twan da dude
lil’wayne game on locked
young money invasion
ISSUE 11 • $5.99 US/$6.99 CAN
contents editor’s note issue10
ow, it’s funny how life plays out sometimes. We’ve been going through so many little issues that
I have come to truly believe what don’t kill you
definitely makes you stronger.
Here we are with another issue. Print has been on the decline for the last couple of years, but we refuse to throw in the towel. StreetSmos has proven time and time again that it will survive. We’re living for all of you who ever took the time to read us and especially for those who invested in this issue. This is one of our rawest issues to ever hit the streets. In these pages, you will see the future of the industry. Go ahead, see for yourself why we will stand the test of time. We’re living by a new mantra--one we call mind, body, soul. Keep your mind strong, the mind will keep your body strong. The body will protect the soul. The magazine is the mind, you, the reader are the body, and the people we interview give you a look into their souls. Without the mind, your body is dead. Keep the mind strong. So, until the next issue: Mind body soul. We survive to ride and fight another day.
32 young money
02 bobby blendz 03 prince aj 04 big skeem 07 money first 08 bbg 09 bizniss men entertainment 10 sinsay
12 spud brooklyn 15 lexx 9eleven 19 a mission to produce great music and great communities 22 ru1 26 fat joe
28 lil tony 29 twan da dude 31 m reck 44 buhd & cleezy 46 gaj 48 rise da kid 49 marquee 50 datpiff
don’t call it a comeback.
Bobby Blendz was born on June 27, 1988, sir name: Robert Paul Sylvia II. Raised in New Bedford, MA until moving to Cape Cod during his high school years with his mother, father, and little brother, where he still resides. During Blendz’s school years his teachers found his biggest interest to be in music. While other subjects if not spoken over a beat, some hi hats, and a couple snares, you’d probably catch him zoning off and losing interest, describing this as an academic struggle. While spending many weekends at his Grandma Joan’s house with his older cousin, he was then introduced to the music sharing program Napster and sattelite’s new XM radio. After building a music library Bobby Blendz was then brought to his first DJ store where 2 | Streets Mos Magazine
his Grandpa Eddie and Grandma Joan invested in his first set-up. For this he is eternally grateful for and reflects upon still to this day as the start of his career. As an entreuprenur/marketer, Bobby Blendz started with a few busines cards and demo mixes looking to expand from private gigs into the club scene. Those demo mixes turned into a seasoned creation of a skills using the turntable as a musical instrument, earning a weekly spot at a local radio station. From requests, Bobby Blendz then distributed these demo’s to local barber shops, which then opened another door allowing him the introduction to Brothahood Entertainment’s CEO, Joe Black. This opportunity allowed him to be promoted and open shows for artist’s such as Cassidy, Babs & E.Ness, Mike Jones, Styles P, JR Writer, Freeway and many other
Brothahood Ent. Presentations. Today DJ Bobby Blendz’s interests are influenced by skilled/scratch dj’s such as DJ Q-Bert, Clinton Sparks, and Green Lantern to name a few. DJ Bobby Blendz’s demo’s are now more polished so he’ll stand out from other dj’s with his own flavor of scratching, blending, and mashing it up, so he can add these creations into todays dance hits. Blendz heard once to “party as hard as you work..”, so he sure works hard at partying. Where else can you love your job and get paid to play music, party, and dance your ass off? The passion for music Bobby Blendz has and the bug he has got stuck in his head of being the #1 DJ in the world, will never leave him... So stay tuned, and check out upcoming projects and shows in the future, @ www.djbobbyblendz.com SM
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I make music I feel and try never to record anything just because it’s the trend or hot for the moment.
m e e k s ig
hen it comes to Hip Hop and even music in general, it’s a rare sight to see a Korean artist. This is where Lancaster Pennsylvania Big Skeem comes into play. The young PA artist has successfully created a name for himself with his two projects, “By Any Means Necessary” and “Certified.” Both of the projects boasted features from the likes of Peedi Crakk, Bynoe, Rain, Geolani, and even the late Stack Bundles. He is recognized on top blogs and in the streets along the East Coast.
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In 2009, he moved into a new lane joining Gutta Muzic, created by M. Reck, becoming the Vice President. In addition to rapping, the company puts out DVD weekly and C.O.D. DVD, various mixtapes by their own DJs, and runs ForbezDVD website. This jump for Skeem had him hard at work in the streets focusing on building relationships with whoever was down to support or work. While this took away from his music, 2010 will see a lot of work from him. He plans on releasing Lyrical Exercise Vol. 1 with fellow rapper Young Haze to start off the year and following up with an untitled album in the summer.
1. First off, to the new readers checking out this interview who is Big Skeem? I’m an artist out of Lancaster P.a. that’s been doin this rap thing for quite some time. I feel like my music is lyrical, street, but at the same time has commercial appeal to be enjoyable to your average listener. I make music I feel and try never to record anything just because it’s the trend or hot for the moment. 2. Being one of the few Korean rappers in the game has got to be hard at times. Where did you pick up Hip Hop and decide you want to be a rapper? It definitely can be at times with people who aren’t familiar with me but I feel the streets respect my music and back anything I do because it’s genuine. Nothing fabricated or out of character. I’ve always refused to ever bring my race or anyone elses into judging their talent or abilities. I picked up on hip-hop at a young age, probably around 10 or so. Some of the first cd’s or should I say cassettes I ever bought were Wu-Tang Clan’s “Enter the 36 chambers”, Naughty By Nature’s “Poverty’s Paradise”, Paris’ “Guerrilla Funk”, 2Pac “All Eyez On Me”, Dr.Dre “The Chronic”, Raekwon “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx”, and Bone Thugs
“E.1999 Eternal”. Definitely, all classics in my opinion. 3. Out of the various artists you’ve worked with, who has been your favorite? That’s a tough one. But if I had to pick it would be a toss up between Stack Bundles and Peedi Crakk. I remember Peedi being my first major feature. We recorded in the same studio in Ardamore P.A. outside Philly. I respect dude for showin up on time and really just bein down to earth ready to work as soon as he got in the studio. The track also became my first single that touched top 40 radio stations in Pennsylvania along with Sirius Satellite back before everyone was on that shit. 4. The joint, “It’s Easy,” features a verse from the late Stack Bundles. Can you tell us how the song came about? I was always a big fan of Stack I swear I have every song or freestyle he ever released. I was searchin for an artist to feature on my street single which was later titled “It’s Easy” and after goin through some ideas Stack seemed like the perfect fit. I remember reaching out to his people months in advance but nothing ever happened, until one day his management hit me up and said send a track to them and if Stack liked it
he would jump on it. Money was not an issue as far as him deciding to feature on it or not, he told me off top “if I like it I’ll do it, if not, the money’s not gonna make me spit on a track I don’t feel” and I respected that. I later found out I was the first unsigned artist to ever record an original song with him, he turned everyone down until me. It meant a lot to hear that. 5. You’re the VP of Gutta Muzic. How’d that situation happen? I basically reached out to M.Reck the CEO of Gutta Muzic about possibly pushin his dvd’s and projects in my area and once he came out here he saw how much the town fucks with me and he also caked up pretty well that weekend too. He recognized I hustled and was willing to put in the proper work to be successful and if you’re in this business you already know a lot of people talk a good game but most of the time are lazy and work when they want to. I’m the complete opposite. 6. Coming into an age where almost anyone can be an artist, how do you differentiate yourself from the rest of the crowd? I’m me. I think a lot of artists’ copy what they see on T.V. or hear in the club or on the radio and think that will
Streets Mos Magazine | 5
make them more successful or hot. I just do what comes natural. People like 2pac, Biggie, Eminem, Big Pun were themselves when they came in the game and that’s why I feel they made such an impact on the culture and will always be relevant in the future. 7. DJ Herk is one of your mentors in this game. What is the most valuable advice he has given you He told me never wait on anyone and be original. Simple words but real shit. He told if you don’t have hustle in life, not just music you’re not gonna make it. That always stuck with me. 8. In this day and age do you think the internet and digital downloading has
6 | Streets Mos Magazine
helped or hurt the game? It’s a double-edged sword. It’s helped artists all over the world get exposure who might have never had a chance if it wasn’t for the internet but it definitely hurt the business side of the music industry as far as making money and weeding out the people who love making music and the ones who do it to impress their friends or to feel like they’re more than what they are. I think the blogs and websites have a major role in promoting and breaking new artists. Record labels aren’t a major factor anymore as far as generating a buzz for an artist like they were say 5 years ago. Most people look to a label these days strictly for distribution and that’s it. So overall it’s really however you look at it. A new artist will say it’s a great promo tool but a label exec or established artist may
say its bad because they’re losing millions of dollars due to bootlegging and albums leaking months in advance. 9. How can your fans reach you or keep up to date with your future projects? You can get at me at email@example.com for all business Twitter.com/BIGSKEEM or myspace.com/ bigskeempa 10. Any shoutouts? Yeah, Dj Herk P.A.’s top D.J., M.Reck, Geolani, Gadget, Young Haze, Dj Deals, Doggie Diamonds and the whole Forbezdvd.com Staff, Sermons domain the best blog on the net, Streets Mos Magazine for the major look they giving me right now and everybody who supports my music. I appreciate it!!!! SM
MONEY FIRST is a 4 man rap
group out of Trenton, New Jersey. Grow-
Money ing up in one of the most crime-stricken areas in the country, music was always a “way out.” Boom Blake, Tranzatick, JP & Ill Kayn all represent ideas and experiences that they personally went through in life. Powerful individually, but as a team, MONEY FIRST is unstoppable. The 80’s babies have the best of several different eras of Hip Hop, enabling the receptive to combine styles and concepts derived from the old and new school. Although, today many artists have forgotten the 80’s and 90’s styling’s and stick with what’s “safe” and proven lucrative with consumers. Rap has gotten overly concerned with image and material wealth, overshadowing the main goal of creating legendary music. MONEY FIRST honors Hip Hop- past, present and future- by stepping off “the red carpet” and focusing more on the quality of substance and content they cook up for the world. Due to the state of the economy and the entertainment business, many things have changed for the independent artists. With the knowledge that signed or unsigned by a major label, MONEY FIRST not only brings you variety on a track but they take pride in their business, as well. Each member has stepped up to the plate under the consenting lead of the general, Boom Blake who maintains the balance in the group and spearheads the executive decisions made on the guys’ behalf. Their camaraderie and loyalty to each other, easily allows them to work in concert and play valuable positions. MONEY FIRST understands the value in having everything done “in house.” From music production to marketing to bookings, they have created a strong, in-house unit that is able to provide these necessities for success. With this approach, they plan to try a different lane than the one more taken. MONEY FIRST winners of the 2009 “Best Rap Group “ Underground Music Award , has collaborated with some of the most buzz-worthy artists in the game like Uncle Murda, Esso, Donny Goines, Panama (from the Wire) and others. Also they have graced stages with notable MC’s such as Styles P, Cassidy, Jr Writer, Freeway, and DMC of the Legendary RUN DMC. Partnering up with Block Starz Music for the release of their debut mixtape “The Blog Goon Mixtape” MONEY FIRST managed to amass over 10 thousand downloads in just one week proving that all the hard work and dedication are the key to their success. For more information on MONEY FIRST please visit their official website www.moneyfirstonline.com SM
by boom blake
® Streets Mos Magazine | 7
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bizniss men entertainment
Bizniss Men Entertainment is composed of a strong collective of talented artists. Their style is not limited to a particular music threshold or category. Strong points include hosting live events and private functions. We have an expanded amount of followers who support us religiously and participate in all public events.. We also offer management for original song arrangements, Live entertainment, and future projects than include and are not limited to:
Urban Clothing line, photography, videography, and art design.
