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Jay Walker Arm 18 Lola Evans Andrea Nelson Alyson Cheng Tony Vitale Lakeisha Glinton Stacy McKinney Migdalia Amezquita ToshaMakia Andrew Bess AllThingsJordan Aaron Black Melissa Luiz Tony Vitale Omar Williams
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Interview by J. Walker
other producers. I do not sample so that means I have played all the parts, I program my own drums, I arrange the music, record the songs myself, and mix the joints myself. One of the biggest compliments I have gotten was from Shyheim of Wu-Tang. I met him 10 years ago at the time he was already a star. I told him I was going to get into this game and I did. Ten years later, I’m doing his whole album. Shyheim told me that he liked the way I produced him and that I am a producer not a beat maker like others he has come across in his career. That made it all worth it for me right there. DPM: If you had a chance to work with any artist, who would it be and why? STIX: Dr Dre so that I can expand on what it is to be one of the greatest Producers to ever come along because that is what that man is great, and he is the reason that so many people have the careers that they have now in this game. DPM: What’s next for STIX? STIX: Excutive producing and Associate Directing my first movie which will have KD Aubert, Chico Debarge, Kendra C. Johnson, Shyheim, Ali, I will also have you (Jay Walker), in my films and others. My partner in films is Conrad Glover he has directed many films he is also a well known actor who has been in LA Law and New York Undercover and a host of movies. Our companies have joined forces to do some big things in film ( Joco Films/J&J Entertainment ). I will also continue to expand on sensible business opportunities for my company J&J Entertainment and our feature artist EV. I want to thank Dimepiece Magazine. It’s the next big thing in magazines. I’m fortunate to be able to interview with you. I’m going to continue to work hard, and always stay humble.
DPM: What’s good fam? Let’s start off by asking about your name. Why do they call you Stix? STIX: Stix was a name that was given to me when I was younger because I use to play the drums and I would have a pair of sticks with me everywhere I went. DPM: What was the first beat that you heard that was hot? STIX: “White Lines”, that beat was crazy DPM: Who are your musical influences? STIX: Dr Dre, Quincy Jones, Timberland, Havoc, Pharrell, Lil John, and Kanye DPM: What artists have you produced for? STIX: Man that is a good one, the first major artist was Bars N Hooks when they and myself was
signed to Infamous Mobb together, also produced the whole Mobb Deep fam at that time, Made Men Twice Thou and Mr. Gzus, Remy Ma, John Legend, Ed OG, Shyheim Wu-Tang, Killah Priest Wu-Tang, 12 O’clock Wu-Tang, Ron Artest, Jamosa, Ziggy-Nina, AJ-Gill, Krumbsnatcha and Guru, Kev Samples, Rick Ross, Jackie O, Preacher, Ricky Watters, Tangg the Juice, Ill-O, and so many more I’m sorry if I didn’t name you and also my own artist EV you will hear big things from him he will put the Bean on the map for sure. DPM: How did you get your first break in this game? STIX: Mike Delorean from Bars N Hooks took me to Prodigy and he liked my music and my attitude towards the game, and so he gave me my first deal. He signed me to his Infamous/Loud record label. I will always have P. and Hooks to thank for looking out for me. DPM: What kind of equipment do you use to make beats? STIX: The MPC, Motif, Roland Fantom, Roland 5080, Korg Trinity and Triton, and a few other items. DPM: What makes you different from any other producer? What’s your style? STIX: One thing that sets me apart is that I’m able to make any style of record, and over the years all the records I have done I produced them on my own without any
Has anyone ever heard the saying “You cannot compare apples and oranges?” They are nothing alike. If you like one then you may not like the other. If you enjoy both, then they are for very different reasons. Yes, they are both fruit, but there is nothing to compare about them. Which brings up the topic of Hip Hop. Hip Hop is a genre of music. It ranges from different lifestyles, area of the world and races. It seems as though some people want to put it into one category and all of the audio produced should fall right there. If that were the case, Hip Hop would have died just as fast as Disco did. But, it did not; it was born, bred and cultivated into the rap community we know today. Some have gotten frustrated. Rhymes are not as fluid as should be. Instead of taking the blame, people are putting it off on others. Granted some songs are “bubble gum” rap, but some fans like that. Sure, there are artists just doing it for the cash and not for the love,
by Lakeisha “Skyylevel” Glinton
but that is almost in any occupation. Stop worrying about everyone else and do you. If no one is listening to the good stuff, do people really think fans are going to listen to what they consider “hating” on their freedom of choice? Let’s be real about it. Hip Hop is like literature. Broken into different blocks and alleys. Creating a tree with limbs. Got a problem? Create your own branch. All this complaining is ridiculous. Be proactive not reactive. Remember, “If it weren’t for the party joints there would be no thugs and if it weren’t for the thugs there would be no love” (Skyylevel). Hip Hop does not have to conform to what people think, they just listen to what they like. There is not way to compare Trick Daddy to Outkast or Jay Z to Scarface. Each artist has their own style to cater to whoever understands. If a person does not want to hear it, then they should monitor it or just turn it off. Hate is not a good look. If there is no way to compare apples and oranges, then why try to compare the different degrees of Hip Hop.
Interview by Andrew Bess
With the success of Chamillionaire’s album, ‘The Sound of Revenge,’ with total digital sales over 5.5 million worldwide, it seems impossible to duplicate. But Chamillionaire hoped to accomplish that with his sophomore release “Ultimate Victory,” which hit stores September 18th. We got a chance to catch up with Cham and talk about 50 Cent’s recent comments, not cursing in his music, and his up and coming release. DPM: This is late, but congrats on the Grammy you won for your single “Ridin’ Dirty”. ChaMIllIonaIre: Ya people didn’t expect that one. DPM: Are you still hungry? ChaMIllIonaIre: hungry. I’m definitely
ChaMIllIonaIre: Each time I come out with something I try to get bigger. Over years I was just freestylin’ mixtapes now we got DVD’s and everything. It’s crazy. I reinvent myself every time. If not I would get stale. I just started evolving with the game. DPM: Last album, “The Sound of Revenge” you wanted to show the world a lyrical side of the South. Do you feel that you accomplished that? ChaMIllIonaIre: Although I’ve accomplished a lot, I still feel that I got a lot to prove lyrically. DPM: You were crowned the biggest selling Ringtone artist ever, with over 4 million ring tone sales, and certified by the RIAA as the first multi-platinum Mastertone artist in history. What’s your ring tone on your phone? ChaMIllIonaIre: I don’t even have a ringtone on my phone. But I’m not going to lie, my favorite ringtone is “Ridin’ Dirty.” It sounds so good coming out the phone. That song became bigger than me. I went to Jamaica and there was little kids singing “Ridin’ Dirty.”
DPM: How have you matured in the game over the past 10 years from kickin’ mixtapes to now?
DPM: What made you title this album ultimate victory? Does it have any correlation with your freshman album’s title Ultimate Revenge? ChaMIllIonaIre: My first album was all about me trying to get revenge on people but this album I look at things a different way. Ultimate Victory is really about looking at what is important in life. That’s when you really win. The album plays out like a movie and I explain that story. DPM: At your listening for your latest release, Ultimate Victory, you said, “People to this day still don’t know me.” Who is the real Chamillionaire? ChaMIllIonaIre: Only time will tell man. I know who I am. People might hear me do a simple song and judge me off that or people might hear a lyrical side of me and see me that way. But there is so many different sides of me that people can’t comprehend the real me. DPM: What were the intentions coming out with a 9 minute music video with your latest singles? ChaMIllIonaIre: It was really just something outside the box. Nowadays you just need something exciting in hip hop. This is something that people can talk about and it’s a good look and something different. DPM: Rap was highly opposed in your household growing up. So your parents aren’t the biggest rap fans to say the least, but how do they feel about hip hop since your success in the industry?
ChaMIllIonaIre: My mom understands it now. Rap had a bad image at that time with everyone looking all gangster and what not. My mom didn’t want her kid getting into all that. But my family has been able to eat so she appreciates it now. DPM: Late last year you released Mixtape Messiah 3 and DVD for free to download off of your site, Chamillionaire.com. What were your intentions of releasing it for free? ChaMIllIonaIre: It was basically to ignite my fan base and deal with product demand. It was used to hold them off until my album was released. DPM: You never really cursed in your music and ‘Ultimate Victory’ is a Profanityfree album. Why do you feel people never noticed that? And why is it such a big deal now? ChaMIllIonaIre: I don’t know people still kind of get it twisted up. The album isn’t completely profanity-free. I don’t curse, but with features like with Lil Wayne on the album and they will use curse words. I never really cursed in my raps. I used to say the “N” word a lot but not anymore. I’m not trying to change the world it’s just something for me you know. DPM: 50 Cent criticized you for leaving cursing out of your raps. You replied by saying you didn’t want to waste creative energies engaged in a feud. Do you feel this was a gimmick for him to sell more records? ChaMIllIonaIre: Naw, I just think 50’s character is like that. He was asked a question and responded to it. I don’t think it had anything to do with me. Just like Kanye on T.V. You might hear him say something that you don’t expect. It wasn’t something to make me get mad or anything you know.
DPM: You talk about President Bush in your second album. What’s that all about? ChaMIllIonaIre: I addressed a lot of issues on that album. Everyone has opinions on politics so I said mine on my album. DPM: You worked with Slick Rick on your single ‘Hip Hop Police.’ What was the inspiration behind that record and how was that working with Slick Rick? ChaMIllIonaIre: I wanted to do a story-type of song so when I reached out to Slick Rick, he hit me back. I was surprised that he got back at me. But he was a real humble dude. He came to the studio by himself with no entourage or jewels or nothing. It just goes to show you that he’s old school and not really about the image like other artists in the industry who need to have 100 dudes walking in the streets with them. That was cool to me. DPM: You’ve said that creatively, artists are doing the same thing. How does that album separate you from the crowd of cookie-cutter rappers? ChaMIllIonaIre: I take risks and it’s not the same type of formula album. DPM: What’s next? Where do you see yourself a few years down the line? ChaMIllIonaIre: I just see myself being real heavy in business. Just building an empire with something that will make real long-time money.
