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Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Atlanta 3040 Piedmont Road Atlanta, Georgia 30305 1-877-GA ROLLS (1-877-427-6557)

Gregory Williams Showroom: 404-240-4450 Mobile: 404-771-2799 Email:

Serving: GA,












From Clubs to Cars

Emerging From the Shadows

Ballin’ Like There’s No Tommorow

2Pac Pac's Life New studio album commemorating the 10TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY of the late poet, activist, actor and legend TUPAC SHAKUR

Includes the singles "Pac's Life" Produced by LT Hutton featuring T.I. and Ashanti and "Untouchable" Swizz Beatz Remix featuring Bone Thugs-n-Harmony Also includes unreleased music featuring: Young Buck, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Keyshia Cole, Lil Scrappy, Chamillionaire and The Outlawz

IN STORES 11.21.06 Available at:


©2006 Amaru Entertainment/Interscope Records. All rights reserved. 6 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX

Toyz Coming Soon!

Sections FASHION 10 Magic Fashion Conference 13 Vusi

LIFESTYLE EVENTS 14 16 17 18 19

DJ Drama Birthday Party Rick Ross Album Release Party Hustlenomics Magazine Release Party Pimp C Video Shoot Lloyd Banks Video Shoot

AUTOMOTIVE 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34

GM New Line Drive Event Ford Edge Drive Event Land Rover Driving Experience School Test Drive: Range Rover Supercharged Spyker D12 Peking-to-Paris Audi R8 Maserati Birdcage 75th SUV Extreme: Escalade, Escalade EXT, Avalanche, Yukon, Suburban, Hummer, MB GL450, Navigator 42 Super Sport Sedans: Impala SS, Jaquar S Type R 44 FunkMaster Flex Edition Ford Expedition 45 Michelin @ SEMA

46 New York International Auto Show 47 South Florida International Auto Show

Residential 48 The Biltmore Estate

MONEY 52 Russell Simmons: Get Your Money Right 54 Russell Simmons @ NASDAQ

ENTERTAINMENT 56 The Real Deal About Swishahouse 60 E-40: Hyphy Ambassador 64 Busta Rhymes

GIVING BACK 89 Boost Mobile Rock Corps

TECH 90 Games: The Sopranos 91 Gadgets: Microsoft Zune, Apple iPod (80 GB), Motorola Pearl

MODELING & ENDORSEMENTS OWNERS ILLUSTRATED ALL-STARS 92 Angel aka Lola Luv 93 Melyssa Ford 94 Lyric 95 Teri Leigh



t is difficult to reflect. For it seems like it was just yesterday when we went to Funkmaster Flex’s Carshow in New Jersey, August 2002 with a box of flyers, some made up press passes, camera’s and a determination to network with whoever was there to grace the pages of our magazine, Owners Illustrated. On that day, we witnessed history and made an attempt to speak to everyone including Baby, Jim Jones, Funk Flex, Busta and many others. They didn’t grace the first issue, but we landed on their radar along with everyone else’s. Now, they all have graced our covers and to that tune, we are now in an elite class of urban publishing houses with three titles, Owners Illustrated, Hustlenomics, and Owners: The Women’s Issue. Yet, we are not impervious to the greatest challenges publisher’s face, which are sponsorships. As one of the last of the Mohicans in regards to black ownership in publishing, even media for that matter; yet, being an active participant in a magical part of history where our influence on culture, economy, spirituality, politics, sports, fashion, science, etc. is at an all time high, I hold my duty dear to inform people of the urban entrepreneurial lifestyle, and the how-to steps necessary to participate in the culture. Without anyone’s bankroll, we have done the impossible and as we see so many talented journalists and businessmen fail to provide a voice for the under-represented, I pledge to fight to show the next generation that Hip-Hop is not dead; she has just merely grown to be able to feed her many children who are now seeking to live off their dreams as opposed to falling to the traps of the streets, which often lead to jail or death. It a movement and Hustlenomics is its name, I can see the influence on my staff, who have newfound confidence and courage to believe and enterprise with their dreams. In the words of Jay-Z, “Save all your accolades, just the dough.” And on that note, I’m back to work! Holla at me. You know where to find me.

THE HUSTLENOMICS ACADEMY “I sponsored the movement.”

Damola “Da Great Deity Dah” Idowu Publisher/Editor-in-Chief/Founder Owners Illustrated Magazine

8 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX

Issue IX Editor-in-Chief/Publisher Damola Idowu Deputy Editor Travis A. Alford Copy Editor Keyla McNeely for Keywords Communications Asst. Copy Editor Nuri Abdur-Rauf for KeyWords Communications Graphic Design & Page Layout Travis A. Alford Photography Shawn Dowdell Wil David Banks Damola Dex Mke Ernest Staff Writers Damola Da Great Deity Dah Andrea “Auracle” Wilson Keyla McNeely Marketing & Promotions Damola Quincy Taylor Mike Ernest Dawoud Shadeidu Brian Williams RW Collection Models Advertising Damola Quincy Taylor Jay Alexander Sales Damola Richard Flood Mike Ernest Jalil (Southwest Rep.) College Representative Kunle Idowu Intern Chris Barnes Newsstand Consultant John Blassingame Legal Counsel Reginald E. Greene, Esq. Owners Illustrated Magazine is published bi-monthly by Royal Alchemist Productions, LLC. © 2007 Royal Alchemist Productions, LLC P.O. Box 65484 Washington, D.C. 20035 Sub. rates: 1 year – $14.99, 2 years – $28.99 All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited.Visit us online: Phone: 202.607.3629 Fax: 301.588.1011

SUBSCRIBE TODAY and Save 30% of the Cover Price! 1 Year: $14.99 2 Year: $28.99 Send a check or money order (made payable to Owners Illustrated Magazine), along with your name and mailing address to

Owners Illustrated Magazine P.O. Box 65484 Washington, DC 20045 Subscribe online @









Photography: Damola



10 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX


1. Russell Simmons 2. Larry Miller (Nike) 3. Damon Dash 4. Dano (Algiers Clothing) 5. Melody Nunez (r) and spokesmodel (Parazzi) 6. Yomi (Apple Bottom) 7. Geoff Gillis (CEO) 8. Rick Edwards (r) (Makavelli) 9. LeToya Luckett 10. Fonsworth Bentley 11. Big Tigger 12. Kareem “Biggs” Burke 13. Kool Herc 14. Tommy “Tiny” Lister 15. President of Gilliard 16. Pimpin Ken,Maroy, Darnell








Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated • 11


Photography: Damola


12 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX


Vusi: ‘Fly Me In’ A native of South Africa, Vusi has made our nation’s capital his home for what seems like forever. Once fallen prey to the streets, his designs have since become a standard of excellence in fashion, taking home the revered award for Designer of the Year at the Go-Go Awards, sponsored by WKYS 93.9. His craftsmanship is second to none and he is truly fly.

serves as the capital of the free world, housing the largest black-owned radio broadcasting company, Radio One, and the first black television network, BET. Vusi also has a voice for immigrants who came to America in the hopes of better opportunity only to be met with disappointment. Utilizing the same craftsmanship that has made his designs the most popular among the citizens of the D.C. metropolitan area, Vusi has recently released his second mixtape.

Vusi’s clothes have graced the backs of several celebrities including MTV veejay La La, singer JoJo, The Wire star Slim Charles, Big Daddy Kane and Angel Conwell. Having built an ironclad reputation for his garment prowess, he is now taking his heat to the beats and thus is beginning the ‘Fly Me In’ movement.

“I’m the best designer in D.C.,” he says. “Who would’ve thought...this African street-bred, self-made hustler would sell clothing with his own signature. It has been a journey and experience being that guy; I’m thankful and if I was to change anything I wouldn’t sketch it any differently. A humble man thinks clearly through ups and downs, I believe in myself enough to never limit myself. It’s been a long dark past but a bright future, just think, I rap now.”

Music has always raced through his veins. As a worldly man who has seen all manners of strife from the apartheid era in South Africa, to the notorious streets of Washington, D.C., he has more than his own story to tell. He speaks for a generation living in a city that technically

You can check Vusi out online at www.myspace. com/mchunusignature, and You can visit his store at the Boulevard at Capital Centre in Landover, Md. ∞ Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated • 13



DJ Drama & DJ Cannon: The Aphilliates


Paul Wall

Killer Mike

Young Dro

Fonzworth Bentley

Photography: Shawn Dowdell

Rich Boy

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Rick Ross, Jay-Z The mansion is packed!

White-on-White Phantoms


Damola and mansion hotties 16 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX




G-Dash, Michael “5000” Watts

Slim Thug, Lil KeKe

Big Bank Hank


MC Kane, Jazz, Orlando Brown


Lisa Rodgers

Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated • 17



Bun B

P.O.P. 18 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX


Pimp C



Lloyd, 50 Cent, Tony Yayo

Lloyd Banks

Lloyd, Sha Money


Hot Rod, Spider Loc, Tony Yayo

Lloyd. Prodigy

Damola, Havoc

Blue Hefner Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated • 19



GM New Line Drive Event Saturn Outlook


n a beautiful autumn day in Northern Virginia, I joined other journalists along with the GM Northeast and the Southeast PR Team to test drive several of their new vehicles to gain a well appreciated glimpse into future GM product lines. Starting the day with a presentation by Saturn, I had a chance to see the new Outlook crossover, the Aura, and the beautiful Saturn Sky. On this gorgeous day, I drove the Sky along with the XLR V, STS V, Corvette C6, Hummer H3, and the Aura. I also got the opportunity to see the GMC Acadia up-close and to check out its functionality, which included several cup holders, power outlets, and power features like the tailgate. The Acadia is a roomier vehicle with seating for eight. Best of all, however, was the opportunity to meet some of the people and drive some great cars that will both be responsible for creating resurgence with the “Worlds Largest Automaker.” Evidence of their success can be seen in the latest earnings report that beat estimates and showed tremendous improvement over the same quarter last year with an overall sales increase of 11% over last year. Ultimately in any business, product and customer service are the most important to success and on this regional drive, I experienced both from GM. Visit us at to view some of the vehicles I drove. For more information on new products from GM, visit — Damola

Saturn Aura

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Saturn Sky

Cadillac STS-V

Hummer H3x

GMC Acadia

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Cadillac XLR-V

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Ford Edge Drive Event


t was a warm beautiful and day this past fall myself, when other journalists and Ford gracious the team traveled to San Francisco to become introduced to the new Crossover utility Vehicle Words & Photos: Damola (CUV), the Ford Edge. The Crossover Utility Vehicles is a market which exceeded 1.81 million in 2005 and is estimated to reach 3 million by decades end. As such, the Edge would have to qualify as a very important vehicle to the bottom line of The Ford Motor Company. Having seen the Edge at the Detroit International Auto Show in January, I was excited at the opportunity to finally get behind the wheel and also meet the people instrumental in making the Edge possible. There were several of the cars on display at Justin Herman Plaza. The Edge sat high on display laced with chrome treatments, available 20 inch wheels, an upscale interior, a panoramic glass roof, and a DVD Navigation and satellite radio. In fact, there was even an iPod jack with an iPod to display the functionality of the Edge. Needless to say, I was impressed. There were a lot of compartments and what drew my attention the most, as a business traveler, was that a laptop could conveniently fit in the center console and to make it even more appealing to a person

22 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX

of business, even the front passenger seat folds flat so that you could plug the laptop into one of the ac jacks and work. Also, there was an 8 inch drop down screen for the rear entertainment center (I was told there is a dealer option to install a 7in monitor in the headrest). This extra option strategically fits my lifestyle as a writer because of the many trips I journey on. Just to think about the optional convenience of me pulling over to a rest area and using my broadband card to log online while looking up at the panoramic roof, makes me become instantly satisfied and peaks my inspiration to work. The team of Marci, Dave, Craig, Toni, Jerri, and the rest of the crew were very warm and helpful with questions, but obviously our desires were to get behind the wheel. Venturing on, we took a boat ride to Sausalito. Finally, we got what we came for, the opportunity to drive the Edge. We took a tour and if you have never been to San Francisco and the Bay Area you are missing out on some of the most breathtaking views in America. We drove up the hill enroute to another historic town named Tiburon, and going up hill, I was able to enjoy the Ford’s great new engine- a six-speed, 3.5 L V6 that makes 265hp. The six-speed is great, and as I drove up those winding hills, I was thoroughly impressed with the sporty feel of the driving dynamics. With a permanent allwheel drive system, the edge handled the turns very well. We finally arrived at Tiburon and everywhere we went, we received compliments on the Edge. It has been said over and over that the cure for Detroit’s woes is great products and with a base price for the Edge SE starting at $25,995, Ford has produced a winner. For more information on the Edge visit ∞



Land Rover Driving Experience School Words & Photos: Damola


estled in the beautiful hills in Western Carolina, lies the town of Ashland, NC- home to the Biltmore Estates. Owned by the Vanderbilt family and commissioned by George Vanderbilt, the Biltmore Estates sits on over 8,000 acres of land. Originally 125,000 acres, the Biltmore Landscape was designed by the “father” of landscaping, Frederick Law Olmstead, also famous for designing New York’s Central Park. It is within these haloed grounds that houses the courses for the Land Rover Driving School. Held once every month and open to customers for a reasonable fee, The Land Rover Driving School is the most comprehensive off-road driving school in North America, which also provides proper training on utilizing the full potential of your Land Rover Vehicle. The course, built by the highly qualified Land Rover Team, features the most challenging surfaces and hills that allows you to try out the capabilities of functions like hill descent, the various 4wheel drive gears, navigation, ground clearance, traction control, and forging over water. Built to be the finest SUV on the planet, you truly do not know its capabilities until you decline downhill without the aid of the gas pedal or brakes. You can also forge over streams, climb over logs and climb back up the same hill to find out just how spectacular this vehicle is. At the estates, there is also a winery on grounds, along with a farm and America’s largest house which is 175,000 sq-ft. That’s right, 175,000 sq-ft! Lodging is available year-round at the Biltmore Inn. There are a few options for the driving school which you can either get a one-hour overview and introduction to the concepts of off-road driving, a half-day program with a one-on-one instruction on off- road driving, or a full day program. Until you have gone through the course, you truly haven’t experienced off-road driving and with group instruction available, it can be fun for friends and family, alike. Ask for instructors: Josh or Greg and tell them Owners Illustrated sent you. For more information on the Land Rover Driving Experience School, you can visit and, or call 828-225-1541. ∞ 24 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX

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Test Drive: Range Rover Supercharged


ince the 1987 introduction to the US market there has simply been no competition in the ultra luxury true SUV market for the Range Rover. In the over 30 years of its existence there has been only three design changes which is indicative of the magnificence of this true off road machine. I had the pleasure to test drive the supercharged version which takes the 4.2 L engine from Jaguar and creates 400 hp and 420lb-ft of torque. All this power was matted to a six speed automatic with a manual shift option, which was exhilarating as I drove thru traffic on the west side highway in NY. Though the super charged engine delivers 100 more horse power than the HSE the solid road manners were present but with more aggressive characteristics. However if you want a true sport SUV you would have to get it’s sibling the Range Rover sport. What the super charged Range Rover excelled at was being zippy thru

26 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX

traffic yet having the best luxury appointments of any SUV on the planet. The black lacquer finish, the 14 speakers that generate 710 watts of sound thru the Harman/Kardon sound system and the tv screens in the head rest for rear occupants to be able to watch DVD’s, along with a laundry list of appointments including individual climate controls for each occupant. A unique grille and 20in wheels along with its own unique side vents differentiates the exterior from the HSE. Purchasing the Range Rover Supercharged however is one made for the prestige of the label as the $93,000 price tag exceeds a loaded Escalade by $30,000. I also got the opportunity to drive the Super Charged Range Rover at the Driving School at Biltmore and was extremely impressed by its prowess. The old adage is you get what you pay for with the Supercharged Range Rover you get more. — Damola



