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THE OFFICIAL GUIDE FOR THE URBAN ENTREPRENEUR TM

Summer 2003

ENTERPRISE$LIFESTYLE$FASHION$ENTERTAINMENT$CULTURE

PLUS LIL JON LUDACRIS THE CLIPSE BUSTA’S LAMBOS DJ WHOO KID JAM MASTER JAY FUNK MASTER FLEX DOGZILLA VERNON FORREST JAY-Z’S NEW KICKS

THE NEW BENTLEY BUYINGYOUR HOME WITH HELP FROM UNCLE SAM THE LIGHTY DYNASTY INSURINGYOUR BUSINESS

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Display Until Sept. 2003 Summer 2003 U.S. $4.99 Canada $5.99

HOW 50 CENT PUT THE RAP GAME IN A CHOKE HOLD www.ownersillustrated.com


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Features

72 COVER FEATURE: 50 CENT

The Future of Hip Hop Speaks on Breaking Through and Changing the Game

10 THE MAGIC INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE The Premier Fashion Industry Conference

28 UNIQUE AUTOSPORTS King of the Car Show

60 LUDACRIS’ PRODUCER SHONDRAE’ Presents Bangladesh, Inc.

64 THE CLIPSE

Legally Grinding

68 LIL JON & THE EASTSIDE BOYZ 71 JAM MASTER JAY The Loss of a Legend

82 THE LIGHTY DYNASTY Hip Hop’s Royal Family

96 HOME OWNERSHIP MADE EASY 102 JEWELS OF THE EARTH MODELING AGENCY Presenting the RW Collection Models

Picture courtesy of Interscope Records

Crunk, Inc.


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Departments Small Business 8 All Businesses Need Insurance 9 Ride Like a Champ Lifestyle 20 Accessories - Vestige Watches 22 Travel - Jet Blue Offers Leather Seats and Satellite TV In The Headrests For As Low As $49

23 Travel - The St. Gregory Luxury Hotel & Suites 24 Dining - Donna’s Cafe’ 26 Residential - Summit Grand Parc Luxury Apartments 33 Automotive - Busta’s Lambos 34 Automotive - The New Bentley 36 Automotive - Live From The Funk Master Flex Celebrity Car Show International Business 38 Yao Resurrects the Ming Dynasty 39 Roc-a-fella Buys Scottish Armadale 40 From Fitness to Fame and Fortune Money 42 Money Editorial - Squaring Your Financial Affairs 46 Getting Started in Mutual Funds 48 Master P and P. Diddy - Who Will Be Rap’s First Billionaire Urban Enterprise 50 DJ Whoo Kid - More Than Just A DJ 52 Politics, Power and Hip Hop Business Street Buzz 53 Comcast and Radio One Unite To Create New Urban Cable Network Enterprise On The Rise 54 730 Entertainment - The Spoils of War 56 Jolie Entertainment 57 4 Alarm Entertainment Giving Back 90 The Ludacris Foundation - Beyond Bling, Bling 92 Fan 4 Life - Celebrities Making A Difference 93 Urban Ed - Competing with the Streets Tech 94 The People vs. The Machine 95 Must Have Gadgets for the Busy Owner Real Estate 97 The Art of the Deal Fashion 12 Jay-Z’s New Kicks 14 Nabru Fall 2003 Fashion Show 17 The Legend of Eastwick Modeling & Endorsements 102 Jewels Of The Earth Modeling Agency

Owners Illustrated Magazine Editor-in-Chief/Publisher Damola Idowu Executive Editor Reginald A. Greene, Esq. Deputy Editor Travis A. Alford Graphics & Layout Travis A. Alford Graphic Design Intern Bridgette Kincaid Webmaster Travis A. Alford Photography Wil David Damola Idowu Travis A. Alford Contributing Photographers Banks G-Flixxx Advertising Justice Damola Idowu Advertising Consultant Stacey Douglas Publicist Damola Idowu Sales Damola Idowu Staff Writers Da Great Deity Dah Maiya Norton Tiffani Diggs Daniwu Tomi Olaniyan Contributing Writers Vanessa Warrick Melanie White Opio Lumumba Sokoni, Esq. Roxanne J. Wiliams Connie Choi Cacilla G. Greene Marketing & Promotions Damola Idowu The RW Collection Models Dawoud Shaheidu Leron “Firstborn” Sewell Wil David Travis A. Alford Chief Consultant John Blassingame Legal Counsel Reginald A. Greene, Esq. OWNERS ILLUSTRATED MAGAZINE is published quarterly by Royal Alchemist Productions, LLC. Copyright 2003 Royal Alchemist Productions, LLC P.O. Box 65484 Washington, D.C. 20035 Sub. rates: 1 Year - US$13.99, 2 Years - US$26.99 All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. E-mail us @ info@ownersillustrated.com Phone: 202.610.0038, Fax: 202.610.0225

Printed in Canada


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Letter From The Publisher I remember like it was yesterday. I was working for a bank researching deeds of homes and creating a database of potential customers for refinancing. It wasn't my dream, but it paid the rent, kept a roof over my head and gave me freedom. I would go to the courthouse, do my research and enter the information into the computer at work once a week. One Friday, our supervisor told us we had been doing a great job and told me personally "see you on Monday." By the time I got home, I had a voice message saying don't bother coming on Monday, we will no longer be needing your services. I was devastated. I needed that check on Friday to keep a roof over my head. In my frustration, two things occurred to me. First, I would have to create my own wealth without depending on an employer who could lay me off at any time. Second, the Million Man March was coming to town, so there an opportunity was present. I had no money. I was living check to check like everybody, but I had talent. I could rhyme with the best and freestyling was my forte. With that, I was unstoppable. I had an idea to rhyme along with my roommate, Manuwva, and make an album. We had no money for studio time and the deadline was short. The only option we had was to do the whole album in one take – freestyle. We only had two hours in a basement studio. We made an album of songs on topics that surrounded the Million Man March and called the album "Awakening Phenomenon." We completed the album on Saturday and the March was on Monday. We had only one tape and we knew that one tape was not going to sell for the $400 that I needed. I asked a favor of a great friend, Travis Alford, who is now the Deputy Editor of Owners Illustrated Magazine. He bought 40 blank tapes for me for $33 and I made 40 copies of "Awakening Phenomenon." I also asked him for a ride to the Convention Center where pre-March activities were taking place. Travis wondered why I had made such a modest request. I sold the first three tapes that night. I used some of the money to buy batteries for my radio, get something to eat and a pass to come back the next day. By 12 noon on the day of the Million Man March, I had sold the remaining tapes. That is where my odyssey began. My story is not greater than any you will read in the pages of this publication. You will read similar stories. People with limited resources, harsh environments, grand dreams, an unyielding spirit and the courage to seize opportunity when it arises. We can all learn from our experiences and those of others. From Ludacris giving back through his foundation to 50 Cent getting $1 million from two of the biggest names in the business without an album or a single, the Premier Issue of Owners Illustrated Magazine gives you the inside story. You will learn how Chris Lighty, CEO of Violator/ VP of Jive Records and DJ Whoo Kid, a DJ/Business Man helped make 50 Cent a multi-million dollar man. You will read how Chris Lighty shaped the game with his multi-media management empire and how the entire Lighty Family gets the job done – Mike books the shows, David is Director of A&R at Jive, John is making beats, and Nicole is giving new life to celebrity fashion and making a difference in the community with Fan 4 Life Foundation and Fufua, Inc., celebrity consignment clothier. You think you can make it like the Clipse? They are Grindin' while you are whining. Owners Illustrated Magazine highlights Nancy Edwards, CEO of American Advantage Holdings. She builds housing communities, owns a mortgage company and does it all for her son. It features Vanessa Warrick, a certified State Farm agent who gives tips to help your business. The Style section features exclusive photos of the rich and famous, but also gives you strategies to build wealth because building wealth is not a spectator sport. In closing, I would like to thank the dedicated OIM Staff whose tireless efforts made my dream a reality. John Blassingame, who makes sure this magazine is carried in a store near you; Travis Alford, Deputy Editor, who does the magazine layout and website design, and has been a solid rock throughout the history of this organization; Reginald A. Greene, Esq., Executive Editor and Legal Advisor, edits many of the articles and offers invaluable insight and guidance; Justice and the StreetWars family; Maiya Norton, Tiffani Diggs, Danielle, and Tomi Olaniyan who write many of the articles; Stacey Douglas consults on advertising and made me believe this was possible and; Wil David our photographer; Leron who saw the Owners vision from the beginning, Dawoud Shaheedu our advocate and promoter; and all the beautiful models from RW Collection who promote this publication and host our events. Special thanks also goes out to Nicole Lighty of Fan 4 Life & Fufua, Inc., and Chris Lighty, his assistant Laurie Dobbins (you’re the greatest) and the entire Violator family who made a lot these interviews happen. Last, but not least, a great mother who supports and believes in her children. She set the example of a strong work ethic, and having the faith to follow through on anything you start. With that, I present to you, Owners Illustrated Magazine. FYI: Look for Owners Illustrated Magazine and the RW Collection Models on the Roc the Mic Tour. Yes...This is Big...Very Big!!! Damola “Da Great Deity Dah” Idowu Publisher/Editor-in-chief


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50’s MEN Owners Illustrated Magazine meets the men behind the 50 cent Juggernaut

Sha Money XL President G-Unit Records Chris Lighty CEO Violator Records/ Management (50 Cent’s manager)

Damola Idowu Publisher Owners Illustrated Magazine

DJ Whoo Kid 50 Cent’s DJ and co-owner of Rapnetwork.com

Sha Money Money XL r e ppin’ ppin’ Owner s Illustr a ted Ma g azine

Mike Lighty (left) 50 Cent’s Tour Manager and co-owner of Emell Communications with his partner Ice

Damola with Sha Money XL


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On behalf of the entire Owners Illustrated Staff I’d like to give a special thanks to violator management and G-Unit Records for showing us crazy love. Look out for owners illustrated magazine and the rw collection models (see pg. 102) doing their thing on the roc the mic tour. and now we present... Owners Illustrated Magazine. GET YOUR WEIGHT UP


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“We’re young black entrepreneurs...” - Prodigy

Small Business

All Businesses Need Insurance By Vanessa Warrick, State Farm Agent

T

he dream of owning a business becomes a reality for thousands of people each year. For many of these would-be captains of industry, that means starting the operation on a small scale. However, your enterprise may be in jeopardy if you don't have business insurance. You need business insurance because most beginning entrepreneurs don't have the financial resources to handle adversity if it should come. Adversity can happen in many ways: fire can destroy your inventory, a power outage could cause your goods to spoil, or a customer could be injured accidentally while visiting your location. Business insurance can protect you from these hazards and others. Business insurance may provide many or all of the coverages listed below: • Accidental direct physical loss coverage for business personal property • Broader off-premises property coverage • Loss of income coverage • Extra expense coverage. This list above is just a sample of what's available. You should contact your State Farm agent to see what coverages are right for your business. Many entrepreneurs start their businesses on shoestring budgets and try to cut corners by keeping expenses at a minimum. But when you consider what you get, business insurance becomes a tool you can't afford to work without. $

The official cellular service provider for owners illustrated magazine


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Ride Like a Cham p wit h Ver non For res t By Deity Dah

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o be a champion takes tremendous determination. A champion has to be passionate disciplined and relentless in his pursuit of perfection. Former Welterweight Champion and Georgia native Vernon Forrest exhibits all of these qualities. I sat down recently with his right hand man, Deon Stanford, who runs Champion Limousine Service (CLS) and I was amazed by his story and their vision for CLS which was started in October of 2002. Deon and Vernon met almost two years ago in a past business and developed a relationship because Vernon Forrest respected Deon’s business sense. "He (Vernon) had always had the vision of owning a limousine company and in early 2002 we started really doing a lot of physical homework on it." In getting started they went to a national convention for the limousine industry the Limousine Digest Convention in Atlantic City. They were able to gain valuable information and purchase their initial fleet from black-owned Executive Coach from Missouri who as Deon put it, "gave us a great product." With an initial investment of $500,000 the plan is to "take it from up north to the west coast, to any city that we feel like we can put our niche into their market." With a strategy based on hard work,

maintaining relationships and a strong focus on customer service their ambition seems like a tangible reality also helped in no small part by their financial backing in the venture. As Deon puts it, "we treat each client like first class like this is the first time they ever rode in a limousine so it's an experience [where] you know it's luxury; from the person who on their first prom ride to the person who's riding to their meeting". Their current workforce includes seven drivers with three limos, two sedans and a stretch SUV. A nice size to start but as Deon emphasized they are focused on building business relationships and integrity as opposed to trying to get by on the "Champs" name. "He wants his name to push us further but it's really the other things. You could have a great name but have poor service." The best form of marketing is word of mouth and as such, building their reputation will advance their cause. "Word of mouth is really the key to all of our marketing." They also are utilizing Vernon's relationships like appearing on the Radio with V103 jock Frank Ski. Their hard work has paid off as they have already gained the support of Atlanta's mayor and Justin’s restaurant in Atlanta (owned by P. Diddy). In hiring personnel, they go through extensive background checks to ensure the safety of their clientele and they will not hire anyone convicted felons. No good business can succeed without experienced management. Deon gained great experience with his design and landscaping business, Inside The Green, which he still operates. Inside The Green designs pedigreens, basketball courts, golf courses, and waterfalls for a who's who list that includes Elana Rachelle, Hank Aaron, Speech from Arrested Development, and Regina Belle. "I’ve done a lot of [work] for stars, that's what started to push me into the limousine service cause both of 'em are luxuries, you know, one is a outdoor luxury, one is a transportation luxury" Of his

background he said "I grew up in the same neighborhood as Andrew Young, Maynard Jackson, you know, so with those being my neighbors, and great leaders, I've always been inspired to get out there and make it happen." A product of Douglas High School in Atlanta, he graduated from Clark Atlanta in ‘96. While in school he began working in the County Drug Court where he learned the importance of networking. He began building relationships and learned that as an employee your salary is capped but as an entrepreneur your pay can be unlimited. The benefits of entrepreneurship first him while working at the when his boss offered him $200 a weekend to do his landscaping. This was more than his salary at the court. His big break came from Dre of Outkast fame, a childhood friend who gave him a $40,000 contract for landscaping his new home. While they were young Dre would read The Source but Deon would read Better Homes and Gardens. His passion led Dre to promise to give him a contract to do his home when he bought it. His past experience in running a business has been a great asset and he vows, "I plan on taking on Champion Limousine the same way, treating it with the same love and care as I did Inside the Green." Another benefit is that both businesses serve the same clientele base. "At the mayor's ball, I had over 15 clients that I had done work for. So that let's you know where I'm at." With Deon's management and Vernon’s passion and love for the city (when he won his last fight he ran to pose with a charity he works with "Destiny Child") their projected revenues of $750,000 to $1,000,000 should be easily attained. So whenever you are in Atlanta ride like a champ with Champion Limousine Service. You can make reservations online at their website www.championlimousine.com or by phone at (770)998-8999. $


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It’s necessary we style in Burberry...” — Foxy Brown

Fashion — Feature Magic Int er national Conf erence

story and photography By Damola Idowu

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he biannual Magic International Conference was held in Las Vegas, NV at the Las Vegas Convention center for the men's children, urban, and the Edge segments. The women's wear was held at the Sands Expo. Held every February and August, this four day expo features buyers, designers, manufacturers, licensing companies, retailers, wholesalers and celebrities who were on hand to promote their clothing lines. The August show focuses on spring lines and gives attendees a chance to see the latest trends and experience the newest fashions. Owners Illustrated Magazine was on hand to cover the event and it's impact on the urban fashion industry. The Designer exhibits featured industry giants such as Guess, Ralph Lauren, and Perry Ellis presenting collections assured to fly off the

Fashion designer Karl Kani (left) with Owners Illustrated Magazine publisher Damola Idowu at the Magic International Conference in Las Vegas. rack. Sean Jean was also featured and had the best display of the whole conference. Shoe designers, Sergio Brutini and Stacy Adams, had the exotic colors and quality material combinations that players worldwide are going to love and aspiring players will crave for their wardrobe. The Licensing and Active exhibits featured hot Marvel comic's heroes such as Spiderman, Daredevil, the Hulk, and the X-men, all capitalizing on the current popularity of recent and upcoming film projects. Throwback Jersey king, Mitchell & Ness, was also on hand featuring The NBA Hardwood series. It was evident that the NBA catching on to the throwback jersey phenomenon. Mitchell & Ness is expanding their collection to feature women and children lines. In addition, there were some hot jerseys that are bound to be in the next

10 • OWNERS ILLUSTRATED • Summer 2003

Fabolous video. The Julius Erving Virginia Squires' # 32 is my personal favorite. The NBA also partnered with Source Magazine to create a hardwood lounge in the street wear exhibit that featured their product offerings on mannequins in a street basketball set design. Prizes and giveaways were also available to attendees who were able to make baskets. The Urban wear designers were featured in the Street Wear exhibits. Notables included Karl Kani (who was also in attendance), Fubu, Outkast, Snoop Dogg, Akademics, State Property by Rocawear, and surprise newcomer Vokal with projected $22 million in sales in its first year. Phat Farm and Baby Phat were also represented and Russell Simmons was in attendance. The set was constructed to resemble a highend retail outlet complete with two levels and garment displays visible through glass


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display (view pictures). Ecko had a separate outdoor exhibit in a tent surrounded by exotic vehicles. The interior of the booth was great, it resembled a mall retail location complete with shoes and a fashion show. Automobile manufacturers were also present with Jeep giving away a Wrangler and Hummer featuring their clothing line along with the new Hummer H2. P. Miller displayed its Lil Romeo inspired line at the Childrens Wear exhibit and Master P was

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on hand to add that celebrity flair. The women's collection was across the strip at the Sands Expo. This may have hurt the women's collection because most of the traffic was at the Vegas Convention Center. One women's line to look for is Brazil Jeans with their gorgeous cover model. There were numerous parties that jumped each night during the convention. A personal favorite was the Blender party on Wednesday night at the Hard Rock hotel

featuring Pete Rock and Spinderella on the one & two's. The event was sponsored by Kiss 93 FM in Vegas and Mac cosmetics, which gave complementary facials. The pink beach girls were the featured dancers. Overall, it was a wonderful experiences a great conference for any aspiring urban designer to attend to network and gain valuable information on the fashion industry. For more info visit www.magiconline.com. $

Sean John

Vokal

Outkast Clothing Co.

Davoucci

Snoop Dogg

P. Miller

Hummer

Ecko Fashion Show

Ecko Fashion Show

Ecko Fashion Show

Too Short

Damola and Darius McCrary


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S. Carter Collection by Rbk

Image courtesy of Roc-a-fella Records

nce again Jay-Z fans will be able to experience “the best of both worlds.” In a ground breaking deal that elevates the fusion of sports and entertainment to multiplatinum status, music mogul Jay-Z and Reebok have formed an exclusive partnership that entails athletic footwear design and marketing. The cornerstone of this partnership is a new Jay-Z signature shoe line called the “S. Carter Collection by Rbk.” Reebok launched Jay-Z’s new footwear line, on Saturday, February 8, 2003. “As a hip-hop artist, my job is to take things to a whole new level. So, when Reebok expressed an interest and wanted to start this relationship, I jumped at the opportunity. This is an event in itself because it is to announce that for the first time a music artist has a signature athletic shoe collection,” said Jay-Z during the NBA AllStar weekend in Atlanta. The “S. Carter Collection by Rbk” began its retail run this June in limited and exclusive stores. Consumers who purchase Jay-Z’s signature kicks will also experience an exclusive hip-hop vibe. A special edition mix CD (thanks Lenny S) from Jay-Z - featuring freestyles and hard to find bonus songs - was included in every “S. Carter” shoe box for a limited time. The partnership agreement also gives Jay-Z the opportunity to design and market Reebok shoes that hook up with Jay-Z’s red-hot apparel, Rocawear, creating a stylish, color and design-coordinated, head-to-toe ensemble. The Jay-Z signature collection is a collaboration between the rap star and Reebok’s team of talented Rbk designers. “The collection is an authentic reflection of my personal style,” said Jay-Z. “People who check out the ‘S. Carter Collection’ should know that this collection definitely meets my high standards and expectations.” The first TV spot, co-created by music executive and Arnell Group partner Steve Stoute, began hitting airwaves during the weekend of NBA All-Star 2003, February 7-9. A print and TV ad campaign to promote the “S. Carter Collection” is also under development.” Jay-Z is one of the greatest successes of our time in both the entertainment and apparel industries and working with him is an honor for Reebok and for me,” said Paul Fireman, Reebok chairman and CEO. “Reebok is committed to matching Jay-Z’s high standards in everything we do under this incredible and historic partnership and it is clear by his exclusive commitment to us that he has confidence in our abilities to do so.” [Editor’s note: At press time, the S. Carter is the fastest selling sneaker in Reebok history. Based on its success, Reebok is now sponsoring the Roc the Mic Tour and has entered an agreement with tour-mate 50 Cent for his own G-Unit Collection.] $ — Tomi Olaniyan


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SilverPoses Presents

Images by the Nancy Hirsch Group LLC and Wil David

‘NABRU’ FALL 2003

The Silver Poses Nabru Fall 2003 Fashion Show featured collections of some of today’s hottest brands in fashion: Iceberg History, Rocawear Ladies, Avirex, Azzure, Indigo Red, Stall & Dean, PNB Nation, Davoucci, Pelle Pelle, Giii & Carl Banks, dada supreme, Madsoul, Schott Bros., Pass The Roc, Vokal and Croskey Furs. It also featuring sexy looks by BONSHU by Thomas Woodard and Mona V Intimates. Owners Illustrated Magazine was on hand to cover this fabulous event that was successful due in large part to publicity by the Nancy Hirsch Group. This event was sponsored by the legendary John Blassingame (publisher Today's Black Woman and Black Men's Magazine). Held annually, this fashion show provides great platform to showcase new designs by some of todays hottest designers. For more information about this fashion show and future participation, contact Ahysha Donaldson of the Nancy Hirsch Group LLC at 212.404.3423 or ahysha@nhirschgroup.com

14 • OWNERS ILLUSTRATED • Summer 2003


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Fashion The  Legend  of  Eastwick

E

ight years ago when Anthony Eastwick began his career as a designer, he would have never imagined working with some of today's hottest names in entertainment such as P Diddy, Whitney Houston and Missy Elliot. It all started when Anthony saw a fashion show on the Style Channel that was featuring the Tommy Hilfiger Collection. The show sparked something in him and he knew from that moment on that he wanted to be a designer and nothing else. Although he had no previous experience with fashion, he knew that he had a flare for style. A family friend by the name of Sister Lewis soon helped him realize that he had a hidden talent, a talent that eventually created luxurious Chin Chilla fur coats and elaborate long jackets.With her expertise and encouragement he mastered the craft of sewing, which he originally had no experience in and is now able to produce his own items. Eastwick’s furs are hot both literally and figuratively. Not only do they keep you very warm, but they are also very stylish as well. His trendy furs have been seen at many events including the Grammy's, BET awards, and VH1 Fashion Awards. Soon, they will be seen everywhere because Anthony Eastwick is expected in Macy's stores worlwide in the summer of 2003. — Tomi Olaniyan


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“Bling, Bling, pinky ring costs about fifty...” - Lil Wayne

