Click Banner To Return To Homepage

Sunday, April 3, 2011

88 Keys Raw Dawg Blog

I'll be honest, I really don't like tumblr for the most part.  Call me an old salty hater, but I'm just not feeling the format.  I think it promotes a lot of lackluster, low effort blogging.  There are, however, some people who use the world of tumblr for good.  88 Keys, who is responsible for the Raw Dawg record cover blog, is one of those people.  Keys, who wakes up every morning and starts making beats before doing anything else, uses the blog to show us the cover of the record he listens to first every day.  The blog has a very intimate vibe and I can't get enough of the beautiful record covers.  For a cover art junkie like me, this blog is a dream come true.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Marvin Gaye Part One- DJ Spinna

Marvin Gaye's impact on music is immeasurable and impossible to sum up in one post.  Luckily for me, DJ Spinna put this essential podcast together to wish Marvin a happy birthday.  Hopefully you caught it when it came out last year.  If not, I'm posting it today for your listening pleasure.  Happy birthday Marvin.  Thank you for touching so many lives with your music.


"Storybook Girl"- Jack Tradez

 Storybook Girl @jacktradez by DJ Rebelion
The Internet keeps reminding me how many talented people are out there that I still know nothing about.  The other day I got a tweet telling me to check out Jack Tradez and his song "Storybook Girl".  I had never heard of the artist or the song, but I've been trying to do a better job of checking out material from people I'm not familiar with.  Truth is, a lot of stuff I get sent from new/unfamiliar artists turns out to be really good.  I'm learning that if you get too jaded from a few people hitting you up with trash, you'll miss all of the good stuff.  That said, this song isn't just good, it's great.  How can you not love a very professional and polished looking black and white video, a soul sample beat, and nice lyrics to boot?  Check out the video and a free download of the track, compliments of DJ Rebelion.  

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2 Busy Saying Yeah - D.J. Rogers

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Matthew Africa.  His musical IQ is off the chart and his 2 Busy Saying Yeah podcast consistently kills it.  I'm really feeling one of his most recent mixes of D.J. Rogers.  Mr. Africa plays the role of selecta perfectly, cooking up an amazingly soulful and in-depth mix of an artist I knew very little about until a few days ago.  This is required listening...don't sleep.  Download    

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rockit Man- Zion I & The Grouch feat. Silk E (Official Music Video)

Whenever Zion I and The Grouch collabo, good things tend to happen.  This song is no exception.  And luckily for fans, "Rockit Man" is featured on a brand new full length titled Heroes in the Healing of a Nation.  I'm completely blown away by the beat and hook (both MC's also go in lyrically).  Props to them for crafting such an incredibly original song.

This song will help you defeat other people when they try to argue that:
a) Rap is dead
b) Nobody makes original records anymore
c) Blah blah blah

Friday, March 25, 2011

Speak Ya Clout: G-Side on The ONE​.​.​.​COHESIVE Part 3

Here is the third and final installment of my interview with G-Side.  Click here to read Part 1 and here to read Part 2.  

Support G-Side by purchasing The ONE...COHESIVE by clicking here.  Check out the rest of their catalog on iTunes by clicking here.  Make sure to check out the other artists and projects linked to in the interview below.    

DJ Sorce-1:  Huntsville International is one of my favorite G-Side releases.  It’s such an impressive project that I think it should be considered an album, not a mix tape.  To me, the sound and style of COHESIVE was not at all like Huntsville International.  I was kind of surprised by how different it sounded. 

ST:  With Huntsville International, we had a point to prove.  People heard our previous album Starshipz and Rocketz and said things like, “Oh, the production is great.  The rappers are OK, but the production is great.”  We had to show that we could stand on our own as MC’s.  That’s why some of those tracks on Huntsville International weren’t Block Beataz produced. 

Huntsville International wasn’t called an album because we didn’t put the care and time into it that we put into our albums.  That’s why COHESIVE doesn’t sound anything like it.  When you get to the last songs on Huntsville International, it kind of leads you into the COHESIVE sound.  But for the most part they sound totally different. 

DJ Sorce-1:  COHESIVE  also utilized producers other than The Block Beataz.  One of my favorite non in-house songs is “Pictures”, which is produced by Clams Casino.  Can you tell me a little bit about how you linked with Clams?      

