Ozone Mag #81

Page 1


7th Annual
















cover stories

ADVERTISING SALES // Che Johnson, Gary Archer PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR // Malik Abdul

46-47 52-54 48-50

SPECIAL EDITION EDITOR // Jen McKinnon WEST COAST EDITOR-AT-LARGE // D-Ray LEGAL CONSULTANT // Kyle P. King, P.A. SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER // Adero Dawson ADMINISTRATIVE // Kisha Smith INTERNS // 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 money order for $20 to: Ozone Magazine, Inc. Attn: Subscriptions Dept 644 Antone St. Suite 6 Atlanta, GA 30318 Phone: 404-350-3887 Fax: 404-350-2497 Website: www.ozonemag.com COVER CREDITS // Lil Ru and Playaz Circle photos by Hannibal Matthews; Bone photo by Brian Guilliaux; Gucci Mane photo by Malik Abdul. 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.


monthly sections 13 22 30 75 74 20 18 28 26 76 12 22 13 16 18 17-35 14-15 24






Send your comments to feedback@ozonemag.com www.myspace.com/ozonemagazine www.twitter.com/ozonemag

OZONE, thanks for the good job y’all are doing. The injustice that your magazine gets at Easterling Correctional Facility is dead wrong. I had been waiting for a while on my first issue and finally went to the mailroom to check on my magazine. To my surprise not only was my first issue there, but the second issue was too. When I inquired about why I wasn’t receiving the magazine, the mailroom supervisor told me that OZONE was not appropriate for this correctional facility. She said that this magazine was gang-related and that I could talk to the captain. During the meeting I was allowed to look at the parts of the magazine that were deemed “gang-related.” What I saw was individuals holding up the peace sign, one love sign, West side, or coast sign. When I tried to tell them what these signs were, I was dismissed and they said I was lying. I was told that I could appeal the decision to the warden. When I had a chance to talk to him, he said that he was oldfashioned and that everything was a gang sign to him. It just goes to show that with all the technology we have, people are still ignorant, thinking that a respectable magazine would jeopardize their company by having gang ties. Truly, ignorance is bliss. In a camp where a lot of inmates receive XXL and Vibe it would have been nice to have some new flavor in here. - Truth Cipher, via mail (Cleo, AL) Wow JB! So no OZONE/TJ’s DJ’s Awards this year, huh? I’ll admit, I’m one of the ones that’s been speculating WHERE. Then, as July hit, I started wondering WHEN. Of course I tried to find the inside scoop and I heard New Orleans or Las Vegas. Personally I thought y’all were gearing up for Atlanta. Well, my purpose for writing is to say that as usual I deeply respect your decision. I definitely wouldn’t want y’all to put together an event if your heart isn’t in it. Never want to come to a sub-par event. I’ve been supporting you since I met you and appreciate the opportunities you’ve provided for me and the people I’ve met through your publication and events. Keep up the great work and I can’t wait for the next stage! - DJ Scorpio, via email (Atlanta, GA) Yo, Charlamagne Tha God hit the nail on the head with his D.O.A.A. article. Shit was dope, funny, real, and true! - Kenny Kenny, via email Hey JB, my email is in regards to your interview with whack ass Mistah FAB where he said that he only needs black women for record sales. Who is he again? Right, nobody. Anyway, there seems to be a problem in this Hip Hop industry with black women, brown skinned women or dark skinned women. I’m having a problem with this and it’s something your magazine should touch on. By the way, I’m an artist myself. I was once in the group Nuttn Nyce. I’m sick of these fake ass rappers using black women for record sales. If you don’t like black women and your mom is black, that says a lot about yourself. I would like for you to touch on this subject. I’m pissed that magilla gorilla would even let that come out of his shit-breath mouth. I 12 // OZONE MAG

wish you would interview some real sistas such as myself so we could talk about these dick-sucking rappers who have nothing to talk about but sucking their homeboys’ dick in the studio, since they hate the people who support them so much. I think us black women should not support them anymore or buy any of their CDs, since we’re hated so much. Mistah Fag is garbage to me. I had to get this off my chest because I’m sick of the madness. Maybe we black women could sue these artists that defame our character. OZONE, next time interview a rapper that’s talking about something, not an Oakland loser. - Lize B, via email I want to take this chance to praise your magazine cause I’m a real Hip Hop head. Your magazine focuses on the underground artists, and Hip Hop means something to them because they’re hungry and wanna break through to the mainstream. I appreciate you showing love to some of Hip Hop’s favorites like Bun B, Webbie, Lil Boosie, Scarface, Lil Wayne, Plies, Rick Ross, Trina, Trey Songz, Juvenile, and others. But when you did your feature on Static Major, you outdid other magazines. May Static rest in peace (and the group Playa was all Static). “Cheers 2 You” is a favorite of mine and I praise Static for blessing the world with his talent. Static really made some big records and whenever I listen to “Cheers 2 You” I’ll always remember him. Rest in Peace and my God continue to bless Static’s widow Avonti and his kids. He’s truly my hero. Thanks a lot, OZONE. Keep up the good work! - Billy Bill, via mail (Beeville, TX) I think you should bring back Groupie Confessions. I really miss that. I think you should do articles on the labels we haven’t heard from in a while. It seems like people sign major deals and disappear, like DSR. They signed a $7 million dollar deal with Universal and dropped two albums that flopped. Can you put some urban authors in your magazine like Teri Woods, Nikki Turner, Kiki Swinson, or Wahida Clark? It’ll be a good look for the magazine. - Lil Chris, via email (Houston, TX) OZONE Mag brings quality with each and every issue. I know the economy has hit everyone hard, but keep at it JB and staff. OZONE is the best Hip Hop read out there. I find OZONE an even better read than XXL and I feel like XXL is now copying OZONE. - So Kreativ Designs, via email I’m a 30-year-old native of Miami, Florida and have been a loyal reader of OZONE since you first cranked it up. I’ve watched it grow considerably and I’ve seen the content get more and more in-depth. As an original Florida magazine, I’m proud of it. - Joe Fresh, via email (Miami, FL)

JB’s 2cents S

ince childhood, I’ve always been an avid reader. Even today, in the midst of the 24/7 news cycle where a million bits of information are all vying for my attention throughout the course of the day and threatening to destroy my focus, I try to occasionally take the time to set aside all the distractions. Next time you’re lounging on the couch and the millionth rerun of your favorite reality show comes on VH1 or MTV, turn it off and become absorbed in a good book instead. You’ll be surprised.


1. Mohawks Unless you live on a reservation with no running water, got a liquor store on every cliff, and have two names, like Bear Tracks or Soaring Eagle, this should not be your style of choice.

Me & TJ’s DJ’s at the BET Hip Hop Awards

2. Artists TURNED REALITY STARS I’m tired of seeing all these ex music-icons get reality shows. If we don’t wanna hear you in our disc changers, we don’t want to see you on TV either. 3. Chicks with Shaved Heads Cassie has every female thinking she can shave the side of her head. You have to be a one hit wonder and have a Hip Hop Mogul on your arm to pull off this look.

Kisha, Tasha, me, & Necole Bitchie w/ Too $hort in ATL

5. Holy Text Messages If I ignore your call/text, don’t try to send me a forwarded text talking ‘bout “If you believe in God you will send this back to me and 9 other people,” just so you can see I’m near my phone.


4. White Socks with Black Shoes Socks come in color options for a reason.

Me @ the Hip Hop Divas Award Show with Ludacris

6. People Hatin’ on Female Rappers When there is one female rapper out, people think adding another one in the game would be too much. But there’s 657,000,000 male rappers and no one rings the alarm. A Ray J sandwich w/ Necole Bitchie & me, lol

8. Multiple Personalities How are you happy in your status on Facebook but tweeting 60mph mad? 9. Leggings Leggings used to be used for ‘Get-up-andgo,” but now they’re used for “Get-Up-AndHOE!” I’ve seen them worn from clubs to weddings. I forgot what was worn before them. Wasn’t it called something like jeans? 10. Balloon Boy Little Falcon’s family knew what they were doing when they called CNN talking about he drifted off in a balloon. This publicity stunt just set him up for a multi-platinum rap album and a reality show.

Before OZONE, I spent a lot of time working for other people because I was afraid. I knew I had talent but I didn’t know how to translate those talents into a paycheck. I was scared to start my own company because I didn’t think I’d be able to pay the bills. When I started working under a graphic designer named Mert in Orlando, who had a local magazine, the thing that struck me was that he had no fear when dealing with clients. They’d ask for a price and he’d spit out a number. No fear. What’s the worst that could happen? They’d leave and he’d move on to the next client. I watched and learned. We all miss out on so many opportunities because we’re scared. Being bold doesn’t mean being stupid or risky. It just means overcoming your fear and taking that first calculated step. You can’t physically take on every project. We all have limited amounts of time and energy and you have to choose the wisest path and the most economical way to be as productive as possible. Like many people, I have no problem finishing or completing a project. It’s starting that’s the problem. I make lists of things I want to do and projects I want to work on but there are always doubts or fears in the back of your mind. Hell, even writing this editorial is a chore - what if my words aren’t captivating enough, I wonder? Fear was the underlying word for 2009. After the banks took a nose-dive in late 2008, despite Obama’s promise of hope and change, a lot of us worldwide still harbored fear, and it showed. Even though the economic crisis was real, attitude can make a big difference. Your mindset (and how hard you’re willing to work) affects your finances in a very real way. As the song goes, you might not always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need. Despite all that *fear* lingering in the air, miraculously, we all made it through the year and are still here alive and kickin’. What does that tell you? As we approached 2010 I made a comment on Twitter that it’s time for everyone to stop using the recession as an excuse. One person responded that only someone with no financial problems would say that, but that’s a false perception. It’s all a circle and no one is exempt. If record labels, promoters, artists, DJs, and the streets are hurting, I’m hurting. If we all keep a positive outlook and keep moving forward, we’ll all be able to keep moving forward. The whole concept of momentum intrigues me. I’m training for a marathon and one interesting thing I’ve noticed while running is that the best way to stay motivated when your body is begging you to stop is to run faster. Step it up. If you’re getting discouraged with lack of results in your life, the solution isn’t to go home and mope and watch TV and sleep. The solution is to push yourself harder in all aspects, and the inevitable results will encourage you. Do, or do not. There is no try. ;)


7. Predictable DJs I should not be in the club and know what song the DJ is gonna play next before they do.

Lately it seems like everything I read focused on one word: fear. Even looking at those four letters in print kinda grips you, doesn’t it? All the way from 50 Cent’s 50th Law (an updated version of Robert Greene’s classic 48 Laws of Power with more modern-day examples) to the daily motivational Scripture email blasts Ric Ross at Capitol Records sends out (a welcome change from the usual bullshit that pops up in my inbox every morning), everything my mind digested lately kept coming back to that same word. Fear. Fear and overcoming the crippling effect it can have on our lives and our growth, both personally and professionally.

Me, Aiyisha from DTP, and Jasmin from Global Grind @ Hip Hop Divas Award Show

- Julia Beverly, jb@ozonemag.com

Lil Wayne f/ Gucci Mane “We Steady Mobbin’” Lil Wayne f/ Drake “My Darlin’ Baby” Big Boi f/ Gucci Mane “Shine Blockas” Clipse f/ Cam’ron & Pharrell “Popular Demand (Popeyes)” USDA f/ Young Jeezy “Bag Music” Gucci Mane f/ Drake & Sean Garrett “In My Business” Pitbull “Hotel Room Service” Dave Flyer f/ RE “Her Music”


randy.roper@ozonemag.com Wale f/ Rihanna “Contemplate” WarrenJae f/ Playboy Tre “Sleep” Mike Posner “Drug Dealer Girl” Mr. Hudson “Instant Message”



The School of Creative and Performing Arts held their yearly talent show and MTV was there to film it. Kids from 10th grade to 12th grade displayed their talents from dancing, to singing, to instrumentation. Congrats to all and hats off to this year’s winners. Fritz Mob released the long awaited CD of FM Duke, packed with the lyrical genius of Scarface, Juvenile, Bushwick Bill, and the late Pimp C. The Editor of Street Fame Magazine announced its return in the year 2010. - Judy Jones (Judy@JJonesent.com)


Radio ratings came in and Foxie 105 is the #1 station in the city. Sister station K 92.7 (old and new school R&B) came in #2. However, the Rickey Smiley Morning show did pull in some numbers for The Beat. Around here high school football is a big thing. Carver High school destroyed Spencer High for the tenth year. This game is so big in Columbus that years ago, when a guy named Juvenile had a mega hit called “Back That Azz Up” and his group, which featured a young lad named Lil Wayne, came here to do a show, that happened to be scheduled on the same night as the game, no one went to the show. - Slick Seville (SlickSeville@gmail.com)


Rest in peace to K104’s DJ Nate Quick. DJ Cap at the Bomb in Big T’s is your official mixtape spot. Trai’d’s single “iDoobie” featuring OJ da Juiceman is already a hit in the streets. J-JUCE has the new club spot on the north side called Rolls Royce. Mr. Nike keeps local artists performing in the Ice Bar while Mookie is doing the same every Monday at Crystal’s. Monte Wayne is holding down Funkytown with Dummy Music. The mixtape circuit includes Tum Tum’s Tum Thousand9, Lil Twist’s Yearbook, and SHO.’s Bail-Out mixed by DJ Dre. Dorrough Music is in stores. Free Dirty Harriet. - Edward “Pookie” Hall (urbansouth@gmail.com)


The Ville is in full swing with the University of Florida back in session, adding an extra 50,000 students to the city every year. It’s guaranteed to make the club scene jump crazy. The new PD at MAGIC 101.3 is shaking things up, along with a new mix show director, as well as a whole new program line up. Trey Songz came through to promote his album Ready, which is officially an R&B classic. Trick Daddy and OJ Da Juiceman showed love to surrounding areas with performances at various venues. Trick Daddy also hosted Ridin High Volume 9 (pictured above), another classic put out by DJ Klarc Shepard. - Jett Jackson (g5jett@gmail.com)


So many birthday parties kept the scene alive with something to do every weekend. The Office kept Twitter Tuesdays jumping as well as hosted the album release party for Young Problemz, whose album dropped on the same day as Letoya Luckett. America’s Most Wanted Tour visited the city with super after parties at Bar Rio, The Office, and Isis. Young James, the youngest promoter in Houston, also ended the month out with an extravaganza featuring Hot TV at Crobar. Yung Redd of Swishahouse held a mixtape relase party for Eviction Notice 3.0 at Legends with Cubana Lust. - Ghost tha Hustla (ghostthahustla@tmail.com)


After having too many altercations, shootings, arrests, and shutdowns, the old Club Nitro closed and reopened as Club Elite Restaurant and Lounge. Elite is now the official home of the popular Big Bro Comedy Show. R&B sensation Foreva Asa performed his new hit single “Fallin” there as well. Trick Daddy performed at Club Hall for Labor Day Weekend. The Young Money Tour stopped through the area for the big weekend as well. The Touch of Class Club off of 41 is keeping Saturday nights busy. - Hollywood Red (era9880@yahoo.com)



Three 6 Mafia released their new video “Lil Freak” featuring Webbie. They shot the video in Memphis using locations from the Hustle and Flow movie, famous Beale St., and the Pyramid. Apparently Criminal Mane has been living in the studio since he recently dropped three new singles. “Trap Shit” featuring Lil Lody and DJ Squeeky, “Mad at Me,” and “Hot Potz” are all part of his mass release. He definitely knows how to make a comeback. Up-and-coming Memphis rapper 2Deep put out a raw video for his song entitled “Everybody But U,” so be sure to peep his new style. Miss B Hollywood is making her statement with a new mixtape Tipsy Off Tequila Vol. 1. I’m sure we can all relate. - Deanna Brown (Deanna.Brown@MemphisRap. com)


King South supposedly didn’t sign with Collipark and instead took a better offer from Warner Bros. 97.9 Jamz filed bankruptcy and listeners are worried they might lose one of the livest stations in Montgomery. Raheem the Dream put on one hell of a show at Flashback Friday over at Boomerangs. M.E.T.V. is the new show hosted by Maxximum from Boomerangs night club. This show has Alabama on their grind, showcasing local artists and their videos on the C.W. Artists to look out for are Lil Boone, Jabo, Ju, Chise Money, Conflict, L-Gin, King D, and E3. - Hot Girl Maxximum (Maxximummp3@gmail. com)


Cashville’s own Diablo, a.k.a. Supa, smashed the stage on BET for Wild’n Out Wednesday. Congrats to the NIMA nominees and winners as they held it down with informative panels and a good awards ceremony. Kandi spiced up John Merrit Weekend with Fly Major and First Friday. Playboy flooded the streets with his newest street album, while Dolewite and Scooby continued to raise the bar with the Socialite every Thursday at Karma. Concrete Magazine and Lovenoise celebrated their 5th and 6th Year Anniversaries and shut the city down with solid events and great performances from any and everybody. - Janiro (Janiro@southernentawards.com)


Major label artists like Rick Ross, Young Dro, and Yung LA, to name a few, have been coming through the city recently. In the local scene, Pyrex Press dropped his highly anticipated mixtape Cash Cow with DJ Schemes, while Nesia Beats landed the Executive Producer credit for Yung Joc’s Grind Flu. Nesia’s single “Right Now” is also making its rounds on Top 40 Radio. Team Fred continues to do it big. - Lola Sims (lolasims@gmail.com)

J-Scrilla, the beat maker extraordinaire, released a soulful new CD called Culture of Honor. J-Scrilla enlisted some of the city’s best lyricists (K-Beta, X.O., Lyriciss) to assist him with this project. Topp Dogg Hill rapper Rated R dropped the I’m Coming mixtape (left). Young I released the controversial Best Theft Secret EP to address industry rule 4080. DMV rapper/producer/manager and now filmmaker, Brother Maniac, has created a new movie: called 2 Makes Things Right which stars female MC Lady Dy. The Beat Ya Feet Kings brought the DC street culture to the world by performing on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew competition. Wale continued his media blitz in preparation for his debut album Attention Deficit. Wale recently performed at the Virgin Mobile Festival, and was also featured on BET’s new series Rising Icons. - Sid “DCSuperSid” Thomas (dcsupersid@aol.com)


Jean Baptiste and OJike, formerly of Richmond’s alternative band Infectious Organisms, produced “Heart of The Lion” and two more cuts on Kid Cudi’s debut album. DJ Mikemetic Kemetic rocks Mecca radio from 1am to 3am EST on Richmond Independent Radio 97.3 (wrir.org). Tri Cities’ Ashlie Luckett and the band Notorious rock the stage as the house band on 106 & Park every other Thursday 6pm to 8pm. Dolla Gang Entertainment’s J Nero shot the video for “We Runnin That.” The single is gaining momentum in the DMV (DC, MD, VA) area. O.C. Boyz’“Weasel Pop” single went into rotation on nine radio stations in the southern region. P-Nyce, a.k.a. VA General, CEO of So Heated Records, is promoting the new single “Bitch I Look Good.” - Atiyyah Wali (atiyyahwali@hotmail.com)


Craig Blac deserves an award for all he does in the community. He recently did the annual Community Cutz, which allowed students to get a fresh hair cut and school supplies before school started. German DJ, DJ Noize, is showing STL love as of late with three mixtapes dedicated to STL: Search & Destroy hosted by Murphy Lee, Stars & Straps hosted by Chingy, and STL JumpDrive hosted by Basement Beats. You can get all three mixtapes at www.MidwestMixtapes.com for free. Yung Ro had his video shoot for “Walk like a Model” which features one of the girls from The Love of Ray J show. Ray da Kidd has finally hit the streets with his new single “Kemo Sobie.” The party starter himself, DJ Sir Thurl, is back doing his thing over at Club Plush on the east side. - Jesse James (JesseJames314@aol.com)


Crystal Waters, Paul Porter, and SoundExchange.com stopped by Pirate Radio Invasion on USF’s BullsRadio to discuss H.R. 848 - Performance Rights Act, and its relevance to radio. Speaking of radio, WLLD switched from 98.7 to 94.1 on the dial. Javon Black teamed up with T. Geezey on his new single “Hustle All Day” and once again a Hip Hop legend has co-signed Tampa/ New York rapper Dynasty. DJ Premier included Dynasty’s record “Femcee” in his mix in consecutive weeks on his satellite radio show. - Slick Worthington (Myspace.com/SlickWorthington)


Meekness Music Group has taken over the streets with their newest mixtape The Live Mixshow. DJ Primo is grabbing the streets with his mixtape chopped and screwed series. The buzz has picked up around town about Fedel’s new music video called “I Live,” along with DJ Morph’s latest album entitled International. - DJ Civil Rightz (djcivilrightz12@yahoo.com)



“The only thing constant is change.” - Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher (535 BC-475 BC) “Wow! Our shit is fucked up!” - Wendy Day, circa 2009 1. The Absence of Retail From Our Economic Landscape: Whether you want to download music or not, that’s the direction it’s heading. CDs are going the way of vinyl, cassettes, and 8-tracks. Because downloads are seen by title on a screen instead of pre-packaged in a tangible format, the music business has switched from an album culture to a singles culture. Fans and consumers can pick and choose songs instead of being forced to buy 10 to 18 songs packaged together in a cohesive unit. If you want to sell more than singles to your fans, your shit is going to have to be an album of hot singles. Upside: Consumers only shell out 99 cents for the songs that they want. Artists can see exactly which types of songs their fans want and can offer more music in that direction. Downside: Some of my favorite songs are the ones in between the singles on albums that grew on me as I listened to them over and over. Now fans make compilations of songs they already like by their favorite artists—it’s like making their own albums by the artist. But it certainly isn’t how the artists intended us to be listening to their music. It’s no longer an art form to sequence albums perfectly because very few people will listen to their music in sequence. 2. Prices Are Plummeting… According to the RIAA, CD sales have declined every year for the past 8 years, falling 26% last year. Retail stores are going out of business very quickly. The remaining stores that do carry CDs are mostly big chain stores, so their focus is Top 40 (the mainstream CDs with the highest sales demand). Very few of the places where you buy music are meant to sell music. So you can pick up your CDs along with tampons and greeting cards, refrigerators or washer/dryers, or your weekly groceries at Wal-Mart (if the music has no cursing), Target, or Best Buy. CDs sell for $9.99 to $12.99. In an effort to compete, FYE is trying a new program in 75 of their 600+ stores: they are selling all CDs for $9.99. Upside: At least there is a place to go for those who still want to get their music on CD. When CDs first came into fashion, cassettes were phased out within five years. I can’t even buy a cassette today if I want one. Also, consumers want to pay less for music and instead of spending $17.99 on a CD that costs less than 30 cents to manufacture (not including marketing and promotion), they can now spend ten bucks. And lastly, the lower price point is forcing the major labels out of the music industry and leveling the playing field so smaller indie labels can compete. Whoever has the best music and can make it for $10 a CD, wins. Downside: A $10 CD means a wholesale price of $5 - down from a high of almost $12 ten years ago. CDs now retail for a lower price than what the wholesale price was 10 years ago. 3. …And The Labels Will NOT Be Taking The Loss From That Plummet: Almost every label is offering only “360 Deals” to sign artists, or for current artists who aren’t selling millions of CDs. A 360 Deal means the record label gets to share in the other income streams for artists besides just music sales. They get a percentage of publishing, a percentage of the touring and show money, a percent of the merchandising, sponsorships, and endorsements. Upside: As leaner, meaner, more profitable companies, record labels can do what they do best. Additionally, artists who have no access to investors and no business acumen to put out music on their own can still have a career. (although, arguably, at a high cost). Lastly, if you absolutely refuse to sign a 360 Deal, you can build your leverage so strong by selling your own music that you can negotiate another type of deal, or you can just do it yourself - finding investors and a



team of experienced people to help you is far easier than finding a record deal with a major label. Downside: Artists no longer just make 12% of the retail price of their CDs after they pay back all of the recording costs, promotional and marketing expenses, etc. Now they get to lose 50% of their publishing, and 10%-30% of their tour money, endorsement deals, and film/tv/book deal money. Where else can you go to pay back everything spent on you to build your career and then keep on paying out of every dollar you make? 4. Magazines Are Dying While Blogs Are Sprouting Up Daily: Bloggers are the new mixtape DJs. Just as mixtape DJs used to break new music back in the day, today it’s the bloggers. According to RapRadar.com, the Huffington Post of the rap blogosphere, there are 100 Blogs or Websites worthy of being listed in their “Blog Roll” list. This means anyone with a passing interest in rap and some writing skills (or not) can weigh in and have their opinions read by others. Upside: We get our news and information instantaneously. Voicing opinions have come into the hands of the people and have been taken away from the traditional gatekeepers. Downside: We sacrifice journalism, quality in-depth reporting, and sometimes accuracy for the sake of having instant information. Also, any idiot with a following can seem credible (Perez Hilton, stand up!) regardless of their training, their access, their ability to write or research, or their own agenda. Additionally, those who are reporting on the famous often want to be more famous than the famous people they are reporting on. And lastly, an industry that was lacking in journalistic integrity to begin with has entrusted information into the hands of sycophants, plagiarists, idiots, and whores (male and female). Oh, and a few very qualified people with integrity and fact checkers who do this because they love it. This is who and what we depend upon to get our “news” as it occurs. 5. Too Much Information: In an effort to get up close and personal with our stars, we have gotten, well, up close and personal with our stars. There was a time where there was some mystery and glamour to the façade of the entertainment industry. Now we have inner circle access to everyone with a reality TV show, videos to post on World Star Hip Hop, a Twitter account, and YouTube uploads. When did it become all about the check, fame whores? Upside: One can see the reality of what it’s like to be famous so we can either avoid it at all cost or go racing towards fame. People we thought we wanted to get to know - we can either get to know who they really are or avoid them. People with products to hawk and no shyness can go full-out to sell their books, movies, music, clothing, etc. Also, people who got into this fame-induced fantasy industry can fully realize their dream of having all eyes on them. Downside: Our image of the star is blown to smithereens. After all, familiarity breeds contempt (you may not know that, since the 48 Laws Of Power hasn’t been turned into a reality show yet). Also, we get to see how truly ghetto our stars can be…instead of just suspecting it. Things in life change. Either we keep up with the changes and adapt, or we become irrelevant. The upside is that new people coming into the business never knew any other time so there is no reminiscing over “better times” like my generation does. None of the changes in the music business have occurred overnight. We’ve all seen them coming and been given ample time to adapt and learn the new systems and approaches that work. One thing that has never gone out of style is hard work. Work hard and educate yourself—no, work SMART, and educate yourself. Then, you’ll find you’re ahead of the game no matter what the changes are. //

(above L-R): Jeremih & Willie of Day 26 @ House of Blues Chicago for the 106th & Park tour in Chicago, IL; Rocko & Monica @ Bocado for Monica’s Still Standing reality show premiere party in Atlanta, GA (Photos: Julia Beverly); Yung LA & Mike Bless @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s 15 Year Anniversary in Tallahassee, FL (Photo: Travis Pendergrass)

01 // DJ Q45, DJ Koolaid, Bigga Rankin, & Grandaddy Souf @ Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 02 // Kenny Burns, guest, & ladies @ Konsole Kingz’ XBox Event (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Swordz & J Baby @ Upstart Record Pool (Jacksonville, FL) 04 // Jagged Edge @ Bocado for Monica’s Still Standing reality show premiere party (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Cellski, The Jacka, & DJ Fresh @ the National Guard Armory (Kansas City, MO) 06 // D Woods, Mika Means, & Necole Bitchie @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Triple C’s @ 02 Arena (London) 08 // Dorrough & Bigga Rankin @ Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 09 // DJ Khaled & Rick Ross @ Triple C’s video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Ms Rivercity & Midget Mac @ Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 11 // Terri Sherman & Maguire @ Florida Music Conference (Miami, FL) 12 // Bama & Vawn @ Hoops 4 Hope (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Fatimah & her son @ The BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Guest, Jae Millz, Tyga, guest, Mack Maine, & guest @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Booba & Mercedes Streets @ Sobe Live for Tony Neal’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 16 // J Dash & Ms Dynasty @ Club Christophers (Jacksonville, FL) 17 // Pretty Hustlaz & PI Bang @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s 15 Year Anniversary party (Tallahassee, FL) 18 // Gabriel Hart & Benz on the set of Benz’s video shoot (Jackson, MS) 19 // Malik Abdul, Slick Em of Pretty Ricky, & Hutch Daddy @ Bash at the Bay (Toledo, OH) Photo Credits: Eric Perrin (19); Kool Laid (18); Julia Beverly (04,06,07,09,13,14); Ms Rivercity (03,05,08,12); Terrence Tyson (01,02,10,11,15,16,17)


CHIN CHECK By Charlamagne Tha God TRICK OR TWEET? Twitter is the worst thing to ever happen to you sensitive, emotional, fake-ass industry suckas. Twitter has killed the publicist, or at least made their jobs a whole lot harder. For the longest time, opinions and truth have been strategically weeded out of the music industry. But Twitter has forced all the artists who live in fantasy worlds come face to face with the reality of their makebelieve lives. You don’t have to read the comments when your song is posted on an Ozonemag.com. You don’t have to see what people are saying about your video on World Star Hip Hop or Dimewars, but it’s pretty hard to ignore someone sending you a message on Twitter. Not only is it hard to ignore, but if you don’t have thick skin and you’re not the type of person who could give a flying fuck what people say about you, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to respond and make yourself look like a complete and total asshole in the process. Think about it. Random comments on blog sites mean nothing because it almost seems like those people don’t exist. With Twitter, comments seem so personal. You can put a face with the name, and if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself embroiled in Twitter beef with some random fat kid from Kentucky who has no life. His one shining moment is the time he got his favorite celebrity to respond back to him on Twitter. Some of you celebrities probably hate it, but I’m going to tell you something: I enjoy it. It’s about time we let these so-called celebrities know the truth. It’s about time these so-called celebrities started listening to the public at large and not just their ass-kissing peers in the industry. Music is whack and stagnant because all the yesmen in these artists’ entourages are telling them everything they do is hot, and everything they wear is dope. But in reality, their music sucks and their jeans look like denim tights. If artists had real people around them and in their ears, trust and believe that shit would be a whole lot different. I could never understand why certain radio and TV personalities acted like everything that was out was hot. I never understood why these personalities never had the balls to say to an artist, “Yo, I’m not really feeling this album,” or, “This record is really not that hot to me.” I just couldn’t understand why they acted like they were into everything, and that’s when it hit me. Just like I stated earlier, truth and honest opinions have been strategically weeded out of the industry. Twitter has solved that problem. Many people go along to get along, and they don’t want to tell the truth because they don’t

want to damage a relationship. The truth of the matter is, you can probably strengthen a relationship by telling that person the truth! Sure, they might get offended at first, but only until they realize the truth is like a shot. That needle hurts at first, and if you tense up, it hurts even worse. But if you just relax, the medicine is good for you. I could never see myself getting upset about someone else’s opinion of me. If they do say something that strikes a nerve, it’s probably something I needed to hear anyway, but nobody else had the heart to tell me. A lot of times it’s God talking through people; planting seeds in our minds to change our ways. We’re too gassed up on ourselves and the people around us have our heads blown up so big that we won’t let our guard down long enough to listen. As a person with a voice in this game, I strive to give my listeners my honest opinions and the truth as I see it, even if it’s not a popular opinion. I don’t care if people in the industry get offended because I am not of the industry, I am of the people. The people have opinions and thanks to Twitter, their voices can be heart. I hope you silly-ass industry fucks are listening. Tweetfully Yours, Charlamagne Tha God Follow Me On Twitter www.twitter.com/cthagod

1. Ball and G

www.myspace.com/BallandG365 Whoever these guys are, they claim to hail from Augusta and Atlanta, GA, respectively. Meaning they either grew up in sheltered households or they chose to say fuck effort and name themselves after one of the rap groups that put Southern Hip Hop on the map. It’s one thing to be influenced by a group, but to completely imitate them is another. As for the music, it doesn’t sound great, but it’s not bad either. It’s standard, average Southern rap that gets performed at your local industry showcase and nowhere else. It might be worth a little bit of attention of they went by another name. Oh yeah, their latest mixtape is titled Menace II Society. Try something original!