Interview by A. Nelson
When Philly impresses the entertainment and fashion industries, everyone pays attention. Similarly, the Rod Elam collection has experienced a whirlwind of media support, street love and industry success. Persistence and talent combined with a splash of that infamous Philly swagger, has induced respect and recognition nationwide. Read on to discover how Rod Elam’s fashion forward approach put Philly on the map for good. DPM: The Rod Elam Collection has saturated many well known retail chains in 15 markets including 4 out of the 5 major U.S. cities. How would you describe the journey before accomplishing such success? roD: The journey was a very long and hard one. I definitely struggled the first few years with trying to get investors and everything. DPM: What specific characteristics of classic Philadelphian style were used in designing the Rod Elam Collection? roD: The Philly style is a very hard one to get into if you’re not from here. Little do a lot of people know but Philly consumers have a lot of swagger to them, so we went with a lot of the traditional Philly colors, like the red, white, and blue for a lot of our designs. Also, the fit is a little baggy but not too much, so the white collar as well as the blue collar can rock this style. DPM: How does Rod Elam compare to other urban street wear collections with the same target market? How do you distinguish yourself from other urban clothing lines? roD: We distinguish ourselves from the other designers by not following trends. I believe that following trends kills your market. For example, when Miskeen began painting shirts all of a sudden everyone was doing the same thing. Also the foil print
shirts that came out two years ago, now everyone is doing it, you see it in all facets of the design spectrum, with the all over prints its just crazy. We just like to move to the beat of our own drum, you know what I mean. DPM: What part of Philadelphia are you from? roD: I’m from southwest, born and raised. DPM: How and when did you get into the fashion industry? roD: I got into the industry, on a whim. It just kind of fell into my lap and I just ran with it. DPM: Is fashion design something you’ve always wanted or were you ever unsure of your direction in terms of your career? roD: I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, so I was never at a loss for direction. It was just a matter of finding the right idea. DPM: When designing a collection, how do you balance your personal style, trends in urban style and the styles that will sell on a retail level? roD: I always put my personal style into everything that I do, and like I said earlier, I don’t follow trends. Everything that I design I would wear myself. DPM: Many TV hosts, actors and musicians have been spotted rockin’ Rod Elam
merchandise. How do you feel when you notice more and more celebrities wearing your designs? roD: It’s a great feeling when you see someone like a celebrity wearing your styles, especially something that you did not have to give them. Most of these guys get things for free just because of who they are, so it’s nice to see them buy something sometimes. DPM: Have you always expected the Rod Elam Collection to spread so rapidly nationwide? roD: I always new Rowdy would spread like wildfire because it’s some hot shit. DPM: Which big store chains can we most frequently find your merchandise? Where can we purchase your collection online? roD: Dr. Denim right now is our biggest supporter which is mainly located in the Philly area, but also Magic Sneakers is a large chain in north Jer-
sey. Check the site, there’s plenty more. (www.getrowdy.com ) DPM: Do you think that the streets create trends in the media or does the media create trends in the streets? How do you decide which trends to incorporate into Rod Elam’s signature style? roD: It’s definitely the media who controls the ball, and it’s a shame because there’s a lot of talent out there and if you don’t know the right people or media outlets, you can’t get it out there. DPM: What is the thought process when designing and creating your pieces? roD: Just to make something original and colorful that can be worn everywhere. DPM: Are there any special upcoming events where we can see your collection showcased?
roD: The Philly Fashion Expo as well as the Magic Convention in February. DPM: What does true fashion and style mean to you? roD: True style represents a person’s true individuality, it separates the men from the boys and women from the girls, it’s a true reflection of your inner self. DPM: What is the overall inspiration behind the design aspect of your collection? roD: My inspiration comes from hip hop, the 80’s during its heyday, when the styles were fresh and creative, brilliant colors along with basic designs. We tend to overlook where we came from in hip hop. DPM: Is there anything else you would like DPM readers to know about Rod Elam? roD: When you see the Rowdy jackets by Rod Elam in the streets, I want the readers
to know that we grinded our way to where we are today. There were no handouts or big investors behind this, so we love all of our supporters and would like to thank everybody who has helped us along the way. DPM: Where do you see your company in the next few years? Do you have any other goals you’d like to attain outside of the apparel industry? roD: I see the Rowdy Collection by Rod Elam in every high end store in the country, which would be surpassing all of my expectations, having a full line of accessories to go with my jackets as well. I would like to get into some real estate too. DPM: Does Rod Elam have an “ideal” customer or do you feel as though your designs can be worn by anybody? roD: My designs are made for everyone from the old to young; they are made for the fashion forward.
She is setting the newsstands and the TV screens on fire. This young beauty makes what she does look effortless. She shows up for work at a job which is totally unrelated to the hip-hop and R&B industry on an ordinary day, but leaves the night having booked a centerfold photo shoot for the following day. How many people can do that? There are women showing up for opportunities such as this left and right, across the country and abroad, but none can do it like the bodacious Brittany. She has worked with prominent artist in the industry such as Snoop Dog and 50 Cent, as well as, new-comers to the game such as Lil Boosie. DPM had the opportunity to speak with the young Brittany to inquire about how it all got started for her and where she plans on going with her career. Feel free to indulge because this is not the last time you will be seeing this face. According to Brittany, this is only the beginning. And by the looks of things, that’s quite believable. DPM: What’s up, Brittany? I see your myspace page reads Britt Britt. Which do you prefer? BrITTany: The only people that call me Britt Britt are my family and the people I grew up with. Everyone else still knows me as Brittany. DPM: You have a very nice roster of artist you’ve worked with in the hip-hop and R&B industry like Snoop Dog, 50 Cent, Marcus Houston and others. How did it get started for you? BrITTany: Everything started when I met the editor of Lowrider Magazine, Ronaldo. He was looking for a centerfold and he noticed me at my job and needed me to shoot the next day. Luckily, I was off so I was able to make the shoot, which turned out great. From there I met my managers, Van and Jabari, who have helped to guide my career. I was able to go on castings here in LA for vid22 DPM
eos and I was lucky enough to get one after another. DPM: In relation to that music video you were in with Marcus Houston for ‘Circles’, were you the principle model in the photos or one of the gorgeous ladies playing the piano? BrITTany: I was one of the ones playing the piano...in the front! lol DPM: So, initially, you were working as a Hooter’s girl, but now you’re gracing videos of artist like Lil Boosie, Webbie, Pretty Ricky and the list goes on. Was Hooter’s a help or a hinderance to you? BrITTany: Hooter’s was where I met Ronaldo, (laughs) so for that I am appreciative. DPM: It appears you moved from Colorado in July 2005 to California in August of 2005. What was the main reason for this move? BrITTany: I was born in California and moved to Colorado when I was young. But who can resist LA!
DPM: You were also featured on BET’sWho’s That Girl, and on Rap City in January 06. How was that experience for you? What good things have come from that exposure? BrITTany: It was a great experience. I was able to be on the show with my girls Brooke Bailey and Gloria Velez. It was crazy to see myself on TV, but I know it won’t be the last time. DPM: You have been featured in a lot of the major model magazines already. How excited are you about these great opportunities and who/whom would you say have been extremely instrumental in aiding your success? BrITTany: I am truly excited and blessed to have been featured in magazines. I am keeping a level head. I know that you can be hot one day and the next day forgotten about. You have to take it all in stride. DPM: We can’t forget about your Pelle Pelle Ad that you have out right now. Are you doing any other endorsements right now or are you concentrating on videos and possible movies? BrITTany: I’m not one to ever limit myself when it comes to opportunities. You’ve got to evolve as a model and as an artist. Hopefully, more ad campaigns and movies will come my way. DPM: You seem to be very family-oriented. Has your family always been supportive of your career? BrITTany: They’ve been very supportive, since day one. The most important thing to them is my happiness. DPM: Is there anything you’d like to share with our readers that we did not touch on today? BrITTany: I really appreciate the support from Dimepiece! Hopefully, you’ll continue to see more of me.
Interview by Lola Evans
DPM: You know the fellas want to know, is Brittany single? And what kinds of guys do you like? Share with us some of your turn-ons and perhaps turn-offs? BrITTany: I am single and my focus is completely on my career. I’m just getting started and 110% of my energy is focused on that. But don’t be afraid to speak to me as long as you’re respectful and have some sense. I’m approachable. DPM: You were the Cover Girl for Lowrider Magazine in April of this year and featured in Blackmen Magazine in their Feb/Mar 06 issue. Do you find that most men are intimidated to approach such a beauty as yourself? BrITTany: At times, but those aren’t the type of men for me. I am who I am and if someone isn’t comfortable with that, what can I really do.
www.mys pace.com/ ToshaMak www.mys ia pace.com/ GirlTalkWit hToshaMa kia
ToshaMakia the name means “beautiful child”. I was born and raised in Bridgeport,Ct. A strong virgo and single mother of one, who has been through the worse and best of relationships. I’m currently holding it down in Philadelphia, Pa on 100.3 The Beat. After gaining notoriety in Connecticut for my debut single “Be Yourself”, I became a part of the Hot 93.7 radio team in Hartford for about 3 years, but it didn’t take long for yours truly to graduate to a much bigger market. After an appearance in the Dime Piece section of The Source Magazine Philadelphia’s 100.3 The Beat quickly gave me a call and brought me to the city of brotherly love. My show, ToshaMakia and Da Strippa, is currently the number 2 night show in the market. When I’m not making things happen on the air you can catch me recording or hosting clubs and special events. I’ve experienced the ins and outs of the music industry both from the radio side and the recording artist side. I have had the pleasure of touring with Angie Martinez (from NY’s HOT 97) and performed on BET’s 106 & Park, The Carson Daly Show and the WB Morning Show. Hip Hop legends, LL Cool J, Nas, P. Diddy, Busta Rhymes, Lil Kim, 50 Cent, and Ashanti are some of the notable artists with which I’ve been honored to share the stage with. Besides the glitter and glam of my career life, I bleed, laugh and cry just like anyone else. I’m a real down to earth single mother. Who in a sense escaped death, I say that because, I was in a relationship, that basically tore my family apart, took my happiness away, friends became acquaintances, favorite family members were no longer picking up the telephone, no one wants to be around someone who mopes over the same shit each and every day. They were all tired of me saying the same thing over and over again and not doing anything about it. I was alone, it was horrible. It was crazy because I always felt I was the one who kept the peace in my family before this relationship, I brought us all together, but this relationship broke me down something serious. I was a healthy, energetic, spontaneous woman with many goals, but the stress brought on aches and pains in my body. Things were changing, I felt sick all the time. I had migraines, back aches, and I suddenly had ulcers. My health began to get worse with time. I had a great body but I began to loose weight, my ass disappeared, you’d think I left it somewhere. (laughs). I began to think there was no point in living, I felt stuck in the relationship but I just couldn’t leave and I wanted to but I just couldn’t. I kept thinking if I stay with him, he’d see that I’m a good person and want him and only him. I even thought that I can “change” him, as we all do. (laughs) That’s some bullshit. When all the while he didn’t care, he cared about his self. As time went on, I didn’t attend family functions, I didn’t dress up anymore, I didn’t get my hair, nails or makeup done anymore. I didn’t show up at photo shoots, studio, but always did radio. I guess that was my outlet, my therapy. Even still I looked like hell. I even remember one day, he didn’t come home for days, maybe a week or two. When he did comeback, he acted like nothing was wrong, he began to argue and belittle me. I remember the aches in my body were hurting so bad I had gotten a fever and went to the ER. He never came, or called to check on me. I remember him disrespecting my family, my momma especially. Things were out of control. I was in the hospital all alone. You’d think that would’ve opened my eyes. At that point, I started to really sit and think. Am I in love with him? I thought, I’m not in love, but I love him. What really did it for me, years in, was when my little girl began to ask questions. She wondered why I cried all the time, or why I was, always sleepy. After a while, in her little head, she put things together. She didn’t know but kids are not stupid. That hurt my heart. Enough was enough. I thought I did a good job painting a picture. After years of trying my walls were tubbling down, and this is honestly the first time I’m speaking on this. I’m NO longer ashamed of what I went through, that’s why
I’m speaking out about it now, there are so many woman and men that feel what I felt every single day and there are many that need to vent and exhale. It made me damn near almost lose my mind. I’ve been arrested for gladly handing out ass whoopings. It’s almost like night and day. I remember I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. Through all the heartaches and bad times in my past relationships, I never gave up on my dream or my goals. I had to set an example for my little girl, “You never allow anyone to treat you bad, you have to get respect to give respect.” No matter how much a man would try to break me down. Through it all, it made me stronger and I didn’t even realize I had the strength, each day brought me something new and challenging, I had to keep going. After years and years of this, I thought to myself, I have to hurt now, because I’ll be better later, I had to
allow myself to hurt, have my quick little pitty party and then I’d be better. Through it all, I kept telling myself, “don’t stop, and don’t let him take this from you”. When the day finally came and I left his ass, I was able to say “No matter what, you never took my passion away, look at me now! I’m still standing, and you never deserved me anyway!” Its feel great to look back and say I’m here, I did it, I never thought I’d leave. I laugh more. I appreciate ever little thing. I made it and I’m not going to stop, no matter what. I don’t look at it as time wasted. I look at it as time learned. By the way, I don’t treat men like shit, it’s not their fault he was not a good man and lets keep it real people, though some men AND woman are dogs, not all are the same. “Don’t make it hard, make it happen.” Always ToshaMakia