ST:  He got in touch with us via twitter.  He was a fan of our music and ended up linking with our manager, Codie G.  He sent us the original track and the Block Beataz ended up collaborating with him on the beat, so that beat is actually a Clams Casino/Block Beataz beat.  I think the only song on COHESIVE that the Block Beataz didn’t add their touch on was “No Radio”, which Burn One produced.  Everything else was a collabo with the Block Beataz.

"Numb" (Demo Version of "Pictures") - Clams Casino 

DJ Sorce-1:  What made you decide to do an entire song about texting naked pictures?  “Pictures” has to be the first song ever recorded that’s exclusively dedicated to naked picture texting. 

ST:  We get a lot of nasty pictures.

Clova:  We ask for a lot ‘em.  We don’t just get ‘em, we ask for ‘em.  (Laughs)

ST:  We’re trying to popularize texting nasty pictures.  Hopefully the rate of nasty pictures goes up a little bit because of that song.  What’s more inspiring than that?  You open a text message and there’s a butt naked chick right there.  We had to make a song about it. 

DJ Sorce-1:  (Laughs) Let’s talk about the G-Mane verse on there.  He absolutely beasts that Clams beat.  I hadn’t heard much from him prior to his feature.  Can you tell me about his background? 

ST:  We started working with him a couple of years ago.  G-Mane is an OG.  He’s from a place called Florence, which is about 45 minutes outside of Huntsville.  He was in a group called Slave Kamp back in the day.  They had a big movement and were really controversial.  You should research them.  But yeah, we do a lot of work with G-Mane.  He’s like the new Nate Dogg if you ask me.

DJ Sorce-1:  He sings too?

ST:  Yeah.  Those are his vocals behind mine on the hook of “Pictures”.  His vocals are also on the “Relaxin’” record that didn’t make it on the album.  He can lay hooks on anything.  Some people say he sounds like Bun when he raps, but his style is pretty unique to me.  I love his shit.

DJ Sorce-1:  “Relaxin'’” was a great cut that didn’t make the album.  Is there any more material that you’re going to be releasing online that had to be left off of the album?

ST:  We have another album we’re going to try to try to drop at the end of the year.  We’ll go back and beef up a few cuts that didn’t make COHESIVE and then we’ll make a bunch of new joints.  When you’re working on an album, you always need to make a lot more songs than you’re going to put out so that you can pick the very best.  We had a problem choosing how many songs we were going to put on the album.  We were figuring that out up until the last day.  We originally thought of sticking with the 1 theme and going with 11, but we just had too many good songs. 

DJ Sorce-1:  COHESIVE talks about some of the sweets of the rap game, but a lot of lyrics focus on the strain rap can put on relationships. 

ST:  Oh yeah.  Whenever its album mode for us, we pretty much live in the studio and every relationship is strained.  Business relationships, relationships with other people, relationships with your family and girl, it’s all strained during the process of recording of the album.  In some ways I guess its ok because the emotion comes out in the music. 

DJ Sorce-1:  It must be challenging to shut people off like that.  Do you think a lot of rappers struggle to find that level of self-discipline?

Clova:  I think so.

ST:  That’s probably why a lot of guys don’t get the recognition that they should.  They’re really talented, but they let other things get in the way.  With music, you get back what you put into it.  

DJ Sorce-1:  I really liked the way the album opens up.  When Codie introduces you on the first song, “Shots Fired”, it seems like he was introducing you to new listeners while trying to make a statement to old fans.   Why was it so important to have him open up the album for you?  

ST:  We made the intro when the album was done.  If you listen to the album, Codie is the cohesion.  He’s the glue that holds the songs together, the first voice and last voice you hear.

Clova:  He’s like the narrator. 

DJ Sorce-1:  Can you explain Codie’s position in the Slow Motion Soundz movement. 

ST:  I don’t know if you got enough ink to write all that. (Laughs)  He’s like our general manager.  He takes care of our general business, whether it comes from down the street, Sweden, Canada, or Mars.  They’re going to talk to him first.  He’s the first line of defense.  He’s secretly working on his album and shit, trying to outdo us. (Laughs)  Nah, I’m fucking with you. 

Clova:  Codie makes it happen.  He’s the mastermind. 

