Published: Thursday – May 2, 2010
GW: Who are Dem Crown Boyz?
DEM CROWN BOYZ: You already know it’s Judah Boy and Rasta Baby right here man, Charlotte North Carolina ya know, 704 shit. Basically we Judah Boy and Rasta Baby we make up two halves of Dem Crown Boyz. Commin out of the 704 Charlotte. Ya know what I’m talkin about from local to global ya heard me.
GW: Can you tell me about your new mix tape?
DCB: It’s called Gangland its bout to drop soon. We got nine tracks on there, two volumes of it. We got a I’m So Carolina mix tape that’s going to drop after that. Ya know what I’m sayin then we got our LP droppin’ with Mr. Servon, from No Limit. It’s gonna drop in the fall sometime. We getting it in, we getting out da mud tryin to make it big ya heard me.
GW: Damn, you have three mix tapes commin out?
DCB: Yeah we workin’ on a couple projects right now. Ya know, but da Gangland is already finished and done with.
GW: Why did you guys name it Gangland?
DCB: We got the name Gangland from the show Gangland because ya know the History channel had done a documentary on our neighborhood, ya feel me Hidden Valley in Charlotte, but we originally from Derita; which is an area on the Norfside beside Hidden Valley,we like ‘sister hoods”..we stayed in Hidden Valley,and was raised wit all the HVK’s. They put our faces all over the documentary really without permission and what not. So what we did was we took their name Gangland and used it for a positive thing, ya know so we could make money off of it, ya feel me too. So we made a CD Gangland, we talkin’ about what goes on in the north side of Charlotte. Let everybody know what’s really going on, so people know we real out here. You can’t kill us, you can’t kill our image, can’t do known of that., we gonna eat regardless, ya feel me. What we’ve been through, what we going through, what we’ve done done, ya know, what we gonna do. It’s basically for the hood. Big shout out to Hidden Valley and O.K’s , Sweet “beat-a-man” Pea and Roscoe Abell, ya know what I’m sayin. We puttin off everybody that’s down, everyone that died for the hood, that’s for the hood, a righteousness ya know what I’m sayin. We put on for all of them. Everybody that’s locked up behind bars.
GW: Your telling me Gangland went and put your faces on national television without your permission?
DCB: Yeah without our permission as far as our photo’s, that was without our permission. Then they tried to railroad the hood, they tried to make the hood seem like it was just a bunch of crack dealers and murders and shit ya know that that wasn’t even the case. It’s a nice community, it’s a hood just like any other hood. It’s like your hood, the same thing go on in your hood that goes on in our hood. Ya feel me, so they tried to flip it around the police and the feds, and make it seem like it was a negative neighborhood with negative people in it when that wasn’t even the case. So it pissed us off a little bit but its all good we folks struggling strive ya know what I’m sayin, everything’s all good. It is what it is. We just talkin to the hood, anybody out there with a dream and what not, its possible. Because me and Juddah Boy we’ve been at the bottom and we come risin’ to the top now…anything is possible. We’ve done lived in the projects, we’ve done lived in the hood and now we elevatin’, and we want everybody to know, the hood stay in you everything stays in your heart, but its ok to leave because you can always come back. If you real and thoroughbred and niggas respect you, you can always come back. You always gonna get that love, it’s gonna be like you never left. But people got to elevate their minds to stop doin the same dumb shit that’s keeping them stuck in the same position. Folks don’t want to ever elevate, they aight with not havin’ shit and not doin’ anything positive and righteous ya feel me. Now the Gangland kinda showed us niggas just doin the same typical stuff when that’s not the case. We very active in the community and what not, we do a lot of things behind closed doors. Not just us but the whole community, the whole north side of Charlotte. They railroaded us on some other shit so now we bout to railroad them and get paid off them.
GW: When did the two of you decide to come up and create Dem Crown Boyz?
