Y 2 BO of D 2 BA VER CO
FIRST ANNUAL OZONE AWARDS: NOMINEES INSIDE!
8BALL & MJG
PURE AMERICAN PIMPS
UNCLE LUKE’S FREAKY TALES
R.I.P. by TRAE
DA BACKWUDZ SLICK PULLA RASHEEDA RAY CASH LA CHAT DRE J-SHIN G-MACK DIRTBAG BIG CHIEF DJ KHALED
DALLAS, TX HOUSTON’S NORTHERN NEIGHBOR GOT NEXT
K-FOXX & SUPA CINDY
THE LADIES OF MIAMI’S 99 JAMZ
PUBLISHER/EDITOR: Julia Beverly MUSIC EDITOR: Maurice G. Garland ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Matt Sonzala COPY EDITOR: Carlton Wade ADVERTISING SALES: Che’ Johnson (Gotta Boogie) Gary LaRochelle LEGAL AFFAIRS: Kyle P. King, P.A. (King Law Firm) MARKETING & PROMOTIONS: Malik “Copafeel” Abdul SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER: Destine Cajuste MEDIA RELATIONS: Cynthia Coutard ADMINISTRATIVE: Cordice Gardner Nikki Kancey CONTRIBUTORS: ADG, Amanda Diva, Bogan, Charlamagne the God, Charles Parsons, Chuck T, E-Feezy, Edward Hall, 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, Lamar Lawshe, Lisa Coleman, Marcus DeWayne, Mercedes (Strictly Streets), Natalia Gomez, Noel Malcolm, Ray Tamarra, Rico Da Crook, Robert Gabriel, Rohit Loomba, Shannon McCollum, Spiff, Swift, Wally Sparks, Wendy Day STREET REPS: Al-My-T, B-Lord, Big Teach (Big Mouth), Bigg C, Bigg V, Black, Brian Franklin, Buggah D. Govanah (On Point), Bull, C Rola, Cedric Walker, Chill, Chilly C, Chuck T, Controller, DJ Dap, David Muhammad, Delight, Derrick the Franchise, 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, Music & More, Nick@Nite, Nikki Kancey, Pat Pat, PhattLipp, Pimp G, Quest, Raj Smoove, Rippy, Rob-Lo, Stax, TJ’s DJ’s, TJ Bless, Trina Edwards, Vicious, Victor Walker, Voodoo, Wild Billo, Young Harlem DISTRIBUTION: Curtis Circulation, LLC To subscribe, send check or money order for $11 to our NEW ADDRESS: Ozone Magazine, Inc. 1310 W. Colonial Dr. Suite 10 Orlando, FL 32804 Phone: 407-447-6063 Fax: 407-447-6064 Web: www.ozonemag.com Cover credits: 8Ball & MJG photo by Barry Underhill; Yung Joc photo by Earl Randolph; J-Shin photo by Julia Beverly; OZONE Magazine is published monthly 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 2006 OZONE Magazine, all rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any way without the written consent of the publisher. Printed in the USA.
MONTHLY SECTIONS Mixtape Reviews pg 104-105 Photo Galleries pg 19-41 The Elements pg 110 DVD Reviews pg 108 Roland Powell pg 17 Mathematics pg 20 Feedback pg 12-14 CD Reviews pg 102 Industry 101 pg 24 JB’s 2 Cents pg 17 Chin Check pg 22 DJ Profile pg 26
8Ball & MJG pg 84-86 Yung Joc pg 94-95 J-Shin pg 98-99
PATIENTLY WAITING Willie the Kid pg 56 Grind Family pg 52 Slick Pulla pg 48 Code Red pg 58 Big Chief pg 50 N.G.O.K. pg 54 FEATURES OZONE Awards Nominees pg 73-81 R.I.P Hawk - by Trae pg 18 Dallas, TX pg 68-71
INTERVIEWS Dre pg 30 Dirtbag pg 38 La Chat pg 34 G-Mack pg 36 Ray Cash pg 44 K-Foxx pg 62-64 Rasheeda pg 40 DJ Khaled pg 42 Supa Cindy pg 60 Da BackWudz pg 32 Uncle Luke pg 88-91
feedback Y’all magazine is vicious, but why can’t D.C. get no love? Even *though we aren’t Down South, we Up South, so we still South. We got niggas out here carrying shit. Y’all should give D.C. some rhythm because your magazine is well-respected on these streets. – Kingpin Slim, email@example.com (Washington, DC)
You have an unfortunate misspelling in your May issue. In Pimp C’s interview on page 73, in response to the question about if he’s going to run for governor, you have him quoted as saying “payphones in the Texas penile system.” I was almost sure that you meant to type “penal” system, but you know, I heard that stuff goes down in maximum security prisons. – Nick Liao, firstname.lastname@example.org (Houston, TX)
Big ups to OZONE Mag! Thanks for putting it down for the South and providing us with a magazine we can call our own. Muthafuck’ The Source and all that Zino bullshit, too! I got you on that note. – A.C.E., email@example.com (Tuscaloosa, AL)
I can’t tell you how much of an impact OZONE is making on my career. I especially liked the March issue with the DJ section. I felt like it was huge marketing and promotional tool, but I was upset that I wasn’t aware of it before it was printed. Anyways, you guys are making a huge impact on the hip-hop scene, especially here in Tampa (God knows it needs as much help as it can get). Keep it up! – DJ Hazed, firstname.lastname@example.org (Tampa, FL) got a new Aussie fan! OZONE is doing it right! We don’t *get You’ve too many rap mags in my part of Australia so I was hyped to see it at the local shops. I just finished reading the Juve cover and it was on point. I liked what B.G. has to say about Wayne. Fuck Birdman Jr., and fuck Birdman Sr. for that matter. B.G. keeps it way real while half the rappers around dribble shit out of their mouth (i.e. Benzino). Kepe doing what you’re doing and fuck the haters. Oh yeah, I think it’s about time you gave the kings of buck Three 6 Mafia the cover and an interview! - Big Al, email@example.com (Australia)
I just wanted to let you know how very much I (and the other four people in our office who rip this mag off from me when I’m half-finished with it) enjoy OZONE. By giving artists what feels like an unrestricted, uncensored forum to air out their beefs, their interests, their politics and their creative interests, you’ve created a great salon for a community of musicians. Seems like way too many folks in the press feel that the only choice is to either treat hip-hop like mindless bullshit or get nervously sensitive about he grandiose sensibilities of folks that clearly are just looking to get paid. OZONE manages to stay real, honest, and still treat the music and the musicians with respect without either apologizing or playing the “artiste” card. Along with Harpers, OZONE has become some essential reading in my house. Y’all do nice work. And more Devin, please! Let’s get a six page interview with that cat. He’s an overlooked genius. – John Seroff, firstname.lastname@example.org (NYC)
I don’t think people are understanding what it is that you are doing, JB. Girl, you are a beast! I have to first congratulate you and your staff on four years of knocking down the competition, standing strong and showing the industry and all the non-believers that you mean business. You are truly an inspiration to anyone, male and female, that is trying to make it in any profession. The 4 Year Anniversary issue was a classic! I was thrilled to see T.I.P. on the cover. The interview with Pimp C made you feel as though you were sitting right in the room listening to them talk. In short, I am proud of you! Keep giving them hell! – Tuesday Donaldson, Tuesday@tjsdjs.com (Tallahassee, FL) Alabama we see ya grinding and we respect your grind. Being *an InAlabama artist, we have no choice but to grind and take respect because the industry cats overlook us like we ain’t hip-hop. I see you having one of the most dominant magazines in the game in a year or less, so stay focused and remember only God can judge you. – Country Boi, Countryboi@tmail.com (Alabama)
JB, after looking at your 4-year photo spread, I can see that you are an artist. It was very educational and revealing to watch your progression through your photos. Seeing this through your eyes helps me look at the South in a whole different light. Being a DJ, I can understand why some people don’t see what you do as an artform. – DJ E-Z Cutt, email@example.com (California)
Yo, I read your article on the Bay Area hyphy movement and I really enjoyed reading the articles on the rappers, who happen to be all friends of mine. The main thing about the article is that y’all missed out on a very important piece of the Bay and the whole hyphy movement that’s going on. There was no review or article on Krushadelic and Underground Rebellion, one of the true pioneers of hyphy and 16 year vets of the Bay Area rap game. Before there was hyphy it was the highly energetic Underground Rebellion out of West Oakland. With nine videos and over twenty projects of what they now call hyphy music, the Rebellion was the spearheads. There’s also documented footage and performances from BET’s Teen Sumimt and Comicview with the slang terms “fa sheezy,” “fa shizzle in the hizzle scrizzle” back in 1995. This is nationwide documented footage of the movement and some of the founding fathers. – Krushadelic, firstname.lastname@example.org (Oakland, CA)
How can we get some of the Dallas local artists featured in your magazine? We have a lot of talent out here waiting to break out. Keep doing a good job on your magazine and please keep bringing us the hottest talents from the South. We deserve the props we are getting, it’s been a long time coming. – Armonda Miller, Armonda.email@example.com (Dallas, TX) First of all, I love your mag. I’ve been reading it for about three *months now. That whole Benzino/Source vs. OZONE beef is funny
to me. mi heard the voicemail and was cracking up. I had to play it twice: “Ugly bush pig slutmonkey whore!” But I do think you should make one thing clear for the readers: you don’t have beef with The Source. Just some of the former heads. I been reading articles and listening to interviews saying “beef,” but I give much respect. Keep doing ya thing! – Chris Taylor, firstname.lastname@example.org
I work for JUICE Magazine (not affiliated with JUICE in Atlanta). It’s Europe’s biggest and most popular rap magazine, published in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. A few weeks ago I had OZONE the first time in my hands while I spent some days in Miami. I love it! – Arthur Fischer, Arthur_fischer@gmx.de (Germany) your interview with Bun B and I want to tell him a few things: *DearI saw Bun, I hope you don’t take this the wrong way. First off, I’ve been
your biggest fan for a long, long time. Up here in Cleveland, we were bumpin’ UGK when most of the country outside of the South didn’t know who y’all were. And no one spoke more highly of you than me. When Ridin’ Dirty came out, I was in high school and I felt that album was the final frontier. I felt then, and still feel now, that it was the greatest hip-hop album I had ever heard in my life. In high school, I used to frequently get into heated debates with classmates who doubted you. I told them that given the chance you could out-rhyme the best emcees in the game. You proved me right years later when you made “Big Pimpin’” with Jigga. I think even Jay-Z knew you outdid him because he added another verse to the video and radio versions that were not on the album. For years, I hoped that you would one day make a solo album, and then one day my prayers were answered. For two years
feedback I waited for your album Trill to come out and it finally did. I snatched a copy the first day it came out. Finally, the wait was over. That’s when I became disappointed. One thing I always admired about UGK was your authenticity. I never felt like you intentionally made songs for the mainstream. You just made music from the heart. But you clearly went away from that principle by making song with Trey Songz and the Ying Yang Twins. No disrespect to them, but all collabos aren’t good collabos. And that brings me to my second point. I wanted to hear an album from Bun B, not a compilation album. I wanted to hear you in your own zone, but I couldn’t because there were just too many damn features. I understand showing love, but you showed a little too much. My third complaint is that you had too many producers. Back in the day, each click had a producer or a certain sound. Nowadays, dudes be havin’ a different producer for every song. in my opinion, this is why a lot of albums today aren’t any good. They lack consistency and the entire project doesn’t flow or have rhythm. I’ll give you a pass on this one because your brother Pimp C (welcome back) was locked down. But my final criticism hurts me the most to say. I feel that you slacked off in the lyrical department. What happened? This is not the same rapper that wrote such lyrical gems as “so clever shine / like diamond grapes on leather vines” or “We fuck your game up like Larry Brown” or the infamous line that Jay-Z jacked you for. You know the one I’m talking about. When you said “Your men of war turned into pussies and men-o-pause” it took me a few listens to catch it. But it seems the emcee has disappeared. What happened to the master of wordplay from “Murder,” “P.A. Nigga,” “Wood Wheel,” “Ball and Bun,” “They Down With Us,” “Hi-Life,” and “Every Single Day”? What happened to the legendary storyteller from “Diamonds and Wood,” “It’s Alright,” and “Feds In Town”? Once, there was an emcee who I felt would make a timeless hip-hop classic. With Pimp finally home to provide you wit the proper musical backdrop, I just hope the emcee is still there and ready to show the world his genius. – One Black, email@example.com (Cleveland, OH)
Charlamagne the God is a great addition to the mag. His column is sheer craziness. I also agreed with y’all’s greatest Southern albums list, especially ATLiens, which is definitely my favorite Outkast album – although Aquemini ain’t too far behind. I remember witnessing Eightball & MJG getting booed at The Warehouse in 1993 during Jack the Rapper. Nobody in the club at the time was trying to hear them and to see the frustration on MJG’s face is a classic moment that I’ll never forget. It’s interesting how two years later, everything changed. Another interesting moment was when Mystikal was still an unknown (at least in Atlanta, anyway). In 1995 there was a Jive Records concert featuring damn near everyone on the label (Too $hort, Souls of Mischief, Tribe Called Quest, and KRS-One was the headliner). The majority of the “East coast” crowd was already booing Mystikal but they really booed the shit out of him when he went into his “bad like Michael” segment. A year or so later “Here I Go” was the record that you just had to play. – Jaycee, firstname.lastname@example.org (Atlanta, GA)
Hey Julia, I noticed that in your latest 2 Cents where you talked *about starting a mag, you seemed a little leery about “giving up the
goods.” Trust me when I say that you have nothing to worry about! But somehow, I have a feeling you already know that. I have to laugh every time I see a new mag/paper/rag/website com out and I can instantly tell it’s some moron that got ahold of a PC and thought it was gonna be easy. Sure enough, within a few issues, poof! Gone! I also like these local pubs from places like Tampa/Jax/wherever that think they’re going to “expand their market” and invade Orlando. Do these fuckbrains ever stop for a nano-second to think about how they’re going to cover the scene, distribute or pick up advertisers outside of their home base? Again, within a few issues, poof! Gone! This doesn’t include a national or regional pub, but you get the point. As for your haters, fuck them! They shouldn’t hate what they’ll never have the balls to be (for lack of a better term - not sure what the female equivalent of “balls” is). In one of your early Pitbull interviews, Pit hit the nail on the head by saying, “If you don’t have haters, you ain’t doin’ something right.” That reminds me: I also like Roland Powell’s little column “10 Things I’m Hatin’ On.” Keep up the good work! - David Himes, email@example.com (Orlando, FL)
wanted you to know that I’m standing in a Tower Records *justJust outside of Boston, MA, and they’re proudly displaying the latest issue of OZONE with Trick Dddy on the cover. Congrats on national distribution! - Lyall Storandt, firstname.lastname@example.org
is one of the most resourceful entertainment magazines *I’veOZONE ever read, and believe me, I am a bookworm. I like the networking aspect (emails and phone numbers are very important in this business). Keep up the good work! - NJ Gilbert, email@example.com (Opa-Locka, FL)
I recently picked up the new issue of OZONE at Borders here in *Cincinnati, OH. I was truly blown away. For one, your interviews have
substance. You can tell this magazine is about indie artists and major artists and not just bombarding us with half naked women. Don’t get me wrong, I love women, but I don’t think that should be the focus of a rap magazine. Everything has its place. I’m really feeling the interview with Trick Daddy and how he’s teaching his crew the Dunk Ryders how to grind. No advances, just hard work. With the right magazine, I feel indie artists can truly get their grind on. OZONE is striclty for the music. XXL Mag is picking up where the Source left off, and if you ask me I think Interscope is paying them good. Every issue is an Interscope artist but hey, hate the game not the player. Should I hate those controlling the game? Nah, we just switch it up and pray for the best. - Paul “Grizz” Reese, firstname.lastname@example.org (Cincinnati, OH)
I just read your June 2006 issue. I liked the idea of having the 20 Essential Southern Albums, and I especially like the fact that you included DJ Screw’s 3 N The Mornin’. But when I read Matt Sonzala’s description at the end it says, “Sadly, DJ Screw passed away in November of 1996.” What the hell is that? He died on November 16th, 2000! Do your damn job and at least get that right. You are trying to give homage to the man and you don’t even get the year of his death right? Pretty disrespectful; what a joke! I hope I’m not the only one who notices and comments on that. R.I.P. Screw, Fat Pat, Hawk, big Mello, and Big Steve. - Xray1084@aol.com
JB, I just read your article about how to start your own magazine. Good piece. I wish every artist could read that so they could have a better understanding of how the magazine business works. It’s very humble of you not to have a know-it-all attitude, which I have to admit that I have heard you have. I did not get that impression from you at all after readying your article. I know there are three sides to every story. I see that you have managed to keep the magazine going for a while now, and I have to commend you on that. Looks like you have a come a long way and are continuing to grow. Congratulations to you, and your success with OZONE. – Kiara, email@example.com JB, I just finished reading the March ’06 issue (first time buying a copy) and I was very impressed, but I got to admit I was not familiar with you until “that dude from Boston” called you out. The last thing in the magazine I read was your editorial and I really felt your honesty and point of view. By you being a white female that publishes a hiphop magazine (on the verge of greatness) I’m sure you had/have your doubters, but apparently you have proven them all wrong. I am definitely one of the 95% that you alluded to in your editorial that has never had a conversation with you, but the fact that ATLiens is one of your favorite albums (and mine too) is all I needed to know before I ordered a subscription (the check/money order is in the mail). Your editorial brought something out of me. Because of your “600 little words,” I do 14
feel like I know you a little more. Keep up the good work and don’t worry about that one piece of hate mail. I guess nowadays “that dude from Boston” has too much time on his hands. - K. Arnold, firstname.lastname@example.org (Birmingham, AL)
Editor responds: You’re right; thanks for pointing out the typo. We apologize for the incorrect information. Correction: In the May issue, photo #2 on page 35 and photo #3 on page 27 should have been credited to Hurricane. Hate it? Love it? Send your comments to email@example.com OZONE reserves the right to edit comments for clarity or length.
jb’s2cents Flyidcg in Jacksonville, a faithful reader of JB’s 2 Cents, hit me up one night from the hospital and told me I need to tell people to stop killing each other. I sort of laughed to myself, and responded that I don’t have that kind of power. Then I thought about it. Fuck it, maybe I do have a little bit of power, and a responsibility to say something. So…
10 Things I’m Hatin’ On
PLEASE STOP KILLING EACH OTHER.
By Roland “Lil Duval” Powell
Need I say more? Proof? Hawk? I’m not supposed to be constantly searching through photo archives for obituaries – I’m supposed to be searching them for album covers, and flyers, and other productive items. I’m tired of hitting up rappers to ask for quotes for an R.I.P. And those concerns are petty compared what their friends and families are going through. We all need to just take a step back and breathe once in a while. Is anything that serious that it can’t be solved any other way?
Disclaimer: This is really what everybody else is sayin’. I know I’m dead wrong, but I’m hating anyway.
1. Niggas Taking Pictures With Their Chain Do not – I repeat – do NOT hold up your chain in a picture if it ain’t as big as your hand, or if it’s fake. 2. American Idol’s Randy Jackson This nigga is the lamest nigga I’ve ever seen in my life. I hate when this nigga tries to act like he’s so cool and uses lame-ass sayings like, “You rock, dawg!” 3. Last Month’s Groupie Confession in OZONE Man, ain’t nobody want to hear about Phife’s groupies. Whoever she was, she had to be damn near forty, cause that nigga ain’t had a hit song since 1997. 4. Big Women Wearing Bathing Suits Who is encouraging you big bitches to make you think that shit looks good? Nobody wants to see that shit in public. Y’all are all out on the beach lookin’ like a busted can of biscuits. 5. BET Uncut Do you niggas on there really think you’re gonna make it? 6. Old Niggas in the Club If you go to a club and your daughter’s friends are in the same club, it’s time to stop clubbin’. And if you’re keeping a bunch of change in your pocket, nigga, you old.
Gotti and I @ Club Suite
Uncle Luke, me, and Jacki-O on South Beach
Shawn Prez and I @ Springfest
7. Public Service Announcement for Women: If you’ve never seen the nigga you fuckin’ in the day time, you’re just some cut up. 8. Niggas Who Just Got Out of Jail If you were locked up and been in there for a long time, make sure you find out what’s in style when you get out, cause you can damn sure believe them Paco Jeans and Cross Colours ain’t what’s hot. 9. Gas Prices (again) Man, these crackers done crept that shit back up. How the fuck can one gallon of gas cost more than a combo meal? 10. Myspace.com (again) Some of y’all women need to reevaluate your life. There was this one bitch on there saying, “Good men are hard to find.” But in her profile picture, she was butt ass naked. Hmm, I wonder why?
Young Cash f/ 2Face “I Love It” DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, Pitbull, Trick Daddy “Born & Raised” 8Ball & MJG f/ Pimp C “Grown Man” Triggastate Trendsetters “I’m From Florida” J-Shin f/ T-Pain “Send Me An Email” Field Mob f/ Ciara “So What” Lil Keke “Chunk Up The Deuce” Trae f/ Fat Pat & Hawk “Swang (remix)” R.I.P.
jb’splaylist Lil Wayne “Hustler Musik” Plies “Know Sum’n” Pitbull “Bojangles” Grind Family “Fuck That”
Houston rapper Big Hawk of the Screwed Up Click was shot and killed on May 1st, 2006. As of press time, no suspects have been arrested. Fellow Screwed Up Click rapper Trae weighs in on his partna’s death:
awk is my O.G. You know, he’s one of the originators of the Screwed Up Click. I was one of the youngest ones out of the camp, me and Chris Ward, so Hawk was like the O.G. of the camp, him and DJ Screw. I was up under they wings a lot. As time went by we became very close, like brothers. He didn’t deserve that. Hawk never had no enemies. If you even check the background, he never even had plex with music. It wasn’t no problems at all. If anything, he helped a lot of people. He’s featured on a lot of people’s songs. Lil niggas from the hood would reach out and he’d do the features. He never had no problems. That bullet wasn’t meant for him; that’s all I can really tell you. He wasn’t one of the people that would make you even think that. You wouldn’t think that my homie would get murdered like that. That wasn’t for him. He was a family man. Man, it’s time for us to man up and understand when you’re wrong. People are wrong about a lot of shit. It’s time for people to be on some grown man shit. A lot of us rappers have kids, so shit, niggas need to get they grown man on and think before they act. For example, look at what happened to me. I lost a lot of people coming up so I had to mature a lot faster. I had to make my own decisions; some of them were right, but some of them were wrong. I was out robbin’ people and fucked around and caught a case that could’ve fucked me up for the rest of my life. That was me being stupid, but it was also the fact that I was brought into these streets at an earlier time than I should’ve been. If I had been older and had guidance I probably would’ve been better, but when kids lose their parents, they don’t have that guidance. Everybody needs a father figure in their life. If they don’t have it, they tend to make the wrong decisions. Some people weather the storm, but some people don’t. I weathered the storm, but I fucked up too. I wasn’t out there robbing just to rob; I was robbing to take stress off my mother’s back so I wouldn’t have to see her struggling. She had already lost one son to the penitentiary so I was robbing really trying to feed me and my brother so she wouldn’t be stressed out. But that’s something I had to learn. If any rapper is out here acting crazy thinking it ain’t gonna hurt the kids, that’s a lie. A lot of rappers grew up without their parents and that’s why they got caught up in these streets real fast. Even I had it fucked up. I had to sit back and think with certain situations. I had to sit back and tell myself, Trae, you cannot react how you do in the streets all the time. You gotta slow down cause you’re older now and you have a family. So I understand that and respect that and a lot of other niggas need to do the same. That shit don’t feel good when you’re losing someone close to you. It don’t feel good to kids to lose their fathers. People need to understand, stop trying to prove yourself in the streets. These streets are so crossed right now you don’t know the definition of real and fake. People got the definitions crossed. I’m only 25 and I’ve lost so many people – from [DJ] Screw to [Fat] Pat to Hawk to Mafio to my brother Dickie doing three life sentences to his girlfriend to his baby mama. I’ve lost so many people it don’t make no sense. But it don’t do nothing but make me a stronger man than what I was before. Even though pain ain’t good to deal with, that’s what I’m used to. I know that God has me down here for a reason. I’m the one who stays strong and keeps everybody’s head straight in the situation. Our camp the Screwed Up Click as a whole, we’ve bonded and become real close recently. Now we’re really closer than ever because Hawk was the leader. When Screw passed he became the leader and now we’ve lost another leader. So we’ve really gotta bring it home for him. Especially when I turn in my album, right now I’m really pumpin’ it to make sure everybody’s able to see him on BET. People need to see him and hear him. My album is wrapped up but I’m tryin’ to get them to push it back right now [to add a Hawk tribute]. All of us have lost someone, so all of us have a lot to say. My main thing right now is to be here and be strong for his family, his wife and his kids and his sisters and just the whole camp. I’m focused. I’m having a terrible month but I’m gonna bounce back. I’m a grown man and I’m gonna take care of this situation. I’m in these streets 24/7 and the streets talk. If the police don’t find out [who killed Hawk], I’m gonna find out. One way or the other, I won’t rest until they find out who took my homie. Until we get that solved, it’s hard for me to focus on music cause that’s always on my mind. Everything’s gonna fall into place, I know it is, as long as you’ve got God in your life. I’ma finish it off by sayin’ what Big Hawk would say: On behalf of the Screwed Up Click and ABN, ghetto dreams will be fulfilled. R.I.P. Big Hawk, Fat Pat, R.I.P. DJ Screw, R.I.P. Mafio, R.I.P. Gator, and free Dinkie! 18
Trae’s tattoo, in memory of Big Hawk; inset: Trae and Big Hawk at a video shoot earlier this year (Photos: Matt Sonzala)
01: DJ Drama, Paul Wall, and Lil Keith @ Drama’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 02: Full Impact All-Stars (Orlando, FL) 03: Chris Brown, Juelz Santana, and Gotti @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 04: Bobby Creekwater and crew @ Greg Street’s sneaker show (Atlanta, GA) 05: Barnard, Jock Smoove, and Young Jeezy @ Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 06: Akon, Slim Thug, and T-Pain @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 07: Small Soldier, DSR, Big Bink, and DJ Princess Cut (Dallas, TX) 08: Tony Neal and Uncle Luke on South Beach (Miami, FL) 09: Jim Jones @ the premiere of Mission Impossible 3 (NYC) 10: Bu and Mike Blumstein @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 11: DJ GT and Tye Dash @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 12: Baby and Malik Abdul @ Blue Room for Treal & Smilez & Southstar’s video wrap party (Orlando, FL) 13: Mami Chula and DJ Nabs @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 14: Bun B and the Mddlfngz @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 15: Greg G, Trevor, Sytonnia, and J-Deezy @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 16: Gotti, Mami Chula, and Youngface @ Suite (Miami, FL) 17: Monoply Records @ Kentucky Derby (Louisville, KY 18: Soon Boy, Miss T, Crystal, and friends reppin’ OZONE (College Station, TX) 19: Bigga Rankin and Haitian Fresh @ Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 20: DJ Mars and Big Cac @ Greg Street’s sneaker show (Atlanta, GA) Photos: Edward Hall (07); General (09); Jesse Jazz (02); Julia Beverly (03,06,08,10,11, 13,14,16); Keadron Smith (01); Malik Abdul (05,12,15,17,19); Maurice Garland (04,20); Nikki Kancey (18)
by Wendy Day
How To Get A Record Deal This is the question I am asked most frequently by people who don’t know me. Those who do know me ask how they can sell more records on their own, not how can they get into a slave contract and become a sharecropper. But for those who don’t want to do for self, I will attempt to break it down from my vantage point. Let me preface this by saying that I AM talking about a rap record deal with a reputable record label that has a track record and that has experienced some success in the rap music industry through selling records. I’m NOT talking about the bogus labels that spring up daily all over the country with a business card printed last night at Kinko’s that says they are a record label. Real legitimate record labels have a staff. They have proper financing to market and promote their releases after they record them, and they have experience and connections in the music industry with radio, retail, and promoters. The bogus labels should be avoided at all cost until they have a proven track record, as most of them can’t even do as much for an artist as the artist can do for him or herself. I see three ways to get a record deal (that you’d want to have): 1. Get put on by an established artist (but bear in mind that you may only be as successful as that artist. It’s rare that someone puts you on and you blow up larger than they are). With any luck, the artist who puts you on is fair and doesn’t do to you what was done to him when he was coming up. 2. Create a buzz. In a perfect world, you want everyone in the industry and on the streets talking about you before you get signed. Young Buck was a perfect example of an underground artist who had a very strong buzz. The trick is to keep it going until you get signed and then turn it up a notch until you’re going to drop. 50 Cent is a great example of someone who kept up the buzz. 3. Sell units. This is, of course, my favorite method because it proves to the labels you can sell, which reduces their risk and gives you negotiating leverage. Therefore, you have more control over the “fairness” of your deal and often a choice of labels with whom to sign. In a perfect world, you want to be with a label that not only believes in you but has an experienced, hard-working staff in every department that can really make your project happen. And a nice bidding war never hurts… The average record deal for a new artist starts around $125,000 and 12 or 13 points (which really means 12 to 13 percent of the retail selling price after you pay back all the expenses) for an independent label or a subsidiary label, and $300,000 and 16 points at a major label. There are far more indie labels and sub-labels than there are major labels, so it is obviously more difficult to get signed directly to a major label. The plus of being directly with a major label is that there is no middleman. Dr Dre’s label Aftermath is directly with Interscope, which is a major label. Eminem’s Shady Records is signed to Aftermath which is signed to Interscope. 50 Cent is signed to Shady via Aftermath at Interscope. That’s a lot of hands for money to pass through, even figuratively. Most money spent to sign and promote an artist is recoupable. “Recoup” means paying back most of the expenses before you receive any back end payments (points are back end payments). I can count on one hand the number of rappers I know who’ve ever even seen a back end payment such as a royalty check. Most rappers make money by getting advances prior to working on the next release, always in an unrecouped position of owing money to their label. The way to increase the figures in any deal in favor of an artist is for the label to realize that their risk is reduced. A label takes a risk when signing any new artist. This risk means that the label could dump hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars into an artist’s career and the artist might only sell 10,000 records. In this case, the label loses a lot of money, but anything that can reduce that risk is rewarded. This even applies to established artists. For example, when Snoop Dogg was shopping for his new deal after Priority five years ago, he 20
was able to say he had Dr Dre producing for him again. He was expanding his awareness into mainstream America by appearing in a full-length motion picture in 2001, and he had an autobiography out at the time in bookstores called Tha Doggfather, which got great reviews. That’s the way to maximize opportunity. A more recent example would be T.I., who dropped a new CD and starred in a new movie that released in the same week. A newer artist might reduce the perceived risk for a label by having access to well-known, successful producers or by bringing a hit single with a superstar producer. This affiliation is one that the label would see as reducing their risk at radio. Radio is overcrowded and expensive these days, so having a Jazze Pha or Cool & Dre track goes a long way for recognition with radio. Labels like this. These are all proven ways to get the little “extras” in a record deal. Those extras could include more upfront money, more points on the back end, a better “stat rate,” less stuff to recoup, etc. Upfront money is a double edge sword because upfront money is recoupable, therefore it is just more debt. You want to get upfront money for several reasons. One, you can invest in something that will bring in more money (a studio or real estate). Also, if you’re in debt wtih the label, it will force them to make you a priority and work harder on your project to get their money back. If you have a deal with a reputable label and you are confident that you are a priority, you may want to reduce the front end advance in favor of a larger split on the back end. With Trick-Trick’s deal at Motown, he took less money upfront in order to get 40% to 50% on the back end. Trick had a slam dunk single with Eminem called “Welcome 2 Detroit” and had already shot a tight video for it. He had a follow-up single with Jazze Pha. Most joint venture deals don’t work financially in the artist’s benefit because there is often a production company in the middle collecting the money. Trick co-owned the production company, further reducing the risk for Motown to do business with him. When I negotiate a deal, there are times where I secure money upfront for the artist that will be dumped back into the artist’s project because I know the label won’t. For example, in almost every deal I’ve ever negotiated with a major label, I’ve gotten between $25,000 and $75,000 for the artist to hire his own street team to work his project. Most of the radio-driven majors don’t understand the importance of building the artist on the streets first, so very often the artist has to do this for self. This fund is never recoupable. An artist shouldn’t be taxed for an area where the label is weak, nor should the artist be taxed for something that falls under marketing of the record, like a street team. But in order to negotiate something like this, the artist must have something that the label deems worthy enough as leverage. You shouldn’t take just any old record deal. You should have a deal with as many extras to guarantee your success as the label gets to guarantee your profitability to them. You are taking a risk with the label as well, but they’ll never see that. They always only see their risk. Always go into your deal with the attitude that the label is your partner (even if you never make a dime, because it is YOUR career). If they drop the ball, you should be able to pick up the ball and run with it. They have many artists on their label, but you only have one career. Bear in mind that the REAL hard work begins after you get a deal. You set the tone with your label. If the label has 3 artists, and 2 are lazy and never show up to stuff that they set up but one is hardworking and arrives on time for everything - guess which artist will get the best push regardless of their level of talent? Human beings work at record labels, and it is human nature to work whatever causes the least resistance and least stress. This is a business. Learn as much as you can before getting into the industry. Ask as many questions as you can to people who are successful and legitimate, and have a really good entertainment attorney on your team. A successful team and a little bit of luck are the true secrets to success in this industry. If all you want to do is just make music, PLEASE find someone with some real business savvy to add to your team or you’ll see the ugly side of this business. It’s a wicked game of pimps and hoes, adn you won’t be the pimp. - Wendy Day of Rap Coalition (www.wendyday.com)
01: Ray Cash and T-Pain @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 02: Too $hort, White Dawg, and DJ Blackdragon @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 03: Uncle Luke and Bulldog on South Beach (Miami, FL) 04: Slim Thug with the 99 Jamz morning crew Supa Cindy, Big Lip Bandit, and Benji Brown @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 05: Coota Bang, Archie Lee, DJ Quote, and Michael Watts (Houston, TX) 06: Stone and UTP reppin’ OZONE @ Clark’s (Vegas, MS) 07: Street Runner and KFoxx @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 08: Mannish and Kadife Sylvester @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 09: Yo Gotti, adn Mr. Fugi (Memphis, TN) 10: Jock Smoove and Barnard @ Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 11: T-City promotions on the set of Juvenile’s video (Houston, TX) 12: Paul Wall and Brandi Garcia @ DJ Drama’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 13: DJ Q45 and T-Smiley @ Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 14: Alex Gidewon and Diddy @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 15: Monie Love and Chris Brown @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 16: Twisted Black and friends (Dallas, TX) 17: BloodRaw, Young Jeezy, and Slick Pulla @ Club Suite (Miami, FL) 18: OZONE @ the Kentucky Derby (Louisville, KY) 19: Supa, Tony C, and friends @ Tropical Magic (Orlando, FL) 20: Bootcamp Click reppin’ OZONE (NYC) 21: DJ Drop, DJ G-Rock, Big Chief, Steve Austin, Big Bink, and Money Waters (Dallas, TX) Photos: DJ Quote (05); Edward Hall (21); Julia Beverly (01,03,04,07,08,14,15,17,19); Keadron Smith (11,12); Kool Laid (06,09); Malik Abdul (10,13,18); Matt Sonzala (16); Shoeb Malik (02); Swift (20)
by Charlamagne The God
hy do we put all these 15-minute-of-fame chicks up on a pedestal? I’m talking about these video chicks who might be hot for the moment (ie. Buffy the NOBODY), reality show chicks who’s time in the spotlight will be very brief (ie. HO-oopz, as in “oopz, the little bit of shine I am getting is a mistake, I didn’t know this was a reality show I thought Flavor of Love was a taste test for Valentine’s Day candy”). I don’t understand why the hip-hop community gets caught up in the hype over these females who obviously have no talent, skills, or anything to take them to the next level of life or to assist them with - other than posing half naked in every major hip-hop publication. How many times will the general public pay to see that? That even eventually runs its course. I feel sorry for these chicks that have nothing to do other than to host parties. It’s sad because for a month or so the phone can’t stop ringing, then the calls slowly stop coming - that’s because the clock that says fame is on 14 minutes and 30 seconds! That’s right ladies, time is almost up, and most of these chicks have the audacity to act like they really got it going on! They have the audacity to act like they’re really hot! Walking in parties with security like your name is Condoleeza Rice or Oprah fucking Winfrey, catching attitudes, throwing tantrums, acting like you’re better than everybody. Who do these chicks think they are? You’re not leading the underground railroad like Harriet Tubman. You’re not sitting down on a bus refusing to move and actually making a stand for your people like Rosa Parks.
