MINI SUPER BOWL 2006 SPECIAL EDITION
CHAMILLIONAIRE BUSTA RHYMES MOBB DEEP CZAR NOK BIG NEIL SAIGON HI-TEK B.G.
DEM FRANCHIZE BOYZ & MORE
WELCOME TO DETROIT
MINI SUPER BOWL 2006 SPECIAL EDITION
DEM FRANCHIZE BOYZ BUSTA RHYMES TRICK TRICK MOBB DEEP CZAR NOK BIG NEIL SAIGON HI-TEK B.G.
CHAMILLIONAIRE WELCOME TO DETROIT
MINI SUPER BOWL 2006 SPECIAL EDITION
CHAMILLIONAIRE CHAMILLIONAIRE BUSTA BUSTARHYMES RHYMES TRICK TRICKTRICK TRICK MOBB MOBBDEEP DEEP CZAR CZARNOK NOK BIG NEIL BIGNEIL HI-TEK HI-TEK B.G. B.G.
DEM FRANCHIZE BOYZ WELCOME TO DETROIT
PUBLISHER/EDITOR: Julia Beverly OPERATIONS MANAGER: Gary LaRochelle MARKETING & PROMOTIONS: Malik “Highway” Abdul ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Matt Sonzala MUSIC EDITOR: Maurice G. Garland
COVER STORIES Trick Trick pg A22-25 Chamillionaire pg A14-17 Dem Franchize Boyz pg B16-19
CONTRIBUTORS: Destine Cajuste, Jeremy Deputat, Jessica Koslow, Ray Tamarra, Rohit Loomba, Trina Edwards, TT To subscribe, send check or money order for $11 to: 1516 E. Colonial Dr. Suite 205 Orlando, FL 32803 Phone: 407-447-6063 Fax: 407-447-6064 Web: www.ozonemag.com Cover credits: Trick Trick photo by Jeremy Deputat; Chamillionaire photo by Matt Sonzala; Dem Franchize Boyz photo by Barry Underhill; Saigon photo by Ray Tamarra. 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.
DJ PROFILES DJ Don Q pg A8 DJ Babe pg A10 FEATURES Detroit Map pg A13 Event Listings pg A12 Photo Galleries pg A9-11,B5 INTERVIEWS Busta Rhymes pg A18-19 Czar Nok pg A20-21 LocDown Records pg B4 Saigon pg B6-7 Hi-Tek pg B8-9 B.G. pg B10-11 Big Neil pg B12-13 Mobb Deep pg B14-15 Cash Out pg B20-21
can you play a party?” I set it up for them to come see me play, but they never made it through so I was mad. I was like, “I’ll come to wherever you’re at.” I went to the club the station was doing at the time and got to do the last hour, after the live broadcast ended, and I killed it. They hired me right after that, and I’ve been at WJLB ever since. That was about five years ago.
DJ DON Q How did you get interested in DJing? I just love hip-hop. I got into DJing after seeing Jam Master Jay back in the days. I wanted to be just like him. I wanted to be the guy that controlled the party, the absolute center of attention. How did you get your first set of turntables? I saved up my money like crazy, doing little odd jobs and everything. I bought all the wrong stuff. I had no guidance; nobody told me what to buy so I used to go buy garbage belt-driven turntables. I kept trying to practice with them, though. When did you realize DJing was something you wanted to pursue as a career? About three years ago I decided to take it real seriously. I looked at all the DJs in the area, and I was like, “These guys aren’t really that good.” I realized I could just take over if I wanted to. At the time, rave parties were real big in Detroit. I entered a DJ battle, and a guy went up to the head of WJLB’s mixshow department Kim James and was like, “The guy that wins this battle is the one you should hire.” They were looking for somebody at the time. I wont he battle, and he was like, “Okay, you can battle, but can you make me a CD?” So I made him a tape and sent him the tape. He was like, “Okay, you can make a tape, but
What’s the hot spots to visit in Detroit for Super Bowl weekend? It’s gonna be so many parties. It’s hard to narrow it down. I’ll be doing a club I’ve been doing for the past five years, St. Andrews. On Friday nights it’s a good place to come in and have fun when you just wanna throw caution to the wind and act a fool. Everybody’s gonna be having a party, so just come up to Detroit and try to soak up as much culture as you can. Detroit is a different place, just the attitudes and the way we dress and the way we talk, everything is completely different. Detroit is so different. It was techno city for years, so we have a strong house and techno influence on everything. That’s just one part. Then you have your street guys, and some backpack-type rappers. It’s so many different styles here. Who are some of the hottest local groups in Detroit? Definitely Rock Bottom, they’re on a street vibe. The guys from the Street Lordz Chedda Boyz too. On the R&B side we’ve got cats like Ray Ray and a young lady named Melanie Rutherford. And you’ve always got Slum Village out there making noise for the underground hip-hop scene. Do you think Detroit is influenced more by the East, West, or South? Two years ago it was more East coast, but it seems like we have more of a West coast influence these last few years. It seems like guys have been trying to develop their own style these days. I wouldn’t categorize us as anything. You can tell that everybody’s experimenting and trying to find something that fits Detroit. Are you affiliated with any DJ crews? I’m affiliated with a lot of crews, like the Violator All-Star DJs, the Hittmenn DJs, and the Shadyville DJs. I like networking with other DJs and seeing what’s going on in their cities; learning different styles. I’m a turntablist, so I’m always trying to learn a new style from other DJs. I get to go learn something new and take it back to my hood. I’m constantly a student of the game. - Julia Beverly
NYC PHOTO GALLERY: 01: DMX and Chad Elliott (Sony Urban) at DMX’s Press Conference at Sony Studios 02: Dedan Kasimu (Blow), D Prosper (G-Unit), and Agullah (Purple City) at Swagger’s Meet-N-Greet 03: DMX and Swizz Beatz at DMX’s Signing To Sony Urban Press Conference at Sony Studios 04: Guest, Adolfo Vasquez (AV2 Solutions), and Chad Elliott (Sony Urban) at DMX’s Signing To Sony Urban Press Conference at Sony Studios 05: Edwin Holmes and Cardan at Mashonda’s Birthday Party at Cain 06: Elle Castro (Allhiphop.com), Kim Osorio (BET), and Thomas Golianopoulos (BET) at DMX’s Press Conference at Sony Studios 07: Vlad Charles (Rush Philanthropic) and Chad Falconer (Phat Farm Kids) at Mashonda’s Birthday Party at Cain 08: Too Short at BET’s 106 & Park Taping at CBS Studios NYC 09: Spliff Starr at BET’s 106 & Park Taping at CBS Studios NYC 10: Dee Dean (Ruff Ryders) at DMX’s Signing To Sony Urban Press Conference at Sony Studios NYC 11: Monique Blake (Full Surface) and Swizz Beatz at Mashonda’s Birthday Party at Cain NYC 12: Ernie Paniccioli and James Koe Rodriguez at Swagger’s Meet-N-Greet
Photos courtesy of Ray Tamarra from TheCrusade.net
to broadcasting school instead and got my certificate because I just wanted to be on the radio. When I finally got on the radio, just to be real, there was people doing payola and a lot of behind-the-scenes bullshit. I wasn’t with it, and they were really controlling the records that I played. It damn sure wasn’t what I had envisioned as a kid. To top it off, I wasn’t making no money. I was doing more in the streets and my name was good from the other stuff that I was doing, so radio just wasn’t for me. The people that were working there were on some straight bullshit.