DCB: Well you know me and Rasta Baby are first cousins ya know, so our whole life we’ve been around each other rappin and what not, be knuckleheads commin up. We started taken it real real serious probably I say around 2002. We was doin a lot of local shows and concerts and what not. And the little One Mic Mondays. Ya know we’ve been doin it for awhile, but we’ve been doin big things for a couple of years. Ya know the jail situation had hinder us a lot. That’s what stopped us in 2007, we got caught with a couple charges. Ya know and I got shot last year it was a rude awakening; ya know so 2010 is really like the year awakening. I don’t know just putting all the bullshit aside and behind us, the drama the beef all that, ya know what I’m sayin we put all that behind us, we left that in 09. So in 2010 we’ve just been real focused on being a focused and getting this music out there, and making this music that niggas want to hear, need to hear. And Charlotte, there’s nobody comin out of Charlotte that has either one, a major distribution behind them or really sounds like Charlotte. Much love to all my artist’s in Charlotte, it ain’t no hatin or nothing like that, ya know there’s a lot of other artist’s commin out of Charlotte sound like other cities. We not trying to teach kids to drop out of school and sale crack, ya know what I’m sayin that’s dead. It’s over for that ya feel me. The thing with Charlotte we trying to bring a whole new sound and a whole new swagger to the game.
GW: You guys have had the law stand in your way. Are these obstacles still trying to keep you down or are you not involved in those activities anymore?
DCB: Basically those were things that we were involved in back then, but now, I mean that’s in the past so. Everyone makes mistakes and we’ve done moved on. We doin’ bigger and better things, so its not really in our way anymore. I mean we’ve been doin music since the early 2000’s but 2007 is really when we stepped out and started doing shows. We did a big Jingle Jam concert at Cricket Arena for Gucci Mane and Plies, you know we’ve been doin’ shit. So we’ve been makin’ noise. Ya know there’s two sides to the game, just because you can rap you gotta have a business side behind you, and back then we were young we were just out here hungry payin to do shows, all that payin promoters to get on the mic, ya know the shit that your not really suppose to do without representation and you don’t even know that. Ya know if you don’t have management behind you, you don’t even know dat. So we was doin all that and we a hell of a buzz in crown town but we didn’t have no manager or label to back us and invest in us and put the money up and do whatever it takes for us to be on. We were just networking and doing everything ourselves in our own manners and shit. And then last year everything started to come together. To keep it one hundred with ya, in 2007 we weren’t even paying rent for our apartment we were spending our money on straight music. We were getting our money for our apartment, well you know what I’m talkin about. But now we got all of our backing, we out of jail we free all of charges and everything are straight. Ya know we got a whole different outlook on life, we about to take over and we not stopping for nobody.
GW: How did you guys go about getting your manger and signing to your label?
DCB: Well you know our manager is Jzajaidah “Jah” Huskey,CEO or DollHouseENT,a major entertainment company here in the 704. As far as our label goes, its kind of a funny situation. We was doin what we do on the regular, one weekend downtown in Charlotte sellin CD’s doin what we doin and we ran into a guy that was from Salt Lake City and we contacted with him and gave him our CD. We put it in, he was listenin to it he liked it whateva and he had his own independent label so we connected with him, we doin business like that from the East coast to the West coast. Big ups to Chris from Lake Star Entertainment, you gonna hear that name. We rockin with ya’ll till the wheels fall off. Chris ya know, he left Charlotte and went to D.C., New York, Chicago then back to Salt Lake and he was playin our CD in all those different cities and everybody that listened to it was like damn who’s that, that shit is hard. By the time he got back to Salt Lake he was like I gotta flirt with ya’ll we gotta do business and we were like damn that’s what’s up. And this was like July 2009 and shit two months later we signed a deal, signed the contact Lake Star Entertainment. And big ups to Music Factory that’s our in house studio in Charlotte, North Carolina and Super Producer Kino Watson,who is a protege’ of Jermaine Dupri. Shoutout his company UMG.
GW: What’s something important that you’ve learned since just starting hard in the music industry?
