YOUR FAVORITE RAPPER’S FAVORITE MAGAZINE
B.o.B. LIL JON IYAZ
L A K I T S Y M
Y $ N E R R CUSSY MARV
I O B BIG
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PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF // Julia Beverly MUSIC EDITOR // Randy Roper ASSOCIATE EDITOR // Maurice G. Garland GRAPHIC DESIGNER // David KA ADVERTISING SALES // Che Johnson, Gary Archer PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR // Malik Abdul SPECIAL EDITION EDITOR // Jen McKinnon WEST COAST EDITOR-AT-LARGE // D-Ray LEGAL CONSULTANT // Kyle P. King, P.A. SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER // Adero Dawson ADMINISTRATIVE // Kisha Smith INTERNS // Devon Buckner, Jee’Van Brown, Ms Ja CONTRIBUTORS // Anthony Roberts, Blogxilla, Bogan, Camilo Smith, Charlamagne the God, Chuck T, Cierra Middlebrooks, David Rosario, Diwang Valdez, DJ BackSide, Edward Hall, Eric Perrin, 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 $20 to:
Ozone Magazine, Inc. Attn: Subscriptions Dept 644 Antone St. Suite 6 Atlanta, GA 30318 Phone: 404-350-3887 Fax: 404-350-2497 Website: www.ozonemag.com
COVER CREDITS // Big Boi photo by Diwang Valdez; G Fresh photo by Julia Beverly; Tony Neal photo by Ms. Rivercity. DISCLAIMER // OZONE Magazine is published 11 times per year by OZONE Magazine, Inc. OZONE does not take responsibility for unsolicited materials, misinformation, typographical errors, or misprints. The views contained herein do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or its advertisers. Ads appearing in this magazine are not an endorsement or validation by OZONE Magazine for products or services offered. All photos and illustrations are copyrighted by their respective artists. All other content is copyright 2010 OZONE Magazine, all rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any way without the written consent of the publisher. Printed in the USA.
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DEEPER THAN RAP
50-51 B.O.B. 44-45 CURREN$Y 60 DEVIN THE DUDE W16-19 FREEWAY RICKY ROSS 54-55 LIL JON W20-21 MESSY MARV 52-53 MYSTIKAL 49 TONY NEAL 56 WIZ KHALIFA W22-23 YA BOY
11 10 THINGS I’M HATIN’ ON 43 BOARD GAME 65 CAFFEINE SUBSTITUTES 62-63 CD REVIEWS 18 CHAIN REACTION 16 CHIN CHECK 57 DJ BOOTH 20 DOLLAR MENU 66 END ZONE 10 FEEDBACK W4 I’M JUST SAYIN’THO 61 INDUSTRY 101 11 JB’S 2 CENTS 14 MATHEMATICS 16 NAMES OF SHAME 26-34 PATIENTLY WAITING 15-37 PHOTO GALLERIES 12-13 RAPQUEST 24 SIDEKICK HACKIN’ W25 WEST COAST CD REVIEWS W26 WEST COAST END ZONE W6-8 WEST COAST PATIENTLY WAITING W5-13 WEST COAST PHOTO GALLERIES
40-42 BIG BOI 46-48 G FRESH W14-15 NEW MONEY
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Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org www.myspace.com/ozonemagazine www.twitter.com/ozonemag
JB, your article on Gucci Mane’s management was a well-written and fair and balanced piece of work. At a time when the bar for Hip Hop journalism has been reduced to a bunch of self-proclaimed “Hip Hop writers” who are just glorified bloggers with delusions of grandeur, it was refreshing to see someone actually do the due diligence and write a good piece. To be honest, I had you pegged for one of those “industry types” who just wanted to be in and around the game for status or whatever reason. Now, I must apologize for being so presumptuous. You showed me that you put in hard work just as I do and I have to give much respect for that. In an industry full of people who don’t want to work, you showed me that you are about your business. - BJ Wheeler, via email I read your article about So Icey. I’m sure this isn’t on the scale of fraud that you are researching, but I manage a producer who has submitted tracks to So Icey for Gucci. Since they were submitted, several of those tracks have been released on Waka Flocka and Gucci’s mixtapes. So Icey’s in-house producer has tried to mute out my producer’s tags in the beginning of the tracks and calling them his own. Gotta love shady business. - Evan Rosin-Pritchard, via email JB, I’m not part of your primary demographic. I’m into jazz and older forms of rap. Anyway, I ran into your bio quite by accident on twitter. You’re quite an interesting young person and I wish you well. You’ve embarked on a journey into a world that most would not view as most comfortable for you. You’re navigating the waters well and proving your detractors wrong. Good for you! About some of the hateful things that have been said, some of these men are using defense tactics to cover the fact that they’re interested in you. Keep up the good work and let the haters do what they do best. In the meantime, you’ve got a magazine to run! - Richard Williams, via email I was reading the new edition of OZONE and I saw that a fan wrote in and asked about labels that signed deals and disappeared. I feel like the story of T-Town and DSR is newsworthy, even though it’s like opening a can of worms. After six years of passing out flyers ,hitting the road, lugging tools and working my way up to management at T-Town, til this day I’ve never just asked, “What the fuck happened?” Me personally, I’ve moved on. But I busted my ass to blow up the “Not a Stain On Me” record with Big Tuck and Fat B with a lot of industry assistance. I even had major labels considering re-signing the company, which basically redeemed me in the eyes of the industry and many major label execs. I was promoted to label manager of T-Town in the middle of the process of signing a deal, but I was in a helpless situation. You can’t sail a ship that’s already sinking. I took the proceeds from the “Not a Stain On Me” project and me and George’s former partner Trini started MPR Entertainment: Money, Power, Respect, which is stronger than ever. Our buzz with Fab B is bananas because he was signed to T-Town and was able to get some label support. He was part of DSR but the big budget never made it his way. This has given me the opportunity to start
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with a clean slate and re-brand and sell him under a new imprint, but still be able to keep his monstrous fan base and continue to move forward. Paco, via email (Dallas, TX) I’m a Hip Hop head/producer/journalist/DJ here in France and you put me on for an article about French rap on OZONE’s website back then. Just wanted to say that I appreciate what you’re trying to bring with the magazine. It’s more than just music and hype. That’s where I’m at right now personally, a Hip Hop/hood guy finding out how much bullshit I’ve grown up with. I see you trying to show your readers it ain’t all about money, power, and respect. I always felt like OZONE, the title, speaks for itself. It’s about air and life. It’s more than just music and lights. Continue speaking your mind! It’s been so hard for me to do it out here. - Joy Stik, via Facebook (France) I just finished reading JB’s 2 Cents in Issue #81. Great article. I really enjoyed the article and its focus on overcoming fear. My favorite part is pushing yourself as if you’re training for a marathon. Step it up and the results are inevitable. Thanks for an interesting read. - E Collins, via email JB, your name came up in a conversation, and this person spoke so reverently about you as an entrepreneur that I was impressed from afar. Then I read your article Scam Afta Scam. The way you took Johnnie [Cabbell] to task about his business dealings was worthy of not only a Hood Pulitzer but a real Pulitzer! It was like a good book; a real page turner! - Stephen Carter, via email (Atlanta, GA) JB, your Scam Afta Scam article was very well-written. So many emotions were running through me as I read it (I’m a retired promoter, and my company has done every artist under the sun except for Gucci Mane). I usually don’t type these kinds of ‘feedback’ emails, but I really was impressed with your article because I too am a fellow journalist. So I take writing to heart. I felt your reporting on the situation was done well, and it was actually the first time I’ve ever read OZONE Magazine. The reason I got emotional while reading your article is because there were so many personal friends mentioned in your story who were hurt by this situation. It brought back memories of how many people in your article had to grind to get to the point they’re at today, only to have one group of people fuck up their reputations. I also enjoyed your newest interview with Lil Wayne in the annual sex issue. The comments about Lil Wayne saying he needed to be #1 or #2 in his kids’ life were intriguing. That was a profound comment coming from him. So many times we as fans misjudge an artist based on what we see on television or read in a magazine. But your article portrayed him in a different light. I’ve heard a lot of good things about you over the years and truly respect your tenacity to produce OZONE and still have it standing when so many of your competitors have fallen to the side. Keep up the great work. - Charlie Chase, via email (Dominican Republic)
JB’s 2cents The funniest thing about the entertainment business is the people in the game who have delusions of their own grandeur. But the saddest thing is all the people trying to get in it who think there’s real money to be made here. I supposed there is, if you happen to be one of the 1% who succeeds, but it’s become so ridiculous that “oversaturated” is an understatement. The fact is, we can’t all be rappers, producers, singers, models, or “media.” It’s not as easy as you think, and it takes a certain type of person to really live this lifestyle and be able to support yourself without the security of a biweekly paycheck.
10THINGS I’M HATIN’ON by @Eleven8
1. KAT STACKS How is it possible that a creature resembling a mole rat, with a voice like a police siren and bangs hanging down to the nostrils, gets more tail than a barnyard?
4. Kanye West’s hiatus We need some new music, a new album, anything! I know greatness takes time, but I’ve been impatiently waiting for years and I can only survive on features for so long. 5. Shyne’s Comeback I loved Shyne....in the 90s. Since he’s been locked away for a decade it seems his rhymes are stuck in the 90s. Even Mystikal is having better luck at a comeback.
3. Drake’s Right Arm Drake is a great guy who makes great music, but when you see him perform that damn right arm is such a distraction. Drake’s right arm is more hype than he is. It’s like his hype man, always jumping around the stage.
Omega Red (center) flew me (left), Mecca (right), & a bunch of media folks out to Puerto Rico....
...where me, Chuck (left), & Maurice (right) drove 4wheelers to the river...
2. Nicki Minaj’s Wigs I love Nicki Minaj, but her wigs are something out of this world! I swear, everytime I see her on 106th & Park she has another fried, dyed, and blow dried animal on her head. I don’t remember Barbie looking like a cosmic crackhead when I was younger.
...and painted our faces to become part of the Kabalinati Tribe
6. Lil Wayne’s Baby Mamas How many young women has Weezy impregnated? I lost count at around 12. Seriously, we all know how babies are made at this point, so why are so many chicks getting pregnant by the SAME GUY!? 7. Dr. Dre I have been through rehab, relapses, and rehab again and still haven’t heard one single from Detox. It’s nothing but a hoax, like Bigfoot and Tupac’s death. 8. Ray J I’m hating on the fact that this young man is still on my television screen. I made it through two seasons of him pretending to look for love when he was really looking for some tail (and a check). Now I have to endure another season of the whole Norwood family on VH1? 9. The Basketball Wives Only one of these chicks is a wife and the others are rejects. Then they have the nerve to hate on groupies. 10. Fabolous If you follow Fabolous on Twitter you’d think he didn’t have anything to do with his time but create dumb trending topics and go in on people who are obviously not online. Shouldn’t he be out promoting Loso’s Way?
I spent my birthday skydiving...you should try it!
In ATL with Cam’ron & Angela Yee
I’ve been traveling a lot this year overseas and the most refreshing thing about the international shows is the fact that people are just fans. You don’t see too much of that in the States anymore; everybody’s got a motive for wanting to meet their favorite rapper. Everybody’s trying to pass them a demo or take their picture or interview them on a Flip cam for their blog or get signed to their label or borrow a few dollars. Don’t get me wrong, I never knock the hustle, but like I said - everyone isn’t cut out for this. Some people should just be fans. I went on a book-buying spree not too long ago, mostly because I had a huge bookcase to fill up, but also because I enjoy reading about all kinds of topics. Even though I haven’t had time to read them all yet, I like to imagine that just by them being in my house I absorb some sort of knowledge from them. Anyway, one of the books I did read is called Waiter Rant. It’s basically a waiter bitching about being a waiter, the same way people in the entertainment business bitch about our jobs (and everyone else about their jobs, for that matter). Overall it wasn’t my favorite book but there was one section that stood out so much I passed it along to Wendy Day because it’s perfect for OZONE’s Mathematics column. The author’s main point was that the way waiters (or rappers, or hustlers, etc.) make their money is similar to gambling. It’s not really the money that we make, it’s the way we make it. Dry days or dry weeks or even months or years of struggle, all with the hope of a big payoff one day. And when you do get a big chunk of change all at once, the impulse is to spend it the same way - all at once. Do all the losses - and all the time you’ve put in - justify the few wins? But with that said - fuck your day job. Go for your dreams. But make sure they’re your dreams. Don’t just aspire to become a rapper or an actor or a model because that’s what everyone else is doing. Be more creative than that; be cutting edge. Invent your own path. When I was 19, I started taking pictures at nightclubs and concerts because (a) I wanted a job where I could wear jeans and sneakers to work and (b) I learned that free food is available backstage at concerts. Okay, I’m semi-joking - mainly, it was because I loved the music and capturing the energy of an artist interacting with the crowd. But at the time, hardly anyone else was doing it. I never imagined that 10 years later the path would have taken me all over the world to some incredible places as a magazine editor, award show producer, tour videographer, booking agent, and all the million other things that I do. In case you don’t follow me on Twitter (@JuliaBeverly) it’s a running joke that when folks ask me what I do, I invent creative job titles. But it’s true; I never turn down a new opportunity. Today, everybody is a club photographer, and it ruins the fun for me. I want to break new ground, and the only way you can do that is by trying new things. Do you, not what everyone else is doing. When it comes to the music, I’m not feeling inspired by most of this new shit I’m hearing. Of course, the “is Hip Hop dead?” question is cliche by now, but I was scrolling through some rock radio stations the other day when the answer hit me. The biggest thing Hip Hop has lost is its subtlety. Good rock lyrics sound like they mean something deep and complex, but you aren’t quite sure what - so you’re left to wonder. Good Hip Hop lyrics are the same way - think Kid Cudi’s “Day N Nite” or Kanye’s “Heartless.” Make me think a little - enough with bootyshaking stripper anthems and bragging about how much money you have. :) - Julia Beverly, email@example.com
B.o.B. f/ T.I. & Playboy Tre “Bet I Bust” B.o.B. f/ Hayley Williams “Airplanes” Roscoe Dash “Show Out” Da Boi Boi YG f/ Lil Brod – “My Hood Up” Big K.R.I.T. f/ Curren$y & Smoke DZA – “No Wheaties” Smoke DZA f/ Devin, Curren$y, Asher Roth, June Summers – “Marley & Me” Curren$y f/ Stalley “Address” Erykah Badu “Window Seat”
firstname.lastname@example.org Jeezy “Mama Told Me” Drake “Over” Wiz Khalifa “B.A.R.” Dom Kennedy “1997”
OZONE MAG // 11
AUSTIN, TX: NiceKicks.com had their retail store grand opening off the drag downtown. Bun B, DJ Clark Kent, DJ Mike Swing and DJ Kurupt all took part in the opening festivities. Common came though Georgetown for a show at Southwestern University. The Cool Kids performed a Huston-Tillotson Homecoming Party at The Mohawk. 2010 SXSW music festival update coming soon. - O.G. of Luxury Mindz (www.luxurymindz.com)
BAY ST. LOUIS, MS:
Guitars & Cadillacs played host to Bone Thugs N Harmony, and man, what a mess that was. The group was fighting amongst themselves and Bizzy Bone performed by himself for a few minutes before Lazy Bone came and unplugged everything. In other news, Juvenile and his producer went to jail for possession of marijuana. Welcome home Mystikal. If you missed the return of the big dog, you missed a good one. - DJ Deliyte (email@example.com)
It was a pretty good month around the city with J. Holiday coming to Club Asia, and Charlie Wilson and Ginuwine coming to P.H. Lounge. The V.S. Lounge was busy with Street Talk Magazine coming through for their event. MasterMindz also held their open mic and beat battle which turned out great. The event also had performances by Big Chuck Ent., Kuntraversy of Murc Camp, plus many more of the city’s favorite artists. Murc Heist also dropped Some Kin 2 the Streets. Eskimo Joe dropped L.L. Cool Joe digitally. Minthol Kings dropped new mixtape as well. - K. Bibbs (AllOrNothingPromo@hotmail.com)
The number one record in Chicago is a tie between John Blu’s “In Love with Your Booty” and Dat Boy Hot’s “Up N Down.” Both are burning up the clubs and radio. Bo Deal’s record “Outta Those Clothes” is a new and good look for him. Mixtape Mondays at Club Exodus is the best way to start off the week for artists wanting to perform. Check out these DJs on Power 92’s weekend club mix: DJ Shotime, DJ Ransom, The Bigg DM (CORE DJs), DJ Clent, and DJ Nephets. - Jamal Hooks (JHooks@tmail.com)
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The Columbus area has been all over television, having been featured on Bridezilla, Extreme Home Makeover, and a few talk shows. Columbus athletes even played in the Super Bowl and the Olympics. Everyone who has turned 30 this year had a birthday bash at Club After 5… everyone. I am going to petition Congress for a law that requires parties to be as interesting and fun as the flyers that promote them. A new spot called Sky opened up. Haven’t been yet, but I hear it’s cool. Spices Restaurant also has live DJs on the weekend. - Slick Seville (SlickSeville@gmail.com)
After the snowiest month on record, Columbus is left to recover. But because two of XXL’s featured Freshman artists graced Columbus with their presence, many of us have forgotten about cold temperatures, snow, and ice. Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa came through on his Deal or No Deal tour, and brought capacity crowds with him. New Orleans native Jay Electronica stopped through as well and gave us one of the best shows the city has seen from an up-and-coming rapper. We held yet another Help for Haiti benefit concert and basketball tournament, showing more of our city’s human spirit. - KayJay of the FlyPaper (firstname.lastname@example.org)
FORT MYERS/NAPLES, FL:
DJ Quest holds it down at Club Neo every Wednesday and Friday night. Queen Unique and Hell Bound Entertainment are grinding every other Thursday night at the Lion’s Den. They host Acoustic Affairs, SWFL’s first open mic, poetry, and arts night. Local band Strange Arrangement is buzzing in the streets with their fusion of funk, rock, jazz and hip hop. - Jae Rae (JaeRae1055@aol.com)
Gainesville recently got to rock out with two of the biggest acts in the game right now: Travis Porter and Waka Flocka. Travis Porter put on a crazy show, but Waka brought out the type of crowd you only see during FISS weekend. Speaking of FISS (Florida Invitational Step Show), I don’t know if I’m getting older or it’s just getting whacker, but something needs to change, ASAP. All the local artists, Mr. V, as well as KB da Boss, are keeping up the grind. Don’t forget to check out FeedoffRap. com for all the latest. - Jett Jackson (email@example.com)
Nelly and Bow Wow hit the city this month for the Derrty Ent. vs. Cash Money Ent. celebrity basketball game. Nelly and Bow Wow were the only celebs we saw though, but Bow Wow did have Russell Simmons’ daughter, Angela, with him. Did I mention he had to ice his knees and ankles after the game? They all hit up Dreamz for the after party. Lil Ru, Party Boyz, Webbie, and Lil Duval hit up Freelon’s this month. Webbie was scheduled to perform at Mardi Gras, but word was he wanted to bring his pistol in the club and security refused so he left. Congrats to Jackson’s own R & B duo Recognition for performing on BET’s 106th & Park. They recently signed to Capitol Records. - Tambra Cherie (TambraCherie@aol.com) & Stax (firstname.lastname@example.org)
KILLEEN/BELTON/FT. HOOD/ TEMPLE/WACO, TX:
Harker Heights Texas is now the home for In Da Cuts Studio. Doors have officially opened. Producer and artist Joon Cartier dropped a new single entitled “Case of the Mondays.” You can hear his mixtape Euphoric Depression on DatPiff. Belton Texas super-producer Noki Swazay released a free downloadable mixtape The Vaccine, as well as an album called The Antidote available in Centex stores. Be on the lookout for J.P. The Pyrexican with his street anthem “Workin My Wrist.” - Chris OA (email@example.com)
TAMPA, FL: Laws and Don Cannon released 4:57, a 17-song street album with elite production from DJ Khalil, L.A. The Craftzman, Feb 9, M-Phazes, TN2 Productions, 9th Wonder, and in-house producers, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League. (Free Download here: www.myspace.com/lawshiphop). While Tampa braces for the next Tampahiphop.com “Battle Basics” in April, Skillet won Aych’s “Da Cypher Emcee Battle,” as a fight erupted among bar patrons to close out the night. Bigga Rankin and Swazy Baby were among guests on Pirate Radio Invasion along with local favorites Dynasty, Mason Caine, and Prophit. Laws appeared on WiLd 94.1’s“The Sunday Session” with Orlando. - Slick Worthington (Myspace.com/SlickWorthington)
Café after a battle rap competition. He won bragging rights, a huge golden microphone trophy, and a song produced by award-winning Al Kapone. Gospel rapper Mr. Del became Memphis’ first rapper nominated for Gospel’s highest honor. Another local artist you might want to peep out is Tha Bank. He has been doing shows in and out of town and really pushing his new single “Ball Out.” You can check him out at www.memphisrap.com/THABANK. - Deanna Brown (Deanna.Brown@MemphisRap.com)
Congrats to DJ Swift for getting on at the Big Station. Chize Money of Deuce Komradz is acting up out the gate. “Rich Shit” and “Bow Down” got everybody going ham, even in the Ham. So look out for Star Playa Ent. Congrats to Frank White on winning the Impact DJ of the Year award at the SEAs and Maxximum on winning On Air personality of the year at the Real Talk Awards. Other winners include: Chappy for the new single “Body of a Goddess,” and King David. Apollo Wednesday still has the open mic on lock at Boomerangs. May 8th- 10th is the next Maxximum Exposure Conference and Awards (The Street Edition). - Hot Girl Maxximum (Maxximummp3@gmail.com)
Even though the weather had a lot of people snowed in, Young Money and Lil Kim came out to the Burgh to kick it. Local artists S. Money, SK, Boaz, & Wiz Khalifa are all going hard in the studio for summer mixtape projects and buzz releases, while F-Block Records is extending its reach all over the South. Fab 5 Ent. is still holding down the party scene from here to Atlanta. Expect big features and production coming from Pittsburgh soon. - Lola Sims (firstname.lastname@example.org)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT:
Hip Hop Station U92 is home to some of the area’s most talented artists and DJs, like U92/Bumsquad DJs E-Flexx, Handsome Hands, and DJ Latu; and 2004 US DMC Finalist DJ Poetik C, as well as many others. Besides showcasing their skills on the turntables, they also showcase their talent on various mixtapes and albums. Check out TML’s Powerhouse Duo Lump Sum, who’s mixtape Pressure, Pipes and Diamonds, is produced by DJ Brisk One and Mixed by DJ Poetik C., and The Commission’s New Album, as well as many others. You can check all of these peeps out at Summer Jam and at various events in the city. - Nasha Nelson (email@example.com)
The Diamond District (XO, Oddisee & YU) kicked off 2010 with a European tour. Tarica June released the thought provoking Moonlight Revolution mixtape. She also has a nice blog at www.taricajune. net. Likeblood and Bobby Valentino shot the “Money Over Here” video at the Ibiza nightclub. The video is currently in heavy rotation on MTV Jams. Promoter Dre “All Day In The Paint” brought Freeway and Yo Gotti to perform in DC on consecutive weeks. The Blood Link Cartel just dropped a hard-hitting CD entitled Da Family. “Goblin” is Southeast Slim new single produced by the Hitter Quitter Boyz. Eezy Money has two nice tracks out right now: “Jockin” and “Get Paid.” And finally Team Jomo from Capitol Heights, MD has a hot song entitled “Sidekick” featuring Nia Owens on the hook. - Sid “DCSuperSid” Thomas (firstname.lastname@example.org)
LAS VEGAS, NV:
Prive Nightclub, located inside Planet Hollywood, is stepping up to be the only Vegas club spinning Hip Hop every weekend. Fabolous and Lloyd both rocked Prive on different nights. Jay-Z ended his BP3 Tour here, along with Trey Songz and Jeezy at the Pearl Concert Theater. The Floyd “Money” Mayweather vs. “Sugar” Shane Mosley fight at the MGM Grand Arena was the talk of the town and the Vegas odds were in favor of “Money,” who won. With summer fast approaching, Vegas is gearing up to be the place to be. - Portia Jackson (PortiaJ@sprint.blackberry.net)
The Memphis in May music lineup has been announced and Al Kapone and Yo Gotti are both set to perform. There’s nothing better than rap on the river! Up and coming artist Foley was crowned Master of the Microphone at Hard Rock
OZONE MAG // 13
MISTAKES ARTISTS MAKE
| By Wendy Day (www.RAP-COALITION.COM)
I’ve learned so much from mistakes—both my own and others’. These are in no particular order of importance… Surrounding Yourself With The Wrong Team: If the best player in the NBA stepped out on the court alone, against the worst team in the NBA, the worst team would win. There’s a powerful force that occurs when multiple people come together with one goal in mind—especially if each person plays their role and stays in their lane. And teamwork is especially powerful if you have key players who are the best at what they do, all coming together to move forward towards one goal. New artists don’t often choose the best teams. They often surround themselves with friends and family who know very little about the music industry or how the business works. Whether due to trust issues or laziness in finding the right people, I’ve seen more careers end because artists have trusted their careers to the wrong people. There are people in the music business who are good at what they do, and even more who are not. Unfortunately, because it’s a “who you know” business, one’s popularity in the music business is not conditional upon being good at what one does. If an artist doesn’t do thorough research on a person to find out if their skill level is sub-par, they could very easily have a team member who sucks at what they do. For example, having managed a major recording artist is NOT a sign of aptitude, it’s a sign of access. Managing multiple recording artists successfully IS a sign of strong management skill. A team consists of a manager, an entertainment lawyer, an accountant, a booking agent, and a publicist (I am the only person I know who includes a publicist as a mandatory part of the team, but if there’s no one broadcasting the artists’ moves and triumphs, no one will know). Since this is a “who you know” business, relationships, connections, experience, and aptitude are all important. A contract can protect your rights, but it can also hurt you. It’s important to have a well-connected, experienced entertainment attorney look over everything before you sign it. It’s often what’s missing from a contract that can hurt you more than what’s in there. You need professionals on your side to advise you. Waiting Too Long To Realize Something Is Wrong: As I was writing this article, I got a call from a major platinum producer who informed me that he was never paid his royalties on a number of #1 hits he had back in the early 1990s. By law, there is a statute of limitations on everything including collecting back royalties, and except in a case of fraud (which is difficult to prove) an artist has a limited time to file a claim for royalties due. That time can be anywhere from 2 to 4 years, and is stipulated in whatever agreement was signed at the time. Additionally, most artists and producers have limited financial resources for legal fees and filing lawsuits against labels that are international conglomerates with very deep pockets and lawyers on staff. It’s important to chase your money immediately—twice a year, every year, so you don’t have to sue. Royalties are paid in March and September of each year and part of your team’s job is to chase money due, audit regularly, and keep track of what’s owed and outstanding. Do not let a label or powerful artist bully you. By speaking up for what’s due you, you are NOT hurting your career, nor stopping more work coming your way, nor creating tension. By not being paid properly, they are fucking you out of what’s rightfully yours. If the money isn’t coming to you, it’s going to somebody—you earned it, so collect it in a timely fashion. You don’t want to be left with no money and no work.