CALISZ - 26 Years young – Born
Secs Sellz – 25 years
Sicwitdapen – 26 years
DJ Phame – 29 years young –
and raised in the South Bronx, N.Y.C. Calisz has been writing since the age of 16…Influenced and inspired by artists such as Big Pun Krs One, 2pac, Nas, Rakim , & Run D.M.C. Calisz is one of the founding members of B.M. ENT. (BIZNISS MEN ENTERTAINMENT). He has done a variety of songs with fellow B.M. ENT. Members like: Sicwitdapen, Secs Sellz and O Nitty. Calisz is now working on the first B.M. ENT. mixed tape and his Solo album as well. Part of Calisz’s goal is to bring THE BRONX back with quality Hip-Hop music that everyone can enjoy and relate to.
young – Born and raised in the Bronx, N.Y.C. He has been writing rhymes since 1997. Influences range from Nas, Notorious B.I.G., Big Pun, along with a wide list of others. Since a very young age Sicwitdapen has always felt a deep love for music but never knew he would grow to be the skillful M.C that he is now. Today his first mixed tape is called Sicwitdapen Vol. 1, in which he worked on with DJ Phame and S.O.S. He is now currently working on a follow up mixed tape Vol. II featuring: Shyst, Pryse, Agony, and members B.M.ENT
young – Born and raised in the Bronx, N.Y.C. He first realized he could sing around the time Boyz II Men was popular. . By the time he was in eighth grade He had already performed for various local shows and school events realized. It was then that he realized he wanted to make singing his career. His influences are: Boyz II Men, Marc Anthony & Justin Timberlake. He also grew up listening to classics such as Marvin Gaye and the Temptations. He is currently working on solo vocal projects and is featured on songs with B.M. ENT. & Master DGF.
Born and raised in the Bronx, N.Y.C. He has been spinning records in clubs, house parties and industry events since 1994. While attending the institute of Audio Research in 2004 DJ Phame was introduced to producing and engineering, thats when he realized his love for music. Since then DJ Phame has strived diligently and has effectively progressed his skills in that field. His influences include Dr. Dre, DJ Premier, & RZA (Founder of Wu-Tan Clan). Currently working on three projects such as Calisz’s / Sicwitdapen’s solo mixed tapes, & B.M.ENT group projects.
O Nitty - 28 Years young
- Born and raised in the Bronx – Newcomer to scenes but has developed a talent for writing and becoming a lyricist with just five years in the game. Influential people in his life consist of: His Grandpa (professional guitar player) Nas, 2 Pac, Big Pun , and Gangstarr. Currently working on B.M. Ent ‘s Mixed tape Vol. I and will be featured in a variety of future projects to come. Famous quote:” If they hatin’ on me then I must be doing something right”!
contact BM entertainment for bookings and info DJ. PHAME 718 682 5149 or E. 917 560-3418 HIT US UP ON MYSPACE.COM/BMentbx TWITTER.com/BMent BECOME A FAN ON FACEBOOK BM.Ent
Streets Mos Magazine | 9
sins The Best way to describe in ay is focused. Whenever you see him, heâ€™s always taking in
his surroundings in a calm way. And that attitude pays. Very few artists have a resume like his. Name the Showcase in the Tri-state area, Sin Say has been in it and has won first place in it too. While this would allow many artists to rest on their laurels, Sin Say wants more. He now heads his own movement.
The Bronx MC wants the world to know he does it big. StreetSmos caught up with this top ten prospect to find out whatâ€™s been going on with him and his company LD Entertainment, as he implements his plan to put his name in the game.
10 | Streets Mos Magazine
nsay streetsmos: Where are you from? Sin Say: I’m from the Bronx––Castle Hill. That’s my ‘hood––who I do it for.
How would you describe your grind? Twenty-four/seven, all day every day. And now, I have to be grinding even harder. Why do you say that? Because I’m leading my own career. I’m no longer with my former management. No ill feelings, they did a lot for me. However, I felt it would be better if I took control. That way, I can’t blame anyone except me, if things don’t go the way I want them to. How has that worked out for you? I know I did the right thing because I’m happier and steering my career in the direction I want it to go. Right now, I’m in transition mode, which also happens to be the name of the next mixtape.
And whats that? I think New York ain’t been popping like it could be because the big New York powers haven’t been giving back––supporting the new dudes like myself. However, I do see it changing. How would you describe your style? I would say I’m a perfect example of what’s needed to make a hit record. I can do the mixtape stuff all day, however I think I got hit music too. Hard work and dedication––I was born to do this. I want everyone to know I’m going even harder with my company, LD Entertainment. With the support of my partners, 3rd Month Music Group and EQ Studios, you know who’s got next. SM
So does that affect your relationship with Torch of Triple C and that whole Movement you were connected to? Torch and I grew up together in the same building. I feel everyone respects and supports my decision as a man and a businessperson. I have to do what’s best for me, but my fam is always going to be fam. How do you feel about being a New york Artist? New York is the Mecca. But I’m not going to jump on that “bringing New York back” thing. That’s old and sour; I’m young and fresh. I’m going to do what I feel others are not.
Hard work and dedication I was born to do this. Streets Mos Magazine | 11
BROO I feel I’m better than most because I’m confident and if you don’t feel that way, you shouldn’t compete.
PUD aka Eric Campbell delivers the harsh reality of a decision gone wrong and its repercussions in moving rhymes showcasing a depth and passion for real hip-hop. The
Brooklyn born lyricist has been rhyming since the age of thirteen and was writing prior to that. The untimely death of his mother and the increasing allure of the streets provided his subject matter. After an initial two years of delv-
ing into rhyming, at fifteen, Spud’s gritty Bushwick neighborhood became the backdrop of a chain of events that would transport him through the cells and roll calls of the New York State Correctional system for the next thirteen years.
Throughout his incarceration, Spud honed his lyricism and free-styling and mastered the self-expression of his life’s experiences, making him a seasoned artist. His harshest and most unreserved judges and juries have been fellow inmates. Within the system, Spud gained popularity and respect of those around him while doing talent shows and battling. In each facility he occupied, his reputation and skills were bona fide. Since his release, Spud now has the opportunity to continue where he left off. He is an avid writer of a variety of genres of music, with hip-hop being in the forefront; and has accumulated an extensive catalogue.
OKLYN Everything he wants to push from the beginning is the name SPUD! He also wants everyone to know what and where his name is from, thus the name SPUD! BROOKLYN! His music displays the inner workings of the artist, the man and his whole view on life. Spud has had his share of hard times, which he credits to growing up way too fast, his background and ethnicity. The events that shaped him are the same ones to make him. Spud was impressed by the careers of Snoop and serious rappers like Rakim with lyrical wordplay whose rhymes were the visual that links words to pictures and the feeling behind them. Tribe called Quest and Native Tongue laid the sound funk and the street element. Mobb Deep helps balance SPUD out as an artist and a writer. His music is about the inner demons of a past life that exude the lyrical prowess of a skilled wordsmith creating street cinema through his penned artistry.
His music has passion. People can af-
filiate him with the dude seen in front of their local barber shop and neighborhood bodegas with the stamped imprint,
“I want in”. If you wondered who the guy in the silhouette on the stamp is, it’s SPUD! BROOKLYN. streetsmos: What do want people to get from your music? SPUD: I want them to get anything that’s relevant to their life whether it’s hardcore or not I want people to see that. It’s not a gimmick, not for the dollars, not for radio, not all about dancing just something more relatable. What sets you apart from other artists? My drive, I’m not a follower I’m a leader. A lot of artists are following a trend. I have my own vision and my own story. If there was like the perfect woman who would it be? My perfect woman would be one that likes to be in the cut. A strong grounded female anything less than that would be insane. What do you think the game is missing? The game is missing rap labels, radio and individual artists. The idea of artist has been totally removed and replaced with media
gratification and financial growth. I come prepared, branded and developed as an artist. What do you plan to do in the game? I plan to give good solid music. When it comes to hip-hop and radio, at the end of the day, it’s about good music, not about one good song. Consistency is the key. There are a lot of rappers from Brooklyn. What makes you better? When it comes to saying who’s better it’s very competitive. They are confident and you have to be confident enough to say I’m better than them. I feel I’m better than most because I’m confident and if you don’t feel that way, you shouldn’t compete. What is your favorite song by SPUD! BROOKLYN? “High Off Life”. The song is about life experiences as they correlate to drugs. Many experiences give you a drive and it’s chilling because any experience can be correlated as a drug.
Streets Mos Magazine | 13
Of course I want to gain financial backing, but for me it’s more than just about the dollar. There are a lot of female rappers on the come up, who is your favorite? Eve showed a different side to music. It wasn’t all just sexual it was actual lyricism. There aren’t that many new female artists, so I got my ears open.
East coast, West coast, or Midwest do you take to any particular style/ artist? I appreciate their music because I’m able to appreciate different music. The south has their game in good as a whole, but I just appreciate music. My music is east coast driven though.
How do you feel about hip hop today vs. hip hop in the 80’s? Hip-hop today can’t really appreciate hip-hop of the 80’s because back then it was about the sound and now it’s about the dollar. Of course I want to gain financial backing, but for me it’s more than just about the dollar.
During this interview you talked briefly about being incarcerated. What did you got to jail for? Second degree murder, I was locked up for 13 years. Being incarcerated helped to groom my personality and views on life. It gave me an appreciation and better understanding of who I am going to grow into.
Who are you now compared to who you were before you went to jail? I believe you can be who you are past and present. I still do wrong and right, but I do them better outside of how society views me. I’m just a better person to me.
What is the name of your movement, management etc? Last Lap is the management. Shout outs to the management squad and Shark.
Is there anyone you would like to work with in the future? Most of them are outside my genre. People like One Republic or Lauryn Hill because it’s more challenging as an artist and I enjoy being challenged.
