CZAR NOK Cincinnati is ranked one of the most dangerous cities in the country. Why do you think that is? The poverty. Niggas is going crazy here. It’s fucked up. I think that’s the main reason why niggas are going crazy, trying to get money. White folks ain’t giving you jobs, for real. I mean, it is opportunities, it just depends on the life you live. I’ve got more niggas that’s on some other shit here. How did the two of you link up? Jimmy Haze: Me and ‘Nok was just doing our own thing out here, dibbling and dabbling in the studio and trying to get money. We just knew each other from the streets. Why did you choose the name Czar Nok? Jimmy Haze: You know, I’m the Czar, and he’s Nok. We was really just tryin’ to make people step up their game, cause we ain’t really simple cats. We really complex balling. It’s like space age, futuristic, as far as the mentality not the physical aspect of things. Like I said, we complex. We doing a lot of powerful things and I just think it’s powerful how we putting it together. How did you start out grinding in the game? Just knowing that it ain’t simple. When you get out there, you can’t expect nobody else to get out there and get your shine on for you. It’s hands-on out here in the streets. You’re not gonna get paid by staying in the house and not getting outside. It’s the same thing, if you’ve got CDs out there you gotta stay on the road and pass out flyers, CDs, and perform. You gotta stay on it. We started off selling CDs ourselves for $5. I sold a CD to Los Vegas for $10, and now he’s my CEO.
around, we talked to Universal and Def Jam and Capitol. We just took the best situation for LocDown. We had the contacts, we were having meetings with everybody. We moved with Capitol cause they cut that check the fastest. Are you happy with the way Capitol has handled your project? They don’t know what to do with some niggas that’s really trying to have some longevity in the game. They just tryin’ to go pop straight out the gate. They ain’t tryin’ to give us time to build. They’re making mistakes, and it’s costing us. They wanna just come out the gate with a crazy pop record so we can sell three million records. They don’t really know about the grind. You gotta grind. These street records start in the clubs. They’re trying to start out at radio. To sell three million you gotta have that shit in the streets and you gotta grind with these DJs. All these DJ pools we’ve been hitting are important. That’s what you gotta fuck with. They just wanna fuck with radio. Have you tried to sit down and have that conversation with them? You’ve got people in the building that know what we’re talking about, but the people that’s supposed to press the buttons ain’t listening... - Julia Beverly For the rest of this interview, check out the February issue of OZONE Magazine at www.OZONEMAG.com.
How did your label LocDown get a major deal with Capitol? We had contacts like Kanye West, before he was really Kanye West. We had him and all the big boys in the industry that are in the game out here now, like Bun B. So we had always been growing. Los Vegas introduced us to the game and let us do our thing. We had undergrounds in the streets before we came out, so a lot of people know about the song we did with Bun B on a Kanye West track. We were shopping OZONE
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