YOUR FAVORITE RAPPER’S FAVORITE MAGAZINE
AKON LIL FLIP FAT JOE PASTOR TROY THE RUNNERS METHOD MAN
& MUCH, MUCH MORE
51 ISSUE #
B.O.B. TURK YA BOY RICH BOY THE PACK GOLDRU$H YOUNG CITY FEDERATION DEUCE POPPI PATIENTLY
AREA PART 2
PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Julia Beverly MUSIC EDITOR: Maurice G. Garland ADVERTISING SALES: Che’ Johnson (Gotta Boogie) PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR: Malik “Copafeel” Abdul MARKETING DIRECTOR: David Muhammad LEGAL CONSULTANT: Kyle P. King, P.A. (King Law Firm) SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER: Destine Cajuste ADMINISTRATIVE: Cordice Gardner Nikki Kancey Tana Hergenraeder CONTRIBUTORS: Amanda Diva, Bogan, Carlton Wade, Charlamagne the God, Chuck T, E-Feezy, Edward Hall, Eric Perrin, Felita Knight, Iisha Hillmon, Jacinta Howard, Jaro Vacek, Jessica Koslow, J Lash, Jason Cordes, Jo Jo, Johnny Louis, Kamikaze, Keadron Smith, Keith Kennedy, K.G. Mosley, Killer Mike, King Yella, Lamar Lawshe, Lisa Coleman, Marcus DeWayne, Matt Sonzala, Mercedes (Strictly Streets), Ms. Rivercity, Natalia Gomez, Randy Roper, Ray Tamarra, Rico Da Crook, Robert Gabriel, Rohit Loomba, Shannon McCollum, Spiff, Swift, Wally Sparks, Wendy Day STREET REPS: Al-My-T, B-Lord, Big Teach (Big Mouth), Bigg C, Bigg V, Black, Brian Franklin, Buggah D. Govanah (On Point), Bull, C Rola, Cedric Walker, Chill, Chilly C, Chuck T, Controller, DJ Dap, David Muhammad, Delight, Derrick the Franchise, Dolla Bill, Dwayne Barnum, Dr. Doom, Ed the World Famous, Episode, General, Haziq Ali, H-Vidal, Hollywood, J Fresh, Jammin’ Jay, Janky, Joe Anthony, Judah, Kamikaze, KC, Kenneth Clark; Klarc Shepard, Kuzzo, Kydd Joe, Lex, Lil D, Lump, Marco Mall, Miguel, Mr. Lee, Music & More, Nick@Nite, Nikki Kancey, Pat Pat, PhattLipp, Pimp G, Quest, Raj Smoove, Rippy, Rob-Lo, Stax, TJ’s DJ’s, TJ Bless, Trina Edwards, Vicious, Victor Walker, Voodoo, Wild Billo, Young Harlem DISTRIBUTION: Curtis Circulation, LLC SUBSCRIPTIONS To subscribe, send check or money order for $11 to: Ozone Magazine, Inc. Attn: Subscriptions Dept. 1310 W. Colonial Dr. Suite 10 Orlando, FL 32804 Phone: 407-447-6063 Fax: 407-447-6064 Web: www.ozonemag.com Cover credits: Pitbull photo (cover and this page) by Vincent Edmond Louis; Fat Joe photo by Ray Tamarra; The Runners photo by Carlos Amoedo; Pastor Troy photo by Shannon McCollum. OZONE Magazine is published monthly by OZONE Magazine, Inc. OZONE does not take responsibility for unsolicited materials, misinformation, typographical errors, or misprints. The views contained herein do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or its advertisers. Ads appearing in this magazine are not an endorsement or validation by OZONE Magazine for products or services offered. All photos and illustrations are copyrighted by their respective artists. All other content is copyright 2006 OZONE Magazine, all rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any way without the written consent of the publisher. Printed in the USA.
Pitbull pg 82-83 The Runners pg 78-81 FEATURES DJ Profile pg 38 Feedback pg 12 Smart Ass pg 22 Chin Check pg 20 JB’s 2 Cents pg 15 Industry 101 pg 40 Mathematics pg 18 Roland Powell pg 15 Producer Profile pg 42 Live Shows pg 110-114 CD Reviews pg 102-104 Mixtape Reviews pg 106 Photo Galleries pg 19-43 Patiently Waiting pg 48-60 Tupac’s Last Interview pg 70-72 Entrepreneur Profile pg 34 & 44 Patiently Waiting: The Bay Area pg 62-69 INTERVIEWS Method Man pg 86-87 Pastor Troy pg 88-89 Katt Williams pg 36 Fat Joe pg 74-76 Young City pg 32 Shareefa pg 96 Rich Boy pg 26 Murs pg 98-99 Akon pg 92-93 Belo pg 94-95 Lil Flip pg 24 Turk pg 28
feedback song that’s tight!” Been there and heard all that shit. Anyone can be a rapper, but do you really have talent? Research what you are trying to put out and learn the business. And don’t step to me with some handwritten CD, name scratched out because you forgot how to spell your own name! If you think you’re talented and you have what it takes to make a record and sell it, no matter what you do, you need to invest in yourself. Go get some labels for the damn CDs. I’m running copies of this article right now and sticking them in our station’s van, and I will be handing them out each time an “artist” steps to me with a Sharpie-d CD, saying “Play my shit!” Read this article and come back when you have studied the lesson for today! - Cappuchino, firstname.lastname@example.org (Shreveport, LA)
Keep doing your thing, and don’t stray away from the Southern movement. It’s very important that we have a media outlet that properly represents us. A lot of New York cats fake like they’re with us because they want to capitalize off of what we got going on, but they’re not. They talk shit behind our backs and call us bamas, kind of like the new racist white and how he/she treats blacks (not to be confused with the bold Southern white who will let you know up front where they stand). They treat us the same way a racist white would treat blacks. It’s discrimination. It’s nothing new either, it’s been going on for decades. Don’t get me wrong, some folks from New York are cool and I fuck with them personally, but it takes a special kind of New York person from what I’m noticing. What people fail to realize is that the South has been here for years, but we’ve had no one to rep for us. I’m from North Carolina but we’ve got a lot of New York wannabes around here. North Carolina is the South no matter how you look at it, but sometimes I feel like the people around here are confused on who they really are. Some of the cats around here are scared to rep their true roots: the South. Don’t get me wrong, we were all raised off New York rap and still crank it, but all I’m saying is: Don’t knock our music, homie. I listened to some of your audio on the site and I see how people are still trying to play you like you’re not a credible magazine, the same way they’ve done with our music and culture. What New York and the rest of the industry fail to realize is that as long as we have one another, we don’t need them to validate us. They never have anyway. How the hell did Jeezy not win BET and MTV Awards for Thug Motivation? We got Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, the whole Carolinas, and the rest of the world that’s with us. Just keep doing what you’re doing – the magazine is getting better (not that it was lame or anything) and I loved the OZONE Awards trailer. I will try to make it next year. I normally don’t write shit like this to a magazine, but I’ve been watching you guys for a minute and I’ve seen the hate and opposition against you. Last time I bought a XXL Magazine it was full of so much New York hate I couldn’t even read it. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen The Source. - DJ Deluxe, email@example.com (North Carolina) Hey JB, I just picked up this month’s issue of your magazine and I must say, I’m really feelin’ it. I been buying it for the last few months and I especially like the love you give to independent artists. Being an indie artist myself, I can really appreciate that. I’m from Detroit, and I wish we stuck together as artists as the South does. They may not be friends or hang out together, but everyone is on the same page with the same goal in mind – to come up. i think you’re absolutely gorgeous and part of me buyin’ this magazine is to see you in it, although I’m still waiting for a full body shot. Keep doing what you’re doing and you will be sure to succeed. XXL and The Source better watch out. - Carlos Gibson, firstname.lastname@example.org (Detroit, MI) Man, I loved y’all’s September issue with the Top 10 lists. That shit was funny and real. Y’all keep it up, and soon the OZONE Awards are gonna be on BET live! - Dana, email@example.com (Fort Walton Beach, FL) Wendy-muthafuckin’-Day for president! I’m loving this article on “How to Get Radio Play”! I am so happy someone hit the damn nail on the head and is hitting these new “rappers” with the same nail! I get frustrated having folks step to me with their music and when I try to explain things to them, they get pissed! I agree with Wendy when she said, “Learn the game before stepping on the playing field.” That’s what I tell these so-called artists when they see me at a remote – learn the damn business, man! They constantly call asking, “How much it’s gonna cost to get my music on?” or “Yeah, I got this 12
JB, YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!!! QUIT??? YOU DON’T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE??? Tell me it ain’t so. After reading your 2 Cents this month I was shocked. You came out of left field with that one. But what you have to do is not dwell on the negative but on the positive. Your magazine is the reason the South is running shit now. The South has been going platinum since Luke, The Ghetto Boys, MC Shy D, and Magic Mike, so why wasn’t the South running shit then? Because media was in LA/NYC and they didn’t give us any shine. But here comes a lil mag out of Orlando. Not Miami. Not Atlanta. Orlando. Giving shine to the known, the somewhat known and the unknown. A true voice. You have accomplished much and there’s more to conquer. To quit or sell your interest now would have a devastating effect on this region. I know that your “supporters” can be a lil spoiled and take you for granted. Hell, you make it look so easy. Every time we turn around, no matter what city/state you’re there. So the rumors start: “Oh, she’s really one of a set of triplets. They just acting like it’s the same person. But actually it’s Julia, Jody, and Jane. They fooling all of us.” But people in the rap community are not used to a person with traits like yours: hard-working, consistent, creative, fair, accessible, honest, accommodating, and did I mention hard working? You don’t practice the politics and you make no excuses. Don’t start now. The devil got into your head. God has blessed you because you put faith in him and did something us worldly folks told you couldn’t happen. You put total faith in God, took a step off the edge of the world, and he made it happen ten-fold. Can’t you see this? He took a molehill and made it into a mountain. No big corporate dollars, no sponsors, beef with the biggest and baddest in publishing and yet you still stand. Now the devil wants you to doubt God’s work! The devil wants you to think God doesn’t have your back after all he has done which will definitely piss The Man off. Don’t fall for it! Look at the OZONE Award Show as a success. That’s what it was. Look at what you were working with and look at what you accomplished. IT WAS A SUCCESS. And let me tell you how successful it was: All the press that were complaining and felt slighted the night of the event have all softened their stance. Why? Because you addressed the matter and made us understand what went down - accessible to all of us. What big corporation would have taken the time to address that or apologize as you have done? None. And I think all those who complained now fully have your back and are here when you need us. Maybe God put those obstacles there as a test for that really big gig that’s coming up. Maybe The Grammys are gonna be calling soon. Or the MTV Music Awards. Look at it as a test, and you passed with flying colors. You can’t please all the people all the time. But you also don’t owe anyone anything. Your Patiently Waitings and Groupie Confessions and Wendy Day articles are the talk of the streets, the shops, the studios. You have the hottest magazine out now. Keep it going. I have an idea: Take a fucking vacation! Go to Hawaii for a week or two. No work. No phone. No emails. If the mag is a week or two late, we’ll wait. Hell, we’ll wait a month. Go get some rest. Rejuvenate. Regroup. Re-assess. Relax. But don’t regret anything that you’ve been given. You worked hard for it and you deserve everything, the good and the bad. That’s what happens to hardworking, successful people. - BashBrosEnt@aol.com (Miami, FL) I just got the new issue with Luda on the cover. You did it again! I read that thing from cover to cover as soon as I got it. I liked the article on Ludacris the most. I think all of Ludacris’ albums are classics. The Release Therapy joint is definitely one of the best. Chingy has to be kicking himself right now! Also, I just finished planning my big 21st birthday bash out here in VA and that was crazy. I can only imagine how difficult planning an entire award show was for you. Keep your head up! I read that you didn’t want to do this anymore. You can’t quit though, the streets need you! Finally, tell Paperchase to take off that extra rabbit jacket and hat. It looks stupid. If he had his ear to the street, he’d know that. - Derrick Francis, firstname.lastname@example.org (Virginia Beach, VA) Hate it? Love it? Send your comments to email@example.com OZONE reserves the right to edit comments for clarity or length.
jb’s 2 cents
lot of people got scared by last month’s editorial. Don’t worry, I’m still here. I didn’t say I was quitting. I was just questioning some things, and taking you through my train of thought, which is, admittedly, a bit psychotic at times. I’m feeling slightly better this month; however, I will say that all you fucks who owe me money and aren’t returning my calls and emails should be very, very afraid, because when I get fully back to my old self some people are gonna start getting hurt. I know everybody thinks I got rich off the OZONE Awards, but like mi amigo Pitbull (pg. 82) says, money is still a major issue and you all know who you are so you need to pay up before I start naming names. In fact, if you handle your business, you might still be able to stay in my good graces and end up in the Industry 101 section like E-Class (pg. 40).
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. Chicken Noodle Soup This dance looks like something that somebody made up on the dance floor because they couldn’t think of shit else to do when someone was beating them in a dance off. 2. Limos Unless you’re going to a funeral or the prom, you’re lame as hell if you’re still renting a limo. 3. Sprint These muthafuckers will cut yo’ shit off if you owe them 80 cents, and their contracts are longer than some nigga’s prison terms.
Me & Ludacris (Atlanta)
Russ trying to start a rumor about us (Chicago)
4. MTV’s Yo Mama One word: garbage. 5. New Airport TSA Rules You can’t take shit on the plane now. And what makes it so fucked up – they said no deodorant, which means that it’s gonna be stank as hell on the plane. The terrorists are laughing their ass off at us. 6. The Crocodile Hunter Is it just me, or did you laugh your ass off when you heard that he died from a stingray and not an alligator? That’s like being a crackhead for twenty years and dying from smoking cigarettes. 7. Star Jones This is a prime example of how it don’t matter how much you got – when them crackers say fuck ya, they really do fuck ya. 8. Nicole Ritchie Would someone please tell her that I said, “EAT BITCH!” She makes the Olson Twins look like they should be on Celebrity Fit Club. 9. Fake Record Pool Meetings Stop inviting me to these shits. I ain’t comin’. If it ain’t TJ’s DJ’s or one that I already know about you’re wasting yo’ time, especially if you having it somewhere like in Oregon. 10. Street Teams Y’all take that shit too serious in the club parking lot. How the hell did I get a flyer in my car all the way in the glove compartment?
The BA Boys have the baddest chick in the 95.7 basketball game wearing their chains (Birmingham)
Len knew that feeding me would be a good way to get his pic in the mag (Atlanta)
So, yeah, this month I’m referencing articles that actually appear in the magazine, a first for me. This is what magazine editors do when they run out of other things to say. Um...next up is a blanket apology to all the aspiring artists/DJs/writers/photographers/interns etc. who have been emailing me the last few months and haven’t got a response. I’ve always had a philosophy of looking out for the little guy, the underdog, especially if they’re just looking for a chance to come up and are actually willing to put in the work. But one of the problems - or blessings - of eventual success is that you do reach a point in your career where there just aren’t enough hours in the day to respond to everyone who wants your advice or attention. It’s good to reach out to people like me but at the end of the day you are the only one who can make your career happen, so you have to do it by yourself and hope that the right people will notice your efforts (thanks to Lyor Cohen and everyone else who noticed mine). These people can help your career, but cannot and will not create your career for you. A lot of people have this romanticized idea about the music industry, like they are going to get “discovered” and their lives will change overnight, but in reality that almost never happens. I promise you, spitting lyrics in my ear at the club is not going to single-handedly change your life. You need to have the whole package: the talent, the ambition, the drive, the work ethic, and much more to back it up. The real answer to the “How do I get my artist featured in OZONE Magazine?” question that I get asked every day is: Don’t harass me. Make me come find you. It’s just like a relationship, think about it: who interests you, the person that’s chasing you or the person that’s playing hard to get? Get in the streets, the clubs, on the road. Get the people behind you and the media will cover your movement, because it’s our job to document what’s happening, not to forcefeed our readers with profiles of artists who aren’t really doing shit. Just don’t be mad at me, please, because I know how dangerous a talented person on a vendetta can be. I was that person, and still am to some degree. B.O.B. (pg. 60) is too, and that’s one of the reasons he’s highlighted in this month’s Patiently Waiting. The Bay Area (pg. 62-69) feels neglected and ignored so they’re doing it on their own, just like the South did until major labels started jumping on our bandwagon. If anybody actually went to Mixshow Power Summit this year, let me know if it was as whack as last year or worse. I didn’t go because I’m tired of being disrespected every year, and apparently everyone else is too. There are too many music conferences/conventions now, and it’s not worth it to travel thousands of miles to be treated like dirt when you can have basically the same experience in the States minus the drama (the CORE DJs Retreat, for example, or the annual TJ’s DJ’s/OZONE Awards weekend, shameless plug).
Shawn, me, and 8Ball (Atlanta)
- Julia Beverly, firstname.lastname@example.org
Trick Daddy f/ Chamillionaire & Goldru$h “Bet That” Young Buck f/ Pimp C, T.I., & Young Jeezy “Four Kings” Lil Boosie f/ Yung Joc “Zoom Zoom” Young Cash f/ G-Mack “Checks Out” Ludacris f/ Young Jeezy “Grew Up A Screw Up” Too $hort f/ David Banner “Baller” Money Mark f/ C.O. “Thug So Long” Lloyd Banks f/ Keri Washington “Help”
jb’splaylist Jacki-O “Hood Girl” Killer Mike “That’s Life” Pitbull “Paperboy” B.O.B. “Run Away” 15
mathematics THE IMPORTANCE OF TOURING by Rap Coalition’s Wendy Day www.WendyDay.com
ne of the most effective ways for an artist to support his or her career is to get out in front of the fans by performing (touring). It is important for the fans to hear the music and to see the artist (to see thier image) in person. Tupac always said that every fan he touched was a fan for life. He felt that if fans had personal interactions with an artist, they’d support the artist through good times and bad, because they’d always remember the personal connection they once had (if it was positive). After Pac passed away, it was amazing to hear how many people he touched and how many people had a story to tell about when they had met him. David Banner took this philosophy to heart, and when he is on the road he interacts with his fans heavily. After most shows and public appearances, he is almost always the last one to leave the venue. He talks with fans, advising them about the music industry, signing autographs and posters, and posing for photos. He gives 100% of himself at every show both on stage and off. A promotional tour can really benefit an artist’s career. Aside from putting the artist in front of the fans, it also allows the artist to get out of their hometown to learn what fans prefer in areas outside the home region, and it gives the artist a chance to see what’s hot in other areas. So often, the music changes from the first release to the second one, because the artist gets outside of his own market while on the road and is influenced by more things. The artist also gets to interact with other artists that they meet along the way. They do collaborations with other artists, both signed and unsigned, and build relationships that last throughout their career. The downside of this is that there are less-than-ethical artists out there who hear local songs and decide to take parts, ideas, samples, or whole songs from unsuspecting new artists naive enough to pass off a demo in hopes of getting a deal. The outcome is usually that the word spreads quickly through the industry as to who the thieving bastards are, and they either get sued repeatedly, or called out on mixtapes by their peers angrily on a diss song. Every artist remembers who stole their shit. Artists make a large portion of their income through touring. In fact, Blue Williams, who manages Nick Cannon and OutKast (up til recently) explained to me that as a manager, he is interested in representing artists who have the ability to tour. This means it’s important for an artist to have a good and entertaining show, material worthy of showcasing, and probably some hit radio records. A manager usually receives 15% to 20% of an artists’ show money. The importance of touring occurs at every stage of an artist’s career. In the early stages of a career it’s important to tour to build awareness and spread the music as quickly as possible. It promotes the artist and directly impacts sales. It’s also important for artists to hone skills through showcasing as much as possible regardless of whether there is pay involved (usually there is not). At the mid-stage of the career it helps the artist stay grounded to the streets. Once an artist has some degree of fame and popularity, it becomes difficult to hang out in the same places and keep up with the streets. Busy schedules prevent the necessary attention to the streets, and with mobs of adoring fans constantly approaching the artist, public appearances become security nightmares. Let’s face it, Jeezy can’t pop into McDonald’s for lunch without getting mobbed by fans. Touring gives artists access to the streets, feedback from fans about the direction the music is going, and income opportunities. It also increases the likelihood for endorsement deals since more eyes will be seeing the artist publicly. At the height of the artists’ career, touring is big business. For acts like Eminem and Jay-Z, touring carries multi-million dollar sponsorships, DVD sales, and endorsement deals. Touring becomes a large part of the artists’ income at this point. They rarely have access to the fans because of their hectic schedules and interviews, so it doesn’t help keep them grounded with the fans, but it does give them feedback as to which songs work best for which crowds. I once heard Killer Mike break down the levels of a career for a rapper. A rap18
per starts out as the hottest artist on the block, to grow into the hottest rapper in the neighborhood. The artist then becomes the hottest artist on that side of town (south side, north side, etc), and grows into being the hottest artist in the city. Once a certain level of buzz is achieved, the artist becomes the hottest rapper in the state, and that grows into being the hottest artist in the region. If the career progresses properly, the artist can become the hottest artist in the country. This is true for rappers, singers, DJs, producers, etc. Most artists stall at the first few levels. Some of my favorite rappers are the hottest rappers in their area, but that’s just not enough to attract an international record label to sign them. Touring, or getting out on the road, helps an artist expand from being just a local rapper or a local producer. A smart artist has stuff to sell on the road - t-shirts, mix CDs, DVDs of his or her life, etc. And certainly, once an artist is signed to a record deal, expanding their reach beyond their hometown is priority number one. A promotional tour consists of going from city to city, doing interviews on the radio, visiting retail stores, attending local events, and doing video and press interviews (newspapers, magazines, internet sites, etc). A smart artist meets as many industry people as possible in each town so that he or she can build the necessary relationships and connections to succeed, separate from their label. This is especially helpful for an artist who plans to put out other artists himself (especially if using the label’s budget to promote them). Follow up notes, thank you notes or calls, and keeping in touch with industry people that are met on the road are important for success. This is what separates an average artist from one who stands out in the minds of people within the industry. I, for example, have met thousands of artists over the years. Some stand out in my mind because they have done things that set themselves apart from everyone else. Most are a blur. How will you stand out? An experienced road manager can make the artist’s life easier. Aside from knowing how to maneuver on a tour, they are skilled at collecting money and diffusing situations that can easily turn ugly. They also have relationships already in place that can help the artist, and they know whom they can trust and whom to avoid on the road. They know which booking agents are full of shit and which promoters are notorious for not paying. They know which security at which clubs are good at their jobs, and which clubs are just an accident waiting to happen. Some folks hire friends or family to fill this position for trust reasons, or just because they are cheap, but this is a tremendous disservice to the artist. Not everyone is right for this job; in fact, inexperienced people will end up costing you more that they save you in salary. This is not the right industry for pinching pennies. Lawsuits are costly and happen regularly on tours. The right tour manager can diffuse bad situations ahead of time. A booking agent is also an important player on an artist’s team. An experienced booking agent can set up profitable tours (hopefully) and even match artists who have similar audiences. They excel in putting together packages of artists who will sell well on a ticket while routing them profitably. Another plus to having an experienced and well connected booking agent throughout a career, is that when the artist is no longer in his or her prime, they will still be able to book dates due to the long term relationship they have built. Not every rapper becomes an icon like Slick Rick, able to continue performing every weekend. Most are relegated to rare appearances and “whatever happened to…?” speculation. A good booking agent will be an asset to a career long past its natural prime. Booking Agents receive half of the performance fee for the artist when booked, and the artist collects the other half just prior to going on stage. Booking Agents receive 10% of the performance fee and are paid from the first half received. Touring is a key part of any career, and the most successful artists are the ones who work the hardest and make the most of their time on the road. As the artist’s popularity increases, so do the perks. The hotels get a little nicer, the vehicle goes from wrapped van to luxury tour bus, and even the groupies become more attractive. It’s all worth the effort, if you are serious about building a successful career. Who can complain about making anywhere from $1,500 to $150,000 a show for 20 minutes up to a few hours of performing?
01: Yo Gotti, James Eichelberger, Trae, and Ron White @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 02: Allen Iverson and AK of P$C @ Club Rein (Norfolk, VA) 03: Big Teach and Bun B on the set of Lil Wayne and Baby’s “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy” (Miami, FL) 04: Shawnna and Shareefa @ Global Mixx DJ Retreat (Chicago, IL) 05: Young Jeezy and DJ Dagwood @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 06: 5th Ward Weebie and Chingo Bling @ Screwfest (Houston, TX) 07: DJ Whiz-T, David Chris, & Uncle Pauly @ Powers of Music Conference (Austin, TX) 08: DJ Red Alert and Cam’Ron @ Compound for The CORE DJs Award Ceremony (Atlanta, GA) 09: TV Johnny and Slim Thug @ Letoya Luckett’s in-store (Houston, TX) 10: DJ Dap and Khia @ Blazin’ 102.3 (Tallahassee, FL) 11: Jody Miller and J-Khrist @ Hip-Hop Summit Action Network financial empowerment seminar (Atlanta, GA) 12: Rasheeda @ 95.7’s celebrity basketball game (Birmingham, AL) 13: DJ Sosa and Xtaci @ CTE Meet & Greet (Atlanta, GA) 14: Storm and Memphitz @ Jive Records (NYC) 15: DJ Drama, Fat Joe, and DJ Khaled reppin’ OZONE @ J-Lo’s house during Fat Joe’s “Make It Rain” weekend (Miami, FL) 16: Young Dro, Hannah Kang, and guest @ Club Crucial (Atlanta, GA) 17: Fat Joe’s “Make It Rain” weekend (Miami, FL) 18: Jerry Smokin’ B and Tony Neal @ Club Crucial for The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 19: Webbie and Bighead on the set of Lil Boosie’s “Zoom Zoom” (Atlanta, GA) 20: Jay Deezy, Sytonnia, Nita, and DJ Nasty @ The Roxy (Orlando, FL) 21: Unique Autosports Models @ Ridin’ Dirty car show (Atlanta, GA) 22: G-Mack and Kaspa @ Global Mixx DJ Retreat (Chicago, IL) Photos: Coco Renae (02); DJ Chill (06); DJ Dap (10); DJ Sosa (13); Edward Hall (07); Julia Beverly (01,03,04,05, 08,11,12,16,18,19,22); Keadron Smith (09); Malik Abdul (15,17,20,21); Storm (14)
AM I A HATER? by Charlamagne Tha God www.CThaGod.com
n order to hate, you must love that which you hate. Love and hate are the yin and the yang of life – you can’t have one without the other. Anybody who loves everything is a donkey! A complete and total jackass! You should never listen to those types of people, because their opinion is not real or genuine. People who claim to love everything will tell you what you want to hear instead of what’s real. I’m sharing this logic with those who have asked themselves the same question that I have been asking myself all month: AM I A HATER? People keep telling me that I am, but I don’t agree. Am I a hater because I don’t think Papoose deserved a $1.5 million dollar deal with Jive Records? First of all, according to Webster’s Dictionary, a “papoose” is a popular carrying device for a small child or baby. The “papoose” is also a Native American term for a small infant. What the hell does that have to do with an emcee from Brooklyn? Second, I don’t think Papoose is dope. Does that make me a hater? I like certain concepts he comes with – like the “Law Library” joints – but it’s just something about his flow and delivery that just doesn’t make sense. Remember when Jay-Z said this about Nas: “Just because you don’t understand all the bullshit that he writes, it doesn’t mean that he’s nice”? Same with Papoose. And finally, am I the only person that thinks Papoose looks like the GEICO lizard? I don’t know whether to ask him to kick a freestyle or how much money I can save on my car insurance. Am I happy that a black man who deals with knowledge of self, whose work ethic is crazy enough to produce 15 mixtapes, struck a deal worth $1.5 million? Of course I am, get that money, but I’m also going to be happy when everybody at Jive who had anything to do with the signing of this deal gets fired, because Papoose is not going to translate into record sales. Does that make me a hater because I think that way? AM I A HATER? I’m asking myself that question again because I want to know if it makes me a hater that I think Fat Joe’s first two singles are garbage. Fat Joe is from the Bronx, the birthplace of hip-hop. He used to roll with the Digging In The Crates crew. He used to rap alongside Big L in this legendary rap group. He discovered Big Pun, one of the greatest lyricists ever in hip-hop. So why are his first two singles down South records? Back in the day, we used to clown down South dudes for acting like they were from up North. Now, Fat Joe is an up North dude acting like he’s from down South! That is corny. Double donkey, with a triple scoop of jackass on the side. He just signed to Virgin Records, so I guess he’s trying to impress his new boss Jermaine Dupri. Come on, Fat Joe! How do you go from Leaning Back to Leaning With It And Rocking With It? Pun must be roll20
ing over in his grave. Does that make me a hater because I think that way? Lil Kim looked ridiculous at the MTV Video Music Awards. How do you let Massa’s Television exploit the fact that you were in prison by coming out in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit led by two guards? Corporate America’s exploitation of the hood will never stop, especially when the artists give them the green light to do corny shit like this. You’re the Queen Bee. You have done things that a lot of female emcees only dream of doing, and you let that one moment overshadow all the work that you’ve put in by glorifying a situation that shouldn’t have been glorified. That’s like Shyne getting out of jail and doing a video where he shoots everybody in the club that’s dancing to his record. Then, when they ripped the orange jumpsuit off, you had the corset working overtime trying to contain those extra pounds you gained in prison, and you had the audacity to say that you’re bringing sexy back! Kim, you looked stank, and you made millions of male viewers feel like Flava Flav felt when Like Dat walked in his room with lingerie on: nothing sexy about that! Get on a treadmill, do some crunches, and then get on national television and say you’re “bringing sexy back.” We can all see by the way you looked that your sexy won’t be back for a minute. Does that make me a hater? AM I A HATER? Am I alone when I say that Jay-Z should’ve never taken the role as president of Def Jam? I agree with LL Cool J when he said that Jay-Z does a good job of promoting himself. Think about it – Jay has been the biggest star on his own label for years, so how is it that he never gave his artists the proper push to really be stars? On Beanie Sigel’s first album, The Truth, why did Jay-Z have a single that Beanie wasn’t even featured on (“I’ll Do Anything”) and he released a video for it? He did the same thing on Memphis Bleek’s last album (Dear Summer) and that was the biggest record on the whole album! How can you ever get your artist out of your shadow by making moves like that? That’s why Jay-Z should not be president of Def Jam. His ego will not allow him to sit back and watch another artist get hot. It won’t allow him to give a Joe Buddens or a Tru Life the proper push they need. Furthermore, how can your boss just get up and go on a world tour? Shouldn’t he be taking care of the fourth quarter release schedule? Shouldn’t he be making sure budgets are in place for artists who will be coming out, making sure their marketing and promotions are in order? Oh I forgot, Jay – you’re dropping an album, so nobody else matters right now. I get it, that’s classic Jay-Z. Does that make me a hater for thinking that way? AM I A HATER? I really don’t know, but I know one thing. If you found yourself agreeing with most of the things you just read, guess what, YOU’RE A HATER TOO! Streetfully Yours, Charlamagne Tha God a.k.a. Hate Is Necessary
01: Young Jeezy, Ludacris, and Young Buck during Luda Day Weekend (Atlanta, GA) 02: Bonecrusher and Lil Scrappy @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 03: Haitian Fresh’s “Put Ya Leg Up” video shoot (Daytona Beach, FL) 04: Rich Boy and Lloyd Banks @ Hooters (Indianapolis, IN) 05: Baby and Fat Joe filming “Make It Rain” (Miami, FL) 06: The Aphilliates @ J-Lo’s house for Fat Joe’s “Make It Rain” pool party (Miami, FL) 07: Yancey Richardson, guest, Yung Joc, and Doug Banks @ Yung Joc’s winning weekend (Miami, FL) 08: DJ Scream and DJ Black @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 09: Young Dro and Haziq Ali (Atlanta, GA) 10: Ladies @ J-Lo’s house for Fat Joe’s “Make It Rain” pool party (Miami, FL) 11: Nina Chantele and DJ Pharris @ Global Mixx DJ Retreat (Chicago, IL) 12: Shot Out and guest @ UNF Arena (Jacksonville, FL) 13: DJ Christion and 3rd Leg Greg @ Club Skye for Christion’s birthday party (Tampa, FL) 14: Steve Austin and Pookie @ Powers of Music Conference (Austin, TX) 15: Lil Jon, Paul Wall, and M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold @ Snitch for pre-VMA party (NYC) 16: Don P of Trillville with Yung Joc @ 95.7’s celebrity basketball game (Birmingham, AL) 17: Ice Cube and Chingy @ Summer Jam (Dallas, TX) 18: Bohagon, Playboy Tre, and friends @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 19: Jas Prince and J Prince Jr. on the set of Lil Wayne and Baby’s “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy” video shoot (Miami, FL) 20: Haitian Fresh and the “Put Ya Leg Up” models @ Club 238 West (Gainesville, FL) 21: Atiba, Pat Nix, and KC @ House of Blues (Orlando, FL) Photos: Donna Permell (01); Haziq Ali (09); Julia Beverly (02,11,15,16,18,19); King Yella (17); Kool Laid (04); Luis Santana (13); Luxury Mindz (14); Malik Abdul (03,06,10,20,21); Ms. Rivercity (08); Ono Choulee (05); Terrence Tyson (12); Yancey Richardson (07)
DJing FOR DUMMIES by Ms. Rivercity
was bullshitting around on Myspace the other day - well, actually every day - and came to the disturbing realization that fifty percent of our population are rappers and the other fifty percent are DJs (that’s the official male statistic; for females, 100% of these oversized cows think they’re “models”). Based on this staggering bit of information, I figure it must be pretty easy to slap a prefix on your name and go mixtape platinum. Hmmm, that sounds like such a good idea, I’m changing my profession first thing in the morning. DJ Drama, you better get familiar and pay attention and listennnn, I’m gonna be a serious problem!!!! Calm down, I’m just practicing the lingo. You’re probably thinking, what does this little chick know about mixing, scratching or blending stuff? Well, apparently possession of these skills is irrelevant, because no one cares about the dinosaur art of DJing anymore. Dwelling on all those technical terms is really pretentious in my opinion. But before quitting my day job, I guess it would be smart to make a list of some considerations. And since you aspiring hopefuls love asking for my professional advice, here’s today’s lesson on becoming the next big thing.
