve been focused on doing shows and making sure my show [money] is straight. I slacked off on the studio but I’m getting back in there. I just worked with J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League last night. I’m just gonna continue to go hard at rapping and get my grind back on in the studio like I ‘posed to. Tell me about this R. Kelly record that’s circulating. How did that come about? Oh yeah, the “Superman High.” Preciate R. Kelly – big up Kells and Chi-town. R. Kelly came with the song – it’s produced by Willie Will – they came and said R. Kelly wanted to do a song with me. It shocked me for him to be in the game so long and the status that he has, and me being a new-comer in the game, and he reached out to work with me. I think it’s a real good record so everybody be on the lookout for that. You’re also on Red Café’s “Hottest in the Hood” remix with Jadakiss and Diddy. Did they reach out to you for that? I was in New York doing a press conference and I bumped into Red Café at a studio. I told him I was a big fan of his music and he said he heard some of my music. Then I was like, “Let me get on somethin’. You got any openings on any records?” It just so happened that he was trying to do a remix of “Hottest in the Hood.” Big up to Los up there at Warner Brothers. He be lookin’ out for me. Would you say people are starting to respect you more as a rapper now? Yeah, as a rapper instead of just as a mixtape artist and street person. Now they’re really lookin’ at me like, “Juice got potential. Look at all the records he’s been on.” You definitely came up as a mixtape and street artist. Are you still going to use those avenues to push your music?
Yes, I’ma sure try to. I don’t wanna change my formula up in any kind of way. Whatever method got me to where I’m at today I’m gonna continue to work that method ‘cause evidently it worked for me. The mixtape game is huge exposure for artists to get their music heard. The DJs got a network that’s worldwide and they get fans in tune to your music and they wanna bring you to their state [for shows]. So I’m still gonna work the mixtape game. Are there any areas of the country where you feel your fanbase could be stronger, or anywhere you just haven’t been able to touch yet? I ain’t been to Houston yet. I’ve been to Dallas. I ain’t been to L.A. – big up to the Bay. I can’t really say why I haven’t been to those places yet – it might just be that the promoters don’t know what contacts to get with. People hit me on Myspace like, “Juice why you ain’t been to so-and-so,” and in my eyes I’m lookin’ at it like ain’t nobody there really on me, but it’s really just a situation with booking the shows. I’m willing to get in anybody’s state and rock the show ‘cause I go all the way in. With this last album, you left a couple of the mixtape favorite songs off – like “Boomin’ and Bunkin’” – can you explain why you did that? We sent the songs to Asylum, and really it was just a rush order to put the album ‘cause “Make the Trap Say Aye” was gettin’ so hot. We had to put something together. I think we put a good album together. We missed a couple of the mixtape songs, but Otha Side of the Trap turned out to be a good album. It did some good numbers for the southeast region and the new album is gonna be even better. The story goes that the label underestimated your buzz and didn’t ship enough copies of the album to the stores. So the stores sold out too quickly and it affected your album sales. Is that true? Yeah, they did do that. I think they put out 8,000 CDs with an expectation of 3,000 to sell. But the first week it did 23,800. That album was really like a pre-warm up for the one I’m getting ready to put out. It was more like a compilation of the hottest songs from my mixtapes. Have you started picking songs for the new album yet? Yeah, I got some cuts on there. I got one with R. Kelly – not the “Superman High” song, that’s his song. I got one with Lloyd. I just did one with J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League – I don’t know how that’s gonna go ‘cause it kinda got leaked, but it’s still a hot record. I got some I did with the producer M-16. It’s gonna be a real clean-cut record. Out of all the collaborations you’ve done, which one is your favorite? I got a couple. I like the Café one, the Busta one, especially the Cam one – that helped out a lot with the up north situation. Up north is kinda hardcore on down south rappers. That right there helped elevate my up north status. I’m just trying to keep making good music ‘cause that’s what it’s about – I’m here to entertain. So you’ve been entertaining for about 10 years now. Back when you started, did you see yourself where you’re at today? Kinda, but not really. I had a slight view of it. When I was making my first two or three mixtapes, I was really just doin’ it for Atlanta, until I started goin’ on the road with Gucci. Then it started getting out further than where it started.