DCB: Even though we just started there’s two things we’ve learned. The industry is a dirty ass industry, ya know only the strong survive. And secondly you have to remain humble. If you don’t show love to the people that show you love, its gonna eat yo ass up. It’s going to shit on you, stab you in the back left and right and you’ll never be successful. Everyone around you plays a part. So we show love to everybody that’s showed up love, that’s just the way it is.
GW: How have things changed for Dem Crown Boyz since you’ve signed to you label?
DCB: Everything. So many doors have opened. From doing this interview right here, club promoters want us to come through just to show our faces. Like our homeboys who doin the same shit we was doin a few years ago without any representation be looking at us like mentors. We give our advice on how we did it. We not saying hey we big we blown up, but we on the right path to it. So many different ways, different avenues and different doors have been open. Once you have representation you can holla at radio stations. So all kinds of doors have been opened from meeting people to doing shows. And psychologically too, from not have anything, like I didn’t know how I was going to get a dollar to feed my little girl tomorrow. I mean everything about us has changed our whole swagger. Just knowing that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, the light still may be a little distant but I can see that mutha fucka and I’m walking towards it. Just that in general, the feeling of hope, a lot of changes in a lot of different ways. Just knowing something good is about to happen.
GW: What’s different about North Carolina’s music than the rest of the United States?
DCB: Personally I feel Charlotte; we have our own swagger, we kinda speak different then other cities and states and we kinda stand out ya know what I’m sayin in our own little way. And I know as far as Dem Crown Boyz, we came up hard man and we ain’t ever got nothing easy, so with us it’s more passion behind the words of our music. And like other independent artist’s down here feel the same way. We all came up struggling hard and we tried to stand out from other places man. Bein’ that we don’t have somebody from North Carolina that’s successful, we tryin’ to get to that point, and I think we are going to be the first ones to make that happen. The thing about North Carolina being an untapped market cause you got like Greensboro their more plugged towards, I don’t want to call them like up north niggas but they swagger is more of a D.C., Philadelphia, New York swag. But then you come down to Charlotte and its more stay southern, South Carolina and Georgia swag. But yet still we different because we don’t rap about the same shit other niggas rap about. Charlotte niggas we not flashy, and don’t want to say we pretty boys or nothing like that but we have a lot of confidence, but we carry ourselves with our head always up. Like the in the prison system they call Charlotte boys the “6-0″. Everyone know Charlotte in prison because it’s the way we carry ourselves, they think we pretty boys but we be the same ones that will knock your head off. They call Charlotte like the new south, like Atlanta the old south that’s confederate city, ya know what I’m sayin you know the history. Charlotte is like a modern south, it’s a new city. It’s just now really getting big, but it’s a big ass city, it’s like the second fastest growing city in the country now. But everything about us is just new, its like a melting pot because there’s so many people from different places that influence our style, but we state southern pride though.
GW: You have people like 9th Wonder and Petey Pablo that have come from North Carolina, who has set the stage for you to get in the game or was it not even North Carolina?
DCB: The only thing is with artist’s from North Carolina is they get a deal and move to Atlanta or they move to LA or they move to wherever they go and they don’t say nothing else about North Carolina. That’s our only problem that we have with North Carolina’s artist, but as far as who has really motivated us, to be honest wit ya I guess it would have to be somebody from another place. I like TI, Boosie and old school boys like Ghetto Boys, Scarface ya know what I’m sayin and Trick Daddy, the old Cash Money, the original Hot Boys, No Limit of course. They the ones that really put on for the south, even Outkast, that made it cool to not be from New York or LA, I’m not from either one of those places, I’m south, I’m southern. I think any successful artist that came from the bottom to the top has opened the doors not just for us but for other upcoming rappers too. Without them I don’t think it would be possible, because they already went through what we goin’ through, so we basically tryin’ to get to where they at. So big up to everybody in the game that doin’ their thing and other independent artist’s that tryin’ to come up man. And big ups to Jodec for makin the way for us because when they were makin’ hits they were still comin’ in the hood hangin’ with us. We show love to everybody, I could name the list but the list goes on and on and on that I could name from Charlotte alone, that put on for the city and for Carolina.