EQUIPMENT Back in the day, DJs had these two big metal contraptions that you put round pieces of thin vinyl on. They had a needle thingy attached to an arm looking gadget. I think they were called record spinners or something like that. So I was checking around and found out that nobody uses those anymore. That was a big relief cause those things are heavy and I’m not about to risk breaking a nail. Another staple used to be a mixer mechanism. I’m not sure what that is and it’s really not important cause I don’t plan on doing any mixing. Anyway, modern day equipment consists of a computer and the internet, which I’ll explain in the next section.
MUSIC Stocking up on a wide variety of
music is a thing of the past. Luckily that trivial thing called creativity went out of style a long time ago. Just get a couple of newly released mixtapes and you’ll notice that they have identical playlists. That’s because today’s music comes from the same five artists, you know, the same artists you hear a million times daily on the radio. So how do you get in contact with these artists to get their latest chart toppers? Well Einstein, this is where your computer comes in handy. You can download them off the internet for .99 cents each. Or you can just steal them right off the mixtapes with an mp3 converter. There might be someone talking over them already, but nobody’s going to notice that. Every once in a while something new may drop, but you’ll have to wait until every other DJ has played it first. That way you don’t jeopardize your good name by being called a record breaker. I almost forgot the number one rule in DJing: Do not, I repeat, do not play anything if it doesn’t come from your region of the country. East Coast, West Coast, Down South, Midwest - stick to your own. Mingling with each other is a serious offense punishable by career suicide.
up and down after each song; it keeps them from getting bored. As for the presentation, cut out a picture of yourself with a caption that says “Mixtape King” and tape it to a jewel case for a quick and easy cover. Printing the tracklist is also useless; nobody reads that. Now, take your first-class creation to all the major music stores and demand they sell them. They might give you some lame excuse about needing bar codes, clearances, and shrink wrapping, but don’t listen to that garbage. Keep saturating the market with volumes and volumes of your top-notch handiwork and eventually, your series will catch on. On the contrary, you can be just as successful dropping one tape every twelve months. It might take twenty years to get recognition, but that’s just because the haters are trying to keep you down. Me personally, I’m not even gonna go through all that trouble. I’ll be chilling in my bedroom uploading digital compilations and emailing them out. People are generally stupid and will believe I’m real DJ. It’s all about smoke and mirrors baby!
GIGS Now that we’ve dominated the mixtape game, it’s time to start earning big
dollars. Since working my way up to radio or club jobs sounds like a major pain in the ass, I’m just gonna spin at weddings every now and then. Y’all can have that Hollywood lifestyle. Keeping up with current trends and rocking a crowd is way too much work when I can make a killing off classics like the “Macarena” and “Electric Slide.” Plus, as long as I’m doing private events, I don’t have to deal with the other fifty percent of the population hounding me to play their music. Pretty slick, huh?
HOSTING/EMCEEING It’s probably a good idea to work on your mic game at some point. Not that
hyping up an audience is that crucial, you just need to distract them so your lack of talent goes unnoticed. Yelling obscenities after each and every song will add some real flavor to your style; it also makes up for that huge pause in between transitions. The key to this technique is bad mouthing all the other DJs, plus their mommas, their baby mommas and their illegitimate kids. Don’t worry about sounding like an enraged, egotistical monster; that’s part of the business.
“ONCE YOU’VE DOWNLOADED THE INTERNET’S GREATEST HITS, JUST BURN IT ON A CD, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER. PEOPLE CAN WASTE A LOT OF TIME TRYING TO MATCH BEATS AND TEMPOS. REMEMBER, IT’S ALL ABOUT QUANTITY, NOT QUALITY. DON’T BOTHER ADJUSTING SOUND LEVELS EITHER.”
MIXTAPES Once you’ve downloaded the internet’s greatest hits, just burn it on a CD, in no particular order. People can waste a lot of time trying to match beats and tempos. Remember, it’s all about quantity, not quality. Don’t bother with adjusting sound levels either. Mixtape consumers enjoy turning the volume 22
ADVANCED SKILLS Some of you go-getters may decide
to explore more advanced stuff like scratching and cutting. Once again, too much work for me, but to each his own. The best time to practice is during a busy club night when the dance floor is packed. Start randomly moving the record or CD back and forth super fast. The goal here is to see how long you can do it before everyone clears the club. After you’ve conquered this, it’s time to move on to chopping and screwing. You’re probably never gonna be a C&S master, but it’s cool because 80% of listeners don’t recognize a slopped up job when they hear one. In fact, a lot of them think there’s supposed to be a twenty second gap between each word. They could care less that you’ve chopped up every single syllable so that it’s completely chaotic and off beat. As long as you’re feeling it, everything’s on point. And that’s all the knowledge it takes to become a flourishing DJ. Doesn’t sound so complicated does it? At the end of the day, all that matters is what you feel like doing. If I’ve missed anything or you want to induct me into your crew, you can find me digging up more research at www.myspace.com/msrivercity. Until next time, good luck with your world takeover.
01: BloodRaw, Young Jeezy, and DJ Nasty on the set of “Grew Up A Screw Up” (Atlanta, GA) 02: Yung Joc and Remy Ma @ Allhiphop.com’s fashion show (NYC) 03: DJ B-Lord, TD the Don, Lil Ru, Collard Greens, and Mr Flip @ Club Nuvibe (Charleston, SC) 04: Chingy signing autographs @ 95.7’s celebrity basketball game (Birmingham, AL) 05: Kid Money KG, Acafool, and Bubba Sparxxx @ Club Skye for DJ Christion’s birthday party (Tampa, FL) 06: MJG, Mel, and 8Ball @ Summer Jam (Dallas, TX) 07: DJ Trauma, Mary Datcher, and Happy @ Global Mixx DJ Retreat (Chicago, IL) 08: Chingo Bling and Trae @ Club Crucial for The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 09: JL Shade and Rashad @ Jam TV (Tallahassee, FL) 10: Ray from Ultimate Hustler and MacBoney of P$C @ Club Crucial for The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 11: DJ D-Money and Dukwon @ Da Real Ting (Jacksonville, FL) 12: Chris Johnson and Gu @ Beyonce’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 13: Drop, Flex, and a guest @ J-Lo’s house for Fat Joe’s “Make It Rain” pool party (Miami, FL) 14: J-Dash and Slim Goodye @ the Whiskey Room (Gainesville, FL) 15: Devin the Dude and Trae @ Warehouse Live (Houston, TX) 16: The Pack reppin’ OZONE @ Global Mixx DJ Retreat (Chicago, IL) 17: Gorilla Zoe, Rasheeda, Block, and Yung Joc @ 95.7’s celebrity basketball game (Birmingham, AL) 18: Uncle Luke @ Club Code (Tampa, FL) 19: DJ Finesse and Rainman (Jackson, MS) 20: JayPee and friends during Luda Day weekend (Atlanta, GA) 21: Trap Champs @ Ridin’ Dirty car show (Atlanta, GA) 22: Ryan and Bryan a.k.a. “R&B” with Remy Ma Photos: DJ B-Lord (03); DJ Dap (09); Donna Permell (20); Julia Beverly (01,04,07,08,1 0,16,17,19); Keadron Smith (12,15); King Yella (06); Luis Santana (05,18); Malik Abdul (13,14,21); Ms. Rivercity (11); New Money Records (22); Rico da Crook (02)
ven during the recent Houston explosion, one of the first rappers to represent for the city on a national scale, Lil Flip, was somewhat absent. Displeased with his record label’s handling of his latest project, Flip was released from his Sony contract and has now signed with Asylum Records. With a new home that understands the Houston independent mindset, he hopes to rebound quickly with his latest offering. OZONE caught up with him at home in Houston to find out what’s next. Why were you unhappy with your deal at Sony? They wanted me to do the exact same thing I did last time. They’re the type of label where if you’ve got a hit like “Sunshine” or “Game Over,” they want the exact same thing again. They don’t want you to mature or get creative, they just want something that’s gonna work with radio. They ain’t really have faith. I just went back to my old roots, which was staying on the road. They only gave me one video the first time. If I had known what I know now – that we could spend our own money and just do videos and all that type of shit – my career could’ve gone to even greater heights. To make a long story short, they didn’t want me to grow. What artist [at Sony] has expanded to have a successful label and had artists come out through them? Nobody. So if you just wanna be an artist, that’s where you should be. But me, I’m doing movies and books and DVDs. I have a radio show on XM. They wanna just limit you to one thing, but that’s not me. I should be dropping at least one album a year, if not two, at the speed I work. So that was the problem I had, plus I had been lied to a hundred fuckin’ times. Was it difficult to get out of your contract? Slightly. I can’t go into details, but they only gave us 48 hours to figure out what we were gonna do. Why did you decide to sign with Asylum? Well, for one, they deal with artists that come from similar backgrounds that I come from, with the mixtape circuit. They just let artists do what they do. Sometimes artists get confused when they get a deal and [the label] puts them in the studio and makes them make a certain type of record. The music that’s coming out isn’t really what they wanna do. I didn’t really hang with [Sony executives]. It was a few dudes, but mostly it was just, “We need you to do this,” and that was it. [At Asylum] I have people that call me and come visit me and are open to my opinions. Them muthafuckers [at Sony] even put my album in the order they wanted it. They was like, “Well use these songs, but we want it in this order.” I’m tellin’ [my manager], “Sandy, what the fuck, are they fuckin’ crazy?” I’ve never heard of a label putting an artists’ tracklisting in the order they want it. That fucked me up. I was like, man, I really do need to get away from these muthafuckers. I’m just glad I’m in a situation where I can still do mixtapes and do what I do. Most of the time, labels won’t promote anything if they aren’t getting paid off it. I got other artists, like Skinny Pimp and Crime Boss and Sqad Up. They got a couple things they’re working on, so we can promote all that shit. My whole thing is to get the artist a big buzz and scan some fuckin’ units and keep it moving. I don’t like handouts. I like muthafuckers working for what they get. If you get handouts you ain’t gonna appreciate it. Even with the album that you were about to drop on Sony, it didn’t really get great reviews. Are you planning on switching it up at all before dropping the album on Asylum? I don’t pay too much attention to what people do on the ratings. I feel like there should be a different way to rate albums. Most of the time [when you do a listening session] it’s like six reporters sitting there and you play it for them on a stereo. If you’re gonna really judge somebody’s album you should hear it on a system and really, really listen, instead of just trying to find shit that’s wrong with it. So I don’t agree [with most of the reviews]. I know for a fact all the time that I put into that album and how it sounds didn’t add up to what the reviews said. They even tried to give bad reviews to Rick Ross’s album and Lil Wayne’s album, and Rick’s album is – in my opinion – the only album this year you could listen to front to back. So the answer is, I don’t care about the reviews because I know for a fact that my fans are gonna appreciate the music. People who don’t really know me are quick to judge. I switched up the artwork, I added twelve new songs and removed five of the songs. Over the course of time I’ve shot four videos [off this album] for “I’m A Baller,” “Sorry Lil’ Mama” featuring Z-Ro and Sqad Up, “What U Know About The South” with the Clover G’s and “I Do.” So basically I added some new shit, switched a few things up, but as far as the fans on the internet, their feedback is that they love this shit. They’re telling me, “We love track such and such, drop 24
this, we gon’ buy it,” so I don’t let the ratings bother me. It’s to the point where I don’t even care. Take it or leave it. I’m not making music for muthafucker’s opinions. I guess the beef between you and T.I. has pretty much died out. Man, I’m not devoting no more energy into that. Like I said, different niggas take different amounts of time to grow up. If you’re a good leader, you ain’t finna put the folks around you in no danger. I don’t abuse the power I have. If a nigga crosses the line, we gotta handle business, but I don’t go off to start shit. That’s dead with me. I’m on some XM Radio shit. When does your show come on XM Radio? Clover G Radio Thursdays at 5 PM Eastern. I come on Thursdays and Fridays. Being from Houston, I’m sure you’ve heard the rumor that a Houston rapper has HIV and was sued for infecting his girlfriend. Any comment? I heard about that shit. That shit is crazy right there. It ain’t really nothing to comment about on my behalf, cause that ain’t got shit to do with me. I wish they’d go ahead and get that shit cleared up, whoever the fuck it is. My comment is: It ain’t me! When we ran the ad for your Fly shoes, we got a cease-and-desist order from someone claiming to own the trademark. What’s that about? JX, the dude that’s handling Sqad Up, came to me with the shoe deal situation. We came up with a percentage agreement that I would make and I started promoting, thinking that word is bond, basically. I promoted the shit everywhere I went and every time I was on the radio. I guess they figured I did what they needed me to do, so that situation [didn’t happen]. That’s why I’m doing my own tennis shoes. Instead of Fly, I’m naming them FlyBoy tennis shoes. I’m also putting together a group called FlyBoys. It’s gonna be me and a few other rappers who I think is fly. I’m trying to get E-40. I’m debating on Yukmouth. He’s fly, I fuck with him. I want to put together a supergroup. - Words and Photo by Julia Beverly
01: Gorilla Zoe, Yung Joc, Chingy, and Block reppin’ OZONE @ UNF Arena (Jacksonville, FL) 02: Play & Skillz with Slim from 112 @ their birthday party (Dallas, TX) 03: The Federation and Lil Scrappy @ Warner Bros. (Los Angeles, CA) 04: LeToya Luckett and Brandi Garcia @ her in-store signing (Houston, TX) 05: Block and Yung Joc with the cheerleaders @ 95.7’s celebrity basketball game (Birmingham, AL) 06: Mike Jones, Jas Prince, Lil Keith, and Int’l Red @ car show (Houston, TX) 07: Johnnie Cabbell, the Bishop of Crunk, Emperor Searcy, and DJ Will @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 08: Lil Scrappy and Diamond of Crime Mob @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 09: Fabo of D4L @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 10: DJ Nasty and Chaka Zulu on the set of Ludacris’ “Grew Up A Screw Up” (Atlanta, GA) 11: Young A and DJ Sir Thurl @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 12: Dior George and Ericka Regine @ Club Whispers (Orlando, FL) 13: Kinfolk Nakia Shine and Kool.Laid (Memphis, TN) 14: Cordice and Carl @ House of Blues (Orlando, FL) 15: Young Jeezy and DJ Toomp @ Hip-Hop Summit Action Network’s financial empowerment seminar (Atlanta, GA) 16: Lil Boosie, Joie Manda, and Webbie on the set of “Zoom Zoom” (Atlanta, GA) 17: Derek Washington, J-Shin, and DJ Q-45 @ Club Endo Exo (Jacksonville, FL) 18: Malik Abdul, Slim Goodye, and TJ Chapman @ Icon for Slim Goodye’s mixtape release party (Orlando, FL) 19: T-Mo and Khujo Goodie with Jerry “Smokin” B @ Compound (Atlanta, GA) 20: Guest, TJ Chapman, Rich Boy, Adam Favors, and guest @ Global Mixx DJ Retreat (Chicago, IL) 21: 98.5 staff @ AT&T Center (San Antonio, TX) 22: DJ Khaled, DJ Craig G, and Fat Joe @ J-Lo’s house for Fat Joe’s “Make It Rain” weekend pool party (Miami, FL) Photos: DJ Chill (06); Edward Hall (02); John Thorton (18); Julia Beverly (03,05,07,08,09 ,10,11,15,16,19,20); Keadron Smith (04); Luxury Mindz (21); Kool.Laid (13); Malik Abdul (12,14,22); Ms. Rivercity (17); Terrence Tyson (01)
ne of the first to represent for Mobile, AL, multi-talented rapper and producer Rich Boy plans to drop his debut album A Product Of The Hustle on Interscope Records in early 2007. After a lengthy trial for attempted murder, a case in which he claimed self-defense, Rich Boy was sentenced to three years of probation. With that behind him, he hit the road on a promo tour and stopped by OZONE’s hometown of Orlando to reflect on his life and career. I hear you went through a trial recently. What was that about and what was the result? Well, I was charged with attempted murder. I was caught up, you know, I found out the hard way it wasn’t about that gangsta shit. Sometimes it takes something happening in your life for you to look at it in a different angle. So that’s what I’m doing, just trying to make the best of the situation and the opportunity I’ve got. I’m on three years probation. 18 months supervised, 18 months unsupervised. That’s gonna calm me down a lot. So I’m really just gonna be focusing on this music and what I need to be doing. And I just shot this video [for my single “Throw Some D’s On It”] so that’s even more motivation to be doing the right thing. Is it hard for you to be able to go on tour and hit the road with the right attitude, having just been through a trial and a life-changing experience? Yeah, it was real hard mentally. I couldn’t get my thoughts together. The hardest part was just hiding it. You be comin’ in your [hotel] room thinkin’ about that shit all day. But when you get around them DJs [on promo tour] you gotta give them your all. But at the same time, your mind is somewhere else. You don’t really look like a gangsta. You’re so laid-back. Yeah, but you can’t judge a person off looks. Look at all these people shootin’ up the schools. Serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer, you know, you wouldn’t expect him to tie you up and eat you. But I’m not a gangsta. I’m not a thug. My family, we’re the type of people that don’t mess with no one. So when it do happen, we don’t understand why someone would just mess with us. We don’t know how to handle that type of stuff. We’re real protective of ourselves. I’m protective of my life, if it comes to that. Now that you’ve put that situation behind you, you’re focused on the music? Most definitely. That’s a big weight off my shoulders, and I feel like my music is gonna be ten times better now. The whole time, I was just tryin’ to make music. Now that I’ve gone through the process of [the trial], it’s just another situation I can rap about, the positive things that came out of it. I ain’t gonna glorify it like most rappers do. I feel like that’s my responsibility in the rap game to bring back some real topics. Everybody’s talkin’ about jewelry, fuckin’ hoes. I even started out like that, but I was tryin’ to talk about real topics. I really wanna connect with the people going through struggles. People are always rappin’ about making money, but they don’t ever rap about the people that ain’t got shit. They talk about how they street niggas, but they don’t ever be reppin’ the people that are living in the streets. It’s cool to represent the dope boys and shit; I understand they’re the heroes. Every neighborhood looks up to the dope boys as the heroes, but what about reppin’ for the real people, the people that’s living in the streets? People that ain’t got shit. You gotta do music for them too. You rappin’ about a $100,000 watch, but these people can’t relate to that shit. Everybody ain’t gon’ have a $100,000 watch. Being from Alabama, do you think the term “Bama” is offensive? I just think people are ignorant to the word, so I don’t even think they realize what they’re saying. I don’t know who started that, or where that word came from. I really don’t understand it to the fullest myself, what the word “bama” actually means. Some people say it means that you’re stupid, slow, or whatever. If that’s what it stands for, I’m finna change the definition. People will look at that word different once they see what I’m doing and what I’m bringing to the table. Now that you’re on the road a lot, does it give you a different perspective on your hometown of Mobile, AL? Oh yeah, it lets me know what we need, what we got, what we don’t got. You know, I’ve been able to go around and look at these other cities and see these other opportunities they’ve got. I look at how they’ve helped each other right to the top. I gotta bring that mentality that I see in other cities back to my hometown and just try to change the way they think. I think that’s a big part of me. That’s a big mission I’m tryin’ to accomplish by being a rapper. Rappers have power, and I’m gonna try to use that to my advantage to bring something to my city.
Do you feel a lot of pressure to succeed being the first rap representative from Mobile with a major opportunity like this? I’m such a laid-back guy, you know, I’m just chill. I don’t feel no pressure. The only pressure I ever felt was at that trial. But as far as getting it done, I just feel like it ain’t too far outta reach for me to do. If somebody else can do it, I can do it. If 50 [Cent] could do it, I can do it. They’re human like me. They bleed like me. I’m on the same level as anyone else, only difference is that some of them have more money or more exposure. They started off as nobodies and made a name for themselves, so I can make a name for myself just like anybody else. You said you make music about real topics and connect with the average person, but you’ve still got a single about rims, like everybody else. It’s like giving a kid candy – you give them what they want first. It’s just like students who don’t want to go to school. You gotta have things that make them wanna go to school, like the football team. I’m just tryin’ to give them what they want. Everybody’s rappin’ about certain things right now, so I gotta touch on that and then I can drive ‘em where I wanna take ‘em. Like my song “Lost Girls,” it’s about high level prostitution. There’s so many girls lookin’ for the richest nigga. They’re raised to come up off another person instead of just to come up their own way, by goin’ to school or doin’ what they do. They’re tryin’ to come up off the next person. There’s actually parents pushing the issue of finding a rich guy. Were you a victim of that mentality? Yeah, I was a victim. This girl left me for a dope boy that had a little more money. I ain’t no hater though. Now when I see her, she’s talkin’ about getting married [to me]. It’s funny. That just shows you how real my topics are. I’ve also got a song called “Ghetto Rich” about racial profiling. You went to college, didn’t you? I went to Tuskegee for mechanical engineering. I wanted to be an automobile designer. I used to draw cars all the time when I was young. I wanted to do something different cause everybody in the hood was doing the same thing. I just wanted to stand out. I knew someday I was gonna stand out in some type of way. I didn’t graduate cause I fell in love with the music. I learned how to make beats when I was goin’ to school, so that’s how I ended up dropping out. I was addicted to it. I used to just do beats all day, every day. I forgot about everything. Do you still produce a lot of your material? Yeah, I did two tracks on my album. I’m just now starting to get focused on it cause I’m through with the album. Me and Polow are gonna team up on the production tip. Polow’s a good partner because he lets me have all the creative control that I want. The only beat he picked for me on my album [A Product of the Hustle] was “Throw Some D’s On It.” We trust each other and that’s why we’re gonna make it a long way. We’re a team. Is there anything else you’d like to say? I just want people to start rapping about some real stuff. It ain’t gotta always be about drugs. I ain’t even knockin’ the people that rap about that, cause that’s what they do, but we gotta make this rap game better. We gotta upgrade. Upgrade your raps. - Julia Beverly
01: Kuzzo, JC CRUNK!!!, Bryan Leach, and Frank Harris @ Snitch for Lil Jon’s pre-VMA party (NYC) 02: Cam, Slick Pulla, BloodRaw, DJ Nasty, and Playa K on the set of Ludacris’ “Grew Up A Screw Up” (Atlanta, GA) 03: Khao and Cam’Ron @ Compound for The CORE DJs Award Ceremony (Atlanta, GA) 04: George Lopez and KottonMouth @ Powers of Music Conference (Austin, TX) 05: KLC, TJ Chapman, Jonathan Bender, Shaw T, and Big Kap reppin’ OZONE @ Akright Records BBQ (New Orleans, LA) 06: Fat Joe’s “Make It Rain” pool party @ J-Lo’s house (Miami, FL) 07: Niche, Alyson, and Melissa (Gainesville, FL) 08: Lil Boosie and his daughter on the set of “Zoom Zoom” (Atlanta, GA) 09: Rick Ross @ The Moon (Tallahassee, FL) 10: Chef Creole @ J-Lo’s house for Fat Joe’s “Make It Rain” pool party (Miami, FL) 11: Ladies of BME @ CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 12: Don P and Dirty Mouf of Trillville @ Club Crucial (Atlanta, GA) 13: Chamillionaire and Cindy Hill @ 98.5 The Beat Bash (San Antonio, TX) 14: DJ Red Alert and Citty @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 15: Khujo Goodie, Terrence, and Lloyd Banks @ Luda Day Weekend’s celebrity basketball game (Atlanta, GA) 16: Steve Gottlieb, Kinfolk Nakia Shine, Princess Rivera, Mr. Collipark, and Storm @ the BMI Awards (NYC) 17: Trae and Chamillionaire @ Beyonce’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 18: Rich Boy and friends @ HangTime (Indianapolis, IN) 19: Mary Datcher presenting Common’s charity with a $10,000 donation @ the Global Mixx DJ Retreat (Chicago, IL) 20: Amanda Diva, Pimp J, and Jeanise @ Mo Muzik Studios (Orlando, FL) 21: DJ Jelly and Roland “Lil Duval” Powell @ Compound (Atlanta, GA) 22: Dreadlock, C-Rola, and Omar @ Trae’s album release signing (Houston, TX) Photos: Donna Permell (15); Edward Hall (04); Julia Beverly (01,02,03,08,11,12,14,19, 21); Keadron Smith (17,22); Kool.Laid (18); Luxury Mindz (13); Malik Abdul (06,07,10,20); Marcus Dewayne (05); Storm (09,16)
espite the fact that he’s facing concurrent prison sentences totaling 22 years for allegedly shooting a police officer in a 2003 incident, former Hot Boy Turk is upbeat, positive, and confident that a brighter future is ahead. He’s preparing to drop a new album, owns his own record label with several artists, and even maintains a Myspace page - all from the confines of a jail cell. Through his wife Erica (below right), Turk reached out to OZONE to break down his future plans and respond to Young Buck’s recent implication that he was once involved in gay activities with other Cash Money members. You’re currently incarcerated – what’s going on with your case? Right now I’m going through the process of my appeal, so I’ll be out in January 2007. I [was sentenced to] 12 years, running concurrent with the 10 that I got for state time. I’m looking forward to being out real soon with my appeal and everything. When I went to trial, the only reason I took a guilty plea was to squash my case. They gave me an alpha plea – a plea in my own interest. It means, I ain’t pleading guilty to the charges, I was just tired of sitting around where they was trying to railroad me. So I went ahead and signed a guilty plea and now I’m going through my appeal. I know for a fact that’s gonna work out. You recently dropped an album, right? I released Still A Hot Boy, that’s in stores now. I just released Convicted Felon, that’s in stores now also. I got my own label, YNT Music. I’m dropping Young N Thuggin’ 2 first quarter of next year, January or February. On that album I’m presenting my homies Amani and Don Trip. I got B.G. on the album, Jody Breeze, 5th Ward Weebie, and a couple cats from Memphis. How are you able to produce and release albums while you’re incarcerated? Do you record over the phone? Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I’ve been doing stuff on the phone, too, but me being the workaholic that I am, I had a lot of unfinished projects. So I’m just updating [those vocals] with different features and upgrading my beats. You can do a lot with technology today. Young Buck did a radio interview recently where he talked about things he saw on the Cash Money tour bus back in the day, Baby and Lil Wayne kissing on the mouth, etc., and your name came up in the conversation. I heard about that. I was real fucked up about that. I’ve been trying to get at Buck since he made that broad statement. He didn’t literally say “Turk,” but at the same time he left the question open in people’s minds. Baby and Lil Wayne, they’re not gay. Even though me and Baby don’t see eye to eye, those are false allegations that Young Buck made. It’s just like a holy kiss. Buck is tryin’ to sell music, man, and as much as I’m into it with Baby and them, I’d never put out a false allegation about them. That’s false. Buck is lying. But Baby and Lil Wayne did kiss on the mouth, on TV. I don’t think they’re gay. It’s just like basketball when a nigga makes a shot and another nigga pats him on his ass to say “Good job.” Have you been in touch with anybody from Cash Money recently? I’m in contact with B.G. and Juvenile. I talk to Mannie Fresh and Lil Wayne every now and then, but as far as Baby, I have no contact with him, period. I’m a grown man, they’re doing their thing and I’m doing mine. It ain’t no grudges, it’s just business with me. Whatever route I choose to take when I come out, niggas are gonna have to deal with it. A few other incarcerated rappers have recently been released. Are you in contact with any of them? I just did an exclusive with C-Murder. I did a couple things with some rappers from Memphis. I’ve been talking on and off to a lot of people. I’m looking forward to working with either Rap-A-Lot or Atlantic when I touch down. I’ve been talking back and forth with representatives from both labels. I’m available for features, drops, mixtapes, exclusives, you know, whatever. And that ain’t just for niggas in the industry, that’s for the underground niggas comin’ up too. I just did an exclusive with Carlos Cartel, a cat from North Carolina that’s been holding me down.
My wife Erica. That’s my everything right there, my best friend, my nigga, my homie, everything. She’s the only one that’s been down with me every hour of every day since I’ve been in here. What else do you do in prison to occupy your time besides music? Man, shit, writing, listening to the radio, reading, studying cases, just educating myself and seeking knowledge. It would be easy for you to get discouraged with your current situation – how do you stay so motivated and ambitious? I’m a firm believer in God, first of all. I read my Bible a lot so I stay connected with God. Once I do that, I see all the blessings God has bestowed upon me, so I just try to keep a thankful attitude. As long as I keep a thankful attitude, I’m gonna stay positive.
Do you get any special privileges in prison, being who you are? I stick out like a sore thumb but to the officers I’m just another number. They try to be more hard on me. It ain’t no special privileges or nothing.
Is there anything else you want to say? I’ve got these “Free Turk” shirts. Even though I’ve only got a couple more months left, I want them to look good for when I touch down. People can go on either one of my webpages www.YNTMusic.com or www.myspace. com/TurkYNTMusic and cop those t-shirts. If anybody wants to get in contact with me the best number to call is 901-896-9358, or they can write to me at YNT Music, PO Box 301025, Memphis, TN, 38130-1025.
Who’s been most supportive of you?