Lifestyle — Accessories

VESTIGE WATCHES — CLAIM YOUR HERITAGE TM

T r e d e l l Washington once had a vision for the A f r i c a n American community and the watch industry. With determination and some inspiration from some friends, he started TW Enterprises, which makes scholastic watches for awards and class rings for

overachievers in schools across the country. He recently expanded his business with the creation of Vestige Watches, which specilizes in making fine watches for African Americans. He has diversified the watch industry with his products and his vision, and created something unique to the black community. Tredell Washington is originally from the quiet town of Natchez, Mississippi. He graduated from Alcorn State University in 1982 and moved to Dallas, Texas. In Dallas, he worked as an accountant for nine years and started TW Enterprises. Tredell had many friends who were princi- VQ5785B pals and educators. They complained about the cost of trophies and other awards as a means of rewarding outstanding students. Tredell came up with the idea of giving the students scholastic watches, and the watches were a success. The scholastic watches put TW on the map and the business is still booming in high schools across the country. 7026G 2 Diamonds Tredell has had an interest in electronics since he was a distributor in the military. Watches and jewelry proved to be a more convenient and less expensive field to enter because he found it 7025G difficult to obtain the funding required to launch 2 Diamonds an electronics enterprise. When he first went into business, he had hoped to become an importer and distributor of high end electronics such as satellites, VCRs, antennae

and big screen televisions. When he attended the International Trade Association convention, however, he realized that watches were less expensive to import. Once he devised the strategy for marketing watches through schools as awards, his business exploded and the customers kept coming back for more. “It went from a handful of schools to a few dozen, to a hundred schools in Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston, to all over the country,” he recalls. 7506B After the success of TW, 22 Diamonds 7505B which was formed ten years ago, and his “trophy watches,” 22 Diamonds Tredell set his sights on creating a fine watch line for African Americans. Each Vestige Watch has a logo in the 12 o’clock position, which contains the colors of the “African American Flag” - - red, black, and green. Each watch also comes with a small gold card that contains an historical African American fact. Tredell Washington values the importance of educating people about African American history and providing a full line of watches in every price range. He says, “African Americans spend money!” Tredell also believes that African Americans will spend money on things that cater to them. Before he began Vestige, he noticed that there were black movies, black clothing designers and other items made by or for African Americans. He did not see a similar trend in the watch industry. Once he noticed that there was a void in this area, he decided to fill it. “We want to be everything to everyone VQ8785B [in the African American community],” he says. The company slogan is ,”Its time to claim your heritage.” The next time you are looking to buy a watch, think of what Vestige stands for. Vestige was created for African Americans and caters to our tastes and needs. It is not only a line for watches, but it promotes education and knowledge of self. It is more than just a watch line. So look for more than a watch. Claim your heritage. If you are interested in a Vestige watch, you can purchase a watch online @ www.vestigewatches.com 7181G or call 1-800-630-2184. 7180G — Maiya Norton


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Lifestyle

Hope Diamond The Hope Diamond was cut from the famous French Blue, which was brought to France from India in 1668 to become part of the crown jewels. The French Blue was stolen in 1792 and never recovered, but in 1812 an extraordinary 45.52-carat deep blue diamond came on the market in London. Later, it was purchased by Henry Philip Hope for whom it was named. In 1949, the gem was acquired from the estate of Mrs. Evelyn Walsh McLean by Harry Winston, and in 1958 he presented it to the Smithsonian Institution. It is shown above in a diamond and platinum necklace designed by Pierre Cartier for Mrs. McLean in 1910. National Museum of National History, copyright 1997 Smithsonian Institution Photo: Dane A. Penland


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Lifestyle — Travel

TV’s in the headrest, leather seats and Direct TV for as low as $49 each way

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ed by CEO, David Neelman, Jet Blue Airlines is making the friendly skies even more friendly. In an era of bankrupt airlines, Jet Blue is profitable and growing. Jet Blue was founded in July 1999 with $130 million in funding from investors, such as Weston Presidio Capital, George Soros and Chase Capital. Jet Blue went airborne on February 11, 2000 and since then, the sky has been the limit. Jet Blue posted operating revenues of $217.1 million for the first quarter of 2003, representing a 62.8% increase over operating revenues for the same period of 2002. Among other awards, Jet Blue was voted Entrepreneur Magazine's Best Low Cost Airline of 2003 and chosen as the recipient of North American Travel Journalists Association's Best Domestic Airline, Five Star Award in 2002. Jet Blue's success is definitely attributable to its focus on comfort and luxury. Everybody is first class on Jet Blue. All Jet Blue airlines are configured for 162 passengers and each seat is outfitted with leather seats and headrest TVs, which feature free Direct TV. Headquartered at JFK Airport in New York City, Jet Blue flies to cities such as Las Vegas, NV; Long Beach, CA; New Orleans, LA; Las Vegas, NV; Orlando, FL; and Atlanta, GA to name a few. Other carriers have taken notice of Jet Blue's successful business model and competitive airlines are already in the works. Delta Airlines plans to launch Song Bird Airlines to compete with Jet Blue later this year. For more information about Jet Blue Airlines, visit www.jetblue.com.

$


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St. Gregory Luxury Hotel & Suites

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hen on travel to Washington DC there are not too many places better than the St. Gregory. The St. Gregory located at 2033 M st, NW is a four star hotel with great dining at Donna’s Cafe located inside the facility. The St. Gregory’s has nine floors and 154 luxury accommodations (100 suites and 54 deluxe rooms). Most of the elegant suites have fully appointed kitchens. There are “Sky” rooms with terraces and city views and a Club Level, which includes 56 rooms, several suites and a Presidential Suite. Each room is equipped with cable television, in-room movies, WebTV, video games, dual phones with data ports and high speed Internet connections, a coffee maker, and complimentary daily newspaper and daily shoe shine. The St. Gregory has 3,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting space accommodating 10 to 150 guests. The St. Gregory Ballroom (divisible into 3 sections) has two executive board rooms, teleconferencing & video conferencing capabilities, individual light and climate control, an available on-site audio/visual technician and a dedicated conference and meetings staff. Their state of the art fitness center features a treadmill, weight lifting and cardiovascular equipment. There is also an extensive health center nearby. And while away you can keep in touch with After relaxing you can wake up for your conference with So next time you are in Washington DC stay at the St. Gregory, and also sign up at their website at www.capitalhotelswdc.com/StGregoryHotelWDC_com. Tell them OIM sent you.

23 • OWNERS ILLUSTRATED • Summer 2003


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Lifestyle — Dining

DONNA’S CAFE’ Donna’s Café’ (located inside the St. Gregory Luxury Hotel and Suites) features contemporary cuisine and an outdoor Café terrace, which is used during the Spring and Summer for a relaxed and refreshing atmosphere. Donna’s is open seven days a week. Sunday brunch is to die for, or you may want to just stop by during the week for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Donna’s Cafe is also a great place to host corporate events. Third Thursdays networking events have been held at this great restaurant with a great response from the business professionals that have attended. Contact Barbara at 202.530.3600 about scheduling events and tell her that OIM sent you.


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Lifestyle

SUMMIT

Grand Parc

Timeless Elegance, Tasteful Living 910 15th Street, NW Washington, DC 202.789.7200 phone 202.789.7201 facsimile summitgrandparc.com


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Apartments For Today When talking about life at Summit Grand Parc, you have to start with the location – just two blocks from the White House on McPherson Square, Summit Grand Parc is one of DC’s most prestigious addresses. Its luxury apartments homes have been respectfully restored and updated with designer kitchens with granite counter tops and a full compliment of appliances. And the shared amenities are second to none:

A Building With A Past

F

irst, a little history: Summit Grand Parc is listed on The National Registry of Historic Places for a lot of good reasons. President William Howard Taft laid its cornerstone. Early in the 20th century Summit

Grand Parc was The University Club, a gathering place of the powerful, with presidents, congressmen and cabinet members among its membership. In the 30’s, this social center for the rich and famous transformed into the national headquarters to the United Mine Workers of America, and became the staging ground of the labor movement in America. From his Summit Grand Parc offices, the UMWA’s John L. Lewis helped drive the creation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and the passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act, forever changing the balance of power in American labor.

A Garage From The Future Given its history, the dramatic architecture and details of Summit Grand Parc come as no surprise. But when it’s time to park your car, you’ll feel more like George Jetson than John L. Lewis. Actually, the garage does all the parking. You just pull into a bay and step out, and the historic grandeur of Summit Grand Parc becomes very 21st-century. The platform your car is parked on rotates 45 degrees and your car drops through the floor! From there, a totally automated robotic freight handling system takes over, finds an empty parking place, gently puts your car where no one will ever ding your door, and returns with an empty pallet ready for the next parker! Time to go? Just swipe your key fob against a sensor in the elevator, at the garage entrance or in the Summit Grand Parc’s café, and the garage retrieves your car while you’re on your way there. The builders of this modern wonder, MidAmerican Elevator Company, say this is the first fully automated parking facility in the United States. So what is the price of being on the cutting edge? If you’re a Summit Grand Parc resident, it’s $275 a month — $300 for small to midsized SUVs. If you’re not a Summit Grand Parc resident, you’ll just have to wait until the future arrives for the rest of us.

• Elegant Courtyard

• Business center

• Cable/Satellite TV

• Conference room

• Fitness center

• Terrace room

• 24-hour concierge service

• Directly across from McPherson Metro station


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Lifestyle — Automotive


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– UNIQUE AUTOSPORTS –

King of the Carshow


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Lifestyle — Automotive

U

nique Autosports was founded in 1984 when William Castro realized that his passion for custom cars was really an addiction. William Castro’s attention to customer service and detail has taken this small family operated business from its humble beginnings in Patchogue, New York to nationally recognized status. From the beginning, Unique Autosports was immediately recognized by its competitors as a serious custom shop that could perform any task. They quickly elevated to become the number one ragtop installer in New York. They quickly outgrew their 900 sq. ft. Patchogue location and relocated to a 3,000 sq. ft. facility in Brentwood, New York. The loyal customer base had no problem driving 40 miles for Unique’s services. The larger facility opened new opportunities and exposed more people to Unique’s quality and expertise. Erick Sermon, a rapper from Brentwood, New York and member of the group EPMD, heard about the quality of work that was being performed in this high-end car audio and accessory shop in his hometown. Erick Sermon left his Mercedes Benz in Will’s skilled hands to customize it with a rag top, body kit, and 18 in. rims. Erick was ecstatic with

the results. To Will’s surprise, many celebrities began calling or visiting the showroom based on Erick’s referrals. Within only 6 years, Unique had become known as one of the top car audio and accessory shops in New York, servicing such celebrities as Parish Smith from EPMD, Keith Murray, James Buddy McGirt, a WBC lightweight champ, and Erick McMillan of the NY Jets. In 1998, with hard work and dedication to his craft, Will outgrew his facility and relocated to Uniondale, New York. An icon by the name of Busta Rhymes heard that a high-end aftermarket shop had opened in his hometown and like Erick Sermon, had to see for himself. Now, four years after his initial visit, Busta Rhymes has had fifteen vehicles customized by the Unique Autosports family. His collection includes two Lamborghini’s, a Mercedes G500, CL600 and a new Hummer H2. Unique Autosport’s celebrity clientele includes: Wyclef Jean, Eminem, Marc Anthony, Timbaland, Redman, Rockwilder, Russell Simmons and Cory Rooney, the vice-president of Sony Music. In addition to servicing the music industry, they have developed a strong relationship with many professional athletes. They have crafted vehicles for Curtis Martin, Mo Lewis and Santana Moss from the Jets, as well as Laveranues Coles from the Redskins.

Unique Autosports has taken the twenty-first century by storm. They’ve had vehicles featured in many of today’s most popular magazines. XXL, Source Magazine, Car Audio, Mobile Entertainment, Plush and DUB to name a few. They have also been seen on MTV, UPN 9 News, BET and ESPN. Unique Autosports is currently building music video vehicles for such artists as Timbaland, and Busta Rhymes. They are touring the United States, taking their celebrity vehicles to many of today’s hottest car shows and traveling as far as Chicago, Houston and Miami. In 2002, Unique Autosports added vehicle transportation and exotic vehicle rental for music videos and movie productions to its extensive list of customer services. In 2003 Unique partnered with Lakeview Mercedes Benz and introduced their own line of Unique Automobiles. 3 Unique Branded Mercedes Benz’s and a Unique Hummer H2. Unique Autosports has no plan of slowing down. As every year passes, Unique Autosports gains increased national recognition. They have clients that ship vehicles from as far as California, just because they know that the most unique vehicles roll out of Unique Autosports Design and Installation Center. $


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–UNIQUE AUTOSPORTS– King of the Car Show

S500 •Alpine headrest TV’s •Alpine DVD Player •Wireless Headphones •Playstation •20” Lowenhart LD-1 •20” Falken Tires

E500 •4 PC body kit •Lorinzer Exhaust •Window Tint •Custom leather and suede Interior •Unique custom floor mats •Unqiue enbroidered headsets •19” Lowernhart BR-5 Rims •19” Pirelli Tires •Dual Sunroofs


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–UNIQUE AUTOSPORTS– King of the Car Show Black Hummer H2 • Custom Factory Black Rims • Custom chrome kit • Custom Interior • Custom Alpine car audio system • Custom Alpine Headrest TV’s • Rear Cam • Window Tint • Available Bulletproof (with B4 rated)


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–UNIQUE AUTOSPORTS– King of the Car Show

Busta’s Lambo’s 'Sunset' Lamborghini Diablo • 19” Lowenhart BS-5 Rims • 19” Pirelli Tires • Custom orange paintwork • Custom interior with orange piping • Flipmode Headrest • Flipmode Mats • Alpine Car Audio

'Peppermint' Lamborghini Murciélago • 20” Maya Wheels • 20” Pirelli Tires • Custom white interior with Green piping • Flipmode Headrests • Flipmode floor Mats • Alpine Car Audio


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The New Bentley GT THIS IS NOT MERELY ABOUT ACCELERATION. OR SPEED. OR POWER. THIS IS ABOUT WHAT MOVES YOU. WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL ALIVE. PURE EXHILARATION. The new Bentley Continental GT The Grand Tourer brings with it a potent blend of the most advanced engineering, phenomenal performance, complex beauty and traditional, handcrafted luxury. A four-seat coupĂŠ that delivers huge amounts of fun whilst at the same time offering an irresistible proposition for everyday driving. Real practicality meets true supercar performance. With MORE THAN 500 BHP, OVER 180 MPH,0-60 IN UNDER 5 SECONDS, 12 CYLINDERS, 6 SPEED TRANSMISSION, the Bentley GT is truly a monster but refined. Bentley is also making this model more affordable than previous models. Pricing will be competitive with the Mercedes Benz CL600, with only 10,000 of this vehicle being produced per year. Available in the fall, make your appointments today with your nearest Bentley dealer to be truly blown away by the future of the sports coupe.


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Lifestyle — Automotive


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FUNK MASTER FLEX CELEBRITY CAR SHOW


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International Business

Yao Resurrects the Ming Dynasty

T

he 276 year old Ming Dynasty marked the development of the arts as well as final additions to the Great Wall of China. More than 350 years later, the Ming Dynasty is rumored to have made a comeback....in the NBA! Yao Ming, 22 year old basketball rookie known to be the next Shaquille O’neal, was selected as the number one overall pick of the 2002 NBA draft. Yao is not the first basketball player from China to join the NBA. Remember Wang Zhizhi, former Dallas Mavericks player, and Mangke Batteer of the Denver Nuggets? What do we know about him? He plays center Born: 09/12/80; Height: 7-5; Weight: 296 lbs.; From: Shanghai, China; Played for the Shanghai Sharks. Do you remember seeing him perform in the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Australia? We even had seen a glimpse of his acting skills in his infamous commercials with humor, Visa check card and Apple computers. Is he that real, humble, soft spoken kind of guy we see? Well there was that controversy between of Shaq and Yao. Shaquille O’Neal, star center of the Los Angeles Lakers (which just so happen to be my favorite team), made several derogatory remarks about Yao Ming. One of the racially motivated comments where “Tell Yao Ming, ‘Ching-chongyang-wah-ah-soh,’” said during an interview on a radio show. The comments received national media attention complaining about such an act from one of the most admired sports figure in the world. Only with pressure from the NBA did O’Neal issue an apology to Yao, although he added, “It’s not like I’m the first one to do this.” And how does the humble Yao Ming respond to this issue? Yao has chosen to take a more or less neutral stance. “One of the most positive things about America is that anyone can fight for equality,” Yao said. “On the court there is less equality. Shaq is much bigger and stronger than me.” Yao prefers to consider this matter off the basketball court and squashed. He just wants to play basketball at the highest level and play it well. As Yao said, “I want to be the best player in the NBA.” And so we’ll see if in fact he can live up to his own standards that he has set for himself. Cal Fussman asks Terry Rhoads, Nike’s director of marketing for China, about Yao Ming.”I first saw Yao in ‘97,” he says. “Nike had just signed a contract to sponsor the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association, and we had a little party to introduce ourselves. A few of us were there when in walked the team. Looked normal, guys

6’4”. Then this one kid comes in, baby-faced, who’s about 7’3”, kind of skinny and in some ways looking like Manute Bol. Our jaws dropped, and then, of course, the skepticism came. Well, he’s probably a stiff. But once he started hitting three-pointers, we thought — Whoa! “Our guys in the U.S. didn’t believe that there was a Chinese kid that tall. Once we convinced them, they invited us to bring him to a Nike camp in Paris that summer. Yao had always played against kids who were older than him, and that probably hurt his confidence when he was growing up. This was the first time he was matching up against players his own age, and he stood out. Del Harris, then the Lakers coach, was at the camp, and he fell in love with Yao. He was telling everybody, ‘I gotta get a picture with that kid because one day he’s gonna have a real impact in the NBA.’ “After Paris, the word was out. We had Yao and a teammate named Liu Wei come to America for two months to play on an AAU junior elite team. They went to our AllAmerica camp in Indianapolis that had 200 of America’s best players. There were about 40 centers at the camp. Coaches give the players a report card, and recruiting services graded the players. Yao ranked second out of the centers. “The cherry on top was when Yao and Liu went to Santa Barbara to be counselors at Michael Jordan’s camp. Every night, Michael would get together with the counselors for a scrimmage. I remember Michael coming downcourt one game, sinking a three-pointer and teasing Yao. You know, ‘Can you do that’? So Yao launches a three-pointer and hits, and Michael’s saying, ‘Wow! The big guy can shoot!’ Yao understands a lot of English, certainly anything that would be said on a basketball court, and he can speak some, but right now he prefers a translator. “It was strange at first to see such passion and emotion in the game,” he says. “When I went to America, I didn’t like to dunk much. It’s not the Chinese way.” You nod, remembering the Japanese adage: The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.”In America, I’d get the ball near the basket, shoot a layup, and the coach would be saying, ‘Dunk the ball!’ But I was used to laying it in. Finally, the coach said, ‘If you get the ball in close and don’t dunk it, all of your teammates are going to have to run laps.’ But I couldn’t help it. I was very accustomed to laying the ball in the basket. All of my teammates were running laps, begging me to dunk. Finally, after about a week and many laps, I began to dunk it every time.” HA!(Check out YaoMingMania.com - 100% dedicated to Yao Ming’s life in the NBA) – Connie Choi


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“Got a master plan, open shop in Amsterdam.� - Deity Dah

International Business Roc-a-fella Purchases Scottish Armadale Image courtesy of Roc-a-fella Records

By Tomi Olaniyan

I

n an unprecedented move, Roc-A-Fella's Jay-Z, Kareem "Biggs" Burke and Damon Dash announced that they have purchased Scottish liquor brand, Armadale Vodka. Dash's earlier statements touting Armadale started a media frenzy before the deal was completed. "Roc-A-Fella has always respected quality vodkas, such as Belvedere and Grey Goose. Just like we do with all of our businesses, we wanted to present a vodka that represented the best . . . we feel Armadale is of elite quality," said Dash. Roc-A-Fella originally approached Armadale with a distribution deal in mind but soon realized that the only way to effectively introduce Armadale in the U.S."was to purchase the brand" said Dash. Roc-A-Fella executive, James "Street" Outlaw, will oversee the brand along with Dash and Burke. With the acquisition of Armadale, Roc-A-Fella Records and William Grant & Sons, Inc. seek to create a unique and distinguished liquor by employing innovative tactics in every dimension of Armadale's production and marketing. The 80-proof brand of alcohol, previously available only in Scotland, will initially be distributed in New York, Miami and Los Angeles and will be billed as, "hand-crafted triple distilled vodka." Burke said the liquor would be marketed to everyone, not just Hip-Hop heads. "This is something that we think is going to break all barriers," he exclaimed. "This is not just for Hip-Hop. Of course that might be our initial sales, because of our demographic -- the two million people we have a tight hold on," he added. "It's going to reach way more

than that. That's why it's Armadale and not Roc-a-Vodka or some crazy shit like that." Burke is confident that Armadale's exceptional taste and quality will go a long way in making the brand a success like Roc-AFella's other products. Roc-A-Fella currently boasts a $400 million empire that includes a wildly successful record label (the Universal Records-distributed Roc-A-Fella Records); a top-selling urban clothing company (Roc-a-Wear); and a film production company (Roc-A-Fella Films) that has already released two feature-length films (State Property and Paid in Full, which starred Roc-A-Fella recording artist Cam'ron and actor Mekhi Phifer). Although Roc-A-Fella did not disclose the purchase price for the company they did report that it would remain headquartered in Scotland for the time being. Single bottles of Armadale Vodka generally cost $35 and up. For years, Hip-Hop artists have caused the sales of many products to skyrocket simply by wearing them in videos or boasting about them in their lyrics. Perhaps the first example of the endorsement power of Hip Hop was Run DMC's 1987 classic, "My Adidas," which made the "shell toe" sneakers a cultural phenomenon. Since then, rappers have promoted all kinds of products in their music, including Tupac Shakur, who talked about Alize and Hennessy and Snoop Dogg, whose 1994 hit, "Gin and Juice" extolled Tanqueray Gin. Despite the endorsement power of Hip Hop, very few artists have had their own product lines until very recently. Even more amazing is the fact that most Hip-Hop artists did

not capitalize on the value of their product endorsements on most of the multi-million selling songs that have already been released. Despite the fact that companies pay millions of dollars for advertisements and product placements, most artists did not charge a penny for their powerful endorsements. Instead, Hip-Hop artists were to receive free samples of the products they promoted to millions of fans. The "keep it real" aspect of Hip-Hop and lack of business savvy are perhaps to blame for the many artists who were slow to recognize, and capitalize on, the power of their celebrity status. Unlike most athletes, actors or other celebrities, some Hip-Hop artists believe that receiving paid endorsements is selling out. As Roc-A-Fella's James Outlaw explains: "That would be selling ourselves out -- to get paid to advertise someone else's stuff in our videos . . We cont. on page 100


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International Business From Fitness to Fame and Fortune: Margaret Dureke Proves to the World “Success is Like Magic When You Believe!”By Daniwu

W

hat makes Margaret Dureke unstoppable? How does she succeed against all odds and motivate the masses to succeed? If Margaret Dureke doesn’t know how to do something she learns how. She believes, “to be successful in today’s world you must wear many hats and wear them very well too!” She is a successful wife and mother of three who simultaneously achieves success in many other roles. She is the best-selling author of How To Succeed Against All Odds, Words and Phrases of Wisdom For Spiritual and Emotional Upliftment, and 7 Drivers for Success. She is a publisher, a motivational speaker, a personal success coach and business coach. She is a fitness guru and weight loss specialist, a certified aerobics instructor/trainer, dancer, and choreographer. She is a radio and

T.V. talk show host and an international freelance journalist whose work has been featured in publications like Heart and Soul magazine and Encase. The Prince George’s Gazette called her a “moxie-motivator” in a recent article. Despite her superhuman character, Margaret Dureke insists “there is nothing special about me except that I am not a quitter.” Born in Nigeria, Dureke completed her early education there before coming to the U.S. where she earned her B.A. from Howard University in three years. Dureke then went on to study law at the Washington College of Law at American University where she received her J.D. (law degree). After practicing law for several years, she knew God had called her to follow a different path so she started her own business with husband and best friend, John Dureke. Margaret and John Dureke started JAHS Enterprises in the mid 90’s with no money and no prior business experience but with a burning desire to succeed. This burning desire has enabled them to build a legacy for their children and positively impact the lives of many people globally. JAHS Enterprises started with fitness as the initial focus. Dureke’s love of dance, music, talking, working with people, and entertaining people helped spark the idea to start a fitness company: JAHS Odiche Fitness and You, Inc. She had no prior business experience and no start-up money. Though she and her husband were both athletic in their childhood years, Margaret Dureke was overweight. Despite several obstacles, Dureke pushed forward with her unwavering passion and energy knowing that the money would come. What a better way to pilot a fitness program than by starting with herself. She knew she needed to lose weight and become physically fit in order to help others achieve similar results. The Dureke’s fitness center started with four people in the basement of their house and eventually expanded into JAHS Odiche Fitness and You, their fitness center located in Hyattsville, Maryland. “Odiche” means different. Unlike many popular fitness clubs, JAHS offers a unique “wholistic” approach to fitness that keeps members happy, healthy and motivated to maintain a “wholistic” lifestyle. Like Dureke many of JAHS members have experienced their own weight loss success and continue to refer others to the program. The “Odiche” physical fitness program is based on aerobic and African cultural movements with African Gospel, high life and Caribbean beats and rhythms. JAHS Odiche Fitness and You, Inc. was inevitably followed by the launch of JAHS Active Wear which includes a full line of dance and exercise wear, sweat suits, tees, hats, and jackets bearing their unique logo and designs which have univer-


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sal, inter-generational appeal. If you can’t make one of JAHS fitness classes in person, JAHS Active Wear also offers dynamic exercise videos featuring the unique “Odiche” fitness style. The Durekes talent is so far-reaching they didn’t stop with fitness. JAHS Publishing was born after Margaret Dureke was inspired to write a book. Following the devastation of a business deal that fell through, Dureke knew that she must again succeed against all odds instead of crying in self-pity or quitting. Her first book, How to Succeed Against All Odds became another vehicle for her to share with others how to “awaken the giant within and unleash it.” Dureke decided that creative freedom was important and with her husband’s encouragement, decided to self-publish her manuscript. John Dureke is also an accomplished author, artist, and songwriter who has published two books under JAHS Publishing: The Horrors of War From the Eyes of a Child (inspired by the September 11, 2001 tragedies that occurred in the U.S.) and Z-The Goodluck Bird. Margaret Dureke’s motivational speaking is managed under JAHS Publishing as well. The Dureke’s are available through just about any medium and offer positive messages to all people regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. JAHS Enterprises is the legacy Margaret and John Dureke have built to leave for their children and future generations. They have raised their children within this legacy and have encouraged them to be creative and set their own trends rather than following others. Their oldest daughters, Chi-Chi and Angel Dureke have recently released their own book entitled Art, Poems & Stories of the Heart.

