RAW, UNCENSORED WEST COAST RAP SHIT
I’m Just Sayin’ tho by D-Ray
It was a wild night cuddy! You missed out! (in my Mac Dre voice) Really,
it was more like three nights. Let’s start with how I ended my hear in
2009 with Snoop Dogg. Snoop and his West Coast family DJ Quik,
Nipsey Hussle, and the Hustle Boyz hit the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles,
CA, and the name of the tour was When the West Was One. So you know
I had to be in the building, and oooohhweeee, was that a show! DaeOne
thanks for the ride!
Did I mention that I’m a real West Coast kid Chuck Taylors always on my
feet This show definitely did not disappoint. The Hustle Boyz and Nipsey
Hussle had it jumpin’. Then there was a surprise performance by Problem.
He brought out West Coast legend DJ Quik. If that wasn’t enough, Quik
brought out 2nd To None. I love that classic West Coast Hip Hop.
Their performances were dope but the Snoop part of the show was
straight crazy! During Snoop’s set he brought out Butch Cassidy and one
of my all-time favorite Bay Area legends, Too $hort. “What’s my favorite
word” He had the crowd going crazy. Then Snoop brought out The Doggpound
(Kurupt and Daz), Xzibit, and Lady of Rage. The show was bananas.
Snoop shut L.A. down that night!
Snoop shuts L.A. down every time he does an event. In December he shut
Hollywood down when he did an event at the Vanguard with Travis Barker.
It was a joint Malice N Wonderland release party and Famous Stars & Straps
10 Year Anniversary. As we got closer to the venue, traffic was stopped on
every street. The police were out pulling cars over everywhere you looked
(the police are always much thicker when it’s a Snoop show, SMH) .
Phil The Agony and so many more. Octavia and MiMi I see you! This was
another historic Snoop show: he had Warren G, Butch Cassidy, The Game,
Bad Lucc, Kurupt, Nipsey Hussle, Problem, Pharrell, Hustle Boyz, Soopa Fly,
and Damani on stage with him. He had a live band who has been rocking
with him a lot lately; crazy! He had one of my favorites, Terrace Martin, on
the sax gettin’ it in doing his thang like always! Travis Barker was going so
mainey on the drums. Travis always does a dope show! This show was so
outta here! I love the WEST COAST! This is my home!
My New Years Eve was so low-key and relaxed. I brought 2010 in at the
house reflecting and really hanging with the family enjoying tamales! I
have a lot of things in store for 2010. I’m gonna have my very first photo
exhibit on April 10th, 2010 in Northern California. This will be an inviteonly
event, so I can keep it close and very personal with my family and
friends. I will also save some limited space for anyone else that appreciates
my photography (if this is you hit me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Something else is brand new for 2010: Husalah is home! Welcome home
cuddy! I just went to the Catalyst in Santa Cruz to see Husalah perform for
the first time since he’s been home. It was a surprise performance; nobody
in the crowd knew he was there. The Jacka already had the place lit. It was
crazy; one second The Jacka was telling the crowd to put their H’s in the
air for HUS and had them all chanting “Free Hus!” The lights were off and
DJ Quest played the Husalah single “Pray For You” while the crowd started
chanting even louder. Hus was singing the hook backstage and nobody
even knew. Then out of nowhere, a spotlight guided HUS to the front of
the stage and everyone just lost it.
We parked and headed towards the Black Carpet entrance. I know I said
the streets were packed, but not as packed as the black carpet! This was a
100% star-studded event. It was so crazy I just had to get my wiggle on. I
learned from the best, JT Tha Bigga Figga a.k.a. Wiggler. Vanguard holds
close to 3,000 people, and it was filled to the max. No one was moving
and I thought I was gonna go bonkers. No moving around that night. I’ve
been there before and have NEVER seen it so packed! I’m surprised the Fire
Marshall didn’t shut it down, on some real shit.
I gotta thank everyone who helped me accomplish my mission that night!
S. Chung, you’re the best. Thanks for sharing your space with me. It was
just too packed to move! I saw a lot of my people in the building: Rick
Thorne (BMX), Boss Lady, SkinHead Rob, Freeway Rick Ross, Ray J, DJ D-
Wrek, DJ Paul (Three 6 Mafia), Kelly Osbourne, Lamar Odom, Krondon,
The crowd’s reaction was amazing. The performance was crazy; he did
two separate stage dives. He was straight crowd-surfing. It was bananas! I
definitely got chills from all the excitement in the room. Did I mention that
all five Mob Figaz were in the house The Jacka, Rydah J Klyde, FedX, AP9,
and Husalah were all in the building.
Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of people trying to get in where I get in and
do what I do. I must make it look easy! It may look fun, but you should take
it seriously (I see your groupie side!). At the end of the day, it’s a hard-ass
JOB and I respect it like a job. That’s why I receive the respect I deserve.
There are a lot of folks who carry cameras and try to take pictures they
don’t need to be taking (those shots can get you caught up). I’m a hood
photographer and I follow the street codes. I’m not one to look for a shot
that gets you caught up! I carry passion with my hustle. Being a female I’ve
had my share of doors slammed in my face, but, through my heard in this
game there are just as many doors that have been opened.
Lil Chuckee & me in Miami
for his Young Money video
Matt Kemp & me in Los
Angeles @ Power 106’s Cali
I’m playing chess while the rest of you are playing checkers. You can’t be
taught the game, it has to be in your blood to get the trophy. Welcome
home Dubee! Free P.S.D. Tha Drivah and Band Aide of Dem Hoodstarz.
Shout outs to all those locked down who follow my photojournalism!
I’ve tried to accept your email requests and sometimes for some reason it
doesn’t work, but one love!
HUS a.k.a. Tito, I’m glad you’re home. Let’s get it! 80% of success is showing
up! Lead, don’t follow (unless you’re on Twitter, lol - @dray_ozonemag).