Self-Destructing and Making Bad Decisions: This mistake is the most popular one I see artists, producers, and DJs make in our industry. I don’t have a solution for this one beyond getting your shit together as an artist and getting some professional help if you continually do dumb shit and can’t stop yourself. Often this occurs when an artist is surrounded by drugs and alcohol. The music industry is naturally a “party” industry. Most artists spend their time in clubs when they aren’t recording, so the influence is constant. But many artists take partying to the extreme--to the point where they miss important events in their schedules, get arrested, exercise bad judgment, or do inferior work. I’m not saying not to have fun. I’m saying that if you have to take drugs or have “chemical cocktails” on a regular basis, you are a junkie (the industry seems to have a fascination with syrup, ecstasy, Viagra, pills, cocaine, and weed—and often mix them). But self-destruction doesn’t just come in the guise of excessive partying. I’ve seen rappers have babies like they are accessories, spend more money than they make, fight to prove their “realness,” beef with people who ether them, make music that is outside of their lane, date the wrong women, do prison bids mid-career, die, not pay people properly, say or do dumb stuff publicly without having a publicist in place to do damage control, etc. Self-destructive behavior comes in many forms, and almost always affects your work and your money. Not Understanding How The Industry Works: Back in the 80s and early 90s, I understood how artists got jerked. It was difficult to learn how the label system worked and hard to do any research on the aspects of the industry that effect artists. But in the mid-90s all of that changed with the internet. Today, anyone can research and find out anything they need to know about anyone or anything. Not understanding how this industry works is unacceptable for anyone considering a career in the music industry. So if you come into this industry just thinking you can rap, sing, make beats, or DJ and that’s all you need to know, you are an idiot. You don’t get “put on” in this industry without getting pimped—so building your own buzz and leverage to put yourself on is a good career move. A great connection doesn’t lead to a great career, but it does lead to making someone else a ton of money at your own expense. Sending out demos to record labels won’t get you “discovered,” but it will allow an idea, a beat, or a whole song to be stolen from you (even if you copyright your songs, do you have enough money to sue and enough proof that they took your song?). Promoting yourself at industry convention after industry convention doesn’t build your buzz with fans and people who buy records (the ones who REALLY get labels’ attention). Getting signed to a record deal isn’t a guarantee that your career will take off or that you will be successful. More people sign to labels each year than come out by those labels. Just because you have the funding to start your own label doesn’t mean you have the talent or know-how to do so. I’ve seen mediocre artists spend millions of dollars to fail. Take the time to study the industry, learn who the players are, and find out who’s on the teams behind each successful artist (this shouldn’t be difficult to do since so few artists are successful today). Attend industry events and actually network with industry people and attend the panel discussions instead of just trying to pick up girls (or guys). Read as much as you can about the music industry. Some great books are Confessions Of A Record Producer (Moses Avalon), Everything You Need To Know About The Music Industry (Donald Passman), Dancing With The Devil (Mark Curry), Hit Men (Fredric Dannen), etc. Meet with as many successful people who are doing what you want to do, as will meet with you. Many won’t take the time for you, but many will. Build relationships with those who will. A solid understanding of how publishing works, performance rights societies (ASCAP and BMI), and how to get a record deal, will prevent you from getting jerked out of money by others. A little bit of education goes a long way in this business. We can’t stop the huge amount of fuck boys in this industry who will try to steal your dreams from you to make themselves a quick buck, but you can educate yourself so their pitch doesn’t make good business sense to you. You can keep yourself from being a victim. For more Mistakes, see www.MathematicsArchive.com. //
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(above L-R): BG & Birdman @ Dolce for Lil Wayne’s going away party in Miami, FL; Drake & Lil Wayne @ Dolce for Lil Wayne’s going away party in Miami, FL (Photos: Julia Beverly); Omarion & DJ Drama @ Luckie Lounge in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Terrence Tyson)
01 // Gucci Poochie, DJ Nasty, & DJ Khaled on the set of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” (Miami, FL) 02 // Roscoe Dash, Kuzzo Fly, & Zone 4 street team on South Beach (Miami, FL) 03 // Director Jason Deleon & Trae on the set of Trae’s “Inkredible” video shoot (Miami, FL) 04 // Hoodboss, Playboii, & JBar on the set of “Daze” (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Huey, Lil Twist, Nio Tha Gift, & Lil Chuckee on the set of “Girl I Got You” (Miami, FL) 06 // Nas, Busta Rhymes, & Stacks @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 07 // Tambra Cherie & Bow Wow @ the Cash Money vs. Derrty Ent celebrity basketball game (Jackson, MS) 08 // Ladies’ reppin’ DJ Smallz @ Wildsplash (Clearwater, FL) 09 // Lil Wayne & Shanell @ Dolce for Lil Wayne’s going away party (Miami, FL) 10 // MOE, Zaytoven, & Humble G @ Block Entertainment Studios (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Spiff TV & Dru Brett of The Runners on the set of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” (Miami, FL) 12 // DJ Khaled, DJ Nasty, Dre, The Runners, & Gil Green on the set of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” (Miami, FL) 13 // Coach & his wife @ Phillips Arena for Jingle Bash (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Papa Duck & Supa Unit @ Boomers (Port Charlotte, FL) 15 // Jeff Panzer & Slim on the set of Young Money’s “Roger That” video shoot (Miami, FL) 16 // Young Capone & Bama on the set of “Unlimited Ammo” (Atlanta, GA) 17 // DJ Drama, Rasheeda, LA the Darkman, Kandi, & DJ Sense on the set of LA the Darkman’s video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 18 // Zaytoven & Bigga Rankin @ Atrium for Salute the DJs Award Show (Atlanta, GA) 19 // Big Omeezy, Boo, Too $hort, P.O., & E-40 @ Yokohama Bay Hall (Tokyo, Japan) Photo Credits: D-Ray (02,05); Erica Hicks (07); Julia Beverly (09,13,15,19); Ms Ja (17); Ms Rivercity (04,10,16,18); Terrence Tyson (01,03,06,11,12); Travis Pendergrass (08,14)
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CHIN CHECK By Charlamagne Tha God IMAGINARY PLAYERS HAVE IMAGINARY HATERS I hate delusional people. Delusion is the reason a lot of people can’t progress in life. Until you deal with the reality of your situation, you’ll continue to exist in this make-believe fantasy world that you have created for yourself. It’s a world where you are in control, where you feel comfortable, and no one can judge the stupid shit you do. And if they do judge, they’re hating! In 2010, the internet has become the epicenter of delusion. People front of Facebook and thug on Twitter. Everybody is fabulous, everybody is making major moves, everybody is getting money, everybody is having so much big fun. All I can do is sit back and think, “The easiest person to deceive is yourself.” I personally know people who aren’t doing shit with their lives. These are people that I care for as individuals, and I believe they are talented, but their fucked-up mentalities and negative characteristics supersede their talent. Their attitude makes me not want to have any dealings with them whatsoever. You know what they say: the company we choose is always a reflection of our character. The people around me reflect who I am. Winners don’t hang out with losers. If you are a winner surrounded by a bunch of losers, the perception people will have of you is that you’re a loser too! The sad part of the situation is that those who are losing in life often refuse to take constructive criticism from someone who’s doing better than them. Instead, they’ll say that person is “hating” on them, or they’ll get defensive and pick out negative things about the person who’s trying to help them. Nobody is perfect, but the truth is that there are people on this planet who are doing better than you! I don’t care who you are: there is always someone more experienced, more powerful, more spiritual, more intelligent, wealthier, stronger, and faster. If you are really trying to do better for yourself, you’ll stop, observe, and listen to what this person is saying! It can only benefit you in the long run! I know what I just said made sense, but not to these Imaginary Players who have Imaginary Haters. In their minds, they are doing it! They have a raggedy car, no place to live, and their character is so foul that people don’t even enjoy being in their company, but in their mind they are THE BEST. They are the GREATEST. It’s not self-confidence either; it’s delusion, a false sense
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of entitlement, a sense that the world owes them everything so they don’t have to work for anything. I see these people online all the time shouting out their haters and shouting out to the people that don’t want to see them shine, thinking that every constructive criticism that comes their way is negative. To all of those people, I say: The worst of all frauds is to cheat yourself. You’re not lying to me or the world, Imaginary Player. You’re lying to yourself. These Imaginary Haters you speak of don’t exist, because in reality they see you for the loser you are. The biggest hater you have is you! If you look in the mirror every day and see perfection, you are delusional, and that is what Imaginary Players do. They hate on themselves because they are only taking in what they want to hear in life. What you want to hear is not always what you need to hear. Sometimes, what you need to hear is harsh - but as long as it’s honest, it’s not “hate.”
could be playing for real, but they lack the courage to TRY. So, you Imaginary Players with Imaginary Haters can continue to pretend in your imaginary world, or you can deal with reality like I do. Some of y’all will just choose to talk shit about everything I just wrote. It’s okay if you do, because the reality is that people (Imaginary Players) cannot change truth, but truth can change people. Peace and blessings, Charlamagne Tha God Follow Me On Twitter www.twitter.com/cthagod
There is one thing for which you Imaginary Players can be thankful: Only you and God know all the facts about yourself. It’s great because you know what’s really wrong and God knows exactly what to do to correct it, but first you have to stop being delusional and recognize that you do have issues and then pray to God to give you the strength to fix them. After you deal with those issues, you can start utilizing your God-given talents and become a Real Player with Real Haters. Real Haters hate on people who are doing so much better than them; not because they actually hate them, but because the Real Players have the courage to try to succeed in ways that the Imaginary Players don’t. Imaginary Players hate the fact that they
1. COCO BROWN a.k.a. Ms. No TonsEls
www.myspace.com/cocobrownakamsnotonsels An alias like “Ms. No Tonsels” makes Lil Kim’s entire catalog sound like a Sesame Street soundtrack. There’s not a lot of information floating around on this chick, but all you need to know is that she has a song called “Fuck My Face” circulating on the internet.
2. DJ PIMPFLOW
www.myspace.com/djpimpflow Wonder why he chose to name himself Pimpflow? We’re guessing its because Mack Daddy and Daddy Mack were already taken. And since you asked, DJ Pimpflow is a white guy from Delaware, which we all know is home of the pimps.
3. MC FRONTALOTT
www.myspace.com/mcfrontalott We really can’t poke fun at someone who makes fun of themselves. The self-proclaimed creator of Nerdcore Hip Hop, it’s obvious that this guy isn’t taking himself too seriously. His latest album is available on iTunes, by the way, if you’re into rap music that sounds like it was made for a Pine Sol commercial. Words by Maurice G. Garland
(above L-R): Lil Wayne & Shanell on the set of Young Money’s “Roger That” video shoot in Miami, FL (Photo: Julia Beverly); Drumma Boy & Gangsta Boo @ the SEAs in Memphis, TN (Photo: Deshun Smith); Snoop Dogg & Rick Ross on the set of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” in Miami, FL (Photo: Terrence Tyson)
01 // Guest & Lil Ru @ Rain (Jacksonville, FL) 02 // Kyjuan, DJ Demp, Tony Neal, & Murphy Lee @ Demp Week celebrity basketball game (Tallahassee, FL) 03 // JBar & ladies on the set of “Daze” (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Mack Maine & Tezz on the set of Lil Wayne’s “Da Da Da” video shoot (Miami, FL) 05 // Guest & Trae on the set of Trae’s “Inkredible” (Miami, FL) 06 // DJ Q45 & Kid capri @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 07 // Tity Boi showing off his new piece on the set of Playaz Circle “Big Dawg” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 08 // PI Bang & Slim-E @ Antigua (Orlando, FL) 09 // Lil Wayne, Gudda, & Sean Garrett @ Dolce for Lil Wayne’s going away party (Miami, FL) 10 // Fantasia & Ricco Barrino @ Obsessions (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Models reppin’ OZONE on the set of 8Ball & MJG’s video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 12 // DJ Hella Yella, Dorrough, & DJ Du2ce @ Mansion for Dorrough’s Gangsta Grillz & OZONE release party (Dallas, TX) 13 // Bless & Baby on the set of Young Money’s “Roger That” video shoot (Miami, FL) 14 // Supplya & Rip @ Block Entertainment Studios (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Wendy Day & 211 @ Atrium for Salute the DJs Award Show (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Lil Chuckee’s sister Whitney & Nicki Minaj on the set of Lil Wayne’s video shoot (Miami, FL) 17 // Trae, Mack Maine, & Drake @ Dolce for Lil Wayne’s going away party (Miami, FL) 18 // Problem, Kuzzo Fly, Nio Tha Gift, & Kurupt on South Beach (Miami, FL) 19 // Slim & Tyga on the set of Young Money’s “Roger That” video shoot (Miami, FL) 20 // Bay Bay & Mr Nike @ Ice Bar (Dallas, TX) Photo Credits: D-Ray (16,18); Edward Hall (20); Julia Beverly (05,07,09,13,17,19); Malik Abdul (02,11); Ms Rivercity (03,10,12,14); Terrence Tyson (01,04,06,08,15)
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She Liked my NECKLACE and started relaxin’, that’s what the fuck I call a…
he Prime Time piece is my biggest and most expensive piece. The chain was $10k by itself. It’s a real thick 24 carat white gold chain. Prime Time is my label. The piece is my exact logo; it fits my whole image. Every video I’m in, I make sure I wear that piece, not just to show off the jewelry, but to show off my brand. The retail value is $100k and it weights 95 carats. I got a real good deal. To any other rapper, it’d be a good deal, but to anybody else, I’m a fool for payin’ for it. But I love jewelry. The music game is a different game. On my first album I’ve got songs talkin’ about pieces and jewels swangin’. I talk about jewels on my fingers. “Stay iced up like TV Johnny.” I’ve always been a fan of jewelry. I don’t get jewelry because I want to look like I’ve got a lot of money, it’s just that jewelry has always caught my attention. Even when I didn’t have it, it was something I always loved and had a real passion for. It’s an investment in my career also, because people wanna see [jewelry] when I do shows. The Prime Time piece represents my brand, so I’m winning with it. In addition to [my label Prime Time], I’m also president of NGenius Entertainment. I was the first artist signed and I helped to brand it. DJ Merk is the CEO. Anywhere I go that’s visual, like a show or a video, I make sure I have those two pieces on. I’m all about branding. [The NGenius logo] is a monkey named Frank. We had another logo that was a monkey, but we wanted something more futuristic. It’s like a monkey in a space helmet. A lot of females and kids love the logo and when they see it on my jewelry hanging from my neck, it catches their attention. The NGenius piece was expensive as well. The retail value is $74k, and that’s just the piece by itself. 18 // OZONE MAG
I like the Scrooge McDuck character because on the show, he was all about his money. To some people he symbolizes greed, but I just felt like he was about stacking his money. He’s holding a money bag on the chain. I thought it was something different, and I like animation. I wanted to do something nobody else had thought of. The Scrooge McDuck and the Super Mario piece are my two favorite chains. I wear them every day out and about. I really don’t wear the Prime Time and NGenius piece unless I’m filming a video or something, but the Scrooge and Super Mario pieces are small enough that I can wear them every day no matter what I’ve got on. Kids love both of ‘em. They always think it’s Daffy Duck or Donald Duck; the Mr. Scrooge is a little before their time. I pay attention to some of the pieces other rappers get so I can do something different. The Scrooge McDuck piece is $65k retail price and 20 carats. It’s a little piece, but it’s heavier than it looks. The Super Mario piece was my cheapest one. It’s $25k retail price, 15 carats. It’s real small but it has a lot of diamonds in there. They’re small but they’re actually my iciest pieces. Every diamond in there is VVS and they’re real small and cut, so when they hit the light they shine extra hard. The Prime Time piece, the Scrooge McDuck piece, and the Super Mario piece were all done by a jeweler out of Dallas named Ali. He goes by Ali the Celebrity Jeweler (TreasuresJewelers.com). The NGenius piece was done by TV Johnny (www.TVJohnny.net). // As told to Julia Beverly Photos courtesy of Jason of Beverly Hills
(above L-R): Lil Wayne & his daughter Reginae on the set of Lil Wayne’s video shoot in Miami, FL (Photo: D-Ray); Travis Porter @ their ‘Unbelievable’ movie premiere in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Ms Rivercity); Fat Joe & JW on the set of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” in Miami, FL (Photo: Terrence Tyson)
01 // Matt Sonzala & Trae @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW (Austin, TX) 02 // Lil Chuckee & Shanell on the set of Young Money’s “Roger That” video shoot (Miami, FL) 03 // King Solo & crew @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW (Austin, TX) 04 // Gucci Poochie & Sam Sneak @ Club Flow for All Star weekend (Dallas, TX) 05 // Jae Millz & Bishop of Crunk @ Phillips Arena for Jingle Bash (Atlanta, GA) 06 // Kevin Cossom & Haitian Fresh @ Demp Week celebrity basketball game (Tallahassee, FL) 07 // Royal-T, T-Pain & his wife Amber @ T-Pain’s private Christmas party (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Wale & DJ Omega on the set of The Mo’Nique Show (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Dorrough & Fat Pimp @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW (Austin, TX) 10 // Lil Twist, Birdman, & Lil Chuckee on the set of “Girl I Got You” (Miami, FL) 11 // Oleria & Jeevan Brown @ Antigua for Young City’s Birthday Bash (Orlando, FL) 12 // M.O.E. Click @ The Moon for Demp Week (Tallahassee, FL) 13 // Prince Rick & Treal Lee @ Mansion for Dorrough’s Gangsta Grillz & OZONE release party (Dallas, TX) 14 // DJ Paul, DJ Dre, Juicy J, & DJ Wildhairr @ Club Bijou (Arlington, TX) 15 // Haitian Fresh & Supastar J Kwik @ The Moon for Demp Week (Tallahassee, FL) 16 // Trae & Brian Angel @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW (Austin, TX) 17 // Rosa Acosta & friends @ Wish (Dallas, TX) 18 // Tezz & Lil Twist on the set of Lil Wayne’s ‘Da Da Da’ video shoot (Miami, FL) 19 // T-Pain battling Mr Marcus with a lightsaber @ T-Pain’s private Christmas party (Atlanta, GA) 20 // Sway & Bonecide @ Club Bijou (Arlington, TX) Photo Credits: D-Ray (10); Edward Hall (14,20); Julia Beverly (01,02,03,07,08,09,16,19); Malik Abdul (04,05,06,11,12,15,17); Ms Rivercity (13); Terrence Tyson (18)
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Sasha. Seductive, Classy and Simply CHARMING. Having the chance to sit down and chat it up with this sexy shoe model AND Stripper was a complete honor. Like most strippers, since Sasha couldn’t take out financial aid for college, she decided to take her Coke-bottle frame and hit the clubs for some easy money. She started dancing on the weekends, and before she knew it, she was getting showered with $1,500 in tips on a nightly basis. Sasha knows how to take care of every man who visits her in the strip club. This private dancer explains that if a man is having a stressful day, he can come see her and be entertained. “Then they can go back to their wives without having a really bad attitude, because they released their stress at the strip club,” she reasons. Well, from the looks of Sasha, she can release my stress any day. When Sasha is not helping men release some stress, she’s pulling the ladies to the side to give them a bit of training in personal hygiene. So what does she do if one of the other ladies in the club isn’t particularly fresh one day? “I pull her to the side and let her know so she can go fix herself,” Sasha explains. This stripper has dreams of owning her own hair shop and being married with two houses. Any man would be lucky to have Sasha on his arm, even as his wife. Sasha knows about responsibility. With her biggest tip, she paid her license off. And fellas, you don’t have to worry about her crashing the whip. She’s not a fast driver, she likes to take her time. Just like with her dance style. “My dancing style is simple, but classy,” she muses. “I’m not really a performer, but I do enough to keep a person’s attention. Some girls do pole tricks, but I’m just simple and classy.” Words by Blogxilla (of Blogxilla.com) Measurements: 36-25-42 Website: Strokersclub.com Booking: twitter.com/strokersclub or 770-270-0350 Photography: DC Glenn - Mayhem #226909 Make up Artist: Mike Mike 678-732-5285 Hairstylist: Baby Boy 404-396-2739
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(above L-R): Trae & Yo Gotti on the set of ‘Men Lie Women Lie’ in Miami, FL (Photo: D-Ray); Nelly & Bow Wow @ the Cash Money vs. Derrty Ent celebrity basketball game in Jackson, MS (Photo: Erica Hicks); Juelz Santana & Lil Wayne on the set of Lil Wayne’s video shoot in Miami, FL (Photo: D-Ray)
01 // Magazeen, Gunplay, & Gucci Poochie on board the Venetian Lady yacht for Rick Ross’s birthday bash (Miami, FL) 02 // Trell, Mack Maine, & Tyga on the set of “Girl I Got You” (Miami, FL) 03 // Baby Boy & Bola @ Atrium for Salute the DJs Award Show (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Sean Paul, DJ MLK, & Clay Evans @ 255 for DJ Mixer (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Clip-D, Troublesum, & Brian Angel @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW (Austin, TX) 06 // JW & Mack Maine on the set of Trae’s “Inkredible” video shoot (Miami, FL) 07 // Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Gudda, Short Dawg, & Jae Millz @ Dolce for Lil Wayne’s going away party (Miami, FL) 08 // Lloyd contemplating the lack of toilet paper in the restroom at his studio (Atlanta, GA) 09 // Gorilla Zoe, Princess, & Zaytoven @ Block Entertainment Studios (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Kaspa & DJ T-Roc @ Atrium for Salute the DJs Award Show (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Guest, P Stones, & Yung Envy @ Atrium for Salute the DJs Award Show (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Stix Malone, Amir Boyd, DJ Hollywood, & Stay Fresh @ Phillips Arena for Jingle Bash (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Lenny & DJ Nasty of Nasty Beatmakers on the set of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” (Miami, FL) 14 // Diamond & guest @ Maximedia Studios for Texas Summer Music Conference (Dallas, TX) 15 // Playa Fly, DJ Scream, & Yung Ralph @ Libra for DJ Scream’s birthday bash (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Tony Neal, Lil Scrappy, Dorrough, & Dr Teeth @ Maximedia Studios for Texas Summer Music Conference (Dallas, TX) 17 // Rick Ross & JW on the set of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” (Miami, FL) 18 // Trina & guests @ Trina’s birthday party (Miami, FL) Photo Credits: D-Ray (02); J Lash (18); Julia Beverly (05,07,08,12); Malik Abdul (14,16); Ms Rivercity (03,04,09,10,11,15); Terrence Tyson (01,06,13,17)
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The History of the Jesus Piece Jacob’s Jesus piece design >
Written By: Mo the Jeweler, ICEBOX & “Frank Mucus”
When it comes to Hip Hop artists and jewelry, there are few surprises; from T-Pain’s Big Ass Chain to Soulja Boy Tell Em’s remote-controlled Lamborghini, iced-out chains have become their own form of extravagant art. While custom pieces continue to grow in popularity, the Jesus piece has always remained the most respected piece of jewelry in the game. Ghostface Killah maintains he was the first to wear a Jesus piece, purchased off Canal Street in 1995. Despite Ghost’s claims, the style was not popularized until the end of 1996, when it was brought on to the scene by rapper Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace.
< Tito’s Jesus piece design
B.I.G. initially purchased two pieces, one for himself and the other for his best friend Damion “DRoc” Butler. Inspired by his manager, Sean “Puffy” Combs’ smaller, more delicate Jesus pendant, B.I.G. decided his reproduction would be four times as large and with a more intricate design. A common misconception is that B.I.G.’s Jesus piece was purchased from Jacob Arabo, a.k.a. Jacob the Jeweler. In actuality, both pieces were purchased from Tito, a jeweler who is no longer in the game. B.I.G.’s pieces generated buzz in the streets because of their modified design and the addition of diamonds for the hair and beard. Tito’s design also included prong set diamonds within the head, exaggerating the appearance of the crown of thorns. This design is considered to be prototype upon which all future reincarnations of the Jesus pendant would take form. Taking a cue from the popularity of B.I.G.’s piece, jeweler Jacob Arabo of Jacob & Co. created his own rendition of this style mold, cleaning up the lines within the face as well as switching from the prong set thorns to bezel set diamonds, said to resemble a kufi. The nose was also slimmed slightly and the beard was cleaned up with a restructuring akin to a triangle. The “Jacob Jesus mold” quickly became the choice pendant for New York rappers. By the late 90s the piece was further modified by replacing the prominent traditional vertical bail, with a slightly smaller bail, pavéd entirely with diamonds. In 2004, emerging rapper Kanye West once again revitalized the popularity of the Jesus piece. Known for his ingenuity and fondness for aesthetics, West collaborated with Jacob & Co to create a new version of the famed pendant. Rooted in realism, West’s Jesus pendant covered the traditional gold face with a layer of enamel, lending to a more vivid and life-like appearance. The new mold also diminished the prominent brows and redefined the lips to more closely resemble human proportions. Also, gone were the prongs and the bezel set diamonds from the previous versions. The top half featured pavéd diamonds representing the visible hair, adorned with an intricately intertwined crown of thorns. To top it off, ruby tears flowed from the corner of the left eye representing the suffering Jesus endured. After his death in 1997, B.I.G.’s Jesus piece was set aside for his son CJ. Due to the boy’s young age, B.I.G.’s friends would hold onto the piece, with artists like Jay-Z occasionally borrowing it for good luck. In hindsight, the impact of the Jesus piece in the jewelry industry and music game is immeasurable. Since B.I.G.’s original debut, many artists have rocked Jesus pieces. There have also been many renditions of the popularized pendant, from ones composed of the traditional gold and diamonds to the more recently popularized, but less ornate wood incarnations. Today, almost every respectable Jeweler has attempted to recreate their own version of the Jesus piece, aiming to be the ideal. With a basic gold and diamond piece starting at $1,500 and going upwards of $23,000 for a more intricate and detailed pendant, almost anyone can afford an iced out Jesus piece. After all, it would be sacrilege not to. // If you liked this article or learned something new, feel free to check out our blog online at www.iceboxjewelry.com/blog. On the website, you’ll see more articles like this one and pictures of our custom work as well.
’d like to take a moment to introduce myself and personally thank you for taking a moment to read this column that I hope will enrich your life in some capacity.
My name is Maja Sly and I’m an Entrepreneur, Business Owner, Real Estate and Insurance Broker, as well as a Financial Planner. After years of helping my brother (rapper BloodRaw) through the rigors of credit issues, home purchases, insurance and family planning, I’ve come to realize that most of us that do this for a living take it for granted. The majority of people that read this column have no clue about their credit rating, how to boost their credit, how much life insurance they need, how the new health care reform bill will impact them, foreclosures, repossessions….you name it! I get questions everyday from my own personal clients and friends, but what most people don’t understand, I’ve been a sponge in educating myself on for the past 15 years and it will be my honor to help you improve your lives through real estate, debt management, insurance and financial planning.
Given this economy and everything that’s going on, unemployment has impacted our generation in a way that most were not prepared for. But if you’re a student of history, and you have the right information, you can use this as an opportunity to improve your financial situation, dreams and ambitions beyond your wildest imagination! So each month, my goal will be to bring you information that will improve your business and personal life. I will also answer the most frequently asked question for the month. This column will NOT give you a “get rich quick” scheme, but it will give you the basic, plain language tools you need to know to help you build a better life for you and your family. More millionaires will be made over the next few years than any other time in our lifetime! So, having the right attitudes, information and resources will put you ahead of the game. So…Ask Maja! Email me at email@example.com My goal is to help the Hip Hop generation that may have been shut out due to lack of resources and accurate information. I want you to use the money you make and grow it for your future. Purchase property in this economy…you can buy a home in cities like Atlanta, Detroit and Birmingham for $10,000! These are major cities! You will never have deals like this. I’ll teach you how to pool your resources with your friends and buy that first house as an investment, rent it and build a portfolio. Take $10 per week and put it towards an insurance policy for your children and leave them a legacy, so that they will have a leg-up going forward. But more than anything, I want to teach you the power of good credit and ownership! //
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(above L-R): Paul Wall & Yelawolf @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW in Austin, TX (Photo: Julia Beverly); Fella & Big Gates @ Wildsplash in Clearwater, FL (Photo: Travis Pendergrass); Shanell & Birdman on the set of Young Money’s “Roger That” video shoot in Miami, FL (Photo: D-Ray)
01 // JBar, Soulja Boy, & Rage on the set of “Daze” (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Lil Twist, Tyga, & Gudda on the set of Young Money’s “Roger That” video shoot (Miami, FL) 03 // Triple C’s Gunplay, Torch, Youngbreed, & Rick Ross on board the Venetian Lady yacht for Rick Ross’s birthday party (Miami, FL) 04 // Gudda & Jae Millz on the set of Young Money’s “Roger That” video shoot (Miami, FL) 05 // Big Omeezy & Chaz @ Yokohama Bay Hall (Tokyo, Japan) 06 // T-Pain & Ne-Yo @ T-Pain’s private Christmas party (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Nelly & Tambra Cherie @ the Cash Money vs. Derrty Ent celebrity basketball game (Jackson, MS) 08 // Dorrough & Diamond @ Maximedia Studios for Texas Summer Music Conference (Dallas, TX) 09 // Birdman & Jae Millz on the set of Young Money’s “Roger That” video shoot (Miami, FL) 10 // Mack Maine, Chris Johnson, Lil Wayne, & Gudda @ Dolce for Lil Wayne’s going away party (Miami, FL) 11 // Roccett, Myko, & ladies @ Luckie Lounge (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Slim Dunkin & Sean Teezy on the set of “We Outside” (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Bonecide & Dolla Bill @ Club Bijou (Arlington, TX) 14 // 5 Star Angels @ Atrium for Salute the DJs Award Show (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Tony Neal, DJ Tex, & Rapid Ric @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW (Austin, TX) 16 // John Costen, Freddie Hott Sauce, & Kafani @ Mansion for Dorrough’s Gangsta Grillz & OZONE release party (Dallas, TX) 17 // Lil Chuckee & family on the set of “Girl I Got You” (Miami, FL) 18 // Yung LA & Spodee @ Atrium for Salute the DJs Award Show (Atlanta, GA) 19 // PI Bang & Young City @ Antigua (Orlando, FL) 20 // Bigg V & Kaspa the Don @ Duval Diamond Awards (Jacksonville, FL) Photo Credits: D-Ray (02,04,17); Edward Hall (13); Erica Hicks (07); Julia Beverly (05,06,09,10,15,16); Ms Rivercity (01,08,12,14,18); Terrence Tyson (03,11,19,20)
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DJ KHALED & SHYNE Shyne: Yo Khaled. DJ Khaled: Who this? WE THE BEST! Shyne: What you mean who this? It’s Po.... Khaled: I don’t know nobody Po. I represent the ghetto, I represent the streets, I represent the hoods, but I don’t represent being Po. WE THE BEST! Shyne: Stop playing. This Po. Khaled: No. I don’t know Po. I got money on my mind, I can never get enough. We The Best, and you can’t be the best being Po. WE THE BEST! Shyne: This Shyne Po, nigga! Khaled: That’s sand nigga to you! How’d you get my new number? I told you I wasn’t gonna be your A&R. WE THE BEST! Shyne: How you gonna play me like that? When I first got home you was begging me to get on your record. Now you avoiding my calls, ignoring my texts, matter of fact it feels like everybody @ Def Jam is ignoring me. How could y’all do the godfather like this? Khaled: I don’t know any godfathers, all I know is dons, like Teflon Don. Rick Ross new album in stores now.....WE THE BEST! Shyne: Is this what this is about? You mad cause I didn’t collab with Ross? I’ve been around COs for the past 10 years, so I’m trying to avoid them.
