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Rittz: Footsteps In The Game

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Rittz: Footsteps In The Game

Posted on 28 April 2013 by admin

Rittz

If you’re not familiar with Rittz you may think he’s a new artist. You may think because you just found out he signed to Strange Music you’re ahead of the game and know a little something about him. Truth is Rittz came from the bottom, struggling his way to the top during the golden era of hip hop in one of the most acclaimed cities for breeding “What’s hot in hip hop” to this day. While starting to rhyme in the early ninties, Rittz got with his boy Ralo and became part of a group Ralo & Rittz. They imitated Outkast and looked up to the mega giants of Atlanta. He recalls “Outkast, Goodie Mob… It was a great time for Atlanta, to me that music was just classic Atlanta rap shit. That was a great time in music.”

Being from Gwinnett County wasn’t quite the place to be from to claim street cred as a rapper. In the nineties the upper North East suburb of Atlanta wasn’t recognized for creating famous rappers. “There was a little bit of a line drawn because I live in the suburbs of Atlanta so the line was drawn where I was from than actually being in Atlanta.” He dropped out of high school and hit moments in his life when times were getting really scary for him. He had set forth to become a famous rapper and if this didn’t happen, he nods his head rather not wanting to think of what could have been the outcome if his time didn’t come and Strange Music didn’t added him to the roster.

USM: What were the politics of coming up in the Atlanta rap game?

Rittz: The formula was really getting a song, trying to get it played on the radio or in the strip club. So it was a lot of grimy shows, where you’re standing all night in trap spots waiting to perform two songs. Then there was so many trends in Atlanta with Atlanta being on top of the rap game for so long. You had Crunk, then Snap, and then the Trap shit. It was hard being me making the type of music I make to get on. I finally got on the radio in 2007 and that’s when I started getting a little push. I was with Chrome Recordings, a label I was with then. We just got on the Battle Grounds, a little contest they do on 107.9 where if you win 5 nights in a row they retire your track.

USM: What track was that?

Rittz: It was song called “770” the area code where I’m from. So everyone in the 770 were calling in and requesting that song. I was reppin real hard cause Atlanta didn’t fuck with Gwinnett. Now it’s changed, they gotta say the North Side. Before they’d say “South to the East Side West Side”. Now you’ll here it mentioned with the different rappers being from different areas. It was crazy but after that everything just kind of fell flat.

USM: What did you do between that and Strange Music?

Rittz: I did a lot of things career wise, different managers different opportunities all through out just grinding. My manager Scender was in a group with Yelawolf “The Dixie Mafia”. Scender was Yela’s homie, when he moved to Atlanta he looked up local rappers, seen my shit. It was through him that me and Yelawolf hooked up. Me and Yela were kinda rappin’ comin up on the Atlanta seen. He was coming up pretty big and I was trying to get down to where he was doing his shit at. We ended up being tight. He got me the studio time to do “White Jesus” and gave me the opportunity to come off his momentum by putting me on “Box Chevy Pt. 3”. I did the Slumerican Tour and was just pushing “White Jesus”.

USM: Where did your title “The Life And Times Of Jonny Valient” come from?

Rittz: It’s just a nickname I had growing up. My names Jonny and my homeboys would just call me that. I put out “White Jesus” on some nickname shit. I wanted a title that was going to be controversial, but with this I wanted it to be something that was more about my life. To let people in on me, exactly Rittz. I kind of knew I wanted to name it that because before the Yelawolf thing I was going to name my album “Jonny Valiant Vol. 0”. That just never happened, those songs got shelved and I came out with “White Jesus”. So I kinda knew what I was gonna name it.

USM: After a long road, your debut album hits the stores 4/30/13… is that your main focus right now?

Rittz: Yea I’ve been focusin’ like a motha fucker. Basically I got off the Slumerican Tour with Yelawolf November 17th. I had then until the end of December to write the album. I write slow… it takes me awhile. So I was under pressure, I wrote a lot on the bus but not enough. The pressure was on as soon as I got back in town. I got Thanksgiving out of the way and it was just like bang. Plus you gotta have bonus tracks so all together I have like twenty something songs. With the stress of my first album and getting it done, being with a new label, and then with the Independent Powerhouse Tour coming up. It was just a lot of shit going on at once, but now I’m just happy to be on the road, album bout to come out… a little bit of pressures easin’ off.

