Friday, March 11, 2005

Who? Ozone Maaaaaaag, Who? Ozone Maaaaaaag, Who? Ozone Maaaaaaag, Who? Ozone Maaaaaaag, Who? Ozone Maaaaaaag, Who? Ozone Maaaaag, Who? Ozone Magazine.

Already y'all. I been waiting to post more interviews fo' dat ass, but thing is, like, I get so busy I can't just call every rapper I know, record the conversation and post that mug for free on my blog everytime I feel like posting something worth a shit. So what I do is wait until I get a high paying assignment from a world renoun (sp?) magazine and just post the interviews in their entirities right here.

Well, I got a gang of shit in this new Ozone Magazine and I figured I'd share it with you (Thank's JB! See you in Austin!). Ozone printed part of all these interviews (Also JB, thank's for tagging houstonsoreal up in the book) and you faithful readers get to read them in full (fool) here on houstonsoreal.

Cuz it really is so real like that. After you read these, get your travel plans together for South By Southwest next week. I want to see you all.

Incidentally, everyone interviewed in this massive post of interviews and photos, will be performing at some point in time during SXSW next week, except Mike Jones. Swishahouse wasn't sure if he'd be able to attend because of his promotions schedule and a potential tour and J. Grand their radio guy at Asylum told me SXSW was some "faggot, hippy shit." Which made me explode (Cuz I'm a hetero hippy with a short fuse). But I don't care now. We got the best of the best, and if Mike Jones happens to show up, then that will be even better. If not, I'll sit sideways with Paul Wall and drink some Patron and feel the fuckin' real. (Paul Wall, Michael Watts, Archie Lee and Cooda Bang perform live at SXSW, Wednesday March 16th, Backroom, 2015 E. Riverside Dr., all ages)

Below you're gonna read some words and views from some of the top spitters in Texas. Trae, G.R.i.T. Boys, Killa Kyleon and Yung Redd. If ya don't know ya better ask somebody. And come see me at SXSW. I'm gonna need your protection. I got a couple Austin rappers mad at me and well.. Wait, that's not me... Come holler fools...

MIKE JONES by Matt Sonzala feel the real at

Is this gonna be Mike Jones year?
If the Lord say the same, it’s my year.

Well in addition to the Lord looking out for you, you put in a lot of work to get to this point.
Yeah, I put a lot of work man, and it’s goin’ down now. You know what I’m sayin’?

Tell me a little bit about what makes up that 90% grind you talk about.
Ay it’s definitely 90% grind, 10% sleep. I mean, I stay in the studio till 5 a.m. Go to sleep, gotta wake right back up at 7:00, 7:30 and do it all over again. I mean I make a lot of money, but I don’t even hardly get a chance to spend it cuz I’m gone so much.

What’s a rapper do at 7:30 in the morning?
I’m back up, at the computer, you know what I’m sayin’? Writing songs. I’m constantly writing tracks. I stay on it man.

I’m curious about your songwriting process man, where does it all come from?
Like some from experience, some from my homeboys, they’ll tell me experiences that they been through and I’ll just do it for them. There’s a lot of people that can relate to a lot of stuff you know what I’m sayin’? Sometimes I’ll just be in a crunk mood and I’ll freestyle some stuff, then I’ll just say something from when I was freestylin’ and just put it down and that’s it.

Are any of your songs all freestyle?
Some of them are, not all of them. Some songs, got meanings like, me I mainly rap for the ladies and I write for the streets. They just know, Mike Jones just a person, I’m a hustler, I do whatever it takes. I’m not hating on nobody else.

I heard you performed in Alaska.
Yeah I had a show in Alaska, (whistles) it was cold. I’m talking about cold as I don’t know what. It was extremely cold man. I was like, I didn’t know it was gonna get that cold down there, you know’m sayin’? They showed love to me. I got down there and they was lovin’ it, which shocked me, cuz I’m like, “c’mon man, what y’all know about this man?” But they knew it. I was like, “Whaaaaaat.” I was in Detroit, I was everywhere, you know what I’m saying?

Tell me some of the cities.
O.K. You know, Nebraska, we been all in Florida, New York, Connecticut, Jersey, Oklahoma, Alaska, Denver, Detroit, Alabama, Mississippi, Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City, Kansas, there’s a lot of ‘em. California, all up in California, I mean I gotta go to Kentucky coming up and Long Island somewhere. Oh and Pittsburgh too man. I been everywhere.

Where have you seen your strongest response?
Cleveland, I forgot about them too. Cleveland, Ohio show a lot of love. The whole Midwest is about like that.

What do you think is the connection between Texas and the Midwest, or you and the Midwest?
I mean I don’t know. I just put my music out there and whoever like it, like it. You know and I had went to New York because a lot of people were showing a lot of love out there. I met 50 in LA and he was real, real cool, gave me a lot of game, and then I seen 50 again in New York and he was at the same show I was performing at, so.

