As The Notorious B.I.G. said, “If you don’t know, now you know nigga!” Big boys been running things in the rap game for a long time. But I’m not just talking about big in stature but also how they think. But you must admit there is something fascinating about rapper that just doesn’t give a f*ck about what limitations people have, their mission is to do one thing, Smash The Game. They know they are tight with the rhymes, and the game they spit is relatable. From the first time you saw Ricky Rozay walk on stage tatted up with no shirt on….you knew he was a star. Enter… King Bo Bandz. The Worldwide Fleet DJ’s had a conference call this week, and our job was to listen to his music and offer an effective critique. I always take these calls very seriously because from the calls, journalist and DJ’s can develop a professional relationship. So I did my research and found his video on Youtube Life of a King. From my first impression, I saw the usual rap starter pack. The thuggery, video shoot in Miami, strippers with big asses, Bentley Coup, and trap references, but even with the cliche’s the song was hard. As a journalist, I know there are certain things a rapper does for appeal, but it’s my job to look for the depth of the artist. Subsequently, I went to my email and low and behold there were two other tracks for review. The songs were called Underdog and Lifestyle. Underdog put me in a mind state of the 2018 turn-up kid in the club. I then put on Lifestyle and it reminded of that Beanie Sigel The Truth flow. Bandz versality was impressive. It compelled me to take a closer look at the rapper.
By the time we got on the call, I had a lot of feedback for the rapper from Jamaica Queens NY. As we chopped it up, I noticed he listened very carefully to the questions being asked. The answers he gave let me know that Bandz was not a fly-by-night-rapper. I could tell he’d been in the game for a while. This caused me to do further research, so I went to his website and sure enough when I saw his bio, all the answers were right there in front of me of why the rapper seemed so poised and in control. But what I also read was why Bandz seemed so focused at this time in his life. Bo came into the music industry with a gentleman by the name of Russ Blade. In 2015 Blade was killed. At a time, where most artists would lose focus because of the tragedy, this increased Bandz determination to carry on the legacy of his long time friend.
As The Fleet DJ’s talked with him that night, I could tell Bandz was a people person. He stayed on the line until all critiques were given and all questions were asked. But when it got to me, he took my journalism serious including the hard critique about what records would work, and what wouldn’t work in Ohio. That scored big points with me. Hence this 1 on 1 interview for Straight Official. So at this time, I would like to present to some and introduce to others King Bo Bandz…
SO: So I’ve kinda explained who you are, but walk me through your relationship with Russ Blade and how that effects your music today.
KBB: Well, we were together since we were kids. So him and the homie Freaky Neeky in North Carolina now, started me rapping when I was about 15, 16. They had already been rapping since elementary so I was kind of like the late bloomer. When Freak moved down south, we kept it moving with me and Blade up until he got killed. So now it’s just me and I’ve just got to keep it moving the best way I know how. I’ve got my team and we good.
SO: So you’re from Queens?
KBB: You know it.
SO: So Queens artists vary from a wide range of artistry. Billy Holiday lived in Queens, A Tribe Called Quest is from Queens Saint Albans….but Mobb Deep, Cormega, and Nas are from Queensbridge but so is Shan, Marley and Shante’. How is it so much artistry that comes out of Queens from such a high crime element?
KBB: You just described the whole world man. I mean come on man, people try to mystify the hood and it’s regular people in the hood. Everybody don’t sell drugs, but there are people who do. Everybody is not in a gang but there are people that are. It’s whole families here man. But there is one common thing about people in the ghetto…those that live there are always looking for a way out. Being black like like Hov said..it seems like all we have is sports and entertainment. The trap is that this shit looks easy…but this shit aint easy at all. In facts it’s harder than a 9 to 5 because everybody wants to do it. Everybody wants to be famous. But if I had a problem with any of it, it’s when those that get on don’t create opportunities so that there are other examples to follow. But if all the kids see is so-and-so going to the league, or MC so-and-so poppin bottles and rappin, that’s all these kids are going to want to do.
SO: My biggest peeve about hood rap has always been about the influence of the babies that don’t realize Trap Music is just entertainment. I was talking to Quavo a couple years ago and he said that “you are who you are period, and any rapper that’s worth something is only gonna talk about things he knows about” So my question is …is that true? and do we as an audience have a right to hold you rappers accountable to the things you put out that our babies will listen to?
KBB: First of all, let me say Quavo is right. You can’t can’t talk about nothin you don’t know about. Just like when these rappers get on these records talkin about how much money they got. When real people know by the things you’re talkin about if you’re really gettin to the money. People that are really gettin to the money rap in detail about things somebody broke just can’t. What I’m sayin is only your true self will come across to the masses of what’s in your heart. People aren’t stupid. They know when someone is frontin. But to hold someone accountable for what they say and do…Nah, everybody grown, and everybody has choices. The bad ones you either learn from it, or keep runnin into bullshit until you do. I can only do what’s best for Bo.
SO: When it comes to Kartel Gang how hard is it to keep everybody on the same page? I say this especially knowing that most rappers put they people on from the neighborhood as staff. How do you make sure people act accordingly so that the money doesn’t get fucked up?
