Cormega- The making of the Realness(Snippet of XXL article)

CORMEGA

 

If New York is the mecca of hip-hop and the Bronx is the birthplace, then Queensbridge is the Hall of Fame. Home to Nas, Mobb Deep, Tragedy Khadafi and other rap legends, QB has always bred a special strain of rappers, often tripling up their syllabic rhyme patterns within one bar. Their writing seems impeccable, born from years of studying mic technicians like MC Shan and Craig G, but despite being a beacon of rap talent, infighting kept that region from exerting power over time.

Cormega was a victim of that infighting. In 1989, he made his first appearance on wax before getting locked up in 1991, and coming home in 1995. Soon after, his neighborhood friend Nas put him on a track called “Affirmative Action,” which turned heads in the industry. Mega quickly secured a deal with Def Jam and set to releasing singles like “Dead Man Walking” and “Angel Dust.” He even joined Nas, Foxy Brown and AZ to form The Firm and do an album produced by Dr. Dre. His second life after prison seemed promising.

But then it came to a screeching halt. He separated from The Firm, had his original debut album, The Testament, get shelved at Def Jam and found himself in limbo, signed to a label that didn’t want to release his music. One of the most anticipated rappers of the 1990s was a prisoner to a contract, and he stayed that way for years.

Until 2000, when he was able to leave Def Jam with his masters and set upon crafting his first official album release, The Realness, after two stalled careers. He released the LP independently in 2001, hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart for two weeks in a row. The critically acclaimed LP helped Mega start on a path of top-notch album releases, from True Meaning to Legal Hustle to his original debut. To this day, Mega is revered as one of the greatest lyricists the game has ever seen.

So to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the classic album, The Realness, XXL speaks with Mega and producers like Alchemist, J-Love, Havoc and more about how they put together this insane LP.

Builders:
Cormega
J-Love
Havoc
Sha Money XL
Jae Supreme
The Alchemist

Background

Cormega: “TVT Records was gonna do The Realness album and I wanted to do a label situation, a partnership, but they were offering me a deal. They told me if The Realness did well, they’d give me a label deal for the follow-up project. So Landspeed Records had the capability of making the album come out within a few months. July was the set date for The Realness and we signed the deal in like April or late March, so my back was against the wall and I wanted to have an album out for the summer.

“On TVT, there was no guarantee my album would come out because when you deal with labels, they have schedules for how they market and put out an album. Landspeed was guaranteeing my album would come out in July and with TVT, I’d have to do the schedule thing, plus TVT was offering me a deal as opposed to a partnership venture, so I went with the Landspeed thing and I did The Realness in like two weeks. If you got a copy of each session sheet, it would add up to about two weeks.

“They gave me $15,000 for the album and that shyt sat in my bag for months, I didn’t even put it in the bank. I showed it to the guy from Landspeed when we were on the road, like, ‘See? I ain’t thirsty for money. I ain’t even spend that money you gave me.’ And he was like, ‘Oh my God. You better put that in the bank before it bounces.’ And he started laughing.”

DJ Kay Slay: “Cormega would come to 118th Street and 1st Ave., that’s when I was still in the hood, tenement building third floor by himself, sit there and vibe for a while and the track going on and he’d spit. There’s times where I might have linked him up, with a Black Rob came through, McGruff, Sporty B or whoever it was, when I throw that beat on and he’d get that vibe, he’d get up and spit and he wouldn’t bow down to nothing. He was always the greatest to me, when it came to being a true lyricist to the game, I kind of felt like he was overlooked, because the glamour and glitz starts kicking in, the big diamond chains and the jewelries, and the Bentleys, but he wasn’t really into all of that. He was always down to earth with the hip-hop culture. He definitely came uptown all the time and to my crib and laid his freestyles, open up intros, the mixtapes, everything.”

J-Love, producer: “He was pretty much walking away from [rap]. I definitely was one of the driving forces behind him. A lot of people in the industry had turned their back towards him at that time, due to his vibe with Nas and Nas being the more popular artist. I mixed most of that album, I sequenced that album. The only one he chose was ‘The Saga,’ I wanted to put that later on the album.”

Recording Studio

Cormega: “Hydra Studios was the main place where I recorded, that was the hub. Ninety percent of The Realness was done in Hydra. ‘R U My nikka?’ was done in Queensbridge, in Jae Supreme’s apartment, and ‘The Saga’ was recorded down South, unless we re-recorded it in New York, but I believe I did it down South. Everything else was done at Hydra, except for the songs that were done before that, ‘Killaz Theme’ and ‘They Forced My Hand.’”

Songs

1. “Dramatic Entrance”

Cormega: “The feel of it, the melody and the energy just felt perfect for an intro. I just wanted to vent, but I also wanted to express my story. I wanted to come from a street perspective. This is my first album, so the intro had to be flawless, it had to grab people’s attention. I remember taking it real serious and I remember being real happy with the lyrics after it was done.

“I had a chip on my shoulder from the Def Jam situation and for the industry, from people that were in power and trying to shut doors on me. It was like fukk that, I’m coming. Everything y’all ever did to try and stop me… fukk it, I’m here. I didn’t know what was going to happen with the album. I just knew I had to get some shyt off my chest.”

J-Love: “I was working on my compilation album and I was always a fan of Cormega since I heard him on records like ‘On the Real.’ I was getting a lot of exclusive Cormega records and I got one that was unfinished with Mega and Pun. And I had played it and I remember him telling people he was looking for me, like, ‘This guy’s always playing my shyt,’ and so on. And then when I met him at N.O.R.E.’s record label Penalty, we just built and I told him I wanted him on my album. So we just clicked.

2. “American Beauty”

Cormega: “That was inspired by Common Sense. I was freestyling with him on Future Flavas one day and I told him I loved that song ‘I Used to Love H.E.R.’ and I was gonna do a tribute song like that. I don’t know if he remembers or if he thought I was joking but I was dead serious because I really respected what he did with that song.

“It was also in a Mega way, an edgier way. I wanted to be a little more descriptive and that was also the first song I ever produced that came out. I knew where I was going with it because I knew the sound and I knew everything about the song because I came up with the idea and the concept and everything, so I wanted it to be magical. That’s one of my favorite songs. I perform that at every single Mega show.”

3. “Thun & Kicko” Featuring Prodigy

Cormega: “Havoc is one of the most talented producers I’ve ever met in my life because Havoc is such a perfectionist. There’s times where he does tracks and he’ll be like, ‘I don’t like the beat’ and he’ll totally erase it. We call it throwing it in the garbage, meaning it’s outta here, you’ll never hear that song ever. The shyt he’s thrown away is better than some producer’s catalogs.

“So when I found out he was about to trash ‘Thun & Kicko’ I pleaded with him to get that, please, please, please. The Prodigy verse was already on it and that was prior to The Realness coming out so any speculation about Prodigy [going at anybody] is false. I had that over a year before The Realness came out.

