Deemi: Diamond In The Rough Published September 23, 2005 by Tiffany Hamilton

When you think of Brooklyn, New York, you think of the raw and gritty streets that reared emcees like the Notorious B.I.G, Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown and Jay-Z. Although she is from the streets, Deemi is not an emcee – and she’s definitely not your usual R&B diva. Born and raised in Bedford Stuyvesant, the 24-year-old songstress definitely has a story to tell. Deemi was drawn to the freedom of music as a child, and dominated talent competitions by the time she was seven-years-old. As a teenager, she was a part of the most prestigious high school choir in New York. Regardless of her early recognition, it hasn’t all been roses for the Brooklyn beauty.

By the time she was 21, Deemi was already a single mother of two. Working hard to make ends meet, she had countless dead-end jobs, and was forced to get on welfare to survive. She struggled for years trying to raise a family and simultaneously pursue her dreams, until a chance meeting with producer Chris Styles solidified her musical aspirations. She signed to Family Ties/Dangerous LLC, helping secure her a deal with Atlantic Records and linking her with Midi Mafia to produce her debut album. Yet another bump came into Deemi’s path when her estranged baby’s father was tragically murdered, leaving a void in her life.

After overcoming years of abuse at the hands of her ex, as well as the struggles that plague every hood in America, Deemi knew just what it was that would make her stand out in a glamorized industry. With the pain and the struggle she has endured, it’s no secret why the Hood’s Princess’ songs serve as not only a soundtrack for her life, but also to the streets. Alternatives connected with Deemi to talk about her journey, her mission and what we can expect from her debut. Alternatives: How exactly did you get started in music?

Deemi: I started singing when I was young. My parents used to make stages out of plywood and we would sing on those. Once my mom saw that I was serious about singing she entered me in competitions, and from then on I went on to sing in choirs.

AHHA: I know this question seems cliché, but how would you describe your style? You are classified as R&B, but your sound has more of a Hip-Hop feel to it.

Deemi: It’s really hard when someone asks me to describe my style, because to me my music is not a style, it’s my life. When I write or listen to my music, I see things that I have been through, things that I am going through and it’s those things that keep me hungry.

AHHA: Who are some of your influences?

Deemi: Around the house my mom always used to play the greats like Aretha Franklin, the Chi-Lites and the Delphonics, definitely Whitney [Houston]. The first talent show I won, I was singing Whitney Houston’s song “The Greatest Love of All”, so she definitely was a big influence. But honestly I listen to everybody, from Lauren Hill to Mary [J. Blige] because they opened doors for me. I also look at everybody different now that I’m doing [my thing in music] because I know it’s hard. So just to be here and do what you do, says a lot. So I listen to and respect everyone.

AHHA: Your life hasn’t been an easy journey, I know that you are a mother of two and you baby’s father was recently killed. Being a new artist, how did you cope with the pressure of your professional life, as well as the trauma that was going on in your personal?

Deemi: Growing up where I am, you don’t want to be limited to what you see… and plus I look back to when I was 12 and 13 years old, telling my friends where I was going to be when I was 25. Seeing where I am at now, it’s totally different, because it’s bigger than I ever dreamed. The main thing that kept me going and kept me sane was my kids; I look at them and know that I can’t stay in the hood forever. I deserve better and my kids damn sure do, so it was that drive to get out the hood that kept me going, because no one deserves to stay at the bottom.

AHHA: What can you say is your biggest goal to accomplish in the industry?

Deemi: I want to make a lot of money so I can help other people get out of [the hood]; because I go to my kids’ school and I see the other kids and I feel bad. I mean the situation in the hood is real crazy, there are so many people are there with a feeling of hopelessness. It’s like they have settled with the fact that they can’t go anywhere, and it affects their kids to the point where they can’t see themselves going anywhere. So I just want to help as many people out of that as I can, I want to maintain so that others can see a better way of life.

AHHA: What is the hardest thing for you about being an entertainer and a mom, because I know leaving [your kids] is hard?

Deemi: Yes! Definitely. It’s one thing when they are small and can’t voice their opinion, but when they are six and seven they start with the, ‘I miss you’ and, ‘You’re always gone’ – it gets real tough. I am glad that they are getting older, because they can understand that I am a singer and see the benefits of me being away all the time. But no matter what, it’s still hard.