Whenever I see these chicks I hear Craig Mack’s voice in my head saying, “YOU WON’T BE AROUND NEXT YEAR!” I heard HO-oopz is quite the industry whore. Allen Iverson, T.I., I mean, do I believe the rumors? YES! I don’t put nothing past a chick who participated on a reality show to win a date with Flava Flav. Public Enemy is one of the best hip-hop groups of all time, but Flava Flav? That says a lot about the breed of chick we are dealing with. Some people are just thirsty for fame and will do anything to keep that little bit of shine. A grimy little redbone like HO-oopz might poke a hole in the condom, or while you’re pissy drunk high off that kush at 4 o’clock in the morning treating her like the breakfast she is (that’s right, breakfast is something to do early in the morning after the club closes) the little hoodrat might just rip the condom off in the heat of the moment and tell you she wants to feel it. And please don’t put the old turkey baster trick past HO-oopz. After sex she will grab that turkey baster, suck the cum out of a condom, warm the skeet up in the microwave, and shoot it right back in that fame hungry, money hungry cat trap of hers. My dudes, don’t get caught up. Don’t be fooled. The only difference between HO-oopz and pretty redbone Shaquita from the projects is 13 episodes of Flavor of Love, a few spreads in some magazines, and a few fake myspace pages. Honestly, a ho is a ho in any environment! It doesn’t matter if she’s broke in the projects or a special invited guest at a celebrity party; a whore is a whore and she should be treated as such until she grows out of whorehood into full-fledged black womanhood. HO-oopz recently did a interview where she disrespected the Queen of all Media my radio aunt Wendy Williams. She said that Queen Wendy keeps her name in her mouth 23-7 and then said that there’s only 2 hours out of the day she’s not speaking her name. This is not a typo: HO-oopz said 23-7 only 2 hours out of the day Wendy’s not speaking her name, and the poor young lady thinks there’s 25 hours in a day! Now do you see why these misguided chicks shouldn’t be put on a pedestal? Go put your head in a book and get your head out of that rappers lap! Wipe the cum off your cheeks and have some respect for yourself, HO-oopz, your 15 minutes of fame is counting down fast! You should be utilizing this time to the utmost. You’re a pretty young lady - go out there and try to get in some print ads for some clothes, try to get a bit part in a movie (the camera set up in a rapper’s bedroom while you’re getting banged out from the back doesn’t count), do something productive! Your reality show days are over because you blew the spot on Flavor of Love, told everybody it was fake, and they started casting for the 2nd season before the first was over. Your a producer’s worst nightmare. These white people don’t need you messing up their money just cause you like to run your mouth to any media outlet that will listen. That’s the problem: your mouth. When it’s not being ran to the media, it’s wrapped around some rapper or athlete’s cock or in the middle of some chicks vagina (yeah, I heard those stories too). HO-oopz, please don’t get offended. Everybody in the country saw you put your tongue in Flava Flav’s mouth, so if somebody told me you put your tongue in a pitbull’s ass, I wouldn’t be surprised. Sincerely Gangsta, Charlamagne Tha God - If you would like to tell Charlamagne The God that he is an idiot, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. 22
01: Citty, Young Cash, and T-Pain @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 02: Paul Wall, Beenie Man, and Sean Paul @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 03: Sleepy Brown and Latin Prince @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 04: Project Pat and Juicy J @ Tropical Magic (Orlando, FL) 05: Hutch, DJ Dap, DJ Lil Boy, DJ KD, Ed the World Famous, and J Blaze @ Blazin’ 102.3’s pool party (Tallahassee, FL) 06: Southstar, DJ Greg G, DJ Hankadon, and Tony @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 07: Money Waters and Twisted Black (Dallas, TX) 08: DJ Nabs and Mel Testamark @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 09: Christina Milian and DJ Ren on the set of Dre’s “Chevys Ridin’ High” (Miami, FL) 10: Emperor Searcy and Kadife Sylvester @ Club Suite (Miami, FL) 11: Serena Williams @ Kentucky Derby (Louisville, KY) 12: Shareefa and Malik Abdul @ DTP Press Junket (NYC) 13: Blofly and George Lopez (Dallas, TX) 14: Juvenile and Boomtown on the set of his new video (Houston, TX) 15: Dolla Boy, Lil Fate, and Titi Boy @ Visions for DJ Drama’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 16: Greg “True Champ” Davis (New Orleans, LA) 17: DJ Khaled and Diddy @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 18: DJ Slikk, guest, and Marlei Mar @ KYMP Record Pool (Louisville, KY) 19: Ladies reppin’ OZONE @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 20: Smackabatch, Tony B, and Kamikaze @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) 21: DJ Jamad, Kid Kaos, and guest @ Greg Street’s sneaker show (Atlanta, GA) Photos: DJ Dap (05); DJ Ren (09); Edward Hall (07); Julia Beverly (01,02,03,04,08,10,17); Keadron Smith (14); Malik Abdul (06,11,12,18,19); Marcus DeWayne (16); Matt Sonzala (13); Maurice Garland (15,21); Ms Rivercity (20)
industry101 Kawan “KP” Prather
Executive VP of Sony Urban / Head A&R
f you’re a true music junkie who reads album credits and liner notes religiously, you’ve already seen Kawan “KP” Prather’s name. Formerly one-third of Atlanta hip-hop pioneers P.A., KP has become one of the most successful A&Rs of his generation. During his tenure at LaFace he launched the careers of the Youngbloodz and T.I. He also served as A&R for all of Outkast’s albums leading up to Stankonia as well as albums from Goodie Mob, TLC, Pink and Usher. Now with his position at Sony, he is the man responsible for signing the likes of Ray Cash and John Legend. His list of accomplishments goes on for days, so take his advice and Google him to find out more. Give us a brief background on yourself. I was born in Atlanta, Vine City to be exact. My love for music started as a DJ. When I got in high school I met some guys, Mello and Big Reese, and we came together and became P.A. After that we were introduced to Rico Wade, Pat (Sleepy Brown) and Ray Murray, who the world knows as Organized Noize. We all pooled our equipment together and formed the Dungeon Family. The first P.A. album Ghetto Street Funk came out under Pebbles’ label, Saavy. That was in the early 90s and we didn’t get another P.A. album until 1998. What were you doing in the meantime? The whole time we was making records. Before L.A. Reid and Pebbles, all of us in the Dungeon, we was making records and doing everything else, but we didn’t know of the titles that come with the record industry. We didn’t know what an A&R was or who a promotions rep or any of the other behind the scenes people were. But we was doing all of these things. In our crew, you would call me the A&R. I was picking engineers and matching producers and artist and other people together. When we got around L.A. and Pebbles, I was still in the group but I was running into a lot of people and introducing them to L.A. When we was doing the Straight No Chase album, L.A. told me I should come to the other side of the business. So I became a consultant at LaFace and was assigned to work on Usher’s My Way album. They had him in NYC with Puff. It was my idea to pair him with Jermaine Dupri, since we already knew him and Usher is a Southern cat. The results were obviously good. What did that experience teach you? Did it make you decide to be on that side of the game? Absolutely. The Usher album showed me there was another side to the game other than being an artist and that you could be very great at something. As a member of P.A. we were great producers but we was cool artists. Unlike Outkast who are both. People loved our songs, so I took what I was as a producer and artist and became somewhat of a coach. That’s pretty much what an A&R is, a coach. After your success at LaFace, you decided to start your own label Ghett-O-Vision with the Youngbloodz and T.I. Why take that risk after working with established artists like Usher, Outkast and TLC? At LaFace there was a high brow image, very polished and clean cut. There was a voice being unheard, people like me that weren’t very socially conscious. We weren’t dumb, but still had something to say. I felt that gritty artists had to have a place. So I did Ghett-O-Vision. The name symbolized that were from the streets, but we weren’t just plain stupid either, we had a vision. I chose the Youngbloodz because they were fun; they represented the South’s club scene. As for T.I., he was a great lyricist. He was like ‘Pac, an uncontrollable dude that was gonna do what he wanted and say what he wanted. Looking back, do you consider the Against The Grain and I’m Serious records to be huge successes, even though they didn’t do the astronomical numbers that people harp on these 24
days? I always felt like they were huge successes because they were the first records of their kinds, they opened people’s eyes. I’m Serious sold 5,000 for 70 weeks, that’s consistency and that’s good. That album came out the same week as Petey Pablo and Bubba Sparxxx. Those albums sold more in the first week, but I’m Serious kept selling. That solidified T.I. as an artist in my opinion. Speaking of him, since you were over the project, did you play a part in creating the whole “King of the South” thing? He said it one day and I was like, “If you believe it, say it loud.” If you play small you will be small. I encouraged it, but it’s something he came up with. At the time it caused some noise, but we all think we the king of something. Other people that carried themselves like kings didn’t get offended by it. Talk about the transition from LaFace to Sony. The transition from LaFace was cool. I learned from L.A., he was like my industry father. But I had to pack up and move out. It was never bad blood. I just felt, at the time, I had done all I could do under him. We made money and history and but it was his. He was supportive of my decision and we still talk at least once a month. What was the biggest challenge you faced? The biggest challenge was getting respect. Everything I did prior to joining Sony was credited to L.A. I never did any press or appearances because I was so concentrated on the music, so people didn’t know what I was doing. It wasn’t hard because I got to make what I wanted to make. I got to bring in the John Legends and Ray Cashs. Cleveland has been severely under the radar since Bone’s heyday. How did you find Ray Cash, and as an A&R how does one keep their eye out for talent? I don’t think it’s a formula but you gotta stay open and never think it’s about you. I met Ray Cash through his manager. I met his manager at Office Depot when me and T.I. was out looking at telephones. He said he had a CD, I heard it and loved it. I flew him to New York after that and got it done. But as an A&R I can’t think it’s about me. I can use my resources to make things happen, but it’s about the music first. If the music ain’t hot, we don’t have nothing. How did you find John Legend? John Legend came through a relationship I had with John Monopoly. About three people were working his project, trying to get him in the door. When I heard him I went ahead and made it happen. The album he put out, Get Lifted, was already done by the time I signed him, except for “Ordinary People.” Being an A&R doesn’t always mean you have to make a bunch of records. Sometimes you gotta fall back and just let an artist do them. How do you determine when to step in and when to fall back? When an artist is good but not working to their full potential, you gotta give them a push. You’ve gotta make them see what they can do if they put their mind to it. You fall back with an artist like ‘Kast, and watch the magic unfold in front of your eyes. Same thing with John Legend. Do you agree that DJs are the best A&Rs? I think it’s a place for everything. What I do isn’t contingent on freestyles and mixtapes. Everybody’s got a mixtape now. Literally, the DJs are pushing crack. But I am a truest. I have to really love it. If it’s people getting money, I don’t knock it. But I don’t buy into the whole notion that you have to be hot in the streets in order to get a deal or get fans. I believe that you have to be hot first. What advice do you have for people looking to be in the industry? Focus on what you would do for free and the things that come natural to you. I know people who are great in promotions, but want to be an A&R because the job seems sexier. I would love to see people stop following trends and just do them. - Maurice G. Garland
01: Sean Paul and Beenie Man @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 02: Bryan Jahoda, Young Stally, and Big L @ Club Kies (Indianapolis, IN) 03: Deja, Brooke Valentine, and TV Johnny @ Sharpstown Mall (Houston, TX) 04: Kentucky Music Pool meeting during Kentucky Derby (Louisville, KY) 05: Citty and Slim Thug @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 06: DJ Black and friends @ Club Suite (Miami, FL) 07: B.G. and DJ Hektik (New Orleans, LA) 08: Poe Man and Peezee (Dallas, TX) 09: Baby and DJ Chino @ WJHM (Orlando, FL) 10: BloodRaw and Smoke of Field Mob @ Club Suite (Miami, FL) 11: Moss B and Gangsta Boo @ DJ Drama’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 12: Rick Ross and Dylan @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 13: M-Geezy and Paris Jontae @ Club Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 14: Keyshia Cole and DJ Jesse Jazz @ House of Blues (Orlando, FL) 15: George Dukes, Bun B, and Big Teach @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 16: Gu and Paul Wall @ DJ Drama’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 17: Kawan Prather, guest, Ray Cash, and Latin Prince @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 18: Big Chief and Twisted Black (Dallas, TX) 19: Amir Boyd and Killer Mike @ Greg Street’s sneaker show (Atlanta, GA) 20: The Replacementz @ DJ Drama’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 21: Cheri Dennis and DJ Mars @ Mansion (Miami, FL) Photos: Bright Star (09); Edward Hall (08,18); Jesse Jazz (14); Julia Beverly (01,05,06,10,12,15,17,21); Keadron Smith (03,16); Malik Abdul (02,04,13); Marcus DeWayne (07); Maurice Garland (11,19,20)
djprofile DJ Black (Indianapolis, IN)
ou’re famous for your “dragged & chopped” mixtapes. What’s the difference between dragged & chopped and Screwed & chopped? There’s no difference. It’s out of respect for the original Screwed Up Click and DJ Screw, R.I.P. You can’t call it chopped & Screwed if you’re not DJ Screw. I know he probably wishes that before he died he had trademarked the name so nobody else could use it. No disrespect to Michael Watts and OG Ron C, but it is what it is. On the Southside of Texas if you say “Screwed & chopped,” they don’t respect you. You gotta call it something else. I’ve been jamming Screw since day one before it got commercial. I got all 156 chapters, and I’m from the Midwest. I’m real with it, I got it tattooed on my stomach. How were you exposed to Screw’s music? A DJ named DJ Gu up here in Indianapolis was doing it since around the same time as Screw. He was realy heavy on the underground scene, bangin’ out slowed down tapes, and I was a little guy like 13, 14, 15. I just been a slow head ever since. I don’t do shit fast. I don’t even do parties unless it’s dragged up. I’m just stayin’ real with what I got love for. Do you have to be fucked up to appreciate slowed down music? Naw, that’s bullshit. To me, music just sounds better slowed down. I can’t listen to the radio cause that shit sounds like the Chipmunks or something. That’s just the perception, but it’s not true. You’ve always got your haters. But don’t get me wrong, it does sound better when you’re feeling good off every drug in the book. But in Indianapolis I have a record store that’s 90% dragged & chopped, and I have all types of customers – females, males, from 15 all the way up to 60, and they all buyin’ dragged up. What’s the difference between a DJ Screw tape and other slowed down tapes? I don’t think nobody can imitate DJ Screw, just because of the way he went live on his records and how he recorded his sounds. The bass hits a certain way. It’s a special feeling you get when you listen to DJ Screw and you hear everybody that’s hot right now – Lil Keke, Lil Flip, Pimp C, Bun B and Hawk – and you hear them all just talking on a little microphone, and you hear the feedback. You hear all that in a Screw tape. I don’t think nobody can imitate that. Watts is on top of the game right now, and I gotta give props to him cause I can’t keep up with him. He’s always doing some different tricks. He’s the man right now. OG Ron C is next, and DJ Black does have next after that. What’s the music scene like in Indianapolis? It’s more than corn in Indianapolis. People just think of the Indie 500 up here, but really it’s an open market. We have a group up here that just got signed called 625 Entertainment. I think Jim E Mac is the next big thing about to get signed out of Indianapolis. You’ve got a lot of locals trying to do their thing, but they don’t wanna put no money into their project. They half-ass the covers and put their music on a burnt CD-R instead of packaging it professionally. But Indianapolis is on the rise as far as the music scene is concerned. We’re the last in the Midwest, but I’m here to save that. I’m reppin’ for the corn state til the day I die. Indianapolis is an open market. We’re Midwest country boys, that’s how I put it. If you go up to Chicago it’s like the East coast. But in Indianapolis you’re gonna see the same thing you see in Miami and Jakcsonville and Houston and Atlanta – we poppin’ trunks, ridin’ big rims – that’s that South feeling. Every artist who comes here says that. It’s an untapped market here in Indianapolis, and it’s so open. Artists need to quit going from Chicago straight to Cleveland and skipping over Indianapolis. Ask Lil Flip, David Banner, Swishahouse, Mr. Bigg, and Lil Boosie – they will all cosign for me, cause I had them niggas doing shows up here for $6k, $10k, $15k before they were even signed. It’s an open market, especially for the South and the West coast. Tell ‘em to holla at me. What else do you have goin’ on? I have a SoundScan retail store. I don’t fuck with the clubs unless they wanna drag it out one night. I fuck with the radio on holiday weekends. I DJ for Lil Wyte, Frayser Boy, Boogie Man, Grandaddy Souf, The Last Mr. Bigg, and Chrome. They’re all Hypnotized Mindz artists 26
under Three 6 Mafia’s label. So what exactly is your affiliation with Three 6 Mafia? I’m the official DJ for Hypnotized Mindz. I have a marketing company and street team as well, and our clients include David Banner, DSR, Atlantic Records, Swishahouse, and a whole bunch of other labels. And when I say “marketing,” it’s not just hanging up posters and shit. It’s vehicle wraps, full-fledged promotions, the whole nine. Also in the works, hopefully I’ll be the official DJ for the 2006 low rider tour. Are there any other camps you’re affiliated with? I’m down with the Hittmenn DJs. What is the biggest mistake that you’ve seen indie artists make that hurts their career? The biggest problem I see is just flat-out lack of promotions. I feel like you should put money into your project. They go in the studio and lay a hard track down, but don’t package it right. I’ve been in retail since 1999, when I was 19 years old. One thing I’ve learned is that when they bring music in there and don’t put no promotion behind it, they just sit in the stores. They think it’s gonna sell but it just collects dust and I never hear from them again. It’s lack of promotions. You’ve got to put time and money into your project. When I come out with a mixtape, I’ve got four wrapped vehicles and I promote my mixtape like it’s an album. That’s how I hustled my way to where I’m at now. Would you like to give out any contact info? Check out www.draggedup.net or myspace.com/thekingofdrag. You can call me to get chopped up, not slopped up, like the great OG Ron C would say – 901-428-4BLK. - Julia Beverly (Photo: William Pride)
01: Juelz Santana, Slim Thug, and Jim Jones @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 02: Face, K-Mutie, and D Map @ Greg Street’s sneaker show (Atlanta, GA) 03: Steve Austin and Edward “Pookie” Hall (Dallas, TX) 04: Raul and DJ Khaled @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 05: The Clipse and Big Earl (Orlando, FL) 06: DJ Niro, Mr. Blakes, PicNic, Headkrack, Tony C, and PayDay @ Gypsy Tea Room (Dallas, TX) 07: Street Dogg, Rick Ross, and Brisco @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 08: Dre and Christina Milian @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 09: DJ Greg G and DStrong @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 10: G-Dash and Lil Keke @ DJ Drama’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 11: Rick Ross and DJ Demp @ Baja’s for Blazin’ 102.3 birthday kickoff (Tallahassee, FL) 12: Freestyle Steve and Young Jeezy @ Club Suite (Miami, FL) 13: Shane and Bigga Rankin of Cool Runnings @ Club Plush for Young Jeezy concert (Jacksonville, FL) 14: LeToya Luckett and Latin Prince @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 15: Kid Capri and Too $hort @ Suite (Miami, FL) 16: Kanye West and Tom Cruise @ Mission Impossible 3 premiere (NYC) 17: Pimp C in the studio (Port Arthur, TX) 18: Headkrack and crew on the set of OZONE’s Dallas photo shoot (Dallas, TX) 19: Barnard and Young Jeezy @ Club Venue (Gainesville, FL) 20: Guest, Gaby Acevedo, and Chino @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 21: DurteRed and Dela Candela on the set of Dre’s “Chevys Ridin’ High” (Miami, FL) Photos: Big Earl (05); DJ Dap (11); DJ Ren (21); Edward Hall (03,18); General (16); Greg G (09); Jaro Vacek (17); Julia Beverly (01,04,07,08,12,14,15); Keadron Smith (10); Malik Abdul (13,19,20); Maurice Garland (02); Repo (06)
01: Diddy and Ump @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 02: Dallas Austin and Greg Street with a lucky fan @ Greg Street’s sneaker show (Atlanta, GA) 03: Serena Williams gets a little tipsy @ the Kentucky Derby (Louisville, KY) 04: Jock Smoove and crew @ Club Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 05: Blak, Yung Joc, and DJ Dap @ Jam TV during Blazin’ 102.3’s birthday week (Tallahassee, FL) 06: DJ Sosa and Rasheeda @ V103 (Atlanta, GA) 07: Clinton Sparks and Slim Thug @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 08: Kinfolk Nakia Shine and Bun B @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 09: Big Bud and crew @ Venue (Gainesville, FL) 10: T.I. and his publicist Sydney Margetson (NYC) 11: Stally and a friend @ Club Kies (Indianapolis, IN) 12: KC and a friend @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 13: Choppa and True Champ (New Orleans, LA) 14: Malik Abdul and Reams @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 15: Chevys ridin’ high on the set of Dre and Dirtbag’s video (Miami, FL) 16: Benny Boom and Brooke Valentine on the set of her new video (Houston, TX) 17: HeadKrack, DJ GRock, and Play & Skillz (Dallas, TX) 18: Juggi, Yung Joc, Shawt and Young A of Akright Records (New Orleans, LA) 19: DJ Infamous, Field Mob, Jeff Dixon, and Too $hort @ Club Suite (Miami, FL) 20: Big Teach and Smitty @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 21: Trini and George Lopez (Dallas, TX) Photos: DJ Dap (05); DJ Ren (15); DJ Sosa (06); Edward Hall (17,21); General (10); Julia Beverly (01,07,08,09,19,20); Keadron Smith (16); Malik Abdul (03,04,11,12,14); Marcus Jethro (13,18); Maurice Garland (02)
q&a Dre (Miami, FL)
