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hat’s good! Thank you for your interest in So FN Dope Magazine. We are a brand 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 Eaden Myles Michael W. Eaton Photography tigerrogers.com NO MORE LUCK Hype-Radio.com JB & Benny Blue Review Beauty Fetish Curve Brows Caravan Film Crews Bailey Campos @creative_beauty_boutique Shadow Promotions Apparel by DNA Seven Cognac UNFAZED RUBY RUTH Wairhouze Entertainment On The Real Videos COVER STORY Allen Maldonado The Amours FEATURED CR3W Oswin Benjamin The Amours Allen Maldonado GUEST WRITERS Jia “ Miss Ikonic” McMillian-Shipley Tatiana M. Denson Ray Burton COVER PHOTOGRAPHERS Danny Hastings (Allen Maldonado Cover) Marcus Owens (The Amours Cover) styled by J. Bolin CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Omar “YXCVLI” Zapien Marcus Owens Danny Hastings @eyeamcortez @kellykincaid Patrick Melon

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MAGAZINE

INSIDESFND JUNE / JULY 2019

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A&R’s A DYING SPECIES: Indie Artists The New Predators Indie artists thrive while A&R’s take a back seat to the “Internet” in the modern day music business. ON THE VERGE: OSWIN BENJAMIN On the Verge artist, Oswin Benjamin leaves no stones unturned with his new album Godfrey! Check him out and see why we think he is going to be one of the industry’s dopest young lyricists. THE AMOURS Come vibe with the sultry voices of Morton Record’s newest R&B duo The Amours. Check out our exclusive interview and see what these two are bringing new to the game. ENTREPRENEURSHIP BEYOND BUSINESS Check out these helpful tips on how to take your business to the next level.

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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

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UP NEXT with CR3W This trio is definitely making waves with their latest project “Placid.” Get to know these young brothers and see why we think they are “Up Next.”

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ALLEN MALDONADO From acting on television to the big screen, screen writing, and entrepreneurship, this brother does it all. Check out our exclusive interview with The Last OG star Allen Maldonado.

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HIP-HOP HISTORY: The D.O.C. from SOC Let us rewind time and revisit some seldom-recognized hip-hop history facts. Stay tuned. You just may learn something.

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

OSWIN BENJAMIN page

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LETTER FROM THE FOUNDERS

LETTER FROM THE FOUNDERS

CELEBRATING OUR 10TH ISSUE OF SO FN DOPE MAGAZINE

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ince the beginning of the year, we have been constantly searching for ways to push So FN Dope Magazine to new heights. With this being our 10th issue, we felt that this would be the perfect time for us to stretch our limits by doing something that we have not done yet. What immediately came to mind was for us to publish our very first double cover issue. For this issue, not only did we have the distinct honor and pleasure to interview incredibly dope artists, but also some extremely dedicated and hardworking individuals

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

as well. Issue 10 features The Last OG and Blackish star Allen Maldonado, Morton Records recording artists The Amours, Newburgh lyricist, Oswin Benjamin, and Hip-Hop/R&B trio CR3W. We certainly hope you enjoy reading the stories of these dope individuals. Each of their articles is entertaining, encouraging, and empowering in its own way. Special thanks to all those who participated and contributed to make this issue possible. You are all greatly appreciated! Be Fly... Be Original... Be So FN Dope!

SO FN DOPE MAGAZINE ISSUE # 10 DOUBLE COVER

Allen Maldonado Cover Photographer: Danny Hastings

Warm Regards,

Corey Norwood Sr. Co-Founder So FN Dope Magazine

The Amours Cover Photographer: Marcus Owens

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HOT TOPIC

A&R’s

A DYING SPECIES

INDIE ARTISTS, THE NEW PREDATORS

Article by Jia “Miss Ikonic” McMillan-Shipley

T

he advent of technology plays a vital role in the huge shift of talent acquisitions in the music industry. We live in an era of social media followers, views and streaming analytics. The music industry will forever be a multi-billion dollar business but 40 years ago it wasn’t the overpopulated suburb its turned into today. The modern generation of music

appears to be more about the dollar than the talent, more about the profit than the artist development and education, more about politics than the art. It’s because of this that the Artist and Repertoire division of labels suffers. A&R’s aren’t trying to find DMX type talent on the street corners in Yonkers, NY but majority are instead only sifting through artists with a high social media following, tons of views and public figure like status. It’s

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imperative to note that an artist can make money from their craft before you sign them but that shouldn’t be the only qualifying notation. Subsisting in the times of mumble rappers, substance lacking tunes, instant fame seekers and over night success stories causes the method in which one believes they can succeed to shift. Good music although still cultivated by many doesn’t get you noticed by labels as fast as a large following will. What mes-


HOT TOPIC sage is the industry sending to thriving musicians, furthermore, where does this leave A&R’s in the scheme of things?

The Role of an A&R, Then and Now

Photographer: Omar “YXCVLI” Zapien

Photographer: Omar “YXCVLI” Zapien

In the golden years, A&R’s, scouted talent, attended shows, listened to demos and actively read industry press on new talent, to name a few of their tasks. After the A&R rep selected an artist or band of interest they would take their findings to the proper label heads for a potential record deal or management negotiation. The internet removes some of the grunt work of the 90’style A&R. Decades ago A&R’s put their feet to the pavement to scout new talent, now they wouldn’t even have to leave the comfort of their beds. Many labels have cut the budget for the A&R department or have diminished that sector of the label all together. From 2000 to present day, thousands of A&R’s have been let go. Some remained in the music business acting as music managers, music advisors etc. and some removed themselves entirely from the industry. In the modern era, technically their duties haven’t changed but their role in true artist development has shifted from, “Let’s make this person a star” to “How many followers and Youtube subscribers do they have?” The first statement, of making someone a star, means that the A&R rep will mold their potential, educate them on the industry, get them a vocal coach if necessary, bring in a couple songwriters etc. instead of merely focusing on their mass appeal that they’ve already attained without a label. Now let’s be clear, having a strong following and making money for yourself as an artist without a label gifts you more negotiating power, however, it doesn’t mean that you’re actually talented. There are plenty of fly-by-night musicians creating momentary viral

sensations and getting signed for it, what message does that send to the industry at large? The music industry is a money business, no doubt, but good music can and should sell as well. Every talented musician doesn’t have all the currency in the world or all the connections but they may have the fight to continue on and the tough skin to handle the ruthlessness of the music industry. Some true gems of are generation haven’t amassed millions of views but they create quality content. A&R’s should seek out those diamonds and apply the proper pressure. However, you now can just scour Youtube, social media hashtags or music blogs. Some say that music blogs attributed to endangering the A&R species. Blogs and music websites can now make or break an artist. We no longer are waiting until the morning to listen to a DJ premier a record on the radio. Now music is released and consumed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and whomever is the fastest on that coverage seems to reign supreme. Top music websites such as Pitchfork, HotNewHipHop, TheFader and NPR, to name a few, have tens of writers that are constantly waiting for new music to drop. Those sites garner millions of views a week. The radio reaches millions of listeners as well but the 6am radio segment would be six hours late on the release of a song that dropped at midnight that day.