AHHA: You’re first single, “Hoodz Princess”, was actually on Wendy Williams’ compilation album. How was it to be tapped by Wendy to do the compilation, and how was it working with Styles P?

Deemi: When Wendy chose “Hoodz Princess” to be on her compilation, she actually hooked up the collaboration with Styles P and that was cool with me. I love The LOX and I felt honored that she even wanted to put my single on her album, so I wasn’t choosy about anything at all. If anything I felt blessed and appreciate the fact she looked out for me.

AHHA: How was it when she called you, because she reached out to some big names for the compilation?

Deemi: I was scared at first, [laughs] especially when I did the interview with her. But I am just glad that she showed me mad love and that she really liked the song. Honestly, with my music it’s either you feel me or you won’t. I don’t like fake people and I am happy she was one of those people who felt what I am trying to do, because I have heard her interviews and she definitely lets people know how she feels. [laughs]

AHHA: Your album is due out in March, so I know it’s early but what can people expect when they pick up Soundtrack To My Life?

Deemi: They can expect some real sh*t. [laughs] I want people to relate to me because I am a normal person and with my story, I hope that I can inspire people to dream. Especially people in my hood, because they don’t have real dreams – their dreams are to become the neighborhood drug dealer, because that’s the only people we see continuously making it. I want to show them that by following your dreams and not giving up you can make it, but that you also have to fight for it.

AHHA: Do you feel that artists who allow themselves to be placed in a box are really hurting their creativity?

Deemi: Honestly, I feel that our music as a whole lacks creativity because it lacks substance. I don’t really fault the artists so much because the industry is so fake. All people are talking about is the fact that they are killing and shooting, but no one is saying I was killing and shooting but I changed my life. So now you have kids running around trying to live out a fantasy that is already a harsh reality, and, in essence, you’re not giving them anything to look forward to. I feel that in order for us to restore the creativity back into music, artists need a reality check and need someone to tell them that putting out nothing is not cool, because people need substance.

AHHA: What words of inspiration would you leave to anyone, regardless of what they are trying to do?

Deemi: I bought a post-it and it says, “If you are going through hell, keep going” – and that’s my words of inspiration. I never thought that I would make it this far, and from that alone, I learned how to dream bigger. So to anyone out there who has set goals, you can accomplish it – just believe, and you will make it through.

Busta Rhymes: Come Clean Part Two Published October 05, 2005 by Tiffany Hamilton Everyone has a favorite Busta album, but in my opinion you really shine the most on remixes. Is that because coming from a group setting you had to work harder than a solo MC or is it just the challenge of being around other great MC’s?

Busta Rhymes: My goal when I jump on those remixes, is for that woman or that man to say I killed it. I mean I have been on some joints with heavyweights, so if I am not the favorite MC out the bunch, that’s fine. But I always want them to say my verse ripped everyone else’s, because you only get one chance to really express yourself on someone else’s record. So I treat every opportunity like my last when I am rhyming with other MC’s because if you are nice with the pen and the delivery muthaf**kas are already screening for you, so I am going to take every opportunity to shine because you never know if you will ever get to rap with these MC’s again. On another note, you know the biggest question on everyone’s mind is what’s up with the Flipmode Squad? Are they on hiatus because when you left Elektra, Rah Digga followed you over to J Records and shortly before you left, she was about to drop her solo album.

Busta Rhymes: Well actually they all followed me. The only reason why you really feel more of a presence from Rah Digga is because she was the one ready to release and album and she was the one that was ready to do more of a solo project. Unfortunately, she and the rest of the Flipmode got caught up in the political dumb s**t that I was going through as I was leaving J Records. So without me being at J Records, Rah Digga didn’t really have the support on the strength or the bargaining power that she needed to support her project. So I didn’t want to leave her in a death trap, especially when I see how J Records was treating all of their other artists. So I took her with me, everyone in Flipmode is with me; the only thing is that things have to work in stages and structures but everything I do will be beneficial for the grand scheme of things. As far as being signed to Aftermath, everyone hasn’t seen too many different sides to Busta, other than the animated, party joint side; so a lot of people were a little shocked when they heard your verse on the “Never Scared” remix, although you continue to divulge a little more of yourself with each album. With that being said, with all the beef coming from over there with G-Unit, are fans going to start hearing you spit more disses because there is word that you have a song called “F**kin’ Up the Game” and it features 50 Cent.