Interview by Andrew Bess
DPM: How you doing? luPe: What up man!? I’m chillin’ like a villain! DPM: Congratulations for the 3 Grammy nominations for your freshman release, Food and Liquor. luPe: Ah thank you sir. God is great. DPM: Your first release got leaked numerous times on the internet which created lack-luster sales. You’ve said in interviews that your whole energy for doing hip-hop is slowing down. Is the leaks and boot-legging the cause of this or is it something deeper? luPe: Nah, it’s just that I get bored. I like hip-hop, but it’s not something I could see myself doing forever. Same way some people my work at a law firm but there’s always retirement package at the end of their job. So I only plan to be here for so long, and then I will move on to something else. It’s kind of accelerating with hip-hop because everything moves so fast. You put out one album, and next thing you know you have another and another and it starts to wear you down. I get off the phone with you, and another five minutes from now I have another interview, and after that another. So when you do that everyday or every other day, it gets ehh. DPM: You gained a sustainable amount of popularity with mixtapes and the broad scope of the internet. Do you find it ironic that the same beast and internet fan-base that brought you to the platform you are on today is limiting your sales? luPe: No, because that was the only way it could have happened. That’s why it happened so fast. That was the only entity up in existence that something like that could have happened. So I’m not really surprised, I think what we should have done was transferred it and put the album out in the real
world faster so we would have been able to capitalize on it. Same way 50 and Kanye put their albums out online, but they came out a week later and still sold a magnificent amount of records. So it’s just a time thing, so I can’t be mad; that’s what it does. DPM: But back to Lupe, growing up you had a huge family with 9 brothers and sisters. You were the 5th sticking you sort of in the middle. Was it hard for you to stand out growing up and can you credit that to standing out now in hip-hop in an industry plagued with commercial materialism? luPe: No, not really. We were segmented kids, so it was two kids lived in this household but everybody was kind of spread out. My youngest sister is 6 and my oldest brother is like 35 or something like that. So we all didn’t grow up in the same house. So it wasn’t like I was gunning for attention or anything like that. It wasn’t that kind of situation. DPM: You were heavily involved in karate growing up. In the past you’ve said you met a lot of different people and cultures across Chicago that way. Is that something you can credit for being able to relate and appeal to such an extensive fan-base? luPe: Yeah, my pops put into us early a world perspective so we were aware of a lot of different cultures whether it be through the martial arts or religion, we were aware of the other cultures out there. I’ve never been to Japan until about a year ago when I performed, but I have been there mentally since I was a little kid. DPM: You give a lot of shout outs to F and F, better known as 1st and 15th, which is your record label. What other acts is the label promoting and do you consider the artists to mirror your lyrical style? luPe: This four: Sara Green the R&B singer, Gemstones who is an R&B singer and MC, Kelly G, who is also a female
MC, and Sintos who is a street vocalist. Everybody is a different style and approach and they all have their own identity and are really top-notch. DPM: Speaking about acts, what’s the deal with the group CRS (Child Rebel Solider) that was formed by you, Kanye, and Pharell? Have you guys gotten together to record anymore tracks? luPe: No, just the one is all we have right now. There are a few ideas floating, but the schedules are crazy trying to get that done. Pharell has the most free time since right now he is just producing for other people, but even that is his own schedule. So really we don’t have the time to sit down and do anything. But most likely this year we will do some stuff, but we’ll see. DPM: In an interview you said your labels are working it out and “whoever is going to pay is going to pay a whole hell of a lot.” Are there any negotiations between the labels yet? luPe: It’s just chatter in the upper tiers because they are really just waiting for us to get into the studio. It’s going to be a logistical nightmare because it’s going to be across three labels. So the labels might have to come together and collaborate sort of like The Firm with Nas and Dr. Dre. Or we will see what happens. But you look at the people with it and look at the price tags carried individually then you have to compare them together. DPM: Now to the goods. You’ve mentioned in the past that Nas’ album, It Was Written was sort of like a blueprint for the mood set on your first album Food and Liquor. With your sophomore release, The
Cool, was there something that helped you map out the album? luPe: Not on this one. This one was more based on the inspiration that came from a song on Food and Liquor called The Cool produced by Kanye. That one song kind of set the tone for this album. So the album is really dark, cinematic, and really story driven on most of it. The rest is just me trying to keep it open to tell all the stories I need to tell to really make a good album and give people an idea of what’s going on in the life of Lupe Fiasco. But I didn’t base it off of any existing hip-hop album. DPM: On that same subject, what do you consider the necessary elements that need to be on an album? luPe: Yeah, for me I have to have the controversial record; the one really social kind of [grunts] umph. You got to have one really lyrical record, and I have to have one real deep story record. And on this one it’s a lot of me expanding musically on stuff that I really like. I kind of show hints of it like in the first album working with different people and on this album worked with people like Uncle and Fall Out Boy. So I tried to push a little bit further with the sound. DPM: You devised a plan to piece the album until a few weeks before the release and then put it all together to avoid leaks. How was that process? luPe: Yeah, and I even really didn’t try to do that on purpose, it’s just my schedule wouldn’t allow me to be in the studio all day. So it got to the point where it’s like I really just needed to start finishing those records.
DPM: You’ve mentioned that you wanted to work with the members of Pink Floyd on that project. A lot of hip-hop fans don’t know the band. How does Pink Floyd influence you and play into your style? luPe: I guess it would be their ability for the story. You can look at some of their stuff like The Wall and a lot of their videos and things surrounding the album were real cinematic and great stories. On Dark Side of the Moon, their song Money is such an ill record to me so different stuff like that is really dope. DPM: How come that didn’t happen? luPe: [Laughs] It was just one of those things I threw out there to see if it could happen. Right now it’s quite on the homefront. DPM: Who was all featured on the album? luPe: Patrick from Fall Out Boy did a record, Uncle did a record, the whole F and F family are all on there doing their thing and that’s really about it. DPM: What about production? Who gots behind the boards? luPe: Soundtrack did the bulk of the album, and there is a kid out of London by the name of Ah Shucks who did a real ill joint for my album, Uncle, and Chad from the Neptunes. DPM: Your single Dumb it Down has a title that is unique. A lot of hip-hop nowadays has simplistic lyrics, do you feel that you have to dumb it down for some fans and does the more complicated lyrics go
over their heads? luPe: For some of them, but I think a lot of my fans like that complexity. They know that’s what I’m all about. If you don’t like Dumb it Down they can just turn on the radio and listen to Superstar. Dumb it Down was a record that was meant to be put on the internet for those kids that want to sit down and listen to it 150 times and get every single word. They feel that that’s something that’s missing from hip-hop and hiphop has no depth. It’s just like it is what it is on the surface and there’s nothing else to it. One of my strongest records was a record called Failure. That song is 5 minutes long and is so lyrically dense. People had to do whole encryptions of it and people would just be deciphering the song. It’s no different for Dumb it Down. I’m kind of making that statement at the same time that people want me to dumb it down and I should cater to that but I don’t really care. Dumb it Down is for me and my fans so we can sit and be nerds. DPM: You were close to Stack Bundles. What was your relationship with him? luPe: Stack was one of the first, besides myself, of 1st and 15th. He was with me in Chicago and we were Aces for a long while. For the time we were together we were like brothers. DPM: What would you like to pursue in the future besides music? luPe: Well fashion and I would just sit back and be more on the business side in the office instead of on the stage. On the fashion end, taking advantage of all the relationships I’ve garnered with all the companies worldwide.
Interview by A. Cheng
taneously, so the degree does help. DPM: What is one misconception people have about you? Santalina: One misconception that people have about me would be my nationality or ethnic background. A lot of people just do not know what I am, but show love and support because of the music and not my background. It really does not matter in my opinion. People love you and your music not by what race you are. DPM: What’s next for Santalina? Santalina: Besides the upcoming album, there is still so much in store. I just got back from a Vegas promo show at Caesar’s and have been touring and performing all over the east coast. I just had a half-page write up in Billboard. I have upcoming events that include large corporations like Merrill Lynch to fund raisers for United Way. I feel I was born with a gift to share and will participate in any opportunity beneficial to charitable organizations. Look for my upcoming album shortly! DPM: Finally, I’m sure other females/ Dimepieces out there are interested to know how you stay so fit. Santalina: Stay AWAY from Chinese Buffets! No, it’s ok to have them once in a while, but I do hit the gym 4-6 times a week for about 2 hours, watch my intake and just am an overall active girl. I love to dance. Aside from dance rehearsals, I enjoy bike riding, playing basketball, touch football, and dancing with my friends out in the city. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m a sucker for McDonalds. Haha! ….and yes fellas, she is single! For more information www.myspace.com/santalinamusic www.jaxumrecords.com www.santalina.net
Who is this educated songstress spicing up the music industry? Well, for those of you that have not caught on to the buzz yet, she goes by the name of Santalina. Her music brings a missing link to the R&B/pop genre. You may recognize her as the face of MSN.com, appearing on their home page 10 times in the past two months, along with her spot on the top ten of Philly’s Q102 Idol Search. She has many projects in process, including the progress of her third album, her online t-shirt company, and her feature on So So Def’s DJ Yoshi Mixtape We took sometime out to ask a few questions to get to know Santalina a little better. DPM: Who inspired you to begin your singing career? Santalina: I come from a very musically oriented family, so they have really encouraged and supported my musical endeavors. Furthermore, I always loved to try and imitate my favorite artists as a kid such as Madonna, Michael Jackson,
Boyz 2 Men, Janet Jackson, Lea Salonga, Lauryn Hill, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey etc. DPM: Which of your songs/tracks has the most meaning to you and why? Santalina: Most of my songs are written from my own personal experiences or those whom I am close to. I think that if I really had to choose, the song with the most meaning to me would be “Sunny Days”. It’s a song that I wrote about a close friend of mine whose significant other had to go away to Iraq for two years for war. It really hit home for me because I think a lot of people can relate to the song at one point or another in their lives. I basically wanted to make those people who were going through that rough time feel better by listening to the song. DPM: What artists would you like to work with? Santalina: I would love to work with NeYo or Justin Timberlake. I enjoyed both of their albums. I think they are excellent singers and writers so it would be interesting to collaborate with them. DPM: Have you found your business/ marketing degree you obtained at Temple University useful throughout your musical career? Santalina: I have found it helpful because aside from learning a lot more about business /marketing, I’ve learned a lot about working with different people, being under pressure, practicing time management etc. I also own a t-shirt online company simul-
The growing costs of high end fashion brands combined with the growing amount and improving quality of counterfeit merchandise on the streets, have some people wondering if it’s really worth the cost of keeping it real. If you’re the kind of person who has to have the newest latest, whether it’s the newest pair of sneakers or the latest designer watch or handbag, you know it will cost a pretty penny to get that hot product on your wrist or feet. So much in fact, that you probably have found yourself seeing others wearing such items and asking yourself, “How did they afford that?” Well chances are they didn’t. Oh, it’s nothing new. “Fakes”, “bootlegs”, “knockoffs”, or whatever you want to call them, counterfeit name brand products have been around for as long as the huge name brand companies whose products they are meant to look like have existed themselves. Of course, as with most things, these “fake” products have evolved over the years and today they are increasingly easier and easier to find. Not to mention it’s becoming harder than ever to separate some fake products from a real one. Add to that, the inflated prices of authentic items and the overall demand for these products and we are seeing more and more people choosing the lower cost counterfeit over the real deal, and others who simply don’t know the difference are paying good money for an inferior item. So how do you tell if a product is authentic, or does it even matter if your shoes, watch, or handbag are real? If your concern is quality, you’re going to always want to go with an authentic item over a counterfeit. In fact, the main clue that you’re item might be fake would be poor stitching, irregular fit, or seams and lines that don’t match up correctly. Another sure sign that you’re about to cop some bootleg gear is if the price is too good to
pass up or is being purchased through an independent seller rather than a traditional retail store, whether in a mom & pop shop, online, on the corner, or in some mall parking lot. Also, to be sure, if your new Air Jordans, or Louie Vuitton bag features colors, graphics, or patterns that were never officially released by Nike or Mr. Vuitton himself, be prepared to be called out as a phony by those who do know their stuff. However, if your concern is a moral or ethical one there is much more to consider. The first thing many think about at the mention of some of these big corporations is the stories of underpaid foreigners and poor working conditions in the factories that make the status symbol products we all demand. These people would argue that it doesn’t matter if the products are “real” or not. Why support institutions who would take part in such inhumane labor practices in the first place.