Khaled: Well, we trying to avoid losing. All we do is win, win, win, no matter what, and your flow is not a winner. Your flow is not the best, your flow is not taking over. Shyne, Def Jam is Fed Up with your voice! Shyne: I don’t understand.
Textin’ is no longer safe now that OZONE’s dangerous minds have hacked the system.
Khaled: We don’t understand! WE DON’T UNDERSTAND! Nobody understands! Do you even understand? Are you writing to the beats you’re sent? It sounds like you’re spitting rhymes you wrote when you first went to prison in 2001. Shyne: In order for me to move forward with my life, I have to make drastic changes and the old Bad Boy flow is one of them. I don’t care if I only sell one album. Khaled: You should’ve told L.A. Reid this before you took all that money! Only person allowed to sell one album @ Def Jam is Ace Hood! Now Ace Hood probably won’t get another album because you fucked up the budget! Look, I gotta go promote Teflon Don. Shyne: Wait. I heard you’re rapping now. Let me write something for you. Khaled: No, L.A. Reid told me to write something for you. Besides, your rhymes are too dated for me. Shyne: We The Best, we so great / You other DJs can’t even carry my crates. Khaled: See, no! No, No! DJs don’t even carry crates anymore. We use Serato and Final Scratch. Shyne, get out of the Hot Tub Time Machine, get out of Belize, shake that prison shit off and come to the States to see what’s going on. Shyne: So you’re telling me to stop rapping and work on getting my citizenship back to the US? What else should I do? Khaled: That’s exactly what I’m saying! L.A. Reid said please stop fucking up good records from Def Jam artists. He hated what you did to Rihanna’s “Rude Boy.” Look, I’ma have Young Sav email you this F.L.Y. and new Lil Ru record. Nobody @ Def Jam cares about those projects so you can practice on those. Oh, and make sure you get on Twitter. WE THE BEST! Shyne: Twitter? What’s a Twitter? From the mind of Charlamagne Tha God DJ Khaled photo by Terrence Tyson
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(above L-R): Lil Chuckee & Lil Twist on the set of “Girl I Got You” in Miami, FL (Photo: D-Ray); Rick Ross & Trae on the set of Trae’s “Inkredible” video shoot in Miami, FL (Photo: Terrence Tyson); Dorrough & Michael Watts @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW in Austin, TX (Photo: Julia Beverly)
01 // Julia Beverly, Dorrough, Short Dillan, & Corey Cleghorn @ Mansion for Dorrough’s Gangsta Grillz & OZONE release party (Dallas, TX) 02 // Lloyd & Godfatha @ Lloyd’s studio (Atlanta, GA) 03 // DJ Infamous & DJ Holiday @ Atrium for Salute the DJs Award Show (Atlanta, GA) 04 // MJG & Shawty Shawty on the set of 8Ball & MJG’s video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 05 // Nio Tha Gift & Tyga on the set of “Girl I Got You” (Miami, FL) 06 // BG, Chris Johnson, Mack Maine, Lil Wayne, Short Dawg, & Young Money crew @ Dolce for Lil Wayne’s going away party (Miami, FL) 07 // Dorrough, Lil Scrappy, Fabo, & Diamond @ Phillips Arena for Jingle Bash (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Shawty Shawty & DJ Holiday @ Atrium for Salute the DJs Award Show (Atlanta, GA) 09 // JW & Lil Wayne on the set of Trae’s “Inkredible” video shoot (Miami, FL) 10 // DJ Drop, Lil Wil, & Doughski G @ Mansion for All Star weekend DJ Mixer (Dallas, TX) 11 // TJ Chapman, Shane, DJ Storm, & Keith Kennedy @ The Moon for Demp Week (Tallahassee, FL) 12 // Rick Ross & Sam Sneak @ Club Flow (Dallas, TX) 13 // Spiff TV & JW on the set of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” (Miami, FL) 14 // Guest, Ed from Miskeen, MJG, & Dawu on the set of 8Ball & MJG’s video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Lil Chuckee, Santa Claus, & Midget Mac @ T-Pain’s private Christmas party (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Kurupt, D-Ray, & Problem on South Beach (Miami, FL) 17 // Trae & Bernice Burgos on the set of Trae’s “Inkredible” (Miami, FL) 18 // DJ Blu & DJ Teknikz @ Sub Zero (Atlanta, GA) 19 // DJ Drop, Lil Duval, & Dorrough @ Mansion for Dorrough’s Gangsta Grillz & OZONE release party (Dallas, TX) Photo Credits: D-Ray (05,16); Julia Beverly (01,02,06,07,15,17); Malik Abdul (04,11,14); Ms Rivercity (10,12,1,18,19); Terrence Tyson (03,08,09,13)
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elting out harmonious choruses between rap verses, Chalie Boy’s fusion of R&B and Hip Hop have made him wellknown in the Lone Star State. Since aligning with Dirty 3rd Records in 2000, the artist from Hearne/ Calvert, TX has been professionally preparing himself for the mainstream. The breakthrough eventually came with his single “I Look Good.” Heavily influenced by his childhood years in the church choir, Chalie Boy’s soulful voice found its place in rap music by accident. “By miscommunication, I was going to see DJ Bull [of Dirty 3rd Records] thinking I was supposed to sing a hook or do ad-libs for this group of guys,” he explains. “They didn’t want me to waste my time, so he asked if I could come up with 16 [bars] for a mixtape they were working on.” Though it was spur of the moment, Chalie Boy wrote his first rhyme and it was well-received. “I jumped on a couple more mixtapes, and after
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that, they asked me to join the label,” Chalie Boy recalls. He went on to do several more projects with the Freestyle Kingz, including an underground album. In 2004, his first solo mixtape Making My Way hit the streets, followed by the Chalie Boy’s Greatest Hits series. The 2006 release of Versatyle Child, featuring the popular song “Bumpa Grill,” solidified Chalie Boy as an artist to watch. Over the next several years, the label focused on building connections and learning the business. “At the time, we felt we weren’t ready yet to make major steps,” he says. While establishing himself as an artist, Chalie Boy and his label networked with premiere DJs and radio personalities in his region. Once the foundation was in place, they decided it was time to take it to the next level. Hitting the studio specifically with radio-ready hits in mind, Chalie Boy came up with “I Look
Good” in early 2009. He began a heavy campaign which included DJ servicing, eblasts to fans, and street and radio promotions, among other successful tactics, to get the summertime anthem spinning. By fall of 2009, the song was in rotation nationwide, attracting the attention of Battery/ Jive. They offered Chalie Boy a deal and he accepted. Currently a second campaign is underway for Chalie Boy’s follow-up single “Look Like Money, Smell Like Dollaz.” His debut album is in the making, with a release date to be announced, and Chalie Boy is optimistic about bringing his talent to the masses. “I try to connect with the people no matter if I’m singing or rapping,” he says, while describing the passion in his craft. “It comes from my heart, and you’ll hear that in the music.” Words by Ms. Rivercity
(above L-R): Chamillionaire & Paul Wall @ Zona La Rosa for their SXSW reunion show in Austin, TX (Photo: Julia Beverly); Rick Ross & Chad Ochocinco on board the Venetian Lady yacht for Rick Ross’s birthday bash in Miami, FL (Photo: Terrence Tyson); Drake & Nicki Minaj @ Dolce for Lil Wayne’s going away party in Miami, FL (Photo: Julia Beverly)
01 // Big Man, Short Dawg, Paul White, & Jae Millz on the set of Young Money’s “Roger That” video shoot (Miami, FL) 02 // Big Bank Black & Olori Swank @ Atrium for Salute the DJs Award Show (Atlanta, GA) 03 // DJ Q45 & DJ Dr Doom @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 04 // G Boy & Young Cash @ T-Pain’s private Christmas party (Atlanta, GA) 05 // DJ Merk & Hella Yella @ Mansion for Dorrough’s Gangsta Grillz & OZONE release party (Dallas, TX) 06 // DJ Infamous & Roccett @ Atrium for Salute the DJs Award Show (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Young Buck & Rick Ross @ Club Flow (Dallas, TX) 08 // DJ Khaled, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, & Rick Ross on the set of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” (Miami, FL) 09 // Lil Duval, Trae, & Von of TWW @ Mansion for Dorrough’s Gangsta Grillz & OZONE release party (Dallas, TX) 10 // Bu, DJ Greg Street, & Jon Geezy on the set of Big Bank Black’s ‘Try It Out’ video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Guest, Lil Kee, Strizzo, Javon Black, & guest @ Wildsplash (Clearwater, FL) 12 // Kyjuan, Murphy Lee, & the Demp Girls @ Demp Week celebrity basketball game (Tallahassee, FL) 13 // Stay Fresh & Fabo @ Phillips Arena for Jingle Bash (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Marques Colston & guest @ Dolce for Lil Wayne’s going away party (Miami, FL) 15 // Slim & Bow Wow @ the Cash Money vs. Derrty Ent celebrity basketball game (Jackson, MS) 16 // Lloyd & K Major @ Lloyd’s studio (Atlanta, GA) 17 // JW & Trae on the set of Trae’s “Inkredible” video shoot (Miami, FL) 18 // Theda Sandiford & Chuck Creekmur @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW (Austin, TX) 19 // B, DJ Merk, Pookie, Porsha, & Da Block Boi @ Urban South Radio (Dallas, TX) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01); Edward Hall (19); Erica Hicks (15); Julia Beverly (04,09,13,14,16,18); Malik Abdul (12); Ms Rivercity (02,05,07,10); Terrence Tyson (03,06,08,17); Travis Pendergrass (11)
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like, ‘Whatever, this isn’t Sean Kingston,’ and I just kept deleting the messages. I did this for like a week. I finally got sick and tired of him sending me messages, so I gave him my number.”
In 2005, when his song “Island Girl,” (a song Iyaz recorded with fellow artists Shotta and Young Diction), started buzzing in the Caribbean, his path into music became somewhat clearer. Still, when opportunity knocked in the form of Epic recording artist Sean Kingston, Iyaz was skeptical about answering. “Sean Kingston started sending me messages on Myspace, like, ‘I love your music,’” the 23-year-old singer/rapper recalls. “I’m
To his surprise, Sean Kingston contacted him, and flew the aspiring artist to Miami the next day. Subsequently, Iyaz signed a deal with Kingston’s upstart imprint Time Is Money and J.R. Rotem’s Beluga Heights. Fast-forwarding to this moment, his Rotem-produced debut single “Replay” has topped U.S. and international charts, and he insists his debut album Replay will carry move of the same “Island Pop” sound as his breakthrough single. “When you think of ‘Island Pop,’ I want you to think of the Islands; fun, happy times, vacation, cruises, stuff that make you feel good,” he says of his upbeat Caribbean fused
edrian “Iyaz” Jones always knew he wanted to be involved in music. Born in the British Virgin Islands, Iyaz grew up singing in the choir, and years later, studied recording and engineering in college. “I always [wanted to work in music], I didn’t care what it was,” he says. “I was just getting prepared for any field they would put me in.”
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sound. “And when I think Pop, I just think mainstream music. Island Pop is a mixture of Reggae, Calypso, R&B, Rap, Rock, everything in one.” Still a novice, Iyaz’s international star status seems bright. He began pursuing music, not knowing where he’d fit in. Today, with a number one record sitting atop the United Kingdom Singles Chart, he’s already accomplished a lifelong dream. “I always just wanted to have my music heard worldwide, everywhere,” he says cheerfully. “That was my major goal. A number one [single], that’s perfect.” Words by Randy Roper Photo by Nabil
(above L-R): Brisco & Jae Millz on the set of Young Money’s “Roger That” video shoot in Miami, FL (Photo: Julia Beverly); Lil Twist & Lil Wayne Ustreaming on the set of Lil Wayne’s video shoot in Miami, FL (Photo: D-Ray); Dorrough & Lil Duval @ Mansion for Dorrough’s Gangsta Grillz & OZONE release party in Dallas, TX (Photo: Julia Beverly)
01 // DJ Paul, Da Block Boi, Juicy J, DJ Drop, & Lady C @ Club Bijou (Arlington, TX) 02 // Mr Collipark & JBar on the set of “Daze” (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Huey, Kuzzo Fly, Nio Tha Gift, & Zoe on South Beach (Miami, FL) 04 // Gil Green & K Foxx on the set of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” (Miami, FL) 05 // DJ Ace & Parlae @ Atrium for Salute the DJs Award Show (Atlanta, GA) 06 // Bonecrusher & Lil Jon @ Phillips Arena for Jingle Bash (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Birdman & Mack Maine @ Dolce for Lil Wayne’s going away party (Miami, FL) 08 // Ace Hood & Dru Brett of The Runners on the set of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” (Miami, FL) 09 // DJ Khaled, DJ Nasty, Snoop Dogg, & Rick Ross on the set of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” (Miami, FL) 10 // Lloyd, Kenny, & Castro @ Lloyd’s studio (Atlanta, GA) 11 // Terrence Tyson & ladies @ Club Ink (Miami, FL) 12 // DJ EFX & guest @ Dolce for Lil Wayne’s going away party (Miami, FL) 13 // DJ Red Alert, Clay Evans, & Malcolm @ 255 for DJ Mixer (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Young Cash & Lil Hen @ Rain (Jacksonville, FL) 15 // Lil Bankhead, Spodee, Bola, & Baby Boy @ Obsessions (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Scrapp DeLeon & Lloyd @ Lloyd’s studio (Atlanta, GA) 17 // Trae, Tony Neal, & Michael Watts @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW (Austin, TX) 18 // Slim & Tambra Cherie @ the Cash Money vs. Derrty Ent celebrity basketball game (Jackson, MS) 19 // Playaz Circle on the set of Playaz Circle ‘Big Dawg’ video shoot (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (03); Edward Hall (01); Erica Hicks (18); Julia Beverly (06,07,10,12,16,17,19); Ms Rivercity (02,05,13,15); Terrence Tyson (04,08,09,11,14)
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ith Nashville, Tennessee being home to both Elvis Presley and Young Buck, musical diversity is easily one of the city’s strong suits. So it comes as no surprise that when rapper/producer/songwriter Spree Wilson was growing up there, he heard a little bit of everything. In the process of being bussed out of his neighborhood to attend art schools, Spree wound up growing up on both Led Zeppelin and Snoop Dogg. Add that with playing the saxophone, writing his first rap at six years old and teaching himself guitar at 17, and you’d understand why years later Spree’s music, namely his Evil Angel EP, is drawing comparisons to The Pharcyde and Outkast. More than capable of holding his own on the mic, as proven with his guest verse on Novel’s “I Am” also featuring Talib Kweli, he is just as skilled on the guitar. This makes his style of music sound authentic and practiced, instead of forced like some your favorite rappers who have become fond of the stringed instrument lately. “People actually used to laugh at me when I would carry a guitar,” remembers Spree, recalling the days when he left Nashville and moved to Atlanta to attend Clark Atlanta University (he studied music and film and also happened to be college roommates with DJ/producer Don Cannon). “They always knew that I rapped, but when they saw me with the guitar, they thought I was a hobo.” While not quite a hobo, it was Spree’s quest for work that opened more doors for his music. When he landed a job at uber-producer Dallas Austin’s Rowdy clothing boutique he would still bring his guitar with him. One day while working, Austin walked in and noticed Spree’s instrument of choice and made conversation with him. “When you see a big star, you think they’re gonna break out a contract right there,” he laughs. “I’m thinking he’s about to sign me. But he was just like, ‘Oh, you play guitar. Cool.’ And he walked out.” Feeling that he still had an opportunity, Spree sought an internship at Rowdy Records and hounded Austin to listen to his music. After losing three of the CDs Spree gave him, he finally listened and became a fan. While a record deal never worked between the two, Spree has built a name for himself elsewhere, doing production work for artists like Cee-Lo, Jazmine Sullivan, Common, dead prez, Joell Ortiz and Asher Roth. His effort have also been noticed by his peers, garnering him massive co-signs from Rico Wade, Q-Tip and No ID, to name a few. “I don’t feel pressure from the co-signs,” says Spree, who was also the man behind the music for Wal-Mart’s 2007 Back-toSchool campaign. “I just feel like I’m doing something right. I’d be feeling pressure if no one was responding.” Words by Maurice G. Garland Photo by Nikita Gale
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(above L-R): BG & Lil Wayne @ Dolce for Lil Wayne’s going away party in Miami, FL; 8Ball, Paul Wall, & Trae @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW in Austin, TX (Photos: Julia Beverly); Bobby V & Nas @ Sobe Live in Miami, FL (Photo: Terrence Tyson)
01 // Jeff Panzer & Lil Wayne on the set of Young Money’s “Roger That” video shoot (Miami, FL) 02 // Spodee & Rob Green @ Luckie Lounge (Atlanta, GA) 03 // DJ MLK & Yung Ralph @ Phillips Arena for Jingle Bash (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Guest, Yung LA, Baby Boy, & Spodee @ Atrium for Salute the DJs Award Show (Atlanta, GA) 05 // CSR Promotions @ Antigua for Young City’s Birthday Bash (Orlando, FL) 06 // Bola & Mac Bre Z @ Obsessions (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Lil Jon & Sean Garrett @ Phillips Arena for Jingle Bash (Atlanta, GA) 08 // Mack Maine, Lil Wayne, & Trae on the set of Trae’s “Inkredible” video shoot (Miami, FL) 09 // Bobby V & DJ Q45 @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 10 // Young Jeezy, Bu, & JW @ Club Ink (Miami, FL) 11 // CORE models Holly Daniels & DJ Daisy Dukes @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW (Austin, TX) 12 // Tony Neal, Bigg DM, & guest @ the SEAs (Memphis, TN) 13 // DJ Fahrenheit & Bigga Rankin @ Atrium for Salute the DJs Award Show (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Bishop, Young Cash, & Lil Henn @ Club 2020 during Demp Week (Tallahassee, FL) 15 // Cyhi da Prynce, Greg Street, & Bu @ Cyhi da Prynce’s meet & greet (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Debra Lee & guest @ BET’s SOS Haitian Benefit Telethon (Miami, FL) 17 // Red Rum & DJ Khaled @ Club Flow (Dallas, TX) 18 // B Rich, TJ Chapman, B.o.B., & Playboy Tre @ Wildsplash (Clearwater, FL) 19 // Sean Garrett & Trae @ Dolce for Lil Wayne’s going away party (Miami, FL) 20 // Big Hoodboss & Tomeka Pearl @ 8 Lounge for Dorrough’s birthday bash (Dallas, TX) Photo Credits: Deshun Smith (12); Edward Hall (20); Julia Beverly (01,03,07,11,19); Malik Abdul (05,14); Ms Rivercity (04,06,15,17); Terrence Tyson (02,08,09,10,13,16); Travis Pendergrass (18)
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n the rural city of Atlanta, Texas – population 5,475 – the chances of becoming a Hip Hop chart topper are slim, but the odds didn’t deter Bone, who’s record “Homegurl” landed him a deal with Def Jam last year. A small-town kid with big dreams, Bone was chasing a rap career before he was even old enough to hit the stage. “Rapping was something I always did, since I was little,” he says, recalling his visions of stardom. “Being from a small town, there really wasn’t an opportunity – I knew I’d have to leave eventually.” In high school, Bone was working at a barbershop that also contained a studio, where he recorded his earlier material. He and another rapper, Young Kazz, released their first underground CD, which Bone admits was “horrible.” After the reality check, he began studying the craft and improving his skills before releasing his solo project, which was well received in his hometown. With some beginner’s experience under his belt, Bone left for college at Prairie View University (also attended by Dorrough, Supastaar, and the Party Boyz). He joined with fellow student/producer JB and a few other rappers to form the group R2. After completing several mixtapes with the group, things weren’t moving the way Bone wanted, so he started working on his idea for “Homegurl.” In 2008, he recorded “Homegurl” in Ft. Worth, Texas where he was staying with his manager during the Hurricane Ike evacuation. But the song didn’t take off until the following year. Swishahouse DJ Michael “5000” Watts was one of the first major supporters of the record outside of Dallas. “It got popular after Definition DJ Tuss broke it in the club, and then it spread to the other Definition DJs,” he explains, of the song’s movement. “Michael Watts put it on his I45 2K8 mixtape and then more DJs picked up on it.” His explosive performance at the 2009 Texas Summer Music Conference caught the attention of CORE DJs’ CEO Tony Neal, who introduced Bone to music executive Citi. “Citi got me the opportunity to perform for L.A. Reid,” he says, laughing as he remembers the exact moment he became a Def Jam artist. “L.A. liked what he saw, and signed me that day. That was October 16th, I believe it was 11:32 PM.” Bone’s personality and the catchy hook on “Homegurl” helped the record become a top priority. “Def Jam really got behind me,” he says. “It’s truly a blessing.” Recently, the song was remixed to include Rick Ross, The Dream, and Bun B, keeping the momentum going.