- D-Ray, OZONE West Editor-At-Large
“Rock N Roll” DJ Pizo f/ Muggs Money & Spice 1
“Get Off” Krizz Kaliko f/ Tech N9ne
““Gangsta Niggas” Ludacris f/ Spice 1 & Mopreme
“Glamorous Lifestyle” The Jacka f/ Andre Nickatina
“Baby Come Home” Spice 1 f/ Tony Toni Tone
“So Far to Go” Common f/ D’Angelo
“Fuck Me Thru the Phone” Spice 1 f/ Michelob & E-Note
“Give Me Luv” E-40 f/ Cataracs
“Why I Hustle” Hot Rod
“Top Spot” Laroo f/ E-40
“Hi Way” DJ Paul
4 // OZONE WEST MAG
(above L-R): Beenie Man & Nuch @ Club Vinyl in Denver, CO; Royce Da 5’9 & Crooked I @ House of Blues for the KOD Tour with Tech N9ne in Los Angeles, CA; Kafani & The Jacka @
Boardwalk Orangevale, CA (Photos: D-Ray)
01 // Starbuks & Lil Fats @ the Blueprint for OZONE’s Halloween Bash (Eugene, OR) 02 // Omar Cruz & Jay Rock @ Azusa Celebrity Baseball game (Asuza, CA) 03 // New Boyz &
Richie Abbott @ Crenshaw High (Los Angeles, CA) 04 // FedX, The Jacka, & Dub 20 @ Boardwalk (Orangevale, CA) 05 // Scoot of Dem Hoodstarz, B-Legit, Droop-E, & E-40 on the
set of E-40’s mini movie (San Francisco, CA) 06 // Audio Push & DJ Baby Chino @ UGMX Back 2 School Jerk Off (San Jose, CA) 07 // Keak da Sneak & J Stalin @ Senator Theater
for Giants & Elephants Tour (Chico, CA) 08 // Davey D, Julia Beverly, & Gary Archer (Oakland, CA) 09 // Lee Majors, Guce, & The Jacka @ Boardwalk (Orangevale, CA) 10 // Willie
Joe, Big Rich, Erk Tha Jerk & Freddy Hot Sauce on the set of E-40’s mini movie (San Francisco, CA) 11 // Guest, Guce, Dame Fame, & Keak da Sneak @ Giants & Elephants Tour
(Stockton, CA) 12 // Curbside & Nuch @ Club Vinyl (Denver, CO) 13 // FastLane, Problem, & Bird (Compton, CA) 14 // K-Loc, E-40, & Extreme @ Nump’s listening party (San Jose,
CA) 15 // San Quinn & Killa Kiese @ Giants & Elephants Tour (Stockton, CA) 16 // Too Short & ladies @ O’Neal McKnight’s video shoot (Los Angeles, CA) 17 // A Halloween pimp &
Dame Fame @ Boardwalk (Orangevale, CA) 18 // AngerMan & Keak da Sneak @ Giants & Elephants Tour (Stockton, CA) 19 // Big Rich, Network, Guce, guest, Dame Fame, & guest
@ Boardwalk (Orangevale, CA)
Photo Credits: D-Ray (02,03,04,05,06,07,08,09,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19); Julia Beverly (01)
OZONE WEST // 5
Originally AN ASPIRING baseball player, the
South Bend, Indiana native moved to Los Angeles
after graduating from Ball State University.
Making ends meet as a bartender,
he wound up getting a shot at DJing when
his venue’s in-house DJ quit. Since then he
has evolved into a mixtape DJ responsible
for breaking records like Jeremih “Birthday
Sex” and Jay Rock “All My Life” featuring Lil
Ozone caught up with the recent nominee
for the Justo Mixtape awards’ West Coast DJ
of the Year to talk about his origins in the
music game, and his bright future.
Start off by telling us how you broke into the music industry.
The very first artist I started working with, Hot Dollar, got signed to
Island Def Jam about 4 months after I started working full time with him.
After he got signed that quick, a lot of people started taking me more
seriously. Also, my man Terry “TK” Kennedy, who’s a professional skateboarder
and rapper helped me garner a lot of attention early on in my
career by co-signing me. I owe a lot to him for all the things he has done
for me. TK is not only very talented, but a great friend and confidant.
We’re sure there are plenty of perks to being a DJ. What are some of the
gifts that stand out to you. Have you taken money
I think being a DJ is the in-thing lately. Girls love DJ’s. Other than that,
we get to hear all the hot music way before the mass public does. That
in itself is the biggest perk to me. Technically, yes, I’ve taken money. As a
mixtape DJ sometimes we have unsigned artists purchase slots to lower
the costs of pressing up mixtapes. And, a set of rims sticks out as the
It’s been said that blogs are the new DJ. What are the positives of blogs
posting music before DJs get it
The positive is that artists’ songs can go from the studio to millions of
people in just hours, which is an amazing marketing tool. Plus careers
can be started through the internet - Soulja Boy, Kid Cudi, or Asher Roth,
for example. The negative is there is so much garbage to filter through
to find the good music because anyone with a computer and internet
access is a rapper nowadays, even if they have zero talent.
We hear a lot of DJs complain about promoters. How do you deal with
I insist on being paid upfront. A lot of them are funny with the money
so I try to make myself a hot enough commodity that they are willing
to pay me upfront. That’s the best way to avoid being played in this
Did the recession affect DJs too
What recession (laughs) Nah, it affects us all at least a little bit, but it
forces you to separate yourself from the competition by outworking
them and by making smarter, more calculated moves so that your brand
continues to stand out.
Who are the best artists to work with and why
Any artist that is willing to bust his or her ass and that consistently stays
in the studio recording new material fits this category. Jay Rock, Ya Boy
and Tyga are perfect examples. It’s easy to flood the internet and the
streets with their material because they’re always working on new shit.
“Your Wifey’s Favorite DJ” may be a cocky
nickname, but DJ Ill Will is living up to it.
Dropping over 60 mixtapes, most notably
ones with female favorites like Drake,
Trey Songz and Tyga, Will is definitely
carving a niche out for himself in the
HEAVILY-POPULATED DJ game.
