LETTER FROM PIMP C & APHILLIATES’ ALL-STARS MIX CD INSIDE!
TWISTA JUELZ SANTANA SEAN PAUL PITBULL B.G. MIKE JONES vs. MICHAEL WATTS
YEAR-END AWARDS & MORE
DSR ’s $7 MIL DEAL THE LAST MR. BIGG 334 M.O.B.B. TRIPLE J
PUBLISHER/EDITOR: Julia Beverly OPERATIONS MANAGER: Gary LaRochelle ADVERTISING SALES: Che’ Johnson (Gotta Boogie) LEGAL AFFAIRS: Kyle P. King, P.A. (King Law Firm) ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Matt Sonzala
COVER STORIES Twista pg 70-72 Sean Paul pg 74-76
MUSIC EDITOR: Maurice G. Garland MARKETING & PROMOTIONS: Malik “Highway” Abdul CAFFEINE SUBSTITUTES: Mercedes CONTRIBUTORS: ADG, Amanda Diva, Bogan, EFeezy, Felita Knight, Iisha Hillmon, Jaro Vacek, Jessica Koslow, J Lash, Jason Cordes, Jo Jo, Johnny Louis, Kamikaze, Keadron Smith, Keith Kennedy, K.G. Mosley, Killer Mike, King Yella, Lisa Coleman, Marcus DeWayne, Mayson Drake, Natalia Gomez, Noel Malcolm, Ray Tamarra, Rico Da Crook, Robert Gabriel, Rohit Loomba, Shannon McCollum, Spiff, Swift, Wally Sparks, Wendy Day, Willie Fields STREET REPS: Al-My-T, B-Lord, Big Teach (Big Mouth), Bigg C, Bigg V, Black, Buggah D. Govanah (On Point), Bull, C Rola, Cedric Walker, Chill, Chilly C, Chuck T, Controller, Dap, Delight, Dolla Bill, Dwayne Barnum, Dr. Doom, Ed the World Famous, Episode, General, Haziq Ali, H-Vidal, Hollywood, J Fresh, Jammin’ Jay, Janky, Joe Anthony, Judah, Kamikaze, KC, Klarc Shepard, Kuzzo, Kydd Joe, Lex, Lil D, Lump, Marco Mall, Miguel, Mr. Lee, Mr. Murdoch, Music & More, Nick@Nite, Nikki Kancey, Pat Pat, PhattLipp, Pimp G, Quest, Raj Smoove, Rippy, Rob-Lo, RX, Stax, TJ’s DJ’s, Trina Edwards, Vicious, Victor Walker, Voodoo, Wild Billo, Young Harlem DISTRIBUTION: Curtis Circulation, LLC To subscribe, send check or money order for $11 to: Ozone Magazine 1516 E. Colonial Dr. Suite 205 Orlando, FL 32803 Phone: 407-447-6063 Fax: 407-447-6064 Web: www.ozonemag.com Cover credits: Twista photo by Barry Underhill; Sean Paul photo by Ray Tamarra; Johnny the Jeweler and Paul Wall photos by Julia Beverly. OZONE Magazine is published eleven times annually 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 2005 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.
FEATURES BG pg 20 DSR pg 34 Triple J pg 50 Pitbull pg 78-80 Assassin pg 82-83 334 M.O.B.B. pg 34 Christmas Gifts pg 36 The Last Mr Bigg pg 52 Juelz Santana pg 54-56 Year-End Awards pg 58-66
MONTHLY SECTIONS Groupie Confessions pg 16 Caffeine Substitutes pg 95 Patiently Waiting pg 38-48 Entrepreneur Profile pg 30 Throwback Reviews pg 94 Photo Galleries pg 17-37 Producer Profile pg 28 CD Reviews pg 90-91 Roland Powell pg 15 Prison Diaries pg 22 Mathematics pg 18 DVD Reviews pg 92 Chick Flix pg 88-89 Industry 101 pg 32 JB’s 2 Cents pg 15 T-Pain Live pg 98 Feedback pg 14 DJ Profile pg 26 DJ Top 10 pg 91 Flipside pg 24
Young Jeezy must have low self-esteem. He is whack as fuck. This is exactly what I thought would happen when I first heard the Boyz N Da Hood CD. No loyalty in this rap shit at all. Instead of calling the lil’ dude [Jody Breeze] up and checking him in person, he had to let the whole world know. He is this and he is that, but he can’t pay child support? Corny. I just pawned his CD two days ago. I can’t believe I gave it a chance. And to anyone reading this - especially women with kids and your man ain’t shit - don’t support this loser. Young Jeezy, your music is not that great. Only idiots support you, little boys that sell drugs and think they can retire off it. Can we get some real content in the magazine? PLEASE find an artist that has a positive message. Interview them. Please. - Larry Austin, email@example.com I just wanted to write in and say that OZONE is one of my favorite magazines to read. It’s nice to see the South is doing it big! - Fresh, firstname.lastname@example.org First off, congrats on the distribution. That’s great news. Is this for the South region only, or is it nationwide? Either way you’re doing it. The South is doing it. No more fuck boys from New York telling peoples what’s COOL!!! We run the world. The South is holding and controlling. They can’t stop you, they can’t stop us. This is incredible news. When you start the OZONE channel/network they ain’t gonna know what to do. JB you straight whilin’! Duval gotcha back. - Q904balla@aol.com (Jacksonville, FL) JB, I read your editorial in the December issue. As long as you keep writing real shit and saying “fuck” and “shit,” I will continue to support! - DJ Supa C, email@example.com Even though you already addressed this, I just had to say something! I noticed in the last couple of issues, in the “feedback” section, some people fail to realize what’s happening here. Some say you’re selling out because of the fact that OZONE (the TRUE Southern voice of hip-hop music) has, is, and will continue to extend its horizon to other regions (like up North/East coast). For one thing, right now, the South is the hip-hop rap industry. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is going on in rap that isn’t in some way involved with the South. Either it’s featuring, promoted by, produced by, or originating from someone in the South. So, as we grow in the rap game, the voice of the South (OZONE for you slow folks) has no choice but to reach out. Secondly, anyone who does something and gets to a point and feels like that is enough is crazy! Let me explain. Master P is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Did he stop pursuing other avenues of the business world because he was well-off? HELL NAW! HE is still grinding with a new distribution company. So if OZONE ever gets to a point where JB feels like it shouldn’t grow any more, she’s crazy. If she stops trying to make each issue better than the last, then what’s the point of her and her team putting it out? And three, when you have a chance to get better, then do it. My man Bun B (all hail the Commander-in-Chief 14
of the South) is one-half of the legendary duo UGK, which stands for Underground Kingz. Famous for selling records with no radio play, no video, just word-of-mouth-and some good-ass music that backs itself up. But recently, he has stepped into the shining light of stardom and even has a video out that gets major spins. It’s about time for the rest of the world to recognize. No one would call Bun a sell-out for bettering himself and the name of UGK (free Pimp C!). That’s what you’re supposed to do! GET BETTER! Now, don’t get me wrong. Everyone has their opinion and the right to express it. But when you don’t know what the hell you’re talkin’ about, SHUT UP! I love OZONE, literally. And I can’t wait for the next issue. - BIG BRD, firstname.lastname@example.org (Hattiesburg, MS) JB, I was glancing through this sex issue of your magazine. Good editorial material. I dig this magazine. Keep up the good work! I’d say it’s refreshing to look through a magazine that’s different from the norm (i.e. XXL, Source). I had to email you cause I was feeling your playlist. - email@example.com I love this month’s sex issue. Dem Franchize Boyz are something funny. Trina looked a great mess on the Table of Contents page. Her hair has been fried. Jeezy set his shit straight. I’m happy to read that he takes care of his child. And “groupie confessions” are back! I love reading that shit. I always thought 50 would be small as fuck just because of how big he is. He looks like he’s on steroids. Yuck! Well, I’m a big underground fan. Can you do something on All-Star a.k.a. Cashville’s prince? I saw your article on Yo Gotti but I wanna know what’s up with All-Star and his Cash Money deal. Are they pushing him? Get a seal of approval from Baby or Slim, cause they never speak on him in interviews. And please do something on that sexyass young dude Trey Songz! That boy is the new, fresh R Kelly! I need to be a part of your staff. I love OZONE mag! It shows more than just 50 Cent and Jay-Z. We get to read about shit that others might not know about. - Renae Hall, firstname.lastname@example.org (Louisville, KY) I’m on my hustle too. I see y’all doing the damn thing everywhere I go. It’s a hot mag. - Lisa Merilus, email@example.com JB, I admire your work and the drive you have for achieving success with your magazine. The first thing I always do whenever the new OZONE comes out is to read your personal forum. I like the sincerity that you speak with, and it inspires and motivates me to do better and put more effort into all the different businesses I work with. - Gregory “Red Lion” Trense, firstname.lastname@example.org (Sarasota, FL) Hate it? Love it? Send your comments to: feedback@ozonemag. com OZONE reserves the right to edit comments for clarity or length.
10 Things I’m Hatin’ On By Roland “Lil Duval” Powell
Disclaimer: This is really what everybody else is sayin’. I know I’m dead wrong, but I’m hating anyway.
or those of you who don’t know, this magazine takes its name from the city of Orlando, Florida. “Ozone” was adopted on the underground circuit as a slang term for the city by rappers tired of hearing corny radio announcers refer to it as “Jamlando” or “O-Town.”
1. Male Groupies You already know the first one. First and foremost, I’m hating on male groupies. There’s no reason why a man should like me more than a woman.
Three and a half years ago, I was having lunch with Ruff, the leader of the Warhedz (Orlando’s version of the WuTang Clan). At the time, we were planning to do a TV show together, and Ruff suggested the name OZONE. The show never materialized because our third “partner,” some useless fuck whose name I honestly can’t remember, held the hours of footage I’d filmed for a $300 ransom. It was too high of a price tag for me at the time, so I adopted the name for my new magazine instead. Today, I think it’s safe to say OZONE has come further than anyone, myself included, anticipated.
2. People Who Ask Me To Tell Jokes If one more person comes up to me and asks me to tell them a joke, I’m gonna slap the shit outta them. That’s like me coming up to you asking you to do your job while you at the club. 3. Broke Females and Broke Dudes I’m hating on females acting siditty in the club, wearing expensive clothes and carrying expensive purses. Then they walk outside to their raggedy-ass car. I’m also hating on dudes that go to the club and spend their whole paycheck on a bottle of Moet, but they’re still walking around with an empty glass of champagne.
Lil Jon and I in Miami
4. Niggas With Fake Dreads I’m hatin’ on any nigga that got fake dreads in their hair. 5. The Homeless Guy I’m hating on the black homeless man who found a lotto ticket in the garbage and won millions. I’m also hating on the cracker who threw that ticket away and asked for the shit back. 6. Halle Berry I’m hating on Halle Berry for trying to find a sperm donor. Shit, I’m right here. I donate sperm to my damn sock every day. 7. Martha Stewart I’m hating on Martha Stewart. How can she go to jail and still be a damn millionaire when she gets out? That shit won’t happen for a nigga. 8. Punk’d I’m hating on Punk’d because it was only supposed to be on for two seasons. It’s been seven or eight seasons now. Why are niggas still falling for that shit? 9. Ray J and Superhead I’m hating on Ray J for being the only person happy to be mentioned in that Confessions of a Video Vixen book, just because she said he was good in bed. He’s the only dude stupid enough to make that hoe his girlfriend while she was fuckin’ all the rest of these niggas. And I’m hating on her for making millions. I guess being a hoe does pay off. 10. Terrell Owens I’m hating on T.O., not because of what he said, but because he isn’t being a man and accepting what he said. Them crackers told him they wanted their money back, and now he’s coppin’ pleas. Nigga, you my dawg, but suck it up. This is a prime example of how we don’t run shit. Run, monkey, run! No matter how much money you got, in the white folks’ eyes, we still broke.
Me and Webbie in Orlando
With that said… I feel like I’ve outgrown Orlando. It’s kind of sad. It’s that feeling you get when you know a relationship is over but you just can’t let go. You don’t wanna keep dragging yourself through the same bullshit over and over again, but at the same time, your sentimental side isn’t ready to close the chapter. I’m not saying that I’m moving. I’m not even sure what I’m saying. The only thing I know is that I put my blinders on and focused and worked my ass off, and I looked up one day and everything had changed. I feel out of place here. To continually move forward you have to continually surround yourself with like-minded people. And although Orlando is not at all what most people perceive it to be - Disney World - it is also not a fast-paced city with lots of motivated entrepreneurs to watch and learn.
I tried moving to Miami. And honestly, Miami didn’t do it for me either. I felt isolated. And once you’ve been on the road for a while, it’s hard to stay in one place for any length of time without getting bored. I’m naturally a nomad. So sometimes I wonder, why do I always come back to Orlando? Of course, I already know the answer. It’s my comfort zone. I don’t have to go out and meet anyone, because everyone already knows me. There’s no challenge. There’s no excitement. It’s just so easy. I feel like there’s nothing more I could accomplish here. And this isn’t a knock on Orlando, it’s true of any situation. Being in your comfort zone is E-Feezy, me, and DJ Paul not always a good thing because you have no reason to push yourself. Sometimes you have to put yourself in a position where you are forced to work, forced to meet new people, and forced to break new ground. Next comes the paradox. Local love gradually turns into local hate. The bigger the magazine gets, the more local artists grumble that we’re not reppin’ Orlando. But the standards have to be higher now because we’re reaching a broader audience. We always rep for the hometeam, but that doesn’t mean we have to feature whack artists just because they’re from Orlando. That’s like me asking you to run an ad just because we’re from the same city. Artists spend money with the magazine because they gain visibility from it. It’s not for charity. This is a business. The truth is, many local artists don’t work hard enough to deserve a feature in OZONE, or any other magazine, because they’re too comfortable. You have to put in work, just like I put in work. It’s often been said in Orlando that the city is a “training ground.” It certainly was for me, and I suppose that’s true of any small/medium sized city. Another saying goes, “If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere,” but fuck, last week lil’ ol’ “OZONE” got shout outs on Hot 97, Rap City, and 106th & Park. You can make it from anywhere if you’re driven enough, as long as you don’t get too comfortable along the way. - Julia Beverly, email@example.com
T-Pain f/ Tego Calderon “Como Esta” Juelz Santana f/ Young Jeezy & Lil Wayne “Make It Work” Spider Loc f/ 50 Cent & Lloyd Banks “Things Change” Bun B f/ Trey Songz, Mike Jones, & Baby “Hold You Down” Lyfe f/ Fantasia “Hypothetically (remix)” Gwen Stefani f/ Slim Thug “Luxurious” Rich Boy f/ Pitbull “Get To Poppin’ (remix)” Chamillionaire f/ Krayzie Bone “Ridin’”
jb’splaylist 50 Cent “Hustler’s Ambition” Young Cash f/ T-Pain “Swang” Rasheeda “Georgia Peach” Ray J “One Wish” OZONE
groupieconfessions Disclaimer: These “groupie confessions” are anonymous, so we cannot verify if they are true or not. All details (cities, club names, hotel names) have been removed. These stories do not necessarily represent the opinions of OZONE Magazine. These stories did not necessarily occur recently, so if you are currently seeing one of these fine gentlemen, no need to curse him out. If you have a celebrity confession, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 407-447-6063 to tell your story.
back to [the hotel] after that.
What’s Freeway like in bed? He’s nice, a sweetheart, a really nice guy. He’ll eat your front quick. He’s the type that likes to please. But he wasn’t lyin’ when he said he’s a Trojan guy. Not the Magnums, the regular kind.
How was the sex? I’ll give him this – Elephant Man will have you all over the room. Carrying you around to the sink, in the bathroom, all that. But it was all this pumping with no action, you get what I’m saying? Like a jackhammer. His dick is like, short and stump. Girl, I was in the bathroom, on the damn sink! Are you serious? “Pon di river!”
How did you meet him? At a concert at [a club]. We was on stage with him, dancing. After he performed he was pointing his hands over to me, and he was like, “I wanna meet you.” We ended up talking just for two seconds. He asked for my number and he called me right after the club. He told me to meet him at [the hotel]. I went to the hotel. I mean, I had fun. He was really nice, I don’t have nothing bad to say about him. Did you keep in contact with him? We were talking on the phone for a few weeks after that and I was like, “What’s the point of talking to your ass on the phone if I can’t even see you?” Have you slept with any other rappers? Oh, shit, I forgot his name. “Pon di river! Pon di bank!” Elephant Man? Yeah! He was tryin’ to go all fast and shit. I don’t know what the hell he was doing.
How did you meet Elephant Man? We were at [a club]. I was really, really drunk. He had just done a show with the Ying Yang Twins and Lil Jon. Girl, he was singing gay-ass MC Hammer. MC Hammer was there and he told his security guards he wanted to meet Elephant Man. You know the Hammer dance? He did that in front of everybody, that shit was so funny. Anyways, we went
What’s he like as a person? He’s really nice. He goes to church and everything. He carries a Bible with him. Don’t get it twisted, like, we didn’t just go and fuck. We’ll conversate and talk. Most of them are nice and have stories to tell, but when they get down to business, I’m like, What are you doing? Did you stay the night?
“Elephant Man Yeah, I stayed the night. I left the next morning. Hello, will have you all checkout time! over the room. Did you keep in touch with him? Carrying you Hell no. It was just a one-night thing. I’m not looking for around to the a meal ticket. sink, in the bath- Do any of these rappers give you money? room, all that. To go home, yeah. They’ll give me like $100 for cab fare But it was all this or whatever, cause I never drive when I go out. pumping with no action...like a Field Mob jackhammer.” Any other rappers you’ve slept with?
Elephant Man says that he got his name because of his huge dick. Hell fuck no. No, no, no. Beyond no. He’s lacking somewhere. It’s short and fat, matter of fact.
Did you go down on him, or did he go down on you? No, none of that, just straight fucking.
Shawn Jay, from Field Mob. We were seriously talking for a few months. After that his whole career kinda died down and we kept in contact. [His Field Mob partner] Smoke is so sexy, he’s like a freakazoid. Me and him were talking but he fell in love with some girl. She didn’t believe him though because of his status, she felt that he wasn’t the type to like her. But Shawn Jay is really nice and he’s good, great all the way around. I was fuckin’ Shawn but I liked Smoke. Both of them are really, really sweet. He’s great in bed, too. He’s big. He’s a keeper, trust me. He was a very sweet person, very giving with everything. He’s really nice.
