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PUBLISHERS: Julia Beverly (JB) Chino EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Julia Beverly (JB) MUSIC EDITOR: ADG CONTRIBUTORS: Bogan, Brian O’Hare, Chris Imani, Cynthia Coutard, Dain Burroughs, Darnella Dunham, Dave Goodson, Felita Knight, Hasan Brown, Iisha Hillmon, Jeska Manrique, Jesse Jazz, Jessica Koslow, J Lash, Katerina Perez, Keith Kennedy, K.G. Mosley, Malik “Copafeel” Abdul, Mercedes, Natalia Gomez, Noel Malcolm, Raandu Avion, Rayfield Warren, Rohit Loomba, Swift, Wally Sparks SALES CONSULTANT: Che’ Johnson LEGAL AFFAIRS: Kyle P. King, P.A. ACCOUNTING: Nikki Kancey CIRCULATION: Mercedes (Strictly Streets) Buggah D. Govanah (On Point) Big Teach (Big Mouth) Efren Mauricio (Direct Promo) STREET REPS / DISTRIBUTORS: Quest, Pat Pat, H Vidal, B-Lord, Kamikaze, Jason Brown, Controller, Lex, Music & More, N’Ron, PhattLipp, Pimp G, Dereck Washington, Dr. Doom, TJ’s DJ’s, DJ Bull, Derek Jurand, Kydd Jo, RobLo, Chilly C, Hollywood, DJ Dap & Marco Mall To subscribe, send a check or money order for $11 (one year) to the main office: Main office: 1516 E. Colonial Dr. Suite 205 Orlando, FL 32803 Phone: 407-447-6063 Fax: 407-447-6064 Web: www.ozonemag.com Miami office: 555 NE 15th St. Suite 7731 Miami, FL 33132 Cover credits: Pitbull and Erick Sermon photos by Julia Beverly. OZONE Magazine is published eleven times annually by OZONE Magazine, Inc. OZONE does not take responsibility for unsolicited materials, misinformation, typographical errors, or misprints. The views contained herein do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or its advertisers. Ads appearing in this magazine are not an endorsement or validation by OZONE Magazine for products or services offered. All photos and illustrations are copyrighted by their respective artists. All other content is copyright 2004 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.
JB – some advice – stop beefing with your haters in the magazine. If you have one if, if not the best, magazine to come out in the last couple of years. Don’t let them take away your shine. Misery loves company and your success is making a lot of people miserable. Just from reading the magazine I can tell that you’re dedicated to what you do and you really work your ass off. You seem to be everywhere. I’m from Miami and I’m up in NYC doing some music projects, and your buzz up here is even picking up. Ignore the non-believers, and when they piss you off, use their ignorance as the fuel to make you go at this dream of yours even stronger. Keep up the excellent work, and don’t give that publicist “bitch” any more satisfaction by letting her know she matters in your world. – Miami Mac, Miamimac305@aol.com I don’t really wanna be judgmental about your mag, but I’m starting to notice it’s starting to get like The Source. I mean, yeah, I see a lot of down South artists on there, but now it seems like it’s only cats that’s in the industry. What happened to all the local support? I still see a lot of groups with talent not being recognized here in O-Town. I was really hoping I could have gotten a blunt review on my album being that you were the first peeps to check it out. But I haven’t gotten one, so if you still have my album Surrealist (Tha Struggle) can you at least email me back and tell me what you think. Without the help of your mag the album is doing pretty well for a debut, but I feel it can go so much further with your help. I’m not trying to knock your mag in any way, just trying to give you some insight coming from a local artist. – Co from Surrealist, Calicosurrealist@aol.com I recently came across the article you wrote on Grandaddy Souf. I know nothing of him or his music, but now will make a note to find it. I dated [the cop that Grandaddy complained of police brutality]. He was nothing but kind to me and my daughter, until one time when he pulled his “rank” as a cop. I told him a story, as a girlfriend telling her boyfriend, and he got the story so twisted and biased that I ended up dealing with legal implications to this day. Pass along my regards to this artist. I realize the article
is well over a year old, but as you can see, years later I still search online for this cop’s name just to find out where he is and what he’s up to these days. The Orlando Sentinel even wrote an article in November 2003 about a lawsuit against him for [police] brutality. – Madelyne T., email@example.com I love your magazine. I’m from Tampa, we’ve got a live hip-hop scene out here. You should come out here more often and catch shows. Y’all are the best hip-hop magazine out. – Illestperiod@aol.com I just read your “Florida Power” interview from last year with Cool & Dre. I believe Cool (Marcello) and Dre (Andre) might have left out a few minor details about they alone starting up Record Room Productions by themselves with their money! Cool & Dre happen to be very talented producers, but when I was running HEAT Music in Miami four years ago, they were our in-house producers. The owner of HEAT, Mr. Dennis Dellinger, spent his money to start up Record Room Productions and purchase the studio equipment. To my knowledge, he still owns 60% of Record Room Productions. I’m happy that Cool & Dre did well, however, they should make good on their commitments to the man that gave them inspiration, money, drive, and power when they had none. Figures that helicopters would make boys excited. What a game. – Fred Held, former VP of Operations of HEAT Music, firstname.lastname@example.org I just picked up my first issue of OZONE mag, and there’s just one word to describe it: fire! You guys are definitely working with something here. Keep up the good work, you’ve got a new subscriber! – PS and Non-U, Zagoodi2@aol.com I loved your “patiently waiting” article on Akon. He’s sweet as fuck. Keep dropping that hot shit! - Diz, email@example.com Correction: We got Terror Squad’s Macho and Raul mixed up in the Memorial Day issue - sorry! We also forgot to mention Kareem Johnson and director Coodie’s partner Chike on Pitbull’s video set.
“Can I take a picture wearing your spinner chain?” - radio personality Obie, to Lloyd Banks “Next time Lil’ Flip says he’s the King of the South, tell that fuck boy I said, ‘Say it in my face.’” - T.I. issuing a challenge at Hot 107’s birthday bash in Atlanta “What up, my niggas?!?” - White Boy, performing to an all-black crowd in New Orleans, LA black rapper can stir “2Pac is the voice of our generation. Are you angry because 2Pac gets so much respect? Furious that a dead Michelle Malkin’s columnist syndicated millions while you pleasure yourself by spelling correctly?” - Anonymous internet response to article blasting 2pac’s poetry as “crap” and women] want to “[Dylan] has acute ghettoitis. He has a self-destruct button and doesn’t take life seriously. [So many young men [they] look at other 35, at serious get to time it’s when spend ten years hanging on the corner, smoking blunts, sleeping all day, and August 2004) (VIBE, Diddy P. them.” at mad be and 16 was they since hustled cats that’s not gonna happen.” “These days hoes think that another bitch gonna grow a dick and stick it to ‘em and get ‘em pregnant, and that’s - Trick Daddy, (Strip Joint Magazine, June/July 2004) gonna get married “Just because you stay a virgin ‘til you’re 21 doesn’t mean you’re gonna find your Prince Charming and then you’re August 2004) (XXL, Banks, Lloyd there.” family your and dress with a big white
re you wondering why both of our feature articles (Pitbull and Jacki-O) are focused on drugs and crime? Originally, this was going to be called the “Hustler’s Edition.” I was planning on doing a whole issue with sort of a F.E.D.S./Don Diva spin. That idea was scrapped due to an unfortunate little inciden earlier this month, which made me not want to write about anything jail-related. Should you ever decide to visit Mississippi, be forewarned that you have no rights. No probable cause, no warrant, no permission? No problem. They will tear your car apart, and even if they don’t find anything, they will still arrest you. A white girl with two black guys must be doing something illegal, right? Grandaddy Souf will be proud to know that “Fuck the law” is now engraved in a Mississippi holding cell. Arggh! Too much information. Go ahead, research me! (Anyone who tries to blackmail me, your voicemail will get erased. Proven fact.)
Anyway, I enjoyed putting together this issue because Pitbull is on the cover, and I’m actually a Pitbull fan. I’m a Pitbull fan because of lines like these: “I’m on the grind, that’s why I’m like, five days, same jeans / But I switch up drawers...”
> T.I. vs. Lil Flip
Is there anyone that T.I. gets along with?
> Vivica Fox
Goes off on 50 Cent at the BET Awards. Ah, ghetto love
> Atlanta Egos
Is there room for all these rappers in one city? What’s up with Scrappy vs. Trillville?
> Petey Pablo
Tsk, tsk. Standing up Clear Channel for 2 major shows is not a good way to get spins
> The Core DJs > Trina & Benzino rumors? Ewwwwwwwwwwww
> Rappers getting arrested
Ja Rule, DMX. Free publicity for dying careers?
> G-Unit dissing R Kelly
50 Cent should just quit while he’s on top
I’m a Pitbull fan because we grind together. I actually have worn the same jeans for five days. When I first heard his “Welcome to Miami” freestyle on the radio two years ago, I knew he was gonna make it. Ever since then, every show, every video shoot, every record pool meeting, Pitbull is there: Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Atlanta, L.A., New York. I see him hustle and he sees me hustle, so there’s mutual respect. I’m a Pitbull fan because he didn’t even hesitate when I suggested we meet at 6am for a photo shoot. Pit is putting in the work and making the sacrifices that a lot of rappers aren’t willing to make, and that’s why his single is currently at #10 on the radio charts. Sipping some Cuban coffee before our shoot, he explained his philosophy: “It’s the little things that count.” The music industry is not about talent. Talent helps, but it’s not enough. It’s the freestyles and drops he does for DJs, it’s the extra effort he puts forth that gives him the edge. It’s how hungry you are that counts. And the struggle is to stay hungry. It’s easy to get to a certain point and feel like you’ve succeeded, so you’ve got to constantly surround yourself with other people that are motivated. Speaking of motivators, lately I haven’t given much ink to my detractors (“haters” is becoming a very tired term). But I must say something to this bitch that knows absolutely nothing about me and yet spends a lot of time talking shit about me to her Atlanta buddies from the safety of her New York office. I have only one word for you, and that word is “karma.” Bitch, you get a paycheck every two weeks and you could be fired at any moment. Don’t knock my hustle. “I’m more than an artist, I’m more than an entertainer / I’m more like an innovator / ‘Cause I did what they weren’t doing / Now they’re doing what I did just to get where I’m at / But it’s too late for that / Now the whole industry gon’ pay for that / A&R’s that passed on my project, what y’all gotta say for that? / Not a damn thang / ‘Cause I started my own campaign / Give me the money, y’all can keep the champagne” Most people think that I have a camera permanently attached. So, after the BET Awards, I decided to leave the camera in the car and just go out and have a good time. Naturally, it turned out to be the photo op of a lifetime. Imagine a house party in downtown Los Angeles where Big Boi, Lil’ Flip, Lil’ Jon & the East Side Boyz, Too Short, David Banner, Jazze Pha, Ciara, the Ying Yang Twins, the YoungBloodz, Petey Pablo, Sleepy Brown, Carl Thomas, Pitbull, Lil’ Scrappy, Jacki-O, and Teedra Moses are all just hanging out. No VIP, no security, no fights. Good shit. In closing, I’d like to give a special thanks to everyone who told me I would never be able to get a camera into Hot 107’s Birthday Bash. MTV couldn’t do it, BET couldn’t do it. I did it. Check out the exclusive pics in an upcoming issue of VIBE. Shouts to Marian at VIBE. Shouts to all the photo editors who don’t return my calls; you’ll be calling soon enough. Shouts to everyone at TVT, SRC/Universal, & TJ’s DJ’s. Shouts to Keinon for the wristband, Nancy for the invite, Branden for the lighter, and Vince for the tip. And now, once again, I will quote Pitbull: “Watch the thoughts that I put on paper turn to paper” - Julia Beverly, firstname.lastname@example.org
Guilty pleasures: Ja Rule f/ R Kelly “I Wonder” & Juvenile, Wacko, & Skip “What Them Brains Like” Cowboy and Baby Capone “Roll Up” 8Ball & MJG “Memphis City Blues” Ying Yang Twins f/ Fat Joe & Pitbull “Salt Shaker (remix)” Tony Sunshine f/ Dirbag & P Diddy “Oh My God” Monica “You Shoulda Known Better” SlyKat f/ Dirtbag “Just Chillin’”
Mario Winans “3 Days Ago” T.I. f/ B.G. “Street Niggas” Lloyd Banks “Til the End” Suave Smooth “What They Do” Akon “Ghetto” Terror Squad “Lean Back” OZONE MAGAZINE JUNE 2004
Nigga, I’m the leader, I’m the truth You just following suit Question for any nigga following you: What kinda nigga take a picture in a Lucky Charms suit? With a lollipop chain and some Leprechaun boots Being lame is a curse you can never undo Even worse, your reputation gon’ forever haunt you If you a sucker at 12, at 22 you one too Regardless of your possessions or who you can run to No matter how many blessings God has placed upon you Your heart pumps syrup so niggas can punk you Keep lying to your fans as long as you want to Tryin’ to shine, rhyming about shit you won’t do Money you never had, and pistols you don’t shoot Your rap career was over when you tried to overthrow the throne Are you retarded? Flip, I ain’t an artist, I’m an ex-con trying hard But it ain’t about being hard, it’s all about where your heart is - T.I. onstage at Hot 107 Birthday Bash Nobody dead knew they would die before they woke It probably started out a beautiful day in weed smoke Last night’s pussy, the murder that she wrote Cold sweating from a nightmare, mind on a C-note Intentions of fulfilling your vision Constantly sidetracked thinkin ‘bout whose your man and who isn’t Maybe it’s necessary maybe you’re overreacting Mabe your actual downfall was that hoe that you clappin’ Maybe your pillow conversations been controlling their actions Maybe your homie overheard and never told you what happened Look behind you when you turn the corner ‘Cause death is promised, you done seen some niggas go before ya And with that lingering in the back of your head You know that it’s possible you won’t make it back to ya bed The confusion and jealosy and dishonor will spin ya But nothin’s worse than when that gunpowder hits ya - Lloyd Banks, “Til the End” I’m about a slave auction away from being you, and vice versa We both worked in the field and called the devil “Massa” Spent days in the sun cotton pickin’, getting weak We trembled at the harsh words massa would speak Murders increased, the beast raped mothers and sis While both sweat and tears crawled on the side of our cheeks There was bloodshed to water the field for a week How the U.S. was built, what a web we weaved Remember that shit, grown men beaten by whips? Taking turns on each others’ beatings, I took your licks We was like this, locked like the mighty black fist We were Afro-kings fighting for our justice Son, the massa had a plan to get us like this Ripped families apart, put us on a price list Got sold at auctions in Spain and England America had our brothers, framed us and turned us on each other - PS and Non-U, Zagoodi2@aol.com, “Used to be Brothers” Let’s reminisce when Martin Luther King had a dream Picture us all on the same team Divided we fall, united we stand Imagine every race joining hands No more racism, no more convicted innocent inmates in prison What’s going on, kids killing kids Guilty caught up in the system My brother, my sister, can we all get along Many soldiers dead and gone
but I’ma keep they spirit alive going throughout this song Let’s keep hope alive Pray to God to forgive our sins Before we self destruct in the end Living life on this earth we can win - Zay, “So Long” Yo, why is Jadakiss as hard as it gets Why is the industry designed to keep the artist in debt And why them dudes ain’t ridin’ if they part of your set And why they never get it poppin’ but they party to death Yeah, and why they gon’ give you life for a murder Turn around and only give you eight months for a burner Why they sellin’ niggas CDs for under a dime If it’s all love, daddy, why you come with your nine? Why my niggas ain’t get that cake Why is a brother up North better than Jordan that ain’t get that break Why you ain’t stackin’ instead of tryin’ to be fly Why is rattin’ at an all-time high Why are you even alive Why they kill Tupac and Chris Why at the bar you ain’t take straight shots instead of poppin’ Cris Why them bullets have to hit that door Why did Kobe have to hit that raw, why he kiss that whore?... Why would niggas push pounds and powder Why did Bush knock down the Towers Why you around them cowards Why Aaliyah have to take that flight Why my nigga D ain’t pull out his Ferrari, why he take that bike? Why they gotta open your package and read your mail Why they stop lettin’ niggas get degrees in jail Why you gotta do eighty-five percent of your time And why do nigggas lie in eighty-five percent of they rhymes Why a nigga always want what he can’t have Why I can’t come through in the pecan Jag Why did crack have to hit so hard Even though it’s almost over, why niggas can’t get no jobs? Why they come up with the witness protection Why they let the Terminator win the election? Come on, pay attention Why sell in the stores when you can sell in the streets Why I say the hottest shit but we sellin’ the least?... Why Halle had to let a white man pop her to get an Oscar Why Denzel have to be crooked before he took it Why they didn’t make the CL6 with a clutch And if you don’t smoke, why the hell you reachin’ for my dutch? Why I rap? ‘Cause I need airtime Why be on the curb with a “Why lie, I need a beer” sign? Why all the young niggas is dyin’ ‘Cause they moms is at work, they pops is gone, they livin’ with iron Why they ain’t give us a cure for AIDS Why my D’s have fiends in the spot on the floor for days Why you screamin like it’s a slug, it’s only the hawk Why my buzz in L.A. ain’t like it is in New York Why you tryin’ to be hard, why ain’t you a thug by choice Why the whole world love my voice I try to tell ‘em that it’s the flow, son And you know why they made the new twenties? ‘Cause I got all the old ones - that’s why - Jadakiss “Why” (“Kiss of Death”)
Email your 16 bars to JB@OZONEMAG.COM for consideration.