ou actually got started singing in an R&B group, right? You’re also a producer now, but you’re getting ready to drop an album of your own. Is it a rap album, or R&B? It’s a rap album, but I do have an R&B joint on there. A lot of people like Fat Joe, Puff Daddy, Timbaland, Cool, Busta Rhymes, and DJ Khaled were telling me to put an album out. So when you started out rapping were you playing around? I’ve always been freestyling and whenever I was in the studio with people I’d give them direction. I’d rhyme for them and give them direction and then Busta Rhymes was like, “Yo, you dope, you should rhyme,” and then Joe Crack was like, “Yo, you need to rap,” and that’s how I got it. You can never limit yourself. When you first got your label deal for Epidemic/Jive, wasn’t Dirtbag supposed to be your first release? Yeah, we’ve been trying to get that Dirtbag situation straight for the past two and a half years. But Jive hasn’t fared well with their rap department, so we all felt that if I put out an album it would brand Epidemic and make an easier lane for Dirtbag to drop his shit. Basically, I’ve been changing how Jive conducts business on their rap side. People know who I am already, so it’s easier. So you’re able to call in a lot of favors. Yeah, all of that. It’s just easier because people know my face, and I have relationships in the industry. A lot of people know that you, and your partner Cool, produced Ja Rule’s “New York” record. What are some other songs you’ve produced? “Hate It Or Love It” for Game and 50 Cent, “Rodeo” for Juvenile, “Say I” for Christina Milian and Young Jeezy, “Holla At Me Baby” for DJ Khaled, and a lot of album cuts. Since you’re affiliated with Fat Joe, did producing the “Hate It Or Love It” record with 50 Cent put you in the middle of their situation at all? Naw, cause we did that record for Game, not for 50 Cent. We did that record prior to any friction. That was the third single off Game’s album. What was crazy about it was that we had produced the “New York” record that had kinda set off [the 50 Cent and Fat Joe beef] in the first place. You and Cool seem to steer clear of the beef and drama. Yeah, God has blessed me and Cool. Me and Cool, we’re about the music. At the same time, [Fat] Joe is a good friend of mine and I hate when people talk bad about him. But Joe has always led me and Cool away from that. He always told us it’s about the music, and that’s our mindset anyways. At the end of the day, if we can create music for people to come together, that’s a good thing. Just the fact that we did both those records, and they were both great records, let people know that we don’t get involved with bullshit and that two great records can be made. Being that you’re close to Joe, what’s your opinion about some of the controversy he’s had with former Terror Squad artists like Cuban Link? Remy Ma was recently blasting him on the radio. I don’t know Cuban Link. Me and Cool became cool with Joe after all that so I can’t speak on that. As far as the Remy Ma situation, she was just frustrated and just let herself go on the radio. But it’s love at the same time. I love Remy Ma, she’s super talented. She wants to win and has some opinions on why she thought she wasn’t in a good situation, but she was just frustrated. Basically an argument she was having on the phone spilled over on the radio, but I think she cleared it up. When you’re on the outside you don’t see what’s on the inside. I’ve personally seen Joe try to make things happen for everyone. I’ve watched him work, it’s just a tough game. I’m going through the same thing with Dirtbag. Sometimes there are just certain circumstances that you can’t explain, which is why I’m trying to drop a record to brand the label for Dirtbag to have an easier situation. Joe dropped “Lean Back” on the Terror Squad album when it was supposed to be on his album so they would come out with hits. Sometimes it’s just unexplainable. 30
Since it is a tough business, why is it that so many people are trying to get in? They see the end and the success stories, and those are great. When you see T.I. and Jay Z and they’re so successful and they win, and the spoils of that are money, beautiful women, big houses, and big cars, who wouldn’t want to get into the business? I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy the success of being a successful producer. Is the money better as a rapper or a producer? When you’re a successful producer it’s great money, and when you’re a great rapper it’s great money. There’s money to be made on both angles. Rappers make money doing shows, but as a producer you can’t make money doing shows. It depends on where your heart is. Then you have your Kanye Wests and Dr. Dres who are behind the board and in the booth. Is that your ultimate goal? Yeah. Me and Cool want to brand Epidemic and have artists come to us and become successful rappers like Dre did with Aftermath. We want a movement for people to succeed; new and upcoming rappers. Are you and Cool sort of like the Miami version of the Neptunes, where you’re Pharrell – dropping verses and doing cameos – and Cool is more behind-the-scenes like Chad? I don’t know Pharrell and Chad’s relationship. Me and Cool are super close. I’ve know his wife for longer than he’s know her. Me and Cool are family, we’re like brothers. Cool likes being in the studio but I’m somewhat forced to be out and about now that I’m promoting an album. Cool likes to be in the studio and he has a family. I don’t have the responsibilities that he has. I don’t have any children or a wife and I’m fairly young still, so I’m out and about. When Cool has an opportunity not to be in the studio he’s going to be with his family. What do you see happening for Miami in 2006? Trick Daddy kicked down the door a few years ago but it took us a minute to run through it. With DJ Khaled and Rick Ross and me all dropping our albums, we all came together to try to help each other win. We’ve got Pitbull, who’s an amazing talent. We can’t deny the fact that Pitbull is a star. He’s no longer someone that’s up and coming. He made it, so that’s a success story, and he helped pave the way. We’ve got Smitty, a lot of people coming out of Miami. What’s the name of your album? It’s called The Trunk. I got beats from Timbaland, Scott Storch, DJ Khaled, and DJ Toomp, and Cool and I handled the rest of it. My next single is featuring Keyshia Cole and is produced by DJ Khaled. It’s a phenomenal track. We just finished the video for “Chevys Ridin’ High” and they shut down the set. Why The Trunk? It’s symbolic. Niggas do a lot of kinds of work from the trunk in Miami. Me and Cool did work from the trunk - selling beats by playing music loud and opening up the trunk to let people hear it. I’m taking my album in the trunk and taking it across the country. I’m giving two Chevys away with my album and the station in Dallas is giving some away. We’re working on an endorsement with Chevy. - Julia Beverly (Photo: J Lash)
01: Shawn Jay of Field Mob and Too $hort @ Club Suite (Miami, FL) 02: Charles Reece, Mes, Rig, and Boogieman @ OZONE’s Dallas photo shoot (Dallas, TX) 03: Eye Candy and Storm @ Blazin’ 102.3 pool party (Tallahassee, FL) 04: Smilez and Southstar @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 05: Dap Rugget’s Motown and Cedric King at Greg Street’s sneaker show (Atlanta, GA) 06: Guest and Haitian Fresh @ Club Waterfalls (Sebring, FL) 07: Ump, Raul, DJ Khaled, and Rich @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 08: Tum Tum (Dallas, TX) 09: Shareefa and Jeff Dixon @ DTP Press Junket (NYC) 10: Doug Banks, Rudie Rush, and DJ Dap @ The Moon for Blazin’ 102.3 birthday week (Tallahassee, FL) 11: Adept @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 12: DJ Hektik and Young Buck (New Orleans, LA) 13: Jock Smoove giving away jewelry @ Club Venue (Gainesville, FL) 14: Monica and Cool on the set of Dre’s “Chevys Ridin’ High” (Miami, FL) 15: Monie Love and Rasheeda @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 16: Treal and Smilez & Southstar’s video wrap party @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 17: Lil Hen and Young Cash @ Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 18: Yung Joc, Juggie and Baby Boy @ Club Dreams (New Orleans, LA) 19: Brooke Valentine and crew (Houston, TX) 20: Mr. Pookie, Mr. Lucci, Pimpsta, KottonMouth (Dallas, TX) 21: Brandi Garcia, J-Mac, and Nnete @ Springfest (Miami, FL) Photos: Derrick the Franchise (12); DJ Dap (03,10); DJ Ren (14); Edward Hall (02); Julia Beverly (01,07,15,21); Keadron Smith (19); Malik Abdul (04,06,11,13,16,17); Marcus DeWayne (18); Matt Sonzala (08,09,20); Maurice Garland (05)
q&a Da Backwudz (Atlanta, GA)
ailing from Decatur, Da Backwudz already know what it’s like to work with the industry’s biggest names. They also know what it feels like to see their buzz die right before their eyes. Now with their long-awaited debut Wood Work on shelves, Sho-Nuff and Big Marc weigh in on how they are working even harder since the album dropped. How does it feel to finally see your record in the stores? Sho-Nuff: It’s been a long time coming, we’ve been doing this since ’97 and we finally getting in the stores. It’s at Best Buy, Tower, Target, wherever you wanna buy your music. We got Nas, Slim Thug, George Clinton, Killer Mike, Big Gipp, Bohagon, Sleepy Brown, and a little Sade on there. We got our boy Caz Clay on the “I Don’t Like the Look Of It” single and we got Bun B on the remix. How much creative control did you have on this album? Big Marc: Dallas [Austin] gives us full creative control, he just comes and sprinkles his spice on it. We didn’t have to fight to do songs. It’s still a business at the end of the day, so a lot of the people that we wanted to work with we couldn’t quite afford, but we still got to work a lot of people. Who can say they got George Clinton their record? Well, Blackalicious from Oakland is another rap group that worked with him recently. They didn’t say it was weird, but they said that his methods are interesting. How was your experience with him? Big Marc: We was just vibing. We had the track going and he was in [D.A.R.P. Studios] working on some stuff. We asked him if he wanted to hear some of our stuff and he said yeah. After that he just laid something down on it. I was a king to my dad when I told him I made something with George Clinton. “You Gonna Love Me” dropped two years ago. How does it feel to see people still interested in your music two years later? Big Marc: It’s a blessing to have people take heed and listen to us. That’s motivation to stay in the studio. Sho-Nuff: When “You Gonna Love Me” died down our buzz died down too, because of the sample not being cleared, so Quincy [Jones] and Dallas had to sit down and work it out. But then we came with the “Oompa” and the buzz came back. Since then, MTV has made it Jam of the Week and BET supported too. We getting love everywhere, overseas, Holland, Germany, West coast the Midwest. We just came back from D.C. and New York and they loving us too. How did the “I Don’t Like the Look of It” idea come about? Sho-Nuff: The Execs came with the beat. When we heard that, we was skeptical at first. Big Marc: We visualized it as we wrote it. We all came to the table, everybody had the same vision and we made it happen. What was your reaction when you first saw the video? Sho-Nuff: My reaction was: This is it. It’s like no other video out right now. It was a complete video. I haven’t seen a video like that since Outkast’s “Bombs Over Baghdad.” Speaking of which, do you guys feel any pressure from the Outkast comparisons that have been coming up? Big Marc: Not really. That’s motivation, because look at where they at now. I know people ain’t saying we sound like them, but people get the same feeling from us that they got from them. It’s a blessing to be said in the same sentence as them. Sho-Nuff: With all the music in the South, we coming with something else, so naturally people say we on some other shit. I think that’s where the comparisons come from. You guys put in a lot of work leading up to the release of this album. How has life been since the record came out? Big Marc: We getting a lot grinding in. Just because you got an album everything ain’t sweet, but now you gotta work harder because you got a barcode now. You got to grind to get folks to get your record. You go harder when the album out because you got something for people to go grab. Its like a dude selling door-to-door insurance, he ain’t gonna fall back, you gotta knock on doors because you got
something to sell now. Sho-Nuff: Like when we in a place and they don’t know what we got. But after we do a show, they gonna be like, “I gotta go check them out.” It’s word of mouth. If you ain’t in people’s faces you might as not record. Months or years down the line, will you be disappointed if you’re looked at as one of those groups who get labeled “slept-on”? Sho-Nuff: Hell, look at Jay-Z, his first album got slept on. A lot of great artists’ first album got slept on and when they got more successful people went back and bought the first album. So, naw I wouldn’t be disappointed. Big Marc: For real the money and all that is gonna come, we done claimed all of that. We love to make music, if people respect us for making good music the rest will fall into place. So if you make good music people will fuck with you eventually. So even if we are slept-on, the world will know that we made good music. We are starting hear about groups like you, Little Brother and Lupe Fiasco out of Chicago being applauded for lyrics and content. Do you sense a shift in hip-hop music taking place? Big Marc: We do feel like hip-hop is going back to having to make a song with substance to win. I’m a consumer too and I think people are tired of being mad when they hear music. People hating on snap music, but D4L blew up because people felt good when they heard the music. They wasn’t worried about their bills and relationships when they heard their music. We do think people are going back to wanting to feel good when hearing music. And they want substance and content too. Can you understand why people would hate on snap music, folks feel like they aren’t saying anything? Big Marc: At the end of the day people want to jam. It is what it is. That’s why you got groups like dead prez, Mos Def and Tali Kweli. They go over people heads sometimes because those people don’t want to get that deep sometimes, they’re like, “I ain’t worried about that because it ain’t got nothing to do with me,” when really it does. That has to do with folks just having knowledge of life, that don’t really have much to do with a song that got hella spins. You can’t be mad at the artist for making songs like that. Sho-Nuff: It may be happy music but they ain’t gotta worry about shootings when they hear it. Do you think hip-hop fans are maturing any? You are both around 25 years old with your first record coming out. Big Marc: I don’t think age got anything to do with it. Look at LL, he banging. Him and J-Lo banging right now [hums their single “Control Myself”] look at Snoop, Too $hort, Pimp C and Bun B, ‘Ball and G. If you making good music that you think people gonna feel there ain’t no age limit. Look at Shirley Ceaser, she still making music. I still think people like Kool Moe Dee and Big Daddy Kane could come back if they was making records. There’s people that love them niggas, if they came back they could win. I bet Missy will make records for hella long, she ain’t never gonna stop. I don’t think age got anything to do with it. Even if it’s your first album, if you making good music it don’t even matter. - Maurice G. Garland
01: DJ Black and Chris Brown @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 02: Treal reppin’ OZONE @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 03: Hittmenn crew, Kaspa, and TJ Chapman @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 04: PImp C performing (Port Arthur, TX) 05: DJ Mars and DJ Fahrenheit @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 06: Marques Houston and Slim Thug @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 07: Bart, DJ Nando, T. Waters, and DJ Delz @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 08: Bam remembers Big Hawk (Dallas, TX) 09: Bibi Gunz and Boom Bip @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 10: @ Tropical Magic (Orlando, FL) 11: Big Al and 4-Ize @ Greg Street’s sneaker show (Atlanta, GA) 12: Short Dawg and Lil Brotha of Konkrete @ Greg Street’s sneaker show (Atlanta, GA) 13: Alex Gidewon and Emperor Searcy @ Club Suite (Miami, FL) 14: Flyi dcgi and DJ Dagwood @ the SEAs (Tunica, MS) 15: Shawnna gettin’... a pedicure @ DTP press junket (NYC) 16: T-Pain and B.G. @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 17: Russell Simmons, LL Cool J, and Chris Lighty (NYC) 18: Ed the World Famous, DJ Dap, BloodRaw, DJ Demp, and C. Wakeley @ BloodRaw’s birthday party (Tallahassee, FL) 19: DJ Black, Yung Joc, DJ Nasty, and Nino @ WJHM (Orlando, FL) 20: The Runners and DJ Sosa @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 21: DJ Cinnamix, Hasan Brown, and guest @ Springfest (Miami, FL) Photos: DJ Dap (18); DJ Sosa (20); General (17); Jaro Vacek (04); Julia Beverly (01,03,05,0 6,07,09,10.13,16,19,21); Malik Abdul (02,15); Matt Sonzala (08); Maurice Garland (11,12); Ms. Rivercity (14)
q&a La Chat (Memphis, TN)
hat part of the M-town do you claim? Westwood, my hood.
It’s been a minute since we heard a peep from you. What’s the business? What have you been up to? I dropped Dramatized last year with Juvenile and Mike Jones on there. It’s selling. It’s good to be independent, but other than that, I’ve been trying to keep it moving. What is the relationship between you and TVT artist Yo Gotti? I am the newest member of the I&E family. They just signed me on New Year’s. You have put it down with Three 6 Mafia, local label owner Nakia Shine and now you’re down with Gotti. How did you get started in the music industry? It was a guy who knew Juicy J back when I was in high school. He knew I was rappin and gave him my number. I did some underground shit with them back then. You are somewhat a veteran rapper on the underground scene. How long have you been rapping? I honestly have been writing raps ever since I was in the third grade. You really developed a fan base as part of Three 6 Mafia, even co-starred in their first straight-to-video flick Choices. What happened to the Hypnotized Minds deal? I sold over 150,000 copies and didn’t receive a check. The pay really was never proper, but I knew I had to make me a name before I left. It’s like you wouldn’t believe. I just set up my own publishing. I never saw a royalty check or publishing check. I felt [like] if I’m your artist and you know these folks ain’t seen no check, throw them something cuz they had it. They really got it now. Next time you see them, tell them I said give me something. (laughing) Mane, niggas wouldn’t even pay my mortgage. Three 6 Mafia is the only rap group to ever perform at the American Music Awards. What do you think about them winning a Grammy? I’m proud of them. They was due something. I ain’t no hater. The town grew up listening to them. Like I said - tell ‘em gimme something. (laughing) With the movie Hustle and Flow putting your hometown on the big screen as well as this newfound attention given to Three 6, do you think M-town will be able to have a stronger impact in the music industry? Memphis is already on a come up. That’s why Hustle and Flow was filmed here - about Memphis and our style. Then, we been having big boy fights and events going on. Plus, we got Yo Gotti doin his thang. So really, we just a fire city anyway. You are the only female rapper representing Memphis since Gangsta Boo. Being one of only two women from the town, what do you bring to the table? You hear a lot of people saying they the truth. I’ma say I’m the streets, from a street bitch perspective. The rap game is a hard arena to break into. Do you think it’s even more difficult for you being a female rapper? I really don’t know, cause I haven’t been dealing with majors again yet. But I know I got plenty shows, and they show me love. That’s how I been eating. You have made many accomplishments in music in such a short time. Do you feel that you get the respect that you deserve to get? It’s very important makin’ it as a career, cause it’s a lot you sacrifice to be a rapper. You try to avoid trouble; gotta leave your family from time to time. It’s definitely hard, but I feel I get the respect so far cause like I said - I do plenty of shows everywhere. And the people come out and show me love. 34
There are probably many up-and-coming female rappers who look up to you as a role model. Who were your influences when you were coming up? I grew up off MC Lyte. I used to do her in talent shows. My dream is to do a song with her, cuz she really was an idol to me. Right now, I’m feelin’ Da Brat. You know, keep it gangsta. I love that. Tell me about your upcoming CD. When can we expect to see it in stores? What collaborators do you have on it? I’m gonna say probably for the summer. I got Gangsta Boo, Gucci Mane, All Star, Block Burnaz, and Yo Gotti. The past five years in the game have been quite impressive. Where do you see yourself in 5 calendars? I hope I have my own label, and able to put my folks out. But I really wanna be rich, so I can quit rappin’! You mean you would put down and mic and do something else? Why? So I can be a regular mom to my 10-year-old son. He needs me, but he knows he’s the reason I try so hard. Everythang I do is for him. I know your experiences have given you more knowledge than you could have learned in any classroom or textbook. What words of wisdom do you have for any rapper, especially female? Never say the word “never,” because anything is possible. In this game, you gone have to have patience. And for us women, we can do it. We are the strongest people in the world. We give birth, and that’s hard to do. Half of these men out here was taught and raised by women, so even if y’all try to keep us out the game, we gonna figure out how to get back in it. We can’t be defeated. I’m gone say this and I mean it - niggas ain’t slicker or smarter than us bitches out here. You ain’t know? It’s been more than a pleasure. Any last departing words or shout outs? Thanks for the love with this interview and all my fans keep supporting me cause I’ma stay coming in this game. And as long as I got fans, I’ma stay in it. What it do, CEO Grip, Yo Gotti, Denairo, Try, V/Slash, All Star, Tyrone, Ben Gotti, Certy Mac, Womack, Big Ceddy, Luke, Lucky and Doodie - the real hard hittas. How can the people get at you? Easy. The number is 901-691-4437, or email me at LaChatRap@Bellsouth.net. - JoJo (Photo: Julia Beverly)
01: Juvenile and Paul Wall on the set of his new video (Houston, TX) 02: Stevie Da Mann, Kaye Dunaway, and Greg G @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 03: Rick Ross and 2Slabz @ Dre’s “Chevys Ridin’ High” video shoot (Miami, FL) 04: Crime Mob and Pimp G reppin’ OZONE @ Kartouche (Jacksonville, FL) 05: Zay and crew reppin’ OZONE (College Station, TX) 06: Yung Joc and Rico Brooks @ WJHM (Orlando, FL) 07: DJ Drama and Lil Keke @ Drama’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 08: Jock Smoove, Coach K, and Barnard @ Club Venue (Gainesville, FL) 09: Cheri Dennis and Diddy @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 10: Bear and Brandon of Jagged Edge @ DJ Drama’s birthday party (Atlanta, GA) 11: DJ Chino and Red Cafe @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 12: Jermaine Dupri reppin’ Def DJs @ V103 (Atlanta, GA) 13: Jock Smoove and Young Cash @ Club Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 14: Guest and Ozzie Oz @ Club Venue (Gainesville, FL) 15: Diamond D, M1 of dead prez, and Ghostface 16: Voice of da Streetz @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 17: Duval County Rock Stars @ Club Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 18: DJ Drama and the G.R.i.T. Boys @ Drama’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 19: Monoply Records @ Kentucky Music Pool meeting during Kentucky Derby (Louisville, KY) 20: Coota Bang, DJ Quote, and Archie Lee (Houston, TX) 21: DJ Nasty, Ricky P, Nubreed, and Slim Goodye @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) Photos: Bright Star (11); DJ Quote (20); DJ Ren (03); DJ Sosa (12); Greg G (02); Julia Beverly (06,09,14); Keadron Smith (01,07,18); Malik Abdul (08,13,16,17,19,21); Maurice Garland (10); Nikki Kancey (05); Pimp G (04); Shannon McCollum (15)
q&a G-Mack (Lexington, KY)
ho’s featured with you on the cover photo? The FAM, my artists, is Young Studio and Big Scoop. The Hit Squad is my street team.
