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RAW, UNCENSORED WEST COAST RAP SHIT

PATIENTGLY WAITIN E IWSESSTU O C AST ARTISTS ON THE RISE

J DIGGS HUSALAH WARREN G TOO $HORT

A-WAX &GONZO E OPPOSITES ATT RACT


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

I

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

DJ BIG DEE’S

TOP SLAPS

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

OZONE WEST // 3


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

I

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”

4 // OZONE MAG

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

DJ BIG DEE’S

TOP SLAPS

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)

OZONE WEST // 5


H

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

6 // OZONE WEST


(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)

OZONE WEST // 7


(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)

OZONE WEST // 9


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...

10 // OZONE WEST


OZONE MAG WEST////11 11 OZONE


...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

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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

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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

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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


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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

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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

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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


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

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Ozone West #81 - Oct 2009