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STILL NO SLEEP
Chu Deals and Killaskip, long-
time friends, and schoolmates took the Carolina’s by storm with a CD that was unique, creative, and hood all at the same time.
D.O.A. DANCE CREW The winners of SC’s Got Talent tell us why they’re officially the Carolina’s baddest B-Boy Dance Crew
MR. SAY DAT ISH
Palmetto Fresh has been making noise on the music scene for about five years, and has a lot to say!
G.I.G. Ent and Colors let us know why they’re the “Go-to” professionals when it comes to getting the best promo
2 SYLLABUS MAGAZINE | What’s Up World
THE LESSON 26
HIP HOP’S HOPE
Soul Hip-Hop is the term, and J-Vive shows why he’s unique and keeping this sound alive
An exclusive Syllabus Magazine feature where we introduce you to who is on the come up. Introducing Backboy Sav.
BUILDING A BRAND Ms. Geechee One wears many hats, and through the ups and downs continues to master her craft
<< Front Cover and this page shot exclusively for Syllabus Magazine by Bubble Photography
Syllabus Magazine is published four times per year by 1 A.M. Business Solutions, Charleston, S.C. Single copy price is $6.00 in the U.S. Copyright 2012 by 1 A.M. Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved under International and Pan American Copyright Conventions. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. PRINTED IN THE U.S..A. We’re baaack | SYLLABUS MAGAZINE
Meet B-Boy Luffy (12), B-Boy SBD (14), B-Boy Burn (16), B-Boy Kid Venom (18), Bboy J-Wall 14, Bboy Amp 14, the members of
D.O.A. Dance Crew
Images by 1.A.M. 4 SYLLABUS MAGAZINE |
Meet D.O.A. dance crew, an award winning B-Boy group out of Charleston, S.C. These six B-Boys are joined with their Graphic Designer Dre, Momager (that’s mom and manager) , and they are full of energy - and almost literally bouncing off the walls. When asked how it all got started, they all laughed and pointed at B-Boy Amp, he starts the story. “Well it all started –this is a long story, let me sit down (everyone laughs). One day I was sick at home and my mom showed me three different movies. I only liked one out of all three. She showed me an old one called, “Beat Street”, then she showed me the first “You Got Served”, then she showed me “Step Up”. The only one I liked was, “You Got Served” because they were doing all of these flips and twists, and I really wanted to learn how to do that. I started trying to do some of the moves and thought I really could do it if I kept practicing, so I told Burn and Kid Venom about it, then they told Luffy and J-Wall, and then they told SBD.” B-Boy Burn says, “when we first started, we were watching, “Step Up II” and we were so scared to dance in front of anybody, we were terrified, we couldn’t even dance in front of my mom.” This team of B-Boys went from being scared kids to competing and winning competitions across the country. In two years D.O.A. Dance Crew have accomplished a lot in a small amount of time.
What’s a typical day like for D.O.A.? School, and then right after school, practice between four to six hours per day, even when our parents tell us not to, or when we’re making too much noise. Where have you had a chance to travel and compete in your two years? Alabama, Florida, Atlanta, Virginia, North Carolina, Nashville, we’re trying to make a trip to Korea this summer. What’s it like at an actual B-Boy competiton, tell us some of the emotions you’re going through? At a dance competition we often feel nervous, you may see somebody do a really cool move, you’re like, “dang I have to compete with that?” So can you compete with that? Obviously, we thrive off that, that little nervous feeling you get, we use that to our advantage. It builds us up to really do something explosive and creative. What does it take to be a B-Boy, can anybody do this? Yes, even somebody that’s paralyzed from the waist down, they can still do what we do. There are some B-Boys with one leg, there are B-Boys with no legs and they’re actually some of the best in the world. They have B-Boys with Polio, a lot of people that you wouldn’t think could do what we do just go out and break the floor down. What’s your inspiration, what makes you go to | SYLLABUS MAGAZINE 5
school, then come home and practice almost six hours every day? We want to be the best, plain and simple. What are some of the obstacles that you guys have to deal with? Probably getting enough money to go on trips so that we can get more known by other crews. Who are some of the crews that you guys like and where are they from? Rivers Crew from Korea, The Bronx Boys from New York, H.B.O. From Atlanta, and Zulu Nation. What differentiates you from other dance crews, what make you guys special? Mainly our “hypeness”, how much energy we bring into a battle and the charisma that we have. We’re normally the most energetic people at an event. We’ll start running and jumping around, yelling, yeah we’re ready to go! What are some suggestions for kids wanting to get into B-Boy dancing. Practice, determination, confidence and constant stretching so that you wont injure. I’m a prime example (B-boy Kid Venom) I’ve never really been one to stretch, i’ve gotten hurt a few times, but I keep going at it every time. So you guys are the winners of South Carolina’s Got Talent, what are some other competitions that you’ve won? We just competed at a two-on-two B-Boy competition and took the “Best Routine” award and the “Cipher” award. Battle Zone 8, a ten-on-ten battle, we won that with just the six of us versus a crew of ten, who were all twenty-one years old and older. There was a twenty-one year old shorter than B-Boy J-Wol (laughs). Where do you see the group in one year? Los Angeles, Europe, traveling outside of the United States and teaching other people that want to learn to do what we do. Long term, we will still be together in five years, we want to make this a profession, we want to make D.O.A. a brand, television, gear, all of that. You guys want your own Nickelodeon shows? (laughs) yes’s & no’s! Devonte, aka B-Boy Burn is planning on attending college to get his degree in dance and is currently teaching. Explain the difference between B-Boying and Crumping or other dances? B-boying is an all-around dance. You can use any 6 SYLLABUS MAGAZINE |
kind of dancing as long as you add a B-boy flava to it. You can take dances from anything including Ballet, Martial Arts, Kung-Fu, Salsa, Jazz, as long as you have that B-Boy flava, its B-Boy. Have you guys ever thought about quitting as a group, or quitting dance? We use to argue a lot amongst each other, to the point it just wasn’t fun anymore. The whole reason we got into this was just because we wanted to have fun and show people what we can do, with the short amount of time given and turn this into something beautiful. It started collapsing on itself and we were taking things way too seriously. But now, we just take it how it comes and we just let it roll off our backs. We’re not just a dance crew; we were all best friends before we started dancing, we’re best friends now. We realized the arguing and the fighting was not worth losing our friendships. We just love this crew too much to let it go. How did you overcome being scared to dance in front of people? We just did, we just got over it. We just put ourselves out there, because we knew if we didn’t stand out, people were going to say we were just like everybody else; you have to have the “it” factor. So how did you all go from being scared and having no moves to winning competitions, did you have a trainer? No we didn’t have a trainer, we had a friend named Jordan that taught us a few moves, but not as much as we know now. He taught us the basics. But yes we don’t have a trainer, we create our own moves. So you took this from nothing to winning competition and traveling the world? Yes. We also tried out for “America’s Got Talent”. Who’s funding this, your travel, clothes and expenses? (they point to Burn’s mom and manager, Ms. Marina), sometimes we help by going downtown to Marion Square and performing out there. But yes, we always need sponsors so contact Ms. Marina at 843-557-7609, every little bit helps. What’s been your biggest lesson so far? The moment you start to doubt yourself, you’ve already lost. Are there any other dance crews coming out of this area? There’s a dance crew called Fuse Crew, but they’re a dance crew, not a B-Boy crew like us. They do more
like crumping and popping. There use to be another B-Boy crew before us but they broke up immediately after we came on the scene. They called us out, they called out the little kids and we beat ‘em. We roasted them right at a park so that everybody could see it. Wouldn’t it be great for the sport of B-Boying if there were more crews in South Carolina or do you guys like being one of the only dance crews? I would love for South Carolina to be one of the B-boy capitals of the world. We’ve tried to show people that there are B-Boy crews in SC, so more crews would form. People can still join this crew, we mostly are looking for the youth. Right now we have about thirteen members, but I would like to form more crews in SC, that would be pretty dope. What are your new year’s resolutions? (J-Wall) My new years resolution is to keep practicing and get better. To improvise on all of my moves, and add more style to them. (Kid Venom) Win every jam that my crew attends. (Burn) I want to win like 30 jams before this year is over. (SBD) I want to learn more moves, windmills, etc. (Luffie) I want to have more unity than we already have. (Amp) I want to work on the original style of B-boying, the foundation because that’s the thing that wins more jams than anything. | SYLLABUS MAGAZINE 7
Images by 1.A.M.