01 - Boxers Antonio Tarver, Floyd Mayweather, and Zab Judah @ Terror Squad’s pool party (Miami, FL) 02 - David Banner signing autographs (West Palm Beach, FL) 03 - Chilly C and P Love reppin’ OZONE (Hattiesburg, MS) 04 - Pitbull & crew reppin’ OZONE (Miami, FL) 05 - Jay Love welcomes you to Jamlando (Orlando, FL) 06 - H-Ski and DJ Christion @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 07 - Tigger and Camron @ celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 08 - Peedi Crakk forgives OZONE (Orlando, FL) 09 - Chubby Relle and Bulldog @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 10 - Cordele, Dawgman, and Tez @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 11 - Jadakiss reading OZONE @ Power 95.3 (Orlando, FL) 12 - Sir Knight Train, Piccalo, and White Dawg (Tampa, FL) 13 - Kamikaze, Smoke D, KLC, Tony, and P Boy Stone (Hattiesburg, MS) 14 - Ump tries to prevent Lil’ Wayne from killing a security guard (MIami, FL) 15 - Big Cotton and Kamikaze (Hattiesburg, MS) 16 - Macho and Pistol Pete reppin’ TS on Memorial Day (Miami, FL) 17 - Trick Daddy takes a breather (Miami, FL) 18 - Dre reading OZONE (Miami, FL) 19 - Kareem and Spiff @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 20 - Maximum Security reppin’ OZONE @ Tabu (Orlando, FL) 21 - DJ Christion and Big Money Ced reppin’ OZONE @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) Photos by Julia Beverly
01 - Dre, Supa Cindy, Khaled, and Big Lip @ Terror Squad’s pool party (Miami, FL) 02 - Dawgman, Chubby Relle, and White Dawg @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 03 - R-Senal reppin’ OZONE @ Tabu (Orlando, FL) 04 - Lil’ Flip performing @ 95.3’s Xtreme Auto Expo (Kissimmee, FL) 05 - Dapa, Adept, and DJ GQ @ Tabu (Orlando, FL) 06 - Yogi and Prostyle reppin’ OZONE @ Tabu (Orlando, FL) 07 - Fabolous reppin’ OZONE on South Beach (Miami, FL) 08 - Rated R and DJ Christion (Tampa, FL) 09 - Jesse Jazz and Sandman (Tampa, FL) 10 - Donnie Cross reppin’ OZONE (Hattiesburg, MS) 11 - Piccalo reppin’ OZONE @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 12 - Boston Naud and Greg G @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 13 - Xzibit and Pitbull @ 95.3’s Auto Expo (Kissimmee, FL) 14 - DJ Nasty, Camron, and Juelz Santana @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 15 - Katerina Perez, Nitty Kane, and PhattLipp reppin’ OZONE (West Palm Beach, FL) 16 - Power 95.3’s Jill Strada and Deana Pope with Kerly @ VP Records’ 25th Anniversary (Miami, FL) 17 - Kunsistent-C and Chubby Relle filming Dawgman’s Birthday party @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 18 - Supa Cindy admiring Khaled’s slippers (Miami, FL) 19 - OZONE fan Wendy Day (Hattiesburg, MS) 20 - Mister Rush and C Rena @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL)
#1,2,3,6,7,8,9,10,11,13,14,15,16,17,18,19, 20 Julia Beverly; #5,12 Spiff; #4 Darren Thomas; #13 Sophia Jones
01 - Camron and Juelz Santana @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 02 - Flo-Rida Records @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 03 - Tony B, D Banks, DJ Controller, and Lil’ C @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 04 - Brian, Jill, Deana, Lloyd Banks, Lil’ Shawn, Keinon, and Phil @ 95.3 (Orlando, FL) 05 - TJ Chapman and Keith Kennedy @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 06 - Gotti @ Bulletproof/ Source celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 07 - Mike Jones reppin’ OZONE @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 08 - P Boy Stone and Tony B give a big “fuck you” to the Confederate flag (Hattiesburg, MS) 09 - Pimp Tigger (Miami, FL) 10 - Tony Sunshine, Fat Joe, and Kay Slay @ Terror Squad’s pool party (Miami, FL) 11 - Michael London reppin’ OZONE (Montgomery, AL) 12 - GoodFellaz crew @ Tabu (Orlando, FL) 13 - Big Rich (Hattiesburg, MS) 14 - Martin Luther Bling reppin’ OZONE (Hattiesburg, MS) 15 - Askia Fountain @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 16 - Grandaddy Souf performing @ The Rose (Montgomery, AL) 17 - DJ Khaled @ Terror Squad’s pool party (Miami, FL) 18 - Tanya Stephens reading OZONE @ VP Records’ 25th Anniversary concert (Miami, FL) 19 - 100% and Peedi Crakk reppin’ OZONE @ Tabu (Orlando, FL) 20 - Dawgman and Elkin @ Firestone for Dawgman’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) #1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20 Julia Beverly; #12 Spiff
01 - Smoke D, Wendy Day, and Kamikaze (Hattiesburg, MS) 02 - Dre and Tony Sunshine @ the Eden Roc Hotel (Miami, FL) 03 - Phantom, Remington Steele, and G Bell reppin’ OZONE @ Tabu (Orlando, FL) 04 - Greg G, DJ Sincere, and Jay Love @ Icon (Orlanod, FL) 05 - Larry and the Vellie Boyz reppin’ Lockedown Entertainment and OZONE (Tampa, FL) 06 - Red Alert and Wayne Williams @ Rumi (Miami, FL) 07 - A random couple getting freaky @ Tabu (Orlando, FL) 08 - Juelz Santana reading OZONE @ celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 09 - DJ Lee @ Michael London @ SNA Record Pool (Montgomery, AL) 10 - Jadakiss performing @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 11 - Terror Squad and Varcity Clothing (Miami, FL) 12 - DJ Majick and Infarel @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 13 - Grill and Coach @ Dawgman’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 14 - Jadakiss and the Power 95.3 crew (Orlando, FL) 15 - P Boy Stone, Big Cotton, and Donnie Cross (Hattiesburg, MS) 16 - Macho, DJ Khaled, and Luis Duran (Miami, FL) 17 - Supa Cindy and Ump @ Bulletproof/ Source celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 18 - Young Slim and B-Dazzle (Hattiesburg, MS) 19 - Brian and Alius Mafia reppin’ OZONE (Montgomery, AL) 20 - Pastor Troy checkin’ himself out on the cover of OZONE (Dekalb, MS) 21 - Poe Boy CEO E-Class (Miami, FL)
#1,2,3,4,5,6,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20 Julia Beverly; #7 Spiff; #21 Bogan
01 - Kay Slay and Tigger (Miami, FL) 02 - Michael London and TJ Chapman (Montgomery, AL) 03 - Lil’ Wayne performing @ Firestone for Dawgman’s birthday (Orlando, FL) 04 - Curt, Anicia, Marlon, and Donald @ Tabu (Orlando, FL) 05 - Spiff, Chino, and Prostyle strap up @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 06 - Paradox, Majik Most, and Selph Titled @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 07 - Lil’ Shawn and Obie @ Power 95.3 (Orlando, FL) 08 - DJ Khaled and George Dukes @ Terror Squad pool party (Miami, FL) 09 - Freestyle Steve and Nick Van Exel @ Bulletproof/Source celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 10 - Jadakiss and Mike L @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 11 - Fat Joe chillin’ in the pool (Miami, FL) 12 - Lil’ Wayne and Gotti @ Bulletproof/Source celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 13 - Flx and Mecca @ Dawgman’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 14 - Angel reppin’ Benton Records (Tampa, FL) 15 - Mercedes and Copafeel @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 16 - DirtBag reppin’ OZONE on South Beach (Miami, FL) 17 - B Brian, TJ Chapman, and Keith Kennedy reppin’ OZONE (Montgomery, AL) 18 - Miz and Tony Sunshine (Miami, FL) 19 - Reppin’ OZONE (West Palm Beach, FL) 20 - Wendy Day gives KLC some love (Hattiesburg, MS) 21 - Tony B and Miss Monique reppin’ OZONE (Hattiesburg, MS) 22 - Mike Jones performing @ Firestone Photos by Julia Beverly
01 - B.O.M. Records @ Tabu (Orlando, FL) 02 - Big O and Pitbull @ Crunkfest (Ft. Myers, FL) 03 - Baby Boy (Orlando, FL) 04 - Obie, Brian Gray, Phil Becker, and Jill Strada (Orlando, FL) 05 - Spiff planting OZONEs (Miami, FL) 06 - Poor G-Money can’t stop his staff from loving OZONE (Orlando, FL) 07 - Swirl and Nay Fresh reppin’ OZONE (Miami, FL) 08 - Lloyd Banks signing autographs @ 95.3 (Orlando, FL) 09 - DJ Tecneek and Spiff @ Tabu (Orlando, FL) 10 - Lil Scrappy celebrating Memorial Day (Cancun, Mexico) 11 - Loon and Karen @ the Rollexx for the Pimp Awards (Miami, FL) 12 - DJ Hollywood and the Ying Yang Twins @ Platinum (Birmingham, AL) 13 - Raheim and Smilez @ First Fridays (Orlando, FL) 14 - Wild Bill, David Banner, and DJ Pat Pat @ Crunkfest (Ft. Myers, FL) 15 - Chill Will, Da Sick One, and Big Earl @ Tabu (Orlando, FL) 16 - Murder One Sound and Phantom @ Tabu (Orlando, FL) 17 - DJ Quez, Phil Becker, Christina, Jill Strada, Lil’ Shawn, and DJ Noodles @ Power 95.3’s Xtreme Auto Expo (Kissimmee, FL) 18 - Tank @ celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 19 - Bigg Ramp and 50 Cent (New Orleans, LA) 20 - Cassidy does the rain dance (Miami, FL) 21 - Jay-Ski reppin’ Crunk Juice (Ft. Myers, FL) 22 - Boston Creme @ Tabu (Orlando, FL) 23 - Sonny Chulo and his sister (Orlando, FL)
#1,9,15,16,22,23 Spiff; #4,5,6,8,12 Julia Beverly; #3,13,20 Sophia Jones; #2,14,21 DJ Pat Pat #11,18 Bogan; #7 Farrah Sharpe; #10 Matt Daniels; #17 Jill Strada; #19 Bigg Ramp
01 - Jadakiss, Redman, and Method Man (Daytona Beach, FL) 02 - Yung Wun performing @ Crunkfest (Ft. Myers, FL) 03 - XZibit, Magic Mike, and Ric-A-Che stop by 95.3’s Xtreme Auto Expo (Kissimmee, FL) 04 - Katerina Perez, Nay Fresh, Farrah Sharpe, and Spiff @ celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 05 - Karton, Tim Apple, and Matt (Cancun, Mexico) 06 - Chris & Roman Jones with DJ Entice @ Mansion (MIami, FL) 07 - Un Casa and Smack on South Beach (Miami, FL) 08 - Mr. Mauricio and DJ Entice @ Mansion (Miami, FL) 09 - Chill Will and Warren Sapp @ Tabu (Orlando, FL) 10 - DJ Enuff & DJ Nasty @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 11 - David Banner and Nay Fresh @ celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 12 - Grandaddy Souf and Antonio Tarver @ First Fridays (Orlando, FL) 13 - Cool Runnings reppin’ OZONE @ Dawgman’s birthday (Orlando, FL) 14 - Good friends Orlando and DJ Fader @ Tampa Music Conference (Tampa, FL) 15 - Suave Smooth performing @ Crunkfest (Ft. Myers, FL) 16 - Tony Sunshine and Boo @ celeb bball game (Miami, FL) 17 Streetrunner and Drop @ Terror Squad’s pool party (Miami, FL) 18 - Disco and Pimp J @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 19 - Drunk or crunk? Evil DJ Pat Pat (Ft. Myers, FL) 20 - Blue Divinci and Baby D (Cancun, Mexico) 21 - P.M. performing (West Palm Beach, FL) #1,4,11,16,21 Farrah Sharpe; #7,8,13,17,18 Julia Beverly; #2,15,19 DJ Pat Pat #3,12 Sophia Jones; #5,20 Matt Daniels; #6,10 UMG Corp; #9 Spiff; #14 Sandman
Wendy Day’s name might not be familiar to the general public, but within the industry, she’s built a name for herself by negotiating the terms of record deals for artists like Master P, Eminem, Cash Money, and most recently, David Banner. In the music industry, shady deals and unethical business practices are common, but Wendy has made it her duty to protect the interests of talented artists who are being taken advantage of. Unfortunately, at times she’s been the one taken advantage of. Over the past twelve years, Wendy has learned a thing or two about fame and fortune and the way it changes people.
fund it myself, so financially I’m now in a position where I can afford to do more. And as with any business, the more money you have, the more things you can afford to do.