Technology – Inevitable but Stifling Technology doesn’t just affect the A&R but that A&R’s right-hand men and women. Now A&R’s need to be just as plugged in with bloggers as they are with DJ’s, press and radio personality’s. The issue with the dying off of A&R’s is the trickle down effect as well. A&R’s not truly being A&R’s anymore doesn’t just hurt independent artists but it hurts DJ’s, Radio Stations, music publishers and more. Legendary A&R’s like Paul Harris, JUN / JUL 2019- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -

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HOT TOPIC Lenny Santiago, Nate Albert, Jeremy Vuernick and Chris Anokute have discovered the likes of Katy Perry, Halsey, Vic Mensa and The Weekend to name a few thereby embodying the true essence of the talent acquisition craft. The music industry is comprised of several sectors just to ensure the success of its artists but it starts with the A&R. The process of making an artist successful begins with finding an artist worth making successful. Worth, in this case, relates to monetary worth but also the worthiness of time spent contacting songwriters, coordinating studio sessions, press, visuals, professional photo-shoots, public relations and the list goes on. The technological shift in the music industry, although inevitable, still plagues the question: would some of today’s artists have survived 30 years ago? A&R’s, back in the day, were such a vital piece of the music artist selection process. Just “anybody” couldn’t become an artist and sign to Def Jam or Universal; they had to have something special. The Internet introduced the influx of musicians and also increased resourcefulness. More importantly, it presented a global method of exposure only previously found on television and news stations. Now Instagram and Youtube videos can amass millions of views when, once upon a time, your video would have had to appeared on national television to receive that level of clout. Soulja Boy is regarded as one of the first artists to be discovered on the Internet, Youtube in particular, then Sean Kingston and so on. The Internet provides a superb method of reaching a new audience but also helped mold the concrete for the rise of the independent artist.

The Rise of the Indie Artist This is the DIY generation, the generation of Youtube sensations, music streams and overnight entrepreneurs. This generation truly values their independence and can simply Google how to achieve it thus giving birth to the rise in independent musicians. Some creative’s wish to no longer be anchored by the

Photographer: Omar “YXCVLI” Zapien

financial hold and artistic direction of record labels, which creates yet another lull for the once revered A&R sector of the music business. Artists are creating their own labels, making their own connections, creating their own budgets and proudly taking the independent route. We know that labels can control your content, your image, your album release dates and more. A good label that represents your best interest at heart won’t stifle your creative palate and vision but that’s a rarity these days. Artists such as the late great Nipsey Hussle, for example, took true pride in ownership and owned all of his masters. Cardi B, who started off independently with her label-like group K.S.R, yes eventually signed a multi-million dollar deal with Atlantic Records but that was after she garnered a huge following on her own which thus gave her the ability to negotiate such a grand deal that clearly hasn’t shifted her personality or content. However, deals like Cardi’s are one in a hundred thousand and she’s clearly worth it. She could have, however, remained an independent artist like thousands of others. The indie route is appealing because of the creative freedom but still lacks the financial gusto. Being an independent artist is no cheap gig. It requires a lot of money to come out before you ever see any money in return. You have to build your team, your fan-base, shoot your visuals, present quality photos, hire PR and network like your life depends on it. This era doesn’t crave 360 deals and excessive control but freedom. However, this freedom, although admirable, does bless the market

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with quality digestible content but also pollutes the market with a superfluity of substance-lacking tunes amid illiterate artists in the realm of the actual music business itself and it’s because of that, that the A&R still remains a relevant caretaker.

Why are A&R’s Still Vital? This industry, now more than ever, needs the assistance of A&R professionals trained to find authentic, timeless, credible talent. An A&R possesses something money can’t buy – a good ear. Good A&R’s know talent when they hear it which takes years of training and of course the successful breaking of various artists. A&R’s roll their sleeves up and deal with the daily plights of discovering legendary musicians. A&R’s take the hit if that artist doesn’t turn out to be a star. A&R’s parent their artists into working music industry adults; they are the moms and dads of new talent. They have died off in unforeseen numbers and as technology advances they may cease to exist all together. In the event that, that extinction occurs it would be a detrimental blow to one of the most profitable and esteemed industries of the world but only time will tell.


HOT TOPIC

OKE JUNIOR Photographer: Omar “YXCVLI” Zapien

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ON THE VERGE

Our first featured artist is a true representation of Hip-Hop in its rawest form. In our opinion, he is a pure lyricist with the ablilty to articulate his innermost thoughts poetically with the greatest of ease. There is no doubt in our minds that this young brother will one day have a seat at the table with the Greats. He has already been co-signed by some of the most credible names in Hip-Hop. Check out our interview with, “On the Verge� artist, Oswin Benjamin.

Photography: @eyeamcortez @kellykincaid

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ON THE VERGE

OSWIN BENJAMIN NEWBURGH, NY.

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ON THE VERGE

Photography: @eyeamcortez @kellykincaid

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S

FND MAG: OSWIN! What’s good my brother? We wanted to start off by saying what an honor it is to have you as one of the artists in our 10th issue of our magazine. We are definitely appreciative of the time you took out of your schedule to be a part of this issue. OSWIN BENJAMIN: Yerrrr! What’s going on? Thank you for reaching out and I’m excited to be a part of what you guys are building. SFND MAG: If you would, please give our readers a little background on who you are and where you are from. OSWIN BENJAMIN: Sure, no problem. Well, my name is Oswin Benjamin; I was born to a Guyanese father and a British mother. I was born in Brooklyn, New York, but I was raised a little ways north of there in a place called Newburgh. I am an artist, a flawed human being figuring it out just like you and everyone reading this, and I’m a child of God above all else fam. SFND MAG: Now, Oswin We must admit we first came across your profile way back in 2017 on Instagram one day while scanning for artist. We were blown away by your style, and your delivery and lyrics. How long have you been developing your talent to get to this level? OSWIN BENJAMIN: Man! First off, thank you for keeping up with me and my career for the years that you have. That means a lot. As far as a time frame for developing the gift, as cliché as it sounds pretty much as far back as I remember. I’ve been singing in church and competitions since I was like five, but I took a liking to hip-hop a little late. I started taking it seriously in college, which was around 2008 so a little over 10 years now. SFND MAG: Over the last couple of years, we have listened to lots of your songs and your music reminds us of how hip-hop used to be as far as CONTENT, CONSCIOUSNESS, AND WORD PLAY. This is not to say that your style is old

school because it is not. It is actually very fresh and new especially in the current state of hip-hop. Your style puts us in mind of Nas + Mos Def + Common. How would you personally define your style of hip-hop? OSWIN BENJAMIN: Honestly, I would define it as honest music. I don’t try to be conscious or righteous in my music. It’s really a view of where I am and where I’m working towards. My flaws, triumphs, downfalls, and victories. I do my best to create what I would call the soundtrack to my life and the lives around me in hopes that it speaks to lives of those who choose to listen. SFND MAG: Over the years, you have dropped a few projects and several music videos, but we have also seen you on some pretty high profile television and radio shows as well. What was it like to spit that fire verse on Sway in the Morning, knowing you have such a huge audience watching and listening? OSWIN BENJAMIN: That moment was a highlight of not only my career, but my life. I’ve watched and listened to Sway in the Morning for years, pretty much seen every interview and every freestyle. From putting this moment on my vision board in 2015 to watch it manifest into my reality is unreal. I’ve been a part of the show as a guest with some pretty dope people like Shia LaBeouf, Big Sean, DNA, K-shine Ice Cube, Toni Braxton, Smino, E40, and the list goes on but this was the first time that I was on the show and the segment was strictly about me, so knowing how long I’ve waited for a moment like this, I had to give it my best and I’m just glad it was received the way it was intended. SFND MAG: We also see that you are on the lineup to perform at Essence Fest coming up later this year! How excited are you to perform at such a huge event like this?