How about in your genre? People that sound a little different. I want a little of everything, you know. Mix it up, but I don’t have a particular person chosen. How about producers? Premiere, Alchemist, or Digga, you know, that New York gritty sound. I’ve seen your stencils stamped all around the city. What is the story behind that? The strategy was to have people intrigued and get them interested. We plastered throughout most of the five boroughs while distributing the mix tapes and making appearances promoting the mix tape. The stamp is my face and the mix tape name. What was the name of your mix tape? The mix tape was titled; I Want In and was recorded end of 08. The website is spudbrooklyn. com Who did you work with on the project? On the last mix tape I worked primarily with Kid Cadence, a producer with Last Lap. On the current mix tape I’m working with T-note. The title of the next one is, One for the Money and that will be available late June. What do you see for yourself 2011, 2012 and beyond? I see a lot more good music. SM
Lexx9Eleven Lexx9Eleven by Ryan Kyle
has been on the New York music scene for some time now. With hits such as 80’s baby and Heavy Roundz he has all five boroughs talking about him.
The only problem is that to him, it’s not enough to be known locally. His aim is for a national audience and he will do whatever necessary to attain it. We were finally able to catch up with him in between studio sessions and listened to him as he told us about his future plans for his music, his love for the dj’s, and his lack of respect for the many artists out here that are nothing more than carbon copies of each other……….
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go anywhere. I go to the Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem, I go everywhere and I’m noticed now. I used to go around with shirts with my name on it, my whole team would have shirts on with my name on it, then I took a whole year off from doing that so that people would get used to my face and it worked. People gravitate to me really well and it encourages me to keep going. That is the type of look that we look for. A lot of rappers say that they don’t care about the fame, but that’s bullshit. When you know that people are inspired by your music and what you are doing, it gives you that positive rush. I have a nice following out here now I’m just trying to nationalize it.
You get the love and you get the hate but the majority ismostly love. Now tell me about the Lexx9Eleven movement? What are you currently working on? I’m working on a couple of projects….I’m working on really putting on for my city! As far as project wise, I have a record coming out called “Coldest Winter Ever” that will be dropping around the January/February time frame….I have a couple of other projects that I’m working on, right now I’m just working, getting this music done.
That’s good, it sounds like the grind never stops for you. Naw, not at all I’m actually about to drop another single, I haven’t dropped a single in awhile, yea since 80’s babie I haven’t really attacked the radio with a single. So I got that coming, everybody is waiting for it, and I got a handful of big records. So I’m about to give my fans and all my listeners something that they’re going to be proud of.
Are there any artists that are going to be featured on those singles? Naw, I actually have some re-mixes that we are working on now. I don’t really want to mention the names yet, but we are working on the re-mixes for the 80’s babie and the money in the air singles that I have. As far as my brand new singles….It’s just me. You know how it goes though when an artist comes out with a new hot joint, you start getting calls and other artists start reaching out, but as far as my new singles I like them to just be me, I don’t like them to have other artists on them.
You’ve generated quite a buzz in New York; tell me about how the fans have been responding to your music. They love me out here (laughs), it’s like they passed me the ball and they’re telling me to go. You get the love and you get the hate but the majority is mostly love. I can
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Now in your opinion, what is it that you offer your fans that is different from other artist? What is it that you’re giving your fans that is generating such a buzz??? I’m being me. The majority of my music is aggressive, not because I am trying to be aggressive but because everything is reality based. It’s about everything that I’m going through and everything that I’ve been through. Like my last mix tape was called Loyalty over Love. I’ve been through that and a lot of other cats have been through that. It’s like if these rappers would follow that model more often, a lot less bullshit would happen in their career. Everybody reaches out to me and tell me to keep doing what you’re doing the way that you are doing it. The music that I make is street music, but it’s not the average street music, it’s the street music that is still a good record. It’s not the average artist “shoot a nigga in the head type music”. I’m not following what everyone else is doing; everyone wants to do this type of record because that is what everyone is doing. A lot of these artists in the game right now are just carbon copies of everyone else. You look at magazines and all the stuff that these artists are saying and music that they are putting out, it all sounds the same. This artist sounds like that artist and that artist sounds like that
You’ve been getting a lot of love from Dj’s as far as spinning your records, tell me what role the dj’s have played in helping you get to where you are now? Well they’ve given me a lot of love, Dj’s always plays a major role, and someone has to play the records. It’s real cool, I finally bumped into a certain dj and was like what’s up, I’m Lexx9Eleven and he was like Oh shit what up, I’ve been playing your records for years (we both laugh). That feels good, it’s like the ones that you feel don’t know who you are, they know. It’s like a pat on your back to just keep doing what you are doing. Sometimes you start to think that people aren’t listening or they don’t know who you are but they know. It feels good, and that goes along with A&R’s and other artists you would think that they don’t know who you are because they don’t reach out or give you any type of response but they know who you are. So dj’s are always going to play a major part in this game. Whether the internet takes over or whatever, people are always going to go to the club, people are still going to listen to the radio. Some of the Dj’s are bigger than some artists out here. I fuck with a lot of these dj’s and respect them all……some
artist, but me on the other hand I’m different. Everyone that hears my music and that I sit down and do interviews with that have heard my music they all say the same shit, they say “ Yo Lexx you don’t sound like anyone, I can’t say that you sound like any other artist”, and that is something that I’m trying to maintain. The direction that I am coming from is really trying to showcase where I am from and I think that is what is missing in this game. You know 50 cent everyone knows that he is from Queens. If you just started listening to 50 cent now you probably wouldn’t even know that. I want to showcase everything that is out here. I want to showcase all the bullshit that my people are going through. My city period. All the artists out here that are selling are the artists that the people can follow. Everyone can make a nice little single and be around for four months, I’m trying to get these people to follow me, Ti he has followers, Lil Wayne he has followers, 50 he has followers, Jay-z he has followers, Jeezy he has followers, that’s because when they incorporate their stories and they are putting on for their cities it makes things more interesting, people want to sit down and watch that, that is the direction that I’m going.
of them piss me off (laughs) but I respect them. Shout out to all of the dj’s that are doing their thing.
Lexx you have a few different mix tapes out here and a host of songs but the big question that everyone is asking is….when are you going to drop an album? I am going to drop an album when I feel like everyone really wants it. I have a nice following. I have a group of people that are going to go get whatever I put out. I want it to be well appreciated. When it finally comes it’s going to come at the right time. I don’t want to do an album just for my people in New York, I’m trying to nationalize this, you feel what I’m saying, the music is there. I’m thinking about doing something on ITunes so that they can get an idea of what an album will do as far as sells, without the major label push or a major artist. You know what, that’s another thing the artist that broke they pretty much broke out in the same way. I want to break for the whole underground. I want to show that you don’t need a million dollars to make things happen for yourself. I want to show them that you don’t need every dj in the world to make this shit happen, you don’t need ten million album sells the first week to make this happen. I want to show them that hard work actually pays off. That’s why you won’t see me reaching for the big artists on my songs to catch a break. That’s why you won’t see me chasing dj’s around the clubs trying to buy them drinks and shit so that they will play my records. I want the dj’s to want to play my records. I want them to respect my hard work. When people ask me about shit like that I always refer to Maino. Maino works hard. Since I started doing it he was coming up. When I sat down with A&R’s they used to be like hey yo there are only a couple of guys that are working this hard. They used to always put my name in a sentence with his, as far as getting out there and grinding. I used to go out there in the streets forty deep with my team and sell a thousand cd’s. We used to be out there freezing with our shirts on, that’s how my buzz picked up because this is what we were doing. That is what I want to bring to the table, I want to show that hard work really pays off. At the end of the day if the artist doesn’t catch that break that he is looking for, appreciate the hard work that he put in.
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would love to drop an independent album and have a good response from the fans……you see that is going to bring the labels to me with good business. Regardless of what people say the labels are always going to be around signing artists, but I need a drop date, I don’t want to get signed and just be sitting there. I know that when I get out there and start pushing my album my music is going to blow.
I’m being me. The majority of my music is aggressive, not because I am trying to be aggressive but because everything is reality based. That ties into my next question. Are you going to sign with a major label or go the independent route? I mean of course? Who doesn’t want to sign with a major label? Even if you go the independent route you’re still going to have to sit down and do business, you’re going to have to deal with distribution and other business. Now if someone wants to sit down and do business that makes sense, of course I’m going to want to do it. Am I looking for a major deal, of course, but I’m looking for the right major deal. I’ve had opportunities to make things happen, and I’m pretty sure it is obvious to my listeners when they heard 80’s babies. The majority of people think that I’m already signed. They be like “Yo what happened to the deal behind 80’s babies”, and when I tell them that I’m not signed they be like “wow I thought you were”. I’m not one of those thirsty artists out that is trying to do it and get thrown out here for a second and that’s it. So whatever is best for interests and will benefit me and my team. I don’t want to take the sucker route and do it just cause. Independent isn’t a bad move. I
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Well that leads to my next and final question……what is the next move for Lexx9Eleven? What are your plans for 2010? Nationalize everything that I’m doing and expand it. That’s it. Bigger moves bigger steps. I’ve already done a lot of shows everywhere but I’m going to be more consistent. I’ve already done shows in Atlanta, Ohio, LA, Miami but I’m trying to get everywhere. I’m trying to go from a few hundred followers on twitter to 1.7 million. You see I feel like I deserve to be on the level of a lot of these other artists that are getting that cake. I feel like it’s time to take the next step, and those people that support me they feel the same way. I want to do everything. Don’t be surprised if you see me in a magazine modeling or in a movie doing some acting……I’m trying to be a part of everything. SM
A Mission to Produce Great Music and Great Communities by Ryan Kyle
s lk a t s d hi an .I., g us r T in r. g h o t e n wi ct f cha ett s b e sit esp and he , t , r ia af of afia for M ck M ts TF la TF ree f s i o p h st ou ity ab ut r o g ab sic er c mu inn e th
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are trying to show the people from the streets a better way of surviving, instead of turning towards the normal ways of selling drugs and living a prison life like some of our members have. The street credibility is something that we base our music off. We don’t do all of our music based on street things, we do have a lot of club records. The Papoose record that everyone knows is talking about pleasing woman and doing them right. Papoose did his thing on that record. TF mafia speaks for itself. We’re family and family oriented SK the Don is my first cousin; I’m Rab the leader of the group and one of the heads of the organization. It’s a brotherhood and we try to keep the same type of loyalty to the streets that are in the streets, we incorporate it into our music and into our very lives. So we definitely enjoy the street credibility.