Interview by Andrew Bess
Byline: Life as a stalker, a new album, and the struggle with insecurities gives this vocalist a new found Liberation. Innocence encompasses the sweet and innocent voice of the beautiful and talented Grammy award winning Mya Harrison. But don’t let that innocence fool you. Looks that personify the girl next door motif are merely concealing the true identity of this beauty. I got to discuss the much anticipated Liberation album, personal insecurity issues, stalking, and life being single with the gorgeous songstress. You don’t want to miss this one, as we get up close and personal with the one and only Mya. Nine years in the game usually produces old product and stale music. But that’s not the case for this stunning songbird. At the ripe age of 28 years young, she still looks like the beautiful and innocent freshman stepping onto the college campus for the first time. Beauty is brighter than ever, but don’t get it twisted, this shorty is seasoned. “On my first album I didn’t know about love; I didn’t even have a boy friend. Now what I’m bringing [on this album is definitely more realistic,” Mya confesses.
Mya jumped into the scene in 1997 at the tender teenage age of 18. With that said she’s all grown up and ready to show the world her personal stories with her latest album, Liberation. Mya’s fourth studio album tends to take it more to the personal side of things. “Liberation is a clean slate; my most expressive, vulnerable album,” Mya says. But change is good for anyone; especially in a business that expects to stay above the curve. The Grammy-winning and multiplatinum artist is at a new place in her life and is set in a zone that’s refreshingly grown, sexy and secure. The innocence might be still drenched all over her personality, but she maintains a tough zealous stance but has recently opened up. “I’m set free from a lot of things and wonderful breaks in my life. I have a new way of thinking and all of it is positive. I’m just happy to be standing in my shoes and my skin today because I really love who I am,” Mya reveals. The title of this up and coming release has meaning which is far more than to just sell records. Mya has been plagued with insecurity issues, relationship problems, and family concerns. “I’ve been dealing with a whole lot of drama over the course of the last 9 years. I’ve been in a lot of relationships back to back and now I’m just loving myself.” “I’ve always tried to put on a strong confident front even with a smile when I was bothered by things. I was really insecure about things.” “I’m sharing a lot of different things that I haven’t before. [Laughs] Like my ego is definitely exposed, along with my pride. Some things I can’t handle, and most of these things usually have to do with men [uneasily giggles].” Being beautiful doesn’t mean you can’t be human. Over the past few years Mya has had stakeouts, stalked, and gone to extremes dealing with men-a certain man who didn’t think he was getting enough milk from home. But slashing tires? “I just don’t want to name names. It was heartbreak, and then it turned into evil. When I get hurt, that’s when the evil comes out. There are all kinds of ways to find out [the truth]. When you go looking, you’re setting yourself up to find something. But
when you’re in that state of mind, it’s just not a healthy place. I found a lot of things I didn’t want to find. But I wanted to find them at the same time, just for truth or closure. I don’t like playing myself. I will get to a place where I will slash tires. I’ve been there, and I don’t want to be there anymore,” a guilty Mya pleaded. “The song about stalking came from me just wanting to know the truth. I just wanted to go into the studio naturally and get it off of my chest. I realized that it’s okay to let go of Mya, and share your insecure side [laughs] even though sometimes it’s something you will be ashamed of.” This album tells the tales of her past and her rebirth from all the trials and tribulations. “I would definitely have to say my more dark side and psychotic side are revealed on songs like Ridin’, Switch It Up, and All in the Name of Love. Of course at the end of the album I come to terms with the bigger picture of life and I eventually get liberated. It’s not liberation from the beginning but it is a journey album.” Mya made the steps to share her story to the world and vows that “I’m completely liberated from that way of thinking.” “It’s a catch 22 when you really want to know the truth dealing with bad relationships. I try to think positive thoughts nowadays but sometimes I need to step back and count to ten before I do something stupid [as she laughs].” And the best storytellers are those who actually experienced the voyage. With guest appearances by only a select few will allow Mya full access to fulfill her liberating right of passage. Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, and Charlie Baltimore are the 3 features on the album, with Lil Wayne appearing on the first single, Lock U Down. This album has been in works for quite some time now. Mya left Interscope for the more R&B-familiar Motown/Universal label and now is taking her life into her own hands. But there’s no bad blood between the songstress and Interscope. “It was just a transition I personally wanted to make along with my management because you can tend to wait in this business on the back burner. Sometimes you get lost in the shuffle.” The move has been set in her best interest by Mya herself and her management. And did I mention that her family is her management? “I think that is one of the main reasons I made the transition from
west to east. Family around helps keep you reminded of your goals. It also reminds you of where you came from because some people forget and can get lost.” Liberation comes from four years in the making. Four years of brewing and getting ready to boil. But it’s not like Mya was able to take any real time off in the years before Liberation. With all honesty, she hasn’t even been able to enjoy a vacation. With booked schedules of doing films, teaching for the past three years, and also building her a studio. Learning sound engineering and productions is no small fate, but let’s be honest, its Mya were talking about. “Being able to engineer now, I can actually play with the music and mix it myself. I produced all the vocals so it helped me be more hands on.” Mya admits that she would love to get into recording soundtracks eventually. “It’s really fun to me, it’s a long process and hard work but I like it.” Production for Liberation was not only done by Mya, but also Tricky Stewart, Scott Storch, Bryan Michael Cox, and Jonathan “J.R.” Rotem. “I’ve also been studying acting, recording another album, and performing over seas internationally. So I’m constantly working on something,” Mya affirmed. For all the true fans, although it is Mya, it might not appear as a typical Mya album. She confesses that all her albums are different from each other, but nothing like this one. “I think people are going to relate a lot to the lyrics, especially females. I think we are the ones that tend to get very emotional in relationships and what to know and how to handle it properly helps.” Taking four years off gives opportunity for new artists to steal the spotlight. In the past few years many other women have graced us with their beauty and voice just as Mya did in the late 90’s. Mya’s album drops around the time of other new R&B acts but Mya has no worries. “I don’t think about that kind of stuff, people do on the business side, but I don’t. I think that I just have to be consistent [with my music].” With four years off and time to get over bad relationships you would think Mya is looking for love. But that’s not the case. “I’m not looking at all for a relationship. I’m happy with the way I am right now. Everyone needs somebody I guess. [Laughs] but I’m not even on that page anymore.”
embraces the journey. Usable Quotes “I love men, and maybe that’s my weakness.” “I’ve always tried to put on a strong confident front even with a smile when I was bothered by things. I was really insecure about things.” “Some things I can’t handle, and most of these things usually have to do with men.” “When I get hurt, that’s when the evil comes out.” “I will get to a place where I will slash tires. I’ve been there, and I don’t want to be there anymore.” “I would definitely have to say my more dark side and psychotic side are revealed.” “I try to think positive thoughts nowadays but sometimes I need to step back and count to ten before I do something stupid.”
Right now Mya is focused on doing her own thing and not thinking about pleasing someone else. With that said she’s single and loving it. “I love men, and maybe that’s my weakness. It’s just that it’s not a priority right now for me to be in a relationship.”
Be sure to check out Mya’s fourth studio album when it finally hits stores. The music industry has been lacking something and Mya will soon expose it. But don’t let the sweet sounding songstress will surprise you with her new found security. That process took years to resolve; this album just
Interview by Andrew Bess
They say every dog has his day. But not every dog is as talented as Tremaine Neverson, better known as Trey Songz. In 2005 Trey introduced himself to the world with his Atlantic Records debut album, “Gotta Make it.” He did just that. Atlantic Records has roots inspired from early jazz and R&B acts like Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin. The latter of the two soon inspired a young Tremaine to follow his voice and dream in the footsteps of his inspiration. After one successful album under his belt and a new boatload of fans, he was set to outdo himself with his sophomore release, “Trey Day.” “Trey Day actually evolved from the date that my [first] album came out. My fans were calling that day Trey Day,” Trey admits. A young man getting hit with instant stardom never was a real problem. But this kid is a businessman. “I feel like the industry is run by adults, but the music is run by kids. Whatever the kids listen to is what’s hot. I think me being 22 years old and still being young and fresh and out here in these streets with these young women and young dudes allows me to know what’s going on because I am one of them.” “At the same time I’m in this industry surrounded by adults that handle their business but I’m here to do the same,” Trey continued. So far he has done pretty well for himself. “I didn’t blow too much money. I aint gonna say I didn’t blow no money [laughs].” “When I got my first piece of money I blew a little bit, but I know what it is and I understand responsibility. I’ve worked for this money really hard and I’m not going to spend it crazily. I’m a real humble dude. You get what you put out and I try to live by that.” So what did he spend his money on?