“I had some beats from Havoc [recently] and one of the beats he played for me that I should have picked ended up on Kanye’s [The Life of Pablo]. It’s definitely not ‘Real Friends.’ It’s the other one [‘Famous’]. I felt kind of stupid, but at the end of the day I don’t feel that stupid because everything ain’t for everybody.”

Havoc: “I was just playing him some joints and when I played him that joint he felt it immediately and I just be happy for nikkas to be liking anything that I make. So when he was feeling I was like bet and I gave it to him.

“Me and P used to do a bunch of songs. It probably was something that we just did because we always work even when we not working on an album. So it was probably a song we just did, just had it on the side, just laying there. Probably nobody would’ve never heard it if nobody would’ve used it.”

4. “The Saga”

Cormega: “A very powerful song, very cinematic. It just takes you there. You can feel the ghetto in that song. That’s another song I’m proud of. I wrote that in my sister’s apartment [in South Carolina] and there was no heat on that day at all. I just put my blood, sweat and tears into it. The fact that there was no heat on and it was the middle of winter and I’m freezing, it just made that struggle come to mind. So that song was made from creativity and struggle.

“I put on a mink, fukk it, because a mink is warm as fukk. So I’m sitting there in a mink coat writing ‘The Saga’ with K.L. from Screwball writing his own rhymes. Sometimes we’d just get together and have vibe sessions, get right and inspire each other. He’s writing his shyt, I’m writing my shyt, it’s quiet in the room and we’re not bothering each other. I don’t know what the fukk he’s writing, he don’t know what the fukk I’m writing. Even though it was freezing, it always feels beautiful that K.L. was there. He even talked at the beginning of ‘The Saga.’ We were very close.

“I met [producer] Big Ty through my man 40, God bless the dead. 40 was one of my close friends and he introduced me to Ty and then I went to Ty’s house and we started vibing. I just wanted some different shyt, I didn’t want the typical shyt you hear from a New York artist. I wanted something that resonated with different states, so that beat just had a certain feel to it that I knew people from other states as well as New York would like it.”

5. “R U My nikka?”

Cormega: “That’s just a real song. Every street person in the world likes that record. I think there are people that hate my guts but like that record, that’s how real it is. Even people that aren’t from the street love it because they relate.

“I just wrote that because I had a lot of questions about myself, my life, circumstances and situations and the circle I was in. So I was asking these questions to myself about my friends, like would these dudes do this? I was just reading people’s body language and the way I was feeling just spilled into that song. That was a real honest song.”

 

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Tupac Vibe Magazine April 1995(unedited)

Vibe_Tupac_2

This is the alleged un edited version. Kevin Powell said that he had to leave things out and change names so they wont get sued. Still crazy to read 20 years later.

    1. How do you feel after everything you¹ve been through these past few weeks?

      Well, the first two days [after the shooting] I had to go through what
      life is like when you¹ve been smoking weed for as long as I have and then
      you stop. Emotionally, it was like I didn¹t know myself. I was sitting in
      a room, like there was two people in the room, evil and good. That was the
      hardest part. After the first two days, the weed was out of me. I made up
      my mind I wasnt going to smoke any more. That¹s when I started finding a
      little peace in myself and I started figuring out what was going on. Then
      every day I started doing like a thousand pushups for myself and reading.
      I was reading whole books in one day, and writing, and that was putting me
      in a peace of mind. Then I started seeing my situation and what got me
      here. Even though I¹m innocent of the charge they gave me, I¹m not
      innocent in terms of the way I was acting.

      Could you tell me specifically what you mean?

      I mean Im just as guilty for not doing nothing as I am for doing things,
      you know what I¹m saying? Not with this case, but just in my life, my
      career. I feel like I had a job to do and I never showed up. I was coming
      late, if I did show up. I was so scared of this responsibility that I was
      supposed to hold, that I was running away from it. But what I see now is
      that whether I show up for work or not, the evil forces are going to be at
      me. There¹s going to be people that still know what I¹m capable of doing,
      and they want to see me fall. They’re going to come 100 percent, so if I
      don¹t be 100 percent pure-hearted, I¹m going to lose. And that¹s why I¹m
      losing.

      The writer bell hooks says you have a legacy that most rappers don¹t. You
      can listen to an Ice-T or an Ice Cube, but they don¹t connect to the
      political movement like you do. Is that what you¹re talking about?

      Yes. I never was a gangster rapper. When I got in here, all the prisoners
      was like ³Fuck that gangsta rapper.² I¹m not a gangsta rapper. I rap about
      things that was really happening to me. I got shot five times, you know
      what I¹m saying? People was trying to kill me. It was really real like
      that. But, as far as the legacy, I don¹t see myself being special, I just
      see myself having more responsibilities than the next man does. My job is
      not from nine to five, it¹s 24-7. People look to me to do things for them,
      look to me to have answers. I wasn¹t having them because my brain was half
      dead from smoking so much weed. I was trying to numb myself out.

      I¹m not trying to tell everybody put down the weed. Some people can smoke
      weed; I couldn¹t. I was totally gone. It was like recovery for me when I
      got in here, like being in my own 12-step program. I had to face my own
      demons; I had to face everything about myself that I didn¹t like. Now I
      love myself again. I felt like I was in jail when I was out of here. I¹d
      be in my hotel room, smoking too much weed, drinking, going to clubs, just
      being numb. That was being in jail to me. I wasn¹t happy at all on the
      streets. Nobody could say they saw me happy.

      When I spoke to you a year ago, you said that if you ended up in jail,
      your spirit would die. You sound like you¹re saying the opposite now.

      Because that was the addict speaking. The addict knew if I went to jail,
      then it couldn¹t live. The addict in Tupac is dead. The excuse-maker in
      Tupac is dead. The irresponsible person in Tupac is dead. The vengeful
      Tupac is dead. The Tupac that would stand by and let dishonorable things
      happen is dead. God let me live for me to do something extremely
      extraordinary, you know what I¹m saying? and that¹s what I have to do. I
      can¹t slack off. Even if they give me the maximum sentence, that¹s still
      my job.

      Can you take us back to that night at Quad Studios?

      The night of the shooting? Sure.

      Try to tell us everything that was going through your head, as someone
      who¹s lived through being shot.

      Okay. Ron-G is a DJ out here in New York. He¹s like, ³Pac, I want you to
      come to my house and lay this rap down for my tapes. You¹ll be
      representing woop-de-woop.² I said, ³All right, I¹ll come for free. I¹ll
      be down there.² So I went to his house, me and my homeboy Stretch.