Mr. Say Dat Ish
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Before we begin you had a video shoot yesterday featuring Marly Mar, for your recent single “Doin My Thing”, how did that go? It went well; a lot of people came out and showed us love. How long have you been in the music game? Been doing this seriously since 2007-2008. Before then, I was just out here doing other things, then decided to take the music seriously, everybody started telling me that I should do it seriously. I love music so it was an easy transition. What are you most known for? A lot of people know me for that “Irie” song, it’s a Jamaican type record, I did the video about one and a half years ago, It was nominated for Best Song, I didn’t win but they recognized the song. I’m going to redo a video for it of better quality and re-release the song. Describe your style and your music, is it trap music, how would you describe it? No, I don’t do trap music, I have a different delivery. Instead of me saying “im’ma shoot you in your face” I’ll re-word it so you have to read between the lines. I describe my music as original, I feel I’m an original artist, I don’t sound like nobody; I don’t bite nobody, I just go out on a limb and I’m not scared to go outside the box. I listen to different music as well, country, rock music, contemporary, dancehall, reggae, and R&B. It don’t matter, I like good music. Who did you grow up listening to that had an influence on you today? I grew up listening to Marvin Gaye, and the Ojays, their influence is in my music, I try not to listen to too much rap. If you listen to an artist and you go do a song, you might end up sounding like that artist and that’s not original to me, so I try not to listen to too much rap. I try to listen to more R&B and incorporate that into what I do. What’s people’s biggest misconception about you? A lot of people have a misconception that I’m antisocial, but that’s not really the case; I’m very social. I wasn’t social before the music, but you have to be social to get yourself out there, network, and talk so I’m getting a lot better with that as time progresses. But yeah, people’s biggest misconception is that I’m antisocial, that ain’t true. (laughs)
We talk ish too!
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A lot of people have a misconception that I’m antisocial, but that’s not really the case; I’m very social. I wasn’t social before the music, but you have to be social to get yourself out there, network, and talk so I’m getting a lot better with that as time progresses. But yeah, people’s biggest misconception is that I’m antisocial, that ain’t true. (laughs) Some of your song titles – “In the First 48”, “Welcome to Trapdonalds”, “Fresh off Da Block”, etc., are these titles based upon the life you live and your personal experiences? Based on the titles, yes this has been a part of my personal experience. “Fresh of the Block”, was my first album. I was Fresh off the block, my name is Fresh, and so I played with the title. On the CD cover, I have the CDs looking like I’m selling dope. How long does it take to complete a song? One song? I’ll do a song in 20 minutes, if I got to write it, it might take me 15 minutes. If I’m feeling the track I can write a song really fast. I don’t waste time; time is money. What inspires your songwriting? Personal experiences, just being out here. You know, like the old people say, hanging around the wrong crowd , being out here, getting in a lot of trouble, you know the typical , Chucktown lifestyle. I don’t fake mix in my music. Everything is genuine. You have been doing a lot of shows in the Carolinas, describe what the vibe is like backstage? It depends on whose back stage. You got a lot of artists - they cool, and then you have some artists, you know they don’t like you - in a personal way, or whatever type of way they feel, but you know what I’m saying. If it’s a bunch of real niggas back stage then you gone get a real nigga vibe, everybody gone be tripping, laughing, and talking. Seventy-five percent of the time it’s a real nigga vibe backstage. The other twenty-five percent 10 SYLLABUS MAGAZINE | This is Hip Hop
of the time, oh man… I aint giving nobody no air time. How do you respond to critics? I don’t really give a ___. Jesus had critics, so who am I; you got to take that with a grain of salt and keep it moving. I ask this question in every interview because I always see artists talking about it. Is the crab-n-a-barrel scenario real? Especially when it comes to the industry throughout the Carolinas? I definitely believe in the crabn-a-barrel thing. I think it’s something artists experience from other artists all the time; but It’s secretively done. You might have an artist that say they ___ with you, but then when you go to holler at them about a song , you got to go holler at managers and all that sh_t. Man on a real nigga vibe, man just keep that sh_t gip. How you want a mutha____ to support you and you don’t support them back. That’s not going to happen, even if I support you, if I see you don’t support me, I’m going stop supporting you. How much time do you spend on your music craft? I spend about five to six hours per day on my music craft. The more you work, the better you get. It took me a long time to develop myself as an artist. Like when you first start, you just trying to figure out what direction you’re going to go in, and what lane to be in. I create my own lane and that’s why my sh_t doesn’t sound like nobody else. Is the direction of the industry in the Carolinas going in a positive or negative direction? I feel like its some positive things going on but the negative outweigh
the positive. You do have groups that link up and work together to do things, but then you have artists that feel like their grind is more important than yours. That’s that local politics bullsh_t, I don’t get in to that. If you could change anything related to the music industry in the Carolinas, what would you change?
A lot of people will inbox their support to tell you how they see you doing ya thing, or let you know they f_ck with you. Man put that sh_t on my wall, let the public know, don’t secretly tell me that sh_t. That’s like a nigga that got a girl that he just have sex with but he won’t take her on no date, that’s what that is. If I could change one thing it would be the crab mentality; and the “I think I’m better than him” mentality. The “I’m not about to f_ck with him”, or “it’s all about me” thing. Those types of mentalities got to go if we’re going make it out this mutha____. People in other cities, they work together, they support each other, we need that sh_t down here, don’t just say you support, support for real. Don’t just talk show some action. Describe your team? My team, Fresh Ent, Hard Money
Ent, Cell Block Records, our team is strong, real niggas. Mugga Man, Hard Money CEO right here , we do a lot of shit together cause real niggas going make moves regardless of who don’t like that sh_t. A lot of people don’t like that but it is what it is. A lot of people will inbox their support to tell you how they see you doing ya thing, or let you know they f_ck with you. Man put that shit on my wall, let the public know, don’t secretly tell me that sh_t. That’s like a nigga that got a girl that he just have sex with but he won’t take her on no date, that’s what that is. (laughs) Outside of my team, the person that pushes me to do better is my brother because he’s a harsh critic. He don’t give a f_ck if I’m his brother, he’ll tell me if it aint right, he keeps that sh_t gip with me. What’s been your biggest regret so far? So far, just being bamboozled by certain parties in the game. Just certain people that I’ve met that I’ve learned a lot from - positive and negative; I try to apply the positive things and let go of the negative that they’ve shown me. From when you began to where you are now, how have you grown? I’ve grown mentally. You have to have tough skin when you do this, everybody ain’t going to like you. I don’t feel like this is a popularity contest test, and I don’t care if you like me or not. I just do me, stay in my lane and it’s working for me. From a Carolina perspective, who are you looking forward to hearing a new album/project from this year? I want to hear an album from Fat Boy, Courtney the Poet - I think
Learn More, Be More
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she’s very talented, I want to hear that new Mugga Man also. You have a son, correct, name Amir? Yes OK, one day Amir decides that he wants to grow up and be like you; what life lesson have you learned that you would also teach to your son? I would tell him to stay attentive and pay close attention to everything. It’s just like a contract, you might overlook something that will f_ck you up for a long time. Talk about what we can look forward to coming from Palmetto Fresh? Right now I’m working on “Fresh Carolina”, it’s almost finished and will be out first quarter. Block Beaters doing beats, Mossberg Montana, Dro, Straight Drop. I’m working on the “Wet Life , High Life”.