“I bought a house. I bought a couple cars. Watches, earrings and stuff like that.” Nothing to major, of course. After one album, Trey is living well. But that’s just the beginning. “The first album was like an introduction or your first look at Trey Songz and I feel like now that people know me and know what I am and what I’m about.” Trey has been working hard in efforts to top his initial debut. “I’ve been singing a lot and my voice has gotten stronger.” His second album doesn’t get graced by Aretha Franklin, as did the first. But he did stick to the same kinds of ingredients of good content and substance for the second coming. “You aren’t going to listen to this album today and hate it tomorrow,” Trey says. Bun B and Jim Jones have guest features along with the ‘king of R&B” himself, R. Kelly. “I’ve actually to this day haven’t met R. Kelly. He did this record and left a gap in there for me to do it. I’ve been trying to meet up with him but we keep missing each other.” R. Kelly is known to switch his style up and occasionally rap. Call it idol inspiration but not only does Trey Songz sing on this album, he also raps too. “I rapped on my first single, “Wonder Woman” and I rap on a couple other records. But it is something that I do take seriously. I think the people are going to love it,” Trey explained. Besides his October 2nd release, Trey has been busy working on hooks for various producers like Drummer Boy, Nitti, Bangladesh, and Black Elvis. Trey also has a feature with Rick Ross coming out soon. Not to mention him being on the Plies, “Shawty” remix. Working hard keeps this young man quite busy. Every dog has their day, but this might just be Trey Songz year.
Interview by T. Vitale hotels so at first it was a tough transition but it allowed me to see both sides of the coin prior to getting signed. DPM: You were a successful basketball player at UCONN and became the Big East champs for the 2003-2004 season. Why didn’t you go all the way to the NBA? A lot of people been wondering when someone from the east coast will step up, hold it down, and remain consistent. While we anticipate albums from veterans like Jayz and Nas to fulfill the cravings of Hip Hop fiends, there is one artist that is pushing his way through the game with a lot of promise. With the launch of his debut single “Sexy” getting radio airplay all over the world, Toolez is making noise at a rapid pace. He has already collaborated with artists like Stat Quo and is already getting calls and respect from others artists in the game. Now don’t get too comfortable with the single. Toolez brings you much more than the hot club banger. He likes to be considered an artist, not a rapper. At a time where Hip Hop has become more about swag then lyrics, this cat definitely has the swag. But unlike a lot of artists, he is also about making good music and sounding like a veteran on the mic while doing it. So we wanted to have a one-on-one with Toolez and see what this artist is all about. DPM: Let us start off by asking you about your name “Toolez”. How did you get that name? TooleZ: My last name is Tooles but in the hood everybody calls me Toolzie. I didn’t think Toolzie was too fitting for a stage name so I went with my actual last name just with a “z” at the end. DPM: Now you’re from Coatesville, PA., home of Detroit Piston’s Rip Hamilton. What was it like being an artist and coming from a small town that’s right outside of Philadelphia? TooleZ: Initially it was tough prior to Rip going to the league because you could stand on the block for 365 days and never run into anyone that’s in the music business. He’s made it a little easier coming from a small city because he often brings guys through. Beans has been through on a regular, Kiss, Freeway is always in the hood. Chris and Neef came through too, so it’s easier to slide music to someone now. DPM: We see you attended, played ball, and graduated from UCONN. What was that experience like and how did it help you with being who you are as an artist? TooleZ: The experience was crazy! I mean I was trying to use whatever I did well to get out of the hood and back then I was doing the ball thing real heavy. Going to UCONN has definitely changed my life in so many ways. I mean I came from an all black city to a predominately white University. From projects and row houses to plush TooleZ: We were Big East Champs 01-02 & 03-04 and National Champs in 04. I’m a national champ. I been balling. I mean if going to the league was that easy I wouldn’t be rapping. My athletic talents took me as far as I needed them to. Playing overseas was always an option but that’s not my passion DPM: That’s good you got to experience both worlds. Now that you are heading full force in the music industry, what does Toolez bring to the table of Hip Hop? What’s your style? TooleZ: I bring lyricism and swagger. They call it “Lyrical Swag.” I have a huge advantage over most artists because I come from that 1996-1999 era of Hip-Hop when it was all about lyrics and making good albums. With that being said I’m seasoned enough to know what a “real classic” album sounds like, yet I’m young enough to be able to relate to what’s going on in today’s market. So it’s the lyricism of the 90’s with that millennium swagger. DPM: Now your single “Sexy” is making a lot of noise all over the world. It’s getting a lot of spins on the radio and played in clubs all over. How did this all happen for you? TooleZ: Well that’s actually a record that almost didn’t happen. My man Francis Fire did the track and he was trying to get it to Jim Jones. For whatever reason, it didn’t go through so I snatched it up. My management is sick man (Magazine King Entertainment). They’re really backing the record and made the necessary moves to get
it to the people and the people caught on to it. The record is doing really well overseas so I’m about to get my stamps up in a minute. Shout out to London and Germany! DPM: What inspires you to write? TooleZ: Two things inspire me to write the first one being life. I’m inspired by what I see, hear and go through everyday. Sometimes, something will happen that triggers a past incident that inspires me. The second thing would be the music. There’s no better feeling then finding a sick track. With the right beats I can do 15 albums. (laughing) DPM: Name some artists and producers in the game right now that you would like to work with. TooleZ: As far as producers, I like The Runners and of course Timbo. I’m digging Nottz and Emile too. They got some fire. On the artist side, I always liked that song Nore had “Banned From TV” on the N.O.R.E. album with Nature, Big Pun, Cam’ron, Kiss & Styles. I would love to do my rendition of that song with Me, Lil Wayne, Royce Da 5’9, Joe Budden, TI, and Fab. That would be crazy because I would get everyone on the record to compete with each other. DPM: Now let’s say a rapper in the game calls you out in a song and disses you. Do you respond or do you do what B.I.G. did and just keep shut? TooleZ: I think it depends. I mean if you’re just competing, we can have it like the havers have it, because I can spar with the best of them. But as a man, there are certain things I will not tolerate. So I think it depends. I’m not a wrestler. You’re not going to tell me what you’re going to do to me when you see me because that’s what I’m going to expect. DPM: You seem to be a very humble person. How do you balance being humble with being a beast on the mic? TooleZ: I understand that this is a God given talent and it can be taken away from me at any moment. Also, I’m a fan first. Most rappers sign and immediately become anti-rap like they can’t like anything anymore. I’m an artist but I’m a fan first.
I still get excited when I hear good music because I’m a fan. That just pushes me to make something hotter. DPM: A lot of people say you remind them or that you sound like Jay-Z. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. How do you take that when people say that? TooleZ: I mean it’s cool. Everyone wants their own identity though you feel me but to even be mentioned in the same breath as the greatest ever is cool. My thing is (long pause) I’m not trying to be like anyone. I just do Toolez. Comparisons happen all the time though. Shyne to Big, Nas to Rakim, Fab to Mase, X and Ja. I can go on all day. I guess if they’re going to compare me to Jordan I got to win some championships and go out and score 81, right? DPM: What are some things you would like to accomplish during your music career? TooleZ: Wow. I have a nice list. I want to drop at least two “classic” albums. The real classic albums though not this mess we got going on now. I want to sell some records. I won’t give you a specific number but I’m aiming high. Building up the label 50/50 L.G. Entertainment with Dre Money (President). Im the Vice President of the label. Man, I want to do a lot of things. DPM: What’s going to be the key factors in your success and longevity in the music industry? TooleZ: Staying relevant and consistent. People have a very short memory. They don’t care about what you did yesterday. They care about what you’re doing now so those are both key for me. DPM: When it’s all said and done and curtain closes, what do want people to say about you? How do you want them to remember you? TooleZ: He was one of the best ever! DPM: Any last words?? TooleZ: Look no further! Check out Toolez and his music at www.myspace.com/officialtoolez
pan. Most Fortune 500 Companies would kill for a growth rate such as that. There is no formula to his energetic and captivating choreography. Shane states, “My style one minute is straight dirty hip-hop, the next it’ll be hip-hop with a lil pop feel, and the next there’ll be a lil jazz. No matter what, it’s always
By Lola Evans When thinking of the origin of hip-hop, it’s almost essential to include the dynamics of dance, known to the genre as breaking, popping & locking. Well, there is a name that is synonymous with a sexy, aggressive style of hip-hop dance that draws you into the moment. “It’s all about movin’ your chest and hips in a rhythmic way without losin’ the beat and killin’ it all at the same time. Put your heart into it and be real.” Those are the words of a magnificent choreographer who is making his mark in this industry and beyond. That man is Shane Sparks. Shane is a humble man that has a deep passion that drives him to the sensational heights he’s reached and it is easy to see he has still not reached his creative peak. Shane left his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1993 and headed to Los Angeles, California, armed with a strong desire to become a wellrespected, famed choreographer. Shane had a goal set and he was willing to do what it took to make that happen. Here it is, a little over a decade later and this man, having started out teaching a three person class the art of hip-hop dance at the Millennium Dance Complex located in the North Hollywood Arts district, now packs arenas conducting dance workshops for 900 plus attendees all over the world, from Florida to Ja-
sexy and aggressive.” This unorthodox style has taken Shane to varying heights. His face can be spotted on every dance publication and website across the country. His combination of natural-born talent, fate and opportunity has set Shane in a place where he “feels like his life is a dream”, according to his myspace page. In 2004, Sparks choreographed NSYNC’s “Challenge for the Children” celebrity basketball game at the Office Depot Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He went on to be a judge for the 2004 World Hip Hop Championship. He has choreographed promos for ESPN, as well as, Nationwide Urban Jams Dance Convention and the Steve Harvey Big Time Show. He has worked with artists such as Lindsay Lohan, Marques Houston, Omarion, Ak’sent, 2 Much and others. He received the industry’s prestigious “Best Choreography in a Feature Film” award for “You Got Served” at the 2004 American Choreography Awards, as well as, a “2005 BET Award” for co-choreographing with Omarion. This man can not be stopped becuase there is no limit to his creativity. In the summer of 2006, Sparks premiered a signature line of hats, t-shirts, and posters under the brand S STYLE. The merchandise has been reported to have been flying off the tables and selling out at every event nationwide. This successful fashion line, which gives Sparks an avenue through which he came express his debonair styling, has led to a partnered website endeavor called www.digitaldancers.com. If you wish to try your hand at hip-hop dance, you can check him out. He is not hard to find. Actually, you have seen him regularly on the FOX national reality show “So You Think You Can Dance” as one of three panel judges last year and he was sought out by the executive producer Nigel Lythgoe. The program averaged a whopping 10 million viewers per episode. Most recently, Shane was also one of the judges on the very popular dance show on MTV called “America’s Best Dance Crew”, produced by Randy Jackson of American Idol. I think it’s safe to say that his dream of becoming a well-respected, famed choreographer is pretty much ‘in the bag’.