When you say you’ve been “involved” with a record deal, what exactly does that entail? It’s different in each situation. With [Master] P’s deal, for example, I was involved because one of the guys in his camp didn’t trust the people that were doing the deal for him. It turned out that they were trustworthy, but because they had a very close relationship with Priority, they were worried that there may have been a conflict of interest.
Rap Coalition is sort of like a labor union? Yeah, exactly. We have a health care and dental plan. When an artist is in an unfair contract, they can step to us and we’ll help break their contract. We’re very supportive of artists and their needs.
Do you ever help choose which artists a label will sign, like, do you play an A&R role at all? Not at all. In most situations [the artist] is in a position where they’ve got some leverage, but they haven’t decided to sign yet. I’m kind of a matchmaker. I try to pair the artist with the label that’s best suited for them, because every label is different. Elektra, for example, had the best radio relationships, when they were at their height. It really depends on what the label and the artist needs, I try to find a match that fits so they can both move forward. If you look at all the deals I’ve done, they’ve all gone onto gold or platinum status. That’s more important to me than someone just having a record deal. Have you ever declined to do a deal because you didn’t think it would turn out gold or platinum? I refused to do the deal with B.G. at Koch because I didn’t think that was the best place for him. I gave him my opinion and told him what to look out for, because I didn’t believe he should do that deal. I didn’t believe that Koch could take him platinum, and as it turned out, they couldn’t. Someone [like B.G.] who was double platinum doesn’t turn around and only sell 200,000 units. That’s just unacceptable. But I have to give them credit because they did better with his CD than I thought they would. I didn’t think they could break 100,000, but they broke 200,000. So I have to give them credit for being less whack then I thought they would be. Is there any artist that you think could go platinum on Koch? I think B.G. is a platinum artist, but on Koch, no. Koch is not set up to make their artists platinum. Koch is setup to advance a certain amount of money and make a decent return on their investment. And once they reach the level where they feel they have done enough, they move onto the next project. And they make no secret about that. It’s not a bad thing, that’s just their business philosophy. The problem is when an artist signs to a label and thinks their business philosophy should be different. Of course it’s not going to change; it’s corporate structure. When you started out, how did you get the connections with these record labels to understand how they operate? Keeping my eyes open and asking a lot of artists what their deals entailed, learning who was good at what. Twelve years of grinding, going to music conferences, one-on-one meetings with the labels and artists. It’s a building process. Every year I meet more and more people as I build my repertoire. When did you start the Rap Coalition? In March of 1992. It’s twelve years old. It’s still non-profit. It’s more powerful now than it has ever been, and the company just grows and grows. I
OZONE MAGAZINE JUNE 2004
“After I did [Cash Money’s] deal, I had to sue them to get [my percentage]. I had worked for them free of charge for nine months, and it took me three years to get paid. I got evicted and lost everything that I owned. The sheriff came and put all my shit on the street. It was really ugly.”
What are the most common clauses you’ve found in “unfair” contracts? Labels advance a large amount of money and don’t pay the artist their percentage on the back-end, because they feel they are doing a lot for the project. Most contracts that I deal with, the artist has some control over what percent of their earnings is sent where. Since they’re really paying for it, they should have a right to say where the money goes. Most of the unfair contracts that I see are a split between power of creative control and split of income. What do you warn artists to look for? Areas where the label can “recoup.” What that means is, money they are allowed to put out on the artists’ benefit and take back on the backend. For example, independent radio promotion. That’s where I fight a lot, because the record label feels that no matter how much money they send, they’re gonna recoup it anyway. And very often, they will send money for three or four artists that are signed to the label, and recoup the lump of money from each. So they’re kinda paying themselves four times, taking from each artists’ budget. That’s something an artist needs to be aware of; they have to make sure that they’re only invoiced for their project when it comes to radio promotion. As a consultant, have you ever advised an artist not to sign a record deal? Most often I advise not to sign. The ratio is ten to one. So you think in some situations, it’s better to stay independent? In a lot of situations, yes. It really depends on their goals. There are a lot of artists out there who don’t care about ownership and control. A lot just want fame. And any major deal can give you fame, without the money, as long as they work you properly. It’s just a matter of finding out what the artist needs and desires, outlining the options, and letting them make an informed decision. It’s not like Sony is going to sit down with them and say, “With us, you’ll get fame and no money.” There needs to be some sort of mediator, a balance that defines what each deal involves. Have you ever advised an artist not to sign a contract and the record label renegotiated a better deal? There have been a lot of those situations. But in order to renegotiate, you have to have a certain level of success to begin with. If they really want an artist, they’ll give them a decent contract.
I’ve heard people say that the Cash Money deal you negotiated with Universal was “unprecedented.” How so? Absolutely. Universal was willing to advance money and give them an 80/20 split on the back-end, which is unheard of. They were willing to let them own their masters, 100%. This meant after their 3-year deal, they could take their artists and leave. Why did Universal want Cash Money so badly? Because they were selling. When I met Cash Money, they had put out 31 different CDs in a period of six years. That’s a lot of talent and a lot of music. Universal’s goal, in that deal, was to get market share. They wanted to sell more records, so based on quantity, Cash Money had proven that they could put out six records a year and still do well. Outside of Rap Coalition, what other services do you provide to independent artists or record labels? I consult independent record labels, I help people establish the foundation of their company. I teach them how to sell units, based on what I’ve learned working with people like Master P and Cash Money. People who were able to sell units before getting a deal, kind of like what David Banner did. There’s a million “record labels,” but what would you say separates a Cash Money or a No Limit from the masses? Why are they successful? Cash Money was serious about what they did. They had the right artists at the right time. They had a movement, not just records to sell. With Cash Money – and I hate this term – but it was the whole “bling-bling era” and the movement behind them. Master P had a whole marketing movement. He was the first person to market the way a corporate entity like IBM would market to their clientele. He took it to the next level. He had a better business plan, good music, and an image to back it up. Image and music are equally important in music, because you need both the hype and something to back it up. What route do you usually recommend for independent labels in terms of distribution? I’m a big fan of Select-O-Hits, they’ve always done right by me. I’ve never had something in writing with them, everything I’ve done has been on a handshake. They have never screwed me, and have always paid the artists. I’ve been very fortunate to find good people that can work the record. And I also hire an independent sales staff to work alongside Select-O-Hits’ sales staff. If there are problems with distribution, that’s usually where it occurs. So I acknowledge it before it becomes a problem. How does a distributor like Select-O-Hits work? It’s on consignment. They’re a traditional distributor. Their sole job is to get the album into record stores, and when the record sells, they go and collect the money. They don’t advance money. They are a typical old-school distributor. On the flip side, are there any distributors that you do not recommend? I think Southwest Wholesale sucks in any shape, form, or fashion. I also don’t recommend AMC, because I watched what Twista went through with “Legit Ballin’.” The first two “Legit Ballin’” records that I helped Twista with sold over 200,000 units. When AMC got ahold of it, they only sold 30,000. And it was the best record yet, so that shows me they didn’t know what they were doing. What were the problems you encountered with Southwest? They don’t pay anybody. They have severe payment problems. Artists also claim that they bootleg products on the back-end. Universal Records fined them and banned them from doing business with them for one year, because of bootlegging issues. They were bootlegging records and returning them to Universal for credit, and they got caught. They would press up units that they were returning. It only costs 55 cents to press up, and if you own a pressing plant, it’s even cheaper. And you can return them for a credit of $11.41 each. It’s a nice lick, if you can hit it. What’s the differences that you see between different markets? Like, Houston for example, why do you think they have so many successful independent artists in comparison to other markets? Sensibility. When you have one person that can make it happen, and other people can see that they’re doing, it’s the mentality of, “If he can
do it, I can do it.” In Memphis, it was Three 6 Mafia. They proved that it could be done. In Houston it was DJ Screw. He started putting out screw tapes and selling a ton of them, so other people saw what they were doing and felt like they could do it too. And of course, Southwest Wholesale was based right there in Houston, so people just gravitated towards them and began putting out records. Once they figured out they weren’t getting paid, though, it became a problem. So aside from Rap Coalition, you have an independent consulting firm? Right. The independent consulting company is called PowerMoves. That’s the company that does all the deals. It did the Cash Money deal and David Banner’s deal at Universal. I used to manage artists also. My company was called Visionary Management. I used to manage Twista, Fiend, and others. It made me miserable. I was unhappy as a manager. For me, it was glorified babysitting. Of course, it has to do with the artists that I chose to manage, because they all had problems with their labels that weren’t their fault. They were just in bad situations to begin with, and they were people with strong business minds and I felt like I could make a difference in their lives. But it’s very difficult to work with someone who’s been screwed, because they’re always on the defensive. Although they know you’re trying to help them, it’s still difficult for them to trust you. I was always working with trust issues, even though they knew they could trust me. Everything I did was being secondguessed, and people became very nervous when the money didn’t come in right away. So they began doing side moves that I thought were shady. They felt like they had to do this, to feed their families. It’s a shame, because other than C Murder, David Banner, and Kamikaze, there’s no one that I used to manage that still maintain a relationship with me. I’m very bitter. I haven’t spoken to Twista in three years. So you had a fall-out with Twista? Over what? We had a fight over money. It’s always over money. Twista decided that he didn’t need to pay anyone. He didn’t pay me, he didn’t pay the president of his label – who put up millions of dollars to build up Legit Ballin’ Records – and he just bounced on us. There’s another guy in Chicago that was giving him money to feed his family, and as soon as the money came, he bounced on him too. He knows what he’s done, and he’s tried to get back in touch with me, but I have nothing to say to him. There’s nothing he could say. He fucked up.
“[Managing artists] is like glorified babysitting. It’s very difficult to work with someone who’s been screwed, because they’re always on the defensive. [We] were always working with trust issues. I’m very bitter. [I used to manage Twista], and I haven’t spoken to him in three years.”
Are there any other relationships that soured? Cash Money. After I did their deal, the money came, and I didn’t get paid. I had to sue them to get paid. It took me three years to get paid. And they didn’t understand that I had worked for them free of charge for nine months. I depended on that money they owed me. I couldn’t pay my rent, credit cards. I got evicted and lost everything that I owned. The sheriff came and put all my shit on the street. It was really ugly. For someone who had done such an amazing deal, I shouldn’t have had to pay that price. It was greed and ignorance on their part. How did you feel when you heard that B.G. and Juvenile had left Cash Money? I knew it would happen. I didn’t take it personally, because it wasn’t like I was the only person they didn’t pay. They didn’t pay their studio bills, t-shirt manufacturer, artists, distributors, and the mastering studio. They didn’t pay anybody. And now, it’s obvious what’s happened. They’re done. All their artists have left. It won’t surprise me if Mannie or Wayne leave. They had a beautiful business plan, but once the money came, they just flipped. They were the last people that I thought it would happen to. Anything else you’d like to add? For more information, visit any of my websites: www.RapCointelpro.com, www.RapCoalition.org, www.ArtistsRoyalties.com, or www.Inside-TheIndustry.com - Interview and photo by Julia Beverly, email@example.com
OZONE MAGAZINE JUNE 2004
When we hear the word “comebac k,” we usually envision a middle-ag sport that has long since passed ed athlete returning to compete them by. But in the shifty, fast-pace in a d industry that we know as the rap “comeback” takes on a whole new game, meaning. At age 19, Archie Ever sole is already poised to make one. he burst onto the scene two year When s ago as a charismatic high scho oler with his hit “We Ready,” it like the world was his for the takin seemed g. But in actuality, he was having the world taken from him. “Nig wasn’t handling the money right gas just , and family wasn’t eating,” says Archie of his former recording hom Boy Records. “You had three nigg e Phat as in the situation making some money, but there were fifteen nigg whole squad.” When Archie spea as in the ks on the subject of his first reco rd deal, there’s still a hint of ange voice. But he doesn’t let his past r in his consume him, so he’s reloaded and regrouped with his longtime business partner Superstar to form friend and Tha Dynasty. They’re currently creating a buzz throughout the with their new single, “For Tha Southeast Club.” Since Archie and Superstar have learned from prior experienc can’t wait to show the world that es, Archie he’s still ready. “All this,” he paus es as he points at his top-of-the-lin equipment, “Came from me and e studio [Superstar] sitting at the house sayin g, ‘Fuck this shit, I’m tired of this Let’s start this company.’” Now bullshit. that the company is off the grou nd, plans are underway to relea introducing Superstar and reintrodu se a mixtape cing Archie. It features all-new music and tracks that were sche Archie’s sophomore release, inclu duled for ding songs he recorded with Big Gipp , Petey Pablo, Mack 10, and Bobb & Whitney Houston. – Maurice G. y Brown Garland (Photo: JB)
no management, and no marketing staff, Even though this 20-year-old Baton Rouge native has no record deal, numbers of 15,000+. If you want to sales ve impressi with albums he’s already pressed up four independent to knock at his front door. With have just you call; book Lil’ Boosie for a show, there is no booking agency to way from Jacksonville to Houston is the all gathered he’s buzz street the n, promotio ts grassroo this kind of than most major artists with massive budgets. difficult to fathom. His name is mentioned more on the streets A lot of people be lying,” Boosie explains. He rhymes. my live really How did he get the people’s attention? “I running with Cee-Lo and Young Bleed from camp, first started getting involved with rap through the No Limit Boosie started rapping with Pimp C. With ” trouble, little “a into got Cee-Lo When Camp. ration the Concent him push units throughout Louisiana, helping Mama” “Baby and Big,” It “Do Drink,” his singles like “I Smoke, I that he’s already an “underground s proclaim boldly Boosie , Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Kentucky it was only a matter of time before the legend.” With his buzz steadily picking up on the underground circuit, says nonchalantly. “They’re not talking majors came calling. “I been talking to some major [labels],” Boosie majors start talking right, he’s content the Until more.” for out hold gonna I’m the right numbers right now. e, Boosie prefers to go at it solo. “I entourag an with travel artists grinding alone and independent. While many nal shows, preparing for the promotio some doing y feel more comfortable that way,” he reasons. He’s currentl ed me Boosie,” he explains. “And nicknam momma “My Ass. Bad Boosie album, ent independ fifth his release of m I’m a Bad Ass.” - Photo and words by Julia Beverly, firstname.lastname@example.org