KBB: Ok first let me say this because I don’t wanna disrespect nobody, this is just an example. You remember when you was little and ya parents gave you that talk. “Now when you get over to ya grandmothers house don’t be on no bullshit” Communication. If we’re going in an environment where everyone can be themselves..do you, but if it’s some shit where somebody’s actions might fuck up the money…the people that can’t bring it in…might have to sit this one out. Everything ain’t for everybody. But my people know..we all trynna get to the money so we have to act accordingly in certain situations.
SO: I’ve never seen a rapper market 3 singles at the same damn time. Who’s idea was that?
KBB: Man I got songs, and it’s like you said on the call, every song ain’t gonna work in every state so Lifestyle is for my Boom Bap niggas. Underdog is for them kids in the club that wanna turn up and Life of Da King is for the followers and the fans.
SO: Lastly, what do you want people to get from your music. You really seem to know how to brand yourself as an artist.
KBB: One thing about this business is that you can’t control when it’s your time to shine. You just have to keep working. I don’t focus on individual opinions of my music. I focus on the masses. Right now I’m in a really good space and I’ve got the right team Kartel Gang. I’ve been consistent and I’ve been working hard so God willing, these songs will open doors for even greater opportunity. But some key people fucking wit me. Flex, Kay Slay, DJ Chubbie Chubb so I’ve been getting some good looks. Can’t wait to come to Ohio and fuck witchall. I’m just a dude trynna come up and tell my story.
How do you really interpret being a fan of an artist you know personally? And how does one explain that fanship when you are involved in the inner circle of the artist movement within that city? Can one speak objectively without bias? I’ll try my best. I came to know of this female sultry soul singer by way of a poet I used to date. From her introduction, I grew to know of all of the players within that artsy scene from Wali Crowder (poet), to B Jazz and The Liquid Crystal Project to DJ Krate Digga (eclectic DJ) to Lawrence Lemon (dancer extraordinaire). But around 2011, Columbus Ohio was buzzing by the release of Eric Roberson’s Mr. Nice Guy. Of course the city of Columbus has an adoration for the grammy-nominated singer, but the talk was more that of his generosity, almost an ode if you will, to the place that continues to give him so much love. Roberson included most of the artist aforementioned on his project, and from there I started to hear more and more about the songstress they call Renee Dion who was also a feature on Mr. Nice Guy.
With each project released, with each live performance, I became more of a supporter of Dion’s movement. Even witnessing her sing the national anthem for our 44th president Barack Obama was nothing short of amazing. In 2014, she dropped her project Moonlight off at my radio show, and my crew at the time and I were blown away at the maturity of her sound. We played every track for the entire show. By that time Dion was gaining momentum on the music scene….then all of the sudden “POOF” she disappeared. For a year and a half I would see her appear at a few music events around town or see her with her students from my window at that bank I was working at. (she was a school teacher at a school next door). But still no spark of music until around the end of October 2017. I started hearing from her chief supporter (her husband) she had a project coming out. He showed up at the club passing out her project to all the DJ’s but I was on the set and by the time I got done, the project was sold out. I ended up having to wait for the release date to hear it, and believe you me it was worth the wait. Haven put me in a trance from the first track I played.
I’m the type of person that believes everyone has a path and I follow good energy, so when I heard that my long time friend Jonathan Baker helped out on a lot of the arrangements for Haven, it made perfect sense why I was drawn to this project. Baker is an extremely talented genuine guy. I also felt that Dion was coming from a personal place. She’s a private person, but if you follow her life on social media and in real life…you know she’s in love and she’s been in love for quite some time. A story that is very rare in this day and age. Dion and her husband Artist Eric Jefferson don’t do it for the vine either, their love story is real. Those that listen to Haven can feel that story in the songs. So if you are in love, looking to be in love , or you just simply have questions about it…you can use Haven as to what that looks like.
I caught up with the songstress and I wanted her to break down some key elements of this masterpiece. Without further adieu …..Renee Dion…..
SO: Hey Renee, considering I just interviewed a musician you know well Ill Poetic and him taking 10 years to finish his project, and knowing it took you a few years to complete Haven, explain how difficult the process is to bring about a project with the musicality both of your projects possess.
RD: Oooh wee! (laughs to self) well after Moonlight I sort of hit a brick wall and I had to ask myself the question all artist get to a point of asking. Do I want to keep doing this, or do I want to let this go and just stop? I then made a decision, and with my mouth I told my husband…”I’m done with music” and from there was an almost immediate shift in my life from health problems to personal relationships.. things were just off. Speaking to that, I learned that when we abandon our purpose and what God has given us to do, things will shift and things can change until we find that path again. So as I stated, I was going to walk away but something kept bringing me back to it, and more and more I began to find inspiration. I was finding inspiration everywhere, from listening to my best friend T. Wong evolve to lyrics just coming to me out of no where…and I started thinking to myself like “Are we done?” So my husband and I turned one of our bedrooms into a recording studio and I began to tinker around, and from that, the creativity started flowing …like if you ever saw the movie with Bruce Leroy …I had the glow (we both crack up) but when I started to show these songs to Jonathan (Baker) …first of all this man is truly talented, but I truly love his musicianship, so when he began to add his musical flavor, that’s when Haven started coming to life.