So how did the Durekes start a business from scratch and make it grow? They have taken the adversities in their lives and turned them into assets. Through disappointments, difficulties, and the doubts of naysayers, they have built the thick skin needed to survive in business today. Many entrepreneurs, especially in the African-American community, are challenged with starting a business with little or no money. Margaret Dureke recalls being approved for a small business loan, however, the check never came. Dureke promotes using these types of setbacks as the seeds for developing one’s creative genius, reminding people to not only awaken the giant within but to unleash it! While many small businesses crumble under the intense pressures, the Durekes have remained persistent. Margaret Dureke teaches people that “you are the asset not the money.” This constantly empowers her and drives her to confidently accomplish the dreams that she lives every day. Dureke’s spirituality and belief in God has sustained her. She asserts, as one of her “7 Drivers For Success” “that intended action and determination coupled with prayer” can lead anyone to success. She is also organized. In order to successfully and simultaneously manage the roles in her life she stays organized, focused, and prioritized. By passionately pursuing her mission and constantly succeeding against all odds, Dureke, has proven that if you do what you love, the money will follow. For more information about JAHS Enterprises services and merchandise visit www.jahspublishing.com, www.jahsactivewear.com, www.jahsmakingadifference.org, or www.jahsfitness.com.


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Money

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“Don’t worry if I write rhymes, I write checks.” - P. Diddy

Squaring Your Financial Affairs By Melanie V. White

CREATE CAPITAL RETIREMENT

INVESTING How do you know when it's the right time to buy or sell? Although we would all like to select our investments at their lowest prices and sell them at their all-time highs, but there is no way to guarantee such results. For the average investor, time in the market and not timing the market-has almost always resulted in better returns. A hypothetical $10,000 investment in large-cap U.S. stocks over the 10 years ending June 30, 2001 would have earned 15.10% on an annualized basis or $40,810 as a result of remaining fully invested. Missing just the 10 best market days-an average of one day per yearwould have cut total earnings by $14,200, and the annualized return by 4.82%. And for those who missed the 20 best days in the market, annualized returns would have only been 6.85%. Rather than trying to time the market, you should select a well-balanced portfolio and review it annually to determine whether it is still the right mix of investments for your individual risk tolerance, time horizon, and financial objectives.

Who wants to the opportunity to retire a millionaire? Think only entertainers and athletes can become millionaires? Investing for the long-term and maintaining your strategy may help you accumulate large sums too. Every one of us dreams about what it would be like to retire a millionaire. Today, most of us would agree that retiring a millionaire would allow us to live out the best days of our lives securely and comfortably. However for others, this may or may not be adequate. Consult your financial planner for a more tailored analysis. Nevertheless, to help achieve our goals, we need to take action as early as possible. • Lump sum or monthly investments could potentially grow to $1,000,000 over time, given certain assumed rates of return. • Consistent and periodic investments, that earn an average rate of return, can compound and accumulate over a period of time • People who want to enjoy their retirements in 20, 30, or 40 years should start saving more now to help maintain a comfortable standard of living after retirement • Lastly, and probably more importantly, maintaining the adequate level of protection in the event of failing health could substantially shield your assets from erosion, should an adverse situation present itself

How much do you need to retire? According to the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top 20% of the most affluent retirees believe that they will need 60-80% of their pre-retirement income. And given the growing uncertainty surrounding Social Security and Medicare, you may have to rely more on your personal savings than you had previously planned. That's why it's important to keep your retirement savings growing regardless of changes in your job and employment status. By rolling your 401 (k) assets into an IRA when you change jobs or retire, you money can continue to accumulate tax-deferred-potentially increasing your retirement savings. As the accompanying chart shows (fig. A), when taxes are deferred, an original investment of $50,000 would be worth $503,133 in 30 years assuming an 8% hypothetical return. When you withdraw the funds from your account, you will have to pay taxes, but, at that point, you could be in a lower tax bracket. When you take your 401 (k) assets in cash-and do not roll them over-the same investment after a 28% federal tax, and a 10% early withdrawal penalty (assuming an 8% return), would be worth only $150,469 in 30 years-a difference of $352,664. Again, a capital gains tax may apply. When deciding what to do with you 401 (k) assets, you should consider the present and future tax implications, the range of investment choices, and any penalties or fees you may incur. Melanie V. White, Financial Advisor with Harbor Financial Group in Columbia, MD www.harborfinancialgrp.com & Registered Representative for NYLIFE Securities Inc.


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Fig. A


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In what has now become an annual list, Rolling Stone Magazine compiles a Rock's 50 Richest List of entertainers. In a testament to the growth of the urban culture, two rappers, Jay-Z and Eminem, made the top 10 on the overall list. Below are the top 10 urban artists and their earnings for 2002.

Brian

Eminem

"Baby"

Williams $5.5 Million $10.4 Million $3.8 Million $9 Million $28.9 Million $19.4 Million

Touring Recording Publishing Other Net Earnings 2001 Earning

Mariah Carey Touring Recording Publishing Net Earnings 2001 Earning

$0 $23.1 Million $0.2 Million $23.3 Million $10.9 Million

Dr. Dre Touring Recording Publishing Other Net Earnings 2001 Earning

$0.7 Million $12.7 Million $0.7 Million $8.4 Million $22.7 Million $9.3 Million

Jennifer Lopez Touring Recording Publishing Other Net Earnings 2001 Earning

$0 $0.4 Million $0.9 Million $11.1 Million $12.2 Million $12.3 Million

$0 $0.2 Million $0.5 Million $9.9 Million $10.6 Million $51.9 Million

The Neptunes

Jay-Z Touring Recording Publishing Other Net Earnings 2001 Earning

$0.2 Million $2.7 Million $0.9 Million $8 Million $11.8 Million N/A

Touring Recording Publishing Net Earnings 2001 Earning

$0 $5.8 Million $3.1 Million $8.9 Million N/A

Nelly Touring Recording Publishing Net Earnings 2001 Earning

$2.3 $1.7 $2.6 $6.6 $8.2

Million Million Million Million Million

Source: Rolling Stone Magazine

Touring Recording Publishing Other Net Earnings 2001 Earning


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Money Getting Started in Mutual Funds By Vanessa Warrick Registered State Farm Agent

N

ow that State Farm* has started selling mutual funds, I get a lot of questions about investing. Many of the people I talk to have never invested in the stock or bond markets before. Some feel they can't afford to invest, others are concerned about the risk, and others simply haven't had time to sit down and get started. These are the "real people" behind the statistics that show, according to research by the Investment Company Institute1, that more than 50 percent of American households do not own mutual funds. That means about half of all Americans have not invested in the stock and bond markets. While past performance of any stock or bond is not an indication of future results, those securities have historically, over the long term, produced a greater return on investments. For people who have not invested in stocks or bonds before, mutual funds provide a good point of entry into the financial markets. As I often explain, a basic mutual fund pools the investments of many people to purchase a group of securities selected by a professional manager. It's a market basket approach that allows everyone who owns a share of the basket to benefit from all the groceries inside. Mutual funds offer a couple of advantages for the first time investor. You don't need to invest a lot of money - sometimes as little as $250 for an initial investment - to get started, and with the way most funds are put together you automatically own a diverse group of stocks or bonds or a combination of the two. Most financial professionals agree that diversity is a key to smart investing because it allows you to spread your investment over a number of economic sectors. The important thing in approaching any investment is to sit down with someone you trust and discuss invest-

ing. Your comfort level is really the most critical factor. You and your financial professional should discuss your investment goals. I recommend setting long-term goals because mutual funds are a long-term investment, with many people investing to save money for college or retirement. Staying focused on a clear, long-term goal will help you weather the ups and downs the market will experience. Yes, the markets will fluctuate. That's a certainty. So one of the first things you need to do is discuss how you feel about risk, since mutual funds are not federally insured and may go down in value. You'll need to look at your own personal tolerance for risk and how much risk you're willing to accept in the market. Investing can be a bumpy ride, although, historically, it has worked to the benefit of investors who have hung on for the long term. But some investments are more conservative than others and it's important you purchase the type of fund that matches your comfort level. Once you've considered goals and risks, it helps to set up an investment strategy. You might think about investing the same amount of money in your fund on a monthly or quarterly basis, a strategy called "dollar cost averaging." Again, there are a couple of things to keep in mind with this approach. First, you'll be subject to the ups and downs of the market as you would with any investment strategy. Dollar-cost averaging does not assure a profit or protect you against a loss in declining markets. Because such plans involve making continuous investments regardless of fluctuating share prices, you need to consider if you'll be able to continue to invest on a steady basis when the market is down. However, experts think "dollar cost aver-aging" is a smart strategy because it allows you to average the cost of the shares you own. Finally, think of your mutual funds as a commitment. They're not something you'll track every day in the newspaper or a financial network. Remember, you're investing for college or retirement, both of which are probably some years away. A long-range outlook will also help you feel better when you hit

those inevitable bumps along the road. Investing in mutual funds is within the reach of many people who have never before considered themselves investors. The key is coming up with a strategy that you are comfortable with. There is no assurance that the Funds will achieve their investment objectives. Investment return and principal value will fluctuate and Fund shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. *State Farm Mutual Funds' are not insurance products and are offered by: State Farm VP Management Corp. (Underwriter and Distributor of Securities Products) One State Farm Plaza Bloomington, Illinois 61710-0001 For more complete information about State Farm Mutual Funds, obtain a prospectus by 1-800-447-4930. You should read the prospectus carefully before investing. State Farm速 (Home Offices: Bloomington, Illinois 1 Investment Company Institute, Fundamentals Volume 9, No. 4, August 2000)


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Personal Credit

Do You Know What's On Your Credit Report? • Bankruptcies

• Charge-offs

• Foreclosures

• Judgments

• Late Payments

• Repossessions

• Tax Liens

• Student Loans

• I.D. Theft

In 1971, the congress of the United States enacted the "Fair Credit Reporting Act" (FCRA). The FCRA is a set of 22 laws, 300 subsections that were intended to regulate the credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian). These laws are all the things that the credit bureaus are required to do prior to placing anything on your credit report. One of the laws requires the credit bureau to verify the accuracy of the information. For example, lets pretend that a major department store reports to the credit bureau that you have paid them 30 days late 3 times. You may not even have an account with that department store. That's why the credit bureaus are required to verify the accuracy of the information with both the creditor and you the consumer and they are not doing that. That's where we get involved. We take your credit report and all the entries on it and line it up with the FCRA. We have access to a $240 Million computer system that can detect all the things that the credit bureaus did not do that they were required to do. We then go to the credit bureaus and force them to prove that they fulfilled every requirement of the FCRA. When they cannot do that, that makes the information on your credit report erroneous even if it was originally true. All erroneous information must be removed by law. Along with the credit repair service you will also receive a free four volume College/University informational series on budgeting, interest rates and how to teach your children about it. We want to educate you so that you don't get back into the same credit dilemma in which you are currently in. Also, because you receive the informational series, the entire fee for the credit repair service is tax deductible. We do have a 110% money back guarantee that we will improve your credit score. If bad credit is keeping you from doing or getting the things that you want and deserve, give us a call and we can help. The call is free and the only thing you have to lose is…..BAD CREDIT!

1-866-423-5582


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Money

Master P or P. Diddy... Who will be Rap’s First Billionaire?

A

nd so the race begins. Who will be the first to gain that next $700 million (They are both worth approximately $300 million according to a recent Fortune list)? Will it be Sean Combs with his fashion, music recording, music publishing, music production, restaurants, marketing, talent management, empire, or Percy Miller with his fashion, sports management, film, music recording, music publishing, retail, real estate, empire. What is even more amazing is that Percy Miller who first made the list in 1999 topping Michael Jordan with a net worth at the time of $361 million, then made the list again in 2001at number 20 estimated at approximately $250 million net wealth and again in 2002. Sean Combs made his debut to this elite club in 2001 at number 22 worth approximately $231 million. Who could have imagined nearly 30 years ago in the Bronx that three hip-hop artist would be on the list of the forty richest Americans under forty? (Will Smith also made the list with a net worth of $113 million). This trend is evidence of the business genius of the urban entrepreneur. No longer getting the short end of the entertainment stick and winding up broke after selling millions of records, artist are now taking their piece of the pie. Looking at their portfolios, however, it is clear that they are not just making money from entertainment. In fact, entertainment is more of a marketing tool to fuel their diverse ventures. So, who will make that next $700 million? Will it be you? Owners Illustrated Magazine is dedicated to highlighting the urban entrepreneur. It tells you how they live, how they do business, and shares the lessons they have learned. The more we all know the more the game grows. First came Russell, now Diddy and P, tomorrow it could be you starting that distribution company and locking the game down. So, play on player. Lets get this money and please bury the hate! $


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Subscribe Today and Save 30% off the cover price! 1year - $13.99 2years - $26.99

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 OR subscribe online @ www.ownersillustrated.com

Just Blaze


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“We are the streets.” - The Lox

Urban Enterprise DJ WHOO KID More Than Just a DJ

How did you get started as a dj? I lived in Queens and I did it as a hobby in my bullshit attic at my mom and pop’s house. I lived two blocs from Clue and a block away from Envy, and there were some other DJs in the neighborhood. I saw Clue making money so I just started getting into it. If he could do it, I could do it you know? That’s what made me become a mixtape DJ, instead of doing this bullshit at home. What is your relationship with Rapnetwork.com? I co-own it with two other partners and we do web marketing. I put exclusives on there; we do online interviews, digital interviews where you can see everything. Every time an album comes out, a label calls us because we get like 1 point something million hits a month. So they call us and we promote the artist before the album comes out. Tell me about your website, Shadyville.biz. What can we find on the site? Shadyville.biz is currently in construction and should be ready in about four more weeks (as of press time site is up and running - ed). Its gonna be more into the business side because Rap Network is all about entertainment and basic marketing. But this one’s gonna be more like if you need special services to market your products you can get it there. You can book artists there. I combined with Violator, so I’m booking like all the labels. I’m booking it on there. There is like a radio show with unlimited exclusives, and we’re gonna be selling specialized mix tapes for artists that I will develop. There’s going to be a lot of things you can do on there. We’re going to be selling products and services for the hip-hop world.

50 Cent’s Secr et W ea pon. F r om k ee ping 50 hot in the str eets, to owning his own mar k eting fir m. W hoo Kid is mor e than just a DJ. 50 • OWNERS ILLUSTRATED • Summer 2003

Tell me about the work you’ve done with MTV2. Right now we’re developing 30 second commercials for them. We had the film crew but they provided me with the editing equipment. We do commercials for MTV2. We did the Nappy Roots, which is airing like every damn day, Fat Joe, and other commercials.


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We’re airing them in intervals depending on the album, or whatever’s gonna be out. So what the artists do is freestyle and say MTV2 at the end for a quick 30 seconds. How did you shop your talent to different companies? The way I shop my talent is proof of my notoriety. My tapes are everywhere. They’re the hottest bootleg mix tapes. It’s so big now I’m not even really concentrating on mix tapes anymore. I’m doing DVD mix tapes so you can see visuals of the artist actually freestyling. It’s back to back and it’s more in depth and personal. What impact have you had on the mixtape dj scene? I showed DJ’s artist participation is the best, instead of just putting a mixtape out. It’s better to have like a artist host the CD. Cus every mixtape I put out, there is always a platinum artist hosting it. I just do research. I figure out whose album is coming out, call the label “Yo I’ll promote your artist, let me get some drops.” And if the artist is huge, like let’s say Eminem. I’ll tell Eminem “Yo I’ll promote it” You know, favor for a favor. You gotta be well into the game to do that. You can’t just be a DJ who calls people. I been doing it for a while. A lot of people know 50 cent went through. I helped him a lot. Even when he got shot, nobody cared about him. I still promoted him. The way I would put it, 50 cent would be like number 1 and Jay-z would be like number 15 [ on the albums]. Stuff like that you know? I just like 50 cent. He’s my personal favorite as far as artists go. We just worked out a good relationship and I just stood by him. DJs didn’t give a f--k about 50 cent and rarely played him. He’s hot here and all the DJs are sweating him and everybody wants to

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play his songs. It’s ridiculous now. Like back in the day, people would be buggin when I would play his songs. I’m not gonna name no DJs names, but I know that they were wondering why am I putting 50 cent on all the time. What is the diversity of the video game industry? Probably like 2%(laughs). They (minorities) don’t really pay attention to that. The video game market is one of the biggest markets ever. And they’re getting away with making so much money because they’re using people’s songs and stuff. And they sell it worldwide. You got like a Playstation [for example] a Playstation is not just for the United States. It’s like overseas, Japan, it’s ridiculous. Do you see more of a connection between hip hop and technology for the future? Of course, that’s where I’m at right now. I’m looking like ten steps ahead. All these DJs are still doing the same tapes talking trash. I’m going into technical stuff. People gotta pay me to play the songs. They’re gonna pay me for my techniques. I’m not gonna be playing other people’s songs no more. Especially people that’s not known. They get charged the most because I loose money that way. How did your involvement in Grand Theft Auto 3 open up doors for Vice City? They had a hip hop station on there while everybody was killing each other or stealing a car. They needed hip hop music. Hip hop music when they get killed huh? Hey. Well as you can see that’s all hip hop is about anyway. They wanted to

add mad freestyles. Stretch Armstrong knew some people over there and they played some of his freestyles and some of mine. Then it just started from there. Then I built a good relationship with them where they needed me. They knew my mix tapes were big, so they said “ We’ll give you footage, support, some kind of marketing promotion, we’ll put you in our promotion is you promote each video game that comes out. Do you have plans for more video games in the future? Of course. I’m in charge of NBA Hoops. I’m gonna be DJing on there, while everybody’s playing basketball. That’s coming out soon. The Vice City, I’m in it of course in little Haiti because I’m Haitian. Part of a Haitian gang shooting people and stuff. The fact that they gave me sole access to their promotion, I could make a killin. Everybody plays Grand Theft Auto. Yea, everybody will be playing that game. There’ll be a Grand Theft Auto mixtape. I got hookups with all the artists. Every artist plays that f---kin game so getting shout outs and freestyles about the game is not a problem. So I just showed them another way they could promote, and they just keep coming at me. They’re bothering me right now (laughs). They’re now wanting me to do a Vice City.??? There are so many other projects. Are you involved in any endorsements right now? Believe it or not I’m doing a Whoo Kid sneaker. I’m a creative person. I’m gonna hook it up. Continued on page 62


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Urban Enterprise Politics Power and Hip Hop Business By Opio Lumumba Sokoni, J.D. Poli-Tainment Columnist

H

ip Hop must become familiar with one word – “efficacy.” This important word, when put into action, brings about a desired result. Efficacy is the feeling that people have the power to change their situation. Efficacy is also about being effective, useful, valuable, efficient and full of worth. Those of us who grew up on Hip Hop and have achieved certain things must be willing to give back. Generation X lawyers, politicians, businesspersons, community activists, etc. are in high demand to serve the best inter-

cians who will automatically understand what’s up. These politicians will find a way to rezone your area through legislation. Zoning is the way the government controls the physical development of land and the kinds of uses to which each individual property may be put. Months later you receive a notice from the city or county government stating that the area you are in will go from commercial to industrial. They will give you a certain amount of time to jet – peace – see yaaaa. Next thing you know, War, Inc. is on the same block doing business and may even hire some people from the hood to work in the reception area or sweep the floors. If you do not deal with the people who are making the laws, do not have a community network to head off such madness or do not know how to fight it, you will be at a disadvantage until you get smart. Hip Hop has the resources and intelligence to be politically effective locally, nationally and internationally. Hip Hop has access to a variety of communities the same way the churches had access to black people during the civil rights movement. Get it? Hip Hoppers must now organize its holdings and move smartly. This means being a part of and giv-

“Hip Hop has the resources and intelligence to be politically effective locally, nationally and internationally.” ests of the Hip Hop culture. I often think of how useful my study of Alternative Dispute Resolution in law school could have done some good to mediate the major beef that took place between Tupac and Big/the East and West coasts. Now I think of how my expertise and connections as a lobbyist, organizer and writer can be of service. If we can get more Hip Hoppers to see how political involvement can be an effective tool for everything we do, we will be on our way. First, let’s take an example to prove a point. Imagine you have a successful nightclub or auto detailing shop on the corner of a major intersection. This intersection gets major traffic which causes your business to thrive with little advertisement. Because of your success, another larger business wants to move you out and take your spot. Let’s call the larger business War, Inc. Now, War, Inc. is not going to pull up at your joint and start shooting and scare you into moving out. Neither will they send a person to sabotage your business, i.e. having someone shot at your club or still cars from your detailing shop. This type of stuff is for ignorant ass small timers. War, Inc. will grease the palms of the local politicians who work on a committee that does zoning in the city where your business is located. Stay with me now. War, Inc. will give money to the campaigns (or reelection fund) of these politi52 • OWNERS ILLUSTRATED • Summer 2003

ing to campaigns. NOTE: Smart businesses give money to everyone running for office in order to create a win/win situation. You give more to those who best represent your ideals and interests. Lobbyists and community organizers who are also Hip Hoppers must do their part. Once we are politically aware and efficient, it will be harder for people to diss us outright. With a solid political strategy in place, we will see how necessary it is for Hip Hop businesses to do mergers. One hundred percent control and power over all aspects of Hip Hop is not far off once businesses find their footing in certain arenas. But listen. None of this can be done if there is not a clear priority to raise the quality of life for those who embrace Hip Hop. With a focus on human good, it is easy for more decent and talented people to come in and do great things. Our approach must not be about the same griminess in politics that would cause a person to lose their livelihood because someone else wants their block. At the end of the day, we must be aware, learn the system, use the system, change the system and be better off because of how we work the system. This must be our business over the coming years. $


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“Listen up.” - O.C.