So you performed in New York? Where?
Yeah, I was performing for DJ Enuff’s party. Everything was cool. I met all the big DJ’s down there and got on Hot 97 and got on the radio, I was on the radio for a while, so it was love man.

Tell me a little bit about the album you’ve got coming out. Who are you working with on production and who have you got featured?
Like you know right now I got Kanye on the album, Mannie Fresh on the album. I got some stuff from Swizz Beats, I’m checkin’ him out. And uh, you know, I kept it me. It’s mainly me on the album, my Ice Age crew. You know I got my own label, Ice Age Entertainment, and that’s about to blow real, real big. I’m working to get Anthony Hamilton on a track. I was trying to get Nelly on a track.

Who all is with Ice Age Entertainment?
I got Lil Brann, he’s the one that sing r&b, my boy Bright Eye he from Miami, Dade County, Mello, he’s from Chicago but he’s been down in H-Town, and I got my boy CJ straight from Carverdale.

Well I have to ask you this, just because of some rumors I had heard. Does Swishahouse have any problem with you doing your own thing with Ice Age? Because from what I heard, they kicked Magno out for doing his own undergrounds.
Well honestly I don’t really know what happened with them, but it’s a good relationship with us. I mean, to be honest with you, Dash, the CEO of Swishahouse, he’s talking with them to get my company a deal. So, we work as a team over here so yeah, Ice Age is blowing up and me and Dash is straight forward with each other. He was like, “Ay mayne, you know what I’m sayin’? People from Warner Brothers wanna sign Ice Age. I’m about to do Ice Age a deal.” He ain’t trippin’ like that. So I’m with Swishahouse, I represent Swishahouse, I represent Swishablast, but Ice Age is my company. And I just use that to open doors for my people.

Well you had Ice Age before you even signed with Swishahouse right?
Yeah that’s how I got hot. I got hot with Ice Age Entertainment, and when they peeped it, I got with them, I put Ice Age on hold, I went with them, my name got bigger and got a deal. Now I’m still representing Swishahouse. People be thinking that I’m not but I still am, so please get that out your head. Like 50, he represent Shady/Aftermath, but he got G-Unit. And if you go to my website I express it, put it in bold letters., you ‘ll see it on the cover, Ice Age Volume 2: The Takeover, will be out soon. I’m talkin’ about jammin’! We got Lil Wayne on there, we got Xzibit on the CD, we got Jackie O on the CD, my boy Slim Thug on the CD, Killa Kyleon on the CD, we got some crazy people on the CD, so it gonna be insane. And I just did something with TQ so… Ice Age Volume 2 finsta be real, real big.

You got all those people and this is an underground CD?
Yeah I got Xzibit, TQ, Jackie O, Lil Wayne on here, and it’s beautiful man. It’s an underground. I can let you hear snippets, it ain’t no thang.

Do you think people might think you say “Who? Mike Jones” too much?
Yeah I mean, see what’s crazy is, if they was able to, they would do the same thing. You can keep it on the record or off the record, but this is the song Lil Wayne is on on Ice Age Volume 2. Check it out right quick. Then after all that’s over with, I got my boy on here, (Slim Thug comes on). See what I’m sayin’? I mean, we on it out here. That one is me, Slim and Wayne, it’s goin’ down.

But look, you were telling me before that you catch flak at times with people saying you say “Who? Mike Jones” too much. Do you say it on every song on the album?
Naw and that’s what’s crazy, I don’t even say it a lot on the album. I say it on a lot of singles, but if you listen to the album. That’s what blew me up. I mean, what I don’t understand from people is that, let’s say like they say I’m sayin’ my name too much and I’m doing this, but if I stop it completely, then you gonna have some people be like “Oh I like the old Mike Jones. I like it when he used to say the “Who? Mike Jones,” you know what I’m sayin’? That’s how they did Master P. They used to say “Man I get tired of hearing the Uhhhh,” then he stopped and they was like “Man, I remember when Master P used to say the ‘Uhhhhh.’” I want you to check this out. This Xzibit. You gonna hear him say the Ice Age right here (and he does – “Ice Age Entertainment, Strong Arm Steady, the Game. It’s the south and the west coming together” and then kicks into an extended freestyle). I got Lil Keke on here, Lil Keke, he did a classic freestyle man. I’m gonna let you hear it cuz when you typing this up, man. Xzibit still going, see what I’m sayin’ I’m not playing no games. And these people came to me. Keke came through and did something so crucial, you know what I’m saying? (Mike Jones adlibs throughout the entire Keke verse – off a Big Tuck beat - it’s obvious that this is something he’s very proud of). Freestylin’ off the dome dog.

