Ozone Mag #78

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cover stories 42-43 54-58


WEST COAST EDITOR-AT-LARGE // D-Ray LEGAL CONSULTANT // Kyle P. King, P.A. SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER // Adero Dawson ADMINISTRATIVE // Kisha Smith INTERNS // Devon Buckner, Jee’Van Brown, Krystal Moody, Memory Martin, Ms Ja, Shanice Jarmon, Torrey Holmes 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 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 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 // Ace Hood photos (cover and this page) by David Rosario; Ray J and Shorty Mack photo by Julia Beverly; Enfamous Burnaz photo by Julia Beverly; JW photo by Terrence Tyson; Willy Northpole West Coast cover photo by Ty Watkins; Tha Jacka photo by D-Ray. 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.


interviews 44-45 MAINO 46-47 SEAN PAUL 50-51 LOLA MONROE 48 unladylike

monthly sections 15 24 62 63 60-61 22 20 30 28 W4 66 12 24 53


15 18 24 59 32-40 19-39 16-17 W6 26 W16 W17 W18 W10 W5



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

First off, I appreciate your magazine 100%. Me being a fan of music, I feel you’re a pioneer in this rap shit. You definitely changed the whole magazine game. I’m 19 and since I was a lil dude I’ve been buying magazines, everything from the Sauce to XXL to the [Rolling] Stones to Vibe, even random shit like boat magazines, real talk. When I first got my hands on a copy of OZONE Magazine a couple years ago I was like, DAMN. This is different from all the other shit I’ve been reading. From the forums to the endless pages of photos to reviews to the covers, I was amazed. You raised the bar to a higher level. Fuck the other side. You know what the fans and readers want and you give it to ‘em. - Carlana Entertainment, via Myspace (Dayton, OH)

I’d like to start by giving OZONE Mag a big ups to the movement in the Hip Hop community. Coming from a real nigga behind these walls, it’s not often that you see a magazine with the type of material OZONE comes with every issue. Especially when the word “real” gets thrown around like it’s a fad. I especially want to give a shout out to the mag for the Prison Diary section. It shows that even though we might be behind these walls, we still have an opportunity to voice our opinion. I’m coming home in a hot second and I’m still gonna be on OZONE when I touch the street. Shout out to all the real niggas that are behind these walls, the ones that kept it 100%! Stop snitching, suck ass niggas! - Andres Nunez, via inmatemessage.com (Atlanta, GA)

I love your write-ups in OZONE, but D.C. has a hidden jewel that you need to cover. Wale, Raheem Devaughn, J Holiday, etc need to be recognized. Love the dirty South though! - Duane Russell, via email (Washington, DC)

I remember when you were trying to get your mag out on a major level, so it’s great that you’re doing major numbers now. I’m currently in a Federal prison but I’m a music man myself, and my best homie for a lot of years, Dramills, is a Hip Hop artist on the rise. You’ve featured him in your mag before, back in ’05. I’d love to see my homie in your mag again. - Steven Currie, via inmatemessage.com (Greensboro, NC)

What’s happenin’? I was wondering why y’all ain’t mention the passing of Dolla, the one with the record “Who Da Fuck Is Dat” featuring T-Pain. I’m a diehard OZONE fan and he deserves a shout out. Hell, he had a video. Oh, and I was hoping that y’all could fuck with Arkansas from time to time. It’s the home of Ne-Yo and others, and we’re not as country as [the TV show] “Simple Life” with that dumb hoe Paris Hilton portrayed us as. Check out Lottury (I had to self-promote) because he’s one of the best, period. Listen to him first, see that he’s worthy, and then print this. Big ups to all of the South and the rest of the Coasts that get down with it. Y’all ain’t sellin’ out. - Rome a.k.a. Lottury, via email (Arkansas) Editor Responds: We did cover Dolla’s passing (R.I.P.) on ozonemag.com and interviewed his business partner and friend Te-Money as a follow-up in an upcoming issue. In your article on notable weed heads [for the drug issue] I can’t believe you muthafuckers slept on Meth and Redman in “How High.” That was all about weed. I’m not knocking Ice Cube in “Friday,” but in “How High,” they were smoking weed AND dead people, man! Y’all need to come out with a scratch-and-sniff issue about weed. It’s from mother earth. Or even a scratch-and-sniff issue about [the strip club] Stroker’s, lol. Don’t sleep on Detroit either. - Crunkatlantamusic, via myspace (Detroit, MI) I was reading your editorial and loved it; I’m not sure which issue it was, but you were speaking about Barack Obama. I loved that whole issue. I’m currently a federal inmate and am working on becoming a personal trainer. I actually used to rap myself, but I’ll be doing management and promotion when I’m released. I did a mixtape with DJ Smallz but got locked up before I could release it. - Eagle, via inmatemessage.com (White Deer, PA)


The latest sex issue of OZONE is the shit. I think that was my favorite issue so far. I like the interview with Mr. Marcus and the dominatrix chick. Damn, the whole thing was awesome. I couldn’t put it down. It made me feel like I needed to read every article. - Joker da Bailbondsman, via inmatemessage.com (Anchorage, AK) I’m a big fan of OZONE Mag and your award show. It reminds me of Murder Dog, but two times better. You really capture the underground Hip Hop scene like no one else out there. You are the new Source in the game. I have plans for an online and print magazine; an entrepreneurial and business magazine geared towards the urban sector. As a kid I always watched and studied people like Puffy, Karl Kani, Russell Simmons, Un Rivera, etc. I remember when I couldn’t wait to the get the Source Power Issue and tape all their articles to my wall. Today, even though the Source sucks, I still pick up the Power Issue to see who the new movers and shakers are in the industry. Most kids I knew were just like me and wanted to start their own businesses as well. I went on to college with the hopes of owning my own business and when I graduated my dreams came true. I bought a Quizno’s franchise, which turned out to be a nightmare. Even though my title was “Franchise Owner,” that was far from the truth. I basically had no decision making abilities and felt trapped. Fortunately, earlier this year I sold the franchise and freed myself from economic slavery! I wanted ownership and independence and I finally realized that this was something I needed to create for myself. That’s when God gave me the idea of having something similar to Forbes Magazine, but flipping it for the Hip Hop community. I read an interview with you talking about the beginning of your mag and I was inspired to push my dream into reality. You were talking about how you would lay your magazine on the bar in the club and watch for people’s reactions. Thanks for the inspiration. - Chicago Cruz of Currency/Next Magazine, via email



JB’s 2cents F

or the past few months, the million dollar question has been, “when are the OZONE Awards?” Last year, after the third annual event in Houston, TJ and I scoured the country for some possible ‘09 locations and I was starting to get excited about the prospects.


2. Broke niggas who come VISIT from outta town I hate broke niggas who come visit with delusions of grandeur. Like, “Let’s hit Magic City, Velvet Room, Strokers, Lenox Mall, and Onyx. But I’ve only got ten dollars.” Stay the fuck home, please!

Ray J & I @ my Vegas bday party


1. The job market I robbed a bank the other day and the bitch was like, “Take all the money you want!” I’m like, “Bitch, give me a job interview. I need a salary, benefits and a desk.”


by aspiring porn star Maurice Stoney

3. The Recession (again) I hate the recession, but love these food prices. Even homeless niggas and bums in line at Church’s Chicken are like, “Can I get 2 titties, a side of pigeon soup, and some pissy lemonade, hold the ice. Thanks.” LUIS SANTANA

4. The ghetto A lil nigga approached my car with a football helmet on his head, tennis racket in his left hand, baseball bat in his right, and asked me to support his swim team. What the fuck?

Me & Soulja Boy @ my Denver bday party

DJ Christion & I @ my Tampa bday party

5. Pregnant women who wanna use female condoms Number one, it’s too late. Number two, I don’t wanna knock the baby out and he comes out either wearing that shit like a doo rag, or using it as a parachute. 6. Big ass roaches in Georgia I moved in my new apartment and had three unknown roommates. Junior was fixing a sandwich, Trey was watching TV, and Tyrone was in the corner lifting weights. One of ‘em looked at me and said, “Nigga, you got the top bunk. I got a bitch coming through tonight.”

8. Light skinned nUccas These light skinned muthafuckers that think Drake is bringing them back in style are crazy. Wayne and Drake are like a modern day Kid N Play. House Party 5, ‘nuff said. 9. Jamie Foxx Somebody whup his ass please; he’s displaying bitchassness characteristics. 10. Anybody that calls at 3am AND ASKs “What u doing, man?” Muthafucker, I was asleep. What the fuck was I supposed to be doing?


7. Sarah Palin Hoe sit down.

Me & Gorilla Zoe @ my Anchorage, AK bday party

T-Pain & I in Denver

But as the new year passed and ‘09 slowly progressed, I became more and more disenchanted with the idea of dedicating another 6 entire months of my life to this cause, partly because the economy is shit but mostly because people simply don’t know how to act. It’s mind-boggling that even with the amount of time, energy, resources, and effort we (OZONE & TJ’s DJ’s) put in to create an event on that scale, all it takes is a few short minutes of ignorance to overshadow all the work that was put in. And it isn’t limited to the OZONE Awards. At the Dirty Awards last year I witnessed firsthand the all-out brawl between Shawty Lo’s camp and TI’s camp, not to mention Jeezy’s camp and DJ Drama’s camp. It was a complete embarrassment to our entire community. This scenario has been repeated at countless award shows in years past; Source, Vibe, etc. We need to grow the fuck up and get our shit together so we can be respected on a bigger scale. The politics and economics of the music business are fascinating to me; much more so than corporate America. But to corporate America, we will always be a joke if we can’t have a simple gathering of all our key players in one place without someone getting stabbed, punched, or killed. To the average person, anyone associated with Hip Hop is a walking caricature. A punch line. But from the inside out, I know we are, for the most part, innovative, creative entrepreneurs who put in as much work if not more than any Wall Street executive. We should be focused on gaining respect worldwide for our business savvy instead of focused on these petty beefs and altercations. And aside from the respect factor, our community’s reputation for violence hurts our money. Some venues don’t want our business because of the negative aspects. We pay extra for security. We pay extra for insurance. Television networks are hesitant to get involved because of the inherent risks. All of this is preventable; it’s our own fault. My time is valuable. My birthday just passed and reflecting on the last 28 years, I have mixed emotions because I feel that I’ve done so much but at the same time, done so little. I look at life like a to-do list. “Produce award show” has already been checked off that list, three times. There’s a long list of new things I want to explore to move my life forward in a positive direction and I question if the many, many stressful hours required to produce an award show will be worth the end result. As Biggie said on “Sky’s The Limit,”“never make moves unless your heart’s in it.” I’m a firm believer in the idea that if you’re not going to put 100% effort into something, you shouldn’t be doing it at all. The main reason I wanted to do the event in the first place was to create a forum for networking; a place where the key industry players and up and comers could meet each other face to face and develop lasting friendships. That’s how I got my start in the game, going to all the Tech.Nitions events and TJ’s DJ’s conferences and Mixshow Power Summits (even though I had to sneak in), and countless concerts, etc, where I was able to meet future friends, colleagues, and clients. So it was only right that I help continue that spirit on for the next generation. With all that said: when are the next OZONE Awards? I honestly can’t answer that question right now, but as soon as I know, you’ll know. I want to make progress. I want to grow. I want to create bigger and better opportunities for myself, my friends and employees, and all the artists and contributors and readers who have supported the OZONE movement from day one. It’s been GREAT so far this year to have a little time to breathe without feeling like the weight of the world is resting on my shoulders. I’m just taking some time to make sure I’m making the right moves. I’m working on some things, trust me. Whatever comes next, my heart’s gotta be in it. Sky’s the limit - Julia Beverly, jb@ozonemag.com

Gucci Mane f/ Esther Dean “I Think I Love Her” Trey Songz “Yo Side Of The Bed” Mario f/ Gucci Mane & Sean Garrett “Break Up” Young Jeezy f/ JW & Boo Rossini “Biggest Movie Ever” Wale f/ J. Cole & Curren$y “Rather Be With You” Juice f/ Bun B “Can’t Crush My Cool” Al Be Back f/ Fabolous “Mira Mira” RE “Hip Hop Legend”


randy.roper@ozonemag.com Jay-Z “Death of Autotune” Yo Gotti “5 Star Chick” J. Cole “Lights Off” Twista “Wetter”



Bossman has been making a lot of noise lately. After brief stints on Virgin and Capitol Records, the homie is back in the spotlight with tons of new music. Fresh off a deal with Myspace Records, he has two mixtapes out: ATM and Street Kings. He also has two singles killing nationwide radio right now. Speaking of radio, Bmore’s own DJ Class is killing the airwaves as well with his banger “I’m the Ish.” The song now has multiple remixes with different artists ranging from Jermaine Dupri to Kanye West. - Darkroom Productions (TheDarkRoomInc@yahoo.com)


Sly Polaroid, a.k.a. Sly P, has started a campaign to become President of the Streets of Chicago. DJ Solo has a new record called “Chicken Wing” which is accompanied by a dance. Another record making noise on the radio is “Lil Mama.” Artists to check for are Bullet, Boss Kane, Pugslee Atoms, Project Fresh, Hollywood Holt, Mic Terror and Big Bane. - Jamal Hooks (JHooks@tmail.com)


GraphicsandLogos.net, located on Reading Road, is said to have the best full-color printing in the nation. Heavy Risk Entertainment features artist O.P., who is a swag savvy artist with catchy hooks that is destined to rise to the top of the underground rap scene. Mac Niff, Spakz Tha Trak Man, and Moe Beats have teamed up to make beats that are clean, crisp, and radio ready. Lyric is a young, fresh three-girl group with a hot single entitled “Dolla Bill.” Bump being a dime. - Judy Jones (Judy@JJonesent.com)


Cedric the Entertainer came down and did a show. Afterwards he hung out and went to a few spots. SOA has thrown a host of successful parties, and Mario’s seems to be the new spot of choice. The Hookah bar is also becoming popular, but people still look at you funny when you order a hookah, go figure. By the time this is posted, Foxie 105 will have hosted its Summer Concert “Family Day in the Park” so details are on the way. - David Britt (DavidBritt2nd@yahoo.com)



Big Hood Boss premiered his new “I Got It” video feat. Tum Tum and Lil Wil. Peaches from Onyx has the biggest ass in the city. B-Hamp dropped his B-Dash album and Dorrough’s “Ice Cream Paint Job” video entered the 106th & Park countdown. Mesha D from Eminent Models is the official model feature for DFW videos. Definition DJ Tuss is in the mix at Peep N Tom’s. R&B artist Doo Dez is starting to make ladies sing “Sassy Girl” and GO DJ Phatz is spinning DFW artists strong on Port City’s 99.7. Free Stubb-a-lean, Pat Bush in Yazoo, and everybody reading this in TDC. - Edward “Pookie” Hall (urbansouth@gmail.com)


The original Bad Azz, Lil Boosie, put it down performing his latest single “Loose as a Goose.” He shared the stage with Jacksonville’s own Street Money Riders, and a slew of other big names such as Def Jam Recording artists UnladyLike, DTP’s Willy Northpole, Playaz Circle, and DJ Drama. Certified DJ’s own DJ Flow dropped his latest mixtape entitled Certified Bangaz Vol. 1. The hometown hero DJ Terrah is still putting up classics with local talent so hit him up for a feature. - Jett Jackson (g5jett@gmail.com)


Jay Z and Eminem murdered the stage at the Wiltern Theatre for the new DJ Hero game. Seeing them on stage doing “Renegade” live set the bar for any show I’ll ever see again. The West Coast was in the building as well - Warren G did “Regulator” during DJ AM and Travis Barker’s set, and Nipsey Hussle, Crooked I, and Tyrese rolled through to show support. I also had the chance to peep some new music from Maxwell at his exclusive listening session in Beverly Hills. Make sure you get some R&B in your life. Bishop Lamont had his second annual “Bishop Lamont & Friends” show at House of Blues on Sunset. - Devi Dev (devidev.kday@gmail.com)

PITTSBURGH, PA: Pittsburgh lost its only Urban Radio Station, WAMO, after it was sold to St. Joseph’s Mission. After more than 30 years of serving the African American community with music and events, it is now expected to become a religious station. We may be down some, but don’t count us out yet. Everyone’s in the streets with new music and projects. Wale, Trey Songz, Lil Wil, DJ Drama (pictured at left), DJ Holiday, and Shawty Lo have all stopped through to kick it, while Pyrex Press and Moola Gang just got back from overseas. Paper Boys Entertainment is gearing up for another run and F-Block Records is taking major meetings. - Lola Sims (lolasims@gmail.com)


Paul Wall’s album release party at Bambou and listening party at the Galleria TV Johnny location were both successful. The city was also filled with guest performances by Drake, Rick Ross, Soulja Boy, and Maino, but one of the most interesting weekends of last month was Vince Young’s Birthday/ Celebrity Basketball game featuring Young Jeezy, Nelly and Jermaine Dupri. - Ghost Da Hustla (Ghostdahustla.blogspot.com)


The June Black Arts Festival was canceled due to the economy. There goes the biggest thing we had to look forward to this year. G-Side has been traveling the East Coast. 6 Tre G is gearing up for the release of Boss Muzik. Can’t Stop Records has been putting in work. Short Change leaked a banger with “Dirty Like That.” Untamed threw a crazy party at the Homeport. DJ Drama, Gorilla Zoe,Young Dro, Project Pat, and Rich Boy all hit the city. Lookout for VIP TV from Pleasure Houze. The PRGz signed to E1 (Koch). - Codie G (huntsvillegotstarz@gmail.com)

TAMPA, FL: Laws proves why he’s Your Future Favorite Rapper on his latest mixtape release (pictured at left), a collabo with DJ Smallz and Grammy–Award Winning producers J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League. DJ Christion released his own mixtape entitled Overtime. 2 Pistols and Young Joe filmed the video for their smash hit “Lights Down Low.” The rest of the music scene prepared for the 6th Annual Tampa Music Conference at Ritz Ybor. This year’s panel of speakers included Sean Kingston, DJ Noodles, Pleasure P, 3rd Leg Greg , Jacki-O, Orlando, and DJ Christion, as well as others. The Hip Hop Soda Shop closed its doors. - Slick Worthington (Myspace.com/SlickWorthington)


Young Cash had a big birthday week with all the promoters in the city. HighLife Music is still pumping strong in the Westside with their new club nights. Bigga Rankin has been trying to bring the local artists together with little success, being that the independent grinders in Duval County are remaining totally independent, and in the process nobody is really working together. Derek Washington has been trying to keep the record pool going, and Big L is in the same boat with his newspaper. These guys have good intentions, so hopefully the city can get behind them and open the flood gates for Jacksonville’s music scene. - Lil Rudy (LilRudyRu@yahoo.com)


I-Hustle Ent. brought Boosie and Webbie for the thickest event of the year. DJ Don Don celebrated his birthday at Club Tropicana as Young Dro and Yung LA rocked the set. OJ da Juiceman performed in front of a sold out crowd. Keri Hilson and The Dream brought out the city’s finest at the Vogue nightclub. Trill Tight DJs and Greatest DJs are keeping the city pumped. DJ Black and his Dragged Up DJ crew are releasing the official Naptown anthem produced by Three 6 Mafia. Mz Fe, Cold Hearted, and Lady Free are repping for the ladies. - DJ Black (djblackhcp@tmail.com)


Hot 103 JAMZ Summer Jam II went down at Sandstone Park. The lineup featured Soulja Boy, Plies, Rick Ross, Hurricane Chris, Yung LA, Dorrough, the Kansas City King Tech N9ne, Black Walt and Block Life Ent. Got spins? Underground Heat is still breaking music in KC. You can now see the show live on the web at 11 pm on Friday and Saturday. Tech N9ne released his new collabo album Sickology 101 and Van Brunt Ent. is dropping Red Ragz and Blue Flagz this summer. - Kenny Diamondz (KennyDiamondz@gmail.com)

LOUISVILLE, KY: J Skillz da Bandman has a hit single called “Simon Sayz” and Kenzo’s single “Do da Shiz” is also getting support in the city. Both artists shot videos recently. Young Miz is killing the scene with his Certified mixtape. KD is back with a track called “My M.O.B. (My Michelle Obama).” Young Bell dropped his mixtape Let’s Talk Bricks. Look out for Harolin back at B96.5. - Divine Da Liaison (OuttaDaShopEnt@hotmail.com) MEMPHIS, TN:

Lil Wyte is pushing his new single “Take Yo Moni” off his newest mixtape Cocaine & Kush Reloaded featuring Partee. Upcoming artist Big Face Mike has hit the ground running with his new mixtape Gangsta as I Wanna Be and is fitting into the Memphis rap scene quite well. The underground Memphis dance style called “juking” made its debut on “So You Think You Can Dance” by Memphis police officer Marico Flake. After locking himself in the studio for weeks at a time, Yo Gotti has produced a slew of mixtapes including Cocaine Cowboy, 5 Star Chef, and his latest Cocaine Muzik 2. - Deanna Brown (Deanna.Brown@MemphisRap.com)


Cashville’s goin’ off courtesy of Cheezy, who’s new single “I Go Off” is carrying the heat of the summer with it. The City Paper is in stores and is guaranteed to show you why Paper is the 09 SEA Slept on Artist of the Year! The Cancer/Leo Bash II hosted by Serious featured performances by Ms. Honeysiccle, Ashthon Jones, and Mario, a.k.a. Rio Moore. AG Entertainment, WUBT, Diavontti, and Flymajor.com brought something new to the table for the grown and sexy in Nashville courtesy of the All White Beach Affair. The event featured 5 DJs, celebs, and class. - Janiro (Janiro@southernentawards.com)


Streetz Deep shot a video for his new single “That Go Round” produced by VA’s next hot producer Murda One. The song features Bola of Grand Hustle’s group Xtaci. Our City Boyz are performing at the South Carolina Music Awards in July. Charles Owens, a.k.a. Vito, is in the studio working with VA producers The Incredibles who are best known for their work on Jeezy’s “Vacation” and Ace Hood’s “Ride” featuring Trey Songz. Canayda releases hot new digital music on Myspace.com/CanaydaMusic. - Atiyyah Wali (atiyyahwali@hotmail.com)


Loose Cannon Ent. beat Derrty Ent. in a charity basketball game that raised money for Nelly’s 4 Sho 4 Kids www.4sho4kids.org. Derrty DJs held the Midwest Summit that brought DJs from all over the country. Several artists made an impact but it was Louie V. with his “Do Ya Own Dance” that had people talking. The Midwest Summit ended with the St. Lunatics all on the same stage for first time since 1999. Jibbs has a new single rotating called “Ay DJ” featuring Lloyd. DJ CD’s mixtape with Murphy Lee has been a top seller at Vintage Vinyl for three months now. Check out the newest STL mixtapes at www.MidwestMixtapes.com. - Jesse James (JesseJames314@aol.com)


DJ Heat from WPGC, a.k.a. The Mixtape Madame, recently released 2 brand-new projects: This is the Remix Vol. IV and Fiyah: The T-Pain Edition. The DMV Music Movement continues to gather momentum and there have been a slew of red-hot singles hitting the streets: “Spotlight” by 32 and Y’anna Crawley (BET’s Sunday Best winner); “Natural” and “Smoke Break” blazed by Whitefolkz; “Blog Food” by Pro’ Verb; and “I Remember Hip-Hop” by Go-Go Michelle. Go-Go Michelle is also ready to drop her new album Hegemony. Judah, who is one of DC’s top producers, also has one of the best blogs in the city: www.forthedmvonly.blogspot. com. - Sid “DCSuperSid” Thomas (dcsupersid@aol.com) - Compiled by Ms Rivercity, jen@ozonemag.com