Comcast and Radio One Announce Plans for New Cable Network

I

nvestors cheered loudly as Radio One made a grab for the big leagues, unveiling a partnership with cable giant Comcast for a new African-American-themed cable network featuring entertainment, news, opinion and sportsrelated programming targeted primarily towards 25-54 year old African-American viewers. The network, which has not yet been named, is expected to launch in mid-2003. Comcast Corporation is primarily involved in the development, management and operation of broadband cable networks, and in the provision of electronic commerce and programming content. The company is the largest cable company in the United States, serving approximately 21.4 million cable subscribers. Radio One, Inc. is the nation’s seventh largest radio broadcasting company and the largest primarily targeting African-American and urban listeners. The Company owns and/or operates 66 radio stations located in 22 urban markets in the United States and reaches approximately 12.5 million listeners every week. “We are very pleased to partner with Radio One, an innovative leader in reaching African-American audiences with programming that entertains and informs,” said Brian L. Roberts, chief executive officer and president of Comcast. “Comcast serves 21 of the top 25 U.S. markets, where 50% of African-Americans reside. In the interest of providing the best possible multicultural programming for our subscribers, we have committed to launch this channel across a significant number of our markets and to work with other cable and satellite providers to reach as many total viewers as possible.” The network will include a broad mix of original and existing programming designed to appeal to the AfricanAmerican community, which both Comcast and Radio One believe is one of the most underserved demographic groups relative to targeted television programming. AfricanAmericans comprise approximately 13% of the U.S. population and had a total buying power of approximately $572.0 billion in 2001. At approximately $2.7 billion annually, cable television constitutes the largest entertainment expenditure

Street Buzz in African-American households. “For more than two decades Radio One has been successful at providing high quality programming to AfricanAmericans through the many radio stations we own,” said Alfred C. Liggins, chief executive officer and president of Radio One. “African-Americans have experienced explosive population and per-capita income growth and are one of this country’s most attractive consumer demographic groups. We have known for over a decade that this group is woefully underserved in the television space and have long believed that we could leverage our radio experience to become successful in targeting African-Americans through television. We have searched the last four years for the right distribution and content partner that shared our vision,” Mr. Liggins continued, “and are very excited to have found Comcast as that partner. Their cable distribution and network operations expertise combined with our experience in programming to AfricanAmericans, and marketing and selling the African-American demographic is an absolute formula for success. We are very excited about the prospects of this new enterprise.” The network is a joint venture between Comcast and Radio One. Radio One will make a direct cash investment, not expected to exceed $70.0 million. This investment will be m a d e alongside an additional $60.0 million from Comcast and other parties, over approximately a four-year period. Radio One will provide radio advertising time over a multiple-year period in exchange for an additional equity interest in the network. As part of a management arrangement between the network and Radio One, Mr. Liggins will become Chairman of the network and Radio One will receive an annual management fee plus an additional equity interest in the network. Radio One expects that its fully diluted ownership in the network will be less than 40%. Comcast will commit both financing and a substantial number of subscribers for a similar-sized equity interest. Additional details will be available before the channel launches. “The reality is this market place can support more than one good idea,” Comcast President and Chief Executive Officer Brian L. Roberts told analysts in a conference call. “We are trying to offer what’s not been offered, something different, a complement to BET.” $ Summer 2003 • OWNERS ILLUSTRATED • 53


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Enterprise on the Rise

“We gone make it...” - Jadakiss and Styles P

HeAT SeekeRS: 7:30 eNTeRTAINmeNT AND RooFTop eNTeRTAINmeNT THE CREATION

7:30 Entertainment and Rooftop Entertainment are among the largest mixtape producers on the East Coast. As a result of ingenious marketing and promotion techniques, “P-Cutta Presents Streetwars” has become their number one selling mixtape album. With monthly sales averaging 4700 units per month, the album is far outselling its closest competitors. The current Street Wars, Volume 4, Chapters 1 and 2, both released in September 2002, sold over 5000 copies each and are still in circulation. The production team releases a new volume on average every 2.5 months.

7:30 Entertainment

The well-known record label, 7:30 Entertainment, was started in 1997 by, then amateur Hip-Hop connoisseur “Justice,” in Harlem, New York. 7:30 Entertainment recognizes that one of the pillars of hip-hop music and culture is the “Battle.” The label focuses on the underground world of hip-hop mixtapes to extract raw hip-hop talent and promotes the “Battle.” Justice has been very successful in his endeavors on the NY hip-hop scene and has been highly regarded and credited for his works, which have become very popular.

Rooftop Entertainment

Rooftop Entertainment was founded in the Spring of 1993 by “P-Cutta” who had the same idea as “Justice.” P-Cutta wanted to create a means to use his interest in hip-hop battling to create a name for himself and promote the culture. P-Cutta presented his own hip-hop talent to Washington, D.C.’s Howard University hip-hop underground club and party scenes with his sensational skills in mixing and scratching on the turntables. In 1996, he began distributing mixtape sounds of various artists in Washington, D.Cc and the surrounding areas on a regular basis. 54 • OWNERS ILLUSTRATED • Summer 2003

THE PARTNERSHIP

Justice had already created a name for himself in New York’s underground hip-hop and decided to take his business south to the Nation’s Capitol. Washington, D.C. proved to be very profitable for Justice when he arrived in the Winter of 1997 because of its hidden talent and growing entertainment industry. Justice was on a mission to find the perfect talent to intensify his extravagant vision of “real HipHop” when he was introduced to the sounds of P-Cutta in a popular club in Baltimore, MD. Justice and P-Cutta formed an alliance and began work on P-Cutta’s own mixtape albums. They brainstormed for ideas and techniques that could be used to market and promote their projects. The “P-Cutta Presents: Street Wars Vol. 1” mixtape album was released in August of 2001 and sold 4000 copies on the street in 2 months. The team’s first project was a success.

7:30Entertainment/Rooftop Entertainment

Several successful works were created by the new 7:30 Entertainment/Rooftop Entertainment Label over the next year. Gross sales exceeded 40,800 units, of which the Street Wars album accounted for over 30,000 units. The Street Wars, Vol. 4 (Chapters 1 & 2) albums have sold over 10,000 copies to date, and is still currently on the market. Street Wars, Vol. 5 was released in Washington DC on December 19, 2002 and sold over 5000 units in two days. Another extension of the Street Wars series entitled: “Street Wars Presents: P-Cutta and DNA: Reloaded” was also released in December 2002 and quickly sold over 2000 units. Street Wars, Vol. 5 ½ was released in January and Street Wars “Throw-Back” was released in February during the NBA All-Star weekend in Atlanta.

Street Wars

Street Wars has become the most popular and widely sold mixtape series on the east coast. With sales of more than 30,000 units, which do not include the estimated 20,000 duplicates in circulation around the eastcoast, Street Wars has been compared to such mixtape giants as: DJ Clue, DJ Envy, DJ K-Slay and DJ Whoo Kidd. The Street Wars series has also had many honorable mentions in several magazines and radio commentaries including the 2002 July issue of the Source Magazine, in which it was listed as one of the month’s “hottest” mixtape albums


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of the year. (“This Months Hottest Mix Tape CD’s” Pg. 64, July 2002). Street Wars was also acknowledged on page 67 in the November 1st issue of Newsweek Magazine and received radio airplay on the Ed Lova Morning Show (105.1 NY), D.C.’s own 93.9 WKYS-FM (DJ Alizay). Jay-Z also gave props to Street Wars on a popular radio station in New York City. The sales of Street Wars increase with every new release. Justice and P-Cutta’s production, marketing and promotions skills have definitely proven effective. Within a 15 month period, the Street Wars team have released more than 14 joints that continue to have impressive sales and keep fans impatiently waiting for the next release.

STReeT WARS ANTHologY

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images courtesy of 730 Entertainment

In The Streets Now!

P-Cutta


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Enterprise on the Rise

Jolie Entertainment

photos courtesy of Jolie Entertainment

www.jolieentertainment.com

B

ased in Washington, D.C., Joile Entertainment is a modeling agency with some of the hottest new faces in D.C. Founded over five years ago by the lovely Ms. Waikeena Robinson the CEO, and her partner and president Devin Barnes, Jolie Entertainment has done everything from promotional events, print ads, commercials and fashion shows to hosting special events. One of the strengths of Jolie Entertainment is their diversity. They have a wide range of models with different ethnic backgrounds. The backbone of Jolie is its founder, Waikeena. She has vast experience in promotional modeling and is aware of the ins and outs of product marketing. Waikeena also has experience working for Flair Communications in Chicago and also has a degree in Events Management from George Washington University. So, the next time you are looking for a company with the experience and the ability to integrate your products into the market place, think of Joile Entertainment.

Waikeena Robinson

56 • OWNERS ILLUSTRATED • Summer 2003


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Enterprise on the Rise

– 4 ALARM ENTERTAINMENT – BASSLINE

www.4alarmentertainment.com

ran into Harlem, New York-raised Malik16 (Malik Sharif) after a series of openmic performances in Washington D.C. The two linked up musically after H.E.A.T. Played some of the material he had been working on for Malik and connected him to Terence “The Politician” Anderson, who plays the position of core producer and business partner for Bassline. Not without doubts, the theory of the two different vibes that each emcee provides actually working out smoothly together seemed sketchy at first. The contrast of H.E.A.T.’s aggressive, often sexcharged, off-beat humor and even tone, to Malik-16’s animated gritty uptown ghetto musings appeared unlikely to prove harmonious. There is also the contrast between 16’s ten years of studio and stage experience, and H.E.A.T.’s experience in comparison, who hasn’t been writing and performing as long, but began as a d.j. for a fellow rapper in Chicago. These critical observations started as obstacles, yet through growth it has become evident that Bassline thrives off of the individual distinctions and is in itself a stepping stone for the rappers as soloists. Through understanding each other’s angles, H.E.A.T. and 16 have developed a unified tone and direction as a duo. Since this growth, Bassline has been consistently grinding; doing self-promotion through releasing bi-monthly mixtapes and spreading their name throughout the photo courtesy of 4 Alarm Entertainment D.C. metropolitan and college scene. Most recently, the group opened for t’s not often that you hear two distinctive regional sounds Elektra recording artist Fabolous at Howard University in D.C. come together in almost seamless unison. This is what rapTheir raunchy, yet commercially accessible comedy, coupled with pers Malik-16 and H.E.A.T. bring to the forefront of reality tinted street description displays an overabundance of today’s up and coming hip-hop scene as the combined energy and balance that is especially missing from rap groups effort Bassline. Feeding off a Midwest and northern East today. As far as a Bassline sound; “there is no Bassline sound” says Coast background, Bassline carries a club and radio- Malik-16, “there’s only a feel to us. We’re not murderers, but we’re ready feel with a voice from the streets, for the streets that not backpackers. We speak on what we do, see and think as some transcends coastal limitations. The two individual emcees created young dudes from the hood, who didn’t get caught up in the hood. Bassline as a vehicle to introduce themselves to audiences that they The hardest part is entertaining and still making listeners think and may not have initially reached as soloists. This idea was the brain- relate without contradicting ourselves”. $ child of H.E.A.T. (Brandon Carter); a southside Chicago native who

I

Summer 2003 • OWNERS ILLUSTRATED • 57


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“Ya’ll truly ain’t ready for this Dynasty thing.” - Jay-Z

Entertainment — Feature

He gave you Ludacris’ first hit ‘What’s Your Fantasy’, and has been producing hits ever since. Shondrae presents Bangladesh Inc.

Bangladesh, Inc.


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I

In the words of RUN and the late great Jam Master Jay, "A hit will change your life. It will change your zip code, change your opportunities. . . A hit is a beautiful thing." With all of the hits that Ludacris has had, I am sure Ludacris agrees. In just three short years, Ludacris went from being a local radio host and local recording artist with a regional hit to a twice triple platinum international celebrity, artist, CEO of Disturbing the Peace and Chairman of the Ludacris Foundation. Ludacris' meteoric rise to stardom began with his first album entitled, "Incognegro" which was released regionally and later re-released as "Back for The First Time" on the Def Jam label. One of the things that contributed to Ludacris' success was the hot tracks that he spit his energetic verses to. Especially, "What's Your Fantasy," a record that had the streets and the clubs on fire and was a perfect mainstream introduction to the artist whose name would become a household word. So, while we know Ludacris was the voice and the face

Ludacris did not always believe in Shondrea's production. Shondrea used to own a barber shop with his aunt and Ludacris often came by to get a shape up. During one of Ludacris' visits to the barber shop, Shondrea told him that he had bought an MPC 2000 and that he was making beats. Ludacris didn't know that Shondrea was making beats or that he even had a interest in production. At first, Ludacris did not take him seriously, but eventually convinced him to listen to a track that went on to become the intro, "Come See Me," from Ludacris' first album. Shondrea had to give a lot and be patient in order to be successful. He believed in Ludacris and produced beats for free until Ludacris got his record deal. Shondrea has been working with Ludacris ever since. Shondrea enjoys working with Ludacris. He says: "I like to be in the studio with [Ludacris] 'cause he the type of ni**a [that can] motivate you . . . Once you press something and he like that s**t he's like egging you to keep on, you know what I'm saying, so that s**t kinda gets easy‌ it's just like

"I like to be in the studio with [Ludacris] 'cause he the type of ni*#a [that can] motivate you . . . Once you press something and he like that s*#t he's like egging you to keep on, you know what I'm saying, so that s@*t kinda gets easy‌ it's just like magic . . . when you work with somebody that can bring some other s*@t out of you" behind the music, many of us don't know the architect of that hot track. Was it the Neptunes? No. Try again. What about Timbaland? Sorry, wrong answer. The man behind "What's Your Fantasy," the hit record with Shawna singing the hook that made Ludacris hot all over Georgia, facilitated his Joint Venture with Def Jam and paved the way for Def Jam to open an entire new division to represent the Dirty South is super producer Shondrea, CEO of Bangladesh, Inc. I recently chopped it up with Shondrea about the game and the future, and the process that he and Ludacris use to make hits. This interview is a real eye opener. Shondrea used to do the "human beat box" so he always had a different perspective on the music. Thus, Bangladesh, which means foreign to the ear, was a good choice for the name of his production company. While in his home town of Des Moines, Iowa, Shondrea was inspired by a local artist called Corey D to get into music. Shondrea recalls, "the first thing I got was a MPC 2000, Then I was using my cousin's little Yamaha keyboard." From that point on, the rest is history, but the story has many twists and turns. Shondrae first met Ludacris through Little Face from DTP. When he moved to Atlanta, he attended the same high school as Lil Face's cousin.

magic . . . when you work with somebody that can bring some other s**t out of you" "What's Your Fantasy" wasn't intended to be the first single. "What's Your Fantasy was the last song we recorded for the independent album and it wasn't even gonna be a single" he recalls. Ludacris had tracks that were produced by Jermaine Dupri and Organized Noize that were supposed to be released first. When the streets got wind of "Fantasy," however, all bets were off for the other tracks to launch the project. When he first heard the song on the radio he was cutting hair at the shop as "Chris Lover Lover" (Ludacris) played the song on his radio show. After its debut, it stayed at number one on the station for a long time. Shortly thereafter, Shondrea's career as a barber was cut short and he decided to focus on music production. "My whole plan was to save to get my MP, man. So, I owned the shop and hired my aunt, cause she's a beautician... I'd use her license to have the shop open," he recalls. This was how he financed his recording equipment. Shondrea currently has a home studio that has Control 24 Pro Tools and a Mac hardrive where he stores all his music. The studio is insured and serves as a valuable tax write off. If Shondrea decides to release a record independently, his recently signed publishing deal thru Big Jon


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Platt with EMI/Universal Publishing will finance the venture. His deal included an immediate $600,000 advance on a $1.5 million deal. In order to get the balance of his money, he said: "I need like four beats on Cris' next album … then I need to do my single." Shondrea's deal with EMI/Universal is for the administration of his publishing for which EMI receives 25%, which is pretty impressive. Shondrea charges $15,000 to $20,000 per track and in the past three years has produced tracks on Ludacris' multi-platinum Albums and on a gold album recorded by "Disturbing the Peace." He says that he gets paid half of the money for his tracks up front and then gets the balance after the track is recorded to the satisfaction of the label and artist. He utilizes a manager to shop his beats and advises up coming producers to do the same. In his words, "You might wanna get a manager that believes in you….. Make sure he get no more than 20% of the track cost, nothing else…if you ain't got money to travel to New York and L.A to labels and stay in hotel rooms and whatever, just get a manager…get a (expletive) that believes in you." Aside from producing tracks for Ludacris and shopping some of his other tracks, Shondrea's strategy is to produce an album (ala Dr Dre's "The Chronic") and feature his artists and his diverse musical sound. His current artists include Shemere who is "on like a harder R&B tip, just like a Mary J. Blige", Brock Landers a.k.a. D.O. Deville, himself (he and Brock Landers are forming a yet to be named group), and Misha who "raps like Boss but more feminine" he said. As we concluded, he advised other producers to "Do it for the music, not the money. Money'll come if you do it just out of passion and love, man. Don't do it cause you think that it'll come in quick...everybody can't produce. Everybody can't rap. Everybody can't sing...Make s**t better than me. Make s**t better than him." Wise words from a young producer bound to be a force in the future that has come a long way from Des Moines, Iowa. $

"Do it for the music, not the money. Money'll come if you do it just out of passion and love, man. Don't do it cause you think that it'll come in quick...everybody can't produce. Everybody can't rap. Everybody can't sing... Make s*#t better than me. Make s@*t better than him." – Shondrae’

DJ Whoo Kid continuedfrom page 51 How did you get involved with the Jadakiss Iverson commercial? I was working with Trackmasters , of course they did the track for it. I went in the studio and worked out a little deal with them. Allen Iverson is doing the next mixtape. Its all in the relationship and how you market. Me and Little X are doing a DVD album. I’m just like cut in pieces right now. I got an arm here, a leg there.. (laughs). Which artists are your mixtape listeners demanding to hear right now? 50 Cent, Jadakiss, 50 Cent, 50 Cent, 50 Cent, G-Unit which is Tony Yayo and Lloyd Banks. Tell me about your beef tapes and the impact they’ve had on your career The impact. I went through hell! Shootings, kidnappings… So how did you handle that? I did beef CDs just to get my name out there. Thank God nothing ever happened to me. A lot of stuff I can’t talk about. Me and these artists have sworn not to talk about it. You have to really think before you talk. I know DJs that got beat up all the time for trying to do stuff like that. How did you get involved with Mike Lighty and what kind of deal do you have with Violator? Mike.. He’s like my manager. He books all of my shows. Violator’s Chris Lighty handles my deal situations. I have a lot of label deals on the table so he handles all of that. They handle my television appearances, my interviews...They handle a lot of my situations, and if everything goes well they just run my life. That’s why they’re called Violator. Because they’re gonna violate me and take 20% of my money (laughs). They also help me a lot when I need an artist. They damn near manage all of the artists in the industry anyway. Its been good talking to you. You are a very funny person Well I got a lot of checks to get this week and the more I blab, the more the checks come! Any final words? Everybody make money!!

“I did beef CDs just to get my name out there. Thank God nothing ever happened to me. A lot of stuff I can’t talk about. Me and these artists have sworn not to talk about it. You have to really think before you take. I know DJs that got beat up all the time for trying to do stuff like that.” — DJ Whoo Kid


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Entertainment — Feature

Legally Grinding By Reginald Greene, Esq. and Maiya Norton

What happened to them boys?...They grindin and bakin their own american pie. Tidewater’s finest define grindin.

64 • OWNERS ILLUSTRATED • Summer 2003

Image courtesy of Arista Records


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he Clipse are the latest artists to represent the “Tidewater Area” of Virginia - also called the “757.” Malice and Pusha T, better known as the Clipse, burst on the music scene with their debut single, “Grindin’,” which was a certified club banger. Grindin’ became a street anthem with its unofficial tribute to hustlers who find a way to “grind” legally by using their street hustle to succeed in legitimate business. “No one has come out of Virginia representing that side of hip-hop,” said Terrence (“Pusha T”) Thorton in an exclusive interview with OIM. The Clipse are two brothers (by blood) who have a lot of VA pride and they say the network of Virginia artists is tight. Virginia artists like Missy Elliot and super producers, Timbaland and the Neptunes all show each other love. In fact, one of Pusha T’s good friends is Pharell Williams of the Neptunes. The Neptunes, arguably the hottest production duo in Hip Hop right now, produced the Clipse debut album, “Lord Willin,’” which was recorded in Virginia and released on the Neptunes’ label, Star Trak, a joint venture with Arista Records. As a new group, the Clipse were blessed to have a relationship with the Neptunes. The Neptunes are in demand and a Neptune track is very expensive. Speaking on the album, Pusha T recalls: “A lot of things worked with us financially.” First of all, the whole album was produced in Virginia. That saved the duo a ton of money. Studio time in New York or Los Angeles averages about $250 an hour as compared with studio time in Virginia, which ranges from $40 to $80 dollars per hour. Next, their close relationship with the Neptunes also worked in the Clipse favor because when it came to the tracks, as Pusha T put it “We got the reduced price. The friend and family price.” Pusha explained that, While making the “Lord Willin’” album, the Clipse got another break from an unexpected source. Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds wanted the Neptunes to work with him on his album. Because they were working on the Clipse project, however, the Neptunes respectfully denied. Babyface recognized the importance and talent the Neptunes and decided to make the situation work for everyone. Babyface flew the Neptunes and the Clipse out, put them in the studio and took care of a significant portion of their remaining production expenses. As a result, everybody benefited. As far as the Clipse are concerned, the combination of cost-efficiency and good luck paid off.. The duo re-cooped (made a profit) from their album in the first two weeks after it was released! Luck was not always on Malice and Pusha T’s side. Their first album attempt fell through because of creative differ-

ences. Their label at the time, Elektra, shelved the album and opted only to release the Neptune-produced single called, “The Funeral” with a video that received some airplay. Ironically, some of the tracks from that unreleased album became hits for other artists. In spite of this shaky entrance into the Industry, the Clipse believed that bigger and better things would come their way so they kept grindin. They were right. Although they have madd love for their hometown, the Clipse give Philadelphia credit for breaking the single “Grindin.” The way the “Grindin” single broke is a story in itself. As most artists do, the Clipse did a promotional tour to support their single. After their promotional tour was over, the “Grindin” single was a hit on the streets and in the clubs. Many artists freestyled over the “Grindin” track like the rappers used to do back in the day. It was a definite throw back to the essence of Hip Hop. Although other artists jacked their beat, Pusha said, “its a good thing ‘cause it [gave] our record more light and more life.” Despite all the street hype, it took the single eight months to break on radio. As a result, the label wanted the Clipse to do more promotional tours once they started getting radio play, but the Clipse were already doing paid shows on their own. The Label compromised and set up a “Grindin Tour,” which was promotional and profitable for the Clipse. This scenario is rare, but it was a result of the undeniable hit single. Since then, the duo has toured with Nelly and have plans to go overseas with Jay-z for a tour later this year. The Clipse were the first artists to drop on the Star Trak label, but the roster will soon be expanding. Another artist signed to Star Trak is Roscoe P. Coldchain who is featured on “Cot Damn,” and “I’m not you” from the “Lord Willin’” album. The videos for “Grindin” and “When’s the Last Time” were shot in Virginia. The Clipse also have a video for their third single, “Ma I Don’t Love Her,” featuring Faith Evans, which was shot in Canada. Keep your eyes open for the “Cot Damn” single, which will most likely be shot in Philadelphia. The Clipse and the Neptunes work as a team. Pusha described Pharell as a very insightful partner. “Together we think of strategies and concepts and things like that.” Obviously, the Clipse and the Neptunes have effective strategies and concepts because they resulted in “Lord Willin,” which is certified Gold and has sold over 600,000 copies. For artists who are seeking a deal, Pusha honestly admitted, “If you don’t have a CD, no one really wants to talk.” They Clipse do, however, take the time to give aspiring

“A lot of the album was done on good faith from the Neptunes.”