Spyker D12 Peking-to-Paris


ntroduced at the 2006 NY Auto Show, the Spyker D12 Peking-Paris is a true marvel of automotive design. This is truly expected from the famed automaker. With a heritage that dates back to a 1914 merger with Dutch Aircraft N.V, when the wheel and aircraft propellers became a part of the logo. Dubbed a Super SUV, the D12 is forged of an all-aluminum body and paired with the same W12 engine VW uses in their Bentley and Audi products. In the D12, the engine delivers 500hp with 450lb-ft of torque generating a top speed of 187 mph and reaching 0-60 in 5.0 seconds. Spyker named it the D12 Peking-Paris in honor of the Frenchman Goddard, who drove a Spyker 11/22HP in 1907 in the grueling race from Peking to Paris. With a curb weight of 4078.5lb, the D12 features a six speed automatic with F1 paddle shifts and features suicide doors and Aeroblade 24 inch wheels. This exclusive 4-seater has a permanent all-wheel drive and is hand built with each owner given their own special web page where they can monitor the building of their car with a webcam that provides live feeds from the factory! Delivery begins in the 4th Quarter of 2007 with pricing to begin at $287,500. For more information, visit www. — Damola

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Audi R8


ased on the Lamborghini Gallardo, the Audi R8 is a brand new sports car with its own dynamics that lean on the fabled Quattro history of Audi. Achieving a top speed of 187 mph, the all wheel drive R8 features a V8 engine derived from the RS4 that develops 420-hp and 317 lbft. of torque. Featuring Audi’s legendary aluminum chassis, the lightweight R8 operates with a six-speed manual transmission and has a swift 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds. Riding on 19 inch wheels, this work of art features a cockpit and a 12-speaker, 465 watt Bang & Olufsen Sound System. The R8, a Porsche 911 competitor, is expected to start in the $100,000 price range when it becomes available for sale next fall in the U.S. For more information, visit www.audiusa. com. — Damola

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Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated • 31



Maserati birdcage 75th


ased on the MC12, which is itself based on the chassis of the ultra exclusive supercarFerrari Enzo, the Maserati Birdcage 75th is a collaborative effort by Motorola and Pininfarina. The Birdcage was named 75 to commensurate Pininfarina’s 75th history of the best in automotive design. As for its performance, it has 623hp, with a V-12 engine that houses 481lb-ft of torque. This car makes 60mph in less that 4 seconds! The official driving debut was at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It received the “Best Concept” award at this year’s Geneva Motorshow and is featured as one of “Ten coolest concept cars” classification by Forbes. Expect to see some of the design cues from the Birdcage 75th in future Maserati styles. — Damola

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Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated • 33



2007 Cadillac Escalade Test Drive Overview:

Essentially replacing the Navigator as SUV of Choice among trendsetters, athletes, celebrities, rappers, and the like, the new Escalade with its highly improved interior featuring real burl wood and a new power train along with a new transmission represents the best overall value and reigns as the most popular luxury SUV. Driver Impressions: The new Escalade is a true delight with the available 22-inch wheels and lots of chrome; it’s the standard among luxury SUV’s. I love the new grille inspired by the Cadillac Sixteen. I also love the heated steering and the entertainment system which features Bose radio and DVD player for rear and front occupants while vehicle is in park. The new power train is fun with amazing power when utilizing the manual shift option. The Escalade is back! — Damola Base Price: $55,400 Engine: 6.2 L V8 Transmission: 6 speed automatic with Manu shift Horsepower: 403 Torque: 417 lb-ft Curb Weight: 5459lb Max Seating: 8 Towing Capacity: 8000lb Fuel Economy (C/H): 13/19

34 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX

SUV E M E R T X E 2007 Cadillac Escalade EXT Test Drive

Overview: Sibling to the revolutionary Avalanche that combines the comforts of an SUV with the functionality of a Pickup, the EXT is in a class of its own. The EXT Shares the same drive train and options as the standard Escalade but has seating for 3 fewer people due to the bed liner.

Photo: Wil David

Driver Impressions: The EXT is my favorite out of the Escalade family. The EXT perfectly fits my lifestyle as EIC of an international publication. I was able to carry promotional magazines to events and arrive there in style. It felt sportier to drive than the Escalade and I had a blast during the week I drove the EXT. Personally, it’s the model I would buy. — Damola Base Price: $54, 875 Engine: 6.2 L V8 Transmission: 6 speed automatic with Manu shift Horsepower: 403 Torque: 417 lb-ft Curb Weight: 5838lb Max Seating: 5 Towing Capacity: 7600lb Fuel Economy (C/H): 13/19

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Chevy Avalanche LTZ 4WD Test Drive

Overview: The Avalanche was the first full size SUV/Pick Up combo and was extremely popular across several demographics. Totally redesigned on the new GMT900 platform, the Avalanche shares the same interior as the new Tahoe, making it more upscale and a more economical option to the EXT. The Avalanche has a new power train with an even powerful Vortex Max engine that develops 366hp. The Avalanche LTZ also features luxury amenities like leather seats and an entertainment package with options to watch DVD’s in the navigation screen and also in an available rear fold down screen. The Avalanche features an Active Fuel Management system that shuts off four of the cylinders when they are not needed. There is also a flex fuel option for the Avalanche. Driver Impressions: I really loved the Avalanche, especially the Sunburst Orange one that was delivered for the drive. It is fun to drive and I also loved the rear view camera which helps for backing up. Not as flashy as the EXT and not as powerful but it is a very attractive option and is highly functional. It is an entire upgrade from the previous model and looks great. — Damola Base Price: $40,475 (LS $33,035) Engine: 5.3L V8 (optional 6.0L V8) Transmission: 4 speed automatic Horsepower: 320 (optional 366) Torque: 340 lb-ft (optional 386) Curb Weight: 5713lb Max Seating: 6 Towing Capacity: 7200lb Fuel Economy (C/H): 15/21

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SUV E M E R T X E GMC Yukon SLT 4WD Test Drive

Overview: A total redesign of the previous model, the Yukon shares the same GMT900 Platform but has its own driving dynamics and different characteristics as the “Professional Grade” model of the bunch. Now with its own unique front end and rear, and an even more luxurious Denali, the Yukon solidifies its position in the full size SUV heap. Driver Impressions: The Yukon SLT was quite impressive. I enjoyed the luxury and the upscale feel. The rear entertainment was popular among my occupants as they were able to enjoy their own movie with their own separate headphones. The ride was smooth and I loved riding on the highway. The SLT felt as an SUV should feel, sturdy yet smooth. My test model came with the available 20in wheels and the SLT got a lot of raves. — Damola Base Price: $44,345(SLE $35,265) Engine: 5.3L V8 Transmission: 4 speed automatic Horsepower: 320 Torque: 340 lb-ft Curb Weight: 5524lb Max Seating: 9 Towing Capacity: 8200lb Fuel Economy (C/H): 15/21

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Suburban LTZ 4WD Test Drive

Overview: The Grand Daddy of them all is back. With new power trains and ¾ ton models, 18 different configurations to select from among E85 models, Active Fuel management on 5.3L, and 6.0L engines, 4WD, RWD, LS, LT, and Z71 trims, there is no shortage of options for longtime customers and new ones to consider when looking for an extra large SUV.

Photo: Wil David

Driver Impressions: The Black on Black Suburban I drove had a presidential feel to it with the same premium upgrades to the interior found on the other GMT 900’s. The Suburban was quite nimble for its size. I drove the 5.3 L V8 so I can imagine the zip on the 6.0L power train. The front end on the Suburban with the black on black scheme was just powerful looking. The Suburban was hugelooking but drove like a small vehicle with a great turning radius, making it easy to park. — Damola

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Base Price: $46,445 (LS $37,560) Engine: 5.3L V8 (optional 6.0L V8) Transmission: 4 speed automatic Horsepower: 320 (optional 352) Torque: 340 lb-ft (optional 383) Curb Weight: 5743lb Max Seating: 9 Towing Capacity: 7400lb Fuel Economy (C/H): 15/20

SUV E M E R T X E Hummer H3x Test Drive

Overview: Built on the same platform as the Trail Blazer, the Baby Hummer is no Baby at all. Featuring an all new power train that addresses the most consistent complaint of lack of power, the H3 now provides a powerful, true, off-road option in the midsize SUV segment that is also a value compared with other options such as the LR3. A new model, the H3X adds luxury appointments and exterior upgrades that are intended to lure the young trendsetter audience. Base Price: $29,407 (H3X $37,545)

Photo: Wil David

Driver Impressions: I liked the H3; the boost in power certainly helped as I drove both power trains and the difference is noticeable. It was bigger than I imagined and drove very solid. The interior of the X was amazing with a two tone color scheme, H3 stitched into the headrest, and piping on the seats along with a touch screen navigation system. The ride dynamics are more everyday than the H2 and overall you can tell Hummer paid attention to the aftermarket with the options on the H3X. — Damola Engine: 3.7L I5 Transmission: 5 speed manual (optional 4 speed automatic) Horsepower: 242 Torque: 242 lb-ft Curb Weight: 4700lb Max Seating: 5 Towing Capacity: 4500lb Fuel Economy (C/H): 15/20

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Mercedes Benz GL 450

Overview: Initially designed to replace the G Class, the GL 450 is Mercedes Benz first foray into a modern full size SUV and having won Motor Trend’s award for SUV of the Year the Seven Speed Automatic that is only slightly smaller than the Escalade is making waves. The GL is less flashy, however true to the utilitarian image of its German engineering. Built on the same platform as the ML and R class in Alabama, Mercedes intends to sell 20,000 a year. An AMG 63 model has been rumored which will make the GL the fastest full size SUV on the planet. Driver Impressions: NA Base Price: $54,900 Engine: 4.6L V8 Transmission: 7 speed automatic Horsepower: 335 Torque: 339 lb-ft Curb Weight: 5249lb Max Seating: 7 Towing Capacity: 7500lb Fuel Economy (C/H): 14/18

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— Damola

SUV E M E R T X E Lincoln Navigator

Overview: A redesign on the nameplate that defines the full size luxury market, the new Navigator is as flashy as ever with a new chrome grille that harks back to Lincoln’s legacy. A new EL model is now available that is even bigger that the Escalade ESV. The power train remains the same and minor changes exist to the already superior interior which features a wood grain steering wheel, real wood finish along with satin nickel finish. Power running boards are also available along with a 600Watt THX II sound system. Driver Impressions: NA

— Damola

Base Price: $46,595 Engine: 5.4L V8 Transmission: 6 speed automatic Horsepower: 300 Torque: 365 lb-ft Curb Weight: 5872lb Max Seating: 8 Towing Capacity: 9000lb Fuel Economy (C/H): 13/18

Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated • 41




Overview: Harkening back to its legacy as an American muscle car the 2007 Impala SS boasts the most power available in ages. The 303 horses under the hood bring back the prestige to the SS badge and add an alternative to the over 300,000 buyers per years options when configuring their impala. With 18in alloy wheels, chrome exhaust tips, and a real spoiler the Super Sport has returned with style, with displacement on demand style arrives with practical fuel economy Driver Impressions: Nothing gets the blood racing more that the deep rumble of a V8’s exhaust note. That is what I heard when I triggered the automatic started that comes standard with the SS Impala and hoped into the jet black

42 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX

leather and racing inspired cockpit. The impala is a true full size yet it’s 0-60 time of 6.4 is fast and it eats up ground swiftly. The SS had a long list of amenities including; XM satellite radio heated seats a Bose sound system, and Onstar. Even faster than the 1996 SS, this is a great modernization of the legendary nameplate. — Damola Base Price: $28,655 Engine: 5.3 L V8 Transmission: 4 speed automatic Horsepower: 303 Torque: 323 lb-ft Curb Weight: 3790lb 0-60 Time: 6.4 secs Drive train: FWD Fuel Economy (C/H): 18/27


Overview: Featuring a 4.2 L supercharged engine the SType R adds plenty of zoom to the classic British sedan. With optional 19in wheels and brembo brakes the S type R moves with authority as the sleek design that wowed critics when it debuted remains though, a refresh is expected for the next model year. Priced more than $20,000 less than its counterparts but compromising nothing in quality and luxury amenities the S-type R is still a strong competitor in the super sport sedan segment Driver Impressions: To confess having a S-Type at home already I was long a fan before I test drove the R edition. With adaptive cruise control a 320 watt audio system, Sirius satellite radio, and of course the extra power I had a

blast driving the R. the adaptive cruise control can be set for different car lengths and slows down and accelerates seamlessly. Handling is great and the acceleration is very fast. The interior has very high quality materials and the build quality feels solid. — Damola Base Price: $64,000 Engine: 4.2 L V8 Transmission: 6 speed automatic Horsepower: 400 Torque: 413 lb-ft Curb Weight: 4075lb 0-60 Time: 5.3 secs Drive train: RWD Fuel Economy (C/H): 17/23

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f you have had the opportunity to see the Team Baurtwell Edition Lincoln Navigator Funkmaster Flex featured at his annual car shows, you would be excited to see his take on the all new 2007 Ford Expedition. Adding his own touch to the SUV, Flex has created a masterpiece that is sure to be the king of the streets. The 2007 Expedition has gained rave reviews for the power train which generates 300-hp from a six speed 5.4 L V8 Triton engine and makes 365 lb-ft. of torque. It also features a refreshed interior which provides the driver and passenger with deluxe comfort along with an all new EL model that makes it the largest full size SUV on the market. Its chrome grille stands out as a nice accent. Flex’s approach to his customization was to take the regular wheel base and add a red and black paint scheme along with blackened headlamps, chrome exhaust tips, a Street Scene Body Kit with custom front/rear side skirts, 20 in. wheels and his logo on the doors and tailgate. The interior features a custom black base with red stitching, red gear shift, red center shack console along with his logo stitched on the headrest and a limited edition authentic signed plaque on the dash. The 2007 Funkmaster Flex Limited Edition Expedition has a base price of $37,845 for the regular wheel base. The base XLT starts at $29,997. — Damola For more information, visit: or www.funkmasterflex. com 44 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX

Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company



Photography: Damola



Oscar Pereda High Performance Marketing Manager Michelin

For the true automotive enthusiast, the Michelin booth at this past SEMA was the Holy Grail. Featuring a collection of cars that includes: a Bugatti Veyron, a Caparo T1, a Fisker Tramonto, a Koenigsegg CCX, a McLaren F1 LM, a Pagani Zonda S, a Ruf Rt 12, and a Salen S7 all manufacturer specked to Michelin Wheels, you would truly understand why they make the best tires- period. Marketing Manager, Oscar F. Pereda, made the display happen through his relationships forged with the much esteemed owners of these most super of cars. The display, intended to feature the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires, was the best at the show and further emphasized Michelin’s dominance in the super car tire segment. Visit us online @ www. to view video of these cars and our exclusive interview with Oscar F. Pereda. — Damola

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Photography: Damola

Damola and Steve Saleen

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Photography: Damola


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The Biltmore Estate


uilt upon a tremendous heritage of the Vanderbilt name, the Biltmore Estate, commissioned by George W. Vanderbilt, grandson of “The Commodore”, Cornelius Vanderbilt, was ages ahead of its time when it opened in 1895. Currently standing as America’s largest private residence, The Biltmore has over 4 acres of floor space, spans 175,000 square feet, contains 250 rooms, and sits on 8,000 acres of land, which includes its own winery, garden, farm, and Inn. Looking at the Vanderbilt heritage one Words & Photos: Damola can truly appreciate how this marvel came to be. With Anderson Cooper of CNN most famously carrying on the Vanderbilt name, the family’s initial immigration to America from Holland in 1650 was lead by Jan Aersen Van der Bilt. Originally settling as farmers on Staten Island, it wasn’t until almost 200 years later that the family would amass extraordinary fortune from the ferry and steamboat ventures of “The Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt. Cornelius, who lived from 1794-1877, would amass a second fortune later in life from constructing railroads with New York’s Grand Central Station being one of his most famous. A charitable donation of $1,000,000 in 1873 to Central University will later lead to the college being named after him. At the time of his death his fortune was estimated at $100,000,000 making him the richest Industrialist of his time. However, his eldest son William Henry sought other ventures outside of industry and was more worldly and into the arts. Living from 1821-1885 he would go on to double his family fortune in his lifetime, with his youngest son George eventually becoming the builder of the Biltmore estate. Named Biltmore to honor their heritage