2. Hell Bound Entertainment

www.myspace.com/hellboundent239 It’s one thing to say that your music is “hot as hell,” but this Fort Myers, FL company slogan is “music so hot it has to come from hell.” Just in case there are any Hip Hop-loving devil worshipers out there, HBE, LLC (yes, they are an actual LLC) lets it be known that the name “comes from the simple fact that we were all born hellbound but our entire purpose in life is to right all the wrongs and reach heaven.”

3. The Preachaholicz

www.executivemusic.com/preachaholicz.htm These guys are gospel rappers, so, we don’t want to say too much bad about them. But yeah, they tried hard with this one. Borrow from Tha Alkaholiks and sprinkle some holy water on it and this is what you get. Throwing the “z” at the end doesn’t make much senze either. by Maurice G. Garland


(above L-R): J Prince Jr & Trae @ Hot 93.3 Summer Jam in Austin, TX (Photo: Edward Hall); Rasheeda & Kandi @ Clark Atlanta University Homecoming concert in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Freddyo); Young Jeezy with his birthday gifts @ Aja in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Malik Abdul)

01 // JW & DJ J1 @ Velvet Room for Don Cannon’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Lil C, Young Dro, & Chelle on the set of Young Dro’s “I Don’t Know Y’all” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Kalenna of Dirty Money & Diddy @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Pitbull & Cindy Nuzzo @ The Ritz (Ybor City, FL) 05 // Fella & Ivy Box @ “Becky” casting call (Tampa, FL) 06 // Young Jeezy & Lil Bankhead @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Missy Elliott & DJ Q45 @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Rock City & Ester Dean (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Dorrough Music & 3Feet @ Balla Bash (Texarkana, TX) 10 // Plies & Fire @ “Becky” casting call (Tampa, FL) 11 // Inertia, Play & Skillz, DJ Asap & Ace Mitch @ Ultra Lounge for Dorrough & Dr Teeth’s BET Nomination Party (Dallas, TX) 12 // Triple C’s @ The BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Tasha Heran & BoB @ Morehouse Homecoming concert (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Tony Neal, Bigg DM, & Ron Stewart @ Stankonia for Big Boi’s listening session (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Partners N Crime @ JSU Athletic Center (Jackson, MS) 16 // Guest & Baby (Tampa, FL) 17 // M Beezy & crew @ FAMU Homecoming Concert (Tallahassee, FL) 18 // Rick Edwards & Roccett @ Triple C’s listening party (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Ms Dynasty & Vince Carter @ Club Christophers (Jacksonville, FL) 20 // Brittony Morton & Lil Hen @ the Nappy Boy Mansion for T-Pain’s birthday bash (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Edward Hall (09,11); Ericka Hicks (15); Freddyo (08); Julia Beverly (01,06,13,14); Malik Abdul (07,20); Ms Rivercity (02); Terrence Tyson (03,12,17,18,19); Travis Pendergrass (04,05,10,16)


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




BN” stands for Assholes by Nature. In Texas, it’s a movement. Not only is a movement, but it’s a street crew. It’s a family based out of Houston, Texas, but it’s combination of all different hoods, races, and gangs, all together as one. In some form, everybody has some type of Asshole in them, and if you rub them the wrong way it’s in their Nature to react and handle the situation as they see fit. It’s just in our nature. If you rub us the wrong way, we handle business. But on some real nigga shit, we’re some of the coolest, most laid-back cats you’ll ever come across. [My jeweler] George is King Johnny’s brother. George and Johnny know what I represent. They’ve seen me come up since I was a youngin’, a lil street nigga out here. They watched us come from getting our first piece of jewelry up until now. We just come up with ideas together. The last idea I came up with was the Boondocks piece. We set a trend with that. Nobody’s had a full three-dimensional piece before. My piece is like a Rubik’s Cube. You can play with it all day and move it different ways. One side is black diamonds, one is white diamonds, and the


white has gold around it. One side has blue diamonds, one side has yellow diamonds. You can actually play my piece like a normal Rubik’s Cube. The only difference is, even if you match them all on one side, there’s always gonna be one on the opposite side that’ll never match. We did that on purpose so that if you’re standing directly in front of it, you can see all the different colors. It was just more creative like that. It has 110 carats of diamonds and half a kilo of gold. It weighs over 500 grams, so it’s real heavy. It weighs more than twice what my Boondocks piece weighs. Real niggas never like to put [the cost] all the way out there, but I’ll say that on the appraisal papers, it’s been appraised for more than $80,000. I still have my Boondocks piece and all my other jewelry. Every piece I have, I keep. Those are memories, you know? From my first Trae G Maab piece until now. I’ll never, ever get rid of my shit. // As told to Julia Beverly Photo by SLFEMP

(above L-R): T-Pain attacking his birthday cake in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Malik Abdul); Trey Songz giving his management Chris Celestine a special birthday gift in Chicago, IL (Photo: Julia Beverly); Trick Daddy’s birthday cake in Jacksonville, FL (Photo: Terrence Tyson)

01 // DJ Nasty & Gorilla Zoe @ Florida Music Conference (Miami, FL) 02 // Swazy Baby & Double D @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s 15 Year Anniversary party (Tallahassee, FL) 03 // Young Dro, Lil Duval, Yung LA, guest, Clay Evans, Gabriel Hart, & guest on the set of their video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Milla & Miltikit backstage @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 05 // C Ride, Ed the World Famous, & Tony Neal @ Sobe Live for Tony Neal’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 06 // Ludacris loves the kids @ Hip Hop Diva’s Award Show (Atlanta, GA) 07 // New Boyz, Jay Rock, & Daz Dillinger @ The BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Lance Gross & Eva Pigford (Atlanta, GA) 09 // J Dash & Vince Carter @ Club Christophers (Jacksonville, FL) 10 // Charles Wakeley, BloodRaw, & TJ Chapman @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s 15 Year Anniversary party (Tallahassee, FL) 11 // Please Believe Me models @ Bash at the Bay (Toledo, OH) 12 // Rob Green & guest @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s 15 Year Anniversary (Tallahassee, FL) 13 // Slick Em of Pretty Ricky @ Bash at the Bay (Toledo, OH) 14 // DJ D-Strong, DJ Nasty, & Lenny @ Florida Music Conference (Miami, FL) 15 // Yung Ralph, guest, Montana da Mack, & Yung Joc @ Clark Atlanta University Homecoming concert (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Floyd Mayweather & Benny @ Velvet Room (Atlanta, GA) 17 // DJ Teknikz & Travis Porter @ The Ritz for Playaz Circle’s release party (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Dru Brett of the Runners, Jim Jonsin, DJ Khaled, & Danja Handz @ Florida Music Conference (Miami, FL) 19 // Zaytoven & Ms Rivercity @ Obsessions (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Eric Perrin (11,13); Freddyo (06,08,15); Julia Beverly (07,16); Malik Abdul (04); Ms Rivercity (17); Terrence Tyson (01,02,05,09,10,14,18,19); Thaddaeus McAdams (03); Travis Pendergrass (12)\


Are You a G? 7 Questions to FIND OUT if R&B STAR SEAN KINGSTON is the 7th letter of the alphabet. We put the baby-faced Jamaican singer to the test to determine if Sean Kingston is truly a G’. Make sure to check out Sean’s sophomore album, Tomorrow, in stores now. A. In the song “Take You There,” you sang, “We can go to the slums, where killers come from.”What’s the most murderous thing you’ve seen back home in Jamaica? I saw somebody get chopped in half wit’ a machete. [The fight] was over a parking spot. It was crazy; some guy took this dude’s parking spot, and he started arguing with him, so the next thing I know, the dude went in his trunk and got a machete. I was like, “Wooowww!” Blood was just shootin’ everywhere. Not much commentary on this one. We don’t need any indictments. B. Is it true that everybody in Jamaica owns a machete? Do you have one? (laughs) Everyone keeps one. You gotta have one on deck cause you never what could go down. But it’s not just for that, you gotta keep one for cutting coconuts and stuff out of the trees. Imagine Sean climbing up trees, hacking at coconuts? Not gangsta.


C. What would you do if a fan threw ice at you while you were on stage? Um, if a fan threw something on stage, I’d probably walk off and leave. When you come to do a show and fans start wild’n out, that messes it up for everybody else. That’s disrespectful, because people came to see the show. Sean owns a machete, there’s no reason he should honor an onslaught of ice on stage. D. Biggest loan you’ve ever given to a friend? Probably $15,000. It was my dawg, and he was down and out so I had to look out for him. We need a few friends like Sean. E. Have you made any lavish purchases that you regret? I wouldn’t say I regret it, but if I had to pick something I’d probably say my Phantom Rolls Royce. I’m never in it and I never drive it. I’m always on tour or in the studio. Wonder how many machetes he can fit in the trunk of a Phantom? F. What’s your worst addiction? Watches. I love watches. I love sneakers too, but I especially love big face watches. My Breitling is something that I can’t live without.


Sean Kingston is the only R&B singer to have appeared in OZONE’s Chain Reaction, and his self-admitted addiction to watches is a little too glitz to be gangsta. G. What female rapper has the potential to make you suicidal? I think the baddest female rapper in the game right now is Nicki Minaj. But Shawnna is dope too; I don’t think she ever got the look that she shoulda got. And I heard she got thick too, so I gotta check it out. Good selections, Sean. If you happen to pull either of them, your G’ status will definitely be upgraded. Score4/7 Despite his last name being derived from the corrupt capitol of his hometown, the glamorous jewelry and coconut tree climbing almost cost Sean a passing grade. But the 19-year old singer could care less. “My music is who I am,” Sean says. “I’m not trying to say that I’m a drug dealer or a killer. I’m not none of that. I’m a kid, who is from Jamaica, who moved to Miami, who just likes to have, party, and chill with girl. And my music is a representation of that.” Words by Eric Perrin Photo by D-Ray

Hood Deeds WORDS By Eric Perrin Over the years, Ludacris and T.I. have surely spent thousands to “make it rain” in Atlanta. But this fall, they used their money to fight the rain instead. As the city they call home was plagued with 8 days of persistent downpour resulting in massive flooding, multiple deaths and over $250 million in damages, the actor/activist rappers contributed more than what was expected of them. Together, Luda and the currently incarcerated T.I. donated $10,000 each, and in total raised over $105,000 to provide aid to victims of flood-ravished ATL. “As you know, both T.I. and I love Atlanta and are very concerned about the massive flooding in the state of Georgia,” said Ludacris. “We had conversations with several of our friends and asked for their support. They did not hesitate when we called and we received over $80,000 in less than eight hours. The Atlanta music and Hip Hop community, as well as the Hip Hop community at large, came to our support of the Atlanta flood victims.” Donations came in by the dozen from celebrities like Young Jeezy, Ciara, Jamal Crawford, Diddy, Chris Tucker, Gabrielle Union, Edward Long Jr., Shawty Lo, The Dream, Carmelo Anthony and La La Vazquez, David Banner, Russell Simmons, Anthony Dent, Jini Thornton, Tricky Stewart and his management, The Otis Redding Foundation, Team 20 Foundation, and Keyshia Cole’s Manager Manny provided substantial contributions. “We are working with the United Way, the Red Cross and school social workers to identify families impacted by the flood,” said Ludacris’ mother Roberta Shields, who is also the President of The Ludacris Foundation. “We plan to provide vouchers (LudaVouchers) for food, clothing and building supplies.” For years, the State of Georgia has been in dire need of rain, but no one expected such dramatic answer to the drought. In addition to private donations, FEMA has come to the aid of thousands of Georgians in need. //

(above L-R): Mike Epps & his wife @ The BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Young Dose & Lil Ru @ Upstart Record Pool in Jacksonville, FL; Skool Boy @ Obsessions in Atlanta, GA (Photos: Terrence Tyson)

01 // Yo Gotti & G Boy @ Obsessions (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Ralph Smith & Bigg V @ Southern Whispers (Greenville, MS) 03 // Javon Black & Lil Kee @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s 15 Year Anniversary (Tallahassee, FL) 04 // Ed the World Famous, Tony Neal, & Gorilla Zoe @ Sobe Live for Tony Neal’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 05 // Carol O’Connor & Aziattik Blak @ JSU Athletic Center (Jackson, MS) 06 // Clay Evans, Tiny, & Pee Wee @ Club Crucial (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Kid N Play & Busta Rhymes @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Gucci Mane & J Money on the set of Yo Gotti’s “5 Star Chick” remix video shoot video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 09 // DJ Holiday, DJ Prostyle, & Green Lantern @ Primal (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Tony Neal, Mr Collipark, Amir Boyd, Wendy Day, TJ Chapman, Jason Geter, B Rich, & Lex @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s 15 Year Anniversary (Tallahassee, FL) 11 // Bay Bay, Aziattik Black, & Benz on the set of Benz’s video shoot (Jackson, MS) 12 // Bigga Rankin & Swazy Baby @ FAMU Homecoming Concert (Tallahassee, FL) 13 // Mighty Mike, Dawgman, & DJ Slym @ Triple C’s video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 14 // DJ Storm & Eric Perrin @ The Moon for FAMU Homecoming afterparty (Tallahassee, FL) 15 // Hutch Daddy, Pretty Ricky, & Lyfe Jennings @ Bash at the Bay (Toledo, OH) 16 // Nicki Minaj & Wacka Flocka Flame @ BET Hip Hop Awards rehearsals (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Tum Tum, Big Hoodboss, & Lil Ronnie @ Hot 93.3 Summer Jam (Austin, TX) 18 // Freddyo, D Woods & Necole Bitchie @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Edward Hall (02,17); Eric Perrin (15); Ericka Hicks (05); Freddyo (06); Julia Beverly (10,13,18); Kool Laid (11); Malik Abdul (07,08); Terrence Tyson (01,04,09,12,14,16); Travis Pendergrass (03)


PLIES & PITBULL PITBULL: Como estas Papi? :) PLIES: No hablo espanol PITBULL: How you doin’ dog? PLIES: Hola. I’m in el studio PITBULL: Bueno! I need you on my new record papi. Lets get in the studio together! PLIES: Yeah, yeah, we could do that bra...I normally charge 50,000 for a verse, but since Im gon’ have to learn Spanish to work wit you, let’s make it a even 100 stacks. PITBULL: Ay Carrumba! Oh shit, that’s a mucho dinero! LOL!! PLIES: I’m trynna help you out essay. I don’t hop on just nobody record…Plus you ain’t had a hit since what, ’05? PITBULL: Why you callin me ese’? I’m not Mexican, soy Cubano. I’m Cuban. PLIES: My bad amigo, you know what I mean. PITBULL: What you mean I ain’t got no hits though, I got “Hotel Room Service” and “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)” all over the radio…don’t you watch MTV? PLIES: Naw, I don’t watch that telemundo shit and us goons don’t listen to Spanish radio, but since you got plenty money, I’m gon’ charge you 150 thousand for a verse, homes.

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

PITBULL: Besa mi culo, puto …Kiss my ass, Bitch. Hahahahaha I just playing wit u! PLIES: What kind of record do you want to do with me? PITBULL: I say we do a Spanish version of “Becky” called “Maria.” I can hear it now “Dame un Mar-ia” PLIES: Okay, that’s cool, we can do it for 100k PITBULL: Listen papi, I’m going to be in Tampa tomorrow, why don’t you just meet me at the hotel room and we can negotiate the price… :) PLIES: I’m not comfortable with the way you keep calling me papi. PITBULL: Adios papi, I see you tomorrow :-p From the minds of Eric Perrin & Randy Roper Photos by Julia Beverly & J Lash


(above L-R): Pleasure P & Jas Prince @ America’s Most Wanted Tour in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly); BG, Lil Boosie, & Snipe of the Chopper City Boyz @ JSU Athletic Center in Jackson, MS (Photo: Ericka Hicks); J Futuristic & Lil Meany on the set of J Futuristic’s “This Is How We Play” video shoot in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Ja)

01 // Bonecide & models @ Ultra Lounge for Dorrough & Dr Teeth’s BET Nomination party (Dallas, TX) 02 // TJ’s DJ’s crew Pat Benoit, Keisha Glinton, Keith Kennedy, & TJ Chapman @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s 15 Year Anniversary (Tallahassee, FL) 03 // Ben Franks, Sirrah Money, DJ Princess Cut, & Trai D @ Urban South Radio (Dallas, TX) 04 // DJ Nasty & Sam Sneak @ The Kufa (Saarbrucken, Germany) 05 // Young AC & Young Dro @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s 15 Year Anniversary party (Tallahassee, FL) 06 // Diamond & Don P @ Hoops 4 Hope (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Nicki Minaj, Yo Gotti, Rage, & Gucci Mane on the set of Yo Gotti’s “5 Star Chick” remix video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Meany & Yung LA @ Club Mariachi (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Fella & Trick Daddy @ Trick Daddy’s birthday party (Jacksonville, FL) 10 // Playboy Tre, BoB, & B Rich @ Morehouse Homecoming concert (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Yung Feddi & Shawn Marion @ Club Joyce (Dallas, TX) 12 // Clay Evans, Young Dro, & Buttahman with the owners of City Cutz barbershop (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Kadife Sylvester, EI, & Jarvis @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Candi & Lil DP @ Triple C’s video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Roccett & Greg Street @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Bigga Rankin, DJ Khaled, & Rick Ross @ Triple C’s listening party (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Plies & Benny @ Obsessions (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Swazy Baby & Papa Duck @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s 15 Year Anniversary party (Tallahassee, FL) 19 // Sofia Fresh & guests @ the Nappy Boy Mansion for T-Pain’s birthday bash (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Edward Hall (01,03,11); Julia Beverly (02,04,10,13,14); Malik Abdul (07,12,19); Ms Rivercity (06,08); Terrence Tyson (05,09,15,16,17,18)


Tyme waits for no man, but occasionally she will dance for one. Hailing from Calgary, Alberta, 20-year-old Tyme moved from her native Canada to America at age 13. Eventually, she made her way to Atlanta where she currently works as a dancer, but her ultimate goal was to pursue a career in music. It’s been her desire since childhood, and the main reason she moved to the city. “I came here for the music,” says Tyme. “That’s it. That’s all I wanted, and it’s still my dream.” In order to facilitate her dream, the Canadian import has been regularly working with a vocal coaching and spends as much time in the studio as much as possible. But unfortunately, she finds Americans to be much less friendly than our neighbors to the north. People down here [in America] are much crueler than people in Canada,” she laments. “In Canada, we’re very friendly, but people down here are just mean.” Still, Tyme is optimistic about her situation and even maintains a positive outlook after being accidently shot in the chest. The shooting, which is something she’d prefer not to speak much about, left her with a unique perspective on life. “It taught me a lot,” she admits. “And that’s why people call me Tyme—because I have time on my side.” Soon, the singer/dancer hopes to start her own a club, a laidback restaurant/lounge type spot much less “primetime” than her current climate. Though she realizes it’s a very difficult industry to penetrate, the club business definitely has its perks, especially since it would provide her music with an audience. For Tyme, dancing is temporary and music is paramount. Her attitude toward her craft reflects that of DJ Khaled. “I’m the best!” she says. In terms of her future success, only Tyme will tell. 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): Mario & Debra Lee @ The BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly); Gucci Mane, Monica, & Shawty Lo @ the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Freddyo); Too Short & Lil Scrappy @ Velvet Room for Don Cannon’s birthday party in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly)

01 // Rico Brooks, Micha Porat, & Gorilla Zoe @ Sobe Live for Tony Neal’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 02 // Kenya Cabine, Crystal St John, Drake, & Harmony @ Georgia Southern University (Savannah, GA) 03 // Block & Rico Brooks @ Florida Music Conference (Miami, FL) 04 // Plies & DJ Holiday @ Obsessions (Atlanta, GA) 05 // J Diggs, Wayne Loc, & Big Dante @ Velvet Room for Don Cannon’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 06 // Triple C’s & Grouchy Greg & Chuck Creekmur from AllHipHop @ Triple C’s listening party (Atlanta, GA) 07 // 3D & Roy Jones Jr @ Tree Sound Studios for their listening session (Atlanta, GA) 08 // DJ Q45 & Tity Boy of Playaz Circle @ Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 09 // DJ Drama & Summer Walker @ Primal (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Emperor Searcy & DJ Holiday @ Obsessions (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Guest, Sofia Fresh, & Mike Blumstein @ the Nappy Boy Mansion for T-Pain’s birthday bash (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Benz & the Collins Twins on the set of Benz’s video shoot (Jackson, MS) 13 // Boo & Screwww @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Choppa City Dolls @ JSU Athletic Center (Jackson, MS) 15 // Terrance, Vince Carter, & Renaldo Balkman @ Club Christophers (Jacksonville, FL) 16 // Swazy Baby & DJ Nasty @ FAMU Homecoming Concert (Tallahassee, FL) 17 // Mike Epps & DJ Greg Street @ BET Hip Hop Awards rehearsals (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Young Jeezy & Buttahman @ Triple C’s video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Young Dro loves the kids on the set of “I Don’t Fuck With Y’all” (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Ericka Hicks (14); Hussle Hard Ent (02); Julia Beverly (05,07,13,18); Kool Laid (12); Malik Abdul (11); Terrence Tyson (01,03,04,06,08,09,10,15,16,17); Thaddaeus McAdams (19)


How did you get into DJing? I got into DJing after watching the movie Juice. That’s what got me interested. After that movie me and my friends started getting up every morning and practicing. When I moved to Alabama, I didn’t have anyone to DJ with. I was on my own, DJing in my bedroom. After about a year I started getting into the clubs and then I met a DJ at the radio station who I would go and get vinyl from. I started interning at the station and I’ve been in radio now for seven years. What was it about Juice that made you want to DJ? Seeing how Q rocked the crowd and the people loved him. You know the competition he was in, right before they went and did that robbery [in the movie]? That’s what made want to do it, so I started practicing at my cousin’s house. What would you say is your claim to fame? I break a lot of music here [in Montgomery]. My mentor is Greg Street. I get music from different places that hasn’t broke yet, so I get it and break it here. I fuck with the local artists heavy too. I did a six-mixtape series called The Gump’s Most Hated. That’s the nickname for Montgomery, “The Gump.” You’ve talked about practicing in your bedroom, but how long did it take for you to get comfortable enough to actually DJ gigs? A lot of people think DJing is easy. It took me about two years to get comfortable going in the clubs and getting paid for it. I used to do a lot of shows for free or for $50. A lot of people get into [DJing] for the money or the hype, but it ain’t that simple. You have to do the free gigs to get your foot in the door. Well, judging by how many are out there now, it kinda does look easy to become a DJ. Well, yeah. But I think it started happening over the last five years. I got into it for the love. I was inspired by Juice and my girl was buying DJ equipment for me out of the catalogs. I didn’t want to do any clubs or get paid. I just wanted to DJ in my room or go DJ at my friend’s house. As it grew and I got into radio, it became a part of my career and I had to start doing it for money. But, in small cities, it’s bad. They’ll want you to DJ from 9 PM to 4 AM for the same rate than an Atlanta DJ gets for just couple of hours. That’s no fun. Then there’s DJs who don’t even know how to mix and just use a laptop. They’re getting paid, but probably can’t even name the four elements of Hip Hop. That said, what would you say is the advantage of being in a smaller market? People say I have a big advantage, but I’m trying to get bigger. People tell me I’m in a good spot, saying I can be a big fish in a small pond. I’d rather be a whale in a big ocean. Yeah, you can be the most known and get in everywhere free, but I want more. But, one of the advantages is that when any artist, big or small, comes through Montgomery, they have to come holla at me because they know what I do and what I can do for them.

Hawaiian-born, Alabama-bred DJ Frank White is the man you need to know when it comes to getting your music heard and respected in Montgomery, Alabama. Holding both Assistant Program Director and Music Director posts at WJWZ 97.9 Jamz as well has hosting his show everyday from 6-11pm, its almost impossible to visit and not see or hear him. Hoping to put his city back on the map (Dirty did in the early-2000s) Frank White has plans to make what he calls “statement songs” with the best that Alabama has to offer. Roll Tide.


Let’s talk about Radio vs. Mixtapes. Do you see these two worlds growing apart or growing closer? At this moment I see them growing closer together. We do music meetings every Tuesdays. For the last couple of months there hasn’t been a lot of big music coming out. I say it’s growing closer together now. Look at [an artist like] Waka Flocka. Five years ago he would not have gotten a shot. I think it’s giving people a shot who wouldn’t have gotten noticed years ago because all the bigger artists were taking up all the space. Artists like him and Travis Porter have built their buzz off mixtapes. When you do that, you end up making it to radio. A lot of people have it mixed up thinking they’re going to build their buzz by being on the radio. It’s the other way around. It has to be organic. // Twitter.com/djfrankwhite Myspace.com/djfrankwhite96 Words by Maurice G. Garland

(above L-R): DJ Prostyle & Rosa Acosta @ the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta, GA; Jim Jones & Freekey Zekey @ the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta, GA (Photos: Terrence Tyson); Ricco Barrino & Young Dro on the set of Young Dro’s “I Don’t Know Y’all” video shoot in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity)

01 // Young Jeezy & Boo da Boss Playa @ Triple C’s video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Triple C’s & Rick Ross @ 02 Arena (London) 03 // Laroo & Cellski @ the National Guard Armory (Kansas City, MO) 04 // P Reala, Floyd Mayweather, & Pee Wee @ Velvet Room (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Spark Dawg & DJ D-Money @ SoHo’s Lounge for Dr Doom’s birthday bash (Jacksonville, FL) 06 // Ludacris, Stephen Hill, Lil Scrappy, & Chaka Zulu @ BET Hip Hop Awards rehearsals (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Tiny, Toccara, & Toya @ ____ (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Pretty Money @ Club 112 (Tampa, FL) 09 // Fabolous & Young Dose @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Mon E G & Ms Dynasty @ Trick Daddy’s birthday party (Jacksonville, FL) 11 // Dee Sonoram, Dorrough, Dr Teeth, Bay Bay, & DJ Merk @ The BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Bizzle & guest @ FAMU Homecoming Concert (Tallahassee, FL) 13 // Sean Simmons & Young Joe @ Club 112 (Tampa, FL) 14 // Sweetness, Cole, & Ms Rivercity @ Upstart Record Pool (Jacksonville, FL) 15 // Gangsta Boo & guest @ Club Crucial for Killer Mike’s release party (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Bay Bay, DJ Merk, Dorrough Music, & Chucc @ Balla Bash (Texarkana, TX) 17 // TayDizm & T-Pain’s father Shaheed Najm @ the Nappy Boy Mansion for T-Pain’s birthday bash (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Huey & Weezy @ Bash at the Bay (Toledo, OH) 19 // J Rich reppin Jas Corleon @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Edward Hall (16); Eric Perrin (18); Freddyo (07); Julia Beverly (01,02,04); Malik Abdul (17); Ms Rivercity (03,15); Terrence Tyson (05,06,09,10,11,12,14,19); Travis Pendergrass (08,13)


When running down his list of production credits, Fat Boi names impressive placements with Flo-Rida, Gorilla Zoe, Jeezy, Rocko, Juvenile, and so on. But his work with Gucci Mane – most recently the “Wasted” track featuring Plies – has fattened up this Savannah native’s resume, and pockets. HERE, HE TOLD OZONE his story. I grew up in a musical household. My dad is a jazz musician. He’s a band teacher, and of course I was in his class, so he taught me music. I started DJing when I was in middle school. Being a DJ, you kinda see the reaction to certain types of records, so you can apply that into making music. I decided instead of playing the music that everybody likes to dance to, I would make the music. I already had a musical background, so I just started buying equipment—MPCs, keyboards, stuff like that. I basically started producing the way I would DJ. [I’m originally from] Savannah, GA but [I lived in] California, Florida, all over the place. I actually moved to Atlanta for the first time in ’97. I was just trying to make music industry connects, trying to get my face seen. Pure Pain Records started in ’98 and I went back to Savannah at that time. They had the artist Camoflauge and that’s where I caught my first major placement. I did a record for Camoflauge called “Cut Friends” in ’01 with Universal. After his passing, I stayed there another two years and then it was time to venture off on my own and get out of the in-house production side of things. That’s when I ran into my manager and partner Big Ron and


Rasheed McWilliams. We had some big plans and it worked out. I moved back to Atlanta in ’06 and the rest is history. A lot of people didn’t realize I did Camoflauge’s “Cut Friends.” “Takin It There” with Jeezy featuring Trey Songz, Flo Rida’s “All My Life,” “Tryin To Make a Jug” Gorilla Zoe, “Priceless” Rocko, “Drifter” Shawty Redd, which spawned into “Sexual Eruption” with Snoop Dogg, Juvenile and T-Pain “Everything,” those are more of my records. They pretty much know all the Gucci and OJ [da Juiceman] stuff. “Wasted” came together when we were working on the Writing On The Wall mixtape with DJ Holiday. Gucci had just gotten out [of jail] and he was coming in the studio every day. He said he had an idea, and asked what I would think about a song called “Wasted.” I told him if we do it right it could be how urban people say “get fucked up.” Instead of getting fucked up, they’d say “get wasted.” We let Plies check it out and he told Gucci the exact same thing. We built it from scratch and it was outta there after that. We all knew it could be a big record as soon as we did it. The impact was a little surprising. Being a DJ I kinda already knew it would have the clubs goin’ crazy; that’s why I put the DJ breaks in the record without DJs having to break the record. But I didn’t know that radio would take hold to it the way that it has. Content-wise we didn’t think radio would get into it, but they love it. Ever since we did “Vette Pass By,” which is the first record I did for Gucci, it’s been that kind of work ethic with us. With everyone else in the industry, you might send a track in email and they’ll

work on it from whatever city they’re in—me and Gucci never do that. We always build songs from the ground up. The same with OJ too. The perfect example is “Wasted.” We’ll get in at 1 or 2 o’clock [in the afternoon] and won’t finish ‘til 1 or 2 o’clock [in the morning]. By the time we knock off we’ll have 4 songs and a 5th one started. It doesn’t take us long. I’m working on Plies’ album now, and Jeezy’s new album. I’ve worked with Flo-Rida, Yung Joc, Bow Wow, Nelly, Yung Ralph, R. Kelly, Sean Garrett. I just had a two-day session with B.o.B. I’m still more of hardware user, just because I get a certain type of feel when I use hardware. I’ve slowly been converting to software, but with the MPC, I still have to bang pads. It’s kinda hard for me to play drums on keyboard keys. I can bring certain nuances and feels by hittin’ MPC pads. Phantom is my baby. I fell in love with that ever since it came out. I’m not gonna get into the different types of programs I use, but that’s pretty much my setup.