- Julia Beverly
01: Ludacris and Young Jeezy on the set of “Grew Up A Screw Up” (Atlanta, GA) 02: DJ Clark Kent, Grouchy Greg, Jermaine Dupri, Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur during Allhiphop.com week (NYC) 03: Play & Skillz with Baby Boy @ Maximedia Studios (Dallas, TX) 04: Trey Songz and Quan @ FTX 06 Fashion Show (Hampton, VA) 05: Chyna Whyte, Cam, and guests @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 06: Spiff, LVM, and DJ Nasty on the set of Ludacris’ “Grew Up A Screw Up” (Atlanta, GA) 07: Spliff Star and Busta Rhymes @ House of Blues (Orlando, FL) 08: Lil Boosie and DJ B-Lord (Charleston, SC) 09: Webbie and a video model on the set of Lil Boosie’s “Zoom Zoom” (Atlanta, GA) 10: Mercedes and DJ Hankadon @ Club Whispers (Orlando, FL) 11: Shawnna and Kev Samples @ Global Mixx DJ Retreat (Chicago, IL) 12: Terrence Tyson and Freeway @ UNF Arena (Jacksonville, FL) 13: Coco Renea and Pusha-T @ Club Broadway (Norfolk, VA) 14: Chad Brown and Mr. Collipark @ Compound for The CORE DJs Award Ceremony (Atlanta, GA) 15: Mad Linx, Princess, Trick Daddy, Diamond, and Citty @ Club Crucial (Atlanta, GA) 16: LeToya Luckett with her grandmother @ her album release signing (Houston, TX) 17: Bobby Valentino and Block @ 95.7’s celebrity basketball game (Birmingham, AL) 18: Squiggy, Life, Damien Marley, and Swordz @ Club Endo Exo (Jacksonville, FL) 19: Malik Abdul, DJ B-Lord, and guests reppin’ OZONE @ J-Lo’s house for Fat Joe’s “Make It Rain” pool party (Miami, FL) 20: Trill Entertainment family @ Lil Boosie’s “Zoom Zoom” video shoot (Atlanta, GA) 21: Guest, TV Johnny, and DJ GT @ GT’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 22: DJ Dr. Doom and M-Geezy @ Da Real Ting (Jacksonville, FL) Photos: Coco Renea (04,13); DJ B-Lord (08); Julia Beverly (01,05,06,09,11,14,15,17,20); Keadron Smith (17,21); Malik Abdul (07,19); Mercedes (10); Ms. Rivercity (18,22); Promotivation (03); Rico da Crook (02); Terrence Tyson (12)
01: Ladies @ J-Lo’s house for Fat Joe’s “Make It Rain” pool party (Miami, FL) 02: Young Jeezy and DJ Quote @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 03: Bibi Gunz, Cedric Hollywood, and DJ Khaled @ Prive (Miami, FL) 04: Dee Sonoram, 95.7’s Program Director, Unk, and guest @ 95.7’s celebrity basketball game (Birmingham, AL) 05: M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold and Paul Wall @ Snitch for pre-VMA party (NYC) 06: Mouse, Lil Boosie, and Webbie on the set of “Zoom Zoom” (Atlanta, GA) 07: Cadillac Don & J-Money with Bobby Valentino @ 95.7’s celebrity basketball game (Birmingham, AL) 08: Jason Geter and Linda Day @ Club Crucial (Atlanta, GA) 09: LX Bub reppin’ OZONE @ Stress Room (Dallas, TX) 10: Yancey Richardson, Rico Brooks, Yung Joc and ladies @ Yung Joc’s winning weekend (Miami, FL) 11: DJ Christion and Acafool @ Club Skye for DJ Christion’s birthday party (Tampa, FL) 12: Lil Boosie gets a handful from a fan on the set of “Zoom Zoom” (Atlanta, GA) 13: Mixmaster Ice and Cam’Ron @ Compound for The CORE DJs Award Ceremony (Atlanta, GA) 14: Ladies reppin’ OZONE and CRUNK!!! @ Screw Fest (Houston, TX) 15: Yung Joc and Tyrese @ Summer Jam (Dallas, TX) 16: Kansas City Kingz Soul Mutt, Young Produk, and Lucci Staxx @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 17: Shareefa and Ludacris @ Global Mixx DJ Retreat (Chicago, IL) 18: Cory Mo, Chamillionaire, and Int’l Red @ DJ GT’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 19: Krazy Yogi, DJ Nasty, DJ D-Strong, Chris Turner, and Rashad Tyler @ House of Blues (Orlando, FL) 20: 1/2 of So Souf kickin’ game to Ms. Cherry @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 21: Guest, Omar, TJ Chapman, Slim Goodye, and DJ Greg G @ Icon for Slim Goodye’s mixtape release party (Orlando, FL) 22: Luda Day (Atlanta, GA) Photos: Caps One (09); DJ Chill (14); DJ Quote (02); Donna Permell (22); J. McCartney (05); Julia Beverly (04,06,07,12,13,17,20); Keadron Smith (18); King Yella (15); Luis Santana (11); Malik Abdul (01,03,19,21); Yancey Richardson (10)
YOUTNG CI Y
etween Hurricane Katrina, departing Bad Boy, and being arrested on armed robbery charges, it’s been a rough year for former Da Band member Young City a.k.a. Chopper. Still, at only 21 years old, he’s learned plenty of lessons and is applying them towards the future. Last I heard, you were on house arrest. Yeah, I’m out on bond. I gotta face this armed robbery charge from five years ago, something they said I did when I was 16. It’s an old charge, it was the old me. I just hope the judge sees it like that. I’m gonna do the best I can do, pray to God, and hope that things will work out. Do you care to talk about that situation you’re being charged with? What actually happened? I was a young guy. I went upstate for the summertime to visit my family and I was hanging around some guys that was always getting into trouble. They had a BB gun and was playin’ around with some people that they thought was for real. When they locked me up, I came home on $10,000 bond. I was 16 years old but they charged me as an adult. I never received court papers. I went back home to New Orleans and my way of life, and ended up becoming whatever I became and doing whatever I do. So I got pulled over in Atlanta driving recently, and [the officer] was already hassling me. He told me I had a warrant from five years ago. That’s so old, and I been doing so many things I forgot all about it. So basically it was a skeleton in the closet, and sometimes you gotta get rid of them the right way instead of brushing it off. Hopefully we can get probation or just let me ride, but I don’t feel no jail time.
Are you still signed to Bad Boy? That situation with Puffy, a lot of people ask me about that. Honestly speaking, man, Puff is Puff. I am who I am. He gave me a great headstart with the Making the Band situation, but at the end of the day, it’s very bittersweet. It gets you fame, but you gotta embrace the moment for what it is. We sold platinum, but Puff seen it as a business move. I didn’t feel like being there was genuine. His whole motive was to get however much he could get out of us, and I really didn’t appreciate that as a man, first and foremost. How I was raised, we don’t play like that. I thought it was better to do my own thing. I’ve been doing this album myself, the Fast Life. At Bad Boy, it was a lot of burdens on me that I really wasn’t trying to face no more. I did it all during the Making the Band thing and it really wasn’t prosperous. I’ve gotta elevate, not evaporate. I got a family. I’m 21 and I feel like I’m 41. Puff wanted me to stay. We shot two videos in one day and they came at me with a situation and wanted me to sign the contract. We had a remix [to “Lil Daddy”] with Lil Wayne and Jody Breeze. We had already shot the video. I’ve got the rights to it but I never put it out. I’m gonna just put [that situation] behind me. I want to prove to Puff that I’m a force to be reckoned with, and he messed up for not understanding my hustle. It’s gonna be your loss, pimp. I respect the fact that he’s gonna always make money, but the rest of them over there [at Bad Boy] are puppets. I can’t be a puppet, I’m a grown-ass man. Are you still in touch with the other members of Da Band? Somewhat. I talk to Babs once in a blue moon. I talk to Dylan and Fred once in a while. I’ve talked to Sara. I don’t really rock with Ness like that. Since you built your name through Making the Band do you think people are less likely to take you seriously as a solo artist? That’s why I say it’s bittersweet, because I’ve got to prove to people that I’m a serious artist. I want y’all to take me seriously. Most do, cause real recognize real. I’m really a street nigga. I’m really from the projects. The sweet part is that it made me famous and popular. I can go anywhere in the world for free and I don’t have to worry about certain things. That’s one thing I liked about [Making the Band]. What’s your opinion on the so-called Bad Boy curse, that everyone who used to be on the label is stuck or had something bad happen to them? One thing about Diddy – he don’t give a fuck about you. He don’t give a fuck about your family. He don’t give a fuck about your situation. All he gives a fuck about is what you could do for him. A lot of artists over there on Bad Boy get shelved cause he don’t know what to do with them. He’s got an ear, but it’s for that old shit. Only reason that Yung Joc single blew up is cause it was hot already. I don’t know why that nigga’s tryin’ to cling onto the South shit now. You’re an East coast dude. No disrespect to Puff, but bring New York back. I love East coast music. Bring that back. That’s all I’m sayin’. Not to talk bad on him cause he did give me a chance and an opportunity. Fuck the haters if they wanna comment on me. If 32
you don’t like how I feel, fuck you. Are you looking to get another record deal at this point? I got a lot of things on the table right now. I’m just finishing this album and trying to be a CEO, not an artist. I don’t wanna get signed as an artist cause I’m not gonna get nothing but paper scratch. That can’t feed my daughter. I’m tryin’ to be a CEO, I’ve got an album already prepped up, I have production from some of the best producers. I already know the top dawgs. I’m not in a situation where I’ve gotta start over again. I just gotta get over this hump and that’s what I’m gonna do. Do you have any mixtapes or product in the streets right now? I got a lot of mixtapes out right now. I mainly sell out of the country. I’ve got a lot of white foreign fans. I got a couple of mixtapes out. The first mixtape I did was with DJ Chuck T. I don’t rock with Chuck T like that. I put my all into it, and the quality [of the mix CD] was like basement music. I didn’t respect that, coming from a DJ that’s from South Carolina and is supposed to be holding the South down. A lot of people was like, “It sounds like y’all did that in the basement. Chop, you a millionaire, how you gonna be recording in a basement?” I really don’t respect Chuck T for what he did, that’s why I brushed it off. He’s a bitch nigga. Didn’t you shoot up his car or something? Chuck T is a bitch to me. While I was in South Carolina I was playin’ with his gun in the backseat. I said, “Is this shit on safety?” and he said, “Yeah.” So I squeezed the trigger and shot his car. He’s doing all this talking and shit calling me and asking me for money. I paid for [the damage] cause it was nothing. But for him to get out here and start mentioning my name, boy, I will slap the shit outta you. I know niggas that know your situation, Chuck T. You’s a fuck boy. Niggas is out to get you. Be easy. Keep doing what you doing. Don’t come on this real shit. You aren’t cut from this type of cloth. Real recognize real, and you look very unfamiliar. Okay – any other mixtapes that you were happy with? Shout out to my dawg DJ Smallz for holding me down and having faith in me. All Eyez On Me, I sold 230,000 mixtapes. I sold 104,000 in the United States, especially out there in Oakland. Shout out to all my retailers out there in Oakland. And lastly, The Re-Up with DJ DNA. We sold so many of those it was crazy. They bootlegged the mix CD, but I still respect it, cause my music got out there. So shouts out to all my bootleggers. I got another mixtape coming out called I Declare War, and get ready for my Fast Life album coming soon. My single is called “Shut It Down.” Check out my website www.chopperwebsite.com or www.myspace.com/officialyoungcity to hear the official “Lil Daddy” remix to show people that I’m not over here fugazin’. I’m real talking. People don’t understand your movement until you show them. I’m 21 in the game and these old-ass rappers are still trying to make it. Retire your fuckin’ jerseys and let the young boys come in. I’m gonna shock the world. Do you plan on going back to New Orleans post-Katrina? I’m in Atlanta right now. I got a couple spots here. I’m getting real estate money. I have to go back to New Orleans, though, cause I’m the prince of the South and New Orleans is where I’m from. It’s the New New Orleans. I’m running the New New Orleans, besides my big dawg Weezy. - Julia Beverly (Photo: Shannon McCollum)
01: Cam’Ron, Hell Rell, and Juelz Santana on the set of “Suck It Or Not” (NYC) 02: Ludacris and Young Jeezy on the set of “Grew Up A Screw Up” (Atlanta, GA) 03: Chamillionaire presenting Hawk’s wife with a platinum plaque for The Sound of Revenge (Houston, TX) 04: Trae @ his album release signing (Houston, TX) 05: Rick Betemit, Mad Linx, and Sam Crespo @ Club Crucial for The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 06: Derrick Webb and the Gator Boys @ 95.7’s celebrity basketball game (Birmingham, AL) 07: Chuck, Trick Daddy, Big Will, Tony Neal, and DJ Rip @ Club Crucial for The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 08: Rich Boy and Kylan @ K97 (Memphis, TN) 09: Klarc Shepard @ Whiskey Room (Gainesville, FL) 10: Don P of Trillville and Memphitz @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 11: Fat Joe welcoming Scott Storch and his yacht to J-Lo’s house for his “Make It Rain” pool party (Miami, FL) 12: Ne-Yo and a friend @ Studio Inc (Tampa, FL) 13: Dre and Ono Choulee on the set of Fat Joe’s “Make It Rain” (Miami, FL) 14: Don Fetti and David @ Compound for The CORE DJs Award Ceremony (Atlanta, GA) 15: Trae and Rick Ross @ Club Axis (Dallas, TX) 16: Jamie Foster-Brown and Killer Mike @ Hip-Hop Summit Action Network financial empowerment seminar (Atlanta, GA) 17: One Chance @ Global Mixx DJ Retreat (Chicago, IL) 18: Funkmaster Flex and Premo @ Flex’s car show (NYC) 19: Unk and Blak Jak @ 95.7’s celebrity basketball game (Birmingham, AL) 20: Money Waters and PayDay @ Rhythm City Niteclub for Money Waters’”Gotta Gar?” video shoot (Dallas, TX) 21: DJ B-Lord, DJ Khaled, and Chubby Chubb @ Fat Joe’s “Make It Rain” pool party (Miami, FL) 22: Yancey Richardson, Luis Duran, and guest @ Yung Joc’s winning weekend (Miami, FL) Photos: D’Lyte (15); John Tha Baptist (20); Julia Beverly (02,05,06,07,10,14,16,17,19); Keadron Smith (03,04); Kool. Laid (08); Luis Santana (12); Malik Abdul (09,11,21); Ono Choulee (13); Rico Da Crook (01); Swift (18); Yancey Richardson (22)
NEUR E R P E R ENT OFILE
outhern Hip Hop is built off the spirit of independence. When major record labels turned a blind eye and gave a cold shoulder, artists were forced to do for self and cater to people who supported them. Cities like Houston, Memphis and all points in-between can testify about the benefits and eventual payoffs that the independent route can bring. However, Atlanta, Georgia, the proposed Capital Of The Dirty South, can’t fully stake that claim. The “Motown of the South” has become known as the place that artists run to in search of a major deal. It’s almost as if there is a tried and true formula: get song played in the club + get song played on the radio = sign record deal in four months. The independent scene there is not as strong as it is in neighboring cities and states because the artists get snatched up by majors by the time they attain loyalty in the streets. However, there has been one label that has carried the independent flag from day one, Big Oomp Records. Built off the backs of Oomp, DJ Jelly and MC Assault, the Big Oomp name has always signified Atlanta’s underground. Whether it was their early 90s mixtapes filling the void of not having an Urban radio station or their legendary Friday nights at the Nike Pavillion, Big Oomp repped for people who weren’t smooth enough for LaFace or clean enough for So So Def. Yes, while the world was popping champagne with Jermaine Dupri, the Atlanta streets were getting Intoxicated with Hitman Sammy Sam.
With just over a decade of success under their belts, Big Oomp is still a force to be reckoned with. Their latest artist Unk is introducing their sound to a new, younger audience, while veterans like DJ Jelly and DJ Montay strive to remind people of who help start Atlanta’s musical takeover. We caught up with Big Oomp himself to talk about his company’s influence and future. For those who don’t know, break down what the Big Oomp enterprise is exactly. Big Oomp is an entity. We’ve had a TV show for 5 years, we have the largest retail store in Atlanta, we’ve got artists, a production company, a film company, we do mixtapes and mix DVDs and have a team of DJs. How long have you been doing this? We started in 1991 with DJ Jelly and MC Assault, just hustling in the streets, serving people at the gas station, riding around downtown getting people to listen. In 1992 we got our first record store and then in ‘93 we opened up another one. In ‘94 we opened 10 stores. Then we cranked up the label in ’97 with Major Way. Then we came with Sammy Sam in ‘98, that’s what put us on the map because Sam was already a legend and Jelly was becoming the South’s best DJ at the time. Then we did the TV show in 2000 on UPN, and now we have a syndicated radio show on 6 stations. Big Oomp Records was the first independent label in Georgia. We were self-contained, we all had brains in the circle, and it was the benefit of having smart people in our organization. We didn’t have no one to look to; we paved the way for independents in Atlanta. No one had their own things. No one’s doing it right now to this day. Nobody was doing street promotions like us, no one. We were the first ones. Since the days of Bobby Brown and LaFace, Atlanta has become a haven for people looking to get major record deals. You guys have only dealt with one major the entire time you’ve been operating. Why? When we started off, we were making a lot of money with no competition. We never jumped into corporate because we were self-contained. We never expanded to the world back then but we should have. If we would’ve took a trip to New York, who knows what would’ve happened. How did you hook up with Sony in the early 2000s? With Sony, that was my first time going to New York. I was like damn, all these dudes getting deals never worked the streets, they was selling stories. So I went up there and let them know what I was doing. Are you going to entertain going with a major again? We just got a deal with Koch and we’re talking to Atlantic and Universal. The independent world is dead. The bootleggers killed it. How? Why would you say that? You’re not making money. I did it for years. It ain’t crossing my mind 34
to put out another record independently. I spend $75,000 to make the record, make it hot, and go out and get it on radio. But that bootlegger killing me. I make $25,000 back. Doing that, you just making a better day for the bootlegger. I press up 30, and the bootlegger makes 100. That’s why I say spend your money and get your record hot and go to New York and get a deal. As long as you’re spending your money you ain’t getting much. With Koch, if this label treats me well, we both make millions. How have you guys been able to stay relevant throughout the years? As we got older we kept bringing in younger guys like Unk, DJ Montay and Shorty Rock. The TV show reintroduced us to a younger audience too. How do you feel about the Atlanta music scene nowadays? Man, times done changed. It ain’t about grinding now. They come out with one song overnight. Atlanta is so hot that they ain’t got to do no work. You ain’t gotta spend no money, someone in New York will get you. No one doing street work anymore. We been around the South 6 times out of out our own pocket. When we started we had to grind. And you have a son in elementary school who is producing already. You’re talking about Lil’ Corey. It’s a crazy story. When my wife was pregnant she lived above the studio so all he heard was boom boom boom. At four months old he was crawling to the studio. He would break the clothes hangers down and bang on something. He was six months old playing with a tape player trying to play and record. He used to crawl to the studio everyday and started playing the piano. At 3 years old he was doing beat machines, by six he was running the studio and on the MPC. He’s learning Pro Tools right now. He done sold 8 tracks already - some to Lil’ Flip, Unk, Baby D, and Andre 3000 wanna work with him. He’s been in the studio with Jazze Pha, Too $hort and Rico Wade. He’s about to have a reality TV show. It’s gonna show him producing and selling a beat from beginning to end. In all of your years in this business, what is the one thing you’ve learned that you live and die by? When I first started, I started with a street mentality. I learned that you gotta stay humble. If you’re not humble, this business will shut you out. Where can people hear your syndicated radio show? Columbus, GA, Cincinnati, OH, Montgomery, AL, Columbus, SC, and of course Atlanta, GA. What projects do you have coming out in the near future? We’ve got the DJ Unk Beatin Down Yo’ Block in stores now, Sammy Sam Trouble Maker, Baby-D A-Town Secret Weapon, Dru War Games and Loko. And look out for the DJ Jelly album and the DJ Montay album. And yes, we have mix CDs in Germany, Canada, and Japan too. If you want to check out our websites, visit www.bigoompcamp.com or www. bigoomprecords.com. - Maurice G. Garland
01: Kanye West, Mary Datcher, and Common @ Global Mixx DJ Retreat (Chicago, IL) 02: Cadillac Don & J-Money, guest, and David Banner @ 95.7’s celebrity basketball game (Birmingham, AL) 03: 1/2 of Da BackWudz and Dallas Austin @ Compound for The CORE DJs Award Ceremony (Atlanta, GA) 04: Bun B and his son Brandon @ Backstage Live (Houston, TX) 05: 1/2 of UTP and ladies chillin’ @ Akright Records BBQ (New Orleans, LA) 06: Ray from The Ultimate Hustler, Oozie, and guest @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 07: Marcus, N. Ali Early, and DJ Juice @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 08: Lloyd Banks and Ludacris @ G-Unit vs. DTP celebrity basketball game during Luda Day Weekend (Atlanta, GA) 09: It’s really going down when Yung Joc performs @ UNF Arena (Jacksonville, FL) 10: DJ Will and Yo Gotti @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 11: Omar and Slim Goodye @ Club Whispers (Orlando, FL) 12: Lil Boosie’s daughter on the set of his video for “Zoom Zoom” (Atlanta, GA) 13: Ludacris and 4-Ize on the set of “Grew Up A Screw Up” (Atlanta, GA) 14: TJ Chapman and DJ E-Z Cutt @ Global Mixx DJ Retreat (Chicago, IL) 15: Donna Gryn and Jermaine Dupri with their CORE DJ Awards @ Club Compound (Atlanta, GA) 16: Pimp C, Nancy Byron, and Chamillionaire (Houston, TX) 17: Bad Boy’s Rich Dollaz, Hen-Roc, and Shawn Prez @ Justin’s for The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 18: Omar Sharpe, Pat Nix, Jay Deezy, and Chris Turner @ House of Blues (Orlando, FL) 19: Lil Larry, Rich Boy, and Marlon Singleton (Memphis, TN) 20: Ron Stewart and Norjon Hedman @ Global Mixx DJ Retreat (Chicago, IL) 21: Mike Jones and Lil Soldier @ DJ GT’s birthday party (Houston, TX) 22: Eye Kandi and DJ Dap on Jam TV @ Flava Music (Tallahassee, FL) Photos: DJ Dap (22); Donna Permell (08); Julia Beverly (01,02,03,06,07,10,12,13,14,15, 17,20); Keadron Smith (04,21); Kool.Laid (19); Malik Abdul (11,18); Marcus DeWayne (05); Nancy Byron (16); Terrence Tyson (09)
T KAT IAMS
orn in Cincinnati, OH, and raised in nearby Dayton, Katt Williams has come from humble beginnings to become one of the hottest comedians in the industry. Known for his permed hair and his character Money Mike in the movie Friday After Next, Katt has become known as the Hip Hop Comedian. His many music industry friends include Snoop Dogg, Cam’Ron, and Lil Jon. Recently crowned a member of the Dipset, Katt sat down with OZONE to discuss his new comedy album on Diplomat Records and other upcoming projects. You’re hosting BET’s first annual Hip Hop Awards. How did that come about? I’m not sure. It’s the first. I guess they picked the best person that they thought would do a good job. I will make it fantastic, funny, and safe, if that is all possible. Tell us about your comedy album. It’ll be out around April 2007. They’re trying to push it up. It’s just me being me, not me trying to be someone else. It’s a nice fun album that all haters will hate and all people that are about their business are gonna love it. I was able to pick the people I wanted to work with, so Lil Jon is on there, Paul Wall is on there, Mike Jones, E-40, Lyfe Jennings, Dipset. It’s just a beautiful situation. Tell us about the new movie coming out, Norbit? You play a pimp named Flashy Frank? It’s a great movie. It’s one of those Eddie Murphy movies that we’ve all been waiting on. Eddie Murphy plays three characters and Cuba Gooding Jr., Eddie Griffin, Tandy Newton, and Marlon Wayans are also in the movie. It’s just a banger cast. It comes out in February. Any other movies on the horizon? I have another movie comin in December which is called Perfect Christmas with Gabrielle Union, Morris Chestnut, Terrance Howard, Queen Latifah, and Charlie Murphy. In January I start [filming] the David Talbot film that Mike Epps and I are starring in. Tell us about the cartoon series The Boondocks, where you played a pimp called SlickBack. We just finished up another episode, and they’re working with Sony for a live action film which details the life of a pimp called Slickback. It should be interesting and a lot of fun. What’s up with your new show that’s going to be on MTV? The third season of Wildin’ Out is getting ready to air, and that’s already a good platform. We’re getting ready to work on a character that I play on that show called Judge Mo Dollars. Me and Nick [Cannon], all we’re trying to do is work and put out some quality comedy shows. Richard Pryor was the King of Comedy for his entire life and he isn’t here anymore, so everyone has to step up their game. Speaking of Wildin’ Out, how do you come up with your improv skits so quickly? It’s a game. It’s like if you throw a football to a football player, he’s supposed to catch it. He either catches it or drops it. It’s the same thing with comedy. I know they’re gonna say something, and I only have a few seconds for my comeback. They don’t all work out, but I feel we have a good show. With all the things happening for you right now do you ever feel burned out? Shit, I haven’t even burned in yet. I can’t burn out yet because I just got started. People didn’t even know who I was until Friday After Next. That was in 2002, so I couldn’t burn out in five years. Burnout should never be what a dude that’s grinding is scared of. I don’t care what you do. If you’re selling weed, I don’t think you’re really scared that you can sell too much weed. I’m just telling jokes, and as long as the universe is happy, that’s good. When I start getting whack I should die, like all the funny comics. Are you living your dream? No, my dreams don’t have any work in them. I’m getting there. I’m making the dreams happen. You should be very careful – if you’re living your dream, that means you’ve run out of dreams. I’ve got dreams of a growth spurt that I’ve been waiting on since I was 13, so I’m still dreaming of being five feet, nine inches tall.
Is your permed hair and the way you dress a way to differentiate yourself from other comedians? I’m just a fly dude, so fortunately I’m in the right business. But this perm wasn’t always popular. This is the same perm that’s started plenty of fights and situations. That’s why you have to be you. When it’s bad, it’s bad, but it can flip and all of a sudden the stuff that’s been a burden to you your whole life can be what makes you special. That’s why you can’t change yourself too much. Look at Star Jones. They sucked two hundred pounds out of her body and her head still looks like she weights three hundred pounds. You have to be happy with you. Your bio says that you started reading when you were three years old. Yeah, I was three, but I wish they would take that off my bio. I was also shitting on myself at three, but they don’t say that in my bio. They also don’t say that I was peeing on myself. But yes, I had the IQ of somebody remotely smart, but I was still scared of waterbugs. Smart is always good, but I’m as proud of my street smarts as I am of my book smarts. Reading is fundamental. I was always reading and wanting to be somewhere other than in my parents’ house, so yeah, you go on a journey when you read a book. What made you decide to join the Nation of Islam? The same thing that made me quit. They were strong black men with a message and they were poised for action, and I’m a religious scholar. I like to see what motivates people to do what they do. So I was very interested in their culture; that’s why I went their way. Can people in the music industry book you to do skits on their albums? Yeah, absolutely. I’m kinda selective. We’ve got a pretty good track record going. Seven of the last skits we did ended up on platinum albums, so that’s worked well in our favor. If I like the artist I’ll do something with them. They can go to my website and get connected with me there. I’m a hip-hop fan, so whatever I can do, I’ll do it. Tell us about your ringtones. 912,000 and counting. It’s jut a blessing. I’m the first comedian to have sold that many ringtones. That means my voice is being heard a little bit in the marketplace, which is a good thing. - Photo and Words by Malik Abdul
01: LVM, Ludacris, and DJ Nasty on the set of “Grew Up A Screw Up” (Atlanta, GA) 02: Duval County Rockstars @ Plush for Young Cash’s mixtape release party (Jacksonville, FL) 03: Nancy Byron helps babysit Trae’s son during an interview @ 104.9 (Houston, TX) 04: Fat Joe’s wife Lorena, DJ Khaled, Trina, and E-Class @ Mansion for Rick Ross’s album release party (Miami, FL) 05: Rashad, DJ Dap, and Big Kuntry @ Blazin’ 102.3 (Tallahassee, FL) 06: Chingy and Yung Joc @ UNF Arena (Jacksonville, FL) 07: Derrick, Slugga, and Fresh on the set of Lil Boosie’s “Zoom Zoom” (Atlanta, GA) 08: Lil Chris and Lil Scrappy @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 09: Lil Homie and Block @ 95.7’s celebrity basketball game (Birmingham, AL) 10: TJ Chapman and Ms. Cherry @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 11: Pinky and DJ Khaled @ JLo’s house for Fat Joe’s “Make It Rain” pool party (Miami, FL) 12: Kandi from Xscape with Pat Nix @ Club Whispers (Orlando, FL) 13: Bossman and Kadife Sylvester @ Global Mixx DJ Retreat (Chicago, IL) 14: KC @ House of Blues (Orlando, FL) 15: Jaycee and DJ Toomp @ Compound for The CORE DJs Award Ceremony (Atlanta, GA) 16: Tony Yayo, Young Buck, and Lloyd Banks @ Summer Jam (Dallas, TX) 17: Bishop of Crunk and Trilltown Mafia on the set of Lil Boosie’s “Zoom Zoom” (Atlanta, GA) 18: Merc Camp on the set of Money Waters video shoot (Dallas, TX) 19: Fat Joe, guest, and Scott Storch @ J-Lo’s house for his “Make It Rain” pool party (Miami, FL) 20: Trick Daddy, Money Mark, guest, and Big Will @ Club Crucial (Atlanta, GA) 21: Big Kuntry and Mad Linx @ Club Crucial for The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 22: Treal, Haitian Fresh, and J-Dash @ 238 West (Gainesville, FL) Photos: DJ Dap (05); Edward Hall (18); Julia Beverly (01,04,07,08,09,10,13,15,17, 20); Keadron Smith (03); King Yella (16); Malik Abdul (11,12,14,19,21); Ronald Locklear (02); Terrence Tyson (06)
DJ E PROFIL
ne of the premiere DJs in Mississippi, DJ Finesse holds down a coveted spot on Jackson’s 99 Jams and also serves as President of The CORE DJs crew.
How did you get the name “Finesse”? It came from when I used to play basketball in Jr. High, because I could handle that rock. Back then they was calling me Kid Finesse. I knew I wasn’t about to be the next [Allen Iverson] - or back then it was Dr. J. Where I’m from you’re either a hustler, a baller, or a rapper, and I wasn’t no rapper either. So, there you go. When did you start DJing? I first started in 7th grade. I went to the Fresh Fest and saw Run-DMC and Jam Master Jay. Then later on I saw Jazzy Jeff. That’s when I told myself, “I wanna talk with my hands.” I started off doing tricks, I used to study the DMC tapes. But in my market doing tricks was cool for show, but not for making paper, so I honed my skills as a party rocker and mixer. I wanted to be the conductor of events. Since you’ve been around for a minute, how do you feel about the respect level DJs have gotten over the years? It seems like it comes and goes. I think it’s been peaks and valleys. We wasn’t getting respect at first, we had to get from behind the tables and let people know that without us the parties are not hype. Now DJs are getting respect because we’re getting creative with our marketing skills. But what I don’t like is that because of the technology, some people are getting respect they haven’t earned. If you not mixing on a mixtape, it’s not a mixtape. But you can weed out the bullshit DJs. I’m not the cat who sits up with Pro Tools or Cool Edit and puts things together and calls it a mixtape. I think you lose respect when you do that. And that’s the valley we’re in right now. But other than that, right now DJs and others are realizing that we are the A&R to the streets. The biggest effect we gonna have is finding what’s gonna be the next big record. You can have the best record in the world, but if you don’t have the DJ community behind you, it ain’t gonna do anything. As a DJ do you get offended when people throw around the phrase “Hip Hop is dead”? Because you guys are the ones who play the music and get it out there.