The most dangerous person in the music industry is the one who doesn’t understand how it actually works. They chase false goals and are doomed to follow wrong paths! --Wendy Day Twitterism


e’ve all heard the adages about how during a recession, music sales increase. But we’ve never been through a depression before (they won’t start calling it that until we come out of it, for fear people will grip onto their spendable dollars even tighter). And prior to the shitty economy, music sales were taking a nose dive anyway…some say because of bad music choices, and some say due to downloading and free P2P music swapping. Others say it’s due to too many entertainment choices vying for our attention; we all only get 24 hours each day. Chris Anderson wrote a great book called “The Long Tail,” and what I took away from it was that each artist now needs to reach his or her own niche directly-through building their own movement and interacting with fans, and potential fans, directly. I see it reinforced everyday on Twitter. Those who are skilled at interacting and inviting their fans into their circle will fare the best. Ludacris (@Ludajuice) and Tyrese (@Tyrese4Real) are exceptionally skilled at this. Gucci Mane and Yo Gotti are exceptional at working the streets and clubs. Drake and 50 Cent are great on the mixtape circuit. But the real challenge is to be great at it all! I’m fortunate in that the indie labels that I consult are doing very well. They still are able to sell CDs and downloads by spending promotional dollars in places where it matters, with people who are legitimate, and grind like their lives depend on it—which they do. But not everyone has this same experience. The key is to make great music, market and promote it well to people who would buy it, and work harder than every other artist out here. Word of mouth and people hearing songs that they like are what sell music. Therefore, promotional efforts should be based around letting people hear your music, and sparking people to talk about you. Everything you do needs to revolve around working your single and getting your word of mouth buzzing. Spreading your music, while showing your image is important. Some artists use mix CDs, snippet CDs, YouTube videos and footage, and upload stuff to places like WorldStarrHipHop. Most artists tour and do shows whenever and where ever possible. The more someone sees you, the more they recognize you! Artists with bigger budgets use radio spins, promotional tours within a 3 to 5 state area, and songs featuring other artists in addition to the other promotional methods. Keeping in touch with fans via phone calls, email, newsletter e-blasts, twitter, websites, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, etc. With the over saturation of music and rappers, it takes more work and more time to sell less music. It almost seems like giving away music for free and selling merchandise, shows, and endorsements makes more sense. It’s about good music and an interesting story to get people talking about you. A fucked up image can do more damage than bad music, however. While most artists are still begging the major labels for record deals, the smarter artists have realized that working their own project to build a buzz and sell their own music is the ticket to success. The best start is to make good music that has a competitive sound. That doesn’t mean that it needs to sound like all the other crap out there, but it can’t be so completely different that no one wants to hear it. The quality needs to be relatively tight, at least professional enough to compete in the marketplace. Can your single be played on the radio between Young Jeezy and Kanye and still sound good? When you’ve got good music, it’s best to get feedback from DJs and retail



stores to see what they feel are the best songs (let them choose your singles). Then focus on the single to build awareness. Depending on the budget you have available (and like EVERY business, this one also takes some money to make money), you draw a circle around your city. For example, you draw a circle that’s a 3 hour driving radius around your city, or with a bigger budget, you draw a circle that’s a 5 or 6 hour driving radius around your city. That circle becomes your target market area. You cover every inch of that market promoting at clubs, barber shops, malls, high schools, flea markets, clubs, hair salons, colleges, car washes, strip clubs, community centers—anyplace where your market hangs out. If your music is more street (like Gucci Mane, Maino, or Young Jeezy) you focus more on the ‘hoods and streets. If your music is more lyrical (like Kanye or Drake) then the focus is college and high school campuses. I believe every artist should hit everywhere, even if your stronger focus is more street or more college oriented. If your music is geared towards the youth (like Soulja Boy), make sure your focus is high schools, middle schools, community centers, arcades, teen clubs, and skating rinks. Make sure your music is clean if you’re promoting to younger people. The best tools to utilize are posters, flyers, t-shirts, wrapped vehicles, snippet CDs, mixed CDs, postcards, so people can see your image and hear your music. E-blasts of your single, YouTube videos and footage help tell the story of who you are and what your music is about. Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter let fans see personal aspects of you and your personality. Filming behind the scenes footage also involves your fans in your movement. Gone is the day where fans want to see artists flaunt that they have more material goods than the fan will ever possess. Gone is the day of having one or two good singles and a bunch of filler to make a $20 CD sale. Today, fans pick and choose the songs they like and free music is all the rage. I read a post on Bob Lefsetz’ blog by the artist Moby, who said that his #1 sold download on iTunes was a song that he’d been giving away for free for two months. Free does help sales as we all suspected. In this industry, there are so many bogus people! It’s really important to check the credentials and track record of anyone you give your hard earned money to. 99% of the people in the music industry are full of shit just trying to make a come up off of an uninformed person with money. Once you market and promote within that 3 to 5 hour radius, which is your market area, you build the buzz until there is a strong enough demand for your album (usually after fans have heard a couple of songs and a mix CD or two). You’ll be able to feel the buzz because you will most likely be getting paid to perform at shows now. Your demand will be increasing….more incoming phone calls, more web hits, more Twitter followers, more MySpace friends, more followers at shows, more invites to events, etc. Also, more local artists and producers will be hounding you to work with them. At this point you can upload your music to an aggregator like TuneCore.com for digital sales and an independent distributor (someone LEGITIMATE who can get CDs into stores for you—REALLY, REALLY, REALLY check references here! More distributors are bullshit than legit). Once your music is for sale in the marketplace you have to work even harder to get people to support you and buy it. It’s truly a popularity contest, and fans vote with their dollars whether they like you or not! In today’s declining and challenging marketplace, it’s no longer necessary to be backed by a major label or a sub-label (usually owned by another artist or producer). Provided you have the budget, or the ability to find an investor, the playing field is more level today than it ever has been in the history of the music business. Just make sure you know what you are doing and have found good guides along the way to help you. If not, this can be a very expensive hole into which you could waste a lot of money! //

(above L-R): Gorilla Zoe & a colorful fan @ UCF Arena for DJ Prostyle’s birthday bash in Orlando, FL; OJ da Juiceman & DJ Prostyle @ UCF Arena for DJ Prostyle’s birthday bash in Orlando, FL (Photos: Malik Abdul); Young Jeezy & Ocho Cinco @ Gansevoort Pool Party in Miami, FL (Photo: Thaddaeus McAdams)

01 // Dru of The Runners, J Lash, DJ Khaled, & DJ Dempi @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s album release party (Miami, FL) 02 // Kingpin & Grand Prix @ Def Jam Showcase during the CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Geter K & Gucci Poochie @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s “Deeper Than Rap” release party (Miami, FL) 04 // Playaz Circle @ the W Hotel for the CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Boomtown, Mike Jones, & guest on the set of “Swagg Thru Da Roof” (Houston, TX) 06 // DJ Princess Cut & Cory Mo @ The Loft (Atlanta, GA) 07 // TMR Models, Mack 10, & K-Boy on the set of “Sun Come Up” (Miami, FL) 08 // TayDizm, DJ Khaled, Ace Hood, T-Pain, & Young Cash on the set of “Overtime” (Miami, FL) 09 // Damm D & Spark Dawg @ Crystal’s (Arlington, TX) 10 // Roc Harder DJs @ the Hot Block Awards (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Arrogant Music @ Velvet Room (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Verse & Rob Green @ Velvet Room (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Big V & Scales of the Nappy Roots & DJ Scorpio (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Hip Hop Friends & Mercedes Streets @ Justin’s for The CORE DJs Bad Boy event (Atlanta, GA) 15 // DJ K-Roc and Damm D @ Crystal’s (Arlington, TX) 16 // Nard & B & Yung LA on the set of Yung LA’s “Futuristic Love” (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Cole & Grand Prix @ Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 18 // Big Hood Boss, Lil Wil, & Doughski G on the set of Big Hood Boss’s video shoot (Dallas, TX) 19 // Jazze Pha, Vawn, & Drumma Boy @ Red Carpet Lanes for their Dream Land event (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Devon Buckner (10,19); Edward Hall (09,15,18); J Lash (01,07,08); Julia Beverly (03,04); Lamont DeSal (05); Ms Rivercity (02,06,11,12,13,16,17); Terrence Tyson (14)


CHIN CHECK By Charlamagne Tha God D.O.A.A.: DIE OLD ASS ARTISTS (YOUR CAREERS, THAT IS) Older rap artist’s careers are already dead. They’re just carrying them along, like Larry and Richard did Bernie in Weekend At Bernie’s. It doesn’t have to be like this, though. If older artists catered to the people who actually grew up listening to their music and started making music that people at their age could actually relate to, their rap careers could still prosper. Take LL Cool J, for example. James Todd Smith is 41 years old. He’s married with four kids. On his last single “Baby” featuring Dream, he talks about banging out a chick at a truck stop and banging out a chick in the back of a pickup truck. He even says in the record that the girl he’s with doesn’t care if he’s married or single. But the reality of the situation is this: LL, you are married! Act like it! That record could’ve been so much harder if you as a married 41-year-old man made a record about your wife. Imagine husbands all over the country coming in the house singing to their wives, “You’re my baby, my baby, my baby, my baby.” That’s some G shit; G for Grown. That’s the problem with old artists in Hip Hop. They don’t want to grow up. Radio is partly to blame for this also. Your favorite Hip Hop and R&B station caters to the 18-34 demographic. So when these old artists are making records, they’re targeting that audience. People my age – 29 – and up are still in that demo, but truthfully, outside of my career in radio, I don’t listen to the radio too much because the playlists are way too redundant. I like Soulja Boy’s “Turn My Swag On,” but one station is playing it a hundred times a week. That’s insane. Some radio stations are called Urban AC stations, which cater to the 25-54 demographic. They play a lot of older music, but when you listen to these stations, you have to ask where the Hip Hop is. Most of these Urban AC stations ignore the fact that Hip Hop has been the most dominant form of urban music for the past 20 years. They’ll play old school R&B but won’t play old school Hip Hop. Why not? The people that are in the 25-54 demo grew up on Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J, Outkast, and Scarface. Since these Urban AC stations ignore these older records and don’t include them in their playlists, a lot of artists have nowhere to go. Imagine if there was a Hip Hop Urban AC station that played the best Hip Hop from the 80s and 90s. That would bring revenue to so many older artists. 20 // OZONE MAG

People would start buying Hip Hop catalogues again, more older artists could tour, and most importantly, when these older artists still want to record and put out albums, the people who grew up listening to them probably would still go out and purchase them. It’s not that older rappers shouldn’t record anymore. They just need to rap about what they’re going through now in life and stop trying to relive their youth. I don’t want to see Fat Joe ice grilling the camera and rapping about shooting people anymore. I don’t want to see him laid up in the project hallways; he looks ridiculous at 40 years old. I like what artists like Ghostface, Nas, and Andre 3000 do. They rap about life as it is for them now; they don’t make records catering to the youth. They’re not stressing whether or not they get radio play, or if the young kids will embrace them at Summer Jam. They’re just painting their pictures from a grown man’s perspective. Ghostface spoke on his new album recently saying, “You gotta tell the fans that you’re not gettin’ no younger here. We’re gettin’ older and everybody doesn’t sell crack no more, man. I don’t sell crack, you. I ain’t movin’ no bricks or none of that other shit. I ain’t shoot nobody in like since the early 90s, man. How long you gonna be 40 years old and actin’ like you still sellin’ crack and you on the block and you doin’ this and you doin’ that when times is more serious, man. It’s time to talk about grown-man situations.” This leads me to the one artist who just won’t grow up: Jay-Z. He tried on Kingdom Come, but when that album wasn’t critically acclaimed, he resorted back to the same drug-dealing street talk he’s been doing his whole career on American Gangsta. He said he was influenced to record the album by watching the movie American Gangsta; he said it took him back to that era of his life when he was running the streets. That’s bullshit, Hov. You just wanted to rap about trapping again because you want to be relevant to the young crowd. His latest attempt at reliving his youth is “D.O.A. (Death Of Autotune).” I find it humorous that of all the things he could declare Death on in the rap game, he chose Autotune. That’s pretty weak, Jay. How about Death to celebrating the drug culture? If you really lived it, fine, tell your story. But if you didn’t, stop using the trap as a gimmick. Trap music is not crunk music. Everybody can’t make a trap record just because that’s what’s “in.” Why didn’t Jay-Z declare Death to gangbanging on records? This is Hip Hop and all these rappers become gang members after they get deals. What part of the game is that? Why didn’t Jay-Z declare Death to bling? It’s a recession, stop spending money on Big Ass Chains (T-Pain, this means you) and invest in something that doesn’t depreciate with value. Why didn’t Jay-Z declare Death to older artists not acting their age? Why didn’t he co-sign what Ghostface said? Because he would’ve ethered himself. Autotune never heard anybody. It’s amazing that the same guy who said “what you eat don’t make me shit” is now declaring Death to the way others are eating. What if back in the day

someone like 2Pac declared Death to Big Money Talk while Jay was on the come-up? How would that have affected him? Why is Jay getting points for making a song about what the internet has been saying for the longest? I personally don’t believe Jay feels strongly about the “D.O.A.” thing. He just needs a quick gimmick to jumpstart hype for the Blueprint 3. Do I find Autotune annoying? Yes. Is it necessary on every record? No. Does it sound good on some records? Yes. Did Jay-Z have to declare death to it? No. Will it have an affect on people using Autotune, or fans embracing Autotune records? Not at all. Jay-Z doesn’t have the same influence he had when he declared “I don’t wear jerseys I’m 30+ / Go get a button-up.” If he does, how come nobody is dressing like him now? Where’s your nappy Afro and glasses like Roger from the old TV show “What’s Happening”? Jay-Z, if you want the culture of Hip Hop to move forward, you need to step back. We need people like you in the board room. You did all you could do as a player. If you’re the Michael Jordan of rap like you say you are, sit down and own your tea. Groom the next generation of artists. All of you who are saying Hip Hop is dead or the rap game is whack must be listening to the radio way too much. Hip Hop is in the best space it’s been in a long time, but you won’t realize that if you keep trying to bring that old feeling back. Life is about forward motion; it’s not about bringing back what was. It’s about embracing what it is and what it’s going to be. What it is: T.I., Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, and Plies. What it’s going to be: Glasses Malone, Nipsey Hussle, and Strong Arm Steady from the West Coast; Maino and Red Café from New York; Drake from Canada; Killer Mike from Atlanta; and the whole Stupid Dope Moves regime from South Carolina which includes Trapstar, A Rizzla, and Marly Marl. Respect the past, but embrace the future. That’s my motto, and for all older artists who don’t feel that way, D.O.A.A.: Die Old Ass Artist (your careers, that is). Streetfully Yours, Sincerely Gangsta, Gutter Always, Charlamagne Tha God

(above L-R): Young Jeezy & Maino @ Gansevoort Pool Party in Miami, FL (Photo: Thaddaeus McAdams); Mike Jones & Diamond @ The Loft in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity); Mack 10 pourin’ out some liquor for the homies on the set of Glasses Malone’s “Sun Come Up” video shoot in Miami, FL (Photo: J Lash)

01 // Kwame Kilpatrick & Skip Cheatham @ Stankofa for the Stop the Violence event (Dallas, TX) 02 // DJ Impact, Bigg DM, Sean Garrett, Tony Neal, & Akon @ the W Hotel for the CORE DJs Retreat’s Def Jam Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Spectacular of Pretty Ricky & Freestyle Steve @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 04 // Rolemodelz & Slim Thug @ 97.9 The Beat car show (Dallas, TX) 05 // Garfield & Disco Jr @ UCF Arena for DJ Prostyle’s birthday bash (Orlando, FL) 06 // DJ Nasty, DJ Khaled, & DJ Trauma @ Esso for the BMI Urban Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Cool & Dre & Rage on the set of 2 Pistols’ “Lights Down Low” video shoot (Tampa, FL) 08 // Big Kuntry, Yung LA, & Lil Duval on the set of Yung LA’s “Futuristic Love” (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Magazeen, Gorilla Zoe, & Masspike Miles @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s album release party (Miami, FL) 10 // DJ Storm & Erin Barna @ Crucial for the CORE DJs Grand Hustle event (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Jeff Dixon, Kim Ellis, Ace McGinty, Wendy Day, & Lola Sims @ The CORE DJs Retreat In The Know Seminar (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Princess of Trill & Doughski G (Austin, TX) 13 // Odd & Even & Big Rich @ the W Hotel for the CORE DJs Retreat’s Def Jam Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Total Kaos, bodypainted models, & TJ Chapman @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 15 // Hurricane Chris & ladies on the set of Hurricane Chris’s “Halle Berry” video shoot (Dallas, TX) 16 // B Rich & Rob Green on the set of Yung LA’s “Futuristic Love” (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Willie C & Bay Bay @ BTB Records party (Texarkana, TX) 18 // The School Boyz @ Justin’s for The CORE DJs Bad Boy event (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Dru of The Runners & Bali @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s album release party (Miami, FL) Photo Credits: Edward Hall (01,12,15,17); J Lash (19); Julia Beverly (02,03,06,07,13); Malik Abdul (05,14); Ms Rivercity (08,16); Terrence Tyson (10,11,18); Thaddaeus McAdams (09); Tre Dubb (04)


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




O! MTV Raps was probably one of the first shows that I had seen with rap videos on it back in the day. I saw somebody who had a shirt with the [YO! MTV Raps] logo on it but it had my name, Yo Gotti. I saw the shirt about a year ago so when I decided to get a new chain, that’s the design I decided to use. I always wanted to get a chain that’s unique. I don’t remember the exact videos on YO! MTV Raps that were my favorite, but all the [old school] rappers were on there. It wasn’t one video in particular; I was into the whole Hip Hop thing back then. They’d have Kool Mo Dee and them on the show. I never knew what area they were from back then. When I was lookin’ at it, it wasn’t even broken down to [West or East] Coast or [down] South. They were all just artists to me.


Emmett [the jeweler] in Houston did the piece for me. Emmett’s good. He does a lot of people’s shit. I paid about $25,000 just for the piece and the chain was another $2,000. I bought a watch and a ring and all that with it, so he gave me one price for everything. A white watch and a white ring. You can tell if a chain is real or not. For one, if you see three or four people with [the same design] it’s probably not [real]; that’s what I call a “stock chain” because [the jeweler] has already made them up. With certain people’s chains, you can see the work that goes into them. That’s not saying that it still couldn’t be fake, but why would they put that much work into a fake piece? It takes a lot of work to do the detailing on [some chains]. // Words by Julia Beverly Photo by Terrence Tyson

(above L-R): Lil Wayne & Pee Wee @ Phillips Arena for Birthday Bash in Atlanta, GA; Trey Songz, Sean Garrett, & Mario @ Phillips Arena for Birthday Bash in Atlanta, GA; DJ Khaled & Lil Jon @ Esso for the BMI Urban Showcase in Atlanta, GA (Photos: Julia Beverly)

01 // JB, Nick the Next Wun, & Peanut @ Mambo’s for Stephanie of 97.9’s birthday bash (Dallas, TX) 02 // Physha P & Ed the World Famous @ The CORE DJs Retreat In The Know Seminar (Atlanta, GA) 03 // DJ Merk, D’Lyte, Dorrough, & Ebony, @ the W for CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Ms Go Ham & G Fresh @ Club Mariachi (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Fortune, Tracy T, Zaytoven, & Diamond @ the W for CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 06 // DJ Christion, Cool, & 2 Pistols on the set of 2 Pistols’ “Lights Down Low” video shoot (Tampa, FL) 07 // Vernon Forrest & Gorilla Zoe @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s “Deeper Than Rap” release party (Miami, FL) 08 // Caviar, T-Roy, & Cali @ Bourbon St Station (Jacksonville, FL) 09 // Rick Ross & Gucci Poochie on the set of Birdman & Lil Wayne’s “Always Strapped” video shoot (Miami, FL) 10 // Justice League, OJ da Juiceman, & Orlando McGhee @ Hot Beats (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Big Chief, Doughski G, Chase Pat, & T-Cash @ Mambo’s for Stephanie of 97.9’s birthday bash (Dallas, TX) 12 // Mickey Factz & Jessie Maguire @ the W Hotel for the CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Adept & guest @ UCF Arena for DJ Prostyle’s birthday bash (Orlando, FL) 14 // Dolla & Sway @ Mambo’s (Dallas, TX) 15 // DJ Scream & Cosa Nostra on the set of DJ Scream’s “On My Grind” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Guest, Big Kuntry, & Bola on the set of Yung LA’s “Futuristic Love” (Atlanta, GA) 17 // FLY @ the W Hotel for the CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 18 // TJ Chapman & Wayne Williams @ Justin’s for The CORE DJs Bad Boy event (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Lil Wil & JuJu of Fam Life @ Richmind Records party (Dallas, TX) Photo Credits: Edward Hall (01,11,14,19); J Lash (09); Julia Beverly (06,07,12,17,18); Malik Abdul (13); Ms Rivercity (03,04,05,10,15,16); Terrence Tyson (02,08)


Are You a G? TRIBUTE abcdefG 7 Questions to FIND OUT if THE KING OF POP MICHAEL JACKSON WAs the 7th letter of the alphabet. are even more artists who wanna be like Mike. But Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake, and Ne-Yo could ever top the King at his peak.

Sure, Michael Jackson was strange. He wore weird disguises and had questionable relationships with little boys. He was born a poor black boy, died a rich white woman, and became the most famous person on Earth along the way. OZONE has researched the annals of Michael Jackson history and found 7 interview questions to determine if your favorite King of Pop was in fact the 7th letter of the alphabet.

C. Does the real Billie Jean know about the song, and if she did, what was her reaction? There is a girl named Billie Jean, but it’s not about that Billie Jean. Billie Jean is kinda anonymous. It represents a lot of girls who used to - they used to call them groupies in the ‘60s - they would hang around backstage doors and any band that would come to town they would have a relationship with. And I think I wrote this out of experiences with my brothers when I was little. There were a lot of Billie Jeans out there. (TV Guide, December 1999) Damn, Mike was gettin’ it in with groupies all the way back in the 60s. Guess he used to be commander in chief of his pimp ship, flyin’ high.

A. Have you ever been scared to go on stage? No, I don’t remember ever being afraid to go on stage. I’m more comfortable on stage than giving this interview right now... In truth, I really don’t like being interviewed; I feel it’s such an intrusion. Every interview I’ve ever done I’ve been forced into it. [The fans] have been so nice to me and that’s the only reason I agreed to do this. (VH1, November 1996) Michael Jackson performed in front of a damn near a quarter billion people over 40 years, and the fact that he never once felt stage fright gives him a point.

D. What’s your favorite Steven Spielberg Movie? I love E. T. ‘cause it reminds me of me. Someone from another world coming down and you becoming friends with them and this person is, like, 800 years old and he’s filling you with all kinds of wisdom and he can teach you to fly. I mean, who don’t wanna fly? (Smash Hits, January 1983) Mike was either admitting he’s an alien or advocating cocaine use. Either way, it explains a lot, but still doesn’t earn him any G’ points.

B. Does it bother you to see people emulate you, like Usher, Sisqo, Ginuwine, Destiny’s Child? I don’t mind it at all. These are artists who grew up with my music. When you grow up listening to somebody you admire, you tend to become them. You want to look like them, to dress like them. When I was little, I was James Brown, I was Sammy Davis Jr., so I understand it. It’s a compliment. (Vibe, March 2002) It’s been 7 years since Jackson answered this question and today there

E. These performers[like] 50 Cent... they’re well-known because they survived violent attacks where they almost died and now they’re into Hip Hop... it’s a different era in pop music. Do you think you’ll be more like them or will the world come back to more pop and traditional rock? I’ve done a lot of it already. I don’t really rap, but I could if I wanted to... I’ve written songs with rap verses in them for very famous rappers, but they’re much better at it than I am. (At Large with Geraldo Rivera, May 2005)


MJ was probably referring to Diddy when he proclaimed to have ghostwritten for “very famous rappers,” which doesn’t count. But he gets credit for having collaborated with Biggie Smalls, R Kelly, and Jay-Z over the years. F. If you were invisible for a day in London, what would you do? Oh boy. Who would I like to slap? I think I’d find one of the tabloid paparazzi and kick his ass, moonwalk style. I’d really like to knock them off one of those little scooters they ride around on, I really would, knock the cameras right out of their hands. They’re so annoying. I’d go for them first. They drive you nuts. You can’t get away from them. It’s terrible.” (Gold Magazine, November 2002) Hard to believe, but yes, Mike actually said this. So we have no choice but to award The King of Pop for such a gangsta statement. G. Your home is quite modest... and I don’t see any bling. How come you don’t have the big diamond thing that says Michael? I’m modest in that way. If I had it on, I would probably give it away to the first kid to say, ‘Wow, I like your necklace.’When I was growing up, stars like Sammy Davis, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, if I simply said, ‘I love that shirt you’re wearing,’ they would give it to me. It’s a show business trait. Hand it over.” (At Large with Geraldo Rivera, May 2005) Imagine Mike Jackson rocking a big ass chain with a Bubbles the Chimp piece by TV Johnny. Not a good look, but since he’d “hand it over” to a little kid like Plies did at the Orlando Magic game, MJ earns the title of Da Realest Goon from Gary, Indiana. Score 6/7 Overall, Michael Jackson earns the highest rating in “Are You A G’” history. Say what you want about his tragic life, but you can’t deny the fact that Michael Jackson was BAD. - Compiled by Eric Perrin

Hood Deeds WORDS By Eric Perrin // PHOTO COURTESY OPRAH.COM Twelve months ago anything associated with Barack Obama was in style. And like most other pop culture icons, Black Eyed Peas front man Will.i.am was fully dedicated to the “Yes, We Can” campaign. But when the campaign concluded and the last bottle of champagne at the last Inaugural party was popped, most Obamaniacs returned to their normal day-to-day lives, feeling content that they had completed their end of the deal. Will.i.am is one of the few that has continued to be inspired. Earlier this year he contacted representatives for the Oprah Winfrey Show and expressed a desire to fund his own educational stimulus package—a scholarship he calls the “I Am Scholarship.” “Even though there’s an [economic] crisis, that doesn’t mean you stop dreaming,” explained Will.i.am. “So If I’m gonna go out there and say, ‘Hey, let’s get Obama in the White House.’ And [then] expect him to do everything, that’s pretty silly, right? I want to do my part.” In “doing his part,” the Los Angeles-bred musician is sending Elijah Williams, Jaiquann Beckham and twins Darien and Barien White to the colleges of their dreams: Hampton University, Wilmington University, Virginia Tech, and Cabrini College, respectively. The underprivileged, overachieving high school graduates will all receive full scholarships including tuition and fees, books, and room and board for four years beginning in the Fall of 2009, paid for entirely by Will.i.am. By investing in America’s future, the producer reared in the projects by his single mother is pledging to help even more students of single parents who are unable to afford to rising costs of college. “You can take your money and put it in the bank, or you can put it in our youth; you can put it in our future,” he concludes.

