YOUR FAVORITE RAPPER’S FAVORITE MAGAZINE
TRICK DADDY STILL STILLTHUGGIN’ THUGGIN’ DAVID BANNER
IS ISNOT NOTRICH, RICH,B*TCH B*TCH
BEATS BEATSTHE THEFEDS FEDS WHY WHYIS IS
AT ATRIKER’S RIKER’SISLAND? ISLAND?
DA MUZICIANZ GHOSTFACE TOO SHORT YUKMOUTH LIL ROB PIMP C B.H.I.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS UGK OUTKAST GETO BOYS THREE 6 MAFIA & MORE CLASSICS
SOUL OF THE SOUTH
PUBLISHER/EDITOR: Julia Beverly MUSIC EDITOR: Maurice G. Garland
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Matt Sonzala
Trick Daddy pg 60-63 Da Musicianz pg 58-59
COPY EDITOR: Carlton Wade ADVERTISING SALES: Che’ Johnson (Gotta Boogie) Gary LaRochelle LEGAL AFFAIRS: Kyle P. King, P.A. (King Law Firm)
INTERVIEWS David Banner pg 74-77 Bishop of Crunk pg 24 Yukmouth pg 82-83 Too Short pg 78-80 Cam’Ron pg 66-68 Ghostface pg 34 BloodRaw pg 26 Lil Rob pg 42
MARKETING & PROMOTIONS: Malik “Copafeel” Abdul SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER: Destine Cajuste ADMINISTRATIVE: Ashlee Brathwaite Cordice Gardner Nikki Kancey CONTRIBUTORS: ADG, Amanda Diva, Bogan, Charles Parsons, Chuck T, E-Feezy, Edward Hall, Felita Knight, Iisha Hillmon, Jaro Vacek, Jessica Koslow, J Lash, Jason Cordes, Jo Jo, Johnny Louis, Kamikaze, Keadron Smith, Keith Kennedy, K.G. Mosley, Killer Mike, King Yella, Lisa Coleman, Marcus DeWayne, Mercedes (Strictly Streets), Natalia Gomez, Noel Malcolm, Ray Tamarra, Rico Da Crook, Robert Gabriel, Rohit Loomba, Shannon McCollum, Spiff, Swift, Wally Sparks, Wendy Day
FEATURES Jackson, MS pg 70-72 R.I.P. Proof pg 20 A Bad Day in P.A. pg 28
STREET REPS: Al-My-T, B-Lord, Big Teach (Big Mouth), Bigg C, Bigg V, Black, Brian Franklin, Buggah D. Govanah (On Point), Bull, C Rola, Cedric Walker, Chill, Chilly C, Chuck T, Controller, David Muhammad, Delight, DJ Dap, DJ Marquis, Dolla Bill, Dwayne Barnum, Dr. Doom, Ed the World Famous, Episode, General, Haziq Ali, H-Vidal, Hollywood, J Fresh, Jammin’ Jay, Janky, Judah, Kamikaze, KC, Klarc Shepard, Kuzzo, Kydd Joe, Lex, Lil D, Lump, Marco Mall, Mr. Lee, Music & More, Nick@Nite, Pat Pat, PhattLipp, Pimp G, Quest, Raj Smoove, Rippy, Rob-Lo, Stax, TJ Green, TJ’s DJ’s, Trina Edwards, Vicious, Victor Walker, Voodoo, Wild Billo, Young Harlem DISTRIBUTION: Curtis Circulation, LLC
Cover credits: Da Muzicianz photo by Ray Tamarra; Camron photo by Roger Erickson; Atiba photo by Malik Abdul. 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 2006 OZONE Magazine, all rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any way without the written consent of the publisher. Printed in the USA.
CARA PASTORE FOR F22STUDIO.COM
To subscribe, send check or money order for $11 to our NEW ADDRESS: Ozone Magazine, Inc. 1310 W. Colonial Dr. Suite 10 Orlando, FL 32804 Phone: 407-447-6063 Fax: 407-447-6064 Web: www.ozonemag.com
20 ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS Intro pg 85 As Nasty As They Wanna Be pg 86 ATLiens pg 87 Comin’ Out Hard pg 88 400 Degreez pg 89 Get It How U Live!! pg 90 Ghetto D pg 91 Kings of Crunk pg 92 Mind of Mystikal pg 93 Mr. Scarface Is Back pg 94 Ridin’ Dirty pg 95 Soul Food pg 96 Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik pg 97 The Dude pg 98 3 N’ The Mornin’ pg 99 Trap Muzik pg 100 TRU 2 Da Game pg 101 Untouchable pg 102 We Can’t Be Stopped pg 103 When The Smoke Clears pg 104 www.thug.com pg 105
MONTHLY SECTIONS DJ Profile pg 32 Chin Check pg 22 JB’s 2 Cents pg 17 Industry 101 pg 30 Feedback pg 12-14 CD Reviews pg 108 Mix CD Reviews pg 112 Photo Galleries pg 19-41 Patiently Waiting pg 46-54 Groupie Confessions pg 18 10 Things I’m Hatin’ On pg 17
feedback I gotta say thanks for your 2 Cents in the April issue. I once *hadJulia, a mag, and your words were very inspiring. You’re the shit, keep up the fantastic work. – Victor Walker, email@example.com (Jonesboro, GA)
Man! Great interviews with in-depth questions? Insightful and straight-up answers right back at ya? Tight photo shots? Good business info and opportunities? Yo, XXL and The Source, OZONE’s a real problem for you right now! You got the block on lock, true story! – Frosty Flakes, firstname.lastname@example.org Your magazine reached my reservation, the Blood Reserve in *Southern Alberta, Canada. Yes, I’m Native American. I saw this maga-
zine and thought, Yes, something new and fresh! I have the April 06 issue, and have only read to page 20, but I can tell you for sure I’ll be reading this book forever. So keep them coming. – Kinty Tailfeathers, email@example.com (Alberta, Canada)
Wendy Day is one of my biggest influences, and I’m so glad that you have her monthly column Mathematics in your magazine. Thanks for the magazine information that you put in your 2 Cents; I will take that to heart too. Any information that can help me do my business right is strongly appreciated, so thanks for the whole magazine. OZONE is really what hip-hop is all about. – Raze, firstname.lastname@example.org
When are JB and Benzino getting married? I know a lover’s spat when I see one. You’re cute for a slut monkey, though! Congrats on putting out a good magazine. I collect good hip-hop shit. I’ve got every Source, XXL, Rap Pages, Blaze, King, FEDS, and Don Diva. You know, real shit. I love rap. I study the whole shit. I watched every mag come out and try to grab my couple dollars. I used to cop The Source cause they had good features and youc oudl trust their rating system. I guess you want a mag you can trust and depend on. I fucks with you, JB. I read about you in the mags, papers, and on allhiphop.com. You seem sincere and put together a good mag. The website is cool too. It’s funny how all the mag owners are beefin’. First, XXL’s YN went at the “Sauce” ala 50 Cent style. Then it’s you and Benzino. What’s going on? It takes away from putting out a good mag, if you ask me. Don’t get me wrong, I like the editorials, but it seems more like a publicity ploy than anything. You figure there are no beefs to report on to sell mags, so let’s call out the champ. This brings me to my final thought: since the East coast music dominance is over, the South is reigning due to a couple of factors. Philly and New York niggas are too, too cool to make the type of records that run the charts. You would never see niggas in a cipher spittin’ “I be on that kryptonite” or “Wait til you see my…” Niggas would think they was gay. But that’s the culture. Niggas down South are more laid back and like to fool out and have fun. That’s what the club is about: having fun. Nobody cares how many packs you’ve moved or how many niggas you banged in the club. Niggas are trying to have fun, get high, and get at the opposite sex. I ain’t sayin’ the South ain’t serious and real: I love slept-on Field Mob, T.I., Ludacris, Shawnna, Outkast, ‘Face, Jeezy, Trick, and Trina. The East coast are crabs in a barrel. New York fucked up when they let 50 Cent defect. The East needs another artist that embodies what the greatest had: lyrics, wit, humor, flow, charisma, and confidence. – Rhashima Brown, email@example.com
It’s funny how hypocritical some people are. Benzino got on Marshall Mathers for talking about Kim and violence towards her, and then I hear dude threatening you. What a mixed up dude. – firstname.lastname@example.org 12
JB, I just read your 2 Cents for the May 2006 issue. This really hit home: “Sometimes you get so caught up in the daily grind that you forget what you were working towards in the first place.” I don’t usually write or respond to editorials (in fact, I never have), but your words inspired me to pick up my blackberry and just start typing. Your words also forced me to reflect on my daily grind and accomplishments over the past few years. I too stand a different person and for me it’s not about the end result of the money or the fame, it’s about the process of getting there! Keep pushing and remaining true to your grind. There will always be setbacks and obstacles in the way, but remember, it’s about the process of getting there that makes it all worth it! – Albert “Big Al” Sye, email@example.com for your 2 Cents in the four year anniversary issue, where *youThanks said it’s not about being rich it’s the process of getting there. I was going through some real hard times, questioning my career path, my goals, my dedication, and my decisions. I was thinking about just giving it all up. Your words helped mea lot. Keep doin’ it, I’m ridin’ with you. – Eddie DeVille, firstname.lastname@example.org (Houston, TX)
The mag is hot. I know you guys will go a long way. And to JB, thanks for giving the real game up on publishing your own mag. I’m not going that route but your 2 Cents was what I needed to read at the time. It helped me a lot when you said, “Don’t be afraid to start small.” You’re right, I think folks should focus on their hometown if the market is there. When you get a cool buzz there, then you branch out. The things you were saying made me think, Damn, I’m on the right page. So thanks again, JB! And to the whole OZONE staff: You guys are the shit! – Mico Chisolm, email@example.com
I loved your new interview with Plies! He was running all around the questions you were asking about him being a school boy! He is the true definition of a studio gangsta. If you want to sell magazines, do an article on rappers who rap about lies. Plies was a high school grad from Fort Myers High School with AB honor roll. Then he went on a football scholarship to University of Miami (Ohio) where transferred to USF in Tampa. His older brother was in a Federal prison for three years while Plies (Algernod Washington) was living in Tampa going to school part time and promoting parties. When his brother Ronnell came home from Federal prison they started with this company Big Gates Records, that’s in some white chick’s name – Kimberly Knorr! Plies was never indicted. He never sold drugs or anything like that. He was a college boy, and that stuff he said about him having seven, eight cars is so bogus. His brother was the d-boy and had a car or two, but never like that. He might not do another interview with you now that he’s been exposed! And ask him how he got off a Federal indictment? That’s the most bogus shit I’ve ever heard in an interview. Come to Ft. Myers and go to the hood and ask around about Plies or “Nod,” that’s what we call him. People are gonna laugh so hard, because everyone will tell you that he’s a school boy rapping about somebody else’s life but surely not his. Man, there are some really good rappers in Ft. Myers, but Nod is not one of them. People won’t even take his CDs for free here because we all know he is a liar. – Jessica Freeman, firstname.lastname@example.org (Ft. Myers, FL)
I read your interview with Plies, the fakest nigga rappin’. Look, you can call me a hater or whatever, but real niggas from Ft. Myers are sick and tired of holding their tongue about this nigga Plies. Do your research if you wanna know about Plies. Plies was never a dope boy at all. He’s never sold an ounce, trust, and he’s certainly not a killer. I guarantee you, not one nigga in Ft. Myers will vouch for one thing gangsta that Aljernod Washington has done. Come on, man, look up his arrest history. This dude doesn’t even have speeding tickets. Don’t get me wrong; niggas fuck with his music because he accurately speaks on what happens in the city and his brother is g-code, but Plies is the exact opposite of what he says he is. Take it from a nigga who came up with him. Come on, OZONE. Does “My brother
feedback took a charge for me” sound believable? Does “I’ve survived seven indictments” sound believable? He takes this street shit for a joke and it’s disrespectful to the niggas who have bled on this turf down here and are doing a hundred years. He shoulda been on some hoe shit, because Plies always has bitches. But made niggas don’t give a fuck because he’s only as raw as his brother made him. Any money he had, his brother gave him. He shoulda been on some Kanye West shit, talking about dropping out of college. Speaking of college, he went to two: Miami of Ohio and USF. If you want to know more details about this, come down to the streets of Ft. Myers and we’ll give you the most interesting story you’ve heard. It’s guaranteed to move off the shelf. – Madagascar Jenkins, email@example.com (Ft. Myers, FL)
When is the Midwest gonna get our turn? Y’all are doing your thing. I like everything about the magazine. But once again, the Midwest don’t get no love! I don’t know if you ain’t looking, but let me put you up on some game. There’s more to the STL than Nelly, there’s more to Chicago than Kanye West and Twista, and more to Cleveland than Bone Thugs. Just because we snap when we spit does not mean we all sound like Bone or Twista. The mad-ass Middle, we’re tired of being ignored! – Jesse James, firstname.lastname@example.org (St. Louis, MO)
I just copped my first issue of OZONE today and I see that y’all are doing y’all thang for real! Keep that success coming! Y’all gave me a lot of motivation seeing the artists you have in this mag, because I’m a young entrepreneur running a record label and I also make beats. But the main reason I’m emailing y’all is replying to Saigon’s interview. That nigga was telling the truth on a lot of shit, for real, as far as the black community and what we need to be doing to make a change. Big ups to that nigga! You got a lot of respect from niggas here! OZONE, y’all keep getting rich. – DJ Slim Smoove, email@example.com (Saginaw, MI) I just read your interview on allhiphop.com. I remember see*ing JB. your magazine years back and being like, Damn, this is definitely
South and dirty dirty! And then seeing the white girl running shit and doing her thing and making me proud. I think you’re really holding yourself down and taking all of the proper steps, especially with this Benzino thing. It’s been really beautiful to see where your mag came from and then to see Paul Wall repping for you in Rolling Stone! Congrats on the mag. – Samara Goldhecht, firstname.lastname@example.org (Las Vegas, NV)
Your mag is the shit! You’re really doing your thing. I remember it from when I was in West Palm to Miami and back to Atlanta. This publication has grown tremendously. Congrats and keep it up! – Lori Hall, email@example.com (Atlanta, GA) I’m in love with your photo spread in the May issue. I’m almost in *tears. You’ve really inspired me to keep shooting and never stop. – Duane Johnson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Congrats on the distribution deal! It’s well-deserved. Benzino tried to put an end to OZONE but that kicked him in the ass. I wanna thank y’all for the DJ issue and for putting both of my squads in it, Bum Squad DJz and the Hood DJs. Even though I’m a NY cat, I still fucks with OZONE. It gives a lotta insight on Southern artists, established and upcoming. Keep up the good work! – DJ L-Gee, email@example.com (NYC) is a wonderful publication, and I look forward to getting *the OZONE new issue every time it comes out. The articles and interviews are
always on point and really cover what people want to know instead of things a lot of other writers just use as filler to make a story. – Brandon Porter, firstname.lastname@example.org (Mobile, AL)
Yo, just wanted to reach out because I picked up the latest URB Magazine, with the Power 100 in it. Lo and behold, what do I see? OZONE, one of the top publications to check for! Big congrats on that! Also, what happened to the “caffeine substitutes” in this past edition? Didn’t see that in it. Hope that doesn’t turn out to be a monthly habit, haha. Anyway, keep up the good work. – DJ Southpaw, email@example.com (Ft. Myers, FL) 14
I’m the program director for 96.3 WJIZ in Albany, GA. We’re a *100,000 watt hip-hop and R&B station that reaches South Georgia,
North Florida, and Southeast Alabama. Our listeners love your magazine. We give them away on the air and at live remotes. We’ll continue to support your magazine, because we find valuable info about groups and artists. There are groups that have songs that seem to grow on their own. OZONE has helped me connect with a lot of these artists who we’ve read about in your magazine. Thank you a million, OZONE. Keep up the good work! – Jammin Jay, firstname.lastname@example.org (Albany, GA)
I received the March and April issues of your magazine and I’ve never seen anything like it before. All the interviews are up front, no B.S.ing. I loved the Houston All Star special edition. It was fly. I’m a full-fledged Houston fanatic, and to see them get the attention they deserve (especially Bun B) is great. Keep doing what you’re doing with your magazine, because it sure is working! I can not wait to get my next issue. Plus, this may not mean much to you now, but with all the rulings in court, I don’t think you need to worry about Ben-ZiHo no more! He is out of The Source for good, which is a good thing, cause honestly I’m ready for The Source to be a good read again. And you don’t even need to worry about any competition, because you’ve pushed your magazine so far ahead of the game that they can not touch you. I would love to see any of those New York magazines get the exclusives you get. Just thought I would drop you a line and let you know how great you are doing (like you need someone to tell you, I’m sure your pockets runnin’ deep now are evidence enough). Thanks for the good interviews. Make sure they keep coming! – Shannon Gleason, email@example.com (Bloomington, IL)
I read your April 2006 issue. Maurice Garland did an excellent job on covering and giving the Bay area some exposure. – Dennis, firstname.lastname@example.org (Orlando, FL) event I go to, JB and OZONE are working hard to bring hip*hopEvery and R&B to the forefront. Also, I would like to thank JB for taking a
picture of me and my group Street Villanz and letting me get a picture of her at Da Splitta party in Daytona. Out of all the magazine editors I’ve met, she was the only one to ever do that! Crazy, isn’t it? When are you gonna do a spotlight on Tampa Bay? We got heat too! – Ernest Mingo, email@example.com (Tampa, FL)
I read your article about pimps and hoes in the 2005 sex edition. It’s time for all responsible representatives of our culture to reach out to our confused children and educate them concerning one of the greatest misconceptions affecting black communities across the country. The glamorization of pimps in movies, radio and curbside is a great injustice to young society. A pimp is nothing more than a leach that preys on our women and children, so let’s stop promoting these buffoons in now-and-later gators. I’m concerned about the truth. - Queen Jullia, QueenJullia@hotmail.com (NYC) OZONE Awards are a good look for Orlando. All them cats *thatThe be talking about how you don’t help Orlando are just hating. I’m happy for how far the mag has got. I remember when Pimp G first gave me an OZONE in 2003 and I was like, “Cool, some new shit from Jax,” only to find out it was based in Orlando. But now I don’t have to travel to New York or ATL to attend an award show like I did for the SEAs. Hopefully it can blow and BET or MTV starts showing it, or fuck it, OZONE just gets their own channel/network. I’m still a subscriber and I see you getting with New York and Cali. That’s cool, cause when the Awards go down you gonna bring all them muthafuckers to Florida. - Flydcgi, firstname.lastname@example.org (Jacksonville, FL) Corrections: The photo of Pimp C on page 115 of the May 2005 issue was taken by King Yella; the photo of Sam Quinn on page 52 of the April 2006 issue was taken by Joey Colombo; and we incorrectly labeled a photo of So So Def’s SunN.Y. with his labelmate T Waters’ name on page 37 of the May 2005 issue. Hate it? Love it? Send your comments to email@example.com OZONE reserves the right to edit comments for clarity or length.
jb’s2cents “I get knocked down, and I get up again/ You’re never gonna keep me down,” corny, I know. Some old Top 40 joint, by Chumbawumba (I had to look it up). I’m sure none of you are Chumbawumba fans, and neither am I. But at 5 AM in this particular Wal-Mart, buying toothpaste and socks because some fuck broke into my truck and took all my shit, this cheesy pop hook coming over the intercom seems strangely appropriate.
10 Things I’m Hatin’ On By Roland “Lil Duval” Powell
When the little Benzino incident happened, a friend sent me this book called The 33 Strategies of War, which I’ve been slowly reading on my flights. Great book, but I’ve come to realize that most of the strategies are ones that I already use on a daily basis. I’m built for war. I don’t have to read a book to know how to win.
Disclaimer: This is really what everybody else is sayin’. I know I’m dead wrong, but I’m hating anyway.
1. Myspace.com I went to R. Kelly’s page and there was nothing but 13 year olds in his top 8. LOL (It’s just a joke.) 2. Red Monkey Jeans There is no way in hell I’m gone pay $900 for some jeans when I can get two for $50 at Old Navy. 3. Anybody Hating On The South I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but all that its-just-our-time and it-will-comeback-round-to-y’all shit ain’t happening. You arrogant niggas never realized that we were the ones buyin your records before. We got tired of y’all not showing appreciation to us. Now that we’ve learned the game, we don’t need y’all. Y’all need us. So keep hatin’; we really don’t care.
Tampa Tony and I @ Fuel in Daytona Beach
Me, DB, and the entire Duval County @ Kartouche
4. “KILL YO SELF!!!” Everybody knows I’m the one that got all y’all saying that. And if y’all don’t know that, kill yo self! 5. Bullshit Clothing Lines Just ‘cause you put glitter and rhinestones and paint on a shirt, that don’t make your clothing line different. There’s a nigga like you in every city. 6. Niggas Wearing Thongs If I catch any nigga in Miami for Springfest or Memorial Weekend in a thong wit they shirt off, I’m gone personally slap the shit out of ya. 7. Deal Or No Deal Where does this TV show get their contestants? They have some of the dumbest people on there. I was watching it one night, and they offered this girl $900,000. She said “no deal” and ended up leaving with $13,000. 8. Movie and TV Execs I’m hating on them for sleeping on me. The reason why a lot of their shit flops is because they don’t know what people find entertaining. 9. Lil Kim Am I the only one wondering how she looks in jail since she can’t have a makeup artist in there? 10. Kimora Lee Simmons I never did like her. Any real nigga could see that she ain’t shit but someone who manipulated her way into the right nigga and came up. But then again, I shouldn’t hate the player; hate the game.
But here’s the problem: the most destructive “battles” we fight aren’t against one specific person or enemy that we can look in the eye. The book correctly points out that we are our own worst enemy. But aside from ourselves and our own weaknesses and vices, the biggest struggles we face are lack of funds or lack of resources, racism or stereotypes, and other vague unknowns. Our real enemies are the credit bureaus, the repo man, the landlord, the cop that won’t give you a break, the bitch that your live-in boyfriend cheated on you with (on your birthday), the roommate that didn’t pay the utilities bill, the hard drive that dies for no good reason, Sprint PCS customer service, and other unknown assailants like the previously mentioned fuck that robbed me. When you can’t stare down your opponent one on one, it’s an unfair fight. So what can you do but get knocked down, and get back up again? Although a stolen laptop can be replaced, my SXSW pictures are gone. DJ Khaled’s video shoot pictures with damn near every rapper in the South are gone. The exclusive pics from T-Pain’s remix video (with R Kelly, Pimp C, Paul Wall, MJG, Twista, etc) are gone. But even if I lost every material thing tomorrow, I’d still have my name and my relationships and my experience, which are really the most valuable things l own. So God forbid I ever have to start over from scratch in this business, I could. Although I’m not sure I’d want to.
The point is this: see, you can try to rape me, or turn off my power, or disconnect my phone, or break my car window, or key my truck, or drill a hole in my Tahoe, or break into my Suburban, or steal my luggage, or spill a drink on my camera, or cash fake checks in my company’s name, or sue me for some bullshit, or call me a “slut monkey,” or refuse to pay for your ad, or borrow money from me and disappear. You still can’t stop me. Keep trying to fuck with me – yes, I’m mad, and I’m talking to all of you - and you’re only helping me become more focused, more driven, and more efficient. In fact, you might fuck around and inspire me to add two more SUVs to the OZONE/CRUNK!!! fleet, move to a bigger office, add four more special editions, and create a magazine for Camron - like I did this month. Oh, I’d also like to point out the fact that OZONE had more pages last month than The Source. And as for that other little magazine trying to play editorial games with me... LOL. No free pub for you til you get on my level. Get your weight up. I rule.
Lex is always hitting me up for a loan every time I come to Miami
And yet amidst all the craziness and the threats, I only have one fear: I’m always afraid I’ll run out of things to write about. And yet it never seems to happen. This, my friends, is the greatest issue of all time. Anyone who tells you differently is a liar. And for once, I didn’t do it all myself. We got a lil’ squad now. Shout out to Maurice who orchestrated our 20 Essential Southern Albums list. I’m slowly subtracting myself from the equation so enjoy my brilliance while you still can. :) - Julia Beverly, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lil Scrappy “Beatin’ Down The Block” E-40 f/ Keak da Sneak “Tell Me When To Go” DMC f/ Sarah McLaughlin “Just Like Me” Ricky Fante f/ Isaac Hayes “It Ain’t Easy” Chamillionaire f/ Trae “Ridin’ Dirty (remix)” Bohagon f/ D4L & Crime Mob “Wuz Up” Juvenile f/ Ludacris “Pop You” Webbie f/ Pimp C “Like Dat (remix)”
jb’splaylist Lupe Fiasco “Kick Push” Plies “Bid Long” Natasha Bedingfield “Unwritten” Trae “Swang”
groupieconfessions Disclaimer: These “groupie confessions” are anonymous, so we cannot verify if they are true or not. All details (cities, club names, hotel names) have been removed. These stories do not necessarily represent the opinions of OZONE Magazine. These stories did not necessarily occur recently, so if you are currently seeing one of these fine gentlemen, no need to curse him out. These stories are from different women. If you have a celebrity confession, send an email to email@example.com or call 407-447-6063 to tell your story.
Slim Thug How did you meet Slim Thug? I was invited to come to [another city] for a concert with my friend who was talking to Mike Jones. We got on the road and once we got there, met them at the hotel and checked into the room. From the jump, they tried to hook me up with Mike’s lame-ass friend Mello. I definitely was not feeling him, but I was trying to be nice so I talked to him. We went to the lobby to talk to Mike and his crew, and when we got on the elevator it stopped on the floor below us and Slim Thug got on with one of his friends. So we got off the elevators and waited for Mike and them to come down. When they came down, Slim Thug got in the limo with us.
So you were feelin’ Slim Thug? Yeah, when we got in the limo we were talking and he was obviously flirting. But then came Mello talkin’ about, “Come sit next to me.” So I went to the other side of the limo and sat with him and tried not to talk to him or look at him the whole way. When we all started drinking – except for Mike who doesn’t drink or smoke – I finally got to talk to Slim and he was flirting with me. Doesn’t he have a girlfriend? I asked him about his girlfriend, the singer LeToya Luckett. He said that they’re not together anymore. I think he was lying, but I didn’t care! Did he tell you why he was interested in you? Well, he was like, “You see these girls all on me. They all tryin’ to come to the room, but I don’t want none of them. I want you.” He whispered his room number in my ear. What made you decide to go? Well, like I told my friend, “I ain’t never done nothing like this before, and I would hate to be a groupie.” She was like, “Girl, do whatever you want.” So I kept thinking about it as I sipped my fourth Grey Goose. We all rode back to the hotel, and I remembered I was supposed to be staying with Mello. But I decided to go with Slim. He was sitting at the other end of the limo and as he got out he gave me this look, like, “You better be at my room!” How did you get away with that? Everyone else decided they wanted to get something to eat so I played it off as if I was tired and was gonna go to the room to lay down. Mello gave me a key to the room and I went to his room and called Slim. I was so drunk I forgot the room number, so I called a few different rooms before I got the right one (laughing). So what did he say when he answered the phone? When he answered he was like, “What are you waitin’ on? Come up here.” At first I was kinda offended, like, he knew I was gonna come to his room so maybe I shouldn’t go. But I didn’t want to get stuck with this lame-ass nigga so I got my stuff and went up to his room. What happened once you got in the room? He answered the door in his boxers and as soon as I got in there I started taking off all my clothes. I don’t know why, I guess it was the adrenaline rush or maybe the Grey Goose. He threw me on the bed and that turned me on even more. We fucked for like an hour, and it was a good hour too. That brotha surprised me. I thought it was going to be like two minutes because I’m sure he gets some often, but actually it was good. Okay, so what’s he working with? Yeah, he’s tall, but that doesn’t mean he’s mandingo warrior or any18
thing. He’s just right, not too big and definitely not too small. Did you stay in contact with him? Nah, we never talked after that. That was just a one time thing, I was trying something new. I don’t think I will ever do that again! I don’t consider myself a groupie. I did not try to holla at him, he approached me!
Plies How did you meet Plies? I met him when he came to [my city] and did a show. I was on stage when he was performing. After the show, he had security come get me off stage and I went backstage. Were you into him before you met him? Yeah, I been knew of him before but I never knew him, knew him. I went to a couple of shows that he had did before. Once you got backstage, did you talk to him? Naw, he was just chillin’ cause the cameras were on. Then he asked if I wanted to go back to his room. Do you like him, or were you interested mostly because he’s a rapper? Oh, I like him. So once you got to the room, you kinda knew what was about to go down. Yeah. When we got back to the room we were chillin’ at first, but I stayed the night with him. So, you know, Plies always has a lot of female fans tryin’ to grab at him at his shows and stuff like that. So what’s the word on Plies? Oh, he’s good, he’s a ten. He don’t try you. If you don’t want to, he don’t make you. He didn’t come off at me in any kinda way. I really have nothing bad to say about him cause he’s not like that. He’s kinda laid-back, he don’t try to make you do nothing. He’s a short dude though. Yeah, but he was actually big. I didn’t think he was gonna be like that. So do you kick it with him on the regular or was this a one-time thing? I went to see him for the weekend after that. We talk all the time. He don’t treat me like, I’m gonna call you whenever I want some. He don’t treat me like that. He real cool. I thought it was gonna be different at first. But he’ll have somebody come get me and bring me to them, and I’ll be chillin’ with him and his people. Did you ask him if he has a girlfriend, or you didn’t talk about that? We don’t really talk about that. He just told me that he has a baby mama and that was it. Is there anything unusual that he does in bed? Plies got his own thing going on. He likes the lights on. He likes to see everything and look at everything. Before he about to nut he take his condom off. Every time, he always take it off so he can see it coming out. He do it every time. Did he tell you why he’s into you? Plies said that I’m real pretty and cool, and I can hang with the fellas. Some girls wanna be all up on him, and I don’t be doing all that stuff. I just be chillin’. I’ll be in the room while he goes to do whatever he has to do, and I’ll stay in the room til he comes back.
01: Trey Songz and DJ Drama @ Visions for T.I.’s King album release party (Atlanta, GA) 02: Plies performing @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 03: Voc, J-Bo, Latrella, Jap Nasty, and Chris reppin’ OZONE @ Action Pak car show (Ocala, FL) 04: Triggastate Trendsetters @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s bday (Orlando, FL) 05: DJ Dap, Keith Kennedy, Too Short, and TJ Chapman @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 06: Yogi, Greg G and Spider @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 07: PBG and Jay Love @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 08: Ryno and Raekwon @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 09: Lil Shawn and Sir Knight Train @ 95.3 car expo (Orlando, FL) 10: Webbie @ Jackson State (Jackson, MS) 11: Sandman and Talib Kweli @ The Masquerade (Tampa, FL) 12: Pat Nix and Mercedes @ Whispers (Orlando, FL) 13: Owen B, Wicked D, and Krazy Yogi @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 14: DJ Demp and his sister @ Kartouche for David Banner’s birthday party (Jacksonville, FL) 15: Kurupt and DMC @ celebrity football game (Miami, FL) 16: Young Cash and DJ Khaled @ DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 17: Smoke D, David Banner, and Aziattik Black reppin’ Da Sipp (Jackson, MS) 18: Reppin’ OZONE @ The Roxy for Upstart Record Pool meeting (Jacksonville, FL) 19: Big Tuck, guest, Tum Tum, and DJ Tantrum @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 20: Disco, DJ Khaled, and DJ Nasty @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 21: Tony, Anthony, Lloyd, guest, Dominique, and Jas on the set of Pimp C’s “Pourin’ Up” video shoot (Houston, TX) Photos: Ashlee Brathwaite (12,13); Bogan (15); Bright Star (07); Destine Cajuste (02); Greg G (06); Jaro Vacek (10,17); Julia Beverly (01,04,05,14,16,18,20); Keadron Smith (21); Kool Laid (19); Malik Abdul (03,09); Matt Sonzala (08); Sandman (11)
by Wendy Day
Proof That He Was Alive
he headline on AOL’s main screen read “Eminem’s Close Friend Killed.” As I clicked on it I said to myself please don’t let it be Proof. Proof was so much more than a close friend of Eminem’s that was killed. Proof was one of the first artists in this industry that I befriended. I met him through some friends who worked at Tommy Boy. It was around 1994. They wanted to sign him because of his charisma, but they were afraid to take a chance on a rapper from Detroit, in my opinion. I liked Proof very much as a person. I can’t say that about many rappers. Proof was energetic, outgoing, and spoke his mind. He reminded me of a little Muppet character. Always happy, always entertaining, always moving—especially when everyone else around him was tired. He was always so alive and energetic. With the success of Eminem, I lost touch with Proof. Tommy Boy never did sign him, but he had a better gig as Em’s right hand man. He was down for Em—stayed true, even when there were rumblings in D-12 about this or about that. Proof was always by Marshall’s side, through the good and through the bad. I imagine Marshall’s feeling it the most because it’s impossible to replace loyalty and years in. Especially when you are a household name. He was Marshall’s best friend. Proof and I spoke by Blackberry, a few lines here and a few lines there. We spoke often when he put out his CD independently. It didn’t do as well as he had hoped, or maybe it didn’t do as well as I had hoped for him. I saw Proof in July in Atlanta. I was backstage at the Anger Management Tour meeting with his cousin Trick-Trick. Everyone was sitting on the tour bus, tired as hell. Proof was the energetic Muppet running around entertaining all of us, clowning for the Shade 45 interviewers. He was having a good time, but I think that everywhere he went he had a good time. I wondered if he would have any energy left for the stage. He did. When Proof first saw me he gave me shit for not returning a call to him months earlier. He had an old phone number for me so I never got his message, but that didn’t stop him. After he was done scolding me, he hugged me for what seemed like hours. We had a good time, but everywhere he went he had a good time. Except maybe last night. He was gunned down in an afterhours club on Eight Mile in Detroit. Yes, that 8 Mile - the one his best friend made world famous in a film by the same name. More senseless violence. More Detroit shit. Apparently they caught the dude who shot him. That’s a first. I remember a story Trick-Trick told me in September while we were in NY shopping his deal. He dropped Proof off at home early one morning after they had been recording at the studio all night. Proof got out of the car and without Trick knowing, he ran across the yard, jumped a fence, through another neighbor’s yard and ran along side of Trick’s car and banged on the window shocking the hell out of him. When Trick pulled over and asked him “What the hell are you doing man?!,” Proof just laughed and ran off through some bushes and across another yard. All Trick could do was pull off laughing thinking about how crazy Proof was. We lose too many rappers to violence. We lose too many young Black males to violence. Now we’ve lost a Muppet to senseless violence. Wherever he is, he’s in a better place. I want to say “rest in peace, dear friend,” but I know that’s not possible. I know he’s running around with incredible energy, entertaining everyone. That’s just Proof. - Wendy Day of Rap Coalition (firstname.lastname@example.org) You can read more of Wendy Day’s ranting and raving on her blog at www.WendyDay.com. You can also respond to her insane ramblings.
Proof’s casket at his funeral (above) and obituary (below)
01: Da Musicianz stop by the OZONE office (Orlando, FL) 02: Trae, Lil B, and Hawk @ Back Room for SXSW (Austin, TX) 03: Treal @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 04: On the set of Smilez & Southstar’s “U Know” video shoot (Orlando, FL) 05: June, Christina Clark, and Omar Sharpe @ Whispers (Orlando, FL) 06: T-Pain and Karen Douglas @ Southbeat Records (Miami, FL) 07: Young Cash, DJ Dr. Doom, and TJ Chapman @ David Banner’s birthday party (Jacksonville, FL) 08: Lil Boosie gets some love backstage @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 09: Erykah Badu and Big Tuck @ ATL premiere (Dallas, TX) 10: World Fame, C-Pone, and Puerto Rican Mike @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 11: Jean Grae and Money Waters @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 12: Greg G, Legacy, and Richie Rich @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 13: G-Money and Julia Beverly reppin’ OZONE @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 14: Jxclusive and DJ Sosa @ So So Def (Atlanta, GA) 15: Bubba Sparxxx finds Ms. New Booty @ Stankonia (Atlanta, GA) 16: Paul Wall celebrating his birthday with his cousin Gu (Houston, TX) 17: David Banner, Pastor Troy, Big Kuntry, DJ Toomp, and Lil C @ Visions for T.I.’s King album release party (Atlanta, GA) 18: Ashanti, Irv Gotti, and Ja Rule (Miami, FL) 19: Ladies on the set of Smilez & Southstar’s “U Know” (Orlando, FL) 20: Obie, guest, and Lil Shawn @ 95.3’s car expo (Orlando, FL) 21: Janky John and Smackabatch @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) Photos: Charles Reece (09); DJ Sosa (14); Edward Hall (10,11); Greg G (12); J Lash (18); Julia Beverly (01,02,03,04,07,17,21); Karen Douglas (06); Keadron Smith (16); Mercedes (05); Malik Abdul (08,19,20); Shannon McCollum (15); Young Cash (13)
by Charlamagne The God
o I’m in Puerto Rico this past weekend throwing it up with my radio aunt Wendy Williams and Question Mark Entertainment. I was hosting the concert that was held on Saturday night in the resort’s ballroom, and one of the performers was Keyshia Cole. Everybody knows Keyshia Cole makes music for angry, bitter women who have been dogged by a man. And obviously, Keyshia herself has been seriously hurt by some dude. After her performance, I get on stage and say to the crowd, “Keyshia Cole is an angry woman. Somebody needs to eat her pussy so she can calm down!” Well, Keyshia Cole runs on stage, grabs the mic and says, “Who the fuck does this nigga think he is saying I need my pussy ate?! I’m a woman. You don’t talk to me like that or disrespect me like that!” Now Keyshia, the reality of the situation is this: as Ghetto, Hood, and Real as you claim to keep it, I KNOW that you have told one of your homegirls, “Such-and-such ate my pussy!” It’s been rumored that you were dating Young Jeezy, and now Tyrese. If one of them dudes go down on you, you gone call one of your homegirls and say, “Tyrese ate my pussy” or “Jeezy ate my pussy!” It’s not like you’re going to be politically correct and say, “Tyrese performed oral sex to my vaginal area.....” Keyshia, you’re one sophomore jinx away from being back in the hood, so don’t go getting all proper on us now. I understand you had to thug it out, showcase the whole Keep-It-Real persona the media has given you. I actually loved our little misunderstanding on stage. It made my radio aunt Wendy Williams’ concert that more memorable. The females in the crowd loved seeing you act like the hoodrat next door. In closing, I wasn’t trying to insult you, Keyshia, by saying you need your pussy ate. That’s just how I talk. If I was trying to insult you, I would have said how your hair looks like Wile E. Kitten off the Thundercats cartoon. Keep doing your thing, Keyshia. You really do rep for the women who have been scorned by a man, and you are like a young Mary J. Blige for the simple fact she couldn’t sing live when she first started either.
ere’s another one from my lovely weekend in Puerto Rico....I’m a Wu-Tang Clan fanatic. My favorite emcee of all time is Ghostface Killah, so when I found out he was another featured performer at my radio aunt Wendy Williams’ concert, I was amped like, “Oh s**t, I’m gonna meet the god Big Ghost!” His album Fishscale just came out this past Tuesday. I’ve been bumping that heavy. I even let my ears taste that before T.I.’s King album. Anyway, I didn’t see Ghost before he came out on stage nor did I introduce him, so when he came out and I saw him, I was a little confused. No Liberace-style robe, no 6-foot bird on the arm, no trunk jewelry like Slick Rick. In reality, Ghost looked like your 50-year-old uncle who still wants to dress young but doesn’t know where to shop. He had on what I think was a Southpole polo shirt. First off, who wears Southpole? We all know that is the Surreal Life of clothing. When you wear Southpole, you might as well admit to yourself that it is the end of any fashion statements you plan to make in the history of your life! If the shirt he was wearing was not Southpole, then it was one of those cheap polo-styled shirts you can buy for $30 in any local mall. He had on some dingy looking short pants, with some blue socks pulled up to his knees. And his Wally B Clarks - I think they were Lugz! I hope not because all Ghost fans know he said he would never rock Lugz; he’s way above! I was so disappointed. If that’s what Ghost wears under his robe, then he needs to permanently staple and superglue his robe to his body. I’m hoping he lost his luggage at the airport. I mean Ghost got a superhero, Superman swagger, but someone must’ve had krypotonite in the crowd or he couldn’t find a phone booth to change in. That’s just the beginning. As a Ghost fan, it’s certain songs you hope to hear at a Ghost concert. Ghostface came out and did his verse off of “Summertime” by Beyonce. What the fuck?!? Why not come out to “Apollo Kids” or the record off your new album produced by Just Blaze “The Champ?” Ghostface did every record that has ever brought him any type of commercial recognition. That’s cool but not when you got hardcore fans like me who want to hear authentic hood classics like “Fish” and “Daytona 500.” Ghost, the reality of the situation is this you will NEVER cross over to the mainstream. You will never sell a whole bunch of records, so don’t cater to that audience at your shows! Cater to the fans like me who will still buy your records even when you end up on Koch. Ghost, Koch is in your near future because Def Jam is definitely going to hot potato you at any moment. MEMO TO ALL ARTISTS: Image is everything, and song selection during a performance is next to Godliness! Seeing Ghostface perform this weekend was disappointing like have sexing with Beyonce and realizing the pussy’s wack, her panties smell like Captain D’s, and you go to urine the next day and your dick’s burning. - If you would like to tell Charlamagne The God that he is an idiot, email him at email@example.com.