      You went up to the Polo Grounds?

      me, Stretch, and a couple other homeboys. After I laid the song, Then I
      got a page from this guy Jimmy telling me he wanted me to rap on Little
      Shaun¹s record. He¹s Little Shaun¹s manager, and he¹d been asking me for a while to rap on this record because it¹s going to be a song with me and
      Notorious B.I.G. on Bad Boy Records and all this. He said ³we need you.²
      Now this guy I was going to charge, because I had no connections with him.
      I could see that they was just using me out of the blue they wanted me to
      do this song. So, I said, ³All right, you give me seven Gs and I¹ll do the
      song.² So He said, ³All right, I¹ve got the money. Come.² When I got
      finished with Ron-G Jimmy paged, like, ³You¹re on your way?² I said, ³Yes,
      I¹m on my way.² I stopped off to get some weed, smoked the weed, and he
      paged me again. ³Where you at? Where you at? Where you at? Why you ain¹t
      coming?² I¹m like, ³I¹m coming, Man, I¹m on my way, hold on.² I wasn¹t
      thinking, Why they want me here so bad?

      We got lost looking for the studio in Manhattan. And I called him like,
      ³Where the hell is the studio?² Jimmy said, ³Where you at?² I told him
      where we were at, which is right around the corner. He was like, ³How long
      is it going to take you?² I was like, ³Five minutes. We¹ll be there in
      five minutes.²

      How did you meet Jimmy?

      I met Jimmy through some other rough characters that I knew. I knew he was
      from the streets, and he was trying to get legitimate and all that, so I
      thought I was doing him a favor. But now when I called him back for
      directions, he was like, ³I don¹t have the money.² I said, ³If you don¹t
      have the money, I¹m not coming.² And He hung up the phone then called me
      back. He said, ³I¹m going to give you the money out of my pocket. I¹m
      going to call [Uptown Records CEO] Andre Harrell and make sure you get the
      money, but I¹m going to give you the money out of my pocket.² So I said,
      ³All right, I¹m on my way.² We parked the car in the garage, and as we¹re
      walking up to the building, somebody screamed from up the top of the
      studio. It was Little Caesar, he¹s like Biggie¹s side man. That¹s my
      homeboy, I¹ve been knowing him since before Biggie came out. So I was
      like, ³What¹s up, yo.² He said, ³I¹m coming downstairs, I¹m coming
      downstairs. I¹m gonna kick it with my man Pac.² As soon as I saw him, all
      my inhibitions about this could be a setup was relaxed. Because I was
      like, ³Oh, Biggie must be here. All of them is here.²

      So you¹re saying that going into it …

      I already knew. I felt like it was a setup because this guy Jimmy knew
      somebody I had a major beef with. I didn¹t want to tell the police but I
      can tell the world. Jack had introduced me to Jimmy. Jack had set up this
      studio time. He told me, ³I¹ve got some work for you.² Everybody knew I
      was short on money. All my shows were getting canceled. I had lawyers all
      over the country, All my money from my records was going to lawyers, all
      the movie money was going to my family. So I was doing this type of stuff,
      rapping for guys and getting paid. And the only people that were paying me
      were criminals, because they were the only people that had cash, that I
      didn¹t have to have a check and all that type of stuff.

      So who¹s this guy Jack?

      Jack Agnant was one of the guys that got arrested with me on the rape
      charge. He¹s actually the guy that introduced me to this girl. He¹s the
      guy that I was kicking with throughout the whole time I was in New York
      doing Above the Rim. He came to me. He knew Mike Tyson. He told me, ³Look,
      I¹m going to look after you. You don¹t need to get in no more trouble.²
      When I went to Nell¹s, it was in the belief that I was going to too many
      hip hop clubs, and that was how I was getting into trouble. So they was
      bringing me to this ³upper echelon² club so I wouldn¹t get in no more
      trouble. So it was Jack and Rick. Rick is his hit man‹that¹s who I was
      hanging around with, criminal types.

      “No, but I recognized them as being the type of ******s Jack was around. I
      didn¹t know if I had seen them with Jack, but I know that those are the
      type of ******s he was introducing me to. I knew they were from Brooklyn.
      So I¹m going unconscious, and I¹m not feeling no blood on my head or
      nothing. The only thing I felt was my stomach hurting. My stomach was
      hurting real bad. Then my sister¹s boyfriend turned me over and said, ³Yo,
      are you all right?² I was like, ³Yes, I¹m hit, I¹m hit.² And Fred is
      saying he¹s hit, but Fred was hit from the bullet that went through my
      leg. They didn¹t shoot him, they shot me and it just ended up hitting him.

      So I stood up and I went to the door and‹the **** that ****ed me up as
      soon as I got to the door, I saw a police car sitting there. So when I saw
      the police car, we all ran out screaming. This girl came out of the strip
      club next door, and I said, ³Where are they at? Where are they at?² And
      the girl said, ³I don¹t know what you¹re talking about.² The police saw
      that???, so I got scared. I was like, ³Uh oh, the police are coming, and I
      didn¹t even go upstairs yet.² So we went back inside and pressed the
      button, jumped in the elevator and went upstairs. I¹m still limping and
      everything, but I don¹t feel nothing. It¹s like numb, I¹ve just got a
      headache. When we got upstairs, I was looked around, and it scared the
      **** out of me.

      Why?

      Because Andre Harrell was there, Puffy was there, Biggies there was about
      40 niggas there. All of them had jewels on. More jewels than me. This
      made me know it wasn¹t a robbery attempt. The money was upstairs. Andre
      Harrell is CEO of Uptown / MCA. What the hell are they worrying about me
      for when they aren¹t robbing him? You understand me? Biggie, I mean
      everybody was up there, right? I saw Jimmy, and he had this look on his
      face like he was surprised to see me. If he expected me, why was he
      surprised to see me? I had just beeped the buzzer and said I was coming
      upstairs. I was like, ³You¹re going to have to explain to me, when I come
      out of the hospital, why you set me up.²

      You said that to him?

      That¹s what I said to him. And he said, ³What are you talking about, Pac?
      I don¹t know what you¹re talking about.² Then he said, ³Stretch, let me
      talk to you.² Why did he want to talk to Stretch? Stretch walked with him
      into the elevator and I said, Stretch! And he turned around and said, ³Oh,
      hold on you all,² and came back to my side. I didn¹t even think about it
      then, that Stretch could have been involved. This is the shit I had been
      with my whole career. So the next thing was, Little Shaun bust out crying.
      I went Why is Little Shaun crying, and I got shot? He was crying
      uncontrollably, like, ³Oh, my God, Pac, you¹ve got to sit down!² Everybody
      was working on me. ³Pac, sit down, sit down!² I was feeling weird. I was
      like, Why do they want to make me sit down?

      Because five bullets had passed through your body.

      I didn¹t know I was shot in the head yet. I didn¹t feel nothing. I had a
      headache. So Little Shaun was like, ³Pac, sit down!² And I opened my
      pants and I could see the gunpowder and the hole in my Karl Kani drawers.
      I didn¹t want to pull my drawers down to see if my dick was still there. I
      just didn¹t want to look, you know what I¹m saying? I just saw a hole and
      went, Oh, ****. Roll me some weed. Before I got to the studio, I called my
      girlfriend and said, Yo, if Jack or Rick come by, don¹t let them in,
      because they came to her house before. Now I got right on the phone, and I
      was like, Yo, I just got shot. Call my mother and tell her I just got
      shot.