1. Mr. Hit Dat Hoe

Carrying on in DFW, Texas’ current wave of dance music (“The Dougie” & “Stanky Leg”), a character named Mr. Hit Dat Hoe is putting his bid in to be the next dance phenomenon. Oddly, his dance doesn’t involve any punching, slapping or kicking. Its actually made up of hoe girl-like moves including hip-shaking, waist-twirling and finger-snapping.

2. Extortion Ent.

Ironically, this label is based in Boston, home of OZONE’s 2004 Extortionist of the Year Ray Benzino. From looking at their myspace page they house artists, DJ and host events. Hope they pay their staff.

3. Mac Mustard

This rapper comes from same circle as Max B. and French Montana. He raps pretty good, but his name sounds like a failed A1 Sauce flavor.

(above L-R): Ace Hood & Rick Ross @ Phillips Arena for Birthday Bash in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly); JW & Young Jeezy @ Club Cinema for JW’s CTE signing party in Pompano Beach, FL (Photo: Terrence Tyson); TI & Maino @ Crucial for the CORE DJs Grand Hustle event in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Terrence Tyson)

01 // Johnnie Cabbell & his wife Sasha @ Johnnie Cabbell’s TV show launch party (Atlanta, GA) 02 // DJ Bigg V, Blessed, & Bigga Rankin @ Mississippi Delta Music Fest (Leland, MS) 03 // Byron Wright, Don Vito, Bishop of Crunk, & Lil Jon @ Esso for the BMI Urban Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Yung Ralph & Young Strizzy @ Fox Sports Grill for Yung Ralph’s Big Cat Records signing party (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Elsa, Bibi Guns, & Maisha @ Esso for BMI Urban Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 06 // Shawn Prez, Diddy, Sean Garrett, & Tony Neal @ Justin’s for the CORE DJs Bad Boy event (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Ray J & Shorty Mack @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 08 // Stevie DaMann, DJ Prostyle, & Soulja Boy @ Power 95.3 (Orlando, FL) 09 // Lil Jon & TJ Chapman @ Esso for BMI Urban Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Devi Dev & Terrence Tyson @ The CORE DJs Retreat In The Know Seminar (Atlanta, GA) 11 // J Holiday & fans @ Velvet Room (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Cash 64 & Ms Rivercity @ the W for CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Big CO & Jackie Chain @ The Loft for the CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Maino & DJ Skream @ UCF Arena for DJ Prostyle’s birthday bash (Orlando, FL) 15 // DJ Kool Aid & Johnson Boy @ Mississippi Delta Music Fest (Leland, MS) 16 // Black, Rick Ross, Geter K, & Karmo @ Diamonds (Miami, FL) 17 // Aleshia Steele & DJ Juice @ the W Hotel for the CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Paul Wall & DJ Scorpio @ The Loft (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Grand Prix & DJ Speedracer @ The Loft for the CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 20 // DJ Quote & DJ Rip @ Justin’s for The CORE DJs Bad Boy event (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Devon Buckner (04); Edward Hall (02,15); J Lash (16); Julia Beverly (03,05,06,07,09,17); Malik Abdul (01,08,14); Ms Rivercity (11,12,18); Terrence Tyson (10,13,19,20)


SPECTACULAR (OF PRETTY RICKY) & RILEY (OF THE BOONDOCKS) Riley: Hey Spectacular, since I like yo music and you gay, does that make me gay? Cause that video you made was real gay, nigga. Spectacular: That video wasn’t gay, it was for my fans. They asked me to do it so I did it. Riley: Well, I’m yo fan nigga, and I ain’t Gay! Spectacular: It wasn’t for you, Riley, it was for the ladies. And people don’t really buy records like that no mo’ so you gotta satisfy ‘em. Riley: But I watched that shit and I wasn’t satisfied. It looked pretty gay to me. Spectacular: Did you watch the whole thing? Riley: Yeah, I watched the whole thing, nigga. Why? Spectacular: Damn, since you watched the whole thing you might be gay lil’ homie. But at the same time, I ain’t got nothing against gay people. The homosexual community supports Pretty Ricky and you buy our albums and come to our shows. So I got nothing against you. Riley: Hold on nigga, I ain’t homo! Hell naw…nigga, you gay! And I heard you was bout to get paid 100,000 to be in a naked gay magazine. Spectacular: I mean, I’m flattered that they would offer the opportunity, cause I just started my modeling, you know what I’m sayin... Riley: Not really, nigga. I know you need the money, cause yo group ain’t makin it without Pleasure P, but posing naked in gay magazine is…gay!


Spectacular: But really, I’m bout to be in all the magazines, Playgirl, Playboy, GQ, Men’s Health, Business Week, XXL, Maxim, OZONE, Home and Gardens, pretty much all of ‘em. So at the end of the day, a gay magazine is just another magazine for my fans.

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

Riley: Hold on nigga, you ain’t bout to be in OZONE. Hahahahaha!! Nigga, you crazy. I know them fools at OZONE and they ain’t gay! Spectacular: Well maybe not OZONE, but definitely XXL. Riley: Well that makes more sense…but I don’t care what magazines you be in, I just wanted to make sure I’m not gay for liking yo’ music. Spectacular: Just make sure you support my new company, Spectacular Ice. Big Boy Ice at Little Boy Price. Riley: Okay, I will as long as you give me a discount... Hey, are you gonna be at the Gangstalicious Album release party tonight? Spectacular: Yeah, he asked me to a dancer in his next video so I’ll definitely be there. Riley: Cool, see you there Spectacular: Fa sho. Homies over hoes. From the minds of Eric Perrin & Randy Roper Photo by Julia Beverly


(above L-R): OJ da Juiceman & Shawty Lo @ Phillips Arena for Birthday Bash in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Glasses Malone & Mack 10 on the set of Glasses Malone’s “Sun Come Up” video shoot in Miami, FL (Photo: J Lash); 2 Pistols & video model on the set of 2 Pistols’ “Lights Down Low” video shoot in Tampa, FL (Photo: Julia Beverly)

01 // Janine, Diamond, Attitude, & Jackie @ CORE Models pool party (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Corey Cleghorn & JuJu of Fam Life @ Dallas Convention Center (Dallas, TX) 03 // Doughski, Youngbleed, & Mr Pookie @ Stankofa for the Stop the Violence event (Dallas, TX) 04 // Hen Roc, DJ Bobby Black, & Gorilla Zoe @ UCF Arena for DJ Prostyle’s birthday bash (Orlando, FL) 05 // Spike, 2 Pistols, guest, & Chris on the set of 2 Pistols’ “Lights Down Low” video shoot (Tampa, FL) 06 // Young Dro & BOB @ Crucial for the CORE DJs Grand Hustle event (Atlanta, GA) 07 // DJ Nasty, DJ Demp, & DJ Khaled @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s “Deeper Than Rap” release party (Miami, FL) 08 // DJ Spinz, Rocko, & DJ Scream on the set of DJ Scream’s “On My Grind” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Sean Garrett & Manny Halley @ Esso for the BMI Urban Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Unladylike @ the W Hotel for the CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 11 // MTV’s Rahman Dukes & Shaheim Reid @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s “Deeper Than Rap” release party (Miami, FL) 12 // DJ Frogie & DJ Aaries on the set of DJ Scream’s “On My Grind” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Butta & the Merk Camp @ Ear to Da Street music conference (Birmingham, AL) 14 // Block Life & DJ Fresh @ the W for CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Tabbie, JuJu of Fam Life, & Bigg V @ DSU (Cleveland, MS) 16 // Ray J & Monika Olimpew @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 17 // Scales of the Nappy Roots, Mickey Factz, & Big V of the Nappy Roots @ Esso for the BMI Urban Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Bay Bay, Sipp the Surgeon, JuJu, Veda Loca, Porscha, Pookie, Ike, J Kash, & Loaded @ Urban South Radio (Dallas, TX) 19 // Bigga Rankin, DJ Impact, TJ Chapman, & DJ Nasty @ The CORE DJs Retreat In The Know Seminar (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Edward Hall (02,03,15,18); Julia Beverly (05,07,09,10,11,16,17); Malik Abdul (04,13); Ms Rivercity (08,12,14); Terrence Tyson (01,06,19)


Philadelphia native Covergirl probably knows more about sex than your high school health teacher, but then again, she’s supposed to. As a biology major with plans of one day becoming a pediatrician, the 23-year-old Georgia State University student spends her mornings learning about the human body, reproduction, and anatomy, and nights entertaining her future patients’ fathers with displays of her own anatomy. Her 36-25-38 structure is definitely a gift of nature, but the surprisingly humble stripper is quite modest in regards to her appearance. “When I’m at work I just dance,” she says. “I’m sure my looks have something to do with it, but I never think about that.” In fact, she didn’t even think of her own alias, it was simply given to her by a friend. “Originally, my name was going to be Desire,” she reveals. “When I first started dancing a friend convinced me to go with the name Covergirl, and I didn’t really care either way.” The vivacious Virgo does, however, care about her future career. She loves kids, but doesn’t have to time to start a family of her own yet and is far more studious than most models, evidenced by the fact she is perhaps the only chick in the industry without a Myspace page. “Whenever I’m on the computer I’m studying and doing homework,” she admits. “I don’t have time for all that other stuff.” A former grocery store cashier, Covergirl fled frigid Philadelphia for Atlanta after high school and hasn’t looked back in 7 years. She believes the biggest difference between the two cities is the mentality. “In Philly, nobody is doing nothing with their lives. [In Atlanta] at least people are trying,” she says. “I know I’m gonna have a lot of challenges as a pediatrician, but I’m not worried about that. I’ll just have to deal with it when I get there.” 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


(above L-R): J Money & Meany of the Shop Boyz on the set of DJ Scream’s “On My Grind” video shoot in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity); Glasses Malone & First Lady on the set of his “Sun Come Up” video shoot in Miami, FL (Photo: J Lash); Maino & Big Kuntry @ Crucial for the CORE DJs Grand Hustle event in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Terrence Tyson)

01 // G Mack, Kim Ellis, & Acafool @ The CORE DJs Retreat In The Know Seminar (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Jessie Maguire & Willy Northpole @ the W for CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 03 // DJ Drama & Chill da Million Dollar Man (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Ray J & Freestyle Steve @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 05 // Spiff TV, DJ Nasty, The Incredibles, Bali, The Runners, & DJ Khaled @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s “Deeper Than Rap” release party (Miami, FL) 06 // Glasses Malone & Haitian Fresh on the set of Glasses Malone’s “Sun Come Up” video shoot (Miami, FL) 07 // Chaos & DJ Q45 @ Sobe Live for JB’s Miami Bday Bash (Miami, FL) 08 // 2 Pistols & Boy Wonder on the set of 2 Pistols’ “Lights Down Low” video shoot (Tampa, FL) 09 // Sean Garrett, Catherine Brewton, & Lil Jon @ Esso for the BMI Urban Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 10 // DJ Montay & Dorrough (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Ike G Da, Ed the World Famous, & DJ Nasty @ the W Hotel for the CORE DJs Retreat’s Def Jam Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 12 // DJ Scream, DJ Spinz, Shawty Lo, & Braski on the set of DJ Scream’s “On My Grind” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Bizzle & guest @ Tabu for Dawgman’s Crunkfest (Orlando, FL) 14 // Kim Ellis & Rob Gold @ The CORE DJs Retreat In The Know Seminar (Atlanta, GA) 15 // DJ Dre & Ricochet @ Wet Willies (Fort Worth, TX) 16 // Lil Wil, Doughski G, & DJ Tiger @ K104 (Dallas, TX) 17 // Wayne Williams & Chaka Zulu @ Red Carpet Lanes for the CORE DJs DTP bowling event (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Bibi Guns & DJ Nasty @ Esso for the BMI Urban Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Nino, Hot Boy Star, & Lady C @ Mambo’s for Stephanie of 97.9’s birthday bash (Dallas, TX) 20 // Dorrough & DJ Dr Doom @ the W for CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Edward Hall (15,16,19); J Lash (06,07); Julia Beverly (04,05,08,09,11,18); Kingpin (03); Malik Abdul (13); Ms Rivercity (02,10,12,17,20); Terrence Tyson (01,14)



hreveport, Louisiana native DJ HollyHood Bay Bay is one of the most influential DJs in the country. Known as the inspiration behind Hurricane Chris’ breakout single, “Ay Bay Bay,” and for his ability to launch an artist’s career, Bay Bay attributes his success to hard work and solid relationships. Currently an on-air personality on Dallas’ K104, the self-proclaimed “Street A&R” who began as a dance choreographer is witnessing his own career take off. Here, he tells his story: “I was the ambassador of the Ratchet City movement, born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. Throughout the whole success of the “Ay Bay Bay” record, situations happened that tried to set me back, but it was just minor setbacks for a major comeback. After all the hype and success I was recruited to the number 4 [radio] station in the country, which is in Dallas, TX. I’ve been in the industry for 11 years, but I’m actually not a DJ. I’m a motivational speaker; a person of influence. I got started as a dance choreographer for the band at Grambling State University. I did a year and a half there and then I came back to help my alma mater, Fair Park High School’s band. One day the announcer got sick, so they asked me to announce for the band. Being the hype man for the band helped me with my speaking skills and I became a real popular guy around town. Whenever I went to the club, I would just walk in, the DJs would hand me the microphone, and I would say shit that got everybody crunk. The club owner noticed it, so I stopped doing it for free and they started paying me for it. I was the guy that came in with all the energy and made people party. This led me to radio, and soon I had the number one radio show on a 3000 watt station in Shreveport going up against a 60,000 watt station in Dallas. Radio gave me the ability to give a lot of local love on the airwaves. The [program directors] let me do whatever I wanted to do as long as the num-


bers didn’t fall. Since I was in a small market I had a lot of freedom and a lot of influence. Becoming a respected radio personality enabled me to build and maintain good relationships with people in the industry. The key to a good industry relationship is the same as with any relationship: Always have communication and an open understanding. You have to do what you say you’re gonna do, keep it as real as you can, and don’t promise nobody nothing that you can’t deliver. If you can’t do it, just say you can’t do it. If you do agree to do something and realize later that you can’t do, call them and let them know you can’t do it. Accountability is important. By building good relationships with A&Rs and people in high places, along with me being able to break an unknown artist in both the club and on radio, I really have a monopoly. I’ve used this situation to break several artists. I’ve been responsible for breaking and launching Hurricane Chris, The GS Boyz, Dorrough Music, and Lil Josh and Ernest outta Baton Rouge. II think I’ve been very inspirational to most of the artists in the game. They know who they are! People always ask me about [the current situation with] me and Hurricane Chris, and the thing about me and Chris, it’s like family. You gon’ have disagreements as far as ups and downs. We haven’t spoken in a while, but I stay in contact with his mom and his manager and I just know if I really needed him he’d be there for me and I’d be there for him. It’s just two people that have egos—but I don’t have that big of an ego where I would let it end a friendship. Before I go, I gotta shout out Big Poppa, KP, Wild Yella, Baby 3, Blitz, T.O.B, Lil Six, TNT, T-Willz, Dazasta, Big Chief, D-Bo. I mess with the underdogs, the people who ain’t got it, because we’re trying to change people’s lives.” As told to Eric Perrin // Photo by Eric Perrin

(above L-R): Mack Maine & Bow Wow @ Phillips Arena for Birthday Bash in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Al Sharpton & Young Jeezy @ Hot 97 Summer Jam in New York, NY (Photo: Thaddaeus McAdams); Wendy Day reppin’ Big Meech @ The CORE DJs Retreat In The Know Seminar in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Terrence Tyson)

01 // Diamond & guest @ Esso for the BMI Urban Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Cory Mo & DJ T-Roc on the set of DJ Scream’s “On My Grind” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Big Tuck & ladies @ Club Flow for Trina concert (Dallas, TX) 04 // Yung Ralph & Skoolboy @ Fox Sports Grill for Yung Ralph’s Big Cat Records signing party (Atlanta, GA) 05 // FLY & ladies @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 06 // Slim & Dre on the set of 2 Pistols’ “Lights Down Low” video shoot (Tampa, FL) 07 // Maino & Devi Dev @ Crucial for the CORE DJs Grand Hustle event (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Candy & Tony Neal @ Young Cash’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Ricco Barrino & Yung LA on the set of Yung LA’s “Futuristic Love” (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Lil Jon, DJ Trauma, & Bryan Michael Cox @ Esso for the BMI Urban Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 11 // DJ Rip & Jarvis @ Justin’s for The CORE DJs Bad Boy event (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Sweetness & Bigga Rankin @ The CORE DJs Retreat In The Know Seminar (Atlanta, GA) 13 // TMR Models, Glasses Malone, Baby, & Mack 10 on the set of Glasses Malone’s “Sun Come Up” video shoot (Miami, FL) 14 // Bama & Meany @ Club Mariachi (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Paul Wall & Ms Rita @ 97.9 The Beat car show (Dallas, TX) 16 // DJ Lil E, Lady C, & JuJu of Fam Life @ Ju Ju’s birthday bash (Dallas, TX) 17 // J-Kash & Big Chief @ Mambo’s for Stephanie of 97.9’s birthday bash (Dallas, TX) 18 // Papa Duck & Bali @ Skye Nightclub (Tampa, FL) 19 // Juggie & DJ Finesse @ Justin’s for the CORE DJs Bad Boy event (Atlanta, GA) 20 // Young Cash & Grand Prix @ Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 21 // Uncle Luke & porn stars @ Cameo (Miami, FL) Photo Credits: Devon Buckner (04); Edward Hall (03,16,17); J Lash (05,13,21); Julia Beverly (01,06,10,11,19); Luis Santana (18); Malik Abdul (08); Ms Rivercity (02,09,14,20); Terrence Tyson (07,12); Tre Dubb (15)


Patiently Waiting


or years, the term “Zoe” has been used as an expression of endearment amongst people of Haitian decent. But according to Florida rookie Black Dada, his breakthrough single “I’mma Zoe” is more than a song that pertains to his Haitian roots. It’s a song that can represent anyone that’s been through a struggle. “If you’re somebody that’s been through a lot, and has still been able to overcome, no matter what it was, you’re a Zoe,” the singer explains. “Being that we were considered as slaves first, we were able to overcome all of that, and be on top, where in a sense, we run the US, when it was something that people thought it’d never happen. But that’s what a Zoe is, what [Barack] Obama did. But at the same time it’s a Haitian root word.” Long before our president was Black, Dada was born in Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince. His father, a welder, and mother, a nurse aide, first left Haiti when Dada was five-years-old and two years later, their family relocated to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Growing up, Dada’s love for music and singing in the church choir lead the Broward County vocalist to pursue a career in music. He began performing throughout South Florida, and built relationships with artists like Ace Hood, Rick Ross, Ball Greezy and Iconz Music.


Once Florida’s Haiti community caught wind of “I’mma Zoe,” his single quickly became a Haitian anthem throughout the Sunshine State. Dada signed with Miami indie label Strictly Business Records (also home to standout Miami rapper Redd Eyez), and due to his single’s continued growth, coupled with a winning Wild Out Wednesday performance on BET’s 106 & Park, major labels started calling. Universal, Atlantic, Def Jam and Warner Bros. all showed interest, but in the end Dada inked a deal with Universal Republic. He’s currently working on his debut album, tentatively titled, F.L.A. (First Love and Addiction), and with all eyes on Black Dada, the Florida neophyte is aiming to use the attention to unite the state that raised him. “I want to rep Florida to the fullest,” he says. “I wanna start a Florida movement, instead of Dade County [and] Broward County. We need to merge the shit together and make it big, and become the next New York and Atlanta.” Zoes and Floridian citizens should be proud. Words by Randy Roper Photo by David Rosario

(above L-R): Sean Garrett & Lil Jon @ Esso for BMI Urban Showcase in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Dancer reppin’ OZONE @ Stiletto’s in Euless, TX (Photo: Edward Hall); Young Dro & Maino @ Crucial for the CORE DJs Grand Hustle event in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Terrence Tyson)

01 // Lil Wil & DJ Bigg V @ DSU (Cleveland, MS) 02 // Paco, DJ Lil E, & Turro @ Ju Ju’s birthday bash (Dallas, TX) 03 // Sherrie & Tamiko Hope @ Johnnie Cabbell’s TV show launch party (Atlanta, GA) 04 // J Kash & Big Chief @ Mambo’s (Dallas, TX) 05 // Fredo & JuJu of Fam Life @ Club Flow for Trina concert (Dallas, TX) 06 // Gucci Poochie, Rick Ross, & Masspike Miles @ Karu & Y for Rick Ross’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 07 // DJ Christion, Cool & Dre, 2 Pistols, & Young Joe on the set of 2 Pistols’ “Lights Down Low” video shoot (Tampa, FL) 08 // Red Cafe, Akon, & Tony Neal @ Justin’s for the CORE DJs Bad Boy event (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Stephanie & BC @ Mambo’s for Stephanie of 97.9’s birthday bash (Dallas, TX) 10 // Bigga Rankin, G Mack, & Lil Cali @ The CORE DJs Retreat In The Know Seminar (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Colione, Ms Rivercity, & Rook @ Hot Beats (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Matt Daniels & 2 Pistols on the set of 2 Pistols’ “Lights Down Low” video shoot (Tampa, FL) 13 // DJ Magic, Trina, & JuJu of Fam Life @ Club Flow for Trina concert (Dallas, TX) 14 // DJ Rip, Devi Dev, & Roccett @ The CORE DJs Retreat In The Know Seminar (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Kiki J & Pookie from UrbanSouth @ K104 (Dallas, TX) 16 // Hen Roc & Shawn Prez @ Justin’s for The CORE DJs Bad Boy event (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Big Hood Boss & Tum Tum @ Tini Bar for Dorrough’s signing party (Dallas, TX) Photo Credits: Edward Hall (01,02,04,05,09,13,15,17); J Lash (06); Julia Beverly (07,08,12); Malik Abdul (03); Ms Rivercity (11); Terrence Tyson (10,14,16)


Patiently Waiting


lthough Tampa has become known as the homeland of “jook” music, Tampa resident and Orlando native Javon Black doesn’t want to be categorized solely as a “jook” artist. “I do jook records for other artists, but it’s not something that I do personally,” the rising singer/songwriter says of the upbeat blend of Hip Hop, bass, reggae and dancehall music. “It is good music, [but] my style is like old school R&B, with a new school feel.” Black’s interest in music began around the year 2000. As a big fan of the R&B group Dru Hill, he witnessed the solo success of the group’s lead singer Sisqó, and figured, “if someone like that can do it, then, hey, maybe I can do it.” With that, he began studying the art of music—singing, songwriting, and producing. He later departed Orlando for the city of Tampa, where he enrolled in college at the International Academy of Design & Technology, majoring in recording arts & sciences. Not long after moving to Tampa, he met Lil Kee, a local producer/rapper. The two began collaborating, and Black soon signed to Kee’s company, KeeZone Productions. Their key collaborative effort came in the single “Shawty Tear It Up,” which caught fire in Tampa. Before they knew it, the single was spinning in every club and urban radio station in Central Florida.