You could feel the weight of Jonny Valiant’s past lift off his shoulder’s as we finished up the interview and he proceeded with his day on tour with Strange. He started as an underdog in one of the biggest rap mecca’s and finally grasp his dream because he never gave up. He fought strong to the top and at the end of the day he’s signed to largest independent label in the world. You can say what you want about Mr. Rittz but at this moment anyone who ever doubted him is looking back like man that’s the guy who we never thought would make it. Although he carry’s his swag to the fullest in his latest video’s such as “Like I Am”… in person he carry’s himself with utmost humble respect. For tomorrow you will get to hear the full story on “The Life And Times Of Jonny Valiant”. You can cop that at www.strangmusicinc.net or any of your local retailers. Lift your cup to a true vet!

USM: Any last words?

Rittz: I just really want to say thanks, thanks to everyone who fucks with me! This rap shit not easy… at all. That 21 years of grindin is real shit. I’m really appreciative of anything I got going on, anybody who gives me attention, or interested and listens to my music it’s a big deal.

Interview by Breez

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C.E.S. Cru – When Energies Collide

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C.E.S. Cru – When Energies Collide

Posted on 25 March 2013 by admin

"Constant Energy Struggles" 3.26.13

“Constant Energy Struggles” 3.26.13

Though they ain’t to proud to brag, long before signing to Strange Music you could find C.E.S. Cru covering the walls anywhere in the vicinity that you found Godemis and Ubiquitous. Godemis whose former vigilante name began as Sket, expresses how much fun graffiti was compared to rap. ” You wear a mask, you go out at night, its like you’re a super hero.” Ask fans today and some will probably argue that the duo is stil a set of super hero’s. Ubiquitous formulated the name Craft, but it never officially stuck. It was all about C.E.S. CRU! They both look back on the good ol’ days with smirks and head shakes, once upon a time when they sprawled their neighborhood with C.E.S. Cru stickers and stencils. Not realizing that their landlord owned all of the surrounding 2 blocks. They let the maintenance man in for a quick repair, when he noticed the symbol. Ubiquitous was called into the leasing office only to be told that if he didn’t get out there and clean everything he damaged they would press charges. He proceeded to go clean all the walls he had thoroughly saturated with C.E.S. CRU with hoping that when he was done, the landlord didn’t kick him out anyway. That may have been the turning point when he realized there had to be a better way to represent his crew and decided to leave Craft behind. They found making music a better way to express themselves and in 2004 came together as rap duo using words as the weapon of mass destruction instead of spray paint.

While in biology class in college Ubi came across “Ubiquitous”. A word that’s quite relative to what C.E.S. Cru represents. If you look at what Strange has accomplished, he fits right in. “It’s just a word in the dictionary, that means: 1.To be ever present. 2. To be in all places at one time. It’s not omniscience and it’s not omnipotence. Some people confuse it with it being a god thing. It’s omnipresence. Just to be everywhere at once.” Ubiquitous explains

Godemis on the other hand came across his name while watching an old Ani-Ma movie. Not knowing if he was sure about it. He brought it up to some friends “I was hanging around some 5% Muslim guys at the time. I let them know that I had been throwing that name around. They were kinda like, that’s perfect for you and it just stuck.” Don’t get comfortable with that name though. Godi has a list of alias’s that would fool any law enforcement officer if approached. “I’m that guy with seven names anyway. There’s also Jason Dean, Godemis Ish, Jason Hasselhoff, If You Nasty, with the latest installation being the title of his solo mixtape “The Deevil”. And you know what? A year from now I’ll probably think of something else to call myself.”

When they first came up with the meaning to C.E.S. Cru, it originated as “Conglomerate Elements of Self-Consciousness.” Ubiquitous assures “The purpose of C.E.S. Cru is… It’s to be re-invented.” As they searched for different meanings, they came up with the idea that every album would be titled a different acronym for C.E.S. Cru. So with the first album completed the title came to life as “Capture Enemy Soldiers”. Thinking they were going to continue changing the acronym album by album. They decided to fall back on the original plan not wanting to be boxed in. So in 2009 named their second independent LP “The Playground” which is available on itunes.

Heading for success they were discovered by Tech N9ne while opening for Devin The Dude in 08′. Having to be patient, it wasn’t until 2012 that they were actually signed and became part of the biggest independent label in the world. The first project was an EP released only digitally titled “13”. This quickly climbed to itunes Top 5. This was just a brief warm up to prepare them for what Strange Music had in store for them. After joining the Hostile Takeover Tour breaking records with the team for the most shows in the least amount of time. It was time to begin their first LP.