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from “Bildt” in Holland, and “more” an Old English word meaning upland rolling hills, the estate commissioned in 1889 was the work of architect Richard Morris Hunt, and landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted (the latter also designed New York’s Central Park). Visiting Asheville, North Carolina in 1888 for the first time, George would go on to buy land totaling 125,000 acres for the construction of his estate. Inspired by the French Renaissance chateaux of Lorie Valley, the estate and grounds were to defy convention of their time In fact, a school of Horticulture was founded in 1898 on the grounds, as the Biltmore Forest School. Beyond the well-kept grounds is one of the world’s best and the United States’s most visited wineries.. Established in 1985, approximately 140,000 cases of French varietals award winning wines are produced every year. But most pleasing, is the home that George debuted to his family on Christmas Eve 1895. Fully electric and central heated at construction, the home utilized some of Thomas Edison’s early light bulbs. There was also a fire alarm system, elevators, indoor plumbing, and even an early telephone in the home. Of course, there were also indoor swimming pools, a gymnasium and even a bowling alley. Most impressive was the furnishings in the home, which included collections from Louis XV and Napoleon. Today, anyone can furnish their home with some of the same themes as similar products are offered at www.biltmoreforyourhome. com . Truly massive, the Biltmore Estate is larger than some American towns unto its own, and is truly worth the pilgrimage to Asheville, NC to experience such craftsmanship that existed over 100 years ago. Open year round, and with a variety of passes available, the Biltmore Estate makes for a perfect family vacation. The Inn is truly gorgeous, taking on an even more spectacular glow during the Christmas holidays with the house being so beautifully lit. For more information on the Biltmore Estate visit ∞

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The Biltmore Estate

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Photography: Damola


Russell Simmons’ Annual Hip Hop Summit – Atlanta, GA


xcitement was high as I walked through the doors of the John Lewis Gymnasium of Morris Brown College to attend the Russell Simmons Hip-Hop Summit. I was just as excited, if not more, than the thousands of students and aspiring artists attending. From the loud sounds that resonated throughout the gym, it is apparent this event is huge. I mean, legends were in the building.

natural element, it didn’t take much for everyone in the building to get up on their feet and “rock” their own rendition of “walk it out” and other popular down South hip-hop songs. However, this wasn’t only a star studded event meant to entertain, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) convenes each year to educate college students, aspiring entertainers and community members about the importance of financial literacy, easier put

A-list guests ranging from Doug E. Fresh as key emcee, Ludacris and Jermaine Dupri as hosts/ panelists, and Chrysler Financial as the corporate sponsor, created a lot of well-deserved hype around this event. This year’s summit was titled, “Get Your Money Right,” on Financial Empowerment. Panelists included: Russell Simmons; Ludacris; super-producer Brian Michael Cox; Young Jeezy; Chaka Zulu (Co-CEO of DTP); Paul Wall; Roberta Shields of the Ludacris Foundation; Dr. Benjamin Chavis; Latino reggae star Chingo Bling; Bobby Valentino; rap artist Remy Ma; DJ Drama; Killer Mike; rap artist Kurrupt, Vanessa Williams, Executive Director of Black Mayors; and financial analysts Jerrod Potchman and James Whitlow of Chrysler Financial. The summit began with Doug E. Fresh on the “mic” hyping the crowd and introducing the panelists. With the rap legend in his

– how to handle money. Panelists spoke on their experiences with gaining and saving money and provided great answers on repairing bad credit and understanding credit scores. Home ownership, entrepreneurship, vehicle financing, the meaning of a FICO score, and building good, healthy relationships were also key points. Answers came from the hearts of each panelist as they touched on their own personal experiences with bad credit, building their credit and/ or going bankrupt. Chaka Zulu, coCEO of DTP (Disturbing Tha Peace), provided words of wisdom saying, “Money comes and goes. Don’t spend it immediately; Always plan for the slow season.” Rap artist Remy Ma provided the females with a different perspective saying, “Women tend to go against each other. Stop the cattiness. Work together and stop depending on men. Get your own money.” She also urged women to, “Save money. Plan for the future; your kid’s future.”

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As a woman, I was inspired by her simple, yet profound words of wisdom. Just like everyone else, I listened hard and took notes. Luckily, “Get Your Money Right” workbooks were given to all participants. This workbook is extremely helpful. I recommend for everyone to download it from the website. One big lesson of the evening, among others, was to be willing to learn. “Surround yourself around positive people,” says Russell Simmons. “Joining with Jermaine Dupri and Ludacris to host the Atlanta Hip-Hop Summit is a special blessing,” said Simmons. “[Atlanta] is known for its great contributions to hiphop, as well as being a center for social change in our nation and world. ‘Get Your Money Right’ is an opportunity for the core of our demographic –18 to 35 year olds—to gain invaluable information on financial empowerment.” And, judging from the mega-million empire that Simmons has created, the man knows what he is talking about. Now, we just have to decide if we’re ready to listen. Whether you have great WORDS OF WISDOM FROM PANELISTS “Be 100 percent focused on all of this. Use this panel as a template for what your next step is. Use people as your example. People make mistakes; See those and learn from them. You don’t have to take the falls we did. Dedication, hard work and faith make any dream that you have come true.” — Jermaine Dupri “Your credit is like your word. In order to build your credit, keep your credit under 30 to 40%. Don’t max out your credit cards and try to always buy something that has equity in it. Check all three credit reports and your FICO score.” — Doug E. Fresh “Business is fickle. Education is key. No one can take a degree from you.” — Bobby Valentino “We must take ownership. Find a level of commitment to give back to our communities.” — Roberta Shields “Live under your means. Pay taxes. Save money.” — Brian Michael Cox “We can’t continue to expect everyone else to help us and to lift us up. It starts with your block. You choose who your neighbors are. Read about the 203K program.” — Vanessa Williams Write down day-to-day expenses. Go back and analyze what you spent. At the end of 30 days, have a budget and learn to live within your means.” — James Whitmore, Chrysler Financial “Strategize- like a game of chess. Learn the principles on how to get your money right.” — Jerrod Potchman, Chrysler Financial “I climbed the ‘everything’ ladder. People make the mistake of not wanting to take the time to get to where they want to go. Clear one path, and then keep going to clear the next one.” — Jermaine Dupri

credit and are in good financial standing or you are struggling to make ends meet and can’t find a way to save money, EVERYONE can learn from this “admission free” summit. Leaders of our community are holding this event, every year, working towards economic advancement. They want us to attend; to participate in our future. Russell Simmons, along with the board members of HSAN, recognizes that education is best taught early on and through the avenues that attract our youth. Hip-Hop is widespread throughout our culture and cannot be ignored. It’s important that we become proactive in our own lives and in our communities. Many of us are just living day-today, running the rat race. Take time to marinate on instances in our lives; the things we are proud of; the things we would like to change. Then do it. Easier said than done, I know. I’m talking to myself as well. To get the party started, I’ve provided you, the reader, with some valuable quotes from certain panelists for you to pontificate. Be educated and take notes! — Keyla McNeely

“Go get it yourself. If you are broke, it’s your fault. Keep hustlin’ until you get it. Money does not fall out of the sky.” — Paul Wall “Principles to becoming wealthy – Stack your money. Decide you are going to get money and make money. People who make money are determined not to fail. Change the crew you hang around to people who can teach you something. In order to succeed, look in the mirror and decide that the most important person is you- not a celebrity. It’s you. Your grind is going to come from the number of times you get up from being told No. Make a decision- I will not die, I will not lose. Stack money.” — Killer Mike About The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) Founded in 2001, the HSAN is dedicated to harnessing the cultural relevance of hip-hop music to serve as a catalyst for education advocacy and other societal concerns fundamental to the empowerment of youth throughout the United States. HSAN is a non-profit, non-partisan worldwide coalition of hip-hop artists, entertainment industry leaders, education advocates, civil right proponents and youth leaders united in the belief that hip-hop is a powerful and influential agent for social change which must be responsibly and proactively utilized to fight the war on poverty and injustice. About Chrysler Financial Chrysler Financial offers a complete line of world-class automotive financial products and services for both dealers and consumers of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles. In addition of offering vehicle wholesale and retail financing, Chrysler Financial provides fleet management and lines of credit to Chrysler Group dealers. As an industry leader in automotive financing, Chrysler Financial provides its customers with the most innovative and efficient methods of doing business. For more information, visit

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(l-r) Russell Simmons, Minister Benjamin Muhammad, Dame Dash, Kevin Liles, Jim Jones 54 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX

Photography: Banks


Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated •

Images courtesy of Swishahouse



SWISHAHOUSE Words: Damola and Andrea Wilson Interview: Damola

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t is impossible to not credit the bosses at Swishahouse for single handedly revving the Houston Market, which was created by the Honorable J Prince. In fact, J Prince was very instrumental in their recording agreement with Warner Music Group. However, there is not a better house for artist development than the Swishahouse. Created to be a true independent record company that provides major recording companies with content similar in a way to how the Hollywood system works, Mike Watts, T Ferris, G Dash, and Michael Clarke were responsible for teaching the hustle and grooming artists from: Mike Jones, to Chamillionaire, to Slim Thug, to Paul Wall, to Magno, to CootaBang, to Archie Lee, to E-Class, to Yung Redd, and even going to the Southside to partner with the legend- the one and only Houston’s Don Lil’ Keke. Swishahouse was initially created as a means to get northside residents of Houston their own version of the slowed and chopped music, Screw would popularize and eventually be named after himself after his death. Mike Watts and his team laced the entire southwest with their freestyle tapes. It was one of those tapes made in the late 90’s that featured Slim Thug that would be the basis for Still Tippin, which initially also featured Chamillionaire. It was THE breakout single for the entire region. What places Swishahouse head and shoulders above the competition is their ingenious marketing schemes, including an artist giving out his phone number in songs, to packaging their own videos on DVD’s with their mix tapes which will eventually lead to Still Tippin breaking through on MTV Jams and BET. Long running with the slogans “Major without a Major Deal,” “There is No 401K for a Hustler,” and “Get Money, Stay True,” to “You Don’t Grind You Don’t Shine,” they have been extremely effective in branding themselves and their artists. Also, what is amazing is that each artist has their own identity that differs from popular gangster motif. As resentment runs amuck about the death of hip-hop due to the South, along with so much information being bandied about, I had to get the real deal from the bosses mouth and thus sat down with the bosses from Swishahouse. Real recognizes real and at the end of the day, great business minds find ways to create successful enterprises. Peep game. You just might learn a thing or two. People know about mix tapes in New York and other cities, How did Swisha House establish your own brand and sell Big before the major deal? Mike Watts: Texas is the second largest state in America. Texas is so big you don’t even have to leave Texas. You have a lot of people making mix tapes on the East Coast. In Texas, it’s not that many and it’s not as saturated as it is up there. T Ferris: “We don’t have subways and we don’t wear bomber jackets everyday. We’re not gang banging and stuff like that, so we had to make music we could listen and relate to”. Who came first, Swisha House or Swisha Blast? MW: House and then Blast. Blast came from a company called Hi Blast, and we came together and made the company called Swisha Blast. We just merged the names. G Dash: “That’s the label that drops commercial releases”. Clarke: “As far as branding, we feel like quality sells itself”. G Dash: Also, the difference in the mix tape game is that we get 7 or 8 dollars a record there. They won’t pay that s**t up here. We were talking to an East Coast dude that wanted wholesale

and 8 dollars. Man, we pay 2 and 3 dollars for mix tapes on wholesale here. That’s why for a long time, people saw “Majors without a Major Deal”. Was there someone who showed you about the mix tape game and put you on to the flee markets and barber shops? MW: “Man, nobody taught me. I just set a goal to make 2,000 dollars a week. I can’t get a job paying that, but I can get $100 from 20 places in a week”. What was the jump off process to get started? Clarke: Honestly, Michael Watts got in his Suburban, went around to stores and said sell my CD. When he got to my store I told him, “No, IT’S NOT HOT”. He didn’t get mad, he said “Ok, but ONE DAY we will do Business,” and from there I went on to manage Watts all the way to my position in the company. It’s getting an idea and running with it and not taking no for an answer. Excellent artist development from seeing Paul Wall and Slim Thug in the road. When was the first time you chopped and screwed somebody else’s record like Cash Money? Clarke: It was 8 Ball and MJG. MW: That was the first release. But, down there in Texas chopped and screw s**t was so hot. Everybody that’s hooked on it wants to hear everything screwed. If you chop a Master P album when it was hot, people want to hear it. Chopping is an art form. You go somewhere in Jamaica and they want to hear everything Reggae. That is how it is in Houston. They want to hear screw, they want to hear it slowed down and chopped. Being pioneers at what you do, where did the concept come from? Clarke: “Most people take an idea and work towards it. G-Dash said we were about to be a major label, so we needed a video out and how we do it. Having the pressure to accomplish those goals, it doesn’t allow you to think small. Then, Michael Watts as an artist, everybody can chop and screw a record, that’s why we refer to what Watts does as a Swisha House Remix, it’s not the same. “If you allow yourself to think small, then that’s what you’ll get. But, if you think BIG, it changes the process of how to accomplish those goals”. You’re known for repeating things to make sure the fans get it, like Paul Wall’s mix tape – “People’s Champ” - Why does that work? MW: “You program it to people, that way they won’t forget about the album or the release dat.” Who was the first artist you developed in Swisha House and where did you find him? MW: I really had a bond with and worked well with Slim Thug. He and I met at a place I used to deejay. He would come and freestyle. One day, I really liked his s**t, he laid a real freestyle. I liked it and so I asked him to come by my house and we worked. We’ve been tight ever since 1998. While working with him, what did you see about him that shined and ultimately made you decide to pick him up? MW: “We were doing it for fun. It wasn’t a business thing”. When I met Slim Thug, I was just doing mix tapes. That was before the records and all that. We were just having fun. The thing that impressed me about him was that he wasn’t just tryin’ to ride. “He is a hustler; he was trying to make some money too. Give Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated • 57

ENTERTAINMENT him a big stack of CD’s and he’s gone. His work ethic is like mine, so we kept working together”. After Slim Thug, who was next to bringing in the camp? MW: “I had a whole roster of people, people who just started falling in. We were having fun people bring their homeboys with them and before you knew it, our camp grew bigger and bigger. “We roll with like 23 people, no entourage just us, something like the Wu-Tang Clan of the South”. When did you start doing the artwork and slogans? Who came up with “Ain’t no 401K for a Hustler”? MW: That’s a collaboration of all of us. A single we dropped on Lil’ KeKe, that’s off a freestyle and that became the title of his next album. “Ain’t no 401K for a Hustler” T. Ferris: We was like f**king with him about that s**t, like how you come up with that. He was like, man, I don’t know where I get that s**t from, but he did something colder than what he thought he was going to do and that’s his next project. What has been some of the challenges you’ve endured, trying to keep these artists focused from that ‘98 error to the first national release in 2005? T. Ferris: “I jumped in with Mike Jones and I signed him”. My whole city was saying that it wasn’t going to work, it’s hard to get artists motivated or to get them to have that drive because every time I take him to see a deejay in the city besides Michael Watts, they think it’s not going to work. “It was hard. He was making songs for the strippers. That is how he was getting his play,” going by the clubs and making songs for different girls. That is how we met, through the girls talking about him and his songs. We met on a Friday and the next day, we were in the studio. The next week, he was signed. When did you put out, “The Day All Hell Broke Loose: The first part” and how did that come together? MW: The first one came out in 1999 and when it came to the first record mix tape, it got so hot we had a lil’ bread stacked up. So, I decided to try and do a real record label so all the ni**az that was rapping on the mix tapes, I got a producer to do all the tracks and Saudi started producing after that. We put all the guys together and put them on a record. “The record was a success but a financial disaster. We went through a distributor not knowing anything about the game and basically got the s**t f**ked out of us”. How did you bounce back? Because the mix tapes were already in affect? MW: Yeah, well you know, we had money already. G-Dash: The second commercial release was a Mix Master Archie Lee. This time we came at the game with a different approach. “We didn’t let the distribution company press it up, we pressed it up ourselves and gave them the product and distributed the rest ourselves”. When did you start adding the visual input with video and DVD? G-Dash: We’ve always had a visual to it, but with a DVD, I say it started with Mike Jones. At that time, we were already enhancing our game as we went on and when we got Mike Jones, that’s where we were. We started getting with the DVD’s like “Balling Underground” and “Running the Game.” 58 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX

How do you manage the differences to campaign and market each individual artist? Clarke: “It has to be an extension of your artist personality”. You can’t make people into something they’re not. If they’re a hustler, you go with that. If you’re a lyricist, we go with that. “Paul is the People’s Champ, friendly. So, we went with that. Mike Jones had an idea about his phone number, you run with it”. It can’t be TF needs a gangsta rapper and oh that kid looks like a thug, so I’m going to make him a gangsta rapper. You have to find someone and run with what they are doing, like Archie Lee and the Holly Hood that’s who he is. Cootabang is The Big Bang Theory, Lil’ KeKe is the Don, the godfather, that’s who he is, the Don of Houston rap. What was the first slogan on a mix tape? G-Dash: “Major with out a Major Deal”. We ran with that for a long time. Who was the first artist you chopped and screwed and how did you set up the relationships to do it? MW: 8 Ball & MJG. “We went to Urban Network in 1999, got the okay and from there went on to Carter I and II, the last Cash Money Juvenile record, Lil Wayne’s greatest hits and a lot of stuff for Cash Money”. It seems it’s getting to the point where if labels want it screwed and chopped, they automatically call you. What is so special about the way you do it, compared to others who chop and screw, that other people can’t do? MW: “It’s an art form. It’s more than just slowing a record down, it’s an art. If you listen to my s**t you are going to be able to tell it’s a vibe to it that you will not catch listening to a lot of other people, unless you heard an original DJ Screw tape”. In other words, enjoy the food but you can’t have the recipe. We don’t stay in the box, we go outside the box. If there’s an obstacle in our way, we either knock the muthaf**ker down or go around it. “If we can’t get our video played on TV, f**k it, we’ll put it in the hands of everybody that’s buying the CD. Clarke: “I tell everybody I’m sorry we made it look easy, but it’s a lot of hard work. You missed the part where you handed out your CD or tried to sell your CD. When did you start doing shows?! Something! Wow and what a buzz you created for Paul Wall and Chamillionaire. Were they signed with you or Paid in Full first? Clarke: “Nah, they were signed to us doing mix tapes with us before they went to Paid in Full. But, the formula is always the same. We let T-Ferris do his thing, Watts do his thing and if everything comes together, when it’s time for the record to come out it’s there. If you knew the way for creating a buzz, you’d have the biggest most successful label in the music industry. It’s the reaction to the people, knowing what they want. What did you do? G-Dash: We kept it original, kept our creative control. We didn’t try to sound like anybody else, so anyone who wants to hear some different s**t, they know where to come to. Clarke: It’s like a ripple effect. You start somewhere, you capture that audience, and work your way out to Mississippi, to Louisiana, etc. It’s not like we say today we’re here and tomorrow we’re going here and then two weeks from there,

THE REAL DEAL ABOUT SWISHAHOUSE we’ll be in Dallas. Watts has a radio show that plays in Dallas, Houston, and Tyler Texas. He gets the mix CD’s going and it allows things to go out and expand. Okay. So Watts, when did you start working at the radio station? MW: I began working at the radio station for about ten years. I’m still on the radio, I’m still mixing and then I bring s**t to parties and I still DJ. I take the artist that’s not broken in yet on the road with me and get them some exposure while I work parties. Who’s the next artist you’re working with? MW: Cootabang and Archie Lee. Archie Lee has been with us, but Cootabang is the new guy, so if I spin a party, I take him with me, for the exposure. What’s so special about Koota Bang for him to be the next artist out the Swisha House camp? MW: “You have to listen to him. Make sure you get “Posted Up at the AllStar.” It has Cootabang on there, Archie Lee, Lil’ KeKewho has his own style and doesn’t sound like anybody else I’ve heard. We’ve had people on our mixes that didn’t go anywhere. The streets choose you! The streets say yes I like him or people like you and the magazine, Owners Illustrated, help make our decision on which artist we are going to put out next. You even said yourself, you like Cootabang ”. How did The Day All Hell Broke Loose: Part II come about and get great recognition because it seems like part II got the label deal. What was the plan for that? And, “Still Tippin” came from that mix right? G Dash: “Major without a major deal.” That’s when we shot our first video and worked that video to BET and MTV before we even signed the deal, so we were just grinding it out. Until John Tucker of Doctor Teeth fame turned me on to a video promoter in New York, he liked our work, believed in us and got us to the next level, a nationwide level. How did the label approach you and how did you make the decision to go with Asylum? MW: Everybody else was talking to us and trying to pick artists and give us (a record label) an artist deal. With Asylum, they gave us a distribution deal and that’s what we needed, no joint deal- only distribution. G Dash: It’s a label deal with an upstream involved. We get a chance to work our artists to a certain level and then send them upstream to Atlantic or Warner Bros. J-Prince was able to make that deal because really, they couldn’t afford us. J-Prince put his money where his mouth was and partnered with Asylum to make our deal work. How did the relationship with J-Prince happen? G Dash: “J Prince is like an Icon in the South, so we watched his grind because he was doing it way before us. And, I think Asylum was getting ready to pull out and J-Prince knew what we had and he stepped up, made the deal work”. How did you decide with Mike Jones to go under Warner and with Paul Wall to go with Atlantic? G Dash: It was just a situation where we tried both systems to see which one worked for us and we liked the Warner situation better. We’re trying to work it out with Atlantic, but we’re not real

happy with the Atlantic situation. For a while Warner Bros wasn’t very strong in the Urban culture. G Dash: “Yeah, we bought them their first platinum artist”. Clarke: With Warner Bros, they get division. “Working with Warner Bros is so easy because they take what we do and replicate our vision”. They trust in our decisions; which help things go really, really smooth. We think it’s probably the best situation with people working with us. If we put out a couple of flops, then change up, but as long as we hanging plaques on your wall, then you let us do what we do and replicate it over and over again. So, what’s the process of bringing them (Warner Bros) involved on a project? G Dash: Our situation is just a unique situation. I don’t think they were expecting this, but really their company is designed to provide marketing and promotions to help build your brand, but we stepped in already built. Our artist got sent up stream, we didn’t even have to go through the steps. We already had the fire on those boys. Clarke: “Basically, what we do is deliver a finished product. Here’s the record, here’s the art work, here’s the 1st poster and the 2nd, here’s where we think the advertising should be, here’s the 1st video. The ground work is there. The deejays have been serviced, we’ve already started the buzz and all you need to do is take this and plug it in to your machine and run with what we got. You don’t have to bring in outside producers, you don’t have to hire a 2 million dollar video guy- here it is all served up”. Was Lil’ Keke the first Southside artist you put down with Swisha House? And, what made you bring him to help unite Texas and sell as a whole? MW: “As far as signing him, it was his talent. We are not going to let our side of town deny us from working with talented people, that’s stupid”. If we want to be here we need to f**k with everybody. G Dash: “At the end of the day, we don’t care where you’re from, it’s about the business. What’s the strategy with Lil’ KeKe? Is his mix CD next? G Dash: We let him be him and he has an album coming out! Everybody see’s what goes on from an outsider point of view, but as a business it is certain things you have to invest in that takes time or things don’t always go your way. Can you speak on some of these situations? MW: “I’m going to tell you the difference between us and artists. Everybody that came to us, they weren’t s**t when they came to us. We made them. We make artists, we were like we made one artist, we can make another!” What’s the situation with Mike Jones? Clarke: Mike Jones is an artist that’s signed to Swishahouse. We are supportive of his Ice Age movement and he’s in the studio right now. He’ll have a release on Swisha House, but we all do business. For more on Swishahouse and to watch some video of the interview, visit ∞ Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated • 59


E-40 HYPHY AMBASSADOR Interview: Damola Photography: Banks

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true pioneer in hip-hop, E-40 is not new to this. Hailing from the Bay area of Vallejo, California or as he and others have rechristened it, the ‘Yay Area,’ E-40, The Mailman, E-fozarelli, 40-Water and his numerous aliases have been evolving hiphop while adding to the lexicon for over 2 decades.

According to E-40, he was the first to rap about a triple beam, and it is now commonplace to hear rappers reference that and other drug utensils in their rhymes. He also coined the popular phrases “Ya smell me,” “For sheezzy,” and a dictionary full of other familiar words. He also claims to have introduced “Clicks” to the game with his group the “Click” which featured his brother B Legit, and sister Suga T. This Chalupa stacker has been a trend setter since the womb and dogs were howling at moons. To see him bring light to the “Hyphy movement” in itself is a massive accomplishment considering his long legacy in the recording industry, and the disposable manner in which the hiphop audiences can regard its legends. Ever the businessman, E-40 has been living the lavish life like ball players since the mid-90’s, and was even neighbors with NBA great Gary Payton. Versed in real estate and securing an unprecedented lucrative record deal with Jive Records, E-40 now has his hands in everything from distribution to owning franchise restaurants with the West Coast’s original burger joint Fat Burger. E-40 is a boss yet he was shrewd enough to sign to Lil Jon for his latest solo release. As a result of this constructive business decision and Lil Jon’s production, E-40 gained 3 top ten singles with “U & Dat” featuring T-Pain, “Tell Me When to Go” featuring Keak Da Sneak, and Lil Jon’s lead single, “Snap Yo Fingers.” E-40 was also one of less than 20 artists to be certified Gold in hip hop with his latest release My Ghetto Report Card. E-40 however still retains the right to record with his group and he has even brought his son into the game as a music producer. The exposure he garnered with the Lil Jon deal (MTV produced specials on Hyphy music featuring him, and USA TODAY did a 2 page feature on him and the Hyphy genre) will certainly help his marketing efforts for his upcoming independent releases. The Bay has long been known for its independent spirit with several groups putting out their own independent releases to massive successes. It can be said the Bay created the independent hiphop game with Master P, the most successful artist in southern Hip-Hop history, coming to Richmond, CA in the early 90’s to learn the rap game. It never stops for a Hustler, and as such, E-40 is riding till the wheels fall of. We were graced with the presence of the legend and, game abound, this is how it went down. You were one of the first artists with your own distribution deal. How did that come about? The first Click was in 1987-88, we were the first group to ever call themselves as a ‘Click’ in music. We put out some albums and in 1994, we got hooked up with Jive Records, they picked us up and at the time I was selling in the 200,000 range of tapes with no deal. I could make what a rapper makes with a platinum record by selling 200,000 tapes and had already done so, so I had a 75% me to 25% them distribution deal. On the record label it was the same thing, one of the best deals ever to be made. Here I am, still kicking my feet like I’m on fire.

So what prompted the signing with Jive Records? I’m already getting gouda, I signed with a major label to be heard world-wide. I had 60% and was looking to reach that other 40%”. It was a unique deal, they had me on the cover of Rap Pages as the $3 million man! Coming from a place where people are known for grinding, what is it about the Bay that gives that initiative? Being a young mustache in the game, I was a student. I’m from the land [where] we pop our collars and we slick talkers. The soil where they shot the movie The Mack, using real pimps the War Bros, just analyzing the OG’s it was a natural thing for me to have the gift of gab. I watched my Granddaddy groom himself, but we wasn’t calling it nothing. I put “Pop Your Collar” on wax, and what was embodied in me was trend setting, we trend setters. Rap game without 40-Water is like Bingo with no old folks. It got to a point where everybody on TV was popping they collar, and I’m the billboard for the Bay. The Charlie Hustle movie did it’s thing, it had a lot of fans especially with athletes. What was the inspiration to that film? Well that’s just me being me, an innovator, they go right I go left. I like to do what they don’t. I grew up on Ice T, Too Short, Freddy B, UTFO, [and] KRS-1. Mixed with my street cred, it’s a wrap like a Taliban hat. What’s up with the Lingo Dictionary we keep hearing about, is it going to happen? Really it’s done, I just keep adding to it. I admit I was hesitant because that confirms it. I’m the ‘King of Lingo’ and long as the soil know about you, you good, it start from the soil, the turf, trap, the block. Those people give the confirmation of what I’m about. From an entrepreneur’s aspect, how did you partner with pro bowler Chester McGlaukin from the Oakland Raiders? People always told me, you always need something to fall back on and for me it was like okay, I can use this rap money to purchase real estate and franchises. I listen to the OG’s like don’t just let hustling be your thing, you gotta get in and get out. I been buying real estate in the Bay Area since 1993-94. Fat Burger is all over; Denver, Las Vegas, and New York. You got Pharrell from the Neptunes doing his thing with Fat Burger in Virginia, and Queen Latifah with Fat Burger in Florida, so you know burgers sell. ‘Cause I was gone do a franchise called Wing Stop, but I got ten Fat Burgers all along the West Coast. Last album was in 2004, so I’m always chalupa chasing, fetti fetching, rappers with franchises. You had a video with a mansion and at the time, a fleet of the yet to be released PT Cruisers, when did you own that mansion? November [of] 1996 I had my house built from just dirt. In 1995 I saw Mike Tyson with not just a Lamborghini, but a Lamborghini truck, under a shade like a car garage. I said, I gotta have one of those for the cars and that’s how the idea came for my house to be built the way I wanted it. The house took fourteen months, it’s 9,000 sq ft, in a gated community, overlooking the mountains and the golf course. What other ventures are you in to? Man we got liquor coming out, a comedy club, the Lingo Dictionary and a movie called The Hype on Hyphy coming out Issue Issue IX •IX OwnerS • OwnerS Illustrated Illustrated • 61 •

of Oakland. Got a distribution deal with Sic Wit It Records, got the solo deal with Warner and BME. How did you get hooked up with Lil John and the B.M.E family? And where did Hyphy come in, because to get mixed up with Crunk music is like too much adrenaline. Through Too Short, who knew Lil John for a long time and stayed in contact with him, [we] made the connect and made it happen. I feel like Hyphy and Crunk are cousins. Hyphy is energy, excitement, it’s a stress relief, letting yourself go and it’s spreading like the Bird Flu. I’m the battlefield for the Bay so I’m kicking down doors so it’s easier for us to get up in this thang. Slowly but surely it’s getting out there, so now we got all those major labels hollering at Bay Record Labels talking bout let’s do something ‘cause they know it’s the next movement. That’s what’s cooking. All in all Hyphy is a movement, a culture, a dance. It’s high energy/controlled chaos. Imagine 200 to 300 cars back to back following each other after a function, all on top of cars, on top the roof, all out the window with dreads and stunna shades doing the thessallini. We got ‘ghost riding’ the whip where the driver hops out the car while [its] still in motion and walks along side of it without touching the steering wheel, and once it’s bout to get out of alignment you get back in and line it back up. Music is blasting, a Hyphy train can come from anywhere, middle of traffic wherever, but mostly it’s a dance and anybody can be Hyphy. New York cats is Hyphy at my listening party, it’s gratifying. How’s the chemistry with Lil John? Chemistry with Lil John is crazy, he’s so creative and open minded. That’s my dude he’s the one who told me do Tell Me when to Go and that’s a Hyphy track and Lil John from the South. What if anything did you compromise to make the move to B.M.E and why? I took a pay cut, but I did it just to rap. I love rap. If I win the lottery today, I’m still gone rap, because the world needs to hear my message. They believe in me and respect me as a legend. I got nothing bad to say, I’m happy. They got my back like a masseuse. I still got Sic Wit it Records, that’s my label with my brother Mugsy so we on a chalupa chase, you know. Yeee! What lessons do you have for newcomers trying to get in this game? Stay focused, surround yourself with people with goals, goals to be anything as long as it’s a goal. If you stay around people that don’t have goals, you might want to think about where they’re going and where your gonna get hanging with them. Stay prayed up, take baby steps, and stay real. To stay in the game for the long run, stay H&H; that’s humble and hungry. Network, [and] keep contacts no matter what position they might be in. One week your peoples at a major label doing something and next week he fired. Keep your contacts, it might be the following week he’s in a bigger position with a bigger label and that might be your way in, so keep contacts and get it. ∞ Visit for video clips of our interview with E-40.

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tay focused, surround yourself with people with goals, goals to be anything as long as it’s a goal. If you stay around people that don’t have goals, you might want to think about where they’re going and where your gonna get hanging with them.”