Interview by Lola Evans Photos by Howard Huang Many have claimed to have spoken with this blonde beauty and many think they know, yet have no idea. She’s been misquoted and misrepresented, but Dimepiece Magazine is here to clear some things up. As always, we deliver nothing short of the truth. We’ve interviewed the extremely scorching hot wifey of rap legend Ice-T, Nicole Austin, affectionately nicknamed CoCo, and inquired about her modeling career, her role as the wife of a hip-hop legend, and her other varying projects. She’s been modeling since she was 17 and we honestly don’t see her slowing down anytime soon. Relax and come with Dimepiece Magazine inside the mind of one 5’2” 135 lb sexy lil momma…..Hot CoCo, anyone? DPM: First, I’d like to say congratulations on making the cover of Dimepiece Magazine. It appears to be an extremely coveted position. To date, can you tell us how many magazine covers you’ve graced because I understand you’ve been traveling to shoot after shoot. CoCo: Not including Dimepiece, I’ve been on the cover of 26 magazines this year. It all started because I was promoting my 2007 Exotic Car Calendar. The response was overwhelming! DPM: I understand that Smooth Magazine reported that you are on the cover of their most successful issue to date. I must say, after since pose, it’s not hard to see why. When you go to your shoots, is it a goal to obtain that type of recognition or are you merely having fun? CoCo: Modeling to me is all about fun. I never plan out what I’m going to do or how I’ll pose. I just try to go with the ideas of the photographer and the clothes I’m wearing. During the Smooth shoot when I hit that pose everyone knew it was special. DPM: Can you tell us a little bit about your very first photo shoot and something you learned from that experience that has brought you to this point in your career? CoCo: I was 17 living in Albuquerque and it was for the Swimsuit Illustrated Catalogue. My photographer coached me on how to change my facial expression. I didn’t realize how important that was. DPM: There are varying avenues to take within the adult entertainment industry. First, do you consider yourself as being in the adult entertainment industry or merely in the entertainment industry in general? Then tell us a bit about your most memorable projects. CoCo: I definitely don’t consider myself in the Adult Industry. To most people that means porn. I feel what I do is just sexy modeling but I draw the line with my own level of taste. I’m a very sexual person but I try to never go too far. My recent Playboy layout has to be my most memorable shoot so far. What blonde model hasn’t dreamed about one day shooting for Playboy. I try to keep all my work at the Playboy level. That’s as far as I go.
DPM: Black Men’s Magazine published an entire tribute magazine to you, affectionately called “Coco - The Ultimate Tribute Magazine,” That had to have been an honor. They claimed it to be your wildest photo shoot ever. Would you agree with that? And what made it so wild and untamed? CoCo: It’s always an honor to have an entire magazine dedicated to you! The first time I heard that I would be the ONLY model in the whole magazine, I honestly didn’t believe it. I guess it was wild. They had me holding guns and actually fighting with myself. It came out great but I feel the new Tribute which is my second one is even hotter! It’s out now. The Tributes also promote my ringtones. (www.urbmob.com) DPM: I read a few of your interview responses to CelebrityWeb.Net and you made a very interesting statement I’d like you to elaborate on. It read, “All our fears boil down to one simple thing: our fear that we’re not special. We’re afraid that we’re replaceable, one of a crowd, that there’s nothing unique about us.” My question is what do you feel is so unique about you that sets you apart from other woman in a similar field. Feel free to speak in regard to inward traits, outward traits or both. CoCo: First off that is not my quote. I’ve never even heard of that site. It’s really funny because there are a lot of things out there about me that aren’t true but I guess that comes along with the game. Even though that’s not my statement I’ll reply. I’m a white girl that’s kind of thick. At the moment most models are stick thin so I’m representing the more curvier, voluptuous figure. I’m also happily married and more of an old fashion type of woman. Today most women are so independent even when they’re married, that they operate as a couple. DPM: For those readers out there who may not know, you’ve been married to Ice-T, a legend in the rap game, for the past seven years. I saw an interview with both you and Ice-T and he spoke about you so tenderly. He said, “At the end of the day, she’s the sweetest person I’ve ever met. I was late in my 40s and I’d never been married. I’d been in deep relationships, but she got me to the altar. I’d never met anybody like her. She doesn’t
cramp my style…. I’m still pimpin’. It’s a good thing. Hip-hop loves Coco and they gave her that love.” Do you believe your marriage to him sparked this warm embrace from the rap community? CoCo: At the beginning I know the Hip Hop community was very skeptical about me as everyone was. Ice was a larger than life figure in the rap world and they were very protective of him. Who the hell was this white girl on Ice’s arm???! First Ice’s close friends met me and found out it was all real. From there it was just a matter of time. Every year more and more people started to like me. It’s been 7 great years and now I feel that I’m totally accepted by Ice’s world. I love him and he loves me, that is the bottom line. Honestly my strongest base is in the urban community. Black women and men have given me incredible support. I feel everyone respects loyalty. DPM: In researching your career, I ran across a few instances where Ice-T literally ‘vouched for your ass’. At the Plumm in NYC on September 27th, he pulled you up on stage and gripped a handful of ass stating “It’s all real, y’all hoes quit hating.” What in the hell was that all about? (laughs) Inquiring minds want to know. CoCo: The biggest question about me is about my butt. People want to know if it’s real and they actually have entire blogs dedicated to saying that my butt is fake. They have even photoshop’d my old pictures to make me look way smaller. I’ve always said that my boobs are enhanced. I got them done when I was 18. My booty is 100% all natural. No implants, injections, nothing. Just Mac & Cheese! For some reason people refuse to believe it. I’m 5’ 2” and 135 lbs. When I started modeling I only weighed 110lbs. The weight had to go somewhere. Sometimes Ice has even asked a girl to step out of the audience and inspect my booty for herself! It’s all in fun but it’s impossible to change over the nonbelievers. Also Ice didn’t call the girls ho’s. DPM: You guys seem to go everywhere together. I can’t tell the number of countless photos I’ve seen with the two of you simply spending time together. That is really beautiful to see because many marriages in the limelight don’t last that long after the honeymoon period. I saw one interview with the two of you speaking with Special Delivery TV and you stated, “I’m just happy being by his side. I’m a wife.” Tell us, does it get
tough being in front of the camera all the time. I know you’re in front of the camera with your modeling career, but even in your personal life as well. That has to be trying at times. CoCo: Something people may not know is that Ice and I have been together 24/7 since the day we decided to be serious. That’s why all of our pics are of us together. Having people always taking pictures of you can be a problem sometimes because a lot of them are after the bad or ugly shot! They want to catch you looking busted. It’s not so bad for Ice because he truly doesn’t care, but what woman ever wants to look bad? DPM: Speaking of cameras, the two of you are noted as shooting the pilot for a reality show. Has that come into fruition as of yet? If so, when can we expect to see it? CoCo: Yes, the show is called ‘Hot Coco on Ice.’ It’s a TV show where Ice and I give out light hearted advice to people who call in. Ryan Seacrest is producing it and it will be on the E Channel next year. DPM: We know your man is a star on Law and Order Special Victims Unit and he revealed at Noel Ashman’s party @ thePlumm in New York that you will make a guest appearance on the show as the widow of a dead wrestler. If you don’t mind me asking, who’s idea was that and will you continue to pursue other acting roles? CoCo: Widow of a dead wrestler??? NO. I play the girlfriend of a MMA fighter. Ice has to interrogate me. The whole experience was great. It was Law & Orders idea. I’m with Ice everyday on the set handling business and everyone knows me so when the part came up they said “Let’s use Coco”. I’ll admit I was nervous but everyone says I did great. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. As far as acting... Hey, you never know. DPM: You have a couple of side projects you’re handling right now such as your fitness DVD, as well as, a book entitled Beautyin the Beast. Can you tell us a bit about each of those ventures and when we can look forward to supporting them? CoCo: Right now my focus is on my new
2008 Calendar and the relaunching of my new WWW.COCOSWORLD.COM site. The new site is hot and my new calendar is even hotter! The site will have lots of new videos and screensavers. The calendar is dedicated to the best of all of my magazine photo shoots this last year. My workout DVD and book will come out later next year. DPM: Has the nude Playboy spread hit newsstands yet? And how did your husband feel about that particular shoot? CoCo: My Playboy layout was bumped back until Nov as it stands. That happened after the Anna Nicole tragedy. Honestly, I think I’m more anxious to see it than anyone! Check my News Area on my site to stay posted. Ice was cool with it because he knew it was something I had always wanted to do. Plus he was there. It was a very cool experience. DPM: Say for instance, I was a young girl trying to break into the modeling field. What advice would you give me to get me started? CoCo: Modeling is hard work. It’s even harder to make money. I would suggest going to school and becoming a professional at something else. Then if you find time to model you can do it for fun. Trying to survive off of modeling will never be easy. You’ll need to get your portfolio together and start looking for work. It’s an extremely competitive business. It’s always smart to have something to fall back on. I’m trying to get my real estate game up because nobody can do this forever. DPM: It has been a pleasure. Are there any other projects or is there anything you’d like to share with our readers that we did not touch upon today? CoCo: The best way to keep up with me is cocosworld.com. Everything is right there! Thanks Dimepiece! Love Coco (other sites- myspace.com/ cocoworld2006 and shopcoco.net)
Interview by Lola Evans
Well, there is a movement on the horizon. DJs and Producers from everywhere, all genres, all levels in their career, all walks of life are going to be able to make outstanding musical masterpieces anywhere at any time. Samples of the most unexpected proportions are going to flood the soundwaves of music lovers across the globe. Producers no longer have to limit their creative spirits inside the confines of a recording studio, per say, because they will be able to take their creativity on the road and beyond with the aid of a PlayStation Portable gaming system. Whoever would have thought of such an astounding idea…. none other than Troy San Jose, an incredible software designer who developed the magnificient Traxxpad. It is said to ‘Change the Game’. Dimepiece Magazine had the opportunity to speak with Troy San Jose, the mastermind behind the Traxxpad Software Development and he provided a little insight on the movement ahead. DPM: I must first say, I think this program software was a magnificent idea. I mean there are always new technologies developed, but this Traxxpad really has the ‘playful’ character of most creative individuals in mind. What sparked your initial idea to create such a program to be used on the PSP? TSJ: Thanks! Even though I’m in the games biz, I always messed with both music hardware and software. I get down with a Motif, MPC, and a 16 track mixer. See, I wanted to try and squeeze all that into something portable. The idea for the skins is my way of representin’ the games side of me. DPM: How long have you been a software developer?
TSJ: I’ve been in the games business for over 13 years now, but at Definitive Studios just over 4 years. DPM: I understand Eidos Interactive Ltd. announced at this year’s Games Developer Conference that they were publishing your program Traxxpad. How exciting was that for you to have one of the world’s leading publishers and developers of entertainment software feel your idea? TSJ: It was a good feeling no doubt. I’m going to keep it real with you. A lot of people out there weren’t exactly down with the idea at first because it’s not a game. People felt I was taking a big chance going with a ‘dying console’, and the fact that it was ‘hip-hop’ didn’t make it easy. The people of Eidos were able to see past all of this and they took it in for what it is. DPM: How do you feel this will impact the music industry as a whole, as well as, from an independent artist point-of-view? It appears you had everyone in mind when developing Traxxpad Software because it appeals to the ‘touring artist’ for those moments you get inspired and it’s cost effective as in comparison to purchasing a complete home studio for track production. TSJ: Sha Money put it best by saying, ”Traxxpad is going to change the game”. There isn’t anything on the market that does what Traxxpad does out the box. Besides, at the current entry point of $39.95, Traxxpad is by far the most accessible. I hope every producer, beat maker, MC and song writer of EVERY level picks this up. I made it for them. DPM: Traxxpad focuses on sequencing, song assembly and melody creation, is that
correct? Considering that, it seems you are well-versed in music making. In what facet have you used your own program? What genre(s) of music would you say your forte lies? TSJ: Yeah, Traxxpad really takes music making and breaks it down to the basics. It’s about beats. Starting with RTIST, you take single hits and assemble them into sequence. Then you can take those sequences and layer them in STAC. This gives the users ultimate control. As far as music genre, I listen to all kinds. I got to say I’m old school. I like messing with RTIST and STAC. Give me 16 bars and I’m straight. DPM: Are you presently working on other exciting software projects that you’d like to share with our readers? Maybe something on spotlight at next year’s Games Developer Conference perhaps? TSJ: I can’t officially announce anything, but I can tell you I’m workin’ on something real big with Sha Money XL, Money Management Group and One Stop ShopProducers Conference. We’re going to be doing big things this year and beyond. The movement is to bring producers out of the studios, DJ booths and what not and bring them to the forefront. Check out Traxxpad. com for future announcements.