Yeah he’s killin’ it.
Watch right here, then he got this one here. This another song he came and jumped on. Peep the hook on this one. It’s gonna be like Uhhh “I’ma show up, po’ up, like dodo I’ma blow up, 24’s and up every time that I roll up, I’ma show up, po’ up, like dodo I’ma blow up, 24’s and up every time that I roll up.” You know what I’m finna do? I’ma let you listen to a track off my album. I ain’t let nobody hear it yet. I’m gonna let you hear a track off my album to let you know I don’t just say “Who? Mike Jones” every damn time.

How did Lil Keke and Big Pokey end up getting on the “Still Tippin’” remix?
Yeah that’s the remix you know what I’m sayin’? But I’m talkin’ about I’m finna let you hear something on my album and you can be able to say, “Well I heard something on Jones album, and he wasn’t saying his name all the time.” I don’t have to say it every time. There’s a message behind this right here. It’s called “Scandalous Hoes,” I can’t trust ‘em, I can’t stand ‘em. Check this out.

Who made this beat?
We made it ourselves. That’s from my album and you see I only said Mike Jones a couple times everything else is a message you know what I’m sayin’? It ain’t gonna be like that this album. That just proof. (He says it three times on the song).

What other messages are you touching on?
Uh, I’m writing on a track with Ying Yang Twins.

Really? Ying Yang is gonna have a message in a song?
Hold up, Where that song with TQ? Remember I told you about that song with TQ? Matt, I need to set up a time for my boys to come down to your radio show.

Anytime man.
Hold up.

G.R.i.T. Boys
don't forget to peep for the real...

Poppy and Scooby of the G.R.i.T. Boys try to be all professional and shit while Niq says "I think I see a possum." G.R.i.T. Boys perform at precisely 11:50 p.m., Friday March 18th at the Fox N Hound, 401 Guadalupe St., SXSW, Austin, TX

Folks in Houston can see G.R.i.T. Boys perform live April 14th with Dizzee Rascal, DJ Chill and DJ Wonder at the Engine ROom, 1515 Pease downtown. Get tickets via Ticketmaster now cuz this WILL sell out.

Interview with Scooby
By Matt Sonzala

Your name stands for Ghetto Reality in Texas. What exactly is the G.R.i.T. Boys reality these days?
Well the G.R.i.T. Boys reality is the things that we go through in life. My struggles, Unique’s struggles, Poppy’s struggles and we just present it to the world as a whole. It’s what we go through and if you can relate to it then, you know, get a hold of our music. It’ll probably help you get through a day. It’s a really grindin’ music. A lot of people that hustle, that we know from the hood be like, “man I need some CD’s to grind with.” It’s reality and it’s the same shit dudes doing, so it help them get through they day.

Do you hear much other reality rap out there these days?
I mean I hear it you know. It’s a lot of talent that ain’t been heard that I feel been on the same caliber as us. But there’s legends before us that’s been reality. Hawk, Z-Ro, Geto Boys fa sho set the example. I mean it’s reality out there but as a whole the music game is just at a different point right now. There’s a lot of shinin’ going on right now and there’s nothing wrong with that. Cuz we down here ridin’ swangers and fo’s.

Are you ridin’ swangers and all that shit?
Oh yeah, I mean, you know the south ride swangers. I’m representing for the south, you know. It’s all gravy man, we just putting it down for the H. That’s what H-Town do. Candy paint, swangers, reality, it’s whatever.

But doesn’t that shit kind of get old at times, because I gotta say, straight up as much as I love a lot of these artists , I don’t want to hear anymore about “paint drippin’” and all that bullshit. It’s just recycled Screw tape verses. Just admit that shit. It’s fucking recycling Screw freestyles over and over and over.
Yeah I mean, it is, but like some people are late on the style of it and they taking a liking to it just like I took a liking to it ten years ago. So I don’t fault them, but me myself personally, and the rest of the G.R.i.T. Boys, we on a whole other level. We about bringin’ the real, what’s goin’ on. I ain’t riding swangers, but you know, I got potnas that’s riding swangers. So if I made a record about that it’d be for them. But you got a point on that.

Well, do you have to do that in Houston?
Do you have to? Well, me I feel like, if you got the record they wanna hear, a lot of people wanna hear about swangers and drank. If you got that right beat, and that catchy hook man, it’s gonna go. I feel like yeah, but no. Cuz you know the Geto Boys they made it through all that. But the candy paint and the syrup kind of came after that era. But I don’t think it’s hard. I feel like we gonna shine regardless because you can’t deny good talent. I don’t feel like our records can be denied just by the content of what we saying.

