So FN Dope Magazine Issue 11

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hat’s good! Thank you for your interest in So FN Dope Magazine. We are a fairly new magazine based on the West Coast looking to make an impact in the entertainment industry by highlighting music, performance, and the entrepreneurial spirit of independent artists, all across the country. Our staff constantly spends countless hours scouring for dope content to feature including, but not limited to, new music, music videos, artwork, interviews, comedy, models, live performances, photographers and bloggers. In other words, we are always looking for new content for our digital magazine as well as our website. It is going to take dope independent artists like you to help build our brand, but it will also take magazines like us to give indie artists a platform to be heard. We would love to feature your music, videos, mix-tapes, photography, artwork, as well as set up interview arrangements for future issues of So FN Dope Magazine. Let’s work together and leave our mark on the industry to show the world why we are So FN Dope!

DISCLAIMER: Here at So FN Dope Magazine, we have done our best to provide content that is up to date and correct. However, changes may have occurred since the content was submitted that may affect the accuracy of this issue for which So FN Dope Magazine holds no responsibility. The views and opinions of our contributors are not necessarily shared with So Fn Dope Magazine or its staff nor are we liable for their views and opinions or how they may be interpreted.

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FOUNDERS / Editors in Chief Walter Michael Welch Jr. Corey Norwood Sr. Director of Marketing and Advertising Servon Moss Director of Arts and Entertainment Ashton Francois CONTRIBUTORS IG Entertainment Lurchero 1$t Letter Eaden Myles Michael W. Eaton Photography Tree Hugger NO MORE LUCK Hype-Radio.com JB & Benny Blue Review Beauty Fetish Curve Brows Caravan Film Crews #DOPE IN REAL LIFE Shadow Promotions @superdope_q Apparel by DNA The Bomb Digz UNFAZED Maranda Joiner INKK JUNKIES TATTOOS COVER STORY Ceaser Emanuel FEATURED Cimo Fränkel The Bomb Digz DJ King Tutt Ceaser Emanuel GUEST WRITERS Jia “ Miss Ikonic” McMillian-Shipley Maranda Joiner Teddy Labissiere COVER PHOTOGRAPHERS Michael W. Eaton ( styled by@superdope_q ) CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Michael W. Eaton Charles Coleman Kanya Iwana Bryan McKenny

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MAGAZINE

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AUDIO ENGINEERS: Kings and Queens Behind Your Sound This article focuses on the value of these unsung heroes and learn how a good sound engineer could be the key to your success as an artist. ON THE VERGE: On the Verge artist, Cimo Fränkel is no lightweight in the industry by any means. In fact, with nearly a billion streams under his belt , this singer / songwriter’s resume speaks for itself.

THE BOMB DIGZ Come turn up with R&B / POP trio The Bomb Digz as they give So FN Dope and exclusive interview about their new hit records and rising popularity in the music industry. DATING YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE Brand strategist Maranda Joiner gives tips on how to captivate your audience and get them to fall in love with your brand.

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DOPE QUOTES Stay Positive! Dive into some inspirational quotes both the past and present from some very influential people in entertainment.

WHY YOUR VIDEOS SUCK!!! In this day and age, great content is extremely important. Learn what not to do while negotiating for your next visual. CEASER CEO of BLACK INK From tattoo artist to businessman to one of TV’s hottest reality stars; this brother is making all the right moves. Check out our exclusive interview with CEO of Black Ink Ceaser Emanuel. SPOTLIGHT: DJ KING TUTT Check out Baltimore DJ and music producer Dj King Tutt as he give us some insight on his influence on the Baltimore music scene. SEPT / OCT 2019- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

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LETTER FROM THE FOUNDERS

LETTER FROM THE FOUNDERS

CELEBRATING

I. N. K.

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rom the beginning, we’ve always striven for, and fallen in love with the idea of I.N.K. (Inspiring New Knowledge). Creating opportunity, giving a voice and platform for those who fall in the spectrum of what we consider So FN Dope has been the goal since day one. As we continue to set the bar this October with our 11th issue, make no mistake about it, the “trick” is that this issue is truly a “treat.” For this issue we were humbled and honored to have had the opportunity to interview and collaborate with some of the most talented, dedicated individuals in their fields. Issue 11 features VH1’s Black INK owner

ISSUE # 11 and entrepreneur Ceaser, multi-talented internationally known singer songwriter Cimo Fränkel and R&B Heartthrobs and super group “The Bomb Digz”. We are certain you will enjoy this read whether it’s learning the importance of a good sound engineer, learning how to date your target audience or finding out the harsh reality of why your videos suck. Inspiring New Knowledge is a recurring theme in this issue, and we hope you find the knowledge to be both informative and encouraging. Special thanks to everyone that participated and contributed to make this issue So FN Dope.

CEASER Cover Photographer: Michael W Eaton

Walter M. Welch Jr. Co-Founder So FN Dope Magazine

Corey Norwood Sr. Co-Founder So FN Dope Magazine

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HOT TOPIC

AUDIO

ENGINEERS KINGS AND

Article by Jia “Miss Ikonic” McMillan-Shipley

QUEENS BEHIND YOUR SOUND

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his modern generation of musicians is inevitably doused in novice artists that merely pick up a microphone one day and say, “Hey, I want to be an artist.” The problem with this random, haphazard decision typically lies in the lack of fundamental education around the music recording process – that’s where it all begins. There are few things in life that most people attempt without seeking basic knowledge in its regards.

For example, you don’t just begin to assemble your TV stand without at least skimming through the instructions. You don’t just hop in a car one day and hope you know how to drive thus why do new musicians, specifically in this era, just pop up one morning and decide they want to be a recording artist without at least attempting to educate themselves on the basics of the music recording process and its caretakers? Why, because we live in the “Google It” generation but in this line of work that’s a start but it’s certainly

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not the finish line. New artists are mostly concerned with creating content, picking beats off YouTube and recording their “music.” However, the name of the game in any lucrative industry is networking. Networking is essential to ensuring the success of any musician. There’s nothing wrong with creating music and releasing it on Soundcloud or YouTube but how much time was spent looking to connect with music producers or experienced engi-


HOT TOPIC

Photographer: Charles Coleman

engineers? Artists don’t always see the true complexities of the music business early on; they only see their love for music or overnight fame and riches. There are many moving parts related to the success of any musician, but it starts in the studio. It doesn’t start with management or public relations or marketing. It starts with finding producers that create quality production and songwriters, if need be. It starts with finding a recording engineer and then finding a mixing and mastering engineer, if they are not one in the same. Furthermore, this is not a one-time event. Engineers are an artist’s best friends and sometimes the first pick isn’t the best fit and sometimes neither is the second and so on. It takes time to find someone who understands an artist

sound and it takes time for an artist to develop that sound but with the addition of a seasoned engineer that time can be cut in half. Music is a career. It may begin as a hobby, but if an artist wants to make music their legacy, education is paramount, especially in the vital realm of audio engineers. The infancy of an artist’s sound is constructed, shaped and honed through their tutelage. Audio engineers, from a general sense, are responsible for recording, creating and editing sound. It’s important to note that audio engineers break into three broad umbrellas for musicians – recording, mixing and mastering engineers. Too many artists believe that they are one in the same and in some instances, they are if that engineer specializes in all facets

but in most cases, they are three very different people.

Recording Engineers The duty of a recording engineer is in their title but let’s delve deeper than surface monikers. Let’s say, you have a friend who knows how to utilize Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Mixed In Key, plugins etc. That does not certify them as a true recording engineer. Attaching engineer to the end of this title is what makes it a specialty. These are engineers that study and understand sound, how to manipulate it, how to adjust it and level it, how to SEPT / OCT 2019- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -

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HOT TOPIC record it on myriad mediums, how to troubleshoot sound issues in a studio setting and much more. They must also know intimately about the different microphones, recording equipment essentials and proper cording. Recording, simply put, is transmitting a performance of a song onto the desired medium. More importantly, the engineer that completes this act must be well versed in sound and vocals. For example, an engineer may specialize in recording rappers but have no idea how to record and control the sound of a live band in-studio session. Getting to know the engineer also coincides with getting to know and listen to their previous works, delving into their genre of clientele and learning from them in the process. Engineers that merely press “record” are not invested in the evolution, maturity and success of an artist’s sound. True engineers are vocal not mute. The one’s merely collecting their hourly rate will never make an artist better because they are not invested in artist development or their own development. A recording engineer is only as notable as their catalog. Radio stations, record labels and blogs can break an artist but so can the right engineer.