SO: If I could give this album a positive critique, you sound the most confident on this album than your previous projects. Songs like Uno (I really like that song btw) have your signature sound, but you can also hear growth and confidence in these songs. What made the difference on you taking risk vocally on this project?
RD: I would say, when you take ownership and responsibility from other people’s hands, no slight to any other producer I’ve worked with…but once I had to sit in this studio and hammer out these songs myself, and I had to figure out production nuances and truly trust myself to express what was coming from my heart, I would say the confidence to elevate happened organically from those experiences. If you really want to know who Renee Dion is…Listen to Haven.
SO: Considering we’re saying goodbye to 2017…We had a number of bare-your-soul albums from music’s royal family The Carters. 4:44 setting the tone for truth in music. Listening to Haven you can hear these songs coming from a real place. Did your husband inspire those songs?
RD: Well, honestly speaking the entire album is about him. But it’s also about me, my relationship with God and my relationship with people. When it comes to my music, I’m attracted to really beautiful sounds, so sometimes the music can stand on it’s own and overshadow the lyrics based on the sounds I prefer. However on this project, if you stripped the production and listened to just the words, you’ll hear my vulnerability, my fears, my questions and me dealing with myself. I’m still continuing to learn how to be a wife, and my husband is still learning to be patient with me as I find my way, as I am with him and these thoughts are what come out in the music. Life is about continual self discovery.
SO: It seems like your songs speak to women in love or looking for love. In a time where trust in relationships is a rarity and often times scary, what would you say to those women looking for love in 2018?
RD: Wow that’s a deep question and loaded hahaha but I’ll try to answer. I’ll say this to my single women waiting for love. Don’t lose your affection, don’t lose your vulnerability by being guarded. What do they say, “you can’t receive a blessing with a closed fist”, so you have to remain open to love no matter how great the potential of you being hurt again. With each experience there is a lesson until you reach the destiny God has called you to reach. The problem lies for most people is that they look to all sorts of media like Facebook and Instagram and the wrong outlets for guides to relationships. However that is so far from the truth of what love really is.
Listen, people look at my husband and I funny because wherever they see me they see him and vice versa. If he has a showing I’m right there, if I have a singing engagement he’s right there as my No. 1 supporter. And it’s not based on a level of insecurity. Our presence is a sense of protection in this crazy world. Furthermore, we enjoy each others company. I sometimes go to events and there are married women and men showing up to events by themselves and wonder why they get involved in single activities. Don’t get me wrong our marriage is still work but it’s less work when you work at it and stay in tune with your significant other. Recognizing and dealing with things when things are off are another way to build strong relationships. But people have to be willing to let go of pride and ego to accomplish that. Communication is Everything. Eric is my husband and I protect him and his art just like he does for me…that’s the best advice I can give Layne.
SO: Where can people purchase your music and what events do you have going on right now?
RD: So they can purchase the music on iTunes and we just did Healing Haven and The Black Infinity a few days ago but those events and more are the many things to come in 2018. Just follow me on Instagram and Twitter under @ReneeDionMusic and please visit my web page reneedion.com
SO: Thank you so much for spending the day with us. Haven is definitely a instant soul classic.
I Had a chance to meet the wonderful Plus Size Model and creator, who goes by the name Bigsexz, omg she is killing the game. Bigsexz is not only beautiful but very down to earth, her brand is really on point. Couple weeks back she visited my hometown Chicago all the way from Detroit. She had a meet & greet @addictionsluxe 130 Madison St. Oak Park, Il after Bigsexz came in for an interview on Plus Size Pretty Radio which airs every Friday, from 8-10pm on www.que4.org Hosted By Nieisha Bibbs, life was spoke that night and I just know every woman should lend an ear and listen to what she has to say.
Kalif Johnson also was known as Bigsexz was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. BIGSEXZ4REAL earned the name Bigsexz because she is super curvy and always keeps it sexy. Bigsexz started her modeling career in 2015. Debuting in the “Ashley Stewart love your curves tour.” Following her runway experience, she went to do local Detroit fashion shows such as Walk, Dream, Curv Bella, and Stylez. Through these opportunities, she was endorsed to be the modeling face for Curv Bella then and Fashionn Junkiee.
A few months later, Bigsexz started two internet blog shows, “Statuesque” focusing on curvy girl conversation. and “Bigsexz from the D” where she interviewed local and visiting artist. But she didn’t stop there. She soon opened her photography company “Bigsexz Imagez” She wanted to learn both sides of the production not just the stage as a model but, behind the scenes. This leads her into her latest project the “Bigsexz from the D calendar” which showcases local designers and models. Then in 2017, she had the opportunity to be a judge in the ” Finding Ashley Stewart 2017 ” tour when Ashley Stewart came back to Detroit. Through her journey she charmed and encouraged the plus size community, to be beautiful and love yourself, no matter what point you are in your life or what size you are!