GW: How will your music change?
DCB: We tryin’ to be the ones that can get in the game and open up doors for other independent artist’s. So we can be like Atlanta and have multiple artist’s coming out of Charlotte. But as far as our music changing right now, basically we rap about our lives, day to day situations, problems and eventually when we get to point where we want to be at of course the music will probably change a little bit but we always going to keep it one hundred. There’s always going to be someone out there that can fuck with our music who won’t feel that shit. We joke with our label all the time, we like the niggas next door. Like the girls next door, we like the niggas next door. We want be who everybody can relate to ya know what I’m sayin’ cause like I was sayin’ we done been in the gudda, we still in da gudda. Don’t put yourself in a box, I don’t want to label myself as a dope boy just because I did this and that and don’t label me a gang banger, don’t put yourself in a box. Just because I’ve done different things doesn’t mean I don’t like to party and have fun, it doesn’t mean I’m not a father and I don’t take care of my daughter. We don’t want to be put into no box, we want to be able to make music that everybody can relate to, every race, every nationality all of dat. We just want to make music that everyone can feel from the top to the bottom.
GW: Do you guys freestyle and cypher or do you just focus on making albums?
DCB: We can do it all but at the moment now we are more focusing on making good music, albums and mix tapes. But the freestyle, we get down a little bit with that too. But of course you can’t really do music without freestylin’, cause you’d look like an asshole if you said no I don’t freestyle. But before we were in the studio that’s when we were freestylin’ all day everyday, ya know smoking’ blunts getting drunk and whatever whatever, high school days sittin’ in the whip goin’ hard on the block freestylin’. We just do it now to get our voices ready, just to get that energy ready before we hit the studio or before we do a show. But yeah we do it all though.
GW: Do you guys write your own material?
DCB: Oh yeah we both write all of our own music, we don’t have any ghost writers or anything like that. Yeah nobody is writin’ our lyrics, it comes straight from us. Rasta Baby’s lyrics are my lyrics, my lyrics are his lyrics. Straight from the heart ya know what I’m sayin’. Everything that we rap about that we write is shit that we do or done certified and you can ask anybody in my city about it. We’ll write for other people, but we do write our own music.
GW: If you all could hook up and perform with any artist(s) who would it be?
DCB: Ah man, wow, I’ve always wanted to work with Trey Songz. Ya know there’s a lot a people, even though they all aren’t rappers its cool because we got a new genre of music comin’ out called R&G, Rhythm and Gangsta. It’s not all soft shit it be coming for a hood prospective. But it’s something that a girl can relate to, but this is on a whole tip but that’s why we said Trey Songz. We’d like to do shit with T.I., Gucci, Luther, Wale all my south rappers ya know. I’d especially like to do something with Outkast man, cause I’ve been on them since I’ve been real real young. And all the way to west coast, I’m talkin Snoop and Ice Cube. I mean anybody, everybody is motivation to me, if you can make good music I’d love to make a song with you. There’s not to many artist’s that I can say I don’t like, I just love music ya know what I’m sayin’.
GW: You guys make sure not to tie yourselves down to one type of rap?
DCB: Life you livin’, as you live life everyday it’s not the same. I don’t care what you do if your on the block if your workin’ nine to five. It might be routine because of your time schedule, but everyday is not the same. So livin’ your life doin’ different things, so if we’re makin music that imitates your life it has to be different. You can’t just make music about hustling’, you can’t just make music about killin’, because everyday your not doin’ that same shit. At some point in your life you may be with a female that you love, you should write about that or you may have lost some homeboys or lost some loved ones in your family ya know you should make songs about that. You may have celebrations or family reunions, ya know good times. When you only make one kind of music that means your fan base is only going to be one type of crowd. If I’m only making hardcore shit that’s all I’m going to have is hardcore niggas from the hood and ghetto girls, and that’s okay but your cutting yourself short. We stop outside the box everyday of our lives that we have to make music that shows that. We aren’t fake, we don’t have nothing to hide.