What were you doing before you started rapping? At first I was into all types of shit. I was playing high school ball and had plans to play college ball. At the same time I was in the streets and I had a cleaning business I was running. I did music as a hobby. I didn’t think I was gonna make a career out of this shit. It was just me dropping lyrics over industry beats. I was recording in Louisville, KY, with the Get Down Click. They started to make a lot of moves and get recnogized by a lot of labels. I watched their formula. The owner was a street nigga just like I am, so I saw how he put his operation together and made it pop for him and his people. So I saw that this was a way I could stay street and still make a living, and I got into music and started pursuing it as a career. What was the first record that started making noise for you? “Ain’t Nothin’,” featuring Boo & Gotti. That record really got me hot in my area, but I didn’t feel like the album it was on was ready for the national level quality-wise. There was so much room for me to grow as an artist. Even when I had the opportunity to put it out on a national level I was scared to pursue it, because I personally didn’t think it was ready. It’s hard to tell yourself that you’re not ready for the national level, but I did realize that so I only pushed it as a single. I only dropped the album in Lexington, Louisville, and Cincinnati. What’s the single you have out now? ”Stunna Foo.” That’s the single I can go five, six hours away from my hometown and do a show and they’ll know the words to it. When I was in Houston at The CORE DJs retreat and Bigga Rankin put that shit on at the club, everybody threw their hands in the air. I saw people I’ve never seen in my life singing the words. So that’s the single that put me beyond my region. What’s the name of your new project? Hood Rich Won’t Cut It. I’m pushing my mixtape like an album. My album is actually done, it’s called The Street Bible. I’m trying to use the mixtape as bait to reel the labels in. Once I reel them in, I’m trying to get a label to put out the actual album. The mixtape is a reason to be out grinding, a reason for the promoters to book us for shows. We pressed up 25,000 mixtapes just for the streets alone, so I’m sitting around waiting for somebody to recognize my grind. It’s finally to the point where the labels are calling. They ain’t talking about shit yet, but they calling. So I figure that’s a start. For anybody who’s never been, tell us about the Kentucky Derby. The nightlife for Derby attracts everybody who’s got toy cars that’s hooked up. They come out to show off. It’s just like Spring Bling. It throws a lot of people that don’t live in this region off, because the Kentucky Derby is a horse race. But I’ve been going to the Derby for seven years and I’ve never been to the horse race. The nightlife attracts a whole lot of stars. You could look up and see Michael Jordan. It’s always concerts going on for the weekend. The strip is bumper-tobumper traffic. Every dope boy in the whole region is out showing off their toys, flossin’. When the Derby comes around, you put your car in the shop just for that. You buy new rims; upgrade to whatever the streets is requiring for your inches. You get it all ready for the Derby because that’s big shit. For the people that’s around, that’s the perfect time to stunt. And my whole shit is based on stuntin’. Is there anything else you want to say? Being from Kentucky, our region is not real accepting of independent artists. So we’ve got to travel like twice as much as your average artist to get in a situation where we’re around music outlets. For instance, I use OZONE Magazine as one of my music outlets and I use TJ Chapman’s Tastemakers meetings as one of my music outlets. I use The CORE DJs record pool conference as one of my music outlets. I use the Southern Entertainment Awards as one of my music outlets. And all that shit is 5-10 hours away from Kentucky. When I went to The CORE DJs conference in Houston, that was 17 hours away. So being from Kentucky, we’ve gotta put in that extra drive time on the road. 36
And I had to do all that before I even got my region to get behind me. So I definitely want people to know how much harder it is when you’re from Kentucky. The reason why I go so hard as an independent and haven’t really spent time pushing for a record deal is because every artist I know in Kentucky that ever had a deal, it didn’t really work out for them. I don’t know why, all I know is that they had a deal - some of them even had videos - and the situation just didn’t work out. So I wanted to put myself in a situation to where I’ve got a following before I even get the deal. I can write my own ticket when the deal does come. Black Coffee, they were signed to Motown. Rob Jackson was signed to Arista. He’s a friend of mine. The Nappy Roots were signed to Atlantic. All of them were in situations where, when they got there, they wasn’t able to write their own ticket. The Nappy Roots were doing videos on farms - some of them cats really are that country, but a couple of them are from Louisville, KY. Louisville is just a regular city. So when they were in that label situation, it seemed to me - I don’t know as much with the Nappy Roots as I know with Black Coffee - but it seemed that they didn’t have no creative control over their project. I’m a hustler; I’m a grinder to the last day. When the deal comes, that’s what I want the world to know. I don’t wanna be filtered in no way. I wanna do shit the way I wanna do it. When I get my deal, I still wanna be able to keep it that way. That’s why I started my record label. Do you have any contact information that you’d like to give out? Yeah, check out my website LostLandEnt.com or www.Myspace.com/ Gmack859. - Julia Beverly (Photo: Clatties Moorer)
ALBUM IN STORES
MAY 29TH www.myspace.com/guttacampclique For booking call 904-355-1952 To buy a CD call 904-728-8663 OZONE
q&a Dirtbag (Miami, FL)
here have you been hiding? There was a lot of hype when you signed your deal, and then things slowed down a bit. Basically, things just came to a stop. I learned the hard way – you can’t win on the label, you gotta do it yourself. It’s a little politics, you know? I was supposed to make a move from Jive to another company, so we’ve been going through that for the past six months. They finally decided I’m gonna stay over there at Jive, due to the success of Cool & Dre. Dre signed over there at Jive. So politically they figured, damn near anywhere I go I’m gonna blow up now since Dre finna blow, so they kept me. But it was a battle for six months that held things up. I was out of town for a little bit and that kind of held things up too, so now I’m on the grind. I’m putting out a mixtape and I’ve got a new single I’m working on called Bring It Back to The Bottom. I’m just keepin’ it poppin’ while these boys work. What were the problems between you and Jive? Some of the Southern artists that have been signed to Jive in the past felt that the label didn’t really know how to market them. Was that part of your issue? The real problem I got at Jive is that they really don’t take too many chances. They kinda tippy-toe. You can’t play ball like that. You either go all out or you don’t do it at all. They’ll throw a single out there but they won’t work it, they’ll just see how it goes by itself. So fuck it, I gotta work it myself. I know if I get it poppin’ myself they’re the machine so they gotta do what they gotta do. But they’re not gonna take that first risk on me. They’ll sign me and have me sitting for five years, and they don’t care as long as I ain’t making money for nobody else. So that’s the situation over there. After you create a buzz and get a few hundred spins yourself, Jive will step in. They don’t have good street teams. Their pop records sell, so that’s their bread and butter. They’re known for pop music so they just got rap on the side. You know, Too Short ain’t over there no more and E-40 ain’t over there no more. It’s not impossible to eat [at Jive] but you’ve gotta make that buzz on your own. If you ain’t got a buzz, it’s difficult. Is it fair to say that when you signed the deal with Jive you slacked off a little and relaxed, thinking that they were gonna pick up the slack? I ain’t gonna say that I relaxed, but I did think they were going to pick up the slack. But with a lot of the stuff I was doing, they just didn’t want to put music out. It was all “hush-hush.” So it got kinda frustrating. But on my part, I forgot the grand hustle, you know what I’m saying? You never stop hustling. Even if you’re on a major label, you still push your own shit. So I take 75% of the blame for that. But the other 25% is on them, because they didn’t push my talent. Didn’t Jive do a video for you and Mystikal? Well, Jive didn’t do that. Chris Lighty did that. Then Mystikal got locked up and Busta Rhymes and his label got on us about putting the song out there. A lot of people didn’t come through on clearances. But it’s all good, I keep doing it. It’s like being in the game not knowing the game. God bless them, my heart goes out to them, but I’ve moved on to some other things now. With all the setbacks did you ever get to the point where you felt like quitting? I can’t. Cause if I quit and do something else, it’s going to be illegal. I gotta give it at least a five year run. I been in it for three years, so I got two more years to go. Whenever you start your own business you gotta give it at least a five year run. If this shit don’t work out in five years, hell yeah, I’m going back to hustling. But until them I’m gonna sling these CDs for real. But you’ve been in the game for a lot longer than three yeras - you used to be known as Jo-Vicious. When are you counting from, the time you signed the deal? Yeah, as soon as I got the deal, that’s when it started counting. Everything else before that was grinding to get the deal. Now that I’m with a major, something gotta pop. With everything I did in the past, I met that goal of getting on a major label. It’s just like going to the NFL – you gotta get drafted first. I had some other teams tryin’ to pick me up, but [Jive] wouldn’t let me go. But the good thing is that with Dre and his
success over there, we’ll get it poppin’. You said that you had to go out of town - but I heard you were actually in jail for a minute. Why’s that? Violation of probation, that’s all. So aside from the problems you had with the label, that didn’t help your career too much either. Yeah, I had to take care of certain things, and I got all that knocked out of the way so now I’m free to do whatever I want to do when I want to do it and how I want to do it. So now that that’s ironed out, everything else should be smooth sailing. Situations come up, you know what I mean? Sometimes people wonder how you continue living and having money in your pockets if you ain’t spinning no records. Well damn, nigga, I do shows. I do sell my mixtapes, feel me? A nigga stays grindin’. So you’ve got a new mixtape out now, right? Tell me a little about that. Yeah, it’s called Eyes Above the Water. Hopefully I’ll get a review in OZONE, cause y’all matter. You know, your opinion really does count. But the mixtape, it’s some tight work. I got Bun B, Three 6 Mafia, Cool & Dre, The Unusual Suspects, everybody’s on there. We keep it poppin’. It’s looking like it’s gonna be a real big year for Miami’s music scene as a whole. Man, it’s gonna blow now, with Khaled, [Rick] Ross, and Dre, and they’ve all got big videos too. Usually we just have a Pitbull or a Trick Daddy look, but now you’re getting three different Miami looks at the same time so that’s gonna really show ‘em what it is. Feel me? So the shit is definitely gonna blow. And this shit, [Dre’s “Ridin’ High” video] is real tight. We got all the rides and shit out here. Aside from the mixtape you’re putting out on your own, does Jive have plans to release something? They talking about pushing this single “You Don’t Know” in June. Until then, I’m still on the grind with my mixtape. - Words and photo by Julia Beverly
01: G-Mack and his OZONE Kentucky Derby cover @ Villa Fontaine (Louisville, KY) 02: Da Muzicianz with their OZONE cover (Orlando, FL) 03: Teka and Haitian Fresh with their OZONE BCR/Spring Bling cover @ Tampa Tony’s block party (Daytona Beach, FL) 04: Memphis Bleek @ Baseline Studios (NYC) 05: Tum Tum, DJ Princess Cut, and Fat Bastard (Dallas, TX) 06: Steve Austin and HeadKrack (Dallas, TX) 07: Da BackWudz @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 08: Paul Wall @ his birthday party (Houston, TX) 09: Kool Laid and Stone (Vegas, MS) 10: Boyz 2 Men’s Shawn Stockman @ Villa Fontaine (Louisville, KY) 11: Freeze and friends (Houston, TX) 12: Juvenile @ Clark’s (Vegas, MS) 13: Malice of The Clipse @ WJHM 102 Jamz (Orlando, FL) 14: Z-Ro and DJ Chill @ Galveston Beach Party (Galveston, TX) 15: Money Waters and Kottonmouth (Dallas, TX) 16: Hubie and Mr. Taylor (Charleston, SC) 17: DJ Q45 @ Plush (Jacksonville, FL) 18: Jimmy Henchmen @ Mission Impossible 3 premiere (NYC) 19: Greg Nice @ Nirvana (Los Angeles, CA) 20: Big L and U Digg Records @ Club Kies (Indianapolis, IN) 21: Stacks @ Nirvana (Los Angeles, CA) 22: Slim and Playboi Entertainment @ Villa Fontaine for Jermaine Dupri’s Kentucky Derby party (Louisville, KY) 23: What would you do for an OZONE Mag? (Vegas, MS) 24: Small Soldier and Lil Ronnie (Dallas, TX) 25: DJ K-Tone and Tony Touch @ Club Sky (Denver, CO) 26: Cory Mo and DJ Chill @ Galveston Beach Party (Galveston, TX) 27: DJ Khaled and Street Dogg @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 28: Prodigy of Mobb Deep (NYC) 29: Wickett Crickett (Houston, TX) 30: Uncle Pauly (Dallas, TX) 31: DJ Kaotic @ celebrity bball game during the Kentucky Derby (Louisville, KY) 32: Tru-Life @ Baseline Studios (NYC) 33: Fans checkin’ out JB’s 2 Cents @ Mission Impossible 3 premiere (NYC) 34: Nnete, DJ GT, and DJ Chill @ Beach Party (Galveston, TX) 35: Smoot @ Galveston Beach Party (Galveston, TX) 36: Minister X and Sway @ celeb bball game (Louisville, KY) 37: DJ Jam-X @ Nirvana (Los Angeles, CA) 38: Lil Ronnie and Tum Tum (Dallas, TX) Photos: Bam the Barber (14,26,34,35); DJ Jam-X (19,21,37); DJ K-Tone (25); Edward Hall (24,30); General (18,28,33); Julia Beverly (02,07,13,27); Keadron Smith (08,11,29); Kool Laid (09,12,23); Malik Abdul (01,03,10,16,17,20,22, 31,36,38); Matt Sonzala (05,06,15); Swift (04,32)
q&a Rasheeda (Atlanta, GA)
asheeda can answer to many titles: good wife, great mother and respected part time radio personality at Atlanta’s V-103. But unfortunately, successful rapper is a bullet that she has struggled to add to her resume. Her relentless grind has earned her deals with major labels like Motown and Jive, but politics and misunderstandings have prevented her from getting the best return on her investments. Now with a new vision and a joint independent venture through her home D-Lo Records and Big Cat Records, the underdog MC is finally set to release Georgia Peach. Riding off the strength of her position-switching single “Touch Ya Toes,” Rasheeda is happier than ever, independent and loving it. You’ve been on major labels most of your career. What brought about the decision to go independent this time around? I was on Jive, and we didn’t mantle the situation. The majors I’ve been dealing with, the focus wasn’t there, and they still don’t get it. I don’t have the time sit around as they play games. What are they not getting? As far as the female rapper game, the label’s focus is about what is hot at the moment. If I have a record that is hot, the minute another rapper comes along, they change the focus. They don’t realize that it takes more time to break a female artist. A lot of times, I’ve come with hot singles, but you got to put out the time and effort to make it work. What does it take to make it work? It takes a little extra everything. When you are an independent artist and you get the major label deal, the [label] needs to kick into high gear. I’ve had records with 1000 spins. Then when majors come, they say they gonna help. But they do the opposite. As a female, I need a video. I need promotion and marketing. Female rappers need our records to be worked. We need more time. What else attracted you to going independent? Nowadays, when a major scoops you and you don’t do well, you get dropped after one single. But say you sell 200,0000 units independently, you got money in the pocket. You do it on a major (and) you don’t see nothing. A lot of big artists that sell two million copies don’t even get royalty checks. A lot of a lot of independents need to learn and get their game right and make money on their own so that one day they won’t need the majors either. Have your experiences pretty much made you give up on the idea of being on a major label completely? I’m not opposed to working with a major, but the only way I’d get back with one is if we have our own dollars and we get do what we gotta do. The majors [are] in NYC. They don’t know what’s going on in the South. I’d rather do the distribution with marketing and radio myself. What do female rappers have to do to get taken seriously and made a priority? It’s just more so just getting the respect of record companies. But also on radio, if they don’t play the songs, the fans won’t know about us. Females being consistent is another thing too. It’s a constant grind and struggle. It’s only a couple females that have made it. But it can break for us. It’s hard; you have to come out right too. Do you think that female rappers still aren’t being taken seriously because a lot of other females cannot relate to most of them? Not every female is occupied with money and sex. It’s just how the ball bounces. Most rappers seem to change with the time. So you defiantly want to see someone who you can relate to. I look at it as of now the game has flipped. You have the Shawnnas, Missys and Kims who all do their own things, but as females, we look at ourselves as sexy and we want to be sexy. Not all of us are about going to the extreme to prove that, though. What causes some female rappers to bite the bullet and just go to the extreme? To each its own, real talk. It’s so hard to make it. I can understand why people go that route to make it. You always gotta go through something bad to get something good, but as a female, I gotta make my 40
mark. It’s about females being portrayed. Period. As for me, I’m gonna be heard whether I’m talking sex or not. I can look sexy, but it’s about how I portray it. Let’s talk a little about the album. The album is called Georgia Peach. I got Akon, Nitti, Stokely, Jasper and Swin producing. And I have songs with Gangsta Boo, Diamond and Princess of Crime Mob and Pastor Troy. It’s a grown and sexy album. You’ll see the growth. You can pop it in the deck. I got songs like “See Me Naked” and I got stuff like “Every Nigga Can’t Trap.” You’ll hear the growth. “See Me Naked” is like, “Nigga, you just wanna see me naked.” All these dudes out here tricking, acting like they trying to do something, stop fronting. You doing it just because they wanna see me naked. And with “Every Nigga Can’t Trap,” one day I was in the studio and I was listening to a mix tape, and every nigga was talking about trapping. Half these niggas ain’t never seen or been in a trap. What has kept you motivated through the turmoil of your career? It seems like every time I get a bad hand, every time a door shuts in my face, another door opens up for me. But that will be a part of my history when my name finally gets big. I wouldn’t even be where I’m at right now if it wasn’t for the blows I’ve taken in the past. Other rappers look at me like I’ve really been through a lot. It’s so many fans that love Rasheeda and people don’t know about me. But if I don’t continue to work, people will never know me. But as far as I’ve gotten, it’s been because of work, so I’m not quitting. How has motherhood affected your career? My son is a big inspiration. He’ll tell me, “Mama, that’s tight,” or, “That ain’t tight.” Motherhood also helps me stay busy and focused. Plus, I get to teach my son through the music. He is really starting to get it. He’s asking is that real? Is that the truth? He likes T.I. and Jeezy and with actually meeting them, he’s luckier than the other kids because he gets to see them when they are normal. He knows not to curse too. He knows what the bad words are. But he usually listens to the clean versions. I tell him the videos are like a movie. Plus, him seeing me in the videos, he gets a clear understanding of what’s going on. Do you think other children his age understand that much of this music is fiction other than real life? I don’t think other kids are getting that understanding. We as parents we have to take the time to listen to the music and see the messages but also make sure they listening to the positive stuff to bring out. - Maurice G. Garland (Photo: M. Shawn Dowdell)
01: Jim Jones and Juelz Santana @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 02: T-Pain @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 03: DJ Khaled with his OZONE Springfest cover and Slim Thug @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 04: Sean Paul @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 05: Al Sharpton Jr. and DJ Chill @ Galveston Beach Party (Galveston, TX) 06: Shareefa @ DTP Press Junket (NYC) 07: Twista @ Union College (Albany, NY) 08: Field Mob @ their listening session (NYC) 09: Malice of The Clipse @ Right Track Studios (NYC) 10: Tyte Wurk and Ozzie Oz @ The Venue (Gainesville, FL) 11: Skip of UTP @ Clark’s (Vegas, MS) 12: Kinky B and BloodRaw @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 13: B.G. @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 14: Derrick the Franchise and FamLay @ Club Reign for Busta Rhymes’ listening party (Virginia Beach, VA) 15: Egypt and DJ Scratch @ Mission Impossible 3 premiere (NYC) 16: DJ Quote and Chingy @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 17: The Clipse @ WJHM 102 Jamz (Orlando, FL) 18: G-Mack @ Hustler Hollywood (Lexington, KY) 19: T.I. and Mike Li (Chicago, IL) 20: Yella Boi and DJ Khaled @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 21: Krib TV @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 22: Diamond of Crime Mob @ Kartouche (Jacksonville, FL) 23: D Cooley with his OZONE Patiently Waiting article (Louisville, KY) 24: General and Kevin Liles (NYC) 25: Mr. Lucci (Dallas, TX) 26: UTP, Stone, and Partners-N-Crime @ Clark’s (Vegas, MS) 27: Juelz Santana @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 28: Funkmaster Flex! Funkmaster Flex! Funkmaster Flex! (NYC) 29: Meechie @ Galveston Block Party (Galveston, TX) 30: Latin Prince, guest, and Brannon Scales @ Springfest (Miami, FL) 31: Troy Hudson and Lil D @ Kentucky Derby celeb bball game (Louisville, KY) 32: Static Major and Big L @ Club Kies (Indianapolis, IN) 33: Havoc @ Right Track Studios (NYC) 34: Money Waters @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 35: Steal from Smiff & Wesson (NYC) 36: 2 Live Crew @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 37: Money Waters and Steve Austin (Dallas, TX) 38: Common @ Union College (Albany, NY) Photos: Bam the Barber (05,29); Derrick the Franchize (14); Edward Hall (25); General (08,15,24,33); Julia Beverly (01,02,03,04,10,12,13,16,17,20, 21,27,30,36); Kool Laid (11,26); Malik Abdul (06,18,23,31,32); Matt Sonzala (34,37); Pimp G (22); Rohit Loomba (19); Swift (07,09,28,35,28)
q&a DJ Khaled (Miami, FL)
hat do Kanye West, Juelz Santana, Freeway, The Clipse, Akon, Styles P, Fat Joe, Rick Ross, Trick Daddy, Pitbull, Young Jeezy, Bun B, USDA, Fabolous, Nas, Trina, Slim Thug, and Chamillionaire have in common? They’re all featured on DJ Khaled’s new album - and he’s adding more features every day! Your first single “Holla At Me” has been doing really well. Are you happy with the response so far? Aw, man, I’m so happy. The whole world is supporting DJ Khaled and my single “Holla At Me” featuring Lil Wayne, Pitbull, Paul Wall, Fat Joe, and Rick Ross. The video for “Holla At Me” is off the hook. BET is showing me crazy love and MTV is showing me crazy love, so I’m very happy. Yeah, the video shoot was crazy. How did you get all those artists together at the same time? Everybody got love for me, man. I got a lot of good relationships, and they love the song so much they wanted to do the video. They wanted to have the song blow up, actually. All these artists perform my record when they do their shows out of town. They just show me phenomenal love. It was hard to get everybody’s schedule together, though. Since you’re on the radio five days a week and in a lot of the clubs in Miami, is it hard for you to travel out of town to promote your album? It’s real hard, but what I do is go out of town on the weekends. At the same time, they let me take off when I need to. My radio station is fully behind me. 99 Jamz has supported me so much, from Mr. Russ to Tony Fields to Derek B to Joe Castro to Jerome. They’re promoting me so much on my station, and the whole 99 Jamz staff is just supporting me so much. They’re pushing me to go promote my album. Have the other stations in Miami been showing some love to your single, or do you feel like they hold back a little because you DJ for a rival station? At one time, the rival stations were playing it like crazy. I think they slowed down a little. I’m sure their bosses got on their cases. But the whole country’s showing love. The competition really doesn’t exist in Miami because DJ Khaled and 99 Jamz are number one. The show I’m on, The Takeover alongside K Foxx, we got the number one ratings. So we’re good, you know? What do you have planned for Springfest? I’m hosting Springfest with 99 Jamz, and we’re gonna have a crazy surprise on stage. Okay, what about Memorial Day weekend? That’s always a big weekend for you in Miami. Yeah, it is. We do Memorial Weekend real big every year. We’re taking over like always. We’re really taking it to another level this year with my album promotions. I’m doing my album party that weekend, it’s gonna be real big. Me and Budafuco are opening Mansion for the whole weekend. When the out-of-towners go back home they’re gonna buy 5,000 copies of DJ Khaled’s album. Each person. That’s a lot of record sales. I hope so. But I’m doing this more for staying relevant in the game and getting my family and my fans to the whole next level. When does the album come out? The album drops June 6th. It’s called Listennn. That’s something me and my family always say. That’s just my trademark. Have you decided on a second single? I’m gonna drop two records. One is “Born And Raised” featuring Trick Daddy, Rick Ross, and Pitbull, produced by The Runners. That’s gonna be a fucking crazy record, it’s gonna be a problem. That’s the Florida anthem. What else you got comin’? Then I got a new record that’s so crazy: Young Jeezy, Bun B, and
Jeezy’s group USDA. Orlando’s own DJ Nasty did the track, and it’s called “Gangsta Shit.” They’re both gonna fuck the game up. It’s gonna be so big. Remember I told you first, right here in the OZONE magazine. What else are you working on besides the album? I’m doing my producing thing. I just did a song for Young Jeezy’s new album, and I’m also featured on one of his records talking crazy shit. I’m working on Fat Joe’s new album, Rick Ross’ new album, and I just did a joint for Dre featuring Keyshia Cole. The joint on Fat Joe’s album features Lil Wayne. It’s so crazy right now. I’m representing that Miami movement. Do you have any contact info? Myspace.com/DJKhaled. That myspace shit is serious right now, you know? - Julia Beverly (Photo: Earl Randolph)
q&a Ray Cash (Cleveland, OH)
ow were you able to get a deal coming from a city like Cleveland? I kinda took my hustle out of state. I was going from Cleveland to Philly to Harlem just recording for almost three years, working with my people. We’ve got a company called Real Recognize Real. One of my managers at the time was an A&R at Def Jam and he had a lot of connects. We met with a couple people and got through to Sony. It really ain’t take a long time [to sign my deal]. There were some doubters because I do come from Cleveland, but it wasn’t as hard as it would’ve been if I’d stayed in the city. I’m the first one to take our sound national, so I don’t wanna make it where they gotta go out of the state to get deals. I wanna make it so they can get paid to do what they do here, and the A&Rs and labels can come look for them. It’s a whole movement starting up with people in Cleveland. Before, they wasn’t listening to local rappers. Since I blew, other local cats have been doing their thing in the hood and people are more subjective to listen now. I’m just trying to make it where niggas ain’t gotta go outside to get deals. My advice to them is just to keep hustling and let me do what I do. Do what you do, straight from the hood. Do you think your image is one of your weaknesses as an artist? People kind of expect to see a rapper with a bulletproof vest, or a pimp cup. Not glasses. They wanna see that fake shit. A lot of that shit is fake. 95% of it is fake. The name of our company is called Real Recognize Real. We are what we are. Don’t get it confused cause I wear Cardiers. I’m from Cleveland. Niggas know how we get down. As far as the whole image thing, that came up when I was dealing with Sony. As far as the glasses and shit, I was wearing those glasses when I was selling weed and rocks, so I’m not gonna take them off just to rap for you. I’ll never change for nobody. I don’t care how much money it is, I still gotta come home to Cleveland. I’m gonna be a man for me and my city. We don’t change for nobody.
here. We’re bringing out the street side of the Midwest. Tip is one of the few artists that can really, really rap, and he’s very lyrical. So if that’s the comparison, that doesn’t bother me. but people know the difference. If you’re gonna compare me to somebody, at least compare me to somebody that can rap.
Was the image issue a challenge for you and the label to work through? Nah, cause they see that I’m accepted. Other artists accept me and people see that I can actually rap. I ain’t got no bullet wound in my face, but who the fuck wants a bullet wound in their face? So the whole image thing, it’s not a problem. They see that I’m gonna do me and make dudes respect me.
Tell me about the album. The album’s not commercial at all. That’s why I’m comfortable with it. I’m not looking to sell a million out the gate. I’m realistic. My thing is, the fan base that I do have, let’s keep that and let it grow. I tried to put together a classic. I didn’t wanna put an album together with 17 songs and youonly fuck with 13. I didn’t wanna put out an album with 17 songs and they all sound like you’re trying to get on the radio. So I just did me. I got crazy samples on there, I got crazy original beats and concepts. I ain’t put it together like, I wanna make one song for the ladies nad one song for the clubs. I kept it all the way G through the whole album. It’s my personality; I really had fun on there. It’s an ode to the dope boys and the struggling mothers. I got Beanie Sigel and Bun B and Scarface on there; I’m fuckin’ with real niggas. If you like niggas that can rap, you’ll like my album.
How did you start rapping? I really didn’t wanna rap. I used to do it for fun and people told me I was nice. Then I found out that maybe I did have a chance, so I said fuck it. I wasn’t doing nothing else. It’s kinda like God put me in a position to make a choice – either work a 9-5 and hustle, or do this rap shit and you just might be lucky and blessed enough to pop off. I’ve been lucky. Was your single “Pimp In My Own Mind” sort of your own twisted sense of humor? Yeah, that was me right there. At first people ain’t understand. But if you look at niggas like 8Ball & MJG, they said “Pimp In My Own Rhyme,” so I switched it. It’s about a swagger, the whole image. People wanna see a nice swagger. It’s about how you make yourself feel. When you look in the mirror, no matter what you do, feel good about yourself. Do you. Your A&R Kawan Prather is the same A&R who discovered T.I., right? Have you heard many T.I. comparisons? I’ve heard the T.I. comparisons because I am from the Midwest and I can actually rap. No fad music around here. When you think of the Midwest you think of Nelly and Kanye, but I’m more of the streets up 44
What’s the single you’re working on right now? The “Bumpin’ My Music” remix is coming out. We’re gonna shoot another video, might be “I’m Getting” or might be “See It All,” it just depends on how we feel. We made the countdown on 106th & Park and MTV Jams and all that, so we lookin’ good right now. I’m just doing another mixtape, staying in the streets. I got a tour coming up in May, so I’m just gonna be on the road grinding, staying in people’s faces.
You mentioned that you’re not expecting to sell a million albums and you’re trying to be “realistic.” So what would you be happy with as far as first-week album sales? I don’t know. Nobody would be happy with 30,000 the first week. I probably could do better than that, but I’m not lookin’ to do 250,000 my first week either. I’m just looking for that gradual push. It’s gonna be a lot of grinding. You gotta make the people believe. They starting to believe, everywhere I go. People who was hating started to switch over. If I keep doing me, everything’s gonna keep going smooth. So I’m good. Would you like to give out any contact info? www.RayCash.com or www.myspace.com/RayCash. - Julia Beverly
patientlywaiting Slick Pulla Atlanta, GA
Corporate Thugz Entertainment’s name is almost too fitting. They operate with the organization and efficiency of a Fortune 500 company, but yet their aura is more attached to inner-city streets as opposed to high-rise suites. Their three flagship artists Young Jeezy, Bloodraw and Slick Pulla have all had their run-ins crime and law enforcement. But this year it’s been amplified. Jeezy gets caught with semiautomatic weapons in Miami, ‘Raw finds himself fighting a federal drug-trafficking case and Pulla gets shot at restaurant. Surely, no one expects those types of things to happen in their work environment. But events like those are nothing new to Pulla. “We’re real street cats,” says the artist born Renaldo Whitman. “This isn’t stuff that people aren’t used to happening. People get shot, locked up and have problems with the law. It ain’t no different form me being in the trenches. All these things can still happen. I just take it in stride and keep my faith in the big man up there.” In the midst of taking things in stride, Pulla is preparing his debut solo album The Trapublican. It follows an already impressive track record that includes appearances on every Jeezy’s albums and mixtapes, as well his very own Gangsta Grillz’ 4th Ward Day - all of which have shown signs of growth as an emcee. “I’ve gotten more familiar with the booth since Streetz Iz Watchin’. I was fresh out of the trenches then,” admits Pulla. “Just like with basketball, when you are a rookie you start off with raw talent then as you mature, you get better. Just like with Lebron [James], he had raw talent, but now he got his jump shot and he’s a better team player.” While being a team player is always a plus, Pulla knows that the key to being an effective player is to always add you your arsenal. He plans to keep his style as diverse as possible. “I’m from the South, but I’m not just doing music for the South,” he says. “Of course my people in the South are gonna feel me but this is for everybody everywhere. This is universal language I’m speaking.” Pulla simply hopes that the language he uses motivates all of his listeners. Whether they check him on myspace or get the music from him first hand. He looks for the same in return. “The 4th Ward is my hood,” says Pulla who was born in Atlanta’s Kirkwood section. “Just hearing them say I was snapping is my motivation. That’s why I’m giving them a little more every time I drop something.” - Cedric Boothe 48
patientlywaiting Big Chief Dallas, TX
Big Chief, a.k.a. Young Don Chief a.k.a. Chiefa, is a certified hustler representing West Dallas, TX. This 24-year-old can usually be found be found posted up with a chew stick in his mouth. While joining forces with Corey Cleyborn, CEO of Clout Records, Big Chief is also CEO to his own label Take It Off Ent., and roster includes R&B sensation T-Gray, female MC T.G.O Gotti and rapper Mr. Maintain. His new Clout Records release Eat Greedy Or Don’t Eat at All is an album filled with 19 tracks giving you a full understanding of why this Dallas, TX hustla “Eat Greedy.” You can hear his new single “The Man” in rotation throughout the clubs and radio stations in Dallas, TX and beyond, in addition to over 20,000 mix CDs in the streets. Rapping since the age of 12, he has stood out on tracks with other popular Dallas based rappers such as Pimpsta, Pookie and Lucci, the Young Hustlaz, and many others. Big Chief’s style is unique and unlike any other. He has a distinct high pitch flow as well as the ability to knock out songs to perfection at a rapid pace. He accomplishes all this while still having the poise and veteran leadership to wear the hat of executive producer of his own project. Chief’s take-charge mental-
ity combined with his versatility and work ethic makes him a serious threat to the steal the spotlight from artists currently on top of the music charts. Eat Greedy Or Don’t Eat at All is not only the album’s title but also Big Chief’s expression of the statement “All or Nothing” – everything Chief does is overweight. Every cut takes you deeper into his mindframe. Chief’s single “The Man” has been blowing up on the Dallas club scene as well as Dallas radio stations, which is the #5 market in the nation. Even though Chief has over 10 years of experience underneath his belt he decided to partner with Dallas stand out record label Clout Records. Clout truly has the city of Dallas on lock, with four club nights averaging over 1,000 people each night, great industry connections, and street promotions. Big Chief is poised to take the music industry by storm. - Edward Hall
patientlywaiting Grind Family Northwest Indiana
C.O.B., Soope and Phil-Mo a.k.a. The Grind Family are the epitome of underground hip-hop. We’re not talking about groups who have major label deals with poor-selling records. We’re not talking about groups who put mixtapes on top of mixtapes with no album in sight. And we’re definitely not talking about groups who only rap for their friends and wonder why they haven’t been “discovered.” “We way out here on the island where muthafuckers don’t know what the fuck we’re doing,” blasts C.O.B. “There’s nothing where we’re at. It ain’t like Chicago or New York or L.A. Coming from Gary and Hammond, Indiana, we ain’t got our own radio station or our own news channels, nothing. When I say we started from nothing, we really started from ground zero.” Over the years, their Northwest Indiana stomping grounds have become synonymous with poverty, crime and unemployment; prompting people living there to move to greener pastures. But what looked like an exodus from the ‘hood actually turned out to be unexpected promotion for the Grind Family’s music. “When they moved away they took our music with them and spread it out in different cities,” says C.O.B. “Everybody was feeling what we were doing – California, Minnesota, Detroit, Arizona, everywhere.” Now that most of the country is up on game, they plan to bring Midwest rap back to the forefront. But even they will admit that it will take help from others. “It’s gonna take unity,” says Soope when asked what is needed to resurrect the music from his region. “In the South niggas came together and that’s why they blew up. Midwest niggas ain’t really come together yet. We’re like fuck it, we’re just trying to put it out ourselves.” But The Grind Family hasn’t let the selfishness surrounding them hold them down. They’ve released a handful of independent projects, garnered attention from major media and sold upwards of 20,000 units with absolutely no support from outside entities. It wasn’t until this past March that they linked up with Sony/Red. However, don’t expect for a new situation to bring about a new attitude. The Grind Family is keeping theirs intact. “This is all we want, to make this music and help our people and give them that medicine,” stresses Soope. “I see the sad faces. When I give my niggas CDs, I see how happy they be. I’d be letting them down if I get a little paper and put out some bullshit to make a couple bucks.” - Maurice G. Garland 52
patientlywaiting N.G.O.K. Austin, TX
NAME MEANS New Generation of Kings THE GROUPS 2-3 Mic Breakaz and Public Offenders THE ARTISTS T.Y., Big Scutt, J.Dubb, Winn, Luck, Lyricist, Phenom, Gator, Black Prophet, Pilarcito CONTACT www.myspace.com/ngokmusic ALL BLACK “It’s mainly speaking to get away from the American patriotic scene. Red, white and blue is for the government. Red, white, and blue don’t match. It’s like a movement for Austin. We’re deep now and we’re not just making music, we’re trying to make a point. Why do we wear all black? Because you can’t see through the darkness. You can’t see through the truth.” SCARED OF COMMITMENT “It’s made to be controversial. Speaking from a guy’s point of view, why as young males are we so scared of commitment? We’re showing the self destruction of it. Like ‘Pac said, you first gotta show people what’s going on to get them to do something about it.”