Busta Rhymes: Well to set the record straight, I don’t have a song on my album called “F*ckin’ Up the Game”. For two, I don’t have beef with nobody in the industry and never have, with the exception of me and Ja Rule, but we addressed it accordingly. The only reason it went down like that after he said what he said on his record, was because we used to be cool when he did that. I guess he felt obligated to diss everyone at Violator, which is my management company, when 50 came over there. Now of course me and 50 is on the same team and I rep my for my team and who ever is on my team. Now if you don’t like it, f**k you. But at the end of the day, if me and you are cool and you have an issue with something before you publicly disrespect me, you better try to call me or get at my peoples so we can talk about whatever differences that we have. Because I am that type of person, I am very confrontational; I don’t want to go to bed knowing that there is unresolved issues that I have to wake up to tomorrow.

But as a man, I got kids and an integrity, morally and principally that I am going to defend to the death bed. If a muthaf**ka crosses the line, we are going to deal with that on whatever level necessary. I have never been one to promote going out there tearing somebody’s head off, but if it’s in self-defense I support it fully. Looking back over your career, is there any point in your life whether professional or personal that you would change?

Busta Rhymes: I really feel like after going through all these years with making these records and situations, I feel that I am finally receiving my reward and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The only thing I wish is that the stuff I know now, I wish I knew when I made my first deal. But now I am on Aftermath and even though I have so many years of experience, I really feel like I am getting a chance to do it all over again, but with all the information that I have always wished I had in the beginning when I did my deal with Elektra. You have always been a spiritual type of person and it’s no secret that you are a part of the Five Percent Nation, with all the controversy surrounding Eminem and the tape; what is your take on the situation? Because as a Black female, I personally don’t feel he apologized for it and all though he said it when he was sixteen, the fact still remains he said it.

Busta Rhymes: My experience with Eminem now, is a major respectful one. We really don’t get to see him that often, because everybody pretty much has their own things and their own crew so we only see each other if it’s work related. I can say I have never had a problem with him, I ain’t never heard him say, “nigger” on no record since his career started. When he was sixteen, our culture didn’t embrace him because he didn’t have a record or a record deal, so he was going through something personal at the time. We all have our way of dealing with s**t and I am not justifying it by no means because if a White dude call me a nigger, we going to have problems. But I don’t just hold him responsible because it could have something to do with his upbringing or whatever. I mean he’s a White man and his family is White, so of course they are going to be on some pro-White s**t, just like we being Black, were raised on the pro-Black, so it really shouldn’t be surprising. I think the worst type of racist is the one who acts a totally different way than they feel. So as far as I am concerned I ain’t mad at Em, I am mad at a lot of muthaf**kas who are Black like me but they don’t even help they own, they don’t even support they own, they don’t even respect they own, so f**k them n***as. You have recently sat into the producers seat working on Raekwon’s upcoming album, what made you want to venture into the area of producer and is this a move that you are planning on making permanently?

Busta Rhymes: I hopped on Raekwon’s project because Raekwon and Ghost to me, just put me on another level, musically – the whole Wu-Tang did. The always seemed on some other s**t to me, I have never seen a nine-man clique that all had solo deals on different labels, while being housed as a group under another one; that was unheard of back on the day until they did it first of all. Number two, their dynamic was so different from each other, it reminded you of the old school super-hero cartoons where each one had their own intro, I mean Wu is like that they have their own swagger and that is just unbelievable to me. They whole movement was historic and no one has done it like they have done it. I told Raekwon that he didn’t need to make another album he needed to make another movie because Cuban Linx played like a movie, that whole album from the packaging to the color of the tape was classic. So I just hollered at him and told him he needed to recapture that. But honestly, I feel like I just sparked the energy and I am there for moral support. I mean I heard hot beats that I couldn’t use and I felt was right for him I slid them to him and we just worked like that. But as far as beats and all that, he and RZA have teamed up and created some sh*t that made my eyes water yo. Like on some emotional s**t, I may be a little biased but this album is going to be some fire. With all the groups reuniting to give a taste of the old school to the new school, what are the chances of you linking back up with the guys to do a Leaders of the New School album or tour?

Busta Rhymes: I would do it only if Charlie Brown wouldn’t be there. You guys still have beef after all these years?