I get offended because people got to understand that Hip Hop is a culture, not just rap music, so Hip Hop is definitely not dead. Everybody from Puff on down has clothing lines and different businesses, that’s Hip Hop right there. The state of rap maybe in disarray because there’s hardly any lyricists, but now Hip Hop is magazines; business opportunities. We’ve branched out to so many things. Rap music, on the other hand, took a downward spiral because we hardly have lyrics. But to balance that out, producers are taking time to make more quality tracks. Was it hard for you to get respected nationally coming from Jackson, Mississippi? It ain’t where you from, it’s how you come. My cost of living is cheap, I get the money on the road and bring it back home so the next generation don’t have to leave town to make it. I’ve noticed that some DJs leave their home because people ain’t feeling them, no, you just gotta get hot where you’re at. It’s about where you’re at. I’ve had shows in places like New Orleans and got just as much love. When you go out, everybody respects you if you coming hard. What else are you into other than being behind the tables? I got a street team and I’m President of The CORE DJs. I’m trying to unite DJs. I also run Finesse Records. We put out the Stew Pot Stowaways, a group that David Banner used to be a part of back in the early 90s. I’m doing real estate, I own Jazzy’s in Jackson. I do it all. It’s bigger than me rocking a party. Being that you have so much experience, do you make sure that you share your knowledge with others? I’m raising plenty of DJs, I got cats at the radio station, I’m trying to teach them to respect the craft and not just buy blank CDs and put out mixtapes. I understand that because they like the entertainment business they see DJing as the best way to get in. But the reality of the situation is if you don’t treat it right it’s gonna leave you, like a girlfriend. I understand why they like it but if they ain’t true to it, you’ll be gone in a year. I teach cats to understand it, I tell them you got to rock the crowds, pick the hits, and stay focused and loyal. - Maurice G. Garland (Photo: Julia Beverly)
01: Shawnna and Rich Boy @ Global Mixx DJ Retreat (Chicago, IL) 02: Calvin Rachel and Jus Chris @ 95.7’s celebrity basketball game (Birmingham, IL) 03: Bam Margera, Lil Jon, and Metal Skool @ Snitch for preVMA party (NYC) 04: Murda Mamis Karlie Hustle, DJ Storm, Nina Chantele, and 1st Lady El @ Global Mixx DJ Retreat (Chicago, IL) 05: Big D and DJ Khaled @ Prive for Fat Joe’s “Make It Rain” weekend (Miami, FL) 06: DJ Caesar, Jay Deezy, and Kaye Dunaway @ Club Whispers (Orlando, FL) 07: Rico Da Crook and Melyssa Ford @ Allhiphop.com’s launch party (NYC) 08: Mia and Greg G @ CaribCraft Studio (Orlando, FL) 09: Keisha Hunter and Big Tuck @ Powers of Music Conference (Austin, TX) 10: Rich Boy and friends @ The Juice (Toledo, OH) 11: DJ Boom Bip and DJ Dimepiece @ Justin’s for The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 12: Dukwon and Ms. Rivercity @ UNF Arena (Jacksonville, FL) 13: Big Al and DJ Quote reppin’ CRUNK!!! Energy Drink @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 14: Steve Carless and Court Digga @ Global Mixx DJ Retreat (Chicago, IL) 15: Unk and Don P of Trillville @ 95.7’s celebrity basketball game (Birmingham, AL) 16: Lil Soldier, Mello, and the Ice Age camp @ Dub Car show (Houston, TX) 17: Young Dro and Trick Daddy @ Club Crucial for The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 18: Great, Swirl, Carlos, and Tampa Tony @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 19: Derrick and Lil Boosie with Boosie’s daughter on the set of “Zoom Zoom” (Atlanta, GA) 20: Kaspa, Crystal Isaacs, and DJ Trauma @ Global Mixx DJ Retreat (Chicago, IL) 21: Lil Chris, Lil Scrappy, Chyna Whyte, and G’s Up @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 22: Mecca backstage @ Bongo’s for Haitian Jazz Festival (Miami, FL) DJ Quote (13); Edward Hall (09); Greg G (08); J. McCarthy (03); Johnny Louis (22); Julia Beverly (01,02,04,11,14,15, 17,18,19,20,21); Keadron Smith (16); Kool.Laid (10); Malik Abdul (05,06); Rico Da Crook (07); Terrence Tyson (12)
RY T S U D IN 101
erving as both Rick Ross’s manager/business partner and the CEO of Poe Boy Records, Eric “E-Class” Prince (shown at right with Ross after a show in Gainesville, FL) is a staple in the Miami music scene and has approached the game with his unique and effective brand of street marketing. First off, describe your job. What do you do? I develop artists. I break records. I market records. I own my own promotional and marketing company. Poe Boy is a management company to. I can’t really describe what I do because it’s so much. What one nigga does at a record label – what he gets paid a whole lot of money for – I do that, plus four other jobs. I ain’t the average CEO. I’ll put up my own posters. Why did you name your company Poe Boy? One of my homeboys, God bless the dead, Kenin Bailey died in 1999. That was our vision, to start a record company. I named it after him and I’ve been holding it down solo ever since. My first release was POD, a song with Rick Ross and Trick Daddy. Then I had Cognito. I put a bunch of money into him. Niggas don’t understand – I put like $400,000 into POD and another $700,000 into Cognito. We shot two videos on Cognito and never put it out. It might come out next year, you never know. Me and Cognito went our separate ways. Then shorty [Jacki-O] came along, so we did what we had to do with shorty. She had a hit record, I worked it. Did you team up with Sobe Entertainment to put out Jacki-O? We teamed up with Cecil Barker. There wasn’t no Sobe at the time. He wanted to start his own label. That’s my best business partner ever. We had our differences, but it wasn’t me and him. It was people he had working for him. He’s a great dude. We’re still good friends, so it’s all good. Were you satisfied with the results of Jacki-O’s album, or did you feel like it should’ve sold more with all the money and effort that was put into it? I put a whole lot into that project. That was in God’s hands. Her talent wasn’t the problem. Her production wasn’t the problem. A&R wasn’t the problem. Marketing wasn’t the problem. I just figured it was God’s move. What did you learn from that project that you’ve been able to apply with the Rick Ross situation? Just to keep going. I’m all the way in, so I’m not gonna stop. This Flo-Rida shit is on another page. Get ready for Rick Ross’s [group] Triple C, trust me, it’s gonna be a serious problem. Brisco, I just did his deal with Cash Money. Me and Birdman finna do some major things with that. Flo-Rida’s got a smash hit record. It ain’t who’s the strongest, it’s who lasts the longest. Me and Ross been together for years. We came up together. We did an interview with Rick Ross a few years ago where he voiced his displeasure with Slip-N-Slide and was trying to go back to Poe Boy. I had a gang of artists. I don’t sell no dreams or hold no nigga back, but I’ll ride with you. If I feel like I can’t do it for you and somebody else got money for you, handle your business. If you ain’t got no real love for your artists or it’s just a business to you or you’re not gonna put your all into it, it ain’t gonna work the same. Out of 10 CEOs, only 2 of them are gonna go extra hard to make sure your shit is a success. I’ve been fighting for this shit since 1999. [Rick] was on POD and Cognito’s shit. He’s been there from day one, from the beginning. Him and Jacki-O wrote her “Nookie” record together. I felt like it was time to put everything behind him. What else did Rick Ross write besides Jacki-O’s “Nookie”? He wrote a bunch of records. He wrote like three records on her album, “Gangsta Bitch,” and a few other records. But she’s a great writer too. Why did you and Jacki-O fall out? Things happen, man. It just didn’t work out. In our last interview with her, she said that she felt you were blackballing her new records from getting played. I ain’t gonna comment on that. I ain’t got no reason to hate on nobody. I’m just a smalltime businessman but I do work hard for my artists. On a Bigga Rankin mixtape, he says he was scuba diving and saw a Rick Ross poster, which pretty much summarizes your promotional efforts. I got some new shit, this waterproof material that I do boards with. The whole industry stole my game. They saw the big ten foot cut outs and started to emulate the greats, so it’s all good. I should get a check for that. Everybody’s doing it now. I made labels step their marketing budgets up.
If you want a board like that, get ready to spend $250 on each one. Rick Ross has 500 of them everywhere we go. We spend our own money and we go hard, so with the [Def Jam] machine behind us, it’s too easy. Where did you come up with such an aggressive marketing strategy? Just watching elections and campaigns, trying to come up with different ideas. Shit niggas ain’t doing. I don’t like poster boards and all that shit. To me, that’s vandalism. I just like to be strategic and do shit differently. We wrap buildings, buses, balloons. I like to do it big. Aside from the music, why do you think Rick Ross is a successful artist? I ain’t gonna lie, he had to do a lot of changing. He was real aggressive. We had to have a lot of talks. I told him to just chill. We gotta calm down and stay focused when we want to go hard on these industry people. Coming from the streets yourself, what do you think was the key to making a transition from the streets to this business, changing your hustle? To be honest, I think it’s really pretty much the same thing. You just gotta apply your business differently. You gotta adapt to this industry cause this shit is super gay. It’s full of fuck niggas. Half the niggas in power don’t need to be in power, and niggas who really work hard and do the right shit ain’t in the right positions. So you’ve gotta play the humble role. You see what they did to Suge. You’ve gotta do shit silently. Kill them with silence. It’s just like the streets, man. You got niggas in positions who can shut you out, so you gotta play your cards right, and when you’re on top it’s your time to shine. We’re doing alright, but we’re far from the top. We got a few deals on the table. We just came off an international tour with Jay-Z, so we’re seeing a bigger vision. You were upset when we printed some negative things about Poe Boy a while back. Do you want to respond to that? I never worried about the little things. That’s why I got two probations and three assault charges. As long as a nigga don’t get personally disrespectful, it’s cool. I got love for OZONE. You work real hard. I’ve seen you grind like I grind, from day one. You’re a hustler. I can’t hate on that. Speaking of catching assault charges, you had a little altercation your former partner Mr. Charlie at TJ’s DJ’s. What was that about? Yeah, he did some super homo shit. You can talk all you want, but don’t go to a newspaper and talk about a nigga’s criminal activities in the past. That’s something you just don’t do. So that’s where I draw the line. I can’t give nobody no shine, though. It’s all about Triple C, Poe Boy, Brisco, the movement. OZONE looking real big too, everywhere I go. I seen one on the shelves at the airport the other day. You’re getting a lot of money on the low. At every show niggas are snapping pictures for OZONE. The Miami movement seems to be going well. The Super Bowl is coming to Miami and we’re the champions. It’s a new movement. I like to stunt, too. When they come through Miami they’re gonna know what time it is. Rick Ross been hot, it ain’t nothing new. It’s about timing. I learned to be more patient and humble and discipline myself. Shout out to Cool & Dre, DJ Khaled, Big D, all the producers, everybody who’s doing their thing. Look out for that Live From 305 executive produced by Rick Ross and E-Class, we’re bringing all the hot Miami artists to the forefront: Dirtbag, T-Double, Pitbull, Smitty. Any last words? Don’t ever think this industry loves you. Some niggas sign a deal and think it’s all gravy, but as soon as you don’t do good, my brother, that love is out the window. Don’t fall short for the glory. I leave it all in God’s hands. - Julia Beverly (Photo: Malik Abdul)
01: Spark Dawg watching himself read OZONE @ Powers of Music Conference (Austin, TX) 02: Devin the Dude and Fresh reading Devin’s album recap in OZONE’s 25 Greatest Southern Albums feature (Houston, TX) 03: Tampa Tony and Great with OZONE cover @ CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 04: Nina Sky @ Rucker Park for DJ Webstar’s album release party (NYC) 05: Street Runner and Scott Storch @ Fat Joe’s “Make It Rain” weekend (Miami, FL) 06: Kid Money KG @ Club Skye for DJ Christion’s birthday party (Tampa, FL) 07: Doug E. Fresh @ Hip-Hop Summit Action Network financial empowerment seminar (Atlanta, GA) 08: Kurupt and Daz (NYC) 09: Two Dog Records @ Club 238 West (Gainesville, FL) 10: Young Dro @ K104’s Summer Jam (Dallas, TX) 11: Shareefa on the set of “I Need A Boss” (Miami, FL) 12: G, Baby Boy, and DJ Deliyte @ Nel’s Sports Bar & Lounge (Bay St. Louis, MS) 13: Black Mike and Kiotti @ Powers of Music Conference (Austin, TX) 14: Bossman @ Rock Corps (NYC) 15: Frankie J (Austin, TX) 16: Mike Clarke and Dedra Davis @ Powers of Music Conference (Austin, TX) 17: Haitian Fresh, Ms. Cherry, and 1/4 of Treal on the set of Haitian Fresh’s “Put Ya Leg Up” video shoot (Daytona Beach, FL) 18: Cellski on the set of Ludacris’ “Grew Up A Screw Up” (Atlanta, GA) 19: OG Ron C, Kid Money KG, and Acafool @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 20: Ryno and Tosin @ Powers of Music Conference (Atlanta, GA) 21: M.O.E./Backdoor Productions members @ Plush for Young Cash’s mixtape release party (Jacksonville, FL) 22: Cadillac Don & J-Money (Jackson, MS) 23: Willie The Kid @ Ridin’ Dirty Car Show (Atlanta, GA) 24: Dizzee Rascal @ Konnections (Houston, TX) 25: CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 26: DJ Dr. Doom and DJ PLO @ UNF Arena (Jacksonville, FL) 27: D’Lyte and Keio Gamble @ Powers of Music Conference (Austin, TX) 28: Wap 1 and KayBeezy @ Money Waters video shoot (Dallas, TX) 29: Fidel and DJ Princess Cut @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 30: Turk, Courtney, and Lil Boosie on the set of “Zoom Zoom” (Atlanta, GA) 31: DJ Princess Cut and Tum Tum @ Powers of Music Conference (Austin, TX) 32: Khujo Goodie and Ike Gda @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 33: DJ Wild Hair with the owner of Club Axis @ Twisted Black’s video shoot (Dallas, TX) 34: Mims @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 35: Tonya Terelle and the Lavish Models on the set of Money Waters video shoot (Dallas, TX) 36: DJ Chill and DJ Princess Cut @ Powers of Music Conference (Austin, TX) 37: So Souf @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 38: DJ Commando and DJ Juice @ Club Crucial (Atlanta, GA) Bogan (11); Cadillac Don & J-Money (22); Crossroads Entertainment (12); DJ Chill (24); Edward Hall (28,33,35); Julia Beverly (03,07,18,19,25,29,30,32,34,37,38); Keadron Smith (02); Luis Santana (06); Luxury Mindz (01,13,15,16,20,27,36); Malik Abdul (05,09,17,23); Promotivation (10); Ronald Locklear (21); Swift (04,08,14); Terrence Tyson (26)
ER C U D O PR ROFILE P
f Batman wanted to hit the studio and drop 16 bars on a track, Atlanta-based Shawty Redd would be his producer of choice. Minus the bright colored spandex and corny one-liners, Shawty Redd is the trap version of a comic book hero, saving the world from whack tracks, one beat at a time. As the melodic mastermind behind some of the South’s hottest tracks, Shawty’s beats incorporate a style unique in every way (imagine the Atlanta symphony orchestra on speed put together in a crunk kind of arrangement). Having produced for an array of artists including Young Jeezy, Bun-B, Slim Thug, Trillville and countless others, the Decatur, Georgia beat boss has already established himself as one of Atlanta’s premier producers. Now, armed with diabolical beats and an unmatched style, Shawty Redd, who doubles as villainous rapper, is looking to become a superhero in the booth as well as on the keyboard. How did you get started producing? I had got into some trouble back in the day. I had caught some charges and I promised my grandmother that if I beat the charges I would do something positive. So I beat the charges and I came down to Georgia from Memphis. Down here music was the hot thing to do, and since I had grew up in the church, knew how to play the piano, I started making beats. I did my thing on Drama’s album and it all started from there. Who are some of the biggest artists you’ve produced for? Every artist I’ve messed with is a big artist to me, regardless if they made it big or not. I done produced for Young Capone, Drama, Black Jack, Lil Yola, Slim Thug, Fab, Bun B and the whole UGK Family, Trillville, Pastor Troy, Bleu Davinci, Jeezy. The list goes on and on. What is the one artist you wish you could produce for? Prince. Man, I’m a huge fan of Prince. What producers have influenced your style? I listen to and respect all producers but DJ Toomp is my dope boy, he’s a big inspiration to me. It’s a privilege for me to have had the opportunity to go around and kick it in the studio with him. A lot of cats don’t offer their time and their knowledge to teach the younger cats the tricks to the game. I really appreciate Toomp and I give him the utmost respect. Your beats have a very unique sound. Where does that come from? I try to make my music like a soundtrack. If you were to take out the drums and just listen to the music, you can be cool with just that. I’m a movie dude. I like soundtracks, and big orchestra sounds. You know, like theme songs for comics like Batman and Spiderman. I try to put that in my music, the big intros and the big strings over here and the worms over there. I try to do my beats like movie themes. Out of all the tracks you’ve produced, which is your personal favorite? “The Realest Nigga In It,” by Young Jeezy. Yeah, that beat sounds like it could be the theme song for one of those old superhero movies. Are you signed to a label or affiliated with any group? I’m a free agent. I’m taking it slow. I’m not trying to rush into any deals or anything like that right now. I’m not trying to settle for no little chump change deal. I’ve been through that already. What has been the biggest moment of your career thus far? The biggest moment is right now, this whole Jeezy situation. I was locked in a messed up contract, so I really wanted to quit music. Basically, if I produced anything, the other party was going to eat more than I ate. So I just chilled and hid out til I finally could get the ends to get me a good lawyer and good management, somebody I could trust. Once I did that, I linked up with Jeezy and he knew everything was gonna jump off, but I didn’t really think it was gonna jump off to the point where it’s at now. I didn’t even want to do music no more, but Jeezy pushed me to get him the hits and to this day, that’s the biggest, most triumphant situation. It sounds like you and Jeezy have a good situation. How did you meet? To tell you the truth, man, me and Jeezy met just hanging in the strip club. We’d be at Jazzy T’s and a mutual friend introduced us and after that me and Jeezy just linked up. It was more like a brotherhood than just a producer thing. He was with me in the studio every day. Did you get a platinum plaque for Young Jeezy’s Thug Motivation 101? Man, I’m still waiting on my platinum plaque from Jeezy. Where my plaque at, man? I can’t throw a party until I got my plaque, you know? 42
The second album’s almost out now. Who else are you currently producing for? Busta Rhymes is messing with me right now. I don’t know if he’s gonna use anything, but also Freeway and Beans want a couple of beats from me. I’m also working on some stuff for Ray J. I’m in the process of working with everybody, I don’t know whose going to use what, but I’m working with all these people right now. It seems like a lot of the artists you produce for end up blowing up after you work with them. Who you think is the next artist to pop? Me. I got an album I’m working on. I was actually a rapper first. I was signed to MCA but they went bankrupt before I came out. What happened with the deal you had with MCA? I had a deal through MCA and I did the score for the Save The Last Dance movie. I had six of my original songs on that movie. Naim Ali had been trying to get at me for the longest. He was an A&R at MCA and he gave me a label deal. The label started saying I was too crunk for ‘em. The game had went commercial and everything was on that Pharrell shit so they said I wasn’t marketable enough for them. I did like three different albums, and when I finally got approved, MCA went bankrupt, so I never got my chance to come out. Have you tried to get another deal with any other labels? A lot of labels have been trying to do some stuff with me but they want me to work and they ain’t trying to give me what I’m worth. I took a $300,000 deal already and now I’m hotter than I was before. So I can’t accept no chump change deal. I’d rather just sit back and keep producing for Jeezy, I’d be straight. Anybody can do the music thing. I’m not gonna say I’m the greatest rapper in the world but all it takes is the right beat, the right hook and being able to ride the track. I’m not knocking the snap music, but if snap music can blow up like it did, I know I can do some stuff that can blow up. How can an aspiring rapper get a Shawty Redd beat? All you gotta do is give me a phone call and have the deposit ready. [The amount of the deposit] depends on how I feel that day. You know I ain’t got nothing to prove. If a nigga wants a beat just come bring me the deposit. It ain’t gonna take me longer than fifteen minutes, so he might as well bring the whole thing. Damn, that’s impressive. So if it only takes fifteen minutes to make a beat, what do you do with the rest of your day? To be honest with you, I don’t never really see the daytime. I get up probably about 8 o’clock at night, then hit the studio for about three or four hours. After that, I usually go to the strip club. I stay there for a while and leave about 6 in the morning. You seem to be a connoisseur of Atlanta strip clubs. Which is your favorite? Club Blaze on Moreland. That’s my radio station, man. Also, my pops, Cognac is there, my whole family is there. I ain’t gotta worry about getting into it with some lame nigga, or some jealous nigga over there. Blaze is like my home and my pops keeps it gangsta over there. - Photo and Words by Eric Perrin
01: Chaka Zulu reppin’ his artist Ludacris’ cover @ Rock Corps (NYC) 02: Cootabang, Yung Redd, and E-Cla$$ reppin’ Swishahouse @ Powers of Music Conference (Austin, TX) 03: Young Jeezy reading OZONE @ Rock Corps (NYC) 04: Smilez & Southstar @ Rock Corps (NYC) 05: OG Ron C, Rapid Ric, and TJ Chapman @ Power of Music Conference (Austin, TX) 06: Mo Buckets, JoJo, and Jellyroll @ Sweetwater (Murfreesboro, TN) 07: DJ Caesar and Young Capone @ Club Whispers (Orlando, FL) 08: Derrick the Franchise, Pharrell, and Fam-Lay (Virginia Beach, VA) 09: DJ Quote and Julia Beverly @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 10: Michael Watts @ Powers of Music Conference (Austin, TX) 11: DJ Chino and DJ Nasty @ House of Blues for Busta Rhymes concert (Orlando, FL) 12: Young Cash and Lil Hen @ Plush for Cash’s mixtape release party (Jacksonville, FL) 13: Awesome Two @ Compound for The CORE DJ Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 14: Carnival Beats @ Powers of Music COnference (Austin, TX) 15: DJ Webstar @ Rucker Park for his album release party (NYC) 16: Deuce and Rapid Ric @ Powers of Music Conference (Austin, TX) 17: Big Tuck and Hezeleo @ Powers of Music Conference (Austin, TX) 18: B.A. Boys @ The CORE DJ Retraet (Atlanta, GA) 19: TJ Chapman, Corey Cleghorn, and DJ Princess Cut @ Powers of Music Conference (Austin, TX) 20: Haystak (Murfreesboro, TN) 21: Jae Millz @ RUcker Park for DJ Webstar’s album release party (NYC) 22: Bobby Valentino on the set of “Money Maker” (Miami, FL) 23: Dream and D’Lyte @ Powers of Music Conference (Austin, TX) 24: DJ Greo and Ed the World Famous @ Justin’s (Atlanta, GA) 25: TV Johnny @ Letoya Luckett’s instore (Houston, TX) 26: DJ Koolaid, Hump, and Big Bodie @ Kartouche (Jacksonville, FL) 27: DJ Khaled @ Mo Muzik Studios (Orlando, FL) 28: Lendale White and Pacman (Nashville, TN) 29: Bishop of Crunk and Rasheeda on the set of Lil Boosie’s “Zoom Zoom” (Atlanta, GA) 30: Miss B @ 95.7’s celebrity basketball game (Birmingham, AL) 31: Young Rico and Chuckee on the set of Lil Boosie’s “Zoom Zoom” (Atlanta, GA) 32: Jokaman @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 33: St. Louis and Deuce Poppi @ The CORE DJs Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 34: Steve Austin and Kiotti @ Powers of Music Conference (Austin, TX) 35: JT and Loaded @ Twisted Black’s video shoot (Dallas, TX) 36: Kingdom and Billie Jean (Miami, FL) 37: DJ Red Alert and DJ Marquis @ The CORE DJ Retreat (Atlanta, GA) 38: Baby Bash @ 98.5 The Beat Bash (San Antonio, TX) Bogan (22,36); Derrick the Franchise (08); Edward Hall (19,23,35); Joseph Herbert (06,20,28); Julia Beverly (09,13,18,24,29,30,31,32,33, 37); Keadron Smith (25); Luxury Mindz (02,05,10,16,17,34,38); Malik Abdul (07,11,27); Ms. Rivercity (26); Ronald Locklear (12); Swift (01,03,04,15, 21)
NEUR E R P E R ENT OFILE
pioneer in the DVD Magazine game, James “Kraze” Billings has turned his love for hip-hop and knowledge of video production into a phenomenon of mass proportion. The New York native has parlayed his versatile industry expertise into a multimillion dollar enterprise and his company, Kraze Entertainment, is not only responsible for the development of the popular DVD magazine, All Access DVD, but is also one of the originators of the DVD magazine format in itself. Recently the success of the All Access Brand has expanded to television, reaching over 24 million Americans on the Starz/Encore Network. How did you get started with All Access DVD? I came out with a documentary called Street Poetry. I had entered it into the Urban World Film Festival in 1999 and we got a great response from MTV and other companies such as October Films and Miramax. The problem with that was I never had any clearance for the footage I was showing at the film festival. So at that point I toyed around with the idea, and I asked a lot of my boys, “Do you guys read magazines all the way through?” Because I always felt like I was buying magazines but never reading the whole magazine. Most of my people were the same way. They read what they thought was interesting but never dealt with the whole magazine. So around the year 2000, I started asking people, “What if there was a magazine that you could watch instead of read, would you watch the whole thing?” And everybody was like, “Yeah, definitely.” So that’s when the birth of All Access came in. When you first started, was it hard to obtain solid interviews? Well, I was a signed artist when I was 15, so music has always been a part of my life. After I didn’t really make it as an artist, I ended up working for FUBU right before they catapulted to three hundred and fifty million. Music, fashion, and films go hand in hand. Everybody came through that FUBU office, so me being the FUBU filming guy kind of helped my relationships with the artists. When you work with a reputable brand, people take you seriously. So, it was a much easier transition when I left FUBU and started doing my own thing.
What’s next for you and your company? We just signed a twelve episode deal with Starz/Encore which is the third largest cable network in the country. You know you have HBO, and then you have Showtime, and then Starz/Encore. The All Access Show just debuted on air last month, so were real excited about that. We went from being a DVD magazine that’s catering to the streets to where a major cable network feels that were a strong enough brand to infiltrate middle class America. And for us to go from selling between twenty-five to fifty thousand DVD units, to now being in front of 24 million people every week is a great experience. Not only were we able to secure a national television show, but we were also able to secure a similar situation outside of the country, in fifty different countries, catering to 119 million different households.
So you pretty much encountered all facets of the hip-hop industry. I went from rapping and trying to be an artist, to actually going to school for television production and then I ended up working in the fashion industry. Now, I’m back doing the film thing and I’m thinking about going back in the studio. If Puffy can do it, so can I.
What kind of revenue does that bring in? Our projections for DVD sales outside the country for the first three months is about 500,000 copies and that equates to us making about 2.5 million dollars in 2007. That’s just one revenue stream, and that’s outside the country. We haven’t even tackled where we are now.
Talk about how being versatile has helped you in your career? The most important thing is that I was able to do more than one thing. I didn’t stick to trying to be an artist. Being able to move around in these different circles created my versatility and that definitely helped me get to where I am today. We have the number one spot in the DVD market and are able to say that confidently.
How were you able to land such a major television deal? We were able to build a brand that people wanted to associate themselves with, meaning these major companies. Let it be known that they’ve been following our career. They’ve been seeing how influential we were in the marketplace with All Access the DVD. Everything that we’ve done got us to where we are with these companies because of the moves we made and the relationships that we built with that brand of All Access. They’re not just giving cats TV shows, so you gotta understand the magnitude of how we finagled our way through our branding and our product. There were a lot of odds stacked against us, but we’re used to breaking down doors. We were the very first to coin ourselves a DVD magazine.
Tell me about some of the things you’ve covered on All Access. What we’re known for is either breaking a story or bringing more light to a story you might have heard about or read a little about. We ask those hard questions and really get those answers; uncensored, candid, in your face, straight raw from the artist. With each and every issue, you’re either going to get something dealing with controversy, beef, or sex, because really, that’s what fuels hip-hop and I think we’re the most known and well respected DVD on the market today. Recently we brought a lot of light to the Green Lantern situation. We were able to do an exclusive sit-down interview and talk about his departure from Eminem and 50 Cent. There has been a recent influx in DVD magazines being released. How do feel about this and do you see these new guys as competition? How’s that song go by D4L? I bet you can’t do it like me. They can’t do it like us. I don’t want to discredit anybody, but I will say this - it’s flattering when you have people imitate what you do, but when you’re the leader of the pack, that’s just what it is. It’s great to influence people and I don’t want to discourage people that want to pick up a camera and make a DVD, but at the end of the day, it’s a business. Its not just about picking up a camera, it’s about having those relationships with the artists. I commend those cats out there for creating them DVDs, but you just got to be a little more creative. Where did you get your funding to start All Access DVD? All Access DVD was self-funded; it’s always been self-funded. I haven’t taken any money from any banks or any outside venture capitalists. The money is derived from me and my partners at the time. It came from our 44
pockets and our hard work.
You’re from New York and a lot of the content in your DVD relates to Southern artists. Do you think New York can make a comeback? The whole East coast is getting ready to make a major, major run to gain their shine back. But I’ve always supported Southern artists, if you go back to my volume two, I have Lil’ Jon on my cover and Trina and I was the first to interview Jazze Pha as a producer. It’s an evolution; it’s going to move from Atlanta like it moved from New York. I think it’s going to be more Midwest in time than anything. But it’s really not a South, East, West, or North thing; we should all be supportive and pull each other up. What kind of advice would you give to others coming up? First I got to say, tune in to my television show on Starz in Black. Secondly, make sure you support the All Access DVD. Thirdly, make sure you go get a pair of my shoes, the A-Dub sneakers that come out nationwide in 2007. Support the things you believe in and make sure you have people supporting you. I’m not afraid to ask people to go buy my DVD, because those are the things that you need to do. If you want to get anything in life believe in yourself, and know that there is nothing that can’t be done and won’t be done unless you don’t do it. Log on to www.thedvdmagazine.com for more updates on Kraze and All Access DVD. - Words by Eric N. Perrin
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RICCO BARRI N H IGH PO
he nam e 23-year Barrino may rin Americ old Ricco Barr g a bell. That’ an ino sb R&B ar tist Fan Idol winner a is the brothe ecause nd Gram r of 200 tasia Ba Ray J tr 4 r ea rin m sia’s bro tment and wr o. But before y-nominated iting him ther, kn giving R motiva ow that icco the off as ju tin R went to g his America icco was inst st Fantar n u A anythin tlanta by my Idol sister to mental in sta se g gigging , not even Fan lf when no on rdom. “I ew ta ev what w ery week, an sia,” Ricco beg anted to do d from as goin ins. “I st th g scene [a a o a nd she] n. She started t my sister se rted e e Lewis. c And th nded up with oming down n at’ on Ji why do n’t you s when the qu mmy Jam and the est tr T took it serious, y American Id ion was aske erry d, but loo ol? No k wher o e it got ne really Fantasi us.” a’s to sing success allow ba ed of Kany ckground wh Ricco the op ile tour p e West ing wit ortunity and Ke vocal a h th ysh rr sister. N angements du ia Cole, and a e likes rin ss o is stepp w, with his co g recordings ist with for his ing out veted r e from be sume, R new sin hin ic g serenad le “Bumble Gu d the scenes. co e of boo m,” a sn H tyliciou by Gran ap-influ is s e d “Live In Hustle’s Keit cravings produ nced h MacM ced The Sk asters (T y”), has increasi R n .I boro, N g through radio icco’s buzz ste .’s a C to Ch sp icago, IL ins from G dily was fea ree tu . video w red in the “Yo In addition, R nsicco u Know ith Oth a which appeare z Records rap What It Is” per P-W d on BE Blast. T.com’s o BET On nda, Ricco m a snap m y have been in usi fl hip-hop c, and will le uenced by nd his v hooks, ocals fo but say will sep r sh a “You ca rate him from is versatility his cou n comp nterpar are me a slicke ts. to re ity,” Ric dge, with mo a T-Pain with re versa co expla tilstop the ins. “I c a m somebo usic and reall n definitely dy. I de y seren ade finitely is to ha v k do som e perfect pitch now what it e , greats d of the things and be able to tha o, like G erald L t you see the evert.” W st in A p of peop le don’t eople in othe nthony Ham dustry, R&B ruggled to ga hile rappers fr r areas ilton, a in si k o n n m n g o a e w ti th r s o d n e a large With “B percenta on’t see North d Fantasia hav like Ricco’s co nal recognitio Carolinas ha u ve n u e on his a bble Gum” m a ge of si ngers c nd South Car succeeded wh sins K-Ci and in the music oving u lbum R ome fro o Jo icco Bar p m North lina as major m ere rappers ha -Jo, Angie Sto rino a.k the charts as th ve ne “[I’ve b .a. Puer usi and Sou ee to Ricco e lead single fr th Caro c markets,” R failed. “A lot o , Jermain n with] Sean , o li ic m m n c a a o th .” jo sa e r labels Ga ys. “Bu f e Dupri. like Atl Othaz Record t a lot So I kn rrett, who wr a s n o o c ti o w te c m if I can a and J R Words: compete ll of Chris Bro ecords pilation 2.3, an Randy have st wn with th Roper arted k d Ricco hard e best o ’s stuff, wrote nockin at work f them g. and rem a lot of Usher ’s stuff,” ain hum R ble, I’ll be in th icco says. “[I’v e] is game for a m been with inute.”
“I KNOW IF I CAN COMPETE WITH THE BEST OF THEM AND REMAIN HUMBLE, I’LL BE IN THIS GAME FOR A MINUTE.”