And the worst
There’s a lot of artists that I work with that are dope to me and I will do
a lot of work for them because I believe in their talent. But they always
want me to do all their lil’ homies and friends projects “off the strength”
which annoys me because I prefer to only work with artists that are dope
to me or at the very least have a strong movement. Not because they
know someone who knows me already. Also, the artists that are in it for
the fame and the women and not the actual music; those artists are the
As told to Ms. Rivercity
6 // OZONE WEST
(above L-R): Pooh & Eva Pigford @ Tatou in Los Angeles, CA; Jay Rock & DJ Eque @ Styles P’s afterparty in Los Angeles, CA; Andre Nickatina & Julia Beverly @ The Blueprint for
OZONE’s Halloween Bash in Eugene, OR (Photos: D-Ray)
01 // Lil Fats, Illaj, & guest @ the Blueprint for OZONE’s Halloween Bash (Eugene, OR) 02 // Rusty with the Strange Music merchandise stand @ House of Blues for the KOD Tour
with Tech N9ne (Los Angeles, CA) 03 // Big Dan, Kilo, J Diggs, Rich The Factor @ Fat City Clothing Store (Vallejo, CA) 04 // The Jacka, Gary Archer, Big Rich, & Julia Beverly @
Boardwalk (Orangevale, CA) 05 // T Woods & Shad Gee @ Senator Theater for Giants & Elephants Tour (Chico, CA) 06 // Nick Ngo & Kafani @ the DUB Car Show (San Jose, CA)
07 // J Valentine & JayRock @ Mason Studio (Hollywood, CA) 08 // Guce, San Quinn, & T Woods @ Giants & Elephants Tour (Stockton, CA) 09 // Scoot of Dem HoodStarz & his
daughter on the set of Kafani’s “Get That Dough” video shoot (San Francisco, CA) 10 // Starbuks & Bishop @ the Blueprint for OZONE’s Halloween Bash (Eugene, OR) 11 // Bad
Lucc, Meezy Montana, Big Dant, Warren G, Kilo, & Quez @ Arcata Community Center (Arcata, CA) 12 // Trajik, Sluggz, & Marvelous Mac @ The Blueprint for OZONE’s Halloween
Bash (Eugene, OR) 13 // YG & K-Boy @ Tatou (Los Angeles, CA) 14 // D-Lo & Audio Push @ UGMX Back 2 School Jerk Off (San Jose, CA) 15 // Keak da Sneak & ladies @ Giants &
Elephants Tour (Stockton, CA) 16 // Haji Springer & Kuzzo Fly @ Rockit for Yukmouth’s album release party (San Francisco, CA) 17 // Dame Fame & Tito Bell @ Senator Theater for
Giants & Elephants Tour (Chico, CA) 18 // Big Rich & guest @ Club Illusions for Big Rich’s birthday party (Palo Alto, CA) 19 // KL, Vanessa, & Starbuks @ the Blueprint for OZONE’s
Halloween Bash (Eugene, OR)
Photo Credits: D-Ray (02,03,04,05,06,07,08,09,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18); Julia Beverly (01,10,19)
OZONE WEST // 7
hawn Chrystopher’s tale is far from the
typical rap story. While many rappers
glorify stories of crime, Chrystopher’s
chronicle is the exact opposite. “I was always the
kid on the honor roll, so when I told people I was
rapping, they’d be like, ‘What!’ I could never go
to the hood niggas and get beats,” laughs the
Chrystopher was raised by a single mother in
Inglewood, California. His love for music began
when his mom placed him in an afterschool program
where he learned to play the drums. From
there, Chrystopher’s passion for music only grew.
He added the piano, trumpet, and saxophone to
his repertoire and joined the school band. Influenced
by groups like Kris Kross and Bone Thugs
N Harmony, he also began rapping.
He graduated from high school in 2003 at the
age of 16, earning a full scholarship to the
University of Southern California. And on the
music side, he taught himself how to produce,
mix and master his own music. He soon found
that being a full-time student and an aspiring rap
artist were tough acts to juggle. “My schoolwork
became mediocre because I was focusing on
music so much,” he remembers. “I had to make a
Needless to say, Chrystopher choose rhyme
books over textbooks. He spent the next two
years crafting his sound and studying the success
of artists he admired.
“I sat back and watched who got hot,” he begins
to explain. “I studied [rap] like I did my school
work and tried to figure out where I could fit
in. I went to school in 2004, and that’s when 50
[Cent] was hot. I’m like the exact opposite of 50.
So, I had to sit back and wait for music to change.
And once it started to shift, you started seeing
everybody going the Lupe [Fiasco], Pharrell way;
people on TV started to look like me. And I’m
like, ‘Okay, now I’m ready.”
He began leaking music on the internet and was
soon contacted by Elitaste, Inc., (the management
team that reps Interscope artist Wale), who
expressed interest in the Inglewood rapper/
producer. Chrystopher signed with Elitaste
Management, who linked the artist with Lifted
Research Group. And in 2008, he released his
LRG presented debut mixtape, I Wear Glasses. His
follow-up mixtape I Wear Glasses 2: I Told You So!
came in May of 2009 and gained appreciation
from blogs and admiration from fans.
Still unsigned, Chrystopher released his debut
album, A City With No Seasons, through iTunes
in November of 2009. And as he ponders the
possibilities of signing with a major, Shawn
Chrystopher is confident in a future filled with
“2009 was a great year for me, but 2010 and
beyond is about to be something ridiculous,”
he boasts. “And I know everybody says that, but
I really have a great feeling of what’s about to
happen because of what has already happened.
This won’t be the last time you hear from me.”
Words by Randy Roper
Photos by Brian Tampol
8 // OZONE WEST
alifornia has had its share of dance movements
over the last few years. First, there
Cwas Krump in Los Angeles. Shortly after that,
Hyphy exploded out of the Bay Area. Now, a new Hip
Hop dance frenzy has emerged out of L.A. called the
Jerk. At the forefront of this new movement is Audio
Push, a rap duo consisting of 20-year-old Oktane and
“The Jerk’s been out forever,” says Pricetag, of the
origins of Audio Push’s breakthrough single “Teach
Me How To Jerk.” “It was a dance that gangbangers
did. They thought they were too cool to do any other
dance, but they never did it as energetic as everyone
does now. The teenage and party crowd saw it, took it,
and turned it into a big movement.”
Oktane and Pricetag were raised in Inland Empire, just
east of L.A., where they met in middle school. Their
mutual love for Hip Hop led to them joining forces
in Krump battles and rap cyphers. They went on to
record “Teach Me How To Jerk,” an ode to the area’s
burgeoning Hip Hop movement. As the Jerk movement
started to grow, so did the song, which caught
the attention of production duo Kadis and Sean. They
soon signed Audio Push to their production company,
Under Kadis and Sean, Audio Push remixed “Teach Me
How To Jerk.” The song landed on local radio, and numerous
major labels began offering deals. In the end,
the Jerk duo inked a deal with Interscope Records,
Audio Push wasn’t the first Cali rap group to break
their Jerk record on a national level; before them
came Asylum’s New Boyz, whose single “You’re a Jerk”
topped charts months before “Teach Me How To Jerk”
broke nationwide. Still, Oktane and Pricetag insist they
came out with their Jerk song first. “A lot of people
that did their research on Jerk [music] know that we
came out with [our] jerking song first,” Oktane says.