The DJs I was doing the mixtapes with had a buzz about theyselves and they were continuously networking – giving away my CDs to mom and pop stores. That helped a lot. When people first started hearing about you, everyone associated you with Gucci, but now you definitely have your own identity. Was it hard to come out from under another rapper’s shadow? Not really, I just stayed true to what I wanted to do, and that’s with anything in life – like if you wanna get a good-paying job, you stay true to that job ‘cause that’s your steady income. I figured if I do this rap thang, maybe one day it would pay off and I’d be able to have my momma not workin’ and we just chillin’ off the rap money and I’d have businesses and investments and everything goin’ on. How many times a day do people ask you to say “Aye?” [laughs] Aw man, all the time. It be crazy. I be likin’ it though ‘cause that goes to show that people listen to my music. It hasn’t gotten old yet? Nah…well kinda, it kinda aggravates me, just depends on what situation I’m in. Like if I’m goin’ through a personal situation and I pull up at the gas station and somebody be like, “Juiceman, say ‘Aye,’” I be like, “Bro, I can’t do it right now.” They be like, “Golly bro, you can’t say ‘Aye?’ That’s all we listen to.” Then I have to go on and do it. But that’s what they wanna hear. You have a lot of jewelry and you were telling me about how difficult it is to travel with it. How is it going through airport security? At the airport they stop you ‘cause they wanna see if you have any sharp things. Like going through Atlanta, I keep my jewelry in a lil’ box inside a bag, and when it goes through the X-ray, they lookin’ at it ‘cause it’s so many pieces in there. They pull whoever’s carrying it over to the side. I been carrying it so much and I got tired of getting pulled over and searched, while everybody else with my camp gets to go on through and I’m the only one gettin’ stopped. So I started puttin’ the box on the road manager and lettin’ him get stopped and I just go on through. But they gotta do their job – if that was my job I wouldn’t let nobody on with anything that could hurt nobody else either. So you came out the gate with a lot of records from Zaytoven, and I see you’re working with Fatboi a lot now. I met Fat through Big Ron. I’ve been known Ron since he owned Club Chocolate, which changed names to 360. Big Ron told me he had a producer and I came over and listened to him. Actually, he produced “Vet Pass By.” That was the first song he did for us. From then on me and Gucci been rockin’ with him. Fatboi got them hard tracks. I call it the “House of Slam.” Was your goal to always be a rapper? Did you always have big visions, even with the environment you grew up in? I always had big visions. I always had the big name on the block where I’m from. Everybody always looked up to me like, “Juiceman gon’ do something.” From runnin’ the streets and runnin’ in high school – we had run in a click called Bouldercrest and the other side was Gresham, and the other side was East Shoals – I was the leader of Bouldercrest. Folks just always looked up to me. But with music, I didn’t really get stupid OZONE MAG // 71
focused on that ‘til like ’98 when I was trying to see if that’s where I was gon’ go. Before that, I worked a job for a year when I was 14 and found other lil ways to get money. In ’98-’99 I got that pen and pad and it took off from there. I don’t know if you saw it, but recently the media ran a story about gang violence increasing in Atlanta. Being a native of the area, what’s your perspective of gang activity in the area? In my hood where I’m from, we didn’t really do no gang bangin’. We were always tryin’ to scheme up on ways to get a dolla’, walk up to the Texaco to get some flame hot Cheetos or somethin’ like that. I think one year we did try to generate a gang, but I wasn’t down wit’ it ‘cause I ain’t lettin’ nobody put they hands on me for no reason – like slappin’ me in and I don’t get to hit you back. But you know, days go on and people do what they wanna do. So when is the new album scheduled to come out? They wanna do June, but we might have a slight push-back. I’m rootin’ for June. I’m like ten songs in, I’m probably six or seven songs down. But June is right ‘round the corner. What do you think is gonna be your next big radio hit like “Make the Trap?” I really wanted to do “Washing Powder Money.” That was on Otha Side of the Trap, but they told me to steer away from that and be focused on the new album. They want me to come with a single off the new album. The song I got with Kells is hot, and the song I got with Lloyd is real hot too. A lot of people ask how you got your name. Where did that come from? OJ comes from Otis Williams Jr. I’ve been called OJ since the womb, Juice too – and it turned to Juiceman during my teenage years. My homeboy would be like, “Aye Juice, when you comin’ out to play?” Or “Aye Juice, let’s go down to the creek.” Shit like that, but I always been called OJ. Anything else you want to say? Be on the look out for the new album coming June ’09. I got the Myspace page on blast right now – www.Myspace.com/ojdajuiceman. For all the young producers that wanna submit beats to me, you can email youngjuice32ent@gmail. com. Be on the look out for the 32 Entertainment movement goin’ down in a major way. Big up to So Icey and Gucci, 1017 Brick Squad mixtape on the way. //
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Do you really realize how much Busta Rhymes has contributed to this thing we call Hip Hop? Sure, you remember the crazy, Hype Williamsdirected, bubble-eyed lens videos with the loud colors. Yeah, he made it cool to hop on everybody and anybody’s record. True, he’s given some of the best concerts your eyes will ever see. But do you actually appreciate his efforts? Do you name him in your “Top 5: Dead or Alive?” Do you own all of his albums? Do you ever hear him actually spitting a wack verse? Odds are that you answered “no” to at least two of those questions. It’s okay, Busta forgives you. Actually, he’s not tripping at all. With his new album Back On My Bullshit, Busta is going to keep doing the same thing he’s done for the last 20-plus years, whether you notice it or not. The name of the album is Back On My Bullshit. Is there an angle that you were trying to convey with that album title? I really wasn’t trying to convey anything other than the self-explanatory definition of the 74 // OZONE MAG
title itself. I just felt like I’ve been in situations where I’ve switched from label to label. I started out with Elektra, and now I’m with Universal Motown. Through my experiences, I always feel like you’re a part of teams. We’re like basketball players. When you play for different teams, sometimes you’re asked to do things that you don’t feel are one hundred percent you or allow you to feel one hundred percent comfortable in your own skin. Making my rounds, I felt like... Naw, it ain’t even a feeling, it’s a fact. My greatest success was garnished when I was working under the reign of Sylvia Rhone. She was the CEO of Elektra Records at the time when I was putting out “Woo Hah” and “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See”, “Dangerous” and that record I did with Janet “What’s It Gonna Be”, so I garnished my greatest success with her. She always made me feel comfortable. She trusted that as long as she allowed me to sit behind the wheel of controlling my own destiny, I was gonna deliver at the fullest of my capability. Now I’m at Universal Motown, and she’s the CEO over here. What you see happening right now with my records in the street and the momentum we’ve got, compared to the records and the momentum we had in my last situation, there’s a significant difference. The minute I came over here, I put out my first record and the shit made the most noise in the streets with “Arab Money” off the top. There wasn’t no complication in fig-