“ ON THE VERGE

“That moment was a highlight of not only my career, but my life.” --OSWIN BENJAMIN

OSWIN BENJAMIN: This is dope on so many different platforms and the fact that I can be a part of this is a blessing! I’ve never been to New Orleans before so this is going to be an experience for the books!

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ON THE VERGE SFND MAG: Definitely seems like that should be a cool experience and a lot of exposure. Speaking of exposure, Let us know your thoughts on this. In this crazy new world of social media followers and viral videos, exposure to new audiences can happen at any moment and now days. There are so many ways to possibly share your music to the world. Do you feel that it is more beneficial for independent artists to stay independent or to still seek out that major deal? OSWIN BENJAMIN: I mean, I can only speak from my experience and I feel like because of that exact reason you stated labels are becoming more obsolete. Social media platforms have taken away the power of the label in regards to exposure and put it in the hands of the consumer. Attention is the new currency and once you have the people’s attention, it will translate to compensation. We are the new major label and if done correctly with the right content, audience, and research you’ll reap the benefits of a major label deal without being signed. That’s just my opinion though. SFND MAG: What do you feel is the best part about being independent artist in 2019? OSWIN BENJAMIN: Freedom. In every sense of the word. Freedom to release music at your pace, freedom to portray the image that you want, freedom to own the rights to your own intellectual property, just freedom. SFND MAG: So let’s talk about your music. You just recently dropped your album “Godfrey” and we think it is nothing short of INCREDIBLE! The production, the lyricism, the vocalists were all dope. The entire project is very well put together! What was the inspiration behind this amazing project? OSWIN BENJAMIN: Thank you for that! I appreciate you listening! The inspiration was pretty wide spread. I pulled from a lot of life experiences and I took the time to study some of my favorite artist like Jay-z, Biggie, John Legend, Lupe Fiasco, Buddy, Smino, Kirk Franklin, Boney James, Royce da 5’9, Andre 3000, and a lot more. I really had asked myself what made them my favorite artist and

pulled from that answer. Vulnerability and Transparency. The Main one’s being Jay-z and Royce da 5’9. After listening to almost every album from “Reasonable Doubt” to “4:44” and “Book of Ryan” not only did I re-write the intro but also I gained perspective in how I want my music to be perceived which is honest, vulnerable, transparent, timeless, and beautiful music. SFND MAG: What artist or producers have you worked with on this album? OSWIN BENJAMIN: I worked with Anthiny King who’s a super dope artist and songwriter who assisted me on “Own Way” vocally. He just released and album called “Parallels” you guys should definitely check out, Capella Grey who also released a project with a new female group called “Reign” called “Ii, say that”, Joshua Freeman was the main vocalist on “Simply Complicated” with Capella singing backgrounds, Tamaja who sang backgrounds on “Pressure”, “Olive Oil”, and “Suppose To Be”, Imsomaleek who held me down with the background vocals for “Yessuh” and of course the goat Styles P who killed that verse on “God Bless The Child”. As far as the producers I mainly worked with my brother Rodtheproducer for the majority of this album. My boy Justen Williams produced “Yessuh,” my guys from out of Boston KP and Intl Show teamed up with RodtheProducer for “Pressure,” my boy Dommadethat teamed up with RodtheProducer for “God Bless The Child” and KP got together with Rod again for “Simply Complicated. Everything else was Rodtheproducer on production. SFND MAG: Our most favorite songs on the project are “Olive Oil”, “Yessuh”, and “Simply Complicated”. Do you have any favorite joints on the project? Why is it so special to you? OSWIN BENJAMIN: I honestly can’t say I do. They all hold a very unique and special place in my growth as a person and an artist. SFND MAG: When you are not creating your own music, what other artists do you listen to? OSWIN BENJAMIN: It varies honestly,

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there are days when I’m in a Capella Grey, Anthiny King, Ty Dolla $ign type of mood, there’s days where I feel like listening to Richard Elliot and Boney James. I listen to everything though. Lupe Fiasco, Mickey Factz, Jimi Tents, Chris Rivers, Denzil Porter, Marlon Craft, Avery, Jay-z, Smino, Buddy, Thirdstory, Cantrell, Mick Jenkins, Anderson Paak, AJ McQueen, Chris Dave, Robert Glasper, Black Star, Fred Hammond, I mean the list goes on! [LAUGHS] SFND MAG: Could you name some of your biggest musical influences over the years? OSWIN BENJAMIN: Pretty much everyone I just named. [LAUGHS] I’ve honesty learned something significant from everyone I just listed. Amazing people and phenomenal musicians. SFND MAG: Were you a Nipsey Hussle fan? How did his untimely death affected you personally, and what lasting impact do you think it will have on the hip-hop culture? OSWIN BENJAMIN: Honestly, I was more a fan of his interviews than his music at first, but when he passed it affected me in a way I can’t really explain. I learned from Nip. I learned about ownership and how to give back to where you’re from while being tangible with a huge amount of success. It hurt and it still does...This will be something we all will feel for many years to come. We lost a visionary and a pioneer but his legacy will lead the way for everyone coming up doing this independently. He left the blueprint. SFND MAG: We can’t help but to notice a spiritual connection with this album! There are lots of reference to prayer and conversations with God. Is that an accurate assumption? If so, could you elaborate on that connection and the role it plays in your music? OSWIN BENJAMIN: Yes, that is extremely accurate. I never want to be labeled as a Christian rapper or gospel artist; however, I do speak on my beliefs and how it has kept me grounded. God has always been my moral compass although I still make mistakes and mess up.


ON THE VERGE

Photography: @eyeamcortez @kellykincaid

“God has always been my moral compass although I still make mistakes and mess up.” --OSWIN BENJAMIN

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ON THE VERGE Photography: @eyeamcortez @kellykincaid

Photography: @eyeamcortez @kellykincaid

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ON THE VERGE

“We are the new major label and if done correctly with the right content, audience, and research you’ll reap the benefits of a major label deal without being signed.” --OSWIN BENJAMIN

SFND MAG: We would love to see a tour with a new wave of dope young lyricists. Picture this. Oswin Benjamin, Tobe Nwigwe, Quincey White, and Joyner Lucas! How would a lineup like this on tour affect the culture? Thoughts? OSWIN BENJAMIN: I respect all those MC’s to a very high regard and degree. I think that would be not only amazing but also needed in a culture that can use a little more balance. Not to say it isn’t there, but it could use a little bit more.

SFND MAG: How can your fans reach you on social media?

me and my sound but the music he’s about to put out is going to shift the culture. I can promise you that.

OSWIN BENJAMIN: Everyone can reach me at Oswinbenjamin on every social media platform. SFND MAG: Before you go, could you name another artist that you think is “So FN Dope” and tell us why? OSWIN BENJAMIN: There are too many! I’ll go with Rodtheproducer. Not only has he played a part in developing

SFND MAG: Once again, thank you so much Oswin for interviewing with us. It has been pleasure .We definitely wish you much success and look forward to seeing you at the top. OSWIN BENJAMIN: Thank you so much for having me! This was great! See you guys soon! I love you and God loves you.

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DIGITAL ISSUES AVAILABLE ON

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THE AMOURS

WASHINGTON, D.C.

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This next R&B duo undoubtedly has a sound that is unmatched. Their latest EP “Mon Amour” took the R&B world by storm and their incredible songs, harmonies, and production is sending shockwaves throughout the industry. Check out our exclusive interview with Morton Records recording artists The Amours.