— E-40

Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated •


BUSTA RhyMES HUSTLENOMICS 101: THE PAPERWORK Interview: Damola Photography: Banks

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Part II


n continuation of our interview with Busta Rhymes published in Issue VIII we had discussed a variety of issues with Busta including his real estate ventures, recording contract structure, his beginnings, and his endorsements. Following is a continuation of that interview, as he discuss the intricacies of a recording contract. As Busta preps up his forthcoming Album Before Hell Freezes Over on the heels of The Big Bang selling over 700,000 copies for Aftermath/Interscope this interview will give you a better perspective of the man who has mastered the rap entertainment field and has been generating tremendous revenue for himself for over 18 years. Like how did (the) Courvoisier® thing come about? Courvoisier® for example, the way we did that situation was beautiful to me because what had ended up happening was initially they ain’t want to give us nothing. We had the song done and we stepped to Courvoisier® in the beginning of the album process happening and when we stepped to Courvoisier® they was like nah, I said alright cool. We knew we was going to do the record so pass the Courvoisier® could be easily said like pass it around all day so when we did pass the Courvoisier® and we had the song done and we went in there to see them and they was trying to act like they wasn’t with it we said alright cool not only do we have a smash that is called Pass the Courvoisier® completely promoting your product but the song is four minutes long. You can’t advertise any alcohol legally for four minutes on no television station that’s number one. Number two you can’t even advertise a liquor brand on TV outside of late hours because of school and children and so on and so forth. Number three there ain’t no way you gonna get a commercial that’s four minutes long, a hit record, you can’t buy as much advertising time as I’m gonna get the video spun on MTV and BET and you ain’t gonna have Mr. T, Monique from The Parkers, Kim Whytley from Oh Drama, when that was on BET, Pharrel, Puff, Jamie Foxx, and myself seven superstar in the video. So it’s either you gonna miss out on all of this free advertisement and break me off with a nice check or I’m ah just switch it around to pass it around all day and I could just be talking about every kind of liquor not yours and they changed their mind rather quickly and blessed me with a substantial check and they definitely was trying to fight crazy but you know I got the Ivy League, I got the elite force support system with the whole Violator movement and my legal team that be going in there and be really handling there business…From my first Leaders of the New School album to When Disaster Strikes I never got a mechanical royalty I was getting robbed crazy. When the success of The Coming album popped off and “Woo-Hah!” went platinum as a single and the album went platinum and this is back in ’96 I had a different kind of money so I hired different staff members to come through and rep my s**t and support my business moves got a new lawyer Steve Chappelle and Andrew Bergman, these dudes went in and renegotiated my s**t so crazy that I was hit off a seven figure apology check that was non-recoupable just so that they could make peace with me. It wasn’t until I got the new lawyer and he’s just going through the terms of my renegotiation and he was just like look did you know your whole career your whole time up at Elektra and I’d been signed there since ’89 to ’96 and I didn’t get this check for mechanicals. So it was like this is what we gonna do for you and of course the more bread they make for you the bigger their cut so it was just in everybody’s best interest to go get all of this bread. So it was just all of these different scenarios and situations we ain’t even looking for.

Now just talk about that because that’s a very interesting point. Like how many checks do you get off of doing one album? Your mechanical royalty is from what you physically do. Your physical labor, that’s mechanical labor. For every song that you appear on is a mechanical royalty that’s attached to that. Then you got your publishing check royalty. You should be getting three checks off of every song. Every artist needs to know that. There’s no such thing as one check. You put one record out you just get money off sales. You get money off sales, you get money off publishing, you get a mechanical. The only time you miss out on a publishing check is if you use a sample on your record and who you sample it from takes one hundred percent of the publishing. Other than that if you got a sample and there’s a nice percentage that’s worked out that’s still cost effective and worth putting it out anyway you should still be getting a piece of that publishing. Whatever’s left you split it with the producer unless you produce it yourself you get your mechanical royalties still, and you get your sales royalties still. Of course you gotta make whatever bread back that you gotta make for your record label but that still ain’t got nothing to do with your publishing check. Does that have anything to do with the mechanicals? Has nothing to do with your mechanical royalty neither. What they recoup they money from is your royalty from sales. From your sales royalty they recoup that other s**t. It also depends on the negotiation on the agreement. Like what happened with the Lox were they were like (Diddy) you have my publishing for ten years? How does that happen? What kind of deal was done where you haven’t recorded over there but your publishing’s still going in the pot? Right. See now it’s all in the negotiation. If you agreed to some s**t where that supersedes what you’re really capable of delivering them you’re gonna be stuck to that regardless where you go. There’s really no way around that and it’s about ni**as just taking the time out to just revisit their s**t. One thing ni**as really don’t make the time to do is audit. Audit? There should be an audit clause in every agreement that you make with every person that you are in business with if there’s any revenue that’s being generated between your agreement with them on any level of business. It needs to be a audit clause. A audit clause gives you the right to go in and open books, see what they doing with the money. How much money came in has to be justified by whoever you’re in business with. Where is the money going, how it’s being delegated, how it’s being distributed out, how it’s being broken up, who getting what, when they getting it, how they got it, where did they get it from. All that gotta be justified in your audit clause when you go in there send your accountants and your accountants to watch them accountants to make sure that they ain’t f**kin up when they do the first audit. Have another team of auditors coming in to double check them accountants that’s doing the audit so that even the accountants you hired to do the audit is getting cross examined by other accountants that’s there to scrutinize their paperwork to make sure that what they doing is accurate to the information that they’re being given, you know what I’m saying because a lot of the times we sit there and might have a audit clause and not even know it. Damn. A ni**a might sit around and know that damn after two, three years I got the right to go in there and see what was happening Issue Issue IX •IX OwnerS • OwnerS Illustrated Illustrated • 65 •



hustlenomics 101: the paperwork

with these people and my bread for the last two, three years that I been in business with these people. But they be so caught up on the high life of their celebrity that on the fourth year or the third year and the three hundred and sixty-sixth day your window of opportunity for your audit clause to be exercised is out the window. So if you don’t audit within the window… Within the window you can’t audit within that timeframe…you got a three year window to audit and you check on the three hundred and sixty-sixth day the first day after that three hundred sixty-fifth day of the third year you a wrap You a wrap You a wrap because it’s one day late of the audit clause that was supposed to be exercised by you just taking a little time out to just tell your accountant ‘set that up’ even though it might take two, three months to get to the bottom of it just do that s**t. It ain’t even nothing you gotta deal with, that’s what hired staff is delegated to do. Stay on your high life type of whatever celebrity life you living and just have your {team} on it but know your 66 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX

contract so that you can exercise those clauses. Make sure people are getting their job done. Absolutely if these {people} are there to work and they commissioning you and they getting paid a salary however way you paying em make sure they working for their bread man because that’s the only way they gonna get the money that you need to pay them. {If} They ain’t making sure that you’re money coming in that you secure your rent and food on the table you ain’t gonna be able to feed nobody, not even your own personal well being. So s**t like that is like real s**t that ni**as need to start getting into just as much as y’all ni**as apply your pen game to those notebook papers when you gotta spit a verse on a beat. Apply that information that you need to be sponging up just as effectively man and y’all rhymes might get a little better. You get to understand how crazy that s**t is that you can talk because you getting that bread and you can see how you can rally finagle agreements to s**t on these ni**as that be trying to dig they hands in your pocket. You might be able to pop s**t bout it in your rap instead of talking about what you doing on the corner making a hand to hand sale all day. ∞

Funk Master Flex THERE IS NONE HIGHER Interview: Damola

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ore than just a DJ, Funkmaster Flex is a movement unto himself. As a tastemaker and a trusted voice on New York’s #1 hip hop and R&B station Hot 97, with an audience of over 2 million listeners per week, Flex has truly been responsible for several

Working with Dana Lincoln on the last version of the Lincoln Navigator, Funk Flex created his own edition of the SUV which sold to great success. Ford Motor Company is now a sponsor of the powerful DJ, along with Lugz who gave him is own driving shoe. Turtle Wax, Castrol Oil, Quaker State (he even had his own line of engine oil), Hot wheels, Cooper Tire, JL Audio, and now ESPN are also part of Flex’s long list of sponsors, which even further secures the fact that Funkmaster Flex is just in a whole ‘nother league.

After The Jaz-O Originators era, I personally got re-introduced to Jay-Z’s music by Funk Flex bringing him in to the Hot 97 studios in January of 1995 to speak to the New York audience and play his single, “Dead Presidents”. This is just one example of how countless artists have benefited when Flex drops his signature bomb to their records, certifies them official, and as Flex says, “A go.” Fully understanding the mechanics of the industry, Flex created a company called Franchise Marketing over a decade ago. With Franchise Marketing alongside with his Big Dog record pool of DJ’s, internationally Funk Flex truly “broke” artists, introducing their singles to the world with a type of energy that immediately added fire to the track.

Having customized cars for everybody from T.O., to 50 Cent, Ludacris, to Queen Latifah, Danika Patrick, to Sean Combs, Shaquille O’ Neal, to too many to name, Flex now has his own official edition of cars through Ford Motor Company. This edition includes a Fusion, a F-150, and the all new Expedition. Flex also now has his own show on ESPN called All Muscle with Funk Master Flex in addition to a new show also with ESPN that is to debut in April of 2007 on ESPN2 called, Funk Master Flex’s Car Wars. Car Wars will feature contestants betting it all, from the mortgage to whatever is necessary in a battle to customize the new Ford Expedition.

notable artists careers.

As another means to expand his ability to break records, Funkmaster Flex released mixtape albums featuring a laundry list of artists who include: Nas, Jay-Z, Biggie, The LOX, Wu Tang, Dipset, and so many others who have contributed to the albums great successes. With five of his mixtape albums going certified gold for selling over 500,000 copies, Flex’s mixtapes became an integral part of the hip-hop culture. A bonafied entrepreneur and a true lover of the automotive lifestyle, in 2001 Funkmaster Flex tapped into his relationships in the recording industry to create his very first celebrity car show, which took place in New Jersey. The results were phenomenal, as the competitive nature of celebrities was showcased and duels over who donned the better car ensued, the stage was now set for the Funkmaster Flex Celebrity Car Show of 2002. With over 30,000 people at the opening gate, (I was one of them) attendees were treated to drag races, various customizations of luxury autos as well as everyday cars, and most exclusively, an impressive display of celebrity car collections. Boasting a net worth of well over $15 million, this celebrity collection included cars owned by Diddy, Wyclef, Busta, Baby, Dipset, and others. Made up of Zonda’s, McLarens, Lamborghini’s, Ferraris, Bentleys, Motorcycles, Tractor Trailers, Tour Buses, it was truly a sight to see, including Funk Flex’s own Team Baurtwell edition cars, which featured true American muscle cars and SUV’s. There were also several live performances by Dipset, Cash Money, Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Wyclef and others, complete with live feeds to Hot97. The Funk Flex Celebrity Car Show of 2002 was again another smashing success that will serve as the blueprint for other car shows and even magazines to follow. Flex, ever the enthusiast, also brought awareness to the New York Auto Show at the Jacob Jarvis Center, and had spoke at length of the then impending arrival of Ford’s GT based on the GT40. Simply the best DJ on the planet, Funkflex can sell anything. With his own show Ride with Flex debuting in 2002 on Spike TV he again created a genre that will spawn others to follow. Flex is also very family-oriented as his wife partners with him in his ventures and was instrumental in production of his TV show. Producing episodes of Ride With Flex under her own company, RED Moxie.

More than a DJ, more like a Svengali, a guru, and an evangelist for the car culture and hip-hop alike you got to “fix your face”, and “don’t get gassed” when in the presence of greatness because there is absolutely no competition in the DJ arena when it comes to Flex. We caught up with Flex at a recent car show and he showed us his new Ford Fusion and spoke about a number of other things, including New York Hip-Hop’s downturn. So listen up, because class is in session. Tell us about what’s going on with this Fusion right here? Just give us an overview. Ford Fusion, you know. I’m becoming a Fusion man ‘cause I’m putting together a lot of hot joints. This one’s put together for this year to take around [they] got the custom Funkmaster Flex wheels on it. I like to call it three-tone interior. Two tones is two colors. It’s three colors in this joint, nice, matching the outside custom blue paint. So you wanna show us some of this? Yeah I wanted it to be bright but not over the top. Twenties are there. [Walks around the car pointing out the features] Leather seats happening. Everything is natural looking. Real crazy, and nice. How about the sound? Sound’s pretty crankin’, man. We got TV’s in it, too. JL audio sound system. Did you do anything under the hood? Anymore horses? Nah, it’s still regular stock 200 and change in horses. What size wheels are these? Twenties. So which company is partnering with you to do the Funkmaster Flex wheels? It’s actually-- it’s a company called Bose. B-o-s-e. They do the audio, too? No…it’s just wheels. You know, you started the car show phenomenon and now it’s now gotten a lot of the corporations aware. So tell us Issue Issue IX •IX OwnerS • OwnerS Illustrated Illustrated • 69 •

about this Ford deal you got ‘cause I understand that you guys are now continuing it further. Yeah, we’re doing a lot of vehicles together. We got some F-150’s we’re working on. We’re also working on some Expeditions. How did that deal come about? Ford knew about some of my car shows. They knew I was doing customizations. They knew I was putting cars together. So you know, we all got together and decided we’re gonna put some vehicles out, design some good things. It’s been a great relationship. It’s important that we just kind of go through it a little bit, because I don’t even know of anyone that got their own customization deal with a major automotive manufacturer. I think some of the other guys don’t love it as much as I love it. I love it. I wanna do it. This is what I wanna do. Of course, and even from your customization of celebrity cars you spawned Pimp My Ride, and a lot of other shows, because when you were doing it nobody else was doing that. Nobody was thinking about it, but you know what’s cool is like I’m a big fan of Xzibit, [a] big fan of Chip Foose and those guys because they kind of like just enhanced what I laid down. And that’s cool, you know. I enjoy that they were able to make it interesting. So the whole thing about it is that we wanna really get into how you’re influencing the culture. Because even with other television networks getting involved to showcase car

customization, and becoming aware of the urban market’s love for cars, the car shows are still not acknowledging the music influences like yourself on the car industry. So do you feel like you getting your just due across the board in the industry? Aw, I think you never feel you getting your just due, ever. Nothing is ever enough you know, but I tell you something man, in all honesty I feel Ford is giving me my just due. They’re really believing in me and I really like that about them. So are you gonna work with any of the other divisions or even under the premier automotive group divisions? FLEX: Naw. You know what, though, I think I might do a little bit for Lincoln. You know we’ve been talking. ‘Cause I remember the first car I saw you customize was the Navigator. Yeah and I was really like just… I was just doing ‘em. I didn’t know nobody at Lincoln. I just put ‘em together. Is that how they got an awareness? Naw ‘cause it was a different division. It was more like Ford knew about my TV show, then they learned everything else about me. How many shows do you have right now? I got two now, I’m on ESPN. I left Spike. Now I’m on ESPN’s own customization show. You know my wife had the idea of a customize show, putting the camera on customizing cars and shopping it to the network and it worked out pretty good.


think you never feel you getting your just due, ever. Nothing is ever enough you know but I tell you something man in all honesty I feel Ford is giving me my just due. They’re like really believing in me and I really like that about them.” — FUNK MASTER FLEX 70 • OwnerS • OwnerS Illustrated Illustrated • Issue • Issue IX IX

So that’s her company, Red Moxie. That’s actually great. So how is that, working with your wife and even working with cars? She likes cars so it was a cool combination. So is she a gear head like you? Into the motors? The old schools? The vintage? The muscle? She likes it all, new and old. So now talk about like the GT 500. Have you had a chance to drive that? Oh I bought it. You bought one? So talk about that and what you love about it. 500 horses, that’s the ultimate. That’s it. 500 horsepower is hot, nothing hotter. So you doing the Flex edition Mustang? No I just customize for myself. So what is different from what you would do for yourself than what you would do for let’s say for one of your celebrity clients? ‘Cause I know sometimes when you doing stuff for yourself your tastes might be a little different. I’m probably a little more conservative, a little bit more horsepower. Celebrities probably want a little bit more flash. So now let’s go into where you started as far as the music and your influences. I still love the music. I’m still there. And Hot 97, ‘cause you been there forever. Eons.