uring out how to market or campaign the Busta Rhymes brand or Busta Rhymes as an artist or his type of music. She already understands how to do that from our experience from the Elektra days over ten years ago. So number one, I’m back home with Sylvia Rhone. I’m back to being able to do what I’m used to doing, and that’s giving people the Busta Rhymes that they’ve known to grow and love. In addition to that, the album just feels and sounds like vintage Busta Rhymes in a new way. So the most appropriate title was Back On My Bullshit, being that I am, literally, back on my bullshit. Over the last couple years, what dots have not been connected? The dots that I felt weren’t being connected was, number one, the synergy amongst us as people. When we work with a team, there’s gotta be a certain energy, a certain vibe, and a certain feelgood component that allows us all to run around with the excitement necessary to campaign the product the right way. I felt like that wasn’t really there the way it needed to be. Number two, the understanding of what Busta Rhymes is and how Busta Rhymes operates. I don’t think that understanding was ever established in the right way either. We can only accomplish but so much with that not being at its fullest or at least at a level that was substantial enough for us to feel like we really knew how to rock with each other to be on
the same team. Shaq and Kobe can come from two different sides of the planet, but they have to know how to rock with each other in order for that team to be at their fullest capability. I just felt like that wasn’t happening when I was in other situations outside of Sylvia Rhone. It’s funny you bring up Shaq. Coming into this interview I was thinking about how you and Shaq’s current situations are similar. Two proven legends who all of a sudden find themselves playing for 3 or 4 different teams by the end of their careers. I read that Shaq is playing better now because he convinced the Suns to let him skip practice since he’s played so long and knows what he’s doing. Can something similar be said about your situation? The beauty in my situation is that it was understood when they brought me over here, so I didn’t even have to say it. The fact that that was understood and me not having to say it and me being allowed to do just that, it’s garnishing the great reactions and outcomes. The shit that we’re looking to accomplish is being successfully executed and being successfully accomplished. It’s good that you tell me that that’s the perspective Shaq is at, because [we’ve both] put so much time in. If people don’t get it by now that you understand what you’re doing, especially being one that’s been able to survive the many turning points and climate shifts in the game, then they ain’t ever gonna get it. If they ain’t never gone get, then those aren’t the people you need to be moving with. It’s dope that Shaq is putting his foot down. It’s not a disrespectful thing or a selfish thing because it’s not about not being willing to be a team player, it’s about helping your team understand that you are at a level where you understand not only do you have to be a team player but you have to bring your team to a victorious place if they allow you to do what you know how to do. What kind of sound can we expect from the Back On My Bullshit album? First and foremost, you can definitely look forward to the Busta Rhymes that you’ve all known to grow and love over the years. It’s actually doing that at a mastered level, the highest level of what Busta Rhymes can offer you. I’m in one of the most amazing stages of my life. Surviving a lot of the bullshit that I’ve had to deal with over the last couple of years with legal issues and the label transitions and just a lot of obstacle courses that helped me be able to find a piece of mind being that I was able to get past all that and find a tranquility in knowing that I’m back in a space where I can now say that I got shit under control the way that I’m use to having shit under control. Second of all, you’re gonna get the vintage Busta Rhymes sounding shit. There’s been distinctive moments in Hip Hop that has helped me garnish the success that I’ve gotten up to this point. You’re going to get that high energy, you’re gonna get that feel-good [music], you’re gone get the club bangers, the traditional club bangers that Busta Rhymes has always been able to offer the people and feed the streets. The beauty is that you’re gonna get it in a new way. I ain’t never one to try to recreate shit that has already been done in its own right successfully. Last but not least, you’re gonna get shit that you can go to the end of the earth and not find on anyone else’s album. I say that proudly with my chest poked out. I know for a fact that you may have some of the people that I have on your album, but you don’t have them on there the same way I have them on my album. Mary J. Blige, John Legend, Common, and Jamie Foxx have
done songs with other people, and they’ve done amazing, historic records with other people. But the one thing that’s never been done is having all of those people on the same song with Busta Rhymes. The tracklisting for the album lists a lot of features. You’re known for working with a lot of people, period. But why did you decide to work with so many people on this album? I work with people that make the song sound the way it’s supposed to sound when it’s finished. So a lot of times I don’t choose the people, the song chooses the people for me. A lot of the time when I make the song I don’t hear who I’m gonna put on the song until the song is done. When I start playing the song for other people and letting people hear it, I start hearing voices that I think could contribute. I have a bunch of songs I’ve done with other people that will never see the light of day. I’m not into putting records out for novelty or celebrity. The record has to sound right and feel right before I share it with the world. A lot of times people ask me to be on the records too. When great people work together, they bring the greatness out of each other. Really, the song with all of us on there, when I wrote it, it was just supposed to be me and Mary, but word got around about the song and they all wanted to be a part of it. I just like to put together records that are eventful and have eventful moments throughout the project. You’ve built your name hopping on everyone’s songs and remixes. Do you think that plays a part in being able to put together songs like that for your albums? Absolutely. Not stroking my own ego, but I just think I’ve got a good ear for the music and I’m in tune with the music. I always make a conscious effort to make sure I understand what the music is doing at the time. But I definitely attribute that to my experience of working with other artists early in my career. Even currently, you can see me on