COVER STORY

Photographer: Marcus Owens Styled by J. Bolin JUN / JUL 2019- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -

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S COVER STORY

FND MAG: What’s up, what’s up, what’s up. We cannot thank y’all enough for agreeing to interview with us. How are y’all feeling?

having us!

Jakiya: We’re great! Thank you for

on top of being on stage with people we love. It’s truly worthwhile. SFND MAG: What’s been your favorite city so far and why? SHAINA: We both LOVE Amsterdam! The shopping and aesthetics of the city are

JAKIYA: P is awesome! Working with him has by far, been one of the greatest partnerships we’ve had. That’s our bro. We’ve learned so much over the past two years from him. It’s almost like we’ve known each other forever! To sum it all up though, Once you start working with PJ Morton you literally never stop working. [LAUGHS] He keeps us busy! SFND MAG: Let’s talk about the EP!!!!!!! We love the project. Elaborate on the creative process of this body of work.

SFND MAG: Please introduce yourselves and tell us where you all are from. JAKIYA: My name is Jakiya SHAINA: I’m Shaina JAKIYA: We’re from Washington, DC. SFND MAG: First of all, we have to say how beautiful your voices are and how DOPE your sound is collectively. The sound is so refreshing especially in the era of music that we are in right now. When did the two of you start singing together? How did it all begin? JAKIYA: We’re sisters! We’ve sung together all our lives! Growing up we started at church and later our mom put us in different musical theater camps and clubs for us to get training. In 2014, we officially became “The Amours” and we’ve been going ever since. SFND MAG: We see that y’all are on tour right now! Tell us a little about that experience and what are your favorite things about being on the road? SHAINA: Tour is amazing. We’ve learned so much on the road. You gain so much discipline as a singer, especially how often we tour. Connecting with the audience every night is a crazy experience

Photographer: Patrick Melon

amazing. SFND MAG: So you all are signed to Morton Records correct? What has it been like being one of the very first artists signed the label? JAKIYA: Yes, we are! Shout outs to Morton Records! We’re super honored to be the first artist signed! At Morton, everyone is fully invested in what we’re doing. It feels great to be backed by people who see your vision the way you see it and support you 100%. SFND MAG: What is it like working with PJ Morton?

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SHAINA: Mon Amour! Whew! Our baby! [LAUGHS] We like to call it a love roller coaster! Six songs filled with different perspectives of love. The ups and downs. It’s a super fun EP that Us, PJ, and our team created together. Our two main “Amour Signatures” are harmony and blending so we wanted to showcase that in a nice tasteful R&B way. When creating “Mon Amour,” we took time to make records that felt fresh and special only. Real music for the heart.

SFND MAG: Your single seems to be doing well! How have people received it! It’s very catchy! I’ve been singing it all week. Singing All the time ... All the time... All the timmmmme! [LAUGHS] SHAINA: Allllaaaatime! Aye! People have been receiving it very well! It’s a super fun summer bop that’s talking about wanting to be with that special someone all the time and realizing the impact they have on you once you’re away from them. It’s been super cool seeing people on social media, riding around to it jamming in their cars! [LAUGHS] We’re glad it’s stuck in your head! SFND MAG: What other producers or artists did you all work with on this project?


COVER STORY

“We definitely want to let people know that there’s hope in R&B music!”

Photographer: Marcus Owens Styled by J. Bolin

--THE AMOURS

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EXCLUSIVE COVER STORY INTERVIEW

" We're the future!" -THE AMOURS

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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COVER STORY

--DENIM RICHARDS

Photographer: Patrick Melon JUN / JUL 2019- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -

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COVER STORY

“We want to show people that staying together still exists. ” --THE AMOURS

JAKIYA: Everything was in house! Morton Records is growing! Of course, PJ was the executive producer and spearheaded everything. We also had one of our producers Erick Bardales, work on it who’s also signed to Morton and a writer out of Canada named Kali Pop who joined us and wrote two songs on the record. SFND MAG: We thoroughly enjoyed the EP... it definitely left us wanting to hear more... especially enjoyed “Mon Amour” and “Runaway”. The harmonies on those two songs are crazy dope! Do you all do your own vocal arrangements for the recordings?

SHAINA: We do! We like to call it our “Amours Touch”! [LAUGHS] That’s one of our favorite parts. PJ helps as well. SFND MAG: Out of all your songs, which is your favorite on the EP and why?

JAKIYA: It’s so hard to choose! We love all of the songs. They all tie into one! We’re emotionally connected to all of them! You can’t just choose one when they’re all special [LAUGHS] SFND MAG: Can we anticipate any music videos or visuals for the EP soon? SHAINA: Soon Come. “Periodt”! [LAUGHS] SFND MAG: Do y’all also write songs as well?

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JAKIYA: Yes, we write music as well. However, working with PJ who is a master songwriter, we’ve become students! Relearning the art of songwriting. He knows how to write hits! That’s what we’re aspiring to do! SFND MAG: I hope it isn’t too soon to ask for more because I know the EP just dropped but can we expect any fulllength projects from you soon? Is there anything in the works? SHAINA: Stay Tuned. “Periodt”! [LAUGHS] SFND MAG: Being newcomers in the industry, what do you hope to accomplish with your music? Where do you see yourselves in the next 3-5 years? JAKIYA: We definitely want to let people know that there’s hope in R&B music! We’re the future! In the next 3-5 years, we want to be known globally and continue to produce amazing music! Hopefully, we can tap into the film world! We have a theater background. Of course, we want the accolades, Grammys, BET awards, AMAs, etc. but that doesn’t determine our worth! Continuing to give people amazing music and pushing the culture forward is what we’re looking forward too! SFND MAG: Obviously, you have developed a unique style and sound. What influences helped nurture that style? Who do you think your biggest musical influences are, and how have they shaped vocal style, writing skills

and shaped you as an artist? SHAINA: Well with being a sister duo, we have a strong love for family groups! We love The Clark Sisters & The Braxton’s. As far as solo artists, we love Anita Baker. We look up to these artists for their tone, their control, and as far as the family groups... their blend. We’ve definitely taken tips from watching them over the years that helps us today. Shout outs to the Clark Sisters for staying together after all these years. We want to show people that staying together still exists. Jakiya and I are actual friends in addition to being siblings so that’s why it works for us. That’s important. SFND MAG: What advice would you give to other young women aspiring to take a similar path that you all have taken as it pertains to making moves in the music industry? JAKIYA: Integrity will get you far! Don’t settle and just be yourself! There’s room for all of us! SFND MAG: How can your fans reach you on Social Media? SHAINA: You can follow us on Instagram and Facebook @TheAmours and on Twitter @The_Amours Shaina: You can follow us on Instagram and Facebook @TheAmours and on Twitter @The_Amours


COVER STORY

Photographer: Patrick Melon JUN / JUL 2019- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -

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ENTREPRENEUR

ENTREPRENEURSHIP

BEYOND BUSINESS

Photographer: Caravan Film Crews Model: Bailey Campos Makeup: @creative_beauty_boutique

E

Article by Tatiana M. Denson

ntrepreneurship is a journey about self because it forces you as an individual to become in tune with who God really created us to be.