ST:  It’s important that people know that Codie is not an industry dude.  Codie didn’t come from a family in the industry and hadn’t been working in the industry.  He came out of the military and into being G-Side’s manager.  Once he took the reins, that’s when things really started happening.  

(Codie G, DJ Snake and Fadel)
DJ Sorce-1:  How did his transition from military man to G-Side manager happen?

ST:  He’s been with Slow Motion since day one.  Him and CP actually came up with the name.  He joined the military to feed his family and he ended up having to go to Iraq.  By the time he got back, G-Side was pretty much the main focus of Slow Motion Soundz.  Whatever Slow Motion Soundz needs done, he’s down to do.   G-Side and Slow Motion Soundz needed a manager, so he stepped up to the plate.     

Clova:  Over the last couple of years he has made so many connects and now he’s putting them all together.  Codie taught himself and now he’s playing it like chess.  He definitely got it man.
DJ Sorce-1:  It seems like this was a very emotional, personal project for both of you.  Are there any songs that stand out as favorites?

ST:  I like “Nat Geo”.  I really like the whole album, for real.  I can’t even pick. 

Clova:  ST’s is “Nat Geo”?  I think mine is “How Far”.  When I heard “How Far” for the first time I couldn’t even believe that it was our track.  CP, who produced the track, has been in the zone.  

ST:  CP’s daughter does some of the vocals on the hook.  There are two female vocalists harmonizing, Victoria Tate and Kaylan Parham.  Kaylan is CP’s daughter.

DJ Sorce-1:  “How Far” is definitely one of my favorite records on the album.  The production is brilliant and not at all what you would expect from a rap song.  Is that a sample based beat?

ST:  It was an interpolation of a song called “10 Mile Stereo” by Beach House.  The guitar part was replayed in the studio by Codie Hampton.  He played the guitar on “How Far” and he also did some guitar playing on Huntsville International.


DJ Sorce-1:  Based on audience reaction, do you have a favorite song to do live?

ST:  I think “Came Up” goes hard.  We performed it in Huntsville a little while ago and it was crazy.  That might be one of our favorite records to perform live.  There’s a YouTube video of us performing it with a live violin.  It was really dope. 

DJ Sorce-1:  Most of the reviews of COHESIVE have been very positive.  One of the few criticisms of the album is that it’s very feature heavy.  Do you have anything to say about that criticism?   

ST:  A lot of people think that the name of the album is supposed to describe how it sounds.  It’s more about describing the way we move.  There are 7 or 8 studios in our facility.  We were all moving as one cohesive unit to make this record happen.  That’s kind of how we go out to the clubs too.  If we go out or travel, there are a lot of us.  We move as one and we try to move cohesively.  We showcased a lot of acts that are going to be coming off of Slow Motion Soundz in the coming years on this album.  All of the people, except for Mic Strange, are Slow Motion Soundz artists.     

Clova:  Yeah, we tried to use our overseas connections and all that.  We wanted to have a lot of people on there.

DJ Sorce-1:  G-Side is clearly playing a major role in making the Slow Motion Soundz name a household one.  Do you still question your decision to go all out despite the positive feedback COHESIVE has gotten so far? 

ST:  We do.  When you’re not rich, you second guess yourself sometimes.  Your financial situation won’t always make you happy.  But as long as you’re happy doing what you’re doing, you just gotta keep pushing, whether or not you’re making the money you want to be making.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Speak Ya Clout: G-Side on The ONE​.​.​.​COHESIVE Part 2

Here is Part 2 of my interview with G-Side.  Part 1 can be read by clicking here.

DJ Sorce-1:   In other interviews you’ve named rappers and groups like 8 Ball and MJG, Outkast, The Geto Boys, Master P and UGK as major influences.  Are there any East and West coast rappers that had the same level of influence on you?  

ST:  I’m a huge Pac and Jay-Z fan.  Those are my two major influences that aren’t from the south. 

Clova:  Yeah, Pac and Jay-Z were big for me.  I like Biggie too man.  I was a big B I G fan. 

ST:  I can’t forget E-40.  He was a huge influence for me.  But for the most part it was all regional.  We were kind of biased against East and West coast stuff.  Once we had our own voices in the south, we couldn’t really relate to the beats or lyrics.  Those cats up north who be rhyming about numerology and stuff like that never made it down to us.  We didn’t know what the hell they were talking about.  But if guys came out rhyming about chicken, grits, bricks, and bitches…we understood that. (Laughs)

DJ Sorce-1:  (Laughs) I want to touch on the lyrical content of G-Side.  You both have talked about how Clova’s lyrics revolve around swag and aura while ST is more on the lyrical tip.  How do you achieve the balance of being a group that brings it lyrically while at the same time not losing your listeners? 