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We just released the “In Too Deep” CD that’s in the streets. I’m not putting out anymore mix tapes until my CD drops though. It was supposed to be released under Sony Red and Malik Shaheed, but you know he passed, we got a new situation now with MDI Distribution; so my album will be released under MDI Distribution. What’s your New Year’s Resolution? My ultimate goal is to be able to feed the family, and set it up so that if anything happens to me, Amir would be straight. My New Year’s resolution is to stay focused and don’t pay attention to the sideline sh_t, I don’t see ya’ll. Twitter: @palmettofresh Facebook: PalmvvettoFresh FreshEnt Booking: firstname.lastname@example.org
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GET IT GIRLS ENTERTAINMENT
words by G.I.G. Ent Images by Bubble Photography
ed (Jakia McCaster) & Diamond (Tracy Gibbs) are the CEO’s and founders of Get It Girls Entertainment. Jakia McCaster born August 16th and Diamond Born May 29th, this Leo and Gemini dynamic duo are truly grinders. With Red’s associate level education and Diamond’s master’s level education they’re unstoppable. Red & Diamond’s extensive resume is filled with star studded productions, promotional marketing, model/artist development. Staying on top of their game, being trendsetters, accomplishing goals, getting an education, career, etc - these ladies do it all. The motto these two Diva’s live by is defined with originality, never worry about the next. “We Salute everybody who‘s trying to live their dreams...Let the streets tell ya, Red and Diamond are true grinders; check the resume. We’ve been rocking for almost 3 Years!” The duo encourages everyone to remember the title, “Promo”. They have been very consistent in letting Charleston know what’s popping throughout the east coast, from events, parties, mix tape releases and artists; what’s hot and what’s not so hot. They have promoted big names: Lil Scrappy, Whoo Da Kidd, Lil Webbie, Future, Rocko, New Edition, various Car & Bike shows and an array of other events. Red and Diamond claim, “We go hard on promotions; it’s something that we enjoy doing, and the streets know!” 14 SYLLABUS MAGAZINE | We Got This
Let’s go back for a moment when you first decided you wanted to start your promotion business, what were you hoping to bring as a promotion and marketing team? We wanted to expose up-and-coming artist. Charleston has a unique sound and we just wanted people to hear the voices of Charleston. The only way to do that was to throw parties and get them a show. That’s exactly what we did; we got shows and got their music played in the clubs. How did you come up with the name, Get It Girls? It was something that we always said as a phrase. Like if we saw someone with banging shoes or an outfit, or just a on her sh_t, we would say, “Get It
Girl”. We are hard working women with degrees, working two jobs each, and we were still out here organizing people and events on the low; so we knew we were some “Get It Girls”. What’s your hope for the music industry in the Carolinas? We hope one day the national music industry will acknowledge what the Carolina music scene offers. Its major talent here and we want someone to make it and bring light to the other talent that is available here. What does it take to do what you all do? It takes passion for what you love; hard work is needed to brand yourself and to put the work in. More Than a Magazine
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We have matured a lot throughout the ye our growth is more important than savin can’t keep it real with us. Basically, you ca Honestly, everyone don’t appr
Dedication and commitment is also needed to strive for the best and keep moving forward. There seem to be a lot of female promotion teams out there now since you all began. What sets you apart from the other teams? What sets us apart is originality. Each team is unique with their approach. We are trendsetters. The G.I.G.s were one of the first female promotion groups out here from the Carolinas. Do you all consider yourselves pioneers? We set a new trend for females to be more respected as promoters. We can take the title of being pioneers, and making it easier for females to promote in a male-dominated industry. Have there ever been any times where you all were affected by the notorious crab syndrome that many artists always talk about? Yes, we can agree with that philosophy or saying. We have been affected at some points regarding a lot of hating, and gossiping behind our backs. At times this has affected certain business situations. What’s one of your biggest pet peeves in running a marketing and
16 SYLLABUS MAGAZINE | Carolina’s Voice
promotion business? Our biggest pet peeve is that we believe in people more than they believe in themselves. Another pet peeve is artists not willing to invest the time and energy into themselves. Are there other members of your team? The streets are our team; they keep us going! Also, the same people who’ve been down from the jump, it’s too many to name, but shout out to the ones who never left us and been by our side and continue to rock with us. We appreciate all of you. How has the G.I.G. Ent. brand evolved over the years? We have matured a lot throughout the years, realizing that what’s important to our growth is more important than saving face and keeping it real to those who can’t keep it real with us. Basically, you can’t f_ck with everybody now GIG DAT. Honestly, everyone don’t appreciate what you do for them. What’s next for G.I.G. Ent? We see our company headed in a more technology direction, we are trendsetters so expect the unexpected.
years, realizing that what’s important to ving face and keeping it real to those who can’t f*ck with everybody, now GIG DAT. preciate what you do for them.
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Widely known for his Blast Promotion Business that reaches an audience of over 7000 between Facebook, Twitter, MS, his website, and cell phone. Colors the Network Man has been promoting, networking, and bringing people together since 2009. Tell me about how you decided to start your marketing and promotion business. It kind of fell together. As an artist, I would just love watching people perform and would ask artists for their contact info. Also, in meeting other people that may have been uncomfortable about asking for people’s numbers or talking to other people, I would get the contact for them. So that’s how it started, just connecting people. After that, I would start to put together texts at work. I shot one out for a guy that had a poetry show; he got a lot of business and I was like wow. As time went on, more people wanted me to blast stuff and at that time I would just do it, I didn’t even think about it as a business, I was just helping. One day a guy hit me up telling me a lady wanted a blast and he told her it was twenty-dollars. I said , “I don’t charge for that”, but she called quickly and I didn’t want to make the guy look bad so from there, that’s how the word started spreading. By the end of 2009 going into the fall, that’s when this turned in to a business. Do you feel like you’ve had an influence over the music and promotion industry here locally? Hell yeah, I’ve connected a lot of people, a lot of people have got more people together and a lot of people have got the word out about what they are doing through me. Can anyone do what you do? I think It can be done (laughs) again it wasn’t planned, I guess it was God’s calling.
Images by 1.A.M.