(above L-R): Shawty Lo & Juney Boomdata @ Primal in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity); Mami Chula & Young Jeezy @ Young Jeezy’s Adidas in-store in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Eric Perrin); Yo Gotti & Gucci Mane on the set of Yo Gotti’s “5 Star Chick” remix video shoot video shoot in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Malik Abdul)

01 // DJ Drama & Lil C @ Clark Atlanta University Homecoming concert (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Tank & the Strapp Models @ Bash at the Bay (Toledo, OH) 03 // Ms Dynasty & Chuck @ Trick Daddy’s birthday party (Jacksonville, FL) 04 // DJ Smallz, Bay Bay, & Benz (Jackson, MS) 05 // CeCe, Cole, DJ Q45, Sweetness, & Malik Abdul @ Plush for Sweetness’s birthday bash (Jacksonville, FL) 06 // Plies & DJ Q45 @ The Moon for FAMU Homecoming afterparty (Tallahassee, FL) 07 // Dallas & Trey Songz reppin Nuvo @ House of Blues Chicago for the 106th & Park Tour (Chicago, IL) 08 // Diamond & Lil Scrappy @ The BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Yung LA & BoB @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s 15 Year Anniversary party (Tallahassee, FL) 10 // Marlei Mar & the KYMP Kamp DJs with Malik Abdul @ Bash at the Bay (Toledo, OH) 11 // TJ Chapman & Double D @ FAMU Homecoming Concert (Tallahassee, FL) 12 // Young Cash & Mon E G (Jacksonville, FL) 13 // Smitty, Young Joe, & Richie Wess @ Whiskey North (Tampa, FL) 14 // Kingpin & Young Dose @ Upstart Record Pool (Jacksonville, FL) 15 // Big Dante, B Legit, & J Diggs @ Black Biker Round Up (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Stephen Hill & Snoop Dogg @ The BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Roccett & J Rich @ the BET Hip Hop Awards (Atlanta, GA) 18 // J Diggs & Vital @ Black Biker Round Up (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Gorilla Zoe & J Rich @ Sobe Live for Tony Neal’s birthday party (Miami, FL) Photo Credits: Eric Perrin (02,10); Freddyo (01); Julia Beverly (07,08,15,18); Kool Laid (04); Malik Abdul (05); Terrence Tyson (03,06,09,11,12,13,14,16,17,19)




HEN IT COMES TO Hip Hop, Milwaukee isn’t known for much else than Pimpin Ken making cameo appearances in rap videos. But nearly a decade ago Coo Coo Cal offered a glimmer of hope for THE city that’s mostly known as the setting for the 1960s show Happy Days. His single “My Projects” was A BIG HIT in the early 2000s but unfortunately bad luck and legal setbacks kept him from following through. But now, refreshed and recharged, Coo Coo Cal has returned, this time with fellow local legend Baby Drew to release a collaborative effort, Kokain KowboyZ. Distributed by Select-O-Hits and backed by InfinIte/TNT It’s Just Money Management, the project marks the return of both artistS to the national SCENE. Ozone caught up with the duo to speak on the rumors that haunt them AND THE REASONS MILWAUKeE HASN’T BLOWN UP YET.

is false. Then you have people speaking strongly on something they know nothing about. There’s people who didn’t want to see this collaboration happen. Even people who say they want it to happen, I can tell from their vibe that they don’t want it to happen. So I take it this album is causing quite a stir around the way. Coo Coo Cal: There’s a lot of buzz. It’s been anticipated for the longest. Before we even got the release date people was wondering about it. So when we got the release date it was a relief. Seeing as how people have been waiting a while to hear from you, and you speak of addressing rumors, will this be a very personal album? Baby Drew: It’s going to be more about what we do as entertainers, so not too personal. It’s gonna be very underground but it’s gonna be about the music.

It’s been a minute since we’ve seen or heard from you. What’s new? Coo Coo Cal: Right now me and Baby Drew are kicking off this Kokain Kowboyz project. We started working on it around March or April and finished it in August. We’ve got a big party planned for the release. In addition to that I’m working on a book called The Untold Truth that will come out next year. It’s also going to have an album with it. We’ve been in the studio recording for a while, but we just hooked up with Infinite and put it together. Since both of you are known as solo artists, how was it coming together to form a duo? Coo Coo Cal: It was love because me and Drew have always been the top artists out of Milwaukee. We had a lot of people rooting for us, and we had a lot of people trying to put us against each other. So it’s been a long time coming but it was like a hand and a glove. Baby Drew: My first experience in the rap game was being in the Country Boy Clique. I come from a group anyway, so it was cool for me. But with Coo Coo I just felt like it was a good opportunity. I’ve had underground exposure, but Coo Coo has had both mainstream and underground exposure. I figured working with him could help get me in that door. What would you say was the purpose or goal of putting out this Kokain Kowboyz project? Coo Coo Cal: The purpose was [to clarify] the rumors. We hadn’t been out in a while putting out an album. We decided to put an end to all the rumors and to shut the people up who wanted us against each other and to just be heard again. The more we come together the more we can be heard. Just like people from other regions come together like T.I. and Jeezy in Atlanta, we have to start doing the same. Out here everybody wants to be the chief and there aren’t enough Indians. But it’s coming together. Baby Drew: We both have good heads on our shoulders and know what makes sense. Teamwork makes winners. Since no one else in Milwaukee is working together, we have to lead by example. If we both have good followings, together we can make great followings. Ain’t no one gonna help you if you don’t help yourself. So we figured if we team up, everyone else will get on board too. What are these rumors you speak of? Coo Coo Cal: Well, I know you’ve heard the cocaine rumors. Some are true and some are not. We’re putting it all on the album. Every question is answered. People wondered what happened with certain label deals, what happened to this Benz, where did all this money go? We’re telling it all. Do you think those rumors came from a spirit of hate or concern? Coo Coo Cal: Both. Sometimes concern because some of it’s true, but some 32 // OZONE MAG

What are some songs we should keep an eye out for? Baby Drew: All the songs on Kokain Kowboyz have signifi cance. We’re talking about the drug seller, drug user, drug suppliers, the women. Every aspect of cocaine, we’re gonna cover it. It’s lyrically heavy too. Who did you guys work with on the project? Did you reach out to people outside of Milwaukee or keep it mostly home-based? Baby Drew: We reached out to some producers out of Tennessee and Georgia, but other than that, it’s pure Milwaukee. We tried getting features from some big-name artists, but that didn’t do us no justice. So we just kept it all Milwaukee. And the sound? Will we get a Milwaukee feel or did you guys go for a sound conducive to what’s out right now? Baby Drew: We’re allergic to coattail riding, so we stayed at home with it. We did want broad production from everywhere. But there’s no biting on the album. It’s born and bred here. It seems like working on this project was a breeze for you two. Should we expect more collaborations in the future? Coo Coo Cal: I can almost guarantee that we will be back at the table doing it again. Judging from the response we’ve gotten so far, it makes sense to do it again. We’ve worked together before in the past, but it just wasn’t for a whole album. Baby Drew: We’re just giving the engineers and equipment a rest. We ready. They had to kick us out of the studio. We’re just getting started. //

(above L-R): DJ Smallz @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s 15 Year Anniversary in Tallahassee, FL (Photo: Julia Beverly); Nicki Minaj & Yo Gotti on the set of Yo Gotti’s “5 Star Chick” remix video shoot video shoot in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Malik Abdul); Trey Songz @ House of Blues Chicago for the 106th & Park tour in Chicago, IL (Photo: Julia Beverly)

01 // Fella & Combat @ Ale Gators (Lakeland, FL) 02 // Jeremih & Lil Bankhead @ For Sisters Only (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Kevin Cossom @ Florida Music Conference (Miami, FL) 04 // LA the Darkman & Willie the Kid @ Bash at the Bay (Toledo, OH) 05 // Tum Tum @ Hot 93.3 Summer Jam (Austin, TX) 06 // Columbus Short @ 595 North for DJ Hero launch party (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Play N Skillz @ Club Joyce (Dallas, TX) 08 // George Lopez & Yung Feddi @ Club Joyce (Dallas, TX) 09 // Huey and the Strapp Models @ Bash at the Bay (Toledo, OH) 10 // Baby Boy @ For Sisters Only (Atlanta, GA) 11 // DJ Scream @ Primal for Triple C’s release party (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Derrty DJ D Hustle @ Word War Battle (St Louis, MO) 13 // Michael Watts & Yung Redd @ Hot 93.3 Summer Jam (Austin, TX) 14 // Trae @ Hot 93.3 Summer Jam (Austin, TX) 15 // Big Teach, Pitbull, & Bryan Leach @ The Tabernacle (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Guest & Trai’D @ Ultra Lounge for Dorrough & Dr Teeth’s BET Nomination party (Dallas, TX) 17 // DJ Daze @ Last Level Lounge (Waterloo, IA) 18 // Dr Teeth & Big Bink @ Ultra Lounge for Dorrough & Dr Teeth’s BET Nomination party (Dallas, TX) 19 // Lil Twist @ Ultra Lounge for Dorrough & Dr Teeth’s BET Nomination party (Dallas, TX) 20 // Mami Chula @ Young Jeezy’s Adidas in-store (Atlanta, GA) 21 // Nicki Minaj @ La Rumba (Atlanta, GA) 22 // Shawty & his kids @ For Sisters Only (Atlanta, GA) 23 // Magno, George Lopez, & Paco on the set of Ca$h’s “Walk Wit A Dip” video shoot (Dallas, TX) 24 // Rob G @ Hot 93.3 Summer Jam (Austin, TX) 25 // Rasheeda @ 595 North for DJ Hero launch party (Atlanta, GA) 26 // Lil Chuckee & his little sister @ For Sisters Only (Atlanta, GA) 27 // DJ Holiday, DJ Infamous, guest, & Chubbie Baby @ Primal for Triple C’s release party (Atlanta, GA) 28 // Chalie Boy @ Hot 93.3 Summer Jam (Austin, TX) 29 // Sun @ Hot 93.3 Summer Jam (Austin, TX) 30 // TJ Chapman, BoB, & B Rich @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s 15 Year Anniversary (Tallahassee, FL) 31 // VIC & J Futuristic on the set of J Futuristic’s “First Name Last Name” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 32 // Zaytoven @ Utopia (Atlanta, GA) 33 // Young Joe & ladies @ Whiskey North (Tampa, FL) 34 // Boo, guests, & Currensy @ the OZONE Office (Atlanta, GA) 35 // Bay Bay, Myammee, & Toccara of iKandi Models @ Club Joyce (Dallas, TX) Photo Credits: Chris OA (05,13,28,29); DJ Commando (17); Edward Hall (07,08,14,16,18,19,23,24,35); Eric Perrin (04,09,15,20); Jeevan Brown (32); Julia Beverly (30); Ms Ja (02,10,11,22,26,27,31); Ms Rivercity (21,34); Tammie White (12); Terrence Tyson (03,06,25,33); Travis Pendergrass (01)



(above L-R): Lo Fat @ Bash at the Bay in Toledo, OH; DJ Drama @ Bash at the Bay in Toledo, OH (Photos: Eric Perrin); Soufpaw & Dwight Howard @ Touch Nightclub in Jackson, MS (Photo: Soufpaw)

01 // Yung LA @ For Sisters Only (Atlanta, GA) 02 // LeToya Luckett @ Florida Music Conference (Miami, FL) 03 // Strizzo @ 1st Lady’s Birthday Bash (Tampa, FL) 04 // G Fresh @ Figure 8 for their mixtape release party (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Greg Street @ Primal for Triple C’s release party (Atlanta, GA) 06 // Dorrough Music @ Balla Bash (Texarkana, TX) 07 // Peter Warrick & Trick Daddy @ The Hall (Palmetto, FL) 08 // DJ Asap & DJ Krave @ Club Joyce (Dallas, TX) 09 // Fella & Big Gates Records crew @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 10 // B Hamp & Nina Z @ Club Joyce (Dallas, TX) 11 // Shanell @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Lil Twist & Goon @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Malik, Hutch Daddy Dolla, & T Page @ Bash at the Bay (Toledo, OH) 14 // M Beezy @ FAMU Homecoming Concert (Tallahassee, FL) 15 // DJ Teknikz @ Figure 8 for their mixtape release party (Atlanta, GA) 16 // J Futuristic & Lil Meany reppin OZONE on the set of J Futuristic’s “This Is How We Play” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Bay Bay, 3Feet, & models @ Ultra Lounge for Dorrough & Dr Teeth’s BET Nomination party (Dallas,TX) 18 // Hankadon @ J-Dash’s “Wop” video shoot (Miami, FL) 19 // T. Lewis @ Freelon’s for the Leo Birthday Bash (Jackson, MS) 20 // Kenny Burns @ Konsole Kingz’ XBox Event (Atlanta, GA) 21 // Young Dose @ Upstart Record Pool (Jacksonville, FL) 22 // DJ E-Top (Atlanta, GA) 23 // DJ Mystery Mix @ Last Level Lounge (Waterloo, IA) 24 // Ms April @ Club Dreamz (Jackson, MS) 25 // Trump @ Club 127 for OZONE party (Hickory, NC) 26 // Kinky B @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Atlanta, GA) 27 // Ralph Smith & ladies @ Southern Whispers (Greenville, MS) 28 // Miami Mike, guest, & Arab @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Atlanta, GA) 29 // Bigga Rankin on the set of Yo Gotti’s “5 Star Chick” remix video shoot video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 30 // Chucc & Dorrough Music @ Ultra Lounge for Dorrough & Dr Teeth’s BET Nomination party (Dallas, TX) 31 // Rob G & Michael Watts @ Hot 93.3 Summer Jam (Austin, TX) 32 // Chaka Zulu on the set of Ace Hood’s “Born An OG” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 33 // Ace Mitch & DJ Asap @ Club Joyce (Dallas, TX) 34 // Tity Boy of Playaz Circle & Lil Twist @ America’s Most Wanted Tour (Atlanta, GA) 35 // Treal @ Ale Gators (Lakeland, FL) Photo Credits: Chris OA (31); DJ Commando (23); DJ E-Top (22); Edward Hall (06,08,10,17,27,30,33); Eric Perrin (13,32); Julia Beverly (11,12,26,28,34); Malik Abdul (09,29); Ms Ja (01,04,05,15,16,25); Soufpaw (19,24); Terrence Tyson (02,14,18,20,21); Travis Pendergrass (03,07,35)


A True Story

by Julia Beverly


ohnnie [Cabbell] is the grand vampire,” proclaims legendary Chicago-based promoter Godfatha. For over twenty years, Godfatha has been promoting concerts through his company Star Power Entertainment Group. He estimates his losses from bad business deals with Johnnie Cabbell and Debra Antney to be nearly $100,000. “I don’t work with Johnnie anymore,” he states emphatically. “He sucks the blood out of you.” As the CEO of Hitt Afta Hitt (otherwise known as HAH), Johnnie Cabbell is Gucci Mane’s exclusive booking agent and also manages Bankhead rapper Shawty Lo. Johnnie’s “partner in crime,” Godfatha’s business partner says, is Debra Antney, who describes herself as Gucci Mane’s “business partner and manager.” As CEO of Gucci’s So Icey Records and the management company Mizay Entertainment, Antney also oversees the careers of OJ da Juiceman, Nicki Minaj, and others. Multiple promoters from across the country allege that Cabbell and Antney have collaborated to defraud them collectively of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

THE SO ICEY TOUR Scheduled for at least 12 cities in July 2009, the So Icey Tour was supposed to feature OJ da Juiceman, Nicki Minaj, and the headliner, Gucci Mane. It sounded promising. Gucci’s buzz was at an all-time high. He had just returned home from prison a few months earlier to ecstatic crowds at “Welcome Home Gucci” parties throughout the South. His artist/protégé OJ had been steadily building a buzz of his own and helping to keep Gucci’s name alive by flooding the streets with mixtapes and fresh material. They were both hot commodities. And in an industry nearly void of female artists, up-andcoming emcee/sex symbol Nicki Minaj was quickly building a name for herself, strengthened by her affiliations with Lil Wayne and Gucci Mane. The timing seemed perfect.

How a new breed of greedy artist managers and booking agents, led by Gucci Mane’s representatives, are sucking the blood out of the music industry. denied the rehab rumors and it’s still unclear exactly where Gucci was in mid-July, it’s clear where he wasn’t: He wasn’t on the So Icey Tour. Of the 12 scheduled tour dates, OZONE has confirmed that at least six, but probably more of these shows (Jacksonville, FL; Pompano Beach/Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Louisville, KY; Chicago, IL; Baltimore, MD; and Detroit, MI) never happened, leaving furious promoters demanding refunds. That’s a less than fifty percent success rate. “People get fired for those type of numbers in baseball,” laughs Baltimore attorney Paul W. Gardner (left), of the Gardner Law Group. Gardner spoke to OZONE on behalf of his client, who also lost “a significant sum of money” by booking the So Icey Tour for a stop in Baltimore on July 18th, the day before word of Gucci’s alleged re-incarceration leaked on the ‘net. “[About] four days before the event, [Cabbell/ Antney] said that [Gucci] might not show up,” says Gardner. “Later we found out it was because he was in some sort of rehab facility.” Gardner declined to reveal the exact amount of the deposit, but based on other promoters’ experiences, it is reasonable to assume his client’s total losses were in the range of $40,000-50,000. When Gardner’s client attempted to reschedule the date, So Icey suddenly changed their story. “They said, ‘How can we reschedule something we don’t have the [deposit] for?’” he laughs. It’s a theme that is repeated over and over in other promoters’ stories: after months of contracts, wire transfers, and conversations, Cabbell/Antney suddenly played dumb, either pointing the finger at each other or hiding behind a complex web of multiple contracts with middlemen.

But by all accounts, the “tour,” organized by a Carolina-based promoter named Shannon Marshall, was a mess and fell apart almost immediately. None of the artists showed up for the first two Florida dates (July 4th & 5th), leaving veteran promoter Mr. CC (who, like Godfatha in Chicago, has been successfully promoting concerts for over 20 years) with losses of over $140,000. He claims that nearly half of that money, around $70,000, is in the hands of Cabbell/Antney, who refuse to return the deposits or reschedule his dates.

The So Icey Tour dates were officially contracted through two other entities: reputable New York-based booking agency Ujaama Entertainment, and the much less reputable third-party agent Shannon Marshall. Both of them apparently kept a small percentage of the deposits as a booking fee before sending the bulk of the funds to Cabbell/Antney, presumably to secure all three artists. Because of the complicated paper trail, most of the various promoters’ attempts to legally retrieve their deposits have been difficult and thus far unsuccessful.

On July 19th, 2009, midway through the scheduled tour dates, Soulja Boy tweeted, “My nigga Gucci back in jail. Free Gucci.” (right) Rumors quickly spread that Gucci had again violated the terms of his probation and was back in jail (or rehab). Although Gucci’s management and label Gucci Mane’s November 2009 mugshot 36 // OZONE MAG

“I’m not sure if it’s on purpose,” notes Attorney Gardner, “but [the way the contracts are written up] are very nasty and sinister. It’s multi-layered. From a legal standpoint, when someone does something wrong to you, you can sue that person. Person A sues Person B; laymen understand that [concept]. But the problem arises when a middleman is included and the person on the backend does the harm. Person A has to sue Person B to get to Person C, but in this situation, Person B’s contract says ‘You can’t sue me.’ With the [So Icey Tour] contracts, Person A is the promoter. Person B is Ujaama [and/ or Shannon], Person C is Johnnie, Person D is Deb, and E is the artist.” For this reason, he explains, proceeding with a lawsuit is both a difficult and costly endeavor. “Because of the difficulty of the third-party situation, I have to prove which party has the money,” he explains. “Or maybe it’s all of them.” Complicating the matter even further, the agents’ contracts state that they cannot be sued in the event of a breach of contract. Although this clause is standard in most booking contracts where the agent is only a broker for the artist, Gardner advises his clients to cross it out before signing. “You can’t do business with people you can’t sue,” he says. “It’s legally impossible.” Ujaama’s attorneys have advised them not to comment on the matter due to pending litigation. Shannon Marshall, who did not return numerous calls for comment, appears to be in hiding. Most of the promoters interviewed have not been able to reach him at all since the cancelled tour dates. “I guess Shannon was a guy that got caught up with them thinking they were good businesspeople over there at Mizay Entertainment and found out they weren’t,” theorizes Godfatha. “They were double-booking shows and Johnnie was taking all the deposits.” Unanimously, the disgruntled So Icey Tour promoters say their money vanished into the hands of Cabbell and Antney. Although the initial deposits were wired to Ujaama, most of the promoters have seen confirmed wire transfer receipts that verify the money ended up in Antney’s bank account. Many have done business with Ujaama for years and never experienced similar issues. “I’ve dealt with Ujaama [before] and never had a problem, so if they say they [sent] the money to the next person, I tend to believe them,” adds Attorney Gardner, who compares the scenario to the sleight-of-hand shell game (left) practiced by street magicians. “It’s like being on the beach and watching the guys with the coconut shells. We just don’t know whose hand is on the coconut.” “I’ve had a great relationship booking artists with Ujaama for over ten years and I really didn’t wanna get into a legal battle with them. [In the past,] if [an artist] didn’t show up, Ujaama promptly refunded my money. But this? This is a nightmare,” says a frustrated Mr. CC. “I’m out so much money right now that I don’t have a choice. Legally, I have to sue Ujaama. Then Ujaama has to sue Shannon, who disappeared, and then Shannon’s gotta sue Gucci’s management.” Godfatha, while emphasizing that his Ujaama representative Dave Nelson is “a good dude,” blames the fiasco on Cabbell/Antney. “[Ujaama] did a good job of trying to sit down and work the [So Icey Tour] situation out, but [Johnnie and Deb] didn’t want to. If you had $300,000 in deposits, would you want to ‘work it out’?” he asks. “Who’s going to come down to Atlanta and mess with an old lady and go to jail? That’s why you have to sue [Deb]. Everybody else is suing her too.”

Attorney Gardner agrees that hundreds of thousands of dollars appear to have vanished. “The one [deposit] my client sent was a significant sum, and if you multiply that by a 10+ city tour, that’s a hefty bill they have to return. Somebody has the money and can’t repay it,” he reasons. “I don’t know if it’s Johnnie, Deb, or Ujaama. We don’t know how deep the rabbit hole goes, but what’s in the dark always comes to light. If my client decides to sue, we will get to the bottom of it. Multiple defendants always end up telling on each other.”

MODERN DAY SLAVERY While it’s clear that Ujaama, Shannon, Cabbell, and Antney all received a piece of the So Icey Tour pie, it’s unclear how much – if any – of the initial hundreds of thousands of dollars in show deposits actually went to the artists. It appears that none of it went to OJ da Juiceman or Nicki Minaj, and it’s questionable how much the headliner Gucci received, if any. Chicago-based John Mosley of Power Move Promotions, a.k.a. John Doe, believes Gucci received little or nothing of the upfront deposits. Since 1997, Mosley has been successfully promoting events in Chicago, Miami, and Atlanta with artists like R Kelly, Jeremih, Twista, Too Short, Gorilla Zoe, and Plies. He partnered with Godfatha for the Chicago So Icey Tour date. Although he didn’t reveal the source of his information, Mosley claims that Gucci is locked into a 360 deal with So Icey/Asylum/Warner, and a good portion of the initial show deposits goes to the label, So Icey, which Deb controls. “Gucci Mane is a slave, man,” says Mosley. “Call him and ask him how much of the [show deposits] he’s actually getting.” 360 deals, which are the norm in today’s digital music world, guarantee record labels a percentage of their artists’ revenue from many different sources, including touring. A high-ranking executive at Warner Music Group wouldn’t disclose the exact terms of Gucci Mane’s deal, but did confirm that 360 deals are now standard. “All new [record] deals are inclusive to everything [including a percentage of show monies]. It’s a full-fledged deal,” says the exec. If true, it would appear that large portions of the show deposits (the 50% upfront) are being pocketed by Cabbell and Antney, and the artists themselves don’t get paid at all until they actually show up for the show and receive the back-end money – which could explain why Cabbell/ Antney don’t appear to be too concerned if the shows actually happen. Another source familiar with 360 deals at WMG doubted that Warner itself would have received a portion of the show deposits, stating that the artists’ performance revenue isn’t closely monitored by the major label. Regardless, “I’m sure Gucci never saw any portion of the deposit,” insists Attorney Gardner. “The artist [only] gets the back end when he shows up [to the show]. I’ve seen it [in other situations]. The label tells the artist, ‘You have fees.’ It’s just business. If Gucci owes them $10,000 for bottles or flights or jewelry, they’re gonna take 100% of what’s owed out of the [deposit].”

FEDERAL FRAUD The most sinister element of the scenario is the fact that it appears Antney/Cabbell continued accepting show deposits throughout much of the Fall 2009, fully knowing that Gucci would not be able to leave the state of Georgia. They allegedly told one promoter that they were simply “hoping” the judge would clear Gucci Mane’s legal obligations. According to Attorney Gardner, conspiracy to commit federal fraud (which can bring both civil and criminal charges) “involves two or more people coming together to fraudulently take someone’s money.” Accepting deposits and signing contracts for show dates that legally cannot happen is fraud, and money has been wired across state lines, potentially making it a federal offense. Taking it a step further, Gardner implies that Gucci himself could be liable for criminal fraud charges, even though he didn’t personally sign the contracts. “The state [of Georgia] already has Gucci [imprisoned], and the Feds are licking their chops to get him on something,” notes Gardner, who is also advising his clients to demand that artists personally sign booking contracts in addition to their management. “If you want to hire Gucci Mane, there should be one page with Gucci Mane’s signature saying, ‘I know about this date, and I agree to be there.’ Tie him into it legally.” Attorney Gardner notes that both he and his client had previous dealings with Deb, before her stint as Gucci Mane’s manager, which were “extremely

Cabbell emailed this “So Icey Tour” schedule to promoters in June 2009 OZONE MAG // 37

positive.” So although his client is not currently pursuing criminal charges, Gardner adds, “I wouldn’t play with it [if I were them]. I’d say Johnnie, Deb, and Gucci need to meet and figure out where the money is, [because] any attorney that really wants to spend some time on this could make things interesting for them.”

PITTSBURGH, PA Even if Gardner’s client chooses not to go that route, it appears that Pittsburgh attorney Jim Cook, who represents promoter William Marshall of B. Marshall Productions, is preparing to “make things interesting” for Deb and Johnnie. Marshall, along with his partner Derrick Brown of Rock Star Entertainment, invested nearly $50,000 for two Gucci Mane dates that never happened. Their pending lawsuit alleges that “[Radric ‘Gucci Mane’] Davis/Cabbell/Antney have continued to book shows, take money from other associates & clients, refuse to return deposits or lost promotion expenses, and reschedule show dates, although they are/were aware that Gucci Mane is not allowed to leave Georgia..thereby committing a state and federal fraud.” In addition to a civil lawsuit on behalf of Marshall, Cook is threatening to turn the case over to the Pennsylvania Attorney General and the FBI for investigation into criminal fraud charges. In June 2009, Marshall wired $27,500 to Hitt Afta Hitt and So Icey Entertainment to book Gucci Mane for a show on August 22nd, 2009. He also spent an additional $13,500 to begin promoting the show and secure the venue. About a month later, in mid-July, Marshall heard the rumors of Gucci Mane’s imprisonment and immediately contacted Johnnie and Deb, concerned about his $41,000 investment. On August 5th, Deb and Johnnie assured Marshall both verbally and in a written letter on HAH letterhead (below) that the show was “in good standing” and would proceed. They also offered similar assurances to G. Rowell, an associate of Marshall’s in Washington D.C. who had another upcoming Gucci Mane show. Based on these guarantees, Marshall continued spending money to promote the event. Just two days before the scheduled date, he was notified by Deb that Gucci Mane would not attend. She refused to return his $27,500 deposit or cover any of the $13,500+ he lost promoting the show.

“Why are [they] continuing to book shows and Gucci Mane doesn’t have movement yet?” asked Godfatha, during our interview in late October. “What if the judge says no when he goes to court?” It appears Cabbell/ Antney continued scheduling dates for Gucci, including Birmingham, AL, Chicago, IL (Nov. 19th), Lakeland, FL (Nov. 28th), and Houston, TX (Dec. 27th), even as he was legally unable to leave the state of Georgia. And as it turns out, the judge did say “no.” On November 12th, 2009, Gucci was led away in handcuffs from a court hearing and sentenced to twelve months in prison (he may only be required to serve six months; his lawyer, Dwight L. Thomas, is optimistic and told MTV News that Gucci could possibly be released as soon as the first of the year with good behavior). The second paragraph of Marshall’s contract with Hitt Afta Hitt explicitly states, “In the event that Artist fails to appear, 100% of the show money is guaranteed to be refunded to the Purchaser.” But despite the written guarantee, as of press time, Marshall has not been refunded the $27,500 deposit that Cabbell/Antney have held for over six months, not to mention the money he lost on promotion, the credibility he lost as a promoter, and the money he could’ve made had he invested those funds elsewhere.

FLORIDA Around the same time B. Marshall sent his Pittsburgh deposit, Florida promoter Mr. CC of Mr. CC Productions (right) says he wired $105,000 to the Shannon/Ujaama/ Cabbell/Antney collective to secure three consecutive dates on the So Icey Tour - July 4th (Pompano Beach), 5th (Jacksonville), and 6th (Orlando). According to Mr. CC, his contract with Shannon Marshall – who then had contracts in turn with Ujaama, Cabbell, and Antney - stated that the total $55,000 fee was all-inclusive, meaning that CC was not responsible to pay additional travel expenses (OZONE was not able to obtain copies of these contracts and was therefore unable to verify the specifics of the travel arrangements). On July 4th, says Mr. CC, “I spoke to Shannon the evening of the [first date] and he said [the artists] were on their way.” He never heard from Shannon again and the artists never showed up. Frantic, he tried to contact Ujaama, So Icey, and Hitt Afta Hitt – and the following day, no one showed up for the second date either. By the time Mr. CC finally got in touch with Johnnie, he says, word had spread that Gucci and co. were no-shows for the tour dates. “[Johnnie] told me the artists didn’t come [to Jacksonville and Pompano Beach] because we didn’t send them travel money,” reveals Mr. CC, who says that his reaction was one of shock. “’Travel?!? My contract doesn’t say anything about travel. It’s all inclusive. It’s stated specifically in our contracts!’ They said my contract [with Shannon] was wrong.” Johnnie told him the only way to make the Orlando date happen was to send $10,000 – that same day – for travel expenses. To salvage his name, Mr. CC paid the $10,000 immediately and Gucci and OJ did perform in Orlando on July 6th (but no Nicki Minaj – Johnnie refunded Mr. CC only $3,000 for Nicki’s no-show, while during the same timeframe, he was charging promoters upwards of $7,500 to book her). The previous no-shows, CC says, seriously hindered the turn-out. “We lost $30,000 in Orlando,” he sighs, noting that the local crowd didn’t think the artists were coming. “Those other two Florida no-shows directly affected the Orlando date.”

“At no time would Cabbell/Antney explain Gucci Mane’s confinement or restriction or the length thereof, and both were aware that Gucci Mane could not make the Pittsburgh or DC show dates when they issued the letters [on August 5, 2009],” Marshall’s pending lawsuit continues. Several weeks later, Marshall was issued a new contract for a rescheduled date and guaranteed a video drop to help salvage his reputation in the city. Video and/or audio drops are typically used by promoters on radio or TV commercials to prove to local fans that the show is legitimate (for example, “Hey, this is Gucci Mane, and I’ll be in Pittsburgh on November 7th!”) After two months of waiting for the video drop, which was never received, Gucci was again a no-show for the rescheduled date.


“Johnnie and Deb admitted that they did receive the [deposits] for all three dates. No one ever called me [prior to the shows] about travel [expenses],” insists Mr. CC. “Not once. They had all my information and nobody called me, so I had no idea [that travel was an issue].” Between the $30,000 loss in Orlando, the $35,000 Jacksonville deposit, the $35,000 Pompano deposit, and an estimated $40,000 he spent securing venues, radio commercials, flyers, and other forms of promotion, Mr. CC calculates his losses to be over $140,000. And on top of that, he alleges that Johnnie personally robbed him of an additional $5,000. “I said, ‘Look, man. I just need those two makeup dates because I’m out a lot of money. I’ll deal with the travel,’” recalls CC. “He said if I sent him a $5,000 [booking fee], he would work it out for me. He didn’t work it out, and now he refuses to refund my $5,000. He’s lost his damn mind, because I’ve never heard of that in my life. Holding money for a booking fee for an event that never happened?”