ST:  When you’re writing something, you know if it’s going to go over someone’s head.  If you stretch and stretch and stretch to make a cool metaphor or punch line, 9 times out of 10 your audience isn’t going to get it.  We try to keep it simple, from the heart, and not over think it.  That’s a really important part of it.  Once more people start listening to your music you tend to think more about what you’re going to say and how people are going to take it.  But you can’t over think it.  You just gotta get in there and do you.  

DJ Sorce-1:  In one of your interviews you talked about trying to make “modern soul music”.  A lot of your subject matter touches on material that working class people can relate to.  Do you worry that if you get to a certain level of success, you might lose some of the audience you’ve been building because they won’t be able to relate to you?      

Clova:  I don’t think we will.  It’s kind of like our fans have turned into our family.  They helped us blow up.  I don’t know…I don’t think they’re really going to go anywhere.        

ST:  I think that our fans will grow with us instead of grow out of us.  If we stay true to ourselves, I think they’ll roll with us.  They have thus far on four records.  We’re not the exact same MC’s we were before.  I like to think that our fan base has grown and the same people who were with us on Sumthin' 2 Hate are with us on COHESIVE.

DJ Sorce-1:  Speaking of modern soul music, I love the whole “W2 Boy” mentality.  Rapping about average Joe type of shit instead of insane wealth definitely makes me think of classic soul.     

ST: Right. Shout outs to Kristmas (Kristmas is a dope Huntsville rapper who coined the W2 Boy movement.  Peep him here.)

DJ Sorce-1:  One of my favorite lines off of COHESIVE is when you talk about how, “Every two weeks I was only making $454”.  When I heard that I was like, “Man, I’m going through that shit right now.”  (Laughs) 

ST:  We just got out of that.  I was going through that this time last year, so I definitely feel you.   I had to take a look at my short term goals to get out of my job and just do music full time.  I also do music videos, so it’s not like I’m just rapping full time.  I just had to pick a different hustle.

DJ Sorce-1:  You used to manage a gas station with your brother.  Have you given that up since COHESIVE has come out?      

ST:  Yeah, I gave it up last May.  That’s when we were hitting the road heavy.  Being on the road and directing music videos kept the bills paid.   

DJ Sorce-1:  Clova, I know at one time you ran a barber shop.  Have you had to give that up? 

Clova:  No, I still cut hair.  I still do that. 

DJ Sorce-1:  You guys are both obviously pretty business savvy.  Where do you guys see the money being in the rap game?  I get a different a different answer every time I ask that question.  Some people say you can still make money off of album sales, digital downloads and tours.  Do you think that it has to be broader than that? 

ST:  Since 06-07 our theme has been multiple streams of revenue.  It’s gotta come in from different places.  It’s gotta be merch, CD’s, shows, placements, studio time, and music videos.  At the end of the day, in order for you to be comfortable, you gotta be uncomfortable.  You’re going to have to work and bust your ass to get it from different angles.

DJ Sorce-1:  Is it still possible to eat off of rap?

Clova:  I think you can.  It’s all about investments man.  A lot of people, when they do get their money, they do the wrong thing with it.  People started a trend with buying fancy cars and spending 100,000 on this, that, and the other.  I think if you invest your money right you can live off of the revenue from rap.

DJ Sorce-1:   It’s kind of a cliché thing to say, but the focus on music seems to be much more on singles.  Making a coherent album isn’t really a trend.  So business wise, it was a risk for you guys to tackle a project like COHESIVE.  What made you decide to put everything aside and throw all of your effort into making a great album?

ST:  It was pretty natural for us, really.  That’s what we grew up listening to, full albums.  Like you said, lately, it’s been all about singles.  In order to make ourselves stand out we had to do something different.  We had to go left and put ourselves in our own lane.

DJ Sorce-1:  When you were working on the album, did you try to cut yourself off from music that was coming from outside of your inner circle? 