Tell me about some of the things you’re saying outside of all that. That’s what I like about the G.R.i.T. Boys. I might hear some references to some of that same old shit but I don’t hear all that same flossy shit every time. What makes you different?
Well, I might talk about that little dude that’s trying to go to his job and he gotta catch the Metro to that bitch and ride it for three hours. Catch two more buses and you know I’m representin’ for the dude that’s going to get a three for ten from the smokehouse you know what I’m sayin’? Niggas that’s on the block coming up paying they rent with dice money. The hustlers that come from ground up and make the success out theyself. So I’m speaking from the hustlers perspective. Not the shiny dude, the flossin’ dude. We kinda stick to ourselves mostly ya feel me? There’s certain people we get down with but we kind of stick to ourselves. Some people don’t be wanting to rap about what we want to rap about all the time you know what I’m saying? Sometimes they be like “well, sometimes y’all might need to talk about swangin’.” And you know, I can rap about whatever mayne, but it’s like, reality is that it’s cats out here grinding. There’s more poor young cats than rich dudes.

Yeah no shit.
So they need somebody to speak for them. Instead of the nigga always talking about “My grille shinin’” You know what I’m sayin’? But ain’t nothing wrong with that you know, cuz Paul Wall can run it all day and sell. Just cuz that’s his style, but he can go to the reality side too with us. It’s all about being a versatile artist. But we stick to the reality side mostly.

Has sticking to the reality side hurt you at all maybe?
It could but you know I ain’t trippin’. Once I have millions I ain’t trippin’, I’ll talk about my Bentley. But as far as right now it won’t hurt us because it’s truth. We speaking the truth man. My thing is, we got the lyrics, but me, I feel like my voice catches a listeners ear. Unique aggressive, Poppy lyrical. I don’t know about that question Matt.

I guess the question is more like, do you think that reality could drive people away from you these days? Are people one-dimensional and only want to hear about the flossin’ and shit?
Some of them can be drove away by it but I think it’s not that. They favorite rappers are rapping about this so this what they want to hear about all day. This what they see on TV all day. You know what I’m sayin’? Everybody want to be something that’s a fantasy. So having all this candy paint and these cars and these 20’s is all good, but if you got it you ain’t complaining about it. But I’m coming up so I’m rappin’ about what I’m doing as I progress. Hell, shit, it’s whatever. But I gotta talk about the candy paint. We might say it on our mix tapes. Here and there in reference to what’s our side of town or what we do in the city, that’s our traits and the syrup and the Screw. But if you go buy a G.R.i.T. Boys album I mean, I wouldn’t look for swangin’ and candy paint. It’s gonna be more truth. It’s gonna be songs on there.

How is the album coming along so far?
The album got 20 tracks on there. It features Paul Wall, Hawk, Yung Redd, Trae, SLAB, Lil Keke.

Is all your music done by Mo’ Betta?
Right now we reaching out. We getting a track from Del, he produce for Hawk. Then we gonna reach out to Young Sears, Redd’s producer.

From Louisville, yeah he’s real dope, that dude Static is dope too.
Yeah, we gonna get a track from him. We just got some things in the works with the beats, but you know, Mo’ Betta produced the bulk of ‘em. They need to prepare to take a ride man through the south. Cuz we touching every point of it.

Where exactly are you guys from?
Southeast. I’m from Sunnyside. Unique from South Acres where Face from. Poppy from Sunnyside too.

How did y’all end up getting together?
Poppy was already signed to Gameface with Lil O. He was touring with Lil O. I was just graduating from high school and I ran into Pretty Todd. Me and Unique was already a group since teenagers, rapping in the house, so you know Todd brought us to Gameface and let us rap on beats and we was in artist development. And Poppy was there and they was like, well you all good why don’t y’all combine and be a group. And you know, we had our own studio, the Grid Iron, cuz Gameface had two studios so we had more time to develop ourselves in the studio. And so you know we started making songs and Todd was like G.R.i.T., that’s a good name for y’all, Ghetto Reality in Texas. Then Hawk added the Boys. He was like you know, y’all the G.R.i.T. Boys. Took us under his wing and we never looked back. Then Paul Wall came in and Djed for us, put out mixtapes with us. Got our name out there and we traveled and done concerts with him and Hawk on the road. It’s been a long little run Matt, and we got so much farther to go.

Killa Kyleon
- but again DO NOT forget to peep for the real...
By Matt Sonzala

Killa Kyleon performs live at SXSW with Slim Thug at 1:30 a.m. Friday night March 18th at Fox N Hound, 401 Guadalupe.

What part of Houston are you from?
I’m from the south side, Dead End, MLK. That’s the area I’m from, but right now I’m living on the north side. So I pretty much got the best of both worlds as far as this H-Town sound goes man.