Beezel may be new to the game as a solo artist, but he certainly isn’t new to the rap industry. His single, the thundering “See About Cha,” featuring labelmate Bonecrusher and David Banner, has been a smash on the underground circuit. “We were in a group called the Lyrical Giants, me, Bonecrusher, and Cottin Mouf. We were signed to Erick Sermon’s label and Tommy Boy, but that didn’t work out so we all kinda split up and did our own thing. But, we also still remained as a group.” Even though he doesn’t run around onstage with an enormous belly hanging out, Beezel has now found a record label home with Bonecrusher at Break ‘Em Off Records with distribution through Def Jam South. “Bone looked out for me and talked to the CEO of Break ‘Em Off, ‘Beezel’s tight, you need to sign him.’ That’s basically how it happened.” Now, Beezel himself is starting to look out for upcoming talent. He’s keeping his mind focused as an entrepreneur and businessman, not just a rapper. In the future, he plans to seek out new talent and develop them based on his knowledge of the industry that he’s aquired over the past few years. “I wanna [rap] for a couple more years and then sign some other artists and give them the chance to get out there,” he says. Beezel is confiden t, however, that he’ll satisfy everyone with his new album, Leave it to Beezel, which drops in the fall. His new single, “Luggage,” features Juvenile. “We got a little something for everybody on the album. The ladies, the thugs, the gangstas, and the common man. I ain’t scared to say I’ve worked. I’ve done it all the way down to selling pharmaceuticals.” Beezel has done a little bit of everything, but now it’s his time to shine as a solo artist. – Photo and words by Iisha Hillmon, email@example.com
in basketball to pursue music. Ee-De gave up a promising career Originally from North Carolina, in Atlanta. His athleticism is rds Reco NME by held t showcase He got his big break at a talen and a choreographer. “I act ers danc four de nces, which inclu evident in his lively stage performa got a lot to prove. I gotta ve you’ t, he explains. “As a new artis up his first promotional like every show is my last show,” hing listen to me.” Recently, while finis get out there and force people to ers Record Pool meeting mak Taste DJ’s TJ’s at nce e performa tour, Ee-De put on an impressiv Ee-De’s ballads could compete many DJs in attendance. While which captured the attention of a powerful blend of up-tempo ,” love describes his style as “crunk with most A-list R&B singers, he n to calm down,” he laughs. got a lot of energy, but I know whe tracks and vocal abilities. “I’ve demo to a major label, but his ped shop y easil have d Ee-De coul With looks, charisma, and talent, vice versa. “With an indie and – l leve next can bring him to the win and they take pride he’s confident that NME Records to t wan y y here because they reall r independent label majo label, there’s more focus, especiall next Records is poised to become the experienced staff, and in my music,” Ee-De says. NME ing, back cial finan of tion bina essive com out of the South, boasting an impr e’s single, “Let’s Get To it paign that rivals many majors. Ee-D for his debut album to a marketing and promotional cam Look t. heas dily gaining spins in the Sout firstname.lastname@example.org (Krunk Love Song)” has been stea rly, Beve nationally in September. – Julia be released regionally in July and
Originally managed under The Beatnuts in New York, Nitty Cane landed a record deal at Loud Records and thought he was on his way to the top. Things were looking bright for the young, gritty rapper, but trouble found him instead. An altercation left him shot nine times, confined to a wheelchair, and incarcerated without a record deal. But Nitty used his time wisely. Not only did he have to learn to walk again with the help of a cane (hence the name), he came out of prison with renewed ambition. “I want nothing but to make shit happen. You don’t have to sell out to make it happen in hip-hop.” Nitty moved South, settling in West Palm Beach, FL, where Triple J took notice of Nitty’s skills and set him up with an audition in front of Scarface for Def Jam South. Nitty’s influences include his grandmother (an internationally-a cclaimed tap dancer) and his mother (a popular merengue dancer). But Nitty’s still raw, spitting lines like, “I’m naturally crude / Most times angrily rude.” He started writing as a way to take out his anger and frustration. His “Anger Management” has been featured on the nationwide Slang mixtape, the “West Palm’s Finest” DVD, and has received steady airplay on West Palm’s WMBX. His latest single, “Bang, Bang,” was produced by Terror Squad’s Street Runner and is currentl y a top 10 staple on WMBX’s Local Love countdown. His buzz extends from West Palm, to Brooklyn , to Alaska. “People are sick of wasting their money on trash. Every record you’ll hear, I’m hungry. I am that person you can trust, but never cross.” – Katerina Perez, Katerina@freshentertain ment.net (Photo: JB)
drives an artist to continue their craft; There is something about passion, perseverance, and destiny. Passion whispered amongst the backdrop of promise the is destiny and terrain; rough across perseverance takes them to his close friends, is an artist “Grimo” as known y favorabl artist n their dreams. Mecca, the Haitian-America York, where he was born to New , Brooklyn in began It who’s destiny is sealed by the essence of Haitian pride. to learn the art of writing and reciting. Mecca began he Queens, to d relocate family his When parents. Haitian rhythms, carnival anthems, and dancehall relocated to the Miami area in 1985, where he learned steel pan Society/Luke Records, which allowed under eed) (Yes-N-D album reggae. He appeared on a successful hip-hop popular American songs into translate to ability him to tour for eight months. He began using his bilingual With the help of his management staff Scared.” “Neva and “Snake,” “Damn,” Club,” Da “In as such Creole, Hexmen Management), Mecca gained heavy (Buggah D. Govanah from On Point Entertainment and Glaze from “Ayisien,” is a tribute to Haiti, displaying video, first His radio. am rotation on major Haitian and mainstre ul, happy, and basking in the sun successf are They members of the Haitian community in a positive light. Koneksyon,” is currently creating a stir of “Kreyol , mixtape Mecca’s ns. mountai strong Haiti’s by accented rhythms, tunes, and dialects that have admiration throughout the Miami area and abroad. It features various high-profile artists like T-Vice and with ed perform also He’s time. of been fine-tuned throughout the passage s photos of Mecca mixing and he-scene behind-t Carimi. Mecca’s website, www.hexbattalion.com, features Point Entertainment & Marketing On streams. and ns mountai vast Haiti’s of footage and , mingling
VP RECORDS’ 25th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT The VP Records’ 25th Anniversary show was opened by Tashia and Tamika, who sang the national anthem for both Jamaica and the United States. Next was Ginjah of the Harmony House Family, a very rootsy DJ full of culture. He recently toured with Beres Hammond. Then, Iley Dread and Chrisinti took the stage to warm up the crowd for Marcia Griffiths. Marcia has been in the industry for forty years, so she thanked the crowd for their support. She is truly an icon. She was followed by Bushman and then Sasha, who proved her talent. She had the crowd rockin’ to her vibe. Baby Cham was next, and he totally mashed the place up with his totally new stage presence. He performed a mixture of old and new music and the crowd, especially the women, were in awe. Then, Tanya Stephens introduced Spragga Benz, which was a pleasant surprise. Sanchez was next, looking angelic dressed in all white. His presence commanded respect from the very beginning. Next was T.O.K., who always generates enough energy to get the crowd hype. After the crowd was hype, Shaggy, Ric Roc, and Rayvon brought the energy level up another notch. Shaggy, dressed in grey and white, had the crowd singing every tune from start to finished. He closed out with “It Wasn’t Me.” Maxi Priest performed quite well even though he recently suffered from a heart attack. Of course, he sang “It A Wild World” for the ladies and requested a wild woman! Beres Hammond then opened up his set with “She Loves Me Now” and the crowd decided he had to come back one. Beres’ performance was unforgettable. Sizzla was next, with a humble and spiritual performance. Then, the Energy God himself took the stage: Elephant Man. The crowd did the Pon Di River and Scooby Doo dances, going wild with every tune. I left before the show’s finale, but overall, it was a great day and an appropriate concert to celebrate 25 years. – Roxy Johnson (Photos: JB)
according to tvt records’
PITBULL, there’s only one thing separating the rap game from the drug game: one is a legal hustle; the other isn’t.
photos & interview julia beverly
ake up, muthafucker!” Pitbull barks into his cell phone. “What, you think money grows on trees?” It’s barely 8 am, but the Miami sun is already beating down overhead. Pit shakes his head in mock exasperation. “Dawg, you need to get up.” If there’s one thing Pit can’t tolerate, it’s laziness. According to him, his hustler’s mentality comes from his father. After years of pushing his own product on the streets - first drugs, then music - his hustle is finally starting to pay off. His debut album, M.I.A.M.I. (Money Is A Major Issue), is scheduled for an August 23rd release on TVT Records. There are a million and one rappers claiming they move keys, stash bricks, and stack chips, but Pit sets himself apart from the masses by rhyming about the full spectrum of the drug game and how it relates to the music industry. It seems like a requirement for rappers to be former crack dealers. I’ll give you my personal experience with crack. I sold crack for probably two days, and that’s it. That’s all it took for me to learn. It’s like this: anything that has to do with crack, coke, heroin, is a fucked-up game. I’ll tell you why. I bought myself some yay. I gave it to my dawg that lived on the same floor as me. “Oh, I got you. I’ll teach you how to cook this up.” Cool. He took it. This is how bad crack does people, though. See, I’m lookin’ out for this dude. Lettin’ him eat, whatever. At the same time, he’s supposed to be lookin’ out for me, teaching me how to do the shit. Now, first of all, it’s the worst muthafuckin’ smell when you cookin’ that shit up, right? Number two, he took it and whupped me for my own shit. Since I was a newcomer, like 17, he knew that the stuff that was left at the bottom, he could take it and whip it and make almost a whole ‘nother cookie off the shit. So I’m basically letting this nigga get down on my operation, but since he knew I’m a rookie, he whupped me for my shit. So that’s one strike already, that’s letting me know that I don’t need to be in this game. You already see that people you think you can trust are whuppin’ you from the jump. So I told him to hold the stash for me so my mother wouldn’t see me with the shit. My mother ain’t no dummy, she knows what time it is. She caught me with all types of shit. She threw me out the house like three days later. She ain’t even find no crack or coke, she just found the baggie. She knew that I sold weed, she ain’t care about weed. Weed, to her, should be legalized. She knew I sold weed and she
OZONE MAGAZINE JUNE 2004
done caught me selling acid before, too. She took that shit and flushed it. So she already knew that I’m always doing some shit, but I was trying to be smart about it. So I go back and tell him, “Yo, dawg, let me get that stash.” I already had people ready to buy. I lived in South Miami Heights at the time, and I was peepin’ game. You had three buildings: A, B, and C. I lived in building C, and A was making a killing. So this guy gives me back like a quarter of what he was really supposed to give me. But me being a rookie, I really didn’t know that shit. Later on, I put the puzzle together. I was like, “Yo, dawg, this shit should be coming back more.” I knew it was some raw shit. So he told me his nephew flushed the rest down the toilet. Oh really? Mind you, this nigga lives on the same floor as me, so I really can’t do no crazy shit ‘cause we know each other. So I come to find out that this muthafucker smoked my shit. I didn’t know he smoked. He was on the low with the shit! So that was strike two: he smoked that shit. Strike three; four o’clock in the morning, these muthafuckers are knocking on my door like, “Yo, we need some shit.” My mother was like, “Who the fuck is that?” So that was it for me. I don’t need to be dealing with this. Fuck this bullshit. Then I seen everybody getting locked up and Jump Out coming around getting everybody. Describe the typical buyer; is it someone that’s obviously a drug addict, or people that you would never guess? Oh yeah! You’ve got both. You’ve got muthafuckers that you would never think. But there’s just a certain point where you can just tell. If a person is close to you, there’s warning signs. One: lose weight. Two: lose job. Three: lose personality. Basically lose everything. They look a little dead, you know? But they had people lined up. Everybody. It was so bad, they had grandfathers coming through on bikes that had no wheels, just rims. I didn’t see no pregnant women, thank God. That shit woulda really fucked me up. I seen heroin addicts, too. They’re really fucked up. Always scratchin’ themselves and shit. And crackheads, in Miami when you smoke crack and weed they call ‘em “ginks.” If you smoke crack you start talking all this shit and you think you fuckin’ rule the world. You’ve got a solution to everything. They really don’t know what they’re talking about and they’re just looking for that extra shit. They’ll suck dick, they’ll rob, they’ll do whatever for a hit. They’ll go behind your back and do some shit; that’s one reason rap is like the crack game.
You have a line in one of your songs, “Hustler’s Withdrawal,” that implies that your father was in the drug game also. My father used to do his thing. My father wasn’t really in my life too much growing up, but I did see that it tore my family apart. He took his money and fuckin’ blew that shit. When I was a baby – you know, I don’t remember the shit – but I seen the pictures. He was livin’ it up. When I was growing up I always seen him with a lot of women, a lot of party stuff going on. It was a lot of crazy shit. They had their own little, uh, party favors and shit. Was there a certain point where you realized what he was doing? Oh yeah, I was like six years old. I didn’t realize what he was doing, but I realized it was wrong. I seen the stuff he had on the tables, you know? Y’all could take your imagination and run from there. But I did learn from all that shit. And what’s been instilled in me was his hustle, so in the music game, there it goes again: street game, music game. Same shit. I heard you comment at your video shoot that you’ve never tried crack because you know you’d get addicted. Oh yeah. Because of certain things that happened to me before I was born. I had that shit in me, feel me? Me and my father was talking about this shit the other day, as a matter of fact. He was telling me what happened. In the 80’s they were all into that shit, including my mother and father. Since I had that shit in my system, I know if I tried it I would be hooked. Even though the shit now is nothing compared to what it used to be, it’s all stepped on now. Not that I would know from personal experience, but I know. Did you sell any other drugs? Well, the two days was just crack. I mean, cocaine was a different story. Yay’s a powder form. Crack is the hard form. You take the yay and cook it up and sell the crack. But you could sell the yay by itself. At the end of the day, it just wasn’t worth it to me. I kept saying to myself, “What, am I going to do this all my life?” I ain’t never really have no job. When I did, I hardly ever showed up. But the drug game, it made me what I am today for this music game. It’s training. You always know you’re gonna get hustled or whupped, that’s how you learn.
They get caught up with some women and some shit goes down. God knows who the fuck snitched, but they’re so petty they really don’t know about the law. So the law beats them. “Muthafucker, I’mma give you ten years for this.” And they get scared and snitch. And that’s how it all gets fucked up. On the other hand, the muthafucker that knows what the fuck he’s doing sits there and goes, “Do what you’ve gotta do, but I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Feel me? ‘Cause he’s on a different level. And that’s basically the rap game. Jigga? He’s on a different level. He knows what the fuck he’s talking about, and he could step into a room full of corporate muthafuckers and talk sophisticated. And even if he don’t talk sophisticated, they have to respect him because this muthafucker knows how to make money, and that’s all they give a fuck about. All you wanna do is make money. They say money is the root of all evil, but where do we all first read, “In God We Trust?” Money. What do you think of the theory that the United States government introduced crack into the ‘hood? Oh, they probably did. I don’t doubt that. ‘Cause who the fuck in the hood is gonna be like, “Let me put this shit with some baking soda, cook it up, and see what the fuck I make?” You know? Bullshit. They’ve probably done a lot of shit. The government has done a lot of shit that we don’t know about, but it’s better that way. I don’t think a lot of people could handle that shit. As conservative as all these muthafuckers try to be, they’re the biggest fuckin’ thieves in this muthafucker. So why do you think so many rappers rhyme about selling crack like it’s a badge of honor or something? Because they’re fuckin’ idiots. That’s what I’m here to tell these muthafuckers. Think about it like this, right? Look at the Mafia. Look how they move. Everything is silence. Stay quiet about what the fuck you do. The less you talk about what you do, the more you’re gonna get away with. Based on some of the things people rap about, do you think the police are justified in having “hip-hop cops?” Oh my God. See, it’s cool to talk about what you’ve been through. But when you start mentioning names, and what those names did, and how they did it, you’re fuckin’ silver-plattering it and shit. You can use shit in a way where it doesn’t incriminate nobody. And it influences people. Even myself, I had a moment in my life where I had entertainment and reality crossed where I’m thinking I really gotta be like these muthafuckers. Going through an identity crisis and shit, where you really don’t know who the fuck you are. But I grew out of it through paying dues, all the bumps in the road that I hit. But it’s like, look, dawg, if you love to sell crack so muthafuckin’ much, why are you rapping? Instead of rapping about how much you love to sell crack, then rap your ass off and go back to the block. No one loves to sell crack! That’s the whole point, that’s why you’re rapping. So you won’t have to sell crack, or whatever the fuck you sell. Muthafuckers don’t just get rich off crack, especially not these days because the product isn’t the same. The crack game is becoming what the rap game is becoming: everybody wants to do it.