      Then I noticed that Stretch was looking down, he wasn¹t angry. My
      cousin‹my sister¹s boyfriend Zane, I keep calling him my cousin because
      it¹s love like that‹he was more upset than anybody there. He was like,
      ³Yo! There¹s going to be a problem up here!² And I was calming him down. I noticed that Andre Harrell wouldn¹t look me in my eyes. He wasn¹t
      affected. And I had been going to dinner with him these last couple of
      days. He had been inviting me to the set of New York Undercover, telling
      me he was going to get me a job there. Everybody was like real
      standoff-ish. Puffy was standing back. I knew Puffy. He knew how much
      stuff I had done for Biggie before he came out. Biggie was claiming Thug
      Life before he came out. But when his record came out, he claimed Junior
      Mafia, he just forgot. He still showed me love, but it wasn¹t the same.
      And When I was with Biggie, he was like, ³**** New York. **** Brooklyn.
      I¹m going to come to the West coast, I¹m going to be with Thug Life. Puffy
      isn¹t doing **** for me. ******s aren¹t looking out for me. I¹m down with
      Tupac. You¹re true to this ****.² And then all of sudden, he was all about
      New York. I was hurt by that, but at the party he showed me love, so I
      forgot about it. But then I¹m up there, Puffy was standing still and
      nobody approached me. Andre Harrell, when I was looking him in his eyes,
      he would turn his head away.

      People saw blood on you but no one said anything?

      Nobody. Then they started telling me, ³Your head! Your head is bleeding.²
      And then I started feeling my head. But I thought it was just a pistol
      whip. I still didn¹t know I had got shot in the head. I still didn¹t
      believe it. Then the ambulance came, and they took off my pants. My pants
      had the keys to my girlfriend¹s house, a 100 dollar bill that they didn¹t
      take, and my wallet with a lot of information, credit cards, everything. I
      gave my pants to Stretch. Then the Police came. First cop I looked up to
      see was the cop that took the stand against me in the rape charge. He had
      like a half-smile on his face, and he could see that the ambulance is
      looking at my balls, and he said, ³What¹s up Tupac? How¹s it hanging?² And
      I was like, ³Oh, ****.² “

      Why did you leave Bellevue Hospital?

      I left Bellevue the next night. I was waking up and doctors were standing
      over me. Every time I tried to go to sleep, I¹d wake up and there¹d be
      another doctor over me. They were helping me, but I felt like a science
      project. They kept coming in there, looking at my **** and ****, and this
      was not a cool position to be in. I knew my life was in danger. I knew
      what type of ******s I was dealing with. The Fruit of Islam was there, but
      they didn¹t have any guns. I knew these ******s shot me five times.

      It was just a situation where I knew I had to get out of there. Plus, I
      wanted to smoke weed, so I had to leave there. I left Bellevue and went to
      Metropolitan. They gave me a phone and said ³You¹re safe here. Nobody
      knows you¹re here.² But the phone was ringing, and when I answered it,
      men would say, ³You ain¹t dead yet?² Or some lady would be telling me,
      ³You ****ing raping girls, you¹d better change your life!² I was like,
      Goddamn! Those mother****ers don¹t have no mercy.

      I had to get out of Metropolitan, too, but I was scared because my whole
      family was around me. I thought, I¹m putting people in danger now. And I
      knew what these ******s were capable of. I couldn¹t tell the police. When
      the police said, ³Who shot you?² I was like, ³I don¹t know.² And I knew
      the dudes¹ faces as clear as hell. They¹ll never leave my head. But I
      didn¹t want to tell the police. I don¹t know why, I couldn¹t even tell
      them about Jack and them. I still didn¹t tell them.

    1. Jack was spending the night in my room all these nights. When he found out
      she sucked my **** on the floor and we had sex, he and Rick were livid.
      Rick is a big freak, he was going crazy. He¹s Jamaican. He would just
      start stuttering and ****. ³So what¹d you do?² All he kept asking me was,
      ³Did you **** in the ass? You d-did, did you **** in the ass?² He was
      listening to every single detail of what happened that night. I thought
      this is just some guy ****, it¹s all good.

      Who are these guys? What do they do?

      Just hangers-on. They liked to go to clubs with me. They had their own
      money, they had their own clothes, they had Range Rovers, 850s, and it was
      cool with me. Every time I went out with them, I never had to pay for
      them. Sometimes they paid for mine.Tthat¹s why it was coolI thought. They
      were buying me **** without asking for nothing, things that nobody had
      done for me before. They knew criminals and ****, and I was going to their
      house and they had a money-counting machine. Big money, not shoe box
      money. These ******s have money machines. Jack told me what they did for a
      living. They robbed the Africans. They got girls to meet Africans and they
      would rob them. Not innocent Africans, but drug dealers, they would rob
      them of big stacks of cash. Rick would always brag to me how he would bust
      through the door and tie up families, tie up women and scare them. He
      never told me about shooting nobody, he would just scare them and take the
      money. These little hootchie girls had them all set up.

      — night of the rape–
      What happened on the night of the alleged rape?

      We had a show to do in New Jersey at Club 88. This dude said, ³I¹ll be
      there with a limo to pick you up at midnight.² Jack and them was all going
      to come. We went shopping, we got dressed up, we were all ready. Jack was
      saying, ³Why don¹t you give Ianna a call.² I had given Ianna Jack¹s
      Skypager number, because she kept calling and leaving messages on my
      machine. I said, ³Call them, they¹re my road managers.² That¹s what I used
      to call them. All they wanted was for me to act like they was my road
      managers. I said, ³Call Jack. If he says it¹s cool, I¹ll see you again.²

      So we were all sitting in the hotel drinking‹me, Jack, everybody. Biggie
      and them are on their way. Stretch is on his way. Biggie had already been
      in my hotel room. ******s had been in my hotel room. ******s had left all
      types of weapons in my hotel room, and they were like, ³I¹ll be back to
      get them when we go to Club 88.² So I¹m waiting for the show, I swear on
      everything I love, may God be my witness, I wasn¹t even thinking about
      this chick no more. I had never done a show in New Jersey and I was hot in
      New York. I was like, this is going to be the night. Hella females, I¹ve
      got Biggie with me, the whole crew, it¹s going to be on. Jack was like, ³I
      called her. I mean she called me and she¹s on her way.² And I was like,
      Who?

      ³Ianna. She¹s coming here tonight.² I wasn¹t thinking about her no second
      time. We were sitting there watching TV, the phone rings, and she¹s
      downstairs. Jack gave Man-man, Charles Fuller, some money to pay for the
      cab, and I was like, ³Let that ***** pay for her own cab.² She came
      upstairs looking all nice, she was dressed all provocative and ****, like
      she was ready for a prom date. All the ******s was in there when she
      walked in the room. She gave Jack and Rick a hug, talked all nice to
      everybody.