Shawn Mims, better known to the industry as M.I.M.S. (Music Is My Savior) aka Mr. “This Is Why I’m Hot”, burst through our speakers in early 2007 and listeners across the country and around the world were divided in opinion yet united by entertainment. His first hit record, entitled “This Is Why I’m Hot” has been extremely successful on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Billboard Hot Rap Tracks charts, climaxing at number two and number one thus far. He also just recently hit one million ringtone downloads. M.I.M.S. captured the classic New York sound and turned it in to a worldwide anthem – but not without a little musical influence from other areas of the country. From the east coast to the west coast and from the mid west to the south, M.I.M.S. embraces it all. We’ve heard him say “he’s hot cause he’s fly” and they ain’t cause well… they not, but it doesn’t end there. Keep reading, as DPM goes behind the scenes with M.I.M.S. to find out about his life, his career and the real deal about what makes this New York native… yup…HOT!
Interview by A. Nelson
DPM: Hey M.I.M.S. how are you? M.I.M.S.: I’m alright, can’t complain DPM: That’s good. So I heard that you were nominated in the best new artist category for the BET Awards, how does that feel to be recognized in that major way? M.I.M.S.: I’m definitely surprised, when I heard the news, when they said best new artist, it’s funny because I thought they would have meant best new rap artist or best new rapper, I guess to be recognized in the category amongst other singers like R&B singers or other hip hop artists, I think definitely a high honor. Especially knowing that a year ago, I wasn’t anywhere close to being where I am today. DPM: How has your lifestyle changed from a year ago, until now? Has it been a big transformation for you? M.I.M.S.: Well I don’t get to do much chillin’ cause I’m on the road most of the time promoting and doing shows so when it comes time to hanging out, I don’t get much time. But I do like to keep in communication with all the people that have been around me while I grew up. I’m not one of those see you when I see you I’m more or less like we gonna make it and I won’t stop until everyone around me is alright. DPM: What do you think distinguishes you from most east coast rappers already in the game? M.I.M.S.: That’s a tough question because I really don’t like to compare myself to anybody. I feel like every artist writes for their own reasons but if I really have to answer that question I just think that everybody in the world carries certain values and I have values that make me who I am. The main values that I have embedded in me allow me to live my life without being worried about contradicting myself. I’m not here to proclaim myself as an angel but I like to move towards a more positive route in life so every day I wake up I try to better myself. I don’t know how that compares to other artists; I just know that when it comes
to M.I.M.S. and what M.I.M.S. is on, the next step for me is [being optimistic about the future.] DPM: What part of NY are you from? M.I.M.S.: I’m grew up outside of Washington Heights, New York but I’ve lived in Long Island for 5 years, I’ve lived in Brooklyn for about a year, and I’ve lived in Queens for like 2 years of my life. DPM: What was your neighborhood like? Where there people around you who influenced you to start rapping or was it something you started to do on your own? M.I.M.S.: Well, I started when I was about 13 years old and it wasn’t about rapping, it was more about Dj’ing and being involved in music. I got so caught up in music that I started engineering when I was 16 years old, learning how to sequence music and produce and engineer. I was making beats and I knew how to record myself, so the only thing left for me to get was an artist. I became my own artist, and that’s how I got into hip-hop and rapping. DPM: Do you admire anybody in the industry as a role model? M.I.M.S.: I admire everybody for their own characteristics. My influences come from all over but as a rap artist and as a businessperson, definitely people like JayZ and Puffy or 50 cent and Young Jeezy. I look at every artist and I think, ‘Is there something I can learn about this person?’ and ‘What is it?’ So I can’t say there’s one person that’s been a role model but I try to take pieces of what I admire and apply it to my own career. DPM: Tell us more about your rap name “M.I.M.S.” M.I.M.S.: Mims is my real last name. The acronym stands for Music Is My Savior. I came up with it because I wanted to find a clever way to title my album. It’s something I thought was close enough to my real name and I didn’t have to come up with something brand new.
DPM: There’s a line in “This Is Why I’m Hot” that talks about “bringing New York back.” What advice would you give to rappers trying to do the same thing? M.I.M.S.: I feel like when I speak of bringing New York back, it’s part of a movement but at the same time, it’s paying homage to hip hop across the country and around the world so my definition of New York is different from everybody’s else’s definition. I want to take what people typically know New York for and I want to turn that around into what I represent. What I represent incorporates many areas of hip-hop. I like what the Midwest is doing, I like what the West coast is doing, I also like what the South is doing, so I say why not incorporate all those sounds into my music? DPM: How do you feel about the idea that rap music is losing its east coast influence in favor of a more southern sound? M.I.M.S.: Well I don’t think hip-hip should be about the east coast not winning, the west coast winning over the south or whatever. The bottom line is that I try to pay homage to every style from the east coast to the dirty south and it’s about creating good music because everybody has something new to offer and I respect all parts of the country and what they’re doing. DPM: Tell us about the rock and reggae remixes of “This Is Why I’m Hot.” M.I.M.S.: Well I definitely played a huge role, and when it came time to do the remix, being that “This Is Why I’m Hot” was the number one record on the Billboard Charts, I thought it was a good opportunity to show the world other sides of me as an artist. Also, I wanted to show that hip hop has no boundaries and is universal and people could hear my song from a different perspective. I’ve worked with Sean Paul and Junior Reid on the reggae remix and with the rock version, “This Is Why I Rock”, I wanted to give the song a little bit more energy. DPM: Many rappers are branching out into other industries, such as footwear and ap-
parel. Are you interested in pursuing any of those things? M.I.M.S.: I’m interested in pursing everything and I am looking forward going into other industries. Although I’m used to succeeding in everything that I do so I don’t want to overstep by boundaries. I’m actually working with Microsoft on the Zoom project, the MP3 player that launched, that’s why during the Zoom commercial you heard “This Is Why I Rock” because I’m the official spokesperson. I want to stay focused in becoming a good entrepreneur and I want to utilize my talents in every way possible. DPM: What are some of your personal favorite tracks on your first album? What song do you most enjoy performing? M.I.M.S.: In the shows that I do, I don’t like to have uniform shows. I like to do my shows for the crowd. As far as my album, all of the tracks are favorites of mine but the most personal record on my album that I love is “Don’t Cry” because it’s showing who M.I.M.S. is by saying this is who I am and includes certain situations I went through after the passing of my mother when I was younger.
DPM: What do you enjoy doing in your free time? M.I.M.S.: Like I said, I don’t get to do much chillin but I like to chill with my family or call a couple of my friends and make sure they’re doing well, just to let everybody know that I’m alright and that I’m working. I’m a person that likes to think a lot so any environment where I can think by myself and figure out what’s next for me, that’s what I like to do. Whether it’s a quiet place like my hotel room or sitting on a balcony looking out of a window, that’s where I spend most of my downtime. DPM: Could one find you out at the club drinking, smoking and partying sometimes? M.I.M.S.: I don’t know about the smoking cause I don’t smoke but you can definitely find me at the club. Usually when I hit any city I’m usually at a club so I’m pretty sure you can find me there. If you come to my myspace page, I have a whole list of clubs that I’m scheduled and you can come check me out. DPM: Is there a special female in your life or are you single?
M.I.M.S.: I always tell people that if they want the answer to that question, in my album there’s a record they need to listen to called “Without You.” You got to buy it to figure out the answer. (Laughs) I don’t name drop or anything as far as dissin’ anybody on that record but I name drop a few names on another track called “I Did You Wrong.” DPM: What direction do you see your career going as far as your personal goals? M.I.M.S.: I think that every day I wake up I accomplish two goals, that being that I’m happy and healthy and I take it from there but as far as my future is concerned I think for the most part, it’s pretty promising because I’m still new on the scene, I’m in the best shape of my life, I feel ready for this game, I know that a lot of people for many years have considered me an underdog in hip hop and I used that energy fueled me to become a better person. Whatever time I have left in this game, I feel that I’m ready to make the most of it. (Look out for Mims new album set to be released in 2008)
I’ve been sexually active for only a few years, but I feel as though I am experienced enough to say that I’ve been through just about everything. My definition of good sex is not necessarily having sex with someone I am in love with (which by the way would be a good thing) but having everything I can imagine being done to me without asking. For example, I had an ex-boyfriend (a name which I will never reveal!) whose sex was so amazing, I would try to let out a scream but nothing would come out of my mouth! He had me in positions I never thought I could get into. He stretched muscles I never thought could be stretched. He went down EVERYTIME we would even consider having sex. I always came, he always came. We just had a silent understanding. It also didn’t hurt that his penis was the biggest I have ever had in my entire life. If your sex life is dull, wouldn’t you love to make it better? If you are tight with money, get creative. Go in your kitchen, look around and find things you feel would make the bedroom a little more interesting. Whipped cream, honey, chocolate, even strawberries could do the trick. If you’re into teasing, make a sheet into a blindfold! I have found that men love the mystery of not knowing what we are going to do next. Go down on him without asking. Don’t let him touch any part of your body. Just watch his hands clenching the bed sheets. His actions are enough to let you know that he is enjoying whatever it is you are doing “down there”. Have enough money to go around? Go to a local sex shop. Splurge on condoms, lubricant, sex toys, maybe even a porno flick if you want to get him aroused quickly without touching him. It will make him get on top of you in less than ten minutes (Trust me, I know). Are you freaky? You could get handcuffs. But if you really want to try something interesting, buy “The swing”. If you have no idea what this is, just look it up online. Just looking at it will tell you everything. by Stacy McKinney What do you consider good sex? Is it having your most wild fantasy fulfilled? Being put into crazy positions? Or do you enjoy going at it like the energizer bunny for hours? Or does getting oral sex get you off well enough to not complain about your hormones for a few days? Keep it exciting and keep him wondering what you are going to do next. Don’t worry about running out of ideas. If you keep it freaky, he will never think of going anywhere else for pleasure.
SuSS: Doors have definitely opened but I still grind like I usually do. DPM: I found out that your also known as “THE YOUNG KING” what does that really mean and how did it get started?