Go Check Her Website Click Here
Ok so I’m working in my office in the official blogging headquarters of WTMH Radio/StraightOfficial Ohio/State Of Hip Hop.com and I’m in one of those blah moods. All of the sudden my Telegram alerts are lighting up out of control. It’s the CEO of The Fleet DJ’s Klassik and he wants to know if I’d be available to interview Daz Dillinger of The Dogg Pound and Big Gipp of Goodie Mob. He said “Yo! I’m giving this to you because you really know how to put together great interviews…don’t let me down” But that’s not what I’m thinking… My mind automatically goes back to being in Sigonella Italy in January of 1993 and having two tapes in my walkman to get me through a Naval tour. Dr. Dre’s The Chronic and Redman’s Whut Thee Album. Then in 1995, the month I’m released from the Navy…I’m in the post office hating life and the only two tapes that get me through are Goodie Mob’s Soul Food and D’angelo’s Brown Sugar. So to be able to talk to these guys was more than an honor…they really shaped my young adult life.
It’s 2pm Eastern time and the phone rings promptly. I look on the caller ID and immediately I see it’s a Los Angeles California number. Presumptuous I just answer..”Dat Nigga Daz!”….and in true Long Beach vernacular he replies “Whaddup homie?” I want to continue the conversation but I can’t stop smiling. This is gonna be a true “for the culture” phone call. These two were right in the middle of Hip Hop when it shifted in 1995 from East and West coast prominence to The South Uprising. But to see The South and West collaborate under one groove….DJ Layne Luv is here for this.
SO: Let’s just skip all the propers…how did y’all two muh fuchas decide to get together one day and make some music?
Bigg Gipp: Man Daz jus called me up one morning and said let’s make some music. I showed up..DJ Funky and Cool Dolla and Henry West was in there already cookin.. Then I heard the beat. I instantly loved it man. Daz made the hook…I went outside…when I come back in he had the hook and the verse laid. But I wasn’t ready. So I smoked a blunt..took it home and sat on it for a day or two…came back to the studio. Daz said you ready and I said yeah I’m ready…laid down the verse and the finished product was Type Of Girl. That was the first song we did.
SO: I’m very skeptical when veterans come back and make music because there is a dilemma of walking away from the game holding the hand in the air for The Final Shot…preserving the legacy versus coming back in a Washington Wizards Jersey. But Type Of Girl seems to fit right in with the music we are hearing today. How does feel to still be in touch with what’s going on?
Daz: I’m not gonna lie, it feels great! To still be able to do what you love and the people still respond to it with approval. We just keep thriving. As long as you have a good heart, you breathing and your health is good..from that point it’s about elevatin the game. And staying consistent. I’ve alway been able to be myself no matter where I’m at and I’m grateful for that.
SO: Man when I reminisce on how LA music make me feel and how Dungeon Family music made me feel, it just feels like a good time..like a backyard cookout…blended with a lot of herbal essence as the elixir….does that help with the vibe of the records you all put out?
DAZ: Man we are doing just that right now as we speak (Laughter in the background from all the niggas in the studio hahaha) DJ Marijuana is IN THE HOUSE….(I can’t control my laughter at this point) Seriously it doesn’t help it or hurt it, It’s helps most rappers to relax so the thoughts and creativity and push through. You can smoke weed and still make a wack song, we just happen to be good and what we do and the weed helps with that.
SO: So Daz as good as you are a rapper, you’re also one hell of a producer and you’ve engineered some classic West Coast bangers…one of my favorites being Tupac’s “Got My Mind Made Up” ..so two questions. Who’s producing your music now and tell our audience what it was like working under the tutelage of Dr. Dre?
DAZ: So Cool Dolla is our producer right now but we are working with anyone that got heat for real…
But when you talk about Dre and those years…whew….Man at first I was just puttin shit together that I thought sounded good. And then Dre would walk by the studio and say…I like this…or I don’t like that and I was just in there learning from him. But it all changed the day he said “Here Daz, I’ll let you use my drum machine” I don’t know what happened but from that one thing…it all changed and I created Rat A Tat Tat and all that shit…but seriously Warren G is who helped me get the most out of Dre’s drum machine. But Dre showed me how to put the beat on tracks and put stuff around it to make the beat sound fuller. Dre helped me out a lot.
SO: SO Gipp being that ATL has been a residence in the rap game for more than a decade going on two…how do you feel that your city has had such a long reign in music? It was a time that Hip Hop bounced around every ten years or so, but it seems that ATL has a stronghold on the game right now. How do you feel about that?
GIPP: It feels great, how these kids are taking the foundation that The Dungeon Family started and taking the ball and running with with. You see down south, we encourage growth, so when we see these kids creating, making their own beats and creating their own sound, that’s what keeps the music going for us…and quite frankly…as long as there is STRIP CLUBS…you always gonna hear ATL music. (A Loud laughter in the studio again) You can tell when you got a banger..is when them strippers start moving to it. Our music is a music that transcends gender or race. It’s family and it’s hood. I got nothing but respect for these young millionaires Migos, Metro Boomin, Mike Will Made It, Future, Young Thug, South Side, Colli Park they continue to push the culture by taking this music worldwide. I love it.