It’s like almost, I dare say, you built the house of Hot 9-7. I think the radio is still love. I still love breaking records and hearing new talent. I love doing it so it’s cool. I really like it a lot….I love hearing new talent. I love recognizing new talent. I love being on the radio. I love meeting new personalities and I think I love being around those type of people. [I love] being around creative people. I love seeing a person’s smile on their face just being an artist and enjoying the business. I just love seeing them happy. It’s cool to be in a business that you can do something you love doing. Everybody talks about the New York [sound] taking a hit. The south is running it. From your perspective, who do you think- who are the next cats out of New York that you think got the potential to bring it back to the east? Dipset of course, but to be a little bit more specific, JR Rider, Hell Rell, J Mills, Saigon, Papoose. Yeah, Papoose is probably in front of them all. So do you see yourself taking on an artist yourself? Oh naw, definitely not, but I’ma pay attention to all these new guys. So now, what’s the difference in breaking a car, ‘cause you moved a lot of cars for Ford? I tell you it’s very similar, man, you gotta make what the people want to see, you know, do what the people want. It’s almost like envisioning the future. You gotta have the vision of the future to be successful. ∞ For more of the Funk Flex interview and video clips of his special edition cars visit us at Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated • 71

Photography: Banks • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX



ay what you may know about Jayceon Taylor a.k.a. the Game, but the fact still remains, he has carved a name for himself out of the hip-hop landscape and is enjoying success doing his own thing. In the current music climate, 360,000 records for a first week debut is impressive. This achievement is even more impressive considering the amount of information about his past that has filtered onto the internet and into the hands of fans. Also, you can take into account that the album had been leaked by none other than the Game himself two weeks prior to the scheduled date. The Game is now a free man and he feels vindicated; yet freedom comes with a price. Nobody can deny the opportunities provided by working with the biggest selling rapper of the past two years and the top selling producer of all time, yet rebels don’t do things to follow suit. Game never wanted to be a soldier, he wanted to be a general and as such, he strategized and utilized every opportunity he got in order to gain an audience until he felt he could now establish his own identity. One may argue the split was premature in light of several lucrative opportunities outside of music including: apparel, video games, tours, movies, etc. Yet, The Game and his manager Jimmy Henchman never viewed The Game as a subsidiary of 50 Cent and Violator Management. Game was always viewed more as a peer and with The Documentary selling 600K the first week in January 2005, at that point, The Game and 50 Cent both only had one solo album under their belt.(The Massacre was released in March 2005).The sentiment? Why take orders from someone you don’t feel subservient to? Plus, the arrangement wasn’t organic, but more a fabrication of business where Jimmy Iovine head of (IGA) saw 50 Cent as a means to introduce the Game and generate excitement on the streets of the West with a new hero. To sweeten the deal, 50 Cent was offered a joint venture with Dr. Dre in regards to The Game’s contract, which is unusual for an artist with only one solo album. In all honesty, it was strictly business to begin with and to be indentured to a peer who you have no personal ties will outgrow itself once you establish yourself and build your own relationships within the industry. This became especially trying as The Game’s and Jimmy Henchman’s relationships conflicted with 50 Cent and Chris Lighty’s relationships. In a less high profile world, financial settlements would be reached through legal departments, confidential agreements will be signed, everyone will be mum and the game will go on.

In Hip-Hop, competition is key and someone must be King. If you come from the streets, you can never leave; you have to always prove you are always who you once were. As a result, a war has ensued and actual shots have been fired; yet beneath it all are the facts, The Game is extremely talented and hailing from the West Coast where there is a dearth of superstars on a label based on the West Coast, he will always get an audience somewhere as long as he makes good records. 50 Cent is a true legend; and over time his contributions as an entrepreneur and artist will be appreciated; for he has truly opened doors and raised the game and Dr. Dre has been here from the beginning, is still dominant and at the top. So, technically everyone can still prosper even if it’s not together. As such, the Game has found success selling his Sketchers produced Hurricane sneaker via a partnership with 310 Motoring, and has also made inroads into Hollywood with his appearance in Waist Deep. Touring revenue for The Game is strong and MTV partnered with him for his own “2 Dollar Bill Concert” which was broadcast on the MTV2 network. It is with this backdrop that we sat down with the Game. Doctor’s advocate. Just update us on what’s been going on with the Game in this past year? Oh, man, the past year has been an emotional rollercoaster, man. I have been high. I’ve been low. But, I’ve climbed out of shadows now, man. I’m out of that corner, man and I’m ready to box with these ni**az, man. I feel like I’m young Cassius Clay right now; before he changed his name and all that. Right now, I’m Cassius. Alright. So there are so many things that have been going on. What brought you to the position where you decide that it is time to be your own boss now and to where you say I am going to executive produce my own project. Like how did that maturity come about? I have always been my own boss in my mind. But, even bosses know that have to play their position until it’s their turn. The bosses of our day, whether it was Eazy or Dre or Jay or B.I.G. or Pac, man, anybody that was ahead of their time and running an organization, everybody always sat back and played their position. In my mind, I always knew where I wanted to be. I played chess with ni**az out here to position myself. Hip-Hop is a chess game. Sometimes ni**az got the up and out on you Issue Issue IX •IX OwnerS • OwnerS Illustrated Illustrated • 73 •


Photography: Jonathan Mannion

’m out of that corner, man, and I’m ready to box with these ni**az, man. I feel like I’m young Cassius Clay right now, before he changed his name and all that. RIGHT NOW I’M CASSIUS.”

THE GAME but then you come back and knocking kings off so, I think I’ve always known I was going to be in this position; it’s just you can’t always see over those obstacles and hurdles all the time. So where do you think it all broke down? (With G-Unit) Because everybody heard about (what happened at) the radio (station) but it probably broke down before that. When did you figure out that you and G-Unit weren’t seeing eye to eye? It’s been like that from the beginning, man; from the first day I joined G-Unit. I never wanted to be a part of that situation. But, it was a situation that I knew what I could benefit from it and that was success at the early stages of my career. Being that, they were the biggest thing happening in Hip-Hop at that time. They had Yayo, Lloyd Banks and Fifty from New York and then they had Buck from the South. They were missing the West Coast, so Jimmy Iovine threw me in there and I felt like we were the modern day N.W.A at our peak and then you know, me, you know, Ice-Cube and Eazy ran into some friction and then, you know, I left the group. I’m just Ice-Cube to N.W.A and that’s what happened, I walked away. “I was the dopest member in G-Unit as far as lyrics is concerned and being a real emcee.” I just packed my sh*t and left, now it’s time for me to get money. How’s the corporate world of endorsements since 5 million sold on the first project? I lost a whole lot of money when me and Fifty Cent started beefing and the shoot out happened; but now we are on a brighter side. I got the shoes out, we are about to do a clothing deal and a deal with Cadillac. It’s a whole bunch of s**t that I have to capitalize off of away from Rap, because, you know, in Hip-Hop we making pennies, man. We are almost the stool pigeons, you know. Kids out there or ni**az in the hood think that Rap is all sweet; you got a chain, a car and a video on 106 & Park and that’s it. After the cameras go off and the lights go dim, ni**az don’t have any money and that’s because ni**az don’t capitalize off their success and I’m getting it while it’s hot. How did the Automotive deal come about to endorse a product, not yet affiliated with Hip-Hop? It came from a constant grind in Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop is running the world right now and it takes Hip-Hop to sell anything. Are you still doing stuff with Boost mobile? My deal with Boost mobile is up and we are working it out, but I have a bunch of ring tone deals that I’ve done and made more money off of that than some ni**az made off their albums combined. I’m getting my money. We are going to do a new phone deal, but we don’t know which carrier yet. Like I said I’m capitalizing off each and every opportunity that I get a chance to until the end of my career. You and Snoop working together, doing tours together and getting on each others albums brings the West Coast unity back, talk about that and what if any insight you have for the West Coast, L.A. especially? I think that what me and Snoop did, touring together, doing records together showing ni**az that a Crip and a Blood could have unity in Hip-Hop did a lot, for not just L.A, but for ni**az around the world. Anytime you are on a positive level

EMERGING FROM THE SHADOWS and you give people an opportunity to see it on a major scale, the outcome is always going to be big, it’s always going to be positive, and as long as we are unified and can stay unified it’s always going to benefit us as a people. At what point did you say, okay let me compose an album and executive produce it, getting in the studio? How did that come about? From soaking up game from the good Dr. and being around him the better half of my career in Hip-Hop. Watching his every step and move, just being a youngster and a student of ‘Aftermath School of Dope Rap Ni**az.’ I soaked up a lot of game and now I’m in CEO mode. I don’t need anybody looking over my shoulders or telling me which way to go as far as my career is concerned, it’s all me. If this album sells 5 million or 10 mill… whatever, I’m getting all the praise and if it flops, then, I’ll take the blame, but at the end of the day, I did it my way. You came up with a lot of great ball players and we saw you do your thing at the Rucker with Baron Davis, Gilbert Arenas; What advice have they been able to pass along considering the differences of tax brackets, money wise and investments? I think that we’re better friends than we are business partners and they have their business; and they do their thing; and I have the right team surrounding me, so I don’t need those lectures. I’m investing in a lot of things; one of the biggest entities is Real Estate. Where you can create future finances for yourself, I’m making my own moves and I got a smart team around me, so we don’t really need no outside help, but when I talk to my ni**az, we are always shooting the sh*t and just making sure each other is good. You know from growing up in the hood and being homies from a young age and seeing all of us in our midtwenties and making millions of dollars, all successful and doing the right things and doing it positive, it’s big enough for us. What’s the future of Black Wall Street and clarify what the movement is? It wasn’t ever any official members of Black Wall Street. There weren’t ever any official members of Black Wall Street. Black Wall Street is just a stage where I give artists a chance to come in and be apart of something. If the relationship doesn’t work out, I wish them the best and they go on. Juice is the first official artist on Black Wall Street and he’s from the West Coast, just a breath of fresh air for us out there. He’s a cross between the Dr. and Jay-Z; you’ll hear music from him as time goes on. Another artist from Atlanta named Black Boy, he’s dope too, he’s definitely T.I and Jeezy’s competition; not on no beef sh*t because I have a lot of love for T.I and Jeezy, them my ni**as. But he’s my artist; he’s young, he’s hungry and we are going to get it in. I also have a singer from Louisiana named Neckbone Williams, he’s like the southern Nate Dogg. I have a lot of artists that I’m working with, but those are the ones who deserve honorable mention. ∞ The Game interview is continued online at

Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated • 75



Interview: Damola Photography:

o say Lil Wayne is on a rampage would be an understatement. In the past two years, there hasn’t been a mix tape released without a verse from Lil Wayne staking his claim for dominance. He has gained much respect for his brand with The Suffix, Dedication I and II, Like Father Like Son, to The Carter Collection, to Blow, the Hustlenomics mix tape, to numerous others by deejays globally. He even has gained respect by posting mix tapes on his website: It appears as if Lil Wayne single handedly is holding down Cash Money. Gaining critical acclaim for his classic album, Tha Carter II, which was his first disk to be produced without the aide of longtime collaborator, Mannie Fresh, it marked a dawn of a new era for Cash Money Records. Wayne has now been President for over a year and his relentless approach with his craft and work ethic could only inspire his new crop of artists which include: Bricoe, Lil Allstar, Currency, and Yo Gotti. But Wayne hasn’t just dominated mix tapes, he has also dominated other people’s albums by doing several guest appearances which only enhanced his visibility and boosted his value as an artist and his publishing portfolio. As a testament to his talent, an overwhelming majority of his appearances became singles that also get released with music videos, so Wayne has been everywhere. A 13 year veteran of the industry, yet only in his mid 20’s, Wayne constantly tours in conjunction with the artists who he granted appearances to, in addition to, himself and his Cash Money artists. As such, both further increased his market saturation. From his own accounts, he has made over $10 million in the past year and with the structure of the recording industry changing to a more digital and publishing rights format as opposed to sales royalties, Lil Wayne is perfectly prepped for success. In the new format, money is made from ringtones, endorsements, downloads sales, performance fees, licensing fees, in addition to album sales. By boosting his brand value, he provides himself more opportunities to be on hit singles and he has already recorded and shot videos for several songs that will vie for top singles of 2007. The story of Cash Money is not new to Owners Illustrated as Wayne graced our cover last year fresh off the Hurricane Katrina Disaster. A true hustler, he has bounced back and moved forward. Maybe the tragedy has made his love for the game even stronger, or maybe he is determined to prove he is the best rapper alive even after the best rapper un-retired to mixed results. Regard of the case, he is doing the best he can to validate his claim by actually building a catalog of material. He also has a foundation named One Family Foundation for orphaned kids, a clothing line for his several female fans, real estate interests, and also interests in a restaurant 501 Ocean in Miami. The boy is getting paid and can be seen riding chauffeured in his all black Phantom with a black driver dressed in all black. To see where he is this year knowing the tragedy he suffered and to be observed the work he put in to bounce back, one can only respect his hustle, to hear him rhyme you have to respect his craft and his love for what he does. Who said hip-hop was dead?

It’s been a real big year; Platinum plus on Tha Carter II. So, what’s been happening? Oh yeah, thank God for that and the fans for that, first off. Yeah man, a lot of growing and a lot of maturing has been happening. Actually, I’m going to take that back, I’m not doing anything but working right now, working hard. We are doing this interview via my studio right now and like you just said, platinum plus. That isn’t the first album that did that. A lot of people that are in my position wouldn’t be right here, right in Miami[working]. Well, not saying they wouldn’t be because I don’t know anybody, but I know where I’m at and that’s important; and I’m right here working on my left hand. Aight, so what’s the next project you got going on? Is it Tha Carter III? Is it I Can’t Feel My Face? You have Like Father Like Son. Of course, you have I Can’t Feel My Face, the mixtape. We are due to drop that either this month or something like that either this month. I Can’t Feel My Face, also the album, not the same songs; we are going to go back in, do an album. We got like six done already. We are going to put that out at the top of the year and after that of course, Tha Carter III. So Tha Carter III comes out after I Can’t Feel My Face? Yeah. So it’s all like a setup for Wayne taking over? I’m not trying to take over. I’m doing my thing man. I see you in the black Phantom riding out here through South Beach with the black chauffeur, as the single says “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy”. So explain, how Cash Money still brought the stuff back out here in M-I-A doing your thing? I mean, everybody knows I wasn’t going to let nothing bad happen. I wasn’t going to let us fall or nothing like that, so the name is gonna always do its thing. As long as I got something to do with the name, it’s gonna be a name; as long as I’m here. So I’m quite sure my fans, whoever they are… I love you whoever you are… I’m quite sure they knew that I wasn’t gonna let us fall, so I’m riding what I’m supposed to ride, living where I’m supposed to live. Then, I just strive to do better if there is a better. People look at it and be like you doing better than most. You are. I’m happy but not satisfied, so the Phantom and riding around and calling shots and all, is cool, but until the day I’m really on top, that’s what I’m talking about. Talking about calling shots, I know you just shot the video with Currency, who is the first artist under your label, Young Money. Talk about that process and that maturity of having your own protégé that you could groom and educate from your experience? I mean, it was a great experience first off, because anybody can teach somebody something that is creative. I’m teaching a person how to form an album, I’m not teaching him how to ride a bike or anything like that, I’m teaching him how to make something that’s gonna make his family and everybody else happy. I mean, not the creative side, the financial side. Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated • 77