MY PEOPLE “It’s not just my people as a race, it’s my people as a whole, humankind. We’re talking about how things fell apart and how nobody’s caring because they’re all about themselves and their money. The song is poetry in motion; you can actually see what you’re hearing, the police brutality and what people are going through on the streets.” I REFUSE “It’s a lash out. Everybody was trying to do us wrong. It’s a respect thing, We refuse anyone trying to step on our shoes or get over on us. Don’t throw dirt on the game.” BANG OUT “That’s another side of our sound, with everyone in N.G.O.K. on the track. We’re just hitting the streets and letting people know that we’re on all levels at once, like Outkast. They did all sorts of styles over the years but always kept it true. Our producer T.Y. can pull out such amazing melodies because he layers so many different melodies around a core. He can take you anywhere you want to go. Nobody’s touching him on the beats because he’s doing his own original thing with bass, strings, and horns all on the royal tip.” - Robert Gabriel (Photo: Matt Sonzala)
patientlywaiting Willie the Kid Atlanta, GA
The NBA Playoffs are on and Willie the Kid is nowhere near a television. Instead, he is running back and forth between a recording studio and an office space, because that’s what his life has always been centered around. Music and business. “I never got in trouble for throwing a football in the house,” admits the Western Michigan native whose father was a DJ. “I got in trouble for scratching the records or saying the curse words in a rap song. I didn’t come home with bruises from basketball, I’d come home with the Nas tape, or the Raekwon purple tape.” At the ripe age of 19, Willie seems to have it all figured out. Not saying that he is a know-it-all when it comes to the music industry, but he is well aware of the one thing that he needs to know in order to get where he wants to be: his place. “I got the best seat in the house,” says the Aphilliates’ Music Group recording artist from inside the label’s newly-furnished office in Atlanta. “All I got to do is make good music and fall back. I’m in a real good situation.” So far, Willie seems to keeping his end of the bargain because judging from the feedback his mixtape The Day the Game Changed is getting, he is making good music. “Its authentic shit,” he urges. “Its fly but at the same time its hard. This ain’t water, its an energy drink. People stop me in the street all the time and spit lines that I ain’t think they was gonna catch.” There’s no disputing that he is in a good situation. He’s affiliated with the Aphilliates (no pun intended), one the premier DJ collectives in the country. The fact that his older brother, former Wu-Tang clan associate LA the Darkman, is the president of the label doesn’t hurt at all. “I was in 6th or 7th grade when my brother got a deal with Wu-Tang,” says Willie, mentioning that he learned the difference between fake and real from watching his brother’s career. “I saw how they would go on the road and come back with stories and T-shirts. My brother was doing songs with Method Man and Raekwon. So I started taking it serious too.” Willie didn’t exactly come into the game with a head start either. His beginnings consisted of scraping up $20 with his childhood friends to buy beats and record in a neighbors house. But soon enough, he started to soak in what his brother was experiencing and made it work for his own situation. “[Watching him] made me want to learn more about rapping,” he says. “Teachers were telling me to be a doctor or teacher. But I realized that music could be a career too.” - Maurice G. Garland 56
patientlywaiting Code Red Louisville, KY
When you hear the words “Code Red” that’s usually a warning meaning that shit is about to hit the fan. But when it comes to this Louisville, Kentucky-based foursome that uses the phrase as a stage name, don’t expect any bells and whistles. “Our gimmick is to not have a gimmick,” insists Manfred when speaking on what he and his partners El One, Jr. Dread and Watz plan to offer. “We just want our music to speak for itself. We don’t need the extra background story.” Nevertheless, their background is an interesting one. The group was started by El One and Dread who were stationed at Fort Knox, later adding in-house producer Watz and Manfred. From their appearance, its easy to tell that each of the members come from different walks of life as well. All the more reason to anticipate a very distinct sound from Kentuck’s latest export. “[Kentucky] is a little bit of everything,” says El One. “You’ve got some cats that are really heavy on the Southern sound, which is really popular here. Some cats still come with a blend of the Midwest and the East. If you look at where we’re situated on the map, we’re right in the center so we’re really a blend of everything.”
In Code Red’s case, “everything” includes Dancehall Reggae, but excludes the typical “country” sound that is expected from their region. “Absolutely, emphatically no,” says Jr. Dread when asked if they are adopting the “country” image. “I think that’s what’s gonna separate us. They may think it’s the country, but we’re adding different flavors.” Currently promoting their Debarge-sampled single “Summer Jam,” Code Red’s debut album All Aboard is slated to drop on July 25th through Label X/Toucan Cove/Universal. And for the ears that can’t wait until then, they are pushing Bigga Rankin-hosted mixtape Reinventing the Game. But don’t let the upbeat-nature of “Summer Jam” and their other hit “Elbow Room” fool you. They speak on everything from first-hand war experience on “Give Me A Reason” and interracial dating on “Brother Louis.” “Musically, we’re breaking boundaries,” urges El One. “In our music we’re using heavy live instrumentals and trying different patterns and styles with our lyrics. We break the mold of what conventional hip-hop is. If you want to call us “pop,” I’ll take that label. We’re gonna crossover and blow up. We’re gonna be popular. Wherever the music takes us, we’ll follow.” - Patriq Morton
99 Jamz’ Supa Cindy In addition to holding down the morning show on Miami’s WEDR 99 Jamz, Supa Cindy’s extracurricular activities include her non-profit organization Supa Friends. Every year on Memorial Day Weekend, Supa Friends holds the “I Know I Can” summit, a mentoring program for teenage girls. Tell me about your non-profit. It took me about two years to get it going, and this is my third year of doing it. We do the “I Know I Can” summit every year, and the non-profit’s main purpose is to mentor young girls. This year I’ve got a lot of things lined up with the city of Miami, so I’m going to be doing events quarterly instead of just annually. It’s huge for me, and I’m very happy about it. The summit itself is basically a gathering of young girls, and I have a female panel that speaks to them. To me, a lot of the programs that they have for young girls are boring. I’m just doing a female panel because of the politics of it – to show them role models. But when I was younger and I went to an event like that, a girl sitting up on a panel telling me she’s a lawyer or a doctor or whatever didn’t motivate me to do shit. To me, what makes the biggest impact is the male panel. I put guys up there like [morning show co-host] Big Lip Bandit and Pitbull. (laughing) Last year, Pitbull’s big ass mouth, telling the girls, “Pussy is power.” But seriously, I think things like that stick in the girl’s heads a lot more than a woman saying, “Look at the struggles I went through and now I’m a doctor” or whatever. For some reason, these young girls nowadays are so hot in the pants that they’ll be quicker to absorb the information that a guy is telling them. A woman telling them to keep their legs closed and be a young lady isn’t as effective as a nigga or a rapper telling them, “Look, all I wanna do is fuck, and I don’t give a shit about knowing your name tomorrow.” I like that part of the program. It shows them how it really is. Who do you have lined up for this year’s panel? This year Slim Thug is gonna be there. Trick Daddy’s ass better show up. I told him I was gonna talk about him [on the radio] if he didn’t. DJ Khaled, Dre, Toccara from America’s Top Model, and possibly Serena Williams and Mad Linx. A lot of local celebrities will be there also. We had Springfest a couple weeks ago and Ludacris was here like a month ago, so what I did was film a lot of these rappers answering questions. I have a video that’s going to be playing at the summit with Ludacris, Paul Wall, T-Pain, LeToya Luckett, Cherish, Sean Paul, and a bunch of other artists. The craziest one was T-Pain. He’s retarded. Are you doing anything different at the summit this year? Last year I let the parents in but I really don’t want to let the parents in this year. I just want the young girls there. I raised the age this year to 13-21 years old. I think that even if you’re 21, you’re still lost at a certain point. When I was 21 I didn’t have it all together, and I still don’t have it all together. I don’t want the moms or the guardians in there because they tend to be so opinionated. It’s like a double-edged sword. I want the moms to be in there learning, and relating to what their daughters are going through, but I don’t want to scare the girls off from talking. So this year I’m having a breakfast for the moms next door. The moms are going to be next door discussing issues that moms go through, and the girls will be with me. I think the panel is a good idea. The problem with a lot of these programs that they have is that they’re not real. When I ask people to be on my panel, I tell them that if they think they’re gonna go up there and look pretty, I appreciate the assistance but I don’t want it. I definitely want people who are opinionated and are willing to really talk about their past experiences so the girls know it’s real out there. They’re thinking they know everything when they’re in high school, but they don’t really know shit. Do you mostly address safe sex and things like that, or what are some of the topics you discuss? This year’s main theme is self-esteem. I think self-esteem is the root of so many other problems that these girls go through. A lot of them don’t believe in themselves. They don’t think they’re cute. They think they’re ugly and fat. With that mentality, it opens the door to so much chaos and drama in their lives. So this year I’m focusing on self-esteem, but we talk about absolutely everything. When the girls walk in, they can write down anonymous questions. So even if they don’t have 60
the guts to discuss what they really want to discuss, they can possibly have their question answered. Girls go through a lot of crap and that’s what made me want to start this mentoring program. Even at my age, I’m still going through it. Being a single woman in the music industry in South Florida is not an easy thing. Guys are intimidated if you act like you got everything together. If you don’t need them, they have a problem with it. But when you act like you do need them, they have a problem with it. They want a dependent independent woman. They want you to want and beg for their help but they’re not gonna give it anyway. What are some of the other events you’re putting together aside from the summit? The summit is still going to be an annual event, and I’m going to get all the information of the girls that attend and during the year I’m gonna be sending out email newsletters and motivational things. I’ll be doing meetings and outings and luncheons if they want to discuss certain things. Hopefully I’m gonna be getting some funding from the city, so it’ll be a lot easier to accomplish these things right now. All I’ve done so far, literally, is approaching people in the industry that I know can spare a couple dollars and asking everybody for donations. That’s how I’m making this work. I didn’t get any major sponsors or nothing like that. I’m just trying to build the event. I’ve got 1,000 girls being bused in, and that costs money. I’ve got 1,000 girls being fed, 1,000 girls getting gift bags, and all that money is coming from me and people that have given donations. So it’s not an easy thing to do. I’ve been eating ramen noodles for the last couple months. You’re known for dropping dirt and gossip on the radio – how do you justify that when you’re trying to uplift a community? Last year after my summit I was on the local news because somebody went all over my website and put porn on the message board. I know it was a hater – who the hell is gonna keep bombarding my website like that for no reason? So they asked me on the news, “How can you promote positivity when you have porn content?” I’m not saying I’m a saint or I’m perfect, cause I’m not, but everybody is learning as they’re living every day. As far as gossip, that’s my job. But at the same time, I’m not walking around disrespecting myself. If you don’t respect yourself, no one else is going to. My job is an entertainment reporter, which is a nice way of saying “gossip.” But at least I’m trying to put a balance in my career instead of just being a radio girl slutting around on the streets of South Beach. So yes, I’m an entertainment reporter, but at the same time I’m trying to help my community. I don’t have to do this. I’m not making any money off this summit. I think in everyone’s career, whether you’re a rapper or an actress or whatever, you have to have a balance. If you don’t have a balance and you’re just out there selling yourself in a negative way, it’s not worth it. How could someone get in contact with you? Supacindyonline.com or myspace.com/supadupe. - Julia Beverly (Photo: J Lash)
K Foxx as Tina Turner
With her calendar I Am Every Woman, Miamiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 99 Jamz radio personality K Foxx hopes to honor legendary female role models.
riginally from Manhattan, K-Foxx is now a proud Miami representative by way of North Carolina. A radio personality and aspiring actress, she is venturing into the modeling field by releasing her own calendar. But her project I Am Every Woman isn’t just typical T&A. With the help of photographer Joe Wesley K-Foxx pays tribute to legendary black females like Billie Holiday and Tina Turner by posing as them - and doing a damn good job of it. Through her calendar, she hopes to raise awareness in the community about the lack of positive female role models for today’s youth. How would you describe your job? You’re an on-air personality on 99 Jamz, but you also do a lot of other things. My job title technically is a radio personality, but that’s not the only thing I do. I’m also behind the boards. I’m running the show, I’m like the pilot making sure the commercials play. Sometimes I do commercials. Those are the technical aspects behind the scenes, but I also have fun. I’m an entertainer. Radio is basically a theater of the mind to make sure that I’m keeping the flow right. Is radio something that you went to school for, or you just picked it up naturally? Yeah, I went to school for Mass Communications with a focus on Journalism and Radio and Television. I got my first internship in radio, so I decided to do it. I thought it was fun, and I didn’t like the idea of people seeing my face all the time [on TV]. With radio, you can be a star and still have your life and go to the grocery store in peace. But once you’re behind the mic, you can be anyone you want to be. So I decided to let my personality shine. I started doing radio when I was in North Carolina for two years, and I had an internship there doing weekends. Then I moved to Fayetteville, NC, and held down the 7-midnight spot. Once Miami came calling, I was out. What appealed to you about Miami. Was it a better opportunity? Oh, definitely. For one, money. It’s a bigger market. Miami is a nobrainer – the lifestyle, the people, it’s a celebrity playground. The quality of living here is so much better than North Carolina. I’m originally from New York, so I need that fast pace. Miami has a fast pace but you can also take it easy and go on a yacht or go to the Bahamas or go to K Foxx as Angela Davis
Jamaica. And South Beach is poppin’ every day of the week. That’s what appeals to me about Miami. There’s been some complaints by local Miami artists that radio doesn’t support them because all the radio personalities are from other cities. Being that you’re not from Miami, do you think there’s some truth to that? I think that in everybody’s hometown, even if it’s Atlanta, Houston, or Chicago, local artists feel that there isn’t enough support. But they’ve got to understand that it’s a business. 99 Jamz was a special station because it was ran by the GM, but now it’s corporate. It’s other people making decisions. So you can’t always say, “Let’s add this record,” until it’s commercial enough. So that’s the downside of it, but if you make a hot song and it’s buzzing in the streets, radio can’t deny it. So what I’m saying to these artists is, make sure you’ve got a hot product. Rick Ross did, and he blew up. He’s knocking down doors right now. Pitbull, Jacki-O, Trina, Trick Daddy, they all came out with heat. So there are artists that are getting play. Local radio stations play what’s hot, so you’ve gotta make that fire. You can’t come with no bullshit and be like, “Play it!” I think sometimes artists need to go back in the lab. They’ve gotta listen to radio and study it to see what’s an instant hit. Usually records with instant hooks, like a D4L song where they’re not talking about anything, is an instant hit. It’s simple. But that’s the way the business is ran today. So it’s not necessarily the radio station; it’s corporate first and foremost. Even though you’re from New York, has the style of music in Miami grown on you? I listen to all types of music. I love up North music and down South music. As long as it’s hot, I’m rockin’ it. I think Miami is creating our own sound right now. Being from New York, back in the day when I thought of Miami I thought of Luke and booty music. But that was then, and this is now. I like the way booty music has taken a twist and turn and Pitbull has taken things to another level with the reggaeton. Rick Ross is keeping it down and dirty. Miami’s sound keeps growing and elevating, and I love all that shit. Let’s talk about the concept for the calendar you’re putting out. Where did you get the idea? I did a shoot for another magazine last summer and I posed as a Bond girl. We created three looks from a James Bond movie, and I got good responses from people all over the country. I never knew I had it in me to actually look like that on camera, so I decided to use it to my advantage and take it further. I picked ten different influential women who I admired, and honored them by recreating their look in this calendar. It’s called I’m Every Woman, and it pays tribute to women like Billie Holiday, Josephine Baker, Tina Turner, Halle Berry, and Angela Davis, just to name a few. How can someone get a copy of the calendar or get more information? They can log on to www.KFoxxOnline.com to purchase the calendar. A lot of them will be given away through the radio station for promotional use. I will also be giving some away to local stores, and hopefully Borders will pick it up. I think nowadays there are not a lot of female role models that little girls can look up to. Back in the day you had the Tina Turners, Josephine Bakers, and Angela Davises, but today there are really no role models for us to look up to aside from video girls. Not everyone fits that image, so that’s why I wanted to put out this calendar, so we can get back to the real essence of a woman and show how we’re able to conquer adversity. Do you plan on taking your modeling career to the next level? I definitely think this calendar is gonna be a stepping stone to more modeling, because when people look at it they’re like, “Wow, you transformed into each of these women.” I’m not saying that I look totally like them, cause you can’t look like ten different women, but I captured the essence of each of them. I’m not opposed to doing print work so I’d definitely like to do more modeling, but I want to tap more into acting. I used to do theater back in the days when I was in high school. I really want to act because people can see you as different characters. I’m a chameleon, and I think this calendar shows that. I think I can put that talent to use on the big screen. What are some of the challenges you’ve come across being a woman in the music business? When you’re a young attractive female in a male-dominated business, men obviously look at the physical first. I really had to set my boundaries first and decide what I’m gonna do and what I’m not gonna do. As OZONE
K Foxx explains the reasoning behind the women she selected to honor in her calendar: Tina Turner: If you haven’t seen her story or heard about her struggle, she survived an abusive relationship. She still kept going. She survived drugs and still kept going. She surpassed all the adversity and still had number one records and was able to go on without Ike. She also survived racism in those days. As a powerful woman and a sex symbol, I admire that in Tina. Josephine Baker: Back in the day, she used to be an African-American dancer. In the 1920s she wasn’t allowed to perform for integrated audiences. She put her foot down and said, “I’m not gonna perform for an audience that’s segregated. You’re gonna have to have black and white people together in order to see me.” Because she did that, she wasn’t accepted in America. But she was accepted in Europe. She had to go outside the country to get accepted, and then she came here. She adopted twelve different ethnic children from all across the world and called it the rainbow tribe. Angela Davis: A lot of people know her from her hairstyles, but she was actually a part of the political movement in the 60s and 70s in the Black Panther party. She spoke out against racism and injustice. She had the courage to speak out, even though back in those days people got killed for things like that. She’s still a professor, to this day. Billie Holiday: She had her own sound. She didn’t want to sound like anyone else. She sang from her soul; from her experience. One of the quotes I have on the calendar from her is, “If I’m gonna sing, I might as well sound like me instead of sounding like somebody else.” I admire that, because today within this commercial society, people try to sound like other people. Back in the day when you sounded different that’s when you got accepted. She was defiant; she was an individual.
a woman in this business, you get tested. Men look at you like you’re a sex symbol first. I had to really perfect my craft and say, listen, this is what I have to offer, and if you’re not fucking with it then step down. I’m not about to lay down for anybody that wants to get up in me. Once you know yourself and you’ve set boundaries, it’s easier not to get discouraged by the challenges. Once you prevail and your talent is exposed, there is no stopping you. If you’re talented and you believe that, you’ve gotta stand by it and keep on going. If one door is closed, believe that another one is gonna open. There’s definitely been sexual harassment and men thinking I’m not smart enough to handle certain things, but give me the opportunity and I’m taking it and running with it. So once you developed a reputation, it got easier for you? Definitely, cause men will test you to see how far they can go. Once you say, “Listen, I don’t get down like that,” they’ve gotta give you your respect. There are a lot of powerful and influential men that could put you in places you might wanna be, but you’ve still gotta look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day. Can you live with that? Are you gonna give up a piece of your soul in order to get there? You can’t bow down to nobody. If you have that attitude, people have to respect that. On the flip side, do you feel like men are intimidated by your position? I think so, but it depends on the man. With a female like me, I do have a voice and I do have my own shit, so I don’t have to depend on a man for nothing. He’s gotta come to the table with somebody too. He’s gotta be secure that I’m gonna be dealing with famous men on a daily basis. But if I say it’s about you, that’s what it is. You’ve gotta have trust, cause an insecure man is not a good thing. I’ve dealt with insecure men, and that makes you feel insecure. It makes you second-guess yourself and what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. I believe that in a relationship, you’ve gotta build together. You’ve got your own thing and I’ve got my own thing. Let’s come together and build, instead of bringing each other down. Fortunately I’ve had a man in my corner that supports me 100%, and he isn’t insecure. When we talk about the fact that there aren’t many female role models, what do you think is the solution? I think it’s important for women like Oprah, Tyra Banks, Kimora Lee Simmons, Angela Bassett, and Halle Berry start programs to recruit young women, or even doctors and lawyers. You have to start within your own community like I’m doing with this calendar. It might be simple, but the concept is that I’ve transformed into all these different women. I think it starts in the community and then you’ve gotta take it to the national level. Is there anything else you’d like to say? The 305 is looking real big as far as music is concerned. Khaled’s album is dropping in June, Rick Ross is doing his thing, Pitbull, Trick Daddy, everybody. I really believe that it’s our time to shine. We gotta keep making those hits for the 305. Miami is recognized as a talented place to be. We’re about to blow, and if they won’t let us in we’re gonna kick down the door. Do you feel like you represent Miami even though you’re from New York? Definitely. Don’t get me wrong, I love New York. If it wasn’t for New York I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. But at the end of the day it’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at. I believe that Miami has helped enrich me and showed me a different side. It’s opened me up to different things and different styles of music.
Halle Berry: She’s obviously a sex symbol. Men salivate over her. She has a game plan. She’s an African-American actress, the first in history to win an Oscar. I admire all the struggles she’s been through as an actress. There are a lot of stereotypes and not a lot of black roles. She created a lot of these roles in Hollywood for herself. She knocked down doors. Janet Jackson: She’s been doing her thing forever. She was on Good Times as Penny, looking up to her brothers. Being a female in a male-dominated world, she still said, “I’m Janet, this is who I am, watch me bloom,” instead of living in the shadow of her brothers, and I admire that. 64
K Foxx as “Foxy Brown”
GOT NEXT Words by Matt Sonzala
Disclaimer: This is by no means meant to be the definitive history of Dallas hip-hop. It’s merely a look at some of the events and turning points that lead up to today. Dallas is a dynamic city with a hip-hop scene that is definitely on the verge, but the success it is about to see by no means happened overnight. A lot of people put in work to bring it to where it is today and it would be impossible to mention them all. Also, for up and coming artists who may feel slighted for missing out on the photo, or not being mentioned in this piece, please send your materials to Ozone Magazine, at the address in the front of the book and we will consider you for future coverage. Thanks, and enjoy this look at one of hip-hop’s hottest cities).
n hip-hop, many regional scenes become “flavor-of-the-month” success stories. One day the industry’s focus is on Los Angeles, the next it’s on Atlanta, then it’s back on New York. Houston, TX, is currently living through one of its highest periods ever with all eyes on the syrup-soaked city. People are talking about Houston as if the slowed down sounds coming from it are the newest, freshest, most groundbreaking reverberations ever to rumble from the South. Fact is, the sound of Houston is more than ten years old. For the past fifteen years groups like UGK and DJ Screw’s Screwed Up Click have been rapping about sipping syrup, candy paint and sitting sideways over lackadaisical beats that fit the pace of the city like a glove. The Houston sound is not new; the world has just finally caught on. Four hours north in Dallas, TX, there’s another scene emerging. If you take the time to look you’ll see that the second largest city in Texas is overflowing with artists bringing new sounds to the table and a flavor all its own. Big Tuck & DSR, Play-N-Skillz, Money Waters, Steve Austin, Pikahsso, Kottonmouth, Big Ben and Grifter are all set to blow. But Dallas, like Houston, is no overnight success story. Like many cities across the U.S., their local hip-hop scene is deep and rich with history. But unlike many cities across the U.S., Dallas has already had its share of major hip-hop success stories, though none ever really were able to stay the course. Take a look at other styles of music and
Photos by Jaro Vacek
you will see that it is certainly possible to make it out of Dallas. Norah Jones, Erykah Badu and Edie Brickell are all leaders in their respective genres and all came straight out tha D. In the late 80’s, when the hip-hop world was just starting to focus on West Coast artists like N.W.A and Too $hort, Dallas became a huge market for their music, due in part to a community radio station that is still around to this day called KNON and an adventurous group of DJs. Jeff Liles would play uncut N.W.A jams late at night on his radio show, mixed with hard rock and industrial bands from the period. His show, Life is Hard, was one of the first if not the first show in the nation to ever play N.W.A on the radio. In fact, he was later kicked off the air for playing the classic song “Boyz in the Hood” unedited. His show had a good urban following mostly because it followed one of the earliest and strongest hip-hop radio shows in the city, the All Hearty Def Party which was hosted by DJ Snake, Big Al and Cassanova Rock, also known as Nemesis. For years this was the only place where you could hear rap from outside the East coast on the radio in Dallas. On Thursday nights, EZ Eddie D and his crew would spin primarily East coast underground hip-hop. His show Knowledge Dropped, Lessons Taught can be heard to this day on Saturday evenings from 5 – 7 PM on the same station. (Later on Saturdays from 10 PM – midnight is the Dirty South Block Party, hosted by Bobo Luciano, Pikahsso and DJ Fish. More on them later). “KNON was huge in the mid to late 80’s and early 90’s.” Cold Cris, an early break dancer turned rapper from the groups 2AWK and Mad Flava remembers. “There was about four or five hip-hop shows at that time and people used to really listen to that station to find out what was going on. When Snake and Big Al and Cassanova had their show they used to throw parties and they would sell out the Red Bird Armory in Oakcliffe, they threw huge parties and people used to listen to KNON religiously. They used to play a lot of new music and break a lot of acts. DJ Curly was on there too. Dallas even had two urban commercial stations at the time. K-104 has been around forever and 107.5 was the other.”
(l to r): David Chris, Young Muhammad, Craig Sweet, P.T., DJ Princess Cut, Rob Free, KD Da Duke, George Lopez, Big Tuck, Tum Tum, Ron Don, NFL, Trinity, NFL, Double T, Fat Bastard, Big Hood Boss, Lil Ronnie, Don Dada, Lumba, Mr. Lucci, D-Lou, K-Roc
In late 1986 a young Jeff Liles was introduced to Eazy E who sent him cassette tapes to play. “This was around the time when Licensed to Ill came out” Jeff Liles remembers, “and Yo Bum Rush the Show. When it was truly underground. Eric [Eazy E] would call me every day from out on the streets. He was the first person I knew that had a cell phone, and when they first came to Dallas to a club called City Lights, it was really something revolutionary.” City Lights was one of the original Dallas clubs for rap. It’s now owned by Erykah Badu and called the Black Forest Theater. Jeff Liles formed the experimental group, Decadent Dub Team. Through his affiliation with an influential A&R at the time named Kim Buie, and with N.W.A, their track “Six Gun” was remixed by Dr. Dre and included on the Colors soundtrack. Around this time Dallas also saw the beginnings of one of the most important voices in mid to late 80’s hip-hop, the D.O.C. His group the Fila Fresh Crew were straight underground, but are recognized as one of the city’s pioneering crews. Their singles “I Hate to Go to Work” and “Dunk the Funk” were Dallas classics. They also appeared on the album N.W.A and the Posse. “Dr. Rock was one of the biggest DJs in Dallas in the 80’s.” Cold Cris continues with his history lesson. “He was originally from Los Angeles and was a member of the World Class Wreckin’ Crew – Dr. Dre’s original group – and later in Dallas became a part of the Fila Fresh Crew with The D.O.C. He introduced D.O.C. to Dr. Dre. D.O.C. was just way ahead of his time. Dr. Rock used to have a mix show on the weekend nights, him and Ushay, who was also a huge DJ back then. They were really rival DJs on separate stations and Ushay had a popular club called Starz. Ushay actually produced one of the earliest records to come out of Dallas called “Neck Work” by the Star Studded Strutters. That probably came out in 1983 or 1984.” Soon after the Fila Fresh Crew began making noise, the D.O.C. moved to Los Angeles, connected with Dr. Dre and N.W.A and released his debut album, the hip-hop classic, No One Can Do It Better. That record produced the mega hits “It’s Funky Enough” and “The Formula,” and also one of the most incredible posse cuts of all time, “The Grand Finale.” It was one of the most important LPs of its era. Unfortunately, because he really didn’t make it a point to rep Dallas, many, including myself and actual residents of Dallas thought he was from Los Angeles. In fact, in his first video, and on the cover of the album he was wearing Los Angeles Kings gear. This pissed off a lot of people in Dallas who did know him from his early days, and it was seen as a setback at the time. But Nemesis repped Dallas to the fullest. Their major success came in the early 90s with their hit “Munchies For Your Bass,” which was a slow, R&B-tinted, bass-heavy cut that rang out of every car for years from Florida to Cali. Their first album, released on vinyl only, “To Hell and Back,” was self-financed and self-released and sold upwards of
20,000 copies. This sparked the attention of Profile Records, who were known at the time for releasing hip-hop classics by Run-DMC, Special Ed and DJ Quik, as well as Poor Righteous Teachers, Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock and N2Deep. Joe Macc, an early investor/affiliate of Nemesis who later became a rapper in the group remembers their initial days. “It was a struggle, it was hell, dude.” He says, “We was trying to get out the streets and do something else besides hustling. People looked at us like, ‘Yeah right.’ Nobody believed in us until we got on the radio.” These were the days before every boy in the hood knew that there was money to be made in the rap game. It was also an era where regional styles weren’t really looked at as having national appeal outside of New York and Los Angeles. Nemesis, and their friends in Houston the Geto Boys, helped to change all that. Their break out successes brought eyes to Texas. DJ Snake is recognized to this day as a bass music pioneer and has mixed recent records by Lil Jon and a lot of other folks who followed his lead. Other important records that came out of Dallas in the 80’s were “Me, My Bo and Ho” by U Know Who and “Yellow Hammer” by K-Cold. In 1990 Dallas saw another major success in a young DJ named Baby G. A quiet, intelligent type, Baby G was one of the most exciting DJs of the time. It was this year that he won the DMC U.S. Championship and showed the world that there was real hip-hop outside the major hotspots of New York, Los Angeles and Miami. “The fact that a guy from Dallas went up there and took that shit from all those judges from New York was phenomenal,” Cold Cris says. Baby G. was in a group with Cris called I.G.P., which was an extension of their crew the International Grand Posse. One night after opening a show for Professor Griff, the recently ousted Minister of Information for Public Enemy, Cold Cris and Baby G. were offered a deal. “Professor Griff of Public Enemy was doing A&R for Luke Records.” Cris remembers, “Me and Baby G. opened up for him and he called me backstage after his show and basically said he was putting together a group and wanted me and G. to come to Miami. I thought he was bullshitting. Next thing you know he called the next week and was putting the whole shit together. He found Hype Dawg in St. Louis and these two dancing cats in Louisville and basically flew us all down to Miami and that’s how we formed the group. I.G.P. was really a collective, a crew which was not only music but a very large set. It was me, Kasaan, Ice Mike, EZ Eddie D, Almight-D, Baby G, Kid Cannabis, Shabazz who is now World Fame from Grifter and way more people. But Griff put us together as 2AWK – Two Average White Kids.” Even though Baby G is not white. 2AWK didn’t quite work out as Griff had planned, but from its ashes formed Mad Flava, a group consisting of Cold Cris, Baby G., Hype Dawg and The Don Kasaan. Mad Flava got a deal with Priority Re-
(l to r): Pimpsta, SEJ, guest, Skillz, guest, Play, DeVille, Jizno, George, DJ Drop, guest, DJ G-Rock, Big Bink, Sleepy, KottonMouth, Philly Station, Tahiti, Philly Station, Philly Station, Gunna, Caesar, OZONE/CRUNK!!! truck, Philly Station, Skin, Mes, guest, Rig, Picnic Time
cords and while their debut From the Ground Under made a good bit of noise it came out a full year after Priority did its major promo push. In this business timing is everything, and Mad Flava became yet another story of a label fucking up and missing the boat on what could have been something big.
he 90’s in Dallas were similar to the 90’s in a lot of other places. Artists saw the success their neighbors in Louisiana Master P and Cash Money were having and they began stepping their game up. Two of the most influential artists to come out of Dallas and really work the independent hustle were – and still are – Pimpsta and Kottonmouth. Kottonmouth later went on to form the Rally Boyz with Jizno and Fort Worth’s Big Ben. The Rally Boyz became one of the city’s premier groups because of their hustle, immediate chemistry and connections to rappers from all over the spectrum. The Rally Boyz have always been grinders, and Kottonmouth is known as a leader in Dallas’s latest movement, a scene he helped to create.