GW: How did you come up with the group name Dem Crown Boyz?
DCB: Well they call Charlotte crown town and we thought that the name Dem Crown Boyz was good, DCB, yeah DCB. We’re well known and popular in our city so I guess that was the best name that fit us, Dem Crown Boyz. But that’s where the name came from. And we drink straight Crown Royal all the time! That’s our favorite drink, its crown, it’s royalty ya know what I’m sayin, the city of queens, queen city ya hear me. Queen Charlotte ya feel me Crown Town. That’s how we rock, like we royalty. Get a cup of Crown and toast to the good life, ya hear me. 704 pride.
GW: Can you tell me about your association with the Hidden Valley Kings?
DCB: As far as the Hidden Valley Kings they my niggas. Just my niggas that’s what they are, we are not that, but they are our friends. I’m ride or die for them and I love all of them, all of them lock up all of them still out. I don’t people to get a mishap like that’s what we are and try to label us something we’re not, cause we’re not.
GW: So you guys want to lay to rest all that snitchin’ stuff?
DCB: Snitchin’ can go on in every hood and every city ya feel me, in every hood niggas are snitchin’. If Snoop Dogg is sayin stop snitchin’, so that let you know in L.A. people are snitchin’ too, ya feel me. So when niggas see the Hidden Valley thang and they see niggas snitchin’ don’t look at it like its just a neighborhood of snitches because I could say the same shit for your hood. I mean niggas talk here, certain niggas say this and that, whatever whatever. It is what it is and at the end of the day I still love Hidden Valley. I still love all my Hidden Valley Kings. No we not Hidden Valley kings but they our niggas. So everybody knows that for the record. Fuck CNPD for hatin’ on niggas, tryin’ to railroad niggas, fuck the feds for doin’ their shady shit. Because all the charges they had on niggas was from the 90’s, niggas off that shit, niggas doin righteous shit now. Niggas tryin’ to feed their families shit like that, niggas weren’t even doin’ crazy shit like they tried to make it seem like a Hollywood movie or something. It was just niggas made some bad decisions and then they payin the consequences. But they didn’t have to do my niggas like that on the Gangland and they put us on their too. And a lot of that was false information. None of it was true.
GW: Your saying all the information that was put out there, the snitchin, name callin’ and all that shit wasn’t true?
DCB: It was just a couple of snitches, ya know what I’m sayin’. Other than that it was just regular hood shit. In any hood niggas make money. I can’t say and nobody else can say the same shit happen in your hood, there going to be snitches in yo shit, if something happen in your neighborhood like that.
GW: Do all of these incidents reflect in your music?
DCB: Yeah, yeah the incidents that happen we say a couple lyrics and words about them. Cause when its all said and done everybody makes mistakes, the law is bullshit. You kill a nigga and you get ten years, then you fuck around and make some money, however you make it and they give niggas twenty or twenty-five years to life. And the fact is everybody knows the system is made against us. When it’s all said and one it’s us against them. I don’t want to sound all political but I’m very knowledgeable on everything, so I know the system is made against us. It’s not equal. If they really felt that the neighborhood was on the verge of being so destructive, then they should’ve had people in the neighborhood talking to us to try and see what is really going on and do some community shit, ya know what I’m sayin’ and keep people positive. We just tryin’ to bring the city together and put on for Charlotte man. Charlotte is just a beautiful city and once people get a taste of this Charlotte shit and people start coming here and see what’s really going down, niggas a be like damn why didn’t I ever know about Charlotte before. We got a lot of shit goin’ on here! Also like to give a shout out to Mecklenburgs Illest, Rude Boyz, Game Tyme ENT, Cutty Boi, Swag Tac, Bettie Grind, Golden Boy ENT, Black ICE ENT, Big O Promotions, Club Vox and Club Ice. So join the movement!
By: Tiff Mac