everything that’s hot. I don’t stop spitting with anybody and everybody. Plus, the opportunities to show that I can still smash something are coming. I also have to acknowledge that I’m not always the person coming up with the idea. Does it feel different or the same hopping on records now? With technology, people just email and IM beats and verses now. It’s not the same because we’re never really in the studio together. Back then you didn’t have the internet to send the verse to somebody. Back then it was a lot of work involved, you had to drop the verse and FedEx the 2-inch tape reel. So it’s a lot less trouble to have someone come in and do it with you. For [Tribe Called Quest featuring Leaders of the New School’s] “Scenario” we were all in the studio together. Matter fact we was all in the mic booth hugged up so we could be as close to the mic as possible. We did all the group adlibs on the song together to make it live. Even Ali Shaheed was in the there. You and Ice Cube are two of the bigger names who left groups and went on to have even bigger success going solo. That said, how do you feel about the state of rap groups right now? I think groups are good as long as they work. I definitely miss the element of having groups in the game. Groups were dope. Groups are different from cliques. Cliques are like Wu-Tang. They were more of a clique than a group to me. Groups are dudes that you hear on every song together. They all interacted on each other’s verses. They had that thread that sowed them
together through their projects. As far as that not being as prominent part of the game anymore, I definitely miss it. I wanna see a group do their thing. I’m very much into Pac Div. I’m a big fan of theirs because they remind me of Leaders of the New School. I hope what they do as a group garners the success of the greats in the past. I see potential in groups still being able to do their thing, not just Pac Div, but the group element in Hip Hop period. I come from a group. I always wanted to maintain being in the group, but when you’ve gotta provide for your family, the disadvantage is that the bread isn’t secured if all the members don’t show up for shit. I think that’s why the group element isn’t as prominent in the game. When the important members in the group don’t show up, or y’all ain’t getting along and people come to shows and see that the important member ain’t there? It makes it bad for the rest of the members. Nowadays the economy is too fucked up to have people getting the way of how you get food for your family. Very true. Chuck D of Public Enemy gave you your name, right? Yes. He named us Leaders of the New School too. How do you feel about mentorship in the game right now? A lot of the new jacks are putting themselves on, which is great. But there’s also a sense of arrogance coming with it. I feel great about mentorship because I think some of us still find comfort in mentoring the new muthafuckas that are worthy. A lot of times you don’t see mentorship because these new artists come out like they don’t need mentoring or value the mentoring you try to give them. I think mentoring would be more prominent if muh’fuckas that needed it embraced it instead of acting like they know all the answers. Sometimes you gotta let a sleeping dog lie where they lay, that’s what my grandmother taught me. The karma comes back and bites them in the ass. So when someone don’t want to listen, just watch how the shit transpires when they act like they know all the answers and then come back around when they’re on their ass and say, “I should’ve listened.” By that time it’s too late for them. But I’m always willing to mentor those that are worthy. Most times they’re already showing the potential of being the next dude. But everybody ain’t worthy. Muthafuckers get the info and sciences and don’t use it right. It’s 2009. the way the world is going, a lot of this stuff in the news is stuff you damn near prophesized on every album since your first album The Coming. Do you think people missed what you were trying to say back then. I think a lot of the mainstream and Middle America consumers that didn’t really get into the depth of the projects didn’t get it because it wasn’t really about the theme of the album overall to them. It was more about the singles at the time and the record that had the elaborate videos and me clowning acting like a wild muthafucka. It attracted people and I did that to get them interested enough to get them to listen to the album so that they would get the core element of what I was doing with the music. Sometimes the singles supercedes what you want them to hear. I definitely feel that the rahrah overwhelmed the people. Did that frustrate you at all? Yeah, because I really wanted people to understand how much depth and substance I had and not just think I was on some loose cannon, crazy nigga shit. But with time you learn how to adjust OZONE MAG // 75
and figure out new ways to give niggas the substance without compromising what they love you for. So I’ve given people different albums. I’d give them less wild-out and more substance. At times it made the consumer feel like I was changing, but I was just making necessary adjustments to execute what I wanted to be more prominent on those projects. It had definitely worked for me in a way that I wanted it to. But for me to successfully execute that, I had to let people see and understand that Busta Rhymes ain’t just the crazy muthafucka but he is also one of the most lyrical, most incredible performers if not one of the most conceptually driven artists today. Funny you say that. When people get into their “Top 5” arguments, Busta Rhymes is hardly ever mentioned. Does that bother you at all? Nah. You know why? Because I don’t have time to really get caught up in the trivial bullshit of the game. Number two, I don’t market myself in that way. I’m from the era where you allow the people to anoint you. You don’t self-proclaim. A lot of cats self-proclaim their crowns. When you do that enough and make it a part of your strategy, of course they’re gonna be conditioned to think that’s what it is. I just wanna get my credentials and organic love from the people from a genuine place. I definitely acknowlege myself as a god on the mic and that’s the best title to have. A king can’t create a god, gods create kings. If you wanna be king of a mic or city, be my guest. I’ll be the god. Your last album Big Bang Theory came out at a time when New York Hip Hop fans were crying about no one being the king or, “the South is taking over.” It seems like they just overlooked you, even though you’ve proven that you have the skills and longevity. It feels better coming from you. That’s what I was saying. Me ranting and raving about it will have you saying, “This nigga Busta is a disgruntled muthafucker!” I’m good with how shit plays itself out. Since I ain’t going nowhere soon, the truth won’t be disputed. At the end of the day we’re gonna see who the god of the block really is. Around the same time, we also saw you in the news, a lot. For a while it seemed like you had some sort of dark cloud following you. The thing that helped me survive the obstacle course is that I’m blessed to be surrounded by genuine friends. My kids are the shit, my mom is the shit, my woman is the shit, my brother, my father. The one thing that was never compromised in my household was the support