YOUR FAVORITE RAPPER’S FAVORITE MAGAZINE
T.I. INTERVIEW BY PIMP C
4 YEARS OF OZONE CLASSIC PHOTOS
CITTY BLOCK BIG POKEY ALL-STARS
A BAD DAY IN DUVAL
MEMPHIS, TN: COMING OUT HARD IN 2006
ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION
PUBLISHER/EDITOR: Julia Beverly MUSIC EDITOR: Maurice G. Garland
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Matt Sonzala
T.I. pg 58-60 All-Stars pg 62-64
ADVERTISING SALES: Che’ Johnson (Gotta Boogie) Gary LaRochelle LEGAL AFFAIRS: Kyle P. King, P.A. (King Law Firm) MARKETING & PROMOTIONS: Malik “Highway” Abdul SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER: Destine Cajuste CAFFEINE SUBSTITUTES: Mercedes 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, Natalia Gomez, Noel Malcolm, Ray Tamarra, Rico Da Crook, Robert Gabriel, Rohit Loomba, Shannon McCollum, Spiff, Swift, Wally Sparks, Wendy Day STREET REPS: Al-My-T, B-Lord, Big Teach (Big Mouth), Bigg C, Bigg V, Black, Brian Franklin, Buggah D. Govanah (On Point), Bull, C Rola, Cedric Walker, Chill, Chilly C, Chuck T, Controller, DJ Dap, David Muhammad, Delight, Dolla Bill, Dwayne Barnum, Dr. Doom, Ed the World Famous, Episode, General, Haziq Ali, H-Vidal, Hollywood, J Fresh, Jammin’ Jay, Janky, Joe Anthony, Judah, Kamikaze, KC, Klarc Shepard, Kuzzo, Kydd Joe, Lex, Lil D, Lump, Marco Mall, Miguel, Mr. Lee, Music & More, Nick@Nite, Nikki Kancey, Pat Pat, PhattLipp, Pimp G, Quest, Raj Smoove, Rippy, Rob-Lo, Stax, TJ’s DJ’s, Trina Edwards, Vicious, Victor Walker, Voodoo, Wild Billo, Young Harlem DISTRIBUTION: Curtis Circulation, LLC To subscribe, send check or money order for $11 to our NEW ADDRESS: Ozone Magazine, Inc. 1310 W. Colonial Dr. Suite 10 Orlando, FL 32804 Phone: 407-447-6063 Fax: 407-447-6064 Web: www.ozonemag.com Cover credits: T.I. photo by Christian Lantry; Triple J and Citty photos by Julia Beverly; All-Stars photo by Eric Johnson; T.I. photo on this page by Ray Tamarra. 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.
MONTHLY SECTIONS Throwback Reviews pg 110 Groupie Confessions pg 24 Photo Galleries pg 23-43 Mixtape Reviews pg 106 CD Reviews pg 104-105 Producer Profile pg 34 DVD Reviews pg 108 Roland Powell pg 15 Mathematics pg 22 Feedback pg 12-13 JB’s 2 Cents pg 15 DJ Profile pg 36
PATIENTLY WAITING Citty pg 48 Lil Buc pg 52 D. Cooley pg 50 Steve Austin pg 54 Cadillac Don & J Money pg 46 ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION Year-End Recap pg 16-17 4 Year Photo Spread pg 79-102 Truest Shit We Ever Spoke pg 18-19
INTERVIEWS Big Pokey pg 72-73 Shawn Jay pg 26 Block pg 68-69 Jacki-O pg 28 Scar pg 30
FEATURES Memphis, TN pg 74-76 OZONE
I love the DJ issue! You really showed love to all the DJs and showed how they really do play a part and provide the soundtrack to our lives! I can say that I appreciate every DJ that I do come across. Being in this industry, we are aware of how the DJ plays the biggest part in making and breaking an artist, setting trends, and providing the love they have for music and sharing it with everyone they can! – Tamara Hernandez, email@example.com (New York, NY) OZONE is sick with it. I just wanted to commend you on the latest *issue. DJ Drama is my dude, so him being on the cover was a good
look. Also, your commentary is ill. I like how you stood up to Zino. Keep up the good work and out-hustle these fools. Women can shut the game down. – Kay Konnect, firstname.lastname@example.org
What it dew, OZONE? Y’all are putting’ out tight stories and stuff *in your magazine, so props for that, but y’all got to get something on Magnificent outta H-Town, he doin’ it big. I would also like to see articles on DSR and other Texas rappers. – IrvinR509@aol.com
I like your May issue. I took some info from your 2 Cents about the *magazine game. Even though the magazine I’m going to do has nothing to do with hip-hop, the information was still useful. – DJ E-Feezy, email@example.com (Memphis, TN)
That whole DJ issue was like the DJ Bible. It really opened *myDammit! eyes to the DJ game. I couldn’t put that issue down until 4 AM the
next morning. That issue didn’t leave anything out. It covered all the issues of a DJ. I even gained respect for a DJ that y’all had an article on – I thought he was an asshole but after reading about the dues he paid, I gained respect for him. The only problem I had with that issue was the fact that you left out some of Florida’s hottest DJs like DJ Shine, DJ Lil Boy, DJ Ezone, DJ Space Age, and a whole slew of other Florida DJs. But it’s gravy. I’ll be on the cover of the next DJ issue. Keep doin’ ya thing. – DJ Shine, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Congratulations on your success with OZONE. I’d personally like to thank OZONE for recognizing myself and all the other DJs in your
March DJ edition. I have been reading OZONE for about ten issues now, but never did I think that I would be in there this soon! I knew eventually I would make it, but I didn’t know it would be that fast. So once again, thank you! It has definitely been great exposure for me. I have received over a hundred calls (972-822-8684) and numerous hits on my website (www.djdrop.com). OZONE is definitely the Source of the South, no pun intended. – DJ Drop, email@example.com (Dallas, TX) DJ issue was definitely one to remember! You’re on to some*thingYourreally big, without the Hollywood glamour. Keep doing your thing! – DJ T-Fixx, firstname.lastname@example.org
wanted to let you know that your DJ edition of the magazine *wasJust the best edition of any hip-hop magazine, ever. It was so well done. – Geronimo, Geronimo@sirius.com
to OZONE on your four year anniversary. This year will *be Congrats my 26th anniversary of DJing, so you’ve still got a long way to go! Keep up the grind, you’ve done a great job in such a short time. Thanks for all you do in hip-hop! – Mix Master Ice, email@example.com
I was looking for pictures of the MDDL FNGZ on your website. Y’all have the best pics of UGK on the net. I enjoyed your NBA All Star 2006 special edition, and all my artists received a copy when I got back home from Houston. One day you guys will feature more artists from Austin such as myself and my fam. – Lady Legacy, firstname.lastname@example.org (Austin, TX) 12
I just got your magazine and I’m loving it for real. Keep doing your thing. And, it doesn’t matter what color you are. Hip-hop is in the heart. – Ricky Troupe always enjoyed your magazine for showing love to the South *andI’ve showcasing new artists. Much love to you and your whole staff. Congratulations on the distribution deal. Keep up the good work! – Ryno, email@example.com (Houston, TX)
have been waiting to see DJ Smallz for a long time. It looks *likeYo,heI did a lot of prepping for that OZONE photo shoot. Finely waxed eyebrows at your local Asian nail shop: $25. Clean haircut at your local barber: $15. Five days to grow a 3:00 shadow: $0. Imitation cohiba cigar at your local bodega: $20. Finally seeing Smallz’ face in OZONE Magazine: Priceless! – Mike Simmons, firstname.lastname@example.org
Congrats to OZONE on the March 2006 issue. Your first annual DJ *issue was great. I loved the fact that you didn’t just give radio DJs the
chance to talk, but y’all looked at club and mixtape DJs as well. Now all you need is two things: an issue for label reps and the first annual OZONE Magazine Awards. – Hen-Roc, email@example.com (Orlando, FL)
just read JB’s 2 Cents in issue #42, and I want to congratu*lateIOZONE for hitting the newsstands with national distribution. No doubt, every indie mag wants to get to that level. But at the same time, I’m here in the city of NYC. Harlem, to be exact. I’m with Don Diva Magazine, and we have been doing our thing for years putting it down for the streets. Our name rings bells. And for you to say that other magazines can’t set up interviews and “New York mags are really confused right now because there’s no New York rappers to write about,” that’s talking real reckless and crazy. You’re constantly putting The South vs. The North in your magazine, knowing that it kind of creates a separation between Coasts just like the whole East Coast vs. West Coast situation. It’s nothing wrong with competition, but to get at New York mags is crazy knowing that you have some up north artists in your magazine and so on. We as Northerners also play a big role in the hip-hop society. And at the end of the day, it’s about being the best at what you do and putting out a good product that will keep the readers entertained. But you must respect everybody in the game. So with that said, congratulations, and get that paper. – Ason Chiles, firstname.lastname@example.org (New York, NY) Editor responds: I read Don Diva too. No disrespect. respect your magazine, but that review on Lil Flip’s album *wasI really weak. The reviewer Maurice G. Garland obviously copied his review from The Source. It’s the same thing. When Lil Flip’s album goes multi-platinum all the haters are gonna look real stupid. Aside from that, keep doing your thing for the South. – Luis Reyes, email@example.com (Miami, FL)
The new issue is hot as always, and all the DJs across the country *should be kissing your ass. OZONE gave so many DJs a good look along with pictures and contact numbers. Big ups on being the first mag to feature Pimp C since his release from prison. - Stax, firstname.lastname@example.org (Jackson, MS)
feedback peeped your newest issue with Lil Scrappy and Lil Wayne *on it.I just This issue is a beast. It has the feel of XXL but with a non-com-
mercial vibe. You’re not trying to sell out, but simply give the fans what they want and need. Much props. I was very impressed. You’re about the take over the game and become a force to be reckoned with. But, I do have a small comment about the “collect call” section with Big Nod from Georgia. I’m not even going to question what he said, because I’m not the only one that can be blessed by God. But what he said about getting his time reduced is very suspect. I would put him to the pacer.org or clerk of court challenge for rule 35s. All cases are public knowledge unless his indictments get sealed. Anyway, keep up the good work. I’m glad you’re getting distributed in the bookstores now. The last Rolling Stone with Jay-Z on the cover had Paul Wall holding an OZONE, so that was hot. – Dajie, email@example.com
I just saw your article on Jam Pony Express in the July 2004 issue. I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale and went to Stranahan High School in the early 80s. I bought and traded JPE tapes from the Oakland Park flea market and with friends. I know how big an influence JPE had on the music scene during the early days of mixtapes and hip-hop, so I’m glad you’re helping to share this information with others. – Kevin Weaver, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for putting DJ Khaled on the cover of your magazine! I’m definitely gonna cop his CD when it comes out. DJ Smallz and DJ Drama are also my favorites. I’m hoping in a future magazine you could put DJ Chuck T. Keep putting out the hot magazines and I’m gonna keep buying them. – Twixxx, email@example.com
I’m glad somebody is giving DJs and producers some props. If it was not for us, it would be no music. I’m going to Scratch DJ training in March, so all y’all whack ass DJs and producers beware: a hungry man is on the loose. Peace to Jam Master Jay for giving DJs and producers a chance. Anyway, I heard that Benzino tried to scare y’all at OZONE. Benzino is an everyday bitch, and all his CDs are whack. Even Funkmaster Flex said that on Rap City. I ain’t never heard nobody riding to that whack shit. He is jealous of OZONE Magazine because y’all get all the props in the whole world. I heard y’all are going to move from Orlando. I know how it feels to live in a hated city. Miami, New York, L.A., Atlanta, Houston, or New Orleans would be a good spot for y’all. Those are the only cities in the U.S. that have legit, legal hustlers. The rest of the cities got a lot to learn. I hope y’all move to Miami so I can meet y’all. Keep on doing the damn thing. – Tony Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org (Miami, FL) out about OZONE a couple months back, and I LOVE IT! *It’s Iafound great magazine. I love Southern rap music and y’all really get down on it. I saw your Katrina report and thought it was pretty dope. I actually just recently went to New Orleans and Mississippi and saw all that happened along the Gulf Coast, crazy shit. I just wanted to let you know that I’m loving the mag! – B-Cide, email@example.com
OZONE Mag in Oz! I’m from Sydney, Australia, and I’ve *beenFinally! hearing good things about OZONE Mag for a while now but I’ve never been able to find an issue here. When I saw the Feb 06 issue I copped it right away and I have to say that this shit is official. Not only did you have articles on two of my favorite artists (Scarface and Chyna Whyte), but I enjoyed all the other articles as well. I’m pissed that I missed out on the previous 41 issues. Besides the internet, we don’t get any coverage on Southern hip-hop out here. I hope I can get your magazine every month. – Chris Muliartha, firstname.lastname@example.org (Sydney, Australia)
I agree with your editorial. Your magazine is the “greatest magazine *in the whole wide world.” I really enjoy your mag. Keep doing what you do! – Inigo Laugermann, email@example.com
new OZONE is a classic. The DJ issue is the best one yet. *KeepThedoing your thing. When I make the cover, I wanna be on the front pissing on the Source. Those fake bitches never showed love to the South. It took years for Outkast to make their cover. Goodie Mob never
made the cover, and now they wanna put UGK on the new cover because they fallin’ like Alicia Keys! Andre 3000 should have had about 20 hip-hop Quotables. The Source was a magazine we really believed in. Hell, I still have the one with Tupac on the cover for the first time. I don’t know who’s fault it is, but they fuckin’ up bad. I don’t even wanna slide my flyers in the magazine anymore. Not to kiss your ass, but OZONE is the shit. If y’all ever slip, I’m gonna tell y’all the same thing (but I know that wouldn’t happen). Karma is a muthafucker! All the South ever wanted was respect. And Saigon, please get your story straight. If it’s about rapping, I’ll go up against any East Coast nigga, and that’s on everything! – Kenny Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org (Tuscaloosa, AL)
I just want to give you mad props for having the tightest magazine in the game. I love your DJ issue, and the fact that you put DJ’s contact info in there is phenomenal. Thanks for reppin hip-hop culture ot he fullest. I look forward to working with your mag in the future. – Kwajo Cingo, email@example.com me to begin by giving you mad props for this month’s issue. *As Allow a DJ I can definitely appreciate the whole issue, however, I must
admit that I do feel a little overlooked. I’ve been doing my thing for a hot minute, and I also have a DJ crew that’s repping to the fullest. I feel that it is possible that you might think we’re a bunch of nobodies, but give me a moment to fill you in. We are doing everything from radio to mixtapes and we’re also in the clubs, repping in Ocala, Gainesville, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Spring Hill, Washington D.C., and New York City. We’ve been around since ‘98 and we have a total of 17 members, all doing their thing in their own right. Allow me to introduce to you to Phatsounds Productions: DJ Stilo, DJ Flow, DJ Play, DJ A-Roc, DJ Pitt, DJ Fire, DJ Rico Sanchez, DJ Nodoubt, DJ Supreme, DJ Robin, DJ Quez, DJ Speedy Jr., DJ Lazy, DJ Alex, DJ Rick Q, Dave Fotos, and Angel Cruz. My team is on the grind on a daily basis. I also want to take this opportunity to let you know that I am a big fan of your publication, and have been since day one. My motivation for this email is to have the privilege of having my team in your magazine. You have already put a couple of my mixtapes in your previous magazines, and for that I am grateful, but an article in your mag will definitely be the move. – DJ Stilo, firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m a fan of OZONE Magazine for several reasons. The number one reason is that you’re honest and straightforward; you let artists speak their mind freely. You remind people that this is America, and we have freedom of speech. I wanted to give you major ups on that. Also, not to be funny, but you’re a strong little Caucasian girl who is voicing for the south and you did something just for the South. From looks people would doubt you, but I like that because you proved them wrong. Keep doing your thing regardless of what anyone says. Hell, you’ve done it already by making the magazine what it is, but it never hurts to remind you. – Sondra Higgins, email@example.com The DJ issue was the ultimate shit. I put a lot of faces with orga*nizations and names of people I fuck with on the regular. Thanks for
the focus on the cornerstone of hip-hop: the muthafuckin’ DJ! Yeah! I appreciate the love you gave me in that issue. JB and the entire staff at OZONE fuckin’ rock! - DJ Slice, firstname.lastname@example.org (Houston, TX)
I gotta give it up to one person in your mag that everybody seems *to overlook: that damn Roland! That fool tells the truth and is crazy
as hell at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, Killer Mike does great throwback reviews, Wendy Day and Kamikaze keep filling us with valuable knowledge, and your 2 Cents is worth a quarter, but Roland have a nigga rollin’! He’s the only hater that’s hatin’ for the purpose of good. I read his column and start laughing. No, Flavor Flav can’t believe that those women love him; “makin’ it rain” is stupid - save your money, people; college thugs are some clowns; and homosexual men in the A is out of hand. - DJ Big Brd, email@example.com (Hattiesburg, MS) Hate it? Love it? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org OZONE reserves the right to edit comments for clarity or length. OZONE
t’s so funny how people get offended when I say I’m the shit. It’s called positive reinforcement, people. Confidence is a good thing. Seriously, what do you expect me to say in this column? Expose my weaknesses, my flaws, in a public forum? Do you really think I’m gonna write about my failures and insecurities and give anyone in the world easy ammunition to use against me? I’m not a pessimist, I’m just a realist. The more success or fame or money or anything you achieve, the more people are out to take your spot. Life is war, and the less your enemies know, the better.
10 Things I’m Hatin’ On By Roland “Lil Duval” Powell
Disclaimer: This is really what everybody else is sayin’. I know I’m dead wrong, but I’m hating anyway.
1. Niggas Getting They Tax Refund If you get your tax refund on Friday and Monday morning you’re broke again, you need to be shot repeatedly. 2. Jacki-O I don’t know who talked you into that bankruptcy shit, but they’re dumber than a bitch. Now you really ain’t gonna be able to get shit. All they can do is take your shit, which is what they were gonna do anyway. You should never file bankruptcy, but if you have to, make sure it’s for millions not for damn thousands.
Drama, me, and Khaled “Hustlin’” in Miami
3. The Ol’ Lady That Had A Baby At 62 Is she thinking about her child? How is she gonna balance dialysis and P.T.A.? 4. Record Labels I’m hating on record labels for signing more people than they put out. Stop using rappers for tax write-offs! 5. Street Teams Would you please stop tryin’ to give me a damn flyer before I go in the club? Ain’t nobody gonna read that shit. Just tell me what’s on the flyer you’re promoting. 6. Waffle House Teeth There’s no excuse for your teeth to be fucked up, especially if you’re wearing diamonds. Some people don’t even know their teeth are fucked up. if the dentist has to be put to sleep just to clean up your teeth, you’ve got Waffle House teeth. 7. All Star Weekend We black people need to get our priorities together. I know this nigga that went to Houston and paid $100 to $200 every night to get in all the clubs to ball out. When Monday came around he missed his flight to go home so AirTran told him he would have to pay $125 to change his flight. This nigga called me talking about, “Man, AirTran got me fucked up.” 8. Reverends and Ministers Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think my preacher should know more rap music than me. It just didn’t feel right when I heard this preacher say that he’s not a “Window Shopper.” 9. B.E.T.’s Road Show Does B.E.T. actually believe that people enjoy that shit? 10. Anybody That’s Still Combing Their Hair Backwards
Yung Joc, me, and Rico in Houston
See, y’all act like I’m a rapper or something. Just because I say I’m the greatest, everybody thinks I’m taking shots at them. Well, anyone who’s ever met me knows that I’m a smart ass to begin with. So if you don’t appreciate sarcasm you won’t understand. During All Star weekend, I heard that some label rep was talking shit about me at a club, and I happened to run into him the next day at Pappadeaux. So I asked him why he doesn’t like me, and he started quoting entire sections of my editorials word for word. See? Even the haters are OZONE readers and that’s why, once again, I must say that I’M THE SHIT. Okay, I am done with my “hater” rant for this issue. But it’s hard out here for a pimp, for real. Do you know how amazing it is that I’ve made it four years in this shit without having a nervous breakdown, pulling my hair out, killing someone, killing myself, or just plain quitting? Seriously, I’ve got stories for days. And half of them, I won’t tell you (for the reasons listed above). But all jokes aside, I’m really blessed to have made it this far. For one, anyone who’s ever put out a magazine or attempted to put out a magazine can tell you that it is expensive. The fact that I started this with nothing (I slept in the first office for two weeks straight when my power was out. Real shit. Told you I have stories for days) and can still afford to put out our 45th issue is amazing.