01: Rodney Jerkins, Joy Enriquez, Malica, and Atiba @ Power 95.3 car expo (Orlando, FL) 02: Ebonix, Plies, and Cedric Walker @ Club 238 West (Gainesville, FL) 03: Calvin Richards, Birmingham J and Chris Patterson @ 95.7’s Teen Jam (Birmingham, AL) 04: The Texas Untouchable DJs with Yung Joc @ Club 1919 (Dallas, TX) 05: TJ Chapman, Julia Beverly, and Young Cash @ Kartouche for David Banner’s birthday party (Jacksonville, FL) 06: Acafool and Kid Money KG reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 07: DJ Khaled, DJ Nasty, and Krazy Yogi @ Firestone for Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 08: Xtaci @ Visions (Atlanta, GA) 09: Big Chief’s video release party @ Club Stress (Dallas, TX) 10: Fantasy World calendar model Ashlee @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 11: Kamikaze and crew @ Jackson State (Jackson, MS) 12: Ramza and Brad @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 13: Guest and Citty @ Upstart Record Pool meeting (Jacksonville, FL) 14: David Banner and Big Bodie @ Kartouche (Jacksonville, FL) 15: Ruben Studdard and Akon @ 95.7 Teen Jam (Birmingham, AL) 16: Magno and Money Waters @ Rapid Ric’s studio (Austin, TX) 17: Noah, Ray Daniels, and the Bishop of Crunk @ Visions (Atlanta, GA) 18: Slim Goodye, Greg G, and Southstar @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 19: Tampa Tony, Tom G, and Luc-Duc @ Fuel (Daytona Beach, FL) 20: Spiff, D-Money, Greg G, and DJ Maestro @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 21: Tosin, Hawk, and Jason @ Back Room for SXSW (Austin, TX) Photos: Greg G (18); Edward Hall (09,16); Jaro Vacek (11); Julia Beverly (05,06,07,08,12, 13,14,17,19,21); Malik Abdul (01,02,03,10,15); Mercedes (20); Promotivation (04)
mystory A-Town Down:
The Bishop of Crunk Speaks On The Accident That Killed His Girlfriend, Legion of Dymes Model Brianna “Chyna” Bowen On March 3rd, 2006, Atlanta’s channel 11 Alive TV news reported, “An accident in which an SUV flipped, killing a 21-year-old woman on I-75 southbound in Fulton County early Friday, is linked to a triple shooting at a nightclub on Marietta Boulevard.” Twenty minutes after three people were shot in the parking lot of Northwest Atlanta strip club The Body Tap, a Toyota 4-Runner flipped over on I-75. 11 Alive’s report continued, “The driver of the Toyota, Jarreau Turk [a.k.a. “The Bishop of Crunk”], has been charged with homicide by vehicle in the second degree, failure to maintain a lane, driving with a suspended license, and possession of marijuana.” Here, the Bishop of Crunk tells his side of the story:
’m the Bishop of Crunk, from the Streets of the A. I don’t have a job title, cause a job is something you have to work at. I love what I do. I do it for the people, my home, the A-Town. I’m a one-man promotional team, a manager, a producer, a rapper, a radio salesman, an actor, a comedian; you have to be multi-talented. I work with [WHTA] Hot 107.9 on 80’s night every Thursday, and that’s where I was the night of the accident. My business partner Chyna, who is also my lady, was with me. I didn’t know nothing about the shooting [at Body Tap] until after I was incarcerated. I was in a car accident that night. My girl was driving, and we didn’t get a chance to say anything. I got arrested while I was in the hospital, heavily sedated. The police never came to the scene of the accident. I wasn’t told anything. I was told to shut up. [After I went to jail] my lawyers came in, and I went to the courtroom four times. Each time I got [to the courtroom] my charges were less than the first time I got there. By the fourth time, I walked out on a signature bond. [On the night of the incident] we had left Vegas Nights and went to Body Tap, which was a pre-planned situation. By the time we left, Chyna was the only one up enough to drive, period. The car flipped over. I don’t even know exactly how I got out. I guess it was by the grace of God. Everything just happened so fast, you can’t really explain it. I still get flashbacks. By the time I realized that the car had flipped over I was out of it. I rolled maybe five or six yards, just tumbling. It wasn’t just me, but the three other people that were in the accident. By the time somebody came up [to help us], I was walking across the highway with my socks all bloody cause I’d landed on my feet. My shoes came off, and my seatbelt had popped. I don’t know how it happened. So I’m outside the car looking for Chyna and I realize that Chyna’s in the middle of the road. I got picked up by somebody that went to school with me and we went straight to Piedmont Hospital. When I got to the hospital [Chyna] was breathing. I had gave her CPR. They took her out of my arms and started running questions at me. By that time, I was gone. It wasn’t much I could tell anybody. I’m looking at my girl on the table and I’m in a situation that I can’t have full understanding of because I’m not in control of it. They pull me out and try to strap me to a bed. The only thing wrong with me is my feet, but I guess they figured I could’ve had a broken neck or something. The nurse is slamming my head into this neck brace. They put me on this bed and heavily sedated me with gas. So as I’m going down there’s a police officer working at the hospital, and I ask him, “If this is against my will, or if I refuse, is it against the law for them to do what they’re doing to me?” He said he didn’t have nothing to do with that and walked out. By the time I came to, I realized that my pants were cut off, my ID was gone, my cell phone was gone, and my camera phone was gone. They billed me for $1,300 and told me I had to be transferred to Grady Hospital, and my girl had just died. I sat there for two or three hours in a wheelchair, waiting on a car. I thought I was going in an ambulance, but they put me in a squad car. When I got to Grady they strapped me to a bed and I found out that my foot was cracked. 24
They never read me my rights. I never knew I was going to jail. I was being treated unjustly. Let’s blame it all on the Bishop of Crunk, cause we’ve got other rappers out here thinking they’ll get away with stuff. I don’t know who was involved in the shooting [at Body Tap]. Everybody in the A knows that I don’t have to carry no gun. My reputation is what it is in the streets. I’m a people person. This is the South, Southern hospitality. This is the new A, this is a revolution where we work together, not against each other. [The police thought I was driving] because somebody in the car was in the wrong. It was basically somebody trying to stay out of jail. When the car ain’t yours, it’s your parents, and you think that somebody’s gonna get arrested and be gone forever, you’ll say whatever you need to say to get out of that situation. While I was in jail God brought to me Luke 17, and he calmed my nerves to understand the situation. Luke 17 says, “If thy brother rebuke thee seven times in the day, forgive him seven times seventy.” See, that’s a lot of times to rebuke somebody that’s hating on you. So I had to forgive them. At first I was charged with vehicular homicide in the first degree, which is a felony. When you’re charged with a felony you can go up the stream for it, for a long time. Then they dropped it down to second degree vehicular homicide. As far as the charges , my lawyer is handling all that. I haven’t even got a court date yet. God is walking with me in this situation. I don’t have nothing to do with any violent situations. I’m crunk, but I don’t get drunk. That night, I didn’t drink. That night I wasn’t even smoking. I heard rumors that I was doing a lot of other things, but that’s not my thing. I don’t pop pills, I don’t snort, I don’t do none of that. [I heard rumors] that [the police] found cocaine on me. You can’t find cocaine on the Bishop of Crunk cause he don’t do that. Bishop is crunk. He exuberates energy at his excellence, but he’s not ignorant or stupid. I lost my mother and my father when I was young. They were wonderful people. Sometimes God does things in your life to make you stronger. My girl meant a hell of a lot more to me than anyone else in this world will ever know. Chyna was the mirror image of the Bishop of Crunk. We could walk into a party and crank it up, without being heavily sedated. This is where people get it twisted: we can come in the club and people are gonna instantly have a good time. That’s what we do to the game. We bring good times to the club. We don’t bring havoc or violence to the club. Getting crunk is like catching the Holy Ghost. From promoting to entertaining to hosting parties to catering parties to catering fashion shows, me and Chyna are non-stop. I can understand how a person could point the finger at Bishop. But when you point the finger at Bishop, how many fingers point back at you? At the end of Luke chapter 17, God says that when a life is lost, another life is preserved. So in this situation, my life was the one that was preserved. It’s hard when you lose somebody and you’ve lost a part of you. You love your momma and your daddy for being the ones that teach you and help you develop, but when you lose somebody that you love and are committed to, it’s different. Sometimes I wish he would’ve took me. How could you take somebody like Chyna? But he told me, “I’m the Alpha, the Omega, I heal, I make better. There’s no death in my Kingdom, there’s eternal life.” So I can’t do nothing but accept that he took her and not me. It’s hard for me to walk out in the public eye and be the Bishop of Crunk and crank it up. Crunk is the exuberation of energy, but my energy isn’t the same as it was in the beginning because somebody’s trying to suck the life out of me and put me in a situation I’ve never been in. I just lost somebody really close to me, and I don’t understand why I’m always targeted. Maybe it’s because I do what the Lord asks me to do. - as told to Julia Beverly
01: Baby D and Frank Ski @ Visions for T.I.’s King album release party (Atlanta, GA) 02: Webbie, King Yella, and Lil Boosie (Baton Rouge, LA) 03: PK, KC, and Southstar @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 04: Guest, Plies, and Cedric Walker @ Club 238 West (Gainesville, FL) 05: Bobo Luciano and Pimp C @ Nexxus Media Studios (Dallas, TX) 06: The Product @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 07: Oozie, Alex Gidewon, and a friend @ Visions 08: Choppa @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 09: Ms Cherry and Big T @ Visions for T.I.’s King album release party (Atlanta, GA) 10: Big Teach and DJ Nasty @ Firestone for Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 11: Skai and Hutch Daddy Dollars reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 12: Pupp and Keith Kennedy @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 13: David Banner and Stax @ Birdland (Jackson, MS) 14: DJ Buddha and his namesake (Orlando, FL) 15: Lil Wayne and Baby on the set of DJ Khaled’s “Holla At Me” (Miami, FL) 16: Erica Morton and Devin the Dude @ Studio 7303 (Houston, TX) 17: Jon Caramanica rollin’ in the OZONE/CRUNK!!! truck (Houston, TX) 18: Julissa and DJ Prostyle @ Metropolis (Miami, FL) 19: PK, Southstar, Smilez, and Tony on the set of “U Know” @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 20: Eddie DeVille, DJ Quote, Michael Watts, and Trae @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 21: J Kelly, Dela Candela, and Young Cash @ Kartouche for David Banner’s birthday party (Jacksonville, FL) Photos: DJ Quote (20); Edward Hall (05); Jaro Vacek (13); Julia Beverly (01,03,07,09,10,12, 15,21); Keadron Smith (16); King Yella (02); Malik Abdul (04,11,18,19); Matt Sonzala (06,08,17); Mercedes (14)
mystory Second Chance: BloodRaw Acquitted Of Federal Drug Charges In Panama City, FL Representing Panama City, FL, Bruce “BloodRaw” Falson spent most of his teenage years in and out of prison and served a six year sentence for drug trafficking. Released at age 21, he decided to turn his life around and pursue a music career. He generated a heavy buzz on the underground circuit with records like “Represent,” “My Block Burn” featuring Pastor Troy, Grandaddy Souf’s “Gameroom” with Three 6 Mafia, and Zay’s “Pump Yo’ Brakes” featuring Lil Jon, landing a deal with Young Jeezy’s CTE label. In addition to his solo deal with CTE, BloodRaw is a member of the group USDA, which is signed to Def Jam. BloodRaw was acquitted of Federal drug charges on April 5th, 2006. Here’s his story:
was arrested the day before I was supposed to leave to go to Europe [on tour with Young Jeezy]. Me and my brother Slick Pulla stopped by the passport office. When I went to the passport office and pulled into the parking lot, being from the streets, I watch my environment. As I was getting out of the car, I saw three different strange vehicles, and all the vehicles had four people in them. That ain’t common. As I’m walking up the stairs to the passport office, a lady comes outside and she’s acting all nervous. She’s like, “Are you here for your passport?” and I told her my name. As I’m talking to her, I see the U.S. Marshals get out of the car. I open my phone and get ready to call my sister. As I’m calling my sister and walking in the door, they walk in, grab my phone, shut the phone off, and ask me what my name is. They took me into custody. I went to the Atlanta penitentiary, and they told me what I was charged with. It was a charge in Panama City: conspiracy to distribute five keys of cocaine and fifty grams of crack. They had been investigating during a five year period of time, since 2000. I was transported to Tallahassee, where I stayed until a week before my trial. I went to trial on Monday [April 3rd, 2006]. They used some of my song lyrics during the trial; they used some names I mentioned and tried to say that they were my co-conspirators. On one song, I had named 20 names, and they picked out three names. They just took the names that they wanted to take and said them to the jury. They also tried to use the lyrics to some of my other songs [like “Indictment Papers”] against me, but they couldn’t use them because it hadn’t been presented as evidence when the trial first started. The names that I said in the song were supposedly my co-conspirators. [The prosecution] said, “These guys that he named in this song were part of this conspiracy.” Ten dudes got on the stand [and testified against me]; some of them where the names I said in the song. My lyrics are real; I don’t rap about nothing that’s fake. There was a point in my life when I really did [the things that I rap about]. But I wasn’t guilty of the crime they were charging me with. I never said that I never sold drugs, but I’m not guilty of the things they charged me with. I would’ve never done a song called “Indictment Papers” if I didn’t feel that in my heart. I knew there would come a time I would have to go through something pertaining to my past; in the city where I’m from, they don’t want to see you make it. When I did the song, I didn’t know that I had indictments coming. So it had to be God who put that on my heart. Anytime you’re dealing with a situation that no man can get you out of, you have to put your trust in God, and that’s really what I did.
was on my mind, the whole time. I had a very peaceful three months [awaiting trial]. I never had a restless night in jail. I asked God to let my lawyer be my vessel. During that whole period of time, I never even discussed my case with my lawyer. My lawyer [Clifford Davis] and my sister [Mya] and my manager Charles Wakeley got together and came up with a strategy that was real powerful. They showed [the jury] that I was a guy who got in trouble with prior drug offenses, but turned my life around and really tried to do something positive. Coming from a negative background, I made my life into something positive but still did hang around the guys doing what I used to do. They were still my friends, feel me? I didn’t turn my back on where I came from, but I turned my back on what I used to do. When I decided that I just wanted to do music, God took me through a phase of taking everything I ever had. He took all my material things. He took all my cars and all my money, and told me, “If this is what you really wanna do, you really gonna have to struggle. It ain’t gonna be an easy ride. I’m gonna take your pride away from you. I’m gonna take everything of the world away from you and see if this is what you really wanna do. I gave you this blessing, and you really do touch people with your music, but I’m not gonna allow you to have the things of this world and still try to live this lifestyle. You gonna have to struggle.” During that period of time, things started vanishing. The money and jewelry started leaving. I started selling my cars. [My wrapped van] got repo’ed. Feel me? I got evicted out of my house [in Panama City], which was another reason for me to go to Atlanta and do what I have to do in this music shit. God started taking everything away from me, and it was a blessing that He did because that was a big part [of my defense at the trial]. Looking back at it now, that means He was working back then. So on my behalf, my paper trail was the best thing going, and I had people that took the stand and spoke on my behalf. They’re not used to that in the Federal system. They’re used to niggas being dumb and not being able to account for what they have. I feel like this situation really wasn’t for me. I went through this trial for a lot of dudes who are in my same situation; dudes who are really tryin’ to put their heart into this music game. Maybe my story will touch a lot of people. A lot of niggas say they’re “real,” but can you imagine having ten niggas on the stand testifying against you? But regardless of what [those ten guys] did, I still don’t have no problem with them dudes. If they get out or whatever, I wouldn’t talk to them, but I don’t hate them at all. Even though they were trying to take my life away from my family and my son, I still don’t hate them dudes. I feel like I was spared in this situation because God has a plan for me. My [music career] is finna be so big it’s gonna be crazy. I’m about to drop this mixtape called Indictment Papers, and we gotta finish up this USDA album and film the video for “Burning Up” real soon. - as told to Julia Beverly (Photo: Big Cee Jay)
I was facing a minimum mandatory life sentence because I had two prior drug convictions. I didn’t even know until after the trial that they had offered my lawyer a twenty year plea bargain. I put my trust in God with my whole situation and gave him my career. It wasn’t even about me. Whatever time I’m facing, I could do. But my family can’t bear it. My sister can’t bear it. I changed a lot of people’s lives during my time of coming up in the rap industry, and I have a lot of people depending on me. I prayed to the Lord and I told Him: “You know my heart. You know what I’ve really been doing. You know my intentions and everything I’ve been working hard for. If you want me to do time, that’s no problem. But if I’ve got another chance, and you know my heart, then deliver me out of this situation.” That’s all that 26
BloodRaw (center) after his acquittal with manager C. Wakeley (left) and lawyer Clifford Davis (right)
01: Smitty and his wife @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 02: DJ Princess Cuts and Bingo @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 03: Juan, Chino, Adept, and Garfield @ Metropolis (Miami, FL) 04: KC, DJ Nasty, and Krazy Yogi @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 05: Mr. & Mrs. Skip Cheatham with Mic Moodswing @ ATL premiere (Dallas, TX) 06: E and Marcus. @ Birdland (Jackson, MS) 07: D, Big Hurt, DJ Khaled, Orlando, and DJ Christion @ Bahama Breeze (Tampa, FL) 08: Plies and Teka @ Club 238 West (Gainesville, FL) 09: Bandit and Z-Ro @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 10: Young Cash, guest, and Lil Hen @ Kartouche (Jacksonville, FL) 11: Ray J and Jill Strada @ Power 95.3 car expo (Orlando, FL) 12: Jock Smoove @ Club 238 West (Gainesville, FL) 13: Oz, Swift, and Julia Beverly @ Back Room for SXSW (Austin, TX) 14: Tony C and some of his calendar models @ Volume (Orlando, FL) 15: OZONE on the set of Smilez & Southstar’s “U Know” video shoot @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 16: DJ Drama, guest, Emperor Searcy, Felli Fel, DJ Irie, Cool, Bibi Guns, DJ Prostyle and Jonny Bravo on the set of DJ Khaled’s “Holla At Me” (Miami, FL) 17: Tony Draper and Pookie @ Rapid Ric’s studio (Austin, TX) 18: Tampa Tony, So South, and Great @ Club Fuel (Daytona Beach, FL) 19: Owen B, DJ Nasty, DJ Chino, and LVM @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 20: Tarvoria, Sir Knight Train, and TJ Chapman @ 95.3 expo (Orlando, FL) 21: Bishop of Crunk @ Visions (Atlanta, GA) Photos: Charles Reece (05); DJ Christion (07); Edward Hall (17); Greg G (14); Jaro Vacek (06); Julia Beverly (01,02,10,15,16,18,19,21); Luxury Mindz (13); Malik Abdul (03,08,11,12,20); Matt Sonzala (09); Mercedes (04)
mystory A Bad Day In Port Arthur: Pimp C’s Bentley Takes A Hit Jacktown Paparazzi getting the exclusive in TX? Yes, that’s right, our trusty visual reporter Jaro Vacek was on the scene when it all went down. Here’s his report from the front lines:
Mike Jones and Pimp C on set minutes before the accident
t’s Wednesday, April 19th, 2006. I’m in Port Arthur for the last set of the video shoot for Pimp C’s single “Pourin’ Up,” which features Mike Jones and Bun B and is directed by Boomtown. Around 5 PM, after signing many autographs and taking photos with young fans, Pimp C left in a silver Bentley, followed closely by Mike Jones in black Bentley. Within moments of their departure, the policeman present on the set said something about a shooting down the street and raced off in pursuit of the shooters. Later, he found out on the police radio that Pimp C’s car was involved in an accident caused by the shooting. Five blocks away from the set, Pimp’s Bentley was smashed on the rear driver’s side when a maroon Impala ran the red-light. The Impala was being chased by another vehicle, whose occupants were shooting at it in the proximity of Pimp C and Mike Jones’ Bentleys. Even though there were many bullet holes in the Impala, no one appeared to be hit. There were no bullet holes in Pimp or Mike’s Bentleys. Pimp C’s bodyguard the 7’4” giant J.T. and his relative were taken to the hospital with minor injuries as a result of the crash. Pimp C, who was driving, was unharmed in the incident.
Bullet holes in the windshield of the Impala that ran into Pimp C’s Bentley!
The shooting was not related to Pimp C, Mike Jones, or the video shoot, as some rumors may have indicated. It appears that Pimp C was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. - Jaro Vacek www.jarovacek.com
01: UTP and Juvenile reppin’ OZONE @ Visions for T.I.’s King album release party (Atlanta, GA) 02: Slim Thug ridin’ big (Houston, TX) 03: Big D and 8Ball @ Visions for T.I.’s King album release party (Atlanta, GA) 04: Greg Street and Big Boi @ Stankonia for Bubba Sparxxx’ Charm listening party (Atlanta, GA) 05: Southstar, KC and friends on the set of “U Know” (Orlando, FL) 06: Kunsistent-C and Plies reppin’ OZONE @ Club 238 West (Gainesville, FL) 07: Shife and crew reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 08: Snoop Dogg and Timbaland (Miami, FL) 09: Chris Turner and Jay Love @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 10: Mike Jones and a video model on the set of Pimp C’s “Pourin’ Up” (Houston, TX) 11: Tampa Tony, Piccalo, and TJ Chapman reppin’ OZONE @ Club Fuel (Daytona Beach, FL) 12: Jermaine Dupri and DJ Envy (Atlanta, GA) 13: Mercedes and Greg G @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 14: Jen and friends @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 15: Z-Ro and Cory Mo @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 16: DJ Demp and David Banner @ Kartouche (Jacksonville, FL) 17: The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 18: Jean Grae and Raekwon @ SXSW (Houston, TX) 19: Lupe Fiasco and Gabe Tesoriero @ Fader SXSW party (Austin, TX) 20: Nick Cannon and Izzy @ Power 95.3’s car expo (Orlnado, FL) 21: Mello, Iceage crew, and Reggie reppin’ Kriminaltized Jeans on the set of Pimp C’s “Pourin’ Up” (Houston, TX) Photos: Ashlee Brathwaite (09); Bogan (08); DJ Quote (17); DJ Sosa (12); Greg G (13); Julia Beverly (01,03,05,07,11,16,19); Keadron Smith (10,21); Kool Laid (02); Malik Abdul (06,14,20); Matt Sonzala (15,18); Shannon McCollum (04)
industry101 Chad Brown (Jive Records)
What’s your job title? I’m the Southeast Regional Mixshow Manager, based out of Atlanta, GA. I handle mixshow for both of the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee. With all the mixshow priority records that we have, we try to build it from the ground up from the clubs and the mixtapes. We basically try to break records. Do you only deal with DJs or are you involved with other forms of promotion? My job title is basically just based off mixshow, but I take it to the next level because I’m dealing with a lot of street teams, club DJs, and websites out here. I take a different angle besides just the mixes, because a lot of these records are built before radio. It’s a combination all together, so by the time I do take the mixes to the radio I’ve already got a street buzz on those records. Hopefully the mixers are on it so the record can get that break. How long have you been at Jive? About nine months. I was a part of the BMG group before they merged with Sony, so I got laid off at the top of last year. But before I got laid off, there was a cat named Noah I’d known since I was younger. I was working in the mailroom for BMG, and I started working with a lot of mixtape DJs, club DJs, and websites to pump Noah up. Noah actually got his deal off of the buzz I helped create. So when I got fired I stayed with Noah, kept building his buzz. Jive had so many artists signed from the South that they needed a mixshow dude in the South, and I already had the relationships from BMG so I got the job. Jive kinda created the job for me. Is it hard for you to be based in Atlanta rather than being in the main New York office? It’s actually kinda better that way. They need somebody that’s on their team but in the streets as well. A lot of people that are in New York sit in their office and don’t go in the streets. So they kinda need a person like me. I don’t think I could work in an office like that. All these artists need a person in the streets that’s gonna represent them, and that’s where I come in. The South’s got a crazy movement right now and I’m kinda like a guinea pig. With the Chris Brown record “Run It,” a lot of the people in the South didn’t fuck with the record and we kept grindin’ with it for a while until it broke. Back in the day, artists like UGK had problems with Jive, and felt like the label didn’t understand Southern music. Do you think that’s changed now that people like yourself are at the label? I think that’s one of the reasons the position got created, because they saw the movement the South was making and didn’t want to drop the ball. Niggas didn’t see the South as a big player in the game at one point, but eventually, if you can’t beat ‘em you gotta join ‘em. Jive was built on pop music, but as a whole, hip-hop is the most universal music right now. If you listen to a crossover station all they play is hiphop. So Jive realized the importance of being in the hip-hop game and decided to step their game up. With a record like T-Pain’s “Sprung,” for example, how difficult is it to market to both the hood clubs and the crossover market? The crossover part is easy. The crossover kids like what the hip-hop kids like. You just have to get the streets and the hood behind you to sell records. Most people try something and when it doesn’t work, they stop trying. But me, I try to knock down doors in ten different directions. If you don’t fuck with the record now, you’re gonna fuck with the record label. If they give me a record to work, somebody thought it was a hit, so I don’t give up on the record. I keep pumping the records and give 100%. I believe in all the artists that are here, cause at the end of the day if their records don’t pop, I’ll still have a job but they’ll be out there hungry. I got a personal relationship with some of these artists so I do the best I can on my end to get them poppin’. If you’re asked to work a record that you don’t like personally, do you still push it as hard? 30
When I get a record I try to stay unbiased and keep my own opinion out of there. There are a lot of records out there that have worked that I didn’t think were gonna work, beyond Jive. You never know what’s gonna work unless you try it. Do you have any role in finding new talent? Jive has an open-door policy, so when I go to conferences I get a bunch of demo CDs and I try to find one that’s hot. I don’t wanna be in mixshow forever. I wanna move up in my career, whether it’s with Jive or another company. I would love to find an artist, mold an artist, and break an artist. If I have to work for somebody, I’d like to be an A&R. Somebody that I respect as an A&R is Mark Pitts. He’s Usher, Ciara, and Chris Brown’s A&Rs. He’s molded careers. Eventually I want to be able to mold a career. You’ve even got your own catchphrase, “What can Brown do for you?” Is that part of your goal, to market and brand yourself as a young executive? Yeah, I’m only 25, so I look at myself as a young exec. I am a brand. When I say, “What can Brown do for you?” I’m saying, “How can I help you, help me?” I already know I deliver results, because I stick to my word. Chad Brown is the brand. I also say that I’m the “#2 mixshow rep” in the South. I started positioning myself as #2 because I got tired of being overlooked. Being #2 gives me a challenge: whoever the fuck thinks they’re #1, stay on your toes cause I’m right on your ass!” Which DJs are the highest priority to you? Does it depend on their radio affiliations or their market? Anybody that fucks with me, I fucks with them. The reason I like the position I’m in is because I feel like an underdog. DJs are the underdogs of the whole music industry, and you always wanna see the underdogs win. Some DJs think they are bigger than life, but then some are real humble. I’m a real dude. I have personal relationships with all my DJs, and I don’t treat no DJ better than the next DJ. I just treat them like friends. If they’re down with me, I’m down with them. They take care of me and I take care of them. What are the most important places for a DJ to go? You gotta go to all the conferences, The CORE DJs, TJ’s DJ’s, the Power Summit, you gotta be in the mix. You gotta network to create your brand. Go to all the DJ conferences and industry events, because at the end of the day this whole business is off your relationships. I try to be at all the events and would advise all the DJs to do the same. Having worked your way up from the mailroom, what’s some advice you could give to someone trying to get into the industry? Never give up. Just keep going. The difference between success and failure is less than one minute. The second you give up, you could’ve succeeded. Some of the greats came from the mailroom. Clive Davis came from the mailroom. Puffy was an intern. Kevin Liles was an intern. You can be at the bottom and rise to the top. There’s more motivation because you’ve seen people come from the bottom to the top. Success is obtainable. Anything else you want to say? Look out for Dre. Bonecrusher’s back on the grind. Kelis is about to expose herself to the world with a new look. We’re about to do some things with Too Short and Noah. I’ve helped break records and now through the coalition of Fear Factor Music Group, I’ma break some more records. Check out www.fearfactormusicgroup.com or hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org. What can Brown do for you? - Words and photo by Julia Beverly
01: DJ Quote and DJ Drama @ The CORE DJs Conference (Houston, TX) 02: Money Black, JT, and Pimp C @ Nexxus Media studios (Dallas, TX) 03: DJ Nasty, Tony C, and DJ Infinite @ Blue Room (Orlando, FL) 04: Ray J and Atiba @ 95.3’s car expo (Orlando, FL) 05: Mr. Blakes, Tum Tum, and Black Mike @ Rapid Ric’s studio (Austin, TX) 06: Gator Boys @ 95.7 Teen Jam (Birmingham, AL) 07: Germaine Martel, Churd, guest, and Destine Cajuste @ Icon for “U Know” video shoot (Orlando, FL) 08: Lin Ye Yuan and Matt Sonzala @ Fader SXSW party (Austin, TX) 09: T Biles and Young Buck @ F4 children’s toy giveaway (Nashville, TN) 10: Disco and DurteRed @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 11: K Paul, Point Blank, and KB @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 12: DJ Khaled and DJ Drama on the set of “Holla At Me” (Miami, FL) 13: Avant and Shoeb Malik @ Universal (NYC) 14: Barnard and Camron @ Kartouche (Jacksonville, FL) 15: Sweetz, Pastor Troy, and David Banner @ Visions for T.I.’s King album release party (Atlanta, GA) 16: Rick Ross, Trick Daddy, Baby, and Fat Joe on the set of DJ Khaled’s “Holla At Me” (Miami, FL) 17: Pitbull, MIke Calderon, and Cubo @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 18: Young Cash, Derek Washington, and Citty @ The Roxy for Upstart Record Pool meeting (Jacksonville, FL) 19: Bubba Sparxxx and Rico Wade @ Stankonia (Atlanta, GA) 20: Baby D and DJ Jelly with 95.7 The Beat ladies (Birmingham, AL) 21: Pimp C, Boomtown, and Bun B on the set of “Pourin’ Up” (Houston, TX) Photos: DJ Quote (01); Edward Hall (02,05); JoJo (09); Julia Beverly (07,08,10,12,14,15, 16,17,18); Keadron Smith (21); Malik Abdul (04,06,20); Matt Sonzala (11); Mercedes (03); Shannon McCollum (19); Shoeb Malik (13)
djprofile Mr. Mauricio (Miami, FL) Where are you from? My folks are from New York, but I’m born and raised here in Miami. Where do you currently DJ? I’m on the radio every day doing the 5:00 traffic mix on 103.5 The Beat and I’m in the clubs six nights a week at Mansion, Opium, and Prive. I’ve also got my own separate radio show on Friday nights from 10midnight. What’s your strongest quality as a DJ? Other DJs are one-sided. I’m working six nights a week at the top three clubs in Miami. I’m on the radio every day during peak hours. I’ve traveled all around the world. I’ve played in Vegas, New York, everywhere. The difference with me is that most of the spots I do are high-end. That’s what I focus on. On the beach in Miami, if you wanna make money you gotta be at the high-end spots. That’s what it is down here. That’s what I do; Mansion and Prive. It’s not the same as playing in the spots I grew up at. When you say “high-end,” what kind of audience are you talking about? White, Euro-trash, models and stuff like that. That’s what Miami Beach is known for and how it’s portrayed on TV, and that’s basically what I do. I do all the big parties, like Paris Hilton and Scott Storch and stuff like that. To me, it’s kinda corny, but it is what it is and I accept it. Bottom line, that’s where the money is, and I’m trying to make money. That’s what I do and I do it better than anybody else. When I’m in New York I do the high-end spots too and spots with Enuff and Camillo and the other Heavy Hitters up there. It just depends on which market I’m in. I do stuff with Felli Fel in L.A.; I do high-end stuff. I try to balance myself out just so I can branch out, not holding myself to one market. I think that’s the problem with the majority of the DJs; they just stick to one thing. I try to do everything and I try to corner the market. Why do you think the “Euro trash” at the “high-end” spots you spin at want to hear hip-hop music? Me, I’m 27. I got my first album when I was 17 or 18. I remember when I first started out, and it was unheard of for a club in Miami Beach to play hip-hop. There was one or two hip-hop spots but they were in the hood. All the big clubs were playing house, techno, trance, crazy shit, and it’s just evolved since then. Hip-hop’s so commercialized now. It’s funny. I’ll play Rick Ross in a club that’s honestly completely full of white models and French and German people, and they know the words to every song. That’s how hip-hop is evolving. To me, it’s crazy the money that hiphop brings in. Anybody can tap into it, whether you’re a hip-hop producer, DJ, clothing designer, radio station, artist, A&R, or anything in the urban market. Everybody’s cashing in right now, because regular people and rich people and European people can’t get enough of it. They wanna wear chains and walk around with our clothes on. They just wanna live the life. For the last few years turned away; now they embrace it. It’s just 32
crazy. How did you get started DJing? I just moved to the beach tryin’ to get a regular job, and my homeboy got me a job at some club. The promoter did a party on the beach. I never showed my interest in wanting to DJ, and no one really knew that I DJed. This was back in 1996 or so when hip-hop was in the small room. Hip-hop was never in the big room in the 90s. One day the resident DJ was sick, and the owner asked me at the last minute because my boy told him that I DJed. I was like, “Hell no.” It was a big club, Madonna owned it. It was the spot to be. It was called Liquid. Anyway, I went in there and rocked it, and once I played they were like, “It’s your night, every Friday, from now on.” So Miami Beach is just like anything else. Once you become a hot commodity, everybody wants you. I was a nobody who came out of nowhere, and all of a sudden they wanted me to come to their clubs. The ball started rolling and that’s what got me here. How did you get hooked up with your radio gig? I’ve been on the radio for four years. I used to travel four or five times a week, and that’s how the radio came about, through the regional guy with Clear Channel. He wanted me to come do a pop station out here called Wild 100 because Clear Channel didn’t have The Beat yet. WEDR was the main hip-hop station at the time. So the regional guy went to a club I was doing and asked me to come do my own mix at the crossover station. When Clear Channel finally opened up The Beat, I’ve been with the station from day one. It just came out of nowhere, man, so I’m really blessed to be in Miami and be in the right place at the right time. I’m grateful for everything. A lot of people in Miami don’t play their cards right and don’t take the opportunities that are offered to them. A lot of people are like, “You do the bourgeois clubs, you do the white clubs,” but the people that grew up with me know I’m still me, man. I’m still Mauricio from down South. I just do what I gotta do to get my money. Nobody does as many clubs as I do and that’s what pays. I don’t give a fuck if it’s black, white, Hispanic, whatever. Where I’m at pays the most, and I’ll play for whoever. How did you become a part of the Heavy Hitters DJ crew? That came through DJ Camillo. Me and Camillo have known each other for a minute. Camillo and my homegirl Beverly Bond have been coming down here for years. Camillo does all the hood spots and Beverly does the trendy shit. I had no affiliations down here and they were like, “Have you heard of the Heavy Hitters?” My family’s from Queens, so I actually have an apartment up there. I grew up listening to Kid Capri and Funkmaster Flex, so when they approached me to get down with the Heavy Hitters, I just felt blessed. I’ve been with them for three years now, that’s like my second family. What are the advantages of being with the Heavy Hitters? It’s not a big crew of 800 DJs, it’s only 18-20 DJs. In this industry, it’s good to have affiliations with somebody that can help you out. It’s difficult to get in places just based on your skills. I see so many artists and DJs in Miami that are talented or better than the people that are on, but they haven’t had the same opportunities. You’ve gotta learn to take those opportunities and make the best of them.