01: Trife, Bubba Sparxxx, and Ghostface @ Vibe’s Yardfest (Tuskegee, AL) 02: Clay, Slick Pulla, Young Jeezy, Coach K, and Bigga Rankin @ FAMU’s homecoming concert (Tallahassee, FL) 03: Freddy P, Tom G, and H Vidal @ Mirage (Tampa, FL) 04: TI and Short Dawg @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 05: Pimp G and ladies @ Rain (Jacksonville, FL) 06: X-Trct and ladies @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 07: Tango Redd @ Vibe’s Yardfest (Tuskegee, AL) 08: LaLa reppin’ OZONE @ XBar for Sheek Louch’s album release party (NYC) 09: DJ E-Feezy @ Power 99 (Memphis, TN) 10: The Babalu Bad Boys with Jill Strada @ Calle Orange (Orlando, FL) 11: Aztek reppin’ OZONE @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 12: Disco and Jailbird @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 13: Stay Fresh reading OZONE @ Club Xtreme (Albany, GA) 14: Dirty Dan and G-Lover reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 15: Malik Abdul, Stax, and Kamikaze with the OZONE/CRUNK!!! trucks (Jackson, MS) 16: Mannie Fresh loves the kids (Houston, TX) 17: Three 6 Mafia, Chamillionaire, Grandaddy Souf, and Zay @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 18: Wrekonize, J-Shin, Jim Jonson, White Dawg, TJ Chapman, and DJ Tech @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 19: Roland Powell, Tampa Tony, and Ed the World Famous @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 20: Johnny the Jeweler and Michael Watts @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 21: Big Mook, Tampa Tony, and Graph @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) Photos: Julia Beverly (01,02, 04,07,09,10,11,12,13,14,15, 17,18,19,20,21); Keadron Smith (05,16); Majick (03); Marion Reed (05); Rico Da Crook (08)
by Wendy Day
Retail’s Changing Landscape When I got into the music industry in 1992, it was a very different business. The changes have affected everything from talent to sales to radio to distribution, but I think the biggest changes have occurred at retail - the way we get our music. There was a time when the independent retail store was the mecca for new music and true music fans. A trip to the local mom-and-pop store (most hate to be called this) on Tuesdays meant new music, and the person behind the counter was almost always knowledgeable about what was hot and what was not. Some of my finest industry memories include George’s Music Room in Chicago and Stickhorse in Houston for new music. Those days are gone. Today, indie retail music stores are faced with unbeatable competition from stores that are in business to sell refrigerators, computers, and Made-In-China goods for cheap. Saving a buck is the prime agenda. These neighborhood retailers (many of which are black-owned in the ‘hood) can not compete with the slashed pricing from Best Buy, WalMart, and Target. For example, for the first two weeks of a release, the price runs around $9.99 at Best Buy for the latest CD. Music represents one percent of sales at Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy, yet half of all the new releases are sold there. That means WalMart could care less about CDs, but since it’s such a big chunk of any record label’s income, Wal-Mart can dictate and call the shots. Therefore, if they happen to be in favor of the morale majority, and want to demand clean CDs with no cursing on them, the record labels will have to go to the expense of pressing up clean CDs - which they do. Imagine what would happen if they demanded a certain price as the minimum they were willing to pay - oh, they’ve already done that, too. What if they said no more rap? Hmmmm… The local indie retailer, who is forced to buy CDs from a middleman called a “one-stop” instead of directly from the distributor, is paying a wholesale price somewhere between $10.79 and $13.65. For those of you who aren’t used to hustling backwards, you can see that the Best Buy price to the consumer is lower than the one-stop price to the indie retail stores. It is actually cheaper for the indie retailer to buy the CD at Best Buy to resell in their store (and great for the artist too, because if the store reports to SoundScan, the artist gets credit for two sales instead of one - Best Buy and the indie store). Like all good businesses, the record labels offer discount pricing for volume sales. If one chain store is able to order 20,000 CDs, why shouldn’t they get a price of $10 less discounts? And if that store is willing to turn around and sell that CD for $11.99 to get a consumer into the store so they can sell a new printer cartridge, car stereo, or a washer-dryer, who can stop them from offering that CD as a loss leader? No one. Indie retailers can’t compete because their prices from the one-stops start at almost $11. In order to pay rent and keep the lights on, they need to have a mark-up of at least 30% to stay in business. That puts the minimum price at $14 or $15. Will a consumer spend $15 at one store when he can get it across town for $10? TJ Chapman used to own a retail store in Tallahassee called Wild Style Music and More, and it was a landmark in his community. He had to close it down last year because it no longer made financial sense to keep it open. “I’m all for supporting my people and having a black-owned store in a black neighborhood, but not to lose money. We had to sell t-shirts, incense, DVDs, and other stuff just to keep the lights on,” reminisces TJ. “I learned the importance of being a SoundScan store so the major labels would pay attention to us and spend money on retail promotions to keep us in business.” (SoundScan is the tracking of CD sales that tells major labels which releases are successful, and which are not, so they know where to spend their promotions dollars). George Daniels of George’s Music Room remembers the days when it was about selling music. Now it’s about real estate. Back in 1996, he told me his “store has become rental space for the major labels to advertise new releases. A lightbox here, a poster on the ceiling, and the outside wall for a mural to the highest bidder.” I also remember 18
George telling me he sold more rap music than any other store in the country. Today, I wonder if that’s true. I doubt it. When I asked George why he never got SoundScan since he’s such an influential store, his fear was the chains would somehow have access to his sales information and one day a Sam Goody would pop up across or down the street. Now he has to worry about them being across town since they can buy wholesale CDs so much cheaper. When I called a Big Oomp retail store location in Atlanta, which is one of many in a chain of indie stores owned by Big Oomp, the person agreed only to speak to me if I didn’t quote them. Apparently the success of Big Oomp comes from diversification. He owns real estate and a record label in addition to the seven stores. The retail business is hard, but having more than one store allows for better prices from the distributors and one-stops. Also, many of the local indie labels sell direct to their stores, and that affords a better profit margin. As I called around the country, I was surprised at how many small retail stores also have record labels: Kottage Boy Entertainment, Birmingham J’s label in Birmingham, AL is based in owner Aquil Abdur-Rasheed’s Music and More. DJ DMD owned a retail store for many years in UGK’s hometown of Port Arthur before signing his in-and-out deal with Elektra Records in 1998. A wack white rapper from Chicago runs his fledgling label out of his store’s South side location. I was also surprised at how many indie stores were also selling DVDs and mix CDs, which have a better profit margin than CDs. In Jacksonville, FL and Dallas, TX there are a bunch of stores offering bootleg CDs from behind the counter. When TJ’s store was still open, he regularly had to “worry about bootleggers in front of his store selling CDs just off the burners for $2-$5.” They were pretty brazen and would target his customers on their way into his store. No one can compete with a $2 CD that sounds just as good as one that costs $17. So, is retail going the way of the dinosaurs anyway? Is the next generation of music lover going to be able to bypass the record label and distributors and download music directly from an artist’s website? Many artists think so. I pulled up David Banner’s SoundScan, and I see that he sold more downloads of “Play” than he sold whole CDs. At kazaa.com, a file swapping website, a search of his song “Play” brought back over 18,000 hits (meaning that more than a lot of free downloading of music is still going on). So what can be done to help our independent retail stores stay in business? Well, we could all shop there and pay $5 more for a CD, which is unlikely. The labels could support them with more promotions, which is also unlikely (as the head of one of the major distributors told me, why would they want to encourage small retailers who tend to be a high credit risk, take 120 days to pay their bills, and sometimes return more CDs than they’ve ordered, when they could nurture accounts with large chain and discount stores that pay within 15 or 30 days and never have a return?). One retailer suggested a tighter policy to get rid of bootleggers. But bootleggers on the street are faced with stiff competition with free or 99 cent downloads - you don’t even need to leave your house for that. Regardless of what the solution is, if we want to keep our independent retailers alive - because they are a major component of the neighborhood and a good source for underground or independent CDs - we have to stop replacing loyalty with profits. - Wendy Day of Rap Coalition (email@example.com)
01: BG reppin’ OZONE @ Magic City Classic (Birmingham, AL) 02: The BackWudz and DJ Fresh reppin’ OZONE @ Club Coconuts (Jacksonville, NC) 03: D Cooley and crew @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 04: Master P’s manager Greg and BG @ Magic City classic (Birmingham, AL) 05: Mobie Mike and Stax reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 06: Gu and Trae @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 07: Mike Fresh and Grill reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 08: KG Mosley and DJ Royce @ Mirage for Tom G’s release (Tampa, FL) 09: Ice Cube reppin’ OZONE @ The Box’s Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 10: Mami Montana reppin’ OZONE (Atlanta, GA) 11: Matthew Verden and Askia Fountain @ Vibe’s Yardfest (Tuskegee, AL) 12: DJ Slice and Cynthia reppin’ OZONE @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 13: Storm reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 14: Chico and Anthony Murray @ Birmingham Fairgrounds for Magic City Classic (Birmingham, AL) 15: Slim Thug and Young Jeezy on the set of “Diamonds” (Houston, TX) 16: Hawk and ESG @ The Box’s Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 17: Juelz Santana and DJ Drama @ Vibe’s Yardfest (Tuskegee, AL) 18: Dior, Storm, and Eye Candy @ FAMU homecoming (Tallahassee, FL) 19: Scorpio and 4-Ize @ Club Xtreme (Albany, GA) 20: P$C, TI, and Bigga Rankin @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 21: Mista Kingz, Miss Nikki, and Wild Child reppin’ OZONE @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) Photos: DJ Fresh (02); Julia Beverly (01,03,04,06,07,11,12, 14,16,17,18,19,20,21); KC (10); Keadron Smith (09,15); Majick (08); Malik Abdul (05,13)
B.G. pops shots at Lil Wayne
ast time we spoke, there was a possibility of the Hot Boys getting back together. Now you put out a song called “Triggerman” dissing Lil Wayne. What happened? I don’t know what’s wrong with shorty, man. He really smelling himself right now. I don’t know who he thinks he is. Every time we see each other it’s love and hugs and kisses and this and that, and then they came with the song “I Miss My Dawgs.” But it’s him saying one thing to my face and another thing behind my back. When I saw that shit on TV, I took it personal. I had just seen him a week before that in Detroit. I went to the concert, went on stage with him, it was hugs and love and this and that. I asked him to come to VIP and holla at me after he came off the stage. After he finished, he shot straight out the door. He ain’t even holla at me. So when I saw what he said on TV, I put two and two together. He must’ve known that was gonna happen, that’s why he didn’t wanna see me face to face. He did something he ain’t have no business doing, and now I’m gonna speak my mind. What did he say on TV? [On 106th & Park] they asked him about the Hot Boys and he was like, “Man, those lil’ boys, I saw them on the side of the road and I passed them up,” or some shit like that. In other words, he said, Fuck the Hot Boys. I’m a Hot Boy, so aight, fuck him. The same way I feel about Baby, that’s the same way I feel about Wayne now. I’m gonna handle it when I see him. I’m gonna ask him to repeat himself. You were all scheduled for the same show in Birmingham during Magic City Classic weekend. Why do you think he didn’t show? I think he heard that it was me, Juve, and Buck on the same show. Me and Juve cool, and me and Buck family. We cool as a muthafucker. So he musta felt it, because I was feeling it, ya heard me? I wanted to see him so bad. I was gonna see where his heart was at for real. Do you think Wayne is going to respond? Yeah, he might drop somethin’. I want him to. That’s what I want him to do. But y’know, he spoke first. I ain’t start it, he started it. He had a group about a year ago called Sqad Up, and they fell out. They was dissing him and calling him all kinds of names. Pussy ass niggas smacking up him and shit, so when they fell out I stepped in the middle of that like, “Don’t y’all know I’m ‘bout that?” He ain’t ‘bout that. I took on his beef cause I knew he ain’t built like that. How he gonna turn around and make a statement about me? He came and had lunch with me behind Baby’s back, and I told him how to go about this and that and the other. I was trying to get him to see the light, but for some strange reason, he happy getting fucked. The bottom line is, real niggas do real things. I’m gonna leave it at that. But either way it’s good publicity for you. Nah, it ain’t no publicity stunt. He made a muthafuckin’ statement about the Hot Boys, and I had to speak my mind. I raised him. I brought him to Cash Money. He was my son before he was Baby’s son. In “Triggerman” you also made a statement about Trina, implying that she’d had sex with people you know. Is that a fact? I mean, fuck. You know, I only go by what I hear (laughing). I wasn’t really dissing her or nothing like that. I just speak my mind. I ain’t gonna say no names, but y’know, his daddy was fuckin’ her. Baby was fucking Trina? (laughing) Stop asking me about them. Ask me about me. Did you lose your house during Hurricane Katrina? My momma’s house was destroyed. She had like seven feet of water in her house. I thank God I didn’t. I had just built a house just outside of New Orleans, and I didn’t get no damage, no water or nothing. I stay around white folks so they had our lights and shit back on in two or three days. But it ain’t about me losing nothing. It feels like I lost everything, because that’s all I know. I live on the streets. I’m on the streets more than I’m at my house. So yeah, I lost something. I lost my whole livelihood. It kinda fucked with your head. Yeah, man. Reality is sinking in. It ain’t gonna never be the same. I was one of those people that took it lightly and didn’t wanna evacuate. I didn’t think it was gonna be as harmful or damaging as it was. They’re rebuilding it or whatever, but they ain’t rebuilding it for the people you 20
saw in the Superdome. You know what I’m trying to say. I’m in Detroit, as of right now. That was already like my second home. I used to be back and forth. I had a lil’ spot there in Detroit, but I got an office there now. I’m working out of Detroit. Do you have any sympathy for Baby losing his home and cars in Katrina? Naw. That’s good for him. But, I mean, I wouldn’t wish that on nobody. I’m glad he ain’t lose his life, but materialistic stuff, that could be replaced. I feel like, fuck him and his house, ya heard me? He ain’t give a fuck about me and mine, so fuck him. I heard you’re thinking of signing with G-Unit. It’s in the air, you know? I don’t wanna speak on it too much because I got a lot of different situations on the table, but I don’t know. We’ll see. I don’t wanna speak on it that much but we’ve been talking. So you’re definitely planning on signing back with a major label? That’s without a doubt, after this Heart Of Tha Streets Vol. 2. Is that the last album you’re putting out through Koch? My situation was already finished, but they gave me a one album deal that I couldn’t refuse. They gave me like $900,000 for one album, so I’m like, fuck, that’s free money. I gave them the album and they gave me a release date. I turned the album in already, so I’m free. But I was already shopping around. For an artist with my capability and my status, they just ain’t got the machinery that I need to put up the numbers I could be putting up. I do 200,000 or 300,000 with no marketing, no promotions, no BET, none of that. Just straight out the streets. So I could be selling 3 million [on a major]. Who’s featured on Heart Of Tha Streets Vol. 2? I’m basically pushing my Choppa City Boyz, but Mannie Fresh produced the first single. I got Webbie on the album. With Mannie Fresh on the single, you know that shit is real. Let it be known that something is in the making. We ‘bout to make history again. Are you and Juvenile planning on recording together? Yeah, we gonna do it. We talked about it. He doing his UTP thing and I’m doing my Choppa City thing. Me and him and Fresh, we talking. I got this Life After Cash Money DVD coming out, and this mixtape I just dropped called Live from Choppa City. I’m just hustling. Are you in contact with Turk? I talk to him like twice a week. He’s good, he’s a little soldier. I hate to see him with the time, but he’ll be home in a minute. Lil Wayne’s response: “Tell B.G. I love him, and God bless.” - Photo and words by Julia Beverly
01: J-Nicks, DJ Sir Thurl, DJ Impact, DJ Quest, Paul Wall, Johnny the Jeweler, and Tony Neal on Rap City (NYC) 02: Attitude, The Replacementz, and Short Dawg @ Vibe’s Yardfest (Tuskegee, AL) 03: Malik Abdul, Greg G, Tony C, and Slim Goodye @ Calle Orange (Orlando, FL) 04: Triple J and ladies @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 05: Rasaq and OG Ron C (Houston, TX) 06: VA, Lucky Luck, DJ Kaoss, and DJ Fresh @ Club Dynasty (Greenville, NC) 07: DJ Drama and Jason Geter @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 08: Young Jeezy and Kanye West (NYC) 09: G Mack and 13 @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 10: Chino and DJ Prostyle @ Firestone for Chino’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 11: Dana Dane and Slick Rick @ (NYC) 12: General and Daddy O reppin’ OZONE (NYC) 13: Shawn D and TJ @ FAMU homecoming (Tallahassee, FL) 14: Nancy Byron and Chamillionaire reppin’ OZONE @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 15: Brothers Mr. Collipark and Derrick Crooms @ Visions (Atlanta, GA) 16: Jim Jonsin, TJ Chapman, T-Pain, Boy Wonder, and Trillville backstage @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 17: FLX, Zay, and Brandi Garcia reppin’ OZONE @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 18: DJ Hollywood and Juvenile reppin’ OZONE @ Birmingham Fairgrounds (Birmingham, AL) 19: Bubba Sparxxx, Attitude, and Dutty Ken @ Vibe’s Yardfest (Tuskegee, AL) 20: The YoungBloodz and crew @ Club Code (Tampa, FL) 21: BSU @ FAMU homecoming (Tallahassee, FL) Photos: DJ Fresh (06); DJ Quest (01); General (12); Julia Beverly (02,03,04,07,09,10, 13,14,15,16,17,18,19,21); Keadron Smith (05); Luis Santana (20); Ronnie Wright (08,11)
prisondiaries by Pimp C
daughter Christina Pimp C with his 3Â˝-year-old
01: Sean Paul and ladies reppin’ OZONE @ Club Vain (Dallas, TX) 02: Jim Jonsin, Jerry Barrow, and Jermaine reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 03: DJ Drama, DJ Demp, and TI @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 04: Plies and crew (Orlando, FL) 05: Zay, Rasaq, and Grandaddy Souf @ The Box’s Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 06: Roland Powell, Lil C, and P$C @ FAMU homecoming (Tallahassee, FL) 07: GCB, DJ Dap, Marco Mall and friends @ FAMU homecoming (Tallahassee, FL) 08: Russell Simmons reppin’ OZONE (Tampa, FL) 09: Chamillionaire and Lil O @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 10: J-Shin showing off his OZONE cover @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 11: E-40 on the set of his new video (Atlanta, GA) 12: AZ and Kool Laid (NYC) 13: Ghostface and Steph Lova @ Vibe’s Yardfest (Tuskegee, AL) 14: Ed the World Famous and Ebony Eyez @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 15: DJ Nasty, Bianca Mendez, Yvette, and Felli Fel @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 16: Piccalo and Jimmy Chocolate @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 17: Dem Franchize Boyz reppin’ OZONE @ The Box’s Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 18: Marceo Haywood, Tango Redd, Don Cannon, and Askia Fountain @ Yardfest (Tuskegee, AL) 19: Felix, Da Sick One, Cuban Link, Stevie Jackson, Big Earl, and friends @ JJ Whispers (Orlando, FL) 20: Lil Keke and Trae @ The Box’s Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 21: Lil Wayne’s daughter Nae Nae showing off daddy’s chain (Tampa, FL) Photos: Big Earl (19); Julia Beverly (02,03,04,06,07,09, 13,14,15,16,17,18); Keadron Smith (20); King Yella (01); Kool Laid (12); Luis Santana (08,21); Malik Abdul (10); Nikki Kancey (05); Shannon McCollum (11)
Mike Jones vs Michael Watts
ee, it was all good just a few months ago! OZONE was chillin’ with Mike Jones and Michael Watts, the creative force behind Swishahouse, earlier this year on the set of Frayser Boy’s “I Got Dat Drank” (shown at left). But as the months passed and Mike Jones’ career took off, rumors began to spread of a rift between the two. Even though Watts had a prominent cameo in Mike Jones’ lead single “Still Tippin’,” recent videos have eliminated Watts’ image completely. Mike fired his former Swishahouse manager T Farris and is now managed by Rap-A-Lot. During Mike’s performances at the BET Awards and the MTV VMAs, his Swishahouse camp and Rap-A-Lot entourage vied for position on the stage. These days, Mike shouts out Rap-ALot and his own label, Ice Age Entertainment, and rarely mentions Swishahouse. Thankfully, although it’s clear there are problems between the two, they’ve handled it like grown folk, with no major altercations or public beef. We asked both Mike Jones and Watts where things went sour:
A lot of people have noticed that you aren’t reppin’ Swishahouse any more, even though you’re signed to them. That’s true. I don’t get along with them.
What’s going on with Michael Watts and Mike Jones? For me, ain’t nothin’ going on. For real, man. If it’s a problem when you ask Mike Jones, I don’t know, but as far as I’m concerned, there ain’t no problem.