SO: So Gipp let me take you back to The Source Awards in 95′ . When 3 Stacks said “The South Got Something to say” Did you even guess that those words would be prophetic and set off the ATL revolution?
GIPP: Man to tell you the truth, I was on stage with him and I couldn’t hear let alone focus on what Dre was saying. We was all in fight mode. It was so rowdy and noisy in there, you could feel the tension to the point where any and everything could have jumped off… and we was ready. We was all on the defensive at that moment so I didn’t really hear what Dre said until years later when I saw the tape. But looking back, yes it was prophetic and I’m glad he said it, because the south took that baton and we never looked back.
SO: SO when can we expect the full album fellas?
DAZ: Late winter, early spring…just in time for them coasters and them honeys. ATLA baby!!!
SO: Well I thank y’all for taking time out of yall’s studio session to holler at ya boy. Much success to you both bringing the south and the west together to stir up a good pot of gumbo.
DAZ: Thank you Layne Luv and Straight Official for having us and big shout out to The Fleet DJ’s for playing our music!!! Much Respect!!! Respect The DJ!
When a rapper dubs themselves the “future” of anything, best believe they have the confidence to know that the energy they are putting out foretells their success among the masses to come. It’s been a long time since New York City has held the crown as the reigning capital of rap music. Atlanta has held that title for a while judging by the amount of rappers that gets top priority radio spins and project sales. Even though the public may see the likes of Remy Ma, Nicki Minaj and now Cardi B all from New York getting their shine (Shout out to the leading ladies of rap right now)….however, it’s still many miles away… in fact light years from The Golden Era where 80 % of the industry rappers during that time were from New York.
Nowadays the internet has leveled the playing field for both rappers, producers and DJ’s and artists alike. The no longer need “the industry machine” behind them to be successful. Chance The Rapper has inspired so many independent artist to stay independent and E-Reign from Queens NY is no different. His grind is definitely being noticed on the east coast and he’s hustling everyday to become known in other states across the nation. The young rapper has the business savvy to put together independent tours with him as the headliner. From high quality music videos to riot energy live shows….E-Reign will definitely have the masses paying attention real soon.
Ladies and Gentleman… E-Reign.
SO: Glad you could join us man. Let’s just get right into it. On a lot of your promotions I see the slogan “Future of New York” ..for the audience, what does that mean?
ER: My team and myself, are just trying to bring something new and fresh to the table. That slogan is meant to inspire no matter where you’re from. I know some people might see that term as something braggadocio, but I’m not just talking about myself. I’m putting on for my city but I’m putting that energy out there to the world. I’m talking about my generation, my culture. So much pressure is put on us millennials to adapt to what was…and we don’t want to be told what represents us…WE want to establish what represents us and for that to be embraced. I may articulate that in a different way as opposed to someone down in Atlanta, but we are basically saying the same thing…we are the future…hate it or love it.
SO: I’m noticing most successful independent artist have a strong team behind them. How do you keep your team focused and on the same page?
ER: Yeah man, the key to a lot of it is staying true and loyal to those you started from the bottom with. From there I tend to keep a lot of things in-house because the trust has already been established from way back. By learning each other…things gel together, like when you’re playing basketball…if I shoot that pass, I know who’s going to be there to catch it. Honesty, also goes a long way. You can’t have a lot of “Yes” people on your team. There has to be people in place to tell you the truth so you’re not out in public looking stupid.
SO: What other states do you feel like you’re getting traction in other than New York?
ER: We’re definitely making noise down in Philadelphia. North Carolina has shown me a lot of love and our new spot is Miami. We did a show down there and it was crazy so….and we continue to just keep networking with the brand so hopefully you know, by politickin wit you ….maybe we can get it in Ohio too haha. (pun intended)
SO: So what are you working on right now?
ER: So recently I just dropped my new mixtape The New York Times Vol 1., and so the team and I are promoting that real heavy,…. and then we’re also working on a single called “Whatchu Sayin” and we’re going to be shooting a video for that as well. Other than that , just continuing to tear down these live shows to give the people their money’s worth.
SO: Ok here’ s the typical cliche question LOL, Who would you say your music is influenced by?
ER: Tupac of course and Nas….Lyrical storytellers by far that not only cause you to think but through their rhymes you can see vividly the picture they are painting to the listener. And I mean of course the no-brainers being from New York…The Jay-Z’s and The Biggie’s of the world.
SO: Lastly, where can someone find your music?
ER: Very easy, go to www.ereignmusic.com or you can find my music on all streaming sites. iTunes, Tidal, Spotify, all the heavy hitters. I just want to show love and get some back you know?
SO: Well thank you for chopping it up with us. We are looking for gigantic things to happen for you in 2018
ER: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. One.
Check out some of your favorite celebrities on the grey carpet on the way into the BET Awards show this year. DJ Samore caught artist like Tank, Sevyn Streeter, Future, Queen Latifah, New Edition the and cast from the movie, and many more hitting the red carpet. The “red” carpet pre show was hosted by Nick Cannon; performances from Nick’s new artist, August Alsina, , Kyle, Lil Yachty, Yfn Lucci, PnB Rock, and Jaqueess. Check out some of the photos from the show.