“But what separates us from [the New Boyz] is we
really rap. A lot of people put the New Boyz and this
whole Jerking thing in a box. We’re not in that box.”
Audio Push insists that they want to be respected as
bonafide emcees, and in the process, lead a new generation
of rappers into Hip Hop’s limelight. The duo
hopes their latest mixtape, Soundcheck, and debut
album in 2010 will prove their skills. “[Soundcheck]
shows that we really make good music. We really spit,”
Pricetag says, continuing, “This is a new generation.
The style has changed, the music has changed, everything
“A lot of people think this new generation is a group
of little dancing kids that wanna Jerk for a couple
months, and then we’re just gonna fade out,” Oktane
adds. “But we actually have something to say.”
Words by Randy Roper
Photo by Meeno
OZONE WEST // 9
Warren G Goes InDEPENDENT
Words by Maurice G. Garland
Photo by D-Ray
10 // OZONE WEST
As the West Coast continues tRYING TO
find a new identity that isn’t somehow
connected to the extended N.W.A family
tree, Warren G finds himself trying to
slide back in. Although he’s been active,
a lot of people aren’t aware OF HIS NEW
PROJECTS. With The G Files (his second
independent album since 2005) out right
now, Warren IS FACED WITH SEVERAL CHOICES:
rapper or producer, independent or
major. But if there’s one thing that isn’t
up for debate, iT’s his loyalty to the west
coast and good music. Ozone caught
up with Warren to get his thoughtS on
the new direction he’s taking his career,
the state of West Coast Hip Hop, and why
people forget that he helped save Def Jam
in the 90s.
Let us know what you’re up to nowadays.
I have an independent album called The G Files out right now. I’m
just testing the independent game, seeing how it is, and how I
can work in it. It’s got a lot of great people on there like Snoop,
Travis Barker, Nate Dogg, and Raekwon. I’ve got a bunch of new
artist on the bubble too, so I’m just working on that. Other than
that I’m doing my production, getting my beats stacked up so I
can press play on the industry and get people back into Warren
G the producer as well as the artist.
Are you doing that to clear up the perception of you Some
people looked at you as producer first and rapper second.
I did it all from the gate. As far as people thinking I’m more of
a rapper than producer, I’m cool with it. I’m happy with people
looking at me like that. But I’m a multiple artist, so I produce, rap
and write. That’s just what happened when I started doing my
thing. I’m trying to re-establish myself as a producer right now,
that’s my main focus. That’s what the industry has wanted from
me. I never stopped though. I’ve been in the studio grinding out
beats for people to pick up.
What direction are you going with your production
Everything I do is G-Funk. I’m just into producing great music. I
try to make singles. I just do good music. Music that’s hood, but
still appeals to the world. I want the world to love the sound. I try
to make hit records, constantly.
What made you want to go the independent route
Because a lot of guys I know that are independent were like,
“The independent’s get all the money.” You get what you work
for. With a major, you get 35 cents [per record]. Independent you
can get $5 to $8 a record. I was trying it out. It’s cool, but you
have to surround yourself with the right people to push yourself
independently. I’m thinking if I do another record, I might do
it on a major so people know it’s out there. Independently I’ve
done all the promo I can do, but the world doesn’t know it’s
there. I’m getting back into my production. I like scoring and
I did the music for this TV show on BET called Harlem Heights.
That was my tester, and they loved it. As far as film, most of the
records you’ve heard from me were made for movies I had in
mind. So beyond that, I’m trying to get into sounds. If they need
a fart, I’m trying to put the fart in. I’m a DJ, so I know how to
place and blend things so they sound right.
How do you feel about the current soundscape of West Coast
We ain’t really got nobody besides Snoop out right now. It ain’t
really nothing out from the West right now. I can’t really speak
on it. I couldn’t tell you right now. But I do know when Dre drops
Detox it’s gonna open up the new talent. It’s just hard to make
the West like it was before because we don’t have any outlets.
Snoop is the head of Priority Records now, so we’ll see how that
goes. I’m trying to get a position too, so I can let this West Coast
talent be heard.
Why do you think that is
It’s the industry. You got a lot of people here that’s heads of the
company who ain’t from here and don’t understand what we do.
I was told by a person that my record was too West Coast. How
the fuck am I too West Coast I do me. I make Warren G songs for
everybody. So when you got people thinking like that, of course
you ain’t gonna get no talent out here. These people can’t speak
for the fans, and the fans actually want that. They want that old
West Coast sound because the shit that’s coming out these days
sounds like some electro shit. We need this real shit back cracking.
How can we get music from everywhere heard everywhere
A lot of it has to do with the DJs. The music was controlled by
radio and DJs, so we have to start supporting. People are getting
paid for playing records. We should get back to the love and the
paycheck is gonna come. Radio and DJs have to understand,
when you don’t play the records, we don’t get paid. This is how
we survive and send [our] kids to college. This is our job. So when
you tell an artist you can’t play their record, you’re crushing their
whole world. People need to get back to doing it for the love. I
get major love in Atlanta and New York, but when I come back
home to L.A., we’ve only got West Coast Wednesday. How come
the West Coast only gets Wednesdays in L.A. When I went to
NYC to let people know I was in town they wouldn’t let me get
on the radio station to tell people. And I’m a guy that brought
you tons of music. I’ve done a lot for Def Jam and New York,
working with Russell Simmons, Lyor Cohen and Kevin Liles.
When Def Jam was down, I saved the day. There should always
be love there. They should never tell me I can’t get on [the radio].
And the Program Director was from California, that’s what made
it even crazier.
Now that I’m independent, I see what the process is. A lot of the
people I helped get into positions with major companies are like,
“Fuck you Warren, thank you, we cool. I don’t owe you nothing.”
And that’s fucked up. I’ve busted my ass, told companies that if
you fire so-and-so, you might as well drop me. That’s fucked up.