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Image courtesy of Arista Records

“Together we think of strategies and concepts and things like that.” – Pusha T


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artists a chance if they are given a CD. “We listen to all of our CD’s. We listen to a lot of stuff,” Pusha said. If they like what they hear, they will definitely contact the artist. The Clipse Next album is in the works and scheduled for an August 2003 release. It is too early for a title, but the first single will be, “Mama I’m So Sorry.” A lot of pressure will be on this single because of “Grindin.” With sheer and modest confidence, Pusha assures us “It will be a street anthem once again.” The Clipse have learned a lot in the game and they hope to have a long and prosperous career. When Pusha T was asked about the similarities between hustling and the music industry, he stated, “I’m gonna tell you right now, the same rules apply. You gotta be for self in this game, man. I’m talkin bout its really you versus them. Your immediate family and close ones would belong in the ‘you’ category, and ‘them’ would be the people standing in your way.” Pusha also had some words of advice for his fans, “Keep your money. Put it up. Don’t just act like this is how it comes. Just like getting money in the streets, not every day is a good day.” The Clipse are extra cautious with their money and are planting seeds that they hope will one day be fruitful. Pusha and his financial advisor are working on projects with his money instead of blowing it like the average person would. He understands that investment strategies are essential and patience is a virtue. The Clipse are working on shortterm endorsement deals with Echo and other companies and they just signed a music publishing deal. The Clipse is known for hustling and they realize that people are listening intently to their lyrics. “[Our music] caters to the streets, so if you are out there doing it, then you probably gravitate toward the music,” he explained. Whether it is on the streets or in the office, everyone can relate to “grindin” (working hard) for their money. Use your money wisely and go get “Lord Willin.” $

“You gotta be for self in this game, man. I’m talkin bout its really you versus them. Your immediate family and close ones would belong in the ‘you’ category, and ‘them’ would be the people standing in your way.” — Pusha T


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Entertainment — Feature

Images courtesy of TVT Records

CRUNK INC. The South is hot right now. Thanks to Rap Artists like Atlanta’s Lil' Jon and the Eastside Boys, people all across the Nation can be found getting "Crunk" in the clubs to the sounds of the South.


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asked Lil’ Jon to elaborate on the word Crunk and he explained, “Crunk is when the club is packed, and ni***s look like they fightin’ but they're really not. They just got that much energy pushing and getting super hype. If the club isn't playing music to get ni***s rowdy, then it ain't Crunk!” Lil’ Jon compared Crunkness to the raw energy displayed punk rock and rock n roll concerts, but in a black form. Atlanta is the birthplace of many of Hip Hop's most talented artists and entrepreneurs and has been dubbed the “New Motown.” When I asked Lil’ Jon why Atlanta stood out, he stated, “Atlanta's records are so powerful. With the clubs and radio, if your records ain’t gettin’ people Crunk, they don't want to hear it!” Atlanta's demanding music fans have caused a wave of good music that we can all appreciate and bounce to. Words and phrases from the South have become every day vernacular for the Hip Hop culture. The phrase “Dirty South,” for example, came from a Rapper known as Coolbreeze and the Organized Noize family who made a name for themselves doing production for the multiplatinum, Rap Duo Outkast, who also hail from East Point, Georgia, a close suburb of Atlanta. Its rumored that Coolbreeze and Organized Noize have the phrase “Dirty South” trademarked. Lil’ Jon wasn't sure if anyone owned the word Crunk. One thing's for sure, if someone does own it, they are getting paid. If not, that maybe you can jump on it and start cashing in! We should never lose sight of the business aspects and marketability of Hip Hop culture. Atlanta is also known for its strip clubs and anyone who visits is sure to take notice. The strip club scene plays an interesting role in the Atlanta music scene. Lil’ Jon commented that the strip clubs play an important role because, “The girls in Atlanta can really dance.” Moreover, because they have a lot less restrictions than clubs in many other places, they attract good crowds. In many respects, the strippers serve as critics for the artists and the music. Their valuable feedback comes in the songs that they choose to dance to and the ones they stay away from. Many artists and music industry executives can be found at the strip clubs trying to see what the ladies are dancing to so they can see what's hot. This also makes the strip club a good place for networking with people in the industry. Lil’ Jon and the Eastside Boyz started out with no street team, no marketing scheme, no fliers, low finances, and little support from radio. So, how did they do it? They were determined and motivated. They traveled with their music

and hit the grind hard to be heard and get their name out. Lil’ Jon knew the owner of a label that had access to a studio. He gave them some time in the studio to record and start their mission. They started with the single, “Get Crunk Who U Wit,” and the influence spread throughout the South like wild fire. The radios that once showed no love couldn't deny the affect that joint had on the people and the clubs. Success had arrived thanks to the vinyl and the Crunkness of the chant in the song. You can’t help but to get hype to the sounds of the Eastside Boyz. The beats are tight and the energy level is off the meter. They put their work in and their true talent got them the recognition they deserved. Lil’ Jon says a hit comes from, “A hot beat and a catchy hook.” They have their own label and a distribution deal with a company by the name of TVT. With their new company, BME (Black Market Entertainment), they are collectively giving input into the label's operations. Lil' Jon is mostly responsible for bringing in new artists and production. He looks for “Distinct voices and flows,” and usually recruits talent through demos and referrals. Rarely does he scout talent from someone freestyling for him or coming up to him. His partner, Rob, helps with the production and the management of the label and “VP” focuses on promoting and serves as the label's attorney. The days of self-distribution are long gone but, their humble beginning gives them a frame of reference and keeps them grounded. They paid their dues and now they are ready to reap the benefits. Looking back on their careers, Lil’ Jon and the Eastside Boyz have come a long way in the game. Lil’ Jon started out as a DJ with no specific aspirations related to the music business. He ended up meeting Jermaine Dupri at a function in Atlanta. Jermaine noticed Lil' Jon often and offered him a job. Jermaine took him under his wing and showed him how to build the foundation that he would need to be successful in the business. As a result of working with Jermaine Dupri, Lil’ Jon learned important business skills that he can apply to his future projects. Lil’ Jon is an inspiration to many up and coming artists. His advice to everyone is, “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Be patient because it’s not going to happen overnight." Lil’ Jon admits videos play an important role in Hip Hop and have a big influence on sales. The video budget for Lil’ Jon’s hit song “Bia Bia,” was about $150,000. Lil’ Jon Codirected the video and incorporated the idea of “black punk rock” into the video with the crazy energy. It topped the charts and everyone was shouting, “Bia Bia,” across the Nation. Lil’ Jon couldn't recollect the budget of the first

o s e r a s d r o d c n e a r s s b ' u l a t c n e a l h t t "A ful. With ain't gettin' s o r d t e r t o w n c o a e don't w p r r u o y f i , o i d ra le Crunk, theyit!" hear peop


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“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Be patient because it’s not going to happen overnight.” album specifically, but the latest album had a budget of about $600,000. This highly anticipated album called “Kings of Crunk” hit the streets in October and Lil’ Jon says he is happy with the project because they took time out to relax and focus on the album without distractions. Lil’ Jon says: the label is “believing in them,” because their first album was certified Gold, selling over 500,000 copies. According to Lil’ Jon, him and the Eastside Boyz are, “Taking their music to a whole new level.” There are a lot of collaborations on “Kings of Crunk,” so there will be a lot of diversity and a whole new edge to the music. Lil’ Jon networks with artists informally or through label regulated collaborations. The compensation for these types of recordings is usually in the form of trade outs (i.e., you do me, I do you), or handled by each label's A/R. The new album is definitely going to make an impact. Keep your eyes and ears open for Mystikal, Krayzie Bone, 8 Ball and MJG, Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Styles, Too $hort, Trick Daddy and more. Another hot newcomer by the name of Oobie is coming strong with ghetto R&B flows about real life situations and lyrics we can relate to. Jon proudly proclaimed that she sings over “Hard beats, no bubble gum sh*t.” Lil’ Jon also says we should be on the look out for Chyna White who is keepin’ it street with her hard rhymes and tight lyrical skills. Lil’ Jon knows the ingredients needed to make a Crunk album, so I am sure we won't be let down! $


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Entertainment — Feature

JAM MASTER JAY The Loss of a Legend By Deity Dah

H

ip Hop was just a means of recreation when it started. MCs, DJs and spectators would get together in a neighborhood for an outdoor party. One problem, no electricity meant no sound. But, being the creative people that we are, we just plugged the set into the street lights. Most urban youth didn't have enough money for musical instruments, so they got two turn tables, brought out their parents old records, found the instrumental break downs and kept bringing the beat back, scratching (i.e., moving the turntable back and forth with the needle in the groove to create a unique sound effect) or mixing the break with another one to create a new rhythm for the MCs to rhyme to. This was the work of the DJ. In a sense, they provided the sound track for the Hip Hop movement. The MC's role was originally to hype up the DJs who kept the blocks hot and the parties packed. The DJs were the backbone of the music. Jam Master Jay was the backbone of Run DMC. He anchored the group that became Hip Hop's first superstars. Imagine where Hip Hop would be without Run DMC - - the first rap group to (a) sell a million records, (b) appear on MTV, (c) reach the top ten on Billboard's Music Charts, (d) merge Rap with Rock, (e) sell out concert arena's across the country, (f) demonstrate the branding power of Hip Hop music, and (g) bring the culture of the streets of New York to main stream America and the World. It was "Run's House" but, Jay maintained it. Jam Master Jay was also the first DJ that main stream America had ever seen scratching and mixing. Without him, there would have been no Rum DMC. Without Run DMC, there would have been no Def Jam and no Bad Boy because before Run DMC, there was no money in the Rap Game. They raised the stakes when they came out. They WERE the Game. When Run DMC proclaimed "My Adidas!" on their hit single, it was the prelude to a marriage between urban music and fashion that would usher in a Hip Hop fashion phenomenon that has made Hip Hop a true culture and generated billions of dollars in merchandising revenue. Jam Master Jay produced "My Adidas." When Jay found the groove on "Walk this Way," the result was a hit that revived the careers of the Rock group, Aerosmith, and made suburban kids across the world fall in love with Hip Hop culture and become the central source of the commerce that it controls.

I am fortunate to have personally met the Godfathers of Hip Hop and, in particular, Jam Master Jay. Before I had the dream to start a publication focused on the entrepreneurs who drive this industry, I was an aspiring artist trying to get put on. In 1996, I handed Jay my demo and was disappointed when nothing came of it. Thereafter, on a cold January day in 1999, I had gotten a call from Jam Master Jay and I found myself at the Hit Factory with Run DMC. By this point, I had reached Nirvana because I wasn't producing and I wasn't rapping but, I was the CEO of my own production company with my artist providing the lyrics and my producer providing the beat for a song called "Hollis, NY" that Run DMC wanted to use. I still cherish that song to this day. I also regret to this day that we were not able to make a deal with Run DMC for the song because my artist and producer were too young and eager to see the big picture. Meeting Run DMC and Jam Master Jay was, nonetheless, a great experience. Especially Jay, who was remarkably kind and grounded for a person of his stature. Something they said to me stuck. I remember Jay and Run telling me that: "a hit would change your life, your zip code, your friends, your family, a hit is powerful." And, to ring home the point, they told me that even though their last hit "Down With the King," was recorded several years earlier, they still were doing $100,000 shows on the strength of that song and had built an international following on the strength of their other hits. I am grateful to have broken bread with the Kings and hope the best for Jam Master Jay's wife and kids; the same for Run and DMC. We must respect those who paved the way. So, the next time you hear an artist talk about their sneakers, hear them boasting about packing arena's, bragging about producing hot tracks, rocking black leather blazers or sporting a black fedora', remember where it came from. The next time you hear a song from the rap group, ONYX, or the hot newcomer that goes by the name of "Fifty Cent," remember who discovered them. Last but not least, remember the man who held it down and made it happen with Run DMC, the legendary pioneers of the "Rap Game." $

REST IN PEACE JAM MASTER JAY OWNERS ILLUSTRATED • Summer 2003 • 71


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Cover Feature In the here today gone tomorrow world of Hip Hop, only the strong survive. In the competition for the attention of the fickle consumer, fierce legends are made by artists who innovate the game by building business models that surpass the norm and provide a blueprint for future artists. Jay-Z once said: "You'd be hard pressed to find another rapper as hot as me." Well, we definitely found a hot one...and the heat is rising.

Pictures courtesy of Interscope Records

“Nastradamus said 50’s the future.” — 50 Cent

50 CENT

THE FUTURE

by Maiya Norton Damola Idowu and Reginald A. Greene, Esq.


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0 Cent, born Curtis Jackson from Queens, N.Y., created a buzz like a million bees swarming. To put his hype in perspective, you have to look at Eminem. Eminem at the time of Fifty’s signing was the hottest artist in Hip Hop. His recent semi-autobiographical movie did over $100 Million at the box office. Sales of his album, The Eminem Show, have topped all recording artists for 2002, and account for 10% of the industry leader, Universal Music & Video Distribution’s, Hip Hop sales (Universal controlled 48% of the Hip Hop market in 2002 and also owns Def Jam). In the midst of his own fan-fare, Eminem (with the help of super producer, Dr. Dre) kept his ear to the street and signed 50 Cent to a million dollar record deal. For 50 Cent, a relative new comer without so much as an official record release, a deal of this magnitude with Eminem is phenomenal. The question on everyone’s mind is: How did 50 pull it off? Through guerrilla marketing, street hustle, shrewd business tactics and powerful management, 50’s name spread like wildfire from New York, down the coast and across the Nation. Critical in his marketing strategy was to do “freestyles” on “mix tapes.” For many Hip Hop artists, especially in New York and Philadelphia, mix tapes are the most direct way of reaching the streets. The mix tapes are distributed by a network of bootleggers and, in some cases, reach international markets. According to 50, “Once the tape is out and its hot, or you have a buzz around you big enough, every bootlegger will have it. Then, when people get the tapes, the hype comes from the streets.” This twenty-six year old rapper has gained a reputation on the street for his taunting other rappers in his sizzling hot verses. In his words, “You gotta make a record that makes people say ‘Who is this kid?’ And, that’s exactly what they said.” Most of 50’s songs on the streets are parody’s of other artists like “Want my Chedda,” which uses the instrumental of LL Cool J’s hit “Love you better.” The ill parodies are one of the primary reasons 50’s mix tapes are so hot. He knocks off hit songs and provides his own twisted free styles over the familiar instrumentals. 50’s first hit parody on the streets was the underground track entitled, “How to Rob,” on which he fantasized about robbing Hip Hop’s elite (with the help of the Mad Rapper). “How to Rob” is a parody of Notorious BIG’s underground anthem, “Dreams of Fuckin’ an R&B B****h.” Reflecting on “How to Rob,” 50 recalls: “At one point, I had beef with damn near everybody . . . But the momentum changes people’s minds.” Despite his past conflicts, 50 plans to collaborate with some artists he initially had some heat with. In fact, 50 appears on Missy Elliot’s “Work It” remix and on DMX’s

Bloodline Records Cradle To The Grave soundtrack. 50 is also currently on tour with Jay-Z. Future projects are likely with Jay-z and DMX. 50 gives credit to his New York fan base for helping to turn the controversies into cash. “I concentrate on that market first, and everything else kinda falls in place, like Philly, D.C., and all of the other places,” he explained. 50 also credits his success to his close ties with DJs, such as DJ Red Spyda and Whoo Kid, two of New York City’s hottest DJ’s. Whoo Kid hosted 50’s mix tapes and was instrumental in helping 50 create a buzz. Whoo Kid also stuck by him throughout his tough situations and they worked together as a team. Before inking the deal with Shady/Aftermath, 50 had plans to release a previous album entitled, “Power of the Dollar,” but ran into some problems when he was shot several times. As a result of the shootings, the album was never released and 50 was forced to take a break. While he was recovering, he found time to make mix tapes and get his name hot on the street. 50 had made many relationships with people in the industry prior to the shootings. Most notably, with Chris Lighty, CEO of Violator, which has a roster that includes Missy Elliot, Busta Rhyme and DJ Whoo Kid, to name a few. As a result of Chris’s efforts, Record Labels were extremely persistent in trying to sign 50. Some of his options included Universal Records, Jive Records, Warner Brothers, and J. Records. The deals ranged from $1 million to $1.3 million. In the midst of the bidding wars, Eminem was finishing up “The Eminem Show,” but called 50 one Friday evening at around 9 p.m. and made plans to get 50 to Los Angeles the next day for a meeting about a deal. It is pretty rare for record deals to be negotiated on a weekend, but that shows how important 50 was to Eminem. Although some of the other Record Labels offered 50 more money than the $1 million offered by Eminem’s Shady/Aftermath Label (an Interscope subsidiary), 50 decided to sign with Shady/Aftermath. The Shady/Aftermath deal gave 50 the flexibility to do his own label deal (which he did with Interscope) and allowed 50 to benefit from Dr. Dre and Eminem’s production. 50 is confident in his decision stating, “Em and Dre [are] a dream team. No situation [was] bigger than that to me.” Eminem, Dr. Dre and 50 plan to do a big tour together when time permits. Although 50 is moving in a new direction, he insists on saying what he feels if he has an issue. “I’m not politically correct all the time,” says 50. 50’s talent showed a new side of himself on his Shady/Aftermath debut entitled, “Get Rich or Die Trying.” Even though this is his first released album, the mix tapes and “Power of the Dollar,” could technically count as two priors. His melodies, and song writing ability stand out and have held his album at the top

ìYou gotta make records that make people say, ëWho is this kid?í And thatís exactly what they said.î


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ĂŹI used the streets to introduce [G-Unit]. On a street level, they all over the place.ĂŽ


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of the charts since it’s February 6th Release. His opening week debut of 872,000 in four days has broken soundscan records for a debut album. I asked 50 if his reputation for creating controversy has been an advantage or disadvantage for him. His response was, “I think it is overshadowing the actual talent of me being able to write music. I try to stay away from that as much as possible on the new album.” Eminem and Dr. Dre gave 50 a lot of creative and financial freedom on “Get Rich or Die Trying.” I asked him the budget for the album and he said that he didn’t have an initial budget and still doesn’t have one. The album featuring his long time crew G-Unit, which he says, “Is probably the most popular phrase of the year,” in a humorous tone. G-Unit ran by Sha Money is comprised of Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, and Young Buck (a signee from Juvenile UTP records). Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo are two of 50’s childhood friends. He compared G-unit to Eminem’s D12, and Ludacris’ DTP and plans on releasing an album later this year with the entire collective. He explained that most artists wait until their second album to introduce their crews and that is what he plans to do. In the meantime, GUnit is going the underground mix tape route, following in 50’s footsteps. “I used the streets to introduce them. On a street level, they all over the place,” he said. Currently the hottest mix CD on the streets is The Best of Lloyd Banks featuring his freestyles and features from G-Unit songs. G-Unit, the name of 50’s (and partner Sha Money’s) record label, with Interscope Records, was originally named Rotten Apple, but 50 decided on G-unit (guerilla unit) based on the military tactic. 50 is also busy considering endorsement deals from many companies. He is still trying to determine whether he wants to endorse anything. He laughed and suggested that he might just sell his own merchandise.

No story about 50 Cent would be complete without highlighting the tremendous impact Chris Lighty has had on 50’s career. As the CEO of Violator, along with Mona Scott, Chris Lighty is very influential behind the scenes in the Music Industry. 50 simply said, “Chris is an a**hole.” At first I was skeptical about including that comment in this article, but then he cleared it up for me. “If he’s not working for you, your perception of him is gonna be he’s an a**hole, if you’re not down with him. When he’s on your side, its great because he is an a**hole for you. He gets everything done that has to be done.” Chris Lighty was instrumental in helping 50 shop his current record deal and make some of the key connections he needed to create a buzz on the streets. While other people had reservations about dealing with 50 because of the shooting incident, Chris had none. 50 said Chris was the aggressive person he needed to get his business in order. 50 has made his way through the struggle and finally come out on top. He counts his blessings as he considers the obstacles he has faced in the industry. He notes getting shot as an obstacle because it delayed him on his road to success. Another aspect he considered and obstacle is, “The things that come with the business. Things happen real fast and everything starts to change.” He commented on the differences in people’s approach (especially women) in every day life as an obstacle in itself. Nevertheless, he is not letting the little things get him down because he has a vision and a purpose. Keep your ears and eyes open for 50’s new ventures, including the New Breed DVD, and the launching of G-Unit Records with Sha Money XL. 50 has been given another chance at life and success, and his motivation can take him even further than he already is in the game.

$

ì[Chris Lighty] gets everything done that has to be done.î


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ìYou know you gotta make a record to make pe exactly what they feelÖJay-Z, his response wa 50 Cent?'î


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ake people feel 'Who is this kid?' and that's se was, 'I'm about a dollar what the f*@k is


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In 50ís Words - Exclusive Interview Interview by Maiya Norton

How did you create such a vibe for yourself without an officially recorded release? I hit the streets, mix tapes…I released my music…I had a lot of time off. I always wrote music but I wasn’t able to put it out at that point so I was just…when I thought it was good then I put the material in the streets… How many labels were bidding for you and what were their offers? It was a few labels - Universal – they offered me a label situation – G-Unit, it was for like one 1. 1.2 million. Um, Warner Bros…Universal, Warner Bros., Jive, J Records…there were other companies like Capitol and that were really just there, you know, to meet with everyone who wanted to meet, you know, and like after they found out that Em and Dre was interested, everybody was like went up crazy, right. When I came back they were offering millions of dollars like 1.2, 1.3. Okay, you were just about to talk about your new deal with Eminem… The deal actually, when I went back everybody had went up but I still - they were over the deal that I did – like the deal was a million dollars with Em and Dre but they ain’t pressure me creatively. So I went there. It was weird cause when he called me to come to the meeting he called me like Friday night so like Friday like, 9 o’clock they told me I’m coming out there tomorrow…fly me out to Los Angeles on Saturday. You know usually when you attend a meeting it’s during business hours during the weekday…so they call you…on the weekend it feels different. Cause that’s how important it was. Like he was in the middle of finishing The Eminem Show and when he got the mix DC with my music on it and it wasn’t til after he completed it and his first week of sales came back and he did like 1.3 million the first week and he felt like he wanted to get into some other things so he got a chance to listen to it and he called; they flew me

out…it was so exciting… What effect do you think you’ve had on mix tapes and beats tapes and do you have any plans with still working with any artists you have beats? At one point I had beats with any and everybody…I already did the “Work It” remix with Missy Elliott. I’m planning on working with Jay-Z. DMX – me and him have had conversations…I don’t think everybody who…I think the momentum changes easily. My momentum now is changing…it’s the music business…I mean when you come in and no one knows you it’ll feel like you brand new. But it was effective. It was exactly what I needed. When you on a major label and the label might have a hundred acts in there how do you become the focus? That’s true. You know you gotta make a record to make people feel ‘who is this kid?’ and that’s exactly what they feel…Jay-Z, his response was, ‘I’m about a dollar who the f**k is 50 Cent?’

Are you involved in any endorsements right now? No. I have a lot of options but I haven’t made any decision on it. Do you think you’re going to endorse anything or you’re still thinking about it? I’m still thinking about it – I might sell my own stuff. Okay, A Wanksta doll? Yeah, a Wanksta doll… You’re notorious for your mix tapes and your disses and everything. Has the dis part been an advantage or disadvantage for you? I mean, I think it’s overshadowing the actual talent of me being able to write music you know so I try to stay away from that as much as possible on my new album but…I mean I gotta do what I gotta do on certain issues I gotta address but I don’t wanna make that totally my m.o. of what I do – you know? That’s not what it’s about if I have an issue I’m a say it. I’m a step to it. I’m not politically correct all the time.

Right. So, you know and that sent me to radio the next day so you know that’s like offering to publicize without making the kid come up through the ranks. How did you get the name 50 Cent? 50 Cent is the name I took from a gangster who used to live in Fort Green - he got killed a while back. I just didn’t want to take the name of a gangster like Al Capone or Gotti or you know… Right. You want somebody you actually knew of… Right.

Break down G-Unit. I got the name G-Unit from guerilla unit you know military – guerilla unit - stuff like that.