It’s one thing to represent your neighborhood, it’s also one thing to rep your city and even representing your state is remarkable, but representing your country on a world stage is nothing short of extraordinary. Ladies and Gentleman, meet Jordan Horston the 6’1 16 year old from Columbus Ohio currently attending Columbus Afrocentric Early College playing at point guard for The Lady Nubians and well on her way to becoming a basketball phenomenon. Horston left CMH for Buenos Aires Argentina June 7th and came back to Columbus a gold medalist competing in the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
Whoever said “Don’t believe your own press” was not talking about Horston. You can look at her and tell she is not here for the hype but for the sheer love of the game. When asked how she is dealing with all the press she replied “I like it, but that’s not my focus. I actually deleted all of my apps because I knew all the attention I was getting. Once my goals were accomplished, I slowly started adding the apps back on my phone, but that was only to thank the supporters and fans for wishing me well.” Most of the people in her circle say that Jordan is the most humble person they know, you wouldn’t even know she is as great as she is by the way she carries herself. “Just a fun-loving and down-to-earth kid” her aunt Sabrina Whitney says.
As I recall, I met Jordan about 6 years ago and I don’t ever remember a ball not being in her hand at some point of the day. I’m also friends with her mother Malika Horston on Facebook and there was not a week that would go by that you wouldn’t see the proud mother videoing her daughter in their family driveway playing a pick-up game with her sibling Jazmin or even tougher competition with her father Leigh Horston. And in true father form, you would witness Leigh making the 11 year old work for all her buckets.
Leigh has been accredited for Jordan’s work ethic, coaching her since she was a small child. However, word is Malika Horston is the true task master when it comes to Jordan’s will to win. When asked by Malika’s friends how Mrs. Horston was as a sideline parent… they replied “Yeah you would hear it from Malika if Jordan did not put 110% in a game hahaha” Jordan says “It’s truly my family that keeps me grounded.”
The Lady Nubians themselves have a knack for winning. They’ve made many appearances at Value City Arena for the OHSAA Girls Basketball Tournament. I caught up with Head Coach William Mckinney to find out what their formula was. He stated “The Lady Nubians started out as a blue collar team. We go above and beyond to outwork everybody. We bring a high level of high energy every game. Everyone is held accountable to do their job.
Jordan says her experience in Argentina was unforgettable. She states “The hardest part was getting over the nerves. Observing other countries, you could tell they spent a great deal of time and effort working on their skill. So from that point you have to determine you are the better team and that you deserve to be there. Surprisingly, The USA team gelled together pretty quickly as a family by looking out for one another, which in turn really helped win us the championship”….”No matter what stage you’re on….It’s just basketball at the end of the day”
Jordan says going into the 2017-2018 school year, she’s willing to step up as a leader and face the scrutiny of being put in the spotlight. She says “Of course, when you’re playing at this level, people are going to play you harder because they have something to prove. But while they’re resting, I’m working. I know what’s ahead of me so I just try my best to prepare myself mentally and physically.”
Expect great things from this future Lisa Leslie (By the way, rumor has is Jordan can dunk a basketball) Follow her on ESPN and USA Olympic Team websites. Jordan was one of two people from Ohio representing the American team. And we expect many more accolades to come from this awesome young lady. Let it be known….Columbus Ohio is #TEAMJORDAN
Blogger Sidenote: This is a very special blog post for me because, most people think my musical passion lies solely in DJing. While this is true, however, most that know me, know that I have a white-heat adoration for the occupation of radio & broadcasting. To provide a bigger fun fact, although my followers know that Tom “The Fly Jock” Joyner is my current radio idol, my aspirations of wanting to be a disc jockey started with a gentleman by the name of Walt “Baby” Love and his show entitled “The Countdown”. I used to sit and listen to him every Sunday by the window seal.
Now I don’t know where you might be from, but but back in day in Columbus Ohio, if you were a radio disc jockey, you were THE hometown celebrity to be. You were “The Man” or Woman, and had much “juice” in my city. Names like Kirk Bishop, Eddie Saunders, The Nassau Daddy himself Bill Moss (CapSoul Records), Les Brown, Mike Reeves, KC Jones, and Mel Griffin ring bells in the city of Columbus to this very day. Unfortunately I can’t name a lot of female jocks because as James Brown put it best…it was a “Man’s World” back then. When acts would come to town like The Whispers, The Temptations, The Bar Kays, and The Commodores the jocks would get as much attention from the ladies as the headlining acts.
This leads me to the gentleman we’re spotlighting in this blog. I came to know this guy about three years ago. He would always support my internet broadcast as if he had a vested interest to see me win. Eventually I just bonded with his spirit. Shortly after, I was able to witness him in action doing an internet show on Jamz.com. But this is not just a story about one man’s journey in radio…this is a story about a man’s fight for his life, for his legacy to be remembered, and to let the world know that Kevin Flemister aka Kevin Townes cares about the City Of Columbus, it’s rich history, and the business of entertainment.