WAYNE&BABY STUNTIN’: LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON Exactly. So situations like that is the sole reason why I do it, me, myself being young, 24, teaching a young ni**a how to handle money, how to make money first off the right way. Let me take that back when I say the right way, I mean make money his way…teaching somebody how to do that at a young age. He is, what, I’m 24; so he’s 25. All I can say is when I’m 34 and he is 35 we should be straight. I could help somebody. That makes it better, but as far as his work ethic and all that, he works like me; he likes to get in there and do it, so that was easy. Talking about work ethic, what has been inspiring you as of late? In the past year, I don’t know anybody in the game that’s put out the body of work; there’s not a mix tape that comes out without a verse from Wayne. There’s not a remix that comes out without a verse from Wayne. What’s been inspiring your relentless approach on the microphone in this past year? Oh, that’s easy, my devotion to what I do; creativity, man. I mean, it’s the perfect definition of who I am. I think it’s to give back to my fans, to let the listener know that this ni**a is doing this out of love. He really loves what he does because he keeps doing it. If he didn’t love it, then he wouldn’t, we’d hear him when he want us to hear him. Obviously you keep hearing me and I keep getting on everything and I keep working. I mean, it’s because I love it. Obviously you know everybody ain’t breaking it off like that. A lot of s**t I do be for free ‘cause fortunately I’m cool with a lot of muthafu**as so it just be like send me a song, I send you one, so that happened a lot. That’s why you hear me a lot also but like I said I love what I do; that’s why I’m in the studio right now. So how did the whole you and Juelz thing come together? That’s my man. That’s my brother right there. It was evident we had to do something. We have been rocking together way before the raps, so it was the perfect time to drop. He’s hot. I’m hot. Some North South action too. Yeah, we didn’t even look at that part of it though. It was just that, we rock. You do one. I do one. When did you and Baby decide to bring this Like Father Like Son project together? Why now as opposed to a couple years ago? Stunna came up with the idea right when the whole break down happened. Mannie was gone, I was about to go and holler at Jay for a second or was just peaking my head out. I don’t mean to bring nobody’s name up, but I was just peaking my head out, period. And when I settled down with what I really wanted to do, he came in and was like, alright, let’s show ni**as what’s going on now… The question in every interview is what y’all gon’ do. Everybody’s gone. You gonna ride with Wayne? What you gon’ do? Wayne, he still here. Is Wayne gon’ be with y’all? Sh*t like that. Those are the questions, so he was like let’s do this Like Father Like Son album to answer all those questions. Because you and Khaled did a mix tape Like Father Like Son, too, before that. Yeah, the next single is going to be called Leather So Soft and that’s going to be the single we use for radio and TV and we are also going to have three songs that we combine for the streets. So now, talk about your role as president, running Cash Money. What does that entail now? 78 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX

Making decisions. That’s all. Making all those major decisions right now, you know; being the creative control behind everything. What is the future like? What’s on the table right now for Cash Money? Of course, Like Father Like Son and then They Can’t Feel My Face might be a Cash Money album, you never know. Stunna is in the [studio] working. That’s on the low though. And, he got another Birdman album coming and of course, Tha Carter III and you know we have Lil Allstar from Tennessee and Currency. Let’s go back. Obviously man, it’s a lot of past members of the camp who have been making a lot of commentary right now. The first time we got up in the east mansion [2004 New Orleans], Gillie was there and now we hear all of this. What is your viewpoint and your thoughts on those who learned and ate from the Cash Money tree now throwing rocks at the home? Thanks for seeing it that way, too. It’s good you see it that way. A lot of people don’t look at it like that and that’s the reality of it -how you just put it. But we’re from the streets, though, man. Who from the streets haven’t seen a ni**a go sour before? You know what I mean. B**ches do it all day. So, that’ll just show you that a ni**a’s a b**ch. You know what I mean. We watch that all the time in the streets. So it really wasn’t anything and it damn sure wasn’t a loss. As far as what he’s poppin’ right now, that doesn’t make sense. You can only offend somebody with your words if you are talking the truth. But, he’s not making sense, though or speaking the truth. How many rhymes and how many CDs have you already put down since the last time he was in the camp? I recall hits from Fireman, the Chris Brown record, Bobby Valentino record, etc. They got some s**t coming.... Stuntin’ Like My Daddy record... But they got s**t coming that people are not really... Soldier record... ...ain’t on yet. They got s**t like Hollywood Divorce... Yeah, the OutKast record... OutKast. They have that. They have Mya; she’s coming back strong. I’m on her s**t. Kelly Rowland’s coming back strong. I’m on her album and I’m going to shoot a video with Lil Lloyd. You know Murder Inc. beat the case, they are back out; I’m on his. It like I’m everywhere. Oh, then you know Ms. Dynamite. What about Nelly Furtado’s Maneater remix; Robin Thicke’s album, I’m on that. He just dropped. Go get that because that boy is sickening. Fabolous… Yep, I’m on that, Fabolous’ first single. It’s produced by Steve Morales, the craziest. Listen, Steve Morales’ production is the craziest. I can rap, so I know how good music is supposed to sound. That ni**a is sickening. I’m telling you. I just wanted to put that out there. Steve Mo-ra-les. Check his background. You’re not going to do anything but find albums that sell over ten million records. The man is big. He just walked through here and told me he is putting me on the [“Bleep Bleep”] song. You heard him. That’s the type of people he f**ks with. In case everyone wants to know, he works with artists like Christina Aguilera and Marc Anthony, Celine Dion, S**t like that. He doesn’t only do

their music; he does their vocals for them, meaning he can help them sing the song right. That’s my ni**a. He’s helping me do an alternative album which you don’t know about. Okay. Talk about your love of sports; you even have the ESPN phone. Yeah, it just showed me something. . . Arizona leads Chicago… In case we wasn’t watching the game, it shows you and you can go there for highlights and s**t…I love sports. I’m a big Pedro Martinez fan. I’m a Boston Red Sox fan but I go with the players that left them. I still like the players that leave Boston like Pedro, Johnny Damon for the Yankees. I love sports, man. I plan on owning a team one day. That’s a great ambition. You also had the endorsement deal with Reebok, ‘I am what I am.’ What’s been going on with that? I can’t front, I haven’t really talked to them recently so I don’t know what’s popping, but last I’ve heard of it is that I was going to maybe design my own shoe or something like that. But, I haven’t talked to them recently, like I said. So, I can’t really elaborate on them too much right now but I can tell you that as far as fashion design, I have my own female line of jeans coming out called Double U Jeans. Not double u as in the letter

“w,” but as in two u’s, double u jeans. Okay now who’s going to be the spokesmodel for that? I’m trying to find one now… It’s going to have the two u’s on the back pocket. Double U’s. How about Trina? Huh? I don’t know, we’ll have to see how much she charges or something, you know what I mean… Got to call up her management and see how much she charges for something like that. I thought you have a direct No. I don’t. Unfortunately, I don’t anymore. I used to. We were real good friends a while back, but now I don’t; unfortunately. She’s a real good person, though. So, Mr. Wayne is looking for another great friend, another great companion? Yeah, I’m trying to be upgraded. ∞ To read the rest of the Lil Wayne interview and view exclusive footage visit us at Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated • 79

• OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX



Interview: Damola Photography:

n the streets, the drug fiends aren’t loyal to the hustlers; they are loyal to the product. Cash Money Records- with over 15 years of stewardship in the independent music industry, and after their landmark agreement with number one market shareholder Universal Music Group- have always understood this concept. In the beginning, the house that Slim and Baby built had UNLV and when that outfit disbanded they lay their fate in the hands of a budding New Orleans legend, B.G. Eventually Lil Wayne would join the fold and together he and B.G. will form a potent tandem, later evolving into a quartet with Juvenile and Turk joining the crew. Over the years, artists have come and go, only to return again, gain success and then leave to moderate success, save for Young Buck who has made his mark with G-Unit. Bosses do what bosses do, and Slim and Baby have always found ways to generate revenue and justify the suits of the Universal pact, which gives them 80 percent of the profits of every recording. Having even signed R&B legend Teena Marie, as well as songbirds Lil Mo and Keke Wyatt, among others, there will always be product coming from Cash Money. The brothers laid out the blueprint and are now ready to groom their youngest protégée, Lil Wayne to take over the wings, and thus far they are more than delighted in the results. To truly understand the relationship they have with their artist you have to know the demographics and the landscape of New Orleans, a city that even before Katrina, produced unsightly unemployment rates with massive numbers of Blacks living below the poverty line. Post Katrina, over 200,000 of their black residents are dispersed across the nation with no hopes of coming back, a travesty in the world’s most prosperous nation. There was no record game in the N.O. until Cash Money, along with Master P and No Limit, built it in the mid-90s, and their still unmatched global success of over a combined 100 million records worldwide, validated southern hip-hop and is the infrastructure artists flourish from to this day. In essence, they fathered the game, and served as parental roles for their artists, who delivered products of their wretched environment. It is from that perspective that Baby “adopted” Lil Wayne over a decade ago when he was just 11 years old and nurtured him to the man he is today. I have seen the two travel in matching, chauffeured Phantoms and charter jets across the country. I dined at their mansion 2 years ago, pre-Katrina, and was therefore well aware of their loses last year, to the point where the policemen who are sworn to protect and serve were instead looting their property. Going from the Katrina tragedy to prosperity in their new Miami home is an inspiration for all those who face adversity; they did it simply by putting their nose to the ground and pushing. Longtime producer, Mannie Fresh has long left, yet with a batch of hungry new beatmakers, their sound is dominant once more. Lil Wayne’s “Money On My Mind” with then unknown producers, The Runners paved the way for their success with Rick Ross’

“Hustlin’,” which broke records for ringtone sales by a debut artist. After getting back on their feet, the hustlers are ready for the re-up, and now they have signed a bevy of new talent including Currency, Briscoe, All Star, Yo Gotti and Choppa from Da Band and Bad Boy fame. Cash Money is still the company and Weezy’s the boss, but the Chairman still guides the ship. After spending time with the Cash Money Family on the set of the “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy” video, I caught up with Baby to discuss several things, including their now gold album, Like Father Like Son. It’s been a minute since we last got a chance to chat up, man, so we just want a little update on what’s going on with Cash Money right now. The Father and Son album, you hear me, that’s what me and my little son are doing right now. We’ve got young Currency, who’s the first act off of Young Money and we have All Star and the little homey, Brisco. That’s the new era right there. I heard… you got something going on with Yo Gotti and, Brisco, too, right? Believe that. Yo Gotti and All Star, Brisco, yeah. So talk about the relocation to Miami after Katrina, man. How was that move and why you chose Miami? Sh*t, a ni**a was always headed toward Miami and we love it out there. You know DJ Khaled, Poe Boy, E Class. Everybody opened their arms to us…that’s like home to us really. I know that you had the endorsement with Lugz. How’s that going man, with the Birdman shoes? Me and Lugz have a great relationship. It’s really my fifth year with them. And then you also hosted on that Dub video game, too, right? Yeah, that was called the Midnight… Midnight Club. It went platinum though. You had other endorsements that paid you very lucratively. How did those types of things come your way? Just in contract, you know, bro. F**k with what’s hot. A ni**a just trying to branch into other things outside of music, you know. So do you have any new endorsement deals on the table right now? We are working on a few movies, but that’s about it right now. Just maintaining all the other sh*t that we already have, you know. Just speaking on that and even thinking about the “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy” video and Like Father Like Son, how’s the transition been bringing Wayne into a more leadership role as far as moving Cash Money to the future? How has that whole move been and how has that been for you? Continued on page 88 Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated • 81

JIM JONES Ballin’ Like There’s No Tomorrow

Interview: Damola Photography: Banks

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o deny the success Jim Jones and his Dipset brethren have garnered since the split up of Roc-A-Fella Records in late 2004 would require being completely out of touch with reality. Since tensions were observed from Dame Dash’s decision to hire Cam’ron as vice president of Roc-A-Fella, based on his success as the only artist at the time outside of Jay-Z to go platinum on the label, The Diplomats have only confirmed Dame’s belief in their acumen as businessmen. Without the support of a corporate sponsor, The Diplomats have forged a global fanbase by simply staying accessible and being savvy with their marketing schemes. Beneath it all, Dipset has stayed true to themselves and became trendsetters as a result. Guys rocking pink wasn’t considered cool until a few years ago when they did it and created a movement and now, Jim Jones is starting a new trend with rock-inspired skull jewelry and tighter tshirts along with chains being worn on his jeans. Dipset has sold mixtape albums directly to their consumers at for years. That loyal fanbase has created other lucrative opportunities like a P&D deal with KOCH Records where they earn in excess of $7 per record and flourish because they don’t need the marketing muscle of a major recording label to be profitable. Yet their success has forced record companies to come knocking. With Juelz Santana going platinum on Def Jam, despite Jay-Z’s post as president and his disagreements with the Dips, that success is a testament to their savvy and the fact that you can’t stop the product. Former Def Jam executives and current Warner Music Group honchos Lyor Cohen and Kevin Liles were so impressed by Jim Jones leadership as Co-CEO of The Diplomats that they offered him an executive position in their A&R department and rewarded his success with yet another label deal for his own Byrdgang Records. On the heels of this development, Jim Jones signed longtime New York underground legend Stack Bundles away from DJ Clue’s Desert Storm Records and added his longtime contributor Max B. to the fold. A true Harlem native, Jim Jones is about getting money. His high stakes game of chess with Jay-Z resulted in a diss over his massively-successful single “Ballin’ (Instrumental),” which Jim Jones turned into a beef mix and in turn obtained a free remix from Jay-Z. His Myspace page has since gotten over 22 million plays at an average of over 100,000 a day. “Ballin’” is not just a phenomenon; it’s a movement that has even trickled down to ESPN, who has covered the phenomenon of football players doing the dance after an amazing play. And not to miss a dollar, Jim Jones also released a Dipset Christmas album that featured a “Ballin’” remix with Harlem’s favorite son Diddy, along with T.I., Young Dro, Baby, Lil Wayne and others. It’s only fitting for our third anniversary that we sit down with Jones for the third time as he takes on giants armed with more than a slingshot.

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did the song Ballin’ from New York. I keep telling everybody, that’s a New York song so wherever you at in this world or in the country, you know when the song come on, it’s for you and you get to represent the way New York should…”

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So what’s been good fam? Everything’s been good.

trying to capitalize off of it. We are trying to seize the moment and all opportunities.

“Ballin’,” “When It’s Reppin’ Time,” Byrdgang Records… tell us, man, what’s been happening since last year when we got at you? Just been working even harder. New album, new deals. I mean currently, we got the hottest song out. I’m counting my blessings. I can’t be mad.

Talk about that Harlem flavor too, man, cause even in the videos, “Birds Fly High/ Reppin’ Time” has a different flair about it, and I feel like that’s a little bit of something that’s been missing. Like people coming out bringing the swag, bringing the flair so that the fans can hang on to something so they feel like, ‘Yeah, this my dude right here.’ Talk about how you’re working that flair into your presentation. We wreak swag, like that’s a Harlem thing, man. When you come up in Harlem, one of the first lessons you learn aside from hustling is your swagger; like your style, getting fly. That’s all we know how to do where we are from so when you got a chance to be in front of the camera, all they are going to see is nothing but swag.