So you came up around DJ Screw and some of the biggest names to come out of Houston then.
Oh yeah man, I lived right around the corner from Fat Pat and Hawk. I lived right around the corner right when they was starting DEA and everything. My Uncle Ron, Kojak, was pretty much like CEO of the Dead End thing. So I was around the Screwed Up Click like right then at the beginning of it. It was the original SUC when Fat Pat, Hawk and Keke were really like the first three. And really what tripped me out about the Screwed Up Click thing was how it went from really how he went from him just making regular tapes, to everybody just going over to his house freestyling. Cuz there was more street cats in Screwed Up Click than there was just rappers at the time. It was mainly more street guys that was Screwed Up Click when I was coming up from my neighborhood, Dead End and South Park. It started from there and then it spread. And then I began rapping, I got really noticed by Big Pokey and I hooked up with Big Pokey’s crew called Mob Style. I was around Pokey a lot right when he got his deals, before he got his deal. I pretty much grew up under that umbrella. I never really was a part of it because at that time it just really wasn’t for me to just be like “I’m Screwed Up Click.” It was all timing that came with me. I paid dues a little different than everybody else. I was around everything that was going on at the time but it just wasn’t my time.

How old were you then when you were first meeting and seeing all these cats?
Like man, like in about 90, 91, I had to be around about 13, 14 at the time, meeting all those guys and just seeing them on a day to day basis on some street shit. Not really just rap. They knew me because I did a lot of drawing. I used to draw a lot. And right when Screw was coming up, he wanted to do, he wanted to make covers for his Screw tapes and you know I was just getting with him and drawing different covers for his Screw tapes. I drew a lot of like portraits and stuff for him and then, boom, right before he died. It was like a couple of months to a year before he died he found out I could rap. He was like “Man I didn’t know you could rap. Why all them times you been over here you didn’t open your mouth and you didn’t try to do nothing?” Cuz he knew my brothers, he was real close friends with my brothers and my uncles and different relatives of mine from the neighborhood and everything. That was around the time when everybody was just getting on really. That was a real big thing going and they influenced me a whole lot, but just me trying to be a part of what they doing, at that time I didn’t feel like that was for me.

Did you ever rap on a Screw tape?
Never got a chance to rap on a Screw tape. But you know my name done been chanted on a gang of ‘em and I know everybody that done ‘em, all my relatives. I never got a chance, I never had the balls enough. I’d be over there at times where they recording and you know, at that time I had that little mic fright still so I never had the chance to just get on one. But that experience as it happened, it was mind blowing to just see him do everything live, I never seen another DJ do it like how he did it. There’s never gonna be another DJ Screw. There’s gonna be a lot of imitators, but there’ll never be another DJ Screw.

Did you realize that they were going to have the impact they had when you saw them just freestyling over at his house?
I can honestly say I seen it coming. I seen it coming from a mile away. Like I seen everybody growing as they began to freestyle. I could see they styles growing.

So now it’s 2005 and you’re working with one of the hottest artists in the south (Slim Thug), where are you right now? Are you signed to Slim’s label? Are you signed to Interscope?
Yeah its sort of like how 50 Cent did G-Unit. I’m coming in like how he did Lloyd Banks. I’m Boss Hawg, Geffen, Interscope. I’m not Star Trak though. I’m signed to Interscope through Boss Hawg. But it all worked the same, it’s all under the same umbrella.

I‘m sure you’re concentrating on Slim’s album right now but are you working on an album for yourself?
Aw yeah man I’m already 40 songs deep into my album. I’m constantly working on my album. When he work, I work. It’s no I’m waiting on it. I don’t want to make it like I’m just all the way dependent cuz we never really worked like that. We keep things going. While he making noise in the industry, I’m still gonna be making noise in the underground until my album goes. I’m still doing my mixtapes, I’m still in the studio working on my album, and as he travel, I travel also. Like we been doing a gang of shows. So when he got shows you know we there for the support of shows and as far as music wise, we never stop making music. That’s what got us to this point, our consistency.

Who are you working with on your album?
I’m pretty much doing mostly me right now. As time comes I’ll do my features but a lot of albums that came out of Texas have a gang of features on them. And I want to be able to show that I can hold my own, because I basically feel like with the features it’s just somebody with a name saying the same thang you saying on a song. Why I’m going to get somebody else on my record when I can say the same thang they saying, if not better. I want to be able to show everybody that I can hold my own. I can come from every angle with the rap thang. I can come street, I can come crossover, I can do thangs for the women… there’s a few people I want to feature but I pretty much want to keep my record a southern record. Everybody’s pretty much doing the same thang in the industry right now.