DJ BABE Are you from Detroit? Nah, I’m originally from Pittsburgh, so you know who I’m going for in the Super Bowl. When did you decide to start DJing? When I was a kid I used to go down to Pittsburgh, and they were bigger on hiphop than Detroit was at the time. I started breakdancing, and I went to Pittsburgh in the summer of 1984 and they were filming a movie with DJ Melle Mel. He was the first person that I saw actually mix live. I came back home and told my mama, “I need two turntables and a mixer.” She was like, “Boy, I ain’t buyin’ you no damn turntables.” She ended up buying me one turntable and a mixer. I got the other one for Christmas and I’ve been doing it ever since then. Are you on the radio in Detroit? I had a radio show on WJLB on Friday and Saturdays, but I quit. I didn’t get fired, like people think. I quit the radio station and started doing guest mixes on various stations all over the country. I did shows with both XM and Sirius satellite radio. Why did you quit the station? At the time when I was growing up, WJLB was the only urban station that we had. I really wanted to be on the radio. When I came out of high school I had the money to go to college and I got accepted, but I went 10
What’s the hot spots to visit in Detroit for Super Bowl weekend? You might wanna hit up Fairline Mall, or if you’ve got some real money you might wanna go to Somerset Mall or Great Lakes Crossing. As far as the club scene, there’s so much stuff going on for Super Bowl that it’s hard to say who’s gonna pop and who’s gonna flop. In Detroit this is really the first time we’ve had something on this scale. There’s so much going on it’s hard to say what’s the place to be. Puffy has a party February 3rd, Shady Records has a party which is gonna be off the chain on February 4th, John Legend and the Fugees are performing on February 3rd, and there’s a Kanye West concert on February 2nd. Who are some of the hot local artists in Detroit? You’ve got a guy named Tone-Tone who’s signed to Jazze Pha, he’s got a nice buzz here. Big Kirk sold a lot of records independently. Teairra Mari is signed to Def Jam, and she’s from Detroit. What’s your relationship with Shady? There’s a lot of guys from Shady that I’m cool with. I’ve known Proof for over ten years, and when I used to DJ the open mics Obie Trice would come through. These guys were all involved in the rap scene locally for years, so when they got on and got their deals we stayed friends and just look out for each other. You’ve dropped a couple mixtapes with them, right? Yeah, the mixtapes are available through websites like www.mixtapemakers.com or stores around here. I’m working on a project with Obie called The Reintroduction. How’s Obie doing after getting shot? Obie’s good. He’s still Obie. Thankfully it wasn’t a major wound that held him down. He’s back to doing what he does. - Julia Beverly
NYC PHOTO GALLERY: 01: Bonsu Thompson (XXL/Eye Candy) and Kamillah Brock (Ave. Magazine) at Mashonda’s Birthday Party at Cain NYC 02: New Ruff Ryder artist My My at DMX’s Signing To Sony Urban Press Conference at Sony Studios NYC 03: Waah Dean (Ruff Ryders), Swizz Beatz, and Dee Dean (Ruff Ryders) 04: Drag-on at DMX’s Signing To Sony Urban Press Conference at Sony Studios NYC 05: Suga Jay and Cardan at Mashonda’s Birthday Party at Cain NYC 06: DJ Mos and DJ Will at Mashonda’s Birthday Party at Cain NYC 07: Big Tigger (BET) at BET’s 106 & Park Taping at CBS Studios NYC 08: Mashonda and Swizz Beatz at Mashonda’s Birthday Party at Cain NYC 09: T.I. at Mashonda’s Birthday Party at Cain NYC 10: Fabolous. at Mashonda’s Birthday Party at Cain NYC 11: Bobby Brown at Mashonda’s Birthday Party at Cain NYC 12: Spliff Starr and Busta Rhymes at BET’s 106 & Park Taping at CBS Studios NYC
Photos courtesy of Ray Tamarra from TheCrusade.net
SUPER BOWL 2006 EVENT LISTING Tuesday, January 31st, 2006 - Shady Kick Off party @ Bookie’s Tavern
Wednesday, February 1st, 2006 - New York vs. Chicago & The Comedy Bar @ The Detroit Historical Museum - Legendary Night hosted by Magic Johnson - The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Thursday, February 2nd, 2006 - Slim Thug/DJ Babe @ Club Visions - Fashion Comedy Style @ Pistons Hoop City Grille - The Grapevine Film Series Presented by Ciroc @ Hoop City Grille - Pepsi Smash At Super Bowl XL Starring Kanye West - State Theatre - Superbowl Kickoff Party - Posh Nightclub - The Perfect Party Honoring the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the only NFL team with a perfect season - Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History - Fight Night @ the Fisher - Dre Bly Party @ Half Past Three - Jerome Bettis Super Bowling Extravaganza @ Majestic’s Garden Bowl
Friday February 3rd, 2006 - DJ Babe will be at Clutch Cargo - Super Comedy Show I @ the Millennium Centre - Runners of the Game @ The New Detroit Science Center - Uncle Luke @ The Belle Isle Casino - Ciara & LL Cool J @ The Opera House - The Rap Bowl @ The Palace of Auburn Hills with DTP, Young Jeezy, Twista, Juelz Santana & Juvenile - Diddy, Jeezy & Bun B @ Captains Bar & Grille - Diddy’s “Cashmere Luxe” Party @ Elysium Lounge - Unplugged Super Bowl Weekend: Live Jam Session featuring The Fugees, John Legend, Slum Village and More @ Clutch Cargo - Magic Johnson VIP Party @ Posh Nightclub - Super Bowl Gospel presents Patti LaBelle & friends @ the Masonic Temple Theatre
Saturday, February 4th, 2006 - Shady Records at the State Theater w/ 50 Cent, G-Unit, D12, Obie Trice & Stat Quo - DJ Babe will be at Seldom Blues for the Ebony Magazine Pathfinders Awards - Player’s Gala feat. DJ Kid Capri @ The New Detroit Science Center - Terrell Owens @ Envy - Gridiron Glamour 2006 @the Ritz Carlton - Unplugged Super Bowl Weekend: The Evening of Magic, Fashion and Passion hosted by Magic Johnson - Clutch Cargo - The Gucci Party @ Posh Nightclub - Gridiron Celebrity Hoops NFL players & celebri-
ties @ the University of Detroit - Terrell Owens’ Super Bowl party @ Club Envy - Leather & Laces Party @ Royal Oak Music Theatre - Groove Detroit: Art in Motion @ Ford Conference & Event Center - Gridiron Glamour @ Ritz-Carlton
Sunday, February 5th, 2006 - Gospel Comedy Brunch @ The Upper Room - DJ Babe will be at Clutch Cargo - Unplugged Super Bowl Weekend: Post Game Party @ Clutch Cargo - 8th Annual Players Gala W/ KEM @ Elysium Lounge 313-962-2244 - Pampered Party Bowl @ 4731 Gallery
PARTIAL CLUB LISTING ELYSIUM LOUNGE 625 SHELBY AVE DETROIT, MI 48214 PLATINUM LOUNGE / (313) 342-7944 14541 W 8 MILE RD DETROIT, MI 48235 CLUB CELEBRITY / (313) 934-0422 14421 PLYMOUTH RD DETROIT, MI 48227 CLUB GOLD COAST / (313) 366-6135 2971 E 7 MILE RD DETROIT, MI 48234 CLUB VISIONS / (313) 365-8088 6570 E DAVISON ST HAMTRAMCK, MI 48212 COBO JOE’S BAR / (313) 965-0840 422 W CONGRESS ST LBBY DETROIT, MI 48226 ENVY INC / (313) 962-3689 234 W LARNED ST DETROIT, MI 48226 TOYA’S SPOT / (313) 491-7768 14906 SCHAEFER HWY DETROIT, MI 48227 TRENCH TOWN / (313) 831-8552 3919 WOODWARD AVE DETROIT, MI 48201 TRUMPS / (313) 592-1190 21413 W 8 MILE RD DETROIT, MI 48219 X S / (313) 963-9797 1500 WOODWARD AVE DETROIT, MI 48226 - More info hit StreetSmasher@tmail.com
DETROIT METRO MAP / SUPER BOWL 2006
A a Y a th v m h w m w v h s re