Colors The N
Bringing the Carolinas Tog
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Network Man ogether One Blast at a Time | SYLLABUS MAGAZINE 19
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Ok, so I have an event coming and I want to work with you, walk me through the details. I put the word out like the Post and Courier. You can do one blast for twenty-five dollars , three blasts for fifty-dollars, or six for one-hundred. I’ll sit down, come up with the text, or you can write the text, and set the date. I’ll shoot the info through Facebook, Twitter, MS, my website and phone and get the word out. I also have a sheet called “Key to the City” to let you know everything going on so you can know other platforms where you can advertise. What’s the key to a successful promotion? My philosophy to a successful promotion is to leave no food on the table. If you have the budget, work with everybody, do something with everybody, get your name in every circle, don’t just stay where you’re comfortable, work with everybody and get your name on everything that you can get your name on. This is business not personal. What’s your biggest pet peeve with people when they are trying to market their business? My biggest pet peeve is when people call and try to beat me out of my prices, it just makes me want to pull my hair out. Look, it starts at $25, if you don’t want to do it, don’t call and try to sucker me out of my money. What’s been your most successful promotion? My greatest moment? There’s a couple of them, the one with you was great, Nobody Grinds DVD, Geechee One Magazine, a lot ya’ll magazines , you all understand the business and I don’t have a hassle doing business with you guys. A lot of the open mics, Hood Stars USA and other people that have businesses, along with people that throw events are my most successful moments If money was no object, where would you take your company? I would be on the Power 30 by now, that’s the list that “The Source Magazine” publishes every year. They have all of the big CEOs , and business people in this industry listed, and that’s my goal,
that’s where I want to be and that’s where I will be. I’m going to strive for that. How do you deal with tough critics of your business? I have no problems, I don’t get caught up in circles, I work with everybody, I have the same rates for everybody. I give you the connections to everyone. How have you grown as a company since 2009? Since 2009 everything has grown. My business, contacts, word-of-mouth, the Network Man, Meeting of the Mindz, a lot of things have developed from when I first started so I’ve grown quite a bit. Talk about Meeting of the Mindz, I’ve been to a few events and you have a great crowd in attendance every second Sunday of each month. That started from people telling me they were uncomfortable talking to people, maybe they thought the person they wanted to connect with was busy or didn’t want to be bothered, so I came up with an event. I started it at my house and brought people together, like Sandra Wilson, then later Lowcountry Exposure, and now I’m with Craves Food and Scotts Grand. It started just trying to give people a platform. Where do you see your career 5 years from now? As far as Meeting of the Mindz, I would like to see it go mainstream, sort of like how Puffy throws his parties. I want people to feel like they have to be at Meeting of the Mindz. As far as my music, because I am also an artist, I’m about to drop my last album in March , “Time Waits for No Man, The Progression”, I’ve been working on a CD since 1999. Mag, my new artists should be dropping “Animal Planet” in February. I’m going to also keep promoting my other artists Lil Tia, Harmony Ella and G steel, and the Meeting of the Mindz mix tape. Twitter: LTC_CEO, Facebook: Colors Z. S. Ramadan 843-406-3575
“My philosophy to a successful promotion is to leave no food on the table.”
Each One, Teach One
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We met up with Tarvoria along with Fat Boy and the Southern Bloodline crew for a meet-ngreet to promote Tarvoriaâ€™s new album, along with her Carolina tour with Fat Boy. 22 SYLLABUS MAGAZINE |
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What’s been your most acclaimed song? Most people that have heard me know me most for a song called Cadence, which is off of the first project that I did called “Around The Corner”. Also, Hip-Hop was a popular song, but that was more popular on the live scene. That’s the song I first performed with a live band. When I first saw you perform, you were with a live band. Is that typically how your live performances are? I try to perform with a live band as much as possible, but if it’s times where they can’t make it or the venue is not set up for live bands then I’ll track it.
24 SYLLABUS MAGAZINE | More than Hip-Hop
I was trying to describe your style, I came up with neo-soul-hip-hop, but that’s not quite it either, how do you describe it? I would you say my style is probably more along the lines of soul music and hip hop, I add elements of classical and rock music. If I had to narrow it down it’s kind of a soul, hip-hop feel. Who influenced your unique style? The sound that most influenced my sound, which is kind of the reason why I sound the way I sound, which is a mixture of a lot of things, would be one of my favorite groups: Tribe Called Quest, they had a lot of the soul/jazz type feel to their music. Also, Busta Rhymes, Scarface, and definitely Dr. Dre influenced
I realized I wanted to become an artist in middle school, about sixth grade. I use to recite songs on the radio as a kid. I would learn all the lyrics and rap like them, and act like I was on stage. Around the sixth or seventh grade I linked up with my cousin and we started writing songs and from there I realized I wanted to rap because I felt like I had a gift with words. But way before that, I always knew I would do music because music is in my blood.
Images by 1.A.M. me heavily. Dre with his beats, that is what I would try to make my music sound like when I first started. Scarface had the live instrumentation, Dre just had hitting beats, Busta had the lyrics, he had a lot of soul music too and with Q-tip, overall it was just the vibe that they gave off through their music - that was the feel I was trying to have when I first started. What is it most people don’t know about you? Most people don’t know a lot about me. A lot of times I’ll go out and do shows, I may talk to people but I don’t really get too personal with a lot of people. Are you antisocial? I’m asking because I’ve had an artist say many people think that he’s antisocial? I’m very social, I’m not anti-social. Let’s put it like
this, if I’m in a room full of people that I don’t know that well, I’m not going to be out in front running my mouth and being loud, because I would basically be putting myself out there. If I’m in a room and everybody’s just chillin, I’ll introduce myself, shake everyone’s hand. But, if they’re talking , I’m not going to butt into a conversation, if someone comes and talks to me or if I see someone and I want to talk to them about something, then I will go talk to them. I’m definitely not anti-social, but if you’re not one of those people that don’t go out and talk to people all the time, some people may label you as antisocial. How long does it take for you to complete a song? To write a song it doesn’t take long at all, it depends Born To Do This
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on the music and what’s on my mind. I write songs every day, all day. Most of my music is about life , so anything that happens, I just write in my mind. I may be chillin, looking at tv and a song idea may pop in my mind. Songs come to me all the time, but if I’m really vibing off of a track It may take me about 20 minutes. What influences your songwriting? When I started rapping at first, I use to rap about regular hood stuff, you know I grew up on Remount, so I use to rap about hood stuff like everybody else. The thing that made me look at life in a different way was when I started working with my uncle, he had his own business and he worked with a lot of older dudes from a lot of different backgrounds. Some had baby mama drama, some of them been to jail, some of them still did what they did on the side. Even with them doing what they did, whether good or bad, they
always gave me knowledge. They would tell me the right thing to do, whether they were doing it or not. So with me working with him all those years, it transitioned me as a writer, because it made me look at a lot of things and realize there was more to life than the normal things that people would talk about. So we spoke previously and had a conversation about you not liking when someone says, “he doesn’t sound like he’s from Charleston”, talk more about why that annoys you. I would think that is a good thing if people think you sound “different”. The main thing is that some people are really judgmental, or maybe they just fear people being different. With my style and how I sound , I guess I really don’t sound like I’m from Charleston to most people. So they’ll say I’m trying to sound like “this” or I’m trying to sound like