What about on production?
Production wise, I’ma have sick production. Like right now I’m working with an in house producer of mine called T.A., Headbangers Production. I’m pretty much working with him. I got production from Mr. Lee. Eventually I’m gonna come with production from Pharell. I done spoke with David Banner, Juicy J from Hypnotize Minds, there’s a gang of people I’m gonna work with. Sha Money XL.

You’ve appeared on a ton of mixtapes recently. What are some of the tapes we might have heard you on?
I’m on Southern Smoke 15, you know the Boss Hawg Outlawz Southern Smoke, I done done work with Whoo Kid, Kay Slay, Swishahouse, SLAB, Trae… and I did stuff with Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Slim, Boss Hawg camp, Pusha T from the Clipse, Young Jeezy out of Atlanta, I’m gonna get some production from Jazzee Pha. Jazze Pha real close friends of us too.

How was the reaction from the New York DJ’s when they heard you flow? You had to kill a lot of them out there.
Oh yeah man it was like, they didn’t know a lot of guys form Texas that had styles and lyricism. They didn’t know Texas done it like that but I was just like, I’m just one of the few. We got a lot of diamonds in the rough, it’s just man, like the way Texas been going in my eyes, we got away from our style for a long time and it’s just now coming back. “Still Tippin’” showed the world pretty much, cuz it’s getting a worldwide response right now. When I say I been all over the United States, and done seen the response of the record, because I’m sayin’ “Still Tippin’” cuz that’s a Texas record. That’s a Houston record and that’s pretty much showing the world our sound. And once they heard our sound and everybody seen that we can make it with our sound, everybody’s going back to it. But for a while, everybody in Texas was trying to do what everybody else was doing. Atlanta had the crunk vibe and they had the little New York vibe doing the samples in the song, but you know it’s like we back doing us right now and now that we see that it’s safe to do us, I think Texas is going to come to the forefront like Atlanta did.

Who are some of the diamonds in the rough?
I gotta go with my partners man. I gotta go with the G.R.i.T. Boys, Scooby, Poppy, Unique, I think them boys is some heavy diamonds in the rough. Dre Day one of my artists, heavy diamond in the rough. My Boyz in Blue boys, Chris Ward, Sir Daily, PJ, Lil Mel, the list can go on about diamonds in the rough out here. It’s an overwhelming list of guys who are just hard.

How long will it be before we hear your new album?
My album should be coming in summer, early fall. It’s coming though man. But as far as hearing me, I’m still gonna kill these mixtapes, they gonna hear me on Slim’s album and a gang of things to come.

- and you know, don't forget to peep for the really real deal
By Matt Sonzala

Trae performs live Friday night March 18th, Austin, TX, SXSW at the Fox N Hound, 401 Guadalupe, 12:15 a.m.

When did you first start out doing music?
Man I started out doing music when I was 12. My first time being heard on wax was in 1997 with Zro, Look What You Did to Me, and G-Rapp the General. That’s Lil Flea brother from Street Military.

How old were you when that Zro record came out?
I was 16, 17 somewhere around there.

So it wasn’t too long after that that you started doing the Guerilla Maab project right?
Yeah, Rise came out in 1999, right when I got out of jail, that was 1999.

How long were you in jail?
Not really long man, I had caught a aggravated robbery case by being young and crazy. I was on the streets. It was a blessing. I didn’t do nothing but probably some weeks in jail, but I was on paper for like two years for aggravated robbery. They tried to give me close to 40 years. But it was a blessing man, the DA knew my lawyer and they felt they could give me another chance for me to not mess my life off. Cuz I had been doing music, so I was already known for that. They ended up doing that to where I only got two years deferred, but if I had messed up on that deferred probation then I’d have did the max that I could do on that case.

Well, that is a blessing. How many solos have you done so far?
Well I only did two solos, but the albums all together combined me and Zro anywhere from 16-20 albums. Then I had 20 mixtapes, 5 all flows, then I got another solo all flows that’s coming out right now.

So for all flows is that all you or do you have some guests?
Well the only features I got is from my immediate family, SLAB. That’s really it.

I always admired that about you too cuz you work with Zro and with SLAB and you guys are actually all family right?
Yeah, in the same house. SLAB is our whole family, but at the head is Lil Boss, J-Ton and Lil B.

There’s a SLAB full-length coming out too now right?
Yeah, The Anthem. It’s a hard album, it’s a classic. They don’t even really have no features on there man, because I want to show the world that they jammin’ without features. I got me and Zro on there. And Billy Cook and maybe a few more, but they can do it on they own. They do got one classic song on there representing letting people know that they the youngest out the H, but all us support them like you got me, Bun, Hawk, Mike D, Zro, Paul Wall, lettin’ em know that it’s all one big team. The streets rode for us and now the streets gonna ride for them.