I can’t count how many times I was ready to quit because I needed “x” amount of dollars, and when I mentally hit my lowest point, the phone would ring with someone wanting to buy an ad for that exact amount. Although I work my ass off and I guess I’m pretty good at what I do, I can’t claim responsibility for that. It’s happened so many times that I have to conclude that someone upstairs wants me to be in this position. They say God works in mysterious ways, Ashley, Malik, me, right? So maybe that means a drug dealer buying an ad so I can Gary, Churd, and Chill pay rent? Or maybe me driving four hours to pick up an ad deposit in Houston from a makeshift brothel at 2 AM and heading straight to the printer to pay for magazines (yes, it happened)? Don’t get it twisted though. I’m not rich yet. The funny thing is, I really don’t care. That’s not what it’s about. Okay, you get some money: you buy cars, jewelry, clothes, houses, and then..... ? It’s really not about the end result for me. It’s the process of getting there. It’s looking back to where you were a year ago and seeing how far you’ve come. It’s about growth and new experiences; becoming more efficient and perfecting your talents. So looking back one year, two years, three years, four years - I feel like a totally different person. Sometimes you get so caught up in the daily grind that you forget what you were working towards in the first place. Wanna hear something funny? I was searching my email archives the other day, and came across messages I’d sent to a newspaper editor looking for freelance work in 2002. At the time, I had just started OZONE, and was also freelancing for The Source. He asked me what my goal was with OZONE. My email reply was, “Either to get a job at The Source, or to become their main competitor, whichever happens first.” - Julia Beverly, email@example.com
Big K.R.I.T. “Just Touched Down” T.I. “Why U Wanna Do Dat” T-Pain f/ everybody “I’m In Luv” remix LL Cool J f/ Jennifer Lopez “Control Myself” Yung Joc “It’s Goin’ Down” Chamillionaire f/ Bun B “Picture Perfect” Bun B f/ Ludacris “Trill Recognize Trill” Triple J “Platinum”
jb’splaylist U.S.D.A. “Burning Up” Rick Ross “Hustlin’” Keyshia Cole “Love” Paul Wall “Girl”
yearfour A Look Back At The Last Year In OZONE History So you’re new to the OZONE fan club, huh? Well, the last year has been an exciting one. Come along for the ride as we give you a quick recap of our favorite issues from the past year (visit www.ozonemag.com for complete back issues): MAY 2005 Our three year anniversary edition was a classic, featuring in-depth cover interviews with Pimp C, Bun B, and Baby. Paul Wall broke down racial stereotypes in an entertaining questionnaire, and we featured interviews galore (Michael Watts, Bohagon, Tigger, Pretty Ricky, Young Jeezy, and more). The always-controversial DJ Chuck T gave the finger to the haters and the RIAA, and Jacki-O and Foxy Brown faced off in the Flipside section. The continuation of Groupie Confessions kept everybody talking, and C-Murder’s Prison Diary consisted of a handwritten letter blasting the Louisiana state prison system. In Patiently Waiting, we highlighted some unknown rapper/singer with dreads named T-Pain, and David Banner’s endless obsession with Napoleon Dynamite inspired his own Movie Reviews column. - Julia Beverly AUGUST 2005 OZONE’s August 2005 issue truly showed why we are THE voice of Southern hip-hop. Instead of pussy-footing around and doing cute featurettes on artists that deserved big-time coverage, we went on ahead and did the damn thing. On one cover, David Banner opened up for one of his most candid interviews ever printed. He even shared clippings from his alma mater’s newspaper where he was elected SGA president, showing that he’s always had power to reach people (and that he loves being on the microphone). He even had his own comic book and DJ Drama Gangsta Grillz CD insert! With the other cover, we pledged a real allegiance to the “Houston Takeover” and gave Paul Wall (with help from his grill) some much deserved shine. We also had some excellent features on artists like Killer Mike, Chamillionare and Lil Wayne. Mind you, we did these interviews because we know these guys are hot and that our readers would love to hear for them, not because they had albums about to drop. If that wasn’t enough, this issue was the first magazine - no, the only media outlet, period - that revealed to the world that Mannie Fresh had “officially” departed Cash Money and Lil Jon was no longer recording for TVT Records. We even penetrated the penitentiary walls and brought you words from correspondent C-Murder, er, C-Miller, and former Hot Boy Turk. Speaking of which, did we mention that we got all three out of four Hot Boys to speak on a possible reunion in this issue? - Maurice G. Garland SEPTEMBER 2005 Our third annual “patiently waiting” edition hit the presses in the midst of Hurricane Katrina wreaking havoc on the Gulf Coast. Although we don’t own bulldozers, housing complexes, or truckloads of bottled water, we at OZONE tried to do our part, throwing together a hasty spread with rapper’s reactions to the devastation. A distraught 5th Ward Weebie called my phone at 1 AM with conspiracies galore, and I sat through endless “Due to the hurricane, your call can not be completed” messages trying to obtain other rappers’ quotes. In the patiently waiting segment we profiled some rising stars like Chingo Bling and T-Pain; if you have any doubts about our star-finding potential, check the resume: Bohagon, Chamillionaire, Jacki-O, Jody Breeze, Lil Scrappy, Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Pitbull, Pretty Ricky, Slim Thug, Trillville, Webbie, and Young Jeezy are just a few of the artists that were “patiently waiting” in OZONE before their record deals. We also got plenty of hate mail for reppin’ NYC in a small segment devoted to up-and-coming East coast rappers like Juelz Santana, Saigon, Jae Millz, Tru Life, and Maino. - Julia Beverly NOVEMBER 2005 We should have called our November mag the “Changes Issue.” The Bun B cover not only gave you powerful images, but powerful words as well. Bun spoke to our trusty Houston correspondent MattSonzalaSoReal less than 24 hours after seeing his hometown of Port Arthur, Texas take a heavy beating from Hurricane Rita (yeah the other storm, please don’t forget about them either), and it was truly the “realest interview ever.” What was supposed to be a regular ol’ Q&A with Jody Breeze turned into a little batch of controversy when he said that his ex-Boy N Da Hood Young Jeezy “wanted that light” (See our December 2005 ish for Jeezy’s response). We went against the grain and interviewed North Carolina’s Little Brother, who showed that the South is more diverse than people give us credit for. They also received a five-blunt rating for their album The Minstrel Show. We also used this issue to throw out the old and bring in the new. We changed the entire format of the magazine with no warning and started our more user-friendly Patiently Waiting format. We also introduced Killer Mike’s Throwback Review section and our Entrepreneur Profile, highlighting Tampa Tony and his invention Da Splitter. And what do you know? Jim Jones and Damien Marley are smoking on their feature photos, go figure. The issue was rounded out with a grown-up Youngbloodz interview and Lil Troy calling Scarface a snitch. And oh yeah, when Rolling Stone decided to do a piece on Pall Wall, he took a picture reading this issue. Yeah, we’re kind of a big deal! - Maurice G. Garland DECEMBER 2005 Sex sells, right? Our annual sex edition is always a favorite with our readers. But this issue was a favorite of mine for personal reasons. This is the issue where I revealed to the readers that I was one of the millions of people living day-to-day with genital herpes. The overwhelmingly positive response to that article let me know that writing that piece was the right thing to do, and that OZONE was the perfect platform for me to share my story. Aside from that, the feature story that followed the day in the life of a real life pimp was really intriguing. It was certainly interesting learning how the seemingly simple relationship between a pimp and hoe is actually more complex than it seems. On the flip side of things, if you felt like being entertained rather than being educated, there were plenty of groupie confessions and explicit interviews (Webbie took dirty talk to a whole new level) to keep you satisfied until next year’s sex issue comes. - Wally Sparks MARCH 2006 This is one of my favorite issues, for obvious reasons. I’m a DJ, and this issue was dedicated to the DJ: the often misunderstood, mistreated, and misrepresented part of our culture. It was great reading all the opinions of my peers and seeing that we all shared some of the same viewpoints on issues like payola, shady club promoters, and radio DJs vs. club DJs. Seeing everyone’s top club bangers was fun to read also. Aside from the DJ segment, we were ahead of the game with a feature on the newly freed Pimp C. - Wally Sparks
realtalk Truest Shit We Ever Spoke
his one here is for the fools who are still trying to dismiss OZONE as a “picture magazine.” Over the years, some pretty profound words have passed through our pages. So check the history (our complete back issues are also posted online at www.ozonemag.com): “I think the reason why the South is doin’ it is because we’re not trying to conform. At one point, everybody was like, ‘Be true to hip-hop.’ We didn’t give a fuck about all that shit – we just made records. Whatever we felt. We make records that make people move. We aren’t tryin’ to be true to nobody but ourselves.” – Lil Jon, #5 September 2002 “Looking at the state of the urban music game, this shit is ridiculous. Niggas are so brainwashed now. The media wants to keep us dumb so they keep showing niggas shooting niggas, niggas selling drugs, niggas pimping women. That’s all they allowed to see on television. So when cats come in the game they believe the only way they can become successful is by telling the same stories or being a copycat and it fucks the whole game up. It’s like nobody wants to be themselves.” - Rapper Big Pooh of Little Brother, #39 November 2005 “When I say I’m from the ghetto, I’m not just talking shit. I lived there for the majority of my life, and it ain’t shit to go back. I ain’t ever gonna be broke again, but I still go back and show love. I try to show people that if I made it out of here, you can too. It means something to me, and that could change somebody’s life. You don’t gotta just accept your fate. Some people feel like they don’t have a chance, like they can’t do nothing with their life. You provide hope.” – T.I., #29 November 2004 “I feel like I got put on the shelf, preserved, so I could come back later and do something positive. If ‘Pac hadn’t got out [of prison], he might still be alive today. Maybe there was a worse fate out there waiting for me.” – Pimp C, #34 May 2005 “The war [in Iraq] is too personal. There’s a lot of things that young kids are dying for that they don’t even know about. Being a young black male, I know how we’re treated on a day-to-day basis, and it’s just crazy that we’re being asked to sacrifice our lives for people who are uncomfortable just being around us. We’re thugs, right? They can’t get on the elevator with us, but now they want us to go fight in their war.” – David Banner, #11 April 2003 “I think that neither [men or women] has respect for a relationship. It’s so much more about cosmetics now than real love… I think women care more about what kind of car a guy can provide for them and how he’s living. It’s not what it used to be. These days, people just get divorced. It’s like a fad, something fashionable to do.” – Uncle Luke, #35, June 2005 “Niggas telling you the truth about the good shit about coming up, but not the whole truth. Part of the truth is just as bad as a lie. Yeah I used to make money off crack, but that shit ain’t good for the neighborhood. It fucked a lot of people up. The first time I ever counted out $10,000 to myself, just from the stench of the money and the thought of what I had to do to get it, I threw up. That’s the truth.” - Killer Mike, #37 August 2005 “A personal relationship with God is very, very important. If you don’t understand what that is, it’s a direct connect. You don’t have to go through no preacher, no church, nobody else. You can go straight to him.”
– Mr. Magic, #27, September 2004 “[Southern Hip Hop] is more than just screaming ‘nigga, killa, muthafucka, do this, do that.’ That ain’t what [Southern Hip-hop] is about. Niggas done took what it was about and turned it into something that everybody can party with and that party is about to turn into some bullshit.” - Pastor Troy, #23 May 2004 “I think a lot of white guys are just intrigued by the black culture and interested in it, but I don’t think they want to be black. I grew up in this community, so I don’t look at it as black culture. I look at it as my culture. Do I wanna be black? Nope. I don’t give a damn if I was Chinese, Mexican, white, black, or whatever. My daddy was still a drug addict, I still had a single momma, I’m still rappin’, and I’m still the people’s champ.” – Paul Wall, #34 May 2005 “Nobody’s a completely positive rapper. It’s not supposed to be a positive or negative thing. It’s all about how you feel. If I was lying to you, would you respect me? if I tell kids all positive messages, I’m lying to them. You’ll see me on the corner smoking a blunt, so why not just tell the kids and have them accept me for who I am? You can’t get away with lying anyway, they’re smarter than that.” – Juelz Santana, #15 August 2003 “One thing a lot of people don’t understand is that all artists start out as listeners. Right now, listeners are lazy because they don’t have to try hard to get music, so by due process, the artists become lazy. It’s just too easy.” – Bun B, #39, November 2005 “After the whole fight shit happened [with Orlando Anderson], [2Pac] called back home to let us know about the drama. His spirits was up, though, he was ‘bout to go out and have a good time. That’s the last thing I told him: ‘Be safe.’ He said, ‘You already know,’ and I never spoke to him again. Probably the last call he made.” – Noble of the Outlawz, #32 March 2005 “I’ve been signed with a major for three years now, and ‘spins’ is all they know up there in New York. They don’t know nothing about muthafuckin’ down South music. All they know is documentation. They’ve got their MBAs or whatever, fuckin’ degrees, but they don’t understand the streets. That’s why so many records flop like a muthafucker.” – Grandaddy Souf, #27, September 2004 “Codeine is a downer…When they did the autopsy [on DJ Screw] they found ice, some ‘ol white boy speed type shit. That’s an upper. Somebody slipped something in my nigga’s drink.” – Z-Ro, #36 July 2005 “The government is trying to legalize ecstasy for people that’s on they dying bed. Did you see that on the news? That’s some crazy shit. Ecstasy, isn’t that the same drug y’all were lockin’ everybody up for? Y’all said it was a date rape or addictive drug, and now y’all wanna say it’s okay? But, I think they will eventually legalize drugs some type of way, as long as the government could make money off ‘em. It’s all about politics; it’s all about the government monitoring us. They need to know what you’ve got. It’s the same problem with us warring with other countries. The problem is, we worried more about what other people got more than we worried about ourselves.” - Trick Daddy, #30 December 2004 “[Music] influences people. I had a moment in my life where I had entertainment and reality crossed.” – Pitbull, #24 June 2004
“I’m learning how to leave my pagers off, and turn my phones off. In life, every room has a door. I look at it like the Matrix. If you open the door and bring our phone in there, you’re bringing all the other shit that goes along with the phone in there, into your house…When it comes to my private life, I just shut everything down.” – Jermaine Dupri, #35, June 2005 “At one time, the East was very hostile towards us. After buying all their records for so many years, it was like a slap in the face. After trying to be accepted for so long, we turned our backs. We don’t wanna be accepted now. We’ve got our own thing down here. We don’t wanna listen to you, and we don’t care if you don’t wanna listen to us. We’re gonna do our own records and sell our own records to our own people. That’s the attitude that created Southern music.” – Pimp C, #34, May 2005 “Artists gotta get out and make things happen for themselves. Nobody’s gonna reach back and pull you up. [Some Tampa artists] have been around for years and I’ve watched them and their careers. They chose to stay in Tampa and try to conquer something they don’t need to conquer. They’re worried about the opinion of people in Tampa they grew up with, but those are gonna be the last people to accept you and appreciate you. You gotta go out and get the torch and bring it back home so they’ll appreciate you.” – Khia, #32, March 2005 “It’s too much talk about rims and such in rap now, and it really frustrates me cause it’s like people are flaunting their wealth in my face and in the faces of the people who work hard every day. There’s people I know that go out there and work their ass off 9-5 every day, and at the end of the month when they get their check they still barely making ends meet. Then they turn on the TV and see a muthafucker talking about, ‘I got eight cars!’ and he’s pouring Moet on the ground and shit. If I saw that, I’d be pissed off. I’d either want to rob the nigga or kill him.” – Kamikaze, #27, September 2004 “The rap game is just like the drug game. You’ve got some people that’ll double-cross you real quick, some people that don’t know how to act, people that know how to quadruple their money. Hustlers that can flip shit. But the biggest comparison is that you’re out here trying to get these people hooked on your shit; your product.” – Pitbull, #24, June 2004 “A lot of cats before me got discouraged and just gave up. You can’t do that. This shit makes too much money. They try to get all your music and break your spirit before you learn the game. They’re hoping that by the time you educate yourself, you won’t be viable anymore. A record company would love for every artist to be a one-hit wonder.” – Bun B, #34, May 2005 “My music is like a Bible with a Playboy cover. They see ass, so they pick it up, but inside there’s a message. When I was doing positive music, nobody would buy it. Nobody wants to hear that shit. So I said fuck it, I’mma give ‘em what they want to get their attention... I really feel that the media tries to keep [artists] away from our children. If I say ‘fuck’ on a CD, they say kids shouldn’t listen to it. Now honestly, if you say, ‘Excuse me kids, it’s time for everybody to sit down,’ they ain’t gonna sit down. Kids are so much smarter than parents give them credit for. As a rapper, I have more influence on kids than their parents do. If the parents were doing what they were supposed to, I wouldn’t have that influence.” – David Banner, #11 April 2003 “Being an American, I’ve got the right to freedom of speech. For me to connect with my people, I’ve gotta speak about what I’ve seen.” – Young Jeezy, #34, May 2005
“Women tend to be more mature about [STD testing] than men. Men, we don’t care. I’ve got homeboys that are like, ‘Man, fuck that shit,’ and that’s an ignorant state of mind. I hate to bash men, but that’s the biggest problem. There’s too many men out here contracting STDs and not protecting themselves and not letting their partners know. If men thought like women did for 30% of the day, I guarantee the STD rate would go down in the black community and in general.” - Smitty, #40 December 2005 “A lot of these New York rappers are just whack. I don’t respect a lot of these dudes as competition anyway. I see the artists that’s coming out of the South more as my competition, because they are the ones that are making noise.” – Juelz Santana, #38 September 2005 “Man, I miss 1989, 1990! You always knew PE was coming with somethin’, Kool G Rap came with the street shit, and Rakim came with that street scientist shit, you feel me? LL, you know he’d rep for the girls, and of course with KRS-One you had to watch what you said or the nigga would come to a show and murder you! That shit don’t exist no more. Everybody talks about the struggle, but the minute they make a lil’ money they talk about the bling.” - Wyclef Jean, #20 February 2004 “[We New Orleans natives] are in other people’s cities now, and they’re looking at us like we’re taking their resources, laying back and getting free shit. No, we lost everything, nigga... We gotta start over and get it how we get it. Everybody’s complaining and fussing and talking about what we’re doing, but they’re lucky we’re not out here layin’ niggas down. They better be happy they givin’ niggas that little FEMA money and that little Red Cross money, even though it ain’t shit, because New Orleans niggas is in survival mode. They will murk these niggas out here to feed they families.” - Chyna Whyte, #42 February 2006 “There’s a lot of people I know that came from good families and ain’t got no business selling drugs, so I ain’t really gonna blame it on the environment. You there cause you wanna be there. I ain’t have to be there. I was doing it cause I wanted to do it. I ain’t have to be running with hoes, fighting and stealing. It was the freedom, the money, and plus, I felt comfortable doing it. It’s a high. You take a risk and you start to get addicted to that shit. I used to feel good about it, but now I look back and think, I coulda went another route.” – Jacki-O, #24, June 2004 “Fuck sex, man. Get money. Put it to the back. Take the bread and the hoes come with it. Niggas are out here chasing pussy too much, that’s why they getting killed. Niggas are dying over pussy and dope. Fuck that. If you ain’t getting money and you chasing pussy, you got it fucked up. Strap up, young’n, cause if you sprayin’ ‘em, you will be payin’ ‘em for 18 years, 18 years! That’s as real as it gets.” - Shawn Jay of Field Mob, #40 December 2005 “40-year-old white people are not my peers. The state attorney coulda got an Emmy at my trial, because it was all theatrics. I was real bitter from the time they said, ‘Guilty,’ til I left the fuckin’ system. And I’m still bitter.” – Grandaddy Souf, #9 February 2003 “Most of the niggas in the game are fake, so they’ve got a nigga on they team doing dirt to make them look real. That’s how niggas get caught up. Real niggas know how to put their money into some legal shit and make it pop. But in Duval [County], some niggas, that’s all they live for - just to sell dope. I don’t understand that. If you ain’t got no muthafuckin’ plan and you just sellin’ dope for no reason, what is your purpose? You’ll die doing this shit, cause that’s the only way out. Dying or going to jail, one of the two.” - Young Cash, #30 December 2004 OZONE
by Wendy Day
ales of rap music are still declining. I hear the labels, pundits, and analysts talking about how downloading has affected sales. I don’t hear many folks talking about the fact that there isn’t much good music out there worthy of buying, which is the real reason for the decline in rap sales. Sales of a select few releases in rap still prove that if good music is there, the consumers will buy it. I was excited when downloading entered our world. I finally hoped that downloads would send a message to the major labels that talent in music really does matter, and these pre-fabricated artists they were signing and ramming down our throats with healthy radio budgets would be shown for the charlatans that they are. No such luck. Anyone who knows me knows that I like lyrics and melodic beats. I lived in New York for a very long time and burned out in the early 90s (after ten years) on recycled jazz beats, samples from 1970s hits, and the NY style of rap. So production like Kanye and the Neptunes seems regurgitated and old to me. Been there, done that. I attended all of the “hip hop activist” events in the 90s where folks slung mud at any music from outside of New York (they call them selves purists, I call them stuck in a time warp) and complained about how commercial hip hop had become (all the while they were trying to earn a living off the back of this commercialized music). I stopped attending their glorified complaint sessions disguised as “saving Hip Hop.” I get excited by Jazze Pha, Dre, and some of Lil Jon’s beats. I’m lovin’ Joe Buddens’ producer, Havoc from Mobb Deep, Primo, and RZA’s old shit (see, I’m not hatin’ on New York). But along came downloading. It was a chance for the fans to finally show exactly what music they wanted. Hell, it was free! If people choosing the music they like for free wasn’t a true indicator of what people wanted, nothing was. So I watched what was downloaded in record numbers, while watching the music business go from an album game back to a singles game like it was in the 70s. Was it the rap purists’ favorite artists that got downloaded in record numbers now that the true fans could get anything they wanted and not what the labels forced on them? Was it The Roots? Mos Def? Common? Talib? Any of the poster children for the hip hop purist movement? Nope. It was Snoop, 50 Cent, Ludacris—basically all of the commercial, radio driven rap music that had big budgets. But why? The fans could actually listen to songs and download whatever they liked, for free, instead of choosing what they heard every 20 minutes in rotation on the radio. In fact, with pod casting, satellite radio, and webcasts, shouldn’t commercial radio listenership be declining steadily? It’s not. There are more radio stations that play rap music than ever. “Laffy Taffy” was the #1 downloaded song ever, in January. Isn’t “Laffy Taffy” what everyone in the music business was complaining about was wrong with the music business? Yet, that’s what people downloaded in record numbers to put onto their new MP3 players that they got under their Christmas trees. How can we argue with the masses? The purists claimed that their artists didn’t get big budgets, therefore
the people couldn’t find their music in stores and on the radio. But the internet leveled that playing field. Mos Def appears in more films and on TV more than any other rapper. He was the favorite performer of Dave Chappelle, the #1 TV show that went to DVD and sold a million copies in the first day or two. Doesn’t that kind of mass exposure lead folks to search the web for his music? Of course it does. Then they download “Laffy Taffy.” I don’t mean to grind an ax on New York underground music. My point here is that when the consumer is given the chance to investigate the web for some music he or she might like, he still picks what’s in the Top 10 at Best Buy and Wal Mart. Go figure. What the internet does, is it gives an outlet and a voice to artists who never before would have seen the light of day without the luxury of a major label behind them. It gives the consumer the chance to discover new music on their own. So a small group from Iowa, for example, that has no access to a record label and no budget to put out their own CD can record their own songs and upload them onto the internet where a potential fan can discover their songs and buy their music for 99 cents a song (the split is usually 65% to the artist while the website retains 35%, at least in the case of iTunes, which seems to be leading the industry in sales). The internet also allows fans of the bigger international stars to buy just the songs that they want. So if you want to buy the latest Young Jeezy release but only want tracks 1,3,6, and 8, but all of the tracks on his last Gangsta Grillz CD, so be it. This gives the artist a clear indication of what types of songs fans are willing to purchase. If artists were truly enterprising, they’d also have all of the songs they’ve made for mixtapes available on their own websites, so fans could download those for 99 cents too. Imagine making your own Jeezy mix CDs consisting of all of his best mixtape songs. Eventually, maybe artists like Jeezy will offer 20 or 30 new songs on their website and allow fans to download the ones they want to make their own Jeezy album. Def Jam would never allow that, unless they could figure out a way to get paid for all 20 or 30 every time. Greed is a muthafucker! The week that I wrote this article, T-Pain’s “I’m N Luv (Wit’ a Stripper)” was the #4 downloaded song on iTunes, and Eminem’s “Shake That” was #5. When I compared their BDS (the measurement of how much radio play each song was getting around the US), T-Pain’s song is getting close to 12,000 spins a week, while Em’s song is getting only about half of that: 7,000 spins a week. Certainly more fans in the US know who Eminem is than T-Pain. Could they be discovering music through the internet? And would they have found T-Pain last year before he got signed to Akon’s label at Jive? The thing about downloading that excites me the most is that eventually this will be how we get all of our music, turning the labels into marketing companies instead of distributors of music. No matter what I like, no matter what you like, we will be able to find all of it and more online. And we can finally listen to what we choose to listen to, and place the blame for the decline of hip-hop exactly where the blame is deserved: the music. - 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.
01: Chamillionaire and Chingo Bling @ the Roxy (Houston, TX) 02: DJ Chuck T reppin’ OZONE (Houston, TX) 03: Jermaine Dupri stops by TV Johnny’s (Houston, TX) 04: Durte Red, Brisco, and Dela Candela on the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 05: Khujo Goodie, DJ Quest, and T-Mo Goodie @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 06: Reppin’ OZONE @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 07: Lil Shawn, Jill Strada, and Obie reppin’ OZONE @ WPYO (Orlando, FL) 08: Elephant Man reppin’ OZONE @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 09: Pitbull and Smoke of Field Mob on the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 10: Young Joc reppin’ his article in OZONE @ the Matrix (Houston, TX) 11: Mysterious and Fresh @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 12: Made In Dade clothing line on the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 13: J-Shin and Mercedes @ Mercury Room (Houston, TX) 14: Cat Daddy and Pimp C (Dallas, TX) 15: Webbie and Bun B @ Fox Sports Bar (Houston, TX) 16: Cox, Big Teach, and Jimmy Chocolate @ Calle Ocho (Miami, FL) 17: E-Vicious and Smoke D @ Bar Rio (Houston, TX) 18: DJ Khaled, Dre, Pitbull, Brisco, and Larry Dogg on the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 19: Devin the Dude and Big Neil @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 20: Pookie & Lucci reppin’ OZONE @ Club Narobi’s (Dallas, TX) 21: T-Dawg, Yo Gotti, and the Mayor of Pimpinville on the set of “Gangsta Party” (Memphis, TN) Photos: DJ Quest (05); Edward Hall (20); Julia Beverly (04,06,09,10,12,13,15,17, 18,19); Keadron Smith (03,11); King Yella (14); Kool Laid (21); Luis Santana (08); Malik Abdul (01,02,07,16)
groupieconfessions Disclaimer: These “groupie confessions” are anonymous, so we cannot verify if they are true or not. All details (cities, club names, hotel names) have been removed. These stories do not necessarily represent the opinions of OZONE Magazine. These stories did not necessarily occur recently, so if you are currently seeing one of these fine gentlemen, no need to curse him out. If you have a celebrity confession, send an email to email@example.com or call 407-447-6063 to tell your story.
Phife (A Tribe Called Quest) How did you meet him? At a club, back in the day. Did you know who he was? Yeah, he was famous at that time. I knew who he was. He tried to talk to me, tryin’ to push up on me hardcore. He was like, “I’m feeling you, you a shorty too,” cause he’s short. I was like, “Aight, cool,” but I didn’t plan on dating him. I just hung around him to let him buy me lunch or whatever. I came to find out that he didn’t even have a car, so whenever we’d hang out I had to go pick him up. At that point, I really didn’t like him, but when I didn’t have anything better to do I’d go hang out with him. He was cool, but the more I was around him the more I saw his personality. What’s his personality like? He’s a really, really angry person. He’s a short, angry man, and he’s just mad about life in general. He was always talking shit about people. Every time I was around he had something to say about some other rapper or whatever. He was like Mr. Opinion. The person he shitted on the most was his partner, Q-Tip, the one that was in the group A Tribe Called Quest with him. He’d shit on Q-Tip all day long. What was his problem with Q-Tip? It was like he had this inner contempt for him. And I’d ask him, “How did you manage to be in a group with this person for so long if you don’t even like him?” He’d say Q-Tip was selfish and had an attitude, but really and truly, Phife’s attitude was the one that sucked. He was so angry all the time, talking shit about people. But some people can’t see their own bullshit. Did he ever talk shit to Q-Tip’s face? No, that’s what I’m saying. They were a group. They were recording together. I think this was around the time they were doing their last album
together. They didn’t do any albums together after that. Q-Tip went on to make a solo album, “Vivrant Thing” was successful, but Phife was nowhere to be found. He always had these big plans to become a sportswriter, but I guess nothing materialized. You could clearly see that Phife was resentful and angry. Q-Tip had guest appearances and a lot of stuff; he was always on other people’s albums or on TV. Phife was always at home playing Playstation and talking shit. So did you ever hook up with him? Yeah, I really wasn’t interested at first, though. Cause he’s short. I don’t really date short dudes. Plus, I like a certain type of dude, somebody with swagger, somebody who can pick me up and treat me like a lady. He didn’t even have a car. He’d invite me places just to hang out. But there were a few times that we did have sex, which is a whole ‘nother story. Girl, his johnson is so small. It’s not even humanly possible. It’s like the size of a midget johnson, like a little kid. That’s what he got. Maybe that’s why he’s so angry. It was crazy. I used to wonder, Does this guy know that his johnson is small? Sometimes people don’t have a point of reference, so they don’t really know. After the first time, I really wasn’t with it. I let him do oral, and that’s how he got in, because I never had any intentions of having sex with him. He was acting like he was gonna go down and do his thing, so I was like, “Aight,” but it wasn’t all that. Once he did his thing I was like, Damn, I gotta give him something. We were cool, friends, homies, so I went ahead and gave him some. But it was the worst lay of my life. It was really tiring. I met with him one other time, but after that it was a wrap. He’s so small, I would be thinking about my grocery list while we were having sex. I really couldn’t feel anything, and it wasn’t me. Damn. I guess you’re not in touch with him anymore, huh? He’s a nice person, but he’s just so angry. He’s always focused on the negative. It’s very difficult to see anything positive about him because he was always showing the ugly side, shitting on people. When you’re around people like that it makes you think, Damn, what does he say about me when I’m not around? I just kept it moving. I’m hoping he’s found some happiness in life.