Busta Rhymes: I mean there isn’t really a beef, there are just a lot of unresolved issues that he ain’t willing to speak to me about. Like I said I am a very confrontational person, and for things to go down like they did ain’t cool. I still see Dinco and Milo and we chill, we give love and it feels like the group never broke up. But it ain’t the same with Brown and when I really blow up like I want to, I am going to take care of D and Milo because that’s my fam and they will always be my fam. All in all what do you say is the overall legacy of your career?

Busta Rhymes: That everything comes full circle, if you look at the themes of my album it was like a telling what was about to happen. Like I said before, I find it real ironic that this being my 7th album and being ironic that this is 2005, it’s like everything is finally working out and I just feel blessed to experience all that God has allowed me to, in such a way that I am able to not only express myself creatively but reach people.

Busta Rhymes: Come Clean Part One Published October 05, 2005 by Tiffany Hamilton

In his illustrious career, Busta Rhymes clearly established to Hip-Hop not only that he was here to stay, but also a distinguishable force to be reckoned with. After enduring professional growth and personal pain, it was Busta’s stand out performance on his verse of the A Tribe Called Quest hit “Scenario” that helped him to establish a name for himself as not only an animated but an ill MC.

The crews, the labels, it’s all changed in the last fifteen years. No prophet could’ve connected Leaders of the New School with N.W.A. in 1991. But now with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Records, Busta Rhymes speaks to on the journey. We look at the botched J Records deal, the politics of Aftermath, Busta’s weaknesses and strengths, and even a word on LONS. Great art comes full circle.

All What really happened at J Records, because the partnership between you and Clive [Davis] seemed great when Genesis hit, it also seemed like a great move for the team especially with what was going on with Flipmode and the solo joint with Rah Digga?

Busta Rhymes: You know everything is always beautiful in the beginning. So when we first did our deal with J Records, they weren’t even officially announced [as a label yet] and to me it made sense to jump on something fresh; especially with a man who had a record like [Clive Davis]. The problem with J Records for me was that they don’t have a clue on how to market a Black record, because Urban Music is the politically correct way of saying Black Music. People will look at it like Alicia Keys is a Black woman, so she is Urban Music, but you can’t group Rap music the same way. Rap music is about going against policies and is so hard to contain that it is impossible to market the same way as you would an Alicia Keys’ record. It was a time where if you didn’t have a Puffy or Missy or Mariah Carey on your album J Records didn’t know what to do with it and that is why I think they are a trash record company. So is there any beef between you and Clive Davis?

Busta Rhymes: My feelings on the way my deal went down and the views I have about J Records have nothing to do with the way I respect Clive Davis’ legacy, but I do feel that the Rap department is a part of the company that he doesn’t give a f**k about. I feel that it’s evident by the way he runs the label. Look at when the American Idol muthaf**kas won, he was right there giving them million dollar deals and putting all this money into making sure they were marketed right and that they are promoted to be a success. Now look at Cassidy, yeah they were there [for him] in the beginning, but when he got locked up they gave him one video and the rest of his album was thrown in the trash. They cut his budget and really just messed him up, but if you look at Lil’ Kim [who’s on Atlantic], I don’t mean to compare situations that are unfortunate but Lil’ Kim is on her way to jail and you can see the distinct difference that Lyor Cohen and them did versus that of Clive Davis. There are two things that you said in previous interviews that I agree with, one is that the reason you continue to switch labels is because the labels aren’t understanding your vision, but you also said something in a totally separate interview that Hip-Hop is the only music that has created jobs for people who don’t understand it. Do you feel that the lack of understanding is what causes street records not to be as heavily promoted as a mainstream record and that’s what leading to the over saturation?

Busta Rhymes: Completely, I definitely feel that and I feel that a lot of that has changed because of the corporate mergers and the layoffs that have taken place in the industry. I think that there has definitely always been a lack of respect and a lack of understanding by the employees that worked at the labels because they looked at this like a job, like a straight up nine to five. On the other hand with me, switching labels has always been something that was needed in my situation in order to maintain a certain level of success because I feel like the longer you stay at a company the less fresh and the less exciting you become to a company and that’s the nature of any relationship. Just like if you with your girl, the longer you are with her the less exciting the relationship become and it’s unfortunate but that’s just how we [as people] are, we have short attention spans. Do you feel that it will turn that way with Aftermath?

