Los Vegas, CEO of Cincinnati-based LocDown Records, is responsible for acts like Czar-Nok (signed to Capitol Records) and Big Neil. Before you started the record label LocDown Records, what were you doing? I had a construction company, because my family was into construction. I still own the construction company, and various other businesses. What led you to start LocDown? Little homies from my neighborhood. My brother used to rap, so I started getting into it for that reason, just trying to help my brother out. We started snatching up other artists and put some of our extra money to work. Does your brother still rap? Nah, we got more into the business end of things. He runs Hustle Tight Management now; we’ve got other artists besides LocDown artists Czar-Nok and Big Neil. What are the similarities between the construction business and music? You’ve gotta put in a lot of hard work in construction, and you’ve gotta put in a lot of hard work in music. In construction you’ve gotta be able to manage people, so I guess that carried over and helped me on the music end. Is there anything else you learned in construction that’s helped you in the music game? You’ve gotta be straight-up with people. I don’t talk around the bush, you know, I’m all business. I don’t like small talk. In construction, there ain’t no small talk. I get right down to business, and that’s it. I think that’s what carried over to my music. So many people in music are phony, but I’m straight to the point. What made you want to sign Czar Nok? They had a different type of style coming from Cincinnati. A lot of young rappers out of Cincinnati was sounding too East coast for me, but Czar Nok just had the total package. I loved the way they could put songs together, and their work ethic.
What about Big Neil? I could feel everything Big Neil talked about. I come from Zone 15, Lincoln Heights, and being from the streets I could feel everything Big Neil was talking about. He’s just what the streets want right now. How did you get the deal with Capitol for Czar Nok? A lot of people wanted Czar Nok. I wanted to be totally independent, like Cash Money, but signing with Capitol helped me learn a lot more of the game. Are you happy with Capitol’s handling of your project? Capitol don’t know how to work a record if it ain’t pop. Chingy, that’s what they want. They don’t know how to work nothing else. The people sitting up in the offices are the wrong people. It’s a whole bunch of white people behind desks trying to tell you something, and they’ve never been in the streets or at the club. That’s not a good relationship, especially when you know your project and how to work it. So it’s frustrating for you. Yeah, very frustrating. And when Chingy did 3 million records on his first album and only went gold on his second album, that proved it. They thought they knew what they was doing, but they don’t. They have some good people over there, but the top people don’t know what they’re doing. Are you planning on putting out Big Neil’s project independently? I wanna get Big Neil to the point like Baby and them did with Cash Money. I wanna do everything ourselves so that if somebody comes in and offers money, it’s cool. But aside from money, what can they offer you? They don’t know nothing. What’s the similarities between Cincinnati and Detroit? Detroit and Cincinnati have a similar vibe. A lot of people from Detroit migrate down to Dayton and Cincinnati. They call Dayton “baby Detroit.” It’s nice. It’s smaller than Detroit but about the same. - Julia Beverly
Ozone Mag Super Bowl 2006 special edition