“I’ve been hustling our music for a long time, and today, I take CD’s from other artists out on the road with me and even try to sell they shit,” Kottonmouth says, explaining the grind that got him to where he is today and what some other folks might need to do to get their weight up. “These artists a lot of the time, they hollering and bullshitting and running they mouth but they not into retail, they not into the mom and pops, they not into selling out they trunks, they not into going to the car show and setting up a booth and selling they CDs. They not into selling they CDs in their homeboy’s traps. They not into giving they CDs to they pimp pa’tnas and letting the hoes sell the CDs. Any way you can sell music is the way you sell music. I don’t give a damn. I’ll give your grandma some CDs to sell while she at work.” And maybe he has. His catalog is one of the most widely known to come out of the Dallas independent movement. Pimpsta has kept his name hot for the past ten years by consistently releasing albums and undergrounds, sometimes multiple copies in the same month. Before boys started dropping discs full of their flows over other peoples beats on a regular basis, Pimpsta was flooding the streets with his countrified street prose almost monthly since 1993. He was a pioneer artist and businessman. His first single “Rollin’ on Them Thangs” was an ode to riding on Daytons, a topic that is all but played out today, but sounded fresh as can be in 1993. “At the time that song and album kind of changed the game because no one was talking about cars like that,” Pimpsta explains. “Everyone was on West Coast stuff, but Greg Street loved that song and helped get it out there and
blew it up. There was nobody but Pimp C sounding country like that at the time. Everything I did kind of went against the grain.” Going against the grain isn’t really against the rules in Dallas like it is in other cities, namely Houston. In Houston, artists outside the realm of what DJ Screw created have a really hard time being heard. But in Dallas, there’s a whole gang of artists making noise by being truly different. Not everyone is on some straight, Texas street shit. There’s diversity in this city and many of the artists who step outside the box and experiment with new sounds are starting to get attention from the media and even the streets. Pikahsso and his PPT family recently won a contest held by the Dallas Mavericks to create their playoff theme song. Money Waters released an album of blues-tinged, reality hip-hop and is known to perform with a full band. Steve Austin brings a new energy and classic lyricism to the game. Hydroponic Soundsystem have crafted countless classic singles and two incredible compilation CD’s that sell like wildfire overseas. Head Krack has been known as a freestyle champ since he was a young buck and is now receiving major recognition as a radio and mixtape hustler. All five of these artists are poised to have a huge year in 2006. And it’s all started with working the streets in Dallas, a city where it’s okay to be different.
trangely enough, even the stuff that approaches mainstream in Dallas seems to go against the grain and generally sounds new. The biggest group to break out of Dallas in the past few years is DSR – the Dirty South Rydaz. After years of hustling their mixtapes and underground albums throughout Texas and the surrounding states, following the lead of their contemporaries the Swisha House and Boss Hogg Outlaws, they recently scored a $7 million deal with Universal for their T-Town Music Label – a company formed by a successful retailer/ distributor/hustler named George Lopez and his partners Trinidad Delgado and Alan Powell. Their first major label release is coming from Big Tuck, one of the most unique voices in Southern rap today. “I was taking CD’s to George Lopez at T-Town Music about six years ago.” Big Tuck pontificates. “George was already doing retail, pushing the Swishahouse, the Boss Hogg, the Mike Jones and stuff like that. And he was like, ‘Man I might as well go and start my own group.’ And here we are. I can honestly say that I’m one of the first rappers that Dallas has accepted as they own. It’s part of my attitude and my
(l to r): Picnic Time, Charles Reece, Ernest M., BoogieMan, Coach Cognac, Edward “Pookie” Hall, Uncle Pauly, Money Waters, Small Soulja, Worldfame Grifter, Cold Cris, Puerto Rican Mike, Charles, Chase Pat, Poe, Kio, Boleg, Peezy, guest, guest, City Life, Lil Phil, Mista Mista, Dawg Wonder, Classick
personality. I’m a cool cat, I don’t really get in trouble and I don’t really argue with nobody, I’m supportive of everybody so they support me.” And they support the rest of the camp too, who take the down South Texas style and put their own twist on it. One thing that sets them apart is while they are definitely hard, street artists, they have no problem with injecting some humor in the mix. Their wordplay is unmatched amongst their peers. DSR’s other members Tum Tum, Fat Bastard, Addiction, Lil Ronnie, TT, Tite and their young partners the TBGz are all names to be on the lookout for. Two of the most successful producers to emerge from Texas in recent years are from Dallas as well. Play-N-Skillz are currently riding high off the success of Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’ Dirty,” which garnered over 10,000 BDS spins in the U.S. and has been remixed lyrically by artists in France, New Zealand, Germany and the U.K. It gets radio and video play all over the world and Play-N-Skillz couldn’t be happier. But this isn’t their first success story. The duo has worked with all sorts of folks. “We recorded Lil Flip’s whole last album, even the stuff we didn’t produce,” Play explains. “Baby Bash, Young Buck, Outlawz, Bone Thugs and Harmony, Petey Pablo, Fabolous, everybody and anybody. Every time somebody comes to Dallas they calling Play-NSkillz. If they not calling for the bitches they calling for the beats.” Born two Latin kids in a rough section of the Dallas suburb of Irving, Play-N-Skillz work well within the Latin music scene. But unlike a lot of their peers, they are able to branch out and work with anyone. “Dallas is real multi-cultural.” Play continues. “Blacks, whites, Latinos, Asians, everybody gets down out here. If you saw our video for ‘Latino’s Stand Up’ you saw we had everybody. We had the black people throwing up their L’s. We have an Asian kid named Lumber from the group Phar East that we’re working with. He’s definitely about to blow.” If you’re not convinced that Dallas – and its neighbor Ft. Worth – has it going on, then you must have missed something. It’s rich with hip-hop history and new pages are written every day, making this North Texas Metroplex one of the most dynamic hip-hop cities today. It would take more pages than we can fit in this issue of OZONE to cover everyone currently making noise in this city. Just by looking at the photo, you’ll see that there’s no shortage of tight artists in North Texas. “I ain’t never seen no shit like this,” rapper Mr. Lucci was heard saying as the camera snapped away. While the artists in Dallas may not get together on a daily basis, since we came to town, everyone now knows that they really are not alone in this game. Other artists to watch include Fort Worth’s Twisted Black, a fire breath-
ing reality rapper in the vein of Scarface who’s not afraid to speak the truth and reach inside his soul for topics to cover other than what he’s got in his mouth or on his car. Boleg and his Stampede Records family and Bobo Luchiano represent one of Dallas’s oldest and most notorious neighborhoods, Oakcliffe, like it’s the South Bronx of the South. Blofly comes with some undeniable street shit, and Big Chief has one of the most unique and appealing voices in rap today. Two of the biggest selling independent artists from Dallas, Mr. Pookie & Mr. Lucci, both have releases in stores this year and Grifter Records is home to a whole gang of young heaters – and some old school legends like label head World Fame – all set to blow in the ‘06. Quint Black, Big Hood Boss, Big Wheel Records, Crystyle, D-Lou, NFL Boys, Rakoo Nation , SEJ, Six-2, Young Muhammed, Nino, Hotboy Starr, Olmann, Philly Station, Gator Main, C-Pone, Creepa, Lil Socc, Colby Savage, Young Pig, Coach Cognac and Diamond D are all names to look out for in the near future. “Without Dallas I wouldn’t be shit,” Kottonmouth closes with a bit of chastisement for what he sees currently in the Dallas rap game. “No matter where I go ain’t nobody gotta ask Kottonmouth where I’m from. The only thing we gotta do in Dallas right now is make sure everybody lining they business up to look like a structured business. We don’t wanna look like a bunch of niggas talking loud unless we talking about structured business.” With a company like T-Town Music opening up the doors to retail and once again attracting the attention of the majors, Kotton’s right. If these artists and labels can get their business right, they certainly have a chance. “I don’t think it’s automatic that Dallas is gonna blow just because Houston did,” Cold Cris of Mad Flava says in closing. “But a lot of eyes are on Dallas right now and the opportunity is there. I think it’d be a shame if an artist or a company didn’t step up and exploit that attention that’s going on right now. It’s up to everybody to man up on their own and do what they have to do. There’s nothing entitled or promised to nobody. You got to get out there and get it on your own.” Thanks to George Lopez and everyone at T-Town Music, Jeff Liles, Cold Cris, Jeff Wade, Bobo Luchiano, Joe Macc, Pookie from urbansouth. us, Mr. Blakes and the entire city of Dallas for their help in making this story a reality. You can hear all these artists and more on the hot mix CDs currently flooding the streets by DJ Princess Cut, a young, female turntable wizard who relocated a few years ago to Dallas from Japan, the Untouchable DJs and on the Dirty South Block Party every Saturday night from 10 PM – midnight central on www.knon.org.
(l to r): Big Truck, Pikahsso, Rod, Corey Clout, Tequila, guest, Crystle, Big Chief, guest, Twisted Black, D-Lyte, Money Maine, JJ Chianes, HeadKrack, Rakoo, Blofly, Steve Austin, Big Ben, Sarge, Big Wheel Records
First Annual OZONE Awards: Sunday, August 6th at the Bob Carr Auditorium in downtown Orlando, FL red carpet: 4-6 PM showtime: 7 PM
in association with TJ’s DJ’s Tastemaker’s Music Conference (August 4th-5th) visit www.ozonemag.com or www.tjsdjs.com to vote and purchase weekend passes to all events Tickets to the OZONE Awards are also available through www.ticketmaster.com
Nominations were selected by a panel of DJs, journalists, and other knowledgeable, non-biased individuals in the rap community. OZONE is widely known and respected as the premiere voice of Southern rap music, so it’s only right that our nominations this year are focused on Southern artists. Keep in mind that this year’s nominations are based solely on music released between May 1, 2005 and April 30, 2006.
BEST ALBUM - RAP Bun B - Trill
The king of collaborations brought together the entire South for his perfectlytimed first solo album, even uniting Houston - if only for a few minutes - on the “Draped Up” remix.
Juvenile - Reality Check
Lil Wayne - The Carter 2
Facing with the challenge of adjusting to a new recording home and picking up his life after Katrina, Juve came with his best material since his groundbreaking Cash Money release 400 Degreez. Wayne became a critical and media darling with the superior lyrical dexterity he showcased on his latest project.
T.I. - King
He claimed the throne years ago, and backed it up in a major way in 2006 with one of his strongest efforts to date.
Young Jeezy - Thug Motivation: Let’s Get It
The highly-anticipated major label debut from the South’s hottest underground commodity spawned numerous hit singles and club anthems. OZONE OZONE
and the nominees are....
BEST RAP ARTIST (MALE)
BEST R&B ARTIST (MALE)
Lil Wayne Blah Blah
This Urban Legend told you he was Serious, but he still had to Trap you with his Muzik until you crowned him the King he’d always claimed to be.
Young Jeezy Young Jeezy
The raw emotions in his voice catapulted him to near iconic status in today’s climate of soulless music.
Former Mista front man goes from Organizing Noize to Disturbing the Peace and makes a sound hit in the process.
This smooth teen catapulted to the top of the charts virtually overnight.
After penning hit records for Mario and others, Ne-Yo stepped out into his own limelight.
A little raunchy for your mother’s liking, but Pretty Ricky snuck their way into the hearts of teenage girls everywhere. Their “Grind” finally paid off.
BEST RAP ARTIST (FEMALE) Crime Mob (Diamond & Princess)
This young duo kept their crew’s name alive after people got tired of knucking and bucking.
The self-proclaimed Madam of Miami will take your attention, your man and your jewelry if the cameras aren’t watching. But, when on the mic, she takes no shit.
Christina Milian blah blah
This overnight celebrity dropped an album and had a run that proves she will be here for many moons.
Raw and uncut, Khia still represents for the ghetto females in the ongoing battle of the sexes (“J.O.D.D.,” “Snatch the Cat Back”).
The “R” in her name must stand for resilient. This “Georgia Peach” has proven that she’s here to stay. Slowly but surely stepping out of Ludacris’ shadow. this Chi-Town queen is about to make the world respect female emcees again. Attitude for years, sassiness for months and ass for days, Trina “blah blah blah”-ed her way to the top and snagged Birdman Jr. on the way. 74
BEST R&B ARTIST (FEMALE)
Houston’s angels bid farewell, but did so in grand fashion. George Clinton, Big Gipp, Bun B and Pastor Troy can vouch for her. She is the Queen of the Underground. Swiftly becoming the Mary J. Blige of her generation, Ms. Cole got hyphy with the fellas but still represented for the ladies. Showing that there is indeed life after Beyonce, Luckett crept in with the Houston wave and found her niche.
and the nominees are....
BEST ALBUM - R&B Anthony Hamilton - Ain’t Nobody Worryin’
BEST RAP GROUP Arista
His second studio album clearly indicated that he was not a flash in the pan.
Lyfe Jennings - Lyfe 268-192
Boyz N Da Hood
A collective comprised of two underground rap vets and two flashy newcomers, Boyz N Da Hood took the South by storm, drawing comparisons to the legendary gangsta rap group N.W.A.
If every convicted felon had a soulful voice and songwriting skills like the ones displayed on Lyfe’s autobiographical debut, we wouldn’t see many repeat offenders. Fuck a license plate – give them a guitar!
Ne-Yo - In My Own Words
Dem Franchize Boyz
R&B’s new man of the hour scored big with “So Sick” and his debut album.
T-Pain - Rappa Ternt Sanga
Trey Songz - I Gotta Make It
Tallahassee’s multi-talented son dropped an album laced with his trademark singing and production style, and produced two massive hits in the process. Not bad for a rapper. Originally written off as an R Kelly Jr., Trey Songz created his own lane and brought a breath of fresh air to R&B.
Love them, hate them, or hate them a lot, ATL foursome D4L ignored the dissenters and made an undeniable run for the top. Right when you thought they got worn out, Dem Franchize Boyz dusted off the White Tees and reminded us why we like them.
They held up a mirror and forced hip-hop to take a good look at itself with their critically acclaimed major debut The Minstrel Show.
Three 6 Mafia
It’s a little easier out here for a pimp now that Memphis legends Three 6 Mafia have received their mainstream respect.
Ying Yang Twins
Best known for their strip club anthems, this Atlanta duo expanded their horizons into grown-man territory with United State of Atlanta - and still managed a few “HANH?!?”s in the process.
BEST LYRICIST Bun B
The South ain’t got lyrics, huh? Tell that to Bun B. There’s a reason why he’s been featured alongside virtually every rapper you’ve ever heard of.
Even though he’s reppin’ the Screwed and Chopped state of Texas, Cham’s flows and lyrics are anything but slow.
He may not have picked up his phone when you called, but Mike Jones saw his career go from off the radar to off the hook. On top of single-handedly birthing (and soon killing) our fascination with Grillz, Paul Wall went from being a local Chick Magnet to the People’s Champ.
Shaky release dates and a shelved album almost deaded his name, but Killa Kill managed to stay alive with the amazing freestyles and lyrical dexterity of The Killer mixtape and the Got Purp? compilation.
Lil Wayne finally gained nationwide respect for being the talented emcee that he has been since a pre-teen. For well over a decade Scarface has proven why he is one of the most revered voices in all of hip hop. In 2006 he continued to add to his legendary status with his group The Product. He talks cash shit and he’s money on the mic, but T.I. still spits like he struggling in the trap.
Hustlin’ every day (for years) led Miami’s Rick Ross to a major label bidding war and a multi-million dollar Def Jam deal. They say everything’s bigger in Texas. Houston’s 7-footer was ridin’ a Bentley before the album dropped - like a boss. Save for the now infamous chain-snatching incident, T-Pain’s breakthrough has been a pleasurable experience. Being “Sprung” and “In Luv” never hurt nobody. Coming from Lousiana’s ‘other’ city, Baton Rouge’s Webbie brought back the I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude that others have forgotten. OZONE OZONE
and the nominees are....
BEST RAP COLLABORATION
BEST RAP/R&B COLLABORATION
Bun B f/ H-Town All Stars (Lil Keke, Slim Thug, Paul Wall, Mike Jones, Aztek, Lil Flip, Z-Ro) “Draped Up (remix)”
Beyonce f/ Slim Thug “Check Up On It”
Rodney King and DJ Screw would be so proud to see how everybody just got along. Or at least they edited it that way.
DJ Khaled f/ Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Fat Joe, and Pitbull “Holla At Me Baby”
Field Mob f/ Ludacris & Jamie Foxx “Georgia”
These underrated country boys paid tribute to their home state along with Luda and a damn good Ray ??? impression by Jamie Foxx.
Miami’s premiere DJ Khaled called in a bunch of favors for this energetic lead single off his debut album.
T-Pain f/ R Kelly, Twista, Pimp C, Paul Wall, MJG, & Too $hort
Purple Ribbon All-Stars (Big Boi & Killer Mike) “Kryptonite”
Ying Yang Twins f/ Avant “Bedroom Boom”
Yeah, the song was jamming. But you may need to go back and listen closely to Big Boi’s verse. He’s no slouch.
Three 6 Mafia f/ Young Buck & 8Ball & MJG “Stay Fly”
This Tennessee union was a long time coming, but well worth the wait.
Trae f/ Fat Pat and Big Hawk “Swang (remix)”
blah blah blah blah
Young Jeezy f/ Akon “Soul Survivor” blah blah
Young Jeezy f/ Christina Milian “Say I” blah blah
Only God can bring the whole crew back, but until then, Screwed Up Click fans have Trae’s tribute to hold them down.
CLUB BANGER Bubba Sparxxx f/ Ying Yang Twins “Ms. New Booty” blah blah
NO ESCAPE AWARD
Rick Ross “Hustlin’”
David Banner “Play”
T.I. “What U Know”
D4L “Laffy Taffy”
Ying Yang Twins f/ Pitbull “Shake”
Dem Franchize Boyz “Lean Wit’ It, Rock Wit’ It”
Yung Joc “It’s Goin’ Down”
Dem Franchize Boyz f/ Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat, and Bow Wow “Oh I Think They Like Me (remix)”
blah blah Blahblah
This breakthrough record from Bad Boy South’s newest representative came complete with its own dance.
blah blah blah blah blah blah
Webbie f/ Bun B “Gimme Dat” blah blah
and the nominees are....
MIXTAPE MONSTER AWARD
SLEPT ON ARTIST
Texas’ tamale king stays in the kitchen, whipping up new product.
Dallas’ T-Town Music collective landed a $7 million dollar deal with Universal Records off their impressive underground grind.
Mike Jones’ (who?) former partner Magno now represents DJ Clue’s Desert Storm South and stays on his mixtape grind.
No longer just Mr. 305, this internationally recognized superstar still stays true to his humble beginnings and releases mixtapes frequently that are, dare I say, better than the album.
Ft. Myers, FL newcomer Plies’ 100% Real Nigga mixtapes with Cool Runnings’ DJ Bigga Rankin helped him amass plenty of fans, and haters, in 2006.
This category wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Jeezy’s accomplishments with mixtapes like Trap or Die and Can’t Ban the Snowman.
LIVING LEGEND AWARD 8Ball & MJG blah blah
Scarface blah blah
Three 6 Mafia
By now, we all know that they made history by winning an Academy Award. But even before the Oscar, these Memphis legends impact was clear.
Although he’s been in the game for a decade plus, B.G.’s independent releases through Koch were underappreciated by the mainstream audience.
Lil Jon’s secret weapon helped everybody “Get Crunk,” but he’s just a soulful country boy at heart.
Jazze Pha protege and Boyz N Da Hood member Jody Breeze is still waiting to drop his solo album, and fans are waiting also.
Allegedly dubbed “too intelligent” for their audience by BET, this North Carolina trio proves once again that catchy hooks often win over substance.
Grimy, gutta, and unrefined, this truly talented Baton Rouge rhymer stayed somewhat under the radar despite two big singles.
Respected in the streets of Memphis and beyond, Yo Gotti is still awaiting national recognition.
TJ’s DJ’s HUSTLER AWARD DJ Chuck T
Carolina representative “Mr. Publicity” lives up to his name, churning out mixtapes after mixtapes consistently and maintaining numerous other hustles.
Whether rapping, producing, acting, or aiding hurricane victims in his home state of Mississippi, Banner redefines 24/7.
Drama and his Affiliates’ crew are literally everywhere.
It’s all about that almighty dollar sign: $. Who showed you how to do this indie thing? Biiiiiiitch! Port Arthur, TX, rap partners Bun B and Pimp C have each earned the title of Underground King. Bun B also gets the loyalty award for his relentless (and apparently, successful) “Free Pimp C” campaign. From challenging censors to paving the way as a businessman, Miami’s bass king has earned the title of “pioneer.”
You don’t grind, you don’t shine. You don’t work, you don’t eat. Call 281-330-8004 for more information. Known for his Florida anthem “Keep Jukin’,” Tampa’s most creative artist added “inventor” to his list of job titles this year with the ingenious smoker’s device Da Splitta. The founder of The CORE DJs, Tony goes the extra mile to make sure his crew eats. OZONE OZONE
and the nominees are.... TJ’s DJ’s TASTEMAKER AWARD:
TJ’s DJ’s TASTEMAKER AWARD:
Cool & Dre
Dem Franchize Boyz
This Miami production duo created their own signature sound.
Although he’s gone (R.I.P.), his legacy and music lives on through Houston’s recent rap explosion.
Snap, crackle, pop. The “inventor” of Atlanta’s newest trend, snap music, K-Rab’s impact is clear.
Although somewhat silenced this year by legal issues, Jon ventured beyond the South and kept his sound alive by linking up with rock groups like Korn and California legends like E-40.
White tees have become hip-hop’s official uniform, thanks in part to DFB.
Fabo of D4L
Famous for his white sunglasses, Fabo’s unique style has been imitated by many, but duplicated by none.
Bling, bling. Everytime I come around your city, bling bling. When did men start wearing more jewelry than women?
Paul Wall & TV Johnny
Everyone and their brother, sister, mama, and grandmomma has a grill now, thanks to Paul Wall’s side hustle and his comedic - but presumably rich - business partner, Johnny Dang of TV Jewelry.
Although its longevity remains to be seen, Mr. Collipark’s vision for a new genre of “intimate club music” became a reality with the success of the Ying Yang Twins’ “Wait” and David Banner’s “Play.”
Although CNN tried, they couldn’t ban the Snowman. Jeezy’s trademark t-shirts were a best-seller at hip-hop clothing stores worldwide.
Florida’s dreadlocked rapper, singer, and producer discovered a new vocal effect in the studio and “went crazy” with it. Love it or hate it, you’ve got to admit that it worked.
Not only is T.I. a great rapper, but he’s also become a sex symbol.
BEST VIDEO Chamillionaire f/ Krayzie Bone “Ridin’ Dirty”
Kudos are already in order for having Debo in the video, but the parallel between pro wrestling and police brutality was ingenious.
Da BackWudz “I Don’t Like The Look of It”
The Willy Wonka movie is already weird enough, so calling this video weird is mundane. But you have to appreciate a vid where the models don’t get more face time than the artist.
The artist from outside our region who showed the most love the South and/or was most accepted in the South.
David Banner “Play”
Speaking of models, this one was a who’s who. Sweaty, steamy and sticky, Banner gave his fans a little eye and ear candy.
Instead of bitching about the state of NYC rap, he got down and did an entire mixtape with Southern artists.
Juvenile “Get Ya Hustle On”
This video had more accurate Katrina reporting than Fox News on their best day. Juve reminded us of the forgotten.
Rick Ross “Hustlin’”
Crossing the bridge into the real Miami, Carol City representative Rick Ross gave the world a glimpse of the every day hustle in his neighborhood.
Don’t forget, this guy rapped on the “Neva Scared” remix and did a “Bout It” remake a while back. So his collabos with Webbie and Lil’ Wayne should come as no surprise - he’s no bandwagon jumper.
He unified crunk with hyphy and still kept his O.G. status through it all.
Three 6 Mafia f/ Young Buck and 8Ball & MJG “Stay Fly”
A night in the life of a rap star: endless partying captured by great camera work made us feel like we were right there with them.
His mixtape with Jeezy still hasn’t dropped, but Juelz has earned his Dirty South pass.
Honorable mention: Although Korn is not a Southern rap group,
their video for “Twisted Transistor,” which featured Lil Jon, David Banner, Xzibit, and Snoop Dogg playing the roles of the band, certainly deserves mention.
Having lived in Atlanta since the 90s, he’s damn near a Southerner now. But at the end of the day he’s “still coming straight from Oakland.”
and the nominees are....
BEST CLUB DJ
BEST RADIO DJ
Bigga Rankin (Jacksonville, FL)
DJ Khaled (Miami, FL)
Coll Runnings’ O.G. Bigga Rankin faithfully preaches his Ghetto Gospel to clubgoers throughout the South, no matter how drunk they are.
DJ Irie (Miami, FL) blah blah
DJ Khaled (Miami, FL)
If you had a bad day at work, Khaled’s afternoon mix will
Freddy Hydro (Memphis, TN) blah blah
Greg Street (Atlanta, GA) blah blah
Waited in the VIP line too long and your favorite record was over by the time you got inside? Don’t worry - Miami’s mo
DJ Nasty (Orlando, FL)
Lil Larry (Memphis, TN)
Michael Watts (Houston, TX)
blah blah blah blah
DJ Mars (Atlanta, GA) blah blah
BEST MIXTAPE DJ Bigga Rankin (Jacksonville, FL) blah blah
DJ Chuck T (Charleston, SC) blah balh
DJ Drama (Atlanta, GA)
Drama’s Gangsta Grillz series has become widely recognized as an underground staple for new artists.
DJ Ideal (Miami, FL) blah blah
Rapid Ric (Austin, TX) blah blah
DJ Smallz (Tampa, FL)
Smallz showed his face in
BEST PRODUCER Cool & Dre blah blah
Jermaine Dupri blah blah
Mannie Fresh blah blah
Mr. Collipark blah blah
The Unusual Suspects (Big D & Jim Jonsin) blah blah
and the nominees are....