system. I might have been walking around looking busted, but I always came home to the most elaborate West Indian dishes. My parents took good care of a nigga. I never needed to do nothing. But when I felt like I needed shit they couldn’t provide for me, that’s when I found mischief to get it on my own. There’s only so much you can expect your family to compromise. But I felt I needed the new fly shit in the street. So I got my money even if it wasn’t the right way. From living that way as a shorty, you get tough skin because you subject yourself to a lot of fuckery. You’re groomed being in those situations to learn how to deal with the bullshit. When the truth is undisputed, you don’t lose too much sleep. I definitely went to bed every night not happy about the shit that was going on, but resting comfortably in knowing that I wasn’t living with any guilt. I’m not a criminal, doing crime in the streets. I don’t have to worry about getting in trouble for some shit I was involved with because I’m not involved with anything provoking trouble or problems that I was being held accountable for. So I’d stay focused on my shit because I know at the end of the day the time is gonna heal the wounds and the truth don’t change. A lot of people who live with guilt are running around trying to prove shit to people trying to save face. As far as how the press handled it, I don’t give a fuck or take it personally. I know they’re trying to compete with other muthafuckas. So they’re all posting up shit and outdoing each other by making sure they get the most hits for content. Of course they’re gonna put the light on the negative faster than the positive shit. That’s the way the consumer is groomed. We’d rather see a shoot ’em up movie than Akeela the Bee. I just feel like, fuck them. They’re gonna do what they’re gonna do. I got bigger fish to fry and bigger pictures to paint. At the time I had my situations, they were locking up everybody. Remy Ma, T.I., Prodigy, Mike Vick, Wesley Snipes. I got arrested four times in 10 months. The truth was, my situations were made bigger than what they really were. I only had 2 misdemeanor assaults, a driving impaired and a suspended license. None of them are felonies but they made them look like that. Ultimately, I wasn’t creating these problems for myself. I was doing some irresponsible things, I take responsibility for them, I’m on probation right now. But, those cases have closed and now things are going in the direction they are supposed to go. The streets, radio, clubs on smash, the momentum is phenomenal, there ain’t no more bullshit in the street about the kid. It seems like after 2Pac got shot the first time, we got used to hearing and knowing about rapper’s personal lives. You think it can get back to that? No. There’s too many powers that be using the people as the tool to implement their new agendas. The big brother shit, camera phones, and the internet has destroyed the constitutional right to value privacy. Niggas think five minutes of fame is more important than private and personal space. Until people realize that, they always gonna incriminate themselves. I’ve seen a million videos on the internet of niggas whupping somebody’s ass, like that shit is actually legal. It’s only a matter of time before the law comes at you charging you everything imaginable. From there its unlimited lawyer and court fees for you. In the end you just come off looking like a dick and derelict and just show how stupid you are for doing that. Ultimately it will never change because the kids born into this, this is all they know. (laughs)
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How much do you think the quality of music has to do with that? A muthafucka is always gonna wanna find something else if the music ain’t interesting enough. The shit started before YouTube. It started with Blackplanet and the camera phone. You could find out about people sitting at the crib. People putting their ass on the internet. All that shit was a conspired agenda by the higher powers that be. It’s too the point that even if the music is dope, they still want to know everything else about you. It’s standard now. Access to your life is a standard, no longer a luxury. //
TJ’s DJ’s Xclusives CD
Birthday Bash Edition By: Keith Kennedy & Nick Comney – Disk 1
13. Big Chief ft Jim Jones / My Swagg – Big Chief Contact: Jay Mack – 212.986.6262 1. Soulja Boy / Turn My Swag On – ColliPark Contact: ColliPark Music – colliparkmusic@ gmail.com With past success from smash-hits “Crank Dat” and “Kiss Me Through The Phone,” ColliPark’s one-time YouTube phenomenon turned Hip Hop superstar, Soulja Boy returns with a new clubbanger that will surely turn your swag on! 2. B.o.B / I’ll Be In The Sky – Rebel Rock/ Atlantic Contact: TJ Chapman – TJ@TJsDJs.com With another unrivaled track to add to the repertoire of an already proven collection, “I’ll Be In The Sky” continues to solidify B.o.B as the hottest, up-and-coming act in Hip Hop. Let the hating commence. 3. Tay Dizm ft Akon / Dream Girl – Nappy Boy Contact: Marco Mall – 850.321.7243 Once again, Akon and Nappy Boy’s Tay Dizm create another #1 hit that will surely be on
With a pedigree beat that can adapt to any scenario placed, Big Chief’s new joint “Mr. Swagg” featuring Jim Jones is cast in clout from beginning to end. 14. Poke Dog / The Trap Ain’t Dead – Top Shelf Contact: Sam Addams – 205.247.9914 high-demand on all the dance floors of the world. 4. Young Ca$h / Freak – Nappy Boy Contact: Marco Mall – 850.321.7243 Poised to be one of the biggest acts of 2009, the new Nappy Boy representative, Young Ca$h, breaks through the airwaves with the smash single “Freak.” Duval County stand up! 5. Hustle Holics / Throwed Off – Hustle Holics Contact: Teddy T – wildmanteddyt@ gmail.com/ From the streets of Dade to the radios of the world, Hustle Holics’ club classic “Throwed Off” is surely a force to be reckoned with. 6. Mobb Boss ft
Shawn Jay & Nephew / Pops Thru Da City – Hustle House Contact: Hustle House – 904.329.3392
The Lovely Monay’s new single “is so damn addictive.” It will truly leave you “trippin’, trippin’, trippin’.”
loneliness and chronic fits of anger, due to the very high possibility that this song will steal your girl.
Mobb Boss’ new track “Pops Thru Da City” pops off like the great street anthem it was born to be, proving that Hustle House is on top of their game.
9. Nipsey Hussle / Hustle In The House – Epic Contact: Catina Agee – 310.272.2337
11. Lil Hot Da Money Man / Baking Soda – Lil Hot Contact: D. Scott – 404.451.5868
Straight out of Slauson, California’s hottest new act, Nipsey Hussle (aka Neighborhood Nip) re-establishes the reign of the West Coast Hip Hop game with his blue bandana track, “Hustle In The House.”
Aside from maintaining freshness, Lil Hot Da Money Man reminds you with his hot, D-Boy anthem that “Baking Soda” is always a key ingredient (get it…key?) to keep around you at all times.
10. Young Superstar / I Got You – Platinum Contact: Big Poo – 901.361.9599
12. Born Wit It / Millionaire – Born Wit It Contact: KD – 404.388.0262
DISCLAIMER: Do not play within a 100-foot radius of your girl and/or trick on the side. Young Superstar’s platinum track “I Got You” may cause sudden bouts of
There is no question that Born Wit It’s new single “Millionaire” will leave you feeling like “the flyest in the building.” A must have track for any VIP experience.