“[music] influences people. i had a moment in my life where i had entertainment and reality crossed.”
Some people say that selling drugs was their only way to survive. But is that really the only option? Well, here’s what happens in the hood. These muthafuckers run the hood. The drug dealers are the ones you wanna grow up to be like. Some of these muthafuckers have kids in private school with two or three cars and a nice fuckin’ house. Now, that shit makes sense. But standing out on the corner doing this shit and hanging out with your peoples and smokin’ one? That shit don’t make sense to me. That’s the hood. The hood does that to buy some fuckin’ sneakers and shit. There’s always someone who supplies someone, who supplies someone else. So as petty as the shit they pushin’, that’s how petty their mentality is sometimes. Drug dealing is like the NBA draft pick; only certain muthafuckers make it to the league. And when hood muthafuckers see another muthafucker coming up, they connect with him and then they wanna rob him. So that’s why it’s like, “That’s my only option,” cause that’s all you have around you. You’re a product of your environment. You don’t have nobody around you talkin’ about, “Yeah, look at my nice car from my fuckin’ 9to-5 job.” That’s bullshit. And a hood muthafucker probably couldn’t even get a 9-to-5 if he tried. So you’re a product of your environment.
How does the drug game turn into the murder game? Look, I’ll tell you what happens, and it’s just like being an artist. Here we go again. Ready guys? Street game, drug game. Similarities. Let’s say an artist gets a little big of money and thinks he’s a superstar. He wants to go to the clubs and fuck the bitches. So what if security stops him at the door? “Dawg, how you tellin’ me I can’t get in the club? I’m fuckin’ Joe Schmoe from the Grove, I’m that muthafucker.” On the other hand, the smart muthafucker that’s got money doesn’t have a lot of jewelry and he’s not flossin’, but niggas know he’s the muthafucker. So if he can’t get in the club, he says, “Aight, no problem, man.” Then he makes a call, asks for a favor, and he’s in. Smart muthafuckers know how to work their way around things. See, what happens is that these muthafuckers push drugs and get they hands on a lil’ bit of money. It’s called “new money.” They buy jewelry, rims, but they’re still stayin’ with their moms at the crib. A dumb muthafucker blows 15k on some stupid shit. A smart muthafucker takes that 15k and buys a low-key car for 5k, invests 5k in realty, and takes the other 5k and flips it. And there are a lot of illegal hustles on the street, but there are also legal hustles. Thank God I had older mutahfuckers to teach me this shit, cause if not I’d be one of these ignorant muthafuckers. And most of these problems start and end with women.
Describe the average drug dealer. The typical dealer is an arrogant-ass muthafucker. Made a little bit of money and thinks he’s on top of the world, basically. I see those with a lot of money that don’t know what to do with it. You’ve got those that slipped through the cracks and stumbled on a great connect, and then they’re so stupid that they fuck up the connect cause they just happened to get all this money in one shot. Then you’ve got those who are laid-back and cool, everybody respect them. Why? Cause they ain’t try to do no dirt to nobody. Good business. Feel me? He takes care of his peoples, comes back and shoots some shit to the people in the neighborhood. Those people are looked up to. Those are the ones that become urban legends, folk tales. And then you’ve got those who don’t know what they fuck they’re doing and they just fuck shit up. And they’re just doing it to be that person. They don’t even need to do it. How does the drug game affect the rest of the community? It’s destructive. It’s a domino effect. It goes from the dealer, to the fiend, and then whatever the fiend has to do to get money. They’ll steal from their own family, rob anybody in the neighborhood, and then these cats end up fighting over fiends. The dealers don’t give a fuck what they’re doing to the community. It’s all about making money. If you gotta eat you gotta eat, that’s all they know. Some of these muthafuckers can’t even read or write, but they can sell some shit and make money. They’re hustlers. But that’s why the music game is fucked up like it is right now, cause all these muthafuckers got that street mentality and they just know how to flip shit. Right now it’s saturated. And the rap game is just like OZONE MAGAZINE JUNE 2004
“a lot of parents are trying to mold [their kids] into these perfect human beings which don’t fuckin’ exist.”
the drug game. You’ve got some people that’ll double-cross you real quick, some people that don’t know how to act, people that know how to quadruple their money. Hustlers that can flip shit. But the biggest comparison is that you’re out here trying to get these people hooked on your shit; your product. That’s basically it, in a nutshell.
Without naming any names, have you seen any instances where rappers have destroyed their careers because of drugs? I haven’t had any personal experiences seeing an artist on that shit, but I’ve heard stories. A lot of these people are on cloud nine and they think it’s never gonna come tumbling down. When it does it fucks them up so bad, mentally and emotionally, that they’ve gotta turn to drugs to think they’re successful again. Everyone has addictions. What are yours? My problems are women, and liquor. I’m not an alcoholic, per say. I don’t drink every day, and it’s not like I have to drink when I wake up. But I got alcoholism in my blood, so I know that if I drink and drink and drink, by the time I’m thirty I’m gonna have to have that drink. I try to take it easy with that shit. I already caught a DUI. And groupies, I try to stay away from them because it’s a problem. I’ve had all my fun. I used to go on the road with Luke, I’ve seen a lot of shit. I learned a lot from that muthafucker. I know that pussy makes the world go ‘round, and like I tell women all the time, pussy is powerful. I mean, I fuck around sometimes, but for the most part I just stay to myself. I got a daughter and a son, and a baby mother that I love to death! That’s my heart, but she know I be fuckin’ around and all that bullshit. And at the end of the day, you know what’s gonna happen? Tables turn. Karma. As for these groupies out here, I just let the crew fuck around with ‘em. I think it’s usually the people that’s with the artist that fuck with groupies, just because they know they can fuck whatever’s there. And it’s fun to them. It was fun to me too, at one time. It’d be fun to me if fuckin’ J. Lo gave me a piece of groupie ass, that’d be beautiful. Your mentality changed? Oh, of course. Having children makes me go out there with that attitude, you know, it’s like I gotta get this shit. I gotta make this shit happen. And the way I’mma be with my daughter, it’s different. I can’t tell my daughter, “You can’t do this, you can’t do that.” She’s gonna be what she’s gonna be. I can’t ever be mad at her, ‘cause I love her to death. She could
turn out to be whatever she wants to be, I just want her to know that I understand. A lot of these women out here, and it’s fucked up, I know a lot of them – even my mother – were raped as young women. Being raped, that lowers their self-esteem. They feel like they’ve been stripped of their value and they just go out looking for love in all the wrong places. All they want is that affection, feel me? I know because of my mother. My mother, to this day, she’s still traumatized by that shit. What’s your relationship like with your father? I love my father to death. I talk to my father about everything. My father’s a real father. Not in the sense that he was there throughout my life – ‘cause he wasn’t, he was caught up in his own shit. But he’s a real father in the sense that we can sit down and talk real shit. He talks about what he used to do in the 80’s, I can talk about what I do now and what I used to do to get money and all that shit. You know, we just relate to each other. He sees me as him, back in the day. Now that you have kids, do you think you’ll be there for them? Oh fuck. I gotta be there. Because I don’t want them to live like that. I used to hate my father. If it wasn’t for my mother telling me, “Look, he’s sick,” I’d hate that nigga to this muthafuckin’ day. Being an alcoholic is a sickness, and my father was an alcoholic. But the more I grow and learn and work with people and hustle, the more I see that I’m just like him. So I don’t hold no grudge against him. Me, I’m very fortunate and very happy to be raised the way I was raised and live the life that I’ve lived, ‘cause it’s built me. It build my character. A muthafucker can’t tell me shit at the end of the day: I love the fact that my life is the way it is. If you could change anything, what would you change? We gotta be more open. Everything is so hush-hush. Some people won’t talk about sex or drugs, like it’s not a part of the real world. A lot of kids’ parents are trying to mold them into these perfect human beings which don’t fuckin’ exist. “Don’t do this, don’t do that.” They should just be honest. Tell ‘em, “I tried that when I was in college, and here’s what happened...” The kids’ll be like, “Oh, shit.” Just let them know that it’s alright to fuck up. But no, we’re trying to breed these perfect human beings. And their son is getting fucked up, fuckin’ everything raw, just to be like, “Fuck my parents.” And the daughter? Oh, God. You don’t even wanna know about the daughter. She’s running around fuckin’ having a great fuckin’ time, like a bird out of the cage. You know?
ven in hip-hop, where many rappers wear their criminal background and bullet wounds with pride to prove their “realness,” like Jadakiss says, “Rappers lie in 85% of [their] rhymes.” But ask any male rapper or producer who’s heard Jacki-O spit and he’ll tell you: “She’s raw. She’s real. She raps about nigga shit.” A quick check of her arrest record reveals that her gangsta braggadocio isn’t just talk: Jacki-O has truly lived her rhymes. Before rap became her top priority, she survived life in Miami’s Liberty City by any means necessary. In this OZONE exclusive, Jacki-O explains that although she doesn’t condone everything she’s done, all the experiences she’s lived through have given her the hustle and the street smarts to make it as a businesswoman and female rapper in the music game.
you do? You have to do what you can to feed your family. If you try to get a “real” job, first you gotta find somewhere that’s hiring. Second, you gotta figure out what to write on the application to make them hire you. Third, you gotta pray they don’t find out about your prior convictions, because if they do, they’re gonna fire you as fast as they hired you. And four, even if you do get the job, it’s gonna take you two weeks to get a check. So what are you supposed to do during that time? Are you gonna starve to death or get out there and put food on the table?
What was the first time you got arrested? In elementary school, I got arrested for stealing. My lil’ friend that I was going to school with, she used to tell me every day, “Let’s go to the store.” I used to always be like, “Nah,” ‘cause I knew we ain’t have no money. She was like, “It’s easy to get something.” I don’t remember what I stole, I think it was a diary or something. I got my ass tore up. I got three whuppings: one from my auntie, one from my momma, and one from my grandmomma. I didn’t steal for a long time after that, but you know, after I got to the age where I didn’t care about no ass-whupping, it was back to stealing.
You were charged with carrying a concealed firearm? Why did you start carrying a gun? ‘Cause a girl needs protection out here. You never know what kind of pillow talk your best friend is having with her man at night. They might be sitting around talking about what a bitch got and how they can get it. You never know.
What was your strategy? Before you even go in the store, you make sure you got somebody with you that’ll watch your back. A lot of stores have floor watchers. You’ll see these people that are “shopping” but they actually work for the store. They’ll be in plainclothes, walking around in the same department all the time. You might see a man in the womens’ department, just walking. You can spot a floor walker from a mile away. They don’t have shit in their hands and they never check out. You just watch and pay attention. You see who’s who. If you hit the store a few times, you gonna know the management, the floor walkers, everybody. What’s the best items to take? Whatever you can sell. That’s how you pay your bills. You’ll start to get orders from somebody ‘cause they know you boost, they’ll give you their sizes and everything. But if you talking about electronic shit, you know, TVs, refrigerators, you know, shit like that. Or wood. Niggas build houses now, they be needing plywood.
How does a booster get stuff out of the store? Girdles, buzzer bags, or if the store real sweet, a person could walk in there with two or three garbage bags. A buzzer bag is something that a booster makes for stealing. It’s wrapped in aluminum foil. When I say “real sweet,” I mean there’s only one person working and she scared. She might know somebody is stealing, but she really don’t care cause it ain’t her shit. Or, there’s two or three people in the store, but they’re all really together. She’s helping one or two people so the other one can steal. What kind of stores are we talking about? I’m talking about high-end stores, designer gear. If you steal bullshit you ain’t gonna get no money. You gotta steal good shit that the average working person can’t afford. That’s why people are gonna buy it. But when the store’s hot, you can’t get no money like that. You got your other game: credit cards. How do you make sure credit cards don’t get traced back to you? You never ship nothing to the spot where you lay your head at. You never use your own phone, and you damn sure don’t keep a lot of people in your game room. Only deal with people that you know are gonna buy your shit. Have you ever had a “real” job? Tried that. Didn’t like it. I wanted to be in control of my own destiny. I just know that what I went through in life prepared me for what I’m doing now. I’m not condoning where I come from, I’m not saying it’s okay to do these things. What I’m saying is, when your back is up against the wall, what else can you do to eat? Especially when you have prior convictions. WIthout beign bilingual, what else can you do when you’re living in a jungle? Hustling isn’t right and it’s not easier than a real job, it’s just faster. And it’s better money. Were you ever worried about the risks? Yes. You think about the risks and you know it’s not right, but what else can
What about stores that have security cameras? You know what they say: all black people look alike anyway. And you cover your tracks.
Do you believe the saying that if you live by the gun, you die by the gun? I mean, were you worried about it coming back at you? You know it’ll come back to you, you just hope that God will be a little lenient. Was God lenient? Very. I had a prayin’ momma, so I’m very, very blessed. And I’mma tell you a funny story. When I got my first lump sum of money – legal money, from music – I opened up a checking account. Actually, it was a savings account. And because I be out of town all the time, I wanted my momma to be on my account with me. True story. And I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t come to the bank with me. She thought I was doing something illegal. I was like, damn. My own momma ain’t really want to get on the account with me. That was a real wakeup call. When you rhyme about your experiences, do you think that would influence other people listening to try the same things? I wouldn’t encourage anybody to do what I did. I would just tell them the cause and effect. I’m not ever gonna say the cause without saying the effect.
How would a booster sell their products? They have their regular customers, and they know where to find their customers. How much cheaper does a booster sell products than the store? Half price. Or if it’s a good customer they would get a good price because they’ll always buy your stuff even if they don’t need. Did you get involved in drugs? I did two years house arrest for allegedly trafficking cocaine. I’m not gonna say I did it, but I got charged with it. Back then I had a car with tints, and you couldn’t be riding with no tints, especially if you dirty and Jump Out is around. What is Jump Out? Jump Out is the police in unmarked cars. They usually come out Tuesdays and Thursdays in Miami, in Liberty City. They could be in any kind of car, a Chevy Blazer with music playing or a Monte Carlo with 20” rims. You never know what kind of car they’ll be in, so you won’t know it’s them until they pull you over. All they do is ride around in the hood and catch you slippin’. That’s their job. What else were you arrested for? Let’s just say I got caught slipping a lot. Aggravated assault, carrying a concealed firearm. Aggravated assault? What was that all about? That was some hoe shit. You know how it is when hoes bring drama. Being from Liberty City, what kind of guys did you date? To be honest with you, all my boyfriends have sold crack. Not that I wouldn’t date a corporate nigga, but I don’t know no corporate nigga in Liberty City.