Representing the “college boy movement,” Bone is currently working on a summertime album release while earning his history degree at Prairie View. Back home, Bone is a celebrity, and in the nearby city of Dallas, he contributed to the growing list of dance song alumni, in a good way. “The dance songs are a foundation – now it’s time to build up,” he stresses. “There’s a lot of real artists here making real music.” Words by Ms. Rivercity Photo by Hannibal Matthews 32 // OZONE MAG
(above L-R): Debra Lee & Spike Lee on board the Venetian Lady yacht for Rick Ross’s birthday bash in Miami, FL (Photo: Terrence Tyson); Bow Wow & Jas Prince @ Dolce for Lil Wayne’s going away party in Miami, FL (Photo: Julia Beverly); Kid Capri & Dre on the set of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” in Miami, FL (Photo: Terrence Tyson)
01 // Grit Boys @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW (Austin, TX) 02 // Kyle & B.o.B. @ The Tabernacle (Atlanta, GA) 03 // Mert & G Money @ Antigua for Young City’s Birthday Bash (Orlando, FL) 04 // Lil Tony & DJ Merk @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW (Austin, TX) 05 // Javon Black & New Boyz @ Wildsplash (Clearwater, FL) 06 // Birdman, Dr Teeth, & Tity Boi on the set of Playaz Circle “Big Dawg” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 07 // Bobby V gets some love @ Sobe Live (Miami, FL) 08 // Trae & video models on the set of Trae’s “Inkredible” (Miami, FL) 09 // Travis Porter & Lil Jon @ their “Unbelievable” movie premiere (Atlanta, GA) 10 // Beat Doctor, Mia X, B.G, Wild Wayne, The Show, KLC, & Fiend @ The Chocolate Bar for BG’s listening party (New Orleans, LA) 11 // Steve Raze & Tony Neal @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW (Austin, TX) 12 // DJ Phat, Sho, & Loaded (Ruston, LA) 13 // Rick Ross, Elora Mason, & Thaddaeus McAdams on board the Venetian Lady yacht for Rick Ross’s birthday bash (Miami, FL) 14 // Sho-Zoe & DJ Quest @ Ultra for Sho-Zoe’s mixtape release party (Ft Myers, FL) 15 // Cartoon Network execs checkin’ out T-Pain’s jewelry @ T-Pain’s private Christmas party (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Webbie, guest, Papa Duck, & guest @ Boomers (Port Charlotte, FL) 17 // Chris Turner & Slim-E @ Antigua (Orlando, FL) 18 // DJ Fahrenheit, Roccett, Rick Edwards, & ladies @ Atrium for Salute the DJs Award Show (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: DJ Quest (14); Edward Hall (12); Julia Beverly (01,02,04,06,08,11,15); Malik Abdul (03); Marcus DeWayne (10); Ms Rivercity (09); Terrence Tyson (07,13,17,18); Travis Pendergrass (05,16)
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sk a rapper when he was introduced to rap, and he’s probably going to say since he was born or when he was little. But that’s not the case with Konvict/Def Jam recording artist Cy Hi Da Prynce. “I didn’t grow up on rap,” he admits. “I was so bad as a little boy, so my mom would only let my hear gospel music. I only got into rap because I ran out of things to do after playing football, running track and singing in the school chorus.” Starting off writing poems for girls in class, Prynce’s early days as a wordsmith were full of hurry up and wait. Discovered by Kyle of the R&B group Jagged Edge, Prynce was able to meet plenty of industry people who had the power to sign him, but none of them did. He wound up getting a break when he and some neighborhood friends started the group Hoodlum and put out mixtapes with DJ Scream in 2006. By 2007 the group was signed to Jazze Pha’s Shonuff Records with backing from Def Jam. Unfortunately and ironically, Hoodlum received the “Jody Breeze treatment” they fearfully spoke of in their 2007 OZONE Patiently Waiting feature, as their album never dropped, with Sho’Nuff disappearing soon after. Prynce bounced back as solo artist in 2009 after uber-star Akon’s brother Bu Thiam heard his music and walked him back into the Def Jam building, this time as a Konvict artist. So far, Prynce has made a name for himself via his What The DEC Been Missing mixtape series hosted by Greg Street. With strong song concepts, Prynce seeks to carve out his own niche that offers superior lyricism, all the while dropping off a message. “Niggas don’t be giving a fuck about what they be saying,” says Prynce. “I realize a kid may pick up my CD, so why not at least give him something to think about? I want to be a person who has a Black History project done on me, not just another rapper who made a bunch of money.” Currently recording his debut album The Hard Way Musical, Prynce will whet listeners appetites with another mixtape series that will feature him as the Prynce of Jacks (beat jacking), Spades (streets), Hearts (girl records) and Diamonds (struggle/celebratory). “I feel like I have a message to spread,” says Prynce, who will also showcase his acting skills in Stomp The Yard 2. “I’m not just rapping about Friday and Saturday. I’m rapping about Sunday through Thursday. When you hear this, you gonna say ‘this ain’t rap, this is preaching on a beat.’” Words by Maurice G. Garland
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(above L-R): Ludacris on the set of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” in Miami, FL (Photo: Terrence Tyson); Trae & Jay’Ton @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW in Austin, TX (Photo: Julia Beverly); Plies @ Wild 94.1’s Last Damn Show in St Petersburg, FL (Photo: Travis Pendergrass)
01 // Frank Lini @ The Hall (Palmetto, FL) 02 // Gloria Velez & Vince Carter @ Antigua for Young City’s Birthday Bash (Orlando, FL) 03 // Jadakiss @ Club Society (St. Louis, MO) 04 // 2 Pistols @ Wild 94.1’s Last Damn Show (St Petersburg, FL) 05 // Amar’e Stoudemire @ Opera (Atlanta, GA) 06 // Big Gates @ Wildsplash (Clearwater, FL) 07 // Buck, Young Black, & Que P of Richmind Records @ Club Che (Dallas, TX) 08 // Tomeka Pearl @ Mansion for Dorrough’s Gangsta Grillz & OZONE release party (Dallas, TX) 09 // DJ Smallz @ Wild 94.1’s Last Damn Show (St Petersburg, FL) 10 // DJ Smiley on the set of “United We Ball Divided We Fall” (Dallas, TX) 11 // Dolla Boi on the set of Playaz Circle “Big Dawg” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 12 // Haitian Fresh @ The Moon for Demp Week (Tallahassee, FL) 13 // Kaye Dunaway @ Opera (Atlanta, GA) 14 // Grade A @ Throbacks for ATL Record Pool (Atlanta, GA) 15 // Roccett @ Mansion for Dorrough’s Gangsta Grillz & OZONE release party (Dallas, TX) 16 // Twista & guest @ Wild 94.1’s Last Damn Show (St Petersburg, FL) 17 // Chuck Creekmur & Grouchy Greg @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW (Austin, TX) 18 // DJ Dap @ Demp Week celebrity basketball game (Tallahassee, FL) 19 // DJ Kun Luv during All Star weekend (Dallas, TX) 20 // DJ Dre & DJ Tuss @ Rackdaddy’s (Arlington, TX) 21 // Young Cash @ Soakin Wet car show (Ft Lauderdale, FL) 22 // Teyana Taylor @ Opera (Atlanta, GA) 23 // Naughty by Nature @ Throbacks for ATL Record Pool (Atlanta, GA) 24 // Papa Duck (Palmetto, FL) 25 // DJ Grip @ Killeen Civic Center (Killeen, TX) 26 // Suga D @ Antigua (Orlando, FL) 27 // Yung Feddi @ 8 Lounge for Dorrough’s birthday bash (Dallas, TX) 28 // Yahta, D’Lyte, & Shayla @ Tony Neal’s birthday bash (Dallas, TX) 29 // Tity Boi & Lil Chuckee on the set of Playaz Circle “Big Dawg” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 30 // Fonzworth & DJ AJ (St Louis, MO) 31 // Dose on the set of Lil Wayne’s “Da Da Da” video shoot (Miami, FL) 32 // Da Block Boi @ 8 Lounge for Dorrough’s birthday bash (Dallas, TX) 33 // DJ Merk @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW (Austin, TX) 34 // Lil O & ladies @ Killeen Civic Center (Killeen, TX) 35 // Maria Moore & Benny @ Opera (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Edward Hall (07,10,20,27,28,32); Malik Abdul (02,05,12,13,18,19,22,35); Ms Rivercity (08,14,15,23); Julia Beverly (11,17,29,33); King Yella (03,30); Terrence Tyson (26,31); Travis Pendergrass (01,04,06,09,16,21,24); Tre Dubb (25,34)
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(above L-R): Lil Ru @ Rain in Jacksonville, FL (Photo: Terrence Tyson); Big Hoodboss @ 8 Lounge for Dorrough’s birthday bash in Dallas, TX (Photo: Edward Hall); Lil Twist on the set of Playaz Circle ‘Big Dawg’ video shoot in Atlanta, GA (Photo: Julia Beverly)
01 // Lil Jon @ Phillips Arena for Jingle Bash (Atlanta, GA) 02 // Young Buck @ Antigua (Orlando, FL) 03 // DJ Drama & Bobby V on the set of LA the Darkman’s video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 04 // Brian Angel @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW (Austin, TX) 05 // Hoopz @ Antigua (Orlando, FL) 06 // Jas Prince @ Onyx (Dallas, TX) 07 // Kia Shine, DJ Fresh, & Dorrough @ Blue Box (Huntsville, AL) 08 // Chalie Boy @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW (Austin, TX) 09 // DJ Drop @ Mansion for Dorrough’s Gangsta Grillz & OZONE release party (Dallas, TX) 10 // Trae @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW (Austin, TX) 11 // Loaded & Big Hoodboss @ 8 Lounge for Dorrough’s birthday bash (Dallas, TX) 12 // Tity Boi, Short Dawg, & Lil Twist on the set of Playaz Circle ‘Big Dawg’ video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 13 // Young Joe & 2 Pistols @ Wild 94.1’s Last Damn Show (St Petersburg, FL) 14 // Big Gates & ___ @ Wildsplash (Clearwater, FL) 15 // DJ D Rocc & Kaye Dunaway @ Opera (Atlanta, GA) 16 // Teddy T @ Demp Week celebrity basketball game (Tallahassee, FL) 17 // Murphy Lee @ Demp Week celebrity basketball game (Tallahassee, FL) 18 // Tito Bell & Dorrough @ Zona La Rosa for SXSW (Austin, TX) 19 // Tony Neal @ The Moon for Demp Week (Tallahassee, FL) 20 // Slim E @ Antigua for Young City’s Birthday Bash (Orlando, FL) 21 // DJ Kun Luv & Clinton Sparks @ Aura (Dallas, TX) 22 // Ricochet @ Club Bijou (Arlington, TX) 23 // PI Bang & Disco JR @ Antigua (Orlando, FL) 24 // YG, Mr Nike, & Ray Paul @ Ice Bar (Dallas, TX) 25 // 8Ball & MJG on the set of 8Ball & MJG’s video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 26 // Ed & Dawu of Miskeen on the set of 8Ball & MJG’s video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 27 // DJ Slikk Louisiana Cash @ Mansion for All Star weekend DJ Mixer (Dallas, TX) 28 // Citi & Frank White @ Stankonia for Big Boi’s listening party (Atlanta, GA) 29 // General & Kim Ellis @ Havana Club for BMI showcase (Atlanta, GA) 30 // Lil Hen @ Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 31 // Tarvoria @ The Coliseum for Plies concert (Daytona Beach, FL) 32 // Virgie Man @ Club Nuvo (Leland, MS) 33 // Sweetness & Cole @ Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 34 // Z-Ro & Willie D @ House of Blues (Houston, TX) 35 // DJ Frosty @ Stankonia for Big Boi’s listening party (Atlanta, GA) Photo Credits: Edward Hall (11,22,24,32); Julia Beverly (04,08,10,12,18,28,29,34,35);Malik Abdul (01,06,07,15,16,17,19,20,21,25,26); Ms Ja (03); Ms Rivercity (09,27); Terrence Tyson (02,05,23,30,31,33); Travis Pendergrass (13,14)
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'You can't think about anything you've done in the past; you can't base future works on what you've already done. You gotta act like you never came out before.'
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Being “alone” can be looked at the same way as that “half-full/halfempty” argument. On one hand you have perks like going where you want to, when you want to and leaving when you feel like it. On the other hand, you’re talking to yourself because no one else is around. Life can be cheap because you’re only looking out for self, but it can also get costly trying to compensate for lack of company.
Now, all eyes are on Big Boi to see if he can deliver the same groundbreaking music he did as a member of Outkast, alone.
Big Boi is figuring out where he stands on being “alone.” As a member of Outkast with his rhyme partner Andre 3000, Big Boi has made history, blazed trails and helped build the entity that is “Southern Hip Hop.” Even as the group began to show noticeable splits in personality, dress and musical direction, the pair was still just that - a pair. But in 2003 when Outkast released their most successful album to date, Speakerboxx/The Love Below, the split started becoming even more apparent. Not only did they release two different albums, but Dre also elected to stop touring after its release. Three years later when they put out the soundtrack to their movie Idlewild, rumors and rumblings said Outkast had broken up as a group. To this day, neither Big or Dre has confirmed any break up, but that hasn’t stopped the people from forming their own opinions.
So you are officially signed to Def Jam Records now? The last time this news leaked out, you came back and refuted it. I’m signed to Def Jam as of a week ago. Jive let me go. I asked to be released due to creative differences. I’m back with the man [Antonio “L.A.” Reid] who understands my music and the creative process. Much respect to Barry Weiss at Jive though. Much thanks to him for respecting my craft and letting me do what I gotta do.
Big Boi, obviously the more outgoing half of the group, hears these conspiracies and questions often. Why? Because he’s the only one out there still making music, doing shows and being amongst the people. For the last four years Big Boi has used the Outkast logo and both a shield and flag to let people know that the music has not died. Similar to Bun B’s “Free Pimp C” campaign, Big Boi has been in the streets going at it alone trying to juggle a label and friendships along the way. But in his case, he wasn’t crusading to free a person. He was actually trying to get his own album out. After working on it for the past 3 years and experiencing numerous delays, Big Boi’s solo album Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty is finally seeing the light of day. The journey started on Jive Records, but is now ending on Def Jam Records. Def Jam has finally given the project a solid release date of July 6th. His move to the house that Russell built reunites him with the man who signed him to his first deal, LaFace Records co-founder Antonio “L.A.” Reid. With many former LaFace staff now working under Reid at Def Jam, Big Boi compares his new situation to a family reunion.
OZONE caught up with Big over a span of weeks to find out about outrageous label demands, making moves in this current musical climate, and the status of his Purple Ribbon Entertainment record label.
Did you ever imagine yourself being signed to Def Jam? I always loved Def Jam since Krush Groove, but I never imagined being over there. But I don’t care where I’m at, as long as the team has the marketing and promotion to get it where it needs to be. That’s all that matters. You said the final straw was when Jive asked you to record your own version of Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop.” Why would they think that would be a good idea? They don’t know us like that. Up until Speakerboxx/The Love Below, Outkast was not a radio-driven group. We are Soul Funk crusaders. The type of music we make, we weren’t seeing eye-to-eye with the label on it. For a man to tell me to go make my own version of “Lollipop?” That doesn’t even sound right. That’s what the president of Jive told me. When he told me that, that’s when I had to start putting my own songs out. I was leaking songs just trying to figure out how to make the right moves. I want to put this album out under the right circumstances. Things weren’t jelling over there. Did you take a suggestion like that as disrespectful? At first, you take it as disrespect, but then you realize that they just don’t know any better. They’re just trying to work the radio. It’s not about integrity with music anymore. We make music. We’re not just making songs for your phone to ring to, were making music for you to live by. [Jive] didn’t get that. They didn’t get that memo. There was a time that whenever an Outkast song left the studio, whether OZONE MAG // 41
by design or by mistake, radio was all over it almost instantly. Why aren’t we hearing any of the joints you leaked on the air? It’s programming. The people are not picking the music, it’s the suits now picking the music for the people to listen to. There’s not a lot of respect for it. It’s all about the dollar, so they want what sells the fastest. With music being such a fast burn nowadays, there’s a new song today and a new song tomorrow and another one on Wednesday. My thing is, my focus is to make timeless classics and not conform into what’s going on now. Ice Cube said it best: “Don’t follow trends, set them.” Don’t let them dictate to you. I’ve been doing that, and it’s working. With all the success he’s achieved, you’d think Big Boi would be the last person to have any record label drama. He’s proven that he can make great music and sell a couple records. No Outkast album has gone less than platinum. When you combine all of their albums totals, it reaches 25 million. That’s more than Luther Vandross, Sade, Earth, Wind and Fire, Green Day and Nirvana, to name a few. They are the only rap group to win six Grammys. Aside from Run-DMC, they are widely considered the greatest rap group of all time. So it goes without saying that whatever Big Boi has been doing for the past 17 years must be working. Unfortunately, the industry doesn’t work the same way. The consensus right now is that “music sucks” and if you’re not on the radio or 106th & Park, you’re not going to do well. Anybody that really still listens to rap music will tell you that there’s actually quite a bit of great music out there, it’s just not being broadcast. But the reality is that yes, for an artist of Big Boi’s stature, radio and TV has to be an option that is exploited. Big knows this and has made the best adjustments he can without “selling out” in the process. You’ve been working on this album for a while now. You played a couple of the songs during your listening session at the 2008 TJ’s DJ’s Conference / OZONE Awards in Houston. Has anything changed since then? I added a few things. I’ve been done with it for year now. I’ve got a couple new songs that Dre produced and a record with Janelle Monae. To me, it’s not done until they say, “Give it to me,” so I’m still recording. Instead of being in the club everyday, I’m still in the lab. Earlier you said Outkast is not a radio-driven group, but the reality is that you’re going to have to get on there somehow. I definitely have songs that can go to radio. I’ve got 8 or 9 singles on the album. The first single is “Shutterbugg” produced by Scott Storch. I shot a video for it. When you have a team that knows where you come from, it helps. Listening to the album, it sounds like you escaped and went into a cave while recording. It sounds like nothing else that’s out right now. Do even keep up with the current music? I don’t listen to the radio, I just keep my iPod on shuffle. From day one, we listened to the radio, but we didn’t let it influence us. That weak-ass shit can rub off on you. You can’t listen to the same song every hour on the hour. You have a song called “Shine Blockers” with Gucci Mane on the album. That caught a couple people off guard. You must be paying some attention to what’s going on out there. That’s why I do stuff like that, to throw people off. I’m still in the strip clubs and the clubs. I listen to everything from Gucci Mane to Johnny Cash. I’m gonna bring out the best in whoever’s on a song with me. I’m not gonna do anything halfway, I’m gonna make them bring it. I saw comments on the ‘net like, “I can’t stand Gucci, but he’s bustin’ on Big Boi’s song.” You have to let people grow and get better and accept it. If you can’t, get the hell on. You have a wide range of features on the album, everyone from Lil Jon to Jamie Foxx. But none of them necessarily stole the show with their appearances. How did you get all of these big personalities to contribute to your sound and vision? Everything has to be organically done. I did a song call “Night Night” and B.o.B was recording down the hall, so he got on it and smashed it. I had one song that I wanted Prince on, but I couldn’t get him. Then I wanted Beyonce and Rihanna, after that didn’t happen I was like, “Fuck it.” Then I saw Jamie Foxx in L.A. and we knocked it out. You also have George Clinton on your album on “For Your Sorrows” with Too $hort. What was it like working with him? We always started out on funk, so it was great. We worked with him before on “Synthesizer” from the Aquemini album. He has a plethora of information. He loved the record “For Your Sorrows.” He shot it back within a day. It’s about organic positive energy. You have to respect your forefathers. Respect seems like it’s something Big Boi is working to get, again. 42 // OZONE MAG
Recently, some have said that Big needs Dre and that Big is not as good as Dre. Some may even infer that Big has lost his larger-than-life appeal. He seems “normal” now, some would say. No doubt, he is a lot more accessible. You might just run into him at Wal-Mart. You just might pull up next to him at a stoplight. He’s a father, so you might catch him at a little league football game. He even responds to his fans on Twitter like a “regular” guy. The other side to this reality is that, for the first time since Outkast came on the scene in 1994, Big Boi isn’t the main focus of people’s music tastes. With new stars being born since Outkast’s last album, the internet and an influx of “artists” outnumbering actual fans, people have more options than ever before. Big Boi is no longer the “event.” Of course, this doesn’t really bother him. If you pose a question about any of this, he’s probably going to chuckle, puff his Black N’ Mild cigar and keep it moving. However, Big is aware of the current climate and where he fits in. The main thing that people always appreciated about Outkast’s music was that you weren’t afraid to try new things. Times have changed, obviously. Do you fear that your music in this day and age may go over people’s heads? I don’t think it’s going over anybody’s head. If it’s jamming it’s jamming. The response I’ve been getting from playing it for people over the last year and a half is that they miss the music. They always say, “Oh, this is real music,” “Oh, this is layers of music,” and “We miss the music.” They love the guitars and pianos. This is music. It’s not loops and the same rhyme patterns and niggas sounding the same on every song. No two songs on the album sound alike. This is some of the best work I’ve done in my life. It seems to be the hardest you’ve ever worked in your life as well. You’ve been touring as a solo artist since 2003. Has it taken a toll? No, I just reinvented myself, doing outside appearances and things like that. I’ve got a vicious pen, I love to rap and perform, and it made me better as an artist. If I didn’t want to do it, I wouldn’t be doing it no more. Outkast is supergroup. We actually started off that way, but people didn’t get it. Even when we did Speakerboxx/The Love Below they still didn’t get that. So now with the solo [album] coming out, you get to see Big. Has it been a humbling experience for you? As one-half of the most successful rap group of all time, it’s kind of a surprise to hear you pop up on the umpteenth verse on DJ Khaled’s “I’m So Hood” remix. You can’t think about anything you’ve done in the past. You can’t base future works on what you’ve already done. You’ve gotta act like you never came out before. That’s how I approached his album, like I’m starting all over from scratch. I’m doing shit like going to the OZONE Awards and everything me and Dre went through early on, before they made the game a bunch of Wrigley’s gum. When I get on a song…first of all, I don’t get on songs I don’t like. Niggas send me bullshit all day. I don’t care who else is on the song. When I get on tracks I try to set the bar so high you can’t jump over it. But it’s about the people. That’s why me and Dre hopped on [DJ Unk’s] “Walk It Out” remix. That’s why I have Gucci Mane on my album. It’s about the people. Cool people do cool shit. Once you start shitting on people, that’s not a good look. Interviewers try to get me to shit on people all the time. Certain songs are for dancing while others are not. You can’t have that dancing on the radio all the time, though.
'It's not about integrity with music anymore. We make music. We're not just making songs for your phone to ring to, we're making music for you to live by. Jive didn't get that. They didn't get that memo.'
What’s the status of your label Purple Ribbon? I’ve still got Purple Ribbon. I have [artists like] Vonnegutt, Janelle Monae, Blackowned C-Bone and Cutty Cartel (formerly of Jim Crow, the group that also featured producer Polow Da Don). I just supply like the dope house. I have three rooms in the studio and a squad of producers. That’s how I’ve been able to work and also get complete albums [done] on them. You have a diamond-selling album and Grammy Awards. How do you maintain the hunger after achieving great success? Just wanting to make some new shit. It’s what we were put here to do. We ain’t get into it for the paper and hoes. We started as 20 niggas in a basement who love Hip Hop and funk music. When you relax, it shows, because you don’t sound as good as you used to. //
K.E. On The Track, the producer that turnt parties all the way up and incited clubs to rock right to left in a swag surfin’ motion, fills us in on how his beats turned into club bangers.
When the song took off, everybody wanted a beat that was kinda similar to that. Ever since then I’ve been getting calls from everybody: Juelz Santana, Fabolous, a lot of rappers everywhere. My career took off fast because that song really opened up doors, and that was a breaking point for me.
I had a buzz because J Futuristic got me through the door. Me, Yung L.A. and J Money kinda started a sound; this futuristic, kinda melodic, friendly-type tracks. There was one song I did with J Money featuring Shawty Lo called “Trapper Of The Year,” and once that dropped, that’s when I got my buzz in the streets. I did J Money “First Name, Last Name,” Yung L.A. “36 O’s,” and all these records were giving me the buzz in the streets.
There’s obviously two different versions [to “All The Way Turnt Up”]. The first version is Roscoe [Dash] and Travis Porter. Roscoe was an unknown artist trying to get on. Travis Porter had the bigger buzz. He went to them for the feature, and that shit took off. They put it out on I’m a Differenter 2, but they labeled it as Travis Porter featuring ATL and YT. Roscoe’s name was ATL at the time. So, the song took off. I guess they were trying to claim [Roscoe’s song]. I thought it was their song, too, but somebody told me, “That’s not their song, it’s this dude named ATL.”
F.L.Y. hit me up on Myspace; they said they wanted some tracks. I checked their music out and they had potential, so I sent four or five tracks. They called me three or four months later and were like, “We came up with this song. There’s a dance to it, you gotta come here to Atlanta and see it.” They said the club was going crazy. Pretty Boi Tank was the DJ, and he was like, “Watch what happens when I play the record.” He played it and the crowd was surfin’ right to left. Right then it took off, and just started building. It happened so fast, once it took off, it started to catch on in every club. I knew [F.L.Y.] was going to do something tight because of their music I heard, but I didn’t know it was actually going to be a movement like that.
I got somebody to introduce me to him, and me and L.A. [Da Boomman] talked to him, cause we were like, “Damn, you’re just gonna get D-Bo’ed and let somebody take your song, and get paid off your song?” We he came to the realization, he signed to us. I redid the beat, I called Soulja Boy and asked him if he wanted to get on it, and he said cool. So, we took Travis Porter off, just so we could show that it was his song, and it went from there. I think he got a deal like four days later. The original beat was from a SoundClick producer named Vybe. What happened with the original beat was he sold the masters to
the original beat to like 100 different rappers. Everybody had that beat, so we couldn’t use it. So, I had to remake it. But just me being the person I am, I still gave Vybe a piece of the publishing since he was the original creator. Me and L.A. have a record company called M.M.I., we signed Roscoe, that’s our first artist. So, when we signed Roscoe, what we did was, we recorded “Turnt Up” and then we recorded “Show Out.” After that, me and L.A. pretty much know all the label heads and all the presidents. We pretty much contacted all of them, let them know the deal, and the bidding war was on from there. We did a situation with Music Line, that’s who F.L.Y. was signed to, too, through Def Jam. So, it’s M.M.I., Music Line and Zone 4, which is Polow Da Don. Me and Nicki Minaj have a lot of stuff, Lil Chuckee, Lil Twist, Shanell of Young Money, Yung Berg, Wiz Khalifa, Juelz Santana. Soulja Boy, I’m working on his album right now. Then there’s a lot of different R&B and Pop people, David Archuleta, who’s one of the American Idol singers from last year, Slim of 112. Pretty much everybody’s who’s hot, pretty much every rapper in Atlanta. Then I’m working with a lot of rappers up North that are hot, 50 Cent, Red Café. I’m pretty much doing it all. I don’t do just one style of music. //
//Production Credits J FUTURISTIC “FIRST NAME, LAST NAME,” F.L.Y. “SWAG SURFIN’,” ROSCOE DASH f/ SOULJA BOY “ALL THE WAY TURNT UP”
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The name Curren$y suggests one DEDICATED PURPOSE: getting to the money. And yes, that’s a large benefit OF IMPENDING fame and a new partnership with Dame Dash’s BluRoc imprint – but monetary gains do not directly drive Curren$y. “I’ma just be happy,” he expresses in a New Orleans accent that’s slightly worn off from his travels. “I can’t say I’ma have a Scarface house and I can’t say I’ma live under the interstate – but I’m pretty sure that with me doing what I want to do, I’ma end up with the Scarface house.” And what Curren$y wants to do tends to be the opposite of what major labels want. After several attempts to fit into the “music industry machine,” Spitta realized he fit no one’s mold, especially with his unorthodox ways. He ventured out on his own, releasing two digital albums, This Ain’t No Mixtape and Jet Files, and last year caught the attention of Dame Dash. Dame is now on board for Curren$y’s third album – Pilot Talk. It’s a venture that will allow Curren$y to take flight and remain independently grounded as well, with full creative control. It’s exactly what Curren$y has been looking for. How did the situation with you and Dame Dash come about? His son and two of his nephews put him onto my music. He asked around about who he should get on the Blakroc project, and my name was brought up. Somebody gave him my number and he called. I flew out to New York the next day, and everything was everything. How would you compare Pilot Talk and your last album Jet Files? Based on the way I recorded Jet Files, it was a hybrid project – like an alb-tape or a mix-album, but it was all original music. The shit that made my mixtapes pop, I did that. I was doing my mixtapes in three days. I made Jet Files in four days. This time I’ve been recording for a minute, since the time me and Dame Dash linked up until now. And also, this time there will be physical copies. It’ll be in chain stores nationwide. This will be the first time people can go buy the CD in a store. It seems like you’ve made a big push on the business side of things, but what about the content of Pilot Talk? What can people expect? I have Devin the Dude on this album, Wiz Khalifa is on two joints, Jay Electronica, and Mos Def. Mos Def produced a joint for me too, so he’s on a song vocally and he produced a track called “Breakfast.” Mos did the beat in like 3 minutes and I wrote the verse in like 10 minutes. That was crazy. Outside of that, Big K.R.I.T. from Mississippi, he’s big, he’s killing it. I had the opportunity to get down with Ski Beatz. Just to have his opinion on shit that I’m doin’ and have him appreciate what I do, that was tight. You’re known for being anti-industry, or “anti-machine.” How does the new situation with Dame Dash’s label fit into your own personal beliefs? I’m absolutely still independent. Me and Dame Dash are just splitting the risk and we’ll reap the benefits at the end of the day. I’m still my own entity and my own company, Jets. Me and homie partnered up on this project as far as getting it shelved – that’s his department. As far as saying whatever I want, smoking as much as I want, and doing whatever I want, that’s my department. Dame Dash is one of the realest people I’ve met. He had no problems doing what everybody else was scared to do. With you being one person, without a major label machine for so long, how have you been able to achieve so much? By me dealing with the right people in places all over the country, people I can trust, people with the right virtues, like-minded people. I push the music in different places where it’ll get developed. My shit is with my friends. Like my manager is my homie, my artists are my friends, nobody’s tryin’ to do nothin’ underhanded. It’s just a good situation. So for you, mixing friends and business has been a good thing? Yeah. You know what kind of friends you have. You have your go-out friends; you have your friend you can call if you get a flat tire; you know what friend you might be able to sell a pound of weed with and they not gon’ fuck the money up. I knew who I could [go into business] with, and now we’re putting these records out. We not sellin’ weed. (laughs) When did you realize you stood out? Not just musically, but in life? Since elementary school. People always asked what’s wrong [with me], or why I don’t wanna do what everyone else was doing. That’s always been a struggle in my life, with me just wanting to do what I want, and trying to exist in this industry, in this machine, and still do what I want to do – trying to win the game and do it the way I want. Did you have problems with authority and following rules in school? 44 // OZONE MAG
Yeah, and it’s crazy ‘cause I went to the best schools. I went to magnet schools, and I was in gifted and talented classes, but I had the worst grades – it just never synced up. I would talk a lot ‘cause I was bored. That’s ironic, because it seems like going against the grain is turning out to be a good thing for you now, with your growing fan base. Well, I never thought about how good of a thing it was – I just knew it was what I wanted to do. It wasn’t really about monetary success or anything tangible. It just so happened that as soon as I started doing exactly what I wanted, everything fell into place. So what’s your fascination with jets and airplanes? You can go anywhere. It’s amazing. I’m fascinated being so many places. I scared everybody on the plane [the first time] I saw the Statue of Liberty. I screamed at everybody to look at it. I might have been like 9 years old. My mom liked to travel. I had been to Europe, everywhere, before I was in high school. I might not have had too much shit, but we definitely went everywhere. When you get exposed to that type of shit, you can’t live no other way. Now I can’t stay in one spot. By me seeing all that shit, I knew I had to always be able to afford to do this shit, to do whatever I want. So you decided rapping was the way to afford it? My first rap was about Dennis the Menace, and then I quit. The dude from down the street was supposed to put some drug money behind us when we were little kids. He went to jail though. After that, I quit worrying about it until I got out of high school. Once I went to college, I did a semester and realized I didn’t want to do that, so I started writing again. When did you get good at it? Like the year before last. I was good, but I didn’t know what I was talkin’ about. Prior to doing what I wanted to do, I wasn’t talkin’ about my life. I realized I didn’t have to do that. If you hear some of the stuff I said…I had a song when I was with No Limit that started out talking about an AK-47 and clearing a whole street of people. You see me – how likely is that? Do I strike you as that guy? I wasn’t him then, but I said that shit. For those who don’t know, what was your history with No Limit? I started out with Tough Guy and when Dough got killed, C [Murder] looked out and I was on Tru Records. Then that situation happened with him unfortunately, and P stepped in, so that’s how I ended up with No Limit. I learned some shit from P too. After that, I went independent. Then I hollered at [Lil Wayne] about a verse and he was like, “Let’s hook up and do some shit.” I flew to Miami and we put that [YM] situation together. Do you still talk to the Young Money crew? I don’t have the same number anymore. I’m just doing my thing. There’s no love lost. I’m pretty sure everybody’s busy. I’m damn busy. Makes sense. So with you having flown around the world, how would you compare your hometown New Orleans to other places you go? It’s not as much eff’d up shit goin’ on. I watch the news in other cities just to see what’s happening. Everybody’s got their problems, but at home, the news is an hour of murder, shots fired, it’s never anything else. It’ll get better though. I’m about to pop and kill all that shit. The message in the shit I’m doin’, soon as I get in position, people will be like, “Alright, maybe we should smoke weed and buy shoes, and not shoot people, then everything will be straight.” After my rap shit is done I’ma run for office too. So the solution to all problems is to smoke weed and buy shoes? Yeah, there’s way cooler shit to do than shoot guns. We went to Wal-Mart today. That was cool, we had a great time. There’s options. Why do you think people don’t see those other options? Because of the machine! The machine perpetuates the bullshit. It’s out of control. We might get shot at the club ‘cause we have to live in this shit, but they don’t give a fuck. All that matters with their machine is ringtones and shit. They control the audio and visuals people get; all the destruction. How many Mos Def videos do you see? It’s not like it was in the 90s. You’d see an N.W.A video, then a Tribe Called Quest video. Now it’s all like the same song. It’s not about music. It’s a pay cut to do the real shit. Earlier you mentioned your artists. Who are they and what are your plans after the album comes out? Yeah The Jets – that’s Young Roddy, Trademark the Skydiver, and Street Wiz. We’re doing a group project. I have a few secret projects that I’m puttin’ together with them, as well as a company you’ll hear a lot about called The Serve. Look for The Serve DVD coming out. I got some other mixtapes coming out, and I got an EP I’ma put out with The Serve. //
Words by Ms Rivercity
“The machine perpetuates the bullshit... They control the audio and visuals people get; all the destruction. How many Mos Def videos do you see? It’s not like it was in the 90s. You’d see an N.W.A video, then a Tribe Called Quest video. Now it’s all like the same song.” OZONE MAG // 45
46 // OZONE MAG
YOU DON'T WANT NO
WHEN HIS INITIAL PLANS FOR MUNKI BOI ENTERTAINMENT DIDN’T DEVELOP QUITE AS EXPECTED, CEO G FRESH DID WHAT HE’S ALWAYS DONE: TAKE CHARGE AND DO IT HIMSELF. NOW BOASTING ONE OF THE HOTTEST INDIE RECORDS IN THE MIDWEST, HE PLANS TO USE ALL HIS RESOURCES TO BRING INDIANAPOLIS TO THE FOREFRONT OF THE HIP HOP SCENE. ON HIS MOMMA! Words & Photos by Julia Beverly
So you’re both the CEO and the lead artist on Munki Boi Entertainment, right? Is that how you’d describe yourself? G Fresh is the CEO and now is the artist too, yes. I started out doing more of the business side of things. I had four other artists on my label: [the group] Nappyville, Young Tone, Gold E. Patron, and Riddles. They’re all still on my label. Nappyville had a few hot records and some movement. What made you decide to switch over to the artist side yourself? [The CORE DJs CEO] Tony Neal kinda brought it up. I mean, basically, it was behind my whole image that the label was created. [Indianapolis] had the buzz already. Everything I’ve done in the city prior to that, as far as shows and parties, was to brand Munki Boi. Aside from Nappyville doing their thing, I was just making creative music. Munki Boi is a statement. When we roll, we roll gorilla heavy. How did you come up with that logo? The whole concept, man, I don’t know. We were actually in Atlanta when Munki Boi was created. We were sitting around talking about different situations. We were touring through cities with Nappyville, and that’s when we came up with the whole concept. We drew the actual Munki Boi logo and trademarked it when we got back. Indianapolis hasn’t really made its mark yet on the Hip Hop map. Exactly, cause they aren’t known for breaking music. There’s one of two radio stations that everybody listens to, and all they play is Billboard music. Whatever’s hot on the Billboard charts, that’s what they play. For an artist to come out of Indianapolis or even get airplay, that’s real big, because they won’t even play half the national artists unless you’re on top of the Billboard charts. But there’s a lot of talent, so more than likely, a lot of people from the Midwest gotta either go to the South or East to get on. But now, I think I’ve kinda broken a barrier by getting out there. Does the music scene in Indianapolis kinda gravitate towards Southern music? We listen to a lot of Southern music, like the Boosies and Webbies and Gottis and Waynes. So yeah, it gravitates towards the South, but it’s also kinda mixed too. We also listen to the East Coast and the West Coast. So we get it from every angle. Would you say the music you’re putting out has Southern-style beats? Nah, everybody in the Midwest is kinda gangsta. They hard. Ain’t no dances, ain’t no two-steppin’ in the club and all that, comin’ in doing the stanky leg. I’m not knocking [those records] but people from the Midwest are kinda thorough, just holdin’ up the wall. My style is very unique. I’m not trying to sound like I’m from the South or the West or anywhere else. I have a balance, of course, of street records and club records. I have some sexy shit too. I try to hit every angle. I really can’t compare myself to anybody as far as my musical style. I think I’ve got my own style and my own flavor. I ain’t no Jeezy, I ain’t no Gucci, none of them. I’m a street dude and I’m telling my own story about everything that I’ve seen and where I come from.