      When I woke up, Jack was standing over me going, ³Pac, Pac² and all the
      lights was on in both rooms. The whole mood had changed, you know what I¹m
      saying? When I woke up, I felt like I was drugged. I didn¹t know how much
      time had passed. I wasn¹t sleepy. I wasn¹t even sleepy before I laid down.
      I was hyped for my show and midnight was not far away. So when I woke up,
      it was like, “You¹re going to the police, you¹re going to the police.²
      Jack walks out the room, comes back in with Ianna. Her clothes is all on,
      ain¹t nothing tore. She just upset, she crying hysterically. ³Why you let
      them do this to me?² She not making sense. She not being coherent. ³I came
      to see you. You let them do this to me.² What the **** is she talking
      about? I¹m just waking up. I¹m like, ³I don¹t got time for this **** right
      here. You got to chill out with that ****. Stop yelling at me and looking
      at me all crazy.² She said, ³This not the last time you’re going to hear
      from me,² turned around and slammed the door.

      I thought she meant she was going to get some ******s after me. And Jack
      goes, ³Don¹t worry about it, Pac, don¹t worry. I¹ll handle it. She just
      tripping.² I¹m asking him what happened. And he was like, ³We just in
      there Š too many ******s and, you know, Rick was getting crazy. And sheŠ
      Don¹t worry about it, we¹re going to handle this.² I ain¹t even tripping
      no more, you know? ******s start going downstairs, but nobody was coming
      back upstairs. I¹m sitting upstairs smoking weed, like where the **** is
      everybody at? Then my publicist Talibah, who had gotten there after Ianna,
      calls me from the lobby and says, ³The police is down here.² I¹m still not
      knowing what¹s going on, but I¹m like innocent, you know what I¹m saying?

      So I open the door, walk downstairs to see what¹s going on. When the
      elevator door opens on the second or third floor, I see Man-man sitting in
      the chair and this police standing next to him. I thought, Oh, ****, what
      the **** going on? The door closed. I get to the first floor and walked
      out. Kevin, Stretch¹s homeboy came to me, ³Yo Pac, all the police out
      there. Don¹t go out there.² Ain¹t no way I can just turn around and go
      upstairs. They¹re going to come anyway, so I just walk outside. She¹s out
      there pointing, ³There he goes. He¹s the one who did it.² She point out
      me, Jack, and Man-man. And Rick is just standing there looking at her.
      They say, ³This guy too?² She said, ³No, no. Just them three.² And we go
      to jail.
      As the police car¹s wheeling me away, my limo¹s pulling up to take me to
      Club 88.

      So we went to jail and Jack is like, ³Don¹t worry about it, Pac. I¹m going
      to handle this. Don¹t trip.² He was talking about drugs while we were in
      the bullpen. And this was making me go, Wait a minute, why is he talking
      about weight? Not like, you know, like little drugs. We in there talking
      like we were at home or some ****. You know what I¹m saying? We¹re going
      to get brought up on charges.

      So once you got bailed out, you returned to Atlanta?

      Yes. After that, Jack never let me out of his sight. When I went to
      Atlanta, he went to Atlanta. He bought a house in Atlanta, you know what
      I¹m saying? He was introducing me to some dope dealers down there. And
      this one dealer he introduced me to was about to do some federal time, a
      long time. Dude¹s trying to sell me furniture and all this type of ****.
      Jack came to my house, met my family. Because all that‹the shooting
      charge, the rape charge‹I ain¹t going out no more. Jack said ³You got to
      go out because people will think you guilty if you don¹t.² So we¹re going
      to strip clubs, we¹re going out like everything is okay.

      So Jack has never been convicted of anything, and Rick hasn¹t even been accused?

      Jack¹s trial never even came up yet. I¹m already doing my time. And Rick
      has never been in court. He¹s in New York chilling, kicking it. They got a
      picture of him and everything. They identified him, said he did this and
      that, criminal acts. They¹re saying I was just in there holding her.
      That¹s what she said: I held her or touched her, and these ******s did it.

      —-

      ******s ain’t checking for me. You know, my homeboys from L.A., they flew
      all the way out here when I was shot just to say, ³You all right?² That
      was more than Stretch did. Stretch bringing me information from the
      ******s that shot me. Coming to me telling about them, ³They say, ŒYo,
      all they wanted to do was rob you, but you fought back, so they had to
      shoot you.¹² That made me believe that he was with them.

      So you’re saying everyone from your past is cut off?

      Except Treach, [designer] April Walker, a few people. The ones that stay
      true to me now. And if they my friends, then please don¹t let them get
      upset. If they my friends, stay my friends. But like Karl Kani, I did
      their whole photo shoot for him, I didn¹t ask for no money. I said, ³Karl,
      all I want is the clothes. When you get the clothes, send them to me.² He
      didn¹t send me ****. He sent me **** from three seasons ago. I had to go
      to the store and buy them, you know what I¹m saying?

      What are your plans after prison?

      I¹m going to team up with Tyson when we get out. Team up with Monster Cody
      from California. I¹m going to start organization called Us First. I¹m
      going to save these young ******s because nobody else want to save them.
      Nobody ever came to save me. They just watch what happen to you. That¹s
      why Thug Life to me is dead. If it¹s real, then let somebody else
      represent it, because I¹m tired of it. I represented it too much. I was
      Thug Life. I was the only ****** out there putting my life on the line and
      doing it. Just like in here.

      I got into this big beef with this ****** because he wanted to see the
      captain. He called her a *****, talking about he gonna kill her. I¹m about
      to set it off on this ******. And all the black dudes in here was
      defending me. They was ready.
      The first night I got to Riker¹s Island, they put me in dorm two and I was
      supposed to protected in here, right? I¹m surrounded by ******s. Then
      there was a blackout and all the guards ran into a little bubble. They
      left me in there by myself. When the lights came back on, this ****** in
      here doing a hundred and forty years walked up to me, showed me his shank,
      said, ³I did not like you when you came in here. I was going to kill you.
      But after I heard you talk, I got love for you.² They wanted me to die.
      That¹s what this whole **** is about, for me to come in here and get hit.

      Has anybody else been there for you?

      Since I¹ve been in here I got about forty letters, you know. I got little
      girls sending me money. Everybody telling me that God is with me. People
      telling me they hate the dudes that shot me, they¹re going to pray for me.
      But I did get one letter, this dude telling me he wished I was dead. But
      then I got people looking out for me, like Jada Pinkett, Jasmine Guy,
      Treach, Mickey Rourke. My label, Interscope Records, has been extremely
      supportive. Even Madonna.

      Yeah, can you talk about your relationship with Madonna and Mickey Rourke?