01: Partners-N-Crime and J Prince @ Mercury Room (Houston, TX) 02: Trick Daddy and the Dunk Ryders on the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 03: Jive crew: Chad Brown, guest, Dave Lighty, and Jabba @ the Matrix (Houston, TX) 04: Short Dawg and Swizz Beatz @ DMX party (Houston, TX) 05: Crunchy Black and Supa of Sqad Up @ Max’s (Houston, TX) 06: King Ron with Bungi Entertainment’s Shot Out @ Stop the Violence concert (Jacksonville, FL) 07: Atiba and Tony C @ WPYO (Orlando, FL) 08: Young Jeezy and Lady Al-V @ The Venue (New Orleans, LA) 09: DJ Quest and DMC @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 10: Brasco and Bishop @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 11: Elephant Man makes a fashion statement @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 12: Tyrone and Smitty reppin’ OZONE on the set of “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 13: Pitbull and Lil Bass on the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 14: Mike B and Big Earl reppin’ OZONE @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 15: Fat Joe and DJ Khaled reppin’ OZONE (Houston, TX) 16: Rasaq, Chamillionaire, and Pimp C @ Bar Rio (Houston, TX) 17: UTP and Brandi Garcia reppin’ OZONE @ Juvenile party (Houston, TX) 18: Nick Scarfo and Gangsta Boo on the set of Yo Gotti’s “Gangsta Party” (Memphis, TN) 19: Disco, Suga D, and the City Boyz @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 20: Lex Dirty and Jimmy Swagger @ Big Floaty’s listening party (Atlanta, GA) 21: TJ Chapman and Citty @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) Photos: Big Earl (14); DJ Quest (09); Julia Beverly (01,02,03,0 5,10,12,13,16,19,21); Keadron Smith (04,17); Kool Laid (18); Luis Santana (11); Malik Abdul (06,07,15); Marcus DeWayne (08); Maurice Garland (20)
mystory A Bad Day In Duval: Broken Leg and Felony Charges For Field Mob’s Shawn Jay
y baby mama stays in Jacksonville, in the hood. I got to sneak in when I come there to get my lil baby, cause I couldn’t let everybody know where she stays. So I was sittin’ outside her apartment complex, tryin’ to be discreet. This girl was all up on a nigga, a fan, tryin’ to smoke a blunt with a nigga. I wasn’t tryin’ to be rude, but I told her, “I don’t wanna smoke a blunt.” My intentions were to get my little girl and bounce. So later my neighbor comes upstairs [to my baby mama’s apartment] and tells me, “A bunch of niggas were outside my house, they was talking about running in your house. That girl you were talking to was with them.” So, long story short, I ended up cussing this bitch out because she was on some fan shit, some groupie shit, like, “Shawn Jay stays right here,” not thinking that my lil girl is gonna be there when a nigga runs up in there, thinking I got paper. It’s all about the safety of my child when I’m not around; that’s why I tried to keep it low-key. So, I ain’t with all that fuckery. I ain’t goin’ through that shit no more, so I’m prepared. I’m on jack boy alert. I got my lil girl with me and my baby mama with me, and we go to another complex the very next day. I was like, “I need to move you from over there,” and me and her don’t kick it like that, understand? It’s just about my kid. And coincidentally – this is the crazy shit – Chaka Zulu had called me that night because I was supposed to be in Atlanta. So me and him were chit-chatting on the phone and he was telling me how much I need to get my ass out of Jacksonville and back to the A. I love Duval [County], and they love a nigga back, but they ain’t used to a nigga like me. You go to the mall, and I’m right there even though you just seen me on 106th & Park. It’s happened like this frequently, where niggas rode up on me, not knowing how paranoid I am anyway. I’m always scared I’m gonna kill a fan cause I been through a lot of shit before I got a little name. So while we’re upstairs looking at this apartment in another complex, I ain’t payin’ no attention to the apartment. I’m peepin’ these niggas and watching them park they car in the back of the complex and jump the fence.
Long story short, somebody called the police on the other boys. The police pulled up and saw me. Ford Taurus pull up, Shawn Jay gone / White boy jump out, pointing with they gun. That’s exactly what happened! The police officer pulls up on me, like, “Freeze and get on the ground!” And I ain’t doin’ nothing wrong! So they start messin’ with me, and the apartment complex is right by the road. You know how it is in The Matrix, when everything slows up? It was like that. They tryin’ to put a stun gun on a nigga for nothing, so I turn and run, and – whoosh! – a car! This Corolla hit me and ran over my ass. I got hit by that bitch and it rolled over me and I didn’t realize it. I jumped straight up and took off running, and that’s when I noticed that my leg was just hanging, dangling. I had on jeans and my leg was hanging out. I completely broke my shit in half, all the bones. It was just hangin’ on by the meat and the nerve. They were gonna amputate my shit at first. I been through a lot – having a price on your head, getting shot by your homeboys – but you don’t wake up at the beginning of the day thinking your ass is gonna get hit by a car. Subsequently, I’ve got a pistol charge, which is a felony. I’m being charged with evading the police. That’s fucked up. When a nigga tries to do good, that’s when they come around with all that bullshit. People don’t realize that being on a nigga’s dick makes a nigga act funny. I like it when people are on some cool shit. I done had niggas walk up on me and say, “I’m your biggest fan,” and then try to pull a pistol and rob me. I’ve been through that before, so I look at everybody like it’s finna go down. So now I’ve got a broken leg and a felony charge, and it’s basically because of this rap shit. Miss me with that rap shit, damn. Back to muthafuckin’ court. More bullshit. I can’t say too much, because the case is still pending. But sometimes it’s required that a firearm be present. 90% of the time a firearm is required. Is it my fault that a nigga can see you on BET and then see you 26
in the hood and think they can try you? That ain’t my fault. I thought I was keeping it real. Niggas always talk about, “I don’t need security,” but it’s crazy out here. You’ll die. You’ll either get your head busted by the police, or by some niggas cause you got a little bit of fame. Please tell people to calm down. If you see a rapper, man, calm down. That nigga ain’t shit. Shawn Jay ain’t shit. Give him dap and keep it moving. All that other shit is crazy, dawg. And fuck the police – I been saying that for a minute. And it’s not just in Duval, I done had charges everywhere. But I don’t glorify that lifestyle. I was tryin’ to escape all that. But this is another situation of having a little bit of fame and a whole lot of trouble. I’m gonna join the Ku Klux Klan soon if these niggas don’t tighten up. I’m starting to hate niggas. Somebody real needs to step up. We need some real niggas and some real gangstas. There’s too many crazy, stupid-ass hatin’ niggas out here. Fuck it, let’s go back to my favorite word: this shit is gay. It’s gay out here. Too many niggas on my dick. Niggas be getting robbed because they fuckin’ all the hoes. I’m telling you, I watch my niggas. They meet a hoe at the club, don’t know her from nowhere, and take that bitch back to the room and get robbed. I just ain’t no talkative-ass nigga. Half of these bitches be robbin’ niggas. That’s some gay shit. I’m about getting rich. It’s crazy that we’re talking about this. Just because I’m doing better in my career, I have to worry about my daughter’s safety. It’s happened before – niggas tried me and kicked in my door. They came looking for one thing, but I gave ‘em something else. They call it “paranoid,” but I call it “cautious.” - as told to Julia Beverly (Photo: Shannon McCollum)
Shawn Jay (right): Who needs crutches when you’ve got rap partner Smoke to lean on?
01: Devin the Dude and Yukmouth reppin’ OZONE @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 02: KLC and FIend (Dallas, TX) 03: J-Style and DJ Secret (Ft. Myers, FL) 04: The Runners and Pitbull reppin’ OZONE on the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 05: Sho Stoppa, Stunna, and Chingo Bling reppin’ OZONE (San Antonio, TX) 06: Mel and DMX @ K104 (Dallas, TX) 07: Guest, Mike Clarke, and Wendy Day @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 08: DJ Smallz @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 09: DJ Greg G and Niko Star @ the Roxy (Orlando, FL) 10: Mannie Fresh loves OZONE again (Houston, TX) 11: Guest and DJ Marquis reppin’ OZONE @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 12: DJ E-Z Cutt and Wu Chang reppin’ OZONE @ Dave & Buster’s (Houston, TX) 13: Bubba Sparxxx reppin’ OZONE @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 14: G-Boy and T.I. @ Hot 104.5 (New Orleans, LA) 15: Rick Ross and Jim Jonsin on the set of “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 16: TV Johnny and his wife @ Richi’s (Houston, TX) 17: Plies and Ted Lucas @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 18: Marley Marl and Kool Herc @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 19: Southstar, Malik Abdul and crew reppin’ OZONE @ Sharpstown Mall (Houston, TX) 20: The All-Stars reppin’ OZONE @ Fox Sports Bar (Houston, TX) 21: TJ Chapman and Big Will @ Rollexx for the filming of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) Photos: DJ Greg G (09); Julia Beverly (01,04,11,12,15,17, 18,19,20,21); Keadron Smith (07,10); King Yella (06); Luis Santana (08); Luxury Mindz (05); Malik Abdul (13,16); Marcus DeWayne (14); Promotivation (02)
careerbooster Jacki-O Speaks On Her Shoplifting Arrest In a previous OZONE interview, you admitted that you used to be a booster. Are you returning to your old habits? When people consider you a celebrity, does that mean that you stop being who you really are? I don’t consider myself a celebrity, just somebody that raps. That’s something that I know how to do as well. Until I can get all my friends and family out of the streets, I’m gonna be right here with them. I rap about it, but I’m not condoning it. Worst case scenario, I’m just imitating my art. I’m not condoning stealing, but sometimes people do wrong things for the right reasons. You recently filed bankruptcy also. Are you really hurting for money that bad? Were you stealing for financial reasons? I checked in with 8 stacks. But I mean, why does anybody do something wrong? It’s always a money issue. On some real shit, the streets have always fed me from day one. Sometimes things do get a little slow, though. Do you think you got caught because you’re a celebrity? Not at all. I had been in the store all day so I brought that on myself. I had been in there all day handling that. I don’t think I was caught because I was a celebrity. I just think that when you’re out here doing wrong, you ain’t always gonna have a good day. There’s a booster vibe that you catch when you’re out there doing wrong. When you get that vibe and you know something ain’t right, you supposed to pay attention. I felt it but I ain’t pay attention to it. I had been in that store all day hittin’ them and I really was just being greedy. I heard it was a Neiman-Marcus? It was a high-end store. I mean, if you ain’t gonna go for the best, why even go for it at all? How did they catch you stealing? They didn’t really catch me. They caught the person that I was with, so I have a codefendant. Me being greedy, that’s how I got caught. What were you charged with? Battery on a police officer, grand theft, and resisting arrest. Battery on a police officer? What happened? They was trying to charge me with something that I felt like I shouldn’t have been charged with. You know my mouth. I tried talking my way out of it, but that wasn’t happening. When you’re dealing with people that feel like they got authority over you, sometimes they overplay their position. That’s what was happening, and they started being real pushy. I mean, if I’m a liar and a thief, this is what y’all made me. This is who I am. I don’t condone it, but on some real shit, this is what it is. Like I said, I checked in with 8 stacks. So I ain’t hurting for money. But when you do wrong things, wrong things happen. I felt like the store was sweet. We had been hittin’ the store all day and I was just being greedy. But I never lied to my fans, from day one. On my album I came out telling them: This is who I am, and this is what I do. Not that it’s right to do it, but this is where I’m from. I never lied. A lot of artists come out goody-two-shoes and you check and find out that they’ve done all types of shit. A lot of people do a lot of bad shit. Ain’t no sin worse than the next. We all have sinned. Whether you’re selling dope or selling pussy or stripping – and I’m talking about celebrities too – everybody does their thing. I don’t feel like I’m a bad person because I’ve been arrested or because of my past. I’ve slipped. I’m a recovering booster, and sometimes we slip just like a recovering drug addict. I’m still trying to get my life together. I heard that an officer from the prison called Miami radio station 99 Jamz and told them you’d been arrested? That’s not true. Nobody from TGK called telling them I was arrested. The only reason I didn’t bond out that same night was because they were changing shifts. Everybody knows that’s the worst time to go to jail because they hold you and you can’t bond out. I had been up all night, and I had a show the next day. I showed my fans my arrest papers and everything, before anybody would have a chance to get on the air and try to disrespect me or say that I’m hiding something. Everybody respected the fact that I came clean with them. I’d rather come clean before I let a person find out something negative about 28
me. Why should I be embarrassed? I rap about this shit. This is everyday, real life shit. Some of the greatest people have taken a fall. This is just something that’s gonna make me stronger. I’m a recovering booster, a recovering trafficker, everything. I ain’t perfect. I’m only human. I’ve done a lot of things in my life that I’m not proud of, and it takes time. You can’t just quit cold turkey, especially when you know that this lick right here may help out a family member. I have a huge family and a lot of friends that depend on my help. So you’ll see me in the hood every day, on any corner, any project, any hood you’re bound to see Jacki-O cause this is who I am. I don’t get rich and go South on my people. I don’t leave my people behind. I heard you blasted 99 Jamz. I was upset with the radio station because they only blast you when it’s something negative. Even though it did happen, I did get arrested, they always go in-depth and report on the negative stuff. They never reported on the fact that I have a mixtape out there doing very well in the streets. People are going crazy over my Free Agent mixtape. My new single “Monkey” is getting spins all over. They’re not reporting on that. If you’re not gonna help me, don’t hurt me. That’s all I’m asking. DJ Khaled won’t play my shit because [Poe Boy CEO] E-Class told him not to play it. If you’re not gonna support Miami artists, what are you doing here? You’re a DJ, you’re supposed to play records, not get into the personal shit. On Big Lip Bandit’s morning show, they get on the air and say a lot of negative things about local artists. That’s not necessary. If you’re not for the local artists, and you’re not from Miami, why are you here? They don’t have anything to do with what went down between me and Poe Boy. That’s between me and E-Class. Why would E-Class tell DJ Khaled not to play your record? Hey, I don’t know. Maybe he knows the answer to that one. Because I chose to go another route to push my career. And I’m not on their label anymore. But I have been getting support from people like DJ Suicide and the Baka Boyz, other DJs that don’t give a fuck about the personal shit. The shit between me and E-Class ain’t got nothing to do with DJ Khaled. If you were supporting me before, why not now? So what does it take for a recovering booster not to slip up? No more shopping for Jacki-O? I’m still gonna shop, you just can’t go in places that’s sweet. A “sweet” store means they ain’t got no cameras, buzzers, nobody watching the store. I don’t steal from my friends or family, though, I just live off the fat of the land. I know I’m sounding real ignorant right now, but it’s true. - Julia Beverly (Photo: Cara Pastore)
01: David Banner signing autographs @ TV Johnny’s in the Sharpstown Mall (Houston, TX) 02: Smitty and DJ Drama reppin’ OZONE on the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 03: Great, Tampa Tony, and Lucky reppin’ OZONE @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 04: X-Trct reppin’ OZONE @ the Roxy (Houston, TX) 05: Young Cash, Malik Abdul, and Lil Hen @ Leopard Lounge (Jacksonville, FL) 06: Bo, DJ K-Tone, Big Kev, and DJ Quote @ Club Blue Ice (Denver, CO0 07: Lil Rob and DJ E-Z Cutt (Houston, TX) 08: Orlando looking for Ms. New Booty during Bubba Sparxxx’ performance @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 09: Teddy T and Koko @ Mercury Room (Houston, TX) 10: Tami and Ne-Yo @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 11: Swizz Beatz and Raw Lt. @ DMX party (Houston, TX) 12: Trina and Ashley reppin’ OZONE (Houston, TX) 13: Stage McCloud and Chaos @ the Rollexx for Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” video shoot (Miami, FL) 14: Kid Capri reppin’ OZONE @ the Roxy (Houston, TX) 15: Yung Redd and Gu reppin’ OZONE (San Antonio, TX) 16: Yo Gotti, the Block Burnaz, and Kiotti @ the Matrix (Houston, TX) 17: D-Roc and Mr. Collipark reppin’ OZONE @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 18: Attitude, Brandi Garcia, and Askia Fountain @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 19: Citty, Jermaine, and Street Runner on the set of “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 20: MC Hammer and Wendy Day @ Mercury Room (Houston, TX) 21: Prodigy and Cat Daddy @ K104 (Dallas, TX) Photos: DJ E-Z Cutt (07); DJs-R-Us (06); Julia Beverly (02,03,09,13,16,17,19,20); Keadron Smith (01,11,18); King Yella (21); Luis Santana (08); Luxury Mindz (15); Malik Abdul (04,05,10,12,14)
q&a Scar In an interview with allhiphop.com, Big Boi called you the “secret weapon” of Purple Ribbon. How does it feel to be paid that compliment by one of the world’s most respected and successful MCs? Honestly speaking, I’m still thrown off by the whole statement, because when you continue to do you and focus - I don’t think about what I’m trying to do or who I’m trying to impress. When Big said that, I was so flabbergasted, I was like, “Are you serious?” Like, that’s great! It’s really like being knighted or something, like he knighted me or something. So I continue to stay focused. I believe in growth and positive change so I won’t be the same next year. I won’t be the same five years from now. I just want to try to continue making great music and try to write better songs. What’s it like being able to work with the Purple Ribbon artists and be around so much creative energy? Everybody involved, from Sleepy [Brown] to Janelle [Monae] to Big to Konkrete to Bubba to Cee-Lo, anybody that’s affiliated, it’s where you want to be as an artist. Even if you’re a painter or poet, whatever type of scene you’re in, this is the type of environment you want to be in. You’re exposed to so many different things and you’re enlightened by so many different things that you pick up and learn from other people. What you’re lacking in, somebody else might be proficient in, so it just gels so nicely. That sounds like a great musical university. You can take whatever course you want over here, so it’s real nice. And changing your major is encouraged! Yup. Very good way to put it. Exactly. What’s the journey that brought you here to this point? Well, I’m from Mississippi: A small town called Columbus, in northeast Mississippi. My father was in the Air Force so we traveled quite frequently. Every three to four years. And my dad started retiring and we ended up moving back to Mississippi. I spent my teenage years there and decided to go to Morehouse College. That’s what brought me to Atlanta. I studied English and theater and that’s where my musical career began. I started meeting different producers, different writers and started going to cafés and to things that were different that I knew I’d like. I’d go to talent shows, plays, if an orchestra came to town - I didn’t care what it was. I did it to open my mind to more things. By my sophomore year, I was in the studio more frequently to the point where it was affecting my school work and it really affected me, like, what do I really want to do? I had to sit back and think what I wanted to do and set down goals to reach that certain dream. Because everything’s attainable; you just have to set realistic goals. That’s what I did and it brought me to here. I have a management company, Matone, which is Antonio Reid Jr., Curtis Mayfield Jr. and George Enriquez. And we sat down and tried to think, who would get Scar’s vision and allow me to be creative and everything and let me do what I do? And the first people that came to my mind was OutKast. We got their A&R, Regina Davenport, a demo and she loved it and passed it to Big. He came in from overseas like a week later, listened to the demo and called her in the wee hours of the morning and said, “I need to see him tomorrow.” The day I was supposed to meet him, I was working at the mall. I closed my store down and [laughs] haven’t been back to work since. How did you get the name Scar? I was in a car accident. I lost my brother and my cousin and broke both of my legs and ended up having an, I guess, significant scar on my chin. Cuz you can’t miss it when you look at me. It’s just really turning the scar into a beautiful thing. Every scar has a story. It can be internal or external scars, good and bad. People think I’m a rapper when they see me, until they hear me. You can really learn from everything, and that’s what the whole Scar thing is about. I have a story, and I wanted to make it something beautiful. You’re on the new OutKast single, “Hey Baby.” How did that song come about? It was produced by Andre five or six years ago. They were gonna use 30
it for Stankonia [or] TLC’s album at the time. But some things happened and nobody ever got to it. Big pulled it out on his iPod and played it for me a few months ago. He said, “Listen to some beats and see if there’s anything you like.” He played me several songs and all of them are jammin’. But that one in particular - when I got to the last song, it was called “Morris Brown.” I just fell in love with it. It turns out that Dre actually paid the band from Morris Brown individually back around 1999 and orchestrated and produced the sound. I thought that was incredible. And then I got to see an early screening of the movie [OutKast’s Idlewild] and got the gist of that and I knew right away what to do with it. I went in, laid down the hook and actually wrote a verse and the rest is history. The main thing is that with me being an artist and me being a writer and looking up to Andre and Big as living legends, I really needed their stamp of approval. Like, I hope they love it. So Big did and I had one left to go, and Dre came in the studio and was like, “Man, I love it!” Do you have a typical process when you write songs? I like to think that I’ve been blessed with the gift to just be spontaneous. It could be anything: A melody might come to my head and I don’t need a beat. I’ll grab my dictaphone and sing the whole song down. If I hear a beat and I don’t get it within five minutes? Man, I’m not messing with it. It’s kinda crazy because I have a friend who is a well-known songwriter and if he gets frustrated he’ll sit there and go through it. But with me, if it doesn’t come to me I just keep it moving to the next beat. I get excited about things that are different because they help me expand my way of thinking. I don’t like to think in a box. When you get too much of the same old same, you just become complacent and you’ll stay there. How close are you to finishing your first album? Actually, I’m very close. Especially now with “Hey Baby,” it’s kind of huge for somebody like me to be coming out the gate by being featured on the first single on the new OutKast album. I know a lot of people aren’t familiar with me, so I want to be ready. Right now I’m at like 90%. I’m actually featured on two other songs on the Idlewild soundtrack and on Bubba Sparxxx’s album, so a lot of things are lining up and ’06 should be a good year. I’m excited – one thing, all your life you hear, “Be patient, when it’s your time it’s your time.” You have to be in a hurry to wait, but be ready. When it’s your time it’s your time. Last year I thought it was my time, the year before I thought it was my time! Now it’s finally here, and it’s coming in a major way, man. I’m just being prayerful about it and trying to stay focused. Do you know when you might put it out? There’s no telling. Right now it’s just about being patient. It seems like you’re taking a potentially high-pressured situation and making it work for you in the most positive way. It’s a big weight, to be a part of the legacy that you’ve been ushered into. That’s why I try not to focus on that! [laughs] But it’s cool, man. I’m ready for the ride. And I know every road has cracks in it and you’ll have your ups and downs, but the main thing is that you gotta keep driving towards your goals. - Tamara Palmer