It seems pretty clear that you’re not fuckin’ with Michael Watts. I don’t. I’m not gonna lie to you. I don’t fuck with Watts. I’m under contract with Swishahouse, so I’ll still drop an album with them, but I’ve also got Ice Age Entertainment. I don’t talk about Swishahouse. I don’t disrespect them or badmouth them. I ain’t tellin’ no magazine shit about them, I ain’t talkin’ bad about them. We just don’t deal with each other. We just don’t talk. But I still respect his business. He does his thing. I ain’t speaking negative on nobody. It’s just common sense, man. Do you feel like you owe Watts anything for helping to put you on? Nah. I feel that we helped each other. It’s equal. When I first got there, I mean, I’m appreciative of what happened. I got with Watts and I got hot. He made money off me, I made money off them. We all made money off each other. It’s a business. So what’s the problem? Did you feel like money wasn’t being distributed fairly? It wasn’t even about the money. Like you just asked me, people want to know if I feel like I owe him. It ain’t like I just blew up off Swishahouse and they didn’t get paid from Mike Jones’ services. This is a business. You sign an artist to make money, and he’s done that. I had to get down with that for me to make money off them making money off me. Sooner or later I could be my own CEO, and that’s what everybody is trying to be, right? Everybody wants to work for themselves. Everybody who works under you eventually wants to have their own business, right? So I don’t feel that I owe nobody nothing. How many more albums do you owe Swishahouse? I got a few more albums. How exactly are you affiliated with Rap-A-Lot? I been cool with J Prince and Rap-A-Lot before everything happened for me. Everybody’s just running with rumors right now. I been kickin’ it with J [Prince] for a long time, way before all this kicked off. Now I got Red Boy for Rap-A-Lot and T Flowers from Ice Age managing me, so we got both sides. We’re affiliated real heavy. - Julia Beverly (Photo: Keadron Smith) 24
He says he doesn’t really fuck with you. If he don’t fuck with me, hey, I can’t do nothing but accept that. Life goes on. We’re still doing everything Swishahouse style, baby. Believe that. If you helped put an artist out there, do you feel like they owe you in a sense? Look, man. The way I make it in this world is the fact that I help people. I always try to help people. Sometimes you might not get what you feel you deserve in return, but I’m gonna get my blessings from God. I don’t get my blessings from man. So I’m gonna always keep helping people, because that’s what I do. I helped Mike Jones, I helped Slim Thug, I helped Paul Wall. I’ve helped a whole lot of people, and that’s what I’m gonna continue to do. I’m gonna be me. Where did things go wrong between you and Mike Jones? Just business or something personal? I don’t know. We still got a business situation. We’re still doing business. No matter how anybody feels about me, we’re still doing business. That’s how it is. My heart is still open, my door is still open. Ain’t nothing about me changed. Just because other people might change, that doesn’t mean I’m gonna change. How many more albums does Mike Jones have to do for Swishahouse until his contract expires? Quite a few. Now you’re concentrating on Paul Wall’s album The People’s Champ. Yep, I’m out here supporting Paul Wall, I’m about to go on stage and DJ for him. What else do you have coming from the Swishahouse camp? I’ll tell you who’s about to go hard. Y’all look out for Archie Lee and Cooda Bang. We’ve also got a trick up our sleeves. That boy [Lil’] Keke, he’s with the ‘House now. It’s official, baby. So it’s going down, for real. Always show love so you’ll get love back. - Julia Beverly (Photo: Keadron Smith)
01: DJ Sense, DJ Drama, the Replacementz, Attitude, and Don Cannon form a lineup @ Vibe’s Yardfest (Tuskegee, AL) 02: Slick Pulla, Young Jeezy, and BloodRaw @ FAMU homecoming (Tallahassee, FL) 03: Lil Jon demonstrates proper stage dick-grabbing technique @ the Last Damn Show (Tampa, FL) 04: The DME/Clientell fam @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 05: Lotto, Coach, and Tony @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 06: Trillville and DJ Demp @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 07: G Dash and Michael Watts @ The Box’s Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 08: Country Boi and Greg Street @ Visions (Atlanta, GA) 09: Keyshia Cole (Chicago, IL) 10: Lump and Mike Frost @ The Box’s Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 11: Short Dawg and Bu @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 12: The Last Mr Biggs, Wild Billo, and Roy Jones Jr @ Big Daddy’s (Mobile, AL) 13: Baby Stone and DJ Dagwood @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 14: Marsha Meadows and E-Sleezy @ Club Xtreme (Albany, GA) 15: Stone and BG reppin’ OZONE @ Magic City Classic (Birmingham, AL) 16: Cipha Sounds, Killer Mike, and Mister Cee @ Guest House (NYC) 17: Tom G and Tampa Tony @ the Last Damn Show (Tampa, FL) 18: Jim Jonsin, Ted Lucas, and J-Shin @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 19: Zay signing autographs @ The Box’s Los Magnificos car show 20: Kool Laid and Jason @ SRC (NYC) 21: Blauw, Adept, and Ant @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) Photos: Julia Beverly (01,02, 04,05,06,07,08,10,11,13,14, 15,18,21); Kool Laid (20); Luis Santana (03,17); Matthew Cherry (09); Nikki Kancey (19); Rico Da Crook (16); Wild Billo (12)
djprofile Supastar J-Kwik (Tallahassee, FL) Are you from Tallahassee? Nah, I’m born and raised in Philly. I came down here to go to FAMU’s school of business. Being straight out of Philly and coming down South, it was a little culture shock. I had to actually go home and get my mind right, but when I came back to Tallahassee I fell in love with it. My mom wanted me to stay down here because she wanted me to stay alive. I was getting into all kinds of trouble in Philly so I figured it was for the best. She raised me by herself, so I figured if her knowledge got me that far, her knowledge would take me a little further. What kinds of trouble were you getting into? My situation is unique because I was always pretty smart. I went to the best school in the state of Pennsylvania. It was an all-white prep school in an all-black neighborhood, so I had to live two lives. I would come back to the hood at night, but during the day, it was a different world. It wasn’t about the kind of clothes you wore, it was basically about who your parents were and what you knew. It was weird going to school with the movers and shakers of the world and then coming home to the hood at night. It had me confused. I had a job in high school working with the Philadelphia Eagles, which allowed me to meet a lot of the players. That’s where my drive and ambition came from; I was always around a lot of people that succeeded and had a good work ethic. But even though I went to the best school in the state, I was out there on the streets robbing, stealing, selling dope, and just running with the wrong crowd. This cat I was working for had killed a guy in the projects and he eventually did seven years of a 12 year bid for that murder charge. I was getting involved with people like that. What was the turning point? Two days before I was about to move down to FAMU, these dudes from the projects tried to rob me. I was going to a private school that cost $10k a year for free, so I had the chance of the lifetime, but I was fuckin’ it up by being out there in the streets. I was fighting six dudes and I ended up getting hit by a taxicab in the middle of the street. I got my ass kicked and they took some of my jewelry. I had the taxi take me home and I got my mom’s gun and came back. My friend that was there with me – I didn’t think he was my friend, because he had left me by myself to fight six cats – actually saved my life because he found a cop and told him what happened. I hopped out of the cab and saw one of the dudes that tried to rob me. When he saw me, he had that look of death on his face. I knew I was gonna shoot him. As I’m reaching for the gun, the cop stopped me. He said, “Don’t do that. Walk with me.” I just started crying cause I was so mad. But this dude actually saved my life, because if I had pulled that trigger, who knows where I’d be now. The cop told me, “Your friend says you’re about to leave to go to school. Don’t throw your life away.” So snitching isn’t always a bad thing. Yeah. The cop actually took me home and gave my mom back her gun. He was like, “You need to get out of here.” It was a blessing in disguise. When did you start DJing? DJing was always in me, but I had kinda suppressed it. While I was going to school, I was still doing what I had to do. I was working for a guy selling beauty supplies until he died of a heart attack. I tried to find another job, but I was forced to go back into some shit I really didn’t wanna do. I did it and I did it well, but it comes a time when you’re not just doing it to survive. You’re doing it because you’re addicted to the money, and that’s what I had become. I never did it for the flash or the women, it was strictly for the paper. If I can go out there and make in a day what some people make in a month, that’s good business. But with any kind of 26
street business comes problems. I got locked up numerous times for some unrelated shit. The last time I got locked up, in 2000, really gave me a chance to think. I decided I wasn’t gonna spend absurd amounts of money on Versace and getting fucked up anymore. When I got out, I bought some turntables and a mixer and set it up in my mom’s living room. I was garbage on the turntables. I had stopped DJing for almost ten years. I was on my hands and knees praying to God, let me go out here and do something I really love and make the kind of money I’m making in the streets without having to carry a gun. And now you make money doing what you love. It really didn’t happen overnight. I told my man DJ Kool Amp from Chicago, “Show me the party game, and I’ll show you the battle DJ thing.” That was my thing, cutting and scratching. When I was getting started, my man Joe took me to TJ’s DJ’s and TJ gave me 600 records. I was in my house practicing 8-13 hours a day. I was still doing what I had to do in the streets, but I had a goal to eventually cut loose that bad lifestyle. During this time my best friend died of a drug overdose in Miami, in front of his baby and baby momma, with coke in his nose and pills in his hand. That was a real major wakeup call. Another one of my friends fucked around and got caught selling three ounces to an undercover cop, and he got 15 years. Around the same time, I got locked up on numerous gun charges, reckless driving, violation of probation, so it was like, when is enough gonna be enough? I decided it wasn’t gonna be no more bullshitting. I’m gonna ride this DJ shit ‘til the wheels fall off. That’s when I got super super serious. I was working seven days a week, trying to secure exclusive interviews and exclusive music, just setting the standard in my area. That’s the reason I work so hard, because I know where I came from. I was just fucked up in a situation where I didn’t have no money. I used to have to go to the plasma bank and sell blood and plasma to eat and get money for a haircut. I know what it is to not have anything. How did you get your break on radio? I got started on college radio at FAMU. I went up there every Saturday for a year and a half just to get on the radio for 15 minutes. I eventually got a show with my man DJ Halo. We got two awards for best college radio station that year, and I’d like to think I had a part in that because I was just doing it for the love. The Beat came and got me to after the first year, so I was DJing on both stations. Coming from Philly, how did you adjust to down South music? During this time is when we saw the change from East coast to dirty South music. I think women really carry the culture of music with them more than men. You’ve gotta play what the women like, because the club revolves around women being happy. I can incorporate that into what I play. It was cool for me to find out about UGK. I was the cat in my area that broke Mike Jones and Slim Thug. I was one of the first dudes on the radio in this area to be choppin’ and screwin’. When I started doing stuff outside the box, my audience started to broaden more and more. I genuinely believe that everybody has their time, and the South is on fire right now. You can’t deny that. Well, you’ve got quite an interesting past. What’s ahead for you in the future? Well, I’m at The Moon every Wednesday and Saturday, that’s the biggest club in the area. I’m in the middle of a transition right now from one radio station to another. I just got off tour with Tela and Seagram’s Gin, so I’ve got the tour mixtape about to drop. I have a few more mixtapes coming out, like Exclusives For Dummies. Would you like to give any contact info? I took a note from Mike Jones. You can call me at 850-212-KWIK, which is also my website address, www.850212KWIK.com. - Words and photo by Julia Beverly
01: Sidekick and T-Pain @ the Last Damn Show (Tampa, FL) 02: All-Star and Jo Jo reppin’ OZONE @ Sweetwater (Murfreesboro, TN) 03: Mr Charlie, Stacks, Jid, and Urban Mystic @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 04: Mala T, Shoeb Malik, and SkyyHigh @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 05: Pretty Todd and the G.R.i.T. Boys reppin’ OZONE @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 06: Gilley, Greg Street, and Stone reppin’ OZONE @ Visions (Atlanta, GA) 07: Jason Geter and Eye Candy reppin’ OZONE @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 08: Ron Artest and Big Earl @ Whispers (Orlando, FL) 09: Hannah King and DJ Fahrenheit reppin’ OZONE @ FAMU homecoming (Tallahassee, FL) 10: Trey Songz reppin’ OZONE @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 11: Xtaci and Young Dro @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 12: TJ Chapman and Shot Out @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 13: Steve Herndon and Bobby Stamps @ Vibe’s Yardfest (Tuskegee, AL) 14: Jokaman and J Fresh @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 15: TI, DJ Drama, and Young Jeezy @ FAMU homecoming (Tallahassee,FL) 16: Webbie and Plies @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 17: Stax, BG, and Kiotti @ Birmingham fairgrounds (Birmingham, AL) 18: Lil Jon and Trillville’s Don P @ E-40’s video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 19: Southstar, KC, T-Pain, Greg G, Slim Goodye, and Smilez @ Calle Orange (Orlando, FL) 20: DJ P-Money, Young Jeezy, DJ Kaoss, and DJ Fresh @ Club Dynasty (Greenville, NC) 21: Get Cool and Cotton Pickaz reppin’ OZONE @ Club Xtreme (Albany, GA) Photos: Big Earl (08); DJ Fresh (20); Jo Jo (02); Julia Beverly (03,05,06,07,09,10,11,12,13, 14,15,16,17,21); Luis Santana (01); Malik Abdul (19); Shannon McCollum (18); Shoeb Malik (04)
producerprofile M-Geezy (Jacksonville, FL) Are you from Jacksonville originally? I’m from Lake City, but I’ve been in Jacksonville for almost ten years. How did you get interested in producing? I’ve been playing music since the age of five, and I got interested in producing by looking at producers like Organized Noize and Dr. Dre coming up. I realized that’s what I wanted to do. Why did you decide to go for production rather than the spotlight? Do you prefer to stay behind the scenes? I’ve always been a background type of producer but because of my work people put me in the spotlight. I don’t rap and I can’t sing, so it’s pretty much by default that I went into production. As I got more into the business side of things, I think I made the best decision. I’ve seen what artists go through and other people in the industry, and I don’t wanna go through all that headache anyway. Who have you produced for? I’ve produced for a lot of local artists that are up and coming, like Swordz. Pretty much everybody that’s doing something in Jacksonville, I probably got something to do with it. I did my first national thing for the Big Ballas movie soundtrack back in 1998. Since then I’ve mainly been doing tracks for MOE Entertainment. Through Young Cash I’ve worked with Bun B, Mike Jones, Webbie, Paul Wall, and a lot of other artists. I did Young Cash’s first single “Gimme A Bottle.” We got so many singles about to hit right now you’ll be hearing about, like the 904 Click’s “Datz Me” and other songs I’ve done with people across Jacksonville and down in Miami. When you start hearing them, people will be able to identify that with my sound. Is it a challenge to create the entire sound of a label? No, it’s just a vibe you create. Just vibin’ with different artists in the clique, you create your own sound by getting to know each other and hanging out. You can kinda establish a sound by the way a person’s character is. Technically speaking, how did you learn to produce and actually use the equipment? I just watched different producers and engineers. I sat up and worked for different studios, and by sitting up under that engineer, I learned how to engineer myself and how to create my own sound and develop it and polish it. No one could capture the sound exactly how I wanted it, so I had to learn how to establish my own sound by learning from different engineers and producers. How important do you think an in-house producer is to an indie label? It definitely does benefit the label, because they don’t have to spend all the bread that they’d normally have to spend by going out of the circle to find production. So it’s very important for the label, but for the individual producer, I don’t think it’s a big issue. It’s very important for an indie label to have a good in-house producer. 28
As an in-house producer, do you have to play the role of engineer also? Oh, everything. I have knowledge of all the fields. Engineering, mixing, producing, manufacturing. I make sure the end product is satisfactory as far as the sound we’re trying to accomplish. If I didn’t have the knowledge I wouldn’t be able to relate to the engineer and know how the little sounds should be, and I think that’s very important. You’ve kinda created a Jacksonville sound that people aren’t really used to hearing from Florida, because Florida is so known for bass music. Nah, it’s not bass. I have created a Jacksonville sound. It’s a certain sound that Jacksonville has, and I feel like I’m on the forefront of creating that sound. I’ve been here long enough to kinda steer Jacksonville in the direction it’s going at this point. When I first came here, everybody started stepping their game up on the production side and everybody’s getting more lyrical as a whole. You and Young Cash run with the same camp – do you think he’ll be the one to break through and open doors for Jacksonville? Definitely. Without a shadow of a doubt. Me and Cash have a lot of prospects on the table right now we’re working on. Me and him work real good hand-in-hand together, so our styles compliment each other. Cash is definitely the one to blow and bring the spotlight to Jacksonville. You produced a lot of the songs Cash did with artists like Paul Wall, Webbie, and Mike Jones before they became household names. As a producer, is it difficult to work with new artists? Nah. I give all the artists a lot of credit because even though they didn’t have a name and they wasn’t on the level they’re on now – except for Bun B – we caught them right before they blew and they were very attentive. They listened to what I had to say. They’re not hard to work with at all. They accepted my direction on the different songs we did. I’m currently working on more tracks for all of those artists as we speak. If somebody would like to check out your beats, how can they reach you? My production company is called Da Beat Squad. They can call me at 904-382-7433. - Words and photo by Julia Beverly
01: Killer Mike and Sleepy Brown @ Guest House (NYC) 02: Pretty Ricky reppin’ OZONE @ the Last Damn Show (Tampa, FL) 03: J-Mac and Nnete reppin’ OZONE @ The Box’s Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 04: Black Jack, Shannon from Hip-Hop 411 TV and Boy Wonder reppin’ OZONE @ the Last Damn Show (Tampa, FL) 05: DJ Fresh, Kaoss, Jack Spade, and VA @ Planet Rock (Jacksonville, NC) 06: Mal-Jay and Grenade Records reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 07: Chino and Gary @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 08: DJ GT and Cory Mo @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 09: Kunsistent-C and Chamillionaire (Orlando, FL) 10: Skip of UTP and Miss Kat @ Birmingham fairgrounds (Birmingham, AL) 11: Lotto and Plies reppin’ OZONE (Orlando, FL) 12: Slim Goodye and Jill Strada @ Calle Orange (Orlando, FL) 13: DJ H-Vidal and DJ Ekin reppin’ OZONE @ Mirage for Tom G’s release party (Tampa, FL) 14: Al Gator reppin’ OZONE @ Welcome All Park (Atlanta, GA) 15: DJ Khaled and Scott Storch @ Opium Gardens (Miami, FL) 16: Aztek and David Banner @ The Box’s Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 17: Greg G, Cuban Link, and Big Earl @ Calle Orange (Orlando, FL) 18: Bubba Sparxxx and Juelz Santana @ Vibe’s Yardfest (Tuskegee, AL) 19: P-Nut and Tampa Tony with Da Splitter girls @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 20: Young Sav and Kool Aid @ Def Jam (NYC) 21: Clay, Short Dawg, and G-Boy @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) Photos: DJ Fresh (05); KC (14); Julia Beverly (03,06,07,08,10, 11,16,18,19,21); Luis Santana (02,04); Majick (13); Malik Abdul (12,17); Rico Da Crook (01,15); Shoeb Malik (09)
entrepreneurprofile Johnny “the Jeweler” Dang (TV Jewelry) Where are you from? I moved here [to Houston] from Vietnam in 1996. My dad has been living here since 1987. He used to have a jewelry shop in Houston, but he closed it down in 1995. I opened it back up in 1997. How did you meet Paul Wall? I met him around 1998. I made his jewelry for him. He used to give away flyers at the clubs, and he was DJing. He used to promote for Swishahouse, passing out flyers at the club. I made his jewelry for him, the grill and his necklace. He was a regular customer. Since he was doing promotions for Swishahouse and he started rapping too, it was good if we do business together. He started promoting for me and after that I showed him how to do the grills. We worked it out real good. He very cool. I showed him how to do grills, and we do the grills together. Paul would draw out what he wanted, and you’d put it together? Right, he’d design it. Most of the designs he’d bring, we’d make the mold, and we’d work together setting the diamonds. The very first grill I did for an artist was for Lil Jon, then David Banner. That was a long time ago. After that we did T.I. Paul had been working with Swishahouse and traveling a lot. So, the same thing with T.I., David Banner, and Lil Jon. Paul designed them and I worked on them. How difficult is it to learn how to make a grill? It takes time. If you want to do it well, it’ll take about four years to learn. Actually, you have to practice to do it well. Not only learning, but you have to sit down and practice. We’re not only making grills. We customize pieces, like the cup I did for Paul Wall. Whatever a customer wants, anything they like, we can do it. Like the one I did for T.I., T.I. got a crown-shaped piece with a special setting. I did one for Nelly. Lil Jon got a lot of different pieces. How much do those cost? T.I.’s crown piece cost about $30,000, and the same with Nelly. They are almost the same price for each set, but Nelly paid for a lot of different sets so I charged Nelly $25,000 for each, the whole set, top and bottom. He has different sets of grills, different colors. The one with the most different colors I did for Bow Wow. The difference between us and other jewelers is that we have our own factory. That’s why we’ve got the quality and the good price. Besides the very expensive pieces we’ve done for Nelly, Puffy Daddy, and Kanye West, we also have a lot of regular pieces that people can buy for $100, $200, and $300. I don’t want them to think whenever they go to my shop they have to spend thousands of dollars. We custom make pieces, and I’ve got my watch coming out too, TV Johnny Watches. Do the artists come to your shop to get fitted for the grills? Either they can get it done or Paul Wall gets it done for them. Paul Wall is usually the person who makes the mold. Whenever they’ve got a show together, Paul Wall can make a mold. It doesn’t take that long. Some of them, like Nelly, he can go to his dentist and get the mold done and send it to us and give us the designs.
every day, and I take them out when I eat and go to sleep. At my shop, whoever buys a grill from us, we give them a jewelry case and show them how to keep it clean. The grill caps are just for decoration, not for dental purposes. There aren’t too many Asians in the hip-hop community. Have you ever felt discriminated against? To me, the color of the skin doesn’t make any difference because I’m thinking that everybody should be the same being that I’m Vietnamese. Paul Wall, he raps, but he’s a white guy. People love his CD not because he’s a white guy but because he makes good music. That’s why people like it. It’s the same thing as Eminem. He’s really famous, and not just because he’s white. I mean, it’s not only black people. Whoever has a good voice and can rap, they can make money because they’ve got people who love it. Do you think there is more racism in America than in other countries like Vietnam? Yes, because in my country there only are Asians. Everybody is the same, one color. But in here, there’s a lot of different people – white people, black people, Asians, so of course that happens. I don’t pay attention much to that viewpoint because I concentrate all the time on business. I build up my business by promotions, by learning new equipment. Me and Paul Wall travel to the jewelry shows and buy new equipment. I just bought three big machines for my factory. The equipment makes the quality look real good. It’s expensive work. The reason why we have good work and plus very cheap prices is because we have nice equipment and we make it ourselves. The reason why honestly a lot of people ask Paul to do jewelry is because some people in the jewelry business can’t make as many as I do. We have retail production with factory prices. We have new designs and new equipment every day to make the product look good. A lot of New York rappers name-drop Jacob the Jeweler in their songs. Are you aiming to be the Jacob the Jeweler of the South? Me, myself, I try the best to do the top job. And of course there’s a lot of competition nowadays, so yeah, of course people will compare us to a couple other jewelers. My goal is not to take somebody out and compare to be on their level, I just try to do the best. Whatever love I get from customers is because of the product. I try to do the best. How many stores do you have? We have two shops at the flea market and two shops at Sharpstown Mall, so we have four retail shops and one factory in Houston. But I can’t count all the jewelry stores, because I do wholesale for all over the United States. We have like 50 accounts from wholesale people. They take the orders and send them to us. I got customers from L.A. to Kansas City to St. Louis, different states everywhere. If someone would like to order a custom piece, how can they contact you? Go to the website TVJohnny.net or call the shop at 713-774-6522. - Julia Beverly
The average person might think it’s strange that someone would want to wear gold teeth. Why do you think they’re so popular? My opinion, because it’s a show of jewelry, it’s the shining of the teeth. The reason I say that is because I’m wearing gold teeth too. When I go to the club, when I’m hanging out, nobody asks me how much I paid for my grill, but they say, “Man, your grill is looking good.” They don’t care how much we spent. In my opinion, it’s not showing off the money they spent, it’s just that it looks nice. The colors and the designs are jewelry, decoration. What about health and hygiene? Do you encourage people with gold grills to take them out and brush every night? Right, that’s the best way. The main thing I really want to mention is that we try to do decorative jobs, we don’t try to do dental work. When people hear about gold teeth, they’re thinking we do some dental work. But in here we don’t do anything dental. That’s why we don’t recommend people do permanent grills. They shouldn’t do permanent at all, and they shouldn’t wear them at night. This is to wear during the day. Like me, I wear them one or two times a week. I don’t wear them 30
Partners Paul Wall and Johnny the Jeweler with some of their creations
01: T-Pain and his father @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 02: Z-Ro and Lil Flip @ The Box’s Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 03: The Last Mr. Biggs with Wild Billo and Real Records @ Club Mango (Mobile, AL) 04: Chamillionaire and Kiotti @ The Box’s Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 05: Pimp G and ladies @ Rain (Jacksonville, FL) 06: Fresh, Webbie, and Derrick reading OZONE @ The Box’s Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 07: On the Grind @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 08: Southpaw and Twa reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 09: Tigger and Allen Iverson (NYC) 10: P$C @ FAMU homecoming (Tallahassee, FL) 11: Short Dawg and Don Cannon @ Vibe’s Yardfest (Tuskegee, AL) 12: Dakari and Phil Becker @ Calle Orange (Orlando, FL) 13: Amanda Diva and Damien Lemon @ Vibe’s Yardfest (Tuskegee, AL) 14: Frank Luv and Mr Charlie @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 15: Bun B performing @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 16: The YoungBloodz @ Club Code (Tampa, FL) 17: Naughty by Nature reppin’ OZONE @ the Last Damn Show (Tampa, FL) 18: Bre, Haitian Fresh, Big Amp, and Phingaz reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 19: Tom G, DJ Dagwood, and Tango Redd @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 20: Video models on the set of Mike Jones’ “Flossin’” (Houston, TX) 21: Paul Wall reppin’ OZONE @ the Last Damn Show (Tampa, FL) Photos: Julia Beverly (01,06, 07,08,10,11,12,13,14,15,18, 19); Keadron Smith (02,04,20); Luis Santana (16,17,21); Marion Reed (05); Ronnie Wright (09); Wild Billo (03)
industry101 Coach K (Young Jeezy’s manager) Wendy Day wrote an article in OZONE recently talking about the fact that there’s not too many good managers in the hip-hop game. What do you think it takes to be a good manager? Hard work and dedication, and believing in your client. Believing in your artist or whatever you manage. In her opinion, managing an artist is “glorified babysitting.” Do you agree with that statement? Nah, I don’t look at it as babysitting, cause me and [Young Jeezy] are more like partners than anything else. I always want him to shine, so whatever he needs, I’m gonna go do it. I don’t look at it as babysitting, I look at it as looking out for him. I want him to always be on top of his game. Do you have a background in management, or how did you get into your current career? I really don’t have a background in management, but I’ve been doing it for a long time. Managing is just like being an entrepreneur. If you’re starting a business venture, it’s in your hands to make sure everything is right. If you’ve got an artist that you believe in, it’s the same thing. That’s your business, and you gotta make sure your business is right. You gotta make sure your business is taken care of, well-groomed, everything is right. What were you doing before you started managing Young Jeezy? I was actually working A&R for a couple indie labels before I met Jeezy. I met him in the studio. We just had a mutual bond. He could see that I was a hard worker and I really believed in him. Jeezy is probably one of the easiest people to manage because he works so hard. We both work hard, so we work hand-in-hand. I believed in him ever since day one. Was he just starting out at that point? He was at the ground level. We’ve been together for five years. We were doing shows on dirt roads, now we’re doing shows at coliseums. When you first met Jeezy, did you really picture it getting to this level? Hanging out with Jay-Z and touring the world? Yeah. I knew he was a star from the first day I met him. I knew he was gonna make it to that level.