Have you gotten any feedback from anybody, from the songs that you covered? That I put out? I mean well I’ve gotten a serious positive response for my music in New York City, that’s where I’m from and I concentrated on that market and everything else kind of falls into place like Philly and D.C. and…like the mix tapes I think people think…it’s not difficult for you to get on a mix tape…it’s not as difficult as it is for you to get on mix show radio but um those CD’s – it’s like black market distribution. Once the tape is out and it’s considered hot or you have a buzz around you big enough… Everybody’ll have it. Every bootlegger will have it so it’ll end up from…the entire east coast.


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So how did you first get to be on music tapes like how did you shop your music around to different DJ’s? I never shopped to the DJ’s because I had already made some relationships from when I was [off the record] the So like they knew me as – knew of me as an artist who was just like – I was just coming back from getting shot and it was like oh let me hear the new record. So how did you get involved with Chris Lighty? Well, I needed Chris Lighty to come shop my deals with people who were afraid to do the deal with me like I took meetings before without him and they were like, you know, like they had this perception of me like this guy is crazy…he got shot up…he’s running around…the same way he was before, you know and it just made them think that…when you’re not from those environments if you’re not from the hood things don’t happen like that around you… People get nervous. Yeah, cause I mean, for some of these people, you know, shots only go off on T.V. Right. You know, then when they see you and…your experiences it kind of startles them. You know so I kind of needed him to get involved. $

ì...they had this perception of me like this guy is crazyÖhe got shot upÖheís running aroundÖthe same way he was before...î

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COMING SOON www.dagreatdeitydah.com


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Feature

Pictured left to right: Chris Lighty, Nicole Lighty, and Dave Lighty (Jon Lighty and Mike Lighty not pictured).

Meet Hip Hop’s version of the Kennedys. The hottest family in the game, Chris Lighty shaped the game with his multi-media management empire. Mike books the shows, David is Director of A&R at Jive, Jon is making beats, Nicole is giving new life to celebrity fashion and making a difference in the community with Fan 4 Life Foundation and Fufua, Inc., celebrity consignment clothier. In a pool of sharks, blood is thicker than water. 82 • OWNERS ILLUSTRATED • Summer 2003


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Chris Lighty

C

hris Lighty is a solid foundation and driving force within the Lighty family. This thirty-three year old hip hop business man has gone from carrying crates, DJing, then working with Rush Management and Def. Jam, to sitting behind the desk of his own management company, Violator. He describes his relationship growing up with his brothers by saying, "It was fine [growing up]. Being the oldest, you gotta take care of the family." The Lighty Family's careers coincide with each other, but they manage to separate family and business in appropriate ways and support each other's endeavors. "I really let them do their thing and I do mine. I've been able to be a footstool for them into the business, so they don't have to take the same route. I hope they listen to my advice and take heed to the experience I have. They're their own men [and woman] so they have to do what they have to do," he explains. Chris Lighty was a young man running the streets with the Violator Crew, which consisted of Chris, Chris Olley, Hands, Big Rod, Sneaky B, Jerry and a few of their other close friends. Growing up in the Bronx, he was exposed to the hip hop scene and was interested in being an emcee and a dj. He was an avid fan of legendary New York DJ Red Alert, and used to pester him to be a part of it all. Chris started carrying crates for him with Sammy B and helped host some Red Alert shows on the weekends. One summer, Chris went on the road with Red Alert (who was a part of the Zulu Nation) and Boogie Down Productions, and he started to dj as a hobby. "When Sammy didn't show up for certain dates for the Jungle Brothers I was DJ/road manager/take out the garbage," Chris laughs. "I went to Red Alert college. Running around with Red Alert and experiencing the world. Our relationship really kicked off at Union Square. That's where we used to hold him down, bring records, hold down security. You know, close friends," Chris recalls. He was getting his feet wet in the industry and opening up potential doors for doing big things. Running with Red Alert and the Jungle Brothers afforded Chris the opportunity to establish connections with the big names in the industry. "Through Red Alert and Scott La Rock I got the opportunity to meet people and travel the world," he remembers. The first Jungle Brothers album sold over 400 thousand copies independently, and that led to a $1.6 million deal with Warner Brothers Records. At the time, a deal like this one was of great magnitude and it made way for future hip hop acts. "After Jungle Brothers came A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and more. As I started to grow on the management side another friend of mine named Shakim and I decided that we wanted to do some things together." Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen (of Def Jam Records) linked up with Chris in an effort to get him to work at Rush Management. "I jumped at the opportunity to learn. I felt like I knew a lot but I didn't know it all," he says.

Chris gives credit to Lyor Cohen and Russell Simmons for the valuable strategies and tactics his experience with them taught him. He learned to," Protect the logo. Don't do anything that will be damaging to the logo. Try to be as true to the music and the nuances of the community as possible. Because its better to sell ten million records over ten years, than to sell ten million records once." Chris explained that this strategy affected long term hip hop figures like LL Cool J, Public Enemy, and the Beastie Boys in their longevity in the game. Even during the slower times, Chris recognized the importance of maintaining a respectable label. "Even when we were ice cold and putting out bricks, the logo always had the right floss. Russell would do Def. Comedy Jam or something to keep the logo in a good light," he recalls. The experience and knowledge he had gained from working with them inspired him to branch out with the Violator concept. Violator Records was created on a low budget with high hopes. About $200,000 was invested in several projects and albums for Fat Joe, The Beatnuts and other artists. “We did that on a shoe string budget. We had no money back then." There wasn't an abundance of money for these efforts, but there certainly was a motive and a purpose. The purpose was to get the name Violator on the streets. Created in 1990, Violator was initially under Relativity Records and linked with BabySound Productions. Chris met his partner Mona Scott through a mutual acquaintance in New York. Mona was managing Trackmasters, but was on her way to moving to Atlanta. Chris asked her for her help and she agreed to see Chris through his vision with Violator. "She never left. The relationship just evolved and we grew the company. We're still growing it today. It’s a crawl, walk, run approach,” he explains. Chris applied what he had learned to Violator and has watched it flourish before his eyes. He says, "Sit and learn. I was willing to be a part of Rush Management, Def Jam, Lyor, and learn the system, and be a part of it even though we had an independent situation going. At that time, when we had made mistakes there was no one to pick up the ball because we were the only ones doing it." The company is still standing and Chris is building his dream more and more by the moment. Violator Records was recently sold to Jive Records on a distribution deal. "My relationship with Def Jam lasted 12 years until we sold the company and everyone got broken off their piece of money. I decided that I felt I did everything that I could have done at Def Jam," he says. Chris introduced and supported female artists like Foxy Brown while at Def Jam. Violator currently manages artists such as 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliot, LL Cool J, Mobb Deep and more. Their focus is to expose and develop the artists career in the most productive way possible. Chris feels that Violator has gained so many artists through their diligent work and dedication to their clients. He considers each artist a valuable asset to the company. He keeps the company moving at a healthy pace by "not trying to make the quick hit because the quick hit is the quick burn. Not doing twenty production deals and trying to implode the manageSummer 2003 • OWNERS ILLUSTRATED • 83


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and other tours are currently in progress for Violator. Chris Lighty's influence has permeated the music industry on nearly every level and it continues to spread. Violator has given their artists a wide range of opportunities and endorsements. Chris was responsible for Busta Rhymes and Missy endorsements and values the importance of representing the Violator clients. "We've been able to move out clients from 125th street to Madison, to Hollywood," Chris says. "Endorsements for Busta Rhymes with Mountain Dew and making sure the marketing was thorough enough not to destroy what we created for Busta. Same thing with Missy whether it was Gap or Milk. It was just a natural fit to move more into the marketing arena," he explains. "When you look up and see an ad for Cognac you don't feel like they're trying to sell you on some old black exploitation. Something more suitable to the African American of today, not 1970." Other endorsements are in the works according to Chris. Chris has also given Violator a connection to films and the box office hit Blow. A good friend of Chris', the late Ted Demi showed Chris the film. Chris thought it was an excellent film and aided his friend by helping to promote the movie. He had sponsored a special screening for mixshow DJs to get the name out in the streets and promote the movie. He also got a street team, promotional items, and support for the movie and his friend. Busta Rhymes has also blessed the big screen with movies such as Halloween, Shaft, and his latest project Narc.

"We've been able to move out clients from 125th Street to Madison, to Hollywood..." ó Chris Lighty ment by managing anyone in the world. Being picky and choosy and making sure we do things that are right for the clients, employees, and the logo.” There are fourteen young and dedicated employees at Violator Records that handle the day-to-day functions of the company. Chris recognizes the importance of the employees having a passion for the music and the industry, because it is a very demanding field. The functions of Violator revolve around what's going on in the industry and what is going on with the Violator artists. The current projects in the works and happenings are a Sprite commercial with Kobe Bryant and Havoc (of Mobb Deep), A Clipse and CNN commercial, accommodating Missy in Asia for the MTV awards, and working with Interscope for the 50 Cent tour. Violator releases about 7-12 albums yearly. Look out for a new Violator compilation album, G-Unit album, a new Mobb Deep album and many more in the upcoming months. Violator also books about 1-2 major tours annually, while the artists also do 4-5 little tours in clubs and colleges. A Missy tour titled, “Where My Girls At,” a 50 Cent/Clipse college and house invasion, a Clipse and Busta tour in Europe

Although Chris prefers to remain out of the limelight, drama and obstacles find their way into everyone's lives. Little things that happen can rattle the daily working environment of Violator Records or of the artists under the label. Rumors are always going to be an issue for artists, and the recent rumor of the murder of 50 Cent and Jay-Z had the industry in a temporary frenzy. Two ways were exploding and phones were ringing off the hook. So how does a big exec like Chris handle a situation like this one? With a little common sense and patience, you will work through the little storms that make their way into Hip Hop. Chris recalls, “I had spoke to 50 at around 3 am so I knew it was a rumor. We're always scared or worried that something is going to happen to him so I constantly speak to him 24 hours a day. I pretty much know where he is at most of the time. We know its part of the game. Right now its a part of the promo, marketing, and draw that makes you go ‘Ok this is cool. This is 50.’” Hip hop has its norms that stray outside of the corporate guidelines. Illegal bootleg mixtapes and guerrilla marketing are unique and sometimes deemed unacceptable to the business world. "Its still a corporate world and


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Dave Lighty

D

ave Lighty is a thirty-year old member of the Lighty Dynasty. He is the mastermind behind the A/R and talent scouting aspect of the music industry. His success has been earned as an established A/R director of Jive Records and by his experience with other companies. He describes his relationship with his siblings with fond remembrance, "It was cool. It's my family. That's all we got so it had no choice but to be good." Chris Lighty wanted Dave to head in the right direction and encouraged him to come to New York and work. Chris and Lyor Cohen helped Dave get started in the music industry. Def Jam provided him with his first internship, and he worked with Violator also. The first job he had was being a tape librarian for about a year, and he valued the importance of the exposure he was gaining. He moved up to A/R Assistant and then Director of A/R, working with Def Jam and Violator. His most recent and current company is Jive Records since 1998, and he is well established in the business. Dave appreciates the business network he and his brothers have in the industry. " My brother Chris is pretty well established in the industry so the name alone opens doors," he explains. They all work together and have gained respect as a family and as separate entities. He has done work with Mike's booking agency, Jon's production company, and keeps ties with Chris and Violator.

"A lot of the game is having common sense and follow through." 贸 Dave Lighty During his five years at Jive, Dave has been in charge of recruiting talent and overseeing the rap division of the company. Jive only has five rap acts and Dave's goal is to continue to find "fresh new talent." Jive Records is an independent company that has just been acquired by BMG for three billion dollars. Zomba sold the company to BMG because the contract was up. With a "put clause," the distribution company, BMG, has to acquire the company based on their best three years of sales. The sales were 3.6 billion dollars. Jive's employees are of diverse and varies backgrounds and ethnicities. Prerequisites for being hired at such a company rely heavily on experience, but in the music industry it is also who you know. Dave has experience with other companies, but his time and energy has been vested in Jive. The three-billion-dollar record company is home to music sensations such as Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, R. Kelly, Joe, Mystikal, Too Short, Nivea, Syleena Johnson, Britney Spears, E-40, Petey Pablo, UGK, and many more. Jive releases about six to eight albums a year, but that

depends on certain factors. These factors include the timing, what's going on in the industry, who is out, and how fast the artist gets the album finished. Being the director of A/R isn't an easy job. In a country full of aspiring and talented artists, it can be hard to narrow down the true talent among many competitors. Dave sets up meetings, listens to music, and is extremely instrumental in choosing the next hit artists in the music business. "I look for someone who's gonna be an artist. They have everything from the charisma, the style, and the attitude of an artist. And then of course, music. That's definitely the key because they have to have good music. Someone that's a little different from the rest of the masses." The process of signing an artist begins with negotiating a deal. The artist and attorney formulate a contract with the label and head to the studio. Dave chooses which artists work with what producers according to who's got the hot beat for that particular artist. He explains that he's not real big on the name of the producer, but rather the talent and the sound the producer comes up with. He gives all producers an equal chance. When I asked who has the hot


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Mike Lighty

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ike Lighty is a twenty-eight year old member of the Lighty family and the entertainment field as well. He is involved with the management and touring aspects of the music industry. Mike describes his upbringing with his family as good and they are a close family. After spending three years at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, he realized that he wanted to branch out and find his career path by different means. One summer, Mike decided to intern with his brother Chris Lighty and planted his roots in the game. After realizing that school wasn’t going as planned, he decided to stay in New York and work. The first job with Chris entailed tour management, various artists’ itineraries, taking messages, and a little bit of everything. Mike was unsure of what field he wanted to specialize in, but he was sure he wanted to remain out of the limelight and in the cut. Working with business and paperwork was the alternative he selected. “I just wanted to make some money. That’s the key. You gotta do a little bit of everything.” Now that

thirty-five cities at the time of the interview. In order to put together a tour, there is a certain scheme to follow. First, you look at the calendar and gather all of your offers. Next, Mike sends them to other agencies, compiles dates, and works collectively to make the tour happen. Although he doesn’t mind working with other agencies for offers, the major things are done through him because he does the itineraries. Everything is done thoroughly through him and his travel agent. Big Block (out of Philly) and Ujaama (out of New York) are companies that Mike works with and they are also big players in the touring industry. They bounce off of each other and work together. House of Blues is one major touring company that he works with occasionally. Certain companies encourage the artists to do free shows, but Mike keeps the artist’s best interest in mind and realizes the importance of making some loot. In order to promote a tour, Mike works with the biggest promoting companies to ensure a packed event. “I do everything from throwing it on the back of a Whoo Kid Continued on page 99

ìItís great because I have a lot of brothers and weíre known on the block. My brother Chris inspired me because we come from the hood. You know, single Mom, six kids. Everybodyís come out real Mike Lighty successful. Itís like a blessing.îó Mike is well established in the music industry, he has the advantage of working with and influencing his family members. “It’s great because I have a lot of brothers and we’re known on the block. My brother Chris inspired me because we come from the hood. You know, single mom, six kids. Everybody’s come out real successful. It’s like a blessing.” Mike owns a booking agency and management company, and books shows for artists so they experience as few problems as possible. “I’m different from the others because I do itineraries,” he explains. The itineraries contain everything from the artist leaving the house, transportation, hotel information, confirmation numbers, and numbers of important contacts. He has booked tours for Violator artists, Rocafella artists, and many more. DJ Whoo Kid and Angelface are artists that he manages and he co-manages Lil’ Mo with Violator Records. The artists he works with are encouraged to get as much promotion and exposure as possible. “I try to keep them out in the market,” he says. Mike sets up their interviews and radio, and makes a point to market the artist while making them money at the same time. As long as he has faith in the artist, a lot of money and energy will be invested in their promotion. Mike books about two tours annually, and plenty of spot dates as well. The most recent tour he has been involved with is the 50 Cent Shootem Up Mixtape Tour with 50 Cent, G-Unit, and Dj Whoo Kid. They had already completed 86 • OWNERS ILLUSTRATED • Summer 2003

Mike Lighty (left) and his partner Ice.


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Jon Lighty

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t 24, Jonathan Lighty is the youngest member of the Lighty Dynasty. Jon is a music producer who has produced hits for some of Hip Hop's finest. He has produced tracks for Mobb Deep, Nas, Lil Kim, 112, Ron Isley, Raekwon, Ghostface, and 50 Cent, to name a few. This article offers some insight into the "baby" of the Lighty Dynasty and describes how he came into his own. Jon has a different father from his other siblings and admits that he has "always been the black sheep" of the family. Despite this fact, however, he managed to develop a tight relationship with his siblings. "I love my family and they love me" he says. "We don't really have that big of a family outside of our immediate family, so we definitely cherish everybody." Although Jon admits to being spoiled, he is highly motivated and determined to reach far beyond the many achievements he has accomplished thus far. He briefly

attended Prince George's Community college in Maryland when he realized he needed a new game plan. He knew he always wanted to do music and he wasn't very passionate about school. That led him in a new direction and he found himself staying with Chris for a while. He was the kid hanging out at Def Jam and Violator Management's offices with no particular duties. At first, he was doing odd jobs like getting coffee for Chris, but Chris wanted to see him be more productive with his time. Initially, Jon wanted to be a rapper. Jon's father was from the Virgin Islands, so he had plenty of exposure to different kinds of music and dance. Around age 14-15 he was a big Tribe Called Quest fan and a curious product of hip-hop culture. Ali (from Tribe Called Quest) taught him a lot about making music. He soon realized that he was much better at producing than rapping. He said, "I didn't really know what I was doing but I was going to the studio every day and scheduling studio time." All the while, Jon was meeting rappers, testing his production skills and growing up. Jon's career as a producer took a dramatic turn when he was involved in a serious car accident that fractured his

"I'm just trying to take out the aspect that really ruins the music and that is the budget. I'm trying to make it to the point where there will never be a problem making music.îó Jon Lighty pelvis. Jon had to learn to walk again. As a result of his injuries, he received $30,000 to $40,000 in settlement proceeds, which he invested in a car, drum machines and keyboards. Although his mother didn't understand why he decided to use his money in this way, she now sees the light. Jon still uses the same equipment today. He currently uses Protools for making his beats and arranging music. When Jon was about 19, he became acquainted with Havoc and Prodigy, the Queens born duo known as, Mobb Deep. "Me and Havoc clicked automatically," said Jon. "P's [Prodigy] a brainiac and he likes a lot of the stuff I do. We just got along," Jon continued. Jon was instrumental in encouraging Mobb Deep's solo projects and helping them reach platinum status with club banging tracks. He was also responsible for the blazin' hot "Quiet Storm" remix featuring Lil Kim. Jon was still learning the business. During an interview, for example, Havoc credited Jon as the "executive producer of the whole album." "I didn't even know what [executive producer] meant," Jon remembers. The ambiguity shifted to certainty, however, when the money started flowing and the responsibility kicked in. Jon admits that his success was a shock. He had produced three albums in a matter of two years. He was also instrumental in getting Nas to make an appearance on one of the Violator albums. Steve Ripkin, of Loud/Columbia Continued on page 100 Summer 2003 • OWNERS ILLUSTRATED • 87


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Nicole Lighty

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n a family full of powerful and successful siblings, it takes a special quality to stand out. As the female representative of the mostly male Lighty Dynasty, Nicole is more than just "Chris Lighty's sister." She is a strong independent black woman who stands on her own, works hard and takes advantage of opportunities. Nicole planned, executed and made the right choices on her road to success and has learned from her successful siblings that it takes determination and hard work to make dreams come true. Nicole Lighty's dream is called Fufua Fan4Life. It is an innovative consignment clothing boutique that features fashions and merchandise from the private wardrobes and closets of top celebrities. Nicole Lighty is the epitome of a determined and successful woman. This Bronx, New York native graduated from Howard University in 1997 with a business degree. She believes that her Howard education not only prepared her to deal with the challenges of corporate America, but also instilled in her the confidence and independence to

it is not easy to get good internships, she stresses that it takes persistence. “You have to follow up. You have to submit your resume. You have to do that follow up, its important. Get that interview. Conduct yourself in a businesslike manner. Let people know that you are about your business and you have something to bring to the table. Sell yourself,” she says. After Nicole gained valuable business experience as an employee, she and her business partner, Nadia Rachal, also a Howard graduate, decided to create their own business. Nicole and Nadia began researching for Fufua over one year before they opened the store. They spent time visiting other consignment shops and developing their business plan. Along the way, they sought funding from the SBA, but they were unable to get the support they needed. “The banks were not feeling us,” Nicole reflects. Undaunted by lack of bank financing, Nicole and Nadia raised $20,000 by hosting consignment parties in their mothers' basements. Nicole had already been collecting consignment merchandise and they began selling it every Saturday from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. Nicole and Nadia promoted their consignment parties by various means, includ-

"Broaden your horizons. Don't just stick to one field....expose yourself to different business environments because every one's not the same." ó Nicole Lighty become an entrepreneur. As a result of her hard work and involvement in the School of Business at Howard, Nicole was given the opportunity to intern with Sallie Mae, JP Morgan on Wall Street and Sony Records. Her internships were particularly helpful because they gave her different perspectives of the business world. Sallie Mae and JP Morgan had a strict office culture while Sony, being an entertainment company, was more laid back. Nevertheless, Nicole found many similarities between the two work environments. As she explains: "that's something I think a lot of people should know. . . that the entertainment industry is still a business environment. . .its not just oooh parties and bulls---t." Through internships, Nicole learned how to effectively interact with business people and communicate in a professional environment. She also developed business savvy, learned to stay on her toes and focus on deadlines and schedules. The knowledge and experience she gained has been the backbone of her success in the business world. She urges anyone who is interested in business to intern and "broaden your horizon. Don't just stick to one field." Nicole definitely followed her own advice. Each summer she pursued an internship in a different area. Nicole believes that the objective of each internship should be to "expose yourself to different business environments because every one's not the same." While she admits that 88 • OWNERS ILLUSTRATED • Summer 2003


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ing, the internet, telephone calls to friends, word of mouth and flyers. Eventually, the word began to spread and people were impressed. Nicole and Nadia began to build a loyal customer base and still sell merchandise to many of their original customers. The idea of launching a clothing boutique worked well for Nicole because she has always had a strong passion for fashion. She explains, “I'm fashionably loud. I've always been into fashion. I've always been into retail. I've done a lot of styling projects. That's my claim to fame. . .I do personal shopping for everybody.” Armed with a passion for fashion and the buzz that had been created with the Saturday sales, Fufua was ready to emerge. The name Fufua means “renew” in Swahili and the term fits the consignment process perfectly. Consigning clothes is an innovative way to make your money work for you, but people are sleeping on it. Nicole says: “Everyone wants to look good.” She hopes Fufua will be a place where everyone can find something that they look good in. The fact that Fufua specializes in celebrity merchandise makes it even more appealing because customers can buy designer merchandise for low prices, and have a story to tell. Although Fufua primarily gets its clothing from celebrities like 50 Cent, Lil Mo, LL Cool J and many more, anyone can consign clothing to Fufua. The clothes are given a very detailed inspection and then they are made available for sale for up to 90 days. Nicole and Nadia make sure all of Fufua's clothing is top quality. In many cases the items are nearly new and about 30% of their merchandise still has the original tags on them. After inspecting the items, they are cleaned and placed on sale racks. Here is how consignment works. When Fufua accepts an item on consignment, the consignor delivers the item to the store for resale. When the item sells, the consignor receives 50% of the proceeds. The consignor is only paid after the item sells. Celebrity consignors have the option to donate their proceeds to charity. Non-celebrity consignors usually keep the proceeds for the sales of their items. Nicole likes to think of consignment as a reinvestment because the cosigner is taking something they no longer wear or use and generating income from it. Consignment stores are like upscale thrift stores. With celebrity-owned items from such designers as Gucci, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Fendi, however, Fufua definitely is not your typical “thrift” store. When I walked into Fufua, I felt like I was at home. Nicole was more like a friend than a pushy sales person. The door was wide open so the sunlight could shine on the fireplace

and illuminate the turquoise walls. The boutique is nicely decorated with clothes and purses creatively dangling from the racks. The clothes were hot and from the most exclusive and popular brands. There was merchandise for men, women, the workplace, the club, or a walk in the park. Everything was top quality and there was a wide selection of merchandise. Fufua is located in the DuPont Circle area of Washington, D.C., which has an atmosphere that is similar to Greenwich Village in New York City. The location is convenient to downtown, transit, buses and all the hustle and bustle of Washington, D.C. Each person who walked in was greeted warmly and everyone seemed to find something that suited their needs. Nicole recognizes the importance of a comfortable shopping environment. “Consignment stores are cozy,” says Nicole. “The idea is to create a warm environment that is a welcome break from mall and department store shopping.” Nicole worked hard to get Fufua started. Although her brothers are very prominent in the entertainment industry, Nicole still had to work very hard to achieve her goals. She assures us that her road to success was no walk in the park. She acknowledged the mentoring that she gives and receives from her family but she stressed the importance of initiative. Because her family has been in the entertainment business for ten years, she has access to key contacts and celebrities. Nevertheless, it is on her to make something happen. Nicole admits: “it’s not easy. . . trust me. The door just doesn't swing open. I still have to keep knocking.” Having connections is like having “a great Yellow Pages,” she says, “but you still have to make the call and follow through. “ Nicole and Nadia are working to expand Fufua and open additional locations (especially in the South). They plan to target colleges and universities as well as get people to understand the benefits of consignment. Presently, Nicole, Nadia, and store manger, Mia, are responsible for acquiring new merchandise, attracting new consignors, overseeing operations and maintaining the business. Nicole jokes, “In five years I want to have someone else changing the light bulbs. I want somebody else taking out the trash. I want someone else dust mopping the wood floors.” Nicole envisions Fufua meeting the needs of every customer by being a source of low-priced designer fashion for every occasion. With her positive attitude and the support of her business partner, family, celebrity contacts and loyal customers, she surely will exceed her highest expectations. Fufua Fan4Life is located at 1642 R Street, NW in Washington, D.C. Contact (202) 202.332.5131. $