We are trying to show the people from the streets a better way of surviving
TF Mafia, recently released it’s debut album, what has the response from the fans been like? Well, the response has been great. We’re getting a lot of love on the radio. Dj Self of power 95 has been spinning some of our songs for about a year now. We started out with a record called Loose Control and that got a huge response in the clubs. Dj Kay Slay of Hot 97 has been also showing us a lot of love. Many people say that Married to the Mob is your biggest record so far but in your opinion is that your best record to date? I enjoy all of our records; we do a variety of records some records are fun, that record was geared towards the ladies. Industry wise and as far as the internet I would definitely say that that record has been our most popular record so far. I definitely know that we have a lot of better records, a lot more hype record, club records, and records with a story to tell. We are about to drop a record called So Long…. It’s about the struggle that young black kids go through being targeted by gangs, and inner city troubles like selling drugs, we’re trying to give people a different outlook, a more positive outlook to the negative situations that most inner city kids go through. Now TF Mafia has so much Street Credibility, many people even label it as the voice of the streets. How do your past struggles influence your music? Well, you know we came out of the streets, suffering from a lot of different things coming up. You know me, myself Rab I did seven and a half years federal time. We don’t support snitching; we carry a lot of the street rules into our music. We
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Like you said you formally did a federal bid for seven and a half years in a federal prison, but you came out with even more respect and being known as a stand up man for not snitching which is something you also talked about, so how do you feel about snitches and the many so called studio gangsta’s in the hip-hop community? You know what I saw a commercial with T. I. and this is a guy that I used to respect. He came out with a lot of street cred, talking about how he did time, this that and the third but after he got in trouble with the gun case with the feds he was on TV. and on the internet telling kids it’s okay to call Tippers. Now I feel like this, if you were a civilian and never claimed the streets it may be looked at as ok to dial 911 for help. I don’t respect when people get in trouble and tell. It’s a sign of disloyalty, no backbone; he’s not a man to me anymore. If you get caught doing the crime do the time. You don’t give another person’s family headaches, don’t call the police on anyone else and give their family more problems. It all goes back to
slavery. The house nigga’s telling on the field nigga’s. It’s about the slave masters still controlling the slaves. If we’re going to stand up together and fight no matter how we have to survive, to put food on the table we don’t need to be telling on each other. Incarceration is like a new form of slavery in my eyes. If I decide to break the law then I should stand up and take responsibility for my actions. That is just a prime example of studio gangsters, TI is an example of a studio gangster. There is a lot of controversy about a lot of other artists like 50 and other artists but I don’t like to call anyone a snitch unless I have paperwork or factual evidence that they are. T.I. was on TV saying how it is ok to call Tippers. There are probably a lot of other guys in the industry that are studio gangsters that I am not aware of or I don’t know personally. A lot of times people don’t want to go to the jail cell and leave their riches, so people give up their street mentality and credibility. We’re not going to do that, we need the streets to support our music; we need the streets to buy our music so we can provide better opportunities for people that are from the streets like us. So you said that T.I. comes to mind but not anyone else? You know its not really in my best interest as an artist or a business man to throw dirt on anyone else’s name. They know who they are. I don’t like to do to much hating I would rather do a lot of love. This kid was on TV talking about dial 911. The way to fix our problems is for us, to fix our problems. The government has never helped black people. The governments has never helped hispanics wholeheartedly, the government has never helped hip-hop, so for hip hop to turn to the government and ask them to come into the inner cities and help, all they are going to do is lock us up. Our main thing is to stop killing each other, our main thing is to first put the guns
away, and our main thing is to stop concentrating so much on sex but focus on education and family. That is what TF Mafia is bringing back, that family structure that the mafia once stood for, the tough love, the discipline, and the you will pay for your mistakes mentality. We are not looking for the government to help, if they want to help they have to come wholeheartedly with an open hand of help and not with another hand behind their back with hidden motives. We don’t need any new tricks to add onto the tricks that have already been put on us as a race. TF Mafia is an organization that provides assistance to help youths growing up in impoverished, urban life struggles. How do you respond to the negative critics that label the organization as nothing more than a street gang? That comes from the local police departments and the FBI. You see, it’s easier for them to get their opinions out because they have free channels of use of the media. As hip-hop artists nothing comes free for us, the radio spins don’t even come free. Some dj’s show love but the major dj’s have their hands tied by the people that are over them. We don’t really have a voice to get our message across on the television or the radio, so it is hard to get over those haters. It all starts with the government. Anytime we try to do something positive for the black community, or the Hispanic community to show love and unity they strike it down. Prime example is Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King was a God fearing man he was a positive man that tried to bring the races together, and they shot him down like they would do a drug dealer. He was a positive man, he wasn’t a criminal, yet they were tapping his phones, watching his family and his every move. We don’t claim to be angels, I’m sure Martin had his flaws but we are trying to
bring about positive situations and better situations for our children and our communities. Right now it’s the music. The music is helping us create jobs for people that need jobs and for ex-cons, we are looking out for people that the government won’t look out for. That is where we stand. We don’t care about the haters we can’t control the police or the FBI, they are going to say we are negative, we are going to do positive. With the many struggles that TF Mafia has had to overcome, do you all feel like you have something to prove? It seems like we have something to prove since there are so many obstacles to overcome with an independent label. We have a lot to prove. We have to prove our artistry, that New York hip-hop is not dead, that hip-hop still has a message behind it, and that it can still tell a story. A lot of music has lost that story line; it’s all popcorn dancing and pretty women. In the streets there aren’t too many pretty woman, there isn’t any popcorn and we don’t have too much to party about. We want to bring the street music back but we need the people to support the music, then we can get to the partying. We have a lot of party music but even in that party you still hear a little bit of pain. What’s next for TF Mafia…… We’re dropping our single Mafia Music Ft Bun B. we are also going to drop a single called So Long. That song tells a story, it tells the black man’s story in this new century. Remember that the Bossilini album is out there. Go cop that album it’s fire, support your brothers as we try and make our neighborhoods better. The ladies don’t have to afraid of the Mafia there are definitely a lot of songs on there for them, we love the ladies. We’re not new artists we’re just the best artists SM
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wants to rule the Game From Hip-Hop to Comedy Ru1 is Determined to Place Its Mark on the Entertainment World
u aka Ruben Cobos is the visionary behind the success of independent record label Ru1 Records. Ru has
managed to run every facet of his independent label ; studio recording, producing, engineering, street promotion, internet promotion, negotiation and management. He blends his understanding of all aspects along with his style and approach. With the release of his single, â€œNothing Newâ€?, he now shows off his rhyming skills as well. Many in the industry, who know Ru as a business man, are surprised to learn how talented he is as a front man. But for the disbeliever and haters, Ru sits down with us and gives us a glimpse inside his mindset, his music and the Ru1 Empire.
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How did you get into music, and how long have you been in the game? I got into music at the end of my junior year going into my senior year of highschool. I was starting to feel pressure to go to college but didn’t want to go to college. I really didn’t know what direction I wanted to go in but I knew that I had a love for music. After I purchased a drum machine I started making beats and producing. That’s how I started in the music business. So then you were a producer before you were an artist? Yes Tell me about the Ru1 movement. As a business man you do so much more than music, what other business are apart of the Ru1 empire? The music is what is really going to help my other businesses thrive. I have Ru1 Comedy that I started in Mid 2007. We started doing comedy shows in Jersey. All of our shows pull 200-300 people. Then we host one huge show each month. We book all the major comedians that you see on BET and major comedy shows. The Ru1 brand touches all different types of lifestyles. I give you full entertainment. The music will make you cry, get angry and make you feel a lot of different emotions. With the Comedy I offer something that can even appeal to those that don’t like hip hop, they also have the opportunity to experience the Ru1 brand, laugh and have a good time. I’ve tried to have something that appeals to everyone. I also have Ru1 Bail bonds. It’s a bail bond company that operates 24/7 all over the United States. The Bail bond company is more of a traditional business, but once again it ties into everything that we are trying to do. There are people getting arrested everyday. Really we are just trying to put out good music. The Ru1 brand is so well known know from our years of marketing and branding. But really the music, comedy and bail bond are the major ventures that we have going on right now. Now based on all of these different ventures, it is clear that you want to reach a level of success that is beyond just being a great artist, So for you what will being successful consist of?
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At the end of the day I see the Ru1 brand as a household name. My vision for the brand is for it to be up there with the G-Unit brand and the Jay-Z brand. To satisfy my ambitions and desires I need to have my music and my click known as the hottest brand in the industry. I want to eventually go into cologne, have a clothes line and shoe line. Really the sky is the limit. As far as the comedy goes eventually I want to have it placed on television. I want to do some reality shows. Everything that you see Diddy do, 50, or Jay do, that is pretty much were the money is and that is the direction that I am going in, I’m just going to put my spin on it. Everything that I do I try to keep it real slick, innovative and entertaining. I’m going to tackle the things that they are doing but I’m doing it a little different with the comedy and the bails bonds. Also the Ru1 brand is going to get into commercial real estate. Well you definitely have your hands in everything. (Laughs) You know what I can’t sleep at night man. The name of my album is going to be For the Love of Money and honestly there is a lot of money out there with my name on it, and I have to go get it. I sleep maybe three hours a night. If I’m not in the recording studio or with my multi-media team doing video-s, or DVD’s, I’m doing radio interview’s, doing a show or sitting down going over a budget or financing. There is an old saying that in order to be successful you have to be obsessed with your craft. I’m definitely obsessed with what I do. Now you grew up in Staten Island How did growing up there make you who you are today as far as Ru the musician and Ru the Businessman? That’s a good question. Growing up in Staten Island I saw a lot of my friends doing crazy stuff. I had to make a choice that I could either do what they were doing or I could channel my energy into something else. I always was around people in the streets but I had to make a conscious decision within myself to do something that would make me go toward success and getting millions. So I dabbled with music a little bit and then dabbled with corporate America and was like hey I can do this. I’m like a new breed. Usually people start off with the music and have nothing else going
on. Once they get millions of dollars from the music they start other ventures, but me I did the opposite of that. I got my foundation, my company, my corporation rock solid first. I have a full multi-media team, a full street team, our own video and editing facility and a recording studio. I built a brand so that we can be self sufficient. We don’t need anyone. I can honestly say over a million people have seen and know about the Ru1 brand. Our Myspace pages have 250,000 friends, our Youtube videos have over a million views combined. This is a part of the grind work that we have been doing in the streets with our marketing teams. The average person couldn’t put something like this together. The Blueprint that I have laid out has come from all of my experiences, and thinking before I move. Everything that I do is calculated before I move, it’s like a movie, I see it and then make it manifests into what I want to do. Now as the Ceo of Ru1 Records how do you balance your music career with the career of your other artists. It’s real tricky. We do have some new artists that need development while some of our other artists are good and ready to go. With the artist that do need development I make sure that I take some time out and work with them in the studio. The artists that I work with are really pro active and are always striving to prove themselves. So honestly I have a good team. Everyone drives themselves. Back to your music your single “Nothing New” features Fabulous how did that Collaboration come about? Basically working with my producer Zoser and Rosa Fox we got the vibe and feel of the record and we thought Fab would be a good fit. He had a single on the air and had just dropped his album so having him on the track made sense. The record had a great reaction from the clubs and dj’s. One thing that I noticed about the record is that those people
that aren’t even into hip-hop and listen to things like pop and alternative music liked that record. There is something in the record for everyone, the females the guys…..everyone. That same record was featured on the ‘New at Two’ segment of Dj Envy’s (Hot 97) radio show….how did you link up with Envy and what’s your working relationship with him? Dj Envy actually broke the record on the ‘New at Two’. He also gave the record a lot of play on his show on Sirius Radio. After that the record started to get a lot of spin. By Envy hearing it, knowing it was a hot record and playing it on the “New at Two” it gave the record a lot of exposure. He believed in the record and helped set it off. If you Google Nothing New in quotation marks and Ru feat Fab in quotation marks about 2500 websites pop up. The record has also been featured on tons of mix tapes. See the thing is all the dots were connected between the regular radio, satellite radio, the dj’s ,the clubs, the street teams passing out flyers and being really heavy on the Internet. It was amazing to see in a short period of time how the record was being played everywhere. Now you won the artist buzz awards at this past underground hip-hop awards, what was that like? That was a great experience. It was crazy because everything happened so quickly this year. We just dropped the single in June. All the voting was done by the public. The public voted me to have the artist buzz award and that’s what made it so big for me. It was a really great feeling and amazing night. It’s recognition that all your hard work is paying off. Now you’ve already generated a strong buzz in the streets but when is the album going to Drop? There is no set date yet. I’m at the point now that I need a little more time to organize all of my tracks.