PATIENTLY WAITING: TEXAS
PATIENTLY WAITING: MISSISSIPPI
Boo da Boss Playa
Blah blah Blah blah Blah Blah blah blah Young Jeezy Young Jeezy
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
PATIENTLY WAITING: ALABAMA PATIENTLY WAITING: LOUSIANA
The Last Mr. Bigg
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah 80
blah blah blah blah
Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
and the nominees are....
PATIENTLY WAITING - TENNESSEE
PATIENTLY WAITING - CAROLINAS
Kinfolk Nakia Shine
PATIENTLY WAITING - FLORIDA
PATIENTLY WAITING - GEORGIA
Acafool BloodRaw Plies Treal Triple J Young Cash
Citty Da BackWudz Lil Weavah Slick Pulla Young Dro Yung Joc
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
“We got a few niggas calling themselves King of the South, Kanye out there preaching, Ma$e is a gangsta again. We just trying to be Eightball & MJG. We ain’t trying to sell you no clothes, we ain’t preaching to you. I just want you to listen to my music and feel good.” - Eightball
EIGHTBALL & MJG WORDS: MAURICE G. GARLAND
PHOTO: TARRICE LOVE
remro “Eightball” Smith and Marlon “MJG” Goodwin have earned every title that people throw at them: legends, originators, kings, poets, etc. But after you get labeled such things, what else is there to work towards? You bust your ass to get your respect and just due. But when you get the acceptance, what’s next? Once people applaud you for something, you’re really no longer at liberty to do the same thing. Why? Because you’ve mastered it, you’ve done everything that there is to do with it. You have to move on to the next challenge.
Ball & G are well aware of that. Since their debut Comin’ Out Hard (named one of OZONE’s 20 Essential Southern Albums) they’ve managed to take on a new challenge or territory with every album that followed, making classic records along the way. The biggest test of their career however may have come in 2004 with their Livin’ Legends album. They were on a new label, Bad Boy, in a new time where the T.I.’s and Ludacris’ of the world were carrying the banner for a new wave of Southern artists who had inherited the spoils of a phenomenon they helped build. Now that they are officially settled at their new recording home, they plan to release their second Bad Boy album, Ridin’ High. Once again, Ball & G are presented with more challenges. But this time, they are ones they’ve put themselves up to. Whether it’s the experimental sound of their lead single “Ridin’ High,” placing their own artists Devious and Mack-E on the album or finally being able to work with a gang of Memphis artists including Three 6 Mafia, Project Pat and Al Kapone, this will not sound like what you are used to from the Fat Mack and Pimp Tight. The album was originally titled Pure American Pimpin’. Why did you change the name? Eightball: They was scared of Pure American Pimpin’. The label was thinking from a record sales aspect. To them, the name would have hindered the sales. Me personally, I don’t think it would have, but that was just one of the battles we had to fight. What is a pimp to you? Eightball: You got a bunch of different definitions, but I think that a pimp is an entrepreneur. Anyone getting money the best way they can. They’re a pimp. Do you think people misunderstand that word when artists use it? MJG: Basically, its a lot of definitions of the word. Folks would say the word isn’t politically correct. You can define different meanings of the word, but the question is, can you use the word anytime around anybody? In our last issue Too $hort said he felt like rappers just throw the word around like it’s a sport, not knowing what that whole lifestyle really entails. How do you feel? Eightball: “Pimp” ain’t nothing but another word like bitch or nigga. When you say bitch you don’t mean a female dog, but you use it to describe a certain person. Same thing with “nigga,” it can be defined a bunch of ways, but the real meaning, the text book meaning, niggas who say it don’t mean it like that. So to the youngsters saying “pimp,” it’s just a word. You guys were instrumental in introducing that pimp/player aesthetic to Hip Hop. Other than that, what kind of impact do you think you’ve had on music? MJG: We figure we’ve made a lasting impact. I think we let our fans and listeners know that we have knowledge and staying power. Eightball: I think we’ve showed our fans loyalty and longevity. If you ain’t learn nothing from watching us, you’ve learned how to be loyal
to your brother. Have people told you that? MJG: Over the years we’ve gotten plenty of stories from the fans telling us that our music got them through hard times, or even happy times. So many years, that’s been one of the effects of us being around for a long time. The music has not only been a part of our lives, but a lot of other people’s lives. Eightball: The shit that we talk about, we see and live it. We been here for a long time. Our music is a reflection of what we’re doing at that time. The people that get Ridin’ High on July 18th are getting a book of our life since Livin’ Legends. The most interesting thing about books isn’t the information inside of them. It’s the fact that the author, or good ones rather, for a brief moment in time, have the reader’s brain at its mercy. They can switch it up without having to give a reason. Hell, they can end the book whenever they want and however they want and never have to explain themselves. The author’s risk, however, is that the can easily sway their readers to another direction and never retrieve them, because a bond has been broken. That’s why the best authors stick around for years. They can do whatever they want with their books, but they make sure that their fan base is always satisfied to some degree. Some of them even go as far to prep their followers so that they won’t be too surprised by their new works. How has that chapter been? Eightball: This album is a feel good album. We tried to not get too personal on this album. Its just 14 songs a muthafucker gonna want a pop in and listen to. Something to pop in to get away from your problems. We didn’t want to get too deep on this album. We just want to let people get away from the world for 55 minutes. Why do that now? Eightball: That’s how we was feeling. It’s already enough people making statements. We got a few niggas calling themselves King of the South, Kanye out there preaching, Ma$e is a gangsta again. We just trying to be Eightball & MJG. We ain’t trying to be none of that shit. We ain’t trying to sell you no clothes, we ain’t preaching to you. I just want you to listen to my music and feel good while you’re doing it. Depending on who you ask “feel good” music means something with no content. That it’s killing Hip Hop, per se. MJG: It’s all about how you feel. I try not to judge. The best thing overall is seeing someone being successful and doing good at what they do. All of us can’t be the best or the most lyrical. If it works for you, and its working and somebody likes it, that’s the best thing about it. You can’t rob nobody of their shine. It’s a time for everybody to shine. It don’t matter if I like it, or if I’m the best or if I’m the coldest. If people buying it that’s beautiful. That’s the first and foremost part. If everybody can look at it like that it wouldn’t be none of that hate shit. It wouldn’t be cool to say its killing Hip Hop. The only thing that can kill Hip Hop is ourselves if we don’t do the right things. The first thing we gotta do is get along with each other regardless. What do you think it is that causes people to not get along? You guys have been around for years, and we haven’t seen any publicized beefs with you and another artist. MJG: What I see is that it ain’t nothing different. It’s the same shit just a different time. The music industry, problems, fame, critics; it’s always been the same. It’s just been different music and different time. It’s just that Hip Hop music is at the forefront. Eightball: It’s a combination of all kinds of shit. The attitudes, niggas getting bread that never had it gonna cut up, niggas going places they’ve never been gonna cut up. Everybody ain’t gonna get along. But at the same time you never hear a president of a record label tell OZONE
“Sometimes you kill muthafuckers with kindness... I thought about it – man, I should go kill [Joe Weinberger]. But I read a lot and thought about it and I’m like, naw, let this man live in internal hell. That’s what he’s doing right now. That’s why he’s suing 50 Cent...” 88 88
UNCLE LUKE WORDS: JULIA BEVERLY PHOTO: COLIN WILLIAMS
ow hard is it for an artist such as yourself to stay relevant in the game for a long period of time, with trends coming and going so quickly? How hard is it to stay relevant? It’s not hard at all. Not to me, because I’m a businessman first. If I was just an artist I would probably have been lost in the shuffle a long time ago. But I’m in the business of sex, and when people are in the business of sex they stay around for a long time. And I’m consistent with sex, I don’t fuck around. I’m not a gangsta one day and a weed smoker or something the next day. I’m sex all the time! Have you thought of going into the “sex business” full-time? Like full-out porn? Yeah, that’s what I’m doing now. This will probably be my last album as an artist. I have a couple artists on my label, yeah, but I’m going straight sex, porno, adult entertainment. That’s the only way to go. It’s a $57 billion dollar industry. Ads in the porn magazines ain’t like your magazine where you’ve got to spend $10,000 an ad (laughing). In the porn business you can just spend $2,000 with the AVN and you’re good. You don’t have to buy ads, you don’t have to buy videos, you don’t have to spend half a million dollars in promotions and marketing.
Would you describe your new album My Life & Freaky Times as softcore porn, or more mainstream? How explicit is it? It’s Luke. Everything I brought to the table with 2 Live Crew. You have kids, right? What’s your opinion on how much sex kids should be exposed to? Yeah, I’ve got three kids. Kids should stay in kid’s place. I don’t think kids should be exposed to nothing that they ain’t ready for. I coach football, and I’ll have all the kids over at my house. They’ll be in the back room and they talk like grown people. I’m not sayin’ that I condone that, though. They don’t talk crazy around me cause I’ll straighten them out. You’ve gotta know how much they’re ready for. I got a 15-year old daughter and her mother said she was talking to boys. So I got on the phone and told her, “Yo, you talking to boys? You know what them muthafuckers want, right? That’s all they want, to try to get a little piece of the tail.” I talk to them real. At the same time, if they’re talking like that, 9 times out of 10 they’re listening to music like that. To a large to degree they are getting exposed to it through music, but you’ve gotta know how deep to go with them. That’s how I am with my kids. Sometimes they ain’t ready, like my son. He ain’t ready, he’s into that Playstation right now. But as soon as he started talking about them girls, that’s when I’m going to start talking to him hart. He’s gonna be hearing that shit. “Nigga, you better wear a rubber!” Do you think it’s important for the schools to address sex education as well as the parents? Yeah, I think they need to. I think kids nowadays are not like the kids when I was a kid. Nowadays, the kids are exposed to so much more. You’ve got internet, music, fast girls, everything is fast right now. The world is going real fast. You’ve got cell phones now; shit is not slow like it used to be. Back in the day if you had four brothers or something in the house and one phone, you could never get on the goddamn phone. You’d have to wait in line or beat somebody down like you was in a jail cell just to use the phone. So it ain’t like it used to be, and there’s so much shit that they can see and hear these days. They need to be talking about sex at school because these kids are having sex at 13. I don’t know what’s up with their hormones, I guess it’s whatever the hell they’re putting in the chickens. These girls got double D’s at twelve years old. My daughter’s like fuckin’ 5’9” at twelve years old. I hear that the government has been pushing more for abstinence education in schools telling them that the best option is not to do it at all. That’s the wrong thing to do because it’s not realistic. When you talk to kids about what not to do, they’re gonna go do it. It’s just like anything else. You’ve got to use reverse psychology. Back in the day when kids
were told not to listen to my music, they found a way to go get it. They’re gonna sneak around the corner and listen to it. It’s the same thing with sex. If you’re telling them not to have sex, then the cool kids are gonna try to rebel against the adults. Those are the ones that are eventually gonna do shit they don’t even know nothing about cause ain’t nobody talking about it. I think people should have more conversations about sex and the responsibilities that come with it, cause other than that you’re gonna have a whole bunch of people having kids. But when you talk about the fact that kids are exposed to so much more sex these days, don’t you think you had something to do with that? Wasn’t that the purpose of your whole career? No, not necessarily. I think I did open it up for the urban community, yeah. I opened up Pandora’s Box. Right here on South Beach, before, you would’ve seen black girls coming in from the ocean and they wouldn’t have a bikini on. They’d have a towel all wrapped around them. Traditionally, black people are really conservative. They’re more conservative than conservative whites are, in my opinion. Most black households are like Oprah. With this whole tradition of sexuality most black people are nervous about that. So to a dgree, I opened that up so people expose themselves a little more and show their body a little more in a tasteful, classy way, and sometimes in a derogatory way. But I could’ve never put that in a video, cause they would’ve never played it. So on the music standpoint, I opened it up so people can say what they wanna say on a record. But as far as sex, that’s always been here and it’s always gonna be here. I ride by schools right now when I’m going to work, and in my opinion they need to put uniforms on all of ‘em. Some of the girls are walking to school like they’re going to a nightclub. That ain’t my fault, cause there’s a time and a place for everything. You say it’s not your fault, but at the same time, if you opened the doors for women to dress a certain way in videos why are you surprised that kids would want to dress like the women they see on TV? Don’t you think it all ties together? Not necessarily, cause I haven’t had a video in a long time. Here’s what I was taught in my household: kids stay in a kid’s place. If kids are having kids, you’ll run into a situation where the kid’s mama and daddy ain’t gonna conduct themselves in a womanly way or a fatherly way, because they’re just a damn kid too. When I was a kid, when I was up under their roof, I had to be my ass in the fuckin’ house at a certain time. I couldn’t be all in the streets doing whatever I wanted. If my niece came over with some scandalous lookin’ outfit on, she’d have to take that shit off. It’s the responsibility of the parents to regulate their kids. I mean, Playboy’s been around for a hundred years. So music videos, man, that shit don’t do nothing. Back in the days those black exploitation films were worse than the films now. Shit, they had girls on there snorting coke and all that shit. People were exposed to worse things back then than they are right now with a lil’ music video. Do you think prostitution should be legal? It is legal. Shit! You’ve got states right now in the union where sex is legal. Vegas. Everybody wants to go to Vegas, everybody’s got a convention in Vegas. If you ain’t got no money, you can’t get no sex. Most girls want a man with some money. At the end of the day they don’t want no broke-ass man. Why fake it? Shit, come on out of the closet. Do a poll in your magazine: “How many women want a brokeass man?” How many women want a man that can do something for them; that can take them shopping and buy them nice things? That costs money right? How many women want to take care of a man? If any women reading this magazine got a lot of money and wanna wife me, then wife me goddamn it. I’ll quit my job. You can take care of Luke for the rest of his life! On that note – you mentioned that you’re a businessman first, not just an artist. A lot of people may not be familiar with the story of what happened to Luke Records and why you ended up filing bankruptcy. It seems so common nowadays for people to file OZONE
bankruptcy, and it’s kind of surprising to the general public when you hear that someone like Suge Knight or The Source is preparing to go bankrupt. Well, I filed bankruptcy because I was trying to get out of my contract with Sony. At the same time there was a whole bunch of sample lawsuits that I had. Before that, we were sampling everything and there wasn’t no sample issues. Then there was a whole new wave of suing people for sampling records, and I got caught up in that. Right now, there’s a formula where you do certain things and get clearances and shit. After you sign for a record you get clearance. Back then, people wasn’t getting clearances. They was just sampling and using shit and it wasn’t no problem. So I got caught up in that and at the same time I had a bad contract with Sony. They weren’t paying me any more money and they were trying to take all my artists. In my opinion, I had a Judas in my camp at that time – Mr. [Joe] Weinberger. In my opinion, he conspired with Sony against me. So the logical thing for me to do to get out of my contract with them was to file bankruptcy. A lot of people don’t know that that’s a business move. If you do Chapter 11, you can reject any contract. I actually helped T-Boz [of TLC] with that because they were screaming that they were in a bad contract. If any artist is in a bad contract, just file Chapter 11 and you can reject the contract in bankruptcy court. But a lot of people look at Chapter 11 as being something bad. Was the situation with Joe Weinberger a lesson in hiring people that you trust? Most definitely. With everything I was doing at the time, I thought I was doing the right thing – hiring a tax attorney to protect me and making this guy my general in-house lawyer to protect me from lawsuits and all that. I’m not an expert – you can’t be acting like you know every fuckin’ thing. I’m not a lawyer, nor am I an accountant. So you’ve got to trust some of these people with your business deals. A lot of times, people like myself get affected by that. We’re creative artists – we can create and we can market, but we are not lawyers and we’re not accountants. People like that have a tendency to take advantage of people like myself. So the lesson to be learned as far as this business is a deep lesson. It’s not necessarily that you can’t trust nobody, but you’ve got to try to keep these people closet o you. Right now, to be honest with you, I don’t trust lawyers and accountants. I’ll look at them, I’ll double check them, I’ll have five different lawyers check the same set of paperwork. I just don’t trust them. It’s hard to trust these guys. You’ve gotta educate yourself on this business. Read a lot and look at some of the mistakes that people like myself made. You’ve got so many companies that have been affected like this. That’s one of things I was thinking about doing, a documentary on all these black companies like Fergo Sports, Famous Amos, same situations. Some lawyers and accountants stole their company from right up under them. There’s so many stories of creative people wanting to do the right thing and owning their own company. Then you’ve got these slick lawyers stealing people’s companies. They ain’t gonna do no movies like that because we all know who the lawyers are. The majority of them won’t do it; you don’t see that in Hollywood. Are you on good terms with Trick Daddy these days? I’m alright with Trick. But when I read articles in your magazine where he’s sayin’, “When I got out of jail, nobody did shit for me,” I got a problem with that. I love Trick to death, but I got a problem with that. When he got out of jail he stayed with me. When I was putting a bitch out of my house, he stayed with me. We was breakin’ bread together. See that’s why I love Pitbull so much, and I think with cats like Rick [Ross] comin’ up, it ain’t gonna be like that. Some people come up in this game and never say who the fuck put them on. I’ve heard all kinds of fuckin’ stories but I’ve never read the story of how Luke found Trick Daddy. Luke had a tag team disco rap contest, a 4-week contest, and Trick Daddy won. The contestant winner was to get on the next Luke single and get signed by Luke Records. And that’s how he got discovered. Just pay respect. I ain’t never gonna have a problem with him. I love him like a son, but I do know what kind of son he is. And I love Pit like a muthafucker too. Pit was reading all those [Trick Daddy] articles like, “Damn, man, I would never do that.” Pit said he would never turn his back on me, never say that I wasn’t the one that discovered him and put him on. So that’s why he’s got that kind of love. Every artist that I put on, they have some slick shit to say after I make them a millionaire, which I don’t understand. But that was the phase in time where all artists were talking shit about their record companies in that bullshit-ass Source magazine. Please put that in there. What about the other 2 Live Crew members, are you cool with them? 90
Yeah, we’re alright. It’s just a fucked up situation that Lil Joe [Weinberger] holds a lot of the cards with us doing a reunion album. It’s really fucked up. Didn’t Joe try to sue 50 Cent recently? Yeah, for our lyrics [in “In Da Club”]. This guy is making money off something he never created. He never worked one fuckin’ day in the studio. He never pushed no record out of my mama’s garage. This guy is like the fifth member of the group, and it’s really fucked up. I don’t think the story has been put out there enough, cause muthafuckers need to be calling his office saying “What the fuck are you doing?” Me, I had my run-ins with the group members. We had our differences but I put my differences aside. If the fans told me they wanted a fuckin’ 2 Live Crew reunion album, I’d give ‘em that. I’d go on tour with some guys in the group who I might not want to go on tour with. But I’d get up there onstage and do my shit for the fans. But I’m not gonna do it if Joe Weinberger is the fifth member and we’re making the same amount of money. Have you ever thought about getting revenge on Joe or are you just sitting back relying on karma? Sometimes you kill muthafuckers with kindness. Whoever created that phrase is a brilliant muthafucker. If I go fuck him up, beat him up, take him out or do something crazy to this man, I’ll be giving him the satisfaction. But think about it like this: if you leave him alone on this earth, he’s got to be burning up on the inside. And that’s how I really look at that whole situation. He’s got to live with what he did. He’s living in internal hell, I really, truly believe that. I would be putting out of his misery if I was to do something to him like a normal person would do. And I thought about it a couple times – man, I should go kill this muthafucker. But I read a lot and thought about it and I’m like, naw, let this man live in internal hell. That’s what he’s doing right now. That’s why he’s suing 50 Cent, trying to make it seem like I’m suing him. Suing Jay-Z, trying to make it look like Marquis is suing him. Suing the Ying Yang Twins. That’s all this dude does. Is he winning any of these lawsuits? Naw. He’s tryin’ to get them to settle out of court. That’s how he makes his living. He’s like a fuckin’ pirate on a pirate ship. If he walked by right now what would you say? I’d say, “Hey, how you doing, Joe?” cause I know he’s living in hell. That muthafucker fucked up. He’s living in hell. If you go talk to him it’d be like talking to the anti-Christ. My man is fucked up. I talked to him a couple times and helped him try to get out of that situation. He could make himself right. He could come back and just do the right thing and give these guys their money. That’s the record business, you supposed to pay people they royalties. Them guys are really fucked up. Them guys lost a lot of shit. They made business mistakes by going with him during that whole bankruptcy process. He did the divideand-conquer thing. He divided us and told them he could give them a better deal, and they went for that shit. So they put themselves in their own fuckin’ hole. They went for it and Joe an’ them loaned them all kinds of money. He really put them in debt, and had them to the point where he controlled them. That’s why they’re fucked up right now. I told you, karma. Same thing with H-Town. They crossed me with Joe and Sony. 2 Live Crew crossed me and them muthafuckers ain’t sell one fuckin’ record. When H-town did a record on Sony they did not sell one fuckin’ record. See, God don’t like ugly. When that happened, I was like, man, there is a fuckin’ God. That’s why I just let my man live. He could straighten himself out, though. You mentioned that you coach youth football. I heard you and Snoop had a little altercation at the last tournament. Yeah, he had some thugs on his sideline, some straight pussies. We had this All Star game where he brought his team down. For years they had been doin’ so much talking shit, like they were the baddest thing in the world. Nelly brought his team, Puff Daddy brought his team, Snoop brought both of his teams, and both of his teams got the shit beat out of them. Some of his thug friends were kicking my players on the sidelines. These are kids we’re talking about. For some dude to be kicking a kid, that’s fucked up. I asked them to apologize, and his people said they didn’t feel like he needed to apologize. I find that real fuckin’ disgusting. He’s got a son just like I’ve got a son. A lot of us in this business have kids. If one of them dudes would’ve kicked his son on my sideline, he would’ve been ready to fight. And I wouldn’t be mad at him cause I would do the same thing. That’s all I tried to do – tell buddy to straighten up his fuckin’ house, because that’s somebody else’s child. He’s got these kids out there throwing
up gang signs and all that. That ain’t youth football. That’s like me having my children out here with the girls walkin’ around in booty shorts or some shit like that. That wouldn’t be the right thing to do. I seen his kids in the locker room throwing up gang signs and talking about the Crips and all this shit. What kind of program is this dude running? I don’t appreciate that. I don’t appreciate the coaches he’s got in his league, running around acting like fuckin’ thugs around these kids. That’s fucked up to me. Well, back to the sex stuff – we all heard about the Superhead book, and now Nas’ baby mother is putting out a book – Who? What’s her name? I gotta make sure I ain’t have sex with her. Carmen. Nope, I don’t know Carmen. Well anyway, along with this CD you’re putting out, do you think we’re seeing a whole new hip-hop subgenre of groupie tales? Yeah, just wait til Gloria Velez puts out her book. You should publish that bitch, you’d make a lot of money. If Gloria talks about all the people she fucked, man, Gloria got a lot of shit. You seem to have a preoccupation with Gloria Velez. Why is that? It’s something I created that went out of fuckin’ control. She’s my Frankenstein. I created a fuckin’ monster. With women, we don’t really wanna fuck a guy that’s fucked all our friends. But it seems like a lot of rappers fuck with all the same girls. Why is that? Except me. I’m the only one that don’t. But it’s these new rappers and these new NFL players. The football players all done fucked the same girl. I don’t get it – now the rappers are fucking the same girl and they pass her around and then dump them to the football players. That’s crazy, ain’t it? And then the football players make them their wife! That’s fuckin’ crazy. It’s like Tupac said a long time ago: “Every other city we go, same ol’ ho!” But for these dudes to be wifin’ these video hoes, I don’t understand it. Back in the days we never fucked around with the same girl. As far as wifin’ them muthafuckers, never. I don’t even get down like that. I always ask them, “You ever messed with a professional athlete/entertainer/football player/rapper?” I give the whole speech cause I don’t want that shit. As soon as a nigga walks up to her talkin’ about, “I ain’t seen you in a long time!” all she gonna do is get fucked and keep it moving. That’s why I don’t fuck around with nobody in this business. You ain’t met nobody yet that said they been with me. So you didn’t fuck Gloria Velez? Hell naw. I watched her fuck a whole bunch of girls, though, with that double dildo of hers. It’s in my book. I wonder if she still got that muthafuckin’ double dildo. Why don’t you put out Gloria’s book? She’s mad at me and I love her. I created her, fixed that muthafucker up, molded her, and the shit just went haywire! That’s muthafuckin’ Frankenstein, I tell you, but she’s got a lot of fuckin’ potential. Do you respect Superhead as a businesswoman for making money off what she did, or do you look at her as a regular hoe? Superhead, I don’t know what to say about her. I don’t think I respect her. I don’t respect no bitch that goes and fucks everybody. If you’re fuckin’ everybody, multiple niggas, naw, I don’t respect that at all. For her to go write a book about it, she’s obviously madder than a muthafucker. From a business standpoint she’s getting paid off the shit, so I ain’t mad at her. Muthafuckers might say that about my book, but my book is more about the ups and downs and trials and tribulations. There is some wild party shit, but it’s moreso entertaining than just blowing muthafucker’s spot up. You know Ed Lover, he loves the fact that I said he pissed off some girls. The dudes I talk about in My Life & Freaky Times are happy that I put it out there like that. Who else did you talk about besides Ed Lover? Aaron Hall might be mad because he claims that I hooked up him with Gloria, and I talk about Aaron stickin’ his tongue in all the hoes. But he did that shit on video and I didn’t tell him to do that. I mentioned R Kelly to him. I said, “R Kelly’s more freakier than you,” and he said, “Naw he ain’t, gimme a girl,” and started sticking his tongue in the girl’s ass in the middle of the club. So I talk about him. I talk about Fab Five doing the golden shower, but I ain’t call no names so I guess people have to use their imagination. But these girls, boy. I tell you, I’m glad I got a
woman now. I got a girlfriend. How does your girlfriend handle your past and your reputation? I think I might finally have the right girlfriend. See, I fuck with girls that almost look like librarians. She’s alright with it. About a year ago, I had a similar girl and I thought she could handle it, but she couldn’t. So then I tried an ol’ ghetto-ass bitch named Freda. I tried her because I felt that that’s what I needed. You know how you go through these phases? I like the girls that are really politically correct, nice, respectful, educated, independent women. That’s what I like, but when I get those kinds of girls it’s too much pressure for them. So then I’m like, goddamn, I guess I’m gonna have to fuck one of these hoochies or video hoes, right? So that’s what I tried, a hoochie. She wasn’t no video girl, she was a straight hoochie, you know, a ghetto muthafucker. I said, let me try this, fuck it. Maybe I was supposed to be with a ghetto ass muthafucker! Maybe she can deal with my shit. And that didn’t work. How do you feel about the transition that bass music has taken, and the influence that bass music has had? I think there’s a resurgence of it, and that’s why it was perfect timing for me to put this album. I was in Savannah the other night and the girls were screaming, “We want some fuckin’ Luke! Fuck this!” The music has slowed down. If you listen to T.I. and Jeezy and all that, during this time of year people want the music to speed up. The Missy Elliotts and the Busta Rhymes and all that, all that shit is straight bass. It’s coming back, so that’s a good thing. I’m happy about it! But the fucked up part about it is that you’ve got so many muthafuckin’ Miami artists that don’t want to do [bass music]. That’s the crazy part about it! That’s true, cause now you’ve got people like Rick Ross and Cool & Dre who are sort of reinventing the Miami sound. Everybody wants to be hard. Bass music is booty shakin’, it ain’t gangsta, it ain’t hard. To me, bass music is straight party music. I grew up on the streets, though. I don’t think too many niggas have seen and done what the hell I did. But do I wanna rap about it? Hell naw. Under these circumstances, I like smiling right now. I grew up all my life not smiling, doing shit to niggas. I could tell muthafuckers a million stories but that ain’t me. I like to party and make people happy. But it’s crazy, man, I hope this town here realizes that everybody’s gonna make money off it. This is a trendy-ass city and everybody is gonna start making money off bass music. They’ve got to wait for another nigga to do it out of town before they want to do it, which is fucked up. They’re gonna miss the boat again. But this is a crazy ass city here. Rick Ross said that you were one of his top influences when he decided to get into the game. How do you feel about that. I think I’ll probably be more proud of Rick and Pit than anybody, you know? They’re the ones who will take Miami hip-hop to another level from where I took it, because they’re levelheaded people and they’ve been through a lot of bullshit. They’ve seen the bullshit and the jealousy and they’ve seen that me and some other record label executives don’t get along. We’ve never even came together and did nothing – it’s really fucked up that all these record executives around here, you guys done came up after me and we ain’t never really did nothing together. But that ain’t no fault of mine. Are we talking about Ted Lucas? Well, Ted Lucas is a good businessman, from what I know. He’s still around in the business. A lot of people get in the business and soon they’re out. So he must be a good businessman because other than that, he’d be out of gas. It’s just that I don’t really know him. We’ve said “hi” and “bye,” but that’s about it. So I can’t really speak on what kind of cat he is. Like I said, the problem with Miami is that everybody’s jealous of everybody else and everybody wants to out-do everybody else. That’s what makes me sick. You’ve got to do records with all kinds of muthafuckers. Even from an executive standpoint, you don’t see executives coming together and doing shit very often. That’s why I’m happy that Slip-N-Slide and Poe Boy thing came together for the sake of Rick Ross. I’m happy about that. That’s a start. That’s why I look at Pit and Rick and this new kid I got, Blaze, as being the muthafuckers that are really gonna bring the city together and take it to another level. But as far as the other ones, I don’t know what to say. Anything else you’d like to say? The album comes out May 26th. It got pushed back because the record stores saw some of the titles on the back of the audio book andbanned them muthafuckers. But the crazy thing is, it just wouldn’t be right if my record didn’t get banned. OZONE
WORDS: JULIA BEVERLY PHOTO: EARL RANDOLPH
f course, you’ve got the hit record “It’s Goin’ Down” right now. It kinda seems like you came out of nowhere. How long have you been recording and what brought about the interest in it? Since I was 12. I had a lot of cousins that rapped. I used to always rap with my folks. If my mama had company, she’d want me to come in there and rap for everybody. I’d do it and they’d give me money for doin’ it. That’s when I realized that I could do this. So that’s when I started doing it. Were you putting out music independently? Me and my homie Chino Dollar had our own label called Mastermind Music. I ended up signing myself over to Block [Entertainment]. How long ago was that? We did the deal in November. So you really blew up kinda quick. Had you already recorded “It’s Goin’ Down” when you hooked up with Block? Yeah, that’s how he heard about us, cause I was already out there in the streets in the A. I was all around the city pumpini’ my shit, workin’ and shit, and it just started picking up. The song’s got a real catchy hook and all that. Would you basically consider it just a party record or are you trying to say something? It’s not just partying. I could say “It’s goin’ down” for anything! “Man, them boys done pulled out them straps, it’s goin’ down!” Or “Oh man, she brought her and her partna! It’s goin’ down!” Or “Auntie Rose got the goddamn macaroni and cheese and them ribs for Thanksgiving, boy! It’s goin’ down!” So you’re tryin’ to bring that Atlanta slang to the world. Tryin’? That’s what I am doin’, baby! You’ve got that real thick ATL accent. Born and raised? In the A, yeah. A-Town stay down. Where do you see the future of Atlanta music? Of course we had the Outkast and Goodie Mob and Organized Noize sound at one point, then it kinda went to crunk, now it’s snap music. I don’t know. I just know that I’m tryin’ to bring fun back to it, and a sense of realism as well. Now that you’ve got a hit single, do you feel that there’s a lot of pressure to follow that up and avoid the “one-hit wonder” title? Do you feel like you have a follow-up? I feel like I do. I produced my next single and it’s called “I Know You See It.” What led you to start producing? I’ve got ideas. I just wanted to see if I could manifest some of them. If you listen to hooks, man, hooks ain’t nothin’ but melodies. For example I could’ve took that hook “Meet me in the trap, it’s goin’ down,” and play a bass line that’s the same tune. Just by itself, that’s the melody. Are you producing records for any other artists? I got people asking me right now. But I ain’t gonna put [their names] out there just yet. I’m tryin’ to surprise people. How does it feel to be linked up with the legendary Bad Boy? It feels good. I’ve got an official team behind me that’s tryin’ to make it work for me. So it feels great, you know? Shit, I came up! Tell me about your album New Joc City. It comes out June 6th. I talk about some of everything on the album. I talk about real, everyday life. I talk about a chick’s first time with a real dude. I talk about a lot of different things. It’s not just partying. I got some club records and I got some trap records. Are you a trappin’ dude, or a party type of dude? Everybody comes out tryin’ to be hard lately, talking about what they did in the streets and how much drugs they sold and all that. Naw, I’m more like a party type of dude. I ain’t even trippin’ over all that, man. It don’t even matter about how much dope I done sold. That’s the least of my concerns. That’s the last thing people should be worried about. That shit is meaningless to me. If I talk about it at all, I’ma talk about my transition from there til now, you know what I mean?