01: Big Neil and Michael Watts @ Matrix (Houston, TX) 02: Kamikaze and David Banner @ Birdland (Jackson, MS) 03: P$C’s AK and his sister @ Visions for T.I.’s King album release party (Atlanta, GA) 04: Disco, Chino, and Juan @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 05: Nubreed Entertainment and R-Senal @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 06: DJ Chill and Michael Watts @ Fader SXSW party (Austin, TX) 07: Duval County Rock Stars @ David Banner’s birthday party (Jacksonville, FL) 08: George Lopez and family @ ATL premiere (Dallas, TX) 09: DJ EFX and Smitty @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 10: Yung Joc and Chad Brown @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 11: Big Boi reppin’ M8ngeez (Atlanta, GA) 12: Smilez and a video model on the set of “U Know” (Orlando, FL) 13: T.I. and Omar Sharpe @ Whispers (Orlando, FL) 14: Pimp G and his daughter reppin’ OZONE @ The Roxy (Jacksonville, FL) 15: Paul Wall and Pitbull on the set of DJ Khaled’s “Holla At Me” (Miami, FL) 16: Basswood Lane reppin’ OZONE @ Back Room for SXSW (Austin, TX) 17: The Runners, Adept, and Chino @ Metropolis (Miami, FL) 18: Rohaun’s body paint models @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 19: Pimp C and James Prince, Jr. on the set of “Pourin’ Up” (Houston, TX) 20: Kamikaze and ladies @ Jackson State (Jackson, MS) 21: Roland Powell and Big Kuntry reppin’ OZONE @ Visions (Atlanta, GA) Photos: Chad Brown (10); Charles Reece (08); DJ Sosa (11); Jaro Vacek (02,20); Julia Beverly (03,04,05,07,09,12,14, 15,16,21); Keadron Smith (19); Kool Laid (01); Malik Abdul (04,17,18); Shoeb Malik (13)
q&a Ghostface How you doing? I’m chilling right now, promoting this album, doing it big. This album Fishscale just dropped in stores right now. Just finishing up these shows right now. How have things changed for you? The Wu was like a bunch of greats but at the same time it was a lot of us. It’s a lot different when you on your own. You ain’t got anybody to hold your hand. It’s like the coming of man. You learning the business on your own and you’re making your decisions on your own and how you want your album to sound and what direction you gonna go with it. It’s just living on your own. How do you engage people in your shows? I don’t know, I always had a lot of soul and emotion in me. Over the years I learned to mingle with the crowd. When you first come in you don’t what to do because it’s just a lot of people there. I know how a lot of brothers who just get the mic and stand there and rhyme all day but the crowd want you to make them feel so I just want to grab them and make them feel how I feel while I’m doing it even if I don’t catch them with my words. But I do catch them with my words so I give them the best of both worlds, give them my energy and my vocal. What can we expect from the album? It’s refreshing as far as the sound. The game has changed drastically since when I came out with Wu. Just expect the same old Ghostface. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I just do what I do and I went with a lot of underground producers. I just wanted to bring a nice vibe. When I do albums it’s based on the vibe. Even the women are feeling you. How’s that? It’s all good because I’m here for women too. They can go ahead and dig my joints like the joint I got with Ne-Yo. I want to appeal to everyone - male, female. All races from all sides of the board. It’s all love to see more women. As I go along I’m going to do more music for women because they can help us reach the babies more quicker than the men because there aren’t a lot of men in the households these days. I’m going to go ahead and throw the darts for them too. A lot of artists don’t show a softer side. How do you do it? I don’t know. I’m just not afraid to express what I feel inside. When I go to my shows I got shows in my head lined up that I can go to Broadway and do what I do. I just like to create what I see in my head. With other brothers maybe the swagger ain’t there or they scared to let it go. I really can’t tell you though because it’s just me. I just like to do my music. There’s seems to be an absence of substance in music today, not like the soul music. Speak on that. Cause it’s a whole new generation of fans. When I was 18 I had my first child and I know that as a parent they wasn’t even playing that kinda music around their children. When I was a baby my parents were playing that. Everything new now. In the late 80s is when the parents lost control and that stopped children from knowing who God was cause we didn’t even want to go to church. Everything shut down so that’s why everything is all off balance now. There’s no guidance. I’m scared that if something happen to the older generation, what’s gonna happen to soul music? Your lyrical abilities stand out. How do you make sure you stay on top of it? Nowadays I need more practice. I need practice because I’m not practicing as much and I find myself getting stuck and sometimes it takes me a long time to write a song. It depends on the zone I’m in, sometimes I can just see. Even if I like it too much it becomes hard because I don’t want to mess up the story. I used to use a mirror when I was younger but now that I’m older I just take my own time. Every rhyme 34
I write is not a good rhyme but I just do me and what sounds good to me. I do need more practice though. And when I practice things are going to go crazy. When you exercise your art you definitely get better. What are some standout tracks to you from the album? “My Strap”, “Crack Spot”, and “Underwater”. Those tracks really show my emcee skill. I like to go with different aspects. Even “Bus Stop” is a nice one. These are different drug topics. Did the album take a while? I flew through the album. As long as I’m locked down I can go ahead and do it. This album took me four or five months. I don’t smoke weed no more and this is my first album without being on weed. Sometimes weed opens up a closed door and sometimes music sound better on weed. I could have taken a hit and gotten some lines but then it would make me forget sometimes. Plus I’m a diabetic so the weed used to make me sluggish and it’d take me a long time to do things. With weed I’d have taken a different approach with the album so I don’t know which way is better but I’m doing what I need to. It seems like some maturity is coming back to the game. How do you feel? That’s peace right there. When I hit 40 I can’t keep rhyming about crack, guns, and murder. It’s gotta be a time when you go ahead and start rhyming about real life. We can save the world through our music. Even if you selling drugs you got your radio with you and people love music. I just feel like as we grow we need to watch what we’re saying and be a lot more positive. We’re caught in a devil mentality and it’s not amounting to anything and there’s kids believing what we saying on the records when they should be getting their education. They going to mess up and get locked up. I want to start getting at everyone. I gotta start delivering the message to them. - Rohit Loomba (Photo: Scott Schafer)
01: Juicy J hyping the crowd @ 95.3 car expo (Orlando, FL) 02: Tampa Tony, Greg Frankel, and J-Shin (Daytona Beach, FL) 03: Milk, Ted Lucas, and Dre on the set of DJ Khaled’s “Holla At Me” (Miami, FL) 04: Treal reppin’ OZONE on the set of “U Know” (Orlando, FL) 05: Smackabatch and crew @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 06: Duval County reppin’ OZONE @ Kartouche for David Banner’s birthday party (Jacksonville, FL) 07: Michael Watts and Kottonmouth @ Fader SXSW party (Austin, TX) 08: Gates and Plies @ Club 238 West (Gainesville, FL) 09: Cat Daddy interviewing T.I. @ ATL premiere (Dallas, TX) 10: Corey, Nic, Yung Joc, and Nitzo @ Club 1919 (Dallas, TX) 11: Malica and Atiba @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 12: Dela Candela, Stacey, and TJ Chapman @ Kartouche (Jacksonville, FL) 13: Doc Holladay and G-Money @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 14: Kinfolk Nakia Shine and his wife @ Visions (Atlanta, GA) 15: David Banner, Bigga Rankin, and Demp @ Kartouche (Jacksonville, FL) 16: JC, DJ Chill, and Freeze @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 17: Pimp G, Tom G, and Haitian Fresh (Daytona Beach, FL) 18: Smitty and DJ Khaled @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 19: Akon, DJ Jelly, and Devyne Stephens @ Teen Jam (Birmingham, AL) 20: Smilez, TJ Chapman, TV Johnny, Southstar, adn Haitian Fresh @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 21: Tarvoria and Feel Good crew @ Fuel (Daytona Beach, FL) 22: Raw, Shot Out, and Hoe Tester @ The Roxy (Jacksonville, FL) Photos: Charles Reece (09); J Lash (03); Julia Beverly (05,06,12,13,14,15,1 6,18,20,21,22); Malik Abdul (01,02,04,08,11,17,19); Matt Sonzala (07); Promotivation (10)
01: B-Legit and Z-Ro @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 02: JoJo, Tim Spider Webb, and Terry reppin’ OZONE (Nashville, TN) 03: Treal reppin’ OZONE (Daytona Beach, FL) 04: Smilez & Southstar, Treal and crew on the set of “U Know” (Orlando, FL) 05: So South, Tampa Tony, and J-Shin @ Club Fuel (Daytona Beach, FL) 06: Derek Washington and friends @ Upstart Record Pool meeting (Jacksonville, FL) 07: Dolowite loves the kids (Nashville, TN) 08: Malica and Greg G @ Volume (Orlando, FL) 09: DJ Miami and Kaspa reppin’ OZONE @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 10: Point Blank Entertainment @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 11: Atiba and Tarvoria @ 95.3’s car expo (Orlando, FL) 12: Smitty and Young Cash @ Firestone for DJ Nasty’s birthday party (Orlando, FL) 13: Julia Beverly and Fidel Cashflow @ DJ Slique’s studio (Orlando, FL) 14: Smilez and Jermaine on the set of “U Know” (Orlando, FL) 15: Cool, C-Ride, and Dre on the set of DJ Khaled’s “Holla At Me” (Miami, FL) 16: Southstar, Chaos & Order, and Smilez on the set of “U Know” (Orlando, FL) 17: Pookie, Lucci, Big Ben, Uncle Pauly and crew @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 18: Tosin, UZ, DJ Bounz, Oscar Garcia, and James Dean @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 19: All Pro crew @ Metropolis (Miami, FL) 20: Guest, Cedric Walker, Bigga Rankin, and Tyte Wurk @ Club 238 West (Gainesville, FL) 21: Treal, Jay Love, and Malik Abdul @ Icon (Orlando, FL) Photos: C-Ride (15); Destine Cajuste (21); DJ Slique (13); Edward Hall (17); Greg G (08); JoJo (02,07); Julia Beverly (05,06,09,10,12,14,19); Malik Abdul (03,04,11,16,19,20); Matt Sonzala (01)
01: Rick Ross and Tampa Tony @ Club Fuel (Daytona Beach, FL) 02: The Runners @ Metropolis (Miami, FL) 03: Lil Boosie and Webbie (Baton Rouge, LA) 04: Tony Draper and Money Black @ Rapid Ric’s studio (Austin, TX) 05: Akon @ 95.7 Teen Jam (Birmingham, AL) 06: Raekwon @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 07: Lyfe @ King of Clubs for Young Buck’s birthday bash (Nashville, TN) 08: Bobby Valentino @ UCF Arena (Orlando, FL) 09: DJ Jelly and Baby D @ 95.7 Teen Jam (Birmingham, AL) 10: Kurupt @ youth football game (Miami, FL) 11: DJ 151 and DJ D-Money @ The Moon (Tallahassee, FL) 12: Eye Candy and Too Short @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 13: Tomar of Carnival Beats @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 14: Stick 3K and DJ D-Strong @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 15: Olmann, Rapid Ric, and Chalie Boy @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 16: Alex and Flava Flav @ Whispers (Orlando, FL 17: Young Joc @ Club 1919 (Dallas, TX) 18: Bedo @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 19: DurteRed and Dela Candela on the set of “Chevys Ridin’ High” (Miami, FL) 20: Dolowhite and Scooby @ King of Clubs for Young Buck’s birthday bash (Nashville, TN) 21: George Lopez @ 104.3 concert (Austin, TX) 22: DJ TDK and DJ Big Bink @ Stress (Dallas, TX) 23: Chaos & Order on the set of Smilez & Southstar’s “U Know” (Orlando, FL) 24: Ray of Legion of Doom @ Visions for T.I.’s King release party (Atlanta, GA) 25: Balance @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 26: Papa Duck @ Citrus Bowl for 95.3 concert (Orlando, FL) 27: Tony and DJ D-Strong @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 28: Big Tuck and Tum Tum @ 104.3 concert (Austin, TX) 29: Deville of Partychaser.com (Dallas, TX) 30: DMC @ youth football game (Miami, FL) 31: Chingo Bling and Magno @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 32: Malik Abdul and Tuesday @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 33: G.r.i.T. Boys @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 34: DJ Br’l @ Piranha Records (Austin, TX) 35: Cruna @ King of Clubs for Young Buck’s birthday party (Nashville, TN) 36: Eddie DeVille @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 37: JoJo and Jellyroll @ The Kut (Nashville, TN) 21: DJ Black @ SXSW (Austin, TX Photos: Ashlee Brathwaite (14); Berto (17,29); Bogan (10,30); Destine Cajuste (27); Edward Hall (04,06,13, 15,21,22,34,38); JoJo (07,20,35,37); Julia Beverly (11,18,19,23,24,26); King Yella (03); Luxury Mindz (25,28,31,33,36); Malik Abdul (01,02,0 5,08,09,12,15,32); Mercedes (16)
01: Ice Cube @ Canal Room (NYC) 02: Cadillac Don & J-Money @ WZLD (Hattiesburg, MS) 03: Talib Kweli and Devin the Dude @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 04: TV Johnny and his wife @ Metropolis (Miami, FL) 05: DJ Irie @ Metropolis (Miami, FL) 06: Chamillionaire @ 104.3 concert (Austin, TX) 07: Young Buck @ King of Clubs for his birthday bash (Nashville, TN) 08: Trae and Lil O @ Back Room for SXSW (Austin, TX) 09: 211 and Young Jeezy @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 10: Kool Laid and Jim Jones (NYC) 11: Triple J and DJ Dap @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 12: PKT and DJ Chill @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 13: Camron and Dukwon @ Kartouche (Jacksonville, FL) 14: White Dawg @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 15: Spider Loc @ King of Clubs for Young Buck’s birthday party (Nashville, TN) 16: Jason Geter and Ric Ross @ Visions for T.I.’s King album release party (Atlanta, GA) 17: Grimlock and Too Short @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 18: Boo @ Visions (Atlanta, GA) 19: Eye Candy @ The Moon for TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 20: Gotti on the set of “I’m In Luv Wit’ A Stripper” remix (Miami, FL) 21: Red Dogg @ Icon (Orlando, FL) 22: Paper and All Star @ King of Clubs for Young Buck’s birthday party (Nashville, TN) 23: Playaz Circle @ Visions for T.I.’s King release party (Atlanta, GA) 24: Devyne Stephens @ 95.7 Teen Jam (Birmingham, AL) 25: Julia Beverly and DJ Grip @ Back Room for SXSW (Austin, TX) 26: Coach K and Coach @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 27: Rasaq @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 28: Rob G with Play & Skillz @ 104.3 concert (Austin, TX) 29: Hawk @ Back Room for SXSW (Austin, TX) 30: Ray J @ 95.3 car expo (Orlando, FL) 31: K-Rino @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 32: Strippers (Dallas, TX) 33: DJ Quote and DJ K-Tone (Denver, CO) 34: Lil Boosie @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 35: Steve Austin @ SXSW (Austin, TX) 36: ESG @ Back Room for SXSW (Austin, TX) 37: JoJo and Roachkiller @ Club Sweetwater (Murfreesboro, TN) 21: Rodney Jerkins @ 95.3 car expo (Orlando, FL) Photos: Ashlee Brathwaite (26); Big Brd (02); Destine Cajuste (21); DJ Quote (33); Edward Hall (32); General (01); JoJo (07,12,15,22,37); Julia Beverly (13,16,17,18,23); Kool Laid (10); Luxury Mindz (03,06,08,25,27,28 ,29,31,35,36); Malik Abdul (04,05,09,1 1,14,19,20,24,30,34,38)
q&a Lil Rob You have ties in both San Diego and H-town. Where are you originally from? I’m from San Diego, born and raised and still live there. The record label is based out of Houston, Texas. How did you hook up with Upstairs Records? They were putting out another group and came to San Diego one day, and we went out to lunch. They invited me out to a show and saw the reaction of the crowd when they said “Lil’ Rob.” They started checking me out on Soundscan and wanted to work out a deal with me. You put out several albums before you got signed. Would you say you’re a good businessman? I never was a really good businessman. Throughout the years I’ve gotten burned a couple of times. We were doing it ourselves, got a little bit of money together, went into the studio, hooked up with another rap group from San Diego who pointed us in the right direction. How did build such a strong fan base early on? We ordered tapes, back in ’92. I was 15 years old. Putting together neighborhood raps and taking them to the indoor swap meets and selling them under consignment. Go back next week and see if we sold any- getting paid that way. It took a while. But back then, there weren’t that many Chicano rap artists. Just a handful were out. It was a good time to put my name on the streets. It all happened to work out for me. I was actually done when they came to me. You mean you had actually hung up your mic? I didn’t want to rap no more because I’d been burned so many timesbootlegs. Now, I look at it different. If they weren’t out there making bootlegs of my music, a lot of places wouldn’t even know who I was. So it’s a good and bad side. What made you want to be a rapper? Just the music alone. Back in third grade I was break dancing. My brother was DJing. He had all the music: Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force, LL Cool J, Krush Groove. My dad used to be in an oldies band. My grandmother used to sing Mexican music. Put all the elements together and you got Chicano rap. What did you bump coming up? Back in the day, I was listening to it all. When LL Cool J came out with Radio, Run DMC, NWA, Two Live Crew. When I was 12 years old, my dad wouldn’t take me to the parties, so I stayed home and wrote raps about the neighborhood and put them on tapes. It’s been a long time. Since the beginning of rap. I was born in 1975, and ever since then… I used to like Michael Jackson, “Pretty Young Thing.” Off The Wall was off the hook. Nowadays, I’ll listen to SOS Band, Gap Band or Zapp & Roger before I listen to today’s rap. I like old school and oldies. How did you get the name Lil’ Rob? I was break dancing in third grade, and back then you had break dancer nicknames. I was Lil’ Roc. So the “c” tuned into “b” because my name is Robert. But it’s been that for a long time before I knew about Lil Bow Wow and all these little people. I never heard of them before. Do you rhyme in Spanish? It’s in English, but I throw little Spanish words in there. They call it calo. It’s Mexican slang, Chicano slang. I throw a little bit of Spanish in there too. It’s English with a Chicano accent. At 18, you got shot in the face. How did that change you? It took a little while to change me. I got shot and then I stopped rapping for while. I got shot in the mouth and my jaw was wired shut for seven weeks. I got home and I saw my mom crying, figuring out how to pay the hospital bills. Whenever I left, she was scared I might not come back. I was still the same guy. I wanted to take off and hang out. I didn’t change right away. As time went by and I saw some of my homeboys not going anywhere, getting locked up, I didn’t want to be that guy. I have family to take care of and house payments to take care of. That’s why I do this. I’m changed now. But right after I got shot, I 42
was still talking the same stuff. “You got me now but I’m gong to get you back.” Nowadays, I don’t want that drama. I don’t understand why I was doing it anyways as a kid growing up doing the same thing my brother did and my uncle did. I got caught up in the mix. The day I went to the operating room, they said I wasn’t going to talk the same or that I could be paralyzed because the bullet was lodged in my spinal chord. So to be walking and talking and rapping and doing shows- it’s different for me. I tell these little homeboys going down the wrong path, 13 and gangbanging, “take it easy.” There’s no future in it. I wouldn’t have listened, but hopefully, they’ll take (in) what I say. They’ll find out there’s a bigger world out there and other places to go. I’m in Philadelphia now. I never thought I’d leave my town. Some people won’t change. Do you have any songs about your accident or about changing your life? “Ain’t No Future In It” (is) about drugs. These kids experimenting with drugs think it’s cool. It’s just the beginning. It’s time for a change. If you ain’t doing nothing but wasting time, you have to figure out what you’re going to do with your life. The independent scene is big on the West Coast and in the South. Do you feel a lot of local love? I look at it different. I rap and do my thing. But I remember radio stations saying we don’t have Mexicans here. We don’t play that kind of music here. I went through that. Me and the label are doing our thing. Trying to make people understand where I’m coming from and how we do it. Just like the South does it. They have their own style. It’s us against the world and making them feel what I do. It’s hard work. What makes Lil’ Rob stand out as a rapper? I’m the only Chicano on radio right now. It’s different. When we do shows, I walk out with a bandana, all creased up. I might take a little break and put on mariachi music and walk out with a serape. It’s a different look. I’m not all hip hopped out, with bling and my hat to the side. I say I don’t need a watch because I know what time it is. Bandanas and a t-shirt and I just go rock it. I feel like I’m opening the doors a little bit (by) being on the radio, making videos. Get people to see where we come from and making it OK to be Mexican and rap Mexican. You don’t have to use everybody else’s slang. Do it your way. “Summer Nights,” the first single from your latest album Twelve Eighteen, went Top 10 on Billboard Monitor’s radio chart. What has changed with this new success? More travel and more shows. I can’t go shopping like I used to at the indoor swap meet. That’s where I go to get my clothes. Everybody wants autographs. People ask “what are you doing here?” And I’m like “I just came to buy t-shirts.” They’re like, “keep it gangsta, homie.” I’m the same dude. I go to the same places. What is the greatest achievement of your career so far? Being able to make the payment every month. That’s the main goal. To take care of the family. I take it day by day. And I work on getting the respect from other people for doing my thing. - Jessica Koslow (Photo: Dustin Pedder)
Orlando, FL NAME COMES FROM the Bible, means “understanding the need of a man” BACKED BY über-producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins ROOTS Born in Brooklyn, Raised In Jamaica WORKING WITH DARKCHILD “Dude believes in what I can do. He can make the music that can help us get somewhere and create something good. I know there’s a lot of stigmas out there because producers, they’ll put out artists regularly and they’re not very successful doing that. But between his hustle and my hustle and the other people that we’re probably about to team up with it’ll be a great thing.” LET THE RIDDIM HIT ‘EM “My father had one of the number one sound systems and discos in Jamaica. We had Beenie Man, Professor Nuts all of them so, it was like I grew up around Reggae naturally in the business and the creative end. I used to do more R&B and stuff like that but I went back to my Reggae roots the last two years and ended up being good enough to get signed to a cat like Rodney Jerkins after one year of working it.” SWEEPING THE NATION “Down in Miami, DJ Khaled just started spinning it my song “One Wish.” He’s actually hosting my new mixed CD that’s coming out called “The Birth of A Rebel.” Melbourne’s spinning it, in Minnesota it’s getting spins, really awkward places you wouldn’t think reggae would have an impact.” A LITTLE DIFFERENT “My music is a mixture of cultures, it’s a mixture of style. It’s like that Brooklyn part of me, that kid that went to Tilden high school, and that other kid that went to Wilma, and was chillin’ at the park playing ball. It’s like a mesh of sounds and cultures, kinda like how Born Jamericans were doing it. It’s not over Reggae riddims, it’s over hip-hop and R&B. I’m using the real stuff from the yard but at the same time I’m spitting it in a hip-hop way.” ONE MORE WISH “A lot of people don’t know that Rodney actually produced and wrote that ‘One Wish’ joint for Ray-J. He hit me like, ‘I have this ill idea, what do you think?’ I’m just like, ‘Let’s just do it!’ So he banged out a track in like five minutes and me and my sister Malica wrote to it and banged out [the remix to ‘One Wish’], and the radio’s lovin it right now, so it’s cool.” - Words and photo by Malik Abdul
Atlanta, GA GROUP MEMBERS K-Rab, Skeet/A/ Wee, Hard Head (originally from New Orleans) and Young J HEAT IN THE STREETS BHI (The Signature Edition), BHI (30318 Edition) and the 30318 Compilation LABEL Strictly Business/Warner Bros. HIT SINGLE “Do It (The Poole Palace)” BOLD STATEMENT “K-Rab is the originator of the music.” - Hard Head DON’T FIGHT THE FEELING [Skeet-A-Wee]: “The success of us and snap music feels good because it looks like other guys have to use our sound to make it. So it don’t make me feel like they biting, it make me feel like these niggas gotta be like us to compete and get in the game.” [Hard Head]: “I wouldn’t hate on another mans opportunity, though. What ever you can get out of your opportunity, get the best result you can get.” DID YOU HEAR THAT? [Skeet-A-Wee]: “I remember when K-Rab did his first snap beat. We was chilling listening to music. I’ma old school/new school fool. I put on some O’Jays and it had some snaps in it. K-Rab went in the back and next thing I know he made a beat with some snaps in it. I thought that shit was hard as hell. Then we hooked up with D4L for a minute and did the ‘Laffy Taffy’ thing. And we just went from there.” [Hard Head]: “Keep in mind that this was way before the snap movement that you see right now.” LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL [Skeet-A-Wee]: “That’s what we try to do, make folks have a good time. All of us came from the hood. I used to rob and steal from people. People expected me to come out rapping hard. But I’m rapping about having a good time. I’m trying to change my image. I’m not trying to be that old fool no more.” [Hard Head]: “Being from New Orleans, I came to ATL to escape, but it was the same thing. The hood is universal. But it ain’t all about killing and fussing. Why would you want to hear about it constantly if you’re living in it? We trying to help folks escape.” [Skeet]: “Plus that shit is incriminating [laughs].” BEST OF BOTH HOODS [Hard Head]: “New Orleans is known for bounce music so I bring that influence. Me and K-Rab came up with the “Do It” song and that has a little New Orleans Hip Hop on it. I had to bring home with me, 7th Ward all day. It’s new New Atlanta for me.” [Skeet]: “Naw, its still the A [laughs].” - Maurice G. Garland
patientlywaiting Cadence Nashville, TN
BORN IN Memphis TOURED WITH Three 6 Mafia, Uncle Cracker and Kenny Chesney MUSICAL LINEAGE Musician Father Played in both Rock and R&B Bands CONTACT www.cadenceonline.com WEARING HATS “I kinda hate that we as artists have to pick a genre and promote ourselves that way. I don’t think I’m a rapper all the time. Sometimes I’m a poet, an activist or a comedian. Bottom line is when I go in the booth, I’m Cadence. I think I’m well rounded. I grew up listening to Hip Hop so that is my strongest influence. But I can get to the country fans, too. I hit college campuses and just talk to the kids, too, through college radio. I feel like the kids are looking for something.” FATEFUL DAY “There was a decision I made to prepare me to go all the way and quit my day job to rap. It was the day I wasn’t afraid to fail. Failure doesn’t scare me. But not doing what God wants me to do terrifies me; being someone I’m not scares me.” IS HIP-HOP DEAD? “I understand where people are coming from when they say it’s dead, but I also feel there is a lot of amazing stuff out there. I think they assume what they hear on the radio is what’s going on in hip hop. That’s not it. That’s what’s going on on the radio. There is amazing people that just don’t get heard.” NEXT MOVE “Majors have been knocking, but I like being independent since what I do ain’t commercial. But the labels talk to me and tell me how to dress and that they gonna hook me up with Timbaland and this and that. But no one has come to me with a deal that I feel is fair money wise or freedom wise.” COMIN’ FROM WHERE I’M FROM “Hip-hop is two things. It’s music and from the streets. It’s from a marginalized people. It has a strong scene in Nashville, but they can’t get the national attention they want and deserve. When you hear an artist coming from Nashville, hiphop just don’t come to mind.” COLOR BLIND “To be real, sometimes it’s hard for me to get people’s respect. People think if I was to become successful, it would be because I’m white, which makes me marketable. But people show me love everywhere. I’ve never been somewhere I couldn’t go because I was white. To my generation, race is almost a non-issue.” - Maurice G. Garland (Photo: Pinky Gonzales) 50
patientlywaiting C-Ride Miami, FL
REPRESENTING Carol City GREW UP LISTENING TO Luke, No Limit, Hot Boys CURRENT HEAT Coming From Da Bottom w/ DJ Ideal CO-SIGNERS Cool & Dre/Epidemic Records MOVE AROUND “I got in some trouble and had to leave Miami and move to Atlanta in 2000, when Pastor Troy was running shit. By staying in Atlanta, it attracted me to dark 808s. In Miami, they speed everything up, just like how niggas Houston slow their shit down. So when I got to Atlanta, I heard the crunk shit slowed down with niggas yelling, and I loved it. That’s not what I do, but I love the style. I’d rather listen to Lil Jon over Pharrell.” OUT OF THE NORM “Rappers say the same shit because they around the same shit everyday. So I just wanted to separate myself from the average by using different metaphors and words. After the first rhyme I ever recorded, some people threw a contract in my face. I knew I had something right
then. Plus when I moved back to Miami in 2003 there was like 30,000 more rappers now. So I started focusing on saying things to make you rewind and listen again.” THE AGENDA “I want to unite Miami. Rick Ross got everybody down here trying to see who’s next. I’m trying to make Miami like Houston and Atlanta. I wanna bring unity to Miami and Florida, period. Like, we didn’t support Plies and T-Pain when they was blowing up because they weren’t from Miami. But Miami don’t really get out; we stay among ourselves. I want to change that.” WORKING WITH COOL & DRE “I recorded a CD with another company, and they packaged it up and gave it to a lot of people. A DJ gave it to Cool & Dre, and they kept calling [and[ asking about me. Then, when they saw me, they [were] happy to see I wasn’t looking like a monster (laughing). So it was on. I got with them in the beginning of ’04 when Dirtbag first got signed to Epidemic/ Jive. I was having a lot offers with just three songs. Nothing has really came out yet, but I know I everything happens for a reason.” - Charles Parsons
Thomasville, GA LABEL Suave House II INFLUENCES Organized Noize, Dr. Dre, Timbaland, Neptunes, Andre 3000, JayZ, T.I. CURRENT SINGLE “26’s” featuring Paul Wall and Bun B WORKING WITH Clipse, Pimp C and Too $hort THE START “I had an older brother who used to fuck with some dudes on the production tip. That’s what I wanted to do too, so I started doing it. I used to fuck with a lot of other niggas. I produced and rapped too. I’ve been producing since I was 12. I’ve been rapping since I was 15.” WORKING WITH TONY DRAPER “When I moved out to Phoenix, Arizona I started working with this dude named Roc. We was going through Draper for distribution. Then he actually heard it and was like let me take you through Suave House and make it official. I have respect for him as a pioneer and what he did back in the day. I grew up on Suave House. None of what went down years ago is any of my business, he ain’t did nothing to me.” JUST BEING ME “I’m innovate, creative, funky. I can keep on going. The album is called Since 1983. Every song on there is something that I’ve experienced or been through. Everything right now is everybody is hard and wanna chop an nigga head off, that’s cool, do you. But I once heard ‘Pac say you get money doing songs for the ladies, so I’ma do that too.” THE FUTURE “I look forward to opening up doors for other artists. That would be a beautiful thing man, just opening doors for niggas I love and know. I’m trying to create something so colossal.” SURPRISES “I think my music is gonna surprise people. I’m doing damn near all the production too. I think people are really gonna be impressed. I’m just hoping that people really embrace it and feel it.” MY NAME IS “Jiggalo comes from one of my niggas in GA. His daddy was named Jiggalo and I’m a ladies man so it just stuck.” PREPARATION “I haven’t learned from any mistakes because I ain’t really made a bunch of mistakes yet. But I know they coming.” - Maurice G. Garland
q&a Going Solo: Mac-Boney First question everyone wants to know: are you still down with Grand Hustle? I haven’t left Grand Hustle, but I am starting my own label, which is called Mad Face Entertainment and doing a little partnership with Cyber Works. Just trying to show everybody that it’s not just T.I. and we all make moves individually. I heard that you were upset about how the P$C album was promoted. Was this true? I definitely was upset about it about how the P$C project was promoted, but what can you do? That’s why I’m steppin’ up now and starting my own thing. I can get a little more hands on than dealing with major labels. It turns away from things that you are used to doing. I’m used to packing up my own CDs. I’m used to hollering at the distributors myself, going to the stores myself. When you dealing with big companies, they put everything out for you. With these companies and street teams, you never know what they doing and you don’t really know if they on their jobs or on their grind like how you do it. It’s all about being more hands on and that’s why I’m concentrating on this here. I’m from the block, so I got no problem with getting out there anywhere in the USA. If I need to be there, I’m there. From what I was seeing, a lot of people thought that you left because you came out with your own track. Definitely, the new T.I. album is coming out March 28th and I’m on two tracks - “Bankhead” and “Undertaker.” How did you link up with Cyber Works? I have been working with Sapp over the last few years (on) side projects and mix tapes. We decided to set it up this year and make it bigger. I definitely wanted to be the first artist to emerge off of it. Tell me more about the label you’re putting together. Mad Face is serious, man. I got few little groups signed to me right now, and I’m still looking. Right now, I’m the feature artist to come out on Mad Face. I feel like I got my business level up to where I can really do this and profit. This what I’m doing out here, man, trying to get them dollars and stay underground for a very long time. I know how to sell these CDs. Let’s talk about your solo project and the single you dropped. The album that I am working on right now is called Should’ve Been There, and the street single out right now is called “You Ain’t the Only One.” And it’s real. I’m talking about a lot of street stuff. You know, you ain’t the only one with a Benz. You ain’t the only one with Impalas. You ain’t the only one with fancy cars. You ain’t the only one. That’s the bottom line. I got a lot of hot music coming. My album will have T.I. on it, of course the other P$C members, and a lot of my other friends that people may not know about. You got any mixtapes dropping before the album? I got one coming called Processing Fee. The reason that I named it Processing Fee is because a lot of artists (are) sending in their demos to these record labels (and) they tell you that you need a processing fee before they get heard. I’m just giving y’all my processing fee before y’all hear me. For a person that has yet to hear much Mac Boney material, what can they expect? I ain’t out here trying to put on an act and act like I got more than what I have. I ain’t trying to disrespect the next person, but I’mma give to ya real. I’mma give you every part of the game- how it’s seen from a child all the way up. Most dudes that come out don’t give you history. I’m a teach you why they rep the Westside. Some of the things going on back in the day are still going on today. Tell me about a couple of tracks that you got on the album. I got a couple nice ones. I am working with a producer out of California named Caviar. We got one called “We the Streets.” Its real dope; it’s intense. It gives you the whole feel, that vibe of how I am when I leave my house and get out there when I’m on the block. I got a couple that I did with DJ Toomp. You really just gotta check it out, man. I got a lot of 56
sick records. I did a song called “Dope” and it’s really hot. It ain’t about drugs, though. It’s about me; I’m calling myself dope. Speaking of dope, what you think about all the artists whose whole subject matter is about drugs? I’m glad you asked me that, and I just really wanna put it out there. If you never sold drugs, then it really don’t make any sense for you to talk about drugs because you sound stupid. People who really do it and do it on a daily basis are listening. When you say the wrong thing, people become frustrated. I’m in the hood like a DVD and some of these cats I don’t be seeing them there like that. I done been around a lot of real hustlers across the country, so I know, man. What you think of the ATL hip-hop scene right now? A lot of things that I am seeing in the perspective of me just growing and just being in the business and also as a consumer, it’s real different. If I wasn’t a rapper, I’d take things a lot differently. You never know what’s going to happen, whose gonna sign with who, whose gonna start beefin’, whose gonna start running their mouths. You never know what’s going to happen to be honest. A lot of people are getting fed up with snap music. What is your opinion on it? I think that snap music is beautiful. I’m from the Westside and snap music comes from the Westside, and I love it. It ain’t nothing but a new age booty shake. It’s a dance. The scene done bust wide open, and you have a lot of young people having fun with the videos. Back in the day, it was more of the rugged videos, guys hanging in the alley, with his homeboys rapping and all of that crazy shit. It just got a lot different and a lot more fun. It’s making the areas more fun, making money for the community, and I’m down wit it. Not everybody can do it, though. I can say that. Everybody tries to. There’s a lot of groups out there. When you go to a lot of talent contests, you gonna see a lot of people trying to snap. Every song got a snap to it now. There are certain people that can do it, and there is a certain way that it can be done. There’s only a few groups that’s out doing it how it’s supposed to be done at this time. When growing up, what made you decide to rap? I don’t know, man. I guess that I always been in the music since I was a kid. The first time that my brother brought in an NWA CD, I was six years old. I heard it, and I went out of control. Since then, it’s been something that I wanted to do. How did you and the rest of the P$C meet? We actually all met one at a time, and its crazy because we all was from the same area. Me and Doug Peterson played tee ball together when we was four or five years old. C-Rod is my cousin. Big Kuntry is my best partner. I met him around when I was 14 years old. I got a lot of partners, dealers in the streets, and that’s how we all came together on one block - Campellton Road. Anything else that you want to get out there? The hustle don’t stop. Look out for that new Mac Boney because I’m keepin’ it street for all those that know me. For those that don’t know me, you gonna find out more. I’m always keep it underground and make sure I maintain for the hood. - Leon Bailey
D-Roc of the Ying Yang Twins introduces his brothers, Da Muzicianz Words: Maurice G. Garland Photo: Ray Tamarra
Just in time for the warm weather, D-Roc of the Ying Yang Twins is testing his skill as a CEO and releasing the first group from his newly formed label, PUNNN! Entertainment (pronounced like a speeding car). The label’s name stands for People United Never Negotiating Negatively, and he is living by that motto in putting out Da Muzicianz, a trio comprised of himself and blood brothers Mr. Ball and Da Birthday Boy. With their debut album slated to drop this summer through TVT Records, the group discusses their childhood, brotherhood and coming from the ‘hood. Everybody pretty much knows about D-Roc and Kaine’s story. What is yours? How long have you been in the game? Da Birthday Boy: We’ve been in this game for a minute. We ain’t just come out of nowhere. This wasn’t spoon fed to us. It didn’t just fall out the sky. We’ve been through the hard times and all that. Ball been through it all too. He on all the Ying Yang albums. Mr. Ball: I started rapping back in 98-99 when Ying Yang was whistling and twurking. We started rapping together as Da Muzicianz after I got out of jail in 2004.
Tell us about the album you’re dropping. Da Birthday Boy: The album is put together already, but we still working on the title. Mr. Ball: We got heat on the album. Stuff for the club, the block, anywhere you wanna be. We got a song called “Crazyman.” Yeah, I reacted the same way when I heard it, but I’m with it because my brother made that shit up. It’s a dance. Da Birthday Boy: We got producers like Big Cheesy, Midnight Black, Mr. Collipark. And we got Fabo of D4L on the album, the song is called “Girls I Know.” And we have The Federation on our song “Go Dumb.” The first single is “Camera Phone,” we telling the girls to pose for the camera phone.
How would you describe your style of music, and how does it differ from Ying Yang Twins? D-Roc: Basically we make party music for the girls in the club and the guys watching them.