      I learned too late, but I was letting people dictate who should be my
      friends. I felt like because I was this big, Black Panther type of ******,
      I couldn¹t be friends with Madonna. And so I dissed her, even though she
      showed me nothing but love. It wasn¹t like sexual, it was just friendly. I
      felt bad because when I went to jail I called her and she was the only
      person that was willing to help me. Of that stature. Same thing with
      Mickey Rourke, he just befriended me. Not like black and white, just like
      friend to friend. And he¹s a grown man, so I felt embarrassed and I just
      want to apologize formally to Madonna and Mickey Rourke. And from now on
      it¹s not going to be a strictly black thing with me. I even apologized to
      Quincy Jones about all the stuff I said about him. I¹m apologizing to the
      Hughes BrothersŠ but not John Singleton. He¹s inspiring me to write screen
      plays because I want to be his competition. He lied, he stole my idea for Higher Learning.


       

 

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50 Cent speaks on Supreme McGriff and Murder Inc(2006 Article)

50-cent-83507-125785

 

 

At this point, it’s a well-known story. A Southside Jamaica, Queens, native, orphaned as a child, who’d taken nine bullets and lived, 50 Cent exploded onto the scene in 2002 via a series of mixtapes and a public feud with rap star Ja Rule and his label, Murder Inc. 50 signed to a joint deal with Eminem’s Shady Records and Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment (both subsidiaries of Jimmy Iovine’s Interscope Records), launched his own company, G-Unit, and sold 7.5 million copies of his debut, Get Rich or Die Tryin’—effectively ending Murder Inc.’s viability along the way.

But there’s backstory. Lots of backstory. Murder Inc. was tight with Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff, a legendary Queens gangster who ran the infamous 1980s crack cartel the Supreme Team. McGriff, who’d been released from prison in 1995 after serving eight years on racketeering charges, had gone into business with Murder Inc. principals Irv and Chris Gotti and another partner, Chaz Williams, and his Black Hand Entertainment, in hopes of making a movie out of the Donald Goines novel Crime Partners.

In December 2002, though, McGriff was arrested on federal weapons charges. The next month, the Murder Inc. offices were raided on suspicion that the Gotti brothers were laundering McGriff’s dirty money. (The Gottis would go on to beat a federal case in court.) Supreme started serving a 37-month sentence at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center in mid-2003. But in the time since, Feds have accused him of ordering the famed May 2000 hit on 50, and officially charged him with a slew of crimes ranging from drug distribution to orchestrating murder. He now faces the death penalty.

Early in his career, 50 recorded “Ghetto Qu’ran,” a song about Southside Queens’ notorious gangsters that mentioned McGriff in the first verse. While 50 says he intended it as a tribute, some cite the song as an example of snitching. (According to court documents entered in the Murder Inc. trial, when Federal investigators questioned 50 about McGriff, 50 told them to read his lyrics.) Last year, 50 played a character named Marcus in a movie, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, inspired by his life story. Another character, a drug kingpin named Majestic, is loosely based on McGriff. The film suggests that Majestic killed Marcus’ mother, had something to do with Marcus being shot and may have actually been Marcus’ biological father.

Last fall, New York magazine writer Ethan Brown released Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent, and the Rise of the Hip-Hop Hustler (Anchor Books), a book detailing the Q-borough’s crime lords and their connection to hip-hop. (XXL featured an interview with Brown in our March 2006 issue.) More recently, Brown visited McGriff in prison to conduct an interview for Vibe magazine. In the article, McGriff disparaged 50—“Kid,” he said, “you’ve never been through nothing…”—insisted he’d tried to squash beef, and again raised the matter of 50’s alleged snitching.

50 now presides over an empire, having expanded into the worlds of fashion, film, video games and Vitamin Water—but this year has been a bumpy one for G-Unit. Tony Yayo’s name was repeatedly mentioned in reports surrounding the February shooting of Busta Rhymes’ bodyguard Israel Ramirez. On the business front, after six straight platinum releases, sales are slowing. Last year’s high-profile recruits (Ma$e, M.O.P., Mobb Deep) have thus far yielded more headaches than rewards, and dismissed California rep The Game—the crew’s only multiplatinum artist besides 50—will most definitely not be releasing his second album through G-Unit.

Still, financial independence allows certain luxuries. 50’s going back to his roots this summer—the mixtape. With the help of his longtime DJ, Whoo Kid, he’s dropping three full-length collections, dozens of new songs, just for the streets. He has high hopes for joint ventures he’s entered with Jay-Z and Lil Jon, and for a new artist, Phoenix MC Hot Rod.

So 50 Cent has a sly smile on his face when we find him sitting in G-Unit’s Manhattan offices. Clearly, he’s got a lot on his mind.

XXL: Were you surprised by the article on Supreme in Vibe?
That’s something I think would be in F.E.D.S. or Don Diva. He’s fuckin’ on trial. He shouldn’t be talking. He should be keeping his fuckin’ mouth shut. I’m sure if he had a lawyer his lawyer would tell him not to have that fuckin’ article.

What did you think of the Queens Reigns Supreme book?
The reason why 50 Cent is in big bold letters on the cover of the book is for marketing purposes. Whoever this Ethan is, I never had a conversation with this guy [for his book]. This guy’s assuming that he knows what’s going on. He don’t know nothing that’s really fuckin’ going on outside of what these monkeys done went and told this nigga. Individually, they sat down with this nigga, ’cause according to this article and in the book…

A lot of things in the article were not said by Supreme directly, but were in the words of the writer based on his reporting.
Yeah, but it still was said to the writer by them. The writer ain’t in South Jamaica, Queens. That’s why he don’t understand nothing he talking about. All he doing is saying back what niggas said to him… And he’s putting himself in the middle of a world where everybody ain’t going to be happy about it.

Do you think this is stuff that shouldn’t even be talked about?
None of it should be out there. It’s all illegal activity. Everything that you mention when you talk to these niggas, they can’t make reference to nothing but breaking the fuckin’ law. That’s it. We talking about career criminals.

So you make a movie loosely based on your life story, and there’s a character named Majestic that resembles Supreme. The movie made it look like Majestic killed your mother and that he could have been your father…
He’s not my father. I can’t stand that nigga. There are other things there, but he know that I didn’t think… I wasn’t accusing him of fuckin’ killing my mother. That’s the way they make the character darker… In the article, he said he has relationships with people that I used to be cool with. Lil’ Troy, the nigga that robbed Ja, is in my era. We did shit in the street together. While ’Preme’s always talking about the nigga that took the jewelry from Ja was raised under the Supreme Team, under him, that’s true. I was raised under the Supreme Team.

What does it mean to be raised under the Supreme Team?
They came at a time—early ’80 into the ’90s. Everybody that was from that area fall under that umbrella at some point. If it wasn’t under ’Preme, it was under Cat [Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols] and Corley or somebody down there. You looked up to all of them niggas that ring them kind of bells, ’cause they doing what you doing and they count so much more to the streets at the time based on their reputation, what they accomplished. I came up under all these niggas. Not necessarily the Supreme Team in Baisley, but everything that was going on in that era. Those niggas are the niggas that actually got the money when it was there to get. Initially, I didn’t know ’Preme like that. I knew ’Preme through Black Just. Blackie was cool with me. He was calling me Curt when everybody was calling me Boo Boo or 50. He financed the boxing program. Blackie, he was that nigga to me. He paid for it, but… He was under this nigga and this nigga was in jail at the time…

Seems like Supreme bothers you more than anybody.
Yeah. I like him. We’re married. ’Til death do us part.