01: Ted Lucas and DJ Khaled reppin’ OZONE on the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 02: Guest, DJ Christion, Acafool, Boy Wonder, Guest, and Kid Money KG reppin’ OZONE @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 03: Juvenile and TV Johnny @ Club Blue (Houston, TX) 04: Khujo Goodie, Nancy Byron, and T-Mo Goodie @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 05: Flex and Papa Duck @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 06: Big Teach, JC CRUNK!! and Cubo @ Calle Ocho (Miami, FL) 07: MC Lyte and OG Ron C (Houston, TX) 08: DMX shooting pool (Tampa, FL) 09: Michael Watts reading OZONE @ the Matrix (Houston, TX) 10: Magno reppin’ OZONE (San Antonio, TX) 11: Kool Laid and MJG on the set of “Gangsta Party” (Memphis, TN) 12: Marcus DeWayne @ the Mardi Gras Zulu Parade (New Orleans, LA) 13: Int’l Red and Mr. Collipark @ Mercury Room (Houston, TX) 14: Adele and Al-My-T @ KMJJ (Shreveport, LA) 15: Aztek and Lump @ the Roxy (Houston, TX) 16: Grafh and G-Mack @ the Matrix (Houston, TX) 17: Big Bank Hank, Raw Lt., Rob Gold, and Big Swoll @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 18: Reppin’ OZONE @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 19: Southstar, Ice Grillz crew, and U Digg Records crew @ Rich’s (Houston, TX) 20: Big Gipp, Ali, Trae, and guests @ Mercury Room (Houston, TX) 21: Bum Squad DJs @ Dave & Buster’s (Houston, TX) Photos: Al-My-T (14); Julia Beverly (01,05,09,13,16,17,20, 21); Keadron Smith (03,04,15); Kool Laid (11); Luis Santana (02,08); Luxury Mindz (10); Malik Abdul (06,07,18,19); Marcus DeWayne (12)
01: E-Class, Trae, Rick Ross, and Michael Watts @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 02: Jagged Edge (Atlanta, GA) 03: Grafh and Triple J @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 04: Rick Ross and DJ Quote @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 05: Sqad Up @ Max’s (Houston, TX) 06: Jason, Attitude, and Big Al @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 07: Garfield and the Mega City Chicks @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 08: Ne-Yo reppin’ OZONE @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 09: Swizz Beatz and Waah @ DMX’s listening party (Houston, TX) 10: 5th Ward Weebie and TV Johnny @ Club Blue (Houston, TX) 11: Dre and Jim Jonsin on the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 12: Latin Prince and Cristal Bubblin’ @ The Box (Houston, TX) 13: Derek Jurand and Scott Boogie @ the Matrix (Houston, TX) 14: C-Rola reppin’ Swishahouse (Houston, TX) 15: Yo Gotti and Kiotti @ the Matrix (Houston, TX) 16: The Horsemen @ Listen & Exchange Conference (Houston, TX) 17: D-Roc, Don P, and J Prince @ Mercury Room (Houston, TX) 18: Ladies reppin’ OZONE @ Sharpstown Mall (Houston, TX) 19: Chalie Boy, Ryno, and DJ Rapid Ric reppin’ OZONE (San Antonio, TX) 20: Purple and his daughter on the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 21: TV Johnny, Dee Money, and Spiff @ Rich’s (Houston, TX) Photos: DJ E-Z Cutt (12); DJ Quote (04); Julia Beverly (03, 05,06,07,11,13,15,17,20); Keadron Smith (01,09,10,14,16); Luis Santana (08); Luxury Mindz (19); Malik Abdul (18,21); Shannon McCollum (02)
producerprofile The Runners (Orlando, FL) Originally from Vero Beach, FL, production duo Drew and Mayne Zayne now call Orlando home. They recently scored big with Rick Ross’ hit single “Hustlin’.” How did you guys hook up? Drew: We’ve known each other since preschool. Our mothers and fathers were both pretty good friends. So we’re like brothers. Did you have formal music training, or just start playing around with production equipment? Drew: Mayne pretty much started in the church playing. He played the drums and piano when he started. I went to college in North Carolina and took up music production. Two years ago we actually moved down here to Orlando and decided to start this company. So you actually linked back up in North Carolina? Drew: Yeah, we’re both originally from Vero Beach, but at 13 years old I moved to North Carolina. Then we lost contact, so it was crazy that when I called him three years later he was doing the same thing I was doing. We always say, “Everything was written.” How does it work creatively in a production duo? Do you start beats and he finishes them? Or you each have your own style? Drew: It’s kind of cool because I lean more to the business side. So far I’ve been doing all the managing and he leans more to the music thing. Not to say that I don’t do the music thing as well; I’m in the studio with him all the time collaborating and we still come together for all the major business decisions. It allows us not to step on each other’s toes. I’m not in the studio with him every second, because I’m handling the business side of things. So I handle the business and he handles the music, but we still collaborate with each other on every major decision. Aside from the “Hustlin’” track, what are some other songs you’ve produced? Drew: We also did Rick Ross’ next two singles, and we’ve got “Lil Haiti,” Smitty’s street single. We’ve got Currency’s newest single, he’s Lil Wayne’s newest artist. The song features Lil Wayne and Remy Ma. We got Dirtbag’s newest single featuring Dre, “Bring It Back To The Bottom.” We got DJ Khaled’s new single “Born And Raised In The County Of Dade,” featuring Pitbull, Trick Daddy, and Rick Ross. As you can see, right now all we’re trying to do is straight singles. It seems like you’re working with a lot of Florida artists. Are you trying to define a Florida sound that’s not just bass? Drew: Absolutely. It’s a Miami sound, really. I think it’s something totally different and new. Mayne Zayne: This “Hustlin’” shit is an all new sound. It’s a typical Runners beat, really. We’re breaking new artists. Drew: We kinda studied all the producers who blew up, and they all had a typical sound that was associated with them. You’ve got Scott Storch, Cool & Dre, and now we’ve got our own sound. Now, people are coming to us for that sound. We’re not copying anybody, we’re all new. Being a black and white production duo, have you ever run into any interracial issues? Mayne Zayne: Nah, man, this is my brother. I’ve known him since preschool. It doesn’t matter to us. Drew: Honestly, it kinda surprised us because we thought that we’d encounter more of that. We talked about it beforehand. But it’s helped us more than it’s hurt us. It catches people’s eyes real, real quick. It’s a little something different, which is our whole goal with the music anyway. What do you think needs to happen for you guys to really take it to the next level and have that mainstream recognition? Getting your image out there more? Mayne Zayne: It’s going to take time. They’re gonna hear about us and they’re gonna start to recognize the shit we put out. Drew: We’re talking about having seven singles coming out at once, 34
so, you already know. It’s something new and big, and at first people don’t know. Nobody knows. “Hustlin’” is our first hit right here. We’ve got more time to tell. Mayne Zayne: We keep them patiently waiting. Are you gonna be one of those producers that you always see in the videos? Mayne Zayne: We’re just trying to make good music, real talk. If it happens, it happens. I feel like our sound deserves a face. Drew: There’s some producers that are real reserved and don’t want to be all up in the videos, and that’s cool. But me and him are kinda out there personality-wise, we enjoy having a good time. So you’ll definitely see us popping up in more and more videos throughout our careers. Are there any projects outside of production that you’re working on right now? Drew: Yeah, we’re doing a mixtape right now that we just started with DJ Papa Smirf and we’re gonna bring somebody else on board, maybe Drama or Khaled. We’re doing an all-beats exclusive. The Runners beat tape, we got so many tracks to throw around. We’ve got a lot of people on there so far, like Cool & Dre, Pharrell, Rick Ross, Jody Breeze, Lil Wayne, and Juelz Santana. Is it all new vocals? Drew: All new. Mayne Zayne: We’re sending them records and they’re hopping on them. So is this gonna be a promo mixtape or actually released in stores? Mayne Zayne: All promo. Drew: Actually, there’s a possibility we might bring it to a label when we’re done with it. Because of our connection to the artists nowadays we can get exclusive verses, so why not put it out there? We’ll see how it comes out though. we’re in the beginning stages right now, of course. There’s not too many artists or producers that have come out of Orlando. Are you tryin’ to put a stamp on the city? Drew: I think we’re definitely trying to put a stamp on Orlando, cause that’s where we’re coming from. I feel like Miami has been in the mix of things and it’s time we blow this place up as well. Who are some artists in Orlando that you think have the potential to blow up? Mayne Zayne: Bedo, man. Drew: In Orlando we’re working with KC, and I know we’re gonna get him popping off. He’s talented. We got our own group also that we’re working on putting together right now. I like Slim Goodye’s music, too. - Julia Beverly
01: Dem Franchize Boyz reppin’ OZONE @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 02: The S.E.G.A. Boys and TJ Chapman @ TJ’s DJ’s (Tallahassee, FL) 03: T.I. and Atiba @ WPYO (Orlando, FL) 04: DJ Laz reppin’ OZONE @ Calle Ocho (Miami, FL) 05: Short Dawg and J Prince @ Mercury Room (Houston, TX) 06: Strictly Business Records and TJ Chapman on the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 07: Edward “Pookie” Hall reppin’ OZONE (Houston, TX) 08: Trey Songz gets a handful of Buffie’s Body (Charleston, SC) 09: Big Tuck reppin’ his OZONE article @ the Roxy (Houston, TX) 10: D-Bo with Nitelife models Yaima and Kesha on the set of “Ridin’ Dirty” (Houston, TX) 11: @ The CORE DJs Conference (Houston, TX) 12: Countryboi reppin’ OZONE (Atlanta, GA) 13: Jimmie Boi, Southstar, and TV Johnny @ the Sharpstown Mall (Houston, TX) 14: Lil Flip reppin’ his OZONE ad @ Max’s (Houston, TX) 15: DJ Quest and T-Pain @ Club Fusion (Ft. Myers, FL) 16: Freddy P and Rick Ross on the set of “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 17: Lil D, Bigtime, and G-Mack @ the Matrix (Houston, TX) 18: Dela Candela, Durte Red, Jay, Julia Beverly, E-Class, TJ Chapman and guest on the set of “Hustlin’” (Houston, TX) 19: Rasaq, TJ Chapman, Chamillionaire, and Shaheim Reid @ Bar Rio (Houston, TX) 20: MC Hammer, Charles Young, and Tony Neal @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 21: Garcia @ Calle Ocho (Miami, FL) Photos: Charles Wakeley (02); Countryboi (12); DJ Quest (15); Edward Hall (07); Jason Cordes (08); Julia Beverly (05,06,11,14,16,17,18,19,20); Keadron Smith (13); King Yella (10); Luis Santana (01); Malik Abdul (03,04,09,21)
djprofile DJ Lil Larry (Memphis, TN) Are you originally from Memphis? Yeah, born and raised. I started throwing parties in high school and that just led to me DJing. I got used to rockin’ the mic at my own parties. I knew an older DJ that had been in the game for a long time, my man RJ Groove. He got out of the game and sold me his record collection. I was about 19 when I bought the records, and I’ve been grinding ever since. A lot of DJs have moved around to different cities, transferring between radio stations and such. What do you love about Memphis so much that you’ve decided to stay? Honestly, sometimes I think in the back of my head, Why am I still here in Memphis? But I think I’m here for a reason. I really wanna start this movement in Memphis. Memphis has so much talent, and I’m tired of everybody overlooking our city. A lot of people come through Memphis and take our sound and style and run with it. I really wanna be here from the ground up. I really want Memphis to be the next big city to blow in the South. It would have to be something very major for me to move outside Memphis, because this is where I was born and raised. So let’s talk about the little incident that happened recently at a party in Memphis between you and Three 6 Mafia. Personally, I really have no beef with them. I don’t know if they have beef with me, but it really got blown out of proportion. That night, Project Pat was performing, and that was his first show since he got out of jail. So it was a real big night, and a lot of DJs played. I was the last DJ. While Pat was on stage doing his thing, all the other DJs were breaking their stuff down and I was hooking my stuff up. We had another sound man that came in that night, and the sound was fucked up all night. They had shit bootlegged all kinds of ways. So while we were setting up on stage, my little brother was setting up my laptop and he played the first song he saw, just to see if we got any levels. We were tryin’ to see if everything was working right. The computer froze up. We had the volumes down on the mixer, but because of the way the sound was rigged, the mixer was on reverse. So when the volume was down, it was actually up. So he’s messing with the computer and the sound pops on during Pat’s show. Was it a Three 6 Mafia diss record that you accidentally played? It wasn’t a diss record. It was a song by an artist they used to have beef with, ten years ago. But it’s not a diss song, they didn’t say no names. It’s a classic Memphis song. But we wasn’t even gonna play the song, it was just the first song that came up. Keep in mind, I’ve never had any problems with Three 6 Mafia, ever. So why would I even play a Three 6 diss record? How does that benefit me? I wanted to get that off my chest and set it straight. That’s how everything went down. A lot of people heard different stuff, but that’s exactly what happened. I’m not leaving nothing out. So, regardless of whether you meant it that way or not, Three 6 Mafia took the incident as a diss and a few days later your radio station got shot up? Well, after that situation, nobody at the club knew what happened. They didn’t pay any attention. That night, Juicy J called me and asked if everything was cool. I said, “Yeah, everything good,” we hung up the phone. The very next day I went to the SEA Awards, and as I’m going home, I’ve got nasty voicemails from folks. Two days later, the incident at the radio station happened. Now, mind you, I didn’t call the police. I didn’t accuse nobody of nothing, understand? I didn’t even know the building had been shot at, because I was in the studio. I found out the very next morning when the police and my managers called me in. They needed to talk to everybody who had been at the station the night before, once they realized there was bullet 36
holes in the building. That’s how the police got involved. I didn’t call the police. They asked everybody, “Do you know why somebody would do this?” I made a comment about the voicemails and I told them who left it, and then I left it alone. I said, “I’m not saying that he did it, but I did get these voicemails.” Next thing you know, I’m out of town getting calls that it’s on the news. So that’s the story. It really was blown out of proportion. Does the whole situation make you second guess your career choice? Has the music business become too dangerous? It’s not the same as it used to be. You have a lot of street cats with a lot of money thinking they can get into the music business. Just because you have a lot of money to put in the game, that doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing. I think that’s where it’s become a problem. But, it is what it is. That comes with the territory. Now that Three 6 won an Oscar, do you think it’s a good look for Memphis? Or do you have some resentment towards them? I don’t have resentment towards them. Honestly, I don’t have anything against DJ Paul or Juicy J or Project Pat. They did their thing, and it’s good that Memphis is being recognized. I want people to really look at Memphis, because it’s so much here. Three 6 has been here for a long time. Not taking nothing away from them, but it’s other guys here now that I want the industry to look at. A lot of people have been skipping over Memphis, but we have a lot of talent here and it’s been a long time coming. So, I’ve got no hatred towards them. I’m just gonna do me. I’m not gonna knock the next man. I’d stress myself out worrying about them, so I’ll just give them a round of applause. You mentioned Paul, Juicy, and Pat, but what about Crunchy Black, who left the voicemails? Is it personal between you and him? I never had problems with Paul, Juicy, or Pat, so it threw me for a loop, real talk. It’s all good now, but with the voicemails that I did receive, I’ll never look at that man [Crunchy Black] the same as I did before. You emphasized that you didn’t call the police. Do you think the whole “stop snitching” campaign makes it impossible for real crimes to be solved? What do you think is the line between “snitching” and your own personal safety? Sometimes we take that word “snitching” to the extreme. True enough, if you see somebody doing their thing, you’re not supposed to snitch. Nowhere in the book should you ever snitch like that. But when it comes to the point where somebody puts your life in danger as well as your family, that’s a different story. If somebody shoots at you and attempts to kill you, what would you do? Just ask yourself that question and I’ll leave it at that. There’s different reasons for doing things in different situations. This may sound crazy, but if it hadn’t happened at the radio station people probably wouldn’t have even found out about it, because I wouldn’t have said nothing. Certain situations just play themselves out, and that’s what I’m letting happen in this situation. I wish them much success. They’re doing their thing. Everybody thinks we need to be friends in this industry. We really don’t have to be friends or associates. Just respect the next man. I talked to Paul the week after the incident, so I think it’s pretty much over. If they’re smart they’ll leave it alone, because it’s real petty. It’d be stupid on their part cause they’re getting a lot of light right now. Is it true that you’re joining the Affiliates? No comment on that, but me and Drama are real cool. I’d love to be down with the Affiliates; they’re doing their thing. If it’s right, when the time is right it’ll happen. I respect them. How can you be contacted? For booking contact Nicole Becton at 901649-3937, or for interviews contact Amber Kittrell at 901-338-5038. - Julia Beverly
01: 8Ball and Yo Gotti on the set of “Gangsta Party” (Memphis, TN) 02: Trae and Marley Marl @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 03: The G.R.I.T. Boys @ Rich’s (Houston, TX) 04: Torro and Junior reppin’ OZONE @ the Rollexx for Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” video shoot (Miami, FL) 05: Phil Robinson, Swirl, and a guest on the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 06: OG Ron C and Aziattik Black @ the Roxy (Houston, TX) 07: Rick Ross and DJ Khaled on the set of “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 08: Reverend Run and Big Earl reppin’ OZONE @ Magic (Las Vegas, NV) 09: Pitbull reppin’ OZONE @ Calle Ocho (Miami, FL) 10: DJ GT and guest @ Fox Sports Bar (Houston, TX) 11: T. Waters reppin’ OZONE @ Sharpstown Mall (Houston, TX) 12: Ladies of Ice Grillz @ Rich’s (Houston, TX) 13: Big Tuck and DJ Chill reppin’ OZONE @ the Roxy (Houston, TX) 14: Kaye Dunaway and DJ Dr. Doom @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 15: Reppin’ Fidel Cashflow @ House of Blues (Orlando, FL) 16: Snoop Dogg and TV Johnny reppin’ OZONE @ Sharpstown Mall (Houston, TX) 17: Mac Bre-Z and Gucci Mane @ Club Backstage (Daytona Beach, FL) 18: Lil Flip, Dre, and Cool reppin’ OZONE @ Max’s (Houston, TX) 19: Bun B and Short Dawg @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 20: Christina Milian seeing double @ Wildsplash (Tampa, FL) 21: DJ Sosa and Greg Street (Atlanta, GA) Photos: Big Earl (08); DJ Sosa (21); Fidel Cashflow (15); Julia Beverly (02,04,05,07,10,14,18); Keadron Smith (13,19); Kool Laid (01); Malik Abdul (03,06,09,11,12,16,20);Terrence Tyson (17)
01: Cool and Smitty on the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 02: G-Mack and his street team @ the Matrix (Houston, TX) 03: Bobby Creekwater and Big Floaty at his album listening party (Atlanta, GA) 04: Youngbleed and Juvenile @ his listening party (Dallas, TX) 05: TJ Chapman, Kinfolk Kia Shine, Julia Beverly, and guests @ Matrix (Houston, TX) 06: Short Dawg, Russell Simmons, and Young S. Dub @ Sharpstown Mall (Houston, TX) 07: Dee Money, Spiff, and Malik Abdul @ Rich’s (Houston, TX) 08: Kurupt and Lady Lyric @ House of Blues (Orlando, FL) 09: Jadakiss and Goapele @ KMJJ (Shreveport, LA) 10: Snoop Dogg and TV Johnny reppin’ OZONE @ Sharpstown Mall (Houston, TX) 11: Derek Jurand and DJ Commando @ the Matrix (Houston, TX) 12: Rallo and Young Capone @ Compound (Atlanta, GA) 13: Byron, Milk, Rocco, Jim Jonsin, and Jullian Boothe on the set of “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 14: Walt D and Tony Neal @ the Matrix (Houston, TX) 15: DJ Khaled and K Foxx @ 99 Jamz (Miami, FL) 16: Mannie Fresh and DMX (Houston, TX) 17: Dee Money and Big L @ Rich’s (Houston, TX) 18: All Star and the Block Burnaz on the set of “Gangsta Party” (Memphis, TN) 19: Kiotti, J Grand, and X @ Mercury Room (Houston, TX) 20: Final Draft reppin’ OZONE @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 21: Jim Jones and Hell Rell (NYC) Photos: Al-My-T (09); Fidel Cashflow (08); Julia Beverly (01,02,05,11,13,14,15,20); Keadron Smith (16,19); King Yella (04); Kool Laid (18); Malik Abdul (06,07,10,17); Maurice Garland (03,12); Rico da Crook (21)
01: DJ Drama, Cool, DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, Shakir Stewart, and Dre on the set of “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 02: Strippers love OZONE (Dallas, TX) 03: Bryan Jahoda, Young Stally, and Big L @ Rich’s (Houston, TX) 04: Obie, T.I., and Lil Shawn @ Power 95.3 (Orlando, FL) 05: Shane, Wayne Wonder, and Bigga Rankin reppin’ OZONE @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 06: Ghostwriters reppin’ OZONE (Houston, TX) 07: Shot Out and DJ King Ron reppin’ OZONE @ Stop The Violence concert (Jacksonville, FL) 08: Kool Herc and J Prince @ Mercury Room (Houston, TX) 09: Trae and Nancy Byron @ the Matrix (Houston, TX) 10: Teka reppin’ OZONE @ Stop the Violence concert (Jacksonville, FL) 11: Kid Money KG and Rick Ross on the set of “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 12: Doc Holliday and Dawgman reppin’ OZONE @ Firestone (Orlando, FL) 13: K Foxx and M Dott @ 99 Jamz (Miami, FL) 14: DMX reppin’ OZONE (Tampa, FL) 15: Green Lantern and Swift (NYC) 16: Project Pat and DJ Paul @ Max’s (Houston, TX) 17: Rocco, Cooley, and Jim Jonsin on the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 18: Cubo and Jimmy Chocolate reppin’ OZONE @ Calle Ocho (Miami, FL) 19: Guest, Trae, Kool Herc, and Rip @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 20: Ted Lucas, TJ Chapman, and E-Class on the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 21: Dedra Davis and Play & Skillz @ the Listen & Exchange Conference (Houston, TX) Photos: Julia Beverly (01,0 5,08,09,11,12,13,16,17,20); Keadron Smith (19,21); Luis Santana (14); Malik Abdul (03,04,07,10,18); Promotivation (02); Rico da Crook (15)
01: Shawty and his wife with 2Jai @ Fox Sports Bar (Houston, TX) 02: Jamal reppin’ M8NGEEZ @ Sharpstown Mall (Houston, TX) 03: Triple J, TJ Chapman, and Pupp @ The CORE DJs Conference (Houston, TX) 04: M11 and Kerneil (Houston, TX) 05: DSR @ the Roxy (Houston, TX) 06: Partners Paul Wall and TV Johnny @ Club Blue (Houston, TX) 07: Dela Candela, Cool, and Jay on the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 08: Kool Herc reppin’ OZONE @ The CORE DJs Conference (Houston, TX) 09: Melyssa Ford reppin’ OZONE @ the Roxy (Houston, TX) 10: Kawan Prather and Real @ Max’s (Houston, TX) 11: Would you accept candy from this man? DMX @ his listening party (Houston, TX) 12: Juvenile reppin’ OZONE (Dallas, TX) 13: Money Waters, Twisted Black, Uncle Pauly, Olmann, Young Bleed and Nino (Dallas, TX) 14: Rick Ross and Citty on the set of “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 15: Chamillionaire and DMX (Houston, TX) 16: E-Class, Gil Green, Pitbull, DJ Khaled, and DJ Drama on the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 17: DJ Chill and Trilltown Mafia @ The CORE DJs conference (Houston, TX) 18: MC Hammer and Mixmaster Ice @ Mercury Room (Houston, TX) 19: Treal gets live @ Upper Level for their album release party (Orlando, FL) 20: On the set of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” (Miami, FL) 21: J Prince and Tony Neal @ Mercury Room for The CORE DJs Award Show (Houston, TX) Photos: Edward Hall (12,13); Julia Beverly (01,03,04,07,08 ,10,14,16,18,20,21); Keadron Smith (11,15,17); Leon Bailey (19); Malik Abdul (02,05,06,09)
patientlywaiting Cadillac Don & J Money Crawford, MS
HIT SINGLE “Peanut Butter & Jelly” LABEL Southern Boy/35-35 Entertainment BUSINESS BANKING Former NBA player Clarence Weatherspoon is the CEO of 35-35 Entertainment
Big Fruit: “The game is so political. Certain people want to have certain sounds in their club or on their stations. I know you gotta get your foot in the door, but once you do that you can play your cards right and say what you want.”
PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY? Big Fruit: “Basically we talking about the Chevys with the leather guts with the candy paint looking like jelly on the outside. I didn’t want to do at first. But they convinced me. So we made it catchy for the kids, but at the same time its street and grown folks can relate to it.”
INDEPENDENT’S DAY Big Fruit: “A lot of people don’t realize how big the independent scene is in Mississippi. If you throw a dime in the air you gonna hit a rapper on the head around here. It made it hard for us at first because everybody has their own clique so its hard to get support around here. But we getting love now after so many years.”
Cadillac Don: “People think we’re talking about that dance from Florida. We got love for them, but we talking about something completely different. Don’t get it confused.”
J-Money: “It was hard at first. We got neglected by a lot of people and had no support. We’re trying to show that Mississippi is just as universal as New York or Atlanta. We have a lot of dope artists in our state.”
FILLING A VOID Cadillac Don: “I think its missing a few things. But we got artists out there that’s still doing it like Common and Kanye. I think we bringing that kind of music and we adding on to what’s already going on out
Cadillac Don: “We got a variety of good songs and artists. When you hear our stuff you’ll know what we talking about.”
(l to r): producer Big Fruit, Cadillac Don, J Money
there. But it’s hard to get DJs to play that type of music if you’re independent and trying to come up.”