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here’s r e definin ally only two th g eleme nts or a ings you can n intere e “That’s sting vo xpect from an th a yage th due out e order in 20 rough c lbum titled G 0 th od omplex doing a is October. “ 7,” Deuce Pop metaph , Guns and Pu pi expla nything With B ors and ss ush and in flexing, th challen y - a carnal re the wh s calmly, his v shining at can separa ged per ole wor te you fr oice ris and stu ception ndition of the ld ing as h nting, a om the against s. world’s He pau e ll p c u th a o c s n e k a ti nd niggas w of n se orking statistics, it’s all that, it’s G ues talking ab doing it s and releases constru o g o an incr for puss ction ge uns involved. d first. Then, ut his Capital/ edulous y.” And th if you g P tting dir chuckle e et any m riority debut n ty And th , it’s puss “You ca every d at, in a oney or y n a , ’t y m e e v a n a e years, le ll that’s u n a n say a done fo ing all the hu re arning, tshell, embod woman stling, artists, ie r pussy because he’s com making mistak s Deuce’s gen .” th e niggas a e pivotal e e re too sh connec to a deeper u s, growing an ral philosophy d learn allow. T tions w ing som . Street-wise ith the nderstanding hey’re a but per of the b e more Miami ctually He tech c . r u e H a p si nically p scene ti a n v v e in e ss , g h o ghostw e’s been f hip-h should’v released when h op rit in the in is moth “I was y due to creativ e been introdu er mov . A native of A ten platinum dustry ec h ed him ce oung an there a tlanta, where its for Slip-N- for five long d wasn onflicts betwe d to the rap w t h Slide ’t focuse 1 e e o 6 n r c . urrentl Undete d, so it’s Slip-N-Slide ld about thre y lives, /Atlantic rr e years and Atl a blessin he form writing ed, Deuce did ago an g that a ed , n lbum d tic. But, every , via Godzilla friend, and hustling m ’t stop. He con id P th n im in ’t p g c Rick Ro in o ti ix h m n ’ a ta . u p e T p p e out,” he h d es with ens for ss. a reason e album was n longtim producing, gh says. ever . e ost“I was h umbled when I saw how dif fi the ind cult u was,” h stry e “When says. y humble ou’re d you either st a same, g y the e or get b t worse e naturall tter, so I y better.” just got
His catc h “Did I D y single o was inst That” r landing umental in h rent de im his cural his deb and making u for the t a priority la business bel. Ever the m kept clo an, Duece se Rick Ro ties with ss have pla and the two ns to re group, lease th G e also inte aglin Gang. H e nds to le mark w ave his it NWM h his own gro (Niggaz up, With Money ) Quick a featuring Nest ley nd Cod eine. “I’ve be e put an n in contentio album o n ut for fo to years,” h u put out e says. “Every r so fr ing to k om now on, I’ ng I nock th m eir head tryoff.” Words: Jacinta Howard
HEN MBLED WU “I WAS HU LT IC F W DIF I SAW HOU ” S. A W Y R THE IND ST 50
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kay, let’ s it to bo state the obvio th tender,” er him as an a us. Jackie Cha in curiosity rti admits Chain. st. “A lot of ti is half-white .” “But wh an m e n I star es when I walk d half-Korean A milit t rappin . ary bra g and se in [to do a sh That didn’t bo t an 8th ow] peo ther him e the re grader. born in Hunts ple th a c as a ti on on p v B artists: eople’s ink I’m the D child, so don 8Ball & y then, his tra ille, AL, Chain ’t faces, th J, vels and MJG, U bounce at’s wh soundman or expect GK and d e at I lov bar“I won Three 6 xposure to So around from e . I T u my first feed off thern h Mafia. e Daddy). talent sh ip-hop xas to German the had him y money “After that I ju ow in 8th gra wantin as a child befo de,” rem for them st starte g r to e retu become em d , it beca an abom rning to Ala me a hu putting out ta bers the rapp bam ination A two y pes for stle.” of his fa a as ear pris my hom er, who at the vorite man an o time w ies to rid d artist n stint put Ch a s callin e aroun that he ain’s hu g himse d to . But wh is today stle on en peop lf KMD (Kore pause, b . “From an re le starte ut it wa d wanti Mack where ading and talk s his tim I le ng to giv in e inside was a m arned that th g to people in e me th at made e music il there, th h im business lion-dollar industr th a t’ e s y ,” who ad says Chain, o new rap pted his fellow p name from r jokingly isoners who Bruce L called him e Chan d e and Jackie u battles. ring freestyle After w in tough p ning over a r Chain w ison crowd, that he as convinced c on the ould make mo ou v offering tside. His first es w a s h is Wax Wax Off On feature mixtape whic d appea h rances Bun B, fro Webbie and Ha m ystak. “My mu sic got accepte quickly d b ping ab ecause I’m no out any t thing I rapor anyth ain he says, ing I ain’t nev ’t got er did,” noting “World that his w song one on ide” reached n Huntsv ille’s W umber 103.1. “ E M for itse y background UP lf. I don speaks ’t leys; I g ot an Im rap about Ben tpala on 24s.” Curren tly wor king ou Chain h to a from O s hit up every f Atlanta, akland ma to Nashvil Las Ve rket le preppin to Panama C gas to it g House la the release of y. He is h House P bel’s compilati is Pleasure on Plea impin’ fe sure single “ aturing S der (T.I nappin’” produ the lead .’ c That”). s “What You K ed by Wonnow Ab out Words and Ph oto: Ma urice G . Garlan d
ALK IN “WHEN I W W], SH A [TO DO HINOK I’M PEOPLE TUNDMAN, THE DJ, SOTENDER.” OR BAR
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apper/p r ferent fr oducer Goldru $ o questio m any other h’s story isn’t arti ns to my wh ole life… with the usua st. He answe o difrs most l “I’ve b things th ” routin een e. at do se t him a However, the doing music part fro m the r re are a few For one est of th ,h e pack. Daddy is persistence hear so . D e te r me of h mined of a nig to le is m htc his fath lub for 6 hou aterial, he w t Trick a er [Pop r s’] time s just to have ited outside . a minu te of “[I] sho w he rem ed him my sh it, em shit wa bers. “It was he was kinda sn st fe year late ’t together. I c ill green at the elin’ it,” ame ba time, m r and h ck e was lo y ving th [to him] like a e shit.” After p olishing up his so own un iq u ings, Ru ue style and h nd, developin av g $ Ryders h eventually si ing a couple his of an g debut p d is now colle ned with Tric meetk’s roject G c oldru$h ting material fo Dunk : The R u$h Ho r his “I was r ur. a got my pping like eve rybody shit.” else, bu t now I Now th at he ha s “his sh with Pr ett it course, y Ricky, You ,” he has work n e his boss . Ru$h g Buck and of d 6 songs has also on the upcomin produc album. ed H g newest e is featured o Dunk Ryders’ single, n Trick “Bet Th D Chamil addy’s at,” alo lionaire ngside . Aside fr o has his m that affiliati own lab on, Ru$ h e which he is cu l, Too Hot Re also cords, rrently tion for seeking . distribu The sec ond thin are his g that se m ts drawn elodies. Altho him apart compar u isons to gh he’s are, ‘Ru Ch $ his own h is focused on amillionsound. brandin g “Anytim e you h gonna h ear me ra e rapper ar the harmon p, you’re who ea y rned his ,” says the his com na p gold tee lexion and affi me from nit th to Cham . “I do get com y for illionair p see the e. But y ared dif o Daddy ference on th u can so e is a big ng ‘Bet That’]. [Trick d compar ifference, ther There ison.” e is no Ironica separate he feels “I think White you eve ll y, th b n got C s doesn’t hingo B ackground wil that nowaday even co Ru$h from th e obvious thin s it don l be a p ling com e pack unt. Words: ’t lu is the o g that e in s ve o g out w Mauric ne thin ith the r minus to his n matter,” he e G. Ga Photo: g Housto r rland Julia Be n, Texa career. “You g esponds when verly s cowbo ot your a sk ed if h Eminem y thing .” s, you g is mixed Japa n ot your Paul W ese/ alls,
EAR “ANYTIME YYOOUUH E ’R ME RAP, R TH E GONNA HEA .” Y N O HARM
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ost ever y Dallas, city in Amer ic ask any one wh a is home to a it s CEO soundsc ape fro and lead arti o’s really doin label whose r m the st st g e reets of , Boleg. His up it independen putation is so st Stampe tly and Dallas. coming d quite o rong in the st album, ften yo reets th hit the e has been ble T h e L u ife of T sc e errance will hear the at it can’t be ig that fea ene with a sin ding the block R tured S g a si le n n d c and vid olph, is name Stampe nored. In e 1995, pice On Screwe eo ca a reality when th de Reco d e. rds and ey first based ESG an Up Click alum Collabos with lled “Mr. G” d 3-2 an ni big boss d the helped Slim Thug g poppin et the label ’ th Texas, b roughout u Boleg so t it was the lo cut “ Money I Got ” pede on that put Stamth e min every r ap fan in ds of Texas. North “About th Got Mo e time when n ‘I Boleg r ey’ came out, ” em actually embers, “I problem had some mon e the mu s. So I had to le y si a so I cou c alone for a m ve ld inute After th get my mon ey a a few b t I had to wee up. ad seed s and re d out that I h ali a this mu d to get seriou zed s si think I’ c. People mig about h m confide cocky cause t I’ n me righ t, but I’m focu m real se t I’m say now, you kno d on in w cocky. ’?” That don’t what Sh m people, it, I deal with ean I’m so I gott e a be hu veryday mble.” The son g Boleg q was a runaw ay u the pote ickly realized hit, and th n laid wit tial of Stamp at a lot of ed h focusin him, so he de e Records g c ally foc on a gang of a ided to stop us on h r is caree tists and rer. “You k no of mon w, I’ve spent ey a It got to trying to blo whole lot w artist th e p o s int whe more d ed re peop up. le were was to icated to my rappin’. money than th Now I’v picture ey .G e I got m reg Street pu got a better uch lov t it to m e ‘Everyb e first, for that o boys to dy knows you cat. He said, , from th the little people’s e little girls to dope gir mamas, to the the little kids, dope bo ls, club to street. E y o verybo wners, and nig s, to the dy kno to do an gas in th w I’m gon album yourse s you, so you n e lf.’ And na do.” that’s w eed hat Words: Matt So Photo: Edward nzala Hall
“PEOPLE IG HT TH K I’M CAUSE I’M M CO REAL CONIN FIDENT, BUCTKI’Y FOCUSED ON M ME RIGHT NO W.”
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BABY B NEW O
“KATRINA HAPPENED ON MY BIRTHDAY. I WAS IN THE CLUB THAT NIG [BEFORE] HT WILDIN’ OUT.”
efore K atr Boy Da ina, nineteen P tention rince was gar year-old Baby n as the o Choppa pening ering citywide . Shortl act for aty there manage No L aft m ment (w ent company, er, New Orlea imit’s n B h and Ch ose clients in osshogg Enter s clu op ta Boy to pa), took inte de B.G., Juve inrest, an its impr nile d added essive li Enterta st Ba in indie la ment would la of clients. Boss by bel Extr hogg ter strik eme En before e Baby B tertainm a deal with o y knew an open ent, and it in Cent, Ju g act for plati , he was tourin num ar venile, g as tist and Pau l Wall. s like 50 While da Baby B ys seemingly b oy r his para , Katrina wou ightened for ld d Orlean e. “A lot of rap soon rain on s, p coming when they he ers from New ard Katr they w as gone ina was as he be ,” B g ated. W ins his story. “ aby Boy says, I never hen Ka trina ha evacumy birth pp d wildin’ ay. I’m in the ened, that wa s o c I go ho ut. The next th lub that night me in up, and , in the morn g I know, in w the hou e got nothing g I wake se. My b first tim ut water in canoe w eg a heard m s riding down etting in a m e went w . I went to hig y street, ya ithout li her lan d. I ght. I w food. W en e in store had to hustle t without s, you k up, bre ak now, w our natu eh r situatio al instincts on ad to put n.” for that Instinc tiv that he ely, Baby Boy co k edy dete uld not let th new is r career in him from ma tragkin write so music. He beg g a an to ngs wh il FEMA trailer, e living in a and con to perfo tin rm the spir shows to up ued li its of N ew Orle ft residen ans ts.
But as B a patientl by Boy waits y, he’s ma the pain ful reali rred by his cha ties of oti home, o c New Orlea ns n e year aft Hurric er “Everyth ane Katrina’s the way Orlean a lot of going. E up, wh crazy rig wrath ing sE ich m v it ht now , ya hea is sad. The cr eryplace else is oney down he ast, that they was, but the is getting bac . r k Throug h rd me.” im e r e a ’s b , v a e o a e c n n r n k a d ep ’t te done c h got wor rack-a-lackin’, I’m not under done nothing art, New Baby B it all, Baby Bo standin to. The oy’s hit se on th you kn y mana g wher o single “ e West Baby B ged to w e the m y got T oy Bank, w w. The crime on rate do Orlean will soon be he Way I Live eather the sto here I’m ne wen ey’s s. “Cross rm and ,” Extre releasin from, y t back put his me Ente of New g his de the Wa o u k n ra ow. It’s b O r te just I’m for rleans is whe r is a town th ut album Cross tainment was p career back re that [oth on ab at T er] side the No Limit other rappers he Water, an le to obtain a schedule. Fro and the , so now d d m in e h a the bu e’s loo New O l with Words: C it’s tim Randy e to talk ash Money pe rleans never king to shed so Universal Re zz surroundin Roper public R g talked a ople [re m about th e li g ht bout,” B present] ec at side.” aby Boy on his side of ords. . They never ta N sa e y w s. “T lk abou t the oth he East Bank pa er side, you kn rt ow. 58
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“I create artist w all of my musi h c Man.” “ o also produce from my natu Wheth d er I’m h Slip-N-Slide ral environme polish th nt, ra u hat som song I m at up and try mming in the pper Citty’s h ” adds the e people to create shower it “Coo ake, no vation. c o kie n o si a m r d m ta atter ho B.O.B er ne w corn asterpiece. I p king a shit, I It was th ducer. “ had someth . is one of tho glect, others c y u t it m so ing to p onsider se othe y It wasn unds.” life on rs. “I alw r moti’t at T.I.’s at same attitu believe every d d in me about fame o ove,” says the Club C teenage ays felt like I r mone rucial e e that got him c so I had a n n ib y is d a n . r to r sa o li I a ti e ju p ti p r c p v r st ed at a this yea e ove the a, “Clou for an e B.O.B. talen m wron felt like no on r/pror. H d9 sa n g, just to e ever man, w core. Among ,” and surpris e performed h t showcase years o ys he reached ld; it w sh in th h a is o g o e crossro ly m w im th a w m n as then a e e h ternet r d s diately im to p “rough” airy ode to tell.” music in that he ads in his life ap foru b e o u crowd d p il u le t st a d li m r a eventua profess r y k ionally s to the studio ecided to take t the wise age lly sign e multi-platin apport with B impresario T asked in the 9 h .O J Chap o u h w is f m im .B 1 h ta 2 e . p le re he w to his R a r th grad ould sta nts from inebel Ro oducer Jim Jo nd introduced e. Since th Citing e n c rt makin si k n veryon im e n w print. ho wou g music e from this inte B.O.B.’s car ences, it ld D e r Atlanti view took pla er has moved his insp was one artist r. Dre to Outk c a , ce, B.O ast to K iration t o R th r e a c e lb o sp r u ds .B to. an for Dan m rathe e ity Kan through Reb . was celebrati ed of light. Th r, that B ye West as his el Rock e’s “Sho “The fir e day ng his si .O.B. cr influw a st artist gnin e n st d d it o p pper” r s most o For now “One d emix w reparing to sh g to f ay my b I really sat dow , B .O.B. h hich he o rother sible. DMX’s n and li opes th is featu ot a video fo It st at he ca red on. there I ’s Dark and H und a $20 bill ened to was D n si t on “Clo just wa nted to ell is Hot albu on the ground MX,” he says. ud 9” a “It’s cra m. I stu s long a rap.” zy how died his and bought s posst Don’t g r e a a r li , ty just fl who ha style an et the w sn’t eve ips on y d from don’t w records, rong id n o g u e a r so a in a k duated e up.” accurate fact, he doe though. B.O from hig metimes,” say .B sn s th h schoo Words: - singin description w ’t sound like . will not be b l yet. “I e future D ou g in the ar Mauric just hop e G. Ga Photo: shower ld be Gnarles ark Man X at a king on his eI rland Julia Be . Barkley ll. verly meets E A more minem
“I ALWAY FELT LIKE SI HAD SOM THING TOEPROVE. N ONE EVERO BELIEVED IN ME.”
PATIEN TLY WAITING THE BA : PART 2Y INTRO :
ack in April we introduced you to a new era in Hip Hop based in the West Coast, a cousin to the South and its thriving scene, a movement coined “hyphy.” At the top of the list it’s E-40 and Too $hort opening the doors for the previously featured artists like Keak da Sneak, Bailey, Mistah F.A.B., Balance and San Quinn; all of whom are now currently in negotiations for major recording deals. Now we’re back with part two. It’s the same script but different names. OZONE once again takes a look at more talented artists in the Bay Area making moves on the independent front, as they patiently wait for the major record companies to help spread the hyphy movement. Bay area legend Too $hort explains the similarities between the Bay’s current hyphy movement and the South’s crunk movement:
lot of people refer to hyphy as crunk’s first cousin. They’re related; they’re similar in the sense that the music came from the neighborhoods. Hyphy was a neighborhood thing long before it was a nightclub or radio thing, long before anybody shot a video and labeled it ‘hyphy.’ It reminds me of how crunk came out of Atlanta. It’s just the same energy; it’s exactly the same energy. It comes from the youngsters. When crunk came out, they were throwin’ bows and bumping into each other. It looked like fighting. Hyphy is that same energy. It’s not the same dances or the same movements [as crunk] but it’s the same energy of the young people just releasing and letting it go into the music on the dance floor, in the streets, wherever. It’s just what they do; it’s a way of life for a lot of people. I don’t know if everybody knows this, but the majority of the people who are immersed in the hyphy movement love the shit outta crunk music and snap music and down South music. If a club is playing hyphy music all night, sooner or later they’re gonna switch over and start playing South music and go back and forth so it’s really a mixture of West coast and down South music.
I feel like everybody’s been so biased against California in the last ten years. Since Tupac passed, everybody’s like, ‘Fuck Cali.’ If it’s from the West coast, people don’t wanna hear it. But people don’t understand that hyphy is not that West coast music that you’re used to - it’s not that slow, g-funk music. I think that’s what separated crunk music from what Atlanta was doing at the time - that Southernplayalistic-pimp kinda music and the super-uptempo booty raps. That’s why crunk took over - it was something to bounce to, something to dance to, give you that adrenaline rush. That’s what hyphy is doing to the West coast sound. The Bay area has kinda taken over, even down in L.A. and other parts of the West coast, cause [hyphy] is West coast music for the dance floor. I don’t think anybody could go to the Bay for any extended period of time and not catch the buzz. I was in Atlanta when they started bouncing to crunk music. People in New York were turning down Southern artists in the mid-90s, saying that they were regional artists. When Lil Jon first went to New York to try to get a deal, the labels were saying that crunk would never leave the Southeast. Now a major label will sign any Southern artist with a decent demo. But if you’re on the West coast and selling 50,000 units and getting radio play, a major still won’t sign you just cause you’re from the West coast.” Young and business-minded, the South can undoubtedly share in the Bay Area’s “takeover” mentality. All animated in their own way, this next batch of artists are all feeding the hyphy movement. - DJ BackSide 62 62
N O I T A R E D E F E THIRFIELD, CA
PATIEN TLY WAITING THE BA : Y
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HYPHY “THIS WHEONLTE IS OUR MOVEM BY.” BA
LY T N E I T PA AITING: W E BAY TH
om/the jackam AFFILIA obfigaz T TRACK IONS: Mem b e R HAS W ECORD: Has r of C-Bo’s M o O A NEXT IN RKED WITH ppeared on o b Figaz and D ope Ga ver : To LINE: N me wit ew albu o $hort, Corm 75 projects h Keak ega, Bo m Tear The Sn TALKIN n Gas dro e Thug eak and G pping o LOUD N Harm Husula “I got a n Fonta o h n y ll the in , T h n e a /U O formati people utlawz, niversa on, I go want. T l M a c D t re and a h is givin g people ere ain’t been what it takes. long list Yo no substan of othe ce. You ‘Pac type shit u got to be se rs DIFFER asoned , just sh can list o ENT SW en to on it u t th in e y th “A lot o fo ese stre e of my AGS f e albums rce you to list ferent in the reason is en too. ts. You got to and tell b e k My wh th c .” a u e se Bay is b w like 50 ole thin now what e so eca difc g rep one ities out here. use it’s W b our hoo ay, but we all e d r their ow s. Everybody ep got n sw a gger, w you see he so Oaklan meone from n d you k now, yo someon u e know, sa from ‘Frisco y see o m e w it people h Richm u ar own th e proud to ha ond, v in bite, bu g. A lot of peo e their t p That’s h the majority d le do o o their ow w a lot of peo n’t. p can do n labels out he le got w r to do an hat the hell y e. You ou d your tim it allows you want to e and h one you take r craft.” NEW F A “With T NS e nationa ar Gas being m ll to prese y distributed y first alb n the new t what I got n um I want o I’ll let th fans get into th w and let e m fi gure th e catalog. own. I’ at o m the thin just trying to ut on their g g beats I’ s that I know ive them me, ve n have, it picked and th ow. With the ’s e it don’t in line to be a producers I sell hell c a record lassic even if s.” MESSA G “It’s tou E MUSIC g other g h for me just lik hetto, so bottom metime e in any ever . y s age so I I became a Mu you hit rock sl tr I don’t y to put it in im at a young tr m won’t a y to feed a bab y rhymes. Bu lways g t y a stea et Graspin k g and c what I really . People hangin hard. I’ want to gy m myself.” trying to cha our ways is k say. nge for in the bett da er BAY W A “Out he Y OF LIVING r shit cha e, things switc n h here in ges constantly up on you re al th you auth e streets. Tha so you got to b fast, t’s how e out e n ti c . Yo times. A n ll the h u got to keep iggas know the stre yphy sh u e it, that p with the a way o t, that wasn’t started shit started in f life th by at to know that yo comes from th a rapper, that’ u got to s e be in th street. In ord Words: er e street. Mauric ” e G. Ga rland
“IT’S LIKE 50 C IES OUT HERE. WE RIT E P BAY, BUT WE ONE LL REP OUR HOOA DS.”
PATIEN TLY WAITING THE BA : Y
K C A P E THY AREA, CA
rackd, like c ll it Base c. a c e w yles, e musi . Once iverse st one typ e very d make in the z that’s on them pop. Just v a h e Uno: W cocaine. We ive us as pop ent but it ain’t p. We Stunna Young r o n ce , Lil B, heads o ple wanna per ’ll see it’s diffe mean we’re p peal to L g n u o Y o , e o o p y n If m u body doesn’t be able to ap ou U : u il t B r lb L s) a o : r h S e e rd ER o$ uld r th ny g no MEMB ERED BY: To kateboa you hea e ain’t killin it up. You sho it, that’s whe e iasco (S V cause w people living n’t fuck with rson likes it. DISCO p All Nite/Jiv ell and Lupe F e b :U rr ng y ca f pe t. But I LABEL RED TO: Pha just you y, if everybod ly one kind o op, it’s just ho y you’re in A d n . I was ort. I r p o o 4 o b ’t g ’8 y se in r te e u a e a c a COMP ev one c ll bec as $h ily sin ans” it ’t do we u listen to “V to more than my fam called me, it w rk with n f T o o d C d E n g N o N frie wo er ealin : If y THE CO $hort been a ea code numb he wanted to Grandma Stunna en you’re app ar oo y ess wh pop. Uno: T to and a 702 3 years. He said So I asked m he knew u g l. if We got en r ed Sacram en him in 2 o as him for rea said ask him when he -titled. onsider lf c se ’s e it We got w ff se xt year, istah F.A.B.. nted hadn’t idn’t think it lly him and sh me of our stu udes was e n g M in d d so ea wa dM opp LBU s. He us but I uld tell if its r said he heard find out, those THE A t an album dr k Da Sneak an on it too. We im drug o We go tists like Kea r cool people e about. how I c and he did. He iends. Come to was offering h had to tell : L I , y tw 9 years othe ea ar my dad g with some fr as me and the ith your son?” . Bay Ar eze and some w people wha ng males 17-1 We in w w gh s. o e u g u u r o n o sh t B y o u d r f th y o n o d w was rid act like they n b a Jo e diary like it out us nce the know a What’s to be ab pect to hear th st letting you you’re gonna trying to y dad asking, “ it’s been on si it k t x ju u E m ic e : B h d a ! c w e e n , m call ing a fat Stun f the t wasn’t you’re ’re party e part o him tha old. We h everybody. If an say w sic, our style is c u o y c I guess o hyphy mu can tou UND gs, but d THE SO ve hyphy son we don’t just too. a Garland L: We h ement because rice G. u a v o M m s: Bay Word . Hastings t. D differen Photo:
“WHEN [TOO $HORT CALLE AND SA HE WANTED TOD] WORK WITID H US, I DIDN’T T IT WAS HIM FOR REAL.”HINK
LY T N E I T PA AITING: W E BAY TH
aboymu ANCI sic.c S
om ww w.there INFLU alblack ENCES wallstre :S FAMIL et.com Y MAT an Quinn, Ca $h Mon TERS: y ANON YMOU e o y u n R g e e c r o S HAN rds, Jad cousin FORTH DL of ak C ‘em gett OMING ALB E: Tha Truth San Quinn an iss, 2pac, E-4 0 UM: H d Bailey in’ at m olla At SIDE H e. My u Ya U n CONTA STLE: ghostw cle from Blac Boy (release d k Wall rit CT: yab Street g ate TBD) “I’m oymusi ing for Kevin ave me ju c.com, F e d e r lin a millio st in artist de therealb THE CIT n dollar v lackwa e s just to elopment righ llstreet. “The Bla Y (SAN FRAN t com chill an C d develo now. These la (in the ck Wall Street ISCO) bels, all B p.” w so he fl ay). Game said as hearin’ ab of ew me out me h e w a o nted to all in th arm aro ut here be e u a moved nd me. Then nd just put his up around m streets out the th m e, re the bea e to Malibu o ey ch!” n THE BIG “Niggas PICTURE b I feel li e hatin’, but ke hate, th if niggas gon ’ e me. I fe y just ain’t wit el like e h is with it me or n her niggas ot. Most the loy al They k fans is with m of now. T hey see e. another th get on. outlet for the is as Bay to The wh ole thin I still go g t I still li a house in th is, e ve in th e Bay. B Bay. here, th ut out is is wh at. I’m e just out re the work is h ing. Th ere netw is orkproduc is where the m ers and all the a ajor at. This rti is wher at: LA. e the in sts is I’ d now. I m out here wo ustry is ain’t left rk the Bay in’ right .” LYRIC A “As far LLY INCLINE a D I’m wit s the hyphy m h o where it, but out in vement, I’m from Filmore ain’t re ally too we serious. W hyphy. e The wa y B Quinn me and my co ut I’m widit. rap, we usin Sa n more se feel like r right no I got the best ious widit. I flo w industr . I’m turnin’ w out there y all ing resp right now. I fe heads in the ected fo e r my flo l like I’m bew.” YOUNG “I been PIMPIN’ a My dad round the shit d m a pimp. y was a pimp. y whole life . Q S no pim o I been arou uinn Daddy w n p player. though. I’m m d it. I’m not re as B a o I’m wil ut now, any b re of a mack, lly ling.” a itch tha t’s read y, THE IN D “You ca EPENDENT F n want th always go ind ACTOR at majo e r. I wan pendent, but way yo u y t you ain don’t want th that major. Th ou a ’t e major. got what it ta t major spotlig only I k h go back can sell a milli es. I feel like I t is if o c to bein g indep n records. I ca an sell endent. n alway ” - N. Ali s Early
GOT “I FEEL LIKEFLI OW THE BEST ERE OUT TH W.” RIGHT NO
PATIEN TLY WAITING THE BA : Y
DEM DSTARZ, CA OALO ALTO HO ST P odst /demho EwwA ce.com a sp y w.m
On” Scoot you’re n Man d Aid & “Get Ya Grow od. Whether ery n a B : S o R : v h e E T y B E r in E e M r v R sta ST ME in e a hood od star IN THE HEAT ME: “It’s a ho acher, there’s te A THE N ball player or r, to c o d a up ad a gro hood.” Wwe h 9 9 s. 9 0 1 9 ly in ear en streets to the p nce the ORY THE ST een rapping si nd-Aid] went 2002 and the e only a b in th e “We’v ver Legal. I [B I came back ause he was e d we t. ec called N e group was ou with Scoop b Rap Alone’ an ped p e e o v p th r a d ta e n e e L ix w m wh n’t it. Then did ‘Ca . I did a was bad ing. Then we the radio with rk one wo m the block to .” o went fr Reality album ut od o H e outh, b th to the S may stand n e st li e We S g else. W music. TASTE e hood. PICKY is on its own ning to nothin t we bring th u y r e a b u st “The B n we ain’t li n the hyphy, steners like o sten a li li o th u is m o r a e y y e a r n th B e st o use the eam but main d hyphy. Wh ut people go a c e b t b ou oo str is the h t hyphy ’t main We ain hat we bring ’t talking abou W in . a c musi n,’ we wn Ma to ‘Gro
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S ’ C A TAUSTPINTERVIEW L
kennedy keith by words by j lash photo
uring the course of history, there are few characters that can galvanize as much as polarize a population. Tupac Shakur was one of the few bright stars that fell to Earth too soon. But, the legacy he left spans the globe and forever touches the consciousness of those who dwell upon it. As we celebrate the 10 year mark of his passing we look beyond his record sales, movie credits, and enjoy his spirit once more as we live through his words once more. The following is an interview with the legend using quotes from verses in his music to channel his energy once more. If you have a Tupac story you’d like to share or explain how he has touched your life, please email Feedback@ProphetPages.com. Who were some of your influences as you grew up? Machiavelli was my tutor. Donald Goines, my father figure. Moms sent me to go play with the drug dealers. Some would feel drug dealers aren’t exactly the best role model for a child growing up. They say I’m wrong and I’m heartless, but all along I was lookin’ for a father; he was gone. I hung around with the thugs, and even though they sold drugs they showed a young brother love. I moved out and started really hangin’. I needed money of my own so I started slangin. I ain’t guilty cause, even though I sell rocks it feels good puttin money in [the] mailbox. Coming up did you have any favorite music you used to listen to? Aiyyo, I remember Marvin Gaye, used to sing to me. He had me feelin’ like black was the thing to be. And suddenly the ghetto didn’t seem so tough. And though we had it rough, we always had enough. And mama made miracles every Thanksgiving. Did you have a crew that you ran with as a shorty? I started young kickin’ dust and livin’ rough. Watch you mouth around my homie you couldn’t cuss man. I had a down ass homie though; we ran the streets and on the scene at the age of fourteen, huh. I packed a nine and my nigga packed a forty-five. We drinkin forties, lil’ shorties livin naughty lives. You couldn’t stop us, long as I got my glock, fuck the coppers; hangin’ on the block, slangin’ rocks and makin’ profits. I couldn’t fuck with the school life, I was a fool; I’ll play that muthafucker for a tool, man. Man, you had a pistol at 14? The scene must have been serious on your block! Shit is scary, how black on black crime legendary but at times necessary. I’m gettin’ worried teardrops and closed caskets, the three strikes law is drastic and certain death for us ghetto bastards. I wonder if the Lord still cares for us niggas on welfare. And who cares if we survive, the only time they notice a nigga is when he clutchin’ on a four-five. My neighborhood ain’t the same cause all these little babies goin’ crazy and they sufferin’ in the game. And I swear it’s like a trap but I ain’t given up on the hood it’s all good when I go back. Hoes show me love, niggas give me props forever hot cause it don’t stop on my block. For a time it seemed as if the police couldn’t get enough of you and were constantly trying to see you in chains. Why do you think that was? I won’t deny it, I’m a straight rider you don’t wanna fuck with me. Got the police bustin’ at me but they can’t do nothin’ to a G. And these bitches they still continue to pursue me. A couple of movies now the whole world tryin’ to screw me. Even the cops tried to sue me. That’s crazy. The cops tried to sue you? Do you think that is because you’ve proven they can’t control a high profile artist such as yourself? So many battlefield scars while driven in plush cars this life as a rap star is nothin’ without heart. Was born rough and rugged, addressin’ the mad public my attitude was, “Fuck it,” cause muthafuckers love it. To be a soldier, must maintain composure at ease though life is complicated, only what you make it to be. And what do you want your life to be made out to be? When I die, I wanna be a livin’ legend, say my name affiliated with this muthafuckin’ game, with no more pain Speaking of death, it seems you mention it often in your rhymes. Most people wouldn’t wish to tempt fate, why do you? I’m suicidal, so don’t stand near me. My every move is a calculated step, to bring me closer to embrace an early death. And fuck the world cause I’m cursed, I’m havin’ visions of leavin’ here in a hearse. And they say it’s the white man I should fear but, it’s my own kind doin’ all the killin’ here. See this Tanqueray influenced me to getting’ crazy disillusioned lately, I’ve been really wantin’ babies so I could see a part of me that
wasn’t always shady. That’s deep, but ‘Pac, you gotta understand there there’s a whole legion of people that love you and your music. Did you start to feel this way after the first assassination attempt at Quad Studios? [They] blast me but they didn’t finish, didn’t diminish my powers so now I’m back to be a muthafuckin’ menace, they cowards - that’s why they tried to set me up. Had bitch-ass niggas on my team, so indeed, they wet me up. But I’m back reincarnated, incarcerated at the time I contemplate the way that God made it. Lace ‘em with lyrics that’s legendary, musical mercenary. Just remind ya, my history’ll prove I been it. Revenge on them niggas that played me, and all the cowards that was down with it. They wonder how I live with five shots, niggas is hard to kill, on my block. I got shot up, I surprised the niggas the way I got up and then I hit the studio. You mention that you seek revenge. What is the joy in revenge for you? I ain’t a killer but don’t push me. Revenge is like the sweetest joy next to gettin’ pussy. Speaking of pussy, isn’t that how you ended up catching a case? Your true fans were on your side, but for the record how did your conversation go with her that fateful night? You don’t know me, you just met me, you won’t let me!? Well if I couldn’t have it (silly rabbit) why you sweating me? It’s a lot of real G’s doing time cause a groupie bit the truth and told a lie. You picked the wrong guy baby if you’re too fly you need to hit the door, search for a new guy. In fact, you weren’t the only one in the room that night, but you were the only one charged. Why do you think that was? I heard he was light skinned, stocky with a Haitian accent, jewelry, fast cars and he’s known for flashing; listen while I take you back and lace this rap, a real live tale about a snitch named Haitian Jack. Knew he was workin’ for the Feds, same crime, different trials nigga, picture what he said. Snitching is a cardinal sin among those that live the street code. How do you feel about snitching? It’s a fool’s fate, without your word you’re a shell of a man. I lost respect for you nigga we can never be friends. I know I’m runnin’ through your head now what could you do? If it was up to you I’d be dead now, I let the world know nigga you a coward you could never be live until you die I see the muthafuckin’ bitch in your eye. The media had a good time with you being found guilty on the charge. Any words for them? Wanna laugh about how I got my ass caught up with this bad bitch? Thinking I had her but she had me in the long run. It’s just my luck I’m stuck fuckin’ with the wrong one. Media is in my business and they actin’ like they know me. Recollect your thoughts don’t get caught up in the mix cause the media is full of dirty tricks. Only God can judge me! Do you have any ill will toward the woman? I shoulda saw the signs I was blinded criminal minds of a young black brothe doin’ time. So many brothas framed in this dirty game. It’s a shame so much pressure on my brain why she blame me? Secrets in the dark only her and I know, now I’m sittin’ in the state pen doin’ time slow. Guess she made a bad decision that got me livin’ just like an animal. I’m caged up in state prison, my niggas dissin’ cause hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Did prison change you? Prison ain’t changed me nigga, it made me worse. Once you go to jail, you know who your true friends are. Did you get a chance to figure out your friends and your enemies? Now, on this ride there’s gonna be some real muthafuckas and there’s gonna be some pussies. Now, the real niggas gonna be the ones with money and bitches. The pussies are gonna be the niggas on the floor bleedin’. Now everybody keep your eyes on the prize cause the ride get tricky. See you got some niggas on your side that say they’re your friends but in real life they your enemies. And then you got some muthafuckas that say they your enemies but in real life they eyes is on your money. See the enemies will say they true but in real life those niggas will be the snitches. Its a dirty game y’all. Y’all got to be careful about who you fuck with and who you don’t fuck with, cause the shit get wild, y’all. Keep your mind on your riches, baby. Keep your mind on your riches.