What does that mean?
I love him more than anybody alive on this planet. We have a special bond. He cannot go to sleep without me on his mind.

But married? That sounds deeper than…
Listen. They was supposed to fuck with me. The old heads in my hood… Why? Because they know I’m authentic.

They were supposed to get behind you as a rapper?
Period. Any move I decided to make, they were supposed to roll with me because I’m actually from the same fuckin’ cloth. I’m an offspring of them. I’m not a relative. I’m not a brother or sister to these niggas. I’m a distant cousin. I’m from down the road. Everything that’s fucked up about me comes from these muthafuckas. The behavior…

’Preme’s telling me, “Chill.” And then the nigga goes and says something new. He came down there to me several times and said, “Yo, leave these niggas alone. These niggas is my food.” To tell me to leave Irv and Ja and them niggas alone.
I went to see this nigga on the Coliseum block. They was shooting a video back there. Nigga called me from the barbershop, told me them niggas was up there shooting the shit. I walked up to see what was up with the nigga, and the nigga acted real funny the time that I did see him.

Who? Ja?
Ja. So I went got the pistol. I went there on the motorcycle ’cause I wanted to see what it’s about. The nigga see me. They had the mailbox joint right across the street, the post office box. [Supreme] see me from across the street, walking down there toward the shoot, and says, “Ehhhh, hey. Come here, don’t even do it. I see you.” Pulls me to the side, and I’m like, “Yo, what’s up with this nigga?” And he’s like, “Nah, nah. I told you, leave them alone, man. You know they ain’t gonna do nothing.”

He made it the way it is right now. If I said he had something to do with me getting shot, it means nothing, ’cause everybody in my hood knows that’s what time it is. But that’s not the problem. It’s ’cause he didn’t see that I don’t just listen. Nigga just don’t tell me what to do, and it’s okay.

Whatever same type of shit he has running through him, is running through me. And he can’t see it enough to give me room to coexist with him. He wanted me to submit, and that’s just not in me. A nigga would have to kill me to stop me from doing what I want to do. That’s what they tried. It’s not gonna happen with a halfway mark. You really have to kill me to stop me from doing what I want to do. ’Cause all I believe is what I think. All I believe in is me. My thoughts and the way I see things are my truths. It has to make sense to me. And then I’m with you.

So you wanted to decide for yourself…
I took a meeting with DJ Clue and Skane [Clue’s manager, Rich Skane], respectfully, to do a deal. [This is around 2002.] You know the first thing he said to me when we got in there? Skane, he said, “Yo, I spoke to the wolves. Niggas told me it’s all right to sit with you, do business.” ’Cause ’Preme thought I tried to kill him at the gas station. Somebody shot at him and tried to kill him at the gas station. So Skane’s saying, “I spoke to ’Preme, and he was like, Yo, it’s okay to fuck with you. He thought you tried to kill him, but he found out it was something else…”

Either way, he’s a wrap now, because the changes they don’t see is the financial transition. Same way the nigga that shot me wasn’t an in-house for them—he was just a shooter. I have access to that now. I have the finances. The shooters shoot as soon as the bag is dropped. So now, either they give him life, or they let him go and I give him life. They don’t understand the difference. The first album I was trying to explain it, Power of the Dollar. They had money when I didn’t have money, so I had to take bullets.

Read More: 50 Cent Games Haters Play – XXL | http://www.xxlmag.com/xxl-magazine/2006/07/50-cent-games-haters-play/?trackback=tsmclip

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Off The Cuff Radio featuring Freeway Rick Ross

 

Freeway Ricky Ross took the time to join us on the last show. We talked about everything from his experiences in the drug game, his thoughts about police brutality, Reganomics, His feelings about Rick Ross the rapper and his current moves today. This was a serious show with alot of important matters being addressed.

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J Prince- Boss of all Bosses

j-prince

 

When you ask people about The legend of James Prince(formally known as J Prince or Lil J) They usually comes with complex opinions. Many of his peers respect him. There are those who have labeled him as one of the most shrewd entrepreneurs within the hip hop culture, Some labeled him as a philanthropist whom do “Gods work” and provide jobs and opportunities for his own people in the community.

Judging by those whom worked with him or know him personally, Prince is a man of very little words. With the exception of talking on the introduction to Geto Boy albums, You don’t see him on videos, doing interviews too often or talking too much. But best believe when Prince decides to speak, He has the power to make many situations move when they usually won’t move. Prince caught the knack for hustling early in the late 80s. He started out as a used car-salesman which helped him develop a charming type glibness which would eventually open up doors for him in the record business.

Prince started Rap A Lot  Records with a vision. He had a heavy heart for his community and wanted to take people off the streets to escape indigence. He linked up with many rough street characters within his neighborhood to build street cred and  muscle for protection. He went recruiting for his first acts which was a struggle for a while. He signed acts such as the Geto boys, Royal Flush, Def IV, to little regional success. It wasn’t enough for Prince to really get his foot wet deeper into the industry. He was on the verge of shutting down operations completely.

 

GETO

SUCCESS WITH THE GETO BOYS

Prince knew that if he wanted Rap A Lot to become a powerhouse, He had to make some moves and bring a sound thats gonna reflect how the people in the hood were living. Alot of the material in the 80s were catered to partying and having a good time but when NWA started to blow, the landscape started to change. NWA’s success opened up a new lane for reality rappers and Prince J knew thats what exactly what people wanted to hear.

After the minimum success of the Geto Boys, Prince started to revamp the Geto boys with DJ Ready Red, Willie D, the deranged midget Bushwick Bill and DJ Aksion whom would later be named as “Scarface”. The song “Scarface” was making noise in the street circuit and was a true reflection of how people in the 5th ward were living. The name “Scarface” was also marketable due to the hit movie that came in the early 80’s and it fit perfectly.

Prince finally had a group to enter the game and kick down doors. After cleaning house, The group came together in 1989 and released their debut album titled Grip it on Another Level which was possibly one of the hardest rap albums to have ever been released.

It was the breakout album that Rap A Lot needed and it was met with critical acclaimed and love from the streets.  The aggressive production , Unpolitical correct lyrics, and colorful personalities led to magical chemistry amongst Willie, Brad, and Bushwick. Their sophomore album We Can’t Be Stopped crossed the group within the mainstream levels mainly due to the success of their first single “Mind Playing Tricks On Me”.

 

 

prince J

IF THE FEDS ONLY KNEW
In between success came controversy. The federal Government has put J Prince on their watchers list from the time he started Rap A Lot. The suspicions started in 1988 when a man whom was identified as Prince’s cousin and another passenger was busted with 76 kilograms of Cocaine in the hidden department of the vehicle. They suspected Prince as a possible “Narcotics dealer” which possibly sparked the whole DEA Investigation.