H s I m ta s Iâ€™ to s U lo th li T s is s h
W p fo M k m M g to c o e ti w c a K m in th w 14
CHAMILLIONAIRE Are you happy with the response to your album so far? Sales & otherwise? Yes, I’m very happy. I’m officially a gold artist, and I’m confident enough to believe that I’ll go platinum with The Sound of Revenge. A lot of people would’ve bet against me before my album came out if I would have told them that my single “Turn It Up” would be top 10 on the nationwide rhythmic charges with over 5,000 spins, or that I would sell this many records, or be on two video games, or have one of the top-selling hip-hop ringtones. I feel that I put out a very strong first album that’s still getting good response from fans. How do you feel about the promotion/ support given to your project thus far? I just play the cards how they are dealt to me. I have learned a lot from my past mistakes, and I don’t cry over spilled milk. I signed the deal with Universal and I feel like I’m making the money that I’m supposed to be making and calling the shots that I’m supposed to be calling. I am content with Universal’s push because they’ve done a lot with my project that I have never seen them do with other projects. So I do feel like they are giving me their full attention. The way the game is designed, when you sell a good amount of records your label is on your side. I haven’t seen their enthusiasm die down at all so I’m thankful to be having this run that I am having now. Who are some of the other artists (rappers or otherwise) that you would credit for having influence on your career? Musically, it would be Jay-Z, Tupac, Outkast, and UGK. I used to listen to all the music that Death Row, No Limit, and Cash Money came out with. UGK is my favorite group. I know I’m not there yet, but I hope to craft myself into the type of artist that can make timeless music like that. Their old songs still sound so authentic and relevant today. They came into the game at a time when the game was pure and people weren’t as worried about making carboncopy, radio-friendly singles for their labels and fans. When I was recording my album Killer Mike & The Beat Bullies were givin’ me a lot of good game with music and life in general. Shout out to everybody over there at Purple Ribbon in ATL. There are always a lot of good vibes comin’ out of that
place and seems like everyone over there is very genuine and humble. Now that you’re a “mainstream” artist, is there anything that surprised you about life in the limelight? Or did everything turn out the way you thought it would? When it comes to the life of a rapper nothing really surprises me. I’m a young man with an old soul that has been through a lot so I just accept this rap life for what it is. If you’re reading this and you’re wondering what the life of a rapper is like it’s everything you think magnified by 10 when you’re successful. One minute you could be at the awards partying with every rich and famous rapper and actor you admired growin’ up and the next minute you could be getting’ sued by everybody who wants to bring you down. The ups can be really high and the downs can be really low. You have to have a strong mind because a lot of people crack under pressure. I still have not grasped it yet because nothing seems real. When you leave the lights of the MGM Grand or Hollywood and go right back to your people at home that didn’t see it, everything you went through kinda seems like a dream cause all that will disappear when you’re not the man. Why did you choose “Ridin’ Dirty” as your second single? It was getting the best immediate response after my album dropped. It was a record that was a little closer to who I am. I feel like I’m in my own skin when I hear that record, cause that’s me, and a lot of real-life people can associate with that. Krayzie ripped the verse and Play & Skillz ripped the track. It’s getting a very good response at radio and in the streets, so it looks like I made a good choice. I love working with the underdog anyways, because I’ve always been in that position and people on the other side was overlooking me. Do you think it’ll help bring Bone Thugs N Harmony back into the game? They’re gonna be in the game whenever they wanna be in the game. Chamillionaire can’t make or break Bone Thugs, because they’re international superstars and that’s the level I’m trying to get to. They’re living legends, really. I think they have a lot of big, big stuff goin’ on right now, but they’re kinda keeping it to themselves until they’re ready to let the world know. Me and Krayzie just shot the video and then they’re leaving to go shoot another Biggie video, so they’re gonna get it regardless. I think they were OZONE
just handling some family business and now they’re ready to come out and play. Why did you film the video for “Ridin’ Dirty” in Dallas instead of Houston? Throughout my whole mixtape career Dallas, Ft. Worth, and Arlington showed me the most love out of any other area. I started pushing so many mixtapes out there in the Metroplex that I couldn’t keep up with the demand. I shot my last video in Houston, so this time I decided to show love back to another city that had been treating me like a king. I sold a lot of records out there and every time I go back they always treat me like family. A lot of Houston artists run with their own clique. Do you look at yourself as the solo/renegade/loner artist out of Houston? Do you prefer it that way? It may seem like I’m just off in my own world but I get love from most of the groups in Houston and vice versa. Some others do act confused about me, but I don’t see what’s so confusing about me minding my own business and keeping to myself. We’re in the music business, and a lot of times people are really only friends with you when it’s good business for them to be friends with you. I don’t talk on the phone or party with people as much as someone else
would because I’m just tryin’ to stay sane in this crazy business. I don’t care about who said what to who, or who doesn’t like who, so it ain’t much to talk about unless we gettin’ money together. I’m a serious workaholic. Some people take that the wrong way like I don’t mess with them, but really it’s because I have real-life morals and not rap world morals. I could see how people could look at it that way because at the end of the day what I’m pushin’ is me and my own. Much respect and love to everybody else, but last time I checked there wasn’t another clique or group that went out of their way to see that my bills get paid. I been standin’ on my own two feet for a while and that has made me a stronger individual. Have things cooled down in your “beef” with Mike Jones and Paul Wall? Yeah. Congrats to Mike. Congrats to Paul. Congrats to me. Everybody is doin’ well, and I’m not just sayin’ that to be politically correct for this interview. If I didn’t mean it, I wouldn’t say it. The instigators have died down, even though a lot of the fan feuding hasn’t. I’m just glad I can focus on being a good artist now. Rap beef just seems so stupid nowadays no matter how personal it is. I don’t even wanna hear the word competition anymore. I don’t think about what he or she is doin’. I’m in a different zone right now and just wanna make music that I like.