Busta Rhymes: I feel that destiny for me has worked itself out, because I have never dreamed of being on a label that is so understanding of the music that I have always been trying to make, but have never been able to make like Aftermath. Because to me if you can win a Grammy and perform on the Grammys with someone like Elton John on a record like “Stan” that talks about killing your wife because you are an over obsessed deranged muthaf**ka, that is so far from a Top 40 record or even a club banger, that it’s created a new level of success that goes against the normal establishment. Working with Dre has given me the freedom to express feelings and things that I was never able to express because the labels always wanted a high energy, bafoonish, animated Busta Rhymes that I really don’t have a problem with doing because it’s a part of who I am. When I have a problem with it, is when I am unable to express other parts of myself and other sides that I consist of. It ain’t always the cartoon and exaggerated facial expressions that Busta Rhymes is about, I have so many other dimensions that I consist of and I am glad that honestly the label that I am apart of allows me to explore and express those sides thoroughly through my music. I hope people are bracing because I am going to finally get a chance to tell stories that I have been holding on to since ‘95 that I haven’t been able to share, because the previous companies I was a part of didn’t know how to nourish or nurture those types of records, concepts or ideas. That’s why I feel blessed that despite how I was hindered in other situations, muthaf**kas tend to identify with the true capabilities that you represent and the quality of your music. Why do you think It Ain’t Safe No More was so unsuccessful, is it because you were unhappy with the situation at J Records or did you just feel like oh well?

Busta Rhymes: I am going to break it down for you a lil’ bit. When I was at Elektra, all of my albums were platinum, when I was leaving Elektra the Anarchy album was the least successful. When I went to J Records, my first album sold 1.8 million, when I was leaving J Records, the biggest radio record I have had in my career, that Mariah record was bigger than “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” bigger than any other single I have had, but ironically the record sold the least amount of records. Why, because when a label knows that you are leaving, they are not going to put as much money into your project when they know they ain’t getting that money back. So that’s really what that’s about and I am glad you asked that question because a lot of time people hold it against you, like you slipping creatively; but it ain’t got s**t to do with my creative ability. If you look at around the time this album was falling off, I was the hottest muthaf**ka out.

Benzino: Pump Up the Volume Published November 09, 2005 by Tiffany Hamilton

Ray Benzino might be setting up his personal Tet Offensive, a series of aggressive moves in his long running war again “the machine.” And like the famous strategy in a war torn 1960’s Vietnam, Benzino hopes to topple his adversaries in a spectacular fashion and drive them out of Hip-Hop for the good of the culture.

If this offensive is to work, Boston native must contend with a number of obstacles from his cumbersome work as The Source’s Co-Owner/ Chief Brand Manager to and his plethora of enemies and his other affairs.

Rumors have swirled of The Source’s financial woes, sale, and eviction. If that weren’t enough, Benzino and the magazine have not only criticized G-Unit for [being agents of the corporate machine?], but also accuse radio heavyweights like Funkmaster Flex of accepting pay for play. Although his foes deny the charges, ‘Zino is pursuing them using every weapon in his arsenal. Read the war report from Zino’s uniquely abrasive perspective. Let’s touch on the issue of The Source and bankruptcy, what is really going on?

Benzino: We are definitely not filing bankruptcy, that’s a lie. Dave has been handling the finances since day one. What happened is he took out a loan to get in on the Internet stuff; the next thing you know we are indebted to this bank because of the high interest rate. It’s funny that in Hip-Hop, everyone has money except for the artists. There is a big corporate machine that basically exploits our music and our artists, and this is exactly like one of those situations where corporate America thought they could get over. Besides the issue of bankruptcy, there is also speculation that financial troubles is leading to an eviction of The Source at your 23rd street office in New York.

Benzino: We are not being evicted. We are just looking for a smaller space because we aren’t using it. There is no reason to continue paying for a space that we aren’t using, so we are in the process of shopping around. Speaking of businesses – many are still wondering why you are still beefing with artists at Aftermath?

Benzino: You know what we have explained the issue with Eminem and Jimmy Iovine repeatedly. I really can’t understand how he can be rated one of the top rated MC’s when he is exploiting our music. I mean, it’s crazy because we have beef with Interscope, who basically has everything locked down. People won’t advertise with us. So we decided to go through a restructure just like any other business. But everyone wants to talk about The Source, but everyone wants a business like The Source, I hate the fact that we get criticized for promoting ourselves. If you look at it, we aren’t doing anything different than Russell Simmons or Damon Dash. Honestly, if you wear two hats, of course you’re going to cross-promote between the two. Recently there has been a lot of friction between you and Funkmaster Flex, what’s the issue and how did that start?