Interview by Char Star
When you ask anyone, “What’s the essence of “Hip Hop?” you get answer like MC battle’s, graffiti, break dancing, and DJ’n, DJ Suss is a prime example of keeping it true to the game. We were able to peel back and get the inside facts of this world famous DJ, from first inspiration to his experience touring with Mariah Carey. DJ Suss tells Dimepiece his real reasons why he is know in the streets as the “The YOUNG KING”. DPM: What was your first sign that you should start DJ’n full time, and what made you follow that? SuSS: When I couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather do. I used to go to sleep and wake up practicing. DPM: What direction do you see Hip Hop going with this new expansion of music? SuSS: I think Hip Hop will always continue to be successful, but most Hip Hop seems to be generic now. I think labels need to find real talent instead of following trends. Hip Hop needs artists that sound new and fresh. Many artists sound the same. Don’t be scared to have your own style. DPM: Do you think that Club DJs have more longevity than mixtape DJs? SuSS: It depends on how the DJ handles their business. It’s easier for a club DJ to out live a mixtape DJ. And it all depends on consistency, without over saturating the game. DPM: Why do you choose certain records to spin? SuSS: It depends on how the crowd responds to the track, and how I feel about it. DPM: You’re known for your crazy mixtapes, what connection do you feel that mixtapes have then just playing at a club? SuSS: I feel mixtapes are more in the street. I can break artists easier that way than in a club. Club is party mode, but mixtapes are my outlet to the streets. DPM: As a youth who or what did you look up to as a role model? SuSS: Kid Capri, Ron G, Jam Master Jay, DJ Juice,DJ Clue, Funkmaster Flex, & Kool DJ Red Alert. DPM: How is life after working with Mariah Carey on tour?
SuSS: Young as in: still in my twenties, younger than my predecessors whose shoes I’m quite prepared to stand in while making some large footprints of my very own. “King” as in the noun. Someone or something that is the most powerful or eminent in a particular sphere. A checker that has been crowned. DPM: What is more challenging mixtapes, radio or clubs? SuSS: Radio is more challenging to me because it brings out many aspects of your personality, your mixing, & your vibe. DPM: When you’re DJ’n what’s your music of choice? SuSS: I play everything from Hip Hop, R&B, Reggae, Reggaeton, Old School and 80’s to Rock but I think I have the best time spinning when I take itback to the old school. DPM: Serato vs CD and Records? SuSS: You know what, I used to carry ten crates of records to the clubs and I have to say, Serato is a very useful tool because it eliminates records, and requires only a laptop with mp3s, but at the same time you are still using vinyl. The true essence of DJ’n is there. But it alleviates the heavy lifting and makes it a lot easier to travel. DPM: What Radio Stations have you worked for? SuSS: Power 105.1 in NYC, Power 104.1 in Connecticut.
DPM: How often do you find yourself flying out of the US? SuSS: OFTEN!! DPM: How does the internet affect your promotional style? SuSS: The internet is a great promotional tool. For gaining exposure the internet is our future. And you can be more effective in promoting. Log on to www.djsussone. com and wwwmyspace.com/djsussone. HAHA!! DPM: If you can choose three words to describe you as a DJ what would they be?
SuSS: THE YOUNG KING!! DPM: Goals? SuSS: To dominate every aspect of the DJ game, radio, mixtapes, clubs, world tours, albums, to break good music, produce music, and to produce horror movies. DPM: Any last comments or shouts? SuSS: Shouts to my crew The Ransom Reps “WE HOLDIN’ THE GAME FOR RANSOM!!,” Also to A. Shaw, Desert Storm & The Real Digiwaxx Media. DJ Suss One, “THE YOUNG KING.” Prepare to pass the crown, or I will simple just take it!
Can A 50-cent stankin hoe be a good house wife? I say, “Hell to the naw!”. First of all she is grimy, funky, and greasy, and you know she’ll sell you out for a bag of crack. Now you know you ain’t going be able to trust her bow-legged ass when you leave out the front door as you go do a hard day’s work. She still laying up in your California king-size bed waiting to slip a n***a in the back. Why do y’all ballers dress these hoes in Prada, Gucci, and Fendi and showing up at all these red carpet events in L.A. and N.Y. knowing she came straight from Compton and Bedstuy? Y’all got all these million dollar contracts
and spitting rhymes and reasons and shooting hoops and catching footballs when you need to try to go get you a good ole saved church gal. You know your mama isn’t going to want her breaking bread at her table. She going to be able to smell her stank ass coming. Your daddy been with her in several different ways, and you talking about, “Da dum de dum, here comes the bride!” Now you made the biggest mistake by spitting baby gravy up in that womb. Boy, you just locked for life, “clank clank!” Don’t you know she is going to get half of your shit. You is a dumb ass n***a. Now I ask you once again, “Can a 50-cent stankin hoe be a housewife?” I say,”Hell to the naw!” Kick that bitch back to the curb while you
still can and run to the closest Baptist, Protestant, Pentacostal, Episcopalian, A.M.E. Zion, or Mosque Temple or Church and get you a clean God-given anointed woman like me or any other just off the press divorced or bout to be divorced televangelist. Can I get a Amen? And how do you know that big head baby yours? You should of listened to your mama, but you had to play big boy. You know you are about ready to leave her. Check that DNA n***a! Wit yo dumb ass! You fine and all but you dumb as hell. God bless you all, may he shine his light upon you until I speak to you all again.
by Mindy A. “My man wants a break from our relationship because he is feeling stressed.” “My girl said I’m crowding her space so she is taking a break from me.” NOT! Have you heard this before? If so, and you believed it or you are currently going through a similar situation, you need to wake up and smell the coffee. Some men/woman have a tendency to use excuses such as “space” due to the fact that it is a polite way of saying it is over. Sometimes a request for space or a break is a way of having you at their disposal during the actual break up. In other words you are being used for sex, money or favors. Since you think you are simply on a minor pause in your relationship, you may feel hurt but confident knowing that sooner or later you will have your baby back. Your feelings for your mate blind you from reading in between the lines. That is when denial comes into play. There are signs everywhere indicating it is over. For instance, your call or text messages are no longer responded to. When you pass each other in public you are greeted with a simple hug and “hello”. Matters of the heart can be very deceiving but you should always follow your instincts. Your instincts may be telling you he/she may not be coming back, although you continue to ignore it. Get over it! They are not returning and if so, the odds are very slim. If you are the one requesting the space it is best to be honest. Don’t string the other person along. In the end you will be respected more for being sincere and direct. Using the “space” method may be your way of avoiding arguing or hurting the other person’s feelings. What you are really doing is putting that individual’s life of hold and not allowing them to move on. Leading them to believe that you are returning will actually cause more arguments and build up a lot of pain and anger. You should end it when you notice the first sign that you want to break up because karma will always come back to haunt you. So remember, the next time you hear from your mate that he or she wants space from the relationship, take it for what it’s worth. Finish their sentence with “you are basically saying it is over” and move on. You will be happier in the end because it was not meant to be.
Interview by DJ ARM 18
alib Kweli may be one of the most consistent and prolific MCs in Hip Hop history, no bullsh*t. Check the resume: A decade long career in which not only has he established himself as a premier solo artist over the course of four albums, but he has also collaborated with artists such as Mos Def, Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, and The Roots to name a few.
But it’s more than quanity, it’s the “Kwelity” of his music. Talib earns pounds of respect for being a sharp lyricist who crafts affecting songs in the studio and throws down live on stage. Talib connects with Dime Piece and speaks upon the beautiful struggle of making real music in the ugly Hip Hop biz.
DPM: You have been releasing records now for over 10 years. When it comes to making Hip Hop records, has the game changed? What’s s fundamentally still the same? TalIB KwelI: Fundamentally, Hip Hop is still a release for young people and it speaks to them in the language they use everyday. However, technology, while making it easier to get your music to the
masses, also makes it easier for the average dude who wants to pimp the game to be creative. You have a lot more people in it for the hustle and less for the art. DPM: How have you changed as an MC or a recording artist over your career? TalIB KwelI: I have more experience, resources, expectations, responsibility, history, wisdom, confidence and strength than I started out with. DPM: The impact of upstart independent labels like Rawkus and Fondle ‘Em is still
being felt 10 years later. As an artist who debuted independently and championed the movement, is the mission accomplished? TalIB KwelI: Not yet, but its starting to come full circle with my Blacksmith Label. I plan to apply what I learned from being on Rawkus to Jean Grae and Strong Arm Steady. DPM: O.C. famously rapped, “I rather be broke and have a whole lot of respect.” He made his point, but in the end we all have eat. You’re an MC who has the respect in the streets and the industry. How did you achieve this balance? TalIB KwelI: I refuse to look at what I do as different from these other dudes. Mainstream media doesn’t support my music, but I put enough passion and heart into my art and my grind that you can’t front! I get more doing shows than a lot of your favorite gold and platinum rappers. I diversify my rap hustle. DPM: In the 10 points you revealed in “Manifesto,” you ordered MCs to “drop some conscious shit for our children.” What current Hip Hop artists would you recommend to an adolescent? TalIB KwelI: The Coup, Immortal Technique, Little Brother, Common, Kanye West, The Roots, Lupe Fiasco. DPM: We are in a new era of opportunity for MCs and DJs. With the internet and other multi-media projects, is a producer flipping a beat for ESPN Hip Hop? Is an unsigned rapper drop verses for McDonald’s an MC? How come we don’t yell “sellout” like in the early 1990s? What’s different? TalIB KwelI: I think we were painting in broad brush strokes [than in the ‘90s].
There is nothing wrong with a working class musician allowing a corporation to pay him for his services. If they didn’t do that, they would pay someone to copy what a musician does. You do have to draw the line, you can’t just accept any gig, but you must be allowed to benefit off of what you create. DPM: Talib, you never been afraid to speak upon the pride and beauty you see in Black Americans. How come so many MCs are hesitant to mention the topic of Blackness? TalIB KwelI: Nothing scares America like a free black man. These dudes nowadays love they paper too much to speak freely. DPM: Gun to your head, who would you pick to collaborate with: Roberta Flack or Nina Simone? TalIB KwelI: Nina Simone. She is my musical angel and her spirit has guided me thru my career. DPM: Roy Ayers or Ron Carter? TalIB KwelI: Roy Ayers, I’ve already done a record with Ron Carter [Black Star’s 2001 collaboration “Red Hot + Indigo”]. DPM: George Clinton or James Brown? TalIB KwelI: James Brown. No disrespect to George, but James is the godfather, and there is no Hip Hop without him.
DPM: Cold Crush or Treacherous Three? TalIB KwelI: Treacherous Three. I’m a lyricist [like T3]; Cold Crush was more about the routines. DPM: Public Enemy or Boogie Down Productions? TalIB KwelI: BDP, because of the production. The Bomb Squad[‘s beats] would’ve clashed with my wordy style. DPM: Biggie or Tupac? TalIB KwelI: Biggie, because of Brooklyn, no doubt! Plus, ‘Pac was more diverse, I could hear him on a positive record. Biggie on a record with an artist like me would’ve been revolutionary. DPM: Okay, before you go, what’s happening “right about now”? We know in the last two years, you have maintained the grind, churning out guest spots, a mix tape and you tour regularly. What are your future plans? More recording? Something new? TalIB KwelI: Make sure you check myspace.com/talibkweli for updates on tour dates, appearances and music. But I always stay busy. It’s Blacksmith all day this year. I have my own label with Warner Bros. and our first project was my album “Eardrum.” Then we will follow up with Jean Grae and Strong Arm Steady.