Mixing and Mastering Engineers The mixing and mastering process is what makes a record “radio ready.” Mixing is the act of taking the multiple tracks from original recording sessions and balancing the sounds and instrumentals together to achieve a stellar well-leveled outcome. Prior to the mixing of the record, there needs to be a conversation between the artist and engineer about the intended sound for the record. It’s best not to assume that either party knows what the other wants to hear or intends for the record’s final sonic result. Would the artist prefer for the record to be heavy in bass? What effects are desired? What does the artist want the lead vocals to sound-like? These questions are essential and save time for the artist and the engineer. Mixing involves thorough knowledge of editing methods, intense attention to detail, an isolated environment and an articulate ear. This process differs from recording in that it focuses

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excessively on precision and clarity. Mastering also focuses on accuracy but welcomes in another layer of it. This is the most intricate of steps and readies the recording for its final formatting rather that be streaming, physical copies or live shows in some instances. The level of detail is in the title; it takes a master of sound to master a record. Therefore mastering, for most novice artist, is skipped because they believe that mixing and mastering are one in the same, but they are not. This final step places the record or records on another playing field sonically. It can be what separates a mediocre record from a hit record. Mastering is all about preparing songs to sound crisp on any listening device rather that’s headphones, car speakers or in a nightclub. This multilayered process for finalizing music can be rather expensive. Mixing and mastering engineers have a higher ticket but it’s well worth it. A polished sound sells. This is the music business and a money business. Mixing and mastering engineers are vital to an artist’s potential rise to notoriety. A solid mix and mastering can catapult a record to top-charting heights. A bad mix and mastering could be the record’s undoing.


HOT TOPIC

Good Sound Doesn’t Come Cheap Artists pay engineers for their ear. An audio engineer must have an articulate ear that’s able to pick up on sonic intricacies the average ear cannot – that’s what makes them an expert in their craft. Specialists always cost more, as they should. Quality is not birthed from cheap equipment and certainly is not enhanced by a fly-by-night, makeshift engineer. However, there is one caveat: just because an engineer charges a higher price, it does not always equivocate to a higher quality. Studying the engineer, listening to their previous works, inquiring about their engineering experience and observing their professionalism should lead to a sound decision, however, this is the music business thus there are no absolutes. Most recording studio’s charge around $40-$125.00 an hour – it’s not cheap. Very few people make that amount of money per hour and most rookie musicians surely do not thus it’s best to ensure an educational return on that investment as well. Great engineers are also great teachers. Paying someone $40-$125.00 an hour, on the low end, to just record

without being the least bit inquisitive or verbal is a waste of both parties’ time. The “button pusher” comes cheap but the vocal engineer, the engineer that guides an artist, asks them to come out and take a listen, adds effects as they record, encourages the artist to do it again – they can be pricier but worth it. That thorough engineer is the one who believes that this is his or her career. Iconic audio engineers like Young Guru, DJ Swivel, Susan Rogers and Phil Tan, to name a few, have worked with the likes of JAY-Z, Beyoncé, Prince and Rihanna but those weren’t their first clients. Each of these engineers were birthed from humble beginnings and they certainly weren’t just pressing the “record” button. True engineers are not mutes. Investing in engineers equivocates to a true investment in the evolution and quality of an artist’s sound. It’s a small price to pay for what could turn into a record that sells a million copies.

Be Prepared for the Knock Engineers are the silent partners, the yin to an artist’s yang, the Kings and Queens of an artist’s sound. It’s easy to just mention the musician but behind every artist

is a team of equipped engineers that gift records everything they are from their inception to their distribution. Engineers are the Alpha and the Omega of the music recording process and their skills are idiosyncratic to their personal beings and natural ear. They cannot be replicated, for each one is unique. Music is a process, one that can take years before it bears any fruit. This generation’s swift influence from overnight viral sensations and pop-up Instagram artists makes them believe that it’s that simple but it’s much more detailed than that. The recording process and finalization of music is only the beginning, after that the complexities branch off into marketing, public relations, record labels, management, strategic social media development, accountants and more. When an artist wins, the engineer wins, and that cross-pollination grows into a strong seed of an artist that with the proper watering can sprout into international levels of success and acclaim. Engineers are just as plugged in as music producers and record label executives. Developing that awesome and distinct sound, creating a buzz and fostering a deep relationship with them will bring the other music industry subsets to an artist’s front door – be prepared for the knock.

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ON THE VERGE

CIMO ..

frankel

Our first featured artist is certainly making his mark on the music industry in a really big way. The songs he has written and produced have touched the lives of millions across the globe. With close to an astonishing billion total streams online his work undoubtedly speaks for itself. Check out our exclusive interview with singer songwriter Cimo Fränkel.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands Photography: Kanya Iwana

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ON THE VERGE

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ON THE VERGE

Photography: Kanya Iwana

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FND MAG: What’s up, what’s up, what’s up Cimo? We cannot thank you enough for interviewing with us. How are you doing?

CIMO: I am doing well! Feeling situated and at home in LA, I’ve been working a lot in my studio and I’ve been loving it. SFND MAG: Please introduce yourself and tell us where you are from and how you got your start in the music industry. CIMO: My name is Cimo Fränkel, born and raised in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. My father is a musician as well and my brother. I would be in rehearsal studios all the time when we were little, where he’d let us try stuff too. I started making beats in FL Studio when I was 14, then I started rapping to them which later developed into singing and writing. I met a couple rappers in the club that were famous in Holland at the time and showed some of my work, which resulted in doing a song for them. They were close with Amsterdam based EDM act Yellow Claw so we ended up writing a song for them which was their first international breakthrough. From that moment on, opportunities started coming left and right. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I decided to release my artist material as well, to show a different side of me, and to show what music I actually want to bring to the table. SFND MAG: That is awesome man. Congratulations on all the worldwide success of all the songs that you have written and produced. How does it feel to have your music loved and respected around the globe? CIMO: It feels good. I kind of just continue working and it’s always on to the next so I don’t really get to stand still by the success of the records, but when I take a second to think about it, I feel really grateful and blessed. SFND MAG: Collectively, the songs you’ve either written or produced have generated nearly 1 billion streams. That

alone is remarkably impressive. How have you been able to leverage your songwriting and production contributions with artists to your advantage on your own projects? CIMO: On several occasions, especially with DJ’s like Armin van Buuren, Arty, and Gill Chang, where I was also featured on the record as an artist really helps bring my solo career to another level. Also, the love that I put in writing a song for another artist is often returned. I have those artists full support. SFND MAG: You have recently released a solo project of your own entitled “Stay the Night” Tell us a little about the project and what we can expect from the EP. CIMO: Some songs are written a long time ago and some are brand new, some are “vibey” and others are “dancy” and catchy even though I feel like they go well together. Expect an 80s/90s feel with a modern twist on all of the records. SFND MAG: What is your favorite song off the EP and why? CIMO: My favorite song would be “Dance Till Dawn”, I think it’s smooth, sexy and “vibey” but also emotional. It’s R&B, it’s pop and has hip-hop drums. Again, 80s and 90s elements. I spent most time on re-recording this song over and over again until I thought it was perfect. It’s special to me SFND MAG: What was the creative process like on this body of work? CIMO: I usually got in the studio with my co-writer Rik, some of the songs were initially meant for different artists, but we both agreed that they would suit me best. For most songs, the outlines were already there, but once I realized I wanted to use this for my own project I really got into the production to make it as much of a Cimo Fränkel record as possible. SFND MAG: We hear that there are visuals to accompany some songs on the EP as well. Who directed your visuals and how was the process of filming those music videos?