That’s why I’m not mad at dudes like Suge loc’ing up on these
Despite your affiliations, we’ve never heard you do a lot of
banging on wax like some of your peers. Why is that
I’ve got kids, so I can’t be on record talking about I’m cripping.
I don’t want my kids saying I was a gangbanger. I want them
saying, “My dad has been around the world and made great
records.” I’m grown and sexy now. I still appeal to people, I ain’t
old and shabby-faced. I ain’t in my 40s yet, but the ladies still like
me. I just can’t do the gangbang thing on my music. I’ve got two
daughters and three boys.
We know you’ve been doing a lot for the community lately. Do
they still have Warren G Week in Long Beach
I was just named as the face for all the Boys & Girls Clubs in Long
Beach. I got a certificate from the district for the good I’ve done.
That was big for me. They still have Warren G Week in the summer,
but in the winter I go to the homeless shelters and pass out
stuff to the homeless. They’re good people, they just get in bad
positions when nobody wants to hire them.
How is Nate Dogg doing these days
I’m going to see him this week. He’s in therapy. We’re trying
to get him back up. He had two strokes; a lot of people don’t
survive from that. We’re keeping him in our prayers and trying
to get him back right, and that’s all we can do. It hurts because
that’s my dawg. I do a dedication to him every time I perform
to let my good vibes and prayers get out to the Lord for him to
get better. But it’s a part of life we have to deal with. So I have to
keep myself up and healthy.
Lastly, since Dr. Dre is your brother, are you privy to any Detox
The stuff I’ve heard was dope. When he drops it, he’s gonna
change the game as far as the music. I couldn’t tell you how far
along he is or if it’s finished. I really don’t know what he’s doing
right this minute, but I know he’s gonna put the record out. I do
know it’s coming out this year. //
OZONE WEST // 11
THE GAME HAS NEVER BEEN ONE TO HOLD HIS TONGUE,
AND THIS OZONE EXCLUSIVE IS NO EXCEPTION.
Words by Tone Swep
12 // OZONE WEST
Gangsta rap is dead! At least that’s what Hip
Hop’s reclusive legion of Facebook bangers,
Twitter hipsters and blog’d out skinny jean
b-boys would have us believe.
And, on some level, they do have a valid
argument. With the global economy tilted like
your local pool hall’s pinball machine and
Cali penitentiaries hella crowded like public
housing, things just ain’t the same for gangstas.
Consequently, it’s back to bangin’ for way too
real estate and slangin’ rocks for rims in a dope
spot nowhere near you.
Knowing his golden state is a little bang’d up, THE
GAME g-rides through rap’s OZONE layer leaking
crimson R.E.D. comments. Chilled out in a so-Cal
burger joint, we rapped about why he’s so much
smarter at 30, why he and 50 never should have
dismantled the “Black Beatles,” and why his R.E.D.
Album is his most street of all. Get The Game str8
from Chuck Taylor’s bloody mouth.
They say gangsta gap is dead, G! Is that true
That’s obviously somebody’s opinion. It ain’t mine. But I will say that what
niggas consider “gangsta” is changing. Like, the hardest niggas I’d ever seen
in the hood are wearing suits now. Dressing it up. Being more professional
about themselves and aiming more at money than each other. Niggas in
the hood are taking better care of their families and shit now, at least more
than before. But as far as gangsta rap, as long as I got Eazy Duz It and Doggystyle
spinnin’ in my changer, gangsta rap will never die.
Is society safer now that these youngsters are tryin’ to be Drake and Wale
instead of Game and Snoop Especially on the West Coast
I’m loving the West Coast right now. Most niggas out here are on chill and,
like I said, focused more on money than mayhem. Don’t get it twisted
though. You can still turn the wrong corner and get your melon split, but
everyone is on that cool shit. I call it the “Drake Era,” and you can print that
in bold. I fuck with Drake because he is leading this sort of cool movement
that is contagious right now in Hip Hop. I wish ‘Pac had lived to see Cali on
cool like this.
When you arrived in Hip Hop, around ’02, you were grinding to get you
and the homies out of the hood. You were driven to build Black Wall
Street. You’re rich now and established. What’s the motivation today
Two boys, my sons. One is six years old and the other is two. Harlem and
Justice, man. You could put me on the Lakers and I’d score more than Kobe
with how I’m feeling right now.
I can tell, man. I hear it. I see it. The enthusiasm. The energy. I haven’t
seen you this amped since The Documentary sessions.
My sons advance my thinking. Fatherhood has forced me to think ahead
and be smarter about things. I’m even more motivated to take shit over.
We’ve followed your career from the gate. And in doing so we’ve been
exposed to different people in your life. I’m going to ask you about a few
of those people and see where you are, today, with those people. Let’s
start with George Ausborne Taylor, Jr.
Man… (pause)… Right now, man… (longer pause)… I ain’t seen that dude
in a minute. That’s my pops. I’ve always had real mixed feeling about that
dude. I haven’t really fucked with him in a minute because of different shit
that’s going on in the family that I don’t really wanna talk about right now,
but I recorded a song about it for the R.E.D. Album. You listen to that joint
and it’s gonna bring tears to everybody eyes.
That’s my Beanie Sigel if I’m Jay-Z, not the [recent] beef but the unstoppable
Roc empire days. If I’m Jadakiss that’s my Styles P. That’s my nigga
for life, best friend ever. But you think I’m hardheaded (laughs)! That nigga
wouldn’t listen to nobody. I’d be like, “Let’s not go out tonight. Let’s stay in
and record.” And he’d be like “Nah, I’m riding. Serving this nigga. That nigga.”
But to be honest, and that is my nigga for life when I say this, I think the
way Billboard went out, being murdered in the streets of L.A., is how that
nigga wanted to go out. He’d already accepted that as his will and testament.
Wasn’t no convincing the nigga otherwise. But I love that nigga, man.
Carol Edith Zeigler.
Aw, man. You spinning me around the room right now. That’s my grandmother.
That woman right there was a special woman. That’s my Lena
Horne. My Oprah Winfrey. My Angela Bassett. She is another person that I
lost way too soon. My grandmother is the person who called me Game. I
wish she’d lived to see where I made it to, not necessarily all the negative
shit I had to do to reach this point, but the pinnacle I’m at now.
Lastly, I have to ask you about that little dude that was crawling around
The Documentary photo shoot in chucks and a diaper. Harlem Caron.