“some people are really judgmental, or maybe they just fear people being different. With my style and how I sound I guess I really don’t sound like I’m from Charleston to most people.... In actuality the music I do is me, I don’t sit down and listen to nobody’s music and say I want to sound like that.” “that”, and that’s where it comes in as being insulting. They make it seem like I’m trying to be someone else or that I’m copying other people. In actuality, the music I do is me, I don’t sit down and listen to nobody’s music and say I want to sound like that. Don’t you think that sounding “different” is sort of an advantage? Locally I would say it’s kind of a disadvantage. And it’s a long story for me about why that’s a disadvantage. (give me the 2 second version) (laughs) okay I’m going to take you back, way back. Back during slavery - and this is just my logic on it. You ever heard of Willie 26 SYLLABUS MAGAZINE | We Got This
Lynch, Willie Lynch Syndrome make this one hate that one. So for me, being different and sounding like I’m from somewhere else, kind of plays hand and hand with that. It’s like the light-skin versus dark-skin thing that still exists for whatever reason – its separation basically. If someone comes and they don’t sound or act just like everyone that’s around them, or in the area that they’re in, then automatically they get judged. People say , “he’s not like us”, “get him from around here”, or “we don’t want to hear that up north stuff ”. Its separation because they know I have talent, no one ever says I don’t have talent, no one says I can’t rap, everybody says I
can rap. It’s just the way that I do rap, and my style - they feel like it’s from another place. It’s just that separation that’s created; it’s a mentality. So with that being said, I ask this question in many interviews. Do you feel the crab-in-a-barrel syndrome is real as well? It’s very real to me because I see it all the time. If you have one person that may be better or may be ahead, and they are about to succeed, another person will try to downplay what they are doing, or simply talk trash about the person that’s about to succeed. Do you think talking down about somebody is holding them back? If we are speaking on a local
scene it can hurt you. Let’s be honest, most of the artist out here know each other, whether they know each other personally or they just know each other through listening to their music. For example, lets say you have three people that want to do something with one particular person. That one person that everyone wants to work with is moving in a fast lane and is really growing. If you get everyone to work together, that would increase the fan base for all. But now, you have a trash-talker that may not like that person’s style of music or like the fact that the person is growing. If the trash-talker goes to all these other people talking about the person that’s growing, he could hurt that person’s growth by convincing others not to work with him. If you are trying to stop someone that’s already growing fast, and you’re stopping everybody else from trying to work with him, then you are holding everybody back. If you had control and could change one aspect of the local music industry, what would be?
The cliques. There’re not a many leaders these days, most people are followers. People are in their own little cliques, I don’t do the clique thing, people will try to throw me in a clique, but I deal with everybody. If you come to me and want me in a song, I’ll do the song, I’m just in to making good music. How do you feel about the direction of the music industry in the Carolinas? I’m not sure right now, there’s a lot of artists out there pushing. A lot of artists out here have made it, but they didn’t get the type of results they really wanted when they got in the game. For the most part, I think it’s headed in a positive direction. I think once people start changing the way they think and the way that they look at this music industry, I think we would be able to move ahead a little better. Great, how do you intend on changing the game? I intend to change the game by doing me. Is that changing the game, doing you? Yes, it can change the game. If everybody else wants Find What You Love To Do
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to sound , act, and do everything that this other person is doing, they’re not really going to change the game. They’re not doing anything. They are all going to head in the same direction. If you have certain kinds of results, doing the same things, you’re going to keep getting the same results. All I want to do is make my imprint on the game period, I want to grow as an artist, and do bigger things as an artist. That’s my ultimate goal, but before that comes, I’m going to put an imprint on the game, then, maybe younger
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kids who might be afraid to do what they want to do because they’re afraid of being judged. You know I was once that kid, I was writing and making beats, but never really went and showed it. Maybe those kids will hear somebody like me and they say, “if that dude came out and did his music the way he wanted to do it, not how people felt like he should have did it, and did something with himself, I can do it to”. What’s something people in this industry should know, that they may not know?
The one lesson I would share with kids coming up trying to get in this industry would be, to lead, not follow. If you want to do music a certain type of way, then do it that way. Learn as much as you can from anyone while you’re doing music. One thing I think people don’t know is that the industry has certain standards they want from a lot of different artists, and that is why a lot of the industry has the same sound. I think that one thing many people don’t realize is now music is taking a different turn, there are a lot of people doing music that you won’t see all the time and you may not hear them on the radio all the time. But, they’re making a lot of money, doing a lot of shows and they have a lot of fans. To me , that’s what I think a lot of people in our local industry don’t realize. You don’t have to follow the mainstream in order to succeed as an artist Who’s your team? My team is Gripp Entertainment, it consists of mainly family, my big brother Gripp he did music too, he was in the army and heard the talent that me, my little brother Killa House (he makes beats and plays for lots of bands locally), my cousin William H, he sings, raps does everything. We formed a
squad and challenged each other. I started out making beats, then they jumped on and got so good with it, I didn’t have to make beats anymore, all I had to do was write. We vibe off of each other, then my cousin Jermaine came down and got with my brother Gripp and basically started Gripp Entertainment. We have another artist out in Atlanta named Reggie Night who’s like 16 and he can really go. Have you ever wanted to quit? What was that like? I have quit, before I started pushing my music heavily, there was a point where I felt like the scene down here was (pause)… it was just too much hate, too much separation. I hadn’t had a project out yet, just the thought I had from rapping at shows and being out. The hate I got sometimes from other people that rap and some of the older guys that rap, I guess that put a sour taste in my mouth. When you know you have talent and everybody knows you have talent, but you still have those people that try to downplay you, it can get to you. That was a growing pain. What’s a lesson that you’ve learned that you would share with people coming up in this industry? The one lesson I would share with kids coming up trying to get in this industry would be, to lead, not follow. If you want to do music a certain type of way, then do it that way. Learn as much as you can from anyone while you’re doing music. It’s a lot of things in the industry that can hurt, make, or break you. Don’t follow the nonsense, whether its gossip or whatever, don’t follow that , just do
you and keep doing music. Talk about some of your projects. I’m working on a mix tape called “Soul Hop”, it will be a mix tape that will have more soul music on it and a good clash of soul and hip hop , which is what most people describe me as. Also, I’m working on my album, which is called “Writer for Hire”, so I’m working on both of those at the same time. I’ll be headed to New York pretty soon to do some shows out there, and I’m trying to get in SOB, but I’ll be performing at a couple of different clubs down there to branch out even more. What’s your New Year’s Resolution? I don’t really make resolutions because they are made to be broken, but my goal is to be further along in my career than I am now. In 2013, I just want to push even harder. Twitter: @J_Vive Facebook: Joshua Jvive Harper Booking: 8433030546 or holla at my homeboy the Network Man, he can always get in touch with me. Also, everyone can download by Gripp Entertainment/ JIG Music Group Collab mixtape, “The Mix Up” at www.jigmusicgroup.com.