- Maurice G. Garland
Atlanta, GA LABEL Slip-N-Slide/Def Jam HIT SINGLE “Da Cookie Man” MENTORS Field Mob INFLUENCES T.I., Ludacris, Field Mob, Ole-E ASHY TO CLASSY “When I was in Albany, Georgia, I was in a group, Citty and Shock. Field Mob asked us to open their shows when they had the second album out. When they got management with DTP I followed them to Atlanta. Shock had some responsibilities and had to stay in Albany. But I was still pushing the group. I ended up making a name for myself through pushing the group and performing by myself. At the same time I learned a whole lot from seeing what Field Mob went through on the road and I owe a lot to them for taking me with them. Whether it was dealing with money, arguments, groupies, and paperwork, it was a good experience. That played a big part in why my drive is the way it is now. I just learned from their mistakes.” THE FEW, THE PROUD “I went to the Marines after high school and I’ve been around the world, done secret missions, recognizance, jumped from airplanes, gone scuba diving. I’ve had 3rd degree frost bites in my feet and I���ve had to stay up for 24 hours straight sometimes. I’ve got a lot of discipline. But I be looking what other guys be doing and they be talking about grinding. I’m like, Man, you ain’t doing shit, They think because they put together a mixtape and did some shows that they grinding. I did 10-13 shows a week from December to December, I did 330 shows last year. Sometimes I be like, They just don’t understand.” BANKHEAD! “Hip-hop comes in all shapes and sizes, but I’m not falling in the pattern of what’s going on right now. I like the guys like Dem Franchize Boyz and D4L. I grew up with a lot of those guys, but I’m just doing hip-hop in a different form. I want people to listen to folks and be like, ‘He sounds like Citty,’ instead of the other way around. I’m not caught up in the snap movement, but I can relate because I’m a Poole Palace artist also. I’ve performed there plenty of times.” DA COOKIE MAN? “It’s about using all your options to get money, all-around hustling. I was already doing things to get money besides selling drugs. Drugs aren’t the only thing. Ultimate Hustler would have been a piece of cake for me. A lot of people were telling me I should have got on that show.” - Charles Parsons (Photo: Julia Beverly)
patientlywaiting D. Cooley
Chattanooga, TN CO-SIGNER DJ Wally Sparks HIT SINGLE “Trap Clothes” LABEL Down South Affiliated INFLUENCES Tupac, Geto Boys, TI STRONGEST QUALITY Patience STARTING UP “I started rapping in middle school. I never let it go. I was in the ‘hood rapping with my homeboys while other niggas was getting locked up, but I kept rapping. I was doing talent shows and after a while I started meeting some folks that wanted to help me.” WHAT ARE ‘TRAP CLOTHES’? “It’s whatever you’re wearing when you hanging in the streets trapping or whatever you wearing when you working. It’s a song for people who wear their trap clothes to the club.” I’M ON IT “I’m on some real street shit. I know other niggas that can relate to this shit. I’m not trying to be something I ain’t. Niggas know I done did it out here. Real recognize real. You gonna hear some of everything from me. Street shit, club shit, some shit to jump clean and ride too, everything.” THE LOWDOWN ON CHAT-TOWN “I’m trying to put myself on the map and my city on the map. There’s a lot of people that have come from the city that haven’t repped the city. It’s a small town, and niggas really don’t get to get out of this atmosphere. We get overlooked a lot. It’s a lot of people here rapping. My city is behind me 100 percent. They see what I’m trying to do by repping the city to the fullest.” MORE FIRE, MORE FIRE “The next single is gonna be ‘On Deck.’ It’s on some getting money type shit. They can do the shoulder lean to it too. I got a mixtape called The Movement with DJ Wally Sparks. We’re both from Chattanooga so we gotta represent. Wally Sparks helped get the buzz jumping off. I wanted him to have a part in the movement I’m building.” RAP GAME / DOPE GAME “I also have a song called ‘Life Is A Hustle.’ It’s about niggas leaving the streets and getting in the rap game. I ain’t never heard of a nigga retiring in the dope game. You know how that life ends. But so many cats hop in this rap game because it’s so similar. If you can rap, it’s just like your CDs are the crack. It’s like the same hustle. If you’ve got good product, people gonna keep buying from you.” - Maurice G. Garland (Photo: Julia Beverly)
patientlywaiting Lil Buc
Charleston, SC CO-SIGNER DJ Chuck T FAMILY TREE Youngest of 6 children PAST WORK Ghetto Legend and Uptown Slangin’ ON DECK Still A Menace mixtape with DJ Chuck-T and currently filming a DVD on Charleston NEW INSPIRATION “A lot of guys say that that Run DMC and LL Cool J inspired them to rap. Not me. I got love for the pioneers but the environment I was in inspired me to rap. The junkies, killers, prostitutes, people who had a story and struggle who didn’t have the outlet to say it. Whenever you hear South Carolina, you just think of confederate flags and slavery. People think we’re still in slavery, but we getting it how we live like any other city.” THE LAST ONE “I hear rumors about there being no talent in South Carolina or Charleston. True, you got everybody trying to rap since ‘Pac died. But don’t ever say there ain’t no talent here. I can name niggas off top of the head who been had it jumping. Pacnio Dino, Fat Boy and bunch of others. With this Still A Menace mixtape we finally getting an opportunity. This the last state in the South who has yet to have anybody signed yet. If the labels come here and do research they’ll see that they would be sitting on a goldmine.” THE DRIVE “I come from Section 8 housing and struggling, so I didn’t really have a childhood. Being raised in a house of 6 and being the youngest, you’ll get tired of hand-me-downs and going to sleep hungry and watching mom struggle. That was my life, getting the bottom of the barrel. I remember selling candy just to get some food on the table. I’ve always been a entrepreneur, even since I was a kid.” POWER OF THE MIC “Since I have the power of the microphone, my whole thing is to let people know that people who have nothing can still do something with their life.” THAT VOICE “This is a Geechi accent you’re hearing. I ain’t never heard nobody get on a track and spit like that, not even here in South Carolina. Charleston is the only place where people talk like this.” - Maurice G. Garland
patientlywaiting Steve Austin Dallas, TX
A.K.A.s Claiborne Slim The Baby Powdah Pimp, The 800 LB. Gorilla, Hollywood Cole In The Flesh, That Dude Next On The Scene STATUS Bioniq Labs/Native/Universal ALBUM 800 LB. Gorilla SINGLE “Bussa Move” CONTACT steveaustinonline.com INFLUENCES Devin The Dude, Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Bun B, T.I., Ras Kass, Scarface, Ludacris, Cold Crush Brothers, Bavu Blakes, Pharaohe Monch THE PLAN “To release a critically acclaimed album, that moves numbers sufficient to allow for a bigger deal and more exposure, so I can open the door for other folks after I sell a few platinum albums.” CLAIM TO FAME “I’ve got a live show like no other. My hustle and grind are unmatched. People who pay to come out and see artists are doing so to see and hear things they can’t get by just listening to the CD. So at my shows, I put forth themes, props, dancing, girls, interludes, and segues between songs and ideas so people are entertained. I get tired of seeing cats walk from one side of the stage to the other, thinking that their music is hot enough that they don’t have to put on a show. That’s bullshit. So I make sure my stage shows are something to behold, with shock and entertainment value to give people their money’s worth and show them I care. It’s a privilege and an honor to have folks want to see you perform.” DALLAS MUSIC SCENE “I’m putting the Dallas music scene on my back. I’ll carry it to a more national vision, and in doing so, open up the door so the world can see the vast amount of talent here. Also, I will try to assist in building more of a music business infrastructure here to support that talent.” INTERESTING FACT “I am not only an artist, but a classicallytrained jazz musician on the trombone. I have an MS in Physics and I have a CCNP certification for Network Engineering. That’s my day job until this rappin’ pays off. I’m a professionally trained Mastering Engineer. Almost everything you’ve heard from me was recorded, mixed, and mastered by myself in my own home studio.” FUCK YOU, PAY ME “I paid my dues and put in my time. So if you ain’t talkin’ about cash, power, and advancement, then you ain’t talkin’ about jack shit with me. If you real, we can swap work.” - Edward Hall
THE “KING OF THE SOUTH” SPEAKS WITH THE ORIGINAL “UNDERGROUND KING,”
Pimp C: First of all, man, shit, it’s good to be able to talk to you, homie. T.I.: Man, you already know. It’s more than mutual. The respect level is very, very high right now. Pimp C: What it really seems like to me is that you really looked and watched what happened to the rest of the rappers, and the shit that went down in the 80s and the 90s. You kinda learned from other boy’s mistakes. So I know you off into some other things. So I’m sayin’, what are you doin’ besides this rap shit? T.I.: Well, we got the real estate shit, New Finish Construction is going good. We got Elite Auto Concierge which is me and Kevin Schuler in Atlanta. We buy and fix up cars for guys who got a little money to spend on it. And we just opened a club, me and my uncle. We just opened a club in Bankhead called Club Crucial; it’s doing well. Other than that, bruh, I’m tryin’ to get into some fashion shit. I’m tryin’ to get a shoe deal. All that other shit is shark water, so I gotta figure out what the best situation is for me before I just jump into it. Pimp C: Man, tell me about the real estate. T.I.: Aww, man, well on the real estate I can’t take too much credit. When my uncle went and had to sit down for ten, while he was down he just used his time. He learned how to build a house form the top to the bottom, so when he came home he had a plan. Right when he came back that was in ’99, when I was just getting my first few little checks, so I just put some money to the side with him while he was starting out. I just rode it out from there. Pimp C: I know you got Grand Hustle. What exactly is your position with Grand Hustle? Is it your company by yourself, or is it some other people involved? What’s the deal? T.I.: Well, I’m the co-founder, man. Myself and Jason Geter decided to go ahead and make it official and put the stamp on it right when we got off Arista and started doing our own thing. We figured we were acting as an independent company anyway, so we might as well get the credit for it. You know when you facilitating your own shows and making your own way, putting up your own money for marketing, promotions, and shooting your own videos, all kinds of shit like that, you might as well be in a profit sharing situation. So that’s what me and Jason decided to do back in ‘01, and ever since then we been building. Myself, Jason Geter, P$C, Clay Evans, Hannah Kang, you know, we got a lot of cats who all got common goals in mind. Pimp C: So, how do you balance the CEO role and being an artist? I noticed from the beginning of this rap shit, when niggas have people on their label, it seems like the other artist never blows up as big as the guy that’s putting them out. T.I.: That’s true. Pimp C: So how do you balance that, and how do you keep you being an artist in check when it’s time to deal with your artist as an executive? T.I.: Well, it’s still an art that I ain’t completely mastered yet. I’m still working on it. So it’s an ongoing, uphill battle every day just trying to get better at. But I just keep on waking up every morning putting one foot in front of the other, you know? I really just let Jason handle all the executive and CEO duties unless it’s dealing with my project, ya dig? He helps a whole lot, but when I’m on my off time, really I would love to see Young Dro or Mac Boney or Big Kuntry King or any one of my artists come up way more than me, so I could sit back with my feet crossed. I really would like to focus on more other things. Pimp C: Well, shit. Let’s talk about what you working on right now. You got an album about to come out? T.I.: Yeah, we got the album King about to come out. You bein’ an Underground King yourself, I’m sure you can relate, man, especially since you already know we on there together. Y’all gave me the absolute honor of letting me redo one of y’all classics [“Front, Back, Side to Side”] and getting on there with me, so I appreciate that. Pimp C: The way I saw it was like this, homie. It took a lot of nuts for you to jump out there and grab yo’ nuts and tell these niggas you the “King of the South.” You know, a whole lot of niggas didn’t understand what you meant by that. They thought that by you saying that, you were in some kinda way stepping on other nigga’s toes or tryin’ to
take somebody else’s position. But the way I took it was like this: we all some kings down here. Niggas got to play it like they kings and put theyself in a king’s position in order to be treated that way. So that’s the way I took the shit. But other niggas took it a different way, like maybe you were saying that you running this shit down here and ain’t nobody else doing nothing. Maybe you might want to speak on that. T.I.: Man, exactly the way you said it, that’s the way I meant it. I was really speaking on my plans for the future, ya dig? When I first mentioned it, niggas started telling me what I couldn’t do and what I couldn’t say, so it really lit a fire up under my ass. At that point, that’s when it really became a part of me. At first it was just shit I was kickin’. Then a nigga tried to deny me of it, so it really became a part of me. I was forced to fight for it. Pimp C: Let me ask you this. How do you feel about the comparisons to Jay-Z? Every time I read an article of yours in these magazines, I see Jay-Z’s name. They’re always calling you “the Jay-Z of the South.” How do you feel about that? T.I.: I think those are some pretty major shoes to fill. He made a lot of things happen in the rap game that a lot of people weren’t able to do. He facilitated a lot of deals and made a lot of people a lot of money and got a lot of shit done. So if that’s how they see me, man, I appreciate it. I think people should ask him how he feels about it more than how I feel about it. Pimp C: Well, you know, I can pretty much speak on this. The way he feels about it is like a proud papa, cause of everything that’s going on. Wasn’t nobody wearing diamond necklaces until Jay-Z jumped out there with them. Wasn’t nobody wearing no muthafuckin’ platinum either. The only nigga I knew that was wearing platinum before Jay-Z was Shaq. The nigga really shaped the culture. He’s got niggas wearing button-up shirts now. I’m from the old school, so I was wearing button-up polo shirts way back, with the sweater to match. Already. Now he’s got everybody following him. Whenever a person says your name in any context compared with that man, it’s a compliment. T.I.: Just like you said, it’s an absolute pleasure, man. It’s an absolute honor to be compared to the elite in the game, from Outkast, to you guys [UGK], to Jay, to N.W.A, whoever really stood up on top of their shit and put it all on the line and won. Compare me with any of them niggas. Just don’t compare me with no fake niggas or no hoe niggas. Pimp C: Well, I’m a real nigga, and I like to get down to the bottom of shit. Muthafuckers are asking questions, you know? So a muthafucker wanna know: Is it some sneak shit goin’ on? What’s going on with you and the Flip guy? T.I.: I ain’t gonna bullshit ya, bruh, I ain’t made no new friends. But I just ain’t overexerting myself with no negative energy, ya dig? I’m sure he has his opinions on me and I got my opinions on him, but it ain’t no beef. It ain’t no war, it ain’t no plex. Pimp C: Down here in the South, in Texas, I’m seeing niggas making too much money to be mad at anybody right now. We have matching cars, houses, and we’re driving these big-ass cars with big names. So if you don’t get along with a person, niggas can just agree to disagree and go their separate ways. All that ol’ sneak-dissin’ and dropping salt, that’s bullshit. That’s just my opinion. T.I.: Absolutey. I’ma be perfectly honest with ya, Pimp. I feel like I stand on one side of the fence, and I represent everybody who stands on this side of the fence. If somebody else stands on that other side of the fence, it ain’t my fault if they fall in the lines of something that I don’t represent, or something I’m speaking against. That’s just the way of life and the order of operations and the way this nature thing works. It ain’t on me. if I say, “I ain’t fuckin’ with no hoe niggas who can’t go back to the hood,” I mean, if that ain’t you, then I ain’t talkin’ to you. But if you’re asking yourself, “Is he talking to me?” then you’ve got to question yourself. You know what I’m sayin’? Pimp C: I can understand that, cause they were always asking me, “Who’s that pussy ass nigga you’re talking about?” in my raps. Shit, I was like, “If the shoe fits, nigga, wear it.” So I think that was a real good answer to that question. But niggas got to get along cause it’s too much paper out here, man. Niggas can agree to disagree and stand on separate sides and be men. That’s what the business is, homie. T.I.: Yeah, bruh. I hear the same things. I hear a lot of speculation and OZONE
back-and-forth shit about bullshit interviews. So just like you said, niggas can agree to disagree. Ain’t nothing for me to say. Pimp C: I was glad to hear that y’all sat down like men. That made me feel good, cause down here in the South we don’t need that bullshit. We need to be getting that paper. No negative shit, man. Let’s talk about some more positive shit. I know you doin’ the family thing and shit, and I know you havin’ things. T.I.: Hey, man, I just got out the car. That nigga Usher says, “What’s happenin’,” man. Pimp C: Say, I’m fuckin’ with Usher. I’m actually waitin’ on a song he supposed to be sending me to do. T.I.: [to Usher] He says he’s waitin’ on that song you supposed to be sending him. Usher: [in the background] Tell him it’s comin’. T.I.: He says it’s on the way. Pimp C: As soon as I get it, I’m on it. So, yeah, I heard you were doing the family thing. You wanna talk about that? T.I.: My family’s doing very, very well. My youngest son is about to turn two in August. He breathing, walking, talking, getting big every day. My oldest son just turned six. He was fucking up in school for a minute, but we got it together now. My middle son just made student of the month a couple months ago, so I’m happy about that, and my little girl is doing good. She’ll be five in June. They really just getting settled into their new house. We just got a new house built. Everyone’s got their own playroom and their own little space, so they really just loving that shit right now. Pimp C: Well, I know how it is on my children. How do your children take the fame, and the way people react to Dad? T.I.: Honestly, I’m just blessed, because that’s all they know. They ain’t never been nowhere but Atlanta. In Atlanta, I’ve always been the guy to walk up to and speak to, even when they was little. So they grew up into it. Now, they kinda know the difference. They know that daddy’s job is to be on TV, and people want to take pictures with him. They understand that people want me to sign autographs and take pictures, and that’s just what daddy does for a living. Pimp C: Do you think it’s hard for them? I know it’s hard on my oldest son, at least. I have three kids. I got a twelve-year-old son, a five-yearold son, and a four-year-old daughter. For him, everywhere he goes, he feels like he’s representing me. This shit is a trip, cause when you in this shit, you ain’t got no personal life no more. Muthafuckers feel like you ain’t got no fears no more, so they say whatever. They take shots, and he feels like he gotta represent to the fullest 24 hours a day. Have your kids run into any of that shit? T.I.: Man, nah. But my kids are still real young. My oldest is only six. When I take them to school, their teachers know who daddy is. All they know is the positive aspects of what I do. They don’t know none of the negative stuff yet. Well, maybe my oldest, my stepchild. My oldest lil’ lady, she’s nine. So she knows. I’m sure she recognizes it. But don’t nobody really do too much salt-dropping, fortunately enough, at least not to a level where they can get ahold of it. Pimp C: Exactly. So it seems like you’ve got your shit together, and it sounds like you’re receiving your blessings and living your dreams. Where do you see yourself ten, fifteen years from now? T.I.: Homie, that’s the one question I can’t answer. Ten or fifteen years before now I couldn’t have seen myself here, so ain’t no damn telling. Pimp C: If you shoot for the stars, at least you gonna land up there with the moon. Shit, the sky’s the limit right now. You got these niggas right now, man. T.I.: I’m just trying to make the best out of every opportunity. Niggas like you showed me how to do this shit, for real. At least I know how to do this shit on a level where niggas on the streets can relate and respect that shit, as well as muthafuckers who are turning on their TVs and watching videos too. Pimp C: We was just some young country boys put in the position where we could prosper, and we did. It was a bumpy ride, but I feel like it was for a reason. T.I.: Y’all changed a lot of nigga’s lives, and a lot of nigga’s mindset. You really put a lot of niggas up on game, man. That Ridin’ Dirty shit was one of the greatest albums of all time. Pimp C: When I was making that album I was listening to [Dr. Dre’s] The Chronic real tough, man. I had it in my mind to make a Southern 60
Chronic. I had to get as close to that muthafucker as I could, but with our style down here. It just so happened that everything started coming together. At the time my partner Smoke D was in the pen, and he sent me them commercials that I put in the middle of the songs. It seemed like God was playing on our time. So with this next record that we do, if the Lord blesses us, we gonna try to recreate that same feeling. T.I.: Right on, man. Anything you need from me, homie, it’s done. Just let me know, man, and it’ll be my absolute pleasure. Pimp C: You know, man, we need to lock down for seven days and do a whole album. That’ll really fuck up the world. T.I.: What are you sayin’, man? [laughing] JB (moderator): Everything in music tends to go in cycles. How long do you think the South will continue to dominate? What do you guys think the South needs to do to stay at the top? T.I.: Well, as long as I’m living, I’m doing everything in my muthafuckin’ power to make sure we gonna have something to celebrate for. Pimp C: We gon’ have to evolve with this shit. We can’t get stuck in the style and keep rapping about the same shit. I know it’s all about the 808 drums and the hand clap right now, but we gonna have to elevate. It can’t be an unnatural growth. If we grow naturally, we’ll keep this thing for a while. If we don’t, we gonna lose the ball. It’s gonna go back to New York or the West coast before it comes back to us again. T.I.: That’s true. And the listeners got to open they eyes, minds, and ears to new shit. The listeners got to be receptive to some innovative shit rather than tootin’ they nose up at it until the East coast or the West coast says it’s hot. A lot of times that’s what happens down South, like with my first album. When I dropped that first single “I’m Serious” with Beenie Man and The Neptunes beat, niggas was like, “Where’s he from? Ain’t nobody down here kickin’ it like that.” Pimp C: You was behind the scenes in this game for a long time before niggas actually saw you. Man, when I was going to New York in the early 90s I was fuckin’ with Brand Nubian. People would see us together and that would fuck them up. They were wondering, how the fuck is this nigga from Texas hangin’ with the gods? T.I.: That’s how they be with me and niggas like Jim Jones. Pimp C: I’m down with Jim Jones. I jumped on the remix to “What Mean The World To You” with him and Cam. You know, rappers in New York were receptive to us a long time before the streets in New York were. It was hard back then, man. I remember going to L.A. and doing shows, and people would just stand their with their arms folded. They’d watch the show and never move. We had to hold our composure. And when we came off stage, they’d be like, “We like that shit.” And I’d be like, “Well, why y’all wasn’t moving?” They’d say, “We don’t move in L.A.” [laughing] Shit, T.I., I remember a time when I came to Atlanta and nobody knew us. T.I.: I don’t know where the fuck I was, boy, cause I been down since Too Hard To Swallow. That album was significant to me, because it came out around the same time I jumped out there. Pimp C: You was on the street level with the street niggas. I’m talking about going up in record stores. I’d go to brunch and shit with the record company and they couldn’t understand us. They didn’t know how to market that shit. They didn’t know what to call that shit. I heard KRS-One tell us we wasn’t “hip-hop” for so long, I had to start saying, “You goddamn right. We ain’t.” T.I.: I feel the same way. I don’t feel like it’s the same category. If it is hip-hop, it’s a different division, you know? Pimp C: It’s a hybrid, man. We doing some different shit. But niggas are really proud of you, man. You got support in Texas and all the way across, so keep doing what you do, homie. T.I.: Right on. I appreciate it, homie. JB (moderator): Tell me a little bit about your album. T.I.: The album is called King. We got UGK on there, of course, produced by Mannie Fresh. We got B.G. on there, a track from The Neptunes with Pharrell on there. I just did an extended version of the Kanye West and Paul Wall’s “Drive Slow.” We’re shooting a video for that, which will probably be available on the bonus DVD. I just got the rough cut of the video [for “Front, Back, Side to Side”] back, Pimp. Pimp C: How we look? T.I.: We lookin’ like something, man. We lookin’ like something.
WORDS: MAURICE G. GARLAND PHOTOS: ERIC JOHNSON
ake notice. B.O.B./QP Records and the All-Stars are about to change the way that you look at St. Louis rap music. Technically, they’ve been an entity since the early 90s, but 2006 is shaping up to be the year that they finally get the recognition that they feel they deserve. Their Aphilliates’ produced Hustle & Flows mixtape is out now, and they are also putting the finishing touches on their nationwide debut project. We recently caught up with the label CEOs Guccio and Just Black as well as the All Stars themselves (Top Dollar, Trust, Vic Damone and D-Mac) to talk about the group’s history and why major labels should be itching at the chance to do business with them. We could sit here a talk you to death about why they’re poised to do some big things over the next year or so, but it sounds a lot better coming from them. What kind of feedback have you been getting from the mixtape you did with DJ Drama? Guccio: We’re getting some astronomical feedback from the Drama mixtape we did. Some people think we came from out of nowhere, but we’ve been grinding for years. This goes back to 1990. Just Black had a hit record and I had a hit with another group. We two niggas from different sides of town who have come together and locked this shit down. Whoever said kings couldn’t come to a table and make moves together is damn liar. Just Black: I was the CEO of my own label, Black on Black. Guccio had Good As Gold. We both had hit records out there and we merged companies in around ’97. So now it’s called Black On Black/Quit Playing. What was the St. Louis rap scene like in 1990? A lot of people are unaware. Guccio: In the 90s, St. Louis was on the harmonizing rap like Bone. Just Black: The streets at that time were influenced by West Coast music. They embraced the East too, but it was really West Coast influenced. Top Dollar: At the time we had just got an artist who got national recognition, Silky Smooth and JCD. They had just got a deal and our Black was the first dude doing gangsta music. A lot of underground artists was doing their thing but no one was working together. Vic Damone: Back in the day. It was a lot of cats trying to get on, but I don’t even remember a lot of studios being open. It was only a few really doing it. I know speaking for myself, I had about 8 notebooks of rhymes but nowhere to record. Just Black: We were the inventors of gangsta music in our city. We got records in rotation back in 1990. We didn’t know that we would be coming full circle over ten years later. Cities like Houston and Memphis are known for their independence. Talk about St. Louis’ independent scene. Just Black: We got all our own shit. Manufacturing, printing, all of that. But there ain’t enough niggas keeping it real. Niggas in the industry are handcuffing. Of course niggas got to promote themselves, but you should also promote people around you. If you help niggas from your city, that doesn’t hurt you, that’s just gonna help add to your value. Niggas in the city don’t do it like they do in Atlanta. Midwest niggas are too afraid to do that. I’ll tell you what Nelly, Chingy and J-Kwon mean to the city. And I’ll tell you what we mean too. I’m gonna tell you what’s hot and what’s not. I’ll take you on a tour of the city and show you. That’s what makes us different from other independent labels. Our foundation is based on unity and hard work. Vic Damone: I think we changed the game. Guccio and Black was doing it big independent in ’95 and then you got All Stars dropping on the radio. No disrespect, I think we made a lot of cats step their game
up because were came hard. Guccio and Black was doing shows out of town because no one was popping in the Lou. Everybody that was doing their thing was just keeping it to themselves. Trust: We a big part of the change in St. Louis. The same way as Nelly and them brought it to the map, we did the same thing around ’99. Everybody started getting seriously on the grind and getting money after seeing what we was doing. What is your situation right now? Guccio: We not really tied through a major. We got a situation with Universal, but we might use that for video distribution. But really, it’s time for us to start sitting down with the chess players like Kevin Liles, Lyor Cohen and Jimmy Iovine. Just Black: But shout out to Jim Jones too, he’s opening up doors for the independents. Pac and Big wont die in vain as long as we keep this independent street shit alive. Guccio: Some people just wanna get involved with businessmen, like us. The majors are looking for people like us. We got the buzz, we got the BDS spins, we got Soundscan numbers. Just Black: We got credibility as being businessmen for over a decade. And we got credibility in the streets as the trillest and the realest. Those the type of niggas that can sit down with an A man and a B man to create a C plan. When you think of the artists and music that’s been coming from St. Louis, you think of partying and pop music. How do you feel about the current representation of your city? Guccio: We hear that a lot, but this is a business. If you crossover to pop get that money, do what you do. But when it comes to lifestyles and what it is, you gonna know who the streets belong to when you get there. But yeah we’re aware of that pop music stigma, but the feedback we’re getting tells us that people are ready for the other side. Just Black: It’s been repped cool to a certain point. St. Louis has given the world a lot of feel-good music, but they’ve yet to hear the street music. And they hearing it here through us. This is what people want. When you talk the streets, that’s the real deal. Its not a hit record out right now that don’t have poverty in it. Whether it’s country, rap, pop, folk, I don’t give a fuck what it is. There’s some poverty in them strings or something that’s attracting your soul to that street ghetto living that’s selling that record. We can gloss it up and turn it into something that we can dance to at the club But that shit that’s intimate involves situations in our lives. That’s street music, man! Top Dollar: I think its past time for the streets. Everybody is waiting for something from the streets of St. Louis. Everybody loves the Lou but they never see the streets, they just hear about it. Vic Damone: As far as the industry, they ready for groups like us out the ‘Lou. We ahead of our time. We’ve been dropping hot shit consistently. We’ve had straight bangers on the radio. What are you going to let the world know about the ‘Lou? Vic Damone: I rep the ‘Lou, but I’m from East St. Louis which is another state. I been a lot of places, especially in the Midwest, but St. Louis definitely got their own state of mind. It’s a small city full of big city niggas. Top: We putting out realness. In the Lou if a nigga don’t like you, he just don’t like you. We talking about real shit, that’s what you’ll know about St. Louis. You know you running into some realness. Trust: It’s a small city, but it’s a grinding city. We done had somebody like Nelly sell ten million records so that brought a lot of notoriety to a small city. Everybody can kick the shit at that level. We just needed to take the lid off the city. Since you’re making street music and reality music, are we going OZONE
to hear you offer solutions to the problems that you are identifying? Guccio: Yeah, we offering solutions. In any relationship it’s about having solutions. This game is all about relationships. Put your money in your pocket. Just be a stand up guy. And be about the solution, be about what you say. Don’t open your mouth talking that bullshit. A lot of the “street rappers” out there are exposing a lot in what they say. Some of the information can hurt themselves or even people that are still running the streets. Do you feel the same?
to cover up the real shit. When you gangsta you ain’t got to front. You can see that from the photo shoot. We ain’t have to pose and practice, when you gangsta you just stand up and do you. You got expose these fake niggas. Guccio: The truth always gonna outlive a lie. We all got extra senses and can sense if someone is gangsta or bullshit. You know the difference between apples and oranges. Just Black: Its all about telling the truth and that’s what we are here to do. We telling the truth.