7. Jimmi Hart / Shawty Said Wassup – Serious Business Contact: Tamar – 786.219.5036 Jimmi Hart gets serious and smooth with his new single “Shawty Said Wassup.” This is definitely the kind of track that you and your lady will find yourselves vibing to in the near future. 8. Lovely Monay / Trippin’ – Bigshot Music Group Contact: Michael Wright – 850.217.6308
This Top Shelf track from Alabama native Poke Dog not only proves that “The Trap Ain’t Dead,” but also that this Crimson Tide pup is something to keep an eye out for in 2009. 15. Rob-Hound / Like This – Greedy Boy Contact: Jamal Engram – 786.251.2026 You can try, but you “can’t do it like this.” Rob-Hound’s Greedy Boy single “Like This” has the potential to be played over and over again in any club, at any red light, in the US.
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TJ’s DJ’s Xclusives CD
Birthday Bash Edition By: Keith Kennedy & Nick Comney – Disk 2
Music Contact: DJ Walton – email@example.com
1. COA Babii / Wig’n – Southern Life Entertainment Contact: Ron – 850.727.2600 For the definition of a fun club record that makes ladies wig out, COA Babii has delivered “Wig’n.” Enjoy! 2. C-Nile / Last Breath – Cold Flame Contact: C-Nile – 251.458.6689 “Here we go, again.” On his street anthem “Last Breath,” C-Nile returns with a bona fide hit that will surely leave you breathless. 3. HTH Boyz ft Gucci Mane / Hatin’ On –
This “soon to be mogul” is well on his way to a music empire with his new paper anthem “Money Ova Here.” The track is money. Ball4Sho Contact: Darnell Williams – 334.733.6616 The HTH Boyz’ fire track “Hatin’ On” captures the best of the South with its epic horns and heavy-handed drum machine percussions. This track rides. 4. Stevie Stone / Wait A Minute – Ruthless Contact: Jason W. – 323.855.5013 Stevie Stone’s new, Ruthless club-banger “Wait A Minute” hits you “like a marching band” and takes your ears hostage with each note assembled. 5. Randy B. / Slip Away – Southern Boy Contact: Randy B. – 850.294.3913 Press play, sit back, and “Slip Away” into this lucid track from Randy B. It is quite a
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gem. 6. Kid Dre / Bottles In The Air – My Records Contact: Big Drew – 678.458.5218 This Kid is not playing! “Bottles In The Air” is definitely a song that will in time, find its way onto the DJ set-lists of every major club. 7. 4Thirty ft TJ Boyce / This Is The Life – Senn Contact: Michael Wright – 850.217.6308 On this star-studded single, 4Thirty reinvents the eighties’ classic “Sweet Dreams” by The Eurythmics. 8. Ill Trill Neil ft Boneface & Kingpinn Slimm / Merc – Tri Horizon Contact: Heezzi – 850.501.0137 Ill Trill Neil breaks the Horizon and exceeds “the quota” on his
money-driven track “Merc.” 9. Jewman & Benz / I Might – WG Contact: Marcus Wallace – 601.573.1892
Much like the one armed drummer of Def Leppard he is one hit away from merging the Hip Hop and metal sounds.
Even though the song is called “I Might,” YOU WILL blast this single from Jewman & Benz.
12. Hustle Montana / Doing My Thang – WG Contact: Marcus Wallace – 601.573.1892
10. E. Mackey ft 1 Jock / Cut Friend – Edwin Mackey, LLC. Contact: Edwin Mackey – 850.339.5498
Hustle Montana’s new song “Doing My Thang” shows just like the state, Montana’s future is wide open.
Queens love this song whether they are the main girl or just the cut friend because it vibes well and makes them want to get down.
13. Money Roe / So Freaky – Ball4Sho Contact: Darnell Williams – 334.733.6616
11. Kas Da God / Heavy Metal Hip Hop – Keep It Moving Contact: Tiffany Martin – 919.423.4613 Kas Da God references “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leppard.
Money Roe’s soon-tobe smash “So Freaky” will surely make your girl “pop it and roll it” in the club, the bedroom, and anywhere else that has access to speakers. 14. Dukwon / Money Ova Here – F.T.G.U.
15. Beadz / Shawty Gon Go – Manatee Contact: Doc – 312.226.9034 Upon the opening notes of Beadz’ “Shawty Gon Go,” the lingering sense of a classic in the making is all that can be felt – this track straight rides!