Were you two trying to rap before D-Roc got a record deal? Da Birthday Boy: I ain’t gonna say I was trying to rap before he got on. I was little when that happened. But when I saw him get on and saw what he was doing, and started feeling the love for music, I wanted to
(l to r): Mr. Ball, D-Roc, and Da Birthday Boy) 58
Mr. Ball: We just wanna make good music. Make you dance, not fight. We don’t even have no fight music. We’ll probably make you have a baby before you have a fight. We wanna have fun. Da Birthday Boy: We got a whole ‘nother vibe. We Da Muszicianz. Ying Yang partied in the strip club, but we partying everywhere. We party on the porch, the shower, I-285, everywhere.
do it too. So the both of you are younger than D-Roc? Yeah, we D-Roc little brothers. I was like 10 when D-Roc was starting rapping, so I’ve seen this for a long time. I’ll do this for free. That’s how much I love this. I ain’t never had a job; music always been my job. And now? Man, this shit feel good getting paid for it, the paychecks is lovely, baby. But you gotta keep up with that business shit. You gotta stay on top of the publishing, and best believe Da Muzicianz are on top of ours. Talk about working with family, is it better or more difficult? D-Roc: Working with family is easier. The things I griped about not doing in Ying Yang, I can do with this group. There are no limits. We going to China, Japan; we doing shows everywhere. Da Birthday Boy: We get to be us. Ball and Da Birthday Boy is who we are. We always can be us because my brother is CEO. We having fun; we ain’t gotta worry about nobody bitching or complaining. We get to do us all day. We ain’t gonna say nobody can’t tell us what to do, but my brother is CEO right now, so we having fun. Mr. Ball: I know I can trust my brother more than anybody out there. Before Da Muzicianz was on the plate, I was trying to do my own thing. I was on “By Myself,” but then I got locked up. I never saw this vision, though. I never saw the big picture. I never thought we’d be a group. D-Roc: I had to look out for them. You always got your people saying “I can rap.” Well, I wouldn’t want them to go out and get a deal with anybody else if I can put them on. They had the drive, so I wanted to help them. Now that you’re a group, talk about how you have to really take advantage of this chance. You said this wasn’t handed to you, but you still have a head start. Da Birthday Boy: I’m just staying humble. I’m cherishing this shit. This shit ain’t handed to us. We been going through it like every other nigga on the street. We just stayed at it. When you stay at it, you gonna get it. When Ying Yang was in the studio, we used to write in the studio just to do it, just to show that we want it. Mr. Ball: You just gotta watch yourself, in whatever you do. If you out of pocket personally, then professionally you out of line too. If you ain’t doing right on your terms, then you ain’t doing right on somebody else terms. I know I’m on D-roc terms right now cause we working. If they want me in a clown suit, I’m there. On that note, Ying Yang Twins is looked upon as a novelty act to many; just some silly guys. Talk about having to dispel that notion. D-Roc: I wanted to start this label two years ago, but I wasn’t ready. So I just started setting it up and let Ying Yang do what it do. Then Ying Yang got successful to the point where I could do it. Folks didn’t think that I could do it, so I’ma show them that I can be an artist and a CEO. Within Ying Yang I’m the party animal, the uplifting side. People didn’t really take me seriously as a CEO because they haven’t seen what I’m about to show. I’ve been talking about my label and my little brothers for the longest. Now look; we signed. In 2005, I set a goal to be signed by 2006 and I did that. And I’m doing it the right way. Was it easy for you? D-Roc: Well, no, but I already had a group to start with. I didn’t have to go out scouting. My brothers were my inspiration to start my own label. When I started making money, I went and bought studio equipment to work at the house, and I ended up with a lot of music. I wanted to do it with Kaine, but he was dragging his feet. So folks was like “you can do it yourself; you know what to do.” I studied for a whole year and boom it came. What did you study? D-Roc: I just looked at the game, I be in the game 24/7, so I look at what to do here and there. I looked at Russell Simmons’ tactics. 50 Cent, Jeezy, Dr. Dre. Looking at them is what drove me. Now Muzicianz, are you prepared for the same type of attitudes that Ying Yang has had to encounter. Like when you go on talk shows and people just expect you to act crazy? Da Birthday Boy: I’m a crazy dude, so I might just act crazy. Mr. Ball: If somebody trip on me, I’ll just trip with them. Sometimes I’m calm, but I’m never just over energetic. But I don’t see nobody coming at me like “c’mon do this.” I don’t have no “HAAAAANH” or “AYE YUP.” But we ready for all that. That don’t even matter to me, as long as they talking about me, we doing good. Because I already know our music is gonna stand for itself. Outside of the brotherhood, what have you learned from D-Roc professionally?
Da Birthday Boy: To stay humble, keep your head up. Don’t let the bullshit get to you. I learned to not worry about what people think and say about you. Stay on that straight path. Mr. Ball: You gotta be business minded. You won’t make it half stepping. D-Roc: I don’t really share advice; I show it. I show it through being a good artist and businessman. As a CEO, I’m not gonna hide nothing from them. We all gonna learn how to make money at the same time. How has your brother’s experiences molded you into the artists that you are today? Mr. Ball: I’ve seen D-Roc and Kaine go through a whole lot. Even though they got spit in the face, they didn’t spit back. And that’s what kept them in the game. That’s what gonna keep us here too. Because can take a whole lot of shit, but there’s only so much we gonna take. We ain’t concerned with the petty shit; we looking at the bigger picture of success. We got families to think about. We ain’t got time to worry about everybody in the street who want us to rap about selling dope and shooting niggas. We don’t sell dope. We ain’t never had no job, but we don’t sell dope, though. Do you think they’ve gotten the respect they deserve? Mr. Ball: I think they get respect, but they deserve a lot more, especially in Atlanta. We see things that everybody don’t see (that) they did a lot for the A. Them two alone have been here since ‘99. D-Roc been here since ‘95. Kaine too; it’s just an ongoing process. All three of you come from the Inglewood area of Atlanta. Not a lot of things to party about over there. Why is it that you make party music coming from a ‘hood like that? Mr. Ball: Nobody wanna hear all that shit. How bad you can hurt a nigga and how you gonna chop a nigga head off. Hell, you can go to jail for chopping a nigga head off, too. Once people hear a beat, they wanna know what you can do to that beat. We trying to make music and history. Da Birthday Boy: We trying to show kids form the ‘hood that it ain’t always cool to go around killing and selling dope. Mr. Ball: I mean look at Akon, he from the ‘hood. But he making music to make people feel good. I love that “Pot of Gold.” Talk about growing up. Did you guys ever see D-Roc go through a lot dealing with his handicap? Mr. Ball: We never got to see his trials and tribulations with his hand. When he came home from school, he was big brother. We had to listen to big brother. His hand wasn’t shit. Growing up, we had to listen to him, and today we still have too. Da Birthday Boy: He been taking care of us since we was small. Nine years old, he on the bus with us. That’s pretty much my daddy. Mr. Ball: I remember him cooking sausage patties in the morning. Ball, you’ve mentioned that your career was put on pause because of jail time. What happened? Mr. Ball: Armed robbery, being with the wrong person at the wrong time. But I started taking music more seriously in jail cause I saw my brothers elevating. I was in jail when “By Myself” came out, and I was on that song. They went and put Mannish Man and Big Gipp on the song and made a video to that bitch. If I was out of jail, I could have been in it…giaaat daayum. What did you guys tell him when he got out? Da Birthday Boy: Let’s party. Mr. Ball: When I was in jail, they used to call me talking about we smoke nothing but purp now. I’d just be like “damn.” Da Birthday Boy: We just told him when he get out, it’s on. A few months ago, you guys were caught up in a little turmoil with the Bay Area. People were claiming that your song “Go Dumb” was jacking their style. Da Birthday Boy: Everything was all good. They was mad a little. It wasn’t no bad blood. They was just like “why you steal our dance.” We ain’t steal nothing. We went to the Bay a couple times and saw what they was doing and we liked it. Mr. Ball: They was mad, so we went and got The Federation on the song to make it even hotter. Cool. What else is in store for you guys? D-Roc: Be on the look out for the album and mixtape. As far as Ying Yang, we still shooting our movie. We’re doing a comedy. And we starting our own clothing deal. OZONE
“I want to bring you, corporate America, across the bridge, into my world. Not to put fear in your heart, but for you to respect me. Just so you understand why I think different, why I dress different, why I do different things.’’ 60
TRICK DADDY WORDS: JULIA BEVERLY
hen we were talking earlier, you sounded frustrated. I just wish muthafuckers the best of success. I don’t wanna talk bad about nobody. My beef ain’t with no label. My beef ain’t with no single individual. My beef is with life, with the game itself. My beef is with rap music cause a lot of rap music that’s getting put out there is for this week only. Next week you won’t listen to it. My beef is not with the artist, cause you can’t blame an artist if they come out with a one-hit wonder and people fall for it. My beef is with the major labels that are putting this bullshit out and packaging this shit up. But when people open that package up, there’s nothing in it. You never win no prize. It’s like the little games at the youth fair, where they push the quarters. It always looks like the quarters are gonna fall, but they never fall. That’s who my beef is with, those types of people. But anybody who’s getting money, I don’t have beef with them. That’s why a lot of niggas on record don’t have beef with me and a lot of niggas in the streets don’t have beef with me. And if they do, fuck ‘em, cause it’s some undercover shit. It ain’t legit. So what do you think is the problem? Radio blasting too much garbage? To me, the problem is money. You’ve been seeing a lot of that lately – people getting in trouble for paying for certain records to be played. I think if they investigate even further they’ll see that people are getting money for videos to be played. I’ve seen a lot of hot videos in the last two or three years of my career, but I’ve also seen a lot of bullshit videos. And even my videos could be taken up another notch. But I’m not that type of dude. I’m not the pretty boy, I’m not what you’d call a “stunner.” I’m not gonna fake it til I make it. I am what I am, and that’s what my videos represent. [In my videos] you might see a Phantom in the background but you’re not gonna see me driving in a Phantom cause that ain’t mine. I tried that shit with “Dro In Da Wind.” They had me driving a Bentley in the video. But that ain’t me, man. I’m for the thugs, I’m for the streets. I think the problem is the money aspect of the game. It’s the same problems in music as there is in sports. In sports, the younger NFL and NBA owners are not concerned with the well-being of the game itself. Younger people are getting money and getting out of control, and they’re using their money to have power and they’re taking away from the game itself. It’s all about what they can take away from the music and how much money they can make. It ain’t about what they can instill, or give to hip-hop. Hip-hop has been around for a long time, since the 70s. Now it’s 2006. I want hip-hop to be here forever, because once hip-hop dies my whole legacy dies. That’s all I represent. You think rappers are making too much money? No. It’s just that in this music game, every year there’s somebody new and hot. Once something is done or said in the industry it travels around and once it gets back, it might be taken out of context. It’s all one big circle and one big family, so eventually we got to get together and say, “Let’s do this for hip-hop.” Whatever happened to the Stop The Violence movement? They had the East Coast All Stars, West Coast All Stars. We’re all in the same gang. These days, you call niggas for features and they tell you, “He’s working on his own project. He can’t do it right now.” And nine times out of ten, it ain’t the nigga. It’s the management or the label. So that’s why we have to go out and communicate with each other. Now Julia, if you call me and ask me to do an interview and I tell you I don’t want to do it, then you can blame me. But if you go through Atlantic or Slip-N-Slide and can’t get to me, you can’t say “Trick is hard to deal with.” And that’s what’s hurting a lot of people in the music game. They’re being blocked out and they looking like the bad guy. It’s the same thing with these fake promoters and these fake shows. They’ll falsely advertise that I’m going to do a party. All that kind of shit is hurting music, deeply. With all this talk about bringing back real hip-hop, you’re sounding like an East coast artist. First of all, the word “hip-hop” is just another form of saying “rap music.” To me, hip-hop is a more professional way of saying “rap.” I wouldn’t say that I’m a rap star, I would say that I’m a hip-hop star. The
only difference between hip-hop and rap is that rap stays in the hood. Sometimes rap doesn’t get past Orlando. Sometimes rap doesn’t get out of Florida. Some people that rap are only big in their city or their state. But hip-hop is worldwide, and that’s the difference. The difference between good hip-hop and bullshit hip-hop is that good hip-hop has a meaning. It always tells a story, whether it’s negative or positive. There’s always a beginning and an ending. But these days when you listen to the big records on the radio and on Soundscan and you really break ‘em down and analyze the lyrics, they’re not talking about shit. Do you think Southern rap is hip-hop? All of it is music. What makes your music “hip-hop” or “pop” or “crossover” just depends on the different markets that your music travels in. If you can’t get spins on crossover or mainstream or pop stations, if you can’t get those sales, you’re just a rapper. There’s millions of rappers. When you talk about these problems in the rap game, don’t you think a lot of the problems come from the artists themselves? Right. It’s our problem. This is what we do. When I talk about “us” I’m talking about me, too. So nobody get it twisted; don’t say no fuck shit about me and get busted in your muthafuckin’ mouth or get your brains blowed out or get me misunderstood. When I say “us,” it’s all of us. We have to stop falling for everything. We have to stop rapping on every track. We have to keep coming with the hits. Remember, the people only listen to what we give them. So if I ain’t putting out no good records, then why the fuck am I gonna get mad and go around hating on D4L? A lot of niggas be hating on the “Laffy Taffy” record, but D4L is D4L. D4L will never be Trick. D4L does their kind of music. I do my kind of music. But I’m not gonna knock them. And I’m not a big 50 Cent fan, but I’ve got more respect for 50 Cent when it comes to his business. It doesn’t matter if I don’t buy his album. The point is, I respect him cause he’s a businessman and he’s keeping hip-hop going. I’m not gonna like every song he does or every group he puts out, but he’s putting them out. And until I do that, I can’t say shit about this man. That’s what the problem is. I think niggas should pay more attention to being successful ourselves, and maybe we wouldn’t have so much to say about the other people that are successful. Speaking of 50 Cent putting out his groups, you have your own group. What’s going on with the Dunk Ryders? See, my niggas are hungry. They’re working. I’m not handing them nothing. They ain’t get no advance, none of that. But they’re gonna get the important shit: recognition, publishing, royalties, a good lawyer, good managers, real publicity. They’re gonna get the important shit that I didn’t get. See, I got the money, but I ain’t get the important things. I want my label and my artists to be successful because once I stop doing this music thing, I have no income. This is all I do, and the money I got won’t last forever. My kids are still young. They still have to go to school, go to college, eat, and be clothed. My bills still have to be paid. I can’t count on what I’ve got, I got to keep my circle going. The Dunk Ryders understand that, so they come with real music. I’m not looking for crossover songs or pretty boy songs, I’m just letting them be theyself. If they can’t sell just being theyself, then they won’t sell, cause I don’t know how to be fake. What impressed you about the Dunk Ryders? Lyrically, I ain’t heard no young niggas like these niggas. Iceberg, he’s a young nigga, 16 years old. But he’s coming out hard and when you listen to his shit and hear the way he uses words, you’ll say, “Damn, this nigga here knows a lot.” One of the other dudes in the group, Soup, that’s Pearl’s son also. If you don’t remember, Pearl is my mama. So I already know his background and I already know what he’s talking about. So I decided, let’s see how much he really wants this. He shows me every day when he comes to the Dunk Ryders studio and puts down music that he really wants this. They’ve got more songs than I’ve done in the past year, and that’s what I keep telling them: you’ll never have enough songs. Another dude is Fella, he’s a young dude out of Opa-Locka. Opa-Locka is one of the most OZONE
black. I tell the white boys the difference; there’s certain things you don’t say as a white boy, even if you have black friends. And vice versa. It’s certain things you don’t do as a black boy with white friends. Now, this has got nothing to do with how I feel about separate ethnic backgrounds. This has to do with something that went on a hundred years before I was even born, in the slavery days.
(above): Trick Daddy’s proteges, the Dunk Ryders
respected inner-cities in the United States. From Carol City all the way to Florida City, they gonna respect Dade County. Opa Locka is one of the few neighborhoods that I fuck with because I know what type of niggas they breed. He has a strong presence, a strong voice, and all of them have a good head, a solid heart, and a solid mind. What types of things should we expect to hear from the Dunk Ryders? And all of them know that two years from now you can’t make the music about selling dope no more, cause obviously if we successful now, we ain’t selling no dope. Can’t make the music about the strip clubs no more cause obviously we want to be more advanced than the strip clubs. Can’t make the music no more about the jewelry, the gold, and the diamonds, cause we’ve realized that everybody can’t relate to that. So the only thing we have left is our heart, our mind, and all that is true. So the Dunk Ryders are gonna be around for a long, long time. While we’re on the topic of lyrics about selling drugs, weren’t you going to sign BloodRaw? We were going to sign BloodRaw, but he signed with [CTE] already. I like his style cause he ain’t tryin’ to sound like nobody, and that’s the main important thing. He was tried on Federal drug charges recently, and they used some of his lyrics about selling drugs to try to prove that he committed the crime. But he beat the case. I’ma tell you something about a Federal case. He beat the case because for one, the law protects you the same way the law will hurt you. Be careful with whatever you do and whatever you say, because it goes a long way. But rap music should never, ever be entered into evidence at no trial, unless I’m giving names, times, positions and all that. Rap music is music. Some music is just about pleasing the people. But in my songs, I say I’m an “ex-con” and an “ex-dope dealer.” I don’t never say that I sell drugs now. I’m not no drug dealer. That’s why my real true fans respect me and listen to me, because I would be lying to my fans and lying to the world if I told you that I am a drug dealer. Being a drug dealer sent me to prison. I think that’s why BloodRaw won his case. [Lyrics] are not solid evidence. What happened to the cooking show you were working on for MTV? Cooking is something that I wanted to do, but now all of a sudden other dudes want to have cooking shows. Reality shows are taking over TV. I thought people would be interested to see a thug-ass nigga like me who grew up in the projects with a mama with eleven kids that knows how to cook. I went to prison on my fifteenth birthday. Damn, how the hell does he know how to cook? How did he learn how to cook collard greens? How can he make macaroni and cheese from scratch? But I guess that don’t really enthuse nobody, because half of the muthafuckin’ places I go they can’t cook anyway. So they don’t remember how important food is to people. So I guess that’s why the cooking show ain’t take off. Are there any other TV shows you have in mind? Me and Russell Simmons spoke briefly about another reality TV show we’re supposed to start shooting soon. It’s called “Thug My Guy.” I take dudes out of totally different backgrounds whose wife or girlfriend doesn’t think they’re capable of taking up for theyself. [The wife or girlfriend] doesn’t believe that if somebody disrespects them, their man will be able to protect them. So I try to take those niggas and teach them the game. I show the white boys that they ain’t gotta try to act 62
Sounds like an interesting concept. I want to bring you, corporate America, across the bridge, to my side, into my world – not to put fear in your heart, but for you to respect me. Just so you understand why I think different, why I dress different, why I do different things. When I’m talking on the show, it’s like a Tricktionary. I give Trick’s meaning for the words so they can understand how I use them. Like if I say “What they do?” I explain to them on the show what that means. And if I say “That’s my nigga,” that don’t mean my homeboy who’s black, that means he’s my dawg. When I say “crackas,” that don’t mean you cause you’re white, that means the police. It’s just like the song “I’m A Thug”: “Could it be my baggy jeans and my gold teeth that make me different from y’all?” It’s nothing different between me, the ultimate thug, and a corporate America white collar guy. It’s nothing different from what I went to prison for and what Martha Stewart went to prison for. The only difference was that she was a multi-millionaire and I was a broke-ass nigga. That’s what I’m trying to show them in the show Thug My Guy. It’s been rumored that you have problems with your label Slip-N-Slide, but you’re still signed to them, and you’ve never spoken publicly on any issues you might have. Have you come to some type of agreement? My agreement with Slip-N-Slide is the contract that I signed. For me to talk bad about Slip-N-Slide or diss them won’t help me, it’ll only confuse people. Nothing can ever happen to a grown man without the grown man letting it happen, unless it comes through the power of God, and you know that’s an unstoppable force that can’t be controlled. All I can do is fulfill my contract and turn in an album to Slip-NSlide every year until the contract is up. At that time, we’ll renegotiate on whether I sign again or sign somewhere else. I heard someone make the comment that since you’ve been kinda quiet lately, Plies is taking your place. How do you feel about him, and some of the other artists coming out of Miami like Rick Ross? Plies is my nigga. Plies is Plies, I’m Trick, and Rick Ross is Rick Ross. Everybody says, “Rick Ross is the new mayor of Miami.” Nobody can be voted into the House of Representatives til after the final counts are in, baby. Those are very, very talented dudes. Rick Ross and Plies are both on my new album and I wish them the best of success. But remember, every man is his own man. I could never be Plies and Plies could never be me. There’s a lot of big things happening in Miami right now. Do you see 2006 as being the beginning of a new era for the city? If you do the math, music has been coming out of the state of Florida for almost twenty years. There were big records from Luke and 2 Live Crew and JT Money. When you listen to groups like H-Town from Houston, they got their vibe from here. If you listen to how Missy Elliott’s music has changed and transformed, she’s got the Miami vibe. Everybody’s got houses in Miami now. Everybody’s doing movies and videos in Miami. Everybody had their time. The East coast had their time and the West coast had their time, but the South is here forever. At one time, there were complaints about Miami radio not being supportive of local artists. Do you think the scene has become more supportive of its own? I know for a fact that people like DJ Khaled and Papa Keith support local music. I appreciate them niggas. I appreciate Cool & Dre and Jim Jonsin and Big D and the Iconz Music Group. I appreciate everything that Miami is doing for Miami. We’ve got to give back. We’ve gotta represent for us. When niggas come down here, niggas got to deal with us. No nigga should be shooting videos in Miami or recording songs in Miami if I don’t know about it and other niggas that represent Miami don’t know about it. If real niggas don’t know about it, you ain’t got no business ‘round here and you need to see us. Of course everyone knows that last year’s hurricane season was pretty devastating, so with hurricane season coming up again – Yeah, Miami Hurricanes, that’s the only season I worry about. I don’t worry about no other hurricane season. The rest of them hurricanes come and go. You put up plywood and it either knocks your house down or it don’t. FEMA don’t give you no money, insurance compa-
nies set you up, everybody else price gouges and rips you off, and gas prices go up. Fuck a hurricane. We’re used to that. The only thing that’s gonna do is make us want to go get money harder. What went through your mind watching the Katrina coverage? I really, really feel bad about New Orleans, because that was one of the very few places you could go and really feel like you at home. 95% of the whole town was negros. There ain’t too many cities like that in the world. Atlanta was like that; now the Asians are moving in slowly but surely, not that I have anything against them. Detroit is like that – a lot of black people. Miami, on the other hand, we’ve got a lot of Cubans, Colombians, Haitians, Jamaicans, Trinidadians, Guyanese, Chinese, Japanese, we’ve got all ethnic backgrounds. As far as Katrina, I heard that a lot of entertainers and athletes and superstars have been doing a lot of songs and pledges, donating and raising money. But I’m saddened for two reasons: one, it could’ve been prevented, and two, it wasn’t dealt with like it should’ve been. On top of that, we did our part as American citizens. We donated money, we supported, we did free concerts and telethons and all types of shit, and I don’t see where all that muthafuckin’ money went. And I’m real concerned about that. I’m real concerned that we can go to other countries and start wars, but we can’t fix our own problems that we got right here in our own backyard. That scares me. Maybe you should run for President. Naw. I have an extensive background. I have a drug and drinking problem. I could never be President; I don’t even want to be the first cousin to the President cause I don’t want him to start watching me. But anybody could be President. Bush’s daddy was President and then he was President twice, so shit, anybody could be President. I believe Hillary Clinton has the strongest chance of being the next President of the United States. You remember this, and make that when your magazine is the top magazine in this shit, you reprint this quote: Hillary Clinton is the most fit person to run our country. Why do you think that? You’ve gotta understand what she’s been through. I watch Court TV, A&E, and the Discovery Channel. I know the background of the world and the people in it. I know about other countries, I know about royalty, I know about loyalty, I know about doing time, I know about life, and I know she’s been through a lot so she’s a strong woman. When your husband is in a tough situation like Bill Clinton was and Hillary still stood behind him and had his back, that’s the sign of a very, very strong woman. That’s the sign of somebody who wants something in life. And she never stopped smiling, she never stopped caring. She’s a people person. You can look at her and she’s got that look, the opposite of me. I’m just an ugly-ass nigga. She looks the opposite. She’s got the look, the personality, the spirit, and she’s already been heartbroken. Her business has already been exposed. She’s already been put in a situation where she had to choose, so she can only get better. She can only make life better for us because that’s what she wants.
older and my career went on, the label seen me mature. I got married and they said, “Trick got soft.” Naw, Trick ain’t gone soft. Trick’ll still fuck a nigga up. So that’s why I came back with the Book of Thugs Volume 2. When you hear “Let’s Go” and “Sugar” on the radio, don’t get it twisted, nigga. I’m off probation and I’m ready for some more whenever a nigga gets out of line. You know, normally the sequel doesn’t do as well as the original. Why do you think this sequel will be successful? I never change. I keep it real. I don’t do no pretty songs and I don’t put nobody on my album if I wouldn’t buy their album. I won’t do music with niggas cause I’m tryin’ to get their fan base or sell a record. I do a record with a person cause that person fits on that record or deserves to be in that type of environment with me. That’s how I know the sequel ain’t gonna be a big downfall. The sequel has got to be successful cause that’s what the streets need and want. That’s what they asking for, and goddammit, I got it for em’. When you talk about lack of promotion, do you think part of the problem is that you don’t like to leave Dade County? No, I love to travel, but I ain’t going to Wichita, Kansas for no $5,000. If that’s the case, for $5,000, man, I did more time than that. My prison sentence sunk in. My prison sentence showed me that out of sight is out of mind. I didn’t have nowhere to call home collect, let alone did I have somewhere to go when I got out. When you get out of prison they make you fill out papers giving your address, and I didn’t even have an address to give these crackas. So ain’t no way I’ma sell my soul for $5,000. My thing with the promotion is, you do your part and I’ma do my part. When something come up and I don’t go, yeah it’s my fault, but you gotta make something come up. I can’t be the shoes and the shoe salesman. Have you ever gone to the store to buy a pair of shoes and the shoes walked up to you and said, “Hey, man, try me! I’m a size 10, I’m new!” You wouldn’t buy that shit cause it don’t sound right. Your shit gotta look professional and organized from top to bottom. Is your album close to being finished? Yeah, I’ve got one more song I’m working on with Pretty Ricky. I’ve got Bun B, Juvy, Slim Thug, and a couple more dudes on this one song representing their own state. I’m trying to get E-40 and Game and the Diplomat niggas Juelz Santana and Camron on the record too. I like Freeway and I like Beans but out of all of them, I would like to do a record with Jay-Z. Jay-Z is the only last big artist that I haven’t done a record with.
Speaking of Bill and Hillary, how is married life treating you? My family is doing great. My household will never be like Good Times, where everybody’s laughing and smiling but nobody’s happy. When we smile, it’s cause we happy in this household. When they tell me that I’m getting fat and my cheeks and my face are filling in, that’s cause I’m eating good. So there ain’t no problems here. All the kid’s grades are up, and all the adults act accordingly.
Are you still mad at Ricky Williams? Actually, I’m trying to get Ricky Williams a good lawyer to get his little case overturned. I could see if the man had some kush or some crippie in his system, but the man had some Tylenol cold or Tylenol PM in his system. It’s so hard for athletes, that’s why I believe they deserve the money. You can barely do any muthafuckin’ thing without getting in trouble for it. So I’m not mad at Ricky no more. I was kinda mad at him, and I guess it was immature of me. Remember, it takes a man to admit that. It was immature of me to have been so angry and turned on Ricky so fast, but I’m such a loyal nigga that when me and you fall out, nine times out of ten it’s cause you did some fucked up shit that hurt me. I got the Ricky Williams jersey on my wall, I got the bobble head in my room, and he just jumped up and said he quit. I done been on damn near every drug there was and I aint never quit. And you gonna tell me you wanna quit and go take pictures in Africa? Nigga, I don’t wanna even go back to Africa, let alone leave my job or my money or everything I worked for and trained for and dreamed for all my life, just to quit. I think that was selfish on his behalf, to his true fans. I’m not no bandwagon nigga. I’m a real, true fan. I don’t like the Dallas Cowboys, I don’t like the Buffalo Bills, I like the Miami Dolphins. It don’t feel right liking nothing else. So I just hope Ricky comes back this year. If not, Ronnie Brown, that $30 something million we gave you, you’re gonna have to run for it. We got Daunte Culpepper now, we picked up a few DBs, a linebacker here and a linebacker there. I think we’re a force to be reckoned with in the AFC. If we get Ricky back, we’re in the playoffs automatically.
What’s the name of your next album? The Book of Thugs Volume 2. I don’t know what chapter or verse it is yet. I put it in the mindframe like the Bible. As I got
Any last words? To all you niggas across the world that’s reading this magazine, if you’re trapping and hustling or doing anything in the streets, just be careful out there. The streets are watching, listening, and telling, and they coming to get you. Remember, the dope game, the street game, the pimp game, and all that shit started right here in Miami. Do your homework, nigga.
“Good hip-hop always tells a story, whether it’s negative or positive. There’s always a beginning and an ending. But these days when you listen to the big records on the radio and on Soundscan and you really analyze the lyrics, they’re not talking about shit.’’
“Rap is the new street game. It’s the new drug game. It’s the new way of not having to get up and go to work and make money for other people, so that’s why it’s so much hate. The only way you don’t get that much hate is if you put on a business suit and get up early in the morning and go to work downtown.’’ 66
CAM’RON WORDS: JULIA BEVERLY
PHOTO: ROGER ERICKSON
’m sure everyone’s been asking you about the Jay-Z diss. I know y’all never really got along when you were at Roc-A-Fella, but what was the final straw that made you decide to put out a diss record? We was never really that cool. Even when we were on the label he never really showed love, period. When he became president [of Def Jam] he was tryin’ to holla at us to get us signed to the label, but I really wasn’t feeling that move. The final straw that made me do the record was his “I Declare War” concert. He was supposed to be dissing everybody he had a problem with. It’s no secret Jim [Jones] takes little shots at him, slick rhymes and all that. So he got everybody in New York on point for about a month, sold out the concert, and never did anything. So now you’ve got a bunch of people with ammunition ready, and I just let one of our bombs go. So you were preparing for war the whole time. Yeah, we were definitely preparing. If you’re doing a concert saying you’re gonna diss everybody you got a problem with, then everybody you got a problem with is gonna be ready. If you’re bluffing, then what are those people gonna do? Sit at home with all their ammunition? But didn’t he flip the script at the concert and end his beefs by reuniting with Nas? Did you have any respect for him trying to calm some of the beef down, or do you think he had another motive for doing it? I don’t really know their motives. I know that it’s a good move businesswise for both of them. Stepping out of artist mode for a minute, it’s a business move. Nas has probably had a regular artist deal forever on Sony. He ain’t ever had a label deal over there. So he’s always been a regular artist over there, and the deal is up. I been over there at Sony, and I could testify that they don’t know what to do when it comes to rap. SO why not go to where they know what to do with rap? LA Reid is real good and you’ve got Jay-Z over there [at Def Jam], so they might promote his record. I don’t know what kind of deal Nas signed, but why would you sign a regular artist deal again? You’ve been a regular artist for twenty years. But still, being a regular artist on Def Jam is probably a million time sbetter than being a regular artist on Sony. So businesswise, I would say it’s a good move for both of them. If it was me, I wouldn’t do it cause there’s too much personal feelings. Nas called him a camel! I got that from Nas, feel me? And at the same time, Jay boned Nas’ baby mother. So, they’re men. If they can get over that shit, cool, that’s on them. But businesswise, stepping away from all that, why not? It seems like people, especially in New York, really worship Jay. What made you confident enough to go at him and expect to win? I think this’ll show that we can expose people. That’s the perception of Jay, yeah, and people need to stop that shit. Stop thinking that this dude is God, because he’s not, walking around with a hundred niggas everywhere he goes. He’s not God. People really needed to see that. With him and Nas, [Jay] probably didn’t think he would ever get punched in the face. But you can’t really say that about us. You don’t really know what’s gonna pop off when you see us in the streets. If it was that simple, I’m pretty sure a record would’ve already been done. People think this dude is God and they need to see that it’s simply not the case. We’re the new kids in town, and they really don’t care. Don’t get it wrong, though. I got so many people that love me and Dipset, it won’t even have to be me [that steps to Jay]. I be in Def Jam all the time. I go to see LA Reid. He gotta go to work every day, feel me? Even though you deal with LA Reid at Def Jam, Jay is still the president. Since Juelz is signed over at Def Jam, you weren’t worried about the beef affecting your bottom line at all? Not really. If I really thought it was gonna be a problem, I wouldn’t have said it. LA Reid is cool, so if I wanted to get Juelz off the label I could. He’s cool. LA Reid’s my man. But Juelz is selling records over there. Juelz said he’s comfortable, so if Juelz is comfortable I’m comfortable. I don’t trust nothing that goes on in this city. A lot of people don’t know that Jay-Z hangs out with Kevin Liles every day. Kevin Liles is over at Warner now. Jay-Z only got a three year contract at Def Jam, so after his three years are up who’s to say he wont go over to Warner when
this is all over? Feel me? So that’s why I keep my deals so short and my options open, because it’s just a strategic game of stress up here on the executive level. But if I really thought it was a threat, I wouldn’t have did it. trust me, before I did this song I had every angle covered, from the streets to the business to the response. Every angle was covered, that’s why I did it. What has the response been? Do you think it’s pretty much 50/50 with people split between the two of y’all? I don’t really care how people think. People say it’s a diss record, but I don’t think it’s a diss record. I call it an “exposing you” record. Anything I’m talking about on that song is the truth. I didn’t lie about nothing. When I said I get fined $100,000 every time I diss Def Jam, that was part of my deal to get off Def Jam. If I diss Def Jam or any of their artists I get fined $100,000 and I gotta keep it a secret. That’s some bullshit. I’ll take the $100,000 fine just for people to know. When I say that [Jay] loved Charli Baltimore, I was there! He loved her! He loved her and then him and Un started beefin’ over her. When I say he doesn’t own the 40/40, he doesn’t! I’m not lying. So that’s why I don’t call it a diss record. I call it a “tell-you-what’s-goin’-on” record. If people don’t like it, it’s cool. I wasn’t tryin’ to diss him I’m just telling you what’s going on. Are you frustrated that he hasn’t responded? No, cause that’s his business. That’s like taking a slap in the face. I just caught him off guard. He responds to everybody, so for him not to say anything, I’m telling you it’s bigger than that. It’s the streets. Do you think he didn’t respond because he didn’t want to give you any publicity? Publicity? I get that anyway. I don’t need publicity to make money. It wasn’t for publicity, cause my album wasn’t even coming out nowhere near the time of that song. We did the song right after the “I Declare War” concert. We were waiting for the concert and he ain’t do nothing, so we put the song out. He created his own publicity with the whole “I Declare War” concert, but it was all a stunt. When does your new album drop? The album comes out May 9th, and the DVD Killa Season comes out April 25th. Why do you think New York has been so quiet lately in the rap game? I had that conversation with somebody the other day, and I don’t really understand why people are saying that New York ain’t doing nothing. The number one artist in the world is from New York. Nobody’s selling more records than 50 Cent. He’s the number one selling artist, and he’s from New York. The number one movement in the country – G-Unit – is from New York. The number two movement, Diplomats, is from new York. Ain’t no other team around the country right now that got a better movement than G-Unit or the Diplomats. So I don’t know why they say New York is falling off. Maybe at radio or whatever, the South does get a lot of spins and everything, that’s true. But don’t get me wrong, I love the South. I’m a South fan. I been fuckin’ with the South since “What Mean The World To Me.” Some New York rappers are complaining that the labels are looking for talent down South. Of course, of course. But that’s why you’ve gotta create your own lane. We don’t get a lot of radio play. But that’s why they love us too, feel me? People love The Diplomats cause we’re street. If you’re a crybaby you just gotta create your own lane. So I understand what they’re saying but as far as I’m concerned, New York is doing just fine. And we’re still growing. We’re selling enough records. Juelz is at 700,000. Jim has sold 700,000 between his last two albums put together. I just sold 600,000 on Purple Haze and I didn’t do nothing but the Kanye West single. The album before that sold a million and a half. Then when you look at G-Unit, the person that sold the lowest was Tony Yayo and he still sold 400,000. So I don’t understand why they’re crying. I think New York is doing great. And I don’t see nobody else that’s moving like GOZONE
“I just got off Riker’s Island for the last three weekends. I gotta go back in this weekend because I won’t even cooperate with the police. I’ve been going to jail on the weekends because I won’t give the D.C. police a second of my time.’’
Unit and The Diplomats. There was Cash Money and No Limit and WuTang and whoever else, but right now, I just know about G-Unit and The Diplomats. If I’m wrong, then I’m wrong.
Let’s talk about the shooting incident in D.C. You implied in the song that the shooter was someone affiliated with Jay-Z. I didn’t say that, first of all. It got misconstrued. The dude who was in the passenger seat with me, Huddycombs, seen [the shooter] throw up somebody else’s sign. I put it in the song cause that’s what he seen, but I didn’t see that. Huddycombs ain’t gonna make up no fuckin’ lie. He don’t give a fuck about Jay or nobody else over there. So I put it on the song cause I’m co-signing with what he saw. I heard people say that we’re snitching or whatever, but I just got off Riker’s Island for the last three weekends. I gotta go back in this weekend because I won’t even cooperate with the police. I’ve been going to jail on the weekends because I won’t give the D.C. police a second of my time. So for a nigga to say that we’re snitching, get the fuck outta here. Nobody on their team is going to Riker’s Island. None of them niggas did more than a day in jail for a suspended license. So they don’t even know about not snitching or testifying or being in jail. Why do you have to go to prison? Contempt of court? The D.C. police wanted me to make a statement and I never went to make a statement. So they called up my probation department and said, “Why was Cam in D.C. anyway?” Even though I was down there promoting Juelz’ album, they said I didn’t get permission. So they violated men. They said, “We won’t violate you if you come give us a statement about the shooting.” Well, you just gonna have to violate me cause I ain’t giving no statement. I got to spend my weekends in jail. What’s your definition of snitching? My definition of snitching is telling on anybody to get them incarcerated. You gotta handle your own business. If you doing anything to get anybody else incarcerated, you’re a snitch. That’s that. Even if that person is trying to kill you? Yeah. That’s what happened to me! And I’m going to jail for not telling. That’s a perfect example. The way I was raised, that’s the way it goes. You would rather handle it on your own and risk the consequences. Yeah, you know what? This is the new streets. Rap is the new street game. It’s the new drug game. It’s the new way of not having to get up and go to work and make money for other people, so that’s why it’s so much hate. The only way you don’t get that much hate is if you put on a business suit and get up early in the morning and go to work downtown. Anything you’ve got goin’ on, people will hate. That was my own fault. I got caught slippin’. I usually move like I’m the president, understand? Is it true that your fingers are paralyzed? Right now I can’t move the pinky finger on my right hand, but I got my nerve repaired. The doctor says that hopefully a year from now it’ll be back to normal. Is that the first time you’ve been shot? Yeah. I seen myself bleeding, but I knew I wasn’t shot in my chest or nothing vital. I just knew that one of my arms was hit. I didn’t know the other arm was hit til I got to the hospital and saw it bleeding. The only thing I really wanted to do was just to get to the hospital before I bled too much and lost too much blood. Did the shooting make you rethink anything as far as security? Are you changing anything about your routine or the things you do on a 68
regular basis? Nah, not really. Everything’s still the same. I had about 25 or 30 people with me [the night I got shot]. We had a seven-car envoy. There was a cop right behind me when I got shot. That’s the reason nobody really reacted. So after the shooting, the cop starts chasing the other car, and three of the cars that was with me started chasing the car. The cop is right behind the [shooter’s] car so my niggas couldn’t get to them. They made a left and by the time they came around the corner the car was flipped over and nobody was in it. The police never let my niggas even get to the car. They seen the whole shit, and then they wanna fuckin’ tell me they want me to be a witness? Y’all seen it yourself, feel me? Why the fuck should I participate when y’all was there? So now they say, “Oh, you don’t wanna talk? Well, you shouldn’t have been in D.C. anyway. You’re on probation, so you’re gonna have to go to jail if you won’t talk.” Well, take me to jail then, cause that’s fucked up. Y’all seen what happened. If you want a witness, talk to that fuckin’ cop that was right behind me when they was shooting at me. Let’s talk about the album Killa Season. As far as features and production, what do you have on there? Besides The Diplomats, the only features I have on there are Lil Wayne and Nicole Wray. I kept it pretty in-house. Hell Rell’s project is coming out so I featured Hell Rell on a few tracks. JR Writer’s on a couple tracks also. I did it mainly by myself. I spread it out to make sure everybody from The Diplomats got on it. But I got so many other Diplomats projects coming out, I don’t need to put everybody on everything. I just wanted to do an album basically by myself. But when I do it by myself, everybody from the crew wants to be on it. I really didn’t want too many people on there unless there’s some singing parts. I can’t sing, of course. What’s the content of this album? It’s Cam 2006, updated Harlem. The last couple albums, I did a few personal songs on there. I did a song about my stomach condition. A lot of people were feeling that. It’s kind of a touching song. Your stomach condition was the reason you lost a lot of weight? Yeah, I did a song about that. I was on a certain diet but my stomach was still hurting, so I just started eating what I wanted and the doctor prescribed medicine for me to cope with it. So it’s pretty much under control at this point. Yeah, but there’s still no cure, and they don’t know the cause of it. But they have stuff that can control it. If I get a stomach attack it’s like a woman having contractions times twenty. Going back to the Jay situation, now that you’ve gotten whatever you had to say off your chest, do you think we’ll ever see a Jay-Cam collaboration in the same way that he united with Nas? Nah. It ain’t gonna be no Jay-Cam nothing. It’s Cam-Diplomats. It don’t really make no sense to reunite. That stuff is corny. Nobody wants to see that. For what? We worked together before and that was that. How does Dame feel about the whole thing with you and Jay? I didn’t tell Dame I was putting out the song because I knew he would try to talk me into not doing it. He’s got mixed emotions because him and Jay made a lot of money together. But, you know, Jay did a lot of slime stuff. Dame doesn’t say it, but I know how he feels. Dame keeps kinda quiet about it. He don’t wanna say nothing bad about Jay, so I’ll say it for him. What about the little rumors that keep popping up that you and Jim aren’t getting along? Even though you guys are close, do you think your partnership with Jim could ever turn out like Jay and Dame’s? Nah. When I hear rumors like that I just learn to laugh and realize that our lives are that much more important than other people’s lives. It’s like a big deal for them to want to create that much gossip about me and my nigga that I’ve known since I was five years old. We speak a hundred times a week. You gotta realize that people have no lives. Our lives are that much more important that they’d rather talk about us. As long as they talking about us, that means we important. So I don’t think that’ll ever happen. I’m such a fair dude that it don’t make sense. You can ask anybody from Juelz to Jim to Hell Rell, and they’ll tell you that everybody gets what they’re supposed to get. So whatever anybody wants to do, they’re able to do it. If Jim ever wants to do anything, I’m supporting it. If he comes out with the Jim Jones Sock Collection, I’m gonna be there modeling the socks, feel me? And vice versa. That Day and Jame shit is a fight about a name and a whole bunch of bullshit.