“Kee heard [‘Shawty Tear It Up’] the first time, and he said, ‘I don’t think this track will be that [big],’ Black recalls. “We played it at a club one night, and everyone started vibing to it. Ever since then it took off.” The single did more than take off. With this year’s NFL Super Bowl taking place in Tampa, the buzz in the city surrounding the record was enough to garner attention of record executives and music industry insiders vacationing the town for the weekend’s festivities, which ultimately landed Black and KeeZone Entertainment a deal with Universal Republic. In addition, Miami rapper/singer Sean Kingston reached out recorded a remix to the record with Black. Now that his major label deal is secured, and his yet to be titled debut album is in the works, Black is primed to put himself, KeeZone and Jook City on the map. And although he doesn’t want to be pigeonholed as a jook artist, he does understand his role in his region’s movement. “It’s a big Jook City movement right now,” he says. “It’s a real smooth flavor, from Miami back down to Tampa, it’s real big. So, hopefully this year, people will start realizing that jook music is music that you can vibe to, party to, dance to.” We’ll jook to that. Words by Randy Roper

(above L-R): Hurricane Chris & Cassidy @ Sobe Live in Miami, FL; T-Pain & Ace Hood on the set of “Overtime” in Miami, FL (Photos: J Lash); 2 Pistols pourin’ some Hennessy for C-Ride on the set of 2 Pistols’ “Lights Down Low” video shoot in Tampa, FL (Photo: Julia Beverly)

01 // DJ Khaled, Manny Halley, Bryan Michael Cox, guest, Lil Jon, Bishop of Crunk, & DJ Trauma @ Esso for the BMI Urban Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Roccett, 211, & Traxamillion @ Justin’s for The CORE DJs Bad Boy event (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Slim, 2 Pistols, & Rage on the set of 2 Pistols’ “Lights Down Low” video shoot (Tampa, FL) 04 // Drumma Boy & DJ Trauma @ Luckie Lounge for DJ Trauma’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Director Peter Spirer & Trick Daddy on the set of the movie “Just Another Day” (Orlando, FL) 06 // VIC & Gravy @ Esso for BMI Urban Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Pretty Ricky & Ray J @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 08 // OZONE crew Malik Abdul, Kenny Brewer, Kerisha Smith, Kisha Smith, Eric Perrin, Tasha Heran, Mz Skittles, & Julia Beverly @ Luckie Lounge for JB’s ATL Bday Party (Atlanta, GA) 09 // DJ Princess Cut & friends @ Crucial for the CORE DJs Grand Hustle event (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Maguire, Mickey Factz, Ms Rivercity, & Devi Dev @ Def Jam Showcase during the CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Mr CC & David @ UCF Arena for DJ Prostyle’s birthday bash (Orlando, FL) 12 // Ladies @ CORE Models pool party (Atlanta, GA) 13 // The Package Store @ Esso for the BMI Urban Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Green Lantern & Jason Geter @ Esso for the BMI Urban Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Bryan Michael Cox & DJ Khaled @ Esso for the BMI Urban Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 16 // JT tha Bigga Figga & Ms Rivercity @ The CORE DJs Retreat In The Know Seminar (Atlanta, GA) 17 // 2 Pistols, Young Joe, & C-Ride on the set of 2 Pistols’ “Lights Down Low” video shoot (Tampa, FL) 18 // Cassie & Shawn Prez @ Justin’s for The CORE DJs Bad Boy event (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Bertell & Trey Songz @ Esso for the BMI Urban Showcase (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Devon Buckner (04); Eric Perrin (08); Julia Beverly (01,02,03,06,07,13,14,15,17,18,19); Lawrence Odum (05); Malik Abdul (11); Ms Rivercity (10); Terrence Tyson (09,12,16)



nitially just a group of “swagged up kids in school,” the Rich Kids (Khaelub, Baby Charles, Skateboard Skooley, Shad and June) became a rap group less than a year ago. That may not be a long time by most people’s standards, but when you’re gifted with a mix of entertaining personalities, word spreads quickly. The group soon found a home with Grand Hustle Records. “We started rapping like 8 months ago,” Khaelub says. “We were already in the studio, but we were just playing around and never thought about rappin’. ‘What’s Up’ was the first song we recorded.” A week after finishing “What’s Up,” the group recorded “My Partna ‘Dem” with Young Dro, giving The Rich Kids two instant hits in Atlanta. Their mesh of sounds, fun energy, and signature dance moves made them most requested in their hometown, both in the clubs and on the radio. Skooley, the Rich Kids’ youngest member and hook singer, explains their fast rise to fame. “Not being big-headed,” he says, “but as more experienced people told us how big we were gonna be, the more we felt the same way.” Currently working on a mixtape with DJs Southanbred and Infamous titled Money Swagg, which is also the name of their dance, The Rich Kids are still in the development stages. KT, their manager and longtime Grand Hustle affiliate, says, “We’re working on getting the records in rotation, working on this mixtape, and getting the paperwork right.” With all the pieces falling into place, the records are starting to make their way into other markets like Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, and South Carolina, making The Rich Kids regional celebrities. It’s an experience the boys are more than appreciative of. “I’ve been in the club before, but I ain’t never been in the club like a star,” Shad explains. “It gave me a better feeling about myself. I hope for much success in the future, and money.” “I really love doing this,” Baby Charles adds. “I love going to the studio and doing the shows and stuff. We doing this for y’all.” Their energetic spirits have gotten them a long way thus far, and everyone is looking at the Rich Kids as the next big trend in Atlanta. “They are very talented and what they are doing hasn’t been done in a long time,” concludes KT. “They bring a lot of energy to the stage and in the booth. They some dang characters for real; that’s what we’re selling. They’ve got what it takes.” Words by Ms Rivercity Photo by Devon Buckner


Patiently Waiting

(above L-R): TI & Tiny @ Crucial for the CORE DJs Grand Hustle event in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Terrence Tyson); Paul Wall @ The Loft in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity); Playboy Tre @ Crucial for the CORE DJs Grand Hustle event in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Terrence Tyson)

01 // DJ Dave & Tity Boy of Playaz Circle @ Luckie Lounge for DJ Trauma’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Jermaine Dupri @ Magic City (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Zaytoven @ The CORE DJs Retreat In The Know Seminar (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Lo Fat @ Johnnie Cabbell’s TV show launch party (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Young Dro @ Crucial for the CORE DJs Grand Hustle event (Atlanta, GA) 06 // Yashi @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 07 // Bishop of Crunk @ Luckie Lounge for DJ Trauma’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 08 // DJ Koolaid @ Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 09 // Total Kaos & ladies @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 10 // Twaun Pledger & guest @ Ear to Da Street music conference (Birmingham, AL) 11 // Alfamega @ Crucial for the CORE DJs Grand Hustle event (Atlanta, GA) 12 // M16 @ Ear to Da Street music conference (Birmingham, AL) 13 // JW & Boo da Boss Playa @ Luckie Lounge for DJ Trauma’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Big Chief on the set of Big Hood Boss’s video shoot (Dallas, TX) 15 // Carol City Cartel @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 16 // Atiba @ UCF Arena for DJ Prostyle’s birthday bash (Orlando, FL) 17 // Rico Brooks @ UCF Arena for DJ Prostyle’s birthday bash (Orlando, FL) 18 // DJ 151 @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 19 // Kevin Shine & DJ Dave @ the Hot Block Awards (Atlanta, GA) 20 // Physha P & Kim Ellis @ The CORE DJs Retreat In The Know Seminar (Atlanta, GA) 21 // Purrdy Girls & Strizzy @ the W Hotel for the CORE DJs Retreat’s Def Jam Showcase (Atlanta, GA) 22 // Keinon Johnson @ Luckie Lounge for DJ Trauma’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 23 // Southern Syrup DVD @ Tailgate Park (Jacksonville, FL) 24 // Sweetness & TJ Chapman @ The CORE DJs Retreat In The Know Seminar (Atlanta, GA) 25 // Bruck Up @ UCF Arena for DJ Prostyle’s birthday bash (Orlando, FL) 26 // T Rose & Chelsie @ Ear to Da Street music conference (Birmingham, AL) 27 // Mob Boss & ladies @ Tailgate Park (Jacksonville, FL) 28 // DJ Dr Doom, Hen Roc, & DJ Impact @ The CORE DJs Retreat In The Know Seminar (Atlanta, GA) 29 // Chase Pat, Bruce Wayne, & Rico @ Stankofa for the Stop the Violence event (Dallas, TX) 30 // JoSki Love & guest @ Ear to Da Street music conference (Birmingham, AL) 31 // Guest & Vawn @ Luckie Lounge for DJ Trauma’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 32 // DJ Holiday & DJ Trauma @ Luckie Lounge for DJ Trauma’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 33 // Geter K @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 34 // DJ White Chocolate @ 97.9 The Beat car show (Dallas, TX) 35 // Mic Wrecka & Big Will of Mentally Sedated @ Club Inferno (Killeen, TX) Photo Credits: Devon Buckner (01,07,13,19,22,31,32); Edward Hall (29); Julia Beverly (21); Malik Abdul (04,06,09,10,12,15,16,17,18,23,25,26,27,30,33); Ms Ja (02); Ms Rivercity (08,14); Terrence Tyson (03,05,11,20,24,28); Tre Dubb (34,35)



ew Corporate Thugz Entertainment signee JW has already made an impression on both his co-workers and even some of his fans.

“They think I’m crazy,” says the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida native, with an intensity in his eyes rivaling 2Pac’s “I am crazy” scene from Juice. “But I’m blessed. They think I’m crazy when I talk like this, about God all the time. But I have to talk like this. If I don’t I’m not being true to who I am. God gave me this vision, and I’d be wrong if I don’t mention that. I know what it is. I’ve only been rapping a year and a half. I’d be wrong to say my name is buzzing in Florida only because of me. Big up to God.” Powered by his street single “Baik At It” and his guest appearance on Young Jeezy’s “Biggest Movie Ever,” JW’s current mixtape series Get It From the Muscle is more chest-pounding than bible-thumping, but he makes sure his music is as honest as possible. So yes, you will hear him talk legal problems he had a decade ago and the lavish lifestyle he lives now. But you will also hear him talk about earning a football scholarship to Auburn University and graduating from Illinois State University with a degree in business. “When you see people’s mixtape or album covers, they’re standing there with money, dope, guns and scales,” JW sighs. “Mine is just me. You’re gonna hear my life situations. I’m from the hood and I’ve been through good and hard things like everybody else. I just want to be a voice and relate to the people.” While his speaking voice may remind you of Trick Daddy, JW’s fiery vocal inflection on his records immediately kill any impending comparisons. The excitement may stem from the fact that JW has only been rapping for a short time, leaving him with plenty of untapped energy to get out when in the booth. In fact, the entire first volume of Get It From the Muscle were comprised of the first recordings he’d ever made. Every song he’s done up to this point is the soundtrack of his life. “No disrespect to any rappers and I hope no one takes this the wrong way, but I’m not a rapper,” he says. “I’m more like a preacher. This shit comes from my heart. I’m not one to say ‘Give me a beat and I’ma kill it.’ I’m confident that I could, but my shit has to make sense. It has to be something the people can relate to. The beats tell me what to say.” He adds, “Don’t get me wrong, I respect the Hip Hop culture. I have to. I can’t lie and say that I indulged in it for years, because I haven’t. But I am growing with it.” Words by Maurice G. Garland Photo by Terrence Tyson


Patiently Waiting

(above L-R): Neechie & Spark Dawg @ All Pro Studios in Jacksonville, FL (Photo: Ms Rivercity); Jeremih @ Luckie Lounge for DJ Trauma’s Birthday Bash in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Devon Buckner); Maino @ UCF Arena for DJ Prostyle’s birthday bash in Orlando, FL (Photo: Malik Abdul)

01 // Ray J @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 02 // Lyfe Jennings @ Crucial for the CORE DJs Grand Hustle event (Atlanta, GA) 03 // DJ G Mack @ The CORE DJs Retreat In The Know Seminar (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Midget Mac & Duval crew @ Bourbon St Station (Jacksonville, FL) 05 // Unladylike @ Luckie Lounge for DJ Trauma’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 06 // Lil Scrappy @ Platinum 21 (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Pretty Ricky @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 08 // Acafool @ The CORE DJs Retreat In The Know Seminar (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Keisha @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 10 // Yung Ralph @ Fox Sports Grill for Yung Ralph’s Big Cat Records signing party (Atlanta, GA) 11 // DJ Smallz & Ms Honey Siccle @ Ms Honey Siccle’s release party (Oklahoma City, OK) 12 // DJ Ace & DJ Teknikz @ Fox Sports Grill for Yung Ralph’s Big Cat Records signing party (Atlanta, GA) 13 // T Rose & Butta @ Ear to Da Street music conference (Birmingham, AL) 14 // Gorilla Zoe & Shawn Prez @ UCF Arena for DJ Prostyle’s birthday bash (Orlando, FL) 15 // Honee & Malik Abdul @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 16 // Johnnie Cabbell @ Johnnie Cabbell’s TV show launch party (Atlanta, GA) 17 // MLK @ Luckie Lounge for DJ Trauma’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Jessica Rochelle, Teddy T, & Miss Ricki @ The CORE DJs Retreat In The Know Seminar (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Tina, Kiki J, & Ebony J on the set of Big Hood Boss’s video shoot (Dallas, TX) 20 // Mr Vegas @ UCF Arena for DJ Prostyle’s birthday bash (Orlando, FL) 21 // Shane of Cool Runnings @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 22 // Arab @ 97.9 The Beat car show (Dallas, TX) 23 // Black-Jackk @ Kalyko’s Video Shoot (Cincinnati, OH) 24 // DJ King Ron @ Bourbon St Station (Jacksonville, FL) 25 // Young Capone @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 26 // Turro & John 20 @ Richmind Records party (Dallas, TX) 27 // Jackie Chain & guest @ Crucial for the CORE DJs Grand Hustle event (Atlanta, GA) 28 // Don Cannon & DJ Infamous @ Luckie Lounge for DJ Trauma’s Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA) 29 // Calico Jonez & guest @ Ear to Da Street music conference (Birmingham, AL) 30 // B Luck @ Kalyko’s Video Shoot (Cincinnati, OH) 31 // Spectacular @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 32 // Ceasar, Que P, & Bigg Buck @ Richmind Records party (Dallas, TX) 33 // DJ Demp @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 34 // Chop Chop @ Ms Honey Siccle’s release party (Oklahoma City, OK) 35 // Big Nick & Cole @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) Photo Credits: Devon Buckner (05,10,12,17,28); Edward Hall (11,19,26,32,34); Judy Jones (23,30); Julia Beverly (01); Malik Abdul (06,07,09,13,14,15,16,20,21,25,29,31,33,35); Terrence Tyson (02,03,04,08,18,24,27); Tre Dubb (22)



hen the So Icey brand name comes to mind, off top you probably think of Gucci Mane, followed by newcomer OJ da Juiceman. Now there is another So Icey offspring growing in the South – Waka Flocka Flame. Taken under Gucci’s wing to learn the ropes, Waka surprised himself with how easily he took to the sport of rapping. “Gucci showed me how to rap. He said, ‘Bro, dis shit easy.’ I just listened to what my boy said, and this shit is easy. I been rappin’ for like a year now.” Though he claims it’s been easy, Waka may not realize how difficult it is for the average rapper to collect a fanbase his size, especially in such a short amount of time. With the release of his first mixtape earlier this year, the 23-year-old quickly found out his forte was with the female audience. “I’ve got more girl fans than anything,” he claims. “I’ve got a song called ‘Down Ass Girl’ and I was just playin’ [when I made that song] but they liked that a lot. That’s like the #1 song on the mixtape.” The entire mixtape was recorded in a week, and during that week Waka created several hits: “Down Ass Girl,” “Dreads and Golds,” and his current club record, “O Let’s Do It.” The latter song has increased his scope of listeners and made him one to follow in the streets of Atlanta. Self-described as a mix between Eazy E, Lil Jon, and Gucci Mane, Waka’s goal with music is to get people crunk and make girls dance. Sounds simple enough, but it’s a far different goal than what he might have had growing up. Originally from New York, Waka relocated to Riverdale, GA when he was 9 years old, over a decade before his music profession materialized. “Swear to God, I liked drug dealers and basketball players when I was growing up,” Waka says of his childhood role models. “It was either sell drugs or play basketball.” But now an entirely different set of doors has been opened for him, and he feels it’s important to let others experience his life through lyrics. “It’s just a struggle. You gotta make people believe in what you went through in life. You gotta emphasize that and make them feel it, and at the same time make it entertaining.” With a clear purpose behind his music, Waka is presently working on the double-disc sequel to his debut project. He’s also contributing to the 1017 Brick Squad mixtape, a group which consists of Gucci Mane, OJ da Juiceman, Waka, Wooh the Kid, Frenchie, and more. “We’re like the new N.W.A,” Waka says. And even while comparing his labelmates to the legendary group, Waka explains why he does so well as a solo artist. “I’m in my own lane, I’m rapping my own way, doin’ my own thang. I guess the shit I say touched so many people that they fuck with me.” Words by Ms Rivercity Photo by Donna Permell 40 // OZONE MAG




Ace Hood is en route from Indianapolis, Indiana to Atlanta, Georgia, on his way to grace the stage at the annual Birthday Bash concert that is pretty much known as the Summer Jam of the South. Currently passing through Memphis, Ace sounds tired, but refuses to let the cousin of death whisper in his ear. Why should he? Staying awake is what got him discovered by DJ Khaled. Staying awake is what got him signed to Def Jam. Staying awake is what’s blessed him with the opportunity to follow up his debut album, 2008’s Gutta, with his sophomoric effort Ruthless less than a year later. Ozone caught up with fiery Floridian to find out how life has been since he’s gotten some “Cash Flow.” During your campaign for Gutta you hit the road heavy. What have you been up to since then? I’ve just been grinding on this tour, letting people get to know Ace Hood as a person. That’s why I took the route I did with this album, to show my growth.

Yeah, the video was about grinding. But we didn’t want the video to be a traditional grind, being on the block, shooting dice. We didn’t want to make a typical video, I wanted to provide hope. Throwing money isn’t what we needed for this video. So I wanted to show the youth an academic grind, an athletic grind, show them that they can be victorious.

What kind of growth will you be showing on this album? Many new artist don’t really get to do all that they want on their debut albums so the second one is where they get to have a little more control. With this album, there’s just a lot more personal records. I got to do a lot of records of my strength and not relying on a lot of people. I have features but it’s mostly me.

This time around there isn’t a big “Florida movement” as your album drops. Granted, artists like Plies, T-Pain, Rick Ross, etc are still putting out music, but it seems to be more on an individual basis at this point. What are you anticipating as you come back out in this new climate? Just more love, man, and a better response. I look forward to people talking me more seriously this time. The first time people didn’t know where I came from or know too much about who I was. As far as the album goes, I have a crazy record with Jeremih, it’s a next level “Ride.” I got a lot of hot street records too. I have a song called “Born an OG” with Ludacris on it. I got a record with The Dream and one with Lloyd. The album goes hard. I’m trying to show that this ain’t just music, it’s a celebration. When you open the CD, you’ll see where I came from and where I got to. I didn’t build me by being a nice guy. //

As far as you as an artist, the general consensus so far has been that you rap hard as hell, but don’t say much. That’s what I’m saying. That’s why I portray more of myself with this Ruthless album. Gutta was the introduction. People asked me why I rapped so hard. I was so excited to represent my city, my hood, plus I was excited to be on Def Jam, so I was going hard. I’m getting ‘em every time I open my mouth. Even in my interviews, if Khaled said, “Get ‘em, Ace,” I’m getting ‘em. So this time I wanted to portray my personality more on this album, the type of person I really am. Ruthless will show people why I go as hard as I do. What kind of person are you really? Because to let photos and videos tell it, the first thing we see is the “We The Best” chain which makes you look flashy by default. Before that situation, I was a low key dude. I still am now. People interview me and be like, “Why don’t we hear anything crazy about you?” I know how to turn it on and off. I’ve always been low key, but when I got the chain, I was like, “Okay, it’s time to get it in. I have to portray [myself as] a star.” But it’s for TV. It’s what people want to see for entertainment. I leave that on the stage though. Outside of that I’m a low key dude. Had you ever left your town before you started traveling as an artist? I stayed around my parts. If I did leave the city it was only an hour away, if anything. So when I started hitting the road, it was crazy going to other cities and seeing how they do it. Seeing the differences in people. I didn’t know what was going on, it was crazy in the beginning, but they were showing love. I felt like I had more in common with people than I had differences. I saw how my music touched people in Chicago and places like that. It’s big. Anytime people love you, it’s big. They’re checking for good music, at the end of the day. It’s big to have that anticipation. Has the experience of traveling to new cities affected how you make your music nowadays? It just lets me know that people have love for me. People 15, 16 hours outside my city know who I am. So I just take those experiences and incorporate it in my music. Staying in tune to the recession situation and stuff like that. So find out what goes on in every city and try to incorporate that into my music. How do you find that balance between rapping about enjoying the good life but still relating to the fans who aren’t? One thing that keeps me at that level is, I know it ain’t all about the jewelry. I’m trying to let people in the ‘hood know I’m just like them, I want to let them know that we relate. I feed off being able to relate to people instead of flashing jewelry in their face. I’ve been through the poverty just like them. Your video for “Overtime” has that kind of feel to it in a way. It showed regular people doing regular things like trying out for football and studying to get into college.


WORDS BY JULIA BEVERLY PHOTO BY Mike Schreiber How does this life that you’re living now compare to what you envisioned for yourself back in the day when you were locked down? Did you ever see yourself getting to this position? I’m a miracle baby, Julia. I’ve dreamed of this. I’m living a dream. Anytime you can take a dude that spent half his life in prison and make it to the position I’m in now, it’s amazing. I don’t wanna take it for granted. I don’t wanna underappreciate it. And to be honest with you, there’s no words that can even describe how I really feel. You know what I mean? Every day I wake up and feel blessed. I feel like, man, this is unbelievable for me to be here right now. Especially when I think back on the life I was living and think about where I come from and what I’ve been involved in. So for me to be here and see people react - to see that I have fans out there and people that are interested in me – it’s bananas. In the Hip Hop community, having a prison background is almost like a plus – it gives you credibility. Do you feel like the time you spent locked up was necessary in order for you to get into the position you are now, or get in the mindframe where you were able to turn your life around? Sometimes you have to go through hell to get to heaven. If I didn’t go to prison I wouldn’t be here rapping right now because I started rapping in jail. I never rapped before that. I never had a dream of being a rapper; it never crossed my mind to even write a rhyme. It was because I was in jail and I had time and had nothing to do. I started to write out of boredom, and then I loved to do it. After a while I decided I wanted to come out and take it seriously. So, me being here is a direct result of going to jail. What do you think you’d be doing if you hadn’t gone to jail? I’m afraid of that thought. It probably would’ve been a worse scenario? Oh, definitely. I come from that mentality of people who feel like they’re going to be in the streets for the rest of their lives. There’s no real difference between me and the dudes you see in the streets that are hustling and getting money in and out of jail. It’s just that when I did go to jail I had a revelation. I don’t even know [how]; it had to be divine for me to be here. You have to understand, when I was in jail I always thought I was gonna go home and do the same thing I had been doing. It didn’t matter if they locked me up for ten years or twenty years, I was gonna go home and continue doing what I had been doing. I wasn’t learning anything in prison. I was just there, you know? What made you ultimately decide to go a more positive route? After seeing what Biggie had done and what [Lil] Kim had done, I felt like I was close to it. I 44 // OZONE MAG

felt like, man, if people I know can get on and become rappers, maybe I could too. I have that type of hustler mentality and that type of drive. I decided to give it a try and if it didn’t work, I could always fall back on the streets anyway. The streets ain’t going nowhere so I felt like I didn’t have anything to lose by trying, you understand? When you did make the decision to go the music route, did things happen faster or slower than you expected? A lot of people start rapping and think they’re going to have immediate success and blow up overnight, but it doesn’t always happen that way. I guess it’s a combination of both, but for the most part I felt like it was kinda quick. I came back home [from prison] in 2003 and a year and a half later I was signed to a major label. So that was quick. My career didn’t actually pop off at that point [in 2005] but I was signed, so I felt like I was making progress. That was good enough for me to continue to do it. If there wasn’t any progress being made, I would’ve left [the rap game] a long time ago. You were with Universal at the time, right? Why didn’t that situation work out, and how did you end up at Atlantic? Bottom line, I guess [Sylvia Rhone] didn’t think I could work [as an artist]. They let me go. They dropped me, but I didn’t have a problem being dropped. I felt like it was her loss. That wasn’t discouraging for you to get dropped from the label? You didn’t feel like it was a setback? Nah, not at all. At that point, that was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. Gene Nelson, who I had already became close with throughout the whole Kim era, had just been [appointed to] an executive A&R position [at Atlantic]. I wanted to be around people who I knew cared about me. I wasn’t getting that type of attention at Universal, so when I heard they were potentially considering dropping me, I was like, “Aight. Let’s get it poppin’. Around the time you were first buzzing there were a lot of expectations placed on artists like yourself, Papoose, and Saigon, as far as being “the one” to bring New York back. From what we’ve seen so far, it hasn’t really happened like that. Do you look at yourself as having moreso an individual movement, or do you feel like the New York movement is still coming behind you? We’ve got to be honest. Those things you’re saying, I’ma have to agree with you. There was a time when those individuals were named, and let’s not act like their time is still here. You know what I mean? When it came time to put out hit records and all that, I feel like I was the only one able to make that transition. And that’s not me taking shots at anybody.