The way the creative process works at Strange is, first you come up with a title… Then you conceptualize your album around it. Ass backwards to their usual routine, they pondered titles of the LP. It was only then they decided to search their roots and reconsider what they once had set as their master plan. They remembered before they threw out the idea to recreate the title of C.E.S. on every album, the title of their second album was going to be “Constant Energy Struggles”. Thinking of some of situations they encountered and the levels of energy they vibe on, sticking to their roots turned out to be a no brainer. So that it was, they were back on the path they once set out for… except this time with a record label to back them. “Lotus” was the first song they created visuals for and within a month of its release generated over 100,000 views on YouTube. The promotional campaign began and on March 15th of this year they set off for the second tour with the fast moving label “The Independent Powerhouse Tour” with their album scheduled to drop while into the second week of tour. Another video off the LP “When Worlds Collide” was released weeks after, which is now on mtvU‘s “You Pick The Video That Gets On Air”! This Week’s Best Freshmen Video. Click the link to vote for them now!

Deciding on which song to turn into the next video. Godi and Ubi agreed “Meditate” was at the top of the list as a favorite to both of them. Taking the opportunity to capture footage during their performance at The Filmore in Denver, CO. Ubiquitous explains how it relates to the theme of the album. “It sticks to the message of metaphysics and our title ‘Constant Energy Struggles’, but it’s also digestible. It’s not super lofty in its thinking to where it’s like talking down to you. Its real grounded. We were really focused mentally.”

Godemis leans towards “Day Dream” as one of his favorites. “It’s easier listening, one of the softer songs on the album. He and I were speaking on real life experiences since signing to Strange Music. How life has changed and I think fans are really going to connect to it. It pairs really well with “Time Is Now” off our EP “13”. It’s in the same vein and fans love that song. I knew they would.”

The two both relate to the subjects of the album in many different ways. Some of the content recycled from comic books they use to read to their examination into the curiosity of life and the different energies that surround us. Ubiquitous referred to the album as their canvas and the subject matter of their songs as their paintbrushes. You can even find Godemis quoting Bruce Lee on “Lotus”. They were both familiar enough with the theme of the album, they were able to play with it but not be constrained to it completely. To clean off their paint palettes and enter the doors of Strange with a fresh start they simultaneously released pre-recorded solo albums on April 6th of 2012 for free download. Hadn’t they been signed to Strange they admit they would of pressed them up and sold them themselves. Godemis as earlier explained used his newest alias “The Deevil” and Ubiquitous came with “Matter Don’t Money”. You can find both albums at www.cescru.com. Oh yeah if your wondering why you haven’t seen Godemis with his white eyes, it’s probably because he lent them to Hopsin. “He can have em’, I got weird shit all day!” Godi laughs.

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Stevie Stone – “You’ve Been Stoned”

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Stevie Stone – “You’ve Been Stoned”

Posted on 10 July 2012 by admin

U.$. – What’s going down with it?

S.S. – I’m chillin’ I’m chillin’, one day at a time on this record breaking tour… 96 shows in 110 days.

U.$. – Has it been rough on you?

S.S. – Nah, we live for this! Yeah we get tired but it’s a good feeling to be tired from doing something you love to do.

U.$. – You were with another big label before Strange; what was that?

S.S. – I was with Ruthless Records from 2007 to 2010. I don’t know what’s going on with them right now, I’m caught up in Strangeland but more power to ‘em- shout out to Tamika Wright!

U.$. – What did you learn on Ruthless before coming to Strange?

S.S. – I learned a lot being that was my first deal! After that situation I learned what a deal was. Being young you just want a deal, you don’t really understand what a deal is. One thing I learned was it’s about what you can do for yourself also, not what the label’s going to do for you. You can’t just relax and let them do everything, you still have to bust ya ass, go and do what you have to do and see other things. Now you work with them but you can’t just leave it up to them to do everything for you, naw I’m sayin’.

U.$. – When did you sign to Strange?

S.S. – St. Patrick’s Day of 2011

U.$.- I seen the video of Tech passin’ you his chain, were you expecting that?

S.S. – Himmi, I was actually there to drop a verse for Tech’s “All 6’s and 7’s” album. I got on the joint called “Over Time” so I was there to do that. He just had me come to the compound and Tech was like “We about to do an interview real quick and I just want you in there just to plant the seed.” So I was in there thinking I was in there for something else and he caught me totally off guard! I knew I was signing to Strange but I didn’t know that was happening right there.

U.$. – What have you learned now, being on Strange?

S.S. – I’ve learned a lot. The way they maneuver, the blueprint. I’ve been working with Strange prior to Ruthless and through Ruthless, but being on the inside and seeing how they do it with strategizing…everything’s a strategy. The business definitely, but also how to react with the fans. It’s all about our fans. Inside out I’m soaking up what makes Strange so successful.

U.$. – What do have going right now?