We Putting In Work
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ainly known for the club anthems, Money Dance, Chicken & Onions, Mr. Arm & Hammer, and a whole lot more, Backboy Sav released his first album this summer, “Behind the Ski Mask”. We sat down with Backboy Sav to find out exactly how he got the city buzzing behind his new album and his club hits. Backboy describes his music as Trap/Street music and was influenced by a few artist from the same streets he grew up on, including Double Crossser, KillaSkip, Pachino Dino, M.U.P., GST, and Blukka. On the national scene, he drew influence from 2 Pac and Soulja Slim. The twenty-year-old rapper grew up on 37 H Fludd Street in Charleston, S.C. Backboy Sav lost both parents at the age of nine, he explains, “that kind of made me a man at an early age.” At that time he moved in with his grandmother, an influential person in his life that he respectfully calls ‘Granny’. Backboy Sav remembers, “I moved in with my Granny, she had a lot going on. She was taking care of five kids and doing her own thing; that situation just made me come up thinking I needed to do something to help my family.” When asked how his ‘Granny’ felt about his recent success, Backboy Sav laughs and states, “she is happy; she still tries to treat me like a baby. She is glad; she would always say how she knew I could do this. I would go to her house and she would sit down and have long talks, I mean three-hour long talks. (laughs). She was always fussing at me because I was getting in a lot of trouble and I wouldn’t pay it no attention. But she would always say I could do this and when she hears the music, she likes it and she is proud.” There’s no doubt that Backboy Sav has a way with words, his use of metaphors and wordplay makes him stand out from many young artists coming out of the Carolinas. We asked about one of his hits, Chicken & Onions and where he got the
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creative influence to write that song. He explains, “It came about riding around in the car listening to music, and while riding around I just saw all kind of stuff, so I would put it in metaphors talking about street stuff, but I would put it to where kids would understand, and people would catch it. You know, when I’m talking about the chicken and onions, I’m talking about street terms but instead of saying it, I’m using grocery store terms and food. I don’t really know how it came, it just comes to me to do it like that. It takes off, and people just like it. I try to do it to where the kids will understand and not really bust their brain. If you make music to where the kids will understand then you’re good, not only the kids but the older folks too. I make music for everybody.” For about a month, Backboy has been doing at least six shows a week; that’s more than some of the veterans. At the time of this interview, Backboy was the number one selling local artist in the city’s local record store. For Backboy, being a number one selling artist with your first album is a huge accomplishment. We asked how he knew that being a rapper was what he was meant to do, he explained, “when I was doing shows, I saw how everybody just reacted to my songs, the club just went crazy, since then, I knew this what I needed to be doing.” We asked Backboy, since he is younger, has he had to deal with many critics and naysayers, the rapper stated, “streetwise or whatever, they know I’m street. Real recognize real. Having critics is something I ain’t too worried about. Also, I don’t do rap beef and stuff like that, I might talk about something that happens, but calling people out - I don’t do that. In the streets yeah, there may be some beef, but in the music, I can’t really say I experienced that. For some people it can be a crab-in-a-barrel mentality because you got people who want to be to the top before you, so they don’t give you the game. For me, I would give anybody the game, I’ll tell them they can do this or do that, I’ll tell them what I think would probably work. But everybody don’t think
“When I was doing shows, I saw how everybody just reacted to my song, the club just went crazy, since then I knew this what it is, this what I need to be doing” Images by 1.A.M. | SYLLABUS MAGAZINE 31
like that, they think, “sh_t I need to come up before him so I ain’t going to tell him this or that.” You know everybody got their own experiences. Like, with KillaSkip, Man! Bro call me every day like man, “we can do this right here or do that” and we just build on the phone for a long time. He been pushing me and giving me the game. As far as his work ethic, Backboy Sav is in the studio every day, sometimes all day. He believes as far as the music goes, it’s up to each individual artist. “You got to get on that road, you got to get out there, and you got to go get it. If you a go-getter, you got to get on that road, network and politic.” Backboy Sav told us during the interview that he was facing some time in prison. Even with that pending, we had to admit, the young artist was probably one of the most positive people we have interviewed. We had to ask, facing what he was facing soon, how was he able to still have such a positive disposition? Backboy Sav explained: “You know what, I feel like I know I can do whatever I set out to do, and I don’t really feel like nothing or nobody can hold me back, I’ll do whatever I need to do to get what I need to get, that’s how I always been. Anything in my way, I’ll do what I got to 32 SYLLABUS MAGAZINE | Young & Gettin It
do get on through. That’s why my next album going to be “Built To Last” because it’s just a lot of stuff I just don’t pay attention to, either you going to roll or if not, just step to the side cause I’m going to keep on going. I try to keep it positive. I don’t try to get on the cameras and be gangsta. I just am who I am. The people who get on camera and act gangsta or mad or whatever, they aint really like that. They just trying to make that lil image, then what happens is most of them get exposed (laughs). I be tripping cause sometimes it’s funny, I look at some stuff and just laugh. Like I said, I don’t try to put on no act; I’m not trying to act like a hype gangsta. I try to stay humble and laid back. I’m still nobody you want to f_ck with; I’m not anybody you want to be on bad terms with. We asked the Charleston native if he had any wise words to share for those younger than him that may be coming up in the game, he advised them, “do what you believe you can do. Don’t let anybody tell you, you can’t do it. Follow your own mind, if you fall get back up and try again.”
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The CEO of Geechee One
Discusses how she continues
BUILDING A BRAND
Who Felicia is and what she does: I’m Felicia Rivers, the CEO of Geechee One Magazine, I’m in to shortfilms, I write the Geechee One Chronicles, I have so much going on in my head, it’s ridiculous. I have a movie I’m producing right now called “Suspense”; I have other movies I want to produce as well. I’m really in to short films, writing, and making my stuff come to life. We also have the radio show, In the Plug that comes on Monday through Thursday, it’s an internet radio show, we play music and interview a lot of different people like OJ The Juice Man, Keyshia Cole’s biological dad, local artists such as Mugga Man and Kween Kat, the list goes on. Who Felicia Looks Up To: I look up to people like Oprah, she does so much. That’s the level that you want to get to where you can own things, and the stuff that you create, makes money, that makes money, that makes money. I also look up to Beyonce, I love Beyonce! (laughs) , I can’t dance - but I love her. I also look up to my brother, who created StopTheViolenceSouth.com; I look up to a lot of different people. How much time it takes to build her brand: Some days its twenty-four hours, there are times I have not gone to sleep because I’ve been so eager, especially when I get into writing, I’m so focused on it, I want to finish it that night. Then I’ll jump in to doing something else, and then something else. I spend most of my time working on my projects, dealing with other people and talking to other people. Plus I have kids, so sometimes I do crash, I don’t mean to but sometimes you have to. Dealing with the heat of being a successful business woman in a male dominated industry: The industry is still male dominated, but I’ve gotten the bad end of the stick from both guys and girls so it doesn’t really matter. When you’re dealing with hip-hop, you deal with a lot; many people aren’t
“I have so much going on my head, it’s ridiculous.”
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consistent. But, I support the females and the males. I’ve been doing this going on seven years, I have people that don’t like me or don’t respect me now and I don’t know if it’s because I’m a woman, or if it’s just because I’m Felicia. I’m not sure; maybe if I was a guy I would probably get more respect. Also, you know how some people respect you more when you’re from the hood, or from their clique or whatever, ( I don’t mean that disrespectfully), but some people try to put me in this clique or this hood, and I’m not from a clique or a certain hood. Her Roots and where her passion began: My parents were in the military; I’ve been to Jamaica, Haiti, I went to high school In Texas and in South Carolina. I was born in Virginia and some people are like, “you ain’t Geechee”. My dad is from Wadamalaw and my mom is from Virginia. I’ve been writing poems, plays and books since the first grade. I put together my own Kids Club when I was in the third grade. My first real play I put on was in the third grade, I had my own little remake of Cinderella. I got five classes to come to the library and I had about eight actors in it. It wasn’t really for money, because people are on this money thing, but it was for the fun of it. By me starting the magazine, I was able to meet many different people like Carminski, but I got to shout him out because the first commercial I did for Geechee One I had three girls acting and I got to write a script for it; I was so excited, and even in doing “The Chronicles”, I always wanted to do a short film, and he helped me bring many of my stories to life, so I have to shout him out for that. You know God puts people in your path for a reason, and sometimes its good and sometimes it’s bad, even with the bad, you get your weaknesses and your strengths tested. Beliefs on where the music industry in the Carolinas is headed?