On the set of Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’ Dirty” video shoot in Dallas, TX:
Cham with Bone Thugs
Big Tuck, Play & Skillz, and Cham
Cham with his brother Rasaq
Cham with Tiny Lister a.k.a. D-Bo
Are you surprised that Mike Jones is cutting ties with Swishahouse? Nope. Not at all. I guess some people thought I was lying when I said that he told me he was gonna build his own and leave the House. I wasn’t sayin’ that because I thought I was psychic. Everybody was running around sayin’ I was a liar. Since I first met him he said he was gonna do that, and since they first met him he was showin’ it, so I don’t see why anyone would be surprised. A long time ago Watts told me he was gonna rebuild the Swishahouse with new members. I didn’t think it was a good idea and didn’t think he was gonna do it but I respect him for pullin’ it off. Watts will probably make it work again.
I went to his shop about a year ago and was surprised at the custom vehicle work he could do. I gave him a bike to work on and he chameleon-painted it and chromed the entire bike and gave it back to me with my logo and face airbrushed in it. He was the first person I would see ridin’ around on custom candy and 26-inch rims with Lambourghini doors. He turned trucks into dooleys and cars into sedans. He customized and painted the candy red El Dorado that I bought that was in the “Turn It Up” video, and a drop top Fury that I got also. I got down with him on the car thing and now I’m just tryin’ to help a good dude take something that I feel could be big to the next level.
Do you think you and Paul Wall will ever make peace and record a song together, a la Jay-Z and Nas? We are at peace. I would rather hear JayZ and Nas’s duo songs, though. No Cham and Paul songs. That chapter in my life is dead. I seriously mean that.
Are there any other outside projects – shoe deals, clothing lines – you’re working on that we should know about? The Sound of Revenge is in stores! The Chopped and Screwed OG Ron C version is in stores also. Look out for Mixtape Messiah 2 and the Rasaq Reloaded mixtape. Let me get some more record sales first and I’ll start talking about all that other stuff later. Fans can check out www.myspace.com/ chamillionaire for all my tour updates.
Tell us about the car shop that you coown that was featured in the video for “Ridin’ Dirty.” My partner Big E is the brains behind Fly Rides. He’s been doing his thing in Houston for a while, but he’s an underdog. He does a lot but people just wasn’t seeing it.
- Julia Beverly (Photos: Matt Sonzala)
Fly Rides Big Tuck of DSR
BUSTA RHYMES Why did you cut off your locks? It was time. It was a 3-4 hour process to do my hair. I was getting tired of that shit. I couldn’t do it myself. I always had to fly somebody in that did my shit the way I liked it, put them up in a hotel, plane ticket. That shit was $1,500-2,000. Then you got to pay them to do the hair. Then it’s 3-4 hours because you got to wash the hair in sections because it’s getting so long. You can’t just wash the whole shit. You got to wash the bottom part of the dread and the middle part of the dread and the top part of the dread and then the scalp. Then you got to dry the muthafucker. Then you got to twist the dread. Then you got to braid it up, put it in a style. Then you got to grease the scalp. It was like 3-4 hours. I couldn’t sit there and take it no more. There’s too much going on in the day for me to be losing that much time out of my business day to maintain what my hair should look like. This shit is taking longer than a broad to do her shit. The energy wasn’t feeling right no more. I got tired. This hair is reminding me of a lot of shit that I done got past. I ain’t in that space no more. It was like, old skin on a fucking reptile that sheds. I had to shed. I got a lot of good happening now so I’d rather re-grow my shit while this good is happening so I can trap all this good energy in my head and carry that shit around. I’m going to grow it back eventually. Not right now, cause I like the breeze in my shit. You’re also more muscular these days. I like to stay in shape. It’s something I always did here and there because the energy on the stage is such an intense one that your cardio got to be right. Your stamina got to be right cause I like to shit on whoever I’m performing with. If we’re performing with somebody you’re not doing a better show than me. I don’t give a fuck what million dollar set you have, I’m going to smash you. That’s the goal that I always try to fulfill personally. We would always work out but it was never to the intense level that I started doing lately. I guess I had a lot of time off recording this album. Three years recording. I never sat out the game this long and it was sort of driving me crazy. I occupy myself with productive things so I don’t drive myself crazy. I do shit that’s going to tire me out. Living in the studio, going to the gym, that shit consumes my energy enough to
where I’m content with that if I do it enough. I like to be out. I always put an album out every year. I wasn’t used to not having a record out for 2-3 years. I’m sitting around watching muthafuckers getting money, headlining big venues, doing all these big tour dates and I’m the sideline mothafucker just looking and shit. But I was able to comfortably take the back seat, which was real good for me because financially to make money you got to spend money. So when you go and do these shows you got to pay entourages, staff members. You breaking off a lot of people while you getting your bread. This time around I didn’t need to do that. So I was stockpiling a lot of money. I was able to still go out and see things and enjoy things and treat myself to being around shit that I could learn from and know how to outdo when it was my turn again. The gym was one of those things. The time spent in the studio was another one of them things. Being able to sit back and focus and analyze how the game was transitioning was another one of them things. It helped me learn how to reapply myself when it was time for me. So now is that time. I’m going to come back and show niggas a thing or two. What’s been going on since you left J Records and signed with Aftermath? I’ve just been making my album. I left J Records, which was one of the best things I ever did. Clive is an amazing man. His establishment is just horrible when it comes to hip-hop music. He’s a genius for music but not hip-hop music. I hope he can fix that because he got some incredible shit over there as far as hip-hop is concerned. If he provides a little more a nourishment and a support system and a fueling and food that people could feel good about running around championing that shit on a hip-hop level, it could help a lot of dudes over there. After leaving them I just been taking time off, enjoying the family. I never had the chance to do that, rushing projects out every year. I gave a lot of time to my kids and myself, trying to take better care of myself, getting more sleep, going to the gym, eating better. I ain’t never made an album and took this long to do it. I was able to experiment and try a million things that I always wanted to and couldn’t..... - Jessica Koslow (Photo: Ray Tamarra) For the rest of this interview, check out the April issue of OZONE Magazine at www.OZONEMAG.com. OZONE
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