“ ON THE VERGE

“I don’t really get to stand still by the success of the records, but when I take a second to think about it, I feel really grateful and blessed. -Cimo Fränkel

CIMO: The brand new visuals are directed by David O’Donohue. I am only SEPT / OCT 2019- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -

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ON THE VERGE

“Stay true to yourself, don’t let anybody tell you what’s right and wrong in a song, but don’t be too stubborn to take those comments into -Cimo Fränkel

in two of them while there are visuals for four songs. Filming visuals for “Stay The Night” and “Where You Are” was interesting and fun. It was a stormy day in Palm Springs. When I got there, they already shot the parts for “Stay The Night” with actress Rachel Adams. I showed up for the performance shots. It was pretty hard to hear the music while shooting because of the loud winds. After that, we still had to shoot “Where You Are” with a drummer, it felt warm and emotional. At some point during the shoot, I got this weird feeling something was going to happen. I was in a heavy car accident right after but I had an angel watching over me. Some of the songs on the EP already had amazing music videos directed by my friend Brad Wong. SFND MAG: How hands on are you with in the concepts and creation of those visuals? CIMO: I am usually pretty hands on. I did my own styling and for some videos.

I helped write ideas down for the concept.

my project as a standalone unit that will grow in its own way.

SFND MAG: I know “Stay the Night” just dropped but is there any chance that we can start looking for a full-length album in the works?

SFND MAG: What advice would you give to other young artists that are aspiring to make moves in the music industry?

CIMO: Definitely! I am working on getting more songs done. I am developing a certain style to make an album sound like an album and not just a couple songs put together.

CIMO: Stay true to yourself, don’t let anybody tell you what’s right and wrong in a song, but don’t be too stubborn to take those comments into consideration

SFND MAG: Being that you are now such an established songwriter/ producer do you feel pressure as an artist to outdo or out-perform other records that you’ve either written or produced for other recording artists? CIMO: Yes, I think that is the biggest anxiety source, even when songs are going well, I am always comparing them to songs that I’ve written that have millions of streams, while I should look at

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SFND MAG: How can your fans reach you on Social Media? CIMO: facebook: cimofrankelofficial instagram: cimofrankel twitter: cimofrankel SFND MAG: Thank you Cimo for coming through and sharing your experience in the industry with us. We wish you much continued success in the future.



Photographer: Dre McGregory

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THE BOMB DIGZ

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We have to say that we were certainly blown away after checking out this next group. Everything about them literally screams So FN Dope from their original style, to their melodic tunes, catchy lyrics and their captivating visuals. This group is one that is truly exciting to watch! Check out our interview with R&B group The Bomb Digz.


COVER STORY

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S FEATURED

FND MAG: What’s good guys. Thanks for interviewing with us. We greatly appreciate ya’ll taking the time out of your schedule to make this happen.

SFND MAG: So… Devin, Kevin, & Daniel how did you guys meet? THE BOMB DIGZ: Kevin and Devin met through dance classes in the city, and Daniel and Kevin used to go to middle school together. They all connected through friendship and since they all had a passion for music, singing, & dancing, they decided to come together as a group. SFND MAG: Whose idea was it to start a group? THE BOMB DIGZ: We all always dreamed of this so we were like why not just do it together and form a brotherhood! SFND MAG: The Name? The Bomb Digz ... super original, super dope and most definitely can’t be mistaken! Gives us the history behind the name. Who came up with the name? What where some other naming ideas because I know that wasn’t the first name you guys came up with? [LAUGHS] THE BOMB DIGZ: Our producer Allstar, actually came up with the name but we took it and owned it! A few reasons... people describe our live performances as “high ener-gy/explosive/Bomb”, and another one being the old saying “ the bomb diggity”. We love taking the old and mixing it in with the new!

spect for one another, and don’t let other people come in between our bond. SFND MAG: Doing cover songs on YouTube introduced your fan base to you. Did you guys expect the feedback and views to be a positive as they’ve been? THE BOMB DIGZ: Honestly, everything has just been a blessing we just work hard and always put our best foot forward and we always say with hard work the recognition will come! We definitely are so appreciative of all the support and love we have gotten for our videos! SFND MAG: Do you guys feel like social makes being an artist easier or do you guys feel it’s too demanding of social media to always produce content to stay relevant? THE BOMB DIGZ: Social media definitely has its ups and downs being artist, but for the most part, it helps a lot and makes it easier to get our music heard and being able to go directly to our supporters. SFND MAG: Doing cover songs give you the opportunity to put your own spin on hit songs. When putting out original music do you guys feel pressure not having the crutch of familiarity on your side? THE BOMB DIGZ: Sometimes when we do covers, it could be more difficult than originals because you have to live up to the hits and put your own twist on it. Our original music is always fun and what our fans aka “Digaz” look forward to. We love doing both though because the covers are fun to do, but we love creating and releasing our original music!

SFND MAG: You guys started so young and history has it that groups that start as young as you guys have typically don’t last for a variety of reasons (knocking on wood). What has allowed The Bomb Digz to keep the brotherhood intact over the years?

SFND MAG: Speaking of originality let’s talk original music. This year you released “Dream Girl” and “Back It Up” two records we have in our So FN Dope rotation for sure. Take us through your selection process. I’m sure your catalog is crazy. What made these two songs stand out as the ones to spearhead your upcoming project?

THE BOMB DIGZ: We all grew up together so we know what each other likes and dislikes so we never really cross those lines. We keep things 100, have re-

THE BOMB DIGZ: We chose these two recent singles because one, “Dream girl”, has our R&B vibe we always bring but, “Back It Up”, shows you our wild side

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along with rapping abilities, and the snippet of “Closer” is us paying homage to that 90’s feel good R&B vibe. SFND MAG: This a two-part question. Do you guys write your own music and if you work with other writers how much creative control and participation to you have in what’s being written for you? THE BOMB DIGZ: We take a major role in writing our music. It needs to feel true to us. Even when we work with writers, it’s a collaborative thing. SFND MAG: Speaking of Dream Girls, you know our female readers want to know if you all are in relationships or do they have a chance to “Back It Up”? [LAUGHS] THE BOMB DIGZ: We are all single and looking for our Dream Girls to Back It Up! SFND MAG: What are some of you guy’s musical influences or dance influences for that matter? We did notice y’all get busy with the dance moves. [LAUGHS] THE BOMB DIGZ: Our influences are Michael Jackson, Chris brown, Usher, Stevie Won-der, New Edition and many more of the greats. They could sing and dance, which is what we always bring to our performances. SFND MAG: Besides the obvious R&B and Pop, what other genres of music have had an influence on The Bomb Digz? THE BOMB DIGZ: We use Rap as another influence. You can hear it in our music and it gets us real hype before shows. SFND MAG: Congratulations on the The Gizzy Lyfe Tour by the way! We know you guys were on the Pop Nation Tour a few years back as well. Has anything crazy happen on tours? Any ladies hiding in your tour bus or in the closet of the hotel rooms? [LAUGHS] THE BOMB DIGZ: There have been a lot of crazy tour experiences. We’ve thrown some crazy hotel pool parties while on tour.


FEATURED

“We take a major role in writing our music. It needs to feel true to us. Even when we work with writers, it’s a collaborative thing.” --THE BOMB DIGZ SEPT / OCT 2019- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW FEATURED

“We are all single and looking for our Dream Girls to Back It Up! ” --THE BOMB DIGZ

Photographer: Diana Ragland Groomer: Thea Istenes Wardrobe Stylist: Gaelle Paul

“I’m a very firm believer that the youth are our future and so what they do tomorrow is going to be influenced by what is happening today. ”

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FEATURED

--DENIM RICHARDS

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FEATURED

“We never feel overwhelmed. At times, before certain shows, we’ll be nervous but as soon as we hit the stage, everything goes away and we get to do what we love ” .