CC even agreed to pay the additional $10,000 travel fee per date, even though he says it wasn’t included on his initial contract, just for the opportunity to try to recoup some of his losses. “I just want my damn dates!” he exclaims. After months of getting the runaround from Johnnie, who insisted that he would reschedule, the story suddenly changed. “Now he’s blaming it on Ujaama and Shannon. He’s saying, ‘We didn’t get paid for travel, so it’s a breach of contract. We don’t have to give you back your money.’”

ibility to the promotion. “The city of New Orleans thought it was a fake [Gucci show], just some bullshit, because I didn’t have any [drops].” Also, when he brought the balance of $17,500 cash to Gucci Mane’s road manager G-Boy on the day of the show, he was told that he had to pay an additional $3,500 for travel or Gucci Mane would not perform. Peak’s contract does state that he was responsible for travel – however, he claims that So Icey/ Hitt Afta Hitt never told him the cost or details of the travel even after repeated calls to their offices inquiring.

“I guess I have to do a lawsuit that includes everybody,” sighs Mr. CC. “I have to go after all of them for my money and let the judge decide who’s gotta pay. Somebody’s gotta pay for damages – potential earnings and the losses I incurred while going through all of this.”

Some people have successfully booked shows through Cabbell. “We haven’t booked Gucci Mane, but I haven’t had any issues dealing with Johnnie Cabbell or Hitt Afta Hitt when I’ve booked Shawty Lo through them,” states Amy Jurkofski of Atlanta-based booking agency The Music Group. Tallahassee, FL promoter Willie McKenzie, who booked Gucci Mane to perform at Florida A&M University’s homecoming this past October, received his deposit back (from a third-party booking agency, not Hitt Afta Hitt) when Gucci was unable to perform due to his legal troubles.

Gucci Mane’s road manager G-Boy (left) and Johnnie Cabbell (right)

Cabbell told Atlanta newspaper Creative Loafing, which briefly investigated the fraud allegations, “I’ve been doing business since 2002, and I never [before] had a problem with any promoter.” But OZONE found plenty. “If any promoter deals with [Johnnie Cabbell], [it’s because] they just don’t know. I’m not gonna do business with him ever again. I’m done,” says Mosley. Several promoters didn’t want to speak on the record to avoid “burning bridges” or damage pending dates, but many have a negative impression of Cabbell as a businessman. One word that kept coming up over and over again: “disrespect.” And phrases like, “I just don’t like his attitude.” At worst, Johnnie Cabbell is conspiring with Debra Antney & co. to commit federal fraud. At the very least, he’s a liar, according to promoter Jesse Peak (left). “That whole camp is fucked up. Johnnie is someone who continually tells you he’s gonna do something and then doesn’t do it. He promised me 200% support [on my show],” says Peak, who followed up a successful Plies show in Orlando by booking Gucci Mane in New Orleans in May 2009. In early 2009 when he sent a deposit for Plies [to his booking agent Coach], he promptly received a phone call with a voice drop, an email with eight pre-recorded studio drops, and met Plies at a local radio station to film a video drop for promotional TV commercials. Impressed with Plies’ camp and their professionalism, he then contacted Gucci Mane’s agent expecting the same courtesy. “I told [Johnnie], ‘This is what I expect from you.’ He promised me radio drops as soon as I sent my deposit. They promised video drops so I [paid extra] to book TV commercials,” recalls Peak. But after sending his $21,000 deposit, weeks went by with no response. Finally, HAH directed him to the Mizay/So Icey office, where he also spent several weeks calling with no response. “Once Johnnie gets your money it’ll be at least a week before he picks up his phone again,” concurs Godfatha, who also never received drops for multiple Shawty Lo shows before his attempted Gucci Mane booking. “Johnnie must be busier than damn [Barack] Obama,” snorts Mr. CC. “I have to call eight or ten times before I can get him on the phone, and he’s always ‘busy.’” According to Peak, his show’s turnout suffered without drops to add cred-

“Johnnie came to me for advice on how to do [bookings],” says Coach of Florida-based Direct Connect Entertainment, a reputable agent who has been booking shows for over 15 years. Currently, Coach is Plies’ exclusive booking agent (pictured at left together). “I’m not saying I trained [Johnnie], but I kinda lectured him on the business when he first started out,” Coach recalls. “And as far as what he does [now] I’m not 100% pleased, and he knows that. He’s never put me in a bad position, but I’m hearing stories from other people saying that he has. He’s never done me wrong, I guess because of his respect level for me or because he knows I wouldn’t tolerate that type of behavior.” Pittsburgh promoter B. Marshall agrees. “[Johnnie] does a lot of deals with dope boys because he knows they won’t go the legal route. He wouldn’t try to pull some of these moves on [someone like well-known Atlanta promoter] Alex [Gidewon of AG Entertainment] because he won’t get away with it.” Some of Cabbell’s affiliates defend him. “I think [Johnnie’s] reputation comes from being a hard-nosed businessman,” says South Carolina DJ Chuck T. “He’s known for having crazy ass riders… but he’ll bring in one of the lesser-known groups he fucks with and have them open up. So basically you get a good deal on booking artists but at the expense of bringing one of his new artists and paying for their shit.” Marcus “Rip” Rippy, of Hoodrich Entertainment, echoes the same sentiment. “I’ve seen Johnnie at work and I can understand why some people could feel the way they do. But the truth is that he goes hard for his artists. They are his top priority.”





If there’s one thing Johnnie has done right, it’s lock down a niche in a previously untapped market. While Hollywood actors and actresses have a wide selection of agencies to choose from and New York-based acts or major pop/R&B artists are often represented by established agencies like the William Morris Agency (WMA), ICM Talent, or Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the recent explosion of Southern rap left a void waiting to be filled. At least in Atlanta, Cabbell helped fill that void by representing many of the smaller acts that sprang up.

California-based DJ Nik Bean (left) disagrees, arguing that Johnnie’s bad business practices hinder his artists more than help them. Billing himself as “LA’s Mixtape King,” Nik Bean has toured with Cali up-and-comer Glasses Malone and worked with many other West Coast favorites like Daz, Kurupt, and Nipsey Hussle. Prior to the BET Awards in June 2008, Nik says, he contacted Shawty Lo to inquire about doing some work with him as a DJ.

“[The experience] changed my perception of [Shawty Lo],” says Nik, bitterly. “I liked his music but [dealing with Johnnie] made me question him. Like, ‘Why are you doing business with this guy?’ I can’t say anything bad about Lo, but I’m not doing no more business with Johnnie, period, point blank. And I’ll make sure he can’t do business out here [in L.A.].” As Shawty Lo’s manager, Cabbell asked Nik for a favor. “[Johnnie] was like, OZONE MAG // 39

“We’re gonna be out there [in L.A.] for the BET Awards. Set something up for me; get me some money,” recalls Nik. “I made some calls and got the ball rolling on a situation for him to make some show money.” As other promoters got involved, Nik sensed things getting too complicated and backed away. “I was supposed to get some money off the show but the situation got too sticky. I saw too many sharks in the tank, so once I realized I was gonna get screwed, I’m not a professional booker, so I just said ‘fuck it.’” Johnnie agreed to “make the situation right” with Nik by promising him a Shawty Lo verse for his digital album. Shawty Lo got his money for the LA show Nik set up, but Nik never got his verse. “I had everything ready,” recalls Nik. “I had Glasses Malone do the hook, and we put the beat together. We left an open verse for Shawty Lo. The song was custom-made for him, ‘Concerns of A D-Boy,’ right up his lane. Johnnie promised me, ‘I got you. No problem,’ and I assumed that since he’s Shawty Lo’s manager, it was official. I didn’t think people would do business like this; it just didn’t make sense to me. I would think an artist of that caliber would have the sense to have a decent manager.” After the BET Awards, four months passed. Nik called Johnnie’s phone repeatedly only to hear, “Yo, I’m in a meeting.” “He kept bullshitting me; I heard the same thing four or five times,” says Nik. “I could smell the bullshit from a mile away. How many ‘meetings’ could you have?” Nik never received the promised verse. “I told Johnnie, ‘Don’t ever come back out here [to L.A.],’” Nik recalls. “It’s not a [physical] threat, but I meant, ‘Don’t try to [break] no records here.’ There’s other people in the game like [him] too. I guess I’m too nice. If I ever get wind of Johnnie trying to work a record out here, best believe I’m gonna try to shut that shit down.” While it might appear a minor incident, Nik felt personally insulted. “I was so mad because I helped him make money in my city. It’s disrespectful and foul.” Personally, I’ve had my share of problems with Johnnie. The first was a feature I booked for Shawty Lo for an independent label. Johnnie quoted me $10,000 and I set up the deal for $12,000. I sent the record and the paperwork to Johnnie’s email and waited several weeks as he continually assured me that Shawty Lo would get the verse done. When I later learned that Johnnie had contacted the artist directly after seeing their name on the paperwork and charged them $12,000 for the feature, pocketing my commission, I confronted him. He claimed to not know that it was the same feature I had set up – even though I had emailed him the record three weeks prior. I reluctantly gave him the benefit of the doubt and let it slide. Then, I booked Shawty Lo to host a party at Las Vegas nightclub Prive on a Monday night with Johnnie’s explicit assurance that he would perform two songs from the DJ booth to satisfy the club’s expectations for the event. I was awakened at 5 AM East Coast time on the night of the event to a conference call/screaming match between Johnnie, the club’s manager, and one of the club owners – a huge mess which went on for hours until Shawty Lo calmly took the phone from Johnnie and agreed to fulfill the requirements of the date. Problem solved. The manager is supposed to fix things for the artist – not the other way around. Diamond, who was a standout member of the group Crime Mob (represented by Cabbell) before launching her solo career, feels that Deb, not Johnnie, is primarily to blame for the bad business. “I’ve heard of [promoters] having situations with Johnnie, but when I was dealing with him, he was about his business. I haven’t had problems with him myself. It’s about 50/50. I know some people that don’t fuck with him and some people that do fuck with him,” says Diamond. “But I don’t deal with Deb at all and I don’t wanna ever deal with Deb. I’ve heard her attitude is fucked up and her business is fucked up. I’ve never heard anybody have anything nice to say about Deb.”

DEBRA ANTNEY Often confused as Gucci Mane’s “auntie” because of her last name, Debra Antney is actually not a blood relative of the rapper. She is, however, the mother of up and coming So Icey rapper Waka Flocka Flame (pictured at right together). 49-year-old Deb made the unlikely transition from a non-


profit organization called Rah Rah’s Village of Hope and popped up on the scene as Gucci Mane’s manager after bonding with him at a charity event a few years ago. And yet even with a background in non-profit and charity organizations, many people who’ve dealt with her question her integrity. “[Deb] is the ringleader behind the desk,” says John Mosley. “She’s got everybody by the nuts. She’s robbing everybody over there [at So Icey/Mizay], and Johnnie is her partner in crime.” Some evidence appears to corroborate this. Although most of the promoters’ anger is directed at Cabbell, it appears that bad business practices existed in the So Icey/Mizay camp long before Cabbell/HAH got involved in March 2009. A high turnover rate within both entities and poor communication between the two appears to have only complicated the existing problems.

ROCKFORD, IL A year ago, in the fall of 2008, Gucci Mane’s asking price was $15,000 plus expenses. Illinois party promoter Yungwaun (left) booked him through So Icey/Mizay for $17,500 plus expenses – a premium rate for a holiday performance. Gucci was scheduled to perform in Rockford, IL on Halloween (October 31st, 2008). Yungwaun sent a $10,000 deposit along with several thousand dollars for travel, secured a venue, and began spending money advertising the show. “No one ever [contacted me] to let me know that he wouldn’t make the date,” he says. On September 12th, 2008, a month and a half before Yungwaun’s scheduled show, Gucci appeared in court for a probation violation hearing. Various websites reported that Gucci, who had been convicted of assault in 2005 and sentenced to probation, had failed to meet his required community service hours (he was required to serve 50 hours a month and had only clocked in 25 hours over a three year time period). In addition, he had reportedly tested positive for ecstasy, marijuana, and alcohol during a random drug test. The judge revoked one year of his probation and sent him to jail. Concerned, Yungwaun contacted So Icey/Mizay to find out the status of his show deposit. Severe Green, a So Icey employee, told him that it was not her responsibility to handle his show because the original person he dealt with at the company had already taken a commission and no longer worked there. After repeated inquiries, Severe assured Yungwaun that the show would move forward as planned and advised him to continue promoting, but he was skeptical. “My investor said, ‘No one’s gonna come because [they know] Gucci is locked up,’” says Yungwaun. “It’s all over the internet.” Two weeks before the scheduled date, he was officially notified that Gucci Mane would not be attending. Naturally, he wanted his money back. But So Icey/Mizay refused to refund Yungwaun’s $10,000 deposit, first claiming that the “force majeure” clause in the contract released them from the obligation. According to Wikipedia, force majeure is “a common clause in contracts which essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, strike, riot, crime, or an event described by the legal term “act of God” (e.g. flooding, earthquake, volcanic eruption), prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.” Clearly, Gucci Mane popping pills, smoking weed, failing to do community service, and therefore returning to prison on a probation violation does not qualify as an “act of God” (continues Wikipedia: “force majeure is not intended to excuse negligence or other malfeasance”). So Icey/Mizay held Yungwaun’s money for over six months. When Gucci Mane was finally scheduled to be released in March 2009, he says, “[Gucci] was so booked up [So Icey] wouldn’t even tell me when he was getting out.” Instead of scheduling a make-up date at his initial contracted price of $17,500, So Icey/Mizay tried to sell him a date for $30,000. “They told me I couldn’t get a date unless I paid the [difference of $12,500],” recalls Yungwaun. “I told them they must be out of their mind, because I had a contract.” After months of back and forth, Yungwaun, who could not afford the

$30,000 price tag, reluctantly accepted his deposit back – minus a $500 commission. “They kept the commission for a show that never happened!” he laughs bitterly. “They held my money for six months! They had $10,000 just sitting there. Plus I had [paid for] commercials and flyers. I lost the potential to make money; I could have made more [money] off the show than I spent.” Around the time of Gucci’s release from prison in March 2009, So Icey/ Mizay handed over the booking responsibilities to Cabbell and Hitt Afta Hitt. Due to a combination of factors (including OJ’s buzz, a slew of Gucci Mane mixtape material floating around, and an overall slump in the music business) the street demand for Gucci Mane had risen during his incarceration. According to simple economic theory, a combination of high demand and low supply (because of his unavailability) equals an increase in price. So during the span of his 6-month incarceration, Gucci’s asking price magically rose from $15,000 to over $40,000. And instead of honoring the previous contracts that had never been satisfied, So Icey/Mizay allowed Johnnie to double or even triple the original prices. “There’s no way I would have charged [the promoters] more,” says Coach. “For their inconvenience, they should be charged the same price [as their initial contract] or even given a discount. When an artist fails to show, not only is the [promoter’s] name and character at risk, but [the promoter] has incurred a lot of advertising expenses. The radio money, the flyer money, the street team, the venue rental…he’s not gonna get any of that money back. So there’s no way he should have to pay more, because he already lost [money] the first time the artist didn’t show. The booking agent’s responsibility is to get all the money that was sent [for the deposit] returned.” Beyond that, Coach says, the promoter would have to sue the artist directly for breach of contract to attempt to recover funds lost on promotional expenses. “Some [promoters] have won [additional fees in a lawsuit] for damages when the artist couldn’t give a legitimate excuse for not being there.”

CHICAGO, IL Less than a hundred miles away, promoters Godfatha (right) and John Mosley (below right) experienced similar drama when they teamed up to bring Gucci Mane to Chicago, IL in the fall of 2008. Their contract was for $15,000. Since Gucci Mane was incarcerated on the date of the scheduled show, So Icey/Mizay promised to reschedule. Mosley estimates that he had to call So Icey at least 200 times before they finally confirmed a make-up date. After the make-up date was confirmed and they had been advertising for four weeks, Godfatha says, Cabbell suddenly tripled the price. “[Johnnie] called and said someone else wanted the date [for a higher price],” Godfatha recalls. “I don’t care that his stock went up. That’s why you invest. I lost over $15,000 [on the deposit and promotions] and they held my deposit for a whole year!” Johnnie threatened to book a show with another promoter in the same city if they didn’t agree to match the offer. “We were only supposed to owe $8,000 [on the back-end to So Icey/Mizay],” confirms Mosley. “But Johnnie got involved and said he was getting thousands of calls [for shows in Chicago] from promoters who want to give him $40,000, and we’re gonna have to match those offers, even though we already had a contract!” Cabbell refused to honor the $15,000 contract, saying that Gucci was hot in the market and deserved more. Laughs Mosley, “Right! I made him hot in the market! They played his records on the radio because we spent so much money [promoting his show] with the station.” To avoid losing the date to another promoter, Godfatha and Mosley ultimately agreed to pay Cabbell $42,500 for Gucci Mane, plus a $10,000 travel fee – a total of $52,500, plus the money already gone down the drain on advertising and venue rental fees. Why did they continue spending money rather than demanding their deposit back? “I’ve been promoting shows for 20 years and in this market I have a reputation to uphold,” explains Godfatha. “My name means more to me [than money].” Almost a year after sending their initial deposit, the show finally happened

in May 2009 and 5,000 people showed up. According to Godfatha, it was the biggest show Gucci Mane has ever done (right) [as the headliner] to this day. Mosley says there was plenty of bad blood in the city from his previous no-show. “People were threatening [Gucci’s] life,” he recalls. “The things we went through even getting him into [Chicago] and on stage alive were ridiculous.” The promoters were able to recoup their previous losses (and, one would assume, turned a hefty profit). Several days later, Johnnie called Godfatha and offered him a date on the upcoming So Icey Tour. “He told me, ‘I apologize. Let’s do another date to make it right.’ He tricked [us]. He told us he had a tour coming and he was gonna show me some love,” recalls Godfatha. In retrospect, he snaps, “If this is ‘love,’ I don’t want nooooo love from him ever again.” Godfatha and Mosley agreed to book a date on the So Icey Tour for $55,000, which was scheduled to take place on July 24th, 2009. They sent a $35,000 deposit for the artists, a $5,000 booking fee which went directly to Cabbell (“Johnnie thought I was trying to go around him [by dealing with Ujaama] and said I couldn’t do another show unless I sent him $5,000 cash,” alleges Mosley), and $10,000 for travel. But after wiring over $50,000, the promoters learned that all three of the artists on the So Icey Tour were booked on their date in various other cities – so they were forced to push the date back a week, to August 1st. “Johnnie just completely lied [to me],” says Godfatha. “On top of that, he knew Gucci was scheduled to take a drug test three weeks before my show and he was high as a kite.” “I found out Gucci was in jail on Twitter,” laughs Godfatha. “Johnnie never called, management never called [to tell me he wasn’t gonna make my show]. Soulja Boy said on Twitter [on July 19th] that Gucci Mane was in jail, and I know him personally, so I was asking him not to say that because he was killing my ticket sales in Chicago.” Nicki Minaj, Godfatha adds, was also posting “free Gucci Mane” on her Myspace and Twitter pages less than two weeks before their scheduled event. Meanwhile, Johnnie reassured Godfatha, “Gucci is straight. He’ll be at the show,” but never sent the promised drop. Shannon stopped returning calls altogether. Less than a week before the show, Godfatha says, they suddenly changed their tune. “Johnnie is like, ‘Aw, man, I don’t know [if Gucci will be able to come].’ Then he says, ‘We’ve got a bunch of deposits. How do we know we have your [money]’? I’m like, ‘What?! We’ve been talking for months! I’ve got all kinds of contracts! So now you’re trying to say you don’t have my money?’ Deb plays like she doesn’t know what’s going on and hangs up.” So Godfatha retraced the paper trail: Ujaama received the initial deposits. Ujaama in turn wired money to Shannon, who then deposited the money with Deb. “I have definite confirmation that Johnnie and Deb have my money,” says Godfatha. Having spent over $50,000 plus promotional expenses, with less than week before the show, he says, Deb or Johnnie didn’t answer the phone for three days. Finally, he reached them by calling threeway through one of Gucci Mane’s bodyguards and sent copies of all the contracts, paperwork, and receipts proving that the money was transferred to Deb’s account. According to Godfatha, at that point Deb finally admitted, “I don’t know if Gucci can make that date.” “This is four days before the event!” exclaims Mosley. “When we advertise an event in Chicago, we blow it up. No one has it on lock like we do. We’ve been promoting for six weeks. 100,000 flyers, [SMS] text blasts, Facebook [invites]. Gucci Gucci Gucci! Gucci’s coming! And four days before the event, they’re telling me he’s got legal problems. Are you kidding me?” The next day, just three days before the show, Deb demanded an additional $3,500 “security fee” that was never previously discussed and was not included in the contract or rider. They threatened a no-show if the fee was not paid. “Johnnie said my show wouldn’t happen unless I [paid for] more security. He threatened me and my business partner!” Godfatha says, incredulous. “At that point, I told him, ‘Fuck you. I don’t care if any of y’all come. It’s embarrassing now.’” “[Calling a promoter at the last minute with additional charges] is not standard practice for a booking agent,” says Coach. “Everything should be OZONE MAG // 41

on the contract. Nothing should be added on [verbally] unless somebody defaults on the agreement that’s already in writing.” With Gucci Mane’s status in limbo, Godfatha then learned that no funds from his initial deposit had been used to secure OJ da Juiceman or Nicki Minaj, even though all three artists were supposed to perform. He took matters into his own hands and booked OJ through a local Chicago artist who had a relationship with the rapper, spending an additional $12,000 and getting a studio drop from OJ to continue promoting the show. Nicki, who was on the road with Lil Wayne’s Young Money crew on the America’s Most Wanted Tour for most of the summer, did not attend the show. On the day of the scheduled Chicago date for the So Icey Tour (right), Godfatha was informed that Gucci wouldn’t make it either. “Of the three artists I booked on the tour, OJ was the only one who came, and I had to pay him [an extra] $12,000 to salvage the show!” he exclaims. At the end of the day, Godfatha estimates they lost over $90,000, including $8,000 for security, $5,000 on advertising and over $46,000 in ticket refunds that Ticketmaster issued to unhappy patrons because of Gucci Mane’s failure to appear. “I didn’t get a dime back from the ticket office,” laments Godfatha. “We put signs on the door saying ‘Gucci will not be here,’ and we still got 3,500 people in there, but we had to give all that money back,” sighs Mosley. “[The fans] blamed us, saying we were false promoting. DJ Pharris had to get on the radio [in Chicago] and let people know it wasn’t our fault.” “[The promoter] should definitely get their money back if the artist can’t fulfill the contract. Without a doubt,” says Coach. “It’s just like a [UPS] delivery. If you agreed to do a show for a certain amount and now you’re unable to do the show, you have defaulted. If [UPS] promises to deliver something and they don’t, for any reason, the bottom line is they didn’t deliver. It doesn’t matter if the tire was flat or the driver was sick or the weather was bad. The fact is, you had an agreement to deliver, and you didn’t.” As of press time, Godfatha says his $35,000 deposit has not been refunded. Godfatha says that he also lost the $5,000 Johnnie pocketed as a booking fee for a show that never happened, as well as the $10,000 travel fee and $3,500 last minute security fee for artists who never arrived. “They haven’t even tried to give me my money back or reschedule the show,” says Godfatha. “Getting my money back would be cool, but I want them to reschedule a date with me so I can try to save some face with the radio station. These are people who I’ve known for 20 years, and [the no-shows] ruined my name with the station, fans, and artists. I have to do a make-up show with the radio station to save face with the Program Director.” It also hampered Godfatha’s ability to continue promoting shows in his market. “All the venues here talk to each other. Even though I had no fights and people got their money back [from the Gucci Mane tickets], they still question letting me get venues. I’ve never experienced anything like this,” he adds. His credibility and reputation, he feels, are priceless. While Johnnie and Deb refused to refund Godfatha’s money or reschedule his August date, they accepted a Gucci Mane show deposit from one of his competitors, Chicago promoter Mark Yukan (that show, scheduled for November 19th, 2009, also did not happen). Booking back-to-back shows in the same city with two different promoters is another favorite trick of Cabbell’s. When a savvy promoter requests an exclusivity clause be included in the contract, which normally prevents an artist from performing anywhere in a certain radius for 30 days prior or 30 days after the show, HAH’s carefully worded “exclusivity clause” reads, “artist(s) are not permitted to perform two weeks before or two weeks after the date above at the listed venue,” a loophole which could technically permit Cabbell to book the same artist at two competitive venues on the same street, in the same city, on the same day.


“That’s not something I would do out of respect for the promoter I’m doing business with. You’re going to cause both people headaches,” says Coach. “That definitely shouldn’t be happening at all and that’s one of [Johnnie’s business practices] that I disagree with. I know promoters that have had real bad episodes with [Johnnie] and are displeased.”

THE VAMPIRES Godfatha feels that Cabbell’s shiesty business practices have rubbed off on other up-and-coming booking agents. Combine that with the desperation of the recession and it’s an ugly formula. “There’s a lot of guys like Johnnie now... they’ve turned into vampires,” he claims. “People in other artists’ camps are now following standard Johnnie Cabbell practice: they call you a week before the show and threaten to not show up if you don’t send an additional $5,000 or $10,000 for travel [or security]. Then you have a choice: either cancel it and [forfeit] all the money you put into it and disappoint [the fans], or go ahead and take that $5,000 or $10,000 hit because you’ve already sold thousands of tickets. These new dudes like Johnnie are spreading venom to the managers and killing the smaller promoters. $10,000 for travel!? He’s not using jet fuel to get here. He’s using regular gas [for his tour bus]!” “Travel buyouts” seem to be one of the vampires’ favorite ways of sucking every last drop of money out of a promoter. After Orlando, FL promoter Dawgman (left) sent in a deposit to book Shawty Lo through Cabbell in Spring 2008, in addition to the artist’s fee, he learned that he was also required to spend $4,000 on a “travel buyout” instead of booking flights himself. Johnnie explained that the fee was high because their travel agent was purchasing “refundable” tickets for the entourage, and because Shawty Lo needed to fly first-class (which is always refundable). But on the scheduled date, Shawty Lo never showed up, and Dawgman was forced to issue refunds to his patrons to salvage his reputation in the market. During separate phone calls to the promoter and the promoter’s assistant, Cabbell and Shawty Lo’s road manager Jay provided two different reasons for Lo’s absense - one claimed he was in the hospital, while the other said he was attending an aunt’s funeral. Of the seven round-trip flights that were supposedly purchased with the $4,000 travel buyout, only three of those people showed up (the road manager and two entourage members). When the date was rescheduled, Johnnie threatened a no-show if Dawgman didn’t again pay a $4,000 travel fee. So what was the purpose of paying extra for “refundable” tickets if they weren’t really refundable? And more importantly, where did that initial $4,000 go? “Johnnie is trying to pocket money everywhere,” complains Mosley. “He gets it any way he can get it, and he never leaves [Atlanta] to deal with the problems [on the road]. He’ll send the road manager [like Gucci Mane’s G-Boy, Shawty Lo’s Jay, or OJ da Juiceman’s Big Sam] out there to deal with the problems.” Any hot artist with records getting regular radio spins (like Shawty Lo, back in Spring 2008) is generally working at least 3-4 nights a week – meaning that each of those three or four promoters is paying a high “travel buyout” for round trip travel. Multiply that $4,000 by 3 or 4 and if you’re really only paying one-way expenses – from each city to the next (if the artist even shows up), and you can see how it could become profitable. Let’s say Johnnie charges four promoters $4,000 each for travel expenses for Shawty Lo to go out on the road for four consecutive dates (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, for example) and only spends $10,000 on travel. Who do you think is pocketing that extra $6,000?

Mizay and So Icey seem to have gotten wise to this additional source of revenue early on in their relationship with HAH, insisting that all travel and hotel be handled through their office for Gucci Mane and OJ da Juiceman shows instead of through Johnnie. Similarly, they demand that promoters pay a high fee upfront which is wired directly to them. Traditionally, for most bookings, an “all-inclusive” artist fee means that all flights, hotel, and ground transportation is included – unless otherwise specified. But So Icey/Mizay often require a “travel buyout” and then later inform the promoter that there is also an additional “hotel buyout” due, plus ground transportation, which must also be booked through them at a premium rate. The HAH contracts generally only vaguely define the travel expenses, leaving room for “the vampires” to tack on thousands of dollars in additional fees at the last minute. Kym Hall of Royal Pair Entertainment booked OJ da Juiceman to perform in Orlando, FL on Saturday, November 21st, 2009, and although ultimately pleased with his performance, she expressed exasperation with the Mizay/So Icey booking process and feels that they skimmed off the travel money. She claims Jamie Dixon, her So Icey representative, refused to divulge any of OJ’s basic travel information (such as when his flights were arriving, so she feared he would be a no-show) and refused to show her any receipts documenting the actual travel costs. In addition to paying the “travel buyout” for the flights, So Icey demanded a large sum (which Hall feels was excessive, but declined to disclose the exact amount) for a “hotel buyout,” stating that OJ must be placed in a four-or-five star hotel, but refused to tell Hall where he was staying. “The only reason we found out where he was staying is because [OJ had] an ‘incident’ at the hotel and we had to go over there,” explains Hall. It turns out that Mizay/So Icey had taken her large lump sum “fouror-five star hotel buyout” and placed OJ at the SpringHill Suites Maitland, a three-star hotel at best which can be purchased online for around $80. Hall says she is demanding to see receipts and insisting that So Icey refund the difference between the amount of her “hotel buyout” and the actual amount they paid for the hotel (good luck, Kym).