Clova:  We pretty much just focused on us.  We don’t really listen to nobody else anymore, for real.  Unless we’re at the club and we hear people’s singles. 

ST:  We mostly listen to older music.  Some new stuff filters through, but for the most part we listen to older music.

DJ Sorce-1:  Are there any older albums that directly influenced the COHESIVE in terms of style and lyrics?

ST:  Aquemeni and ATLiens.  Those were two of the main albums we played to get in the right mode and know what we were doing musically.

DJ Sorce-1:  It’s funny; I was going to ask about both of those albums, because I definitely see ties between them and COHESIVE. 

ST:  Outkast pretty much had the same format and set-up.  They had their set of producers who provided their sound and a set of MC’s around them that could add different elements that ‘Dre and Big couldn’t.  That’s what we did with the COHESIVE.  On Outkast albums, if ‘Dre or Big weren’t on a song, the song was still jamming front to back.  We took that way of working and applied it to us.

DJ Sorce-1:  You mentioned the importance of having the right production.  Can you tell me about the beat selection process?  How much of a voice do you each get when you’re picking beats to use?

ST:  I don’t know if there’s really a process.  Sometimes it’s just magic.  CP could be working on a beat where he only has a few sounds laid out.  We might have heard it a month earlier and liked it, so we keep bothering him to finish it.  It’ll get to the point where it’s done enough for us to make a song to it.  And then by the time it’s on the album, it sounds totally different.  

Our studio is a really big facility.  It has eight different recording studios in it.  We can go room to room, producer to producer, and ask them what they got.  When we were recording the album, everybody in the studio was in COHESIVE mode.  Whatever was getting made was for COHESIVE.  If it didn’t fit, it didn’t fit.  But for the most part we got first pick.

DJ Sorce-1:  When you’re writing lyrics, do you write together, or do you do most of that separately?

ST:  We don’t really have a routine for writing.  We could be together one session, and then other times it could just be Clova or me in the studio.   We could work on a song that someone started months ago.  Or we write in the van sometimes, like we’re doing now.  We’ll throw a beat on a write in the van.  

DJ Sorce-1:  Would you say that the kind of studio environment creates friendly competition? 

Clova:  Yeah, it does, but everyone gets alone.  People come in and do what they do, have fun…everyone’s just trying to eat man.  We’re just trying to make each other better.

ST:  People want to make sure their record gets on the albums, so it is friendly competition.  But like Clova said, we all make each other better.

Buy The ONE...COHESIVE by clicking here.  

Click here to read Part 3.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Speak Ya Clout: G-Side on The ONE​.​.​.​COHESIVE Part 1

I can’t think of a better way to continue the Speak Ya Clout series that I started this summer than by interviewing Huntsville, Alabama duo G-Side.  Over the last three years, few rappers or groups have made a bigger impact on me.  I’ve diligently sought out every album, side project, mix tape, and guest appearance of theirs that I can find and I’ve seldom been disappointed.  Their most recent long player, The ONE…COHESIVE, is no exception.  Damn near perfect production matched with top notch lyricism make COHESIVE one of my early picks for album of the year.  Read on as we break down G-Side’s origins, influences, Huntsville hip hop, and the making of The ONE…COHESIVE. 

Please support G-Side and purchase The ONE...COHESIVE by clicking here.

(Editor's Note: I will be posting this interview in three sections.) 

DJ Sorce-1:  Let’s start from the beginning.  When did G-Side officially form as a group?

ST 2 Lettaz:  We started doing music together in ‘99.  I left Huntsville to go to Texas for a few years and when I came back in 2004, we got back together and made it solid.

DJ Sorce-1:  2004 was the year when Slow Motion Soundz discovered you, correct?

ST: Yeah, exactly.

DJ Sorce-1:  In interviews I’ve read with you guys, you’re very open about some of the difficult things you’ve had to experience in life.  You’ve talked about how many talented people you’ve seen get shot and locked up.  Is it hard to separate yourself from that world as you become more successful? 

Young Clova:  Hmm.  Not now.  If I didn’t have a job, it would probably be hard.  Having a job helps me distance myself form the streets.

ST:   At the same time, we live in the same places that we lived before.   We know people that are still doing the same thing.  You have to be smart and know what you can’t get yourself into.  I had to learn the lesson that nothing we do is small anymore.  I can’t pick up and go somewhere else and be an unknown.  