MISSISSIPPI RISING Jackson, MS: the soul of the South
Words by Jacinta Howard Photos by Jaro Vacek Lift every voice and sing, till earth and Heaven ring, Ring with the harmonies of liberty…
throughout America. In Mississippi, the history is etched into the very landscape. One of the poorest states in the nation, it also has the largest black population.
ississippi is the birthplace of the blues, the cradle of black spirituality and a symbol of oppression in the U.S. Think about it. What’s the first thing you associate with the state where the Confederate flag still flies high over the capital? That’s right, slavery. The thought of plantations, racism and systematic subjugation still haunts the state, hovering over it like a dark cloud before a summer rain.
“Mississippi is the birth place of black folks in the south,” says veteran Jackson rapper, Kamikaze. As half of the rap duo, Crooked Lettaz in the late nineties he played an instrumental role in introducing the state to national rap fans alongside David Banner. “That’s why we call it little Africa.”
Nestled halfway between Dallas and Atlanta lies Jackson, the state’s capital. With a population slightly over 520,000 the city is small enough to have the welcoming, down-home feel most southern states are known for, but big enough to have one of the highest crime rates in the nation. By and large, Jackson is a smaller reflection of Mississippi itself, boasting an intriguing mixture of spirituality, poverty, repression and hope. Out of these elements has come a sense of unbridled hustle and of course, irrepressible creativity.
Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies, Let it resound loud as the rolling sea…
It started with old spirituals, songs that slaves used to sing sometimes as encouragement, but often as a mode of communication. If you listen to the soft wailing of the music, the unadulterated emotion that’s poured into every syllable uttered it’s impossible to go unaffected. Drive through certain parts of Mississippi and you can still almost hear the spirituals drifting in the air, blending in seamlessly with the breeze, a natural soundtrack to the heartache and suffering the people have experienced for hundreds of years. Slavery may have ended in 1865, but its effects are still prevalently felt
The spirituals later gave birth to the blues—an art form which is largely credited with directly inspiring jazz, rock, R&B and yes, Hip Hop.
ip-hop may have been formulated from the blues, thus perhaps making Mississippi the original birthplace of the sound that dominates the world today by default, but it’s rarely mentioned when the genre is brought up. “When you talk about slaves, gospel and blues music with Mississippi being the birthplace, we formulated Hip Hop,” Kamikaze contends. Jackson is only six hours west of Atlanta and six hours east of Dallas, but it might as well be on the other side of the planet for the attention it gets. For the most part, heads still haven’t latched onto the movement that’s been brewing there since the early nineties. Contrary to popular belief, David Banner was not the first rapper from the state to make noise on a national level. Back in 1995, the rap group Wild Life Society landed a deal with Blunt/TVT (which was also home
(l to r): Stax (Block Wear), Bra (Queen Boyz), Benz (Queen Boyz), Twizzle, Red, Gutta, Janky (1 Life 1 Love), Big Nose Jew, Seneca, Greedy (1 Life 1 Love)
to a then unknown Ja Rule), propelled by the single, “Homie Love.” But even before that, in the early nineties, rapper Smoke D had made a major move. After meeting Bun B and Pimp C at a local club in Jackson, he moved to Houston with intentions to be the third member of UGK.
“Banner came up with the name and concept,” Kamikaze remembers. “We were in a crew called the Stowaways which was a bunch of different cats from across the country that met up at Jackson State University. We realized Mississippi didn’t have representation in the Hip Hop world so he came up with the idea to form a group.”
“That was in 1991 or 92 when I left to Texas and was stayin’ with [Pimp and Bun],” he recalls in his slow drawl. “I left and came back to Jackson for a couple of weeks and ended up getting in trouble.”
Named for the chant kids sing when learning how to spell the state’s name, Crooked Lettaz seemed destined for success. Intelligent, aware and spiritually grounded, Banner and Kamikaze’s release was full of raw creativity. But then, industry politics reared its ugly head.
That trouble landed him in prison for six years. While Smoke D was still featured on “Front Back, Side to Side” from UGK’s sophomore album, Supertight, and on the Ridin’ Dirty interludes, Jackson had missed out on a key opportunity to introduce themselves to the rap world. It would take nearly five more years for Wild Life Society to drop and a couple more after that for rapper Boo the Boss Player to begin making waves nationally with the Concentration Camp alongside No Limit standout, Young Bleed. “I think Mississippi has always been overlooked and underestimated,” says Kamikaze, his voice laced with annoyance. “Even presently I get real frustrated with how Mississippi gets looked at because people think that Banner is the only representation of the state. It’s all good, but there’s so many other artists here that are talented. We down here makin’ good music and we been doin’ it for years.” Banner agrees. “Even back then you had so many groups that had talent,” he says. “When there’s a place where nobody has really done anything from a major perspective it makes the artists and the city a lot more hungry. There were so many groups that had to do it, sell records and get radio play without anybody to help them. You had groups who really, really were learning how to build corporations. Even with my first underground album, we wrapped them, we got the barcodes on them, we had in-house graphic work, we pressed up the CDs, we did the art on the CDs, we got them in the stores. I actually was in the sweatshop myself putting plastic on the CDs, so you know we put together our own shows. People wonder why southern rap groups are able to do so much that’s the reason why.” While other artists like Reese & Bigalow and Mississippi Mafia were gaining regional recognition in the mid-nineties, the doors to the state swung wide open with the emergence of Crooked Lettaz in 1999. Comprised of David Banner and Kamikaze, the group’s album, Grey Skies (released on the now defunct Tommy Boy Records) offered a glimpse into the tormented history of Mississippi, while simultaneously providing a soundtrack to the gritty streets of Jackson.
“We had a manager that robbed us of six figures and a label that didn’t know what to do with southern music,” says Kamikaze. “This was before the south took over the game so the label didn’t know what to do with a southern group especially one that was talking about something. Crooked Lettaz was a movement, we were trying to reach people and deliver a message. We didn’t come in the game talking about the standard things people talk about it was difficult for them to market what we were doing.” Eventually the duo was forced to disband and begin hustling independently to make ends meet. Of course, Banner was the first to blow. When Mississippi: The Album dropped on Universal in 2003, he blew the scene wide open and put the entire state on his back.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us, Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us…
David Banner has definitely been a door opener for Mississippi,” says DJ Sweat, who recently dropped the mixtape, Puttin’ Mississippi on the Map. “He’s educated and he’s not ignorant. He’s very respected by me and I really appreciate the stuff he does.” From his numerous charitable efforts, including the Heal the Hood concerts he put together immediately following Katrina to his speaking engagements and willingness to bluntly talk about the political and social issues plaguing his people, Banner’s commitment to the community has made him one of the most well-respected artists in the business. “Nobody really gives to us as far as historically, “ he maintains. “Mississippi has always been pushed to the back as far as America is concerned. Even if you look at Katrina and what happened it’s like southern states are the ghetto for America, that’s what they look at us as. We learned that if we don’t do it, nobody is gonna do it for us. Even with Katrina, Mississippi got put on the back burner.” Talk to virtually any producer, artist or DJ hailing from Mississippi and you’ll find the same philanthropic nature that Banner has. Given the
(l to r): Donnie Money (Mississippi Mafia),, Young Shad, Aziattik Black, Kamikaze, Sweetz (b.i.G.f.a.c.e.), David Banner, Marcus., E, Twa (b.i.G.f.a.c.e.), Tambra Cherie (Admission Granted TV)
state’s poverty-ridden conditions and rich spiritual background, it’s not surprising.
son and throughout Mississippi.
“It’s shocking to me that more cats from our city have not gotten deals,” the rap“Living in Mississippi gave me an underper says. “Every time I go back to Jackstanding and respect for what I have. It son I just look around and see cats with keeps me humble from the standpoint of true talent—they got the story and the knowing where I came from and all the background, the A&Rs just gotta get up struggle and the pain that came from and see what’s poppin in the Jack.” Mississippi as far as slavery is concerned and the discrimination,” Banner relays. Kamikaze is not quite as diplomatic Other Jackson, MS-based rappers include Smoke D (left) “It definitely put God in my life. Me beand J Records’ recording artist Boo da Boss Playa (right) about Mississippi’s struggle to be recing able to go back to Mississippi to my ognized nationally. family helped save my soul because this music industry will suck your soul out of you, easy.” “We just don’t get the respect that we deserve cuz the industry is full of dick riders,” Kamikaze breathes, frustrated. “If these A&Rs would DJ Sweat, who’s originally from Tchula, a small town located right get their head out of the ass of Atlanta and Houston they might be outside of Jackson has an outlook much like Banner’s. able to find some new talent. We know they got they thing goin’ on and much love and respect, but we doin’ it in the same way. I’m takin’ “There are 2,100 people in Tchula and probably 200 got jobs,” he this whole state on my back, and if I gotta piss some people off, that’s somberly relays. “People don’t have running water in their houses. what I gotta do.” That’s why I know since God’s blessed me, I gotta do something about this.” Indeed there’s a wealth of talent throughout the state. From Boo who’s soon releasing a project on J Records to J Money & Cadillac Don and It’s that common integrity that most Mississippi artists share that led Shad & Jewman, Mississippi is poised for greatness this year. Kamikaze to start M.A.P. (Mississippi Artists and Producers) an organization dedicated to enlightening artists about the intricacies of the “I want my album to represent help,” Smoke D says of his pending industry and help them prepare for the future. It currently has over project that will be released on his imprint GSM (God First, Family 250 members. Add that to DJ Sweat’s continued efforts to build up Second, Money Third) Records. After 10 years of waiting, he’s reunithis immediate surroundings and Banner’s recent decision to drop a ed with Bun B and Pimp C and is currently living between Houston mixtape exclusively featuring all Mississippi artists, S.I.P.P: The Missisand Jackson. “I ain’t holier than thou, but I wanna head in that direcsippi Mixtape you have a powerful alliance that’s capable of change. tion now that I’m a little older as opposed to doing everything that’s out there in the mainstream. I wanna help whether it’s from listening “People look at my triumphs as Mississippi, but then if I fuck up, that’s to the music or from me doing what I can do.” Mississippi too,” Banner says, his voice heavy. “That’s the reason why it’s so important for other artists to come out of Mississippi and repreWhen all is said and done, Mississippi artist simply want the chance sent too, because it’s so much more than I represent.” that their state too often was not given. Like the lyrics to James Weldon Johnson’s classic spiritual, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” their story is a powerful one that needs to be told.
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun, Let us march on till victory is won…
ne of the most well received albums of the year has undoubtedly been The Product’s One Hunnid. While Scarface’s group may not be doing Jay-Z numbers, the respect the project has garnered in the street is undeniable. Young Malice, one third of the group, is a crucial part of the new movement that’s brewing in Jack-
(l to r): Cory Thomas (Admission Granted TV), J, Tony B (Our Glass), Birdland Sean, Mobile Mike (MSB), BP (MSB)
“I think Mississippi has the potential to be the next Atlanta, New York or Texas,” Banner contends. “The difference is that it’s a statewide movement and we got the stories from our grandfathers to tell. There’s a lot of things that’s been going in Mississippi for years that haven’t been spoken about and it’s coming back through the eyes of our children and grandchildren. It’s going to be historical.”
“The artists that are successful are the ones that get off their ass and do it themselves and hire their own radio teams and street teams and stop complaining about what [the label] isn’t doing. I’m not gonna complain no more...I take full responsibility for my life.’’
DAVID BANNER WORDS: JULIA BEVERLY
PHOTOS: JARO VACEK
hen you originally got signed to SRC/Universal, there was a lot of hype around your “$10 million dollar deal.” Was that accurate? It was very misleading. That’s not what you get in your pocket; nowhere close to what you get in your pocket. That $10 million is over five albums: every flyer, every video, every rental car, every radio ad, every poster, everything you do during those five albums.
do. My album dropped the same week that Katrina happened and a bunch of other shit happened. But for the first time in my career, I’m free. I’m not dictated by an album. I’m doing movies; really, really big movies. I’m back in the production game. One thing I’ve been blessed with is the fact that this rap shit don’t run me. I’m able to do so much. God’s blessed me with so much that I’m able to dictate my own career. So I’m really happy with the results because it did damn well.
So who perpetuated that hype? Who’s idea was it to put out that “$10 million” figure? That’s not really important because I don’t like to bring other people into it. I think it was a mistake, and at the time, I should’ve stopped it. So I take full responsibility for that. People have a tendency to treat you differently when they think you have all that money. When I look at Dave Chappelle, I feel for him. I feel so bad for the shit he went through when that “$50 mil” got thrown out there and the pressures that came on him. And folks don’t care if you say, “Nah, bruh, that ain’t true.” If they read it somewhere, they gon’ believe it. One of the reasons I want to talk about this is because I don’t want these young rappers to be throwing their money out there and talking about what they’re getting, especially when it ain’t true. There’s a certain level of responsibility that comes with that. Not that anybody should be counting your fuckin’ money anyway, but it’s a lot of responsibility that comes with saying you’ve got that amount of money. The pressure comes from friends, family, whoever. It’s a lot of pressure for one person to handle.
What are the “big movies” you’re speaking of? I’m auditioning for some big movies. I’ve been offered a couple big things and I’ve got a really big movie in the works. But I really don’t like to talk about stuff til it’s actually happened. There’s a lot of potential, but you should never brag on stuff because it might not come true. That was one of the problems I had; there was a lot of things I counted on happening that didn’t happen, and people are waiting on you. People believe in you so you’ve gotta keep your word and don’t say shit til it’s actually ready to happen. I don’t blame nobody for nothing now, cause it ain’t nobody’s fault. It’s my fault, every time. I’m the man, this is my career. Mississippi is my state. I don’t expect no help from nobody. Ain’t nobody your friend. As long as God gives me air to breathe, it’s on.
So at what point did you decide you wanted to dispel that idea that you had millions of dollars? It wasn’t ever my idea to put it out there like that, but I didn’t stop it when it happened, and that was my fault. It’s bad when people stop looking at you as a person. It’s just like Dave Chappelle said on TV: it’s sorta like Bugs Bunny when they were stranded on the island, and folks started looking at each other like they’re food. That’s sort of the feeling I had. I want the young cats to know: bro, keep your personal business out of this rap shit. It ain’t nobody’s business what you’ve got. Keep it to yourself, feel me? If you don’t want people to have that perception of you, why buy a Bentley? Why show your house on MTV Cribs? That’s my business. That’s the problem. People get into an artist’s life too much. I can buy a fuckin’ Bentley if I want to, but that don’t mean I’ve got ten million dollars. I can look good and buy a chain if I want to, but that don’t mean I got ten million dollars. Speaking of that, why don’t you wear jewelry? I don’t wear jewelry because my mission is a lot bigger. I still like going into the hood. I still want to be able to go hood to hood, and it’s sorta hard to do that when you got $10, 20, 30 thousand dollars on your wrist and people can’t eat. But this year, I’ma bust they heads, straight up. I’ma shine on these muthafuckers. I’m gonna give folks what they want. Watch. Watch David Banner this year, quote, unquote. And you need to put in your magazine, “Most phenomenal feat of all muthafuckin’ time.” The beginning of a new era starts right fuckin’ now with this interview. So read it and get prepared for the fuckin’ future. So out of your five-album deal with SRC/Universal, you’ve released three so far? Right. The fourth album is gonna be straight street shit, what people expect from David Banner. I experimented and let people know my depth and my range, and now it’s time to get back to that Mississippi: The Album. It’ll be my first album, multiplied by ten, with the experience that I have and the knowledge that I have. My beats are ten times better and my rhymes are ten times better now. Honestly, I think I’m better than I give myself credit for. Most of these muthafuckers in the game can’t fuck with me, and I’m about to show that. How do you feel about the response to your last album Certified? Aw, man, I feel great about it. To me, it was like, God puts you through certain things and allows you to see what you have the potential to
A few of your labelmates at SRC, like Remy Ma and Grandaddy Souf, have been pretty vocal with the issues they have with the label. Have you experienced any similar problems or do you feel where they’re coming from? Hell yeah. I’m pissed off. You gotta really think about it: I made SRC. I started SRC. Nobody gives me credit for that. Nobody cut me a check. If it wasn’t for me, SRC wouldn’t have got on its feet at all. So I feel like I deserve a little bit more, but it ain’t up to no other man to make my career. Steve Rifkind doesn’t make me. I was a success before I met Steve Rifkind and I’m gonna be a success after Steve Rifkind. I’m not trippin’ on him. It’s not his fault. I’m not blaming him for nothing. If they don’t do what they need to do, I’m gonna get off my ass and make a buzz myself. But yeah, I was mad. I can’t lie. Hell yeah, I was mad. Mad at what, exactly? Mad at the way my shit was handled. But I’m not trippin’ about that because you gotta think about it, Julia. Me and you are similar in a lot of ways. Since the day I first met you, we always ran our own shit. And that’s something I want you to put in this magazine: don’t stop running OZONE the way you run it. You delegate your business to other people, but run it the same way you ran it when you started. You just cyberspace the shit; upgrade your pimpin’. I’m not gonna stop doing what I used to do. It’s up to me to make my shit hot. It’s up to me to get out there and make my shit happen because record companies don’t do it no more. Do you think any artist – not just on SRC but in general – is happy with the way their project is handled? You’ll notice that the artists and the labels that are successful are the ones that get off their ass and do it themselves and hire their own radio teams and street teams and stop complaining about what muthafuckers are not doing. I’m not gonna complain no more. This is my fault. Put that in bold writing. It’s my fault; I take full responsibility for my life. Watch what’s about to happen in my life. You keep this magazine running and watch what David Banner’s about to do. Watch me. Sit back and watch this shit unfold and you better be ready to write a muthafuckin’ book about me, I’m telling you. Hmm. What’s the plan? I’m not gonna lay the pimpin’ out. I just told you, you don’t talk about stuff until it’s time. It’s not time yet. It’s just starting, and anything can happen to stop it. A lot of people don’t want to see me successful because I’m a threat. I’m a walking corporation. I don’t need nobody to make my beats for me. I make my beats. I don’t need nobody to write my rhymes for me. I write my rhymes. I don’t need nobody to go get radio for me. I got friends in radio. DJs are my homeboys and homegirls. OZONE
“I don’t wear jewelry because my mission is a lot bigger... But this year, I’m gonna shine on these muthafuckers. I’m gonna give folks what they want. Watch David Banner this year: quote, unquote. The beginning of a new era starts right fuckin’ now with this interview. So read it and get prepared for the fuckin’ future.’’ Why is that a threat? It’s a threat whenever you have too much power and too much influence. There ain’t too many rappers out there that I haven’t worked with. That’s power. When anyone is able to call upon people and they come, it’s a threat. Look at our generation; it’s not too many people that can call on people and they listen. Look at the power you have with your magazine. Look at the power I have. And we knew each other before. That’s power. But we don’t use our power like we should. None of us do. Look at the power that rap has. Look at the millions and billions of dollars that we’ve made for shoe companies and management companies, but how many of us have made those billions for ourselves? We gotta empower ourselves. That’s why I don’t bicker and talk about no other man. I know who I am. I know what I’ve done in the past. I don’t gotta talk about no other man. That’s why it’s just business to me. It’s all business, and we’re waking up. That’s what Katrina did for us. What’s the big picture for you? Are we talking politics? To establish power and money. I used to be into politics and all that, but I can’t build communities without paper. I can’t get people to come places if I’m not popular or famous, or people don’t like my music. It’s about hit muthafuckin’ songs. It’s about making money and distributing that money and doing what you’re supposed to do. I’ve heard people say, “David Banner sounds intelligent and he talks about positive things, but when I hear his music all he’s doing is cursing.” So either they’re not understanding, or your goals are not translating through your music. The thing is, it’s music. The problem with rap music in general is that we have allowed people to make it “real.” Everything’s gotta be “real,” and that’s not the case. We write songs about the things we feel and see. Those same people who talk that shit are people who are not in the streets. People haven’t been through what we’ve been through. Even you, being a young white girl walking through the most hood clubs in the world, people ain’t been through what the fuck you been through, so they can’t worry about what the fuck you write about in your magazine. The truth is, regardless of what people say, when I put out “Cadillac on 22s” how many people rallied behind me? But when I put out “Like A Pimp,” look at my career! Anytime I try to do something that mean something, do people rally behind me? No! But when I talk about “like a pimp” or “play with your pussy,” what happens? I get that muthafuckin’ paper. That’s true for pretty much any form of entertainment. Do you think that’ll ever change, or is it just human nature? It won’t change in my lifetime. Maybe I’ve started a change. When I perform my music in concert, “Cadillac on 22s” is usually the song that my true fans rally to the most. Most thugs want to do better. Most thugs, anywhere in the world, if you give them the option to do something better and they could really see paper in it, they’ll do it! Why do you think that a lot of kids see entertainment, sports, or hustlin’ as their only career options? 76
What options are readily available to our kids? When you look at TV, look at the roles we get and the situations they place us in. When you look at television, you don’t see positive black people moving and perpetuating. You don’t see that marketed and promoted. So, you answer that question, and put it in your magazine. Tell me what these young kids can see out there that’s readily available. Like I said, if you can show a thug another way to make money, they will. Well, you’re intelligent. You could be a doctor, lawyer, teacher, anything you chose to be. You could show kids other career options. But you chose to be a rapper. I chose to be a rapper because I know that I can touch people and help people. And am I doing it? Does it affect my community? Haven’t I made people recognize my state? Haven’t I opened up the doors for people who never felt like they could do something positive? Have I not stood up in the eyes of adversity and done positive things? I’m asking you. Answer the question. Yes, you have. But let’s go back to what we were talking about as far as rap lyrics. The other day we were talking about BloodRaw’s trial, where they attempted to use some of his lyrics about “moving weight” and “indictments” as proof that he committed a drug offense. Do you think it’s dangerous to take rap lyrics literally? That’s not fair. They only do that with black people. When Steven Spielberg makes a horror movie or Steven King writes a book about kids being demons and stuff like that, they don’t hold it to them. They say, “It’s just a movie,” or, “It’s a work of art.” Just look at Three 6 Mafia winning a Grammy. They give props to the actors who acted like pimps in the movie, but won’t give props to a group that raps about the same thing the movie was about? Do you think it’s because there is so much emphasis on “keeping it real” in rap music, that people assume it is reality? Well, regardless of what people think, movies can influence people more than music because they can see the visual images. It’s the fact that young black people are making money and establishing power off the same thing the establishment has made money off all the time. That’s true power in the hands of young cats who know how this establishment has taken advantage of us. And I’m not scared to die. I’m not scared to step up and do the things that I gotta do as a man. I’m hesitant sometimes, but I’m not scared. If you’re performing a song every night called “Like A Pimp,” do you ever question the line between reality and what you’re rapping about? Do you ever start to believe that you are what you rap about? Or were you what you rap about from the beginning? I’ve been through a whole lot of things in my life that people will never, ever know about, and I’ll never talk about it on a muthafuckin’ song or in a magazine. The only way a person will find out what’s real is by testing me. So I don’t wanna show people what’s real. I don’t want to be what I used to be, but I can talk about it. That’s my prerogative. The truth is, regardless of what a person talks about, it’s only fuckin’ talk. The problem is that America is not raising our kids. We’re not taking
responsibility for our own kids in our own households. But I’m not taking responsibility away from rappers, either. I think we should take responsibility amongst ourselves. We gotta get together in a room, with no record players, no cameras, no radio. And you have to understand that a lot of these cats don’t know nothing but heartache. A lot of these young cats don’t have nobody to teach them better, and they’re making money doing what they’ve been doing, so why should they change? We have to educate each other, because nobody else gives a fuck. The establishment makes money off us being the way we are. It’s crazy, but the truth is that nobody’s gonna hear us if it ain’t jammin’. And the truth is, right now, what we say and do is jammin’. It’s proven. When I go away from the David Banner that everybody talks about, what happens? Be honest, Julia. You say it. You flop. Exactly! So I’ma keep it thuggin’. Fuck ‘em. Niggas can talk that shit, but everybody does it. Look at America. C’mon, America came up off slavery, pimpin’, and killing. Murder, bloody fuckin’ murder. How can muthafuckers sit up in their big-ass houses that were built off murder and criticize me? Not that that makes it right or wrong, but we have to start dealing with the truth. And throughout all the things in American history, a lot of those things have been done “in God’s name.” God is watching. That’s one thing I’ve learned in this music industry. Music ain’t shit when it comes to God. We will have to eternally deal with all the things that we say and do. This time we’re living in ain’t nothing but a second to God. With the tsunami and all the hurricanes and earthquakes and everything going on in the world today, some people speculate that we’re living in the “end times.” Everybody talks about the end times and this and that, but actually, from my understanding of the Bible, the end is actually when it gets peaceful. When there’s too much peace, that’s when the end is gonna come. I think God is reminding us that he does exist, and that all this could be taken away in a matter of seconds. That’s why Certified was so important to my career. We gotta be slapped up. We gotta go through hard times. That’s what keeps us being men and women. One thing you could say about Julia Beverly and David Banner is that nobody made us. Ain’t no man made me. Ain’t no woman made you. People have helped us, but nobody made us. Nobody got out on the streets passin’ out those magazines with you, and nobody slept in that muthafuckin’ van with me. God has put us through all that for a reason. When Mississippi and New Orleans come up, we’re gonna be the strongest people, ever. And that’s through the grace of God. You’ve been in the rap game for quite a few years. Having seen a lot of producers and rappers come and go – what do you think separates the artists who last from the ones that fall off? I think the problem people have is that they start smelling their own shit. You gotta continue to listen to what’s hot. A guy named Freddy Young, from Jackson, MS, once told me, “If you listen to the radio and you don’t like nothing that’s on the radio, there’s something wrong with you.” People criticize all the new music that’s coming out. A person will be like, “Aw, snap music is whack,” this and that. But snap music is jammin’. Kids love that shit. You better get with it, nigga, or fall behind. Or make something better, if that’s how you feel. Peo-
ple felt like the South wasn’t hot and they wouldn’t get with the South, and then what happened? They got left behind. Do you ever have to check yourself to make sure you’re not smelling your own shit? Hell yes. Every day of my life I have to check myself. That’s why I say God is so good. Sometimes God checks you. He gotta slap you up and bring you back down in order for you to realize you’re here for a purpose and a reason. Yeah, I gotta check myself. If you don’t check yourself, that’s the problem, when you feel like you ain’t doing nothing wrong. I have fucked up. I need to be checked. That’s why you need people around you to tell you when you fuck up. When people become successful, do you think it’s the money that changes them, or other people’s reactions to their money? It’s all of that. It’s people in your ear all the time. It’s people not telling you “no.” It’s the fact that everything’s at your discretion. It’s people lying to you, telling you, “Yeah, dawg, that’s jammin’,” when it’s actually not. People change towards you. And all the stuff I’m learning from this music shit, I’m implementing to the movies. I’m gonna try not to make the same mistakes. Please put this in bold writing: Tell these young cats to read. Read anything. I don’t care if it’s a Playboy magazine, just read something. Read. Find out about your money. That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned. Get a good accountant. It ain’t about our talent with black people. We’ve got the talent. Look at how we make billions of dollars out of nothing. We have to learn to keep our corporations. What made you decide to put out DA SIPP mixtape? I’m just tryin’ to give a lot of the local cats at home some national shine. Before, there was just a lot of stuff I didn’t know how to do. Now that I’m learning, I’m trying to come back and give back. We’ve been giving the mixtape out at all my shows. For the next mixtape that I do, I’m gonna give cats the CD and let them press them up and sell them theyselves; give them an opportunity to make money. Any last words? I want to thank everybody that’s helped me throughout my career, and all my fans that stuck with me. And I want people to know that we do make mistakes, and we’re not perfect. People swear that we’ve got it together. That’s why I always give praise to God, because I don’t know how I did what I did. All I know is that I get out there and bust my muthafuckin’ ass. That’s why people should watch what they say to these rappers, because we came from nothing. Muthafuckers look at us on TV and get it mistaken. I am not playing. I am dead serious, dude.
Artists featured on DA SIPP mixtape include (l to r): Smoke D, Gutta Boy, Sweetz, Twizzle, David Banner, J-Dub, Roy, Aziatikk Black, and Marcus.
TOO SHORT WORDS: MAURICE G. GARLAND PHOTOS: SHANNON McCOLLUM Love him or not like him that much (you really can’t hate the man), everybody has a favorite Too $hort song. Whether you liked the baseline on “I’m A Player,” the stirring lyrics on “The Ghetto” or the sexual exploits on “Freaky Tales,” you’ve got at least one shining Too $hort moment. Being in the game for twenty years like he has shows you a lot more than a magazine page can hold. But peep game as $hort speaks on the origins of the hyphy movement, why women are the real pimps and sound advice from DJ Red Alert. He even reveals some of his hidden formulas for his success. Read on. Being from Oakland, being that you put the Bay Area on the map, being that you’ve been in the game for this long, how do you feel about the new found attention the Bay is getting? It’s really about the mood the fans are in right now. The reason why crunk was winning was because in the past 10 years, people have just been about having a good time. So the music has just been about having a good time, nothing but dancing and having fun. So the energy that crunk provided made it more appealing than the New York rappers who were being super emcees with the complex rhymes. People like it more than gangster, gang-banging stuff the West Coast was coming with. The crunk shit was just having fun. It’s something that people would rather do. So with the Bay’s new sound- the hyphy- it’s all about dancing. Its high tempo and that’s one thing that similar with hyphy and crunk. It’s not the real deal if it don’t make you dance. Going stupid and dumb is dancing to them out here in the Bay. Its fun to kids and some of the young adults do it. People in their 30s don’t wanna do it though. They look at it the same way that folks in Atlanta look at “Laffy Taffy.” They looking at “Laffy Taffy” saying its junk. Funny that these are the same people who used to shake it off and dance to Lil Jon and Youngbloodz. With the hyphy dances, people are quick to point out that it’s more than dancing. It’s a way of life that’s been around for years. If you look closely, it looks like people were getting hyphy in the “Life Is Too Short” video. If you look at that video, we was in our 20s. What we was doing in that video was the side show. There was only one place that you could do that, and that was the Eastmont Mall in East Oakland. On Saturdays, people would be out looking fly with cars in the parking lot, girls just hanging the streets. So with the side show, people in Oakland always put racing engines in their cars. We called it high performance. In Oakland, you got to put the high performance in the car. You gotta have a loud engine, pipes and all that shit. The engine gotta be so strong that when you burn rubber, the car goes sideways. It can’t go straight. That’s what we did in the late 80s. We’d do donuts. Cops might chase us but we didn’t care. Fast forward to now, and the side show has been going on the whole time. Now niggas do it everywhere, not just one place. You can drop a hat and it’s a party. These are the kids of the side show in the late 80s. They took their parents’ wild nature to another level. Just like how hip-hop has emceeing, DJing, breakdancing and grafitti, hyphy has elements. First, you got the cars’ part where you do donuts and ghostride the whip. Kinda like how Texas be swerving, but we do it at high speeds. A lot of people in the bay hate that hyphy shit because it’s dangerous and it causes injury. The car part of the hyphy movement is like when the crunk had the fight shit. They had certain records by Lil Jon and Three 6 Mafia that the club owner said “don’t play that shit.” You got the hyphy train that’s also in that. Just like Texas but high speed. Then you have the music part of hyphy. It’s uptempo most times, not all of the time, but it just has a certain sound. Very hard to explain. I been watching it develop for the past five years. It’s like if you from Atlanta and know what Crunk is and you go somewhere else and someone comes to you and says they got a crunk song. Yeah, you might bounce to it, but it ain’t crunk. Hyphy just can’t be up-tempo. Then, you got the rapping. Just like when you motivate people to throw elbows and stuff in crunk, the hyphy DJ got certain chants too. Whether he’s talking about smoking purp or popping pills, whatever it takes to make you go stupid. The latest
great underground record in the Bay is an entire song of ebonics, just jibberish slang. Its funny as fuck. These niggas don’t say one straight sentence in the whole song. The shit is crazy. Crunk was the most popular thing going at one point and then it died down. With the hyphy movement being around for almost two decades, do you see it meeting the same fate? I don’t think so, but it has changed. Now all the kids wanna get a deal. They didn’t want record deals at first. They didn’t care about that, but now they do. But it ain’t gonna die because it’s still spreading, and people are embracing it. They getting hyphy in Seattle, Portland and any where close. Then, you got the slang. That’s as much a part of it as the dancing. If you really from the Bay, you gotta put some slang in it. It’s some songs on the radio that kids love because of the slang. Plus, you got songs that are hyphy and still get on the radio. You don’t have to go dumb to it. I know I’m not. I’ll sit here and tell you that I got songs that you can go dumb to but ain’t hanging out the side of no car. I don’t think 40 plans to either. With this new movement coming about, has anybody hinted with the notion that it’s time for you move on, that it’s their time? It ain’t never been like that. The kids that’s 17 years old know my words, and they wasn’t alive when I made the record. Even the slow shit I was making. I get kids coming up to me all the time saying “Short, you know my mama. Short, you went to school with my daddy.” Talk about how the Bay area not only had an impact on the style of hip-hop but the business of it as well. We are the originators of the independent movement. We embraced independence. We celebrate 20,000 in sales independently. There are guys that’s been out there doing their thing like no one else. From ‘96 to ’06, regardless of if it charted or not, there’s a lot of people in the Bay making money off music. Some of these guys are selling 50,000 records. They selling in Seattle, Portland, Wyoming, Colorado, Phoenix, throughout the Midwest. If you sell 50,000, you good. 10,000 to 20,000- you straight. And if you having a good day, selling 100,000. We celebrate that in the Bay. If you do that in the A, they laugh at you. But in the Bay, you’re rich. Whenever something gets popular, people usually start biting. What’s the attitude towards the eventual copying by others? The youngsters tell me they don’t care who try to copy because unless you’re sitting in those streets, they ain’t gonna fuck with you anyway. The people out there get their stuff on the radio and the streets because people support them. They got artists they love out there. Even though the people near and around the Bay embrace it, they still can’t do it either. It’s something about the dudes from there; only they can do it. Them Richmond, Vallejo niggas, only Bay niggas can do it. It’s a certain thing; you can pick it up, but not as an outsider. The videos don’t show you. There ain’t gonna be no instructional DVD. You can’t be an outsider and completely get it. Just like my career. I always felt like rappers absorbed the rapper before them. I was never threatened by other rappers trying to do that pimp shit because they ain’t got the game like me. Even if you say you every pimp in the book. Even with Texas, see it’s a lot like the Bay. You talk to them and they’ll tell you they lived and bought big houses on independent sales. They sold 150,000 off mix tapes. The Texas boys are near Atlanta and New Orleans but never tried to make crunk or bounce because that ain’t them. Why do you think you’ve been able to stay in the game so long? I think if you just go through different circles of people and ask if they’ve ever had a Too $hort experience, you’ll get hella stories. I’m mean look at my story. Just rolling with a trunk of tapes going from block to block and coming up and getting a record deal and videos and notoriety off being underground. That’s just legendary. You can picture it in your head without seeing it with your own eyes. It’s the kind of story that I don’t even feel like I’m a part of. Sometimes I step outside of myself, and I can’t believe it. I be looking like “wow, he went OZONE OZONE
platinum and never got embraced by the mainstream?” No other rap artist has ever did my numbers with no support, not even other platinum artists. I was going platinum the same time LL was, and I had no kind of machine behind me. What if I had Def Jam’s machine behind me? Where would I be then? Think about that. I did real good, but I did the shit on the underground. I always told myself when I retire I’m gonna do it independently. Why don’t you think you ever got embraced by the mainstream? There have been plenty of rappers with explicit content that have been embraced. I never had a publicist to tell me that I’m supposed to do certain things. But then again, I never cared to have a publicist. I’ve argued that I never wanted to be famous. I just wanted to be underground to the fullest. I never wanted videos. I’ve been approached so many times by people saying things like “let me give you a new look…you’ll be so hot.” I’ve been told so many times “let me be your publicist.” I’ve been told that I need to stop making ghetto shit and start making pop shit like Hammer. A producer once told me that he couldn’t work with me if I didn’t make pop (music) like Hammer. I never wanted to do that. I just wanted to make records for one person- the Too $hort fan. Just that one person. Every rap I’ve ever wrote sounds like I’m talking to one person. That’s how I write. I write as if I just see one person in front of me and I’m talking to them. That’s been my formula all these years. You’re obviously known for your explicit lyrics and pimp tales. Truthfully, how do you feel seeing all these new rappers emulating your stories? Especially since it seems like an overabundance of them? Do you think they are glorifying the lifestyle? I hate to tell you this, but the real pimps and hoes in the street don’t don’t recogize that shit in these songs. There ain’t that much real pimping in the music. I can’t name any rappers that just get into it. Pimp C has a heavy hand, 8Ball and MJG do too. They never play the role of the trick. But if you really listen to the niggas out now, they say they a pimp, but they talk about buying a bitch a car in the same song.