OZONE MAGAZINE JUNE 2004
By dating them, did you learn anything about crack? I learned a lot of things, and I taught them a couple things too. Like, there’s 28 grams in an ounce unless you catch a duck from out of town. Do you think getting into rap helped you get out of the streets? Rap? What? Shit. They say the halfway house is your last chance. Shit, this is all I’ve got. Rap is all I’m betting on. So whoever bettin’ on me, put all your money on me ‘cause I’m gonna win. I ain’t trying to go back to all that. I know how it is. I’ve got friends that are still ridin’ ten-year bids. After all the things you’ve been through, if you had the opportunity, do you think you’d change anything or redo anything? I don’t think I’d change nothing. Because everything I went through in my life prepared me for what I’m doing now, the whole mentality of being strong-minded and keeping a good head on your shoulders. Believe it or not, all that shit comes from your upbringing. I know plenty of females that wouldn’t be able to survive. If you took a girl out of a corporate job right now and put her in Liberty City, that jungle, she wouldn’t make it. You gotta be able to survive anywhere, and that’s what Miami taught me: to go and make it anywhere. My brothers was in the Feds when I was a little girl. I ain’t really have no role models, I was the first one in my family to even go to a community college. Nobody was there to say, “Don’t do that.” I was the breadwinner. All those things I went through taught me how to manage my money, because I don’t ever wanna be broke again. I come from nothing, so it’s a blessing to still be here. People counted me out a long time ago. I don’t understand why people don’t want to see other people grow. I learned to maintain what I have. I own my own entertainment company, my own publishing company. I’m a businesswoman now, and everything that I went through in my life has prepared me for this. So to answer your question, no, I wouldn’t change anything. How many brothers and sisters do you have? Two sisters, two brothers. And they all out, all of ‘em out. Thank God my mom finally has all her kids out of the system.
Do you believe in the idea that you’re a product of your environment? Depends. There’s a lot of people I know that came from good families and ain’t got no business selling drugs, so I ain’t really gonna blame it on the environment. It’s ‘cause you felt like you could do that for now to make ends meet, or for whatever reason. You there ‘cause you wanna be there. I ain’t have to be there. I was doing it ‘cause I wanted to do it. I ain’t have to be runnin’ with hoes, fighting and stealing. I could have changed early in life. I could’ve went to college, pledged a sorority and all that shit, but I ain’t want that. I liked being able to wake up in the morning, go hit the stores, and get rid of my shit by noontime, one o’clock. I got my rent paid. I ain’t have to work all day. Some girls lay around and fuck niggas for money, look for ballplayers. Different people take different routes to get money. My route was to get it on my own, I was just that type of bitch. Don’t get me wrong, I like a rich nigga just as much as any other bitch, but I can’t sit around waiting for him to pay my bills. Work forty hours and week and come home with $230? Shit. Not me. The freedom, the money, and plus, I felt comfortable doing it. It’s a high. You take a risk and you start to get addicted to that shit. I used to feel good about it, but now I look back and think, I ain’t have to do that. I coulda went another route. What advice would you give to younger people who are on the streets? The way the economy is, if we don’t get out to vote and get these people out of office, there won’t be any jobs for us. African-Americans can’t get a job without being bilingual. We’ve gotta get our ass in the polls and vote to help make more jobs. It ain’t no hope for us if we don’t vote. I ain’t gonna blame it all on the system, but we need to get off our asses and vote.
from my hometown, people putting Florida on the map. I’m saying, well, shit, I could do that. I ain’t gotta be stealing. I know how to rap, I know how to write. And I knew when I got into this music game that you can’t be playing. People are investing their money and you out there trying to do dumb shit? Not only are you gonna lose somebody’s investment, but it’s over for you. I stopped all that shit, I got serious. If you had the choice, would you rather do prison time or house arrest? Prison, cause I woulda only done eight months. Is there anything else you’ve been arrested for? I almost got arrested for walking around with body paint. You know, they don’t like me when I’m a thug and they hate me when I’m nasty. A girl can’t hang. That’s my signature look, I like to tease the guys with just a little bit of paint. Are men intimidated by your hustle? I wouldn’t say intimidated, I would say insecure. A lot of men feel insecure when they see a woman making more money than they make. For a long time I didn’t even have a steady boyfriend, ‘cause if a nigga wasn’t gonna match what I was doing, bring home what I was bringing home, I wasn’t fuckin’ with him. And I had a hustle, you could check my credit on the streets. If two hustlers are in a relationship together, do you think it becomes a competitive thing? Not really a competitive thing, ‘cause if both of y’all are on that same wavelength y’all could build together. You can save and have things together and take over the world. But you just don’t want no nigga that’s bullshitting. What kinds of gifts have you received from guys? Jewels, mink coats, handbags, perfume, just little trinkets, money.
What about returning the favor? Have you ever given gifts to a guy you were involved with? You know, if you dating a dude or whatever and you out there doing your thing, you’ll keep him in mind. It is free shit, you know? (laughing) So as a booster, what was your average paycheck like? That money be good. But it ain’t really no average, cause some days be slower than others. You might not get no money for two weeks. That’s one of the bad things besides jail. You may not get no money for weeks cause the store’s hot. That’s like the drought for us girls. But you get caught up in the flossing and buying the Porsches and shit. I remember I bought a Porsche back in 2000. I didn’t buy it cash, but it was a fuckin’ Porsche. You hustle and work hard, so you look at it like a little reward to yourself. That’s your little heaven and shit. Then you gotta keep up the payments, so you gotta get out there and hustle some more. It’s like a revolving thing. You can’t wait on no nigga to get your hair and nails done. If you got a man and he know you ain’t working, you shouldn’t have to ask him for money. If you keep asking a nigga for money, you’ve got a problem. And any woman that’s waiting on a man to take care of they kids is a sorry woman. If you sitting on your ass waiting on some child support, keeping on a nigga phone for some Pampers, you a sorry bitch and that’s real.
What’s the most creative things that you used to sell? Car tires, rims, refrigerators, stoves, plywood, it don’t even matter. Whoever wanted it, that’s what I was selling that evening. When you don’t have the certain resources you need to make money one way, the hustle don’t change. You still gotta get your hustle on, you just gotta change your game up a little bit and try something else. You can’t say, “Oh, the store’s hot, I can’t pay my rent.” You gotta get out there and do something else.
Okay, let’s switch topics a little. What’s going on with your album? We’re looking at a summer release. I did some work with DJ Smurf and the Ying Yang Twins, did a Scott Storch track, beefing it up while we had more time to work. Make it hotter. And I’m on TVT Records now, not Warner Bros. My main concern was getting with a label that was gonna push the project and make sure the project was handled right. With the success they had with Lil’ Jon and the Ying Yang Twins, I felt comfortable with TVT. It’s a small family, it’s not a lot of people involved. And now that I have my own entertainment company, Jackmove Entertainment, there’ll be more releases from some of the other projects that I’m working on.
If you weren’t rapping, would you still be hustling? I would still be doing it if it wasn’t for rap. I’ve been writing since I was in junior high school, just writing and writing and being inspired by people
Anything else you want to say? To all my homegirls out there getting your hustle on, stay two steps ahead of the game and ten steps ahead of the haters.
OZONE MAGAZINE JUNE 2004
e careful what you ask for. If you ask DJ Kool Kid to add you to his mailing list, be prepared to get bombarded with mixtapes. This 24-year-old DJ, who’s known for infiltrating the Bronx with Southern flavor, drops several mixtapes a month consistently. How did you get started DJing? Back in ’94, ’95, I was like fourteen, and some cats from Uptown Records put me onto hip-hop. I started doing all the block parties and stuff, DJing, opening up for Red Alert, Brucie B, cats like that. Red Alert was like, my number one mentor. I look up to Red for everything he’s done. He put me on, he’d have me DJing at big events in front of people like Puff. Were you born and raised in New York? Yep. Been in the Bronx all my life. But I love to travel, and I keep my ears to the street. I’ve been on numerous tours, nationwide, international stuff. I’m Joe’s tour DJ, so I’ve been on tour with him. I toured with Keith Sweat for two years, and I did the Def Comedy Jam tour. And I’ve gotta big up Pure Pain Records; [their CEO] Luqman brought me down there and gave me extra exposure to down South music to bring back to New York.
Recently, when Southern music became “hot,” did you see a lot of New York DJs start to play Southern music you’d already been playing? A lot of Northern DJs did jump on the bandwagon after the fact. Everybody was scared to touch down South records. I don’t care, music is music, all the way from Texas to Miami. PaulWall, Roam, Pitbull, those are my dudes. I mix them in with the Cam’rons, the Jay-Zs, the N.O.R.E.s. I gotta big up N.O.R.E., cause that’s another dude that showed me a lot of love. He experiments with his music and people accept it, so why can’t I? How do you get these major companies to sponsor your mixtapes? I pitch ideas. My mixtapes aren’t just designed for the local or tri-state area; I want them to be something international that everybody can be a part of. I’m trying to bring fashion. With Dr. Denim, we came up with a few concepts. Why not make a mixtape magazine, so you’ll get good music and also see what’s the latest fashion and events? It’s been working so far. I move 20,000 units of the Dr. Denim Underground mix CDs, on average. Regular CDs I move about 10,000. Moving 20,000 units is a piece of cake, ‘cause you already have dudes looking forward to getting a new CD. The Dr. Denim Underground CDs are like a brand name now. I try to be consistent, I try to come out at least once a week or every two weeks with something new, either hip-hop or R&B. I don’t play the same thing everybody else plays. I go and look for music. And it’s not just New York music, so I go everywhere and I’mma always have something to put out. I take risks. That’s what the game is all about. After you take risks, dudes fuck with you real heavy.
Are there any artists in particular that you’ve been the first to “break” on your mixtapes? There’s quite a few. Back in the day I broke Sporty Thieves. I actually broke Jae Hood way before anybody else. We recorded in my living room, he spent the night at my house. I broke Roam up North. I was the first in New York to have David Banner host a mix CD, which did very, very good. Red Café, I was dealing with him when he was in a group called Franchise, way before they had a deal. The list goes on and on. Since it’s technically illegal to sell mixtapes, have you had any legal issues with record labels and your mixtapes? No, I’ve actually had labels come at me and want to sponsor my mixtapes. I go directly to the A&R or the artist and their management. I go straight to the source; that’s why I have a good relationship with so many artists. Right now, it’s 4:30 am and I just left the studio, I had a session with Juelz [Santana] and Jim Jones. They’re hosting one of my new mixtapes. Do they sign paperwork to allow you to put their music on mixtapes? The whole mixtape process moves so quickly that there’s no time at all for paperwork. That would take days, weeks. You can’t wait that long. If you get a new joint today, it needs to be out tomorrow. That’s how you keep ahead of the competition. Are you involved with any DJ cliques? I just got down with the Violator All-Star DJs, which is headed by Scrap Dirty and Chris Lighty. It’s a coalition, we support each other. Are you involved with any DJ events like Justo’s Mixtape Awards? I have yet to receive a mixtape award due to unfortunate circumstances with my good friend Justo. Justo was actually my road manager at one point, and he did some stuff I didn’t agree with so I got rid of him. That was the same summer he started the mixtape awards; so Kool Kid doesn’t get any awards. But it’s really up to the streets. People call me and say I should have won three awards, so that’s the real award right there. What else do you have going on besides mixtapes? I do a lot of New York clubs, I do about three or four nights a week. I’m hoping to expand into artist promotion and development. I’m basically a freelance DJ – anything that sounds good and looks good, I’m down for it. I’m still looking for artists, anybody that’s hot, young, and talented. I’m 24 and I’ve been doing this since junior high school, so I’m young also. Any contact information you’d like to give out? You can call me at 212-545-3781 or email me at email@example.com. You can also get mixtapes on my website, www.djkoolkid.com.
“Sky,” born Skylark Sinclair Jr. in Laurel, Mississippi, left home with $2 in his pocket to pursue music. Since then, he lended his signature vocals to countless underground hits as well as major releases, moved in with TLC’s Lisa (Left Eye) Lopez, and wrote the current #1 single in the United Kingdom. After Left Eye’s untimely death, Sky dealt with his emotions through music. While putting the finishing touches on his debut album, he’s convinced that his upcoming release will put other R&B singers to shame. Why did you decide to move to Atlanta? I moved here strictly for music. I moved to Atlanta with $2. I didn’t know nobody. I don’t know how I pulled that off, I guess I stepped out on faith. This was back in ’96. I had heard Outkast’s album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. I heard what they were talking about and I wanted to go where those guys were. I wanted to make music; Atlanta was the place that was booming at the time. Where I’m from is suppressed, you can’t do anything from there.
Do you ever plan on just focusing on writing and production instead of being in the spotlight yourself? If things haven’t happened the way I want them to by the summer of next year, I think I’m gonna decide to just strictly write. I’m a writer by trade.
Did you collaborate with her musically? I was a producer and writer for Left Eye Productions. I wrote some stuff for her, but I didn’t get credit for it. I wrote it just for her.
Working with L.A. Reid’s son, do you think you’ll end up at Def Jam? Probably so, because me and Antonio are real good friends and I would love to work with his father. His father has been very nice to me throughout the years. L.A. even came and had a meeting with me at the studio where I was, and he sat and listened to all my songs and critiqued each one of them. The way he critiqued my songs, they’ve improved 100% just from this man’s opinion. This man is a fucking genius. I listened to what he said, and I really feel like my songs have improved. If I come out right now, nobody could fuck with me. I have a classic album; I’ve got the hottest shit. I don’t think nobody could fuck with me. Nobody. The only nigga that would be close would be Usher. He’s got three songs in the top 10 right now. He’s doing big things, but I really think the game sucks right now. It really does. I need to put my shit out to show niggas what real music is. These niggas is fuckin’ up, for real. I don’t get it. But my nigga Akon is representing too, his shit just dropped. Akon is hot. Akon, if you reading this, what’s up with the Skykon album? But what I’d really like to do is get with my homeboy Banner on his b.i.G.f.a.c.e. label and just make my boy’s shit bigger. He’s got his own label so I’d rather make his shit bigger, but we keep having issues and shit, man. Then I got niggas coming out of the woodwork saying, “Sky owes me this, Sky owes me that.” Sky don’t owe none of them muthafuckers nothing except an asswhupping. I don’t owe none of y’all shit. Print that.
When she passed, how did it affect you? That was the worst thing that’s ever happened to me in my life. I’m still trying to get over that right now. Lisa was my light; the light of my life. Her passing was the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. We would be married right now if she was still here.
What other songs have you appeared on? I was on “Choose Me” and “Pop That” with Banner. I’m on Bone’s new album, Fight Music, on a song called “Hustling.” I’m on a cut with Keno from Persian Records, they’re an indie label that’s gonna do real big things. MC Shy D, I’m on his album too.