DJ Smallz & DJ Neptune
1. Don Cannon & DJ Skee “Made In America” Thestudiorats.ning.com 2. DJ Woogie & Lil Icey “Streets On Beats Volume 35” Myspace.com/djwoogie 3. DJ Prostyle & DJ Slym “Spring Bling 2K9” Myspace.com/djprostyle Myspace.c om/zoepoppie 4.Ill Fats “Coast 2 Coast 77” Hosted by Bobby Valentino Coast2coastmixtapedjs.com 5. DJ Eon, Pablo P & Raul Cruz “Legacy” Myspace.com/djeon
6. DJ Profluent, DJ Knight, DJ Prince & DJ 321 “The Futuristic South Stars: Week 4 Mobile Mix” Myspace.com/djprinceny 7. DJ Spree “Spree Radio 13” Hosted by Wes Fif Myspace.com/djspree 8. DJ Scream & Shoot 5 “Heavy In The East” Myspace.com/4045405000 Myspace.com/shoot5entmixtapes 9. DJ Scream & MLK “Saks Fifth Series: the Gucci Edition” Myspace.com/40454 05000 Myspace.com/mlkng 10.DJ Scrill “You Heard It Here First Volume 5” Hosted by Trick Daddy Myspace.com/therealdjscrill 11. J-Boogie “The Saga Part 8” Hosted by Trick Daddy 12. DJ Barry Bee “Sprin Fever 2K9” Myspace.com/djbarrybeenc 13. DJ Noodles & DJ Drama “Fox Your Face Radio Twelve” www.djnoodles.com
14. Nik Bean “Streetz of LA 7” Hosted by Nipsey Hussle Mixtapebuzz.com 15. Dry Rain Entertainment “Best of Needlz Vol. 1” Myspace.com/needlz 16. Evil Empire & Rick Ross “Maybach Season” Myspace.com/evilempire 17. DJ Fletch & Cam’ron “Serial Killa” Myspace.com/djfletchdallas
18. Chamillionaire & DJ Rapid Ric “I Am Legend: Greatest Verses” Mixtapemechanic.com 19. Black Bill Gates “Presents Drake: Royal Pains” Myspace.com/thebla ckbillgates 20. DJ Spinz “Heart of the City 6” Myspace.com/dj_spinz
“Southern Smoke TV Volume One” Hosted by Rick Ross djsmallz.com myspace.com/djneptuneofficial
This first installment of DJ Smallz and DJ Neptune’s Southern Smoke TV has this month’s rawest, uncut and uncensored mixtape to hit the streets and internet. From Rick Ross and Lil Wayne to Young Jeezy and Gucci Mane, Smallz and Neptune put together a tape with the South’s biggest names. With 26 tracks of shit that you probably haven’t heard yet, once again, DJ Smallz proves why he’s at the top of the food chain when it comes to mixtape DJs, and it makes you want to check YouTube to see what he’s cooking up on his Southern Smoke TV channel. DJs, send your mix CDs (with a cover) for consideration to: OZONE Magazine 644 Antone St. Suite 6 Atlanta, GA 30318
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DJ Paul/Scale-A-Ton The ear of the 3-6 Mafia fan is an acquired one. It hears things that people who aren’t fans simply do not. So hardcore fans will find nostalgia throughout DJ Paul’s latest solo effort, ScaleA-Ton, reminding them of a time before the Oscars and MTV shows came along. That said, much of this disc sounds like forced reverting as tales of robbing and shooting don’t sound as believable as before. However, the album features a comeback of sorts as Lord Infamous makes multiple appearances, most of which make you want to hear more from him. Paul’s production sticks to intense, heavy synths and rarely changes in tempo. While Scale-A-Ton is a throwback to vintage Three 6, the drawback is that you’ve heard it all before. - Maurice G. Garland
Mike Jones/The Voice Ice Age/Asylum It’s been about four years since Mike Jones (Who?) hit the scene with his hit single “Still Tippin,” so some people may not know “who” he is. And unfortunately, on his second major release, the Texas rapper attempts to get his “swagger right,” but he falls short in reminding the people why his last album went double platinum. T-Wayne helps Mike out on “Cuddy Buddy,” as does Devin The Dude on “Give Me a Call.” But after those tracks the reminder of the album (with the exception of “Hate On Me” and “Grandma II”), becomes redundant with mediocre songs attempting to cater to women. If Mike Jones’ album serves as The Voice for H-Town, then Houston, we have a problem. - Randy Roper
Rasheeda/Certified Hot Chick D-Lo Entertainment Since Certified Hot Chick makes for Rasheeda’s fifth studio album, listeners may get the feeling that they’ve heard this all before. She’s a Georgia peach (“Juicy Like a Peach”), she’s independent (“Boss Chick”), she has a “nice, cute little booty” (“Bam”) and most men are about nothing (“Where Ya Been”). Yep, that pretty much sums up her album. She isn’t a bad rapper, but sometimes listening to her drawn-out delivery makes you wish she’d just spit out what she’s trying to say. You almost wish she would spend less time being a certified hot chick, and more time trying to become a better rapper. - Randy Roper 80 // OZONE MAG
Paul Wall/Fast Life Swisha HousE After listening to Paul Wall’s latest effort Fast Life, you can tell the hard-working entrepreneur/emcee believes in the age old adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Not quite sure if he believes in fine-tuning though. The few times he experiments with sound and content may be valiant efforts, but come off average at best. Paul comes off a very comfortable on each track, which is a gift and curse because nothing really stimulates the ear on this album, except for Tech N9NE and Krizz Kaliko’s appearance on “Sumn’ Like A Pimp.” - Maurice G. Garland
The-Dream/Love vs. Money Radio Killa/Def Jam In OZONE Magazine issue #76, our CD reviews featured a review of TheDream’s latest album Love vs. Money, that was mistakenly rated at 3.5 blunts. We’d like to apologize for that. We actually rated the album at 4.5, but we made a mistake. Sorry about that, Dream. Our bad.