When you put an album together you want to make sure that it has a collective feel to it. You want it to sound smooth and together. If I had to say how far along the album is I’d have to say it’s about fifty to fifty-five percent done. I’m still in the process of figuring out everything that is going to be on the album. When the album drops it needs to have 30 tines the buzz that I generated with the first record. Do you have any features that are going to be on the album besides Fabulous? Well my second Album which we haven’t release yet features Red Café and Rale formally of Rocafella Records, my good friend Jimmy Hendricks produced that record and when that record drops….. Oh my God it’s going to take off. We’re off to a great start with those two records. Well you already have a lot on your plate but what’s the next step for Ru1? My main goal is to have an album that is very successful. After the album I would like to jump on a tour, I think a tour is really important. After the album and tour I would like to look towards doing something on reality TV. I think it’s going to be important to show people the grind from my perspective. I think that everything that going on needs to be documented. Like you said what is the next move…..I would like everyone to be able to see it. I’ll like to expand the bail bond company, and really make sure that all my present ventures go to the next level. In between doing that if something else comes along to make money then I’ll jump on that. Do you have any shout outs…. Most definitely, I want to shout out Dj Envy, Lady L, Murder Mommies, Dj Self, Dante Ace, Jimmy Hendricks, Rail, Fab, Red Café, Copa, Bamboo Graphics, Jus, Dartier, Lil Bro, Trey Pund, Meco, Ron Snipes, the entire Ru1 family, Mug, Multi-media and of course Street Mos www.ru1world.com SM
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Fat Joe is
a veteran. Entering his 19th year in the music industry and with his 38th birthday right around the corner, Joe’s resume already boasts some weighty accomplishments – for instance, he’s a member of the legendary Diggin’ in the Crates (DITC) crew, he’s solely responsible for both of the only Latin MCs to ever reach a million in sales, he’s spent weeks at the top of the charts on more than one occasion, released
albums, headed a label and launched a moderately successful clothing line, among other things
he’s still not satisfied.
He’s been both acclaimed and disrespected by a wide range of characters from über-rich rappers to backpackers and local pastors, but he still can’t get enough. of the few
He’s one MCs able to
enjoy commercial success without it affecting their street credibility, but claims it isn’t something he even has to work at.
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We recently caught up with the Bronx O.G. and talked respect, motivation and why the industry so often seems to draw a collective blank when it comes to a guy named Christopher Rios. Streets MOS: After nearly two decades in the game, how do you manage to stay relevant in an industry dominated by cats who’ve barely been alive that long? Fat Joe: I just try to make good music, man. A lot of the young guys may not be real familiar with the older stuff, but I’m blessed that certain artists consider me a legend and are willing to work with me so I can make new hits they can rock with.
How do you balance street credibility and the commercial success? I don’t know, man. The street cred kinda speaks for itself considering all the turbulence and other things I’ve been through in the streets. But when it comes to making music, I come from the underground so I’ve always loved makin’ hardcore records, but I also love makin’ hits so I’m kinda caught in the middle.
You show a lot of love to a lot of people, but you’ve been disrespected quite often. How do you deal with that, particularly when it comes from people who were once down with you? It’s sad when you look out for people and they turn around and wanna disrespect you and not take credit for their failures, you know? Unfortunately I was dealt a bunch of sore losers, man. Their work ethics weren’t like mine. And the thing they love to put out there is that “Joe is all for self and don’t want nobody to come out.” Wrong. I helped all these people. Like Remy Ma, I’ve never done nothin’ wrong to that girl – ever, in my life. All I did was take her out the projects and got her a house in Jersey, a car, money and fame, man, so I don’t even know how [our disagreement] even happened or how that went. When I wanted to get on, nobody was there to put me on. So when I come back and try to help someone from the projects that ain’t doin’ good and make them rich and famous and then they shit on me? That’s very disrespectful and it really hurts me. So I just try to keep it movin’, make good music and represent for my family and for Hip-Hop. Do you still have relationships with these people? Remy and whomever else you’ve disagreed with from Terror Squad? Nah, there’s something wrong with Fat Joe. He’s stubborn, so once you diss him and break the trust and honor he had in you, he’ll never fuck with you again. And that’s the rule with everything I do. OK, let’s switch gears a bit. You mentioned having nobody there to put you on in the beginning, so how did you finally get into the industry? I ended up getting down with DITC. Most of them were from my projects [Forest Houses on Trinity Ave. in the Bronx] -- Showbiz, Finesse and Diamond D were all from my projects. Everybody was
just rappin’, goin’ to jams and all that when Finesse was just like, “Yo, I’ma be a rapper. I’ma get this deal and do my thing.” Once he actually went out and did it, it made me believe that I could do it, too. I went to the Apollo Theatre four weeks in a row and did Amateur Night. I walked up 31 flights of stairs and snuck in buildings just so I could play my demo tape for record company people, you know what I’m sayin’? I put in all this work, and it eventually paid off. A lotta cats put out a hot 16 and think they the shit when they don’t really know what it is to walk through the fire. You were also the game’s first widely respected Latino MC. Do you ever worry who’ll be the torch-bearer after you’re done? Absolutely. I mean, I been tryin’ to hold it down forever so I’m wonderin’ who’s the next guy comin’, ‘cause I know somebody’s comin’. Hip-Hop has been Black and Latino from day one. You look at the first pictures from a Hip-Hop party, half the crowd is Latino and the other half is Black. It’s only a matter of time before another Latino brother comes out and just cracks open the game and does what he does, I’m just surprised it hasn’t happened sooner. We got a buncha Latinos in the NBA doin’ they thing, so I don’t really understand why [more Latins] haven’t picked up the mic and did what they have to do. Would you like to be responsible for the next big thing when he or she is found? Nah, I already brought Big Pun in the game, know what I’m sayin? Millions sold, one of the most lyrical cats in the universe. If I could find a Latino guy, so be it, I’d definitely wanna do that; but at the end of the day it’s all about music to me. It ain’t about Latino, Black or whatever – it’s about makin’ great music and representin’ everybody. Speaking of Pun, do you feel like he’s underappreciated?
Oh, no question. If Pun ain’t the best lyrical nigga ever, he’s definitely top 3 to me. I’m talkin’ straight lyrics, not all that other stuff. If you put it on paper, Pun is killin’ niggas. I don’t know why mufuckas is catchin’ amnesia and actin’ like they don’t know what he did and the body of work he produced in the short period of time he was here. That’s a question people gotta ask themselves ‘cause when he was alive you had rappers comin’ up to him all the time like, “Pun, you’re the greatest! You’re the best in the world!” But you turn around and see people asking the same guys about who’s the best or in their top 5 and they never seem to mention Pun. It’s amazing to me. Your next album is a sequel to 2002’s platinum-certified J.O.S.E. (Jealous Ones Still Envy). Do you feel any pressure to have J.O.S.E. 2 match the success of its predecessor? Nah, ‘cause it was just a natural thing. I never planned on making another J.O.S.E. album, I was just makin’ music and the album just started soundin’ so big that the only thing I could compare it to was the biggest album I ever did. But there’s no competition at all with the first one. How does the new one sound? Real big. I got Lil’ Wayne on there, T-Pain, Raekwon, Lil’ Kim, Fabolous, Akon, and Rico Love [formerly of Us Records]; got beats from Jim Jonsin, Pete Rock, got Premier on there – I’m very excited about this one, man. This’ll be your ninth solo album. What keeps you going after all these years, all these albums and all you’ve accomplished? The desire to be hot. I’ve never had another job besides rap so this is all I know. As long as I feel like my game is up to par, I’m better than ever and still bringing something to the game, I see no reason to stop.. SM
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orn Antonio Rogers aka lil Tony in a rural area in Mississippi known as Aberdeen(Beantown).He was
first introduced to the music game in the early 90’s.Over a period of ten years on and off his musical career became unsuccessful due to poor management. During
this time, he was in and out of several groups which all roads led to nowhere.
Later in the year of 2001 this artist started his own thing and adopted the name Lil Tony and persued his career as a solo artist. He started to create a buzz like no other throughout his state including Alabama,Louisiana and Georgia.Many concert promoters wanted to know who is this guy from the south with all this talent.During this Time,Online marketing and Digital Sales through the internet was growing rapidly at becoming the newest wave to be heard and lil Tony was ahead of the game.Within weeks,He was on almost every music site that was catering to independent artist .After an incredible rise to the top of the myspace chart out of nowhere ,comes dirty south RAPP artist /songwriter/producer LIL TONY aka The original SOLJAH BOY. Thats right I did say the original SOLJAH BOY since 2000. This multitalented musician honored his skills writing and producing for some of the biggest urban local acts in his area and only last year turned his hand to producing and performing. With a huge fan base and following on myspace and cdbaby, his debut album ‘SOLJAH BOY’ has became a huge success. Lil Tony the SOULJA BOY ALBUM is rapidly emerging as the first major Mississippi artist to breakthrough with his unique Rapp hardcore southern Krunk sound. ALSO CHECK OUT the album entitled” SOLJABOY” WITH OVER 200,000 HITS and 40,000 Digital Downloads. All LIL TONY aka SOULJA BOY fans, not to mention fans of the Rapp genre will not be disappointed with this superb debut offering from one of the US most impressive new talents. Incorporating a mixture of up-tempo tracks and smooth slow jams, there’s something here for everyone. The fusion of southern influence is ever present which, as Lil Tony’s signature style, separates him head and shoulders above the rest. Fans will be pleased to hear that all time favorites such as the incredible ‘shake it lil moma’ and the unforgettable ‘country boys’, take pride of place on this album, alongside an array of fresh new tracks that will leave you undoubtedly wanting more! SOULJA BOY aka LIL TONY is a native of mississippi. He has been in the music business for quite some while with 3 albums under his belt and over a dozen of underground mixtapes floating thru the south. For more info call Underground Music at 662-369-83078 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.myspace.com/liltonysoljahboy SM
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twan da dude F
or many kids, growing up in an urban city provides many obstacles. To make it, you have to have a special set of skills. As the great Biggie Smalls once rapped, “Either you slinging crack rock, or got a wicked jump shot.”