BURNING BRIDGES In the January 2009 issue of Atlanta-based Street Report Magazine, the editor General addressed his issues with Deb in his editorial (below) stemming from an OJ da Juiceman no-show at a Street Report event at Club Frequency. According to General, Deb had promised OJ’s attendance in exchange for advertising in the magazine. “One of the 2009 topics is burning bridges and breaking your word to sell your soul for the almighty dollar,” wrote General. “What’s up to OJ da Juiceman (Chevron Shawty) for keeping the streets on fire in the A and getting to the money. I also want to add that you are a grinder and the streets are loving you but the flip side to that coin is ‘WOW’ when it comes to your management grinding just as hard as you? Debbie we are talking about you so therefore we are not going to do it like the rappers do it by subliminally sneak dissing. You know what I am talking about with the December 10th Club Frequency situation…” General continued addressing OJ later in the editorial, adding, “A rapper can be hot today and glacier frozen like the titanic the next. So have that street/business meeting with your camp and tell them the minute that they lose focus of becoming that fucked up word in the game, that shit follows you no matter what busi-

ness that you are in and people are whispering about it now but they are just keeping shit quiet is kept until they are positioned to voice their say so. Keep getting your money Juice and remember that every move is a calculated step, but your management can lose my number because their word is in the same book as George W Bush (I don’t trust what is being said to me) and for the record, I am not trying to assassinate your character (Debbie) by telling people not to deal with you. Everybody can fuck with you as far as I am concerned but I know not to fuck with you because you lied to me directly and it was not a third party lie. Street Report Magazine doesn’t want any bargains from you. Send over some ad money not a conversation. Aye!” Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of Street Report Magazine’s bad experience when I made a similar deal with Johnnie and Deb in May 2009 to trade an advertising package in OZONE for a free OJ da Juiceman show. After fulfilling our part of the agreement, we here at OZONE shopped around for a venue and finally settled on Club Libra in Atlanta. As the Libra representatives sat in my office prepared to sign the contract, I called Johnnie and Deb to let them know we had secured a location. Johnnie told me that OJ would not perform at Club Libra because they had “issues” with the club. After much discussion I reluctantly agreed to keep looking. Less than three weeks later, a commercial began playing on Atlanta radio for - guess who? - OJ da Juiceman performing live at Club Libra! Rather than giving OZONE the free date we had agreed on, Johnnie apparently went around me and booked the date himself. I suppressed my urge to curse him out, opting instead to try to peacefully resolve the situation. I shopped around for an alternate venue and closed a deal with Freelon’s Nightclub in Jackson, MS, for OJ to perform on August 8th, 2009. Johnnie sent me a signed contract confirming that the OJ show was paid in full as per our advertising agreement. As per the contract, we (OZONE and the promoter) were obligated to pay $3,500 for travel and there were no additional funds due for the show. The promoter wired the travel money to So Icey/Mizay several weeks prior to the show. The contracts were signed by myself, Johnnie, Deb, and the promoter in June. Almost two months later, on the afternoon the day of the show, Johnnie and Deb called me on 3-way demanding that I pay an additional “security fee” of $3,300 or OJ wasn’t going to leave Atlanta – a fee which had never been mentioned or discussed at all during the month and a half that our contract had been in place. It was also never included on our paperwork. OZONE had fulfilled our obligations and now Johnnie and Deb were refusing to fulfill theirs. Deb claimed she didn’t know the Jackson date was my show, pointing the finger at Johnnie and saying it was his fault. I told them I wasn’t going to pay an additional $3,300 for a “free” show and whatever miscommunication had happened was between the two of them, and they needed to figure it out immediately. A few hours later, Johnnie told me, “We worked it out,” saying that he and Deb had settled their miscommunication and OJ’s tour bus was leaving Atlanta, headed for Jackson. At 11 PM the night of the show, as a line of fans eager to see OJ formed at the club, I was still 45 minutes outside the city. OJ’s road manager Big Sam went to Freelon’s and told the club owner that if they didn’t receive $5,500 cash immediately (including $500 overtime for their driver – another additional fee that was never discussed and was not our responsibility) they had been instructed by Johnnie and Deb to leave town immediately. Without $5,500 cash, OJ would not perform at OZONE’s “free” show. So here I was faced with the choice that so many other promoters have had to make: cancel the show, ruin my relationship with the promoter and the promoter’s reputation, and fight Johnnie and Deb in court for $10,000 (the value of the advertising package)? Or move forward and only fight them for $5,500? Similar to the So Icey Tour contracts, the OZONE contract with Johnnie involved multiple parties, so going the legal route would probably also mean suing a long-time client and friend (Freelon’s) because of Johnnie and Deb’s fraud. I later learned that OJ and Big Sam had no idea what was really going on, didn’t know that I was even involved with the show, and were simply following Deb and Johnnie’s instructions.

THE GOOD OL’ DAYS When established artists like T.I. and Lil Wayne first started doing nightclub shows years ago, they were reasonably priced. “They earned their way up the ladder, and they have


stronger foundations because of it,” explains Coach, who recalls booking T.I. for $1,500 or $2,000 in the early days and Lil Wayne for $10,000 when he was touring with Sqad Up and already had two albums under his belt. “They made solid movement all the way up the ladder until they’ve reached this point [where they command six figure show prices], and I can respect any artist that is willing to go out and work from the ground up.” Johnnie is certainly not the only booking agent to charge exorbitant prices for an artist with one hit record, but it’s one thing he is infamously known for – resulting in a short lifespan of many artists he has represented (where are the Shop Boyz, of “Party Like a Rock Star” fame? Fabo? D4L? Crime Mob?). Nicki Minaj, for example, has a strong buzz, but doesn’t have an album out yet. Jesse Peak inquired about booking Nicki for a BET Hip Hop Awards afterparty in Atlanta in October 2009 but quickly changed his mind when her former manager Cortez directed him to Hitt Afta Hitt. “They were shooting out dumb numbers like $12,000 plus I’ve gotta pay a travel fee, even though she was already scheduled to be in Atlanta,” says Peak. “When an artist is represented by Hitt Afta Hitt, it discourages me from booking them because I know exactly what to expect from them: They say whatever you wanna hear to get your money, and once they get your money, you can’t get a call back.” Mosley laughs while offering some words of advice to artists considering Hitt Afta Hitt representation: “You’ll have better luck diving off the Sears Tower.” “A lot of artists are overpriced, and that hurts their career,” explains Coach. “If an artist is really overpriced and a promoter takes a risk on him and loses badly, when the artist tries to make a comeback the promoter is gonna say, ‘I did you when you were hot and I lost, so I’m definitely not gonna do you when you’re cold.’ So when you put the artist’s price up so high just because they’re new and the demand is high but they haven’t been proven, you’re risk-


ing their career longevity. These artists today get one single and they want $7,500 for a show. They haven’t been tested. The single may be hot, but the promoters lose money. Some might win, but most lose. And [as a result] the artist’s careers are short-lived. Very short-lived.” D4L frontman Shawty Lo (left) is a perfect example of this phenomenon. “I don’t get requests for Shawty Lo [now],” says Coach. “In my opinion, he should have been charging less than [he was] at his peak. It would have made him a much more viable product today if he had been at a lower price when he was really hot. More people would’ve had accessibility to him. He would’ve been in more venues; more promoters would have been successful with him and would’ve had a better opinion of him. When [a promoter] loses, it leaves a bad taste in their mouth as far as that artist afterwards. Not saying that they lost at every show, but there were some where the price was just too high.” Godfatha is even more direct. “[Johnnie] killed Shawty Lo; destroyed his career,” he confirms. “[Shawty Lo] can’t get shows now because of his relationship with Johnnie. Johnnie overcharges and double-books. [Shawty Lo] was battling with T.I., the so-called King of the South. How were you on his level and then you fell from grace that fast? It’s because [Johnnie] was overpricing him, [charging] $40,000 or $50,000 for a guy with two songs, then doing noshows, then threatening you with the $5,000 booking fee. He took his price past what he was worth and he fell off quick. [Now] I wouldn’t give [Shawty Lo] $1,000 to go anywhere. That’s not personal on Lo, it’s Johnnie. And he’s gonna do the same thing to Gucci [Mane’s career]. I didn’t deal with him on D4L because they had so many no-shows. No one wanted to book them any-

more and they fell off. Anyone he touches, he kills their career. He’s bad, man. He’s a very shiesty businessman.” On the opposite end of the spectrum, artists like Lil Boosie and Webbie and legends like Too $hort and Uncle Luke have consistently toured throughout the country, putting on good shows and hosting parties at a reasonable price. The cost is fair and the demand is still strong. In turn, the promoters are able to turn profits and bring these artists back time and time again, contributing to their career longevity. “Boosie and Webbie get [booked] for a lot of shows because their price is good enough that promoters can make a profit,” agrees Coach. “There’s two people involved: the artist and the promoter. In the end, both people should be happy. I don’t think it should just be one guy coming to get all the money and going home happy, while the promoter lost all his money and he’s unhappy. [Promoting shows] is a risk, but there should at least be the opportunity for the promoter to make some money if he does it correctly. If the artist’s price is too high, the promoter doesn’t have the opportunity to make money.”

SHOWMANSHIP With all the hype surrounding Gucci Mane’s 2009 shows, you’d think the price tag would be worth it. For $40,000 or more, you should get a well-rehearsed, energetic, exciting sixty minute performance and the fans go home satisfied, right? “Gucci’s show is garbage,” says Yungwaun. “I saw him perform in Milwaukee. He doesn’t move, he just stands there.” Comparing Gucci Mane’s performance to other in-demand rappers of a similar genre like Plies or Young Jeezy, agrees Jesse Peak, is laughable. “[Gucci’s] show is shitty. He doesn’t have much showmanship at all. If you pay somebody that kind of money, you think they’re gonna get down [and put on a good show]. He comes to shows high as a kite and he just doesn’t do anything. He sits on a stage like he’s in a booth and raps into the mic. That’s it.” “I wouldn’t book Gucci Mane again even if the tickets were pre-sold out,” emphasizes Peak. “I wouldn’t pay him anything. He’s not worth it. I was completely disappointed with the whole experience. I wish [Gucci] luck, but I hope Johnnie don’t ever come to one of my parties.”

IN CONCLUSION To be fair, there’s always more than one side to a story, and Deb and Johnnie’s side is not represented here. But when a dozen promoters in different cities with no prior affiliation are interviewed separately and all tell the same infuriating tales, chances are there’s some truth to it. Although I too have been bitten by the vampires to the tune of $5,000, that amount is pennies compared to some of these promoters’ alleged losses, and I have made every attempt to be reasonable and objective in my reporting. As they became aware that their dirt was being dug up, Deb and Johnnie tried valiantly to slander my name (hateful email blasts about me containing baseless insults), damage my credibility (recording highly unprofessional online “conference calls” with racial accusations), and scare me (attempting to sue me and get an emergency injunction for “defamation of character”) away from investigating these fraudulent activities. I did not reach out to them for comment because I doubt it would be a productive conversation for anyone involved. Johnnie even attempted to file a warrant for my arrest when I commented on Twitter that he rapes promoters. I think this article contains sufficient evidence to prove that fact, and telling the truth is not a crime. “What Johnnie is doing ain’t right, and it’s dangerous because you’re dealing with people’s money,” says Mosley. “I respect promoter’s money,” concludes Coach. “I don’t think [Johnnie] respects promoter’s money.”

‘Gucci Mane needs to get a new manager.’ Why’s he doing all this time [for failure to meet community service requirements]? They’re supposed to be managing him and his time.” Unlike Gucci, Lil Boosie, who began serving a reported 2-4 year jail sentence in November 2009, did not leave behind a slew of angry promoters. Courtney Scott of Trill Management, who handles Boosie’s show bookings, explains that they “slowed down” on Boosie’s dates as soon as they became aware of his legal troubles. They returned three promoters previous deposits, Courtney says, adding, “We made a conscious decision as a management team to prepare for the fact that he might [have to go to jail]. People kept offering to book dates, but we just didn’t take their deposits. We told them we can’t accept it, because he has to go to court.” This seems to be a much more logical management strategy than the get-as-much-money-as-possible-now-and-worry-about-theconsequences-later mentality exhibited by Cabbell and Antney. Mike Jones (not the rapper), who handles marketing for the clothing store chain DTLR, sponsored Godfatha’s Gucci Mane no-show in Chicago. “It’s [all about] the fans, man. You can’t blame them for wanting to see their favorite artists,” he reflects. “I was at the show [where Gucci was scheduled to appear] and it was just a bad look. Some fans don’t even care if you perform. They just wanna see you and take pictures with you. When you don’t even show your face, it’s just bad for business. It’s about the fans; the consumers.” “Y’all see what’s happening in Chicago on CNN and the news [with so much violence]. It’s Beiruit out here,” finishes Mosley. “People can’t afford to jack off $50 or $60. To play with people’s money and emotions, it’s not a good look. All that money is going somewhere.” Jones vividly recalls tearing down the Gucci Mane promotional posters from his stores, one by one. “I don’t even wanna be affiliated with Gucci Mane anymore. I don’t wanna see anything with his name on it,” he vents. “The word up here [in Chicago] is, ‘Man, I wouldn’t touch Gucci Mane’s show if Jesus was hosting it.’ Real talk.” Now that Gucci is gone again for at least six months, most of the promoters just want to cut their losses and get their initial deposits back. “Cash is king in this recession. Rescheduling a show isn’t even a possibility for at least eight months, [and that’s] assuming Gucci behaves himself and gets out early on good behavior,” explains Attorney Gardner. Although Gucci’s previous 6-month incarceration increased his demand, this time around, things could easily go the other way and cool down his buzz like it has for many other rappers (Mystikal, for example, is out of sight, out of mind). “When he does get out, who’s to say he’ll even be relevant at that time?” questions Gardner. But as long as Gucci, OJ, Nicki, Waka, and the rest of the So Icey artists continue making hot music, the streets will continue demanding their appearances and promoters will continue to book them. Gucci has found a way to make lemonade out of lemons, turning his legal troubles into the theme of his upcoming album, The State vs. Radric Davis (left). At the end of the day, though, the artists’ management is supposed to be working for them, not against them, and all the fraud allegations can’t be good for business. “This is how empires fall,” says Mosley. “It’s going to come back on them.”

The solution to all these problems, it would seem, would be for management to put more effort into keeping Gucci sober and free, and less effort into taking deposits for show dates he can’t legally attend.

When confronted with the accusation that her and Cabbell’s actions have not only been unethical but also criminally fraudulent, at least in the case of Marshall’s Pittsburgh no-shows, Antney defended herself to Creative Loafing. “The only thing you have is your name, and if you ruin your name, you ruin everything,” she says. At least we can all agree on that. //

“I can’t see how [artists] would want to put their trust in someone like [Johnnie],” laments Nik Bean. “Gucci Mane obviously needs new management. Everybody’s talking about ‘Free Gucci Mane’ when we really should be saying,

If you have experienced similar problems as the promoters interviewed in this article, please contact me at jb@ozonemag.com. OZONE MAG // 45


Bonecide Entertainment artist and CEO Bone is determined to prove Dallas does more than dance. Words by Eric N. Perrin Photo by Brian Guilliaux



hile a vast majority of emcees believe they’re better than their competition, most up and coming rappers wouldn’t have the audacity to plainly profess their superiority over the more established artists from their city. However, Bone of Bonecide Entertainment isn’t the average aspiring emcee. He isn’t looking for help, he isn’t asking for acceptance—Bone just wants respect. “I see the artists in Dallas doing they thing,” says Bone. “Some of them real, some of them ain’t real, it’s not for me to judge them. My job is for me to do me. I always felt like I was better than everybody here, even though I was coming from behind.” Had Bone not spent 5 years in Ft. Leavenworth Federal Corrections Facility for convictions commonly related to the struggle, he might have defined Dallas Hip Hop; instead he’s attempting to redefine the sounds and stereotypes traditionally associated with Dallas rap.

When you got out of Leavenworth what made you decide to pursue music full-time? All I did in the joint was write, so I figured since I invested all those years in music and since everybody told me music is what I should do, that’s what I should do. So when I got out, I immediately started working on my music. I started out working with low budget people ‘cause my money wasn’t up, but I just kept building up that buzz getting my name up. My main objective was branding my name and my company. What’s your strongest asset as a rapper? My storytelling ability is most definitely what I’m best at. My life is such an interesting movie that we gon’ be getting to in a minute. It’s gonna be sick—all the things I done went through and been through you can’t help but to be like, “Damn!” Right now I’m going for the top, I ain’t taking no for an answer.

“My mixtape that’s gon’ sound better than almost any album that done ever dropped,” says Bone. “and I guarantee you, it’s gon’ sound better than any mixtape you’ve heard.”

Your hometown of Dallas was slept on in the rap game for a long time, but now there are quite a few artists coming out from the area. How do you plan to take advantage of the fact that everyone’s attention is on your city right now? Like you said, Dallas is what’s up right now. We’ve got the All Star game coming, we’ve got the Super Bowl coming, so there’s a lot of attention on Dallas right now. My music is different than a lot of Dallas artists, like I said, it’s all about money; that’s what I’m about. At the end of the day if you ain’t got money, people ain’t paying you no attention and they don’t give a fuck about what you got to say. I make sure everybody around me is eating. Everybody’s gotta eat cause that’s how it works. Before I took my fall and did my five years a lot of these [rap] niggas was up under me. When I got out everybody was on, doing their thing, and nobody wanted to help me. Everybody thought they were the man. It’s not like I had something to prove, but I had to show my talent and what it is.

A lot of readers nationally are probably wondering, “Who is this guy on the cover of OZONE and where did he come from?” What would you say? Basically I’m from Dallas, Texas—born and raised, and I got started doing my music after being locked up; that’s also how I came up with the concept of my label. I came up with Bonecide (pronounced bone-side) because you know, you be out and about and niggas might be like, “Who you down wit’?” And niggas be like, “I’m on Bone side, nigga!”

It sounds like you have a little bit of a vendetta. Basically—I mean, I helped so many people and then when I got out I was fucked up—nobody wanted to help me. Niggas acted like they were scared to fuck with me because I just got of prison, but it wasn’t that they was scared to fuck with me, they just knew what I was capable of doing. They tried to put road blocks in front of my way to try and stop me but I destroyed those.

How was it growing up in Dallas? To me, it was just growing up in the hood, trying to get it by any means necessary. I grew up on Section 8. I didn’t have much. My mom didn’t buy me new shit, and I wanted to live like everybody else. That’s how I grew up and no matter where you’re from, most hoods are the same. You don’t get the advantages of all the nicer things in life unless you present them for yourself. Usually, if you’re trying to present advantages to yourself at a young age, you end up doing shit you ain’t got no business doing. And I don’t knock people who had it better than me, but I don’t want them to knock me for doing what I had to do to make my situation better.

So overall, how would you describe your relationship with other artists from Dallas? My respect is there. Nobody’s gonna disrespect my company, my label, or me as an individual. How they feel, I couldn’t give a fuck less cause I don’t care about how they feel. I don’t play into that hype, but niggas see me and they dap me up, but what they say I couldn’t care less.

“You got a lot of dance music in Dallas,” declares Bone. “I don’t do dance music; I do street music. I’m a street poet, I do music for street niggas. People all across the world gon’ feel it because I deal with money, and everybody likes money. “ Bone refuses to conform, and through autonomously financing his movement, independent of any major label support, he and his company Bonecide Entertainment have built a steady movement in Texas. Now positioned to expand nationally with the impending release Bone 214: The Mixtape, featuring Lil’ Wayne, Bun B, Pimp C, E-40, Lil Keke, and Slim Thug, Bone is ready to take his vendetta to the next level.

You mentioned you did some time in prison. How long were you locked up, and how did that influence your music? I did five years, and it gave me time to realize who I was and understand what was going on. To be sitting down for such a long time gave me a lot of time to think. I would do shows when I was locked up and everybody was telling me that I gotta do this [music] when I get out. I dealt with some of the most powerful people across the world as far as the streets and I met some of the most influential people on the streets and they all told me I got it. When you were in prison what topics did you rap about? I rapped about prison shit, like shit niggas go through when they in jail. I talked about the shit that was happening in jail and that’s why everybody felt the music so much because it was shit they were going through. Shit you were dealing with before you went to prison. You were on the streets balling and then you go to jail and nobody’s there for you and all your so-called homeboys ain’t there; all the girls who were supposed to be there for you turn they back on you. I was talkin’ about some real reality shit, and everybody was feeling it because they were going through the same thing. Where were you locked up? I was locked up in Leavenworth, Kansas—maximum security. Is Leavenworth as rough as its reputation suggests? Not for me it wasn’t. I’m sure some people had it rougher than others but for me it was just like being among a bunch of people I knew already.

Let’s talk about this mixtape you’re dropping in February. I heard you have some crazy features on there. It drops February 23rd, and I got Lil Wayne, Bun B, Pimp C, E-40, Lil Keke, Slim Thug, and a couple more people that I haven’t mentioned on there. I’ve got some nice features on that joint. All original material. How were you able to secure all those features? That’s a lot of big names. I’m working with Mr. Lee on the production side, and he hooked me up with all these people. More and more people are going to be part of my music soon. Drake’s gonna be on my album, The Game, 50, and a couple more people gon’ be featured on my album. I’ve heard that a lot of people in Dallas are really feeling the remixes you put out, but what single are you currently pushing? Everybody’s excited about this “Good Times” track, and I like it too. It’s got a sample from the show “Good Times” when they were going through the struggle, and to me, that’s one of my hottest joints. You can listen to it on my Myspace page (www.myspace.com/bone214). Now that you’re done with the mixtape, what are you currently working on? I’m working on my album, World President Balling Through A Recession. I’ve also got a trailer for my DVD coming out, so that’s gonna be hot. Where do you see yourself in terms of the Dallas music scene? I wanna be the best rapper in the world; Dallas is just so small. I’m being played right now in Chicago, St. Louis, D.C., and Arizona, so right now Dallas is one of the last places I’m focused on. I’m doing this shit global—small is not on my level at all. //



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We titled the album Flight 360: The Take-Off because 360 [degrees] is a circle,” says Tity Boy. “And since the success of ‘Duffle Bag Boys,’ we’ve traveled a lot. We saw a lot of different cultures, a lot of different females, just a lot of different ways of life, and style, and slang. So, Flight 360 is like a celebration of what ‘Duffle Bag Boys’ did for us.” With the income generated from the “Duffle Bag Boys” phenomenon, the group not only bought jewelry, chains, cars, rims, property, but they also invested, says Tity. “Since ‘Duffle Bag Boys’ was the last thing people really know us from, we invested the money from that—which was a great deal—into things that will help promote, market, and move this new project, Flight 360,” he explains. “So the plane chain on my neck symbolizes me being fly. It symbolizes the takeoff; it symbolizes the Southside. We grew up right around the corner from the airport, so I’m like a Delta mascot.” Today, however, they’re grounded. Sitting on a pool table in a photo studio in Atlanta’s West End, the duo humbly discuss the plight of Flight 360, as they joke about how they occasionally suffer from a self-diagnosed condition called MADD (Musical Attention Deficit Disorder). How does having Musical Attention Deficit Disorder affect your music? Dolla: (laughs) I’m just fucking with you big dawg, but I think I figured it out. We smoke as much kush as possible. But it’s really according to the type of song we doing, as far as how high we need to get. What if you’re doing a song about the ladies? Dolla: We might have to smoke one blunt with a little Cristal to get in the mood for the females. When it’s some gangsta shit, we got to get on that mud. One eye closed on you sucka niggas when you really get through. Only the aim. What have you been doing during the layover between the last album and the new project, Flight 360? Tity: We invested in a studio, and the whole Flight 360 project was recorded in our own studio so we could be in our own comfort zone. It’s on the South side, where we can really just sit and digest the music over time and really come up with a conceptual album. We’re coming from a street level and just painting a picture, showing that this is the takeoff right here. Dolla: ‘Duffle Bag Boys’ just paved the way and set a certain expectation for our fans. We just gotta keep going hard and being consistent and connecting the dots with the fans. Since the “Duffle Bag Boys” record was so big, do you feel pressure to try and come up with a track as big as that record? Dolla: I think we definitely ran into that problem on the first album, Supply and Demand. Since ‘Duffle Bag’ was so huge, it was really difficult to have a follow-up record and things of that sort, but on the Flight 360 album we fixed that problem. On Flight 360 we have too many singles; too many big records. When ‘Duffle Bag’ came out, we didn’t really [have] nothing to follow up. We learn as we go. We’re just tryna keep it moving, that’s what Flight 360: The Takeoff is. We’re taking off. How many songs did you record for the album? Tity: We did over 60 songs for the album, but we felt like certain songs fit the album and painted a


picture. Every verse that made the album is very visual. We’re gonna shoot a video for every song, so just be looking out for Playaz Circle because we ain’t going nowhere. What are you most excited about with this project? Dolla: Everything. The fact that so many people are getting behind us. Me and Tit’ been on the grind since Supply and Demand came out, doing it underground, reaching out to our fans, hitting all the different markets that we need to. The fact that everybody is behind us including DTP and Def Jam, it gets us real excited. Tity: The machine is getting behind the machine that’s getting behind the machine. You mentioned earlier that you have too many potential hits this time around. What tracks do you predict will really takeoff? Dolla: We’ve got songs for the females like “Can’t Remember,” and “Quit Flossin” with Jagged Edge, and you’ve seen the videos for “Look What I Got,” and “Yeah We Gettin’ Rich.” That went crazy on the internet, almost 2 million views in one day. You guys worked with Wayne again this time around as well, right? Tity: Yeah, he’s featured on a track called “Big Dog”, which is basically like a “Duffle Bag Boys Pt. 2.” We like to consider Wayne as one of the unofficial Duffle Bag Boys, but he’s like the R&B singer out of the group, so on this track he’s doing the hook again. It’s me and Dolla going ‘ham on the verses. It’s called “Big Dog,” produced by Wonder. It’s really just one of those feel-good records that makes you wanna get crunk whenever it comes on. When the original “Duffle Bag Boys” track came out, there were some spinoffs of your song by other artists. Did you signoff on that, and if not, did you have any problems with it? Dolla: Naw, it was a compliment. The crazy part about that is that it’s been happening to us since we entered the game. That ain’t the only thang they took from us, or copied us on. But we’re happy to be trendsetters and innovators and all we gotta say to that is, “Keep watchin’.” Tity: Me and Dolla have been doing it for a minute now—since ’97, ’98. At this point we feel like we’re polished in [terms of doing] interviews, we’re polished in the booth and everywhere else. We feel like we’re mature in this game already, so you’ve got people who, in my opinion, don’t always give us the respect we deserve. In my opinion, they feel like our music is all about the beat, but naw, it ain’t all about the beat, pa’tna. This is Playaz Circle; we’ve been doing it like this for a minute. We really do this, man. As you see, most of the album was done by young, hungry producers that are humble and just motivated to get it. We didn’t really reach out to a lot of the big name producers because we felt like we didn’t need that. We felt like we bring a lot to the table as well. This whole album just embodies a whole trip. It’s like you’re listening to a DVD. Blind people are gonna feel like, “That was a good movie I just saw.” Tity, you kind of touched on it a bit, but one thing that always bothered me about your critics is that they don’t credit you for two for being lyricists. Does that aggravate you as well? Dolla: You can’t really blame the listeners for that. There’s different phases of the game. Me and Tit came up in an era when the game was all about lyrics and who was the dopest emcee. It was all about substance, so we caught on to that and all of that is in our style, but at the same time we are

able to adapt to hot, down South, booming beats. We’re able to do it all. That’s why I say we’re one of a kind; there’s nothing like us. Tity: Even if we dumb it down, we’re still dope. That’s real talk—even if we dumb it down to our lowest degree, we’re still over some people’s heads. That’s just how we feel about this shit, and regardless of what’s going on with the label and promotion and marketing, minus what’s going on with the internet and the digital age with what’s going on with music, me and [Dolla] are gon’ keep on doing what we doing. We’re consistent. Although we’re a group, we’re individuals as well, and that’s what we preach. How is your relationship with Def Jam and DTP right now? Dolla: I mean, I think it’s the same as with pretty much any label. You’ve gotta be able to work with the machine and cooperate along the lines so the machine can get behind you and so y’all are on the same accord. But everything is good between us and the label because me and Tit’ got the mindset of independent label owners anyway; we gon’ do what we got to do to get our music up and running. We can’t depend on nobody else to do that for us. Once it gets pumpin’ over here and it’s time to get it pumpin’ over there, that’s when you go to the label. But we gotta do our part first, then DTP comes in, and then Def Jam comes in. Do you feel that over the years DTP has progressed the way you imagined it would? Tity: Like Dolla said, we don’t get caught up in that. We try to really focus on what we’re doing internally before we ever take them anything. We try to already have mastered the idea and the project before we bring it to the label. And the good thing about DTP is that we have 100% creative control They hear our ideas and rarely ever tell us that they’re not in agreement with what we’re doing, because we do everything from buying t-shirts, to pressing mixtapes, to buying a studio, and even buying the van and getting that wrapped. We do what any label would want their artists to do to take it to the next level. They don’t mind assisting us when we ask for something, because they know we can hold our own and they’re confident is us. A lot of artists get a deal and once they sign the papers they feel that’s all they got to do, but once you get a deal you still have to continue working and doing what you did to get the situation in the first place. As rappers, you two have a job that it seems 99% of young black males in America desire. Is there any part of your profession that you dread? Dolla: There’s nothing we dread about it; it’s similar to being a professional athlete [in that you] grow up training and practicing something you love and then somehow you end up getting paid for it. The road that me and Tit’ took, to now end up doing something we love so much, that we’ve been doing since high school, and getting paid for it is wonderful. If we don’t make another dime in rap, we’re happy. We made it happen, and not many people can say that. Tity: Say, for example, you go to a fast food spot and get bad service at the drive-thru because those people don’t enjoy their job and when get up they’re like, “Fuck! I gotta go to this damn job.” But me and Dolla don’t feel that way. We’re happy everyday and eager to make music, because making music makes you more money. We can’t wait to get to the studio; ain’t no telling what we gon’ think of. //

Patiently Waiting


ometimes it takes sitting in confinement for a minute to have an epiphany and realize the significance of a second chance. Just ask Atlanta up-and-coming rapper Dose. Many Hip Hop fans are just now being introduced to Dose, born Michael Thomas, but he’s been working at his artistry for years. His success was delayed because, according to him, he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) get out of his own way.

was confident and driven regarding his musical prowess, but it wasn’t enough to keep him out of the streets. Eventually, he got locked up, where he ended up with the nickname Dose. “When I was in prison I used to say, ‘I’ma give these niggas a real dose when I get out,’” he laughs. “[Inmates] were like, ‘When you get out they should start calling you that.’ They’d be in there calling me Dose, and I just went with it.”

“Everything I’ve been through in life made me who I am,” says the 21-year-old rapper. “I’ve been through a lot. I [thought] I was chasing the right thing but it was really the wrong thing the whole time. You get detoured. God will let you step out but if something’s destined for you, he’ll put you back on that path. It’s up to you to follow the path.”

Once released, Dose was hell-bent on making things happen. In his mind, he was rebuilding what he’d lost when he was sent away. “I saw Shawty Redd in the strip club and told him I’m the next nigga up, on some real arrogant shit,” he chuckles. “I’d been a hypeman for an independent label since I was 16, so I was always in the midst [of the music game]. I was in the dark back then, but I was there.”

Dose’s story is one that we’ve heard before: he

His persistence led to the collaboration “Don

Dada” with Rich Boy. It was a record Dose didn’t expect to blow—at least not as significantly as it did. Soon, an option to sign with a major label came from New York. DJ Clue heard Dose’s music and signed the ATL rapper to his Desert Storm imprint on Def Jam. Dose has a new mixtape, Overdose, on the way, hosted by DJs Scream and Clue, and a lead track, “Where They Do That At?” featuring Fabolous and Rick Ross. At the end of it all, his ultimate success would be to simply live a full life beyond what anyone could imagine for him. Dose adds, “I’m excited to have a way out, to have a shot at making something outta my life. It ain’t even all about the music. I wanna have a shot at a new life.” Words by Nadine Graham Photo by Thi Chien



Words by Eric Perrin Photo by Hannibal Matthews


ou only get one chance to make a first impression. So while the world may have been introduced to Ridgeway, South Carolina’s Lil Ru as the scruffy voice behind the once ubiquitous “Nasty Song” and the multitude of amateur music videos the song spawned, Ru re-iterates he’s more than just nasty. “‘The Nasty Song’ was great for my career,” says Ru. “But I’ve got so much more to my music. If people pick up my album I think they’ll be surprised.” Perhaps they’d also be surprised if they knew just how hard Ru actually works. The man is constantly on the road or in the studio, attempting to defy the odds and truly become the first mainstream rap artist from South Carolina. And though he is confident in his craft, the son of S.C. is aware that he still has much to prove. Ru admits, “My biggest obstacle is just showing up and proving all my haters wrong. I’ve got to prove that I’m a solid artist who deserves to be supported. The main thing I’m focusing on right now is proving what I know is true.” And while the deliverance of his Def Jam debut hasn’t made the impact he would have liked, Lil Ru’s 21 And Up proves his talents are far beyond that of a one-hit-wonder. Spurned by his home state and former business partners, Ru is relying on the music to make his case—and he is poised to emerge victorious. How is life as Lil’ Ru right now? Life as Lil’ Ru has its ups and downs. Good moments, bad moments. I’m still in grind mode, but overall, everything is beautiful right now. I’m definitely enjoying life. What’s the biggest obstacle at this point in your career? I look at [being a rapper] like being a basketball player—you go from playing on the middle school team to varsity to college ball to NBA. Right now I feel like I just got drafted to the pros and now I’ve gotta play with LeBron and the big boys like T.I. and Wayne. I was playin’ college ball killin’ em, and now I gotta prove myself to the world. I got something to prove. As long as I do that, the sky’s the limit. I’m just gon’ continue to hit ‘em with those hits. You’re one of the first artists from South Carolina that’s been given a substantial opportunity to prove themselves. What was different about you? I just took all the negativity and applied that to my grind. People kept saying we can’t do it and that South Carolina can’t make it, and I knew that if you’re constantly making undeniably hot hit records, people gon’ support no matter where you from. I just kept hitting ‘em with those hits and we’re here now.