As of right now going in to 2013, it’s come a long way. I see it going further than what it was. Some people are starting to come together, some people still aren’t - but it’s cool. People are coming together learning to support each other. People are starting to understand in order for them to succeed, they need to team up with someone else with the same goals. For example, with the whole Dirty Dave movement, I think that’s awesome because he has a team. A team is important, sometimes you have to have a team and that’s what some of us independent businesses, artists, etc. lack; we lack a solid team of people who have the same goal. You can put twenty people together, but if you want to go left and I want to go right, then that’s not good. So, a team with the same goals is important and understanding that might be a struggle, you might not team up and make a thousand dollars; you may team up and make fifty dollars. But you take that fifty, flip it and make onehundred; you take that hundred, flip it and make
professional pictures, etc., it’s ridiculous. The day after the awards, this year it wasn’t as bad, last year it was horrible. I had people from everywhere calling me up the day after the awards, I mean like business people, and important people who don’t even deal in hip-hop telling me I must be doing something right for these people to be sitting on Facebook crying. Someone else called to tell me they had a thread on Twitter about me, (laughs) it was too much! But, at the end of the day, what I like about Facebook is you can see who’s real and who’s not real, because don’t people know you can see what they post on Facebook. Someone can be on Facebook and talk sh_t, but then the same person comes on my page like, “hey girl, I can’t wait until we do this together…”—wait let me change the subject. Next! (laughs) Are there any regrets: No, because I think everything happens for a reason. One weakness I have is I try to change people and it’s
You have some of the people at the awards who win, and people are like, “who is that?”, but what people should do is take the time and say, “Ok, these are the people nominated , let me check all of these people out” three-hundred. You take that three-hundred, flip it and make one-thousand. It’s not going to be easy, but easy money isn’t as good as hard-earned money. If there were no barriers, what she would do to help the movement here in the Carolinas: I would get more sponsors to get more money to put behind the people who are consistent. That’s what a lot of people need at this moment, people just need more money. The Good, Bad, and Ugly of the Geechee One Awards: I think it’s a really good thing to recognize people and opening it up to the public, it’s a lot of people out here putting in work and it’s important for people to know about those who are really out here grinding and putting in that work; many of these people others may not know about. You got this person from the islands, you got that person from downtown, and you got all of these people putting in work, and when you put all of these people together, you can network better. Then, you have some of the people at the awards who win, and people are like, “who is that?”, but what people should do is take the time and say, “Ok, these are the people nominated , let me check all of these people out”, but, that also goes in to the non-consistency of some people, all of these artists think, everyone knows them, but no one can find anything on them on YouTube , they don’t have any
hard. I spend a lot of time trying to do that and they still don’t change. At the end of the day, people are going to take whatever they can take from you and move on. What drives her to make her businesses successful: I think I’m crazy; you have to be to do this. I think I’m really determined, I’m one of those people that even if something fails, I’m like, try to change something, or flip something. If you start a restaurant and the first month nobody comes in your restaurant, you don’t just close down, you try to think of what you can change. I think here in Charleston, a lot of people, when they don’t make a dollar they quit. But, you can’t quit if you have a dream, you have to keep going or you just have to find a different way or a different angle to reach your dream. Biggest Lesson and Advice: Be original, be yourself, put everything on paper, too many people jacking ideas. I could share an idea with you, for example, I might say, “let’s do a fashion show”, and then you do one. That’s not jacking, jacking is when I’m giving you the details and then I look up and you have the same details. Goals for 2013: Keep doing what I’m doing, make it stronger, make the brand bigger and make it more empowering. Also, another goal is to be a better person. 843-879-8252, Facebook: Geechee One Magazine, Like the Geechee One page @intheplug, @geecheeone We Stimulate Creativity
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CHU DEALS & KILLA SKIP Still No Sleep
Images: Bubble Photography 36 SYLLABUS MAGAZINE |
You see my boy Chu Deals has about five solo albums, he began his rap career in 2008. Me, KillaSkip got about four solo albums, we from the same hood and been collaborating on a lot of songs together. Producer Big Man was like, “The way ya’ll knocking songs out, ya’ll probably can do an album in ten days.” We recorded everything in ten days.
t’s been like a whirlwind for this duo. Officially, the summer’s hottest album “Ten Days No Sleep” had the streets, the club, Facebook and Twitter buzzing. As you rode down the streets of downtown Charleston at any time, you could hear the sounds of “Abandon Me” thumping in cars. Chu Deals and Killaskip, long-time friends, and schoolmates took the Carolinas by storm with a CD that was unique, creative, and hood all at the same time. The album was something that the streets needed, and seemed to give fans a new hope that real, true to life, street music coming from the Carolinas was not dead. With all of their success, the duo planned for a busy summer, along with the release of their own solo projects; however, a minor setback occurred when Chu Deals was arrested the night of their album release party, and continues to deal with his legal issues while still promoting his music. Even with this obstacle, that hasn’t stopped either artist. Both continue to promote their solo projects, continue to write music, and will forever be known as Romney Street representers who were able to create one of the top 5 hip-hop albums coming out of the Carolinas. We met up with Killa Skip and discussed, “10 Days No Sleep”, this thoughts on the music industry, and our favorite subject “Crabbery”.
Tell us where your love for music first started: My cousin Double Crosser use to rap first, I use to beat-box and beat on the table. By my cousin flowing, he made me want to do it too. As a child, I was probably like five or six years old, I use to like Rob Base and Run DMC and I use to run around the house doing everything they did. Which songs do the streets most know you for? Everything, really Stressin for Scrilla, that was the second song I ever wrote, it was at the end of Mr. Taylor’s “Purgatory” album and that’s what got me buzzing, that was the breakthrough song for me. It’s hard to describe your style, would you describe it as trap, street, etc – how do you define it? I would really say blues, hip-hop blues, because when you listen to blues, blues tells the story, it’s heartfelt. You can tell where they’re going and you can feel their struggle. With blues, everything is heartfelt that’s coming out their mouth. Whats that one thing that people don’t know about KillaSkip, the artist? I’m very hard on myself with the music, a lot of people think it comes easy or naturally, for me it takes long to write because I’ve been on a lot of tracks and I’ve said a lot of nice catch phrases and punch lines, so I try not to say the same thing twice; I take my time and think about every line.