--THE BOMB DIGZ

SFND MAG: What has been the best and worst part about being on the road/ tour?

always do a group prayer before every show, so that helps us ease any jitters too.

THE BOMB DIGZ: The best part of being on tour is getting to meet our Digaz and perform all our music to them as they sing along with us. The worst part is trying to find time to rest and recover from turning up at every show.

SFND MAG: We know the singles are out now, but when can we expect the full pro-ject? Do you have a release date? Do you guys have an album name yet?

SFND MAG: Performing in front of a big audience can be a hard challenge for a lot of people i.e. stage fright and so on. Do you guys ever feel overwhelmed by the expectation to perform well? THE BOMB DIGZ: We never feel overwhelmed. At times, before certain shows, we’ll be nervous but as soon as we hit the stage, everything goes away and we get to do what we love. We

THE BOMB DIGZ: Our newest project will be out very soon! We have new music on the way. The name of our upcoming EP is “Sex Ed.” SFND MAG: What are your goals for 2019 what can we expect from you guys? THE BOMB DIGZ: Our goals for the remainder of the year is to continue grinding, more music & video releases,

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touring internationally & nationwide, and we may even pop out to do some college concerts and major festival stages too! SFND MAG: Last question we always ask to all of our guests. Name an artist that you’ve worked with or would like to work with that you feel is So FN Dope and why? THE BOMB DIGZ: The main artist we would want to work with is Chris Brown. He’s been one of our favorite performers and creative musical entertainer since we’ve started our career. He began his career at a young age like us, so to watch him evolve and also have longevity in this business is definitely inspiring to us!


FEATURED

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ENTREPRENEUR

DATINGYOUR

TARGET AUDIENCE: HOW TO MAKE PEOPLE FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR BRAND

When was the last time you went out on a date? An even better question is what type of dater are you? Are you the awkward and shy one that doesn’t really know how to keep a conversation going? Or are you the type to constantly talk about yourself and never asks about the person in front of you? Maybe you are the type that has balance. You know exactly how to share just enough information about yourself to keep the other person intrigued. You make them laugh and you ask all of the right questions to get them talking. And then to seal the deal, you bring value to the conversation by sharing something helpful that they can actually use. If you can identify with the last one, then congratulations because you are one step closer to understanding how to build your brand by dating your target audience. There is something magical that happens when you connect to your consumer on an emotional level. When you impact the heart of your consumer by default you impact their spending habits. It’s in that moment that they shift from being a watcher to a participator. And not only will they engage with you but they will trust you and they will spend with you. So it should be a daily job of any business or brand to get your target audience to know you better, like you and to trust you. In the same way when you are dating someone, you are trying to get the other

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Photographer: Bryan McKenny

Article by Maranda Joiner

person to feel connected to you in the hopes that you two will forever be together. So let’s back up here. First things first we need to understand one thing before we go looking for bae! We need to know our type.

Identify Your ‘Type’ In other words, who is your target audience? Now we all have a type. That one person that is perfect for you and your business. The goal is to get as detailed about this person as you can. The more real they are to you then the more likely you are to find them and speak directly to their needs. And you want to be sure to identify a single individual with very specific details. Are they male or female? (Yes, you have to pick one.) Are they single or married? What do they do for a living? What are their fears? And so on. The more in depth you are about you ideal person, the easier it will be for you to talk and relate to them when you start your marketing phase. Once you have identified your ‘type’ then you know how to address them. If you don’t know whom you are speaking to then how on earth will you know what to say? It’s also important to remember that this exercise is more for you than it is for the consumer. A lot of times my clients are afraid to narrow this person down to one individual because they believe they are leaving people out of


ENTREPRENEUR their target audience. But the truth is that you are not. When you get specific in the way you talk to your audience, and when you meet one person’s needs then you by default meet the needs of everyone else that has those same concerns. And the opposite holds true that if you are on social media talking to everyone then you are essentially talking to no one. Next we need to get clear on your messaging.

Messaging Matters Now that you know whom you are talking to, the next thing you need to do is to make your intentions clear and concise. At the end of the day, people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it. Speaking to the emotion of your ideal person is the smartest thing to do. Again when you impact people’s hearts then you impact their wallets. Apple does this very well. They don’t sell their products through marketing they sell a sense of belonging. They understand their target audience well and they speak to their needs. So really take some time to discover your own personal why in your business. Keep in mind that we are all in this for money so making money isn’t a good enough “why”. Once you can identify your why then you are well on your way to impact. Branding is about how you make people feel through your products and services. It’s not just about what you do. Now let’s focus on clarity for a minute. Can you explain your brand to a five year old? This is where you want to start and then build from there. I have found that most new entrepreneurs do so many things that they have yet to niche down and pick a lead in their business. Ask yourself, “What do I want to be known for?” And lead with that. Then you can add to your brand as you expand. Next ask yourself, what is the need you meet or the problem you solve for your ideal client or consumer? If you can’t tell people what problem you solve for them then they won’t know where to put you in their life. But when

you can identify their pain point and a situation comes up in their life where your services are needed, you will come to mind. Then next thing you will want to do is to create a compelling mission statement. Create one that identifies your “why” and how you are the solution. A lot of time we complicate our mission statement by making it wordy. Keep it simple and direct. Another thing you can do to help with clarity of messaging is to list your services. As an entrepreneur we tend to cater to requests even if it is something that we don’t normally offer. Don’t let people request work from you and dictate your services. Especially if it is something you are not primarily providing. Get very clear and detailed about the services you offer and stick to with it. You wouldn’t walk into Chick-fil-a and demand a chicken pizza so don’t let people do that to you. Now, everything that we have discussed up until this point has prepared us for this moment: the actual marketing of your brand. Marketing is simply the amplification of your message. So far we know whom we are speaking to and we know what we want to say. Now we can get ready to date our target ideal person. The goal in connecting to your audience is to get them to know, like and trust you. Have you ever gone out with someone and all they did the entire time is talk about themselves? Well this is usually how we show up on social media but there is a better way. There is something called the rule of thirds. And this is how it works: one third of the time you want to be promoting. And then one third of the time you want to be engaging and lastly one third of the time you want to share information. Now when we shift our mindset and think about “dating our audience”, the goal is to get them to know like and trust you. Let’s break it down. The easiest way to think about this is to again, imagine that your are trying to win someone over to be your boo. When you post it can be as simple or as complicated as you want. Let’s start with the know.

sharing information about yourself or your business is the goal. Story telling is key here. And remember to keep it simple. You do not have to load too much information in one post.

Like This is where you can engage with your ideal person. Nobody wants to be connected to someone that only talks about the products and services they offer so ask engaging questions. Click on and like the posts of the people you follow, comment and network. All of these things help with your algorithm as well as build connection.

Trust And finally you want to post things that add value you their lives. Don’t be afraid to share information. Not only does this position you as the expert in your field but it also causes your consumer feel like they owe you. And besides there is nothing almost nothing in this world that people can’t Google so why not be their resource? Giving free information causes the spirit of reciprocity to kick in. Then the next time you ask for a sale or buy in they feel more compelled to oblige. Now that you have the formula all you have to do is find a way to repeat these three different types of engagement on social media and before you know it you will be in a committed relationship with your target audience. So go ahead and make the first move!

Know This is the time to tell stories and talk about your business. You want people to be very clear about what it is you do and who you are as a brand. Just simply

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“Branding is about how you make people feel through your products and services. It’s not just about what you do. ” -Maranda Joiner



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DOPE QUOTES

DOPEQUOTES

“Love yourself “You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might and your happen. –Michelle Obama expression, you can’t go wrong” Some people want it to -KRS-One happen, some wish it would

“I’m going to always rise above the “I don’t have any time to stay up all night worrying about doubt that what someone who doesn’t may exist love me has to say about me.” about me.” – Viola Davis – T.I

happen, others make it happen. – Michael Jordan

“Living well eliminates the need for revenge.”