So you’re born and raised in Detroit, huh? Yep. Born and raised. When most people think of Detroit, Eminem is the first rapper that comes to mind. Do you think Em has presented a good depiction of Detroit’s scene? There’s a whole other side of the tracks that I’m gonna bring. The street side, the hustlers. There’s a major hustle market right here. Our dudes and our women get money around here. I’m tryin’ to show you the realness. You know, the real shit they don’t want you to see. The stuff they sweep under the rug. What’s the sound of Detroit? Hmm. I’m gonna call it a Trick Trick sound. I got my own sound. I produced the majority of my album myself, so I truly bring my own sound. How did you get into production? I started out doing production. The first song I produced was called “Life of A Gangsta.” It was a real big record. I wasn’t deadlocked in producing. When I made this song, I knew what I wanted to hear so I wrote over it. And since I did it, it’s always been that way. This was back in 1991. I was in a group called GBK, and that’s what “Life of A Gangsta,” ended up being. It was me and a guy named Marc V. We put the album out, GBK’s Life of A Gangsta. Then Mark when to jail, he got sentenced to 15-20 for shooting at the police. So the group disbanded. Right. At that time I was by myself. I formed the Goon Squad. Then I went upstate. I was in the penitentiary for a year. I decided that I gotta find a way in this music, because I can’t come back. What was your charge? Was it related to your rap partner Mark’s charge? Possession with intent. Nah, he had got locked up like two years before I did. So that was a big transition time for you. Yeah, it was a big transition. 1995. I decided to get serious about this music. This is what I gotta do. I can’t do both, I have to make sacrifices. So you dropped a solo project? In 1995 my first big record was a gold single called “Booty Bounce.” When I got out of the joint, dance music was poppin’ off. Luke and 2 Live Crew, “Shake What Ya Mama Gave You,” that kinda stuff was real big. I had been on that gangsta shit, but it wasn’t flyin’ well with the public because dance music was all on the radio. “Too much booty in your pants,” all that shit. You gotta get in where you fit in. That’s the difference between being an artist and just being a rapper. Then I released another song called “Everywhere We Go We Deep.” That did real good. We did like 60,000 units of that. We hooked up with a distributor that moved the shit for us. The majors didn’t step to you after you’d sold that many albums independently? I had my run-ins with the majors here and there, but at the time I didn’t want no major deal. I really didn’t. 24
Why did you decide to sign with Universal? Universal made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Wendy Day negotiated the deal, and when she negotiates, she brings something to the table that’s definitely worth it. Where did you get the name Trick Trick? I got that name when I was younger. I used to be just Trick. I was a nasty ass little boy, so they kinda handed that name to me. What was the situation between you and Trick Daddy? It was a situation where his boys were acting stupid. They tried to rob me when I was in Miami. I know the game; I’ve been a dirty muthafucker for a long time. They were tryin’ to get me to go to some afterparty. They started off mad, cause of my name Trick Trick. No resemblance. Fuck him, you know? No fuckin’ resemblance. Why would I try to come up off his name? I’ve been Trick since I was little. I wouldn’t even know who this nigga was. The only reason I was in the area was cause the club was poppin’ off and he just happened to be having a party at that club in Miami. So I made it my business to say that when they come my way, I’m gonna show them how it’s done. They didn’t get me. They didn’t get nothing from me. I decided when they come through my area, I’m gonna show them how it’s done. I don’t want his fuckin’ jewelry. That’s why I beat they muthafuckin’ asses. Me and half the city of Detroit. But originally it wasn’t really directed at Trick Daddy, because he didn’t start it. it was his boys. Everybody looked at it as Trick Daddy vs. Trick Trick, but it was his boys. So when he came up, you were ready for him. It was already set up. Detroit was aggravated at what had happened. That’s the kinda city I live in. But I’m done with that shit. To be honest, I hate talking about it. It’s some old shit that happened. I wasn’t trying to blow it up. I’m a street nigga, so my beef stays in the streets where it belongs. I’m not tryin’ to blow up by nobody. I had to get my hands on quite a few people, so I’m not tryin’ to get in no trouble. I did a documentary because a friend of mine had footage of that shit. He was there that day with a camera upstairs, and he caught some of that shit on tape. What’s your relationship like with Eminem? Me and Em are cool. We’re family. Em’s a real good friend of mine. Eminem actually produced two songs on my album The People vs.. We couldn’t publicize it because Interscope ain’t have nothing to do with it, but Em actually co-executive produced this album. Eminem did a lot on this album. I also got Jazze Pha and Mr. Porter from D12 on this album, Diesel the Hitman, Miss Corona, Obie Trice, and Proof from D12. Do you think it’s hard to blow up nationally off a song like “Welcome to Detroit”? Nah, I don’t think it’s hard at all. You had songs like “Welcome to Atlanta,” so why not Detroit? Any recommendations for Super Bowl week? Detroit is a party city; that’s what we do around here. We ball out. So it’s hard to say. I can’t endorse nothin’ personally, but there’s a bunch of parties goin’ on. - Julia Beverly (Photos: Jeremy Deputat) OZONE
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
DETROIT PHOTO GALLERY: 01: Cesar and Shoes 02: Gettinâ€™ ready to spend some money 03: Trick Trick, Kid Rock, SteveO, and Mikey 04: Kid Rock, Mikey, and Slick Rick 05: Proof, Mikey, and friends 06: Trick Trick and Obie Trice 07: Trick Trick and Cindy 08: Mobb Deep 09: Slum Village 10: Phat Kat 11: Nick Speed and K-Fresh 12: You can come up with your own caption for this one Photos courtesy of JD from Public Media Group
SAIGON There was an interview posted on www. wordofsouth.com recently where you said some negative things about the South. When I was doing the interview, they asked me how I felt about the South movement. I said I was happy for the South. I told them, first of all, it’s weird because we’re following them now, and they used to follow us. The South was slow, as far as socially. When I said “slow,” I didn’t mean “dumb.” This dude took it out of context. I meant, socially and as far as the new styles and new things. Comin’ from New York, New York was always the epicenter of the country. It wasn’t just in the South. Everywhere you went, coming from New York, you was the man. And now, unfortunately, it’s not like that no more. It’s the opposite now. Now they come up here and get love. They come up here and steal our chicks. We used to go down there and go to the mall and girls would be like, “Oh, shit, he look like he from New York,” and we’d get all the love, but that shit don’t work no more. It was just some miscellaneous website tryin’ to make a come up, tryin’ to use me as a scapegoat. Your family is from the South? Yeah, my whole family is from North Carolina. My moms just moved up here, but they all from North Carolina. That’s how I know, because I used to go down there and they used to be like, “What’s the new mixtape? What’s the new shit?” I just mean socially, man. The slaves were running, coming up here because of the industrial revolution and things of that nature. The jobs and shit like that. When they were still getting lynched down there, muthafuckers was up here living a little bit better. So in the North, New York always had a step up on everybody. So now for us to be following them is like, damn, son. What the fuck happened? Cause I wear fronts now, and I had some fronts in my mouth the other day and a girl was like, “Let me see your grill.” I was like, “My grill? These are my fronts.” We been doin’ this shit for years. But I got love for the South, and all my peoples in the South. Bubba Sparxxx, Young Jeezy, that’s my man. That’s my dude. So when you called the South “slow,” you felt like that was misinterpreted?