Twan Da Dude is one young man whose wicked jump shot allowed him to take his game in life on his own terms. He had dreams of making it to the league. However, as the old saying goes, “You can take the kid out the hood, but you can’t take the hood out the kid.” Still, when Twan took his Bronx swag to North Carolina, he discovered the sky was indeed the limit for him. Many people go to college to find themselves and that’s exactly where Twan found he was destined for greatness.
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StreetSmos: Where are you from? Twan Da Dude: The Bronx in New York––Washington Avenue in South Bronx to be exact. How did you come up with your name? My mother named me “The Dude”. I was her Dude, I’m that Dude… How’d you get started rapping? Looking at other dudes do it from my ‘hood, then I just picked it up and I would recite other artists that was out. I’d do their lyrics just to learn. That’s how I got the 16-bar verse down. Who inspires You? My inspiration came from people doing it before me like Jadakiss; if I like their sound, the movement, the feeling. I like an artist that takes it seriously. Describe your first time going in the studio. I went in at thirteen. I got a lot of attention spitting ciphers. My stepfather Purify took me to see Jazzy Jay, a hiphop legend. They started to see I could do it, so they let me in the booth. What happened after that? I was starting to learn the game. In high school I got heavy into rhyming and learning from the dudes in my ‘hood. When I saw them doing mixtapes and shows, I followed their lead. You were nice in ball too. Yeah, I chased ball. I wanted to go pro. I earned a scholarship to play Division Two ball in North Carolina. Stayed for three years, learned the down south swag and improved my skills. When did you feel like you were hot? Well, in NC my swag had a lot of people fascinated. I met some established guys who exposed me to a lot of people and put me in the studio. I became a part-time rapper. They encouraged me to do a mixtape and after that, I was in. Grinding, I started to meet people, got involved with Hustle and Grind Management. That helped open
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a lot of doors and they put me in the studio to record two more mixtapes. Why did you stop playing ball? I lost my confidence when I got in a little legal issue at school. Everything was going right for me; I was the man on and off the court. I got a big head though and lost my scholarship behind an issue with a woman. How did the mixtapes help the buzz? I was getting heard because I had the backing of a multi-millionaire who had me flying all over the place, meeting all the right people. Then poor management allowed the situation to go sour. How did you meet DJ Khaled? I was at all the right places at the right times, he was intrigued at why that was. I’m not afraid to speak up, so I would meet people like DJ Drama and just holla at anybody I felt could help me. Once you did the mixtape with Khaled, how did that help? It was big. Khaled is one of the biggest DJ’s in the world. When he cosigned me as one of the best, it made people reach out and listen. How’s the relationship today? I thank him for everything; I think he had his hands full. What do you feel you need to do to get to the next level? I need to build my buzz up. To do that, I need worldwide promotion. What are you working on now? I got movies in the works, new mixtapes, albums…I’m hungry man, I’m ready. Why are you not signed? The right people haven’t heard me yet. Put me in front of Jay-Z, Diddy, L.A. Reid, or Fifty, they’re going to see they have the next great MC. SM
k c e r You
have to respect a person who doesn’t take “no” for an answer, someone that comes up from the bottom and makes a spot for themselves. With Gutta Muzic and Forbezdvd.com, M Reck has done just that. Reck recalls early on his grind, when he would approach a DJ to put his music on their CD or DVD, they all wanted money. While Reck states he respects everyone’s grind, that was not going to be the look he wanted. Reck figured, So understanding the power mixtape have Reck fucked with some big DJ to get his name up? He also he realized he could do better. That’s when he decided to create his own brand. Reck launched Gutta Muzic to create and distribute Mixtapes and shortly after, did the same with Forbezdvd. Now M Reck has what he needed, a vehicle. Now he is known as the brand champ. With typical Brooklyn hustle, Reck hit the streets and began to make a name for himself and his brand. Now he gets paid while he continues to lay the groundwork for his growing rap career. His latest mixtape, Juxx ‘n The Vaults, delivers that street hiphop New York has been missing. Like we said at the top, Reck is a man has to be respected. If you don’t give it to him, he’s going to take it. SM
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Inner Shanell Channel Your
By Destiny L, Stokes
She is credited with being the “softer, sexier side of Young Money” yet her trademark earring that looks to be painfully fastened to her nose would lead others to believe otherwise. It is likely that the first time the public caught wind of Shanell Woodgett was in the rumor section, where she was just yet another young woman slated to be expecting Lil’ Wayne’s child. Fast forward, nine months and the only thing Shanell is anticipating are the royalties from all the songs she’s written. It’s true, the singer, songwriter, and choreographer has been behind the scenes for years, scripting tracks for Kelis, Dannity Kane and of course Lil’ Wayne. Perhaps her most recognizable was his Rebirth single, Prom Queen which Woodgett not only wrote but provided the vocals for. Her style is an interesting mix of Cyndi Lauper meets TLC which fans can hear on her latest mixtape entitled, A Taste of Shanell.
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Minaj Attack By Destiny L. Stokes
Following Drake on the buzz meter is Queens born rapper Nicki Minaj whose lyrical flow has previously forgotten female MC’s doing one of two things-stepping their rap game up or trying to beef with the first lady of Young Money. Try as they might, the self proclaimed Barbie Doll is bringing forth an infectious combination of sex appeal, drama, and verses that make the opposition wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that”. Perhaps the answer lying behind this inquiry comes from Nicki’s background as a performing artist at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art in which the film Fame was based. Like many 21st century artists, Nicki showcased her talent via MySpace and was considered one of the lucky ones when discovered and signed by Dirty Money CEO and fellow New Yorker Fendi. Not long after Fendi scooped her up did she catch the attention of the, “The President”. And although she does boast how, I be with the president up in the white house/ if its in the oval office than its lights out”, on the track I Get Crazy, Barack Obama is not the president in question. Young Money millionaire and all around goblin of the rap game, DeWayne ‘Lil Wayne’ Carter would be the one to skyrocket Nicki’s career; and skyrocket it did with the 2009 release of Beam Me Up Scotty. The enthusiasm surrounding this mix-tape solidified Nicki as a force to be reckoned with, compelling the business savvy, Lil Wayne, to sign her to his label in August 2009. Since that time it has been nothing but Young Money mania with Nicki catching up with label-mate Drake in the ‘fame before album’ pursuit; a title that each of them wear well. In Nicki’s case though, it just may be safe to say that her potential as a longstanding female MC matches her butt, I mean buzz, which is both are pretty big.
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Tyga Stripes By Destiny Stokes
How do you have a well rounded, money making camp without someone from the West Coast? Simple, you don’t, which is why Tyga has joined the Young Money millionaires on their quest to satisfy listeners from coast to coast. Most will remember Tyga’s debut with the summer 2008 semi-hit, Coconut Juice, where the tattoo covered Compton native appeared in the youthful video alongside his cousin and Gym Class Hero front man, Travis McCoy. Tyga’s exotic fusion of Vietnamese and Jamaican features may propel some to write the 21 yr. old off as your typical ‘pretty boy’, seeking nothing more than fast fame and even faster girls, but Tyga, born Michael Stevenson, is eager to prove them wrong. Equipped with a bouncy flow and growl that packs bite, Tyga already has ten mixtapes under the flashy belt of his skinny jeans, he’s opened for pop-rock band Fall Out Boy-skewering the lines between rock and rap and just recently filmed a video with R&B bad boy Chris Brown for the joint effort, “Holla at Me”. If you ask Tyga about his career as a rapper on the #1 hip-hop label, he’s likely to borrow an adage from the cereal mascot Tony the Tiger and reply with, “It’s grrrreat!” But the West along with the rest of the spectators from LA to NY watch and wait as the Tyga earns his stripes.
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A Millzon Times By Destiny L. Stokes
It’s September 11th 1983 and Jarvis Mills is born. Fast forward 18 yrs. to September 11th 2001 and the city that he knew as his birthplace would be experiencing a devastating terrorist attack. To have to experience something so life altering on your birthday is tough but so is the skin of Young Money constituent, Jae Millz. The Harlem emcee is kind of used to drawbacks. Consider his sour deal with Warner Bros. and the less than stellar album releases, (three to be exact), under the joint venture with SRC and Universal Records. Even with all the underground notoriety, Millz was arguably the poster-child of a hungry rapper who just couldn’t catch a break. So what happens when the streets are beggin’ for a nigga that the label doesn’t quite know what to do with? Easy, another street nigga sees dollar signs and banks upon the opportunity. In this case, that street connoisseur is Lil Wayne who scooped up Millz after he’d noticed the NY native wreck the mixtape circuit in the early 2000’s, make appearances on fellow New Yorker’s albums like DJ Kay Slay and ultimately following the demise of the business deal with SRC and Universal. It’s hard to tell who has the most pressure on right now; Wayne, because he took a chance on a dude that does extremely well in the ‘land of free mixtapes’ but not so swell in ‘land of major labels’, or Millz who must now reattempt the feat his 2nd album suggested just three short years ago, that The Time is Now.
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Child’s Play By Destiny Stokes
What comes to mind when you hear the name Chucky? Perhaps a wide eyed trouble maker who spews obscenities, yet eerily entertains us all? Well there’s no exception when mentioning the youngest member of Young Money Records, Lil’ Chuckee. Possessing an uncanny resemblance to the Young Money president is his mini-me and protégé, Rashaad Ballard. It’s obvious Wayne sees potential in Lil’ Chuckee, which leads many to wonder whether he is recreating his own history by taking the youngster under his wings just as Cash Money OG’s, Juvenile, BG and Baby did for him over a decade ago. Hailing from the nerve center of Young Money Records, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Lil’ Chuckee is externally outfitted with the jewelry, swag and confidence that keep the camp reigning supreme but where do his rap skills lie in comparisons to his label mates? Some would argue that they’re anything but lil’. Others would dismiss all the above and contend that considering his age he has no business on this grown up roster. Judge for yourself as Lil’ Chuckee’s releases his debut mixtape entitled, Rapper’s Market: Just A Sample, where the 14 yr, old raps over original bass heavy beats and well known tracks including the bossman’s, Women Lie, Men Lie and the current Southern anthem, Oh Let’s Do it. In the next year fans will be able to dictate whether Lil’ Chuckee is all play and no rap, or justifiably, a kid to be afraid of.