Mostly street stories or just life in general? I’m telling relationship stories, street stories, the come up, you know what I mean? The blueprint to anything. If you listen to anything I’m talking about, it’s all real. Is there one record you have that’s really personal to you? “On My Momma.” That’s just a Midwest saying. Everybody says it, and it’s like, “I mean it.” It just emphasizes that the story is true or whatever. When I say “On My Momma,” I mean, this is for real. It ain’t no play-play. Are you planning on going straight independent with this project or is the goal to get a deal through a major label as far as distribution? I’m just trying to hustle the music and the movement. It is possible [to put the project out ourselves] and it can happen right where we’re at. We’re making them believe. If it goes to a major that’s fine too, but that’s not my goal right now. The goal is just to get the music out there and work and see it pays off. What methods are you using to get the music out there? Mixtapes, of course. We’ve been on the road since we started. My song is getting over 100 plays a week right now in over 30 different markets, so it’s all work, no play. We just drove from Indianapolis to Memphis yesterday for a show, and then from Memphis to Atlanta last night just to get it in. You’ve been doing a lot of things with The CORE DJs, right? The CORE DJs, The GO DJs, the Definition DJs… we’ve got a lot of good relationships with a lot of the DJs. A lot of the good relationships we have with them are based off of the artists I had before. I’m still pushing the whole movement; it ain’t just based on G Fresh or Nappyville as artists. It’s based on Munki Boi as a movement. Since people associate you so strongly with Munki Boi, is it a challenge to brand the name G Fresh? I’m branding both. I currently have my video on MTV2, BET, and MTV.com. They can also go to MunkiBoiEnt.com and hit me up on Twitter and Facebook, MunkiBoiCEO. Obviously you’ve had good success as an indie label being able to build relationships with these DJs. A lot of indie labels have tried to do the same. What’s a good method? DJs are real people, and everybody else in the business are real people too. When it comes to meeting them, I come with business first. I guess it’s just like anything else. You feel people out and figure out how to approach them and keep it 100. I ain’t gonna go up to nobody and just be like, “Hey, put me on!” It doesn’t just happen like that. People are working in this industry and trying to get money in this industry, so don’t just think that everybody’s gonna put you on for nothing. What about features and production? Are you working with anyone in particular? I just got some beats from Zaytoven that I’m currently working on. We’ve had OZONE MAG // 47
features from a few other artists in the past like Boosie, 8Ball, Young Buck, and OJ da Juiceman. We’ve worked with a lot of people, but I want to brand my own label and my own movement. I wanted to show how we are in the Midwest. I didn’t wanna put a whole bunch of features on my album and nobody gets a feel for me. What’s the title of your upcoming album? I’m not putting out an album yet, but the mixtape is called iHustle. We’re dropping the mixtape and we’re just gonna see what happens from there. We’re gonna drop my second single and then we’re shooting for a [distribution] situation. If everything goes right from there, we’ll have an album out by the summer. How has your background as a CEO helped you as an artist? I’ve done other things before rap. I own franchises. I own businesses. So I was already ready. Becoming an artist was just a transition. Now, like any business, once you do it you’ve gotta get serious about it. Business is all the same [no matter what industry]. You just have to keep it real and watch who you deal with. Like any business, you could get taken. You’ve gotta have checks and balances at the end of the day. Do you think it’s overdue for the Midwest to have a big movement? Of course. There’s been a lot of good people to come from the Midwest. Michael Jackson came from the Midwest. Vivica Fox, Mike Epps – I think even when Nelly came out, it was a new sound at the time, but Nelly’s music doesn’t quite represent the Midwest. If you’re closer to Chicago, they’re more East Coast. But at the end of the day, the Midwest is all the same. Everybody’s real hardcore. So I think it’s time for it to happen. Would you say part of the reason that Munki Boi has been able to be successful is the fact that you have a lot of in-house facilities? Yeah, we do a lot of stuff in-house. That’s what got me going independently, before I started working with Zaytoven or anybody like that. The city is pushing for something like this to happen. I basically put the city on my back to make a situation. It was no big production. It was all in-house production, the beats and the music. We have a studio, a camera crew, [a film crew] Glitch Films, you know, the whole nine. We all work together so everybody can eat. A lot of indie labels have had the same concept, but not everybody is able to pull it off properly. How are you able to be that organized and have everything inhouse? What would you say is the secret? I don’t think there’s one way. I just think everybody was working towards the same goal. A lot of times people are working together but everybody is trying to do their own thing and everybody has a different vision of how it’s supposed to go, and it gets messed up. Everybody [in our camp] was just trying to get a good product and have a good situation. That’s how we were able to get on MTV2 and VH1 – I ended up going back to all the DJs at home, and all the people have supported us. Do you see any other artists in the Indianapolis area aside from your camp who are generating a similar buzz to help out the Midwest movement? Yeah, I think we’re setting a trend for it, though. The ones that are out there have been doing the music and doing their thing for a while. I think we’re kinda setting our own pace, like a Roc-A-Fella or No Limit or Cash Money. We’re that group that’s setting the bar for Indianapolis. There’s a lot of talent in Indianapolis, period, but in the Midwest nobody really rode behind each other’s music or supported each other’s music. In this situation, with my music coming out, the fact that everybody’s behind the music – the West Side, the East Side, the South Side, and the North Side – that’s real big in Indiana because that doesn’t happen. And it’s not just Indianapolis, but it’s also Fort Wayne, Terra Haute, and all the surrounding cities as well that are backing the whole movement. That doesn’t happen all the time. In Chicago, you’ve got somebody like R Kelly from the West Side, but because his music was what it was and he had such a 48 // OZONE MAG
movement, everybody supported. But how often does that happen? There’s millions of people in Chicago, you know? Do you ultimately hope to see yourself in a position like a Nelly or Kanye West, as an internationally-known star out of the Midwest? Or do you see yourself more as an underground representative? Whatever situation comes out of this, I want it to be my own situation. I don’t want to be “like” anybody else. But of course I see myself becoming a star. The thing about it is, everybody wants to hear somebody’s story that they can relate to. I’m sure there’s some people out here that wanna hear the same story you tell them. If you tell them where you come from and how you came out of it, they wanna know how to do the same. There’s a lot of people who have never been to Indiana that think it’s just [fields of] corn. But shit, we’ve got hoods here just like everybody else, you know? All of the “On My Momma” record was done in-house: the beat, the production, the video, everything. I don’t sound like nobody. That doesn’t sound like a down South beat. My record with OJ da Juiceman [“iHustle”] was a good song, but this one [“On My Momma”] is the one that really picked up. This is the one everybody selected. The city was behind it from the jump. I thought the OJ record was gonna be the one [to take off], and this is when OJ’s buzz was really at its peak, so I was thinking it was gonna work. People were feeling the record, don’t get me wrong. But they really loved “On My Momma.” It was the best thing that could happen, though, because now you get a feel for G Fresh and the Midwest, Indianapolis, instead of just me on an OJ song. And a few of your artists are featured on “On My Momma” also, right? Riddles, one of my artists, is the producer on this record. Young Tone, who’s featured on the song with me, is my artist, as well as Gold E. Patron who’s singing the hook. We shot the video ourselves. Do you feel pressure being at the forefront of this Indianapolis movement, like the city is kinda depending on you? Nah, I don’t feel no pressure. I’m used to the pressure. It’s just business. I took it, I embraced it, and put the city on my back. If I do it, I do it. If I don’t, I don’t. Thanks to everybody for supporting the movement. //
CORE DJs CEO
going to be about the DJ. But the DJs have an obligation to stay current too, and if they don’t, they’re going to get lost in the sauce like the label. They industry is going digital and it’s all about single sales and digital sales. I think [the process] just flushes out the muthafuckers that really don’t need to be in it. Only the strong survive, and it’s flushing out those who don’t belong. A lot of cats just don’t belong. And you can’t stop time. You can’t stop cats from getting older. Stations flipping [formats]. If you don’t stay current, stay up on these magazines, stay up on what’s going on around you, you’re just going to lose. You announced during the CORE DJs Retreat in New Orleans that you were starting a label with Konvict Music. Is that still happening? That’s still my people, my family, but we just put that on hold for a minute. We’re doing some regrouping. From here and beyond, what are the CORE DJs offering to people that want to join The CORE or attend one of the retreats? We bring the masses together. It’s needed. As far as the retreats, it’s all about what you make out of it. If you come to play you’re not going to get anything out of it. If you come there to talk to chicks and act like you’re signed, with your jewelry on, you’re not going to get nothing out of it. I think any [indie artist] that acts like they’re signed already shouldn’t even show up.
You just had the most recent CORE DJs event this past weekend in Orlando. Tell us a little about that. It was the best one. It was more about the independent artists, which is what we wanted to do in the first place, especially with the climate of the industry now. We’re not like them. Other people throw their conference while other things are going on, but we don’t do that shit. We don’t just latch onto other shit. How are you going to focus on an artist when there’s another big event going on that same weekend? It just doesn’t make sense, so we went back to how it was in the beginning and that shit was beautiful. We broadcasted it more to independent artists this time around. We didn’t go at the majors, we just left it up to them. Interscope came in and participated but other than that, if they came, they came. What brought about that change this year? I’ve been to a few CORE Retreats and it always seemed like the major labels had a big presence. The majors are trying to find other ways to break records. Maybe they’re taking alternate routes because the money is short. Since we do the retreats twice a year, I would say they’re trying to reduce spending. They’re trying to go viral, but that shit ain’t working. You’ve got to hit these streets. But who am I? This is only the 12th conference, 14 if you include the Texas conference. Who were some of the artists you had down there this year? There were a lot of indie artists. Of course Waka and them came, but they’re not considered indie, and Mystikal popped up. We had a lot of sponsors get involved. There were a lot of different artists from different regions. The Midwest was real deep this year. Being from Milwaukee, I was happy to see that. The Carolinas, Texas, the Bay Area, and the Midwest were all real deep. And of course the South was deep because it was held in the South. Orlando came out and supported and they had their own showcase too. Having done 12 retreats, what do you think it is about the CORE DJs that still appeals to people? There might be folks who have gone to every one and didn’t get the results they wanted. If you don’t get something out of it, even if it’s just networking, then something is wrong with you. There’s too many DJs there for you not to get something out of it. [As an artist] you’re not going to be around 600 or 700 DJs and not get something out of it. You ain’t never gonna run into that many DJs at one time on your own. So if you don’t get something out of being around that many DJs, industry people, and A&Rs, something is wrong with you, and I think you should try to find an alternate career. Earlier we were talking about how labels are trying to find alternate ways to push artists, whether it’s the web or new media or whatever. Where does that leave the DJ? I think DJs have got to keep up with it too or you’re going to become obsolete. One thing they fail to realize is that it’s always going to be about the DJ, man. I don’t care what new technology they come up with; it’s always
Do you get a lot of feedback after the conferences and success stories? All you’ve got to do is check my timeline. Check Twitter (@TheCoreDJs) from last week. You’ll see how much encouragement it gives people in the industry, how rejuvenated they feel, how many contacts they got. People are getting in situations with labels for digital deals [through The CORE]. The most unlikely people turn out certain showcases and show out, like Mz. Skittles at this past conference. We did the DJ competition. We’re helping Def Jam launch the Def Jam rap star video game, which is like Hip Hop karaoke. There were a lot of things going on. Once you get everybody together to find a way to work together, it’s always a good situation. There are a lot of members of The CORE, and a lot of them aren’t actually DJs. What are the requirements for being a part of The CORE? DJs can’t just run it. The industry is run by more than the DJs, so that’s how we look at the CORE. We’ve got publicists, models, DJs, radio DJs, mixtape DJs, street DJs, underground DJs, magazine publishers. It’s like a big family, and that’s what makes it attractive to [artists]. It’s a one-stop shop. We call The CORE DJs a big-ass 360. The CORE DJs is a 360 deal - label, video directors, we’ve got all that. You can stop right here and tell us what you want to do and we’ll make it happen. Another thing we do in The CORE is that a lot of the DJs and models have other careers outside of DJing and modeling. There might be somebody in real estate, for example. If you’re successful in your own life, you’ll always be a better DJ or model. We can help you with whatever you have going on in your life. It’s like a union. It’s not a [DJ] crew at all. Far from that. For the past several years The CORE DJs have been one of the most recognizable brands, as far as DJ coalitions are concerned. How do you think you’ve been able to stick around so long and stay relevant? That’s a good ass question. It’s because we’re reachable. We’re not Hollywood, we’re blue collar. There are stars in The CORE and legends in The CORE, but for the most part we’ve just kinda leveled off. We all work consistently. Consistent work. Every month or so, we have a conference call or an event or something. Twitter and Facebook and all that makes it easier; it’s an excellent way [to communicate]. We never run commercials or ads or none of that shit for our retreats. We just use word of mouth and internet and always stay in their face. It’s always something that someone in The CORE is doing; we always support each other, and other people see that. What do you have planned for the 13th and 14th retreats? We take time and do them when we feel like it’s the right time. And there’s so much music that comes out every year that you can’t cram it all into one conference. That’s why we call it a “retreat,” because it’s more comfortable. The DJs and the artists get more personal than just a “conference.” Is there anything else you want to add? There are a bunch of things I’m working on. I’m in a couple movies. Shout out to all the organizations that came to the conference. It’s not just about us. It was named The CORE because the DJ is the center of the industry, so that’s where the name comes from. We started the [idea of ] DJs not paying for conference registration. We saw this shit coming five years ago when we started The CORE. So we’re just trying to maintain now. Go to the website CoreDJs.com and MoreMixshows.com. 877-333-9940 is the hotline. // Words by Maurice G. Garland // Photo by Ms Rivercity OZONE MAG // 49
B.o.B. Words by Randy Roper Photo by Wuz Good
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Despite what new fans might think, Bobby Ray Simmons is far from an overnight celebrity. In fact, it’s been nearly a year since B.o.B. joined Asher Roth, KiD CuDi and Pac Div on the Great Hangover Tour. It’s been two years since he graced the cover of your favorite rapper’s favorite magazine, long before most people even knew who he was. It’s been roughly three years since his underground hit “Haterz” made its way onto radio station playlists and into nightclubs throughout the Southeast. And it’s been almost four years since this Atlanta, GA rapper/producer signed a major label deal with Rebel Rock/Atlantic Records at the tender age of 17. Yes, it may seem to some that B.o.B., due to the success of his now platinum chart-topping single “Nothing On You,” came out of nowhere, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Bobby Ray spent the last four years of his life working and preparing for the release of his long-awaited debut album, B.o.B. Presents The Adventures of Bobby Ray. Just weeks before his album hits stores, and while touring with his Atlantic labelmate Lupe Fiasco, B.o.B. took a few moments out from his busy schedule to fill OZONE in on everything that has transpired since his cover story. It’s been two years since you were on the cover of OZONE. What’s been going on since then? Since that cover, I thought my album was gonna be out, but it didn’t come out. Then I went through a period where it was really frustrating for me; just trying to get everything organized and get everything right with the label and my album. It seems like it took a decline and just went up from there. I’ve just been working and trying to make the moment relevant. Some people heard your single “Nothing On You” and thought you blew up overnight. A lot of people don’t understand that you’ve been signed for almost four years. How do you feel when people say you came out of nowhere? That’s just silly. A real B.o.B. fan knows I’ve been doing this for a minute. That’s something that I’m not even worried about, but people can perceive it as an overnight success. During that period when your album didn’t come out, there was a rumor that you wanted to retire. Did you get to the point that you wanted to quit? Nah, that was just a rumor that escalated. Something happened… sometimes stuff gets crazy, so there was a rumor that I quit and it just escalated from there. After that rumor, you came back as Bobby Ray. What was the reason behind the name change? I just wanted to use my real government name, cause I wanted people to know me. I wanted to make the music that I made and the music I wanted people to know me by. Basically, it’s like unveiling a mask, that [was] really the unveiling. I’m B.o.B., but Bobby Ray is the guy behind it. It’s seemed like there was a change in the style of music that you made, too. Was that part of the process when you unveiled yourself as Bobby Ray? You can call me B.o.B., but just know that my name’s Bobby Ray. But it doesn’t matter anyway; the main thing that matters is the music. That’s the thing that brings it all together. It seems like your music now involves playing the guitar and singing more. Is that the direction you wanted your music to go in from the beginning, as opposed to rapping? Nah, not really. I always loved rapping. But it’s kinda like it had to balance out, cause I was doing so much of what the label and industry wanted me to do. I wasn’t doing enough of what I wanted to do. So, I went through a period where there was a reverse, and I had to flip it up into what I wanted to do. Let’s talk about your label situation. How did your joint venture with Grand Hustle come together? We knew Grand Hustle just from being in Atlanta. Eventually, the whole Grand Hustle thing came about when we felt like the timing was right.
How crazy has it been over the last few months, since your single has taken off? It’s crazy because…it’s just amazing seeing how the story unfolds. Even for me, it’s like being on the inside looking outward at everything, and it’s just as exciting for me as it is for everybody else. And I feel like there’s something that’s special about everything. Is it what you expected it to be when you got to this point? Not really, man. I expected it, but not this soon. Even though I spent a long time getting things developed and just letting the project grow, I didn’t expect everything. So the way it’s all coming together now is just surprising. How did “Nothing On You” come about? “Nothing On You” is a song that speaks to the population and audience that understands monogamy, being in a relationship, the temptations and the challenges that come about through that. Basically, for that song, I’m kinda like writing a movie. You have to pull from actual experiences and bring them to life. And I feel like I’ve been through the experiences required to bring it to life. Did you think that was going to be the record that would ultimately break through to the mainstream? No, I didn’t think it was going to take me out of here. I thought it was a nice album cut. How did you react when you saw it climbing the charts? It was crazy. We started seeing it added, and you know how radio is. You know how hard it is to get a song on the radio. From the label’s perspective, it’s challenging. But the song started moving so smoothly and growing that I knew there was something special about it. And it’s just crazy because you never know. It’s like rolling dice; you just keep rolling them until you get a seven. Everything that I did in the past prepared me for now. When you can get to a certain level with mainstream radio, there’s a lot that’s required of you. Whether you’re prepared or not, you get thrown out there because you have a hit single. So, I feel really prepared for everything because of that. Did you expect your previous songs like “Haterz” and “I’ll Be In The Sky” to take off? Did you get frustrated when they didn’t? I actually thought “Haterz” and “I’ll Be In The Sky” were gonna be that [breakthrough] song. So, I didn’t know how everything was gonna unfold. But it just seems like everything happened how it was supposed to happen, as opposed to how I wanted it to happen. And I’d rather have it that way any day. What can you tell me about your album? I worked with a lot of people. I worked with Jim Jonsin, I worked with T.I.,and I did a lot of production on there myself. And basically, it’s a really good mixture of different sounds and I feel like it’s well-rounded. I feel good about it. I got Lupe Fiasco on there. I got Eminem on there. How was it working with Eminem? Em is crazy because when you go in the studio they just record everything. Basically, even if we just mess around with some ideas, we record it. So, if we get some funky ideas and we wanna go back to it, we can just go back to the sessions. It’s crazy cause he ran up to me and was like, “B.o.B., you’re a star, man.” And I’m like, “You’re the star.” (laughs) What about T.I.? What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from working with him? He told me a quote, and I already knew this, but it stood out. “Everyone is not wrong,” meaning that if 100 people told you something, and you’re the only one that says something [different], chances are you’re either a revolutionary visionary or you’re wrong. (laughs) I took the advice well; especially coming from Tip, cause he’s a guy that’s been in it for a while now. Back when I was an aspiring artist, doing open mics, he’s been in it. So, it’s a good thing to have that type of insight. How are you taking in everything? I’m at the point where everything that I’m doing now is new. A lot of people tell me to enjoy these times, cause these are the first times that you do this. And I’m like, that’s cool, but I wanna keep that excitement. I don’t want to let something get monotonous and boring, or run something into the ground. I’d rather something be exciting and keep it exciting. //
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MYSTIKAL Words Words x x Photo Photo by by Julia Julia Beverly Beverly
Having been incarcerated since 2004, the former No Limit soldier has plenty to catch up on - like Twitter, mp3s, and email. Although he declined to discuss the charges for which he was incarcerated (extortion and sexual battery), he did detail his plans to recapture the rap game in 2010 with his new album and new label, Big Truck Records. You’ve been gone for over six years. What are you doing to update your sound? Man, production. It has changed so much in only six years. I listen to the boy Plies; I listened to his shit. I listened to a lot of Lil Wayne shit, and the boy Drake when he first hit the scene. What’s changed the most since you’ve been gone? Just this fucking technology. I’ve been telling people to Fedex me and they said they were going to email me [tracks]. I was like, “Stop playing with me.” (laughs) I was fucking with the Pro Tools prior to me leaving, but I didn’t know muthafuckers could email me a beat now. Everything is so vital. A lot of other artists who have been to prison have continued doing interviews and tried to really stay in contact with their fans throughout their time, but you seemed to do the complete opposite. Was that intentional? What was the purpose? To keep the anticipation. It was a real delicate situation. I didn’t
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want to appear to be alright. I thought maybe if people don’t know what they fuck is going on they’ll think I’m in more despair than I am. I was alright, but I didn’t want to do interviews and have [the authorities] be like, “Aw, that muthafucker ain’t learn nothing. Let him stay in there and hurt some more.” In Louisiana, with the kind of charge I had, it was high profile. They didn’t give a fuck. Now that you’ve served your time, are you open to talking about the actual situation that led to your incarceration? Some parts of it. I have a confidentiality clause I signed, for the allegations and all that shit. The basic gist of it was that the girl stole money from you and – Julia, baby, we not even going to get into that shit, because that there is over and done. I’m out. I gave that muthafucker enough of my time. Okay, fair enough. So you’ve got a new record out with Lloyd. What else do you have coming? Yeah, that’s his records. Me and Wayne did something prior to him leaving. I got a chance to talk to him and give him some advice and let him know that’s how I had success [while incarcerated]. Leave Lil Wayne out at the gate. Let him wait for you. Go in that muthafucker as Dwayne, knock that shit out, and come on back to the people and do what you do. Gucci just came out, T.I. just got home, Wayne just went in – why do you think so many rappers are doing time? Cause we crazy. We’re fucking crazy. A lot of times it’s our fault. If we don’t give them a reason to fuck with us, then they can’t. We’re just not being smart. We’re not dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s. We’re not being conscious of who the fuck we’re hanging around and what the fuck we’re doing. We get so much power and we start trippin’. I’m not saying that I’m guilty of what them people was saying [I did] but I still am ultimately responsible for a lot of the shit that happens.
my immediate family, my cousins and all of that – out of New Orleans. They all came to my house in Baton Rouge and stayed with my mom. I had them safe and secure. Do you think that New Orleans is going to come back to prominence? You fucking right. Time heals everything. It’s just a matter of time. We came a long way and we still have a ways to go. Do you feel like you didn’t get as much support from the Hip Hop community compared to other artists due to the type of crime you were convicted of? Oh, fuck no. They showed me love. Man, I’m a fucking gangster, and them people really fucked with me. I really got the opportunity to see that shit and it was mind-boggling. There’s some rappers that stay away from the scene for six months and people aren’t checkin’ for them no more. I was gone for six years and that shit never wavered. Shaquille O’Neal came to the jail to see me. Roy Jones Jr., Busta Rhymes, Luda, Snoop, fucking right, I’m a good dude. Ain’t nobody believe that shit [about me]. Since you’ve been gone there’s been a lot of groupies kissing and telling. That shit is funny. You were mentioned in Superhead’s book. Yeah, man. I’m telling my girlfriend, “Man, I ain’t fuck with that girl. I’m telling you!” and then she read that fucking book. But she didn’t say we did anything. I knew she wasn’t going to play with me like that. She was talking about Ja Rule had his fucking legs in the air! But that goes to show you, that shit you do in the dark is going to come to light. She couldn’t say nothing about the pimp, nothing. But I had that work, shit. Somebody told me she [said more] in part two, but in part one she was real bland with my shit. And now we’ve got Kat Stacks. What the fuck is that?