S.S. – “TECH N9NE Presents Stevie Stone – Rollin’ Stone” which dropped June 12th. I had an album drop on Ruthless but it just feels like this is my first album. There’s so many things that happened to me for the first time on this album, like signing pre-orders and stuff like that I’ve never done. It’s a breath of fresh air like I’m coming out with my debut.

U.$. – What’s your favorite track off the album?

S.S. – That’s hard question. The single that’s bumpin’ right now “808 Bendin” got World Premiered by XXL. That’s a dope record, it has Tech on there. A joint called “My Remedy” is really, really dear to me. I got a joint with Hopsin on there that’s really dope. I got a joint with Yelawolf that’s dope. “Get Buck” is dope, but I can’t give you just one. I can give you a cluster, but to name just one that’d be hard to do. I’m close to all the records.

U.$. – Where you from?

S.S. – I’m from Columbia, MO but I been in St. Louis for the last 8 years. If you listen to my record I’m reppin’ the whole Midwest. It ain’t no Columbia, it ain’t no St. Louis, it ain’t no KC. I’m reppin’ the whole Midwest. On “In The Game” I say, “I proudly hold the torch for the middle.” I’m sayin’ I love em’ all and proudly put it down for all of em’!

U.$. – Any last words?

S.S. – “Rollin’ Stone” is about to take you by storm! If you haven’t heard of me this is going to make you get to know me! Himmi Hyme like a mafucka!

Interview by Breez
photography by 303 Publications, Inc.

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DJ P-Caso – Da Da Da Derrty Derrty

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DJ P-Caso – Da Da Da Derrty Derrty

Posted on 24 June 2012 by admin

Hometown: Columbia, MO

DJ Affiliation: Derrty DJ’s

Favorite Line: We ain’t new ta dis’, WE TRUE TA DIS’!

DJ P-Caso is the official DJ for The Cold Cuts and Strange Musics own Stevie Stone. He went to High School with Stone and three years ago became his official DJ. He stays busy hosting mixtapes for several artists and is always on the grind. He recently collabed with his boy LNM on The Flood mixtape. The Cold Cuts have The Dollar Menu mixtape bangin right now. And of course Stevie Stones last couple mixtapes Set In Stone and the latest Chain Reaction which prepared fans for his newly released album “Rollin’ Stone” which in the first week made the Top 100 on the Billboard Charts. When asked if The Hostile Takeover was taking a toll on him his reply “This is the shit, this is what we do… We ain’t new ta dis’, we true ta dis'”. Definitely a veteran to this he hasn’t slowed down unless it’s to catch up on a meal at Gladys Knight’s Signature Chicken & Waffles in the ATL while on the road. Be expecting an exclusive Hostile Take Over Mixtape from him and Stone once the tour ends. To have P-Caso host a mixtape for you hit him on twitter @DJPCASO

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¡MAYDAY! – ¡MAYDAY! “Calling All Tour Buses… Watch Out For ¡MAYDAY!”

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¡MAYDAY! – ¡MAYDAY! “Calling All Tour Buses… Watch Out For ¡MAYDAY!”

Posted on 05 June 2012 by admin

photography by Breez

Now touring on the Hostile Takeover Tour with label mate and Indie giant Tech N9NE is the Rock/Rap group ¡MAYDAY! The crew is made up of lead vocalists Wrek and Bernz, Bass/Keyboardist Gianni Ca$h, drummer L.T., producer Plex (or “Ass Kicker” in his own words), and percussionist NonMS (or “Ass Licker” as Plex jokingly blurts out). This wasn’t always how it looked- they’ve gone from 2 to 6 members since the project geared up, and have seen the role-players around them change a lot, especially on this tour. While the Strange Music entourage travels city to city in a tour bus caravan on a record breaking run of over 90 shows in 99 days, the current 6 members are hanging in there despite the changes that might throw off a lesser crew. Their tour bus was dubbed “The Suburbs” on their last tour. This time around, it’s “The Hood.”

The band started as a two man group with Plex and Bernz. As they started adding members there was never a time that they lacked hustle. Hailing from Miami and surrounded by so many artists and mainstream gaints, the group adopted a go-hard mindset that’s obvious today. As Wrekonize puts it “We’ve always been hands on, we do our videos ourselves, our production is in house so we’ve always had that attitude. When we signed to Strange we realized now we’re going to have a way bigger range with Strange blasting our stuff to so many more people.” The group agrees that signing to Strange has caused them to take everything more seriously, but has just brought them closer together. They were all adamant about not getting lazy just because they signed a deal, but that they would instead let the label help amplify what they were already capable of.