Pimps don’t be doing that shit. Pimps just say “go.” Go get my money, go out on the track, go work them tricks. Just go. Outside of that, it ain’t much being said. Pimps just send. They just send hoes out and they comeback like a boomerang. There ain’t a lot of pimping in rap. These rappers can’t even get into it because they don’t know what it is. In rap, pimping is just a sport. That’s the context that they use it in. To them, pimping is buying bottles in the club and shit. The truth is the girls are the real pimps. They straight up ask niggas “do you wanna be my friend? Alright pay up.” Everywhere you look, niggas always ask how much it cost to be some broad’s friend. How do you feel about the influx of balling on records? Do you still hear struggle in the music? Everybody is going to the end of the story now. They just going straight to the jewelry store. But that’s just a phase. But Hip Hop always been on some show-off shit, though. But that’s what I like about the Jeezy’s and T.I.’s. They show the journey. Niggas be running into brick walls trying to be like these rappers because they don’t see the journey. Shit, Jeezy motivates me, too. I’m an O.G. and even I’m like “damn this nigga out here doing his thing with these mix tapes.” In other interviews, your story always starts off as you saying that you only made the dirty rhymes because people said they liked them and was buying them. What were you rapping about before you found out that the dirty rhymes worked? [Laughs] The first raps I did was silly rhymes, just partying and shit. I was just learning how to get on beat, but then I heard [Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s] “The Message.” It hit me immediately. I can still remember. I was walking with my radio and was like “he’s describing New York,” so I wanted to describe Oakland. So I did those types of songs with cursing in it, and I did the X-rated stuff too. I noticed those types of songs would get the reactions. I found a partner that thought like me. So for four years, we just flooded the streets with dirty raps. When I got in the studio, the owners would say I couldn’t do dirty raps. So the first two albums I recorded, I did clean records, but on the third I lost my fucking mind. But I when was doing clean albums, I really explored social issues. I went into a different angle and wrote something that meant something. My formula on the first three albums, since they were tapes, was to make Side A clean and Side B dirty. All the videos I did were songs that were positive. But no one noticed that, though. They just know me saying “bitch” and the X-rated stuff. The first dirty video I did was “Cocktails” and the other ones I did when I moved to Atlanta. But all my videos, my image period, has been influential though. A lot of the Texas shit comes from the image of me riding in that burgundy Caddy in the “I’m A Player” video. Shoot, you can even look at the first Outkast cover. Dre got a pimp hat on. What are you working on right now and what do you have planned for the future? I’m putting 100% of my time into my independent label. This next album, Up All Nite, is my last album on Jive. I named my label after that too. I don’t want no major labels knocking at my door neither. I just wanna parlay my independent label into movies too. I just wanna finish my career independent. I never did fit in with the system. You never saw me at the Grammy’s and the award shows. I never wanted to fit in anyway. I don’t wanna get an outfit every few months just to sit in the front and hope I get some camera time. That being said, are you ever going to retire? I don’t even know man. I got a lot of music in the can. I can’t put a age limit on it. I see how Hip Hop keeps expanding, so I can’t leave yet. When people can say I’m 40 years old with a successful record, I might think about it. Yeah, when I make my last record and you can say $hort had a hit when he was 42, I can see it. I want to inspire a nigga that’s 28 years old at the crossroads of his life not knowing what he gonna do. I want people to be able to tell him, “Nigga you 28, why you tripping? $hort had a hit record at 42 years old, you can still do it.” Plus, I remember what DJ Red Alert told me when he heard I was retiring back in ’96. He told me that jazz musicians, who were the weedsmoking rebels back in the day, never retired. That you supposed to keep going until nobody likes you. So that’s what I’m doing; I’mma keep going until people say I’m wack. Do you have any parting words? Tell everybody to stop kissing ass for record deals. The deals are cool, but this environment right now is good for independent sales, especially in Atlanta. Every day should look like an opportunity to make money for yourself.
YUKMOUTH WORDS: MAURICE G. GARLAND
PHOTO: BARRY UNDERHILL
Yukmouth has shown many faces in his ride through the music industry. He’s been everything from a lyrically inclined goof-off to a fighting mad emcee with a big chip on his shoulder. But now with the Bay Area catching its second wind, Yuk wants to show yet another one of his many faces. Read on to see what he’s looking like nowadays. Guess we’ll start off taking about the Bay’s resurgence. How does it feel seeing this? It feels good just to have people paying attention to the West Coast period. It’s good to see that since we lost the spotlight ten years ago when ‘Pac died. During the Bay’s down period you continued to release albums rather consistently. How did you keep your name out there? My advantage was being signed to Rap-A-Lot, so when the West fell off, I was in the South. At the end of the day, a lot of West Coast artists 82
didn’t have that access. I stayed in other markets besides the West Coast. In every city, you got to hit niggas in the city. Every city has a nigga who’s running shit. So every time I go to a city, I scour the streets and I link up with that nigga and do shit with them. I do things that other artists don’t do. I plant seeds so if I don’t run the city, I got niggas there that do. I keep my name in the loop. A lot of niggas don’t fuck with the streets. They got managers and police around them all the time. I fuck with everybody; I don’t just act stuck up or act like I’m too good because at the end of the day, we all started from an independent level. So you got to look out for those niggas. When you look out for people, they fuck with you. My shows be packed. Why do you think some artists don’t take that approach? I don’t know. I think it’s because when you get to a certain status like platinum and get awards, you can’t go in the public and not get harassed. The big artists ain’t scared, but its more of a consequence to go out in the public. And it don’t help if you got security all around you.
If you from the streets, you don’t need all that. I’m from the ‘Jects where we got our own police. If you claim you from the hood, you should be able to go out without the security. If anything, surround yourself with niggas you know got your back, some goons. Who gonna protect you better than your guys and goons? Ain’t no police gonna protect you like that. Security ain’t doing nothing for you. How did you end up hooking up with Rap-A-Lot? Rap-A-Lot came and got me. When I was working on the Luniz stuff, we was both on Virgin. So it came to a point when me and ‘Face was working on our albums around the same time. J Prince and them noticed it was me in the studio more that Numbskull. They was like “damn man, you working by yourself all the time. You should come get with us.” Then, J offered me a solo deal. Nobody I was fucking with at the time offered me that, ever. Not C-Note, not Virgin, nobody. So I took it. What kind of strain did that have on you and Numbskull’s relationship? Needless to say, we didn’t see anymore Luniz albums until two years ago. Oh, I can’t even lie. It had a strain. It was choose to loose or get a solo deal. My executive producer had it in my contract that if I had signed solo, I had to give up my right to be one of the Luniz and I was mad that Numb agreed to that. Luniz ain’t break up. They made me break up. Then, a couple years passed, and we reconciled. We dropped Silver and Black. But without Yuk there is no Luniz. I came up with name of the group. I made me and Numbs’ names. I created the whole shit, the whole concept. I sat there and did all that shit in juvenile hall. Now your first album, Operation Stackola, was everybody’s favorite back in 1995. To this day, do you think that album is appreciated enough? That album was the last album to go platinum in the Bay Area. Period. Everybody was going gold. We the last niggas to go platinum in the Bay, even to this day. When that album dropped, it was always Hammer, 40 and $hort. We was the new generation at the time- us and 3XKrazy. Nobody came after us (or) since us. And when fans talk about Bay Area music and history and don’t mention Yuk or the Luniz, it’s very disrespectful. I got fans all over the world, and I rep this Bay shit. I go over seas every year. You can find a Yuk CD all around the world. I’ve been repping in markets that the Bay ain’t never been. I’m talking Alaska, Africa, Switzerland, Germany. I’m doing shit the average West Coast artist can’t do. I’m the only voice overseas. You got Hieroglyphics, but they doing Hip Hop; they ain’t doing the gangsta shit. I take this shit everywhere. Half these niggas ain’t been out the West Coast. I got passports. So when they don’t mention Yuk and Luniz when they mention hyphy and the Bay, that’s disrespectful. We created the only anthem out the Bay, and we did a remix with everybody on it. After the “I Got 5 On It” remix, Richie Rich got a deal with Def Jam. A lot of niggas got put on. So when niggas talk about the Luniz they better look at us like Hammer and Too $hort. What nigga you know got anthems that still get played 10 years later? A thousand niggas done made remakes of “5 On It.” A lot of niggas can try to ignore me and Luniz, but real fans know we contributed. Do you see the hyphy phenomenon dying down in the near future? I don’t think hyphy [is] ever gonna die down. We been hyphy. Keak was on my album saying he hyphy back in ‘97. Hyphy is about having fun and wilding out; its always gonna be fun in hip-hop. Crunk is still popping. Even if ain’t on every song, its just a different style. Just like step music in Chicago or go-go in D.C. All this shit has never went nowhere; its here to stay. On the Luniz’ 1997 album Lunitik Muzik album, you and Num squashed whatever beef you had with Too $hort, and you had a lot of features on there. Talk about what was going on while you recorded that. That was a hot ass album; we felt good. When you got money and shit, you feel good. You can think of amazing shit. But when you’re struggling, you can’t get a lot of shit done. But sometimes being broke works. That’s how we made “5 On It.” We had our first piece of big money. Being comfortable has a lot to do with making good music. That’s interesting because many would argue that artists getting comfortable is exactly what’s hurting the music, the loss of that hunger. Well yeah, don’t get me wrong; you can get too gotdamn comfortable. And yes, you can and lose track of what the goal was from the first
place. Like, that’s one thing I liked about DMX. He stay focused in the streets. He goes to Houston, Phoenix, wherever but he still stay in the hood. Some niggas don’t even come out. They stay in the mansion, so of course they make candy-coated shit. You can’t rap about ‘hood shit if you got waiters and shit. I think niggas get too comfortable. I ain’t saying you gotta move back to the projects, but you gotta stay up on the latest shit. That’s what makes your songs. Nobody lives in the ‘hood. Not no successful mu’fucka. You leave. Even back in the day when we was slanging, the big nigga don’t stay in the hood. You want to leave, but you can’t forget the hood. That’s what I’m saying. When you dropped Thugged Out: The Albulation and started doing the United Ghettos of America series, it resembled what 2Pac was trying to do with the One Nation album before he died. Did that inspire you to start U.G.A.? That’s exactly where I got it from- One Nation. I was like “damn, I fuck with these different niggas,” so I wanted to get them on one album and call it The Albulation. That mu’fucka about to go gold now. That album separated me form the one-hit-wonder shit. That album sold form word of mouth. I went gold cause niggas like me. I had no promotion, no BET, no nothing. U.G.A. is just me traveling. So I was like let me film this shit. I was watching DVDs that really got me, like Rhyme and Reason. Niggas really want to see what goes on in a rappers’ life. The videos don’t tell the story, so I did a DVD about hip hop independently. Together, both sets of the CD and DVD have sold 150,000, so you can add that up. That’s why I ain’t put out a solo album in two years. I was getting paid. So fans waiting on Yukmouth, I’m sorry I was getting my guap. What are we gonna hear on the new album Million Dollar Mouthpiece? There is a lyrical growth and a combination of styles. On my first albums I was doing grimy shit to separate from me Luniz. Niggas complained, so on Godzilla, I blended the grimy and smooth shit. They still complained, so I’m just doing me. Well, since the Luniz albums, the last couple of years actually, you’ve sounded mad as hell on the mic. Are you still going to be screaming mad on this album? [Laughs] Niggas kicked me out my group. Niggas was hating- saying I was a one-hit wonder, so yeah, I was mad. Plus, I was popping X. I don’t do that shit no more, though. That first album, I called it the X album. A lot of that shit was emotional cause of that X. I was dead fucking serious. A lot of niggas rap to rap; I rap to save my life. We all human. I’m sticking to reality rap. Reality sells. Look at Jeezy. I gotta watch what I say, and oh yeah, no more beefs. That’s my new mottono more beefs. For a minute beefing was your claim to fame. Why the change? The change is me getting tired of this shit. Niggas was getting signed off dissing me. [mocking] “Oh, he dissed Yuk” and now G-Unit wants to sign him. Then, you got niggas on big labels controlling the airwaves. They doing shit like black balling me. I’m like fuck this. I’ve been on Oprah, Jenny Jones, all that shit. Plus, how can I do U.G.A. and then shit on niggas? I didn’t have beefs because I wanted to. But because I got to defend myself, I had to do it. In this game, if you don’t reply efficiently, you’re ruined. If you don’t respond within a certain amount of time, niggas forget about you. Look at what KRS-ONE. (He) ruined MC Shan because Shan didn’t reply efficiently. 50 ruined Ja Rule because Ja didn’t reply efficiently. Same thing goes for Dr. Dre and Snoop versus Eazy-E. LL against Kool Moe Dee. The fans gonna hop on the next nigga. So when I did the shit with The Game, I proved that he couldn’t fuck with me. I knew everything about him so I could come back on him efficiently. Same with 50. Instead of whining about 50, I went to his hood and got Domination and Bang Em Smurf. If you trying to end me, I’m trying to end you. But no more beefs. Let’s compare real estate. Who got the most businesses? Go ahead and shout out your business. UGA Vol. 3 is coming out this summer right after Million Dollar Mouthpiece. I’m doing it all, my nigga. Getting all the paper. I’m putting out Jamal formerly of Illegal and Dru Down and the Regime. And me and C-Bo working on a new Thug Lordz album. And I wanna shout out all my hyphy niggas- Fab, Keak, 40, $hort. All my young niggas like Hoodstars, Turf Talk, and the Team and peace to Mac Dre and to Rick Rock. Let’s rep this Bay shit.
OZONE MAGAZINE PRESENTS
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
he idea of coming up with OZONE’s 20 Essential Southern Albums was birthed out of neglect and necessity. All too often when various music magazines and/or websites come up with a “Greatest Of All Time” collection, the South is severely overlooked. Albums like Outkast’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik are either hardly or never mentioned when naming the “Greatest” albums. Lyricists like Scarface often wind up on the “Honorable Mention” list when naming the “Greatest” emcees. Well, we solved oversights like the latter when we compiled our 25 Greatest Southern Artists of All Time list with MTV Jams (April 2005, issue #33). But the job isn’t quite finished yet. With Southern hip-hop growing stronger and stronger, it’s important that people know of the albums that existed prior to the 2002-2003 explosion. People need to know just why so many fans rallied behind Bun B when he pleaded “Free Pimp C.” People need to know why icons like Dr. Dre jump at the chance to work with Devin the Dude. People need to that Three 6 Mafia were already stars before they won an Oscar. Most importantly, people need to know that the South’s reign is not some fly-by-night shit. These 20 albums were agreed upon by a group of Southern DJs, artists, writers and culture critics. By no means does the list suggest that the albums not mentioned are not relevant. We just feel that these are the ones that played pivotal roles in shaping the phenomenon that is Southern hip-hop. So relax and enjoy as Your Favorite Rapper’s Favorite Magazine presents Your Favorite Rapper’s Favorite Albums (in alphabetical order): OZONE
“As Nasty As They Wanna Be is a fuckin’ classic. That’s when women started getting loose in the videos. Everything started to change. It wasn’t all about the paper anymore. It was more like Sex 101. This album showed you how nasty Miami is.” - Pitbull “ME SO HORNY” This single is one of the greatest rap songs ever, because it packaged something so raw and so profane that it should not have made it to TV or radio. “THE FUCK SHOP” When me and my homeboys were teenagers, we used to rent rooms and say we were gonna find some girl in the street and take her to the fuck shop. It never worked, though. We’d just end up sitting in the room getting drunk. Girls used to be like, “I’ll fuck one of y’all, but I ain’t fuckin’ no 20 niggas.” “PUT HER IN THE BUCK” People always talk about “doggystyle,” but down here in the country we like to put them in the buck. I’m a Southerner, and we get wild down here. This is one of my favorite sex songs.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
2 LIVE CREWNA BE AS NASTY AS THEY WAN
Luke Records - 1989
by Killer Mike
“MY 7 BIZZOS” This album came out before the sampling laws were passed, and this song used the sample from Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child.” Back then, rappers weren’t afraid of using guitars in their beats. Stop hating, let us sample!
ith this album As Nasty As They Wanna Be, 2 Live Crew made the world realize that people like sex. They made sex buyable in rap. There was no sexual awareness in hip-hop before them. They told you to put a rubber on, they talked openly about masturbation and jacking off. They showed people that there was stuff going on outside of what we were seeing in the movies. They told you things your mama was scared to, that teachers couldn’t, and what you yourself were too afraid to read about.
broad vision from the start. You couldn’t look at them as just a Southern group. Two of them came down from California through the military and Luke has a Caribbean background. They took it worldwide.
I think you really see the genius of 2 Live Crew on “Dirty Nursery Rhymes.” They really showed something with this record. They were able to make people not take a serious subject so seriously. This was a way to get people to talk about sex.
With “Fraternity Record,” see, this was before Kanye West came out with the whole College Dropout thing. They were already mocking the college scene and making them party. You can go on college campuses to this day and hear this record. And let me tell you, you’ll never believe what this song makes white girls do.
At the time this record came out, they were fighting to let us as artists say what we wanted to say. No disrespect to the old school G’s that have gotten arrested and have had their own run-ins with the law for fighting for what they believed in, but nobody defended our rights like 2 Live Crew. No one else had their nuts on the line like Luke when it came to this music shit. So when you mention the greatest, please mention Luke. Rap is about what you say and what you do. What Luke did in fighting for freedom of speech is like what Larry Flynt did, but he did it for us musically. I remember the first time I met Brother Marquis. I couldn’t say nothing to him. All I could do was rap “My 7 Bizzos” to him. I recited the whole verse in front of him. And he was probably looking at me thinking, “Why is this guy on my dick? That part of my life is over.” I always remembered the time they showed his face on the news when they shut down one of their shows, and he held up a Playboy magazine. The news camera tried so to switch away real fast but we still saw that white titty. When I met him, I told him that what he did was important. He helped us be able to express ourselves freely. Brother Marquis, he’s one of the greats. When I first heard this album I could not understand why “Reggae Joint” was on there. Looking back, it showed that 2 Live Crew had a 86
“IF YOU BELIEVE IN HAVING SEX” Say hell yeah! Luke was like Doug E. Fresh. Luke could run a crowd for 15 minutes just doing call and response. And they weren’t just rocking small clubs, they were rocking coliseums and arenas like N.W.A, Run-DMC, and LL Cool J did.
2 Live Crew was also the first group to understand that people wanted to ride in their cars and bump the music. They knew that niggas was getting speakers hooked up in bootlegs places. So the EQ’ed it and tweaked the music for that specifically.
Number 17, “Mega Mixx III.” Whenever you mention DJs you gotta mention Mr. Mixx. If you a B-boy you can get down on the floor and break to it. If you a Southern playa you can stand back and let a hoe grind on you. At the skating rink, shit, when the DJ was finished or wanted a break he’d just throw this on and let it ride. 2 Live Crew’s As Nasty As They Wanna Be is not about saving the world. It’s just about having a good time and enjoying life. This was to me one of the last real bootyshake/bass records too. People think bootyshake and bass music are the same thing, but they got it all wrong. Miami bass made girls shake their ass but you still had rapping over it. It was real rapping about everything going on in the ghetto. Bootyshake was call-and-response and dancing. Luke is the person that stamped that call-and-response in your brain, and bootyshake evolved from that. I gotta give a lot of respect to Luther Campbell, Luke Skywalker, or as some of you may call him, Uncle Luke. If it wasn’t for him and Lil J [Prince] at Rap-A-Lot Records, there would be no Southern hip-hop scene. They were the first to make a business out of this. Luke is a true genius.
“Outkast pushed the lines of creativity on ATLiens. At the time, a lot of artists were not speaking their heart due to fear of being dropped from their labels or being scorned in the hood.” - David Banner
“ATLIENS” If you like fish & grits and all the pimp shit, this one’s a classic. “JAZZY BELLE” The popularity of this song is evidenced by the fact that the term “Jazzy Belle” is still used today as slang for girls that go both ways. “ME & YOU (TWO DOPE BOYZ)” Redefining the term “dope,” this might as well have been Outkast’s theme song.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
“BABYLON” While the eerie intro, coupled with Dre’s vivid lyrics, reminds you of your first time “hunchin’ with all our clothes on, until we felt excited,” and the melodic hook puts it all in perspective.
OUTKAST ATLIENS LaFace - 1996
by Julia Beverly
lthough Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik introduced the unique sounds being crafted in The Dungeon, it wasn’t until their second album ATLiens that Outkast’s Big Boi and Andre (now Andre 3000) truly mastered their lyrical capabilities and used their talents to really say something. The significance of this album was not only its remarkable consistency, but its refreshing honesty. Outkast is arguably one of the greatest, if not the greatest, hip-hop groups of all time, and ATLiens provided a front-row seat to their growth during the critical sophomore stage. In today’s microwavable music society, where one-hit wonders are the norm and the line between hip-hop and pop is becoming more and more blurred, it is rare to find such an exclusive look at the process of reaching the top, rather than just life at the top. And they articulated it so well. It was too early for them to be celebrating. “Tricks be lookin’ at me like I’m their way up out the projects / Can’t put you on my payroll, and no I ain’t got no Rolex,” Dre rhymed on “Two Dope Boyz.” Although they’d “come a long way like them slim-ass cigarettes,” they were still “neck and neck” with the average working man. Drawn in by the extraterrestrial soundtrack which provided a pleasant escape from the routine, the bored 9-to-5er could still relate to the things Dre and Big were going through. “It’s a decision to be successful. It doesn’t just happen,” says Outkast protege Killer Mike. “You have to plan, plot, strategies, and be driven to do this shit. It seems to me that during the making of ATLiens, that’s what they’d become determined to do: make their mark in the game. This album set them up for history. It’s a testament to artist development.” For any aspiring rapper, hearing Dre reminisce of “riding the Marta through the hood” and “doing the hole-in-the-wall clubs” just a few years earlier was inspiration enough to work harder and perfect their craft, as these two had obviously done. ATLiens highlighted the musical abilities of not only Big Boi and Dre, but of the entire Organized Noize camp. Everything was in-house, no radio-friendly guest appearances or $100,000 tracks from big-name producers.
“ELEVATORS” If you don’t believe that Andre 3000 is one of the greatest emcees of all time, listen to this twenty more times.
ATLiens is one of those albums you can play all the way through; no filler. Each track merges perfectly with the next but still has its own unique sound and concept. Utilizing common noises like a helicopter flying overhead, someone diving into a pool, or the neighborhood ice cream truck, Organized Noize provided a perfect backdrop for Dre and Big. Other notable Dungeon Family contributions included Big Rube’s Biblical spoken word on “13th Floor/Growing Old” and Cool Breeze’s masterful storytelling on “Decatur Psalm.” The nearly indecipherable female vocals on the intro “You May Die” set the tone for the album without Big and Dre even spitting a single lyric. But next up is an Outkast classic, “Two Dope Boyz (In A Cadillac),” where Big Boi assured listeners that “the ATLiens ain’t changed.” At a time when hip-hop was dominated by the East vs. West, Outkast introduced the world to Southern slang. Big name-dropped places like Bankhead, Decatur, and SWATS, while Dre blended philosophy, reality, and theology so beautifully in his rhymes that you had to listen repeatedly to catch the meaning. “God works in mysterious ways, so when he starts the job while speaking through us we be so sincere with this here / No drugs or alcohol so I can get signal clear, as day / Put my glock away, I got a stronger weapon that never runs out of ammunition so I’m ready for war,” Dre spit on the title track, summarizing the group’s mission. Indeed, ATLiens managed to give plenty of props to the man upstairs without coming across as preachy. Big and Dre blended spirituality and accountability flawlessly with real-life, weaving tales of drug deals gone sour (“Decatur Psalm”) and good girls gone bad (“Jazze Belle”). Other album highlights included the hypnotic beat of “Mainstream,” the vivid imagery of “Babylon,” and the introspective vocals of “13th Floor/Growing Old.” “We makin’ the crowd move, but we not makin’ no G’s,” Dre lamented on “Elevators.” But thanks to the success of ATLiens, and the following albums which solidified their spot as one of the greatest hip-hop duos of all time, making G’s is no longer a problem. OZONE
“Coming Out Hard was the first independent record from the South to make major noise. It was gutter, Southern, country, and gritty, but in the midst of that there was some real rapping and MCing on there.” - Thorough of South Circle (former Suave House labelmate) “ARMED ROBBERY” To this day Ball & G remain one of the most well-suited duos in rap, and this song is the introduction to their natural chemistry. They compliment each other perfectly and this track served as a prelude to their other classic tag-team efforts. “9 LITTLE MILLIMETA BOYS” As the first song on the album, this song would come to define Southern hip-hop. The style was fresh and innovative and helped serve as an introduction to crunk music.” “PIMPS” Though this song dealt exclusively with women, pimp ideology is a theme of all of Ball & G’s music - whether they’re talking about manipulating the system, a situation or life.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
8BALL & MJG
COMIN’ OUT HARD Suave House - 1993
by Jacinta Howard
ut simply, Southern hip-hop wouldn’t be what it is today without Ball & G’s Comin’ Out Hard. In 1993, while most rap fans were still riding high off The Chronic and Snoop’s classic Doggystyle, Ball & G were quietly building a new dynasty - one that started out of the trunk of their cars. Taking on the hustle mentality that Bay Area artists like Too Short and E-40 were perfecting, Tony Draper’s Suave House Records began a grassroots movement that permeated the hood faster than CIA crack. Even without an official single, from city to city, Suave House was gaining momentum, propelled by these Memphis natives. Although the Geto Boys had established a national presence and Florida’s bass music was bubbling in Southern clubs, no one had quite yet witnessed what Ball & G had to offer. Influenced by the blues and soul music that Memphis is most known for, the two combined that musical history with the realities of their everyday life to create a vivid image that reflected the mentality that dominated many Southern hoods at that time. A hypnotic mixture of raw soul, funk, blues and hard kicks combined with pimp-laced tales of hustling, Comin’ Out Hard redefined what southern rap music had the potential to be. “8Ball will come out hard with the gangsta lean/gold smile for the women that be jockin’ the green…” - 8Ball, “Comin’ Out Hard” Ball & G’s bold style caught on like wildfire and has been mimicked incessantly over the past decade. From the slang (“cheese” and “playa hater”) to the swagger and content, they established themselves as innovators on this release. Fulfilling the pimp dreams of many youngsters, at the time you would’ve been hard-pressed to find a dude below the Mason-Dixon Line who did not have the lyrics to “Mr. Big” and “Pimps” memorized. “My job at Mickey D’s was fuckin me with no grease / I worked so damn hard, but the money, it never increased / I quit my fuckin job, I had no job, nigga / Put on the mask, get the glock, it’s time to rob nigga…” – 8Ball, “Mr. Bigg”
“COMIN’ OUT HARD” The title track solidified what Ball & G contribute to rap. It demonstrated what they were capable of and where they were going on subsequent releases like On Top of the World and In My Lifetime Vol. 1. “MR. BIG” 8Ball’s superior story-telling abilities are highlighted on his solo song. The catchy chant, bouncy drums and synth bass make this track one of the most memorable on the album as Ball weaves a tale of ambition and street smarts.
The pimp (MJG) and the gangsta (Ball) told tales of hustling, pimping and striving to maintain from a perspective that was different from what had already emerged from California and New York. It seemed a little more honest, feasible and believable, and people related to their stories whole-heartedly. Propelled by MJG’s stellar production (he produced all but two tracks), the album did exactly what the title claimed: it came out hard. “Now I was clicking at my barrel just to see if it was loaded / Checkin’ out my bullets to make sure it won’t explode this, hand around the handle of a snub-nosed steel / I must be for real in the procedure for a kill…” – MJG, “Armed Robbery” Though the entire album itself was only nine songs deep (eight if you don’t count the intro), Comin’ Out Hard has undoubtedly become a blueprint for independent southern rap albums and still stands the test of time. It’s the reason why when you ask virtually any Southern rapper to name their influences, Ball & G’s names are almost always mentioned. Although MJG has labored in Ball’s shadow throughout much of their career, even on this album he concretely exhibited his lyrical prowess. At the end of the day, MJG is arguably one of the best emcees not only in the south, but in rap period. “1 to the muthafuckin’ 2 to the muthafuckin’ 3 the sound of a boom, sweating you hard like a mystery / Could it be the pimp that ruled the nation in ’93…” – MJG, “Pimps In The House” From Atlanta to Houston to Jackson and everything in between, no Southern rapper has gone unaffected by the duo’s signature Tennessee sound. Even beyond the music, the album influenced the very image of southern Hip Hop culture, setting the stage for everyone to start using Pen & Pixel graphics. At the forefront of Suave House’s talented roster, Ball & G helped carve a new sound into the South’s musical landscape, one that is still firmly etched there today.
“When I made 400 Degreez I was 21 years old and full of ambition. Personally, I never thought it would blow up like it did. Looking back, it was a blessing in disguise.” - Juvenile
“BACK THAT AZZ UP” This song is pretty much the same party-starter now that it was when it was first released. Even my mother knows how to back that azz up. “HA” This record turned New Orleans slang into a full-blown cultural phenomenon. “RICH NIGGAZ” Everything about this record was perfect: the beat, the rhymes everything. It’s Mannie Fresh’s Mona Lisa. “400 DEGREEZ” The title track of a classic album, this joint clearly defined the Cash Money Records movement: “If I ain’t a Hot Boy, then what do you call that?”
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
JUVENILE 400 DEGREEZ
“JUVENILE ON FIRE” This one is another Mannie Fresh and Juvenile masterpiece, proving why they compliment each other so well.
Cash Money/Universal - 1998
by Wally Sparks
ate in the winter of 1998, there was an unseasonably warm heat wave that was running crazy through the music industry. Cash Money Records had become one of the most successful independent labels in the history of recorded music, and in doing so managed to broker one of the most lucrative distribution deals ever. After scoring the infamous 30 million dollar deal, the pressure was on Cash Money Records to deliver a product that would justify a deal of that magnitude. Boy, did they ever come through with their end of the bargain. That heat wave I mentioned earlier, it was really hot. Some may even say it was 400 Degreez. That was the title of the Cash Money’s star artist Juvenile’s third solo album and the first album to be distributed nationwide through the allnew Cash Money/Universal Records. Thanks to the lead single “Ha,” which was basically a manual on to speak with a New Orleans hood accent, 400 Degreez skyrocketed to the top of the charts. Everyone and their mama was playing ghetto Jeopardy, asking questions like, “When you gon’ come around and pay your rent, ha?” The single turned into a phenomenon that carried from the winter all the way to the spring. The song itself became such a huge hit that JayZ, the artist who the industry looked to when determining what was “cool,” decided to hop on the remix. When spring came, the real monster record off the “400 Degreez” album was let loose on the public: “Back That Azz Up” still holds up today as one of the greatest club records of all time. If you are ever in a club and you hear those opening strings, you automatically know what time it is. It’s time to hit the dance floor and back that ass up. That record also served as an education in New Orleans bounce music. Bounce music was a hip hop sub-genre based on call & response type crowd participation, made popular by artists such as DJ Jubilee and DJ Jimi. This 1998 version of bounce music packed dance floors worldwide. Even with the success of the commercial singles from “400 Degreez”
there is just as much to be said for the rest of the album. Many fans and followers of Cash Money Records regard 400 Degreez as the defining sound of the Cash Money Millionaire movement. Music connoisseurs and production enthusiasts also regard it as Mannie Fresh’s production masterpiece. The production on this album can be described in one simple word: outstanding. Mannie Fresh took the art of the rolling drum pattern and created some of the most infectious music ever heard. For example, the song “Rich Niggaz” (which I consider Mannie Fresh’s best beat ever with “Real Big” coming a close second) has such driving momentum that it seems as if Juvenile, Lil Wayne, Turk, and Papa Reu were all trying to play catch up with the groove. Mannie Fresh clearly knew he was creating something special with that beat because song itself went in excess of five minutes - very rare in today’s microwave music society. When 400 Degreez was released, there was large void to fill. There really wasn’t any really gritty street music available to the masses. Of course you had fellow New Orleans hustler-turned-entrepreneur Master P and his No Limit empire supplying their own brand of ghetto dope, but for the majority of the nation, Bad Boy and their shiny suits had everyone’s eyes blinded. 400 Degreez’ gritty street anthems exposed the streets of New Orleans’ and life inside its now infamous Magnolia Housing Projects to the whole world. Songs such as “Run For It” featuring a pre-teen Lil Wayne, “Gone Ride With Me,” and “Rich Niggaz” all gave clear insight on what it took to be a hot boy. The overlooked gem of the album “Ghetto Children” provided real gangsta street music with a message. Overall, this album was a gift and a curse for Juvenile. It made him the star he was born to be, but it also left huge shoes to fill. Alhough he has been consistently dropping solid material since 400 Degreez, it’s only now with the release of his latest effort Reality Check that he has produced anything remotely close to the quality of this magnum opus. OZONE
“Get It How U Live!! was very important for the South because the New Orleans rap scene was just getting off the ground, and that album opened the door for Cash Money as a whole and for B.G., Juvy, Turk, and Wayne as individual solo artists. It was four young niggas with four different styles that was real, real hungry. We wasn’t in it for the money; we was doing it from the heart.” – B.G. “INTRO” This is one of the few albums in hip-hop history to have a song titled “Intro” that was worth a shit. This one introduced the world to the Big Tymers, Baby and Mannie. “WE ON FIRE” The true introduction to four of the hottest lyricists in the South. It was lyrical and jammin’ at the same time, a rarity in modern hip-hop. It also repped New Orleans to the fullest.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
“NEIGHBORHOOD SUPERSTAR” B.G. had been a household name for Southern rap heads for some time before this disc was released, but this song solidified him within the ranks of hip-hop as a whole.
GET IT HOW U LIVE!! Cash Money - 1997
by Matt Sonzala
hat makes a city a great music city is not that it has a huge number of musicians cranking out tune after tune, night after night, in club after club. It’s when that large number of artists somehow captures their city’s essence and brings it to life with an entirely original sound. In hip-hop, generally the lines are clearly drawn. In DC it’s the go-go sound. Atlanta and the Southeast are crunk. Miami is bass. Houston has the slowed down vibe. New Orleans has bounce (and jazz, and blues, and funk, okay, but we’re talking about hip-hop here). Bounce music represents the emotionally charged party vibe of a city that truly never sleeps, and takes its listeners from their hard streets to a hopping dance floor. It’s a fun music, an escape of sorts. One that brings people together in choruses of sexually charged fever and dance floor rocking rhythms. New Orleans lays claim to some of the countries toughest neighborhoods. Huge projects sprawl from block to block where many a hard knock story has been written. Enter the Hot Boys, four teenagers from New Orleans’ Magnolia Projects – Juvenile, B.G., Lil Wayne and Turk – under the tutelage of Mannie Fresh, Slim and Baby, each with enough real life stories to fill a book. Get it How U Live!! wasn’t the first appearance on wax for any of these artists. In fact, Juvenile and B.G. were already fairly well established throughout the South. The Cash Money brand was on fire in the streets and this record set the standard for things to come at the label. The beats were bouncy, but not just bounce. There was a purity to them that harkened back to hip-hop’s earliest days. Simply looped beats that just jammed would play like the best part of a song over and over again. And if you paid attention to the lyrics you recognized that you were witnessing the birth of four of hip-hop’s most potent emcees. This wasn’t “Where they at girl?” looped a thousand times, this was
“GET IT HOW U LIVE!!” The title track set the tone for all things set to come from Cash Money: Get your money, get your fame, and do you. “SPIT N GAME” An incredible closure to an incredible album, these four young boys from one of the hardest hoods in New Orleans spit it real talk for their people.
real live reality rap, with a heavy dose of flossin’ thrown in to keep your interest. “What kinda nigga be sparkling like silver? / Little bitty soulja think he playin’ with a million,” Lil Wayne spit on “We On Fire,” their anthem of sorts. It’s classic hip-hop, a straight up boastful jam that introduces you to each member of the crew. But then on “50 Shots Set It Off,” he says, “I’m jumpin’ out a tree with a camouflaged AK / I size my target then I let him go in the wind, bullets fly by / Blow in the wind, one after another and another how them come.” It was quite an introduction to one of today’s top emcees, barely of high school age. Later on “Neighborhood Superstars” a slightly older Juvenile raps, “Juvenile is reality / Bitch I write my own checks, bitch I pay my own salary / You want business with me? Boss playa you have to be / I’m a million dollar nigga, these bitches run after me.” And it gets worse. Cash Money took money raps to a whole ‘nother level. Way before they signed to Universal they were stunting big, showing off anything and everything, but in a more creative way than many of their contemporaries. This record led to the label’s signing to Universal Records. It preceded 400 Degreez and many of the subsequent records you are now familiar with from the label. But it certainly wasn’t the first Cash Money release. At this point, Cash Money were veterans of the independent game and had finally found the perfect combination. After this album, plenty changed in the rap game and all eyes started to turn towards New Orleans. Master P and No Limit had infected the streets of the entire nation, but when Cash Money finally got their chance to be heard they captured all those fans and brought in some who were still walking the fence. While some of No Limit’s output was too harsh for a lot of the mainstream, Cash Money found a way to balance their reality raps with just enough bounce to bring in all the party people.
“Ghetto D is the Michael Jordan of our catalog, hands-down. Even though it was a Master P record, it was the first record where everybody was in the studio together. It showcased all the No Limit artists. This is also one of those rare Southern albums that sold over four million records – and we had fun doing it.” - KLC “GHETTO DOPE” This song is straight crack, no pun intended, giving detailed instructions on how to whip, flip, and distribute that Peruvian flake. I wouldn’t recommend doing this type of song nowadays because the hip-hop police are everywhere, but it’s definitely a way to grab your listener’s attention. “BACK UP PLAN” The chemistry between Master P and Mia X stands out to this day, and hasn’t been matched by any other male/female duo.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
“I MISS MY HOMIES” Anyone who’s lost someone can relate to this song, and if you haven’t, Master P, Pimp C, and Silkk make you feel their pan. No matter how hard you claim to be, this song is going to make you softer than wet tissue. Tear-jerker of the century.