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– Kanye West


DOPEQUOTES

“LOVE is... Looking Over Various Errors.” -Lupe Fiasco

DOPE QUOTES

“I encourage everyone to pay attention to the issues that matter to you, from jobs and the economy, to education and our schools, to criminal justice reform. Whatever it is that you care about, make sure you use your voice.” – 2 Chainz

““Take the first chance that you get, because you may never get another one.” – Lil Wayne

“Everybody’s at war with different things…I’m at war with my own heart sometimes.” -Tupac Shakur One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation. – Arthur Ashe

“My whole thing is to inspire, to better people, to better myself forever in this thing that we call rap, this thing that we call hip-hop.” – Kendrick Lamar SEPT / OCT 2019- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -

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TIPS

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TIPS

WHY YOUR VIDEOS

! K C U S Article by Teddy Labissiere

Y

Yes, it is true. Your videos are probably subpar. Music Videos... commercials for your business...event promotional videos... they SUCK. Keep it real. This is how you bought your video: “Hi, I’d like to shoot a video for my (music video/commercial/event)”.... “Yeah, I want it to be really good. I am going to get people to notice me and this video needs to represent me properly. How much do you charge?” ... “WHAT? No,

that is way too much money. I just want to spend $400-$500. Thanks.” ... BEEP. You shopped with price. Any time you shop with price for anything other than a car, groceries, quasi-legal drugs, or gas is probably going to be a bad idea. Video is an extremely potent, highly effective, vastly desired medium for communicating a message. When someone plays a video on the internet, they are seeking out information. People click play, pay attention, and want to understand the message being conveyed. That message can be told in a story, flashy imagery, or through a person speaking. If it is good, people will pay attention. How that message is received is YOUR responsibility.

That is right, you are responsible for conveying the messages your video needs to express. If your audience receives it wrong, it is your fault. Here are some of the positive messages that can be conveyed through video: “This business/person/product is professional, informative, knowledgeable, trustworthy, entertaining, highly valued, reliable, and honest.” If this is what they think of you after watching your video, do you think they will want to go with the someone ELSE! However...here is someone of the negative messages that can be expressed through video:

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TIPS “This business/person/product is cheap, doesn’t care about their image, doesn’t convey their message properly, is boring, isn’t trustworthy, and doesn’t value themselves.” If this is what they think of you after watching your video, they will probably want to go with someone ELSE! Wouldn’t you? If I do not think you will invest in yourself for how you are perceived, then how do I know you have invested in the services or products you are selling to me? I know that for business owners money is tight. However, it is not tight for the things you want to spend money on. At the end of a long week, you might want to go to a bar or the club and money is not an issue there. You are big ballin’ at karaoke, or at the ball game. You pop tags at the mall. You do not want to go to any old raggedy place. You want to go somewhere nice, and have a good experience...even if it means spending more money. The same perspective applies to video. You have to understand that your audience is about to experience you. That is what a video does for people. Millions of people every day spend 2-3 hours watching a movie, because of the experience. It does not matter if it is in a theater or on a cell phone. People want to experience something GREAT. For 3 hours, or 2, or 30 minutes, or 30 seconds, people want to be swept up in the story, the image, the ambiance, the sounds, the textures that a great video provides. What they spend is even more valuable than money...they spend time and attention. You will never replace either of those things and no amount of money is truly worth time or attention. Now granted, not everyone spends time or attention in the wisest of ways, but if someone saw a film for MY business, I would not want them to think, “That was a waste of time.” You also have to understand that we have all been watching TV shows and movies for over 60 years. Many of us have grown up watching films our whole lives. We are experts at what good video looks like. We may not be

able to articulate the technical aspects of what makes a good video, but we are positively sure that we know when a video is bad. When you spend the least amount of money on a video that you can, we all can tell. Shooting it on a nice camera or in 4k is cool, but we can tell that it looks really cheap. We can tell that your audio is not in sync with your lips, that shot was too “shaky,” the colors look weird, the angles are jarring. We picked up on all of that stuff. Most people do not say every one of those details. We just say, “That video sucked!” If that is how your marketing material represents your business, then I might have to look to someone else for those goods or services. I cannot trust you to deliver on my needs for my hard-earned cash if you are not willing to spend yours on some good content. Do not take for granted the opportunities you have for people paying attention to your videos. That person may never want to watch your content again. Realize that you may only have one shot in your whole life to sway that person’s mind into considering your company for their next purchase. The LAST reason you would want them to deny you should be the VIDEO. In most cases, some video is better than none. If you truly do not have the funds for a big budget production, I understand. Get the best that you can get at this time. If you do have the money to invest in a videographer then consider the largest investment you can make into purchasing the best video you can produce to give you the best foot forward when someone decides to pay attention to you. You will feel SO proud to send that video to a potential client, or run that video as an ad. You will know, without a shadow of a doubt, that once anyone sees your video, they have the utmost confidence that you can deliver everything you said you could. A great video should do exactly that. If someone watches it and does not think “this kind of looks like a movie,” then you chose the wrong person.

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TIPS First things first. You need to make sure you provide a quality product, service, or image. If you make music, your music has to be good. If you sell tires, your tires have to be good. If you bake cakes, your cakes have to be good. NO VIDEO will change the way you do business. Having an above par video for a subpar product is a great way to vastly disappoint your clients. This will build a wall of mistrust for you & your company. It is an awesome way to get yelp reviews calling you a charlatan. If you know you provide great quality at your price points, then you need to find a filmmaker that can do the job. If your budget is less than $2000, good luck. This should be the end of the article for you. If not, then you need to find a guy or crew or company that has some really good videos to show you on their web-

Next, you will want to talk about this question. Use this question word for word. It is the most powerful question you can have in your pre-production meeting: “What do I want someone to think or do after watching this video?” Think about it... I know you said, “Buy my stuff ”...We get that! However, WHY should they buy your stuff? Remember that part earlier in this article about positive and negative messages? If you convey the right positive messages about your business, then customers will want to seek you out for their needs. They want to work with someone who is great! Just like when you shopped for the right videographer. You were not looking for price, you

call if you need to. Do not leave them hanging. A film is only as good as it’s pre-production. Once pre-production is over, there is a literal limit to how good your video can actually be. Get those ducks in a row. Production should go as scheduled, but be ready for some hiccups. No production is perfect. It is the filmmaker’s job to overcome those imperfections to deliver the product. Now if you called in some favors from your friends or family, and they flaked on you that day, DO NOT look at the filmmaker like he or she is supposed to fix this. This is on you. I have done quite a few productions where we stretched the budget and an uncle’s Porsche, or a cousin’s model girlfriend, or the mini-mansion my neighbor said we could use was all of sudden unavailable. It happens all the time. If

“A film is only as good as it’s pre-production.” site or social media. Once you find some folks who are really good at what they do, reach out to some of their clients. Ask the clients what it was like working with them. If their work is what you are looking for and their clients’ reviews are great, then it looks like you are in the right place. Start with budget. This time tell them the most you are willing to spend. This lets the filmmaker know you are serious, honest, and that you trust them to do the job. Remember that video is an art form, especially when it comes to your business. It is much easier to make something that just has to be entertaining. When we have to make something really boring, like your dentistry, into something someone is willing to sit through for 2 minutes of his or her life, we are going to have to get creative. Getting price out of the way helps us determine just how far we can go with the vision.

were looking for quality. Think of your customer base in the same way.

you did not pay for it, do not count on it being there.

Trust your filmmaker. Once you have the messaging down, the videographer will reverse engineer the film to convey the exact message your audience wants to hear. Do not make the mistake of thinking about what YOU want to see. It is not about you. It is not about your company. It is about your client. It is about what they need to see in you to do business with you. Trust that your filmmaker is keeping that in mind.

Once we get to post production, you should have an opportunity for a round of revisions. Some filmmakers include this in their fee; others will require you to pay for them. Clarify this beforehand. If you did all this right, and you followed the steps, and you did not cut any corners, you should have a video that you are proud of.

Listen. You may not always agree. That does not mean the person you hired is wrong. This is art with a purpose and an effect. It takes technical proficiency, creative vision, logistics, and most of all, experience. If this is your first REAL video, then relax and take notes.