Benzino: First off, I would like to say there is no beef. He talks a lot of trash [on air at Hot 97] and when he leaves, he has a group of security guards, but one day he is going to slip and when we do collide you are going to hear about it. Touching on another subject dealing with the payola scandals, what is the deal behind this lawsuit you are filing against the industry?

Benzino: We are filing a lawsuit against the major forces in the industry for the middle-man, because it’s the middle man who doesn’t get their artists played in a major market like New York – because they aren’t paying. We are linking up with all the artists and managers, anyone who has tried honestly to get they stuff heard and couldn’t because they wasn’t paying. In all honesty, Flex thought he was going to be gone a long time ago because of the payola. I ain’t going to lie, I used to pay Flex back in the day, but now because he down with G-Unit he want to trip, b*tch please. That’s why I am telling you, if we ever met up, it’s a wrap. A lot if people have been coming down on The Source not because of the “G-U-Not” issue, but because the attack seems to have been going on for a long time now.

Benzino: We basically are taking a stand, but while everyone points out the fact we are standing up, no one is saying anything about XXL being bought out to put them on the cover every month. Steve Stoute has been on Hot 97 talking about he loaned Dave Mays money for The Source and he’s made reference to the fact that he is in the process of looking into buying The Source.

Benzino: Steve has always been on Dave’s d**k. He’s on Hot 97 lying. Notice how he’s saying, “He was going to buy The Source,” he wasn’t going to do nothing. We bought his house back in the day when he was in trouble, and turned it into the Made Men headquarters, I mean this is the same guy that was chased by Foxy Brown and smacked across the head by Diddy; so he has always been a peon. The best description I have for Steve Stoute is a crab who jumps on everybody’s d**k. Dave borrowed $500,000 from him and gave it back to him, then he tried to ask for $100,000 in interest. Put it like this: anyone who mentions my name will get the business. Chubby Chubb got it, DJ Enuff apologized, so it’s over. But next time I see Flex and Tony Yay,o it’s on. I want everyone to know that Flex and Tony Yayo aren’t allowed in Boston. Speaking on Tony Yayo, what happened with him being on the cover of The Source?

Benzino: Tony Yayo saw me in South Beach, ran across the street and started talking that trash about how 50 best not be on the cover. What happened to The Source Awards and is it going to be held again?

Benzino: UPN had it for a year, but UPN was really scared of the Hip-Hop audience. Too many people say they support the craft, but then they turn their back on it. I mean now they do the Vibe awards, which is some cookie cutter bulls**t; some stuff for Steve Stoute and Russell Simmons. They are too busy trying to reach a suburban audience, that they aren’t paying attention to the ‘hood. But we are in the process of taking The Source Awards to another network, so we are looking at hosting it in January of 2006. So what happened at BET?

Benzino: The same thing that happened to Free and AJ, the same people that had problems with them is who we have issues with. I mean there is so much stuff going on with them up there that it’ crazy. You got Scott Mills who has a family, dating some guy in the legal department and he was the main one with issues about Dave and I showing up at our own awards show. So you best believe that is one case that we will win in court, because the contract we had with BET was straight black and white and it was for three years, so I am waiting for that day in court. Is there anyone else you want to air out that has been putting you on blast?

Benzino: I mean everyone over at Hot 97, Angie Martinez she talks all that s**t. You know what, here is a contest: I got $97.00 for anyone who can guess who the father of her baby is. Other than issues with side talking, what’s next for Benzino?

Benzino: Right now the next issue of The Source is taking an in-depth look at Hip-Hop behind bars, we are in the process of releasing a Source sponsored Hip-Hop hits album with Warner Music. We have launched three additions to The Source Magazine family which is The Source Latino, The Source France, and The Source Japan and last but least we have The Source ringtones. So we are definitely doing it big and not going for broke.