According to www.dictionary.com the word entrepreneurship is defined as a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so. What sticks out the most to me in the definition of entrepreneurship is the word “risk.” Every person that decides to become an entrepreneur will at some point have to engage in some type of risk. It’s not just financial risks involved in being a business owner there is also the chance you

may learn more about your “inner self ” than planned.(Biggest gift of all....smile....it’s going to be harder than it looks but so worth it.) Now the behind the scenes are not always so pretty. “Robbing Peter to pay Paul” (as the old folks used to say) just to pay a bill, and invest in your business at the same time... “whew chile’...” LOL! It is hard work. Or what about when a deal falls through in its infancy stage and leaves you questioning yourself as a business owner, as a woman, heck, just as a person in general? These situations or “feelings” that may arise are enough to push you to the brink of greatness or the point of insanity. (Some-

“Every person that decides to become an entrepreneur will at some point have to engage in some type of risk.” -Tatiana Denson 36- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM - JUN / JUL 2019


-times both depending on the severity.)

to win in the world of entrepreneurship.

Being an entrepreneur forces you beyond your comfort zone it pulls you into a world of whatever the “right now” trend is. In business, you have to study target markets, marketing trends, and financial analysis.

I have comprised my list of the Top 5 Black Women Entrepreneurs and reasons why...Hope you enjoy and we should all remember as entrepreneurs that it is about more than building a business it is about building a legacy.

What is often not taught, or spoken of is the emotional stamina needed to be able to fight through fears, doubts, and realization that a change in character is needed before real success is obtained.

***Not listed by order of importance

There is a plethora of entrepreneurs out here selling weave, spiritual candles, energy readings, clothing, butt plumping cream, and the list goes on. Social media has become a vital part of every entrepreneur’s marketing strategy. Anyone who needs to market a product, service, or personality i.e. “social media comedians,” who have used their natural talent to become a whole new version of what an entrepreneur looks like. Character is the biggest part of entrepreneurship because it pushes you into another realm of thinking and how you see yourself. As a business owner or persona, how the “public” views you and their perception of what your brand represents is crucial to them wanting your product or service. Everything I hope to become and I see other black women and men rocking their success and I am so proud of all of us! Some of us are holding down full time jobs, taking risks, and being full time entrepreneurs, creators, and innovators. What matters more than money, success, or the accolades is that your soul is intact, your personality is in order, your mental health is in check, and your heart is right. Everything else will follow. I know without a shadow of a doubt that 2019 will be a year of self-revelation for me as a business owner. This will include changing certain unproductive behaviors, going to therapy sessions; healing from previous business losses and whatever else, God tells or instructs me to do. There are certain women in the game who I have followed for some years now who either use constant inspiration, business savvy, entertainment, or spirituality

Top Five Black Women Entrepreneurs According to Character

Karen Civil- One of my

favorite Entrepreneurs because she was kind of the Creator of the whole “Brand,” Lifestyle Curator trend. Helping to keep Lil Wayne’s Brand Relevant during his prison stint several years ago. *Character trait--- Drama free, rises above the drama, never seen her “clap back” at anyone. (Remember it always goes back to character) (Dignified)

Ming Lee- She is the ultimate

Marketing genius her entire brand is what defines her as an Entrepreneur all of her videos have real content. Most of them are directed and set up like mini movies to promote her Snob Life Brand, which is an affordable wig, lace wigs, and other hair accessories as well as a full service salon. *Character trait--- Always stays in her own lane and does not let market trends define or distract her from her marketing strategy. (Innovative)

Supa Cent- Is the ultimate

example of “If you can dream you can believe it” A social media make-up sensation and inventor of The Crayon Case. Cent who started and became popular in 2013. Supa Cent (real name) Raynell Steward, made headlines when she made a million dollars in just 90 minutes in November of 2018. She is proof that it doesn’t matter who you know or how long you’ve been in the game as an entrepreneur what matters is how you CHANGE the game when you step in it.

ENTREPRENEUR

*Character Trait--- She supports and roots for her Sisters to win. She is humble and gives back. Paying it forward is always a winning move. (Compassionate)

Milano-Creator of Milano Di

Rouge a unisex street wear brand created in 2012 and is fast becoming a world-renowned brand based out of Philadelphia, PA. Milan’s individuality is what sets her apart as she is also classy and is consistent in her brand recognition. You can tell she is an entrepreneur who is here to stay in the fashion industry. *Character Trait--- Milano makes sure her she includes her hometown of Philadelphia, her family, and friends in her vision. (Leader)

Tiphani Montgomery

-She is a speaker, author, and influencer.

Last but definitely not least an anointed woman of “GOD” who plays no games, and is a force to be reckoned with. Before she was saved, Tiphani Montgomery was selling books out of the bar she worked in and became a self-published bestselling author and because entrepreneurship is always associated with some type of “personal growth”, Montgomery then went on to start Kingdom Entrepreneur University. I actually listen to her Periscopes weekly because she keeps it real, transparent and gives you a Godly vision of what entrepreneurship should look like. *Character Trait--- A leader amongst leaders, self-taught, assertive, faith-driven. (Born Entrepreneur) Tatiana Denson can be reached Via Instagram TatianaDensonBrands or Facebook Tatiana Denson Brand and Talent Management Firm Or for a 15 Complimentary Consultation Email tatianadensonbrands@gmail.com “Connecting Talent to Purpose” one life at a time...

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DOPE QUOTES

DOPEQUOTES “Memories have “If you’re scared to take chances, to be our most you’ll never have the answers.” – Nas painful bless- “The truth is you don’t know ing.” what is going to happen to– Kanye West morrow. Life is a crazy ride

“Sometimes it’s hard to pick right from wrong. The best thing we can do is go with our heart, and hope it all goes well.” – Mac Miller

and nothing is guaranteed.” _ -Eminem

“Forget yesterday, live for today. Tomorrow will take care of itself.” – Rick Ross

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Because your character is what you really are. While your reputation is what others merely think you are.” – Jay Z 42- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM - JUN / JUL 2019


DOPEQUOTES I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs. – Frederick Douglass

DOPE QUOTES

“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.

Some people want it to -Dr. Mae Jamison happen, some wish it would happen, others “Power is not given to you. You have to take it.” make it happen. – Beyonce – Michael Jordan

“I believe hip hop’s characteristic beliefs as a whole are misunderstood, underappreciated and highly underestimated. -Carlos Wallace The public is never wrong. When people don’t respond to what you do, they’re telling you something loud and clear. You’re just not listening. -50 Cent

I’m the one that’s got to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to. -Jimi Hendrix JUN / JUL 2019- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -

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CR3W

UP NEXT

HATTIESBURG, MS In today’s industry, it seems that making music is easy but making good music is another story. Nowadays everyone is either a producer or a rapper or a singer, but it is rare to find a group of artists that can do it all; and I mean truly do it all and do it well. This next group is one that is talented in multitude ways and their music clearly speaks for itself. Check out our interview with Hip-Hop and R&B trio CR3W!

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UP NEXT

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S UP NEXT

FND MAG: First and foremost, CR3W, we want to thank you for interviewing with So FN Dope Magazine. We are definitely glad to have you. How have ya’ll been? Please… Introduce yourselves.

CR3W: We’ve been well. We are CR3W. Our names are Samario, Khalil, and Jay. We are a Hip-Hop/R&B trio from Mississippi. SFND MAG: Ayyyyyye!!! We got some brothers from the Sipp in the house! What part of Mississippi or you guys from? How did you guys get started in the industry? CR3W: Laurel, MS. We were all brought up with a musical background. SFND MAG: “CR3W” is a dope name by the way. How did you all come up with your group name? CR3W: Crew was just a word we were constantly using in our songs and we even named our first song “Crew Song.” We locked it in on a summer trip in Florida as “CR3W” though.

staying close knit to our roots and keep the audience engaged. SFND MAG: Who are some of your influences in music because we can hear small nuances of various artists in your styles throughout the album? The album puts me in the mind of a Childish Gambino / J. Cole / Chance the Rapper / Khalid kind of vibe. What artists are you influenced by? CR3W: We are definitely influenced by Childish Gambino, Chance the Rapper, and J Cole but we are also influenced by groups like The 1975, Brockhampton, and Sonder just to name a few. SFND MAG: What is your favorite songs on your album and tell us why? CR3W: Running and Moody are a couple of our favorites. These songs channel who we are and what sets us apart from others in the industry. SFND MAG: What is your creative process like when working on music? CR3W: Our creative process involves us bouncing ideas off each other but we never force anything at all. SFND MAG: Did you all work with any other artists or producers on the project?