For more tidbits and content like this, email me at Shoot@CaravanFilmCrews. com, DM on all social media @caravanfilmcrews. Keep following So FN Dope Magazine for more stuff you love. Thanks for reading!

Respond to the filmmaker. If you are asked about certain details regarding the production, answer them. Get on a

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182 RAYMOND RD PHONE

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@inkk_junkies_tattoos


COVER STORY

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COVER STORY Photographer: Michael W. Eaton Styled by : @superdope_q

CEASER EMANUEL NEW YORK

Interviewed by Sy Sayonara

Our cover artist needs no introduction. He has single handedly changed the way people perceive the tattoo industry. However, he is so much more that a great tattoo artist. For the last eight seasons, he has been the epitome of success, inadvertently showing the black community the importance of ownership as well as the triumphs and struggles of having your own business. We are honored to have the opportunity to sit and chat with him about his life, his businesses, and his future endeavors. Check out our exclusive interview with CEO of Black Ink and VH1’s Black Ink Crew reality star Ceaser Emanuel.

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S

COVER STORY FND MAG: Ceaser! BLACK INK!!! What is going on! SEASON 8! CEASER: Yeah! Season 8! It’s a miracle. I didn’t think we would even make it past Season 2.

SFND MAG: [LAUGHS] That’s funny! So let’s talk a little bit about the back-story. At what point did you realize that being a tattoo artist could (1) be a good business move and (2) be something that is so hot and entertaining and trendy right now? CEASER: I’ll be honest with you. With tattooing, that industry has always been pretty lucrative, but people really don’t take notice of the tattoo industry. People will sit there and think that tattoo artists don’t make any money, but if you really look at how much the average tattoo artist makes you’d see that they make more than just the average person working at a 9 to 5. Even though there is sporadic time scheduling, and things like that, the tattoo industry is a very lucrative business and I just saw it as a “gold mine.” No one was tapping in to this market. No one was really trying to make it a franchise. It’s like a cowboy’s industry in the sense that everybody goes for what they know. It’s like a “free for all.” SFND MAG. Right, but you’ve put it on the map as far as TV. You’ve really put it in front of our faces, not just tattooing, not just the artistry of it, but displaying what you all go through

every day. CEASER: Yeah! When we first aired the TV show people thought that it was just going to be about tattooing, but they have to understand our lifestyle, because no one is going to just sit there and watch a 60-minute show of people just doing tattoos. C’mon, that’s going to be boring. They need to understand what makes those people tick and what made them decide that they wanted to be in this industry? Honestly, the same things happen in other shops that happen in my shop. Every shop has drama. It is just that some people are scared to put their shit on Front Street. SFND MAG: Yeah, you have to be open. CEASER: Yeah, you have to be open and be willing to take the criticism and the backlash behind it even though it comes with praises it also comes with criticism.

There is like shallowness to it. For me, I have so much stuff going that I can’t even operate my own Instagram or my own social media. It’s to the point now where fame is a very dangerous drug. I’ve seen a lot of people especially on my show get famous for two seconds and think they are gods. With me, I still think I’m a normal person. I’m just on TV and you’re seeing my story. My talent is tattooing. Other than that, I can’t sing. I can’t dance. I’m not an actor. SFND MAG: You can sing and dance! [LAUGHS] CEASER: [LAUGHS] “Yeah, but it ain’t good.” You’re not going to pay to hear me. They’d probably pay me to shut the hell up, but that’s about it! [LAUGHS] So, at the end of the day I never let any of that get to my head.

SFND MAG: And through all of that, you have to still have to maintain the artistry.

SFND MAG: Building and growing a business can be a lonely journey, who do you look to for support or mentorship in how you move as a businessman?

CEASER: Exactly! That is the most difficult part about it, because sometimes you get caught up in the fame and being a celebrity and you’ll forget who you originally were. I’m not going to lie, I got caught up in that for a while, but then I had to remember that I’m an artist and that is what really makes me happy. Being a celebrity is cool. Being famous is cool, but I started as an artist.

CEASER: That’s a very interesting question because I ask myself that every day. In my industry, what I’m doing is something that has never been done before especially as a black man who is basically a minority in the industry. It is something that I struggle with almost daily because there is no one that I can really talk to about my struggles, about my woes, or about certain things.

SFND MAG: If you had a choice to take away any of it at any point; what is one thing you could live without?

SFND MAG: No one has paved the way in that sense.

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CEASER: Ummm… The fame. The fame because I’m not the type of person that is addicted to it. I like being known, but not like some people. I see some people that are so addicted and it’s like if they are not concentrating on their social media, or themselves then they really don’t have anything.

CEASER: Exactly, so at the end of the day, like my mom always said, it’s my course to bid. I can’t sit here and say, “Bro… what the hell man… I’ve got to pay property tax on this shop and I handle this for that shop.” No one is going to sit there and tell you how to do this, that, and the third. I have to go through it. SFND MAG: It’s like being self-made. CEASER: That’s what it is basically. It’s self-made and I make my mistakes just like everybody else. It’s just that I don’t sit on my face. I have to get up and keep going.


COVER STORY

Photographer: Michael W. Eaton Styled by : @superdope_q

“ Being a celebrity is cool. Being famous is cool, but I started as an artist.” -CEASER

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COVER STORY SFND MAG: After the first and second

season of Black Ink Crew how difficult was it for you to make the transition from this young black kid from 174th in Harlem to Celebrity Reality TV Star? CEASER: I really didn’t get a hold of everything until Season 4 because you have to understand that where I’m from I was always a local celebrity. People knew me as Ceaser. He tattoos; he’s up and coming. He’s the best tattoo artist in Harlem etc… but when that TV thing hit, it was different. I couldn’t go to Wal-Mart no more. People would look at me funny in Wal-Mart. Then there is the picture thing. You have to make sure you don’t come outside of your house any type of way because people always want to take pictures with you. You have to learn how to deal with people more and communicate more because you have different types of fans coming at you. Some are aggressive. Some are very passive. Some are just crazy. You get a mix of a lot of things and you have to deal with them every day. Honestly, you don’t know what you are going to step in to until you step out that door. So there’s a lot of things I had to learn to deal with mentally especially me being from the hood and I really don’t talk to people. Then there are some people who know you so well they know your first name, so you’re looking at them like, “Do I know you? Did I grow up with you?” And they are like oh no I just see you on the TV show. That is another thing. People get so personal with you especially after watching you for eight seasons. It’s like they almost know you, so sometimes they’ll walk up to you and say “Ay bruh what’s up” and I’m like bro I don’t know you. Why are you hitting me?” [LAUGHS] You’re a little too close.” But I also do understand that sometimes you have to take yourself out of being you and just look at it from a fans point of view. SFND MAG: So did you ever think it would get to this level from Season 1 to now Season 8? That is such a huge accomplishment especially since no one else has paved this way. CEASER: I never even planned this. I’ve seen a lot of reality stars that really wanted to be reality stars. Once they saw Flava Flav, they wanted to do what Flava did. Then Love & Hip Hop came out and

everybody wanted to be like that. I never saw this for me. I always saw myself a successful man as far a business because I already knew what I wanted to do in the tattoo industry, but I didn’t know this would be my path. I’m not the regular celebrity. I don’t consider myself as the regular celebrity. I don’t sit here and say “yea… I want to do movies after this, and do this and that.” What’s next for me is business. After the reality TV when people see me it’s going to be in the tattoo shop or running some type of business. My plan was just to get my people and us out of the predicament we were in. SFND MAG: Do you think you would ever franchise the brand? Do you feel that franchising would dilute the exclusivity of the brand? CEASER: I’ve thought about that. When I first started opening up my shops, people told me not to. They were like “Don’t open up past 113th. Just keep that one shop because it keeps the originality of it.” However, what I understood after Season 4 is Black Ink became a staple in the black community. People really started looking at me as a businessman. When people used to say, “Ceaser you inspire me,” I looked at them like “For what?” I’m now starting to realize that because I did it my own way, because I opened my own shop, and didn’t want to work a 9-5 and I wanted to be my own boss, that set a certain tone for this generation coming up. So, I thought in my mind that I can’t just stop here. I have to franchise because every city has a “Ceaser” in it and every Ceaser needs to be awakened. People don’t understand, I’m 40 years old. The person who I listened to was Tupac. Tupac woke me up, like you have to do what you have to do to get out the hood. SFND MAG: And sometimes it takes a while. CEASER: Exactly. Sometime this journey is alone because at the end of the day, you’ve got to go to these cities and let these kids know that entertainment, and acting ain’t the only way to get out of the hood. I’m a kid who basically pushed ink to get out the hood. You don’t necessarily have to do what they say you have to do. You do what you love and there is nothing wrong with that. That is what I did. I did what I loved and no one can turn me