RZA Launches Wu Tang Latino Published June 08, 2005 by Tiffany Hamilton

The RZA has teamed up with Ray Acosta, former VP of Musica Latina and Marketing at UBO, to launch a new label, Wu-Tang Latino. “Wu-Tang Latino is the perfect fusion between Hip-Hop and Reggaetone,” Acosta, President of Wu-Tang Latino, told “I felt it was necessary because we [as Latinos] love Hip-Hop but in the love for Hip-Hop, we were losing our culture. So I feel that this joint venture with RZA is the perfect solution because it’s Hip-Hop and Reggaetone, but it’s not too overwhelming from either side to where you don’t know what you’re listening to.”

The label has already signed four artists who all plan on dropping albums next year.

“I am happy with the venture” artist/producer Rameses said. “I have been a fan of Hip-Hop since forever, so to team up with members of the Wu-Tang Clan and to be on a label that has the same vision for my music as I do, is incredible.”

In addition to Rameses, artists Ruster, NP Killah, Shown Black and Gil will be some of the artists featured on the upcoming Wu-Tang Latino mixtape due out in August.

“We just want to bring everyone together.” Acosta continued. “We want to create our own type of music on the East Coast, because we have Reggaetone, but the West coast has Regional Hip-Hop for Mexicans. Eventually I would like it all to be classified as Latino Hip-Hop to embrace us all.”

Look out for the debut single from Rameses featuring Mef to be out as soon as next week.

Hip-Hop Summit Coming To Morgan State University Published April 12, 2005 by Tiffany Hamilton

Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael S. Steele will join the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network Chairman and Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, as well as a host of hip-hop executives and artists at the Maryland Hip-Hop Summit, which is taking place at Morgan State University on Thursday, April 21, 2005. Simmons will be joined by Warner Music Group Executive Vice President and Baltimore native Kevin Liles, and Reverend Run, discussing the theme, “Creating Legacy Wealth”.

“The last installment of the civil rights movement for blacks and the secret to success for all Americans [is] financial empowerment,” Simmons told “Get your money right.”

The one-day conference features workshops, a Summit Town Hall Meeting, a post reception and after party.

The Financial Literacy workshops will provide workable tools and solutions for home ownership, credit bank relationships, credit repair, and lifestyle management.

The event is free, but pre-registration is strongly suggested and workshop registration is mandatory to attend the Town Hall meeting.

Registration is available at

Ol Dirty’s Manager Responds To Child Support Accusations Published April 18, 2005 by Tiffany Hamilton

The battle over Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s estate continues, as the late rapper’s manager and mother responded to child support non-payment allegations issued by Dirty’s estranged wife and mother of three of his children, Icelene Jones. Last week, Jones held a press conference alleging that although she has been appointed as the official care taker of Dirty’s estate, since the rapper passed away in November of 2004.

Jones stated that neither she nor her children are set to receive any royalties or funds from the rappers upcoming album A Son Unique, scheduled to be released on the Damon Dash Music Group label on June 21st.

In 1997, the late rapper was arrested because he was $35,000 behind in child support payments to Jones, but Weisfeld said Ol’ Dirty has made hundreds of thousands of dollars to Jones.

“Since September 3rd, 1997 Russell Jones [Ol’ Dirty Bastard] has paid Icelene Jones $272,906.97 in child support,” Weisfeld stated to “If Icelene hasn’t received any money it is because she hasn’t taken the proper steps to create an estate.”

In addition to disputing the facts surrounding the unpaid child support allegations, Weisfeld said it was in fact Cherry Jones, [Dirty’s mother], who insisted on the DNA preservation for tests, not her daughter-in-law.

Icelene Jones produced a marriage certificate to a New York Surrogate Court stating that she married the rapper on July 25, 1991. Jones proclaimed that she was the court appointed representative of the rapper’s estate last week.

The couple has three children together and according to published reports, Dirty sired at least seven other children starting in his teenage years.

Shortly after Dirty passed, the Jones’ began fighting over the rapper’s estate, which had been largely controlled by Ol’ Dirty’s mother Cherry Jones and manager Jarred Weisfeld.

“I have nothing against the other children,” Icelene Jones told the API. “I’ve met some of them. If they are, they are. If they’re not, they’re not. They’re beautiful children — the ones that I’ve seen. I preserved DNA for this purpose.”

Weisfeld said the Jones only has temporary control of Dirty’s estate and accused Icelene Jones of being “greedy.”

“Mr. Dash wants all of [Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s] children to benefit off this album, not just a certain three,” Weisfeld said. “Cherry and I have always said that we want all the children to be taken care of, that’s including Icelene’s three.”