Clova:  Everything we do is going to reflect our label, too.  We can’t be in certain places doing certain things.  We’re not just representing ourselves; we’re representing our whole family.      

ST:  Huntsville is all about reputation.  Without a good reputation, you’re pretty much out. 

DJ Sorce-1:  Can you describe Huntsville to me?  I’ve never been to Alabama before. 

ST:  Huntsville is big in terms of having a lot of land, things are just spread out.  You pretty much need a car to get around.  There are areas of Huntsville where you can find somebody who has chickens in their backyard or lives in a trailer, but overall we’re pretty modernized.  We also have huge houses out in the mountains that surround Huntsville.  It’s pretty diverse.  You can basically find all aspects of city life in Huntsville, we just don’t have skyscrapers.    


DJ Sorce-1:  I remember reading something to the effect of, “It’s amazing I’ve made it in music, because where I’m from, if you don’t play basketball or football, you don’t have a future” on ST’s Twitter.  Is that representative of Huntsville?

ST:  That’s not really Huntsville, that’s the whole world when it comes to people living in poverty.   If you didn’t come up knowing you had a college fund, your only means of getting to college are to be super smart, have a great jumper, or play football.  We don’t have an entertainment industry in Huntsville per se.  We didn’t see anybody come up as a rapper, make it big, and make it out of the city as an inspiration.  So we’re pretty much trailblazers when it comes to that.  We’re the first act out of Huntsville to really get out and tour internationally.  We’ve probably toured the most out of any other act in Huntsville period.  If you look at Alabama, the only other people that can compare in terms of touring are Rich Boy and Yelawolf.


DJ Sorce-1:  Do you ever see yourself leaving the Huntsville area?

Clova:  I do.  I think I need to, for a minute anyway.

ST:  I’ve been in Huntsville my whole life, so I’d like to.  At the same time, Huntsville is still growing.  You can still have some kind of stake in it and make some money.  I figure the Slow Motion Soundz building can be one of the biggest skyscrapers in the downtown once we start getting it (Laughs).  We’d like to be in the position where we can have a home in Huntsville because that’s where our families live and it has a great cost of living.  I’d also like to have a home somewhere else.  I want to live overseas, maybe in Spain, just to see some totally different shit. 

DJ Sorce-1:  I only know a little bit about the history of Huntsville hip hop.  I know that Mr. Marcellus and The South Click were big Huntsville rappers.  Were there any other Huntsville rappers that influenced you when you were coming up?

ST:  Mr. Marcellus was one of the big ones.  Rudi Devillie, SLP, Mic Strange, and 6 Trae G were also all major players when we were first coming up.

DJ Sorce-1:  How did you get access to their music?  Was it through local radio or did you have to hit local barber shops and mom and pop stores? 

ST:  Mostly barber shops or your local bootleg man would come through with all of the major and local tapes.  Certain guys like SLP had a big van with his face on it, so whenever you saw his van you knew they had CD’s for you.  Radio supported a few guys.   Before we were with Slow Motion Soundz, most people heard of us on the radio with our song “Lacs and Prices”.   There were different outlets, but most of the time it was hand to hand.  

DJ Sorce-1:  Besides Mr. Marcellus, which of the artist that you listened to coming up have you worked with? 

ST:  6 Trae G and Mic Strange.  Some of the other guys aren’t as into the music anymore.  They’ve grown up and have families and stuff, so we haven’t really had a chance to work with them.

DJ Sorce-1:  Huntsville is a relatively small place.  I’m sure there are a lot of people that see the success of Slow Motion Soundz and want to be a part of it.  How do you respond to people who try to hand you demos and approach you in the street about getting on? 

Clova:  Put a price on it.  That’s the easy way out. 

ST:  That’ll weed out those who are serious and those who aren’t.  The fact that artists want to work with us is a good thing.  For the Block Beataz, that’s how they feed themselves.  Everyone in Huntsville is basically piggy backing on what their records are doing.  They want to come to CP and Mali to get tracks or studio time.  It works in our benefit.  We don’t turn anyone away if they’re serious about doing music.


DJ Sorce-1:  So you’re willing to work with anyone with a good work ethic? 