The T-Pain hook didn’t hurt either. (laughs) Naw, it didn’t. But that was after “Hi Hater.” [The record with] T-Pain wasn’t my first joint. I came in the game with “Hi Hater,” which was just me on the hook and the verses by myself. No big producer, no nothing. That opened up the doors for me so I was able to come back with [features and producers from artists like] T-Pain and Swizz Beatz. I had already made the introduction. As far as the New York movement, I feel like there are opportunities for everybody to get in the game. It comes down to making good music. To me, as long as you can make some great music, the more the merrier. I don’t think one man can do it on his own, and I never professed to being the dude [to bring New York back]. Do you think it’s the music, or more the mentality of New York artists? It’s a little bit of both. It’s the attitude and the music. It’s the way we think. As long as you think you don’t need a hook in your music, I mean, the people around you have gotta be honest with you. I’ma tell you right now, Julia, there’s never gonna be a time you hear a whack Maino record. You may not love [a record] as much as you loved the one before, but you’ll never be able to say I’m whack. Tell us about your album, If Tomorrow Comes. Of course everybody has heard the single “All The Above,” but tell us about some of the more personal cuts you have on the album. Aw, man. My new album is great. Shout out to the people that bought my album. It’s an album about my life. I just told my story from beginning to end. I came out of prison with a plan, I went through the trials and tribulations of just trying to exist. I was a street nigga trying to be a rapper, you understand? That was very hard making that transition. That was probably the hardest thing in the world for me to do. I got a joint on there called “Remember My Name.” From the feedback I’m getting, that’s a favorite. A lot of people like “Runaway Slave.” I don’t do it for me, you know? I do it for the people, so I [judge] the records off the feedback. I go back to the lab with that feedback, and so far, it’s been great. Were you happy with your first week numbers? I’ll tell you what: I couldn’t do much with 45,000 [copies] in stores, you feel me? What are you saying, the label didn’t ship as many copies as they were supposed to? I’m not gonna say who did what and who didn’t do nothing, because at the end of the day it is what it is. I’m a miracle baby regardless of my first week numbers. I was an inmate just a couple years ago. I didn’t have fans, I had [correctional officers] telling me what to do and looking in the crack of my ass. I’m just giving you the raw facts. I’m not pointing the blame at nobody. I’m just letting you know that I couldn’t do much [sales-

wise] with 45,000 [units] in the stores nationally. Obviously the industry has changed and nobody’s really doing the numbers that they’d like to be doing. I guess the emphasis is more on the digital sales? Let’s not act like we don’t wanna sell records. We do. But at the same time, look at the odds of even getting to this point. It’s hard enough just to get to a position to get signed and to actually come out with an album. So my whole thing is, whether I sell one copy or one million copies, it’s all good with me. I sold around 25,00030,000 copies, so that’s 25,000-30,000 people that I know love me, you understand? So I’m gonna hit them again. And let’s not forget that my single is almost platinum [in digital sales] so I’m still gonna bring home a platinum plaque for New York. I don’t want to get caught up in [sales numbers] because that’s not something I can control. My job is to make the best music that I can, and I think I’ve done that. Sometimes we don’t get everything that we wanna get, but as long as we live to fight another day, the war ain’t over. There were some people taking shots at T-Pain and claiming that he supposedly stole the beat and concept for your single “All The Above” from them. That situation got cleared up. T-Pain didn’t even write that track, so the beef could never be with T-Pain. I cleared up that situation though. I talked to the dude [that was claiming it was stolen] and T-Pain didn’t steal that track. It would be impossible for T-Pain to have stolen something he didn’t even make. We brought the track to T-Pain, he didn’t bring it to me. Shout out to Just Blaze and Nard & B for putting the track together. It was just a misunderstanding. I don’t know if it was a coincidence [that the records sounded similar] or what, but I know the record wasn’t stolen. I watched the record being created right in front of me, so it would be impossible. I don’t know, some people just have agendas. I don’t wanna get caught up with what people are saying. As long as they’re talking, it’s cool with me. Was there one situation specifically that inspired you to write “Hi Hater” or was it just a general message to the haters? Naw, it’s in general. It’s for everybody. Everybody feels like they’ve got haters, so I thought I’d give them an anthem. It wasn’t a direct situation with me, it was just an anthem for the haters, whether you’re white or black or tall or short or fat or skinny. Everybody can relate to it, and that’s what I gave them. That’s how I try to make my music, so that people can relate to it. You know what I mean? That’s how I try to do it. So what exactly is the deal with you and Lil Kim? You’ve mentioned her a few times. Is that a romantic thing or are y’all homies, business partners? Kim is a very close person in my life but it’s never been romantic though. It’s not really business either. We’re family, and we still are. Is she on your album? You didn’t listen to my record, did you, Julia? Naw, I didn’t. I confess. I’ll have to go buy it in stores. I’ll support. Yeah, you should, and then you would’ve had a better respect for an interview with me. You would’ve liked Maino a little bit more. When you listen to it, you need to call me back and tell me what you think. // OZONE MAG // 45

very emotional experience to me. The whole country of Africa is an important place to visit and do shows.

It’s been over three years since Sean Paul produced a full length album for his fans. Since then, the dancehall phenomenon has been somewhat quiet, especially considering his pREVIOUS domination of U.S. entertainment. Earlier this year the Grammy-winning artist introduced the single “So Fine” from his fourth project, Imperial Blaze, an album Sean Paul feels is slightly more mature, but still geared toward the party crowd. During the album’s promo tour, the Jamaican spokesman makes a stop in the south to talk about where he’s been, what he’s seen, and how it’s affected him not only as a musician, but also as a humanitarian. Tell us about the new album. Everybody is wondering why it’s taken you so long to give your fans new material. The album has been done since about January ’09. I’ve basically been sitting back waiting. I took three years to finish it off. Everybody’s like, “Yo, when’s it gon’ come out?” So I was just as much anxious as my fans were. It was finished in January, but I was told it’s a summer record so I had to wait. I was setting stuff up and now we’re here doing the promotion. Who can we expect to hear on the album? Do you have any special guest features? I don’t have no collaborations on my album. A lot of people ask me, “Who you got on your album?” And it’s like, “Me, it’s my album.” I did a lot of songs this time around, like near 60 songs, so I just wanted people to hear most of it. I think about 20 songs are on the album. What types of songs are they? It’s a party-oriented album. It also gets a little bit mature. I’m speaking about relationships. I have a song dedicated to my mom. People might say, “You did a song to your mommy? You’re a mommy’s boy?” But really, all of us are. I think that’s a more mature way of looking at it for myself. For that reason alone the album is a little bit more mature. How many years has it been since you released 46 // OZONE MAG

your very first album? The first album I had was Stage One in 2000. So that was nine years ago. Do you still enjoy making music as much today as you did nine years ago? I definitely enjoy making music. I also enjoy performing it. There’s a lot of things I had to get used to enjoying, like going around and doing a lot of meet and greets. But I do enjoy it; I enjoy meeting new people and everyting. You’re a huge Jamaican artist in the U.S., but you’re also big in other countries and continents. How does that feel to be able to touch such a wide range of people? It’s an amazing feeling to be able to have a thought on your mind, even if it’s just to shake your ass, and people hear it and acknowledge it and get wit’ it. It’s a beautiful feeling. It’s kinda what I wanted to do in the beginning, it’s why I got into spittin’ rhymes and being the DJ that I am. I had a few things to say, and instead of just telling one person here and there, I could go on to tell every woman, “Yo, you the hottest, you the best.” For real. So you tell every woman that, or is there one particular one? Are you single? Um, at the moment, that’s still my own personal business. How do you deal with strangers always in your personal business? Does it make you uncomfortable or are you used to it by now? Yeah, when ladies are in my personal business I feed them bananas, and when dudes try to get in my personal business I tell them mañanas. You know what I mean? Back to your overseas audience, what are some places that really had an impact on you? Were there some countries that just really touched you? Tahiti was an amazing place to go to. People always ask me where I like to vacation, and I always say Jamaica ‘cause it’s the most beautiful place I know. I still live there. Every time I have time off I’m like, “Take me back home to Jamaica.” I go to a place called Portland, a very beautiful place. But when I went to Tahiti, I was like, wow this is amazing. And plus it’s a very underdeveloped country. There’s not much infrastructure, it’s very natural. I loved it. Also, Rwanda was a

What was it about Rwanda that was emotional for you? About 15 years ago they had a massacre over there, genocide. My country at that time, in 1994, was a violent country, but not as violent as it is today. Sometimes it makes me feel a bit anxious for my own country. When I went to Rwanda to perform, I saw the people back together again and they said, “We couldn’t do this 12 years ago. We couldn’t have a concert like this ‘cause we were all fighting each other.” Do you see that happening in your country? It’s so similar to what’s happening in my country right now. After that performance I cried. I came off stage and tears was comin’ down. I kept thinking to myself, is this how Jamaica has to get before we realize we need to chill out? I always tell people about that, and it was a very outstanding performance for me. [The Rwandans] took 800,000 lives of their own people in three months. Now 15 years later they’re together again. 800,000 lives coulda been saved, it coulda gone down different. That show gave me an overwhelming vibe. That’s a powerful story. Are you on the road touring right now? Yeah, I’m on a promotional tour for the album, letting people know I’m back out publicly. I’ve been doing records back home in Jamaica, but nothing to present as an album to the world. Some of it’s out on the internet, but I wanted to let people know my album is out now. About the end of May I started going to different territories – the whole East Coast, I went to France and England. I came back to the West Coast and did a lot of those territories, and now I’m here in the South. In September when the promotional tour is done I’ll get a chance to look into touring. People can go to AllSeanPaul.com. I think I want to tour in November and December. How’s your single “So Fine” doing? Is it living up to your expectations? Oh, fa sho. It’s putting smiles on ladies’ faces, I’m bouncing people around, you know what I mean? I’m glad for that. Unfortunately, Michael Jackson died, and it kinda took over our whole consciousness. Twitter and YouTube went crazy, and it’s still going crazy. Big up to him and his family and fans. I wish him peace. He’s a great entity in music – style, music, performances, music videos. He’s innovative. MJ, rest in peace. //


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Tennis Shoes Over Heels We’re ladies, but we’d rather keep it funky when we perform. We do tennis shoes, the [Air] Forces, but we still keep it sexy at the same time. – Tee Book Bag Purses Over Regular Purses Book bag purses fit the whole Unladylike style. We’re more like the T.L.C. and Aaliyah style. It’s tomboy-ish, but at the same time we definitely keep it sexy. And you can put a lot of stuff in a book bag purse. – Tee

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Fitted Jeans Over Skirts I wear jeans over skirts because it’s more secure, in case the wind blows by. (laughs) I wear skirts [too] but I wear jeans way more than I wear skirts. – Gunna Playing Video Games I love video games, and I play video games as an art. I’m a competitor. – Gunna Walkin’ Outside with Socks On My grandma always tells me, “Girl, put some shoes on your feet when you go outside. The bottoms of your socks are always gon’ be black.” I’m so used to walking outside with my socks on, walkin’ to the mailbox, it’s just a habit. – Gunna Fightin’ in the Club We don’t do that. That’s the old Unladylike. If somebody’s fighting around us, we might get a punch in, but ain’t nobody gon’ know ‘cause we gotta keep it professional and ladylike. – Tee No Acrylic Manicures We get our nails done, but not those fake nails. We keep it natural. – Gunna Profanity That’s self-explanatory. – Gunna & Tee Sitting Unladylike Sometimes we cross our legs, sometimes we don’t. – Tee Gettin’“Scummy Dummy” Dawg Gettin’ tipsy, gettin’ drunk, gettin’ scummy dummy, gettin’ messed up. We use the phrase “scummy dummy” on our first single “Bartender.” That’s how we talk. – Gunna & Tee

As told to Ms. Rivercity


Angel Lola Luv doesn’t care what you say about her—just as long as you don’t call her fake. Though the Washington, DC resident with the Wonder Woman proportions won’t tell you whether or not everything on the outside of her is real, she’s certainly adamant that everything on the inside is 100% authentic. “I was out on my own at the age of 15,” says Angel. “And from that point on, it was the hood that embraced me. When I was coming up and had to support myself, it was the hood was there for me. So I’m not trying to just claim that I’m hood, I really am.” While her exterior may not scream “hood,” her hustler’s mentality certainly does. Throughout her two year career as perhaps the number one video chick in the game, Angel has definitely been aggressive and knows exactly how to attract attention. She’s had rumored relationships with everybody from Young Jeezy to Trey Songz, been accused of augmenting her ample apple (her measurements are an almost unnatural 36D-22-40!), and has changed names more times than Sean Combs. But through it all, Lola Luv has stayed relevant. Now known as Lola Monroe, the Ethiopian/ Trinidadian temptation is bringing it to the booth. Though she began rapping only recently, the 22-year-old has been writing poetry for years, and has already surprised many critics with her above-average flow. True to Angel Lola Luv Monroe fashion, the drama still follows, even in rap. Within the last few months, Miss Monroe has developed suspected beef with both Nicky Minaj and Karrine Steffans (more notably with the latter, whom she accused of giving video vixens a bad name), but regardless of whatever controversy she creates, the former model remains content. She enjoys the fact that so much attention is being focused on her and her debut mixtape Boss Bitches World. It’s good for business. As she preps the release of second mixtape, Lola Monroe is determined to succeed in rap. She hopes to one day become just as iconic as Marilyn—her inspiration and namesake, and at the rate she’s headed now, she just may.


I have to admit, when I first heard that you were going to become a rapper, I was a little skeptical. But after hearing you spit, I was impressed. How long have you been rapping? Well, thank you so much. I definitely appreciate the love and all the support. I actually started rapping last year, but I’ve been writing since I was like 12 years old. I used to write poems, and when I hit the age of 14 or 15, I used music as my escape. I was going through so many different things in my life at that point, whether it was love or family issues. I’ve always been doing music, but I just officially started rapping last year. What convinced you to start rapping? Were you bored with modeling? Actually, modeling for different publications and in videos was a job. It was something for me to get more exposure and get my foot in the door. Music is in my heart. Music is what I wanted to do. I look at music as a career, not a job, and it’s not that I got tired of the whole modeling thing, but it was just that time to transition. You have such a pretty exterior, but your personality seems a little less delicate. Where did that tough mentality come from, DC? Definitely DC. I came up in the hood and the hood has always been there for me, that’s why in my music, I speak so much about the hood. It’s love in the hood, and the love there is not based on money or none of that stuff. My whole persona and aura comes from that environment. You once said in an interview that you compare yourself to dudes, not females, and that you don’t idolize Beyonce; you idolize Jay-Z. If that’s true, your aura is definitely authentic. Yeah, that’s funny, and when I made that statement I was infatuated with Beyonce, but I respected Jay-Z’s movement more. Coming up, I never compared myself to other females, and I’ve always competed with dudes. Even with whips, like my first car was a ’96 Chevy Caprice, and I wanted a bubble because all the boys drove bubbles. I wanted a bubble and I wanted to paint it pink and put the 23”s on it—back then, niggas was still on 22”s. I wanted to do it bigger; I thought about 24”s, but I had to still keep it feminine. So whenever I compare myself to someone, it’s usually a male in a position of power, because that’s what I’m striving for. Are men more intimidated by the way you look or the way you act? I really don’t know, but I’m sure they are intimated by how I compete sometimes. I know it happens because I do compete, but I don’t compete in an aggressive manner to the point where niggas just can’t stand to be around me. It’s more of a mentality thing, but it’s not excessive. I can actually be around, relate to, and have better conversations with dudes than I can with most females. But of course the intimidation happens, even in the music business. Do you think people take you less seriously as a rapper because you’re known as a model and sex symbol? People are skeptical at first. Being that I did come into the game from the modeling aspect people are like, “Oh, she’s rapping? I don’t know about that.” They’re so used to seeing the sexy layouts and the softness in the pictures that people don’t think I have anything to rap about. But they don’t know where I came from, and they never heard me speak, and don’t know my story, so one of the obstacles that I’ve faced is people not believing. Has that skepticism hindered you from being able to work with some of the top notch producers or mainstream artists? Yeah, definitely. It’s hard sometimes, but at the same time I do have people in the industry who believe in me, and then I have those that don’t fuck with me. All that is part of the game, but I’m gon’ let you know that I’m gonna let me work speak for me. When I first started out, I had so many people that didn’t believe. Once I put out this mixtape and they saw that I’m really serious, now more and more people are starting to support. The more I keep working and putting out good music, it’s gonna keep increasing. How would describe your sound to someone who has never even heard you speak, let alone rap? I have my own sound. I’m not really South, but I’m not up North. I have DC swag to my music. My music is something females can [relate to]; it represents female empowerment. That’s why I called my mixtape Boss Bitches World. Everything I’m doing music-wise is a movement to me, and I represent the boss bitches. Aside from representing females, I represent the streets and the struggle. Who are you working with and what kind of projects are you currently involved with? I dropped my Boss Bitches World mixtape and I’m currently working on my

second mixtape right now. For the first mixtape, I was addressing the critics, the haters, and just basically talkin’ my shit. On the second mixtape, it’s way more original beats and I’m just ready to talk more about my life and where I came from and my story. I read that you got kicked out of the house at age 15 for losing your virginity. Is that true, and if so, how’d you get caught? Actually, that whole thing was put out the wrong way. I didn’t get put out for losing my virginity. Coming up, I had a lot of issues at home, and I was going through a whole lot at home. I had to constantly move to and from different relatives’ homes and at the time, I was staying with my aunt. My aunt found out I had lost my virginity, but I lost my virginity to my first boyfriend, my first love, my first everything, someone I really, really loved. I had to leave [my aunt’s] house because of it and go back to my mother’s house, but I never got put out for losing my virginity. Around that time, there was just so much going in around my family, and the fact they really didn’t accept me dealing with a guy I fell in love with, I decided to leave my home and move out. But I never got put out. Okay, well I’m glad you got that cleared up. And I’m not trying to dwell on negativity, but let’s talk about Nicki Minaj. The industry has so few successful female rappers, and now the two with arguably the biggest buzzes have beef. What’s up with that? Actually, that whole Nicki Minaj thing was really blown out of proportion. They recorded me while I was being asked about her in my “Lip Service” interview, and the way they put the video out they titled it, “Lola Monroe beefing with Nicki Minaj.” But the whole situation isn’t that serious, it was blown out of proportion; it ain’t no beef. Where I come from beef is taken very, very seriously, so if it was beef, niggas would know. DC has never really had a mainstream, breakout rapper. Now you’re emerging and it’s possible that the first commercial rapper from DC might be a female. Do you think that will make it harder for upcoming male rappers from DC? My city has a whole lot of talent. Wale is another artist from my city who is doing his thing. As far as me being a female, I’m gonna hold down my city regardless, but there’s a lot of talent in my city. Different artists like Wale, Tabi Bonney, Raheem DeVaughn—there’s a lot of talent in DC. My whole goal is to be the female voice, the female representation for DC and I think it’s our time now. There was a time for the South, there was a time for New York, there was a time for the West side, and now it’s time for DC. What do you do during your downtime away from the music industry? Baby, I’m working 24/7. I don’t have time to do anything else at all. This occupies so much of my time that there’s nothing else that I do, and I’m being so honest right now. There’s been so much speculation about certain asspects of your physique not being real. Do all these repeated allegations bother you, or are you just glad to keep everybody talking? Like I’ve always said, it helps get my numbers up and I don’t mind at all. If you pick my Boss Bitches World mixtape I’m actually speaking on it myself. So none of the things people say fazes me whatsoever. I know you’re a rapper now, but would you ever get back in the video modeling scene for the right amount of money? Naw, I’m done with videos unless it’s a cameo for one of my homies. If Hugh Hefner offered you some ridiculous amount to pose nude would you do it? [laughs] Only if I’m keeping my bottoms on. That’s no fun. You wouldn’t do it even for a million dollars? Naw, definitely not. When you accomplish your goals in music do you plan to pivot into movies? Music is my 100% focus, and that’s what I want to do. But I’m definitely into doing movies. I actually have a film that I just did with 50, Before I Self Destruct, and then the other film with Wendy Williams, her life story. And I’m also working on Crazy Like A Fox. What advice would you give aspiring female emcees about the industry? You gotta push harder than these niggas. You gotta go harder than these niggas because it’s way harder for a female to be taken seriously. // Words by Eric Perrin



Industry 101


StePHens While many people strive to be in front of the camera, Devyne Stephens makes a living making OTHER people look good for the cameras. Grooming himself as the “Berry Gordy of this generation,” Stephens has had a hand in the success of almost every popular artist you can name over the last 10 years. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Devyne was introduced to the city’s music and lifestyle scene at a young age. He forming his own dance crew, Fresh Dance Crew, at age 15 with neighbor Jermaine Dupri. Eventually Stephens added rapping to the repertoire and soon found himself as the first act signed to LaFace Records. But eventually, Stephens shifted his vision from wanting to be a star, to making them. Taking a job in artist development for LaFace, Stephens groomed names like Usher, Babyface, Toni Braxton and Outkast into the stars they are today. He then aligned himself with Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs and began working with his roster of Bad Boy artists as well as choreographing tours for the lies of Diddy, Jay Z, Mary J Blige, Gwen Stefani, and Pink. Now, after a decade of putting in work, Stephens is building his own empire, Upfront Megatainment. It includes his record label, distributed by Universal Music; The Complex, a state of the art incubation facility for artists and athletes, including a top of the line rehearsal studio, Glam Squad wing, photo studio, nutrition and fitness wing, media training, choreography studio and more; Dreamland, an 18,000 square foot mansion on 19-acres outside of Atlanta, a hotspot for ATL’s most exclusive and upscale events; and much more. Hoping to bring back a time when artists were actually developed instead of thrown to the wolves, Stephens hopes his old-school mentality can work in a new-school industry. How did you get introduced to Hip Hop music? Devyne: I started in the music business as a artist, not as a dancer. I was signed to LaFace as Devyne and 90MPH. We showcased with Pebbles and then she took us to L.A. and Babyface. The group actually got dropped, but L.A. kept me onboard helping to develop some of his talent. I worked with TLC, Usher, Outkast, Pink, Toni Braxton, Tony Rich, and Donnell Jones [at LaFace], among others. What role did you play in developing these artists? In terms of the imagery, the stage presence, the choreography, doing some television shows, videos. The complete artist development process. Artist development seems to be like a thing of

the past. I’m just curious, what was it like doing that back then as opposed to now, where artists try to present themselves as a package without much development to be done? That’s the difference in the stage power nowadays. A lot of artists now are more like cookie-cutter, with one single in and out, not fully developed. A lot of times when you have an [undeveloped] artist, the life span of that talent is very short. What inspired you to start Upfront, and what exactly do you guys do? Upfront is an artist development company record label. Berry Gordy, and the whole Motown story, inspired me. Motown was an artist development company as well. That’s really how I got my motivation; from him. Lets say I was an artist and I want to hire you, would you help me out? Or do I have to be signed to a label or your label to take advantage of this? No, we’re always looking for new talent and finding new talent, so if you walk in up off the street and you’ve got what it takes well definitely yes. Some labels have an artist that’s already signed and we put them through a 30-day or 60-day program. So we assist other labels with developing their talent as well. And you’ve been through that process as an artist yourself. What are some of the things you think that your company is doing that some other companies are not doing? Like you said, artist development has become a thing of the past. What we’re trying to do is build artists that will have longevity. Say Akon, for instance. He’s a complete package because he writes, he produces and he performs. Same with T-Pain; he writes, he produces, and he performs. Jazze Pha he possesses the same capabilities. You have to be grounded in today’s market to be able to sustain in this business. How were you able to build your company to such a strong brand? A lot of times, when somebody starts a company in Atlanta they

stay very localized, which is tempting because a lot comes out of Atlanta. You already have an impressive roster of people that you’ve worked with from all over the place. My take off was with LA and Babyface and the way they played the game. That push and that boost is what introduced me to a lot of key people in the music business. What made you put your career as an artist aside to get more involved behind the scenes? I was always most intrigued by the business aspect of it. Creatively, I knew how to produce, perform and write records, but I felt like at the time South music wasn’t really being brought to the forefront. At the time the music was a little bit ahead of its time. I already had Lil Jon producing my music. I had Luda and T.I. working on records with me, and this was before they were even established. It was a little bit ahead of its time. Right now who are some of the people that you and your company are working with? Currently we have a girl trio group by the name of Crave, they’re based out of Atlanta. We also have Rock City, from the Virgin Islands. We have Magic Massey, an R&B soul singer out of Chicago, and Bow Boa, a rapper out of Raleigh, NC. Interesting you mention Rock City. Some artists are very talented, have all the connections, and are known in the industry, but the average Joe that buys CDs from Best Buy may not even know of them. How do you try to prevent that from happening with some of the people you work with? It’s like Akon. It took a minute for Akon to get into the marketplace because he was very unique, and when there’s something different and unique about [the artist], it takes a minute for people to actually get it. I try to find things that are unique and try to develop those things and bring those to the forefront to make a bigger impact in the marketplace once people do get it. Like a Kanye West, for instance. When it’s something different , it makes a huge impact once it finally breaks. //


We did the OZONE cover shoot at your club in Las Vegas. Tell us about how you got involved with the nightclub business. I became one of the partners of [Poetry Nightclub] a few months ago. I just wanted to bring a multi-cultural crowd to this Hip Hop culture we’ve got over here. I wanted to enhance the sexy ladies and get more people to come out and buy a lot of bottles and tables and get a lot of VIP service. I think we’ve done that. I think we’ve increased it 50% from what it was before. We’re trying to keep it going and keep it being successful. We just keep putting out good projects and staying on top of our game. Is it your aspiration to be an all-around businessman? You’ve got the club and the record label; what other projects are you working on? I’ve been independent since “One Wish,” so it’s destiny for me to do what I gotta do to be my own boss. With the money I make, I don’t just trick it off and buy chains and shit. I buy clubs, invest in real estate, and try to put money up for new developments. That’s what I try to do but a lot of people don’t know that about me. I’m really not trying to showcase what I do. I just want to keep being true to myself. What happened with the reality show? I found a good girl, she’s cool, but as far as us being one on one and being faithful to each other, I felt like that was shaky. So I needed to go back in again with season two and see what else is out there for young Ray J. The relationship was shaky for you or her? It was shaky for both of us. When you’re in a relationship you want it to be 100%. You don’t want to have those weird kinda side relationships going on. That’s just dirty as hell, and I ain’t with that. So are you saying she was cheating on you? Or you were cheating on her? I’m trying to be a one-woman man, and faithful as fuck. It wasn’t that [one of us was cheating on the other], it’s just that we weren’t 100% with each other. I felt like we were hella good friends, and we’re still hella cool. I love the shit outta Cocktail. She hella cool. I fucks with her. But as far as us just being one on one and being together forever, that was shaky.