That sounds like a good philosophy, because you hear a lot of the conspiracy theories and the “they’re targeting me” excuses. That has a lot of truth to it also. But if you don’t give them a reason to fuck with you, they can’t. They can just be mad from a distance, looking at you rich and enjoying your life.
A bootleg Superhead. You read her book too? She said something about me?
What did you spend most of your time in prison doing? Reading OZONE Magazine. Thank you so much for that. That was so helpful and gave me a lot of opportunities to plug in and see a lot of faces I hadn’t seen in a long time. I thank you so much for sending me those magazines. I could not wait to come and tell you that personally.
It seems like there aren’t a whole lot of opportunities for women in Hip Hop anymore. There’s only a handful of female rappers. So it seems like some women think that’s the only way to get publicity. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so it is what it is. I used to read OZONE’s Groupie Confessions and be nervous. I was like, “Somebody gonna tell!” (laughs) I was foul out there. But ain’t nobody rat on me so I was alright. Some of those Groupie Confessions were cold-fuckin’-blooded, man.
You just performed here in Houston and in addition to a lot of Houston folks like Willie D and Z-Ro, some other folks like Mannie Fresh and KLC were in the building. Is everybody from the former No Limit/Cash Money crews on good terms? It is what it is. We had a lot of success so it just depends on what you were able to do with it afterwards to enhance your career. When we were at our height we went crazy. I saw where it was going, so I was plotting my next move. Do you see any No Limit reunions in the future? Yeah, we’re about to head to New York for the Hip Hop Honors show. We’re performing “It Ain’t My Fault,” if I’m not mistaken. It’s going to be fire. It’s been a long time. How do you feel about that? I know some people, like Scarface and Uncle Luke, felt like it shouldn’t have been categorized as “Dirty South.” I think they should’ve made it a lot more broad. Don’t separate it like that. Do you have a planned release date for your next album? I’m shooting for the fall. I’ve got a meeting with the people at [my label] to see what kind of agreement we can come to. To be honest, Julia, right now to me it’s kinda like, “Get the fuck out of my way.” Just let me do what I do. I trusted them with my whole career and that shit doesn’t add up – the money I’m making and the money they’re making. So they need to let me do me, and we’ll negotiate somewhere in the middle. I’ve been calling [the album] “The Big Shake Back,” but that’s unofficial. It’s like James Brown with The Big Pay Back. You’re based in Baton Rouge now, right? Is there a noticeable difference in Louisiana compared to pre-Katrina? It’s kind of balanced out a little bit. It was tough looking at that shit from jail, not being able to help my people swimming in the water. I was supposed to be out there with them. But I was able to get my entire family –
Nah. (laughs) Oh, okay. Good.
Big Truck Records is your record company, right? I see you kinda played off of the No Limit logo to create your logo. Yeah, big vehicle coming through the street. What are you gonna do when you see that? You’re gonna get the fuck out the way, right? Are there other artists signed to Big Truck Records? Yeah, I got a couple. It was so much talent inside those fuckin’ walls, so I was kinda scouting when I was going through it. I was watching how they move. If you can survive and stay out of trouble when you’re in [prison], you can do that when you come out here. The guys that were talented but knuckleheads, I can’t do nothing with them, because they’re gonna come out here and do that same thing. You ain’t learn shit; you retarded. The ones that had sense, though, y’all are gonna be hearing from them. Trust me. Why did you decide to cut off your braids? I was in jail; that wasn’t my call. If that was the case, my shit would be down to my knees right now. They people told me, “No, none of that.” I felt like Sampson; all my superpowers went away. But I was too old for that shit, so eventually I was gonna have to do it anyway. Do you see the South maintaining our position at the top of the music charts for a while? That’s where we at? I’m out here, aren’t I? Well, shit. You know better than to ask that question. I’m not playing with these dudes, man. I gave them dudes six years to frolic their ass across that stage and get my awards. I’m not playing with these niggas, man. Is there anything else you’d like to say? I just want to tell the fans, thank y’all for the love and support throughout that ordeal, through my time and moment of despair. I really needed that, and the music is going to be well worth the wait. // OZONE MAG // 53
CRUNK THE WORLD LIL JON, THE CRUNKEST O.G. IN RAP Words by Maurice G. Garland
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Blame Dave Chappelle for taking Lil Jon away from “us.” Ever since he started making his “A Day In the Life of Lil Jon” skits on his sketch comedy show, Lil Jon was taken from nightclubs in the South to living rooms all over America. “That Dave Chappelle skit was funny, and it was good for business,” says Jon. “I thank him in every interview and every time I talk to him. Those skits made me a pop and cultural icon that will be recognized forever.” To his credit, Jon has taken full advantage and transformed himself into one of the most recognizable figures in music. Producing hits for everyone from Usher to Pitbull, Jon has proven himself to be one of the more diverse producers of the past decade. With his new album Crunk Rock (finally) hitting stores this summer, Jon sat down with OZONE to talk about partying all over the world and becoming bigger than the sound he helped create. Where in the world are you right now? I’m in New York right now, but I go to Brazil tomorrow. I have four or five shows and I’m shooting a video out there. We all know what Brazil is known for. Is this going to be an NSFW video? If I get some crazy stuff, I guess I’ll make the Magic City version, but Brazil style. I have a song called “Machuka.” In Brazil they have Bali Funk; it’s like Miami bass music [was] in the 80s. They talk about the same shit, and they even have the dancers. I did the song with Mr. Catra and Mulher File. You’ve been making party music for 15 years now. Did you think what you were doing back then would take you to where you are now? I just wanted to make good records, from the beginning until now. I’m known as the party guy. When I step in the room, people want to start getting drunk. This has taken me around the world from Brazil to Australia. I just got back from Bulgaria and Finland. I was in Malaysia; I’ve been all around the world. Toured Australia three times. Toured the whole U.S.; been everywhere. Argentina, Sweden, Switzerland. I never thought starting with “Who You Wit’” that it would get this big. Your new album Crunk Rock has been five years in the making. Have you made any changes from what it was originally supposed to be? Really, just two major changes. I started off collaborating with a lot of rock musicians and then me and the label I was signed to [TVT Recordings] fell out and they went under. There was a break, then the new label that bought them, acquired me. Then I got out of that deal and signed to Universal Republic. I wanted to come fresh so I went and got Swizz Beatz and Drumma Boy right away. I stepped back from producing myself so I can concentrate on the vocals. It gave me a new energy. It was a combination of things that made it feel fresh again. I started DJing again all over the world, so I was back in my roots. I didn’t have so much pressure on my back because I didn’t have to do everything. Do you miss producing at all? Nah! That’s a lot of stress and work to do. Making 15 songs and pulling hits out of that? I did production work on this album, but I gave most of it to other cats. I don’t miss doing whole albums. I might do that again after this album comes out. Eventually I’m gonna get back in the studio and make records for other people again. But I had to get this record out. I signed a contract, so I have to get this record out.
In working with other producers, did you encourage them to do their own thing? Did they come in trying to make their own version of your beats? I tell them what I’m looking for and let them do them. We figure out what direction we’re going in after that. I got a lot of respect for Drumma Boy because he went in and knocked out 10 beats right away. Producers and rapper work a lot faster that they did in years past, due to technology and the overall standards for music not being as high anymore. How do you feel about the frequency a rapper or producer can just crank music out now? Well, the records I was making with the Eastside Boyz, those records never went away. They’re still here. To me, it’s to each his own. If you’re putting out a new mixtape every month and that’s how you’re eating, do what you do. But for me, that doesn’t work. To me you’re just giving away music. But if that’s how you get your buzz up, do what you do. A lot of the songs you made, people criticized for the same reason they do a lot of music now. It was thought of as just “easy” to make. What actually goes into the song-making process for you? I go in, get the beat done. Vibe to it, write, then go lay it down. I’ve got a song on the new album called “Get In, Get Out” where I freestyle on it. When I made it, I listened to the beat, recorded a verse, got out, listened, went back in, got out. I never did that before. Back when we started doing it, studio time was very valuable, so we couldn’t afford to waste time. We had to do the beat and the vocals before we even hit the studio. On this album I just did a bunch of new different shit and had fun making it. Granted your album still has the word in it, and you own the energy drink CRUNK!!!, but do you think you have surpassed “crunk music?” I started off doing crunk. But everything I get on, I make it crunk. “Crunk” is always going to mean “a lot of energy.” With the album, it went from being about the rock songs, to being about a crunk rock lifestyle. That means can’t nobody can’t tell you shit, we want to have a good time, forget about the messed up shit. Just living life to the fullest. So it’s not just about crunk music anymore. I’ve got Waka Flocka, Pastor Troy and Soulja Boy on there, so it’s still there. A lot of people who are fans of your older work say your style has changed. Do you see the difference? The thing with me is that I’ve always been able to do other shit. I had “Yeah” with Usher when I had the Kings of Crunk album out. I did Pitbull’s big songs too; I can do different stuff. My fanbase is broader than crunk music because I can jump on other records. I’ve got different records that appeal to every fan I got. This new album showcases every Lil Jon you know. I’ve got a song with Ying Yang that may remind you of “Get Low.” You’ve toured all over the world. Do you see a difference in the way people party or react to your kind of music? In the urban club, people don’t get crunk anymore. When crunk was at the forefront people were slamdancing and the whole nine. Now in the urban clubs people are just standing around looking at each other. When you go to the house music clubs, they’re going crazy, wilding out. I’m trying to bring energy back to urban clubs. Niggas want to stand on tables and wild out again. Thanks to Waka Flocka, he’s helping bring that shit back. We’ve actually talked. He said he grew up on crunk and he’s bringing it back. You’ve been around for a minute and you’re considered to be the originator of a sound, so that makes you a elder statesman. Are you trying to reach back to the younger cats at all? Me and Waka done had conversations. He’s spitting my lyrics to me. I’ve talked to Roscoe Dash; he said his brother played nothing but crunk. Travis Porter invited me out to rock with them. I respect anybody who respects me. They’re showing the upmost respect by calling me an O.G. in this shit. //
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the type of career that I want for myself. And that’s what I did. I just bossed up and bounced. And it worked for me. Did it frustrate you when major deal didn’t work out like you’d hoped? It didn’t frustrate me afterwards; it was frustrating during. Because when you sign a deal they always tell you, “We have your best interest,” and, “We know this and we know that.” I felt like when I signed the deal they thought they knew what they were talking about, so in the middle of it I was a little bit frustrated. But soon as I figured out how the game was going and what I needed to do, I let all feelings go, and just started going hard. And right when I did that it started paying off. What was your plan at that time? Smoke hella weed, get on the internet, be way cooler than anybody else that was trying to do what I do, and make the best music possible. And I realized how valuable the internet was and who my true fans were, so I just went after that. How would you describe your fan base? They definitely smoke hella weed, they like to party, they like to have fun, them muthafuckas are crazy, dawg. Like, my fans are crazy. It’s mixed, black, white, Mexican, Chinese, everybody comes out to the concerts. It’s crazy. Lets talk about your album, Deal or No Deal. When you saw it doing big numbers independently, did that surprise you? Yeah, definitely, it did. Cause I’ve been working so long, and just putting shit out, and I’m so used to being looked over. When I put it out, I expected to make a couple bucks off it and then just go on to the next project. But when it got received like it did and did the numbers that it did, I was like, “Aight, cool.” I didn’t have too many expectations, but it’s been on and poppin’ ever since.
WIZ KHALIFA In April, Wiz Khalifa released his Kush & Orange Juice mixtape on the internet. With the phrase “#kushandorangejuice” making its way to the top of Twitter’s trending topics and “kush and orange juice download” appearing at No. 1 on Google’s search trends, without a doubt there were quite a few people looking at their computer screens thinking, “What the fuck is a Wiz Khalifa?” But for thousands of others already familiar with this former Warner Bros. artist, Kush & Orange Juice was just the latest free offering in a long line of Wiz Khalifa projects. After a 2009 independent album Deal or No Deal that landed at #1 on iTunes Rap albums, followed by a Deal or No Deal tour through 40-plus US cities and the success of Kush & Orange Juice, we figured now is as good a time as any to introduce OZONE readers to Pittsburgh’s Wiz Khalifa. How hard was it to come out of Pittsburgh, compared to other cities like Atlanta or New York? It wasn’t really hard. I never focused on the fact that I wasn’t from a major city. I just focused on the fact that I had dope music, and that I felt like people really needed to hear that shit. So, I figured out a way to put it out, and it took off. It took a lot of time, but all the time that it took to get there, now we’re here. So, it’s like, we’re at least gonna last that long. I’ve been working for almost ten years, so that means I’m at least gonna be here for ten years. What happened to your major deal with Warner Bros.? I think they had me figured out to be a different kind of artist. I’m a multidimensional type of dude. I make different types of songs. I’ve got a lot of radio-friendly, hit-potential songs, and I’ve got real creative and fun shit that I do, too. I think they wanted me to stay in this box where I wasn’t comfortable. I just had to decide to be a boss. I was in a situation where I could just sit there, cool out and have all these handouts, or I could really make 56 // OZONE MAG
What about your Kush & Orange Juice mixtape? I’m just gonna go on record and say Kush & Orange Juice is the best tape of this year, the best body of work that anybody’s gonna give out for free. This is it right here. I just really zoned out on this one, just on some creative shit. I tried a lot of different shit. I brought some stuff that people already expect from me and know, and then I meshed it up with a bunch of new shit. I’m rappin’ a little bit different on there. I always try to switch it up every tape. Not totally different, but it’s like a more abstract, poetic type shit. It’s easy listening, man. Anybody can listen to it, from straight Hip Hop fans to like a gangsta nigga that wants to shoot people all day. He’s gonna fuck with Kush & Orange Juice, too. He’s gonna shoot somebody and then listen to Kush & Orange Juice. What do you have planned next? Right now I’m about to smoke this Headband. I’ma finish this tour up. We did 40 cities; my voice is almost done! My dog is gonna kill me when I get home, cause she misses me so bad. Finish that up, do the album this year. Keep smoking different types of weed and shit…and um…just try to rule the world, man. Nothing major, I’m just here. Last year you released the How Fly mixtape with Curren$y, and you collaborated numerous other times. What’s your relationship with him like? That’s my fucking brother! I meet a lot of people in the industry, I’m cool with a lot of people, but that’s my nigga. We just be on the same shit, just some G shit. I meet him through the internet, but then kicked it on some cool shit. His grind is unmatched, his music is crazy, his fan base is like none other. And we share a lot of the same fans, too. That’s what was so powerful about me and him getting together like we did. I think it opened people up to a whole different type of music, a whole different type of living, then what they expect from music. So it’ll be fun to see what happens in the next couple years after this shit, but we’re always gon’ be working together. We got movies in the making, more CDs, collectibles for people, it’s gon’ be crazy. Are you planning to stay independent or are you looking to sign back with a major? If a situation presents itself, I’m not against it. I went independent because that was the move. But now that I did what I did with my independent shit, if a major situation presents itself that’s better, of course if the money is right and the terms are right, as far as creative control, it could work. Also, I’m a boss, I make what’s gonna work, work, you know what I mean? And if that ain’t the situation, then I’ll bounce and get some money from somewhere else. But whatever is gonna happen is gonna happen. I’m out selling these shows out and working on a great album. I have a wonderful fan base, so just based off that I could keep going forever. // - Words by Randy Roper / Photo by Clevis Harrison
DJ Burn One Hometown: Atlanta, GA Website: Blvdst.com, Twitter.com/djburnone DJ Affiliation: Coalition DJs Artist Affiliations: Gucci Mane, Pill, Yelawolf Mixtapes: Gucci Mane’s Chicken Talk, PilL’s Prescription 4180, Yelawolf’s Trunk Muzik 3 Songs In Current Rotation: Pill “In They Eyes,” Freddie Gibbs “Crushin’ Feelings,” Yelawolf “My Box Chevy Pt. 3” He started out selling mixtapes in high school, and after playing his part in breaking artists like Gucci Mane, OJ Da Juiceman and Pill, this sought-after ATL mixtape DJ TELLS HOW HE PLANS TO MAKE THE transition into sought-AFTER ATL producer: I always listened to music. I grew up on No Limit and Cash Money. When I was 16, my friend got a program called Sony Acid, and we started finding instrumentals and matching them with acappellas. A lot of it was pretty terrible, so I’m glad I lost the tapes. But that’s how it started. Then me and my friend started selling CDs at school. People would come and ask me for the top 10 or 20 rap songs that were out, so I started putting them together. Then I got a job at a local mom & pop store called Super Sound and I started selling mix CDs out of there. I was selling like 100 a week in the 9th grade. I grew up on DJ Jelly tape’s and heavy mixing, [but] I heard [DJ] Drama with the exclusives, so I started to seek out artists to build relationships with. I met T.I. through Xtaci and I got him to host a tape. That’s really when everything started picking up a lot. I first met Gucci Mane when they’d put out “Black Tee” as a response to “White Tee.” I met Zaytoven through Gucci. Gucci was recording at his house and they had just done “So Icey.” I met [Gucci Mane] from there, and he did some freestyles for me. I caught up with him about 2 or 3 years later after he got out of jail, and I talked him into doing a tape. I worked with Young Dro. I did his first tape. I met him at Grand Hustle when he had just signed over there. I hung around for a month and gathered up a whole bunch of songs to do a tape. The week the tape came out, “Shoulder Lean” just got added to Hot 107.9, so it was the perfect time for them to come together. It proved that he could make a radio record but still could rap. So, that really helped solidify his fan base, as opposed to just being a guy with a song. I just did a tape on Starlito, All Star from Cash Money. It’s really just the model of tape that I’m trying to do from now on. I’m dong all the production, or at least the majority. It’s 11 songs, so we kept it short. It’s just something that we own. It’s not freestyles, it’s real street albums. This tape we put it straight to iTunes. You don’t need a million dollars to put behind a project; we did this ourselves. I’m trying to [keep this formula] with most of the stuff I’m doing. Sometimes people have their music already done, and they just want me to host it. That’s fine, but I just want to be more involved. After the [DJ] Drama [RIAA] bust, a lot of mixtape stores clammed up and stopped selling mixtapes. So, if we can get real albums into the stores or iTunes, and make real money, I think that’s the next phase of mixtapes and where they’re going. Or at least where I’m going. I did Gucci’s first tape, OJ Da Juiceman’s, Dro’s. I did Pill’s last year and he signed with Asylum in January. I did Yelawolf’s tape back in January. I try to find people that I really am a fan of and that I know will translate to most other people. I think I have a pretty good ear for what people would like to hear. I wasn’t really doing tapes last year. I did Pill and a couple others but I was really just sitting at home working on beats. I feel like all the work I was doing is starting to pick up some steam, finally getting love on blogs, different artists are starting to reach out to me to work. I think production is really my calling but I’d still like to stay on the road. I’m about to be touring with Yelawolf a lot. I enjoy being on the road but I like to be able to sit down and work on beats, work on albums and stuff to keep residual money. Show money’s cool, but it’s not going to come to you while you’re sitting at home. I’m really trying to work on my project, the Burn One album. I want to produce the majority of it. I might have DJ Toomp do something on it. I look up to him, so I’d love to have him do some stuff on there. I just wanna capture all this new talent that’s coming out right now—Freddie Gibbs, Pill, Yelawolf—there’s a whole new crop that’s starting to rise, but no one has really captured that in an album yet. They’re all doing their own thing but I think I can do a good job [capturing them together], so that’s probably the next project that I’m working on. As told to Randy Roper
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With Hip Hop Getting More Digital By The Day, ARTISTS SHOULD BE PAYING Attention To Professional Computer Hackers Like Gregory Evans Words by Maurice g. garland 58 // OZONE MAG
Typically, the mic and the turntable are the first tools that come to mind when thinking about Hip Hop. But over the last decade, the computer has become just as important. Artists, producers, DJs and music insiders store everything from albums, exclusive remixes, contacts, photos, invoices to itineraries on their computers.
You’d think for these things to be so valuable to their existence, they’d go above and beyond to protect them. But according to Gregory Evans, CEO/Founder of Ligatt Security (pictured below), your favorite artists are spending more money rolling with an entourage and popping bottles in the club than protecting the very thing that makes them money.
Can you give us an example of how hacking has affected an artist? This is a true story, but I can’t tell you who the artist was. Two people are beefing, and they’ve both got albums coming out. One of them hires a hacker and gets him to steal the other rapper’s tracks, and even used some of his lyrics. He wound up dropping his album before his. Now the victim is accusing people of stealing his stuff and looking at everyone in his camp. You can mess people’s numbers up by hacking SoundScan too.
Evans is a professional computer hacker who gets paid to hack into the computer systems of corporate companies and tell them how they can better protect themselves. But he wasn’t always on the right side of the fence. The Maryland native has done everything from hack into the coroner’s office to “kill” someone to run a multi-million dollar telephone fraud scheme that landed him in prison for 2 years. After serving his time (and paying back $10 million in restitution) Evans is hacking legitimately and wants the Hip Hop community to know that they can and should put forth more effort to protect their creative properties.
So you’ve dealt with high profile people then? Oh yeah, artists, producers, CEOs, studios. One studio in NYC had a hacker stealing stuff and leaking it. But they never told people it was happening. We went in and shutdown the studio and tracked down the person who did it. But the rappers affected never stopped to ask, “What do we all have in common?” They all worked at the same studio and most of the songs that were leaked were linked back to the same studio. All these big artists have studios in their home thinking they can’t be hacked because it came with Norton [Anti-Virus]. That stops the wannabees, not the real hackers.
What exactly do you and your company do? We are hackers. We teach people how to hack, but legally. We write our own software. Say someone hacked into your studio system, stole your songs and put them on the internet, or somebody is trying to extort you or install spyware on your machine…that’s where we come in.
What can people do to protect themselves? They can’t call the [Best Buy] Geek Squad. They need a real hacker to go in and show them how it happens. That’s what they need. Calling your boy who happens to be an IT person is not gonna work. Citibank got hacked a couple weeks ago. They have IT people with fancy degrees but still got hacked. They don’t employ real hackers. The same way rappers hire bodyguards with street cred, they need to hire a hacker with some credibility.