ìIts not easy. . . T rust me. The door just doesn't swing open. I still have to keep knocking. Having connections is like having a great Yellow Pages,î she says, ìbut you still have to make the call and follow through.ííó Nicole Lighty


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“Trick loves the kids.” - Trick Daddy

Giving Back

much fun as the next rapper, he also knows when it's time to be serious. He has The Ludacris Foundation under his belt, a non-profit organization created to help young people achieve their dreams through the encouragement of “Principles of Success: Self Esteem, Spirituality, Communication, Education, Leadership, Goal Setting, Physical Activity, and Community Service.” The Ludacris Foundation, founded by Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, William "Poon Daddy" Engram of Atlanta's radio station, Hot 97.5, and Ludacris' manager, Shaka Zulu, launched in December 2001, yet the efforts of its founders began years earlier. It was a college internship, which eventually led to employment, at Hot 97.5 that gave Ludacris, known as radio personality "Chris Lover Lover", a chance to reveal his talent by rapping at station promotions and appearances. It was he and "Poon Daddy's," desire to touch the lives of so many people on their own efforts that led to years of community service. In 1998, they broadened their celebrity status by helping Rah-Rah's Village of Hope and the Delaney House, a former shelter for teens. They also took pleasure in helping others reach out to the community. Kim Hutchens, Program Director for the Ludacris Foundation, remembers meeting them after getting her Master's degree in Marketing at Clark Atlanta University. She didn't really know them when they first came to her assistance at a charity event. She

All photos courtesy of The Ludacris Foundation

Beyond Bling Bling... Ludacris Gives Back To Charity

Written by Tiffani Diggs - Interview by Deity Dah

I

f you were to mention the name Ludacris to most people familiar with today's hip-hop music industry, they would probably tell you how much they like his music and style. You may even come across a few who will bop their heads back and forth to the beat of one of his songs and begin grasping the lyrics as if they were actually him. Let's face it, Ludacris is the one of the few rappers from Atlanta-the Dirty South, the City of Brotherly Love-who lets his words and beats flow so diligently that people can't help but love them. But guess what, there is another side of him behind the mic. While its obvious that Ludacris likes to sometimes yell to the top of his lungs, wear the "bling bling," and have as


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says, "I asked "Chris Lover Lover" and "Poon Daddy" to be a part of it. They participated and since then, we've been working together on charity events and other projects." "Each one teach one….the community, the family," Hutchens says, "a lot of our time is spent talking to people and it's not necessarily that we give something financially, but it might be some other type of resource that we might be able to lend our support." Ludacris' urge to be a professional, businessman and unique rap artist goes as far back as his young adult years. At the age of 20, he formed his own label, Disturbing Tha Peace Entertainment. His first independently produced CD, Incognegro, sold 30,000 units in just over three months. In 2000, after becoming the first artist to be signed by Def Jam South, he broke out with the double-platinum album Back for the First Time, and singles Southern Hospitality, and What's Your Fantasy? He also had a hit with the song, Area Code, on the multi-platinum Rush Hour 2 soundtrack. His last album, Word of Mouf (2001), peaked at number three on the Billboard album chart in 2001, remaining over 25 weeks. Billboard's Hot Rap Tracks chart featured singles, "Saturday Oooh! Oooh!," featuring Sleepy Brown and "Welcome to Atlanta" with Jermaine Dupri. Ludacris had earned his status in the hip-hop music industry, but deep inside, that wasn't enough. He wanted to continuously give back to the metro Atlanta area in a more structured way, eventually including Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York, and Miami. His audience would be youth of all ages, teaching them how to be successful through music and the arts. In collaboration with his dream, came the help and assistance of a wonderful group of people. Hutchens, along with the president of The Ludacris Foundation, Roberta Shields (Ludacris' mother), formed the Board of Directors and Advisory Board. Corporate executives from Fortune 500 companies and professionals from the health care, legal, finance, and music industries also came together for the benefit of youth. In a recent interview with MTV news in Miami, Fla., on the set of his new movie, "The Fast and the Furious 2," Ludacris said, "….whatever time of the year it is, we wanna help out. Whether it's Thanksgiving, Christmas, it's all about giving back, and a lot about helping kids help themselves." This year was the kick-off for the planned scholarship program, an extension to the Ludacris Foundation's outreach to high school students. The current pilot program at Southside Comprehensive High School in Atlanta is already a success. Hutchens says, "It involves looking at the history of hip-hop and kind of getting the kids involved in music and education at the same time….We incorporate dance in that as well, the cultural hip-hop dance going back to Africa." Since the beginning of The Ludacris Foundation, he has touched the hearts of approximately two thousand people. Last July, he held the annual Ludacris Celebrity Weekend in Atlanta, bringing the entertainment and sports community together with residents for an exciting day of free food,

music, clowns, auto shows, and rides for the kids. In Miami, 500 homeless people were fed for Thanksgiving. In New York, the Christmas season was celebrated at the NYU Medical Center's pediatric ward at the Ruck Institute. He also visited Gerri Williams' Stay Strong Foundation. Other recipients include the American Red Cross, Source Youth Foundation, Make a Wish Foundation, The Phillips School. Sister of the Sun Foundation, Miami Rescue Mission, Dunbar Elementary, Southside High School, and the Enterprise Foundation. Reaching out to the community can bring forth memorable experiences. Hutchens says she has her favorites, but the one that stands out is the visit to the Ruck Institute, where the Ludacris Foundation provided gifts, candy, and donations for handicapped children. In contrary to doctors thinking their patients wouldn't know Ludacris, they displayed nothing but happiness upon his arrival. "….Just to see the joy on the kids' faces when he walked through the door….he took a picture with every kid, talked to every kid, introduced himself….It was like real special for them," she explains, "It was a cool event to not just give gifts or anything for Christmas, but to actually be there, visit and touch individuals." Ironically, their purpose to put smiles on the children's faces ended up including two medical students interviewing for their residency. They were so excited to meet Ludacris that they asked the physician in charge to allow them to go downstairs for his autograph. Unlike most people who receive it on a piece of paper, they chose to use their shirts. Hutchens remembers them stating, "You guys got Ludacris at the hospital, you know we're here!" The Ludacris Foundation also provides gifts and grants to 501(c)(3) organizations like itself, meaning their efforts have to be specifically for the care of youth. It only requires that a written proposal be sent to their mailing address. A response in reference to whether or not they support the efforts is returned within a month. Many artists have successful careers, yet want to do the same as Ludacris and give back to the community through non-profit organizations. They're ready for the task, but just don't know where to start. Hutchens advises that they first get a business license. Next, incorporate as either being public or private. And finally, apply for 501(c)(3) status if it applies to their organization. Could donations to one's personal organization lighten their liability? Hutchens answers, "For what they do donate, there is a portion that is tax-deductible….It has to be a public donation. That means the foundation cannot run just based on their donations, otherwise it would be private." In its effort to partner with existing organizations, The Ludacris Foundation sponsored its first formal fundraiser, in Atlanta, at this year's annual NBA All-Star celebration. Ludacris appeared with Mayor Shirley Franklin. The foundation will market promotional items as well. Donations can be sent to: The Ludacris Foundation, P.O.Box 768551, Rosswell, GA. 30076. $


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Giving Back

Nicole Lighty (right), and her business partner Nadia Rachal.

50 Cent’s G-Unit baseball cap

LL Cool J’s sweatsuit

Lil Mo’s skirt

Designer furs and minks

Fufua - Fan4Life

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icole Lighty and her business partners realize the importance of giving back to the community. Nicole Lighty formed Fan4Life, a charitable organization that works collectively with other charities to help those in need. Artists, athletes and celebrities consign their clothing and accessories to Fufua. The consigned items are either from music videos, award shows or other special events or simply nice clothing that the celebrities choose to part with. Fifty percent of the proceeds from the sale of any item from a celebrity consignor is split with a charitable organization selected by the celebrity. Fufua gets weekly shipments of the latest fashions and trends that are seen in the hottest music videos and magazines. Fufua features clothing from artists like LL COOL J, 50 cent, Lil Mo and many more. This draws customers into the store. The more clothing they sell, the more money their charities receive. The unique clothing found in Fufua sets the consignment boutique apart from all of the rest. "We are working on an Usher jacket right now actually.. that's one of the key items we are working on," Nicole says. Where else can you purchase an Usher jacket at a fraction of the original price and give back to the community at the same time? The idea is like hitting two birds with one stone. Fan4Life and Fufua are taking business and charity to an entirely new level. Fan4Life donates to charities that benefit children, animals, health, homelessness, and hunger. Over twenty charities are benefitting from Fufua and Fan4Life's sucess. Among them are: The Associated Black Charities, Animal Charities of America, America's Promise, Netaid World Schoolhouse, National Community Building Network, Aids.org, American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity International, CARE, Hollywood Education and Literacy Project, and the Food Research Action Center.

Designer footwear Designer jeans

Designer handbags Designer coats and jackets If you would like more information about Fufua and Fan4Life contact: Fufua 1642 R Street, NW Washington, DC 20009 (corner of 17th & R Street NW) Phone: 202.332.5131 Fax: 202.332.5345


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Competing with the Streets By Roxanne J. Williams President, Urban Ed, Inc.

Out-of-school and unemployed. Ex-offender, truant, loiter. Drop out with very little, if any skills.

S

ounds grim, right? Well for one nonprofit in the District of Columbia (DC), this reality is seen all too often, but for Urban Ed, Inc., it’s their calling. Based in southeast DC, this progressive community-based organization has taken by the horns the grim realities faced by many lowincome and atrisk working age youth, giving them hope for a sustained future. Started just two years ago, Urban Ed is a minority-run organization that takes a leadership role in restoring and aggressively addressing challenges of urban neighborhoods and the people within them. The organization was started by a true visionary, Roxanne Williams, who believes that youth of color in urban neighborhoods are entitled to economic opportunity, physical infrastructure, and social stability in their personal and community arenas. She also believes that sustained urban neighborhoods, sustain overall local economies. Based on her beliefs, Williams gave birth to Urban Ed and the organization has been working to fight poverty by providing radical solutions to some of the most radical problems faced by young people between the ages of 13-25 in urban cores. Taking an economic development approach to their work, the organization knows that one of the keys to breaking the cycle is the mighty dollar. Williams says that, “working age young people that are poverty-stricken lack incomes to get ahead. And how do they get that income? They need education, information, and skills.” So, Urban Ed does just that. Recognizing that many young people turn to the streets to pay the bills, this organization takes a sector employment approach, training those that are drops out, not working, hanging on streets corners, coming out of the system or committing crime for fun and providing them an avenue to obtain the mighty dollar in legitimate places (high wage jobs) other than the streets. Combining advanced skill training with leadership development and peer support services, Urban Ed is currently focusing on taking this group and getting them certified as A+ programmers, putting them into entry level jobs with high wages, mobility and stability. “It’s the pre-cursor to

Giving Back

getting this neglected group of young men and women to gain access to traditional opportunities that they have been denied because of their delinquent backgrounds, low academic levels or lack of financial resources”, Williams states. Not an easy task, Urban Ed is moving and shaking, becoming a true player in the community development field. Not only are they pulling people up by their bootstraps but

Urban Ed computer labs.

photos courtesy of Urban Ed, Inc.

they are making leaders out of them; getting them engaged in making their voices heard within those bureaucracies that oftentimes oppress them. As the new kid organization on the block, Urban Ed is a friendly neighborhood keeping their eyes on the prize and truly giving the streets some real competition. For more information or to support, volunteer or partner with Urban Ed you can visit them on the web at www.urbaned.org or call them at 202-610-4765. $


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“Politic with Bill Gates...” - Ghostface

Tech

The People vs. The Machine By Deity Dah and Reginald A. Greene, Esq. he advances in media technology and the power of the internet have created a major dilemma for record companies and placed the entertainment industry in a state of turmoil. The grip that major entertainment companies once had on consumers is weakening. Across the board, sales were down nearly 30% from 2001 to 2002. File sharing software like Napster, which had over 70,000,000 users at its peak, and Scour.com opened the flood gates for free access to music and movies and had a devastating effect on profit margins in the entertainment industry. These types of services capitalized on the "something for nothing" mindset that many people buy into (pun intended). Unfortunately, "file sharing" of copyrighted material without consent of, or compensation to, the copyright owner is illegal. Both Napster and Scour.com learned this costly lesson when they were defeated in copyright infringement litigation filed against them in federal court. In addition, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) recently settled a suit with four students for $60,000 over file sharing. Despite the legal reality, the search for a profitable online media distribution business model continues and other versions of file sharing software, such as Gnutella and Morpheus remain alive and well. Another perspective on this issue is that people who use free media services to download music are not the typical consumer. That is, those people probably are not the ones that were standing in line at record stores anticipating new releases before the file sharing concept was introduced. They simply taped radio shows or borrowed CDs from friends. As a result, some would argue that the industry is not really losing its core customers. Case in point, the hottest new artist that is breaking Sound Scan records for most units sold for a new artist in the shortest time is 50 Cent. Ironically, he also is one of the most bootlegged artists in the business! So, there must be some method to the madness. Nevertheless, the advent of file sharing has undoubtedly changed the business model that the entertainment industry has relied on for many years. Fear of change is making a lot of executives uneasy. As a practical matter, it is virtually impossible to fully regulate the exchange of data on the internet. It has been reported that there were days when Napster had over one billion downloads. The labor involved in policing the worldwide web at the download level doesn't make fiscal or practical sense. In the end, the labels may be forced to embrace the file sharing technology and use it as a test ground for consumer response, the way 50 Cent did with bootleg mixtapes.

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94 • OWNERS ILLUSTRATED • Summer 2003

At the end of the day, it comes down to quality control, pricing and marketing. If a CD is of good quality, consumers will buy it. In addition, consumers like fair prices, package deals and free products that induce a purchase. Thus, the industry should focus on quality control, pricing and marketing. Case in point, in a recent class action law suit, several major labels agreed to pay $20 to millions of claimants rather than litigate a claim that they had allegedly engaged in a scheme to overprice music CD's. Clearly, the existing pricing model has flaws that were apparent before the technology sector raised the stakes with file sharing. The industry must now strike a balance between overpricing the music and giving it away. The bottom line is profit. Simply put, either the investors (owners, shareholders, etc.) are going to get a smaller return because of reduced revenue, or revenue shortfalls will have to be offset by downsizing. The challenge for the major players in the industry is to select a business model that doesn't go too far either direction. In many respects, the consumer and the independent labels, now have a great advantage for the future. Entrepreneurs/artists, such as Master P who was worth $361 million in 1999 (more than Michael Jordan was worth at the time) and Puff Daddy who earned $53 million in 1998 are now aware of their branding power, and others are following their leads. Many have achieved strong independent success, but lacked the resources to reach broader markets. Their strategy was low product development costs, strong street promotion, cross promotions and branding. They only needed the major entertainment companies for distribution. Technology now bridges that gap. The first to use that to his advantage is 50 Cent, who's songs are currently swapped online and on the street. This direct connection to his fans allowed him to gain a firm grip on his fan base and has been critical to his success in unit sales and popularity. In reality, however, how many managers or record labels would suggest that their artists bootleg their own material, or purposefully make it available for free online, so that they potentially could get a larger deal like 50 Cent did after he was released by Sony and became the king of the mixtapes? The answer to this question will determine the future of the industry. Presidents and CEOs of the major labels (all of which have recently had staffing changes at the top) will have to determine whether to (a) let artists like Cam'ron, 50 Cent, or The Lox (DBlock), for example, put out tons of free material via the internet and it's companion, the "bootleg" mixtape, and then subsequently enjoy success by the grass roots support; or (b) sue the consumer and risk turning them off to the labels' products and drawing them to the independent artists to get the music directly. The jury is still out. No matter what they decide, it is clear that the battle rages on. $


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Tech

Must-H H ave   Gadgets   for   the   Busy   Owner Nokia 6800 Messaging Device Key Features:

·Unique 2-in-1 concept with integrated full keyboard ·SMS distribution list ·MMS (Multimedia Messaging) ·E-mail client ·SyncML technology ·Downloadable personal applications via Java™ technology ·GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) ·HSCSD (High Speed Data) ·WAP 1.2.1 Browser (via GRPS or CSD) ·Wallet ·WIM (Wireless Identity Module) ·Stereo FM radio

·Handsfree speaker ·Polyphonic ringing tones ·Wallpaper: full screen color image ·Changeable color schemes (8 schemes) ·Display brightness control ·Screen saver: digital clock ·Customizable and timed profiles ·Clock, alarm clock ·Calculator, currency converter ·Stopwatch, countdown timer ·Connectivity options: IR and cable ·Security keyguard

courtesy of Nokia

Apple iPod Digital Music Player Key Features:

·10GB, 15GB or 30GB hard disk drive ·Holds over 2500, 3700 or 7500 songs in 128-Kbps AAC format ·Stores data in FireWire or USB 2.0 disk mode ·Customizable settings ·Customize main menu ·Create On-The-Go playlists ·Rate songs ·Shuffle songs or albums ·Repeat one or all ·Sound Check on or off ·20 Equalizer settings ·Backlight timer ·Display contrast

·Alarms on, off or silent ·Sleep timer ·Date and time ·Display time in menu bar ·Contacts sort and display by first or last names ·Clicker on or off ·Languages: English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Finnish, Swedish, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese Display

courtesy of Apple

Summer 2003 • OWNERS ILLUSTRATED • 95


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No more props, I want property...� — Rakim

Real Estate

Home Ownership Made Easy

By Daniwu

F

or many people, buying a home is only a dream. For the first time home-buyer, it can become a reality with help from government-funded programs and incentives. As a first-time home-buyer, there are many resources to guide you in the home-buying process. A good first step is to request information from the Fannie Mae Foundation (www.fanniemae.com or 1-800-732-6643). They will mail you a list of community-development organizations in your area that assist first-time home-buyers, a list of Fannie Mae lenders and helpful booklets on home-buying, mortgages, credit, etc. You may also want to attend a session on home-buying at a community development center in your area. There, you may be assigned a counselor who will generally be able to meet with you right away. In Washington, DC for example, first-time home buyers can apply for help from the Home Purchase Assistance Program ("HPAP") managed by the Greater Washington Urban League, which assists low to moderate income families with down payments and closing costs (see www.gwul.org). The application requires you to provide certain documentation, including a recent credit report, recent paystubs, evidence of down payment or earnest money, and recent bank statements. These documents are used to determine debt to income ratio, which essentially gives the prospective lender and buyer an idea of how much of a home the buyer can afford to buy. Once the information is gathered, you (or your Fannie Mae counselor) can submit your application to the GWUL for review. Once your application is reviewed and accepted, you can expect to received a Notice of Eligibility letter from GWUL, stating the amount of a loan you would qualify for under the HPAP program and a breakdown of the steps to follow in order to complete the process. If you choose a real estate agent to help you search for properties, it is a good idea to choose one with knowledge and experience in home-buyer programs. In Washington, DC, houses can also be located through the D.C. Housing Finance Agency (www.dchfa.org) and HUD (www.hud.gov). With these resources, you will be able to find affordable homes - existing, new, or renovated. In the District of Columbia, in particular, there are target areas or development zones, which make up over 80% of the city whereby buyers who purchase homes in these areas are given a range of incentives and assistance. It is also a good idea to find lenders that are experienced in working with home purchase programs like HPAP. Many organizations offer free, one day home-buyer classes that teach you all about the home buying process -- finding a property, making an offer, choosing a home inspector and an appraiser, negotiating and signing the contract, making the down payment, obtaining homeowners insurance and closing. If you are using GWUL, they can also walk you through the process To make your home buying dream a reality, utilize the resources identified above and ask for information for your home state. Buying a home is easier than most people think and mortgage payments can be less than rent. $


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The Art of the Deal By Daniwu

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What elevates Nancy Edwards above other real estate brokers is knowing how to structure deals. Nancy Edwards is CEO of American Advantage Holdings, powering American Advantage Mortgage, which provides financing for real estate projects; American Advantage Development Corporation,

which focuses on raw land development; and American Advantage Home Builders. Nancy Edwards has dual degrees from Pace University and Fordham University in business administration and corporate finance. Early in her career, Edwards worked as an account executive with the Blackstone Group in New York as a member of a team infiltrating American business into the Japanese market. She developed experience in mergers and acquisitions and deal structure which today have given her an edge in real estate development. About four years ago, Edwards went to Atlanta and built her own house from the ground up. In general contracting the project her self, she was inspired by the simplicity of the venture to start her own development company. Her first major project was a 42 unit subdivision near the Mall of Georgia which developed 42 single family units in the mid $200,000 range. American Advantage also went into a contract with HUD to run a pilot program for lowincome housing in rural areas such as DeKalb, Fulton, Clayton, and Gwinnett counties. American Advantage also builds homes in the million-dollar range and if several clients in the same income bracket may be

interested in the same type of house, they may develop a section of land and create a gated community or cul-de-sac with six houses, for instance. Some clients have also sought a single house on a track of land. For clients who don't care to be bothered with moving, the company also offers relocation service, which is especially beneficial to their athlete clients. In securing these deals, Edwards relies on her knowledge of deal structures which enables her to show clients how to maximize the productivity of their money. Through creative financing she is able to structure deals where clients put no money down, even. "It is about how you structure numbers," Edward asserts, "the numbers don't lie‌it doesn't matter if they are real estate or business or paper in the stock market‌the same theories apply or the same remedy." 99% of American Advantage business is investor-based. Edwards' background in investment banking has also allowed her to build contacts and foster partnerships and resources for more major real estate development including development with a billionaire developer in the Atlanta area. In measuring the benefits of a deal, a broker like an investment bank looks at risks verses rewards and has minimal liability. In commercial lending, the rules are very different from those in residential lending, since it is geared toward investors. For American Advantage, quality customer service is key. For building and development, everything is inhouse, including architects and builders, which cuts down costs and ensures the success of each project. The company builds at about 25% less than its competitors. On average they make about 15% off of each home built verses the 30 or 40% that most builders make, though, which is based on the theory that when clients are given quality work they'll continue to refer other clients which adds up. The company's high level of productivity allows it to keeps cost low. Edwards projects this year's revenues will be 30 to 40 million, conservatively. For someone interested in starting real estate development, Edwards recommends spot building, finding a small lot of land, an acre or quarter of an acre, putting one or two houses on it and selling them. Edwards says, "if you don't have contacts, that can propel you in the industry." It also enables a person to figure out any potential problems. A person can start with as little as 10% down of the total project. Good credit can enable a person to get a construction loan for the remainder of funding, without problems. An individual would have to find her own resources and sub-contractors, which is easy in Atlanta, Edwards advises. Edwards has turned down many offers to be bought out. When asked about her personal inspiration and drive for success in her business, Edwards says that she wants to leave a legacy for her son, Michael, her CEO-in-training. Her mother, Deborah King is Executive Vice President. Edwards has a desire for everyone in her company to learn and succeed as she succeeds. $