When was the first time you appeared on a major release? Lil’ Jon was the first one to put me out. I was on his Put Yo Hood Up album, on “Where Them Girls At?” I hooked up with him at Billy Hume’s house because he was recording there. I was like, “Hey, Lil’ Jon, I sing, let me be on your album.” He told me to come back tomorrow. I came back the next day and he put a beat on and said, “Okay, go in the booth and put something on.” He liked it. So Lil’ Jon was the first person to ever put me out, and I thank him for that. After that I got with my homeboy Kurupt, he was a friend of Lisa’s. Me and Kurupt clicked from the first time we met. We did a whole album together that never came out. At the time, all the stuff with Death Row was going on and the label was kinda shaky. I was doing tracks with a lot of underground rappers, too. I’ve done hooks for so many people, I couldn’t even name them all. And me and David Banner, we’d been friends for the longest and he put me on pretty tough. Banner is my brother. We have some differences sometimes but at the end of the day I love him like my brother. But we just disagree on a lot of things.
Did you ever get to tell Outkast why you moved to Atlanta? Nah, I never even got into that. They’re such cool niggas, they don’t wanna hear that shit. It’ll make me look like a fanatic. When I met them they were just some real down-to-earth niggas, especially Dre. He’s such a superstar, he could really be an asshole if he wanted to. But both of ‘em are real down-to-earth, just like some niggas from my hood. I see them niggas every single day now cause I be in Zac’s studio. Jimmy Z is the owner, that’s my family over there. That’s my second home. If you’re ever in Atlanta and you want to find Sky, go to Zac’s right next to Stankonia. Outkast, Aquemini, Stankonia, they’re all on Antone St. The album of the year always come off Antone St. We call it Grammy St., cause we don’t make nothing but hits off Antone.
What did you do when you got to Atlanta? I was actually homeless with a demo tape. I did a talent show that Left Eye was at. She asked me where I lived, and I told her I didn’t live anywhere. She took me home. Yep, I was her boyfriend for four years. I lived with her for four years. So this was after the whole Andre Rison, burning-down-the-house experience? You weren’t worried about waking up in flames? No, she was the sweetest person in the world. It was different. She’d went through shit with all them players, I was just glad to be there. I did everything she wanted me to do, and I was nice to her. I was a good man to her. I wasn’t trippin’ on no star shit, I was just there for her and nothing else. And she really taught me the game.
What kind of things? That nigga think he my daddy. He lectures me all the time. He stays on me constantly. But Banner’s a good guy, and he’s trying to help me get myself together. But I think he puts a little too much emphasis on it. That nigga thinks he’s my daddy (laughing). But nah, he’s helped me a whole lot. Me, him, and Bonecrusher used to be together every day. At that time, I had money. I had a superstar girlfriend. I had money and they didn’t, but we were always together every day. We were just a brotherhood, me, him, and Bone. That’s why anytime they put out an album, I’ll always be on it. Right now people are listening to my album and are in shock. I’m going to be one of the biggest artists to ever come out because my stuff is so different. Do you have any offers from record labels? Oh, yeah. I’ve never even shopped anything and I have labels interested. I’m working with Antonio Reid Jr., L.A. Reid’s son. I’m letting him handle the decisions, cause he’s trying to find the best situation for 38
me. I’ve just been writing, I haven’t even been shopping around. I wrote a song called “Another Day” for Lamar, he’s an artist on Sony UK. It went platinum in two days in the UK. I doubt if it even comes to the United States. They don’t even need the United States. He won the London Idol over there. The song has been at #1 for eight weeks straight, so that was amazing to me.
OZONE MAGAZINE JUNE 2004
- Julia Beverly, firstname.lastname@example.org (Photo: Liza Simmons)
ince the Fat Cats have directed videos for everyone from Twista to T.I. and locked in a four-video deal with Bad Boy, I was curious to find out how they’ve become so successful as music video directors in the hip-hop scene. So, I sat down with Randy (right) and E (left) on the set of Ludacris’ “Diamond in the Back.” Frankly, the Fat Cats must have incredible film skills because they certainly aren’t getting these gigs with their winning personalities and glowing charisma. These guys sat through our interview as if it was a root canal, not a promotional opportunity. Ah, well. Maybe they are camera shy. But who cares how friendly the directors are, as long as the video comes out hot? Here’s what they had to say: So are y’all brothers, or related somehow? Randy: Good friends. We’ve known each other since high school. How did you guys get into film? Randy: I have a degree in Television/Film from Morehouse, and E has a degree in Marketing. Did you start with commercials, music videos? Randy: I actually started PAing and working as an electrician on music video sets. Me and E used to go to the movies every Friday and Saturday, for a whole year, and we ended up deciding to work together. What role do you each play in the partnership? Randy: I’m like, the technical half of the duo. He’s the creative half. But we sort of married the two, instead of keeping them separate. Everyone has a duty.
MUSIC VIDEO HIT LIST
Chaka’s idea, and we put our two cents in. We just came together, it was a collaboration. We take ideas and fill in the blanks.
8Ball & MJG ”Don’t Want No Drama”
What was the first major video you did that broke you into the scene? E: Backbone, “5-Deuce, 4-Tray” We got a lot of work off that video. Randy: That was our first big-budget video.
Twista & Kanye West “Slow Jamz” T.I. “24’s” Bow Wow “My Baby” Jagged Edge “What it’s Like” Jagged Edge “Dropped out of Heaven” Backbone “5-Deuce, 4-Tray” Ludacris “Blow it Out Your Ass” Ludacris “Diamond in the Back” DTP “North, South, East, West”
For music videos, who usually comes up with the concept for the video? The artist, or you? Randy: Well, this video, for example, it was really [Ludacris’ manager]
Creatively, what was your favorite video to film? Randy: Ludacris’ “Blow it Out Your Ass.” E: I’d probably have to say the last Jagged Edge video we did, the black & white video, “What it’s Like.” What made you decide to film the whole video in black & white? E: We just wanted to give it a different look, cause nothing out there in the market was black & white. We just figured it would work with the whole concept of the video. Out of all the aspiring music video directors, why do you think you’ve been so successful? E: We didn’t quit. Stuck to it. Believed in ourselves and just kept on keeping on, consistently. Randy: The key is to not give up, like he said. There’s a lot of directors out here doing it, so you have to find your niche. And when you come up in the business, it helps to have friends like Chaka Zulu, we’ve known him for a long time.
Do you plan on moving into feature-length films? Randy: Yeah, we actually sold a movie to Columbia. We sold the idea, and the script is due in a couple weeks. We’re scheduled to shoot that soon. We’re working on some TV stuff also, just trying to keep the creative juices flowing.
asty Beatmakers, an Orlando, Florida-based production team who are steadily gaining credibility in the industry, are made up of two brothers. They both bring an equal and unique aspect of making music to create the perfect two sides of a coin. There’s LVM (right) and DJ Nasty (left), brothers who have both created careers in music. LVM is a musical genius who has toured across the world with artists like the Backstreet Boys and LFO, playing guitar. His experience in the art of live acoustics has helped lend a great diversity to Nasty Beatmakers’ personal sound. LVM is also the silent one, the one who only speaks when something important needs to be said. Even though he’s laid-back and non-descript, he’s been in the industry for a minute and has been involved with album sales in excess of ten million.
THE HIT LIST Ludacris f/ 8Ball & MJG Chicken & Beer “Chicken & Beer” “Hard Times” Disturbing Tha Peace The Gold Grain “Smoking Dro” Smilez & Southstar Crash the Party “Tell Me”
right time, and thus began Nasty Beatmakers. LVM, who is responsible for playing live instruments for their tracks, began using his free time to developing tracks on a regular basis. Through his club nights and radio show, Nasty had access to artists and was able to play his beats for them. Their tracks caught the ear of respected networking guru Chaka Zulu, whose Ebony Son Management team is responsible for the careers of artists like Ludacris, DTP, and David Banner. With Chaka co-signing, Nasty Beatmakers were official. The duo found themselves laying down tracks for Orlando’s own Smilez & Southstar, Fat Joe, Bounty Killer, Ludacris and the entire DTP crew, and Camron.
As “new” producers to the game, laying tracks down for platinum and multi-platinum artists was phenomenal. LVM and Nasty can only call their situation “a blessing.” Many of their tracks have also been singles, so the exposure is even greater. Their sound is live, energetic, and reaching Bone Thugs N Harmony beyond the bounds of “hip-hop.” Their artistic ideas go Thug Mentality 1999 “Thug Alwayz” far beyond one genre. Their tracks can compete with the Just Blazes and the Kanye Wests, so Nasty Beatmakers Fat Joe f/ Xzibit & Prospect seem to have a promising future in the production game. Jealous Ones Still Envy And it doesn’t stop there. Now, as well as producing tracks “The Wild Life” for many of the big names in the business, Nasty himself is getting ready to raise the bar. He plans to begin developCam’Ron ing his own artists. Slowly but surely, the Nasty BeatmakPurple Haze ers are working their way onto everybody’s checklist for “Long Time Coming” production. They might not be the most visible faces in Pitbull f/ Lil Jon the game, but they certainly deserve to be. Rest assured “That’s Nasty” Nasty Beatmakers was formed a couple years ago, when that you’ll be bumping at least one of their tracks in your DJ Nasty did some production work on the side for smaller system this summer. The combination of live instruments, projects. After seeing the response from the artists he networking skills, and knowing what people want to hear was working with, he reached out to his brother, who was off tour at the in the club and on the radio; these are the elements that have blended time. Both heads came together to put people in the right places at the together to make Nasty Beatmakers a success. On the flipside, there’s LVM’s brother, DJ Nasty, who is known all throughout Florida as one of the top DJs in the state. DJ Nasty took a different musical route than his brother, exploring what two turntables could do to crowds of people. Along with his DJ partner Prostyle, Nasty has become closely tied to the hip-hop industry as one of Orlando’s key mixers. He was chosen to join Funkmaster Flex’s elite DJ crew, Big Dawg Pitbulls. Along with his nightly gig on Orlando’s 102 Jamz and DJing the hottest parties in the city, Nasty & Prostyle have locked down the ears of Orlando hip-hop listeners. With this combination, it’s easy to see why Nasty Beatmakers have been able to produce tracks for some of the hottest artists in the game.
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Bounty Killer The Art of War “War Lady”
ERICK SERMON REACTS
hen you envision a hip-hop recording studio, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t a conservative-looking home in upstate New York with a basketball court outside. And yet, nestled in this quiet neighborhood is Erick Sermon’s home and personal recording studio. Nearby is a rim shop that he also owns, which services vehicles for many of his celebrity friends. Lounging in an Escalade with mandatory double-digit rims, Erick breaks the silence about many of the rumors he’s endured. Is this where you’re most comfortable recording? I was born and raised three exits from here. Some of the best niggas came from Brentwood, which is where I’m at. Two towns over was Rakim, the next town was Babylon from De La Soul, Hempstead is where Busta Rhymes and Leaders of the New School are from, and Uniondale was Public Enemy. That’s how it is, it’s like suburbs out here. It’s like if you go to California and go to Watts or Compton, it’s like a suburb too. It ain’t where you’re from; it’s where you’re at. It’s so peaceful and calm out here, it just doesn’t seem like the typical hiphop recording studio. Well, this just happens to be my house. We have buildings in Manhattan that we work out of too. I just use my crib for personal, intimate sessions, whether it’s Macy Gray or LL Cool J. How often do you record here at home? I did my whole album here. But everyone who comes through wants to come to the house. Da Brat came through, 50 Cent used to come to my house when he was younger, before he signed with Aftermath. Having been in the game for such a long time, what do you think is the key to longevity? I been doing this for 16 years. I think the key to longevity is not being oversaturated. I’m behind the scenes more often than in front of the camera. I’m not the type that you’re going to see in all these videos. I’m not going to be flossin’ on TV about what I’ve got and all that. You’re not gonna get tired of hearing about Erick or seeing Erick. What do you enjoy more: production, or being an artist yourself? I like production. But before I came into the game, I didn’t know that the people I heard records from didn’t do their own music. I was already a producer and I didn’t even know it at the time. When I became a producer, that’s when I was able to sign some groups. Once I signed Redman, that’s when I got advanced into other things because of his character. Are there any artists in particular that people would be surprised to know you’ve worked with? I been a producer since I started in the game. I produce for half of the rap world, and some R&B music also. You’d never know this, because I’m not the type to have a publicist get the information out. This is the first time I’ve done interviews. People are shocked at what I’ve done because they don’t read or see much about me. A lot of people don’t know that I’ve worked with Jay-Z, Redman was my artist, Keith Murray was my artist, I put Red and Meth together. When I made “How High,” they just happened to be in the studio smoking so we decided to make a smoking record. You’re on Universal now. Why did you end up leaving J Records? Because they didn’t understand how to promote and market rap music. I think that’s why Busta left also and signed with Aftermath. It’s different when you’re doing hip-hop. It’s not all about radio play. That’s all Clive was doing, “radio songs.” We were on the radio, but just because you’ve got spins on the radio that doesn’t guarantee you’re going to sell. You must let people know that you’re on the radio and that you have an album in stores. What appealed to you about Universal? I was already signed to Interscope in 1995. It didn’t work out because of the switch with them and Warner Bros. I sat down with Tommy Mottola, he didn’t get it. I sat down with Sylvia [Rhone], she was going through some stuff because now there’s no Elektra. I sat down with Russell [Simmons] and Kevin [Liles], they were going through what they were going through. So I sat down with Kedar [Massenburg] and he was like, yeah. He got it, and I was like, let’s roll. Why do you think Universal will do a better job of marketing and promoting you than J Records? Because Universal is a bigger system, and you can talk to them because they’re younger and trying to reach the urban audience. Clive [Davis at J Records] had people that worked for him, but he never gave the opportunity for people to blossom, to show them how to make things work. Besides “radio songs,” what do you think is most important in breaking records?