Do you think anybody has ever found real love on a reality show, or is it usually just for entertainment purposes? Nah, people find true love. People find true love at the club. (laughs) Put it like this: if you can find love at the club, then you can definitely find it on a reality show. How long is the time period that you’re actually filming the show? A month and a half. So you think it’s possible to fall in love in a month and a half? Nah, but I think you can get great interest in somebody in a month and a half and really see what they’re all about and spark up something that may not have been there before. I think that’s definitely possible. You mentioned that you have a second reality show coming out on BET that will be airing around the same time as your VH1 For The Love of Ray J show? Tell us about that. Yeah, I’m working with BET on some stuff, but I’m really loyal to VH1. They’ve got my back and they’re paying me a hell of a lot of money, and I love them for that. I’m going to stay loyal over there [at VH1] but I’ve got some development deals going on with BET and a couple other networks as well. I’m looking forward to that. I’m just trying to tackle television right now and build my portfolio as a producer, executive producer, and creator. What’s the theme of the first show you’re putting together for BET? I can’t say because the deal isn’t inked yet. I’m still speaking too early. But the reason I said that is because BET already gave me two or three jobs. I have my own show on BET.com and I’ve hosted 106th & Park for months, so I feel like I’m still in the family. We’ve got some stuff we’re working on over there but again, VH1 is my home. VH1 is where it’s at. Tell us about the artists you have signed to your label, Knock Out Entertainment. Again, I’ve been independent ever since “One Wish,” so everything y’all have been seeing from

me was my own projects. We had number one records; we just went triple platinum digitally with “Sexy Can I” and that was big independently. Niggas aren’t doing [those numbers] right now independently or even [on a major label] so I’m happy about that. I’m about to put out Shorty Mack’s album The Purp Man for all my cannabis smokers out there that love to just put it in the air and vibe out and talk about the high times of life. That’s what Shorty Mack is speaking on. It’s very good. I think it’s going to be very, very hot. Tell us about the group you’re working with out of Vegas called the Enfamous Burnaz. They’re straight out of Las Vegas. I own the club out here called Poetry so they’re out here representing with me. They’ve got a song called “Top Notch Chick” that’s already surfacing on the radio and getting a lot of requests. When The Enfamous Burnaz came to me with this song and the whole concept, I just fell in love with what they were talking about. I really felt like we could make a connection and do some good music together. What does the rest of 2009 hold for Ray J? I’m just building my empire. I’m working on some new stuff with some major labels right now. I’ve got a major machine behind me right now – VH1 is backing the hell out of me. Season 2 of For the Love of Ray J is in the works. I’ve got ABC radio on board right now for Ray J’s Bachelor Pad. It’s gonna be syndicated on 85 to 100 stations starting out. It’s like slow jams and shit. I’m just working, stacking my paper, and saving and investing at the same time. Is there going to be a Ray J and Tila Tequila sex tape? Ray J and Tila Tequila sex tape? I doubt it. Nah. I ain’t doing no more sex tapes. I heard that she emailed you a picture of a positive pregnancy test. Yeah, she did. It seems like I can’t shake a girl’s hand without them getting pregnant. Is that what you did…shake her hand? I did a little bit more than that, but I feel like a nigga can’t sneeze without a girl getting pregnant right now so I’ve just gotta lay low. I told you I’m a one-woman man right now. I only want one special girl in my life. All the rest of the girls can kick rocks.

Who’s the special girl? I can’t say. She’s out there though. Please believe me. She needs to go to RayJCasting.com? She can go to rayjcasting.com, but that’s just for all the other people that want a shot at it. Is that a legitimate casting website from VH1? (laughs) I thought you would know. I don’t know. I got to check into that. You know, some niggas been charging girls $50 to come audition [for my reality show] and niggas don’t even know me. Sometimes niggas are just hustling and shit. I don’t appreciate that. The new season begins filming in August? Yeah, it’s going to be a real good look. I’m real excited about it. “Danger Smashed the Homies”

t-shirts are selling out already. We already sold over 75,000 shirts at $20 a pop. Y’all niggas do the math. And we’re still grinding. You can buy them at grimyink.com. Danger wasn’t too happy about the t-shirts. She said she felt like you were making money off of her name. It didn’t say “Monica Smashed the Homies.” It says “Danger Smashed the Homies.” I created that name [Danger]. She had her own style so I just put a little twist to it and brought her into the limelight. I put the spotlight on her. I feel like she should let me enjoy my hustle, and I’m letting her enjoy my hustle. Ain’t no love lost, baby girl. Call me. If you found out that your girlfriend smashed the homie, is that a dealbreaker?

That’s a dealbreaker if my girlfriend smashed the homies. If she smashed the homies before I knew her, still, it’s like, damn. I need a girl that’s one hundred with me; that’s complete. I don’t want all my friends around me knowing how the pussy felt. Sorry for being so vulgar. Is there anything else you want to add? Nah, everything is perfect. I just want to keep putting out good music. I want to keep being an entrepreneur. I’m a boss. I’m not Rick Ross but I’m a boss, please believe it. I’m running my own shit and I’m not taking orders from anybody. I’m making a lot of money right now and I want to continue to make a lot of money by staying humble and true to God and true to what I do. Shit, I’m making so much muthafuckin’ money I’m giving money away. Just ask Julia Beverly. //



What’s your history with Knock Out Entertainment? You and Ray J grew up together, right? Well, actually I made up Knock Out. We used to be called The Committee. We went to the studio one day and decided that it just didn’t make sense for us to be KO and the Committee. So, I said, “Watch out for the knock out to knock your block out,” and Ray said, “You know what? That’s what we’re gonna roll with. Knock Out.” He had the money and I had the ideas, and we made it happen. God is great. That was back in 1996, around the time my first album came out. You’re from L.A., right? Nah, I’m from Sacramento. I live in the Valley now. In the 818 where life is great, ya dig? So do you bring more of the creative aspect or the business aspect to the Knock Out family? I’m the VP of Knock Out and he’s the CEO. We created this together. It was just a dream, and now it’s happening. God is great. We’re two adults living out our dream. I get to continue to work with the same nigga I’ve been seeing for the past two decades, basically since we were 13 years old. We didn’t go to school, we both had home study. So every day we were just doing music, having fun, and building a relationship. When you get this high into the game, you can’t just let no salty business get in the way through no sideways moves. You have your debut solo album coming out this year, right? Yeah, [my first album] since I’ve been an adult. It’s called The Purp Man. God is great. I should be dropping the single in two months and the album in three or four months. We’re going to put it out ourselves through Knock Out until we get a strong steady demand going, kind of like your boy Drake. We’re just gonna do it ourselves. The music is so hot the people are gonna request it. They want to hear something fresh and new. They want to hear The Purp Man, so I’m gonna give them what they want.

Clearly, an album called The Purp Man is full of smoker’s anthems, right? It’s all about marijuana, for real. That’s why I’m The Purp Man. It’s all about legalizing it too. There’s a big movement going on right now. Even Obama, I heard he’s about to go ‘head and make it legal too, so that’s a good look. I got shot when I was 18 so I need to smoke weed. I’m not just smoking this shit [to get high]. I’m smoking my shit legit. I’m walking into the store and getting receipts. I’m showing the world that there’s a way you can go about doing this where you can smoke legit and you ain’t got to go to jail. So, it’s a message. It’s a lot different from back in the day. I showed you my [medical marijuana] paperwork. I’m legit. I even told my grandma before she passed away, “I can smoke legit now.” What’s the name of your single? The Purp Man, of course. I’m going to get that purp movement out there. The whole purple movement. Everything purple. I’m from the West Coast and I’m talking about purple kush; I’m legally walking in the store buying weed. I’ve got High Times and a whole bigger movement than what was going on before, because my movement is about legalizing weed. On the West we’re just trying to legalize that purp. We want everybody smoking. If we’re all high, I don’t think any of us would be complaining. Plus, I heard if they do legalize weed within a year’s time, we would probably be out of our debt because marijuana is one of the most lucrative [products] in America. How would you describe the sound of your album? It’s real strong. It’s hardcore. There’s no bubble gum music at all. It’s on some Biggie and Pac type shit, you know? It’s amazing. It’s a refreshing sound.

Would you say it has a West Coast sound to it? Nah, I’ve got some down South beats and some East Coast beats. I don’t really have any West Coast beats. The only thing [on my album] that’s from the West Coast is me. That’s what I think we’ve been missing on the West Coast; a different type of sound. It’s a different sound, a different style. It’s like fashion. You’ve got to roll with the times of you’re gonna look like old times. What about features on the album? Of course Ray J is featured; who else? Truth from Knock Out. We just kept it KO. It’s me, Ray J, and Truth. We don’t need no help. Truth was on the song “Sexy Ladies” with me. He raps the first verse and I rap the second verse. What about production? We’ve got J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League and other than that, it’s all Knock Out, KO. We’re keeping it in-house. We don’t really want to work with anybody right now, we want them to work with us. When you come in the game and you tell people you don’t need any help then people want to help, but when you’re reaching out, nobody wants to help. Is there anything else you want to say? Pick up that Purp Man album. It’s refreshing. When you grab it, grab something to roll up. If you don’t, get some herbal tea and drink that. It’s refreshing. It’s for the streets; remember that. //


Where are you guys from? J Sha: I was born in Long Beach, California, and [my partner J Smilez] was born in Compton. I moved out here [to Vegas] in 1996 and pretty much started my career out here. There isn’t too much of a local rap scene in Vegas, is there? J Sha: Nah, we’re some of the first that are trying to do it. We’ve got an underground scene out here but there are a couple of us that are finally breaking through the mainstream. How would you describe your style? Does your music have a West Coast feel to it? J Sha: Our music is a mixture of sounds. We come from California and are based in Vegas, so of course it’s West Coast music. But it’s more of a mixture of Southern bounce, Hip Hop, R&B, and everything. We don’t try to put ourselves in a box, we just do good music. You do some of the production too, right? J Sha: Yeah, I write and do beats. I produced with Tony Touch; I’ve written stuff for everybody. How did you two link up and decide to form a group? J Sha: It all started with Chris Buck. My uncle G-Money was down with Tupac. He influenced me to really get into what I’m doing now. We moved out here to Vegas shortly after ‘Pac died. While I was out here, I got a job and was trying to change my life around. Through that, I met Chris Buck. He was kinda going through some things in his life also and was thinking about quitting music. I told him, “Nah, man, it’s a blessing,” and came to find out that he had been friends with Ray J and Brandy Norwood for years. He’s been around Hip Hop moguls for years and he basically is a Hip Hop mogul. He left his job and ended up getting signed to Virgin Records, but he always told me he’d come back to help my situation. I always believed in what me and Smiley were doing. We both come from the streets and had to hustle for whatever we had. Unfortunately Smiley got locked up for what he was doing in


the streets. When you get put in that situation you start looking at life totally differently, as far as what you want to do and what choices you want to make when you get it. God blessed him with the gift of doing music. He always had it in him, but he was like, “Yo, I’m gonna do it for real.” When he got out we met up again, and we’ve been doing music for over five years now with the help of Chris Buck. Shout out to Danny Boy and a few different people we have worked with. The name of the album is Fresh Work. We don’t have a set release date yet, but we’re getting all the records together. We’ve got records with Too Short and of course the single with Ray J called “Top Notch Chick.” We’re getting it all together and creating a buzz. Is there anything else you’d like to add? J Sha: Shout out to everybody in the Las Vegas area that’s helping us out. Ray J: I just want to say that Chris Buck brought the Enfamous Burnaz to my attention. He’s been bringing a lot of business to me out here in Vegas. He brought them to my attention and we all started vibing. I love the “Top Notch” record, and I’m glad we’re all gonna be able to make good records together and put out stuff that people will genuinely love, request, and call in for. I want to thank Chris Buck for that. I’m real excited about the stuff we’re going to do with the Enfamous Burnaz. God bless them. //

If you’ve ever rooted for a team playing against the Indianapolis Colts, more than likely you’ve cursed defensive end Dwight Freeney a few times. But he’s not such a bad guy. As a four-time Pro Bowler and 2007 Super Bowl Champion, Dwight is admirable in everything he does, on and off the field. When he’s not training for a big game, or fulfilling his civic duties, Freeney is getting his side hustle on with his new music label American Dreams. Who are some of your favorite Hip Hop artists? My favorite artists right now would be Nas, T.I., Young Jeezy, Jay-Z. You seem to appreciate lyricists. What are your thoughts on the current state of Hip Hop and where it’s going? I think right now, what’s selling has nothing to do with lyrics. It’s more about the song and the beat. It’s more about the production and what’s on the surface. Do you think that’s something we in the Hip Hop community will eventually outgrow? Yeah, I think it’s a phase. I think the things being said will have more substance behind them. Hopefully we’ll get back to that. Is there a song that you feel represents you the most? I’d say Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’.”

How would you compare being an athlete to being a musician? What are the similarities and differences? They’re very similar. Obviously the lifestyles we live are very similar. I don’t know if they have an off-season like athletes have an off-season where they’re not really working. Musicians are always working to some extent, whether they’re touring, working on a new album, or doing radio, they’re always doing something. I guess we have little things such as autograph signings here and there, and we’re working out which is kinda like working on an album. You’ve won a Super Bowl and you’ve been to the Pro Bowl four times. Those are pretty big honors. Do you have any advice for people who are trying to reach your level of success? I think most importantly you should get into a routine for success and follow it. You can’t be all over the place. You have to stick to [your routine]. That’s what I’ve been building. I’ve found something that works, a workout regimen that works. I’m comfortable where I work out. Training is important. For the most part, I train with the same people so they know me. Explain to the people what American Dreams is and how that came about. American Dreams is an entertainment company. We have different divisions for movies and music. We aren’t into TV stuff yet. As of right now, as a startup company, we’re focusing more on the music side of it. I have four or five studios in L.A. We’re a production company so we have facilities for the artists that we sign and also for people that want to rent out studios. Are you looking to sign artists and producers? We have a few artists and producers. We have a lot of stuff in-house for our people, but other people also use our producers. During football season, your schedule is pretty hectic. How will you be able to manage American Dreams and still stay focused on your athletic responsibilities? Do you have someone that runs the company for you? I have people helping me. They’re involved in the whole entire loop. An friend of mine, Gary West, is the one who’s actually running the company as of right now. No major decision is made without me, but for the most part, he’s taking care of the day to day things. Is there anything sports related in your career you’re still looking to conquer? For what I do, you always try to achieve greatness every year and get to the top. I’ve won one Super Bowl, I’m trying to get to where I have a dynasty of winning multiple Super Bowls and to be one of the greatest teams, and one of the greatest players of all times. Words by Ms. Rivercity


Spark Dawg Doin’ What You Can’t

Maino/If Tomorrow Comes Hustle Hard/Atlantic It’s not Maino’s lyricism that makes If Tomorrow Comes a solid first effort, but throughout his debut album, he managed to tell his story from spending ten years in prison to becoming one of the most anticipated rappers to come out of NYC in years. Maino’s singles “Hi Hater” and “All The Above” are standouts, but “Remember My Name,”“Runaway,”“Floating” and “Hood Love” with Trey Songz are the tracks that carry the album’s message of striving through life’s tribulations. This album is better viewed as a whole as opposed to track by track, but however you look at it, Maino should be applauded for properly conveying his life’s story through his music. - Randy Roper

Ace Hood/Ruthless We The Best/Def Jam Despite the fact that Ace Hood’s debut album Gutta was released less than a year ago, Khaled, We The Best and Def Jam felt the need to deliver Ace’s sophomore album ASAP. But this album is a lot like the first one. Yes, Ace can rap fairly well, but none of his songs are anything special. Not the song with Ludacris (“Born An O.G.”), not the song with Akon & TPain (“Overtime”), not even the song with Rick Ross & Jazmine Sullivan (“Champion”). Maybe he needs to learn how to tame his ruthless, rapid-fire, aggressive flow. Or maybe, since he has the Runners, the Inkredibles and all of Def Jam at Khaled’s fingertips, he should pick better beats. Whatever the case may be, Ruthless isn’t a bad album. It’s just not anything to keep in heavy rotation. - Randy Roper

Pleasure P/The Introduction of Marcus Cooper Swagga Entertainment/ Bluestar/Atlantic Comebacks aren’t always easy. Fortunately, former Pretty Ricky member Pleasure P has his alter ego Mr. Marcus Cooper to help him out. Coming strong with his solo debut album, The Introduction Of Mr. Marcus Cooper, Pleasure lets it be known that he can handle the weight on his own, delivering an overall impressive album. With the single “Did You Wrong” providing the main steam for this engine, Pleasure gives an album full of baby making music with notable titles such as “Tender Roni” and “Fire Lovin.” Judging from this (re)introduction, it looks like Mr. Cooper may be here for a while. - Tony Burgos 60 // OZONE MAG

Trey Songz/ Anticipation As the release date for his third album Ready approaches, Trey Songz hits awaiting fans with a freebie called Anticipation. With songs like “Scratchin’ Me Up,” “Does She Know” and “It Would Be You,” this mixtape could have easily been packaged as Songz’s album. Most of the tracks on here are good, but none of them are necessarily his best work, which is probably why the tracks were offered up for free. But this release does a good job of heightening the anticipation for Songz’s new album. I think we’re Ready for it. - Randy Roper

While the title may be a tad bit lofty for regional superstar Spark Dawg, his efforts here have him poised for national recognition. He opens strong with the trumpet and 808-laced “Grape.” Following are impressive concept records like “Open Letter to God,” where he talks to the big man upstairs ala Eminem’s “Stan,” and “Real Niggaz Revenge,” where he raps from the perspective of a jealous somebody. Both songs carry hints of Slim Shady’s writing prowess. While Spark shows range with his beat selection and flows, the only flaw that takes away from the listening experience is the average sound quality, which is a big flaw. But if you can get past that, Spark has a strong collection of songs on this project. - Maurice G. Garland

Young Jeezy & DJ Folk Trappin’ Ain’t Dead The latest mixtape from Mr. 17.5 is consistent with the thug motivational rhymes over synthesized production that listeners have come to expect from the CTE breadwinner. The mixtape has plenty of tracks like “My 1st 48 Hrs,”“I’m Goin’ In” and “Biggest Movie Ever” that’ll satisfy Jeezy fans through the summer. But some of the tracks like “Might Just Blow That” and “Ready To Ride” are lukewarm at best, and sound more like music you’ve heard before (or possible leftovers from his last album The Recession). Trappin’ Ain’t Dead is a good release, but you get the feeling he’s saving his best work for his next album, Thug Motivation 103. - Randy Roper

Soulja Boy & DJ Drama Follow Me: Gangsta Grillz

Born Wit It, DJ Holiday & The Empire Substance Abuse From the opening verse, you can tell this mixtape is worth a listen. The first official mixtape from these Atlanta B.o.B affiliates has tracks like “Dying To Live,”“Life Gets Harder” and “Stack Your Paper Up” that will quickly start comparisons to Atlanta duos like Youngbloodz and Outkast (okay, not quite Outkast). There are a couple tracks Substance Abuse could have gone without, but overall this mixtape place the group in the “artists to watch” category. - Randy Roper

True S.O.D. Money Gang fanatics will love this mixtape because it’s a Gangsta Grillz, and because it’s Soulja Boy, but with a project this overdue, a little more time could have been spent on the song selection and arrangement. “Bands” and “I Got Mojo” are superb Soulja Boy material and would have been best served opening up the project, rather than appearing later in the tracklist. “Go Ham” featuring OJ da Juiceman and the freestyles are somewhat lacking, but they make up for it with songs like “What You Know,”“Gold Grill Shawty,” and the bonus track “Bitch I’m Paid.” This mixtape will definitely hold fans over until the release of SB’s third album The DeAndre Way, or maybe the second Gangsta Grillz. - Ms. Rivercity

Nicki Minaj, DJ Holiday, & The Trap-A-Holics Beam Me Up Scotty Nicki the Ninja has created a sub-culture of harajuku barbie bitches and her fan club probably doubled with this mixtape. Though a few freestyles like “Best I Ever Had” and “Get Silly” could have been left off, overall the complaints are few. Young Money’s diva impresses on nearly every song starting with “I Get Crazy.” The ode to Fendi and Louis (“Shopaholic” with Bobby V and Gucci Mane) is also worth a listen, along with “Keys Under Palm Trees” and “Easy” with Gucci and Rocko. Nicki’s image may be similar to a Lil Kim, but her range of skill and content are superior. Kim can swallow a Sprite can—Nicki can rap, act, and sing. - Ms. Rivercity

Archie Eversole & DJ Scream Back Like I Never Left It’s been about seven years since Archie Eversole’s “We Ready” was on the rap charts. Backed by DJ Scream, Archie returns to the rap radar with Back Like I Never Left. Fans that hear the new Archie might be taken aback, as this isn’t the overly crunk 16-year-old kid that the game was first introduced to. Lil Archie is a grown rapper now, and he’s actually a better rapper than most listeners may remember. But even with that said, this mixtape isn’t very impressive. This mixtape’s best offering is “Keep Winning,” featuring Ray Lavender. Eversole could have benefited from better production, better concepts, better hooks, and overall, just better songs. Hopefully Archie will find a sound that’s more in tune with the music of today. - Randy Roper

J. Cole The Warm Up The Warm Up is J. Cole’s second official mixtape, and first since signing to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. This mixtape is a pure indication of why Jay inked the rapper/producer to his new label. Cole lyrically breezes through 22 tracks, and on standouts like “Grown Simba,”“Lights Please” and “I Get Up,” he displays a lyrical dexterity and thought-provoking rhymes unseen in most newcomers of today. A couple short freestyles would have been better left off, since they don’t fit into the overall mix of original tracks, but besides that, The Warm Up doesn’t leave much to complain about. If this is just a warm up, it’ll be interesting to hear what J. Cole sounds like in midseason. - Randy Roper

Nonsence/Chewee Radio Vol. 2 Part II of Nonsence’s Chewee Radio series is worth taking a listen to. As a rapper, Nonsence isn’t bad, but this mixtape has no excuse for being 26 tracks long. There are some good records like “Wake It Up” with Akon, “Do You Like It” and “Watching You.” But there’s too many random skits, and remakes like Jennifer Hudson’s “Spotlight” and Jazmine Sullivan’s “Bust Your Windows” were bad ideas. If this mixtape was focused more on making good music as opposed to a radio show theme with Top 10 Hip Hop and R&B hits, Nonsence might have something, but all the skits and remixes make this mostly nonsense. - Randy Roper

Yung LA & DJ Drama/Lamborghini Leland Grand Hustle & Gangsta Grillz The first thing you’ll notice about Lamborghini Leland is that his dimensions are broader than the typical futuristic Yung LA we’re used to. Though you’ll find lots of decent swag tracks like “Offset,”“Bands,” and “Fuckin Wit Da Hood,” here Leland Austin offers a deeper look into who he really is besides just another mohawk rapper. Songs like “Caught My Daddy with It,” which talks about his father receiving a life sentence, and the intro, which is an almost unrecognizable L.A. flow, make for a surprising listen. While it might not exactly be lambo material, this mixtape could get steady rotation in a Benz for sure. - Ms. Rivercity

R. Kelly, DJ Drama & DJ Skee The Demo Tape A video of Kellz “making it rain,” minors-galore, and a smaller R&B market, all mixed together can only lead to one thing - a R. Kelly mixtape. The Pied Piper himself teams up with Mr. Thanksgiving to put out The Demo Tape, which proves the Pied Piper still fucks around, but, as always, not when it comes to the music. Kellz adds his flavor to tracks like Drake’s “Best I Ever Had” and brings exclusives such as “Superman High” with OJ Da Juiceman. Regardless of what you think of Mr. Kelly as a person, The Demo Tape is another reason you can’t question Kellz as a musician. - Rohit Loomba