The Heart of the Streets
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What’s your writing process and length of time it takes for you to knock one of your songs out? If I’m in that mode and it comes to me, I can knock a song out in about fifteen minutes, all three versus, I can get done in my head. But the song, I’m Just a Nobody, that song actually took about two-weeks for me to write because I knew it would be a good song, so I knew I had to take my time to write it. What has happened in your life that has had the most influence on your music? Losing my partners to the streets, me getting shot nine times, shot one time on one occasion, the next occasion I got shot eight times, and it’s a blessing to be here. My whole outlook on life changed ever since God revived me from that table. How do you handle harsh critic towards your music? I don’t listen to it, because when I’m in the studio, whoever is in that studio with me when I’m writing , that’s my critic at the time. They may tell me they don’t like how this or that part sounds. I listen to whoever is in the studio with me because I try to perfect my track before it comes out, that person is my critic and I don’t worry about anything else, people going to either love it or hate it. So we noticed the new album cover for your solo project “Crab Life, Welcome to the Chum Bucket”; so tell us what that’s about, is the crab life a real factor for you? You cant get from around that, everyday something “Crabbery” happens (laughs) You got a term for it, “Crabbery”? They got “Clappery” I got “Crabbery”, only difference is something “Crabbery” happens every day! What’s a typical workday for you as far as the music is concerned? About 18 hours a day, everything is rap, everything.
Except for when I’m with the kids spending time or getting them ready for school, other than that its music, beats, thinking about rhymes, or doing a show. Music is all I got. Where is music headed right now in your opinion, for the local artists? It’s going in the right direction. You got a lot of people saying we ain’t going to ever make it, or this is why we aint going to make it. Man, I been putting it down since 2001, I knew we could have made it back then but some stuff went down with the record labels and the team I was with, but now, nobody is withholding information. Back then, people didn’t tell you about how you can do your studio time, your beats, get your CDs pressed and get them out, doing it all yourself. They made it seem like it was hard, I mean it costs, but everybody wanted to sign under somebody to get that stuff done. You don’t need to sign under nobody, you can do most of this stuff yourself. I think it’s going in the right direction, especially for me, because now I got a bigger voice. So, if the next man comes to me asking me how to do this or that, I’ll give him the game because you never know, he might have a master plan that I never thought of, and he might take off before me because my words of wisdom might help him out. So for me, it’s going much better, everybody is supporting everybody and its going better. How is it that you are able to continue to sound unique, coming from a city where people claim everyone sounds the same? If I feel me sounding like the industry, I’ll go on Romney Street, sit out there, kick it with the hood, and kick it with my dogs in the hood; I’ll probably run a flight with them just to be out there. That’s my motivation, that’s my inspiration, that keeps me grounded, that keeps me original because that’s where I started from. I’m not trying to switch up. I just go home, I just go back to the hood. Who do you consider your music backbone in this city? There’s Chu Deals, heartfelt lyricist; he’s real deep.
“If I feel me sounding like the industry, I’ll go on Romney Street, sit out there, kick it with the hood, and kick it with my dogs in the hood; I’ll probably run a flight with them just to be out there. That’s my motivation, that’s my inspiration, that keeps me grounded.”
38 SYLLABUS MAGAZINE | We 110+90
Then we got Backboy Sav, young boy with an old soul and game-spitter. Sam Cook, Zilla Zoe, Boneless, Bluckka, Pabba, that’s my team. Reason why we’re here right now is because all we hear in the streets of Charleston is “Ten Days No Sleep”, tell us how that was birthed? I had my fans, Chu Deals had his fans, his fans like me, my fans like him, we from the same block, so it was just love, and we didn’t do any promotion, the city promoted us. All we did was put out a couple of versus, put that album cover up, we Tweeted and Facebooked every day for 10 days. What advice do you give to the youngsters to become better artists? Just study your vocabulary words, learn how to write and learn how to put a story together. Also, study the dictionary and just learn how to flip the words and rhyme the words. Learn how to write sentence, basic stuff, learn storytelling.
What projects should we look forward to from you? A double cd dropping “T.R.O.Y. - The Realest Out Ya”, then I got “Horny” dropping for the females. What keeps you going, even when you feel like quitting? The whole Chuck (Charleston, SC) inspires him, when I hear my people putting out hard music that’s an inspiration for me. Chu came out really getting it in, I wasn’t even motivated until he came home, when he came home bruh rejuvenated me, that’s how we got that album knocked out in ten days. Words to Chu Deals: “Bruh ya know I love ya, we been down since third grade and aint sh_t changing. I got everything, I’m going hard, I gotta do you and I gotta do me; 110 + 90. Twitter @Killaskip, Facebook: Killaskip Da Kingfish Management: 843-264-0663 and ask for J Rock, or email email@example.com
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He calls himself the Hammertown Representer. He’s the CEO and founder of Hammertown Records, from Charleston, SC and has been in the music industry for approximately four years, doing what he calls during our exclusive phone interview, “trying to take it to the next level.”
Chu Deals recently returned home from spending some time incarcerated, and while out for only a short amount of time, he was able to accomplish more during that period of time than most of his peers. Unfortunately, the past came back to haunt him; the rapper was arrested this summer when federal agents took him into custody on the night of his album release party for the summer’s most talked about album, “Ten Days No Sleep.” Still in the early stages and not sure of what the future will hold, Chu Deals is trying to get his situation resolved soon so that he can get back to the music and back to the people who have been supporting him. Chu told us during a recent phone interview that he has many concerns simply because he has children to take care of, a fiancé, and “a lot going on with his life.” As the rapper stated, “when you dealing with these people, you never know what can happen.” The basics of his situation is that the low country rapper was released from custody, and returned home trying to get his life back in order; in the interview he told us he left his old life alone, the hustling,
and the ripping and running. Unfortunately, he had some prior state charges that federal investigators decided to pick up after the state dropped the charges. Currently, Chu cannot discuss many details regarding his case, but the young rapper is keeping the faith and hoping for the best. He stated in the interview that being behind bars will not stop him, he still continues to write music and is determined to keep his craft alive. Chu Deals has much love for his music family and left them with this advice, “Keep working. You know I’m the heart of the streets, I came home, I motivated everybody.” Since Chu Deals returned home, he’s done projects with Dirty Dave, Fat Boy, Marly Mar, Zilla, Boneless, Mr. Taylor and a host of others. His wish was that he wants everyone to continue to stay motivated. He explained, “When I came home, the music scene wasn’t really going as hard locally, it was all basically about Dave, shouts out to Dave, that’s my partner, but I got with everybody and told them we gotta make this happen, we can’t just let one man kick in the door, we all need to kick in the door.” When asked to drop a gem for the
We Support You All
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streets, Chu Deals explained, “the game taught me - Trust No Man (the name of his solo album); don’t let the allure of the streets be your demise, meaning the girls, the fast money, the jewelry. Everything that attracts you to the game is the same stuff that’s going to distract you in the game. Find another route, because this so-called game can be a seriously reality from the jail time to the graveyard.” “I had four mixtapes in the stores, two collaborative projects, the 4-Shy album, “Ten Days No Sleep”, with all this work I’ve been doing, I shouldn’t be incarcerated. So, don’t be the mistake, don’t make yourself the mistake that other people learn from.” This summer KillaSkip and Chu deals held a “Stop the Violence” community event in downtown Charleston for the kids, according to Chu , its important that artists continue to stay reachable. He understands that the kids listen to their music and the kids latch on to their songs, like “Money Dance”. The purpose of the event is to let the community and the children know that, its possible for them to achieve anything. Chu stated, “this event is to tell children they can be anything, you might not want to be a rapper, you might want to be a doctor or a lawyer. You might want to be behind the scenes of the music producing, but anything you want to do, you can do it.”
42 SYLLABUS MAGAZINE | Until We Meet Again
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