Kevin Townes grew up in the Lincoln Projects on the Southside of Columbus. He is a graduate of South High School Class of 1984. During his teenage years, he became heavily influenced by the live broadcasts hosted by hometown legend Kirk Bishop at the Eastside skating rink. Through methodical planning, Kevin and some of his friends decided they would host a replica skate parties in their community recreation center (Barack). The venture proved to be more successful than the gentlemen thought. People from all over the city were coming to the recreation center to attend the skate parties. That provided the push for Kevin to dream about becoming an on-air disc jockey.
Nothing short of a Howard Stern movie….Kevin went on to attend Ohio University. During his freshman year, Townes got a job on the South Green Campus at the college radio station called WSGR. Townes moniker at that time was Kool DJ Kev! The thrill for Kevin was short lived after he grew bored of his responsibilities at the WSGR. To Townes, he felt like he could do more and wanted to do more with his career. After a year and a half of frustration Kevin dropped out of college altogether.
Following his instinct, he returned to Columbus and an old friend by the name of Frank Kelly was starting up an independent community hip hop radio station called CTNT. But what gave the station it’s claim to fame was, while other stations would only play top 100 R&B and safe hip hop…. CTNT was playing rap records like LL Cool J Rock The Bells, UTFO Roxanne Roxanne, and Run DMC Rockbox. “And we weren’t just playing the singles…we were playing the album cuts too!” said Townes. Anybody from that era knows that you could only get that station through a cable receiver, however, tapes of the mix shows were in high circulation and duplication around the city.
In 1987, Townes went from CTNT to the Columbus Hip Hop infamous Z103 (Sunday Night At The Raps). Through diligence and loyalty, the program director took a liking to Flemister. Once a spot opened up, Kevin was asked to do live overnights. While Kevin was working, he noticed that the city looked to him to find out where all the cool places were to go, and all the events that ruled the night. The town was his, even if it was for that 4 hour brief air shift….thus the name was born…Kevin Townes. Kevin liked the freedom he had to develop himself and play the songs he wanted to play to set the tone for the city that evening. It’s so important to document that, because corporations will never allow that kind of freedom again. The reason for this, is that they don’t want the city getting too comfortable with a personality, less they get fired and don’t welcome the replacement with the same love & respect and above anything else….lose loyal listeners.
In 1990, Townes radio world came Full-circle when KC Jones asked him to come over to 1580AM WVKO to host Blue Monday. A radio tradition in Columbus established and popularized by the late great Kirk Bishop. Of course they were big shoes to fill, but Kevin did it his way and the city loved him for it.
In ’92 Kevin lands himself back at Jack Harris aka Papa Jack’s 106.3fm and the station is going through the transition because Power 106 is setting up to be ran by Bluechip Broadcasting with Frank Kelly and Warren Stevens signed on a program directors. Once Corporate got its hands on urban radio….everything changed and not for the good. The jocks were told what to play and what to say. It’s riding in a Dodge Charger with a 4 cylinder engine…what’s the point LOL? But that didn’t stop Kevin’s hustle drive. He also hosted a Hip-Hop television video show called Music Video Avenue from ’93-’96
In 1996, Kevin’s world crossed paths with a young man from Louisville Kentucky. The man from Louisville would change how Columbus Ohio would hear urban radio forever. Enter Paul Strong. On the drive to Columbus, Paul heard Kevin’s Sunday broadcast, and decided Townes had the chops he needed for his show. The deal was offered and from that point, he became the pioneer and original member to what is now known in radio history as The Power Morning Crew. After Townes stint with Power, he did other things, but that was the last time he did radio on that grand of a scale.
But the true story is where Kevin found redemption and where he really found out what he was made of as a man. In 2013, Townes was experiencing shortness of breath, dizziness, and fatigue. After a number of misdiagnosis, it was finally discovered that Kevin had a leaky heart valve and caused his health to decline tremendously. Kevin Townes could have chose to be private about his affairs, however he had the same epiphany I had when it came to social media…it was media…which meant he could use that platform to tell his story and be an encouragement to others.
Procedure after procedure Kevin would ask for the prayers of his followers right before a surgery and would always say encouraging words to his friends after overcoming each trial. As we acknowledged his fight to live, Kevin also inspired hope in other people though his videos of promoting heart health awareness and spirituality.
Kevin is no longer working in terrestrial radio. But for everything he’s been through, and continuing to go through, he remains in good spirits and when he can, whether it’s internet radio or a Facebook video, he lets you know that HE IS STILL KEVIN “YOUR MAN ABOUT” TOWNES!
Follow him on Facebook
under: Kevin Flemister-Townes
When you become a journalist, you quickly come to realize that not all interviews are created equal. When I came to know the one they call Large Professor, I’m sure I stereotyped him along with the rest of the world. He didn’t look like Run DMC, Ice T or KRS-One. But he didn’t have to because before his release, The Native Tongues featuring A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, helped us to embrace difference in Hip Hop. So when we saw the intelligent hoodlum from Queens on our tv set, it made us pause to get past the Poindexter glasses to listen to what the rapper really had to say. Not to mention, with songs like “Looking At The Front Door” “Fakin The Funk” & “Live At The Bar B Que” you couldn’t deny his raw talent. Who knew that he would go on to be a fraction of the dynamic production squad that would produce THE hip-hop classic Nas’s Illmatic. Large Professor is the name you mention in certain hip hop circles when you want to impress high ranking hip-hop scholars.