Nephewblaq & DJ Smallz Sponsored By The Streetz Orlando, FL’s Nephewblaq has been after it for quite some time, so chances are you’ve seen his picture in OZONE at least once. Photo ops aside, this Nephewblaq & DJ Smallz mixtape is a small step in the right direction, but Nephew’s bars still leave room for improvement. He has an ear for picking decent beats, but his ability to precisely ride the production he selects is the issue. Of course, artists like Gucci Mane and OJ Da Juiceman have proven you don’t necessary have to be the most fluent rapper to be successful, but whereas Gucci and OJ overcame their shortcomings and still make catchy records, Nephewblaq isn’t the same story. “Da Ice Got Me To Fly,”“I Love America,” “I Run These Streetz” are somewhat memorable, but if the streets sponsored this mixtape, that money might have been best spent someplace else. - Randy Roper

Laws & DJ Smallz Your Future Favorite Rapper For someone “born in Brazil, raised in Long Island, in white suburbs,” Laws raps pretty good. Unfortunately that means he probably won’t be in any of your favorite music videos anytime soon, so this project’s title may not apply to the masses. And at times his content is somewhat repetitive. But with authentic concepts and amusing delivery, along with J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League and Trackburnerz’ production, Laws’ proves he’s in the right business, though he tends to criticize it too much. Not one to cater to radio, aside from the enjoyable crossover song “Rain,” you can expect more bar-for-bar lyricism than Billboard chart toppers from Laws - which is a good thing if you appreciate skill over mindless entertainment. - Ms. Rivercity

Trick Daddy & DJ Dephtone/ The Product 7 We haven’t heard much lately MIA’s original don dada, Trick Daddy. However, while he may have been away, it’s apparent that he hasn’t been sleeping. He linked up with Miami mixtape legend DJ Dephtone to put together 24 tracks of some of his best music in years. Simply put, this shit rides out. Filled with exclusive tracks and appearances from artists like Young Jeezy, Kanye, and Majic, this is a great way for Trick to bring back his buzz. - Tony Burgos


melody or even a drum, whatever we feel. Lee Major: There ain’t really no order, it’s just whatever vibe we catch first. What other albums did you get placements on after the Ace Hood album? Lee Major: We produced for Young Jeezy, DJ Khaled, more recently Rick Ross, Deeper Than Rap, Jadakiss, and there’s more to come. Moe: The Flo Rida album. We’re just constantly working, trying to get on every project.

the Inkredibles, a production duo that consists of Maurice “Moe” Carpenter and Leigh “Lee Major” Elliott, are well on their way to becoming household names in Hip Hop. HAVING producED hit records for Ace Hood, Young Jeezy, Fat Joe, Jadakiss, and Rick Ross, the Inkredibles have a discography that even veteran producers would ENVY. Under the tutelage of DJ Nasty and DJ Khaled, this production duo from Richmond, Virginia, is bringing something “inkredible” to the game. Production Credits: Ace Hood F/Trey Songz “Ride,” Young Jeezy “Vacation,” Jadakiss F/Mary J. Blige “Grind Hard,” Rick Ross “Mafia Music” You’re signed with Nasty Beatmakers and We The Best. How’d y’all get with Nasty and Khaled? Moe: Through a guy named Spiff TV. He heard our music , played it for Nasty, and Nasty signed us. Then Khaled heard our music and wanted to jump on board. How is it being a part of We The Best? Moe: I think it’s wonderful because Khaled has that president position at Def Jam South, so he’s keeping us on every project. He goes in hard, and he wants the best for us, so I think it’s great cause he motivates us to go beyond our means. We The Best, that’s what he lives and dies for. So, that’s what we live and die for, to be the best producers that are out there. What would you say is the Inkredibles’ sound? Lee Major: We’re versatile, so we don’t have one certain sound. We go in the studio, work with 62 // OZONE MAG

You produced three songs on Deeper Than Rap. How was that experience for you two as new producers? Moe: It feels great to be a part of a classic album. I think you can put the CD in and listen to it from start to finish. It’s just great music. It feels great to be a part of something that the world loves.

anybody and bang out hits. It’s not like we’re just “in the box” producers. Moe: We try to go for big radio records, more commercial stuff, like that Top 40 type of sound. That’s the music that we shoot for. Where did you get the name “Inkredibles” from? Moe: It doesn’t have anything to do with the cartoon. We just needed a name to come out with that describes our work, and we felt that’s the best name that matches what we do. What was your first placement on a major album? Moe: Ace Hood’s “Ride” featuring Trey Songz. Lee Major: It was a good experience getting our first placement. Everyone was excited. Moe: Our first placement was a single. To make 106th & Park, and then for the video to go #1, I think that was great. Did you have thing else on Ace Hood’s album? Moe: We had five joints on there. We got the “Ride (Remix)” with Rick Ross and Juelz [Santana]. We got “Call Me” featuring Lloyd, “Get Him” and “Money Over Here.” What’s your production process like? Moe: We go in the studio with an artist in mind, and we try to catch a vibe, and work on something that will fit the artist. We’ll start off with a

You produced “Usual Suspects” with Nas on Deeper Than Rap. What was your reaction when you heard Nas was getting on the beat? Lee Major: That was a good moment because Nas is one of my favorite rappers. He’s definitely a legend in the game. Moe: We both grew up listening to Nas, so I think it was a great collaboration. Another song you produced is “Mafia Music,” which is the song Ross first dissed 50 Cent on. How did you react when you first heard Ross’ diss? Moe: We were like, “Wow.” We knew we had a lot of stuff ahead of us, cause we knew once the record came out it was gonna be big. It was like another Jay-Z and Nas situation where like “Ether,” it’s going to get a lot of attention. What else do you have lined up? Moe: Ace Hood we’ve got lined up. Rick Ross is working on another album. Lee Major: We got Fat Joe’s new single out featuring Akon called “One,” so we’re working. Moe: We got some stuff coming out on Jeezy’s project, and some R&B projects. Just stay tuned. Y’all been hearing a lot of Hip Hop stuff [from us]. We do Hip Hop for fun. We’re working with Adrienne Bailon from 3LW, Rihanna, and Amerie. R&B and Pop is what we do, that’s where we go in at, so stay tuned for that. It’s just a whole other side for the world to see. //

Grand Hustle & Greg Street

“Greg Hustle: The Mixtape Vol. 1” 1. DJ Whoo Kid, DJ Scream & Shaq “The Hit List” djwhookid.org Myspace.c om/4045405000 2. DJ Teknikz “If U Buyin We Sellin Vol. 22” Myspace.com/djteknikz 3. ATLiens “The Mixtape”

4. MLK & T.I. “A Year And A Day” Myspace.com/mlkng 5. DJ Spinatik “Street Runnaz 37” Djspinatik.com/ 6. DJ Chuck T “Down South Slangin’ 59” djchuckt.com 7. DJ G-Spot, Gucci Mane & DJ Da Juiceman “The White Bros: The South

15” Djgspot.com 8. DJ Mr. King “Southern Smothered & Covered 13” Hosted by Dorrough Music myspace.com/djmrking 9. DJ Bobby Black “N.W.A.: Crack Addiction – West Coast Edition” Myspace.c om/djbobbyblack

10. Lil Fats “Coast 2 Coast 82” Hosted by Styles P Coast2coastmixtapes.com 11. DJ Wizkid “Serving The Streets Vol. II” Hosted by Roscoe Myspace.c om/djwizkidmusic 12. DJ Nik Bean “Streetz of LA 8” Hosted by Kurupt Myspace.com/nikbean 13. DJ Scorpio & Janiro “Follow Me: The Mix CD Part 2” Hosted by Cristal aka Serious

DJs, send your mix CDs (with a cover) for consideration to:

14. Evil Empire “N.Y. Trafficking” Myspace.com/evilempire 15. DJ E-Top “Trap To The Future” Myspace.com/etopent 16. DJ Woogie “Gucci The Great” Myspace.com/djwoogie 17. Mick Boogie & ThePressPlayShow.com “Hammer Time: Past, Present & Future” Hosted by MC Hammer

Atlanta DJ Greg Street, and the house that T.I. and Jason Geter built, teamed up for this month’s Mix of the Month. The mixtape features a shitload of exclusive Grand Hustle music. From new joints by Killer Mike (“Man Up,”“My City” & “Pay Up”) to cuts from Big Kuntry (“End Of The Night” featuring Shawty Redd) and Young Dro (“Rock Diamonds” & “You Nasty” featuring Akon) to unreleased songs by the King himself (“Make You Sweat” & “Don’t Forget” with Mary J. Blige), the Greg Hustle mixtape proves that unlike LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, this King’s team is far from a one man show.


OZONE Magazine 644 Antone St. Suite 6 Atlanta, GA 30318

18. Mike Johns “Maury Povich: I Am Not The Baby’s Daddy” 19. DJ Wheezy “Trill Skillz 4.0” Myspace.com/djwheezy 20. DJ Drizzle “Mix Vol. 18” Myspace.com/djdrizzle





Trey Songz Venue: Sobe Live City: Miami, FL Date: May 24th, 2009 Photo: Terrence Tyson










editor’s note I’m Just Sayin’tho by D-Ray


s hundreds of millions of people around the world mourn the death of Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, so do I. In my mind and in my heart, the King of Pop will never die, even though I never got the chance to see, touch, or freeze a moment with him! Man, that was a concert I’ve always wanted to experience since I was a child. I would run through the house laughing, dancing, and singing without a care no matter what Michael record was playing. He brought life into households around the world in an amazing way. Every since he was a child, Michael had a gift that you normally don’t find in such a young person. He had soul for real, not the fake “soul” people talk about. When he sang, he got so caught up in the emotion of the record. I think that’s what made the world such huge fans of his! He came with real music! I didn’t want to believe it when I heard that he was rushed to the hospital. I was so devastated, believe it, and I’m not one to get all emotionally caught up and cry over a celebrity, especially one I’ve never even met! But, you have to understand that when I was a child, he brought so many happy times into my single parent home during hard times. I recall that when my mom played Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, and Lionel Richie she would just glow! So the memory of MJ has always been a great feeling. He just made everything better through his music! Ever since I was very young, my auntie promised she would take me to a Michael Jackson concert, but it just never worked out. There was hope when I heard he was planning his London tour. I thought, damn, I should just take a vacation and go out to London so I could see him during his last tour! WOW! I procrastinated myself right out of that idea and didn’t get tickets in time.

ing strange about your daddy. What was strange was what he had to deal with!” Brooke Shields was also very touching, with her memory of MJ. I cracked up when she said, “Aye, so what’s up with the glove?” I just thought as his friend, she’d seen a lot and been through a lot with him! Usher also touched me with his song. Magic, yeah, he’s too much with the story he told about the cook asking him what he wanted to eat and he said “grilled chicken.” That’s what he got, as MJ had a bucket of KFC. Magic said, “Man, Michael, you eat KFC?” Too funny to have such memories. My heart goes out to his children. Paris killed me when she spoke and said her final goodbyes to her father. “My daddy was the best daddy! I love him!” That’s something that’s very hard to do. I know when my granddaddy passed, I couldn’t even talk at his funeral. I can honestly say that I regret not being able to say my final goodbye to him at the funeral out loud, but I guess I did say my goodbyes when he took his final breath. It just felt like he waited for me to come in his room to say he loved me before taking that last breath. I’m grown, and I know how hard that was to deal with, so I can’t imagine being eleven years old and dealing with death. We shouldn’t take our everyday lives for granted, nor the lives of the family we have around us. Tomorrow is not promised! We are all on borrowed time, and when God calls for us, it’s time to go home! Only God can judge us, so love life and live it with no regrets. Make sure you tell your people you love them. I know it’s a task with the stressful lives we live, but always try to show it. Make the effort to let them know it! With that being said, I love you mom, for never turning your back on your kids and putting us first over everything in your life. Being a single parent is a struggle, and you did a great job!

The day he died, I was at DJ Backside’s house in Los Angeles. I told her, “I bet you anything the kid that accused him of the child molestation charges will come clean and say he was lying! He won’t be able to live with the lie any longer.” Right after that, I heard that he did come forward to clear up the allegations.

R.I.P. The King of Pop Michael Jackson! Thank you for bringing such great memories to my hard times as a child.

Michael Jackson will live on through his music forever. His funeral was very touching. He had an amazing support team that came out to show everlasting love and respect for him. The speakers had some great and touching things to say to him. It was great when Al Sharpton turned to Michael Jackson’s three children and said, “There was noth-

P.S.: I feel that the BET Awards sold all their viewers short without a Chris Brown MJ Tribute. Chris Brown would’ve shut it down, hands down! Much love, Chris! The world needs to learn how to forgive, especially when it’s not their business. If you didn’t see it yourself, please don’t tell me what it looks like! Again, only God can judge us!

DJ Quik & me in L.A.

Me & Terrace Martin in L.A.

Ya Boy f/ Dr. Hollywood “Run LA” Willie Joe f/ Traxamillion “Giggin’” Juice f/ Bun B “Crush My Cool” Mistah FAB “Hit Me On Twitter” DJ Quik f/ Kurupt “9 Times Outta 10” Glasses Malone f/ Rick Ross, Baby, & T-Pain “Sun Come Up” The Jacka f/ Andre Nickatina “Glamorous Lifestyle”


- D-Ray, OZONE West Editor-At-Large dray@ozonemag.com

Andre Nickatina & me @ Club Me & Felecia @ Cinco de Suede in San Francisco, CA Mayo in San Jose, CA



Big Rich “Something Special” Damani “You The One” E-40 “On Oil”

(above L-R): Shawnna & Ludacris @ K 107 Summer Jam in Denver, CO; G Malone & Jay Rock in Los Angeles, CA (Photos: D-Ray); Hurricane Chris & Soulja Boy @ Hot 103 Summer Jam in Kansas City, MO (Photo: Ms Rivercity)

01 // DJ Quik, guest, & Jay Rock on the set of DJ Quik & Kurupt’s ‘9x Out Of 10’ video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 02 // DJ D-Wrek, DJ Backside, & Pizo @ Tatou’s (Los Angeles, CA) 03 // Cellski & Dame Fame @ The Room for The Jacka’s ”Tear Gas” listening session (San Francisco, CA) 04 // Damani reppin’ his Adidas shoe @ Tatou’s (Los Angeles, CA) 05 // Kafani, Gary Archer, Laroo, DJ Juice, Gold Toes, Matt Blaque, & guests @ San Jose Civic Auditorium (San Jose, CA) 06 // Raekwon, Bad Lucc, DJ Quik, & Warren G @ West Lake Studios (Los Angeles, CA) 07 // Nio Tha Gift & Willy Northpole @ The Room for The Jacka’s “Tear Gas” listening session (San Francisco, CA) 08 // Trae & J Prince (Los Angeles, CA) 09 // Gorilla Zoe & P-Nut @ Club Elixir (Anchorage, AK) 10 // Kuzzo Fly, T. Woods, Mistah FAB, Kilo Kurt, & Big Dant @ Mistah FAB’s “Hit Me On Twitter” video shoot (East Oakland, CA) 11 // Tito Bell & Willie Joe @ Fahrenheit for Nio Tha Gift’s album release (San Jose, CA) 12 // Mitchy Slick & D-Lo @ Mistah FAB’s “Hit Me On Twitter” video shoot (East Oakland, CA) 13 // Terrace Martin & Roscoe @ West Lake Studios (Los Angeles, CA) 14 // Willy Northpole,The Jacka & FedX @ The Room for The Jacka’s ”Tear Gas” listening session (San Francisco, CA) 15 // Gary Archer, Furious, & Balance @ Bay Area Music Conference (Berkeley, CA) 16 // Erk Tha Jerk & Nio Tha Gift @ Mistah FAB’s “Hit Me On Twitter” video shoot (East Oakland, CA) 17 // DJ Moe1, DJ Drama, & DJ Juice @ Icon Lounge for DJ Drama’s meet & greet (San Francisco, CA) 18 // AP9 & Rahmean @ The Room for The Jacka’s ”Tear Gas” listening session (San Francisco, CA) 19 // DJ KTone & DJ Mars @ K 107 Summer Jam (Denver, CO) Photo Credits: Bad Lucc (13); D-Ray (01,02,03,04,05,06,07,08,10,11,12,14,15,16,17,18,19); Julia Beverly (09)



s much as I love hanging out in New York or D.C., partying all night in Miami, ATL, or H-Town, and as much as I love Midwest women and all my Detroit, Chicago, and Milwaukee homies, I’m still a 100% Cali Nigga. I love being from the West Coast. It’s been over ten years since the nation’s love for West Coast Hip Hop transformed into a hatred that has been analyzed and explained in a million different ways. The most popular version I’ve heard is that the West Coast is just plain whack and we don’t have skills, but I’ve even heard people claim that because we killed Tupac and Biggie there’s a curse on West Coast rap music. But, whatever reasons people have for hating on the West, that isn’t what I want to talk about. I believe if the right artist comes out with the right music, it doesn’t matter where you’re from. The music will speak for itself. Speaking for myself and quite a few other West Coast rappers, we have been eating and continue to eat good off Hip Hop. I’d rather have a long career than one huge hit record and then your career is over. It’s cool with me if you say fuck the West Coast or if you feel that the Dirty South or the East Coast is whack. I don’t have a problem with your opinion because I love Hip Hop period and in my world, there is no regional dominance. I love rap music from everywhere. I’m into the beats, the rhythms, and the subjects, not just whoever the media says is hot. I love originality as well as the same old everyday shit that seems to work over and over again. I just want all of us to acknowledge the fact that the West Coast made some very significant contributions to Hip Hop. Too Short’s pimpin’, Tupac’s tattoos and his swag, Dr. Dre’s production, Snoop’s silky smooth delivery, E-40’s slang and the overall West Coast street game and our dedication to the funk have all influenced Hip Hop. The East Coast gave us Hip Hop, no doubt about that. I heard the Jamaicans invented the whole deejaying and emceeing concepts that Hip Hop was born from. Right now I feel like the Dirty South is making sure Hip Hop stays fun and making sure that we don’t let go of the importance of dancing and rap music. I think the Midwest is making sure the originality and integrity of Hip Hop isn’t lost in the monotony of lately. In the meantime, the East and West Coast artists are attempting to maintain careers and bring fresh new artists to the forefront. Wherever this Hip Hop journey takes us, you can never come to the conclusion that the West Coast was never relevant or the West Coast didn’t contribute to the culture. When and if it’s ever all said and done, I believe every region will be recognized for their advancements and contributions to the Hip Hop culture. So, do me a favor and quit hating on everybody that’s not your homie or your favorite rapper or from your region, and learn to appreciate the good things in our world that aren’t promoted by Corporate America a.k.a. Major Labels. Hit me up on my crackberry at ShortStories@ozonemag.com


“the West Coast HAS made some very significant contributions to Hip Hop: Too Short’s pimpin’, Tupac’s tattoos and his swag, Dr. Dre’s production, Snoop’s silky smooth delivery, E-40’s slang and the overall West Coast street game.”

(above L-R): Gary Payton & Too Short @ the Palms for Too Short & DJ Franzen’s private TV show launch party in Las Vegas, NV; Memphitz remembering Michael Jackson on the red carpet @ the BET Awards in Los Angeles, CA; Bow Wow & Baby Bash @ K 107 Summer Jam in Denver, CO (Photos: D-Ray)

01 // JT Tha Bigga Figga & Cellski @ The Room for The Jacka’s ”Tear Gas” listening session (San Francisco, CA) 02 // GoldToes & DJ Amen @ Club Suede (San Francisco, CA) 03 // DJ KTone, Stooie Bros, Baby Bash, & Cory @ K 107 Summer Jam (Denver, CO) 04 // Bad Lucc & Krondon of Strong Arm Steady @ SAS Studio (Los Angeles, CA) 05 // Matt Blaque, Shady Nate, 211, & DJ Devro @ Street Symphony Studios (Fremont, CA) 06 // Soulja Boy signing autographs @ San Jose Civic Auditorium (San Jose, CA) 07 // Baydilla, the boat captain, & Gorilla Zoe on the Portage Glacier cruise (Anchorage, AK) 08 // DJ Drama & JT Tha Bigga Figga @ Icon Lounge for DJ Drama’s meet & greet (San Francisco, CA) 09 // Kurupt & Gail Gotti @ G1 Studio (Los Angeles, CA) 10 // Jamal, Gary Archer, Laroo, & Amon @ Icon Lounge for DJ Drama’s meet & greet (San Francisco, CA) 11 // DJ Chonz & DJ KTone @ K 107 Summer Jam (Denver, CO) 12 // Bad Lucc & We Da West reps on the set of DJ Quik & Kurupt’s “9x Out Of 10” video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 13 // DJ Crook & Big Rich @ The Room for The Jacka’s ”Tear Gas” listening session (San Francisco, CA) 14 // Odd & Even @ Bay Area Music Conference (Berkeley, CA) 15 // Nio Tha Gift & The Jacka @ The Room for The Jacka’s ”Tear Gas” listening session (San Francisco, CA) 16 // DJ Smallz & Pookie from Urban South @ Ms Honey Siccle’s release party (Oklahoma City, OK) 17 // DJ Quik, Richie Abbott, & Kurupt @ G1 Studios (Los Angeles, CA) 18 // Baydilla & Megga @ Club Elixir (Anchorage, AK) 19 // Jimmy Roses, Goldtoes, & Serg Knight @ Cinco de Mayo (San Jose, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,02,03,04,05,06,08,09,10,11,12,13,14,15,17,19); Edward Hall (16); Julia Beverly (07,18)



imilar to the basketball player who shares his moniker, Bay Area rapper J Rich has been traveling a lot over the last couple of years. Though he still calls the Bay home, Rich had to do some jet setting to get his career going the way he wanted it to. He’d been soaking up game from the area’s well known independent scene for years before he even put his first project out, but it took a move to New York to get things going. “I moved to NYC in 2006, just me on my own,” he recalls, mentioning being the studio with everyone from The Game to Fabolous and sharing studio time at Sony Studios with both 50 Cent and Beyonce. “My nigga Sky Balla moved with me and he got a small deal. I was piggy-backing off him while I was out there and ran into everyone in the industry. I put together three projects in one year, a DVD and everything. I came back to the West Coast in 2007 with wrapped vans and everything, dropping all four of my projects.” Unfortunately, upon his return, J Rich saw a number of his friends and associates caught up in a deadly crime wave. Figuring that sticking around would be bad for business, he made another move, this time to Miami. “Niggas is used to what they’re used to,” sighs Rich, of his peers who are regional superstars, but national unknowns. “I’ve begged niggas to come with me, but they can’t leave home. They’re in love with their comfort zone. If they leave their comfort zone, they think they can’t succeed.” Dedicating the entire year of 2008 to networking (“I didn’t make any music,” says Rich), the 28-year old rapper forged a relationship with Young Money Records, among others, and says he was recently invited to open up on this summer’s Young Money tour. In addition, J Rich is currently promoting his new single “I’m A Trapper,” which uses the familiar hustler’s theme of comparing the studio to the trap. But, the sound of the song is something that you may not expect from a Bay Area artist as it sounds like something more suited for a Southern artist. “I’m diverse,” insists J Rich, the younger brother of Coleone, the man accused of killing the man who murdered Mac Dre. “I’ve lived in New York, Miami and Texas. I’m trying to please everybody. My block loves me for who I am so they know what it is.” Words by Maurice G. Garland Photo by Hiltron Bailey


(above L-R): Erk Tha Jerk & Traxamillion @ Club Suede in San Francisco, CA; Roscoe & Kurupt @ G1 Studio in Los Angeles, CA (Photos: D-Ray); Gorilla Zoe rockin some native furs in Anchorage, AK (Photo: Julia Beverly)

01 // Willie Joe & Don P @ Club G3 (Los Angeles, CA) 02 // Ena Jade, D-Ray, Dru Down, & DJ Backside @ Club G3 (Los Angeles, CA) 03 // Big Rich loves the kids @ San Jose Civic Auditorium (San Jose, CA) 04 // Baydilla & P-Nut @ Club Elixir (Anchorage, AK) 05 // DJ Devro, Willy Northpole, & Tiffany J @ The Room for The Jacka’s “Tear Gas” listening session (San Francisco, CA) 06 // DJ Quik & Kurupt @ Ruby Sky (San Francisco, CA) 07 // Jay-Z, DJ Franzen, & Lupe Fiasco @ The Palms (Las Vegas, NV) 08 // Keri Hilson & DJ Mars @ K 107 Summer Jam (Denver, CO) 09 // Laroo & Paul Wall @ Club Suede (San Francisco, CA) 10 // Nio Tha Gift & CoCo @ Bay Area Music Conference (Berkeley, CA) 11 // G-Stack, Gary Archer, Paul Wall, Mistah FAB, & Diesal @ Club Suede (San Francisco, CA) 12 // Danny Dee & DJ Impereal @ The Room for The Jacka’s “Tear Gas” listening session (San Francisco, CA) 13 // Gold Toes & his wife @ San Jose Civic Auditorium (San Jose, CA) 14 // Roccett & crew on the set of Roccett’s “Bang” video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 15 // Guest, Kurupt, Bad Lucc, Damani, Roscoe, DJ Quik, & guest on the set of DJ Quik & Kurupt’s ‘9x Out Of 10’ video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 16 // DJ Rick Lee, DJ Juice, & ladies @ Club Suede (San Francisco, CA) 17 // Nio Tha Gift & his family @ Fahrenheit for Nio Tha Gift’s album release (San Jose, CA) 18 // Gorilla Zoe & Megga @ Club Elixir (Anchorage, AK) 19 // Brannon Scales & Jay Rock (Los Angeles, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,02,03,05,06,08,09,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,19); DJ Franzen (07); Julia Beverly (04,18)