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Chris Lighty cont. from 84 we do lots of things that don't always fall into the corporate mainstay. We do things that are definitely out of the box, but that's what most people pay us for,” he says. Another obstacle he noted was, “The usual. Being black and our own community trying to hold us back and fighting each other. There's enough money for everyone, and there's not enough money for us to be fighting for.” As hip hop moves into a materialistic era, we all can note the changes in the music we are hearing. I asked Chris where he thought hip hop was headed. He replied, “Hip hop is in a funny place. It could go to the next level where it really becomes the mainstream of the world. Or it will really implode if we don't cut out the violence and bu*****t that's going on, amongst bands, in-house fighting. People are gonna turn their backs on us if we keep that up.” Chris notes the slow progression of real instruments instead of sampling, and producers making more money off of an original beat. Who knows where hip hop will head. Chris’ advice to anyone aspiring to be in the business is, “Realize that it is a business. Be prepared to learn the business. You have to love the music first. Be prepared to diligently work at it. Nothing is overnight and when it is it is not the same feeling as when you work hard to develop, grow, and build something you can hopefully pass on.” At the end of the day Chris Lighty can reflect on all of his many accomplishments. The founder of a prominent company in a competitive industry, an inspiration and source of strength to his family, and the man behind some of the most successful artists in the business. It almost seems like a person

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cannot add any more than all of the above, but Chris is striving to surpass “partial success,” in his eyes. “We've achieved success by everybody that makes it out the hood and tries to do better for their family and community. That is achieving success.” Chris Lighty is the epitome of success. $ Dave Lighty cont. from 84 beats right now he gave credit to the infamous Neptunes, Timbaland, Just Blaze, Rockwilder, and more. In order to get collaborations for songs, he calls the artist’s manager, tells them he wants to do a song, and discusses compensation with the label. When the album is complete, the artist moves into the marketing phase where promotional tools are implemented. The promotion process can differ for each artist. Some artists only need the radio to create a buzz, while others need spot dates, street teams, and mixtapes. As soon as a single has been selected, and it is playing on the radio, the artist needs publicity. Photoshoots, interviews and videos come soon after the radio is spinning their hit. After the first video airs, there is a period of about six weeks until the album is released. Depending on the success of the single, the album release could be pushed back. For example, Petey Pablo’s album was released seven months later instead of six weeks. After all of the hard work and promotion, the artist and their counterparts can enjoy the aftermath. Dave gives credit to the industry for teaching him how to deal with different kinds of people. He explains, “A lot of the game is having common sense and follow through.” Working in the music industry has taught him the basics, but the essential qualities you need are communication, hard work,

and follow through. Aspiring artists should be tight with their talent and confident in order to catch Dave's eye. the key is to stand out. “Be an artist. Don't be afraid to express yourself. A lot of times people are afraid to just be an artist. Don't stop if this is really what you want to do, and believe in yourself. Keep going! Your chance just might happen one day.” Dave took a chance and turned his whole life around by doing his internships. How he has been repaid for the little jobs he did and he is well deserving of his high profile position at Jive. Everything comes in due time. $ Mike Lighty cont. from 86 mixtape, throwing it on the Internet, e mails, faxes, I do it all. The better the tour does, the more money I make.” The liability is covered after the promoter or club owner takes out a million dollar liability insurance policy. Liability issues with urban tours have come a long way, but Mike still goes to the venue to make sure everything is setup according to plan. The dates are scheduled and he routes the tour in a smooth order that makes sense in terms of travel. His tours usually have about 25-35 dates on them, and the crews consist of two security officers, a good road manager, a hype man, and himself. The smaller the crew, the better Mike explained. He emphasized the importance of getting in and out of the show, making money, and running things smoothly without complications. The biggest tour he has done was the NORE tour, which had 80-100 dates, nonstop, five days a week! Tours have a great impact on the sales of the artist. On the NORE tour they were all exhausted, but reaped the benefits when the album when platinum. He shouts

Noreaga out for allowing him to be his road manager at one point, meanwhile exposing him to the world of tours. The budget for a tour depends on how much the artist is willing to lower their prices to go on the road and promote themselves. If the tour has a sponsor, the sponsor may take care of certain expenses like transportation or hotels. It takes a lot of pressure off the promoter and allows the artist to charge more money. The way Mike works his artist compensation out is by collecting all of the money up front and paying the artist after the tour is finished. He gets 10% of the profit, but gives the artist more than their money’s worth. “If you didn’t have a road manager, and I was booking your show, then you’d be all right,” he said. The headliner’s earnings in comparison to an opening act can vary depending on the artists. “You have to look at the artist’s sales.” For example, on the Survival of the Fittest Tour there was Noreaga, Cam’ron and MOP, so the pay difference could have been about 5 thousand dollars. But if it was Nelly and Noreaga there could be a difference of 50 thousand dollars instead. Whether the artist is Gold or Platinum, they understand that their status in the industry can affect their payment. However, they collectively benefit from exposure on a tour. An artist like 50 Cent, without an official release might get a substantial payment because of his name is out there and people want to hear him. Opening acts are usually local talent that is scouted by the promoter. A good amount of money comes from merchandise at a concert, especially overseas. T-shirts, mixtapes, or pictures must first be licensed by the artist before allowing the items to be sold. The money made off of concessions is given to the club or venue the


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show is held at, unless the contract was setup to give that money to the artist. Mike is looking for a marketing associate who is good at getting a lot of sponsors. Depending on the artist, it can be hard to come up with sponsors that relieve the pressure for the promoter. Mike has come a long way and figured out exactly what he wants out of a career. He has established a successful booking agency, management company, and a network of relationships with important companies. His advice to the readers is,” Stack your paper. You’re not going to be hot all the time.” Save money instead of blowing it on whatever you see is the mentality that Mike follows. He is a true and successful businessman and has proved he will continue to prosper. $ Jon Lighty cont. fromJon's 91 talent Records, recognized and made use of him as an independent contractor to executive produce artists and do A&R. Although Jon doesn't really like working directly with record companies, he realizes that they are a necessary evil. He has learned a lot from his brother's experiences and her prefers being an “independent contractor.” On the business of production, Jon offers valuable insight. The process of getting paid as a producer varies depending on the status of the producer. Jon's tactic is to work with unknown artists and help to bring them out into the limelight. As their careers flourish and they make more money, he too Roc-a-fella cont. from 39 rap

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reaps the benefits of their success. As a new producer with a hot artist signed to your own production company, you can make more money in the long run because you can demand royalties. When you produce tracks for other artists, however, they often offer you a flat fee with no royalties unless you are an established producer. “So, a lot of [new] producers will get like $5,000 to $10,000 and give their hit away.” It all depends on the producer and who they are working with. In addition to developing your own artists, it is also a good idea to build loyalty and connections with key artists so that they will use you on future projects and help you develop a name. Either way, “if you're selling records, people are going to give you money,” Jon said. Payments and advances on royalties for tracks can be paid on completion of a song or drag on for a year or more. Jon has learned a lot about production from Dr. Dre, the Neptunes and P. Diddy. “I'm just trying to take out the aspect that really ruins the music and that is the budget. I'm trying to make it to the point where there will never be a problem making music. My artists will never have to worry about budgets,” Jon said. Producing tracks in a cost-efficient way can result in greater cash flow in the shortterm and royalties in the long term. Jon has been close to the business for most of his life and he says he “understands what sells.” The time required for him to make a beat varies, but he likes to keep the beats simple, yet hot. He explained that he isn't extremely musically talent-

about the things we [really] like." Lyor Cohen, COO of Island Def Jam and other powerful executives in the music industry, sees things differently. Cohen is negotiating with HP Marketing to develop a plan to charge brands for placement in songs and videos. A high-ranking com-

ed, so he seeks talented musicians for his tracks. He made reference to the Quincy Jones and Barry Gordy era where albums featured a variety of musicians and says he is moving in that direction. When Jon is not using live musicians, he uses samples. Jon explains, “I sample everything all the time. I'll take anything. Recently, I took ‘Love and Happiness’ and F****d it up some way I'm sure nobody ever did before.” Jon likes to take small loops of other songs to create a new sound, instead of big loops that give away the original hit. Jon takes an interesting approach to finding samples. “I don't really go to a lot of record shops. I like doing it on a more personal basis and getting what your moms might have. Usually people buy the best music. So, if someone spent the time to go out and buy it[, its probably a good record to use.]” Obviously, his selection process for samples is on point. Jon has 10 songs and four executive produced albums under his belt and shows no signs of slowing down. He spends nearly 24 hours a day in the studio and loves every minute of it. The only other thing he admits to liking more than being in the studio, is being with his girlfriend. “She understands, so it's all good,” he says. Jon currently has a group called the Outfitz with an R&B singer and other artists in the works. He looks for certain qualities in his artists because “my artists are more than artists, they are my friends. And I never lie to them. If I'm

pany official said. "As hip hop grows as a mainstream genre, rappers are increasingly appreciating the depth of their influence on products." Once their new Armadale Vodka is fully introduced, the Roc-A-Fella executive team intends to develop a full line of premium liquor. "We do not plan to purchase other brands, but we plan to release dif-

working with you, your record is my record. I want to be represented as best as possible.” He looks for artists with skills, a good personality and charisma. He wants artists that people will gravitate towards because they are entertaining. He admits to being hard to please and says, “I'm a little hard headed. But I see that a lot of people who are successful are a lot like I am.” Jon is driven, focused, and carefully mapping his road to success. Jon believes that having a recognizable sound has its good and bad points. If everyone knows your specific sound and hears you all day on the radio, fans might be less likely to go buy the album. "People want to go to the movies when they buy an album,” he stated. Producers should be able to make hot tracks and also make good albums. His advice to up and coming producers is, “Be careful because a lot of people are taking people's beats and jacking them. Make sure people are interested in you and you stay in their ear. People in this industry move on Bull***t. “Don't be scared to lie and act like someone else wants to buy the beat too! Might get you your money quicker.” They say that it takes a whole village to raise a child. The Lighty “village” has done a great job of inspiring and raising Jon into a humble and talented producer and businessman. In his words, “I definitely have a lot of love for my family. I appreciate everything they do for me. Without them I wouldn't be anything.” With his talent and determination, OI still thinks that he would. $

ferent flavors and [are also considering] a cognac." Thus, Armadale is not just a launch of a new vodka, but also a pivotal launch of a new division for one of the most popular and diverse conglomerates in the industry. While they must admit they are in uncharted territory for Hip-Hop moguls, the executive team is certain of one thing: "They will not lose." $


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Jewels of the Earth Modeling Agency

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ith a vision to see a more diverse representation of women of color in media, Lanre' set out with the mission to create his own modeling agency. This modeling agency is devoted to finding the best matches between companies and models for various projects. Our mission is to take every one of our models mainstream and make each model a brand unto herself.

The Romantic Warrior Project with it’s Love Letters Product Line will serve a long way toward reaching our goal with diverse job placement in music videos, feature length movies, calendars, web sites, literature and other media outlets. The RW Collection by Lanre’ This collection possesses a taste of elegance, an exploration in eroticism, a lesson in sophistication, and a trademark of excellent quality. Crafted to accentuate the contours and unique body design of the woman of color, the line comes in a variety of fabrics and styles to fit a wide range of sizes and tastes. Products span from nightwear to undergarments, to swimwear, to erotic wear. The line will be available exclusively online at www.rwcollection.com. We are now building our mailing list for our catalog. The Love Letters Book of Poetry A fine collection of literature and photographs,each poem is accompanied by intimate pictorials of the women providing a perfect compliment to literature written in their honor.. Here is one of our favorite poems from the collection. Salutations by Lanre’ Can a whisper kiss your soul? Can the strength of our bond crush coal? Can I experience you whole without exposure beneath the camisole? Do you attract to the flagrant and bold, or one with wisdom old? Is it a give and take, and who will shoulder the most weight? As I await more news on your current state How are children born when souls mate? Is it sexual or natural when a woman reveals More than what's deemed appropriate? Too many queries my fairy, but can we bond and live long even have our carcass embalmed? Well if so take my hand, lets connect palms, And walk over rose petals Wooing a Queen. All interested models can send a comp card or photograph of themselves to RW Collection P.O. Box 65484 Washington, DC 20035 or via email at lanre@rwcollection.com Look for our entrepreneur profile in a future issue


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Modeling and Endorsements Jewels of the Earth Modeling

Images: G-Flixxx Hair and Makeup: Jewels of the Earth Modeling

Gnea

All outfits by:

Collection


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How did you develop an interest in modeling? When I was younger my mother would enter me in local pageants and I had a lot of fun competing. How did you get started? I was asked to do my very first shoot for NKOSIS (which is a clothing line) calendar and my pictures came out very stunning. I think I fell in love with myself. (LOL) What things have you done thus far? I have done a calendar for NKOSIS, I was featured on the cover of Black Men’s Magazine the summer 2003 swimsuit edition, and I do a lot of volunteer work; I just recently ran in the Race for the Cure for the Breast Cancer Association. So far that’s what I’ve accomplished. So how did you get to be on the cover of the Black Men’s Magazine’s swimsuit issue? I’m really not sure how it came about but when I was asked to do the cover with the other three beautiful young women I had no objections.

In five years where do you see yourself? Having been featured in at least five mainstream movies, being a leading lady in a few music videos, my own clothing line and modeling agency, and doing some major work with Black Men’s, and Owner’s Illustrated and much more but something I’ve got to keep to myself and let the world see. What advice would you give to other women aspiring to be models? You will hear more No’s than Yes’s but don’t give up because the yes’s will outweigh the no’s, and stay focused and love what you do because that is a very important key to your success.


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Modeling and Endorsements Jewels of the Earth Modeling

Images: G-Flixxx Hair and Makeup: Jewels of the Earth Modeling

What makes you different or unique as a model, why do you stand out? My uniqueness lies in my look which I can change to adapt to whatever project I’m working on and my love and my strive makes me different, because I will not give up without success and then I will continue on. See more photos at www.rwcollection.com

All outfits by:

Collection


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Modeling and Endorsements Jewels of the Earth Modeling

Fey Fey

All outfits by:

Collection www.rwcollection.com

Images: G-Flixx Hair and Makeup: Jewels of the Earth Modeling

This London-born, Nigerian native is ready to take the world by storm. Her petite physique (3626-36) exudes sexuality and passion. Barely able to order a drink, she has graced the pages of Caribbean Pride magazine as the spring centerfold. She was Miss August in a swimsuit calendar, she has also strutted down the runways of the Mademoiselle/Express Jeans College Fashion tour, and University of Maryland fashion shows. With a degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland you would not want to play games with this beauty. Her aspirations include print modeling and acting, with Halle Berry being one of her greatest inspirations. Hollywood watch out! See more photos at www.rwcollection.com


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Modeling and Endorsements Jewels of the Earth Modeling

Izzy

Izzy

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Collection

Images: G-Flixxx Hair and Makeup: Jewels of the Earth Modeling

Her name is Izzy Lamothe, and one glance at this Hatian-Martinican beauty and her frame speaks for itself. When she is not attending classes as an aspiring model and actress/broadcast journalist, you can catch her on the small screen in such music video’s as Busta Rhymes and Sean Paul’s “Make it Clap” (Remix), Cam’ron’s “Hey Ma” and the former BET video show, “Planet Groove” (hosted by Rachel) shaking her ‘derriere’. Ms LaMothe has also acted in the HBO mini-series “The Wire.” But Izzy is more than just looks, she is fluent in French and Hatian-Creole (so you don’t want to ‘tete-a-tete’ with her) An Aries, her personal philosophy on life is “Stand out, but blend in….. blend in, but stand out.” Well put. See more photos at www.rwcollection.com


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Modeling and Endorsements Jewels of the Earth Modeling

Michelle Michelle

Images: Wil David Hair and Makeup: Jewels of the Earth Modeling

Feast your eyes on this Carribean beauty and appreciate a model who started modeling seriously when she started college at the University of Maryland. Since then, she’s graced many runways with her 5’11”, 34-26-37 slender frame. Recent shows include 2003 New Day Associates International Model of the Year Competition in New Jersey. But her talents don’t end there, she’s also a trained dancer with a B.A.. She sees no limit to where she can go with the modeling whether it’s print or runway. She aspires to be a dancer in concerts or videos. A model for RW Collection, she also has her sights set on doing work abroad. Le monde c’est pour vousmon cherie. See more photos at www.rwcollection.com

All outfits by:

Collection


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Modeling and Endorsements Jewels of the Earth Modeling

Friday Friday Some people are just born with natural talent and beauty having never done a photo shoot before, the sky is the limit when it comes to Friday’s potential. Having just begun her career with Jewels of the Earth modeling agency, look for Friday to be featured in several upcoming projects. She may even be coming to a town near you.

All outfits by:

Collection www.rwcollection.com

Images: Banks Hair and Makeup: Friday

See more photos at www.rwcollection.com


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Modeling and Endorsements

Images: Banks Hair and Makeup: Friday

Jewels of the Earth Modeling

All outfits by:

Collection www.rwcollection.com


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All outfits by:

Collection www.rwcollection.com

Images: Banks Hair and Makeup: Friday

Modeling and Endorsements


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DOGZILLA Swinging the doors open and keeping heads banging! Dogzilla is hitting the rap scene with the hottest sound to hit the streets this summer. It’s bigger than the rap game — it’s the real deal, and the next level of rap. “We want to bring truth to the game and bring back the artistic side of rap music. We want to show everyone that it’s not all about money and women, it’s more of life to speak on than just that.”

Dogzilla, a native Clevelander is a prime example of what hard work and preserverance can do. He’s been doing his thing for 10 years, and has proven to his fans old and new that he keeps his lyrics true to himself, and keeps it on a level everyone can relate to. Dogzilla is bringing a new polished style of rap that this industry hasn’t seen in a long time, and doing what it takes to put it down in the game, making audiences hear, see, and feel the real. DOGZILLA IS COMING OUT SWINGING!


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DMX

Subscribe Today and Save 30% off the cover price! 1year - $13.99 2years - $26.99

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 OR subscribe online @ www.ownersillustrated.com


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Modeling and Endorsements Jewels of the Earth Modeling

Tomi

All outfits by:

Collection

Images: Banks Hair and Makeup: Jewels of the Earth Modeling

Tomi Mmmmm…that’s right…. this captivating bombshell will leave you in awe. With her sensuous body and dynamic personality, she definitely turns heads. As a fashion major at Howard University, her exclusive look is easily spotted across campus. She possesses an innovative sense of style and aspires to dominate the world of fashion. This beauty is destined for success; move over Chanel! See more photos at www.rwcollection.com


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G-Flixx has been in photography for 7 years plus, and has shot for magazines such as Vibe, Source, XXL ,Black Men, and of course, the birth of Owners Illustrated Magazine. He also has a ‘Diamond Mine’ full of models that have been featured in the above mentioned magazines, as well as numberous others, not to mention, countless calendars, outdoor billboards, tv shows, commercials, MTV, BET, NIKE spots on tv, talk shows, videos, and the list goes on. G-Flixx recently got into casting for videos, as he explains it, “accidentally.” One day I was working on a project for Jive Records, when a friend of mine told me to come to the Fat Joe & Ginuine video casting, & bring my book of models...I did. The casting director took

my book into a room. Ten minutes later Fat Joe came out of the casting office with the portfolio & as he turned the pages, said, ”I want this one...this one...that one”...so on and so on. The casting agent asked, “Where did you find all these bangin ass girls? We should work together!” - A marriage was born on the spot. (Shout to Kylas Casting and Wendy @ Wink of an Eye). Since then, “G” has worked with such directors as: Benny Boom, Lil X, Darren Grant, Dave Myers, etc., and artists like, Lil’ Kim, Jay-Z, Sean Paul, Fabolous, Gangstarr, Lil’ Mo, Amerie, WuTang, 50 Cent, etc. His ultimate goal is to continue growing his agency and one day become a director.


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Modeling and Endorsements

Ketra

Ketra

See more photos at www.rwcollection.com

Outfit by:

Collection www.rwcollection.com

Images: G-Flixxx Styling by: Diamondz and Pearlz

Tall, sexy, and engaging this Korean and Black beauty is taking the world by storm. She has done several fashion shows in New York and can be seen in print for various designers such as Eastwick (see page 17). Yet, while she is destined to be one of our next great talents she truly just wants to sing. So A&R and Label execs look no futher for you next big talent. She can sing and is beautiful, determined, intelligent, and down to earth. What else does it take?


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Modeling and Endorsements

Cheryl

Cheryl Imagine a room full of dignitaries from the world’s most powerful nations assembled in one room, with a mission to solve world peace. From Greece we have Cheryl. Her political science background has trained her in the fine art of politicking her looks using the gift of seduction. With diplomats like her, wouldn’t the world be a safer place? See more photos at www.rwcollection.com

Outfit by:

Collection www.rwcollection.com

Images: G-Flixxx Hair and Makeup: Jewels of the Earth Modeling


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Modeling and Endorsements

Michelle Michelle Yes...you have seen her before, wasnt she in the Fat Joe video? Yes, how about the Beanie Man/Sean Paul video? Yes, Jay-Z “Excuse Me Miss� video? Yes, and the list goes on, but it's not just videos, she is soon to star in a national comercial campaign...but we are going to keep that on the low, wait till you see her do her thing, then look for her interview in a future issue. Her vision is simple...conquer the modeling world. Move, get out the way!

All outfits by:

Collection www.rwcollection.com

Images: G-Flixxx Hair and Makeup: Jewels of the Earth Modeling

See more photos at www.rwcollection.com


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Publisher’s Pick — Platinum Bound

Red Cafe

Real Estate mogul/ next artist to Blow Supported by Trackmasters: Over 80 million Records Sold Here’s an Extremely Abbreviated Discogragraphy

Men In Black - Will Smith Gettin Jiggy Wit It - Will Smith Miami - Will Smith Independent Women - Destiny’s Child Best Of Both Worlds - R. Kelly, Jay Z- produced most of the album Fiesta - R. Kelly Fiesta remix - R. Kelly Jenny From The Block - JLo The One - JLo Rule - Nas I'm Gonna Be Alright (remix) feat. 50/Nas- JLo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST.


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Hustlenomics 101

Owners Illustrated Magazine’s Publisher Doing His Thing

OI Mag Magazine publisher publisher Damola Idowu Idowu (right) with DMX

Damola with Mannie Fr Fr esh

Damola with Magic Magic Johnson Johnson

Damola with Lil Kim

Damola Idowu Idowu with Mike Mike Lighty

Damola with Just Just Blaze Blaze (far (far left) and DJ W hoo Kid (far (far right)

Damola with Swa Sway and a coucouple RW RW Collection Models

Damola with Sha Money Money XL

RW Collection Models Damola with Pe Pe pa with Fa Fa bolous

Damola and Kar l Kani Kani mag magazine publisher publisher John John Blassingame Blassingame Damola with Kar

Daw Daw oud Shaheidu, Nicole Lighty, Lighty, R ussell Blow Blowe and Damola Idowu Idowu

Damola Idowu Idowu and RW RW Collection Models with Cam’r Cam’r on

Damola with Dikembe Dikembe Mutombo

Damola with Fo Foxy Bro Brown

Damola with Gary Gary Pa Payton

Damola and Daw x Daw oud Shaheidu DJ Fle Flex (center)

Damola with Khia

Damola and RW RW Collection Models with Bab Baby


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