MASTER P GHETTO D
“BURBONS AND LACS” Whether you had a Pinto, a Honda, a Ford, or a beat-up Lincoln, this song was bumpin’ in your ride all summer.
by DJ Chuck T
“MAKE ‘EM SAY UGH” One of Master P’s only songs to get heavy radio and video play, this song was also the start of his downfall. After this track’s success, he started to really go commercial.
No Limit/Priority - 1997
hile some may tend to disagree, Master P’s Ghetto D had a revolutionary effect on hip-hop and rap music. It sparked a movement in the hip-hop world that not only influenced us musically, but economically as well - not just throughout the South, but throughout the entire rap world. Today, almost ten years after its release, Ghetto D’s effects are still felt in the music business.
Damn near every No Limit soldier appeared on this CD: Mystikal, Fiend, Mia X, C-Murder, Silkk, Mac, Prime Suspects, Sons of Funk, The Gambino Family, and even Kane and Abel. Unfortunately, this would be one of the last albums that the original No Limit camp would rep on together as a family. Shortly after this album’s release, the members of the No Limit army started going AWOL, one by one.
From a musical standpoint, Ghetto D was Master P’s best album. It was the pinnacle of his rap career, and it dropped at a time when his label was the strongest indie label in the industry. His production crew Beats By The Pound brought an innovative style to the game and created the No Limit sound.
“This was the first album where everybody [on No Limit] was in the studio at the same time and put effort in,” recalls KLC of Beats by the Pound. “Just because you hear P on the hook, that don’t mean he wrote the hook. A lot of the hooks came from Fiend and a lot of the ideas came from Mac. Everybody just put they all into this one record. It wasn’t no egos on this record, and P wasn’t acting like a bitch. He was open to any ideas. We didn’t waste no time. Whatever came to mind, we recorded it right then and there. That’s how people fuck up records, they think too much.”
Master P’s lyrics were also a whole lot better than they are now. If you pop the CD in, you can definitely tell that there was something there that he no longer has. From start to finish, this is a complete album. Master P puts it down for the thugs on songs like “We Riders”, “Throw It Up,” and “Come Get Some,” but also reaches out to the ladies on joints like “Tryin’ To Do Something” and “Gangstas Need Love Too.” P even drops knowledge, speaking on the ills of the dope game on tracks like “Only Time Will Tell” and “Eyes On Your Enemies.” He dropped something for the weed smokers (“Pass Me Da Green”) and the niggas ridin’ in candy painted ol’ schools (“Burbons and Lacs”). Tracks like “Stop Hatin’” and “Captain Kirk” give the niggas layin’ their pimp game down something to listen to, while the amped-up, crunk heads get more than their fair share of ig’nant fight music from “Make ‘Em Say Uhhhh,” another certified Southern classic. Ghetto D also touched on a subject that many hip-hop albums today fail to address: the loss of a loved one. “I Miss My Homies” is a Southern classic that will still bring tears to even the hardest thug’s eyes. I specifically remember not being able to listen to that song with a group of people for fear of breaking down in public while thinking of the many friends and family members I’ve lost over senseless bullshit. This CD covers every aspect of the streets, from the roota to the toota.
Ghetto D was not only a handbook on how to put together a musically and lyrically complete album, but a handbook on how to properly market, promote, and distribute one also. First and foremost, P damn sure let you know that this album was coming out and it was going to be one of the biggest albums in hip-hip history. Everyone can remember the six pages of ads in The Source, Rap Pages, Vibe and XXL that No Limit Records ran to promote their albums. If not, you must have been blind from 1996-1999. Ghetto D always had its own full page and was advertised for almost a year in advance. And with “Make ‘Em Say Ugh” getting heavy radio and video play all over the country, this album was almost guaranteed commercial and mainstream success. Without a doubt, Ghetto D changed the face of hip-hop music. Some East coast heads may argue over my claim that it’s musically one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. But nobody can argue with the significance that it had in helping to shape the hip-hop culture. This album played an extremely-pivotal role in putting the South on the map and marked the beginning of a new era in rap music. The colonel of the tank did more than just put out a good album with Ghetto D: he changed the world! OZONE
“Kings of Crunk was some shit that covered the whole globe. It was something for everybody on that album. It had plenty of crunk, but it had a lot more: from house to East Coast shit to West Coast shit. It was like a pot of gumbo.” - Bohagon “GET LOW” featuring the Ying Yang Twins When you make a song so lewd that even potty-mouthed comedians like Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock insist that it’s too much, you know you’ve done something big. For the spring of 2003 Lil Jon & ESB and the Ying Yang Twins had the whole country under their skeet, er, spell. “NOTHING’S FREE” featuring Oobie This song took over every strip club in the South when it dropped. It gave the DJ a chance to talk more shit and empowered the dancers to get more money from their clientele. “REP YO’ CITY” featuring Bun B, 8Ball, E-40, and Petey Pablo With explosive performances from all the guest features, this record helped usher in the “New South” sound.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
LIL JON & THE EASTSIDE BOYZ KINGS OF CRUNK BME/TVT 2002
by N. Ali Early
hen Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz set out to make Kings of Crunk, they were clearly on a mission. “I wanted to make a down South Chronic,” Jon says of his fourth album. So the universal appeal that came from it was no mistake. For his efforts, Jon yielded similar results as Dr. Dre’s ’92 classic. With over a handful of radio hits and street slump combined, he became the very definition of “Crunk.” He in fact became a phenomenon whose likeness would dominate three episodes of “Chappelle’s Show,” effectively turning the page from down South commodity to worldwide phenomenon. His coin catchphrases would resonate on the streets of Daytona Spring Break and then the world, sending everyone from college students to young professionals into hilarious cries of “Yeeeeaaaaahh!!!” “Whaaaattt?!” and “Okaayyy!!” In essence, Kings of Crunk resembled the perfect union of personality and production. The beginning and the end of Atlanta’s sonic crunk movement will forever have Lil Jon and this illustrious ensemble of characters to thank for it. With appearances from hip-hop legends like Bun B, E-40, Trick Daddy, 8 Ball and Too $hort, Kings of Crunk solidified itself in the streets as much as it did with the monsoon of media outlets that dared critique it. On the commercial side it blended as well, at times blurring the lines between the club and the block. A prime example is “I Don’t Give a Fuck.” Led by Jon’s enticing hook, “You got a pocket fulla money nigga / I don’t give a fuck!!! / You trickin’ off with them hoes bitch!! / I don’t give a fuck!” Mystikal adds similar credibility through rhyme – “I’m a bastard / Nigga I’ll fuck over me / You know what I’ll do to these rappers!! / Come in here huffin’ and puffin’ and screamin’ and cussin’ and bussin’ these verses / Nigga you betta calm yo ass down unless you excited to see me in person!” Easily one of the album’s most memorable and celebrated tracks, Krayzie Bone rides it off into the sunset. In a similar vein comes “Rep Yo City,” featuring the ambassador of the Bay Area and noted slanguage samaritan E-40. Bun B and 8Ball offer further lyrical fervor, while Carolina representer Petey Pablo does his best not to drown in the midst of some renowned hip-hop heavyweights. Still, “Rep Yo City” proved a convincing anthem for Any City,
“THROW IT UP” featuring Pastor Troy Lil Jon and Pastor Troy on the same song can give you a heart attack if you’re not careful. Troy gives a clinic on how to rap over a Lil Jon track. “I DON’T GIVE A FUCK” featuring Mystikal and Krayzie Bone On paper this combination raises doubt, but the result is perhaps one of the crunkest songs ever recorded. Rapid-fire lyrics about kicking ass and taking names coupled with three other grown men screaming. How much crunker can it get?
USA, even ones with “blunt monkey freaks” scurrying about. The East Side Boyz take their turn at leading the call and answer theme that Lil Jon has all but perfected on “Nothin’s Free,” featuring Oobie. If nothing else, this mid tempo softer version of crunk illustrates Lil Jon’s ability to cross genres, as he-dips into the rhythm and blues pot for inspiration. The impending results are easily manageable for either an emcee or a songstress. Similar songs include “Nothin’ On” (Oobie, Chyna White and Bo Hagon) and “Play No Games” (Trick Daddy, Fat Joe and Oobie). Aww skeet, skeet, got damn!! “Get Low,” featuring the Ying Yang Twins was an outright commercial success, and was likely intended to be. A tribute to the strip clubs and the women that make them as addictive as purp, Kaine and D-Roc impart their familiar element. Their sound, oft times translated through comedic outpours associated with cartoons and/or nursery rhymes, this XXX rated track is a how-to for exotic dancers: “Twurk som’n baby / Work som’n baby / Pop yo pussy on the pole / Do yo thang baby…” Since taking Atlanta’s crunk phenomenon to a near metoric level, Lil Jon has seen his once devout followers fall off faster than Craig Mack. Once hailed as the “Ambassadors of Crunk,” BME’s own Trillville has since decided to brand themselves “trill.” And perhaps that’s a good thing for Jon. He effectively set the bar so high and so far out of reach that no other entertainer could compete. “Everybody makes music to get crunk to because that’s been a culture of Atlanta,” explains the Ying Yang Twins D-Roc. “That’s a culture of Atlanta. If I been gettin’ crunk since I was a baby, Atlanta been gettin’ crunk since before I was here. When a song come on that you like and you get crunk, and you like ‘Yeeeaaahh!!’ that’s gettin’ crunk. It’s not just what you do on a rap. Crunk is culture. We get crunk off situations. If somebody finna fight, we finna crank it up. That’s crunk. It don’t portray with music. Crunk and music is only Lil Jon.” Okkkkaaaaayyy!!!
“When I first heard Mind of Mystikal it was because of “Here I Go.” His energy and delivery was so crazy that next thing you know a lot of cats was trying to be like him. But beyond the music, I can relate to him because he served in the military like me, so we’re both sons of Uncle Sam. I loved that album.” - Citty “HERE I GO” From the corner to the locker room, from high school pep rallies to college step shows, this was THE anthem! To this day, there’s just something about the smooth 70s-style pimped out track that can get anybody hyped. “Y’ALL AIN’T READY YET” Most new artists couldn’t pull off the feat of telling their fans and foes alike that they can’t be fucked with, and immediately backing those words up. But Mystikal did on this joint. And even though he’s repeated those two opening lines throughout his career, his fans have never gotten tired of hearing it.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
MIND OF MYSTIKAL Big Boy/Jive Records - 1995
by Tai St. Louis
efore Master P and his No Limit Soldiers put New Orleans on the map on a national level, before the Cash Money Millionaires taught us how to stunt, Mystikal was making enough noise down in the Crescent City to capture the attention of New York-based Jive Records. The label offered the Desert Storm war veteran a distribution deal, which allowed him to re-release his already “hood platinum” selftitled indie debut. With five new tracks added to the original ten, Mind of Mystikal introduced us to an artist who combined the wordplay of the East Coast, the laid-back swagger of the West, the rapid-fire flow of the Midwest and the flavor of the South. But he never came off sounding like he was biting anyone’s style or trying too hard. Mystikal created his own sound, which still remains unduplicated. That unique sound easily captured your attention whether he hit you with a roaring “Y’all muthafuckas ain’t ready!” or a low rumbling detailed description of just how adversaries get dealt with. Mystikal used his voice, flow and sense of timing as creatively as he uses his words. Who else could make a threat sound so serious, even though he delivered it in the form of a punch line where you could almost hear the laugh in his voice? And who else could manage to balance typical tough talk and braggadocio with references to Zsa Zsa Gabor and Captain Caveman without losing an ounce of credibility? Mystikal came in the door knowing he was “that nigga,” and let listeners know that from the very first song, all the way to the last. If you don’t get anything else out of this album, you can be certain of at least three things: 1) He’s not to be fucked with – hell, he can’t fuck with his damn self! 2) He’s armed and ready for war. 3) He’s reppin’ the “Boot Camp Clicc.” He illustrated the first of those three claims on the album’s flagship
“I’M” The perfect balance of Mystikal’s hyped flow with a laid-back track. And even though the subject matter – I’m a drug dealer and a gangster – is one of Hip-Hop’s biggest clichés, “I’m” makes it almost sound like new territory. “THAT NIGGA AIN’T SHIT” Showcasing Mystikal’s storytelling ability, this joint almost seems like his own version of “La Di Da Di.” “SMOKE SOMETHING” The simplified beat lets Mystikal’s wordplay shine.
record “Here I Go.” Word for word, start to finish, he maintained the same level of potency and energy; spitting barbs like: “Your heart jumping like a base line bump / You bad enough to meet the alligator in the swamp?” The second was shown on the albums first single “Ya’ll Ain’t Ready Yet” with lines like: “These outside niggas that run to the mic better come clean / Fuckin’ with that Saudi Arabian Desert Storm veteran 12th ward offspring.” And he made his third point on “Out That Boot Camp Click” with a little assistance from Black Menace. The Black Prince of the South captures the essence of the song when he spits: “All you dying on the battlefield strictly for survival, I hope you got your Bible / Cause bitch I got my rifle.” The subjects rarely stray from those named. And yet somehow Mystikal made the repetition work. Even when he attempted to make his own hot lines into hot songs, he kept his audience wanting more. It may be his ability to say the same thing 30 times without saying it the same way twice, most of the time. Or it could be the production which not only complemented his vocals, but also carried on that New Orleans tradition of Jazz-infused Soul. But beyond the lyrics and beats is the fact that Mystikal possessed the rare skill of radiating stage presence even on wax. His larger than life persona was just as strong on Mind of Mystikal as it was when he became a certified MTV superstar with “Danger” and “Shake Ya Ass.” To say that an artist with Mystikal’s longevity and commercial success remains unchanged would be a negative for most. But those of us who were fans way back then understand why he’s never really had to. Mind of Mystikal is one of those rare gems you can listen to from start to finish with no skipping. Ten years after its original release, the album still sounds fresh and relevant – even to those of us who have memories from when it first came out. How else would you define a classic? OZONE
“The first Scarface album was just an introduction. By the time this album came out, Rap-A-Lot had more notoriety and Scarface was more than just a local artist. Mr. Scarface Is Back kicked the doors open for Southern gangsta music. It made me feel like I can rap the way I want to rap, and I don’t have to change my ideas and my style.” - ESG “I’M DEAD” That’s a cold-ass song. He rapped over a beat that Heavy D had rapped to one time. He’s rappin’ about how he’s dead, but he don’t know he’s dead. He walks up to his people and they walk right through him. Then he goes to the cemetery and looks in the casket and it’s him, man. That shit is live. “MURDER BY REASON OF INSANITY” This record had that James Brown sample on it. That shit was jammin’ like a muthafucker.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
“MR. SCARFACE” This was the single. I remember hearing it on the radio and it was jammin’. Niggas down here in Texas couldn’t wait to get their hands on that muthafuckin’ album.
MR. SCARFACE IS BACK Rap-A-Lot - 1992
by Pimp C
he Geto Boys already had their position when this album Mr. Scarface Is Back dropped, and it wasn’t a surprise that ‘Face came with this album. Based off the Geto Boys, everybody knew that ‘Face was finna be something special. But they didn’t know it was gonna be that special. I still don’t know what the fuck they’re doing on that cover, but I know it looked gangsta. You could see [Bushwick] Bill on there, all the Geto Boys niggas is on there. All of them got guns and dope. It’s some real gangsta shit. I had never seen a cover like that up until that point, and I don’t think I’ve seen one after that. Down here in the South, ‘Face was one of the original niggas rappin’ from a hustler’s perspective. So I guess that would make him the prototype for all the rest of us rappin’ about drug dealing. I remember the first time I heard the single “Mr. Scarface.” I was in Port Arthur, fuckin’ around at my DJs house. I was in my car going to his spot and that shit came on the radio and it was jammin’ like a muthafucker.
You know, back then it wasn’t no thang for a nigga to pop a cassette tape in and tape a radio show. I remember being hot ‘cause I couldn’t tape that muthafucker. Back then, it was all about who had the shit first. Everything wasn’t major distribution like it is now. Songs didn’t hit every city at the same time like they do now. It’s a whole new ballgame. I might have had a song on my tape that the next muthafucker don’t have on his, and vice versa, and we’d swap songs. I remember hearing that song and thinking, damn, I should’ve been at my boombox. Scarface had already established himself with the Geto Boys’ Grip It On Tha Other Level, but this album right here let everyone know that he was a special muthafucker. He wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill rapper. Anyone could see that he had more lyrical skills and more swagger than the average rapper. 94
“GOOD GIRL GONE BAD” This one’s about a drug dealer that’s goin’ South and niggas are tryin’ some other hoe shit. “MONEY AND THE POWER” This got that Barry White sample from “Love Serenade.” That’s actually the same record we sampled “Take It Off” from, it’s just a different part of the record. This song is jammin’, though, it’s time for me to remake it.
Scarface is underrated as a lyricist. The truth is, he ain’t never gonna get as much shine as the clone shit. As hard as he is and as true to this shit as he is, by him not even considering going pop, he’s always gonna play the background. But he’s got a fan base that’s gonna go out and buy all his records regardless. I’d rather have 800,000 true fans than four million muthafuckers that might be down with me this year and might not be down with me the next year. Over the long run, all ‘Face gotta do is keep dropping albums, and he’ll still get this money. He’s got respect in the streets, and street credibility is something you can’t buy. It’s the same thing as UGK. A lot of people ask if we’d like to have sold a whole bunch of records and went triple platinum. Of course we’d like to go triple platinum, but would I trade that for my fan base of 500,000 or 800,00 people? No, I wouldn’t. It’s all about pleasing your fan base. Do you realize that some artists have no fan base? That’s some dangerous shit, because if you don’t deliver a single that makes BET and MTV they’ll flop. But a nigga with a fan base can drop an indie record and still sell, because their fans are gonna break their neck to get that product. That’s a beautiful thing; that’s something that ‘Face has. This whole album is a bad muthafucker. Down here in the South if there is such a thing as a “classic” album, this album is it. Really, Scarface ain’t dropped a weak album yet. Mr. Scarface is grimy, but it’s still full of soul samples. What we do down here is a hybrid of what New York rap was based on. But without those samples and break beats in the record, this shit ain’t real rap music. This album is full of break beat records and samples, and it’s funky. If you wanna make a classic album, you need a sample budget. This album is pure, man. It’s like what Nas’ first album was to them niggas in New York. It’s pure to us like that, it’s stripped down to the very last compound.
“Ridin’ Dirty had a major influence on the sound of Texas music. It didn’t have the major label song formula. It wasn’t polluted by major label politics or top 40 radio hit records. Ridin’ Dirty represents Texas rap in its rawest and purest form.” - Chamillionaire “ONE DAY” This song displays the soul of Southern rap, showing the introspective side of UGK. “MURDER” Heralded as many people’s all-time favorite UGK song, Pimp C showed that the Kingz’ movement extended from N’awlins (“holla at Master P cause we got money to make”) to the West Coast (“just got back from California, kicked it with B-Legit”). “FUCK MY CAR” A middle-finger to every gold-digger, this is one of those rare songs where an artist speaks on behalf of everyone that can relate. Harsh words were said, but all of them very true.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
UGK RIDIN’ DIRTY Jive Records - 1996
by Maurice G. Garland
“DIAMONDS AND WOOD” This slow-rolling classic had Pimp C crooning on the hook and Bun admitting that he rolls a fucked-up blunt once in a while. The most memorable moment is Pimp speaking on the all-too-familiar broken relationship where “she says she loves me but all we do now is fuck and fight.” “HI LIFE” Sometimes 16 bars just won’t do. Pimp and Bun shared so much of themselves on this song.
didn’t fall prey to none of that pistol play / But who is to say that tomorrow they won’t be blastin’ this a way” and “But still the fact remains it’s all about the ‘caine / Swang and back, peace to ESG and all the victims of the game, mane.”
With more than a few anthems already under their belts, Chad “Pimp C” Butler and Bernard “Bun B” Freeman were already looked upon as rap royalty below the Mason-Dixie line. Which meant to some that Ridin’ Dirty was probably just a continuation of the brash shit-talking that fans had grown to love and expect from the duo. But when you popped the CD (or tape) in the deck and heard a smoky voice say, “Live from the muthafuckin’ pen…” you knew that this effort was going to change a life or two.
UGK even went as far to have pictures of themselves getting carjacked inside the album cover to show that no matter how hard you may think you are, anyone can get caught slipping. But, as they told listeners how much they hoped to escape the entrapment of their ‘hood, UGK also let it be known that they’re weren’t going to stand by and get victimized either. Songs like “That’s Why I Carry” and “Touched” served as warning shots to anyone under the impression that they were sitting ducks. However, unlike their previous releases, UGK slipped in a hint of responsibility. They used the commentary of convicted criminals who were indeed speaking “live from the muthafuckin’ pen” to remind new jacks (and old fools) that there is a consequence for living the life of a gangster.
ou could easily argue that 1996 was the year that the Southern takeover officially began. With the fabled East Coast vs. West Coast conflict in full effect, Hip-hop’s soil was primed for the South’s seeds to sprout up and grow into the fruitful tree that it is today. Outkast’s ATLiens, numerous No Limit and Suave House releases and a host of other albums let it be known that the South was on the rise. But, the most powerful record to emerge from that groundbreaking year was UGK’s third nationally released album, Ridin’ Dirty.
Straying away from the popular trend of starting an album on an uptempo and/or aggressive note, the Kingz opened with the somber reflection “One Day.” It featured the original creator of the song, 3-2 (Blac Monks, Convicts) and showed a side of UGK that many did not know existed. With perhaps the illest Ronald Isley sample ever serving as the soundtrack, both of them opened up and let listeners into their personal lives by speaking on the loss of loved ones and the realization that their lifestyles may lead them to dreadful fates. Bun hit it on the nail with perhaps one of the realist lines ever spat: “My brother been in the pen for damn near ten, but now it look like when he come out, man, I’m going in.” Vulnerability was also displayed on “Hi Life.” The usually invincible Pimp C started the song saying: “I’m tired of living fucked up, tired of living bad / Tired of my grandmama telling me, ‘When you gonna go to church, Chad?’” and later admitting: “I never wanted to be a G, but niggas depend on me.” Keeping in that tone on “Diamonds & Wood,” Bun B spoke as a hustler thankful for making it home, still knowing that his situation has not changed with lines like: “I lucked up today and
Lyrically, this was also UGK’s strongest effort to date. Pimp C used his pen like never before to illustrate an accurate portrayal of life in Texas. As for Bun? He practically used this album as a coming out party and delivered one of the most mesmerizing versus in hip-hop history on “Murder.” That performance, as well as his nimble wordplay on “Pinky Ring,” had every aspiring rapper trying to mimic his now trademarked syllable-based flow pattern. Musically, this was again UGK’s best. They introduced a large part of the country to Screw music with “3 In The Morning” and the literally syrupy “Diamonds & Wood.” They also showed their deep music knowledge in sampling Wes Montgomery’s “Angel” for the title track which closed the album. Due to record label politics and bullshit, the world would not get to hear another UGK album for six long years after this release. Fortunately, Ridin’ Dirty was put together so well that it actually kept hungry fans satisfied through all of those years. Now that, my friend, is what you call a classic, timeless record. OZONE
“We wasn’t trapping or riding hard or blinging. We was just some regular young cats putting it down on wax. Being from the South, a lot of ears wasn’t tuned in so we tried to make it as true as possible. When people tell me what we said kept them in high school or college, I’m surprised because we was just airing it out.” - Khujo Goodie “GUESS WHO” This song hit me real hard because of the frankness of how they spoke about personal things. A lot of us grew up with our mothers being a very big part of our lives, and to see somebody just stand up and give thanks to her, that hit me hard. It was about their moms, but you had to guess who they were talking about. I thought that was dope. “DIRTY SOUTH” Cool Breeze came through and coined the phrase that we still use today. That phrase is so important to hip-hop, and this was the album that really introduced the word “dirty” South.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
“SOUL FOOD” This song was just like your granddaddy or your homeboy on the block. It just spoke to your soul.
GOODIE MOB SOUL FOOD LaFace - 1995
by David Banner
oodie Mob’s Soul Food changed my life. This is a marquee album because of its content and its soul. For them to speak about the New World Order but to do it in a way that cats straight from the hood understand, that was unheard of. For me personally, at the time this album came out, I was deciding which route I was gonna take in life. The Soul Food album actually provided food for my soul, and I think it did the same for a lot of people. When this album came out, I was really fighting with what direction I was gonna go in life: the bad route or the good route. I knew that a couple of these cats in Goodie Mob had been involved in the streets, for real. These were some trill dudes; they were gettin’ it, but they choose to spoke about something different. This album showed me that even though Goodie Mob had to do certain things in life, they also chose to speak some knowledge and teach the kids and their brothers and sisters a better way. I respected that so much, and it showed me that I could take my music and do something positive with it too. Even though I still speak on some of the things I’ve experienced, I still try to give a shining light to the truth and show people that they can make it out of a bad situation. Starting off with the intro, “Free,” Cee-Lo spoke on a lot of things that we as young African-Americans may think about as far as spirituality. He spoke on personal things that we might think about but don’t speak about. For those young men to really step up and say, “I want to take some responsibility,” that spoke a lot about them. When you look at the era of music and what was coming out at the time, for some young street cats to drop an album dealing with the New World Order and speaking about God, that really speaks a lot about them as men. That was a big step that they took. In hip-hop around that time, Soul Food was just a breath of fresh air. You had so many cats who had to do negative things, but they wanted to do positive stuff. Sometimes you just wanna hear that somebody’s
“GOODIE BAG” This is one of my favorite beats, ever. It’s the essence of a Southern 808, just a simple hit. Cee-Lo kicked the longest freestyle ever recorded on a major album; that was so fresh. “CELL THERAPY” That song was jammin’ like a muthafucker, but talking about the New World Order. Cats would be jammin’ to it in the club and getting some knowledge at the same time.
going through the same thing you’re going through. The beat for “Goodie Bag” was jammin’. The whole album was jammin’. Organized Noize was doing beats unlike anybody, not just in the South, but in the world. You had some young musical cats: one member of Organized Noize was straight soulful, one was a hip-hop head, and then you had the head just bringing it all together. For me, that was big. Then you had Big Rube coming out with some poetry. It was just the perfect product. The New World Order that they spoke about on this album is a story within itself. To sum it up in one sentence is impossible. They just spoke on things like the gated communities, chips in the skin, different things that the government and people who have real power are doing. There’s people who’s names we’ll never know, trying to control everything we do: the Big Brother idea. This is what they were speaking about. This album was so important because it brought a conscience and accountability to Southern rap. These were some young hustlers, grinders from the street that could’ve been talking about anything just to get that paper. But they chose to take the route of God. That’s putting your career on the line; that’s putting everything on the line for what you believe in, to help raise these young kids in the street who don’t have fathers. There’s always been accountability and a conscience in Southern rap, but you just didn’t have a whole album of it. Goodie Mob’s album was exactly what the title was: food for the soul in a musical form. I think there’s a little bit of Soul Food sprinkled all over Southern rap today – just listen to a T.I. song like “Still Haven’t Forgave Myself” or a David Banner song like “Cadillac on 22s.” I think all Southern rappers got a little bit of Goodie Mob in them; a little bit of God in ‘em. That’s one thing that separates us from everybody else: that soul, that feeling of regret.
“When we made this record, me and [Andre 3000] were heavy on that Tribe Called Quest and the Native Tongues movement. But we was also on NWA, Luke and Geto Boys real hard. Each record is a time capsule. Southernplayalistic was the time from when we were born to being teenagers.” - Big Boi “PLAYER’S BALL” Originally recorded for a LaFace Christmas compilation (peep the sleigh bells in the background), this hit morphed into a song for all seasons. It’s the musical gift that keeps on giving. “GIT UP GIT OUT” f/ Big Gipp and Cee-Lo On this inspirational song, instead of preaching, Big Boi, Dre, Gipp, and Cee-Lo shared the keys to life by talking about real situations. This song kept a lot of black males out of jail. “AIN’T NO THANG” Hearing a young Dre cocking pistols and rapping about putting a “3-5-7 to yo’ fo’head” is almost unbelievable when looking at the entertainment maven that he has become.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
SOUTHERNPLAYALISTIC... LaFace - 1994
by DJ Jelly
hen Outkast introduced themselves to the country in 1994 with their debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik the South was nationally recognized for two things: the Geto Boys and Luke. Atlanta was associated with bootyshake music, the driving force behind its popular strip clubs. Because of that misconception, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik was and still is one of the most slept on and most well put together hip-hop albums, period. Big Boi and ‘Dre (he wasn’t “3000” yet) used “Myintrotoletuknow” to bring people into their world. No rappers in Atlanta had been able to do that yet, at least not on a national scale. They talked about the Red Dogs, the police officers that kicked in doors down here. ‘Kast introduced everybody to the code that ATLiens lived by. They followed that with “Ain’t No Thang,” a hard-core, aggressive song that had an entirely different sound to it. It did a good job of showing the swagger of the ATL. ‘Dre and Big Boi put on a great display of Southern lyricism. It was specifically for people who didn’t understand where they were coming from and for those that thought that we were just some country bumpkins. Outkast and their production team Organized Noize (Rico Wade, Sleepy Brown, Ray Murray) articulated that. Together, ‘Kast and ONP helped formulate the phenomenon that is Southern hip-hop. The title track it showed Big and ‘Dre on a whole ‘nother level. The way they went back and forth on this song was the Southern equivalent of Run-DMC used to do. This record breathed new life into the hip-hop community. Even though hip-hop music had spread all over the world, a lot of heads couldn’t understand it at the time because this was the first Southern articulation of it. The intro to “Southernplayalisticaddillacmuzik” had 808 sounds in it, and that was appreciated by a lot of people down here in the South. The production brought an organic feel to hip-hop. People were not used to Atlanta niggas being able to express themselves like this. “Git Up Git Out” was another song that shocked people because they
“CRUMBLIN’ ‘ERB” Up until this point, rappers smoking weed was nothing more than a pastime associated with violent behavior and foul language. But ‘Kast managed to let the green leaf open their minds and speak truths that only the mind’s eye can catch. “SOUTHERNPLAYALISTICADILLACMUZIK” When people first saw this title track they could’ve sworn it said “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocius.” Mary Poppins they weren’t, but their performances on this song made the little kids sit down and think twice about grabbing a microphone.
were dropping knowledge. This song, and “The Call of the Wild,” helped introduce Goodie Mob. This song in particular showed that both of these groups were the point guards to a new movement. Hearing them was refreshing, because at the time G-funk was dominating the charts. “Player’s Ball” was an introduction to the whole Southwest Atlanta (SWATs), from Campbellton Road to East Point. Again, this was a good representation of the Organized Noize movement. You can’t separate Organized Noize from Outkast. With all the success that ‘Kast has had over the past ten years, people don’t realize just how important Organized Noize was to that movement. “Funky Ride” provided a soulful feel to the album. It was a prime example of just how musical ONP and ‘Kast was. Sleepy was on the hook. A lot of people don’t know that he is the third member of Outkast. They’re inseperable. “Hootie Hoo” was the A-town anthem as far as identifying Atlanta in the hip-hop game, and it had a break beat in it. ONP showed how they could flip a break beat. People that didn’t have anything do with Georgia couldn’t quite understand it. “Crumblin Erb” further displayed their musical talents. The combination of ‘Kast’s Southern slang and ONP’s production was like a plate of gumbo. It displayed the maturity route that Hip Hop could go in. Yeah, they was talking about getting high, but it had a social consciousness to it. I think what’s important to realize about this album is the teamwork of ONP and ‘Kast. It was phenomenal at that time and this album will always set them apart from their peers, forever. The things that you heard here will never be duplicated. I’d like to see them work on some more projects together because this shit was incredible. I thank God for Outkast and Organized Noize. OZONE
“I was always drawn to Devin’s humor and charisma from the Odd Squad stuff, but The Dude was what really made me a believer. Listening to that album was like chillin’ out with that bugged out cousin of yours that you only see once a year at the family reunion. It still sounds fresh after all these years.” - Phonte of Little Brother “WRITE AND WRONG” Here Devin gives a lesson on how to write a dope rhyme, one that most rappers these days would do well to follow. This song aptly demonstrates the Dude’s ability to rap about anything, even writing a rap. “BOO BOO’N” One of the best lines uttered in the past decade was on this song, “Got a east cast flow, west coast body language, don’t know nuthin’ bout the south but tryin ta find someone to hang wit/man whenever you finish flowin or whatever the fuck you doin, holla at me, I’ll be in the bathroom boo boo’n.”
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
“SEE WHAT I COULD PULL” This little ditty was catchy and funny. It adequately displays Devin’s laid-back humor and penchant for talking about amusing sexcapades.
DEVIN THE DUDE THE DUDE 8 Rap-A-Lot/Virgin - 199
by Jacinta Howard
sk the average rap fan (the people who get their daily Hip Hop fix from the Top 8 at 8 or 106 & Park) who Devin is and you’ll probably be greeted with a blank stare. If they do happen to recognize The Dude’s name, it’s probably because they had tickets to Dr. Dre’s Up in Smoke Tour. The point is, Devin is one of the best rappers you’ve never heard of and his self-titled debut unquestionably explains why. Like most of the albums that drop on Rap-a-Lot, The Dude received little promotion, but its impact has been felt throughout the game over the past eight years. Devin’s charm, wit, uncanny storytelling ability and down home humor have made him both an industry and street favorite. It’s why he’s worked with everyone from Nas to Dr. Dre and gets love all over the country, regardless of coastlines. This album also laid the foundation for both of his subsequent releases, Just Tryin’ Ta Live and To Tha X-Treme. Just as importantly, it established him as a versatile emcee and, well, singer (that was him singing the hook on Scarface and Ice Cube’s classic “Hand of the Dead Body”). Starting out with the Odd Squad and later joining the original Facemob, Devin’s charisma and voice has always made him stand out. While some people have attempted to typecast him as the Nate Dogg of the south, his lyrical ability simply won’t be contained by such a generic comparison. Whether he was in the bathroom booin’ booin’ to avoid dealing with ghetto women, trying to see what he could pull on an unsuspecting chick or encouraging folks to do whatever’s right for them, Devin was always crafty, clever and candid. “People always gettin’ mad at me bein’ like this / Drankin’ alcohol keeps me peein’ white piss / Parents I’m not tellin’ your children to smoke, ya see / Cause if they just say no it be mo’ fa’ me…” - “Mo’ Fa’ Me” At a time when the bling era was just growing wings, The Dude was like a breath of fresh air to rap fans who were interested in enjoying the
“DO WHAT YOU WANNA DO” On each of his album, Devin makes at least on song where he croons all the way through. They’re always insightful and sometimes funny, but mostly they ring true to life. “MO’ FA ME” Devin takes the requisite weed and sex song and turns into something new with his unique swagger and storytelling.
simpler things in life - like weed, family and some good lovin’. He even managed to weave in some old-school life lessons here and there throughout the album. “Now everybody’s got elders and you should respect ‘em / They been through similar shit but then again you can’t let ‘em / Put they hands on ya life like a remote control / Have you travelin’ down the same bumpy tore up road…” - “Do What You Wanna Do” The Dude was completely different from what was dominating the charts at the time (P. Diddy) and while Devin certainly didn’t stray far from the mundane topics most associated with rap music, he was so creative in his scope and approach that you barely even noticed. In actuality, this album was probably ahead of its time and even now, almost a decade later is still better than most of what’s currently being released. Devin managed to capture the attention of the streets without shooting up the block or bragging about being a gangster or dope boy. His sincerity and ability to laugh at himself and life in general made him tangible and familiar to people. Add that to superior production (most of which he produced) defined by candy bass lines, mellow organs and soulful riffs and the result is a project that defies comparison. Taking everyday things, like struggling through writer’s block, and putting an entirely new twist on them, Devin’s perspective couldn’t be denied. “Now just be real with what you say and put some feelin up in it / And since everybody’s dyin’, put some killin’ up in it / I be right here by your side smokin’ kill until you’re finished / And if you get writer’s block, then nigga, chill for a minute…” – “Write And Wrong” Paving the way for other innovative artists like Field Mob, The Dude didn’t have to sell millions of copies to make a bold statement. A rare gem in the midst of monotony, this album is a certified classic and helped re-open the doors of creativity not only for the South, but rap music in general.
“3 ‘N The Mornin’ is an essential Southern album cause it’s full of real freestyles, straight from the dome, and it was jammin’. We represent freestyles real tough out here in Houston.” - Mike Jones “PIMP THE PEN” Throw this record on in any club in Houston and watch he dance floor explode - not with people bumping and grinding to the beat but with people singing along with the lyrics. This song kicked off and defined an era in Houston rap history that continues today. “SAILIN’ THE SOUTH” This is one of the first places the world got to hear ESG. He breaks down the Southern, specifically Houston, culture that has shaped everything people expect from Houston right now. “SIPPIN’ CODEINE” This Big Moe cut let the world know how they do it in Houston. Way back in the mid-90’s they were repping for that syrup, which is now oh-so-trendy.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
3 ‘N THE MORNIN’ Big Tyme/Priority - 1994
by Matt Sonzala
ome may dispute the inclusion of DJ Screw’s 3 ‘N The Mornin’ in our 20 Essential Southern Albums list for the simple fact that it is a compilation and not really relevant to one artist in particular. And the fact is, while this is an official DJ Screw release, it wasn’t nearly as popular or as genre-bending as many of his homemade tapes were. This, however was the first official major label release that was “Screwed,” and made noise. (All Screwed Up and Part 1 are classics as well, but Part 2 features mostly all Houston artists – save for Kansas City’s Mass 187 and a couple other artists). Okay, many small labels released slowed down “Screw” CDss throughout Texas, with or without the help of DJ Screw. But 3 ‘N The Mornin’ Part 2 was released on Big Tyme Records, with distribution through Priority. Priority was having major success with artists like Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg, and decided to give a chance to this revolutionary DJ, and independent label from Texas. Big Tyme Records brought the world the first UGK release and to this day releases underground, Texas music and DVDs. This was the first disc on which much of the hip-hop music buying public could hear talk of drinking codeine cough syrup, swangin’, and much of the Houston slang and culture that eleven years later has bled into the mainstream. It was also the first place people outside of Houston got to hear pioneers like Lil Keke on his classic “Pimp the Pen,” which is the song that provides the hook for Bun B’s “Draped Up” and
“SMOKIN’ AND LEANIN’” This Botany Boys classic repped for the very beginnings of Screw’s movement. They were one of the first groups to come up under Screw and are still standing to this day. “WHY YOU HATIN’ ON ME” This classic from one of Screw’s tightest partners, Al-D, broke down the streets explicitly. From drinking Cisco to living like a madman, Al-D wrote about what he had been through and gave it to the world real.