Patiently Waiting


ver the last few months you’ve probably heard the term “new west” getting thrown around. Typically it’s been used to describe the offerings of artists such as Nipsey Hussle, Jay Rock and Glasses Malone—artists who may be new, but are obviously cut from the traditional West Coast bandana cloth. But just as the early-90s “gangsta rap” era also came with groups like the Pharcyde, this “new west” movement also has act like Pac Div trailing alongside it. And in the coming months, expect an even “newer” west to come along thanks to Los Angeles-based teenagers Ben J and Legacy, appropriately named the New Boyz. “Everything is becoming positive out here. People are growing out of that old mentality,” says Ben J. “Rapping about gangs ain’t really what it’s about out here now. Everybody is having fun.” Legacy adds, “I think music like ours is coming from people being tried of the same ol’ thing. People thought they had to bang to be the cool kid but now the smart kid is the cool kid. People being creative are the people coming up right now.” Their hit song “You’re A Jerk” has teens from coastto-coast doing the accompanying dance and since their appearance at the 2009 BET Awards, a couple grown folks might get caught doing the dance too. The nimble dance step originated from the L.A. club scene, hugely inspired by the bassline from D4L’s “Beam Me Up Scotty,” hense the scratching of Fabo’s voice at the end of the song. “‘[You’re A] Jerk’ is the least lyrical song we have,” insists Ben J. “We were already making fun songs, but with ‘You’re A Jerk’ we just wanted to bring it outside of L.A.” Currently prepping their debut album Skinny Jeans & A Mic, the New Boyz are poised to take both their music and image beyond La La Land. Judging from the straight-to-the-point title of the album, people should know what to expect. “We don’t care about who’s talking about us. It gets old after while,” says Legacy, of those who criticize their style. “It’s like the bully in school. They talk and talk, but after a while they look stupid.” Electing to shy away from getting big name features on the album, the New Boyz vow to put on for their city by recruiting peers emerging from the same scene. Will they be able to usher in their own variation of the “new west?” We shall see. Words by Maurice G. Garland


(above L-R): Paul Wall & Traxamillion @ Club Suede in San Francisco, CA; E-40 & Omeezy @ Tatou’s in Los Angeles, CA (Photos: D-Ray); Gorilla Zoe & Baydilla @ Club Elixir in Anchorage, AK (Photo: Julia Beverly)

01 // Amon, Gary Archer, Portia, & Big Rich @ Bay Area Music Conference (Berkeley, CA) 02 // DOT, DJ Imperial & John Brown @ Street Symphony Studios (Fremont, CA) 03 // DJ Quik, Russ, & Kurupt @ Ruby Sky (San Francisco, CA) 04 // Erk Tha Jerk, Big Rich, & Drew Gooden @ Fahrenheit for Nio Tha Gift’s album release (San Jose, CA) 05 // 211 & K-Boy (Los Angeles, CA) 06 // DJ D-Wrek & E-40 @ Tatou’s (Los Angeles, CA) 07 // JT Tha Bigga Figga, The Jacka, AP9, & FedX @ The Room for The Jacka’s ”Tear Gas” listening session (San Francisco, CA) 08 // Andre Nickatina & Paul Wall @ Club Suede (San Francisco, CA) 09 // Julia Beverly & Gorilla Zoe @ Club Elixir (Anchorage, AK) 10 // Boo, Kilo Kurt, Mitchy Slick, & Willie Joe @ Mistah FAB’s “Hit Me On Twitter” video shoot (East Oakland, CA) 11 // Gary Archer, DJ Rick Lee, & The Jacka @ The Room for The Jacka’s ”Tear Gas” listening session (San Francisco, CA) 12 // Beat Roc, Nio Tha Gift, & Walt @ Mistah FAB’s “Hit Me On Twitter” video shoot (East Oakland, CA) 13 // DJ Maniakal & DJ Juice @ San Jose Civic Auditorium (San Jose, CA) 14 // Nio Tha Gift & Bad Lucc @ Street Symphony Studios (Fremont, CA) 15 // Kurupt, DJ Quik, & their band backstage @ Ruby Sky (San Francisco, CA) 16 // Traxamillion & Bad Lucc @ Street Symphony Studios (Fremont, CA) 17 // Devi Dev, guest, Guerilla Black, & Hot Dollar @ Tatou’s (Los Angeles, CA) 18 // DJ Drama, Willie the Kid, & LA the Darkman @ Icon Lounge for DJ Drama’s meet & greet (San Francisco, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,02,03,04,05,06,07,08,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18); Julia Beverly (09)




It’s 113 degrees in Phoenix, AZ, but Willy Northpole isn’t sweating a thing. He’s the coolest he’s been in a long time. His long-awaited debut album Tha Connect is finally in stores.

“It feels good,” he says via telephone, with the smile on his face evident from the joy in his voice. “I know what I did. I know how important this was for me and my city. Word of mouth is the best promotion I can have now. I have a product that I can actually sell. I have something on the shelf. I’m in grind mode now.” Willy burst onto the scene in 2007 with a Disturbing Tha Peace record deal and an OZONE West cover. From there he found himself answering two questions: “People rap in Phoenix?” and “Who the hell is Willy Northpole?” “That’s why I named my album Tha Connect,” says Northpole, who spent time as a G-Unit affiliate before joining DTP. “Everybody was asking what happens in Phoenix. I’m going to be the connect that tells everyone about what goes on here.” So tell us, because we’d hate to assume, what did you listen to growing up in Phoenix? When I was growing up I listened to Geto Boys, a lot of the West Coast and Death Row stuff, N.W.A. Then we got to into Pac. Then I got on Redman, he was one of the first artists that I kinda crossed over and listened to from the East Coast. Then I got incarcerated and when I got out I was listening to Biggie and Jay-Z. Since we’re between the South and the West, it depends on what catches out here. A lot of people from Phoenix are not from here. They come from Chicago, the South, some East coast people too, but there’s a lot of Chicago guys out here. The release of your debut album has been a two-year process. Would you say you’ve grown through the process? A lot of niggas can’t walk these shoes. As a new artist you gotta restrain yourself from running up in people’s office with baseball bats [laughs] but I love doing what I do. I just l love what I do. I definitely accomplished growth in the music and accomplished things like landing videos on TV. At the end of the day, we’re still human, I have to go through a lot of BS to get shit done. Radio is scared to play new artists. Radio used to play stuff because it was good, but now it’s so many politics. I just came in at a time when it’s fucked up. So far the reviews on your album have been pretty favorable. People are saying it’s an actual “album.” Is that what you set out to do? I come from an era where I loved albums. That’s the format I laid out on


the album, instead of focusing on singles. I started off with the intro and showed them my lyrical side, no hooks, damn near a freestyle. It’s 3 minutes of me spitting all the way through. Then we went to “Hood Shit.” I’m starting from the bottom, it’s a story in the album. That was the grimier side, going from banging and stupid shit and jail. Then we get to “Hood Dreamer” where I’m looking for a way out. From there it leads up to “The Life” with Ne-Yo. I have “My Beliefs” where I’m showing what went on in the Bible days and comparing it to what’s going on now. Then I have “The Story” and my dead homie tribute. I have some Slick Rick-like storytelling on there too. Nothing talking about rims and money. I really wanted to show me on this album. “The Life” could’ve been my single, but I couldn’t do that yet. I wanted to do that after the album was out, so that way I could go back to songs like “Body Marked Up” if I wanted to. I wanted to start from the bottom to the top. You see how Jay-Z started with Reasonable Doubt? He blew up and did Kingdom Come later on. Niggas hated on that, so he came back with American Gangster. He can go back to that when needs too. But cats that come out with their “lady records” first can’t do that. Many times when an artist signs to a label run by an artist, they get overshadowed by the bigger artist. We can’t necessarily say that’s the case with you. It’s easy to forget you’re even affiliated with Ludacris. I always told myself that I didn’t want to be like [DTP’s] other artists. I just wanted to be signed to the label and let me do what I do. He’s not on my album or my singles, but everybody knows who I’m signed to. I wanted to establish myself by getting my music out. It’s gonna be a process but I think it’s a plus. When you think of me you don’t just think of Ludacris. But we’ve done stuff together, I can call him and he’ll do whatever I ask. Do you think music is getting back to being homogenous, where it doesn’t always matter where you are from? You know, getting back to being strictly about the music? Because you haven’t shoved “I’m from Phoenix” down our throats. I’m not gonna rep my hood all the time and shove it down your throat. That’s like a Puerto Rican putting all Puerto Rican stuff on their album and not appealing to the Dominicans, but they’re Latin too. All I have to do is make music and just rep where I’m from. Music was fucked up for a minute. I think it’s coming back out the way it’s supposed to. If people let these new guys come out it will be good. Don’t get me wrong, some of these new niggas are weird as fuck, but they’re making good music though. We’ve got niggas rapping again. All we’ve got to do is keep that base. //


Patiently Waiting


or years, the Hollywood, California duo now known as LMFAO would kick it at The Coffee Bean on Sunset and Fairfax, where a then unknown Perez Hilton would blog from his office, the corner table. “Perez and I didn’t have too much to talk about, because I’m obviously a straight man, but we were actually friends,” says Redfoo. “We even watched them film the pilot to his reality show. They filmed it on our street,” adds Sky Blu. And though Sky and Foo may not share the same sexual preference as Perez, the experimental DJs-turned-emcees definitely fit in amongst a similar crowd - a coffee shop convergence of loud and colorful people whose style summarizes the current Southern California scene. LMFAO describes their music and style simply as fun, stating, “We put the F.U. in FUN, and if you don’t like it, F.U.’N ya mama.” Redfoo is actually Sky Blu’s biological uncle, but the two are only a few years apart. They began making music together 4 years ago in various nightclubs throughout LA and quickly earned a reputation as raucous DJs, recognized for their energy and ability to effectively mix electro, pop, and Hip Hop genres. Eventually, the pair began to produce their own tracks, and adopted the name LMFAO (“Laughin’ My Fuckin’ Ass Off” in internet terminology, for the few who don’t already know). “Our name was originally gonna be Sexy Dudes, because that was the name that best suited us,” says Red Foo, completely serious. “Our friends thought the name was kinda lame, but we thought they were just jealous, so Sky jumped on iChat and asked his grandma what she thought of it. She simply replied, “LMFAO, are you seri-


ous, my nigga?” And that instantly became our name—the entire question: “LMFAO, Are You Serious My Nigga?” But then we went to the swap meet to get shirts made with our group’s new name and the dude said [in a Korean accent] “5 dolla a letta.” So at that moment we cut it down to just ‘LMFAO’ and it was 25 bucks a shirt instead of $120.” And while LMFAO’s sound is completely Hollywood, it wasn’t until the SoCal kids discovered South Florida that the world began to appreciate their music. The DJing duet actually wrote their definitive anthem to Miami nights while planning a trip there in 2007, before ever visiting the city. “We were just imagining how it would be. You know how when you go on vacation, you do research on where you’re going before you actually go? That’s what we did before we went to Miami,” remembers Red Foo. “We asked our friends what Miami was like and they all hyped us up. We were so excited to go that we wrote a song before we had ever even been there.” Sky Blu adds. “We wanted to make a song for tourists to sing and brag to their friends back home like, “What you doin’? I’m in Miami, bitch!’” Within two years Sky and Foo bragged “I’m in Miami, Bitch,” all the way to a contract with Interscope Records and a debut album, Party Rock, which was released earlier this summer. To this day, the group has mixed and mastered every song they’ve ever recorded, including the almost 100 versions of “I’m In Miami, Bitch” that cater to different cities throughout the world. Though the group has yet to convert many of their critics, they have certainly amassed a huge following. And for those who still don’t take them seriously, LMFAO promises to have the last laugh. Words by Eric Perrin

(above L-R): DJ Drama @ Icon Lounge for DJ Drama’s meet & greet in San Francisco, CA; DJ Quik & Kurupt on the set of their video shoot for “Bees To The Flowers” in Los Angeles, CA; Julia Beverly & Soulja Boy @ Club Bash for JB’s Denver Bday Bash in Denver, CO (Photos: D-Ray)

01 // Jazze Pha @ Union Station for BET Awards afterparty (Los Angeles, CA) 02 // Mistah FAB @ The Room for The Jacka’s “Tear Gas” listening session (San Francisco, CA) 03 // KT & DJ Franzen @ the Palms for Too Short & DJ Franzen’s private TV show launch party (Las Vegas, NV) 04 // Kafani the Ice King & his daughter Sparkle @ San Jose Civic Auditorium (San Jose, CA) 05 // Mac Mall @ San Jose Civic Auditorium (San Jose, CA) 06 // Paul Wall @ Club Suede (San Francisco, CA) 07 // T-Pain @ K 107 Summer Jam (Denver, CO) 08 // Roccett @ AllHipHop Mansion Party (Los Angeles, CA) 09 // Dah Dah on the set of DJ Quik & Kurupt’s video shoot for “Bees To The Flowers” (Los Angeles, CA) 10 // Willy Northpole, DJ Jaycee, I-20, & Ludacris @ K 107 Summer Jam (Denver, CO) 11 // JBar & Arab @ K 107 Summer Jam (Denver, CO) 12 // Devi Dev @ Union Station for BET Awards afterparty (Los Angeles, CA) 13 // Baydilla @ Club Elixir (Anchorage, AK) 14 // Shawnna @ K 107 Summer Jam (Denver, CO) 15 // Baby Bash @ K 107 Summer Jam (Denver, CO) 16 // John Costen & Big Rich @ The Room Ultra Lounge for OZONE’s Get Famous showcase (San Francisco, CA) 17 // Uncle Hush @ The Room Ultra Lounge for OZONE Get Famous showcase (San Francisco, CA) 18 // Laroo @ Icon Lounge for DJ Drama’s meet & greet (San Francisco, CA) 19 // Prime (Los Angeles, CA) 20 // Furious @ Icon Lounge for DJ Drama’s meet & greet (San Francisco, CA) 21 // Soulja Boy @ San Jose Civic Auditorium (San Jose, CA) 22 // DJ Juice @ Icon Lounge for DJ Drama’s meet & greet (San Francisco, CA) 23 // The Dragons @ Street Symphony Studio (Fremont, CA) 24 // Smurf, Dr Teeth, & Rick Edwards @ AllHipHop Mansion Party (Los Angeles, CA) 25 // Honest Bob @ The Room Ultra Lounge for OZONE Get Famous showcase (San Francisco, CA) 26 // Even Odd @ The Room Ultra Lounge for OZONE Get Famous showcase (San Francisco, CA) 27 // DJ SlowPoke @ The Room for The Jacka’s “Tear Gas” listening session (San Francisco, CA) 28 // Big Body Gotti @ Club Suede (San Francisco, CA) 29 // DJ Quote @ K 107 Summer Jam (Denver, CO) 30 // DJ KTone, Nikki Swarn, & Curtis @ K 107 Summer Jam (Denver, CO) 31 // DJ Bobby Black @ Club Elixir (Anchorage, AK) 32 // DJ B-Eazy @ the Palms for Too Short & DJ Franzen’s private TV show launch party (Las Vegas, NV) 33 // Dre Dae @ Poetry for JB’s Vegas Bday party (Las Vegas, NV) 34 // CoCo @ Bay Area Music Conference (Berkeley, CA) 35 // Bad Lucc @ Street Symphony Studios (Fremont, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (02,03,04,05,06,07,08,09,11,15,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,27,28,29,30,32,33,34,35); Julia Beverly (01,10,12,13,14,16,17,25,26,31)



Words by Maurice G. Garland

It’s been a long time since the Bay had an artist who put out an album that could appeal to everyone. With his latest album, Tear Gas, Tha Jacka made every attempt, phone call and song that he could to let the world know an artist from the Bay can reach past the Mountain Time Zone. So far the album has been lauded as both a great piece of work and a blatant effort to get more fans. As he sat at an airport waiting to catch a flight to Portland, Oregon for a show, Tha Jacka spoke with us about the inspiration and actions behind Tear Gas, his Muslim faith and the reason major labels are afraid to sign independent Bay Area artists. Now that the album is out, what kind of feedback have you been getting? The first response is that the people loved it, but then after that people didn’t know what they were listening to. After weeks went past I started getting a lot of great responses. People have been telling me it’s really quality material. I didn’t get any real input at first when it came out, but now after it’s been out for a while people are speaking up. As good as people are saying the album is, some are saying that the only flaw is that you have too many features. Do you still feel comfortable with your decision to go that route? Yeah, and it’s an independent album and it did real good, that what makes it special. So I think it was a good decision. The people I got on there, most people do a radio song with them. But I let them do what they felt like doing. We gotta do what we feel sometimes. It’s about making good music. I think people appreciated that. Your first single “All On Me” isn’t something that people would expect from you, based off your past catalog. What went into your decision to make that song? When I did that song, I ain’t know it was gonna be on the album. I did that just to promote me or what I had out at the time. I didn’t expect it to make the album. It wasn’t a song for Tear Gas off top. Yeah, that song seemed to be on the other end of the spectrum of the message your album cover and art puts out. The images were very alarming. Why did you choose to go that direction? At the time we did that, even now, there was like a war between the police and the minorities. It was like the youth against the police. Out here in the Bay Area when the police mistreat someone, we really go out and protest, we really go hard. The Oscar Grant situation might have triggered all of that. Then someone in Oakland knocked down five police officers, that’s what the inside cover was taken from. We’re just tired of this shit, we’re not going out like that. When something happens, we’re going to riot for what’s right. We’re used to this out here. And the reason why I’m on the cover with nothing on my face is that I’m saying I’m immune to the gas. I don’t need a mask. Rioting, activism, independence, and survival are all things that come to mind when you think of people from Oakland. All the way from the Black Panther Party up to the Too $horts and E-40s. Do you think such strong traits are what has kept the Bay from getting back on the radar of major companies and labels? Yeah, I think it’s kind of scary to some labels to have artists like “us.” A lot of us are independent, and you gotta do whatever it takes to get your album out, if you know what I mean. So yeah, it scares them away sometimes. We don’t have a major label here [in the Bay] but people love the music. They don’t mind that it’s independent. But I can see why labels don’t rush to do something with Bay artists. It’s been said that wanting to stay so close to home cripples some Bay Area artists and the movement in general. Do you agree? What is your approach? I like going out. I think it’s better going out. An artist like myself, my music doesn’t even appeal to the Bay sometimes. I don’t get the majority of my sales from the Bay. I prefer to be gone and getting known and building relationships, following the footsteps E-40, Too $hort and C-Bo laid out for


us. They go to Detroit, Denver, Oklahoma City, Kansas City. We’re trying to piggyback off that. We hit Arizona, the whole West Coast and the Midwest. But we don’t go to the South a lot. I know C-Bo used to go to the South all the time and that’s why he had a fanbase there. But the South has come up and [created] their own identity and they’ve been supporting their own. You gotta let them do their thing. You can’t force feed niggas your music. When you get something they like, cool. That’s why I did the song with Devin the Dude and Paul Wall. Throughout your music, you make it known that you are Muslim. Some may find that hard to swallow, given some of the material that you rap about. Well, I talk about that to wake the youth up, or people that don’t have a faith. We were all raised in the church, except for the people who missed out because of the crack era. I talk about my faith because it’s more than just rap now. I do get a lot of compliments for adding that into my music. Some people have even told me they’ve become Muslim from listening to my music. I don’t even hit them with the bars as much as I want to. Sometimes I want to do more of that. I don’t just want to leave my listeners out there lost. I remember Beanie Sigel told me one time, “You don’t want to be Haram,” which pretty much means “bad” in Islam. You want your music to leave a good legacy. Your fellow Mob Figa Husalah is out of prison now. I’m sure a lot of people want to know if they will be getting some more Mob Figaz music. We’re working on that right now. Hus got a new single out. It’s a good start to getting us back together, because the people really want it. I want things to get to back to how they were, but he can only get out 2 hours a day and he’s got a family. We’ve all got kids now. It sucks that we can’t be around him the way we want to. Just getting caught up in the lifestyle, it messes me up a little bit. But I’m happy that we at least have him home now. //

Tha Jacka/Tear Gas With high expectations for this album, Tha Jacka does not disappoint. Perhaps the most commercially viable album in his catalog, if not the most mainstream-ready album out of the Bay in years, Jacka finds that balance between his graphic street novels and radio-friendly jams. The only drawback to this album could be Jacka’s anxiousness to work with everybody within email’s reach. While the flooding of cameos rarely overshadows his presence, it would be nice to hear how he sounds by himself. - Maurice G. Garland

Willy Northpole/Tha Connect Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam Although he hails from scorching Phoenix, Arizona, Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam artist Willy Northpole is seriously cold on the mic. Mixing his “Hood Dreamer” mentality with an obvious appreciation for lyricism, it is clear to see throughout this effort why Willy has gotten the buzz he has in such a short time. With 15 tracks featuring artists like B.O.B., Sean Kingston, and of course Ludacris, Northpole heats up the game on his debut Tha Connect. This album gives a taste of what Arizona has to offer, and shows the West Coast is bigger than L.A. and the Bay. - Tony Burgos

Spider Loc/Land Of The Lost Spider Loc is somewhat of a forgotten soul on G-Unit’s roster, so this Land Of The Lost mixtape/street album is properly titled for the West Coast MC lost in 50 Cent’s mix. This 16-track street album has standouts cuts like the knuckle-up joint “Knocc Out Kid,” and “When I’m Gone,” where Loc takes a minute to clear his thoughts. But there are songs like the out-of-place Los Angeles Lakers tribute song, “Lake Show,” and the sloppy flow on “Get Fucced Up,” which sounds like Loc had one too many drinks before he recorded this track, that would have been better off unheard. Still, a few throwaways tracks aside, this release deserves more from 50 Cent than just a promo post on ThisIs50. com. - Randy Roper

DJ Quik & Kurupt/BlaQKout Mad Science/Fontana Distribution Kurupt’s opening commentary on BlaQKout perfectly sums up this collaborative effort from these two West Coast legends: “This is one of those things that when you put it together, you make gumbo. How can you go wrong?” DJ Quik on the beats, along with Kurupt’s lyricism and Quik’s energetic flow, makes for an imposing tandem. From the first track on, Quik’s production is top-notch, with beats like “Ohh,” “Whatcha Wan Do,” and “Hey Playa!” showing his versatility for both West Coast G-funk and Neptunes-esque quality. Most of the content is in the vein of “it ain’t fun if the homies can’t have none.” In the end, the one question left after hearing this album is why didn’t Kurupt and Quik think of this sooner? - Randy Roper Tha Realest/Witness Tha Realest RBC/Team Dime/E1 Music This long-awaited debut album from former Death Row artist The Realest lives up to its title with songs full of aggressive content (“Mind of Ah Madman”), cold-hearted tales (“IceKold”) and gun-toting realities (“Y I Keep My Burna On Me”). And artists like Fat Joe, C-Bo, Crooked I, Devin The Dude, Sean Paul, Ray J, Yukmouth, and WC, give this album constant breaks from Tha Realest’s abrasive bars and vocal tone reminiscent of 2Pac. Witness Tha Realest is a decently put together album, but for most listeners it may be too difficult to overlook Pac’s heavy influence on Tha Realest’s music. - Randy Roper Yukmouth/The West Coast Don Smoke-a-Lot/Asylum The West Coast Don is Yukmouth’s fifth solo album, but from top to bottom, he approaches the mic with hunger as if it’s his first go round. This album has tons of guest appearances, like “I’m a Gangsta” with Crooked I, Ray J and Dyson, and “All Night” with Glasses Malone and Tha Jacka, that will have you pressing the rewind button. But there are collaborations that look better on paper then they actually sound, like the T-Pain assisted “44.” Still, Cali representers Mistah FAB, Keak Da Sneak, Tha Realest, C-Bo and a host of others help give West Coast Don more material to praise than to criticize. - Randy Roper



DJ Quik & Kurupt Venue: Ruby Sky City: San Francisco, CA Date: June 11th, 2009 Photo: D-Ray