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away from it. SFND MAG: Now if it all went away, would you still be ok with just being Ceaser pushing ink in New York? CEASER: You know what’s funny? I actually thought about quitting this season. SFND MAG: Really? CEASER: Yeah, I thought about leaving Black Ink. I really thought about it. People don’t really understand how much of a toll it takes on you. Being on TV for eight seasons is a blessing, but as a lead person of a show; the amount of time it takes not only from you but family members, things you want to do besides just TV becomes taxing. It becomes a challenge because every season you’ve got to make sure you’re there so the rest of your crew can make it to the next season. It became challenging to me because at the time felt like I was stuck in a spot. I couldn’t achieve my personal goals because my TV situation had me to where I basically couldn’t do anything. SFND MAG: You had to make a choice. CEASER: You have to make a choice. If you want to become a successful businessman, you have to be able to balance certain things. I’m starting to understand that TV was consuming too much of my time. If I’m working 50 hours a week, there’s not much time for me, or my daughter or stuff like that so it got to a point where we had to have some type of negotiation because I can’t sit here and work everyday not have a life for myself. SFND MAG: Yeah, and you have all of that pressure on you. I mean, at the end of the day you can be the leader but what is important is the balance and your health and your family. CEASER: Yeah, and you saw last season my health failed on me. That’s when they realized they were working me too hard. They realized something had to happen because I can’t keep going 100 miles per hour with no breaks. So at the beginning of this season I was thinking about not doing it anymore, but I really thought about it.


SFND MAG: How has it affected your family? CEASER: It’s strenuous for my family because they want to see me and they want to be around me but it’s kind of hard because I don’t have that much time. In between breaks, I get to see them and say what’s up but it’s hard being me, but when it comes down to it, if it went away I’d be ok, but I never want to spit in God’s face by saying I don’t love his blessings because I do love it. I want to go all the way with it. I want to show kids you can live the American Dream. You don’t have to sit here in a hate-filled America. That’s not what it is about. They’re stupid people here in America that make this shit uncomfortable but you can still achieve the American Dream. SFND MAG: You’re definitely paving the way for that. So we’re going switch gears and lighten the mood up a bit and play a little game. We are going to say a short list of names and you have to say the first word that comes to your mind. Ready? Here we go!

SFND MAG: New York

“I have to fix this no matter what it takes”

CEASER: “Home”

SFND MAG: Family

CEASER: “First”

SFND MAG: Skyy

CEASER: “Sister”

have to fix this no matter what it takes and that’s what I did.

SFND MAG: BLACK INK

SFND MAG: That shows accountability though. It shows you can have your differences, but that’s still your brother.

CEASER: “Forever”

SFND MAG: TRUMP

CEASER: “Dickhead”

SFND MAG: Teddy

CEASER: “My Brother”

SFND MAG: Dutchess

CEASER: Yeah, and I had to realize that I’m a hot head sometimes and I often have to reflect back like “Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.” That’s how it was with Puma. It was just understanding that we need to do better. If we as a people are going to get anywhere, we’ve got to do better. Just little gestures like that go a long way. Other cultures don’t do that. They don’t hold grudges and gripes with someone forever or kill their brother. That’s one of the biggest things; Black on Black crime. “You’re killing your brother yo”! That’s the thing. Most of it is over egos. We should be fighting to get to the top. We aren’t fighting against our oppressors, we’re fighting against each other, and that shit don’t make sense to me no more.

--CRESS WILLIAMS

CEASER: “Tttthuuuh” [ smirk]

SFND MAG: PUMA

COVER STORY

to do something different. Everybody keeps thinking we were beefing over that chicken drop. It was deeper than that. It was so much more but at the same time, it was so much less. Men’s egos can get in the way of certain things and you have to reach a certain level of maturity before you can understand that you messed up. I can always blame somebody for the mistakes they made, but when are you going to blame yourself for the mistakes you’ve made. I can’t fault Puma for his mistakes anymore. All I can do is say yeah, I made mistakes too, to force the decisions that you made. It wasn’t a one sided thing. It wasn’t a direct hate thing. We were two young kids that thought the only way of survival was taking each other out and that is because of the system. Once you start realizing that “I don’t have to destroy my brother to get anywhere” then it’s not as difficult. You don’t feel as much weight. With Puma, I always felt that weight. Every time I thought about it, I was like “Damn, you have all this but you don’t have your friend with you anymore.” What good is all of this if you don’t have the people you started with? These are the people I made the pact with and they are not here anymore. Am I the bad person who basically lied to them or am I the person who as a leader has to admit that I messed up and I

CEASER: “Best Friend”

SFND MAG: We see Puma is back in the fold this season. Why was rebuilding that relationship so important to you? CEASER: It’s always been an epidemic in our community that we turn on our friends. It’s always been the same chapter. You grow up together. You start hating each other out of nowhere and out of stupidity and you sever your ties. With me, I wanted

SFND MAG: In the tattoo industry, what do you feel is the metric for success? In your mind, is there one thing that has to happen for an artist to be recognized as elite? CEASER: Before when I was coming up the elite tattoo artists were the guys in the dopest shops. Now the generation has changed. The elite tattoo artists of this generation are the muthafuckas that travel. The ones who go to Russia, and Ireland and places like that. Those muthafuckas are the dopest. That’s how you really get your stamp. You’ve got to travel to these SEPT / OCT 2019- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -

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COVER STORY regions with these dope artists and learn from them. Honestly, that’s what I’m doing now. I’m going to Cali and learning from my boys in California. I go to Russia and learn from my boys in Russia. It’s all a learning process. Even when you retire from tattooing, you’re still learning so every day you it should be a teaching / learning situation. So for me, in order for you to be an elite artist, you’ve got to go get that information because no one is going to hand it to you. You are a student all the time. SFND MAG: Is it hard for you to police yourself and not get drunk off the success? CEASER: It’s kind of hard being the leader of a franchise. Everything you do gets criticized. Think about it. Like the other day, Bae posted a picture of my feet up, and that shit went viral. I said, “What the fuck”! I mean I know my feet are ugly, but my god, to go viral. It just shows you the magnitude of certain things. Any little thing that you do is going to be criticized, and put under a microscope and at the end of the day that stops you from doing a lot of things, because I have to second guess myself because when it’s all said and done I really want to be recognized as a great businessman. That’s my whole thing. My daughter sits a tells people “You can say whatever you want to say him, but my father is a great businessman.” That what I want as my staple. If I can have that one statement. I am good with everything else. SFND MAG: So, not too long ago you had a little health scare as you mentioned a little earlier. What changes have you made to your lifestyle to reassure that your health A1? CEASER: After that health scare, I’m not going to even lie to you I went and hollered at my boy at Define Your Fitness and he’s just been putting me to work for almost eight months now. A lot of people have been asking me how did my body change and how did I have that transformation. It’s him. I have to give him the credit. I wouldn’t have done half of the shit I’ve done without his muscle-bound ass. From me changing what I eat to when There’s a whole different PHOTO BY:wake Omar up. “YXCVLI” Zapien STYLED BY: Mr. Highclass andliving Designer Telley lifestyle he’s got me and I like it now. I always used to say, “You’ve got to

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Photographer: Michael W. Eaton Styled by : @superdope_q

“I’ve been in the game twenty years just off pure hard work, and I haven’t had my popular moment. ” --Allen Maldonado


COVER STORY chase the money! Fuck all that other shit.” But what is the point of having money and you’re throwing up on yourself or you’re shitting on yourself. I don’t want to be that person to have a billion dollars and I’m sitting in my bed and can’t move. So like I said, I’m learning to balance everything out. I go to the gym now at least once or twice a day, four to 5 days a week. I do cardio. I eat vegetables. I don’t eat anymore fried food. Most of my food is prepared for me.

tattoo. Hmmm. I hadn’t been tattooed in a while. I think my Black Ink on my knuckles was my last tattoo.