Yeah, cause the word “slow,” I think that’s what made it offensive. But if they would’ve read the whole thing they’d understand. Cause they only put certain things in bold face. The sentence before that, I said, “My whole family is from the South.” My mother, everybody. So why would I call my mother and my whole family “slow” if I meant it in that way? That wouldn’t make sense. Anybody who has reading comprehension – something they teach us in school – would know what I meant. I’m not tryin’ to diss the South, man, come on. What kind of idiot would I be to diss a whole fuckin’ region when I’m tryin’ to get support and tryin’ to get love? I gotta do shows out there. I don’t wanna worry about niggas tryin’ to take my head off. That would be some stupid shit. I had to clear it up cause my mother read that shit like, “Boy, you think I’m slow?” Basically, you’re mad because you can’t get girls when you go down South? No, I just speak my mind and a lot of times the truth hurts people. When I speak the truth a lot of times people take it the wrong way. I got a commercial on MTV where I’m tellin’ the truth, and it rubs a lot of people the wrong way. Only way I feel that you should be mad is if I’m up there lying. The truth is not debatable. You can’t doubt the truth, point blank. The truth is like that a lot of gangsta rappers are pussy. They’re not real. They’ve never lived that life at all, and they portray that life and glorify it to these kids. They were all this jewelry and shit in their rap songs tryin’ to make it look like it’s the shit, when really it’s not nothing. These same bullshit diamonds that they sell us, when we try to sell it back to them, we wouldn’t get half of what we paid for it. So this shit ain’t real. It’s fantasy. The thing about hip-hop is that muthafuckers is confused in rap. They quick to say, “We kill niggas, we flip bricks,” but when people come down on them, they say, “Naw, it’s just entertainment.” But on your song, you say, “I’m real, this is real, I keep it real.” Part of being in rap is being real. If people think you’re not real, they ain’t gonna fuck with you. So it becomes confusing to these young kids. These labels market it towards the youth. So if children are the future, like people say, let’s start telling them a little bit of truth.... - Julia Beverly (Photo: Ray Tamarra) For the rest of this interview, check out the April issue of OZONE Magazine at www.OZONEMAG.com. OZONE
HI-TEK You’re probably one of the biggest names that’s come out of Cincinnati. Was that your goal, to put your city on the map? It definitely was about putting the city on the map. I heard you’ve worked with a few Cincinnati-based artists. Who do you think will be next to blow out of the area? It’s a couple cats. There’s one cat named Home Skillet, he was on my first album and we did some underground stuff. I respect his work. These cats named Czar Nok from Cincinnati got a deal on Capitol Records; they pretty dope. Are you focusing on production now, or planning on putting out another solo project? I’m working slowly on another album. A lot of times I can’t even keep a hot beat, because these niggas want it. It’s like, what’s worth more? Trying to get this album done, or helping somebody else with their album that’s about to be released soon? So I make tracks and shit that I end up giving to other artists. Financially, is production better for you than putting out your own album? Yeah, and I gotta keep producing tracks just to keep it moving and make sure I keep my name out there. Do you prefer being behind the scenes? The limelight ain’t really me. I like it sometimes, but I kinda try to let my work speak for itself. You had a couple tracks on 50’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ movie soundtrack, right? Yeah, I did a song called “We Don’t Need Your Help” with Young Buck and another one with 50 called “Best Friend.” Any big plans for the Super Bowl? Are you coming up to Detroit? Nah, I’m gonna just be watching the game hoping Pittsburgh loses. I ain’t going up there. I might go up there at the last minute, but right now I’m working with this artist Deon, an R&B artist. We’re trying to work out this situation with Aftermath. How’d you link up with Aftermath? At first I submitted a beat CD to one of his
people and Dr. Dre heard it, and since then, Dre’s been checkin’ for me. From there we’ve been networking or whatever. How did it feel to know that a producer of Dr. Dre’s status was impressed by your beats? Damn, that’s one of the best feelings in the world, besides sex. It’s just a good feeling to know that a producer I respect is fuckin’ with me like that. And it’s more than just that – knowing that he’s in an executive position. He’s not just a producer, he’s making power moves too. So it’s good to have somebody like that in an executive position. It’s not just somebody that’s never pushed a button and never laid a beat down. He knows his shit, so that’s a good thing. Is your artist Deon from Cincinnati also? What’s his style like? Yeah, Deon’s from Cincinnati. He’s an R&B cat. He’s got his own lane, but I guess he’d fall into the category of a John Legend but he’s cleaner. His shit is more soulful. He sings to the ladies, but the way he does it with the beats is real Marvin Gayeish. What about your next album? What are you going to call it? It’s gonna be called Hi-Teknology Volume 2. It’s basically a way to display my production; it’s a compilation album, like the first Hi-Teknology. It’s gonna be like that, basically displaying my production and putting on new artists. That’s how I break new artists; sliding them in with a veteran. Who’s featured on the album? I got Snoop, Rafael Saadiq, Mos Def, Bun B, Slim Thug, myself, my artist Deon, and a few more people. I produced the whole album. What would be your advice to new producers tryin’ to get in the game? Just keep inquiring on how people did their stuff, and listen to other people that you respect. As far as other producers, I wouldn’t recommend getting up under their wing, but if you have that opportunity that’s cool too if it’s somebody that’s out there doing their thing. The proof is in the pudding. If somebody sees potential in you, that means a lot for them to even want to put you on like that. I think all you gotta do is keep working hard and stay focused, do your own thing, and be original. - Julia Beverly OZONE
B.G. When’s your next album coming out? Tha Heart of Tha Streetz Volume 2 is scheduled for March 21st. The first single is “Move Around” featuring Mannie Fresh, produced by Mannie Fresh. What was working with Fresh again like? It was beautiful, man, it was like magic. Me and Fresh ain’t been in the studio together since I left Cash Money but we always stayed in touch. He was supposed to work on my Life After Cash Money album but he told me I had to change the name, and I couldn’t do that. It just so happened that I was in the lab working on the new album when he left. He was in Houston so I jumped onto the first plane smoking to Houston and we got in the studio together and it was like being born again. Fresh was the first producer I ever worked with, so when we hooked back up again it felt good for me and it felt good for him. What’s the difference between Mannie and other producers? Fresh raised me in the studio. Fresh created my sound, my whole sound from day one, so Fresh know me better than I know me in the studio. It’s unexplainable, it was beautiful. What’s your relationship like outside the studio? It’s all good. Before we got in the studio it was because we always stayed in touch. Fresh wasn’t the one who had my money, Baby the one who had my money. Our relationship was always A1 and always will be A. Fresh is Fresh, man, how can you not love Fresh? Would you say you look up to him as a father figure? As far as a mentor in the studio and as a man for guidance, yeah. When it comes to the studio he’s a genius. What kind of advice did he give you? Now, you know, I been in the game for like ever so I kinda had to flush the toilet Baby gave me cause it wasn’t right. He had corrupted me. As far as musicwise and delivery and when it come to the studio, Fresh is who I had to turn to. Our situation is crazy. I really don’t know how to answer that.
What kind of wisdom do you pass to your artists? One of my artists is my little brother and the rest are my friends. I let ‘em know that we friends and family, but at the end of the day I make sure their business is right. I always talk about Baby and how he did me. I’m in his position now, I’m a CEO. I got artists and I never do my artists how he did me. Our friendship is all good but I make sure they never run into the problems I ran into with Cash Money. I make sure they keep it real with themselves first. At the same time you have to live and learn because sometimes you might have expectations that are real high and shit might not go as you expected. You have to take the good and the bad. Tell me about your artists. I got my little brother, I got Gar, I got Snype, and I got my homie Mike. That’s who I’m focusing on now. They’re a group called the Chopper City Boyz and they solo artists too. This album you’re dropping was an extension with you and Koch, right? Yeah, it was crazy because I had two albums and an option. I did my two albums and then I exercised my option. My contract was up and I had my release papers and was in the process of doing another deal, and they begged me to do another album. We came up with a deal that I really thought they wasn’t gonna match, but now I think it’s the best one album deal in independent history. Rumor has it that deal was worth $900,000. (laughing) I mean, I got pimped for a long time, so I’ma pimp back. What is your vision for Chopper City? I’m trying to turn Chopper City what I helped turn Cash Money into. Are you going to use the Cash Money formula? Somewhat, because I think the formula worked in a very good way. I had already had like four solo albums before we even did the Universal deal. My Soundscan helped put Universal’s antennas up. Then we put the Hot Boys together.... - Rohit Loomba For the rest of this interview, check out the April issue of OZONE Magazine at www.OZONEMAG.com. OZONE
BIG NEIL What’s been going on with you since our last interview? Same ol’, same ol’. Makin’ more music, meeting more new people, doing more shows, staying in the streets. When does your album drop? I’m still working on making more music for the mixtape. The album is in the works; nothing but street music, to tell you the truth. I got a big mixtape coming out called Mattress Money with DJ Kool Laid from Mississippi. Is the mixtape mostly freestyles over other people’s beats, or original songs? It’s gonna be some of my new stuff, some of my old stuff, a couple tracks with Rich Boy from Interscope, a couple of the Czar Nok songs. It’ll be mainly my affiliates, a bunch of Big Neil music tryin’ to get out to these streets. Your single is called “Dope Boy Music,” so I guess people can guess what that’s about. Yeah, I’m just rappin’ about what the streets want. I got another song on my album called “Big Time” that people are about to start hearing. I got another song called “Lock It Down” and another song called “Fresh,” made by LP out of Cleveland, Ohio. Sinec you’re reppin’ for Cincinnati and coming up for the Super Bowl, would you say that Detroit and Cincinnati are similar musically? Yeah, Detroit has a lot of street music just like my city. Everything in Cincinnati is really Midwest and Southern, cause we’re so close to the South. We’re only a few hours apart from the South, so it’s really just Midwest and South music. What’s gonna be the hottest spot in Detroit during Super Bowl weekend? The whole Detroit is real live. It’s poppin’. We love Detroit. Have you collaborated with any Detroitbased rappers yet? Not yet. They got a lot of street rappers. Detroit gives their street rappers a lot of love. There’s one guy up there called Jesse James, he got a decent album.