(laughs)… Harlem is good. That dude is Tiger Woods, man. He don’t know
nothing about no hood. He doesn’t even know that I’m a rapper. He just has
fun at school. Plays soccer, baseball, little league stuff. Plays with his toys.
Harlem is all innocent and I’m grateful that I’m able to provide that for him.
But my two year old, Justice, that dude knows my songs and shit (laughs).
He knows all my business. He’s like,”‘You goin’ to tha dudio” (laughs)
You’ve obviously enjoyed tremendous success without 50. And, in turn,
he has done well without you. But deep down, real talk, is there any part
of that creative business relationship you miss Any regrets
I made some of the biggest songs of my career with that dude. And it’s not
about he wrote this or I wrote that, but it was just the collaborative effort.
No different from Swizz working with Cass or Jay working with Beans or
Puff working with Bigg. I miss us being the Voltron of Hip Hop. Em, D12,
Dre, Nate, me. All of that power and creative energy and good music.
I bet Iovine misses it too.
To this day, every time I see Jimmy he says, ‘Why’d you guys have to go and
break up the Black Beatles” And, honestly man, that relationship didn’t
have to spoil. But I’m principled. Things weren’t headed in a direction I was
comfortable with and you know me. I’m not one to hold my tongue. I’ma
tell a muthafucker when shit ain’t right.
Back in the studio with the good Doctor. He and Pharrell are executive
producers on this album. How’d that reunion happen
I wouldn’t say it’s a reunion. It’s more… (pauses)… Dre was kicking it with
Snoop one day and called me to ask if I wanted to come in and work. We
should all be happy Dr. Dre ain’t God, because the world never would
have been created in seven days. It would have taken three years like my
album… but yeah, they called me and asked if I wanted to work. One thing
led to another and we’ve been working on my album ever since.
There is so much energy in your sessions right now. Skateboard P and
Dre, Snoop. And to think that you were threatening us all with your
retirement after L.A.X. went platinum. What changed
I ain’t going nowhere. What happened is Hip Hop changed. And I told
people that it would on my last album. You can hear how everybody is just
having a good time. Gucci Mane, Soulja Boy, Wayne. These cats are just having
a good time and that is where Hip Hop needs to be.
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk to you about Compton. Everything from
public education to public transportation to teen pregnancy rates,
murder rates, violent crimes, gang-related crimes, are through the roof.
What’s it going to take for shit to change in the CPT
50 years of dedication to changing things. See, Compton is rotten to the
core. Like you said, all the way down to the kindergarten level. By junior
high you already know that you don’t really have a good shot at making it
out. I don’t know what else I can do that I haven’t already done. We did a lot
for the hood with Black Wall Street but shit hasn’t really improved except
for a few people we helped directly.
Do you think President Obama is going to cop the R.E.D. Album
I don’t know about cop it, but he’ll definitely have a couple songs in his
iTunes workout (laughs). Because if he cops the entire album and listens to
it his war strategy is gonna change. He’s gonna take all the soldiers out of
Iraq and send the prisoners over there instead.
What’s the biggest difference between Chuck Taylor at 20 and Chuck
Taylor now, at 30
I was a dumb, dangerous muthafucker ten years ago. Walking around with
loaded weapons and no brain. I understand life more now. I know how
things are going to end. Not when, but I know how. When is up to God’s
will. Only he knows that.
Safe to say you’re a lot richer now too, huh
Yeah, that too (laughs). //
OZONE WEST // 13
A MILLION HUSTLES
Words by JULIA BEVERLY
PHOTO BY TREVOR TRAYNOR
You’ve got a couple videos circulating now on the internet and MTV Jams. Is the
video with Dorrough the main one you’re pushing right now Or is the Bobby
Valentino song the newest
The one with Dorrough is the newest video I’m pushin’. It just got added to MTV
Jams and hopefully to BET soon. This is my third or fourth video on MTV Jams.
I still work with a lot of Bay Area artists but single-wise, I’ve been working with
southern artists because I’m trying to get that nationwide look. My records are
getting a better, different look with Southern artists. I’m basically trying to take my
sound beyond the Bay Area. I think the whole hyphy sound has kinda died down.
I think artists are doing them right now and creating their own sound. When you
had the hyphy movement it seemed like everybody was doing the same thing,
but now everybody is developing their own lane. The Bay Area sound has always
When you hunt around for beats or you’re looking for hooks, what kind of
sound are you looking for Or what attracts you to a particular record
Single-wise, generally speaking, you wanna go towards the females. On “Need Ya
Body” that’s why I hit up Bobby V and got him on the hook. That’s where the industry
is going right now – R&B/Hip Hop. That’s the direction I’m going in right now.
The new record with Gucci and Dorrough is like a street record. My main focus is
the R&B/Hip Hop direction. I think the majority of the fan base is females, from
what I see at my shows. Generally speaking, for a lot of artists, females re the biggest
fans in the game anyway. Once you got the ladies, it’ll crack. When these cats
be throwing parties and they whole fan base is dudes, it don’t be crackin’ like that.
You gotta have the females, they the ones that come out and party and dance.
A lot of artists claim, “I’m not a rapper, I’m a hustler.” Which are you
Honestly, I’m a hustler. I got in the game dealing with other artists. I’ve always
been a hustler no matter what I do. It’s a grind. I be makin’ music for fun, but at the
same time, by me being a good hustler, I’m able to network, make connections,
and get it out there.
When you say you got in the game working with other artists, you mean you
were putting money behind them and it didn’t work out
Nah, it wasn’t necessarily that. My family members who were aspiring to be artists,
I started off working with them in the beginning and going off they vibe. Then I
took it to a whole other level really. When I was first getting studio equipment, I
was just experimenting, but they was really taking it seriously. But then I was like,
damn I can do it too. It seemed like every year I was taking it to a whole other level
in the game. My game would elevate.
I know you put the album out through Koch/E1. Did that situation work out
well for you Are you looking to go another route
The last project went aight. I mean, I had the “Fast (Like a NASCAR)” song and
it was a big thing about it being marketing for NASCAR. We had a remix with
Bubba Sparxxx and DJ Unk and there was a big situation about it. I feel like my
whole album [release] was based around Nascar getting it hot and blowing it up
to their fans, and then at the last minute it kinda fell through. The day my album
14 // OZONE WEST
was supposed to drop, instead of me having record release parties and autograph
signings in the Bay Area, they set me up to go do the video in Greensboro, NC at
the NASCAR stadium. The day before, NASCAR cancelled it. I don’t even know why.