SFND MAG: Do any of you play any instruments, write, or produce your own music?

CR3W: As far as producers, Gambi, YZ, Ocean Beats, and D’Artistz. There were no other artists on the project.

CR3W: All of us have the ability to produce. We also write our own music and all.

SFND MAG: Can we expect any visuals from this project or music videos from you guys anytime soon?

SFND MAG: So a good friend of mine slipped us the link to your new album “Placid” and we have to say that we thought it was definitely So FN Dope! It completely caught us off guard because the sound is so unique and a great mix between hip-hop and R&B. What was the inspiration behind this project?

CR3W: We have been communicating with a couple of videographers. One of which is in our inner friend group, Ok the Kidd.

CR3W: Placid is relating to emotion meaning not easily upset or excited; calm. We wanted to make a compilation of music in which every song embodied a different emotion. We wanted to give our audience a “roller coaster feel” while

JAY

SFND MAG: With so many artists attempting to make a name for themselves in the industry currently, what do you personally think makes your style different from other groups in the game right now? CR3W: Regardless of what we hear in the media or on the radio, we stay true to ourselves. By making music that goes

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KHALIL

SAMARIO


UP NEXT

“Regardless of what we hear in the media or on the radio, we stay true to ourselves. ” --CR3W

against the grain of popularity, we can assure the originality of our music. SFND MAG: You guys have made some huge strides in the last couple of years. Where do you guys like to see yourselves 3 years from today?

CR3W: Right now, we are staying independent, but if the right opportunity comes, signing might be an option.

like Spotify, iTunes, etc. SFND MAG: How can your fans reach you on social media?

SFND MAG: What advice would you give to other upcoming artist that may be inspired by your artistry?

CR3W: The ultimate goal is to better ourselves as human, but musically, we see ourselves making music that pushes an agenda far more couth than our peers are accustomed to.

CR3W: Be genuine more than anything, your craft is an expansion of yourself.

SFND MAG: Are you guys seeking a major label or do you think staying independent is a better move?

CR3W: Our entire discography is on SoundCloud but our more recent songs can be found on all streaming services

CR3W: Our group account can be found on Instagram @theoffcialcr3w and Facebook as CR3W.

SFND MAG: Where can your fans find your music on the Internet?

SFND MAG: Once again, CR3W, thank ya’ll for interviewing with us. It has been a pleasure. We definitely wish you much success in the future.

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COVER STORY

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COVER STORY Photographer: Danny Hastings

ALLEN MALDONADO RIALTO, C A

People often get the impression that obtaining and maintaining a career in acting is piece of cake. However, what most people don’t realize is that being an actor is not always glamorous! People typically see the glitz and glamour, red carpet events, and the award shows and think that it is easy to stand in front of a camera and act, not realizing the years of experience, that actually went into reaching that level. Our cover artist has worked on every level in the industry and is working his way up brick by brick to top. He currently stars in the television series “The Last OG” opposite of Tracy Morgan and has been in a multitude of other television shows, films, and movies. Check out our exclusive interview with actor, writer, director, and entrepreneur, Allen Maldonado.

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S

COVER STORY

FND MAG: Allen, How you doing good brother! Thanks for interviewing with us! Glad to have you in this special edition celebrating our 10th issue as we’ve been up and running for about two years strong now! We greatly appreciate this opportunity man! How have you been? ALLEN MALDONADO: I’ve been good man! Congratulations on the two years. I’m an entrepreneur myself and I know how difficult it is to get things started and to keep things afloat, so first off I commend everybody over there for taking on the challenge of starting your own. So, the pleasure is all mines. I’ve been good. I’m blessed man. I’ve been working. I have a bunch of stuff that I’m working on and brand new projects that we’re rocking. Season 2 of “The Last OG” is going extremely well. People are really starting to take notice to what we are doing over there. Last year was kind of an introduction and people were kind of late to the wave but a lot of new fans have come about especially after we made it on Netflix. I think the audience has continuously grown in the right direction. That is really exciting for us. SFND MAG: Yeah! Man we have been binge watching “The Last OG” for the last few days trying to get caught up. We definitely love the series man. ALLEN MALDONADO: Thank you! SFND MAG: Before we get into that, tell us a little about yourself man. Where are you from? ALLEN MALDONADO: Man… I grew up in Rialto, California. It’s about, 60 miles east of Los Angeles. I was in Compton for the early years of my life and then I moved to Rialto when I was eight, and so did everyone else. [LAUGHS] Everybody else had the same idea. The plan was to kind of get away from the gang violence, but you know everybody had the same idea so we still grew up around the gangbangers and drug dealers and all of that. That still was prominent, but it was a little different. Rialto was more of a smaller city than Compton or Los

Angeles of course, but we definitely had to deal with similar situations and the obstacles and lack of options, you know. Being raised by a single mother and my two older sisters, it was definitely a challenge. To find myself where I am today is a dream come true and a testament to my mother and all the hard work she has done in making sure of that. SFND MAG: Well, we definitely tip our hat to you for being able to have the drive to overcome those obstacles and convert your negative surroundings into something positive. ALLEN MALDONADO: I appreciate it! SFND MAG: Now, is acting something that you kind of stumbled into or have you always known that you were going to be an actor? ALLEN MALDONADO: Nah man! I’ve been a hustler my entire life. My mom tells this famous story of me being three years old and I would call my mom at work. I didn’t know the number, but on the old phones, there was just a button you would press to get her. I would call her at work every day and tell her that I had made her bed and that she owed me three dollars. [LAUGHS] So yeah, I’ve been hustling my entire life. I knew that I was going to be able to provide for my family through business. Business was always the route. I didn’t know exactly how until my senior year of high school, when I really discovered that acting was the gift the God gave me. SFND MAG: Did you take a drama class in school or something like that? ALLEN MALDONADO: Yeah, it was my senior year man. I was just looking for classes just to finish out my senior year, as most students need a couple electives. You’ve done all the heavy lifting so the last year is just taking classes. I loved school, and I wanted to be there, so I picked a bunch of classes and acting was one of them. When I got in it, like a fish to water, I began to kind of take over the theatre department. The kids that were there all four years hated me, [LAUGHS] but hey, it is what it is. I came in and kind of took over. I started writing. It just came natural to me. I was

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also a ball player in high school. I played basketball and that was “NOT” my gift. I had to work extremely hard to be good at basketball as I was a late bloomer as well. I just took that same work ethic that I used in basketball to not only make the team but to become one of the best shooters on the team. We ended up in the final four in Southern California Division 1 CIS my senior year. It was a testament of hard work but acting was what I was just naturally gifted at. That’s when I applied the same pressure I put on myself for basketball to acting. That has been the key to my success. SFND MAG: So obviously, the acting bug had bitten you. I imagine being so close to L.A., it would have been ideal for you to start looking for gigs right away. Did you immediately start auditioning right after high school? ALLEN MALDONADO: Well, no. I didn’t really start taking it serious until probably nineteen. I graduated when I was like sixteen. I was running around in the streets trying to figure it out. Around seventeen was when I had to get my shit together. [LAUGHS] I had to get a job and all of that. My mom gave me a year. She was like, “You’ve got a year to chill, and get it together and figure out what you want to do but after that you’re getting a job.” From there I got my job but it was not until I was about nineteen where I was like “I’m going to give it my all.” Two years later, I found myself on “The Young and the Restless.” SFND MAG: Wow! I didn’t know that. That’s dope. So your first real acting gig was on “The Young and the Restless”? ALLEN MALDONADO: Yeah, that was my first big break. My first movie was between that which was Friday After Next. SFND MAG: That is dope my brother! That is a hell of a start. ALLEN MALDONADO: Yeah. SFND MAG: So let’s fast forward to one of your more recent roles. Your character Cousin Bobby on “The Last OG” is hilarious! Like I said, we have been watching the show and you are seriously funny in this show! Do you enjoy doing comedy?