What was the feeling when you were finally freed and hit Cali sand? Out on bail fresh outta jail, California dreamin’. Soon as I stepped on the scene, I’m hearin’ hoochies screamin’. Fiendin’ for money and alcohol the life of a Westside playa where cowards die and its all ball. Let me serenade the streets of L.A. from Oakland to Sacktown the Bay Area and back down Cali is where they put they mack down. Give me love! The powers that be have a way of killing off its prophets who bring promise to the downtrodden. Did you fear the same fate? Probably be murdered for the shit that I said. I bring the real, be a legend, breathin’ or dead. My only fear of death is reincarnation, [I’ve got the] heart of a solider with the brains to teach a whole nation. How would you describe people’s receptiveness to your message? My lyrics motivate the planet. It’s similar to Rhythm Nation but thugged out, forgive me Janet. Who’s in control? I’m activating yo souls. Still I’m just a simple man all I want is money, fuck the fame. Now that you’re on the other side, is there a heaven for a G? How many brothas fell victim to the streets? Rest in peace young nigga, there’s a Heaven for a ‘G.’ Be a lie, if I told ya that I never thought of death. My niggas, we the last ones left. There’s a ghetto up in heaven and it’s ours, black power! Why do you think the streets show you so much love? Nobody loves me I’m a thug nigga. I only hang out with the criminals and the drug dealers. I love niggas cause we coming from the same place. One of the beefs by critics of hip-hop is that they feel the music is misogynistic where women are called bitches and hoes indiscriminately. Why do rappers call women bitches in hip-hop music? You leave your kids with your mama cause your headin’ for the club in a skin tight miniskirt lookin’ for some love. Got them legs wide open while you’re sittin’ at the bar talkin’ to some nigga ‘bout his car. I guess he said he had a Lexus, what’s next? You headin’ to his car for some sex. I pass by can’t hold back tears inside cause, Lord knows for years I tried. And all the other people on my block hate your guts then you wonder why they stare and call you slut. It’s like your mind don’t understand you don’t have to kill your dreams plotting schemes on a man. Keep your head up, legs closed, eyes open. Either a nigga wear a rubber or he die smokin’. I’m hearin’ rumors so you need to switch and niggas wouldn’t call you bitch, I betcha. Dear Ms. Deloris Tucker keep stressin’ me fuckin’ with a muthafucker’s mind. I figured you wanted to know why we call them hoes “bitches,” and maybe this might help you understand it ain’t personal; strictly business baby, strictly business. Speaking of Ms. Tucker, she was on a personal crusade to combat you and your music. What do you have to say to your detractors? Deloris Tucker, you’s a muthafucker. Instead of tryin’ to help a nigga you destroy a brother worse than the others. Bill Clinton, Mr. Bob Dole, you’re too old to understand the way the game is told. You’re lame.
for more. Cause ain’t nothin’ worse than when your son wants to know why his daddy don’t love him no mo’. You can’t complain you was dealt this hell of a hand without a man, feelin’ helpless. Because there’s too many things for you to deal with dying inside, but outside you’re looking fearless. While tears, is rollin’ down your cheeks, ya steady hopin’ things don’t fall down this week cause if it did, you couldn’t take it, and don’t blame me I was given this world I didn’t make it. And now my son’s getting older and older and cold from havin’ the world on his shoulders and it’s crazy, it seems it’ll never let up, but please, you got to keep your head up. What is Thug Passion? Aight, new drink; one part Alize one part Cristal – Thug’s Passion, baby, y’all know what time it is. This drink is guaranteed to get the pussy wet and the dick hard. Now if ya with me pour a glass and drink with a nigga know what I mean? I ain’t trying to turn you all niggas into alcohols. Alcoholics, haha. I’m just trying to turn you into muthafuckin’ thugs. So come and get some of this Thug Passion. Once a chick is on that Thug Passion, what’s the best way for her to keep a thug? Now peep, it here go the secret on how to keep a playa: Some love makin’ and home-cookin’ I’ll see ya later. It don’t take a lot to keep a nigga heart, must be a lady in the light but real freaky in the dark. How do you think you’ve progressed as a man moving up in the music world? Hopin’ God hear me, I entered the game; look how much I changed. I’m no longer innocent - casualties of fame. Made a lot of money, seen a lot of places. And I swear I seen a peaceful smile on my mama’s face when I gave her the keys to her own house, this your land your only son done became a man. Watchin’ time fly; I love my people do or die, but I wonder why we scared to let each other fly. When you passed, your fans filled gutters of the hood worldwide with their tears. Any words to ease their pain? Sellin’ my soul for material wishes, fast cars and bitches; wishin’ I live my life a legend, immortalized in pictures. Why shed tears? Save your sympathy. My childhood years were spent buryin’ my peers in the cemetery. Here’s a message to the newborns, waitin’ to breathe: If you believe then you can achieve, just look at me. Against all odds, though life is hard we carry on. Do you have a message for your fans that miss you? There’s no way I can pay you back, but the plan is to show you that I understand you are appreciated. Just because you live in the ghetto doesn’t mean you can’t grow.
Your music and actions have been blamed for an increase in crime in urban communities. How do you feel about that? Last year was a hard one, but life goes on. Hold my head against the wall learnin’ right from wrong. They say my ghetto instrumental, detrimental to kids as if they can’t see the misery in which they live. Blame me, for the outcome, ban my records - check it: Don’t have to bump this, but please respect it. I took a minus and now the hard times are behind us turned into a plus, now they stuck livin’ blinded. Niggas been dyin’ for years, so how could they blame us?
Your mother has continued your legacy by spreading peace and creating a center to cultivate arts for urban kids in your name. Pour out some liquor and I reminisce, cause through the drama I can always depend on my mama. And when it seems that I’m hopeless you say the words that can get me back in focus. When I was sick as a little kid, to keep me happy there’s no limit to the things you did, and all my childhood memories are full of all the sweet things you did for me. And even though I act crazy, I gotta thank the Lord that you made me. There are no words that can express how I feel. You never kept a secret, always stayed real and I appreciate how you raised me and all the extra love that you gave me. I wish I could take the pain away. If you can make it through the night there’s a brighter day. Everything will be alright if ya hold on it’s a struggle every day, gotta roll on.
How do you feel about Bush having a war of choice thousands of miles away that costs $1.2 trillion over 10 years, but there wasn’t a serious effort to save the victims of Katrina here in this country? The only time they notice a nigga is when he’s clutching on the 4-5. [Plus, when] it seems the rain’ll never let up I try to keep my head up, and still keep from getting’ wet up. You know it’s funny, when it rains it pours, they got money for wars, but can’t feed the poor. Say there ain’t no hope for the youth and the truth is it ain’t no hope for the future. And then they wonder why we crazy. We ain’t meant to survive, cause it’s a setup and even though you’re fed up, ya got to keep your head up.
When you passed, there was a hurried service and you were cremated. Now you mother plans to take your ashes to Soweto, South Africa to honor the fight against apartheid. If it were up to you, how would have liked your ceremony to have gone? Bury me smilin’ with G’s in my pocket, have a party at my funeral let every rapper rock it. Let the hoes that I used to know from way before kiss me from my head to my toe. Give me a paper and a pen so I can write about my life of sin, a couple bottles of Gin in case I don’t get in. Tell all my people I’m a ridah! Nobody cries when we die; we outlaws, let me ride. Life goes on.
Bill Cosby has made numerous speeches lately on the bastardization of Black kids in the hood. What are your comments? To all the ladies havin’ babies on they own, I know it’s kinda rough and you’re feelin’ all alone. Daddy’s long gone and he left you by ya lonesome thank the Lord for kids, even if nobody else want ‘em. Cause I think we can make it, in fact, I’m sure. And if you fall, stand tall and come back
Is there anything you’d like to tell the readers before you leave? There’s gon’ be some stuff you gon’ see that’s gon’ make it hard to smile in the future. But through whatever you see, through all the rain and the pain, you gotta keep your sense of humor. You gotta be able to smile through all this bullshit. Remember that. Any time y’all wanna see me again rewind this track right here, close your eyes and picture me rollin’.
Y BEVERLRA A I L U J R S: WORD S: RAY TAMA PHOTO 74
Well, this is the first time I’ve done an interview in a bank. Having been in the game a long time, what’s your advice to new rappers in terms of how to handle their money? You gotta set aside some of your money for blowin’ it. Everybody wants to get rich and famous and blow it, and it never fails. I’ve seen the smartest of the smartest people – including myself – blow the first money they got. You’ve been waiting forever to go to the clubs and pop the bottles. You’ve been waiting forever to get the $100,000 chain. You’ve been waiting forever to get the Bentley. I think what’s helped me survive is just always remaining humble, thinking about a rainy day in the future. When you first got a lot of money, you blew it? Definitely. I was surrounded by a lot of people that had a lot of money before I became a successful rapper, so the money didn’t really impress me like that when I started selling records. I had seen money come and go, so I’ve always tried to be cautious. But I too have been guilty. When I got my first million dollar check, I bought like ten dudes $50,000 Escalades. We kept comin’ out here to Miami and renting mansions and poppin’ bottles, and it’s the movie you see over and over recycled. So one day I went to the bank and tried to withdraw like $50,000 and they told me I didn’t have that much money in my account. The lady was like, “There must be a mistake here,” and I started sweatin’ bullets. I started catching this anxiety and I was like, “Oh, my God.” Ever since you’re a little kid you have a dream of having a million dollars. Once you get a million dollars, you think it’s like water and it won’t stop coming out the faucet. And before you know it, that million dollars is gone. And in our tax bracket, it’s really like half a million, cause when you make a million half of that goes to the government. And then you keep the other half. All the way home [from the bank] I prayed big time. God gave me some more hits, and I knew never to make those mistakes again. I play and I ball but I do it carefully. Well, speaking of coming with more hits, some people have criticized your new singles saying that they sound Southern, but you’re from the Bronx. I’m not tryin’ to sound Southern, but you know, I’ve been in Miami for ten years. 90% of the new album is that boom-bap, New York Terror Squad Diggin’ In The Crates sound. I like to make music that’s relevant. If the DJs in the club are playin’ four hours of music that makes you nod your head like this, you can’t make the world stop and rock to some slow swag or whatever it may be. I try to do my New York rap, my Bronx Terror Squad rap, but to a beat that’ll be consistent with what’s being played in the clubs and on the radio. It’s something I’ve been criticized for, being from the Bronx and being an underground hip-hop head, since day one. Every time I change and stay current, they get mad at me. My biggest hits were “What’s Luv” [with Ashanti] and “Get It Poppin’” with Nelly. They say they don’t wanna see Joe with Nelly, but they don’t get mad when they see Jermaine Dupri with Nelly. People don’t realize that Fat Joe, for some reason, is under a huge microscope. When you read the [message boards on the] internet, the records they want me to put out is the records that won’t get no spins. They wanna hear songs like “Fuck Your Mother” by Fat Joe, know what I’m sayin’? But dawg, I can’t really get no spins like that. Do you think New York in general is just frustrated right now with the climate of the music game? I mean, we all just gotta make music, you know? The hit records. I hear little whispers. They are frustrated. What do you think about the Papooses, the Saigons, the Tru-Lifes? Do you think there’s a wave of New York rappers that are gonna make noise? You’re asking the wrong guy that question. At the end of the day it’s all about the music. I don’t care if you’re from the South, the North, or the West, if you make a hit record, it’s a hit record. If it’s something people feel and can emotionally vibe to, then it’s a hit. A lot of young cats spit lyrics, but they gotta be able to make hit records and come up with hit choruses and hit hooks. I don’t get mad because the South is winning right now, because it’s just another black brother or Latino brother winning anyway. That’s what I’ve always been about. Winnin’ is love. I have fun, you know? In New York they criticize the South, but when we’re in the club we’re the first ones to nod our heads to “Every day I’m hustlin’,” and we’re like, “Oh shit, that’s that shit.” So I don’t see no boundaries with music. At the end of the day we got in this game to make music for everybody, so we should appreciate everybody’s music. So you’re not signed to Atlantic Records? Nah, I wanted to go independent. I saw what [artists like] Mike Jones and Paul Wall were doing. I’d been with Atlantic for ten years. I was getting great advances, but I was really just an artist. At the end of the day I was
only getting 80 cents or maybe $1 per record. I was talking to [an indie artist] and they get like $7 a record and they own their own masters. So I stepped to Atlantic and said, “Yo, I think I can do this. I wanna go independent.” It works out very well for me financially. I got relationships. I can put together the right team to market and promote because I pretty much get my own shit done anyway. And it’s affordable for me. If you’re with a major and you don’t go platinum, they’re mad at you. But if you go gold independently at $7 a record, you’re paid. So I felt like that was the right thing for me to do. Why not try to negotiate with them for more money per record? If you have an employee that you’re givin’ 80 cents a record and he steps to you and tells you he wants $7 a record and the masters, you’re like, Nah. I don’t see that happening. When they finally gave me an offer, they still wanted half of my masters. Koch Records was offering me a better deal [than Atlantic]. And we loved what Koch Records did with Khaled’s record [Listennn] so I was really gonna go to Koch. But EMI created this company called Imperial Distribution – that’s EMI’s answer to Koch and Fontana – and they offered me a deal that was too good to be true. I put up my money and they give me a nice distribution deal, and at the same time, I have the backings of Virgin so when I go for radio adds I can get their radio staff involved. I also have my own radio staff, my own video staff, my own publicists. We are really, really independent, but they’ll help us push the buttons, and I get to keep my masters, my ringtones, everything. I get $7 a record. Do you think this is where the game is headed – will we see more major label artists leaving to go independent? This is definitely where the game is headed. And the smart people like the Cash Moneys and the No Limits are getting rich forever. But us in New York – and me, myself – are guilty of [the mentality] where they give me a million dollars and I don’t care. Give me a million dollars and pay for me and my crew to fly wherever and I’m good. But at the end of the day, boy, I wish I owned the masters to “What’s Luv.” Boy I wish I owned the masters to “Lean Back.” I don’t own no masters. So with this project right here, there’s a lot of passion involved. Everybody wants to see [this project] win. These are the things that make good stories, you know, so I’m excited. We haven’t been seeing you lately with Tony Sunshine, Remy Ma, and the other Terror Squad members, and I know you had some friction with Remy not too long ago. What’s going on with the rest of the camp? We’re all good. Tony’s almost finished with his album. Tony is so talented; he’s a superstar. Record labels sleep on him because he is a Latino doing black music. We just recently signed a new deal with him on Terror Squad/UBO. We just brought him down here [to Miami] to work with Scott [Storch]. His album is like 80% done. Remy is about to go back in the studio. Me and Remy argue all the time behind the scenes, and it just so happened that she argued publicly. But it’s all love. She hits me every day. We’re family. She’s signed to Terror Squad. She’s about to work on her next album. I just think she was misinformed. Remy’s definitely the best female artist out there and her album was incredible, so she should’ve sold two or three million records. Because of her and her project, I haven’t spoken to Steve Rifkind in maybe a year now. I can’t really do business with Universal no more because I’m passionate about my artists and my family. I had to tell the chairman of Universal to suck my dick, cause it was just too much of me fightin’ for her. I know how to set up records; I know when a record label is behind the artist. They wasn’t and they kept lying to me. What exactly did you feel the label did wrong with Remy’s album? They didn’t spend the money. In order to promote, you have to spend the money. In order to make records pop at radio, you have to spend $100,000 on Urban, $125,000 on Rhythmic, $100,000 on Pop. Like that Ne-Yo record – that could’ve been the #1 record in the country. [Remy’s single] “Conceited” could’ve been the #1 record in the country. They never spent the money it took. Basically they threw her album out there [off the Terror Squad name] and Remy fans had to go find it. Did you feel that it was the same situation with the Terror Squad album? Exactly the same situation. The problem was, that “Lean Back” record was just too big. I sat in on meetings [at Universal] where the radio dudes would say, “We spent no money on this.” And I’m like, damn. “Lean Back” was a freak of nature. It was the biggest, greatest accident in the world. It was just so big that people supported it, and it blew up. So it was the same thing with the Terror Squad album. We didn’t have no funds to go on promo tour. It was a lot of the same shit. But at least that album was successful – it sold 600,000 records. The single “Lean Back” went platinum. Everybody was talkin’ about, “Ooohh, it didn’t sell,” but 75
to me it did great as a group album. So then Remy went on the radio and blamed me for everything I been arguing with these [executives at Universal] about. You know, I had to take it on the chin. You wanna know why? Cause your readers don’t know [the chairman of Universal] Mel Lewinter. Your readers don’t know Steve Rifkind. They know the Puerto Rican guy Fat Joe, or the black guy P Diddy. But you and Steve Rifkind go way back, don’t you? Way, way back. You know, I had a lot of respect for him. His hands are cuffed. I believe that he always had my back. I felt like he kept goin’ up there just like me, cause there is always a boss. Diddy’s really not the boss, Fat Joe really is not the boss. We all have to knock on the door. We’re all middlemen. We’re negotiators. We knock on the door and be like, “Yo, I need this,” and it’s up to the boss to shut you down. So I think Steve Rifkind just got shut down every time he went up there. And it’s hard for a female artist right now anyway. With female artists, if you ain’t Beyonce, it’s hard to sell a record now. Lil Kim, Shawnna, all these girls are very talented and made hit records, but for some reason we’re in a zone where girls are not really sellin’ like that. I tried to tell Remy, “Yo, everybody knows you’re dope, this is a stepping stone.” I didn’t just wake up and sell a million records. She threw me under the bus, but other than that, we’re beautiful. What’s the name of your new independent album? Me Myself and I. Very appropriate. Super appropriate. I’m like one of those Spanish conquistadors with the spear in my hand. I’ll fight the world. I’ll throw rocks at tanks. It seems like you kinda trimmed down your entourage a lil bit. I wouldn’t say that, cause the goons are always around. But if I get in trouble, I want to get myself in trouble. I don’t want a nigga fuckin’ my life up because he thinks he’s doing the right thing for me. “Damn, Julia, you didn’t want me to kill that guy in front of the SunTrust right now cause he was fuckin’ with you? I thought I was keepin’ it real!” (laughing) Naw, I can’t deal with that. The niggas that are with me are very focused. They know if it’s time to get busy, it’s time to get busy. Otherwise, let’s just entertain people. Let’s talk about 50 Cent – the beef between you two seems like it’s kinda died out. Do you think it was a publicity stunt? It was definitely a publicity stunt, but you can’t use me for a publicity stunt. Somebody’s going to have to answer at the end of the day. We got beef forever. Do you just try to avoid each other? I don’t know if we try to avoid each other. It just is what it is. I never see myself squashing the beef with him. I don’t really squash beef with nobody, it just rides out. We can be old men when we see each other and it is what it is, you know? It’s just like that. He had ample time to squash it before it even happened So the beef really came from you appearing on Ja Rule’s “New York New York” record or was that just a cover for other motivations? I really don’t think it was just the “New York New York” record. Some people, no matter how big they get and how much money they have, they’re just jealous people. When they see niggas get successful they try to shut them down. I don’t want to keep singing the same ol’ song and dragging it out. You, yourself, you’ve never seen 50 Cent without the fuckin’ niggas with earpieces, with suits on, with fuckin’ black shades on, right? The police. Mountains of ‘em. I guess he’s thinking: I never come out, and every time I do come out, I got 20 cops with me, so this nigga [Fat Joe] can’t get to me. It’s not like I’m going to run into him at the Carolmart, you know? And it’s sad because the only places that we see each other are places where it’s uncalled for, like the [MTV] VMAs. Cause that’s the only places they go. They never come out of the house. It’s a tricky situation cause [if something pops off] they’re going to blame Fat Joe. I went to the BET Awards with Khaled and it was just me, Khaled, and Macho. I had no clue that Busta Rhymes had brought Lloyd Banks, Eminem, and all of them. They got 150 niggas with them and they only gave me 3 tickets. Security is following me around like I’m a murderer, a madman on the loose, and I didn’t realize what was going on until a little birdie came and told me that them [G-Unit] niggas was over there. I had been standing in front of them the whole time and didn’t even know it was them. They was really tryin’ to act like they ain’t seen me, to be honest with you. The security of the BET Awards is fuckin’ following me, and I’m like, “Yo, these niggas got 150 niggas with them.” Are you serious? I’m three deep. It’s just amazing, man. 76
Do you respect 50 as a businessman in terms of what he’s done for hiphop by making money through other ventures, like the vitamin water and the shoes and all that? I don’t see what that nigga has done. I don’t see that nigga at all. It’s that simple. When does your album come out? November 14th. The second single is me and Game, it’s called “Breathe and Stop.” We’re gonna shoot that video in Jamaica – Nu Jersey Devil produced that. I got Lil Wayne on two joints on the album. I can’t wait til the fans get the album so they can hear the music and love it and appreciate it, cause I put my heart into this album. It was so many fans like, “Yo, this nigga Joe got too much hits for the girls,” you know, they want that crack music, that fat gangsta. So I gave them an album that’s straight cooked coke. Let’s see what the fans wanna do with it. I make music because I love to make music, but in 2006 it’s turned into a world where it’s all about the gossip and who got beef. When I came into the game all I ever wanted to do was make great music and have people respect me for being an artist. The name of the album is Me, Myself, and I because I just locked myself in the room to make some great music, music that I love. It’s a real hardcore album, the original Fat Joe. I know you did some records with The Runners, of course Cool & Dre, and DJ Khaled – are there any other producers you worked with? I did like three joints with Street Runner, and three joints with LV, who’s actually my DJ. He produced a lot of work on Puffy’s new album. Him and Street Runner are the future. I did two songs with Scott Storch. I worked with The Runners. Khaled’s got two mean songs on the album. Whoever brought me great music that was in the vibe of the album, I worked with them. The regular listener isn’t worried about who produced it, they just hear it and they like it or don’t like it.
“[When] you’re a little kid you have a dream of having a million dollars. once you get a million dollars, you think it’s like water and it won’t stop coming out the faucet. before you know it, that million dollars is gone.”
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irst off, most people know you as the producers of Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” beat. How did that song come about? Mayne: We had the beat and just put the hook on top of the beat. We kinda just fell on something new and just ran with it. Dru: Once we got it pressed up, we sent it out to Damon Eden, an A&R at Atlantic Records. He thought the record was crazy, so he sent it to his boss, Mike Caren. He put it on his CD and sent it out to a bunch of artists. Rick Ross’ management heard it and said they had to have it. Who’s voice is that on the hook? Mayne: That’s our artist, Balli. That’s actually his voice on the record. A few of your beats use a similar format, with a slowed-down voice on the hook. Would you say you’ve been influenced by Houston’s Screwed and Chopped movement? Dru: Yeah, I definitely think it influenced us, but if you actually listen to the music, it doesn’t sound too much like Houston. I think we used that aspect of Houston music and kinda created a Florida sound with it. How have you seen people’s reactions changing as you’ve gone from being relatively unknown producers to having one of the hottest records in the country? I’m sure it’s a lot easier to get people on the phone now. Mayne: Yeah, it’s crazy, cause I remember when Dru and I had to book time in the studio just to get a local artist to come in and listen to our music. Now we’re in the studio with Fabolous, Jeezy, and people are starting to see our dream that we’ve had since day one. We knew we were going to be on top one day, and we’re still on our way to the top. Back then we didn’t really have that direct connect to the artists like we do now. Labels were receiving our CDs and putting them in the trash bin. That’s how you’ve got to filter the game; you can’t just accept everything. Sometimes you’ve gotta make yourself be heard. Well, like you said, a lot of labels probably do throw beat CDs in the trash, so what do you think is the best way for a new producer to get their beats heard? Dru: I give the same advice to everybody: to get heard, you got to do everything possible. You got to use all different avenues and try all different angles. Try using the radio, try using local DJs that are getting the scene poppin’. Get them to play your records. Holla at the A&Rs, keep sending them music, start building relationships with the different record labels. You got to keep hittin’ them in the head until they can see your vision, so there’s not one way of doing it. You’ve got to use a bunch of different ways. You’ve got to keep beatin’ it into people’s heads that you have hot music, whether you do it through the radio or through the record labels. You seem to get a lot of love and support from one of the hip-hop radio stations here in Orlando, 102 Jamz. Do you think radio plays a key part in whether artists blow up from a particular city or not? Mayne: The radio definitely plays a key part, and the reason why we’re getting love is not just because of something we did in the past. We’re not holding our heads high off one record or one achievement, we’re consistent. We’re really making noise across the nation, and Orlando is seeing that and the radio station held us down since day one, which is beautiful. Do you plan on linking up with the radio stations to help break some new artists out of Orlando? Mayne: It would be dangerous. It would be real dangerous, and we’re basically on the low-low tryin’ to make that happen. Dru: Of course we’re going to use all our resources for our artists that we’re going to work on breaking. I think the radio is not too biased. If they hear something they like and it has a chance to make it, they’ll play it. I think a lot of local artists aren’t up to par. If they’re not there yet, the radio’s not going to play their record. Why do you think Orlando has had such a hard time creating its own musical identity? Tampa has its own sound and artists that have broken out of the city, Miami has a music scene, but when you come to Orlando there’s really no one dominating the music game. Mayne: Everything is about perfect timing, and I believe everything happens for a reason. God put us in this city and he knows what we want to do. We’re tryin’ to put Orlando on the map on a different scale. We’re opening up doors for all the Orlando artists. It’s basically all about timing. Dru: It takes the right producer to come along, or the right artist to come along and give a city a certain sound. It doesn’t just happen naturally. Mayne: And to give that city the respect. Dru: Exactly. Originally, Orlando was a bunch of boy bands and stuff. Now is the time for people to stop lookin’ at us like we’re Disneyworld.
Now, there are serious producers here. I think we’re giving Orlando a breath of fresh air. There is talent here, and we’re going to bring that talent to the forefront of the nation, from Orlando, Florida. Especially for you, Dru, your hairstyle and the way you dress and carry yourself isn’t really “traditional” hip-hop. Have people been skeptical because you don’t wear the standard white tees and Air Force Ones with a big chain? What’s the reaction been as you’ve been getting into the industry? Dru: Obviously, that was something I’ve encountered before. When people see something different, either they fear it or don’t understand it. But I think when the music plays and they hear the talent behind us and they see how tight our business is, if they’re smart and business savvy, they can look past that very quickly. They kinda appreciate someone that’s in their own lane, not tryin’ to be something they’re not. If I was out there wearing what somebody else was wearing, I wouldn’t be Dru. I think by me staying in my own lane, people appreciate that about me and realize that I’m a real person and true to myself. To tell you truth, it’s actually paid off in the long run now because more people tend to follow a new style. Look at Pharrell – he did the exact same thing, and then Chad, and now they have their own clothing brand that’s not traditional hip-hop either. Is that something you’ll be doing eventually – creating your own clothing line? Dru: Absolutely. We just came back from Los Angeles last week cause we’re doing a lot with television now. We’re meeting with different networks and trying to get more involved in different aspects of the entertainment world, which we had planned on doing in the beginning. I heard you’re pitching a reality show? Dru: We’re pitching a couple different things right now. We’re talking to a bunch of different networks and we’re signing on to a big agency in Los Angeles, a big TV agency. It’s not an agency that anybody can just sign on to, it’s the same people that represent Puffy and Paris Hilton and people like that. They represent Quincy Jones, and we had the pleasure of sitting down with him in Los Angeles for about an hour, which is the most amazing experience we’ve had in a long time. Mayne: For everybody reading this article, if you don’t know who Quincy Jones is, you need to close this magazine and go back to school. Quincy Jones is a legend, and for us to have the opportunity to sit down in his living room and have a good conversation with this man and listen to all the jewels he dropped in our life, you know, we’re just going to use that in our everyday business in how we handle ourselves and carry ourselves. Aside from the Rick Ross record, I know you’ve worked with a lot of other artists. What are some other records you’ve done? Dru: We did [DJ Khaled’s] “Born and Raised,” [with Trick Daddy, Rick Ross, and Pitbull], Ludacris’ “Slap,” and the first Bohagon single, “Get It Off Your Chest.” We just did the new Trick Daddy single called “Bet That,” featuring Chamillionaire. They’re shooting the video for that tomorrow and that’s going to be a real big record for us. We did a real big record for Jeezy. It’s going to be either the second or third single. It’s humongous. It’s called “Dreamin’,” featuring Keyshia Cole. On “Born and Raised,” you kinda used the same technique as “Hustlin’,” with a slowed-down hook. Dru: It’s got that traditional Runners sound behind it. We call it our first season; first collection. When you hear the Ludacris record and the Trick Daddy “Bet That” record, that’s a new collection of Runners beats. It’s not that familiar sound that everybody’s used to hearing. Everybody came hard on that “Born and Raised” record. Do you think it was personal to them, speaking about their hometown? Dru: Yeah, and most of our beats give so much energy. They’re just so street. There’s some rappers who used to be street back in the day and then they were on the other side of the road for a little bit, but then they get that Runners record and it brings them back to the streets. Like Smitty’s “Lil Haiti” and Fat Joe’s “Clap and Revolve.” Have you been able to work with most of these artists in the studio or are you just sending them beats? Dru: It really depends on the artist. Some artists we like working with face to face. Like Young Jeezy, we did Jeezy face to face. We did Ludacris face to face. What’s a studio session with The Runners like? Do you just kinda let them do their thing, or what can you do as a producer to bring out the 79
best in an artist? Dru: With Jeezy, we actually made the record there in the studio. We’d shoot the idea to him and tell him our vision for the record. We’ll get animated with it, we really get down to the nitty gritty. He’s real creative and he’s real cool about vibin’ with us. And it’s the same thing with Luda. They like to be creative and vibe together. Then there’s some artists, like Trick Daddy, who prefer to have the track sent to them and they do it themselves. Mayne: At the same time, we respect the artist so we let them do their thing. It’s not like we do a record and tell them what to do. An artist on Jeezy’s level is a professional, so when he hears the beat, he hears the finished product in his head. When he’s picking his beats he knows which record to go with and what he’s gonna do on the record. But when you’re working with up and coming artists who need a little more direction, that’s when the producer side of us comes out and we make it happen. Who are some local artists you’re working with? Dru: Balli, a rapper in Orlando. That’s really it right now. He’s signed to our production company, Trac-N-Field Entertainment. Any other big names you’re working with that we haven’t talked about? Dru: Fat Joe, Fabolous, Twista. That Young Jeezy single with Keyshia Cole is a really incredible record. It’s kinda different from what anybody’s
heard from us because it’s like a mid-tempo sample record. Mayne: A lot of people are gonna think the whole record is a sample. The whole record is not a sample; it’s just that we sampled the hook. We did the same thing we did with “Hustlin’” but in a different light. The music and the verses are original. I gotta let that be known, because a lot of people think the records we do are samples, but that’s not showing our musicianship. Dru: On “Dreamin’,” we worked so hard with Jeezy in the studio for two weeks straight to get him that perfect record. That was an emotional record for him and it was a great feeling for us to be able to accomplish that. He’s an artist that we always wanted to work with, so that was a great accomplishment for us. Mayne: Jeezy’s a real dude. I know there’s a lot of fabrication in this game. There’s a lot of artists acting, trying to be something they’re not. But we can say that Jeezy’s a real dude and we appreciate the opportunity that he gave us coming in the game as young cats. He knows that record is gonna boost our career, and he saw the hustle inside us. We made sure we showed him our hustle so he could give us that opportunity. Dru: We got in the studio at like 10 PM and we’d stay there til 4 PM the next day without sleeping. We’d be there like two days straight just continually working and trying to get him that perfect record. We knew his album was
WE LET THZEYM O S T IS T R A E CT TH ON JEE ’S T IS T R A N “WE RESPEIR A . .. THING IONAL, SO WHEN HE DO THE A HED ROFESS RS THE FINIS LEVEL IS EPA A E H E H , T A ]B AD.” - M YNE E H IS H HEARS [OUR IN T C PRODU
unbelievable when we heard it. He’s incredible and it was always a dream for us to work with Jeezy from the beginning, so we had to fulfill that. Any other big records we should be looking out for? Dru: The Ludacris “Slap” record, that’s gonna be a big record too. The Runners say that’s gonna be a big record because what he’s discussing is something that every American can relate to, from the average American to the rich American to the poor American. Everyone is gonna be able to relate to that record because he discusses all kinds of interesting topics in it. Technically speaking, how did you learn to use the equipment? Mayne: It’s something that you fall in love with at a young age. I remember doing my research, buying some damn “How to Record” book way back in the day, and that’s how it started. Do you prefer working in your home studio, or going to a “real” studio to get into work mode? Mayne: Both. It feels good to be able to wake up and be able to work on something right there, but you know, we love that vibe of the professional, big studio. What are some of the best facilities you’ve worked in? Dru: We like to work at Transcontinental Studios right here in Orlando, cause this is where our home is. We also love Hit Factory and Circle House in Miami. Mayne: We also got a secret studio that’s being built here in Orlando. We can’t release the name yet, but it’s gonna be the new hot spot in Orlando. The Runners are promoting it; we’re endorsing it. Aside from your artist, who else do you see across the country that’s on the verge of blowing up? Rick Ross really blew up off your “Hustlin’” record, so is there anybody else you see that’s at that point? Dru: Another artist who’s never really gotten credit is Attitude. I think he’s a great writer. He wrote that “Promiscuous Girl” song for Timbaland. He’s got talent. Mayne: Yeah, he’s got some serious writing skills. What advice could you give to new producers on the business end – people that might have a hot beat but don’t know what to charge for it or how to get it out? Dru: From a business standpoint, the first thing you need is good legal representation. That’s a definite in the beginning, because this is a tricky business. When you’re new, they’ll try to get as much from you as possible. Secondly, you can’t overprice yourself. If you’re a new producer, you’re only going to get what you can negotiate. Other than that they’ll just leave you hangin’. When you get out there, you’re not going to be able to charge $20k a beat. You might have to only charge $5k or $6k a track. Mayne: Or free. We still give beats away to certain people for free. Dru: Don’t sell yourself short, but you need to look at the big picture and the longevity of this business. It’s not all about the bling bling, and that’s what me and Mayne were told early on. It’s about investing your money wisely when you get those big records out there and being able to have a pension when you’re 50 years old. Mayne: Cause nobody is hot 365.