“Get High With the Blanksta,” a Houston underground classic. “Around the time 3 ‘N The Mornin’ came out, that was the time Screw was real popular,” Tosin from thescrewshop.com says. “This release elevated the game and took it to the next level. Most of the people on that album like Lil Keke, Big Moe, Botany Boys, ESG, 20 to Life, Point Blank, Al-D, got their first bit of national exposure. These guys were like the originators of the Houston sound and you see where it is right now. It’s huge.” “Most of the people on this album are still putting out albums,” he continues. “Keke is signed to Swisha House, Point Blank is still dropping, and everybody’s still active.” Screw’s impact on Texas rap, and Southern rap as a whole, is immeasurable. The effect he had on the sound, simply by slowing his mixtapes down to a slothful pace, is one that astounds and inspires. His place had been etched out in hip-hop history as one of the most innovative ever to touch the game. Now in 2006, every major label has a screwed and chopped version of at least one of their records, and everyone from white scholars on the East coast to hood kids on the West coast has at least a passing curiosity about the format. Sadly, DJ Screw passed away in November of 1996, so his legacy is forced to live on through the hands of other DJs doing their own thing with the slowed down sound. Swishahouse, Beltway and Street Pharmacy are just a few of the crews currently carrying Screw’s torch.
“Trap Muzik really took people on a journey. It talked about every aspect of the game, from getting shot at to the fruits of hustling. That’s why so many people that were really in the trap felt it. With the skits, we set it up like Ice Cube’s Amerikkkaz Most Wanted or Death Certificate. Its most definitely a hip-hop classic.” - DJ Toomp “TRAP MUZIK” f/ Mac Boney T.I. traded turf stories with P$C comrade Mac on real life hustling in the “trap.” This album opener immediately set the tone for the memorable disc, which quickly let listeners know that “This ain’t no album, this ain’t no game, it’s a trap!” “NO MORE TALK” On one of the most thought provoking songs on the album, T.I. addresses political issues affecting young African Americans in this country, referencing the incompetence of George W. Bush and the speculation surrounding Osama bin Laden. “T.I. vs. T.I.P.” T.I. stretches his creative parameters on this song as he trades rhymes with himself in this clash of personalities.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
T.I. TRAP MUZIK- 2003 Grand Hustle/Atlantic
by Jason Thompson
efore Young Jeezy popularized the term “trap” and made it a universal undertone for street activity in the hip hop community, Atlanta wordsmith T.I. introduced the world to the harsh realities of the neighborhood drug trade with his 2003 release Trap Muzik. Trap Muzik came at a time when the crunk era was budding into full blossom and the likes of Lil Jon and David Banner were in high demand. Overlooked by many, T.I.’s sophomore album made way for some of the most common trends and sounds that are sought after in today’s evolving landscape of Southern hip-hop. With a bulk of production handled by then Grand Hustle in-house producers including DJ Toomp and Sanchez, Trap Muzik had crafted a sound that was far ahead of its time compared to what dominated the airwaves in the summer of 2003. Unlike the Neptunes produced single “I’m Serious” from his debut album bearing the same name, T.I. went with an authentic Atlanta record for Trap Muzik’s first single, “24’s.” An infectious track accompanied by lyrical wordplay resulted in a summer anthem for the artist who up until that point had been keeping his name relevant by flooding the streets with his praised mix-tape series In Da $treetz. T.I. would follow up with another DJ Toomp produced record with “Be Easy,” a single intended for the streets, but it wasn’t until his third single “Rubber Band Man” that T.I. would get the national exposure he was craving for. A David Banner produced single that would undoubtedly catapult him to a level of celebrity he had yet to become familiar with, T.I. was now considered by his fans and peers as a true heavyweight hailing the South. The “Rubber Band Man” video also helped further prove the theory that T.I. was indeed the truth with a slew of worthy cameos including the memorable scene where him and P. Diddy were caught trading poses in front of a then fabled Rolls Royce Phantom. Trap Muzik would also feature the works of two producers who would later have explosive years in their careers. Jazze Pha and Kanye West both made huge contributions to T.I.’s second release, which in return 100 OZONE
“BEZZLE” f/ Eightball & MJG and Bun B This song was T.I.’s opportunity to rhyme alongside some living legends of the south and he passed the test with flying colors. A memorable performance from everyone. “LONG LIVE THE GAME” The album closer showcased a T.I. with enough vivid story telling prowess to wow any B.I.G. fan.
made both producers the most expensive and sought after beat makers in the game. The Kanye West produced “Doing My Job” would be one of the most recognizable songs from the album and a favorite of many. His tales of struggle and responsibility at a young age would prove to be a song that many listeners could easily relate to, making T.I. a favorite in many peoples’ opinion. “Let’s Get Away” was the grown up record that turned out to be a sexy single in the spring of 2004 thanks to the master craftsmanship of Jazze Pha. A fun record to say the least, T.I. had already won the vote from loyal followers in the streets but now he had an even larger female fan base as well. Unlike the King Of The South’s more recent releases (2004’s Urban Legend and 2006’s King), T.I. had disclosed a more personal side to listeners on Trap Muzik, very similar to how he expressed his inner turmoil on I’m Serious with the song “Still Ain’t Forgave Myself.” Trap Muzik’s “I Still Luv U” and “Be Better Than Me” both served as honest testimonies to those near and dear to him. Where on “I Still Luv U” T.I. touched on the complications involving his relationship with a certain woman in his life, on “Be Better Than Me” T.I. delivered words of wisdom and encouragement to young men fixated with the dangerous life style associated with the “trap.” T.I.’s growth over the span of four albums in six years is evident in the material he has recorded. An Atlanta rapper who rode the crunk wave with Bonecrusher on “Never Scared” but still kept it “Dope Boy Fresh” with his alma mater Attic Crew, T.I. has evolved into a worthy contender for hip-hop royalty. With Trap Muzik being partially responsible for this newfound stardom T.I. has acquired (i.e. ATL), the influence that Trap Muzik and its hustler antics has had on other artists cannot go unnoticed. With baby T.I.s getting record deals left and right using a patented delivery and persona that the King Of The South created, it should be interesting to see if T.I. will return to his emcee battling roots and address his challengers in similar fashion to his Lil’ Flip and Ludacris bouts.
“TRU sent the tone for the independent movement, the unity that made a lot of people proud to be from the South. I literally saw people with TRU tattoos on their back, stomach, and neck. TRU had a huge impact; I could see it every time we hit the stage.” – Mia X “NO LIMIT SOLDIERS” Really, what else can be said about this song? It put No Limit on the map and had every teenager with more than $20 to their name buying fake No Limit Tank medallions in the middle of the mall. “POP GOES THE 9” While it’s hard to fathom now, Silkk The Shocker was a lot of people’s favorite rapper at one time. His verse on this song is proof as to why as solid cameos from Kane & Abel make this track an all time No Limit favorite. “SMOKIN’ GREEN” If you didn’t buy this album when it came out you are SOL if you want this song. Because of sample clearance issues this song was removed from album on the second printing. But hey, that’s not a problem that the internet can’t solve.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
TRU TRU 2 DA GA7ME No Limit /Priority - 199
by Maurice G. Garland
After an attention-grabbing 1996, No Limit Records pretty much strongarmed the rap game in 1997. They released the introductory albums of their now antique catalog that year by giving us works from Mia X, Mr. Serv-On, Mystikal, the West Coast Bad Boys II compilation, as well as the I’m Bout It and I Got the Hook Up movie soundtracks. But anyone with a good memory can tell you that the Soldiers’ ‘97 take over officially began that February with the release of TRU’s doublealbum Tru 2 Da Game. It was the follow-up to the 1995 door-opener True which featured their landmark anthem “Bout It Bout It,” however it also served as a notice to the rest of the world that No Limit was about to steamroll their tank from coast to coast. Fittingly, the first song on the album is the posse cut “No Limit Soldiers.” Featuring verses from TRU members and blood brothers Master P, Silkk The Shocker and C-Murder as well as femme fatale Mia X, this song echoed through every neighborhood, parking lot, schoolyard, night club and house party. It spawned No Limit’s string of trademarked “Soldier” songs and it showcased just how dope Mia X was when she boasted: “My shit so tight, it’s more correct than right.” The military-minded drums and pledges of allegiance changed the dynamic of the hip-hop crew record and established the formula for every No Limit record to be released from that point forward. That formula was to hit you in the head with the “Soldier” song and follow it up with the single. In this case it was the Rockwell Gordyborrowed “I Always Feel Like” featuring in-house hook man Mo B. Dick. This song caught both die-hard No Limit followers and novices off guard because this was the first No Limit song/single/video (other than “Bout It, Bout It”) that did not sound or look like it was recorded in a basement. The quality of the record and the concept of dealing with paranoia shook the misconception that No Limit artists could not attack a topic outside of pistol popping and package dropping. By the time this album came out P had already garnered respect as a CEO and was loved by many as a rapper. That being said, he was now in the company of other CEO/rappers like Eazy-E and E-40 who
“FREAK HOES” This was the ultimate grind-on-the-dancefloor song until Juvenile came with “Back Dat Azz Up.” Sure, P and Silkk talked their shit, but they got checked by Mia X who repped hard for the “ladies” (for lack of a better word). “SWAMP NIGGA” It was something about P’s flow on this record that made it stand out. Listening to it reminds you that P was a damn good rapper at one time.
hustled their way from the underground to the storefront. With that came responsibility and P touched on that with songs like “Ghetto Thang” where he spoke on the rap game and truthfully offered: “You’ll never see P on MTV, top 40, but niggas ya’ll know me / Number one in every mom and pop and billboard record store, so fuck y’all playa hatin’ hoes / Gimme a pen, a pad, and I’ll make a hit, show every nigga in the ghetto how to get rich / ‘Cause ya’ll don’t know what go on behind closed doors, white folks pimp niggas like hoes.” TRU continued to keep listeners thinking on songs like “FEDz” where P & Co. warn aspiring rappers and D-boys about the police and government tapping their telephones and keeping them under surveillance. Which dares you to ask, did TRU warn us about the Hip Hop cops nearly 10 years ago? While fans already knew that Beats By the Pound was perhaps one of the tightest production units below the Mason-Dixie line, Tru 2 Da Game was easily their most cohesive and consistent effort up to this time. They fiddled with samples, er, interpolations including Aaliyah’s “If Your Girl Only Knew” (“FEDz”), Levert’s “Goes My Mind” (“Pop Goes the 9”) and the Isley Brothers’ “Summer Breeze” (“Smokin’ Green”). However, the strongest compositions came via original beats. “What They Call Us” stayed on repeat in every Caddy, Cutlass, and Accord. No matter how loud or weak your speaker system was, it still made you sound like you had some knock. “Swamp Nigga” was perhaps the most distinct song, with its hard-to-finger sound effects. “There They Go” served as the mandatory ride-to-the-club song. Once you did get to the club, though, you it was damn near guaranteed to hear the DJ spin Tru 2 Da Game’s only club record, “Freak Hoes.” While the song title may be offensive to some, females couldn’t help but to “bounce their ass and let their knees touch their elbows.” While Master P’s Ghetto D is considered No Limit’s best album, Tru 2 Da Game held that distinction when it first dropped. This album saw the label as a whole make the transition into the mainstream’s peripheral view, making it perhaps the label’s last “underground” record. OZONE
“The way that Scarface told the truth on Untouchable made me feel like he was talking about my life too. He talks about everything from crooked cops to family to the streets. If folks ain’t mentioning his name with the greats like Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One, they ain’t talking about nothing.” - Z-Ro “UNTOUCHABLE” With one breath ‘Face proved that as an emcee you could be street, clever and cultured at the same time. “SMARTZ” featuring Devin the Dude Always capable of dropping knowledge, ‘Face got into Malcom Farrakhan King mode on this song. He meshed political awareness with spiritual alertness, urging young black males to wake up, read and find something to believe in and fight for. “SMILE” featuring 2Pac and Johnny P When this hit the radio, many thought that this would be the last time they’d hear 2Pac’s voice (boy were we fooled). Beyond that though, this poignant song ranks as one of the best posthumous-Pac appearances and easily became of the most important songs of the year, if not the decade.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
SCARFACE E UNTOUCHABL 7 Rap-A-Lot /Virgin - 199
by Maurice G. Garland
997 was a challenging year in the world of hip-hop when Brad Jordan b.k.a. Scarface gave the world his fourth solo album The Untouchable. It was three years after his monumental The Diary album where he balanced ultra-violent visuals with soul-stirring parables and created what many people still consider his “best” album. However, in the spring of ‘97 when The Untouchable hit the shelves and streets, things were changing. Hip-hop was in its beginning stages of being mass marketed and cross-promoted with anything within arm’s reach. Rappers had begun to invest more time into their business affairs and image than their lyrics and it showed. The voices that defined the fading “Golden Era” of years prior were either switching their tones (i.e. everybody wanted to rap fast like Bone), switching professions (i.e. making movies), falling off the map or unfortunately, dying. In between the time The Diary and The Untouchable were released Eazy-E, 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G. had left us, creating a gaping void. With expected leaders like Nas, Snoop Dogg and Wu-Tang struggling to recapture the rawness that birthed their careers and Jay-Z still taking baby steps, hip-hop was in need of a solid and familiar voice to stand out. While we may not know if he purposely took on the responsibility, ‘Face provided the sturdiness that hip-hop needed, making a title like The Untouchable both a declaration and a testament. Coming out with an album that only had twelve songs in an age where releases with 18-plus tracks and double-albums were the rave was a statement in itself, ‘Face wasn’t about hopping on a trend. He opened the album with the title track where he displayed incomparable composition skills, totally throwing the concept of 16 bars out the window. The well-deserved arrogance he had on this simple-drummed track showed that even though he was becoming an elder statesman in the game, he could still spit with the fluidity of youngster. Never known to waste a second or a thought, ‘Face bottled years of frustration and rebellion into a two-minutes and thirteen-seconds track on “Southside.” The beat dripped with funk and could tell a story with no words on it. Fortunately though, ‘Face lent a straight-to-the-point 102 OZONE
“MARY JANE” This well-thought and fact-laden ode to the sticky-icky is most people’s reason for owning this CD. More than just a typical “get high” song, ‘Face successfully tried his hand at personification and showed that he is indeed a poet. “MONEY MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND” featuring Daz, Devin the Dude and KB This song was so laid-back and so truthful that years later you have to consider that this might have been a freestyle or a late-night smoke session that just happened to get recorded.
narrative of his growth from a high-schooler to an O.G. Songs like “No Warning,” “For Real,” and especially “Ya Money Or Ya Life” captured ‘Face doing what he does best; presenting the motive, action and consequence of every situation labeled as “some street shit.” While ‘Face would not be expected to do anything less than provide relevant lyrics via storytelling or warning-laced advice, he decided to mix up things on this album as well. Unlike his other releases, the syrupy, dark feel of this was coupled with a heavy West-coast influence thanks to ‘Face splitting the bulk of the production between himself, N.O. Joe, Mike Dean and Bay Area veteran producer Tone Capone. The concoction reaches its apex three times. Firstly on the South meets West smoke-session confession “Money Makes the World Go Round” featuring Daz, Devin the Dude and KB. Secondly with one of the albums instant classics “Mary Jane” and thirdly on “Smile.” When you finally mustered the strength to get past the two earlier mentioned songs, your ears got snatched again by “Smartz” featuring Devin the Dude where ‘Face spoke vehemently on government corruption and how Black people need to smarten up and get back in the race of life. He stayed in preacher mode on “Faith” throwing a Baptistpreacher attitude on lines like: “We got these politicians running their game to regain power/While our whole black community sours, Crime rate towers, plagued by white powders/And they claim to be helping us to clean up our community/But ain’t no open opportunities.” The album ended with a crescendo of sorts where ‘Face invited Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Too $hort to appear on “Game Over.” All being legends in their own right, the song was a toast to longevity, independence and straight up clout. Just after one listen, The Untouchable had a lot of us scratching our heads thinking “damn, did he just top The Diary?” That debate that could go on for hours, but one thing has to be agreed upon about this classic. This album showcased the ‘Face that the world has embraced as THE torch-bearer for Southern hip-hop and reality rap.
“I have to say We Can’t Be Stopped by the Geto Boys was the first official album to give a view on the down south way of life. It gave every young nigga down here that loved rap something to hold on to, something that we could call our own. We all owe the Geto Boys for that one!!!” - Smitty “MIND PLAYIN’ TRICKS” One of the biggest hits to ever come from the south, this tale of these three maniacs metal deficiencies/brilliance brought the laid back mellow, however chaotic and crazy, sound of Houston to the world. “FUCK A WAR” This was written during the first Gulf War and many of the group’s observations can be echoed today. It is a timeless track that relays a message the whole world needs to hear. “AIN’T WITH BEING BROKE” This song was a precursor to the South’s obsession with getting it how you live. Willie D breaks down all the reasons why one should work to not be broke.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
GETO BOYS PPED WE CAN’T BE STO Rap-A-Lot - 1991
by Matt Sonzala
“HOMIE DON’T PLAY THAT” A catch phrase culled from the work of Damon Wayans as Homie the Clown on In Living Color, “Homie Don’t Play That” was another boastful Willie D-esque joint that showcased the fire that burned deep inside the Geto Boys tortured souls. “CHUCKIE” While not the most prolific song ever penned by the Trigga Happy Motherfuckin’ Geto Boys, this Bushwick solo track brought big screen macabre to the small, silver disc.
his eye out. The cover was a shocking piece of macabre art, one that perfectly represented the psychosis of these three tortured gangsta geniuses. It was the perfect intro to an album full of tortured, gangsta, genius gems including the mega hit “Mind Playin’ Tricks On Me.”
The Geto Boys’ fourth album, We Can’t Be Stopped, hit the music world like a hurricane. I had the distinct pleasure of interning at the studio where they recorded this disc, their Swan Song, from start to finish. To this day, I am amazed it ever came out, as the Geto Boys were hands down the most disjointed group in hip-hop history.
“I guess I would say that one of [my favorite Rap-A-Lot albums] would have to be We Can’t Be Stopped.” J. Prince remembers, “And I say that because ‘Mind Playin’ Tricks On Me’ did so much for the South, period. It was the song that got the South our respect, and [it] made people start listening to us and reckoning with us from radio to everybody. So if I had to pick one, I would say that one because of what it done for the south.” We Can’t Be Stopped kicked the music industry’s door down and introduced the world to a whole new coast, one where the pace was a little slower but the fire burned just as hot.
ack in 1990, throughout the south, before the national emergence of No Limit, Cash Money and countless other labels who used selling cocaine as a metaphor for life itself, a revolution was brewing. New Orleans was seeing the early days of bounce. Atlanta was developing as a business center and a haven for experimental artists not afraid to bring new and exciting sounds to the table. Memphis was getting buck, and Houston was fast becoming the most infernally gangsta city in rap.
It’s no secret that this trio of misfits was put together by J. Prince, founder and CEO of Rap-A-Lot Records. The Geto Boys were his vision and a brilliant one at that. These three distinct voices and personalities meshed well on record, but in real life, the Boys rarely spoke. In fact, throughout the entire recording of We Can’t Be Stopped, they were rarely in the studio together. In general, each member would come to the studio separately, lay their verses and then leave. It wasn’t until the final period of the process that I really saw them all working together. Regardless of all that, We Can’t Be Stopped is the album that kicked off this entire Southern revolution we are currently enjoying. Back then, there were no magazines like OZONE. The only hope a rapper in Texas had of getting any publicity whatsoever was to spark major controversy, and the Geto Boys had already done that. Their previous album, the self titled release on Rick Rubin’s American Records that was really just a re-mastered version of Grip It! was denied distribution by Geffen Records and made waves throughout the industry as one of the most offensive records ever released. The cover of We Can’t Be Stopped continued in the same tradition. It showed Scarface and Willie D wheeling Bushwick Bill down a hospital hallway on a stretcher, just days after the diminutive rapper had shot
In addition to “Mind Playin’ Tricks,” the title track was a lyrical onslaught on an industry that until then barely gave a nod to hip-hop from outside New York or L.A. When Scarface said “Better fuck with somebody else before you get popped, because we can’t be stopped,” he wasn’t talking to a random foe on the street. He was lambasting the entire music industry and the government for their attempts at silencing his work. Believe me, this album was a piece of work. With every song, just when you thought the Boys couldn’t take it any further, another wall would be smashed to the ground. Politically correct? I think not. But even with much of the record leaned toward the reckless and profane side, it wasn’t totally devoid of a message. On the classic song “Fuck A War,” Bushwick Bill unloads on a war many saw as unjust. His words still ring true today. “Motherfuck a war, that’s how I feel / Sendin’ a nigga to the desert to get killed / They put niggas on the front line / But when it comes to getting ahead they put us way behind.” But the Geto Boys did help pull up a lot of groups up from behind, and now, fifteen years later, the South is holdin’ and it still can’t be stopped. OZONE
“‘Sippin’ on Some Syrup,’ ‘Weak Ass Bitch,’ and ‘Tongue Ring’ was all heaters, but the track that really did it for me every damn time I heard it was ‘Who Run It’! The beat was so infectious that it fully captivates you. You might lose focus while driving through a school zone and risk getting a speeding ticket!” Grandaddy Souf
“WHO RUN IT” Pay attention to this one. This is how we do crunk music in Tennessee. “SIPPIN’ ON DA SYRUP” This Texas-Tennessee connection had the whole nation on lean. “WEAK AZZ BITCH” When I say “WEAK ASS,” y’all say “BITCH!” No other explanation needed.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
FIA THREE 6 MACLE ARS
WHEN THE SMOKE Hypnotized Mindz/Loud - 2000
by Wally Sparks
Long before Oscar decided he wanted to take up residence in North Memphis, When The Smoke Clears: Sixty 6 Sixty1 stood tall as the crowning achievement in the stellar 15 year plus career of Memphis, Tennessee rap collective Three 6 Mafia. After producing underground anthems that tore up clubs all over the Southeastern United States and racking up independent sales at a rapidly increasing pace with each of their album releases, When The Smoke Clears: Sixty 6 Sixty1 was Three 6 Mafia unabashedly kicking down the mainstream door. Much like the music they had become famous for making, their informally formal introduction to the Great Plains states was aggressive, brute, and in your face. Nothing fancy about it at all. Every song on this record was so brutal and vicious that the average person would cringe or maybe even be intimidated by it. The interesting thing about it was how so many of those same people embraced the music and gravitated toward like they had been to a special gangsta walking and buck jumping class. At a time when music from the southern region of the United States had just began its chart dominance, the long time suppliers of what today some refer to as “crunk music,” Three 6 Mafia already had the respect and support of their region. But now, they were aiming for the big time. They had their scope set on world domination before When The Smoke Clears: Sixty 6 Sixty1 and after it was let loose on the masses they achieved just that. The lead single from the album, “Who Run It,” was designed to let everyone know what time it was. It was time to get the fuck out of the way. It was done in classic Three 6 Mafia/Prophet Posse/HCP style, with all six members of the Memphis rap super group hopping on a menacing track and laying down the law in all of their trademark styles. It showed the same great chemistry that was evident on their underground clas-
“FROM DA BACK” This song displayed Gangsta Boo at her rawest. This is easily one of her best verses. “WHERE DA CHEESE AT” We all know Crunchy Black isn’t the greatest rapper ever, But I bet we know all the words to all of his verses.
sic “Tear Da Club Up.” In what I have to believe was a strategic move to showcase what had been going on down South for the years we had been ignored, the follow up single and breakout hit from the album “Sippin On Da Syrup” featured another well-touted and highly respected southern act, UGK. The song was an ode to a Texas phenomenon of sipping on a homemade potion of codeine and promethazine prescription cough syrup and your favorite fruit flavored soda. That song gave fans something they had been clamoring for: a UGK and Three 6 Mafia collaboration. It was the epitome of a country rap tune. The hypnotic Marvin Gaye sample meshed with the slow Texas drawl of Bun B & Pimp C, and the perfect hook from Three 6 Mafia cohort Project Pat, made for one of the most infectious songs of the year 2000. In what may have been the turning point in the legacy of Three 6 Mafia, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that this album - which has been their most successful to date - was the last to feature all six original members of Three 6 Mafia. DJ Paul, Juicy J, Lord Infamous, Crunchy Black, Gangsta Boo, and Koopsta Knicca were all present. Even the Hypnotize Camp Posse affiliates La Chat and Project Pat were there to put their stamp on this album. Who knows whether the success of this album was the catalyst for the bitter breakup between the remaining members of the group and those who parted ways for greener pastures. There has been much speculation about that for years since it went down, and everyone seems to have a different story. Whatever the gospel truth is, before they all separated they got the very best out of each other and made one of the most highly respected albums in Southern rap history. A true classic indeed.
“www.thug.com made people really respect T-Double-D. The album started off like a computer, when computers were first taking over. We took that to another level. It’s real Miami, real thug shit. I was never trying to be nobody else, I was just tryin’ to be a thug. That’s why people love and respect that album.” – Trick Daddy
“NA’AN NIGGA” This record is the ultimate battle of the sexes, with Trick and Trina battling for sexual superiority. “SUCKIN’ FUCKIN’” ...and he’s still a freak. “BACK IN THE DAYS” An ode to how it used to be, when times weren’t so complicated.
ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ALBUMS
“HOLD ON” On this song, Trick offered a testament of hope.
TRICK DADDY OM WWW.THUG.C - 1998
“LIVING IN A WORLD” I’m starting with the man in the mirror.
by Carlton Wade
hoever would have thought that the dark-skinned, gold-toothed baldee from Luke’s 1996 club smash “Scarred” would have come back like this? While Luther Campbell has been credited with supplying the blueprint for the south’s premier independent labels as well as introducing the rap world to such breakthrough artists such as the old school, Bronx-born trailblazer MC Shy D, controversial quartet 2 Live Crew and raunchy R&B crooners H-Town, Uncle Luke’s A&R expertise had never handpicked any artist with the verbal dexterity equal to Trick Daddy (or Trick Daddy Dollars depending how long you’re been up on him). Even after Trick’s fluid delivery, visual lyrics and rapid, stop-and-go flow on the popular regional hit, he never inked a deal with the very well established label CEO. Instead, the young Trick hooked up with upstart Miami indie label Slip-N-Slide and dropped the mildly successful Based On A True Story the following year. Although the album didn’t receive much attention outside of Trick’s region, history was on the horizon for the quickly rising star. Riding off the popularity of the sizzling, sexplicit single “Na’an Nigga,” Trick’s sophomore effort www.thug.com was Trick’s most shining moment to date. With Trick attempting to win over the affection of his female nemesis Trina over a quirky drum track, shimmering steel drums and 808 chest pounds, he steps to the unsuspecting ghetto queen in the crude way that only a thug can. With rants like, “Hoe, you don’t know na’an nigga who’ll represent like me / Who’ll say some shit like me / Who’ll lay the dick like me” and “You don’t know na’an nigga who’ll run up in your house / Blow your mu’fuckin’ brains out.” How could a girl not fall in love? But Trina proves that she ain’t just your average little hoodrat. Trina back doors Trick in her signature sauciness with lines like “You don’t know na’an hoe who can spend the grands that I spend / Fuck ‘bout five or six best friends” and “You don’t know na’an hoe who done tried all types of shit / Who quick to deep throat the dick / And let another bitch straight lick the clit.” Needless to say, Trick definitely makes sure he gets her seven
digits by the end of the song. Then, there’s “Suckin’ Fuckin,” the story of a low-class girl who wants to do “me,” “you” and “my whole crew.” But www.thug.com was more than just about getting drunk and hollering at girls at the club. Aside from the flawless production, Trick’s lyrics were like well-sharpened swords. In his own unapologetic hood persona, the rapper born Maurice Young showed many different sides of himself - from lighthearted club hopper to hardened street disciple to socially conscious newscaster, this album was an insightful guide to the not-so-sunny streets of the MIA. On “Back In the Days,” Trick rewinds the hands to Father Time to an era when life didn’t seem so complicated. Over dark, winding production seasoned with looming, intimidating bass, he took us to a time when cats wore afros the size of record albums, sported bell bottom pants and the most feared disease was gonorrhea. “But not no more,” Trick testifies in the hook, “Niggas don’t twisted up the ‘fro / Quick to go to gunplay ‘bout that flow / What? Nigga, you don’t know?” And on “Hold On” and “Living In A World,” Trick shows that thugs do have hearts too. While Trick would be better known for sentiments like “Thug Holiday” and “Ain’t No Santa Claus,” T-Double showed a broader side to his musical reaches early on. Trick knew that babies go to bed hungry at night, that the jails are constantly overcrowding and the graveyards continue to swell with the bodies of young black men. He wasn’t afraid to hold a mirror up to ourselves then and still isn’t afraid to reveal vulnerability today. Overall, www.thug.com was a work of art. From the very first logon until you leave Trick’s world of thugs (compete with computer voice on the beginning and the end of the disc), not a single chord could have been redone to make it less groundbreaking. Even if the album had been released in 2006, it would still be just futuristic as is it did when it hit stores eight years ago. OZONE
ALBUM IN STORES MAY 29TH www.myspace.com/guttacampclique For booking call 904-355-1952 To buy a CD call 904-728-8663
SANTANA’S BIRTHDAY PARTY MAY 19th Celebrity Boat Cruise Jacksonville, FL For Tickets or Info call 904-483-7261
T.I. KING Grand Hustle/Atlantic
B.G. THE HEART OF THA STREETZ VOL. 2 Koch
CADENCE SONGS OF VICE & VIRTUE Paperweight Records
After receiving criticized acclaim for 2004’s Urban Legend, T.I. still found himself trying to prove to people that he was indeed “The King of the South.” However, whether you believe he earned the crown or just created it for himself, KING. is definitely an hour and ten minutes of a man rapping from a throne.
B.G. is not an artist known for surprises. Perhaps that’s how he’s managed to keep a consistent following throughout his nearly 15-year career; his people know exactly what to expect from him. With his latest effort The Heart of the Streetz Vol. 2, B.G. fans are sure to be satisfied by his tried-and-true formula of unadulterated street shit.
Up until Young Buck screamed “Cashville, Ten-A-Key,” Hip Hop heads saw Nashville, Tennessee as breeding ground for Caucasians, county music and little else. Well, Memphis-born Nashville-bred rapper Cadence is obviously white and has toured with country music artists. But his album Songs of Vice & Virtue is far from Honky Tonk Hip Hop. This is not some Cowboy Troy shit, this album is down right dope.
To set the mood for the rest of the album T.I. opens with the Just Blaze-produced “King Back.” With trumpets blaring T.I. is at his shit-talking best when he boasts that he “takes orders from no one but God.” But to just to show that he still has respect for his elders he turns his ego down a couple notches on “Front Back, ”his Mannie Fresh-tweaked remake of UGK’s “Front, Back, Side to Side” where Pimp C and Bun B willingly let their student act a fool in class. The humbleness takes a twist as he swiftly gets back into bad-ass mode on “I’m Talking To You,” a clever finger-pointing that has him dissing people by process of elimination. Lines like “I ain’t talking to Jeezy ‘cause that’s my brother, I ain’t talking to ‘Face ‘cause that’s my father/I ain’t talking to Bun ‘cause that’s my uncle, I ain’t talking to ‘Kast ‘cause them niggas my partners/I ain’t talking to Jigga ‘cause he the real President Carter” and a third verse that names a who’s who of Southern Hip Hop narrows it down to a few, but he lets the listeners figure it out themselves. T.I. also keeps the formula of his previous album by supplying at least one sentimental song. This time its “Live The Sky” featuring Jamie Foxx where T.I.P. shows a seldom seen vulnerable side speaking on everything from losing loved ones to the embarrassment of being in jail with a hit record. While its nice to see T.I. broaden his horizons with songs like “Why You Wanna” and the Pharrell and Common assisted “Goodlife” its songs like “Bankhead” and “Told You So” that capture the Rubberband Man in his true element. In addition to saying he saw Kriss Kross get jumped in school, and helped the new wave of Houston artists get on, he goes on to spit “if only L.A. [Reid] would know how wrong he’d be.”
As with his previous releases, the lead single stands out since it’s the only song that’s specifically made for the radio. “Move Around” reunites B. Gizzle with his former Cash Money cohort Mannie Fresh and gives a glimpse of what could happen if they were ever to work together exclusively again. The remainder of the album has B.G. slipping into his comfort zone, giving listeners a smooth ride with very few bumps or landmarks to remember. On songs like “Real Nigga” and “Living Right” he continues to flirt with fact that he’s been able to survive a career without CMR. “Kill or Be Killed” has him spitting his oftheard narratives about street life (think “Clean Up Man part 3). “Whateva U Like” plays the role of the standard “sexy” joint with the usual female sing-songy hook routine. At moments, B.G. does manage to get out of cruise control and give some ear stimulation. “What I Need” featuring Conrad has Gizzle spitting over crisp synth production, juxtaposing his gangster methodology with lines like “my plans and dreams get bigger everyday, so every night I gotta get on my knees and pray.” He also shines on “Bout Mine,” where he sinks even deeper into his gangster element with quips like: “I see them looking at me like they the police, I know they ain’t the police because the police work for me.” This album also has B.G. stepping out his shell to collaborate with artists outside of his click. VL and especially Webbie give leave a mark on “Ain’t No Bitch,” with Mr. “Gimme That” bringing his unique brand of enjoyable vulgarity. However, “Dueces Up” with Paul Wall and Yung Redd sounds too gritty for its own good.
“Comin’ Back” opens the album with a resounding smack as rolling piano riffs and hard drums play a good backdrop for his playfully boastful rhymes. The energy, confidence and creativity rises another notch on “Squeaky Clean” where he raps about washing up for a rendezvous, using a squeaky voice effect to sing the hook. But Cadence’s cleverness reaches its pinnacle on “So Original,” a sarcastic criticism of the content and behavior of popular rap music. Cadence also shows a more serious side to his music with tracks like the open letter “Falling Apart” and “All Fall Down.” On the latter he puts himself in the shoes of a person who drinks their problems away, hops behind the wheel and meets the ultimate consequence. The albums most potent cut “Untitled 7/15/05” has Cadence furiously expressing his religious views without being blasphemous. From start to finish, Songs of Vice & Virtue is a solid hip-hop album verbally and musically. But the funny thing is that the best song on it is actually a jazz/R&B record. “So Alone” to this album is what “Quik’s Groove III” was to DJ Quik’s Safe and Sound. Cadence’s coffee house crooning flows perfectly over the live instrumentation and he does it again on the comical Blues ditty “Find Me Some.”
The only thing KING. may suffer from at times is a sense of T.I. just rapping to pass the time. Then again, this king’s worst is still better than a lot of other joker’s best.
Not as refreshing as Life After Cash Money and not as strong as the first Heart of the Streetz, this album shows that B.G. is talented enough to rap in his sleep. Unfortunately at times, it sounds like he’s doing just that.
It’s completely wrong to lump Cadence in a category with Eminem and Bubba Sparxxx. He sounds like neither, but sometimes sounds like he’s mimicking Kanye West. Regardless, Songs of Vice & Virtue is a preview to a bubbling trendsetter.
- Maurice G. Garland
- Maurice G. Garland
- Maurice G. Garland
Mixtapes = the foundation of hip-hop. So dig up your old chemistry textbook, blow the dust off it, and check out our revised periodic table of the elements: the essentials. Aspiring rappers, you know what to do. What other magazine gives you dozens of DJ’s email addresses and contact numbers every month?
5 rep yo’ city
6 1a - DJ Scream (hosted by D4L) - Kings of Snap DJScream@tmail.com 404-540-5000 1i - DJ Barry Bee & Nitram Knarf - Got Beef 3 252-758-1122 DJBarryBee.com 2a - DJ Tantrum - Respect My Grind 832-606-4592 DJTantrum7@yahoo.com 2g - DJ Mr. King - Respect Royalty Pt. 2 330-701-8327 DJMrKing@yahoo.com 2h - DJ Spade (hosted by the Youngbloodz) - DMS Street Edition DJSpade.com 2i - DJ Lady Bullet & DJ Spaz - Feel The Vibe Pt. 2 786-262-8286 DJLadyBullet@yahoo.com 3a - DJ Jukebox - Snap’n & Trap’n PlanetJukebox.com 3b - DJ Menace & DJ Dynamite (hosted by Smitty) - Street Muzik 5 DJDynamic@msn.com 3c - Clinton Sparks - Smashtime Radio Blends ClintonSparks.com SmashtimeRadio.com 3d - Christopher Truth (hosted by Termanology) - Kick In The Door ChristopherTruth@gmail.com 3e - DJ Chill - 18 Soft Volume 1 Chill.DJ@gmail.com 3f - DJ P-Money - Ear Candy Vol. 1 DJPMoney1@yahoo.com 910-297-3184 3g - DJ Ryno - Back to the Basics 713-269-2909 DJRyno.com 3h - WordofSouth.com - Round My Way Strike 2 LB@wordofSouth.com 3i - DJ Fresh - It’s A Celebration Pt. 1 DJFreshInc@aol.com Myspace.com/DJFreshinc 4a - DJ Dutty Laundry (hosted by Trillville) - Not Guilty 914-316-5307 Brutus@tmail.com 4b - DJ Noe Doubt - Respect The Grind Pt. 3 585-721-5452 HighCaliberMusic@gmail.com 4c - DJ Spair - The Mackin’ Mixtape Myspace.com/DJSpair 4d - DJ Chill - Confidential Heat 713-261-2799 Mix2ColdDjs.com
4e - Struggle Wear - Kruel Ntentions 3 Strugglewear@KennyRedd.com 601-454-5802 4f - DJ Coolbreeze - Ecstasy 9 DJCoolBreezeLive@aol.com 4g - DJ Dutty Laundry (hosted by Bohagon & Donnie Cross) - Leaders of the New South 2 4h - DJ Bounz & Luxury Mindz - Mindset LuxuryMindz.com Myspace.com/Bounz07 4i - DJ Shon G - Streetz Is Callin’ DJShonG30@tmail.com BumsquadDJz.com 5a - DJ Quest - Southern Fried Gumbo Vol. 2 DeejayQuest.com ThePhantom@tmail.com 5b - P-Cutta and DJ Thoro (hosted by Raekwon) - Taking The Industry by Storm PCutta.com 5c - DJ Cease-Fire - We Run This 1 DJCeasefire@aol.com 5d - DJ K-Tone (hosted by Meez) - From 303 to 816 DJKtone.com 720-404-6767 5e - DJ Mars & DJ Bobby Black (hosted by Young Fell) - There Goes The Neighborhood 6a - DJ Princess Cut - UGQ: Underground Queens DJPrincesscut@gmail.com 6c - DJ Young Mase - Detroit Takeover Myspace.com/DJYoungMase 6d - DJ Frogie (hosted by KLC) - The N.O. Strikes Back II DJFrogie.com 6e - DJ Sir Swift - All About The “A” SirSwift03@yahoo.com 615-513-5850 6f - DJ Centipede & DJ G-Spot - The Rivalry: Cleveland vs. Chicago DJGSpot.com 6g - DJ Impereal & DJ Devro - Best of the Bay Pt. 2 TheDemolitionMen.com 6h - DJ Dutty Laundry (hosted by Yo Gotti & Roam) - Ten Keys to Georgia 914-380-2488 6i - Big Dave & DJ Lex (hosted by Grafh) - New York State of Mind DJBigDave.com
DJs, send mixtapes for consideration to: OZONE Magazine Music Dept., 1310 W. Colonial Dr. Suite 10 Orlando FL 32804 112 OZONE
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