It seemed like after that they never really worked a second single for me.
Did you record that song with the intention of getting NASCAR involved
Nah, that happened after the fact. I think that was more of the label’s idea.
Everybody was saying I could get NASCAR behind and it’d be big. When I was
having meetings with the label we were talking about making that happen, but
it ended up falling through. It was some type of politics, I don’t know exactly why.
You know how it is, they throw everything against the wall and if it sticks, it sticks. I
guess that didn’t really come through all the way. But as far as me getting national
attention, it was a good look ‘cause I was able to release a national album.
Next time around, are you gonna take things into your own hands a little more
I know now you gotta make sure everything’s situated before you drop an album.
Just ‘cause you have a label putting you out, you still gotta do the same footwork
you did to get there. You can’t depend on the label to do anything for you. You
gotta still do everything on your own. The label is only gonna go so far. They’ll only
go off the hype for so long; after that, you’re on your own.
It seems like a lot of Bay artists would rather put out a project themselves than
sign with any label. Do you share that mentality Or are you looking for more of
a major label situation
At the end of the day, I can do a lot of the stuff that the major labels can do. I’ve
developed the contacts for people behind the scenes that run a lot of the industry.
The only difference in having a label deal is having that name and money behind
you. If you got the connections and the money you can do it yourself. The difference
in being independent and being with a label is them putting that money up
and having a stamp on it. It’s really about how much money you’re gonna spend
You mentioned that off the ads and some of the previous stuff you’ve done
with OZONE, a lot of people think you sell jewelry. Have you thought about
going that route
Nah, I researched the jewelry game. It’s not a real good game to get into unless
you’ve been in the game for like 20 years and you bought the gold when prices
were real cheap. That’s the whole game – these jewelers have a reserve of gold.
They’re selling you a piece for whatever the market value of gold is at the time,
that’s how they eat. If you bought some gold bars 10 years ago when gold was $10
a gram, and now it’s at $30 a gram, you make $20 off every gram.
Have you researched any other types of businesses you think would be good to
get into outside of the music game
I invested in a bail bond company in the Bay Area and I had a trucking company at
one point, but when I got my record deal and all that, I was on the road so much I
kinda let that falter a little bit.
You were dealing with gun charges at one point. Were you able to get that
cleared up or are you still looking at possible legal consequences
Nah, I’m still dealing with that. That’s been 2 years almost, but I should be straight.
That’s all I can really say. I’ll probably end up going to trial, but it’s looking good. If I
was looking at any time, it shouldn’t be too long. I’m innocent.
Gucci Mane was featured on your single, but he isn’t in the video. What happened
Yeah, that was a clearance issue we had with Warner Bros. They [wouldn’t clear the
record] in the 4th quarter because it was around the time they was droppin’ his
You paid him under the table to do the record
Yeah we got it hooked up. It was done a while ago and you know how it is when a
buzz goes crazy and the label gets behind it – it’s a whole different story.
You’ve got a lot of expensive toys in the video. Is there anything you want to
buy that you haven’t been able to get yet
Nah, I got a lot of toys already. I just copped a Maserati a couple months ago so I’m
kinda content right now, but you never know.
Your last album was called Money is My Motivation. Money can only take you so
far, though, you’ve gotta have the passion for it. What else motivates you
Taking care of my family and friends, and just having fun. Just trying to live, and
stay out of jail. That’s basically it. The music takes you away from all the stuff you’re
dealing with, that’s why I like doing it. Doing music takes me away from whatever
problems I may be having at the time. Not saying I have a lot of problems, but if
I’m going through something I can go in studio and vent.
With a lot of people going through hard economic times, do you think they’re
more or less likely to listen to ballin’ music
Sometimes music is motivation. Hearing somebody else talk about what they’re
doing may motivate them. But sometimes it’s depressing. If you’re going through
the struggle and you’re only hearing about the struggle, people dying, and you’re
really in the streets living that, that might not be something you wanna listen to.
I try to make music I think people wanna hear that’ll take ‘em away from what
they’re going through. As we know, it’s a recession and a lot of people ain’t doing
too good. Why would you want to hear about that Maybe you wanna hear something
positive, that you can make it out the hood and become something else.
If you look at Hip Hop, you’ve got artists wearing skinny jeans now, and trends
that are constantly coming and going. Do you think it’s ever gonna get to a
point where the ice and jewelry and all that is played out Kinda like grills
I think it’s gonna play itself out. To me, once you get famous and you got money,
you don’t really need to show it. In the beginning, when you coming up, you may
go crazy with the jewelry ‘cause you wanna be seen. It’s a statement. But once
you make that statement and everybody knows you got it, ain’t no need to show
it no more. If you look at bigger name artists, they don’t even really have to wear
jewelry no more. You know who they are when you see ‘em. A lot of up-and-coming
artists probably wear jewelry just to show that they’re somebody. Eventually,
jewelry is getting so crazy with designs, and as technology grows they startin’ to
go crazy with it, so eventually it’ll come to an end. Nothing lasts forever so I don’t
think it’ll stay in Hip Hop forever.
How do you view the West Coast movement right now There are a lot of upand-coming
artists from California. Do you see a whole wave of artists ready to
take over, or do you view yourself more solo
The West Coast needs to come together. I think that’s the reason why the west
coast isn’t what it was before. I feel like a lot of the veterans artists ain’t put on the
newer artists. It’s a lot of stuff in the west coast. Me personally, in the Bay, we’re
tryin’ to come together. We startin’ to do a lot of stuff together, put tours together,
and different things – tryin’ to make something from nothing. On a national level,
I’m just tryin’ to get my name out there and take it beyond the region. You got a
lot of cats just tryin’ to break the region and I already did that, so now I’m trying
to take it further. Whatever artists that are trying to do the same thing, get on the
boat with me and let’s do it.
A lot of West Coast artists mention that lack of unity as something that’s holding
them back. What do you think the problem is
I think it’s just the mentality of the people in this area. The South is more welcoming.
It ain’t like that in the West Coast –the hospitality of welcoming someone into
your house, so to speak. I don’t think cats on the West Coast are like that.