ST:  Of course.  That’s how we built the industry in Huntsville that we have now.  We recently did a show in Huntsville where there were six quality acts on the bill, all from the city.  And there were more acts in the crowd that wish they could have been on stage.  That’s how you build your industry.   Just because you’re popular outside of the state, you can’t charge someone $2-3000 for a verse when they live right across the street and you know they don’t have that.


DJ Sorce-1:  It’s funny, that doesn’t really seem to be the mentality at all on the East Coast.  It seems the bigger you get, the less people want help anyone else. 

ST:  In Huntsville, even if we don’t like each other, we don’t let the public know.  We’ll still all work together.  We just might not kick it together after we do the song.   

DJ Sorce-1:  It’s impressive that you can see the bigger picture like that. 

ST:  It took a long time to learn.  A long time.  It took for motherfuckers to get to fighting, beefing, and shooting at each other over dumb shit for us to see that the only way to rise was to get on each other’s shoulders.

DJ Sorce-1:  It seems you have a very specific way of catering to your local market.  Can you talk a little bit about how sites like Baller’s Eve, Traps N' Trunks, and Southern Hospitality have helped in spreading your name all over the Internet and beyond Huntsville? 

ST:  We pretty much built our network off of the people who enjoyed our music.  We didn’t know where to send the music originally.  I can’t even tell you the first websites Codie sent it to.  It kind of snowballed and then it got to a point where all you saw was G-Side on a lot of these blogs.  At that point we kind of had to step away from courting the blogs and focus on us.  There was some physical grind in spreading our music too, because word of mouth is better than the Internet.  The Internet just reaches further.  So we can thank the Internet for our fans in Norway and the UK.

Clova:  We kind of knew bloggers were going to be the modern day equivalent of magazine writers.  We understood what was going on and where the rap game was moving. 

ST:  It was funny, after we were more popular; all the majors started courting the blogs that were supporting us.  We also had people from Huntsville hit up blogs like Southern Hospitality and say, “Hey, we’re from Huntsville.  Post our music too.”     

DJ Sorce-1:  That’s interesting, because after I wrote a couple of posts about you and other Huntsville artists, I’ve gotten similar emails.  

ST:  A lot of people don’t understand that, for us, it started with the music being high quality.  Then, it became a matter of who we knew.  We didn’t call every web site saying, “Hey, you wanna post this for me.”  A lot of people posting us, it was by choice.  But after they did post us, we went to go see ‘em.  That’s how we built a relationship with them.

Clova:  Yea, every time someone did something for us, we actually got in our cars and took our own money to go say thank you. 

ST:  We did the same thing with some of the people who purchased COHESIVE online.  I have a list of names and I’m sending them emails saying thank you.  Not trying to sell ‘em anything else or have them watch a new video…it’s just thank you.  Every last ticket sale, CD, or shirt is big to us.

DJ Sorce-1:  I think some new artists don’t realize that.  Before you get on your grind, you have to have something really good to grind for.  You guys have been a group for 12 years and you’re still busting ass.  You’ve had various day jobs and other things and you haven’t’ given up on the rap. 

ST:  We just had to learn.  We had to learn where we were at.  We were in Huntsville, which had no music industry at all.  So we made a choice.  We could have run to Atlanta and jumped on the nearest label and done a million open mics.  Or we could build an industry in Huntsville.  And that’s what we did.  Whether or not G-Side and Slow Motion Soundz makes a million dollars, we’ll still have built something.  We built a scene that can’t be undone.  You can’t take away the records we’ve sold and the impact we’ve had on artists. 

DJ Sorce-1:  When you mention the decision of signing to a label or building your own industry, I’m not sure how useful it is for a lot of rap acts to be signed to a major these days.  I don’t think major labels help a lot of rappers.     

ST:  It comes down to straight business, numbers, and the situation being right.  You have to make sure you’re not going to sign and then get put on the self for another act to shine.  Some people are made for 9 to 5's.  Some people need to be told what to do.  Some people need to go to work and have the same schedule every day.  And some people can’t stand that.  I think we’re the latter.  We’re independent by nature.  For somebody to come in, be our boss, and try to tell us how to do what we’ve already been doing for so long…we couldn’t take it.  I’m a control freak.  I want to know what the fuck is going on; top to bottom.  I want to know what the money is going towards, where I gotta be, when I gotta be there, and why.  It could work with a major, but it’d have to be the right situation.

Click here to read Part 2.