Eminem/Relapse SHADY/Aftermath/INTERSCOPE One would expect that a few years out of the game and plenty of experiences would leave Eminem even hungrier and armed with enough personal lyrical content to finally give us an album about him. But no, instead Marshall slips back into the Slim Shady persona for Relapse, an album that is one long disappointment. Besides for “3AM,” nothing really comes close to turning the album in a positive direction, and even Dr. Dre couldn’t save this album. It’s time for Marshall Mathers to kill Slim Shady and give us a record about the Marshall that Shady holds back. - Rohit Loomba
Curren$y/This Ain’t No Mixtape Amalgam DigitalJust to clear things up, Curren$y has released a lot of mixtapes over the last few years, but this really is not a mixtape. This is the 16-track (18-track if you include the bonus cuts) debut album from former Young Money/Cash Money and No Limit affiliate Curren$y. Throughout this debut, Spitta’s flow, accompanied by Monsta Beats’ production (who produced the entire album), make this LP one to smoke and ride to. Bun B, Amanda Diva, Mickey Factz, and Young Chris all make memorable contributions. Here, Curren$y not only proves he’s more than a mixtape rapper, but also that he’s capable of making music without a cosign. - Randy Roper Method Man & Redman/ Blackout! 2 Def Jam If the Grammys knew shit about Hip Hop they’d at least give Method Man and Redman a nomination just for being lyrically on point, amidst all the Hip Hop trash out right now. Meth and Red haven’t lost the energy, passion, or wit that has set them apart for years, and Blackout 2 is a reminder of where Hip Hop needs to go again. These two have slipped and slid on plenty of stages, pouring each ounce of energy out for their crowd, but when it comes to delivering dope ass records, these two are solid. - Rohit Loomba
Cam’ron/Crime Pays Diplomat/Asylum The Dipset general, or former general, Cam’Ron, is back at it after disappearing for a little bit. While the current state of Dipset affairs is open to personal interpretation, there really is only way to feel about Crime Pays—unimpressed. Cam has his moments over epic, thickly orchestrated production such as “Who,” but for the most part delivers subpar verses over mediocre production. While Cam’s writing shows some improvement at times, the forced rhymes are still a dime a dozen and Cam fails to prove why he isn’t a dime a dozen in today’s industry either. - Rohit Loomba
Busta Rhymes/Back On My B.S. Flipmode/Universal Motown Busta Rhymes is back on the scene with Back on My B.S. Busta seems to throw a little bit of everything out on this album in hopes that something will stick for everyone. Features include T.I., Lil Wayne, Jamie Foxx, Akon, T-Pain, and Ron Browz. But missing from this album is the Busta from days past. This Busta seems to be trying too hard, rather than letting the music just come to him. Don’t be mistaken, Busta does deliver on tracks such as “We Miss You,” but there just isn’t enough. - Rohit Loomba
Drum Squad/ Welcome To My City As Grammy-nominated producer Drumma Boy makes his transition from beatmaker to rapper, he brings along his team, Drum Squad, for this Welcome To My City mixtape. Drumma Boy’s production on here shows that he is probably better off sticking to just producing, but the Drum Squad (which includes former Three 6 Mafia member Gangsta Boo), managed to put together a solid mixtape that also features Lil Scrappy, Pastor Troy, J Money, Yo Gotti, Young Buck and 8Ball & MJG, and represents the city of Memphis well. - Randy Roper
Gucci Mane & DJ Holiday/Writing On The Wall Gucci Mane’s first official mixtape since being released from prison had a bigger anticipation than most albums that have been released this year. Writing On The Wall has numerous songs, like “First Day Out,”“Wasted” featuring Plies, and “Gorgeous,” that are automatic hood classics. The mixtape would have been better with less shout outs from DJ Holiday, and some Gucci Mane verses make it difficult to understand what draws so many fans in, but Writing On The Wall does nothing but add fuel to the blazing fire Gucci has burning throughout the game. - Randy Roper
211/The Bizness CTE artist 211 starts off hard on The Bizness, as tracks like “Back At Em,”“Red Paint” featuring Mack 10, “So Fly,” and “Real Talk” are all certified bangers. But as the mixtape continues, freestyles over T.I.’s “I’m Illy,” M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” and Shawty Lo’s “Foolish” are a lot less intriguing. It seems as if the first half of this mixtape has the majority of the hits, while the second half, he run out of heat, or just decided to drop in a few fillers. Still, The Bizness has notable songs that clearly show 211’s potential. - Randy Roper
Playboy Tre/Liquor Store Mascot Coming off the reels of his popular Goodbye America mixtape, Playboy Tre has been spending the last year plotting a worthy follow-up. Liquor Store Mascot will definitely keep his fanbase growing as Tre displays a grown man approach to rap, never wasting a word. Sonically, Tre deviates from the sample-heavy production that fans loved on Goodbye America, but the risk pays off as it allows Tre to show that flow and content can fit onto any kind of beat. Using both comedy and tragedy to get his points across, Tre uses a drunken flow to give the listeners a sober look at life’s realities in every song. - Maurice G. Garland
Glasses Malone x Greg Street/2010 Promoting this mixtape as something to hold people over until Detox, Glasses Malone and Greg Street figured the best way to do that is to let G. Malone wreck a gang of old Dre beats. This formula does work on songs like his rendition of “Little Ghetto Boy” and the threatening “This Is A Warning,” where he offers consequences for any ill will towards Obama over the “Big Ego” beat. But the decision to only bust on old Dre beats doesn’t do much to garner interest in any kind of “new west” movement. As for Glasses’ performances, his “realer than thou” style is very polarizing. You either love or hate it. Either way, there is no denying that you can hear LA in his voice every time he speaks. - Maurice G. Garland
Travis Porter & DJ Teknikz/I’m a Differenter One of the newest groups buzzing in Atlanta is the trio Travis Porter (not to be confessed with a kid you went to high school with), and on their DJ Teknikz assisted mixtape, they try to define what makes them “different(er).”“Uh Huh” featuring J Money, “Black Boy, White Boy,” “Stupid Adlibs” and “Baddest Bitch” are all entertaining listens that showcase the group’s carefree style of rapping and singlaong hooks, while other cuts like their All-American Rejects cover of “Gives You Hell” are downright annoying. This mixtape is cool for what it is, but it doesn’t sound like anything “different(er)” than “futuristic swag” songs made by a group of young aspiring rappers with a lot of time on their hands. - Randy Roper
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Snoop Dogg & the Dogg Pound Venue: Mezzanine City: San Francisco, CA Date: April 6th, 2009 Photo: D-Ray
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YOUR FAVORITE RAPPER’S FAVORITE MAGAZINE
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