Do you think there’s a lack of good managers in hip-hop because too many artists hire their friends or relatives who aren’t qualified? I can’t really knock what anybody else does, but with managing you really gotta be dedicated and believe in your artist. Some managers might be friends with somebody that’s hot so they feel like they could do it, but you gotta really believe in the artist. Like I said, me and Jeezy been together for five years. He doesn’t really consider me his manager. I’m more like his partner. We’re like brothers, for real. We gonna make sure it’s right for him. I ain’t gonna never let him down. I want him to be on top of his game. A while back, when a certain artist put out a diss song towards Jeezy, your name was mentioned also. Do you feel like they crossed the line by putting a manager’s name in the middle of rap beef? Honestly, I laughed at that shit, man. I’m good. That shit didn’t move me at all. We on top of our game and that was just some bullshit. They was reaching. We smashed him. It’s done. We kept it moving. There’s been some controversy lately over Jeezy’s snowman tshirts. Some schools are banning them because of the snow/cocaine reference. What’s your opinion on that? The industry is crazy, because once a person gets on top the media has to target something to build up their ratings. They pick up on things like that. We just keep it moving, man. We’re not tripping on that. This man is an icon in the hood, so how can you put down what he does? What does the snowman represent to you? The snowman represents the struggle. Really, the snowman shows that you can make it out of the hood. What would be your advice to someone trying to get in the game as a manager? Honestly, man, like I tell everybody, there ain’t no books out there that can prepare you for this. I’ve read books and went through all that, but the main thing is that it’s all about experience. Get out there and make moves. Find something you believe in and stay dedicated to it, for real. Dedication is gonna win at the end of the day. The day you give up might be the day it breaks through. We go hard over here. Look out for the USDA album, Birds Fly South, and Jeezy’s next album coming soon. - Words and photo by Julia Beverly
What’s the most challenging part of your job? Just the everyday struggle. You don’t really get to come home too much, you always moving. Right now Jeezy’s at the top of his game so we just stay busy. What’s a typical day like for you? Every day is a little different. Right now we’re on the road on tour, so every day we’re in a different city doing shows. If we’re not doing a show, we’re doing something with press, magazines or whatever. Every day is something different. What exactly is your job? To make sure everything runs smoothly overall on a day-to-day basis. I pretty much manage his day-to-day movements. What about financially? Does managing an artist pay well? It’s what you make of it. You only make what your artist makes. Managers get paid when your artist gets paid. It’s a hustle for you. If you’re out there making it for him, you gonna make it. If you sitting there waiting on it to come to you, you ain’t gonna make it. Why is it more enjoyable for you than having a regular 9-5 day job? Aw, man. Having control of my destiny. With a day job, I never gotta answer to somebody. Although I work for Jeezy, at the end of the day I don’t have to go clock in and answer to nobody. 32
Coach K (right) plays the background for Young Jeezy
01: Juvenile and BG reppin’ OZONE @ Birmingham fairgrounds during Magic City Classic (Birmingham, AL) 02: Gordy and DJ Christion reppin’ OZONE @ the Last Damn Show (Tampa, FL) 03: FUP Mob reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 04: P-Love reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 05: TOK @ Calle Orange (Orlando, FL) 06: P$C, TI, and Xtaci @ FAMU homecoming (Tallahassee, FL) 07: T-Pain reading OZONE @ the Last Damn Show (Tampa, FL) 08: Lil Boosie (Charleston, SC) 09: Young Jeezy reading OZONE @ the Last Damn Show (Tampa, FL) 10: The YoungBloodz @ The Box’s Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 11: Sizzla and DJ Clark Kent (NYC) 12: Bow Boa reppin’ OZONE @ Club Dynasty (Greenville, NC) 13: DJ Fresh and Bubba Sparxxx @ Planet Rock (Jacksonville, NC) 14: Black Mike and Chubby Relle @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 15: Sqad Up reppin’ OZONE @ The Box’s Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 16: The Replacementz @ Vibe’s Yardfest (Tuskegee, AL) 17: Papa Duck, J-Baby, and Bigga Rankin @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 18: MC Qua, Z-Ro and Kiotti reppin’ OZONE @ The Box’s Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 19: Lil Jon and 50 Cent @ 50’s mansion (Farmington, CT) 20: OG Ron C and Slim Thug @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 21: DJ Prostyle and Julia Beverly @ Firestone for Chino’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) Photos: DJ Fresh (12,13); Jason Cordes (08); Julia Beverly (01,03,04,06,14,15,16,17, 18,20,21); Keadron Smith (10); Luis Santana (02,07,09); Malik Abdul (05); Ronnie Wright (11,19)
dottedline Dallas-based T-Town Records (DSR) signs $7 mil label deal with Universal Records
s the industry turns its focus towards the screwed-and-chopped city of Houston, its often overlooked brother three hours north, Dallas, is preparing for a takeover of its own. T-Town Music, home to Dallas powerhouse DSR, recently signed a label deal with Universal Records comparable to Cash Money’s multi-album situation. Imran Majib, one of the youngest A&Rs at Universal Records, sought out T-Town after extensive research as his first signing. “They were probably the only [unsigned] powerhouse in the indie market from Texas,” Majib says. “They reminded us a lot of the stuff people like Swishahouse and Chamillionaire were doing on their own. The following they had independently really attracted us.” Although many labels had already approached T-Town co-CEO George Lopez (his partners are Trinidad Delgado and Allen Powell), Universal came with the right numbers. “We’d talked to a lot of other labels, but nobody had the budget that we wanted for each of our projects. We wanted to be the next No Limit and drop 14 projects in one year. I wanted to start with four albums, and I wanted $2 mil per album. Universal came to the table and said they’d do it as a joint venture.” says Lopez. After signing the $7 million dollar deal, Lopez laughs, “Oh, yeah, we all splurged. Everybody bought some cars and jewelry. Three of us invested our money.” In 2006, T-Town/Universal expects to drop three solo albums from members of the DSR camp: Big Tuck (March 28th), Tum Tum (July), and Fat Bastard (November). If all goes well, DSR’s group album will be dropping in 2007. “We definitely have high expectations for this camp,” says Majib. “Nothing less than what Cash Money accomplished.” “We’re definitely trying to get the spotlight on Dallas,” says Lopez. “Dallas has always supported what Houston’s done, and now we’re looking for our own thing, our own sound. We’re basically talking about the same things, but the delivery is different even though we’re all from Texas. It’s two different styles, but it’s all Texas.” With the Universal machinery behind them, expect the spotlight to be on DSR in 2006. - Julia Beverly
Alabama’s 334 Mobb signs with Def Jam
ith the exception of Dirty, now signed to Rap-A-Lot, and Dirty’s artist Lil’ Burn One, not many rappers represent the small town of Montgomery, AL. Brothers Big Ken (also known as Supa Star) and Sawed Off set out to put their city on the map, even adopting the area code (334) as their moniker. 334 M.O.B.B. set out to create a name for themselves through mixtape appearances, internet hype, and collaborations with artists like Bonecrusher and David Banner. Versatile and well-rounded, they were able to stretch their money by producing their own songs. “We don’t want to be pigeonholed as rappers,” says Supa Star. “We can do it all, from emceeing, production, and performing.” As their indie buzz started to grow, 334 M.O.B.B. still came across many obstacles. “You can get good money being indie,” explains Supa Star. “But there’s a lot of cons. A lot of DJs and reporters won’t holla at you. It’s hard being independent, man. There’s a lot more hard times than good times.” “A lot of industry cats don’t want to listen to you,” adds Sawed Off. “Only a few DJs - Chuck T and Wally Sparks - looked out for us when we were indie.” Ray Romulus, an A&R at Def Jam, sought out 334 M.O.B.B. as his second signing. He’d heard about the group while meeting with a producer who’d worked with them. “I just saw they were a little different, especially coming out of Alabama,” says Romulus. “There hasn’t been anything coming from Alabama, and also the fact that they produced. They were real talented, and I liked the fact that they’re brothers.” The clincher was their newest single, “Take A Picture.” “When I first heard it,” Ray recalls, “I was like, ‘This is outta here.’ It’s a hit. I heard the rest of their records and I knew they were talented.” CEO L.A. Reid agreed, and after meeting with the group, wouldn’t let them leave the building - literally - until they signed a deal. As Def Jam prepares to put the major label muscle behind “Take A Picture,” 334 M.O.B.B. hasn’t lost sight of what brought them this far. “The music industry is a big hustle,” says Sawed Off. “You gotta have the hustle in your system to make it. You gotta have the mind to go out and get it.” The major label deal hasn’t caused them to lose a firm grasp on reality. “No one cares about you in this industry,” says Supa Star. “You’re just a paycheck to these muthafuckers. There’s a lot of snakes, man. It’s all about prayer. I prayed to God and said, ‘This is all I have. This is all I know. This is not a want, this is a need,’ and that’s when things started happening.” - Julia Beverly & Rohit Loomba (photo: Julia Beverly)
01: Roland Powell, TI, Lil C, and Big Kuntry @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 02: K-Foxx and DJ Khaled @ Opium (Miami, FL) 03: Acafool and Kid Money KG reppin’ OZONE @ Last Damn Show (Tampa, FL) 04: Trick Daddy, Young Jeezy, Slick Pulla, and BloodRaw @ FAMU homecoming (Tallahassee, FL) 05: Amanda Diva, DJ Sense, and Don Cannon @ Yardfest (Tuskegee, AL) 06: TJ Chapman, T-Pain and Jim Jonsin @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 07: Young Pappy, Slim Goodie, and B Brown @ The Moon (Tallahassee, FL) 08: As he steps on stage, Marques Houston can’t shake the feeling that he forgot something (Houston, TX) 09: Brandi Garcia and Trae @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 10: DJ Kaoss, Bubba Sparxxx, Lick’em Low, and VA at Planet Rock (Jacksonville, NC) 11: Lyfe and Wayne Boi @ Hot 104 (New Orleans, LA) 12: Fidel Cashflow stops for a pic with Greg G on the way to find a new stylist (Orlando, FL) 13: DJ Blaster and DJ Aggravated (Houston, TX) 14: Young Jeezy and Akon @ 106th & Park (NYC) 15: Letoya Luckett and BG @ 7303 for her listening party (Houston, TX) 16: Ray Cash and Mannie Fresh on the set of Slim Thug’s “Diamonds” (Houston, TX) 17: Big Mike, Tee, Russell Simmons, DuDu, Olivia Fox and Suge Avery @ 95.7 (Tampa, FL) 18: Mr. Collipark and DRoc of the Ying Yang Twins @ Visions (Atlanta, GA) 19: Big Boi and DJ Shay @ Guest House (NYC) 20: Brannon Scales, Malik, and Keith Kennedy @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 21: Orlando McGhee, Miss Nikki, Eric Johnston, Brannon Scales, and Shoeb Malik (Tallahassee, FL) Photos: DJ Fresh (10); Julia Beverly (01,04,05,06,07,08, 09,13,18,20,21); Keadron Smith (15,16); Lamosa Rowell (17); Luis Santana (03); Malik Abdul (12); Marcus DeWayne (11); Rico Da Crook (02,19); Ronnie Wright (14)
merrychristmas Shop For Your Favorite Rapper Whether you’re a stalker, entourage member, groupie, or just a fan, we know how difficult it can be to find the perfect gift for that special rapper in your life. To make things a little easier this holiday season, we’ve put together a simple list of inexpensive gifts. See if you can match up the artists below with the Christmas gifts they need most.
12) Paul Wall
7) The LOX
2) Kanye West
g) Holy Bible
13) Bizzy Bone
8) Slim Thug
3) Pimp C
9) Gucci Mane
d) bulletproof vest
q) novelty drivers license
j) Hooked on Phonics
e) Music Publishing 101
11) The Game
p) Slim-Fast (chocolate)
i) gold grill
5) Trick Daddy
n) Get Out of Jail Free card
h) pretty butterfly
4) Lil Cease
m) Humility: True Greatness
a) “Stop Snitching” t-shirt
r) an exorcism
s) Gucci baby carrier
Answers: 1-k, 2-m, 3-n, 4-a, 5-c, 6-i, 7-e, 8-q, 9-b, 10-s, 11-h, 12-p, 13-r, 14-f, 15-d, 16-j, 17-g
01: The Clientell Cartel: White Dawg, Wes Fif, and Mighty Mike @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 02: Wild Billo, Teairra Mari, and Nick @ Nite reppin’ OZONE @ WBLX (Mobile, AL) 03: Trillville @ Vibe’s Yardfest (Tuskegee, AL) 04: TR, Letoya Luckett, and Lump @ Studio 7303 for her listening party (Houston, TX) 05: Partners-N-Crime (Birmingham, AL) 06: Teach, DJ Demp, and TJ Chapman @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 07: Kid Money KG, Matt Daniels, and Justin reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 08: Chad Brown and TPain @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 09: Young Jeezy gets some love from a fan @ the Last Damn Show (Tampa, FL) 10: Kamm McKellar and Cory Mo @ The Box’s Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 11: Scrooge McBucks and Trey Prince @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 12: Lil Jon and Freeway @ 50 Cent’s mansion (Farmington, CT) 13: Shaq reppin’ OZONE @ Opium (Miami, FL) 14: Big Cee Jay and JHolla reppin’ OZONE @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 15: Marques Houston @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 16: J-Kwik, Lady T, and Baby Stone @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 17: Trick Daddy and TI @ FAMU homecoming (Tallahassee, FL) 18: Tonto and Big Red @ Los Magnificos car show (Houston, TX) 19: Plies and Grill (Orlando, FL) 20: Quentin Richardson and Carmelo Anthony (NYC) 21: DJ Reymos and DJ Prostyle @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) Photos: Julia Beverly (01,03, 05,06,07,08,10,11,14,16,17,18, 19,21); Keadron Smith (04,15); Luis Santana (09); Rico Da Crook (13); Ronnie Wright (12,20); Wild Billo (02)
patientlywaiting Clientell Cartel Orlando, FL
STATUS Indie (signed to Dawgman Entertainment) MEMBERS Mighty Mike, Chubby Relle, and Wes Fif SINGLE “Beat His Ass To The Flo’.” CONTACT “We ain’t hard to find. Holla at us in the streets.” THREE IN ONE Mighty Mike: “I’m from Panama City, the Bangin’ Bay. Mighty Mike the legend, a real gutta nigga, street nigga. I seen Wes Fif, a young nigga tryin’ to grind. All y’all little niggas talk about being raw, but I seen this nigga do so much with no money, no nothing. He was really living off his lyrics. So I seen this lil nigga doin’ it, and I said, I gotta fuck with this nigga. I hollered at him. Real niggas recognize real. And me and Chubby Relle, we go way back. That’s the ambassador of Orlando. I stepped to him about the group shit and he was like, ‘Let’s do it.’” SOLO EGOS Wes Fif: “Oh, it’s hard right now, but if we can’t agree on something we might call Dawgman and let somebody else decide. We’ll call the chief and see what he says, because sometimes we can’t agree on nothing.
Clientell and Dawgman, we got everything going on in Orlando. We got a serious street team, and we get out there. You gonna see our flyers and posters everywhere. You know if Dawgman’s backing it, it’s a wrap, cause we already was bubbling.” Mighty Mike: “I’m an entrepreneur, I’m like an all-star hustler. I got clothing stores, I do grills like Paul Wall’s in Bay County. Anything that comes through Panama City comes through me. I’m the mayor of that shit. I’m a legend in the streets, and then I get on my corporate suit too. I learned that by listened to them old cats while I was doing time. I flipped it. I get money. I’m out here into some of everything. If I don’t make it out there, I can just sit back and do some paperwork and get some money.” MUSICAL STYLE Wes Fif: “We all sound different, so it’s like gumbo. Different spices mixed together. Really, it’s better that way.” COMPETITION Wes Fif: “We don’t see them niggas. We’re like a powerhouse, we ain’t just a group. We’ll fuck with you, but if you don’t fuck with us, fuck you. We don’t have to fuck with any of y’all niggas, and they might feel the same way.” - Julia Beverly
patientlywaiting Mr. Pookie & Mr. Lucci Dallas, TX
STATUS Signed to Crawl 2 Ball/Boss Ent./Fontana/Universal PRODUCTION Miyaqi, Mookie, Low Down, Aliens, Grifter, Bear, Certified ALBUM Mr Pookie - Return of the Rippla, Mr Lucci - The Golden Child SINGLE “Don’t Test Us” CONTACT www.crawl2ballrecords.com HISTORY Pookie: “I met Lucci in 1998. We did Crooks for Life together and have been together ever since. We each did solos before that though.” INFLUENCES “Bone Thugs, E-40 and 8Ball & MJG, who never got their credit. UGK too.” FEATURES “We just work with people in our camp that we’re bringing out on our label right now. We had the opportunity to work with some big cats but we really couldn’t get around to it, so we just working with cats on our label. They go hard too. Mr. Montis, Lil Yo, Nick Nitty, Hot Rod and Doughski.” ANGLES “Mr. Pookie & Mr. Lucci gonna hit all angles of the game, all life situations. Playa shit, shit you see at the club. We talk about some shit that you gonna see in the street and some shit you gonna see at home with your girl or whatever. Shit, every type of situation out there, you gonna hear it on our albums.” DALLAS GOT NEXT? “Dallas is off the chain right now, man. Everybody’s doing they thang and gearing up for this next year. Next year it’s gonna bubble. We gonna break out in ’06. For one we gonna do our thing even bigger, then you got cats like DSR who just signed a deal so they gonna come out and do they thang. After that they gonna come looking for more cats out here. Kottonmouth and Rally Boys gonna do they thang. We gonna try and get recognized, man. There’s a lot of good music finna come up out of here right now.” THE PLAN “Really, man, we just kept it like we did the first time. We kept it real. We gonna be in the streets like we did the first time so everybody can see us and see how real we is.” DALLAS vs. HOUSTON? “Yeah, it’s a lot of competition being that every city think they doing it better. So yeah, there’s competition, but once we get in there, they gonna see the difference. Really, it’s all a Texas thang.” - Words and photo by Matt Sonzala 40
patientlywaiting Big Neil
Cincinnati, OH STATUS Indie (Signed to Locdown Records) COLLABORATORS Czar Nok PRODUCTION Young & Rich INTERESTING FACT Cincinnati is ranked the 20th most dangerous city in the nation CONTACT www.locdown.net ON LOCDOWN “I got locked up for a minute. I had the money to bail out and wiggle a little. Gotta be able to wiggle, you know, or you’ll sit in there for a while. Anyway I got bailed out, spent a lot of money, and ended up rapping with my man from Czar Nok. It was time to get more serious. The streets ain’t never left me, though. You can’t really get out of the streets, to tell you the truth.” NEGOTIATIONS “I’m just rolling with Locdown Records, so it’s whatever my boss Los Vegas wants to do. He’s got me shopping deals from a lot of different places, like Sony and Asylum. [My labelmates] Czar Nok are signed to
Capitol, but they aren’t really a street label. I don’t want the same thing to happen to me, when you sign to a big label and they don’t stay behind you. I’m gonna keep doing it like I been doing it and blast later.” CONTENT “I mainly rap about things I really lived or seen. I might rap about what I wanna see. I might rap about cars. I always keep cars fully loaded, but besides that, I might wanna rap about living bigger than most of the rappers out in the streets. I been living a lot of hard times. I make music for the Cincinnati streets.” PUTTING CINCINNATI ON THE MAP “It’s a lot of local artists from the neighborhoods and projects, but Czar Nok are the first to sign a major deal out of Cincinnati. I’m all over their album. They worked with Hi-Tek too. He’s more like a hip-hop dude, though. I’m not really on the hip-hop tip, I’m more of a street gangster. It’s hard for our city to come up cause it hasn’t really been too much action out of Cincinnati. We haven’t seen somebody fully blow up. Hi-Tek doesn’t really count because he’s mostly a beatmaker. There’s nobody on the rapper tip – we had OTR making a lot of noise in our city – but nothing worldwide yet. That’s why I’m hoping to make the big noise. There ain’t too many people that can stop me anyway.” - Words and photo by Julia Beverly
patientlywaiting Rob Jackson Lexington, KY
STATUS Indie (signed to Blackout Entertainment) INTERESTING FACT Played tailback for the University of Miami (Ohio) alongside Slip-N-Slide recording artist Plies PRODUCTION Mannie Fresh, Drum Squad, Drummer Boy INFLUENCES E40, Nas and Jay-Z, Outkast, UGK HOW DOES HE SOUND? “If you look at the map, Kentucky is right smack dead in the middle. Right on top of Tennessee, right under Ohio. We at the top of the South, but its kinda Midwest, then you got the East coast influence from Pennsylvania. So it’s a new sound because it’s a mix of everything. You got cats that can spit with a twang but the beats are combination of all the different genres. And that’s kinda how my album sounds, so it gonna be real interesting to see what happen when a real Kentucky cat hits.” VOTE OR DIE “My album is called Rob Jackson for President. We are campaigning to upgrade to a new regime in the game that’s focused on quality mu-
sic. Right now everybody is saying, “I’m not a rapper, I’m a hustler.” That’s cool and I understand that, but for me this is not a hustle, it’s a craft. I’m not trying to hustle you, I’m trying to sell you something real good. Making music is not a hustle, selling music is a hustle. Being in love with rap and not hearing the type of albums that I want to hear has inspired me to make the type of albums I want to hear.” A SECOND CHANCE “Years ago my demo landed in the hands of Kay Gee [formerly of Naughty By Nature] who had a production deal with Arista. He gave it to L.A. Reid and he liked what I was doing. Him being from Cincinnati, he felt what I was trying to do, so he blessed me with a deal. After they got rid of L.A., I was a victim of the politics. It’s not about the music. You’ve got to have your business game tight. Now I’m a student of the game. I study the trends to make sure my business is tight.” LEADER OF THE PACK “I’m watching the Kentucky scene develop. Because nobody is messing with us, we can’t do anything but get better and keep perfecting ourselves. But Kentucky is a monster right now. We got a lot of artists and I’m clicked up with a lot of them. We got a movement coming and hopefully I can be the spearhead of it.” - Maurice Garland (photo: Earl Randolph)
patientlywaiting Al Gator Atlanta, GA
REPRESENTING College Park STATUS Indie (signed to Black Ice Music) COSIGNER Kool G Rap COLLABORATORS Too $hort, The Game, Young Jeezy PRODUCTION The Alchemist, Focus (Aftermath Ent.), Anthony Dent, Midi Mafia, Mr. DJ from Organized Noise, Kanye West, Nitti, Justus League, Rick Rock ROLLING WITH THE RIGHT CIRCLES “My brother owned the label and started the crew Playaz Circle (I-20, Lil’ Fate, Tity Boy, and Dolla Boy) back before they started rolling with Ludacris and became DTP. I was just doing production and one day I started freestyling in the studio and everybody said I was dope and should rap. So I left the beats alone. I’ve only been rapping for two years.” GETTING THE HOOK-UP “All these producers have been giving me beats for my mixtapes. I’m getting a lot of free shit, that’s all that is in a nutshell. But my album is
gonna be nuts, because I got every heavy-hitting producer in the game wanting to be a part of what I’m doing. It’s a head start but at the same time it could work against me because people expect you to do good when you got them type of muthafuckas around you. It kinda evens out.” MIXING IT UP “I have a [DJ Drama] Gangsta Grillz mixtape coming out in December and I got a [DJ Smallz] Southern Smoke coming after that. I’m working on a West Coast mixtape, and I got one in Texas I’m about to drop. I’m about to drop 5 mixtapes. It’s to the point where every region has been jumping on it. Everybody done heard what’s going on and everybody wants to hear me. And it’s not just because I’m from the South, I have to credit it to my individuality too.” THE INTERNATIONAL GRIND “I’m recording every night. I don’t want to sound too arrogant, but I’m doing at least four or five songs every day. I have more of a buzz in the United Kingdom and Australia. The overseas crowd grabs you more, they grab on to new things faster over there. Over here [in the United States] there is a lot of competition, so it just depends on what niggas want to hear.” - Maurice Garland (photo: Katching Casez)
patientlywaiting Trick Trick Detroit, MI
STATUS Signed to Universal Records PRODUCTION Trick Trick, Eminem, Jazze Pha SINGLE “Welcome To Detroit” COLLABORATORS Eminem, D12, Obie Trice THE OTHER SIDE OF 8 MILE “There’s a whole ‘nother side of the tracks I’m gonna bring. The street side, the hustlers. Our dudes and our women get money around here.” HISTORY “I started out doing production in 1991. The first song I produced was called ‘Life Of A Gangster,’ and it was a real big record. I knew what I wanted to hear on the track, so I wrote a verse to it. I was in a group called GBK, it was me and a guy named Mark V. We had to split up when Mark went to jail. He got sentenced to 15-20 years for shooting at the police. Next I formed the Goon Squad and went upstate. I was in the penitentiary for a year on an unrelated charge, possession with intent. So that was a big transition. I decided I’m gonna get serious about this music. This is what I gotta do. I can’t do both, I have to make sacrifices.” SHAKE DAT ASS “In 1995 my first big record was a gold single called ‘Booty Bounce.’ When I got out the joint, dance music was poppin’. Everything was Luke and 2 Live Crew. The gangsta shit wasn’t flyin’ well with the public because the radio was playin’ dance music. I had to get in where I fit in. That’s the difference between being an artist and being just a rapper.” WHAT’S IN A NAME? “I got the name Trick when I was younger because I was a nasty ass little boy. They kinda handed it to me.” NEGOTIATIONS “I had my run-ins with the majors here and there, but at the time, I didn’t want a major deal. I really didn’t. This year, Universal made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Wendy Day negotiated the deal. When she negotiates, she brings something to the table that’s definitely worth it.” TRICK TRICK vs. TRICK DADDY “Originally, it wasn’t directed at Trick Daddy. It was a situation where his boys were acting stupid and they tried to rob me. When they came to Detroit, I beat those muthafuckers’ asses. Me and half the city of Detroit. But I’m done with that shit, and to be honest with you, I really hate talking about it. It’s some old shit that happened. I’m a street nigga, so my beef stays in the streets where it belongs.” - Julia Beverly (Photo: John Richard) 48