From playing improv sets at The Lounge in Miami for 30 people to finally reeling in the support from their hometown and being able to pack 700 people as a headliner, making it to the top wasn’t an easy gig. “We’re in a town where everybody’s an artist, so you’re in a crowd full of haters. We went through people leaving the group to people not fitting in with the group to playing shows that didn’t pay well. We got support in Miami but it took us a long time to do it. It was a long journey, we’re lucky to survive that!”

We all know that being a band is different than hearing a beat and writing to it, but in what ways is the creative process different? ¡MAYDAY! explains their method in a way that makes it easy to see why these 6 are the final cast of characters in a crew that’s seen so many changes. They trust the talent of each artist enough to let the music be created organically step-to-step. Plex and Gianni take the lead by bringing a pool of different numbers and let Wrek and Bernz conceptualize. As they take the reins NonMS and L.T. drop in their key aspects and the music takes off.

For their 3rd album “Take Me To Your Leader” (their debut with Strange Music), only on “June,” “Take Me To Your Leader,” and “Everything Is Everything” did Plex and Gianni start with a definite idea of what the track would sound like. Plex explains, “Usually we just go on a vibe like throwing darts at the wall and see what works, but on those we were like, ‘we want something like this…’ and ten minutes later we had it. I felt like I crossed my level of my production there because we heard it in the head, then we spoke about it and just kind of manifested it immediately. It was cool to do that.”

Wrek agreed about “June” in particular. “Plex had the concept to do the story behind it. The whole production on their part and the whole writing process on our part was just so natural that it was probably one of the easiest songs we had ever written- it just came out.”

¡MAYDAY! is already planning an album that they say will be loosely related to “Take Me To Your Leader” geared to drop at the end of the year. They’re currently grindin’ that project out on the tour bus, staying true to the hustle that got them started in the first place. With this group of guys we wouldn’t be surprised to walk on that tour bus and see L.T’s drumset where the bunks should be. This is a fun crew with a lot of determination, but all jokes aside the one thing gained from a sit-down with them is that they take what they do seriously. Definitely pick up their latest album “Take Me To Your Leader”.

Interview by Breez
photography by 303 Publications, Inc.

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Prozak – “Million Miles Away”

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Prozak – “Million Miles Away”

Posted on 21 May 2012 by admin

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¡MAYDAY! – Imprint (Feat. Jovi Rockwell)

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¡MAYDAY! – Imprint (Feat. Jovi Rockwell)

Posted on 08 May 2012 by admin

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Brotha Lynch News

Posted on 25 March 2011 by breez

This is a dope underground interview with Lynch during the Strange Days Tour last year. He speaks on losing touch with Mr. Doctor and X-Rated getting stabbed last year in prison. Lynch’s new CoatHanga Strangla is out now telling the second part to the trilogy of a serial killer’s inside life. Listen to a starstruck fan give Lynch mad props.

STRANGE MUSIC SET TO DROP BROTHA LYNCH HUNG’S NEW ALBUM COATHANGA STRANGLA ON APRIL 5, 2011

HORROR-CORE GOES NEXT LEVEL WITH UNIQUE SUITE OF MUSIC VIDEOS

March 23, 2011 (Los Angeles, CA) Brother Lynch Hung, the Sacramento, California rapper long hailed as an indisputable pioneer of horror-core hip-hop, returns April 5, 2011 with his most hair-raising album to date: CoatHanga Strangla.
CoatHanga Strangla re-introduces listeners to the not-so-nice but strangely sympathetic (and some might even say humorous) alter ego from Lynch’s 2010 album Dinner and a Movie: Mannibalector.
Brotha Lynch Hung continues to break new ground both artistically and conceptually. Coathanga Strangla is the middle album in a conceptual first of its kind trilogy that began with 2010’s Dinner and a Movie and is slated to conclude with 2012’s Mannibalector. Each of the three albums has spawned three videos, which together will comprise the visual document of the terrifying times of Mannibalector. With the new Brotha Lynch Hung video “Spit It Out” in rotation on MTVu, anticipation continues to build as the story continues. The video is the #1 highest rated, the #2 most shared and the#1 most commented video on MTV.com with 20,000 views in the week of it’s premiere.
As the most successful outfit in independent hip-hop and home to lauded rapper Tech N9ne, Strange Music first linked with Lynch to release 2010’s Dinner and a Movie. On April 5 of this year, Strange will release CoatHanga Strangla, setting up next year’s Mannibalector. “The three albums and nine videos are about a rapper who’s having a bad life and is about to give up on the world,” explains Brotha Lynch Hung. “You can hear he’s about to walk the thin line, past the thin line, and then go way over it.”

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