SFND MAG: You feel the difference though right?

SFND MAG: Is it being an asshole or just being “real” that people aren’t understanding.

CEASER: You feel the difference I’m more active. I can go places and I like it. I like the whole changing of my body. I’m only half of the way through. I can’t wait to get all the way though. SFND MAG: Over the years, you’ve become quite the tattoo collector, naturally so. What was your first tattoo, what’s your most recent tattoo, and which is your favorite tattoo? CEASER: My first one was Mortal Kombat tattoo. That was the first year came out and I was like addicted to it. I was doing tournaments beating people and everything I thought I was going to be a professional Mortal Kombat player. [ LAUGHS]As for my most recent

SFND MAG: OK… Let’s talk about your favorite one. CEASER: Ummm. It’s between my mother’s portrait and my “ASSHOLE” tattoo. I really got “asshole” tatted on me. People ask me “why are you are an asshole” and I reply I’ve been an asshole.

CEASER: I’m just “real” because my mom always told me don’t beat around the bush so I don’t do it and I hate when people beat around the bush to me, so I just get right to it. I don’t know how to sugar coat anything. SFND MAG: [ LAUGHS ] That’s funny! So if you had to name another person who you felt is So FN Dope, who would it be and why? CEASER: The person that is So FN Dope to me is probably my big brother. That muthafucka puts up with a lot of my bullshit. I know sometimes he wants to choke me and shit like that, especially me being the younger brother. [LAUGHS]

He’ll tell me what it is. He never bullshits me. He always tells me if I’m fucking up or if I’m on some dumb shit. People don’t understand, I really didn’t have a father figure so he was that to me. When I was younger, he showed me how to get girls. He taught me how to drive. He showed me a lot of good shit… and some bad shit too, but you know that’s what your older brother is there for, to get you through the hood. I don’t think I would have made it without his knowledge, because a lot of times even when he was locked up he would tell me “Yo… you’ve got to calm down and get your shit right.” He was right. Because of him, I never had a record. I mean…I got into shit, but when you have a big brother like that, niggas know not to play cause big brother is coming and I have a deep family so they always kept me straight. SFND MAG: Well, We appreciate you Ceaser . Thank you again for coming through and hanging out with us . We definitely enjoyed you my brother. We wish you nothing but the best. You are definitely So FN Dope. CEASER: Thanks. I be feeling So FN Dope [LAUGHS] SFND MAG: You are!

“It’s kind of hard being the leader of a franchise. Everything you do gets criticized. ” -CEASER

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Photographer: Michael W. Eaton Styled by : @superdope_q

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DJ

KING TUTT

Now days in Hip-Hop, it seems that the art of DJing and the art of producing music in many ways go hand in hand. Many professional DJ’s have tried their hand at making beats and in some cases; beat makers have given DJing a shot. Juggling the two professions could prove to be challenging though, however this Baltimore native has managed to do both and do them well. Check out our exclusive interview with DJ King Tutt.

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BALTIMORE, MD


S

FND MAG: DJ King Tutt. What’s good my brother? We are certainly appreciative of the time you took out of your schedule to be a part of this issue.

thing is wonderful!

DJ KING TUTT: Thank you! Every-

SFND MAG: If you could... Do you mind giving our readers a little background on who you are and where you are representing? DJ KING TUTT: Well, I am a DJ and producer from Baltimore, Maryland. I was formally with a label called Unruly Records. While with them I released several projects and I also produced numerous remixes for Sony, Bad Boy, Def Jam, Universal, and many other labels around the world! I was a kid that didn’t sleep! While doing that I was also in clubs up and down the East Coast! I was doing a radio mix show for several years. Then three years ago, myself along with a couple of my best friends, who are also djs and producers, started our own company, Music Motives Ent. It was time to start something fresh and new! Right now, I also have several mixes on Apple Music. SFND MAG: Now, We hear that you are like the hottest DJ in the Baltimore area! How long you been grinding to get to that top spot? DJ KING TUTT: I’ve been spinning since 95’. Baltimore is a city of many great DJ’s! Much respect and love to everybody there! SFND MAG: You also travel quite a bit as well so we know you have had opportunities to vibe with different types of crowds all over. What is your favorite city to travel to? Which city has the best energy on your opinion? DJ KING TUTT: My personal favorite is New York! Just the whole feeling and vibe! I love it there! As far as energy, I would say New York again! The atmosphere there makes you push extra hard!

SPOTLIGHT When you go 100%, the crowd gives it right back to you up there! The love is real there! The energy is authentic! SFND MAG: You are a music producer as well right? How long you been producing? DJ KING TUTT: Yes, I am also a producer. I have been producing wince ’99. I’m known for Baltimore club music and dance music, but I also make hip-hop. SFND MAG: Being a DJ and a music producer seems like it would work out perfectly because you can easily slide some of your own music in to the mix and see how the crowd vibes? Am I right? DJ KING TUTT: Yeah! It’s great to be able to do both! When I play some of my own stuff, it lets me know if I need to change anything with the mix down or a particular sound or a particular sound or drum! Any good DJ knows you always keep an eye on the crows! With that being said, I have several on the crowd when I’m playing something produced. I’m my worst enemy, but it makes me a stronger person and a great DJ/ producer! SFND MAG: Over the years, you have dropped a few projects of your own. Can we expect to see any new projects from you coming our way in the near future? DJ KING TUTT: Yes, right now I’m actually on the finishing touches of my new studio. I recently purchased new equipment also. The goal is to release several projects in 2020. SFND MAG: As a DJ, part of your job is to keep up and be on the cusp of new trends in music. What new trends do you foresee headed for the industry here in the next year or two? DJ KING TUTT: I love how all types of House Music are rising right now! I have always been a huge fan! I definitely want that to continue! SFND MAG: From your perspective, what do you feel are the pros and cons of being independent artist in 2019?

DJ KING TUTT: A huge pro of being independent is freedom! It’s the ability to have complete creative control of projects! Labels and people will think they know what’s best and then make you change stuff, but if it fails due to the change you’re the blame! If it’s successful, they take the credit. A con is basically money! Not having a check waiting for you to get started on your project! SFND MAG: In your professional opinion, name three up and coming artists that we should have on the radar for 2020. DJ KING TUTT: The first is Tt the Artist… She is so dope! The second is DDM! These are two incredibly talented people! I’m going to cheat on the third one. I’m going to say the MME Boyz aka me and my team! When we start releasing projects, they are going to be ridiculous. SFND MAG: Based on what you have heard so far can you predict who will be the hottest artist in 2020? Our prediction is that 2020 belongs to Da Baby. [LAUGHS] What’s your prediction? DJ KING TUTT: That is tough. It’s so many new artists out now. SFND MAG: How can your fans reach you on social media? DJ KING TUTT: On all social media @ djkingtutt … I respond back [LAUGHS] SFND MAG: Before you go, could you name another DJ that you think is “So FN Dope” and tell us why? DJ KING TUTT: I’ll give you a duo. My sisters Ultra Nate’ and Lisa Moody. These two are always on a plane somewhere. I look up to them so much! SFND MAG: Once again, thank you so much DJ King Tutt for interviewing with us. It has been a pleasure .We definitely wishes you much success and look forward to seeing you at the top. DJ KING TUTT: Thank you for everything!

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