Guccio: Yeah and no, some people have slick ways of saying something to get their point across.
You guys seem to be very confident in what you are doing. Why are you so convinced?
Just Black: This shit like politics. You think the president is actually on television telling you what he’s really doing? No. It’s the same shit in this rap game. The game is still to be sold not told. All this shit these rappers be talking about, you can look that up on the internet and do whatever. But the real game is still a secret. There is a lot of fake gangsta shit out here that gets a lot of praise. But niggas in the industry tend
Guccio: We record hits daily that people want to purchase daily. We be sitting on hits man. Black sometimes has to tell me, “Guccio, sell some of that shit man.” We got smashes too. It’s a difference between a smash and a hit. A smash, you can drop it in hot grease and it will fry its self. A hit, you may need time to work that record.
Kenneth Elijah Sikes, 19, a.k.a. D-Lou, has always had a passion for music. Rapping since he was 6 years old and writing since he was 13, D-Lou always knew that rapping will be his life. According to D-Lou, “I don’t rap to make money, that’s secondary to me, I rap to feel at ease and to be creative when expressing myself.” Plus getting peoples attention to is a good feeling. And that’s what he did when winning a battle on Dallas radio station KKDA with host Greg Street at the time. His song “Making Money” battled against other local Dallas artists songs and won 7 straight nights. His wins earn the respect of DJ celebrity Greg Street as well as the city of Dallas. D-Lou says after the wins on the radio station, “I really started to feel like a rapper.” I was getting love at the clubs and I was getting calls from promoters to do shows and open up for major acts such as Young Buck, Slim thug, Scarface and lil Flip. Even though D-Lou has opened for all these majors artist, he still yet to feel as known as he should be. Labels such as Universal and Interscope has been interested, but D-Lou doesn’t let that get to his head. “I’m just going to stay focus and grind it out and wait my time.” With aspirations like UGK, Scarface, Benie Siegel, Cash Money Millionaires and Z-RO, how can a young dirty south native not stay focus? With 4 mix tapes and 1 album that sold 5000 copies and the radio battles, is seems like D-Lou is in no hurry on giving up. Mix tapes, college tours, and club performances in major markets are what D-Lou has in store for 2006. With major DJ’s co-signing D-Lou such as DJ Greg Street in Atlanta and Dj Comic Kev in Philly, it won’t be long before D-Lou gets what he wanted, to be heard. 3R Entertainment and Sikes Management have joined forces to make Young D-Lou an unstoppable force. For more info on D-lou, log on to www.D-Lou.com.
BLOCK WORDS: MAURICE G. GARLAND PHOTOS: ERIC JOHNSON
any people recognize Russell “Block” Spencer as the dude that was all over the Boyz N Da Hood commercials and videos. But this man’s job goes much deeper than that. Spencer has a respectable track record in the music industry that a lot of people will be surprised to hear about. The newly-appointed Head Urban Music Consultant for Warner Music Group has been on his grind for years. Read here as the Atlanta-born mogul-in-the-making talks about going from picking up “stuff” for Tupac to getting deals for Yung Joc. Where are you from originally and how did you get introduced to the music industry? I was born in East Lake, raised on the eastside and bred in Kirkwood. I came in on the investment side of the game [smirks]. I was running around with Tupac for minute in ‘94 when I was like 19-20 years old. I met ‘Pac through his sister. Really I met him through the streets, you know, getting weed for him and stuff like that. Then I just started running into people. I eventually met Greg Street when he first came to
Atlanta. I met him at a remote at [legendary Decatur nightclub] The Gate. I was asking him how to get in the game. He gave me his number but I never called because I was still in the streets. But I saw him two months later at a record store and he was like, “I thought you was gonna call me?” I finally took him serious and started talking to him. At the time I had a rapper from East Lake Meadows named Sacrifice and I used to take him down to the radio station. I just started hanging with Greg, he really introduced me to the rap game. What’s the first thing you learned when you got into the game? Chris Hicks at Noontime told me to always keep some producers. Rappers come and go but producers are around a long time. Then I saw how Noontime was eating, they was eating better than rappers I was seeing so I was like, I’ma get a production company too. They didn’t even have Jazze Pha then. They had The Hitmen, half of Puff’s producers was from Noontime. They had Ant Dent, Bryan Cox, Johnta Austin, a lot of cats over there. Chris told me to get money through publishing and producers. Greg taught me how to use relationships
and make sure you don’t burn no bridges. That’s how I’ve gotten where I am, I’ve never burned bridges or crossed people. The era of the Suge Knights is over. That’s why we have the Lyor Cohens and the Kevin Liles, guys that don’t want no problems. What happened after working with Sacrifice? That’s what made get in the game, I just liked the little dude. I already had money so for me it was just me helping him out. But from hanging with Greg Street I met Tony Draper so I started kicking it with him when I was around 21 years old. ‘Pac was in jail during this time. But I became President of Suave House when we had 8Ball and MJG, Tela, Crime Boss, and South Circle. I did that for 3 years. Then I came back to Atlanta and Noonie [of Noontime] wanted me to be head A&R at Noontime. We was just a production company but then we wanted to be a label and put music out. That’s when we came out with Jim Crow. After they broke up we started managing Jazze Pha. I co-managed him, I dealt with the street side and Noonie dealt with the industry side. After that we created Shonuff Records. I had Block Entertainment. Noonie had Noontime, Jazze had Futuristic but we was all eating at the same table every night so we just formed all our companies and named it after Jazze’s first hit, “Shonuff.” Then we signed Ciara and got her a deal, then we signed Jody Breeze and got him a deal. But I wanted to do a street group on the side. So made Boyz N Da Hood. At first it was Trick Daddy, T.I., Sean Paul of the Youngbloodz, Jody Breeze, and me. But then I thought, anybody can make a supergroup so let me make some names. So I went and got Jeezy who I’ve known since he was 12 years old; Gee, who was signed to me through Block Entertainment; Duke, who had been around since Suave; and Jody, who was partially signed to me. We made four or five records that came out dope, so I took the original eight or nine songs and redid them. “Dem Boyz” was one of those records. I just took Trick off and put everyone else on there. Being that BNDH worked out real good, I branched off and started a street label. I was gonna run Block Entertainment like Master P did with No Limit, dropping street niggas every month, but still have Shonuff for bigger artists. It was gonna be a springboard for Shonuff. But because BNDH did so good and Jeezy getting his deal, Lyor, Kevin and Puff came to me like, “We want to give you a deal.” I had Capitol and Interscope Records on the table for deals too, but they gave me a multi-million dollar offer that I couldn’t refuse. Do you care what people think about you? Hell naw, I don’t care what nobody saw about me. There ain’t no flaw with me. I ain’t never been no sucka. If anybody got anything bad to say about Block you a hater. I get cats from out the hood and help them out. Well, how do you feel when people have things to say about you being in your artist’s interviews and videos? [laughs] Truthfully, with BNDH, that was my brainchild, that was real personal to me. I did that for my niggas in the streets, in the jails who felt misrepresented with that crunk shit. Plus, when Jeezy wasn’t there every time it was like I had to be the fourth member because it kind of throws people off if they just see three. People didn’t really think about it too hard until it was time to rap. I did it for those two reasons, it was my brainchild and I had to play that role. Plus, Puff told me, “Block, niggas used to laugh at me when I was in the videos and on the songs, but look at me, I’m still here. Make sure you recreate yourself. Use everything as a stepping stone.” So now, I got Yung Joc. You ain’t gonna see me in a lot of shit with Joc. But BNDH, that was personal. A lot of labels are hiring rappers and street cats to run certain operations. Do you think that’s a good look? Should people aiming to climb that ladder skewer their attitudes towards the street? Yeah, but only if you from the streets. But it depends on how far you up are on the ladder. Even with me, Lyor and Kevin probably think I should suit up when I go to meetings, but I go in Adidas with my pants sagging. Eventually I’ll mature to that level of suiting up anyway. But you should just be you. Like some of these niggas in Atlanta who have been here all these years but I never see them in the ‘hoods trying to help somebody. They hop on the radio and say they in the ‘hood helping the ‘hood, but we never see them. We don’t even see them in the ‘hood malls. I’m an Eastside nigga, man. What it look like if I get all this money and I can’t even ride down the street where my grandmamma lives? But I think the labels need a guy like me to stay in the hood, in
the South. Like Lil J at Rap-A –Lot. He reps the streets of Houston, that’s what I want to do for the A. You’ve been in the game for some years. What is it going to take for African-Americans to go from having imprints getting their own majors? The problem is that we don’t have distribution. The only way I see it is if we all link up together and create a secret society. Its gonna take people like Puff, Kevin Liles and Lil J, the type of cats that have more than money, but influence to go to a cat like Lyor to let us get distribution companies. We can’t distribute them, everything is locked down. Think 10 years ago with Suave, Rap-A-Lot and Three 6. When they had Southwest Distribution and companies like that, they all gone. The majors bought them all up so now you can’t make that easy money. That was a chess move they made, buy everything up so they can control the game. If everyone could distribute themselves they couldn’t control the game. Just imagine everybody getting $8 a CD. We wouldn’t need them! It ain’t nothing but a loan. All the millions they gave me ain’t nothing but a loan. But it’s gonna take money and power to do that. But I don’t see it coming no time soon. Blacks with their own distribution? We would have been done it. Look at all the money Master P, Puff, Russell Simmons have. Why don’t we have it? Do you make it a priority to teach your artists the ins and outs of the game? That’s what I do, I teach. I just made Big Duke over my whole A&R department. I been teaching [Slip-N-Slide] Rick Ross how to set himself up too. You got to sacrifice yourself to make others better. My father used to tell me, “If everybody works, everybody gotta eat or else the table will be destroyed.” So if you with Block Entertainment, you eating. If I can’t put you in a position to feed yourself I’ll just let you go, because there will be a problem eventually. When did you learn to delegate responsibilities? I learned through working with Greg, Suave and Noonie that you got to find people with their own strengths. I find start up companies and make them a part of my company. For example, Rico Brooks, he pretty much runs Block Entertainment. I’ve seen him grinding in the streets for years. Plus I know he knows how to deal with people, that’s a key when you are running a label. You got to know how to talk to people and treat people. You can’t be shining and have your artist still living in the projects with his mama. Although people will say, “That’s not my responsibility,” it is cause he’s a part of what you’re doing. You got to make people feel like they at home. Rico is real good with management because he can deal with people. Then I got my boy Kerry as the CFO. He runs the business and legal side of the company. I got him because he been running corporations for years. Then with A&R, Duke been around studios and rappers all his life. Our motto here is, “We eat what we kill.” If you killing you gonna be doing a lot of eating. If you ain’t killing you gonna be starving. So if you in this industry trying to work, come holla at me. I’m easy to get along with. What are your future plans? They call me Hosea Williams Jr. because I give back to the ‘hood. When I be in all these states, cats tell me that they don’t have an outlet. So what I’m doing is I’m going to the ‘hoods, finding hungry cats who got songs, got tracks and when they submit them to me I’ll get big names on them. We calling it Feed the Hungry. So for instance, when I see a cat out there who already got his shit banging in the club, on the mixtapes, on the radio but needs a bigger outlet, I’ll take his single and put a big name on the third verse and put it on the Feed the Hungry album and get him all over the world. Talk about this studio you just built. It’s called McKoy Street. That was my first million dollar trap so I named it after that, because now I’m working on my billion dollar trap. Puff, 8Ball & MJG, T.I. and Game have all recorded here already. I also have Joc, BNDH, my R&B group Final Draft and a lot of cats I’m helping in the hood recording here as well. I’m building two studios and an apartment in here. This the first studio I’ve owned by myself. I put it in the middle of Kirkwood because that’s where I’m from. You can’t buy a vibe. I’d rather be in the ‘hood and get a nice vibe than be downtown having to be all dressed up, you can work here in your drawers or whatever. When you step out you got a liquor store to the right. You got Ms. Ann with the best hamburgers in Georgia next to us. You got Wayfield foods. Up the street you at Moreland, so you can’t beat this. Any parting words? Put God first and never give up. OZONE
BIG POKEY WORDS: MATT SONZALA PHOTO: JULIA BEVERLY 72
Where exactly are you from? I was born and raised in the Yellowstone area of Houston, 3rd Ward. Who were some of the people you came up with? Mike D in from 3rd Ward. In South Park there was Keke, Hawk, Fat Pat and them, and Lil O is from the Southwest side. Were you rapping before you met Screw? Naw, Screw put that on my mind. I was playing football around that time, but I used to go to Screw’s house. That used to be a big thing, everybody wanted to go to Screw house. If you ain’t went to Screw house you ain’t done nothing. Screw had these tapes and he was slowing it down. It was a real big thing for the underground and it gradually got bigger and bigger. One day my potna Mack 1 took me over there. At that time you had to put in a list of songs you wanted, and if you wanted to flow he’d save you space on the end. Before you know it, everybody was trying to get on there and make they own tape. Screw brought a lot of neighborhoods on the South side together, because everybody was going through there getting tapes. Normally would have different neighborhoods getting into it or whatever, but everybody started really linking up with each other and knowing each other and messing around. Do you remember the first time you heard a Screw tape or the first time you heard a song slowed down like that? Man, naw. It was a long time ago. We used to be out there on the corner and somebody would pop something in. That “Gin & Juice,” that Snoop Dogg, I remember that. The main thing about the mixtape was he’d have a bunch of songs from different artists on one tape. The first tape I heard, Keke was on there and Fat Pat was flowing on there, way back in the gap. We’d be just shooting the shit and a nigga might just start freestyling. Talking about whatever, the cops coming around, the hoodrats walking by, who got work, who just sold out they work, who got mo’ money. That’ll take your ear because it’s not like everything that’s being played on the radio. On this here you got somebody just going off on a beat. That became a real big thang. Did you like the slowed down music the first time you heard it? Aw, yeah. You know, it was live. Everybody cut for it. Screw introduced a lot of other artists out here that people wouldn’t even know. The Hot Boys, he blew them up out here. C-Bo, Above the Law, other stuff you wouldn’t even know about. He was putting all that on these tapes. He was a DJ so they used to send him all this new stuff at a time, so when you went in to make your tape he’d let you know what he got new. One thing he did that I picked up on was if somebody had a project that just came out, he wouldn’t let you get a bunch of songs off they album. He’d let you get one or two, I didn’t understand it at the time, but he wanted to give them a chance to sell. If he went and Screwed a whole project down that would take away from they sales and he didn’t do that. So that was a good thing, man. Before you knew it this whole southern region was on this Screw thing. What do you think made it so infectious? Cause it was kind of strange to me at first. I started understanding as I heard more, but at first I think it was hard for a lot of people to give it a chance. There’s a lot of people out here that wouldn’t give it a chance. Matter of fact, my sister, one time I put a tape in her deck and she was like, “Is it me or is the radio trippin’?” And I was like, “Naw, that’s the tape,” and now she a Screw head. And my sister is 46 years old! Texas is a laid back state anyway. There’s drama everywhere you go, but we ain’t bangin’ like Cali, we not trippin’ off no colors or none of that. So it’s familiar to us. And as far as the music, you could understand it word for word. Some people like beats, some people like lyrics. I want to hear what you talkin’ about, personally. Then the way he was on the ones and twos. I ain’t never seen nobody bring it back and chop it up like he did, man. It just brought life to the tape. It was just cool to listen to. So did you start rapping just freestyling in the room with Screw? Yeah, and one day Screw pulled me to the side and said, “You need to pick that pen up and give it a chance.” I wasn’t thinking that. I was just doing it for fun. But Screw had made such an impact to the point where people that was around me in my circle was getting ready to drop projects. We already had the Botany Boys, they was doing they thing. They was the first. Then Pat and Mike D were south side players, then me, Keke, Hawk and KK did the DEA thing. We combined South
Side Players with DEA and made DEA. That was the first mainstream project we worked on. We got good results on it, from freestyling on tapes to that point it was a big thing. Shortly after that Keke did his solo, Don’t Mess With Texas. Seeing where he came from to where he went right then it was kind of like, “Oh, this is for real.” One time I was talking to him on the phone and he was just telling me how things was going and all the shows he was doing and the deposits coming in and I said, “Man, there’s some bread in this here.” Very shortly after that, Pat was working on his project. We did a song together and people would hear that and ask me when I was gonna drop mine. That’s all I needed to hear. When I heard that that’s when I knew I was finna really take this seriously. The rap game really just kind of fell into my lap. I wasn’t looking for it, it just came. Who put out your first album? Chevis Entertainment. A good friend of mine wanted to put my project out. He drew up a contract and it was very successful. Things were a little different for independents then, wasn’t it? Who did you know independently who could move 100,000 units with no promotion? On the East coast you might have had somebody move 3,000 out the trunk and got a deal. I’d do 3,000 before the day was over back then. The only promotion we had was a couple of flyers and posters, and my shows. And the Screw tapes. Yeah, the Screw tapes was the promotion! But see, when we started doing our solos, we kind of chilled on doing the mixtapes. We shouldn’t have done that. We should have kept on doing the mixtapes cause the mixtapes steady boosting your clientele and then you can promote your album. So when Screw passed it was still a hunger for that music, cause it had already started up and they wanted it. When Swishahouse started doing the slowed down thing too, they was putting their music out there for the folks that wanted it Screwed. What was your biggest tape? June 27th was one of them. That tape probably still selling. I guarantee you, man, we was doing it for the love of it. We wasn’t getting paid off them Screw tapes. That was Screw money. We wasn’t even looking for no money off of it. What we did get was a fan base off it and a career so we couldn’t complain. Man, June 27th I know sold over gold. Is it fair to say that a lot of the slang and a lot of the style today comes directly from those Screw tapes? Yeah, that’s what it was. What we brought to the game was a whole ‘nother thing. I know people that grew up off our music, and a lot of those people are people y’all might feel right now. ’m just proud of where we started and what it did for the city and how far it’s gone and all the love and support and respect that we get from it. Screw was good people. I’m not mad cause Swishahouse is slowing music down. Shit, if they didn’t do it, somebody was gonna do it. That’s money out there to go get and I’m not knocking that. I don’t feel that they copying us or they stealing our style. Game recycle game all day long. Everybody quick to say “Damn, why Kobe wanna be Jordan.” Naw, man, the nigga Kobe. Shit, Iverson ain’t trying to be Jordan, but he cloned his game off of somebody that he was cutting for. Period and point blank. He ain’t just discovered no game by hisself, he watched somebody. He might have watched three people and pieced that together. The bottom line is game recycles game and you can’t stop that. Go get ya money and I’m gonna go get mine. What were some of the words and phrases y’all pioneered? Oh, man. “It’s goin’ down!” “Hold up,” “Know’m talkin’ ‘bout,” “slabs.” Sometimes it’s not even the words, it’s how you say it. And just like with the Screw movement, we was coming off the head. Well who are you with now? What are you working on? Right now I’m with Pearl Records. The CEO Julian Kimble and I got my labelmate Kano. I’m very content with where I’m at. I feel like the sky’s the limit for us. Me and the bossman got a healthy relationship. We got our eyes on the prize and we finna get our shit right. My project is pretty much done and we about to drop that. Kano’s album almost finished, he a beast, he can make an album in a night. This will be my first record with this label, but my fourth solo. I’m looking for this to be better than anything I’ve ever dropped. OZONE
HARD OUT HERE:
Memphis,TN, was once known for Coming Out Hard. But these days, it’s hard for them to come up. by Jacinta Howard
he year was 1976. Stax Records, largely recognized as the first Motown because of its talented roster of artists that included Isaac Hayes, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Otis Redding and Sam and Dave, had just folded. The city of Memphis was reeling. The demise of the label was more than a disappointment for the plight of the city’s black musicians; it was a devastating blow. Memphis would never fully recover. Though Elvis Presley immediately comes to mind when the average person thinks about Memphis, if you walk the streets of the Bluff City, absorbing the people and culture it becomes clear that the “King’s” presence is more like the Statue of Liberty in New York - a recognizable landmark more relevant to tourism than a realistic representation of the city. Still mostly segregated, with the majority of white people living in the far eastern section, Memphis is veiled in poverty. Sure, FedEx is based there, but for most black people that simply means more warehouse jobs. “Memphis is a poor city,” says veteran rapper RedBoss, who was reared in the notorious Orange Mound. “Everybody is really territorial and gangsta. It’s a hard city but it’s a music city.” Indeed, Memphis’ artist roster reads like a Who’s Who List for black music. From Al Green, Isaac Hayes, Sam and Dave and the Bar-Kays to 8Ball & MJG, Three 6 Mafia, Jazzy Pha and Tela, there’s no denying the soulful, piercing sound that courses through the city’s veins. It’s a powerful vibe shaped by poverty and bred by injustice. A mixture of triumph and pain, Memphis served as an incubator for the blues and a coffin for Martin Luther King, Jr. Naturally, those complexities are represented in the music. But even with its innovative musical history, for the most part Memphis still labors in the shadows of cities like its sister, Atlanta, Houston, Philadelphia, and Chicago. If you had told someone from Memphis that ten years ago, they would’ve laughed at you.
// Coming Out Hard
ou can’t really talk about the Memphis rap scene without mentioning Gangsta Pat and DJ Spanish Fly. Pat is largely credited with being the first rapper from Memphis and Spanish Fly was among the first DJs to penetrate the streets with mixtapes in the mid and late 80s. Originally signed to OTS Records, it was Pat who first landed a major deal with Atlantic/WEA and in March 1991 released #1 Suspect which spawned the hit “I Am Tha Gangsta.” Though the song was first on one of his earlier mixtapes, it solidified the birth of a new movement: gangsta walkin’. Later that year, producer SMK (E-40) released The Real Side of Me which featured “Gangster Walk.”
“In the early to mid-90s a lot of Memphis artists were focused on the Memphis style of music that’s now being referred to as ‘crunk,’” explains music veteran DJ Howard Q. Over the years, he’s worked with virtually every artist in Memphis and has witnessed the progression of the city firsthand. “A lot of that music started here back in the late eighties to early nineties - the triple tongue rap style, the snare beats and really low end bass that Three 6 Mafia is known for now was pretty much the style of Memphis rappers.” Suddenly the city’s rap scene began to bubble, aided largely by a popular club, Studio G, where local artists like 8ball & MJG and DJ Zurk would sell mixtapes. While the mixtape scene started in the 80s it was perfected with the arrival of Orange Mound native, DJ Squeeky. BigYO, half of the production team Marshall Law Productions (Playa Fly, Kingpin Skinny Pimp, Indo G, Lil Blunt, Ying Yang Twins) hails from Blackhaven on the southside of Memphis and remembers Squeeky’s impact. “At the time he had the underground on lock because he had all of the popular rappers on his mixtapes,” he recalls. Squeeky’s mixtapes were a showcase of Memphis’ elite talent. But when he released the classic song, “Lookin’ for the Chewin’” which featured Ball & G, DJ Zurk, and Skinny Pimp, it not only solidified his importance to the burgeoning rap scene, but helped establish the careers of Skinny and Ball & G. Not much later, on the other side of town DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia began releasing mixtapes as well and soon became competition for Squeeky. The groundwork was laid for the beef that still exists between the two. “I used to do mixtapes on the north side and Paul was doing tapes on the south side of town and we got introduced and started doing stuff together and then started Three 6 Mafia,” says Juicy J. “It started with three people, then we added three more and then it was like a posse thing. We had other rappers that we signed on the group like Project Pat. It was a big entourage.” Meanwhile, artists like Al Kapone and Indo G & Lil Blunt were making noise on mixtapes as well, working with SMK. Then in 1993 Memphis got a huge break. 8Ball & MJG, who had left for Houston to sign with Tony Draper’s Suave House Records, released Coming Out Hard. Suddenly, people were paying attention. The city that had suffered so much heartache had something to hope for. The rap scene now wide open, Indo G & Lil Blunt dropped The Antidote on Miami bass legend Luke’s imprint in January 1995, propelled by the single, “Blame it on the Funk.” But it was Triple 6’s Mystic Stylez released on their label, Prophet Records and distributed by Select-O-Hits later that May that would come to define the year. It was the album that made Skinny
Pimp a star in Memphis and gave underground phenom Playa Fly a name. It also introduced Gangsta Boo. “Three 6 were the first underground artists to come with CD duplication, and that made other niggas step they game up,” says Keeno, owner of Wav Lab studios in Memphis. That same year in November, Al Kapone dropped Da Resurrection on Priority Records and it was clear that Memphis was finally on the rise. However, it arguably reached its height in 1996, twenty years after the demise of Stax Records.