bulletwounds Triple J (West Palm Beach, FL) Why do you call yourself Triple J? Those are my initials: Johnathan Jerel Johnson. You were originally signed to Def Jam South, right? How did you hook that up? Yeah, Scarface actually walked me in. I met ‘Face through Tone Capone, in Oakland, CA. He was the producer for the Luniz’ “I Got Five On It” and he did a lot of tracks for Scarface’s album. Me and Tone were working on an album together, so I came across ‘Face. Since we shared producers, he got interested me and we just cliqued up. This was back in ’96. Are you from Florida? Yeah, I was living in California for about a year recording, but I’m originally from Riviera Beach, Florida, in Palm Beach County. So when ‘Face left Def Jam, you left too? Yeah, when ‘Face left, the deal just fell apart. I knew he was leaving way before he actually left. I was with him before he got the deal at Def Jam. They didn’t wanna release me though. They were trying to put me on the shelf. I was stuck at Def Jam for two years. I had to fight my way out of it. Are you bitter because of the Def Jam situation? Oh, I’m definitely bitter. My career was at a standstill, and that forced me to get back in the streets. In the process, I almost lost my life. I wouldn’t have been out there doing what I was doing if Def Jam was doing what they were supposed to be doing. I got plenty of animosity. I don’t care who’s running their shit. Fuck ‘em all. How did you almost lose your life? I got shot about a year and a half ago. I got shot in my main artery, the one that goes through your right thigh. I lost 50% of the blood in my body. Was it rap beef or street beef? It was street beef, but that nigga’s dead now. We gonna leave that where it’s at. You got into an argument and things just got out of control? Naw, it wasn’t an argument. It was a drive-by. What was going through your mind when you got shot? Shit, man. When I first got hit, I didn’t feel the pain. My body was in shock. It was three of us that got hit, me and two of my homeboys. We was checking each other to make sure everybody was okay. It didn’t seem serious at first. It was just a leg wound. We were actually laughing at the shit for a minute. These pussy niggas gonna come through and shoot at us? A real nigga is gonna handle his. A drive-by is girl shit, bullshit. Then I noticed I was starting to get weaker. I didn’t know he had hit that artery. I was losing a lot of blood, and my vision started getting blurry. I couldn’t walk or talk, and I fainted. My voice wouldn’t even come out. I was fucked up. I kept blacking out. I told my homeboy, “Damn, I’m ‘bout to die, man.” My homeboy Johnny Dixon saved my life. I love that nigga. He kept slapping me and shit. He was like, “I ain’t gonna let you go, nigga.” Him and my homeboy Short Dog got me to the hospital. No police, no ambulance, nothing. How long were you in the hospital? When I got to the hospital, I was in there for like two months. Was it a wake-up call? It definitely was a wake-up call. Things didn’t get easier after that, though. My life was in so much chaos. The deeper you dig yourself a hole, the harder it is to get back out. I’m still trying to get back out of that hole, me and Big Scale Entertainment. Big Scale is me and two homeboys I grew up with, Pupp and Tech. We all co-own the company together. We’ve got it split three ways. Are you gonna put out the album indie or try to get a distribution deal? It don’t matter how we do it as long as we get that paper. Of course we’d like to get a big distribution deal. Who wouldn’t want that? But we 50
know how to live without it. Your new single is “Boy Shorts,” produced by Jim Jonsin? Yeah, that’s what the radio wants to hear. That ain’t my type of shit, but we gonna play ball. It’s kind of a novelty song. I like street shit. To me, that’s my reality. But this is for the radio. I don’t even go to the strip clubs. I can’t even tell you the last time I been to a strip club. It just ain’t my cup of tea. I’ve heard people compare you lyrically to Eminem. Do you think that’s accurate? I don’t think that’s accurate, but I’ll take that as a compliment. To me, Eminem is a lyrical genius, but I don’t compare myself to him. I think we’re coming from two different angles. We can’t relate to each other’s lives. I do like to put humor into my raps, though. I like to put humor in serious situations. No matter how serious something is, you should always be able to find humor in it. Did you find humor in getting shot? Yeah. Me and my homeboys laugh all the time about who had the most bitch in ‘em. We laugh about who was hollerin’ the loudest. When is your album coming out? My mixtape Street Science is coming soon. The album, MLK Boulevard, is coming in early 2006. Look out for that single “What the Lick Read.” That’s basically like saying, “What’s happenin’.” Like I said, I like to put a lot of humor in my shit. The first cut I got on the mixtape is a song where I’m mimicking a lot of rappers’ styles. People tell me I sound just like them. That’s just something I do, but don’t confuse me with a comedian. I just did that to show that I could take nigga’s voices. I mimicked 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Young Jeezy, Pimp C, and a few other cats. Don’t get me wrong, though. I admire all them cats. I like street shit. I respect all gangsta rappers, but most of them just don’t rap as good as me. Anything else you’d like to say? Shout out to Bigga Rankin, I love that nigga to death. That’s the realest DJ doing this shit. Shout out to Big Shife and Papa Duck, two of the hottest producers in Florida, 21 Reese, Frank Luv, and Dawgman Entertainment. If there’s anybody I forgot to mention, they must not be doing the right thing. Also, check out my website www.triplejmusic. com. Log on it, doggone it! For booking call Pupp at 561-718-9682. - Words and photo by Julia Beverly
bulletwounds The Last Mr. Bigg a.k.a. Diamond Eye (Mobile, AL) Where would people know you from? My biggest single was “Trial Time” - true story. I thought I was on my way back to jail again, so I had to hurry up and put out some music. Why were you in jail? I did four years in Alabama for second degree assault and robbery. That’s what made me realize that this is not something I wanna do for the rest of my life. People in there had kids and wives, but they were still coming back and forth to prison - getting out and coming right back in two weeks. I knew I couldn’t do that. When did you get out of prison? They released me in February 1998, on Valentine’s Day. A few months later, in August, an informant working for the Feds came to my house to buy a CD. He was wearing a wire. When he left, he told the cops that I had a large quantity of cocaine and a bunch of money laying around the house. They got a warrant and came back to the house and never found anything. They were trying to set me up. They put a charge on me for that. While I was waiting to go to trial, that’s when I recorded “Trial Time.” The song took off fast, and I was still going back and forth to court. I didn’t know how to deal with it. I was still learning; I didn’t know the music game. I was just trying to get my point across – how easy it is for somebody to snitch, to make up something. I had four lawyers, and I beat the case. Now that we’ve got a little background on you, tell us how you got shot. A lot of people heard that you had died. Well, that situation happened at a time when I was making a lot of moves; good moves. A guy asked me to listen to his CD. I sat in his car with him and we rode around listening to his music. I felt like I’d made a good decision by giving him a shot, because he seemed to be an alright fella. I didn’t know what he had going on other than his music, because I didn’t know him like that. We rode around and I took him to the club with me to try to get his music played. We just hung out that night. When we left the club, we went by his mom’s house. He said he had to meet some guy that stayed down the street from him. I ended up getting shot twice in the face just because I was there. When everything first happened, I thought it was a set up. But when I came out of the coma, I still had all my jewelry and my money and my mink coat. If it wasn’t a robbery attempt, what was it? He was shooting at the guy I was with. The guy ran up and shot him in the face first, and as he ran towards the house, he shot him in the back. As soon as I heard the shots go off, I called my house. As the shooter ran around the car chasing the guy towards the house, the driver side door was open and he saw me in there slumped over talking on the cell phone. He got in the car behind me and closed the door. I threw my hands up, trying to speak to him, and that’s when he shot me. He stuck the gun to the center of my head and shot once. The second shot hit my left ear. Do you know who shot you? I knew who he was after I got out of the hospital and talked to the driver. If he’d died, I never would’ve known what happened. It was revenge; it was some beef those two had got into earlier, before I had met the guy. I was really in the wrong place at the wrong time. How did you survive two shots to the head? God. Nobody but God. I lost my right eye. The shot that came through the back of my head to the front blew my eye out. What went through your mind when the shot went off? My kids. The first shot popped my eardrum. I’ve been shot like six other times, but it had never came to the point where it could be fatal. When he popped the first two shots, the first thing I did was grab the phone and call my family, to tell my girl to take care of my kids cause I wasn’t gonna make it. She didn’t answer the phone, so I was saying all this on the answering machine. I’ve got it all recorded for my next CD. Did you lose consciousness when you got shot? No. I know it sounds crazy now, but I remember telling the ambulance 52
driver, “Please let me take my coat off.” They were cutting off my mink coat. I was like, “Please don’t cut it.” They were saying, “We’ve got to cut it,” and slipping it over my face. That’s the last thing I remember. How long were you in the hospital? I was in the hospital for eleven days. I was in a coma for a week. When I got out of the coma, I didn’t know seven days had gone by. During the first couple days, word had got out that I was dead or wasn’t gonna make it. They said I’d be a vegetable; my personality would be all fucked up and I wouldn’t remember anything. The doctor said I got shot in the part of the brain that controls your personality and memory. The first two days, they thought I was gonna die. On the third day, they told my mom, “He’s gonna live, but we have to take his right eye or it’ll destroy the other eye.” It was hard for my momma to make that decision. She’s got a glass eye too so it just destroyed her. But everything connecting to my eye was destroyed, so she had no choice. Has your personality changed since the incident? Yeah, a lot. That’s the mental part I have to deal with by myself. You’re going to put the voicemail recording from that night on your album? Is the shooting going to be the main theme of the album? Yeah, I’m gonna put the recording on there, and maybe one or two songs. I’m not going to make a whole album talking about being shot. I did one song strictly about that to let people know that I was in the wrong place in the wrong time. I wasn’t involved in nothing fucked up. I been got away from that lifestyle. The rumor was that I was involved in a drug deal gone bad, and that’s not true. The purpose of doing that song wasn’t to make money or get a deal or get people to feel sorry for me for being shot. I don’t get down like that. I just had to let my kids know that daddy was not still involved in the same ol’ bullshit that he used to be involved in ten or fifteen years ago. I don’t have to use the fact that I got shot, because I’ve got talent and good music. Do you have a release date? Not yet, but I just finished my mixtape Diamond Eye. It’ll be in the streets in a minute. I’ve also got three songs on Three 6 Mafia’s new album, and I’m in the next video for “Poppin’ My Collar.” Why do you think you survived? What’s your purpose in life? It wasn’t my time. God still had something for me to do. He knew I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Everything happens for a reason, so I’m blessed to be alive. I’ve been waiting a long time for the world to really see who I am. A lot of people have heard about me, but I’m a big mystery. They never really got a chance to hear me on a major level. After all that, I’m starting all the way from scratch, indie. Anything else you’d like to say? The Last Mr. Bigg is not dead. Once again, I am not dead. I am alive. Be on the lookout for my new album coming soon on PCP Records. - Words and photo by Julia Beverly
RIDING SHOTGUN WITH THE DIPLOMATS’
JUELZ SANTANA PHOTO & WORDS: JULIA BEVERLY
The Diplomats are all spread out right now on different labels. How is it structured? I’m on Def Jam, Cam is on Asylum, and Jim Jones is on Koch. Jim also has an executive position over at Atlantic. We definitely got a lot going on. I feel like it’s better like that. We’re all powerful artists individually, so we kinda needed that. When you’ve got all of us on one label, it’s like, who’s the star? Who’s the main focus? We’re all stars. We’re not really just a group, we’re a group of stars. With Def Jam focusing on me and Asylum focusing on Cam and Koch focusing on Jim, we can get together and make all three of these labels get together. They got to, cause we together and we ain’t breaking up. We’ve seen a lot of groups come and go and breakup because of egos. What’s the key to sticking together in a rap group? Communication, man. You’ve gotta communicate. But even if there’s ten people, there has to be a leader. I don’t care what nobody says. Like, you could be your own boss, but there has to be a leader. I’m my own boss. Cam allows me to do whatever I want to do, but Cam is the boss when it comes to the structure and the way our situation is run. People get caught up in the “oh-he’s-bigger-than-me” thing, but it’s never that with us. I feel like communication is definitely one part of that. People tend to let situations get out of hand. I got my own career and Cam got his own career, but even when me and Cam get on the road, we never really get away from each other too much. Some crews get away from each other too much and you got this nigga talkin’ in your ear. If you don’t see each other for a minute, you don’t want to believe what you’re hearing, but that shit becomes what it is. You may not even have said nothing, but the shit just escalates. Seriously, a lot of beef starts from real dumb shit like that. I be watching. I’ve seen it. so we try not to let shit like that come in between our crew. We try to keep a tight circle and always communicate. If it’s ever a situation where he don’t agree or I don’t agree, we’re all gonna come to a decision. Everybody wasn’t with me going to Def Jam, but Cam made his own decision and that’s just a decision I had to make. Like I said, Cam is the leader, so if he had said, “We all leaving Def Jam,” that’s what it woulda been. We all our own bosses. Even though Cam is the leader, he gives us our own options. So when the Rocafella situation happened, you basically had the option to stick with Dame or go with Jay? Nah, it’s not really a Dame vs. Jay thing. I never even knew Jay was gonna end up at Def Jam, so it’s so funny that it happened like that. I just wanted to get that machine behind me. Then, Jay happened to become President. So I was like, damn, it’s gonna look OZONE
like I’m tryin’ to stay with Jay. Jay sat me down one time, like, “I definitely think you’re a star, so anything you need me to help you with your career, I got you.” But that’s pretty much it. He deals with the Roc-A-Fella side, so I deal more with L.A. Reid and all those other dudes at Def Jam. I know Jay is there for my project, but it’s not like he’s actually hands-on with me. It was never really a thing between Jay or Dame. I got a lot of respect for Dame. He’s a great nigga, and he did so much for my career. At the time, I felt like Dame had a lot of stuff going on besides the music that he was focused on. Right now I’m so focused on my career that I just wanted somebody around me that was just focused on that. I was on that up-and-coming grind. You got some dudes that feel like, if my thing don’t go well, it’s off to the next thing. But if they feel like this is all they got, hey, they’re gonna do everything in their power to make my situation work. There was rumored to be some friction between Jay and Cam. Did that ever affect you? Nah, nah. And once again, it was never really a problem. I would definitely say that was an ego situation. Jay is his own man, Cam is his own man. Nobody caters to each other in that situation. When it comes to them, if you see Jay or Cam in the office, they’d give each other a pound and that’s gonna be it. Nobody’s gonna stoop to that level and be like, “Yo, I fucks with you,” even though they both fucks with each other. I seen that. I’m a real nigga and I know what it is. They both respect each other, bottom line. That’s just how I feel. But it gets to that point where, you know, Cam is like, “I’m that nigga,” and Jay is like, “I’m that nigga.” It comes to a point where they can’t come to an agreement. So from the outside looking in, it looks like a separation. To me, it was never really a separation. They were just doing they own thing. They not colliding, but they not cool like Dame and Cam was or Jay and Dame was. It was a different type of relationship, that’s all. Tell me about some of the new artists coming out of the Diplomats camp. Oh, we got a hell of a new roster. You know, Hell Rell was incarcerated. I really like Hell Rell. I really wanna sit down and be really involved with his album. That’s one thing I always wanted to do, be involved with artist development. Not to say that Hell Rell needs artist development, but he’s just a dude where I like his music and I want to say I had something to do with his project. To be honest, I really enjoy his music. That’s my dude. Then we’ve got JR Writer who’s been doing his thing for a minute. Jha Jha is new too. I really feel like she brings something different to the table. She’s from Dade County, Miami, so when people hear her come out they expect her to be raunchy and raw to the core. But when we hear Jha Jha, we hear songs. She didn’t come to us like a regular bitch on the street trying to spit. She came with music; well put-together music. People never really got to hear that from Jha Jha yet cause we never really had the time to put her out. When you hear her on a radio station, it’s like, damn. She’s not really a spitter like that. We come from Harlem, so this is what we do, but her music is so well put-together. I think when Jha Jha comes out, it’s gonna be a turning point in the game. She’s not really your average sexy rapper. She does make some dirty South songs, like the song she just did for Jim’s album called “What U Been Drinkin’ On.” Jim picked that for his single. He’s got Paul Wall and Puffy on there. They shot the video in Miami. She had a song on the last album called “Get From Round Here.” That song was so big. We never did a video, but in the clubs in the South people loved it. I really think she’s on a different type of shit. When people hear her music, man, they’ll know. People are followers. Once she gets that one little push and a bunch people saying it’s hot, you know what it is. So you’ve got a new album coming out. Man, I have everything going on at once. My album is done. It’s called What The Game’s Been Missing. I still kept it funky and worked with all the up-and-coming producers, the heatmakers. It’s definitely a different sound from the last time. It’s the same me, but a different side of me. The last album was more personal. I dealt with a lot of personal issues, like the jealousy song. It was a real personal album. This album is more like, I went in the studio and knew what I wanted to do. It’s more fun. People get to see a different side of me. My last album was dwelling on my whole life. Since it was my first album, I talked about everything that led up to that. Who’s featured on the album? For those who don’t know, Game is on the title track. I got Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, Cam, and Sizzla on my album. I just shot a video for my first single, “There It Go,” a.k.a. the whistle song. It’s got a loud whistle throughout the whole song. 56
What about musically? How does this album differ from the last? The last album was slower. It had more of a gangsta feel to it. I got a couple of storytelling songs on this new album. I got a song called “Little Boy Fresh.” I was sitting there watching this movie called Fresh, and it reminded me of a lot of shit I see in my hood. A lot of these young niggas coming up good with drugs and other situations. I actually wrote out the whole movie and kicked it different. It’s gonna be a big song for my album. I got another song called “Gone Like Another.” I told two different stories. The first story is about an old-timer who just came home and he wants to block the young niggas. I see that a lot. That’s what’s going on in my hood right now. Young niggas got the block right now, but old niggas coming home want the block back. I just did a scenario of something I’ve seen. Then the chorus talks about how you don’t appreciate life until you’re gone. The second story is about another situation, a bitch in my hood fuckin’ with the average drug dealer. She’s kinda blind to the situation, she doesn’t really know what he does. She’s running around with a brand new Benz and new friends, so she ain’t worried about it. She winds up getting kidnapped and they call the dude for ransom money, and he’s like, “I don’t give a fuck about her. I got a wife and kids somewhere else anyway.” It was a different type of song for me, just to prove some things. This album touches a lot of different bases. I got my own studio, and I’ve recorded over 160 songs. It’s a lot of different types of music that I wasn’t even doing last time around when I had to worry about my recording budget. My songs were kinda limited then. This time around, I just got to do so much music and I was really into it. I knew what I wanted to do and what I wanted to get across. You’ve got a home studio now? No, I got a nice studio, a separate studio. I spent over $250,000 on that studio. Cam is in the process of building his own studio right now too. Cam wants us all to be entrepreneurs and have our own. I feel like the more we do for ourselves, the more he appreciates it and the more he makes it happen, just to be able to see me go out on my own and do shit like that. Do you and Cam have kind of a younger brother/older brother type relationship? Yeah, he’s like an older brother/mentor. Cam does a lot for me. I just appreciate the situation he’s put me in. A lot of people don’t be willing to push situations. With my first album, it wasn’t even like I sold mad records or nothing like that. But I’m still A-List with the Diplomats. He’s not putting nobody in front of me. Even though, in my situation, I try to make it to where nobody can get in front of me, because I’m always gonna remain hot. Whether my album sells a mil or doesn’t, I’m gonna stay out there in the streets and let niggas know. I’m like a brand new artist. For me, that’s a big thing right now, I’m pretty much gonna kill the streets. I got my mixtape and the joint with Jeezy coming out. This time around, I really feel like it needs to be big because I put in so much hard work. Were you disappointed with the response to your first album? Nah, I wasn’t disappointed. Numbers-wise, maybe, but that’s just how the game goes. That shit is not always what you expect it to be. It just makes me want to work harder. Honestly, some people take that shit and step back, but that shit really made me want to work harder. I be looking for these niggas, and there’s no future for their next album. I seen that shit, but for me, it wasn’t like I crossed over or did no dumb shit for my first album. My street shit was still solidified. I still had shows. My show list was longer than niggas who went platinum. So I’m still that nigga. With certain niggas, if you cross over tryin’ to do something, it doesn’t work. I’m performing in clubs where people don’t wanna hear that bullshit. I’m not performing for 40,000 people every night where I’ve gotta go out and do a bunch of commercial music. I’m going to clubs where 1,600 niggas are drunk and high as fuck, so if you go up in there with some bullshit you might get a bottle thrown at you. It just enabled me to come bigger the next time around, because niggas know it ain’t gonna be no bullshit. He still keeping it real, he still on that shit. So I’m gradually grabbing everybody. As long as I keep moving forwards and not backwards, I feel like I’m doing the right thing. I feel like this time around will definitely be bigger than last time around. Every album is gonna be bigger as long as I could get a bigger presence. Every album makes me bigger in the long run. When I leave here, people will really understand what I did. I can guarantee that longevity. Any last words? Get used to the future, cause I am that. I don’t claim to be the king, I just do my thing. Niggas know what it is.
year-endawards Attention Whore of the Year: The Bishop of Crunk
Oh, you say you don’t know who The Bishop of Crunk is? Trust me, you’ve seen him before. Remember your last trip to Atlanta? Remember that guy jumping shirtless like a crazed psychopath through VIP, dripping sweat on innocent bystanders, begging OZONE to take his picture? No? Well, okay. Just turn on the TV. He’s in that video they’re playing on BET. It doesn’t matter which video: Lil Jon, the Ying Yang Twins, Ludacris, Ciara, Jazze Pha, David Banner, T-Pain, anyone. Any video shoot within driving distance of Atlanta, he’s there. See that guy with the Mohawk in the background, waving cans of CRUNK!!!, hugging every semi-celebrity in sight, just DYING to be seen? Yep, that’s him. No one knows exactly what he is, or what he does. Is he a rapper? A producer? A comedian? A one-man street team? A hype man? A raving lunatic? Or does he have a plan?