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Gudda Gutter By Destiny L. Stokes
“I wrote his first rap for him, and I never written another rap for him ever since that day, I told him he should be a rapper”. And with that credible co-sign from Lil Wayne came Young Money’s assailant Gudda Gudda. “Gudda, he’s got this aggression about him”, Wayne goes on to say, and given the gritty grimy flow Gudda exudes, aggressor he is. But how does a guy born a cute Carl Lilly get to be so, how do you say, gutter? Choose between growing up on the streets of New Orleans, being homies with Wayne for nearly a decade or being in the rap group Squad Up alongside fellow Young Money member, T-Streets, where every affiliate of the five deep crew seemed to have a aggresive point to prove. As unpolished as Gudda may appear, his verse on Bedrock showcases a rare flow that can only be described as a gangsta’s haiku, (if there ever was one)- I like the way you walkin’ if you walkin’ my way/I’m that red bull, now let’s fly away/Let’s buy a place with all kinds of space/I’ll let you be the judge and I’m the case. This unusual balance of spoken word and hostility can be heard on Gudda’s newest mixtape release, Guddaville. Hate him or love’em, you can rest assure in one fact… Wayne ain’t write none of his raps.
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The Mack By Destiny Stokes
Who better to make president of your company than someone you grew up with? DeWayne Carter possessed this sentiment exactly, when in 2009 he appointed fellow Neworleanean and friend since the age of 5, Jermaine Preyan, to the highly regarded position of president of the multi-platinum record label, Young Money. Certainly, being a childhood friend is not enough to earn you such a coveted title, right? Right-this longstanding trust coupled with his dexterity as a rapper is what progressively landed him in the top business spot at the already successful company. Think back to the nationwide freestyle battle hosted by MTV in 2003, where Mack Maine would finish as the 16th finalist; pretty impressive considering the 1000 participants that lined up outside the Times Square TRL studio. Following that short-lived, yet well deserved lime-light was a backstage performance at the 2004 BET Awards with Cassidy. It was there that Mack Maine peaked the interest of Lilâ€™ Wayne, convincing him that his longtime buddy was worthy of a chance. And with that came a multitude of high profile appearances, including that of Saturday Night Live, a modest mixtape presented by mixtape guru Don Cannon entitled, Just a Mixtape and of course the presidency. It is yet to be seen whether his rap game matches that of his executive position so until then, hail to the chief, or in this case, The Mack.
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Twist Of Fate By Destiny L. Stokes
If the first time you heard about Lil Twist was coming from the wide jaws of newest hip-hop blabbermouth Kat Stacks, don’t feel bad. Most of us were guilty of watching as she contests in a screechy almost unbearable voice, “He is not 18 years old yawl!” I guess the old saying, any publicity is good publicity is true, because the claims that Miss Stacks made about Lil Twist leaving her stranded in downtown Miami after stiffing her (no pun intended) on a sex bill only made the public ever more curious about the newest young member of Young Money. Ironically though, the Lil Twist you find on the web is surprisingly different from the guy the ever so reliable Kat Stacks portrays. Youtube him and find him hob-knobbing with the likes of Justin Bieber who playfully gives him 17 spankings on his 17th birthday. Check his twitter and he’s having chicken and waffles with @yungbuck3 also known as Milwaukee Bucks player, Brandon Jennings. What an eventful life for a teenager, right? Well it gets even better, after reaching local success with his hit, Texas Twist, the Dallas native, agreed to a signing deal with Young Money Records that included a whopping $1.3 million signing bonus. Lil Twists’ single, Love Affair, will appear on his upcoming album due later this summer entitled, Don’t Get it Twisted where listeners will be the ultimate judge on whether that $1.3 million mega twist of fate landed in the right hands.
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T Streets By Destiny Stokes
You know Lil’ Wayne is loyal to his family and Wayne stayed true to T Street for being loyal to Him. T Street, also from New Orleans, got a leg up in the Game by spitting with his Squad Up counterparts. T spit alongside Wayne on the Squad Up mixtape, which earned him a huge following. When Young Money formed, T had a instant spot. T’s prowess sets him apart from others because his lyrical capabilities are unlimited. Not every one gets to be featured on songs with Wayne, but T has. We’re betting soon as Wayne hits the streets, T will be there to greet him with unlimited bars. Squad Up to death, T Street will keep that New Orleans Swagg going, as he prepares to take hip-hop by storm when his time comes. Young Money has a young Vet––hand picked by the CEO. T is one hundred percent Street.
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Drake By Destiny L. Stokes
Aubrey Graham, the artist known as Drake, has the music world going crazy. First, he’s proven an artist from Canada can dominate the U.S market without their last name being Dion. Second, he’s proven a rapper can win if they are hot enough. Many artists put their hood or their block on their back. Drake put on his entire country and is an artist they can be proud of. After planting a hundred seeds, his garden is now enormous. The triple threat took command of his many talents, stuck to his plan, and dropped a mixtape that sounds like an album. Somehow, it got into the hands of hottest artist on the planet, Lil’ Wayne. Young Money’s main man instantly recognized Drake’s potential and made history. With Wayne’s cosign, Drake’s, charisma, word play, swag and backpack lyrics made him the number one prospect. The real beauty of it is that without being gangster or faking tough guy attitude, Drake succeeds. Drake did it his way, you have to show some respect. But that’s just rap––hate it or love it––you have to give him props for spitting his sound unique. Think Kanye mixed with Snoop stirred up with a touch of Prince and Sade. Yeah, Drake is able to take different tempos and make you feel him. You can hear his passion. The only question left is will the wonder boy be more than a one hit wonder? When you have the biggest artists knocking at your door to be featured on your records, then it’s hard to not believe the hype. Either way, right now he’s on a ride only the privileged are allowed to board. The kid is on fire, just like the rest of the Young Money block. If there were a debate about the top five artists on the streets, Wayne would be having the last laugh. Even from behind bars, he’s still running the streets.
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Lil’ Wayne By Destiny Stokes
The New Orleans native has come a long way from tag-a-long to Bryan “Birdman” Williams and his partner/brother “Slim”. And, like in any good Karate flick, Wayne the protégé has gone through the training, passed the tests and is ready to face all challengers. When the stars of Cash Money left looking for greener pastures, Wayne was faced with his first challenge––carrying the weight of the label where he was first the student. Taking it in stride, he’s shown everyone he absorbed the platinum success that surrounded him, and has now started his own Young Money movement. Equipped with all that was needed to spot talent, coupled with the ability to spit hot bar after hot bar, Wayne found his Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. In other words, Wayne’s Young Money roster is hip-hop’s equivalent of the famed Olympic Dream Team. Drake could be the Magic of his time. The way he took over the game is just like how Magic weaved in and out of traffic on the court. Nicki Minaj is also proving she can play with the big boys. Wayne snatched her early in the game and now she is the premiere chick in a cast of hungry emcees. Wayne also picked up verbal assassin Jae Millz. Wayne remains the voice of the youth. Whether romancing the finest woman or seducing the hottest beat, Wayne is the manifestation of what hard work produces. Platinum and money bore Wayne; he is the purist form of a modern day Russell Simmons. Besides, being the voice of the youth, Lil’ Wayne has everyone listening. Even though he is serving time in prison, we can only hope he realizes his talent and potential. If he’s aware of all his possibilities, we may just see hip-hop’s first billionaire.
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& cleezy H
ip-hop is always looking for new stars and lately the south has been generously providing them. For Buhd and Cleezy, aka Willis Morris and Brandon Thomas, the time has come. And while the dynamic duo had to leave their hometown of Shaw, Mississippi to get their raw sound noticed, the two are definitely bobbing heads. It wasn’t an easy ride though. While hip-hop was in their hearts, the streets were on their minds as the two best friends had to survive drug slinging and gang life to get to their calling. Even today, the new faces of the south are battling to lose their criminal background as they rewrite their destiny. You know StreetSmos is always in the streets with radar up for the next, and that’s exactly who BC are, the next hip-hop superstars. Buhd and Cleezy will not let the rugged streets stop them. In fact, they’re using that experience to propel their swag. Let Cleezy tell you in his distinct southern tone and you’ll hear him say, “They have to respect us because we are from the street, and now it’s time to make the streets proud.” StreetSmos caught up with the two in Cape Cod, Massachusetts to find out why their BrothaaHood Movment is growing faster than the national unemployment rate.
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StreetSmos: Where did you guys meet? Cleezy: We met in the projects in Shaw on the streets of the Sip (Mississippi) How old were you guys Buhd: We were teenagers running wild in the streets, getting into all types of trouble. Cleezy and me are like family When did you guys start rapping? Cleezy: Well we had to learn how to rap first. We knew we loved the music because we would listen to all the hot artists, 8 Ball and MJG, ScarFace, Bone Thugs, Three Six Mafia… we came up on that good south hip-hop. Buhd: I’d never thought of being a rapper. I was running wild in the streets and just playing around with it. I never expected my life was about to change What do you mean by that? Buhd: My Mom was planning on relocating us to Cape Cod, Mass. I didn’t know what to think about that. I’m a country boy, but my Mom had seen the Streets all in me and wanted to save me from it, so we moved to north to Cape. Cleezy: That fucked me up; I thought I was losing my best friend and brother. The funny thing is my family was planning on relocating me too. I moved to Nashville. My music influence kept growing and Buhd and me kept in touch. Plottin’ on some ways to get money the fast way, Buhd told me to come see him in Mass. I did and we were back at it, new state––same hustle. We decided to do the Master P thing though and go independent, so we said let’s get our money up and go hard. Buhd: We started mapping out our mixtape and we wanted to have no delay in dropping it. We wanted to get enough money to never have to slow up. While we were grinding, we noticed a dude name Joe Black doing his thing with shows and whatnot. We felt he could help us get signed so we met with him and decided to work together. Just when we were about to tear the streets, up I get picked up and that put a hold on us. How long was you locked up for? Buhd: I did three years, but it felt longer because I just knew we were about to do our thing. Cleezy: While Buhd was locked up, I kept grinding, holding it down for us until Buhd came home. Joe Black kept me in the loop and I decided to make our dream come true. We go hard and our story is real. We really did what we said and we want more for our life. So let us know about the moves you guys are making Cleezy: We’re working on a few mixtapes and we’re working on our album. Thanks to Joe Black, we got to open up for our favorite artists, Jada Kisss and Sheek. We did a song with Sheek too that’s a banger. Buhd: A sure hit, we are going to show the lyrical side of the south. We want the respect of everyone that likes hot music. Look out for the BC album coming soon and the BrothaaHood Movment. Joe Black is the next P Diddy in our eyes. What he’s doing for the hip-hop scene in Cape is sure to help us put our new home on the map. SM
Streets Mos Magazine | 45
GAJ You know someone
is serious on their grind when they are constantly on the move.
I met G.A.J in New York. When I asked where he was from he said South Carolina. Then I asked if that was where he was coming from, he said no, he just came from doing a show in North Carolina. So I asked, “OK, is that where you at now?” Again––no, he’s living in Columbus, Ohio.