Would you classify your sound as “South Carolina rap,” or is it unique to just you? My whole style is just a mix up of everything. It’s like a gumbo pot, from “Nasty Song” to “Don’t I Look Good.” If you listen to those two songs, you won’t even think it’s the same person rapping. I just apply myself to the track, regardless of it’s my song or [someone else’s]. If I‘m featured on something I just try to always bring life to whatever I’m doing. I really don’t have a style, I just do me. We makin’ them hits. What was it like growing up in Ridgeway, South Carolina? There was nothing really to look forward to as far as [professional] sports. Most people grow up with a team, like, if you live in Atlanta you can look at the Braves or the Falcons and want to grow up and play for them, but in South Carolina we didn’t have an NBA team, an NFL team, a baseball team, or even a hockey team. Carolina is really a country place so it was a blessing for me to be able to rap. Even though it’s real country, Carolina is all love. How old were you when you started rapping? I started rapping when I was about 8 years old, but as far as taking it seriously and trying to get paid wit’ it, I’ll say about 15. I had a song called “Will Destroy” that started me out. You’ve come a long way since then, especially with “The Nasty Song” becoming so successful on the charts. When you first made that song did you think it had commercial potential? Never! I never even thought “Nasty Song” could be a single, but that just goes to show that if the streets approve it, radio doesn’t have a choice. It’s all about creating that foundation. “The Nasty Song”’s [success] was a shocker to me just because of the content of the song, so it’s amazing, bra. Why did you shoot so many different videos for “The Nasty Song?” It seems like a new version comes out every week. The first one was just some shit out there that they had put together, but I’ve been pushing this song on an independent level for years, so I did a few of my own videos and it all just came together at the same time. I would have to say the BET one is my favorite version because its not as raunchy. The raunchy one is cool, but that’s getting a little old to me. I know you’ve got some crazy stories from the road after putting out a song like that. Most definitely, man. Night after night it’s been crazy. I had twins kiss each other in the mouth just because of “The Nasty Song.” One night, I ain’t gon’ front, I probably had about 10 or 15 girls in the room at one time, and I went through at least half of the team all because of that song. And that was early, when the song came out, so now I’m at the point where I’m passing ‘em by. [The groupies] are getting old to me, but the shit is crazy. Damn, 15 chicks? What city was getting down like that? (laughs) To be all the way real, I was in Augusta, Georgia. I was up there doing a show and it just went down. We took everybody up to the room and they just went in. It was all kinds of girls in there: military chicks, girls that ain’t know each other, grown women—they were all just going in. Being that you’re on the road so much, what cities give you the most love, besides Augusta? Definitely the whole state of North Carolina, from Charlotte to Fayetteville. The entire state as a whole shows me a lot of love. I definitely get the most love there. You’ve been signed to quite a few different labels. Can you clarify the reasons behind the moving around? Most definitely. I just want people to understand that I’ve been doing this for a long time and I come from a real independent grind. I’m not just an overnight rapper that they found on the street corner; none of that. I’ve been making my face known and proving myself to the world for a long time. I started out at 15 years old with Elektra, where I got a deal through Angie Stone. Sylvia Rhone was the first lady to give me a record deal. I got dropped from [Elektra] and went back independent. After that, a dude from Baltimore got me a deal with Capitol. Vernon Johnson signed me to a single deal when I had “Don’t I Look Good,” but about 6 months into my deal Vernon Johnson passed away from a heart attack. Through that situation, I was dropped again, so I went back to being independent. Then I came out with “The Nasty Song,” and now I’m signed to Def Jam. We here now! Okay, not to add fuel to a fire that’s already been burning, but I’ve got to ask you about the falling out between you and Charlamagne tha God.


He’s been pretty vocal about his dislike for you. What’s your side of the story? I definitely want to clarify the situation. I don’t have nothing to say to him because to me it’s more personal. Me and him know more than anybody else. It’s nothing I want to address in a magazine, a record, or none of that. He know personally what he did to me, and I know what he did. To keep it all the way real, it was some fake, tricky contract, fine-print type shit that has caused me to have to give him a portion of my deal, but you know it’s nothing. Sometimes you have to take strikes in this game. But everybody already knows what type of dude Charlamagne is. You two used to be good friends, right? Of course, he used to be a friend of mine, so for him to just flip like he did— money is a powerful thang, man. It’ll make yo mama flip on you, that’s just how strong it is. When money comes into play you never know how people gon’ act, because some people ain’t seen certain money before in they life. So, you say a number to ‘em and you never know what they gon’ do in life. I’m just gon’ be the bigger man in the situation. I know what I gotta do, I gotta a whole lot on my back, and Carolina is depending on me. So I can’t push no negativity, but me and [Charlamagne] personally know that we’ve got problems till we die. So it is what it is. There’s no way for y’all to resolve the situation? No, not unless he gives me my money back and tells me he’s sorry. It would be all good then, he’d have been a man. But other than that I can’t do nothing for him. I’ll see him when I see him. What’s the situation with you and Collard Green. Are you two still cool? Most definitely. Me and Collard Green are always gonna be cool. It’s deeper than rap with me and some of these dudes. Me and Collard Green got a relationship where I could sleep on his floor while he’s in the bed. We were in the same studio working since way back. That’s still the homie, that’s always gon’ be the homie, it’s just that business separates things sometimes. I’m more focused on my business than anything right now, so I have to separate myself from some people because they aren’t on the same page I’m on. Aside from music, what other kinds of business are you involved in? I’m doing everything as a whole, just coming into being a man, finding myself as a person and just grinding. I’m trying to take control of my life. Since you had a record deal at 15 years old, what’s the main thing you wish you had known back then that you’re aware of now? Really, I just wish I was more mature back then, but at 15 you can only be so mature. I just wish I would’ve had better guidance and a more solid team around me. Everything happens for a reason though, because without all my struggles I wouldn’t be the guy I am today. What does your day-to-day life consist of? I definitely stay on the road daily, doing shows up and down the highway. I basically live on the road and in the studio. This rap life is my life now, it’s all I got, so I’m basically doing this all the time. Do you spend any time back home in South Carolina? Matter of fact, I was in South Carolina yesterday just kickin’ it, but I don’t really be in the clubs like that right now. There’s just so much tension right now, I ain’t wit’ that. For me to be the person I’m becoming right now, I’m trying to stay away from all that, but I definitely will be back. It’s definitely not a situation of me being afraid, I’m just grinding right now for us as a whole—they just don’t see it right now. It’s bigger than Lil Ru for real. Would you say that you’re a victim of the crabs-in-a-barrel syndrome that plagues a lot of artists from smaller cities? Everybody always speaks from a standpoint that they’ve never been in, that’s the thing about it. Everybody’s got a comment, but they never had a record deal, so how they gon’ tell me how to act? “Naw, you can’t tell me that. Nigga, you ain’t got nothing!” I think we need more support. What’s your sales pitch for 21 And Up? Why should people go out and support your project? The album is beautiful. I guarantee it’s one of the best albums the world gon’ hear. I should get a Grammy. It’s crazy. The album is amazing. I call it 21 And Up because it has an older swag to it, but it’s still for everybody. If you’re struggling, hustling, partying, getting nasty—no matter what you doing in life, there’s something on this album for you. My second single is called “Yeah, That’s Money” featuring Rick Ross. 21 And Up is a crazy album, believe that. It’s food for your soul for real. //


n a time when rappers come off more like movie characters, Freddie Gibbs is reality TV. Born and raised in Gary, Indiana, Gibbs’ last two mixtapes The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs and Midwestboxframecadillacmuzik have garnered him a buzz amongst fans who have been yearning for raw rap music in a time where rap is becoming accepted, to a fault. “Rap is supposed to be taboo,” says Gibbs, remembering when he’d have to turn down his Geto Boys tape when his parents were home. “The rap now? They’ve WalMart-ed it and made it accessible to everybody. Everybody can do Hip Hop, but this gangsta rap is supposed to be in its own corner.” It was being on the corner that actually led Gibbs to become a rapper. Admitting that he never set out to rap, Gibbs sold local rappers some “inspiration” at his mentor and producer Fingeroll’s studio. After noticing their missteps, Gibbs figured trying it for himself wouldn’t be too hard. Two or three mixtapes later, Gibbs found himself signed to Interscope Records. “I was the first nigga out of Gary to get a deal since Michael Jackson,” he says. “But [the city] didn’t support me like they should have.” And neither did Interscope. After shifting their focus to more pop-oriented music, Gibbs’ fell out of favor with the label’s brass and his project was terminated. The windfall that followed is documented on his song “Close Your Eyes.” “I stopped rapping,” he states bluntly. “I had a child on the way, I got back in the streets fullfledged. I went through depression, my girl lost the baby and I got on those pills hard. I really wasn’t interested [in rapping]. I’m lucky I had good friends to keep me interested in music.” His “comeback” mixtape The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs reintroduced him to the rap world as one of the freshest voices out. Drawing comparisons to everyone from Tupac to Nas to Z-Ro, Gibbs’ songwriting skills coupled with his own tailored Midwest flow make him a rare talent. “I came up listening to quality rap, and that’s what I want to make,” says Gibbs, who likens his delivery to putting puzzle pieces together, trying his best to leave no gaps on the beat. “I have something to prove every time I get in the booth. A lot of niggas get in the studio high and drunk just so they can say ‘I’m a rapper.’ I do this shit to the best of my ability.”

Patiently Waiting

Words by Maurice G. Garland



hile most sons of a tattoo artist would probably spend their time getting inked up for free, Yung Ro instead used his father’s tattoo shop, Black Pearl, as a springboard for getting into the music industry. Growing up in St. Louis, MO, the home of rappers like Nelly and the St. Lunatics, Chingy, and J-Kwon, Yung Ro received inspiration from rappers that walked in and out of his father’s tattoo shop. Watching them, he knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life. “Black Pearl has been here for a good 15 years,” Ro starts. “When I was younger everyone who is anyone came to my father’s shop to get tattoos. Nelly, the St. Lunatics, basically everyone. Just hearing them talk about the business made me want to do it more and more. And now here I am.” Working with his father’s industry connects as well as his developing his own, Ro created a certified frenzy around his movement and hit song “Donk That.” Produced by the Track Boyz, (who produced Nelly’s “Air Force Ones), “Donk That” already chartered at #3 on the Billboard Single Sales chart, and its catchy lyrics and thumping beat made it a favorite amongst YouTube users looking to prove they know exactly how to “donk that.” With the single still bubbling, Ro has added yet another leg to the project by pulling in Chingy and City Spud on the official remix. “Donk Dat is really a song for women to dance to and men to enjoy,” claims the young rapper. “Now that I have added Chingy and City Spud to it, the song can only get better.” To follow up, Yung Ro’s second single, “Runway Chick” from his debut album The Rising Son is yet another ode to women. With multiple pots in the fire, this 18-year-old rapper/CEO and owner of Black Pearl Entertainment, which already has a quality roster in solo artist Nu Money and the duo Mookie and Buddha, plans to take his career and business to a higher level. “I’m always going to be at the tattoo shop because that’s where it all started,” claims Yung Ro. “But it’s just different now since people come in to see me [too, not] just to get tattoos.” Words by Lola Sims Photo by John Hennecke


Patiently Waiting

Patiently Waiting


t doesn’t matter where you’re from,” says the soft-spoken native of a small town called Grambling, LA. “It’s the effort you put into it.” Over the last several years, Louisiana Cash (otherwise known as Ca$h) has put in double the footwork of the average rapper coming from a major market. Whether he’s passing out mixtapes, traveling to industry events, opening shows, or just parking lot promoting, “C.A. Dollar” makes every effort count. And even though his grassroots hustle spread throughout Dallas, Shreveport, parts of Kentucky, and beyond, the hometown hero never denies his origins, even though he’s often mistaken as a Dallas artist. “I made ‘Walk Wit a Dip’ after I had put out like 5 or 6 singles that just weren’t catching on,” he explains, of his current single. “The DJs in Dallas really picked up on it first before it spread back home to Louisiana, and then it spread to Kentucky.”

Through lots of trial and error, Cash finally entered the Billboard charts. With the help of his management team, Hustle Fam Music Group, and ISG Ent., the indie label he’s been with since leaving his former rap group, Cash recently shot a video for “Walk Wit a Dip” and secured a major deal with Jive Records. “This wasn’t an overnight process,” Cash recalls. “Coming from a small area, there’s not really a market [there] so I had to do extra work.” With everything he’s learned thus far, Cash knows that having a recording contract is only a stepping stone, not the ultimate destination. Prior to planning for his debut album, Cash is concentrating on showing his full range of talent by introducing more music to his fans. Mixtapes with DJ Chuck T and DJ Smallz are currently in the works. His D.O.D. (Death of Dance) mixtape with Smallz makes a bold statement considering the popularity of his radio single. “The dance movement is oversaturated,” he

claims. “We’ve gotta go back to making that good music, because that’s the only way to build.” And even though he has girls “Walkin’ Wit a Dip” throughout the South and Southwest, Cash doesn’t want to be known as a dancerapper. “When I first made ‘Walk Wit a Dip,’ it wasn’t a dance – I don’t really dance,” he says. “I’m happy it caught on, but it’s more to my music than that. I want people to buy into my story.” Coming from his modest beginnings in North Louisiana, Cash’s childhood aspirations of stardom are materializing day by day – it’s a classic rags-to-riches story he hopes will encourage others. “I got a story just like every other nigga comin’ from the projects, raised by a single parent,” he acknowledges. “I want to tell people to keep pushin’, keep movin’ forward, and anything can happen.” Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Sketch


Patiently Waiting


hanell Woodgette already has a long résumé. Although the girl tagged as the “softer, sweeter side of Young Money” isn’t the type to brag, as a dancer, choreographer and songwriter, she’s already worked with the likes of Ne-Yo, Kelis and Danity Kane, all before signing her deal with Young Money/Universal Motown. Now that she has joined Weezy’s Young Mula movement, Shanell a.k.a. SnL (an acronym for “Shut up n Listen”), is poised to present the world with a zest of music. “I’m an 80’s baby, and I listen to Method Man, the whole Wu-Tang, Nas and Biggie,” she begins. “But I also listen to Cyndi Lauper, Madonna and Prince. When I’m in the studio, a fusion of those sounds just happen. I think [my music] is gonna be new, fresh and dope.” Born in Springfield, MA, Shanell, along with her mother and younger sister (former Danity Kane member D. Woods), relocated to Atlanta shortly after the Summer Olympics in 1996. The two sisters were enrolled at Tri Cities Performing Arts, a high school that produced talented entertainers like rap duo Outkast, comedian Kenan Thompson and singer/songwriter Kandi Burruss. The school helped the Woodgette girls sculpt their


passion for entertainment. D. Woods went on to make Diddy’s band, while Shanell’s entertainment career began as a dancer. “I’ve always done everything, but dancing is what I started doing professionally first,” says Shanell, who has danced and choreographed for Ne-Yo, The Game, Snoop Dogg and Bow Wow. “I learned a lot because I saw more than an artist that starts off being an artist.” In addition to dancing, she penned songs for Kelis, One Chance and Danity Kane, but still had an unyielding desire to be a recording artist. After meeting Mr. Carter while on the road with Ne-Yo, SnL finally got the break she was waiting for.

the YM emblem. She wrote and was featured on “Prom Queen,” the first single off Wayne’s forthcoming rock album Rebirth. She toured and performed on both the I Am Music and America’s Most Wanted tours. Her recently released Taste of Shanell mixtape has given listeners an appetizer for her free spirit and carefree musical persona, most notably on the remake of Eddie Murphy’s “Party All The Time” with former Danity Kane bad girl Aubrey O’Day. She’s in the process of helping to complete Rebirth and her crew’s Young Money compilation, and with her chance to finally have the spotlight; she vows to go where other females in her lane won’t.

“I met Wayne on tour. I was actually dancing for Ne-Yo at the time, but I was so serious about my music,” Shanell remembers. “[I] was trying to play music for everybody. I played my stuff for [Wayne] and he was like, ‘Well, what do you wanna do? You wanna dance or you wanna sing?,’” she says, imitating Lil Wayne’s voice. “I was like, ‘I really wanna sing.’”

“I haven’t seen a fun female [artist] in a long time,” she says. “It’s okay to have fun. It’s okay to wild out sometimes. You don’t have to be so uptight and perfect all the time, and as far as the lyrical content of my music, that’s what I talk about. It’s those things that other females are scared to talk about or admit.”

Shanell’s career came full circle since donning

Words by Randy Roper Photo by Allen Cooley

Patiently Waiting


he first time Mike Bless jumped on a track, his ability to tell a story caught the attention of everyone in the room and rightfully earned him his stage name. Ever since then he’s been blessing tracks and riding his way straight to the top. With stops that include a daily grind, mixtapes, and a deal with Slip-N-Slide Records, life is truly working out for the 25-yearold up-and-coming rapper. Now as the newest signee to one of Miami’s most powerful labels, he’s ready to show and prove. “I have always done what I had to do to make things work,” Bless starts. “I go hard like this because I know no one’s going to push me or my music like I can.”

along the Gulf Coast,” claims Bless. “I’ve worked hard to build up my following and flood those areas with my music. It feels good to know that people know some of my songs word-for-word out there.”

Originally from Akron, OH, before claiming new residence in Pensacola, FL, this young rapper had every intention of creating his own lane. That lane now reaches far along the Gulf Coast and beyond. “Right now I’m really known all

After winning the first step of the contest he was invited to Miami for the finals, and once again won out over the competition and awed the labels executives. Slip-N-Slide immediately decided they wanted him to be a part of their team.

Aiding his quest to widen his following is the recent signing with Slip-N-Slide Records. What started out as an opportunity to participate in a Slip-N-Slide sponsored talent contest, quickly turned into a worthwhile break for Bless. Taking to the stage to perform his street single “Wham,” he thoroughly impressed the judges, and the crowd was already familiar with the record.

Now with dry ink on the contracts, Mike Bless has a six-album deal with SNS Records. “My first official single with Slip-N-Slide is called ‘Do It Like This,’” starts Bless. “It’s nothing like what I’m known for but it can be played anywhere. It’s international. You can play it in a white club or a black club and people are going to feel it.” Bless is preparing for his newest mixtape release 2 Sides 2 My Story and a promotional tour starting this fall. He hopes that on his way to the masses, blessings will come every step of the way, and adds, “I know if other people can make it out of Akron and new artists can make an impact in music, so can I.” Words by Lola Sims Photo by Corey Knight


Patiently Waiting


he Paper Route Gangstaz are polite Southern gentlemen who regularly roll from hood to hood to spread awareness about their music and product. Despite their kind mannerisms and likeable swag, however, there are certain times when the rap crew could be flat-out rude to consumers. “If somebody calls my phone saying, ‘Yo, got some of that OG Kush?,’ [then] I’m hanging up the phone because shit - I don’t even know what that is, as far as I’m concerned,” explains group member, Mata. “But if my dude hits me up and be like, ‘What up, man? Is Keyshia over there?’ [Then I’ll say] ‘Yeah, she over here. Come on over. Come get you a CD.’ That’s good trap etiquette.” The Hip Hop quartet (also comprised of Dawgy Baggz, Jhi-Ali and Gunt) is referencing “Keyshia Cole,” the hypnotic single from their EP Rocket Fuel that both praises the R&B superstar and serves as slang for marijuana. While that song is carrying the group into the mainstream, they’ve been patiently waiting for that jetpack over nine years. Originally launched in 2000 as a collaboration


between prominent artists in the Huntsville music scene, they settled on the name Paper Route Gangstaz and put a grimy spin on a popular job description.

national,” Mata says. Dawgy Baggz continues, “I think any artist that is trying to do their thing needs a bigger machine in order to reach different parts of the country.”

“It’s like the paperboy. He deals his route every morning throwing out papers [and] he goes back to collect his money. That’s what we were doing,” Dawgy Baggz says, convincingly. “We were on our paper route, throwing out our inventory, came back and got our pay.”

Now the energetic four-piece wrecking machine is prepping the release of Rocket Fuel, a six-track offering that boasts bangers including the kidfriendly car delight “Woodgrain,” the hometown anthem “Bama Getting Money” and of course, the infamous “Keyshia Cole.” And unlike other collections on the market, the Paper Route Gangstaz heavily emphasize their hardnosed lifestyle.

While they achieved underground success with “Lacs & Prices” featuring a pre-superstar T.I. in 2001, the PRGz would spend the next seven years re-configuring their lineup, releasing music through Dawgy’s Paper Route Recordz, and selling inventory out of the trunk. But when they released their DJ Benzi and Diplo crafted mixtape Fear & Loathing In Hunts Vegas, their trunk became empty rather quickly. That led to a deal with E1 Entertainment. “We just got too big for ourselves, for real. We had places we couldn’t even supply. The demand was getting real major, so we had to take it

“It ain’t like nobody else is speaking on,” Mata says. “We go more in-depth on the subject. You just can’t just look at a trap nigga and then find out all that stuff. You gotta actually be up on that thing.” The Paper Route Gangstaz are honest men. Just don’t ask them for any OG Kush. Words by Bear Frazer Photo by Chris Dowdell

Patiently Waiting


he phrase “less is more” clearly doesn’t describe this Dallas duo known for the song “Mr. Hit Dat Hoe.” Essentially a twoman group, Dallas natives Treal Lee and Prince Rick drew more attention to themselves when they added the entertaining antics of Mr. Hit Dat Hoe to their equation. Known for his involvement in the local dance clubs, Kedrick Wilson, newly known as Mr. Hit Dat Hoe, put boogie dance moves to Treal and Rick’s lyrics, and soon they were dominating YouTube and Myspace. “I was in the clubs, dancing and whatnot, building a name for myself,” Ked explains. “They felt I could contribute to the group as an entertainer.” Soon after they began working with Mr. Hit Dat Hoe, Treal and Prince coined a song after him, and it caught on regionally.

eo, just a homemade display of Mr. Hit Dat Hoe’s jiggin’ abilities. But it was enough to get people talking, especially those who didn’t understand the concept behind “Hit Dat Hoe.” “It’s not about domestic violence,” Ked clarifies. “It’s Dallas slang for doin’ your thang.”

“It happened kinda fast,” Prince Rick recalls. “We were sittin’ around and I was like, ‘We need to get on YouTube.’ We went out in front of my house and made a video. Days later the radio station was announcing all the websites we was on. It was a trip.”

Although this song initiated their national launch, Treal Lee and Prince Rick have a consistent track record of Texas club hits. After leaving behind their high school rap group The Pawn Shop Boys, Treal and Prince eventually got serious with their careers when their first single “Bad Lil Braud” took off in 2008. Later that year, Treal Lee was featured on Young T’s “Work That Lumba,” another song rotating in the DFW area. Keeping the momentum going, Treal and Prince released “Get Off Me Now” in early 2009.

The video Rick refers to isn’t an official music vid-

Now with shows being booked, radio stations

adding them, and Collipark Music recently signing the group, Treal and Prince, along with their sidekick Mr. Hit Dat Hoe, are ready for their shot. Their immediate future involves recording more songs, supplying their internet fan base, and expanding the awareness of their music. Not to be confused as dance rappers, Treal and Prince have a broad group of supporters that like their upbeat energy. “When you’re in the club you wanna enjoy yourself. You don’t wanna mope around being sober,” Kedrick says. Furthering this concept, Treal Lee adds, “We don’t really dance, we just have fun. We do us, and make good music.” Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Juicy Graphix


Patiently Waiting


’m the lyrical guy that makes dope club records,” Kentucky native Kasanova says. With a blend of witty wordplay and marketable swag, Nova broke ground in the Louisville scene a couple years ago and became one to watch in his hometown. During high school, Nova took his poetry writing skills in a new direction after being introduced to Hip Hop wordsmiths like Ras Kass. A few years later he left college and was fully involved in making music, having completed a couple independent albums. His work soon captured the interest of Heavy Hitter DJ E-Feezy. With the assistance of this influential supporter, Kasanova released The Lu-Breeze mixtape with DJ Khaled in 2007, followed by Nova The Vicious with DJ Drama in early 2009. To date, Nova’s most popular record has been “Chain Swang,” featuring Gorilla Zoe.


“I ran into Gorilla Zoe at the OZONE Awards last year,” Nova explains, of the collaboration. “We had met a couple months prior to that, so he was already gonna do a record for me.” “Chain Swang” was an automatic hit. Now that the song has solidified him in his region and is picking up in various locations nationwide, Nova is taking the necessary steps to branch out. While focusing on his growth, he says, “My next step is getting on the road and branding my face, name, and songs all together. The main thing I want is to make history; to leave a mark and have a following.” To appease his growing fanbase, Kasanova is currently recording his debut album Mama’s Basement, an ode to starting at the bottom and working his way up. Presently Nova has been offered a few major label situations, but nothing

that he’s chosen to accept. “I wanna make sure I get the right deal,” he says. “You don’t wanna jump on the first thing that comes along and end up getting a slave deal.” When it comes to the tone of his music, Nova says, “I wanted to show people that you don’t have to be a gangster; you don’t have to talk about slangin’ drugs; you don’t have to be the biggest baller. You can just make great music, be yourself, and still be successful.” Coming from a less-than-recognized market Nova describes as tough to succeed in, he’s proud of achieving a sizeable audience. “Kentucky is definitely a tough crowd,” he adds triumphantly, “but once you got ‘em they stick with you.” Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Quinest Harrington


feel like it’s a good time for me to identify myself,” Bola says, of the development of her solo career. As one half of the female duo Xtaci, the Atlanta femcee has been making strides alongside her group-mate Sunshine since she was 15 years old. “We met Tip, Jason Geter, and the whole Grand Hustle in 2000,” she explains, recalling how Xtaci got signed to T.I. and Jason Geter’s label. “In the midst of meeting them, we were doin’ talent shows and things like that. We just clicked and became family.” Though Bola admits Xtaci wasn’t at their peak skill level at that time, Tip saw potential in the girls and put them in the studio, which back then was located in a small Atlanta apartment. Bola says T.I. became her mentor, and with his guidance Xtaci’s craft improved. Through trial and error they found their own voice and soon their music was initiated in the underground scene via DJ Drama and P$C mixtape features. A few of their songs made it to the radio, and the name Xtaci was commonly known in their hometown, but it wasn’t enough for Bola.

As the label’s roster grew, Xtaci took a backseat to artists like Young Dro, Big Kuntry, and Yung LA. Sunshine recently became a mother, and the group was put on hold temporarily. Bola explains, “People looked at us as, ‘That’s just a group on Grand Hustle’, and I couldn’t let that happen. I took it upon myself to keep grinding and keep our name strong so people don’t forget.” Branching outside of her immediate circle, Bola is currently working with her own management team, one she feels is devoted to her vision. “I wanted to show Jason that I could be more of a priority, even if I was doing my own thing,” she says proudly. Still affiliated with Grand Hustle, Bola spends a majority of her time recording with her labelmates, including Yung LA, who is featured on her current single “Everyday.” The song, which originally belonged to L.A. before Bola added her lyrics and he offered her ownership, is doing well for her. The video for “Everyday” recently hit the net, spreading throughout all the popular blog sites, and introducing Bola, a.k.a. Black Betty Boop, to the Hip Hop community. To back up her single, the first lady of Grand Hustle is covering all her bases with a new mixtape entitled Jus Gettin Started. Though she’s far from a new-comer in the rap game, Bola’s identity outside of Xtaci is just now beginning to surface. It’s a transformation she’s excited about. “It took both of our strong personalities to make up Xtaci,” she adds, “and I’m looking forward to lettin’ people see who I am.” Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Wiggins Studio Hair Stylist Sonya Marie

Patiently Waiting OZONE MAG // 63

Patiently Waiting


lthough a lot of us would like to believe Hip Hop is universal, it’s not. Like any other business, it’s all about location, location, location. And like most up-and-coming artists seeking to make it in this industry, Mississippi native Korleon moved to Atlanta. “Where I come from, there isn’t really a market. The only really successful person to come out of Jackson [Mississippi] was David Banner. It’s not a lot of people who come through there,” Korleon explains. “You can get a record on the radio with two or three hundred spins but it doesn’t mean anything.” As frustrating as it was for Korleon, he had no choice but to move to Atlanta. Then, he opened up his own recording studios—one in Atlanta and another in Mississippi. This allowed him the flexibility needed to record. “Once I got to Atlanta, I started noticing how Jeezy, Yo Gotti, and Gucci Mane were taking advantage of the mix-


tape game,” he revealed. “I started to also check for the DJs that were doing these mixtapes.”

Juiceman, Playaz Circle and Lil Boosie, and went from being nobody to becoming somebody.

Shortly thereafter, Korleon started his own label, Rich Boy Entertainment. He recorded over 400 songs and released three mixtapes: one with the Trap-A-Holics, one with DJ Black Bill Gates, and Southern Ambassadors with Bohagon. While reaching out to whomever he could to collaborate with, Korleon learned fast that all that glitters is not gold. “There are a lot of DJs that take advantage of hungry, up-and-coming artists,” he admits. “They’ll say ‘I’ll host your mixtape,’ they’ll harass you until they get you to commit. They’ll get their money and send you back a mixtape with a bunch of drops and that’s it.”

As Korleon continues to pave the way for himself, he has also recruited several artists from Mississippi to his label. “If I can help somebody [else], I’m good with that too,” he explains. “You’ll never know where that can take you.”