Granted, there are attention whores in every city, so the list of runner-ups for this award could be long. But with his extreme lack of common sense and disregard for societal restraints, The Bishop of Crunk wins by a long shot. You male groupies will just have to suck rappers’ dicks a little harder next year to try to take his crown! As an extra bonus feature, check out this shot of The Bishop unexpectedly diving headfirst into a carefully prepared CRUNK!!! photo shoot for Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz.
Stop Snitching Award: Superhead We all love to read scandalous stories about celebrities’ sex lives. But Karrine “Superhead” Steffans took things a step too far, releasing a much-hyped tell-all book that detailed her (alleged) trysts with every single rapper, actor, athlete, and music mogul who was hot four years ago. Although some of the details of their sexual romps were entertaining, Superhead tried to spin the book as some kind of I’ve-found-God-look-at-how-much-I’ve-changed revelation. Just be honest, ‘head! We all know why you did it: for the money! But now that they’ve been outed in print, do you think the rap community will stop fucking groupies? Hmmm...probably not. Some things will never change.
Worst Luck: Gucci Mane Runner-up: Lil Kim
Things aren’t “So Icy” over at Big Cat Records these days. Regardless of who started the animosity between Young Jeezy and Gucci Mane, who once collaborated on a song together, their back-and-forth diss records apparently triggered a snowball of events which led to Gucci Mane’s back-to-back arrests. Denied bail, Gucci Mane is currently awaiting trial on charges of murder
Political Statement of the Year: Kanye West During NBC’s live Hurricane Katrina broadcast pictured above, Kanye West stuttered nervously about racism in America for a few minutes before finally gathering his thoughts to blurt out the shot heard ‘round the world: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” The only thing more priceless than the instant cutaway to a stunned Chris Tucker was the expression on Mike Myers’ face.
Mad Rapper Award: Chamillionaire
Worst Song: “Laffy Taffy” Sorry, D4L, but it’s true. 58
Runner-up: Pastor Troy
Now, Chamillion is actually a pretty cool guy. And look, he’s even smiling (or is that a smirk?) in this picture! But he’s earned the title of mad rapper. Cham is the type of person who always speaks his mind. “Some people might say that makes me an asshole,” he admitted to OZONE back in August. “But it makes me feel better. It makes me feel like a real nigga.” Whether it’s a threedisc album aimed at his enemy “Dyke Jones,” rumored beef (now squashed) with his former partner Paul Wall, or his debut album entirely focused on Revenge, Cham is Houston’s mad rapper. Over in Atlanta, we heard Pastor Troy is mad that he doesn’t get recognition for “starting crunk music.” He also put out the single “Murda Man,” dissing Lil Jon for not including him on his newest album.
year-endawards The Biting The Hand That Feeds You Award: Chingy
Gangsta Of The Year: George W. Bush
Runner-up: Mike Jones
After Chingy accused Chaka Zulu of mismanagement, left Ludacris’ DTP camp where he’d just dropped a multiplatinum debut, and started charging DJs to host their mixtapes, it was only a matter of time.
This dude gets paid to go on vacation. How gangsta is that? And we’re paying him! Imagine that! If something goes wrong, he can just fire someone else. It’s good to be king!
Since then, the only thing we’ve heard about Chingy is a press release from his group the Git It Boyz, claiming he never paid them. Chingy is learning the hard way.
Lounging In Cuba With Pac, Counting My Money Award: DJ Ran
Biggest Cockblock: Steve Gottlieb
Most Arrogant Video Model: Buffie The Bod
Runner-up: Esther Baxter You’d think it would be difficult for a stripper/video model to piss off an entire DJ crew in one night, right? Well, Buffie the Bod pulled it off with her stank attitude at a Core DJs retreat, earning her the new nickname “Buffie The Bitch.”
What The Fuck? Award: R Kelly’s VMA performance
Baby Mama Drama Award: Diddy Runner-up: Jeezy
Ever since the Tech.Nitions DJ crew disbanded due to internal strife, cofounder DJ Ran has been M.I.A. Wherever he is, we’re pretty sure he’s rich. In the meantime, many new DJ crews have arrived to carry on the Tech.Nition traditions of breaking new music, attending conferences, bickering on message boards, and bitching about generally insignificant topics. We love DJs. :)
There’s a thin line between musical genius and just plain psycho.
Notice how TVT Records’ flagship artist Lil Jon went from being all over BET and MTV to virtually absent? Rumor has it that Lil Jon is owed something to the tune of $8 million dollars (in an August interview, Jon said he wasn’t “getting shit” from the label, but declined to comment on the specific amount). During the ongoing battle between Jon and TVT’s CEO Steve Gottlieb, clearance issues have prevented Jon from appearing on several records (David Banner and Jadakiss’ unreleased “Treat Me Like”) and in some videos (Youngbloodz’ “Presidential”).
When Mannie Fresh departed Cash Money, it was rumored to be for financial reasons. But there was no mud-slinging, name-calling, public beef, or WWF stunts. Mannie simply relocated to Houston and kept making those bangin’ beats we all know and love. Can’t hate on that.
Most Graceful Departure: Mannie Fresh
Most Creative Marketing: Tampa Tony’s Da Splitter
Runner-up: Mike Jones
year-endawards The I Thought He’d Be Taller In Person Award: Bobby Valentino
Biggest Nuts: Lil Troy Rapper and label owner Lil Troy distributed a DVD and flyers featuring a photocopied affidavit at a Houston car show, which accused his former artist Scarface - of being a “snitch.” The surprising part is that he’s lived long enough to continue talking about it.
Bobby thinks that we here at OZONE have something against him, because he appeared in the “groupie confessions” column a few months back. But really, nothing could be further from the truth. We love you, Bobby. Especially after hearing “Slow Down” twenty-four million times. But...you are short.
Most Repetitive Artist: Dem Franchize Boyz Runner-up: Mike Jones
Mike “Back Then” Jones had this award locked up until DFB came through with three identical back-to-back singles (“White Tee,” “I Think They Like Me,” “Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It”).
O.J. Simpson Award: Michael Jackson
RICO DA CROOK
Of course Michael did it.
The All Good Things Must Come To An End Award: BMF
BMF (CEO Meech, above center) had it all - exotic cars, ridiculous jewelry, even BMF billboards near downtown Atlanta. They lived the good life - throwing extravagant parties, poppin’ bottles, hanging out with rap affiliates Young Jeezy and Fabolous (above left), filming videos for their artist Bleu Davinci (above right), and blowing enough money to make it rain, sleet, hail, and snow at the strip clubs. But the party came to an end in October 2005, when the DEA posted this press release on their website:
Most Suspect Artist: John Legend Runner-up: Usher This jacket says it all.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) dealt a knock-out blow to the self-named Black Mafia Family (BMF) arresting 30 individuals and seizing $3 million in currency and assets, 2 1/2 kilograms of cocaine and numerous weapons. The BMF was a large-scale cocaine trafficking and money laundering organization... using sophisticated “traps” (hidden compartments) in stretch limousines (shown at right) to conceal and transport drugs and money. Who knew? They all seemed like such nice young men.
Bitch of The Year: Katrina Runner-up: Rita, Wilma
No one except Dave Mays (left) and Benzino (right) is quite sure how exactly Benzino became co-owner of The Source Magazine, but somehow, ‘Zino’s friendship with co-founder Mays has allowed him to live lavishly and shamelessly promote his albums through The Source for many years. But with The Source’s advertising sales, newsstand sales, profits, and credibility all plummeting over the past two years, Benzino might want to think about finding someone else’s budget to drain.
Most Successful Extortionist: Benzino
Realest Nigga Award: Paul Wall
Although the magazine has a mountain of lawsuits pending (one from a lending company which advanced them $18 million, a sexual harassment suit from a former editor-in-chief, and tax evasion charges against Benzino, for example), their real problems began when they got into the monthly habit of running laughably biased and derogatory articles (sometimes entire issues) about artists (Eminem, 50 Cent), DJs (Funkmaster Flex), former staffers, and basically anyone they don’t like (XXL, etc, etc) without revealing their hidden motives. See, there’s nothing wrong with writing an article slamming an individual who’s done you wrong. Shit, we do it here at OZONE all the time. But you’ve gotta divulge your real reasons. Tell ‘em why you mad, son!
Calm down. It’s a joke.
JOHNNY NUNEZ/NUBUZZ PHOTO
So, just to make sure we’re not guilty of the same crime, I’m gonna be honest. Why are we (okay, me, JB, the editor) slamming The Source? There’s several reasons. One - when I used to do freelance work for them, they bounced a check on me on Christmas Eve a few years ago which really fucked up my holidays, cause I was broke. Two, they still owe me $1,575 for articles I wrote a year and a half ago. Three - how the fuck did you get a loan for $18 million dollars and still end up bankrupt?? If somebody loaned me just 1% of that (that’s $180,000 for you slow folks) I’d be straight. What a waste. But on the grander scale of things - Dave & ‘Zino were in control of the most recognized brand and platform in hip-hop and they squandered it on a bunch of bullshit instead of tackling the real issues and giving aspiring journalists and photographers a chance to show off their skills. But it’s all good. More room for OZONE! Fuck The Source. And it’s not the money, it’s the principle.
Time To Go See Paul Wall Award: Petey Pablo
Don’t Leave Rap Alone, The Game Needs You Award: Andre 3000 & Lauryn Hill
Runner-up: Heather Hunter, Lil Scrappy
Time To Retire Award: Master P “I Need Dubs”? No, no, no. We love what you did for the game, but you’ve got to know when your time is up.
year-endawards Best Diss: Young Jeezy’s “Stay Strapped” Worst Diss: Don P’s Lil Scrappy diss
Runner-up: Slim Thug’s Sqad Up diss
Best Dressed: Common Worst Dressed: Pretty Ricky Runner-up: Webbie
Worst Couple: Bow Wow & Ciara
Runner-up: Nick Cannon & Christina Milian
Best Couple: Jay-Z & Beyonce
Sexiest Female Rapper: Trina
Sexiest Male Rapper: T.I.
Worst Ad-Lib: Ying Yang Twins’ “HANH!” OZONE
Best Ad-Lib: Young Jeezy’s “Yeaaaaaahhhh”
THE FASTEST RAPPER ALIVE TAKES AIM PHOTOS: BARRY UNDERHILL WORDS: ROHIT LOOMBA & MIKE LI 70
How has life been for you on tour? Life on the road has been lovely. It’s cool because I got a chance to be out here before I even got to this level, so I kind of have the whole road lifestyle down pat. Just being out here working, everything rolling the way it’s rolling, it feels real good to me. I can’t complain about life on the road. Being on the road for weeks on end, does it ever get hectic or frustrating? Oh, yeah. You’re around the same people day after day, so you’re bound to get frustrated sometimes. There’s bound to be little arguments on the road. You gotta do little things to off set it; have a little fun in between the work because it definitely gets crazy on the road. If you can’t control yourself, you’ll get out here and get yourself into some real trouble. What kind of trouble? Man, getting arrested for different things, messing with the wrong female, messing with the wrong niggas, getting caught with a little sack of something to smoke on in your pocket. You just try to live a little or do a little thing, but it’s so many ways. Sometimes you can just be out there with ill intentions and get in trouble, or sometimes you accidentally get into trouble. So the best thing to do is stay with your tight-knit circle, your crew, take care of your business, or take your ass home. What about you personally, what keeps you in check? How do you make sure you don’t get into trouble on the road? My road manager, just watching me, knowing my tendencies and my ways, and definitely my buddies. If they see me acting too wild, they’ll calm me down a little. So if we get to feeling good and I know I don’t have a show the next day or a lot of stuff to do, I might sit down and have a drink and get a little wild. Not too wild. I police myself a lot. You seem to be the most calm and relaxed out of you and the Mobstaz. Do you think that’s accurate? Yeah, definitely. It depends on the situation. In certain situations they’re the livest, and in certain situations I’m the livest. I noticed that a lot of people – like at your album release party – act like y’all go way back. How do you deal with people like that? I’ll listen for a while and try to figure out for a second, but if it gets too crazy I got to keep it real and let them know, man, I can’t really remember. I meet a lot of people, know a lot of people, but it’s all love. Usually they get offended, but if they do, I gotta throw my hands up in the air. What can I say? I don’t remember. Your new album The Day After hasn’t been selling as well as Kamikaze did. What factors do you think are influencing the Soundscan numbers for The Day After compared to Kamikaze? Just the timing of when the album came out. It came out fourth quarter, around the time of a lot of other artists. This time you got that one week’s check and you only got time for that one CD. I think the big numbers aren’t going to come on that one day, but the slow effect is going to take place because I make good music and I’ve got a lot of true fans. Once they realize that my album is out there, everyone is going to go and buy it. In the review we ran in OZONE Magazine, the music editor felt that you were just at a lyrical level too high for most of your audience. What would be your response? That’s a compliment to me. I would rather have fans figuring out later and build themselves up rather than deliver a verse that was so easy to figure out or had no substance to it. In a way, that can hurt you, but that’s how it is being a true artist. You’ve gotta make sacrifices and take chances. So that’s a compliment to me. What’s your favorite track on The Day After? There’s a few, but I think one of my favorites was the song “Lavish,” with Pharrell. We was down in Florida, chillin’ in Miami. The studio was down there so the suite I was stayin’ in was real nice. I’m looking over the balcony, and it was the weekend, so a lot of beautiful ladies were walking up and down the strip. I was working on “Lavish” and everything was flowing together for me. I had a ball working on that song. I heard you and Scott Storch had a really good creative vibe in the studio. Man, you just reminded me of the Scott Storch stuff. Me and Scott, we just work together good. We click together. So I just like going down there with him because you never know what he’ll come out
with messing with those machines and boards and stuff. It comes out crazy. So I definitely like working with him. He likes to get his kickin’ it on too, so that’s pretty cool working with him. Pharrell was off the hook, and my guys, in-house producers Toxic, did like half the album. I always have a ball in the studio working with them. Some of the producers I didn’t get a chance to meet, like Rodney Jerkins. I didn’t get a chance to meet him, but we clicked and everything. Pitbull, that was a crazy track. I’m not gonna get into it unless I can tell it’s going to be a positive or creative vibe in the studio. I won’t even bother to get that close. What helps you relax and focus while you’re on the road? Good ass kush. Good, good kush. That’s what gets me motivated. That’s what keeps me calm. That’s my medicine. What separates good weed from bad weed? Sometimes it can be good if it was grown underwater or grown in the ground. Which do you prefer? It’s hard to say, but weed that’s grown underwater will always be the shit. People don’t understand, you can never really see it. Some might say it looks like it has crystals on it or it look like it’s white. The one with the highest level of THC will always be the best one. What was your mindset going into the studio working on this album as compared to some of your other albums? One of the reasons I titled this The Day After was the whole vibe after the success of Kamikaze. I was fighting for that for so long that once I got it, the whole confidence, the swagger level went up. So when I was in the studio, I was working on songs without even touching a paper at times. I had never done that in my whole career. I didn’t even know I had the ability to do that. But once I realized these fans are nuts out here, ain’t nothing wring with the way I’m spittin’ it. They love the way the Twista style is. I just got that swagger about myself. I go in the studio and spit it the way I want to spit it. And like you said, the before and after. Before the pockets were this level, the confidence was this level. After, I’m driving to the studio a little slicker, spittin’ rhymes a little slicker, and it’s a whole better vibe. And another thing with this album – I worked on three albums worth of songs for this album and narrowed it down to one album. I had never did that before. Every other album, the amount of songs I recorded ended up being the number of songs on the album. You used to record in the city at places like United Techniques, but I hear that for this album you got a new studio. How did that affect your recording sessions? The studio is in Chicago, and it’s always good to have your own studio. To me, I record my best music there cause it’s like home to me. So you get comfortable with the engineer, the way everything looks, the sound and everything. So it is always an advantage to be able to move around a bit and record at home. Sometimes it can be a disadvantage if you don’t know how to keep still and let other things draw you outside of the studio. If you like being at home and feel comfortable in that environment, then it’s the bomb to have your own thing. You can have it looking the way you want it, smelling the way you wanna have it smelling. Let’s talk about Crucial Conflict and Psychodrama, some of Chicago’s mainstays that haven’t really had their major break yet. What do you think the future holds for them? Positivity, if we can all walk through the door that’s been cracked open and figure out how to move at a faster level in the game. We still trying to figure the game out, but a lot of us have slow movement in the game. We all have things we’re trying to put together and we move on them a little too slow. At first it used to just be about the talent. If you were talented, you got a record deal and sold records. Now, your talent is in a rat race. Now you not only have to be talented, but you have to be quick enough or someone else will beat you out. Had I been putting out my album on time I would’ve put this song called “It’s Only For One Night” on there, but Bow Wow ended up using the same sample so I didn’t use the song. Like I said, it’s a rat race, man. You can’t spend a whole lot of time pondering what’s next for your career. You gotta move on things real quick. I think the artists in Chicago just need to figure out a faster way at getting production out of the industry. It’s not a dream. You can’t be dreaming, you gotta make it happen. How was it working with Kanye on “Slow Jamz” and “Overnight Celebrity,” and why was he not featured on this album? OZONE
We just couldn’t get together. You got two artists with two big years. His train was runnin’ and runnin’ and runnin’. He was busy, I was busy, so we couldn’t get together. All I missed was just not having his style involved on the album, knowing we both work well together and everyone feels like we should have worked together. The positive side is that I get to show everybody that I still have the confidence and creativity to go out there and do it without feeling like I need somebody else. I could have chased him and chased him and chased him, but I ain’t that type of artist. I was here before he was here making records and eating, so I didn’t feel a need to chase him down again. If he was a little too busy for me then hey, I gotta put my shit together and get it out. I’m on my own. No funny feelings towards [Kanye] or nothing like that. I don’t really care. I’m just doing my thing. He’s my guy, so if he needs me I got his back. On some of your older albums, a lot of your production had a West coast feel to it. Do you think you have drawn from the West coast a lot? Yeah, cause I like music. The East coast has a lot of music and the way they make stuff sound, but it was certain ways the West coast made music that stayed with me better. I’m a rhythmical type of person. When I heard that real music with the instruments being played loud, and the strings and shit like that, I’m like, yeah, this some real music. Then to hear niggas rap over that too, that meant so much more to me than a simple one-two drum loop. The West Coast took it there and made real music then rapped on it, and I’m really vibing to that. What other ventures do you have planned for the future? We got a lot of projects coming up. We got the Speedknot Mobstaz coming out early next year and Ty Nitty coming out in the middle of the year. We got artists we really trying to get out there. Like I said, the doors for Chicago and the Midwest are wide open, so we need to run through there as fast as we can. My whole thing is about getting that grimy sound out of Chicago the way it should be out there, cause I feel like it’s not out like it should be. You got other artists that put other artists on and try to show Chicago in their light, but I wanna see the grimy niggas get on. I seen Crucial Conflict come out and Do or Die, and a lot of artists following different styles, but I just haven’t seen regular real grimy niggas coming out of the city. That’s what I wanna see. I wanna help the process of the real grimy street niggas in Chicago. Some of the artists that come out of Chicago represent East coast rap, guys in Chicago represent the thugs and gangstas and hustlas. I represent the West coast version of Chicago rap, where I wanna see N.W.A get on. Do you have any non-music ventures in the works? Well, I’ve got a book coming. (laughing) But why am I telling you that? Definitely. We got a movie I’m involved in, a quick cameo. I got video game stuff I’m working on, like LA Rush with Midway Games. I’m about to work on something new with them. I’m hustling hard and it’s all coming together. Anything else you’d like to say? I just want everybody to look forward to seeing what Twista is doing next. I got new videos coming out. I want to keep the train running for a while. A lot of people say I’m a music man, so I like being involved in a lot of other stuff, things I see the 50 Cents and other artists get into. But I’m more of a music man. I like to be at the crib, work in the studio, be out on the road doing shows for the fans. Not to make it so simple, but that’s me. On a tour bus going city to city, getting up close and personal with the fans, letting them see how a Chicago nigga get by. So I’m back and forth: studio, road, studio, road. 72
AMERICA’S FAVORITE DANCEHALL ARTIST HOPES TO DUPLICATE THE MULTI-PLATINUM SUCCESS OF DUTTY ROCK PHOTOS: RAY TAMARRA WORDS: NOEL MALCOLM 74
What’s the past year been like for you, since winning a Grammy and becoming a household name? I have to give thanks to God. I’ve done almost six million records now – five singles deep. I had to promote for two years in different territories, including the entire Europe, to make those numbers. In the last year my management and I decided that I was too much in the public eye. I had seven songs out, including music videos with Blu Cantrell and Busta Rhymes and mixtape songs with 50 Cent and the Clipse. I just wanted to get out of the public eye to work on the album. I took a tour throughout the whole world. I went to Japan, Indonesia, Madagascar, Italy, Zimbabwe, and a whole bunch of other places around the world. Some places they don’t even know about dancehall music. I learned a lot from being in these different places. In the last 7 months I kind of sat down to do the album. You finished the album that quickly? I’ve been doing work since the first album, but never finished up anything ‘til I really sat down and focused on it. This album The Trinity is my third album. It’s three years in the making, and basically it represents the young energy and synergy of talent from Jamaica, or what I call the “Young Third World.” We’re trying to prove that in the little places people forgot about like Jamaica, we make some of the most influential music. Our music has been recognized by other artists. Willie Nelson and Jessica Simpson are doing “These Boots Were Made For Walking” in a dancehall style. Christina Milian did “Dip It Low” in a dancehall style, not to mention Busta Rhymes and Beyonce. You have the whole reggaetone movement also. I’m glad to see dancehall expanding. I’m proud of that. But we’re starting to realize that none of these people are coming to Jamaica to produce their work. We have to support the kids. They inspire me because they remind me of when I started in the business. I went back home to give these kids some shine. They’ve been churning out hits in Jamaica for the past four years, I’m just proud to exhibit them. Nobody is really coming to Jamaica to produce dancehall music. Don’t get me wrong, people like Sinead O’Conner and No Doubt came to Jamaica to produce reggae music and we’re happy for that, but the hip-hop crowd needs to come and support our music by using our people. If the don’t, our business will suffer. Since you’re one of the people who has the power to bring the rest of Jamaica to the forefront, do you feel a lot of weight and responsibility on your shoulders? I don’t feel any pressure. When I’m in Miami going to the airport and I see Capleton flying to Atlanta and I’m heading to California, I feel that we’re reggae soldiers because each one of us is doing our part. If it wasn’t for the Capletons, the Bounty Killers, and the Beenie Mans, where would I be right now? Each one teach one. So when Junior Gong, Elephant Man, and Wayne Wonder debuted in America, I felt good! Jamaica is all about natural vibes and competition. Speaking of which, the competitiveness in the dancehall world has gotten to the point where producers are putting out new riddims every week and artists are doing new songs every other day. You don’t get into that “race” too often. Do you try to stay away from that? There’s certain riddims that I hear and immediately hear myself on. Then there are other riddims that I like, but I just don’t hear my voice and my style on it. To deviate from my style at this point and try to sound like the riddim doesn’t make much sense. My songs usually match perfectly with the track, like “Gimme Da Light” and “Like Glue.” On this album I have a song called “Straight Up, Right Up” that I mend into perfectly. There’s some that I like but don’t think it’s for me, and then again there’s some that I just outright miss, like the Drop Leaf riddim. I got that riddim a long time ago and had it on my computer and then next thing I hear was that it was out. I was upset that I missed it but then I got the Seasons riddim and that worked. So it goes different ways. Sometimes you can’t be on everything all the time. Who are the people you refer to as the Young Third World? Production-wise, Don Corleone is on my album. He’s been producing hits for Sizzla and Vybz Kartel. He’s a hard-working person. He’s one of the few people I can call up at 2:30 in the morning and he’ll be like, “Yeah, the studio’s up, come hear what we have.” He checks me every day with a new riddim. He just has that natural energy for producing. We also have Leftside, from Leftside and Esco. He has been a drummer for his father touring Brazil and other places. He also used to be my DJ at a time when I never had a band. He produced the first song on my first album, “She Wants It.” He did songs like “The Bombing” for Elephant Man. He’s the funniest person in the camp. His whole
“I’M GLAD TO SEE DANCEHALL EXPANDING, BUT WE’RE STARTING TO REALIZE THAT NONE OF THESE [HIP-HOP ARTISTS] ARE COMING TO JAMAICA TO PRODUCE THEIR WORK. THE HIP-HOP CROWD NEEDS TO COME AND SUPPORT OUR MUSIC BY USING OUR PEOPLE.” thing is comedy – he’s the first one to brighten up the mood. Another man I worked with was Snow Cone. A funny story – back in 2000 when my songs were doing well, “Deport Them” was a hit, I was in a music store and this big fat guy came in the store singing about food. He was singing, “Yesterday….all my rice and peas just throw away. I don’t really know what to say, oh yesterday, rice and peas thrown away….” He had everybody laughing. He’s a big fat youth. Then I found out he wrote music and went back to Jamaica telling me that he wanted to do his food album (laughing). A little after that he produced the popular riddim Rice and Peas. Snow Cone also wrote Bounty Killer’s “Mystery Is The Mystery.” So I realized this guy really had a lot of talent and knew how to pick hits. I also worked with the Renaissance Crew, Doctor Dre, Delano, and Jazzy T. Everybody knows they are the biggest DJs in Jamaica. Now they’ve started producing, and put out the Thunder Clap riddim. I like the vibe they have. They have a guy in their crew named Factor, and he and I got together and produced “We Be Burnin’.” They also produced the title track, “Trinity.” Another person on the crew is my brother – a stubborn guy. He’s the kind of person OZONE
that’s good at gadgets, the kind of person that would finish a video game three times while you’d still be on the first stage. He also had Coppershot Sound since he was 13 and he’s been pushing through for years. He produced two tracks on my first album. He also produced a riddim called Titanium 2000, which featured songs by Elephant Man, Lexus, Hawkeye, and others. Since then, my career took off, and he was busy buying equipment for our studio so he never had much time to work in the studio. Another producer on the album is Lenky, the man who gave me my first number one hit on the Billboard charts for the song “Get Busy.” This is the guy that showed me how to set up the melody and sing the song the right way to get the most out of it. On this album he produced a song for me called “Ever Blazing” and another called “Sen’ it On.” He’s been in the business for many years, but just producing for about five years. We also have Blax. He did one song with me on his Egyptian riddim but it never made it to the album. He’s a guy who used to hang with the Dutty Cup crew back in the day. He got in a car accident and since then he’s been in a wheelchair producing. I’m proud of him, because to me the Egyptian riddim started the whole sped-up deejaying thing sweeping Jamaica. So I just have to say bigup to the crippled youth who keeps people dancing. Who did you work with on the album as far as other artists? I worked with Wayne Marshall, a person without ego. He’s a good person, a talented artist, and I always wanted to do something with him. I did a song with Tami Chin, a young sexy diva who’s signed to Universal Records. She’s been blowing up Jamaica for the past two years with production by the Renaissance Crew. Her mother had one of the first female bands in Jamaica in the 60’s, so she’s musical in every way. Dutty Cup crew is my original crew featured on the album, and has been with me from the early 90s. Of course that includes Luga Man, the most lyrical of the crew. His father, Richie Daley of the Third World Band, plays bass, and he’s always coming up with some great hooks. We also have Kid Kurupt, who is a youth who’s in between circles. He’s cool with the uptown and downtown sides of Kingston, and as the name goes, he’s the one who gets in the most trouble. These are the people that have been inspiring with me from day one. I had an opportunity to work with Nina Sky, and in January I worked with the Neptunes again. I also went to work with Scott Storch in the studio and 76
even did some demos with Ashanti. All those things are on the shelf. I didn’t want to give people the same Dutty Rock album. I wanted to give them something different. I also did another song with the Clipse which is going to be coming out on their album. Musically, does it have the same vibe as your past albums? The Trinity is split into three moods. One, the party vibe, which y’all know me for. Two, the critical vibe, where I talk to the critics and let them know that I’ll still be the same person that’s been doing this music since 1995. I chose to ignore the critics up til now, but I had to address the questions like, “Can he do it again?” and so forth. If I only sold 75,000 albums with my first album, then worked with a multi-million album seller like Beyonce, and then worked with the greatest rapper alive, Jay-Z, and never felt pressure to work with icons like Busta Rhymes, then why would I feel pressure now when there is less to conquer? The third mood is a darker mood. It’s a mood where I had to deal with personal loss as well as the country feeling loss with all the excessive violence. It was just a different place for me. My friend Doddigan started the Dutty Cup crew with me in 1995. He was the big deejay at the time over at 2 Hard Studios, and now I’ve become more popular than him. He’s a rasta, and was recently featured on Junior Gong’s album. I wanted to get him to work with me on this album and it was unfortunate that didn’t happen. We lost Jamaica’s greatest dancer Bogle, and shortly after we lost Doddigan. To lose Bogle as an artist was a hard loss, and then to lose my friend as well as my aunt – who died in a car crash in the same year – it all brought me to a very dark place. I wrote a sad song called “Never Gonna Be The Same.” I feel I have to keep their flame burning, because these people would’ve done the same if they had lost me. Sounds like there’s a lot of content on this new album. Yeah, I did a lot of traveling, a lot of learning, and had a lot of loss. If you buy the album at Target I have a bonus song which I wrote called “Time Rolls On.” It’s probably my deepest song. It’s a political song that I wrote to a guitar that I learned to play four strings on. It talks to the leaders of government, gangs, and religion. It’s a very powerful song. So if you’re going to buy the album, get it at Target. At least you get the full hundred.