What do you think is the key to having a successful partnership, where both individuals contribute equally but of course you have your own style? Dru: I think it’s all about having your duties split. If he’s the one who handles the music and you handle the business, don’t step on each other’s toes. Always talk about major decisions together and come to a mutual agreement, because you need to understand that both opinions matter in a partnership. I think you really need to be careful not to step on each other’s toes or get in each other’s way too much, and understand where people’s limits are. Mayne: I can’t really speak for all duos or groups, I can only speak for us. The reason we’re so strong is because we are like brothers. I’ve known [Dru] since kindergarten. We’re in love with the same thing and we have the same goal. I understand his business sense and he understands my musical talent, so we came together. The trust is there, and that’s the main thing. If he’s on the phone setting up a million dollar publishing deal, I don’t need to be on the phone because I know he’s not gonna do nothing stupid or cut me out of the loop. Dru: And we mutually discuss every major thing we’ve been through. We really work together, on the musical side and on the business side. And that’s why we’ve been able to be so successful. Two heads that work together are better than one. When you started sending out beat CDs to different A&Rs, did you make sure they were copyrighted, or what steps did you take to make sure your beats couldn’t get stolen? Dru: Yeah, at the beginning you should take all precautions. We used to send our beats out on a compilation CD and they would get copywritten before we sent them out. Mayne: That all ties back to having good legal representation. Get the best that you can get at the stage of your career that you’re in, and that’s where it starts. Dru: I think the key to having a structured business in this industry is to have a good team around you. Good management, good legal representation, a good financial advisor, a good bookkeeper. That’s the part that people really overlook. At the end of the day, you have to pay taxes. Your bookkeeping has to be perfect, and people that don’t have a good business manager or bookkeeper, before they know it, they end up owing the IRS. Making hot music is one thing, but there’s a whole business world behind it. It’s crazy. DJ Khaled is managing you now? Dru: Yeah, DJ Khaled and DJ Nasty. I’m sure there’s a lot of positive benefits to having a manager like Khaled who is very well-connected in the music industry already, but you did mention that you can’t do beats for 50 Cent. Do you think being affiliated with a camp limits the people that you can work with? Dru: Nah, not really. I don’t feel
A BUNCH OF S A W O D N A L LY, OR UFF. NOW IS THE TIME “ORIGINALD ND ST S LIKE BOY BAN SLEATO STOP LOOKIN’ ATEU E ARE FOR PEOP NEYWORLD. NOW, THER DRU WE’RE DISIOUS PRODUCERS HER .” SER
You’ve been appearing in a lot of videos lately and making yourselves a lot more visible. Do you think that increases your value as a producer in terms of how much you can charge? Mayne: Most definitely. It’ll pay off in the long run because it’s gonna open up so many other opportunities for us to succeed in this entertainment business. Do you plan on putting out your own record, or doing some Pharrell-type guest verses? Mayne: Nah, never that. Dru: I think we’ll start to see some offers in television, hosting or something. You’re definitely going to see us more involved in television and other aspects of entertainment. We’re about to be involved in Britney [Spears’] new album, and we really wanna try to cross over to that pop side of things. We have that talent as well, so there’s no need to waste it. The talent is there and we shouldn’t be limiting ourselves to one genre.
that we have been too limited. They never told us that we can’t make beats for . We make beats for everyone. We’ve never been held back. Mayne: We really just choose to stay out of anything that’s not dealing with us. Dru: Yeah, it’s not our business so we just try to stay out of it. Khaled’s our manager and they might have their own business or whatever, but we just don’t involve ourselves in that. [The Terror Squad vs. 50 Cent beef] has nothing to do with us. Mayne: As a matter of fact, Young Buck has one of our records right now. If someone is interested in contacting you for beats, how can they get in touch with you? If any indies wanna get in touch with us, the best way is www.myspace. com/therunners. Major labels can contact DJ Khaled or DJ Nasty; they’ll know how to get in touch with them. 81
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hat’s the biggest flip side of success? Oh, man, it’s not what people think. People have the misconception that it’s just niggas ballin’, but a lot of niggas out here ain’t got shit. They’re broke as shit, so don’t let the game fool you. Niggas may have a chain or two and act like they got a lil bit of paper, but it’s short-lived. I’m tryin’ to make this shit. I’m runnin’ a marathon, not a sprint. I think that’s the biggest misconception. I used to watch the game and I knew it was goin’ on, but I didn’t know it was so much of it goin’ on. A lot of guys that you think have a lot of shit don’t have a damn thing. It’s just a blessing. I thank God every day for the opportunities I’ve been given. Sometimes it’s hard to believe I’m in the position I’m in. If you really think about the whole Pitbull movement, I’ve got a lane of my own, you know? I can rap with the Trick Daddys and the Rick Rosses or the Young Jeezys, I can rap with the Daddy Yankees and the Don Omars, or you can put me with the Lil Jons and the Young Scrappys. I’ve got such a broad range of everything with all the different markets that I touch. It’s a blessing. Do you think this album has more of a street/mixtape feel to it than your first album, which came off as being super commercial? This album is going to have the records that keep me alive. Remember, I’ve got a gold album, and I was on the road for two and a half years. I ain’t like platinum muthafuckers. I’m still on the road off that album. So yeah, you’re gonna have your commercial shit [on the album], but that’s what the mixtapes are for. On this album, you are gonna have more records for the street. But also, I think that on the first album, it was the sequencing. It was like one after another. Club record, bitch record, bitch record, club record, and then finally you got to some of the meat that niggas know me for on the street. So with this album, I put street records, maybe one club record, street records, club record, bitch record. I don’t think it’ll be the same. But I’ve got so many different markets I gotta feed. You might be looking for more of that mixtape shit, but there’s other muthafuckers that’s listening for “Culo” and all that type of shit. Do you have a favorite on this album? Yeah, it’s called “Blood Is Thicker Than Water,” featuring Red Eyes. What’s going on with some of the other artists you’re affiliated with, like Cubo, Piccalo, and B.A.N.G.? B.A.N.G. is a part of the camp, Big Teach, Big Mouth Marketing & Promotions, he’s managing them right now so I’m definitely involved in the project to a certain extent. Cubo, Piccalo, and I got this cat out of Lil Havana I’m gonna be doing something with. I’m gonna be doing some things with Southbeat Records, getting involved with what they do as far as developing artists and just trying to build something from the ground up. Did Lil Jon do a lot of production for El Mariel, your new album? Jon did two tracks, and I also worked with Mr. Collipark, Jim Jonsin, Pharrell, the Diaz Brothers, and a lot of local, up and coming cats. I know you had a little friction with TVT Records, has that been smoothed out? Yeah, it’s smoothed out. It’s like a family, you’re always gonna run into problems and situations. My beef wasn’t about me, it was more about Jon. Take care of him. That’s the way I look at it: If Jon ain’t happy, I ain’t happy. He’s happy now, so I’m happy and we can move forward. Jon knows how to evolve and do different types of music. He did some crazy club shit for my records, some Afro-Cuban crazy shit. We call it voodoo. What’s been going on with you personally since your last album? Personally, just living a better life now. I got myself some property. My family’s living good, everybody’s good, and I’m just trying to make sure that we create a pipeline where it’s always there. You never know with this rap shit. Here today, gone today. What motivated you to name your album El Mariel and draw attention to the things happening in Cuba today? El Mariel was a boat lift in 1980, 1981. My father was involved with a boat lift. He brought three boats over, bringing 547 people to freedom. El Mariel was basically a quest for freedom, and that’s the way I see myself in this game. They’re always trying to categorize Pit as “crunk” or “reggaetone,” but I’m not. I just do music. It’s one thing that’ll never fail, never run out of gas, and that’s good music. You can categorize it however you want, but a hit record is a hit record. That’s why I named the album El Mariel, because this is my boat lift, it’s my quest in 2006. And it’s also to educate people with what’s been going on in my culture, my history. There are still boats that come over to the U.S. from Cuba.
Oh yeah. They risk their lives doing the ninety mile journey. They usually make it to the Keys. They’re the ones that make the ’62 Chevys into fuckin’ boats and shit. Why are people in Cuba willing to risk their lives to come to America? It’s terrible in Cuba because it’s no freedom, you know? Think about it. You can’t state your opinion. If you say anything bad about [Cuban President Fidel] Castro you go to prison. If you sell meat on the streets you go to prison for 25 years. It’s certain things that are fucked up. They wanna come over to a land where they can take advantage of opportunities and better their life, like a lot of us have done, thank God. Being so marketable, you have a lot of other avenues to promote yourself. Are you planning on going into movies or fashion? I got a lot of other avenues, but I’m having a hard time with endorsements cause I’m asking for percentages. I don’t want an advance, dawg. You can keep the advance. I want a percentage on cases, on shoes sold, on clothing sold. When I find the right situation and my name builds enough clout to where I can get that out of the deal, it is what it is. But you know, patience. That’s all I’m about. The slow grind is the fa’ sho’ grind. Do you see the Miami movement becoming even bigger than what we’re seeing now? It’s only going to become bigger if people come together and unite and continue to do that, but if there’s gonna be friction within the county and within the city, it’s gonna stay stagnant. Pitbull forever will keep doing his thing. Do you think there is friction in Miami? I don’t think there’s friction, but there might be little rumors here and there. I don’t pay attention to none of that shit, I just hope it’s not true. If it’s true, it’s very disappointing. You’ve been pretty vocal in the past about the perceived disrespect that you felt from New Yorkers towards the South. Have you seen the situation getting better over the last few years? I think it’s gotten better and at the same time worse. It’s contradictory and ironic, because now they’re like, “Them South niggas done took everything over and they ain’t rappin’ about shit.” But nigga, we been doing this shit. And like I said before, it was a blessing for them niggas to not pay attention to us cause all it did was show us how to grind. Just like you did with your magazine, we did with our music. And we’ve come together, and I think that’s what really enforced the whole movement – everybody knowin’ each other. At the same time, now that the South is hot, it seems like all the labels are quick to sign somebody from the South. Do you think it’s too easy now and we’re going to lose that grind? Maybe for the up and coming cats. Maybe it’s a little different. But hopefully the grind was instilled in them from before. With someone like Rick Ross or Jeezy, and even yourself to some extent, they get a lot of criticism from mainstream America for glamorizing drug dealing and things like that – when you talk about it, do you feel like there’s a larger purpose, like hustling in life or in general? You know, we took the street life and applied it to the game, and these niggas are just rapping about what they know. I know the same shit, I’d just rather rap about it in a different sense, meaning that when the Feds come and see me, all they’re gonna find is CDs. No weight, dawg. I’m done with that life, bro. And that life made me who I am, but that doesn’t mean I gotta glorify that shit. I ain’t out there tryin’ to get it like that, I’m tryin’ to get it in the music. I just talk about it in the past tense. As for them, that’s how they get it across. Them dope boys love them niggas, you know, because they feel like they do. But do I feel that it’s negative? No, because they’re just talkin’ about their life, just like a movie. Rappers are ghetto poets. And as far as Rick Ross, I’d like to congratulate him on having the number one album in the country when it came out. And Trick’s [new album] is on its way out too now. Khaled, congratulations. Dre, he’s on his way out. Myself, everybody. It’s a beautiful movement. It seems like the DJs and radio stations in Miami really do support their own movement, but some people disagree. What’s your opinion? Before, they didn’t. But now, it’s the total opposite. I’m blessed to be ridin’ with the movement at the right time. Everybody’s been seeing everybody grind down here; that’s why I get so much respect. I remember seein’ Rick Ross on 79th Street passin’ out CDs, sellin’ them shits out of the trunk of the car for $5. That was back in like 2000, 2001, you know? And now he sees me, I see him, workin’ in music, or seein’ each other in the street. That’s what makes this movement so special. 83
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hen Method Man said “F a rap critic, he talk about it while I live it” on “How High” over ten years ago, he really didn’t have much to complain about. He was the most popular member of the most popular rap group at the time. Hip Hop heads idolized him and women adored him. He was the fucking man. But nowadays, that quote can be felt from Meth without him even having to say it. Feeling like the media is putting him through the same torture he joked about on the first Wu-Tang album, the Ticallion Stallion sits down with us to talk about everything from feeling like an underdog to why rappers need to stay out of the strip club. What direction did you want to take on this album? I just wanted to shut muthafuckas up. Slap the right niggas. But I ain’t no violent nigga though. You can’t defend yourself with everybody. And the naysayers be reading the press. I think the press turned their back on me. I used to be their darling, now I’m the worst shit to happen to Hip Hop. How does that work? Why do you think the media has turned their back and said negative things about you? I think it had to do with the acting, but everybody does acting. What the fuck? So you’re saying they turned their back on you because you concentrating on acting rather than dropping albums every year? I wouldn’t say I was focusing on acting, because if I was it would have been way more shit than what I was, but it’s whatever. But it started with the acting and since then the press been jumping on my ass saying sideways shit and the people followed suit. It’s more dumb people than smart people. All it takes is two cool dudes to say something is hot and the rest of them lame niggas will follow. So how do you feel about all of this “Hip Hop is dead” talk? People have a right to their opinion, but the media said it first. I’m glad to see it at the level it is. No matter how much they say it suck, somebody likes it because somebody’s buying. Music goes in cycles. We had shiny suits, the grimy era, fat gold chains, back to shiny suits. Now the South got the crown, so let them niggas live and stop hating. It was a time when no one was checking for them, so they took it upon themselves to get noticed on their own merit. That shit right there is Hop Hop; how can you hate on that? But at the same time they can’t hate on New York. How come New York gets the backlash? A lot of down South artists ain’t talking about nobody but New York. I don’t respect that because I got nothing bad to say about down South except that with some of the music, I just wish they’d get out the strip club every now and then. Every song don’t have to be a dance. I got love for down South artists though. Since you say that, how you feel about your New York contemporaries saying the South is “fucking up Hip Hop”? Let me tell you something about New York: They don’t buy albums no more, it’s about mix CDs. The artists that do get lucky enough to make it to a major label, when they drop an album the label is so busy trying to keep up with the South and get BDS spins. You can have an album full of hard shit but if you make one song about chicks, guess which one the radio’s gonna grab? I’m saying that New York Hip Hop is getting lost in the shuffle because everybody wanna go with radio. I’m not saying “fuck radio” because we need that to help get our music out there, but they need to know that every city’s Hip Hop is not the same. Detroit was going through that for years. They had their own movement but radio wasn’t supporting. So they had to start running up in the stations to get heard. Now they got nothing but local artists on the radio now. The industry should know Hip Hop is a culture; you’re not gonna get the same shit everywhere. It’s not even the artists, we doing the best that we can with what we got, trying to stay afloat. A New York movement is coming, but I think 50 [Cent] gonna have to be that nigga to unify everybody.
not an emcee.” Come on man, put the mic down then. I’m an emcee first and foremost. Where do you think that attitude came from? Because it got to the point where a lot of rappers was corny, so niggas are looking at them like they’re corny. Only a handful are real. You hear all these niggas saying, “He ain’t real,” “Keep it real,” “What’s really real,” “I’m real,” and all that bullshit, when everybody was fake as a fuck. So the new core of emcees was saying, “All these niggas are corny, so I don’t wanna be an emcee. Shit, I’ll be a drug dealer.” That’s where the bitches’ minds are too, they see the money and get on them niggas so the rap niggas see that and be like, “I ain’t no emcee, man, I’m a drug dealer, I’m a gangsta,” because rappers was corny. But at the end of the day, we’re making records. What are you doing on the stage? You’re a fucking emcee. But nowadays a lot of these niggas ain’t emcees anyway; a lot of the top selling artists can’t even move a crowd. Do you think the emphasis on the business side of music is making the music suffer? Even the independents are getting swallowed up, the Mom & Pop stores too. They done turned this shit into the Barnum & Baileys Ringling Bros. circus and shit. This shit is like WWE now, rap entertainment. Niggas ain’t even getting good promotion anymore. A week before, a week during and a week after? What’s that? And then if you don’t sell you’re gone. Do you feel disrespected or disappointed in how Def Jam is handling your project right now? I can’t even talk about that. I voiced my opinions earlier and they got pissed, but I’ll let the streets talk louder than me. I just gotta stay optimistic. Is it more people saying that it’s dope or not? Some are saying it’s your best work in a while. They like it. But of course you’ve got people saying they don’t like it too. See, it’s muthafuckas that won’t even listen to or buy the album because of some shit they read in a magazine, I’m not gonna name any names. But how you gonna put 5 joints on the website and say it’s hot, no, not hot, but fire! Banger! Straight crack! It’s a guaranteed banger! Banger banger! 4 out of 5, 4 and a half! Then when the album drops they give you a fucked up review. Shit don’t make sense, so is it business or personal? When it’s in these hands, it’s good, but when it transferred hands it changes. Like hell naw, not on my dime, this nigga ain’t eating. How much do bad reviews bother you? We’ve all heard stories about how Wu-Tang has paid visits to people who wrote unflattering things about them. It’s fucked up, especially when they ain’t reviewing the music and just assassinating your character. You wanna choke somebody, but I got kids; how would I look rolling in the dirt with some lame ass nigga? So I gotta have thick skin, work harder and take heed to what the true fans are saying and work on what I lack. You just gotta stay optimistic. It’s frustrating because you can’t defend yourself against all these people who shit on you all the time. The magazine comes out every month, but I don’t talk to the people every month.
ED RANQUILIZ T E R A S M U B G AL HED BY THSES A W IN A R B “PEOPLE BURYAIN IO AND ITTER, i’M JUST FRU BY THE SD . I’M NOT BOW I’M BETTER THAN .. E IN Z A G A M AUSE I KN IVE ME CREDIT FOR.” TRATED BEC WHAT THEY G
Do you think what 50 is doing is making the game more competitive? Yeah, he creates beefs, but some of that is battling in a sense. Yeah it’s competitive in a way, but it gets to the point. I mean, son is dope, he makes records. He went through some shit to get where he’s at so you can’t be mad at him for striking out at people, but then it gets to be on some bully shit. C’mon son, he’s the biggest selling artist in New York, but it’s gonna take him to unify shit. I love everybody, B, anybody that made their way in the business either deserves it or they’re gonna work their way to deserve it. That’s why I hate when I hear niggas saying, “I’m
Do you feel like you are an underground rapper, or starting over again? I’m definitely the underdog. There is no underground rapper anymore. It’s mix CDs and how big your chain is. No underground, everything is on the surface. But there’s still backpackers out there, I respect them. Even though people feel like they’re geeks, they listen to lyrics and the beats. They can tell you where the samples come from. These are hardcore Hip Hop fans, and there aren’t a lot of them. What they’re doing now is downloading music because they’re disappointed with the music. The people buying albums are tranquilized by the radio and brainwashed by the magazines, thinking its genuine when it’s not. I could go on for days, but I’m not bitter. I’m just frustrated because I know I’m better than what they give me credit for. 87
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hen Pastor Troy graced the cover of the 2nd Anniversary issue of OZONE back in 2004, he was in a celebratory mood. It was a new year for the magazine and a new album for the Pastor, both on the cusp of stardom as the Southern Hip Hop takeover was growing from a flame into four-alarm blaze. “This is going to be the first Pastor Troy album to be released in the middle of the Southern Hip Hop phenomenon,” he said about Any Means Necessary in a conversation the day of the interview for the story. “I’ve yet to take full advantage of this new wave. This album will do it.” Since then, Troy has: • Seen his relationship with Universal Records dissolve • Broken up with, and made back up, with D.S.G.B. • Recorded diss records blasting Lil Jon and Lil Scrappy • Relinquished ownership of his club, Palladium Not exactly what one would imagine when trying to “take full advantage.” However to his credit, Troy has used the void of not having a major label to return to the underground roots that made him a star in the early 2000s. After dropping Hell 2 Pay, Face Off II, Stay Tru and most recently By Choice or By Force, Troy is once again aiming to cash in on a phenomenon that he helped build. We caught up with Troy on what happened to be the eighth anniversary of his groundbreaking debut We Ready: I Declare War as he relaxed in Baton Rouge during a mini-tour of the Gulf region. Here he talks about the advantages of going independent, his opinions about Southern Hip Hop and the respect he feels he deserves. 2006 has been a busy year for you, what all do you have going on? I’m working on this independent shit. I’ll have another album out at the first of the year. Another one? You just dropped two this year. Yeah, I dropped two back to back. But [Stay Tru] was like a mixtape. Then [with By Choice or By Force] Koch dropped it without getting the full potential out of it. I told them to hold on but they wanted to keep up with the mixtape. One was supposed to set the other up. Koch didn’t let me deliver what I wanted. How has it been working with Koch? One would think you’d be disenchanted to work with a label of any kind. Koch was just a one album deal, so I’m back independent. Matter of fact I’m back on the phone with Universal. The shit I was doing when I was with them, they weren’t prepared to work it. They saw what I did with We Ready: I Declare War but they wasn’t prepared to work with what I was giving them. I was in a situation where Universal was going through changes. It was my job to grind, but they ain’t have themselves together to catch that wave. I mean look now, Chamillionare went platinum. I had songs like “Vice Versa.” No disrespect to Chamillionare, but a lot of niggas have been able to benefit from the steps I’ve taken. My position is unique. It’s like Jesus bearing the cross. But I ain’t complaining though. How has working independent been for you so far? This indie thing is so gravy because you really get the opportunity to control your own destiny, man. You get out what you put into it. We got all our dates right. We done did three dates in a row, every thing routed out the right way. I got a nice home and I’m always working, so it’s good. After “We Ready,” Southern Hip Hop took a turn. It went from typically being laid-back to being more aggressive. You can hear a lot of your influence in today’s music, from Atlanta in particular. Do you feel that you get your props? I’m cool because I’m getting paid, but all I want is respect. It’s not like you owe me something, but don’t downplay me like I ain’t shit but you doing all my shit, keep that shit real. I know who I gave my props to: 8Ball & MJG, UGK, Outkast, Goodie Mob. You’re product of what you were raised on, and when I see ‘Ball and them I give them respect. It ain’t like that no more. New niggas think it’s about competition. You hear all kinds of ad-libs and shit on the music now. Niggas don’t even call me to come get on a track, niggas just say fuck it and take my shit and do it themselves. But I get props from the city for the most part, just not the radio station. The city supports what the radio plays. The streets don’t know these new niggas, it’s just that the radio plays them. In the club niggas know my shit word for word, but I don’t get played on the radio. Do you go back and listen to that first album at all? What do you hear? I do when I perform it. I listen to it sometimes. I can listen to the songs
and remember the day I was writing it. I hear the despair in my voice. That’s all I had and believed in. That’s all I wanted to do. I was telling myself, “I’m putting 150% into this.” I don’t even know what all that shit came from, it wasn’t no plan. We had classic lyrics, ad-libs, all that shit. When I listen to it, I’m like, damn, we set out to do what we had to do. Niggas still come up and shake my hand and tell me about that CD. When we interviewed you back in 2004, you were quoted in saying: “I ain’t faulting the niggas that’s doing it but as a veteran in this shit, I’m tired of hearing all these damn [wannabe] Pastor Troys. [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. It’s gonna last as long as these niggas respect the music. Niggas are ready to ride the hell out of it and it’s about to get crazy because everybody wants to do the shit. If you put too much water in the Kool-Aid it’s gonna fuck it up.” Do you still feel the same, judging from what you’ve been hearing? Reese, man, did we call that shit or what? I saw it because it was getting too easy. When the labels come calling, watch out! Because at that point it ain’t about standards, it’s about money. Peanut Butter & Jelly? C’mon, dawg. I myself have difficulty thinking like “Damn, is this what it is? Is this what niggas like now?” But I’m staying with the gangsta shit. My shows are off the chain. I go from city to city, getting love and ain’t nothing I got on the radio. They go crazy in the club whenever I perform. But the streets still respect the real, so if it stays like that, its cool. I see more opportunities coming along for Southern Hip Hop, but I don’t necessarily see the music getting better. So who are you in the studio with right now? I’m in the studio with the Medicine Men, some people remember them as Beats By The Pound. So you already know.
PAID, BUT G IN T T E G M I’ S , “I’M COOL RESPECT. NEW NIGGA.” T IS ALL I WANIT COMPETITION T U O B A ’S THINK How ironic is it that you are working with the same producers who worked with Master P, the man you dissed 8 years ago? I respected that sound even then. I’m a businessman, so we gonna compliment each other. They understand, it ain’t no beef between us. These tracks thee dudes got for me, we going to war all over again. I look forward to going platinum. I know it’s gonna happen for me. The music gonna make me go platinum, not the marketing and promotion. I’m the best solo gangsta rapper in Atlanta, if not one of the first ones. What is the status of the relationship between you and D.S.G.B.? All them boys done got back in the group. This rap game is a learning process. Sometimes you gotta back up off a situation and let them figure it out for themselves, and that’s what happening right now. But they ready. We washed our hands together and been through too much for a few things to come between us. We changed this thing up together. When you get your own fans niggas tell you some bullshit, championing you, but that ain’t always the case. If you feel like it’s your turn, you got my blessings. We gotta do this shit together. I don’t be trippin’ on no bullshit. To this day, do still feel like your music gets misunderstood? I still get misunderstood. Especially when they take it out of context. Like when shit goes down at the club like we in a Western movie. We try to calm the club down a lot of times. We be telling the DJ to play some Keyshia Cole, something to calm these niggas down. Are you going to change your style? The music is definitely changing. I’ve been talking to God, asking what to do. Because, I dunno, man, a nigga so smart and I don’t wanna be wasting my time taking niggas as deep as I could. Because I know when I did that I was only reaching a few niggas and niggas in my clique. I used to think niggas was slow, but instead of stooping down to people’s level, I’m bringing niggas to my level and when niggas get it they gonna be like ‘oh shit!’ I’ma produce an album my self too. Since niggas dig my tracks I’ma produce an album myself and I’ma tell them everything on my mind. I got people from all over telling me ‘you did this for me.’ I remember when someone told me ‘Troy I just got shot with Face Off came out, my girlfriend bought it for me. I listened to that until I walked again. Shit like that keeps me content because niggas don’t get shit like that from this new music. 89
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n artist’s first album is the soundtrack of their life up to that point. What can we expect with this second album? It pretty much picked up where the first one left off. The stories haven’t changed. I’m still gonaa have the club records too. I did the first single “Smack That” just so I could collaborate with Eminem. We both wanted to do something different. Em be on reality records and I be on reality records, so if we did a reality record I don’t think it would have been anything special. People rarely hear Eminem in the club and they rarely hear me on some uptempo club records, so that’s why we did a record of that nature. The album has a lot of records that didn’t make the first one, so it’s a continuation. The first record has a lot of songs about struggle. It’s obvious that you aren’t struggling anymore financially, so what are you drawing inspiration from? All my records come from experiences anyway so I feel like I’m always gonna be going through something to write about. This album has lot more brighter records because now I’m seeing a different side of life. But I still got a lot of records from back then that I gotta put out because people never heard them. Do you think your success surprised a lot of people? I definitely took everyone by surprise. I had no support in the beginning. I had to keep grinding and create my own contacts and use my own resources and before you knew it the records started kicking and favors started coming through. How does it feel to go back to Senegal and get the reception that you do? It has to be different from going to the block and getting love. It’s crazy, a whole ‘nother feeling. Even though you still get mad love here you still feel unappreciated compared to how they treat you out there. It’s a mindstate. Here you got people asking for autographs and you feel like you accomplished something. Because of that, niggas attitudes change and they go Hollywood on you. But if you go over there it’s not comparable; it’s hard to explain it. That’s why I’m having a concert over there. I’m taking artists form here over there. I’m taking Snoop, Jeezy, Eminem, Beenie Man, The LOX. It’s a huge concert I’m doing out there on December 9th, and I’m trying to bring as much press as possible just to witness it. A lot of American artists do get to see how big Hip Hop is globally. Certain things like that have to happen so we can send that message back here. But the love there is crazy, hard to explain unless you’ve seen it. What are the perks of knowing the king of Senegal? Oh, it’s all benefits, that’s why I’m able to move so freely out here. Now I’m an official diplomat, I’m an ambassador. I can ride through speeding and they can’t even arrest me without talking to the government. I have diplomatic immunity. It’s a whole ‘nother atmosphere and attitude. The way they treat you is different too, so you really can’t compare it. Being that you are from Senegal, do you have a different outlook on the world than an American has that helped your career? It’s definitely helped. The way I was brought up, the surroundings, the people, the languages. Out there you really learn to appreciate the opportunities that are given to you. Here, cats are spoiled because everything is already laid out, even with the section 8. They don’t understand how good they got it until they leave the U.S. When you’re raised in this atmosphere you naturally think you ain’t treated fairly and got white folks on you. But in actuality you’re living like luxury compared to rest of the world. So with me having that background, I know for a fact that it contributed to my success and it kept me humble. How important has travel been to your career? It’s real important to me. I don’t have to put out a record in the U.S. ever again. A lot of artists forget that the U.S. is a thumbnail compared to the rest of the world. The purpose of music is to capture a broad audience, but when you focus on one section and you’re unsuccessful, your career is over. But overseas if you’re successful in one region you’re successful in another region too. That gives you longevity. It also creates a big audience for you. Me personally, the U.S. is great but it’s not mandatory that I be successful here to be a successful artist. Since we’re talking about Africa, what do you think of this notion that black Americans are not welcome in Africa because of being “brainwashed” or “weak”? That’s just an excuse not to go. That bullshit don’t even make sense. When you’re in Africa they’re wondering why black Americans don’t come there. What’s the problem? It’s not that they don’t want to come or can’t afford it either, they just don’t understand, they’re scared because
they don’t know what to expect. One reason why blacks have a hard time coming up is because we’re so used to doing what we know, we never want to go beyond what we know. Once we’re comfortable we be like, “Naw, I’m good.” But you can’t even blame them. Even from our past history we’ve always been that way. It’s like a stubborn gene in our body, we just don’t go outside what we know. Until we do that we won’t see life from another perspective. The only [black people] I actually see when I travel is Africans. If you see blacks outside the U.S., they’re Africans. I rarely see [black] Americans when I travel. I never understood that, because Africans ain’t got money like that to be traveling. Here everybody’s got money, but yet they will go to France and London before they go to Africa, if they go that far. You should want to go back and see what it has to offer because it’s yours anyway. You’ve been featured on quite a few hooks over the past year. We’re you wary of playing yourself out, or becoming the new Nate Dogg? I don’t believe in oversaturation, that’s bullshit. Music is supposed to be spread. I wasn’t worried about Nate Dogg comparisons because we are nothing alike, except that we sing choruses. But I produce, write, and I’m credible as a recording artist as well, I don’t just sing on a chorus. I make records, and all you gotta do is lay a verse on it. What was it like working with India.Arie on the “I Am Not My Hair” remix? I did it because I knew it would surprise people. Whenever I feel like I’m going in a box, I do something left field to tell people not to put me [in that box]. I don’t want be an artist where they only see me doing a certain type of record. I feel like I’m an international artist. I don’t wanna be stuck in urban, pop, or whatever genre they try to put me into. That still, to this day, is one of my favorite records because how we collaborated to get melodies was crazy. Plus that opened up doors to work with other neo-soul artists as well.