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Mixtapes, commercials, radio, BET. How’d you get the idea to do a track like “React?” A lot of people were kinda surprised by the vibe. Red and Meth had the beat, Jermaine and them had it, but no one could really do anything with it. As you could tell by my chorus, I was trying to make a fun record, a play record. There have been a lot of rumors about you lately. Where do you think they’re coming from? Guys are the real bitches. They hate the most. They hate when you’re successful and got girls. That’s why I said in my rhymes, “It don’t be the broads, it’s niggas / Mad ‘cause I be baggin’ chicks that look as bad as Jigga’s.” I didn’t have to say Beyonce Knowles, you know that’s her. Niggas don’t want to see you shining. Plus, I been in the game this long. I don’t stop. That’s why I called my song “Relentless.” I’m never gonna stop, because it’s bigger than you and me. I am blessed to do this. That means every day when I wake up, I get out here and do this and make something happen. “Relentless” wasn’t a record that was supposed to pop, it just came from the heart. Next thing you know, everyone’s like, “Did you hear the new Erick Sermon record?” I got celebrities on my phone like, “Yo, E, just heard the new song. Call me back.” There was a rumor that you jumped out of a window and tried to commit suicide or something. Do you want to discuss that? I never talked about it, because I never thought it was going to go that far. I’m not saying that I’m really famous, but if you watch the news, they’ve always got the average Joe Schmoe story on the news. There was nothing to go along with the story. If a famous person jumped out of a window, why is there no ambulance, no blood, no camera crew, no pictures, no nothing? I have no idea where that story came from. I never thought it would get that big. Some girl was talking about it, I guess she was mad or angry about something. People saw me out in the streets and were like, “Wow, what are you doing walking?” I didn’t know it had gotten that far. It supposedly happened on September 25th, and in October, I’m walking around and people are like, “You’re not supposed to be walking. Your leg is broken and your jaw is wired shut.” I’m like, “Are you serious?” But what you hear on the radio, you believe. I had hype. I was doing well until R Kelly’s story came out. His story killed mine by a long shot. I was like, man, everybody was talking about me until his fucking tape came out (laughing). Are you the owner of this rim shop also? Yeah, I always had rim shops. I had a rim shop in Atlanta in 1992. I have another one in Long Island across from Nassau Coliseum. It ain’t a big deal to me to promote the fact that I own a rim shop. Do you have any other projects you’re working on? I got a lot of new stuff coming out. A new Redman album, new movies. And there’s always something going on with production. I’m always gonna do production. What made you decide that this would be your last album? I’ve had a long career – sixteen years – and I’m tired now. This is gonna be like, my last hurrah. You just know. You know when it’s your time. Why do I have to prove I can rap? What do you feel is going on with the industry right now, with the chaotic state that it’s in and everyone getting laid-off? That’s why I wrote “Relentless,” because it was bound to happen. People made money from 1997 til 2000. They made a gang of money and now people understand what’s real. People won’t allow the wool to be pulled over their head anymore. We’re gonna buy from people who are real. Kanye West is real. His content, subject matter, his songs, they are hip-hop music. He’s bringing the samples back and everything. Common Sense, Talib Kweli, Erick Sermon, we’re all coming with shit that’s real. White backpack kids are the only fans we got right now. And when I go oversees and see the fans we’ve got, my fans overseas are incredible. They still get it. How do you feel about Benzino’s theory that white people are stealing hip-hop? Naw. The Beastie Boys were here before we were. Eminem just happens to be really laced. You can’t stop talent. Fuck what color he is, he’s still nice on the mic. I heard you say something at your concert that sounded like a Kanye West diss. I said something like, “Regardless of what people say about Kanye, I still like his music.” People say he’s arrogant, but I say fuck that. Listen to his message. Where do you see hip-hop ten years from now? I have no idea. I’m a producer so I’ll still be in the game, but doing way more than that. I do R&B just as well. Music is never going to go anywhere. Music is gonna be music, and I want to be right there with it. Once it makes a change, I’ll be right there with the era. I’m gonna be there to be an innovator, because I love it. I can change with it and be creative. - Photos and interview by Julia Beverly, email@example.com OZONE MAGAZINE JUNE 2004
Akon “Trouble” SRC/Universal Akon’s debut album might as well be called “my diary,” because that’s what it is: an indepth look inside the life of this African native en route to superstardom. He expresses a solemn and thought-provoking message on songs like “Ghetto” and “Journey.” “Locked Up” sets the tone of the album with the sounds of jail doors slamming in the background behind the resonance of drums in a steady beat. On “Trouble Nobody,” Akon elaborates on his afflicted past: “Even though I done changed my life / Criminal record’s what they judge me by.” The somber tone is quickly uplifted by the cheerful “Bananza (Belly Dancer),” where he implores, “Don’t be shy, girl, go bananza / Shake ya body like a belly dancer.” Akon further proves his versatility throughout the rest of the album, switching his flow on every song. He transforms into a serene singer on “Lonely,” then adopts a rough voice and fast flow for “Gangsta,” spitting lines like, “Sayin’ that they gangsta, Nigga’s spittin’ like they hard but I’m knowing that they pussy from the start.” Influenced and inspired by his father, Mor Thiam, a renowned Djembe drum-playing artist, Akon has created a diary of his past life and present life. He explores the changes he has undergone and the struggles he’s encountered, both with the law and the ladies. His storytelling gift is used masterfully over hot beats and innovative sounds that express his own unique style. Although there are a few lackluster moments, they are easily outnumbered by the fresh sounds and interesting tales. This album allows listeners a profound glimpse inside the mind of this “Troubled” man. – Nada Taha Lloyd Banks “The Hunger for More” Interscope It’s like an assembly line in a factory; the raw materials move from station to station and end up molded into the same shape at the end. This doesn’t mean that the end result isn’t quality; it just means that the end result isn’t unique. It’s no surprise here that Lloyd Banks debut sounds like it came out of the same assembly line as 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Trying and G-Unit’s Beg for Mercy. Banks picked a good mold to create his album, but why use a mold at all when this G-Unit MC is best known for his nonchalant delivery and grimy metaphors? Banks, who could even overtake 50 lyrically, puts his own creativity aside and decides to follow the set patterns for this 14-track album. Producers include Havoc, Timbaland, K1 Mil, Scram Jones, and of course, Eminem. The MC roster is limited to mostly G-Unit, with appearances coming from Tony Yayo, 50 Cent, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Young Buck, and The Game. Tony Yayo proudly introduces the album with “Ain’t No Click,” where both Yayo and Banks sound perfectly comfortable over a Havoc beat. Even though Banks drops some memorable
lines like “Go ‘head, try to do me harm, soldier / And you’ll be in a black bag like grass out in the lawnmower,” Yayo steals the show. The next stop on the album is the already overplayed “On Fire,” and the similarly paced “I’m So Fly.” Timbaland produced this beat, but it doesn’t have the typical Timbaland sound. The next banger is the Eminem-produced “Warrior Pt. 2,” where Banks comes hard and Nate Dogg drops the catchiest hook from this album: “This is a story of a warrior and now you know it / True warriors go ahead and make some noise / It ain’t healthy to be making niggas paranoid / hit your corner with my weapon, I don’t need my boys / I’m doing a hundred twenty in the fast lane / Kick back, just let me do my thang / Don’t give a fuck about you suckers, gotta maintain / Money, power, and respect in this rap game.” New GUnit arrival The Game makes an appearance on “When the Chips are Down,” and proves why he deserves a spot on Interscope with his verse: “Banks, they think I’m Yayo’s replacement / Nah, I ball, it’s the G-Unit walking through the Matrix / I’m signed to the doctor, and I ain’t got no patience.” Banks himself provides the hook for one of the best tracks on the album, “Til the End.” His monotone delivery fits well with this track. Overall, The Hunger for More is a solid release from Banks, who still has time to break free from the mold of his counterparts. – Rohit Loomba, ctpros@arcaneproductionco mpany.com P-Boy Stone, Lil’ Money “War Vol. 1” Rappers are notorious for spitting lyrics about drugs, sex, and alcohol, but once in a blue moon there comes an exception. P Boy Stone and Lil’ Money are too busy preaching the word of God. Like many other rappers, P Boy grew up in the hood and became incarcerated. But while in prison, he researched various religions that changed his life. The LP, “War Vol. 1,” is the product of that transformation. He teamed up with his younger brother and created an album that is intended to enlighten the listener, with lyrics like, “To all you vice lords, gangsters, Crips and Bloods / Time to wake the fuck up or forever be screw-ups.” Not only do they discuss their past and how they’ve changed, but with cuts like “Souljahs 4 God” they also speak of the black revolution and those who died for the cause. “We never had to be slaves but we was too scared to fight,” P Boy points out. There are no tracks from Timbaland or The Neptunes, but beat selection is decent. One standout track is the final cut, “Da Boss,” which breaks the monotony. While the message is good, with fifteen tracks that are each five minutes long, the music gets tedious. There are no club bangers, no uptempo songs to lighten the mood. P Boy himself said it best: “R.O.S., it’s a blessing and a curse on us / We come from less, but we bet you it’s some worth in us / Just give us time.” – Nada Taha Slug Veezy Off the Chain Vol. 1” Manopoly Records
The best word to describe this album is “inconsistent.” There are a few standout tracks like “OTC Gorilla” and “Dro,” but then we come across tracks like “Holly Grove” and “Nigga Whutt?” where the vocals are barely audible. Shadow spits in Bone Thugs-N-Harmony style on “6 Feet Deep.” He has potential as a rapper, but the main problem with this cut is that the track doesn’t match the vocals. The t rack sounds better suited for a love story instead of the clichéd “I’ll bust my gat and bury you six feet deep nigga” type hook. Slug and Lil’ Mama have a hard time keeping up with the Biggie instrumental for “Dead Wrong,” but Slug shows his versatility on the sing-songy “Who Dat.” He flows comfortably over the instrumental for “#1 Stunna,” but still doesn’t come close to matching the quality of the original. The weak hook on “Can’t Be With You” brings down the overall quality of the song, and the simple track and overused concept of “Big Bodies” isn’t impressive. Manopoly Records should invest in some better studio equipment to bring up the quality of their vocals, but aside from the technical issues, there are a few bright moments. – Julia Beverly, firstname.lastname@example.org XL Album Sampler CSparks Entertainment The catch phrase for 2004 is officially “Get Familiar.” Get familiar with Clinton Sparks the hustler. Already a staple in the radio and mixtape game, Clinton is now introducing us to the male R&B group XL (Dave, Jermaine, Scooter, & Jamal). Hosted by Fatman Scoop and of course mixed by Clinton Sparks, we hear all three come together to give us a nice first impression. After Clinton does his thing on the ones and twos for ht eintro, XL touches all the major topics of typical R&B songs: sex, money, drugs, and sex again. On “Gettin’ Right,” thanks to Clinton’s engineering skills, we are blessed with 50 Cent’s 1999 verse from NEXT’s “Jerk.” XL’s “Hate Yourself” is another standout track. Complete with a Pharrell Williams drop, this is a good sampler to hold us over while Clinton and XL finish up the album. – ADG, email@example.com Dirt Bag “Eyes Above Water” Album Sampler Epidemic/Jive Even though this is an extremely short sampler (running time just under nine minutes), it does its job. DirtBag’s debut is sure to be a banger, with tracks like “Here We Go” produced by none other than Timbaland. Timb lays the vibe for DirtBag to have fun with his flow. Other producers on the upcoming album include Terror Squad’s Cool & Dre and David Banner. – ADG, firstname.lastname@example.org Lyricist Lounge “Dirty States Of America” Throughout the years Lyricist Lounge has been known for putting out solid products, even back when it was based in a studio apartment in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Fourteen years later, the Lounge is still giving us something to talk about. As the soundtrack to the Dirty States OZONE MAGAZINE JUNE 2004
of America DVD, this audio CD gives us a little more insight on regional stars like Slim Thug, Tampa Tony, Al Kapone, and Nutt. Slim Thug and E.S.G. come together on the summer banger “Rollin’,” which is sure to create a buzz. Fiend, B.G., and the late Soulja Slim come together to give us a pretty good idea of what a Cash Money / No Limit collaboration would have sounded like in their prime on “Fired Up.” The menacing horns and basic production provides a nice backdrop for all three to flow. Other artists featured on the soundtrack include David Banner, Willie D, JT Money, Reese & Bigalow, and a slew of others. – ADG, email@example.com Cino G “Terror On Tape” Lately, it seems like anybody with a budget thinks they can make a mixtape. Cino G is a prime example. With little to offer musically, this album relies heavily on chant-style songs reminiscent of Three 6 Mafia and teeter-totter style rhyme schemes. Transitions between songs are bizarre; there is no continuity in the project at all. The intro uses a short sample of U.S. civilian administrator Paul Bremer at the press conference minutes after Saddam Hussein’s capture: “We got ‘em!” abruptly after a police chase sample. Elementary at best. With the dime-a-dozen drug anthem, “Niks & Dimes,” we hear Cino rhyme as if he was the inspiration for Scarface and BLOW, offering nothing new. Production is up to par, but when you add so-so hooks and lackluster verses they fail to spark an interest. – ADG, firstname.lastname@example.org Kamikaze “2 Broke 2 Ball” Album Sampler Our Glass Entertainment For those of you who aren’t familiar with Kamikaze, think back to the late 90’s Mississippi rap duo Crooked Lettaz. Lately the spotlight has been more focused on the other 50%, David Banner, but from the sounds of this sampler Kamikaze has got ‘nuff hits to help shift that spotlight. On the club banger “U Ain’t Hard,” Kamikaze quickly gets to the point and poses the question: “How you gon’ start fights in the club when you ain’t even got your clique / Y’all get jumped right in the club and ya niggas ain’t gon’ do shit.” Mr. ShoNuff’s hustler’s anthem is a must for any true working man. On “Hustlin’,” Kamikaze demonstrates his lyrical prowess over an uptempo organ-filled beat. Mississippi has presented us with some talented people over the past few years, and Kamikaze is another one to add to the list. – ADG, email@example.com 48
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(01) - DJ G. Brown (hosted by Mr. Vegas) “Rude Boyz Vol. 3” DJGBrown@hotmail.com 646-963-3848 (02) - DJ Obscene “Next In Line” www.OnTrakMixtapes.com 305-778-4390 (03) - Team Jedi (hosted by Akon) “It’s A New Day” www.TeamJediOnline.com (04) - DJ Drama (hosted by P Diddy) “Gangsta Grillz XII: Boyz N Da Hood” (05) - DJ Bobby Black & C-Style “Hot 107.9 Birthday Bash 9” firstname.lastname@example.org 404-685-8996 (06) - DJ GQ & Dapa (hosted by Akon) “Lock Down Vol. 1” DJGQ@tmail.com 954-274-0643 (07) - DJ Rondevu “Godbrothers 2: Nas & Rakim” DJRondevu@DJRondevu.com (08) - DJ Dallas Green & DJ Babe “New York Meets Detroit” DJDallasGreen@ hotmail.com 646-345-2814 (09) - DJ Babe (hosted by Infa-Red & Cross) “The 7 Mile Album Vol. 8” 800-928-4006 DJBabe@nextel.blackberry.net (10) - Brandi Garcia & Dimepiece “Ladies 1st Mixtape” 256-479-1322 (11) - DJ Ritz (hosted by DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia) “Who Run It” www.DJRitz.net (12) - DJ Y-Not & DJ King “Big Truck Bangers Vol. 2” 407-230-2148 TonyGarcia503@hotmail.com (13) - DJ Rondevu “C.H.U.D. 3” www.DJRondevu.com (14) - DJ Scorpio “Graduation Mix CD 1990-1994)” (15) - DJ Spade (hosted by Stat Quo) “DMS 11” 615-276-2494 (16) - DJ 2nen “Ready to Strike Vol. 1” www.2nen.com 305-303-2117 (17) - DJ Technic (hosted by Erick Sermon) “The Backbone” www.DTechnic.com (18) - Baylo Entertainment “Memorial Weekend Jump Off 2004” www.Bayloent.com 866-890-5449 (19) - Da Wizard Ozzie Oz “Independence Day” (20) - DJ Lex & Caveman “Killah Blendz Vol. 3”