PITBULL MONEY IS (STILL) A MAJOR ISSUE FOR MR. 305 PHOTO & WORDS: JULIA BEVERLY
hy did you decide to put out an album of remixes with a DVD? The whole idea is just to keep us afloat in the market so we don’t dim out, so there’s no gap in what we’re trying to do. We shot the video for “Everybody Get Up” today with Pretty Ricky. It’s an album full of remixes, and it’s got about three or four new records with a DVD attached. The remix album is called Money Is Still A Major Issue. You felt like you needed something to keep the momentum going? It’s not about keeping the momentum or things slowing down. With me personally, it’s just so I can always stay in their minds. I’m all over the Spanish records, English records, whatever. I just want everybody to know that Pitbull’s a hard worker. As long as there’s an opportunity, I’m gonna take advantage of it. This remix album has already shipped 250,000. That’s ridiculous. When will your next regular album be released? My second album, El Mariel, will be coming out in March or April. It’ll be an allEnglish, all-Spanish album with a DVD attached. “El Mariel” was when Castro opened the gates of Cuba to and America opened the doors to Cuban immigrants. That’s the boat lift you see in the beginning of the movie Scarface. I feel like the game is opening itself up to me, and I’ve opened myself up to the game. I rap in Spanish, I rap in English, I appeal to all different types of audiences. When people ask me if I do “reggaetone” or “crunk,” I tell them, “I do music.” I just bring everybody together. We had an exclusive interview with Lil Jon a few months ago talking about his issues with TVT Records. Being that you and Jon are close, and you are also signed to TVT, have those issues affected your career? I’ll tell you like this: If Jon doesn’t get his money, it’s like I don’t get money. Jon’s my brother. I told TVT, if you do Jon wrong, you do me wrong. Therefore, we’ve been having continuous conversations – or, you OZONE
could call them arguments – with TVT to make sure they get Lil Jon’s situation right, because he more than deserves it. Do you get the impression that it’s just business as usual, or is it something personal between Lil Jon and TVT owner Steve Gottlieb? It’s just a matter of not cutting checks. They need to cut the muthafuckin’ check. People like myself and Lil Jon, we don’t sleep. We work, work, work. People like Jon earn what the fuck they get paid for. So as far as Lil Jon – I call him Lil’ Jizzle – he deserves anything that they owe him. Right now, I’d say Jon is keeping the lights on at TVT. You’ve got the Ying Yang Twins selling records – God bless ‘em, they’ve given me opportunities too – but Jon really keeps the lights on at TVT. There’s positives and negatives with TVT, though. It’s ironic because with Jon’s situation, I’ve actually become more of a priority at TVT, because they’ve still gotta get money. In this game, you’re either gonna have TVT bad dreams or you’re gonna have major label nightmares. As long as I’ve got Bryan Leach in my corner, I’d rather have TVT bad dreams than major label nightmares. Just give my muthafuckin’ brother Jon his money. What did you gain from being on the Anger Management tour with Lil Jon? The Anger Management tour wasn’t my first tour, but it was definitely the most influential. You’ve got two of hip-hop’s biggest acts, Eminem and 50 Cent, and you’re picking up their audience. But it also shows you what success does to people. Eminem’s a good guy and 50’s a good guy, but they looked awfully lonely on tour. They really don’t interact with their fans the way they should’ve. Do you think you’ll ever get to that point? I know I’m gonna get to that level, but the way I’ve been raised, the city I’m from, it’s taught me how to deal with people in a different type of manner. Aside from interacting with the fans, what about interacting with other artists? Did you get the chance to politic with Eminem and 50? Eminem was a lot more secured. He didn’t really come out and fuck with us like that. But 50, he fucked with us a lil bit, especially Jon. At the end of the day, I think Jon is a visionary, even more than what the music industry is expecting from him. He comes from a different background. When you mix rock & roll and alternative music and bass together, you come up with Lil Jon. That’s pretty fuckin’ innovative. With this situation between Lil Jon and TVT, do you think it’s hurting his recognition with fans? Do you think the situation will keep him out of the spotlight to the point where he’ll become irrelevant? Nah. I think Jon is a very smart person, intelligent, and he’ll strategize and figure out what he needs to do. Me and Jon are always on the phone about what he needs to do. As far as TVT – I wanna give people a vision of TVT. See, TVT is an indie label that runs like a major. If Jon sold 2 ½ million records at TVT, he would’ve sold 6 million with Interscope. I’m gold at TVT – I’m up to 600,000 copies sold. So I would’ve sold 2 million with a major label. So as far as a Lil Jon or a Pitbull or a Ying Yang Twins, we take everything we’ve learned and go to the next level. The doors have been closed to us, so we maximize everything we’ve got. We capitalize on every opportunity. If you’re thinking that Jon’s era or movement or momentum is fading out, you’re absolutely wrong. Because he’s probably got the biggest banger ever coming in about six months to a year. I mean, he’s in a video with Korn. This shit is serious. On another topic – I’m sure you’ve got an opinion on Hurricane Katrina. Katrina was a very, very catastrophic situation. It basically wiped out the whole city of New Orleans. But the only thing it gave us as a blessing in disguise is that it showed us what a piece of shit President we have. It’s like that quote, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” At the end of the day, that’s the American way. There’s a lot of people in certain positions that don’t need to be there. That came to light in a very big manner, and at the end of the day, I think that’s the only thing Katrina did right. It’s the same way in the music business. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. It definitely is the same way in the music business. That quote applies to everything in life. Wall Street, politics, whatever. 80
What’s going on with the Bad Boy Latino situation? I really believe in Diddy as a businessman, and I’ve watched everything he’s done in the game. He capitalizes on all opportunities. I’ve tried to steer him in the right direction with everything we’re doing as far as Bad Boy Latino. Right now we’re speaking about me being a consultant for the label. Weren’t you going to be President of Bad Boy Latino? Originally I was gonna be President, but…Latinos are very loyal to their brands. You know, they’ll all buy Goya, stuff they’ve grown up with. That’s the shit you’ve gotta give them in music also. You can’t just come through and say it’s a Latin label. It doesn’t happen like that. So as far what Diddy’s trying to do, I’m involved to a certain extent, but it’s a very cutthroat business. If you ain’t ready to take advantage of every opportunity, it’s not gonna happen. I’m not saying he wouldn’t take advantage of every opportunity, but he’s a very busy man. He has his hands in a lot of things right now, so some things may slip through the cracks. Did you feel like you didn’t want to attach your name to a brand that you don’t have control over or ownership of? In a way, yeah, exactly. But at the end of the day, Diddy’s worked hard to have that position he’s in. He’s worked hard to have his say-so. But this is the new wave, the new era. I may see things like Diddy saw them ten years ago. For me, all I wanna do is learn, to be honest. I just love to be around Diddy and just watch him talk on the phone and run around his house. I learn from that type of thing. What Diddy’s doing now is what I wanna be doing ten years from now, with God’s help. So for me, it’s just a blessing and an honor to be around someone like him. This game is so full of shit, and they call it the music industry but half of these muthafuckers don’t know nothing about music. So to me, it was a blessing to be able to learn from him. He’s dipping into the Latin market, and I may know a little bit more about Latinos than he does, but I may not know how to market the music as well as he does. I may know how to throw ideas out here and there, but he can take it and make it a monster. So the whole Bad Boy Latino thing, whether it’s successful or not, it’s always going to be a success as far as I’m concerned because I got to learn from Diddy. I got to build a relationship with somebody that I really look up to and idolize. When we did your album cover photo shoot last year, you were riding around in a little blue Maxima. Have you upgraded since then? Yeah, I remember the little jump out on Rickenbacker Causeway. Yeah, we’ve upgraded to an ’84 Pinto hatchback with peanut butter guts. (laughing) Yup, we upgraded, thank God. Who else from your crew is getting ready to drop? I got everybody working on their albums. I wanna make sure they get it right before I throw them out there. Right now I’m working with Cubo, Piccalo, Chingo Bling, and a cat named Sinful out of L.A. Do you think you’re still top dog in Miami? I’ll never be top dog in Miami. Luke is the king of Miami, Trick is the mayor, and me, I’m Mr. 305. I just sit back. I don’t care. I’ll be a piece of shit all my life, just let me make my music and grind. I don’t give a fuck about titles or none of that shit. As a matter of fact, fuck rap. If I own a couple buildings in Miami, I’m straight. Speaking of owning property, did you have any damage from Hurricane Wilma? All my properties were good and my family was good, thank God. Those are the best things in the world. The only bad thing was that we didn’t have power for about two weeks. After the last two crazy hurricane seasons, do you think people in Miami and the rest of the South are thinking about moving to safer ground? Miami’s used to hurricanes, so when we see them, we’re like, whatever. But places like New Orleans and Houston, they got hit hard this year. God bless them. Goddamn, they got hit hard this year. But like I said, it was a blessing in disguise. As far as Miami and the rest of Florida, we’re used to it. Bush might wanna start thinking about some of those global warming prevention tactics. The Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea are really starting to heat up, so every hurricane that touches that shit starts to ignite. The irony is that I’m talking to OZONE magazine, and the ozone layer has a hole in it, which is the reason we got this whole fuckin’ global warming problem in the first place (laughing).
INFILTRATES THE INDUSTRY
ssassin has quickly made his mark, transitioning almost instantly from a budding songwriter to a top ranking upcoming dancehall deejay. It was his song “Shotta Dem” by Spragga Benz on the Street Sweeper riddim that inspired Assassin to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a performing artist in Jamaica. Now, a few short years later, Assassin has dominated the charts in Jamaica with hit after hit, a slew of quality recordings, and a solid jam-packed debut album on VP Records, Infiltration. If you had to identify the major thing – what made you decide to become an artist? It started from early out; you have to have the passion and the love for the music. It’s like the seed that was planted as music has been an important part of my life for a long time. The first real fruit was hearing a song I wrote – hearing Spragga Benz performing it; when I heard the song on the radio on a Saturday and the radio DJ was excited saying, “That was wicked!” So it wasn’t just hearing a song that I wrote but also a radio DJ really giving the stamp of approval. Plus, Spragga spelled it out for me. He said writing is not going to be anything to really look forward to or have too much to live by. He said if you can do it yourself best you do, and I felt I could so I did. Who has been your biggest inspiration? Just the music itself. From I was really young, I was overwhelmed by how people were able to put songs together. I was in awe that you could compose music, write music, and fabricate a story that generates a response from people who listen. That sort of thing, to be able to entertain, I was always amazed at that and always hoping that I could do that some day. Entertainment is stimulating someone’s mind with whatever it is; if it’s something serious you get them thinking or a little light or fun. It’s like the movies. Watching a horror movie is not going to make you laugh but you’re still being entertained. You’re more grounded than a lot of artists. Do you reflect and see a period of time where maybe things got a little to your head? Honestly, no – from even earlier you always hear or see people who are getting a little recognition and they get overwhelmed with it and start behaving in a manner that isn’t becoming of anything decent. If I’m the way I am before I start doing music and if I’m doing music, it’s not supposed to change me. It’s a job and a career; it’s what I do, not who I am. At the same time, the people I have around me even if I wasn’t in route, I have them to steer me back on course. They would say something like, “Yo, your moving a likkle way.” They would never allow it to get that far. Early in your career, Spragga Benz took you to Donovan Germain. Explain the role he’s had in your career. Well, from day one [Germain] has been in a management role on all levels. He’s like a father to me. It’s not just business, it’s overall interaction. It’s been positive. It’s not just a manager trying to stir an artist; it’s a positive figure trying to guide someone younger. Same situation with Spragga, he’s my bredren and everything but he’s like a big brother to me as well. It’s a situation where you can see that the person wants the best for you, they’ve already taken a certain path and can help you not to fall in the ditches they did or not experience certain hardships they experienced telling you to turn left not right. An example of Spragga’s advice: Don’t try to record a million songs. For Germain: Try to be a professional at what you do. That’s the one thing he’s always tried to establish. Being that you work with Donovan Germain, there’s been some parallels made between you and Buju Banton. Is there anything you’ve learned from Buju? Yeah, I’ve been on the road with him a couple of times. He’s told me I have to condition myself to get the work done. You have to be able to deliver [your songs live] in a manner that is becoming of a good artist. You can’t just have the songs but not be in the physical condition to deliver them. What do you do specifically to promote your material in Jamaica? One thing is there are always shows, not shows you’re billed for but events that you can just sort of pass through and exhibit your craft. The music video market is expanding in Jamaica because of cable TV and all of that. The cable stations are something you can use for your videos like in the States. Radio too. What is different in Jamaica than the States is that there is always some stage show somewhere or some dance in some little corner that you can make an appearance and promote your stuff. You’re very accessible in Jamaica, but at the same time, you have to manage how you do make those appearances;
being moderate – that’s it. You don’t want to be in the same region in any too quick of succession. There are some shows that are premiere shows in the industry, so it says a lot if you’re on those shows. There’s SUMFEST, which says a lot. There’s Rebel Salute – a very big festival and there’s STING. There’s also Spectrum and Champions in Action, and Teen Splash is a good show to be at. “Wandering Minds” is a compelling song. How did you arrive to the lyrical content? The material comes from just existing in today’s world. You might see some of the stuff on TV, you might hear stuff on the road in conversation, on radio or you read stuff. Your source of information is very wide; there are multiple sources as opposed to one. I guess when you’re doing music, you have think about stuff a little bit different so you can put it forward in a manner that people will find it interesting. Why Infiltration for the album title? To “infiltrate” means to gain access to an establishment or place. You can infiltrate the whole system. You can gain access without notice, and I think that describes my ascent in the industry; slowly infiltrating. What’s your favorite track from your new album? “Respect Due,” because it’s a very honest effort on the project. It’s kinda like taking me back to very early in my life, 5 or 6 years old, just loving the music and having this great admiration for the people out there putting out this music for me to love. Why should someone listen to your album – someone not into dancehall reggae music? Well, the album represents dancehall music well. They can take the time to listen and check it out. Myself being a newcomer they can get an up-to-date sound on the next generation, a new kind of vibe. What about collaborations with other artists? I believe these things have to happen naturally. You don’t force it or they don’t come off good. I’m weird at these things; maybe like someone like Stevie Wonder – that’s on a way out level. R Kelly is a genius when it comes to the music as well. I would like to have Dr. Dre produce something for me. That would be wicked. On a local vibe, I would like to record a song with Buju. Any new recordings? In dancehall you’re always recording as the riddim run things. I try to be selective in what I record; you don’t want to have too much out there. Since the album I’ve had a lot going on but I’ve tried to work to keep the brain muscles going. I recorded a song for Buju Banton, he was producing something for his Garagmel label. I recorded a song for Red Rat, Dave Kelly and Birch. For a lot of artists, to record for Dave Kelly means you “made it.” I would say it’s a monumental moment. Dave is one of the elite, so to record for him means you’re obviously moving in the right direction. It adds credibility to your production and means you’re doing some work. I’ve also worked with Tony Kelly. He did a couple tracks on the album like “Hot” and “I’m a Hustler.” Where do you see yourself five years from now? I honestly don’t look that far. I appreciate the passage of time, I don’t budget it out. I take refuge in the looking and the journey so far and realize you couldn’t map the present location; you just have to know you are working towards something and working towards being the best that you can be. Every day you do that, you try to do something to make you a little better. You don’t know where that will take you in two years, five years or ten years. You just hope that you’re moving forward. What do you do to step away from the business and relax? Just regular stuff, see a movie every now and again, hang out with my friends, just chill. While this next comment wasn’t said during the course of this interview, something that Assassin said profoundly summarizes his work ethic and the general way he approaches life: “Discipline and self-control are essential. It’s what separates us from animals.” Assassin is not just another breakthrough deejay, but an intelligent man who’s on his course with sturdy values instilled. His album Infiltration is a well-crafted composition, serving as a great introduction or asset to your growing exposure to dancehall music. OZONE
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cdreviews MACEO STRAIGHT OUT DA POT Quick Flip/Big Cat Records
T-PAIN RAPPER TERNT SANGA Konvict/Jive T-Pain seems destined for a pretty good run in the industry. He’s already managed to garner that love-me-or-hate-on-me relationship with listeners. His infectious single “I’m Sprung” was the first song in a long time to make people either turn it up or turn it off. Whether you like his music or not, there is no disputing that this man can write the hell out of a song. While his sound is slightly reminiscent of R Kelly’s twisted genius and Dave Hollister’s ghetto quips, T-Pain adds his own flavor that puts the “hug” in thug. He reveals his secret feelings for an exotic dancer on the easy-to-relate-to “I’m In Love (With A Stripper)” that is already getting major play in shake junts throughout the Southeast. The seduction continues on “Let’s Get It On Tonight,” a damn near flawless song that teeters along the fine line of making love and straight fucking without sacrificing the long lost art of being subtle. He also shows his affinity for cleverness with “In The Studio,” a song about doing the grown folk, naming different instruments to get his point across. Next, he flips the script and gets introspective on songs like “Going Thru A Lot,” featuring Bonecrusher, and the harmonious “Fly Away,” a well-penned song about escapism. There isn’t much to complain about other than a few questions about the real strength of T-Pain’s voice, being that every track has faint traces of studio altering. The production is solid, albeit not complex, which actually works well with T-Pain’s distinctive tone. Overall, this album is easily the surprise of the year. - Maurice G. Garland 90
PITBULL M.I. STILL A.M.I.: MONEY IS STILL A MAJOR ISSUE TVT Records Here, Pitbull aims to propel his name among some of the biggest names in the industry by taking two risks. First, releasing an album in an unusually weak fourth quarter. And second, releasing a record full of remixes. Money Is Still A Major Issue pretty much picks up on the energy that his previous release M.I.A.M.I. left behind, with new-found excitement on all three of the singles. The “Culo” remix adds reggaeton femme fatale Ivy Queen, who goes toe-to-toe with Pit in Spanish and briefly in English. The “Dammit Man” remix features Lil’ Flip, who surprisingly sounds comfortable on the high-hat heavy production. DJ Buddha takes “Toma” to the international level by adding Mr. Vegas, Wayne Marshall, Red Rat, T.O.K. and Kardinal Offishall. The album completely capitalizes on Pit’s popularity by featuring remixed songs from other artists. He sounds damn near perfect alongside Nina Sky on their revamped “Turning Me On” and displays his flawless flujo del español (Spanish flow) on the Ying Yang Twins’ “Shake” remix with Elephant Man. Pit leaves the dance floor and hits the streets on Rich Boy’s “Get To Poppin’” remix and Brisco’s certified heater “Might Be The Police.” He also gives listeners some unreleased music on the Miamiconnected “Everybody Get Up,” with Pretty Ricky. But the show stealer of the album is “Oh No He Didn’t,” featuring Cubo. While the CD is definitely a musthave for devout Pitbull fans, it probably won’t generate any new interest for the gold-selling chico from “tha crib.” - Maurice G. Garland
This album gives you the feel of the Atlanta independent scene. Maceo puts forth the effort and definitely has potential. The first single “Hoe Sit Down” had clubs throughout the South on lock for a minute, and the follow-up street joint “Nextel Chirp” was an interesting concept executed nicely. Unlike the typical crunk or ass-shaking single, Maceo and his producer Fats take the time out on this track to explain the dangers of handling certain types of business on cell phones. Another stand out track is “On My Way,” a slow grinding song with a nice hook which allows Maceo to show his versatility on the mic. Unfortunately, some of the tracks can become redundant. The concept of “I Want,” with Bubba Sparxxx, has been done and overdone. Some of the tracks are wannabe “Thug Holiday”s, where Maceo reflects on everyday life in the hood over some smooth shit. Nice idea, but there’s too many of those tracks on here. And when the concept isn’t working, producers Fats, G-Fresh, and Willy Will’s beats aren’t helping either. At times they sound like really bad rip-offs of established Southern producers, looping the same simplistic drum patterns over and over again. During the bright spots on this album, Maceo shows flashes of greatness. But overall, he’s overshadowed by a lot of clichéd song concepts, uninspired production, and sometimes, simple rhyme patterns. - Willie Fields
CHAMILLIONAIRE THE SOUND OF REVENGE Universal Records
LIL WAYNE THA CARTER 2 Cash Money/Universal
When mainstream media decided to finally recognize Texas’ talent and dub their discovery as the “Texas Takeover,” it seemed like the only priority were the artists featured on “Still Tippin’.”