As aggravating as it seems, Korleon says he still owes all of his success to the DJs who have supported his music. “This time last year nobody even knew who I was,” he points out. Within one year, Korleon had singles with Bohagan, OJ Da

Even if it is taking the music industry mixtape by mixtape, he is still living out his passion as he continues to grow as an artist, producer and CEO. With his lessons learned, he is able to relay the message to other artists in Mississippi and continue to create opportunities that were never given. “When I came up, there were no outlets,” he begins. “Now I am the outlet. And I don’t have to pay nobody to do it either. I can do it all myself.” Words by Lexilex Photo by Diwang Valdez


ith a current lack of male vocalists making a splash in rhythm and blues, Young Joe has realized that the beautiful genre is yearning for a new voice to follow and believes he can be that new voice. In fact, the singer aspires to be the “Future of R&B” and has all the tools necessary to make that objective come to fruition; a deal with 2 Pistols’ label Bloody Money Union, charming vocals that pierces a female’s heart, and youthful looks. After all, he’s only 20 years old. There was a time, however, when Young Joe felt conflicted. The Tampa, Florida-bred artist always enjoyed freestyling with his friends and even had childhood dreams of becoming an NBA superstar. Then one day, when he was 14, he changed his tune just for the ladies. “I started singing just to impress the girls. From there, I kinda took it to a whole other level,” he explains. “When I performed in front of my middle school and high school, I realized it was something I wanted to do a little bit more.” Though Young Joe had the opportunity to play college hoops after graduating from Tampa’s Alonso High School in 2007, he opted to focus on a music career instead and stayed nose deep in the songwriting grind. A year later, the singer had a smash record on his hands called “Lights Low” that he shopped around to various industry folks. Chaka Zulu, the manager for Ludacris, heard the track and was instantly mesmerized. “He wanted to purchase the record for Ludacris, but we didn’t go through with that,” Joe says, “because there was slight chance I would’ve came off the record.” Young Joe ultimately linked up with fellow Tampa artist 2 Pistols in December 2008, sold him the track and sang on the hook. “The deal was a little sweeter to stay on the record and do a deal with 2 Pistols,” the 20-year-old says. “I was looking for a deal at the time and that worked out pretty well for me.” He signed to 2 Pistols’ Blood Money Union, which is distributed through Cash Money/Universal. The first project to come from this Florida alliance is the Lights Low Mixtape Volume 1, a 20-track collection that equally features 2 Pistols’ sex-crazed lyricism and Joe’s sensual vocals, as demonstrated on the young stunner’s supportive single “What You Need.” The crooner describes his offering as “kinda like a best of both worlds. We got me and 2P, and you get the best R&B and rap.” While the future of R&B may be uncertain, Young Joe is confident that his musical abilities will make him the new voice to follow and for that, he’s grateful he stuck to the beautiful vocal genre as oppose to rapping or playing pro ball. Anyway, women dig singers more. “I don’t know if they prefer it,” he starts to say, “but I can tell you I get more reaction from the girls than the rappers, basketball players and the athletes [do].” Words by Bear Frazer

Patiently Waiting OZONE MAG // 65

Patiently Waiting


o most Carolinians, when Lil Brod’s single “Do U Mind” started getting played by every DJ in South Carolina, the Columbia, SC rapper seemingly came out of nowhere. But contrary to popular belief, Brod was laying his groundwork years before “Do U Mind” became a regional hit. He began recording and releasing his music on a street level at 13. At 15, he hooked up the local rapper Jay Pacino, who had already built his buzz in the city and featured Brod on a song called “We Gon Be G’s.” The song received a few radio spins, but it was enough to peak the young rapper’s interested in the music business. “I was on the radio at 15, going to school,” he remembers. “Ever since that day, once I saw how fast everything could happen, I told myself I’ma do this all the way to the T. This is what I love to do, and I see you can get money from something


you love to do, so I just went all the way in.” He went on to release an independent project called Vicissitude, featuring the single “Sometimes I” that caught the street’s attention. “When I dropped that song, they didn’t know I could come like that,” he boasts. “Once everybody got on it, that was a street bumper right there.” Despite his modest street buzz, Brod’s name was still a relative unknown to the vast majority in his city, but that would soon change. After hearing a beat that would later become “Do U Mind,” he took the track to SC producer 9 Million (Lil Ru’s “Nasty Song”), who immediately saw the potential in the record. “I let 9 Mill hear it, and he said, ‘We can take this track, we can redo it way better than it is,’” Brod says, recalling their conversation. “At first I thought it wasn’t going to work cause I was on some street [music]. But [we] gave it a try and it took off.”

From there, “Do U Mind” became a regional hit, and Lil Brod signed an independent deal with 9 Million’s Head Hunter Records through his own No Sleep imprint. As they wait on the right major label situation, his music, including his latest single “Babygirl” featuring R&B singer Sammie, continues to be a mainstay in the streets and on radio, while he finishes up a mixtape entitled Key 2 The City, hosted by DJ B-Lord. “In a six month period [my] whole life changed from not knowing what was going to go on one day to the next day [knowing] I’m good,” he says. “Patiently Waiting, that’s the perfect title for everything. The streets been on me, it was just [about getting] the corporate people on me. And I guess it worked.” Words by Randy Roper Photo by Clevis Harrison


e like your music, but we don’t think a white Southern rapper would work.” These were the words that put so much doubt in Question’s mind that the 17-year-old left his group and stopped rapping altogether. Prior to the nationwide success of Paul Wall and Bubba Sparxxx, there weren’t many record labels willing to take a risk on a Caucasian rapper from Texas, so Question temporarily abandoned his rap dreams and joined the military. “I got back into rapping by accident,” he begins. “When I got out of the military, I went to music engineering school in California, and I started managing a group.” During his behind-the-scenes ventures, Question interned with Rafael Saadiq and made a lot of connections he was using to help his band get on. It was one of these connections that overheard Question freestyling and took him to JR Rotem, which eventually led to a major deal through Sony/ Epic Records. With his newfound interest in Hip Hop, Question hit the studio full force, producing numerous mixtapes. In 2007, he released the San Antonio classic “Riding So Slow” featuring Sean Kingston, Bun B, as well as fellow San Antonio artist Kyle Lee. The record gained traction throughout Texas and beyond, landing Question a deal with Sony. Question had some later success with his Gucci Mane assisted single “That Boy Bad,” which is still a fan favorite at his shows. But it was a dance record that brought Question the most mainstream attention and ultimately caused a rift between him and his label. “’Dance Like a White Boy’ was a joke I never meant to get out,” he says. “But the label heard it, remixed it with a new beat, and put it out.” The song went to #1 on San Antonio radio and spread throughout parts of Alabama and Kentucky, but Question did not support the record, or the new direction his label was pushing him to go. “That’s not the type of artist I am,” he emphasizes. As Question left Sony, he was able to take advantage of a loophole in his contract to maintain ownership of his masters. In order to capitalize from the music he’s already made, including songs he acquired from the label as well as new recordings, Question is releasing an album independently called Rehab. “I never got into this for the money,” Question explains. “Of course I have kids and I want to be successful, but it’s a passion.” Eventually he plans to explore marketing and management, saying, “I’m gonna be involved with music in some way for the rest of my life. It’s just what I do.” No questions about it. Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Chris Morales

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pearheading her own movement that she affectionately refers to as “Yummy Pop,” Muffy is far from your run-of-the-mill music artist. Combining the genres of Pop and Hip Hop into what she deems as a sound that’s so “delectable, tempting, and fun” that people will be clamoring for more, her outlook on music is as original as they come. Energetic as she is talented, her style and musical taste have often led to her being described as the black Cindy Lauper, or better yet, the black Gwen Stefani. While some people may dwell on these references, Muffy does the total opposite and instead chooses to do her and create her own lane. “To me, I’ve always been a star,” claims Muffy. “I’m just extra, not on purpose though. It’s really just me.” Originally a New Jersey native before moving to Atlanta, thanks to parents who were a little more than just musically inclined, Muffy has been around music since childhood. While her father played the bass, her mother sang back up for the legendary George Clinton and kept a young Muffy in studio sessions. Even with musical influences surrounding her, it wasn’t until five years ago that she woke up one day and decided that she wanted to try music. Claiming she was “bad” at first, Muffy eventually found her own lane, which turned out to be only half of the battle. “Once I started doing my demos, I had to get them out,” starts Muffy. “I really didn’t want to just walk up to people and say, ‘Here’s my demo,’ but one of my friends told me to give one to Coach K when we saw him out and I just did. Two days later he called me and we got to work.” With Coach K, who managed Young Jeezy’s career throughout the early years, Muffy knew she was on the right path. With a strong belief in her music, and a continuous grind, Muffy has been able to propel herself into a position as an artist to watch. Now backed by super producer Bangladesh, her signature colored hair is not the only thing that will make her stand out from the crowd. “I’m focused on pushing away from the standard,” Muffy starts. “I just want to make good fun music.” As her venture with Bangladesh Productions/ EmanonMusiq develops, Muffy’s latest song “Get Um Girls” featuring Gucci Mane is expected to hit the airwaves soon. “I’m excited about everything that’s happening for me,” says Muffy. “I got some big things coming and I just can’t wait for things to take off.” Words by Lola Sims Photo by The Horner Bros


Patiently Waiting

Patiently Waiting F

rom Slauson Ave in Los Angeles to Nostrand Ave in Brooklyn, there are many streets that Hip Hop has made synonymous with rough living. Rappers shouting out their street on records and backing it up with tales of poverty and crime has to do wonders for their city’s tourism industry. And even though Atlanta rapper Pill’s debut mixtape 4180: The Prescription pays homage to one of his old addresses, the name of the street isn’t one you should expect him to recite too often. “I stayed on 4180 Cant Street,” he grins with a tinge of disbelief in his face. “Ain’t that fucked up? Ain’t that some governmental bullshit? You gotta come home from school to Cant Street. That’s some dirty shit.”

Ever since he picked up a microphone, it’s been tragedies like that Pill has worked to expose, even in the midst of living through them. Bouncing all around Atlanta as a child, Pill lived the life of an Army brat without the passport stamps. With his mother battling drug addiction, his older siblings staying in the grasp of the penile system and none of his family members wanting to shelter him for too long, football and music were the only sanctuaries Pill had. Equally passionate about both, he elected to pass up a couple football scholarships at small colleges and pursue rap as a member of Killer Mike’s Grind Time Rap Gang collective. “But I was still out here trapping,” says Pill, shaking his head. “I’d be on stage with Killer and Devin the Dude one night, and the next, I’m right back in the trap. I started thinking, ‘What the fuck am I doing?’ I had to look myself in the mirror and ask myself if this is what I wanted to do. If I don’t swing the bat, I won’t get a hit.” That moment of clarity led Pill to begin recording his own mixtape 4180: The Prescription. Powered by his video single “Trap Goin’ Ham” the mixtape is being recognized as one of the rawest efforts from a new Atlanta artist in years. Using a diverse palette of production and key beat jacking as his backdrop, Pill is reintroducing Southern lyricism with a very direct street edge, reminiscent of a Trap Muzik-era T.I. “It all goes back to beats and rhymes, so I kept it simple. I put some hot shit on some hot beats,” says Pill, of the mixtape that has had major labels and high profile producers and artists itching to work with him ever since. “It was a breath of fresh air. A lot of rappers got in [the game] and shot up real fast, but I was staying down for what I believe. I had to display my talent and let people know I’m versatile and give them a cup of water to help them survive.” Hoping to capitalize off his buzz, Pill is following up with a second mixtape 4075: The Refill that promises to shatter any mentions of a “sophomore jinx.” Words by Maurice G. Garland Photo by Diwang Valdez



arol City is known for a lot of things. The notorious Miami ‘hood has been name-dropped by many artists hailing from the Sunshine State, and Rick Ross’ group Triple C’s – a.ka. Carol City Cartel - hails from the area. Most people are already familiar with the trio, consisting of Ross, Torch, and GunPlay, but recently a new face appeared alongside the original members – Young Breed. Officially inducted into Triple C’s when Maybach Music inked an imprint deal with Def Jam, Breed had been working with the group, as well as other South Florida rappers, for a lengthy amount of time. “We’ve been grindin’ in the streets,” he says. “I was building a mixtape buzz all throughout Florida and Georgia. I been doin’ a lot of features with GunPlay, Torch and Ross.” One of Breed’s most widespread features was a collaboration with Desloc called “Make Sum Room” produced by Gorilla Tek. With the support of Tony Neal and The CORE DJs, the record became popular enough to take Breed on a club tour throughout South Florida, parts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. It was one of several street singles for the young rapper. He says, “Another big record I had was ‘Real Niggas’ featuring Brisco and Iceberg. The remix to that was big too.” While doing his own thing, he remained in connection with Ross’ and the group, and when the timing was right, he joined their movement. Appearing in recent Triple C’s videos and the current single “Go,” Breed is becoming more recognizable to the public, bringing a noticeable change. “I feel like I bring that whole new vibe,” Breed explains of his contribution to Triple C’s. “It’s that young generation, that new money. Everything evolves and changes with time. We’re a brand new label – Maybach Music, and it’s with Def Jam so it’s a new look.” The group’s album Custom Cars & Cycles is in stores now, and things have come full circle for the Carol City native. “For me it’s just the struggle,” he says, of his motivation for making music. “I been grindin’ in the streets, gettin’ it.” Once shaped by his less-than-desirable environment, but always interested in music, Breed was able to turn things around into something positive. He explains, “I chose to focus more on my music, so I applied my hustle skills to music.” Influenced by Miami heavyweights like Ross, JT Money, Trick Daddy, and Piccalo, Breed is inspired to have a lasting impact. “I’m real young so I’m lookin’ for longevity,” he says. While Young Breed may be the new generation, he’s hoping to leave his mark on the next generation. Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Lisa Lisa


Patiently Waiting

Patiently Waiting


ise men have always said, “Timing is everything,” and that couldn’t be truer for Memphis’ own Paid Respect Eastside Promoting Swag Stupid a.k.a. “The P.R.E.P.S.” The trio of Freestyle, Polo Richie, and ‘NSane the Freshman was in the right place at the right time when they saw rapper Kia Shine at the barbershop. “We ran into him at the barbershop and we asked him to listen to our music. He didn’t even want to give us back our CD,” Freestyle recalls. “At the time, they had a record called ‘All We Do is Get Money,’ and it was really hot,” interjects Kia Shine. Before then, the P.R.E.P.S. were just three solo artists who had created a hot record. It was Kia Shine’s idea to formulate the trio into a group. “People were coming up to the truck asking me, ‘Shine, is this new music yours? and I was like ‘No, it’s theirs’,” Shine says. Shortly after meeting up with Kia Shine, the trio

officially became a group. “Instead of us coming up with a name, the name sort of came to us,” Polo Richie explains. “We’re from East Memphis. We have our own trend and our own style.” However, their style is in no comparison to anybody else that’s from Memphis. Their music is fresh, innovative, and within its own genre. “You wouldn’t even think it’s the same group,” explains Kia Shine. “They’re not just artists, they’re producers as well. They have a little more substance than those who compare them to other artists.” Within ten months of recording as a group, the trio has a new video debuting on MTV for their single “White Vee.” They even have a major mixtape dropping called First Semester with Don Cannon. “As far as music is concerned, we’re taking everybody back to the basics,” says Shine.

together, their music has developed over time. Freestyle and Polo Richie sold beats under their production team BNR and ‘N Sane the Freshman was previously known as “East Memphis.” Together, the trio offers a brand new sound that has its own flavor of fusion. “It’s like we’re leaders of the new Memphis,” says Polo Richie. “Trust me when I say ‘White Vee’ is the simplest record we have,” says Kia Shine. While the trio continues to grind, they’re not limiting their options. “We’re working with a lot of different producers from Drumma Boy to KE,” they explain. “But first we are definitely going to define who we are first.” Words by Lexi Lex

They’re more than grateful for the artists and DJs, in Memphis and beyond, that have recognized their music. Although they’re a fresh group


Playaz Circle/Flight 360: The Takeoff/Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam Ever since breaking through with “Duffle Bag Boys,” Playaz Circle has been constantly releasing quality music, and their second album might be this College Park, GA’s best body of work. From the opening track “Turbulence” to the club banger “Hold Up” to the lady-luring “Can’t Remember” with Bobby Valentino, this album is full of bangers, while keeping their airline flight theme intact. On the downside, most of Dolla and Tity Boi’s braggadocios content doesn’t go beyond money, swag, women, guns, cars and drugs, but their commendable beat selection makes just about every song on the album undeniable. - Randy Roper

Pitbull/Rebelution/Mr. 305 Inc, Polo Grounds/J Despite the political connotations of the title, Mr. 305 gives us another album full of what we know him best for: Spanglish dance hits that make the girls go crazy and the guys, well…hey, at least the girls are going crazy. With most of the bangers here produced by Lil Jon, Pit’s new album seems to be more about fun than anything else. “Krazy” and “Shut It Down” are two standout tracks, but the whole album delivers an upbeat vibe with great tracks. It’s definitely worth your $13.00. - Tony Burgos

Sean Kingston/Tomorrow/ Beluga Heights/Epic Sean Kingston’s sophomore album is a far cry from the music of his debut album. Choosing to go more in the pop direction of his 2007 hit “Beautiful Girls,” Kingston meshes reggae, rock, rhythmic and pop music throughout the album’s 14 cuts. His single “Fire Burning,”“Shoulda Let U Go” featuring Good Charlotte and “Ice Cream Girl” with an assist from Wyclef Jean, are indications that Kingston has no intentions of spitting hot 16’s anytime soon. Nevertheless, for fans that can respect his pop approach, Tomorrow is a fairly enjoyable album. - Randy Roper


Jay-Z/The Blueprint 3/ Roc Nation/Atlantic Blueprint 3 is one of the few examples of an album made by an emcee just for the sake of putting out good music. With all the success he’s had, and continues to have, there is no need for Mr. Carter to put out another album. But instead he comes out with an album that offers some of the purest Hip Hop of today. Injected with production from Kanye West, No ID, and Timbaland, BP3 is a musically rich effort that outruns its current competition with no mercy like Usain Bolt. - Rohit Loomba

ESG/Everyday Street Gangsta/E1 ESG is known in Houston for his freestyling abilities, but when it comes to a full-length album, most listeners would probably rather hear him freestyle. Everyday Street Gangsta has it moments, but those moments are accompanied by Bun B (“We Still Tippin’”), Chamillionaire (“Soldier”) or Trae (“Get Around”). ESG is a respectable rapper, but his freestyle skills surpass his bouncy flow and everyday street raps. Randy Roper

KiD CuDi/Man On The Moon: The End of Day/G.O.O.D./Universal Motown For some people, KiD CuDi’s debut album is an alternative brand of Hip Hop that might be a tough pill to swallow. But for those that can think outside the proverbial box, Man On The Moon is creative gem. CuDi’s 5-part concept album is mix of inner conflict (“Soundtrack 2 My Life”), lonely nights (“Solo Dolo,”), perseverance (“Sky Might Fall”), nightmares (“Day ‘n’ Night”), dreams (“Pursuit Of Happiness”) and brighter days (“Up, Up, & Away”). And for listeners willing to take a journey into the mind of Scott Mescudi, this album should impress fans with its blend of imagination, introspection and innovation. - Randy Roper Trick Daddy/Finally Famous: Born a Thug, Still a Thug/Dunk Ryders Records After a three-year hiatus, Trick Daddy finally returns with a new album, and his first album not released through his former label home Slip-N-Slide Records. Though the major label budget noticeably wasn’t there for guest features and big-name producers, Trick still manages to put together a solid album featuring vintage thug music like “This The Shit That I Live” and “Gangsta Music,” mixed with his “Thug Holiday” side on cuts like “Everyday Struggle” and “Tears Of A Grown Man.” Finally Famous doesn’t surpass T-Double-D’s previous work, but as an indie release, it’s close to what we’re accustomed to hearing from Trick Daddy Dollars. - Randy Roper Young Problemz/How’s My Rapping?/Unauthorized Entertainment/Asylum/Warner Music Group To answer the question posed by this album’s title, Young Problemz is a decent rap group. Updating a classic Houston sound, YP adds their own element of fresh with songs like “Got Me F’D Up” and “Count My Cash.” But there’s an obvious lack of hits and quality writing on How’s My Rapping?. Without the inclusion of “Boi,” its remix with Gucci and Mike Jones, and a few other decent selections, this album would be disposable. Thankfully there’s just enough impressive production and catchy hooks to salvage the project. - Ms. Rivercity Lil Wyte/The Bad Influence/ Hypnotize Minds/Asylum/Warner Music Group At times The Bad Influence mirrors the feeling of watching a poorly scripted B-movie, but it’s still entertaining nonetheless. Wyte starts off with a rock-inspired intro that isn’t half bad, except for the rapping part. From there, he dedicates one song to nearly every illicit substance created, such as “Leanin Off Dat Yurple,”“One Lil Pill,”“Oxy Cotton” (properly known as OxyContin), and “Maria,” which is apparently a new nickname for Mary Jane. By the end of this 15-track intoxicated joyride, you’ll have more drug education than a CVS pharmacist. And an urgent need to get un-sober. - Ms. Rivercity


“Zaytoven: Swagganomics 101” Myspace.com/imatrapaholic 1. The Empire & Shoot 5 Ent. “ATL Two: Rebuilding The City” Myspace.c om/evilempiremixtapes 2. Ill Fats “Coast 2 Coast 94“ Hosted by Grafh Coast2coastmixtapes.com 3. DJ Cannon Banyon & MIDIMarc “Good Ass Remix Part 2” Twitter.com /djcannonbanyon Twitter.com/Midimarc 4. Bank! Beats “Dilla vs. Jay-Z: The Lost Blueprint” Twitter.com/bankbeats 5. DJ Suga D & DJ Kris Stylez “Boss Chicks R Us: Chapter 1” Twitter.com /DjSUGAD Twitter.com/Djkrisstylez

6. Evil Empire & DJ Fletch “Property of October” Myspace.com/evilempiremixtapes Twitter.com/DjFletchDallas 7. DJ Chuck T “Down South Slangin’ 63” DJChuckT.com 8. DJ Nik Bean “The Hip Hop Thugsta Remastered” Twitter.com/DJNIKBEAN 9.The Empire, DJ 2Mello, Miami Kaos “Gucci Gang Bang” Myspace.com/evilem piremixtapes Twitter.com/dj2mello 10. Dj Spinz “Rhythm & Swag 6” Twitter.com/spinzhoodrich 11. DJ Young Prezzy “Light Grind” Twitter.com/DJyoungprezzy 12. DJ XFactor “Panty Droppers 11” 13. DJ Knucklez & HardTargetGFX.com “The Re Up Vol. 4” Twitter.com/DJ Knucklez HardTargetGFX.com

14. DJ Spinz & DJ Pretty Boy Tank “Space Invaders 4” Hosted by Travis Porter Twitter: @spinzhoodrich @djprettyboytank 15. DJ Spinatik “Street Runnaz 39” Djspinatik.com

Inspired by the man behind many Gucci Mane, OJ da Juiceman and Gorilla Zoe hits, the Trap-A-Holics compiled a 24-track mixtape featuring nothing but songs produced by Atlanta beatmaker Zaytoven. Swagganomics 101 has a list of new, exclusive and previously unreleased tracks like Yung Ralph’s “Bought That,” Young Buck’s “Money Maker” and Yung LA’s “Do The Math.” Any fan of Zaytoven’s sound will love and appreciate this mix. DJs, send your mix CDs (with a cover) for consideration to: OZONE Magazine 644 Antone St. Suite 6 Atlanta, GA 30318

16. Tapemasters Inc “This Is Hip Hop 7” Tapemastersinc.net 17. J. GreenMoneyTalkz “My Bottom Bitch Vol. 18” JGreenMoneyTalkz.com

18. DJ Envy & Tapemasters Inc. “Purple Codeine 26” Djenvy.org Tapemastersinc.net 19. Ghetto All Stars, Nitram Knarf & DJ Pillzbury “Stupid Swag” Myspace.c om/djpillzbury 20. DJ Haze “New Trap City” Haze-TV.com



Rick Ross (along with Triple C’s) Venue: The Kufa City: Saarbrucken, Germany Date: October 1st, 2009 Photo: Julia Beverly






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


n this month’s editorial, I want to touch on a few things. The first is approach. They way you approach someone is the very important beginning of a possible friendship or future business. If you’re not sure if you’ve met the person before, just reintroduce yourself and go from there. That way, you’ve reestablished contact and have a starting point to go from. To me, nothing is worse than meeting a person and spending the first twenty minutes of the conversation trying to remember who they are. My bad if I don’t remember you; I meet a lot of people. That goes for everyone in the entertainment business. If you make yourself memorable, there’s always a better chance you’ll be remembered. It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. I feel so special when a high-profile artist or music executive remembers me, not just from my work in publications, but from my work behind the scenes. They really just love my hustle. I’ve worked so hard at this through the years and have been through so much. There’s been so many times I wanted to quit, but I wasn’t raised a quitter. I was raised a go-getter! So that’s what I do. Most days, I’m traveling, all around the West Coast and the Midwest. My days tend to just start running together, but that’s what I signed up for, right? I feel blessed to be able to do what I do, and that’s why I sacrifice so much. I had to go back home to the BAY AREA because seeing D-Lo perform at Tatou’s in downtown Los Angeles made me instantly homesick. The party was smacking. Happy C-Day to my little brother Rob G, “Get Your Green Up!” The trip back home worked out great for my mind and soul because I really enjoyed the time at home and spending it with my family. It’s always family first – and I also got the chance to witness history. I was in the studio with The Jacka and Freeway for three days as they recorded a dope ass album. Scoot of Dem Hoodstarz was also in the studio (Free BandAide!) Around this time last year, history was made. We elected our first African American president. As millions of people celebrated, just as many people sat around anticipating his failure. We all hoped for something. “Hope” was the key word at the time, but it’s not just about “hope.” It’s about “believing” too. “To believe is to succeed, and to succeed is to achieve,” my nine-yearold niece said that to me as we were walking up to the movies to see Michael Jackson’s “This Is It.” Like Michael always said, the change starts with the person you face in the mirror every day. Believe.

The Jacka, me, & Network @ Boardwalk in Orangevale, CA for the Giants & Elephants Tour

Tech N9ne, me, & Violet Brown @ House of Blues for the KOD Tour in Los Angeles, CA

Daz Dillinger “I Luv Blood Bitches” Nipsey Hussle f/ Snoop Dogg “Gangsta’s Life” Mack 10 f/ J Holiday “Hood Famous” Glasses Malone f/ T-Pain, Rick Ross, & Birdman “Sun Come Up” Snoop Dogg f/ The Dream “Gangsta Luv” E-40 f/ Young Jeezy & B-Legit “Get Money” Bishop Lamont & Indef “Team America”

This is also my favorite time of year: holiday season. It’s a very stressful time for the majority of the world. The thing most of us forget is that it’s not about material things and gifts you receive; it’s more blessed to give than to receive. It’s about love and happiness. Without that, you have nothing. Most of us wake up daily and take life for granted. We’re living on borrowed time, so we should enjoy it to the fullest. We all need to be celebrating. It doesn’t matter if your pockets are heavy or light; just make the best of it. This is where “hope” and “believe” comes into play. Nothing changes overnight (unless you hit the lottery, and the chances of that are almost 0%). Don’t take life for granted, because you’re not promised tomorrow! Love is more valuable than anything you can buy! As a child, I didn’t realize that material things didn’t matter. All I wanted was the newest and nicest stuff. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized what my grandfather was trying to teach us by making us rocking chairs, bikes, and picture frames – things I felt we should buy brand new, not homemade. Today I’d die for some of my grandma’s tortillas and I value all the homemade items my grandfather gave me. Those picture frames are so special because they were made with love, and it’s also a great story to have now that I no longer have him physically here. Love you Gramp! The world today is so obsessed with materialistic values and it’s hard for children not to be drawn to that. I think that’s why so many kids are robbing and stealing today; the parents can’t afford the lifestyle their children see on TV. Learning to love and accepting love is the best food for the soul! Children don’t ask to be brought into this crazy world. We bring them in! So we need to let the children know we believe in them. I had a conversation with Husalah while he was locked up. I recall him saying that if we look stressed and unhappy, that’s what the children of our future see. If we stay smiling and let the children see that the smallest things can make us happy, they’re happy because that’s what we’re teaching them! So this holiday season, let’s be grateful for our lives and the families we get to share our holidays with. Remember, material things can be replaced, but a life can’t. When a life is gone, we can only live through stories and photos. Life is bigger than money! It’s about memories and moments. - D-Ray, OZONE West Editor-At-Large dray@ozonemag.com

Me & Mitchy Slick @ Boardwalk in Orangevale, CA for the Giants & Elephants Tour

Me & E-40 on the set of his mini movie in San Francisco, CA



Kurupt f/ Problem “I’m Burnt” Snoop Dogg “I Wanna Rock” The Game “Big Money” Crooked I “Mr. Pigface”


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


n this month’s editorial, I want to touch on a few things. The first is approach. They way you approach someone is the very important beginning of a possible friendship or future business. If you’re not sure if you’ve met the person before, just reintroduce yourself and go from there. That way, you’ve reestablished contact and have a starting point to go from. To me, nothing is worse than meeting a person and spending the first twenty minutes of the conversation trying to remember who they are. My bad if I don’t remember you; I meet a lot of people. That goes for everyone in the entertainment business. If you make yourself memorable, there’s always a better chance you’ll be remembered. It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. I feel so special when a high-profile artist or music executive remembers me, not just from my work in publications, but from my work behind the scenes. They really just love my hustle. I’ve worked so hard at this through the years and have been through so much. There’s been so many times I wanted to quit, but I wasn’t raised a quitter. I was raised a go-getter! So that’s what I do. Most days, I’m traveling, all around the West Coast and the Midwest. My days tend to just start running together, but that’s what I signed up for, right? I feel blessed to be able to do what I do, and that’s why I sacrifice so much. I had to go back home to the BAY AREA because seeing D-Lo perform at Tatou’s in downtown Los Angeles made me instantly homesick. The party was smacking. Happy C-Day to my little brother Rob G, “Get Your Green Up!” The trip back home worked out great for my mind and soul because I really enjoyed the time at home and spending it with my family. It’s always family first – and I also got the chance to witness history. I was in the studio with The Jacka and Freeway for three days as they recorded a dope ass album. Scoot of Dem Hoodstarz was also in the studio (Free BandAide!) Around this time last year, history was made. We elected our first African American president. As millions of people celebrated, just as many people sat around anticipating his failure. We all hoped for something. “Hope” was the key word at the time, but it’s not just about “hope.” It’s about “believing” too. “To believe is to succeed, and to succeed is to achieve,” my nine-yearold niece said that to me as we were walking up to the movies to see Michael Jackson’s “This Is It.” Like Michael always said, the change starts with the person you face in the mirror every day. Believe.