You got Byrdgang Records, man. Tell us about that right there. Byrdgang Records is a subsidiary of Diplomat Records. It’s just another lane for us to make some more money. I have some incredible artists that I signed to the label. Shouts to Max B; he‘s from Harlem, talented kid. Stack Bundles from Far Rockaway; he’s the truth, shouts to Jha Jha, first lady of Dipset. So, you know we’re doing things big over here. We Ballin’. Now talk about that. Talk about how that song came about. I did the song “Ballin’” from New York. I keep telling everybody, that’s a New York song so wherever you at in this world or in the country, you know when the song comes on, it’s for you and you get to represent the way New York should. The video was a beautiful experience. We went to L.A. The whole thing, the way people are taking to the song and screaming ballin’ out, it’s a beautiful feeling… It’s been a big year for Dipset. Juelz is doing his thing, Cam’ron, the DVD, Purple City, Byrdgang. What’s been the evolution of Dipset from last year to this year? Hard work like this is something that we set out to do a long time ago. We have just been putting in work till it was our time to shine and right now we have a lane like nobody else and we are

We’ve also seen the Fast Life DVD. Thanks to everybody for supporting that DVD, A Day in the Fast Life. The Maserati, talk about the whip game man, cause whenever we see Dipset it’s always some new whips. We see the yellow Lambo, the rainbow colors. We got whips for days, man. You know I don’t really like to floss too much on people. It’s cool. I like to hear people talk about what they got, the cocky people and sh*t like that. That’s why I do it, to shut them down. But as far as whips, man, we damn near got a car dealership. Every car you could imagine, we got it, man. We ballin’ in our own garage. From high-powered, highperformance cars to Purple Label cars- however you wanna do it. Whether it’s a Lamborghini, all-top, drop-top, whether it’s Ferraris, Maserati’s, coupes, Bentleys, Chargers, Benz’s, RClass’, 550’s, a Porsche truck or whether it’s a Porsche Carrera drop, these cars are in my garage. People think I’m just naming

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e don’t owe nobody nothing. We don’t take no orders from nobody. We don’t compromise our integrity when it comes to this game, you understand?” cars ‘cause I know their name. No, b**ch, these cars are in my garage. Seriously, I’m watching you ni**as out there. I like what you kids are doing, smell me? I commend you for that. But we ball, for real. Now explain the Byrdgang Records and how that’s different from Dipset. There’s really no difference from Byrdgang Records. We did a deal over at Asylum, everybody knows Diplomat Records is the headstone; that’s the bird that’s flying high and that’s the umbrella. But you know as a business man, I like to do a lot of things and I had some ambitions of my own and I did the Byrdgang deal so that we would have another avenue to put some music out and sh*t like that, but you know Killer Cam is still on par and still executive produces everything with me. Of course. Now also, just kick it to us too, man, about your executive position; you’re a year in now. How has that evolved? How have you been able to balance that and what are some of the projects that you’ve had a chance to work on? Also, how has it influenced you having gotten a year in the building with Lyor and Kevin? I think it’s a good experience. I think I’ve been soaking up more game than anything else. I didn’t want to make too many hasty moves, too many fast

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moves, but right now I’m in my lane. I got my mojo back, you know what I mean. So I’m concentrating on the Byrdgang thing and it’s a lot of other artists out there that I have my eyes on. I’m still looking for great music and great opportunities. And just a lesson for artists, it’s not all about the music, it’s about your total representation, know what I mean. Like, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make sure you fly as hell on your first impression when you are doing this game. Explain this, Dipset has always been able to get money in a drought. Explain how the group has been able to do that? We don’t work for nobody. We don’t owe anybody anything and we don’t take orders from nobody. We don’t compromise our integrity when it comes to this game, you understand. So why would we let our money stop. You dig? There’s no dry period to us in this game. Every time is an opportunity to make some more money. You dig? You need to realize how muthaf**kin’ beneficial this muthaf**kin’ music game is. For you stupid ni**as it’s only a connection for you to go somewhere else. It’s only high school. Don’t think you are going to do this forever. ∞ For more on this and other interviews and video clips with Jim Jones, visit www.ownersillustrated. com.

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WAYNE&BABY STUNTIN’: LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON Baby continued from page 88

I mean it’s nothing for the little homey…and I just felt like s**t, if anybody it might as well be my son…he can handle it. It ain’t about nothing. He’s been through much worse. We look at him handling it. I’d put my life in his hands. I know he got us without a doubt. Now, as a legend who has opened the southern music game for a lot of people, from your record deal to the artists you broke to opening the market, you have made a lot of plates for a lot of people. But as of recent, a lot of people that ate off that plate have had a lot of campaigns going on. What’s your impression of what’s happening with a lot of the people who were cool with you and Wayne at one point in time and then now have a whole bunch to say? How does that affect your business? I never let it affect my business. I never let it ruin my perspective, you heard me. I just kept my house. When I hear that sh*t or see that s**t, bro, I just let bi**h ni**as do bi**h things, you heard me. We are doing what we do and we are eating over here. And I know these ni**as are not about no real trouble so I wasn’t ever really tripping…you know the mouth is like an ass, bro, anything will come out of it, you hear me. I hear that. I’m a hustler. A ni**a just keep it moving. And if we ever run across paths and whatever it got to be we deal with that, like that. But, as far as people with their mouths, I never get down with that. I’ve never thought that was cool and as far as my little children who I brought to the game, I have never really wanted to f**k with them like that. If it doesn’t make money, it don’t make sense to me, homey, so when we run across each other, bro, I know how to get down for mine. Speaking on that, when we did the first interview at the mansion, Gillie was there and a lot of what I hear from him now isn’t the same vibe I witnessed, personally, with him with your crew. All I can tell you is get money, man. You hear me? Try to get money, you know. Do whatever you do, homey, but to me, the way they are going about it, it isn’t going to get them money. Go out there and show the world what you are built of. Like when I came in the game, I dropped my nut, ya heard me. ‘This is what it’s going to be ni**a. I’m a stunna. F**k all y’all,’ you heard me. And the world accepted me and appreciated my stuntin’. If you look at TV all you see is some kind of way a ni**a is reproducing our lifestyle and what we built. So, you know you just have to stand up, man. You know, some ni**as fall. I teach my son to never fall. I don’t give a f**k if he gets shot nine times. Ni**a get up if you can get up, you heard me. Don’t ever fall. These other people are falling cause they doing hoe s**t. Hearing the music that Wayne had on Tha Carter II, it’s a lot different than the music that traditionally was with Cash Money. Who knew I could get away from that Mannie Fresh sh*t. Anyway, bro, we were winding down from that anyway, you heard me, before the dumb s**t. And then I’m glad it all worked hand in hand because now we have the chance to show what we like, not what Fresh won’t give us. I’m so glad we are away from that Mannie Fresh sh*t; where we can really explain ourselves. Bling-bling is in the dictionary now. So every year you always introduce a new flavor, a new slang for people. So what’s new for this ‘07 era? How are you stuntin’? What’s new for the people to get on to? 88 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX

We reppin’ now, bro, ‘cause we stunt so hard, you hear me; Keeping the brand alive. I mean, you have so much slang out there, so many words it really is a natural thing for us because we are slang talkers. That’s just the way we chop, talk with slang, you know. No telling how it’s gonna come out or what might come out, bro. But one thing about me and my young ni**a, we stay so fresh with this s**t, a ni**a got to respect our hustle ‘cause we gon’ get money, homey. You gon’ see us. When you see my son, you see me, homey, ‘cause we are going to represent it. Believe that. Now, when we did the interview last time, you talked about the Miami real estate game and how everybody could see all over Miami, they’re building all sorts of stuff. So how has that been going for you as far as investing in the real estate in Miami? We are comfortable out in Miami, but I keep looking at a lot… Miami definitely has a lot of sh*t going on. It’s a lot of ways to get money out there. Real estate is definitely the way. You know me and my son just bought us some condos out there, some big ass condos, you hear me, so that’s all. We are just living it up right now, bro, just setting our plan up for the New Year, bro. Well, now on the N.O.; the Saints are doing great and everybody is looking forward to the Hornets doing their thing and you know it’s a lot of development going on, what is your viewpoint of what is going on in New Orleans a year after Katrina? Well, it’s f**ked up. It’s hard for us. I’m talking about us as black people. I don’t really know about white folks but I know us as black folks, its hard. It really is nothing left in the town, you know. That’s why there’s so much murder and there is nobody helping them ni**as so a ni**a just find other reasons to really just bug out. White folks taking sh*t; Ni**as dying; Older folks dying. You hear me, bro? It’s all f**ked up out here. Ni**as just about murder, man. It ain’t about no money. Now that’s real right there, man. So what, if anything, would you want to say of encouragement, because it just seems like over 200,000 citizens of New Orleans have no way to get back. It was f**ked up for us, too but I just went on and kept hustling, you hear me, homey. We got to re-up, youngin’. We got to re-up. We can’t fold, homey. I could have easily gone home and tried to worry about that, man. I just took that sh*t aside and went on with life because society was still moving. Wasn’t nobody giving a f**k about what was going on in New Orleans. Muthaf**kas was feeling us, but they didn’t have to live it and I took a hustler approach. Let’s go finish hustling, and we’ll entertain that sh*t later, you heard me. That’s all I could tell a ni**a, man, just hustle, man, you heard me. I mean, we living this sh*t, you heard me. So just hustle. Whatever comes out that hustle, if it means your life, if it means the penitentiary or if it means you get rich, that’s just what’s on the table for me and that’s the cards we are dealt, so deal the muthaf**kas. That’s all I can say. Now a lot of people only just see the stuntin’ side of it, but you and your brother have a foundation too, where you have been giving back for years. Talk about that a little bit, man, because a lot of people don’t see that other side. Yeah. We have been doing this turkey thing since we were staying in the projects; and I [sponsored] a school. I help with a school and the North League. It’s hard for a ni**a out here, bro. It’s hard. That’s why it’s just a dirty game, bro. So a muthaf**ka just live it. ∞

GIVING BACK Slim Thug, Paul Wall

Afeni Shakur

Sleepy Brown, Big Boi


Keisha Cole

Founded in 2002, RockCorps is an initiative with the objective of affecting social change and acting as a bridge between communities in need and the young adults who want to make them better. The program’s directors are Stephen Greene (CEO), Noel Eisenberg (Consulting Producer), Chris “Toby” Garrett (Producer), Paul Hunter (Producer), Grady Lee (Producer), Haley Moffett (Producer) and premier video director Chris Robinson serves as Producer/Director, Creative Force. Each accomplished in their own right, they also came together to form this progressive alliance.

The Game

Discovering an ingenious way of getting young adults to participate in community service since their 2005 partnership with Boost Mobile has yielded the 4-for1 Campaign, which simply means that for every four hours of community service completed, you receive an exclusive ticket to a star-studded concert in your city at a secret location with other volunteers. This approach makes awareness strong for future participation, as you can only get the tickets by volunteering.

Young Jeezy

For 2006, there were concerts in Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and New York. Performances included Nas, Lil Wayne, Nelly, Young Jeezy, Slim Thug, T.I., Ghostface, Paul Wall, Keyshia Cole, Rick Ross and many others. We were fortunate enough to catch two amazing shows in D.C. and Atlanta. In the past two years, over 16,000 people have volunteered. More programs like this are needed for youth to build character and value by giving back to their community. — Damola For more information visit and Lil Wayne


Nick Cannon

Darryl Cobbin, Boost Mobile & Director, Chris Robinson Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated • 89



THQ/ 7 Studios PS2, XBOX 360 Based on the most popular cable series ever, The Sopranos, the game “The Sopranos: Road to Respect” is out and more than worthy of playing time. The game allows players to be one of the ‘fellas. The story picks up with a war brewing between the Philadelphia crew and the Jersey Crew over the death of the nephew of one of Philly’s bosses. Playing the character of the illegitimate son of “Big Pussy,” gamers ascend by proving their loyalty to Tony Soprano- by being a soldier and making runs and protecting their turf. The game’s setting mirrors the show as you operate from Bada Bing, Nuovo, Vesuvio, Satriale’s and even others from Season 6. The Sopranos: Road to Respect, is in stores now and is no kids play featuring Blood, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content and Use of Drugs, so expect it to be just as gripping as the HBO original series. This game is for mature audiences only. Visit for more information. — Damola

90 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX


Image courtesy of THQ

The Sopranos: Road to Respect


• Holds up to 20,000 songs or 100 hours of video • Up to 20 hours of battery life for music playback and six and a half hours of video playback. • Brightness control allowing users to easily change the brightness.

BLACKBERRY PEARL The BlackBerry Pearl is the first BlackBerry handset to come with a digital camera, multi-media capabilities and an expandable memory slot, while continuing to provide the full BlackBerry experience that is widely popular throughout the world. Beneath its sleek and stylish exterior, which measures just 4.2” x 1.97” x .57” and weighs only 3.1 ounces, the BlackBerry Pearl from Cingular is a quad-band GSM/GPRS and EDGE-enabled mobile application powerhouse delivering the fast performance of the latest generation BlackBerry handset platform. The built-in 64MB flash memory is now expandable with a microSD card, giving users plenty more storage for music, pictures and videos. Features: Unique features of the BlackBerry Pearl from Cingular include Cingular’s Push to Talk service and the availability of TeleNav GPS NavigatorTM for turn-byturn driving directions. • Speaker Independent Voice Recognition for Voice Activated Dialing (VAD), support for polyphonic, mp3 and MIDI ring tones, and intuitive call management features such as smart dialing, conference calling, speed dialing and call forwarding. It also features a speakerphone and Bluetooth® 2.0 for use with hands-free headsets and car kits. BlackBerry Desktop Manager synchronization via Bluetooth is also supported. • A 1.3 megapixel camera with built-in flash and 5x digital zoom, users can snap a picture and instantly share it with friends and family by email(3), MMS or BlackBerry Messenger.

Image & Info. courtesy of Research in Motion

APPLE iPOD (80 GB) The new iPod features a 60 percent brighter and more vibrant 2.5-inch color display perfect for watching TV shows and now Hollywood movies right in the palm of your hand. The new iPod features seamless integration with iTunes® 7 and the iTunes Store ( which now includes over 75 Hollywood movies, 220 television shows and popular video games designed specifically for the fifth generation iPod.

Image & Info. courtesy of Apple

Zune lets you spontaneously share selected full-length sample tracks of your favorite songs, homemade recordings, playlists or pictures with friends wirelessly, Zune to Zune. You can listen to any song you receive up to three times in three days. And if you like a song you hear and want to buy it, you can flag it right on your device to easily find it later. • Your own personalized Zune. Zune is easy to use and easy to love. You can choose one of three base colors, each combined with a distinctive double-shot finish created by the overlay of one color on another. The player also can easily be customized with your favorite pictures. • Large color screen. Zune comes with a bright 3-inch LCD video screen that works in portrait or landscape mode. Your music, video and pictures never looked better. • 30GB player. Zune stores up to 7,500 songs, 25,000 pictures or 100 hours of video.2 You can make playlists on the go and watch a slide show while you’re listening. Watching video in landscape mode gets the most out of the vivid display. • Zune Pass. Downloads or a subscription? It’s your choice. A Zune Pass subscription gives you “all you can eat” access to discover and explore the Zune Marketplace. • Built-in FM tuner. With the built-in FM tuner you can listen to local FM radio stations or tune in to programming while you’re at your local health club, for example. Advanced tuning capabilities allow you to see the name of the song currently playing on selected frequencies.

Image & Info. courtesy of Microsoft Corp.

MICROSOFT ZUNE Zune starts with a 30GB digital media player and adds a twist. You can wirelessly share selected full-length sample tracks, playlists, pictures or your home-grown tracks directly from Zune to Zune. You can listen to the full-length songs that you receive up to three times in three days, flag the ones you like and easily buy them the next time you sync up. You can discover new music in the Zune Marketplace, and show off your favorite pictures and videos on the big, bright screen. Zune has all that and a built in FM tuner, too. Let your inner DJ run wild.

Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated • 91



Lola Luv



Appeared in: Hustlenomics 1st Semester

Photography: Wil David

DC cover girl – the next it girl among video vixens. Angel is a fast riser who has caught the interest of 50 Cent, and has appeared in numerous leads with the likes of Young Jeezy, Lloyd Banks, Busta Rhymes, and others. Watch out for her in 2007.

• OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX

Melyssa Ford Appeared in: Owners Illustrated Issue II

Photography: Donna Pernell

Melyssa Ford has paved the way for so many women to flourish in the game. To this day she remains the standard to which all other video vixen hopefuls are compared. She is, however, segueing to other opportunities. She had her own show on BET, created a highly popular website and has a top selling calendar. Look out for her in movie roles in 2007.



Lyric OwnerS

Texas’ Sexist, Lyric’s grind and gifts have placed her second to none. Her website is a top destination and the list of music videos she has appeared in is endless, including 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop” where she played nurse. A true hustla expects big things from Lyric in 2007.



Appeared in: Owners Illustrated Issue III, V VII

94 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX

Teri Leigh Appeared in: Owners Illustrated Issue V


A Barbados beauty discovered by Hype Williams and featured in Slim Thug’s “I Ain’t Heard of That” music video. This beauty is simply stunning.



Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated •

Rw Collection by Lanre’

Can a whisper


kiss your soul?



Are You Registered For Second Semester?


Lil Wayne

Jim Jones

98 • OwnerS Illustrated • Issue IX


The Game

OwnerS League

50 Cent

FunkMaster Flex

Tony Yayo

Lloyd Banks

E-40 Swishahouse Bosses

Stephen Greene CEO RockCorps

Darryl Cobbin VP of Marketing Boost Mobile

Keisha Cole Issue IX • OwnerS Illustrated • 99


Owners Illustrated Issue IX