You’ve put out some of the biggest projects in Houston between Zro, SLAB and your solo records, your last solo was one of the biggest independents last year. Do you feel like this year is going to be a strong year for you? Because it seems like there’s a lot of eyes on Houston.
Yeah as far as our family, ABN and our family right there I think it’s gonna be a big year. Zro’s solo coming out. You got my solo. You got the ABN. You got the SLAB. I mean it’s gonna be a big year for us. We gonna have to start moving at all times because you know our team, I feel our only competition is us.

Is that Assholes By Nature album still gonna come out?
Yeah that’s gotta come out, we just in the process of debating who we gonna let put it out or if it’s gonna come out independent.

Do you deal with Rap A Lot at all or is that just a Zro deal?
We always gonna deal with them cuz they considered family with us man. I don’t care what nobody say about them. They done showed us love from day one, so we ride with them too. But as far as the project, we ain’t sat at the table to figure out who gonna do what yet. We just taking our time.

When’s the ABN album gonna come?
I don’t know man. All the albums really done, my solo album the only one that ain’t really done right now. And the ABN is like the closest to being done, cuz SLAB is done.

How do y’all stay so consistent with the projects? How do you guys get to put out so much music?
I don’t know man, that’s what we do. People always wonder why we be so serious, and I sit back and let ‘em know, we keep a lot of shit we go through inside our chests. We ain’t the type to go talk about our problems to nobody so that’s what make us good at what we do in this music shit, so we go through shit on a day to day basis. That’s why we have so much shit to talk about. That’s why I’m glad we go through shit. I hate that it be how we go through it but it’s good that we do go through it because without that, shit, what would we have?

So have things been real hard lately?
Aw yeah, we go through so much shit dog it’s like retarded. If one of us ain’t in jail, or one of us ain’t in a shoot out or one of us ain’t fighting, I mean, it just be so much shit and there’s always something negative. Half the time we don’t even want to answer our phone because we don’t know what it is on the other line telling us.

So why does that happen to y’all so much? You stay so consistent and seem to stay so busy, why does that happen with y’all so much?
Maaaaan, I think that’s just, God got a plan for everybody so. We probably going through this cuz in the future we ain’t gonna have to go through nothing. He’s probably preparing us to be a bigger man than what we is right now.

Well you guys never seemed to be small men. You always seemed to handle your business.
And you know right now I’m on some, I’m really, really trying to be a grown man, you know I got a child and you know my reputation for… you talk about me on a CD I’m gonna beat yo ass or I’m coming to get ya. Even this year, I been going through it. I know they told y’all a lot of shit so I just been trying to cool a little bit. Right now I’m trying to not let people get under my skin man. I got a solo underground coming out called Drama. People been really pissing me off so I had to let ‘em have it, but after this man, I’m gonna start letting these cats make it. Cuz I ain’t got time to be entertaining that. You know, we from the streets, so that’s our mentality, which I ain’t gonna ever change that, but I just gotta be smart man. My brother doing three life sentences, I can’t be there. I don’t even want him there.

Who’s your brother?
My brother Dinky. Yeah I don’t want him there, so I damn sure don’t want to be there.

So why do you think you see so much adversity? You guys seem like the type of guys who should be more looked up to.
We always looked up to, so every hood gonna ride for us, but you always gonna have your roach ass niggas that mad cuz everybody like us. Now don’t get it twisted. We don’t have any enemies. Our enemies may be every one out of three or four thousand. So it ain’t like it’s the whole south is hating us right now. Like right now I’m going through some shit in Austin, but really 90% of Austin got love for me but it’s this little ten percent of these roach ass motherfuckers that’s mad cuz we come out there and we sell units and we do a lot of live shows and people love us to death so they mad. As opposed to working they ass off to pay they dues, them motherfuckers wanna wine about the shit. I really don’t take disrespect at all.

So how do you avoid that sort of thing?
It’s kind of hard to say bro. I can only take it a day at a time. It’s like one of my lyrics on Drama, on a song called “To Each His Own,” I say “They probably want me in jail, cuz they know I keep something to spray…” Therefore I’m gonna go at you toe to toe and if I just feel like you trying to harm me, everybody know I stay strapped 24/7 so it’s like they trying to buck me to make me get locked up. Just like last year I ended up catching a bullshit case being in a shootout that wasn’t even our fault, it was the fact that motherfuckers up there on drugs trippin’ with theyself and can’t handle they drugs and wanna get buck. I ended up having to pay for that. I started going through a whole nother case. I’m going through so much bullshit, like right now I’m going through a case, it’s our whole ABN family against a whole certain precinct police station. Not no one policeman, I’m talking about literally where it’s like warfare. We come out our house they itching to come get us. It just be a whole bunch of shit we go through but you know that don’t do nothing but make me a stronger man. They want me so bad right now but they ain’t got shit on me. It’s just a whole bunch of shit dog. People see the things that we have and they don’t understand that we live real lives. We ain’t in no fairy tale shit. I’m gonna be consistent till they put me in my grave and hopefully when they put me in my grave it’s still gonna be consistent.