// 2 Wild 4 The World
n 1996, Skinny Pimp, riding high off of the success of Mystic Stylez, released King of Da Playaz Ball in November. Blackhaven rapper Tela dropped the Southern classic Piece of Mind on Suave House, giving a then-unknown Jazzy Pha his big break with “Tired of Ballin’” and the syrupy “Sho Nuff” featuring Ball and G. With Memphis producer T-Mixx the resident at Suave House, the groundwork was laid for the city’s unique sound to impact the country. Playa Fly’s Fly Shit also dropped that October along with Gangsta Blac’s Can It Be. Not only were these artists huge in Memphis, but the sound quickly spread throughout all of Tennessee and into neighboring Georgia, hitting the Atlanta music scene hard. “Atlanta is like our big brother so ain’t no hatin’, but they kinda got the crunk style from us,” RedBoss maintains. “Back in the day they were on the booty-shake tip with Kilo Ali and a few other cats, being close to Florida and all. We need to get some credit; it’s long overdue. Ball and G have been doin’ it forever, Three 6 has been doin it forever but we still don’t get our respect.” Rapper Tom Skeemask, who worked alongside Squeeky agrees, “I read a few articles where people really felt like Lil Jon created crunk music. They’re entitled to their opinion but everybody knows where that sound comes from. It comes from right here.” It’s a sentiment that many Memphis natives share. That, coupled with the area’s radio stations’ refusal to consistently support local artists, has left many of the city’s artists aggravated. “It’s frustrating that Memphis hasn’t gotten its credit, but at the same time it’s understandable,” Howard Q acknowledges. “You have artists like Playa Fly that without radio could put out an album and sell 110,000 or 115,000 copies, Skinny sells 150,000 regionally without radio, so these guys were satisfied with the money that they were mak-
ing without being above ground. Other artists could come to the city and hear the music, but because it wasn’t on the radio, they could take it back to larger markets.” Needless to say, the underground rap scene was very profitable. Case and point: When DJ Squeeky made the switch from cassette to CD and released On a Mission in 1997, he sold 10,000 copies in a week with no radio play. “Radio was not supportive of Memphis music period during the mid-to late nineties,” says Howard Q. “All the way up until 1996 you only had one radio station that would play rap music, K 97.” Radio’s lack of interest, poverty-ridden conditions and the growing beef between local artists all helped to kill the buzz that Memphis had worked so hard to get. By 1996 the animosity between Squeeky and Paul’s camps was in full swing. “The whole city gets along. But you got Three 6 Mafia who took all the local Memphis artists’ sounds, songs, everything they heard on the streets and go back to they studio and remake it,” accuses Squeeky. He maintains that while he’s not stressing the situation, he would still never do a song with Three 6 unless they paid him “at least $1 million dollars” for allegedly stolen material. “There’s always going to be people who say negative things about you, but we’re doing a lot for the city and we’re trying to bring the city together, bring the city up,” says Juicy J regarding the situation. So would he do a song with Squeeky? He pauses for a second. “We never know what could happen, we never know,” he says. Adding fuel to the fire, Skinny Pimp, who had previously left Squeeky to join with DJ Paul found himself at odds with Three 6 over what he says were shady contracts. Though Skinny Pimp and Paul, who he says were once “like brothers,” are still not on speaking terms, Skinny expresses hope. “When Paul ready [to work together] I’ma be ready too,” he maintains. Combine the internal strife with the artist’s frustration at not getting the national respect and recognition they felt they deserved, and the result was nearly as significant as the death of Stax. “We pioneered a lot of shit but we just don’t get the credit,” says MJG, disappointment lacing his raspy voice. “We’re kinda underrated. What’s the full answer and reason? I don’t know myself.”
// Hustle & Flow “We done invested the heart and fa sho’ the muscle / And I could give a muthafuck about a flow and a hustle.” - MJG, “Memphis” Pure American Pimpin’
kinny Pimp sits in his Atlanta apartment, his face lined with a mixture of disappointment, anger and indignation. He currently has a lawsuit pending against Craig Brewer, the director of Hustle & Flow, alleging that his life story was the premise for the movie. Brewer denies the claims. “Certain things in [Hustle & Flow] was strictly based on my life story,” Skinny says, shaking his head. “Then how they got a dude named Skinny Black in the movie? Everybody know it ain’t no rapper in Memphis that call themselves Skinny nothin’ but me.” DJ Squeeky agrees with Skinny’s claims. “They had the white boy, they had the dude playin’ the rapper and they had this big dude in there makin’ beats. Now that story right there consists of me, the white boy that used to make music for us named J-Dawg and Skinny Pimp.” Lawsuit aside, Hustle & Flow was more than just a movie for most Memphis natives. It was an opportunity to finally have their story accurately told, for the world to get a glimpse of their struggles, hardships and ultimately, their creativity.
(Above): Rapper/producers David Banner and Jazze Pha at Memphis’ legendary Stax Museum (Photo: Julia Beverly)
“That movie was a flop to us,” says Squeeky bluntly. OZONE
Memphis rapper Yo Gotti, who recently signed to TVT and is riding high off of a huge street buzz, sees things differently. “Hustle & Flow was a good look in general for Memphis,” he contends. “People complained, but you got people comin’ from Hollywood trying to imitate a lifestyle in Memphis, so of course they’re not gonna get it perfect.” While the reaction to the movie is mixed, most were disappointed with the soundtrack, which was released by T.I.’s Grand Hustle label. Though the character DJay’s rhymes (written by Al Kapone, Frayser Boy and Three 6) were included, Memphis artists were virtually absent from the album. “We had two weeks to do the soundtrack, and that’s the bottom line,” explains Jason Geter, co-owner of Grand Hustle and executive producer of the project. “Another company had the soundtrack and I guess it didn’t work out. Of course I wanted to do it. Clearance issues are really almost impossible to get in two weeks.” Geter says he understands why Memphis artists were so angry. “I wanted Yo Gotti, I love Project Pat, I wanted it to be authentic,” he says. “I knew people from Memphis were gonna be pissed because they deserve to be pissed, but I had to work with what I had.” But DJ Squeeky tells a different story. “[Craig Brewer] came to me with that shit, trying to get me to be on the album or whatever, tryin to pay me like $200 or $300,” he recalls. “I’m not no $200 or $300 ass nigga. Instead of them doin’ a whole album on Memphis they took what they had and they ran to another area instead of makin the shit happen. We already hungry, we already feel like we being fucked, so don’t come out here with that bullshit.”
Above: DJ Squeeky, Kingpin Skinny Pimp Right: Yo Gotti, doing his best Superman impression Below: Gangsta Pat
// Da Resurrection
n March 5, 2006, hip-hop won its first Oscar. Thirty years after Stax fell, Memphis collectively stood on its feet when Three 6 Mafia took to the stage and performed Hustle & Flow’s theme song, “Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” and collected an Academy Award. “It’s such a big blessing because we’ve been around for so long and it seems like everything paid off,” says Juicy J. “The first thing we hollered out was Memphis [on stage]. We’re reppin’ to the fullest.” To the outside world, Three 6’s top 40 hit, “Stay Fly” featuring 8Ball & MJG and Nashville native Young Buck, Yo Gotti releasing his anticipated album Back to the Basics this month and Skinny’s pending deal with Lil Flip makes it seem like Memphis is on its way back to the top. But looks can be deceiving. According to Moetown Lee, ex-manager of 8ball & MJG, David Banner was instrumental in making the rare collab between the city’s two biggest groups happen. “They were on David Banner’s ‘Gangsta Walk’ together. He hooked it all up and they reached out to each other, got in the studio and made it happen.” Many Memphis artists feel three things must occur before the city can truly shine: more radio support, recognition from other cities as being musical innovators, and an end to all the beef. For RedBoss it’s about respect. “Just give us our props for our music and the rest will follow suit,” he maintains. “Even if we’re not known for having the hottest clubs or the nightlife or whatever, just respect us for our music. I’d be happy with that.”
he truth about OZONE Magazine is that there was no vision in the beginning. There was no calculated plan to take over the world, or become the voice for the South in a game still dominated by New York-based media outlets. There was, however, a sense of creating something, and as time went on the plan fell into place. I was really just an amateur photographer wanting to learn and show off my work. None of the “big” magazines returned my calls or emails when I inquired if they were hiring. In retrospect I can see why, because I wasn’t very good. But I’ve put in work, and I think it shows. So for this four year anniversary edition, it’s only fitting that I walk you through some of my more memorable OZONE photo sessions and the stories behind them... >>> - Julia Beverly
Young Buck May 4th, 2004 “Let Me In” video shoot Nashville, TN Combine the entire Nashville ‘hood with G-Unit at the peak of its popularity (50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, and Young Buck, along with a handful of other celebrities) and a very minimum amount of security and police, and you’ve got a recipe for chaos. This scene almost turned into a full-out riot. Young Buck finally got on the mic and addressed the crowd (“If y’all don’t calm down, we won’t be able to film here and we’re gonna pack up and leave”), which actually worked.
Camoflauge (R.I.P.) September 5th, 2002 HVP Savannah, GA A white girl with a big camera, walking through Savannah’s impoverished HVP housing projects, was more than just a novelty. I felt like a zoo exhibit during this photo shoot - with no fences. By the time we finished this shoot in the projects, quite an audience had gathered. A group of people of all ages mobbed Camoflauge, Savannah’s hometown hero, wanting hugs or asking him for money. As for me, the poking and ass-grabbing didn’t stop until Camoflauge flung his arm around my shoulder and told them to leave me alone. They respected him. Sadly, Camoflauge was shot and killed about eight months after this photo was taken. It’s always sad to see someone with so much potential lose the opportunity to reach their peak. He had the talent, the charisma, and the ambition to make it big. “Everyone knew it was going to happen,” he told the Savannah daily newspaper in 2002, of his impending fame.
Lil Scrappy April 17th, 2004 BET Spring Bling Daytona Beach, FL
David Banner December 2nd, 2003 His mother’s house Brookhaven, MS Banner’s all cleaned up these days. The Mississippi t-shirts and camouflage gear have been replaced by suits; no more gray hairs in his scraggly goatee. But I always loved this shot for precisely those reasons. It’s raw, real, and you can see the quiet anger and passion in his expression that helped him achieve success in the first place. We shot several rolls like this early one morning before he jumped on a plane to go do what he does best. I was going for a “fade to black” sort of look, but due to limited space and my still-amateur photography skills, it didn’t quite work (that’s a bedspread behind him, rigged up on the top of the doorframe, a failed attempt at a black backdrop).
Baby April 6th, 2005 Cash Money offices Metairie, LA Pre-Katrina, I visited Cash Money’s offices just outside New Orleans. Having heard all the stories about Cash Money’s bad deals and stinginess, I tried to keep an open mind going into the interview. It was interesting to see a copy of the same book I was reading, 48 Laws Of Power, sitting on Baby’s desk. The walls were lined with record plaques and awards like the one shown above: “Thanks For Everything You Do For Our Children,” a reminder that there are two sides to every story. 84
Lil Flip March 28th, 2004 Yung Wun’s “Tear It Up” video shoot Atlanta, GA I was in New York the night before, and had gotten the call to come down and shoot the video. I hopped on a plane early the next morning, and I’m glad I did. This might sound strange to say about a rap video, but everything about this whole day just struck me as beautiful: from the crisp March weather to the red drop-top to Lil Flip’s jewelry and tattoos.
Ying Yang Twins May 18th, 2005 Atlanta, GA I was passing through Atlanta and heard that the Ying Yang Twins were having an impromptu media meet-and-greet to promote their new album at their lawyer Carl’s offices. Although their interview consisted of the usual foolishness and “HANH!!!!!”s, I liked these shots because it showed their other side, the serious side, that doesn’t get much camera time. Plus, the brick wall was a nice backdrop.
Trick Daddy December 29th, 2004 His house Miramar, FL In my editorial when these photos ran, I talked about the hoops Trick Daddy had me running through to set up this photo shoot. He enjoys being difficult and forcing people to play ball on his terms; itâ€™s all part of the game. I know nothing about cars, but I know this is one of his most prized possessions.
Ludacris May 15th, 2004 “Diamond In The Back” video shoot Cumberland Mall parking lot Atlanta, GA When you work in the industry behind-the-scenes, there’s some artists you click with and some that you just don’t. Although I respect Ludacris’ music, I never gained that personal repertoire with him that I have with some other artists. So when I capture him on film, it’s always from a distance like this shot. I never really caught a glimpse of the actual person behind the “Ludacris” character. Having been in the game for awhile and achieved “superstar” status, he seems to be very professional with everything he does and keeps people at a distance. It’s just business.
Killer Mike November 23rd, 2003 Transcontinental Studios Orlando, FL Killer Mike is probably one of the most articulate and intelligent rappers in the game, so heâ€™s a great interview subject. He was in Orlando for the Florida Classic and recording with Smilez & Southstar, so I stopped by the studio and set up in a spare rehearsal room. Love the shirt, too.
Pimp C March 21st, 2005 Texas State Penitentiary Terrell Unit Rosharon, TX Pimp C had been incarcerated before I even got in the game, so I’d never met him as a free man. When the opportunity arose to interview and photograph him behind bars, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I was curious what all the “Free Pimp C” hype was actually about. After a week-long road trip, I ended up about an hour south of Houston for this interview. With a glass wall in between you, there’s no time for small talk or bullshit, just reality. When there’s no jewelry or cars or hoes or record sales to discuss, there’s a lot of time to get introspective. The glass, however, did prove to be an obstacle. The audio of the interview was very difficult to hear. I didn’t find out til the night before that I would have to shoot through the glass with only natural light, a challenge for any photographer. Many of the shots were too grainy and dark to use, but I loved the way this one came out.
Lil Jon May 14th, 2004 Miami, FL A Chicago-based clothing company, SE Clothing, hired me to get shots of artists wearing their custom-made jerseys. At the time, Jon and his crew were staying in a rented mansion on South Beach, recording Crunk Juice. I had to be in Atlanta the next day for a video shoot, so my intentions were to drop off this jersey and haul ass. But the place was so nice I didnâ€™t want to leave. I ended up spending the day playing basketball with Bohagon (he beat me, but barely) tennis with Jon (he sucks) and pool with Rob Mac (I won once, if memory serves correct).
Field Mob August 11th, 2002 WDME Clientell Radio Orlando, FL Anybody whoâ€™s ever spent time with Field Mob knows that they are pure comedians. This spontaneous photo session at Dawgmanâ€™s underground pirate radio station was no exception. They were on promo tour for their album From The Roota To The Toota, and their silliness was in full effect.
Paul Wall May 10th, 2005 “Sittin’ Sideways” video shoot Houston, TX
Trey Songz December 8th, 2005 Club Fusion Ft. Myers, FL DJ Quest, a Ft. Myers DJ by way of Orlando, invited OZONE down for a concert his radio station was doing. Since it fit our travel schedule and we had an interview set up already with Trey Songz, I decided to make the trip and knock out the photo shoot along the way. Trey was a bit of a diva and wasn’t available to do the shoot before the show. The groupies were flocking around during the show, and it wasn’t looking too promising for a photo session after. So - we got creative and pulled the OZONE truck to the club’s back entrance, hooked up some lights to the AC adapter, stole a stool from the bar, and snagged Trey for a 5-minute photo session in the parking lot when he stepped out the back door. I enjoy any photo shoot that involves a shirtless man with a six-pack, so it was all worth it.
Bun B July 27th, 2005 Laundromat Houston, TX For those of you who might not know, July in Texas is hot as fuck. We were at a little strip mall filming the video for Chamillionaire’s first single “Turn It Up,” and it was about a thousand degrees outside, and humid. When the crew broke for lunch, Rap-A-Lot called and put me on the phone with Bun to set up his photo shoot for the OZONE cover. I gave him directions to the strip mall. To escape the heat, I ducked off in this laundromat with my laptop. Unfortunately, since it was a last-minute shoot, my photo light setup was still in DJ Chill’s truck on the other side of town. So we had to improvise and use natural light, shooting in the check-cashing store, the laundromat, and a sex shop (in front of rows of pornos and bongs). For some reason, I really liked the laundromat shots. It sorta fit Bun’s down-to-earth personality.
Pitbull April 1st, 2004 La Messa Studios Orlando, FL Pitbull has this intense aura about him that makes his photo sessions enjoyable. For this particular shot, I set up in the lobby of La Messa Studios while he recorded a song with Orlando-based artist Adept. I couldnâ€™t have asked for a better setting; the studio lobby walls, painted bright orange, complemented him and his outfit perfectly.
Lil Wayne July 17th, 2005 The Peabody Orlando, FL I like this image because it shows the interesting contrast between Wayneâ€™s bullet wound (far left) and the prayer tattooed down the right side of his back. Incidentally, B.G. was in the hotel lobby when we did this photo shoot. Although I tried to get the two of them together for a Hot Boys photo session, it never happened, and I couldnâ€™t tell if they were just busy or avoiding each other. A few months later B.G. released a Lil Wayne diss record.
Big Gipp June 2nd, 2002 T.I.’s “Dope Boyz” video shoot Atlanta, GA I don’t know why so many rappers have tattoos across their back, but it’s always fascinated me. This was probably the first video shoot I’d ever been on, so the whole thing was exciting despite the repetition. During some downtime on set, Goodie Mob’s Big Gipp took his shirt off and had his back to me, so I snapped this.
Grandaddy Souf January 4th, 2003 Orlando, FL I can’t claim credit for this concept, because it was totally his idea. Grandaddy always wanted to present himself differently than other rappers, from his trademark pipe down to the Dickies jumpsuit. He went for an extreme look with this shoot, but it worked. We pulled off State Rd. 50 on the west side of Orlando near a muddy lake and grabbed a dirty pail nearby.
T-Pain April 24th, 2005 Orlando, FL TJ Chapman put me on to T-Pain’s “I’m Sprung” months before he blew up. Off the strength of the single, I took a few quick snapshots at a rinky-dink motel off International Drive. The yellowish lights in the hotel hallway gave off a quirky effect that fit Pain’s unique look.
Rich Boy May 20th, 2005 Interstate 10 Alabama/Mississippi state line Vibe Magazine originally hired me to do this shoot.
David Banner March 26th, 2003 Interstate 20 Mississippi/Alabama state line Banner called me late one night with this idea for a cover, and I hopped on the next flight to Atlanta to meet him. I hadn’t slept in at least 48 hours, and judging by the way he looked when he picked me up at the airport, he hadn’t either. During the six hour drive to Jackson, MS, we listened to “Cadillac on 22s” on repeat until the SUV’s audio completely died. He signed his deal with SRC/ Universal a few weeks after this shot was taken. OZONE
Mr. Magic // August 26th, 2004 Roy Jones Jr.’s private boxing gym Pensacola, FL Mr. Magic gave me some boxing lessons after this photo session, and it’s a lot harder than I thought.
Lil Wyte May 9th, 2005 Frayser Boy’s “I Got Dat Drank” video shoot Houston, TX The only thing I remember about this day is that it was disgustingly hot and humid, and we spent the day filming at a bar with no air conditioning.
Cool & Dre January 12th, 2004 Circle House Studios Miami, FL Cool & Dre are probably some of the nicest guys you’ll meet in the music business. I don’t know what the hell they’re doing in this picture, but it looks cool. 100 OZONE
Young Cash November 14th, 2004 Jacksonville, FL Fpr Cash’s cover shoot, I tagged along when he stopped by the local tattoo artist’s shop.
Mike Jones November 29th, 2005 T-Pain’s “I’m In Luv (Wit’ A Stripper)” video shoot Atlanta, GA
Attitude February 19th, 2005 Pitbull’s “Culo” video shoot South Beach Miami, FL OZONE
Thrill da Playa June 3rd, 2002 The Varsity Atlanta, GA When I was first getting started in the magazine biz, former 69 Boyz frontman Thrill da Playa invited me to Atlanta with his crew for T.I.’s “Dope Boyz” video shoot. It was really my first “industry” trip out of state, and I began to see the possibilities for OZONE’s growth. Before we left, we snapped some photos behind The Varsity, an Atlanta landmark. You can see the drive-thru reflection in his glasses.
Chamillionaire July 14th, 2005 Times Square New York, NY I snapped this on the way to his listening session for The Sound of Revenge. Although it came out a little dark and grainy, I loved the image of one of Texas’ premiere lyricists against the fast pace of Times Square.
Webbie January 18th, 2005 Trill Entertainment offices Baton Rouge, LA Long before he hit the national scene, Webbie was already a ghetto superstar back home in Baton Rouge. And as much shit as he talks, he still looks like a boy here. 102 OZONE
JUVENILE REALITY CHECK UTP/Atlantic
SCARFACE MY HOMIES PT. 2 Rap-A-Lot
BUBBA SPARXXX THE CHARM Purple Ribbon/Virgin
When Juvenile hit the mainstream with his instantclassic 400 Degreez in 1998 he set the stage for critics and fans to expect nothing but straight heat for the rest of his career. Even though his next three albums were solid efforts, they lacked the power punches their predecessor. But now with a forced fresh start and new recording environment, Reality Check shows has New Orleans’ finest coming out swinging like a veteran fighter with something to prove.
Making a sequel is always a risk. It has to be just as good as its predecessor to justify its existence and it has to be twice as good to be respected. And with its precursor being heralded as somewhat of a classic, My Homies Part 2 has pretty big shoes to fill.
They say the third time is the charm, and Bubba Sparxxx’s latest offering, The Charm, keeps that phrase in good standing. The album opens with “Represent,” a dry-drummed track that plays as the perfect compliment to Bubba’s beat-for-beat flow patterns. While the hook sings: “It’s your turn, you’re supposed to represent,” he makes sure that that is not the only song he does it on, even if someone else is on the song.
The album opens with the Hurricane Katrina aftermath inspired “Get Ya Hustle On” where he spits that now infamous line: “Everybody need a check from FEMA so he can go and score some cocaiena.” From that point Juve uses his energy to create great music, rather than harp on the obvious despair of his hometown. “Sets Go Up” has Juve and Wacko doing what they do best, making grown man gangsta shit with undeniable hooks. He stays in that mode on “Rock Like That” with Bun B and the Scott Storch-produced “Why Not” where he revisits his trademarked ‘Nolia Boy flow pattern (think the chorus of “Ha”). However, Juve makes some instant vintage with “What’s Happenin” when he flawlessly borrows Sir-Mix-A-Lot’s cadence from “Posse On Broadway.” Juve also satisfies his bounce music and strip club devotees with playa shit like “Loose Booty” featuring Skip and a seemingly rejuvenated 8Ball. Then he gets on some straight Uptown shit with “Holla Back,” giving the P-poppers a new anthem to move to. Not known to take too many risks, the former Hot Boy cools down and makes some R&B flavored cuts as well. “I Know You Know” with Trey Songz has Juve pleading to his significant other that he’s being faithful without being too whiny. On the other hand he warns ladies about falling in lust on the Brian McKnight-produced and assisted “Addicted.” He takes another step out of his comfort zone by allowing more high-profile guest appearances. “Pop U” features Fat Joe and an always engaging Ludacris, but it’s the N.O.-meets-Houston heater “Way I Be Leaning” featuring Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Wacko and Skip that proves to be the highest-point of the album.
Things start off with a bang on “Definition of Real,” where Scarface, Z-Ro and Ice Cube all do a good job of proving why their faces should be next the word in the dictionary. Another banger comes courtesy of “Never Snitch” with ‘Face, Beanie Sigel and The Game letting it be known that they will never talk to cops and don’t mind regulating those who do. As hard as that track is, the strongest song on the album is also the most vulnerable. Z-Ro’s “Man Cry,” a remake of ‘Face’s “I Seen A Man Die,” has the always introspective and lonesome Z-Ro playing the role of the man wasn’t “at peace with God” and needing “to patch it up.” Unfortunately, the highlights are few and far between after that point. “Gotta Get Paid” is vintage ‘Face story telling over slow-rolling Tone Capone production and “Street Lights” featuring Yung Redd and Lil Ron is a traditional Rap-A-Lot cut, but both get lost in the mediocrity that make up the rest of the album. “We Out Here” with Skip and the Ghetto Slaves borrows from some fairly recent Swishahouse production and has a usually entertaining Skip scraping by with a reworked version of his verse from “Nolia Clap.” “Platinum Starz” by Lil’ Flip, Chamillionare & Bun B has dust from 2003 all over it while tracks like “Always” and “Club Bangaz” do little to stand out. The only songs that may catch your attention towards the end of the album are the Geto Boys helmed “My Life” and “Southern Nigga” featuring 8Ball & MJG, Lil’ Keke, Slim Thug, Mr. Lee, Rell and E-Rock.