What do you think is gonna be the key for you to stay in this game and have longevity as an artist? Understanding the youth, even as an adult. You got to understand what they gon’ see. The older you get, the less you get caught up in the hip talk and the little sayings. But the younger people are always evolving. They’re always comin’ up with new talk. Right now, me being 23, if I go to a middle school or a high school they’re gonna be sayin’ some stuff and I’m gonna be like, what? And it wasn’t that long ago that I was in high school. But it just shows you how quick times can change. You’ve got to stay in touch with your youth and keep a sense of reality as well. I’m sure you don’t really want to talk about the whole situation in on the T.I./Yung Joc tour in Cincinnati where T.I.’s assistant was killed. But being that your name was put out there as having some sort of involvement, can you clarify what actually happened that night? There was no involvement. Honestly, no one did anything, from my camp to T.I.’s camp. The dude was intoxicated and that’s where the drama came from. I kept the peace and T.I. kept the peace. It just escalated from that to something else. Does being in a situation like that make you question your career? Naw, it doesn’t make me want to change my career at all. Cause at the end of the day, you’ve got people who go to work a regular 9-5 job and they’re sitting at their desk and some crazy deranged cat comes in there with a gun and shoots up the whole office. That happens. So it doesn’t make me rethink my livelihood but it just makes me more aware that you really have to watch your surroundings, cause at any given time you can be in the midst of a volatile situation. Whenever a rapper dies, everyone says “R.I.P.” and “Stop the violence” and all that, but it seems like people are not listening. What do you think artists like yourself can do to get the message across? As an artist, you become a target, regardless if you’re trying to be or not. You’re already a figure in the hip-hop community. People know who you are and know your background. People can almost look at you and tell how much you’re worth, or have an idea of what you’re worth. If a cat on the street sees a rapper walking by, he’s thinking, “He says he got $50,000 on his wrist. It looks like it. I know I can’t afford it, so, it might be. If I can get that off his wrist, shit, I can go flip that right quick and get some work and flip that and beyond.” You know what I’m sayin’? You gotta think about the way people think sometimes. Sometimes people don’t look at reality. People get caught up in surrealism. I thought art was supposed to imitate life, but I think cats got it twisted. It seems like they let their lives imitate art. As far as me, I don’t really know what needs to be done to keep the peace. All I know is what I do to keep the peace. If I’m involved in a situation, I’ll try my best to defuse it. If it had nothin’ to do with me, then it’s nothin’ I can do. Are the rest of the tour dates with you and T.I. rescheduled? Yeah, due to the circumstances, we had to postpone some of the dates. But I am gonna resume the full tour with T.I. when it’s rescheduled. It’s a couple other tours I’m doing. Right now I’m doing dates on Bow Wow’s tour, and Puff wanted me to let it be known that I’ma be touring with him come July and August. Really, the only criticism I’ve heard about you as an artist is that some people say Block is trying to mold you into Jeezy #2 or put you out the same way Jeezy came out. Do you think there’s any truth to that or do you feel like you stand on your own? I’m on my own. You don’t hear me talking about dope and AKs. You don’t even hear me stuntin’. I mean, that’s not what I do. I don’t do gangsta rap. So for somebody to say that Block is tryin’ to mold me into another Jeezy don’t even make sense. I talk about gangsta shit but I ain’t classified as a gangsta rapper. It’s a difference. So there’s no truth to that shit whatsoever. You know, me and Jeezy are cool. But Jeezy does what he does and I do what I do and we respect each other. Block is not tryin’ to mold me into a G. Joc is Joc. The only thing Block is tryin’ to do is polish me up so I can be an icon, that’s all. Anything else you want to say? I produced my next single and I’m directing my next video. I’m bout to drop the Gangsta Grillz next week called Welcome to my Block, and I’m reading some movie scripts right now.
“Being an artist, it’s hard for a person to get to know you versus that image they see on television or hear on the radio. That’s why I do the music that I do, to motivate people. Hopefully I can get some people to follow and start respecting love and understanding the value of love.” 98
J-SHIN WORDS & PHOTO: JULIA BEVERLY
So what have you been up to lately, since your last interview? I’ve been on a middle school and high school tour for the last three weeks. That’s my main goal with the promotions for this album, to hit up the middle schools, high schools, and colleges, and also do the club stuff. The album drops in August so I’m tryin’ to reach the teens right now. By the time the album drops I’ll be ready to go and start hitting that adult contemporary scene. We’ve been videotaping all the events that we’re doing, especially in the schools. There’s been a nice turn out and a great response so it’s looking pretty good.
hear, I can guarantee there’s somebody out there in the world that went through what that person was talking about.
What’s the difference between performing in a club atmosphere and performing at a school – do you change up your routine? Yeah, when I perform at the middle schools and high schools not only do I perform, but I also step in and talk to them about education and how important it is. A lot of young kids want to get into music, so I talk to them about it. It’s a performance and it’s also motivational.
When you’re in the recording booth, how do you bring that emotion out? Just understanding life. Until you get that time in your life where you can really experience real love – and I’m not talking about puppy love or what you think love is – you can’t sing about it. It’s hard for me to listen to a 16 or 17 year old singing about love when they really don’t understand what it is.
What do you think is the most important thing for kids to hear from you, aside from just “stay in school”? Just having a goal and going for that goal. Life is what you make it, and it all boils down to the decisions you make. I tell them, “Right now, you’re in middle school and high school. You’re with your parents and really don’t have no responsibilities. But time is running out, and soon you’re gonna have to make a decision. Your decision is gonna determine how far you go in life.” That’s what I try to preach to them.
Tell me about the rest of the album. Once again, it’s titled All I Got Is Love, and it’s coming out in August. “If I Fall In Love” is the first single. I got a song called “Perfection,” which is basically just talking about the fact that we all have this imaginary person that we would love to have and marry. Everybody’s looking for perfection: “Somebody I can take home to meet mama / Somebody I can wife up and ice up.”
The single you have out now is called “If I Fall In Love.” Was that based on a personal experience you went through? “If I Fall In Love” was written by Trap; I was the co-writer. The song stems from my past history. I just wanted to touch on the experience of being able to get involved in another relationship after you’ve been in one that really didn’t turn out right. It’s been discussed, but not on a major scale. They don’t wanna talk about love or fallin’ in love, but gangsta need love too. You see the rappers in the street, but what do they do when they leave out of the streets and go home? They’ve got wives, girlfriends, and kids. They humble up. We all need that love. The song is basically about being involved in a relationship where you’re looking for someone that you’re going to love. Before you get into that situation, a lot of times you want to know if that person is going to love you like you love them. That’s what the song is about. So the majority of the album is based on love and relationships? Yeah, it’s about love. The title is All I Got Is Love. Especially being in the position that I’m in, I have a lot of young ladies come my way. And I’ve always got to try to figure out what it is that they really want when they do come to me. Is it the fame, is it the jewelry, is it the money, or is it me? So on this album, I’m telling you that love is all I’ve got. How do you check out a woman’s motives? I’m not gonna say it’s a test, but it is certain things that I do and say just to find out their response. I don’t really wanna give it away, but it helps me find out if they’re into me as a person or just me as an artist. I just ask questions. I try to read into certain things and certain situations. As an artist, trying to find love is hard. Do you think it’s harder or easier for an artist to find real love than the average guy? Being an artist, it’s hard for a person to get to know you versus that image they see on television or hear on the radio. That’s why I do the music that I do, to motivate people. You always hear young kids following certain songs, so that’s why I love what I do. Hopefully I can get some people to follow and start respecting love and understanding the value of love. Do you think that most of the love songs you hear on the radio are exaggerated or represent real life? It’s life. It’s real life. A lot of people say that R&B is over-exaggerated, but that’s not necessarily true. Just because I go through something doesn’t mean that you’ll go through it. With any R&B song that you
It seems like there’s a thin line sometimes between good R&B and bad, corny R&B. What do you think determines the difference? Real R&B has emotion. Back in the day when Marvin Gaye sang “Sexual Healing,” it was heartfelt. He meant what he was saying. That’s real R&B. And then you’ve got….nah. I don’t want to diss nobody. (laughing)
Do you think “the one” exists? Or is it a figment of people’s imaginations. I think in everybody’s heart and mind there’s gonna be someone out there that’s gonna be “the one.” But the person that I feel may be the one for me, might not be “the one” for the other person. It’s a personal choice. That’s perfection. For me, it could be a woman who’s 160 [pounds]. That might be perfection for me, that’s what I want. Or even somebody 170, 220 [pounds]. That’s how we do it down South. I like ‘em thick. Okay, what other songs do you have on the album? I got another joint on there called “Let Go,” which basically talks about a situation where you got a woman that’s with you and she’s sort of nervous. She’s afraid of what’s going to happen next and you’re just telling her to let go. We just finished another song last week with TPain called “Send Me An Email.” That’s about a situation with my girl where we’re going through problems. For some reason we can’t seem to communicate on the phone, so I say, “Send me an email / With all the details.” Yep. That’s what that Blackberry is for. That’s what it’s for. That’s what we wanted to touch on. People are emailing each other everything now. If someone stole your Blackberry what would they find? Oh my goodness. Well, to be honest. I’m a good guy, so it wouldn’t be too bad. But I don’t know about my Nextel with the video and pictures. If they find that one, I’m in trouble. There’s a lot of things happening in Miami’s music scene. Yeah, and that’s a touchy subject because I’m on a mission. Coming from Florida, it’s hard to be R&B. It’s time for me to make people recognize that we’re doing our thing down here when it comes to R&B. When I’m in the studio recording, I wanna sound like J-Shin. But in this industry, there’s no more creativity. Everything is sounding the same and that bothers me. For example – Ne-Yo’s a bad boy, but before NeYo was Usher. Me, J-Shin as an artist, I’m going to continue to have that individuality and that creativity that I have. When you deal with the labels, when Usher dropped they wanted everything to sound like Usher. When Ne-Yo dropped, they’re like, “We need some stuff like Ne-Yo.” As an artist, I don’t want to follow that trend. That’s why I’m happy to be with Southbeat Records. They give me creative control and I’m happy about that. OZONE
JUVENILE REALITY CHECK UTP/Atlantic
SCARFACE MY HOMIES PT. 2 Rap-A-Lot
BUBBA SPARXXX THE CHARM Purple Ribbon/Virgin
When Juvenile hit the mainstream with his instantclassic 400 Degreez in 1998 he set the stage for critics and fans to expect nothing but straight heat for the rest of his career. Even though his next three albums were solid efforts, they lacked the power punches their predecessor. But now with a forced fresh start and new recording environment, Reality Check shows has New Orleans’ finest coming out swinging like a veteran fighter with something to prove.
Making a sequel is always a risk. It has to be just as good as its predecessor to justify its existence and it has to be twice as good to be respected. And with its precursor being heralded as somewhat of a classic, My Homies Part 2 has pretty big shoes to fill.
They say the third time is the charm, and Bubba Sparxxx’s latest offering, The Charm, keeps that phrase in good standing. The album opens with “Represent,” a dry-drummed track that plays as the perfect compliment to Bubba’s beat-for-beat flow patterns. While the hook sings: “It’s your turn, you’re supposed to represent,” he makes sure that that is not the only song he does it on, even if someone else is on the song.
The album opens with the Hurricane Katrina aftermath inspired “Get Ya Hustle On” where he spits that now infamous line: “Everybody need a check from FEMA so he can go and score some cocaiena.” From that point Juve uses his energy to create great music, rather than harp on the obvious despair of his hometown. “Sets Go Up” has Juve and Wacko doing what they do best, making grown man gangsta shit with undeniable hooks. He stays in that mode on “Rock Like That” with Bun B and the Scott Storch-produced “Why Not” where he revisits his trademarked ‘Nolia Boy flow pattern (think the chorus of “Ha”). However, Juve makes some instant vintage with “What’s Happenin” when he flawlessly borrows Sir-Mix-A-Lot’s cadence from “Posse On Broadway.” Juve also satisfies his bounce music and strip club devotees with playa shit like “Loose Booty” featuring Skip and a seemingly rejuvenated 8Ball. Then he gets on some straight Uptown shit with “Holla Back,” giving the P-poppers a new anthem to move to. Not known to take too many risks, the former Hot Boy cools down and makes some R&B flavored cuts as well. “I Know You Know” with Trey Songz has Juve pleading to his significant other that he’s being faithful without being too whiny. On the other hand he warns ladies about falling in lust on the Brian McKnight-produced and assisted “Addicted.” He takes another step out of his comfort zone by allowing more high-profile guest appearances. “Pop U” features Fat Joe and an always engaging Ludacris, but it’s the N.O.-meets-Houston heater “Way I Be Leaning” featuring Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Wacko and Skip that proves to be the highest-point of the album.
Things start off with a bang on “Definition of Real,” where Scarface, Z-Ro and Ice Cube all do a good job of proving why their faces should be next the word in the dictionary. Another banger comes courtesy of “Never Snitch” with ‘Face, Beanie Sigel and The Game letting it be known that they will never talk to cops and don’t mind regulating those who do. As hard as that track is, the strongest song on the album is also the most vulnerable. Z-Ro’s “Man Cry,” a remake of ‘Face’s “I Seen A Man Die,” has the always introspective and lonesome Z-Ro playing the role of the man wasn’t “at peace with God” and needing “to patch it up.” Unfortunately, the highlights are few and far between after that point. “Gotta Get Paid” is vintage ‘Face story telling over slow-rolling Tone Capone production and “Street Lights” featuring Yung Redd and Lil Ron is a traditional Rap-A-Lot cut, but both get lost in the mediocrity that make up the rest of the album. “We Out Here” with Skip and the Ghetto Slaves borrows from some fairly recent Swishahouse production and has a usually entertaining Skip scraping by with a reworked version of his verse from “Nolia Clap.” “Platinum Starz” by Lil’ Flip, Chamillionare & Bun B has dust from 2003 all over it while tracks like “Always” and “Club Bangaz” do little to stand out. The only songs that may catch your attention towards the end of the album are the Geto Boys helmed “My Life” and “Southern Nigga” featuring 8Ball & MJG, Lil’ Keke, Slim Thug, Mr. Lee, Rell and E-Rock.
On what may easily be the album’s best cut Bubba conjures some authentic Dungeon Family magic with Sleepy Brown on “That Man,” where Bubba’s protégé Duddy Ken actually gives his mentor a run for his money. Sparxxx gives another standout effort on “The Other Side” featuring Petey Pablo on the hook, giving listeners an easy-to-consume blend of braggadocio and club talk. Bubba also showcases his introspective skills on the thought-provoking “Ain’t Life Grand” featuring his Purple Ribbon labelmate Scar. He continues in that trend on the soft-guitar laden “Run Away” with pop crooner Frankie J, which has TRL written all over it. Mainstream audiences will also flock to the Mr. Collipark-produced “Ms New Booty” featuring the Ying Yang Twins and the sing-songy “Wonderful.” The only drawback to this solid CD are a couple lapses of reincarnated beats. Bubba reunites with Timbaland for “Hey” which sounds like the skeleton for Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” and on “Gotta Girl” he spits over the beat from TCP’s 2001 single of the same name.
Juve ends with the eerie testimonial “Say It To Me Now” where he answers every question about his career and relationships with one breath. Hands down, this is his strongest effort since 400 Degreez.
While My Homies Part 2 has some pretty decent cuts, it ultimately suffers the same fate as most sequels: It’s not as good as the first one.
Never at a loss of words, and hardly ashamed of his brashness, Bubba deviates from the guitar twang and harmonica formulas of his last two offerings to recreate and reintroduce himself to people who may have counted him out.
- Maurice G. Garland
- Maurice G. Garland
- Maurice G. Garland
mixtapereviews DJ DRAMA & YOUNG JEEZY CAN’T BAN THE SNOWMAN Originally touted as Trap Or Die 2, Can’t Ban the Snowman is running neck and neck with 2005’s mixtape classic. Jeezy opens the CD with “I’m Back,” addressing everything from his baby mama drama to his critics to the notorious news stories on CNN. Listeners are also treated to more music from his CTE partners Slick Pulla and Bloodraw this time around. The jewels of the CD are easily “Say I” featuring Christina Milian and “Burnin’ Up” with Slick and Bloodraw. Also, be sure to peep Slick’s “Verbal Intercourse.” – Maurice G. Garland BIGGA RANKIN & G-MACK HOOD RICH WON’T CUT IT Damn! Kentucky’s been holding out on us. This CD was fire! I’d never heard of G-Mack until I got this CD, but once you hear this kid spit I guarantee you’ll be checking for him. Since the CD is hosted by Bigga Rankin and G-Mack is part of the GTP fam, I figured it was gonna be some of that bouncy Florida type shit, but I was wrong. G-Mack has the swagger of an East coast artist with the lyrics of a down South artist. G-Mack sounds a lil’ like Young Jeezy at times, but that’s a pro as well as a con. His production was tight and he meshed well with each beat he flowed over. Florida mixtape O.G. Bigga Rankin naturally did tha damn thang as far as hosting is concerned, so even if you’re skeptical about copping it because you’ve never heard of G-Mack you can rest assured that Bigga ain’t hosting nothing for a whack artist. - DJ Chuck T DJ DRAMA & YOUNG BUCK CASE DISMISSED!: THE INTRODUCTION OF G-UNIT SOUTH Young Buck is looking to get a new movement brewing via his new G-Unit South imprint, and he is off to a great start. Case Dismissed highlights the label’s new signees Lil Scrappy, All Star, D-Tay, Lil Murder and Hi-C (B.G. is mentioned, but he’s not on here). Highlights include Buck’s solo “I’ll Be Back,” All Star’s remake of Webbie’s “GShit,” and “Move It Like I Do” featuring D-Tay and Hi-C. Marking the first time a G-Unit artist does an official mixtape outside of DJ Whoo Kid, Buck and Drama supply straight heat for an hour and some change. – Maurice G. Garland ACAFOOL GOOD TIMES WITH ACAFOOL Florida native Acafool teams up with an all-star cast of the South’s hottest DJs to bring you Season One of his Good Times mixtape series. Acafool brings something to hip-hop music that the game is lacking very much right now: comedy. This CD had me rolling on the floor laughing. The skits on this CD are funny as hell and his lyrics are a tearjerker too. I’ve never seen an Acafool performance, but I heard it’s like a circus show and Def Comedy Jam all rolled into one. Don’t get it twisted though, Acafool may clown a lot on this mixtape, but his subject matters are real as hell. Songs like “Nasty Girl” and “I Can Feel That” are tracks that every nigga out here should be able to relate too. Some of the skits on the CD can get sort of corny at times, but the good ones definitely outweigh the bad. I really enjoyed this CD from start to finish. Any hip-hop lover that wants to take a break from gun-bussin’ and drug-slangin’ should add this CD to their collection ASAP. - DJ Chuck T DJ CHUCK T & CHARLIEO REAL LIFE GOODFELLAZ VOL. 1 Charlieo’s thick accent is the first thing that catches your ear when you pop in this mixtape. His deep Southern drawl adds a bit of spice to his music and accentuates his style perfectly. I must admit that his lyrics are mediocre, but he makes up for it with his smooth delivery and catchy punch lines. “10 Ones In My Fist” could easily become the strip club anthem of 2006. Songs like “Big Rides, Big Cheese” and “Pushin’ Chevy Machines” will make the dope boyz go crazy. Will the Carolinas finally blow this year? If they have more artists like Charlieo hiding out, most definitely! - DJ Chuck T 104 OZONE
SICKAMORE & JOKAMAN LET THE SHIT BEGIN To be completely honest with you, I didn’t like the title of this CD, and I wasn’t about to review it for that reason alone. With a name like Let The Shit Begin I was almost certain that this CD was going to sound like… well… shit! I was totally mistaken. This mixtape is the shit! Jokaman’s voice is very distinct and unlike any other H-Town artist I’ve heard. His lyrics are also very different from any other H-Town artist. This nigga can rap! Jokaman rides every beat like a seasoned veteran, and talks about a whole lot more than sipping syrup and ridin’ on swangaz. The only bad thing about this mixtape is that the host should’ve had more energy. Sickamore is a laid-back kinda dude, and his technique didn’t quite match Jokaman’s firey rap style. From the time the first song comes on til the time the last one goes off, you can’t deny that despite what his name may lead you to believe, this kid is no joke. – DJ Chuck T BIGGA RANKIN & PLIES 100% REAL NIGGA RADIO VOLUME 2 There’s really no need to review this CD. Anything Bigga Rankin puts out is tight work, and if you didn’t already know that, then you need to be smacked. Plies, a.k.a. “the new nigga at Slip-NSlide,” shows a lot of versatility on this CD. He keeps it hood, but doesn’t get too repetitive. Tracks like “Chopper Zone” and “Bond Money” show that this nigga can damn sure spit some gangsta shit, and then totally flips the script on “I’m Tired Of Lying.” This track is something that every real nigga needs to hear. Plies tends to brag just a lil’ too much about being “the hottest nigga in Florida,” but in this rap game you gotta go for the top if you plan to make it. With Trick Daddy missing in action, Plies has some big shoes to fill. After listening to this CD, I don’t think he’ll have a problem doing just that. – DJ Chuck T
by Malik Abdul
STREET LIFE: A DOCUMETARY www.StreetLifeFilm.com Come take a walk on the wild streets of Detroit, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Chicago, where the hustlers, pimps, and street thugs show you their way of life. It’s all about getting yours. This documentary takes you through the inner city of crack-infested Detroit, where staying strapped is a part of your wardrobe. Street Life is so well put together, it has an official homicide detective giving you the breakdown on why grown men cry and beg for their mamas when they’re being interrogated. He tells how the biggest kingpins snitch on each other for a lighter sentence. There’s no stone left unturned. You have rappers like Lil Flip telling how the rap game and the drug game are similar. It’s all about having good product, and marketing your good product. You can also check out the section with Bushwick Bill of the Geto Boys, talking about betrayal and everyday struggles. This DVD changes states and takes you to the gangbanging capital of the world, Los Angeles, where Daz Dillinger and MC Eiht talk about gangbanging and beatdowns. This two-hour DVD is filled with knowledge and advice. Whether you’re planning to get into the dope game or the music game, there’s plenty of in-depth advice to tell you what to do or what not to do. Of course there are pimps and whores on the DVD, giving advice like a preacher on a Sunday morning. Magic Don Juan, Pimpin’ Ken, and a slew of others talk about the usual, “Keep that hoe in check.” But this DVD also shows the other side of the pimpin’ game: madams. These women have females that they commission to work. They set them up on dates, and they get 70%. Women exploiting women. Detroit’s resident bad boy Trick Trick shows why he always rides with the AK and hates the Feds. The DVD also shows the infamous Trick Trick vs. Trick Daddy beatdown in Detroit. All in all, this is definitely one of the best DVDs out there. I highly recommend that you pick it up.
ALL ACCESS 10th ANNIVERSARY EDITION www.TheDVDMagazine. com All Access’ 10th Anniversary double edition, featuring Young Jeezy and Juelz Santana, is fire! This is definitely the best of both hoods, from up North to down South. These cats are set to take 2006 to another level. While other rappers are beefing, or getting angry about too much Southern music, these two cats are putting all that shit behind them and making good music. All Access gives you the behind-the-scenes view of Jeezy and Juelz sittin’ down, chopping it up, and reviewing Jeezy’s new mixtape. After the Juelz session, Jeezy tells the real story about him and Gucci Mane. But you’ll have to cop this DVD just to hear Jeezy lay it down on Gucci Mane once again. You’ll hear both sides of the story: the bounty on Gucci’s chain and the attempted robbery that left one man dead. That’s right, Gucci Mane is on here too, talking real greasy in his interview with BET’s Mad Linx. On the flipside, it’s a Texas thang with the Boss Hogg Slim Thug and Mike Jones. If these artists aren’t enough to make you want to pick up the DVD, the appearances from The Neptunes, Kay Slay, Jay-Z and the new Rocafella Records, Gloria Velez, and Miami model Montana will definitely heat things up.
THE RAW REPORT LUDACRIS PRESENTS: DISTURBING THA PEACE www.RawReport.com Here, The Raw Report presents its platinum series featuring Disturbing Tha Peace. Since 1999, with the guidance of supermanager Chaka Zulu, this Southern powerhouse has sold over 15 million CDs. Ludacris narrates the DVD, introducing you to each member of the DTP family: longtime DJ Jaycee, hypeman Lil Fate, and other artists like I-20, Lazyeye, and Norfclck. Ludacris lets you know what each member brings to the table, and the DVD also features separate interviews with each of these artists. DTP recently signed Field Mob, who seem to be every happy now that they’re on a label that cares about their creativity. You’ll also see Smoke’s release from prison, and the success of the hot single “Georgia.” This DVD definitely lets you see why each member was chosen by DTP. Shawnna is a beast on the microphone, and she isn’t afraid to let the men know that she has skills in addition to sex appeal. The well-rounded DTP roster also includes R&B artists like Bobby Valentino and Shareefa, as well as the group Playaz Circle.
FIRST ANNUAL OZONE AWARDS: NOMINEES INSIDE!
J-SHIN 8BALL & MJG
PURE AMERICAN PIMPS
UNCLE LUKE’S FREAKY TALES
R.I.P. by TRAE
DA BACKWUDZ SLICK PULLA RASHEEDA YUNG JOC RAY CASH LA CHAT DRE J-SHIN G-MACK DIRTBAG BIG CHIEF DJ KHALED
HOUSTON’S NORTHERN NEIGHBOR GOT NEXT
K-FOXX & SUPA CINDY
THE LADIES OF MIAMI’S 99 JAMZ