FUCK LE] ‘I WANNEATRICK G N SI Y [M T N “I SE TUR -SLIDE TO FEAVERSEAS] ON -N IP SL O T ’ U O [O Y . I WENT LIES WAS ON DADDY ON IT P I GOT BACKN N E DIO... H W ... R U O T AS O THE RTAHAT?” W IT D N A , D THE RECOR UP, WHAT THE HELL IS HOLD What’s the situation with the Plies “I Wanna Fuck You” record, which has you on the hook? I like the dude, I always though he was dope. Before I knew he was signed Devyne [Stevens] brought me a CD on him. I heard him and thought he was dope, so I put it aside like “Yo, I gotta work with him.” But before that, I had a record I wanted to put Trick Daddy on first. In collateral I was gonna work with Plies. You know how the game go: You give me Trick, I’ll work with Plies. So I sent “I Wanna Fuck You” to Slip-N-Slide to feature Trick Daddy on it. Trick wanted it for himself, and I was like, I can’t give this to you, but I can give you one similar to it. I went [overseas] on tour, and when I got back the record had never got done. But Plies was on the record, and it was on the radio. I was like, Hold up, what the hell is that? So we reached out to Slip-N-Slide and told them that’s my single, they can’t do that! I had already agreed to work with Plies. I was gonna do a separate record for him, but the [“I Wanna”] record kept getting worked. I ain’t know how to take it. I took it as an understanding since I already had an agreement with Ted Lucas. I finally got a chance to talk to him, and he is telling me the record is growing in the streets, asking what they gotta do to get the record. I was like, “At this point you can’t have it, it’s my first single.” He said the record is going crazy and they need this look. I said, “Just have Plies come up to Atlanta and I’ll make a record for him.” Ted didn’t wanna do that because the [“I Wanna”] record was already blowing up. Since that was the case I didn’t trip, I like the little nigga anyway. I decided to go ahead and give him the record and change [my version] with Snoop. But by that time Universal had put thousands of dollars in the campaign to market the record, so it’s too late. They ain’t wanna let it go. I told Ted, I don’t have a problem, but Universal don’t want to let it go. He talked to them, I talked to Atlantic and straightened things out. If they would have just called and said, “Plies loves the record and wants to get on it,” cool. If they had done it earlier it wouldn’t have been a problem. It was the way it was done. They just grabbed it and Dee-bo’d it. Personally, I support any new artist, because that was me. I want to break artists. I was willing to break him, but to this day me and Plies still ain’t spoke, ain’t sat in the same room to express how we feel. It’s been all political with Slip-N-Slide and Atlantic talking. Me and Plies never talked. 93
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ftentimes in life, good things happen at bad times. While Belo, one third of the pioneer Chicago rap group, Do or Die, preps to drop his first solo album The Truth on Legion Records/Asylum, he also faces the possibility of being incarcerated if found guilty for the first degree murder of Raynard Pinkston. Despite the tough possibility that Belo faces, the Chicago emcee is focused on his album, which he feels will finally allow him to express everything he has wanted to, something he feels that he was unable to do on the seven albums he released with Do or Die. A life of full of a variety of experiences helps Belo deal with the situations he faces today. From growing up on Chicago’s rough and neglected west side to having recorded the Chicago anthem “Po Pimp” which gave multiplatinum rapper, Twista, his start, Belo is drawing on all his experiences as he releases his new album, develops his new record label, and ventures into the world of movie production. What do you have coming up? Right now we got The Truth album coming out October 17th off of Legion Records. Also I got my own label about to launch next week called Full House Records. I’m also starting a movie production company. Tell us about your deal with Legion Records. My guys hooked up with Rudy first around 2002 and shit like that so they hooked up with him and were going back and forward. We had a conversation and we made the deal happen. What projects have you had under Legion? We did the Do or Die album, we did the Die Hard DVD with Do or Die. We got a couple more projects we rolling with too as well as my solo. Tell us about Full House Records and what you have lined up for that? Right now I’m working with lots of artists right now. I got my guy Mr. Grind who getting down. Raw Deal is my little brother and he’s getting with it all. Some of my guys is affiliated but may be with other labels. I got a producer and some other artists who we’ve recorded on. That will be coming some time late fall next year. What’s good with the movie production company? Well right now I’m fucking with scripts. I got like 7 scripts together. One of my guys who actually shot two or three videos for the Do or Die project is collaborating with me to do some things and shoot some movies. We also got the CEO of Legion Records who will be putting together some things with my movie company as well as his own. Hopefully we’ll be shooting our first movie next year. The first movie will be called PoPos. What gives you the inspiration for the movies? Life, man. Reality. What goes on in Chicago and the world. How has the reality of Chicago made you who you are? Growing up on the west side of Chicago I went through a lot of trials and tribulations, getting caught up in the streets and learning lessons. I applied those lessons to my life, so I’m applying it to my music. As far as the details of it all, you could write a whole book on it. Tell us about the new album. The Truth. As I’ve sat back and watched how things have been happening around the world, like Hurricane Katrina, the World Trade Center, and the domino effect of all that, all this reality, I wanted people to know that this is what is going on and let them know through my music. I wanted to let people know that there is some real shit going on and if you don’t pay attention to what’s going on besides how many houses and cars you got you gonna get fucked over with what you’ve lost. I also go into some songs about other things. I got a single called “Exlcusive”. Most people that know me and Do or Die talk about the pimp songs we did but this song is about the essence of a women. Is this a more mature single for you then? Definitely. I still have the Do or Die lingo because that’s just a part of me. When people hear the song they’ll know that they hear the Do or Die but they’ll also know that it’s a Belo album. What made you decide to do a solo album? It’s been a long time coming. One of the reasons is that I get to express myself more. When you with three people you doing 16 bars and you can’t get everything out that you want to say. Now I got a whole song to myself. Three minutes is a lot of time to spit at least some reality.
What kind of producers and guest appearances are on this album? I kept it in the family with producers who were on the Do or Die albums. I got waxmaster and KX who are both from Chicago. I just kept it in the family. I got the Outlawz on there who used to roll with Tupac. I got Mr Grind on there on a couple of cuts. I got Ms. Erika Kane on a few tracks also. Trying to bring some unity to Chicago? I’ve always did that in the best but this time it was who was around me and who I could contact on a daily basis. Shawnna said “Chicago is the city of hate. That’s the way it was before I was born and will be that way after I’m gone.” Do you feel the same way? Shit, I don’t think about that. Tupac said something in one of his raps that was real me to me man: “Some niggas gonna hate you for whatever you do.” If you hating on me and saying my name it’s exposure. I try to stay away from all that. In Chicago we need to stick around and stay together more definitely but I’m not gonna waste my damn time no more trying to make that happen if they not willing to make that happen. What made you want to branch out from the music into movies? Movies have always been my passion, writing has always been my passion. I started off writing poetry. I used to read a lot of novels and books and used to watch a lot of movies. The life that I lived was a movie in itself. I could touch on drama, I could touch on comedy, I could touch on violence because I lived that. It’s like what I expressed to you about getting a whole track. Now I have a whole movie so it’s more time , more detail to get across what I want. Movies always been my passion. I want to bring reality to the world. I know a lot of Chicago rappers came out of Creative’s basement. Were you a part of that? Definitely. That’s about when Do or Die came out with Po Pimp. Being in that small space, it made us appreciate the struggle. Our work ethic became more serious, more strong, more consistent. Had we been in a big old studio we probably wouldn’t have produced us a hit. By us having to give our all and having to work with what we had it helped. You are currently on trial - what are you being charged with? Of course they charged me with a murder, it ain’t no secret. I’m not actually guilty of it but I just happened to be charged with it due to the circumstances. They portray me as being a monster, a random killer. That’s not the case but the state obviously is after me. Do you think it’s because you’re African-American? I don’t want to make it out as a racial issue, but it could be. I come from a certain part of town and fit a certain type of profile and they’re trying to portray me as a monster, so they charged me with this. Being a rapper, are you worried that some of your lyrics may be used against you in court? They haven’t been yet, but they’ll use the evidence they want against me. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Being an entertainer I make music so I’m not worried about that. How was it balancing going to trial sometimes and then going to the studio right after? I was trying to keep it focused and dealing with the situation. It was kind of hard in dealing with that situation but the good out of that was that it kept me focused and kept me working harder. When does the album come out and when do you expect a verdict? The album The Truth drops on October 17th. I go back to court on November 14th and I’m pretty sure they gonna maybe prolong it a little bit more. Compare and contrast selecting an entertainment lawyer and a criminal lawyer. When you get an entertainment lawyer you can make music over and over again, but with a criminal lawyer time becomes an issue. Is there anything else you want to say? I want to add for my fans that they don’t need to get the wrong conception about me. The state attorney wants to make me out to be this sick monster, trying to destroy my life and my livelihood when at the end of the day they can go back home. I’m definitely not a monster. There’s a lot of he-said, she-said. I want the fans to continue praying for me and supporting me. The Do or Die group album is rolling and my solo album is about to drop. 95
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ith her Ludacris-assisted single “I Need A Boss” climbing the charts, Shareefa is living her dream. We sat down with the first female R&B singer to come from the DTP camp at her press junket in New York to find out where she’s coming from, and where she’s headed. Where are you from? I’m originally from North New Jersey. I left there when I was fourteen and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, which has been my home ever since. How did you end up hooking up with DTP? I had already recorded twelve songs and a friend of mine got the disc to Jeff Dixon, one of the co-owners of DTP. He heard it and immediately called. We went up to New York and met on the corner of 114th and I sang to him. He listened to my songs and I met Ludacris the next day backstage at TRL. It’s history from there. How long have you been in the game? I started working with Teddy Riley at the age of sixteen. I was almost seventeen, so I’d say about eight years. What are some of the trials and tribulations you’ve gone through to get to the point where you are right now? You’ve gotta stay focused. I would be lying if I said that it was hell. It was a beautiful thing, cause I got a chance to work with Teddy Riley before I signed with Disturbing Tha Peace. For whatever reason that didn’t work out to the point where I got a deal or got signed, but everything happens for a reason and I learned a lot of stuff from him. He’s a genius in the studio. I just take it as a lesson and I couldn’t be happier. I’m glad I’m with Disturbing Tha Peace. How would you categorize your music? R&B and Hip Hop. Being a new solo female artist, there’s not too many that are successful. What are you and DTP doing to make sure you get to the number one spot? I’m actually taking it back to the times where you can put in a CD and listen from the beginning to the end. You want a CD for your car, your mother’s house, your grandmother’s house, something raw, uncut, and straightforward. Whether people [who are listening] went through the things I’m talking about, or know somebody that went through it, they can just feel it.
Who did you collaborate with on this album? Ludacris, Bobby Valentino, and Smoke from Field Mob. That’s it for right now.
What separates you from other female R&B singers, like, for example, Keyshia Cole? There is only one Shareefa, just like there’s only one Keyshia Cole. There is the separation right then and there. There is always gonna be a difference. My music is like a breath of fresh air; I feel like my music is what is missing. It’s straightforward. I ain’t beating around no bush and I’m getting straight to the point. Keyshia has a beautiful CD. I couldn’t walk in her shoes just like she couldn’t walk in mine, and I couldn’t walk in Patty LaBelle’s. You have to go through your own trials and tribulations. I don’t know what they’ve been through, just like they don’t know what I’ve been through. I don’t know how they would’ve dealt with my situation, just like I don’t know how I would’ve dealt with their situation.
What’s your dream collaboration? Lauryn Hill.
On the song “Impossible,” you used a Lauryn Hill sample. Do you think people will think it’s her song? Some people do. Some people think it’s me singing [that part] and they say, “You sound like Lauryn,” and I’m like, “That is Lauryn.” So I think they do, because I’ve heard that before. But it was the emotion and how she was saying it that made me be like, I’ve gotta smash this song. That’s music. When the song comes on, you’re drawn to it. When she says “Impossible,” you feel what she’s talking about. I had to rock to that.
Is there anything else you want people to know about you? I just want people to know that I’m human. The music industry is a job. Me talking to you is a job. I’m no better than anybody else. I continue to have real people around me – my mom, my sister – people that are gonna keep me grounded and say, “Yo, you trippin’.” I cry just like everybody else. I go through the same shit that you go through. It’s just that I can sing, and I’m putting that to use.
What is the name of your album? Point of No Return, cause I feel like that’s where I am at in my life. I’m at a point where I can’t go back. I’m at a point where the only place I can go is forward. I feel like everybody – whether you’re a doctor, nurse, reporter, or lawyer – if it comes to that point where you’re at the end of the road in life, you’ve gotta realize what you want out of life. You have to set standards and you can’t move backwards. Only a fool would move backwards. You can only move forward, and that’s why I came up with 96
the [album title] Point Of No Return. I was trying to get a name from the movies and they were like, “Wait and it’ll come to you.”
What would that song be about? You know what? I don’t even know. I might have to write that joint. Probably about the ups and downs of life. I don’t care cause it would be a blessing to do a track with her. I’d write about cutting my hair to get a track with her just to make that song hot. What’s your favorite song on the album? Every song is my favorite. I like all of them cause they all tell a different story.
Is there anybody you want to give thanks to or shout out before we finish? God and Ludacris and of course Jeff Dixon. If he wasn’t there to get my CD, there’s no telling where I would be right now. I could be signed to Suge Knight. I didn’t care, I just wanted to be signed. I even tried out for Making the Band and I didn’t make it for the first season. Mr. Jeff Dixon, I love him. - Malik Abdul
S R MU
D ARLAN G . G E RIC S: MAU D R O W
urs’ name is actually an acronym for Making Underground Raw Shit, and he definitely lives up to it. The L.A.-native has seven albums to his name and has worked with the likes of Shock G (Digital Underground) and E-40, but his name still doesn’t ring a lot of bells. This year he released Murray’s Revenge, the second of two collaborative efforts with producer 9th Wonder to rave reviews. Here he talks about not being the stereotypical L.A. rapper, his views on immigration, how his mother helped him make his latest album and why he is proud to be “backpacker.” What is like working with one producer for an entire project as opposed to working with a bunch of them? If you have different producers they all want to make their track the best track on your album. But if you get one great producer, he is trying to make your album the best album possible. You have the same goal in mind; your focus is on the same project, which can only be a good thing. It’s helped me because know if I worked with a Timbaland or Just Blaze or a bunch of producers, I can have them make one cohesive unified sound for my album. 9th has helped me develop a better ear. The first album you did with 9th Wonder, Murs 3:16, received critical acclaim. Were you trying to recreate that with this album? Nah, we were trying to do something completely different. This one was more upbeat. If you ask 9th he’ll tell you that he wanted to make his version of [Outkast’s] ATLiens, so that’s what it is to him. He had all the beats picked before I even got to North Carolina, he had the album in order and the beats he wanted me to rap on already. You’ve said that you wanted this album to be your version of Ice Cube’s Death Certificate. Do you think you succeeded? Nah [laughs] I didn’t get to say what I wanted to say because the beats were already made. You wouldn’t hear songs like “Love & Appreciate” on Death Certificate. Hopefully on the next one I get to do my thing. Why did you want to a Death Certificate-type album? I was dating this girl from Crenshaw and I put on Death Certificate one day and she ain’t know what it was. Most people think Cube is the “We Be Clubbin’” guy or the actor. On Death Certificate he was rapping about safe sex, but not in corny way, but in a way that niggas will listen. Niggas should do that where it’s not like Kanye, dead prez or Talib Kweli. Me, I just talk like a regular nigga, not even a hood nigga, just in between. I think coming from someone like me the kids will listen. At least hear it once to get it in their head: “Stop fucking these hoes without condoms.” I’m not telling you to be holy, but be careful. Keeping along those lines, you didn’t curse on this album because of something your mom said? For years she told me I was so articulate, and she knew I could do it. So she asked me to do it just one time, just for her. Especially since I’m good with kids and I’m always baby-sitting my goddaughters and nieces and nephews and I can’t let them listen to everything I say. So I met her halfway. I didn’t make my lyrics juvenile, it’s my seventh album, so I figured I could do one without cursing. Out of all the projects I do, I figured I could do one for my grandmama. I think that’s something the game needed. Most people don’t realize it until they’re finished listening. I was surprised could do it, because shit, man, I curse in real life [laughs]. It was hard, I didn’t want niggas to think I was corny. But it came out good. On your song “L.A.” you rapped, “We’re a lot more evolved with the way that we bang.” What do you mean by that? I’m not saying the gang situation got better, but people think it’s just two gangs. In my hood it’s all Crips, but everyone don’t get along with each other. I’m just telling the people worried about what color they got on that it don’t matter, because if you wearing either one someone can still get you. Niggas used to shoot up the party at the beginning, but now niggas wait until they get a couple phone numbers and fight at the end. People don’t bang as hard as they did in ‘86 when it was brand new. Some niggas were trying to bring it back, but its calmed down now. How do you feel when you see people trying to bring it back? I really feel like it’s primitive. We got the best weather and the bestlooking women, so if we could get along we would have a great time. It hurts my heart to see people wanna take it back to that mid-80s era. But it’s always a reflection of the economic and political environment. The country is at war, war is on TV, war is on video games, so it’s only gonna get worse. Hopefully we can make a positive change. I’m gonna do what I can. I know a lot of rappers are talking about Sudan and Iraq, but I wanna try to focus on home. I know those things are important but I wanna make change at home. I heard it spread to ATL with niggas fighting over
white and black t-shirts. They even got gangs in New York now. How is the relationship between blacks and Latinos in L.A.? The Black and Latino situation is deep rooted in the prison system. It’s a problem, and now they’re having the immigration marches and that is building even more animosity in the black community. Black people won’t admit it but they’re jealous that they have a movement and we don’t. So when the Mexicans do that, they further separate themselves from Black America. We’re already separated from White America and now all the people of color are saying “We’re immigrants” and that just further alienates the black people and makes us feel even more powerless. I’m not saying that Mexicans shouldn’t fight, but people must realize that it’s separating the black community from all other people of color and white people. So the strain is gonna get worse between blacks and Latinos. But for the most part regular working class people get along fine because we all have the same basic moral and religious values. My grandmama loves Jesus and worked at a cafeteria with a bunch of Mexican ladies who love Jesus and they get along fine. They both love God and that is the basis of anything. But the folks with the guns don’t like each other and that’s a problem. Like when the Mexican mafia put the word out on any black male with a long white t-shirt and baggy pants, they didn’t say all black people; they said all black gangbangers. I can kinda respect that, because let it be known that they had beef with just the gangbangers. My only problem with gangbangers is when they don’t handle their business. There should be no drive-bys, but if you walk up on another banger and shoot him point blank, I have no problem with that. I know it sounds bad but you signed up for that. I just don’t like it when innocent people get hurt, but if they go at it and kill each other, hey, that’s just less idiots in the street as far as I’m concerned. Is it difficult being an L.A. rapper who doesn’t fit the mold that the world has grown accustomed to? It’s hard to not be the traditional gangbanger. Even in real life if you wasn’t in a gang you weren’t cool, girls liked that stuff when they was young and stupid. But now that I’m older it seems like the same thing, if I’m not a gangbanger or stupid I’m not cool. The West coast doesn’t have a lyricist like Nas or Jay-Z or Andre 3000 or Ludacris or T.I. or Big Boi, you know, niggas that can actually rap. People dig Snoop because he’s a character, people like Dr. Dre because he’s a name, or Cube because he’s a character, but no one is looking to the West for lyrics. We don’t get any Hip Hop Quotables, they just gave E-40 his first one after 10 albums. We gotta take our lyrical respect. We can shoot out with the best of them but we already get credit for that, so let’s go to another level. When people say, “Hip Hop is dead,” how does that make you feel? I take it personally, just like when people say they bringing the West back. I’ve been to Australia throwing up the W, I’ve been in the Tunnel in NYC when it was really jumping, throwing up the W, but you’re saying you’re bringing the West back. Same thing when people say Hip Hop is dead. You’re not listening, you’re not even trying. Get on the Internet, go to a club, ask people like me and you what we listen to. But don’t make statements like Hip Hop is dying, because people aren’t looking. How do you feel about being labeled a backpacker? I claim it. The funny thing is, when I was doing what I wasn’t supposed to be doing, that’s where I kept my weed and my gun. I had a gun, spray paint and an ounce of weed in my backpack everyday, in school. So when people call me a backpacker, that just means I’m prepared for any situation. I don’t know how it was in New York or Atlanta, but in L.A. you had to keep one. You’re on the bus for 3 hours going through different neighborhoods. You may wanna sell some dope, tag your name, you may steal something and have to hide it. I kept a book in there too, though. All the thugs had backpacks growing up. To me it’s like the duality of the black man. You may pull out a suit or sweater to cover up your t-shirt. I know “backpacker” has a negative connotation but to me it means being prepared and I ain’t never had none of these anti-backpacker rappers say shit to me. That’s another open challenge. If you wanna see me, go head up, we can fight in the middle of the street, if you think I’m a punk or think backpack music is soft. I’m not gonna change my music, I’m not gonna try to out-kill you on records, but if you wanna see me tell your bodyguard to chill out, and I’ll knock you smooth out, with my backpack on. Okay then, well, is there anything else that you want to share? Peace. That’s all I want to say. I know I said I’ll fight you, but I’ll hug you too. Anger is a passing feeling, so deal with it like that. It don’t need to be handled with guns. It can be handled with your fist or a talk. I know people be thinking it’s some punk shit, but you get more pussy and get more money when things are peaceful. 99
by Maurice G. Garland
LUDACRIS RELEASE THERAPY DTP/Def Jam
YOUNG DRO BEST THANG SMOKIN’ Grand Hustle/Atlantic
METHOD MAN 4:21... THE DAY AFTER Def Jam
If there’s one thing that Ludacris has proved over the years it’s that he can rap in his sleep. Unfortunately, his larger-than-life personality has caused many to sleep on his lyrical ability. With his fifth studio album Release Therapy Luda aims to wake up the rest of the world.
After a few show-stealing cameos on P$C’s 25 To Life and T.I.’s King, Young Dro let it be known that he was not going to be looked at as a sidekick or homeboy with a record deal. His Grand Hustle debut does a good job of introducing him to the world and leaves you wanting to hear more.
The days of the world constantly asking “when is Meth dropping another album?” are long gone. Hell, the days of people saying Method Man is the best Wu-Tang member have disappeared too. The Ticallion Stallion’s latest effort 4:21…The Day After won’t bring those days back single-handedly, but it is a step in the right direction. Totally void of blatant attempts at radio and club spins, The Day After serves as an apocalyptic account of what music may sound like after people getting tired of dancing and balling. It’s how music sounded before the shiny suit era.
As usual ‘Cris opens the album with no-holds barred verbal assaults. The frantic horn-looped intro, “Warning,” has him revisiting what he did to open Back For the First Time; warning us that he’s “Like pots with the steam, I’m ready to get it cracking” and “It’s bout time they gave it to me, I’m the reigning champ, your favorite rapper went to Ludacris’ training camp,” and then following it with shit-talking from his naysayers and supporters. He keeps the energy level high on “Grew Up A Screw Up” featuring Young Jeezy. Of course there wasn’t going to be any real lyrical challenge there, but Field Mob shows up for some “mouth-to-mic resuscitation” on “Satisfaction” with Luda once again getting outdone by his newest employees. With punchlines already a strong part of a Luda’s arsenal, clever wordplay and witty one-liners are always expected. But what sets this album apart from his previous works are attempts to go from profane to profound. “Mouths to Feed” has ‘Cris talking about responsibilities like supporting his daughter, DTP staff and his artists; stressing that he is so busy that he “Can’t keep up with the news, but I get that daily paper.” He then gives some good game on “Tell It Like It Is,” telling aspiring artists about everything from shady promoters, money management, Hip Hop police and then posing the question: “All that, and this is just the start of it / Hip Hop, you really wanna be a part of it?” “War With God” has had internet chat rooms buzzing for months, but “Do Your Time,” featuring Beanie Sigel, Pimp C and C-Murder is the “it” record on this album with all four artists giving their unique experiences on the effects of jail life. A group of somber, spiritually charged songs rounds out the album. Even though the narratives on “Runaway Love” and the confessionals of “Freedom of Preach” can and should be applauded, the bottom line is that they just sound okay. Overall, Release Therapy is a strong effort that showcases Luda’s growth as an artist and writer. 102
Throughout the album, Dro proves that he is indeed an emcee equipped with charisma, unique flow, wordplay and creativity. Unfortunately, he tends to limit his colorful imagination to rapping about money, cars, clothes and hoes. At least he does it well. On “They Don’t Really Know About Dro” he attacks the track with a veteran’s swagger, telling us that “I’ma die awesomely, with grands on the top of me.” However, this opener virtually serves a blueprint for what you will hear on the rest of the album. “Man In the Trunk” has Dro spitting clever braggadocio in the form of “Polo I be dressing in, man I be damaging / Hoes be like damn that’s a mannequin.” He hits the track running on the Jazze Pha-produced and Slim Thugfeatured “You Don’t See,” spazzing out on the opening verse: “80K in Wachovia, pussy nigga phobia, I call them like a Nokia, they know I got the juice ‘cause the whip is Frutopia.” Lines like “I’m the Bankhead veteran, got ‘em taking Excedrin, suckas caught headaches when they saw me on David Letterman” make “100 Yard Dash” memorable. The same can be said about his performance on the album’s standout record, “Rubberband Banks,” when he spits, “Outerspace ballin’ put you up on astronomy / Mathematically with the pistol I do trigonometry” and “I’m a chief like an Indian, freaks are Caribbean, my feets are amphibian.” There are a good number of lyrical jewels and heart-wrenching moments on the album, but they easily get lost in the shuffle with the overabundance of car color references. One minute Dro has a “Cutlass same color of a bumblebee,” the next he has a “Jolly Rancher car.” The album also trails off towards the end with weak hooks, monotonous material and lagging production, making “Fresh” one of the only reasons to keep listening. Dro clearly has a penchant for crafty wordplay ala Raekwon and Ghostface. With a little more seasoning and direction he could easily become a top tier lyricist that could leave a lasting impact.
Meth tries to rehash memories of “All I Need” on “4Ever,” but the guest singer Megan Rochell is no Mary J. Johhny Blaze does manage to get the rapper/female singer collab correct on the somber “Say,” featuring Lauryn Hill. Sounding like two former 1990s media darlings gone bitter, Meth matches the pain in Lauryn’s voice with critic-slapping lines like “They writing that I’m Hollywood trying to tell you my shit ain’t ghetto and ain’t hardly hood / C’mon man, until you dudes can write some rhymes keep that in mind when you’re reciting mines.” On that note, Meth spits plenty of rhymes worth reciting on “Konichiwa Bitches.” He takes it up another notch when he is among his NYC peers Fat Joe and Styles P on “Ya’ Meen.” Redman makes an appearance on the Isaac Hayes-sampled “Walk On” but the cameos that you’d expect to the most prolific still might have you pushing the skip button. Raekwon and RZA come through on “Presidential M.C.” for some darkside Hip Hop that only the Shaolin can produce, however the song is more forgettable than it is nostalgic. The same goes for the lackluster O.D.B. (R.I.P.) assisted “Dirty Mef.” But “Everything” featuring Streetlife and Inspectah Deck serves as a good rebound.
4:21 is far from perfect. While Meth’s bitter attitude can be understood, it gets tiresome at times (at least he isn’t blaming the South for everything). But it is safe to say that this is Meth’s rawest work since Tical. So clubhoppers and radio drones, steer clear of this album unless you’re looking to change your musical diet.
by Maurice G. Garland
LUPE FIASCO FOOD & LIQUOR Atlantic
TOO $HORT BLOW THE WHISTLE Jive
The best thing about Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor is exactly what the album title suggests: balance. Not the typical “for the ladies and thugs” type of balance either, but the honest kind.
Todd Shaw is a grown ass man who does grown man shit, and his sixteenth album, Blow the Whistle, proves it. Just when you thought these Young and Lil’ whippersnappers and trappers mastered the art of spitting dirty raps, Short Dog comes through and gives a clinic.
He opens the album with the Earth, Wind & Fire-sounding “Real” where he speaks with a action-reaction tone, dropping proverbs like, “Lust…sometimes can override trust, she said that’s why she gave it up” and “Struggle…another sign that God loves you, ‘cause being poor also teaches you how to hustle.” Lupe continues to keep it real, and fair, on “Hurt Me Soul” where he admits that he didn’t understand why rappers used the word “bitch” until he listened to his first Too $hort, revealing “Omitting the word bitch, cursing I wouldn’t say it / Me and dog couldn’t relate until a bitch I dated / Forgive my favorite word for hers and hers alike / But I learned it from a song I heard and sorta liked.” However, the whiz kid isn’t as understanding on the Jill Scott assisted “Daydreamin’” where he lets his imagination run wild, eventually lambasting some of his musical peers by mocking a video director who instructs them to “Make cocaine cool, we need a couple more half-naked women in the pool / And hold this mac-10 that’s all covered in jewels and can you please put your titties closer to the 22s.” He stays on the tear, picking an even bigger fight with the explosive “American Terrorist” where he gives a pretty accurate account of the U.S.A.’s strong arm tactics to remain the world’s superpower by going to smaller countries to “Break them off with a little democracy, turn their whole culture into a mockery / Give them Coca-Cola for their property.” Even though Lupe is well-versed with current events, it’s his colorful imagination that put this album over the top, and if your not careful, over your head. On “He Say She Say” he approaches the fatherless household subject from a different angle, writing the verses in the forms of letters from both the mother and the child, urging the deadbeat dad to “give him a chance.” The storytelling on songs like “The Cool” where a dead drug dealer digs himself out of his grave to try to return to the same game that sent him there is literally and figuratively unbelievable. But right when you think Lupe, who doesn’t use any profanity in his lyrics, is holier than thou, he comes back down to earth on “Just Might Be Okay” where he tells us “I ain’t Cornel West, I am Cornel Westside.” There are virtually no missteps on this album musically or lyrically. The only thing that might get on your nerves is Pharell’s faux falsetto on “Sunshine,” but Lupe’s talent and a guest appearance from Jay-Z (who is also the album’s executive producer) on “Pressure” eradicates that. This album definitely lives up to the hype.
The album starts off with bang, better yet, a bitch on “Call Her A Bitch.” In under four minutes, $hort says his favorite word approximately 111 times. However, the word isn’t just thrown around as he insists that “bitch ain’t nothing but a word to me” and gives definitions like “a bitch is once a month funky cock bleeding bitch who falls in love but she won’t stop cheating / Real dumb with low self esteem, fuck a nigga she just met and won’t be able to see him.” (Later in the album he changes the subject, and word, on the Jazze Pha-produced “Hoes” featuring Bun B.) $hort continues to give the world what they want from him with “Pimpin’ Forever” featuring Big Zak. A usual laid-back Short sounds at home flowing faster than usual over Jazze’s hi-hats, balancing his chest-beating with straight-faced quips like “Your father told you to stay away from me, and now you gotta call me Daddy / Look into my eyes and say you understand me, ‘cause now I’m your family.” He gives more in-your-face challenges along with David Banner on “Baller,” where the duo floats over guitars and synths encouraging listeners and spitting pure game that can be used by anyone with caviar dreams and champagne wishes. He even goes as far as to give props to the non-bitches on “Sophisticated” where he opens eyes with lyrics like “Ya’ll thought Too $hort was just all about pimpin’, foul-mouthed mack who talk bad about women / I guess you ain’t really pay attention, you heard bitch and cut it off, you ain’t even listen / All I said was if the shoe fits wear it, and if it don’t apply act like you didn’t hear it.” But that’s where the R-rated $hort stops and the XXX-rated Dog begins. Jazze Pha’s opening monologue and hook alone on “Nothing Feels Better” is enough to make you cover your mouth in either shock or disgust, so $hort’s sexcapades serve as overkill. “Money Maker” featuring Pimp C and Rick Ross and “Strip Down” pretty much speak to the same strip club element with the only difference being that Lil Jon produced the former, and Jazze Pha the latter. Those two songs pretty much make “Shake It Baby” instantly forgettable. Overall, this is a well-produced album even though it’s a Lil Jon vs. Jazze Pha show (they did 12 of 16 tracks). There is little to no Bay Area influence, except for “I Want Your Girl” featuring Mistah F.A.B. and Dollar Will. Uncharacteristically, Blow the Whistle has a gang of cameos. Some are decent (“Keep Bouncing” feat. Will. I.Am and Snoop Dogg), others are just eh, (“Sadity” featuring Tha Dogg Pound). While it would have been nice to get more songs like “I Wanna Be Free” or “The Ghetto” being that $hort is one of the game’s most mature artists, this album is enough to make you look forward to album 17.
unclelukelive Venue: Club Code Location: Tampa, FL Date: September 12th, 2006 Photo: Luis Santana
Venue: Club 238 West Location: Gainesville, FL Date: September 9th, 2006 Photo: Malik Abdul
Venue: AT&T Center Location: San Antonio, TX Event: 98.5 The Beat Bash Date: August 13th, 2006 Photo: Luxury Mindz
youngdrolive Venue: Club Crucial Location: Atlanta, GA Event: The CORE DJs Retreat Atlantic Records party Date: August 18th, 2006 Photo: Julia Beverly
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