COVER STORY Photographer: Danny Hastings

“To find myself where I am today is a dream come true and a testament to my mother and all the hard work she has done in making sure of that.” --Allen Maldonado

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COVER STORY

ALLEN MALDONADO: Yeah he’s a character. Comedy is always something that I’ve done. Even in high school, I was the class clown and loved making people laugh. It’s a double-edged sword. I don’t think I’ve ever told anybody this. You’re about to get an exclusive. I’ve never told anybody this as far as in the comedy source. I’ve done standup just recently for the first time earlier this year and it was fun. It was something that I challenged myself to do. It was one of those bucket list things. I almost felt like Will Smith was following me just because I ran the marathon and he ran the half marathon. He did standup and I did stand up. Me and my boys were cracking up, but yea, I remember in high school I was the class clown always telling jokes and I think what probably stopped me from doing standup earlier back then was, I remember I got on this kid so bad my junior year. I got on him so bad he started crying. That fucked me up! [LAUGHS] So, I stopped really telling jokes like that you know, because he was crushed. I was “killing em” though. [LAUGHS] I was on fire that day! [LAUGHS] Every joke was hitting. I couldn’t miss! [LAUGHS] Yea, but, I know that is probably one of the reasons why I didn’t do standup comedy early on as I look back at that now, but I’ve always been in that comedic space. It just seems that early on in my career I never got the chance to. I think that was largely in part to my demeanor. I used to have really long hair. I would wear braids so I guess I was too thugged out for the game you know. I did nothing but dramatic work for the first 10 years of my career. I’ve been in this game for a minute. It’ll be close to twenty years next year. Only recently, the past six or seven years people have really been able to see my comedic chops, but that’s kind of in a nutshell of how it all began. SFND MAG: Speaking of your career, we have noticed that you have played a wide range of characters and throughout over the years... Now, do you prefer the more comedic roles like those in “The Last OG” and “Blackish” vs. let say the character you played in the opening scene of Straight Outta Compton? ALLEN MALDONADO: Man, I just love to work, whether it is dramatic or comedic. They all feed different muscles. That’s like asking someone who loves

to eat you know. ”You just love to eat.” Yeah, there are moments where I want pizza or I want sushi, or there are times when I want a certain taste in my mouth. That is similar to what it is like in acting. There are certain times where I want to do more comedic stuff, or there may be times where I’ve done a lot of comedic stuff and say I want some “Drama” I hadn’t had “chicken in a minute” [LAUGHS] ,but I just love acting. I’m obsessed with it, that is my addiction so everything that I do revolves around acting and me feeding that addiction. SFND MAG: I can tell that you are passionate about it. That’s dope! Being that you’ve been in the game for so many years, do you still get nervous when you have to audition for a new role? ALLEN MALDONADO: I love auditioning actually. I love going in there and performing. It is a gladiator sport man. You know I’m a warrior. That has always been my mentality and that is just something that has been in me since I was a kid. I love to battle and when it comes to auditioning, it’s like a gladiator sport. When I stand in front of these casting directors in these rooms, I’m in the Coliseum. I’m screaming out “Are you not entertained!” [In his Russell Crowe voice] I love getting up to those things, No, I don’t get nervous, I get anxious. I’m more anxious than anything. If I am nervous, then I’m not prepared and me not being prepared is something that I don’t do. [LAUGHS] I’m like a basketball player knowing I can drop fifty points on any given night so get me on the court! I don’t care what is going on in life with this, that and the third. You put me on the court and I’m going to do work. SFND MAG: That’s a good trait to have especially in such a competitive industry. Now you have worked with quite a few big name actors such as Denzel Washington, Anthony Anderson, Tracy Morgan, etc... As a rising actor in this line of work, is there any nervousness while working on set with such seasoned vets? ALLEN MALDONADO: Nervousness never comes into play, but with Denzel, that was a little different just because when I met Denzel for the first time it was actually on set, and they had actually called “action” and he hit the corner.

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I never got a formal introduction and the next thing you know he hitting the corner and we’re in the middle of a scene and it kind of threw me all the way off cause I was like “Yo, that’s fucking Denzel”. I felt like, the chick in The Ring, when she stepped out the TV. That’s how I felt. [LAUGHS] I’m like “That’s Denzel.” That’s someone who I’ve idolized and watched his work and just been a genuine fan and now he’s live and in color. Not just live and in color, but I’m actually performing with him so that was the only time I was lost for words for a moment but other than that… never. Then again, as I mentioned before, I’m that young gun screaming, “Put me on the court with anybody.” I’m like Allen Iverson crossing over Jordan. I want to play against the best and I want to showcase my skills. SFND MAG: What types of things have you learned from the vets? What knowledge do you absorb from them while on set? ALLEN MALDONADO: Ahh man… That is a pretty broad question. There is so much you can learn. Thoughout the years of my experience being on set I’ve learned so much as far as behind the camera. I’m writing as well, so I’ve absorbed every facet of the game. Meaning if it’s Tracy I’m absorbing the acting and comedy side of things. If it’s Denzel, I’m absorbing the dramatic side of things. If it is Antoine Fuqua, I’m watching him direct. If it’s Kenya Barris, I’m watching him develop shows. If it’s Saladin Patterson, then I’m watching him write. All of the people that I’ve been blessed to be around and have the opportunity to learn from I take that and I try to exhibit being the most well rounded artist that I can be. As an actor, as a writer as a developer as a director, as a producer and all of these things that I do, I try to inspire so that you can do it all if you dedicate your life to it and the time and energy needed to hone these skills. SFND MAG: We admire the level of confidence you exude. You just seem totally comfortable in your skin and ability to deliver. It’s not cocky or arrogant but simply secure in your ability as an actor. That’s dope! Not everyone has that!


COVER STORY

ALLEN MALDONADO: I’ve done every level. For me, I’ve yet to have my popular moment. I’ve been in the game twenty years just off pure hard work, and I haven’t had my popular moment. I’ve seen a lot of people have their popular moment and the get placed on top of the mountain and as soon as they get knocked off they don’t know how they got there, so they are at a loss. They end up scrambling trying to make their way back up. For me I’ve climbed every nook and cranny of that mountain from starting as an extra, to getting a one-liner, to a co-star, to a guest-star, to a reoccurring, to a series regular to being the number one on a show. I’ve played every position on the court from water boy to the coach, so that is where that confidence comes from. You can knock me off whatever. I know I can find my way back up, because I’ve traveled in every facet that I possibly could have. So, I just understand what I’m doing on another level so I’m never rattled.