With that, I knew I had a world class grinder on my hands, the best type of artist, an artist
that understands the only way to get yourself out your region is to get out of the region. During a short convo, he told me if an event or a show can help him he is there. So I put him to the test. Told him, meet me in Boston; I could plug him into a big show. Four days later, G.A.J was in Boston, ready to rock. With that appearance, G.A.J made a five-city excursion in the span of two weeks.
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I don’t follow trends. I bring my own thing to the table. I’m diverse, I switch my tones up. Now if that doesn’t show hunger, I don’t know what it is. See, it ain’t where you from, it’s where you at. G.A.J wants everyone to know he is serious about his grind, focused, and determined to make it happen.
Born in South Carolina, G.A.J had to relocate when the heat on the streets almost landed him in prison. Unlike many, G.A.J does not glamorize his past. He is too busy living the Midwestern lifestyle afforded him by Columbus, Ohio; the place he now calls home. Every time he mentions the town his smile lights up like bottle rockets on the Fourth of July. Unique in that he is a Dirty South artist with a Midwest swagg and affiliation, StreetSmos caught up with the go-getter who is also not afraid to hop on a plane and be in any city to show. G.A.J is a brother willing to do what it takes to put his city on the map. StreetSmos: How’d you get into hip-hop? G.A.J: I loved it! I ain’t going to front, I started off horrible though. I would just freestyle. After a while, I began to get better the more I did it. I didn’t take it serious though––I was in the streets. So when did you take it serious? Well, as I got better, I began to do shows and people started giving me a lot of love. Checking that, I began to get more confident. After a while, I figured I could do this for real. Who are some of the artists you admire? I have to say LL Cool J, Run DMC, Scar Face, UGK, and Busta –– just to name a few –– I like the pioneers. You’re from South Carolina, living in Columbus; what’s the difference between the two places? South Carolina is family driven, the roots of the black experience, slow pace, beautiful people. Columbus is multicultural and busy like most big cities. I love them both, I put on for both of them, and I feel that’s what makes my sound different. I’m influenced by different environments and put it all in my music. What makes you different from other artists? First, I don’t follow trends. I bring my own thing to the table. I’m diverse, I switch my tones up. I hate a mono-
tone artist, that shit is boring as hell. My motto: No Excuses, Real Music. I am bringing real music to the game. If you could get signed to any label, which one would you sign with? I love Ludacris’ business savvy, DTP, T.I., and Grand Hustle too. I think I would fit into what they do, a bidding war would be nice, and I’m worth the money. So what you working on now? I have a few mixtapes. A mixtape called Featuring G.A.J. Also, working on projects with On Da Run and Size Ten. I’m getting radio spins on my single, Do it Right Back in South Carolina, on 106.3. Big shout-out to Big D for showing me love. So what are your goals? You’ve been telling me you have to get Columbus out there. Why are you so passionate? There’s a lot of talent out here––so many talented rappers. Once I get on, I will let the hip-hop world know there’s talent in Columbus and they will show us respect. Anything you want to say to the streets? Yes. Know I don’t just talk it, I live it. If it’s going to advance my career, I’m there. I’m not afraid to jump on a plane and get it poppin’. Southside bloodline –– Midwest affiliated; know it’s me when you hear the Whooo !!!! SM
Streets Mos Magazine | 47
rise da kid
Many people have tried to say hip-hop is dead. But hiphop is alive and well, particularly in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (AKA Tre 4). The art form exists there in the form of an amazing as
In fact, the brother is breathing new life into this thing we call hip-hop.
Originally known as Rise Shine, in homage to his
brother that was locked up, he decided to change his name simply to
Rise. He wanted to show
he knows how proud his family is that he has the strength and skill to master his chosen profession.
And, without ques-
Rise is the latest and greatest MC looking to earn a spot as an elite artist.
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Rise was actually part of a group that was signed to Elektra Records, called Now City. He always felt he was the backbone of the group, but there was a lot of conflict because he was the unspoken leader of the pack. One thing that Rise says he’s learned that has proven invaluable is to not burn bridges. As part of a group signed to a major label, Rise discovered a lot of things about himself. Things that led to the ultimate realization that he could achieve success as a solo artist. As he discovered himself, he realized he can also make a difference in the perception of North Carolina with his music. Rise’s journey as a rapper actually started way back in 1996. He learned his swagg freestyling everyday in high school and recording himself with a camcorder. Some of his early influences include; Jay-Z, Biggie, 2 Pac, Run-DMC, Public Enemy, KRS-1, and Rakim. Rise is also a fan of different forms of music, including country, pop and blues. Working to create a new, classic, hip-hop album, Rise’s music is
universal; it immediately transports you to another place. Whether you have five dollars in your pocket or five million, you’ll feel like all of your problems just floated away. Rise’s melodic flow will have you daydreaming early hip-hop fantasies, you’ll be reminded of your first DJ battle, your first MC battle, the first time you heard that real hip-hop that made your neck snap and had you rewinding repeatedly to catch every metaphor, hook and simile. Rise’s first single, Come and Get It is one of those songs people in the music business describe as a “no brainier”. Meaning it’s an automatic hit. There is no denying Rise’s star power––or his undisputable flow. When pressed, Rise explains his hit making formula with a few simple words; “You will feel this music.” As Rise continues to blow up, his debut album will feature exclusive tracks from Chop Houze Productions. Rise is guaranteed to put North Cakalak on the map as the new Southern hot spot for hip-hop! SM
e e u q r a M
Hailing from Far Rockaway / Southside Jamaica, Queens native Marquee has been in the game for years, although some may know her as Markita or heard of her as La Femme Markita
formerly from the group Femme Fatale. Armed with devastating lyrics and an effortless flow that is unmatched by not only other female MCs but most MCs period, Marquee stands poised to reclaim her spot in hip hop’s spotlight. Transitioning from writing battle cheers in the projects to rhymes was a natural progression for this sassy young wordsmith. In dealing with the death of her son’s father and a slew of other life defining moments music became an escape from the daily grind of working, and raising a son while simultaneously earning a bachelor’s degree. Maneuvering through the male dominated world of hip hop by conquering street ciphers she gradually turned the nay Sayers into believers. Among hip hop’s elite, Marquee has shined through proving to be a lyrical force of feminine prowess and power. She has gained considerable recognition exemplified by her numerous guest appearances, the musicians she has written for and collaborated with. Sharing verses with industry heavyweights and earning writing credits under her publishing companies Quee Creations music and Marquee Melodies was featured on the Street Flava tour in Japan. Due to her affinity for hooks and the poetic content of her songs she has gained the respect of hip hop legends as well as R & B’s finest crooners. With the ability to create something from nothing she mixes hip hop melodies, underground word play, and rock influences to create a sound all her own. Landing a major record deal in the new millennium with the group she created, Femme Fa-
tale generated a huge street buzz that started a bidding war and ended with a flailing label under Sony only to acquire a new deal with a company under reconstruction. During the same time Marquee also made an appearance on Clumanatti 2 mix tape with the group which attracted much attention and accolades. She went on to be represented by Palan music publishing company in the UK and Spirit music in the U.S. remaining low key and never forgetting her true roots as a dominant lyricist, since then she’s worked with an impressive list of artists and producers and toured with greatly respected staples of hip hop excellence. Touted as an emcee’s M.C, soundtracks and write-ups include Billboard magazine and other industry sources. “Writings on the Wall” EP, the current solo project due out in 2010 is being produced independently while Marquee is also working with Paul Haverman from Holland, soon to hit the Dutch hip hop scene. Garnering the spirit of hip hop pioneers, R & B, soul, rock, and classic influences that came before her she is lyrically cocked and ready for war. So take a listen to some of her older work, keep up-to-date with her current activities, and sample some of the new music that she is working on, and be sure to keep an eye out for the “Writings on the Wall” EP! SM
Streets Mos Magazine | 49
As the Internet continues to increase ways to share music, the record industry is working at a fast pace to regulate how music is distributed online. In that environment, who would have ever thought mixtapes would be able to prosper on the ‘net? The creators of one of the biggest sites for mixtapes––Datpiff.com, that’s who.
StreetSmos caught up with Kp Dat Piff, one of the men behind the site breaking ground for thousands of artists looking for the break a hot mixtape can create. Witness, the future of the mixtape… StreetSmos: What made you start the site? Kp Dat Piff: We started just wanting to stream mixtapes personally to each other. It grew out of that.
How do you keep the site fresh? The users keep it fresh. Since we allow everyone to get on, we receive new content daily.
Why the name Dat Piff? That was the hot name on the streets. Piff was just a unique name. Every thing hot was called Piff.
Who’s on your staff? I work with DJ Ill Will and DJ Rock Star. We’re partners. We get involved with the creative process of mixtapes, we go in the studio, and we do the PR. The easiest part is the release. A lot of established artists also ask us to assist them with the creation and release of their mixtapes.
How has the site expanded from then to now? We grew gradually; the street was still the main source for mixtapes when we started. The Internet was not really popping. Now with the growth of the Internet in hip-hop we are growing daily. What is the Internet’s place in hip-hop? It allows artists the chance to expand their market and make themselves known worldwide. For nearly everybody, the Internet is just a click away. It’s an easy way to get big notice. The Internet is a major tool. Describe the site? \We are known as the site where you find the latest and hottest mixtapes. What’s your mission statement? Provide a place for talent and music to be heard, giving the little artist a chance to be big.
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How is the Internet helping artists reach the mainstream? Well, any artist can now attract a fan base, some are even growing their name––in most cases for free. The ‘net allows artists to reach a worldwide audience. Soulja Boy was a big supporter of the site. Jahlil Beats, Meek Millz’s in-house producer uploaded his beats and I introduced him to a lot of people. Now he’s one of the hottest producers. How do you feel you’re helping the advancement of the mixtape? We’ve revolutionized the way the mixtape is being received, and we have a lot of functions on the site at the cutting edge of technology.
How do you describe physical vs. virtual outlets? It’s two separate markets. There are people who are still old school and some even in the new school have not even seen a mixtape from canal. What are some of the sites you visit on a daily basis? Hot New Hiphop.com, This is Fifty, World Star, Two Dope Boys Media, Take Out Hip Hop, and Dx Vlad TV are the ones I go to most. Do you think your site is breaking new talent to labels? No doubt. A&R people use us to search for new talent, and they use the site to hear more music from an artist that interests them. We provide a platform. Do you think the Internet is hurting hip-hop? No the Internet is for those who love it. I don’t think it hurts Hip Hop at all. People like myself still like physical activity of buying product, but at the same time, I’m not afraid of the future of the Net. Dat Piff will be there. Right now, we have over 70,000 mixtapes, two million subscribers, and over 200 thousand unique visitors. And we’re only getting started. The mixtape is in good hands at DatPiff.Com SM
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Streets Mos Magazine | 53
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