At what point does hacking become legal? Hacking becomes legal when you have permission to hack into a person’s computer. Back in the day I used to hack illegally, that’s how I got my skills. When I got caught and wound up paying back a lot of money, I switched it around. Now people give me permission to actually do it. Why should the Hip Hop community pay more attention to this? Hackers can mess up your album sales. Hackers can hack into your computer anytime we want and leak your songs. This has been going on for years. People in Hip Hop consider “security” to be guns and homeboys, metal detectors, pit bulls, etc. But they don’t think about computer security. When people hear the word “hacker,” they [picture] a nerdy white kid hacking into school computers. But in reality, cybercrime brings in more money than all the drug trafficking in the world. Let’s say you’re recording at your home studio, or a big studio in New York. There’s four people in the room: you, the producer, the engineer and one of your homeboys. You just came up with a song, he came up with the beat, and you wrote the song and recorded the song that night. As soon as you hit save, a hacker can already be in your computer. Or they might have installed spyware, so everything you do gets emailed to them. Now your song ends up on the net or the radio. You’re mad and blaming your people, looking at them sideways. Some of these studios have cameras, metal detectors and elevator cards, thinking they have all the security taken care of. But they didn’t install firewalls on their computers and configure them correctly. All studios have internet with people inside checking their emails, facebooks, doing online banking and making reservations. Everything you’re doing can be emailed to someone else. Studio executives don’t understand this. They think that just because they have an IT person running their network, they’re protected. IT managers are not security people. That’s like comparing a nurse to a doctor. People like me do nothing but hack. Your IT person’s job is just to connect your computers to the internet and to the printer. Does the hacker need to be at the studio to hack into the system? No, there are two ways they can do it. They can find out where a studio is, drive up, park outside and if they have a wireless network, they can crack it in 5 minutes or 6 hours. Once they crack it, all they have to do is install the software they need, leave, and never come back. Or they can get the IP address of the studio. You don’t have to be in the same country to hack. They can send an email and as soon as you touch that email, to read it or delete it, doesn’t matter. As soon as you touch that email, it send me back an IP address. You IP address is like your SSN. Everyone only gets one. Once they get that, they will start scanning looking for open ports. Every computer has at least 65,000 ports on it. Imagine walking around a house with nothing but doors and windows, but not going in. That’s what scanning is, and it’s not illegal. So they’ll walk around the house and notice that door 34,553 is open, or 53,832 is ajar. Those are considered open ports, so they’ll use that to hack in. Or, I can just send out an email saying “check out Jay-Z’s new track” to get people to check it out, and I’ll put a link in there. As soon
Can you tell us some of the people you’ve done work for? We can’t name names because we sign confidentiality agreements. Last year, we worked for a multi-platinum artist. This person was being extorted. Someone got ahold of all their music, [private] pictures, and personal stuff, and a hacker contacted them asking for money. One of their managers had dealt with me in the past. They wanted to call the police, but then it would have gotten out to the press. So they called me and we actually got into the hacker’s computer and deleted everything he had downloaded so he didn’t have to pay. The artist was one of the top four selling artists that year, as far as album sales. I’ve seen some stuff, man. You wouldn’t believe some of the lifestyles some of these guys live. Some of them are gay on the down low and they save this shit on their computer thinking they’re safe. Some of these guys don’t even put passwords or encryption on their computers. Let’s say you don’t get hacked, but someone steals your computer. Why are you putting all this shit on your computer? Or the passwords are easy to figure out. I don’t even see why rappers are beefing with guns. Get a hacker and you can mess up somebody forever. So you think this is going to be the new way to beef? It’s already the new way. White people know. But brothas on the street don’t, they need to get hip to the game. They need to get a bad hacker on their team. Say if Ross and Eminem are beefing. Em has more money and he hires a hacker like me, not me because I don’t do stuff like this, but somebody like me, and says, “I want you to deal with Ross.” I’ll ask how bad? If he says real bad, I can hack into Ross’s computer and put child porn on his computer and call the authorities. Then, bam! Rick gets busted with child porn. I ain’t saying I’ll do that, but that’s what can happen. So some people are getting framed? Man, I’ve framed so many people. When I was in high school my teacher gave me a B in class. Me and my friends were hacking and changing grades in school back then. We changed the teacher’s credit, got his house foreclosed on, got his car repossessed. We even killed somebody with a computer. Back in the day, you could hack into the coroner office’s computer and make someone deceased. That goes out to the credit bureaus and the DMV. We waited a week and called the police while this teacher was driving, said somebody stole his car and had been driving around using a dead man’s ID. They pulled him over and he showed them his ID, but when they ran his name it said deceased. They arrested him and he had to prove who he was. Back then fingerprints didn’t come fast. He was locked up for while. He shouldn’t gave me a B. How much does it cost to protect yourself from hackers? You can spend less than 5 grand, but make sure you hire the real McCoy. Before this, I was hitting phone companies for a million a week in LA. I had to pay back $10 million in restitution and spend 24 months in prison. I did my time, got out, and started doing it legit. You want to make sure you get somebody that knows what they’re doing. // OZONE MAG // 59
DEVIN the DUDE Words by Randy Roper
Just weeks before the release of his latest album, Suite #420, and the start of his 420 Tour, Devin “The Dude” Copeland is in a good mood. And why shouldn’t he be? While most rap careers are about as stable as Greg Oden’s knees, Devin The Dude has spent damn near 20 years eating good and smoking even better off the music business. Devin talks to OZONE about this year’s monumental international Cannabis holiday. For people that don’t know, can you explain what 4/20 is? 4/20 is like a smoke time and it turned out to be an international smoker holiday, April 20th. It started off, at 4:20 PM, some college guys out in California used to take a smoke break everyday at this particular time. It turned into a trend and became worldwide. So, Suite #420 is a special occasion. It’s a blessing for me to come out with another album, man. It’s been quite a minute since my first album. It’s kinda sweet for me to be still in it and putting out records. Suite #420 is like having a hotel suite with your friends and people over there that smoke, to just chill. Everybody’s letting the weed break the ice, and ain’t nobody trippin’ on color or race or whatever. It’s just coming together, sharing ideas and passing the weed over. We want the album to portray that. Just smoke, chill, have fun and enjoy what’s here. How many years have you been celebrating 4/20? I don’t really celebrate it like that. I’m usually high on 4/20 anyway. But on April 20th I would probably call a couple friends, my Coughee Brothers and sisters, and ask them if they’re putting it in the air for 4/20 and just wish them a Happy 4/20. Stuff like that. I don’t throw no huge party. You don’t have any big 4/20 plans this year? Actually, man, yeah, the nationwide tour starts on 4/20. It’s going to begin in Houston, then a few shows in Texas, then we’re going to head out to the West, then the Pacific Northwest, then go to the Midwest, then the East Coast, back around to the South, we’re going to make a circle. We’re going to be out for like a month and a half. Who else is going on tour with you? The Odd Squad, the Coughee Brothaz, actually we’re still trying to accumulate another artists right now as we speak. We’re just trying to get a solid show together and get ready for the road in April. This is going to be your third album since you left J. Prince and Rap-ALot, so what’s been the biggest difference since you left Rap-A-Lot and joined Razor & Tie Entertainment? There hasn’t been too much of a change. Our music is still the same and
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our work ethic is pretty much the same. We still have the same format of how we do things and the studios we go to for mixing and mastering. You’re been grinding for a long time. Even though you have a strong fan base, do you ever get frustrated and feel like you should be a bigger star? Nah, not frustrated. I never thought when I started rapping in the 11th grade that I’d be in the presence of artists I looked up to and admired most in my life. I never could have imagined I’d be in the presence of some of these people and help them with their projects, and vice versa, get them to help me with my projects. Like Nas and [Dr.] Dre and De La Soul and Rafael Saadiq, Too $hort, [DJ] Premier, just to name a few. There have been so many blessings that came my way, no record sales could account for that. I’m not saying I don’t want to sell records. Every rapper would want a lot of units sold, of course. But the respect and appreciation goes a long way. There was a recent interview online where you were talking about Amsterdam. Have you been there recently? Man, I’ve been to Amsterdam about three times. I haven’t recently been, but I’m looking to go again. It’s real cool out there, man. It’s carefree. You can smoke and drink and chill at the same place, and ain’t nobody really trippin’ on that. Is the weed better over there? I think they have a better variety, simply because it’s not frowned upon. It’s not necessarily “legal,” but they don’t really trip. Since the availability is so broad, they’ve got all different kinds of weed. But it’s some pretty nice stuff out there. It’s probably the same stuff that you’ll see in the dispensaries out in California. Obviously, you think they should legalize weed in America, right? I sure hope so and I’m sure waiting for that time. If not legalize it, at least decriminalize it. It’s messing up a lot of families and putting a lot of money towards lawyers and jail. It’s simply a grass that grows, that’s actually a medicine, and it’s good for you. But they want to try and portray it as something bad. It helps millions of people. It’s never killed one and the powers that be want to make it seem like it’s a bad thing. So, on 4/20, what do you want fans to do after they buy your album? I want them to twist up something first. So, make sure they have something in a bong, a bowl, weed pipe or something, take a few hits and put the record on. And hopefully they like a few songs that they hear on the album. //
With music fans increasingly changing their music video viewing habits from the television to the computer, many artists are scaling back on trying to make extravagant videos like the ones Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliot used to SpLURGE ON. While technology has opened up the door for virtually everyone with the money to afford a nice camera to call themselves a “director,” Motion Family is setting the standard on how to make potent music videos in today’s climate. The three-man team consisting of photographer Diwang Valdez (RIGHT), videographer Sebastian “C Bass” Urrea (LEFT) and graphic designer David KA (CENTER) are emerging as the go-to team for music videos and OVERALL ARTIST IMAGING. After shooting careeraltering videos for the likes of Lil Boosie and Pill, Mo Fam are set to revolutionize music videoS. OZONE caught up with the team at their Atlanta headquarters to find out how it all started and where it’s going. Can you start off by telling us how the Motion Family got started? David KA: It started in 2004. C Bass and I were at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) and we had the idea to start a full service agency. We graduated, C Bass moved to Tampa, and we had the dream to do videos. I convinced C Bass to move back here when I was working at Dapper Magazine. Diwang was there too; that’s how I met him. From there we connected and formed MF as an agency. We linked up with Yancey Richardson [at Atlantic Records] and he believed in what we were doing. He brought some work and videos to the table like Yung Joc, Gucci Mane, and Yung Ralph. Joc’s song “Posted At the Store” was our first major look. After that we did Pill’s “Trap Goin’ Ham,” and that’s the video that got us recognition. With three people being on the team, how do you stay on the same accord creatively? C Bass: It’s a natural vibe that occurs, because MF was formed off natural occurances. Everybody plays their part and respects each other and trusts each other. There’s not a moment where I can’t tell them to do what they feel. When it works it works. We just flow with it. MF has been together since college, it just worked. Diwang: When we’re on set, I know David and C Bass’ work and what they capable of. So there is no question. We have 3 different perspectives
but the same goal in mind. David KA: We all shoot, so if we’re feeling a shot, one of us might hop in. All our videos are like a collaboration of 3 different visions. If you sit down and look, I can tell who shot what, but others won’t be able to. But when we do our videos it’s 3 different visions. We might do 3 different looks per verse. Diwang: If the 3 of us are shooting, out of all of us, we always know what shot is the best. We’re non-biased. If it’s dope it’s dope. How long did it take you to research things and really get in the game? David KA: Technology has changed recently. When we started in 2004, film was real big and digital was just hitting the scene. With film you still need that 25 person crew. But with digital, depending on how you work, you can pull it off. We have a documentary style. We like to shoot real life, with no set-ups. If you know how to work your cameras, you can take advantage and the possibilities are endless. Back in the day you needed $150k to even get started, but now you might only need $5k to $15k. It’s crazy. If you’re into technology and how shit works, everything is at your fingertips. Diwang: Plus, we’re fans of the culture and we listen to the music already. This is what we like to do. We already have a good grasp on what we like to see. David KA: We’re getting in the game when budgets are the worst ever, but we have a love for this. The money will get better, but we love to do this. Do you think you’re changing the game? People don’t seem to want to do big budget videos anymore. David: It’s hard to say. We don’t want to put it out there that you can just do it for nothing. But we’re proving that you don’t need the $100k budgets to do videos that pop. If you have a vision and a feeling, and confidence in what you put out, it can work. Diwang: It’s about keeping true to the artist. With Yelawolf and Pill, we went to where they’re from. We didn’t stage anything or set up anything. This is his hood, these are his friends, these are his
parents, everything was really natural. C Bass: None of us set out trying to prove a point that you could shoot videos for less. We were just on a grind and trying to do our best with what we have. With technology switching, it’s been in our favor. It can be said that we made the point, but we weren’t trying to prove it. Do you write treatments? David: I hate treatments. C Bass: I don’t like treatments, but I respect the planning of it. For MF it’s been the plan of events; we’ve done treatments and executed. As long as we’re on the same page, we deliver. We’ve gone to Louisiana with Boosie and we won’t know what song we’re shooting for until we get there. We show up, listen to the song, bounce some ideas and locations around, and then “Mind of Maniac” is delivered. Diwang: Boosie trusts us. He’s all about doing the work. That’s what’s great about working with him. He’s been the easiest artist to work with. Everybody seems to trust you. Do you talk with the artists directly all the time? C Bass: Sometimes it works how it’s supposed to. Most times we do our thing; sometimes Yancy brings some work. But most times it comes down to the vibe with the artist and MF. When we work directly with the artist, they really open up. Diwang: We get a feeling of who they are and how they want to be portrayed. We’ve talked and built rapport with them, so it works more naturally that way. A lot your videos are shot in dangerous ‘hoods. Have you ever been worried? David: At any point you do have to realize that people might snatch the camera, but we don’t really think about it. Diwang: We usually aren’t worried because the artist we’re with is respected. We feel completely comfortable in the hoods and situations because the guys are really from there. So we don’t worry about security when we know we’re with somebody that’s respected. // Words by Maurice G. Garland OZONE MAG // 61
& DJ Khaled/Victory If you heard Khaled’s 2008 album We Global or his 2007 album We The Best, you should already know what his latest album, Victory, sounds like. But this time around Khaled’s formula of A-list collaborations (well, B-list and C-list, too), mostly over Runners’ beats, sounds staler than ever. Songs like “All I Do Is Win,”“Put Your Hands Up” and “Fed Up” should sound better than they do considering they feature the likes of Rick Ross, T-Pain, Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne and Drake. Plus, as the album plays, the features get weaker and much more skippable. Victory isn’t completely trash, but Khaled may want to consider switching it up on the next one if he plans to continue winning. – Randy Roper Ludacris/Battle of the SexeS DTP/Def Jam What started out as a collaboration album between Luda and Shawnna ended with Shawnna being dropped from the duet and ‘Cris bringing in a long list of features to pull off his Battle of the Sexes theme. Unfortunately, the end result pretty much sounds like an extended version of “What’s Your Fantasy,” or “P-Poppin’” or “Money Maker,” or “One More Drink,” or any other song Luda has delivered over the last 10 years. Still, Chris Bridges is one of the best rappers in the game, and his new album has enough quality songs and radio friendly records to make this a decent album. Just don’t set your expectations too high. – Randy Roper B.o.B./The Adventures of Bobby Ray Atlantic/Rebel Rock/Grand Hustle B.o.B. has never been one to break out cookie-cutter tracks to get attention; his creativity and persistence has been the formula by which his music succeeds. The Adventures of Bobby Ray is different right from the beginning with the pianos on “Don’t Let Me Fall,” which open up this unconventional Hip Hop opus. B.o.B. brings tracks such as “Airplanes” and “Ghost in the Machine” which cross musical boundaries and convey his feelings rather than focusing on sex, drugs, and rims. A welcome, refreshing break from Hip Hop’s monotony, this album is a must-have. – Rohit Loomba
Alley Boy, DJ Holiday & The Empire/Definition of Fuck Shit Alley Boy doesn’t make the type of music futuristic Atlanta rap fans can relate to. Matter of fact, Definition of Fuck Shit is the exact opposite of the swag music that’s been coming out of ATL over the last couple years. Jack-boy songs like “Rappin’ & Robbin’ featuring Princess and Waka Flocka Flame and “Shoot 4 That,” along with the Young Dro-assisted “Tall,” an ode to riding 24” rims or better, make for a list of standouts. And even with a few misses (“BIG,” “Don’t Hate Me”), Alley Boy is without a doubt one of the few new Atlanta rappers making quality street music. – Randy Roper
Fabolous & DJ Drama There Is No Competition 2 This long overdue follow-up to Fabolous & Drama’s 2008 mixtape was well worth the wait. Much like Fab’s other tapes, No Competiton 2 is arguably better than his last album, Loso’s Way, as Mr. F-A-B-O and his Street Family, Paul Cain and Freck Billionaire, go on a massive jackin’ for beats mission. From beginning to end, Loso’s punchlines and one-liners are solid over borrowed tracks like Rihanna’s “Hard,” Waka Flocka’s “O Let’s Do It” and The Clipse’s “Popular Demand.” And once again Fab used the mixtape circuit to prove why bar for bar for nearly a decade, he’s been one of Hip Hop’s nicest MCs. – Randy Roper
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Laws & Don Cannon 4:57 PM It’s been over a year since Laws’ Your Future Favorite Rapper mixtape dropped, and on his new project, the Warner Bros. signee gets a step closer to fulfilling that title. Through 17 tracks, Laws shows his talent on “Number One” alongside Jay Rock, over the 9th Wonder-produced “Shining,” and “We Like It,” produced by Da Honorable C.N.O.T.E. Laws does stumble when he goes too left field trying to cater to his diverse fanbase with “My Chick” and “Colors (I Don’t Care),” but overall, his good beat selection and lyricism make this tape a good listen no matter what time of day. – Randy Roper
Chris Brown, DJ Drama & DJ Sense In My Zone This isn’t saying much, but Chris Brown’s Aphilliatesassisted mixtape might actually be better than his subpar last album, Graffitti. Songs like “Madusa,” “Twitter” and “Perfume” aren’t bad, and Breezy is often entertaining when he’s showing off his rap skills on cuts like “Too Freaky” and “I Get Around.” But other songs are either corny (“Big Booty Judy”), unarguably wack (“Shoes”), or just bad ideas, like the Trey Songz “Invented Sex” rendition, “Invented Head.” Really, Chris? Really? Brown might want to think about releasing better music if he wants fans to forget about the beating he put on Rihanna, as In My Zone appears to be another black eye on his résumé. – Randy Roper
Cyhi Da Prynce, DJ Green Lantern, DJ Greg Street & DJ Infamous The Prynce of Jacks The Prynce of Jacks is actually what the title would suggest, and on this tape the Konvict Muzik MC jacks everyone for beats from Trey Songz’s “Say Ahh” to the Pharcyde’s “Passin Me By” to Luda’s “How Low,” and flips them all with his own slick flow. Since Cyhi is a gifted MC, listening to his rhymes is entertaining, but after a while, 23 tracks of beat jackin’ and no original music is a bit much to listen to, no matter whom the artist is. – Randy Roper Willie The Kid & DJ Woogie The Cure Though WTK’s newest mixtape is just around 30 minutes long, and only one song is longer than three minutes, DJ Drama’s first round draft pick packs enough punchlines and wordplay into half an hour for The Cure be worthy of a few listens. As always, Willie is lyrically on point, but the briefness of this mixtape makes it play more like a sample of things to come than a cure for any aliment. – Randy Roper
Asher Roth & DJ Wreckineyez Seared Foie Gras With Quince And Cranberry After a flopped album (even by today’s standards) and a Twitter update gone wrong, Asher Roth returns with a new mixtape that won’t win over any naysayers, but it’s will appease his core fans. Depending on your mixtape taste, DJ Wreckineyez’s mixing and blending can be a positive or a negative addition to Roth’s rhymes. But still, Asher’s slick bars over jacked Kanye, Just Blaze and J Dilla beats, along with collabs with B.o.B, Talib Kweli and Blu makes for a solid tape. – Randy Roper
Stuey Rock, Shawty Redd & DJ Scream/Jekyll & Hyde From Stuey Rock’s fusion of juke music, slow jams, and strip club anthems to Shawty Redd’s unexpected vocals, Jekyll & Hyde is an interesting experiment. Fun yet grown and sexy, Rock & Redd combine their solo work into one project, creating a list of hits like “What’s It Gonna Be,” “Nympho Maniac,”“Stroker Lovin,”“Get It Girl,” and “For Love.” At time’s Redd’s rapping is off and the creativity is a bit overboard, but it’s a minor nuisance. Appearances by Snoop Dogg, Bobby Valentino, Alley Boy, and production from KE, C-Note, Marvelous J, Fat Boi, and Nard & B make this a must-have mixtape. #FreeShawtyRedd. – Ms. Rivercity
Roscoe Dash & DJ Kutt Throat Can’t Catch the Lambo Roscoe has proven himself with several club favorites following the controversial “All the Way Turnt Up” (which he addresses on “WTH is Goin On”). Almost weekly the 19-year-old hook master records another smash, and Can’t Catch the Lambo is like a Best of Roscoe Dash Collabs mixtape. Featuring “Na Na Na” (Yung LA & J Money), “I’m So Gone” (F.L.Y.), “Dey on My Dick” Remix (LA da Boomman/Waka), and Roscoe’s solo single “Show Out,” this tape is fast-paced and entertaining. Excluding some skits, DJ shout outs, and filler tracks that interrupt the vibe, Roscoe has a great project. – Ms. Rivercity
Baby Boy, DJ MLK & DJ Scream/ Play Pen – Pacify-Her Grand Hustle/Hypocalypto’s young songster shows his flexibility with this dual-themed mixtape. The first half features baller-geared records like “Stuntin” featuring Yung LA, “Getting Money” featuring Young Dro, and “Bossed Up” featuring Trap and Alley Boy. Approaching the second half, Baby Boy gets more mature with songs like “Go Deep” and “Passions of a Goon.” Overall this feels incomplete, with an abrupt ending, but the quality is highly commendable for a mixtape. Even though the content switches up, Baby Boy’s sound and well-written hooks stay consistent, making the transition effortless and enjoyable. – Ms. Rivercity
Rocko x DJ Scream Wild Life Say what you want about Rocko as an artist, but he can be considered to be somewhat of a trendsetter. Nobody was rapping about swag (in excess) before him, but after him, everybody ran it into the ground. On Wildlife, Rocko reunites with DJ Scream, and while it isn’t as good at Swag Season, the mixtape does reintroduce Rocko with a slightly grittier sound this time around. Guess the recession might’ve hit him just like the rest of us. - Maurice G. Garland
Chalie Boy & DJ Mr. Rogers/I’m Here Whether you like it or not, Chalie Boy’s hit single “I Look Good” got him on, record deal and all, and he’s here. On this mixtape with DJ Mr. Rogers, appropriately entitled I’m Here, Charlie Boy sing-raps his way through 18 cuts (37 if you count the slowed-n-chopped songs). While it’s hard to tell if he seriously believes he can sing, or if he chooses to sing regardless of the fact, there are some songs like “I’m Here” and “Change” that are undeniably strong. Chalie is a decent rapper, but since he sings more often than he rhymes, it’s difficult trying to get through this entire release. But if it’s any consolation, Chalie Boy’s music sounds a lot more bearable when it’s slowed-n-chopped. – Randy Roper
Freeway and Jake One The Stimulus Package Contrary to popular belief, Freeway didn’t fall off. He’s actually been dropping albums and mixtapes consistently over the last 4 years, but none of them came with the Roc-A-Fella hype. His new project with producer Jake One, The Stimulus Package, marks Free’s official comeback and return to rap supremacy. Offering a well balanced attack of lyricism on “Microphone Killer,” storytelling on “Money” and even some “girl records” with “She Makes Me Feel Alright,” Free proves that he can stand alone with or without the Roc. Jake One holds up his end of the bargain by crafting beats that bring the right emotions for the subjects at hand. The Stimulus Package sets a new standard for what a complete rap album should be in 2010. Let’s see if anybody takes notice. - Maurice G. Garland
Yung Ralph & DJ Scream The Juug Man (The Sequel) With the number of street hits falling short of Juug Man Pt. 1, this second offering from Yung Ralph leaves something to be desired. Though he doesn’t lack material, as his internet releases are continuous, this tape doesn’t represent all that the Big Cat rapper brings to the table. Becoming an underground favorite with songs like “About a Bitch” and “Look Like Money,” Ralph keeps true to that sound with new hits like “I Bought That” and “Campaign,” but there’s an overall absence of hunger. This tape is good, but maybe not enough to satisfy faithful Yung Ralph followers. – Ms. Rivercity
Trai’D & DJ Drop Young Thundacat This Young Thundacat consistently makes likeable, club-ready music, similar to the quality that’s kept Ludacris relevant long-term. Starting with “I’m Loaded” featuring HP Miss & Fat B, Trai’D keeps the momentum going with songs like “Fonzie,”“iDoobie,” and “Gutta Chick.” It’s obvious Trai’D records mostly for the ladies and partying, and his strong point isn’t insightful storytelling, but he doesn’t try to be something he’s not, and he can rap. A shortcoming of this tape is the music is dated, with a majority of the hits being released early 2009, if not earlier. Being that Trai’D is still under the radar, it’s forgivable. With the right push, this Hitz Committee signee could bring Dallas even more spotlight. – Ms. Rivercity
Tity Boi x DJ Black Bill Gates Me Against The World 2 (Codeine Withdrawl) Tity Boi of Playaz Circle may very well be the 2010 version of Treach of Naughty By Nature. Everyone seems to think he will fare better as a solo artist, but he doesn’t seem to be interested. Perhaps he’s heard the whispers and decided to put out this solo mixtape. He comes across as somewhere between Gucci Mane and Lil Wayne, but never as a guy that can stand alone, which is why being in a group is better suited for his style. - Maurice G. Garland Dorrough & DJ Drama Number 23 I’m not sure what makes Dorrough think he compares to Lebron James but Number 23 doesn’t measure up to King James’ stature by any magnitude. However, if you liked “Ice Cream Paint Job,” you should find a few tracks on this tape to ride to, like “I Stay” and the title track “Number 23.” Still, Dorrough should have rethought this the mixtape title. Number 31 would have been better, because it’s more like the Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry - good for a few minutes of burn. - Randy Roper OZONE MAG // 63
DJ SCREAM & MLK
SAKS FIFTH: ROCKIN’ REPUBLIC EDITION HOSTED BY LIL DUVAL
1. DJ Black Bill Gates “Black Diamond Radio” Blackbillgates.podomatic.com 2. DJ 5150 & Dre “NO To The BR 2” Twitter.com/dj5150br 3. DJ Chuck T “Down South Slangin’ 67” Djchuckt.com
4. DJ Ames “International Hustle 15” Hosted by T-Shyne & Charlie Boy Twitter.com/DjAmesUK 5. DJ Holiday “Holiday Season 3: Heartbeat To The Streets” Twitter.com /djholiday 6. DJ IQ & DJ Whiteboi “Sexual Climaxx Vol. III” twitter.com/iamDJiq 7. DJ Knucklez “Knuckle Up Round 10” Twitter.com/djknucklez 8. DJ Kut “Everybody Loves Chris” Twitter.com/djkut 9. DJ Sense “Rhythm & Streets 14” featuring Keri Hilson Twitter.com/DJSense 10. DJ Skillz “Roc-A-Fella The Golden Years Part 1” Skillzthedj.com 11. DJ Smallz “Follow Me! RnB Volume Two” Hosted by Baby Boy Djsmallz.c om 12. DJ Spinz “Heart of the City 9” Twitter.com/spinzhoodrich 13. DJ E-Top “Get Ya Game Up 15” Twitter.com/djetop
DJ Scream and MLK got their hands on a few exclusives and ATL underground hits, but having Lil Duval host this mixtape is what makes this the Mix of the Month. Duval’s skits are hilarious, but this mixtape’s gem is Lil Duval’s very own single “Basic Chick.” DJs, send your mix CDs (with a cover) for consideration to: OZONE Magazine 644 Antone St. Suite 6 Atlanta, GA 30318
14. DJ Woogie & Mz Stylez “Southern Sippin 16” Twitter.com/Djwoogie 15. DJ Suga & Exclusive J “Boss Chicks-R-Us Chapter 1” 16. Lil Fats “Coast 2 Coast 116” Hosted Kurupt www.coast2coastmixtapes.com 17. DJ Mr. King “Bedroom Blendz Vol. 3” Twitter.com/djmrking www.djmrking.com
18. Shoot 5 Ent. “Dirty South G’s Vol. 14” Hosted Alley Boy 19. DJ Spinatik “Street Runnaz 45” Djspinatik.com 20. DJ Smooth Denali “Best of 2009 Hip Hop Edition” Djsmoothdenali.com
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Young Jeezy Event: Blueprint 3 Tour Venue: Phillips Arena City: Atlanta, GA Date: February 27th, 2010 Photo: Thaddaeus McAdams
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RAW, UNCENSORED WEST COAST RAP SHIT
BIG RICH MESSY MARV
NEW MONEY TWINZ
editor’s note I’m Just Sayin’tho by D-Ray
ip Hop is not dead! I’ve seen three incredible shows lately that prove Hip Hop is alive. First, I saw my first Paid Dues concert, which was their fifth annual. Good work, Murs! I love me some underground Hip Hop, I just don’t always make it a point to cover those events. When I do go, it’s mostly to enjoy myself and the surroundings. This time I went and did what I do!
I had just seen Tech N9ne in Petaluma a few days before and he encouraged me to go to the Paid Dues show. So I headed to L.A. and linked up with my fam Strong Arm Steady and Planet Asia. It turned out to be a long day, but I was having fun so it flew by. It was more like a festival than a concert. There were indoor and outdoor stages and people everywhere. I got to see some of my all-time favorite artists, Tech N9ne, Strange Music, Freeway, The Jacka, Strong Arm Steady, and The Dogg Pound, and shutting the show down was a vet in the game, Ice Cube. There was so much excitement and energy in the building! Ice Cube addressed the OGs and the New West rumors. It’s very ugly when rumors get started. I think the uneasy feelings just got a little out of control. To me, Ice Cube lives and dies for West Coast music. All the West Coast beef needs to stop. Everyone needs to just do them, period, not add to the problems. If we all just do our jobs and not get upset over what other people are doing, we’ll all be so much better off! Let your music speak for itself. Quit interrupting! Help yourself, real talk. Don’t sit around talking about what other people aren’t doing for you. You might be blocking your blessings. I see music vets pick certain artists. Sometimes you just don’t make the cut, but keep pushin’ and don’t stop. Real music and real artists cannot be denied. It’s a show and prove game. Take a gamble on yourself before you think someone else should! I also hit the Steppin’ Laser Tour when it came to the Bay at the world famous Warfield Theatre. That was another first for me. I had never seen Lupe Fiasco’s show. He was scheduled to perform “Kick Push” back in 2006 at an independent record store called Moses Music in East Oakland. He was having a block party, and hundreds of people attended the BBQ. They were giving away free food and drinks and a chance to see Lupe perform. But, before that could happen, a young Latino boy was shot and killed right outside the store. It messed me up because the streets were packed and everyone had been enjoying the festivities. I always wondered how Lupe felt about that day, which was his first time in Oakland. He expressed his feelings from that day at the Steppin’ Laser Tour and held a moment of silence for the unknown soldier whose life was taken that day. He mentioned how emotional he was not being able to perform and do what he loves to do. I hope if Lupe ever decides to visit East Oakland again, he’ll come see our East Oakland safehaven, Youth UpRising. It’s a beautiful youth center, and they just installed a
Travis Barker & Me @ Vanguard for Snoop Dogg’s release party in Hollywood
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Trell & Me in L.A.
skate park. If you ever come and see the kids, it would make a huge difference in at least one of their lives. B.o.B., otherwise known as Bobby Ray, was also on the bill for the show at the Warfield. I’ve been a fan of B.o.B. since 2007. He’s a dope young’n and an all-around artist. Big ups to you and your success. The #1 single and #1 album in the country. Wow! Research his Billboard stats. You showed us how teamwork can create dreamwork! Keep living your dreams! Speaking of dreams, yet another great act hit the Bay Area. Drake performed in the Bay for the first time. Man, as I’m writing this, I just realized I got to see some good shows while I was home! I love the BAY AREA and the West Coast! Now I’m gonna rant about Drizzy real quick. I’ve known about Drake for a minute. I met him a few years back on Lil Wayne’s tour bus. Wayne says, “D, take a photo of my next superstar!” I said, “Who?” the whole YM camp was on the bus along with Jas Prince, and everyone pointed at Drake. I can spot a star pretty well, so you know I didn’t hesitate. I remember taking that first photo of him. Now look – he’s one of today’s biggest superstars! I watched him grow! I saw him on tour with Wayne and even when he sang Bobby Valentino’s part on “Miss Officer” the arena was roaring. Females were just head over heels losing their minds for him. Now, the timing is great for Drake. He’s one of the YM artists that has to lead the way while Wayne is locked up. One love Drizzy! Young Money is a machine, not a rap label. They’re an example of what it takes: patience and work ethic. They all pay attention to how Wayne stays in the studio, his work ethic, and the way he constantly strives to keep his success going. None of the artists on the YM roster wants the rep of being lazy when you have someone like Wayne just making money at all times! He doesn’t sleep, he stays grindin’! And he keeps his family close! The mind is powerful as long as you know how to use mind over matter. Mack Maine, I see you baybeeee! Keep up the good work! CMB/YM a.k.a. Oil Money! Slim and Baby deserve a lifetime achievement award, ya heard me? If y’all are looking for that new fresh talent out of the West Coast, check out Nio Tha Gift. Google his videos! My favorite is “Grateful.” Don’t sleep on him! #Loyalty #FreeWeezy #FreePSDthaDrivah #FreeZoastaDaRoasta I’m gonna do me! (in my Drake voice) - D-Ray, OZONE West Editor-At-Large firstname.lastname@example.org
Viva Las Vegas!