There’s a lot of people that have come out lately that could be considered “street” rappers. What sets you apart from people like Jeezy and T.I.? I got a gangsta-type swagger, so I’m different. I believe my voice is gonna stand out a lot with this music that I’m doing. People are gonna know that what I’m sayin’ is really real; they’re gonna be able to tell. I listen to guys like T.I. and Jeezy and whoever’s keepin’ it real, and you could tell in their music and in their voice and in what they talkin’ about that they really keeping it real. That’s what I’m tryin’ to bring to them. A lot of rappers talk about keeping it real, but of course, being in jail or being shot isn’t always a good thing career-wise. How do you draw the line between keeping it real and getting in trouble? You stay real by doing what you gotta do. You better try your best not to get in trouble, but if you’re keeping it real, you gotta do what you do. You shouldn’t be just talkin’ about it. A lot of people are keepin’ it real cause they gotta really do it like that. That’s what I gotta do. That’s just how it is. You gotta stay out of trouble though. You don’t wanna be in trouble, but different things happen in different people’s lives. You stay getting caught up. You mentioned that you have a gangstatype swagger. Were you influenced by the West Coast? Yeah, I’m bringin’ back all the gangstas. That’s my vibe. I’m gonna have a mixture of the Tupacs and the Biggies and even the N.W.As. People gonna be wondering where they been at all this time. Have you collaborated with any West coast artists yet? I haven’t, but I wouldn’t mind collaborating with anybody on the West coast. I wouldn’t mind doing music with anybody, to tell you the truth. Let’s just make it happen. Your labelmates Czar-Nok are signed to Capitol. Are you planning on dropping through a major or staying indie? For real, we gonna keep it all the way indie until they bring the right deal to my boss Los Vegas. If they bring it, we’ll keep rockin it. They’re gonna come holla eventually, cause they always callin’ to check up on us. Los Vegas gonna keep us rockin’ indie until it rocks off. - Words and photo by Julia Beverly OZONE
MOBB DEEP Congratulations on signing with G-Unit. How’s life after the deal? Prodigy: Everything is good, man. We’ve been working on our album. The atmosphere is real good. We’re real happy, real inspired, ready to go. What’s your G-Unit deal look like? Prodigy: It’s for albums, books, movies, a whole bunch of things. It’s not just records. How does it differ from your situation at Jive? Prodigy: Basically at Jive it was a 50/50 joint venture deal, just for two Mobb Deep records. Here it’s for more business like movies, books, everything. What happened at Jive? Prodigy: Well, at Jive, they didn’t know how to market or promote street music. They had the money and the machinery but they couldn’t market it. They focus on their crossover acts like N Sync and Britney Spears. It just didn’t work out, and it wasn’t good for Mobb Deep to be over there. It was a good deal we had, but basically they just dropped us. The record did good, we moved some units, so we probably should have a gold plaque by now. They decided that Mobb Deep didn’t fit in their calendar for the next year. Then they dropped us. When we got the phone call, we were happy about it. That was the easiest we’ve ever gotten out of a contract in our lives. Usually we gotta fight to get out of contracts.
ways be. There’s definitely a lot of talent out there that you will see in the future. It don’t stop. Once you reach success with Blood Money, will you go back and get Infamous Mobb? Prodigy: They always did their own thing. We’re always here for them. What are your immediate goals? Prodigy: To have a successful album with Blood Money and just have success with the other business after that. Just seeing sales do good, seeing our numbers come back good. How was your mindset during the recording of Blood Money different from during your other albums? Prodigy: We was more happier doing our music and we felt better doing our music. It wasn’t like we felt like slaves anymore. You know how the labels treat you, and you really don’t eat off that. Once you sign with a label they don’t care about you. Here, we know our music won’t be wasted. Our music will be promoted and marketed worldwide. It’ll be maximized. It feels good to be in the studio. We’re making music nonstop. Now, more than ever, I still find myself hungry. Not so much money-wise..... - Rohit Loomba (Photo: Rob Durand) For the rest of this interview, check out the March issue of OZONE Magazine at www.OZONEMAG.com.
There were some rumors earlier this year about Mobb Deep breaking up. Where did those come from? Prodigy: The reason rumors like that came up is because we were affiliated with certain people that we had to let go. When we let them go, they were out there trying to spread rumors that Mobb Deep broke up. It was a bunch of lies and rumors that they spread. Is Littles one of those people that was spreading rumors? Prodigy: We ain’t mentioning no names. That’s the situation that went down. What’s the state of QB hip-hop right now? Prodigy: It is what it is. QB hip-hop will alOZONE
DEM FRANCHIZE BOYZ
WORDS: MAURICE G. GARLAND PHOTOS: BARRY UNDERHILL
Dem Franchize Boyz hardly know what a regular day feels like anymore. They are on the road doing shows 6 days out of the week, and at the airport on the seventh. They’ve been zig-zagging from New York to Cali to Atlanta and all points in between capitalizing on the success of their current hits “Oh I Think They Like Me” and “Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It.”
shot and low blow, this foursome is putting their energy into things like building their own “franchize,” DFB Records. In the middle of promoting their upcoming album in Los Angeles, DFB got a brief moment to sit down an interview. They had a thousand things going on, but what can you say, they are some busy dudes. That’s a good thing, though.
As they gear up to release their upcoming album On Top Of Our Game DFB appreciates their busy schedule, knowing that hard work definitely pays off. However, this scenario looks very familiar.
Your new deal at So So Def/Virgin is a second chance of sorts. How are things different from your Universal situation? Parlae: We are more involved with the record label staff and the people behind the scenes. This time around we’ve got a good understanding of what exactly is going on in our careers.