Lil Wayne received a lot of pats on the back when he revealed that he was attending the University of Houston to study Psychology. With this being his fifth solo studio album, it’s safe to say that Weezy has already graduated in a sense. With four albums under his belt, he’s earned his Bachelor’s degree in the school of MCing. His latest offering showcases him working towards his Master’s degree.
Now, with all of the Texas summer releases coming down from their highs, Chammilionare, the city’s outsider, gets a chance to shine exclusively with his major debut offering The Sound of Revenge. This album is a far cry from the Houston music the rest of the country is digesting right now, which could be a catch-22 for Cham. From listening to his songs you can tell that he genuinely wants people to pay attention to the words coming out of his mouth rather than be blinded by the grill that’s in it. This is especially shown on “Southern Takeover,” when he hops across state lines to hook up with Georgia boys Killer Mike and Pastor Troy. He showcases more verbal wit on “In The Trunk,” where he spits some chest-pounding lyrics that will either convince you that he is the best his city has to offer, or just another braggart that you can’t stand. He does make a valid effort towards wearing the crown for his town by giving a formidable performance on “Rain” alongside Billy Cook and Scarface. ‘Face usually overshadows people on cameos, but not here. Koopa shines again on the Sol Messiah-produced “Picture Perfect,” featuring Bun B. Although it is refreshing to hear wellcrafted lyrics in a time where the bare minimum seems to be accepted, this album lacks consistent production which subtracts from its effectiveness. And at times the album can get boring due to Cham’s insistence on singing all of his own hooks. However, this is still an album worth giving a shot. - Maurice G. Garland
Tha Carter 2 picks up where the first installment left off, and the burn gets even hotter. He has the audacity to open the album with “Tha Mobb,” a five-minute and twenty-second freestyle that mixtape DJs would kill for if they could get away with it. Quips like: “When the jungle was open, I rolled in with the riders, stole food from the bears, and brought it back to the lions, holding court with the apes, I’m a gorilla but lighter, got the eye of the tiger, heart of a fighter” give you a taste of the cleverness found throughout this release. He immediately addresses the claims that Tha Carter is the most that he is capable of as well as his feelings towards his former Cash Money affiliates on “Fly In” with jabs like: “I’m so 504 you gotta kill me here, if you ever looking for me bitch I will be here / Cash Money is an army, Navy Seal me here / A lot of niggas ran from it, but I still be here.” Aside from the usual lyrical gems, this album truly shows that Weezy F. Baby is capable of shining past the Cash Money bling. Completely void of the trademark Mannie Fresh production, Wayne flows over reggae-tinged tunes (“Mo Fire”) as well as rock guitar-influenced beats (“Best Rapper Alive”). As witty as Weezy is, he does little to dispel the notion that he is all cadence and no content. Outside of the obvious “for the ladies” track “Grown Man” and the soulful relationship song “Receipt,” most of the album is just Wayne fiddling with Webster’s dictionary. But damn, though. Wayne is spitting hot fire like Dave Chappelle playing Dylan. With a vast variety of production, this album is damn near coastless and sounds nothing like anything coming from the CMR catalog or the prototypical-South, period. Oh yeah, be sure to peep the Jay-Z-ish album cover. Wayne is taking this “Best Rapper Alive” thing seriously.
DJ E-Feezy (Memphis, TN) 1. Three 6 Mafia “Poppin’ Collars” This has been my theme song since I started radio at a young age. The Mr. Bigg sample on the hook is hot. 2. Yo Gotti “Gangsta Party” Gotti is the premiere voice of the Memphis scene. He’s got next. Plus, the track is crazy! 3. D4L “Laffy Taffy” The more I drink, the better it sounds. 4. Dem Franchize Boyz “Lean Wit’ It, Rock Wit’ It” This song sounds exactly like “White Tee” and “I Think They Like Me.” But I still like them ‘cause they make it easy for me to rock in the club even though I don’t and can’t dance. 5. Bun B “Get Throwed” He got Young Jeezy, Jay-Z, Z-Ro, and Pimp C all on one track. What else can I say? 6. Purple Ribbon All-Stars “Kryptonite” Cause you can find E-Feezy, Kaspa, Infamous, and Greg Street in the A! A! A! 7. Juelz Santana “Murda” They didn’t give “Welcome to Jamrock” room to breathe, but it’s still a banger. 8. Jody Breeze f/ Young Jeezy “Gangsta” Jody and Jeezy on one track is FIRE! Jody’s a young nigga waiting for his time to shine. 9. Notorious B.I.G. “Spit Yo Game, Talk Yo Shit” I’m originally from Cleveland, and I say Krayzie Bone, Swizz, and Twista laced that track. 10. Ne-Yo f/ Peedi Peedi “Stay” This is grown and sexy. And who wouldn’t want to want to wake up next to all that ass in the video? If you find her, let a nigga know.
- Maurice G. Garland OZONE
by Malik Abdul
DJ FOLK TRAP TV www.DJFolk.com
HUSTLE UP DVD MAGAZINE www.HustleUpDVD.com Hip-hop has many clichés for hustling, like “get ya hustle on” and “hustle or die.” Hustling, a.k.a. grinding, is the only way to make a living in any field.
In addition to upcoming artists, Hustle Up features major artists as well. David Banner explains how he has become a major force in the industry without relying on record sales to make a living. As a producer/beatmaker, he can make a healthy living by selling his tracks. This also means that he can manufacture his own beats, allowing more of his budget to be used on marketing and promotions.
This documentary really takes you inside the music game. Dubcity Records gives a very in-depth view from the perspective of the trappers selling that product, the ballers spending that money, and the pussy poppers getting that money. Bun B hits the stage performing one of his classic bangers and drops some knowledge. This DVD also features some of the hottest artists on the Gulf Coast, like Kamikaze, Shadowyze, Young Pappy, and Chilly C, along with Dallas’ DSR. Chilly C and Young Pappy show how young artists hustle and grind, from talent showcases to an interview on Mobile, AL radio station WBLX.
Next up, Mike Jones gives you a little concert footage, but more important, knowledge of hustling. His Swishahouse labelmate Paul Wall gets his grind on by telling you how you can improve your image: purchase a grill from him. Hustle Up takes you to Compton with The Game, who takes shots at the whole G-Unit with his “GUnot” campaign. Remy Ma, Wendy Williams, and Juelz Santana are a few of the other features on this album worth checking out.
This is the ultimate hustler’s DVD, simply because it shows how artists who really want that elusive record deal how to get on their grind. All the way from Pensacola, FL to Mobile, AL to Jackson, MS, Dubcity captures these aspiring artists on stage and in the studio grinding. If you need inspiration, pick up this DVD.
Hustle Up focuses on giving unsigned artists a forum to feature their videos or freestyles. This DVD magazine is a must-have tool for industry execs and A&Rs. Not only does Hustle Up give aspiring artists a platform to shine, but it also shows that these young artists have found a way to hustle their talent without waiting on major TV networks like BET and MTV.
THE GAME IS TO BE SOLD & TOLD www.DubCityEntertainment.com
GAME: CHRONICLES OF THE STREET www.shoot2films.com This is one of the first DVD documentaries that deals with real people who’ve lived the life of a hustler, sold drugs, did time in the penitentiary, and moved past it to live successful lives. Shot on location in East St. Louis, Houston, Baton Rouge, and Atlanta, this DVD stars hustlers, ballers, and gangsters, along with special guests like Pimpin’ Ken and Big Silk Game. There’s real talk on the drug-dealing game, and the consequences of dealing drugs. Real dealers, like Nino from Baton Rouge, give you some game: how to change your codes, and the realities of life as a baller. He reminisces on his life, telling stories of doing concerts with the Notorious B.I.G., promoting artists, jetsetting all over the country, doing time, and coming back to society as the owner of a legitimate business. The reality of being a whore strung out on drugs is an all-too real chapter, starring Adrian. Adrian has been strung out on every type of drugs imaginable and in jail for attempted murder. She’s lived a hard life. She was raped by sixteen men at a young age, raped again by twelve Samoans a few years later, and forced to prostitute herself by her parents. Anyone who’s ever hustled or even thought about hustling should check out this DVD. It will definitely give you some insight into the lifestyle and the possible consequences of it.
This DVD, the aptly named Trap TV, is hosted by DJ Folk. The name Trap TV means that it’s not suited to be watched by regular folks or people who have a 9-5. This is exclusively for the amusement of certified trappers. It features hot Southern music videos, some of which are so uncut you won’t even see them on late night television. Being a real trap DVD, it starts off right with Young Jeezy and Bun B. This video appeared on TV for a small period of time but never quite made it into rotation. There’s also videos from underground artists like Renegade Foxxx, whose video “Scream” features Trina in the bedroom of a yacht. Trina isn’t the only sexy female on this DVD, though. After the thugged-out segment, the next sequence features some of the hottest uncut videos with some very beautiful women. Okay, I’m assuming that they’re beautiful, because all you get to see are asses shaking and jiggalating. First up is my favorite uncut video, featuring the best looking ass in Southern music: Jacki-O featuring the Ying Yang Twins, “Fine.” What makes the video stand out? Two words: painted titties. If that’s not enough, how ‘bout Jacki-O’s round ass? She’s in ripped jeans and pink panties, and the director included a lot of crotch shots. Then, there’s three sexy models on the bed kissing on each other. Crazy hot video. This DVD also features my second favorite video: “Tip Drill” uncut! There’s nothing more to say. If you’ve seen the TV version, you must see the uncut version. 50 Cent’s “Disco Inferno” uncut video is hot too, but the only problem is that it’s filmed in black and white. To soften things up a bit, Boyz N Da Hood member Jody Breeze comes through with “Stay Fresh,” featuring Jazze Pha. Jody rides the beat perfectly while Jazze sings the hook. It’s a Sho’nuff hit, and you can’t go wrong with a Ciara cameo. There’s so many videos on this DVD, you’ve got to get it for your trap or your car. You’ll be astonished at the transformation of Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz in their uncut video for “What U Gon’ Do,” featuring Too Short.
by Killer Mike
A Southern Classic: Outkast’s
Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik When this album dropped, it was a new day in Atlanta. The intro was the original “Welcome to Atlanta,” just putting people on in our little neighborhoods like Decatur, College Park, and East Point. They used the whole airplane concept on the intro, with the pilot letting you know what city you were coming into. It showed that they were poised to break into Atlanta and take Atlanta to the world. I could tell that music wasn’t gonna be the same after this album. Atlanta was known as Miami Part 2 for a while, with sped-up rhythms, 808s, just an extension of bass music. Outkast really brought the soul and the face of the dirty South. This album kinda picked up where the Stax movement left off. It was an extension of soul music. “Myintrotoletuknow” This just established the fact right off the rip that they were both dope ass rhymers, Big and Dre. Up until this point, we just had local acts and a lot of kiddie groups or girl groups out of Atlanta like TLC and Kris Kross. Outkast was really speaking to us, the 15-25 year olds who were really born and bred in the “A.” “Ain’t No Thang” This was the beginning of some of the most fantastic Southern hooks. The Dungeon Family is responsible for classic hooks like “Elevator” and “Sky High.” They just created hit after hit from everyday Southern stuff. They made it kinda esoteric. They made it something strange and mysterious, something people wanted to keep listening to. “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik” This was major. At the time, L.A. had been doing they thing with funk music and Cadillacs and gangsta shit. New York had been doing what they were doing over horns and jazz, but the drums were never beefed up. The 808’s weren’t humming. Outkast married the soul of Curtis Mayfield and Isaac Hayes with hip-hop drum beats and dirty 808s through those subwoofers in the background. The harmony was that Southern playa shit. The voices were so lush and layered. “Call Of Da Wild” This was the first introduction to two of the Goodie Mob members, Khujo and T-Mo. At that time, in the early 90’s, Clinton had just came into office and it wasn’t a lot of prosperity. You was in the wild, drinkin’ 40s, stealing cars, just doing whatever excited you at the time. That song kinda represented what it felt to be young and black at the time, with constant temptations. “Player’s Ball” This was exactly what was happening in the streets of Atlanta. Young dudes, teenagers, we all admired the players and pimps. You aspired to be them. We had that potential. It was in the fabric of our makeup. Clubs like Charles, the old Silver Fox, and Club 731, those were real player’s balls. Dudes were coming in fur coats and gators. Even though they wrote this song initially as a Christmas song, I really looked at it as a soundtrack to what was happening on the street with true players, hustlers, gamblers, the whole nine. That’s all you heard coming out of Cadillacs in ATL for two years. “Funky Ride” Atlanta is known as the black mecca of the world. It really is the place where the black American dreams come true. There’s the black middle class, the political circles. There’s a lot of young and black wealth and power in Atlanta. And one place to party has always been black strip clubs. Atlanta strip clubs, in particular, are world famous. Luke and 2 Live Crew made a song about Magic City years ago. “Funky Ride” introduced you to that scene, where you could just zone out and let that big booty-ass girl love you down. It also introduced the world to Sleepy Brown and Organized Noize. They were bringing that real soul, that Stax soul to records. Even though there wasn’t nobody rapping on it, it got a lot of replay in the Cadillacs. “Git Up, Git Out” This is probably my favorite song off that album. If you were in school 94
when that record came out and you felt like, fuck it, I’m giving up, this song made you stay. I’ve personally seen a lot of people walk up to Big and Dre and say, “That song made me strive to become what I am today.” And we’re talking about young black executives, entrepreneurs, and athletes. That’s one of those songs that just inspired you to reach beyond what you thought your goals were and what people told you you’d be able to do. Cee-Lo’s verse on this song made him instantly one of the top 5 MCs in the world, to me. That shit was like cornbread, just the straight black experience. To this day, if you listen to that shit, it’ll motivate you. “Crumblin’ Erb” Back then, everybody wasn’t smoking weed. Everybody was not on crippy and dro sacks. This is right after Cypress Hill came out. Their shit was real kinetic, that West coast flavor. Redman was on that funked out Northern flavor. “Crumblin’ Erb” told you how niggas did it down South. We crumbling slow, smoking slow. But the song talked about deeper social issues, like niggas killing niggas. With all this violence going on around us, sometimes the only thing that keeps us calm is rolling up that medicine that God gave us. Even if you’re seeing two niggas running through the hood smoking, those are just young kids who happen to be trapped in those situations. Outkast talked about that a lot on this album. They really have goals, they think very deeply about things. A lot of times, people like Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul are celebrated for that. Outkast really thought outside the box, but they stayed grounded to the demographic of young urban Southern men and women. This record really brought a whole generation into adulthood. “Hootie Hoo” That was the anthem. That’s what got everybody hooked on big blunts, White Owls, and Swishers. In The Dungeon, it goes on and on. “Hootie Hoo” is a classic Southern hip-hop record. That’s why Master P had to jack the hook and bring it back. He knew that shit didn’t get fully exploited the way it should have. When you’re standing on the corner and you hear that “Hootie Hoo,” you already know. You gonna smoke good that night. “D.E.E.P.” This was the perfect segway to [Outkast’s second album] ATLiens. After all the ridin’ and smokin’ and fuckin’ with hoochies, there’s intellectual prowess. They’re taking you a little farther just to expose your mind to new shit and motivate you to get up and get out and get something. This hook took you far beyond that Cadillac. The Cadillac went through a wormhole with “D.E.E.P.” and popped out on the other side with ATLiens, which I’ll review next month.
01: DJ Dagwood “Operation Paper Chasin’” 404-914-8900 www.DJD agwood.com Atlanta, GA 02: DJ GQ (hosted by Akon) “Pt. Sixteen” DJGQ@tmail.com 866-411-DJGQ Miami, FL 03: DJ Geedamme “Peace Up A Town Down Pt. 3” DJGeedamme@ao l.com 919-949-8249 04: DJ Scipio “Get Crunk 2005” 803-516-9073 05: DJ EFX & Wiz Hoffa “Crack Music Vol. 1” EFXGotBeats@aol.com www.DJEFX .net Miami, FL
06: DJ Chuck T “Sexxxplicit Vol. 16” www.DJChuckT.com Charleston, SC 07: DJ Houston (hosted by Big Boi) “Ride Out Pt. 2” DJHouston20@yah oo.com Memphis, TN 08: DJ Tantrum (hosted by Pitbull) “What They Talkin’ ‘Bout Vol. 3” www.DJTantrum.com Houston, TX 09: DJ DNA & Don Brody “Bitches n Gunz” DNA@PCutta.com Baltimore , MD 10: DJ Snake Eyes “Best Of The Dirty South Vol. 3” www.DaCrossBreed.com NC 11: DJ Barry Bee “Dirty South Crackpot Vol. 3” 252-758-1122 www.DJB arryBee.com NC 12: Voice Of Da Streetz “From Bedstuy 2 Queensbridge” VOS101@tmail.com Orlando, FL 13: DJ Quote & DJ K-Tone (served by Slim Thug) “Street Crack Vol. 1” www.DJQuoteTheBeatmaker.net Denver, CO 14: DJ Hot Sauce “No. 1 Hustla” DJHotSauce@RPS-Fam.com 15: DJ Buddha (hosted by Sean Paul) “Caribbean Connection Vol. 4” TheDJBuddha.com Boston, MA 16: DJ Shawty Slim & Agapecean “Hate It Or Love It” ShawtySlim@gmail.com Fort Valley, GA 17: DJ Dutty Laundry “R&B Hood Edition” Brutus@tmail.com TN 18: DJ Teknikz “If You Buyin’ We Sellin’” 678-523-9236 Atlanta, GA 19: DJ Cool Breeze (hosted by Don Yute) “WGM Reggae Vol. 1” DJCoolBreezeLive@aol.com Philadelphia, PA
DJ Folk & Digital Product “The Cartel” Gr8sthit1@yahoo.com 216-798-2480 Hot tracks: #07 - “Stay Fly” b/w “Lookin’ Good” #11 - “Diamonds” b/w “Gangsta Shit” #16 - “Presidential” b/w “Trap Star” #17 - “Badd” b/w “Holla Atcha Homeboy” #20 - Paul Wall f/ Bubba Sparxxx “Hey I’m Sittin’ Sidewayz” (DP ‘White Boyz’ blend)
DJs, send mixtapes for consideration to: 1516 E Colonial Dr. Suite 205 Orlando, FL 32803 Or contact Mercedes: StreetSmasher@tmail.com
20: DJ Scream & MLK “Heavy In The Streets Pt. 2” DJScream@tmail.com Atlanta, GA
t-painlive Event: TJâ€™s DJâ€™s Record Pool Quarterly Tastemakers meeting / Florida A&M University homecoming weekend Date: October 20th, 2005 Venue: The Moon Location: Tallahassee, FL Photos: Julia Beverly
FREE PIMP C // MIKE JONES vs MICHAEL WATTS // BG vs LIL WAYNE
TWISTA PAUL WALL PITBULL JUELZ SANTANA
SEAN PAUL TRIPLE J ASSASSIN 334 MOBB TRICK TRICK THE LAST MR BIGG
SIGNS $7 MIL DEAL
YEAR-END AWARDS & MORE
Ozone Mag #41 - Jan 2006