Guest, Me, & Vernon Davis @ Where Hip Hop Meets Couture in San Francisco
(above L-R): The Jacka & Freeway @ 17 Hertz Studios in Hayward, CA; Dem Hoodstarz & David Banner on the set of “Laughin’” in San Jose, CA; New Boyz & their little brothers @ Power 106’s Cali Christmas in Los Angeles, CA (Photos: D-Ray)
01 // Terrace Martin, Mac Lucci, & Damani @ Vanguard for Snoop Dogg’s release party (Hollywood, CA) 02 // DJ Amen, Willie Joe, Erk tha Jerk, & Mohawk Marlon @ Club NV for Steezy’s birthday bash (San Francisco, CA) 03 // Chuck and T Woods (R.I.P.) @ Heights Nightclub (San Francisco, CA) 04 // Traxamillion & Erk Tha Jerk @ Toons Nightclub for Tito Bell’s birthday party (San Jose, CA) 05 // Kafani & Roccett @ Rum Jungle for The CORE DJs Retreat (Las Vegas, NV) 06 // Roccett & Ya Boy @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Las Vegas, NV) 07 // Paul Wall & Ladies @ Magic Convention (Las Vegas, NV) 08 // Nelly approving some panties from the new Apple Bottoms collection @ Magic Convention (Las Vegas, NV) 09 // Jak Frost & Baydilla @ Gold Rush (Fairbanks, AK) 10 // Steezy & Erk tha Jerk @ Club NV for Steezy’s birthday bash (San Francisco, CA) 11 // Kurupt, Slim The Mobster, Nipsey Hussle, & guest @ the premiere of Snoop Dogg’s Malice in Wonderland (Los Angeles, CA) 12 // Richie Abbott & Octavia @ Vanguard Club for Snoop Dogg’s release party (Hollywood, CA) 13 // Even Odds & Big Rich @ Suede Nightclub (San Francisco, CA) 14 // Mars, Bad Lucc, & Brodie of 1500 or Nothin (Los Angeles, CA) 15 // Goldie of The Federaton & Paul Wall @ Magic Convention (Las Vegas, NV) 16 // Hyfee & Chop Black @ Yukmouth’s birthday mansion party (Los Angeles, CA) 17 // Bobby V & ladies @ Spring Break afterparty (San Diego, CA) 18 // YG & K-Boy @ Tatou (Los Angeles, CA) 19 // B Legit & Steezy @ Club NV for Steezy’s birthday bash (San Francisco, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,02,03,04,06,10,11,12,13,14,16,17,18,19); Julia Beverly (05,07,08,09,15)
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or the last four years, this West Coast rhymer has been a staple in the Bay Area rap scene. “I just feel like it’s time for me to expand,” he explains. “We’ve done everything we can in the Bay Area so far. I feel like we’ve reached that top level where there’s nothing else to do but expand.” Raised in the Fillmore District of San Francisco, CA, a neighborhood notorious for crime and drug trafficking, Big Rich began pursuing a rap career in 1998 when his rap group Fully Loaded signed an independent deal with Done Deal Entertainment. Done Deal was a label launched by Charles Kelly and established San Francisco rapper San Quinn. Fully Loaded released two independent albums on Done Deal, but in 2005, the group split. After the split, Rich teamed up with Kelly to
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pursue his solo aspirations. The duo started Street Cred Music Group, landed a joint venture with Koch Records, and in 2006 Rich released his solo debut album, Block Tested Hood Approved. His solo debut featured the single “That’s The Business,” which picked up video play on BET and MTV Jams. The buzz surrounding his debut, followed by numerous mixtapes and collaborations, made Big Rich of the biggest names in the Bay. “When you come out to San Francisco and somebody asks who’s Big Rich, they’re [going to say], ‘Aw, man, he’s holding the city down.’ In the Bay Area, I’m involved in everything that’s going on out here. Ever show, every tour that’s going on, I’m in it,” he says. After parting ways with Koch, Rich launched his own label 3 Story Muzik in 2009 and released his sophomore album, Heart of The City. He also teamed up with Oakland rapper Balance
for a collaborative iTunes album called Good As Money. But even with a slew of music and releases, Big Rich still finds himself a relative unknown to Hip Hop heads outside of the Bay. And while West Coast artists like Nipsey Hussle and Jay Rock are being crowned Cali’s new kings, Rich is confident his day will come. “I’m absolutely still the underdog. I’m definitely still overlooked,” he says. “That’s why it’s perfect that I’m in this Patiently Waiting. Out of all the artists that represent this section of [OZONE] Magazine, I’m definitely a prime example of an artist that’s patiently waiting. I’ve been waiting for my turn for a while. But it’s kinda good, though. I don’t want no overnight successes, cause that shit can go [away] the next night. When I get there, I’m gonna be there for awhile.” Words by Randy Roper Photo by Thoroflix
(above L-R): Freeway Ricky Ross & Ray J @ Vanguard for Snoop Dogg’s release party in Hollywood, CA (Photo: D-Ray); Nelly & City Spud @ Magic Convention in Las Vegas, NV (Photo: Julia Beverly); Te Money & Akon on the set of Akon’s video shoot in Los Angeles, CA (Photo: D-Ray)
01 // Miz & Lil D @ The Stratosphere for The CORE DJs Retreat (Las Vegas, NV) 02 // Lil Playboii, JBar, Khleo, Soulja Boy, & M2 @ Spring Break afterparty (San Diego, CA) 03 // Second to None, DJ Quik, & Freeway Ricky Ross @ Vanguard for Snoop Dogg’s release party (Hollywood, CA) 04 // Haji Springer & his parents on the set of his “Feel It” video shoot (Oakland, CA) 05 // Ray J & Capricorn Clark @ The Stratosphere for The CORE DJs Retreat (Las Vegas, NV) 06 // Boss Lady & Snoop Dogg @ Vanguard Club for Snoop Dogg’s release party (Hollywood, CA) 07 // OZONE photographers J Lash & D-Ray show off their matching camera chains @ Dolce for Lil Wayne’s going away party (Miami, FL) 08 // Akon & Ya Boy on the set of Akon’s video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 09 // J Diggs & Keak da Sneak @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Las Vegas, NV) 10 // Keyshia Cole loves the kids @ Acts Gospel Church for her Christmas turkey giveaway (East Oakland, CA) 11 // DJ Wildhairr & guest @ The Palms for The CORE DJs Jam Master Jay DVD premiere (Las Vegas, NV) 12 // The Jacka, Freeway, Sam & Traxamillion @ 17 Hertz Studios (Hayward, CA) 13 // D-Lo & Rob G @ Tatou for Rob G’s C-Day party (Los Angeles, CA) 14 // DJ Impact, DJ Rip, Tony Neal, & Bigg DM @ The Stratosphere for The CORE DJs Retreat (Las Vegas, NV) 15 // Ya Boy & Te Money on the set of Akon’s video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 16 // DJ Franzen, Big Von, & Chuck @ Party Heights Nightclub for Street Cred’s Christmas party (San Francisco, CA) 17 // Roccett & DJ Franzen @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Las Vegas, NV) 18 // B5 & Devyne Stephens on the set of Akon’s video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 19 // Aleshia Steele & DJ Finesse @ The Stratosphere for The CORE DJs Retreat (Las Vegas, NV) 20 // TV Johnny & Ben Baller @ Magic Convention (Las Vegas, NV) Photo Credits: D-Ray (02,03,04,06,08,09,10,12,13,15,16,17,18); Julia Beverly (01,05,07,11,14,19,20)
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(above L-R): Mariah Carey & Ciara @ Club Haze in Las Vegas, NV; Keyshia Cole & her adoptive mother Dr Yvonne Cole @ Acts Gospel Church for her Christmas turkey giveaway in East Oakland, CA; Shorty Mack & Dre Sinatra @ Tatou Nightclub in Los Angeles, CA (Photos: D-Ray)
01 // Yukmouth & DJ Quest @ Yukmouth’s birthday mansion party (Los Angeles, CA) 02 // Husalah, D-Ray, & Rydah J Klyde @ The Catalyst (Santa Cruz, CA) 03 // Soopa Fly & Damani @ Vanguard Club for Snoop Dogg’s release party (Hollywood, CA) 04 // Mari, Cecilia Mamacita, & Devi Dev @ The Stratosphere for The CORE DJs Retreat (Las Vegas, NV) 05 // NVUS Twins & Yukmouth @ Party Heights Nightclub for Street Cred’s Christmas party (San Francisco, CA) 06 // Roccett & Problem @ Tatou for Rob G’s C-Day party (Los Angeles, CA) 07 // J-Boogs, Kenneth Crear, Ciara, & Johnny Wright @ Club Haze (Las Vegas, NV) 08 // Kurupt & Roscoe @ Vanguard Club for Snoop Dogg’s release party (Hollywood, CA) 09 // Mack 10 & Jay Rock @ My House (Los Angeles, CA) 10 // Tattoo & Liz @ Power 106’s Cali Christmas (Los Angeles, CA) 11 // Willie of Y&W Limo picking up Dorrough (Anchorage, AK) 12 // D-Ray, Chris Brown, & Devi Dev (Los Angeles, CA) 13 // DJ Juice & his brother @ The Stratosphere for The CORE DJs Retreat (Las Vegas, NV) 14 // Tito Bell & family @ Toons Nightclub for Tito Bell’s birthday party (San Jose, CA) 15 // Baydilla, All Day, Scoe, & P-Nut @ Gold Rush (Fairbanks, AK) 16 // Dredlocks & TV Johnny @ Magic Convention (Las Vegas, NV) 17 // Paul Wall & Gary Archer @ Street Symphony Studios (Fremont, CA) 18 // Tony Neal & Big Yu @ The Stratosphere for The CORE DJs Retreat (Las Vegas, NV) 19 // Geter K & Gucci Poochie @ Club NV for Steezy’s birthday bash (San Francisco, CA) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,02,03,05,06,07,08,09,10,12,14,17,19); Julia Beverly (04,11,13,15,16,18,)
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(above L-R): 50 Cent & DJ Felli Fel @ Power 106’s Cali Christmas in Los Angeles, CA; Snoop Dogg & Nipsey Hussle on the set of Snoop Dogg’s “Malice in Wonderland” video shoot in Los Angeles, CA; Bad Lucc & Problem on the set of Snoop Dogg’s “Malice in Wonderland” video shoot in Los Angeles, CA (Photos: D-Ray)
01 // Murs, ladies, & Bad Lucc on the set of Snoop Dogg’s “Malice in Wonderland” video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 02 // Ray J & ladies @ Power 106’s Cali Christmas (Los Angeles, CA) 03 // DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia & DJ D-Wrek @ Vanguard for Snoop Dogg’s release party (Hollywood, CA) 04 // Maki, FedX, & Freeway @ 17 Hertz Studios (Hayward, CA) 05 // Paul Wall & Cat @ Magic Convention (Las Vegas, NV) 06 // Freeway Ricky Ross & Snoop Dogg @ Vanguard for Snoop Dogg’s release party (Hollywood, CA) 07 // Starbuks & Slim Thug @ Gold Rush (Fairbanks, AK) 08 // Tyga & Jay Sean @ Power 106’s Cali Christmas (Los Angeles, CA) 09 // Amon & Jerome @ Elements Lounge (San Francisco, CA) 10 // Terrace Martin & K-Active @ Club 720 (Los Angeles, CA) 11 // Young Doe & DJ KTone @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Las Vegas, NV) 12 // Dem HoodStarz, guest, DJ Daisy Dukes, Kafani, & DJ Slowpoke on the set of “Laughin’” (San Jose, CA) 13 // Hustle Boys & Bad Lucc on the set of Snoop Dogg’s “Malice in Wonderland” video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 14 // Kurupt, DJ Quik, Problem, Terrace Martin, 211, & JDub @ the premiere of Snoop Dogg’s Malice in Wonderland (Los Angeles, CA) 15 // Warren G & Snoop Dogg on the set of Snoop Dogg’s “Malice in Wonderland” video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 16 // Clyde Carson & Problem @ Vanguard for Snoop Dogg’s release party (Hollywood, CA) 17 // Shawn Prez, Diddy, DJ Demp, Tony Neal, & DJ Impact @ The Stratosphere for The CORE DJs Retreat (Las Vegas, NV) Photo Credits: D-Ray (01,02,03,04,06,08,09,10,11,12,13,14,15,16); Julia Beverly (05,07,17)
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NEW MONEY TWINZ Words by Julia Beverly Photo by Ty Watkins
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Where are you guys from? We’re the R&B brothers, Ryan and Bryan. We are the New Money Twinz. We represent the Southeast side of Maryland; right out of Washington, D.C. We’re in Hollywood now, Beverly Hills. Have you always been into music since an early age? Music has always been in our blood. We’ve always been into entertaining, not just singing, rapping, and dancing. At an early age, during the Michael Jackson and New Edition days, we were out there doing our thing and wanting it bad. We wanted to get all the girls. Music has always been our drive. We are R&B; we were born R&B. Did your folks name you that on purpose or did it just work out like that? Our mom and dad are named Regina and Brian, so that’s where it started. R&B; we’re all reppin’ those initials. Shout out to [Baby and Slim from Cash Money], Ronald and Brian Williams, they represent the R&B too. They were here before us and I want to send them credit because they represent the R&B too. R&B is our life so anybody else we recognize with that R&B logo, we definitely pay homage and give respect to, so shout out to Baby and Ron, man. Is your focus more on singing or rapping? It’s back and forth. We both sing and rap. It’s an R&B thing; we rap and we sing. When it goes down we both harmonize whatever comes out. We flow and we sing. Where did you come up with the name New Money Twinz and what does it represent? “New Money” just means fresh, new, unique. Every year is a new year, man. Every new year it’s a new spot. We’re always new, and that’s what New Money is about. Aside from the music, what other ventures are you working on? We own like ten [company] names, man. New Money Studios, we’ve got retailers, broadcasting, we’ve got a lot of other entities. New Money Records is the primary company. That’s what we started with, so that’s like the major thing in our circle. We’ve got the New Money Hilton. We’re dibbling and dabbling in hotels. We linked up with the Hilton family and created the New Money Hilton; we’re pitching that merging idea to the Hiltons. Since we’re right around the corner from the Hilton, we’ve got the first ever New Money Hilton. We own that. Hopefully in 2010 you’re gonna be seeing a lot of launching of our different brands. So the New Money Hilton is an actual hotel or something that you’re working on developing? It’s an actual hotel that’s in the works. All the entertainers need a hotel where they can just go do their thing. We’re really doing it for the entertainers and to get into a whole different bracket and business. The hotel is a good business, and at the same time people need a place to stay. Is your music more female-oriented or street focused? How would you describe it? Ryan & Bryan, we’re strictly clitly over here. We love the ladies. We focus on everybody but we love the ladies 100%. We do this for the old people, the kids, all of our people. We’ve got a song or concept for everything. Right now we’re focused on putting music out there on a more global level and trying to reach everybody. It’s always thugged out. We keep it gangsta but at the same time we’re promoting nothing but love.
What single do you have out right now? We’ve got like five hot singles out right now. But the leading single is called “Listen Up Joe.” It’s on iTunes and we’re getting a lot of great reviews and great feedback. This year we’re going to keep pushing “Listen Up Joe” and our single called “Do What Your Body Say” featuring Fabo. The video has gotten over a quarter million views on YouTube just in the past two months. We’re getting feedback from people in Hungary, Venezuela, and Asia, so it’s not just people in L.A. or Atlanta. We’re getting real feedback from the overseas market. How are you different from some of the other R&B artists that are out now? We’re the hottest twins that you’ve seen thus far. It’s time to see something different. We represent this twin life and we plan to be the spokespeople for twins all around the world. We deserve a year and 2010 is the one we’re claiming. We got a chance to tour with Jodeci and the group Intro; that was our background coming up. We toured with them for over three years, so we were able to meet Missy, Timbaland, Aaliyah, Ginuwine, and saw them all move on to the next level. We were younger than them at the time, but we were all in the same camp. So now we’re at a point where we’ve reached the boss years. We’ve watched everybody else succeed and come up and now it’s time for our concept and what we’re bringing to the table. We’re twins being twin dependent, not independent but twin dependent. We’ve got so much to bring to the table because we really live in a twin world. We’ve had twin parties and been in situations where you have nothing but twins and triplets. If you’ve never had a threesome before, imagine being in the midst of twins. That’s some heated shit. We live a life that not everybody would understand. Don’t be jealous of it; fuck that shit. I heard somebody say we were a double threat. Come on, man. Twin threesomes? So are y’all looking for some twin ladies to hook up with, or how does that work when it comes to females? Do you fight over women? I think there’s something about twins getting together that’d be so beautiful, almost spiritual. It’s never happened with us. We’ve met a lot of beautiful twins in our life, but for some reason it doesn’t go through. We always wished there was two of you, though. (laughs) How can people find your newest project on iTunes? Search itunes.com for New Money Twinz, with a “z,” and we’ll come up, it’s that simple. Are you pursuing a major record deal or just planning to put it out strictly independently? Dude, I think we’re going to do 100 million our fucking selves. Who said you can’t be famous and unsigned? Who said that? We’ve been on 106th & Park performing our own song. If you go to our Myspace page you’ll see us on stage with Free and AJ and with Julissa and Tigger. We’ve been doing this independently, so we’re already major. What is “major,” anyway? We own the business. We own our accounts. We own the company. What do we need besides distribution? We have that on iTunes. We’re gonna sit back and see how this year ends, and then feed off of that. We’ve got a couple shows lined up, and we’re doing a lot of internet marketing. Is there anything else you want to plug? Check us out on www.newmoneyrecords.com, myspace.com/newmoneyrecords, facebook.com/newmoneytwinz, twitter.com/newmoneytwinz. We’ve got a social network called www.newmoneytwinz.ning.com. Log in and get with us. 2010 is the year of the Twinz. //
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MESSY MARV Words by Julia Beverly
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Everybody knows you’re a West Coast dude, but you’ve been moving around a lot lately. Did you just need a change of scenery? As a whole, [artists] in the Bay Area are just content with where we are. That’s just my opinion. I fuck with a lot of different people around the world, and I’m out networking and trying to build my brand. Do you think living in different places affects your style of music? I don’t feel like I have a particular sound. You’re gonna hear a little South, a little Midwest, a little East, and you’re definitely going to hear the West cause that’s where I’m from. That’s the problem, man, everybody’s caught up in how you’re “supposed” to sound. I ain’t caught up in none of that shit, man. I’m me. I ain’t got nothing to prove. Every time I drop, I sell a substantial amount of units, so I’m good. How do you think you’re able to maintain that kind of fanbase without a major label behind you and without having that mainstream look? Because I’m out here networking. I built my worth. Are you going to get out and start doing more shows now? You don’t give the people too many opportunities to see you. And you’re in high demand because of that fact. I’m planning my 30-city tour right now. But before I do that, I’m building my online presence. I’m doing a radio show. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace. I’m going to get out here and give the people what they’ve been waiting for. What’s going on with you and San Quinn? The beef was pretty ugly at one point but you recently mentioned on Twitter that you guys had squashed it. How were you able to get to that point? People have different opinions on everything. Quinn had an opinion on how he felt I should’ve handled some things, and I had my opinion on how I felt he should’ve handled some things. It escalated when the media and the people grabbed ahold of it. You know how that shit goes. But mutual friends of ours have been trying to squash it since day one. Me and Quinn ain’t even talked yet. Things take time. Whenever he comes around, or whenever I come around, we can sit down and talk. But for now we’re just going through our mutual friend from the turf and just putting it all behind us. But really, it wasn’t no beef - it was just two opinions being stated and just how two men felt at the particular time. Is there anything else that needs to be hashed out or are you just ready to move forward and forget the whole situation? I would like to do that, to just move forward and forget about the situation, but things take time. Wounds take time to heal, especially ones like these. So whenever we decide to come around and sit down, we will. Why did you feel like it was important to squash it? The beef didn’t affect me when it came to record sales or nothing like that. I do remarkable numbers independently anyway. It was just getting out of hand, and Quinn felt the same way. When shit like this happens, innocent people can get fucked up. So we’re coming together to let these kids know, and let the people know, we’re bigger than rap music. We’re gonna put our differences to the side and move forward like men. That doesn’t mean me and San Quinn are gonna hang out every day. You might not catch me at McDonald’s sitting down with the nigga eating no cheeseburger or nothing. But we’re definitely gonna put our differences to the side and squash this shit like men do and move forward with what you’re doing. Is it your ultimate goal to be on a major label with your video all over TV and your songs all over the radio? Or are you more comfortable being in theunderground position you’re in, still selling independent units? I’m a street nigga, so the hustle is in me. Independently, I feel like this is what I’ve got to do because this is what I know. Of course I wanna take it to another level as far as media, publications, and sales. But I’m not gonna just make commercial music and chase million-dollar dreams. I’ve had paperwork in my face for two million, three million. I turned those deals down just based on what they want to take from me and what I’ve built. What did they want to take from you? Publishing? Publishing. How many albums they want, what I’m limited to do, just [giving up] the freedom I have as an independent. They wanted to take that all away from me for that little amount of money. That few million is a little amount of money. I can make that in a year. Last year I released 100 songs. I don’t remember how many albums - five, I think. [I sold] over 50,000 at $6/ unit, so that deal didn’t look like shit to me. I definitely would like to further my career but I’m not gonna make commercial music tryin’ to chase this muthafuckin’ dream that might not even turn into reality. I’m gon’ keep this shit solid. I keep the people feeling like I’m one of them, because I am. That’s why I’ve been so successful. I’m one of the people they recognize and
they’re like, “I’m just like that nigga.” That’s why my core fanbase won’t let me die. I ain’t did a show in three years, but I’m able to maintain my sales and my presence through the internet, the publications, and the media. That’s just a blessing. The fans won’t let me die. What project are you working on now? I just dropped Highly Aggressive Volume 2 yesterday. I’ve got a documentary and a soundtrack coming out called Gigantic, which is the untold Messy Marv story behind the rapper, the entertainer, the father, the gangster. There’s a lot of educational Bay Area history in there too. I shot and directed my reality show Mr. Ghetto Celebrity. I’ve got my clothing line coming soon. Right now I’m working on a new LP called The Cooking Channel. I’m working every day. You also seem to change your phone number every other day. It doesn’t seem like that’d be good for business. I got a 1-800 number that I keep steady for business. That’s on 24 hours so I don’t ever miss the networking and business call. But when you’re dealing with a personal line, you’ve got to keep the line clean and avoid the bullshit. Somebody’s negative energy can suck up all the positive energy out of you. I’ve got muthafuckers calling asking for Sprint bill money and telling me their bitch done ran off. I don’t wanna hear none of that shit, man. My business associates and my homies keep my line. But everybody else, once they wanna suck the positive energy out of a nigga with that bullshit, I change my number. When you go out on tour, who else from the Bay do you plan on performing with? What’s your take on the current Bay Area movement? I feel like everybody’s representing. Everybody’s got a part they play, whether it’s the old Bay or the new Bay. I just feel like we’re at a standstill because everybody feels like they can’t leave the Bay Area. So everybody ends up with the same production and the same graphic designer doing their cover. That means everybody looks and sounds the same. Then you get everybody putting each other on the album, so you’ve got the same features. Everybody’s fuckin’ with the same jeweler. Niggas are buying the same outfits from the same clothing store. Nobody knows who is who. It’s 400 muthafuckin’ rappers and they all look and sound the same. Do you think it’s lack of ambition or just being too comfortable? I guess everybody’s comfortable with it, and I ain’t knockin’ it. But I’ma tell the world a different story as far as the Bay Area. But I ain’t mad. Everybody’s playing a part. Everybody’s representing, and that’s what it is. Have you officially changed your name to The Boy Boy Mess or is that basically just an alias of Messy Marv? I officially changed my name to The Boy Boy Young Mess ‘cause I officially changed as a person, as a whole. I’m always gon’ be Messy Marv, but it’s the new Mess. It’s the Mess that got up out of that jail. It’s the Mess that moved out of those conditions. It’s the Mess that outgrew a lot of people in a lot of situations. It’s the Mess that couldn’t get rich in the Bay Area and had to move up out of that muthafucker to get his pennies. The new Mess. You’ve been pretty open in the past about your struggles with drug abuse. Have you moved past that? Yeah, I’ve been clean for two years now, no drugs. I didn’t go to rehab. Rehab is for weak people. I did mine based on discipline. I smoked the fuck out of some weed, though, and had a drink or two, but as far as the party drugs, I don’t fuck around. What prompted you to decide to quit? Just transitioning into The Boy Boy Young Mess and this new person. That came along with the transition. In retrospect, do you feel like your drug use was affecting your career? I mean, people have opinions. They say, “Aw don’t deal with him, he fuck with dope,” or they’re scared to fuck with me. I hate them putting out there like that, but it never affected my career. It affected me, just because I was indulging. But I had one of the biggest singles in the Bay Area, “Playing With My Nose,” just talking about addiction and having fun with it and letting everyone know that I’m not ashamed of being who I am. It was big. Snoop Dogg even quoted me on the new album from that song, so I know it reached a lot of people. I wasn’t trying to promote drugs, I was just having fun with my addiction. But that shit is behind me. I’ve been clean, I’m doing great, and I’m healthy. I’ve got my son full-time now, so I can’t fuck around. Is there anything else you wanted to add? Yeah, check me out at Twitter.com/TheBoyBoyMess, Facebook.com/TheBoyBoyMess, Myspace.com/MessyMarvOnline, and for any merchandise log onto ScalenLLC.com. // OZONE MAG // 15
Stunnaman Legendary The Pack member Stunnaman has now released a solo project with a lot of quality songs. The Pack’s “Vans” days were nearly four years ago, and you can hear Stunnaman’s growth as an artist on several songs including “The Rain,” “Superman” and “Never Find Love.” His music isn’t legendary or ground-breaking, but at the same time, this street album shouldn’t be overlooked. - Randy Roper Juice, DJ Ill Will & DJ Rockstar American Me With 15 tracks boasting a solid flow and original production, Juice drops a lot of heat on American Me. “Crush My Cool” with Bun B, the nothing-to-something tale on “True Story,” and his letter to Biggie, “Time To Get Paid,” are undeniable bangers. There’s only one throwaway track (“Focused”). American Me won’t lead listeners to believe Juice is the “new face of America,” but this mixtape is good enough to cosign him as one of the better new faces out of the West. - Randy Roper Ya Boy The Fix 2 On this mixtape, Konvict’s newest artist Ya Boy teams with 5 DJs—Digital Product, Woogie, Rockstar & Folk—to present the follow-up to his 2007 release The Fix. But unlike this mixtape’s predecessor, nothing really blows you away on The Fix 2. Aside from “So High,” which features E-40 and Beeda Weeda, and “Real One” with Yukmouth, this mixtape features freestyles and verses over beats listeners have heard 1,000 times by now (Snoop’s “I Wanna Rock,” Luda’s “How Long”). Ya Boy does get in good verses here and there, but overall, TF2 does little to justify Akon signing YB to Konvict. - Randy Roper
Swag & DJ Reese The Recession Is Over The first mistake Seattle rapper Swag makes on this mixtape is making it 31 tracks long. Some of his music isn’t bad (emphasis on some), but listening to 31 songs of Swag sounding like a poor man’s Jim Jones, which isn’t a compliment to his rhymes skills, is far from enjoyable. Quite simply, so-so rapping, plus so-so beats, equals one so-so mixtape. It’s good to know the recession is over for Swag, but from the sound of this, it’s hard to believe he’s getting any rap money. - Randy Roper Davinci The Day the Turf Stood Still With everybody waiting for Los Angeles to come back and represent the “New West,” listeners are missing out on the fresh voices the Bay Area (post-Hyphy) has to offer. One of these is San Fran representer DaVinci. The epitome of what it means to be a “street” rapper, DaVinci offers stark and realistic commentary on his surroundings and the people in it. Tracks like “What You Gonna Do” and the money-themed “Ben” show that he has he has verbal illustration skills on par with the artist he named himself after. While his attempts at making club bangers fall flat, DaVinci is definitely on his way to carving a new niche for Bay Area rap. - Maurice G. Garland Kurupt Streetlights Kurupt’s sixth solo album is exactly the kind of quality release you’d expect from a veteran West Coast rap pioneer. Tracks like the Terrace Martin-produced “I’m Burnt,” “Yessir” produced by Pete Rock, “All I Want” featuring Snoop Dogg, and the introspective title track “Streetlights” are standouts that show his lyrical wit and ability to make feel-good music. Kurupt is an insightful MC with something to say. With the exception of a few uninspired tracks—“I’m Drunk,” “Scrape,” “Riot In The Club”—Streetlights is a well-rounded album. It displays both vintage DPG music while still allowing Kurupt a chance to reflect, in the manner you’d expect from an artist with nearly 20 years of experience. – Randy Roper
Husalah Event: Mob Figaz reunion show Venue: The Catalyst City: Santa Cruz, CA Date: January 2nd, 2010 Photo: D-Ray
18 // OZONE WEST
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