On what may easily be the album’s best cut Bubba conjures some authentic Dungeon Family magic with Sleepy Brown on “That Man,” where Bubba’s protégé Duddy Ken actually gives his mentor a run for his money. Sparxxx gives another standout effort on “The Other Side” featuring Petey Pablo on the hook, giving listeners an easy-to-consume blend of braggadocio and club talk. Bubba also showcases his introspective skills on the thought-provoking “Ain’t Life Grand” featuring his Purple Ribbon labelmate Scar. He continues in that trend on the soft-guitar laden “Run Away” with pop crooner Frankie J, which has TRL written all over it. Mainstream audiences will also flock to the Mr. Collipark-produced “Ms New Booty” featuring the Ying Yang Twins and the sing-songy “Wonderful.” The only drawback to this solid CD are a couple lapses of reincarnated beats. Bubba reunites with Timbaland for “Hey” which sounds like the skeleton for Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” and on “Gotta Girl” he spits over the beat from TCP’s 2001 single of the same name.
Juve ends with the eerie testimonial “Say It To Me Now” where he answers every question about his career and relationships with one breath. Hands down, this is his strongest effort since 400 Degreez.
While My Homies Part 2 has some pretty decent cuts, it ultimately suffers the same fate as most sequels: It’s not as good as the first one.
Never at a loss of words, and hardly ashamed of his brashness, Bubba deviates from the guitar twang and harmonica formulas of his last two offerings to recreate and reintroduce himself to people who may have counted him out.
- Maurice G. Garland
- Maurice G. Garland
- Maurice G. Garland
BIG FLOATY HERE I STAND 105 Entertainment (4)
THE PRODUCT ONE HUNID Underground Railroad/Koch
Attic Crew member Big Floaty has been waiting for a long time to get his time in the spotlight. After appearing on Witchdoctor’s first album, nothing happened. He landed a group deal with Elektra, but that fell through. He grinded it out doing features with the likes of Adamshame and Bun B and landed a deal with Sony, but once again, no love. Those roadblocks make the title of his independently released Here I Stand all the more fitting.
Scarface’s name is as about as good as gold when it comes to endorsements, making this album worth a listen off GP. But just like other artists that Scarface has vouched for, The Product (Will Henn and Young Malice) manages to form their own identity, complimenting their leader more than depending on him entirely.
He tells the story of his rocky career on emphatic “What U Want” and also takes a moment to speak for hip-hop heads with lines like, “Can’t play no more this shit done got dead serious / These superficial rappers with these candy-coated lyrics / These humpty-dumpty melodies and garbage-ass rhymes / On these bubble gum beats, you got to be lyin.” Floaty continues to shows his dependency on the music he makes on the hypnotic “In Too Deep” when he voices sacrifices (“All my kid say is, Daddy you never at home / All you do is listen to beats and do business on the phone / Baby I’m searching and working trying to make a better life / Somewhere along the way I done messed up and lost my wife”). When the brawny-voiced emcee tries his hand at storytelling he succeeds, vividly. With “Come and Gone” he captures the struggle of a female who is pregnant by a man who abuses her. His writing skills and penchant for thought-provoking rhymes also shine on “Strange Fruit,” “Everyday I Pray” and the Big K.R.I.T. produced “Live and Let Die.” While the majority of the album is solemn social analysis and self-reflection, Floaty allows the jovial side of his personality to flow on the Jimmy Swagger-produced “The Truth” and the Ice Cube-“It Was A Good Day”-inspired “Woke Up This Morning” featuring Scar and Cutty. He also holds his own alongside Juvenile on the standard club record “Where They At.”
From the offset the duo proves that reality rap still exists with their truth-filled parables on “Get Out.” They follow that showing with “2 Real” where the group speaks on the consequences of street life that most rappers seem to forget in their rhymes. “In The Hood” stays on that topic, only this time Will Henn is rolling solo in spoken word mode (“They see the cars, clothes, the money, the ice / They don’t see the niggas running from the police lights / They don’t see the niggas dying in the street gun fights / They don’t hear the homie mama crying up late night”). Not to be overshadowed by his seniors, Young Malice shows street wisdom beyond his years on the Alchemist-produced “G Type” where he spits, “Imagine this, in the pursuit of my happiness, I lost track of who I was in exchange for an icy wrist / This is bliss blasphemy, everlasting beef, generations it never ends, that’s how it has to be / The goal is to be a G a lot of niggas never made it / After they die their people stuck with the beef they created.” While straight-to-the-point titles like “Hustle,” “Read,” and “Pride” make up the bulk of the album, they each speak volumes. At times Malice and Henn almost make you forget that ‘Face is on this album; key word, almost. The veteran makes his O.G. status felt on “Life’s Been Good” when he sums up the album (“I done seen life spared and I’ve seen life took / I’m a product of the ghetto, I can write the book / The do’s and the don’ts, sort of’s, won’ts and mights / Show a dude that the chrome wont wrong the rights”).
Here I Stand sounds nothing like you would expect from the snap-and-trap occupied Atlanta rap scene. It’s reminiscent of the hopeand-struggle music the Dungeon Family was once known for. This effort will definitely stand the test of time.
The only drawback to this album, if any, is that the tone never changes. This is the epitome of riding music. There are no typical “joints for the ladies” or “club bangers.” But what One Hunid lacks in production variety, it more than makes up for with heartfelt lyrics and believable content.
- Maurice G. Garland
- Maurice G. Garland
DJ Sosa (Atlanta, GA) 1. The Replacementz “We So Fly” Perfect for the strip clubs, this one’s for that special stripper you tip heavy. 2. Bobby Valentino f/ Field Mob “Table Dance” Self-explanatory. The beat is hypnotic, and Field Mob’s delivery compliments this red-light banger. 3. Aqualeo “Cadillacs” Blow a swisha to this joint, which mixes Screw with great melody. 4. Cassie “Me N U” The mood is too smooth. This keeps the dancefloor in grown and sexy mode. 5. Short Dawg “Yes Sir” Toomp bullies the beat on this one. Throw up the deuce and get ready for a club banger. 6. Rick Ross “I’m Bad” Ross keeps it lyrical, and the overall production quality makes it hot. 7. DJ Unk f/ Dem Franchize Boyz “Suckas” Let’s start a riot. Suckas can’t deny the chemistry between Franchize and DJ Unk. 8. Kelis f/ Too Short “Bossy” The club goes nuts for this joint. Too Short’s pimpin’ swagger makes it a hit. 9. Wes Fif “Real Talk” Hella grimy, straight for the trapper in all states. The performances is flawless. 10. Johnta Austin “Dope Fiend” One of the most addictive tracks out there, the title sums up how you’ll be hooked.
mixtapereviews DJ DRAMA & YOUNG JEEZY CAN’T BAN THE SNOWMAN Originally touted as Trap Or Die 2, Can’t Ban the Snowman is running neck and neck with 2005’s mixtape classic. Jeezy opens the CD with “I’m Back,” addressing everything from his baby mama drama to his critics to the notorious news stories on CNN. Listeners are also treated to more music from his CTE partners Slick Pulla and Bloodraw this time around. The jewels of the CD are easily “Say I” featuring Christina Milian and “Burnin’ Up” with Slick and Bloodraw. Also, be sure to peep Slick’s “Verbal Intercourse.” – Maurice G. Garland BIGGA RANKIN & G-MACK HOOD RICH WON’T CUT IT Damn! Kentucky’s been holding out on us. This CD was fire! I’d never heard of G-Mack until I got this CD, but once you hear this kid spit I guarantee you’ll be checking for him. Since the CD is hosted by Bigga Rankin and G-Mack is part of the GTP fam, I figured it was gonna be some of that bouncy Florida type shit, but I was wrong. G-Mack has the swagger of an East coast artist with the lyrics of a down South artist. G-Mack sounds a lil’ like Young Jeezy at times, but that’s a pro as well as a con. His production was tight and he meshed well with each beat he flowed over. Florida mixtape O.G. Bigga Rankin naturally did tha damn thang as far as hosting is concerned, so even if you’re skeptical about copping it because you’ve never heard of G-Mack you can rest assured that Bigga ain’t hosting nothing for a whack artist. - DJ Chuck T DJ DRAMA & YOUNG BUCK CASE DISMISSED!: THE INTRODUCTION OF G-UNIT SOUTH Young Buck is looking to get a new movement brewing via his new G-Unit South imprint, and he is off to a great start. Case Dismissed highlights the label’s new signees Lil Scrappy, All Star, D-Tay, Lil Murder and Hi-C (B.G. is mentioned, but he’s not on here). Highlights include Buck’s solo “I’ll Be Back,” All Star’s remake of Webbie’s “GShit,” and “Move It Like I Do” featuring D-Tay and Hi-C. Marking the first time a G-Unit artist does an official mixtape outside of DJ Whoo Kid, Buck and Drama supply straight heat for an hour and some change. – Maurice G. Garland ACAFOOL GOOD TIMES WITH ACAFOOL Florida native Acafool teams up with an all-star cast of the South’s hottest DJs to bring you Season One of his Good Times mixtape series. Acafool brings something to hip-hop music that the game is lacking very much right now: comedy. This CD had me rolling on the floor laughing. The skits on this CD are funny as hell and his lyrics are a tearjerker too. I’ve never seen an Acafool performance, but I heard it’s like a circus show and Def Comedy Jam all rolled into one. Don’t get it twisted though, Acafool may clown a lot on this mixtape, but his subject matters are real as hell. Songs like “Nasty Girl” and “I Can Feel That” are tracks that every nigga out here should be able to relate too. Some of the skits on the CD can get sort of corny at times, but the good ones definitely outweigh the bad. I really enjoyed this CD from start to finish. Any hip-hop lover that wants to take a break from gun-bussin’ and drug-slangin’ should add this CD to their collection ASAP. - DJ Chuck T DJ CHUCK T & CHARLIEO REAL LIFE GOODFELLAZ VOL. 1 Charlieo’s thick accent is the first thing that catches your ear when you pop in this mixtape. His deep Southern drawl adds a bit of spice to his music and accentuates his style perfectly. I must admit that his lyrics are mediocre, but he makes up for it with his smooth delivery and catchy punch lines. “10 Ones In My Fist” could easily become the strip club anthem of 2006. Songs like “Big Rides, Big Cheese” and “Pushin’ Chevy Machines” will make the dope boyz go crazy. Will the Carolinas finally blow this year? If they have more artists like Charlieo hiding out, most definitely! - DJ Chuck T 106 OZONE
SICKAMORE & JOKAMAN LET THE SHIT BEGIN To be completely honest with you, I didn’t like the title of this CD, and I wasn’t about to review it for that reason alone. With a name like Let The Shit Begin I was almost certain that this CD was going to sound like… well… shit! I was totally mistaken. This mixtape is the shit! Jokaman’s voice is very distinct and unlike any other H-Town artist I’ve heard. His lyrics are also very different from any other H-Town artist. This nigga can rap! Jokaman rides every beat like a seasoned veteran, and talks about a whole lot more than sipping syrup and ridin’ on swangaz. The only bad thing about this mixtape is that the host should’ve had more energy. Sickamore is a laid-back kinda dude, and his technique didn’t quite match Jokaman’s firey rap style. From the time the first song comes on til the time the last one goes off, you can’t deny that despite what his name may lead you to believe, this kid is no joke. – DJ Chuck T BIGGA RANKIN & PLIES 100% REAL NIGGA RADIO VOLUME 2 There’s really no need to review this CD. Anything Bigga Rankin puts out is tight work, and if you didn’t already know that, then you need to be smacked. Plies, a.k.a. “the new nigga at Slip-NSlide,” shows a lot of versatility on this CD. He keeps it hood, but doesn’t get too repetitive. Tracks like “Chopper Zone” and “Bond Money” show that this nigga can damn sure spit some gangsta shit, and then totally flips the script on “I’m Tired Of Lying.” This track is something that every real nigga needs to hear. Plies tends to brag just a lil’ too much about being “the hottest nigga in Florida,” but in this rap game you gotta go for the top if you plan to make it. With Trick Daddy missing in action, Plies has some big shoes to fill. After listening to this CD, I don’t think he’ll have a problem doing just that. – DJ Chuck T
How did you get started rapping? Baldhead: I started rapping about two years ago, just doing my thing. My partner started rapping too and we formed the GCC. We’re both from Jacksonville, Duval County. This is the first, and hopefully the last, group we ever formed. Santana: I was getting money. I wasn’t even thinking about rapping, but I got serious about it when I lined up with Baldhead. There’s a third member of our group, too, Black Deezy. What’s up, Santana? Santana: All the time. What does GCC stand for? Baldhead: Gutta Camp Click. What’s the difference in your rap styles? Santana: Baldhead, he’s more laid-back. I’m wild as a muthafucker. What does your music sound like? Santana: We just tryin’ to make hits, baby. If it comes gangsta or shake-yaass, we just tryin’ to make music the people like to hear. What are some songs we would’ve heard from GCC? Santana: “Get Money All The Time,” it’s just basically a street song. That’s what we do, get money all the time. It don’t matter how you get money, you constantly have to get money all the time. Whether you’re working, hustling, prostituting, whatever you do, you’re getting money all the time. Lawyers, doctors, they get money all the time too. Baldhead: We just like everybody else. Straight up and down, we some real street-ass niggas. What’s the name of the project you’re about to drop? Santana: Chronicles Of Some Hustlers. That’s our mixtape, you can pick it
up in the streets or you can hit me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll link you up with a copy. What makes your sound different? Santana: We ain’t tryin’ to sound like nobody. Everybody’s tryin’ to flow the same. Everybody wanna “Lean Wit’ It, Rock Wit’ It,” just cause it’s hot right now. But you still gotta do your own thing, go back in the lab and come up with some more shit. You can’t try to be like nobody else. We tryin’ to be like our muthafuckin’ selves all the time. What’s Jacksonville, FL, like? Santana: It’s beautiful. We gettin’ money all the time. My city is rough, though. We got a murder every two days. Do you have any major features or production on your mixtape? Santana: Just the local people we fuck with. We tryin’ to give everybody a chance to do what they do. We got Young Cash, Big Mann, and Big J on there. We got M-Geezy producing, and a cat named Wonder Kid. We got Lonny, and that boy Carlos from 95 South. We got Young Will featured on there. Anything else you want to say? Santana; We’ve got a new member. We just wanna congratulate Black Deezy. Also, I own a club down here in Jacksonville, so if you ever come through here make sure you come to Club Expo. “Expo” stands for “exposure,” so that means we give all the artists a chance to present your materials. Everybody comes here for the concert afterparties. The address is 2903 N. Pearl, Jacksonville, FL. The club’s phone number is 904-355-1952. The album is coming out in May, and the DVD is coming out in May. It’s my birthday, so we’re gonna have a big weekend birthday bash. I wanna shout out everybody who showed the GCC love. We gonna show you the same love back. For the people who showed no love, you gets no love. All the time.
by Malik Abdul
STREET LIFE: A DOCUMETARY www.StreetLifeFilm.com Come take a walk on the wild streets of Detroit, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Chicago, where the hustlers, pimps, and street thugs show you their way of life. It’s all about getting yours. This documentary takes you through the inner city of crack-infested Detroit, where staying strapped is a part of your wardrobe. Street Life is so well put together, it has an official homicide detective giving you the breakdown on why grown men cry and beg for their mamas when they’re being interrogated. He tells how the biggest kingpins snitch on each other for a lighter sentence. There’s no stone left unturned. You have rappers like Lil Flip telling how the rap game and the drug game are similar. It’s all about having good product, and marketing your good product. You can also check out the section with Bushwick Bill of the Geto Boys, talking about betrayal and everyday struggles. This DVD changes states and takes you to the gangbanging capital of the world, Los Angeles, where Daz Dillinger and MC Eiht talk about gangbanging and beatdowns. This two-hour DVD is filled with knowledge and advice. Whether you’re planning to get into the dope game or the music game, there’s plenty of in-depth advice to tell you what to do or what not to do. Of course there are pimps and whores on the DVD, giving advice like a preacher on a Sunday morning. Magic Don Juan, Pimpin’ Ken, and a slew of others talk about the usual, “Keep that hoe in check.” But this DVD also shows the other side of the pimpin’ game: madams. These women have females that they commission to work. They set them up on dates, and they get 70%. Women exploiting women. Detroit’s resident bad boy Trick Trick shows why he always rides with the AK and hates the Feds. The DVD also shows the infamous Trick Trick vs. Trick Daddy beatdown in Detroit. All in all, this is definitely one of the best DVDs out there. I highly recommend that you pick it up.
ALL ACCESS 10th ANNIVERSARY EDITION www.TheDVDMagazine. com All Access’ 10th Anniversary double edition, featuring Young Jeezy and Juelz Santana, is fire! This is definitely the best of both hoods, from up North to down South. These cats are set to take 2006 to another level. While other rappers are beefing, or getting angry about too much Southern music, these two cats are putting all that shit behind them and making good music. All Access gives you the behind-the-scenes view of Jeezy and Juelz sittin’ down, chopping it up, and reviewing Jeezy’s new mixtape. After the Juelz session, Jeezy tells the real story about him and Gucci Mane. But you’ll have to cop this DVD just to hear Jeezy lay it down on Gucci Mane once again. You’ll hear both sides of the story: the bounty on Gucci’s chain and the attempted robbery that left one man dead. That’s right, Gucci Mane is on here too, talking real greasy in his interview with BET’s Mad Linx. On the flipside, it’s a Texas thang with the Boss Hogg Slim Thug and Mike Jones. If these artists aren’t enough to make you want to pick up the DVD, the appearances from The Neptunes, Kay Slay, Jay-Z and the new Rocafella Records, Gloria Velez, and Miami model Montana will definitely heat things up.
THE RAW REPORT LUDACRIS PRESENTS: DISTURBING THA PEACE www.RawReport.com Here, The Raw Report presents its platinum series featuring Disturbing Tha Peace. Since 1999, with the guidance of supermanager Chaka Zulu, this Southern powerhouse has sold over 15 million CDs. Ludacris narrates the DVD, introducing you to each member of the DTP family: longtime DJ Jaycee, hypeman Lil Fate, and other artists like I-20, Lazyeye, and Norfclck. Ludacris lets you know what each member brings to the table, and the DVD also features separate interviews with each of these artists. DTP recently signed Field Mob, who seem to be every happy now that they’re on a label that cares about their creativity. You’ll also see Smoke’s release from prison, and the success of the hot single “Georgia.” This DVD definitely lets you see why each member was chosen by DTP. Shawnna is a beast on the microphone, and she isn’t afraid to let the men know that she has skills in addition to sex appeal. The well-rounded DTP roster also includes R&B artists like Bobby Valentino and Shareefa, as well as the group Playaz Circle.
by Killer Mike
Notorious B.I.G. Ready To Die
actually started this column to give shine to a lot of albums that I felt never got their proper shine in a lot of publications, or that the rap audience today didn’t have a full appreciation for. I wanted them to realize where we as artists got our influences from. In the South we have an appreciation for artists like UGK and 8Ball & MJG. “Appreciation” probably isn’t the best word. We’re still diehard fans of Outkast, Goodie Mob, Jubilee, DJ Jimi, and 2Live Crew. You can still hear this music in the South; it remains timeless. I started this article to give that to the rest of the world. I wanted kids in other parts of the country to understand that our music didn’t begin with crunk or with the Atlanta movement, the New Orleans movement, or the Memphis movement. It began with the first phase of the Houston movement and Miami. Those are the two cities that got it popping first; shout out to Luke and J Prince. They helped start the machine that we now call Southern hip-hop. Now that the South is dominating the charts and hip-hop culture, I think it’s time that a history lesson be given to the bigger audience who may be just now reading OZONE and wondering how the hell these country muthafuckas got their own publication. I need them to know that we grew up on all this shit. Before there was a Southern or West Coast scene, hip-hop came from the North and we know and understand that and appreciate it. We are inspired by the North, and started an empire ourselves because of that. We as an audience in the South were underappreciated, especially in the early 90s. Ready to Die came out around the same time when Outkast was booed for winning a Source award. They fought an uphill battle to garner lyrical and creative respect. ‘Dre and Big Boi are pieces of a bigger puzzle but they are a prominent piece in the South becoming respected in that lyrical category. Biggie was their parallel in the North at the time, and of course Snoop was an influence in the game, he was running rap at this point. At the time you had Jeru the Damaja, Boot Camp Click and Wu-Tang who all made great East coast hip-hop. Biggie took that shit out of New York City, and I think that’s why he was embraced and loved by a bigger audience on a level that a lot of New York rappers are still baffled by. I think Biggie was a Brooklyn guy at the core who appreciated being able to travel and see different shit because he put it in his rhymes so quick. This is a dude who couldn’t even get Versace in his size but appreciated the beauty of the shit and put it in his rhymes. Whether it was the cars, the women, the liquor or the weed, he really had an appreciation for all the enjoyments of life. That’s pretty much the vibe in the South. You’re supposed to live, enjoy your life, and die. The first time I heard “Juicy,” I knew it was a guy from New York, but it wasn’t that aggressive shit. Biggie mixed a little Snoop, a pinch of the Southern vibe by way of the playa shit, that Brooklyn shit, and some Harlem swag he might have got from Puff and made a new genre of East coast music. He took it off the grimy blocks and pissy hallways and took it to Manhattan and across the world. I want everybody to go back and buy the record and listen to every song for yourself, but here are few songs that jump out to me. “Juicy” Everybody understood that plight. Everybody read Word Up! magazines. Everybody remembers Rappin’ Duke. Everybody could relate to the simple task of making it out the hood and taking care of your mom. Everybody had that dream. That’s how he appealed to people from every background and creed and social demographic. Him and Puff was ingenious for that. Choosing that subject matter at that time was the way to go. The early 90s was fucked up for young Black males, so Biggie coming along and saying, “We can make it,” had a big impact. He was the first one to show prosperity on paper. “The What” At the time Method Man was what was happening in New York and Biggie was just this incredible new dude. I remember buying the re110 OZONE
cord and not even knowing Meth was on it. It didn’t have a real hook; it was just two niggas going at it. Meth had Staten Island on his back and Biggie had Brooklyn on his back and they wasn’t backing down. That shit was incredible. If you listen to Meth, he was using the more New York style, it jumped at you. But Biggie was spitting like a Southern nigga, just styling. He was just as cool as Rakim, but he didn’t try to be overly complex. His complexity was in the simplicity of his raps. He danced simple words around; he was a genius for that shit. Plus he was just well-spoken, you could hear it. He didn’t use his accent as a crutch. Some of my favorite East coast rappers; I couldn’t get my close friends to listen to them because they used their accent for a crutch. But Biggie would use one of your words from your region, which woke you up; it meant something. I remember the first time he said, “Gators for my Detroit players.” I feel that he was smarter than most rappers at the time. Not that the others were dumb, but he just wanted to expand. He knew that being a pure New Yorker lyrically was only gonna him so far. He reached out to everybody, and that’s a good example that young New York rappers can follow these days. Just some advice for the homies up there: Let people know that you fuck with them. “Warning” This is the boss song. Hype Williams did the video; it was one of the best at the time. Warning was a set up for Life After Death, it put him in the boss seat. “Warning” was Frank White rapping. It was like blaxploitation, it served a purpose. Sometimes you need your ego stroked, you need a super nigga to keep you going, and Biggie provided that. This is a big black nigga from Brooklyn getting fly, and people weren’t used to that. We had the Fat Boys but they were more comical. This nigga came through like a boss. Light-skinned long haired singer on his arm, Benzes, everything about this nigga seemed bossy. This was before every rapper wore shades. He created that mystique you see rappers walking around with now. “One More Chance (original version)” This started with the little girl saying, “All you hoes calling here for my daddy, get off his dick. Like that, mommy?” That nigga kept everything ace. Then he had women cussing him out on the telephone, that’s regular nigga shit, every day. Again, this is a big black nigga finessing hoes all throughout the whole song. Everything that should have been a handicap, he made an asset. Even on the remix when he said, “Heartthrob never, black and ugly as ever, however I stay Coogi down to the socks,” he was letting you know that ain’t shit fucking up my self-esteem as long as I’m counting green. He was the first nigga to claim king of New York. He created the crown that all these nigga killing over. But he knew the world was bigger than New York. He traveled; he was the first to start naming islands and inspired all the rappers today to do the same shit. That nigga was like John the Baptist to Jesus; he prophesized that shit. “Unbelievable” DJ Premier, he’s from Texas. Shouts out to Premo, I remember reading an article back in the day when he was talking about making this beat. Who would have thought to take an R Kelly song that wasn’t even really old yet, cut the shit and make a crazy as beat to it? The nigga took that shit and drug it. He really was unbelievable. This was the record on the album that let niggas know if you listen to Jeru, Gang Starr, Wu-Tang, Boot Camp Click, this is what a street rap nigga would do to a beat like this. The nigga was murdering boom bap beats. It showed me that you could finesse any beat. Fast forward to what he did on the next album with Bone, it showed that he was a rap machine with no boundaries. “Suicidal Thoughts” After all the fly shit he said thru the course of the record, it’s amazing that he would end it like this. It’s like the album was a dream and at the end he’s still like, “I wanna die, I’m broke, I’ma piece of shit, maybe it would be better if I’m dead.” He was real honest. He was honest about Versace and drinking the best, a lot of niggas was fronting about living that lifestyle. Talking about keeping it real. But at the end of the day they were still in the Waldorf Astoria. He and ‘Pac had the unique ability to talk to your core and talk to that part of you that’s dark and nobody sees. I think that made him one of the greatest. He wasn’t afraid to be more than the king of New York. - Killer Mike (as told to Maurice G. Garland)
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