Back in September 2004, Jamaal “Pimpin’” Willingham, Bernard “Jizzal Man” Leverette, Maurice “Parlae” Gleaton and Gerald “Buddie” Tiller were fresh out of their teens with a hit single (“White Tees”), a recording contract with Universal, and debut album dropping on the same day as Nelly’s Sweat/Suit. But by the end of the month it became obvious where Universal was applying the bulk of their money and muscle. Even as their unofficial street single “Oh I Think They Like Me” popped up on mixtapes and radio stations throughout the South, they couldn’t convince their recording home to push it as follow-up single. Frustrated with the lack of support DFB sought a release and was granted one in 2005. True to their grind DFB continued to work their music in the same streets that took them from the West side of Atlanta to national television in the first place. They eventually got noticed by a person who appears more suite than street, So So Def head honcho Jermaine Dupri. Since the ink dried on their new contract with JD, they’ve been acting as ambassadors for mainstream media’s newest media darling, the “snap music” phenomenon. And just like most artists that the media embraces, they’ve had have to deal with tons of naysayers and biters. Unscathed, DFB realizes that things like this come with the territory. So instead of spending time answering to every pot
Before you got with JD, you were working with Raheem the Dream right? How was that? Parlae: He just showed us love. We was already out there doing our thing. We just didn’t know anybody at the majors yet. He helped us get the major deal at Universal. Do you guys own the rights to all of your music? Because hopping on Virgin on the strength of a song you did at Universal isn’t something that just happens everyday. Parlae: We own all our music. All of us got our own publishing deals. Just being from the streets at first we didn’t have no publishing. But now we’re getting all that money back. You’re often credited as the originators of Atlanta’s “snap music” movement. With so many artists making this type of music now, how do you guys plan to stand out from the rest? Parlae: By doing the same thing we did to make “White Tee” stand out, just being ourselves. We had people copying us then, when folks making songs about this color tee and that color tee. We had snap music was on the first album, but people ain’t pay attention to it then. Jizzal Man: It’s a trend that we setting. I think its good that so many people are doing it. Its gonna keep us alive because its gonna be hard to not go through us to make this type of music. OZONE
How long do you see this “snap music” movement lasting? Do you think you’ll still be around if it dies out? Parlae: Music is gonna be music and I see it being around for a long time. Everybody has came out with something representing where they are from and everybody is feeling down south music right now. So because of that everybody just feeling our sound right now too. So we starting a whole new era. Snap music is all of the other genres of music in one. It can’t go out of style because its everything in one. It expresses everything in you. I know you got a lot of sides to you. You feel different ways on different days. Coming from the West side of Atlanta, you guys have to have some kind of street edge. You’ve showed that with some songs on your first album and by appearing on Slick Pulla’s 4th Ward Day mixtape. How will you handle that being that many people are viewing you as a pop act? Parlae: The thing with is that we can’t get caught up in that. All of our playing around song became hits. But that street type shit is what we do. We all from the hood so you can definitely expect that. Are we gonna leave the street stuff alone? Hell naw! That’s how we started raping, that’s all I know to rap about.
Jizzal Man: We got a different game going on over here, you gonna hear what we talking about. We got Jim Jones, Bun B and Pimp C on the album. We got Three 6 Mafia and that nigga Trey Songz on there too. How much time does it take to make a song like “White Tee?” Parlae: We made “White Tee” in 45 minutes. “Oh I Think They Like Me” came out of the blue just playing around. “Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It” got made in an one hour. It don’t take long to make a lot of our music because everything comes form the heart and shit we done seen. I only been rapping for two years. I don’t even write no more. Jizzal Man: I been rapping since I was 7 and performing since I was 14. I used to play drums too, so making music isn’t difficult to me. With the all of the traveling and stardom how often do you get to go back to your old neighborhoods? Parlae: We never left the hood. We still the hood with the rats and jays. We shot the video for “Lean Wit It, Rock Wit” at the Poole Palace, in the hood. It’s like Freaknik in the club. You can come out and have a good time. It’s in the hood, but there is a hood in every city so you gotta look out for certain things everywhere you go. But you ain’t got to worry, come get down. Jizzal Man: Wednesday is the talent night and Thursday is the club night. - Maurice G. Garland (Photos: Barry Underhill)
(Clockwise from top: Parlae, Pimpinâ€™, Buddie, and Jizzal Man)
CASH OUT You used to be a part of the Street Lordz/ Chedda Boyz, right? Yeah, but ever since my man got killed it’s been a separation. I don’t know how to explain it. I been doing my own thing, as of right now. Who got killed? Blade Icewood. Ever since he got killed everybody’s been going their separate ways. I was looking forward to everybody doing another album together. Are you from Detroit? Yes, I am. I’m from the West side of Detroit. Who did you listen to comin’ up? Everybody, like EPMD, and whoever else was nice back in the day. I was really into EPMD though. I really dug them heavy back in the day. What category would you say Detroit falls into musically? East coast, Southern, Midwest, West coast? It’s its own city. It’s nothing like no East coast, no West coast city. None of that. We just do our own thing. We’ve got our own slang and everything. So you dropped an album with Blade Icewood? Yeah, it was two Street Lordz albums. He actually had like three albums of his own and I was featured on multiple songs on those albums. Is this your first solo project that you’re working on? Yeah, this project I’m about to drop is a mix CD called Cash Out: The Gan Man. “Gan” is our slang for the purple, high-quality marijuana. Are you putting out the mixtape for promo or selling it? I’m gonna be putting it out on the streets for sale. I don’t have no type of distributor, but the mixtape is gonna be out locally for sure though. My album will be coming soon, probably late June or early July. It’s called Money Talks. What are the hot spots in Detroit during the Super Bowl?
Aw, it’s all type of spots. Icon, Elisium, the Zoo Bar, the Apartment, Floods, Status Quo, the Platinum Lounge, Cousins Lounge, Theresa’s Lounge, Half Past Three. Who do you work with for production? Do you have somebody in-house? Yeah, one producer I work with is named AK. He’s a good producer, he produced most of the Blade Icewood project. Who are some of the other up-and-coming rappers in Detroit to look out for? The Street Lordz, Jesse James, Kato, Rock Bottom, Donnie Brasco, and of course Trick Trick got a deal. As far as rappers from Detroit, most people would instantly think of Eminem and D12. Do you think they’re a good representation of the Detroit rap scene? I wouldn’t say that. I wouldn’t want to diss nobody though. I guess they are a good representation commercially, but as far as the street aspect of the hip-hop scene, not really. It’s different. That’s not a diss, though. They’re a good sound for Detroit. They put our foot in the door, you know what I’m sayin’? What about the battle rap scene that they showed in Eminem’s movie 8 Mile? Did that accurately show the Detroit underground scene? Yeah, in the hip-hop scene that’s exactly how it is. I’m not really a hip-hop artist, as far as being in a cipher and battling and all that stuff. But that’s exactly what Eminem is, feel me? If gangsta rap is hip-hop, than I’m hip-hop. I’m not really a hardcore gangsta shoot-‘em-up-bang rapper. I really call my music hustle music. Hustle music hasn’t been categorized yet. They might have to create a category for “hustle music.” Does someone like Jeezy qualify? Is that the vibe of your music? Yeah, it’s kinda like a Jeezy vibe with an upNorth feel to it. OZONE is based in the South. Do you think the South will feel your music? My music will appeal to anybody in the world. Just like Jeezy, I just like to motivate people to really get on their grind and do what they gotta do if they lookin’ forward to getting some kind of cash. - Julia Beverly OZONE