If they weren’t on Rap A Lot’s head for the narcotics investigation, Prince’s group The Geto boys along with Ice T, Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur, and many others were targeted by Anti protest groups  due to their content on their records. They were even blamed for the murder of a police officer citing that one of their songs encouraged them to murder police officers.

The investigation would linger over Prince and Rap A Lot Headquarters for over a decade. It made the operations within the label very uneasy to operate at times. But  Prince  was able to outsmart them by using his political connections via California Congresswoman  Maxine Waters and even AL Gore whom he donated 200k to his presidential campaign in 2000.

 

 

jprince

Street Rep certified

You can ask anyone about Prince J and people whom know him would tell you that he’s  a man with few words and when he speaks, you better listen. He’s considered  a great philanthropist to his community and someone whom opened up a lot of doors for many to follow his blueprint to success.  What people don’t know is Prince’s reputation as the Godfather of the South been pretty much certified.

When he put Baby, Suge Knight, P Diddy, Lil Wayne and others on noticed, They didn’t bark. They listened. When 50 Cent went on his entire warpath against Murder Inc, He didn’t address Prince J’s comments about him allegedly being a “Snitch”. Prince also  muscled Bob Arum out of 600K in no longer trying to harm his then client Floyd Mayweather and allegedly saved Pimp C from getting killed in that hotel room by Master P and his henchmen.  Not to mention you have to be a really respected individual to have Larry Hoover leave voice messages on your albums.

The Drake Stimulus Packageprince-drake

The discovery of Drake whom is now the biggest star in the rap game came courtesy of J Prince’s son Jas.  J Prince said that he no longer had no interest in the music business and that technology changed the landscape to where it became harder to make money. Jas discovered Drake on his Myspace page one day and tried to convince his dad that this was gonna be the new sound. J Prince whom obviously came from the golden age of gangsta rap rejected it at first, but then he saw the possibility of high profit behind Drake.  They made the phone call to Lil Wayne to have him sign with Young Money with agreements to have points off his albums and the rest was history. Theres plaques of Drake’s albums on Prince’s walls in one of his houses.

 

 

J PRINCE

The Legacy

Since debuting 30 years ago, Rap A Lot Record has established into a dynasty. It became a launching pad for acts such as the Geto Boys , Gangsta Nip, Devin the Dude, the late  Seagram, Do or Die, Big Mike, 5th Ward Boyz to blow up. Prince also has done many wonders for his community in giving back to his neighborhood as well putting alot of young boxers under his wing. He opened up many doors for labels such as No Limit, Cash Money, Suave House, Hypnotized Minds to kick down and build empires. The point of this article is to put some respeck on Prince’s name and the credentials speak for itself.

 

 

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Y.G. Still Brazy Review

 

 

YG

 

When YG released his debut major album two years ago, It was just the type of album he needed to show that he had a standing in the rap game. He carried on the tradition of the signature California sound and updated it for the young generation. YG also proved that he didn’t need a big West Coast co sign to really make it and he rapped about it on the album’s first street single Twist my Fingaz.   He let it be known that he was in the game to stay and boasted that  he made without a Dre or Snoop cosign with lines such as:

Hold up, I really got something to say
I’m the only one who made it out the West without Dre

 

The single was reminiscing of the early Death Row sound that folks known to expect from the young Compton rapper. On Still Brazy, He basically continued where My Krazy Life left off and this time around you see more in-depth into YG’s personal life than before. Just because he got a little money doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have problems. He showcases his paranoia on “Who Shot Me” where he addressed when he got shot in the studio last year.

On this album YG attempts to go more serious. He addresses Police brutality and racism throughout this album and they showcase some growth from the emcee. Songs such as the controversial FDT which is a scattering diss track to Republican Tycoon Donald Trump is making heavy waves in the streets and the secret service flagged him (There’s parts edited out the song) He also calls for unification between Blacks and Mexicans on Black and Browns.

Guest appearances consist of Lil Wayne, Drake, and Nipsey Hussle(Whom is featured on FDT). Wayne post Cash Money seems to show that old hunger like that of 2007 on I got a Question, Drake may have used his star power to give YG another hit on Why You Always Hatin? The song itself is pretty average but it would give him some spins.

But overall there are some instances where the sound gets a bit repetitive and YG still showed signs of being a one dimensional type rapper. He doesn’t have the charisma of Game, Snoop, or the heavy political awareness of Kendrick. But this is still a great sophomore offering.

Vic Rating :7.5 Outta 10

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ILa R Da Sandman- Da Silvabakk of Rap Review

SANDMAN

ILa R Da Sandman has become one of the sharpest spitters Ive heard coming from the underground scene. Between his barbaric bars, his no holds barred approach, and clever mixture of Wrestling lingo and wittiness. He found his one niche, his own sound and draws that fine line between keeping it hardcore and being himself.

In hip hop, A lot of rappers love to label themselves shit: If they aren’t hustlers, killers, gangstas, pimps, the list goes on. ILa R Da Sandman on the other hand doesn’t limit himself to any subjective label, He’s an emcee that happens to love professional wrestling and hip hop. He says that throughout his latest release titled Da Silver Back of Rap and clearly, he’s taking out all comers.

This is the first project that Sandman has done that didn’t feature his producer in crime Sage Mckenzie. He wanted to prove that he can get busy with a variety of producers and he excelled that here. He also featured Jacky D whom hosted the tape and adlibs from the Iron Sheik for comic relief as well

Starting with Welcome which has Sandman experimenting with the quick laced flow and showcasing versatility as he has done on many of his previous projects.  Just Like Me has that early 2000 East coast vibe and he wanted to showcase his bars of fury. Serenghetti is possibly the most laid back of the cuts here but the bars are lethal and taking aim of weak rappers he felt are sabotaging the culture.

Guest appearances are kept to low minimum and its usually a great thing because we get to hear more of Sandman. But he’s joined by fellow BX emcee Kony Brooks on the heavy hitting BX heavyweights. This sounds like a retro from the mid 90s between the bars, the production and the aggressive content.

Kill Your Career is possibly my personal favorite of the whole album. The DJ premier like production provided on here was the perfect backdrop for Sandman to pounce on like a hungry lion.

Da Landlords is a clear attack on the current direction hip hop has takened and they attack with a vengeance. Clearly by listening to Silverbakk, Sandman wanted to polish his bars, his beat selection, and he sounds more ferocious than ever. He made it clear that he wasn’t gonna put out songs to appeal to the Future and Young Thug Demographic. This was paying homage to the roots he came up in and to put the rap game in notice that he’s ready to step in the ring.

This was overall Sandman’s best project to date in my opinion. Within every project, You can sense his growth as a artist and that he’s seasoned to be the next to come out of NY. This is definitely worth checking as boom bap hip hop fans whom miss that retro sound.

Vic Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Link to mixtape here:

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