The Jacka, me, & Network @ Boardwalk in Orangevale, CA for the Giants & Elephants Tour

Tech N9ne, me, & Violet Brown @ House of Blues for the KOD Tour in Los Angeles, CA

Daz Dillinger “I Luv Blood Bitches” Nipsey Hussle f/ Snoop Dogg “Gangsta’s Life” Mack 10 f/ J Holiday “Hood Famous” Glasses Malone f/ T-Pain, Rick Ross, & Birdman “Sun Come Up” Snoop Dogg f/ The Dream “Gangsta Luv” E-40 f/ Young Jeezy & B-Legit “Get Money” Bishop Lamont & Indef “Team America”


This is also my favorite time of year: holiday season. It’s a very stressful time for the majority of the world. The thing most of us forget is that it’s not about material things and gifts you receive; it’s more blessed to give than to receive. It’s about love and happiness. Without that, you have nothing. Most of us wake up daily and take life for granted. We’re living on borrowed time, so we should enjoy it to the fullest. We all need to be celebrating. It doesn’t matter if your pockets are heavy or light; just make the best of it. This is where “hope” and “believe” comes into play. Nothing changes overnight (unless you hit the lottery, and the chances of that are almost 0%). Don’t take life for granted, because you’re not promised tomorrow! Love is more valuable than anything you can buy! As a child, I didn’t realize that material things didn’t matter. All I wanted was the newest and nicest stuff. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized what my grandfather was trying to teach us by making us rocking chairs, bikes, and picture frames – things I felt we should buy brand new, not homemade. Today I’d die for some of my grandma’s tortillas and I value all the homemade items my grandfather gave me. Those picture frames are so special because they were made with love, and it’s also a great story to have now that I no longer have him physically here. Love you Gramp! The world today is so obsessed with materialistic values and it’s hard for children not to be drawn to that. I think that’s why so many kids are robbing and stealing today; the parents can’t afford the lifestyle their children see on TV. Learning to love and accepting love is the best food for the soul! Children don’t ask to be brought into this crazy world. We bring them in! So we need to let the children know we believe in them. I had a conversation with Husalah while he was locked up. I recall him saying that if we look stressed and unhappy, that’s what the children of our future see. If we stay smiling and let the children see that the smallest things can make us happy, they’re happy because that’s what we’re teaching them! So this holiday season, let’s be grateful for our lives and the families we get to share our holidays with. Remember, material things can be replaced, but a life can’t. When a life is gone, we can only live through stories and photos. Life is bigger than money! It’s about memories and moments. - D-Ray, OZONE West Editor-At-Large dray@ozonemag.com

Me & Mitchy Slick @ Boardwalk in Orangevale, CA for the Giants & Elephants Tour

Me & E-40 on the set of his mini movie in San Francisco, CA



Kurupt f/ Problem “I’m Burnt” Snoop Dogg “I Wanna Rock” The Game “Big Money” Crooked I “Mr. Pigface”

(above L-R): Too Short & O’Neal McKnight on the set of their video shoot in Los Angeles, CA; New Boyz @ Crenshaw High in Los Angeles, CA; Glasses Malone & Crooked I @ House of Blues for the KOD Tour with Tech N9ne in Los Angeles, CA (Photos: D-Ray)

01 // Stress, Mugzi, & E-40 @ Nump’s listening party (San Jose, CA) 02 // Philthy Rich, guest, & Dame Fame @ Boardwalk (Orangevale, CA) 03 // Nuch & Young Doe @ Club Vinyl (Denver, CO) 04 // Cousin Fik, Droop-E, & E-40 on the set of E-40’s mini movie (San Francisco, CA) 05 // Guest, Young Nate, & Philthy Rich @ Boardwalk (Orangevale, CA) 06 // Starbuks & Alisha Cofey @ The Blueprint for OZONE’s Halloween Bash (Eugene, OR) 07 // Mitchy Slick, Dame Fame, & KOS @ Boardwalk (Orangevale, CA) 08 // Guce & Shady Nate @ Boardwalk (Orangevale, CA) 09 // Tech N9ne & Jay O Felony @ House of Blues for the KOD Tour with Tech N9ne (Los Angeles, CA) 10 // Warren G, guest, & Bad Lucc @ HopMonk Lounge (Sebastopol, CA) 11 // E-40, Scoot of Dem HoodStarz, & Network on the set of E-40’s mini movie (San Francisco, CA) 12 // CoCo Chanel & Dame Fame @ Boardwalk (Orangevale, CA) 13 // Bueno & guest @ Boardwalk (Orangevale, CA) 14 // Yung If & crew @ the Blueprint for OZONE’s Halloween Bash (Eugene, OR) 15 // Trajik & Mac Marvolous @ the Blueprint for OZONE’s Halloween Bash (Eugene, OR) 16 // DJ Sidekick, Warren G, & DJ Amen @ HopMonk Lounge (Sebastopol, CA) 17 // Jay Rock & Street Goddess @ Azusa Celebrity Baseball game (Asuza, CA) 18 // K-Loc, Remy Red, & Yukmouth @ Rockit for Yukmouth’s album release party (San Francisco, CA) 19 // Krizz Kaliko, Big Scoob, & Kutt Calhoun @ House of Blues for the KOD Tour with Tech N9ne (Los Angeles, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,02,03,04,05,06,07,08,09,10,11,12,13,16,17,18,19); Julia Beverly (14,15)



ave you ever heard of Richmond, California? It’s a little city in the Bay Area, about fifteen minutes away from Oakland. Richmond is the city where a girl was recently raped at a high school dance. People watched and took pictures with their cell phones, but nobody called the police. It’s a real fucked-up story and I know when I say “fuck that bitch” in a song, my music could be the soundtrack to the whole scenario. The thing is, I would never force myself on a woman or tell anybody else to do it. I would never watch a gang rape or even a sexual gang bang when the homies run a train on a female. “Bitch” is my favorite word, but I very rarely use it in an angry way towards a woman. And I know for a fact that all bitches ain’t women. I’ve even been in a hotel room with some groupies and stopped my homie from trying to get some from a girl who’s saying “no” and “stop” because I didn’t want my folks to catch a rape case. There ain’t nothing PLAYER about raping a woman. I represent the real players and I’ve always felt like it was a privilege to allow a woman to be with me. That’s just me, and it comes easy to me. Would I be a “snitch” if I called the police after witnessing a rape? What would you do, take pictures and film it with your camera phone? If it was a situation where I knew the people involved and I could clearly see guys were forcing themselves on a woman, I’d tell them on the spot that they’re just some bitch-ass muthafuckers for committing a crime like that. Real players don’t do shit like that. I damn sure wouldn’t cheer ‘em on or film it, or walk away without telling them the truth. Fortunately, I’ve never been in that situation because I run with the best of the best and we just ain’t that desperate. It would be impossible for me to even get hard for a woman who is resisting me and doesn’t want to be with me. All you up and coming players and lovers need to learn some real player etiquette. If you see me with the baddest model-looking chick you’ve ever seen, you can be sure that I’m acting like a gentleman and treating her like a lady. I like a woman that’s not easy to get. I’m not looking for the sluts who say, “I love your music and I always wanted to fuck you!” If you were in my shoes, maybe you could see how that’s no fun. Ask a real player and they’ll tell you all about it.

“I like a woman that’s not easy to get. I’m not looking for the sluts who say,‘I love your music and I always wanted to fuck you!’If you were in my shoes, maybe you could see how that’s no fun.”

I laugh at dudes who get excited about fucking a slut, especially if he’s third or fourth in line that night. You ain’t no player, so don’t tell the story later like you accomplished something. Watching a rape take place ain’t player either. In most states, you’re breaking the law by taking camera phone pictures of a nude minor, so why would anybody film a young girl having sex? Even if she’s doing it willingly? If you wanna be a real player or if you just wanna be the best man your woman ever had, you need to learn how to be a gentleman. Learn what makes your woman happy, and then if you pull her hair, spank her, and call her a bitch, she might like it! Hit me up on my crackberry at ShortStories@ozonemag.com


(above L-R): E-40 & Haji Springer @ Nump’s listening party in San Jose, CA; Krizz Kaliko & Jay O Felony @ House of Blues for the KOD Tour with Tech N9ne in Los Angeles, CA; Tech N9ne & DJ Chill @ House of Blues for the KOD Tour with Tech N9ne in Los Angeles, CA (Photos: D-Ray)

01 // Krizz Kaliko & ladies @ House of Blues for the KOD Tour with Tech N9ne (Los Angeles, CA) 02 // Audio Push & Gary Archer @ UGMX Back 2 School Jerk Off (San Jose, CA) 03 // Kafani & Steal Will @ Club Illusions for Big Rich’s birthday party (Palo Alto, CA) 04 // Philthy Rich & Stevie Joe @ Giants & Elephants Tour (Stockton, CA) 05 // TO, Yung If, Starbuks, & TrealKikz @ the Blueprint for OZONE’s Halloween Bash (Eugene, OR) 06 // Starbuks & Yung If @ University of Oregon stadium (Eugene, OR) 07 // Lucas Risinger, Scott Masterson, Starbuks, Marvin Harley, & Dirty @ the Blueprint for OZONE’s Halloween Bash (Eugene, OR) 08 // Brian Angel of Day 26, Scoot of Dem Hoodstarz, & Cam @ Club Illusions for Big Rich’s birthday party (Palo Alto, CA) 09 // Jay Rock, Trey Songz, & Mike Green @ Styles P’s afterparty (Los Angeles, CA) 10 // Nick Ngo, Michael Denton, Haji Springer, & Gary Archer @ Nump’s listening party (San Jose, CA) 11 // Tone, Roccett & Rob G (Long Beach, CA) 12 // E-40 & DB’Z on the set of E-40’s mini movie (San Francisco, CA) 13 // Big Rich & Gary Archer @ Boardwalk (Orangevale, CA) 14 // Violet Brown & Tech N9ne @ House of Blues for the KOD Tour with Tech N9ne (Los Angeles, CA) 15 // Guce & Big Rich @ Boardwalk (Orangevale, CA) 16 // DJ Baby Chino & D-Lo @ UGMX Back 2 School Jerk Off (San Jose, CA) 17 // Guest, Starbuks, University of Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, & Elijah Masoli @ the Blueprint for OZONE’s Halloween Bash (Eugene, OR) 18 // Yung Berg & ladies @ Tatou (Los Angeles, CA) 19 // Kafani & Dame Fame @ Giants & Elephants Tour (Stockton, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,02,03,04,08,09,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,18,19); Julia Beverly (05,06,07,17)


(above L-R): Big Rich & Mitchy Slick @ Boardwalk in Orangevale, CA; Scoot of Dem Hoodstarz & models on the set of E-40’s mini movie in San Francisco, CA; Keak Da Sneak, J Stalin, & Shady Nate @ Giants & Elephants Tour in Stockton, CA (Photos: D-Ray)

01 // Starbuks & Tubby @ the Blueprint for OZONE’s Halloween Bash (Eugene, OR) 02 // Paul Wall & Gary Archer @ the DUB Car Show (San Jose, CA) 03 // Blu Division @ House of Blues for the KOD Tour with Tech N9ne (Los Angeles, CA) 04 // Big Rich & Chuck @ Club Illusions for Big Rich’s birthday party (Palo Alto, CA) 05 // Network, Haji Springer, & Cellski on the set of Kafani’s “Get That Dough” video shoot (San Francisco, CA) 06 // T-Wayne, Scoot of Dem HoodStarz, & Yukmouth on the set of Kafani’s “Get That Dough” video shoot (San Francisco, CA) 07 // Kafani & Cellski on the set of Kafani’s “Get That Dough” video shoot (San Francisco, CA) 08 // Guest, Lee Majors, & Yukmouth @ the DUB Car Show (San Jose, CA) 09 // Jay Rock & Jazzy @ Azusa Celebrity Baseball game (Asuza, CA) 10 // Kutt Calhoun & DJ Chill @ House of Blues for the KOD Tour with Tech N9ne (Los Angeles, CA) 11 // D-Lo, Big Mike, & Sleepy D @ UGMX Back 2 School Jerk Off (San Jose, CA) 12 // David, Tech N9ne, & Violet Brown @ House of Blues for the KOD Tour with Tech N9ne (Los Angeles, CA) 13 // Tito Bell, Big Mike, & Nump @ Nump’s listening party (San Jose, CA) 14 // Tubby @ the Blueprint for OZONE’s Halloween Bash (Eugene, OR) 15 // Nump, Paul Wall, D-Ray, Cat, & Tito Bell @ the DUB Car Show (San Jose, CA) 16 // Grinch & Jerm @ Club Illusions for Big Rich’s birthday party (Palo Alto, CA) 17 // T-Nutty & Guce @ Senator Theater for Giants & Elephants Tour (Chico, CA) 18 // Tishma & Dirty @ the Blueprint for OZONE’s Halloween Bash (Eugene, OR) 19 // Yukmouth, Network, guest, & Kafani @ the DUB Car Show (San Jose, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (02,03,04,05,06,07,08,09,10,11,12,13,15,16,17,19); Julia Beverly (01,14,18)


California is the most populated state in the country, AND IT CONTAINS PLENTY OF RESIDENTS who don’t get along. The brown are rumored to not like the Blacks. Los Angeles RESIDENTS SUPPOSEDLY DON’T GET along with people from the Bay. People who wear red DON’T get along with those who wear blue. Fortunately, rappers Gonzoe (LEFT) and A-Wax (RIGHT) HAVE BEEN too busy WORKING TOGETHER TO PAY ATTENTION TO ANY OF THOSE BARRIERS...



...The two solo rappers have come together to release a group album CALLED Recession Proof on Ill Burn Records. Rolling with the theme of “red and blue makes green,” A-Wax (who is a Blood) and GonzoE (who is a Crip) are determined to show their city, their coast and the entire country what can happen when people put their differences Aside to accomplish a common goal. The album also represents a fresh start for both artists. Gonzoe got his start in the rap game as a member of Ice Cube’s mid-90s brainchild Kaution, but the group quickly dissipated after releasing just one album, South Central Los Skanless. After a brief spell as a member of 2Pac’s Outlawz, Gonzoe circulated on the underground doing everything from appearing on Kurupt’s Kurruption album to overseeing musical scores for independent films like Blue Hill Avenue starting Carl Payne. Gonzoe also kept busy as a member of Yukmouth’s interstate network The Regime. A-Wax, who was born in the Bay Area, would see his life take a couple different turns. Shipped to Seattle as a child, he quickly got caught up in the wrong crowd and served time in prison as a teenager. Released at the age of 21, Wax was still young enough to make something out of the rest of his life and chose rap to make that happen. Since 2002, Wax has released near two dozen mixtapes and albums and even garnered an affiliation with Akon’s Konvict Muzik. While both of these artists have plenty on their plate as solo acts, Recession Proof is their main focus now. OZONE caught up with the duo as they relaxed at the Cannibus Club in Los Angeles as they spoke on crossing color lines to work together and explained why opposites do indeed attract. How did you guys end up being in a group together? Gonzoe: Me and Wax both signed with Ill Burn as solo artists. We met up with each other, everything was copacetic, and it turns we actually worked well together. A-Wax: Ill Burn were fans of both of us and were interested in us making music together. When we met up, everything was good and 100. We shot some videos, and now we’re out touring promoting this record. Gonzoe: This ain’t gonna be a one shot deal either. It worked so good that we’re going to do a second album. Since both of you have been in the music game for some years, I’m sure you’ve become accustomed to doing things a certain way. How has becoming a group worked out so far? Gonzoe: That’s why we met up with each other first. We both have been working on our own for

a minute. Just because you rap doesn’t mean that when you get in the studio with each other it’s going to work. That’s why I left the group Kausion, because it stopped working. But working with A-Wax has been like jumping back into the shoes of someone who had the same goals as me, and was going as hard as me. A-Wax: I’ve been a solo artist for as long as I can remember. I’ve done collaborations, but not to this extent where I have input on everything. I’ve put out 20 mixtapes and album over the last seven years. Competing with Gonzoe has made me hungry again. It makes me want to compete. Since you both pledge allegiance to two different gangs and are from two different parts of California, it seems like an unlikely partnership. A-Wax: We’ve got some mutual friends that don’t like us or each other. Us in particular, we didn’t have no problem with each other, but we have mutual friends. We almost had problems with each other on accident without even meeting each other. Nothing but positive has come out of this project though. Gonzoe: It’s just the powers that be. A-Wax: You got real and fake from every side of the map. I don’t respect everybody just because of colors. Me and Gonzoe have a common goal: we’re trying to get to the upper echelon of the rap game. Working back and forth lightens the load. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still gonna have solo careers. But because of this album, I put my solo [career] on hold until we get this other album out. It came out so good that I want to try it again. Gonzoe: All the beef shit was just bickering; nothing was concrete. After I met A-Wax, I didn’t have a say-so in the problem they had with him. But once I was brought up to speed, 1+1=2 and I’m a stickler for street ethics and someone crossed the line, bottom line. I chose to do an album with Wax to abominate all that shit. A-Wax: I don’t really even want to get into what happened, but it has caught a lot of people by surprise that me and Gonzoe did an album together. People tend to want to see things a certain way because they have their own agendas. Both of us are in a position where we can do our own thing. We both have our own labels and we’re both self-sufficient and hold each other down over here. It’s like we’re a family over here, and we don’t have to worry about anything. I can leave a stack of money on the table and it won’t move if I leave the room. Why did you name your album Recession Proof? A-Wax: We’re natural born hustlers. There ain’t no recession in certain areas of life. One of those areas is Ill Burn, and we’re burning through a lot of money because we believe in what we’re doing. We’re live from the Cannibus Club right now, so we’re burning in that way too. (laughs) Plus it plays off our backgrounds. You put red with the blue and we make green. The cover has green font and we have a common goal, and we want to let everybody know about it. Gonzoe: We met and came up with a common theme we were gonna go with, and that was Recession Proof. That was the state of the mind at the moment. We wanted to show all the haters all the money we’re getting too. The streets said we’re supposed to be killing each other, but we said no.

“You got real and fake from every side of the map. I don’t respect Everybody just because of colors.” - A-WAX 12 // OZONE WEST

We wanted to show that you can come together. It’s a slap in the face to all the people trying to keep us down. Tell us a little bit about the album itself. Who did you work with? A-Wax: We have production from Happy Perez, Nonstop and Josh Franks. We used about five or six producers and I’m satisfied with it. I can’t wait to hear the response from it. Gonzoe: We just left from Rude Jude’s show. We had people from all around the nation calling in. Only one person was hating. We took 60 calls and everybody liked it. What was it like meshing your musical backgrounds together, seeing as how A-Wax is from the Bay and Gonzoe is from Los Angeles? Gonzoe: I think Wax makes universal music. A-Wax: Yeah, I’m probably one of the Bay Area exceptions. I went to jail young and I actually experienced gangbangin’. I’m just a different Bay artist, I never stuck to one certain sound. I don’t try to forcefeed my sound or forcefeed that I’m from the Bay, I just do lyrics. Gonzoe: He actually pushed me to other levels, like challenging me to get on other types of beats. This album is coming out independently. Talk about what that’s been like. A-Wax: It’s like a fresh start. We have a clean slate right now, and we’re in charge of our own destinies. We’re starting fresh but now we have all the knowledge. I don’t have to worry about someone taking advantage of me anymore. I know exactly what’s going on, from distribution down to promotion. Gonzoe: It’s like a kid in the candy store, who was struggling. We had a deal before and everything was coming from our pocket. We’re having to look at guys who had the budgets and creative control. But doing this independently turns you into a businessman and makes you want to get more bang for your buck. It makes you record more too, so that you have more of a catalog. You’ve put some of your other projects on hold to focus on your responsibilities as a duo. What should we be expecting from you when it’s time to go back solo? Gonzoe: I’ve got Year of the Dragon dropping next year, but nothing’s getting in the way of Recession Proof. I put my solo on hold and it wound up being a good decision since I have access to producers that I didn’t before. A-Wax: I’m dropping Most Hated, which will be my solo. It has a lot of introspective songs and thought-provoking music. I’m just trying to give my hardcore fans what they’re asking for. This is going to be after Year of the Dragon comes out. We’re gonna keep putting out free music on the web and keep getting our music heard. Gonzoe: The next thing were doing together is a project called California Cartel. We just started and we’re about two songs in. We’re going to crank out 50 [songs] and pick the best 20. We do music for real; we record everyday. We aren’t just rappers on a video shoot or trying to get in the club to mess with girls. We do this for real. Its like the ‘Pac days. We did this everyday. We only rested to get up and make more music. //

Patiently Waiting


s an Army brat, Confadential moved constantly as a child, experiencing a variety of culture and music. He learned to adapt as a child, while his family continually relocated throughout the U.S. (Sacramento, CA; Raleigh, NC; Kansas City, MO; Atlanta, GA; Tampa, FL), earning him the nickname “The Tampament Califoridean.” Raised by his mother, a single parent who served in the Army, Confadential didn’t let the stress of being on the move or not having a father figure deter him. In fact, he used it to his advantage. “Moving from state to state helped me become a better rapper,” he explains. “I was exposed to so many different cultures and genres of music that it now makes my music stand out. People who hear my music can never tell where I’m from. When they do, they’re always shocked to know I’m from the West Coast.” During his elementary school years in Tampa, Confadential started writing poems, passing them to his homeboys to give to their girlfriends. As he grew older, his knack for penning stanzas eventually led to him writing rap lyrics. He switched his interest from poetry to rapping,

and years later, he moved to California, where he joined the rap group Unusual Suspects. He soon moved on and assembled the group the Go-Gettaz with neighborhood friends Huned and G-Waters. The group made a name for itself throughout the underground California rap scene, but in time, split due to creative differences. Confadential went on to release his independent debut album Bang Shop Dose, which created a notable following for the Sactown MC. Since he’s already established himself on the West Coast, Confadential plans to take his movement to the South next. “I’m planning on moving back to Atlanta in the next few months. I feel that I’ve done a lot over here, and Sacramento can only take you but so far,” he says. Confadentials’ music was selected amongst hundreds of

submissions to be featured through OZONE’s Patiently Waiting contest on Sonicbids.com. “It’s sort of like the crabs in the bucket thing over here.” Currently, Confadential is working on a new project entitled Well Rested, scheduled for release on California indie label Bang Shop. His new single “Club Jumping” is gaining radio spins in Sacramento. And with a self-proclaimed universal style, Confadential is representing for the West Coast while putting on for real Hip Hop. “I just want to bring back that authentic Hip Hop that people can relate to,” he says. “But at the same time, I’ve got songs that people can jam to.” Words by Jee’Van Brown


Patiently Waiting


iRon is not a rap alias, it’s Los Angelesbased rapper’s God-given name. He’s quickly rising in the Cali Hip Hop scene, but still feels like an outsider. Because of his dual upbringing in the Chicago outskirts and in the heart of L.A., his music embodies the honesty of the Midwest mixed with the glossy novelty of California dreams. Amidst the contradiction, the young artist made a conscious decision to just be himself. “I had a couple of rap names that no one ever used; everyone was calling me TiRon,” he explains. “So I just rap about [myself ]. It just so happens that the embarrassing stuff is the entertaining stuff.” Once he settled down in California in 1995, he was focused. His uncle was a blues musician, so TiRon would go to his uncle’s basement and write songs. He loved music and planned on becoming an R&B songwriter. After writing his first botched love song, TiRon rethought his musical ambitions. He didn’t begin taking rap seriously until the eleventh grade, where he started rhyming over popular beats, creating mixtapes and selling them at school. He developed his own style. “It’s easier to rap about embarrassing shit because


it really happened to you and it’s vivid in your mind, you know,” he says. “Everybody can remember the times they were embarrassed more than the times they spent a whole bunch of money.” It appears TiRon’s formula worked. His latest offering Ketchup is a mish-mash mixtape of his favorite tracks, some dating back five years to his first “official” mixtape Handshakes and Pounds. The mixtape has received praises and comparisons to Little Brother and hometown hero Kanye, which TiRon is pleased about. But after a thought or two, he bristles at the underlying label that accompanies the compliment. “It’s non-threatening Hip Hop,” TiRon huffs. “So you’re automatically [labeled] a ‘backpacker,’ or you’re automatically ‘conscious.’ “ He shakes off his annoyance and gives details about a new mixtape, Mustard, that will be

released in the coming months. His crew The Cafeteria Line will be releasing a few in-house projects, and he’ll be featured on the upcoming Pac Div album. Regardless of the labels placed on his burgeoning rap career, TiRon only hopes to make his people proud of the man he’s become. “I wonder if they’re disappointed cause I say ‘nigga’ or because I use profanity,” he says. “At the end of the day I wonder if they’re proud of me or of the job they did.” TiRon just hopes to make music for the remainder of his life, since that’s what makes him happy. “The only thing that makes me unhappy is bills backing up, so as long as that stuff is taken care of and I can just make music, I’m great,” he concludes. Words by Nadine Graham


ife has the tendency to deal bad hands, but in the case of Fashawn, the Fresno MC made the most of the cards he was dealt. Growing up, his father was incarcerated, while his mother battled a drug addiction. By age 12, he was placed in a group home, where he began writing rhymes to escape the harsh realities of his life. When he was 15, he left the group home and moved into with his uncle, turning to skateboarding and rapping for solace. “I felt I had so much to say, so I had to let it all out somehow,” he says. He let his frustrations out in the booth, and in 2006, at age 17, he released his first mixtape Grizzly City with the help of DJ Hecktik. “I got the typical response, ‘Oh, he’s just a young guy. Let’s see if he’ll even last and be here this time next year. We’ll see if he has enough rhymes to last another mixtape,’” he says of the feedback he received. “I heard the skeptics, but I just kept grinding, mixtape after mixtape after mixtape.” But not everyone doubted Fashawn. In fact, one fan of his first mixtape turned out to be Fresno rapper Planet Asia, who invited Fashawn on tour with him. Since Fashawn was numerous credits short from graduating high school on time, he dropped out of school and hit the road with Planet Asia. “That was my favorite rapper from my hometown,” he reminisces. “That was like Rakim snatching Nas up, like, ‘Come on tour with me.’” The young rhymer learned a lot on tour, and he put the motivation to use when he returned to Fresno. In September 2008 he released a new mixtape, One Shot, One Kill, hosted by Mick Boogie and Terry Urban. He followed that with a mixtape entitled Higher Learning, presented by Hip Hop blogs Onsmash.com & NahRight.com. And with his street and internet buzz thriving, he dropped a mixtape entirely produced by the Alchemist called The Antidote. Each project was well-received. His debut album Boy Meets World, an LP he worked exclusively with Los Angeles producer Exile on, is one of the most anticipated West Coast debuts in recent years. “Somebody said if Walé, Blu, Nipsey Hussle and these guys are the leaders of the new school, then Fashawn is the transfer school,” says the rapper, who is days away from his 21st birthday. “I kinda look at it like that. I’m from a place that’s not really popular [and] I’m coming in everybody else’s ring, and they’re like, ‘What does he got?’ And I got some heat for them, man. I know it. And I’m confident in this body of work I got coming.” Words by Randy Roper

Patiently Waiting OZONE WEST // 15


rk Tha Jerk’s music is laden with a smoothness and sophistication, whether expressing a loving urgency on “Right Here” or starring in his own edgy action-adventure mini-movie in his video for “Plane in the Air,” the latter featuring Too $hort. The rapper/producer hails from Richmond, one of the most violent cities in all of California, and while he was influenced by the greatest rhymers to hit those streets, Erk’s musical view is widescreen enough for international appeal. Erk first drew significant attention in the Bay Area last year when a mixtape track called “I’m So Dumb” started getting airplay on KMEL, an urban radio station that’s been criticized for its relative lack of spins for local music in recent years. The song, which takes swipes at the over-reliance of gimmickry in the discarded hyphy scene (“You see where all that dumb shit gets you, back on the block before you know what hit you”), instantly got people talking. Not too loudly, though. “I got good reactions from people who would come up to me after shows and they’d whisper, ‘I’m so glad you did that song,’ and walk off real quick,” he remembers. “I think a lot of rappers felt like I wasn’t talking to them, so they didn’t really say nothing. The song obviously started some controversy and I did it to get some things off my chest, but it was really just a joke. It was never supposed to be released as a radio song.” With hyphy, the door that was cracked open to the curiosity of the rest of the world may now be closed. Erk, however, doesn’t feel like that’s a negative. “I feel like it wasn’t something that should have been taken advantage of in the first place,” he asserts. “Our region wasn’t really known for making that kind of music so when it changed and everybody did try to take advantage of it, it kind of backfired. There was a point in time when everybody was on the radio at the same time, everybody was hyphy, everything was ‘go dumb’ this, ‘scraper’ that, and people were taking advantage of it. They were having shows and making money and I just don’t think it worked because it turned into a gimmick that couldn’t have lasted. Real things don’t fade off, only gimmicks come and go. You can’t plan to rob a bank and then be upset when something goes wrong and you get caught. They set up to ride the bandwagon and people who weren’t necessarily hyphy started making hyphy music and everything started going astray. And when it didn’t work people started pointing their fingers at each other. What do you expect? You kinda did it to yourself.” Ultimately, that movement’s implosion is giving Bay Area Hip Hop a chance to return to authenticity, and as Erk shops his debut album Nerd’s Eye View to labels in the West and the South, his excitement at having a shot as an individual is palpable. “For young artists and artists that grew up in it, it gives everybody a fresh start. I’m happy because everybody has their season and it wasn’t my season three or four years ago. I didn’t have a place there. So hopefully now I can create a space for myself. We can all do it the way it was supposed to be intended, making your kind of music.” Words by Tamara Palmer Photo by D-Ray


Patiently Waiting

Glasses Malone/Nightmare on Seven Street As one of the most hyped and anticipated artists to emerge from the “new West” since Game put the coast back on the map five years ago, Glasses Malone has been patiently waiting to make his major label debut. With his latest mixtape Nightmare on Seven Street, Glasses offers the closest thing to a proper album with all-original tracks and a handful of features. While he has been known for rapping hard and unapologetically, the Nightmare title is a tad misleading. Tracks like “Homie” and “Brown Lil Squares” featuring Bow Wow feature Glasses going for the “ladies” and “radio” demographics while “Loaded” has a synth-driven groove that makes you want to throw on a bathrobe and chill, like Glasses does on the song. Malone returns to his familiar themes like revenge, chin-checking and head-busting on “On Me” and “Still With the Bullshit,” but his monotone flows don’t make the songs very memorable. The standout track “Before It All Ends” featuring Snoop Dogg and Jay Rock proves that he can hold his own alongside respected emcees, but it also reveals that Glasses sounds better with company. Nightmare demonstrates that Glasses is good at picking beats that fit his nonchalant, grown-ass man rhyme style, but adding a sense of urgency to his flow could truly propel him to elite status. Maurice G. Garland Lee Bannon/The Checkpoint After supplying beats to a range of artists like Willie the Kid and Tha Jacka and turning a few heads with his last project Me & Marvin, Sacramento-based producer follows up his last offering with The Checkpoint. This project doesn’t disappoint. Leaning more towards Stones Throw than Death Row, Bannon’s production sound is meant to be paired with skilled wordsmiths like Terminology. He gives rap game participants vital instructions for growth on “What’s The Answer.” Trife Diesel (formerly Trife Da God) also spits some venom on “Wanna Be A Rapper,” warning up-and-coming artists of the rough road ahead. While all of the production featured here is solid, none of the beats do much to actually cater to the artists. Instead, it’s the other way around, as each rapper winds up altering what they do to fit the track. That isn’t a bad thing, but rarely does it feel like these songs were actually made from scratch with both parties present. - Maurice G. Garland

DOM KENNEDY & Los Angeles Leakers Best After Bobby On Best After Bobby, listeners have to endure listening to the Los Angeles emcee attempt to redo classic and current hits like Prodigy’s “Keep It Thoro” and Drake’s “Best I Ever Had,” but some tracks, like his flip of Young Money’s “Every Girl” to “idontwannafuckeverygirlintheworld” and a sample of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Electric Relaxation” on “Wish Me Luck!” make this mixtape worth a listen. By the time DOM gets to remixing Rich Kids “Patna Dem,” the jacking-for-beats starts to be a bore, but the tape’s final few tracks (“On and Off Switch” featuring Pac Div, “Compton, South Central,” “I Hate Summers” and “They Say I’m) close this mixtape out strong. - Randy Roper AtLlas Arizona Caesar Some parts of Atllas’ mixtape sounds good, but there are a few songs like “Dead End” and “Catch Me Bounce” where his attempts to be “Arizona’s most lyrical emcee” results in him sounding more like a low-budget Pharoahe Monch. “Hood Famous,” “Grudges” and “Think About It” are the mixtape’s best tracks, but “More Then Fuck” and “Bitches On My Mind” are lacking. Arizona Caesar isn’t one of the better West Coast mixtapes to drop in ’09, but it does have a few memorable selections. - Randy Roper Fashawn Boy Meets World One Records Boy Meets World may be Fashawn’s debut album, but in terms of songwriting, concepts and skill level, this album proves that the Fresno, CA native is a musical manchild. The socially reflective “The Ecology,” the reminiscent “Life As a Short,y” and the introspective “Why” lead a long list of must-hear tracks that thoroughly conceptualize the album’s theme of a boy growing up in sunny Central Cali and becoming a man. Features from Blu (“Samsonite Man”), Evidence (“Our Way”), and Exile’s exclusive production enhance this outstanding effort, making Boy Meets World one of 2009’s most promising debut albums. - Randy Roper


Lil Wayne Event: America’s Most Wanted Tour Venue: Sleep Train Pavilion City: Concord, CA Date: August 15th, 2009 Photo: D-Ray





7th Annual