What about the relationship between Bay artists and L.A. artists Do you feel
like that’s getting better or worse
I ain’t really worked with any L.A. artists. A couple of cats reached out to me and
I’ve reached out to them. We gotta put it together and get it in. But I haven’t actually
done a record with anyone from Southern California yet. I know a few cats out
there, we just haven’t had the opportunity to get it in. I gotta make an effort to do
In the South you feel like you get more support from the artists
Nah, I’m not even really saying that. I’m just saying us West Coast artists as a whole
need to start reaching out to each other and doing it. There’s no west coast artist
that’s really on, besides older cats like Snoop or maybe somebody like The Game.
There’s no new West Coast national artists that are real superstars. But there’s new
artists from the South every year that go national. Maybe it’s the DJs. Maybe the
DJs need to step it up and break more records from the West Coast, instead of just
Do you think part of the problem is the records aren’t commercial enough
Prime example is my record with Bobby Valentino. The same producer that did
that for me, did “Trickin’ If You Got It.” If you listen to the two songs, they sound
similar. Originally, the dude from the Mullage hook sang my hook. I released it on
the West Coast with him on the hook first. I didn’t get the response I was lookin’ for,
so I took him off and put Bobby Valentino on the hook. Three months later, they
do a similar record and it comes out in Atlanta and it blew up. My record touched
the South, but it didn’t really blow up on the West Coast.
Do you feel radio is supportive of your projects
Yeah, the radio supports me for the most part. Every record I come out with I get
support from radio. Of course you wanna blow up and go everywhere with it, but
I guess I need to have the right people working my records. I don’t know – I’m just
putting out records and if it happens, it happens. Every 3 months I’m dropping a
new record and shooting a video. Something’s bound to happen. I’m just really
putting out singles till I get that right buzz. It’s really nothing to do an album, you
just need a single to sell your album. I’m making my money doing shows, selling
ringtones and digital downloads. I’m still eating off putting out singles – I don’t
necessarily have to put out an album to make money.
If people want to buy a ringtone or check out your music, where’s the best
place for them to go
Search Kafani on iTunes and it’ll pull up all the mixtapes and singles I got out right
now. I be on Twitter – @Kafani. If you wanna check out my videos you can hit me
up on KafaniDaIceKing on YouTube. I think you can buy music off Myspace too. I’m
about to release my street album. It’s called My Daily Bread. I’m still working on my
album I.C.E. – I Create Envy. I’m waiting to get a big record and get that buzz right,
then I’ll drop an album. //
OZONE MAG // 15
Malice In Wonderland Priority
Though Snoop Dogg has become more known as a character
and celebrity in recent years, the man still knows how to make
dope music. Recreating himself once again, Snoop blends in
with just about every beat thrown at him. Although this album
features more cameos than Snoop albums of the past, he still
remains the star. – Maurice G. Garland
A.R. of H2 Hardheadz
The IntroducTion of… H2 Ent.
Carrying on the legacy of his Bay Area forefathers RBL Posse, A.R.
comes with a fresh but familiar sound on his introductory mixtape.
Providing street raps with a perspective that offers both
reality and celebration, you can tell that A.R. is out to remind
people why you fell in love with Bay Area rap to begin with.
His choice to use production (provided mostly by Rome aka
Slapadelic) that leans more towards mid-90’s funk ala Sam Bostic
and Ant Banks immediately sets him apart from his many peers
who are struggling to find a musical identity post-Hyphy. If
you’re looking for some vintage Bay Area rap with a new school
appeal, you can’t lose with this CD. - Maurice G. Garland
Young Shaad of H2 Hardheadz
Cold Game Official Business/H2 Ent.
Falling from the same family tree as A.R., Young Shaad does a
good job in blending his Bay Area roots with a national appealing
sound. However, the “young” part of his moniker definitely
shows at times. While he obviously puts forth effort in each song
on this mixtape, his heavy accent and decision to use the same
cadence on many of the songs will have the listener struggling
to identify him from the average Bay Area rapper. To his credit
though, Shaad is able to approach everyday themes with a
different angle. Surely not an artist to sleep on, Shaad at least
interests you to the point that you’d want to hear what he has to
offer next time around. - Maurice G. Garland
Balance & Big Rich Good A$ Money
Ayinde Music/Bang Bang III Story Gang
Picking up where their 2007 effort Unda Dogg Kingz left off,
Balance and Big Rich continue to show why they’re two of the
more universal artists in the Bay Area. While both have unique
styles and perspectives, here they’re able to tone down their
respective personalities just enough to make sure teamwork
is the priority. With all but one track, “I’m Back,” not featuring a
cameo, this album actually comes off more like a compilation
in disguise. Fortunately the solid performances from allies like
Glasses Malone, Allen Anthony, Messy Marv, The Jacka, Clyde
Carson, Yukmouth, Freeway and Jay Rock make this a good
problem to have. - Maurice G. Garland
40 Glocc Concrete Jungle
Zoo Life Ent.
Mostly known for checking your favorite rapper’s gangsta
whenever they set foot in Los Angeles, 40 Glocc has finally decided
to prove that he is actually a rapper, and a pretty decent
one at that. He holds his own on “Another Angel Dies” with
Ras Kass and shows traces of vulnerability on “Hell On Earth,”
where he ponders some of the decisions he’s made in his
volatile past and questions if there’s a spot in heaven for him.
Backed by adequate production that gives him and his Zoo
Life cronies enough space to get their point across, 40 Glocc
proves that he can actually make some good music when he’s
not busy terrorizing other rappers. - Maurice G. Garland
Roccett & DJ Drama
After departing CTE, Roccett recruited DJ Drama to announce
his independence. Roccett stays true to form when it comes
to punch lines, metaphors, and tales of West Coast living
on songs like “City I Love,” “How We Roll,” and “Bang That.”
However, there’s an appreciated upgrade on some of his
hooks (“I Do That” ft. Bobby Valentino and “I Don’t Think So” ft.
Primo). Other than awkward female-oriented records like “All
a Woman Needs,” this may be Roccett’s best work, or pretty
close. Being on the free agent list has obviously upped Young
Roccett’s stats. - Ms. Rivercity
Event: K.O.D. Tour
Venue: House of Blues
City: Los Angeles, CA
Date: October 22nd, 2009
18 // OZONE WEST