“I just love acting. I’m obsessed with it, that is my addiction so everything that I do revolves around acting and --CRESS WILLIAMS me feeding that addiction.” --Allen Maldonado

SFND MAG: We hear that you also have a few movies in the pipeline that are scheduled to be released on Netflix next summer. What can you tell us about the upcoming films projects you’ve been working on? ALLEN MALDONADO: Next year. Yeah, next summer I have the movie with Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt called Power that comes out on Netflix. I also have a new animated series on Netflix as well called “Maya and the Three” by George Gutierrez director of The Book of Life. I’m in his project. I have another series that I’m starring and I got my running mate King Bach, he’s starring opposite of me on the show called “Sneakerheads.” That is coming out next year. SFND MAG: Man! You are rocking and rolling! ALLEN MALDONADO: Yeah, we’re rocking and rolling, brick by brick. For me no one project is bigger than the next. It’s about building a career man. I was telling a friend of mine the other day, “I don’t want to build a moment. I want to build a career”. I want to build a legacy similar to Samuel L. Jackson, similar to Denzel, similar to Tracy Morgan where there are decades of work. There are decades of work that these people have done. They were not just hot for the moment. Morgan Freeman has been rocking since the 70’s. That is a career! That is not a moment. These are the individuals that I model and I work towards those types of goals. That’s why I always say brick by brick because one project is no bigger than the next. It is about continuing to build and building a career. SFND MAG: Along with your career in acting, we hear that you are also doing quite a bit behind the scenes as well... We hear that you are responsible for some of the writing of Season 2 as well as serving as executive story editor for Episode 6. Tell us a little about that! ALLEN MALDONADO: So… being in the writer’s room for season two of “The Last OG” was incredible. The writer’s room is a group effort. It’s never about one individual. Depending on your room, it could be from five to twelve people in there and you just collaborate. You fight, you argue you make up, and you come up with magical stuff in the room that is a pure JUN / JUL 2019- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -

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COVER STORY

SFND MAG: Is this something you can see yourself continuing doing in the future? How did you get into writing? ALLEN MALDONADO: Yeah! I definitely have to give a shout out to my writing mentor Michael Kane. He wrote All the Right Moves for Tom Cruise as well as several other big films in the 70’s and 80’s. He taught me how to write when I was seventeen years old I spent years and years under him learning how to write and learning the writing business. Writing is a part of who I am. I’ve always done it and recently I’ve taken it more seriously in really putting projects together and developing projects. I have a bunch of projects that I’m developing right now I can’t go into, but in the next twelve months, you’re going to be hearing my name ringing in a lot of projects. SFND MAG: You mentioned before that you are also an entrepreneur! We hear that you have recently launched an app called Everybody Digital! Tell us about this venture and how you were drawn into creating something like this? ALLEN MALDONADO: Yes, Everybody Digital. It’s the first short film-streaming app. We are a concentrated app for short films. I wanted to create a home that was cool and would also elevate the genre of short films. It’s been overlooked and underdeveloped over the years as movies and commercials and even Instagram clips are making millions of dollars, whereas short films have been left behind and is viewed as a stepping stone and a money pit rather. So, I wanted to create a way generate revenue PHOTO BY:to Omar “YXCVLI” Zapien for short films STYLED BY: Mr.help Highclass and Designer and also filmmakers goTelley to the next level. Our main focus this year is to take

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

representation of everybody in the room. You get to challenge and understand everyone’s sensitivities. There are people coming from different walks of life, black, white, male, female, straight, gay, all of these different things have to be taken in consideration for writing a script that is going to be served to the masses. So being able to be a part of that process was incredible for this show. I also wrote for “Survivor’s Remorse,” Lebron James’s show, on STARZ for a couple of seasons as well, so it was not a new experience for me but it was fun to be able to write for a show that I also star in.

--Allen Maldonado


a short film project that is on the app along with some of our original short films that we develop on the app and take it to the next level. There will be shorts that will be doubled as proof of concepts where we will package them, put them together, and shop them to studios and networks to transition over to a TV series or a feature film. That is our main goal with all our projects moving forward. So, we want to be a home of filmmakers, and future filmmakers, the future stars, and also a launching pad for all these incredible artists. SFND MAG: That is awesome man! This is huge ... It seems like something that filmmakers, actors and viewers will definitely find useful in the near future.

COVER STORY

Such a great way to give back and pay it forward to those coming up in the industry. Well, we are wrapping up the interview man but before we go tell us where can our readers go to follow you on social media.

maldonadoiswverywhere.com.

ALLEN MALDONADO: Definitely. You can find me at @maldonadoiseverywhere on all my social media handles also my that is my website. You can get access to all the things that I’m doing from my short film app to my TV and film music placement company, Get It Done Record, to my kids foundation Demo Nerds to the T-Shirt Company Vineyards Phinest and also my running site because I run marathons called Knees Out Coalition. All of these things you can find on

ALLEN MALDONADO: Someone that I think is So FN Dope is my mentor Kenya Barris.

SFND MAG: Before we go we ask everyone we interview to give us another actor, person, you feel is SO FN DOPE and why?

SFND MAG: Thank you once again Allen for taking the time and interviewing with us man. This is greatly appreciated. Wishing you much continued success! ALLEN MALDONADO: No prob and Thank you!

“For me no one project is bigger than the next. It’s about building a career man. ” --Allen Maldonado

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HIP-HOP HISTORY

. C . D.O THE

from

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SOC

ith the historic release of “Straight Outta Compton,” very few know that the story of N.W.A. left out a very critical piece of evidence... a native Texan that hails from Dallas. For starters, there is an area of Dallas called Oak Cliff, there also is a high school named South Oak Cliff, and that’s one school that I will never forget! If you were a member of the Forest Brook track teams in the 80’s or 90’s, you would never forget Dallas SOC either. Every year at the Texas Southern Relays, the boys from SOC would come down here to try to silence our Houston teams. They had just as much speed in numbers than we did, and all of the sprints and relays came down to two teams, The Brook and SOC.

Article by Ray Burton

Okay, so what does this have to do with Straight Outta Compton and N.W.A? TLC, as in Tracy Lynn Curry, better known as “The D.O.C.” He is the true definition of being behind the scenes, and if you notice in a lot of N.W.A. photos, he’s lurking behind. Eazy-E’s first big hit, “We Want Eazy” was written by the Texan, as well as hits on the Straight Outta Compton, Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic”, and Snoop Dogg’s “Doggystyle” albums. He is also the creator of the name of the record label, Death Row Records! Needless to say, he had his own hit album, “No One Can Do It Better” that went double platinum! Shortly after his success, an auto accident caused him to lose his voice and derailed his career as a rapper, but

he continues to write for other artists. He may have lost his voice, but he did not lose his speech. There has been a lot of speculation that he did not, and still does not get the respect that he deserves. Eazy-E is no longer here to say thanks for my career, or I am sorry for shortchanging you, but maybe he did in secret when he would always wear that Chicago White SOC hat! As of today, The D.O.C states that his voice is naturally coming back on its own, that’s great news because fans of his are now chanting, “We Want Tracy.” The D.O.C. / The Dallas. Oak. Cliff.w

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Profile for So FN Dope Magazine

So FN Dope Magazine Issue 10  

For this issue, not only did we have the distinct honor and pleasure to interview incredibly dope artists, but also some extremely dedicated...

So FN Dope Magazine Issue 10  

For this issue, not only did we have the distinct honor and pleasure to interview incredibly dope artists, but also some extremely dedicated...

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