While watching certain Hip Hop documentaries such as ATCQ’s Beats, Rhymes Life, Memories of Paul C McKasty & Nas’s Illmatic and a host of others, you’ll notice that they don’t get Large Professors inputs because of what he’s heard, they look to get his input because he was there. Right smack dab in the middle of The Golden Era. Right in the midst of New York’s comeback. Right in the midst of the beef between Jay and Nas. He’s always honored as being a dope lyricist and a phenomenal producer. To snag an interview with him is like a Jedi grabbing wisdom from Yoda.
Sidenote: As fate would have it, energy is real, and whether good or bad, it transfers. The day of our interview, I was not having a very good day, but I had already rescheduled the interview the day before, and there was no way I was going to stall The Legend a second day. So I set all of my recording equipment up the way I normally do and wait until Large Pro calls. As we’re going thru the interview, I’m hearing my mixer shorting. I’m sweating, and I almost break down because in all things, I love to present professionalism and I don’t want him to know something is wrong. After 6 minutes, my mixer shorts out completely and I had to go super old school and write everything out short hand. After 11 min we both agreed it was time to take what I had and make it work. Never the less it was a classic interview, and I would have even appreciated 2 minutes with The Legendary Large Professor.
OTT: First of all can I say, what a privilege it is to have an exclusive interview wit da hip hop god, but seriously I want to thank you for all you’ve done for this culture. I want to start off by talking about the love you get overseas vs. the love you get on your homeland. As I follow you on your page, I’m always seeing someone fly you out to do a show overseas. There are many stories of artists like yourself that are rockstars in the UK, Africa and especially China & Japan…why is that?
ExtraP: Well that’s simple. As with anything that is rare is treasured. Those countries didn’t get to see Hip Hop in it’s truest form on a regular basis. At home, you might see me and Mr. Cheeks hangin out on a corner at a bodega or in a club. You have people in America that actually watched us grown from nothing to somethings. Over there, all they have is what they see on tv. They know that Hip Hop started in America, so they pay homage to that. They collect and take care of the records we made that are classics to them. The US is just so used to seeing one artist after another; we can get a little spoiled. And furthermore, we don’t even carry ourselves like that at home. Cats over here might see us in the park and be like “Boom, yo there go Large Professor” and just leave it at that. As to over there, a cat may be in awe because it’s not every day you gonna see a cat like Raekwon just randomly walking down the street.
One more thing, they cherish their history over there. For example, overseas, they keep their historical buildings alive. Over here we can have a monumental building today, and it will be a parking lot tomorrow. But there they keep their traditions alive as the same with Hip Hop.
OTT: With your legendary status in the game, Large Pro…how do you stay so humble? I mean you still touch the people in a way like you never had hit records and like your name doesn’t ring bells in this culture.
ExtraP: Yeah, but see the whole thing about it, with you saying that, be clear, It’s About The Culture! It’s the culture that keeps me humble because this is what we do! Just like families have family traditions to it’s just certain things they do as a family. Nobody’s a star at the family table right? That’s what it is in Hip Hop. In fact, people look at you strangely when you on that. This is what we relay when we’re in a place like Australia. It’s like, I’m no different than you, I just have a story to tell.
OTT: We know you for being in the legendary group Main Source, but you are a legendary producer as well. When you’re are producing, do you get into all the latest gadgetry or do you like to keep it classic?
ExtraP: Akai MPC 1000 is my weapon of choice man. I mean don’t get me wrong, I can still nerd out on you if the conversation calls for that, but if you’re not a producer, then I’ll just keep it simple and say MPC. Hahahaha.
OTT: As I follow your page and Mr. Cheeks page, I see a lot of Queens rappers unifying lately, such as recording, doing shows together and just altogether hanging out. What sparked that?
ExtraP: Whoa! Be clear…Like there was never a time where that didn’t happen. Just yesterday It was me, Cheeks and Nas in the studio building. Through that building can come a session, through that session can come a song or a single. You just never know. We come together for the music man! It’s like wine tasting amongst brethren. It’s like sitting on stoop do0-wopping. We come from the same place, so we’re always going to have that connection.
OTT: Large, you were on the Beats Rhymes and Life documentary. Considering Tribe is from Queens, what are your thoughts on the memory of Phife Dawg.
ExtraP: Dang man….ummmm what can I say. Phife was……Damn man…..Phife was what I call The Perfect Trooper. He the type where you look at him like, you he knows where he’s headed and how he wants things to be. A level headed person. Real cool cat. Phife was my guy. Damn man…The Perfect Trooper that’s all I want to say about that.
OTT: Lastly Large….20, 30 years from now, what do you want your legacy to look like?
ExtraP: I can’t answer that B. I’m still adding to the culture. It would be a different story if I was done but I’m not. Right now I’m still creating; I’m still digging, still doing shows and still building my relationships like no one even knows my history. People can have their opinions about the culture, but if you’re not actively adding to the culture then what’s the point? People can say this and that about what I’ve done and what I haven’t done, but to the people that know me and love me…..I’m just Large P man.