Yung Redd
- once and for all go peep that ya bitch
By Matt Sonzala

This was taken in the backyard of KPFT during Damage Control. Yung Redd performs live with H$E (Yung Redd & Lil Ron) at the Backroom, 2015 E. Riverside Dr., Austin, TX, SXSW, Wednesday March 16th at 9 p.m. Which means you have to get there early...

You first came out back in the day as a part of HSE, which was a group with Lil Flip. Who else was in HSE?
HSE was the first album we put out in ‘99, I was still in high school. It was me, Lil Flip, A.P. and Hump. Hump didn’t rap but he was on the cover. To date that record sold 100,000. That was the first release on Sucka Free before anything.

So you were one of the first artists signed to Sucka Free.
I was the second artist signed to Sucka Free. Flip was the first. I was in a talent show in high school, Worthing High School, me and Flip went to the same school, and Flip came backstage and was like, “What was the song you did?” And I told him and that ended up being one of the first songs on the HSE album. It was a song called “As the World Turns.” At this time, Poppy was in HSE too, from the G.R.i.T. Boys. It was me, Poppy and Lil Flip. By this time, my partner Jason died, and after he died I took his place and that’s how I got into HSE.

So what are you working on right now? Is this a new HSE record or are you coming out with something on your own?
New HSE record, the final one and it’s called The Paper Route.

Who all is HSE now?
It’s me and Lil Ron. Last niggas standing. This the last one before I do my solo. This one is better than the first one to be honest man. Cuz we got 3-6 Mafia, David Banner, Killer Mike, Young Bloodz, Scarface, Trae, Paul, T.I. I got a lot of big names on there.

How did HSE go from being you, Flip and A.P. to you and Lil Ron?
Once A.P. came out the group it was me and Flip just two deep, and then Lil Ron came in after he left the Swishahouse so we just put him down. He paid his dues. You know? He helped us go platinum with the nationwide success we was having. And Flip just recently stepped. He’s still signed to Sucka Free, but he’s not affiliated. So that just left me and Ron.

Did you have any problem with Flip leaving?
Naw, I didn’t have no problem with Flip leaving. I just told him really must keep it real, holler at me. We was gonna still do projects together even though he was gone.

How are things at Sucka Free right now?
Man you know there’s still a lot of money to be made. Money still being made, and you know, there really ain’t no problem, we just putting out this album right now. Sucka Free as a label is still signed to Sony, I just asked to be off.

For HSE or for your solo stuff?
For my solo stuff.

So this new HSE will be you and Lil Ron under Sony/Sucka Free?

Do you feel like they’re giving you the support they were giving Lil Flip? Do you feel good about Sony’s involvement in having an HSE record?
I mean really, like with Flip album when they put out Flip album, we was promoting it ourselves, they come in secondary. So I’m not even looking for ‘em to put that big push behind it. I’m gonna have to do it by myself.

Well that’s always been kind of the Houston way.
Yeah, man so you know how that is.

Have you been doing anything besides working on this album?
I did every volume of the SLAB CD’s. Swishahouse CD’s. 2 Fast 2 Furious Soundtrack. Really just a lot of undergrounds, all the mixtapes. I did a Kay Slay mixtape, I’m doing something for Green Lantern coming up. That’s basically all it is, you know what I mean?

Who all did you work with on production on that album?
Juicy J, David Banner, these dudes that worked with Aaliyah called In The Trunk.

Is that Static and them out of Louisville?
Yeah, his producers called In The Trunk. That’s what I got going on.

Are you working on the solo record too?
Yeah I’m doing that at the same time. I’m shopping for beats for it. I’ma do it on a larger scale.

So you’re saying you got out of your Sony deal for your solo record, so does that mean you’re not gonna do your solo record with Sucka Free?
See it’s up in the air. It ain’t no money problems or nothing like that you know what I mean? It ain’t no beef I just want to do my own thing. I’m 23 now. I want to do my own thing man.

So 23 and you’ve been releasing records for 6 years?
Yeah since I was in high school. I just want to do my own thing because I know the business now.

Has Hump been like a mentor for you?
Yeah Hump showed me the game. I been knowing Hump since I was 14. And really he never, never screwed me out of no money or none of that. I always been able to buy a house, whatever I wanted to do, anything you know what I’m saying?

You’re 23 and you have a house?
Yeah. Like Lil Ron is barely 20. So we just doing our thang man. A lot of cats be talking in the streets and they want to know what we be doing because we stay so low. But they gonna see. My album is gonna speak for itself though.

and that'll be about it for this post...


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